The General Discussion Thread

[Publish Date updated to restore to front page]

Okay as an experiment here it is. Discuss your favourite generals here!

Well perhaps… Really this is simply the place to post news-items, fun-items or whatever takes your fancy. In short just post what you want here.

It’s just another wee experiment – comments welcome.


[Image: General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett (Stephen Fry)]

13,285 thoughts on “The General Discussion Thread

  1. “Are they not both right…. or both wrong?”

    Newtonian physics is right for big things moving slowly, quantum theory is right for small things moving slowly, special relativity is right for big things moving fast and quantum wave theory is right for small things moving fast.

    No single theory is right for both big and small which is the point I was making.

  2. But Ben, mainstream science is incredibly exotic. It’s far more exotic than human fantasy, which is not surprising when you consider that human fantasy is just one of the myriad products of nature.

    Not only is the universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think. And: If you think you’ve understood quantum mechanics, you haven’t understood quantum mechanics.

    Werner Heisenberg / J B S Haldane / Richard Feynman

    And the absolute beauty of science is that it’s all interrelated; it’s all part of one unifying framework. That’s why I don’t get excited by, for instance, Die Glocke, because it has no points of connection to the overall scientific structure, so it’s not going to extend or refine that structure in any way.

    I haven’t looked deeply into string theory. I’ve read and viewed some critiques; that’s all. On the one hand, some physicists have described it as an impressive mathematical edifice. Some have described it as so mathematically versatile that it may be adaptable to fit any physical system, in which case it can’t produce any predictions, because it can’t rule anything out. So far as I know, it hasn’t produced any predictions that have been, or even could be, confirmed physically.

    But my main gripe with it is that many string theorists are just reacting against quantum weirdness. They liked the purely objective, determinist nature of classical physics and were offended by the non-determinacy of quantum physics (I felt this emotion myself initially), and they have turned to string theory as a way of re-excluding the experimenter from the experimental system. It’s not going to happen, because you have to abandon free will down that road. As experimenters, we choose how to observe the system, and our choice affects the system’s behaviour. It’s not that a tree doesn’t make a sound if it falls when no one is there to hear, but it does, provably, make a somewhat different sound if someone is.

  3. Sorry, Fred, I wasn’t making a serious point – just hi jacking your previous post as an excuse to get a link to the Clash!
    As an aside, look out for an outpouring of vomit, following the death of Bush snr. Wonder if his failure to educate his son is mentioned….

  4. Clark

    “I’m not sure what this means. People don’t have rights inherently

    Yeah I agree. I’m not comfortable claiming “rights”. I knew that as I wrote it but actually the problems I see with rights had no relevance to the point I was making so decided just to go with it because it was already being used as the marker for a “better way of living”. Often I find communication is improved by limiting the points made at any given moment.

    “I’d say that large-scale money is a metric primarily of power or coercion over people”

    And how do you suppose the rich keep their wealth? The threat of violence and incarceration by the state. Most laws are ultimately about property rights. Jeez the homeless can’t even squat empty buildings these days. But I agree it’s the state and capitalism. [BTW, plenty of “little” money still leaving buildings empty whilst the homeless die of cold.]

    “a representative from each group could form a self-organising inter-group negotiation body of 500, but in doing so has just formed the first tier up of a hierarchy. ”

    Well, yes and no. Anarchism is not an ideaised solution. It seeks to minimise coercion and hierarchy. Anarchism rejects representative democracy and instead proposes delegates within federations. A delegate is bound by the guidance of those she has been delegated by and is instantly recallable/replaceable.

  5. “That should say quantum field theory not quantum wave theory. Too much cheap English cider.”

    I can honestly say that cider of whatever price has never tempered my understanding of the distinguishing features between quantum field and quantum wave theories. 😮

  6. Phil:

    “And how do you suppose the rich keep their wealth?”

    Well, before government-backed legal systems became the mediators, they did it by alliance with religion to shape indoctrination (eg. Saudi Arabia now and the UK until mid 20th century), and buying the loyalty of a minority to coerce the majority through violence (eg. any number of current dictatorships).
    …my point being that the democracy/legalism structure is actually an improvement over that which preceded it. Not much of one, arguably, considering how far there is to go, but who are we to say how fast development should proceed?

    It seems to me that in making the state/legal structure a primary target, there’s a danger of slipping back to a less regulated, less tempered form of power, whilst undermining the only element of the system that’s even capable of negotiation. Would you rather deal with an id by negotiating through its associated ego (eg. an oligarch), or just with a naked id (eg. the same oligarch when he’s blind drunk, but can still give orders to his minions)?

    The problem we’re up against seems to be that in groups larger than hunter-gatherers, power concentrates spontaneously by a process of positive feedback. Whoever gains an advantage and has the psychological traits and abilities to build upon it, is going to gain more advantage and so on. Even if locally anarchistic society limits his power accumulation, he can cultivate a gang, wisely exercising restraint locally (his reasoning ego tempering his grasping id), but go off and raid less prepared groups elsewhere. Thus we get a warlord, who then builds an empire, ready to come back and exact revenge on the locally anarchistic group that formerly held him in check. Isn’t this pretty much what happened to the Spanish revolution?

    “Anarchism […] seeks to minimise coercion and hierarchy”

    I’m all for minimising coercion, but minimising hierarchy is more complicated. Firstly it’s two-dimensional – group-size and number-of-tiers – and reducing one inevitably increases the other. Secondly, hierarchy without coercion is often excellent; who’d banish the folders-within-folders scheme of a filing system? It seems to me that optimising non-coercive hierarchy should be an objective of anarchism.

  7. The hierarchy problem looks deep. On the one hand hierarchy seems essential for effective coordination. On the other, a hierarchy is inherently vulnerable to exploitation. It sits there with a node above each group, just waiting for someone manipulative to occupy any one of those nodes and start exploiting it selfishly.

    Hierarchy itself isn’t the problem. It’s hierarchy’s vulnerability to exploitation by personal selfishness.

    What’s needed is some general principle by which a general mechanism can be developed, to counteract this fundamental problem. Without hierarchy, the largest self-equalising population remains at the hunter-gatherer scale of 100 to 1000.

    Democracy might be that mechanism.

  8. Democracy is a negative feedback system. In engineering, we routinely use negative feedback to regulate inherently unstable systems ie. systems displaying positive feedback.

    But for either positive or negative feedback to work, there has to be an informational feedback path. If that path is severed, feedback breaks down. If that path is corrupted, system behaviour becomes distorted ie. output no longer correlates correctly to input.

    In groups of humans between 100 and 1000 informational feedback works directly; a large enough proportion can attend discussions that everyone becomes adequately informed. In larger groups some sort of amplification / redistribution system becomes necessary – ie. what we call the media. Big vulnerability.

  9. NB: – “BTW, plenty of “little” money still leaving buildings empty whilst the homeless die of cold”

    Agreed. My point there was very approximate, and to quote; “often I find communication is improved by limiting the points made at any given moment”.

  10. Clark

    Isn’t this pretty much what happened to the Spanish revolution?


    who’d banish the folders-within-folders scheme of a filing system?

    Do you really think anarchist are against files systems? Your constant desire to equate complex issues with simplistic functional systems gets absurd.

  11. I understand the knee-jerk to Determinism clark.

    Free Will is a tough feature of human needs but our understanding of the true nature of scripted outcomes is hobbling transcendant thinking aka heuristics. The conservative thinking of many scientists is helpful only until it is driven by fear and intransigence.

    For example: if you planned a two-week holiday in France with specific time allotments for venues and events on a schedule you could say the outcome was pre-determined. Free will was exercised at the objective and decision to spend two weeks in France.

    Not a perfect metaphor and wont endure a rigorous debate.

  12. I’ve heard behavioral biologist Robert Sapolsky make a compelling case against free will, that all our actions are biological reaction to external stimuli.

    edit- Yeah, I see this makes no sense. I’ve a head full of cold. Google him for more.

  13. Kind of Phil..that missionary being killed reminds me of the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy.

    An isolated tribe are astonished to see a noisy bird flying over head, belching smoke. A discarded Coke bottle lands at their feet and the artifact takes on a life of its own …

    They create a new religion…just like every other culture who witness events foreign to their experience.

  14. That film looks good. I will try to catch it.

    Real life is weird enough. You must have heard of the cargo cult that worships the friggin duke of edinburgh. They are a household joke here in the UK, sniggered at by people who see nothing strange about kneeling before a monarchy who claims closer proximity to the true god.

  15. Well Royalty has always been seen as anointed by God or even gods themselves, phil.

    God is a human invention

  16. “God is a human invention”

    Doesn’t such talk get you killed by snakes or something in your land?

    edit – I love that the preacher killed by the Sentinels had on his cv “handles snakes”.

  17. I am a Gnostic phil..

    I like Einsteins ‘illimitable spirit’ definition.

    But sHe’s not jealous or angry. 🙂

  18. Gnostic? I had to google. Do you mean this (from wikipedia):

    “Gnosticism is a modern name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems, originating in Jewish-Christian milieux in the first and second century AD. These systems believed that the material world is created by an emanation of the highest God, trapping the divine spark within the human body”

    Cause that sounds to me somewhat incompatible with “God is a human invention”.

  19. Phil:

    “Do you really think anarchist are against files systems?”

    No, it was rhetorical.

    “Your constant desire to equate complex issues with simplistic functional systems gets absurd”

    Please address the issue. Sending delegates to an assembly is to create a hierarchy. Anarchists cannot without contradiction simultaneously recommend assemblies of delegates and oppose hierarchy. I have a feeling that anarchist opposition to hierarchy is just a buzz-phrase that caught on, in which case it needs to be rectified, and as one among equals, my anarchist side is here to so demand encourage.


    GNOSTICISM IS THE TEACHING based on Gnosis, the knowledge of transcendence arrived at by way of interior, intuitive means. Although Gnosticism thus rests on personal religious experience, it is a mistake to assume all such experience results in Gnostic recognitions. It is nearer the truth to say that Gnosticism expresses a specific religious experience, an experience that does not lend itself to the language of theology or philosophy, but which is instead closely affinitized to, and expresses itself through, the medium of myth. Indeed, one finds that most Gnostic scriptures take the forms of myths. The term “myth” should not here be taken to mean “stories that are not true”, but rather, that the truths embodied in these myths are of a different order from the dogmas of theology or the statements of philosophy.

    Phil: Semantics lead me to create my own God. 🙂

  21. As to the Spanish revolution (I have read very little), the ‘warlord’ was external and supported by foreign powers, but that doesn’t really affect my argument.

  22. “God is a human invention”

    God envisioned as a personality external to the universe is a human invention. But many writers used the word “God” as a label for the creator, or as I prefer to put it, that which creates, or causes reality to diversify.

    Thermodynamics provides a very good, quantitative understanding of why and how things decay and become more uniform. We basically have no idea why things become diverse, why the universe continually produces newness and uniqueness. “God” is as good a word as any.

  23. Just cannot believe the hogwash about GHW Bush – the guy who really shot his way into the White House, helping see the plot which got rid of JFK, working for Nixon to shoot his way into it, covering for Tricky Dick until discovery of the tapes made his efforts hopeless, seeing to Nixon’s pardon despite the assurances that Ford would not give him one, Pappy becoming Reagan’s running mate to see the hostages were not released by the Democrats and Carter was made afraid of working for re-election by threats which almost resulted in the Gypper’s assassination, directing the covert war which ended the USSR and almost us too, and covering up Iran-Contra to gain the WH.

  24. When the Olmecs saw God he looked like a plumed serpent descending from the Heavens. When Ezekiel saw God he was riding a chariot of fire. Sri Rama Krishna rode a fiery chariot.

    It’s all about interpreting events based on our very limited experience.

  25. Everything in the universe has some sort of awareness. Not conscious awareness, but anything that changes affects everything else via photons, gravitation etc.

    Everything in the universe also has free will; not conscious free will, but quantum physics shows us that no interaction is entirely predictable. It’s obvious when you think about it. The shape of a dried bird dropping on your shed roof was not somehow inherent in the initial conditions of the big bang.

  26. Trowbridge, sick, init? For similar reasons I went to Thatcher’s funeral to protest, supporting a friend who was in the navy and lost a friend in her Falklands ‘war’.

  27. I can no longer excuse my ignorance on limited experience at 89, Ben, I have had more than I can stomach.

  28. Trowbridge, you may not believe the hogwash about Bush, but it was surely expected! Blind eye to the death and destruction he was involved in, and he’s a great national hero – Purple Heart or purple bellend?
    Music is my God… and these guys were losers tonight at the Scottish Trads Awards. Slainté

  29. Phil, I’m a bit stumped about how to proceed here. I’ve written some things about hierarchy, scale, organisational structures in general and the development of power structures in particular, and the use of Freudian ideas at a larger scale than they’re usually applied to. I used a rhetorical trick to illustrate one of my points, but none of it is insincere. I sincerely think that hierarchy is valuable, as a concept and as a structure. Blades can be used for murder or surgery.

    Maybe you should refer me to a source of the anti-hierarchy thing; maybe a qualifier has been omitted. Or if you’re pissed off, just say so; we could talk about that as well.

  30. “Phil, I’m a bit stumped about how to proceed here”

    OK, here’s a suggestion: Over to you, Phil. Please feel free to describe your thoughts and feelings about hierarchy.

  31. I feel like throwing up over this grand make-believe over GHW Bush. Too bad he didn’t care a bit about peace, truth, and fairness rather than faith, family and country.

  32. “Maybe you should refer me to a source of the anti-hierarchy thing”

    Goddamn, I have linked to multiple resources on this exact subject over the last year or so but you always say you are too busy to look. Honestly, I cannot recall one occasion where you later responded to discuss any of them.

    But as you ask. Here’s Canadian YouTuber Slime Thought with his anarchyish** critique of hierarchy. It’s only 10 minutes long. He pulls fun faces too.

    **Slime Thought says some things towards the end (eg “co-ops”) which diverge away from the one true proper communist variant of anarchism as proposed by true proper anarchists like me. But he is very good at explaining stuff in a snappy youtube way. If you have a second spare 10 minutes his following up video about the big daddy of hierarchy “The State” is also good. And the next about capitalism (I guess but I haven’t actually watched it).

  33. I love the Revisionism on teevee.

    Bush was the greatest one-term POTUS?

    Ollie North should get the Congressional Medal of Honor. Admiral Poindexter the Nobel Peace Prize…Caspar Weinberger the Iron Cross. Did I forget any American heroes?

  34. If you don’t fancy Thought Slime or fancy spending other time enriching your life in a less usual manner, then here’s ten minutes of Wagner: “Tristan und Isolde”, Prelude**. BTW everyone knows about Wagners antisemitism but did you know he was an active revolutionary anarchist? I had no idea before ten minutes ago.

    **highly recommended for anyone with a heart or a brain or ears etc.

    Trow, I guess you like a bit of Wagner?

  35. Yeah fuck Bush obviously. But like JOML says how can this be a surprise worth fretting over. It’s how the game is played.

  36. Roger Stone on THIS WEEK wearing his signature Al Capone suit with stripes.

    He will look great in orange.

    Stephanopoulis fucked the interview leaving Stones bullshit intact.

  37. All the hyperbole on Bush death makes me puke.

    Why do people wax poetic about the glowing, godly person who just died when they didnt give a shit when that person was alive. I hate hypocrites and they are Legion at funeral services.

    They must feel guilty for being so shitty to the deceased when still alive.

  38. Phil, this is partly a vagaries of language thing, and partly a confusion due to people being so accustomed to being ranked within dominance structures. I looked up the word in my 1964 Concise Oxford dictionary and it doesn’t say much:

    Hierarch: Chief priest; archbishop. (Greek hieros sacred + -arkhes ruler)

    – Hierarchy. Each of three divisions of angels; priestly government; organised priesthood in successive grades; any graded organisation.

    Whereas Wikipedia says:

    A hierarchy (from the Greek hierarkhia, “rule of a high priest”, from hierarkhes, “president of sacred rites”) is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) in which the items are represented as being “above”, “below”, or “at the same level as” one another.

    I still think it’s really the authority and subordination that’s objectionable. Slime Thought contrasts ‘vertical’ arrangement with ‘horizontal’, making the mistake of equating hierarchy exclusively with ‘vertical’, whereas hierarchies are dendritic.

    If we’re going to outlaw ‘hierarchies’, meaning hierarchically organised dominance structures, we’re going to need some other word for hierarchically organised non-dominance structures like filing systems, delegate systems and classification systems – and I don’t know of one. How do I make this essential organisational scheme sound benign when I’m talking to anarchists?

  39. What does Chomsky do about it?

    I think it may not be entirely coincidental that Chomsky is both a linguist and supports anarchism. So much thinking is in words, and so many uses of words are sloppy. Like ‘irrational’ has come to mean ‘bordering upon insane’, but all it really means is ‘out of proportion’.

  40. FFS Clark. I had previously answered your questions but you hadn’t bothered to read it. You just asked me for a resource. I found an informative and easy to digest video. And you still do not friggin bother to watch it. You are taking the piss mate.

    You seem aloof to understanding actual anarchist philosophy but instead repeatedly ramble on with your own personal musings around things you think anarchisty, like the word “hierarchy”.

    Chomsky is arguably not an anarchist and his linguistics are friggin laughable. You know sweet fa about either but you jump straight in forming your own conclusions (“I think it may not be entirely coincidental “). Jeeezus.


  41. OK so you have watched the video. I apologise. Yet you only mention it in passing and still go rambling on with your own musings.

    making the mistake of equating hierarchy exclusively with ‘vertical’, whereas hierarchies are dendritic.

    WTF? Really what point are you making? No one, except you apparently, means horizontal and vertical literally. We are not discussing a technical drawing. They are shorthand to indicate opposing tendencies of organising.

  42. Sorry Clark I have a headfull of cold which is making me grumpy but I am finding this exasperating. You have to have some understanding before you can rewrite a philosophy built upon 150 years of serious thinking.

    It’s almost as if you are less keen to understand anarchism than quickly discredit it. Fair enough. You are not alone. It is easier to imagine blocking out the sun than it is to consider the demise of capitalism.

  43. Phil: I think many of us here share the same analytical genre and just like two best friends who are so similar in personality who fight like cats and dogs love each other in reality.

    Analytic types are configured to find the flaw in the formula. We hunt bugs so we find bugs.

    Just sayin’

  44. Phil, if anarchism is about conforming to 150 years of anarchist authority, then it’s just another frigging ideology like all the others, and it can fuck off.

    Except it isn’t. That’s just your take on it, and I already know you have a need for me to accept my inferiority. (And others? Craig? “The rich”?) Deal with it*. I’m your frigging equal, geddit? I have as much right to make my input to anarchism as anyone else no matter how many times they’ve been published, and others can use my take or not, as they choose. But if “anarchism” means others are meant to submit to “superior wisdom”, then it don’t mean squat.

    * and on a friendly note, I know that you do deal with it, eventually, and I hope you recover soon. Now:

    “WTF? Really what point are you making?”

    That hierarchies have vertical and horizontal dimensions (figuratively, obviously); they couldn’t exist otherwise.

    No I’m not trying to discredit anarchism. I’m actually quite impressed with it, which for an ideology is very good coming from me, since I’ll never accept any ideology unreservedly. I just think some proponents have been sloppy with words (as might be expected from people who oppose authority), and that although anarchists make valid criticisms of the state, they fail to give credit for improvements over preceding systems. I have some criticisms; as an anarchist you should be more worried if I didn’t.

    – – – – – –

    Geoengineering: don’t go getting all holier-than-thou. Capitalism had led us to this crisis but that’s an accident of history. Any other political system (except enforced poverty) would have burned hydrocarbons. Possibly not as quickly, but maybe even faster. Probably for more improvement in the conditions of a greater proportion of the people. Might have proven better at restricting emissions once the seriousness of the problem was realised.

    Blame is an ego thing. The id always feels justified, and the ego finds ways to blame problems on someone else. Humans increase the greenhouse gas concentration by their industrial activity, and even non-rich humans support capitalism by donating their labour and continually craving after the pretty baubles it churns out.

  45. Phil, sorry, you’re probably going to find this frustrating and think I’m getting above my station again, but I’m worried that I’ve spotted a problem and so I have a question.

    Do you know of any analyses or metrics of how human reproductive patterns might respond in an anarchist society? Or has such interaction not been considered?

  46. “conforming to 150 years of anarchist authority, then it’s just another frigging ideology like all the others”

    Here you conflate learning with oppression. The attempt to minimise coercive hierarchy is not a rejection of knowledge. This basic misunderstanding is covered quite clearly in the Slime Thought video. So 😕

    And yes, of course anarchism is an ideology.

  47. Any other political system (except enforced poverty) would have burned hydrocarbons.

    Sure but that’s not the point at all. The problem is capitalism’s failure to respond to the lethal threat of climate change. Social need counts for nothing and is entirely subservient to profit. For 60 years we have been warned. Capitalism is suicidal.

  48. I’m worried that I’ve spotted a problem and so I have a question. Do you know of any analyses or metrics of how human reproductive patterns might respond in an anarchist society? Or has such interaction not been considered?

    Clark, you are still confused by some basic premises, such as knowledge is not oppression, or the use of the word vertical. You should probably focus on grasping those if you really want to understand. Nomatter what Ben says your approach really is not analytical.

    It is time to pause this conversation. Peace, love and libertarian communism!

  49. So Alex Younger, a bastard son of George Younger, and now ‘C’ pf MI6, is not from the UK elite.

    So it believes that we will simply go along with his untrue claims about Russia too.

  50. The Stansted Fifteen anti-deportation defendants:

    the judge is directing a Guilty verdict. As far as I know, this includes the “endangering an airport” terrorism-related charge.

    That’s ridiculous. They went to great lengths to ensure that they didn’t endanger anything. They executed their plan flawlessly, blockading the specific aircraft where it was parked, from where it would have been towed. No aircraft are ever even moved under their own power in that area.

  51. Phil, I agree, knowledge is not oppression, but what you’re attempting to do to me IS. Your sloganeering is hypocritical. You are attempting to stifle inquiry and debate by intellectual intimidation. Stuff that.

  52. Speaking of bastards, I include all the Connecticut investigators of the Suzanne Jovin’s brutal murder just 20 years ago today.

    The poor woman who anticipated, it seems, the renewed attacks on the WTC in her Yale senior thesis nearly three years before they occurred has been written off as just a local killing by some looney. They tried to pin the killing on her thesis advisor, but got nowhere resulting in the state and university having to pay $200,000 to him for the libels.

    And there were many other false leads, and they are apparently continuing according to today;’s New Haven Register, though my efforts in solving the crime have been forgotten about, especially the article I was asked by it to write which was not even published much less acted upon.

    I care nothing about it except that it shows that the authorities missed the best chance to do so when they didn’t throw the book at Ahmer Abu Khattala when they convicted him of other crimes at Benghazi for a 22-year sentence.

    He should have been told to tell everything he knows about it or face death.

    The shithole government didn’t due so for fear it would expose the whole can of worms which allowed 9/11 to occur.

  53. Phil: – “The attempt to minimise coercive hierarchy is not a rejection of knowledge” [my emph.]

    Thank you and sorry I missed it, but it took you ages and I’m not sure you’ve yet admitted that a system of assemblies formed from delegates is also (possibly non-coercively) hierarchical.

    “The problem is capitalism’s failure to respond to the lethal threat of climate change”

    As modified, this would be undeniable. However, we don’t know that capitalism’s failure would be unique. It seems to me possible that an anarchistic system could also have failed to respond; we cannot know what may have occurred along a path that was not taken.

    However, you may know of examples that have bearing upon the matter. For instance, what has occurred between hunter-gatherer tribes when conditions have changed, producing scarcity? Or, have there been instances where tribes have hunted or gathered a resource to the point of scarcity? How often has voluntary management of resources been successfully implemented? How often did inter-tribal conflict ensue?

    If you don’t know, please don’t start having another go at me for “my” ignorance, OK? That would be psychological projection.

    As it goes, I personally believe that capitalism is indeed suicidal. But personal beliefs do not amount to persuasive cases.

    “Clark, you are still confused by some basic premises, such as knowledge is not oppression, or the use of the word vertical. You should probably focus on grasping those if you really want to understand. Nomatter what Ben says your approach really is not analytical.”

    Grief, that sound like John Goss lecturing me about Twin Tower demolition theory, and just as wrong on every point. If you don’t want to discuss the matter I raised just say so, but please don’t try to attribute your reluctance onto failings you’ve painted onto my earlier arguments.

    “It is time to pause this conversation”

    OK, I’ll shut up about it now. But please remember that it was you that wanted to. Yes, best wishes to you and all, too.

  54. Hullo

    we inquire so much about Philosophies… ideas..

    I hold the Funnel, The Slaves are Massed behind me, Pouring ££££..$$$ in

    The Earth can go to fuck… TIME is running short for us

  55. I’m not sure you’ve yet admitted that a system of assemblies formed from delegates is also (possibly non-coercively) hierarchical.

    I think I have. eg every time I say minimise. Even in groups experienced at exercising anti-authoritarian techniques sometimes certain individuals do still dominate, to a lesser degree and not for long. Certain circumstances demand temporary leadership. an extreme example: in Spanish civil war on the battlefield an experienced fighter would take control but back away from lines everything was voted on. People could walk away without being shot.

    It is about building a system that minimises coercion and hierarchy as opposed to rewarding sociopathic behaviours which is what we have now.

    However, we don’t know that capitalism’s failure would be unique.

    But to then conclude that we should stick with a system that is destroying the planet because something new might not be an improvement is the madness that Einstein warned us about. Anyway, there is good reason to believe a system designed to cater for social need might cater for social need better than a system which prioritises profit at the expense of social need.

    For instance, what has occurred between hunter-gatherer tribes when conditions have changed, producing scarcity?

    As I have said before hunter gather egalitarianism was/is a luxury of abundance. It seems the transition to farming was a product of many factors which probably included the hunting to extinction of megafauna.

    But, but, but, I have never used hunter gatherers as a guide to how we should live. That would be ridiculous. I only ever bring them up to counter the argument that humans are naturally/inevitably selfish.

    And come on mate, please let us just pause this conversation. I think it will be the better for it.

    The dog is getting on well but still cowers in a crying panic every now and again. Shes getting confident in the flat but still shakes with fear outside (even when guarded by Marvin the cat). We are planning to go to Ireland for xmas but the journey may be too traumatic for her. So we might not go.

  56. Hello Brian. I agree; it’s frustrating. It’s massively bigger than any of us and consequently changes far more slowly. It isn’t like a book or a film; we probably won’t personally live to see what happens.

  57. Phil, I most certainly don’t “conclude that we should stick with” capitalism. It’s just what we’re stuck with at present. It will fall, because it is unsustainable. It is ramming the biosphere into the wall as we speak, and a disaster management programme is desperately needed.

    Poor mutt. Many people see dogs as fierce, but they’re so sensitive. Lovely that Marvin is protective. There’s something very touching about the formation of a cat/dog team. People think of dogs and cats as implacable enemies, but I think it’s mostly a conflict of communication and disposition. Cats purr when contented, whereas a similar sound from a dog is a growl. Dogs wag their tails when friendly, whereas cats lash their tails as a warning. A cat will sit and watch another upon first encounter, approaching by degrees whereas a dog will hurtle straight in and attempt to sniff the other’s back end. Their communication really couldn’t be more mismatched; it looks almost like a joke by God – or even a lesson? Because if a team is successfully formed, the differences compliment each other. The presence of the dog keeps other cats out of the garden creating a safe space, and the dog will just appreciate the company; dogs hate being left alone by their humans.

  58. There will be no acrimonious charges when Wasgington’s warmongers bury one of the leaders GHW Bush, who led the wars against Saddam after having helped him start one against Iran, and followed it up with one against Panama.

    Then there was the planned one to get rid of the USSR by assassinating Olof Palme as a ‘false flag’ set-up which only failed because of the spying by Rick Ames, Robert Hanssen, etc., and the countermeasures Soviets took.

    Good that some countries know what they are doing until they too throw in the spoong for fear that they will still kill us all.

  59. When someone like Bush dies, you can at least take comfort that mortality isn’t all bad. Think of all the old bastards that would still be walking the Earth now if it weren’t for death.

  60. But we don’t have to have completely over-the-top burials for rmost undeserving public loons.

    When my sister, a most deserving person, died from terrible cancer, we just had a private burial in Banbury’s Wooster cemetery.

    They should have tossed Bush’s body into a dumpster, like Obama’s spooks did to John Wheeler, III, when the overrated POTUS decided to join the warmongers in spades.

  61. As expected, my wonderful dog Domino outdid any thing i could say about the GHW Bush funeral by throwing up his yesterday dinner and today’s breakfast on my best Persian rug as soon as the service started.

    He was saving up for it to make his points.

    I’m sure that dogs could do a better job than the humans.

  62. A tasteless fascist funeral, with an overwhelming military presence and the citizenry nowhere in sight, like El Duce would have had if he had survived Italy winning WWII.

  63. A landing failure for SpaceX – cargo to ISS okay.

    This is unofficial footage as live coverage was cut – Elon Musk as since tweeted that the decision to cut official live feed was a mistake. At least the rocket diverted to “land” on water and didn’t crash down off-course on land!

    Elon Musk also tweeted

    “Grid fin hydraulic pump stalled, so Falcon landed just out to sea. Appears to be undamaged & is transmitting data. Recovery ship dispatched.”

  64. Phil: We take our pets seriously as well taking pains to reassure them they won’t be abandoned or abused again. Dogs are expert at living in the present, forgiving all past injury. the separation anxiety should abate with time but if he/she destroys anything in your absence consider a dog behaviorist like Cesar Milan…incredible understanding of dog culture.

  65. My Queensland Heeler (Buster) cured me of kennels when we left him for 7 days. It was more like 49 days to his clock and when I picked him up I glanced at him through a window before he saw me and I saw fear all over his face. Never do that again.

  66. The sessions on Aristotle were round an enormous wooden table in a dreary room across the street from a hospital, where the late-afternoon sun from over the hospital roof hardly penetrated the window dirt and polluted city air beyond. Wan and pale and depressing. During the middle of the hour Phaedrus noticed that this enormous table had a huge crack that ran right across it near the middle. It looked as though it had been there for years, but no one had thought to repair it. Too busy, no doubt, with more important things. At the end of the hour he finally asked, ‘May questions about Aristotle’s rhetoric be asked?’
    ‘If you have read the material,’ he was told. He noticed in the eye of the Professor of Philosophy the same set he had seen the first day of registration. He took warning from it that he had better read the material very thoroughly, and did so.

    The next week Phaedrus had read the material and was prepared to take apart the statement that rhetoric is and art because it can be reduced to a rational system of order. By this criterion General Motors produced pure art, whereas Picasso did not. If there were deeper meanings to Aristotle than met the eye this would be as good a place as any to make them visible.

    But the question never got raised. Phaedrus put up his hand to do so, caught a microsecond flash of malice from the teacher’s eye but then another student said, almost as an interruption, ‘I think there are some very dubious statements here.’
    That was all he got out.
    ‘Sir, we are not here to learn what you think!’ hissed the Professor of Philosophy. Like acid. ‘We are here to learn what Aristotle thinks!’ Straight in the face. ‘When we wish to learn what you think we will assign a course in the subject!’
    Silence. The student is stunned. So is everyone else.
    But the Professor of Philosophy is not done. He points his finger at the student and demands, ‘According to Aristotle: What are the three kinds of particular rhetoric according to subject matter discussed?’
    More silence. The student doesn’t know. ‘Then you haven’t read it, have you?’
    And now, with a gleam that indicates he has intended this all along, the Professor of Philosophy swings his finger around and points at Phaedrus.
    ‘You, sir, what are the three kinds of particular rhetoric according to subject matter discussed?’
    But Phaedrus is prepared. ‘Forensic, deliberative and epideictic,’ he answers calmly.
    ‘What are the epideictic techniques?’
    ‘The technique of likeness, the technique of praise, that of encomium and that of amplification.’
    ‘Yaaas…’ says the Professor of Philosophy slowly. Then all is silent.

    The other students looked shocked. They wonder what has happened. Only Phaedrus knows, and perhaps the Professor of Philosophy. An innocent student has caught blows intended for him.

    Now everyone’s face becomes carefully composed in defense against more of this sort of questioning. The Professor of Philosophy has made a mistake. He’s wasted his disciplinary authority on an innocent student while Phaedrus, the guilty one, the hostile one, is still at large. And getting larger and larger. Since he has asked no questions there is now no way to cut him down. And now that he sees how the questions will be answered he’s certainly not about to ask them.

    The innocent student stares down at the table, face red, hands shrouding his eyes. His shame becomes Phaedrus’ anger. In all his classes he never once talked to a student like that. So that’s how they teach classics at the University of Chicago. Phaedrus knows the Professor of Philosophy now. But the Professor of Philosophy doesn’t know Phaedrus.
    – – – – –
    The Church of Reason, the university, like all institutions of the System, is based not on individual strength but upon individual weakness. What’s really demanded in the Church of Reason is not ability, but inability. Then you are considered teachable. A truly able person is always a threat. Phaedrus sees that he has thrown away a chance to integrate himself into the organisation by submitting to whatever Aristotelian thing he is supposed to submit to. But that kind of opportunity seems hardly worth the bowing and scraping and intellectual prostration necessary to maintain it. It is a low-quality form of life.

    For Quality is better seen up at the timberline than here obscured by smoky windows and oceans of words, and he sees that what he is talking about can never really be accepted here because to see it one has to be free from social authority and this is an institution of social authority. Quality for sheep is what the shepherd says. And if you take a sheep and put it up at the timberline at night when the wind is roaring, that sheep will be panicked half to death and will call and call until the shepherd comes, or comes the wolf.

  67. My golden mongrel Shiboo hated being left. He’d get out any chance he could. If we left him at my girlfriend’s house, we’d put a chair by the front window or he’d be constantly climbing up to look out, watching for our return. He’d always be sitting upright in that chair, watching, as we came round the corner on our way back.

    – – – – –
    The Falcon design seems to be doing very well. Impressive that it managed to stabilise itself, and impressive that it detects fault conditions and makes for the sea.

  68. Dogs are so bonded to people they have become dependent on our every whim and fixation. I can’t understand cultures that find them vermin but then some are horrified I eat meat so it’s culture again .

    Clark: have you found found cats good companions,?

  69. Los Angeles is going insane in direct proportion to Trumpism

    They want to require all businesses who sell prepared food to have a vegan menu item, including movie theaters who sell hot dogs

    Fuck me. Shit like this is atavistic.

    Fascism is fascism whether from the Right or the Left.

  70. Why is Neil Bush such a privileged son of GHW Bush?

    Because the father first used him to help set up John Hinckley, Jr. as a stalker of Jimmy Carter or his assassin as a Manchurian Candidate which ended up with Reagan almost being assassinated too.

  71. If we didnt have a Moon we’d have to create one. Earths ideal midwifery puts her in an elite class of Goldilocks planets.

    Septillion to one odds.

  72. I’ll gladly have my bones shipped there when the time come comes.

    Anything to get out of this looney planet!

  73. Wife and I fantasize about starting an animal preserve not just for unwanted pets but zoo and farm animals both elderly and disabled.

    I’ve got my eye on a property in Central California.

    Just need 5 million bucks.

  74. Very kind Trow. We’ve already started on a small scale. Many pets are dumped near us because its isolated and rural and occasionally we are able to squire them into a holding pen so they dont get hit by cars or eaten by coyotes. But we can’t keep them indefinitely so we take to no-kill shelters.

    Not enough land or resources to do it right on a large scale with our 2 acres.

  75. I can make a substantial contribution now for a bigger place. Just let me know where to send it. Hope others join in.

  76. Trow

    That’s friggin funny. Impeccable taste and timing from Domino.


    Yeah I’d never leave a dog at kennels either. But we’re lucky cause we only ever have one at a time and plenty of neighbours who we exchange with.

    Our dog is going to be fine, it’s just going to take time, let her get confidence at her own speed. We have just cancelled the xmas Ireland trip – too soon for a big trip on train, boat and car.


    “He’d always be sitting upright in that chair, watching, as we came round the corner on our way back.”

    Or he’d be lazing sofa comfy and jump quick up on the chair at the sound of your approach!


    Top crash.


    “They want to require all businesses who sell prepared food to have a vegan menu item”

    In a world of mandates that is a fucking good one. It’s really not fascism. Unless you think having any law is fascism. It’s just a new law that you don’t like.


    That short movie didn’t really do it for me. Not sure why.

    I’m a late adopter, only getting into youtube this past year. Some of the best animations I have seen are by Steve Cutts. This is funny as hell Where Are They Now?


    I could help out, Ben.

    Nice. Ben and Trow having a Californian animal retreat.

  77. Ben,

    I’ve had two cats. The first was brilliant. He’d ask for food, turn his nose up at it, then go out and catch a rabbit. I put a collar with a bell on him for a while, until he stopped catching finches and other small, colourful birds. He never ate them. In fact, I couldn’t see a mark on them, they appeared perfect apart from being dead. Presumably gifts, but I’d much rather they were flying round the back yard. He teamed up with Shiboo; they even shared the sofa, though facing away from each other. Good rat catcher too.

    I didn’t get on at all with the second cat; less said the better.

    Phil – “Or he’d be lazing sofa comfy and jump quick up on the chair at the sound of your approach!”

    No. Reports from neighbours. He’d just howl and howl, when he wasn’t trying to scratch his way through one of the doors. My landlord even broke into my place once when I left him of an evening to go down the pub; complaints from the neighbours.

    The passage is from Persig; Zen and the Art…. Read it? Lots of compliant about the modern fetish for hierarchies, but the classification sort, not ranking of authority. Persig reckons that Aristotle started it.

  78. Ben, having spent a while with vegans and trying to be vegan myself, I can’t say I object to that law, though I’d say it’s a shame there needs to be one. The choice should be available.

    Try being vegan as an exercise; it really isn’t easy. Here, supermarket things are marked if they’re vegetarian, but not vegan. The only option is to read the ingredients, often complex and in tiny lettering. Take-aways and eating out are even worse.

    It matters even more these days because beef and dairy production in particular are major contributors to greenhouse gases.

  79. Phil: – “But we’re lucky […] plenty of neighbours who we exchange with.”

    Community; it’s essential, but it has been decimated in my lifetime, basically by capitalism and prosperity. People are finally waking up though; “Ain’t it just the way it goes that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?”

  80. Wow. The Steve Cutts animations are amazing. Packed with detail, far more than I can take in real-time, and that detail is full of imagery and allusion and excellent subversive reuse of advertising materials.

  81. This is funny as hell

    Yeah, pretty good in a terrestrial sort of way, but it involves very few dimensions and treats time linearly.

  82. “…which, er, turns out to be the last line of Phil’s YouTube link ”

    Spooky time bending shit.

  83. Trow: I want to address your generous offer but two things..I have not set up the 501(c)3 as yet for non profit so there’s that: two, if this should go further we should share email.

    If Squonk no longer has it I can send it to him again.


  84. Phil and Clark..

    You could get your own Trump elected with that pov on forcing vendors, rather than letting them miss a marketing opportunity they might eventually adopt of their own volition.

    People who insist I live their lifestyle may feel they know better what’s good for me, but their ‘good’ intentions piss me off.

  85. But Ben, that’s entirely back to front. Vendors who don’t offer a vegan choice are deciding that animal products are good for everyone else. I wouldn’t bang on about this but veganism has been mainstream for decades, but when in supermarkets and eating out the choices are still hard to find.

    I can’t see that this has anything to do with Trump.

    One of the advantages claimed for a market economy is that it’s supposed to offer “more choice”. So why does virtually every toothpaste taste of mint? Why can’t I get a cellphone that runs on standard AA cells? Where are the non-perfumed shampoos and conditioners? Where are the computer printers that come with little plugged holes for filling the ink tanks and four half-litre bottles of ink? Why does every car produced since 1960 have self-cancelling trafficators? Why does virtually every rechargeable device need a separate low voltage adaptor with a unique connector instead of having a standard figure-8 or IEC mains receptacle? Why isn’t there a version of Android that has double-touching to save mistakes? Because the premise just isn’t true; the market doesn’t respond unless pushed. Hard.

  86. It boils down to having choices clark. A vendor chooses not to cater to vegans while another chooses a full vegan menu. As a meat-eater I can choose not to eat there, just as a vegan can refuse to eat at a meat-serving restaurant with only one vegan option.

    Both businessmen can choose what market they will serve.

    Progressivism knows what’s best for us and by God we will comply, or else!

    As for what Trump has to do with it, Europe is where US was in 2016. Trumps numbers are better than Macron’s….in France!

  87. Have Do-Gooders who want to make healthy options via legislation (as well make new fees for added licenses and fine revenue from violations) ever operated a business?

    Restaurants fail nine out of ten times. Risky and unless you can afford a liquor license, low margin on total overhead.

    Most bureaucrats have no idea how to make a living (off the public payroll.) running a business. In fact. They don’t give a shit about how to run a business.

  88. Ben, i can easily be reached by letter or phone by checking my window on google, supplied by that spook who got them from the Conn. voter rolls, apparently in the hope that someone would stalk me or bump me off.

    No need for Squonk to get involved.

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