Archive for December, 2011

No Law Up High, No Republic

December 22, 2011

ULTIMATE AUTHORITY OF THE REPUBLIC RESTS ON THE LAW.

Is Government Too Separated From The Authority That matters Most?

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The planet we have is increasingly ravaged by several conflating crises. Burned by the carbonic acid created by excess carbon dioxyde absorbed by the oceans, young fishes die, go blind or become crazy, as bees do on land. The plancton, which fabricates the oxygen we need, is dissolving in the acid bath we used to call a sea.

But the fossil fuel polluters’ crimes are not even fiscally discouraged. Instead they are allowed to also spew lies, and persuade everybody that there will be plenty of air for ever (see the financing of the Tea party in the USA by the Koch brothers).

Meanwhile, the grip financial pirates have on the world has become obvious since 2008. After they seized the world economy, they asked for a ransom. And then again, And it was paid again. Now the serfs are asked to pay for distant banks by allowing themselves to become destitute (and this is happening even inside prosperous Germany, where old retirees discover they have to go back to work!)

Ever since the amazing financial crisis which grips the planet came to everybody’s attention in 2008, it has become obvious that a handful of men in suits take all the decisions with the money, and even the fate, of the public, allowing their class to thrive ever more, while, and because, the public deperishes.

The spirit of the law, if not its letter, has been denied.

I claim that this comes directly from the fact that the executive branch has eluded its responsibilities in implementing the spirit of the law. This is not just a question of the present leaders being plutophile  (lovers of Pluto, thus, wealth). Institutionally, the way executive powers are presently set-up, has less to do with wielding justice than it had under the Roman republic.

Western democracy, led by the English, American and French revolutions of the preceding centuries, consists of representative democracies with three branches of government: the legislative, the judiciary, and the executive. Legislation is established by a bicameral parliament of elected representatives (an inheritance from 6,500 years old Sumer).

In a purely parliamentary system, parliament also elects the executive. In the USA, France and Russia, a powerful president is elected directly (by a college of a few hundred special electors in the USA, by the people in France or Russia).

In any case, the judiciary is supposed to be separated from the executive. It is not clear what this exactly means: after all, most judges are nominated by the executive in the USA, and confirmed by the legislative. In other countries (e.g. France) the judiciary self nominates.

So the judiciary is a bit more independent in France: see the Dreyfus affair, where the independent judiciary forced the executive, the army and the anti-Judaists to eat crow. What I will contest here is not the independence of the judiciary, but its power: an ant may be independent, but it is easily crushed by a plutocrat.

In the USA no judge is powerful enough to judge the obvious, namely that the Federal reserve has no right to transfer arbitrary amounts of “monetary base” to the same old crooks, year after year (although a judge recently blocked an all too comfortable accord between the government and a major bank).

The difference in judicial independence between France and the USA shows: the popular Chirac, 12 year president, and Prime Minister before that, was condemned to two years in prison (suspended). For allowing City Hall finances as Paris mayor to provide supporters with somewhat fictitious jobs with real salaries. The offense is so puny, it would not really register on American radar.

The Roman republic was not organized this way. In Rome, the top executives, the two Consuls, were also viewed as the top judicial officers. Why so? It is very simple: the republic rested on the law.

No law, no republic. That had to make the law more important than anything else, including the army. Military power could be used if, and only if, it was legal. The law was the highest value, and thus the highest authorities took care of it. The founders of the Roman republic saw this clearly. Justice was not a department, it was the foundation.

The superpower of the Consuls was compensated by the shortness of their terms: just a year. But they could be re-elected. Gaius Marius was elected seven times Consul. Ex-Consuls were called proconsular officers. They were frequently nominated governors of provinces, and had many prerogatives, including being protected by lictors, special trained bodyguards carrying the axes of the fasces representing the union of the Populus around the power of the law.  

When there was war, it was made in the name of the law, under the eye of the law, as the Consuls often personally directed the operations of the main armies (many Roman Consuls died in combat, over a millennium).

Let’s remember that a mostly functional Roman republic lasted about 5 centuries. And arguably for much longer: after all, there were Consuls, and a Roman Senate, for more than 11 centuries! The founder of Francia, elected king and imperator Clovis, was also Roman Consul. Stretched to the max, a Roman state existed for 23 centuries (753 BCE to 1453 CE).

So where does the system we have presently come from? How come justice got separated from the executive? The break happened around the 13th century. In England, the French barons limited the power of the king through the Charter of Liberties (1100 CE) and the Magna Carta (1215 CE): their ancestors had joined William The Conqueror, a Duke, (that is a high commander in the Roman army of the Late Empire), to invade England, bringing with them most of the (French) army that invaded England. William had been recognized as first among equals, and the descendants of his acolytes intended not to forget that fact.

In France the break came later. Elizabeth de France, the ferocious intelligent and domineering daughter of Philippe IV Le Bel had become reigning queen of England (having visited an unspeakable end to the father of her four children, a Plantagenet, Edward II). When her brothers all died, she ought to have become (absolute) queen of France too. She, and her son, the war like Edward III, were blocked by lawyers (her father had already rested heavily on lawyers, in his hunt for popes and Templars: his closest executors were lawyers). This is how the 475 year long “100 years war” started.

So parliaments rose, ever higher, taking judicial power away from the executive. By the time of the French revolution, England, France and the Netherlands had long seen the judicial system become nearly completely autonomous of the executive. The Bastille was stormed in France to take away from the king the last shred of Roman like power the executive had on the implementation of the law.

After the English, American and French revolutions, too much of the new system has still more to do with the monarchies that preceded it, than with the Roman republican system. The chief executive was elected for longish terms, as if it were a monarch, and directly from the legislature. In other words, the parliament now elected the kings (and queens).

Here a comical aside. The USA elects its president as if he were the Roman emperor. The Imperium Romanum officially re-established by Charlemagne in 800 CE, made Holy under Barabarossa (German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Latin: Imperium Romanum Sacrum) indeed elected its head from a college of “grand electors“. Thus in 2001, the People elected Gore president, but the plutophile Supreme Court selected Bush, instead. (Perhaps the point when, in the future, the USA will be seen has having given in to the Dark Side!)

The representative democracy, separation of powers system is viewed unanimously as fine and good. (Although Switzerland, the oldest democracy around, uses less representation, and more direct rule of the people.)

But the question remains: when a massive injustice arises, quickly and powerfully, who can handle it? Who is going to deliver maximum power in the name of the law defending the People? In other words, when executive power is needed to re-establish the law, how can the meek executives we now have, thoroughly checked and balanced, exert the required power? America’s Founding Fathers were obsessed by checks and balances, but, although Founding Father Washington became filthy rich (317 slaves in his Mount Vernon house!), the Founding Fathers had no idea what real plutocracy was like. The only plutocrats they knew were in England, and that was judged to be an ocean away.

President Andrew Jackson, one the fiercest generals ever, had a better idea. He hated the Rothschilds (great practitioners of fractional reserve banking, who considered themselves the real power behind the thrones in Europe). Jackson prevented their implantation in the USA. Next he disintegrated the Bank of the United states, and considered that, on his deathbed, to be his greatest achievement. If he was around, as chief executive, he would probably occupy Wall Street and Congress with twenty divisions, the next day.

There are still remnants of the old Roman power the Consuls had: Obama, executing Ben Laden, for example. That was well accepted, because that was overseas (and even below the sea).

Besides Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Roosevelt Teddy, and FDR, another one who took himself for a Roman consul, was, of course, Abraham Lincoln. But all those powers they grabbed, as needed, were not really the appanage of the presidency of the USA. The water was boiling, so the frog jumped out. Right now, the temperature is slowly rising, and normal powers, in normal circumstances are not enough to address the various problems. That is made plenty clear with the European banking crisis, the on-going financial crisis all over the world (even… in China!), and the ecological crisis (which the USA resolutely refuses to consider, thus undermining everybody).

In the present financial crisis, and in the ecological crisis at some point, overwhelming power will be needed. The only question is to know if the power will be military, and extraordinary, Lincoln style, or civilian and legal.

The spirit of the law has to be defended. For example against the financial derivative universe (which has no collateral, which means the unsuspecting public is the collateral; see lower down).

Too many checks and balances for the power of the People, and all you end with, is the power of the plutocracy.

The arch-example: Geithner and Bernanke directed untold trillions of dollars towards the banks which had caused the crisis, but asked for nothing in return. At that point a strong executive ought to have stepped in and declare that this fabulous gift violated the principle of the law, which is that the republic does not make gifts to private parties, without compensation. Especially when the beneficiaries are the perpetrators.

(The gifts had started under Paulson and Bush II, when the daemon Dimon was offered 30 billion dollars by the fed, collateralized by what he was buying (!!!) to help him swallow Bear-Sterns, the “Jamie deal“. Thus, Dimon is viewed as a genius. When the state gives in to the daemon, crepuscule of goodness!)

The financial crisis has been allowed to roll on because a general laxity about the law. The laxity is fed even by videogames.

The Red Cross pointed out that in the world’s most popular, most sold videogames, the Geneva Conventions rules were not just violated, but gamers get rewarded for violating them. A whole generation is being raised, feeling that one gains 50 points by shooting on ambulances. The Red Cross wants to change this. The Red Cross is right. The plutocrats and their corporations facing them, making billions from a bloody obsession with an alternate reality, will beg to differ. Not only they make a fortune from violating the most basic morality. But those daemons know quite well that the games they sell preach violations of the law, and also violations of civilization itself.

The acceptance of barbarity, as a way to get ahead, the plutocrats meekly hope, will bring more of the abject world in which, and by which, they thrive.

The mood of the times is important: pathetic plutocrats have gone around, requesting the respect they have come to expect. Meanwhile the law is symbolically stepped on. In the last three years, both the French and American presidents, both trained lawyers, violated in public, the very first thing about the law, namely the presumption of innocence (this is not a good example for the inchoating republics of Ukraine and Russia, where the law is obviously used to hunt the loyal opposition!)

The presumption of innocence says that even suspects are innocent until proven otherwise by a proper legal procedure. The presumption of innocence protects freedom, every body’s freedom, not just the freedom of suspects or criminals.

President Sarkozy claimed that former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin was “guilty”… although Villepin was later found completely innocent. President Obama, having maybe talked to Sarkozy too much, declared that soldier Bradley Manning, who is accused to have shown the truth to the public, had “broken the law”, as his trial started.

However, as commander in chief, Obama is the ultimate authority for the military tribunal which judges Manning. Constitutionally, he cannot pose as judge and accuser.

(Let’s note in passing that the Nazi government had given orders to not prosecute soldiers who had refused to obey orders, on the ground of violations of human rights. The Nazis were afraid that any official prosecution would shine a light on their violations of human rights, the Geneva Conventions, and German law! It is rather curious that the government of the USA is too arrogant to even be as wise as that…)

Methinks that it is not that Sarkozy and Obama have early Alzheimer, and forgot the very first thing about the law.

Instead I believe that they feel they live in times where anyone up high can get away with everything (witness the enormous transfers of wealth to the hyper rich under their reigns, transfers which threaten the very thrones on which they sit, but the establishments upon which they rule feel they could get away with it, and that there is no other way… Although Sarkozy may soon understand his error, especially when, after losing the next election, French judges start to investigate him in earnest…) 

Is a new age of connivance upon us?

Justice without the determination, or capability to impose it, is no justice.

We just had a beautiful example in Italy: Berlusconi, highest judicial officer of the Italian republic, if one looks at his job in the fullness of the authority inherited from Rome, as one should, refused to prosecute the Mafia energetically. He failed to arrest top mafiosi. Berlusconi was barely gone for a few days, replaced by Mario Monti, a former university president, that the head of the Camorra was arrested (after 15 years living in a bunker in Naples).

It cannot be otherwise according to the spirit of the French and American constitutions: the highest authorities of the state are, have to be, first of all, the highest judicial authorities. It is no accident that leech known as finance is so strong in London, where the Prime Minister has fewer powers (not being head of state, to start with; and according to Rothschild, circa 1820, not the real power in Britain.)

Such disregard for the basics, for the strict letter of the law, I suggest, comes precisely from a general mood which tramples the basics of republican civilization. Or then from having a plutocratic agenda. But to believe that, in the age of the Internet, plutocracy can win over democracy, is itself fiction of the highest order. As people get more and more informed, the transition to a military regime will have to take just a generation, and not five, as it did in Rome. 

To re-establish democracy fully, it will be primordial to realize that the highest authority of the republic is the law, or, more generally the spirit behind it: WE THE PEOPLE.

And the highest officials of the republic have to incarnate it. Maybe we want to have a second look at the institution of consul. Shorter terms of the higher officials (as in Switzerland), with more of a judicial mission may help in blocking the plutocrats. France is also going to imitate Switzerland and California, and make referenda possible, upon popular request. Switzerland has imposed on its banks twice the Basel III reserve requirements. And it is said that the Fed with impose Basel III to its financial daemons; that sounds technical, but, when the banks have not enough reserves, they find them among the unsuspecting public, and then the economy tanks. (It is amazing that not imposing Basel III on American banks was contemplated!)

The derivative markets use enormous leverage (say 25 trillion of net positions out of a notional 700 trillions total, at least that is what the industry claims, giving a leverage of about 30!) But the institutions using them have no collateral. Thus, in case of failure of one, the entire world financial system will come down (as exactly happened when AIG was 200 billion short in 2008). But nobody has had the authority mental, judiciary or political to stop the non sense.

How did Rome fall? The republic faded, Rome became increasingly a fascist empire where justice could not be visited on the mightiest. An intractable financial crisis developed. Its fundamental cause was the refusal of the plutocracy to pay taxes to the Roman state, while its agents were busy disempowering Rome and Italy (to avoid a revolt back to the republic). Since the plutocracy ruled, there was no way out.

Emperor Septimus Severus, a general of at least half Libyan ancestry born in Libya, knew the problem well, and hated the Senate (headquarters of the plutocracy). But he could not fight it.

A man, even an emperor, cannot fight a mood. Only philosophers can do so. But, by the time of Septimus Severus, it was too late for philosophy. All this, because it had become a self serving habit of the mighiest to not apply the law to those who had become too big to fail, too big to flail.

Ultimately, it was a new people’s philosophy, from Germania, which was to transmogrify the ruling mood, and the empire, three centuries later. In the new ruling mood, plutocracy and slavery were out. So the entire economy rested again on small farmers, just as it did in the early Roman republic (those new, northern farmers cultivated the rich heavy soil of the colder, wetter oceanic climes with the new technology of heavy steel ploughs pulled by oxen… or horse).

It would take a few centuries for Western civilization to reach higher than Rome ever did.

But we don’t have that kind of time, we don’t have centuries to change moods, and rebuild on a more sustainable basis: remember the methane bubbling in the arctic. And plutocracy is not that ingrained yet: it is nothing that a 90% tax on the very rich, Eisenhower style, cannot fix.

(In Rome, using the Trojan Horse of foreign wars of choice (around 146 BCE), the plutocracy was able to acquire private armies which were above the law. Right now, it is just short of that. Only its business practices are above the law, and the states have been captured to allow them. But a nasty war or two (say, starting with Iran) could fix the problem.)

Applying the law can change the world. As I said for years, mercury pollution from coal burning, kills tens of thousands of lives every year and causes birth defects, learning disabilities, and respiratory diseases among millions of survivors. And this in the USA alone (compare with the civilian nuclear industry, which did not kill one member of the public yet, in the USA: is the hysterical anti-nuclear crowd paid by fossil fuel polluters?)

Finally Obama, apparently remembering some of what he is supposed to do, has unleashed the EPA onto the coal burners. It remains, though, to do the same worldwide (worldwide carbon tax, worldwide mercury tax). And if the polluters in China can’t adapt fast enough, let’s tax them into extinction! Why should they be allowed to put mercury vapor in the air, and ruin our brains? Is not that a casus belli?

The mercury pollution is just a small example of the following. At this point justice, the republic, and the spirit of the law, is not just a matter of taste, but a matter of survival.

***

Patrice Ayme

Societies Pack Thoughts As Weapons

December 14, 2011

RATTING ON THE RATERS, And Related Remarks.

Europhobia  And Plutophilia Go Well Together. Why? Societies Pack Thought As A Weapon.

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Abstract: Ideas can kill. Why? Because societies can kill, and often do. Let’s put it slightly more pedagogically: sociobiology evolved most fundamentally, for the most violent reasons: defense and attack. And new ideas have an impact only when they become social (although seriously different ideas get born among the asocial). Thus, when ideas come around, there is a good probability that they are propagated for offensive reasons.

And please be it that nobody evoke the lethal hypocrite Gandhi (self described “friend” of Hitler, and cause of the Pakistan split) again! My model is Mandela. Mandela used bombs, with high explosives. (It’s not that I like bombs: I was bombed myself, by some fascists, and did not like it at all.)

Mandela, once jailed, switched to even more explosive ideas. (Mandela was viewed as a terrorist by the USA until 2008!) But the very power, the very violence, of Mandela’s ideas mangled the racist thought system South Africa was suffering from.  

A symbol of the intrinsic violence of societies is given by the most exclusive society of all, the UNSC. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the victors against murderously insane racist fascism in WWII, all have nuclear arsenals, and certified moods and means to strike with them. This threat of devastating violence has kept global peace for 66 years.

At the bottom of the social instinct, having evolved through the eons, is, fundamentally, the need to survive, a need relating to the ultimate forms of violence. Society is as important, and as violent, as life itself.  Hence, when a society produces ideas, it is not generally from sheer curiosity, but, rather, from aggressive mania.

Richard Feynman resigned from that society called the American Academy of Sciences, when he discovered that all what Academicians worried about was, not science, but rather, who was in, and who was to be kept out.

We have to keep in mind that societies are not made to be smart, whatever they say. Be it Harvard or American economists, societies defend first of all their bread and butter, their influence, not the intrinsic truth. That is why American economist prefer to talk about Europe’s bonds, rather than about failing American ethics, failing American school, failing American energy policy, and, generally a failure of American thinking. And the latter failure can be directly traced to American universities.

Plutophile intellectuals such as Pinker, Ferguson, or even Krugman, illustrate this with the multidimensional apologies of the established Wall Street order they eternally spew. Pinker does it by claiming mathematics have shown him we live in the best possible world, Ferguson by confusing Anglo-American plutocracy with civilization.

Krugman supports Wall Street by spewing absurdities about Europe, calling it “Orwellian“. Is that a trick to better forget the much more eerie American situation, and to keep on insisting that the big banks which caused the disaster should be sent as much money as they want?

(That’s called “Quantitative and Qualitative Easing“: so that guilty banks can keep on investing that the leverage they create from the so called “monetary base” with their equally hyper wealthy friends, especially in the universe of derivatives, which is hostile to the real world).

Krugman insists that Keynes taught him all that, but, since Keynes tried to prevent to have the dollar as reserve currency, in 1944, as the head of the monetary and currency commission at Bretton Woods, Krugman did not learn his lesson well.

In truth, and contrarily to what Paul Krugman brazenly preaches, Keynes believed that an international monetary system needed an international reserve synthetic asset, with components proportional to their output contribution.

By fighting a European currency, Krugman is fighting not just Keynes, but a point that Keynes viewed as the most important in the world trading system. Keynes was obsessed by trade imbalances, and righly so. Trade imbalances caused the Great Depression, and even worse problems, but Krugman will never tell any of this to his smitten readership! Instead the honorable Paul preaches according to the considerable needs of the biggest, dirtiest American bankers!

How do we want Obama to take the right decisions, when the left wing, the self declared liberal intellectuals, the technocrats, are so much at the service of Wall Street, that they cannot even imagine the outside of the Wall Street box? Franco-German leaders are getting slightly better advice, and that is why they are getting down rated by that most influential society, Wall Street. Under covers, a war is brewing between Franco-Germania, and Wall Street.

War between societies? What is more natural? The sun and the stars?

***

***

INTELLECTUALS ARE NO BETTER THAN THE SOCIETIES THEY ARE FROM:

 Obama has officially discovered that his roots are much more from Kansas rather than Kenya, and that Teddy Roosevelt was right to attack the plutocracy. Better belated truth than dreams from an absent father, indeed!

If Obama keeps on discovering truths, there may be hope.

Speaking of truth, the United Nations created a Palestinian state and Israel simultaneously in the late 1940s. And now the Palestinian flag officially flies at the UNESCO in Paris. Washington reaction? Cutting the contribution of the USA to UNESCO, 22% of its budget. The 22% correspond to a smidgen higher than the relative GDP of the USA. No doubt, though, that, if the USA keeps taking ethically stupid decisions, it will keep impoverishing itself. And in more ways than just spiritual. Ethics, after all, is the bottom line.

We have individuals such as Krugman going around the world, teaching their ideas, the same old bigoted ideas, we have seen for centuries before. In the case of Krugman, his grand socioeconomic idea is that every European nation should be armed with its own money, to make war on its European neighbors. Is Krugman teaching war and devaluation? What if he is wrong? Is he responsible of the ensuing war because of his influence as a Very Serious Person?

Notice that the sovereign debt crisis is about credit rating agencies. Those private for profit societies have suddenly decided to view economically magnificent Germany with more suspicion than this den of financial piracy called London (with a 12% British deficit, and two million people in the streets, now that the riots have abated).

We have individuals such as Corzine, one the biggest politicians in the USA, ever, senator, governor, whatever. And who became such, because he was one of the biggest bankers, head of the arch-villain, Goldman Sachs. And what was Corzine doing? Buying billions of Italian sovereign debt with American farmers money. Playing with the retirements of millions. Why is that legal?

Does one become idiotic by worrying too much about what worries idiots? Naturally. In general, all thinking is social. If the society is stupid, it will produce stupid thinking.

Intellectuals belong  to, evolve, and thrive, in societies. When most intellectuals worried about angels on a pin, it was impossible to do otherwise, if one wanted to be taken seriously.

Nowadays, plutocracy supporting economists (so called “Anglo-Saxon economists“) support the New York, Manhattan, Wall Street cause. That is why Krugman proclaims New York City to be the “greatest city in the world” (meaning, implicitly, with the most beautiful  street in the world, the one which is driving the planet into a wall, hence its name: Wall Street; no need for lousy jokes such as New Pork City, the street itself is descriptive enough!)

***

EVEN IN MATHEMATICS, MOBS (TRY TO) RULE:

Ideas are implemented by societies of intellectuals. But they are rarely discovered by them. Really new ideas are produced by lone wolves, not by those who howl together with the packs. This has to do with the fact that the emotional complex supporting groupthink is transverse to the one supporting true creativity: be loved by one’s peers is antagonist to going beyond their feeble mental capability.

Those true geniuses, the real originators of ideas, are generally ignored during their lifetime, when they are not the object of active hostility. Others, the professional opportunists, steal their ideas and run away with them. The most honest of them joke about it. Hence Einstein’s contemptible gloating:”The Secret of creativity is to hide one’s sources“.

Einstein had stolen  “borrowed” the theory of Relativity from an impressive Areopagus of famous…non-German physicists and mathematicians, and, first of all, Poincare’. This sort of theft has consequences, as lesser minds give lesser colors, or the wrong ones, to what they atole and did not really understand. Einstein did not understand Poincare”s subtle objections to his approach to Relativity, he just reacted like a child, aggressively. To this day, Einstein and his simplistic, dubious ideas rule in Relativity, and the choir sings, attributing to itself many Nobel Prizes. But, someday, the time will come to pay the interest on this “loan” Einstein made on behalf of the choir.

An example of the rabid behavior of packs was exhibited when the Poincare’ conjecture was solved by the Russian mathematician Perelman. A famously greedy mathematician (who I personally know all too well) who controlled access to math journals, and a pack of his followers claimed that it was them who proved it.

As Perelman put it: … “I was dismayed by the discipline’s lax ethics... It is not people who break ethical standards who are regarded as aliens, it is people like me who are isolated… there are many mathematicians who are more or less honest. But almost all of them are conformists. They are more or less honest, but they tolerate those who are not honest.

They have to tolerate the dishonest: all too often, they were their advisers. I personally think that, among the mathematicians I knew best, precisely the group Perelman was involved with, the lack of ethics was so pathological that it was enough to cause massive violations of human rights. The only safe behavior was to not see their faces again, and leave the field, as Perelman did. 

Well, much of the same can be said throughout science, and there is no doubt that rising the ethical level would rise the science too, as it would protect the real creators, and hinder the opportunists, more than now.

Read more:

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/08/28/060828fa_fact2#ixzz1gOvWg0Gn

I know several of the actors involved, and I was dismayed by their disgusting (lack of) ethics before. They would make anybody decent want to leave mathematics. The problem, looking forward, being that the most decent are the deepest. Yau, not to name him, had been immensely rewarded in the past, in no small reason because he was the student of Chern. In math too, it’s who you know, and how much they love you.

Notice that mathematics will suffer, going forward, because somebody of the depth of Perelman left mathematics (and he is not the only one to have done so). So what’s left? Great thinkers can always meet on the Internet, and let the likes of Yau plot with the Chinese “president”…

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BAD ETHICS, BAD THINKING:

Low ethics of course create low thinking. Those who put so much effort into an abysmal lack of ethics cannot occupy their brains with maximal mental depth.

This is why German nationalism, by putting the German Einstein forward, put on the backburner subtle objections (ironically, lots of Germans later condemned Einstein’s “Jewish science”…And there is indeed something biblical in Einstein way of thinking!)

More towering creators, those interested primarily by maximal mental performance, can only turn away from greedy insects, lest they be eaten alive, or turned into “pets” as Perelman puts it (and I personally experienced). This is why so many of the deepest thinkers turn away from the crowd, and any association of would be “peers”. Thus Spinoza refused a university professorship, and preferred to go on with his daily grind (from which he soon died).

The preceding is a fortiori true in physics, economics or philosophy (and why Nietzsche retired from his full university professorship at the grand old age of 30, having suffered fools and their follies all too long, in a Germany which was already going nuts, he said!)

Conversely, that vermin of Heidegger taught Nazism, in Nazi uniform, and, having thus associated himself with a pretty mighty society, the Nazi Party, sees his reputation thrive to this day. (The same is a fortiori true for the Bush family!)

***

WALL STREET, .1% GROUPTHINK:

Anyway back to the global civilization we have now, led by a few prominently noisy nations, among them, our formerly great leader, the USA. That the USA is increasingly dominated by morons is pretty clear from the panel of republican candidates. The thoroughly corrupt, nutty Gingrich (Gang-rich?) looks like a genius relative to the rest of the field.

Citizens of the USA, contrarily to the opinion they have of themselves, are more like pack members, than lone wolves. That has long been the strength of the USA: it allowed to neglect ethical objections, and occupy an entire continent with an exploitative culture, no questions asked. Indeed pack mentality comes in handy when invading foreign lands.

Even Tocqueville had noticed, long ago, the tendency of Americans to stand in societies obsessed by the concept of peers.

Tocqueville had considered American public opinion to be based on respect for sheer mass (rather than the respect for sheer intellect). The biggest pack was always perceived as correct. He saw in the respect for crowds as intellectual authorities, a threat to independence of thought: “In America, the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion” (Democracy in America, 1835 CE, page 117)…“I am not the more disposed to pass beneath the yoke because it is held out to me by the arms of a million men(ibid., p. 149).

But of course, the oligarchic American universities have interest to raise formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion. They are paid for that, after all, by their rich sponsors.

Conversely, the same richly endowed universities have never produced an Einstein intellectuals of the very highest caliber (as I explained above, a caliber higher than Einstein: Europe has produced dozens; when Yau was asked why he tried to steal Perelman’s discoveries, he justified that by saying he wanted to show to the world that China, too, could produce intellectuals of the highest caliber… Just like Europe; hmm, it rather backfired…) And it is no coincidence: money does not make a bird fly above the commons. Frantic competition is not conducive to deep meditation

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TICKLE ME PINK:

Being a Wall Street groupie is why Pinker (Harvard) tells us in “Our Better Angels” that we are the less violent society, ever. So Wall street is not violent, not at all. You are hallucinating, you the 99%.

Professor Pinker does not see, he cannot see, he is paid not to see, he is paid to tell you that  the millions of dead his defense department, defending Harvard, caused in the last 30 years did not happen. Those five million dead or so (Iraq + Afghanistan), caused by various American master operations simply did not happen. According to the statistics Pinker uses.

Why killing millions dead? In part to keep an aura of terror around the world (the USA attacked the Socialist Republic of Afghanistan in July 1979. To get to the billions in oil in Iraq, and the billions in minerals in Afghanistan. Let’s dig a bit in the later.

Funny story here: the billions in rare minerals in Afghanistan were found by a French campaign (my father collaborated with it). The French geologist Lapparent, and his colleagues (including my dad), prospected under French and Afghan government mandates, until the savage intervention ordered by American Eternal Peace president Carter. Carter’s lethal violence destroyed socialist and republican hopes in Afghanistan. It also helped remind France that the USA owns the world, and, in particular, all minerals. 

According to Pinker, is this peace exploding? Oh no: he simply does not see that war which killed, over more than 32 years, at least two million (maybe three million) Afghans. It simply does not exist. For Pinker, and Pinker wants all Americans to know, as Obama never fails to remind us, that the Afghan war started the day the towers fell. But of course the towers fell because the USA had organized mayhem by in Afghanistan, for 22 years, killing millions.

In other words Pinker worships the same sort of mental ability which allowed not to see Nazism for what it was until after France fell in 1940. He would of course change his music if a few more towers fell in New York. Ferguson author of another Harvard book, “Civilization”, tells us that Britain invented civilization, and he recommends to read great Western books such as the Bible and Locke’s celebration of slavery (that’s on the last page of his book).

***

NOT ENOUGH HEAT FOR THE USA YET:

Wonderful climate conference in South Africa: the USA, with 17.5 tons of CO2 emitted per year and per person, got its way: no efforts, at the earliest, before 2020 CE. This means that the foreseeable heating of the planet will be 4 degrees Celsius. Within a generation. Overall. But most of the heating will happen at the poles, melting the icecaps, and rising sea levels enormously. Within a few decades.

The Europeans, distracted by internal banking and sovereign problems, did not dare rise the heat on the USA at Durban. 

The attitude of Americans is, at first sight, baffling: the supposedly left wings economic commentators there kept on talking obsessively about Europe, as if Europe were a more important problem to the USA than it is for Europe itself. And thus, implicitly, the discourse of American left wing economists was that the fact the USA produces so much hot air and CO2 is not a problem at all.

The European banking crisis is not that much of a crisis: officially, the federal spending on the banking crisis in Europe so far is 2% of GDP, whereas it has been 13% in the USA and the UK. This difference in numbers (the blaring Anglo-Americans spent about eight times more so far on the banking crisis, as behooves their plutocratic status; but that also means they are much vulnerable, and would like to make the Europeans pay, even if they owe nothing, in the grand tradition of piracy!)

As far as pollution is concerned, a power such as France, with, a much better health care, Human Development Index and equality (as measured by GINI), and arguably a higher effective GDP per median person, makes do with only 6.1 ton of CO2 per year. And it’s not just France: Italy emits only 7.5 tons, Japan and Germany around 9.5 tons.

It is significant that Australia and Canada emits about as much as the USA: these are all vast empires whose implantation went according to an exploitation model (for example the Americans deliberately exterminated 60 million bison to weaken the Plains Indians into eradication). In other words, when one has founded one’s riches on over-exploitation and holocausts, applied of the entire continents, it’s entirely normal to extend the concept to the entire planet. Canada actually just decided to quit the Kyoto CO2 pollution treaty, as its egregious violations invited fines.

In general the greatest polluters are all (literally) bloody empires!  This is of course not a coincidence. First one massacres people, then the environment. Actually massacring the environment has often been the best way to massacre people.

***

WHEN THRIVING FROM HOLOCAUSTS BECOMES A HABIT:

Indeed, one may wonder what the USA’s collective consnciousness is exactly after? Making New York and Washington into polders? The final solution to the problem of right wingers in Florida or Texas? By drowning them?

Why does the USA want a climate catastrophe? Why? Because the very rise of the English colony in North America (or Australia, or Canada) rested on cataclysmic change (the French model in Canada was about the Mission Civilisatrice, instructing the Indians, but not massacring them; the English model consisted in first deporting the French out of half of the territory they occupied in Canada).

To this day, about half of the population of New Caledonia descend from the original inhabitants, whereas the same cannot be said in Australia. True, Maoris survived in New Zealand, but, precisely, because of the efforts of the courageous governor Fitz Roy. If Fitz Roy had been like Jefferson or Jackson, Maoris would only be a few thousands, at best, in a few reservations on the worst lands of the micro continent.

Deep American strategists close to the Dark Side can only make the same computation as the Prussian generals who planned, plotted, and  launched World War One: if there is a world war pretty soon, the USA could come on top. Later on, not so sure. It is pretty sure that, when sea level will have risen 5 meters, some sort of world war will be on, as probably more than a billion people will have to move, from desiccation and inundations.

A civilization can get stuck in a mood. China was stuck in Confucianism (until Mao), Japan in a form of militarism (until 1945). Russia is (still) stuck in Czarism (= Caesarism). Or at least Putin is. For Rome the mood was slavery, which blossomed into theocratic plutocracy. In the end, Rome had to be shut down. This said, the USA destroyed its slave system, in a monster civil war. A successful reaction against plutocracy would be a generalization of that.

***

TAX ME PLUTOCRATS NOT:

So the biosphere is exploding, and what do American economists talk about? Europe. Why? Because the Franco-Germans want to tax financial transactions, and refuse to write a blank check to banks. Thus the Franco-Germans threaten the financial pirates in Wall Street on both counts. Franco-Germania does not occupy Wall Street yet, but the assault is on the way. The Franco-Germans are also assaulting the so called “City” (of London). Said PM Cameron.

Krugman, is for the war of all against all, at least in Europe: his opinion is that each European country should have its own currency, and devalue, as needed. When they have all devaluated, and they have no value, only the USA will have value, order will have been re-established. One does not expect anything else from an economic adviser of Ronald Reagan in international economy (as Krugman was, although he is not too keen to explain, so I will: by today’s standards, Reagan was a left wing politician, so Krugman was always on the left!)

Krugman, of course, loves to quote fellow professors from the universities at the service of the hyper wealthy. (Except for Niall Ferguson, who is too obviously right wing, and is considered by Harvard to be not just an historian, but an economist, so he wallops in Krugman’s garden, claiming greater depth of analysis, infuriating Krugman.)

Krugman thus quotes approvingly a Oxford professor, O’Rourke, who wrote a “Summit To The Death” where a colossal number of naïve assertions are made. O’Rourke starts with: “As many feared and most expected, the just-concluded European summit left much to be desired.” But desire is precisely needed to integrate Europe. So desire is actually nothing to fear, but something to, precisely, desire.

And then professor O’Rourke goes on, ranting against the monetary union. The best answer to these europhobic clowns from England, is to have Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland secede from London, and join the Schengen customs free union, and the Euro. Maybe Northumbria ought to do the same too!

One can also look at Professor O’Rourke’s discourse as suggesting that much more federalization of Europe is needed. Sure. But it takes time. We have to pile up the desire high.

***

ENRICH MY BANKS, I FEEL WEALTHIER ALREADY:

O’Rourke also suggest to follow the Quantitative Easing path of the USA promoted by, say, Krugman. what’s Quantitative Easing? The buying, by the Central Bank, of worthless financial assets from the biggest banks As I have pointed out, Quantitative Easing has been the main driver of plutocratization in the last three years. It just enriches the banks, and they invest in derivatives (several hundred trillions of Credit Default Swaps, for example). Why would Europe strive to enrich Wall Street too?

Because Europe lives near to, and from Wall Street (as all hyper rich American universities do, since their venom is basic to the plutocratic propaganda)?

Instead the ECB will lend to banks as needed, at 1%. That’s much better; not a blank check to invest in yachts and derivatives, obviously.

Krugman made another ill informed, europhobic commentary on O’Rourke’s article. Europhobia, and Germanophobia have long been staples of the media of the USA. Thus the erroneous can build on others’ errors.

Among other things, Krugman neglected the fact that the 3% deficit rule limit before prosecution, could be overruled by a qualified majority (instead of the present qualified unanimity). Also miscreants will be referred to the European Court of Justice, meaning that only willful  cheating will be punished.

***

USA:  CENTER IS NOT HOLDING, BABY AS UNREAD AS THE BATH:

Professor O’Rourke claims that, if the gumbo shrimp industry ran in trouble in Louisiana, the Federal government would help. This is the redistribution argument which all europhobic Americans repeat, claiming they have it, and Europe does not. Never mind the evidence screaming in their face, the preferred insult from plutophile economists, that Europe is made of “welfare states”.

Then O’Rourke claimed that Germany should have been helped in the 1990s, after reunification, by the European Union, but was not. Right, it should have been helped. And that is why it was. Is O’Rourke paid to blare falsehoods?

Generally Anglo-Saxon Wall Street .1% propagandists say giant lies, because they can get away with them, and the more they say them, the more crucial to, thus rewarded by, Wall Street financial mafia, they are.

Because mafias exist, and they are entangled with the politicians who enable them. Just a few days after Berlusconi was ejected from the Italian Premiership by his good friend Merkozy, the head of the Camorra was arrested in Naples. His name has been known for decades, but, obviously, under Berlusconi, the order had been given to not arrest him.

The entire European budget is about aid. Development aid, or aid to agriculture. There are even food programs attached to the Eurozone. If the periphery of Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Greece was able to develop so much so fast, it was because a Northern European tax gun showering them with money for decades. True, after countries such as Ireland became much richer, per capita, than France or Germany, the money was redirected to prospective and new EU members in Eastern Europe. Ireland is still richer, per capita, than its generous donators (just as Greece is richer than Slovakia, which helps it, in a redistribution program!) Now some development aid is even directed towards North Africa (as it should).

Professor O’Rourke is actually either monstrously ill informed, or a deliberate liar, and his prophet Krugman is, thus, not doing much better.

Let me explain: O’Rourke shrimp example is fishy, complete utopia, denied by reality.

***

REDISTRIBUTION IN THE USA: SCHOOL BUDGETS ARE OFFERED TO THE HYPER RICH:

It is well known that the Gates, who head both one of the greatest personal fortunes in the world, and personally the richest foundation, pose with the president of the USA to say they are going to save the school. So all Americans are supposed to go on their knees, and thank the hyper rich for taking care of them. Such are the Gates of hell: enticing in the moment, seducers posing in wealth and taste, calling you to abandon all dignity, so they can exert their might on your behalf.

What is real is that the school system, from primary schools to universities is collapsing in the USA.

Does professor O’Rourke knows this? Apparently not. He professes to not know it. He is a professional professing denial. For example it costs $31,000 to attend first year college at the University of California this year, a supposedly PUBLIC university. At Stanford University it is more like $70,000 (the supreme outrage being that those called “private” universities get plenty of public funds to support the hyper rich and the ideas that sustain their stranglehold on society). Public primary schools are closing all over the USA.

And what does the government of the USA do? Make sure General Electric and the like pays no taxes. When Obama controlled all, he made sure that the hyper rich individuals would keep paying the lowest tax rate, 15%. In other words the government of the USA is impotent, on its own accord.

All these rich professors from the richest universities in their rich mansions compare favorably a country, the USA, which looks like the Titanic, an hour after the iceberg, with Europe.

Is the school system collapsing in Europe? Are our children learning? As Bush, the preceding moron-in-chief used to say?

Well, Europe is not sinking, but thinking. And European federal debt is basically zero. The American federal debt is  more than GDP of the USA, and overall American debt levels, about four times GDP, are higher than Greece.

***

RATTING ON THE RATERS:

Last year the American and British deficits were around 12%. Did the richest, biggest banks and their hedge funds drive up the interest rates there? By down rating their sovereign credit rating? No. Why? Because they do not want to saw the branch on which they are sitting.

Example of branch on which oligarchs are sitting, and they won’t criticize: the so called rating “agencies” are central actors in the Wall Street system to extract money from the Public. Employees of these conceptual monstrosities rat on states, which do not pay them, but they have interest to be kind to private companies (members of the plutocracy), for two reasons: they get paid by them, and they move to them. Consult for example the Wall Street Journal article: “Credit Raters Join The Rated“.

It is highly significant that so called credit agencies threatened France and Germany with down rates on credit. While not threatening Great Britain. As the head of the Banque de France (French central bank), Christian Noyer, pointed out:”… a downgrade should come first for the U.K., which has a greater deficit, as much debt, more inflation, and less growth than us, France and Germany. Moreover Great Britain has collapsing credit.”

The British deficit last year was higher than Greece more than thrice Germany’s. This year the U.K. deficit is forecast to be nearly 10%, nearly twice France’s. 10% of Britain GDP is financial piracy, and France and Germany have the means, and intent, to greatly shut those criminal activities down. So Britain’s future is distinctly gloomier than that of France and Germany.

But Wall Street and its credit agencies have identified France and Germany as their enemies, and Great Britain as their friend. Pirates help pirates, and those who pirates help help pirates. It’s the same idea as the Wall Street prosecutor putting the French director of the International Monetary fund in high security jail for days, while knowing that his accuser was gloating with a jailed former boyfriend on the phone that she would make a lot of money from her accusations. Let alone the fact, known to the police, that the IMF’s director highly secured Blackberry had stopped functioning well before the alleged rape was announced to anyone (that clearly meant that DSK had been victimof an aggression).

To quote from the article on the raters from the Wall Street Journal: ” More than 100 analysts at credit-rating firms have left over the past five years to work for financial companies they once helped to rate… Lawmakers work in an environment where there is a revolving door and they posit that must have also occurred” at the rating firms.”

Now notice that the Wall Street Journal is revealing itself to be left of Krugman. Krugman criticize the European for not sending trillions to banks, and screams about the euro, the malaise of which is caused by the credit rating agencies.

But Krugman has nothing to say about the lack of vital transfer payments from government to public schools in the USA.

Is it stupidity, or is it corruption? Or is it just that the fattest wolves howl from inside the largest packs? In any case, howling is not deep, nor the noblest conquest of humanity.

Perelman, who finished the proof of the Poincare’ conjecture, would consider my attitude offensive.

The prospect of being awarded a Fields Medal forced him to make a complete break with mathematics. “As long as I was not conspicuous, I had a choice,” Perelman explained. “Either to make some ugly thing”—a scandal about the math community’s lack of integrity—“or, if I didn’t do this kind of thing, to be treated as a pet. Now, when I become a very conspicuous person, I cannot stay a pet and say nothing. That is why I had to quit.”
This old attitude is rather curious, in someone as intelligent and modern as Perelman, and I vigorously condemn it.
 
Perleman’s family is viewed as Jewish, and some of his closest relatives emigrated to Israel. Jews suffered enormous losses in the Baltic area Perleman is from, because of the murderous madness of the Nazis, and of some of the locals. Now a factor in these losses was the attitude of millions of Jews who thought that not making a fuss, not making a scandal, was more important than death itself. (Something they read in the Torah, somewhere, and believed, in their immoral stupidity which helped in the death of millions of children.) As the war evolved into a holocaust, many Jewish resistance groups appeared. They, correctly often prefer to kill than to submit meekly: the line has to be drawn somewhere. And the contemporary state of Israel has learned that lesson all too well.
 
The entire principle of civilization is that there are ideas worth dying for.
 
If one cannot tell mathematicians the truth, about themselves, how could one tell the truth to the Nazis, about themselves, and the truth, about the Nazis, to others? Over the years, I purchased many books of Pinker, Ferguson, and Krugman, and meditated their ideas. Paying them respect is telling them the truth in return.
 
(Both Ferguson, about France’s “Mission Civilisatrice”, and Krugman, about the notion of a common currency in Europe, have evolved considerably, for the best, in recent times: they have become moving targets! Now Krugman is starting to follow my semantics of “Greater Depression“, as he recognizes that “It’s time to start calling the current situation what it is: a depression“.) 
 
To tell others how it really is: what gift is more human? Is not that the gift we make, again and again, to children? 
 
Morality without outrage, and outrage without scandal, are beyond hypocrisy. They are what made Auschwitz possible. Time to cease and desist.
 
Why are human societies so prone to nastiness? Because humanity evolved into the planet’s divinity. I made a comparison between “Rats and Crats“. That was unfair to rats. It turns out that rats are altruistic. Rats Will Work To Free A Trapped Pal, and neglect delicious food to do so.
Rats have plenty of enemies, but rats are not foremost among them. If there are too many rats, there will be too many cats. But if there are too many humans, there will not be more cats to eat them, quite the opposite. So human societies have to be programmed to put some restraint to the (ecological) non sense that is man. Human sociobiology is intrinsically nasty. I do not mean it’s not also altruistic. That, it had also to be. However…
 
Man had to create not just God, in his image, but also Pluto. To reinforce the inevitable, the Dark Side that societies have to muster. And ideas are the swords they slice with. 
***
Patrice Ayme

Species, Niches, Cultures

December 9, 2011

SPECIATION COMES FROM NICHES, BUT THOSE CAN BE SELF CREATED.

***
 The diversity of species is much greater in the tropics. How come? The main reason is obvious: species get periodically vacuumed in the high latitude regions, by ice and cold. This has various notable consequences. Especially in the cultural domain.

 One has to remember how speciation happens. Speciation is a discovery that Darwin made explicit in the Galapagos archipelago, far from the South American continent. Species of the local birds had evolved from a common ancestor, a kind of South American finch. More than a generation before, Lamarck has studied various invertebrates (a word he coined), and their fossils, to show that the species had evolved over the eons, and thus that the Earth was immensely old (something that made a huge scandal at the times, at it was more in tune with Indian than Christian thinking). 

 (The theory of evolution itself, and especially evolution by natural selection was old, and its original authors were Maupertuis, of the Least Action Principle, writing 120 years before Darwin, and Lamarck, who, as a research professor in biology, another word that he also coined, could lay it thick; Darwin’s refining observations were decisive in the Anglo-American empire, though. Just as French physicists developed Newtonian mechanics in the 18 C, English evolutionists, especially Wallace and Darwin, developed the French breakthrough work of the preceding generations in biological evolution!)

 The following became clear: once introduced to a new ecological niche, a species will evolve anew. Biological species tend to be optimal for their inheritance in symbiosis with the environment they also inherited. That is why species such as oysters, sharks, turtles or crocodiles, did not change much in more than 100 million years: they were optimal, and their environment did not change. Crocodilians are the picture of perfection: not only they munched on the last dinosaurs, but recent discoveries have shown that, in some dinosaurian environments, crocs were already the top predators.

 Change the environment they are made for, and by, and suddenly species are not optimal anymore. They are forced into the survival mode. Then naturally occurring variations present an advantage or disadvantage relative to the new environment, and evolution happens again. And it happens all the faster, the greater the difference with the previous environment is. 

 Hence environments with many new ecological niches will create many new species. So the question becomes: why are there more niches in the tropics than in the cold regions? Well, one has to realize that the question is asked in space-time. History matters. When a niche changes, a species can resist through mini adaptation, while, simultaneously, the throttle of evolution is open to the max. But nothing can force all individuals of the suddenly inadequate species to evolve fast and far. Some will just make do. Thus outright new species can evolve, while versions of the old still cling around.

 In Australia, a lone, extremely ancient eucalyptus was found in the mountains. Some suggested it was the oldest individual plant in the world. That plant was, and it is, the oldest, and unique, representative of its species. The species had evolved when the climate was much colder (during or before the last glaciation). Somewhere else in Australia, in an isolated, secret canyon, in the Blue Mountains another species of pine trees, long disappeared elsewhere in the world, was also found (now they are for sale worldwide). Those plants survived to the disappearance of the niches in which they evolved long ago, through luck or happenstance (a particular canyon with special circumstances throughout history).

 Australia did not have a very cold climate, even during the worst glaciations, due to its overall location (and it drifted there from the polar region while Earth climate was much warmer). If Australia were a subpolar island, all its trees and animals would have been wiped out during great glaciations (as they were in Antarctica, which used to be joined to Australia). Under milder conditions, Australia would have been recolonized by distant trees from tropical areas: genuine Australian trees would have disappeared during a cold episode.

 Another example: trees grow again in Greenland. Trees have grown in Greenland for dozens of millions of years, but all the species of Greenland trees were eliminated when Greenland was covered by ice. If Greenland had been located next to New Guinea, it would have maybe even more species than the land of Birds of Paradise (I say “maybe” because, although Greenland is bigger, New Guinea, the wrinkled forefront of the Australian plate, has higher and larger highlands, which creates a lot more environmental niches than one would expect from a place of that size; there are isolated sky islands in New Guinea, surrounded by steaming jungle, with, of course, their own species).

 So it is in all regions that icecaps and glaciers could trample in the last four million years: cold hostile to life wiped biological evolution out clean, periodically. For example sequoias were eliminated from Europe: the slow moving trees (trees move as a species), got blocked by glaciers, and destroyed. This because mountain ranges are mostly east-west barriers in Europe. In California, they survived because the ranges are mostly north-south.

 This is nothing new: many dinosaur species evolved in very high latitudes, where their adaptation allowed them to enjoy the polar night. That was when what are now subpolar regions enjoyed a tropical climate (when crocodilians thrived in Greenland). The distant ancestors of mammals, the mammalian reptiles, evolved in very cold climate, so they evolved strong thermoregulation. This came in handy when drastic changes occurred 65 million years ago. Said change has long been viewed as an asteroid strike. But it is unlikely that an asteroid strike would have struck all dinosaurs, and all dinosaur-like sea reptiles, while leaving mysteriously mammalian and bird alone.

 Whereas, obviously, episodes of intense cold and heat could have had that effect. Dinosaurs had poor thermal regulation, but also high metabolism (differently from birds, which evolved from them; birds have higher temperatures than mammals). Crocodilians, turtles and sea snakes could survive, as they have lower metabolism: when it gets cold, they just stop moving, a luxury dinosaurs did not have. Of course, the colossal Dekkan Traps eruptions, by covering entirely the planet with clouds, while poisoning air and seas with CO2, fit the crime perfectly.

 So what I propose is simply that, as glaciations fluctuated dramatically, conditions in the tropics also fluctuated dramatically: for example the Amazon suffered droughts. This created niches (however transient, they were long enough for species to evolve). However the conditions never fluctuated so much as to lead to complete extinctions, in the tropics. As conditions changed, species tended to adapt, and new ones evolved, thus leaving a patchwork of diversity behind… At least in species which can exist in great numbers, such as insects.

 Not so in subpolar regions. In subpolar regions, intense cold periods happen, and during intense cold episodes, all species get killed (at least among plants and insects). When conditions become mild again, the regions are reconquered by survivors from the tropics (much of which became a temperate zone during glacial maxima). A similar mechanism could have demographically flood Neanderthals in suddenly warm interglacials.

*** 

EXTINCTIONS AS A DRIVERS OF EVOLUTION:

 If an extinction occurs, it is probably because all the ecological niches were changed at once. So all species are not optimally adapted anymore. Some will resist in micro niches (as crocodilians, turtles, etc. did), some will evolve drastically (as birds and mammals did after the Cretaceous). In the end more species will be created, and they will compete with the old ones, so, in a sense, in the average, they will be improved, or at least the adaptability of the entire ecosystem will be greater (some of the old will be around, some of the new too).

 It is not excluded that the dinosaurs disappeared through such complicated mechanism: after an initial ecological shift, the competitivity of small mammals, or birds, may have been improved (as their personal dinosaur predators went away, say), and they may have been free to eat larger dinosaurs’ eggs, etc.

***

WHY EUROPE BECAME SO SUPERIOR INTELLECTUALLY:

Europe is assuredly the largest expanse of greatly interconnected peninsulas, islands, mountain ranges, lakes and seas in the world. An enormous set of potential ecological niches. Some could brandish the Arctic archipelago of Northern Canada, but first, well, it’s frozen, and was completely covered by an ice cap for most of the last three million years, not a situation conducive to any sort of biology.

 Indeed, European geography is at mid-latitude, with an oceanic climate rendered mild by the Gulf Stream (which has transported tropical water towards Europe, for millions of years, since the Americas became one, and the currents changed). During the worst glacial maxima, Southern Europe was still ice-free. With mountain ranges and flowing waters everywhere, this labyrinth of ecological niches was excellent for evolving many species.

 And so it was with evolving many cultures later. The many environments in Europe allowed for evolving many cultural species. That was helped by trade, of goods or ideas, using the ubiquitous waterways. Some of the old stuff survived and transmogrified. For example, many ideas of Zoroastrianism have become part of the mental skeleton of the Enlightenment. The ideas went west by 3,500 kilometers, and in time by 3,500 years.

 (Europe is geographically defined, linguistically, humanly, commercially and physically, as roughly the Western part of Eurasia, west of the Himalayas and the Urals; India is also part of that ensemble, consecutively to conquest and colonization, about 3,500 years ago, and subsequent continual and extensive exchanges. Yes a vast steppe corridor starting in Hungary, goes all the way to Mongolia, and was always there, hence the many visits of various Mongols to Western Europe, all the way to Orleans…) 

 Compare with the entire African coast, North and West, which has only a handful of natural ports, on maybe more than ten thousands kilometers. Whereas the European coast is covered with possible ports, each ready to serve the local ecological and cultural niches with trade. Look at the Croatian coast: from far away, rather short. However, from close by, a length of nearly 6,000 kilometers, and thousands of islands. Similarly Greece or the British isles each have nearly 15,000 kilometers of coastline. And Norway, with all its fjords, more than 100,000 kilometers! This sort of extremely detailed geography and imbrications with water, allowed for extreme diversity and exchanges of very differentiated goods. Compare with the Sahara desert, with a handful of oases on an area greater than the USA (full disclosure: my first memories are from one of them, the amazing Gardahia). 

 Just an example: a small part of the Italian coast, facing the island of Elba, and endowed with natural ports, was rich in extravagant ore deposits. Especially iron. This attracted, among others, the Etruscans.

 Thus, without the wealth of iron, Rome may never have been. Verily, the long standing half joke is that the Roman peasants learned all what they knew from the Etruscans… And, later the Greeks. By the way, that grafting of a higher culture on the more simple minded may explain why Rome evolved down the blind alley of over-exploiting others, instead of developing its own deep ideas… As the Franks did, when they took over in 486 CE. 

 Some will scoff about claims of European superiority and diversity. But little known are the basic facts. For example the Celts had developed technology which was in some ways superior to Rome (and in 399 CE, the Roman republic did not get annihilated, just because the Celts condescended to be paid to go away from the Latin capital that they were occupying; the superiority of the Romans laid in the institutions of that republic). The Celts were probably the first to make fleets of thousands of boats to conduct intense systematic trade, and a polity of sorts, over an ocean (the Atlantic). 

 European diversity was a strength, as long as it did not explode into devastating conflict. After the Celts subdued the Romans in 399 CE, some marched on to present day Anatolia. They refused to submit to Alexander later. Notice that it  would have been a much poorer world if the Celts had destroyed Rome in 399 CE (as they probably could have, had they been meaner). True, the Romans conquered the Celts, but they did not destroy them: in 400 CE, the bishop of Lyon (Lugdunum, capital of the Gauls, just supplanted by the Parisian capital of the Franks), preached in Celtic. Thus a Gallo-Roman mental ecology had established itself, where many of the best ideas of both had thrived, while terrible ones (such as Celtic sacrifices) had been snuffed.

 Europe may want to remember all this, the richness of diversity, as it tries to resist homogenizing plutocracy, be from Russia (where filthy rich strongman plutocrat Putin accused Hillary Clinton to have caused the arrest of thousands of Russians, by giving a mysterious “signal” which made thousands of Russians whine in unisson), or with the so called market (intent on berating France and Germany, while lauding financially much worse, Greece like Great Britain, because the latter’s government is plutophile, thus a friend of the slave market).

*** 

SUPERIOR MINDS, HOW THEY EVOLVE, WHAT THEY FEAR:

 Thus one will acquire a mind endowed with more, and superior ideas by varying one’s environment: the more mental niches, the more ideas can adapt to them, the greater the chance to develop superior ones.

 I guess that is the idea behind having scientists travel all over the world to conferences where they meet each other. Although, of course, this may lead to homogenization, not speciation! To have speciation, one needs time to evolve separately, otherwise one will be thrown back with the blob, as one more undifferentiated piece of the blob.

 Speciation in the realm of ideas is why greatly original thinkers go to the desert, to avoid too much mental entanglement with the commons. That is why Montaigne called attention to the necessity of the Ivory Tower, to think deeply, quietly, and from above. Great minds cannot blossom, if they mix too much with the stupidity of what was long viewed as true by common invertebrates.

 Thus, in these times of budgetary restrictions, and considering the existence of the Internet, I would suggest that scientific conference budgets be reassigned to the rescue of scientific experiments (which are threatened, especially in astronomy, the part of physics which has brought most of the spectacular experimental results of the last 50 years). In general, the requirements of scientific careers are little conducive to originality, and groupthink is to be feared. 

 To pursue the analogy further, if ideas evolve in mental niches, what would be the equivalent of life killing cold? Well, intellectual fascism, glacially crushing all in the way. 

 Intellectual fascism could be the Roman attitude to slavery (the foundation of the economy, with the large slave enterprises of the empire, such as agribusinesses). Or it could be the social and economical devastating Christian philosophy (for example Roman Catholic Christians believed it was wrong to kill highway men, so highway robbery, being unpunished, exploded to the point that Roman roads could not be used anymore, and public order collapsed). Mao and company made the point that Confucianism was a form of intellectual fascism which had paralyzed China for millennia. And indeed they introduced communist forms of thinking which had evolved in the French niche. The French communist, not to say Communard niche. 

 The most famous intellectual fascism is Islam, a superstition which has the arrogance to claim the entire public sphere for itself (which is what Christian bishops did in the West around 400 CE; however, as Christ had very loudly ordered to separate Caesar from God, and thus soon the bishops, after trying their hand at dictatorship for a while, decided to outsource government to the Roman army, by then reduced to Imperator Clovis’ Franks). 

 Groupthink was not our ancestors’ forte. After all, our very distant ancestors were lizards who colonized subpolar areas: they were not held back by the prospect of a career among the multitudes, quite the opposite. To be different, and go where no lizard had been before, urged them on.

 And so it did, even before that, for the first fishes which followed plants on land. We live on a planet where life itself is teleonomic: it looks forward, at a distance (tele) and finds out what can be changed, or, at least, managed (nomos), to invade further. This goes against the philosophical grain of Jacques Monod’s “Chance and Necessity”, which makes a big deal that life is not teleonomic. But, just as in physics there is something called “Effective Quantum Field Theory”, so should it be in philosophy: if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, flies like a duck… It should be a duck. Life is an adaptation machine. 

 That is why probes to Mars are carefully sterilized; experiences have shown that some bacteria can survive in space. Of course, space is not a niche where bacteria evolved, but some can survive there. So it is with ecological diversity (bacteria may find harder to survive a glaciation than interplanetary space). Evolved in a particular niche, a species can survive independently, as long as a big bad glacier does not come its way, crushing all in the way.

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LIFE DOES NOT JUST ADAPT, IT CREATES, EXTINGUISHING SOMETIMES ALL IN THE WAY:

Minds and lives were made by wasting the environment, and make it more complicated, make it at their service ever more. 

 Life changed the atmosphere of the planet by replacing its reducing atmosphere into oxygen laden air. Many suspect that this biological change brought “Snowball Earth” episodes, by knocking off greenhouse gases and replacing them by a nitrogen and oxygen mix (around 700 to 600 million years ago). The fist evidence for Snowball Earth were traces of glaciers in the tropics, at sea level. Later life adjusted itself to provide itself with a more comfortable environment (yes, adjustment does not necessitate consciousness). 

 Biological complexity has inertia. And biological complexity represents immense riches, because life forms have evolved many systems to handle the environment, countless environments, past and present. As the plutocrats ravage the planet, and biological diversity, we thus see that riches is not what they are truly after, whatever they claim. 

 What Pluto, the Dark Side of man, is after, is the illusion of the domineering self, because it has not embraced diversity. So it is with those who rule according to him, and his principles. When I speak about the illusion, I know what I mean: John Corzine, past head of Goldman-Sachs, past Senator of the USA, past governor of one of the richest states in the USA, New Jersey, has lost one billion, two hundred miilion dollars: Corzine went in front of Congress, to “apologize, I simply do not know where the money is”. He was playing with Italian debt. 700 trillions of credit swaps out there. Or maybe more, or maybe less. It’s all about illusions. Except for the Italians or American farmers whose money Corzine and his accomplices have devoured.

 The USA is under the illusion of energy independence, because frantic fracking is quickly augmenting the fossil fuel and gas production of the country. Damn the water table. Damn the CO2. Full fuel ahead! The oil crats of the USA are in heavens. So the USA has been blocking progress towards an effort to mitigate climate change (in a disingenuous ping pong with China, for the third climate conference in a row, one more illustration of the collaboration of the American and Chinese plutocracies). Hey, once again, never mind that the EPA has found what everybody knew, that fracking devastates the “vital groundwater” (with CH4 at saturation, benzene at 50 times maximum, and the Ph of bleach). OK, that’s in Wyoming, who cares?

 We may not want to indulge in near extinction, as during the Snowball Earth, before we can adjust to our new found powers (some of them powers of illusion). After all, some of us are conscious, endowed with our own personalities, even our own ideas, and we may be teleonomic enough to manage at a distance what is ahead without getting crushed by it…

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Patrice Ayme

How Wall Street Occupies Minds

December 4, 2011

OCCUPY WALL STREET, OR WALL STREET WILL OCCUPY YOU:

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Abstract: Obama did not do much in his first three years, perhaps mostly because the left has no coherent, or even cogent, discourse. Not to say worse. An example arises with the debt crisis. In particular, with the attitude to Europe.

Wall Street seems to have given talking points: 1) Call the debt crisis a “Euro Crisis”. 2) Faced by failure of credit… propose only the lending of more money. (See FDR below.) And those talking points, the decerebrated, or corrupt left repeats at nauseam (so it’s more than a bit unfair to accuse Obambi, standing in the headlights of history).

The most well known example of completely confused pseudo left thinking emanates from the honorable Paul Krugman, Nobel and luminary from Princeton perched on the New York Times and all over TV and the world all the time (Krugman was just revealing that he was at the G30, now presided by his friend Trichet, who just stepped down as ECB chair; Krugman has much accused Trichet of being a deflating idiot, even hours before the G30 meeting, so some tensity among the suits may have been in order).

Before we can chop off the invisible hand of the conspirators of international financial piracy, we have to see where it lurks around the cookie jar (that’s us). As this essay will reveal, the “Euro Crisis” is one more Wall Street crisis, disguised this time as a Euro crisis. Everything bad used to be France’s fault, but now the Fourth Reich looms in the distance: the Bundesbank, armed with Rafale stealth bombers.

Krugman ought to know this, that it is truly another Wall Street crisis in Euro disguise. But he wants to save what he calls the “greatest city in the world” (where he was born, and lives, New York, you know, the place where Wall Street makes sure that IMF directors are treated as the worst criminals, once one has stolen their secure electronics). As Krugman professes not to read the Wall Street Journal anymore, we will condemn him to read it. And learn.

So according to Wall Street and presidential parrots, this time Germans, French and the like are asked to pay (that is, extent credit)… For Manhattan’s high rollers.  Why? Because not only it’s better when others pay, but the USA is running out of money, not to say that the American middle class is showing signs of impatience with the gruesome occupation of the country’s resources by Pluto’s forces.

However Angela Merkel was trained for, and practiced, research in hard science. She is going to go for the facts, and for the hard solutions, as president Roosevelt did, long before she was born (FDR had been trained as de facto head of the U.S. Navy in WWI, also a hard science!)

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December 2011. The official report of the World Meteorological Organization is out. It is catastrophic. 13 of the warmest years in the last 15 years. Including the warmest, 2010, and the second warmest, 1998. We have got close to the point where rising temperatures in the Arctic will provoke massive release of so far frozen CO2 and CH4 (methane).

And what can we read in official editorial after official editorial of the Wall Street Journal? That believing in Anthropogenic Greenhouse Warming (AGW) was a religion of the past. It is important that New Yorkers think in a way compatible with their sponsors’ riches.

Wall Street has not yet been occupied by the ocean, human or aquatic, as it deserves. Yet. Although it is sure to become a polder. Meanwhile, it occupies the minds of its victims.

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WHY THE AMERICAN HYSTERIA ABOUT THE EURO?

I monitor a lot of international press. It is striking that the British, and even more the American media, are more hysterical about the “Euro Crisis” than the media of the Eurozone itself. It seems that the French press has generally much more important things to deal with, such as Syria (France is sending military equipment to the Syrian rebellion, now that the number of the assassinated is officially above 4,000).

Why is France so keen to take out one dictatorship after the other? Well, Europa needs democratic Lebensraum, as Hitler did not say. One should not forget that the USSR Russia just north, with not even two-third of French GDP, takes itself for a nuclear hyper power, when, in truth, it’s just a plutocracy (the people leading Russia, Gorbachev said on Swiss TV are not just plutocrats, but have dozens of billions stashed in places such as Switzerland).

OK, the USA is also a plutocracy, and people vote there, just as in Russia (which has its parliamentary elections on December 4). How does Putin control Russia? How does wall Street control the USA? Well, simply by controlling what people know, think, and feel.

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, in particular have led the hysteria, editorial after editorial, urging the European Central Bank to indulge in “Quantitative Easing”. The NYT even mobilized its philosophy editor to write an absurdly uninformed article about the ineptitude of the Europeans, and urge them to Quantitatively Ease. See: Opinionator | The Stone: Euro Blind (November 21, 2011).

Euro Blind“, really? Or is it you, Mr. paid-to-“philosophize” who is Dollar Obsessed? An absurdly ignorant, and arrogant, professional philosopher, urges Europeans to have the ECB print lots of money, and give it to the profligate banksters. Hey, does not New York thrive from banking, thus the New York Times, thus its “philosophy” editors? Does not the love of money primes the love of wisdom? (As we will show below, it’s complete self interest because it turns out it’s all about New York banks, indeed!)

Obama pointed out that the Europeans “had not done the work we did here in the last few years“. Namely to give all the American public money one could find to the banks, without anything in exchange. That is quite a “work“, indeed. I give to my friends and financiers, therefore I work, says the high class escort.

Because that is what was done, and not done, in the USA: giving public money to one’s sponsors and friends, without any quid pro quo, whatsoever. That is neither socialist nor capitalistic, just kleptocratic and conspiratorial. In many an empire or state of the past, such plotting would have been viewed as high treason. But we are apparently in a new paradigm. So it always is: a new paradigm, until the heads roll, as they did before. Abusing People works, until they have had enough, rise, and destroy all in the way.

Now Obama would like Europeans to do the same in the EU as what was done under Bush and Obama in the USA. A problem, of course, is that the European Union is made of an union of democracies. And that Union has put in its constitution that the central bank is not like the central bank of the USA, as Merkel pointed out. The directors of the Fed of the USA are mostly private bankers from the realm’s largest banks. For example Jamie Dimon, head of Morgan-Chase, and a love boy of the government of the USA (which made him offerings in the past, such as Bear-Sterns), sits on the Fed. A proud fox in the hen house. Obama used to call him his friend: could not hurt, until it did!

In the USA, the rescue package for banks, shadow banks, insurance companies and hedge funds was decided by a handful of employees of the plutocracy, such as Paulson and Geithner. There was no democratic consultation whatsoever (no referendum, no vote in Congress). So  much for “Democracy In America” Tocqueville was so toqué  about.

By contrast, the 17 Eurozone countries all democratically voted on the rescue package for Greece, Germany and France first. Slovakia resisted for a while, pointing out Greece was much richer, much lazier and more corrupt. Everybody listened to these Slovak objections carefully, and no doubt they have been incorporated in the thinking of all and the stiffening of the Franco-German spine about what to do next. Even the Greeks had to listen to what the Slovaks said (as the Slovaks could have blocked the rescue and default package). So the Greeks learn about themselves, and the error of their ways.

Then, after the government fell, the Slovak Parliament voted for rescuing Hellas. But, fortunately for Hellas, it is been rescued under some conditions. Hélas, those may not be strict enough: why do the richest in Greece pay no taxes? Why do Greek MPs get large brand new Mercedes sedans, on the public dime? (And now that mean on the dime of Slovaks, among others!)

But let’s go back to the American hysteria about the “euro”. What’s behind it? Wall Street, of course, as I have tried to explain forever. Well I need allies. I find them where I can. Nothing like going into the lion’s den to find out about the lion. Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2011:

So Who Is Too Big to Fail Now?

Here’s an irony Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman can probably live without.

In early October, Morgan came under extreme pressure, largely due to questions about the firm’s exposure to French banks. Although that has since eased, especially in the wake of Wednesday’s central-bank-induced markets rally, the cost of insuring against default by Morgan is still elevated—and remains higher than the cost of protection on big French banks themselves.

 Morgan Stanley’s cost of insuring against default is higher than the cost of protection on big French banks, Heard on the Street columnist David Reilly reports on Markets Hub.

It cost about $446,000 Thursday to insure $10 million of Morgan debt, according to Markit. This compared with $335,000 for Société Générale. On average, Morgan’s CDS cost is about $154,000 higher than that of the big three French banks—BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and SocGen—more than three times the average premium in 2011.

In this, Morgan isn’t alone. The cost of insuring against default at Goldman Sachs is also higher than that of the French banks. That in part may reflect that the two U.S. firms are brokers, rather than more diversified commercial banks. But credit-default swaps for Bank of America are also more expensive, while the cost of protection for Citigroup is almost equal to that of BNP.

That is somewhat curious given French banks have more exposure to France and troubled euro-zone countries.”

And the Wall Street Journal to argue that the big French banks are too big to fail, whereas not so for the big American banks:

“…the higher cost of CDS for the U.S. brokers hints that markets may no longer think they are firmly in the too-big-to-fail club. Although they were essentially bailed out in 2008, both firms today face a far different, and more hostile, political climate, stoked by both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.

Additionally, the Dodd-Frank Act has made it more difficult for the U.S. government to inject capital into struggling firms. For their part, regulators are focused on mechanisms to allow for the orderly wind-down of a troubled institution.

Granted, hedge funds and other traders may feel a greater need to hedge their business links with Goldman and Morgan—meaning more demand for CDS. BofA, meanwhile, is contending with a raft of U.S. legal issues. And the French banks have higher credit ratings. So, too, does France, which is still triple-A, unlike the U.S.”

So here it is, from Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal. Murdoch, not Marx.

The USA money machine, the USA plutocracy is on the ropes. Why? Because both the Tea Party people (by opposition to their sponsors, such as the Koch brothers, super billionaire heirs much vested in traditional polluting industries), and Occupy Wall Street have understood that the government of the USA is little more than a tool of the plutocracy.

As a European official pointed out, the Eurozone has spent only so far 2% of its GDP supporting the financial pirates banks, whereas Britain and the USA spent 13% of GDP doing so. So the Eurozone has actually still a lot of firepower left.

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IS KRUGMAN PAID TO GUSH ABSURDITIES?

I like Krugman, because, not only he is very intelligent, but, when called to order, he can think openly and constructively. However his primal “Keynesianism” (throw money to banks, and everything will turn good) has been invaded by Europhobia (not to say Germanophobia). Here he goes in “Killing The Euro?” (December 2, 2011):

“Can the euro be saved? Not long ago we were told that the worst possible outcome was a Greek default. Now a much wider disaster seems all too likely.

True, market pressure lifted a bit on Wednesday after central banks made a splashy announcement about expanded credit lines (which will, in fact, make hardly any real difference). But even optimists now see Europe as headed for recession, while pessimists warn that the euro may become the epicenter of another global financial crisis.

How did things go so wrong? The answer you hear all the time is that the euro crisis was caused by fiscal irresponsibility. Turn on your TV and you’re very likely to find some pundit declaring that if America doesn’t slash spending we’ll end up like Greece. Greeeeeece!

But the truth is nearly the opposite. Although Europe’s leaders continue to insist that the problem is too much spending in debtor nations, the real problem is too little spending in Europe as a whole. And their efforts to fix matters by demanding ever harsher austerity have played a major role in making the situation worse.”

OK, I will let pass the usual confusion Krugman is affected by between a currency, the euro, and a banking crisis doubled with a sovereign and private debt crisis. If anything, the euro is too strong, not too weak!

That is what Krugman claims: “Too little spending in Europe as a wholeharsher austerity have played a major role in making the situation worse.

One can use president Roosevelt to answer Krugman. Roosevelt used to make fun of the speculators and “money changers” who proposed to borrow more after borrowing too much. How does the honorable Paul Krugman’s proposal differ from that?
Well, it does not.
FDR came with an investment plan. Then he spent. Oh, president FDR had started by closing the banks, whereas most of what Krugman has proposed is to do the exact opposite, send more money to the same corrupt banks, no conditions imposed, a la Geithner (“Quantitative easing”).

Obama tini tiny real stimulus was drowned in a much larger pseudo stimulus. The USA need a real stimulus, but no detailed proposal exist. I have long ago proposed to mimic what advanced European countries do (and what China has tried to duplicate on an emergency, nearly comical basis): augment the energetic efficiency of the economy (this includes weatherization, micro energy generation, high speed trains, etc.)

Here is (part of) what our hero (just for this) F. D. Roosevelt said in his First Inaugural Address:

Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply.

Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men. True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence.

They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish. The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.”

“Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money?” This is exactly what Quantitative Easing is all about. How does that differ from what Krugman, the voice of the economic left in the USA, keeps on proposing?

Another point which thoroughly escapes Krugman: “harsher austerity have played a major role in making the situation worse.” True, to a great extent, if one ignores international airports built in the middle of nowhere in Spain, and the like.

Everybody in Europe knows that Germany, after re-unification, applied ferocious austerity, until she strayed, hand in hand with France, and went above the 3% deficit limit imposed by the Eurozone rule (as Merkel observed loudly).

German austerity was shared by all in German society, including the plutocratic class. Having union representatives on the boards of company helped. The pressure was relentless, and lasted two decades (and counting!) Two decades in which German real estate prices went down ever more, slowly, and steadily (that means German workers could afford better housing, not the cheap thrill of owning enormous debts).

And it is possible to compare: France played unfortunate partner in a doubly blind experiment. As Germany plunged in austerity, re-industrializing, teaching her workers to become more knowledgeable, and thus efficient, instead of just firing them, France splurged, introducing the “35 hour work week“, which was a distraction catastrophic to French GDP, while de-industrializing according to the hallucinogenic doctrine of the New Age familiar to Americans (industry is passé). French real estate bubbled up, just short of the extravagant London propelled bubble in Britain. Parisians cannot afford Paris.

Meanwhile the German state(s) extracted concessions from German companies (various advantages, as long as they invested in Germany). Also Germany had a massive renewable energy program (in spite of being as north as Canada, Germany is the world number one solar power, and now a German dominated firm, Desert Tech, will install 5,000 megawatt solar south of the Atlas mountains in Morocco).

Last but not least: Germany played several times with massive monetary expansion in the past. In the early 1920s, under Schacht (a corrupt banker with a 1899 CE PhD who was JP Morgan’s friend and creature), Germany tried to avoid paying reparations to France, Britain and Belgium which its army had deliberately devastated, by igniting  massive inflation. That turned out rather self defeating.

The following is completely obvious, and even Niall Ferguson has presented the argument (in the Pity of War, 1998). German inflation in the 1920s was not caused by reparations, but rather was a deliberate political decision on the part of the German government (Schacht, who then headed the nominally independent central bank) to employ it to extinguish World War I debts and reparations.

In the 1930s Nazi Germany opted for a massive spending as it scrambled to make war, not love. The same Schacht as before, the creature of unoccupied Wall Street, told his boss Hitler that would not do. Schacht had himself, with his Wall Street friends, had made it so that Hitler became Kanzler, so his clout with Hitler was enormous.

Hitler told Schacht not to worry: there was plenty of money to be found among his opponents, Jews, and various countries (cooperative, like the USA, Sweden, or Switzerland, or uncooperative countries that would be pillaged). So there is a direct relationship between massive deficit spending, and “The Holocaust”. Germans remember all this, even if they do not masterly sing about it on all rooftops of Nuremberg.

Meanwhile France opted for austerity and proper social policies (now copied worldwide, such as mandatorily paid vacations). Too much austerity by half, as France ought to have gone to war to save the Spanish republic. But then of course, the American propaganda machine from Wall Street, would have accused France to be blood thirsty and to have broken its wonderful Third Reich toy!

Germany, and France, have had the motivation to meditate all this carefully. They deduce that blindly giving more money to financiers, the ones who caused the crisis, will not work, just as it did not work in the 1920s and 1930s.

France, and Britain, also remember very well that they made a huge blunder to have not gone to war against dictators early on in the 1930s. Hence their tough line in Libya, Syria, Iran… Keeping in mind that Afghanistan is a completely different thing, just indulged in to humor the unreasonable Americans: not only did the USA attack first, but Karzai is a Sharia wielding corrupt strongman. OK, maybe strong is not the right word.

In the last few days, Iranian “students” attacked the British embassy. The embassies of the Netherlands, Germany, France  have been discreetly evacuated…

Live, learn, and act accordingly. May we now restore the temple of civilization to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

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Patrice Ayme

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