Monday, October 31, 2011

The root of work, enslavement and robotics


c.1300, from L.L. orphanus "parentless child" (cf. O.Fr. orfeno, It. orfano), from Gk. orphanos "orphaned," lit. "deprived," from orphos "bereft," from PIE *orbho- "bereft of father," also "deprived of free status," from base *orbh- "to change allegiance, to pass from one status to another" (cf. Hittite harb- "change allegiance," L. orbus "bereft," Skt. arbhah "weak, child," Arm. orb "orphan," O.Ir. orbe "heir," O.C.S. rabu "slave," rabota "servitude" (cf. robot), Goth. arbja, Ger. erbe, O.E. ierfa "heir," O.H.G. arabeit, Ger. Arbeit "work," O.Fris. arbed, O.E. earfoð "hardship, suffering, trouble"). The verb is attested from 1814. Related: Orphaned; orphaning.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

US figures out how to have a General Strike

Corporate USia thought it had rendered the General Strike harmless, moot, because instead of unions enabling workers to own their labor, corporations figured out how to own their workers. ows is the only way corporate USia could have a general strike.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Inverted Totalitarianism

Inverted totalitarianism, unlike classical totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. It purports to cherish democracy, patriotism, a free press, parliamentary systems and constitutions while manipulating and corrupting internal levers to subvert and thwart democratic institutions. Political candidates are elected in popular votes by citizens but are ruled by armies of corporate lobbyists in Washington, Ottawa or other state capitals who author the legislation and get the legislators to pass it. A corporate media controls nearly everything we read, watch or hear and imposes a bland uniformity of opinion. Mass culture, owned and disseminated by corporations, diverts us with trivia, spectacles and celebrity gossip. In classical totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. “Under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true,” Wolin writes. “Economics dominates politics – and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Black on White collarcriminalsinusia

William K. Black, author, The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry Democracy Now.

Well, I mean just what we say in the law: fraud is when you use deceit to steal something from someone. And so, the essence of fraud is, I get you to trust me, and then I betray that trust for gain. And as a result, there’s no more effective acid against destroying trust than fraud, particularly at the elite levels. And when you destroy trust, you destroy economies, families, democracies.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The US is Unconstitutional

"I'm Joe, I'll be your economic manager"

I'm not a worshiper of Larry Lessig, but do listen because he's got a lot more law knowledge than I have, etc.

His new book -- Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It-- makes a point that needs to be heard and not immediately ground into teabags: The idea of the good framers of the US was to defend the people from undue power, money and influence -- the Constitution says folks in Congress are barred from accepting gifts from kings, foreign sovereign powers, etc.

Alas, they did not envision the new kings of Wall Street and Finance.

The frame has been subverted, Lessig describes, as Congress people now spend most of their time sucking up to the .5% who fund Congressional campaigns -- this is mostly corporate wealth, sucked from consumer-taxpayers.

That makes nearly every human being in the US the other 99.5%.

So while we were watching Friends, or playing Wii, an actual coup a la X Files was taking place. Thugs with money reached around the defenses of the people and powned Congress and D.C.

As a dear friend put it a few years ago, "The pigs won."

We now enjoy a representational system that represents .5% of the "people." And, if representation means anything at all*, this suggests that the actual people have been left undefended against undue power, money, and influence. This would appear to be unconstitutional.

Because corporations have become the uncrowned sovereigns, economic planners, and socialist-too-big-to-not-bail-outs of the US. I'd wager that the only difference between the corporate state that is now US, and the totalitarian state of Stalinist Russia, is that our totalitarians are distributed behind a bunch of screens of economy-planners that say EXXON, MOBILE, Bank of America, Citibank, and American Express.

Nice work, "Dickie" -

"Dick" Fuld, Lehman Bro.

Express this: The current US political system is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has abetted this metamorphosis. Media has missed it only entirely. OccupyWallSt has not.

*The opposite of representation is the casino -- unsullied chance. This is the preferred system of Wall St., Las Vegas, and the Mob.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Graeber: Debt, the sovereign, peasants and amargi 10/14/11 - kings forgive loans

In today's excerpt - in ancient city-states such as Babylon, Sumeria and Judaea, rulers found it necessary to cancel all consumer debt from time to time to keep peasants from becoming permanent debt-peons and thus to keep society from being torn apart - a phenomenon all the more interesting from the perspective of our debt-laden 21st century:

"Mesopotamian city-states were dominated by vast Temples: gigantic, complex industrial institutions often staffed by thousands - including everyone from shepherds and barge-pullers to spinners and weavers to dancing girls and clerical administrators, [and these Temples owned many of the assets of the city-state]. ...

"We don't know precisely when and how interest-bearing loans originated, since they appear to predate writing. Most likely, Temple administrators invented the idea as a way of financing the caravan trade. This trade was crucial because while the river valley of ancient Mesopotamia was extraordinarily fertile and produced huge surpluses of grain and other foodstuffs, and supported enormous numbers of livestock, which in turn supported a vast wool and leather industry, it was almost completely lacking in anything else. Stone, wood, metal, even the silver used as money, all had to be imported. From quite early times, then, Temple administrators developed the habit of advancing goods to local merchants - some of them private, others themselves Temple functionaries - who would then go off and sell it overseas. Interest was just a way for the Temples to take their share of the resulting profits.

"However, once established, the principle seems to have quickly spread. Before long, we find not only commercial loans, but also consumer loans - usury in the classical sense of the term. By C2400 BC it already appears to have been common practice on the part of local officials, or wealthy merchants, to advance loans to peasants who were in financial trouble on collateral and begin to appropriate their possessions if they were unable to pay. It usually started with grain, sheep, goats, and furniture, then moved on to fields and houses, or, alternately or ultimately, family members. Servants, if any, went quickly, followed by children, wives, and in some extreme occasions, even the borrower himself. These would be reduced to debt-peons: not quite slaves, but very close to that, forced into perpetual service in the lender's household - or, sometimes, in the Temples or Palaces themselves. In theory, of course, any of them could be redeemed whenever the borrower repaid the money, but for obvious reasons, the more a peasant's resources were stripped away from him, the harder that became.

"The effects were such that they often threatened to rip society apart. If for any reason there was a bad harvest, large proportions of the peasantry would fall into debt peonage; families would be broken up. Before long, lands lay abandoned as indebted farmers fled their homes for fear of repossession and joined semi-nomadic bands on the desert fringes of urban civilization. Faced with the potential for complete social breakdown, Sumerian and later Babylonian kings periodically announced general amnesties: 'clean slates,' as economic historian Michael Hudson refers to them. Such decrees would typically declare all outstanding consumer debt null and void (commercial debts were not affected), return all land to its original owners, and allow all debt-peons to return to their families. Before long, it became more or less a regular habit for kings to make such a declaration on first assuming power, and many were forced to repeat it periodically over the course of their reigns.

"In Sumeria, these were called 'declarations of freedom.' - and it is significant that the Sumerian word amargi, the first recorded word for 'freedom' in any known human language, literally means 'return to mother' - since this is what freed debt-peons were finally allowed to do. ...

"Nehemiah was a Jew born in Babylon, a former cup-bearer to the Persian emperor. In 444 BC, he managed to talk the Great King into appointing him governor of his native Judaea. He also received permission to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem that had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar more than two centuries earlier. In the course of rebuilding, sacred texts were recovered and restored; in a sense, this was the moment of the creation of what we now consider Judaism.

"The problem was that Nehemiah quickly found himself confronted with a social crisis. All around him, impoverished peasants were unable to pay their taxes; creditors were carrying off the children of the poor. His first response was to issue a classic Babylonian- style 'clean slate' edict - having himself been born in Babylon, he was clearly familiar with the general principle. All non-commercial debts were to be forgiven. Maximum interest rates were set. At the same time, though, Nehemiah managed to locate, revise, and reissue much older Jewish laws, now preserved in Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus, which in certain ways went even further, by institutionalizing the principle. The most famous of these is the Law of Jubilee: a law that stipulated that all debts would be automatically cancelled 'in the Sabbath year' (that is, after seven years had passed), and that all who languished in bondage owing to such debts would be released.

"Freedom," in the Bible, as in Mesopotamia, came to refer above all to release from the effects of debt."

Author: David Graeber
Title: Debt: The First 5,000 Years
Publisher: Melville House
Date: Copyright 2011 by David Graeber
Pages: 64-65, 81-82

author:David Graeber
title:Debt: The First 5,000 Years
publisher:Melville House
date:Copyright 2011 by David Graeber
pages:64-65, 81-82
Should you click through our site to purchase a book, delanceyplace proceeds from your purchase will benefit a children's literacy project. Delanceyplace is a not-for-profit organization.

Pulled from Delancey Place, which has an odd habit of disappearing its excellent selections. This is from David Graeber - haven't yet read it, but it seems like it might be, uh, relevant. He's an anthropologist (Rick Scott says Florida needs no more of them). Graeber is busy, among other ways, suspending the ivied wall between academia and the world.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011


Monday, October 10, 2011


It's not about articulating demands - that comes much later, after a new sort of cultural form actually stabilizes - this takes time. At the moment, we don't know what this is. But we can hope.

Why here, why now - one possible reason:

What the Germans lack:
4 ...

Culture and the state — one should not deceive one-self about this — are antagonists: "Kultur-Staat" is merely a modern idea. One lives off the other, one thrives at the expense of the other. All great ages of culture are ages of political decline: what is great culturally has always been unpolitical, even anti-political. Toti

If #ows is an actual cultural birth-thing,it would be absurd to present the newborn with a demand that it present a list of demands. #bloomberg #ows

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Sunday, October 09, 2011


I put forward at once — lest I break with my style, which is affirmative and deals with contradiction and criticism only as a means, only involuntarily — the three tasks for which educators are required. One must learn to see, one must learn to think, one must learn to speak and write: the goal in all three is a noble culture. Learning to see — accustoming the eye to calmness, to patience, to letting things come up to it; postponing judgment, learning to go around and grasp each individual case from all sides. That is the first preliminary schooling for spirituality: not to react at once to a stimulus, but to gain control of all the inhibiting, excluding instincts. Learning to see, as I understand it, is almost what, unphilosophically speaking, is called a strong will: the essential feature is precisely not to "will" — to be able to suspend decision. All unspirituality, all vulgar commonness, depend on the inability to resist a stimulus: one must react, one follows every impulse. In many cases, such a compulsion is already pathology, decline, a symptom of exhaustion — almost everything that unphilosophical crudity designates with the word "vice" is merely this physiological inability not to react. A practical application of having learned to see: as a learner, one will have become altogether slow, mistrustful, recalcitrant. One will let strange, new things of every kind come up to oneself, inspecting them with hostile calm and withdrawing one's hand. To have all doors standing open, to lie servilely on one's stomach before every little fact, always to be prepared for the leap of putting oneself into the place of, or of plunging into, others and other things — in short, the famous modern "objectivity" — is bad taste, is ignoble par excellence. @#$@#$

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Natural history

A third kind, again, is remarkable for the skill which it displays in its operations. These spin a large web, and the abdomen suffices to supply the material for so extensive a work, whether it is that, at stated periods the excrements are largely secreted in the abdomen, as Democritus thinks, or that the creature has in itself a certain faculty of secreting2 a peculiar sort of woolly substance. How steadily does it work with its claws, how beautifully rounded and how equal are the threads as it forms its web, while it employs the weight of its body as an equipoise! It begins at the middle to weave its web, and then extends it by adding the threads in rings around, like a warp upon the woof: forming the meshes at equal intervals, but continually enlarging them as the web increases in breadth, it finally unites them all by an indissoluble knot. With what wondrous art does it conceal the snares that lie in wait for its prey in its checkered nettings! How little, too, would it seem that there is any such trap laid in the compactness of its web and the tenacious texture of the woof, which would appear of itself to be finished and arranged by the exercise of the very highest art! How loose, too, is the body of the web as it yields to the blasts, and how readily does it catch all objects which come in its way! You would fancy that it had left, quite exhausted, the thrums of the upper portion of its net unfinished where they are spread across; it is with the greatest difficulty that they are to be perceived, and yet the moment that an object touches them, like the lines of the hunter's net, they throw it into the body of the web. With what architectural skill, too, is its hole arched over, and how well defended by a nap of extra thickness against the cold! How carefully, too, it retires into a corner, and appears intent upon anything but what it really is, all the while that it is so carefully shut up from view, that it is impossible to perceive whether there is anything within or not! And then too, how extraordinary the strength of the web! When is the wind ever known to break it, or what accumulation of dust is able to weigh it down?

tertium eorundem genus erudita operatione conspicuum. orditur telas tantique operis materiae uterus ipsius sufficit, sive ita corrupta alvi natura stato tempore, ut democrito placet, sive est quaedam intus lanigera fertilitas: tam moderato ungue, tam tereti filo et tam aequali deducit stamina, ipso se pondere usus. texere a medio incipit, circinato orbe subtemina adnectens, maculasque paribus semper intervallis, sed subinde crescentibus ex angusto dilatans indissolubili nodo inplicat. quanta arte celat pedicas a scutulato rete grassantes! quam non ad hoc videtur pertinere crebratae pexitas telae et quadam politurae arte ipsa per se tenax ratio tramae! quam laxus ad flatus ac non respuenda quae veniant sinus! derelicta lasso praetendi summa parte arbitrere licia: at illa difficile cernuntur atque, ut in plagis, lineae offensae praecipitant in sinum. specus ipse qua concamaratur architectura! et contra frigora quanto villosior! quam remotus a medio aliudque agenti similis, inclusus vero sic, ut sit necne intus aliquis cerni non possit! age firmitas, quando rumpentibus ventis, qua pulverum mole degravante!

Pliny the Elder