Notes jan 17

January 18, 2009 § 1 Comment

Some mostly raw notes


Fade out 

What a record: stolen elections, corporate greed, fraud and corruption, unlimited spending, wealth redistribution (to the top), no checks and balances, rampant militarization, the destruction of Iraq, permanent war, and unquantifiable, unrepayable national debt. Not many world emperors are able to create a vast wasteland, call it a government, and then retire. – Pepe Escobar 


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And, doug


I think at this point we just have to hand over the speech to staff and the new president. Is he being inaugurated to a government, or to ungovernability? Will he re-fund, or re-structure, the banking system? Will he be stuck with Israel and Afghanistan? Can he create jobs with an unskilled workforce? The forces are huge, the structures fragile. Can sanity, calm competence, a measure of justice and fairness, inventiveness and community cohesion trump Rwanda/Watts?




Notes on eros and justice.


Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction”. Plato also said Eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to tell the truth by eros, the god of love. The most famous ancient work on the subject of eros is Plato‘sSymposium, a dialogue among seven men (including Alcibiades), reclining in a Greek symposium, in which Socrates reveals his knowledge about the nature of eros, inspired by the teaching of Diotima of Mantinea. Eros, in the Socratic logos, can be defined as the longing for wholeness or completeness, adaemon whose aim is to reach the knowledge without ever owning her and is used to describe fulfillment between man/woman and man/Gods.

Plato considers eros to be philosophy, the love or desire of knowledge. Knowledge is the greatest of virtues and eros is the desire for the greatest of goods. Eros is therefore the desire for knowledge. Philosophy literally translates to a love of knowledge. It is important to note that Plato does not suggest that love must be for something “beautiful”. In fact the greatest of goods will be eternal and physical beauty is in no way eternal.

Thomas Jay Oord defines eros as intentional response to promote overall well-being by enhancing or appreciating what is valuable or good.


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Freudian psychology, Eros, also referred to in terms of libido, libidinal energy or love, is the life instinct innate in all humans. It is the desire to create life and favours productivity and construction. Eros battles against the destructive death instinct of Thanatos (death instinct or death drive)


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Carl Jung used the term eros to denote the basic fundamental of feminine psychology: “Women’s psychology is founded on the principal of eros, the great binder and loosener, whereas from ancient times the ruling principal ascribed to men is logos. The concept of eros could be expressed in modern times as psychic relatedness, and that of logos as objective interest.” (CW vol. X, p. 123, pp. 255) This points to his theory of the anima/animus syzygy of the male and female psyches. According to Jung, men possess the anima in their unconscious, and this is a caricature of the feminine eros. It is a part of personal individuation for men to confront their anima, by accepting eros (a trait pushed out of phalocratic society). Also intrinsic to this is the ability to see beyond the projected ego and assimilate this into our conscious being. This is eros, as it is the ‘desire for wholeness,’ which is necessary for us to become in-tune with our selves. By understanding ‘passionate love’ and the ‘desire for wholeness’ as ‘psychic relatedness,’ Jung also demonstrates that the desire for love is a desire for interconnection and interaction with other sentient beings.


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Agapē (IPA: /ˈægəpiː/[1]) (Mod.Gk. αγάπη [aˈɣa.pi]) (Ke. αγάπη IPA: [aˈga.pɛ]), is one of several Greek words translated into English as love. The word has been used in different ways by a variety of contemporary and ancient sources, including Biblical authors. Many have thought that this word represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love. Greek philosophers at the time of Plato and other ancient authors have used forms of the word to denote love of a spouse or family, or affection for a particular activity, in contrast to philia—an affection that could denote either brotherhood or generally non-sexual affection, and eros, an affection of a sexual nature. The term ‘agape’ is rarely used in ancient manuscripts, but was used by the early Christians to refer to the self-sacrificing love of God for humanity, which they were committed to reciprocating and practicing towards God and among one another (also see kenosis).

Agape has been expounded on by many Christian writers in a specifically Christian context. Thomas Jay Oord has defined agape as “an intentional response to promote well-being when responding to that which has generated ill-being.” Oord also argues that agape is not the only form of Christian love. Philia and eros can also be forms of love appropriate for Christians to express.


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Storgē (from the Greek στοργή) is the word for family love, such as the love of a parent toward a child. In social psychology, storgē is the form of love between friends.

For the most part, Storgē can be used as a term to describe the love between exceptional friends, and the desire to care compassionately for them.

In other interpretations, it can be the term used to describe a sexual relationship between two people, that grew out of a friendship. Storgic lovers are friends first. The friendship can endure beyond the breakup of the sexual relationship. Storgic lovers choose their mates based on homogamy, and sometimes cannot pinpoint the moment that friendship turned to love. Storgic lovers want their significant others to also be their best friends.

Storgic lovers place much importance on commitment, and find their motivation to avoid committing infidelity is to preserve the trust between the partners. Children and marriage are seen as legitimate forms of their bond. Sex is of lesser importance than in some of the other love styles.

Some advantages of storgic love can be the level of friendship, understanding, and intimacy in the partners, while disadvantages can include potential boredom and lack of passion in some couples.


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The economy, many believe, was in better shape under Clinton than Bush because of Clintontime policies. On Bush’s watch the economy has tumbled, sending shock waves throughout the markets. Of course, many of these job losses were leftovers from the neo-liberal Clinton years. Under the Democratic president, as economist Robert Pollin has pointed out in his book Contours of Descent, “The distribution of wealth in the U.S. became more skewed than it had at any time in the previous forty years. No question, an increasing number of U.S. jobs began to be outsourced at an unprecedented rate as well.”


Wage gains for average workers during the Clinton boom remained historically weak, especially in relationship to the ascent of productivity, Pollin argues. “This ‘heightened sense of job insecurity,'” he continues, “lies at the very foundation of the Clinton administration’s economic legacy.”


Things were not any better abroad. Under Clinton, the World Trade Organization (WTO) enhanced its strength, piquing the anger of thousands of protesters who took to the streets of Seattle in 1999 to demonstrate against the WTO’s power.


Clinton also bolstered the influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the developing world, and passed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with few qualms from the liberal establishment. It’s no coincidence that neo-liberalism is now dictating the free-market economy despite the claims of some who argue that ideology is on its way out the door.


“Had [the original promises] come true, NAFTA would have been an enormous boom, and we would all be cracking champagne,” says Lori Wallach, director of the consumer rights group Public Citizen. “But instead we have got the 10-year record, and it’s pretty damn grim. NAFTA’s 10-year record,” Wallach adds, “demonstrates that under the NAFTA model, most people in the three countries were losers, while only a few of the largest corporations who helped write NAFTA were the major winners.”


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Panic Grows In Ca As Welfare Checks Set To Stop

by SmileySam

Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:18:20 PM PST

Imagine living hand to mouth already, barely squeaking by. Come Feb 1 the State has warned you may not see another check for months. No Rent money, no money for food for medicine and even worse for some of the disabled, your Caregiver that comes by daily to feed, clean, shop, and generally make sure you are cared for, isn’t coming anymore.

California’s fiscal future lurched yet another step toward oblivion on Friday as state Controller John Chiang announced he could no longer make payments for services to disabled and blind people who need the money to pay for rent and food.

Chiang said payments would most likely have to be stopped by Feb. 1.

“Delaying these payments will hurt real families,” Chiang said.

About one million people would be affected by the non-payments, Chiang said.

Disabled, Blind People to Lose Disability Payments

  • I am disabled but my check comes from Social Security, but my Sig. Other, who is also disabled, gets her check from the State. It’s not that much but helps with the bills like the cost of the electricity to run her oxygen machine that runs 24/7. She also has a daytime Caregiver paid for by the State because I cannot care for her like I used to. Her caregiver also rents a room from us which helps with the rent, but since he is going to be laid-off we are really going to be screwed.

    I don’t want to get too much into our personal business but to show just how damaging this will be just to my family alone I will have to use a few more details. I’m a chronic pain sufferer. I have what are known as Cluster Migraines which are just like your everyday migraine except they never go away. They don’t have a clue what causes them but we do know that stress makes them much worse. I also have a extremely bad back and neck, emphysema, and a few other problems. My SO has Diabetes, COPD, CHF, emphysema, Fibromyalgia, and is considered Terminal. She is bedridden most the time and uses a electric wheelchair when she can. She can neither cook, or bath herself any longer, and can barely dress herself most the time. You can see why her Caregiver is so important to us. He does the shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry as well as taking her to the Doctor at least once every two weeks. He does much more but that should give you a sense of what my life will look like after Feb.1 and I’m not alone.

    Even if State Controller John Chiang finds a way to make these payments Arnold is trying to make major cuts on the backs of the Disabled and Poor. Arnold is good republican after all.

    The Governor’s proposed cuts – including those proposed by the Governor and enacted by the Legislature in previous budget years, include major cuts proposed to Medi-Cal, regional centers, mental health services, CalWORKS (State’s “welfare to work” program that includes thousands of parents and children with special needs), In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), SSI/SSP (Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment) grants to the lowest income persons with disabilities, the blind and seniors, the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) that provides small state fundedgrants for legal immigrants with disabilities, the blind and low income seniors who do not qualify for SSI, cuts that impact public and accessible transportation and housing and cuts to public education that impact special education for over 650,000 children with special needs.

    Hundreds Protest Against Governor’s Spending Cut Proposals

    It’s my hope that someone on the Obama Team will read this and see that the States like Ca. aren’t let out of the coming Stimulus Money because it doesn’t seem that the Republicans and some of the Democrats in Ca. aren’t in any hurry to fix this coming disaster. I now know how those in New Orleans felt as they watched Katrina come and go and no one there to help. This will be a State of Emergency in my home and millions like mine. Somehow I don’t think FEMA  or the Red Cross will be handing out food and water anytime some. I wrote about this whole deal in a open thread earlier and I made a comment about how I feel. I should  give you a hint at how many people feel. 


    Who can afford to sue ? The perfect victim, one 

    too poor to have a atty. I have not found one article about blowback on the rebate cks we didn’t get. Who will sue Arnie if they don’t have a apt, phone or food ? The poor are treated as invisible, which for the most part we are. We are too afraid of losing what little income we get to rock the boat.

    I don’t have the answer here but I am hoping someone who does will read this, or that someone pass it on to someone who does. I haven’t reached my limit yet, but it’s coming fast. For someone who worked hard for over 30 yrs and paid all my share of taxes and dues this is a hard place to be and getting harder by the day. In some of the larger cities I believe we can expect growing violence if this isn’t fixed and quick.


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Mancur olson the rise and decline of Nations. Zelites controlthe center wich becomes rigid. Collapseof complexsocieties.




Just read Douglass North’s Understanding the process of economic change. A cheerleading book toward success and complexity.No awareness.Has he writen any op ed’s sne?


All this is interesting


  • Understanding the Process of Economic Change, Princeton University Press, 2005.
  • Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming (with John Joseph Wallis and Barry R. Weingast).


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    From amazon


    ‘This much-anticipated, pioneering, sweeping millennial history explains how the evolution of impersonal and standardized treatment, a rule of law for elites, perpetual forms of organization, and consolidated political control of the military combined to produce the ‘open access’ logic of rent erosion and economic growth often observed in the modern world. Emphatically multi-causal in approach, the book will persuade all those who want to analyze the complex interactions of beliefs, institutions, and organizations that they have to deal with its arguments.’ James Alt, Harvard University ‘Why do we obey laws, adhere to rules, and conform to norms? Doug North, John Wallis, and Barry Weingast offer a simple, powerful, and compelling answer – disorder and the violence it entails. This book is must-reading for anyone serious about the origins of social order and the reasons for its disintegration.’ Stephen Ansolabehere, Harvard University ‘A masterful and revealing interpretation of how ‘nasty, brutish, and short’ became healthy, wealthy, and peaceful and why the transformation occurred in some nations but not in others.’ Claudia Goldin, Harvard University ‘Violence and Social Orders is a thought-provoking, pioneering, and ambitious study. It should be read by anyone interested in the institutional underpinning of development.’ Avner Greif, Stanford University ‘This book presents a powerful new theory of the interaction between law, politics, and the structure of power. It is sure to be influential for decades to come.’ Daniel Klerman, University of Southern California ‘Why are poor countries poor and rich countries rich? North, Wallis, and Weingast explain why – it’s the politics stupid! A compelling book for anyone who wants to understand the world.’ James A. Robinson, Harvard University ‘A major work of great ambition, this book will become a standard reference in any informed discussion on how societies make the transition from anarchy to democracy, and from poverty to wealth.’ Dani Rodrik, Harvard University ‘Violence and Social Orders expands institutional economics into new realms, presenting an innovative perspective on the organization of pre-modern societies. Anthropologists and other social scientists will find much to think about in this important book.’ Michael E. Smith, Arizona State University 


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    Note that the issue is can underdeveloped countries be as successfulas we are. so it does not address the issue.


    And, is it all a hoax?


    The Great Credit-Crunch Hoax of 2008

    Last September, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sounded the alarm, warning that credit markets had frozen and calling for an unprecedented bailout of financial institutions, ostensibly to prevent a collapse of the U.S. economy. The politicians and the press took their claims at face value. 

    According to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs, however, the Federal Reserve’s own statistics tell a very different story: the amount of commercial-bank credit outstanding (perhaps the best indicator of credit-market conditions) hadn’t actually shrunk, but had instead merely reached a plateau from April to September 2008. In other words, there was no net contraction of credit!


    Here is Higgs’s take: “In short, credit was actually ample, indeed, at an all-time high; it simply stopped growing as usual for six months, stuck at about $9.4 trillion, while one Wall Streeter after another told NPR that ‘no money is moving; the credit market is completely shut down’ or some such cock-and-bull story.” Of course, some folks stand to profit handsomely from the credit-crunch deception. Continues Higgs: “The beauty of the Great Hoax of 2008, from the perspective of the ruling class, is that it was also a Great Scare, and such scares serve as the pretexts for the rulers’ most audacious assaults on the peasants’ lives, liberties, and purses.”

    “Terrible Credit Crunch of 2008–The Greatest Hoax of All Time?” by Robert Higgs (1/6/09)




    According to Ms. Romer and Mr. Bernstein, the Obama plan would have its maximum impact in the fourth quarter of 2010. Without the plan, they project, the unemployment rate in that quarter would be a disastrous 8.8 percent. Yet even with the plan, unemployment would be 7 percent — roughly as high as … now.


    While tracking at a sustained 1% decline in real spending is bad enough, odds are for further deceleration – I suspect that household deleveraging in the years ahead will amount to more than a trillion dollars of foregone consumption.


    Behind that pop, however, the size of the package, and the timeline, are woefully insufficient to fix the economy. It took us almost three decades to get into this mess; it will take decades to get out. 


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    Fed Watch: Short Takes for January 11, 2009

    Tim Duy:


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    if the Obama administration tries to rush such projects, they will be vulnerable to charges of waste, fraud, etc. But they need to do something to get a floor under the economy now to provide hope that they can get the job done over the long haul. Hence, we get a policy that is more of the same – tax cuts. Quick to implement with bipartisan support, but with, I suspect, few lasting effects – especially given the newfound predilection for saving. Why we don’t get more safety net expansions, however, is still a mystery to me. Seems like an easy way to use existing program to quickly get money to those in need – and those who will spend.


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    I read Hester: The Remarkable Life of Dr. Johnson’s ‘Dear Mistress


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    By contrast, the most recent increase in oil prices appeared to have very little effect on the expansion that followed the 2001 recession. (While the US economy did enter a recession at the end of 2007, this was widely attributed to the collapse in consumer and business confidence that attended the subprime crisis and subsequent financial panic.) Similarly, core consumer price inflation – inflation excluding food and energy prices – was relatively stable over this period, which again contrasts sharply with the earlier episodes.


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    Natalie Dylan Auctions Off Virginity For Offers Of Up To $3.7 Million


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    And, the Obama plan. 



    Here is the plan (PDF file)


    See PDF for details …


    Here is an overview:


    Clean, Efficient, American Energy: To put people back to work today and reduce our dependence on foreign oil tomorrow, we will strengthen efforts directed at doubling renewable energy production and renovate public buildings to make them more energy efficient.


    • $32 billion to transform the nation’s energy transmission, distribution, and production systems by allowing for a smarter and better grid and focusing investment in renewable technology.


    • $16 billion to repair public housing and make key energy efficiency retrofits.


    • $6 billion to weatherize modest-income homes.


    [CR Note: $54 Billion]


    Transform our Economy with Science and Technology: We need to put scientists to work looking for the next great discovery, creating jobs in cutting-edge-technologies, and making smart investments that will help businesses in every community succeed in a global economy. For every dollar invested in broadband the economy sees a ten-fold return on that investment.


    • $10 billion for science facilities, research, and instrumentation.


    • $6 billion to expand broadband internet access so businesses in rural and other underserved areas can link up to the global economy.


    [CR Note: $16 Billion: $70 billion total]


    Modernize Roads, Bridges, Transit and Waterways: To build a 21st century economy, we must engage contractors across the nation to create jobs rebuilding our crumbling roads, and bridges, modernize public buildings, and put people to work cleaning our air, water and land.


    • $30 billion for highway construction;


    • $31 billion to modernize federal and other public infrastructure with investments that lead to long term energy cost savings;


    • $19 billion for clean water, flood control, and environmental restoration investments;


    • $10 billion for transit and rail to reduce traffic congestion and gas consumption.


    [CR Note: $90 Billion: $160 billion total]


    Education for the 21st Century: To enable more children to learn in 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries to help our kids compete with any worker in the world, this package provides:


    • $41 billion to local school districts through Title I ($13 billion), IDEA ($13 billion), a new School Modernization and Repair Program ($14 billion), and the Education Technology program ($1 billion).


    • $79 billion in state fiscal relief to prevent cutbacks to key services, including $39 billion to local school districts and public colleges and universities distributed through existing state and federal formulas, $15 billion to states as bonus grants as a reward for meeting key performance measures, and $25 billion to states for other high priority needs such as public safety and other critical services, which may include education.


    • $15.6 billion to increase the Pell grant by $500.


    • $6 billion for higher education modernization.


    [CR Note: $141.6 Billion: $301.6 billion total]


    Tax Cuts to Make Work Pay and Create Jobs: We will provide direct tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, and spur investment and job growth for American Businesses. [marked up by the Ways and Means Committee]


    [CR Note: Unknown amount – probably $300 billion]


    Lower Healthcare Costs: To save not only jobs, but money and lives, we will update and computerize our healthcare system to cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help reduce healthcare costs by billions of dollars each year.


    • $20 billion for health information technology to prevent medical mistakes, provide better care to patients and introduce cost-saving efficiencies.


    • $4.1 billion to provide for preventative care and to evaluate the most effective

    healthcare treatments.


    [CR Note: $24.1 Billion: $325.7 billion total]


    Help Workers Hurt by the Economy: High unemployment and rising costs have outpaced Americans’ paychecks. We will help workers train and find jobs, and help struggling families make ends meet.


    • $43 billion for increased unemployment benefits and job training.


    • $39 billion to support those who lose their jobs by helping them to pay the cost of keeping their employer provided healthcare under COBRA and providing short-term options to be covered by Medicaid.


    • $20 billion to increase the food stamp benefit by over 13% in order to help defray

    rising food costs.


    [CR Note: $102 Billion: $427.7 billion total]


    Save Public Sector Jobs and Protect Vital Services: We will provide relief to states, so they can continue to employ teachers, firefighters and police officers and provide vital services without having to unnecessarily raise middle class taxes.


    • $87 billion for a temporary increase in the Medicaid matching rate.


    • $4 billion for state and local law enforcement funding.


    [CR Note: $91 Billion: $518.7 billion total]


    Plus add in about $300 billion for various tax cuts, and that give $818.7 billion (by my count).


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    And (source?)


    The incoming Obama administration bears the burden of two often-contradictory drivers in formulating its economic

    policy: its campaign rhetoric for “change” and the need for a pragmatic program to deal with a growing economic slump.

    Obama must fashion policies that deal with the current economic distress while not dashing the hopes his campaign engendered for a vast reordering of economic and social priorities. Only a successful restart of the economy can lead to the promised changes.


    The underlying credit mechanism that governs financial flows in the economy is in terrible shape. Business loans are hard to come by, the interbank lending market has revived only through credit guarantees, the commercial paper market is functional only to the extent that the monetary authorities

    have buttressed it with substantial guarantees; and

    financing of auto sales, retail sales, credit cards, and even student loans is tenuous at best. Day-to-day business credit is largely paralyzed, yield spreads in the corporate sector are at historically high levels, and the IPO market for financing young companies is moribund.


    Moreover, given the current economic situation, dramatic improvements in global environmental policies will surely rank behind restoring economic growth.


    These videos are wonderfully intelligent humor about the financials.








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