Cosmic Background Fanaticism

July 3, 2014

We have one experimental find: the Cosmic Radiation Background (CRB), a uniform light from all over the sky at 2.7 degree Kelvin. I will argue that, on the face of it, it has three possible causes. However only one is considered to be true, and is consequently explored to death. That is, as if the lives of physicists depended on it. In truth, it’s only their careers that depend upon it.

A theory nearly everybody believes in, is the “Big Bang”. After all, it’s in the Bible. The Bible is popular, thus, so is the “Big Bang”. As behooves something so big, it’s supposed to explain everything, for example why there is a Cosmic Radiation Background, why there is Helium, etc.

Pleiades Star Cluster: Close To Olbers Effect...

Pleiades Star Cluster: Close To Olbers Effect…

Skeptics will smirk: for centuries people searched for the Cosmic Radiation Background: then, it was called “Olbers Paradox”. The “Paradox” was that there should be a Cosmic Light Background (the light of distant stars)…

Olbers’ reasoning was simple: 1) suppose the universe is infinite. 2) thus looking anywhere around the sky, once gaze is bound to end on the surface of a star. 3) therefore the sky ought to be uniformly bright according to the brightness of the average star.

[Let's forget modern subtleties such as Red Dwarf Stars and Brown Dwarves...]

However, pointed out Olbers there was no uniform brightness.

Now one such uniform cosmic light has been found, though, nobody seems to remember Olbers’ name. Olbers’ reasoning is inconvenient.

Indeed, ever since Maxwell, we have established that light is electromagnetic radiation. So the Olbers Paradox could very well show up, not as visible light, but as a weak radiation. Why? Well, suppose that distant parts of the Universe recede, as Hubble and his predecessors and colleagues observed: the light from distant stars would shift into the very deep infrared… As observed!

However, now that the Olbers Paradox has become the Olbers Effect, it’s used to explain something else completely different, and outright weird: the Big Boom. Instead of being the light of distant stars (or the like), as Olbers would have had it, the Cosmic Radiation Background (CRB) is viewed as the light from… an explosion.

We see the expansion, we see the stars, we see the galaxies, do we see the explosions?

And the question then appears: what happened to the initial Olbers Paradox? Why does nobody talk about it anymore? Could it not be that the Cosmic Radiation Background is even boosted the Olbers Effect with, say, tired light?

Why are these sort of natural, historically laden questions not addressed anymore?

The answer is simple: take Princeton University’s Physics Department. All professors there are string theorists. Problem: strings don’t exist. So these people are professors of inexistence. No wonder they can’t answer history.

It’s true that theoretical considerations can lead to phenomenological interrogations. But string theory had its chance. By occupying all the theoretical space, it prevents other theories to have their chance too.

Let’s change intellectual gears, and lift the debate into Meta.

What we have here is one experimental find: the Cosmic Radiation Background (CRB), a uniform light from all over the sky at 2.7 degree Kelvin.

We have three possible explanations, yet only one is pushed and pushed and pushed. That’s not the proper scientific method. To figure things out, we have to look everywhere, and make sure that logical branching points have been explored.

OK, governments do not give enough money to do that. They prefer hedge fund managers and Google clowns.

In the age when robots can replace most work, it’s time to reconsider this. Why? Why is it so important to get the universe right? Well, be it only because by doing so, we make our intelligence more subtle. In Bangladesh, the sea is now rising more than 16 millimeters per year, threatening one hundred million people. And nobody knows why.

Perfecting our ability to observe and make theories is our essence. And no better place there is to perfect it than the entire universe.

On a more aggressive meta level, to understand fanaticism, and the related intellectual fascism is urgently needed. In this respect the entire field of physics, as the self described most clever people in the world can be exposed to be complete fools.

Remember the TOE? The Theory Of Everything? Well, as we now know, physicists have theories on, at most 4% of the universe. And those are obviously incomplete. But that’s another story.

In the same vein, maybe they have only a 4% explanation of the Cosmic Radiation Background. Those who are honest enough, and clever enough, will admit that may well be true. No honesty in matters intellectual, no intelligence.

Patrice Aymé

Sarkozy Indicted For Corruption

July 2, 2014

Crime There, Business As Usual Here… 

France’s Former President Sarkozy Taken Into Custody: 

02 July 14

Just two years after losing the presidency in an election, former French leader Nicolas Sarkozy turned himself in to police for an inquiry into a cover-up of suspected illegal campaign fundraising. Sarkozy, 59, is France’s first former president to be taken into custody.

After 16 hours of continuous interrogation by the police, Sarkozy was put in formal “examination” by instruction judges at 2 am (on three counts). That means, translated in American semantics, that he is indicted.

Sarkozy is being questioned over his possible interference during a probe of possible illegal financing for his 2007 campaign from France’s richest woman, L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. The case centers around whether Sarkozy and his lawyer were kept informed illegally on the investigation by a friendly magistrate — who was in return promised a prominent position in Monaco.

The sums involved, at most a few million Euros, are tiny by the standards of the USA. Some were used to organize large, USA style political rallies, with lots of flags waved.

In the USA, there is basically no such a thing as illegal financing: once respected some purely formal barriers, the world’s richest people can finance their chosen candidates with unlimited funds. Astutely, they finance both sides, “democratic” and “republican”, of the same thing that is everything.

Under Obama, that system became industrial, for all to see. Obama, or his wife, fly to the San Francisco Bay Area, all the time. For a bit more than 30,000 thousand dollars, one can have breakfast with them. As that’s more than half the family income in the USA, the price of the visit keeps the commons away.

Lunch, dinner and personal interviews are reserved to multibillionaires.

Why it has to happen so often means probably that the president is getting instructed about what to do next by the world’s richest people. (What else? More elaborated plots? Sex a la Clinton?)

In the French republic, spending for presidential elections is state financed, and limited to a few dozen million Euros. TV is requested by law to show candidates on an equalitarian basis. The last presidential election in the USA cost more than 6 billion dollars (there is also a lot of hidden spending).

The indictment of Sarkozy for corruption occurs on the very week when it was revealed that Bill Clinton, all by himself, had gathered a full billion dollars… from his beloved, the plutocrats.

That very week when the giant bank BNP was condemned grievously for financing companies in Cuba (an island that is Wall Street’s, the Mafia’s, and thus the government of the USA’s nemesis).

Financing companies in Cuba is legal in Europe. After all, Cuba is not viewed as a rogue nation by the United Nations.

Blatant, massive, astronomically large financing by plutocrats for all to see is basically unlawful worldwide, except in the USA…. The world most hidden, and largest, tax-haven (but only a haven for the hyper rich, because not everybody can afford an anonymous company set-up!)

Sarkozy is charged with corruption. This is a very serious charge in France. The last time this happened to a French politician (MP-Mayor of Grenoble, Carignon), he went to jail for four long years (among other punishments).

Sarkozy declared that he had been “humiliated“. And so it is for nearly anyone who has to do with “justice”. And yes, it’s not always “just”. Far from it. And yes, there should be more safeguards against the power of the state, as “liberals” have said for 26 centuries.

But, when he had the power, Sarkozy used, and abused, it. Enjoy.

Patrice Ayme

Why Are Americans So Primitive?

July 1, 2014

Paul Handover, from Learning From Dogs, a commentator of this site asks: “Your essay, Patrice, clearly depicts your views towards Western religions but here’s a question: why do so many Americans embrace Christianity in what one might describe as almost a fundamentalist manner? For such a forward-looking nation in so many ways, this aspect has puzzled me for some time.”

Both aspects are related, the religious primitivism, and the charge forward. Metaphysics, like other things meta, is primarily to address down to Earth questions. Literally:

God Given! Let the USA Bless God. Alleluia.

God Given! Let the USA Bless God. Alleluia.

[Don’t You Ask How We Got All This.]

The USA is like a horse with blinds: it is forced by its masters to pull a heavy load, and devices around its head do not allow it to look sideways. Not looking around and questioning is fundamental. Sitting in a café’, and chewing the world for hours, is best done somewhere in Europe. Americans do not like to discuss the big issues as much: they are too close to “conspiracy theories”.

An all-encompassing philosophical attitude looks around too much, away from the task at hand. It would ask too many questions about the reigning plutocracy. The plutocrats do their best this not to happen. The USA functions like an empire driven by masters, and common people think accordingly.

The coming back of the Christian God in the USA, since the 1940s, corresponded to an enormous influx of cheap labor from (then) primitive areas of the world (say Mexico). The Latinos provided with cheap labor, but they have a strong family structure. Primitive Christianism is a proven recipe to keep them down (just ask the Conquistadores).

In 1954, “IN GOD WE TRUST” was made the motto of the USA, and enforced in public schools in many states (not Hawai’i).  So now we have a president who asks God to bless the USA, as if he were the Pope, urbi et orbi.

I have written numerous essays on the connection between the Bible, where God Himself conducts holocausts, and the barbarity of the first three centuries of occupation of North American by English speaking Europeans. Whereas in Spain, Charles Quint, as early as 1550 CE, ordered to stop holocausts in the Americas, such an order to stop the massacre, was never given in the territory that was going to become the USA.

The result can be contemplated in the Brazil football world cup: whereas the Central American football teams (Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras) are genetically mixed with Indian genetic stock, there is not one speck of Indian facial trait in Team USA.

A successful holocaust is not conducive to introspection. Especially when one enjoys its fruits every day.

But let’s look at it from a different angle. Obama named a commission to look into the disappearance of the bees. Well, there is no need to do this: the factors are well known, including nicotinoid insecticides.

So the leadership of the USA is playing stupid, to gain time for those who make and use such nicotinoids: playing dumb has its uses to gain time. After slavery was officially outlawed at the end of the Secession War, in December 1865, racism kept on going strong in the USA. Obsessing about the Christian God, allowed not to notice that: how could people obsessed by becoming good, be bad?

After all, the Bible is racist enough to endorse any tribal excess: it’s all about the Chosen People (whom Hitler chose for a perversely inverted special treatment).  The myths of the Bible, such as the “city on a hill”, and, of course, the chosen people, in this case, the Pale Faces, was to rule what was obviously the Promised Land.

Naivety can be brutally effective. And it’s not always wrong.

Minds in the USA are concentrated on achieving practical tasks. Instead of remaking the world in their head, the world is God-given.

So citizens of the USA work, and work, and never, ever, contest the established order seriously.

That’s why you will never see Paul Krugman contest deeply the banking system. Quite the opposite: he wants central banks to send it ever more money.

Paul is practical: he camps on popular positions. That makes him the most popular blogger for progressives on BOTH sides of the Atlantic (so Americanization is progressing, even among self-proclaimed progressives!)

Popular now, sure, but a future dwarf, not to say flea, in the history of thought.

All and any Americans are deeply uncomfortable when one makes deep critiques against “their” system. I had a rich, highly successful architect with plenty of skyscraper under construction, become red in the face, when he accused me of wanting to change the Constitution of the USA, and that never, ever, any reasonable American would take me seriously. Never mind that dozens of European countries change their Constitutions continually. In the USA, it’s the proverbial “third rail”, where all the electricity goes through. He never invited me again, an experience I had too many times to bother counting them.

Challenging the system, in a country such as France, for at least three centuries (after Louis XIV croaked), has been seen as the most interesting exercise (except for when the humor-less Robespierre and Napoleon ruled). In the USA, it’s viewed as a personal threat (by all too many).

Americans come from all over the world. Only very strict simplifying principles keep their minds compatible with each other. At least, so all too many of them feel.

Yesterday I was swimming in a lake in California. It has a small official “Swim Area”, watched over by no less than four official would-be rescuers armed with loud speakers. Going outside is “Against The Law”, although deprived of danger.  Other arcane laws apply: a five year old child, going out of such and such a particular limit, within the “Swim Area”, exposes the accompanying parent(s) to a $300 fine.

Being “Against the Law” is even more important than God, in the USA. Some laws seem set-up, just to test whether one will respect the “Against The Law” Principle. Those who do not respect that Principle are “outlaws”, and definitively not felt to be socially acceptable.

As this happened in Berkeley, a supposedly rebellious, flower power town, if there ever was one in the USA, some swimmers braved the interdiction, and were soon yelled at through the loudspeakers by adolescents a third their age, threatening them with the long arm of the law.

(Unsurprisingly, old foggies from the 1960s tend to be more rebellious than the youth whose parents were raised by Reagan; so, all too often, the enforcers are young, the old disobedient.)

As in all good American movies, the cavalry was called to the rescue against the terrorists. Black uniformed police officers swarmed the edges of the lake. A police helicopter flew low overhead, barking out orders. Never mind the budget crisis. Never mind this is a narrow 300 meters deep valley adorned with giant eucalyptuses and towering redwoods.

What is important, is to demonstrate how important law and order is in the USA. “Shock and Awe” will be applied. If the helicopter crashes, the rogue swimmers will be no doubt charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

Order starts with God. The God that gave the “Promised Land” to the “Chosen People” is best. He has proven his worth by killing millions, emptying continents, and torturing David’s son to death, because his father had not respected the law of God. The law of God is now applied to European banks and Argentina, bankrupting them all, empowering and enriching Americans some more, proving how this metaphysics of brutal  primitivism is all worthwhile.

Let Obama conclude: “God bless the United States of America!” OK, children! Now that we are done with philosophy, back to work!

Patrice Aymé

Rosalind Franklin: Be A Blossom Of Wisdom

June 29, 2014

Rosalind Franklin, born in Notting Hill, London, was from a wealthy Jewish British family. Armed with a PhD, she spent nearly 5 years studying X ray technique in Paris. Back in Cambridge, she made a succession of discoveries, including the double helix structure of DNA.

Franklin died at the age of 38, a victim from ovarian cancer. I would venture to say that it is likely she got the disease from her work with radiation (as Nobels Marie and Irene Curie clearly did).

Rosalind, 4 Years After Elucidating the Double Helix

Rosalind, 4 Years After Elucidating the Double Helix

Is the human condition a vacation from nothingness? We live, and, in the long run, we die. So what do we live for? Fundamentally, because life is what animals are, that’s what they do. Yet, humans know they will evaporate. So, in their case, there is more: an esthetical choice.

They know their lives, in a way, are gratuitous acts. All proportion kept, they are like those insects who fly around just one day. Humans are erased as they die. The God illusion was invented to deny this. Yet, increasingly, most people do not believe in it, and never did.

So what to live for?

For eons, people learned all they could, and the best were called Shamans. They tried to transmit the knowledge and stories to their (spiritual) descendants. For at least 50,000 years, that process, a continual re-invention of the human condition, ruled. It was no doubt achingly painful for shamans to transmit the wisdom, before they died, and see it all slip back.

Visible progress accelerated only with the invention of civilization, herding and agriculture (in which order is not too clear; wolves certainly came first, at least 50,000 years ago, at least that’s my Neanderthal wolf theory).

Nowadays have writing. Writing was painfully evolved over the eons, and started with painting and other pictorial representations (as Robinson imagines in his book linked to above). We cannot just examine our existence, nowadays, but also the past.

“The results suggest a helical structure (which must be very closely packed) containing probably 2, 3 or 4 coaxial nucleic acid chains per helical unit and having the phosphate groups near the outside.” — Rosalind Franklin, official report, February 1952.

Franklin’s two manuscripts on the double helix DNA reached Acta Crystallographica in Copenhagen on 6 March 1953, one day before Watson & Crick completed their model saying what she wrote months prior.

The details on how Franklin made the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA are complex. The guy who stole her work, to give it to Watson and Crick, Wilkins, had suggested an helix. He probably wanted to exact vengeance on Franklin, who he viewed, erroneously, as having stolen the show, and a PhD student of his. Franklin was actually acting under orders from the head of the lab, who did not bother to warn Wilkins. Wilkins stole Franklin’s famous Photograph 51, and gave it secretly to Watson & Crick.

People who had stolen Rosalind Franklin’s work, were published first in the magazine Nature, although her earlier discoveries were fundamental (to the thieves). The thieves got the Nobel after her death, and insulted her, post mortem, just to make sure that their forfeiture would reign unchallenged (by the same way, in recent years, Watson was widely condemned for racist theories: nastiness is a way of life).

Grotesquely, but tellingly, the Nobels don’t mention prior discoverers. So Franklin was ignored. That makes this Nobel prize a tool of manipulative conspiracies, from the usual suspects. Just as Copernic and Newton are attributed discoveries that were made centuries EARLIER, not mentioning deceased discoverers allow to mangle the history of systems of thought, in arcane, but efficient ways.

That despicable tradition was (slightly) changed for the egregious case of the so called Higgs particle; a prior Belgian discoverer, by then deceased, was mentioned. But the particle is still called a Higgs, because Anglo-American white males are supposed to be dominant in most ways intellectual… Thus in all other ways.

Raping women is an old tradition, most fruitful.

A French professor called, Lejeune, a Catholic fanatic close to John Paul II was the guy who stole credit for discovering trisomy 21. Sleazy behavior like that qualifies automatically for sainthood in the Catholic church. It’s an old tradition started by the killing of Hypatia, an Egyptian female Einstein of 16 centuries ago, by Saint Cyril and his rape murdering sadistic goons.

So Lejeune was fast-tracked for sainthood. Unfortunately for the sleaze ball, his victim, differently from Franklin is still alive (although 88 years old, and having, as she says, better things to do than fighting for recognition, but viewing as a duty to set the record straight ).

The real discoverer of the chromosomal anomaly was a woman, Marthe Gautier, who had done all the cell work that led to the identification of the supplementary chromosome. She had learned in Harvard some ways of manipulating cells, and brought her knowledge back to Paris. She got a bit of space, some rudimentary equipment, and cultured cells using serum derived from her own blood. The same story happened as with Franklin: her pictures were stolen, and Lejeune presented them as his own.

That controversy was well known, so the Nobel committee did not attribute a Nobel for that major discovery, the first explicit roll-out of a genetic abnormality, and its exact mechanism.

It helped that all the discoverers, real or imaginary, were French: one of the missions of the Nobels is to prove the superiority of Anglo-American thinking, and thus of Vulture Funds over Argentina. Hence all the caviar in Manhattan.

Hey, corrupt Nobel clowns! Marthe Gautier is still alive! What about rewarding her, finally? It would be encouraging to all the women out there, who work hard in matters intellectual. Or, at least, it would make you look less corrupt with power and influence.

Here is a letter of Rosalind Franklin to Ellis Franklin, her father. It has no date, possibly summer 1940 whilst Rosalind was an undergraduate at Cambridge University.

“You look at science (or at least talk of it) as some sort of demoralising invention of man, something apart from real life, and which must be cautiously guarded and kept separate from everyday existence. But science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated. Science, for me, gives a partial explanation for life. In so far as it goes, it is based on fact, experience and experiment.”

Rosalind lived like a thinking rose. It’s the best choice we all have. The best metaphysics worth having. We are all roses, and may as well make beauty, the beauty of minds well blossomed, the pinnacle of creation.

Patrice Aymé

Demonic Empire & Bliss

June 27, 2014

Traditionally, there are those who are for empire, and those who are against it. Also there are those who distinguish good empires (the Athenian empire, the French “mission civilisatrice”; English Commonwealth) from the disgusting ones (say UK’s anti-Boer South Africa), to the very bad ones (plutocrat Leopold II’s Heart of Darkness Congo), or the outright demonic ones (the Kaiser’s holocaustic Namibia).

However, Manicheism goes only that far. I am going to suggest a completely different form of analysis, and approach, to the concept of empire.

An empire has subjects, just as a predator has preys. This is the conventional view. And, yet, it contains its own overcoming. Indeed, just as there is a mathematical entanglement between predator and prey, there is a philosophical entanglement between an empire and its subjects.

Good Empires Rest On Holy Wisdom; Ἁγία Σοφία, Constantinopolis

Good Empires Rest On Holy Wisdom; Ἁγία Σοφία, Constantinopolis

“Imperium” depicted initially the absolute, life-and-death ordering capability from top Roman generals. (Roman “emperors” inherited that capability, as they were always the commanders in chief, at least on paper.)

To this day, an empire is supposed to be all about a few ordering the many (thus, intrinsically “fascist”). Yet, even this Roman military root is endowed with subtlety: imperium does not reduce to fascism.

Why? The semiotics of fascism is, fundamentally, not just about the many being strong by tying up together. It’s about the law, and the law is absolute: Dura Lex, Sed Lex (Law Hard, But Law).  So the many are tied by an absolute.

Roman generals were obeyed absolutely, only when they inspired an aura of absolutism, that only vertiginous respect could confer them.

A professional special force killer was sent to assassinate Marius (seven times Consul, who triumphed in Africa over Jugurtha, and Gaul, Piedmont over invading Germans). He found the elder Marius in a room. Marius, unafraid, addressed the would be-assassin with his stentorian voice: ”Soldier, are you going to kill your general?”. Trembling, excusing himself, the assassin fled, and Marius’ enemies gave up on the notion of killing their all too respected foe.

In other words, imperium worked best when the soldiers loved their generals. After all, soldiers were armed to the teeth, trained to kill, and not to fear death. Generals need to be loved, the law does not. So imperium is an intrinsically milder notion than fascism.

Thus it’s not enough to say there are good empires, and bad ones. More generally, there are good empire-subject entanglements, and bad, unjust ones. It’s not all about just about the empire, it’s also about the subjects, and it’s also about the interactions of the one, with the others. Moreover those entanglements can be asymmetric.

Let me give an example. The Roman empire was the ultimate empire. Arguably, it’s going on, stronger than ever, 27 centuries after its founding (long story). For at least a millennium, the Romans interacted with the Celts, Jews, Egyptians, Greeks and Mesopotamians.

It was the same Roman empire, however, the outcomes were very different, and drastic differences are reflected to this day: the West became Rome, and Mesopotamia is still wrecked by war without end. By far the most complex interaction was with the Celto-Germans. It was pretty much antipodal to what happened with the Jews and the Mesopotamians, and, one can even claim, with the Greeks.

In Mesopotamia, and against the Iranians, Rome and its successor regime (“Constantinople”) struggled in vain for seven centuries. Nothing came out of it, except so much morbidity that, in the end, the Arabs overwhelmed both Persia and most of Rome.

The Jews, or rather, domineering Jewish fanatics, who made no sense whatsoever, in two formidably suicidal wars, rejected Rome. The first of these killed a million Jews, much of the population of Israel, then. It started by the cold blooded killing, inside Jerusalem, of 600 legionnaires of the Roman garrison. The strategic objective was unclear, and soon at least three Jewish factions were fighting each other, to death besides engaging the Romans.

The Romans had a sense of humor, and catapulted thousands of pig heads inside Jerusalem (I presume that they let them rot carefully first). On the less amusing side, the legions devastated forests throughout the region to build gigantic works for the siege of the holy city.

Egypt did not care about Rome one way or another. That mood of pragmatic indifference was contagious: while the titanic struggle of the Judaic War unfolded, just over the horizon, the hundreds of thousands of Jews in Alexandria did not raise the smallest protest.

Greece had been severely mistreated by the plutocratic Roman Senate, by 146 CE: Corinth was destroyed as a warning that republican independence of Greek City-States will not be tolerated. That was mass terrorism, and it marked Greece for centuries to come, as intended. Greek democracy did not recover, until the EU chased out the pro-Washington dictatorship, 21 centuries later.

And then there were the Celts and the Germans.  Those were not united, they relished their complicated world. They had adopted many traits of Greek civilization, even before the Romans showed up. Their metallurgy was second to none, and a major export to Rome. Ultimately, after 16 centuries of tragi-comedy, and all sorts of happenstance, the Celto-Germans became Rome (officially, in 800 CE).

It’s actually a curious thing: after a terrible war when Caesar intervened (Caesar was accused by some in the Senate and some historians, to have caused much of the problem), nothing anti-Roman ever happened again in Gallia. Even when the so called Gallic Empire ruled, later, it was not to reject Rome, but to improve it.

Differently from what had happened in Greece, the Romans did not rule Gaul through terror (although the war with Caesar had killed and enslaved millions, it had been a very complicated, messy affair, nothing like the cold blooded holocaust at Corinth) . Far from it. Even Latin was not imposed. In the Fifth Century the bishop of Lugdunum (= Lyon) preached in Celtic. Latin replaced Celtic completely, well after the legions were gone (that happened in 400 CE, a decision of Rome, taken when, for budgetary reasons, Rome put the Franks in charge of defending the two Germania and Gallia). Phasing out the three Celtic languages happened when the Franks, who came to rule Gaul completely in the early Sixth Century, completely gave up their own Low Countries German for Latin.

The Celto-Germano-Greco-Roman civilization became a symbiosis ruled by the Franks. Why a community of minds there, and not with Israel, or Mesopotamia? It’s obviously an explanation that involves many factors. The Celto-Germans and the Greco-Romans had a very long story, with fair intellectual trade, in both directions: by the time Caesar showed up, that intense trade was at least a millennium old. The Roman army was equipped with Celtic metal works for centuries.

Celts and Romans had important principles in common, like a quasi-religious dislike for kings, and, certainly, hatred of tyranny. This dislike was so strong that Armanius (Hermann) a once-Roman officer who treacherously annihilated Roman general Varus and his three legions (plus supporting troops, and fellow travellers), was later killed by fellow rebels for behaving, it was alleged, like a king.

Yet, as Rome became a fascist dictatorship, the Germans became more sympathetic to fascism, and kingship. Clovis, elected king of the Franks, his father, Roman imperator Childeric I, and his grandfather Merovius. Thus, Western Europe (or, at least, the elements if Western Europe which came to re-establish an empire) was pretty much evolving as one mental unit.

Such bliss of a common spirituality was not shared in the Middle East. The Jewish God symbolized tyranny made divine. Persians and Mesopotamians needed to kneel abjectly to all the plutocrats they could find. Lack of water had led the civilization of the Middle East to dictatorship. The hydraulic dictatorship (Fernand Braudel) implied “Oriental Despotism” (Karl Marx).  Fascism, cruel and demented, the “Right of Sword”.

Darius, who fought from Ethiopia to Ukraine, exhibited a clear case of the “Right of the Sword”. That existing mood was embraced 11 centuries later in the Qur’an. Unbelievably, the Sword is still festering today: arguing for the Right Of The Sword, Arab plutocrats are agitating, in 2014, to have Justinian’s Cathedral, Ἁγία Σοφία, “Holy Wisdom“,now a museum, been converted again to a mosque, so that the depiction of the real world represented therein be covered up again, as reality offends Islam.

This is an example of the persistence of moods and systems of ideas. Cynics will also point out that their genesis, namely the desert, only got worse.

Well, whatever: if we understand the situation, we can probably fix it. No empire, no law. Thus it remains to make the empire good.

Today the European Empire’s 28 heads of state approved Jean-Claude Junkers as head of the European Commission (the EU’s executive branch). The European Parliament is widely expected to elect Junkers next week. The 28 elected chiefs used the occasion to sign on the Free Trade and Association Treaty with Ukraine and Moldavia. Justly unsatisfied by this slap to Putin, they also sent Vlad the Impaler, back in Moscow, an ultimatum. Yes, an ultimatum. Electing the head of the EC is a furthering of democracy in the European empire. But democracy is naught, if it can’t bite.

The 28 EU leaders demanded that separatists return border checkpoints, release hostages and start talks to implement a peace plan drawn up by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko by June 30. Failure to do so will result in “further significant restrictive measures” against Russia.

Vlad The Invader has three days to obey. It may be time for him to remember what happened when his preceding supporter of minorities through annexations, Adolf Hitler, refused to obey. Unbelievably, France persuaded Britain to declare war.

Wisdom without doom is only gloom.

Patrice Aymé

Fascism As Esthetics: Celebritism

June 25, 2014

CELEBRITIES ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM TO BE

Apparently bitten by the critique that he spends his time pleasing the enemy, Paul Krugman, insists that he is no crude man. In an apparently unrelated situation, hedge fund billionaire Milner a Multiverse fanatic, has attributed his enormous three million dollar prize in mathematics and biology.

What’s the connection? Celebritism. Krugman is afraid to contradict celebrities, Milner is anxious to spread celebritism to (some) top scientists. Celebritism is the sugar around the bitter pill of oligarchism.

Spain's Motto [Alcatraz]. Want Progress? Plus Oultre!

Spain’s Motto [Alcatraz].
Want Progress? Plus Oultre!

Krugman: Jared Bernstein agonizes over the role of wonkish analysis (which spell-check keeps trying to change to “monkish”) in a political environment in which “facts and smart policy are on the run.” It’s something I worry about too.

On one side, if wonks don’t point out what we really should be doing, who will?…

On the other hand, if wonks only propose things that won’t happen, what good are they?”

It seems that Krugman does not understand that, where there is a will, there is a way. Reciprocally, if there is no will, there is no way. To propose strategies that could, and ought, be willed, eschews him.

Indeed  the case for real progress has to be made stridently, and repeatedly. Indeed Obamacare is much better than a hard vacuum, but now it’s the law, so really drastic progress ought to be proposed instead of crowing constantly about how good Obamacare is. If I want to hear crows, I go on a walk. Even Obama wants people such as Krugman to push for the right ideas.

Whereas “politics is the teaching of the possible” (Die Politik ist die Lehre vom Möglichen; Otto Von Bismarck, author of Universal Health Care in the Kaiserreich, 1883 CE), the art of the critic ought to be to present strongly what ought to be willed. Critics are not in charge of sausage making… (See Note on the “art of the next best“.)

By just presenting to the masses what is OK with the Tea Party, one becomes Tea Party. When the democrats were in total control in the first few weeks of Obama’s first ascent, they made constantly the Tea Party case, showing their true nature (somewhat on the right of Hank Paulson, who had to go on his knees just a few weeks earlier to persuade Nancy the Plutocrat Pelosi to save the economic system!)

Where there is no belligerence, there is no esperance. Wonks conk, monks honk.

Says Columbia U. mathematical physicist Peter Woit, from “Not Even Wrong”:

“The first set of winners of the $3 million Milner/Zuckerberg financed Breakthrough Prizes in mathematics was announced today: it’s Donaldson, Kontsevich, Lurie, Tao and Taylor. There’s a good New York Times story here.

When these prizes were first announced last year, I was concerned that they would share a problem of Milner’s Fundamental Physics Prizes… One oddity is the award to Kontsevich, who already received $3 million from the Fundamental Physics prize. Given my interests, I suppose I shouldn’t criticize a prize structure where physicists get $3 million, mathematicians $3 million, and mathematical physicists $6 million.

While this prize doesn’t suffer from the basic problem of the Physics prize (that of rewarding a single, narrow, unsuccessful idea about physics), it’s still debatable whether this is a good way to encourage mathematics research. The people chosen are already among the most highly rewarded in the subject, with all of them having very well-paid positions with few responsibilities beyond their research, as well as access to funding of research expenses. The argument for the prize is mainly that these sums of money will help make great mathematicians celebrities, and encourage the young to want to be like them…”

My comment (immediately published by Woit, whereas the New York Times sat on my Krugman comment for hours, since I am on the censorship list):

Milner is a celebrity. And a financial manipulator who became immensely wealthy with what Roosevelt and the Bible called contemptuously “money changing”. He profited immensely of a system, plutocracy, that is mostly about oligarchy pushed so far, that even the character of those “leaders” become diabolical.

It’s diabolical to make us believe that mathematics will progress more by giving more power to those who have more than enough to do good math.

Overall, science and mathematics do not have enough practitioners. A striking example is antibiotic research where a small effort needs to be done to find new antibiotics. To have a few individuals who are much richer will have no positive effect whatsoever. This is certainly true in math and physics.

In biology, immense greed has clearly undermined research (individuals have made up to half a billion dollar a year in that field, but one cannot find the comparatively modest finance for new antibiotics research). Making a few persons very rich promotes greed.

So why is Milner doing this? Maybe it’s subconscious. The oligarchic principle is that humanity is unworthy, but for a few celebrities who never get enough. This is what Milner is truly rewarding. His reason for being what he is. Someone obsessed by individual power.

Want to help science and math? Finance studies on how to persuade governments to finance enough advanced public free instruction in science and math, starting in preschool. Through heavy taxation of the richest celebrities, starting with Milner and his kind.

The very fact that Milner and his ilk have so much money to spend on celebrities demonstrate that they are not taxed enough. (The same goes for private jumbo jets a la Google founders.)

Celebritism makes people obsess about one not themselves. It’s deeply immoral: if our ancestors had obsessed about other people that they never met, they would have been eaten by lions pretty soon. But we are here, so they were not like that.

“Moral”, the “mores” means what is always “more”, what persists, what allows to persist. The celebrity cult, just as watching obsessively sports, or dance, on TV, is a deep offense against self-reliance. Such anti-evolutionary behaviors ought to be discontinued.

Part of the fundamental concept of fascism, is to make one, out of the many. This is great in combat, yet devastating for the collective mind. Celebritism is a pernicious way to make people obsessively love the reduction of the many to the one. Thus, it’s immoral.

Down with the prizes! Long live Gregory Perelman. Perelman solved several conjectures, including the Thurston and Poincaré), but adamantly refused the Fields Medal and the Clay Prize (one million dollars). Perelman had strong moral objections to the hierarchy in mathematics. So do I. So does Alexandre Grothendieck. Milner’s clumsy intrusion makes a bad situation worse. And Krugman’s meek bleating for the status quo ante to defend that ugly concept, pragmatism, does not behoove true intellectuals.

Plus Oultre!

Patrice Aymé

Note on the “art of the next best“: Krugman made a whole noise about the fact that his choice, and that there is a whole body of economics about that. The problem is that this is NOT principled. This is the art of the “corsaire”. “Corsaire”? Yes, corsaire, in French. What Krugman does not tell you, probably because he does not even know, is that this whole body of thinking (including “corsaire”, in French), comes very explicitly from Otto Von Bismarck. In other words, this mode of thinking, unprincipled, led to catastrophe. Bismarck, a polyglot, invented the “art of the next best“. Without knowing it, Krugman thinks like a Prussian imperialist.

Stuck On Earth, Earth Stuck With Us

June 24, 2014

Two Pluto sized planets have been found beyond Pluto, Eris and Sedna (Note 1). They have highly eccentric orbits. That means they don’t go around in circles. Now, in the fullness of time, one expects all orbits to become round (See Note 2).

Thus if said orbits are not round, it’s that something disturbs them. And it’s not Neptune, because Pluto, which is disturbed by Neptune, and closer to it, is disturbed less.

Conclusion: there is apparently at least one large planet out there, beyond the known Solar System. Morality? Little do we know.

Even More Was Found In That Zoo Out There Since 2012

Even More Was Found In That Zoo Out There Since 2012

All human beings going to Earth orbit are awed in the same way. As a twice Space Shuttle commander Rominger puts it: “The most incredible thing I’ve ever seen is the color looking out into space—and that color is black—a black so dark, so stark, so vast, I’d never seen anything like it before,” he recalls.

“And then it dawned on me, well, it is not the color, it is not the black that is so captivating. What I was really appreciating was the vastness of space. Without the atmosphere, I could tell I was looking trillions and trillions of miles into the depths of space, and it really struck me.”

That’s one important fact: there is absolutely nothing out there. Another, more prosaic fact: The last human space launch—Expedition 40 to the ISS—used the same Baikonur launch complex that sent Yuri Gagarin on the first human spaceflight on April 12, 1961. And it was basically the same rocket, of which the Russians have launched around 2,000, using the same old technology.

Morality? We did not progress much in propulsion technology in 70 years, ever since the Nazis invented reliable fuel powered rockets. We are not using a Space Elevator, the civilized way to go to space. In fact we are going to space just as the first human who tried to use rockets to fly. This bold Chinese inventor, nine centuries ago, fixed lots of chemical rockets to a large kite, and became the first flier to go with a bang.

Speaking of bang, for a bigger bang, we have to go nuclear:

Nerva Nuclear Engine: The Future Was In The 1950s

Nerva Nuclear Engine: The Future Was In The 1950s

[Larger Nuclear Engines were made, and are, by far the most powerful engines ever made, except now for French made (Thales) lasers; the largest nuclear engine was deliberately exploded, to see if that was a problem! Answer: no!]

ISS expedition 40, launched an American, a Russian and a German from that same Gagarin pad in Kazakhstan for the International Space Station. So, clearly, space exploration is a factor of peace: Kazakhstan, USA, Germany and Russia united. Maxim Suraev, Alexander Gerst and Reid Wiseman reached the ISS 6 hours later. At about an altitude of 400 kilometers, the ISS is zooming around the planet. Periodically a Russian or European Space Agency spaceship pushes the ISS back up, because it orbits so low, that the atmosphere dissipates, through friction, its potential energy, and it loses altitude, while gaining speed. Basically the ISS streaks through the very high atmosphere.

400 kms up is as deep into space as humans have ventured (except for visiting thrice the Hubble Space Telescope,) ever since Apollo 17 returned from the Moon on Dec. 14, 1972.

There is no nice oasis to go to out there in space. It’s not the Sahara. It’s a hard vacuum, whatever pointed head physicists believe Quantum Field Theory is telling them, in their colossal naivety. The ISS is refining our collective skill at operating in vacuum, in zero gravity. Zero gravity presents problems: bones and muscles lose substance, the heart thickens, and shrinks. The world’s space agencies do not agree on what we should do next. The Europeans, long determined explorers, have given up. The Americans have preferred to spend 6 trillion dollars enriching their plutocrats under the pretext of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. While spending only 8 billion a year on human space exploration (so basically the USA spent 100 times a year on bombing Iraq than gaining space expertise).

So we still use Nazi technology.

Mars, is as far as humankind can practicably expect to go. That’s too bad: there are bodies, such as Enceladus, and various satellites of Jupiter, with considerable quantities of water.

“Based on limitations to human physiology, based on reasonable technical limitations to the ability to shield humans during long voyages in interplanetary space, the horizon goal for human space exploration is Mars,” says Jonathan Lunine, a top planetary scientist at Cornell University, who co-chaired the recent U.S. National Research Council (NRC) human-spaceflight study. “Now, horizon in this case essentially means the farthest goal. It is not the only goal.”

A problem is radiation. Space is full of radiation. Some, the solar wind, consists of protons zooming by at 400kms/second. So fast they are, that they rob planets of their atmosphere’s water. This happened to Venus and Mars.

Earth is protected by her magnetic shield (the energy of which, I claim is nuclear fission generated).

Another type of radiation is of the cosmic type, galactic or not. Some of these rays have much higher energy, by many orders of magnitude, than the Large Hadron Collider in France-Switzerland. That’s why smart cookies such as yours truly, knew that the LHC was not going to create Black Holes that would swallow the Earth (as some lunatics thought, in their chaotic misunderstanding).

When astronauts are in orbit, they see stars. With their eyes closed, deep inside their spaceships. Why? Because there, even protected by the Earth Magnetic Shield, cosmic rays scream through astronauts’ brains like tiny meteors.

Earth, we have a problem. Our brains are streaked with fireworks.

Going to Mars, with foreseeable technology, will not be cheap. Ultimately, the NRC panel said, a human reconnaissance to Mars will take “decades” of work, and cost “hundreds of billions” of dollars.

No one has a motivation to spend that kind of money, considering there is no dramatic reason to go to Mars. Or so many in the Commons believe, erroneously.

“I would not want to indulge in specious precision to say whether it was $300 billion or $500 billion, but it is a lot of money,” says John C. Sommerer, a retired Applied Physics Laboratory engineer who headed the subcommittee that drafted the technical portion of the NRC report. “Given that we currently spend on the order of $8 billion [annually in the U.S.] on human spaceflight, you immediately understand why it is a long-term program.”

NASA administrator Charles Bolden says it will take only “a modest increase” in funding to land humans on Mars in 20 years or so, since the Obama administration ordered a different course five years ago.

Ironically, that has since been amended to funding “consistent with economic growth.” But Bolden—who commanded the shuttle mission that put the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit says Congress will not give the space program 4% of the federal budget, as it did for the race to the Moon.

What did that bring, aside from Moon rocks? Well, magnificent pictures of humanity’s loneliness, and Earth as the most object in the universe. A warning from heavens.

That warning, by itself, was worth it. The race to the Moon also brought a tremendous technological push. Not just Teflon. Not just personal computer power. Even Velcro (Vel(ours) Cro(chet)) was helped, as it got free advertising from NASA.

Earlier on the race to develop rockets was military. The Mongols got it started, and the weapon became ubiquitous, as its efficiency was spectacular. The next step up was during World War Two as the Panzerfaust, and all sorts of Nazi rocket tech (some ballistic, some cruise, some anti-aircraft) played a spectacular role. (It was not a decisive role, as it happened a tad too late!)

But now we have a tremendous civilian fall-out: weather satellites, GPS, etc. Even greater was the indirect fall-out of the technologies that had to be developed to make rocketry work.

To make space into an affordable new habitat, we need completely new technologies. For LEO, right away, only air breathing rockets will do, to make launches economical enough.

Further on, only space elevators will allow to go to space cheaply. The great fall-out of a space elevator, before it allows us to conquer the Solar System, though, will be the technology itself. It will allow to produce materials ten times lighter than steel, and stronger.

To ferry people and large loads between spatial real estate, only nuclear energy will do. Either fission, or fusion.  Developing those, in turn, will have tremendous fall-out (no pun intended). Why? Nuclear energy has a million times, per mass, more energy than any other energy that we can tap (although I proposed a vacuum energy machine, on this site, that’s still in the sci-fi future.)

The requirement of developing completely new technology is actually, at this point, not an impediment, but the best argument for going to space.

Indeed, only drastically new tech will save the biosphere as we know it.

Patrice Aymé

Note1: I call planet anything that’s big enough to become round under its own gravity.  That has the merit of clarity. Pluto is round, has five satellites and an atmosphere, so it’s a (“dwarf“) planet.

Note 2: Now, in the fullness of time, one expects all orbits to become round. Why? Because when a planet goes far from a sun, it’s climbing, converting kinetic energy into potential energy. Under a gravitational perturbation, it’s easier to lose the latter, because at that point speeds are lower, so the influence has more time to be felt (who said we need equations all the time?)

 

World War One Chap 1

June 23, 2014

When one writes essays on a site, one tends to repeat oneself a lot. So I am going to change strategy a bit, and write books on my pet subjects (I will just create specific sites for each subject). The essay below ought to be a version of chapter one of:

WORLD WAR ONE

World War One (WWI) is still with us. Not just by dismantling some old powers, and creating new ones, from pigmies to superpowers. WWI also created new systems of ideas, new moods, new politics, new philosophies. In particular, new versions of history, some of them carefully missing the main points and imagining others.

The typical history of World War One pulls the conflict like a rabbit out of a hat at a show for little children. Here is a typical description:

A hundred years ago, in the Balkan city of Sarajevo, Serbian nationalists murdered the dour, pacifist heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary and his beloved wife.

Populations, throughout the world, were shocked but not worried. Why should they be? Under the influence of a powerful anarchist philosophy, there had been many political assassinations in previous years—the king of Italy, two Spanish prime ministers, the Russian czar, the President of the USA William McKinley. None of these leaders’ demise had led to a major crisis. Yet just as a snowball can start an avalanche, this assassination set off a series of events that, in five weeks, led Europe into a general war.

Really? A snowball? That butterfly flapped its wings, and about 3% of the planet died? Yes, 3%, more than 50 million dead, once one has incorporated the so called “Spanish Flu”, which was tied to military deployments, just as the “plague” that had decimated Athens under Pericles, and the Black Plague of 1948, tied in to the “100 year war”, and total war in Eastern Europe  (where the Black Plague was used as a weapon, by catapulting infected corpses over the walls).

So why was there a major crisis in 1914?

Because some bad actors were laying in an ambush they had set.

And by this I do not mean the Black Hand of Serbia, a secret terrorist organization tied in to the secret services of Serbia, both of them hell bent to recover Bosnia-Hercegovina, a state Austro-Hungary had just annexed. The Serbs had come out of wars that had allowed them to recover some of their national territory. That territory had been constitutionally granted to them by the Roman emperor Heraclius in the Seventh Century.

The Black Hand had at least partly organized the assassination in Sarajevo. Thus the request of the Austro-Hungarian government to make a thorough enquiry was certainly justified.  However, many in Austro-Hungary hated Serbia. Paradoxically, the assassinated heir had been a strong pacifying influence (and he was best friend with the conflicted Kaiser, who was, no doubt, sincerely aggrieved). So Austro-Hungary uttered an outrageous ultimatum to Serbia (perhaps some thought Serbia was exhausted from the war just concluded, and thus an easy prey).

Serbian ferocity was the consequences of centuries of horrors at the hands of the invading Turks, and the evil necessities such a thorough war of liberation leads to (yes, Russia suffers from the same syndrome, after centuries of Mongol horrendous exploitation).

Nevertheless, Serbia was a tiny country. It was not a major actor. The major actor in Europe was “Germany”. Historians will little feeling for philosophy always called that country “Germany”.

No doubt the habit came from the Romans, or, more exactly, Caesar. Caesar raided Germania twice, and was launching an incredibly bold  the plan to conquer the whole of Germania… from behind. Instead, it was left to his grand-nephew  Augustus, to try a hare brained frontal assault, followed by an ignominious retreat that left him half mad (Augustus used to call through the night in the corridors of his palace for the general who had led, and died with his annihilated legions).

But “Germany” did not really exist. Over a period of three centuries (500 CE-800 CE), the Franks, who were themselves Romanized Celto-Germans, had conquered Germania, establishing the gigantic Western European empire Caesar dreamed of.

The Franks’ craving for empire was less important to them than equal inheritance, an important anti-plutocratic character in a society with a high birth rate. Thus the “Renovated Roman Empire” they set-up officially in 800 CE, was soon a complicated patchwork of states in theory all vassals to the King of Francia (“emperor in his own kingdom”), and the emperor of the rest. Both were, theoretically, elected.

The patchwork of states soon enjoyed wars as states came and went. States come and go through wars (transfers through inheritance or calm annexations are rare). In a millennium, Western Europe would know more than 50 major wars. (This little detail is was that the Europhobes are not aware of, in their stupidity.)

In the Eighteenth Century, Prussia, heir to the very ferocious military  tradition of the Teutonic Knights (who had been annihilated by a coalition of Poland and Lithuania, but not their spirit!), under the leadership of the homosexual Frederic The Great (paradoxically Hitler’s hero), with considerable help from conniving Britain, and the stupid Madame de Pompadour (Louis XV’s de facto PM), became a military super power. Of the racist, anti-Judaic type. After Napoleon ‘s defeat, in 1815 CE, the dictatorial, anti-Judaic (thus racist), anti-Polish (thus anti-“Slavs”) ways of Prussia got spread about all of Germany.

Don’t ask how Nazism appeared. Ask how it could not have blossomed.

In any case, after defeating France in 1871 CE, Prussia proclaimed the “Kaiserreich”. Calling it “Germany”, is an abuse of language. The Kaiserreich was neither a republic, like France, or a democracy, like France or England. Even Russia aspired to become a constitutional monarchy, and grow its democracy (helped by French and British investments). Not so for the Kaiserreich.

Instead, the men leading that outgrowth of the Prussian State, decided to gamble all in one world war, believing they could defeat France before Russia, and certainly Britain, could muster enough force to become threats.

They gambled, and they failed.

Patrice Aymé

Carbon Tax, Or Global Crash

June 22, 2014

GOLD MAN SPEAKS:

In brief: The major plutocrat, Henry “Hank” Paulson, who presided over the 2008 financial crash as Bush’s finance minister, has come strongly in favor of a carbon tax. He compares the on-going climate catastrophe to the worst crash imaginable. After a few arguments of support of my own, I extensively quote this “suppot de Satan” (Satan’s support in Middle Age French). Facing the worst, the devils themselves can come in handy. Nothing below is new on this site, but it’s important to repeat it as a prayer, and hope.

It’s only natural that people clean the mess they make. So carbon polluters ought to pay the poisoning of the atmosphere, and the acidification of the seas. Because they are the ones causing this mess. They have to pay for the destruction they inflict. Not that people in general are innocent. Clearly some countries are living on the hog, not to say like hogs. Here are two views of the CO2 emissions per capita:

 I Pollute & Ravage, Therefore I Gloat

I Pollute & Ravage, Therefore I Gloat

CO2 list-countries-co2-per-capita

Few will argue that life is actually drastically worse in, say, France, in spite of all the carbon pinching there (France has no oil, gas, or coal; and fracking is illegal).

To tax carbon enough for the damage it causes, is the only way to price correctly the activity. Non carbon polluting energies will them be able to compete with the pirates who are attacking the biosphere… For profit.

The world emits 48% more carbon dioxide from the consumption of energy now than it did in 1992 when the first Rio summit took place, and Al Gore went down there with an immense retinue of adulators… To do nothing, but self-glorification.

First notice the astounding economic inefficiency of Anglo-Saxon countries (except for the European United Kingdom which emits less than 9 tons of CO2 per person per year).

FRANCE pollutes with 6 (six) tons of CO2 a year, per person. Germany with 9 tons (nine). The USA with 18 (eighteen) tons per person per year. Canada and Australia are even worse. The European Union, and its half a billion people, is around 7.5 tons of CO2, per year, per person.

As I have explained in the past, it’s no coincidence that the three powers that annihilated the Natives are busy now annihilating the biosphere: it’s the continuation of a mood (that the same, sort of, can be said about Russia is not reassuring, either: the main reason why Putin annexed Crimea is oil and gas in the Black Sea, just off shore).

Can we get out of that spiral from hell? Yes, with a carbon tax. Also please learn that the EU and the USA, together, control most of the world GDP. So they could impose a Carbon Tax. Unilaterally. By force. Yes, force, empire, all that brutish stuff. Evil in the service of goodness. The WTO has agreed already that such a tax-for-the-good is legal in the WTO statutes (the EU, or some of its countries, notably France, already impose carbon taxes, of sorts, in spite of strident USA-China-Russia opposition).

Much of Chinese economic activity is Western industrialized activity, translated to another place. Chinese dumping, say of solar panels could be addressed (in spite of… German(!) opposition; Germans sell luxury cars to the PRC, and in exchange mount cheap solar panels).

The question that the West would be at an economic disadvantage from imposing a carbon tax is a false argument. What is true is that some of the CO2 hogs would have to become more economically active to change radically their socio-economies: more people at work, quality work.

Paulson below says nothing I have not said before, and, often, many times. Yet it’s worth having it in his own words, thus allowing me to eschew the accusation of radical lunatic unreal leftism.

Lessons for Climate Change in the 2008 Recession

By HENRY M. PAULSON Jr. June 21, 2014

THERE is a time for weighing evidence and a time for acting. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my work in finance, government and conservation, it is to act before problems become too big to manage.

For too many years, we failed to rein in the excesses building up in the nation’s financial markets. When the credit bubble burst in 2008, the damage was devastating. Millions suffered. Many still do.

We’re making the same mistake today with climate change. We’re staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to both our environment and economy. The warning signs are clear and growing more urgent as the risks go unchecked.

This is a crisis we can’t afford to ignore. I feel as if I’m watching as we fly in slow motion on a collision course toward a giant mountain. We can see the crash coming, and yet we’re sitting on our hands rather than altering course

The solution can be a fundamentally conservative one that will empower the marketplace to find the most efficient response. We can do this by putting a price on emissions of carbon dioxide — a CARBON TAX. Few in the United States now pay to emit this potent greenhouse gas into the atmosphere we all share. Putting a price on emissions will create incentives to develop new, cleaner energy technologies...

I was secretary of the Treasury when the credit bubble burst, so I think it’s fair to say that I know a little bit about risk, assessing outcomes and problem-solving. Looking back at the dark days of the financial crisis in 2008, it is easy to see the similarities between the financial crisis and the climate challenge we now face.

We are building up excesses (debt in 2008, greenhouse gas emissions that are trapping heat now). Our government policies are flawed (incentivizing us to borrow too much to finance homes then, and encouraging the overuse of carbon-based fuels now). Our experts (financial experts then, climate scientists now) try to understand what they see and to model possible futures. And the outsize risks have the potential to be tremendously damaging (to a globalized economy then, and the global climate now).

Back then, we narrowly avoided an economic catastrophe at the last minute by rescuing a collapsing financial system through government action. But climate change is a more intractable problem. The carbon dioxide we’re sending into the atmosphere remains there for centuries, heating up the planet.”

[PA's warning: It's worse than that: At least a third goes into the sea, turning it into an acid soda.] Paulson again:

“That means the decisions we’re making today — to continue along a path that’s almost entirely carbon-dependent — are locking us in for long-term consequences that we will not be able change but only adapt to, at enormous cost. To protect New York City from rising seas and storm surges is expected to cost at least $20 billion initially, and eventually far more. And that’s just one coastal city…

When I worry about risks, I worry about the biggest ones, particularly those that are difficult to predict — the ones I call small but deep holes. While odds are you will avoid them, if you do fall in one, it’s a long way down and nearly impossible to claw your way out.

Scientists have identified a number of these holes — potential thresholds that, once crossed, could cause sweeping, irreversible changes. They don’t know exactly when we would reach them. But they know we should do everything we can to avoid them.

Already, observations are catching up with years of scientific models, and the trends are not in our favor.

Fewer than 10 years ago, the best analysis projected that melting Arctic sea ice would mean nearly ice-free summers by the end of the 21st century. Now the ice is melting so rapidly that virtually ice-free Arctic summers could be here in the next decade or two. The lack of reflective ice will mean that more of the sun’s heat will be absorbed by the oceans, accelerating warming of both the oceans and the atmosphere, and ultimately raising sea levels.

Even worse, in May, two separate studies discovered that one of the biggest thresholds has already been reached. The West Antarctic ice sheet has begun to melt… Now that this process has begun, there is nothing we can do to undo the underlying dynamics, which scientists say are “baked in.” … those who claim the science is unsettled or action is too costly are simply trying to ignore the problem. We must see the bigger picture.

…waiting for more information before acting — is actually taking a very radical risk. We’ll never know enough to resolve all of the uncertainties. But we know enough to recognize that we must act now…

We need to craft national policy that uses market forces to provide incentives for the technological advances required to address climate change. As I’ve said, we can do this by placing a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. Many respected economists, of all ideological persuasions, support this approach. We can debate the appropriate pricing and policy design and how to use the money generated. But a price on carbon would change the behavior of both individuals and businesses.

At the same time, all fossil fuel — and renewable energy — subsidies should be phased out. Renewable energy can outcompete dirty fuels once pollution costs are accounted for.

… our failure to act on the underlying problem is deeply misguided, financially and logically.

In a future with more severe storms, deeper droughts, longer fire seasons and rising seas that imperil coastal cities, public funding to pay for adaptations and disaster relief will add significantly to our fiscal deficit and threaten our long-term economic security. So it is perverse that those who want limited government and rail against bailouts would put the economy at risk by ignoring climate change.

This is short-termism. There is a tendency, particularly in government and politics, to avoid focusing on difficult problems until they balloon into crisis. We would be fools to wait for that to happen to our climate…..

When it comes to developing new technologies, no country can innovate like America. And no country can test new technologies and roll them out at scale quicker than China.

The two nations must come together on climate. The Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago, a “think-and-do tank” I founded to help strengthen the economic and environmental relationship between these two countries, is focused on bridging this gap.

We already have a head start on the technologies we need. The costs of the policies necessary to make the transition to an economy powered by clean energy are real, but modest relative to the risks.

A tax on carbon emissions will unleash a wave of innovation to develop technologies, lower the costs of clean energy and create jobs as we and other nations develop new energy products and infrastructure. This would strengthen national security by reducing the world’s dependence on governments like Russia and Iran.

Climate change is the challenge of our time. Each of us must recognize that the risks are personal. We’ve seen and felt the costs of underestimating the financial bubble. Let’s not ignore the climate bubble.

Henry M. Paulson Jr., an ex-football player, is the chairman of the Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago, was CEO of Golman-Sachs,  and secretary of the Treasury from July 2006 to January 2009. When Satan himself is melting, the heat is on.

Patrice Aymé

New York Vulture Justice

June 21, 2014

Courts in New York City keep with their hyperactive pursuit of USA domination (or is that simply, New York Financial District domination?) The latest was a decision, now supported by the Supreme Court of the USA (SCOTUS), to torpedo Argentina.

So it’s not just against the French (DSK, BNP, etc.). All too independent Argentina, a country which has the insolence of not accepting Wall Street colonial status, is in the crosshairs. As Argentina does not have the military power of France, it has, with the rest of Latin America, been invited to submit abjectedly.

Argentinian President Is Held Up By Gangster Justice

Argentinian President Is Held Up By Gangster Justice

And obdurate Cuba shall be punished all the way to Paris (the BNP, Banque Nationale de Paris, story: why are sanctions against Cuba “legal” in International Law?).

Thirteen years ago, Argentina, pierced through and through by American banks and machinations, some engineered by Stanford-Harvard-Chicago trained traitors/economists, supported by generals encouraged by USA secret services, defaulted.

That was a shrewd move, economically. And fully morally justified. It was a question of the Argentinian People against exploiting vultures and conspirators.

Argentina, 13 years ago, refused to pay back its debt as planned when it had been contracted (by the traitors trained in USA plutocratic universities… A situation similar to what happened to Russia in the 1990s, when Harvard devils engineered there a self interested plutocracy in which Harvard had a stake!).

Ultimately, 93% of Argentinian creditors accepted settlements with the country, which were less onerous for the country. However, 7% of the creditors refused to bargain. They were typically the richest (allowing them to hold-out), and the worst (they enforced dictatorial conspiracies, a matter of obvious principle for them, vultures keen to make predation rule).

That brought the Appellate Court in New York to decide these Vulture Funds were right (I am sure they pay well, and money is always right, when there is enough of it). The Court, unbelievably, ordered Argentina to stop all payments on its debt… less it pays the hold-outs in this 13 year battle.

The main vulture fund is NML Capital Ltd, owned by billionaire Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp, and Mark Brodsky’s Aurelius Capital Management. They specialize in junk debt investing. They used their deep pockets to pursue a 13-year legal battle that’s now coming to a conclusion (or so they hope).

NML’s position is between 45 and 50 percent of the payout ordered by U.S. Judge Griesa, and amounts up to a billion, or so.

The good judge does not care that the 2002 default was highly successful for Argentina, and the master work of president Isabella Fernandez (photo above) and her husband (an economic university professor who was elected president at the urging of his Senator wife, above; unfortunately he died of a heart attack).

Perhaps the good judge knows no history, and does not give a hoot, and only loves caviar and songs, as served by Mr. Singer.

Another example of connection between American “justice”, vultures, and force. New York, the world central financial center, is used as a way to advance the interest of USA plutocrats, at the risk of paralyzing the world financial system.

Meanwhile several strange facts surfaced: the evaluation of Greece by the IMF a few years back, when Paul Krugman wanted to dismantle the European Union, were unduly pessimistic, the IMF itself recently admitted.  Great. How many Greeks died because of this?

Remember when top American economists were howling for the end of the Euro? Not only the European currency did not collapse, but now the yield on Spanish long term bonds is lower than that of the USA.

Morality? The cris that cruxed in 2008 is far from over. It’s a war for world domination. It’s fought in American courtrooms (objective accomplices of their pet vultures, or, rather, vice versa), and it’s fought in the court of public opinion. To fight back, well, maybe, judge Bush. It’s not exactly a change of conversation.

If American judges condemn the president of Argentina for saving her country, and punish all of Argentina, maybe Europeans could help the unjustly struck, by condemning a few American master minds, for real international war crimes. With the wrath of real justice.

Oh, by the way, Argentinian bonds, thanks to their high yields, have made a lot of money for private investors. They returned +10% in 2012, while other bonds in the average lost 6%. The total market that the Courts of the USA are trying to torpedo total 100 billion dollars, the payments blocked as we speak are of half a billion. Thus, like Putin, Wall Street is ready to use maximum force to have its way.

Victims who don’t struck back become accomplices of their tormentors. Under president Cristina Fernandez, Argentina has superbly resisted. An example all the more edifying as she is from the supposedly “weaker” gender.  

Patrice Aymé


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