Archive for August, 2012

Record Arctic Melt Down

August 28, 2012

ARCTIC SEA ICE IS PLUNGING BELOW 2007 RECORD LOW

Sea Ice is now the lowest in maybe fifteen thousand years (and possibly 100,000 years). Just the beginning of the nuclearized Jurassic.

Ice August 26 2012 Versus Minimum 1980-2010

Notice that Greenland is sticking out like a sore, frozen thumb. Ready to melt, obviously. When the remaining huge white, reflecting expanses will be replaced by dark, light absorbing surfaces (that’s why they will be dark), the heating of the Arctic will accelerate, and become irreversible.

(I am using the adjective “heating” on purpose; it’s exactly how the average rise of maybe twenty degrees Celsius which is coming for the poles, should be qualified.)

With two to three more weeks left in the melt season, Arctic sea ice is certain to fall well below 4 million square kilometers. The previous minimum was the September 18, 2007 extent of 4.17 million square kilometers. The six lowest ice extents in the satellite record have occurred in the last six years (from 2007 to 2012).

And it’s not just the Arctic. In Antarctica, the temperature of the  giant peninsula down there has augmented by at least three degrees Celsius, and plants have started to grow around scientific stations (feeling culprit, the naïve scientists are trying to remove the grasses by hand). In Greenland, forests have been planted, and harvested, for the first time ever.  

Arctic Sea Ice in 2012 is less than half of the minimum extent of 1980. Everything indicates that, within a few years, ice will be at the lowest extent in three million years.

Another drastic fact: in mid July 2012 all of Greenland’s surface was melting, including at Summit Station (up at 3,216 meters altitude, 10,551 feet). Records from ice cores shows that this happens in the average ONCE every 150 years. Should it happen again next year, many of Greenland’s glaciers would become unhinged.  

Why? Because the water flows down “moulins“, all the way down the ice cap, 3,000 meters down, two miles down (to speak in units the Romans used to have before the planet went metric, except for a few savages in the woods). There the water flows below the ice, in channels (in Antarctica, there are hundreds of lakes, 4,000 meters down, some huge, up to 160 kilometers long, and below the icecap water flows from one lake to the next… rather ominously).

Should there be way too much water, it will have to break out of the channels, and force itself more below the icecap, and lubricate it from below.

Entire glaciers have suddenly slipped in Greenland, as if they were rumbling snakes come alive, generating up to Richter 6 quakes. Ice quakes.

Now what’s next? Well, as there is less sea ice than ever, solar radiation will penetrate the sea, even during Fall 2012, and warm it deep down inside. Even ultra violet light can penetrate sea for dozens of meters. So all this solar radiation, usually bouncing on the sea ice back to space, will dissipate itself deep down in the ocean, warming it up. In depth. The huge caloric capacity of the ocean will guarantee a milder winter, and even thinner ice, comes next Winter, and thus an even faster melt, starting next March.

All the more since solar activity is on the upswing (part of the sun’s eleven years solar cycle, which reached its nadir last year). So we can be sure that, come next July, all of Greenland’s surface will be melting again, including at Summit Station. And the glaciers will come unhinged.

What to do? Beyond getting properly informed about the unfolding disaster?

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FIRST MOVE TO SAVE THE WORLD. A HEAVY CARBON TAX:

First one has to understand that the exponentially rising greenhouse gas curve is completely amoral. In the deepest sense of what “moral” means. See “Immoral CO2 Curve“. (See note.)  

To curtail the CO2 rise is very simple: just put up a hefty carbon tax. If fossil fuel energy is expensive inside the free market, the free market will adapt, and replace it by sustainable energy. Right now fossil fuels and their users are heavily subsidized. Strike those subsidies.

Sweden introduced a carbon tax in 1990. Not only it did not adversely affect economic growth, but now bio mass is massively used in Sweden, thanks to the tax. Most European countries have inchoating, or partial carbon taxes (even Britain). Even in the USA, the San Francisco Bay Area air quality management passed a (local) carbon tax in 2008. A question of intellect reaching a critical mass around UC Berkeley, UCSF, Stanford, the Silicon Valley.

The USA has done its best to block any worldwide carbon tax. The idea of such a carbon tax would be to tax any product according to how much CO2 was created to produce, transport and distribute it. Such a tax would lower the mercury in fish and the Arctic (which is condensed mercury vapor in colder regions from coal burning, mostly in China).

A worldwide carbon tax would not just lower the CO2 and give a chance to sustainable energies, but also a carbon tax would lower unemployment considerably in developed countries (good are transported using what is, by far, the dirtiest oil, bunk oil, being the cheapest and only giant ship engines can devour it).

So why is a carbon tax not implemented? Mostly through opposition of the USA. Because those who truly rule the USA make USA politicians understand they should not disrupt the entangled miracles that feed them so well.

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CO2 PERPETRATORS ARE MOSTLY ANGLO-SAXON COLONISTS & THEIR SERFS:

One has next to understand that it is mostly the Anglo-Saxon colonies, which have created a mood of CO2 criminality. Here is the CO2 pollution of the USA: 18 tons per person per year. Here is Australia: 20 tons. And Canada: 16 tons. Canada celebrated its choice of the Dark Side by quitting the Kyoto protocol, the only country to have done such a thing. Why? Because not only Canada is not reducing its CO2 emissions, it’s planning to augment them as much as it can. Federal Canada is hell bent to exploit its tar sands. That means burning twice its tar sands, to extract all the money it can from hell itself (tar is so viscous one needs to heat those sands really hard; oil companies are hush about how exactly they heat up and extract the oil from the sands).

Provinces such as Quebec and British Columbia, with splendid unspoiled nature, and no fossil fuels, have implemented local carbon taxes.

By contrast to the federal behavior of the USA, Canada and Australia: Britain pollutes with 9 tons of CO2 per year, per person. Hint: there are hefty fuel taxes in Europe, including in Britain. The Europeans have been trying much harder, for much longer. Big industrial Germany is at 9.3 tons, Italy at 7 tons, France at 6.3. Switzerland, about twice richer than the USA per head, is at 6 tons of CO2. Japan, another industrial heavy weight is at 8.6 tons of CO2 per year.

So why does the USA block a carbon tax? One has to understand the USA is an imperial plutocracy made of entangled components: the banks, their banksters, and shady financial plotters, the Military Industrial Complex (MIC), the fossil fuel lobby, the plutocratic universities. The various components have a vested interest in the CO2 exponential, and even the CO2 catastrophe, and they reign in Washington.

For example some have evaluated the price of gasoline at 14 dollars a gallon, when hidden subsidies are incorporated, such as the cost of the various military programs that allow to control the Middle East (and, indirectly Venezuela, etc.) Of course the MIC has interest that this spending keeps on going. And even countries such as Israel, a sort of land locked USA carrier, receiving, with its Egyptian buddy, billions from the USA, are all entangled in the USA MIC and fuel lobby.

The plutocrats have lined up all the colonist Anglo-Saxon sheep, and taught them to bleat non sense. One can read deep consideration on why it is human nature that the Anglo-Saxons ought to use so much more oil than anybody else. Soon the bleating ones will be singing that the ice is not melting, it’s just going to heavens. Fossil fuel lobbyists even sing in unison that the more CO2, the better, CO2 is life sustaining. They congratulate each other for such strokes of genius, bleating even louder.

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THE USA HAS GOT WORSE:

A fascinating experience in the USA is to visit a truck parking area where dozens of giant gas guzzling trucks can be parked, all running their engines. For hours, with no one inside (the truckers are partying somewhere else). A curious religion of waste erected as a basic expression of pride and freedom. What I deduce from that sort of scene, when I have recovered from the breathing difficulties that cause my brain to nearly shut down, is that the price of oil is ridiculously too low in the USA.   

In a country such as Switzerland, running a vehicle on idle is against the law. In countries with highly taxed fuel, it’s not an economic proposition. European car makers have even invented “stop-start” engines, which cut off, as soon as the car does not require traction. That saves up to 10% fuel (engines have to be redesigned so that secondary systems such as cooling can run on electric engines, as they traditionally run directly on the combustion engine). One may wonder why it is that the USA poisons the atmosphere twice more, per person, than Britain. Why is Britain so much more reasonable?

The fate of the gasoline tax is indicative of how regressive the USA has become. In constant dollars, that tax used to be much higher in the past, although then, people were driving gas-guzzlers. What seems to have changed is that people used to believe much more in sacrificing much more for the common good. Too long frequenting R. Reagan and G.W. Bush?

And the gasoline tax used to be high, just to pay for roads. Now we have a good reason to bring up the tax: Arctic sea ice is now at its lowest ever. And yet CO2 production in the USA peaked in 2005 (just before the Greater Depression took hold).

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WHY ARE THE BRITS SO CO2 MORAL, & THE USA  SO CULPRIT?

Britain has learned to fear hubris.

It has to do with Britain suffering terribly in WWI and WWII. The British elite knows that hubris is the source of most flaws that affect civilization, because that is what the Greeks believed. Hitler’s hubris that he could free himself from his American masters’ oil, and invade all places with fossil fuels such as Poland, Romania, the USSR, Iraq, was what set him on a collision course with France, igniting World War Two…

Britain knows hubris well, and knows it can work for quite a while. Britain’s murderous expansion in Ireland and then in North America was driven by the “West Country Men” the plutocrats who ruled England in the Elizabethan age. That spirit of relentless exploitation was leveraged further when tobacco growing in America made them rich and the Dutch took control of England, leveraging the bank of England and the Royal Navy to the hilt, in the hope of subduing their creator (at the time autocratic) France… And that in turn also worked.

All fair and good… Until the “West Country Men” exploitative logic backfired, when Twentieth Century USA plutocrats learned to use it against Europe. England, that, ever since Guillaume Le Conquerant had created it, had been obsessed to prevent the rise of a super power in Europe, found itself the pawn of the one, on the other side of the pond. The one that Britain and France had given birth to.

The British started to feel progressively, same as a lot in Europe, as the new Indians. A change of paradigm was in order, and the French ultraconservative approach, to husband one’s resources, won over. Same in Germany (this also explains why the German birth rate has collapsed). And all over Europe.

Where does the ultraconservative French approach comes from? From the fact that, from government policy through the Middle Ages, by 1600 CE, French peasants were small owners of what they cultivated (the opposite of the situation in England, ruled by enormous land owners). The French peasant-owners were no non sense, they were very close to their sous ( a word denoting money that evolved from the Roman “solidus”). The first thing they did was to curb their birthrate, to protect their resources (as they owned them). When Louis XVI, in an astounding access of hubris, idealism and naivety, spent money, trillions, that he did not have, to make a revolution in America, he lost the support of French peasants..

So doing nothing about CO2 is, first of all, an Anglo-Saxon “West Country Men” led phenomenon. It’s a mental world of ravenous exploitation united by hunting Mr. Assange, Mr. Manning and denying that the ice is melting, while having an open season on Iraqis, Afghans, and singing the praises of global, delirious finance.

Unfortunately the USA-Canada-Australia block has 370 million gas guzzling souls, and their collaborator is called China. All together this axis of fossils produces about two-thirds of the world CO2.

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PLOTTING AGAINST THE MOTHER OF THE GODS:

For the Greeks, Gaia, Earth, was the mother of all gods (including Zeus-Deus). Great powers have always conspired to further their rule. As the power of human technology has exploded, those conspiracies have reached new heights (the arch example being Auschwitz). Now they involve conspiring against the entire biosphere.

Some will say I am going too far by supposing that letting the CO2 catastrophe run its course is part of a conspiracy. But the facts support this. For years great billionaires of the USA, such as the (fossil fuel) Koch brothers have paid professors in what are supposedly the world’s best universities to come up with obviously false science (like CO2 does not cause warming, and there is no warming, etc.)

Here is an anecdote showing that the plutocrats who leads the USA really view hell as a friend. For years USA taxpayers have given, through their government, hundreds of millions of dollars to the Pakistani theocrats to make nuclear bombs. Very strange but true (and reminiscent of the USA support for Hitler!). An excellent proof, though, that the Washington leaders (whoever they truly are) see great opportunities in future crises, such as a nuclear war in Asia. Let alone some terrorists getting their hands on a nuke (of which Pakistan has more than 100). So that they see great opportunity in the mess the CO2 catastrophe will entail, is a small logical step to make.

In this general mood, a melting Arctic crisis spells an even greater opportunity. And it’s coming, much faster than people expect. When there is no more Arctic sea ice in summer, it’s just a matter of a very short time before there will be no more in winter. Because the ocean will warm up irreversibly (while cold sweet light water on top will shut down the Gulf Stream beyond Iceland).

In the Jurassic not only were there polar dinosaurs in Alaska, but crocodiles in Greenland.  Some will scoff, and say it’s an opportunity: Washington will be among the places to drown. Actually fossil fuel and mining companies are scrambling to exploit the parts of the Arctic freed of ice. However the whole planet’s climate will lurch into the Jurassic. In a few decades.

Most of the Earth’s greenhouse is from water vapor (about two third). As the oceans get warmer, steam content is going up. Some scientists say it’s already 5% up. Steam increasing fast is one of the NON linear effects that is going to make planetary heating exponentiate.

The planet, as it is, function as a giant Carnot engine. The moving parts of the engine are the sea currents and the wind. The expansion and contraction come from heating and cooling sea and air. All this will come to a halt as the cold sinks the poles, disappear. Thus a lot of sustainable energy will disappear.

Excepting man, any exponential phenomenon is an immoral phenomenon.

***

Patrice Ayme

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Note: Why is the rising greenhouse gas curve exponentiating? Because the CO2 equivalent gases brings up the temperature, which then brings up the water vapor, at a rate proportional to the temp rise! (Thanks to Paul Handover for chastising me for a careless version of this statement)

Currency Crisis In A Nutshell

August 24, 2012

INFLATION-DEFLATION IS THE PROBLEM, & COMMAND THE SOLUTION:

Abstract: A situation similar to the one we have today developed in the Third Century of Imperial Rome. Rome’s economy had outgrown its currency. There were three solutions to the problem. One was chosen by the Tang, paper. Another by the Franks, invasion.

Rome, under Diocletian, unable to grow the currency, chose the third way. Command and control of a barter economy. So, ironically, those who advocate the gold standard in the USA, such as Paul Ryan (candidate VP) are partisan of a Soviet style economy. Instead we have to make banks and financiers regurgitate the money they create just for themselves.

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Starting in the Third Century, Rome, the world’s largest economy, was increasingly run on the gold standard. With disastrous results.

Gold Solidus: JULIAN THE PHILOSOPHER EMPEROR.

Caption reads: FLavius CLaudius IVLIA NVS (Flavius Claudius JULIA NUS) P P AVG (Princeps Populus AUGustus). VIRTVS EXERCI-TVS ROMANORVM (Strength Roman Army). (Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.) 

A Franco-Australian collaboration on Greenland ice cores showed that from 366 BCE to after 36 CE, a period when Rome was at its peak, 70 percent of the global atmospheric lead pollution came from the Roman operated Rio Tinto mines in southwestern Spain (that can be seen from some characteristic isotopes ratio).

The Rio Tinto mining region was the richest source of silver in Antiquity. Some 6.6 million tons of slag were left by Roman smelting operations there. Rio Tinto was exploited by slaves with extremely short life spans. It was a vision of hell, the sky was black, fires everywhere, to the horizon. The rio ran red, still does.

The Romans worked Rio Tinto until Rio Tinto was exhausted with the technology they had (shortly after 36 CE). The mine re-opened in recent times, with powerful machines replacing slaves (and ‘Rio Tinto’ is well known to precious metal investors). 

The demand for silver increased dramatically after precious metal coinage was introduced in Greece around 650 BCE (although Sparta insisted to use iron for coinage: that was paper money, Fiat Currency, Spartan style). Ionian Greece, in particular Phocaea, and Lydia used Electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold, silver and other metals.

Interestingly, judging from the Greenland ice cores, the peak of Roman mining pollution was in 79 BCE. That is nearly two centuries before the maximum of the extent of the Roman empire under Trajan (originally a Spanish general) and his successors, the Antonine emperors. 79 BCE was not the peak of the Roman economy, that was reached later. But it is about when Sulla became dictator. This is an important hint.

Just when the commons ran out of coinage, greedy plutocrats monopolized worth. A co-dependency pattern repeated nowadays.

The smelting of lead-bearing ore declined sharply after the fall of the Roman Empire but gradually increased during the Renaissance of the Middle Ages. By 1523 CE, the last year for the Greenland ice analysis, atmospheric lead pollution had reached nearly the same level recorded for the year 79 BCE, at the Roman peak.

So what happened? Rome used three precious metals: gold, silver, and copper. The first was used to make a coin, the Aureus, renamed the Solidus under Diocletian.

The Roman currency crisis of the Third Century was caused by Rome being, de facto, on the gold standard. The Romans had run out of the most precious metals to make small coins with. That left a currency too small for the growing Roman economy. Diluting the precious metal content of the coinage commoners had to use was no solution: it created obdurate inflation (while the gold solidus kept on being made and used for another 7 centuries, it was used only for big transactions).

Diocletian and his colleague “solved” the crisis with a command barter economy. In other words, Diocletian invented the Soviet system. So ironically, that is what going back to the gold standard would force the economy into.

Around 284 CE, the Roman economy had become too big for the amount of currency that could be created from precious metals. Emperor Diocletian solved this with a command barter economy. Even armies started to get paid in kind (say with food instead of coinage; that led to a de-professionalization of the army; soldiers had to marry and live with their families; the Franks under Charles Martel, four centuries later, would re-professionalize the army by getting precious metals in churches).

In the Seventh Century the Tang dynasty in China solved the problem in the modern way, by creating a “fiat currency” from paper notes. (It would lead to catastrophic inflation under the Yuan, six centuries later, and a reversion to metal, when the silver from Potosi became available). In the Eight Century, the Franks solved the currency problem for their growing economy by going where the Romans had not dared to go,  and seizing silver mines in Eastern Europe.

For all its grand philosophy and thinking, Athens would probably not have amounted to much, if not for its silver mines. It’s actually the discovery of a new silver mine that allowed Themistocles to propose to build a 200 trireme fleet to fight off the Persians with. Thanks to her silver, Athens could buy a lot, including wheat far away, in the Black Sea region (hence the far flung Athenian empire).

We are presently in a crisis similar to what struck Rome, a dearth of money for the real economy. Indeed,  banks have diverted money creation away from the real economy, which is starved of investments (that is money and credit, from banks, for private industry).

The situation is even worse in Europe. In the Eurozone, states are supposed to be borrowing from banks. And the banks are unwilling to lend, as they have better things to do with their money, such as investing in derivatives. The result is a dearth of Euros (relative to the size of the Eurozone economy) and an overvaluation of the euro relative to the USA Dollar.

At least in the USA, the UK and Japan, central banks create as much fiat currency as needed. it’s all backed up by the mighty Pentagon, creating a virtuous, and, or vicious circle (depending upon one’s perspective).

In early 2011, Mr. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, gave Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, a warning: “There is nothing more insidious that a country can do to its citizens, than debase its currency.”

Never mind that France clung to the gold standard in the 1930s much longer than the USA, Britain and Nazi Germany, with disastrous results. This essay demonstrates something even more insidious that a country can do to its citizens: not having enough currency. And this is what is happening now. So Mr. Ryan is as wrong as wrong can be.

The unwillingness of banks to lend to the real economy, and the division of the economy between real and virtual makes us presently suffer both from deflation (in the real economy) and inflation (in the fake economy)

The way out is to print more, but, using command to send money that is created to the real economy and not to the fake world of derivatives and the like (as is presently happening). A good way to start is by taxing financial transactions, just like any other transaction is taxed in the real economy. The French financial transaction tax passed in France on August 1, 2012.

However banks did not fall on the heads of the French. According to The Economist, August 18, 2012, the French real estate market is still twice more overvalued than the British real estate market. In Britain, finance reigns, contributing 10% of GDP, in endless conspiracies.

And the other great temple of greedy financiers who give society meaning, the USA, sees, according to The Economist, a real estate market undervalued by 20%. Thus the real estate index is at 80 in the USA, and 145, in France.

Now remember that the wealth of common people is mostly in real estate. Hence a country where finance is repressed, such as France, sees much more wealth going to commoners than it does in the USA.

Some are sure to come up with GDP per capita at this point, and point out that the USA GDP is larger than the French. But that means nothing: a country with more traffic jams and expensive health care and education will see a big GDP, just like somebody with dilated cardiomyopathy, will have an enormously enlarged heart.

(Moreover the French GNP numbers are 10% higher than the GDP numbers…)

And it gets worse, because the French true ownership rate is higher than that of the USA. There is only that much wealth to go around (as the Gini Index observes). If most of the wealth goes to plutocrats, it does not go to the People, and vice versa.

Conclusion: The People on which the Wall Street empire reigns is naked, and that is because the financiers stole it. At least, relative to the French. Everything is relative, as long as there is life and it breathes… A Soviet style economy, as unknowingly advocated by the likes of Mr. Ryan, would bring with it the attending ominous fate of tyranny and theocracy (Stalin, Ibn Saud, Putin, etc.)

To come back to the situation in Rome, the increasing debasement of the Denarius, the common currency, relatively to the 80% pure gold Solidus could have been solved by introducing paper money. But that would have required a stronger state. It was, precisely, an occasion to get a stronger state. The Tang were able to organize a paper money currency, precisely because they had a strong state, with formidable sovereigns such as empress Wei.

Rome did not seize the opportunity to go to paper money. instead Rome went for theocracy, and its living descendants are Putin’s Russia, and various Islam theocracies, wobbling between cretinism and civil war.

And thus what the fanatics of the gold standard are proposing is actually a weaker state. It does make sense: most of the right wingers in the USA who are for the gold standard are also proposing to weaken the state.

They much prefer the jungle, and its law. 

***

Patrice Ayme

NO LOVE, NO MIND

August 21, 2012

LOVE IS ALL ABOUT MIND MELDING…

And Mind Melding Is What Makes Us Possible.

The question has long been asked: what is love, where does it come from? But the real question is: what is man, where does it come from? And the answer is love.

I do not allude here to the silly confusion between love and sex called, rather pathetically, “making love”. At best, it has to do with the amplification oxytocin provides with, and it’s a sideshow; fishes do it.

Love in full is parental love, mammalian style.  

That does involve oxytocin (and vasopressin), sure. But love, in advanced species, goes well beyond chemistry, or biology. It involves intelligence, logic itself. The chemical intervenes just to amplify, and stabilize, the logical. And it is pretty obvious why.

Homo Sapiens Sapiens is the official name of the species. Sapiens Sapiens: Wise Wise. Where does all that wisdom comes from? Love. Facts are mostly learned. Logic is learned, like anything else. Wisdom is learned, even more than anything else.

And how was most of this learning achieved? From others, and for others. What motivated the teachers, the parents? Love. What mostly motivated those who learned? Love.

What one learns depends upon one’s environment. Famous experiences from  the 1970s have shown that kittens brought up in an unnatural visual environment do not see properly. Their visual neurons are abnormal. Kittens reared in a world of vertical lines do not have any neuron responding to anything within 30 degrees of the horizontal. (They need 5 months in a normal environment to start to see what is horizontal!)

In other words, neurobiology is made from what’s out there (the idea is at least as old as Ramon y Cajal, the Spanish discoverer of neurons, a century ago).

This generalizes to many mental behaviors, and much mental infrastructure. True, one can learn logic, octopus style, by making little experiments at the bottom of the sea. But that carries only that far.

Interacting with the material world does not teach high level Machiavellianism, the gist of social intelligence. And indeed, although cephalopods are intelligent, they have not developed high social intelligence as, say, whales or primates. (Although cephalopods are very social, their lives are very short, they just don’t have the time to be taught by fellow cephalopods; an aspect of the connection between longevity and wisdom; so their brain/body mass ratio is between cold and warm blooded animals; it’s also probably why their brains did not grow much in the last 400 million years, whereas warm blooded social animals are launched in a brain size race).

To see with one’s heart, to have a heart that can see, one needs to be exposed to all the emotional lines imaginable. Otherwise, just as neurons reading horizontal lines do not appear in a world of vertical lines, so will it be with emotions, or other stimuli. Presenting a growing mind with a mutilated world fabricates a mutilated neurobiology.

The mutilated world can be physically mutilated, as with the cats with an amputated visual environment. But if the mental environment is emotionally, logically or experientally mutilated, it’s the same, and it’s worse in humans. For example the chidren of abused people tend to become themselves abusers.

One thing man did when selecting dogs was to evolve animals who are eager to find out the cues that human eyes indicate. In other words, animals eager to meld minds. This is reinforced by an expectation of love, which is necessary as most wild animals interpret direct eye contact as proximal to attack.

High social intelligence is taught by love, for love, through love. High social intelligence makes very complex, caring societies possible. But not just that. It makes technology and science possible.

How? High social intelligence involves Machiavellian Intelligence. Machiavellian Intelligence is, basically, and in its most general sense, the ability to compute with love (real, fake, suspected, or suspicious).

Machiavellian intelligence rests upon, and demonstrates, all day long, that infinitesimal causes, properly piled up, can have enormous effects. This is the hint, the motivation, the inspiration, that entices to create logic, science and technology, thus the human universe, possible. Man without logic, science and technology is nothing. Man simply cannot even survive in nature without technology, ever since stone weapons have been wielded.

I claim that Homo’s social subtlety was the paradigm for science.

Indeed, that infinitesimal causes, properly piled up, can have enormous effects, is the gist of infinitesimal and integral calculus, and the principle on which experimental and theoretical sciences rest: from the apparently neglectable, experimentally or logically, the essence springs forth. (An example is that if one contradiction arises in a logical system, the whole thing is invalidated.)

What we call love is the sensation we experience when our mind is working properly, that is, socially enough to learn most of what it knows from society (as it is congenitally programmed to do).

Love is about mind melding. Love is what makes mind melding possible. Culture is one aspect of mind melding. So is one’s entire emotional system.

To say that love brings the oxytocin up, explains how attachment is amplified, but it does not explain why attachment happens.

Attachment happens, and it is so strong, because minds are mostly programmed by the environment provided to them. OK, in the case of cephalopods the sea itself can provide much. In the case of social insects, a few simple behaviors are easily produced.

But advanced brainy animals have much more sophisticated behaviors. And only that very sophisticated environment called love can provide it.

Our brains have reward centers all over. My guess is that they are set-up so that enriching input from another mind is most appreciated, once basic physiological needs are satisfied.

Without love we would be nothing much. We would not even know how to see or think in a human way. And certainly we would not know how to feel correctly. Most of these behaviors are learned… from the loving environment provided by caregivers. And they are socially learned, and they can only be socially learned because our care givers were motivated to do their job well, by that particular organization of neurobiology found in advanced brains that we call love.

Thus there is symmetry breaking between the Good Lord and the Dark Side. The Good Lord, Love, makes us possible. Love is our ground state (to use the Quantum analogy). The Dark Side is just something that is sometimes necessary.

Hence a polity should not rest too much on the Dark Side: it’s not our creator. This is the fundamental reason that makes plutocratic or cannibalistic societies so little creative that they always meet an ominous fate, in short order. And also why they contributed so little to civilization.

This philosophical observation has a strong bearing on politics. It means that society has to be built on love first, not profit, or an ill defined “market”. It means that the economic set-ups based on exploitation strategies (that brought us Anglo-Saxon empires and Russia) are suspect.

This is something the Roman Republic, tough as nail, had understood perfectly well. It was built mostly defensively, around the idea that the simplest version of love inside the Republic was the ground state. They called it the law. And thus endures the Roman Republic to this day, at least in the spirit of our laws.

It also means that any other sentient species, long ago, in a galaxy far away, would also have been built first, out of love… At least for itself. Culture is impossible without a cultivator. And why to cultivate minds, if not out of love?

We love, we have been loved, therefore we think.

***

Patrice Ayme

Drugged-Out Mutant Olympics?

August 14, 2012

RAINING LOGIC ON A PLUTOCRATIC PARADE?

When It’s Too Good To Be True, It’s Too Bad To Be Swallowed.

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Abstract: Drug usage is pervasive in sports… In some countries. That seems clear from the outsized results of some particular countries at the Olympics.  Yesterday sport medals were all about the DDR and the USSR, now it’s all about… (I stop here to not displease the corporate sponsors some readers may adulate…)

Solution? The Biological Passport used now for the Tour de France. Check anybody, any time. Worldwide. Some may say it will take manpower, but is not there an unemployment crisis?

That’s not all. As Nature puts it on July 19, 2012: “Are the games in fact a showcase for hardworking ‘mutants‘? And if Olympic rule-makers admit that the genetic landscape is uneven, should they then test every athlete and hold separate competitions for the genetically ungifted?”

Finally, having discarded colossal, jingoistic naivety, why not to embrace humanly engineered enhancement? Or is embracing honesty in sports a step in the wrong direction, that of eyes wide open, the one global plutocracy reviles?

***

Ah, the Olympics. I was listening to the announcements in London, and a young citizen of the USA, a distant relative, rose and asked her mother in an irritated voice:”What language do they speak?“. The mom said:”I think it’s French.” The youngster then sneered:“Why always French, why don’t they speak Chinese instead?

As this insolence was happening less than two meters from me, I had to intervene: “Learn this, little one. The Christians outlawed the Olympic games. The French restarted them, 15 centuries later. The French don’t talk Chinese, but French, and so, the Olympics were restarted with French as the official language.

France is not (yet) Tibet. The French introduced the metric system in the Olympics in 1796 CE, and the full Olympics in 1896; in 1924 the Winter Olympics were introduced in Chamonix, France, followed by Olympics again in Paris, a few months later. The official language of the Olympics is French (although some Anglo-Saxons claim it’s English). Another reason: French is the successor language of Latin, the games were held in that language for 6 centuries.

Moreover, on the face of it, France is the direct successor state of the Greco-Roman republic. England too, but less directly so: Greco-Roman civilization was transferred back through France (The Conqueror set-up Parliament). England seems to still have a way to go before mimiciking a Republic: England has a state religion, England has still no elected Senate, but a chamber of grotesque plutocrats called “Lords“, and a ridiculous monarch, basely adored by the simple minded, anathema to those who truly believe in SPQR.

In 393 CE, the fanatical Roman Catholic dictator Theodosius, originally a Spanish general, banned the Olympic Games, and other festivities, for being “too pagan“. OK, that was more lenient than condemning philosophers to death (another of Theodosius’ bright ideas).

Under the emperor’s orders, rabid Christians dressed in black closed and later tore down many wonders of the world. They had to destroy the world, so that their super hero the Crucified would swoop down again (as the Book of Apocalypse in the Bible had it). Most notably the Christian vampires destroyed the fabulous Temple of Zeus at Olympia and the giant Temple of Serapis in Alexandria (they also burned the library there, in Alexandria, later confusing that with a strictly Muslim blaze that happened 2 centuries later). Never mind that “zeus” and “deus” are two aspects of the same word (too brainy for vampires).

One of Theodosius’s successors, Theodosius II, ordered the Roman army to demolish the stadium of Olympia in 426 CE. That stadium could accommodate more than 40,000 spectators.

Thunderous universal applaud after the London Olympics. The corporate participants are very pleased, and they are making sure, in a huge propaganda campaign, that everybody claims to be pleased. Everybody else is a party pooper.

Never mind that the London Games cost twice more than expected, it’s the public who pays this sort of things. Meanwhile, let’s applaud, and consume simple stuff corporations sell us, starting with colossal amounts of naivety. Without colossal naivety, the plutocratic order would collapse, so it’s good to exercise the naivety muscle as much as possible.

OK, granted when one athlete from one tiny nation (Grenada) gets one gold medal, it gives that nation the highest count of medal per capita in the world (Grenada has about 100,000 souls). However, when Jamaica gets 12 medals, the anomaly becomes statistically significant, for someone who uniquely enjoys wisdom (tyrano-sophia).

Jamaica has long been famous in the 100 meters. The once hyper famous and most glorious Ben Johnson was born there. He later won a gold medal at the Seoul Olympic games, taken away from him three days later after he tested positive for some steroid. The hyper muscular Ben aggravated his case by claiming most athletes did this (‘40%’, he said).

He and his coach claimed Johnson had been deliberately contaminated by a third party, as he did not use that particular steroid (“because it made his body feel tight!”), but another one. International sport authorities were not amused. Woe onto the one who brings scandal! They treated Ben Johnson like the plague, claiming that any athlete competing with him would be viewed officially as “contaminated“, and barred from any competition. Mysteriously, when Johnson was disqualified, some of the athletes who went up as a result, had themselves tested positive.

(Plutocracy will not explain anything to you, but for what it wants…)

By the way the third sprinter at the London Olympics, the bronze medal, a USA citizen, was suspended for four years, for drug usage, in the past. No doubt he knows how not to get caught anymore.

How does one not get caught? Very simple. There are many ways. One way is masking agents. In France they are treated as the drugs themselves.

Or take the case of amphetamines. There are all sorts of variants in the chemical formulas. So what do greedy kitchen chemist contrive? They invent new one variants, not on the list of illegal amphetamine-like drugs. Those are not, strictly speaking, unlawful. Recently the customs in the Paris airports had a list they made themselves, of no less than 762 amphetamine variants, all not illegal, all of them that they informally seized (no charges, but no return of the drugs, either…)  

Before the London Olympics, Nature, the Britain based science weekly, published several articles on sports and drugs. The gist being that one should organize Enhanced Olympics (my term), and then some drug free Olympics. I agree with the idea, for a number of reasons that I will expose below. Moreover, how to do it.

One does not need to be a brain scientist to realize that, when some countries succeed as well as the DDR, the Deutsches Demokratiche Republic of old, there is got to be something not kosher going on. The DDR was the most successful country in the Olympics, per capita. For decades. DDR doctors gave drugs to their athletes, sometimes for decades, sometimes seconds before an event. Some guessed it at the time, and suspicions were confirmed after that police state was swallowed by West Germany, and tongues freed.

Jamaica, population 2.7 millions, got 12 medals in London 2012, no less. I am not trying to be racist and I am not suggesting that this is because the surviving slaves were those running the fastest away from their powerful white masters. Far from me such silly, traditional, half funny, anodyne remarks. I would instead direct my gaze towards the one in the know who suggested Jamaican athletes should be controlled around December.

Look at Senegal: same powerful West African genes as Jamaica, five times the population of Jamaica, and a very strong native and imported sport culture. Number of Olympic medals of Senegal? Zero. OK, one medal. Twenty years ago.

What’s the idea? Some drugs have long term effects: they build up muscles, tendons, ligaments and even the attending motor neurons. Do that in December, much of these physiological changes will last until July.

Control in July for a drug that one has stopped taking three months before, and unsurprisingly, it will not show up. Smart for chimps, but not too difficult for even a hare-brained sportsman to understand.

For decades, USA Olympic committees were in deliberate denial that drug usage was massive in USA sports. Corporate sponsors celebrated Marion Jones, all the way to the front cover of time magazine. The American media claimed she was going to get five gold medals. Even then, it was perfectly clear that Jones was officially connected to Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (a.k.a. BALCO). That was a drug factory, for the best. In the end, International instances told the USA that this could not be tolerated any longer, it was too blatant, and Marion Jones could not get as many drugs, and thus, medals, as she expected in Sidney. Further inquiries led to her going to prison, and returning five gold medals.  

The corruption of the system is obvious in the sense that not all the gold medals and titles attributed to the USA in connection to Marion Jones were rescinded. Never mind that IAAF president Lamine Diack, a Senegalese, stated that: “Marion Jones will be remembered as one of the biggest frauds in sporting history.”

So what of the USA in all this? Well, athletes are not controlled for drugs in many USA sports. Not at all. A hint: life expectancy of so called American football linemen is barely fifty years of age (even the aficionado sport magazines admit they are stuffed with growth hormones).

I have a passing acquaintance with some sports. I was astounded when I saw routine drug controls for private events in France, even for exotic disciplines. The same sports (such as climbing) have rigorously no control in the USA, and individuals practicing them, in the USA, are routinely taking drugs, and showing all the symptoms, complete with swollen wrists and female with suddenly jutting chins. It was amusing to see French sport climbers downing two liters of water within seconds of winning an event, and then, much more (drug controls happening after the hysterical celebrations).

What to do?

Well, France was in a quandary: for about twenty years, not one Frenchman won a stage in the Tour de France… except for Richard Virenques, who got caught for drug usage by French authorities, and became a black sheep barred from cycling.

Drug controls are ferocious in France. Why? In the 1950s, the top British cyclist, Tom Simpson, would have won the Tour de France, except that he died on Mont Ventoux. The autopsy of this highly successful athlete showed heavy drug usage.

In the 2000s, there was the pathetic spectacle of Lance Armstrong, always winning, with a smirk. In the beginning, he was embraced, he met with the French president. Later, though, old samples analyzed with more modern techniques showed drug usage (for example EPO on Turin to Briancon, a stage I saw with my very eyes!). Not perhaps too keen to be called Anti-American by the umbrageous USA, the French authorities did nothing about it. Instead authorities in the USA are prosecuting Armstrong on their own. Systemic controls by surprise at 5am had changed nothing: the smart ones, as I said, trained with drugs. 

This year, 2012, was different: the French won a lot of stages, and the best climber. For a first time, a Brit won the Tour (this Wiggins is a well known track world champion, and won the gold in London). Three cyclists were caught cheating, two them quite famous, and immediately expelled and  punished. A past multiple winner from Spain was barred (like Ben Johnson, he argued somebody had contaminated the meat he ate). From the ways victories during stages happened, it is clear that the Tour is getting clean.

How did the Tour authorities do it?  

By instituting a BIOLOGICAL PASSPORT. Union Cycliste Internationale and the Federation Internationale de Ski are increasingly using it (yes, France did not just create the modern Olympic games, other sports speak French as a first language).

All and any cyclist engaging in the Tour de France has to declare where in the world he is, at any moment, all year long. And is exposed to immediate control. Cheating on this (it happened, an athlete claimed to be in Italy when he was in Argentina) results in immediate disqualification.

Meanwhile, all results, in all other sports, absent a biological passport, ought to be taken tongue in cheek. OK, Usain bolts certainly smarter than Ben. OK, the queen parachuted into the stadium with dozens of gold medals. Well done, quite hilarious. Nice spectacle for the children. Tongue in cheek for those with drugs in cheek.

Maybe, indeed, Jamaica has a superior sport culture, and Britain too. If so, prove it. And if you don’t want to prove it, allow us to laugh.

Another dirty secret in sport competitions is that most successful athletes have successful genes. Those genes are increasingly known. How do we know if they have been injected or not? And is it fair to have mutants competing against normal humans?

Why can’t normal people become mutants too? More than 200 gene variants are associated to high performance in sports. As Nature puts it in “Genetically enhanced Olympics are coming“: … an option, if safe, would be to allow athletes who did not win the genetic lottery to ‘upgrade’ through gene therapy — a practice that is now banned as ‘gene doping’.

More generally, what is wrong about enhancing human capabilities? Did not EPO, besides helping Mr. Armstrong to dress in a yellow jersey, save millions of lives? Indeed EPO has become a routine medical treatment.

So let’s embrace enhancement. But let’s do it above the table, for all to see. Let’s admit many cheaters are winning, and many of the others who also win, the gods favored. And common people on common diets, common blood, common genes can have their own common Olympics.

Indeed what is wrong is cheating, claiming one is clean, whereas one is winning, precisely because one is dirty. And making a world, Olympic size cover-up about all this cheating, is an even more worrisome meta cheating, as it requires Olympic naivety. Among Pluto’s characteristics is invisibility. By making massive cheating officially invisible, the Olympic committees do not help the forces of goodness.

Instead the sport authorities imprint people on something very subtle: deep down inside, people feel there is something not right about some countries getting so many medals. But then they are taught that it is fair, balanced and reflective to swallow this troubling feeling, and accept that any sense leading towards suspicion is in poor taste.

Outlawing suspicion is part of this general meta morality people learn so well in the USA: conspiracy theorists are crazy. Working hard, and taking no vacations is good, while believing that some people out there, important people, are conspiring, in very important conspiracies, sometimes, is crazy.

Can goodness come, when one cannot let one’s mind be suspicious? Can goodness come when one makes it a moral duty to believe whoever has an obvious interest to say whatever they say? Can goodness come when exposing some for the crooks, thieves, criminals and charlatans they may well be definitively something reflective people are not supposed to do?

And yet, is not goodness what the Olympic Games should show, and celebrate, before anything else?

***

Patrice Ayme

French Rafale Versus USA Corruption

August 12, 2012

TAXES FOR STEALTH CORRUPTION? THE F-22, F-35 SCANDALS.

The F22 Raptor is the USA air superiority plane. It cost too much and proved too fragile. In USA style stealth, sharp angles are used because only reflections in discrete directions come back. So the USA style stealth plane acts as a diamond: a bright radar flash is followed by nothing, as the plane has moved slightly in the next sweep, and the sharp reflection went far away.

In 2009, in the United Arab Emirates, F22s Raptors met French Rafales in mock combat. The French weekly Air & Cosmos released an instructive picture. Here is a F22, in the gun sight of a Rafale:

USA F22 Raptor In Crosshairs Of French Rafale. The Outmaneuvered F22 is Fully Vectoring.

 

[All the targeting data was removed.]

The word “blasphemy” comes to mind. To put things in their proper context, the Rafale is a superlative bomber and ground attack plane. Contrarily to the F22 Raptor, it was not built just for air supremacy.

In the above picture, the Raptor is obviously maneuvering hard in the vertical plane: its nose is up, and one can see the bright flares of its two engines in post combustion, as they vector as hard as they can (see the supersonic shockwaves in the white jet exhausts). The F22 is trying to escape an inverted Rafale pulling with a lot of acceleration (“gs”) toward the ground. The F-22 is clearly not in a position for a gun or an infrared missile shoot (“fox2“). The thrust vectoring the F22 is engaging into is killing its speed. if the Rafale does not shoot it right away, it’s going to be the biggest slow moving turkey the sky has ever seen, within a few seconds.

Also remember that the Rafale carries its missiles externally, and normally the F22 does not (because, if it did, it would lose stealth). So the Rafale is capable of an instantaneous InfraRed missile shot on the F22, should the latter somehow escape the Rafale’s 30 mm gun…

Radars use intermittency to detect a moving object, so, if a reflection is followed by no reflection as the target has moved slightly, the electronic connected to the radar sees nothing.

One of the many disadvantages of USA style stealth is that sharp angles are not very aerodynamic, resulting in all sorts of problems, including fatigue of the exposed parts of the plane. Thus some of the plastic of the F-22 wore off, and had to be replaced by titanium (which is highly reflective).

The F22 Raptor plane is made of toxic polymers and epoxy glue, and technicians have to wear mask and gloves when approaching it. Cough and actually asphyxia have been reported in or around the plane. Making it the only neurotoxic plane in the world.

The F22 also cost 400 million dollar apiece. (And the F-22 lacks more recent features such as High Off Bore Sight and Helmet Mounted Display, let alone a very long range missile such as the Meteor.)

The F-22 was thus replaced by the smaller, cheaper, much slower F-35. With just one single engine. Four hundred (400) billion dollars has been spent on the F-35, and still, more than ten years later, it has not dropped a bomb, fired one missile, or a single canon shell

[Latest News, January 2015: The F35 will not fire its gun before 2019, at the earliest!]

The F35 program is actually the most expensive defense program, ever. By a very long shot.

By comparison, the Manhattan project cost 20 billion dollars, by the time it had dropped two nuclear fisson bombs on Japan and forced its surrender (and the hurried suicides of a few of the military plutocrats who terrorized Japan).

The F35 cannot cruise at supersonic speeds (the Rafale can cruise supersonically, and stealthily, with ten tons of weapons hanging outside). One may wonder if the F-35 could have caught up with the 9/11 terrorists… (After all, F15s, which fly much faster, could not, but at the time nobody expected that the USA would be attacked the way France had been in 1996, by suicidal highjackers!)

Now for a somewhat peaceful sight:

Rafale (on the left) and Typhoon Eurofighter (built respectively by French Dassault and part-French EADS, the company that owns Airbus). Both planes were successfully engaged in Libya, although:

1) The Eurofighter needed assistance from Tornado bombers to… bomb. (The Tornadoes detected and painted targets for the Eurofighters’ laser guided bombs. Eurofighters can’t bomb on their own!)

2) The Rafales were fully autonomous, and proved capable, using their active stealth, to search and destroy enemy missile batteries and radars of a fully functional air defense system.

3) Somehow American business men and their friends in Washington were able to persuade some of the nations which (helped) built (and purchase) the Typhoon Eurofighter to pitch into the F-35 Lightning II program. That’s very remarkable.

The United Kingdom, which is in a depression (its GDP numbers are worse than in the 1930s) and bankrupt Italy are now funding a useless, immensely expensive plane… made in the USA. As if money grew on trees, or, at least, so it does in Washington. How much money has been passing under that table?

Rafales recently visited Great Britain. Instructions were issued to British pilots, with their “Typhoon” Eurofighters, to NOT engage in war games with French Rafales.

Is it all bad with the Typhoon Eurofighters? Well, not at all, as long as they stay away from Rafales, and go shoot F22s!

Lockheed Martin haughtily claims: “the F-22 is the only aircraft that blends supercruise speed, super-agility, stealth and sensor fusion into a single air dominance platform.”

In mid-June 2012, 150 German airmen and eight twin-engine, non-stealthy Typhoons arrived at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska for an American-led Red Flag exercise involving more than 100 aircrafts from Germany, the U.S. Air Force and Army, NATO, Japan, Australia and Poland.

Eight times during the two-week war game, single German Typhoons flew against single F-22s , simulating close-range dogfights.

Conclusion? In a close-range tangle — which pilots call a “merge” — the bigger and heavier F-22 is at a disadvantage. German Typhoon pilots said that, when flying without their external fuel tanks, in the WVR (Within Visual Range) arena, the Eurofighter proved to be better than the F22 Raptor.

The F-22 tends to lose too much energy when using thrust vectoring (TV): TV can be useful to enable a rapid direction change without losing sight of the adversary but, unless the Raptor can manage to immediately get a kill, the energy it loses makes the then slow moving plane quite vulnerable!

(Also the F-22 burns fuel like crazy during TV, and it has a short range to start with, due to its poor aerodynamics, and enormous engines to push its brutal shape.)

The Raptor fights well from beyond visual range with its high speed and altitude, sophisticated radar and long-range  AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles. Yet the AMRAAM maximum range is around 100 kms, less than the Meteor missile used by the Typhoon (and the Rafale!).

At this point, the partisans of the F22 will start their usual USA superiority sing-song. They will say, the Raptor is so stealthy, outside of visual range, it will sneak onto non stealthy Typhoons. And yet, this is another lie.

At a distance of about 50 km, the Typhoon IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track) system can find even a stealthy plane “especially if it is large and hot, like the F-22 a Eurofighter pilot said. (Another reason for compact beauty, as in the Rafale!)

In any case, the Typhoons killed several Raptors during the Red Flag Alaska. On one day a German pilot quipped: “yesterday, we have had a Raptor salad for lunch.

Other problems with the Raptor: it chokes its pilots, and its long range missiles do not work when it’s… cold (like it tends to get, up there in the sky). Both problems have been with the plane in the last two years, and it’s supposed to stay close to a base all the time!

Ah, and what of the Rafale already?

Well in an exercise, Rafales and Typhoons met, 9 Typhoons got “killed” while a single Rafale was disqualified… for flying too low. “Super agility“, anyone?

So, taxpayers, to your purses! The stealthy Military-Industrial Complex wants more from you. Much more. Some will say: wait a minute, why all these useless planes?  Well, because after charging two billion dollars apiece for the completely useless subsonic B2 bomber, the plane makers of the USA realized they had found a story taxpayers bought with relish: the STEALTH plane. It was a nationalistic story: only the USA had stealth planes. The American public loves nationalistic, only-in-the-USA stories.

One difference between the USA and France is that one needs more nationalistic fervor to keep the USA together (the same applies to other countries, and the less they hold together naturally, the more strident the nationalistic fervor!). The French are more blasé: they are stuck together, anyway (although they feel it would be more elevated not to be).

OK, most publics are nationalistic, but can the most advanced civilization be the most nationalistic? Well, no. Nationalism is a form of hubris, and there is no stealthier poison. Athens tasted of that delicious poison, the poison of hubris, the poison so many in Germany, helas, even while torturting Hellas, tasted with relish.

All and any argument resting on nationalism is logically suspect, it’s a contaminant.

After building and operating for more than a trillion dollar of these useless planes, the F-22, the F-35, more money will be needed… For weapons that really work. Thus a double subsidy for the Military-Industrial Complex. One for useless weapons, and then one, absolutely necessary, for weapons that actually work!

***

Patrice Ayme

Alsatian Lessons

August 9, 2012

NO PROGRESS MEANS REGRESSION, & REGRESSION MEANS COLLAPSE

The magnificent Haut Koenigsbourg, Alsace is a testimony of what a European Middle Age castle could be (the work on it started in the Twelfth Century). A real Neuschwanstein. Much of that monument is made of pink sandstone. Giant towers, on the very top of a mountain dominating the Alsatian plain.

Koenigsbourg enjoys more than half a million visitors a year, it is one the ten most visited monuments in France. Koenigsbourg was captured by the Swedish army during the Thirty Years war, and abandoned thereafter, until it became a tourist site in Nineteenth century France. The word “Koenigsbourg” sounds German, but it’s part Frankish (“bourc” is Frankish, Koenig ubiquitous).

Koenigsbourg: Military-Industrial beauty for all to see.

It is often said that Alsace is shared between two countries, France and Germany. However, it’s significantly more complex than that. Both countries recognize that Charlemagne was their common emperor by 800 CE.

And Charlemagne was more than that.

Charlemagne was not just any emperor: Carlus Magnus was emperor of the “renovated” Roman empire. And “renovated” does not mean just refurbished, but modernized, made again-new. The big difference between the empire of the Franks and Greco-Roman antiquity is that the socio-economy was NOT organized around slavery, but around owner-farmers (to be replaced by communal serfdom, something with little in common with plutocratic slavery!) This had profound consequences. Greco-Roman Antiquity, because of slavery, was un-human, hence, pathological.

Yes, some civilizations are pathological, and they do not  just cause pain to themselves, but to others, and even to the planet.

Charlemagne represented the crown of the (re-)creation of Rome according to the Franks (~ civilized Germans). The Franks had been hard at work on this project for five centuries. They represented the renovation of the Greco-Roman empire according to a philosophy that made more human sense than the enslaving Greco-Roman civilization.

The Franks were a confederation of Germans, the closest to the Romans who had succeeded to not been mauled and swallowed by Rome. Instead, after two centuries of passionate, not to say bellicose, alliance with Roman governments, starting with Clovis’ father, a purple clad imperator, they are the ones who did the swallowing.

Moreover, part of Germany and Gallia had been allied to, or more or less occupied by, the late Roman republic, for a full nine centuries prior to Charlemagne (if not more).

Thus Alsace has a fascinating history. The Rhine was the natural border of Celtic lands, and that is the way Celts, Germans, and Romans looked at it. The Caesar Julian with his Gallo-Romans and Franks would win a tremendous victory at Strassbourg against invading rabid German hordes determined to overwhelm the empire.

(That would happen a generation later, after the Roman army had been removed, for budgetary reasons, and the leading edge of these Germans, the Vandals, 50,000 frantic warriors would reach all the way to “Africa“, present day Tunisia, and cut-off Rome’s wheat supply, shrinking dramatically the city for the next millennium).

However, when Julius Caesar became involved in peace mongering in the Celtic world of Gallia, he was confronted to Germans crossing over, either to help the rebellious Celts against Rome, or simply to raid whatever could be raided, such as their Celtic allies, although they were not afraid to sneak onto Roman legions either, in the hope of stealing their treasury.

After particular egregious invasions, and also because some allied German tribes called for his help, Caesar crossed into Germania several times, building even a permanent fiercely guarded bridge over (most of) the Rhine to do so repeatedly. 

Caesar’s adversaries fled into the deep German forest. After becoming “dictator for life” (instead of 6 months or a year, as the oral Roman Constitution had it), and having reorganized Rome somewhat, Caesar decided upon a great, totally grandiose plan.

Leading the best army Rome ever had, Caesar decided that he would go east, destroy the Parthian empire, and then go up north through the Caucasus, before veering west into Germania, stabbing it in the back. (The Mongol army would follow that route 12 centuries later; after wasting Iran, it veered north, crushed the Georgians, obliterated the Russians and the Ukrainians, before smashing the Germano-Polish forces, before winning, with important losses, over European forces in the invasion of Hungary.)

This, most probably, explains why Caesar was oblivious to warnings about an assassination plot that day of the Ides of March: he was to leave for the Orient the next day with his legions, and it looked unlikely somebody would bother assassinating just then, when he was embarking on this most haphazard adventure. So he was not even accompanied by his aide Marc-Anthony, an extremely well trained special forces sort of soldier, as most Roman generals were. 

Caesar assassinated, the Parthians conquered all of the Orient, but for the city of Tyr, an island. Marcus Antoninus counter-attacked, all the way to Mesopotamia, starting centuries of Roman-Parthian wars (and then Roman-Persian wars, resulting in the victory of… the Arabs!) What we are seeing right now in Syria, to a great extent, is more of the same.

Augustus was good at domesticating Romans, but less so at domesticating foreign enemies, such as the Germans. He let one of his generals, Varrus, conduct war in North Germany, with the resulting loss of an elite army centered around three elite legions. Augustus admonished his successors to never try to conquer Germany again. They obeyed.

In the end, the Romans were half installed in Germany, behind, the Rhine the whole way, behind the Danube, and, awkwardly, behind the gap between Rhine and Danube. That arrangement caused four centuries of debilitating war, as German tribes could attack whenever they wanted, close to the core of the empire. the situation was so critical, as early as Marcus Aurelius, that the emperor spent most of his reign on the front, around the Danube. The non payment of taxes by the plutocracy went a long way to explain the defense problem. Marcus Aurelius was reduced to sell the palace’s cutlery, to finance the legions.

The Treaty of Verdun separated the (Occidental) Roman empire in three parts, with the acknowledgement that the king of the Western part was “emperor in his own kingdom“, and that the western Franks were supposed to present a candidate to the imperial position for Eastern Francia. But the Parisians could not care less, they were more preoccupied by cutting deals with the savage Vikings, who were beating the Franks at the game they used to play so well, six centuries before (raiding from ships up rivers).

So the two thirds not nominally controlled by Paris went their own way. Even in the West, in theory, accentuated by the Renovatio Imperium Francorum, more or less of the Roman republic was pursuing a subterranean existence: kings of the Franks were supposed to be elected, and were often the richest plutocrats around. But the Salic law forced equidistribution of inheritance, and the Franks were prolific, as they were excellent farmers, now fed on bioengineered foods such as beans. Thus inherited wealth easily dissolved.

The Feudal System installed under Charles Martel to fight the Muslim Arabo-Berber invasions made the situation even stranger. To support a vast, and best army, expenses were not spared. The Catholic Church was nationalized to pay the army. And resources were put at the disposal of knights to create a heavy cavalry. In counterpart, said knights assumed other functions such as law enforcement and justice. The villages, the communes, were communally organized, under the watchful eyes of the knights.

(The arrangement with a class of knights up high in society already existed in the Roman Republic. The Macedonian conquest of the world had been pretty much propelled by the lover-of-horses, such as philo-hippo, Philip, as the rulers of Macedonia were cavalrymen.) 

Soon the entire Imperium Francorum was subdivided into several hundreds of local power centers, many of them derived in part from the 300 counties into which the Imperium Romanum of Charlemagne had been divided.

The feudal system was neither aristocratic nor communist, but in between. The arrangement with the knights overlording was informal to a great extent, and the cities were not part of it. The picture one is left with is that of an extremely varied society, without really a dictatorship at the center.

(So Marx’s linear evolution from feudalism to capitalism needs to be re-evaluated; certainly fabulous castles such as Koenigsbourg represented enormous capital, and certainly the attribution of parcels around villages according to family size was a form of communism!)

Ultimately the division into East, Central and West Francia proved completely unstable. So did the conquest of England by the Western Franks and Normans (1066).

The Franco-French war between Paris and London went on, on and off, from the Thirteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries, from Eleanor d’Aquitaine to Waterloo (when the English king renounced the claim to France inherited from Isabelle de France, absolute monarch of England, as her name indicates).

The Roman emperor of the non Parisian part became “Holly” centuries later. Meanwhile today’s France was divided in enormous pieces: Armorica (“Brittany”, where the British army had fled in the 6C), Aquitania, the entire South-West (already one chunk before Caesar showed up), and now brought to London by Eleanor, London which already owned Normandy and surrounding counties. Of course a little bit east of Paris, Flanders, Belgium, Bourgogne and east of the Rhone it were all part of the “Roman empire”, not Francia Occidentalis. In the south the giant county of Toulouse was busy reconstituting the Roman Republic, while turning Christianity upside down, by making official that the world was controlled by an evil deity rather than a good lord.

It became the war of all against all. However, the land around Paris was, and is immensely rich (Under the Antonine emperors, Lutetia reached 80,000 citizens). Paris had accessed notoriety by nominating the anti-Christian Caesar Julian “Augustus” in 358 CE. Throughout the European Middle Ages,  Paris was the largest city in Christian Europe, with a population of the order of 200,000 by 1300 CE.

So a sort of reconquista was launched by Paris. First Toulouse was massacred by a crusade. Then, Paris recovered from London the west (traditional chronology of  the “100 year war”), and then, from the Roman empire, the east, a lot of it under the crafty Louis XI (that’s when the Roman empire decided it was “Holly” and “Germanic“).

Louis XIV pursued the job by recovering Alsace. But he could not get Flanders (the ancestral land of the Franks!) and keep the Rhineland and the Palatinate (traditional Roman stomping grounds). Lou

All this was immensely complex: Louis XIV made a huge crime and profound error by revoking the Edict of Nantes (throwing the Protestants out of France, a policy that Louis XI or Henri III or IV would have found abominable, and certainly worthy of the death penalty).

Thanks to its Catholic fanaticism, Louis XIV made ferocious enemies, such as the Dutch republic, and deservedly so. In their rage, the Dutch took over England to wage war against the erratic enabler of their independence, France.

Things went from and to worse when the long suffering king of Spain, dying without an heir, gave his crown to his “heir general“, who happened to be no less than the son of his half sister, Maria Teresa, and of… Louis XIV . This (World) War of the Succession of Spain lasted 13 years, and prevented the unification of the giant French and Spanish empires in one enormous empire covering the Americas, the Philippines (trade with China), and most of Europe.

Let’s notice in passing that the semantics implied by the words “World War One” and “World War Two” are therefore not correct. There were several world wars before that! Certainly the war started by Genghis Khan was a world war, as it went from Japan to Indonesia, all the way to Egypt, Poland and Croatia. More disturbingly, Europe produced several World Wars before 1914.

Even more disturbing is the origin of these world wars. The perpetrators did not just know each other, they were often family! When a barren Eleanor of Aquitania divorced the king of France (1152 CE, after been queen of France for 15 years!), and went on to marry the king of England, and have eight children with him (three of them would become kings), carrying along her giant province, it was certainly very personal.

Two centuries later the “100 year war” (which lasted in truth until 1815!) started when because all too many people in Paris knew Isabelle de France, queen of England, daughter and legitimate heir of Philippe Le Bel, all too well! 

The same holds in modern times. Who was Wilhem II, Kaiser of the ill fated “Second Reich“? (The official name was Deutsches Reich, the German Realm.)

The “First Reich” had been the one started by Otto I, if not Charlemagne, or more exactly the Roman Consul Clovis, king of the Franks, who reconquered a vast swath of Germania, a territory expanded further by his ferocious successors. That was a deliberate mistranslation, as the original state was an “Imperium“, not a kingdom. In an Imperium, the People was implicitly in charge.

Wilhem II was the grandson of queen Victoria, and considered himself to be the preferred one. That may have made him overconfident.

Elected queen Merkel I should remember this. It can start innocuously, among friends. But then enmity can grow. As the ancient Greeks pointed out, violence most often grows from hubris. During its 47 years of existence, the Deutsches Reich became an industrial, technological and scientific giant (with the caveat that the Swedes, and many Anglo-Saxons were notoriously pro-German, the Reich enjoyed more Nobel Prizes than Britain, France, Russia and the United States combined).

There is little doubt that, by 1914, all too many Germans viewed themselves as the most civilized, most meritorious, and it was not the already amputated French Republic that was going to stand in their way. Still the four Prussian generals who plotted World War One were not too sure about the Kaiser, so they sent them to his vacation home during the crucial month of July, when their plot entered its terminal phase. The generals obviously feared that the Kaiser, realizing that he, the grandson of queen Victoria, may find himself at war with Britain if his realm invaded France and Belgium, may stop the march to war.

So was Wilhem II all bad? No. He ordered the restitution of Koenigsbourg to its original state. Alsace has many castles, including 60 reduced to ruins: Louis XIV, after (re) conquering Alsace, ordered their destruction: the frontier was going to be back on the Rhine river, not the Vosges dominating it.

Lessons:

1) Alsace is naturally part of Gallia (Gaul); it was indeed solidly Celtic. So was Belgium, under that name, too! And Flanders got converted to Christianism under (“Le Bon Roi”) Dagobert I by his financed minister, later canonized Saint Eligius (= Eloy, Éloi) The old germanoid argument that Alsace is naturally German in some sense is false, on an historico-geographic basis.

2) Who the Celts were is more obscure: they had three languages. Their difference with the Germans was grounded in culture, not ethnicity. Although there were various Celto-German tribes they were all taller than the Romans, and, the more savage their got, the more gigantic their bodies, at least so the Roman sources seem to have it.

What was the cultural difference between Celts and German? Well, the Celtic oligarchies used a written language, and the Roman sources say it was… Greek(!). That makes sense as the Greeks arrived on the south coast of France while the Romans were still herding cows. Southern France was an important place, because it commands three trade routes: towards the Atlantic (Aquitania), towards the North Sea, along the Rhone and then Saone valleys. The latter route bifurcates to the North East towards Germany, between the mountains. 

The Germans got militarized, archeology shows, as they got in contact with the Roman Republic, but then they got the idea they could conquer Italy, as the Celts had conquered Rome in the Fourth century BCE (the Romans bough it back).

3) The West is really a symbiosis between Greco-Roman democracy, resting on slavery, and Germanic equalitarianism. German equalitarianism had risen how it had risen initially in Rome, or elsewhere; from small owner-farmers. What had degraded the Greco-Roman world was not just cliodynamics (~ the cycling of plutocracy), but the facts that the leading example of direct democracy, Athens, rested greatly on silver mines (and thus abject slavery), and that, after the Hannibalic war, a super charged Rome, intellectually decapitated, in fascism and empire mostly trusted.

The confederation of the Franks was able to exploit new crops and new steel (the heavy plough) to augment considerably the yields of Northern Europe, its own population, and impose a symbiosis of German and Roman ways on the North West part of the Roman empire (only now is it being imposed on the South East part of the empire!).

4) Pretty much the entire present European Union is a direct descendant of the Imperium Francorum-Renovatio Imperium Romanum. So far, so good. However, history shows that ALIENATION IMPLIES AGGRESSION. The extreme bellicose mood between Germania and Francia took a full millennium to rise after the initial alienation that one can date to the election of Otto I. And the opposition became so great that it became quasi metaphysical, the Western Franks (French) opting for the Republic, and the Eastern ones (“Germans”) for a sort of fascist Satrapy.

Although I hyperlinked to Wikipedia here it is in error, as it calls the Roman empire “Holly” (Sacrum). Sacrum was added only after 1254. The word “German”, as in Imperium Romanum Sacrum Nationis Germanicæ was added only in 1474 CE, for the reasons quoted above, namely the gnawing back by the Parisian king of the old Parisian dominions (Otto I had celebrated his coronation in Aachen, which was a West Francia domain… as befits what is on the west side of the Rhine, an old Celtic area.

So Alsace reminds us of this: beware of history and its meandering paths. A breadth of fancy can soon turn into the dangerous insanity of destiny on a rampage.

Merkel I and the likes of Jean Claude Junker (head of Eurogroup, Prime Minister of the banana duchy of Luxembourg) should remember that their pseudo rescue of Greece (and real rescue of private banksters who helped corrupt Greece) should keep in mind that the oppression they let be visited on common people is real pain, integrated over hundreds of millions of individuals, a heavy initial condition for futre history.

The subprime system still exist. Structured financial products” nobody know what they are, still dominate the world economy. Whereas France (say) has cracked down on derivatives, a lot of the trading conducted there has fled to London or New York. Of course, in this, it’s beyond Europe, but not beyond the lessons Alsace brought.

The Middle East did not yet recover from the collapse of Republican Roman law, when it was replaced by the Sharia, and when the Phoenician-Greco-Latin alphabet was replaced by the alphabet used in the Qur’an.

Only now is Germany recovering from the crusading spirit of the Teutonic knights (who reigned centuries, whereas their colleagues in the West got chopped off), conquerors and colonizers of Prussia. Anti-Judaism, initially launched by the abject Saint Augustine, 16 centuries ago, has only now become a bad word.

Yes, it is Saint Augustine who Obama claims to muster for inspiration when he makes sacred war against those geographically associated to al Qaeda. No wonder he is so wrong. It’s a small world, but often the same mental patterns. Until more advanced civilization comes to erase them.

***

Patrice Ayme

Curiosity, Lightning, Rafale

August 6, 2012

FRANCO-AMERICAN COOPERATION IS A GOOD THING

Military-Industrial Corruption A treacherous Friend Of Plutocracy?

***

CURIOSITY SATISFYING:

Amazingly, the large “Curiosity” rover landed on Mars in one piece after a silly “sky crane” trick. Actually, the sky crane is not that silly; it was only 7.5 meters high, and landing on rockets causes a lot of little problems: the thick atmosphere is unstable next to the ground, and dust, rocks could have damaged the rover.

The technical achievement was great. The largest supersonic parachute ever made (16 meters across, 50 meters long, 80 suspensions, 30 tons of braking power), was deployed at Mach 2.2 (and photographed from orbit! The parachute was made by a unit of a French corporation, Zodiacareospace, which makes the famous Zodiac inflatable boats… a company founded in 1896!)

No less than 76 pyrotechnic devices and the eight rocket engines had to perform exquisitely.

This successful landing on Mars demonstrates the superiority of the USA in robotics and other advanced manufacturing (when it is tapped!)

But not just that. Hundreds of thousands of people, around the world, seven countries, worked on the project. This is exactly how the world economy ought to work: tap the best abilities, and make them collaborate. Two and a half billion dollars were spent on Earth, by the USA alone to make Curiosity (and the ongoing exploration, just starting, will cost even more). It is good economic activity. Mars has many answers about how planets evolve, just as we push our poor planet to do so, at a frantic pace. Moreover Mars makes an obvious candidate for colonization (how is not clear yet!)

Curiosity carries ten experiments, with contributions from all over the world, even Russia. Spain, very despised these days, built the high gain antenna.

France contributed two major experiments, including the crucial SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) and Chem Cam. The Chem Cam can analyze chemical composition of rocks from 9 meters away: it fires a hyper powerful laser (conceived by French CEA, realized by French Thales), that rises the temperature of rocks to nearly twice that of the surface of the sun in a billionth of a second, and then the camera analyzes the exploded plasma.    

For the first time in the history of NASA, a NASA mission will be co-piloted from the outside of the USA, in Toulouse, France.

I want to propose more of the same, further collaboration. This is the advantage of trade: different places, from different choices, hence history, develop different skills.

In fighter-bombers, the USA and France’s maverick company, Dassault have followed very different paths in the last decades. The path chosen by the USA looks like a, very costly, blind alley.

***

THE F35 SCANDALOUS ERROR:

The F35 Lightning II is a plane obviously completely inadequate, for its stated missions of defense and attack. Not has one single specimen yet (really) deployed. “Training” is not allowed, yet, but may start in 2013. And the first weapon has not been dropped by an F35. Yet. But soon, soon… One would not want the plane to come apart when it opens its little doors at supersonic speeds…

Yet, 400 billion dollars has already been spent on that hopeless machine,  mostly made of plastic and glue (I am not kidding), which has never fired a weapon.

More than 3,000 F35s are supposed to be built (at 300 million to 800 million dollars apiece). An admiral of the U.S. Navy suggested to develop a “truck” instead. The admiral calls for new military thinking and questions stealth technology (which is, objectively, known not to work against sophisticated adversaries).

Such a flying truck already exists, a fifth generation fighter-bomber with an extremely advanced ACTIVE stealth system. It has been deployed in combat for years, and attacked Libyan armor when it was protected by fully functional air defenses, something the USA has been certifiably unable to do, even with the F22 Raptor (which has never seen combat, or even CAP overseas).

Here is a “truck“:

A Rafale can carry more than its weight

A Rafale going to war with plenty of goodies

French Rafales Do Not Go To Combat Naked (as the F35s do!).

Buying the French Rafale, and building it under license, would save the Western defense system trillions. American capabilities would be better put into use developing other extremely advanced weapons: space devices, drones and anti-missiles. The USA are years ahead in drones. (As the Curiosity success demonstrates!)

Another advantage of purchasing the Rafale is that the more entangled with itself the military industrial of the West is, the more a situation of co-dependency, and thus strength. For example the supreme air-air missile is the European built Mach 5 Meteor, a long range air breathing rocket with a range beyond 100 kilometers (thanks to its breathing). The Meteor is so superior that engineers are now trying to make it smaller to fit it inside a F35. American planners had not believed in a super fast very long range missile, as, in their minds, it was all about stealth, approaching without being seen.

The reason the USA will not surrender, and buy the Rafale, as it should, is corruption, something that comes to dominate imperial plutocracies, often causing their demise.

***

PLUTOCRATS ARE NOT REALLY MORE PATRIOTIC THAN CROCODILES:

In his farewell address, president Eisenhower, having served two full terms, warned against the military-industrial complex. (Ike did this at seven and half minutes of his full discourse, which is well worth listening to. He warned also against the political-scientific elite as a potential enemy of democracy…)

Corruption finds a home in the military-industrial complex. It can become so extensive that the Japanese and Nazi plutocracies were riddled with it in the Second World War. To the point that their war efforts became extremely enfeebled. In both cases hundreds of weapons were semi-developed, to spread the money around, as the enrichment, or empowerment, of those involved was paramount. Enormous money was spent, and little produced, or then even weapons that hindered the war effort.

For example Hitler insisted to make the Messerschmitt 262, a superlative interceptor, into a bomber. That delayed the apparition of the Me 262 by nearly two years (my own dad, officer in an anti-aircraft unit, was attacked and bombed by Me 262). Good it did for the Allies, because the Pentagon anticipated that the Me 262 would have allowed the Nazis to recover air supremacy! (It would take years for the allies to make planes as good as the Me 262, although they had seized and dissected plenty, and also captured their makers…)

The Nazis developed dozens of other, hopeless flying machines, that robbed the effort that should (from the Nazi point of view!) have been put in the Me 262. The Third Reich was full of decadent plutocrats, and all of them wanted a stream of money and power to come their way.

By contrast to the corrupted mess that the Nazi and Japanese military-industrial complexes were, the British and American weapon procurement in WWII was kept lean, mean, and smart. That allowed mass production to a much greater extent. For example the USA developed only one main battle tank, the Sherman. It was not as good as the best Nazi models, the Panther, Tiger and Super Tiger, (and others I have forgotten the name of), not at all as good, but plenty were produced. Ten Shermans against one Panther meant a dead Panther. The Nazis lost on quantity, not quality.

In general, the weapons made in the USA in WWII were all very clever. The aircraft carriers with their armored decks and nitrogen full fuel pipes were marvels of smarts, and the crews were stupendously trained. Several American carriers suffered bomb and torpedo damage that would have sent a Japanese carrier to the bottom of the sea. But American rescue crews were as good as the Japanese ones were bad.   

Nowadays some weapon systems are sufficient to defend the USA (the strategic nuclear subs, as for France, UK and Russia). But corruption is rife in other areas of defense. And the corruption extends far out.

The USA succeeded to enlist eight other countries in the F35 program.

***

F35 LIGHTNING II VERSUS FRENCH RAFALE:

A few facts:

1) A stealth F117 bomber of the USAF was shot years ago, in Serbia, using a Czech anti-aircraft system. That system simply used multiple radars, centralized the information, and computed (the method has been long used in astrophysics). Many countries have laughed for years about USA “stealth”, saying such systems with distributed radars and centralized computing were readily available. The wing of the F117 was shot through by a shell, not shrapnel, indicative of the fact that the location of the F117 had been asserted with precision.

2) A few years back, in a war game a United Arab Emirate Mirage flown by a French pilot, “shot down” a F22 Raptor. One has to know that the F22 is the top of the line interceptor of the USA. It is forbidden to export it. The F35 is supposed to be a smaller, cheaper, much less capable version of the F22.

The French Rafale runs circles around the French Mirage. So, if a Mirage can shoot down an F22 Raptor… The Raptor is a large plane, whereas the Rafale is compact and is equipped for extremely high accelerations, up to 11 gs (same as the Mercury space capsule). This is thanks in part to its seat which inclines at 29 degrees (the pilot sees all very well, thanks to the heads up holographic display).

The F35 does, at most, 9 gs (and only 7 gs in the marine version). The F35 is not capable of “supercruise“. That means that, to go supersonic, the F35 needs to use post combustion (more easily detected, a gas guzzler, and unsustainable). Concorde supercruised at Mach 2. A fully armed Rafale (see pictures above and below) can supercruise at Mach 1.4.

3) The French “omnirole” fifth generation fighter bomber, the Rafale, is equipped with passive stealth (its reflectivity is much less than a square meter). One also calls “stealth”, “low observability“, nowadays, because, after all, the Rafale, the F35 and the F22 can all be observed.

But the Rafale can do something that the other two cannot do. The Rafale is endowed with ACTIVE STEALTH“. The plane is covered with antennae, even in the leading edges of its canards, and analyzes continually the electromagnetic environment. Fast electronics allows it to make anti-noise (the Spectra system of Thales, the same company whose laser is going to zap Martian rocks, in a parody of war of the worlds).

The Spectra system detects the direction of a threat, with a precision of one degree, and actively suppresses it. So the Rafale is a plane which can be stealthy without losing its aerodynamics (American style stealth allows radar reflections, but only on some very sharp angles, as the planes are made with few planes, the way is diamond is cut.) Moreover active stealth can be perfected to be 100% effective, which “low observability” is not, by definition.

4) During the war in Libya, the dictator Qadhafi dispatched onto Benghazi his entire armored force, accompanied by all his mobile missile batteries. As that force entered the suburbs of Benghazi while talks were pursued in Paris, the French president gave the order to kill it. At the time all the Libyan air defense system was fully functional, adding to all the anti-aircraft capability to the charging armor. Mirages carrying bombs were escorted by Rafales attacking and confusing the missile system. The Libyan force was annihilated, demonstrating, in combat, the superiority of active stealth.

5) Rafales have conducted bombing missions in Afghanistan for years. By contrast the F22 never flew a combat mission.

6) The Rafale is a flying truck. It carries more than its own weight in bombs, fuel and reconnaissance pods. For example its naval version can carry 14 tons of weapons, whereas the F18 super Hornet (the present fighter-bomber of the U.S. Navy, a larger plane) carries only 11 tons (the F22 carries much much less in its stealthy mode and less than 11 tons, if it hanged stuff below its wings… which the Rafale can do while staying stealthy!)

Indeed, with active stealth one can hang whatever below the wings and keep the whole thing invisible. To carry significant armament, the F35 will also have to hang stuff below its wings, and then it will be as stealthy as a B52, a flying light house… 

Rafale in a combat mission in Afghanistan (see the glaciers below).

7) The F35 statistics are miserable: it carries nearly no armament and has less range than some of the fighters the USA engaged against Nazi Germany to escort its bombers. The F35’s performance statistics are all in ways comparable to a F 105 Thunderchief, a plane with just one engine that failed miserably during the Vietnam war. On top of that, the F35 is slow relative a Rafale, by at least 500 kilometers an hour. (There is a good reason for that: the leading edges of the Rafale are in Titanium; it beats plastics and epoxy any day!)

Did I mention the Rafale has two engines, whereas the F35 has just one? This explains that a laden Rafale accelerates better than a naked F35. Anybody who has to fly over water will tell you they much prefer two engines rather than one.

8) The American style stealth has consisted in sharp angles (to reflect radar only in a few directions), glue and plastics (to swallow radar radiation). Four drawbacks: very fragile (B2 can’t take the rain), easily melted (can’t go fast), exaggerated stress on poor aerodynamics (some leading edges on the F22 had to be replaced by titanium, ruining stealth), everything has to be hidden inside, from fuels, to rockets, to bombs (so, whereas a Rafale, with its superior aerodynamics and active stealth can be bristling with weapons, and fuel a F35 will go to combat with just 4 missiles inside).

***

Conclusion: The Navy of the USA ought to buy Rafales, and, with the money saved develop anti ballistic missile system and drones. It goes without saying that it will not happen. Instead astounding amounts of money will be spent on an ineffectual weapon system. (Which is supposed to last… 60 years!)

Thinking that one can get away with massive corruption is a mark of hubristic imperial plutocracy.

The F35 is supposed to go to combat naked, as represented here, so it can stay stealthy. Two rather small compartments open up to reveal the tiny weapons, losing stealth at that instant.

The F35 program is a case of “Too Big To Fail”, outside of finance and economics. One of these cases when the commanding oligarchies just go on, because they are too far along to admit error, or simply, having their logical circuitries ossified and calcified, a case of being in a tight logical box. To keep on doing what one has done before, being dragged along by what one has engaged in, is a basic consequence of mental architecture. The inner mental space has been con-formed by, is built from, what has been happening, it’s a sort of re-production of the perceived world. To be changed, one needs un-reason, as I argued, a jolt out of the box to create new dimensions. Maybe that French laser on Mars can zap away at the calcified contempt all too many American leaders have for French weaponery.

The Curiosity lander demonstrates the advance of the USA in robotics. Purchase Rafales, and sell drones to the Europeans (both sides would sell each other technologies in these mutual collaborations, and make the weapons on location).

***

It may seem strange that Euro-American collaboration in defense ought to be a philosophical subject. Yet, war, assuredly is (except if one is Socrates, with a plutocratic agenda one cannot justify, so one talks of other things). World War One and Two were made possible by a dearth of cooperation and collaboration between the sister republics, France and the USA. August 6 is the anniversary of Hiroshima, and there would have no Hiroshima if the USA had joined France in declaring war to Hitler in 1939 (as Great Britain and many nations, including India, did).

That cognitive mess, World War II, Nazism, was clearly caused, fundamentally, by a lack of Curiosity. So this August 6, 2012, is a rare case where things are heading the right way, satisfying curiosity, the fundamental, specifically human activity.

***

Patrice Ayme

Happy Banking Barack!

August 4, 2012

I MEAN BIRTHDAY, WHATEVER.

***

Abstract: Obama’s birthday today. What a precocious child, from nothing to president. OK, Senator a few years. “Senator”: the word is from “senior”. The Roman Senate was made of seniors, advising.

Obama: so young, inexperienced, and yet father of the nation, with his young fellow multimillionaires friends from Chicago to talk to! Jamie Dimon, a young plutocrat, third generation, lived there in a 17 rooms mansion. Is not the world wonderful? Obama: even Nobel before noble! What magic! President of the mightiest nation without genuinely friendly family elders for common sense advice?

At least Vladimir Putin got the elders at the KGB for advice, who he knew and trusted since he was a student! With Obama, the elders were there for advice, sure: they were the very greedy plutocrats who caused the crisis.

What did Obama accomplish? Why so admiring of banks and financiers? Is it why he did so little in reforming finance? Because it was the greatest heist that ever was, and is still on-going, in full view, and still nobody sees it? The emperor has no clothes, but dances the twist? Truly a wonder! Fooling all the people, all of the time?

In Great Britain even the right wing conservative government of David Cameron has had enough with the banks. The Tory-Liberal government and The Economist are now saying about banks what I have long repeated. The bank outrage is central to the crisis not just in Great Britain and the USA, but in the entire West.

Just two days ago a crazed financial program went on line and caused at least half a billion dollar loss to its firm, while battering the credibility of the USA’s financial markets. Operators could not even stop it for half an hour. That sort of scandal could easily be avoided with a Financial Transaction Tax. A Financial transaction Tax would automatically impose a speed limit on financial trading to re-establish causality, as I have long advocated. (Also it’s only justice; all other transactions are subject to taxation!)

Why did only France pass a Financial Transaction Tax?

***

GETTING ADVICE FROM CROOKS: DREAMS OF ONE’S FATHER FOR THE CLUELESS:

This is Barack Obama’s birthday. For those outside of the USA, it is hard to fathom the cult the Obama campaign is trying to build around it. Truly pathetic. Those guys are desperate, begging for money. And people ask: what did you give us for our money, Barack? Odes to banks and the world’s richest men? The citizens of the USA are treated as if they were three years old.

As I am slightly more mature than that, I decided to go to the bottom of that childish behavior. I met recently with people who knew Obama pretty well when he was a child, when they, themselves, were already responsible adults with children of their own. I asked them whether they found normal that the kid they knew and befriended is not only now president, but never bothered to ask for their parental advice. It’s not like Obama had living parents. He has not been so endowed, for years.

Those elders thought it had been a mistake for Obama never to talk with them. They were actually shocked by it. Who else could Obama have turned to for friendly trust, guidance and experience?

People such as the plutocrat Eskrine Bowles, advised (or ordered?) Obama to “leave your friends behind, they only cause problems“? Welcome to plutocracy, Obambi!

We, the elders and me, concluded that the inappropriate public dreaming of Obama for figures such as Warren Buffet was an ersatz search for fatherly advice. Instead of finding the latter, with those he could trust, since childhood, Obama went to search for advice in all the wrong places. It will, no doubt turn out well for him financially. If you obey Morgan Stanley as USA president, Morgan Stanley should not forget you, as USA citizen. But the question remains: is that all the wisdom the world can pretend to?

***

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE BESIDES SINGING THE PRAISES OF FINANCIERS?

Tyranosopher: So this is your birthday, Mr. President, and what have you done? [Words on the song of John Lennon, So This Is Christmas]. Answer: When I could, not much. When I could not, well, I begged for much money, for me, The One. Although I did support the war of France against Qaddafi, like you guys wanted.

Tyranosopher: This you did, and that was good. And you also saved the auto industry, and that was excellent. But you saved the auto industry, because it begged for mercy, first, and when only public money could provide it. The banks have not begged for mercy. Ever. Quite the opposite, they, and their agents (Honorable Krugman among them), have been dictating the agenda, up to, and since, 2008. The banks were not allowed to fail, first. So they could not be nationalize for nothing.

The only bank that was not helped, Lehman Brothers, was not helped because the secretary of the treasury, Paulson, ex-football player, not really an intellectual, ex-head of Goldman Sachs, and owner of a large island, hated it with a passion.

Obama: I accomplished my signature achievement, ACA, the Affordable Care Act.

Tyranosopher: You could have expanded Medicare in one minute, and get Congress to pass the whole thing the next day, when you had a super majority in the Senate (60 votes, as Ted Kennedy was still well enough to vote, then). It would have long been effective. That’s change. Change that may happen someday, if you are still around on top, that’s not change.

Instead you bent over backwards to please the plutocrats, so it is taking years to produce that silly, hyper complicated thing, and we ended down in the muck with an ACA, aka Obamacare, aka Romneycare, which pleases nobody. If you lose the election, we can only admire how hard you worked for it. Or how hubristic you were to think you could fool everybody, and get away with it.

Obama: “What’s done is done. We gave a serious thought at what you call Medicare For All, too late. Now ACA is the law.”

Tyranosopher: ACA is the law, as long as you are not beaten in three months. And that hinges on enough of an economic recovery, which is hobbled by the financial plutocracy, which believes it owns all the money in the world, and ought to keep it to itself.

That economic non-disintegration, in turn, depends a lot upon Europe not collapsing in another bout of deep recession in its on-going Greater Depression. Please don’t forget that the present head of the European Central banks was a partner at Goldman Sachs for six years, and even a vice-chairman there. Why would he want to help you? When he can help the real thing, Romney?

*** 

MIGHT IS RIGHT, SO MONEY IS RIGHT:

Ever since the 2008 banking Crisis, the Anglo-Saxon governments, the U.S. Federal Reserve, and their obsequious followers (the ECB Draghi) have known mostly one policy: throwing money, ever more money, at the banks (It’s called under various names, to confuse the herd of bleating sheep).

The self celebrating conscientious liberal Paul Krugman would put it, trying to hide his apparent plutophilia behind semantics, throwing ever more, “monetary base” at the banks.

Obama of course, has been a central part of this celebration of the banks. Obama does even more: he celebrates hyper rich financiers and over-crooks, and sing their praises all over the main stream media. He wrote an ode in Newsweek to the famous Warren Buffet, a rare plutocrat owning the main rating agencies, Goldman Sachs, and going long or short, accordingly, when he is not plotting with the Chinese the demise of Western work, industry, and the global atmosphere.

Indeed China, were Buffet invests so much, is “severely under-reporting its carbon emissions“…China may be under-reporting its annual carbon emissions by as much as 1.4 billion tonnes a year—roughly the amount that Japan, the world’s fourth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2), pumps out each year” (The Economist quoting Nature Climate Change.)

Obama went on TV to sing the praises of Jamie Dimon. Hey, suppose Obama has no job next year, would not it be nice to be invited at Citigroup, or Goldman Sachs, and be n $200,000 for a few minutes’ speech as Larry Summers had been? A man needs to feed his fancy, and cannot live normal, after living so big, that would be cruel and unusual punishment…

OK, back to the banks. I will quote extensively from the most current issue of The Economist (I am a subscriber), and if the Economist disagrees, it can always have its directors in Luxembourg, behind that cheap door, explain to me that I cheated taxpayers. I will address their grievance.

The reason for quoting extensively from The Economist is that this way I cannot be accused to be far out to the left of Marx, all alone. I have company among the fact based community.

***

AS LONG AS BANKS HAVE MONEY, THEY DON’T NEED AN ECONOMY:

The Economist says, in “Money For Nothing“,  that: “Although it should still, in theory, be profitable for banks to lend to small and medium-sized companies, they seem unwilling to do so. The latest figures from the European Central Bank show that bank loans to the private sector were down… Nor is it economic, given the issuing costs, for small companies to borrow money in the bond market.”

So why don’t the democratic governments create PUBLIC banks to finance small and medium companies? (The French Socialist government has said it would create such a bank, but it has been busy changing the fiscal system, with the Financial Transaction Tax, effective since august 1, 2012. Now, of course it went to the sacred August vacation, last savagely interrupted in August, 1914!)

Amusingly, some in the right wing British government are starting to feel so inclined…

***

BRITAIN IS IN A GREATER DEPRESSION, BUT NOT ITS BANKSTERS:

The Financial Times, on August 2nd 2012, announced that “cabinet ministers” have been discussing the nationalization of the Royal Bank of Scotland (The British People already owns 82% of the Royal Bank of Scotland after bailing it out in 2008!) OK, the Financial Times has also its directors behind that same door in Luxembourg: the theme today is collaboration with the enemy, to fight greater evil.

As The Economist put it (before  removing the post later!):

“Fed up with the lack of lending, “senior government figures” are discussing whether to spend £5 billion buying up the 18% of RBS the state doesn’t own.

… the long-toothed Liberal business secretary Vince Cable… is looking for a more radical solution. In a leaked letter to the Prime Minister David Cameron in March, Mr Cable suggests breaking up RBS to create a “British Business Bank with a clean balance sheet and a mandate to expand lending rapidly to sound business“.

The rationale behind it is to lend to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Current government policy on this lies in tatters. In February 2011, those at the top came up with a whizzy idea called Project Merlin. The idea was that British banks would sign a contract agreeing to lend more to businesses and—like magic—there would be growth. The Excalibur of bonus cuts was hinted at.

This didn’t work. Growth flatlined. Lending dried up. Excalibur stayed in its stone…

To Mr Cable, “the banking crisis casts a long shadow”. Some economists place Britain’s flagging productivity and lost output down to the seizing up of credit. To desperate ministers who think the market has failed, letting the state step in seems increasingly a good idea.

…the coalition’s current plan—is to nurse RBS back to health and sell it off for a profit. But the bank is expected to announce losses of about £1.5 billion for the first half of the year…. This gives ministers a political reason to nationalise it.

There would also be trouble from the EU. Letting the state direct credit for a bank with a £1 trillion balance sheet might breach EU state-aid rules. This is not to mention the political difficulty of spending £5 billion (where will the money come from?) on something less likely to make a profit. But in an economy now smaller than when the coalition came into power, these things seem to matter less and less.”

To prevent all this economy stalling circus, money losing bank corporations should have been allowed to fail, until they were bought back (by the government, if nobody else, like a crazed sheik, moved in first), for cents on the euro, pence on the pound, pennies on the dollar.

The correct course would be for the British government to coolly announce that they would stop helping banks such as RBS, and threaten to take away their banking license. After such a menace, loud and clear, the stock prices of the banking corporations would collapse, and the banks could be nationalized cheaply. Meanwhile a PUBLIC bank to lend to SMEs ought to be created (say with the 80 billion pounds brandished to help existing banks).

The same applies everywhere.

Of course, in the USA, the lovers of financiers come around, and like Obama, proclaimed that the USA put its banking house in order, while Europe did not. But Europe did lent trillions, at zero interest (basically) to banks. And what did the banks do? Keep the money to themselves, not recycle it in the economy. That is what is giving many European leaders pause.

In the USA, it has been just the same: the banks kept the money for their own operations and that of their friends. The difference with Europe is that much more money was given (sorry, “lent” at zero interest or so) to them. So indeed, American bankers are more arrogant, as those who are given more often are. 

They know they are the ones who, using leverage, create the money. They abused that privilege, for themselves, so regulators are cracking down, thus cracking down on money creation. The only way out is to create public banks.

Big corporations have no problem getting money, as… they are trusted more than most government: investors know they rule the world (and often do not pay tax, because, thanks to decolonization, they have 100 banana republic to call home, like pirates of old, in the seventeenth century).

Is the state of world finance something to celebrate? Probably not. And now the USA is facing the real possibility that a plutocrat red in fang and claw becomes president. After 4 years of Obama bending over backwards to please plutocrats, voters of the USA may be thinking: if the president thinks plutocrats are so good for us, why not being led by the real thing?

So happy birthday, Mr. President. After all, even Adolf Hitler celebrated his birthday in April 20, 1945, as Soviet shells were exploding all over Berlin. Some people are so much into themselves, they never get out.

***

Patrice Ayme

Create A New Branch Of Government: TRUTH.

August 1, 2012

Government traditionally consists of three branches: the executive, the legislative and justice. I propose to create a new branch, purely advisory, truth.

At the highest level, the three branches of government, with their corresponding functions had been conflated early in the Roman Republic (in the times of “Tribunes with Consular Powers“).

Yet, as the State became enormous and subtle, those functions became increasingly distinct. The notion of “State of Law” evolved into ever more prominence. Galla Placidia, reigning Roman empress and “Augusta”  proclaimed the “State of Law” very clearly in the Fifth Century.

She explained that the supremacy of the law required that it be applied to all, including, herself, the head of state. Equally.

During the European Middle Ages, Roman secular law, refurbished by Augustus Justinian around 540 CE, was a buttress against falling into what the areas conquered by Islam fell into (the arbitrariness of The One, anointed by “god” as a “messenger“).

For example, seven centuries after Justinian’s 40 year reign, the king of France “Saint” Louis admitted that he wanted to stab those who did not believe Christ in the belly, so that they would suffer more, but he could not do it, because it was against the (Roman secular) law!

Said Roman secular law became the foundation of all modern law, and United Nation law. Early on the Franks were equipped with their own tribal law, the Salic law (itself written originally in Latin), but they used it as an epiphenomenon on the main body of Roman law.

As the Franks were Roman authority in Gallia, Francia, and Germania, they adopted readily Justinian’s modifications. Their (re)conquest of most of Western Europe (507 CE-1066 CE), and their Renovatio Imperium Romanum (800 CE), insured that Roman law was European law for more than 2,000 years (most of the time, but for the occasional crusade, religious war, Spanish Inquisition, or bout of fascism a la Louis XIV, Napoleon, or Hitler).

Parliaments in the Middle Ages played the role of the Roman Senate. And they worked from the Roman legal system. France had 16 regions and 16 parliaments. They had to sign on any legislative, or constitutional change.

The parliament in London was endowed with extraordinary powers (much of them attributed when Montford tried to use it to become king). After the Republic nearly came back from action of the Paris parliament, little desirous to see in France what the London parliament had done (vote for cutting off the king’s head), the fascist youth, Louis XIV, shut them down (they were re-established by the revolutionary Louis XVI, and then they, in turn, shut down his attempts at making the plutocrats pay enough taxes).

I propose four branches of government: executive, legislative, justice… and TRUTH.

We need Truth Courts. One in the USA, one in Europe (although major European countries could have their own). Even the UN could have its own. A Truth Court could provide with unbiased opinions about various subjects such as Arctic Drilling, GMOs, Nuclear Technologies, circumcision and excision, stoning lesbians, drug legalization, and meta subjects, such as Much of FOX Is POX, etc.

We need Truth Courts to handle delicate subjects, and not just what were the forces behind Hitler, but also what are the forces behind the military-industrial complex, and the gifts it brings.

One of these gifts is the F35 “low observable” fighter-bomber that USA based military plutocrats persuaded many representatives of taxpayers in many countries to subsidy.

So far the program has cost 400 billion dollars, and not one single plane has entered service fully (although the plane has been “produced” since 2006). The cost is staggering: the Norwegian defense ministry admitted it could be as much as 762 million dollars per plane (the Pentagon had admitted only half that… so far, but recognized maintenance would be very expensive, easily doubling the price).

In truth, this is corruption at the highest order. As I will show in an accompanying essay, if the aim is really defense, an alternative offers itself, cheaper, safe and effective.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, Nelson Mandela’s great idea, has allowed South Africa to not go the way, of, say Algeria, or India. Both of these countries were torn apart, and have known war, civil or not, religious or not, more or less, ever since.

If Gandhi had been as smart as Mandela, not only would India, the Raj, not have split into three pieces, with millions dead, dozens of millions exiled, and a criminal and expensive arms race since, plus now the Damocles sword of nuclear war, but, moreover, other countries would have heeded the example (and Algeria would not have known 60 years of more or less hot uncivil war, plus millions exiled, and less economic opportunities for much of Europe, and all of North Africa!)

***

DEBATE ON TRUTH AS A BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT:

This house holds that: To insure civilizational veracity, let alone survival, we need a Truth Court.

“TRUTH” would be a new independent, secular institution. It would only provide with Truth Opinion. (Quite a bit like the Roman Senate provided only with Senatus Consulte, counsel, or advice, from the seniors… At least for a while, in the beginning, before the Public Assembly passed the bad law of letting the Senate decided in its stead.)

Alexi Helligar: Kind of like an official www.factcheck.org

PA: Yes. However, the mandate of factcheck.org, is, so far very limited as it checks mostly on USA politicians and their PACs. It is also privately financed. I am thinking of something huge, financed publicly, and to act as the fourth pillar not just of government, but of civilization. To find out all the facts, and likely consequences, related to human impact on the atmosphere, oceanosphere, geology and the biosphere, would be a primary target.

Andy Outis Would the jurisdiction of this court only apply to the fact-based community, or would Fox News audiences have immunity?

PA: Such a court would inform the commons that Much of FOX Is POX.

Andy Outis That happens on a daily basis. Their viewership doesn’t seem to care.

PA: They are living the lie. A Truth Court would help those who are addicted to lying sober up. It would be like being told that alcohol, or cigarettes are not good for health. Much of what passes for News at Fox News would be denounced as bad for mental health… by an independent governmental branch. Thus my proposition for four branches of government: executive, legislative, justice, TRUTH.

Andy Outis But that would take away their constitutional rites to be as ignorant as they wanna be!! Downright un American!!

PA: It’s indeed a rite, not a right. A tribal rite.

***

Patrice Ayme (with thanks to A. Helligar and A. Outis).