The politics of no meaning among the Beckshirts

After an argument at the Farmer's Market with a guy who loudly proclaimed Obama is a fascist and a communist, I am not naive enough to believe reason or even the meaning of words can influence the emerging right-wing idiocracy. But to help future digital archaeologists clarify the chronology of the Age of Stupid I feel compelled to point out that under any reasonable interpretation of the history and semantics of the words, a person cannot simultaneously be a communist and a fascist. Communism is a dictatorship of the proletariat. Fascism is a dictatorship of corporations. Not the same thing. And for people willing to acknowledge there is such a thing as history, communists and fascists were always mortal enemies.


Storm on the horizon

The view from Alamo Square, San Francisco

So, the pro-plutocrat faction on the Roberts Supreme Court is apparently looking to use the case described here (Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission) to make the ultimate ruling: The Constitution of the United States offers no democratic protection against plutocracy. In other words, as the supporters of the plaintiffs in this case would have it, the Constitution allows wealth to govern our country without interference from the governed masses, as represented by Congress -- the law requires us to shut up and take it. If this does indeed go down the "conservative" way, resulting in a political system where corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, democracy in America is dead. We will have reached a point where our "Form of Government becomes destructive of [the democratic] ends" for which this nation was founded, at which point "it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish [that Government], and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." Such a situation will obviously make for troubled times as some significant percentage of us (those who believe in the democratic values animating the creation of this nation) will refuse to live on our knees.


Healthcare reform and the ongoing doltification of America

Nowhere fast -- Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California

The center-right of USAmerican politics is at it again – trying to protect the interests of the plutocratic ruling class through the doltification of the public discourse. The primary mantra against any REAL reform of America's healthcare system, which would necessarily include some kind of public plan that does not depend on the profiteering that mars our current system, is that we need "COMPETITION" and that a public plan would undermine "COMPETITION" by competing the profiteering healthcare corporations out of existence. The center-right liars and/or dimwits (there are, of course, both, and it's not necessarily easy to tell which blow-dried helmet head falls into which category) insist that it's "COMPETITION" that made our current system "the best in the world" and that any strong non-profit option that undermines the profiteers will thereby threaten our "best in the world" system. Of course, we Americans do not have the best healthcare in the world. The World Health Organization lists us at number 36. In other words, somehow the "COMPETITION" the center-right wants to protect does not actually deliver high quality health care to society at large. (It can deliver high quality healthcare to the top 10% or so of the wealth-holders, but serving well 1 out of 10 does not equal a high quality system, as the miserable WHO ranking shows.)

But the real point is that the "COMPETITION" among the profiteers the center-right wants to defend is not competition to provide better health care to more people. (That needs to be said over and over and over: it is NOT competition to provide better healthcare to more people.) The "COMPETITION" they engage in is competition to increase their profits so that their shareholders get a higher return on investment.
That is the "COMPETITION" of the "FREE MARKET." And when it comes to healthcare, that means insuring as few sick people as possible, never covering "pre-existing conditions," and finding creative ways to dump insured people who actually need to use the insurance they've been paying for. In other words, the "COMPETITION" among the healthcare profiteers -- the "COMPETITION" championed by Republicans and centrist Democrats -- is competition to avoid providing the healthcare people pay for! That is why they cannot tolerate a non-profit healthcare option – because in order to "compete" the healthcare profiteers will actually have to make healthcare a priority, which will cut into profits, the generation of which is their sole reason for existing.

This is not to say that the Obama administration and the center-left Democrats have the key to a decent healthcare system.
At best, that remains to be seen. But at least they are not proceeding by shrieking, misinforming scare tactics designed to protect the interests of those who already have the most power.


Experience and/of/through light

Normal everyday experience is spatiotemporal

Spatiotemporal experience is possible by virtue of light

The character/quality of our experience is to some degree
the character/quality of spacetime, an experience possible by virtue of light

The nature of human experience is rooted in a relation to light

Perhaps not surprisingly, our understanding of light is poor

('Not surprisingly' because the things that are closest,
embedded in everything we do, become so 'natural' as to be invisible.)

The poor state of our understanding of light is manifest in the physicist's conception,
which requires light be both a particle and a wave,
two things that - by definition - cannot be the same thing

We need new thinking about light, a new language of light,
a language that will, ineluctably, alter our experience of spacetime

Rocky Point canoe trail, Upper Klamath Lake


Deprogramming capitalist temporality -- the 20 Hour Day

Temporality -- the way people exist in time -- is one of the basic frameworks of human reality. Particular temporalities are constituted by particular societies (or, more accurately, sociocultural systems). In other words, the ways a person experiences and practices time will depend on the ways their society constructs time. And just as the continuing existence of society depends on us continually doing 'society' in our everyday lives, temporality does as well – time, like society, is something we actually *do*, and therefore, if we get a good handle on it, it is something we can do differently.

Thus, the way we practice/enact time should be a prominent issue in the democratic discussion of how we should govern ourselves, how we want to organize our societies and everyday lives. For instance, I would advocate, within this politics of time, that a good society will strive to maximize the amount of FREE TIME its members have.

We here in modern Euroamerica practice time the particular way we do *because* it works effectively for capital accumulation. We have and live a hyper-rationalized time where a difference of 1 out of the 1440 minutes that occur every day can make a real difference in a person's life – no wonder we're so stressed out!
(For a bit more more on "capitalist time" and its discontents, see "Boo to Captain Clock.")

My idea is that part of a process of deprogramming ourselves from our corporate capitalist consumer culture is to begin shifting our way of being in time, finding a temporality that is more humanely paced, which is to say, tuned to the rhythm of a democratically-governed everyday life rather than the needs of plutocratic global capital accumulation.

In that spirit, I humbly propose for democratic discussion -- the 20-HOUR DAY.
I propose we endeavor to begin reorganizing our temporality in a more relaxed, enjoyable, humane way by adopting a whole new clock -- a clock that only goes to 10 twice a day (rather than 12), with fifty minutes in an hour and fifty seconds in a minute. Doing the math shows that one second in 'new time' would last for 1.728 seconds in 'old time.' Theoretically, this slower second/minute/hour would eventually structure a more relaxed everyday life. (To help us get there, I would further propose that our 10-hour clocks have no minute marks and no minute hand.) Part of the system could also be that the typical work day is 5 'new hours' (1/4 of the day, so the equivalent of 6 old hours), so that people have more free time. Over time we could try to make the work day even fewer hours so people could have more time to do whatever they enjoy doing when not pressed for time...