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still doing time

as you may know, i think most leftists who are left of, say, obama, are post-marxists, whatever they may say: they are still trying to make marx's predictions come true, still trying to read history through his lens. no empirical data can budge or change this at all: it has nothing to do with reality, but with the emotional momentum of a century-and-a-half old quasi-relgion started by a prophet/messiah with the power to foretell the future (admittedly, he asserted that it was scientific, but so did many eschatological preachers of the 19th century).

so here are some aspects of the content. first of all, since we haven't flown as predicted into the commmunist ecstasy at the end of history, we must still be in the phase of capitalism. so we don't even notice that capitalism and socialism have merged: that it's state/corporate economic/political/military power that's the problem. but, it has to be odd for any marxist to think that capitalism has avoided the terminal crisis as the prophet predicted. starting as long as a hundred years ago, marxists referred to the contemporary phase - whatever it was at the time - as late capitalism, a lovely expression of wishful thinking. seems like you'd get embarrassed about that as the decades tick by, and i would have suggested a number of other dialiectical phases: "late late capitalism," "extremely late capitalism", "unbelievably late late capitalism" and so on.

maybe they got too embarrassed by this approach, though they are not folks who are easily embarassed. so now we're in "neoliberal capitalism" or perhaps since we're thirty years past reagan and thatcher, we're in "late neoliberal capitalism." well the power of capital and political/miltary systems connected with it just keeps consolidating, shows no sign whatever of disintegrating: quite the reverse. so this is where climate change comes in: it will provide the terminal crisis of capitalism: it is the realization of prophecy. people, i must say, are sitting home wanting it to be as bad and imminent as possible, and asserting - while brooking absolutely no dissent - that it is as bad and imminent as possible. it's still science, too.

anyway, i have no idea why you'd want to enter into this line of thought, or even how you'd go about making yourself believe stuff like that, but it is very pitiful. the left has just got to got to got to grab something else, or worship a new messiah or something, cause this shit is boring and ridiculous and interminable. 

 

well-deserved

the notion that obama would appoint a 'messaging expert' as ebola coordinator shows that they don't understand their own problem, which is that they have been unable to distinguish 'messaging' from responding to reality. this is why no one really believes what they're saying, and really, it's why no one has believed any american politician or bureaucrat for some decades now about anything. i think it's a kind of banalized post-modernism, narrative-theory thing. so sometime around 1970, someone pointed out again that there was no external world, only 'narratives' and so on. pretty soon, nike was running ads: 'we are the stories we tell'. it may be that people like obama and bush and clinton really can't tell the difference between the world and a story they are telling. that the story is incredibly self-serving is very hopeful: i can make the world adore and obey me if i can just utter the right phrase. their adoration of me will be their salvation, and then we'll all live in my hopey reality forever. let's focus-group some phraseology and work on 'the narrative', 'the message'. we've got to control the narrative, be more effective in our messaging. then, i think the growth of 'communications' programs and theories and 'strategic communications' exacerbates the effect, and some of the killer clowns who teach in those programs have a straight-up theory on which all communication is an attempt by me to get you to do what i want, and then the only question is, what noises can i make that best accomplish that? all communication is advertising.

in their human-centered, narcissistic, obviously false structure of non-thought, there can be no difference between medicine and messaging.

reality, see, is social, consensual, or 'what your contemporaries let you get away with saying'. then the only question is, what reality can you get people to consent to? unfortunately, the ebola virus is indifferent or impervious to whatever they consent to, as is everything else, even themselves.

Semaphore_Signals_A-Z

for an actual creature in an actual world where something like natural selection operates to lose contact with reality, or to begin to live in its own fantasies and hallucinations, is to flow toward extinction. also, in this particular form, it is to deserve extinction.

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A new peak in Crusader AXE’s productivity

 

I realized recently that I have made several attempts at the blogging equivalent of the unified field theory, that is, following part I of an essay several days later with part II. I just don't usually do that because I'm lazy and easily distracted. 

But the continuing debacle of policy and politics that has prevailed since Bush and the Rehnquist stole the Supreme Court 14 years ago has hit a point where the outrage meter is pegged out here, and it's easy to remember why I was so pissed off the first time. 

I admit that I consider the Republicans in the House and Senate, the leaders especially, to be lower on the chain of consciousness than sunflowers and slugs. But I have absolutely no clue what the President is doing and why...he's a smart guy. OK, got it; so was Herbert Hoover. He's trying to be Kennedyesque, except most of us who remember John Kennedy and Bobby are members of AARP. Being Kennedyesque today comes off as Mike Dukakis. 

So between them, I'm irked. And, this Ebola Czar nonsense is insane. McCain the Rs have a bad idea -- we need a Czar! Long live th Czar!'; Obama appoints one, and they start screaming "Not that one; another one." Meanwhile, we have a very logical CZAR, the unconfirmed head of the National Health Service. Since nobody in Congress is bothering to pretend to do anything, aren't they recessed? Couldn't Obama appoint him? Or at least make him the CZAR? Nah...too easy. 

Screw these people. 

 

health and self-defense

when the first nurse fell ill in dallas, cdc & co blamed her for failing to observe their protocol. and they blamed her before they actually knew anything about how she contracted the virus. this, i suggest, is probably the knee-jerk doc approach: blame the nurse. that was only one of many things that pissed the nurses off (one of the other irritations being that the cdc and everytone else appears to be quite cavalier about their lives). then there was a public backlash against that, and they sort of apparently reversed field, saying that nurses are heroes, and then hinting strongly that she violated the protocol. startegic communications at its best.

yesterday, testifying in congress, frieden simply refused to say whether it was the nurses' failure to observe the cdc protocol, or the cdc protocol itself that was at fault. (the other day, sanjay gupta ran through the whole cdc protocol on cnn, getting spattered with bodily fluids on exposed skin.) i think it was scalise who just kept saying 'did she violate the protocol or not?' 'it's raining outside, congressman.' 'yes or no?' 'here's a picture of my dog, congressman.' it was an idiotic display of inability to admit when you're wrong, and a classic defend-my-bureaucracy reaction. that's always irritating and yet pitiful, but here it's liable to be deadly. a decent, open, and truthful bunch of spokespeople and officials is necessary

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Selfportrait Project – 3rd Year (the end)

I made it three years! What a journey it has been! What started out as just me taking more pictures of myself so that my Dear Other Half could have more pictures of me, turned into a daily portrait, a self-discovery process and journey, a 365 day book of portraits for DOH’s late birthday/early Winter […]

how reassuring

there are various problems inherent in authority, and various problems inherent specifically in medical authority, that are very likely to make the ebola situation here in the states worse, and also to result in a major public freakout, already underway. so, a major part of the placebo effect of modern medicine is projecting an air of sort of casual omniscience and a firm reassuring demeanor. i bet they teach young doctors how to project this sort of authority. the first wave of cdc and cdc-mirror statements went like this. "there's no danger of an outbreak. we understand how ebola is transmitted and we understand how to control it. our super-effective selves and ourr super-effective health institutions are on the case." 

first, i think it is very likely that the total improvisational mess that was the dallas hospital's and the cdc's response to the duncan case rested in part on the fact that people actually appeared to think that infection was extremely difficult. reassuring us about that on evidently insufficient data might actually kill healthcare workers, you doinks. apparently on these grounds, the hospital administration was absurdly cavalier in handling duncan. and the very same people who said that we understand how it's transmitted etc said two weeks later that "we need to understand more about how ebola is transmitted". then they let very dire-sounding things escape their lips, and real fear in particular about the situation of healthcare workers. then they lurch right back to 'an outbreak is extremely unlikely', 'everything is under control' stuff, which they are repeating as a script, now incompatibly with the fear in their eyes. these are quotes from this bearded brit cdc mirror on cnn; i'm not pulling up his name, but it's the same with dr. anthony fauci, e.g. then invariably wolf blitzer of chris cuomo thanks him for making it all clear and reassuring us all.

so maybe the extremely authoritative presentation even of things about which you are not sure at all has the momentary effect of reassuring people. the problem is merely reality: when what you're saying turns out to be incredibly false, people stop believing you. they start generating alternative speculations on this or that. they start believing random websites, which indeed have more credibility. at some level they freak out in the awareness that they've got no idea at all what the truth is. nothing causes chaos like the breakdown of authority, and nothing causes the breakdown of authority like authority.

here's what i'd tell these people: ditch the self-esteem festival and the strategic communications. stop manipulating anyone and start speaking the truth as clearly as possible, including what you yourself do not know. we're going to need a new bunch of experts and spokesmen and authorities however.

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Whadda Maroooon…Bugs Bunny

The Wascallwee Wabbit may or may not make a personal appearance in this but...

If I were Barrack Obama, I'd feel justified in asking God what the hell I'd ever done to him that merited this whirlwind of insanity. I think that smart, thoughtful presidents in the 21st Century aare at an awful disadvantage politically, and have been really since the Kennedy assassination. The guy is trying to do good things, but the world doesn't cooperate. It can't -- it's the world and consists of a lot of insane people with guns, money, lawyers, ski masks  and a mass of contradictory hidden agendas and open manifestos. In some ways, ISIL is a nice change -- they don't have a secret agenda, they're pretty open. They don't report to the same God that most of us recognize in the 21st Century. Still, they may call him Allah, but I think they worship Cthulhu or some other very dark overlord with a completely different agenda.

 

animal faith

a bit of knowledge without justification on santayana's argument that empirical knowledge, including science, rests on faith:

In Scepticism and Animal Faith Santayana goes so far as to assert that all knowledge is faith precisely because we are never in a position decisively to refute scepticism, that is, to remove objective uncertainty. Santayana sets out the familiar sceptical arguments elaborately, and in fact endorses their conclusions. That is, he affirms that we are in a position, as far as the exercise of reason with no assumptions is concerned, of radical and unrelievable doubt as to the existence of the external world, the deliverances of memory, even as to the existence or at least the nature of the subject. Or rather, if we were in fact creatures that generated beliefs by the emotionless exercise of reason with no assumptions, our doubts would be radical and unrelievable. But as agents, as passionate, individual creatures of the sort we are, we happen in fact to be under no serious doubt about these things. (The similarity of the position under consideration to the "naturalized" epistemology of Quine and others should here be remarked. Like Kierkegaard and Santayana, proponents of that project hold that scepticism is irrefutable and that how we actually come to acquire beliefs is relevant to how we ought to acquire them. And the similarity of the position to my reading of Diogenes, Johnson, and Moore need hardly be emphasized.) Santayana says: "the scepticism I am defending is not meant to be merely provisional; its just conclusions will remain fixed, to remind me perpetually that all alleged knowledge of matters of fact is faith only."(20)

This does not mean that all factual claims are wholly unjustified. Rather, Santayana's view is that all such claims rest finally on beliefs for which no justification can be produced. Knowledge, says Santayana, is faith mediated by signs. We take our intuitions to be signs of external objects and events. Taken in that way, such intuitions can lead to justified beliefs. But there is no justification for taking them that way. Animal faith, then, consists in the treatment of intuitions as signs of the external world, in "supposing that there is substantial there, something that will count and work in the world" (SAF p.39)

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cheese it, the cops! 2014-10-13 03:36:24

stray graph that might have been in the atlantic piece:

I want there to be no God, and I am speculating that it is the same for Richard Dawkins. We would find a God-centered universe less open, less fascinating, less challenging than a material universe, and perhaps also more oppressive. We need to acknowledge that, like everyone else, we believe not as reasoning machines, but as flesh-and-blood human beings.

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cheese it, the cops! 2014-10-12 08:53:23

so if you were wondering about the word 'riff', the thing below's all hook + turnaround = essence of the blues.

 

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