1) What the economy truly is, and why the USA not understanding this is causing the present malaise.
2) God as a big, bad, dad… Is believing in God a form of infantilism?
3) The strange, obdurate story of Israel, or why, relatively speaking, there are always fewer Jews. Intolerance and exclusionism do not bring understanding, oneself, or others.
4) Speaking of religious apartheid, Pakistan is, conceptually speaking, a child of Israel. OK, some are going to resent that remark. They also have a common Achilles’ heel, namely beng on the (bankrupt) USA payroll.
5) A set of nuclear reactors at Hamaoka in Japan, 190 kilometers from Tokyo, is being shut down, to build tsunami defenses. They are on a very narrow peninsula, with a government prediction of 87% probability of an 8 Richter within three decades. How insane could deciders be?
6) Radioactivity, we can leave with, to some extent. Mercury, not so, to the present extent. Why can’t ecologists understand this? Is it because too many of them are anti-technological, thus anti-scientific, thus anti-rational?
7) Messing up with Iraq, has not started to backfire yet, for the USA. But it will. The USA started, unwittingly, the reunification of Iraq and Iran.
8) The notion of “conspiracy” is weaker, and thus more general, than that of “plot”. As the USA keeps broadcasting to the world its notions of justice, one week bin Laden is dispatched, another Strauss-Kahn humiliated as a “perpetrator”, there will be consequences. When they come, the food stamp country will not know what hit it (47 million food stamp recipients in the USA, speaking of humiliation).
Managing A House Is More Than Letting Greed Run Amok:
The ruling economic orthodoxy in the USA is that all the economy needs is greed. 1960s:”All You Need Is Love!“. Fifty years later:”All You Need Is Greed!” That fits plutocracy just fine, thank you. (However, the élucubrations of the director of the IMF about the need for more state regulations, were just insufferable. Hopefully that has been fixed in the usual manner…)
The sociopaths who lead America into oblivion do not know, nor want to know, nor want to consider, that greed is only one human motivation among others. By considering, at the outset, that those other motivations are not generators of economic activity, the plutocratic orthodoxy impoverish the notion of economy (= housemanagement). No wonder the socioeconomies they manage have always tended to go down (Sparta, Macedonia, all Muslim countries are example, in the fullness of history). Its theory and practice of the dismal science is exerted on a body politics that they mutilate themselves.
Thus democracy does not just provide with superior intelligence, but also with a superior economy.
(Islam and its Golden Age, Constantinople and its Roman empire, China, all dictatorial and very wealthy seem to be counter-examples… But a detailed examination show that they achieved much less than their potential. Actually they all failed spectacularly, as they were unable to sustain enough of a socioeconomic effort to hold off enemies which wiped them out, or turned them into shadows of their former selves… as happen twice to China in 400 years).
Taxes allow to finance economic activities not sensitive to greed. Thus, by shrinking taxes too much, one shrinks the huge part of the economy for which greed cannot be a motivation. Care, for example, is in another dimension than greed. So are science, philosophy, poetry, and most of the noblest arts of the human spirit. So is education, so are so many of the life giving arts.
One will not provide the best care, because one is the most greedy. Worse: selecting individuals and organizations on the basis of greed to provide care insures failure. Indeed, care and greed live in different parts of the brain.
The failure to understand that basic neurobiological fact, the failure to understand that loving someone else, is different from sucking all the life blood from a creature, explains why the USA is turning into an economic black hole.
The USA, and the UK, are both obsessed by destroying off the non greed based economy. They are doing a good job of destruction. The latest numbers show that their economies are keeling over. Whereas France and Germany, havens of central planning and high taxes, are expanding at a hefty clip… In spite of a currency (the euro) which has been overvalued by as much as 50% in the last quarter (thus damaging what is by far the world greatest exporting economy, that of the Eurozone). Let me rephrase this: the dollar has been at the bottom, uncomfortably close to the breaking point.
Let us be fair. The USA has automatic stabilizers. California will close 70 (yes, seventy) state parks (hey, it will allow to “fire” 220 state employees, realizing enormous savings). Thus hungry Californians will be able to go scavenge in the forests, come next winter. If only one legalized cannibalism, think of all the savings!
My Dad Is Bigger Than Yours, Let’s Call Him God:
The mysterious concept of “God” is very handy. First it allows to confuse debates. Indeed, in an important a way, “God” is the pseudonym of many a creature. “God” the pseudonym hides various actors, often with wildly antagonistic minds. So its use makes debates more ill defined than they would be otherwise. Let me explain: when Obama speaks of God, and say some religious fundamentalists do not speak of “God” correctly, it is more than just ludicrous. It’s typical. Obama and the religious fundamentalists he disagrees with do not mean the same thing by “God”.
Second, those with a bigger, better, badder god are obviously endowed with a bigger, better, badder dad. So they feel more powerful, and this display of confidence may induce others to feel that they are more powerful too. So these metaphysics of power have consequences on power in real life.
Will Israel Survive?
OK, with nuclear weapons, anything can happen. Granted. Nuclear weapons could insure the survival of Israel. Entire populations could be exterminated, at the rate of a few Auschwitz a minute. So maybe Israelis some day will come out of their fortified burrows over radioactive ruins, lonely survivors of a Mid-East turned to a fine crisp. Think about all the West Banks to settle with men in black (radiation) suits… Think of King David’s kingdom, throughout the Fertile crescent… Hope springs eternal…
However, adverse developments, adverse from the Zionist point of view, that is, such as universal nuclear weapons’ disarmament and generalized peace are to be feared. In theory, generalized nuclear disarmament has been launched. But not for Pakistan, which makes at least a new thermonuclear bomb, every week, and maybe much more. By making Armageddon more likely, Pakistan is the best future many nuts in Israel can hope for.
Einstein refused the (first) presidency of Israel. Although he hated the Germans by then, and reproached heavily Born (fellow Quantum Nobel physicist) to go back to Germany for retirement, he could only espouse the natural position of those who have looked at hatred and exclusion in the eye.
The (Jewish German) philosopher Isaac Berlin summed the creation of Israel this way:”They did not listen to us. They listened to Hitler.”
Similarly Obama, in the guise of killing him, listened to Osama’s notion of justice:”Whatever we say it is”. When a conflict there is, one conventionally looks at who won. The more sophisticated approach to conflicts is to look at which system of thought won.
The case of Israel is curious, and enlightening in the greatest scheme of history. At the time when Judea rebelled, most Jews did not. Maybe 15% of the Roman empire population was Jewish (more than 10 million, and much more than there were Celts, as those suffered heavy losses at the hands of legions, besides more than a million sent as slaves to Rome, after Caesar’s bellum gallicum).
The Judea war killed may be a million Jews (in multiple way fighting, as the war against Rome was augmented by a war of various fanatical sects against each other). However, the Jewish religion was not outlawed by the Romans (instead it had a covenant with Rome, and Saint Paul was prosecuted for having violated Jewish religious law, as he went into the temple with a bodyguard who was not Jewish).
Meanwhile, the Celtic religion was outlawed (basically for crimes against mankind, to put it in contemporary terms). But the Celts stayed where they were. And last observed, restrict their inheritance to music, and being themselves. Curiously, for about 5 centuries, the Celts were the greatest enemies of Rome, and, later, in collaboration with the Franks, and other Germans, pretty much subdued Rome.
Lesson? Clinging to one’s superstition is apparently not the best way to impose oneself. The best way may be sometimes to accommodate the oppressor, collaborate, pick up the best it has to offer, and use it for intellectual assist. Out of the Roman occupation, the Celto-Germans made a superior civilization (thus, when Julian came to direct the legions in Gallia and Germania, the Parisians showed him the way, in the end proclaiming him Augustus).
A few rebellions later, and thanks to the tender mercies of Christianism, founded by a number of Jews who did not like Jews, the Jews got chased from Judea.
The question of Israel, if one listens to Orthodox Jews, boils down to this: should we make a refuge for each and every single religion? A refuge where those who are not of the religion are not full citizen, or not viewed as human, in other words? 25% of the population of Israel right now is not Jewish… Shall they be expelled?
It may be wiser to remember that “Outremer” and the kingdom of Jerusalem, the kingdoms and principalities founded by the Franks in the Orient lasted mostly a century. Two centuries at most. Why? They cost too much, and were not profitable, especially in light of negotiations with Muslims such as Saladin, which resulted in a significant and durable decrease of tension.
Israel is presently kept afloat by enormous financial help, direct and indirect (through Egypt), from the USA, plus the fact that the USA trains, equip and hypnotize the Egyptian army, and the Saudi plutocracy. If this contraption goes, can Israel do better than “Outremer”?
How Did Pakistan Come To Be?
Heard on a French speaking TV (I don’t remember from where): “Pakistan is the fruit of the colonial past“. Sure. That, hail storms, malaria, and slavery, have got to have originated with colonialism. When something is wrong, blame the colonialists. Especially in India, where there were no colons. (India, was sometimes “ruled” with as little as 1,500 British civil servants; not to say that Britain did not behave in a thugish fashion in multiple ways; but, overall, the influence of Britannia was good).
Claiming that Pakistan was engineered by the colonialists: nothing could be further from the truth. The British had united India, or, more exactly, the Raj.
Previously, the Mughal Raj, starting in 1526 CE, had united most of what would become the British Raj, plus Afghanistan, and minus the extreme south of the subcontinent. The (Islamized) Moguls were not from South Asia, but of Turco-Mongol origin. The Mughal empire is also known as the Timurid dynasty, as its founder Babur descended from Timur (a ferocious, conquering Mongol, but not the partly civilizing force that Genghis Khan had been). The Mughal empire disintegrated mostly on its own, two centuries later. The British had little to do with it, and their rule was nice, in comparison.
The British civilized India, after millennia of racial apartheid stagnation. They made reason more prevalent.
The creation of states on the ground of religious appurtenance in India, post independence from Britain has been just the opposite. Building a religious state was a fundamental takeover of humanitarian principle by gross superstition. By definition superstitious religions such as Islam or Hinduism (and various variants) stand above the real world. That means they stand above reason; that is they founding mental act: “We believe a number of things which make no sense, therefore we are more important than sense itself“. In other words, common people and their common sense make no sense, only the theocrats makes sense. In the case of Pakistan, a small group of adventurers used religion as a pretext to justify their rule.
Who decides upon religious appurtenance? Well the proverbial commander of the faithful. The one who send the death commandos, the Caliph, the maximum terror chief, the one who tells you when “Justice Has Been Done“.
Gandhi was the main force behind apartheid in India: he initialized it, by extolling Hinduism. Gandhi was the anti-Mandela. True, he did not commit the irreparable, as the Muslim leaders did, but he instigated it. At the end of his life, Gandhi no doubt preferred to die, rather than to contemplate what he had done.
In a sense, Gandhi was one of the Twentieth Century’s greatest racists (no wonder Hitler was his “friend”). People of his sort claims that Hindu apartheid, being religious, is not racial. Logics demonstrates otherwise, and recent genetic studies have confirmed that.
Pakistan was founded on the same principle as Israel: “our God rules, he rules us, and even you, so get out!” Universal Human Rights will have to rule over all these little ‘hoods divinities, though, if most of us want to survive, and it would be better for all these little ‘hoods to understand this in a timely manner.
What We Don’t See Can’t Hurt Us:
On the narrow tip of the Tokai peninsula, two plates meet. On one side a bay, on the other, the Pacific ocean. Best place to build nuclear reactors of course. Right on top of the fault. The fault between the two plates.
Don’t worry: a 6 meter tall sand dune was installed, to protect against the six meter tsunami. There is probably a local tradition that tsunamis are polite, bow and make themselves less than 6 meters high. Not all tsunamis are as gross as the one of March 2011, whose wave crested at 42 meters.
That tsunamis be polite and bow low is all the more important that a fabulous megathrust Richter quake is expected, anytime, on the triple plate junction just south, or on the other one, 200 kilometers east. An embarrassment of very moving riches. As I said there are nuclear reactors there, by the beaches. The beaches, which are on both sides. Fun never stops. (Latest news: as of mid May, the nuclear fission is being stopped so that the plant can be made more resistant to quakes and tsunamis.)
Point to be meditated upon: when the Japanese nuclear plants were built, seismic activity was low in Japan. Looking at history shows that seismic activity is concentrated in space and time. Haiti had a lot of very bad quakes in the 18C. Then nothing until recently. Right now the entire Pacific plate seems to be in play, from one side to the other. But the Americans cannot notice such as thing: it would be anti-American, say those who don’t want Americans to work (as the key to the plutocrats’ peace is an unemployed population).
The Chernobyl reactors had no confinement, and were of an extremely dangerous type, which explode when coolant leaks (whereas a PWR loses nuclear fission, as its neutrons are going too fast to be captured, when it loses coolant/water). Both characteristics should be totally unlawful, by international law. Before the famous explosion (of reactor 4), at Chernobyl, reactor 1 had a partial meltdown, and then was refurbished. Three of the crazy reactors at Chernobyl kept operating at the site for up to 14 years… After the famous disaster.
Some Hate What They Don’t Understand:
Burning coal is the leading cause of human-caused global warming. But did you know that coal-fired power plants are also the single largest source of mercury pollution in much of the world? Coal burning in China creates mercury vapor, which condensates over the Arctic, making wildlife there increasingly poisonous. China accounts for about half of the world’s emissions of mercury. As I hold that China is the USA in drags, it ought to be the responsibility of American politicians to push for a resolution of this. American corporations make pile of money by using mercury laced cheap Chinese energy (the rest of the world has taken anti-mercury measures).
Mercury poisoning attacks the nervous system, affecting everything from brain development to muscle coordination.
The not-yet-born, and infants are especially susceptible to mercury exposure. Mercury vapor released into the atmosphere settles into rivers, lakes and oceans, where it is absorbed and ingested by fish. When expectant mothers eat the tainted fish, they pass the mercury on to their children. One in six U.S. women of childbearing age have enough mercury in their bodies to harm a pregnancy. annual mercury emissions have increased two to five fold within the last century, with anthropogenic emissions now surpassing natural emissions in the industrialized world. Annual mercury emissions have increased two to five fold within the last century. They come mostly from a mineral (HgS) found naturally in fossil fuel, especially coal. Methyl mercury piles up in fatty tissues, and is not eliminated, so it concentrates up the food chain, from small fish to man.
Compare this enormous, worldwide mercury disaster, with the obsession with the dangers of nuclear power. True, nearly all existing nuclear power plants should be seriously refurbished, or replaced. They are not safe. Technology to make nuclear plants much safer not only exists, but is for sale.
In particular most of the plants in Japan should be scrapped or seriously worked on. But the fact is that, even nuclear power plants which have been constructed in the most dangerous fashion, and should never have been allowed to operate, even after they have exploded, do not , have not, and could not, create a disaster comparable to worldwide mercury poisoning. The most awful nuclear pollution pales relative to coal induced pollution. At worst, some areas may be returned to nature, and wolves, moose, lynxes and wild horses can come back, as is the case in Chernobyl. Six workers at Chernobyl were injured by one wolf (later shot).
So what is wrong with most ecologists’ heads? The simple fact that they don’t understand nuclear fire, but coal has been burned for a millennium?
Another thing self defeating ecologists do not understand is thermodynamics. Or even how the wind works, and why there is wind. If they understood all this, they would be less sanguine, especially about wind energy (10% decrease in wind speed bringing 30% down in energy, something to be expected not only as wind farms proliferate, but as the greenhouse proceeds…)
Some not only hate, or fear, what they don’t understand, but they hate it so much, or fear it so much, that they cannot be motivated to understand it, and, thus, fall prey to it with greater ease. It’s the deer-in-the-headlights syndrome. This mechanism was in full view, when the Nazis threatened the Jews, and various other potential victims. Failure to understand Nazism was the prime failure of their prey.
More Middle East Gates Of Hell:
Secretary of Defense Gates on “60 minutes”: “We are gaining the upper hand in Afghanistan… We are turning the corner“. The USA already acquired the upper hand in Afghanistan in 2001. So we have to guess it slipped down the sand pile in the meantime.
Pursuing his flight of fancy, Gates has found an improbable culprit, everybody else: “Maybe spent a trillion dollars in Iraq, 4,000 dead (etc.), and now the state department is going to carry us across the goal line… and the Congress is going to be penny wise, and pound foolish [and it will not happen]“. Verdict: Gates has watched too much sports. The world is not American football, but Gates, the ex intelligence chief of the CIA, does not understand that. So what does he understand? Whatever it is, it will be minute, and inconsequential.
In Iraq, or in Afghanistan, the American oligarchs played with history, something they did not master at school enough, to get a sense of it. History bites back, and North America is no island anymore, but a 40 minutes ballistic reach away, from anywhere in the world. And the world you build, is the one you have to live in, thereafter.
What is that the “goal line” Gates evokes? The USA has nearly reunited Iraq with Iran, through their common Shiite inheritance. Otherwise said, the USA has nearly reconstituted the (Baghdad) caliphate (which succeeded the Arab caliphate in 750 CE). The U.S. state department cannot go through the goal line, even if bloated with thousands of mercenaries to chase the terrorists around Iraq. American foreign policy, at least in Iraq, is a chicken without a head: its goal has nothing to do with what it can do, and is advantageous, only if what it wants, is a war with Iran. In Afghanistan, of course, for 32 years, there has been more coherence: the goal has been unending war, not just for war’s sake, but, as I explained, to get to some more oil and gas.
In the realm of the mad, lunatics are kings. But there is hope: the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said that Colonel Qaddafi, his bright son Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, the de facto prime minister, and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Sanousi (chief of intelligence) formed an inner circle that ‘crushed peaceful demonstrations and ordered the use of live ammunition and heavy weapons against protestors’. Three judges will decide whether to issue arrest warrants.
New York Justice: Stupidity Makes Vicious.
A few words on the repugnant, uncivilized way, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the IMF, was dragged in the mud. It’s all too typical of the state with the world’s greatest incarcerated population. Fully one American adult citizen out of 20 is in serious trouble with the law, a proportion inconceivable in Europe.
A proportion which brings a question Americans may want to meditate: what could be an objective definition of a police state? Let’s put it slightly differently: if, just looking at numbers, one tried to define the planet’s top police state, what would it be? A hint from Wikipedia: “The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world.”
Americans who do not have eyes to see, claim that, in the USA, people are “innocent until proven guilty“. While the police make sure the cameras are there before exposing said “innocent”. It’s called the “perp walk“. Yes, “perp walk”. So much for “innocence”. It is obvious that the “perp walk” creates a bias against the defendant, as, by definition, said defendant is presented as a “perpetrator“ (which is what “perp” means).
Such treatment against a person presumed innocent is unlawful in France. (Even suspected murderers can walk without handcuffs if not deemed very dangerous.) Judge Eva Joly, a well-known French and Norwegian magistrate, adviser of the Icelandic government on white collar crime, who once brought charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn for corruption (of which he was later acquitted), observed that “these are very violent images”. The images from New York. Very violent.
Americans seem unable to comprehend that the “perp walk” is a violation of basic rights. It is a curious thing.
At least, in the Middle Ages, when the humiliation of the pillory was applied, there was a conviction, prior. Madoff was free on bail, and so was Michael Jackson (suspected of serial pedophilia). That is what people know, when they look at it from the rest of the world.
Why does New York hate Strauss-Kahn that much? He was the Grinch who wanted to steal Christmas, as the French are won to (in the imagination of the owners of U.S. media).
Let me notice the following:
a) Strauss-Kahn changed completely the orientation of the IMF from an extremely abusive device at the service of American plutocracy, into something different. He also contributed to hold up European countries together with IMF funds (the EU contributes nearly 38% of the IMF; and the USA only 17%). Anybody reading even as “liberal” a “left wing” economist such as the esteemed Paul Krugman, will know that the Americans want to destroy the euro. To start with.
b) Strauss-Kahn held pro-government, pro-regulation opinions which are just the opposite from the anti-government, anti-regulation propaganda which presently reigns in the USA. As far as Wall Street was concerned, he was the enemy. Like Eliot Spitzer, or the Gracchi, long ago, Strauss-Kahn was the worst sort, traitor to his kind, and thus fully abreast of its tricks.
c) Manhattan is the very center of the pro-plutocratic worldwide octopus. The island lives off it. Such is often the paradox that people who profit most from an empire, find themselves at the center of it, and, even if they deplore it, they may sink themselves, if they think too much.
d) A conspiracy is not a plot. It’s much more sinister than that. The Romans had discovered that the simple fact that people together breathe (con-spirare) is enough to have dreadful consequences. A judge does not need to be bought off. Nor does the police. They are creatures of the same ecology, and if that ecology is threatened, they will strike back. In Manhattan, the ecology is the plutocracy.
Simple breathing-together of judges, police, and political, or plutocratic power, is enough to create bias, in the absence of very explicit legal guidelines. Breathing together is enough to build the right neurology of the conspirators, the neurology of mutually insured self survival.
Imperial Rome was full of police, and full of judges, all arrogantly above any suspicion, or self examination. They were full of it, and belong to the garbage of history, complete with their smug cruelty, and self interested stupidity. The Roman republic went down the drain on the heels of its degraded and degrading conception of justice. It resurfaced 2,000 years later.