Archive for April, 2014

Pluto’s Crafty Anti-Intellectualism

April 29, 2014

Public Private Confusion, And Other Deliberate Craziness

The rise of plutocracy is stealthy. It rests in great part on having bought the economists serving in the influential “private” universities. Those economists were selected, during their graduate studies, to see only what would please the wealthy sponsors of said universities.

Thus, for example, the economist unlearned the fundamental reason for the existence of taxation: prevent the rise  of an all-consuming oligarchic plutocracy (that is having a few reigning satanically on We The People).

Krugman still does not get it (although he is trying, and pointing out, justly so, that “Paradigming Is Hard”):

“we have a body of economic theory built around the assumptions of perfectly rational behavior and perfectly functioning markets. Any economist with a grain of sense — which is to say, maybe half the profession? — knows that this is very much an abstraction…”

It’s not just an abstraction, it’s an error. What is the Genus Homo? Ms. And Mr. Market? What is the main motivation of the genus Homo? Perfect reason? Perfectly functioning markets?

No. For reminder, the genus Homo is the world’s top predator, in the process of killing the entire biosphere (by acidifying the phytoplankton, the main source of oxygen). Is that perfectly reasonable? Is that perfectly functioning? A market?

What have the economists been doing? Building little fables that completely neglect the real nature of man, while claiming they can predict the behavior of man (that is what, after all, economics claim to do, with consummate modesty).  Greenspan and similar characters of with a very low product of intelligence  and  morality, told us, over decades that all we needed was the intelligence of the markets.

But what are markets? Crowds. Tribes. What are tribes for? Ask Putin, he knows. War. Economists have hidden that breast that they could not possibly see. (Nota bene for the clueless: allusion to Moliere’s Tartuffe).

Their colossal, deliberate, venal naivety has led economists to oversee what was bound to happen: as the hyper rich reached a critical mass, their influence got so great that they have been able to dismantle the democracy that is in their way.

How? By reducing the taxes that prevented the hyper wealthy to go exponential (as Thomas Piketty noticed).

But also the hyper wealthy, through their purchase of politicians, established various confusions and legislation that served them well.

Any attempt to justify mass or individual behavior in humans, without pondering the Dark Side, makes one an accomplice of said Dark Side. I agree it’s hard to be hard when pondering the abyss, increasingly down below.

Many individuals from the far right and vampires from the plutocracy delve in convenient confusions between what is public and what is private. They make elaborate theories to exploit the public thing for their own private pursuits, but they hate the reciprocal.

For this system of exploitation covered up by denial to keep on going, they manage it with colossal anti-intellectualism. This way, they don’t have to answer questions, that, by playing the roles of stupid brutes, they could not possibly understand, let alone answer.

This sustainable parasitism is not just found with ranching and mining, but all over the large corporations, and especially in the so called financial industry. Private banks are little more than public institutions managed privately to benefit the few, always ready to be rescued by the public, in those cases when the transfer of property from We The People to the hyper rich suffers some sudden mishap.

The far right and the plutocrats are surrounded by an enormous cloud of hanger-ons, supporters, servants, plutophiles, and hired guns. That army of the mediocre is dedicated to the triumph of lies and the unreal. As they are, fundamentally, brutes, and admirers of brutality, they will never, ever, surrender to reason.

Quite the opposite. Anything outrageous denying reason, is experienced by the party of Pluto as a victory. Surrendering to reason would be like denying their entire strategy in life, which is centered on the neurohormones of predation, and of others suffering.

The rise of externalities in economic activities, such as mercury poisoning of the oceans, and the rising acidity, are not necessarily perceived by those who govern us as major inconveniences, but, in their universe of the inversion of all values, as major assets. This is the crux that all of economics, not to speak of sociology, has neglected.

This goes beyond Marx. It’s Marx, rolled over by tanks.

Patrice Aymé

NEANDERTHAL SUPERIORITY

April 27, 2014

IS STUPIDITY A SAPIENS THING?

Why did Neanderthals disappear? This fascinating question brought other questions, that have blossomed ever more. Such as: “In light of the fact Neanderthals were obviously a superior human race, why do people think it’s so cool to demean Neanderthals?”

Just because they disappeared? Did they? Wait…

Indeed the original question, why did Neanderthals go extinct? is itself in the process of going extinct. As I tried to explain in “Mathematics “Extinguished” Neanderthals”, Neanderthals probably did not go extinct. They were too superior, to just disappear. Instead they genetically consolidated in a more economic format… The one they came from!

Among Neanderthal Inventions: Chemistry, Body Paint, Earliest Art...

Among Neanderthal Inventions: Chemistry, Body Paint, Earliest Art…

My reasoning in “Maths “Extinguished…”rests mainly on two ideas: a) the advancement of technology made most of Neanderthals’ cold adapted mutations irrelevant, and a burden. And: b) a subtle thinning-out from periodic near-extinctions  of genetic traits related to more bulky individuals. So it’s not just tech, but a very varying climate, that thinned out Neanderthalian traits.

Thanks to genetic studies spearheaded by Herr Doktor Professor Svante Paabo, an evolutionary geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (author of “Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes”), it turns out that, as he writes in the New York Times (April 25, 2014):

…”these past few years, my research group and I have worked to sequence the genome of a Neanderthal, the closest evolutionary relative of all present-day humans. We have also sequenced a genome from a small bone excavated in a Russian cave close to the border with China; this genome came from a previously unknown Asian relative of the Neanderthals — a group that we call the Denisovans.

These ancient genomes show that the Neanderthals were genetically very similar to us. In fact, for most of the genome, some people living today are closer to the Neanderthals than to other people. Comparing their genome with that of modern people, we identified a total of 31,389 genetic mutations that have come to be carried by all humans today.”

Please meditate this, the conclusion of genetics studies: “…some people living today are closer to the Neanderthals than to other people.” What a shattering notion!

Paabo’s work as been confirmed independently by other research groups. There are too many surprises to list them all. Some researchers found that the highest density of Neanderthals mutations in… North Africa.

North Africans are a type of Europeans, genetically speaking; in 2014 Neanderthal mutations were found all the way to ancient South African population!… And the whole situation became extremely complicated. For example Denisovans’ genetics were found in Spain. However, so far absolutely no Denisovan skeleton has been found: they constitute a genome in search of a body!

Then Paabo, unfortunately, slips into age-old racist prejudice:

“Among these mutations may lurk some subtle yet consequential differences between them and us that further research may eventually explain. For example, although Neanderthals, who became extinct about 30,000 years ago, produced stone tools and controlled fire, they never developed the technology and culture to multiply and spread across the planet as modern humans did.”

Paabo should know better than writing this. Some of the first genomic studies on Neanderthals found them quite far, genetically from modern humans. Then more recent Homo Sapiens Sapiens’ genomes were analyzed and found… just as far.

I appreciate the professor’s work. However the sentence: “although Neanderthals… controlled fire, they never developed the technology and culture to multiply and spread across the planet as modern humans did,” struck me as unwarranted, if not downright racist to the point of complete stupidity. With all due respect, of course: Paabo himself gave us some of the weapons to squash his prejudice! “Modern humans” of today have a different genome from “modern humans” of yesterday: whoever “spread across the planet”, why and how, is not too clear.

WHY NEANDERTHALS ARE A SUPERIOR RACE:

Neanderthals were adapted to a very cold climate. So they thrived in North Africa, but it’s not surprising that they did not get south. Meanwhile, as Neanderthals had invented pants, African Sapiens could spread into Europe (supposing that technology was transferred to them).

Paleontologist Zilhão found evidence demonstrating that Neanderthals in Europe were neither cognitively inferior nor less creative than Homo SS in Africa.

In 2010, he reported that a cache of painted marine shells on the Iberian Peninsula was made by Neanderthals (the photography at the top of the essay is of some of these shells; the hole indicates that they were worn as jewelry; thread had been invented by Neanderthals at least 30,000 years prior).

These shells were dated to 50,000 years ago, about 10,000 years before Cro-Magnon (viewed as Homo SS) appeared in Europe. These 50,000 year old shells were used by Neanderthals to produce body paint. To do so, preceding 19C chemistry by a full 50,000 years, Neanderthals used chemical reactions.

The shells contain mineral pigment makeup that required some skill and know-how to produce. (The makeup was composed of fool’s gold, aka pyrite, and ground hematite, which can be red and black, all mixed in to a base of the rust-colored mineral, lepidocrocite.)

Neanderthals were chemists who painted themselves and wore jewelry. Fashion shows in the Paris basin are at least 50,000 years old (so the degeneracy there is an atavism). Neanderthals invented many technologies. They had mastered hafting, more than 150,000 years ago. That allows to attach wood to warheads and tools. As I noticed in the Tasmanian Effect:

“Amazingly, the Tasmanians had lost hafted tool technology (it allows to fix a hard head such as a stone or a piece of antler to a wooden object such as a spear, arrow, or ax). Hafting was independently evolved in Europe by Neanderthals…”

Previously unknown Neanderthal technologies are found every year. Neanderthals invented needle and thread, way back (80,000 years ago, at least; probably much older). Necessity was the mother of invention: Europeans (aka Neanderthals) needed clothing more than Africans did, as the later wore none. Moreover, appropriate fibers are more easily found in the temperate zone (everything rots quickly in the very warm, wet tropics, including DNA).

NEANDERTHALS INVENTED DOGS, COAL BURNING, SHELL FISH DINING:

Some of the arguments against Neanderthals have been outright ridiculous: not only we were told, without any evidence, that they could not talk, but that the superiority of Africans came from eating shell fish, about 70,000 years ago (along the East Coast of Africa).

However, it has since been discovered that Neanderthal cavemen supped on shellfish on the Costa del Sol 150,000 years ago, punching another torpedo hole in the theory that only Africans ate (supposedly) brain-boosting seafood.

Neanderthals also used coal, as long ago as 73,000 years. Once again, making a fire in present day France, then suffering from a pretty bad glaciation, made more sense than trying to stay warm in the Congo.

Earlier and earlier prehistoric art has been found. It’s getting ever harder to claim that Neanderthals had nothing to do with it. This is from the enormous Chauvet cave in France, at least 32,000 years old:

If Not Neanderthal, Probably Mostly Neanderthal

If Not Neanderthal, Probably Mostly Neanderthal

(42,000 year old art was also found in Spain.)

Neanderthals also domesticated, and genetically engineered dogs, from European wolves. That’s very clear.

How do I know this? Simple. The Goyet dog, pictured below was dated around 32,000 years. In 2010, and an even older dog was found in the Altai mountains. Both dogs were derived from Canis Lupus Familiaris, the European wolf, but were quite distant from it, genetically, they had been evolved probably on a time scale of more than 10,000 years, thus well before any arrival of Sapiens Sapiens from Africa.

Those dogs were completely compatible with people, just as contemporary dogs are. Proof? Ancient, 26,000-year-old footprints made by a child and a dog deep in the Chauvet Cave, France. (OK, by then Neanderthals have been just deemed “extinct” by some… However, these are still the same dogs Neanderthals invented.)

It Took Many Thousands Years To Breed Such Large Dogs From European Wolves

It Took Many Thousands Years To Breed Such Large Dogs From European Wolves

It is perplexing that other human groups did not domesticate the local canids. There are (still!) wolves in Africa and India. And also Lycaons (“African Wild Dogs”). Those are supremely intelligent, and sort of domesticate readily in the wild (I tried this myself as a child).

The argument that Africans would have moved to Europe to domesticate European wolves, when they had a similar fauna, including wolves, to domesticate in Africa, is simply extravagant.

The only group in Europe at the right time and place to have made the jewelry and tools attributed to early Aurignacian culture is the Neanderthals. It would seem that the oldest cave paintings, dated at 41,000 years or more, were made by Neanderthals (they are in Spain, a Neanderthal fortress, and, at the time, Sapiens Sapiens were just entering Europe, far away).

Equipped with advanced weapons, Neanderthals started modifying the environment (for example extinguishing Cave Bears). At that point, the advancement of technology made their cold adapted mutations irrelevant, and a burden.

The argument is always made that the technological explosion in the Aurignacian happened because of the invasion by Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Why? Because Homo SS was superiorly intelligent. How do we know that? Because as it came in, there was a technological and artistic explosion.

Some scientists ought to be taught elementary logic.

In my train of explanation, all these phenomena, tech explosion, Homo SS invasion and Homo Neandertalensis transmogrification are related. Related by what? The tech explosion.

As I pointed out, the Tasmanians, who were as much Homo Sapiens Sapiens as their relatives in Australia, degenerated to technological level that would have driven them to extinction pretty much anywhere else, especially in Europe (Europe was crawling with megafauna: super lions (Cave Lions), Cave Bears, Mammoths, Rhinoceroses, ton and a half Aurochs, hyenas, etc. Bulk may have put them at a disadvantage relative to more frail forms of Homo Sapiens (Homo Heidelbergis, ancestor to Neanderthals was massive: 100 kilograms). Presto, especially in a varying climate, they may have reverted to their common inheritance.

Want one more proof of my little theory? The race that replaced the Neanderthals were the Cro-Magnon (“Big Cave” in the local, pre-Celtic Basque language). The Cro-Magnons did not look particularly “human”: they had rectangular orbits. But then they were less massive than Neanderthals (thus allowing part of my reproductive argument against Neanderthal physiology to come into play!).

This is "Modern" Man, Cro-Magnon. Perpetual Sun Glasses?

This is “Modern” Man, Cro-Magnon. Perpetual Sun Glasses?

The lighter form of being of Homo SS is an important point of my Neanderthals-traits out-breeding theory. But there are other points, including that the genetic adaptation of Neanderthals that were not advantageous anymore (thanks to technology) would tend to disappear… Whereas those that are still advantageous would thrive. This exactly what the geneticists such as Paabo are finding.

Examples: Neanderthal adaptations tend to dominate for skin. Paabo and others found some Neanderthal adaptations are still gaining, whereas others are still regressing. We are far from having a complete picture of the situation.

However, whereas Paabo expects the Neanderthal to be inferior from the epistemological point of view, I expect the exact opposite. Not just because of what they did, but because they had to do it (to live where they did). I even expect a strong cultural hereditability of paying attention to the essence of man. A cultural heredity of the metaprinciple that the supremacy of culture is essential to man, thriving to this day, coming straight from Neanderthals.

How did I explain the Tasmanian devolution? As a cultural phenomenon. At some point, Tasmanians got possessed by the wrong metaprinciples. They drove their culture into the ground. Anti-intellectualism got a life of its own (remember Turkey, outlawing the printing press: same idea).

The opposite can happen: intellectualism, the essence of Homo, can be revered. Superior principles can help create, in turn a succession of superior cultures (as observed in Western Europe, something Putin ought to meditate, if he could meditate).

Arguably all the way up to the late Neolithic Europe had kept some tech edge: the frozen solid individual found at the border of Austria and Italy was carrying antibiotics. The argument of Jared Diamond that Eurasians became as superior as they became because they had all these nice plants and animals is another circular argument: these plants and animals, all of them, had been invented by said Eurasians, from almond trees, to wheat, beans, and even cats (to kill grain eating rodents).

Later, when the Romans confronted the Celts, the latter had arguably the world’s best ocean faring ships, and the best metallurgy (the Celts equipped the Roman army, from early on!)

Thus it is entirely possible that the habit of maximal tech superiority, after allowing Neanderthals to thrive for hundreds of thousands of years, carry in to this day. The International Thermonuclear Experimental reactor is fully close to where Neanderthals experimented with coal at least 73,000 years ago. It’s a tradition, to invent ways of making nature serve Homo, probably revered there, more than anywhere else.

It was just found out that, generations (of deer!) after the triple lethal electric fence system of the “Iron Curtain” was removed, local deer still teach their young to respect the border between Germany and the Czech Republic (although as both are in Schengen, the physical border has been gone for generations. So if culture is that strong among rather stupid deer, imagine what it is among men!

Paradoxically, culture allows men to become more stupid than even deer, and for much longer (see Putin and his followers getting their minds from Ivan IV, the Terrible).

In the USA, apparently correct descriptions of the Crater Lake volcano explosion, in which the upper mile of the Mazama volcano blew up, leaving a deep caldera, were still made by the local inhabitants. 7,700 years later.

Culture has a life of its own, an evolution of its own. In a way, it’s reassuring to know that creative intellectuals can leave so much behind…

Even if they were simple Neanderthals.

Patrice Aymé

Reference: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/why-did-neanderthals-disappear/

 

USA: Rich Plutos, Poor People

April 22, 2014

The New York Times is waking up, and smelling the roses, Here is an extract of:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/upshot/the-american-middle-class-is-no-longer-the-worlds-richest.html?ref=economy,

followed by my further seeing remarks. By the way, before I unleash the New York Times, the numbers the NYT uses about the USA’s median income are way more optimistic than the official ones. Here is the real situation:

This Is Reality. Real, Inflation Indexed Dollars For Median Family Income

This Is Reality. Real, Inflation Indexed Dollars For Median Family Income

The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.

While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.

After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.

The numbers, based on surveys conducted over the past 35 years, offer some of the most detailed publicly available comparisons for different income groups in different countries over time. They suggest that most American families are paying a steep price for high and rising income inequality.”

I sent the following comments, to pursue the New York Times’ education:

***

The reality is way worse: one has to take into account what taxes provide with. In the USA, taxes provide the rich with even more services. In Europe, taxes provide the Non-Rich, with even more basic services.

Some services, such as health care, education, or helping the poor, should be viewed as basic human rights.

Take the case of the French Republic. On the surface, French median income, after tax is significantly lower than in the USA. However, those French taxes pay for crucial services that then come for free, or are heavily subsidized in France. For example in health, education, retirement, etc.

France has the highest taxes, with Denmark, about 56% of GDP. However, those taxes are used for massive redistribution. Thus health care is first class and basically free in France.

Education too is free, in France, all the way to the doctorate.

Preschool is also free, and toddlers can be left, for free, in the care of the specially trained health care providers much of the day, for working moms.

In many European countries, parents get massive support, not just from day one, but from the day of pregnancy (then the care is free and intense; parents get extended parental leave, sometimes years).

***

Plutocracy is a redistribution of wealth, power, income, from We The People to a small minority of controlling parasites. Plutocracy paralyzes the minds with a warped case of inverted decency. Plutocracy is neither optimal for the society, nor the economy.

Plutocracy affects the USA more than Europe, and the minds, even more than the stomachs. The fact that average Americans feel that they are much better of than in the rest of the world reinforce the plutocratization of the USA. Including astounding tolerance for the amazingly corrupt so called Supreme Court (Supremely plutocratic!).

I'm "Black", Mom Was White, & Thus We're In The Black.

I’m “Black”, Mom Was White, & Thus We’re In The Black.

 

***

For more on how plutocracy has corrupted minds, see:

http://panterragolo.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/class-mind-in-the-usa/

Patrice Aymé

Kremlin Protests Kiev’s Protests.

April 21, 2014

The Kremlin let it be known that it will tolerate no longer protests in… Kiev, especially on Maidan (Freedom) Square. Protests apparently disturb the Kremlin’s delicate disposition, and spirit of “Eurasian Union” it wants to promote.

Putin is not only a trained professional killer, ex-head of the KGB with an “insufficient sense of danger” (one of his KGB instructors wrote in a report, long ago). He is also a Sixth Dan Black Belt in Judo. The idea of judo is to use the opponent’s strength and momentum against him.

I have said Putin is a plutocrat, in all senses of the term: not only he is immensely rich, grow, breed and herd plutocrats, but of course he satanically does not hesitate to mass murder (the death in the Chechnya war he, probably, engineered, are between 50,000 and 150,000).

The Times of London, dear to Russian plutocrats, now admits that Putin would own, personally, in Swiss bank accounts alone, around 40 billion dollars. It pays to be dictator of Russia, but one is never cautious enough. (I had long mentioned the 40 billions, the estimate is from 2007).

There was Kremlin “outrage” over a deadly weekend shootout in the rebel east of Ukraine that left three separatist rebels dead.

Weirdly, at first sight, none of the assailants were found, although their cars were riddled with bullets… and burned. The Kremlin and its propaganda were prompt to condemn the “Right Sector”. Yes, well, where is the proof, where are the bodies? How come, the cars were riddled with bullets coming perpendicularly, while the cars were parallel to the road, presumably with assailants still inside (otherwise why to riddle them with bullets?), and, still, those assailants, presumably shot full of holes, still succeeded to flee? And then, to erase the evidence, burned the cars?

What’s the proof that Pravy Sektor attacked? According to Russian media, it’s very simple: Pravy Sektor left a business card. Cars completely burned out, but the leader of Pravy Sektor does not forget to leave his business card! Assuredly a miracle proving God is from the Kremlin.

Let me help you, Kremlin. Who profits from such an attack? The “Right Sector” based in Western Ukraine (long part of Poland when Poland was not under the Czarist boot)? Certainly not. The Kremlin profits.

As Adolf Hitler told his generals in his third and final conference to his top general in Berchtesgaden, in August 1939:“We can’t hold economically anymore… We need war. What we got so far we got through bluff, but now we need to use the army… I shall give a propagandist reason for starting the war – never mind whether it is plausible or not . . . In starting and waging a war it is not right that matters but victory.”

Meanwhile the “little green men” who invaded Georgia and Crimea are now being identified by name, from photographs, as members of Russian Special Forces. The Ukrainian armor seized by the little green men was expertly operated within minutes, making hyper quick circles and other acrobatics to please the crowds.

This is an increasingly grave situation.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/21/world/europe/photos-link-masked-men-in-east-ukraine-to-russia.html

For months in 1939, German radio and newspapers and politicians, accused Polish authorities of organizing or tolerating violence against Germans in Poland. That was all invented.

In summer 1939, Adolf Hitler claimed he was anxious to solve the problem of Dantzig (nowadays Gdansk in Poland). Hitler was out to protect the Germans (in this free city). The problem had to be solved, the Poles refused to become reasonable, as they were backed up by the French Republic. Hitler made his alliance with Stalin official. Still Poland and France refused to compromise.

Hitler was told France and Britain would not go to war. Just to make sure, he set-up an elaborate plot.

The Gleiwitz incident (German: Überfall auf den Sender Gleiwitz; Polish: Prowokacja gliwicka) was a false flag operation by Nazi forces posing as Polish soldiers on 31 August 1939, against the German radio station Sender Gleiwitz in Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia, Germany (since 1945: Gliwice, Poland). The goal was to use the staged attack as a casus belli (war cause) to make internationally legal to invade Poland.

Alfred Naujocks at the Nuremberg Trials stated in testimony that he organized the incident under orders from Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Müller, chief of the Gestapo.

One hundred or so German special forces, dressed in Polish uniforms and led by Naujocks,[2] seized the Gleiwitz station and broadcast an anti-Nazi message in Polish. The goal was to make the attack and the broadcast look like the work of anti-German Polish saboteurs.

The Nazis brought in Franciszek Honiok, a German Silesian known as anti-Nazi, who had been arrested by the Gestapo. Honiok was dressed as a saboteur; then killed and left as if shot while attacking the station. His corpse was presented as bodily evidence of the attack to the police and international press.

So were the corpses of more than a dozen concentration camp inmates similarly assassinated.

The Nazis staged another twenty  or so false Polish attacks against Germany that night. At 4:45 am, the Nazi airforce attacked the Polish airforce. However, that was lost in the brouhaha of the unamused attitude of the French Republic.

Nobody serious believed the Nazis for a second. Within hours of the staged attacks, as the Nazi armies penetrated Poland, France, joined spectacularly by Britain, sent an ultimatum to Hitler: Get out of Poland or a state of war will exist between Germany and Franco-Britannia. At this point, Hitler did not know what to do anymore.

Barring a miracle, Hitler had started, and lost, the Second World War.

Is it what Putin wants by staging false flag incidents in Ukraine?

A reminder: California has around the world’s eight GDP, if that state of the USA is viewed as a nation. That’s about the size of Russian GDP (!). France and Britain, together, have about two and a half time the Russian GDP. Russia makes weapons, and fossil fuels. Everything else, it has to buy outside.

In one of the Indiana Jones movie, a professional killer makes a demonstration of his prowess with swords, in a preliminary to his dispatch of the archeologist hero. Indiana Jones stops the frightening display, by just shooting the swordman dead.

As it turned out, Harrison Ford had the runs, and he suggested to Spielberg that the scene been cut short:

“We were shooting in Tunisia, and the script had a scene in which I fight a swordsman, an expert swordsman, it was meant to be the ultimate duel between sword and whip. And I was suffering from dysentery, really, found it inconvenient to be out of my trailer for more than 10 minutes at a time… I proposed to Steven that we just shoot the son a bitch… So he drew his sword, the poor guy was a wonderful British stuntman who had practiced his sword skills for months in order to do this job, and was quite surprised by the idea that we would dispatch him in 5 minutes. But he flourished his sword, I pulled out my gun and shot him, and then we went back to England…”

Putin should meditate this. Instead of hoping that his distracting violence will put him on top of the world. Putin’s empire may be very large, but it’s not any more active than California, and it has no Silicon Valley. Yielding is better than sinking.

Patrice Aymé

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Years To Catastrophe

April 20, 2014

Abstract: The mathematics of “Climate Change” are much more problematic than the IPCC makes it sound. Weirdly, the IPCC ignores much of the greenhouse gases injected in the biosphere from human activity (!), and the fact that, although the main trigger, atmospheric CO2 is not the main agent of climate change (or, more generally biosphere change; the correct concept). Integrating all agents of change, direct or indirect gives ten years to catastrophe (the present essay buttresses technically the essay “Terminal Greenhouse Crisis“).

The logic may not be perfect logic to do so. However it is perfect catastrophic logic. In catastrophic logic, it is considered that all that can go wrong, will go wrong (“Murphy’s Law”). Planes fly safely, thanks to paying great attention to catastrophic logic (that’s why aircraft disaster are so important). Losing the biosphere would be the greatest catastrophe imaginable, as we would lose spaceship Earth. So, if there is one case when catastrophic logic ought to be used, that’s it.

***

Here is the problem, and its name is IPCC (Does IPCC mean International Panel for Coal Catastrophe?):

Pluto & Coal Go Together Well

Pluto & Coal Go Together Well

The latest IPCC (Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change) report, seven years after the preceding one, observes that adaptation is an option only if efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are “strengthened substantially”. Without mitigation, the impacts of climate change will be devastating.

The report, under the political pressure of business-as-usual, is exaggeratingly optimistic. This best-of-possible-worlds stance has a real impact.

Notice the coal production has been augmenting exponentially recently (and that the graph above projects optimistically that this will stop magically this year, 2014!).

The coal production is reaching new height, precisely because the assessment of the climate impact of the rise in Human generated Greenhouse Gases (HGG) is not viewed as alarming.

Under the public IPCC assessment, a devastating impact of HGG will take about 40 years. How did the IPCC get there? By making “reasonable”, “most probable” assumptions. That’s perfect for business-as-usual.

Business as usual is a funny matter: a jumbo jet recently disappeared (Malaysian Airlines 370). Yet, the jet had an internet antenna, and it would have cost only one dollar per hour to keep appraised of its position, using that antenna. For years, the technology has existed to know everything about jets in difficulty, in real time, but it has not been applied, because no law exists to enforce the application of said technology.

(When the AF 447 fell to the ocean, in 2009, the plane, realizing it was losing its mind, sent 14 technical messages in 4 minutes to Airbus in Toulouse, so, even if that jet had not been found, the rough reasons for the crash were known within hours; such a system could exist for all jets; the lessons of the AF 447 crash were applied worldwide, including how pilots ought to react to such loss of lift: the old doctrine was gravely erroneous!)

Jets crashing and planet crashing have much in common, as they represent the conjunction of multiple system failures.

So the IPCC operates on a 40 year time-frame for total catastrophe, while I claim that the time scale is only ten years. The IPCC got there by being optimistic. I got to only ten years by being pessimistic. I used what I call Catastrophic Calculus.

One could say that, by using Catastrophic Calculus, I am not “objective”. But Catastrophic Calculus is what has to be applied all over the cases where failure is not an option. The obvious example is train travel, car making, and especially, aircraft flying. (Strangely, Catastrophic Calculus has been ignored for some types of very dangerous civil nuclear technologies!)

The IPCC, EPA, etc, are certainly culprit of the sin of talking about “Carbon” meaning Carbon Dioxide, CO2, sometimes meaning only the “C” inside “CO2” . I even wonder if they don’t do it deliberately, to understate the problem.

Certainly 515 billion tons of “Carbon” in 2010 the IPCC sometimes talk about, is less frightening than the 3,016 billion tons of CO2 present in the atmosphere at that time.

This is doubly unfortunate. First, it underplays the problem psychologically. Second, there is another type of “carbon” in the air: soot. When the IPCC speaks of “Carbon”, they don’t measure all the carbon in the air, but just the carbon in the CO2 that is in the air!

This is of some importance: carbon under particulate form (soot) comes in with a minus sign for the greenhouse effect! The more soot, the less the greenhouse, because soot makes the atmosphere more opaque, and less light reaches the ground, where the greenhouse effect occurs. Thus, the more the pollution by soot, the less the surface warming.

By mentioning just one type of “carbon” in the air, the IPCC underplays the impact of the greenhouse, because, if one took out the soot and micro-particles, the greenhouse effect would augment… a lot. Now one will have to remove the soot: it causes cancer, and pulmonary problems, killing millions that way. Doing so will jump up the greenhouse.

And the fact remains that the “carbon” in the air in 2010 was much more than 515 billion tons.

Another, and graver problem, that the IPCC does not insist upon: half of the CO2 goes into the ocean. The acidity has augmented 30%.

Thus the real number for the injection of CO2 of human origin injected in the biosphere is above 6,000 billion tons of CO2. Moreover, that has to be scaled up further, from the other GHGs… Including water vapor. Water vapor, the most abundant greenhouse gas is also the most important in its contribution to the terrestrial greenhouse effect, despite having a short atmospheric lifetime (around 7 days). A 10% change in stratospheric water vapor changes the change of global surface temperature by around 30%. NASA says: “Water vapor is potent enough to double the climate warming caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Now atmospheric concentration of CO2 is augmenting at 1% per year. Integrating the CO2 going into the ocean: 2%. Doubling with water vapor: 4%. Add some methane from fracking and clathrate hydrates erupting, and you sure make 5%.

Doing all the math, and expecting all sorts of non linear effect kicking in, such as release of CO2 from melting permafrost, one gets a putative doubling of the catastrophe in ten years, rather than 40 year.

This is a very different picture from the simple doubling of the catastrophe from doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere in the next 40 years the IPCC apparently expects. The IPCC is in for a rude awakening. It’s eating coal, as we speak. It has turned, indeed, into the International Panel for Coal Catastrophe.

Patrice Aymé

PAIN & PASSION For Balanced Mental Diet?

April 18, 2014

Today Christians celebrate the suffering of Christ (that’s what “passion” means; the word was more or less created for this, the suffering of Christ, in 12C France). Why?

Are Christians celebrating suffering in general, or the gift the Son of God supposedly made to them by consenting to suffer too? Or both?

If suffering is celebrated, what for? Because it brings good things, or because it is, per se, a good thing? Or is suffering celebrated because it is central to the human condition? Then, refusing suffering would be to refuse the human condition itself.

Pope Gets Down To Business

Pope Gets Down To Business

A specialist of Buddhism, Philip Short, author of several best seller scholarly books, told me, in connection with explaining the holocaust in Cambodia, that, by spiting pain, Buddhism made people more indifferent to suffering… And thus more tolerant of suffering, and of those, or what, the systems of thoughts and emotions, that inflict it.

Certainly Christians make a show of regretting the suffering of Christ, while revering the fact that, supposedly, he died for us. While Islam is rather gross in comparison, by revering “Jihad” (Holy war or holy war-like effort), Christianism is more subtle: it celebrates those who die for us in horrible suffering, just to obey their “Father”. (Implicit message, same as in Islam, where it is explicit (S 4, v 56): obey Your Lord, the one in the big castle on the hill, as ordained by God.)

In any case, if more than half of the planet is of a mentality inspired by Christianism or Islamism (including yours truly), it’s no doubt because both these religions view suffering as a good thing, sometimes, in their core doctrine. That reflectsthe human condition better. Whereas Buddhism, once upon a time a state religion in much of Asia, and all of India, was wiped out nearly everywhere (even Japan, where Shintoism was the official state religion).

The problem with Buddhism? It’ s too condemning of pain and suffering. The beast has to be tough, to be the beast.

Beasts manage pain, like anything else, because biological evolution manages everything, or, at least, used to manage everything, until our forebear, Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis, decided to burn coal in France, 73,000 years ago.

Pleasure one craves for, and pain, one avoids. That’s first order. In second order, evolution found out that sometimes one had to crave for pain. Thus pain became pleasure, on a more meta level.

A good example is the totally typical scene of the wildebeest (gnou) being eaten, slowly, by the hyena, guts ballooning out. Why would evolution want that the live dinner be drenched by endorphins, and thus not to suffer too much? Why would Evolution be a good and tender god? Why would evolution care? Well, Evolution cares about the predator being around to eat another wildebeest the following week. Thus Evolution cares about the wildebeest not hurting too much the hyena. Predators are fragile, precious: violence is a delicate behavior to live from, the prey’s cooperation is essential.

If they can, predators avoid risk, and will not even risk killing their prey, if they can have their cake, and eat it.

It’s pretty obvious that efforts bring suffering, but that, often, without efforts, or danger, there would be even more suffering. So one would expect that evolution would have prepared mechanisms that make suffering, and danger, to be perceived, somehow as pleasant, when they are obviously deemed to be important.

What morality to bring out of that? Suffering is not absolute. It’s relative, relative to the causality at hand. And the causality around the corner. Suffering for the good, or a greater cause, can be excellent. That’s one indirect message contained in the Passion of Christ.

And a warning beckons: humanity has a propensity to suffering, and not just as an inclination, but as something necessary for a fully balanced mind. It’s not just that “great” leaders want to hurt others. They do this, in part because they want themselves to hurt.

Could it be that suffering brings happiness? If suffering comes from physical exercise, it certainly brings endorphins! In this case, suffering is directly alleviated by neurohormones. But more generally, a tough condition, especially when it bring despair, completely transforms common existence: instead of being perceived as dreadful, the simplest thing become delectable.

Say you are stuck on a mountain, hanging in a harness, with not even a ledge to rest on, in winter at night with insufficient clothing, no food nor drink (one of my specialties). A return to simple flat ground will be perceived as paradise.

So paradise is easy to muster: just go about, suffering big time, and then return to normality (with luck). This is the attraction of extreme sports. But also war.

Humanity has evolved over several million years. Several millions years of happiness, but also pain and suffering. Can one go without the other? So, when John Lennon screamed that “when you talk  about destruction, you can count me out” (in his anti-revolutionary song, “Revolution”), was he unwise and unbalanced?

Proper mental ecology has more important things to worry about, than destruction, pain and suffering, says Evolution.

Certainly, stupidity is something more inhuman, than suffering itself, in which one can easily have all of humanity fall into, during these oligarchic times.

Today a famous novelist also died. Gabriel Garcia Marquez observed that: “Most critics don’t realize that a novel like One Hundred Years of Solitude is a bit of a joke, full of signals to close friends; and so, with some pre-ordained right to pontificate they take on the responsibility of decoding the book and risk making terrible fools of themselves.”

Indeed, although novels are jokes, life is not a joke. Or then it’s a pretty good one. And also a pretty insufferable one. Fiction is a genre much honored. But who needs fiction, when one has reality? Is not fiction reality light?

Accept the pain, it’s the human thing to do.

Patrice Aymé

 

[Note: The preceding used in passing a Lamarckian (new semantics!) evolutionary mechanism. The evolution of pain mitigation appeared as a “smart” overall ecological system selections: herbivores too hard to eat were deselected by ecological system collapse. So Masochism is evolutionary advantageous from the point of view of entire ecology survival.]

Putin’s Novorossiya Retreat?

April 17, 2014

CONFRONTED TO FORCE, PUTIN IGNOMINIOUSLY RETREATS…

…Behind A Cloud Of Aggressive Smoke.

In human matters, psychology is everything, and, in light of social standing, often the exact opposite of what it is made to appear. The negotiations in Geneva produced an accord, April 17, that gives Putin the occasion to hide his ignominious retreat under the fury of self-damaging admissions.

The good news: the accord’s core is the disarmament of all armed “civilian” groups in Ukraine under international supervision (headed by Switzerland). Putin hid his invasion behind armed groups of his agents, so he won’t be able to use them, and this is a major anti-Putin victory.

Putin will be able to go back to the routine of prosecuting homosexuals, feminists, atheists, women who dance in churches, and “fifth columnists” inside Russia.

Moscow Did Not Yet Exist, Yet Kiev Ruled A Vast Empire

Moscow Did Not Yet Exist, Yet Kiev Ruled A Vast Empire

As his foreign minister was bringing up the white flag in Geneva, Putin was giving a giant news conference, to assert his supremacy. It was delicate: he had to hide his ignominious defeat under colossal bluster.

That’s why Putin recognized his invasion of Crimea six weeks ago. Six weeks ago, soldiers in immaculate uniforms, covered with masks, equipped with the latest Russian weapons, appeared all over Crimea. They came to be known by the locals as the “little green men”. But they did not come from Mars. Now Putin admits that he sent them, and congratulates himself that “our troops acted professionally”.

Why does Putin admits this grave violation of International Law he himself committed six weeks ago, and sternly denied then? He could be prosecuted for that crime, in the future. Von Ribbentrop. Hitler’s foreign minister, was condemned to death, and hanged for that exact charge: war of aggression.

So why does Putin risk prosecution, for the entire planet to see? Because he wants to go on as President of the Russian oligarchy, at this point. To pose as a ferocious war chief, stomping over International Law, and civilization, for his now red-hot supporters, is bound to buy him time. This way, by posing as a triumphant criminal, Putin hides the fact that he just suffered a crushing defeat in Geneva, and tries to inspire shock, awe, and fear.

On the question of Ukraine, Mr. Putin repeated that Russia feels an obligation to protect ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine who are a large minority in the region. Whatever “ethnic” means, it’s never far removed from “ethnic cleansing”.

“We must do everything to help these people to protect their rights and independently determine their own destiny,” Putin said, sounding exactly like that other self-celebrating apostle of peace and minorities, Adolf Hitler, about the Sudeten Germans (who lived inside the Czech mountains forming the border with the great Reich).

“Can a compromise be found on the Ukrainian question between Russia and America?” Mr. Putin asked. “Compromise should only be found in Ukraine, among Ukrainian actors” Putin substantively said. So far, so good.

However, Putin used, repeatedly, the same meta-argument for East and South Ukraine that he had used previously in Crimea.

Putin used the historical term “NOVOROSSIYA” or “New Russia” to refer to the part of Ukraine closest to Russia… And to the Black Sea. The term was introduced under the German princess, the redoubtable Catherine the Great, famous for, among other things, drawing and quartering alive her opponents on (what is now) Red Square.

Putin is insistently replicating his assertions of historical ties, which he used for Crimea before occupying and annexing the peninsula. He says:

“The question is to ensure the rights and interests of the Russian southeast. It’s New Russia (“Novorossiya”). Kharkiv, Lugansk, Donetsk, Odessa were not part of Ukraine in Czarist times, they were transferred in 1920. Why? God knows. Then for various reasons these areas were gone, and the people stayed there — we need to encourage them to find a solution.”

Ah, Czarist times: what Putin is longing for. Putin, Rasputin. “Russian southeast”? That is of Ukraine that Putin is speaking: Ukraine is Russian! Putin thinks God knows, but I also. Novorossiya” covered both East and South Ukraine. It was “New Russia” because Moscow had just conquered it, when it annexed it in 1783.

1783 may sound like a long time ago, from the American perspective. But not so from the European one.

Czarist Russia, and Prussia, occupied entire nations for centuries, and they, ultimately recovered their independence (through the Versailles Treaty).

Whereas the USA destroyed Neolithic Indian nations, during its genesis, some European nations, because they had their own languages, religions and very deep culture, were able to survive centuries and sometimes even millennia of occupation by hostile powers: Britannia (!), Eire, Spain, Greece, Albania, Serbia, Armenia are examples.

Ukraine is very old, more than twice older than Russia. More importantly, Ukraine’s culture did not grow exclusively, at the Mongol’s ferocious teat… As Russia’s did. So Ukraine’s culture is more worldly than the much more military-imperial overstretched oriented Russian one.

In Eastern Ukraine, up to 200 kilometers from the border with Russia, some of Putin’s Special Forces have acquired control of (some) Ukrainian armor (they then put special, prepared, orange and black symbols on them, that symbolize the struggle against Nazi Germany… a not so subtle identification of the authorities in Kiev with Nazism).

Putin explicitly denied that his Special Forces were deep in Ukraine (although even the UN says so!). His proof? They don’t wear “masqui” (masks). However he already lied about that precise point in Crimea, as he now recognizes. The trick of having his military show its face is not working: locals don’t know these very disciplined, latest equipment soldiers, who refuse to talk, or be approached, by journalists… although one of them admitted being a lieutenant colonel in the Russian army.

A damning report about what happened in Crimea, by the United Nations, came just in time.

The United Nations report, based on investigations by Ivan Simonovic, a United Nations assistant secretary general, and United Nations human rights monitors, pointed to evidence that some participants in deadly clashes in Eastern Ukraine had come from Russia.

The report said excessive use of force by Ukraine’s special police forces, the Berkut, against initially peaceful demonstrators, had radicalized protesters and led to the violence that erupted in January and February.

UN investigators found that 121 people were killed in clashes in February, as a result of severe beatings or gunshots, and that more than 150 people were still missing.

UN investigators received reports of attacks on Ukraine’s Russian minority, but these were “neither widespread nor systematic.” Instead, the report said, “greatly exaggerated stories of harassment of ethnic Russians by Ukrainian nationalist extremists, and misinformed reports of them coming armed to persecute ethnic Russians in Crimea, were systematically used to create a climate of fear and insecurity that reflected on support to integration of Crimea into the Russian Federation.”

The UN said there were numerous reports of vote rigging in the annexation referendum, complete with harassment and abductions of journalists and activists who were opposed to it, as well as the presence of armed militias, and transparent ballot boxes.

Some of the journalists and activists who disappeared have since been released, but had been tortured, the UN report added.

The UN established a human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine with outposts in five cities, and reported that Russia said it did not support the deployment of human rights monitors in Crimea.

Against such a blitz of truth, what could the Kremlin’s propaganda do?

So Putin retreated. But then, again, he is just one guy, who decides upon the Earth, Sky, and Reality itself. No checks and balances for him, except inside his unbalanced self. This is the problem with representative oligarchy: one man should not be able to say whatever comes to him, and lead everybody into war.

Conclusion? This is good. The Obama administration held to a tough line, tougher than G. W. Bush during Putin’s Georgia invasion of 2008. Europe’s three dozen countries fell in four groups, completely disorganized by their economic ties with Russia (ten times those of the USA).

What of the future? Russia is a one man show. Putin’s mind is all over the place. For example, he got so enraged about Kosovo (a few miles from Rome), in the past, that he may have sincerely believe that Kosovo is just like Crimea. A completely idiotic idea. If some people around him pointed out enough of his idiotic beliefs, he may have realized, or will realize, that he went too far.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is in charge of sending observers. Interestingly, it is presided by Switzerland. Differently from what happened in the 1930s, transnational world governance is acting well, and in a timely manner. More than 100 nations voted in the UN General Assembly, against Putin’s invasion of Crimea, and that was well before the more damning facts established in the meantime.

In light of this, and the world climate report, the United Nations is acting well these days. World governance can work better than a one-man show.

Yet Crimea is now Russia, illustrating an ominous new boss, same as the old boss: force rules.

Patrice Aymé

Terminal Greenhouse Crisis.

April 15, 2014

A CRASH TECH PROGRAM IS NEEDED, & HAS TO INVOLVE HYDROGEN.

At the present rate of greenhouse gases emissions, within nine years, massively lethal climate and oceanic changes are guaranteed.

Such is the conclusion one can draw from the Inter Governmental Panel On Climate Change of the UN (the IPCC, with its top 300 climate scientists from all over the world). About 78% of the emissions have to do with heating, cooking, and basic, necessary industrial activities, such as making cement. They are not elective.

As Bad As An Asteroid?

As Bad As An Asteroid?

Notes: CO2 FOLU = CO2 emissions from Forestry and Other Land Use. F-gases = Fluorinated gases covered under the Kyoto Protocol.

At the right side of the figure: Emissions of each greenhouse gas with associated error bars (90% confidence interval).

Only a crash program of construction of several hundreds of new technology nuclear fission plants, an all-out renewable energy program, with massive solar plants all over the American South and the (similar latitude) Sahara desert, plus a massive hydrogen economy to store the wind and solar energy could allow us to mitigate the massive lethal change incoming.

In other words, it is already too late to avoid the massive lethal change.

What’s the problem? Simple mathematics. It’s evaluated that human activities in the last century or so released 515 billion tons of greenhouse gases. The IPCC and the best experts believe that 800 to 1,000 billion tons of such gases would bring a rise of global temperatures of two degrees Celsius.

At the present rate, that’s nine years to reach the upper reaches: one trillion tons of GHG. 

Most of the temperature rise will be in the polar regions, melting those, and inducing worldwide climate catastrophe, especially if emissions of polar methane turn apocalyptic. The polar regions are the Achilles heel of the Earth’s present biosphere. By striking there mostly, enormous changes can be brought to bear, as they would destroy the Earth’s air conditioning and oceanic circulation.

In 2014, trade winds in the Pacific had four times the energy they usually have, creating abnormally intense ocean upwelling off the west coast of North America, thus a high pressure ridge (thus a drought there), causing a world wide oscillation of the jet stream that dragged cold polar air down the east coast of the USA, before rebounding as continual storms and rain on the west coast of Europe, and so forth.

Nobody can say the weather was normal: precipitation in England beat all records, dating 250 years, whereas most of California experienced extreme drought.

At this point, warm water is piling down to 500 meters depth in the western Pacific in what looks like a preparation for a massive El Nino, similar to the one in 1997-98. If this happens, global temperature records will be smashed next year.

Massively lethal means death to the world as we know it, by a thousand cuts. It means cuts to democracy, privacy, life span, food intake. Some of these are already in plain sight: the Ukraine war is already a war about gas, no less an authority as dictator Putin says so.

Tom Friedman in “Go Ahead, Vladimir, Make My Day.” takes the situation lightly. “SO the latest news is that President Vladimir Putin of Russia has threatened to turn off gas supplies to Ukraine if Kiev doesn’t pay its overdue bill, and, by the way, Ukraine’s pipelines are the transit route for 15 percent of gas consumption for Europe. If I’m actually rooting for Putin to go ahead and shut off the gas, does that make me a bad guy?

Because that is what I’m rooting for, and I’d be happy to subsidize Ukraine through the pain. Because such an oil shock, though disruptive in the short run, could have the same long-term impact as the 1973 Arab oil embargo — only more so. That 1973 embargo led to the first auto mileage standards in America and propelled the solar, wind and energy efficiency industries. A Putin embargo today would be even more valuable because it would happen at a time when the solar, wind, natural gas and energy efficiency industries are all poised to take off and scale. So Vladimir, do us all a favor, get crazy, shut off the oil and gas to Ukraine and, even better, to all of Europe. Embargo! You’ll have a great day, and the rest of the planet will have a great century.”

It’s not so simple. The investments needed are massive, and all the massive investments so far have to do with fracking… Which is, ecologically speaking, a disaster. 3% methane leakage makes fracking worse than burning coal. And this leakage is apparently happening.

Unbelievably, some of the countries with coal beds got the bright idea to burn the coal underground. Australia, about the worst emitter of CO2 per capita, experimented with that. It had to be stopped, because some particularly toxic gases (such as toluene) were coming out, not just the CH4 and CO the apprentice sorcerers were looking for.

Carbon Capture and Storage does not exist (but for very special cases in half a dozen special locations, worldwide, not the thousands of locales needed). And CSS will not exist (profitably).

What technology exist that could be developed (but is not yet)? Not just Thorium reactors. The hydrogen economy is a low key, and indispensable economy. Water can be broken by electricity from wind and sun, and then energy can be stored, under the form of hydrogen. Nothing else can do it: batteries are unable to store energy efficiently (and there is not enough Lithium to make trillions of Lithium batteries).

The hydrogen technology pretty much exist, including for efficient storage under safe form (one thick plate of a material that cannot be set aflame can store 600 liters of hydrogen).

Another advantage of storing hydrogen is that oxygen would be released. Although it may seem absurd to worry about this, too much acidity in the ocean (from absorption of CO2) could lead to phytoplankton die-off, and the removal of half of oxygen production.

In this increasingly weird world, that’s where we are at.

Oh, by the way, how to stop Putin? Europe should tell the dictator he can keep his gaz. Now. As good an occasion to start defending the planet, and not just against fascism.

At the present rate, we will be more than doubling the CO2 equivalent Green House Gases in the next nine years. It’s high treason against the biosphere itself.

Patrice Aymé

 

 

 

Plutocracy, USA, Switzerland, EU.

April 13, 2014

Plutocracy is to politics what cancer is to life. It’s malignant, invasive, pervasive, and a killer.

Such is the obvious banner one should use at the top of one’s thoughts, when reading:

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/04/12/3426152/wealthy-lobbyists-policy/

As said there: “When organized interest groups or economic elites want a particular policy passed, there’s a strongly likelihood their wishes will come true. But when average citizens support something, they have next to no influence.”

Representative politics is already, to start with, if not dictatorship, at least intrinsically oligarchic.

See:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/representative-politics-is-dictatorship/

What to do about it? Well, do what works. Other countries, from Japan to the EU, have tried to reduce the influence of money in politics, just as it was augmented in the USA. But one has to go much further.

A way out is to do what Switzerland has been increasingly doing in the last three decades; have We The People vote the laws (through “votations”, every three months), and let the parliament (= Congress; or the “Federal” as the Swiss put it) figure out the details of the laws We The People passed (Courts and the like also chip in to check the proposed laws are constitutional).

As a result, Switzerland has an increasingly mighty anti-plutocratic arsenal, including all sorts of caps and regulations on the wealthy and banks. And more are coming… Every three months. Income caps have even been proposed (Republican Rome had those, 23 centuries ago!). They were rejected, but more subtle caps are coming.

Being a professional politician in Switzerland is increasingly difficult, and of little interest. The People (demos) is increasingly ruling: People-power: Demos-kratos.

Another positive effect has been on wealth of the Demos and the economy. Switzerland’s unemployment rate has collapsed (in spite of colossal immigration, higher in percentage than the peaks ever experienced by the USA). The wealth per capita is now much higher than in the rest of Europe, or the USA (main source of wealth: pharmaceuticals, and high tech).

Nowadays, everybody who can, and know, wants to live in Switzerland: the population has augmented by 15% in ten years.

So We The People (of Switzerland) voted an obscure law that demands, within three years, to somehow constrict the migratory flux from the EU to Schweiz. The EU screamed a lot, in righteous indignation.

(The German president even allowed himself to suggest, several times, that total democracy went a bridge too far in Switzerland, in obvious allusion to Nazism… Thus demonstrating that he was not aware that Nazism was a plutocratic phenomenon masquerading as populism. Nazism had nothing to do with the democracy in Switzerland, and more to do with what Putin is doing: sending armed assassins.)

An obvious solution to Europe’s Swiss problem is to realize that it’s Europe that is the problem.

The solution? Make the rest of Europe more democratic, and thus wealthier, by imitating what is done in Suisse.

Lack of democracy is leading to the greatest evil of them all, the destruction of the biosphere. See how dramatic it is getting:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/science/earth/un-climate-panel-warns-speedier-action-is-needed-to-avert-disaster.html?hp

What’s the relationship between deterioration of the climate, and deterioration of the democracy? It’s not just that fossil fuels favor top heavy organizations. It’s also that evil is what evil does: Pluto, by definition, loves what’s bad, and even satanic…

The deterioration of the democratic climate implies that of the planet.

Patrice Aymé
https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/stagnation-plutocratic-index/

Stagnation & PLUTOCRATIC INDEX

April 11, 2014

What drives economic and social stagnation? What drives the sort of stagnation ever more economists agree we are experiencing now? Well, the Greco-Roman example is clear enough. In Rome, three things got abated, causing stagnation: the law and justice, democracy, and, finally, after a few generations, technological progress became unable to sustain society.

Thus Greco-Roman society imploded spectacularly in nearly all ways, from intellect, to military, to demographics, economics, politics, justice, etc.

The beauty of my analysis is that, in spite of its variegated effects, the degenerative stagnation into oblivion of Rome had just one common cause: the blossoming of the plutocratic effect. In my book, plutocratization is not just an hereditary phenomenon, but also, more deeply, an effect on the mood, the mentality of the empire.

The Bluer, The More Owned By The Hyper Rich A Country Was in 2009

The Bluer, The More Owned By The Hyper Rich A Country Was in 2009

[The Gini index, above, is the one century old notion used to evaluate wealth; I boldly propose a more advanced and cynical notion, the plutocratic index; see below. In the picture above, one can see that the Gini coefficient correlates positively with violence in a society; also notice that Ukraine is much more equalitarian than Putin’s Russia.]

The reason I know that plutocracy in Rome was more than an hereditary class, and more of an inheritated mood, is unveiled by the unhappy fate of the Curiales, in the Late empire. (Except for the very richest Curiales, whose plutocratic influence allowed them to go tax free, a status those aristocrats kept until the Revolution of 1789, but for a nationalization under Charles Martel in 730 CE.)

Rich local authorities, members of the gentes  were ruined by their onerous charges. Even at the highest level, the Senatorial class, leading plutocrats were expected to spend so much of their personal fortunes in “philanthropy”, such as circus games, that it was difficult to maintain superlative standing for more than two or three generations… Except, of course, if one belonged to the imperial family (which maintained status, in the Orient, for centuries)

The stagnation of technological progress had two marked effects that made impossible the continuation of the fascist plutocratic empire:

1)      The technological advances needed to resist, or make irrelevant, the erosion of the resources enabling the old Greco-Roman economy were not made in a timely manner.

So, for example, Rome ran out of metals, precious or not (the mines were exhausted when using existing tech). This, in turn, caused a cascade of problems. For example, currency came to be viewed as worthless (because it did not have enough silver therein). Just as Europe around 1300 CE, the Roman empire also ran out of forests. Later it ran out of wheat, after the Vandals had taken over Africa and the Western Mediterranean.

2)      Enemies caught up with Roman military technology. Plutocratic Rome was unwilling, or incapable of adapting.

Military adaptation and adoption of enemy weapons and tactics had been the greatest strength of Republican Rome.

For example arrows from new composite double curvature bows would pierce Roman armor; heavy armored Parthian cavalry, the cataphract, was hard to stop. Roman armies took centuries to adapt, under the plutocracy, whereas such adoption of technologies took just a year under the Republic. One summer, the Romans, having captured a Carthaginian ship, decided to build a Navy, and it was done. For months, would-be sailors learned to row, in the dirt (while just created shipyards were building the ships).

Tech progress still happened, under the plutocracy, and saved Oriental Rome (that was its official title), and the Franks. The former developed Grecian fire (that destroyed thousands of Muslim ships in two memorable battles at the gates of Constantinople), and the latter had better steel.

However tech progress happened at an insufficient rate to allow the continuation of Greco-Roman civilization at anything approaching its old material, intellectual and demographic wealth.

Another factor that is the essence of remarkable nations anywhere was smashed in post-democratic, plutocratic Rome: animals spirits and freedom. Both degenerated extensively.

In Republican Rome, kings were abhorred. After four centuries of plutocratic Rome, emperors became officially gods, or then, the “13th Apostle”.

The Roman plutocrats came to absolute power by killing the revolutionary fellow aristocrats, the Gracchi brothers, and more than 5,000 of their followers (in just one of the many bloody repressions). What the Gracchi wanted to do was simply to re-establish the absolute cap on individual wealth that had been Roman law for centuries.

Tremendously popular, extreme generals and Consuls such as Marius and Caesar, heads of the “Populares”, were unable to stem the irresistible rise of the plutocratic phenomenon.

The Roman People lost control of its destiny and in the following seven centuries. A succession of plutocrats came to rule (not necessarily from hereditary means only; those who were evil enough could accede to the pinnacle of power, too).

Ideas were often the ticket to expeditious death. Imagination collapsed, and so did birthrates. The passion for spectator sports became all consuming (the famous Nikka riots of the Sixth Century were all about chariot races, but emperor Justinian clearly saw that the Demos had gone mad, from lack of democracy; not knowing what to do, he nearly abdicated, and stayed on only at the insistence of his harlot like, gold digger wife ).

Plutocracy wants stagnation, especially mental stagnation. Because mental progress under plutocracy means revolution. In the literal sense of the term.

We have increasingly the same problem that the Roman society had, as the plutocratization index augments. How would I define the plutocratic index? How would it go further than the Gini coefficient?

The Plutocratic Index is, by definition how much the .1% not just owns, but CONTROLS.

For example, Putin, a plutocrat personally owns billions, but as president of Russia and plutocrat-in-chief, he actually controls most of Russian plutocracy (although his control is not absolute: Russian plutocrats store money outside of Putin’s control, as Putin himself said.) In any case, one can quickly deduce that a small oligarchy around Putin controls and owns 50% of so of Russia. Plus roughly 100% of the Main Stream Media.

Another example: private insurance companies drafted Obamacare, and one will want to estimate how much Obamacare can be viewed as their leased instrument.

Similarly, Bill and Melinda Gates have their fingers in the American public education pie, and one will want how of that they control. Similarly, Elon Musk, broke in January 2009, is now worth personally seven billions, after getting billions from the USA government: how much of those (public) funds can be viewed as under Mr. Musk’s control?

When Warren Buffet invested 5 billion in Goldman Sachs before the USA government invested 60 billion in that bank, how much worth did that control represent?

The plutocratic index would estimate how much, more generally, American plutocrats own and control the political and judicial systems of the USA (USA corporations are estimated, by themselves to hold 2 trillion dollars overseas, escaping the IRS).

As the Washington Post put it today in “Rich People Rule“: Drawing on the same extensive evidence employed by Gilens in his landmark book “Affluence and Influence,” Gilens and Page analyze 1,779 policy outcomes over a period of more than 20 years. They conclude that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

If that is true, the Plutocratic Index is close to 100 in the USA. That is, the maximum.

The Plutocratic Index would be a much better measure than the Gini coefficient, and of great import, should we want to avoid the stagnation that affected Rome, and ended as an implosion.

Patrice Aymé

Note: The plutocratic index is harder to compute than the Gini Index, some will object. But the Gini itself is a cheat, because a huge amount of wealth and control is hidden by anonymous companies.