Archive for September, 2009

Friendly Climate Reminder

September 28, 2009


[This is just a reminder, easy to digest; a more elaborated post with graphs and more logical back-up will come soon.]


Subtle is the climate, but it can be cruel.

A known danger in climate change is the so called methane gun. Buried in cold (roughly freezing and often under pressure) ground are found giant deposits of methane imprisoned in a sort of water ice. There is roughly more methane there than the entire deposits of other fossil fuels, worldwide.

If the temperature rises, the deposits of frozen methane will explode out. Many are in the Arctic, in shallow, so far frigid seas. So, if temperature rises, as Mr. Goshn, the president of Renault-Nissan puts it, "the planet will explode" (that is why he is developing massively electric cars, betting the 7 million car a year company on it). This may literally be true: BOOOM! Frozen methane hydrates (to give them a more complete name) have exploded before, creating massive tsunamis.

Now the infrared blocking power of methane, CH4, in the short run is 100 times that of carbon dioxide, CO2. Over a century it’s like 20 times. Right now the CO2 is 385 parts per million (ppm), but, with the CH4 and other greenhouse gases, we produce ever so generously, we are above 430 ppm in "CO2 equivalents". Antarctica gets covered with glaciers at 425 ppm. In other words, Antarctica is now UNSTABLE: parts of it tipping into melting would stay free of ice, for ever.

Speaking of this frozen continent, it is well known that the icy belly of the Western Antarctic Ice Shield (WAIS) is below (sea) water. Maximally dense, 4 degree Celsius water will ultimately slip below it, and melt it (because it is not only the densest, but relatively warm). Interestingly an even more ominous situation may develop with sea water intruding below the ice basins of East Antarctica, the icy bellies of which are well below sea level. The frontal contact with the (presently freezing cold) Antarctic ocean is at very high latitude (as north as Iceland is south). When the same situation that is developing with the WAIS (where satellite radar shows that the water is slipping below the ice) happens with the Ice Basins, sea level will rise tremendously (25 meters?).

And the ice basins could melt fast. Sedimentary records show that Hudson Bay (which used to be below a similar ice shield) melted in about two decades.

The USA and its industrial center, China, are producing 40% of the world CO2.

Paleoclimatic studies show that Earth can switch to her hot regime really fast. Oh yes, because, and it’s little known, Earth has a hot mode, with temperate poles, and Earth has spent much more time in the hot mode than the present glaciated stage. Alaska with palm trees is the rule, not the exception.

Once the great melting starts at high speed, since the poles are the refrigerator, and we are starting by busting them, there will be no coming back. Let’s not forget that 12,000 years ago, sea level was 135 meters lower (450 feet). The potential rise now is about 75 meters.

But what to expect from the only major country on Earth, the USA, so focused on its little self, that it is the only one still using illogical and INCONVENIENT measuring units that date straight back from the Middle Ages? The inconvenient truth is that the USA can’t think seriously anymore. Trading and leverage and viewing wealth from Wall Street clowns as serious are supposed to be the only conveniences worth fighting for.

It is another inconvenient truth that, the more of a mess in the world, the more it had proved profitable for the USA. So far. Thus, helping with the world getting messier has become a new, all American, hidden faith: let’s not cooperate, and the more we do not cooperate, the more awesome the bounty will be, for the USA.

Of these kind of faiths, as congealed as old limestone, great calamities arise, when reality tips over, and yesterday’s hubristic certainties become tomorrow’s disastrous ignorance. Yesterday’s Titanic, fast, sure, and impervious to logic. Today’s wreck.


Patrice Ayme


September 27, 2009


The difference between the public’s take on Afghanistan and what NATO’s top leadership is up to is stunning. I have argued before that this ominous abyss is caused by a lot of non-said arguments: the real causes for the NATO leadership behavior are hidden. Otherwise why would they persist in a war they -we- are sure to lose? OK, they are not the ones dying, and the taxes they pay, if any, will be very well compensated by various consultancies, honorary speeches, book contracts, and invites all over the political leadership uses as a retirement plan.

But let’s play their game for most of this essay, and let’s enter the logic officially offered to us. The line of NATO leadership is that they have ordered us into Afghanistan, killing people, and interdicting they main source of income, to fight Al Qaeda, and, they say, save civilization.

Never mind that Al Qaeda is an emanation of Wahhabism, the official religion of Saudi Arabia, a two centuries old variant of Salafism.

What is Salafism? It is the religion of the "old ones", an Islamic movement that emphasizes strict, literal, interpretation of Islamist religious texts such as the Qur’an and strident opposition to non-Islamic influences. “Literalism” (as it was called) was long outlawed when, and where Islamic civilization was at its peak. So, paradoxically, when Osama bin Laden celebrates Al Andalus, Muslim Spain, he is celebrating an Islam which was as anti-Salafist as possible; but let’s glide over this, since the aim of this essay is to exhibit the contradictions and lies of NATO, not the confusion, ignorance, criminal naivety, and self contradictions of Al Qaeda (and any Salafist inspired Islam, which is a lot of Islam nowadays, since rich Saudis financed it all over, generally with the complicity of American secret services (which enjoy to sow discord and division).

Never mind that Al Qaeda is not in Afghanistan, right now, and was put there, to start with, by the American and Pakistani secret services, with the direct, enormous financial and technological help of the US Congress. (Thus, one would deduce that when Americans and Pakistanis do not want Al Qaeda in Afghanistan it’s not there anymore, and that is what is observed.)

Never mind that the civilization we are supposedly saving in Afghanistan is a typically degenerated Salafist inspired superstition, thus tyrannical, corrupt, hopeless and regressive.

As I have argued before, to win a war, one needs first to know what one is fighting for. And the reason(s) better be good.

Or then, if one does not have good reason(s) to fight a war, one needs to have an immense military superiority. We do not have the later in Afghanistan: scaling up what the French military was allowed to do in Algeria to the population of Afghanistan, we would need 500,000 [number of French soldiers at the time] times 36 [population Afghanistan] divided by 6 [population of Algerians in 1958]. The result is three million men.

In Vietnam, although the Americans deployed 535,000 on the ground (plus much more in Thailand, Philippines, etc.), they did not have enough soldiers (proof: the Tet offensive). The population of South Vietnam was just too large. The present population of Afghanistan is even larger. So, to lose as in Vietnam, the Americans would need to move one million soldiers, airmen, support personnel, etc., in Afghanistan and around it (but the neighbors, nowadays, are unlikely to be as welcoming as Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia…)

The French won militarily in Algeria, and, although "Algeria is France" (as used to be said), the French left. They were just plain tired of waging a very nasty conflict, and argue about superstition and colonization. De Gaulle thought France would be weaker if she stayed entangled in Africa. He argued secretly that France should pull out by selfishness. That argument was also made by the socialist opposition: it was understood that France could not pay for a hospital every 100 kilometers across gigantic Africa. (Of course the greedy American plutocrats, and the imperialist Russians obsessed by Saharan oil and gas, had pushed as much as they could to get the French out, but that is another story…)

The French pull-out from Africa shows that even with huge military advantage and a few very good reasons to fight to death, sometimes even more is needed. (By the way, France and Britain withdrew from most of the countries in Africa not even because they were asked to: Algeria and Kenya were exceptions, and in Algeria, all possible and imaginable mistakes were piled up on the French side, to make the situation as difficult as possible: whereas millions of people living in French Algeria had interest to keep some sense of “French” rule, Paris, and many a secretly racist metropolitan French was not too anxious to keep sharing a fate with Maghrebins…)

But back to the present struggle in Afghanistan: to win militarily there as the French did in Algeria, are we going to send three million men to dominate 36 million Afghans? So we can give it all up a few months later? (Because that is what happened in Algeria; by the way, as the French pulled out, they did not evacuate all the Harkis, those Muslim Algerians who had fought in the French army: 150,000 Harkis, at least, were massacred after the French army had been treacherously pulled out, followed by millions of French colons and various Jews and other non Muslim, some of them implanted in North Africa, from before the Muslim invasion of 700 CE.) [Disclaimer: part of my family is from North Africa, and got killed in the conflict.]

Unlikely. Unlikely that we will find the treasure to send three million naive souls to occupy the 40,000 villages in Afghanistan, to prevent them to grow forbidden plants of the type Obama used to abuse of personally 20 years ago. [Disclaimer: I have never done drugs, not even alcohol or tobacco, so I am perfectly relaxed being scathing with the hypocrisy that is flaunted there.] Those who can’t obey the law at home, should not enforce it overseas with killer robots that fly around.

Obama does not know what he is doing in Afghanistan, as shown by his completely self contradictory statements about Islam there. What does Islam have to do with it? Well, the American strategists, in their depth and wisdom, allowed the Constitution of Afghanistan to be Islamist. Never mind the fact that Afghanistan is one of the world’s most backward countries, and that a conflictual situation developed when the progressive Afghans decided to send little girls to school, which was view in contradiction with Salafism (but clearly Muhammad loved educated little girls, since he married one, aged 6, Aisha! And there is a law in the Qur’an saying that little girls should not be killed; that used to be a tradition in Arabia, Muhammad put an end to.)

By so doing, by supporting the side of Salafism, American strategists chose the ideology of one side in the Afghan war they had themselves organized for two decades. They chose the ideological side of the Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence (itself a product of Muslim Fundamentalism), and that was also the side of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and worldwide rabid Wahhabism. Part of these deplorable creatures were created by the American strategists themselves.

At this point, then, the American strategists, for whatever reason they held, had LOST THE IDEOLOGICAL WAR WITH SALAFISM. Ever since NATO and company have been fighting for Wahhabism in Afghanistan, getting about a thousand soldiers killed in the process (not only Americans are dying in Afghanistan, proportionally to their population, Canadians are dying more).

So here comes Obama, and first he repeats Bush’s mantra: ‘We fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan’. But there is no Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has settled next to Pakistan’s warm nukes, calmly preparing for Armageddon there. Plus, there is extremely active and nasty Al Qaeda in North Africa: why does not Mr. Obama invade there? [Technical detail: it’s often known not as "Al Qaeda", but as "Salafism"].

So Mr. Obama, apparently aware that it was silly to claim that what was clearly not, was, corrected his own logical posture: in Cairo, he celebrated good Islam, and quoted the Qur’an, while condemning the "extremists" (in Islam). Always playing Muslim on TV, he informed us that transforming women into jail-tents was good, and most welcome in the USA: never mind that anybody knows that this is the most exterior mark of Salafism, thus Al Qaeda. Never mind that any honest to goodness Muslim Fundamentalist with a vigorous disposition knows that there are 178 calls to lethal violence in the Qur’an (they have counted them, out of the 400 pages of the Qur’an).

However, our new Islamist scholar, Obama turned around, and said that he did not like the law about raping women, and forcing them to enjoy it officially, which is straight out of Salafism, and thus the Taliban.

That rape fantasy is the law in Afghanistan, though, and, thus, the law honest to goodness American boys are dying to defend. Therefore Mr. Obama is completely confused ideologically. He wants us to die for Afghanistan’s Islam, while celebrating it, and, moreover, condemning it.

If one wanted to really win that war, one would have to go back to how it started, and correct the mistake in ideological positioning that were made initially.

So how did the war in Afghanistan start? On one side there was progress, that wanted to send little girls to school. The USA’s secret services labeled that "socialism" (back in 1973), and connived with the Pakistani secret services, the ISI, to crush the idea of little girls going to school. The great strategists of the USA were ecstatic to create a mess on the USSR doorstep. nothing like giving to the adversary a very good moral reason to fight a war it could not win. A member of the Royal family had made a coup to establish a more progressive regime. A whole panoply of Salafists and shady characters was paid and organized by the USA to prevent, with bombs, to let little girls go to school.

Fast forward thirty years later. So now here we are: Pakistan is full of thermonuclear bombs, and is building very officially another nuclear plant to make even more thermonuclear bombs. The risk there? World War, of the nuclear type, starting with 200 million dead. The solution? Talk about Iran all day long. True Iran is officially a non proliferator (having signed the NPT), and Pakistan is an official proliferator that was paid by Bush 100 million dollars for making better nuclear weapons (!)

The better way out of the Afghan mess is to change the ideology of what we are fighting for, namely to officially embrace progress, and only progress (meaning not Salafism, as we presently do). Once we have done this clearly, maybe enough progressive Afghans will be found for the Afghan army, especially if we pay them well.

This is where my remarks about the Harkis in Algeria come in full: the Harkis fought in the French army not just because they loved the law of the republic, and liberty, equality, and fraternity. They also fought because it never came to their minds that France would, unbelievably, outright leave Algeria. Indeed France leaving Algeria made no sense in so many ways (and, if some day some Algerian regime pointed thermonuclear weapons, France would have to be back, or probably, die). Millions of families of Harkis suffered ever since, and as I said 150,000 were outright assassinated (and very cruelly). So, of course, this sort of things is in the back of Afghans’ mind: why would they die for Obama, when tomorrow Obama can organize another rescue of Wall Street, leaving with no money to pay for his own troops? So Obama will find soldiers for his Afghan army, but the crafty ones will have some guarantees with the other side.

Right now though, we are de facto engaged in a fake civil war inside Islam: we are fighting for Salafism/Wahhabism, against the Taliban, whose main ideology is a mix of just that, plus national resistance. The soldiers in the Afghan army do not have to make a clear ideological choice. [Thus to progress we would have to clearly impose a secular, socialist constitution on Afghanistan: it’s the only way to win.]

As it is, the drain of this grotesque war on treasure, morals, morality, and logical coherence, let alone lives and limbs, cannot be sustained…

As I have argued before on my sites, in truth the war is waged not because of Al Qaeda, or the Taliban: these are just pretexts. But the truth can only be left unsaid. One cannot tell the NATO populations that they are fighting because of a pipe line, and because it is nice to have a pretext to occupy Central Asia indefinitely as one prepares for the inevitable thermonuclear conflict headed by the thermonuclear Salafism that festers in Pakistan…

Patrice Ayme

Extinguishing The Carbonivores: Profitable.

September 25, 2009



American politicians often talk as if it were the essence of the USA to anchor the entire value system on profitability, something defined by Wall Street according to bonus. Taking into consideration the irresistibly rising seas, it may be timely to modify this fundament of the American Way Of Life.

Paul Krugman points out in “It’s Easy Being Green” (NYT, September 25, 2009) that “saving the planet won’t come free (although the early stages of conservation actually might). But it won’t cost all that much either.”

France emit less than one third of CO2 per unit of GDP that the USA require. That restraint on the spewing of carbon allows the French to live better.

Spewing carbon requires energy, literally, and rewards people with time spent in traffic jams, and other wasteful activities, plus higher rates of all sorts of debilitating and ultimately lethal diseases. While, on the bright side, one gets to make war in Afghanistan for a crucial pipeline, which will allow to spew even more carbon found deep underground in Central Asia.

The logic of mixing carbon and happiness needs to be carefully re-examined. Indeed, casual observation shows that the French, with first class basically free health care, a pretty good free educational system whose grandes ecoles compete in the technological know how they provide, with the best anywhere, plenty of interesting things to do during their extensive vacations, an excellent retirement system completely protected by law, and a country which is both high tech, a museum, and the most visited in the world, for obvious esthetic reasons, would not exchange their way of life with the increasingly declining and pathetic American one, steadily devoured by Wall Street’s profit-above-all morality.

In France, gasoline is about eight dollars a gallon. This is mostly tax: the intrinsic cost of oil is not any higher than in the USA, since it is shipped from relatively shorter distances. Still one can observe French youth going up mountains in powerful motorbikes on single track paths (although it’s forbidden). Conclusion: the price of gas is still too low in France. And indeed, serious studies have shown that individual consummation still augmented, in the last year, even after the French government’s last hike in fuel taxes.

France will implement a carbon tax in January 2010 (the price of carbon will be 17 Euros per ton, 20% above the free market, with the idea of rising it by 100% soon). The French carbon tax is the fruit of a political consensus, taken by all candidates before the last presidential election. In France the increasing consensus is that IT’S PROFITABLE BEING GREEN. This is also more or less the official line in Germany, and the new line in China.

France has forced that, by law, the carbon emissions from cars are always lower in the European Union (and China, among others, is now carbon copying the French/European strategy, from high taxes on gasoline, to the exact same CO2 tailpipe exhaust enforced in the EU).

It is now agreed that the soon to be implemented latest CO2 emissions from cars in the European Union will be a third of the ones in the USA (right now, they are half).

It’s no accident that the French car companies have the lowest fleet CO2 emissions, worldwide: it’s profitable to produce efficient cars. No accident, either, that BMW and Mercedes are on the ropes (and BMW is allying itself with Peugeot, developing new engines with the French firm’s know how; Peugeot SA being not only the world’s most efficient car company, but also just the double winner of the 24 hours of Le Mans with two turbo diesel cars…)

The CARBONIVOROUS class is not interested to pay for the mess it leaves behind, and all the lives it destroys: if it did, carbon could not compete, it would be too expensive (except for aircraft fuel, since algae fuel has not been massively developed and deployed yet; astonishingly, algae are such that they have a negative CO2 contribution).

Using carbon when not necessary, does not just threaten the climate, but everybody’s health: applying to carbon the same criterions of safety that are applied in the nuclear industry would be immensely costly for the carbon industry, it would be unable to compete with renewables, and nuclear. Civilian nuclear energy killed many only in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster (which was easy to avoid, and would not have occurred, if only the insanely conceived reactor, of a type that ought not to exist, had been surrounded by a containment building of Western mandatory standards: the explosion would have stayed inside!)

Carbon energy, even when neglecting the effect on climate, even when restricted to Europe and America, kills orders of magnitude more people, year after year, than Chernobyl did (at least several hundred thousands are killed by carbon, each year, and a few hundreds, once, at Chernobyl, an accident that had more to do with Stalinist methods than anything else).

Carbon burning consists into exploding in the air 400 million years of buried geology in a few decades: it is a truly absurd form of geoengineering. It has no future. So the CARBONIVORES will fight to death: after all, they fight to prevent their own extinction.

Patrice Ayme


P/S: So the argument above was that saving carbon saves health, lives, and energy. For the former, life, it may not be a coincidence that the French average hospitalization rate is 40% of the one in Manhattan. (So Manhattanites get hospitalized 2.5 times more.)Although cars are less used in Manhattan than in the rest of the USA, the life style in Manhattan is clearly unhealthy and unsuitable by French standards: as a lot of Wall Street money escapes to Connecticut, not enough is left to insure French standards of health and comfort, in Manhattan itself. Wasting carbon encourages wasting standards of living all over.


September 24, 2009


SOME ETHICAL LESSONS ON THE HISTORICAL ECONOMY, AND THE RISE OF BANKSTERS. Or why Obama needs to be a quick study. And why the reforms on bank bonuses pushed by France are not enough.


Abstract: After an undistinguished rant describing a situation everybody is pretty much cognizant of, the thievery known as Wall Street finance, and how the salaries of Wall Streetists are related to the increasing diversion of world capital from being to nothingness, I proceed to non trivially evoke the entanglement of ECONOMY and ETHICS.

It’s the Franks that outlawed slavery (660 CE), and why Western Europe rose in all ways (by opposition to the Orient, and its slave regimes, Constantinople and Islam). Wall Street financiers, just as the masters of Constantinople, Islam, and pretty much the rest of the planet, in the past, are diverting increasingly vast and extravagant resources to themselves, starving the rest (into submission, they hope).

Perhaps they have to do so, because otherwise, they could go to jail. Hence they have to keep on paying politicians, lest the hypnosis fails. They have to be stopped before they can terminally distract us with a war, as they did in the past (wait…).

I offer a series of explicit suggestions about the minimal reforms to make to the world financial system. Bonuses are just the tip of the iceberg. The diversion of nearly all the world capital to an imaginary casino has got to stop: no more derivatives. Leverage has to be kept under control, and bankers have to respect the basic values of our civilization, under penalty of law. That should break the mesmerization they exert on naive people such as Mr. Obama, and free the minds to address the immense problems spaceship Earth will confront in the next few decades.



Here is Obama’s ethics in September 2009. Two quotes from two different places. a few days apart:

"[Health] Insurance executives don’t do this ["treat their customers badly"] because they are bad people. They do it because it’s profitable […] insurance companies are not only encouraged to find reasons to drop the seriously ill; they are rewarded for it. All of this is in service of meeting […] Wall Street’s relentless profit expectations… Why is it, that we’re going to cap executive compensation for Wall Street bankers but not Silicon Valley entrepreneurs or N.F.L. football players?"

Ethic is the word, pathetic is the feeling. In the following we will attempt an historical meditation and deconstruction of these thoughts.

Obama asks why is it that Wall Street bankers should be capped as they try to starve us all, and "drop the seriously ill" because they left no money for anybody else?

Reminder: the total losses to the taxpayers in the USA and the EU are evaluated, so far, to be 8,000 billion dollars, at least. Just in the USA, the amount of gifts, loans and guarantees to the bank holding companies is about 24,000 billion dollars (about twice GDP). Those who took the money caused the very disaster that forced the governments to give them the taxpayer money. Now they are paying themselves bonuses, with taxpayer money. And their immense properties were not expropriated: why don’t they pay for their losses, with their money?

Does that have to do with them giving money to politicians? For all the talk of small naive little silly people sending money to Obama, the greatest contributor to Obama was Goldman Sachs, and now its executives sit in the White House. (Disclaimer: my family and me sent what was for us a considerable amount of money to Obama. Still waiting for the thank you note.)

Why the huge bonuses? Did they invent something, those financiers? They claim they do: that is why they talk about “financial innovation” all the time. Indeed derivatives of derivatives of options are no doubt an innovation. So was Zyklon B of Auschwitz fame).

Another reason the bankers evoke is that they, and only they, have talent, they say. Indeed. By that token, Hitler, himself nurtured early on by the top Wall Street financiers, both directly and indirectly, also had the same sort of unique talent, of slicing the throat of the sheep, after having shorn it already. Diverting most of the world’s capital is a major moral situation, as we will see.

Obama does not ask why is it that bankers are not entrepreneurs. He knows. Obama does not ask: "why is it that bankers do not really create anything?" Obama knows the difference between a bank and an enterprise: the former has made his uneducated chief of staff very rich, instantaneously, the second probably cannot employ his uneducated chief of staff.



So why is it that bankers need to be capped? Would not that make Obama’s chief of staff less rich than he could be, in the future?

Is all the money going to bankers somehow related to unemployment going up? Obama did not ask the question directly, but let me tell him why: because the bankers took too much capital for the rest of the economy to function as much as it used to. Some of the money was taken to pay for bonuses and extravagant "compensation".


So it’s not all about how big the bonuses are. It’s about the enormity that was created to justify the bonuses.

The bankers wanted huge money, but they needed an excuse to get it. To get that excuse, they invented bell and whistles, and smoke and mirrors, enchanted castles and tall tales, a whole menagerie of innovation of insane contracts with each other, twenty times larger than the entire world economy, out of which come imaginary profits (40% of the profits of the USA, they claim), to justify their all too real bonuses.

Why is it that civilization did very well without such bankers until the last few years? Because entrepreneurs had the money, and the bankers did not. Why is civilization doing less well? Because the bankers have too much money, and they use even more gigantic amounts in a worldwide, immense casino system they set up, called the derivative system, an army of robotized gambles that has devoured the world and its economy.

Why is it that Franklin Delano Roosevelt, an aristocrat of the higher reaches of society, called bankers, "banksters"? Why is it that Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his Congress took strong measures in the Banking Act of 1933 (so called "Glass-Stegal"), to limit the freedom of bankers to mess up with society? Why is it that American banksters supported Hitler and German fascism, even setting up the major chemical world monopoly of IG Farben, in the early 1920s? IG Farben was central to the extermination program. Why were its investors and inventors not punished?



Why is it that Larry Summers and his accomplice, the now immensely wealthy Bill Clinton, demolished the Banking Act of 1933? OK, let’s try to explain.

Bankers create (most) money: they decide who spends what, who gets what, and how much. Thus they control everybody who takes the decisions in representative democracy.

But who controls bankers? At this point, nobody. What controls them? At this point, nothing. The market has proven to be a myth, at least as far as big bankers are concerned.

Markets do not control bankers, because, when they lose all their money, common people have to pay the bankers. The bankers are masters of their destiny, and of ours too. They are out of the law. They are out-laws. Why? Because bankers make men, markets and presidents. When the markets fail the bankers, they put a gun to the head of the world financial system, and they ask the social system for money to support their casino-markets, and themselves.

Because Obama is in theory the boss, and he does not want to cap bankers, neither men nor markets can.

Bankers have privatized profits, socialized losses, and ordered their beggars the politicians, to herd the cattle people to pasture, so they can produce more. When the markets do not bring fortunes to bankers, bankers just rise a giant tax, and their errant boy the president, and the other children in Congress, give them all they want. More than bonuses, they want to go on with the fake financial system they set up.

It was obviously not enough of a warning that Wall Street financed IG Farben in the 1920s. We are back in the same scheme. But please no more whining about Auschwitz: stop feeding, and feting the source, if you do not like the human smoke.



Ethics matters economically. In turn, economics is central to survival. So ethics is not a luxury, but ethics is about SURVIVAL.

The question Obama asked in his naivety, is then: ‘Why is it that insurance executives and Wall Street contribute so much to survival that they should never be capped?’

An example from the past may help Obama: in the distant past, slavery was common and usual. However, it is now outlawed, worldwide. Obama should have asked:

"Why is it, that we have capped slave traders’ compensations, but not Silicon Valley entrepreneurs or N.F.L. football players?"

Well, the answer, dear Obama, is that slavery was bad, in more way than one, and that Silicon Valley, in first approximation, is good. Slavery was bad economically: the empire that outlawed slavery produced a much more performing economy, than the one which had preceded it, where slavery was ubiquitous.



In turn that better economy gave that empire a better technology, more wealth, better food and health, and finally the world’s most performing military, since it beat the Arabs, who had just defeated everybody, including Romans, Persians, Indians and Chinese. The name found for that empire was forged at Poitier, in 732 CE, when superstition was crushed by progress in what many view as the most important battle of history. The land of the Free, not to say the Frank, named itself Europe, in an allusion to free Greece, and the corpses of the enemy were left to rot in the sun by the thousands.

The Franks had outlawed slavery three generations earlier, and it was not to become slaves to God, or to the would be descendants of the mythical Sarah (hence the name “Sarasin”).

OUTLAWING SLAVERY was not just better ethics, from the modern viewpoint, but also better economics, from the absolute point of view.

That is why the Imperium Francorum (now known as "The West") rose militarily, technologically, and economically (in this order).

Outlawing slavery was pretty much what the Franks had been about from the beginning. Initially their ire was directed at the invading Romans, and then, after coming to a modus vivendi with those, Frankish ire was directed at the Catholic fanatics (that they themselves had contributed to put in power, by helping emperor Constantine). After trying to defeat Catholicism on the battlefield, the Franks changed strategy. One hundred thirty (130) years after having directly confronted the fanatical son of Constantine, the Franks opted for the craftier scheme of "joining", and then leading Catholicism (by the muzzle).



It is not just that all the Franks rose because they were all masters, instead of many of them being slaves. Among the Franks and the Goths, men were free, and the kings elected. This was in sharp contrast with the Holy "Catholic Orthodox" Roman empire next door, where slavery was common, usual, and expected by God and its servants.

Slavery considers that some men are lower than beasts (domestic animals were not tortured to death on a regular, or legal basis). By contrast, some other men were at the opposite extreme, higher than common men, and next to, or identified with God. For example Jesus, and thus, the emperor, and his chamberlains, were above the commons, and closer to God. Christianity was used as an instrument to prop fascism. And one can prove it, because the great emperor Diocletian invented that trick when Constantine was a toddler (~ 295 CE). Diocletian hated Christianity, so he used the conventional Greco-Roman pantheon, propping Sol Invictus as main God, and Himself as His Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him (that’s where so called Christmas comes from, as Sol Invictus replaced the Saturnials at the end of the year, in an enormous celebration).

Thus, by that metaphysical trick, the Roman emperors had invented the status that the Arabs would later call a "Caliph". In Imperial Christian Catholic Rome, the hierarchy was strict. Contradicting the emperor meant, in practice, death. And there were no Roman elections: from Constantine on, for 300 years, there was no even one illegitimate succession: Christianity had solved that eternal Roman imperial problem of succession, by painting Jesus all over the emperor.

By contrast, the Germans, who did not run, as the Romans did, an imperial system administering dozens of millions of people (a quarter of humankind), had stayed democratic (most Franks were peasant owners). As Rome decayed in fascist, pro-plutocratic, superstitious, whiny, rabidly anti-intellectual Catholicism, it became obvious to the Germans that they had to get in charge.

Theodoric’s Ostrogoths did this rather well in Italy, until Theodoric made the terrible error of having the president of the Roman Senate, Anicius Manlius Severinus Boetius, a philosopher of an extremely prestigious family, executed (this was a case of the Ostrogoths having adopted too much Roman fascism). The Visigoths did less well, as they spent a lot of time fighting each other to be elected king (not enough Roman style fascism in this case).

The Franks, trained and educated by Roman generals for three centuries, found the best balance between fascism and democracy, half way between Germania and Roma. They replaced, and became, the Roman army, and reestablished a centralized rule, all over Gallia (Gaul), by ejecting the Visigoths from their capital of Toulouse, and bottle them in Hispania (the Visigoths would keep on arguing with each other, until the Islamized Berbers of Tarik would invade them, 710 CE). Soon the Franks re-conquered Germania in the name of Rome.



Christianity, the servant of Roman plutocratic fascism, was friendly to slavery: all Christians are supposed to be more or less the obsequious servants of the omnipotent, jealous God in the Sky, a heavenly parody to teach the respect for the all too real omnipotent, rabid emperor on the ground. Unsurprisingly, Jesus Christ has nothing much to say against slavery. Bishops were the largest slave owners by 420 CE. The Muslim parrots would harp further on that theme, outright proclaiming that man was a slave to God, and had to obey his superior as if he were God, or the Prophet (Quran’s fascist principle, Sura 4; verse 59, later to inspire the Guide Adolf Hitler).



In a stroke of genius, the immigrant, naturalized queen of the Franks, Bathilde, an ex British slave, outlawed slavery (~ 660 CE). The history of the West proceeded from there ever more gloriously.

This date, 660 CE, which should be the most important in the history of slavery, is scrupulously neglected, because American plutocrats do not want to have to explain why they reestablished slavery 1,000 years later. Let’s say it in a nutshell, nevertheless, in the hope of embarrassing them. Slavery was profitable in America, because it was not impeded by human rights.

According to Barack Obama in the quote above, profits are the most important value. In America, according to this spirit that Obama loudly celebrates, slave traders were not bad people. And so it was for 250 years. Slave traders were just trying to make a profit: not bad. And, always according to Barack Obama, those profits ought not to have been limited.



In other words, the philosophy of Barack Obama is strictly, genuinely all American, and fundamentally adverse to the founding philosophy of the West, which holds that there are deeper and higher values than profits.

The principle that there are greater values than profits and life itself is fundamental to Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome, or even Ancient Troy. Even fascist Sparta made the point that freedom was more important than life. Sparta threw the arrogant Persians ambassadors down a well, so they could find down there what they were asking for, earth and water.

Troy made the point that the freedom of women was more important than peace. So the Franks, who claimed (as the Romans did) to come from Troy, did not invent the principle that there are higher moral principles than making profits, or even life itself, contrarily to what the sleek talking would be leader of the West gladly insinuates nowadays. That PROFITS DO NOT FUNDAMENTALLY MATTER IS THE VERY PRINCIPLE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION ITSELF. How tragic that it is not taught to American children enough! Obama went to the very best schools in the USA, and he has no comprehension of it.

What the Franks did was to introduce two new principles that had been refused by Ancient Greece (Crete knew them, to some extent, so it was a refusal, probably consecutive to the Dorian invasion: after all Sparta, the most uncivilized of Greek cities, with an atrocious slave system, was pure Dorian).

Both of the principles the Franks reestablished were about freedom: 1) women should be free. 2) men should be free: no slaves. Then the Franks demonstrated that not only one could restart civilization with these two principles (contrarily to what Aristotle explicitly stated), but that civilization then worked much better that way.



Even in America itself, with its profits uber Alles morality, ultimately, slavery did not work. Repeating the experience of the Franks on a smaller, more anecdotal example, outlawing slavery and the advantageous consequences thereof, is also why the North beat the South in the Secession war.

And of course the expectation of universal slavery in the holy books of superstitious Islam go a long way to explain why what was the cradle of the world’s most advanced civilizations for 5,000 years has become, in the last millennium, the one of Islam, the sinking ship of stagnation.

Right now the West, and in particular its mentally confused leader, the USA, is ethically challenged. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s crack down on banksters has been reversed by the very advisers Obama put back in power.



Present day banking and health care the American way are modern forms of slavery. Banksters were already behind Hitler and other fascists, but, next time, they could do worse. And next time may even be now.

In recent decades the states of the West have given up on the control of money. They now control just one fifth. It is an amazing development.

It used to be, as it ought to be, that the money used by the public in the realm was created by the sovereign, for use by the government, and the public.

The system we have now is completely different. The state has farmed out money making to a few private individuals. This weirdness, and obvious abuse of power, is called "capitalism" by the stooges of the banksters. But it is not capitalism at all, it is the confiscation of capital by an oligarchy (Stalin, who had confiscated all the USSR’s capital, in that sense, was the ultimate Wall Street style bankster, in the present sense of Wall Street).



Banking developed differently when the King of France, Francois Premier, became heavily dependent upon his (Italian) bankers. Funny for someone self baptized as "French First". Francois I, "emperor in his kingdom", could not tour said kingdom without the bankers picking up the bill for his immense retinue. His adversary, Charles Quint (also a native French speaker born a few miles away), elected Spanish and Holy Roman Emperor, came to depend upon the New World’s gold and silver. There was more of the latter, so Charles made Francois prisoner in Italy (1515 CE). The war went on for several generations, involving England, and resulting in the victory of the bankers (normal history concentrates on the victory of France, and secondarily of England, and the Netherlands).

The final phase of the 478 years long "100 years war", a dynastic quarrel between the provinces of England and France, involved creative (Dutch inspired) financing on the British side, and comforted the assent, not just of the "House of Rothschild", but of bankers in general.



In the present fractional reserve system, one fifth of the money is created by central banks (often under the form of gifts to banks in the wee hours of the morning). The rest of the money is created and lent (given) by private individuals called bankers. Those bankers lend, or give money to whoever they like (and they like themselves first).

Thus, money creation, long the definition of the civilized state, has become the province of the privately controlled fractional reserve system.

In recent decades the states of the West have given up on the control of money. They now control just one fifth. it is an amazing development. It used to be, as it ought to be, that the money used by the public in the realm was created by the sovereign, for use by the government, and the public. This system is called "capitalism" by the stooges of the banksters. But it is not capitalism at all, it is the confiscation of capital by an oligarchy (Stalin, who had confiscated all the USSR’s capital, in that sense, was the ultimate bankster).

When one says something against bankers, the bankers and their agents, or their gullible admirers, foam at the mouth, and scream that one is against capitalism. That would be funny, were it not so tragic and outrageous a statement.

In truth, in the present system of fractional reserve private banking, capitalism is not public anymore, but the province of the few, the oligarchs. This private capitalism is not sustainable. It needs to be changed, and how to do it is pretty obvious. We are not talking about a revolution here, but just making obvious ethical modifications with a huge economic impact. But it is not in the pecuniary interest of Mr. Obama to understand this. In his books, Obama has explained that self navigation is the ultimate compass.



Let Paul Krugman tell the truth: “Why is it,” Obama asked, “that we’re going to cap executive compensation for Wall Street bankers but not Silicon Valley entrepreneurs or N.F.L. football players?”

Paul Krugman finds "that’s an astonishing remark — and not just because the National Football League does, in fact, have pay caps. Tech firms don’t crash the whole world’s operating system when they go bankrupt; quarterbacks who make too many risky passes don’t have to be rescued with hundred-billion-dollar bailouts. Banking is a special case — and the president is surely smart enough to know that.

All I can think is that this was another example of something we’ve seen before: Mr. Obama’s visceral reluctance to engage in anything that resembles populist rhetoric."

On the face of it, Krugman does not want to upset who he is condemned to socialize with. I can easily think of something else to explain Obama’s incapacity to understand civilization: while there is little evidence that the president understands the fact that the West rests on deeper values than profit, for the last 27 centuries, there is also evidence that the President does not want to see a future cap to his own compensation [In France president Chirac has been under examination for several years by federal judges about how much money he really made in politics, and from where; Obama does not want to see this happen to him anymore that it happened to the extremely rich Bill Clinton.]



In his joint session of Congress Obama said: "Insurance executives don’t do this ["treat their customers badly"] because they are bad people. They do it because it’s profitable." By proffering this, Obama broke the tradition of honoring the human spirit that the Athenians at Marathon, and the Spartans at Thermopylae, among other countless heroes of the West in other battles, died for. Obama says: profits make good. The great say: those who only look after themselves are bad. Successful navigation is the ultimate value only for sharks. Even crocodiles defend their young: they have higher value.

At Thermopylae, Obama, if he had followed his logic, would have joined the most profitable side, and it was not the 300 Spartans. Because Xerxes was making bigger profits, he was not a bad person, according to Obama, so why to fight him? Why so partisan? Xerxes would have loved Obama, he employed plenty of those; good looking, sleek talking, obedient.



1) Cancel the derivative casino. Replace it by a very regulated system with special allowances for commercial operators, and outside investors under stiff taxation, limit of leverage, etc..

2) The fractional reserve system is here to stay. But it has to be put under stiff control of leverage. As I suggested implicitly above for one currency unit created by central banks, there should be a maximum of 4 created by banks (that boils down to 10% reserves, if I remeber my own math correctly).

3) Bankers have to operate under a strict deontology, under oath, as officers of the state (as lawyers, public notaries, and various health and police or administrative professionals already are). Right now private bankers monopolize way too much of the available capital, and have made capitalism into their own private garden, starving the real economy from capital.



We have now an entire generation of youth, and Mr. Obama is a magnificent example of this, from his own words, for which Greed Is the Ultimate Good. One cannot operate our civilization sustainably with such ideas in command.

Obama asks why the compensation of banksters ought to be limited. So that, among other things, some money would be left for others, and other activities than splurging in luxury, debauchery and usury.

The compensation of banksters ought to be limited, so that, among other things, they do not have the clout and corruptive power, on politicians, of setting up a giant world casino, of derivatives of derivatives, with a total nominal value heading towards a thousand trillion dollars (more than ten times the world’s worth of material property, from oil to castles, to entire countries). Why is it that Goldman Sachs has officers at the White House, while distributing 20 billion of bonuses, after getting 38 billion from taxpayers? Is that what is called grand larceny? Or a conspiracy?

The compensation of banksters ought to be limited, so that, among other things, they do not have the money to buy those who teach the youth to debase civilization. Debasement, or why profits are all the base we need. Debasement and profits, or how we ended up with fascism. Debasement, or the road to hell already travelled before.

Patrice Ayme


P/S: Christianity and slavery: Christianity, the servant of Roman plutocratic fascism, was friendly to slavery: all Christians are supposed to be more or less the obsequious servants of the omnipotent God in the Sky, a parody of the all too real omnipotent emperor on the ground. Unsurprisingly, Jesus Christ has nothing much to say against slavery. Bishops were the largest slave owners by 420 CE. The Muslim parrots would harp further on that theme, outright proclaiming that man was a slave to God, and had to obey his superior as if he were God, or the Prophet (Quran’s fascist principle, Sura 4; verse 59, later to inspire the Guide Adolf Hitler).

Hard Robots, Weak Minds

September 22, 2009

Bob Herbert observes that:"President Obama will face hard realities if he continues the war in Afghanistan."

Yes, hard realities. A French documentary on the Second World War just came out on French public TV in a 6 hour series (now out on Blue Ray DVD). It’s called: Apocalypse". It’s completely made of original documents (many from amateurs), refurbished. Quite a bit of it about Hitler, shot by his mistress and future wife, Eva Braun. The makers of the documentary observed how human Hitler looked as he got increasingly penetrated by the horror of the war, and made worried so sick he became completely broken from it, by the time of the battle of Kursk.

At Kursk, 600,000 Nazi soldiers, with the super Nazi tiger tanks, each worth ten times the best Allied tanks, led by the formidable general Manstein, tried a pincer battle that ought to have worked. But Stalin knew the exact detail of Nazi attack plan, day by day. That allowed him to concentrate his forces, and ambush Nazi advances, day after day.

The British has broken the Nazi code machines, the enigmas, and the Soviet spy network in the UK was first class. It is as if Stalin stood in the same room as the genius mathematicians, the colleagues of the logician Alan Turing.

General Manstein, the creator of the scythe move during the Battle of France (200,000 killed), thought there was still a chance at Kursk, because the Soviet losses had been enormous. He thought he could finish the encirclement, put the Red Army in the proverbial “kettle”.

But Hitler was broken, he had given up. Manstein found him “weak”. Hitler did not give Manstein the reserves he needed. The Red Army survived this very bad strategic posture it had been in, and soon was advancing with a vengeance. The moment had passed.

Soon enough Hitler, and many top Nazis became completely insane. They had been driven completely mad by the horror of it all, but they reacted by persevering in their error, becoming ever more evil. As Magda Goebbels poisoned her 6 small children she said that following Hitler in death was more than she could ever hope to get from life (Goebbels, the propaganda minister had succeeded Hitler as "Kanzler"). The banality of evil, Arendt would point out, if she saw those haunting sequences. The banality of evil, and the simplicity of madness.

The entire Nazi madness can be tracked from its origin in a number of completely erroneous, deeply held ideas. One of them, well entrenched in Nazi minds, was that the fate of civilization was to be defended by the moral position they took, whatever the cost. So doing they created the very fall of civilization they claimed to want to avoid at any cost.

In 1939, Hitler had grandly stated that the world was not going to die for Dantzig. But the French stood in the way. And the British were in the fine print. So Hitler had allied himself with Stalin, hoping to scare France. It had not worked. It was ever more downhill from this queer and inauspicious beginning.

All proportions kept, there is a bit of the same sort of hysterical rhetoric about Afghanistan. Sarkozy, Obama, have come out to say that civilization was in play there. But all I can see now is that Afghanistan is a colonial war, without the colons. Crazy stuff, but hardly what civilization dies from, except if fed by way too many lies for too long.

In Afghanistan Obama has zero understanding of the situation. He is completely at sea.

He quotes the Qur’an, as if he had studied it really deeply, while occasionally acting all surprised, about the same Qur’an, showing that, after all, he did not. Worse: nevertheless, he seems persuaded that he does have some sort of understanding. But, once again, he seems to be just doing what his plutocratic handlers told him was the serious thing to do. At this point, there is no Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. And it is not the Afghans who brought the Wahhabist fundamentalists from Arabia to Afghanistan. Nor is it the Afghans who armed bin Laden and his warriors: the CIA and the US Congress brought them there, and armed them.

To contradict bin Laden at this point is easy: just contradict his reading of sacred texts from Islam. More and more young people who would have followed bin Laden a few years ago are now having second thoughts, as they discover that bin Laden strategy, of Islamic fundamentalism, is leading them to sure defeat. be it only from lost opportunity.

At this point (not 7 years ago) the war in Afghanistan, and the way it is conducted, contradict the fundaments of Western civilization. The fact is that Western soldiers from countries with secular constitutions are dying for the Islamist constitution of Afghanistan. Obama says there are bad Muslims (the ones he views as "extremists", and who, according to Obama, do not understand Islam) and good Muslims (those who live according to the parts of the Qur’an/Koran that Obama’s speech writers have selected for him). Obama wants to kill those he calls the "extremists". Well, that’s a bit extreme.

In a side show, Obama wants to interdict farmers in Afghanistan to grow what he views as illicit plants. Never mind that he used to consume such plants himself (as everybody who went to Punahou and knew him will testify, I know more than a dozen of such people, and some extremely well). Well, that’s a bit more than hypocritical.

The whole bloody, hopeless conflict reeks of hypocrisy, and murder, because, after all, it’s a war. What for? Already? Bin Laden? Who employed bin Laden, historically speaking? Not the Taliban.

Mediocre minds say the war will be won, because Obama uses flying robots, and other high tech. Did they not watch the "Terminator" series of movies. Don’t they know the side of the robots is the side of those who have no morality? Don’t they know that the robots are on the side of those who are all about profits, and the easy certainty of those with very little spirituality and intelligence?

So why to keep on wasting moral and intellectual capital in Afghanistan? To have an excuse to make cuts in Medicare, because all the money went to kill Afghans that Obama found to be "extremist"? Is that not a bit extreme?

What about Afghans invading Washington with guns, helicopters, and bombing robots? Would that bring some "extremism" out too? Who is extreme?


Patrice Ayme


P/S: The French had won militarily in Algeria, but they had hundreds of thousands (at least 450,000) men, millions of fanatical, secular supporters, out of a total population of 6 millions. Moreover a majority of the population had voted for the new constitution.  Besides Algeria was France, etc. Still, France had to give up Algeria.

Afghanistan was never America, the population is around 35 millions, and there was never a fair election. Superiority of mechanical power is not how to win a war. For that, one needs superior moral power.


September 19, 2009

Abstract: If my "Medicare For All" cannot be had now, because of greedy critters in the way, "Medicare For More" will nevertheless put the USA on the same road to the (French) heaven of the best health care in the world, in the fullness of time. There is no reason whatsoever to obstruct and deny this more modest reform, except from debasing and outrageous respect for the religion of greed of the few as ultimate good for all, forever and ever, Amen.

Even Obama cannot bipartisan his way out of that one, which is to put Medicare on the road of becoming a universal public insurance plan. As proposed below, it’s self financing, and autonomous. In particular, as explained below, it would be public, but independent of the executive branch and elected officials’ direct interference.


The democrats are controlling Congress, the Senate and the Presidency. Thus, they are under big pressure to show that they can make the country progress towards better outcomes by taking some significant positive action somewhat, somewhere, somehow, that can seem to benefit the People, and not just their beloved hyper wealthy bankers.

Killing Afghans more efficiently may not be good enough, so those crafty dems are trying to tinker with the health care system, since, after all, they campaigned on making it much better. At the same time, those professional politicians and would be higher elements of society have to satisfy the BIPARTISAN PARTY, the party of the plutocrats, the only way they seem to know to elevate themselves.

The Swiss system is often touted as a template of what leftist American politicians want to do. But, as we will show, they can’t use it as a template. Nor do they want to, come to think of it.

In Switzerland, those who can afford to buy insurance are required to do so by law (as individuals, this has nothing to do with employment). For those who can’t, the government provides subsidies. About a third of the population receives subsidies (40% of households).

Nevertheless, the core reason that Switzerland has universal coverage, and good private health insurance, is that the Swiss people demanded that the Swiss government heavily regulate the health insurance industry and the Swiss people decided to pay more taxes so that the government would provide subsidies. In Switzerland, basic coverage components, very good by American standards, must be included in all plans. Basic health insurance is provided by nonprofit insurers — though some are affiliated with for-profit companies that offer supplemental policies (private rooms, super teeth, etc., similar to Medigap in the United States). The basic benefit package is defined by law and is quite generous. Maximum drug prices are regulated.

Still, Switzerland is trying to push its health care system in the French direction. The reason is that the Swiss system underperforms the French one, it costs more, and ever more so. In frontier areas, the French and Swiss systems are imbricated for practical reasons

It is not easy to go from Swiss to French health cares, although the basic structures are both non-profit: there are fierce debates on how to get the Swiss system more like the French (which is itself a work in progress, with major changes on how to make foreigners pay, and also a new, extremely expensive cardiac care system, to save more lives). That is why it’s important that US health care reform takes the right road, even if it cannot get to its destination now.

The French insurance system looks complicated, to the foreign observer. In truth it is simple in its value system, the dominant value being that LIFE IS A RIGHT. In contrast, Obama recently explained to us that Greed Is Good. Or that a person is never bad as long as profit is the motive.

At this point it’s important to keep in mind the liberal president Obama’s famous quote: "Insurance executives don’t do this [kill people] because they are bad people. They do it because it’s profitable." That’s where Liberal America is at: way out in the twilight zone of smoldering fundamental values, set on fire by bankers and greedsters. Very far from Europe.

Thus, in France, as in Switzerland, basic health insurance is non profit. Just it does not masquerade in France as a herd of private outfits. The main French public insurer is gigantic: the giant public French BASIC HEALTH CARE insurer is ‘Assurance Maladie’. Per its bulk, ‘Assurance Maladie’ has enormous negotiating power, and medical drugs from the USA, purchased as is, without any insurance, cost less in France than the co-pays in the USA with an excellent private insurance plan.

Superb care is given by the French health professional themselves, who are completely detached, physically separated, from the compensation system. Although some doctors, mostly the surgeons and professors in the hospitals are partly paid by the public system, paradoxically, most French doctors are in private practice (but paid by the public insurer(s) and complementary private insurance(s) if need be, for non essential care such as age spots).

Economies are made by endowing personnel with examining and curative powers. For example, midwives run in minutes exams that take many visits to many different specialists in the USA. The French midwives, in their offices (thrice bigger than a doctor office in the USA) have all the machinery, and know how to use it. Results come in seconds. There are also private labs for sophisticated ultrasounds (completely for profits, owned by the local doctors operating them), but the fees are much less than in the USA, although the electronics is much more advanced (straight from Japan, with lower prices negotiated in bulk). The system saves by making no mistakes (decisions are taken collegially, and from protocols), so there are no lawsuits: there is nothing to sue about.

The one and essential part of health care reform as proposed in Obama’s electoral platform is a PUBLIC OPTION.

If the Public Option does not happen, as Obama himself more or less admits, there is no reform in the direction of progress, and forcing everybody to pay private insurers would be making the later in a functional equivalent of the French Fermiers Generaux under the Ancient Regime. Those were private individuals in charge of gathering taxes (they paid themselves in passing).

The Fermiers Generaux’ motto was: ‘your money, or your freedom’. By law, everybody had to pay them. In turn, they paid the king. Many Fermiers Generaux were judged and executed during the revolution. Modern American life insurers have assuredly a similar motto: ‘your money, or your life’. If Obama makes paying them mandatory by law, and they, in turn, as they already do, pay the king, the USA would have gone back full circle to the France of the Ancient Regime. (After that maybe we can organize a revolution too? Just an idea.)

Indeed when your private insurer refuses to treat your cancer, that is what he does; take your life (that was a precise example used by Obama). In theory, people could divorce, give up all their belongings, then apply for Medicaid, but, by the time they get to that, they will be dead. Anyway, what is the difference between giving all you have to save your life, while getting half dead in the process, and the worst abuses of slavery?

There is only one way to save the public option: free Medicare from its constraints. Allow people to pay for it before the age of 65, on a sustainable basis (namely allow Medicare to charge as much as it wants: it will always be less than the Wall Street health care insurance plans, because Medicare does not have the necessity to make a profit to stay interested, whereas Wall Street does). The important point is to accept that Medicare (or the somewhat related Medicaid) will grow.

After launching the "Medicare For All" slogan, I propose that the best that can be hoped for now is "MEDICARE FOR MORE". As Medicare grows, it will be able to squeeze out the profiteers, if it is given full authority to negotiate costs with providers. Then, in the fullness of time, it will become "Medicare For All".

Patrice Ayme


September 19, 2009



When we do not have a theory about something, we do not tend to see it. The brain is a born theoretician.

And, sometimes, what we ignore can be severely monstrous. An example is the privately owned public fractional reserve banking system, the monster in civilization’s face, devouring it, as no-drama-Obama, and his colleagues keep feeding it, as if it were the world’s sweetest thing.

For many years oceanographers avoided to concentrate on stories of rogue waves. They preferred to dismiss them as tall tales. Drilling platforms, or ships, were not made to resist to giant waves, since they had been dismissed with a flick of a mental switch.

However increasing severe damage, near sinking and disappearances of huge watercrafts after probable encounters with such waves, plus explicit videos, have focused attention on them:

Are Quantum Waves Subject To Similar Non Linearities?

Are Quantum Waves Subject To Similar Non Linearities?

A giant wave threatens a ship in the Bay of Biscay, France.

In February 1933, the US Navy Tanker USS Ramapo ploughed into a Pacific storm en route to Manila from San Diego. The wind howled at an unremitting 60 knots -force 11- for seven days and the wind field stretched from the coast of Asia to New York, producing strong winds over thousands of miles of unobstructed ocean, lifting the sea into huge 15-meter swells.

On the morning of 7 February, the ship encountered a monster. It came from behind, tossing her into a deep trough then lifting her stern-first over a mountain of foamy brine.
As the stern of the 146-meter ship hit the bottom of the trough, the officer on watch triangulated the wave against the crow’s nest. He observed the crest of the wave approaching from behind just over the level of the crow’s nest while the stern of the ship was at the trough of the wave.
Subsequent scaling yielded the height of 34 meters for the wave, -about as tall as an 11-storey building. It remains the biggest open ocean surface wave ever reliably measured.


The period of the wave was 14.8 seconds and its wavelength was calculated to be 342 meters. Using the wave velocity expression for this wavelength in the deep water limit, the wave speed is calculated to be 23 m/s. The crew of the Ramapo measured these waves and lived to tell about them because their relatively short ship (146 m =478 ft) rode these very long wavelength ocean mountains without breaking the craft. [A rogue wave in recent years broke a hole across a supertanker in South Africa; one came from behind and was photographed on another empty supertanker, washing over the deck, towering maybe 15 meters over other waves.]

HyperPhysics (©C.R. Nave, 2003)
Martin’s Marine Engineering page]

In 1995 an oil rig in the North Sea recorded a 25.6-meter wave (using a laser). Then in 2000 a British oceanographic vessel recorded a 29-meter wave off the coast of Scotland. In 2004 scientists using three weeks of radar images from a European Space Agency satellite found ten rogue waves, each 25 meters or more high…

From those radar pictures, it would seem that the giant rogue waves somehow suck up energy from the waves in front and those behind (now they should then quickly disappear, because they should be travelling much faster than the surrounding wave trains, but this remains to be studied and confirmed).

This radar picture shows that there is something we do not understand mathematically (see P/S 3).


In February and March 2001 two hardened tourist cruisers – the Bremen and the Caledonian Star – had their bridge windows smashed by 30-meter rogue waves in the same zone of the Antarctic ocean. After the destruction brought by the rogue, the first ship was left drifting parallel to the waves without navigation or propulsion for a period of two hours.  The crew thought that was it.


Damage done by a rogue wave.


In February 1995 the cruiser liner Queen Elizabeth II met a 29-meter high rogue wave during a hurricane in the North Atlantic that Captain Ronald Warwick described as “a great wall of water… it looked as if we were going into the White Cliffs of Dover.”

Two large ships sink every week in the average, and as many as 200 ships more than 200 meters long have disappeared. Due to the time and location of the disappearances, there is evidence that many succumbed to rogue waves.

Rogue waves are not tsunamis, which represent a vertical motion imparted to a volume of the entire ocean by a (vertically shaking) earthquake, or by crashing landslides, falling glaciers, exploding volcanoes, erupting methane ice, or bolides. These “tsunamis’ (“port waves” in Japanese) travel at high speed (~ 720 km/h), and build up in height as they approach the shore, as their front is forced to slow down by friction, while the rear catches up. The rough theory of tsunamis is fully understood, it’s pure linear wave physics (until the final piling up on a shore, which can reach enormous heights, locally up to hundreds of meters high in the case of exploding volcanoes, as in Hawai’i).

Rogue waves are about surface waves, and there is no rough understanding of their formation. They were considered impossible, because so they are in linear wave mechanics. They violate the superposition principle, as can be clearly seen from the picture below: there is no way one can add the other puny waves to get that big monster:

Rogue wave catching up with a super tanker. Notice how much smaller other waves are.

In the deep ocean, as where the preceding picture was taken, a tsunami would be less than a meter tall, spread over dozens of kilometers, in other words not humanly perceptible.


Solitons were also considered impossible. By definition solitons are large solitary waves capable of indefinite propagation and interpenetration. They are not consequences of linear wave theory. The first soliton to be formally observed was seen progressing along a canal by a British gentleman who found the phenomenon so remarkable, that he followed it on horseback, and wrote an extensive report about it.

The real difficulty with rogue waves, besides being flattened by them, is that there is NO general wave theory.

A general wave theory OUGHT to include non linear waves. There is some knowledge of these, with the KdV equation and the modified KdV equation (which exhibit soliton behavior). But these are just scratches on an ocean of frozen knowledge which may be someday ours to navigate.

As Quantum Mechanics used to be called “Wave mechanics”, this lack of knowledge about waves goes a long way to explain why we cannot figure the full picture of what goes on in Quantum Physics. All the Wave Mechanics we have uses linear waves, because that is what we understand. But that does not mean it is the only thing nature understands. As rogue waves in the ocean clearly show, obviously not.


Patrice Ayme

P/S 1: What of so called “bubbles” in economy and finance, and the general madness of crowds? Are they somehow related to rogue waves? Probably, but through mathematics that do not yet exist, applied to neuroeconomics and psychology we have not yet conceived.

P/S 2: Re-entrant neurology in the brain explains why the brain tends to see so much with the mind’s eye (this was experimentally observed). This re-entrant organization extends obviously beyond the visual system, and extends to the part of our mind that creates systems of thought. That is why we tend to exclude from observation what we do not have yet a theory for.

P/S 3: Some of the pictures above clearly show that many rogue waves cannot be explained by conventional effects such as constructive interference, focusing, or bore like phenomenon in connection with a current (although those effects are present in nature). Another way to put it is this: there is no general soliton theory (the Korteveg de Vries equation explains some solitons, but there are good reasons to think that it does not explain some of them).

Plan Needed To Get Out Of Deep Hole…

September 15, 2009

Obama, the Thinker in Chief, has spoken again: "I’ve always been a strong believer in the power of the free market. I believe that jobs are best created not by government, but by businesses and entrepreneurs willing to take a risk on a good idea. I believe that the role of government is not to disparage wealth, but to expand its reach…" (Obama’s speech to Wall Street, September 2009).

Um, the government “not to disparage wealth”? What a strange idea. OK, out of charity, let us attribute that latest curiosity to an errant speech writer…

The rest of the statement came close to saying that the best jobs are in the private sector, a statement that would have fallen under the blade of our philosophical axe. Indeed some jobs are best managed by the government since they not only do not need the profit motive, but the profit motive would interfere with them. In a sense they are the best jobs there are, because they answer only to the highest values. Saving a life in a fire is intuitively a higher calling than selling marshmallows.

So it is with soldiers, air controllers, nurses, medics, firemen. So it ought to be for life saving doctors (by contrast with plastic surgeons who are into beautification), and it ought to be like that for politicians (contrarily to the dismal situation of the USA).

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman also brandishes the axe of drastic simplification. As he puts it:

" let’s look at how deep a hole we’re in. Rather than going into the details of output gap calculations, let me present the most naive calculation: comparing actual GDP since the recession began with what it would have been if the economy had continued growing at its trend (from 1999 to 2007). It looks like this:


So we’re something like 8 percent below where we should be. That translates into lost output at a rate of well over a trillion dollars per year (as well as mass unemployment). And we’ll keep suffering those losses, even if GDP is now growing, until we have enough growth to close that gap. Since there’s nothing in the data or anecdotal evidence suggesting any gap-closing in progress, this is a continuing tragedy.

The situation would look worse, if one drew similar graphs, after removing from the GDP of the USA the contribution of the financial sector and the contribution of the pollution sector. Let alone the contribution of the private prison sector, unique to the USA, and so corrupting that judges were condemning people to get paybacks (and were themselves condemned in 2009). Removing the part of the GDP confiscated by the richest of the rich would make it appear even worse.

Obama himself has pointed to the oversize contribution of financials before, even suggesting, if I remember well, to re-compute the GDP after excluding financials. An excellent call.

Another example of such horror masquerading as a good is the artificial, and actually noxious boost to GDP brought by the pollution sector, in particular, traffic jams and smelly cars. The automotive fleet of the USA is half as efficient than the European one, for the same distance; thus, for the same distance, the contribution to the GDP of the USA by the inefficient automotive transportation sector is twice what it is in Europe. OK, Obama intends to fix this by increasing the efficiency of cars considerably (they may equal European 2009 efficiency in a decade or so).

The artificial boost from pollution to the GDP of the USA is even greater considering the massive usage that Europeans make of electric trains. The efficiency of electric trains is many times that of automobiles, and those trains contribute very little to CO2 emissions (especially in countries where electric production is clean). That, on the other hand, Obama intends to do nothing much about it (just one short very high speed line along the French Riviera will cost several times all the money Obama gave for high speed train travel for the entire gigantic USA!)

Noting that inventories have been building up, Paul Krugman observes that a double dip recession seems hard to avoid, and draws the logical conclusion: …"the implication of all this would be clear: we need more stimulus. Yes, it would add to federal debt — but isn’t that worth doing to help reduce an output gap that’s wasting our potential at the rate of more than a trillion dollars a year?"

Indeed some countries have been operating just fine with much larger deficits than the USA. There are indeed much worse things than a big deficit in what the government takes in relative to what it spends. It is completely obvious that taxes could be raised and the deficit erased. Another method would be carefully crafted, people serving, inflation (right now, inflation is carefully crafted already, hidden from the CPI, true, and in a way that serves the oligarchy, not the people).

The worse deficit imaginable is in education, followed by one in health care. The USA is increasingly affected with both deficits, in spite of Obama’s efforts.

What we need is more than a stimulus for the economy: we need a plan to get out of the present waning of comparative advantage, and the rosy future that could be ours. The USA needs to lead out of this planetary mess, instead of dragging us to the bottom of it ever more.

In the past, the USA did not lead in all ways, but it led drastically in some ways towards a better world: the reforms under FDR or LBJ were path breaking, ahead of anything anywhere. What happened to this spirit of partisanship to progress? Is not that better than bipartisanship to nowhere?

Now the USA is drastically dragging in all ways. Obama needs to present us with a long term, really stimulating plan, not just another short term stimulus.

In France industrial plans on nuclear plants (even of the thermonuclear type!), advanced very high speed trains and other electric transportation, future planes and rockets are in full swing, without counting a controversial, drastic refurbishing of the school, university and research system… And of the health care system (always a work in progress).

Some of the French and European industrial projects (such as very high speed, 250 mph electric trains, or drastically lower CO2 emissions for cars and factories) extend all the way to 2030. Meanwhile China has grandly thrown the gauntlet by declaring it would become number one in renewable energy (now, interestingly, the number one in renewables is coal diseased, but high tech Germany!). There is no doubt this will happen. Why? Because this is a government sponsored plan. The only way the USA can reply to this is with government sponsored plans. As in Europe, India, China, Brazil. And as in the USA, when the USA came to dominate. 

One would hope that the USA would start worrying this way, how to lead progress again, towards a better understanding of the universe and how to improve it, rather than just being hindered by the mess it contributed so mightily to in the Middle East, and the world’s financial system, not just to say the world thinking system.


Patrice Ayme

Why France Is Bad: Profits Define Goodness.

September 11, 2009


September 11, eight years after the strategy of the American secret services regarding Muslim fundamentalism started to backfire spectacularly, for all to see. Connoisseurs already knew that the Shiite regime in Iran was launched by the CIA in 1953, or that Roosevelt made a fundamentalist Muslim pact with the Ibn Saud, self made owner of Saudi Arabia. There were several other conspiracies of the same type. Most Americans are unaware of, unwilling to, or incapable of facing the fact that Osama bin Laden was a long standing CIA employee, or associate, complete with code name. In Afghanistan, and Pakistan, NATO is fighting America’s past allies. Ultimately, it all has to do with energy.

In late June 2009 President Obama praised the energy bill passed by the House as an “extraordinary first step” but he spoke out against a provision that would impose trade penalties on countries that do not accept limits on global warming pollution.

Why would Obama do such a thing? Why not impose penalties on those who are killing the planet? Is pollution good?

Some hold that Obama is already partial to bankers and plutocrats, considering his reluctance to discontinue their way of life and the sources of their supremacy, such as bonuses and tax heavens. Obama, in the interpretation of some, pursues this plutocratic theme with his desire to impose private health insurance to all, by law (a charge Obama now denies, by brandishing his public option insurance plan). But why would Obama be partial to pollution too? In the plutocratic scheme of things, it’s very simple to understand.

American plutocracy has delocalized a lot of its production overseas, to escape anti-pollution laws in the developed world. If we add this globalization maneuver to the CO2 production of the USA itself (mostly caused by the plutocrats controlling fossil fuels), American plutocracy is revealed as the world’s greatest CO2 producer (to claim it is China is silly because a lot of China is delocalized USA). No wonder the American plutocrats, the controllers of most media and American thinking, do not like the carbon tax.

This did not escape the attention of French leaders. Says Sarkozy, in a speech to factory workers in September 2009: “I will not accept a system … that imports products from countries that don’t respect the rules [on carbon emission reductions] … We need to impose a carbon tax at [Europe’s] borders. I will lead that battle.”

Paul Krugman finds that this makes a lot of sense, and that those who object to this (and that includes Obama, who Krugman has pointed at several times), are practicing "Fetishizing free trade”.

Krugman does not want to cause pain to those he has dinner with. It is not just a question of fetishism. When looking at the fetish, search for the festive, the one who profits from the fetish.

The carbon tax can crush those who have made globalization into a money machine at their personal service, those delocalized plutocrats. Striking them with a carbon tax will allow France to stay a great industrial nation. So it should be possible, using just that argument, to persuade Germany, and then the rest of the EU, to impose a carbon tax too. Recently, even Britain has understood that it would be nicer if the American plutocratic sirens had been better resisted, and Britain had stayed the industrial equivalent of France and Germany, as it used to be, before it was seized by the financial craze.

A Rasmussen poll came out, showing that Americans feel more negative about France, than about Japan, and Germany. The pollsters commented that "Ironically, France, America’s ally in World II against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan, doesn’t fare quite as well now. Forty-five percent (45%) say U.S. military assistance should go to France if it is attacked, putting it at seventh, but 37% oppose that idea and 18% are not sure whether to help or not. Still, in March 2006, only 18% of Americans believed France was an ally in the war on terror, while nearly as many viewed it as an enemy."

By contrast 59% of Americans would military assist the self declared racial and religiously discriminative state of Israel. At first sight, this is counterintuitive: France is a secular republic, her constitution was written within weeks of the American one, and was more universal, and the country is the ultimate melting pot. In other words, but for size, France is very similar, why would Americans dislike her so much, relatively speaking? Or is the very discrimination of Israel that appeals to the American soul?

France of course was not just an ally in WWII, or WWI, or created the USA in its Independence war. Going back 1,000 years, the entire civilization the USA is so proud of, comes from France.

Better: while the government of the USA was sitting on its hands, contemplating Hitler, France outright attacked the Nazis. Now, of course, the Nazis were upset, and they hated the French for having forced them into a world war that they were bound to lose. With a lot of luck, crazy methods, drugged out soldiers high on ecstasy, not sleeping for a week, strategic genius, French high command idiocy, American plutocratic help, Stalinist fuel, and enormous losses, the Nazis won the battle of France. However, having lost 50,000 elite soldiers with a high proportion of officers, plus 3,000 planes, and many pilots, the Nazis were never that strong again.

But the fact that France attacked Hitler leads to the nagging question: what is it that Americans are supposed to not like about France? Are Americans just supposed to not like France because the Nazis found the French insufferable? Just asking.

Oh, yes, the government of the USA obstinately refused to help the French republic at war against Nazism in 1939-1940, and American plutocrats (IBM, Ford, Standard Oil, etc.) were busy helping Hitler in his war as much as they could. The Ethyl Corporation of America shipped supplies the Nazis desperately needed to keep their murderous air force in the air, as early as September 1939, as 40 French divisions were attacking the Siegfried line, and the Poles were fighting for dear life (one sixth of the Polish population would be deliberately exterminated, and the USA rewarded the courageous Poles by giving Poland to Stalin at Yalta).

But I am digressing, the American empire was not built without breaking a few countries, of course. The betrayal of Yalta, after that of the betrayal of the "Neutrality Acts" (France = Hitler, a Washington equation), and the betrayal of 1939-40 was noticed in France, and was a mainstay of French politics for more than half a century.

In the end, Britain, saddled by debts to the USA, survived, and the measly 64 divisions the USA had in Europe in 1945 could not prevent the French to recover their destiny. The chastised Nazis decided that, after all, and all along, the French were right, and a democratic republic UNITING with France was the way to go.

So here we are 65 years later, and the European Union is a reality. To the consternation of hard core American plutocrats, no doubt, the European Union is an extension of the old French republic, bigger, better. It’s 1789 all over. As Chou En Lai put it, it may still be too early to discuss the consequences of the Revolution of 1789, the one of the Universal Rights of Man. But let’s notice that China is importing Western European philosophy (and technology) massively.

At this point the world is organizing itself according to the French constitution of 1789, not the American one, written a few weeks earlier. This is happening because of the question of those pesky human rights, so prominent in the American health care debate.

The American constitution parrots Aristotle, and his "pursuit of happiness". If you “pursue happiness”, as Aristotle had it, you will pursue slaves, if it makes you happy. This why the USA loved Aristotle, and why the French Revolution of 1789 threw down Aristotle and imposed the freedom, equality and brotherhood of all. True, slavery in France had been unlawful since 660 CE, a full millennium before some savage colonists in the deep woods of the Americas reestablished it, far from the arm of European law.

So Obama has the opportunity to whine about the death panels in the American health insurance industry, killing people by the thousands, and to do nothing about it. Would Obama be the French president, he could not do so. By opposition to the “pursuit of happiness”, an intrinsically subjective, selfish thing, the imposition of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity is completely objective, and is imposed, in France, by the legislation that not helping someone in danger is unlawful. This is a direct consequence of the Revolution in Human Rights of 1789.

The French center-right president, Sarkozy, does not want to be viewed as a "liberal": in France "liberal" is an insult, reserved to the extreme right. In the USA, Obama, the “bipartisan” president, does not want to be considered "liberal" either: being viewed as a "liberal" is just as politically deadly in the USA as in France, but for the exact opposite reason. In the USA, a "liberal" is way too much to the left.

So here we have it. Americans are on their knees, shoe shining their plutocratic masters, and take great pride in that, and get enraged when it is pointed out that this is actually what they are doing, being obsequious servants to their hubristic ravenous exploiters. In France, when a boss strays, he is in danger of being sequestered by his employees, and made to answer the relevant questions. And the French police will sit on its hands, trying to calm everybody down. And French justice will scoff. France did not sit on her hands for Hitler, but is not indifferent to social injustice. In the USA, it’s the other way around.

Obama himself talks as if he were a creature of the profit-as-ultimate-good morality.

As Obama puts it: "Insurance executives don’t do this ["treat their customers badly"] because they are bad people. They do it because it’s profitable."

(Speech to joint Congress, September 2009; at this point, all rose and applauded: apparently everybody was high on themselves, given the number of times, and extent, this self applauding society gave itself standing ovations; never mind that 27 centuries of Western civilization had just been thrown down by the profit motive).

OK, let’s replace two words in the preceding quote of the “brainy president”. According to examples Obama himself gives, “insurance executives”, through their actions, lead to the death of people. Let’s replace “insurance executives” by “slave traders”. Whereas insurance executives make money when their victims die without treatment (because they paid, and got nothing in return), slave traders lost money when their victims died. So, on the face of it, slave traders are nicer people. And indeed says the nineteenth century version of Obama:

“Slave traders don’t treat their customers badly because they are bad people. They do it because it’s profitable." 

Now, of course, slaves were not "customers". Nor should "patients" be called "customers" by Obama. Obama’s semantics speaks for itself. It’s the semantics of greed. If he wants to keep on playing civilized on TV when addressing the health of Americans, he should switch to the semantics of compassion. Get better speech writers, since it’s the way it’s done in the USA: the president pays handlers to provide him with thoughts.

So Obama says that, if it’s profitable, moral criterions do not apply. If you do make profits, you are never bad, however bad your actions may be. Obama is a new sort of moralist. According to Obama, bad is never bad, if it is profitable.

In this case "Insurance executives" kill people, American people, by the thousands. Obama himself admits it, since he seems to have an endless supply of anecdotes of Americans who were refused life saving health care by their greedy insurers.

If American lawyers at the Nazi Nuremberg trial had been at the same school as Obama, all the Nazis would have walked off. Bear with me a moment here.

The Nazis would have produced their young Obama-like lawyer, and Obama-like would have said:"Your honors, the defendants were not bad people, they were just making profits". Obama-like, the lawyer defending the Nazis , would have been right: modern scholarship has shown that the Nazis stole from the Jews to finance their supporters, and make themselves popular, by redistributing the Jews’ riches. Steal property, sell hair, clothes and gold crowns in the mouths of people executed in extermination camps, as the Nazis did, and, as long as you make a profit, says a morally clueless Obama, you are not a bad person. If I did not understand something there, please drop me a line, in an act of charity to extract me from my lack of subtlety.

It’s clear that the masters of the USA, as Michael Moore points out in “Sicko”, have every interest to teach American citizens the detestation of France. Otherwise, Americans would realize the French are very much like them, but have solved some of the problems brought by plutocracy in a way more suitable to the People in the street. Instead of just pleasing to the people on Wall Street.

Let’s wrap it up. Sarkozy, the French right wing president, seen from the USA, is an extreme left wing leader. So is Merkel, so is Brown. While Sarkozy is putting in place a carbon tax, and wants to free the world from financial manipulation, by cracking down on bonuses, and tax heavens, Obama is playing the prolongation of Bush’s reign of astronomical stupidity and selfishness of the few. I guess the USA is not on its knees yet, just wobbling about, so go for it!

On one side the logic of freedom, on the other the logic of those who shine shoes. French students study history several hours a week, starting at age 6, and go on like that for a decade, or more. History shows that freedom wins, slaves lose, and civilization means something. French students have plenty of time to meditate those lessons.

Patrice Ayme

Improving US Health Care For Real, Right Away.

September 10, 2009


Obama addressed a joint session of Congress, a self admiration society. Applause lasted five minutes, to start with, as if Obama had won in Afghanistan, or done something somewhere important.

Obama proposed a huge "plan" for health care: it consists into doing everything right, as long as one accepts the existing health system in the USA, as a pre-existing condition. And taking at least four years to do so. But one does start to solve a quagmire by deciding it will take at least four years, and claiming that one will move in all directions at once. Instead one should find a direction in which to progress, and make small steps that cannot be opposed seriously, right away.

The reforms proposed by Obama will put so much pressure on the profitability of health insurance and medicine as a big business that one can be sure that those businesses will find ways to neuter reform, if given any chance to do so. It is clear that Americans believe that they do not want a globally socialized health system, so the profiteers will be able to successfully argue that the proposed Obama plan is socialized medicine. And they have at least four years, generously offered by Obama, to evade the threat. So Obamacare will go nowhere fast, if at all. It will be the big engine that couldn’t… because of conveniently disposed "special interests".

Instead what Obama ought to do, should he really want to reform health care, is to introduce a public option for health insurance, with provisions about pre-existing conditions and continuation of coverage, while enforcing those same constraints legislatively for all and any health insurance company. I have argued this since ever, and, at first sight, it is nice to see Obama making all the right noises. The problem is that he keeps making noises, even when, having said all the right things, he ought to stay silent.

As Obama himself discreetly pointed out, under the condition of legally enforced health insurance decency, the public option plan will pay for itself. Indeed, it could charge as the privates do, but less so, because it would not have the profit motive to the same ravenous extent that characterizes Wall Street.

That public option plan is part of Obamacare, as proposed, but it is its most important part, because it WOULD prove to be a Trojan horse against the exploitation of patients by the plutocratic beast, should it be given full freedom to roam and grow, feeding on the health profiteers.

Indeed it would grow over time, were it to be open to all those who do not have private health insurance at some points (and many Americans go through this stage as they switch employers). As it would become all the more huge, as it would be, it should be endowed with the ability to negotiate prices with providers, including drug companies. The same would happen with the more or less parallel government health programs of Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA.

Thus the bigger it becomes, the greater the public health insurance would be capable of lowering costs. The French giant public insurer, Assurance Maladie, has very low cost as it negotiates in bulk with anyone, including Japanese electronic companies. In France the very mass, and self checking characteristics of the health system prevent malpractice to a great extent (hence the lawsuits connected to it… All the more since loser pay…)

So why not getting the public option plan launched right away? This is the one and only question to ask Obama: what is keeping you back? There is no need to force everybody to join, the public plan would be so advantageous, everybody would. After all, one does not see too many people refusing Medicare.

So why not keeping things simple? Launch the public plan, damn the torpedoes!

Or is it that Obama wants to fail, while striking a bipartisan pose, and accusing formally “special interests” (which then will fill up the appropriate pockets, namely those of whom falsely opposed them)? Is Obama interested by setting up, once again a new market, and enlarging the markets of private insurers, to the point of tying that up with, and hiding behind, a public insurance option, as a pretext?… He already reduced the later as much as he could, or so it seems…

If one really wants reform, and reform heading the right way, there is only one option: install the public plan, while making it viable by forcing private insurance to behave decently, through LEGISLATION. Forget the rest of the fluff, which would slow things down. Obama can do this now, as he controls Congress (which will not be the case next year, according to polls, and Obama has got to know these polls, and let me add that, after one more year of murderous charade in Afghanistan, his personal popularity will not be soaring).

A careful reexamination of Obama’s version of a public option, though, shows, at this point, so many restraints and constraints on it that it would be carefully declawed, defanged, and kept small. Then the mandate on health insurance (the requirement that everyone gets some) would expand the servitude of US citizens to private, for profit, Wall Street style health insurance, and its ravenous plutocrats.

Another aspect is ethically troubling. Obama always comes up with horror stories where private insurance companies act as death panels, and kill people. For example he brought two such cases in his joint session speech. But then Obama claims that future government death panels could only be a figment of the imagination. Well, according to him, private death panels are already a fact, and he is doing nothing about them, except lip service. We are starting to cut hair mighty fine here: “Me Obama decries private death panels, while tolerating them privately as I loudly claim that the government has no such an intent, but there will be a requirement to purchase insurance from those same private insurers, which, as me Obama just said, operate the private death panels.” Great. With logic like that, who needs madness?

rather than trying to speak too much, what about prosecuting murderers instead? Let’s keep it simple: Obama recognizes private insurers as homicidal, yet decline to prosecute them on behalf of the people, and then throw the people at the mercy of homicidal maniacs.

Legislating the public option plan would be to legislate the possibility and capability to see the health system of the USA converge, in the very long term, with the health system that exists in France (a complex, self regulating public-private beast providing the best health care in the world, with all the advantages of all the systems, public and private, as they coexist, entangled in harmony).

So does Obama want to progress for real, or does he just want to pose? His “plan” (not a bill submitted to Congress!) cost 900 billion dollars over 10 years. But not really, since he promised that it would not augment the deficit. To cost and not to cost, that is the weirdness.

When it came to bankers, it was 24,000 billion dollars (source: TARP overseer), right away, and Congress was not invited to debate and consider. (The 24,000 billions is the full extent of the government exposure through gifts, loans, collateral, etc.; it is not my number, but the official one.)

It is nice to see the priorities straight: bankers as lovers, health as death.

Patrice Ayme.