Archive for August, 2009

WHERE ANTI AMERICANISM COMES FROM?

August 30, 2009

 

DEBT TO THE LORD DOES NOT MAKE SERFS GRACIOUS. ESPECIALLY IF THE LORD SET THE FIRE.

Paul Krugman noticed that World War Two "left America with a big debt — bigger, relative to our resources, than we’re likely to face when the economic rescue is over. We dealt with it."

Why? Krugman does not say. He is simply happy to assert that "big defense spending during the war didn’t somehow make it easier to pay down debt after the war was over."

***

Krugman’s inner certainty made it somehow easier for me to show that, au contraire, defense spending during the war allowed the USA to purchase the world while it was on sale. No wonder the investment or, in other words, the debt of World War Two, was worth it.

The devil is in what was the debt for, and who it was supposed to be paid back to. That the US government paid US defense contractors with borrowed money it got from US taxpayers was a sort of symbolic calculus during WWII. Relative to these internal intricacies, the result of WWII, that the USA came into political and economic and financial possession of the entire planet, is such an enormous fact that everything else pales in insignificance.

The intricacies of the accounting of who should get most of the pie inside the USA is irrelevant. There was enough pie to give all American indigestion.

Whereas, when Britain had to borrow to the USA to buy US warships (one hundred destroyers early in the war, for example), and other military supplies and services, it was a transfer of sovereignty; the USA took control of part of the economic destiny of Britain. That later sort of debt, from one country to another, can be ruinous, and not just economically.

For example, what brought Argentina down during the twentieth century was not so much debt itself as the fact that it was owed to foreigners. When the foreigners got cold feet the peso collapsed, boosting interest rates even higher. To some extend this is happening to the USA now, because a lot of US debt is owed to foreigners, although this is still mitigated because the US dollar is still the world’s reserve currency ( but a wasting asset, to use military semantics).

Right now the USA is still hell bent on a policy of using much force to get energy from the Middle East, rather than using much more effort to modify its energy needs.

This policy creates another form of dependency on foreign powers, which is just as dangerous as debt owed to foreigners. The habit of gambling twice more to compensate for failed policies (for example invading Iraq, an ally, because one lost Iran, an ex-ally) makes this policy increasingly onerous and unstable.

Now Iraq’s Shiite, an independent part of Iran, come to think of it historically speaking, is ready to cut a deal with Iran, as soon as there will be fewer US troops around, so how much more the USA will have to get in debt for to try to prevent this ineluctable evolution?

Good debt and good taxes would mean, now, to set the country on a path to solve the energy crisis. The later the USA commits to this, the greater the pain. And this pain will probably not be restricted to the USA.

One can compare the contemporary Louis XV style approach of the USA (”Apres moi le deluge” -After me the flood) to the contemporary French approach, which is exactly the opposite: gasoline is three times more expensive in France, and France will be introducing a carbon tax in 2010. This heavy taxation makes the French economy more efficient, hence it got out of recession faster.

France has learned the history taught by an arrogant fool such as Louis XV, and has decided to do exactly what that idiotic monarch decided not to do: have foresight, and act on it.

French students are forced to study history at school for ten years: history is not an elective, and it is rammed into the minds of children as soon as they can read, and again, and again, as they become more intelligent. Thus, the approach to policy of Louis XV is well known to French students. Since this time a literal flood is coming, it’s even easier.

While Voltaire advised Louis XV not to die for a few acres of snow in Canada, Colonel Washington speculated for real estate in the Ohio valley, gun in hand, determined to extend his dominion. Since then Washington, the city, has been best at wasting the opposition and extending dominion. But it was against weak opposition, and with tremendously strong allies.

German forces late in 1918 were not what they were in August 1914, they were beaten. In 1944-45, the maximum of 64 American divisions engaged in Europe constituted a minority, even on the Western front. In the East, Stalin had 600 divisions (and 26.6 million dead). The French army was one million. When attacked by elite Nazi forces during the Battle of the Bulge, it was ordered to evacuate Alsace by Eisenhower. But the French army refused tor surrender one inch of ground . A frustrated Ike later cut off fuel and ammo to the French. Still, they got to Austria first. The British army was nearly three million.

The study of history shows that nothing replaces the correct policy, early on.

The tragedy of the USA is that its successful history is that of expansion and using force onto others, unabashedly, to maximize profit. This sounds arcane, but transpose this wisdom to the health care battle, and you have got Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel.

And the worst is that wisdom of profit violence worked, and could not have failed to work. Considering the initial conditions of the USA.

Now, all great empires were built by force, right. But, in the case of the USA, a single method to solve all problems was thus established, during the last four centuries, and it has become most of the history most Americans will ever know. Hubris became how the West was won. It worked. But now it’s failing, and most Americans do not have the eyes in their heads to see it is.

Europeans have learned though, that to draw such a lesson from history, that hubris is your friend, is a mistake, and a most common one. More humility, prudence, knowledge, appreciation and more foresight are to be preferred.

Not all taxes, and not all debt are bad. More crucial is what the taxes and investments are for. If they are for progress, they are good. If they are for bankers’ bonuses, they are bad.

***

Krugman, although going in a well deserved vacation, came back to the charge: he said that commenters objected that "didn’t the fact that the rest of the world was in ruins help?

Krugman does not think so; “Let me explain why [the] objection [is] off point… the war left our competitors in ruins? Well, yes it did — but it also left our markets in ruins. This goes back to stuff I wrote way back, about the fallacy of thinking about a country as if it were a company; basically, there’s no reason to believe that economic growth in the rest of the world necessarily makes us poorer."

Nor, would I perfidiously add, is there any reason to believe that economic growth in the rest of the world necessarily makes us richer.

***

Let me make an African observation: when the lion is weak, even dogs can eat it. The weakening, and then destruction of the lion is profitable, although it goes to the dogs.

Before going back to some carpet bombing of mine with facts of WWII, let me make a very refined observation that is little known and that any serious economic theory will have to take into account.

The Fourteenth century saw several (related) calamities in a few years, including famines, ecological collapse, severe climate cooling, the start of the 478 years "100 years" civil war between Paris and London, Normandy and Anjou, plus the "plague". Whatever the "plague" really was, it killed about half of Europe. People were left twice richer. Hence an economic boom. So much for the more, the merrier.

***

Contrarily to what Krugman implies, the ruinous aspects of the competitors’ markets was an enormous advantage for the USA, after WWII. European lions laid in ruins, while American dogs had full stomachs. No explanation really necessary.

The USA was left with huge profits, in part just as Goldman Sachs, having reduced its competition, thanks to the US government, is making larger profits than ever. Let me go into World War Two specifics.

Did the US markets disappear at the end of WWII? No. Just the opposite. One has to distinguish having a destitute patron, and having no patron. Actually, yesterday’s lord, if destitute, can be made into a dependent. WWII expanded US market enormously. Let me explain.

For example, when the French decided to build a nuclear power industry, they bought the technology from Westinghouse, a US company. Since they built many nuclear plants, it was a major deal, which transferred back a lot of wealth to the USA.

Let’s dig a bit deeper in that example. The French physicist (and Nobel prize winner) Irene Curie discovered the principle of the nuclear chain reaction (generally misattributed in "Germanic" countries to other people who contributed later). Patents on nuclear energy were deposited as early as 1937. When the Curies alerted the War Minister to the military application, making bombs, the patents were withdrawn, and a military program started. After adventures that put James Bond to shame, the program went on as the Manhattan project.

The economic point is this: the French were way ahead in nuclear energy. Still because of WWII, they were forced to buy massively US technology 30 years later. The same holds for jets. The first jets were Europeans, just as the first helicopters were French (so was the first plane).

The Germans were way ahead with jet aircraft: the swept wing Me 262 was 5 years ahead of US technology (even though the Americans could study captured Me 262s). Still, Germany became dependent upon American jets, for decades. It is only now that, thanks to EADS (including Airbus) and Arianespace that Germany has become independent again in aerospace. EADS is now the world’s largest aerospace-defense company (in sales).

Sweet for the first country to sink a battleship using a cruise missile, or to use rocket interceptors (Heinkel 163). By the way the fancy electronic in that drone which sank that big ship came as no surprise; (basically) German scientists invented the first transistors, as early as 1925 (the American "discovery" of the transistors was more than 20 years later and was proven, scholarly, and judicially, to be a copy of the German germanium transistors and their patents). Another German sweet vengeance was that 100 Nazi rocket engineers were working on Von Braun’s Apollo moon landings.

And so on. None of the huge transfers of American goods and technology would have happened, in the aftermath of WWII, but for WWII.

BTW, the captive markets that were the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French and British empires, plus the Commonwealth, French Algeria, and enormous Franco-British protectorates over the entire Middle East, could basically leave the USA without markets. Pakistan would not have become a Muslim fundamentalist American puppet/client, if not for the collapse of the Raj. Actually, there would have been no Pakistan. A mighty Great Britain would have kept Gandhi’s Hindu nationalism under control, and thus the Muslim reaction.

After WWII, the USA acquired the entire planet as a market, except for the USSR. The patrons were desperately poor, but they were extended credit by Uncle Sam. Then they became dependent upon Uncle Sam, exactly, and in all ways, as serfs became dependent upon their Lord in the Middle Ages. This is where the "Anti-Americanism" Obama does not understand at all, comes from, deep down.

All of this was made possible by the crafty refusal of the Roosevelt administration to help the French republic as she set herself the mission of destroying Hitler.

Instead countless US plutocrats transferred technology and directly invested in Hitler’s Reich. in 1939, France found herself at war formally with Hitler and Stalin, both helped, managed and financed by many of Uncle Sam’s plutocrats. Often when I write this, the next thing which happens is that I get banned from"left" websites, who seem to all too often be all too friendly to plutocrats. Although the history I mention is all easy to prove (however, I know of no book putting it all together).

But, of course, many Internet commenters, in the USA, find culturally refined to object to “conspiracy theories”. Little do they know that most of history’s tragedies were the result of conspiracies.

On my sites, I studied in depth if that crime was committed with foresight or not, and its extent. Nuremberg established that some of the Nazis had conspired to make a war of aggression. They were hanged. My question is whether the conspiracy was much greater. And the answer is yes.

In any case, the "American Century" was made possible by WWII. The effect was to make the world the captive market of the USA, fed by US credit. As WWII fades away, so does the "American Century". Resistance is futile.

Patrice Ayme.

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IS THERE AN AMERICAN LEFT?

August 25, 2009

OR IS IT ALL A CIA FABRICATED, PLUTOCRATICALLY SUPPORTED ARTIFACT?

***

A personal story.

***

What is going on with the “American left”? One cannot escape the impression that Obama is waiting desperately for a republican majority so that he can be "bipartisan", all he wants. As Clinton was before him, when that democratic president let Goldman Sachs’ Rubin, Summers and Geithner demolish the great work of Roosevelt and his Congress, while hiding behind the republicans and the brouhaha related to Clinton’s pastime.

Although always polite and respecting the rules, and adorned with impeccable left and Obama credentials, I was banned from the "Daily Kos", an American left “community” of great renown (Obama wrote in it). I had noticed that my "diaries" had been modified, and I asked the technical department of the "Kos" for an explanation. Some extreme right wing words and names had been added, other aspects of my posts modified. Commentaries favorable to me were removed.

This story started a few months ago. I had been publishing some essays on a site grandly called the "European Tribune". I liked the site because of the occasional smart graph or contributor, and the European perspective.

Things changed, though, when I talked about Adolf Hitler’s financing, a fascinating subject. A German company such as Siemens did not give a dime to Hitler. But many an Anglo-Saxon Wall Streeter or American plutocrat gave countless billions of dollars and crucial support to Hitler. The historical evidence is blatant. Nevertheless I was screamed at, by people who knew very little about Nazism, and did fast internet searches to prove me wrong, by misinterpreting what they were trying to quote, or by quoting from ludicrous and, or Nazi sites. I was asked to provide “proof” of many basic facts of Nazism. Among many  Internet simpletons, a “proof” is a link. In many cases, it seems that it does not matter to what.

I was told that believing that some Western bankers could have financed Hitler was hateful. Immediately afterwards, I got two angry and threatening emails from someone called "Jerome a Paris", banning me from the European site. It turned out that this Jerome, Mr. Jerome Guillet, is a banker based in Paris. He is a real banker, complete with bonuses and dissembling discourse. For some reason, at the time mysterious, he is very popular on the Daily Kos, although he seems representative of the sort of people who created the financial crisis.

On Monday August 24, this banker, Jerome Guillet, wrote a long article in the Daily Kos, about why he deserved a bonus, and that the financial crisis was over, and that bankers saved civilization, once again. Hundreds of sycophantic comments from admiring Daily Kos members followed. I was going to comment on Guillet’s outrageous flaunting of his wealth and caste, obviously too juicy a target to ignore, when I discovered to my amazement that I was barred to do so on the "Daily Kos". I had been “banned”. Just in time.

The founder of the Daily Kos had written: “Screw Them” about some US contractors burned and killed in Iraq. I was apparently put in the same sort of bag. I found the violence and nastiness, and the hidden way in which my writings were manipulated  hard to believe. I was shocked. This were the people I thought had at heart the betterment of mankind, as they claimed. Instead, well, call me naive.

From this and the systematic refusal to dig deep into the social problems, my conclusion is that the Daily Kos is an anti progressive plant. For example the founder of the Daily Kos is against the financial reform of the US electoral system. I am of course for it.

Greatest contributor to Barack Obama? Goldman Sachs. Greatest profiteer of the presidency of Barack Obama, so far? Goldman Sachs. In the latest news, Goldman Sachs is distributing 11 billion dollars of bonuses for the first six months of 2009. This is taxpayer money. All of it.

Motivated by my sad fate of public enemy of the so called “American left”, I searched the internet for “Daily Kos and CIA”, and I found that the founder of the Daily Kos worked for the CIA (of his own admission). Not just this, but he was involved with the agency for several years, during which he founded the Daily Kos.

The CIA is an agency with a painful past: after WWII, the CIA used, and protected many Nazis, and set up dubious self financing through drug and arm trafficking (or at least so do many important people who were in good position to know claim; some are Pakistani generals, others are CIA officers). French justice established without any doubt connection between the OSS (Overseas Secret Service), the predecessor of the CIA, and many war criminals (for example launching warrants of arrest against three IBM directors who had helped to manage the holocaust).

I worked, with huge personal and financial sacrifices on the Obama campaign since 2006. I have a special, deep connection with Obama himself. But now it is starting to smell bad to me. If I had known what I know now, I would have done differently.

The absence of a true left in the USA is becoming more acute every day. The bipartisan model of Obama seems to mean half democrat, half republican. Obama is embarrassed, though, because his republican half has no support. Besides, unfortunately for the well being of the USA, and of the world, the American left is right of the European right. For example German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy, who have long careers as right wing European politicians, want to crack down on the fiscal heavens, but Obama (or is that Summers?) does not want to. Not at all. Why? Why is Obama liberal with tax cheats? Or is there even more to it?

In one sentence: The law is local, the plutocracy is global. Therein the way the later navigates around the commons. Navigation is a concept that Obama values highly. He seems to present it to the youth as the ultimate value.

The present world plutocracy originated in the USA. It is an extension of the power of the USA. Just as me on the Daily Kos, or the European Tribune, others are welcome to share in its wealth, as long as they sing along with the same exact song.

The fiscal heavens are a part of the worldwide power of the American based plutocracy. So they are sacred. Thus, although the tax code of the USA loudly claims to prosecute all those American residents who do not declare the money they have overseas, to a great extent, this is just a sham contrived to hide the truth. Besides really rich people have more than money overseas, they have investments. Those fiscal paradises are apparently viewed as central to the security of the USA.

This looks improbably base, dirty, unlawful, in other words a conspiracy of the worst type. But those have happened before. When the CIA used SS commander Barbie as a special agents, one of many organizing drug and arm trafficking across the planet, that was even more far out. The French wanted Barbie for having tortured to death 5,000 people. They also wanted him for crimes against mankind: the killing of small children of Jewish ancestry. But the CIA employed and protected the mighty Barbie for decades in Bolivia. Barbie did not even bother to hide. Using special agents allowed the CIA to deny any (direct) involvement.

So Obama is protecting the hyper wealthy network which are where American power really resides. How, otherwise to justify the reluctance of Obama to go along with Merkel and Sarkozy (who have impeccable right wing credentials)? Why else is the European right way too left for Obama?

It is not that Merkel and Sarkozy were born yesterday. Sarkozy’s brother is head of the Carlyle group, a notorious plutocratic, influence and arm trading outfit. Merkel had a front seat when it was revealed that her mentor, the right wing Chancellor Kohl, had been apparently secretly financed by his friend, the left wing French president, Mitterand.

Things, of course, will unfold. As Obama the bipartisan waits for his fig leaf, his republican majority, he does not take crucial measures which are needed, although they could be popular if done right. The trick would have been to make them on a small scale initially, as a foot through a door, explaining the truth, as FDR did in the 1930s.

So Obama is not truly addressing the energy and greenhouse crises, which are entangled, and which cannot wait. Also the banking crisis is not solved: the rotten mentality of bonuses reigns, the banks, at least in the USA made profits from a sort of giant insider trading scheme organized this winter by the US government (that can work only that long, so soon the banks will go down again). Another thing not addressed is that some things are traded that ought not to be traded (under the pretext of "liquidity").

Even the partial reserve banking system ought to be called into question, and the fact that bankers, although not public officers, create public money (more exactly 4/5 of it), mostly for their own purpose. And so on.

We do not know what will happen next. The Principles of Morality and Precaution call not to deliberately engage in practices violating either for no reason that the government could defend in public. It is one thing to carpet bomb Tokyo (an immoral thing, on the face of it), for a good reason (wining a nasty war against nasty generals and various fascists, ASAP and at a lesser human cost than any other alternative).

It is another thing to engage deliberately in publicly unjustifiable practices. Obama cannot possibly justify the 11 billion dollar bonus to Goldman Sachs forcefully taken from taxpayers, when Goldman Sachs would not exist, but for the taxpayers. (I have studied what Obama would say, and it’s indefensible; craftily, he avoids the subject.)

Obama was described before his election as the most "liberal" member of the Senate. The world may soon draw an unexpected conclusion from this. Meanwhile, we are still waiting for one single progressive decision by the president. To be treated liberally obviously does not mean being treated to progress. This does not mean that all the decisions of Obama were bad. Parts of his stimulus, especially the parts supporting new science, were excellent, and not to be neglected. (Nominating Bernanke as Fed Chair is a good decision too, although I strongly disapproved of many of the decisions that Bernanke had to take, they had to be taken, a bit like the bombing of Tokyo.)

But, overall, the USA seems increasingly to be an unbalanced right wing regime, hiding below false pretense. No wonder, when some of the most vociferous left wing opposition is the product of unlawful undercover operations from the CIA. No wonder so many on the left bark a lot, up the wrong trees. They have been misled.

Ah, to answer the questions in the title. An independent free press with its own means of research is a crucial institution of democracy. Democracy cannot function without. At the limit, the financial support of a free press should be legislated.

Many of the Main Stream Media newspapers and magazines are fixing what ailed them. Thus, although I am now highly suspicious of many outfits on the Internet not being truly being what they claim to be, I salute the open mind exhibited by many in the MSM. Many have allowed others who strongly disagreed with their editorial boards to contribute nevertheless to their commentary.

And what of the “left”? Does it exist? Well, the concept of “left” has been in trouble, all over the world: the left is local, the plutocracy is global (the preceding statement of the same type was a corollary).

In Britain, Brown is where Obama may end up some day: reviled for long term right wing policies of his own creation, that he is now trying to revert. In France, the left is a sorry spectacle as it can only contemplate a president Sarkozy who seems to be both on the left, and the right, trying to implement the best of both (in the crucial area of scientific research, where Obama is very good, Sarkozy, though, seems at best mediocre, though).

The term “progressive” ought to be preferred, to the word “left”, with the understanding that one ought to progress towards sustaining the noblest human instincts.

For example, making official the rationing of medicine is not a form of progress anyone of the true left should wish.  In Europe, everybody would remember the last time this sort of rationing was tried: it was called Nazism (or more exactly it was the foot in the door the Nazis started with). The Nazi solution to dementia was to terminate the dements  actively. The adviser of Obama, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has suggested to let dements die instead by withdrawing treatment.

Right now, humankind has never been so rich, and so powerful. But we are next to the fall, when we have to read such lines again. Human lives are priceless, that ought to be a basic principle.

But here is the American liberal, Obama, in the New York Times, May 3, 2009:

Whether, sort of in the aggregate, society making those decisions to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question. If somebody told me that my grandmother couldn’t have a hip replacement and she had to lie there in misery in the waning days of her life — that would be pretty upsetting.

So that’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that’s also a huge driver of cost, right?
I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.

Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that’s part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance.”

Question for Mr. Liberal In Chief:

Once you have removed people who are “toward the end of their lives” and those who are “chronically ill”, what are you left with?

Answer: those who are healthy, right. Thus, private health care insurance ought to be paid only by those who are healthy, and, preferably between the ages of 15 and 40, as the good Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel suggests. This way cost would be minimized and profits maximized. The American “left”, for you.

***

Patrice Ayme

TEACHING NAZISM AT HARVARD

August 19, 2009

 

HITLER MAY BE DEAD, BUT PLUTOCRACY HAS TO RESUSCITATE HIS IDEAS: HERE COMES THE FERGUSON…

***

Abstract: The “historian” Niall Ferguson used his clout to try to discredit Obama’s economic stimulus. Some believe that Ferguson’s work is highly original. But it is enabled by Godwin rule: mention Hitler, and you have lost the argument, whatever it is. Holocaust deniers love that rule.

Thus a whole generation does not know much of Hitler’s pronouncements. Thus, it is not know that Hitler’s party ran on an electoral platform, made mostly of Harvard’s professor Niall Ferguson’s ideas. Never mind that Ferguson was not yet born: Harvard is apparently full of giants escaping human understanding. Or then has a high tolerance for plagiarism, as long as it is of the fascist kind.

Hitler was closely tied to Harvard, because he was an instrument of Anglo-Saxon plutocracy, and one of its centers is Harvard. The plutocracy has perdured, because so did its ideas, and Ferguson’s job is to make it so, by teaching them to the youth.

Such invented knowledge confuses common People totally, obscuring the plutocratic tracks. Hitler hid that he marched to war, hand in hand with his special American plutocratic friends. Instead he claimed to be attacked by the French, stabbed in the back by traitors, the rat like Jews, the Versailles treaty, and perfidious Albion.

Ferguson’s pose is not just a cover-up for Hitler, but, more fundamentally, a cover-up for the plutocracy that gave rise to Hitler and still rules.

***

PUTTING FASCISM UNDER A GOOD LIGHT, AS FERGUSON DOES, HELPS PLUTOCRACY:

How does the plutocracy procreate in the realm of ideas and emotions? By making the fascist and plutocratic atmosphere the best one known to elite youth. To do so is simple enough: promote those expounding the plutocratic body of "knowledge" by endowing them with the most prestigious university chairs and the power of mass media.

A case in point is Niall Ferguson, a young and famous professor at Harvard. He is famous because he is handsomely published by the best editors, besides enjoying Harvard’s clout and media presence.

The reputation of Ferguson is awesome. As "Freakonomics" has it: "When giants like Paul Krugman and Niall Ferguson start to argue, they both sound compelling." Krugman, generously, reports about Ferguson that:"I’m told that some of his straight historical work is very good."

Well, not that I know of. Ferguson’s main body of ideas is outright dangerous on a civilizational scale. Ferguson’s ideas, none of them new, are of the utmost importance for the persistence of plutocratic rule. We heard them all, echoing back from the 1930s.

Ferguson’s most important ideas were exactly the ideas which Hitler embraced, as he headed for World War Two. Many of these ideas were not invented by Hitler either. I have traced one of them, in its earliest manifestation, to "Colonel" House meeting with the Kaiser, in May 1914.

***

THE TRUE CAUSES OF WORLD WAR ONE:

"Colonel" House was the closest adviser and the envoy of president Wilson of the USA (a guy of pacifist repute). House’s big idea was an attempt to create a wedge between Britain and France. Britain and France had, by far, the world’s two largest empires, whereas the USA and Germany suffered from very small ones.

At the time, a serious problem was looming, related to the frantic built -up of the Kriegsmarine. Because Germany had twice the GDP of Britain, Britain was in danger of losing her military supremacy at sea. Britain was export dependent, and would have died if Germany had blockaded her. So Britain was getting increasingly upset.

The other large democracy was the French republic. After losing during the war of 1870-1871 a huge portion of her territory, including crucial coal beds and some of its most heavily industrialized areas, France was fully cognizant of the imperial fascist German danger. That danger was extreme.

Imperial Germany was dominated by an oligarchy outrageous enough to the point of fascism. Her top leaders viewed with increasing alarm the entangled French and Russian economic build-up. Russia was democratizing, and France helped it with huge credit. The German generals believed the clock was ticking in their disfavor. They felt surrounded by a French and democratic coalition, with its three main actors: France, Russia, and Britain.

Plans originating with Bismarck and the Prussian General Staff called for the eradication of the French republic. So France had been condemned to pay "reparations" to the German empire that were supposed to break her economically. Never mind that the empire had been created in Prussian occupied Versailles, and that the war was on French soil, and had ravaged France (not Germany).

But France paid the "reparations" in five years. Bismarck was dismayed. That was not supposed to happen. Not only that, but France reinforced her overseas empire considerably, and the German imperialists realized too late that the empire was an immense source of republican strength, not just from commodities and markets, but also from manpower that, all over the world, came to identify with the republican ideals of the French revolution.

"Colonel" House proposed a deal to the Kaiser: stop the Kriegsmarine build-up, and, in exchange the USA, Britain, and Germany would rule the world, excluding the French. Clearly, the British Cabinet had not been consulted: it would have found the proposition delirious, as subsequent events showed. But the dim witted Prussian generals and the nutty Kaiser may have swallowed the bait of the ludicrous proposal, which it was not the USA to make, anyway.

In any case, the Archduke of Austria, a stern and determined partisan of peace, heir to Austro-Hungary, and a close friend to, and calming influence on, the Kaiser, was unfortunately assassinated. The fascist Prussian generals out maneuvered the Kaiser, who, being unstable, and, after all, the grandson of Queen Victoria, may have changed his mind at the last minute. They sent him away, as they prepared their infernal plot.

***

FASCIST SURPRISE ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY, 2 AUGUST 1914:

Roosevelt called Pearl Harbor a "day that will live in infamy". But Pearl Harbor was little relative to what fascist Imperial Germany’s top generals did on August 2, 1914.

The Prussian General Staff knew Britain had no army to speak of, and knew that the antique Russian army took weeks to mobilize. Their plan was to destroy France quickly, with the entire might of the imperial German army. Then they would carry by train the army across Germany, and take care of Russia. Germany’s army, although not as large as Russia’s, was equipped with the latest equipment. Russian best rifles fired 15 times a minutes, the same rate as French 75mm field guns (!).

But the German equipment was state of the art, and Germany had two hundred fifty-one divisions strong. Yes, 251 divisions.

To avoid the insurmountable French border fortifications, the plan called for the two million man German army to sweep down from the north, not the east. There was a slight problem: the triumphal Teutonic march was to go through neutral Belgium. Implicit in all of this was the thesis that Britain would stay out of it, and stay friendly, as promised by "Colonel" House, the grotesque dream that the Prussian generals wanted so much to believe in.

Never mind that Britain was a guarantor of the Belgian democracy. Never mind that France and Britain were the two largest full democracies, and had a deep affinity that way (the USA was on its way to give nearly everybody civil rights, although the so called "blacks" would have to wait for the 1960s). Never mind that England had been created by France, and that, after 485 years of "One Hundred Years war" civil war, France and Britain had been reuniting for a century in all ways, including going on joint military invasions of China and Russia (Crimea).

The most educated British leaders had arrived to the conclusion that the British intervention in the French revolution of 1789 had been a deep mistake, and that Britain should have stayed neutral, as France had in the British revolutions a century earlier (PM Lloyd George would assert this). France and Britain, for centuries had tried to progress towards democracy, and rights, and the betterment of mankind, more than any other important countries, and, clearly the Prussian generals were heading in the exactly opposite direction.

The Prussian generals understood none of this. Nor does Ferguson. When people are depraved enough, they do not understand what they do not have interest to understand.

In light of the preceding, the main thesis pushed by Ferguson, that Britain ought to have betrayed her sister democracy, France, is grotesque and deeply offensive to the spirit of democracy.

The day after Imperial fascist Germany attacked several democracies deliberately (becoming the first country to fire a shot in World War first), Earl Grey, the British foreign minister, delivered an excellent discourse to the Commons explaining why Britain had to get into the war. Earl Grey explained that civilization was at stake. People like Ferguson scoff at the notion. But the imperial German army committed mass murdering atrocities inside Belgium, days after assaulting it, after deliberate threats to do so (hence with premeditation). By comparison, no other European, American or British empire army involved in WWI has been (to my knowledge) accused of any atrocity during WWI.

Imperial German barbarity was not an accident, but a system. Imperial fascist Germany had engaged in a systematic holocaust in Namibia (led by Goering, father of Herman). White supremacists loved, and still secretly love fascist Germany just for this general inclination of being willing to free vast swathes of the planet for the white "Western" man of the Germanic variety.

It is not that Britain was anxious to go to war, foaming at the mouth. As the Secretary of State for War, Field-Marshal Kitchener, pointed out with relish: "I am proud to stand with such courageous men as my colleagues in the Cabinet. They have no Army and have declared war against the mightiest military nation in the world."

Nor were the French anxious to go to war. The French government was enjoying extensive summer vacations, and all important officials were far away. Only a minor government secretary was left in Paris, and he alone had to recall everybody, and start French mobilization to answer the imperial German march to war.

So WWI was the old struggle of fascism against democracy, the one of Greece against Persia, and the one of the "Europeans" against the Arab and Berber Muslim armies (starting after those religious fanatics invaded Spain in 711 CE, and France in 721 CE, and which is pursued, somewhat idiotically, in Afghanistan to this day). Ferguson does not understand this.

Just as with Pearl Harbor, fascism struck by surprise.

Ferguson is in good plutocratic company as far as playing dumb with WWI. Earl Russell, the philosopher, one of the top aristocrats in England, did not understand either that France and Britain were democracies, under attack, and fighting for democracy, against fascism. Russell was put in jail for 18 months, to shut down his treacherous propaganda (I will not honor it by calling it "pacifist").

As the war progressed, most democracies joined France and Britain (cynics will say that they were flying to the rescue of victory: as a result of a successful offensive in South Europe led by the French army, Germany was bound to starve for the winter of 1918/19).

Who has real reasons to be upset by the Franco-British rapprochement? Here is a hint: Churchill and the British Cabinet proposed an unification of France and Britain in 1940. De Gaulle accepted, and Churchill lent him the British equivalent of Air Force One to make the sale’s pitch. Who declined? The bastards who were busy setting up the non constitutional Vichy entity (that fascist entity was immediately recognized by the French hating Roosevelt administration).

OK, another hint. The few British divisions in existence played a role in the crucial (first) battle of the Marne. The Chief of the French army, Joffre, his center deeply penetrated by the German main body, had decided to counterattack from the side, Hannibal style, from the Paris fortress, appropriately held by the African army. That was all the reserve he had, and the move would leave Paris unprotected.

Fortunately, suddenly, the eight highly professional divisions of the British army showed up. Joffre used them as a flying reserve. British troops joined flank attacks by the Fifth and Sixth French armies. The counter attacks were highly successful: on September 9, 1914, just five weeks after their fierce assault on civilization, it looked as if the First and Second German armies would be totally destroyed. Tellingly, the British commander under the orders of Joffre, was called French.

This is how Germany lost WWI. This fact did not escape Hitler, an exceptionally courageous soldier, who saw all his comrades killed in fighting against the French, and was himself gazed (becoming hysterical in the process, the doctors said).

What Hitler took away from it, is that, had the few British divisions not been there, the French would have been less fierce, or would have run out of forces for the counter attack, or… In any case it was clear to Hitler, and many fascist white supremacists, that Britain, by helping France had chosen the wrong horse.

After the war, massive plots were engaged by many elements of the Anglo-American plutocracy, to profit from fascist German anger. Now, instead of being just angry and afraid of France, German fascists were irate about the resurrection of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and even Denmark recovering territory.

The Weimar republic, instead of admitting France was right, tried to pacify German fascists, thus undermining itself and the republican principles (Obama follows the same method in all things with his right wing opposition). Some German, American and English plutocrats promoted, financed and organized the Nazis. The relationship between France and the USA became terrible after Hitler came to power: France prepared for war, and the USA, thus, viewed France as a war monger. The USA took military and diplomatic measures against France: the influence of the plutocrats on the US government was great, and US plutocrats viewed Germany as a their latest frontier.

And all along the idea now adopted by our great Harvard professor, Niall Ferguson, was hanging around, in fascist circles: if only Britain had not helped France in WWI!

Hitler tried to make sure this would not happen again. He tried to build an alliance with Britain, and that worked until 1936. But then democrats in Britain understood the danger. The young pro-Nazi king was abdicated (he would betray horrendously in 1940: privy to the ultimate French military secrets, as inspector general of British forces, he would personally tell Hitler where to break through!).

All along, plutocrats reassured Hitler that Britain and the USA would not oppose him, and France would be left alone. By 1938, it looked like that at Munich, but by then Britain was rearming massively and secretly, building a superb Air Force. By 1939, Britain had given quiet insurances to France that she was on board, whatever France decided to do. France allied with Poland (Britain was in the fine print). In a last gambit, Hitler allied with Stalin. Sweating at the brow, but his dictatorial prestige on line, Hitler attacked Poland (thirsty for Polish oil, hungry for old "German" lands). France and Britain declared war.

***

SEARCH FOR WHOM THE CRIME PROFITED TO:

Once again, it was democracy against fascism. In a first phase, American plutocrats went into high gear, selling whatever to Hitler, sending him battle supplies as needed, managing for him what he needed, etc… In a second phase, American direct investments took a low profile, discreetly expanding with the Nazi Reich, under Nazi disguise. In a final phase, they remade their Nazi companies into American companies, having liberated (AKA conquered) the world. All together, it was an excellent operation for American plutocrats, but not so for anybody else, namely the rest of mankind.

The American People mightily profited, because the European empires were gone (with a final American shove), and the USA moved into the vacuum. The USA moved in, with the grossest methods, and they worked, because there was no alternative. Uncomprehending, for example, the USA manipulated Muslim extremism, believing it could always outsmart the religious primitives and their allies (the French and Brits had known better). Manipulating Muslim fanatics worked for the generation of Ibn Saud, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Shah, and the dictator Zia. But it is not working with the next, smarter generation, that of bin Laden, Khamenei, and the ISI. (Trying that old trick in Afghanistan will not work either.)

Now, of course the interpretation of history I sketched above is mine, it is not in history books. But it will gain in acceptance, because it is correct, and it seems clear that many influential characters have figured it out all by themselves. For example, some of Muslim terrorists seems to have joined fanatical Islam to use it as a weapon, as the USA had done before. But back to Ferguson.

***

NO NAPOLEON, NO HITLER?

Ferguson is a historian in the sense that Hitler was a historian too. "Mein Kampf" starts with a recall and reinterpretation of history, with the French as very bad guys, executing German freedom fighters. Hitler’s facts were not wrong. What was wrong is the weight he gives to those facts. It is true that the dictator Napoleon did not thread lightly in Germany. But it is also true that Napoleon contributed enormously to the construction of imperial Germany: he may have been the most important factor.

Napoleon united Germany, and created an imperial fervor (so, in a sense, it is Napoleon who created the modern Reichs!). Running out of Frenchmen to die on battlefields, Napoleon filled up his Grand Army with enthusiastic German and Poles, to attack Russia. The Nazis were obsessed by what happened next, namely that Napoleon lost, although he had won. The Nazis were determined to rise to the challenge, and do better in the next try. Ironically, they fell to exactly the same or similar factors to those which had befell their mentor Napoleon (although they analyzed them carefully, they were not careful enough, and the same bad luck with an extreme winter struck them too).

***

ON THE HISTORICAL WORK OF HITLER AND HIS PARROT FROM HARVARD:

Adolf Hitler was an idiosyncratic, but shallow thinker. He had many theses about World War One. No doubt that Harvard students know them well. Most of them are repeated verbatim in Ferguson’s "Pity of War", and his other works. Because few scholars know Hitler’s ideas, Ferguson sounds original. But, in truth, Ferguson plagiarizes Hitler most of the way including in the most absurd details (such as imperial Germany being intrinsically weak, peace loving, and democratic).

Hitler and Ferguson claim that Germany waged a preventive war in 1914.

[[Counterfactual: nobody was attacking Germany, nor planned to, or was capable of doing so; instead Germany pushed Austro-Hungary to go mad about the Sarajevo assassination; days after millions of German soldiers were already pouring into other countries, killing and ravaging, Austro-Hungary had still not attacked anybody, in spite of a huge pressure to do so from the Prussian generals.]]

Hitler and Ferguson claim that irresponsible British diplomacy tricked Germany into war, with a bait and switch.

[[How do you trick imperial Germany to attack the world for no apparent reason??]]

Hitler and Ferguson, following B. Russell, accused London of unnecessarily allowing a regional war in Europe to escalate into a world war.

[[This is beyond grotesque, because after attacking Russia, France and Belgium, while forcing Austro-Hungary to attack Serbia, the war was already all around the planet, as the French and German empire sprawled all around. Moreover, due to its deep French origins, in the most important ways, and what happened before, and the fundamental principle of democracy, Britain was never going to let France be destroyed by a foreign power. Russell did not understand this, because he was a top plutocrat at heart; later, when he was impoverished, he understood worthy causes much better.] ]

Hitler, the Nazis and Ferguson love to claim that the British maintained an ambiguous attitude to the question of whether Britain would enter the world wars by the side of France or not, and thus confused Berlin over just what was the British attitude towards the question of intervention in the wars.

[[Ferguson makes the argument in particular for WWI; this is counterfactual: one week before German troops crossed the borders, when the Prussian General Staff had given the final orders, absolutely nobody suspected, in France or Britain, that war was eminent; Britain was devoured by the Irish problem, and the entire French government was, literally, at sea. So nobody could have been ambiguous: nobody expected the top Prussian generals to be planning a worldwide attack. Nobody was talking world war, except the plotters of the Prussian General staff, and they were doing so secretly: attacking France by surprise was the most important part of their world domination plan. The “Entente Cordiale” between France and Britain was more than an alliance, it was obviously a process of reunification. By the way, it is now stronger than ever. British subjects are now regularly elected to French government jobs.]]

Ferguson denies that the origins of the Third German Reich can be traced to the Second German Reich.

[[ Why does Ferguson think Hitler called it the "Third" Reich, then? many of Hitler’s closest collaborators and street fighters were prominent Second Reich personalities. For example, during the Hitler’s “Beer Putsch”, troops fired on the Nazis. Ludendorff, second in command of the Prussian WWI army, and the most important general, kept on marching as the Nazis who had not been killed fled.]]

Instead Ferguson embraced Hitler’s thesis that the will to invasion of Nazism can only be traced back to the First World War and its aftermath.

[[This the famous Nazi propaganda that Germany was stolen and mauled at the Paris 1919 conference, and lost territory which was properly German; there are some elements of truth in it, but small truths can hide a much bigger lie. And this is the case here: the "aftermath" of WWI liberated the nation of Poland. According to Hitler and Ferguson, that was a crime. Go ask the Poles.]]

Hitler and Ferguson claim that Germany was peace loving before 1914, and Ferguson claims that Germany was the most anti militarist country.

[[Hitler used that argument constantly during his march towards WWII, and generalized generously to himself. According to himself, Hitler was the most benevolent person; amazingly, his entourage believed this, and the USA, while boycotting France, which was Hitler’s enemy, kept on feeding the Nazis with all sorts of direct investments and diplomatic support. The argument on the face of it is most grotesque; Germany had the world’s most powerful army in 1914 and 1939; with its 251 divisions, it may have been more than 100 times more powerful than the US Army. Imperial Germany was a war machine.]]

Ferguson, bizarrely, claims that Britain was driven into alliances with France and Russia as a form of appeasement due to the strength of those nations, and an Anglo-German alliance failed to materialize due to German weakness.

[[The relationship of Britain with France was an increasing form of unity, there was no need for "appeasement": France and Britain were in love; the relationship of Britain with Russia was excellent, a smaller form of the French massive investment in democratizing Russia. Economically, militarily, industrially, Germany was the world’s strongest nation, occupying half of Poland, a most important part of France; Germany’s only weakness was the fascist nature of its regime, which created an increasing internal anger, of the average German against the oligarchy on top. Distracting from that anger was an obsession of the oligarchs. starting a good war was a good distraction; moreover, it was a necessity, according to the top Prussian generals, who recognized that the Russian and French empires collaborating in democracy, would bury fascist Germany; instead of deducing they ought to have democratize Germany, they decided to gamble. Why? Because they were deeply tied to the Prussian aristocracy (they were the Prussian aristocracy), and they did not trust what they viewed as the German rabble…]]

Ferguson, the one who compares Obama to a lucky black cat, claims that the British fears of Germany were due to irrational anti-German prejudices.

[[As I said, the Brits worried about Ireland, the British newspapers, a week before Germany went berserk, were full of Ireland, and neglected Germany completely.]]

The rest of Ferguson ideas are so idiotic, I am not even going to bother with them. They closely follow some of Hitler’s most demented myths, and Russell’s lunacy that, had Germany crushed France in September 1914, the European Union would have been founded early.

This amazingly philosophically, civilizationally and historically naive stance neglects notions such as plutocracy, fascism, racism, brutality and extermination. Although Ferguson claims that the British were killing routinely German POWs (an invention), he forgot the systematic killing of Belgian civilians in some areas where the imperial German army was passing through. Auschwitz would be no accident: the German fascists trained in Belgium. If you can exterminate innocent Belgian civilians, doing the same to the French, the Russians, the Slavs, the Poles, the Jews, etc… is as easy as pie.

That the Imperial Second German Reich committed a war of aggression in 1914 is totally self obvious, and strongly promoted by German historians, such as Fritz Fischer; besides the document establishing the military plot was found in a cellar.

But Ferguson is a so called "counterfactual" so called "historian": he makes up entire world of facts, histories that never happened, and reasons from there. Harvard should be ashamed of itself. What can be taught there is pure non sense, not history.

***

RECAPITULATION: MOST OF THE IDEAS OF FERGUSON CAN BE TRACED TO HITLER.

Such ideas have their use. They were standard main Nazi propaganda. They allowed the Nazis to be elected, and allowed them to pose Germany as an innocent victim they were set to defend.

OK, so it is clear why Hitler invented Ferguson’s body of work. But what is Ferguson’s motivation? Well, one has to go back to the fact that Hitler was a manipulated manipulator.

It did not dawn clearly onto Hitler, that the generous American plutocrats that helped him so much, could have their own subconscious agenda. After all, a treacherous slave owner such as Jefferson, not satisfied with sleeping with a totally underage slave who was a very close relative, and having children with her, did much more than that. Jefferson lied to his under age mistress, who was his wife’s half sister. She and her brother wanted to stay free in France, where slavery was unlawful. Jefferson told them he would set them free, when back in the USA. He gave her many children, but not freedom.

This pitiful jerk wrote lofty discourses, probably copied from the British and French master thinkers, while re-enslaving Sally. However, he is viewed by many Americans as America’s top thinker (President Kennedy boasted that Jefferson was more clever than 40 Nobel Prizes put together). Top liar, cheat, pedophile, treacherous, morally disgusting to a point that would have disgusted an old Roman : meet America’s best mind. The American soul is complex and tortured.

In the end, as France and Britain went to all out war against Hitler, Hitler, unable to subdue Britain in the instant, had to attack the USSR, to avoid war on two fronts (somewhat paradoxical, but the fascists were not too bright; this is the exact reason that Hitler gave to the assembly of all the top German generals; Herren, we have no choice…). Then the stupid Japanese generals attacked the USA (which intended to get in the war in 1943, at the earliest, to come to the rescue of whoever was going to win). That freed 250,000 crack Siberian troops from the far east, which Stalin quickly brought to bear in the battle of Moscow, onto the frozen solid Nazis.

At that point the American plutocrats realized that Hitler was the wrong horse, and they changed tactics. Down with Hitler, up with the liberation of half of Europe with American capital. The other half, they gave to Stalin to chew on (not so much to pacify him, than to weaken Europe)

By insisting that bad British blunders created the 1914-1945 war, Ferguson achieves the following:

a) Fascism is innocent, actually there is no such thing as fascism.

b) Oligarchy is innocent, there is no such a thing as oligarchy.

c) Racism and lethal racial hatred was never practiced by enraged fascists, the Shoah is a mystery.

d) Britain and France may have been democracies, but democracy is not an important notion. Actually, neither France nor democracy are observable concepts.

e) Nazism is deeply innocent. Never mind that it was all highly predictable: Friedrich Nietzsche had warned, around 1880, that the German racist nationalist fascist madness was going to soon ravage Europe with abominable wars, during the following century. Exactly what happened.

That somebody as Ferguson is allowed to teach the young in the most prestigious places is testimony to the power of plutocracy, and the fact that it is racist and fascist at heart.

So, let me repeat: it is not France and Britain, the two and only very large democracies in Europe, which created the terrible war of 1914-1945. France (with Belgium, Luxembourg, Russia) was attacked. Everybody knew that Britain and France had been in the process of getting reunited and operating as a unit for a century, and had an explicit alliance ("Entente Cordiale"), that led them to joint military operations (invasions of China and Russia, among others).

What created that world war was the fascist, racist spirit that penetrated imperial fascist Germany.

The failure of the intervening Weimar republic was partly due to the fact that it conceded all the main points to the fascist opposition, preferring to accuse France and create gigantic inflation, rather than standing on principle in the internal German debate. (A bit similar to Barack Obama conceding to Big Pharma and eschewing the public health plan before even starting negotiations on health care.)

Ferguson says that civilization would have been improved by accepting that fascist, racist, mass murdering spirit. It is a misunderstanding about what civilization is. Civilization is about democracy, not oligarchy. But then, Ferguson is an oligarchic product (elite private school, etc.), and therein his bread and butter. He does what he is paid for.

***

Patrice Ayme

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

***

Notes: COULD THE FRENCH HAVE WON WITHOUT THE BRITS?

Technically, perhaps. After the French counteroffensive of the Marnes, when the First and Second German armies were barely saved form encirclement and destruction, Moltke, the head of the German command, coming out of a depression, is said to have reported to the Kaiser: “Your Majesty, we have lost the war.”

To give an idea of the scale of the French effort versus the British one, during this particular battle, the British lost 1,700 soldiers killed, whereas the French had 80,000 soldiers killed, 47 times more. The Germans had 220,000 casualties.

***

 

PART OF THE ENTANGLEMENT BETWEEN FRANCE AND BRITAIN:

Many people of the Anglo-Saxon persuasion, when they are not educated enough, do not realize that France and Britain were long part of the same polity (and are back into this state). So a bit of background:

Francia and Britannia were long important parts of the Roman empire, and were united that way.

For centuries, Britannia was a major, and rich province of the Roman empire. Then, because the plutocrats did not want to pay taxes anymore (I was going to speak of Goldman Sachs again, and stopped just in time), there was not enough army in crucial parts of the Roman empire, and the legions in Britannia were recalled.

Seeing that Britannia was defenseless, the north western Germans, the Angles, the Saxons and Frisians, never successfully defeated by Rome, attacked that juicy target.

The Britons organized a desperate defense, but were defeated. However, the empire of the Franks was sprawling over Western Europe , representing a new style of Roman power. The British army fled to Armorica, in such great numbers that the later became known as "Bretagne".

The counter attack occurred in two steps: Charlemagne, born two centuries later, conquered Northern Germany, christianized and domesticated Angles, Saxons and Frisians (Christianity is a massive weapon that the Franks used with relish against pagans).

Another 270 years later, a French army led by the Duke of Normandy counter-invaded Britain, and reestablished Roman rule (the French king, king of the Franks, suzerain to William, being "(Roman) emperor in his own kingdom"). In any case modern England was thus founded by the Franks: slaves were freed, and, to ingratiate themselves to the population, while stealing the properties of the noble Anglo-Saxon lords, the French introduced a litany of democratic reforms.

The 485 year war (the so called "100 year war") started as a civil war between Paris and London, French against French, Isabelle de France (queen of England) against rotten lawyers in Paris. It was a civil war between two French houses located near each other, Anjou and Normandy.

But some have never graduated from the supposed Franco-British enmity. Never mind that an English king as Richard the Lion Hearted, was born, raised, lived and died in France (some say he spent only 18 months in England, in his entire life). In truth, France and Britain are getting reunited. Whereas the invasions of Crimea and China, were more of a courtship ritual, their common front in WWI and WWII were part of a genuine unification, something traceable not just to Rome, but to the Celts even earlier.

EVOLUTION AS INTELLIGENT DESIGN.

August 15, 2009

GODS AS MENTAL ABDICATION.

(Driven By Evolutionary Reason; Often Lethal)

***

Abstract:  The Gods correspond to the intelligent design of our brain evolution made, always asking for causes, and providing answers, even when there are none at first sight. This thirst for answers has progressively exiled the Gods ever further out, at the boundary of reason. And so it ought to be, as intelligence progresses.

But it is possible to go too far in this attitude, thus leading to facile hubris. An aspect of this is the grave problem of the attempted resolution of deep differences through exalted lethal violence grounded on the God phenomenon in one’s head. The Obasama phenomenon is rolled out as exemplary.

***

The fact of biological evolution has pushed the God hypothesis further out in the suburbs of knowledge. However, the exile of God(s) into irrelevance had started well before. It is essential to Western civilization, because it corresponds to the advancement of intelligence.

The first powerful counterattack against superstition, specifically the bloodthirsty God of Abraham, happened when the Franks finally vanquished the Catholic Romans, and took control (in the preceding 150 years, the Franks had tried to vanquish the Christians, but were defeated). By 486 CE, the Franks changed tactic, and claimed to convert to Catholicism. The bishops were satisfied, because the Francisque was a gigantic double battle axe, and that was just one of the weapons of the Franks, the primary military force of the Roman empire.

The Franks proceeded to undermine Catholicism in all ways, except the few they viewed as worth encouraging.

Next the Muslim invasion forces showed up. The Franks did not claim to be Christians, because they thought the invaders were fanatical Christians descending from "Sara" (hence "Sarasins"). The Franks christened themselves "Europeans", namely continental Greeks, pre-Christian rationalists. 

The Europeans fought the Muslims with the same mentality as the Spartans fought at Thermopylae: to death and extermination. The bodies of thousands of Arabs and Berbers were left to rot in the sun. The Muslim called that the "avenue of martyrs". Three times the Sarasins invaded with all the might they could muster (721, 732, 737 CE), three times they were crushed and killed. Its armies exterminated, the Arab Caliphate so dear to Osama bin Laden fell, then, never to rise again: the Persians took control. (So don’t panic, Obama, the Arabs are not coming back from the caves, and tremble, little Bush, because by undermining Saddam the Arab, you made the bed of Khamenei the Persian fanatic!)

Next secular education was mandated to all religious establishments. Then Frankish philosophers under Charlemagne beat down on Christianity some more (their works were condemned during the crusades, five centuries later).

When the Renaissance started for good, Abelard demonstrated that Church Fathers did not know what they were pontificating about, having a yes (sic) and a no (non) about 158 important theological questions, in his work, "Sic et Non". (1120 CE.)

The mathematician and physicist Laplace broke new ground, metaphysically, when the dictator Napoleon asked him where God was in all his astronomical computations. Laplace replied haughtily that he "had no need for that hypothesis". (That was an inside joke, physicist to physicist, because Newton had claimed he did not find hypotheses, a blatantly ridiculous statement, all the more since, perhaps prompted by problems with his own semi-miraculous obscure computations, Newton evoked God a lot in later life.)

So, before Laplace, the God(s) were needed to operate the planets. After him, a few axioms of physics, and a lot of mathematics, were enough. No need for God(s). God(s) had a serious problem: it/they were not needed for planets, one of the main justifications for their alleged existence.

Fortunately, there was the problem of life, to save the superstitious. Life had been obviously created by the God(s).

Unfortunately for the simple minded, around 1800 CE, one of the first professional research biologist paid by the State, Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de la Marck, (chair of botany, Jardin des Plantes, 1788, Zoology professor, Museum d’Histoire Naturelle, 1793) discovered, by studying mollusks carefully, that they had evolved enormously, and that obviously, over long periods of time (mollusks not being known for speed, to put it amusingly).

Thus Lamarck became the "primary evolutionary theorist" (Gould). At the same time, he revolutionized geology, by showing the earth was immensely old, and not a few thousand years young, as the beyond silly superstitious had claimed (Hindu metaphysicists had got it right, with enormous ages, long before the Bible was written, and Abraham felt like stabbing his son).

In any case, Lamarck pushed down God(s) into microbes. All the rest was the effect of "forces" (as Lamarck theorized).
As the Scottish geologist Lyell, mentor of Darwin, put it in 1827: "I devoured Lamarck… his theories delighted me… I am glad that he has been courageous enough and logical enough to admit that his argument, if pushed as far as it must go, if worth anything, would prove that men may have come from the Ourang-Outang. But after all, what changes species may really undergo!… That the Earth is quite as old as he supposes, has long been my creed…"

Of course Lamarck made powerful enemies. Wrote Lyell: "If I had stated… the possibility of the introduction or origination of fresh species being a natural, in contradistinction to a miraculous process, I should have raised a host of prejudices against me, which are unfortunately opposed at every step to any philosopher who attempts to address the public on these mysterious subjects."

Later on Darwin came, and repeated Lamarck’s work in a more constrained setting: one place (Galapagos) a short time (a few million years), and one species (a particular finch). Because he wrote in English, he became much more famous than Lamarck. (Although Wallace pointed out Lamarck did most of the work.)

The amusing Dawkins emphasized the idea that evolution had nothing to do with teleonomy (following the French speaking Nobel prize Jacques Monod), by claiming that we were all submitted to ‘selfish genes’.
Although we have some rough idea of what "genes" are, we do not have the final story. The only certain thing is that anthropomorphizing genes by giving them emotions is an error. Verily, Dawkins’ real point is the exact opposite: genes don’t care.
(There is some validity to the emotional content of Dawkins’ selfish gene idea… Some, but far from as much as the fans of Dawkins would have it. The extravagance with which Dawkins pushed his selfish gene point of view is self servicing.)

In any case, Dawkins’ attack against the God hypothesis was nothing really new. Can we say more?

The state of the art picture in the biology of inheritance is that it consists of inheritable more or less self reproducing, extremely complex geometrical structures (genes, prions).

Let me give an example that illustrates Laplace’s point (Kernsatz, to put it in German), and which has the advantage to be all too real.
We do not need a God of the Volcano to explain a lava flow. Even religious fundamentalists know enough today to realize that there is no God-of-the-volcano. No Pele’ needed.

But the ancients were less knowledgeable, they knew little about the volcano, except that it was very complex, unpredictable, life giving, etc…

Thus the ancients felt that all this complexity could only be explained by a God of the volcano. For millions of years, our ancestors were certain that the Volcano was a God. We could never have changed their minds; their brain circuitry was set up that way.

The Volcano God was even deeply connected to their morality, like the Moon is connected with the morality of the Arabs for millennia (and thus of the Islamist superstition).

Our ancestors believed in the God-of-the-whatever, somebody who, like them, got it all organized. It was physics and morality for the ignorant, all wrapped up in one. Now we know more, and see the volcano, and the tsunamis, and the storms, and the planets, and the stars, and the climate, and the seasons are all self organizing, or helped along by other causes. No need for an ‘animus in machina’.

There are plenty of real mysteries, of course. A few star scientists were arrogant, a few generations ago, and thought they had the sun all figured out. An uncle of mine, a top solar scientist, was more modest, and knew we did not. Sure enough, now that, in the heat of the greenhouse, solar output is a crucial data feed, we cannot predict it, and the proximal impact of this lack of knowledge maybe a few billion dead.

It is only natural and suitably un-hubristic to presuppose that the same phenomenon will occur in other realms of thought, and that immense complexities that we do not presently suspect will explain all and any further mysteries. Whereas the sadistic madness of the God of Abraham is easy to figure out, out of the old explanatory box of the primitive, the present toughest mysteries of evolution or physics are not, and will require a new explanatory box, or two.

So, NOT to believe in the God-in-the-machine has the interest of turning us into humble creatures who ask ourselves further questions.

Whereas the unbeliever is fundamentally un-hubristic.
Instead the believer has it all figured out, and now can go to sleep, at peace with the God in his head.

One can see God in the head at work with Christian Obama. That mental condition has deadly consequences. The definition of hubristic is Obama telling us what God and Islam are, and going to kill people all over South Eurasia, in the name of his narrow understanding of Islam.

Osama, of course, does the same as Obama. But Osama quotes surah, verse and hadith, whereas Obama thinks he can get away with wishy-washy, hopeful pronouncements abounding in certainty as deep as Osama’s. We have an Obasama problem: those who kill in the name of God, crusading and mooning all over, because God told them so. And the psychological problem known as "God" has everything to do with it.

(Although the Muslims of the Middle Earth have the excuse that, being under attack, they can grab whatever metaphysics comes in handy to justify their rage and hatred for the ongoing oppression and killing they are submitted to.)

When the believer tells us that God is, and what he had for breakfast, the believer is fathomlessly hubristic. The believer also relinquishes the emotional set-up to exert his brainpower more, and in the correct way, that is bottom up, not top down.

The believer, fundamentally, far from being humble, is ultimately hubristic: he knows God better than God.

This ultimate mental blindness is not what this world needs. It is what Obama needs to go kill people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and what Osama needs, for the same reason, killing strangers, and that is why they have it. It’s the same mental condition; blind and enraged enough to kill. But ultimate blindness is not what the planet and humanity need. It is what the planet and humanity need to avoid.

So I have faith that we need to think, and I have faith that Gods, whether inside the volcano, or up in heavens, have nothing to do with it, quite the opposite. I have faith that God is anesthesia for the higher human mental capabilities. I have faith that yesterday’s superstitions will not solve the problems at hand, and will not provide with the needed moral boost. I have faith that obsessing about God(s) is a mental condition, with a poor prognostic for all concerned, and first of all, the unbelievers.

Gods have long been a mental abdication: they are short circuits of the mind, indispensable when there is nothing else. An intelligent design of the mind. An evolutionary consequence of the principle of man, finding reason where none can be seen at first sight.

So, ironically, evolution came first. Evolution is all the intelligent design there was. In the end, the evolving human species learned to evolve in his head, making imagination even more important than knowledge.
***

Patrice Ayme

NAZY TALK.

August 11, 2009

 

Abstract: In light of many of his declarations, and pursuant to the crushing of Nazism in 1945, president Obama should remove Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel from any role in government, informal or not. Otherwise said, Emanuel’s abysmal opinion that reforming health care through rationing life deserves to get an “attenuated chance” (to use Emanuel’s semantics).

For those who do not have the time to read all what is below, let’s put it in a nutshell: Emanuel believes that some people are less worthy, to the point that they deserve less medical treatment, so that other people, what he calls the “participating citizens”, can live better, and so that profits may be enhanced. This is the talk that the Nazis did not dare. 

His choice of an adviser that shoves the entire basic principle of Western civilization down the toilet, leads to broader questions about Obama’s deepest convictions.

***

ABOUT THOSE WHO HAVE NOT LEARNED THE MINIMUM FROM FASCISM.

Paul Krugman makes fun of Investor Business Daily, quoting it as saying that: "’People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.’”

And Krugman to add: “That would be Stephen Hawking, British professor, who was born in the UK and has lived there for his whole life."

All right. Very funny. It is always pleasant to point out that the pro-plutocratic party is short on knowledge and brains.

Now for the meat of the matter. I am as much for Public health care as possible. I view health care as a fundamental right, and think that HEALTH OUGHT TO BE AN INSTITUTION, just as justice is. I think that only death, not man ought to limit health care. 

I think maximum health care is good for the economy, society, man, the planet and the evolution of intelligence. I despise the world’s richest man, Warren Buffet, for having made billion of dollars in health care insurance and managed “care”. In other world I am a health care fanatic. But of course I see that concessions have to be made, at the present time.

But this is not what I see coming from Obama. I do not see in Obama someone who believes that health is the right. I see rather the obverse. I rather see someone determined to manipulate us with cost calculus

After rushing people into accepting what turns out as his bloody certainties about Islam, as expressed by his blind worsening of the Afghan war, after his outrageous support for a few hundreds of conspiring financiers, ruining the country in the process, and after his refusal to let the sword of justice come down on a handful of officials who may have violated national and international law about torture, I have become suspicious of Obama’s fundamental lack of a moral compass, beyond using a miniature version of morality to serve his obvious self interest.

Morality ought not to be just what serves to be elected by faking it rhetorically.

Thus, to my revolted dismay, events have led me to become highly suspicious of Obama. On health care, Obama made a lot of noise, as he were campaigning. But where were his concrete proposals? Why so lost? As I explain below, it’s not so hard to start the reform of health care.

Then I encountered Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel. I knew of him vaguely, putting him in the outside moral fringe, out there with murderous animal right activists. In other words, people who advocate to kill for no good reason. It never even came to my mind that Obama would have made him into one of his health advisers.

One thing I know is that the crazy stuff Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has been saying would not go down well in Europe. And in particular Britain, France and Germany.

Giving "attenuated chances" to "persons not being, or not capable of becoming, fully participating citizens", "not giving access to full medical services to people with dementia", Dr. Emanuel wrote all this, and in many places, over many years. Dr. Emanuel’s ideas would remind Europeans of the euthanasia program the German government put in action in 1938. After a few years, it became so unpopular, it had to be stopped.

There is no way to paper over such talk. Dr. Emanuel also wants to do away with the Hippocratic Oath: he whines that it costs too much. Dr. Emanuel should not come anywhere near the White House. He ought to resign ASAP, As Soon As Possible. Like tomorrow. Emanuel as health advisor is on a par with taking Dr. Goebbels as an adviser for humanities. The Nazis never said such things, as Dr. Emanuel said, so many times, or at least the Nazis never said such things in public. Of course, the Nazis did worse, but they were given the opportunity. Their official intent was less, though. Dr. Emanuel’s intent is worse. Given the opportunity, he may well do worse.

There is a colossal contempt and condemnation, in Europe, for such crazy talk about making some people die, so that others can, supposedly, live better. That is what Dr. Emanuel talks about, again and again.

Europeans have seen it all before, from Benito and Adolf, not to say Stalin, too: they all had the concept of lessening the human status of some people, to improve (supposedly) the lot of the rest. This is the meat of Dr. Emanuel’s train of thought, repeated again and again.

Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin each had their own concept of "fully participating citizen"). So does Dr. Emanuel.

Such deeply criminally insane violation of civilization comes from people who have lost a modern moral and philosophical compass. Inasmuch as the Bush administration crossed ethical canyons towards the savage past, this is well beyond.

Dr. Emanuel thinks that young humans and old ones, all those outside of the 15 to 40 year old age bracket, are less valuable, and should be sacrificed first, for business (I feel embarrassed to have to report this: the abyssal hole in basic morality of this Obama adviser is so enormous, it makes Sarah Palin appear to be a humanistic intellectual of an incomparably higher caliber).

To crown it all, Obama made a secret deal with Big Pharma, corporatist style, as somebody called Benito Mussolini used to make.

***

WHY NOT JUST IMPROVE MEDICARE & STOP SUBSIDIZING PROFIT?

To improve health care in the present USA was simple: Obama just had to improve Medicare, first by opening it to those who were willing to pay for it. That would have helped with Medicare long term funding, and solved the contradiction between private insurance and providing health care.

Secondly, Obama also had to allow Medicare to emulate the giant insurer "Assurance Maladie" in France, by giving it the ability  to negotiate drug prices with Big Pharma (in France, even without any reimbursement, American drugs cost less than co-pays in the USA).

Instead, Obama did the exact opposite. In a secret conspiracy with Big Pharma, he assured Big Pharma that this would precisely not happen. In exchange, Big Pharma was going to be nice. Maybe they would reserve plenty of these hospital and pharmaceutical board seats people around Obama love so much.

Instead of boosting Medicare, Obama boldly asserted that he would not "cut Medicaid" (a different program from Medicare, entangled with the states). The fact that Obama did not answer the question about Medicare, whether he intended to cut it a bit, which was asked stridently all over the land for weeks, speaks volumes. The fact that Obama systematically refused to answer that question, and opted instead for cheap red herrings shows that, indeed, Obama did intent to cut Medicare. That is what it means. (It’s unlikely he will succeed, now that he has been detected, though… So now the Obamammoth is lost in the taiga, with all those pesky hunters around.)

What is going on in the Obama mind? With G. W. Bush, it was easy to see: a son of the plutocracy came to reign, enough said.

Krugman links to somebody called West, that he views as "wise".

West wrote a post in the Huffington Post, entitled "What Obama needs to learn from Sarah Palin." (Notice that the notoriously brain challenged Palin once again is evoked as an intellectual giant, ever since the Obama administration has undergone mental collapse.)

In it Ms West laments that: "… in order to close the intensity gap Obama needs to re-discover the moral fervor that imbued his campaign during the Democratic primaries. Then, he successfully equated voting for him to transforming America into a better, finer place. With an assured moral authority, he addressed voters’ fears and conflicts over race, meeting them in their place of discomfort. Now, Obama seems to have lost that certainty in himself, unable to carry his moral energy beyond his own political dreams. Rather than continuing to appeal on the basis of reasonableness and logic, Obama needs to have a frank, heartfelt discussion with Americans about their fears over health care reform — over things like rationing, affordability, and loss of control."

Notice that Ms West "assured moral authority" is basically equated with "voting for him". So, now that he has been elected, having thus effected what apparently passes for him as moral success, why would Obama re-discover what he does not need anymore?

People always have morality. Even the Nazis did. Hitler would talk about peace all the time. But his idea of peace meant war.

Just, the Nazis’ idea of morality was different. And also it varied severely from Nazi to Nazi (as demonstrated during the "night of the long knives"). Morally though, Nazism was a salad made of some characteristic ingredients. Some were poisonous. Nazism was made possible by financing from elements of the plutocracy (Bush, Harriman Brothers, Dulles, etc.), and some corporations (not Siemens, but certainly Thyssen, Krupp, Standard Oil, IBM, Ethyl Corp. of America, Ford, etc.). In turn, Nazism, anxious to please, adopted the moral pursuits of these plutocrats and corporations. Trade exists also in moral matters.

Hitler, for example, initially just hated the French, then the Jews, and finally came to believe that his mission was to fight for these corporations, which had made him possible, following in this the Duce, Mussolini.

Which brings us to the greatest donor to Obama. Question: who, or what legal person is the greatest profiteer of the last year? Anybody can guess. Yes, the Gold Man who Sacks. Goldman Sachs, the one with officers always in the government, like the pilots in a ship approaching port. That is obviously where morality lays.

When one reads Ezekiel Emanuel carefully, one sees that he wants to insure profits, and, because of this, he will ration. Even if it means killing people (because that is what restricting health care amounts to, and Emanuel makes it clear that it is all about killing people). Emanuel is the one who would have “attenuated the chance” of Stephen Hawking, if he had been in charge.

This makes the screaming of some on the left against Rush Limbaugh deeply disingenuous: why don’t they read Obama’s good doctor Emanuel instead?

 

In France, it would be inconceivable to institute rationing in health care. Far from it, the present right wing government has proposed to extend much further the emergency treatment of cardiac disease, a very expensive proposition. As the case of Hawking shows, socialized health care in Britain can be immensely expensive, and very long term. Britain and France are motivated by health, the Emanuel brothers are motivated by profits. Therein their morality: I take, therefore I am. Is it how the American left is supposed to lead to a better world? Is that progress? No moral compass, but profits?

The fundamental reason the Nazis killed the Jews was to steal them (or so several modern scholars have determined). It is ironical that the Emanuel brothers are motivated by lucre too, as the apparent foundation of their moral system. Their father was in the Irgoun, a terrorist organization that was ruthless (it did most of the killing to establish Israel), but not without principles far removed from money…

***

Patrice Ayme

***

Note: Background on the Obama health advisers:

Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff" called "fucking stupid" the progressives that doubt Obama. Emanuel’s brother is Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist, a specialist of ethics (he has a PhD in philosophy), and health care fundamentalist. He is assistant to Obama’s budget director. New ethics does not always mean progress, or compatibility with Western morality. The Nazis had new ethics.

Dr. Emanuel is not silly. He see through the Obama talk: "Vague promises of savings from cutting waste, enhancing prevention and wellness, installing electronic medical records and improving quality are merely ‘lipstick’ cost control, more for show and public relations than for true change…" (Health Affairs Feb. 27, 2008).

DR. EMANUEL: A REVOLUTION ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS, LEAVING THE NAZIS THEMSELVES IN THE DUST:

Dr. Emanuel reassesses the human condition, nothing less:

“True change must include reassessing the promise doctors make when they enter the profession.”

According to Emanuel, the Hippocratic Oath is partly to blame for the “overuse” of medical care: Physicians take the “Hippocratic Oath’s admonition to ‘use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgment’ as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others.” (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008.)

Savings”, he writes, “will require changing how doctors think about their patients: Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, “as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others” (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008).

Doctors should not take the Hippocratic Oath "as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others" (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008).

Under Emanuel’s plan, Medicare and Medicaid would be phased out, and all Americans would be given a voucher that could be exchanged for medical coverage, funded by a value-added tax. "[Health services should not be guaranteed to] individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia."

Emanuel has a notion he calls "complete lives system. As he puts it: “When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.” This is justified because “broad consensus favors adolescents over very young infants, and young adults over very elderly people.”

This is not a new notion. The National-Socialists had exactly the same concept of "participating citizens". First they concentrated on a program of phasing out "individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being participating citizens", as Emanuel puts it. This program became increasingly controversial in Germany. After a few years, due to increasing protests from the German population, the Nazis had to stop it. (They recycled the extermination into a, this time secret, and now more notorious extermination program of Poles, Jews, Gypsies, French, Slavs, bad Germans, etc…)

But let’s listen to the cold Dr. Emanuel, he is much more scary:

“Strict youngest-first allocation directs scarce resources predominantly to infants. This approach seems incorrect. The death of a 20-year-old woman is intuitively worse than that of a 2-month-old girl, even though the baby has had less life. The 20-year-old has a much more developed personality than the infant, and has drawn upon the investment of others to begin as-yet-unfulfilled projects…. Adolescents have received substantial education and parental care, investments that will be wasted without a complete life. Infants, by contrast, have not yet received these investments…. It is terrible when an infant dies, but worse, most people think, when a three-year-old child dies, and worse still when an adolescent does.”

Dr. Death has something for everybody, young or old, it does not matter, it’s all about their “resources”. If they are poor, and have none, it’s a “concern”:

“The ‘complete lives’ system also considers prognosis, since its aim is to achieve complete lives. A young person with a poor prognosis has had few life-years but lacks the potential to live a complete life. Considering prognosis forestalls the concern that disproportionately large amounts of resources will be directed to young people with poor prognoses.”

Hearing all the preceding, Sarah Palin naturally came out screaming that Obama "wanted to kill her Down syndrome baby". She is not crazy, but Obama sure is for having a Nazi talker in his government. Or then what he means by taking care of people, is what the mafia means by it.

Now what happens if we feel that "Zeke" Emanuel is "demented"? Shall we not guarantee health services for him? The Nazis located the Auschwitz camp in the worst, most swampy and insalubrious place in Poland, in the soon fulfilled hope, that if badly fed and taken care of, inmates would die as flies. That was a way to kill Poles in huge numbers without obviously violating international law.

The Nazis had no qualms killing people they did not have use for, because they saw them as not truly human. Here is Emanuel again: "Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years" (Lancet, Jan. 31).

Talk about a poor, deeply demented idiot who cannot even see that if he kills young people, who are not “fully participating citizens” (do children fully participate?) and people he does not like, like Sarah’s baby, these people, precisely will not “live through different life stages”.

But there are other demented idiots in the Obama administration ready for “attenuation” under the deadly hands of Dr. Ezekiel.

Dr. David Blumenthal, another key Obama adviser, is national coordinator of health-information technology. Blumenthal charges that medical innovations as being responsible for fully two-thirds of the annual increase in health care spending. His solution is to limit expensive innovations.

Let’s point out the idiocy: ever since the Romans were conducting advanced surgery on condemned criminals, pioneering medical work has been very expensive. The Roman field surgery manual was used up to W.W.I. Anyway, basically, Blumenthal proposes to stop improvements in medical care, in the name of the profits. In the name of profits of Buffet and Goldman Sachs.

Obama appointed Blumenthal to a job that involves making sure that doctors obey electronically delivered guidelines about what care the government deems appropriate and cost effective.
In the April 9 New England Journal of Medicine, Blumenthal predicted that many doctors would resist "embedded clinical decision support" — a euphemism for computers telling doctors what to do.

Enough said.

***

Patrice Ayme

Big Government Yes, But Only If Justice Is Strong.

August 10, 2009

 

DEMOCRACY IS MADE IN THE OPEN, NOT SECRETLY.

Abstract: The USA is lost in an entanglement of corruption, and the government is making the situation worse. Obama’s latest gyrations are a case in point: turning around the democratic process, as he admitted doing, is beyond the pale.

The paradox is that Big Government saved the economy from a death spiral, so far. That is a European method, but, in Europe, there is the safeguard of a strong independent justice system.

There is an intrinsic problem with whom manages the creation of money. For millennia, it was the government, for better or worse, depending whether the government was good, or bad. But then, an innovation imposed itself. Even Marx did not notice it, although it happened below his eyes (so call me worse than Marx, if you wish).

The fractional banking system was introduced. Fractional banking made peculiar, special bankers into supermen. They created the currency, most of it, and they gave it to whom they pleased. After the crazed out 1920s, and the resulting crash, the ‘banksters” were held back by the great financial architecture that Roosevelt and his Congress elaborated.

But then Rubin, Lord of Goldman, came onto the scene, and his hyper genetically connected assistant, Larry Summers, busily dismantled all and any device that could hold back the few and superior ones who create money (circa 1998). The effects were felt worldwide. A world corruptocracy reached, higher than ever before. It became a giant storm towering over the land, and it is still gathering clout.

Meanwhile, let’s notice that the approach of Obama, to make secret deals behind the back of democracy, is not new. It is called “corporatism”, and it was, with an overseas war, the main element of Mussolini’s fascism.

***

BIG GOVERNMENT, WELL DONE, IS THE BACKBONE OF THE ECONOMY:

Paul Krugman observes that: "The economy has backed up from the edge of the abyss, with the government’s stabilizing role preventing a replay of the Great Depression." (NYT, August 10.)

The economy is made of trillions of contract: you do this, you get that. Currency is used as an intermediate to go from one contract to the other. Thus, the profit motive has nothing to do with the basic pattern of economic activity. The government can set the entire system up, as long as water, food and energy can come in, in a sustainable fashion. Hence, if the government so decides, the economy can go on, by sheer command.

What went wrong during the Great Depression? A succession of accidents managed by the government(s). In the early 1930s, the US government, by rising tariffs 50% in July 1930, set up a trade war with its main trading partners. The USA was the world’s biggest exporter (now it’s, or used to be, Germany). The industry of the USA, already in a recession, saw the demands for its goods collapse, when European governments retaliated to the rise in US tariffs. Industry collapsed in turn. Loans could not be repaid. When banks failed, US law prevented the central bank to create money to support them (money had to be backed up by gold). (Although the USA, and the UK, were the main perpetrators, other countries were not innocent: France and Germany clung to the "gold standard"… Even as Hitler gave it up, France kept on with it…)

As Krugman points out, big government, well done, can only be helpful (and for the reason I gave). The government can do it all, but it has to be above any suspicion.

Unfortunately for the USA, the entanglement of money for corruption, and government, is extensive. There is something very wrong with Obama’s boast that: "In addition to the ongoing work in Congress, providers have agreed to bring down costs. Drug companies have agreed to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors."

"In addition to Congress": People, democracy is being ‘augmented’ under your eyes… Big Pharma is going to cure your minds. Students of history will be reminded of what happened after "corporatism" became the rule in some European countries nearly a century ago…

***

BIG GOVERNMENT WORKS WELL IN FRANCE, BUT SO DOES BIG JUSTICE, AND IT STRIKES DOWN POLITICIANS:

So far it would seem that, of the large OECD countries, France is handling the financial crisis of 2008 the best. France has also the largest public spending as a percentage of GDP.

One thing, though, about having the government order a lot of the work: it has to be honest. In France, judges are independent. So they are free to get on the case of politicians. The preceding French Prime Minister is on trial: he is suspected of abusing some of his powers. Chirac, the preceding French president, is also under examination: he is suspected of having enriched himself by trafficking his influence. The maximum sum involved is a small fraction of Bill Clinton’s wealth (although Chirac is much older than Clinton, and was in politics, and at a much higher level, much longer).

The preceding mayor of Paris, the conservative Jean Tiberi, from the reigning majority, got a jail sentence. So did his wife: she got nine months in jail for being compensated $30,000 for a 40 pages report. The court viewed this "work" as an obvious corruption. Both Tiberis are now elderly.

In France, the millions of dollars in total compensations for Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett, for playing doctors in an hospital, would have certainly attracted the attention of some judges. Ibidem, of course, for Bill Clinton’s extravagant fortune, and that of hundreds of American politicians (Daschle, etc.). French judges do whatever they want, and they don’t like the filthy, corrupt rich.

I have a friend who heads two doctors’ hospital groups. As a doctor, he does not understand why lawyers are put on board of hospitals by politicians, to great cost and enormous meddling. (He is a democrat, and was born in Hawai’i.) A million here, a million there, and before you know it, one talks billions. Worse: such people are friendly to corruption.

Once French judges ordered the arrest of the entire higher hierarchy of what was then the largest French bank (Credit Lyonnais). At home, in offices, all over. At 2 am. One can see right now the official theft of hundreds of billions from the so called taxpayer, and no American judge is doing anything about it.

Obama just struck a deal, behind the scene, with the big pharmaceutical industry, straight out of Benito Mussolini’ s playbook. This is not a small deal: it’s worth much more than 80 billion. Who all the profiteers are, we do not know.

As Robert Reich, economy professor and tops in the Clinton administration, a long time opponent of Goldman Sachs just put it: "… when an industry gets secret concessions out of the White House in return for a promise to lend the industry’s support to a key piece of legislation, we’re in big trouble. That’s called extortion: An industry is using its capacity to threaten or prevent legislation as a means of altering that legislation for its own benefit. And it’s doing so at the highest reaches of our government, in the office of the president." (Aug 10, 2009.)

In Italian fascism, the government worked hand in hand with big corporations, mostly behind the scenes. In the end, the people revolted, and Mussolini and his notorious mistress were hanged by the feet at a huge ESSO gas station in Milan (ESSO used to be the old name of EXXON: Italian partisans viewed Mussolini as a puppet of big American corporations). OK, they had already been shot.

Business, big business, be it governmental or not, has to be as clean as can be. This condition is not met in the USA (apparently in health care, the best performing services are the Veteran administration and Medicare).

***

WHY CORRUPTION IS INTRINSIC TO THE PRESENT BANKING SYSTEM:

One word about currency: right now, in contrast to the past few millennia of civilization, it is created by private individuals, the bankers. This is a situation that has never occurred before in history, and which is incompatible with justice or fairness. It is unlikely to be compatible with civilization, and that is the deep sense of the present financial crisis.

Bankers have to be made into officers of the government, in the same sense that doctors are officers of the government, per their respect of the Hippocratic oath. This is a loose sense of the word government, true. But institutions are part of the democratic governmental process. Justice is an example, Medicine is another, so are Public Notaries. I propose to add bankers. They should feel honored, but they will not, because they prefer no honor, and sky high honoraries.

Bankers cannot go on enjoying privately the misguided trust the public is forced to put into them, even if they never have any direct business with a bank. Therein the Achilles’ Heel of the whole financial system. Although a worldwide problem, it is more acute in the USA, and can only be cured at the G20 level, once Obama has been made aware of its gravity.

But I am probably late and naive: methinks Obama may have struck a secret deal with what he calls the "financial system". The deal with Big Pharma was ferreted out by the LA Times, a few days before Obama presented it as a new elegant way to go around democracy. Somebody who is caught striking a secret deal, can be presumed to have struck more…

***

Patrice Ayme

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

BIG AMERICAN MYTHS BITE DUST.

August 6, 2009

WHY NOT GET REAL SMART, AND DO AS IF OTHER PEOPLE HAD BRAINS TOO?

Abstract: The USA is encumbered with myths, which have serious impact on the economy and the sociology, not just of America, but of the entire planet. We destroy three of them. And we point out a more general truth: if the People of the USA want to progress, they ought to push their government to observe that the three dozen countries in Europe, and especially the biggest richest, and most democratic, have plenty of excellent ideas, and found ways to implement them.

Otherwise it will be more of the same, and the USA will keep falling out of the competition of ideas, with ever more deleterious effects, for all concerned, who happened to be the entire planet.

***

Myth 1: GREED IS GOOD, IT’S ALL AMERICAN:

Greed is good for what? For the economy? For life? For the economy, look at the 24,000 billion dollars potentially spent on the greedier of bankers (in the USA alone; Europe potentially doubles that). Straightforward nationalizations (followed by reselling ASAP), with prosecutions of the abusers, would have been way cheaper, morally clean and economically much more efficient (without considering the potential for a repeat, only worse next time, known as “moral hazard”). Instead, the abusers, not to say the thieves and conspirators, were given, or were backed up, by enough trillions so that they can abuse again, ASAP.

Not only is replenishing these abusers and thieves, these particular banksters (as Roosevelt put it), making fun of the law, and economics, but these greedy individuals keep on propagating and implementing their vision of human activity, which is that greed is the ultimate good. Making trains, cars, planes, computers or clean energy, growing food, providing care, health are not the ultimate good, but greed is, and it is rewarded by ultimate power on everybody.

Now for your health care, although the sums are relatively puny, make sure that you will have to pay every single dime. Besides, listen to Mr. Emanuel (yes, the brother of the chief of staff of the “liberal” president), and prepare for rationing.

For life, it turns out that too much greed is not just terrible, but lethal. Life expectancy had doubled in fifty years, because of the introduction of new drugs, nearly all of them isolated, or derived, from natural products. Now the introduction of new drugs from natural products, and thus the improvement of life expectancy, has slowed down dramatically. Why so? Greed. It is not I who just says so, but even Science Magazine.

Basically the leaders of pharmaceutical companies, instead of ordering research on new drugs, have been cashing their money to enjoy material luxury. Instead of doing research, yes. (The data behind this opinion is made explicit in Science, Vol 325, p 161, 10 July 2009.) This is a violation of fiduciary duty; patents, which are monopolies, are granted by governments to reward research, with the implicit message of trying to do more. Instead, an entire generation of greedsters is bringing research to a halt.

The doctrine of greed as virtue was invented by Bernard de Mandeville (who emigrated to England before Adam Smith was born). Mandeville embraced “Laissez Faire“, a French economic theory that had been fighting dirigisme there for already a century (see below). Yes, “Laissez Faire” was much talked about in France, 400 years ago, after the good king Henri IV (assassinated in 1610) had implemented successfully the politics of the “Poule Au Pot”, which was its exact opposite. According to Henri IV, every French family was supposed to be rich enough to cook a hen in a pot, once a week, and the French government made sure that it would be so. That king is loved to this day: “Le Bon Roi Henri IV”.

But, festering more than a century later, as the subtitle of Mandeville’s book shows: “Private Vices, Public Benefits, Mandeville, not content with just fighting “dirigisme”, went much further. Mandeville went where even the marquis de Sade would not dare thread later. Mandeville wrote that the disappearance of vice would lead to impoverishment, because such ‘vices’, particularly those associated with acquisitiveness and jealousy, were conducive to human activity. The allegation that many virtues were destructive of the good at which they aimed was not well received: in 1723 a grand jury of Middlesex, England, condemned the book as a nuisance.

Mandeville’s enthusiasm for vice reappears in Adam Smith’s celebration of the “invisible hand”. Why is it so “invisible”, that hand? Does that hand have something to hide? Is it the hand of the pickpocket? The invisible hand of the Gold Man who Sacks your job to China?

Greed is like water: enough is necessary for life, but too much, and you drown.

***

Myth 2: AMERICANS ARE RUGGED, SELF EMPLOYED INDIVIDUALISTS, EUROPEANS ARE DEPENDENT, COMMUNIST SHEEP:

An Interesting paper from Center for Economics and Policy Research concludes that: Despite our national self-image as a nation of small businesses and entrepreneurs, the United States small-business sector is proportionately not as large an employer as the small-business sectors in the rest of the world’s rich economies. One interpretation of these data is that self-employment and small-business employment may be a less important indicator of entrepreneurship than we have long thought. Another reading of the data, however, is that the United States has something to learn from the experience of other advanced economies, which appear to have had much better luck promoting and sustaining small-business employment.”

The CEPR then went through all sorts of statistics, and, on every single one, European countries, in particular supposedly socialist welfare France, handily crushed the USA in the percentage employed in smaller companies. (See notes.)

Paul Krugman (“Big business America“) suggests that: “A couple of possible explanations. One is our lack of national health insurance; I personally know a number of people who gave up jobs at small firms in order to get health coverage.

Another possibility, more favorable to the United States, is that in some European countries (Italy comes to mind) firms stay small to escape onerous regulations.

Either way, though, one more American myth bites the dust. We’re not independent free spirits; on the contrary, we’re more likely than Europeans to be cubicle rats working for big employers.

***

There is another reason which Paul Krugman did not insist upon, although he alludes to it, and which may be the most important reason, and it is truly horrible for American blind pride. Europeans are free spirits, and they bite, when ordered otherwise (so nobody tries).

In France, and that is well known, people do not hesitate to use violence to defend their jobs. The way they look at it, they have been attacked first. French bosses have to be really careful. Wealthy people adopt a low profile.

More generally, Europe has democracies, and people think on their own, because the power of money in elections is much less than in the USA. European politicians could never associate themselves to money the way “liberal” Obama can in the USA: it would be the kiss of death, even for a right wing extremist. Moreover, financial campaign reform was done long ago in Europe: politicians have equal time on TV, and partisanship is ardent. Europeans have escaped post partisan bliss, as they had in the Middle Ages, when all that talked was money.

So the result is independently minded people, who vote. And they tend to vote for themselves. France has been the theater of a battle between big business and small shop owners for decades, and the war is fought, shop by shop. (The French distributor Carrefour is second only to Wall Mart in worldwide revenue… although it allows unions; France arguably invented “grande distribution”; Carrefour has many French competitors. This to say that really big business is very French. The oldest French super capitalistic companies, such as the chemical giant Saint Gobain, are about 400 years old.)

An example of this conflict between large and small has festered 20 miles from Marseilles, at Bouc Bel Air. There is found a park of giant outlets which were allowed to open on Sunday, twenty years ago or so. That dominical mall was a first in France (outside of tourist areas). Small shop owners in the big city of Marseilles have tried whatever they could to get the park closed on Sundays. Not just voting and threatening, and demonstrating, but also suing. The French federal government has long agonized about it.

The idea, of course, was that if people shop in the big stores on Sunday, it is that much less business for small shop owners, the rest of the week. Small shop owners cannot compete, because they have few, or no employees, and they need to rest, and Sunday business would be maximum, if allowed, far from city centers (when people have time to go there: it is very slow to get in and out of Marseilles).

The issue is so explosive that only now, more than two and a half year in his presidency, Sarkozy has passed a timid plan for dominical work. The big business shopping center not far from Marseilles will stay, and there will be a few more throughout France.

European politics is a lot about jobs, jobs, jobs. Governments often surrender short term economic efficiency to employment. Of course, in the very long term, it may well be better economically.

Chains of pharmacies are forbidden in France. The “Order of Pharmacists”, a democratic institution, oversees the sale of any pharmacy (not only it can block it, but it selects the buyer among qualified candidates, themselves with a PhD in pharmacy). Nobody is allowed to own more than three pharmacies, PhD or not. the idea is to protect small business owners. And so on.

European workers are increasingly given paid time to learn new skills, especially when their small companies are in trouble.

It is laughable to listen to Americans with tremulous voices evoking small businesses in the USA… Instead, “Supply Side Economics” has been mainly a theory that the USA’s most valuable products would be a million millionaires or so. The rich became America’s main product.

So here is another busted American myth: not only do Americans think like Mr. Big told them to, but they are actually servants of Mr. Big. Want independence of mind and employ? Well, go to Europe.

***

Myth 3: FRENCH IDEAS ARE UNWORTHY, UNAMERICAN, INDUSTRIAL POLICY IS WORTHLESS:

In the last year, the government of the USA spent more than 65 billion dollars trying to save the American auto industry, which was led by corrupt plutocrats (that is exactly why it failed). Instead of going French, making a crafty industrial policy, the government just threw money at the problem (before calling FIAT in).

However, there was a better way: 10 crack down on the plutocrats who brought the auto industry down, 2) cash for clunkers. As the cash for clunkers program clicked in, it became fairly obvious that it could have saved GM (at least).
Cash for clunkers is an old FRENCH idea. It was used several times in France over the last decade, with great success. It’s used presently in France, with lots of variants (primes for very low CO2 emission cars, for cars more than 10 years old, etc…). The present French clunker program is supposed to expire at the end of 2009.
Cash for clunkers was long derided as typical French “Colbertism”, or “dirigisme” (Colbert was a famous French finance and industry minister of the 17th century; some of the capitalist firms he helped then are still around today, and profitable, such as the giant Saint Gobain). The idea of dirigisme may be a bit too brainy for post the post-Reagan USA.

Dirigisme motto is to:

TRUST THE VISIBLE BRAIN, INSTEAD OF THE “INVISIBLE HAND”.

Simply, the dirigiste government plans carefully what sectors of the economy ought to be encouraged. By the way, the government of the USA already does this. Simply it has not been boasting about it, because it has been giving too many subsidies for the greed of the plutocrats. A typical example: the 13 billion dollars gift from the public to its sadistic executioners at Goldman Sacks. For those who object to the adjective “sadistic”, let me remind them that it was one of the main points of the Marquis de Sade’s work: the powerful are not just wantonly abusive, they need abuse, for them it’s a drug, and they are hooked.

Reagan, an actor, said Americans do not need particularly good jobs, that all jobs were the same, valet of plutocrat, or engineer, and the USA did not need brains, just greed: that is why the USA lost most of its manufacturing jobs, to the great inner satisfaction of many a foreign land, as the “invisible hand” moved the economy of the USA overseas: manufacturing jobs went from 18 millions down to 12 millions from 1998 to 2008.

The German governments long despised the cash for clunkers idea, viewing it as a typical French crutch for inferior technology, and other Europeans tried to block it as unfair business practice. This year, though, Germany is led by a physicist (Merkel). With its car industry dying for good, Germany adopted “cash for clunkers” with flamboyance, splurging with enormous payments on every single vehicle. It was a resounding success: the German car industry is reviving.

***
CULTURE IS ALL ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE’S IDEAS:
This brings us to a more general point: why does not the government of the USA just study what is being done in Europe, on the other side of the pond, especially by the big countries? Actually, why wait for the mentally challenged, and somewhat insufferable American government, and why do not normal people hit the Internet a bit more, as if they were Iranians searching for the truth?
In Europe the big countries themselves spend a huge amount of effort trying to duplicate successful strategies of smaller countries. (France, Britain and Germany are handicapped by defense spending, and other expenses small gnats do not have, including paying for their development, back-biter Ireland being a prime example of an ungrateful mongrel living extravagantly on big countries’ taxes.)
There is no shame in using others’ solutions. There is shame in thinking that the USA has it all figured out, though. The USA could gather enormous inspiration, by just studying French society and government in detail (France, for a number of reasons, including the long republican and revolutionary traditions in common, without forgetting the French origin of England, in the realm of social organization, is the closest, more easily imitable model for the USA.)

***

Patrice Ayme

http://patriceayme.com/

http://tyranosopher.blogspot.com

 

***

Note from the CEPR’s “An International Comparison of Small Business Employment”:

“We use the most recently available, internationally comparable data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to measure the share of employment in small businesses in 22 rich democracies. The OECD data demonstrate that:

 

 

• The United States has the second lowest share of self-employed workers (7.2 percent) – only Luxembourg has a lower share (6.1 percent). France (9.0 percent), Sweden (10.6 percent),

Germany (12.0 percent) the United Kingdom (13.8 percent), Italy (26.4 percent) and 14 other rich countries all have higher proportions of self-employment.

 

 

• The United States has among the lowest shares of employment in small businesses in manufacturing. Only 11.1 percent of the U.S. manufacturing workforce is in enterprises with fewer than 20 employees. Eighteen other rich countries have a higher share of

manufacturing employment in enterprises of this size, including Germany (13.0 percent), Sweden (14.4 percent), France (18.0 percent), the United Kingdom (18.1 percent), and Italy (30.9 percent). Only Ireland (9.6 percent) and Luxembourg (8.5 percent) have a lower share of manufacturing employment in enterprises with fewer than 20 employees. (Raising the cutoff for a small business to fewer than 500 employees does not significantly alter the relative position of the United States.)

 

 

• U.S. small businesses have a much lower share of employment than the comparison economies do in the two high-tech fields for which the OECD publishes data: computer related services and research and development.

• The United States has the second lowest share of computer-related service employment in firms with fewer than 100 employees (32.0 percent). Only Spain had a lower share (27.0

percent), while 13 countries with available data had a higher proportion of employment in this sector in small businesses including France (44.7 percent), Germany (48.7 percent), Sweden (49.4 percent), the United Kingdom (67.5 percent), and Italy (73.2 percent).

 

 

• Similarly, the United States has the third lowest share of research and development related employment in firms with fewer than 100 employees (25.3 percent). Only the United Kingdom (22.5 percent) and the Netherlands (20.3 percent) had a lower share, while 9 countries with available data had a higher proportion of employment in this sector in small businesses including France (33.1 percent), Sweden (34.4 percent), Germany (35.0 percent), and Italy (74.8 percent).”

***

CORRUPTION CIVILIZATION.

August 5, 2009

DO NOT ACCEPT TO FILL AND EMPTY THE SAME HOLE, OVER AND OVER AGAIN, ASK WHAT THAT HOLE CAN DO FOR US.

***

Abstract: Whether employment comes from the public sector or the private sector does not matter: they equally provide with overall employment (a study of Krugman below shows this).

Instead I claim, somewhat contradicting Keynes,  that the important notion is whether the jobs have public utility.

Corruption ruins public utility. Corruption consists into exaggerated compensation to the worthy, and compensation to the unworthy, with the overall aim to create power schemes (this is a philosophical, rather than just legal, definition).

Some common and casual ways of administrating society and providing topmost private jobs in the USA, amount to what would be viewed as intolerable corruption in most advanced countries.

This corruption is made possible in the USA by relatively weak democratic institutions, a deep, intrinsic democratic deficit (explained by the colonial and slavery past). Interestingly, this corruption is also entangled within the roots of American the health care, thus explaining why the USA has been less able than other advanced countries to solve its health care problem.

I give the specific example of lawyers made into richly paid hospital administrators, just because of their political connections. (This is going to hurt, but if you don’t want the heat, get out of the kitchen: others can be better cooks, courtesy of their more pristine souls.)

It is troubling that some of the people at the point of the proposed health care reform have a history of milking the present deplorable for gains that may have been legal, but were certainly exaggerated.

Rewarding lawyers for being on the boards of hospitals, although they seem to have had no medical qualifications, whatsoever, is a bit far out in la la land . (Notice that senior advisers in the White House are involved, and part of the present private health care system is involved too, but that the present public, governmental, Medicare system is not.)

Aside from exhibiting where some of the cost of US health care comes from, namely astronomical corruption, and mixing of the genres, this example points out that ethical improvement will not come from the private sector. Disconnecting ethics from money seems a must at this point. Fighting egregious corruption anchored in the mentalities would be another good start.

Improvement would come from building up the appropriate democratic institutions. The case of France, with her self-governing orders of doctors and pharmacists, comes to mind.

***

GOVERNMENT IS AS GOOD AN EMPLOYER AS ANY:

What is the basis of an economy? Well, water, food, material goods and services, in that order. A society should have enough energy to obtain enough of them all, sustainably. Part of that energy is provided by human employment. Robots taking care of everything are not just a danger on the technological horizon, it’s also a practical notion, because the plutocratic overlords of "Wall Street" have used China just that way: robot like serfs in China, allowing unemployment and disempowerment in the USA.

The argument has been made in the last 40 years, that the government was the problem, and private industry was the solution. To everything.

After some success in tiny and irrelevant European countries (EU assisted Ireland, defense challenged Denmark, etc.), Thatcher implemented that non-sense, Reagan followed, and then Bush, and Clinton, and Bush again. Sarkozy in France wanted to go that way, too, but, by then, the Thatcher-Reagan model ("Supply Side Economics") was collapsing for all to see.

Taxes pay for government, so government employment and taxes are roughly the same.

Paul Krugman produced in his blog a graph (below) that exhibits the disconnection between taxes and employment. In other words, government employment is just as good, or just as bad, as private employment at bringing the unemployment rate down.

***

GOVERNMENT, PER SE, IS NOT THE PROBLEM:

There has been quite a lot of commentary, starting with a rather shallow and silly cover article in ”The Economist” on using of a Texas-California comparison to claim that red (republican) states (supposedly low taxes) are doing better in the crisis than blue (democratic) states.

Let Paul Krugman slay the dragon that the notion of government is itself the problem. As he says in his blog: Texas is not the only red state (August 3, 2009):

"Some have pointed out that California, despite its liberal reputation, doesn’t have especially high taxes; others have pointed out that Texas, where almost a quarter of the population lacks health insurance, is hardly a model. [One could add that, with plenty of brain work production, California is a much greater contributor to the advancement of civilization than Texas.]

What I haven’t seen pointed out, however, is that Texas is not the only red state. Why not look at South Carolina, where taxes are almost as low as they are in Texas, but where the unemployment rate is 12.1%? Or Tennessee, which has some of the lowest taxes in the nation, and 11% unemployment?

Maybe a picture will help. Taxes as a percentage of income from here; current unemployment rate from here.

clip_image002

See the relationship? Neither do I.”

Well done, Paul. California has a unique, weird fiscal valve: to lower taxes is easy, to rise them require two-thirds votes, so is nearly impossible. I view this fiscal contraption as racism in disguise: because California does not control its frontiers, it has stooped to mistreating the less advantaged, in the hope to stem the tide towards the Golden State, the fastest growing state in the world (up to the present crisis).

***

EXPORT JOBS, IMPORT KNOW NOTHING:

So what brings employment down? As I already hinted, the massive exportations of jobs to China does not help. It is said that Boeing, long the quintessential American corporation, which made the victory in World War Two possible, with its excellent heavy bombers and flying fortresses, is now mostly employing foreign workers. (This, officially because "Wall Street" believes that it is not as profitable to employ American engineers as employing foreign ones; the truth is, of course, much worse.)

But there is more. There is corruption, and it runs so deep that the very concept of what a democratic American institution could be is in question. Before i come back to that, let me scratch Keynes in passing.

***

MAKING AND FILLING HOLES IS NOT ENOUGH:

Keynes’ suggested, apparently not tongue in cheek, to go to the extreme of digging and filling holes to provide employment:

"If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is. It would, indeed, be more sensible to build houses and the like; but if there are political and practical difficulties in the way of this, the above would be better than nothing."

But holes are, of course, no help in the long run: digging holes may damage the soil, ruin the water one drinks from and does nothing for the long term energy balance. Dig and fill holes long enough, and you will die of thirst and hunger, in the dark.

So Keynes’ notion was completely erroneous: it is not innocuous to do whatever to lift employment. Why? Because digging holes and refilling them has no public utility.

What is true is that it does not really matter what organization, public or private, provides with employment, as long as the employment has public utility. It is also true that if private enterprise is unable to provide enough employment, or enough public utility, it ought to be replaced by the government, or just outlawed, all together (that is what ought to happen with a lot of the financial industry; in a vague concession, there is talk to do just that for so called "flash" or "high frequency trading").

Hence who provides with meaningful, public utility employment, is irrelevant, as long as there is enough of it. It does not matter if it is private, or if it is public. Corruption and inefficiency, and lack of public utility should, instead, be the focus of worry. Wars as in Iraq and Afghanistan have no public utility.

***

CORRUPTION R US.

Then the problem becomes to make sure that one is having an efficient government.

Corruption in the USA is astronomical, by European standards. I know, I have seen the American glorification propaganda about the USA having little corruption, and France much more. But of course it depends upon what the country affected considers to be illegal. Some practices which are common and lauded in the USA, would be intolerable in France. Even before the justice system could strike, common people would.

Let me give an example, to focus thought. In the USA, lawyers can find themselves heading hospitals, if they have the right political ties. Imagining a French hospital full of French doctors taking orders from immensely paid lawyers, just because they were politically appointed, is completely unimaginable. The French doctors would bust the doors of the board, and throw the parasites out. Or, then sequester them, and give them an earful. Trust the French police to be highly circumspect, when workers or employees get angry (they are trained and have orders that way).

  • Let’s take a particular example, to picture better what I am talking about. Here is the case of Valerie Jarrett, a lawyer, with no other degree whatsoever. Jarrett is one of three Senior Advisors to President Obama. She is Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement.

(The following quote is straight from Wikipedia):

"Chicago politics:

Valerie Jarrett got her start in Chicago politics in 1987 working for Mayor Harold Washington as Deputy Corporation Counsel for Finance and Development.

Jarrett continued to work in the mayor’s office in the 1990s. She was Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard Daley, during which time (1991) she hired Michelle Robinson, then engaged to Barack Obama, away from a private law firm. Jarrett served as Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development from 1992 through 1995, and was Chair of the Chicago Transit Board from 1995 to 2005.

Business administration:

Until joining the Obama Administration, Jarrett was the CEO of The Habitat Company, a real estate development and management company which she joined in 1995… Jarrett was a member of the board of Chicago Stock Exchange (2000–2007, as Chairman, 2004–2007).

She is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago Medical Center, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago and a Trustee of Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Jarrett serves on the board of directors of USG Corporation, a Chicago based building materials corporation.

Jarrett’s previous year’s income, in a 2009 report, was a $300,000 salary and $550,000 in deferred compensation from The Habitat Executive Services, Inc. The Wall Street Journal also reported she disclosed payments of more than $346,000 for service on boards of directors that reflect her political ties, and work in Chicago real estate and community development. She was paid $76,000 for service as a director of Navigant Consulting, Inc. a Chicago-based global consulting group with governmental clients. She received $146,600 from USG, and $58,000 to serve on the board of Rreef American REIT II, a real estate investment trust based in San Francisco. The Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc., paid her $34,444."

Ms Jarrett is a jack, or should I say, a jarrett, of all trades: law, finance, medicine, real estate, government, she knows it all, she does it all. But always for an impressive fee: this jack, or should I say, jarrett, is always well rewarded for its amazing mental qualities. America needs just one worker: Jarrett. With just one degree, law. Then the hospitals will know what to do.

***

SOCRATES WOULD HAVE BEEN ANGRIER THAN EVER:

Socrates complained extensively about the fact that men were elected for doing jobs for which they were not properly trained. He thought that was a disaster for Athens, and a parody of the democratic principle. But at least those men had been elected. What Socrates found childish was the supposition that the electoral process would make an expert of someone who had no expertise. As he famously pointed out:"When you need a shoe repaired, you go to a shoe maker." Well, in the USA, when you want your patients cured, you go to Jarrett.

In the USA, there is no need for elections. A selection by fellow politicians it all it takes. The People at large is best not consulted, say the politicians, and then they splurge. (Reminder: the average Senator or Congressman is a multi millionaire; about 5 million dollars for the average Senator, that is more than 50 times the worth of the average American family.)

After Mr. Obama was elected Senator, Jarrett selected Ms. Obama as a fellow lawyer to sit on the board of the hospital, and Ms. Obama’s income more than tripled above $300,000, with a side position on company associated to Wall Mart (of Hillary Clinton’s fame). Now that is two lawyers without medical degrees, or any sort of scientific background on the board of an hospital, making medical decisions.

Ms. Obama, according to press reports, organized one of these busing schemes US hospitals are becoming famous for (to shoo poor patients so far away that they get discouraged from the long bus rides, thus reducing health expenditures on those of little worth).

***

HOW EUROPE ANSWERED SOCRATES:

Around 732, confronted to superstitious savages, the Franks chose the name European to qualify themselves. That was a program by itself. It meant continental Greece, in other words: Athens.

Socrates had confronted the political organization of democratic Athens, to the price of his life.

The preceding glimpse on how the American society is organized causes pause. It is obviously not a question of democracy anymore (who ever elected Jarrett to play doctor without a licence?).

Socrates’ bitter complaints were addressed by European society. Slowly, during the Middle Ages, guilds, confraternities of workers, fraternities, orders (from French ordres), colleges (from Roman collegia), systems and associations rose. Those became institutions of experts and competent job holders or officers.

Example were: Justice, the Order of Doctors, the Universities (from the Cathedral schools, and the school system imposed on the Catholic Church by Frankish law), countless craftsmen guilds, etc…

Inside such institutions, competence was self regulated: the institutions were democratic inside, onto themselves. Outside, they were, well, institutions: knowledgeable, full of indispensable expertise, but also immovable, and very powerful. Their role in society was carefully regulated, but also unimpeachable. They imposed democracy, with their equalitarian selection processes: by 1300 CE, the closest advisers of the redoubtable king of France, terminator of Templar knights and pope alike, Philipe Le Bel’s, were top lawyers without any aristocratic background (they were ennobled later).

Members of the democratic institutions are democratically elected (through their merits), and are eminently qualified (through their merits). The invention of democratic institutions married competency and democracy. It put Socrates’ objections to rest.

In the Occident, democratic institutions became their own bosses, and were fun. Because they were irreplaceable in the socio-economy, the sovereigns had to back off, they were forced to share power with them.

***

OF THOSE WITH WEAK DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS: CONSTANTINOPLE, ISLAM, USA:

The caesaropapism of Constantinople and Islam prevented the rise of democratic institutions. These ill fated polities spent their authoritarian existence, jumping from one dictatorship to the next, and ultimately whatever was left of civilization wilted and died. (The Ottoman empire and Egypt tried to compensate the absence of institutions by importing Europeans, either as guest workers, engineers, or slaves.)

The principle of caesaropapism says that there is no boss, but the boss, and God is his prophet. It does not matter how that one boss, and only one boss, the guy above, got there. (Hence the obsessive "religious" insistence that there is one God and only one God, and so and so is its sub-God, to be treated with the greatest abjection).

An example of such an institution was justice (which is not independent in Islam, because it depends upon God, who depends, in turn, upon the fascist politicians). Justice became independent and immensely powerful, right in the Middle Ages.

The USA was not a direct heir of caesaropapism: as an English colony when the monarch of England was monarch of France (as far as she/he was concerned), English America should have applied Frankish law.

Instead, though, the European tradition was broken in the USA.

***

WEAK AMERICAN JUSTICE:

An example again. In the USA, justice is not really an independent institution. That Americans think it is, and that it is more so than in Morocco, is not enough to make it so. Indeed, baby judges nurtured by an institution of justice as students do not exist in the USA: there is no such an institution as independent judgeship, there is not even an appearance of it. (There is in France: law students compete to enter the “Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature” –National School of Judgeship. Once, and if they are out, they start as student judges, so to speak…)

Just as to head a hospital, like Jarrett or Obama, it is enough to be a lawyer, in the USA, to be a judge, it is enough to be popular among the powers that be.

In the USA, lawyers become judges, and they are elected, not by their elder justices, but by people, or the politicians. For example Bush was impressed by the torture work of one of the torture lawyers in his administration, so he selected one of his torture lawyers to become a Federal judge. Other politicians thought that was a great idea, Senators approved it, and now the Federal "judge" (Bybee) sits pretty ugly in San Francisco. (Although he may well be the object of an international warrant of arrest for aiding and abetting torture, any time.)

Why did English colony, the USA break from the European tradition of democratic institutions? Because in the Seventeenth century, the future USA was left to its own instruments. It was founded as a "joint stock company", and the hyper wealthy owners had made the colony into a tax and legal heaven (meaning no laws, but laws for the rich). The English colony developed its own American institutions, starting with slavery. When you have slavery, you need justice itself to be enslaved. First things first.

***

STRONG FRENCH HEALTH CARE INSTITUTIONS:

Similarly to what happened with justice, France developed a strong "ordre" for medical doctors, the Ordre des Medecins. Medicine, as an institution, got used to taking orders only from itself.

There is also, in France, an ‘Ordre des Pharmaciens". This Order of Pharmacists is made of PhDs in Pharmacy in senior position. It has no lawyers, no political appointees, just pharmacy PhDs. It set up the transfer of a pharmaceutical practice from PhD in pharmacy to PhD in pharmacy (there is a distinction made with the transfer of the physical plant itself, by the way). The Order will carefully consider candidates among the PhD in pharmacy, including whether they already own a pharmacy, and if so where (so that nobody can corner the market). Ownership is limited to three pharmacies. So all pharmacists in France are owners, and their implantation are solid. This is important for health, since PhDs in pharmacy, after as many years studying as MDs, can prescribe drugs, and are often the first line of defense in a medical emergency. Their local durability insures trust and knowledge (although all transactions are registered by the electronic Carte Vitale, a credit card size green card with all information on the patient digitally therein; by the way, privacy laws in France are much stronger than in the USA).

The remarkable French health care system grew straight out of the independence and power of the Order of Doctors and the Order of Pharmacists. So it is self regulated naturally, as it has been for centuries.

The USA is clearly deficient in the power and independence of comparable institutions. So politicians in the USA can gain access all over the pie, and put their greedy fingers everywhere, and call themselves liberal, as they splurge , indeed, rather liberally.

***

Patrice Ayme.

***

P/S: One could say that is just demonstrated that government can create jobs, not that they are useful. But the example of corruption I gave was private, not public. Many advanced countries in Europe do very well with around half the GDP of governmental origin. Besides, when all is taken into account, this is also where the economy of the USA stand. For example firms in aerospace work mainly for the government (although Airbus does not, in Europe, its parent company, EADS, is the world’s largest defense –read government- contractor). 

WHY PLUTOCRACIES DESTROY THEIR NESTS.

August 3, 2009

Abstract: Plutocracies do not just exploit. They destroy the very source of their power, the People that let them rise. Such is their nature. This happened for the Mayas, it happened for Rome. This is on its way to become true for the People of the USA, too. I explain why.

Some reforms to stop the plutocracy are obvious (high taxes on very high incomes), others are science fiction (but doable with the newest technology; I present one for the financial markets).

***

THE USA IS VICTIM OF A PLUTOCRATIC CONSPIRACY:

As Krugman puts it in an excellent editorial (August 3, 2009): "Even before the bailouts, many financial-industry high-fliers made fortunes through activities that were worthless if not destructive from a social point of view. And they’re still at it."

Goldman got 13 billion dollars of taxpayer money through AIG. That was a gift, and it’s treated as such: Goldman will pay more than 20 billion dollars in bonuses this year. Goldman is essentially an outfit to make money in ways which are either illegal (having officers in government, tweaking policy their way: Paulson was an example), or ought to be illegal (high frequency trading). But its nefarious influence does not stop there, as it boasts of its predatory nature, and makes thievery the highest American ideal.

Nine banks lost 88 billion dollars, then rewarded the very individuals who had created the losses, with 33 billion dollars, in bonuses. That was all paid by taxpayers. Or rather borrowed on the future. Then the TARP inspector general announced that potentially the rescue of the financial system through TARP like activities would amount to around 24 trillion dollars (twice the GDP of the USA).

The White house screamed and whined that it could not possibly be so, that the inspector had got to have forgotten a few millions there, from a 5% annual interest, for some funds that they had lent to Goldman at some point. 

Obama plays very confused: he calls this unbelievable corruption, this amazing conspiracy, this kleptocracy, "rescuing the financial system". He persist to confuse the banks (which had to be rescued) and the failed and corrupt bankers leading them. Saving the kleptocrats from just punishment is not saving the system, it is condemning it. The criminal bankers had to be put in jail, after confiscating their unlawfully gained properties.

Obama probably did not meditate what Adam Smith wrote: “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

Nowadays, the price to be paid is the American economy. And even the world economy.

In truth Goldman Sachs exists at this point only because taxpayers saved it. They should own it. Instead they are forced to accept paying extortion money to their economic torturers. What for? Well, to torture them some more. People who make money through Goldman Sachs then send American jobs to China. Why? Because they have the same rapacious mentality to go with both activities.

Goldman always has officers minding the White House, inside the White House. It’s fine, even encouraging, as far as other officers in the House are concerned. They obviously are all obsessed by becoming very rich. Mr. Emanuel, Obama’s chief of Staff, made more than 16 million dollars from a bank in two years, although he had no banking background. Mr. Emanuel no doubt knows who made him rich. Sending jobs to China: a secondary consideration.

By comparison, most European politicians are not rich. The same extends to bank officers in Europe. The head of French Banque Nationale de Paris, BNP, the largest bank in Europe, a giant with more than 200,000 employees, has profits in the billion of dollars by quarter, but he, personally, makes only two million dollars a year, or so. Interestingly Jamie Dimon, head of what is now the largest bank in the USA, accepted only a modest one million dollars in compensation in 2008.

Basically, either people have primarily a disinterested mission in life, or their primary mission is to make  money (= gathering power on other people). When American leaders in politics or business make way too much money, they reveal that their real mission in life is to crush others, not to bring something to all, first of all.

***.

HOW TO CREATE FAIR FINANCIAL MARKETS:

As it is the financial markets are just a form of exploitation: some actors have the information early, or create it (as do the Goldman officers in the House). Then they act.

The efficient market hypothesis requires that everybody is to have the same information upon acting. But not everybody has the same information at the same time, obviously. And some actors systematically get information well before other actors, just as most actors get it very, very, very late… (Especially in light of high frequency trading.)

What is the way out? Very simply, make sure that nobody can systematically act before others can.

How so? Well run a probabilistic trading authorization lottery, using supercomputers (both for buying and selling). Yes, it would reduce "liquidity", yes it would slow down trading (but it would not handicap long term investors, in the average). Justice and fairness are more important than arcane financial notion without demonstrated social utility.

***

WHAT IS GOOD FOR WALL STREET IS OFTEN VERY BAD FOR THE USA, AND THE PLANET:

Sending job overseas is a no-brainier for plutocrats: this way they avoid high salaried jobs, turn around work, health and ecological regulations, and augment their margins (China gets the crumbs of their profits, but lots of them).  The Gold Man Sacks you. And don’t come back.

Another reason for destroying the socioeconomy that gave rise to the plutocracy is that it is the way to make the plutocracy safer (see below).

Krugman points out that: "Last week the House passed a bill setting rules for pay packages at a wide range of financial institutions. That would be a step in the right direction. But it really should be accompanied by much broader regulation of financial practices — and, I would argue, by higher tax rates on supersized incomes.

Unfortunately, the House measure is opposed by the Obama administration, which still seems to operate on the principle that what’s good for Wall Street is good for America.

Neither the administration, nor our political system in general, is ready to face up to the fact that we’ve become a society in which the big bucks go to bad actors, a society that lavishly rewards those who make us poorer."

***

KILLING BAD ACTORS IN AFGHANISTAN, TO FORGET THE HORROR AT HOME:

The essence of the republic is the equality of all before action, the equality of chances. This is now violated on an astronomical scale.

Obama says, it’s more important to kill Afghans, and make so that they cannot grow poppies.

But the rot is here. Pharmaceutical companies spend most of their capital in such a way that they have nearly stopped producing new drugs. Although the potential has never been bigger for creating millions of life saving drugs. The amount of life saving lost opportunities for the average citizens keep on piling up. (It is measured in hundreds of 9/11s per year, to put it crudely. My anti-Koran credentials are impeccable, but, precisely, I am deeply disgusted by killing Afghans, just because the Obama interpretation of Islam is, allegedly, superior to the Taliban interpretation of Islam. The fact is the Taliban is at home, getting killed, getting killed because Obama interprets in a peculiar way what the Muslim Afghan constitution says.)

According to Milken (a notorious financier now redeemed in an anti cancer crusade), only 5 billion dollars a year is spent for cancer research in the USA. Obama spends that in a week in Afghanistan, fighting his Muslim crusade, killing plenty. (Obama made very clear that he had his own definition of Islam, complete with whom is bad Islamist, and who is a good Islamist. Bad ones are supposed to die, and, in practice, it means so that cancer may live, whether ethical or physiological cancers.)

Rome, in the past, went through a similar decay: the hyper rich did all they could to take away power from the rest of the citizens, even when they, themselves, the hyper rich, suffered from it. This, now, is similar, and it will not stop, as Michael Moore pointed out, until Americans do like the French and go into the streets to protest. It will not stop until the plutocracy is so scared, it makes the concession of deflating itself a bit.

***

WHY THE PLUTOCRACY DEVOURS THE PEOPLE:

One could wonder why the plutocracy, in Rome or in the USA, turned against the very country that had given rise to it. It is very simple: the plutocracy knows it is deeply unjust. It knows it is a den of thieves. It knows it is a conspiracy.

It knows that there is a probability, given enough time, for the People to understand all of this, and rise, and throw the plutocracy down, and reestablish the democracy. Thus the plutocracy knows that it cannot rest until the People has been made dumb, weak, confused, and impotent. Hence it makes it so, as soon as possible, and it is mission number one. So jobs, education and smarts are all taken away. The Gold Man Sacks you, because it feels safer when you are in the sack. It treats you like a venomous snake.

In the case of Rome, the plutocracy was never stopped, and it progressively changed into the feudal system. Just as in the USA today, it refused increasingly to pay taxes, so the State collapsed. But as far as the lords were concerned, that was just as well.

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WILL EUROPE SAVE THE USA? WILL OBAMA RESIST THE PLUTOCRACY?

Fortunately, the geopolitical situation is different nowadays. The USA is engaged in the Roman plutocratic decay process, but, this time, Rome is not alone. This time Rome is a Greek colony (the original Rome was a native village colonized by Etruscans), and Greece (namely Europe) has, this time, vanquished Sparta (namely fascist Germany) and kept Persia at bay (namely Stalinist Russia; in the original set-up, Sparta and Persia allied to defeat Athens; just as Hitler and Stalin allied to defeat France and Britain in 1939/1940; republican Rome took 250 years to come to Athens’ rescue, whereas the USA waited one hundred times less to come to France’s rescue starting in 1942…).

Thus, the People of the USA can count on the Europeans, who are extremely outraged by the plutocracy already (including the personal outrage expressed by Merkel and Sarkozy, and their advisers, some of whom cannot believe how low the USA has sunk ethically: it undermines their own conservative discourse, and they find themselves as leftist firebrands relative to Obama and his Summers).

Since more than 13 trillion dollars of plutocratic money is unlawfully in tax heavens (that is 13,000 billion dollars), something could be done with the Europeans… before the final deal between the plutocracy and its overseas heavens is so stolid, that everything is irreversible…

Now, of course, as Krugman noticed, the Obama administration acts, and talks as if what is good for Wall Street is good for the USA. And the tax heavens are a crucial part of Wall Street’s world conspiracy. So Obama has been resisting the reform urge of Sarkozy and Merkel (I do not mention Brown, because everybody knows he is so full of it, his eyes are brown…). But for how long can Obama resist the obvious? A bit of unrest in the streets would do wonders…

Patrice Ayme