Monday, May 21, 2018

Amazon Washington Post Deserves A Foot In Its Corporate Ass...,

NYTimes |  The heartening truth is that until now, the United States has, by and large, done a good job of insulating the economy from political interference. Should that insulation wear down, though, we will find ourselves in a troubling world. That’s why President Trump’s campaign against Amazon is worthy of continuing scrutiny.

Moreover, the president’s motivation for focusing on Amazon is open to question. One plausible hypothesis is that Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, owns The Washington Post, which has unflinchingly reported on the Trump presidency.

It is noteworthy that the president often refers to The Washington Post as The “Amazon Washington Post.”

Any possible interference with freedom of the press endangers the economy — and much more. An efficient economy — and a democracy — requires uniform application of the law.
We live in partisan times. But we all can root for the rule of law. It’s not a particularly exciting cause, but it is in dire need of supporters.

CNN |  The Council voted 8-to-1 to pass a compromise tax that will charge businesses $275 per-employee per year, instead of the $540 per employee figure initially proposed. The city expects the tax to raise roughly $47 million per year. 

• The City of Seattle lost: It failed to articulate a a well-thought out strategy for dealing with homelessness; passed a watered-down bill that alienated the business community; and only won half as much revenue as it said it needed. 

• Amazon and big business lost: Amazon fought the Council with threats and criticism rather than seizing the opportunity to take the lead on an issue that it has demonstrated a commitment to elsewhere. 

• The homeless lost: The nearly 12,000 homeless people living in King County are worse off because Seattle and Amazon got in a pissing match. 

What went wrong: This could have been avoided, our sources say: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan could have brought the City Council together with Amazon, Starbucks and other businesses to hash out a plan that made sense for both sides. Seattle and Amazon could have then trumpeted their success as a model for how liberal cities and tech companies plan to deal with the homeless epidemic they've helped to create. 

American Democracy A Farce - America Governed By Capital

strategic-culture |  So: America is a dictatorship by the billionaires. And this means that it operates by fooling the public. France is similar, though it achieves this via a different way. And, in both countries, deceit is essential, in order to achieve its dictatorship. Fooling the public is now what it’s all about, in either case. Democracy can never be won by fooling the public; because fooling the public means removing the public’s ability to control the government. So, calling such a nation a ‘democracy’, is, itself, deceiving the public — it’s part of the dictatorship, or else support of the dictatorship.

In former times, this system was rationalized as ‘the divine right of kings’. Now it’s rationalized as ‘the divine right of capital’. But it’s also become covered-over by yet another lie: ‘democracy’. This is a ‘democratic’ aristocracy; it is an ‘equal opportunity’ aristocracy. In it, each citizen has ‘equal rights’ as every other citizen, no matter how wealthy. It’s just a castle of lies. And its doors are actually open only to the few richest-and-well-connected.

Here, a former CIA official tries to describe how the American dictatorship works — the enforcement-part of the system, and he does (even if only by implication) also touch upon the financial sources of it. Starting at 1:07:35 in that video, he discusses his personal case: why he could no longer tolerate working for the CIA. But his description of how he, as an Agency official, saw the system to function, starts at 3:45 in the video. Key passages start at 12:45, and at 20:15. Maybe any American who would email this article to friends who don’t understand how the system functions, will come under increased US surveillance, but that CIA official’s career and family were destroyed by what the system did to him, which was lots worse than just surveillance. Remarkably, he nonetheless had the courage to persist (and thus did that video). However, when one sees how politically partisan (and so obtuse) the viewer-comments to that video are, one might be even more depressed than by the account this former CIA official presents. But, even if the situation is hopeless, everyone should at least have the opportunity to understand it. Because, if the aristocracy are the only people who understand it, there can’t be any hope for democracy, at all.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Yanis Varoufakis Takedown Of Corporatist Facism Derails Amy Goodman's Propaganda

democracynow |  Look, Amy, in slaves-owning societies or in the Middle Ages, we had production. People worked, toiled the land. Then we had distribution. The lord would send his henchmen in, his sheriff, to take his cut. So you had distribution—production, distribution. The lord’s cut would then be sold in markets. He would get money out of it, and then you would have finance. So we had production, distribution, finance.

With capitalism, we had the reversal of that. First you’d get the debt, to set up the—you know, to employ people. So you have finance, then distribution, and the last thing that happens is production. So, debt is central to capitalism. Now, that means one thing: The banker, the financier, has an exorbitant privilege. He’s like the sorcerer who has the capacity to push his hand through the time line, snatch value from the future, that has not been produced yet, and bring it in to the present to help orchestrate the production that will create the value that will be repaid in the future. But, effectively, you’re creating a class of people, the financiers, who then have complete control over society. And they can keep doing this a lot more, until the present can no longer repay the future, and there is a huge crash. And then what happens? Because they have this privileged position, they can make you and me, President Obama, whoever, Larry Summers, bail them out. So, they win if their bets succeed, and they win if their bets lose. What kind of political economy is this, when you have one class of people who win, whatever they do, and everybody else loses, whatever they do?

AMY GOODMAN: Is this what you refer to the black magic of banking?
YANIS VAROUFAKIS: That’s exactly right.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, what’s the cure for this?
YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, the cure of this is, effectively, to do that which FDR did in the 1930s.
AMY GOODMAN: President Roosevelt.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: President Roosevelt—to put the financial genie back in the bottle. Make banking boring again. Put huge constraints upon them. Nationalize the banks and turn them into institutions for public purpose. And if even—you don’t necessarily need to nationalize, as long as you really keep them under strict control. Remember Bretton Woods, which designed the golden era of capitalism. Bretton Woods was a conference in 1944, and there 120 different countries agreed on the system which saw, in the 1950s and 1960s, the longest period of steady growth, with shrinking inequality and low unemployment and low inflation. FDR had one condition slapped onto membership of that Bretton Woods Conference. Do you know what it was? No banker was allowed in the Washington—the Mount Washington Hotel. So you had a monetary and financial system that was designed in the absence of bankers. That’s what we should do again.

AMY GOODMAN: What is apolitical money?
YANIS VAROUFAKIS: In this country, you have a lot of people, good people, who are fed up with politicians, who are fed up with the Fed, and who believe that—they believe in true money, in honest money, that money should be somehow independent of the political process. Remember the gold standard? They still hanker after the gold standard. They would like the quantity of dollars printed to be linked to the quantity of gold that the Fed owns, so that there would be no political influence of the quantity of money, because they fear that—they fear the government will print too much money, and there will be inflation, and the value of money will be effectively eaten away—the gold bugs, as you call them in this country. Bitcoin—Bitcoin is a digital form of the gold standard. And so, the backlash against political control—
AMY GOODMAN: The Bitcoin folks are moving into Puerto Rico right now, has been devastated by Maria.
YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Of course it’s been devastated. But the solution is not Bitcoin.
AMY GOODMAN: But they’re moving in fast.
YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Yes, but it’s—you know, it’s just a bubble. It will burst. And the reason is, however much we loathe the political process because it is controlled by oligarchs and by the same old financiers who are behind the politicians who are bailing them out whenever the finance is needed—however much we dislike that, there is no alternative to political money. Why? Because the quantity of money must be in sync with the quantity of output of goods and services. If those two go out of sync, you have deflationary bouts. You have to—that will lead to depression. So, to put it very bluntly and simply, the quantity of money must be decided democratically. At the moment, it’s not being decided democratically. It’s decided politically, but oligarchically. The solution is not to take it and tie it to some algorithm.
AMY GOODMAN: In the United States, you—in the United States, you only refer to oligarchy when you’re talking about Russia, the oligarchs. But billionaire businessmen in the United States, you do not refer to as oligarchs.
YANIS VAROUFAKIS: But the United States of America is the prime oligarchy. The difference between the United States of America and Russia is that the United States is a more successful oligarchy. But it is an oligarchy nevertheless.
YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, think of 2008. President Obama is sworn in on a wave of expectation by the victims of the financiers. And what does he do? First thing he does is he appoints Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, the very same people who had actually unshackled the financiers in the late 1990s, allowing them to do everything that brought so much discontent to the very same people who then entrusted President Obama. President Obama, very soon after that, lost his credibility with those people, and the result is Donald Trump. That’s an oligarchy.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, why is Donald Trump so fiercely opposed to President Obama—is it just racial?—given that he laid the groundwork for the oligarchs, for people like Donald Trump, if, in fact, he does have money?
YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, the ruling class has a fantastic capacity, like the working class, to be divided. Donald Trump was never in the pocket of Wall Street. He used Wall Street. He used Deutsche Bank. He used all the people he dislikes, in order to keep, effectively, bankrupting his companies and profiting from it. So he’s really very good at that. But he was never very successful as a businessman, certainly not as successful as Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan. And he was always on the margins of the capitalist order of things in the United States. He understood that in order for him to gain more power, more—both discursively and politically and economically, he had to ride the wave of discontent against Obama. And he did this magnificently. And the Democrats let him. The Democrats brought their own distress and failure upon themselves.
AMY GOODMAN: So I want to talk about the rise of the right, but go back to World War II—actually, between World War I and World War II in Germany. How do you see the growth of the support for Hitler and how he took power in Germany, going back to World War I and the devastation of Germany?
YANIS VAROUFAKIS: The combination—the combination of a humiliated populace. The humiliation is very important, Amy. When you humiliate a whole people in the middle of a great depression, great economic crisis, you have a political crisis. So the political center implodes, which is what happened with the Weimar Republic, and then all sorts of political monsters ride up—rise up from that. We saw this in the 1920s, the 1930s, in the midwar period in Germany. But we saw it in—we see it in Greece today, after—do you know we have a Nazi party in Greek Parliament—in the country that, along with Yugoslavia, fought tooth and nail against Nazism in the 1940s. We had a magnificent resistance movement against Nazism. In that country now, the third-largest party is a—not a neo-Nazi party, fully old-fashioned Nazi party.
AMY GOODMAN: And this came into the Parliament when?
YANIS VAROUFAKIS: They came into Parliament in 2012, at the time of a humiliated public in the clasp of a great depression, just like in Germany in the 1930s.
But allow me to make a point, because there is a great misunderstanding about Germany of the midwar period. Usually people say, “Oh, it was hyperinflation. It was the fact that prices were rising exponentially that brought Hitler to power.” Not true. It is true that hyperinflation depleted the middle class, effectively destroyed the middle class’s savings and shook the system and made the Weimar Republic extremely fragile and ready for the taking. But if you look at the electoral performance of the Nazi Party in Germany, there is a direct correlation, not with inflation, but with deflation. You had Chancellor Brüning, who in 1930 decided to slam the brakes on the economy and to use large doses of austerity in order to make inflation go away—a bit like Paul Volcker when he pushed interest rates up in the early '80s, remember, to 20-something percent—and a lot more fiscal austerity, not just monetary austerity. It was at that point when prices started falling in Germany. Prices started falling, and unemployment ballooned. And that is when you have a major jump in the support for Nazis. Deflation breeds fascism. And that is something that we've got to remember. And I’m making this point because, unfortunately, the European Union’s economic policies today are producing deflationary forces that are being exported to the United States and to China. And that does not augur well for progressive international politics.
AMY GOODMAN: So talk now about the far right in Europe and also in the United States. But in Europe, you’re talking about Poland, you’re talking about Hungary. You’ve got Golden Dawn, not to mention the Nazi party, in Greece.
YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Oh, that’s the Golden—the Golden Dawn is a Nazi party. That’s the Nazi party I was referring to.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Dominant Institution Of Our Time Was Created In The Image Of A Psychopath

tripzine |  Much of the Hermetica circulated in Latin, and the word "incorporation" appears quite notably in the lexicons and basic operations of alchemy. Its Latin root incorporatus describes a process of embodiment or giving of material form.

A typical goal in the creation of a servitor was to substantiate the proxy mechanism until the form itself became embodied and self-perpetuating, albeit under the control of the alchemist. One finds this goal reflected in a motto of Hermeticism: solve et coagula. This denotes an alchemist reaching into the ephemeral and numinous "above", then transmuting part of that essence into a substantiated form in the mundane world "below".

The synthesis here concerns how Elizabethans architected plans for building commerce based on international trade and colonization, i.e. through a globalization process...

Elizabethans employed what they understood to be the rhyme and reason of the world. They went out and created a form suitable to achieve their goal. Translating back through the centuries, our modern legal process of incorporation literally refers to the creation of a "legal person" as a fiction, serving as a proxy mechanism for its owners. Arguably, this form is created much like a servitor, applying the formula solve et coagula, giving material form to an essence. The sigil corresponds to logo and trademark, and the charter symbolizes daemonic essence.

There you have an outline for a qualitative model, submitted for your approval. [Description follows of a quantitative model, based on a "proxy mechanism" that applies attention economic theory in the four domains listed above — edited out for space.]

Political Evolution

Let's review the evolution of political system, vis-a-vis corporate governance. Elizabethan England made a bold proclamation in the name of humanism. They effectively said: "Fucke Spain & thee Catholycks. Yn the cominge yeres of Newe World Order, rules of the game changeth and none of their bloodie golde shall matter not one wit." The English reckoned that if Church and cojones were removed from the political equation, the Crown and its people could prosper. They invented corporations to implement that plan and serve the Crown. That worked remarkably well.

Americans came along and objected to corporations, wishing to empower individual sovereignty based on property rights. They reckoned that if the Crown were removed from the political equation, then representation of individuals could reign over corporations instead. Their experiment died within a few decades, and arguably the United States became the first flag of convenience.

Socialists noted problems due to corporations in both England and the US. They reckoned that if individual property rights were removed from the political equation, societies could reign over corporations instead. They attempted to organize politics to mimic the corporate structure itself, which has so far proven to be problematic.

Where do we stand now?

Humanists of all varieties have struggled to control corporations for the better part of four centuries. They failed. They lacked a fundamental understanding of the problem. Game over. Direct confrontation of the corporate form does not work, because such efforts inevitably become sublated.

To confront a corporation with any significant force, one must stop thinking like a speciesist. Following the psychological imperative from the study of autopoiesis and dissipative structures, one must contextualize the problem first. To contest a firm such as Nike or Monsanto, one must recognize that they are merely instances of a particular form. To fight the WTO, one must recognize that it is merely a temporary mechanism of that same form. To fight a particular action by a particular corporation, one must recognize that action as a well-defined reflex of the corporate form.

So, I present a media-theoretic model: the qualitative and quantitative anatomy of a transnational. Perhaps it may become useful for developing strategies and forecasts to gain advantages over corporations. I have several ways to apply this theory, but that's a topic for another article altogther...

Questions? Complaints? Suggestions?

Friday, May 18, 2018

"This is a Terrifying Time to be White an American"

NewYorker |  Several distinct cultural changes have created a situation in which many men who hate women do not have the access to women’s bodies that they would have had in an earlier era. The sexual revolution urged women to seek liberation. The self-esteem movement taught women that they were valuable beyond what convention might dictate. The rise of mainstream feminism gave women certainty and company in these convictions. And the Internet-enabled efficiency of today’s sexual marketplace allowed people to find potential sexual partners with a minimum of barriers and restraints. Most American women now grow up understanding that they can and should choose who they want to have sex with.

In the past few years, a subset of straight men calling themselves “incels” have constructed a violent political ideology around the injustice of young, beautiful women refusing to have sex with them. These men often subscribe to notions of white supremacy. They are, by their own judgment, mostly unattractive and socially inept. (They frequently call themselves “subhuman.”) They’re also diabolically misogynistic. “Society has become a place for worship of females and it’s so fucking wrong, they’re not Gods they are just a fucking cum-dumpster,” a typical rant on an incel message board reads. The idea that this misogyny is the real root of their failures with women does not appear to have occurred to them.

The incel ideology has already inspired the murders of at least sixteen people. Elliot Rodger, in 2014, in Isla Vista, California, killed six and injured fourteen in an attempt to instigate a “War on Women” for “depriving me of sex.” (He then killed himself.) Alek Minassian killed ten people and injured sixteen, in Toronto, last month; prior to doing so, he wrote, on Facebook, “The Incel Rebellion has already begun!” You might also include Christopher Harper-Mercer, who killed nine people, in 2015, and left behind a manifesto that praised Rodger and lamented his own virginity.

The label that Minassian and others have adopted has entered the mainstream, and it is now being widely misinterpreted. Incel stands for “involuntarily celibate,” but there are many people who would like to have sex and do not. (The term was coined by a queer Canadian woman, in the nineties.) Incels aren’t really looking for sex; they’re looking for absolute male supremacy. Sex, defined to them as dominion over female bodies, is just their preferred sort of proof.

If what incels wanted was sex, they might, for instance, value sex workers and wish to legalize sex work. But incels, being violent misogynists, often express extreme disgust at the idea of “whores.” Incels tend to direct hatred at things they think they desire; they are obsessed with female beauty but despise makeup as a form of fraud. Incel culture advises men to “looksmaxx” or “statusmaxx”—to improve their appearance, to make more money—in a way that presumes that women are not potential partners or worthy objects of possible affection but inconveniently sentient bodies that must be claimed through cold strategy. (They assume that men who treat women more respectfully are “white-knighting,” putting on a mockable façade of chivalry.) When these tactics fail, as they are bound to do, the rage intensifies. Incels dream of beheading the sluts who wear short shorts but don’t want to be groped by strangers; they draw up elaborate scenarios in which women are auctioned off at age eighteen to the highest bidder; they call Elliot Rodger their Lord and Savior and feminists the female K.K.K. “Women are the ultimate cause of our suffering,” one poster on wrote recently. “They are the ones who have UNJUSTLY made our lives a living hell… We need to focus more on our hatred of women. Hatred is power.”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Deepening Contradictions In The White World

CounterPunch |  Without an understanding of the particularity of American fascism, we will, following Trotsky, be compelled to flippantly answer “yes” to both of these questions. But now that it is clear that Trump is not the apocalypse as we were told by so many liberals and leftists leading up to and following his election, such an answer would leave us politically incapacitated. If we want to begin to understand fascism in America, we must turn to Black Panther Party Field Marshal George Jackson’s analysis of fascism in his 1971 bookBlood in My Eye. 

As opposed to Trotsky’s one-dimensional “butcher” view of fascism, Jackson proposes that fascism has three faces: “out of power,” “in power but not secure,” and “in power and securely so.” The fascism that Trotsky describes is a depiction of the second face, which is “the sensational aspect of fascism we see on screen and in pulp novels.” However, in America, fascism shows its third face, during which “some dissent may even be allowed.” Jackson explains American fascism in this way:
Fascism has established itself in a most disguised and efficient manner in this country. It feels so secure that the leaders allow us the luxury of faint protest. Take protest too far, however, and they will show their other face. Doors will be kicked down in the night and machine-gun fire and buckshot will become the medium of exchange.
Never has a better diagnosis of the conditions which allow antifa and the anti-Trump movement to have “the luxury of faint protest” been given. To draw a parallel with Jackson’s own European example, just as Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce was permitted to publish an anti-fascist manifesto in 1925, three years after the fascist march on Rome, American antifa intellectuals with groups like the Campus Anti-Fascist Networkare free to remain aboveground in the nation’s most elite colleges and universities and condemn fascism openly without fear of repression from the state. 

What’s more, they are even allowed to openly express hatred for other white people with little more than an eyebrow raised from conservatives and intermittent pats on the back from liberals.

In direct contrast to the line of Refuse Fascism and other anti-fascist organizations active in the United States, Jackson’s analysis shows that fascism hardly started with the Trump administration. Many have failed to notice this reality since fascism has most frequently deployed its third, not second, face against the left in recent decades. However, while fascism is in power and securely so for the time being, Trump has produced contradictions in its efficiency and disguise by challenging the liberal ruling class with appeals to industrial capitalists and workers, tariffs that drove his own economic adviser to quit, and challenges to the Pentagon’s increasingly hawkish attitude toward Russia.

The left’s failure to understand fascism in general and the multiplying and intensifying contradictions of the Trump era in particular is largely traceable to its underdeveloped understanding of whiteness. While black America has been subjected to mass incarceration, police terror, relentless gentrification, and disproportionate deaths on the front lines of America’s imperialist wars for decades, many white leftists have determined that it is not these historical experiences of fascism in America, but the recent rise of Trump, that is most deserving of outrage and resistance.

This failure to understand fascism in relation to the color line takes its most egregious form in organizations like the Campus Antifascist Network, who attack right-wing “fascism,” yet say nothing of the liberal university’s mass participation in research for war-making, policing of poor and working class black neighborhoods, and central role in the viscous gentrification of America’s blackest cities. This analysis has the effect of obscuring rather than clarifying the contradictions we face today. The contradiction between Trump and large segments of the ruling class illustrates a political climate that C.L.R. James described in The Black Jacobins in reference to the Haitian Revolution:
The first sign of a thoroughly ill-adjusted or bankrupt form of society is that the ruling classes cannot agree how to save the situation. It is this division which opens the breach, and the ruling classes will continue to fight with each other, just so long as they do not fear the mass seizure of power.
The question is, then, how can we understand and use the mushrooming and intensifying social contradictions of the Trump era not to side with the liberal wing of the ruling class against the conservative one, but to seize power from the ruling class as a whole?  Fist tap Brother Makheru

A Tedious And Wholly Unselfconscious Current State Assessment Of White Supremacy

theatlantic |  The defining challenge of our time is to renew the promise of American democracy by reversing the calcifying effects of accelerating inequality. As long as inequality rules, reason will be absent from our politics; without reason, none of our other issues can be solved. It’s a world-historical problem. But the solutions that have been put forward so far are, for the most part, shoebox in size.

Well-meaning meritocrats have proposed new and better tests for admitting people into their jewel-encrusted classrooms. Fine—but we aren’t going to beat back the Gatsby Curve by tweaking the formulas for excluding people from fancy universities. Policy wonks have taken aim at the more-egregious tax-code handouts, such as the mortgage-interest deduction and college-savings plans. Good—and then what? Conservatives continue to recycle the characterological solutions, like celebrating traditional marriage or bringing back that old-time religion. Sure—reforging familial and community bonds is a worthy goal. But talking up those virtues won’t save any families from the withering pressures of a rigged economy. Meanwhile, coffee-shop radicals say they want a revolution. They don’t seem to appreciate that the only simple solutions are the incredibly violent and destructive ones.

The American idea has always been a guide star, not a policy program, much less a reality. The rights of human beings never have been and never could be permanently established in a handful of phrases or old declarations. They are always rushing to catch up to the world that we inhabit. In our world, now, we need to understand that access to the means of sustaining good health, the opportunity to learn from the wisdom accumulated in our culture, and the expectation that one may do so in a decent home and neighborhood are not privileges to be reserved for the few who have learned to game the system. They are rights that follow from the same source as those that an earlier generation called life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Yes, the kind of change that really matters is going to require action from the federal government. That which creates monopoly power can also destroy it; that which allows money into politics can also take it out; that which has transferred power from labor to capital can transfer it back. Change also needs to happen at the state and local levels. How else are we going to open up our neighborhoods and restore the public character of education?

It’s going to take something from each of us, too, and perhaps especially from those who happen to be the momentary winners of this cycle in the game. We need to peel our eyes away from the mirror of our own success and think about what we can do in our everyday lives for the people who aren’t our neighbors. We should be fighting for opportunities for other people’s children as if the future of our own children depended on it. It probably does.  Fist tap Dorcas Dad.

Formally Institutionalized White Supremacy REDUX (Originally Posted 1/20/08)

How much did the 14th Amendment actually get used to benefit African Americans?

Writing fifty years later in 1938, US Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black echoed Lincoln's eleventh-hour realization: "...of the cases in this Court in which the Fourteenth Amendment was applied during the first fifty years after its adoption, less than one-half of one percent invoked it in protection of the negro race, and more than fifty per cent asked that its benefits be extended to corporations... "

The notion that corporations self-organize, self-reproduce, self-maintain, self-perpetuate, etc., should not be a huge conceptual hurdle. Consequently, theory about the phenomenological description of an organism based on ideas about linguistic domain — well, that's a mouthful, but it comes in handy for analyzing the corporate form.

On a related track, a former UCLA professor and noted economic theorist named Kenichi Ohmae specializes in the analysis of emerging globalism. He also predicted (some say "encouraged") at least two recent world financial market crashes. Dr Ohmae has proposed a theory about how corporations operate. Namely, to participate in the global economy circa 2000, a transnational must operate simultaneously in four "dimensions". Dr Ohmae articulates these as the visible dimension, the borderless dimension, the cyber dimension, and the dimension of multiples. These translate, respectively, to the arena of "bricks and mortar" business and social contract, the global markets enjoyed by transnationals, the area of computers and media, and the arbitrage of financial instruments (e.g., currencies, stocks, pensions, etc.) in general.

I propose reframing Ohmae's four "dimensions", stated in terms of linguistic domain along the lines of how I just described where a corporation "lives". In that sense, we find a basis of four domains: social contract, law, media, and arbitrage. We may also borrow a fine set of modeling tools from biology for describing the phenomena of corporate form. Recalling the historical opinion stated earlier, the representation of sublation as a corporate belief structure, and the observed rate of sublation as a reflex mechanism, it is no stretch to talk about corporations in terms of phenomenology and metabolism. Armed with 21st century tools, one can trace the autopoiesis of corporate metabolism quite readily. In particular, they behave in some ways (organization) like sponges, in other ways (reproduction) like bacteria, and in other ways (adaptation) like slime molds.

Again, if you use that notion, cite me. This represents original work here, folks, slime molds and all, unveiled in print for the first time. Paco Xander Nathan - Corporate Metabolism

The Occultic Elizabethan Origin Of White Supremacy

tripzine |  Thank you for having me here. You are most kind. The title may seem odd, but I assure you that I have spent quality time studying corporations, up close and personal. For that matter, as a computer scientist, we are trained to analyze dynamic systems based on linguistic artifices; corporate activity most certainly satisfies that description.

An interesting notion which traces back to the writings of Hobbes and Marx is to understand corporations better by analyzing their general form as a kind of organism living in media. I would like to present a qualitative and quantitative study that traces the development of corporate form all the way from alchemy to autopoiesis. Admittedly, some of my remarks and focus may seem well outside the mainstream, so please keep in mind two caveats: I do not recognize that any kind of omnipotence exists; and I do not wish to promote or engage in any manner of "conspiracy theory" thinking. The point here is to examine the general form — a "platonic ideal", if you will — of transnational corporations as a formulaic approach for perpetuating power. I have no interest in assessing the attributes of any particular company, executive, etc.

Keep in mind a third caveat: in terms of "power" and "metabolism", I tend to characterize corporations much like spoiled brats: immature, self-destructive, dependent, difficult to understand, annoying, and fragile. Even so, most attempts at tending after these brats — whether from a Supreme Court bench, a NY Times op-ed, or an anti-WTO protest rally — demonstrate remarkably little depth about how they develop. Let's change that, eh?

First off, as we get into this, I would like you all to track four essential words: (1) colony, (2) attention, (3) sublation, and (4) demon.

Thank you.

Question #1: What would you call beings which (a) don't have physical bodies, (b) seem relatively crafty, and (c) appear to be immortal?

A tulpa, a djinn, or a familiar? Ghosts? Spirits? Gods? Demons? How about corporations?

Question #2: When was the first corporation established?

Granted a charter by Queen Elizabeth I of England on 31 Dec 01600, the East India Company seems to have been the first corporation. Its origins arose out of an Elizabethan shopping mall for international trade called the Royal Exchange of London. After the fall of Iberian sea power, the Dutch had scrambled to monopolize former Portuguese trade with the East, so the English sought to beat the Dutch at colonizing the East Indies.

Question #3: Can anyone here define the essence of a corporation in ten words or less?

Here's my shot at it, in seven words actually: "Externalize risk and perpetuate wealth for shareholders." For the purposes of this discussion, we'll focus on transnationals, mostly firms attempting to become monopolies, generally following the Anglo-American model — not the "ma & pa" liquor store on the corner that has a "Chapter S" corporate charter.

Now, I need a fifth volunteer to write down what I just said, and be ready to repeat it aloud a few times: "Externalize risk and perpetuate wealth for shareholders." Sure, the proper legal definition of a corporation is more about having a chartered company that combines the principle of joint-stock along with something called limited liability. However, those seven dirty words are just fine for describing the essence and purpose of a corporation.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Autonomous Autistic Incels Not So Keen On Being Gamed For Fun And Political Profit?

RightWingWatch |  As Jared reported earlier today, Jerome Corsi, the Washington bureau chief for Alex Jones’ Infowars, who has spent hours online every day for the last several months “decoding” the cryptic message-board posts made by an anonymous figure known as “QAnon,” has declared that “Q” has been “compromised” and that his postings can no longer be trusted.

Many fringe right-wing activists believe that QAnon was a high-level Trump administration official who has been leaking secret intelligence information to them via the anonymous message boards 4chan and 8chan and Corsi was among the most vocal proponents of the theory, having once even claimed that President Trump himself had directly ordered QAnon to release information.

Recently, Corsi began to sour on QAnon and today he joined Jones on his radio program where Jones claimed that he had personally spoken with QAnon and had been told that the account had been compromised and should no longer be trusted.

“I was on the phone this morning talking to some folks who were out playing golf with people that have been involved in QAnon, they say, ‘Hey, that’s been taken over, we’re unable to even post anymore, that’s not us anymore,'” Jones said. “I’ve talked to QAnon. There is only about five or six that have actually be posting. I’ve talked to QAnon and they are saying QAnon is no longer QAnon.”
“Stick a fork in the avatar of QAnon,” Jones declared. “It is now an overrun disinformation fount.”

exopolitics | According to veteran investigative reporter and best selling author, Dr. Jerome Corsi, he was approached three years ago by a group of generals and told that Donald Trump had been recruited by U.S. military intelligence to run in the 2016 Presidential elections, and subsequently help remove corrupt Deep State officials from positions of power. Corsi claims that QAnon represents the same group of senior military intelligence officials who are exposing the Deep State corruption and officials involved in a history of treasonous actions against the U.S. Republic.

This is what Corsi said at a meeting on April 11, which also featured the founder of, Alex Jones:

About three years ago a group of Generals came to me, and it was explained to me that they were ready to conduct a coup d’etat. They were ready to move Barack Obama from office with military force. And then a few weeks later I got another call and said they were reconsidering.

You know why they were reconsidering? [audience calls out answers] Because they talked to Donald Trump, and Trump had agreed he would run, and they agreed that if he would run, they would conduct their coup d’etat as a legitimate process, rooting out the traitors within government.  And that pact between the military and Donald Trump has held, as we have been interpreting and watching, and Alex has been following QAnon.

QAnon is military intelligence and close to Trump, and the intelligence we’ve getting, that we’ve explained on Infowars, really is a lot of the inside script. 

While Corsi didn’t name the generals or provide hard evidence for his startling claim, an examination of public comments by President Trump, QAnon and related political events do make Corsi’s extraordinary claim very plausible.

It’s important to note that Corsi’s speech happened only a day after a tweet by President Trump featuring him with 20 senior U.S. military officials who dined with him the previous night:

Did Autistic Attention To Detail And Collaborative Morality Drive Human Evolution?

tandfonline |  Selection pressures to better understand others’ thoughts and feelings are seen as a primary driving force in human cognitive evolution. Yet might the evolution of social cognition be more complex than we assume, with more than one strategy towards social understanding and developing a positive pro-social reputation? Here we argue that social buffering of vulnerabilities through the emergence of collaborative morality will have opened new niches for adaptive cognitive strategies and widened personality variation. Such strategies include those that that do not depend on astute social perception or abilities to think recursively about others’ thoughts and feelings. We particularly consider how a perceptual style based on logic and detail, bringing certain enhanced technical and social abilities which compensate for deficits in complex social understanding could be advantageous at low levels in certain ecological and cultural contexts. ‘Traits of autism’ may have promoted innovation in archaeological material culture during the late Palaeolithic in the context of the mutual interdependence of different social strategies, which in turn contributed to the rise of innovation and large scale social networks.

physorg | The ability to focus on detail, a common trait among people with autism, allowed realism to flourish in Ice Age art, according to researchers at the University of York. 

Around 30,000 years ago realistic art suddenly flourished in Europe. Extremely accurate depictions of bears, bison, horses and lions decorate the walls of Ice Age archaeological sites such as Chauvet Cave in southern France.

Why our ice age ancestors created exceptionally realistic art rather than the very simple or stylised art of earlier modern humans has long perplexed researchers.

Many have argued that psychotropic drugs were behind the detailed illustrations. The popular idea that drugs might make people better at art led to a number of ethically-dubious studies in the 60s where participants were given art materials and LSD.

The authors of the new study discount that theory, arguing instead that individuals with "detail focus", a trait linked to , kicked off an artistic movement that led to the proliferation of realistic cave drawings across Europe.
The ability to focus on detail, a common trait among people with autism, allowed realism to flourish in Ice Age art, according to researchers at the University of York.
Around 30,000 years ago realistic art suddenly flourished in Europe. Extremely accurate depictions of bears, bison, horses and lions decorate the walls of Ice Age archaeological sites such as Chauvet Cave in southern France.
Why our ice age ancestors created exceptionally realistic art rather than the very simple or stylised art of earlier modern humans has long perplexed researchers.
Many have argued that psychotropic drugs were behind the detailed illustrations. The popular idea that drugs might make people better at art led to a number of ethically-dubious studies in the 60s where participants were given art materials and LSD.
The authors of the new study discount that theory, arguing instead that individuals with "detail focus", a trait linked to , kicked off an artistic movement that led to the proliferation of realistic cave drawings across Europe.

In Bourne Legacy A 1.5% Gain Of Mitochondrial Function Yielded Super Soldiers

thescientist |  Since the 1970s, when researchers turned up similarities between DNA in eukaryotes’ mitochondria and bacterial genomes, scientists have suspected that the organelles descended from symbionts that took up residence within larger cells. A diverse class of bacteria called Alphaproteobacteria soon emerged as a likely candidate for the evolutionary origins of mitochondria. 

But a new analysis, published today (April 25) in Nature, suggests that mitochondria are at best distant cousins to known alphaproteobacteria lineages, and not descendents as previously thought.
“We are still left hungry for the ancestor of mitochondria,” says Puri Lopez-Garcia, a biologist at the University of Paris-South who was not involved in the study.

While it’s generally agreed that Alphaproteobacteria includes the closest bacterial relatives of mitochondria, that relationship doesn’t reveal much about how mitochondrial ancestors made a living or how they made the jump to acting as organelles. That’s because “Alphaproteobacteria is a particularly diverse group of organisms in terms of kinds of metabolism,” Lopez-Garcia explains. 

“You find more or less everything in there.” Some studies have found genetic similarities between mitochondria and an order of alphaproteobacterial symbionts known as Rickettsiales, but other, free-living candidates have also emerged.

The question of where on the alphaproteobacteria family tree the mitochondrial ancestor fell has pestered study coauthor Thijs Ettema throughout his scientific career. “Now, with all the available data from all these new lineages in all sorts of environments, we thought we should just do one bold approach and see where this ends up,” says Ettema, an evolutionary biologist at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Much of the genomic data he and colleagues used in their analysis came from the Tara Oceans dataset, which includes metagenomic sequences from microbes in ocean waters sampled from various depths. “For reasons that are not extremely clear . . . it seems that oceanic waters are extremely enriched for Alphaproteobacteria, and not just one species—it seems to be a whole array,” Ettema explains. The datasets were “good and deep enough to make an effort to reconstruct near-complete genomes.”

DIY DNA Tinkering...,

NYTimes  |  If nefarious biohackers were to create a biological weapon from scratch — a killer that would bounce from host to host to host, capable of reaching millions of people, unrestrained by time or distance — they would probably begin with some online shopping.

A site called Science Exchange, for example, serves as a Craigslist for DNA, a commercial ecosystem connecting almost anyone with online access and a valid credit card to companies that sell cloned DNA fragments.

Mr. Gandall, the Stanford fellow, often buys such fragments — benign ones. But the workarounds for someone with ill intent, he said, might not be hard to figure out.

Biohackers will soon be able to forgo these companies altogether with an all-in-one desktop genome printer: a device much like an inkjet printer that employs the letters AGTC — genetic base pairs — instead of the color model CMYK.

A similar device already exists for institutional labs, called BioXp 3200, which sells for about $65,000. But at-home biohackers can start with DNA Playground from Amino Labs, an Easy Bake genetic oven that costs less than an iPad, or The Odin’s Crispr gene-editing kit for $159.

Tools like these may be threatening in the wrong hands, but they also helped Mr. Gandall start a promising career.

At age 11, he picked up a virology textbook at a church book fair. Before he was old enough for a driver’s permit, he was urging his mother to shuttle him to a research job at the University of California, Irvine.

He began dressing exclusively in red polo shirts to avoid the distraction of choosing outfits. He doodled through high school — correcting biology teachers — and was kicked out of a local science fair for what was deemed reckless home-brew genetic engineering.

Mr. Gandall barely earned a high-school diploma, he said, and was rebuffed by almost every college he applied to — but later gained a bioengineering position at Stanford University.

“Pretty ironic, after they rejected me as a student,” he said.

He moved to East Palo Alto — with 14 red polo shirts — into a house with three nonbiologists, who don’t much notice that DNA is cloned in the corner of his bedroom.

His mission at Stanford is to build a body of genetic material for public use. To his fellow biohackers, it’s a noble endeavor.

To biosecurity experts, it’s tossing ammunition into trigger-happy hands.

“There are really only two things that could wipe 30 million people off of the planet: a nuclear weapon, or a biological one,” said Lawrence O. Gostin, an adviser on pandemic influenza preparedness to the World Health Organization.

“Somehow, the U.S. government fears and prepares for the former, but not remotely for the latter. It baffles me.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Wizard of Q (Gaming Autistic Incels For Fun And Political Profit)

Harpers |  I concluded that the internet and the novel were natural enemies. “Choose your own adventure” stories were not the future of literature. The author should be a dictator, a tyrant who treated the reader as his willing slave, not as a cocreator. And high-tech flourishes should be avoided. Novels weren’t meant to link to Neil Diamond songs or, say, refer to real plane crashes on the day they happen. Novels were closed structures, their boundaries fixed, not data-driven, dynamic feedback loops. Until quite recently, these were my beliefs, and no new works emerged to challenge my thinking.

Then, late last year, while knocking around on the internet one night, I came across a long series of posts originally published on 4chan, an anonymous message board. They described a sinister global power struggle only dimly visible to ordinary citizens. On one side of the fight, the posts explained, was a depraved elite, bound by unholy oaths and rituals, secretly sowing chaos and strife to create a pretext for their rule. On the other side was the public, we the people, brave and decent but easily deceived, not least because the news was largely scripted by the power brokers and their collaborators in the press. And yet there was hope, I read, because the shadow directorate had blundered. Aligned during the election with Hillary Clinton and unable to believe that she could lose, least of all to an outsider, it had underestimated Donald Trump—as well as the patriotism of the US military, which had recruited him for a last-ditch battle against the psychopathic deep-state spooks. The writer of the 4chan posts, who signed these missives “Q,” invited readers to join this battle. He—she? it?—promised to pass on orders from a commander and intelligence gathered by a network of spies.
I was hooked.

Known to its fan base as ­QAnon, the tale first appeared last year, around Halloween. Q’s literary brilliance wasn’t obvious at first. His obsessions were unoriginal, his style conventional, even dull. He suggested that Washington was being purged of globalist evildoers, starting with Clinton, who was awaiting arrest, supposedly, but allowed to roam free for reasons that weren’t clear. Soon a whole roster of villains had emerged, from John ­McCain to John Podesta to former president Obama, all of whom were set to be destroyed by something called the Storm, an allusion to a remark by President Trump last fall about “the calm before the storm.” Clinton’s friend and supporter Lynn Forrester de Roth­schild, a member by marriage of the banking family abhorred by anti-Semites everywhere, came in for special abuse from Q and Co.—which may have contributed to her decision to delete her Twitter app. Along with George Soros, numerous other bigwigs, the FBI, the CIA, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (by whom the readers of Q feel persecuted), these figures composed a group called the Cabal. The goal of the Cabal was dominion over all the earth. Its initiates tended to be pedophiles (or pedophilia apologists), the better to keep them blackmailed and in line, and its esoteric symbols were everywhere; the mainstream media served as its propaganda arm. Oh, and don’t forget the pope.

As I read further, the tradition in which Q was working became clearer. Q’s plot of plots is a retread, for the most part, of Cold War–era John Birch Society notions found in books such as None Dare Call It Conspiracy. These Bircher ideas were borrowings, in turn, from the works of a Georgetown University history professor by the name of Carroll Quigley. Said to be an important influence on Bill Clinton, Quigley was a legitimate scholar of twentieth-century Anglo-American politics. His 1966 book Tragedy and Hope, which concerned the power held by certain elites over social and military planning in the West, is not itself a paranoid creation, but parts of it have been twisted and reconfigured to support wild theories of all kinds. Does Q stand for Quigley? It’s possible, though there are other possibilities (such as the Department of Energy’s “Q” security clearance). The literature of right-wing political fear has a canon and a pantheon, and Q, whoever he is, seems deeply versed in it.

While introducing his cast of fiends, Q also assembled a basic story line. Justice was finally coming for the Cabal, whose evil deeds were “mind blowing,” Q wrote, and could never be “fully exposed” lest they touch off riots and revolts. But just in case this promised “Great Awakening” caused panic in the streets, the National Guard and the Marine Corps were ready to step in. So were panels of military judges, in whose courts the treasonous cabalists would be tried and convicted, then sent to Guantánamo. In the manner of doomsayers since time began, Q hinted that Judgment Day was imminent and seemed unabashed when it kept on not arriving. Q knew full well that making one’s followers wait for a definitive, cathartic outcome is a cult leader’s best trick—for the same reason that it’s a novelist’s best trick. Suspense is an irritation that’s also a pleasure, so there’s a sensual payoff from these delays. And the more time a devotee invests in pursuing closure and satisfaction, the deeper her need to trust the person in charge. It’s why Trump may be in no hurry to build his wall, or to finish it if he starts. It’s why he announced a military parade that won’t take place until next fall.

As the posts piled up and Q’s plot thickened, his writing style changed. It went from discursive to interrogative, from concise and direct to gnomic and suggestive. This was the breakthrough, the hook, the innovation, and what convinced me Q was a master, not just a prankster or a kook. He’d discovered a principle of online storytelling that had eluded me all those years ago but now seemed obvious: The audience for internet narratives doesn’t want to read, it wants to write. It doesn’t want answers provided, it wants to search for them. It doesn’t want to sit and be amused, it wants to be sent on a mission. It wants to do.

BeeDeeism Strategically Ineffective For Anything More Complicated Than Stewing Prunes...,

newyorker |  On March 14, 2017, Conservative Review, a Web site that opposed the Iran deal, published an article portraying Nowrouzzadeh as a traitorous stooge. The story, titled “Iran Deal Architect Is Running Tehran Policy at the State Dept.,” derided her as a “trusted Obama aide,” whose work “resulted in an agreement that has done enormous damage to the security interests of the United States.” David Wurmser, who had been an adviser to Vice-President Dick Cheney, e-mailed the article to Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House. “I think a cleaning is in order here,” Wurmser wrote. Gingrich forwarded the message to an aide to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, with the subject line “i thought you should be aware of this.”

As the article circulated inside the Administration, Sean Doocey, a White House aide overseeing personnel, e-mailed colleagues to ask for details of Nowrouzzadeh’s “appointment authority”—the rules by which a federal worker can be hired, moved, or fired. He received a reply from Julia Haller, a former Trump campaign worker, newly appointed to the State Department. Haller wrote that it would be “easy” to remove Nowrouzzadeh from the policy-planning staff. She had “worked on the Iran Deal,” Haller noted, “was born in Iran, and upon my understanding cried when the President won.” Nowrouzzadeh was unaware of these discussions. All she knew was that her experience at work started to change.

Every new President disturbs the disposition of power in Washington. Stars fade. Political appointees arrive, assuming control of a bureaucracy that encompasses 2.8 million civilian employees, across two hundred and fifty agencies—from Forest Service smoke jumpers in Alaska to C.I.A. code-breakers in Virginia. “It’s like taking over two hundred and fifty private corporations at one time,” David Lewis, the chair of the political-science department at Vanderbilt University, told me.

Typically, an incoming President seeks to charm, co-opt, and, when necessary, coerce the federal workforce into executing his vision. But Trump got to Washington by promising to unmake the political ecosystem, eradicating the existing species and populating it anew. This project has gone by various names: Stephen Bannon, the campaign chief, called it the “deconstruction of the administrative state”—the undoing of regulations, pacts, and taxes that he believed constrain American power. In Presidential tweets and on Fox News, the mission is described as a war on the “deep state,” the permanent power élite. Nancy McEldowney, who retired last July after thirty years in the Foreign Service, told me, “In the anatomy of a hostile takeover and occupation, there are textbook elements—you decapitate the leadership, you compartmentalize the power centers, you engender fear and suspicion. They did all those things.”

This idea, more than any other, has defined the Administration, which has greeted the federal government not as a machine that could implement its vision but as a vanquished foe. To control it, Trump would need the right help. “I’m going to surround myself only with the best and most serious people,” he said, during the campaign. “We want top-of-the-line professionals.”

Every President expects devotion. Lyndon Johnson wished for an aide who would “kiss my ass in Macy’s window at high noon and tell me it smells like roses. I want his pecker in my pocket.” But Trump has elevated loyalty to the primary consideration. Since he has no fixed ideology, the White House cannot screen for ideas, so it seeks a more personal form of devotion. Kellyanne Conway, one of his most dedicated attendants, refers reverently to the “October 8th coalition,” the campaign stalwarts who remained at Trump’s side while the world listened to a recording of him boasting about grabbing women by the genitals.