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Beyond Greed

CityZen | Basic Bliss | Togo Smials' LiveJournal | MozDawg DAV

"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true."

Sabres, so often rattled, too often leave their marks.

Anchor for this item  posted July 12, 2006 at 11:39 AM MDT

*update at bottom*

Israel has rolled into Lebanon. Six years after it "unilaterally" withdrew its forces, Israel has launched raids into southern Lebanon.

see "Israel has rolled into Lebanon. Here we go again?" - HfxBen

"How many realize that Hezbollah owes its existence to Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the area six years ago? Now they kidnap Israeli soldiers with a cross-border attack?! It can be said that the energy that fueled Hezbollah, the force that developed during the 16 year occupation, is what forced Israel out. That can be said and very revealingly argued. This has to be seen as provocation."

In the background: is doing a "Happy Planet Index". (Canada is 111th; UK 108th. Quite a few nations that are far from wealthy, such as some in South America, put in a very good showing.)

"The Happy Planet Index launched on Wednesday 12 July 2006, is the first ever index to combine environmental impact with well-being to measure the environmental efficiency with which countries provide long and happy lives. The results are surprising, even shocking. The ranking unmasks a very different world order to that promoted by self-appointed global leaders, the G8. For example, the UK is a disappointing 108th and the USA fares still worse at 150th on the Index.


[I]t is possible to produce high levels of well-being without excessive consumption of the Earth’s resources. Key findings of the Index are:

  • Self appointed world ‘leaders’ – the G8 - score generally badly in the Index: The UK comes a disappointing 108th – with the remainder of the G8 faring little, if at all, better. Italy is 66th, Germany 81st, Japan 95th, Canada 111th, France 129th, United States 150th and Russia 172nd.    
  • Central Americais the region with the highest average score in the Index: The region combines relatively good life expectancy (an average of 70 years) and high life satisfaction with an ecological footprint below its globally equitable share. Central America has had a notorious history of conflict and political instability, but the last 15 years have been relatively peaceful, which perhaps, with traditionally high levels of community engagement, explain its success.
  • Countries classified by the United Nations as ‘medium human development’ come out better than both low and high-development countries: Only one ‘low-development’ country has a strong HPI score, whilst 21 per cent of countries classified as ‘highly-developed’ do. However, 44 per cent of countries with ‘medium-development’ score well. This is because, beyond a certain level, vastly increasing consumption fails to lead to greater well-being.
  • Well-being is not based on high levels of consumption: For example, Estonia - with high consumption - rates poorly on well-being. And, in the Dominican Republic where well-being is high, consumption is not above a globally equitable share.
  • More conflict, more chaos, more grief ... and always the hard-bitten compulsion to project ego and solidify the world.

    'Updated: "Israel hits Beirut airport; 22 civilians reportedly killed" (USAToday) -

    " Israel widened its offensive against Hezbollah guerrillas on Thursday, targeting Beirut's international airport and blasting southern Lebanon for a second day, police and airport officials said. Twenty-two civilians were reported killed in the south, local media said. Warplanes struck the runways of the country's only international airport early Thursday during Israel's ongoing air and sea assault "

    slightly related, "How Lame is MSNBC? Let the shells fly, and see." (MozDawg on DAV and Docs)

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    It's always ''hard to say''.

    Anchor for this item  posted June 26, 2006 at 12:08 PM MDT

    In his "Say what?" Jon Udell responds to a comment about his writing style. (He self-deprecatingly called it a "dope slap" ... Jon's the sorta fellow who knows the benefits arise from proper user of a clue stick or clue by 4.) BTW "Say what?" is an allusion to Ami Hendrickson's blog, ''Muse Ink''. Later in the piece Jon describes a system users Eureka moment ... "we bought the wrong kind of software" ... yaa, that! (Out of the mouths of illiterati?). That moved me to this reply:
    With allusion ot "vague queries" and social software: the person may not have said what they meant (lacking the qualities and training to do appropriately precise failure mode identification) but they meant what they said! p.s. I was pondering how sophistry ham-strings development ... because we are fallible and our knowledge is limited we have a righteous need for explanations; excuses distract and mis-lead."
    But really ... elsewhere I essayed a bit on sophistry at a political level (as a comment to "Blair's Moral Barbarism").
    "I was wondering about how sophistry ("excuses") so frequently has a sour, caustic, bitter tone to it. Perhaps because the individual is a) dreading being exposed as a coward, and b) in denial concerning having actually and really made a choice. We can produce explanations. We can, otherwise, produce rationalizations. But really, don't you think it's very sad (tragic?) that most folk are geared up to make good use of excuses?"
    Rhetoric is useful ... when your intention is to land a man on the moon and get him back safely you need to pick one plan from the short list. Getting all hands to haul along that line takes skilfull use of language. But sophistry ... that would endanger the entire project, along with peoples' lives. Sophistry ham-strings development; because we are fallible and our knowledge is limited we have a righteous need for explanations; excuses distract and mis-lead. It's always hard to say what we mean ... but we're morally bound to mean what we say; otherwise is corruption of one sort or another. Cynicism concerning human nature and pessimism concerning our future ... pure poison.

    1 comments   |   links to this post

    Affect and Quality of Consciousness

    Anchor for this item  posted June 24, 2006 at 3:17 PM MDT

    hfx_ben: If folk act as stunned as I say they do .... This post to LiveJournal, citing "'Thirst for knowledge' may be opium craving", reads in part:
    Maybe I get upset. Maybe too upset, and maybe too often. And maybe angry, and then depressed. But at least I'm thinking. So what? *D'uh!* is the appropriate answer to that pseuco-clever trash.
    But hey, go ahead ... coast ... the planet will die and you'll be riding along stunne ... don't let me mess you up ... you've got a handle on things and I'm just a fuckup. Yaaaaaaaa right.
    The post concludes and wraps with another reference:
    "DANGER: valid thoughts ahead!"
    Origins of Peace and Violence; Deprivation of Physical Affection as a Main Cause of Depression, Aggression and Drug Abuse
    Phenomenal's world vividness can be quashed; there is nothing inevitable about bliss, any more than peace and prosperity and health.

    What politic is entailed by slothful thinking? Given that the situation is, as the poet wrote, "The best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with a fiery intensity", how do those individual dynamics ramify up to the level of social and societal?

    Grist for the yuppies' mills!

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    Anchor for this item  posted June 19, 2006 at 9:51 PM MDT

    In the first post to the blog for the new "Democratic Strategist", Scott Winship (the Managing Editor) included this invitation:
    "you (dear reader) can help make this a better blog by passing along links to articles or studies that I can deconstruct. I know that sounds like I'm pushing my work off on you, but hey"
    My reply was this:
    Passing along links and articles you can deconstruct? Ok!

    FWIW the phrase I have been using to describe my project is "participatory deliberation". Can we deliberate interactively? It seems, from a decades-long survey of web activity, that we can either interact or deliberate in a manner that is more or less traditional, i.e. on our own, publishing the products of that deliberation.

    Perhaps the best we can do is to feed a few with grist for their mills. I think not. And if so? Then I wish you and your group the most wholesome success."

    Coincidentally, Jon Udell's latest was on a related subject:
    "For an internal IDG newsletter I was asked to pick the industry buzzword that most annoys me and write a brief essay explaining why. I chose user-generated content and wrote the following:
    "Everything about this buzzphrase annoys me. First, calling people "users" is pernicious. It distances and dehumanizes, and should be stricken from the IT vocabulary
    IT has customers and clients, not users. IT-oriented publishers have readers, not users.

    Second, "content" is a word that reminds me more of sausage than of storytelling. As writers and editors we don't "generate" "content," we tell stories that inform, educate, and entertain -- or should.

    Now that the original vision of a two-way web is finally made real, we can distinguish between amateur storytellers (in the best and highest sense of amateur) and professional storytellers. Thanks to the contributions of the amateurs -- who are of course professional practitioners of the disciplines that we "cover" -- we can tell deeper, richer, more well-informed stories about the products and services they create, and the work they do. Those stories are valuable, and the business I want to be in is based on that value, not on the ''monetization'' of ''user-generated content''.

    So I will instead propose reader-created context. [...] Much of own work -- in tagging, in intelligent search, in screencasting -- aims to empower readers, listeners, and viewers to create context and learn on demand. Enlightened 21st-century publishers will create value from that kind of empowerment too."

    My point is simple: until we have /more/ we shouldn't be overly concerned about the terminology and nomenclature.

    Really ... who doesn't say "I use Firefox" (or Opera or whatever) or "I use a Mac" (likewise). But bottom-line: how much real participation is there? How much story-sharing is there, really? Ohhhhh for sure, lots of story-telling ... but truly: how much interaction?

    So my reply to Jon was this:

    "If there's an antidote to the "false consensus effect" it has to be interaction. My thinking about "participatory deliberation" is as informed by tribal memories of camp-fire chats as by liberal notions of group discernment; either way, meaning is a social construct.

    Having said that ... what else but "users"? "Participants" is unwieldy, "contributers" likewise, and sounds to one-directional. "Reader-created" ... nice, but it won't displace "user". :-)

    BTW: in the late 60s a public education process arose from the actual needs of kidz going to do public service in developing countries; they needed to learn, so it came to be that those returning "taught" as a form of de-compression ... debriefing, in effect. The resources they used in their presentations comprised the centers' libraries. The network of those centers lasted through into the early 90s. (I was on the scene and tried to use the web as a source of energy to give that network a new lease on life ... but failed.) My point is this: the entities that arose were referred to as being "learner-centered", ergo: The Edmonton Cross-cultural Learner Center.

    Old things new again? My "ParDelib" aims at the urge to consume / contribute / participate ... like Mozilla, except concentrating on public discourse. heh ... try packaging /that/! ;-)"

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    Anchor for this item  posted December 31, 2003 at 9:07 AM MDT

    A rough draft of my core idea (see also material on "dispositional" and "punitive"):

    Solipsistic, individuals seek out the company of those who a) they can dominate, or b) who do not threaten the integrity of their own denials (ideally, who actually corroborate them, conspiratorially, which provides entertainment, validation, and other forms of social utility).
    Those who maintain their autonomy without engaging in the co-dependent delusion are fiercely viewed as "other"; this is foundational to the fascistic in-group/out-group dynamic.

    Anchor for this item  posted September 11, 2003 at 11:24 AM MDT

    Two years ago, in NYC, hundreds of "just folk" died while going about their daily lives. Thirty years ago, in Chile, a nation's democratically elected government was overthrown in a coup that shocked even the aristocrats and oligarchs who had pressed for it. 3000 of those who were executed or killed by torture had their bodies hidden away so that their families could not reclaim them and grieve. Men like Henry Kissinger initiated, planned, and financed the coup carried out by General Pinochet against the people of Chile. Has the American eagle come to be to ill from its over-consumption that it no longer recognizes evil? Some kill for oil ... some kill for copper ... KillerApes, all of them. Friendship, authenticity, honesty, affection ... what else can we count on, if our lives are to be worth living? Addendum: from Alternet - "A Tale of Two Septembers" "American commentators probably won't mention the 1973 attacks on Chile and their aftermath. They should, because in those attacks it was the U.S. government that played the role of Al Qaeda – recruiting, training, arming, financing and coordinating the terrorists. Our involvement in this unsavory affair is now widely recognized. As Secretary of State Colin Powell himself recently acknowledged, "It is not a part of our country's history that we are proud of." [...] That Allende was duly and uncontrovertibly elected in a country with a long and rich democratic tradition, a country whose voting turnout is double that of the United States, was irrelevant to President Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people," Kissinger declared. [...] Pinochet's military dictatorship killed thousands, tortured tens of thousands and drove more than a million Chileans into exile. A society with a 150 year tradition of democracy and participation suffered under totalitarian rule. No elections were held at any level for 15 years. Women were arrested for organizing soccer clubs. As Tina Rosenberg observed in the New York Times, "Meetings of any kind were considered subversive – in the first year after the coup, even Miss Chile was appointed." The United States rewarded Chile by dramatically increasing both grants and loans. On June 8, 1976, at the height of Pinochet's repression, Kissinger met in private with the dictator and told him, "We are sympathetic to what you are trying to do here". Having thwarted the possibility that Chile would become a model of democratic socialism, the United States made Chile a model of dictatorial capitalism. Under the hands-on guidance of University of Chicago economists, the Chilean economy was restructured. Unions were outlawed. Real wages plunged. Social spending was slashed. Of 507 public enterprises in l973 only l5 remained in government hands by l980. Chile privatized its social security system. The experiment failed. Unemployment soared. Malnutrition soared. In l973 Chile had the second highest income in Latin America, next to oil rich Venezuela. By 1988, when the military relinquished the reigns of government, Chile's income had fallen behind that of many countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. [...] Congressional investigations of our the use of government here and abroad by the Nixon administration led it to reinforce and strengthen the prohibition on domestic surveillance by the CIA. It banned the use of assassination as a tool of foreign policy. CIA director Richard Helms was indicted and convicted of lying to Congress about US involvement in Chile. Today the connections between the two September lls remain. While we are pursuing Saddam Hussein in order to try him for war crimes, prosecutors in four countries are pursuing Henry Kissinger to get him to testify about his role in the Chilean coup. In the aftermath of 9/11/01 the Bush White House has reinstated many of the practices of the Nixon White House and has adopted a similar approach regarding those who oppose its policies. Nixon had an enemies list. Vice President Cheney declares, "You're either for us or against us." The policy of covert interventions in foreign countries has been revived. The CIA now is intimately involved in domestic surveillance. The White House has formally re-established the practice of political assassination."

    Anchor for this item  posted August 26, 2003 at 6:36 PM MDT

    Why is 30 years more potent than 25?
    A couple of weeks ago I had a profound insight into my PTSD, but didn't get it quite right: it turns out that I taint moments of success /not/ because I have come to believe myself unworthy, but rather (and, friends, incredible as it might seem, this next detail explains away my writer's block!), because that "success" was actually negative ... retrograde ... pathological ... carcinogenic, in a spiritual/psychological sense.
    You see, on an afternoon in September of 1973, astonished to realize that the industrialized democracies of the north and west to which I had pledge my life, vowing to put myself in harm's way to defend their principles, were so far off track that they would orchestrate the bloody and horribly brutal overthrow of an entirely legitimate elected government in a sovereign country (Chile, headed by President Allende, by General Pinochet, with the direct aid and assistance of the CIA). Later that afternoon I lost my mind; after spending a while bashing my head against the locker in my barracks room, things got /really/ bad. The next day (vowing to show no sign of my new understanding), I got into a little discipline trouble that brought me to command's attention, and that began the process by which I extricated myself from the red-carpet carreer that lay ahead of me. But, and here's the point, before I started bashing my head to make the record skip, I had thought through the super-structures of military projection of power through to how our conventional lives are instrinsically fascistoid. Bottom line: we begin our lives dependent, and grow into independence. But unless we mature into inter-dependence (enter Buddhist psychology, complexity theory, and the actualization of authentically affectionate community) we are prone to the most sophistic of egoic compulsions, and these leave us vulnerable to manipulation.
    The writer's block? easy: with great difficulty, I have managed (only just barely) to maintain the social context that I needed to check things out ... first, wealth and material success (70s), then more public success (family and politics; 80s), then a near-yogic poverty (90s). But the fact is, whenever I start to speak frankly, people draw away ... however much they may compliment me later ("damned by faint praise" I called it in conversation with a therapist friend, at which point she flew into a rage and refused to see me again!!), even those who would most rightly be my friends chose to withdraw. And so, much like a novel writer, I couldn't release the work before it was complete, could I?! If this were a work of theory, I could have proceeded incrementally. But it isn't ... the only true resource I had was my own experience, since what happened in 1973 showed me that corporatist institutions were cunningly deceiptful (and yes, paranoia is a constant danger!), and individuals self-reports are almost impossible to de-construct (we're all of us subject to an amazing array of pressures and stresses, much like post-hypnotic suggestion in the way they operate; just think of Matrix ... it works because we truly deeply believe it works); seeing how good people slip into mind-phuckingly effective apologist bullshit has easily been the hardest thing for me to bear.
    "Individualism", especially the more materialistic sort, is like drinking salt water ... it drives us mad even as it makes us thirst for more. The consummerism that is killing the planet (and making us slaves to the corporations) is a symptom of that individualism. We must, while safe-guarding the autonomy that energizes and in-spires democracy, develope mundane interdependence beyond the market place. This will take place when we remind ourselves of the deep pleasures that arise from life in community. (Betcha your anti-social reaction kicked in just now ... am I right?!)
    Now, you tell me ... should I be homeless on the street in October? or do I deserve the help I need to kick this off. (I've organized speaking events, workshops, teach-ins, protests, demonstrations ... all I'm aiming at is a network of ummmmmm Autonomous Social Centers.)
    I need 1) decent footware 2) CDN$450 so I can find a room for October 3) some evidence that I'm being heard.
    Watch for my re-launching of the "Green Future Foundation".


    Human need, not corporate greed ... without justice, there can be no peace. That's the meme stringing these items together.


    Mar 27-30, 03
    Mar 22-26, 03
    Mar 2-21, 03
    Jan/Feb, 03
    Mar/Dec, 2002

    N.B.: As with MozDawg on DAV, blew away my published archives; recovery is done, but the links are a mess!

    Hosted by

    Jan - 135
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