node created 2019/09/29
Your children of this era have quietly said
    “Yes”
Your last chance has come, oh China
History is waiting for you
The whole world is intently calling and
        listening for you
    To say one word—
“No!”
"China You Can’t Remain Silent" (1976)
Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it.
I'd rather be someone's shot of whiskey than everyone's cup of tea.
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. However, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.
The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.
My Lord told me a joke. And seeing Him laugh has done more for me than any scripture I will ever read.
You could admit you were wrong.
You could apologize to your children.
You could slow down.
You could fasten your seat belt.
Order is not pressure which is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium which is set up from within.
This kinda makes me want to have 100% surveillance on the internet so sick fucks like these have it a lot more difficult to spread their videos. But at he same time we need freedom, so it’s a difficult topic.
Anti-Semitism, in short, is not merely conflated with anti-Zionism, but even extended to Zionists who are critical of Israeli practices. Correspondingly, authentic anti-Semitism on the part of those whose services to Israeli power are deemed appropriate is of no account.

These two aspects of "the real anti-Semitism," ADL-style, were illustrated during the 1988 U.S. presidential campaign. The Democratic Party was denounced for anti-Semitism on the grounds that its convention dared to debate a resolution calling for a two-state political settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In contrast, when an array of Nazi sympathizers and anti-Semites were exposed in August 1988 in the Bush presidential campaign, the major Jewish organizations and leaders were, for the most part, "curiously blasé about both the revelations and Bush's response to them," largely ignoring the matter, John Judis comments. The New Republic dismissed as a minor matter the "antique and anemic forms of anti-Semitism" of virulent anti-Semites and Nazi and fascist sympathizers at a high level of the Republican campaign organization. The editors stressed, rather, the "comfortable haven for Jew-hatred on the left, including the left wing of the Democratic Party," parts of the Jackson campaign, and "the ranks of increasingly well-organized Arab activists," all of whom supported the two-state resolution at the Party convention and thus qualify as "Jew-haters."

The point is that the ultra-right Republicans are regarded as properly supportive of Israel by hard-line standards, while the Democratic Party reveals its "Jew-hatred" by tolerating elements that believe that Palestinians are human beings with the same rights as Jews, including the right of national self-determination alongside of Israel. Following the lead of the major Jewish organizations, the Democrats carefully avoided the discovery of anti-Semites and Nazis in the Republican campaign headquarters and the continuing close links after exposure.

The same point was illustrated by the revelation, at the same time, that the Reagan Department of Education had once again refused federal funds for a highly praised school history program on the Holocaust. It was first rejected in 1986 "after a review panel member complained that the views of the Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan were not represented." Republican faithfuls charged the program with "psychological manipulation, induced behavioral change and privacy-invading treatment" (Phyllis Schlafly); citing "leftist authorities" such as New York Times columnist Flora Lewis, British historian A.J.P. Taylor, and Kurt Vonnegut; being "profoundly offensive to fundamentalists and evangelicals"; and even being "anti-war, anti-hunting" and likely to "induce a guilt trip." A senior Education Department official attributed the rejections to "those on the extreme right wing of the Republican Party." In 1986 and 1987, this particular program had been "singled out for a refusal." In 1988, when the program "was the top-rated project in the category [of history, geography, and civics], created by then-Education Secretary William J. Bennett," the entire category was eliminated.

But "the extreme right wing of the Republican Party," whatever its attitudes towards Nazis and the Holocaust, is adequately pro-Israel. There was no detectable protest, and the issue did not arise in the last stages of the election campaign.

The cheapening of the concept of anti-Semitism and the ready tolerance for anti-Arab racism go hand-in-hand, expressing the same political commitments. All of this, again, is merely "antique and anemic anti-Semitism."
Google Plus is like the movie Dark City. It's a group of technical aliens picking apart the human experience, trying different scenarios in order to find out what the human soul is.

Once per day, humans wake up and find themselves in its meticulously-constructed parallel universe, doing things as ordinary humans do on other websites. Their activities, such as appreciating music and searching for lovers, feel familiar, necessary and meaningful, but at the same time, the unsettling atmosphere prevents the existential questions from settling deeply repressed where they should be. Instead, we're left wondering, "Why are we doing this here?" Isn't there something better? Is there a Shell Beach out there somewhere? Couldn't I just do this all myself on 1999-style website and live a more natural life?
The numbers in a billionaire's net worth include no contextual information - nothing about the lives damaged, the jobs lost, the opportunities eliminated, the time wasted, the scamming, cheating, and manipulation, the ecological support structures destroyed.

Business and personal accounting systems deny, ignore, and suppress those contextual details. So does the "investment" industry. And that makes a mockery of "price discovery" because the nominal market price always excludes critical externalities.

It's possible to become extremely rich without negative externalities. It just happens to be incredibly difficult. The looser your ethics, and the less empathy you have for competitors and victims, the easier it gets. It's a feedback loop which rewards unethical behaviour.

Essentially, money itself is a form of morality-laundering. It's an integer when it should be a complete trace through a common contextual event map.
With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.
I think the argument is clear. A few people in the West have found ways to abuse the political system in a few marginal ways and get away with it for limited periods until independent journalism, public opinion and the courts stop them.

However they get away with it for a while. Therefore it's ok to have an entire political system in China, constructed entirely out of the abuse or elimination of the rights of it's people, with no way to challenge their leaders or hold them accountable.

I make no claims for the validity of the argument.
As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me.
They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are ‘only doing their duty’, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life.
People, not nature, are responsible for turning the natural diversity of human beings into oppressive hierarchies.
If I hear one more person who comes up to me and complains about "computer music has no soul" then I will go furious, you know. 'Cause of course the computer is just a tool. And if there is no soul in computer music then it's because nobody put it there and that's not the computer's role. It's the role of the songwriter. He puts down his soul in the song if he wants to. A guitar will never write a song and a computer will never write a song. These are just tools.
After the game, the king and pawn go into the same box.
There are many people who are not entirely themselves because as children they were not given time to think about themselves. And because they don’t know everything about themselves they can’t know everything about everything. But no one likes to admit that she doesn’t know everything about everything. And so these people try to make up for not knowing everything about everything by doing things.

[..]

People who for some reason find it impossible to think about themselves, and so really be themselves, try to make up for not thinking with doing. They try to pretend that doing is thinking.
No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
We just need to grow up and stop blaming the geeks for the utter manure shoveled at us by ignorant jocks on golf courses determined to exclude anyone with actual understanding, insight and knowledge. And the manure shoveled by the actual geeks with a massive risk appetite and zero care for externalities beyond their startup making cash.
The forest would be pretty quiet if only the best birds sang.
A person in a rented apartment must be able to lean out of his window and scrape off the masonry within arm's reach. And he must be allowed to take a long brush and paint everything outside within arm's reach. So that it will be visible from afar to everyone in the street that someone lives there who is different from the imprisoned, enslaved, standardised man who lives next door.
People who are willing to rely on the government to keep them safe are pretty much standing on Darwin's mat, pounding on the door, screaming, 'Take me, take me!'
Alt.Sysadmin.Recovery
The ceaseless, senseless demand for original scholarship in a number of fields, where only erudition is now possible, has led either to sheer irrelevancy, the famous knowing of more and more about less and less, or to the development of a pseudo-scholarship which actually destroys its object.
Any one who in discussion relies upon authority uses, not his understanding, but rather his memory. Good culture is born of a good disposition; and since the cause is more to be praised than the effect, I will rather praise a good disposition without culture, than good culture without the disposition.
Big Brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you’re awake. He’s making sure you’re always distracted. He’s making sure you’re fully absorbed.

He’s making sure your imagination withers. Until it’s as useful as your appendix. He’s making sure your attention is always filled.

And this being fed, it’s worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what’s in your mind. With everyone’s imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world.
Totalitarianism begins in contempt for what you have. The second step is the notion: “Things must change—no matter how, Anything is better than what we have.” Totalitarian rulers organize this kind of mass sentiment, and by organizing it articulate it, and by articulating it make the people somehow love it. They were told before, thou shalt not kill; and they didn’t kill. Now they are told, thou shalt kill; and although they think it’s very difficult to kill, they do it because it’s now part of the code of behavior. They learn whom to kill and how to kill and how to do it together. This is the much talked about Gleichschaltung—the coordination process. You are coordinated not with the powers that be, but with your neighbor—coordinated with the majority. But instead of communicating with the other you are now glued to him. And you feel of course marvelous. Totalitarianism appeals to the very dangerous emotional needs of people who live in complete isolation and in fear of one another.
Sure, having a walkable urban center where everyone lives close to the things they need and they don't create dystopian traffic is great.

But company housing, tenements, indebted servitude, working hours from can't-see until can't-see, is all a spectre from our not-so-distant past which we have mostly forgotten about. Well it's coming back. A labor revolution gave us such amazing leaps in dignity and basic humanity which were sorely lacking after the eruption of the industrial revolution. We take that entirely for granted now, like it can't come back and get us. It can.

People in America are just not educated enough about the horrors of the labor revolution. Our own, not the communist's overseas. Unions exist in this strange historical agnosticism, and people only know them as some kind of cartoon, a mob-ruled bureaucracy that enables hilariously lazy laborers to cite ridiculous rules and get in the way of progress. Well they weren't always that way. It is not common human decency that stops the captains of industry from merely hiring private police forces to mow bad workers down with rifles and artillery. That's our past as well as our cyberpunk future. That stuff can come back if we don't keep maintaining the levee between it and us.

People have an instinct to normalize and rationalize things which happen slowly compared to a human lifetime. Well there's a very real and disastrous difference today in how people work and maintain a decent living. It's becoming more and more like back when a decent living was only reserved for the insanely wealthy, the richest of the rich. Everyone else toiled in disease and squalor fourteen hours a day, breaking their bodies, without any possessions of their own; everything belonged to the company, and they worked just for the privilege to live a week at a time. It really wasn't that long ago. We like to hope that if it comes back we'll still be behind the fence of the upper-middle class, safe from the horror. But the vast majority of us won't.

Working is taking up more and more of our days. Gone is the 8 hours work, 8 hours rest, 8 hours leisure. It's going back to "as many hours as you can physically go without sleep" once again. No benefits, no retirement, no healthcare, no affordable higher education, no affordable family housing aside from company closet tenements with communal utilities, next to a corporate campus but far from a town center. Out in the suburbs with one company store. That will come back in our complacence. Fewer opportunities than our fathers.
We did not allow them to make an example of us.
I'm sick of reading internet arguments about polymorphism and browser monoculture and borrow checking and static linking. Someone please tell me where I can go on the internet to read biologists arguing about their favorite animals.
You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.
If the totalitarian conqueror conducts himself everywhere as though he were at home, by the same token he must treat his own population as though he were a foreign conqueror.
Not to speak is to speak.
Not to act is to act.
What ultimately lies behind the appeal of bureaucracy is fear of play.
"The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy"
There are significant strategic interests [in Oceania], and there's a lot of stuff going on that's important. Not just the United States. For example, France is doing some really vicious things there, in fact they're just wiping out islands because they want them for nuclear tests. And when the socialist government in France is asked, "Why to do this?", they say, "Well look, we have to have nuclear tests." Well, if you have to have nuclear tests, why not have them in southern France? [audience laughter] Why have them in some island in the Pacific?

Well, the answer to that is clear, after all they're just a bunch of little brown people or something. But you can't say that exactly, especially if you're a socialist, so something else is said.
Amazon wants a world in which books are either self-published or published by Amazon itself, with readers dependent on Amazon reviews in choosing books, and with authors responsible for their own promotion. The work of yakkers and tweeters and braggers, and of people with the money to pay somebody to churn out hundreds of five-star reviews for them, will flourish in that world. But what happens to the people who became writers because yakking and tweeting and bragging felt to them like intolerably shallow forms of social engagement? What happens to the people who want to communicate in depth, individual to individual, in the quiet and permanence of the printed word, and who were shaped by their love of writers who wrote when publication still assured some kind of quality control and literary reputations were more than a matter of self-promotional decibel levels? As fewer and fewer readers are able to find their way, amid all the noise and disappointing books and phony reviews, to the work produced by the new generation of this kind of writer, Amazon is well on its way to making writers into the kind of prospectless workers whom its contractors employ in its warehouses, labouring harder for less and less, with no job security, because the warehouses are situated in places where they're the only business hiring. And the more of the population that lives like those workers, the greater the downward pressure on book prices and the greater the squeeze on conventional booksellers, because when you're not making much money you want your entertainment for free, and when your life is hard you want instant gratification ("Overnight free shipping!").
After years of studying it, I believe that cryptocurrency is an inherently right-wing, hyper-capitalistic technology built primarily to amplify the wealth of its proponents through a combination of tax avoidance, diminished regulatory oversight and artificially enforced scarcity.

Despite claims of “decentralization”, the cryptocurrency industry is controlled by a powerful cartel of wealthy figures who, with time, have evolved to incorporate many of the same institutions tied to the existing centralized financial system they supposedly set out to replace.

The cryptocurrency industry leverages a network of shady business connections, bought influencers and pay-for-play media outlets to perpetuate a cult-like “get rich quick” funnel designed to extract new money from the financially desperate and naive.

Financial exploitation undoubtedly existed before cryptocurrency, but cryptocurrency is almost purpose built to make the funnel of profiteering more efficient for those at the top and less safeguarded for the vulnerable.

Cryptocurrency is like taking the worst parts of today's capitalist system (eg. corruption, fraud, inequality) and using software to technically limit the use of interventions (eg. audits, regulation, taxation) which serve as protections or safety nets for the average person.

Lose your savings account password? Your fault.
Fall victim to a scam? Your fault.
Billionaires manipulating markets? They’re geniuses.

This is the type of dangerous “free for all” capitalism cryptocurrency was unfortunately architected to facilitate since its inception.

But these days even the most modest critique of cryptocurrency will draw smears from the powerful figures in control of the industry and the ire of retail investors who they’ve sold the false promise of one day being a fellow billionaire. Good-faith debate is near impossible.

For these reasons, I simply no longer go out of my way to engage in public discussion regarding cryptocurrency. It doesn't align with my politics or belief system, and I don't have the energy to try and discuss that with those unwilling to engage in a grounded conversation.

I applaud those with the energy to continue asking the hard questions and applying the lens of rigorous skepticism all technology should be subject to. New technology can make the world a better place, but not when decoupled from its inherent politics or societal consequences.
If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
I was born in 1990 and I was sort of raised in America when it was a cult of self-expression, and I was just taught, you know: express myself and have things to say and everyone will care about them. And I think everyone was taught that, and most of us found out that no one gives a shit what we think... They say it’s the ‘me’ generation. It’s not. The arrogance is taught or it was cultivated. It’s self-conscious. That’s what it is, it’s conscious of self. Social media is just the market’s answer to a generation that demanded to perform, so the market said “Here, perform everything, to each other, all the time for no other reason.” It’s prison, it’s horrific. It’s performer and audience melded together. What do we want more than to lie in bed at the end of the day and just watch our lives as a satisfied audience member? I know very little about anything, but I do know this: that if you can live your life without an audience, you should do it.
All real living is meeting.
You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry.
Preserving things and living beyond a reasonable time is based in fear of dying, a culture perpetuated by people that seem to emotionally not understand that letting go is ok.
We have a big argument here about whether Nicaragua and Cuba are sending arms to El Salvador. Well, I don't know, so far there's no evidence that they are, but that's not really the interesting question. I mean, you gotta watch the way questions are framed by the propaganda system. The way it's framed is, the doves say they're not sending arms, and the hawks say they are sending arms. But the real question, which is being suppressed in all of this, is, "Should they be sending arms?"

And the answer is of course, "Yes." [applause] Everybody should be sending arms. You see, that question is not raised. Just as if, somebody was talking in, say, the Soviet Union, and the question came up, "Should somebody send arms to Afghan rebels?" Well, of course not, you know, that's terrorism or something like that. The point is that it's perfectly legitimate to send arms to people who finally try to use violence in self-defense against a gang of mass murderers installed by a foreign power. Of course it's legitimate to send them arms.
Talk at UC Berkeley on U.S. foreign policy in Central America (May 14, 1984)
Isn't it a riddle... and awe-inspiring, that everything is so beautiful? Despite the horror. Lately I've noticed something grand and mysterious peering through my sheer joy in all that is beautiful, a sense of its creator... Only man can be truly ugly, because he has the free will to estrange himself from this song of praise.

It often seems that he'll manage to drown out this hymn with his cannon thunder, curses and blasphemy. But during this past spring it has dawned upon me that he won't be able to do this. And so I want to try and throw myself on the side of the victor.
You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.
User: "I'm having a problem."

Programmer: (without checking anything else) "You should upgrade."

(time passes)

User: "I upgraded. It's still happening."

Programmer: (radio silence... they've already moved on)
As long as we continue to have children, or accept people having children, we have chosen - as a species - to not give up on them, and their descendants.

Preserving a livable environment, and preferably much more than livable, is simply a duty springing from that fact.

There is no need for any deep philosophy, to care for the environment is - essentially - a consequence of choices already made.
Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.
If enough of us had worked like Noam to try to force American leaders to stop killing and exploiting the innocent these past 40 years, after all, countless people would have been saved, and America and the world would not only be far richer, more peaceful and more just. It would not be presently heading toward the collapse of civilization as we know it from climate change. Noam believes the major responsibility for this lies with a short-term driven corporate system that regards climate change as an "externality," i.e., a problem for someone else to worry about. But it is also clear that the fact that not enough of the rest of us, certainly including myself, respond appropriately to civilization's looming death is a major part of the problem as well.

And, I thus finally realized, the important question was not why Noam responds the way he does to the suffering of the innocent around the planet.

It was why so many of the rest of us do not.