Archive for the ‘Daily’ Category

To Fire 7/7/08

July 7, 2008

I downloaded a free trial of World of Warcraft and am playing some. The only restriction I’ve found so far is no ability to buy or sell at the auction house. It would be cool if we could play together with low-level characters. I prefer playing a tank (warrior) nowadays. I’m available most early to mid evenings (Pacific time). Are you in a Qt3 guild?

I’m headed to Ann Arbor July 19-21 to visit a college friend. He says he doesn’t want to talk politics all the time ;).

I saw Wall-E last week which was very good although it had the usual Disney problems. I’m seeing The Dark Knight on opening night which is getting many very good reviews.

Is your summer going well? We’ve had many nice sunny days here, with only occasional excessive heat.

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To Fire 6/18/08

June 19, 2008

I’m reminded of Dante’s Inferno, where the author passes through hell to reach heaven. Doing this is a very bad idea.

For me the trip took place from 1997 to 2000. I was becoming utterly disillusioned with both the educational system and American society and was very angry about my Usenet experience, which I thought might offer a hope for America but instead merely reflected and worsened the culture. Partially in fear and despair and partially to learn I put on the mantle of a totalitarian dictator with respect to the messageboards of two web-based games – Voltec’s 1-on-1 basketball game (beginning in ’97) and then Grand Slam Baseball (beginning in ’98).

The psychology of a totalitarian dictator is not like it’s portrayed in various media – the primary motivation of a dictator is to save the people from themselves. Since there is a constant interplay between dictator and the people, in order to win and turn the people into sheep the dictator needs to convince them that they are better off to put themselves in the hands of the dictator. He doesn’t do so for nefarious reasons, but because he believes them to be better off if they turn themselves in.

A common misperception is that the best defense against a totalitarian dictator is a kind of paranoia about the possibility of such – and violent reaction against anything that threatens to subvert one’s will. The best way to defend against such dictators is to be a great self-manager – to always command oneself not out of fear of subversion of the will but out of love of freedom, which requires such self-management.

The problem for me was not this project of totalitarianism, but that the project succeeded. I turned people into sheep, and they handed over their will to me. This was an abyss of horror far worse than anything else I’ve experienced or conceived.

It was inevitable following this tragedy that I become a severe enemy of totalitarianism, since I am one of the very few living humans (especially young ones) who understands it and since one of the major reasons I undertook the project was that I saw the United States moving in that direction.

I didn’t have any idea I was undertaking a totalitarian project when I started – my intellectual basis for the project was the Domination/Imitation Duology, which I developed in 1997. I noticed that people would imitate the behavior of people around them, such as people in an auditorium sitting a certain way. My focus was on the psychology of domination and to understand the basis for this domination and imitation.

Perhaps the endpoint of this line is in my allegiance to and pursuit of anarchism, which is the anti-thesis of totalitarianism.

Dante was wrong. It’s self-abusive to go through hell to reach heaven. Humans should never make that sacrifice. We need to build a society such that other humans don’t think they need to take that approach.

How’s Qt3 going? The place seemed fairly mean-spirited a few months ago when I checked in.

How have you been doing? – are there any developments in your life? Are you still writing?

To Fire 6/9/08

June 10, 2008

I’m participating in the unloading of 9 trucks a week, at an estimated average of 1200 boxes per truck – so that’s 10,800 boxes moved per week. I get paid about 2 cents per moved box, and that’s including for free the various box-moving preparations and other assorted tasks.

How’s your summer going? I like the summer in particular since the Notre Dame library is nearly empty and books are very easy to find. Maybe too easy – it’s as if college students and faculty don’t read. They can make the effective argument that they don’t need to.

I’m playing some of Dragon Quest VIII and Final Fantasy XII on the PS2 I’m borrowing from a friend. That’s gotten me interested a bit in continuing my RPG short story, although my time these days is very short.

I’ve entered the scholarly phase of my life which I predicted wasn’t going to happen for another five years. I’m reading over one book per week at the moment – I just finished Joel Kovel’s Overcoming Zionism and started Seymour Hersh’s The Samson Option, both very good. After that I’ll probably move to The Colonizer and The Colonized.

Are you making new friends in San Francisco? Are some of your old ones still there? San Francisco must be one of the most fun places to be in the country right now, even if you’re apolitical.

I haven’t read much of War and Peace, although it’s still on the agenda. Once I whittle down my Notre Dame library reading list that will open up more time for it.

I’m looking for more books to add to my reading list, if you have any recommendations. I’m happy to read fiction or non-fiction.

How’s World of Warcraft going for you? Are you playing in a guild?

Talk to you later.

Quote of the Day

May 25, 2008

I refuse to believe in a world in which I am unwilling to live.

To Fire 5/18/08

May 19, 2008

I’ve been watching a Starcraft Tournament which is extremely entertaining. They also have a World of Warcraft Tournament.

We’ve seen repercussions of the food crisis recently. Rice prices are up 35% here. Pasta is up 40%. This is a kind of regressive tax, as is the big hike in the gas price. It warms my heart to know that through my purchases I’m helping some agro-business CEO buy his 2nd yacht. Don’t you know how much he’s looking forward to another vacation in Rio?

What are you doing this summer?

I’m reading Black Faces, White Masks by Fritz Fanon. It’s very good although a political and economic approach is more useful than it’s psychological one.

I enjoy Mondays since I have the day off from work and can go to the Notre Dame library to read. I may expand my Notre Dame reading to some work days as well in the near future.

What are you reading now?

Take care.

To Fire 3/18/08

March 18, 2008

How’s it going over there?

I’m reading The Creation of the Media by Paul Starr. It details the political and institutional development of the American media. It’s excellent.

I’ve begun War and Peace. It’s fun, although the characters are already exasperating and they’ll probably become more so. Hopefully some War will happen soon and kill off some of these people. The term “chattering class” comes to mind.

To Fire 3/3/08

March 4, 2008

How are you doing? I’ve started War and Peace – so far it’s a lot more readable than I expected. I take the bus to work and it’s a long ride so I get to do a lot of library-book reading.

How is your studying going? Are you extending your computer science training or going in a different direction?

To Fire 2/21/08

February 22, 2008

What do you think about being interviewed with respect to morality and American culture?

To Fire 2/9/08

February 10, 2008

How’s it going?

To Fire 1/22/08

January 22, 2008

How are you doing?

A return to IRC

January 2, 2008

I don’t understand why I’m banned from #qt3 IRC. What’s the motivation for doing so? Is there some ongoing issue I’m unaware of?

To Fire 1/1/08

January 1, 2008

I hope you’re doing well. Have a great 2008!

To Fire 12/24/07

December 24, 2007

Happy Hanukkah! I hope you’re doing well and look forward to talking with you.

To Fire 12/7

December 7, 2007

Would you like to talk in a chatroom?

To Fire

November 14, 2007

If you’re able to, send me your email address.

Reply to mad dog in “Understanding Brian Koontz”

September 17, 2007

I judge intentions from controlled outcomes. So if someone puts a gun to my head and shoots, I assume he’s trying to kill me. If someone has control over society and creates an Authoritarian government, I assume they are trying to create that. Any other assumption seems to me to be quite illogical. The main difficulty is in determining who exactly is in control, to assign which effects to which people/ideologies/institutions/movements. Once that is done the analysis is usually easy.

It’s funny that Americans who are so jaded about their own government can be so trusting of others. Just because the American elite are the world masters of propaganda doesn’t mean they hold a monopoly on it’s use.

The only movements that I trust are those that refuse to take power, those that empower the people, those that enable the people to take power.

Chomsky’s famous phrase can be made more accurate with this version:

“Never trust *any* State”.

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It looks like the WordPress problem where replies cannot be made is time-specific – it always seems to happen to me between 12 Noon and 1 PM Eastern Time.

Reply to mad dog in “On Groupthink”

September 11, 2007

Again due to WordPress maintenance that’s not allowing the reply to go through…

That’s not necessarily true. There’s a lot of things that can go into groupthink. It can be based on a fascist system, or it can be based on a kind of militant panic (like the US government in wartime), or it can be based on a desire for consensus (like where the political system requires consensus).

Individualism is one of the things that opposes groupthink, but another is a democratic system where everyone has a say, and everyone’s different say is worked into reality in an effective way.

I hate groupthink because I’ve never learned anything from groupthink. Everything I’ve ever learned in my life has come from people thinking for themselves and understanding some aspect of the world in a new way.

Groupthink is where ideas go to die.

Response to mad dog in “one example of the approaching police state”

September 10, 2007

WordPress once again is messed up and isn’t allowing my reply to go through within the thread itself, so:

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Limiting us to the United States, the police are always on the right. They always serve those in power.

I don’t believe San Francisco activists are in support of gang injunctions as you claim. You’ll have to do some work in terms of evidence if you want to pursue that line.

At some point you also may want to provide evidence for your “big government” theories. Many on the left want higher taxes (especially for the rich) and a more European-style society in general. This is the Reformist Left though, not the Radical Left. The Radical Left usually wants a different kind of government entirely, whether Anarchist, Communist, Socialist. Tax rates vary by system and implementation.

What you claim is true of big governments is true of all non-democratic governments, whether on the right or the left. There is always corruption when people are controlled without having a say in the terms of the control. Greater problems occur not when government gets “bigger”, but when it gets more powerful, as we are seeing currently in the United States under the autocratic dictates of the Bush regime.

Your concept of degree of taxation = degree of power is false. Again, I refer you to Western Europe, with higher taxes than the US but less governmental power. The Bush regime is possibly the most powerful executive in the nation’s history (I think Kennedy’s was more powerful, but that didn’t last too long), and they have featured heavy tax cuts (for the wealthy).

All top-down governments have benefited the rich and well-connected.

The poor definitely do benefit from government. Even in Neoliberal America there is Welfare, Unemployment Insurance, Social Security. Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Medicare, Free Education. These are not insubstantial or meaningless programs.

The differences between Europe and America are quite substantial. Here’s an inequality chart by country:

http://www.lisproject.org/keyfigures/povertytable.htm

I agree that governments serve the rich. I just don’t take the simplistic views you do.

http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Facts.asp

Now for the poverty statistics:

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/eco_pop_bel_pov_lin-economy-population-below-poverty-line

Notice that the United States is 20th in poverty, behind Libya, China, Croatia, and Syria. That’s pretty embarrassing for the richest country in the world. That is to say, embarrassing to good people. The rich don’t give a shit unless it impacts their bottom line (either political power or economic wealth). Perhaps instead of burying corpses we should pile them up on their doorstep – the cost it takes them to remove them might make them reconsider their policies.

Also, check out Israel, a rich country receiving vast handouts from the United States: 42nd in the world in poverty. That’s the sort of crime that governmental leaders should go to jail for. Instead they’ll go kill or impoverish some Palestinians and call it a day.

Somebody else can pay for their goons. Third world military dictatorships are some of the most harsh and brutal governments in the world, and they often have very low taxes. They don’t need taxes when the United States sends them plenty of arms. The United States is a bit different since they can’t turn to someone else to supply them with the kind of military machinery they need – so there always needs to be a level of domestic inflow of money sufficient to keep the machine rolling.

You’re correct: Europe has less freedom of speech than America has. Europe also has seen two brutal world wars on its soil producing many millions of deaths and if they see a 3rd that could end world civilization entirely. So you’ll have to forgive them for being a little sensitive about which words might lead to which outcomes. It’s a bit strange to honor America, who hasn’t had a multinational war on it’s soil in almost 200 years and is a more or less unified mass, rather than the fractional nature of European politics, for it’s “freedom of speech”. It doesn’t have that because of it’s nobility, it has that because of it’s historical and political condition.

I agree that freedom of speech is meaningful for citizens. Before you get too excited however, you might want to look into COINTELPRO and related programs to see just how little effective speech there is in the United States.

You’ll have few allies with the words in your last paragraph unless you present what’s going to occur *after* all of those things happen. For someone who dislikes anarchy, you sure want to make it happen as soon as possible. You seem to want the sort of anarchy where there is no social order and everything is disorganized, rather than an organized anarchic system.

Anti-hacking expert needed

July 23, 2007

I’m looking for a skilled person in anti-hacking to assist with a friend’s website. If you can help out email me at briankkoontz@yahoo.com.

Hmm / 10/20 Activity

October 20, 2006

I’m not convinced of the Autism diagnosis… I’ll look at the issue. It may be irrelevant anyway, since the treatment should be similar. Its either Autism or Autism-like social disorder… the issue will clarify in the next few weeks since if its merely psychological it will dissipate.

I just got an eye exam and ordered new contacts… I’m cleaning up this atrociously dirty apartment a bit then I’m off to buy a new tire for my car.