Friday, August 24, 2012

NEXT TIME: Time to Start Thinking

NEXT TIME:  Time to Start Thinking
America in the Age of Descent
By:  Edward Luce

            The Most Dangerous Method
                        The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Speilrein
                        By: John Kerr

Thursday, August 23, 2012

DEBT – The First 5,000 Years

The Slick-Rock Irregular Book Report                                  Posting No. 1208-03

The Slick-Rock (Irregular) Book Review

 Title:      DEBT – The First 5,000 Years
             A Reversal of Conventional Wisdom Regarding National & Personal Debt
             By: David Graeber

Book Type:   Non-Fiction   Economics, Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology

Writing from London, David Graeber is the author of twelve books and is a contriributor to Harpers, The Nation, Mute and the New Left Review.  He has delivered the prestigious Malanowsky Memorial Lecture at London School of Economics which honors the outstanding anthropologist who has fundamentally shaped the study of culture.  He begins with a world-shattering concept:  Debt does not have to be repaid.
In this soon to be classic work, the author examines what constitutes debt, how is began and some of the modern features such as compound interest.  But the basic forgotten tenant behind debt is that it is not an economic statement, is it a moral statement, the concept of Debt has always taken into account the concept that there will be less paid back than was lent in the first place.  Hence, the idea of interest.  However, with modern commandments of debt andhow it works, this is nevertheless an understatement of the fact which falls woefully short of telling the whole story. 
            One of the first inaccuracies is that debt involves one lender and one borrower; One debtor and one creditor.  This is a gross over simplification. Very often debt involves entire populations.  The creditor was the conqueror and imposed huge tributes upon the defeated.  In fact, the very principal of exchange emerged largely as the result of conquest and violence.  The fact is that the real origins of money arose from crime, conquest and recompense, war and slavery, debt and redemption.
            The second myth is that money arose from a system of barter. Traditional economics from Adam Smith on down had held that unsophisticated people adopted a system of “I give you six bags of potatoes for that cow.” For centuries now, researchers have been trying to find this fabled land of barter. After years of research, none ever did.
The author quotes another pre=eminent economist from Cambridge, Carolyn Humphrey who says “ No example of a barter economy, pure and simple has ever been described.”
            Instead, going back for thousands of years, there has been w system of credit from even the more primitive of people.  Indeed, there is good reason to believe that barter is actually not a widespread phenomenon at all anciently, but is an invention of relatively modern times.  One of the popular fallacies is that a money saving device called credit was invented and before that all transactions were paid in coin.  A careful investigation shows that exactly the reverse is true.
            In fact, our standard account of the history of money is precisely backwards.  We did not begin with barter, discover money and eventually develop credit systems.  It happened precisely the other way around.

            Graeber then discusses the dark side of credit.  “ Living with massive debt has more of an effect that a college education.”   Living with never ending debt
Is like living with a terminal disease.   When a nation is defeated in war, to the victor belongs the spoils.  It has been a long reaching practice to enclave the vanquished.
            When the Romans defeated the Jews at Mosada, their mountain top fortress the 987 people who were left got together and elected ten men whose job was to kill every man; woman and child left living because death was preferable to living as slaves to the Romans.   One of the precipitating factors that started World War II was the huge wartime debt from World War I that the allies burdened Germany with and the inability for the Germans to ever pay it off.
            After treating the concepts of credit w. bullion and precious metal as the foundation for all money, the author looks toward what comes next.  His occlusion is that in the twenty-first century we have begun something as yet to be determined in the history of money and debt that extends Io the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tomorrow's Review - DEBT – The First 5,000 Years

I know that I had promised the next review would be on The Social Conquest of Earth by Edward Wilson. The writing was a little less engaging than one might expect from “A Monumental Exploration of the Biological Origins of the Human Condition” I found my mind wondering and I was unable to really sink my teeth into the material. So tomorrows review will not be on Edward Wilson. I will be reviewing DEBT – The First 5,000 Years, A Reversal of Conventional Wisdom Regarding National & Personal Debt By: David Graeber

I may come back and revisit Wilson’s The Social Conquest of Earth at a latter date. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

NEXT TIME: The Social Conquest of Earth

NEXT TIME:  The Social Conquest of Earth
A Monumental Exploration of the Biological Origins of the Human Condition
By:  Edward O. Wilson

            The Most Dangerous Method
                        The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Speilrein
                        By: John Kerr

Delirium By: Nancy L. Cohen

The Slick-Rock Irregular Book Report                                         Posting No. 7012-1

The Slick-Rock (Irregular) Book Review

 Title:    Delirium   
             How the Sexual Counter-Revolution Is Polarizing America
             By: Nancy L. Cohen

Book Type:   Non-Fiction   Political Science, Current Events, Political Commentary

        A Groundbreaking Investigation into the shadow movement that fuels our Political Wars.  Writing from Los Angeles, Nancy Cohen is a contributor to The Huffington Post, the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and Business History Review. This, her third book, tells the little known story of the shadow movement that began in 1960 and continues to the present day. This ideological battle has shattered both political parties.
Yet, each side has enthusiastically embraced each others views but now wants those views to seem like their exclusive purview She traces our current crises to a well organized, well financed and ideologically driven movement to turn back the sexual revolution, feminissm and gay rights. 
            This line-in-the-sand has polarized both political parties and divides America into irreconcilable warring camps.   Delirium charts the path that polarized national politics, split, remade our political parties and unhinged the nation.  The: “delirium” here is political, emotional delirium.  A state of Delirium is a well-recognized mental illness, it is categorized as a 145.2 on the DSM Scale. (A diagnostic guide for mental health professionals).  It is a mental condition marked by the inability to tell reality from fantasy in everyday activities.
            Currently, the Republican Party has staked its future on the promises to outlaw abortion, to re-write the US Constitution to outlaw gay marriage, abolish sex education and resurrect the traditional family by judicial and legislative fiat.  Few people realize that originally it was the other way around.   In just one generation people have forgotten that Barry Goldwater supported women’s rights to abortion and thought that Americans “had the constitutional right to be gay…”  Students for Goldwater, at one Ohio high school was chaired by a young republican student named Hillary Rodham.  
The shadow movement began with the introduction of the pill in 1960.  For the first time in the history of womankind, sex could be enjoyed without a baby or the costs associated with parenthood..  The next major stumbling block was the Equal Rights Amendment in 1970. Roe V. Wade was decided by the supreme Court in 1972 making the aborting of a human life perfectly legal.  A Gallup poll in 1973 reveled that 69% of Republicans favored abortion to the Democrats 39%. Even Catholics reported 64% in favor.   Sex education in the schools dealt a double blow to our political delirium.  No one knew reality from fantasy.   Gay marriage further eroded the traditional American family values.
That, in brief, was the sexual revolution with something to offend everyone.  The author traces the rise of the sexual revolution in vivid, well documented detail. But the counter-revolution was just getting started.  On Jan 20, 2001 the candidate who had lost the popular vote was inaugurated as President of the United States.  Two months later, George Bush sent a message to the anti-abortionist rally stating that he would back a constitutional amendment banning all abortions in all cases.  Shortly Bush allowed faith-based schools to fund their education with a system of taxpayer-paid vouchers, a long standing wish of Christian fundamentalists who home schooled their children to prevent the evils of teaching sex education and evolution in the public schools.  After the elections in 2008 the Republicans experienced a resurgence that was short lived.  In May of 2009, Time magazine asked “Is the party over ?”
In 2010, The Tea Party was born with the fundamental tenant being that nobody was conservative enough to lead our nation as President. What that really means, is that nobody opposes sex and sex related issues strongly enough. This is a doctrine of zero tolerance.  It is a 21st century Pandora’s Box that is said to release moral and spiritual death and destruction upon any one who dares to look inside.  In 2012 hundreds of millions have been spent on TV ads to try and change US attitudes back to the way they never were.   For example, in 1920, 90% of men reported that they had ENJOYED SEX before marriage.   60% of women had done like-wise.  The fact is that sexual mores have always been that way.  People like to have sex.  In fact, when you interpolate those figures, you conclude that women had more sex partners and were far more sexually active than men.  Is it any wonder that books like Sex and the Single Girl were such runaway best-sellers in their time?
In the year prior to Roe v. Wade nearly 2 million women had illegal abortions.
There were only 1.4 million in the year after the decision. Is this yet another manifestation of the alcohol-prohibition attitude where the pent up demand for a previously illegal act is just a precursor the human behavior and that legalizing an act hardly makes a difference in behavioral outcomes?
            Bill and Hillary Clinton.    Both of the Clintons were easy to hate. Hillary was always Bills defacto co-elected official but she stood for things that were definitely not in the American mainstream of political thought.  She held the moral high ground which was reason enough to hate her.  She was an “uppity woman” who was smarter than most men and probably smarter than her husband.  That too, was another reason to dislike her..
Nevertheless, she stood by her man despite continued infidelity throughout the marriage but at the same time had the audacity to hold herself out as being more competent than any of her male counterparts, including her husband. Bill was charismatic but less intelligent and talented.  Hillary made up for these failings but not without cost.. Hillary was at once seen to be pathologically dependent and passively aggressive against her long cheating husband.  He depended on her financially and surrounded himself with especially capable and strong willed women. Soon it became apparent that now, despite protestations to the contrary, Hillary and Bill were  co-candidates  for the Presidency of the US.
    In 1994 when Bill addressed the gay coalition in San Francisco and stated that he would gladly resign his presidency if it would mean an end to AIDS.  Gay activists clearly remember that night as a tipping point between gays and the Democratic Party. Republicans remember that act as catering to a group that they never wanted to appeal to in the first place.  It was yet another reason to hate the Clintons.
:Later, the American people taxpayers spent over $100 million on the Whitewater Special Prosecutor and millions more on Paula Abdul and Monica Lewinski. He escaped impeachment by only a few votes.  Traditional republican candidates had several more things about the Clintons to dislike, not the least of which was Hillary’s run for the presidency herself.
When the same ideas are touted as they were in 1960, but are dressed up in 21st Century garb it somehow seems that these ideas are new.  Those who oppose sexuality do so because no one wants to be seen as supporting dirty, degrading, disgusting behavior.
In the face of similar statistics to those of the 1960s, it is clear – people like to have sex.   It’s just sounds newer, better and somehow like a new political idea.
 Now the real panic sets in.  The Tea Party was born in 2010 and exemplified the fight against all things sexual.  It attracted Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and several fundamentalist Christians as candidates.  Even though Hillary Clinton lead the polls for more than two years, a well-spoken Black man won.  He did however, appoint Hillary as the US Secretary of State.   That was the final straw.  First a women, then a black man. Time to break out the big guns.  One of the first of these weapons was unending opposition to everything Democratic.   In 2012, a Mormon, the arch-type conservative with anti-sexual, anti-gay, no sex education, no federal funds for abortion, teaching nothing but abstence as birth control even a “personhood” amendment to state and federal constitutions got the nod as the republican candidate.
There is now a new line-in-the-sand.  This book takes a well researched, detailed look at how we got here.


This book is available in print, in a Kindle Format, or download it electronltcally
from Google books or The Gutenberg  It is available in an MP-3 format or check your local library. It is not yet available as an audio-book.            . 

Related Books & Works
            The Republican Noise Machine   
Richard Lee
Deep Truth
Igniting the Memory of our Origin, History, Destiny and Fate
Gregg Braden
The Assault on Reason     
Al Gore
Time To Start Thinking
America In The Age of Descent
Edward Luce
Strategic Vision
America at The Crisis of Global Power

Amazon Similar books of interest sold to customers of Delirium
            The Worst Hard Time
            Timothy Egan

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
            Al Franken


            The Most Dangerous Method
                        The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Speilrein
                        By: John Kerr

Friday, August 10, 2012


Slickrock Irregular Book Review

The Worst Hard Times  -Timothy Egan
127 Hours – Aaron Ralston
Hunting Season  - Nevada Bar
Stroke of Genius – Nada Martin
Please Understand Me – Elizabeth Meyers-Briggs
The Assault On Reason - Al Gore
Into Thin Air – Jon Krakeuer
What the Dog Saw  - Malcomb Gladwell
Naked  - David Sedaris
Personality Types – Carl Jung
Thirteen Bankers - Paul Krugman
State of Denial – Bob Woodbury
Time To Start Thinking – Edward Luce
Strategic View – Zegeginw Kurzinski
Why Men and Women Cheat -  Robert Grain
The World Behind The World   Living At The Ends of Time- Michael Mead
The Tipping Point – Malcomb Gladwell
The Devils Punchbowl – Greg Iles
The Fall of American Capitalism -  Sandra Borts
Sixty-One Hours – Lee Childs
Touching The Void –  Joe Simpson 
A Harrowing First Person Account of One Man’s Miraculous Survival 
The Singularity is Near  When Humans Transcend Biology -Ray Kurzweil
Character is Destiny - John McCain and Mark Salter