I still exist. I’m pretty active on facebook, but haven’t felt the urge to post something long in almost a year. In fact, I only had my attention drawn to this site again because a friend on said facebook shared a link to his new blog (https://toolboxphilosophy.com/). For the record, he has no relationship to this blog or my politics, so if you have a problem with my shit, don’t take it there just because I mentioned him. We’re not close enough friends for me to even know how he feels about some of the things I rant about here and on facebook, so check it out, but don’t blame him for me or vice versa.

Anyway, I’ve spent most of today being upset on facebook. The number of cases in just the past few days of black men murdered by police is unfathomable. Then the events in Dallas. I’m not a news source, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, look that shit up (killedbypolice.net is a start). I’m not here to speak for the #BlackLivesMatter movement either. I’m not qualified to, though they definitely have my support, and honestly if you want to read what someone has to say about these events, I’m hoping you started with sources that are people of color. Those are the voices that need to be heard right now. I just feel the need to scream into the (mostly) abyss, not that I mind the occasional reader. I’m just speaking my mind, something that, despite what Trump-supporters may say, does not necessarily mean being a bigoted white supremacist. #NotAllMindsMatter

To say that we have a problem in the US of pigs murdering black men (and non-men for that matter) with impunity on a regular basis would be a vast understatement. There is a centuries-old war on people of color being carried out by the police in the US. I don’t know how we’re supposed to stop it, but I certainly can’t say that I blame the few who have tried fighting back. I also find it concerning to hear of low-tech drone warfare being carried out against such combatants on US soil. In fact, I found that mess so difficult to believe that I’ll bother looking up a link. (http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/dallas-police-ambush/dallas-police-used-robot-bomb-kill-ambush-suspect-mayor-n605896) That’s not exactly deescalation. This seems to be the recurring shitstorm of every summer and only getting worse. I used to think cellphone cameras were a privacy problem. Now, I’m glad to see that videos exist when this happens, even if I honestly no longer put myself through actually watching the videos. I’ve seen enough videos to trust the victims at this point until I hear a strong enough argument otherwise (doesn’t happen). I don’t want to watch anymore videos of people being murdered, and I also don’t want to read anymore posts of pacifist quotes from fucking MLK, especially from white (or native) people who aren’t in this fight. I’m not even directly in this fight (#WhitePrivilege), but I’m sure as hell not stupid enough to think that fighting back is something we should condemn people for. If there’s anything we’ve learned in the four terms of the Bush Jr era, it’s the fact that our government doesn’t call something aware doesn’t deny people the right to fight back. At the least, enough dead cops might encourage some meaningless bullshit reforms from useless liberals, once they’ve murdered everyone involved in the protests as liberals do. If not that, maybe some of the pigs will quit for their own safety. That’s what I keep saying they should, considering that they’re always so fucking scared for their safety. I’ll close this post with a link that I think of every time a cop shoots someone, armed or not. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt6kKhlX8vU

Tonight, I’m going to explain how anyone who makes enough to pay taxes (and does so) is subsidizing the slavery of those who do not make enough to pay taxes.

First, a brief, conceptual description of chattel slavery: during chattel slavery, owning a slave meant feeding, housing, and taking care of said slave until it was no longer economically advantageous to do so. Conditions were often horrible, but capitalists don’t really care what their slaves’ experiences are like. Any problems are simply blamed on market pressures.

After the slaves were “freed”, employers had to pay employees a wage. This wage needn’t be enough to feed, house, and take care of the slave, only enough to keep the slave coming to work. However, slaves still need to eat and have places to live. This is where government programs and charities come into play. If a job doesn’t pay enough for someone to survive, wherever the extra income that pays the difference is coming from is subsidizing that slave’s employer’s ownership of said slave.

An economist would claim that if a job doesn’t pay enough to live, no one would be willing to work that job. Anyone who actually lives in the real world knows that that is bullshit. Slavery is a buyer’s market. There are always more people than jobs, and as technology advances, this problem only gets worse. This means that the labor market is perpetually flooded with people so desperate for a source of income that they’ll take whatever they can get and be terrified of losing it. Letting alone the loss of rights that comes with a job (mostly freedom of expression), these bottom-rung jobs also come with schedules so chaotic and life-consuming that they make it drastically more difficult to seek alternative work and prevent people from getting things done at home that they would otherwise do themselves, resulting in further expenditures. This feedback loop essentially keeps the person trapped in their dead-end job.

This gets worse when healthcare comes into play. A chattel slave owner had to make a large initial investment to purchase a slave. This meant that, in order to make that slave worth the money, they had to keep them healthy enough to work hard. In a wage system, the only initial investment is the hours it takes to train for the job. With a multitude of desperate people lined up around the block, if something causes a slave to not be capable of work, it is often cheaper to replace them. You may be thinking, “but what about workman’s comp?” There’s two problems here. First, a slave owner had an incentive to keep their slave healthy, regardless of whether an injury took place on the job or not. Second, because they have no other incentive to provide care, employers actively make getting assistance difficult, to avoid paying. At minimum wage, slaves are often afraid to seek treatment, because they might get fired for something “unrelated”.

Back to government programs: if government programs are subsidizing the slavery of the working class, who’s funding the programs? First and foremost, all wealth being the product of the working class (and stolen by our masters), we do. But more directly, let’s consider a few facts. Major corporations use loopholes to get out of paying taxes, so not them, even though they own the most slaves. Bottom-rung wage slaves don’t make enough to pay taxes. Small businesses lack the clout to get out of paying taxes. Individual artisans/contractors pay an absurd amount of taxes. Skilled labor pays taxes, and then has to pay extra just to maintain the organizations that attempt to help improve their conditions but in almost all cases, fail to address the systemic problems of capitalism itself, thus making those unions (basically everyone but the IWW) well-intentioned class traitors to everyone who isn’t a member of the union. Essentially, small businesses and independent workers pay for the slavery of unskilled labor to bigger businesses. This is one of the many ways that the “bigger fish” eat the “smaller fish”: by manipulation of the state and the work force. In Marxist terms, the petit bourgeoisie is fooled into funding the bourgeoisie. The working class is simply the ball with which this game is played. Slaves weren’t emancipated to help slaves; they were emancipated to relieve bigger businesses of the responsibilities associated with slave ownership. This is why small businesses, and especially independent workers should benefit from minimum wage increases: As they employ less slaves, the higher the minimum wage gets, the less they’re paying for larger businesses’ slaves. Unfortunately, this line of reasoning fails to hold up, because when a government program requires less money, they simply redirect the funds, rather than reduce taxes, usually to weapons manufacturers. Note here that either way, the working class only receives marginal benefit from a minimum wage increase, simply taking the price for our perpetuated desperation off of the tax base, and putting it back on our owners.

This is of course not to say that living conditions for slaves are worse now (the ability to leave, however rarely used, is definitely beneficial), but to point out that those conditions are irrelevant to the decision-making apparatus. Even in the cases of skilled labor, where there are benefits and retirement packages, those things exist to keep one tied to their employer and are luxuries that only larger businesses can afford. Ultimately these things are part of the problem.

And here’s what pisses me off in my situation: I work for minimum wage, but the majority of my bills are paid by student loans. Following my own logic, I am subsidizing my own slavery at a fucking gas station, with interest. Our only possible escape is the abolition of capitalism and the state, which only exists to protect capitalism. We must seize the means of production and strive for a working class that feeds itself with mutual aid and defends itself by whatever means necessary. The rest is all bullshit.

This is a picture of me looking dead sexy in a dress:

D351 in a Dr355

D351 in a Dr355

Something that irritates me: I’m not trans, gay, or in any other way a victim of sexual or gender-based oppression. This wasn’t a costume party (unless you consider “formal” a costume, which is actually a pretty good point). I wasn’t trying to make a joke of trans people and their struggle. I decided to wear a dress because I could. Then, I was encouraged by friends to take it a step further with make-up and heels. I don’t identify with gender, and I refuse to believe that wearing a skirt or dress says anything about who I am other than that I happen to be wearing said skirt or dress. I feel an aggressive approach to addressing this question is appropriate. I’ll wear whatever I want. I don’t mean to offend trans people, and I don’t care if I offend people who still think there’s validity to outdated gender standards. I just felt like wearing a dress. I hate “mens” dress clothes (and now I also hate heels).

I don’t mind if other people keep their personal definitions of gender, but I don’t see any validity to the idea for myself. Gender is a social construct. It’s still important to a lot of people’s experiences, but I don’t care for it for me. This is particularly awkward for me as a person who was raised with cis-male privilege who’s trying to respect and assist in struggles that my privilege makes me unqualified to completely understand. I’m really adamant that I mean no offense to the LGBTQIA (Is that the full list?) community. I’ve always been referred to by male pronouns and don’t feel strongly either way about pronouns. Rather than assert my personal nullification of gender in how others approach me, I really just don’t care. For this reason, though I support the decisions they make for themselves, I don’t really understand the trans community’s experience with pronouns. I support their right to make those decisions, but I don’t really understand them and guess that my position prevents me from having that experience.

But there’s more. As a cis-male (While I don’t really identify with the man/woman gender construct, for simplicity, I’ll use the cis- terminology, particularly as my internal thoughts don’t change the privilege I experience.), I feel like what little negative impact I experience is small potatoes, worth mentioning in my own space but ultimately unimportant. In a way, privilege can be silencing. But enough woe-is-me MRA-sounding bullshit. Then again, maybe this is just a natural extension of the abusive gender archetype that men aren’t supposed to complain. I feel a little gross about even bringing it up… and yet saying that makes me even more aware of it. This shit’s confusing.

On to something lighter: skirts and dresses are super-comfortable, even if the top half of dresses aren’t generally designed with me in mind. One of the (many) things I love about being in the Society for Creative Anachronism is the baggy clothing. My monk robe was one of my favorite articles of clothing in High School, before I even joined the SCA, and the difference between a robe and a dress is pretty arbitrary. As for upper garments, “womens” tops were not designed for my body, but “mens” fashion has long-since left baggy clothing for the upper body. Once again, SCA and ren fest clothes are much more comfortable than today’s “mens” clothing. I’ll probably eventually get sick of using quotes around “mens” and “womens”. The one big drawback I see in skirts and dresses is kind of important though: they’re designed for people who our culture expects to carry purses. In the SCA and ren fest, it’s pretty normal to not have pockets (you wear belt pouches instead), but in daily existence, I find it difficult to understand how women who don’t carry purses get by if they wear skirts or dresses. In my pockets right now are a wallet, a cell phone, three small notebooks, and an assortment of scraps of paper that I wrote something down on (for some reason I don’t always use the three notebooks). I often wear a jacket exclusively so as to have additional pocket space, and while I suppose that’s a solution, jackets often have very loose pockets that things fall out of. Maybe, I’m just being nit-picky at that point.

For the most part, I don’t usually wear skirts or dresses, though I do wear a kilt fairly often. Now, talk about arbitrary classifications. A kilt is TOTALLY a skirt. People who wear kilts often joke that it’s a skirt if you wear anything under it. Even I do. That said, my kilt has pockets, and that’s super-useful. Even so, dealing with the reaction to wearing a skirt or dress is often not worth the hassle for me, particularly in situations with groups of people I don’t know and have no reason to get to know (shopping, travel, etc.). In a way, I feel like this is selling out my urge to be aggressive about my rights. That said, it wouldn’t be the first time that toning down that urge saved me from a lot of potential public harassment that would quickly spread to the people close to me. I don’t know. I just hate to allow other people to arbitrarily limit my options.

I don’t know that I have anyone actually reading these, so I feel no need to apologize. For the rest of this post, I’m just going to copy and paste some stuff I said recently on facebook. I really need to get back in the habit of using diaspora.

7/1/2015:

So, supposedly the most recent church-burning wasn’t arson according to unnamed sources. 1. What about the other six(?) churches? 2. I find it far more likely that the KKK has infiltrated whatever office released this info… That’s why they’re called the “invisible empire”.

7/1/2015:

How I see the presidents of my lifetime:
DMCA Blowjob bastard
Bush (doesn’t need additional insult or clarification)
Black Bush
Next year, we’ll find out if it’s going to be Female Bush or White Obama who’ll be coming next.

7/1/2015:

Another thought about feminism (Red & Black Anarchists linked Everyday Feminism and the article linked to so many other articles that I feel like I’m in the feminist equivalent of TV Tropes): As a male who supports feminism, it can be challenging to both make it clear that patriarchy harms straight (and non-straight, obviously) men too, showing that men have a “dog in this race”, and not overshadow how much worse patriarchy is for women. Men aren’t just “allies” to feminism. We participate in this struggle, even if our participation is far less harrowing.

7/1/2015:

Just had an interesting thought about feminism and dating. When splitting the bill, should a man on a date with a woman pay 23% more to cover the pay gap, or should he just give a 23% tip after splitting the bill evenly?

7/1/2015:

The trending topics on my page right now are:
Yet another burned black church in SC
A Nic Cage meme
A Freddie Mercury video mashup…
I’m glad it’s in that order, but seriously, number two and three are internet junk food? Either there’s nobody on facebook right now, or there is nothing else going on… or a majority of people finally really, really care about these obviously racially motivated crimes.

6/30/2015:

New hashtag I propose: ‪#‎privilegedproblems‬. Sometimes, when white, straight cis-men complain about being demonized, no one particular category is enough. Hell, even I get frustrated about being demonized when the phrasing is directed at all men, all white people, etc., (and have bothered to say something if the statement particularly attacks those who are trying to contribute), but there are people who actually suffer from these systems of oppression, and we’re not them… except in the case of capitalism, for us white, straight males who happen to be working class, though even then, we generally suffer significantly less.

6/30/2015:

Some thoughts on wealth: You didn’t “build that”. Initiative and drive are great, but even if you’re part of that tiny fraction of the wealthy that didn’t get there by dumb luck or inheritance (institutionalized perpetuation of dumb luck), your wealth is still dependent on an infrastructure built by multitudes of humans, as well as nature itself. Everything used to “accomplish” wealth comes from outside of you. Roads, power, etc. are human contributions in the most obvious sense, but there’s more. Most income is dependent on “demand”, but to put it more simply, every dollar you ever made was either given to you or you stole it. The fact that an exchange took place does not change this. Often, peoples reasons for choosing a product, particularly when shopping locally, it’s their interest in your well-being as a human and trust that you will do something worthwhile with the money. I don’t care how great a product a company makes; if they do horrible things, I will go with an alternative if it is available (though in our current state of duopolies this is rarely still an option). And on an even deeper level, your “wealth” (if you consider property or money wealth) depends on a large percentage of humanity agreeing on what constitutes wealth and on what constitutes ownership. If the form of currency you keep your money in crashes, there goes your wealth. You should’ve worked harder and invested better. If people finally decide that there are too many humans to justify your hoarding of land and housing, you should have followed the trends. Obviously, your amazing bootstraps should have let you know to diversify your holdings. And before someone accuses me of promoting gold, gold is subject to the same problem. It’s not very useful. Ultimately, being rich means hoarding resources away from other people. We should stop striving to be rich and stop respecting rich people. Being rich means being selfish and short-sighted. We should strive to help our fellow human, to prove that no one needs to be rich. The urge to wealth is a paranoia that you’re community won’t be there for you that sadly encourages your community not to be there at all.
And don’t tell me about rich philanthropists. Their bank accounts indicate that they shit on the poor, then want you to thank them for making showers available. Fuck Bill Gates.

6/30/2015:

You know you’re getting old when you’re legitimately disappointed that your dental floss is missing.

6/30/2015:

Some thoughts on poverty: Believing that you are responsible for your own situation can be helpful for self-encouragement and keeping a healthy sense of hope, but failing to acknowledge that the majority of poor people are victims of circumstance (capitalism) isn’t uplifting anyone; it’s condescending conceit and privileged bullshit. Unless you’re talking about yourself, you can shove your bootstraps up your ass. A lot of people don’t even have shoes. Stop telling them to aspire to your delusions.

Fuck microsoft. There is no reason I should have to jump through all these hoops to get Skype to work. Apparently, if you start an account through facebook, they permanently cripple your account, forcing you to delete it and either use your MS account (and if you don’t they’ll harass you about it every time you do anything) or start a normal account then add your facebook… Additionally, if you accidentally use the ridiculously useless windows 8 app version, you not only have to use your ms account, but lose all ability to import contacts and any sense of control. Everything’s flashy and dependent on memorizing when/where to right-click to do anything. #windows-is-a-virus #microsoft #microshaft #microshit #skype #shitty-software #capitalism

I'm pretty sure I've got my whole diaspora* set up now. This post should be automatically posted on my facebook, twitter and wordpress.

Book Recommendations

Posted: February 27, 2012 in Books, Gaming, Occult, Philosophy

So, I’m bored and can’t think of anything better to post. Here’s some book suggestions:

Illuminatus! by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson – Possibly the greatest story ever told. Conspiracy theory drawn out to awesome extremes.

Suicide Note by Mitchell Hiesman – This is a long (1905p) creative commons book. The guy gives a pretty full history of western culture, his take on the singularity, how he feels all of this connects to nihilism, how he feels nihilism justifies an experiment in not living, then the day he published it, he killed himself. Definitely one of my all-time favorite reads.

Off The Map by Crimethic. – I like (and recommend) everything I’ve read by Crimethinc. This is one of their less political works which is just a great story.

Anything by H.P. Lovecraft – I think this explains itself.

The Invisibles by Grant Morrison – Best comic series ever published, period.

Vampire Today by Joseph Laycock – If you’re interested in vampires or subcultures, this is the most even-handed book about the “real vampire” community there is. It’s very interesting.

Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse – My favorite book on philosophy is actual about games.

Stealing the Network by Johnny Long – Best computer fiction I know of. Not only does it get better as the series goes, but it’s the only computer fiction series I know of that doesn’t go in to science fiction. All of these hacks are extremely realistic (if not specific actual security flaws) and explained in extreme detail.

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott – A brilliant little geeky story about a two-dimensional being who is introduced to the third dimension. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t already read this after I finally did.

GURPS: Basic Set (Generic Universal Role-Playing System) by Steve Jackson Games – Just do it. I can’t find enough people who know this system and want to play.

Liber Null & Psychonaut by Peter Carroll – If you like occult stuff, this is a good place to start on chaos magic. I love this book.

Ceremonial Magic and the Power of Evocation by Joseph Lisiewski – How to summon demons, without a bunch of new age garbage and psycho-babble, which is what you usually find when looking for a non-ancient book on summoning demons.

How to Read the Aura and Practice Psychometry, Telepathy, and Clairvoyance by W.E. Butler – Psychic training suffers from many of the same problems that demonology has, this book gives you how to learn the stuff without devolving in to a bunch of guided meditations and bullshit.

I think that’s more than enough for now… I haven’t done any occult stuff in a long while. I might just reread that last one… and maybe Liber Null.