Archive for December, 2015

Points Against Multiverses

December 31, 2015

Physics, the study of nature, is grounded not just in precise facts, but also a loose form of logic called mathematics, and in even more general reasonings we know as “philosophy”. For example, the rise of Quantum Field Theory required massive Effective Ontology: define things by their effects. The reigning philosophy of physics became “shut-up and calculate”. But it’s not that simple. Even the simplest Quantum Mechanics, although computable, is rife with mind numbing mysteries (about the nature of matter, time and non-locality).

Recently the (increasing) wild wackiness of the Foundations of Physics, combined with the fact that physics, as it presently officially exists, cannot under-stand Dark Energy and Dark Matter, most of the mass-energy out there, has led some Europeans to organize conferences where physicists meet with reputable  philosophers.

Einstein Was Classical, The World Is Not. It's Weirder Than We Have Imagined. So Far.

Einstein Was Classical, The World Is Not. It’s Weirder Than We Have Imagined. So Far.

[Bell, CERN theory director, discovered a now famous inequality expressing locality, which Quantum physics violate. Unfortunately he died of a heart attack thereafter.]

Something funny happened in these conferences: many physicists came out of them, persuaded, more than ever, or so they claimed, that they were on the right track. Like little rodents scampering out in the daylight,  now sure that there was nothing like a big philosophical eagle to swoop down on them. They made many of these little reasonings in the back of their minds official (thus offering now juicy targets).

Coel Hellier below thus wrote clearly what has been in the back of the minds of the Multiverse Partisans. I show “his” argument in full below. Coel’s (rehashing of what has become the conventional Multiverse) argument is neat, cogent, powerful.

However I claim that it is not as plausible, not as likely, as the alternative, which I will present. Coel’s argument rests on a view of cosmology which I claim is neither mathematically necessary, nor physically tenable (in light of the physics we know).

To understand what I say, it’s better to read Coel first. Especially as I believe famous partisans of the Multiverse have been thinking along the same lines (maybe not as clearly). However, to make it fast, those interested by my demolition of it can jump directly to my counter, at the end: NO POINTS, And Thus No Multiverse.

***

Multiverses Everywhere: Coel Hellier’s Argument:

Coel Hellier, a professional astrophysicist of repute, wrote :  “How many Big Bangs? A philosophical argument for a multiverse”:

“Prompted by reading about the recent Munich conference on the philosophy of science, I am reminded that many people regard the idea of a multiverse as so wild and wacky that talking about it brings science into disrepute.”

Well, being guided by non-thinking physicists will do that. As fundamental physicist Mermin put it, decades ago:

The Philosophy "Shut Up And Calculate" Is A Neat Example Of Intellectual Fascism. It Is Increasingly Undermined By The Effort Toward Quantum Computing, Where Non-Locality Reigns

The Philosophy “Shut Up And Calculate” Is A Neat Example Of Intellectual Fascism. It Is Increasingly Undermined By The Effort Toward Quantum Computing, Where Non-Locality Reigns.

Coel, claiming to have invented something which has been around for quite a while, probably decades: My argument here is the reverse: that the idea of multiple Big Bangs, and thus of a multiverse, is actually more mundane and prosaic than the suggestion that there has only ever been one Big Bang. I’m calling this a “philosophical” argument since I’m going to argue on very general grounds rather than get into the details of particular cosmological models.

First, let me clarify that several different ideas can be called a “multiverse”, and here I am concerned with only one. That “cosmological multiverse” is the idea that our Big Bang was not unique, but rather is one of many, and that the different “universes” created by each Big Bang are simply separated by vast amounts of space.

Should we regard our Big Bang as a normal, physical event, being the result of physical processes, or was it a one-off event unlike anything else, perhaps the origin of all things? It is tempting to regard it as the latter, but there is no evidence for that idea. The Big Bang might be the furthest back thing we have evidence of, but there will always be a furthest-back thing we have evidence of. That doesn’t mean its occurrence was anything other than a normal physical process.

If you want to regard it as a one-off special event, unlike any other physical event, then ok. But that seems to me a rather outlandish idea. When physics encounters a phenomenon, the normal reaction is to try to understand it in terms of physical processes.”

Then Coel exposes some of the basic conclusions of the Standard Big Bang model:

So what does the evidence say? We know that our “observable” universe is a region of roughly 13.8 billion light years in radius, that being the distance light can have traveled since our Big Bang. (Actually, that’s how we see it, but it is now bigger than that, at about 90 billion light years across, since the distant parts have moved away since they emitted the light we now see.) We also know that over that time our observable universe has been steadily expanding.

Then astrophysicist Coel start to consider necessary something about the geometry of the universe which is not so, in my opinion. Coel:

“At about 1 second after the Big Bang, what is now our observable universe was only a few light years across, and so would have fitted into (what is now) the space between us and the nearest star beyond our Sun. Before that it would have been yet smaller.”

What’s wrong? Coel assumes implicitly that the universe started from a POINT. But that does not have to be the case. Suppose the universe started as an elastic table. As we go back in time, the table shrinks, distances diminish. Coel:

“We can have good confidence in our models back to the first seconds and minutes, since the physics at that time led to consequences that are directly observable in the universe today, such as the abundance of helium-4 relative to hydrogen, and of trace elements such as helium-3, deuterium, and lithium-7.[1] Before that time, though, our knowledge gets increasingly uncertain and speculative the further back we push.”

These arguments about how elements were generated, have a long history. They could actually be generated in stars (I guess, following Hoyle and company). Star physics is not that well-known that we can be sure they can’t (stars as massive as 600 Suns seem to have been discovered; usual astrophysics says they are impossible; such stars would be hotter than the hottest stars known for sure).

Big Bangists insist that there would have been no time to generate these elements in stars, because the universe is 13.8 billion years old. But that 13.8 billion is from their Big Bang model. So their argument is circular: it explodes if the universe is, actually 100 billion years old.

But back to Coel’s Multiverses All Over. At that point, Coel makes a serious mistake, the one he was drifting towards above:

“One could, if one likes, try to extrapolate backwards to a “time = zero” event at which all scales go to zero and everything is thus in the same place. But trying to consider that is not very sensible since we have no evidence that such an event occurred (from any finite time or length scale, extrapolating back to exactly zero is an infinite extrapolation in logarithmic space, and making an infinite extrapolation guided by zero data is not sensible). Further, we have no physics that would be remotely workable or reliable if applied to such a scenario.[2]

…”all scales go to zero and everything is thus in the same place.” is not true, in the sense that it does not have to be. Never mind, Coel excludes it, although he claims “extrapolating back in time” leads there. It does not.

Instead, Coel invites us to Voodoo (Quantum) Physics:

“So what is it sensible to consider? Well, as the length scale decreases, quantum mechanics becomes increasingly important. And quantum mechanics is all about quantum fluctuations which occur with given probabilities. In particular, we can predict that at about the Planck scale of 10−35 metres, quantum-gravity effects would have dominated.[3] We don’t yet have a working theory of quantum gravity, but our best guess would be that our Big Bang originated as a quantum-gravity fluctuation at about that Planck-length scale.”

Well, this is conventional pata-physics. Maybe it’s true, maybe not. I have an excellent reason why it should not (details another time). At this point, Coel is firmly in the conventional Multiverse argument (come to think of it, he did not invent it). The universe originated in a Quantum fluctuation at a point, thus:

“So, we can either regard our Big Bang as an un-natural and un-physical one-off event that perhaps originated absolutely everything (un-natural and un-physical because it would not have been a natural and physical process arising from a pre-existing state), or we can suppose that our Big Bang started as something like a quantum-gravity fluctuation in pre-existing stuff. Any physicist is surely going to explore the latter option (and only be forced to the former if there is no way of making the latter work).

At times in our human past we regarded our Solar System as unique, with our Earth, Sun and Moon being unique objects, perhaps uniquely created. But the scientific approach was to look for a physical process that creates stars and planets. And, given a physical process that creates stars, it creates not just one star, but oodles of them strewn across the galaxy. Similarly, given a physical process that creates Earth-like planets, we get not just one planet, but planets around nearly every star.”

Coel then gets into the famous all-is-relative mood, rendered famous by “French Theory”:

“It was quite wrong to regard the Sun and Earth as unique; they are simply mundane examples of common physical objects created by normal physical processes that occur all over the galaxy and indeed the universe.

But humans have a bias to a highly anthropocentric view, and so we tend to regard ourselves and what we see around us as special, and generally we need to be dragged kicking and screaming to the realisation that we’re normal and natural products of a universe that is much the same everywhere — and thus is strewn with stars like our Sun, with most of them being orbited by planets much like ours.

Similarly, when astronomers first realised that we are in a galaxy, they anthropocentrically assumed that there was only one galaxy. Again, it took a beating over the head with evidence to convince us that our galaxy is just one of many.”

Well, it’s not because things we thought were special turned out not to be that nothing is special. The jury is still out about how special Earth, or, for that matter, the Solar System, are. I have argued Earth is what it is, because of the Moon and the powerful nuclear fission reactor inside Earth. The special twist being that radioactive elements tend to gather close to the star, and not in the habitable zone. So Earth maybe, after all special.

At this point, Coel is on a roll: multiverses all over. Says he:

“ So, if we have a physical process that produces a Big Bang then likely we don’t get just one Big Bang, we get oodles of them. No physical process that we’re aware of happens once and only once, and any restriction to one occurrence only would be weird and unnatural. In the same way, any physical process that creates sand grains tends to create lots of them, not just one; and any physical process that creates snowflakes tends to create lots of them, not just one.

So, we have three choices: (1) regard the Big Bang as an unnatural, unphysical and unexplained event that had no cause or precursor; (2) regard the Big Bang as a natural and physical process, but add the rider that it happened only once, with absolutely no good reason for adding that rider other than human parochial insularity; or (3) regard the Big Bang as a natural and physical event, and conclude that, most likely, such events have occurred oodles of times.

Thus Big Bangs would be strewn across space just as galaxies, stars and planets are — the only difference being that the separation between Big Bangs is much greater, such that we can see only one of them within our observable horizon.

Well, I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that those opting for (3) are the ones being sensible and scientifically minded, and those going for (1) or (2) are not, and need to re-tune their intuition to make it less parochial.”

To make sure you get it, professor Coel repeats the argument in more detail, and I will quote him there, because as I say, the Multiverse partisans have exactly that argument in the back of their mind:

“So, let’s assume we have a Big Bang originating as a quantum-gravity fluctuation in a pre-existing “stuff”. That gives it a specific length scale and time scale, and presumably it would have, as all quantum fluctuations do, a particular probability of occurring. Lacking a theory of quantum gravity we can’t calculate that probability, but we can presume (on the evidence of our own Big Bang) that it is not zero.

Thus the number of Big Bangs would simply be a product of that probability times the number of opportunities to occur. The likelihood is that the pre-existing “stuff” was large compared to the quantum-gravity fluctuation, and thus, if there was one fluctuation, then there would have been multiple fluctuations across that space. Hence it would likely lead to multiple Big Bangs.

The only way that would not be the case is if the size of the pre-existing “stuff” had been small enough (in both space and time) that only one quantum fluctuation could have ever occurred. Boy, talk about fine tuning! There really is no good reason to suppose that.

Any such quantum fluctuation would start as a localised event at the Planck scale, and thus have a finite — and quite small — spatial extent. Its influence on other regions would spread outwards, but that rate of spreading would be limited by the finite speed of light. Given a finite amount of time, any product of such a fluctuation must then be finite in spatial extent.

Thus our expectation would be of a pre-existing space, in which there have occurred multiple Big Bangs, separated in space and time, and with each of these leading to a spatially finite (though perhaps very large) universe.

The pre-existing space might be supposed to be infinite (since we have no evidence or reason for there being any “edge” to it), but my argument depends only on it being significantly larger than the scale of the original quantum fluctuation.

One could, of course, counter that since the initial quantum fluctuation was a quantum-gravity event, and thus involved both space and time, then space and time themselves might have originated in that fluctuation, which might then be self-contained, and not originate out of any pre-existing “stuff”.[5] Then there might not have been any pre-existing “stuff” to argue about. But if quantum-gravity fluctuations are a process that can do that, then why would it happen only once? The natural supposition would be, again, that if that can happen once, then — given the probabilistic nature of physics — it would happen many times producing multiple different universes (though these might be self-contained and entirely causally disconnected from each other).”

Then, lest you don’t feel Multiversal enough, professor Coel rolls out the famous argument which brings the Multiverse out of Cosmic Inflation. Indeed, the universe-out of nothing Quantum fluctuation is basically the same as that of Cosmic Inflation. It’s the same general mindset: I fluctuate, therefore I am (that’s close to Paris motto, Fluctuat Nec Mergitur…). Coel:

In order to explain various aspects of our observed universe, current cosmological models suggest that the initial quantum fluctuation led — early in the first second of its existence — to an inflationary episode. As a result the “bubble” of space that arose from the original quantum-fluctuation would have grown hugely, by a factor of perhaps 1030. Indeed, one can envisage some quantum-gravity fluctuations leading to inflationary episodes, but others not doing so.

The inflationary scenario also more or less requires a multiverse, and for a similar reason to that given above. One needs the region that will become our universe to drop out of the inflationary state into the “normal” state, doing so again by a quantum fluctuation. Such a quantum fluctuation will again be localised, and so can only have a spatially finite influence in a finite time.

Yet, the inflationary-state bubble continues to expand so rapidly, much more rapidly than the pocket of normal-state stuff within it, that its extent does not decrease, but only increases further. Therefore whatever process caused our universe to drop out of the inflationary state will cause other regions of that bubble to do the same, leading to multiple different “pocket universes” within the inflationary-state bubble.

Cosmologists are finding it difficult to construct any model that successfully transitions from the inflationary state to the normal state, that does not automatically produce multiple pocket universes.[6] Again, this follows from basic principles: the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics, the spatial localisation of quantum fluctuations, and the finite speed at which influence can travel from one region to another.”

The driver of the entire Multiverse thinking is alleged Quantum Fluctuations in a realm we know f anything. Those who are obsessed by fluctuations may have the wrong obsession. And professor Coel to conclude with more fluctuations:

“The dropping out of the inflationary state is what produces all of the energy and matter that we now have in our universe, and so effectively that dropping-out event is what we “see” as our Big Bang. This process therefore produces what is effectively a multiverse of Big Bangs strewn across that inflationary bubble. Thus we have a multiverse of multiverses! Each of the (very large number of?) quantum-gravity fluctuations (that undergo an inflationary state) then itself produces a whole multiverse of pocket universes.

The point I am trying to emphasize is that any process that is at all along the lines of current known physics involves the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics, and that means that more or less any conceivable process for creating one Big Bang is going to produce not just a single event, but almost inevitably a vast number of such events. You’d really have to try hard to fine-tune and rig the model to get only one Big Bang.

As with any other physical process, producing multiple Big Bangs is far more natural and in-line with known physics than trying to find a model that produces only one. Trying to find such a model — while totally lacking any good reason to do so — would be akin to looking for a process that could create one snowflake or one sand grain or one star or galaxy, but not more than one.”

Patrice Says: NO POINTS, AND THUS NO MULTIVERSE(s):

Did the universe expand from one point? Not necessarily. It could have been from a line, a plane, a volume, even something with a crazy topology. The Big Bang is the time zero limit of the FLRW metric. Then the spacing between every point in the universe becomes zero and the density goes to infinity.

Did the Universe expand from Quantum Gravity? Beats me, I don’t have a theory of Quantum Gravity.

What I know is that, expanding from what’s known of gravity, if the universe expanded from a “point”, that would be smaller than the Planck volume, thus the universe would be within a Black Hole. From what we know about those, no expansion.

Once we don’t have the universe expanding from a point, we cannot argue that it expanded from one point in some sort of “stuff”. If the universe is the “stuff” itself, and it’s everywhere, and expanding from everywhere, exit the argument about a “point”.

The argument about a “point” was that: why this particular point? Why not another “Quantum Fluctuation” from another “point” in the “stuff”. Why should our “point” be special? Is it not scientific to believe in the equality of points? Except points have measure zero in three dimensional space, and thus it’s more “scientific”, “mathematical” to suppose the universe expanded from a non-measure zero set, namely a volume (and it better be bigger than the Planck Volume).

So the argument that there should be many universes because there are many points and many Quantum (Gravity) fluctuations flies apart.

Remains the argument that we need Cosmic Inflation. Yes, but if the universe expands from all over, all over, there is only one such. Cosmic Inflation does not have to appear at all points generating baby universes, It becomes more like Dark Energy.

Speaking of which, why should we have two Cosmic Inflations when we already have one? Even my spell checker does not like the idea of two inflations. It does not like the “s”. Ah, yes, the existing Big Bang needs its own Inflation.

Yet if there is only one inflation, presto, no more standard Big Bang, But then what of Helium, Lithium, etc? How do we synthesize enough of those? Well maybe we would have much more time to synthesize them, inside stars… Especially super giant stars.

Another word about these Quantum Fluctuations. Are they the fundamental lesson of Quantum Physics (as the Multiversists implicitly claim)? No.

Why? There are several most fundamental lessons about Quantum Physics. Most prominent: the DYNAMICAL universe is made of waves. That fact, by itself implies NON-LOCALITY. It also implies neighborhoods, no points, are the fundamental concepts (one cannot localize a wave at a point). This is the origin of the “Quantum Fluctuations”.

So we just saw that “Quantum Fluctuations” may not be the most fundamental concept. Fundamental, yes, but not most fundamental. When debating fundamentals with the Devil, you better bring exquisite logic, and a Non-Local spoon, otherwise you will be Quantum fluctuated out.

Patrice Ayme’

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Plutocracy Rising Through Tax Avoidance

December 30, 2015

The New York Times discovers the obvious:

For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions: The very richest are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield billions in income.”

Incoming tax policies will save the “very richest” billion more in taxes. But they have already saved hundreds of billions in taxes, if not trillions. In the USA alone. And we have to thank, in particular, the great so-called democratic leaders for that (some of the most prominent ones, like the adored Nancy Pelosi, hero of Obamacare, made hundreds of millions of dollars, while in politics: a successful political career is the safest way to make a fortune.

Bill: “Hey, Donald, We Gave You Everything, It’s Our Turn To Lead the Low Lives Again!” Donald: "You Mean the Idiots?" Hillary: "Oh Donald, Don't Speak Like That!" [Then She Hilariously Bleats Like A Goat.] Donald, Less Amused: "Can You Believe These People? They Are So Greeeedy!"

Bill: “Hey, Donald, We Gave You Everything, It’s Our Turn To Lead the Low Lives Again!” Donald: “You Mean the Idiots?” Hillary: “Oh Donald, Don’t Speak Like That!” [Then She Hilariously Bleats Like A Goat.] Donald, Less Amused: “Can You Believe These People? They Are So Greeeedy!”

So it is all over the so-called democratic West. The situation in France does not differ from that in the USA, it is actually in some ways, much worse. Two-thirds of France’s largest companies (CAC 40) by market capitalization are held by families (the equivalent consideration with the USA’s 500 largest market cap companies shows “only” 20% owned and controlled by families).

How is this all possible? Both the French and U.S. tax codes exclude the wealthiest from much, if not all, taxation. The French tax code does it glaringly (but the ). The tax code of the USA does it both glaringly, and obscurely.

In either case, the plutocratically owned Main Stream Media (MSM) never reports it . Or then they report it the way the New York Times did: by omitting a lot, if not most.

But let the New York Times’ Patricia Cohen and Noam Scheiber tell it their way:

“WASHINGTON — The hedge fund magnates Daniel S. Loeb, Louis Moore Bacon and Steven A. Cohen have much in common. They have managed billions of dollars in capital, earning vast fortunes. They have invested large sums in art — and millions more in political candidates.

Moreover, each has exploited an esoteric tax loophole that saved them millions in taxes. The trick? Route the money to Bermuda and back.

With inequality at its highest levels in nearly a century and public debate rising over whether the government should respond to it through higher taxes on the wealthy, the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes. Some call it the “income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means

In recent years, this apparatus has become one of the most powerful avenues of influence for wealthy Americans of all political stripes, including Mr. Loeb and Mr. Cohen, who give heavily to Republicans, and the liberal billionaire George Soros, who has called for higher levies on the rich while at the same time using tax loopholes to bolster his own fortune.”

Something the New York Times does not mention at all: it is talking here only about the money wealth, and income that one can see. However, MOST OF THE WORLD’S WEALTH IS HIDDEN IN DARK POOLS.

And there is worse: money is power. Money gives power. The interest of money is that it enable the owner to have others do what she or he, wants.

But Bill and Melinda Gates don’t need to spend any money to have Obama giving them the power of molding the educational system as they see fit: they just show up, and make suggestions. Obama and his court immediately give Bill and Melinda the reins, because they want a job in 13 months, when they dismal tenure expires.

And so it is all over: when Bill and Melinda take the reins of tens of countries health care systems, and, still hiding behind their “love of man” decide that healthy policies will favor Monsanto (with which their “charities” and investments are entangled), and its wonderful Genetically Engineered wellness. But back to the New York Times’ more prosaic considerations:

“All are among a small group providing much of the early cash for the 2016 presidential campaign.

Operating largely out of public view — in tax court, through arcane legislative provisions and in private negotiations with the Internal Revenue Service — the wealthy have used their influence to steadily whittle away at the government’s ability to tax them. The effect has been to create a kind of private tax system, catering to only several thousand Americans.

The impact on their own fortunes has been stark. Two decades ago, when Bill Clinton was elected president, the 400 highest-earning taxpayers in America paid nearly 27 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to I.R.S. data. By 2012, when President Obama was re-elected, that figure had fallen to less than 17 percent, which is just slightly more than the typical family making $100,000 annually, when payroll taxes are included for both groups.

The Greatest Drop Of Tax Rate For the Wealthiest Was Under Bill Clinton

The Greatest Drop Of Tax Rate For the Wealthiest Was Under Bill Clinton

The ultra-wealthy “literally pay millions of dollars for these services,” said Jeffrey A. Winters, a political scientist at Northwestern University who studies economic elites, “and save in the tens or hundreds of millions in taxes.””

A year. For each concerned.

A characteristic of the truly wealthy is that they give to politicians of all stripes. Left unsaid, in their “negotiations” with the IRS, is that tax inspectors know that, be they good boys and girls, they may end up with way more cushy jobs. Actually, the negotiators they speak to often happened to have climbed that ladder. The new York Times still believe, though, that plutocrats have political inclinations aside from their true calling, hell itself:

“Some of the biggest current tax battles are being waged by some of the most generous supporters of 2016 candidates. They include the families of the hedge fund investors Robert Mercer, who gives to Republicans, and James Simons, who gives to Democrats; as well as the options trader Jeffrey Yass, a libertarian-leaning donor to Republicans.

Mr. Yass’s firm is litigating what the agency deemed to be tens of millions of dollars in underpaid taxes. Renaissance Technologies, the hedge fund Mr. Simons founded and which Mr. Mercer helps run, is currently under review by the I.R.S. over a loophole that saved their fund an estimated $6.8 billion in taxes over roughly a decade, according to a Senate investigation. Some of these same families have also contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to conservative groups that have attacked virtually any effort to raises taxes on the wealthy.”

The Wealthiest Have Captured Tax Legislation To Make Themselves Untaxable

The Wealthiest Have Captured Tax Legislation To Make Themselves Untaxable

The google guys, when outside of their personal jumbo jets once fueled by the government (at NASA’s Moffet Field, personal observation), like many other Silicon types, claim to be “progressives”, “liberal”, etc. But actually they finance the far right too. Just they do it secretively. PPP Notice Tax Rates Of the Wealthiest 400 Taxpayers Went Down Dramatically Under “Democrat” Clinton. Also Notice Dip Under Obama.

Of course the topmost wealthy don’t even pay tax, while they contemplate stolen, world famous art in their redoubts. Under Obama, there was a tiny crack-down on the expansion of the wealth of the wealthiest:

“In the heat of the presidential race, the influence of wealthy donors is being tested. At stake is the Obama administration’s 2013 tax increase on high earners — the first substantial increase in two decades — and an I.R.S. initiative to ensure that, in effect, the higher rates stick by cracking down on tax avoidance by the wealthy.

While Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have pledged to raise taxes on these voters, virtually every Republican has advanced policies that would vastly reduce their tax bills, sometimes to as little as 10 percent of their income… “There’s this notion that the wealthy use their money to buy politicians; more accurately, it’s that they can buy policy, and specifically, tax policy,” said Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities who served as chief economic adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “That’s why these egregious loopholes exist, and why it’s so hard to close them.”

Not really. The truth is that most people don’t care, because all they obsess about sport scores, same as the Romans of 19 centuries ago. So only a few “leaders” care, and those are easily bought, being few in numbers. A revolutionary mob can be misled, but it’s hard to buy. Meanwhile, tax avoidance of the hyper rich has become an industry:

The Family Office

Each of the top 400 earners took home, on average, about $336 million in 2012, the latest year for which data is available. If the bulk of that money had been paid out as salary or wages, as it is for the typical American, the tax obligations of those wealthy taxpayers could have more than doubled.

Instead, much of their income came from convoluted partnerships and high-end investment funds. Other earnings accrued in opaque family trusts and foreign shell corporations, beyond the reach of the tax authorities.

The well-paid technicians who devise these arrangements toil away at white-shoe law firms and elite investment banks, as well as a variety of obscure boutiques. But at the fulcrum of the strategizing over how to minimize taxes are so-called family offices, the customized wealth management departments of Americans with hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in assets.

Family offices have existed since the late 19th century, when the Rockefellers pioneered the institution, and gained popularity in the 1980s. But they have proliferated rapidly over the last decade, as the ranks of the super-rich, and the size of their fortunes, swelled to record proportions.

“We have so much wealth being created, significant wealth, that it creates a need for the family office structure now,” said Sree Arimilli, an industry recruiting consultant.

Family offices, many of which are dedicated to managing and protecting the wealth of a single family, oversee everything from investment strategy to philanthropy.”

Real philanthropy would consist into paying taxes, of course. What plutocrats call “philanthropy” is just tax avoidance combined with influence multiplier.

…”tax planning is a core function. While the specific techniques these advisers employ to minimize taxes can be mind-numbingly complex, they generally follow a few simple principles, like converting one type of income into another type that’s taxed at a lower rate.

Mr. Loeb, for example, has invested in a Bermuda-based reinsurer — an insurer to insurance companies — that turns around and invests the money in his hedge fund. That maneuver transforms his profits from short-term bets in the market, which the government taxes at roughly 40 percent, into long-term profits, known as capital gains, which are taxed at roughly half that rate. It has had the added advantage of letting Mr. Loeb defer taxes on this income indefinitely, allowing his wealth to compound and grow more quickly.”

Partnerships obscure who owns what, and make it impossible to collect taxes:

“Organizing one’s business as a partnership can be lucrative in its own right. Some of the partnerships from which the wealthy derive their income are allowed to sell shares to the public, making it easy to cash out a chunk of the business while retaining control. But unlike publicly traded corporations, they pay no corporate income tax; the partners pay taxes as individuals. And the income taxes are often reduced by large deductions, such as for depreciation.

For large private partnerships, meanwhile, the I.R.S. often struggles “to determine whether a tax shelter exists, an abusive tax transaction is being used,” according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office. The agency is not allowed to collect underpaid taxes directly from these partnerships, even those with several hundred partners. Instead, it must collect from each individual partner, requiring the agency to commit significant time and manpower.”

Meanwhile, charities are most giving, most giving to the richest of the wealthiest (and then the rabble thank the great Lords of tax avoidance, for their generosity):

“The wealthy can also avail themselves of a range of esoteric and customized tax deductions that go far beyond writing off a home office or dinner with a client. One aggressive strategy is to place income in a type of charitable trust, generating a deduction that offsets the income tax. The trust then purchases what’s known as a private placement life insurance policy, which invests the money on a tax-free basis, frequently in a number of hedge funds.”

Taxes cannot be collected, because the IRS officially does not have the brain power (in truth, top employees of the IRS may be unwilling to think too hard; the NYT will not say that.)

“Many of these maneuvers are well established, and wealthy taxpayers say they are well within their rights to exploit them. Others exist in a legal gray area, its boundaries defined by the willingness of taxpayers to defend their strategies against the I.R.S. Almost all are outside the price range of the average taxpayer.

Among tax lawyers and accountants, “the best and brightest get a high from figuring out how to do tricky little deals,” said Karen L. Hawkins, who until recently headed the I.R.S. office that oversees tax practitioners. “Frankly, it is almost beyond the intellectual and resource capacity of the Internal Revenue Service to catch.”

The combination of cost and complexity has had a profound effect, tax experts said. Whatever tax rates Congress sets, the actual rates paid by the ultra-wealthy tend to fall over time as they exploit their numerous advantages.”

Where Even The New York Times Discovers That Obama Is A Plutophile:

Obama is a great democrat, revered for Obamacare, first of all a trick to direct more money to the health care plutocracy (although it did a few good things to sugar-coat it). However, under Obama, the richest of the rich got taxed less, and this is even the New York Times which now admits it. And the problem is not the famed 1%, but the really nasty ones, the .1%, the only ones Obama cares about:  

“From Mr. Obama’s inauguration through the end of 2012, federal income tax rates on individuals did not change (excluding payroll taxes). But the highest-earning one-thousandth of Americans went from paying an average of 20.9 percent to 17.6 percent. By contrast, the top 1 percent, excluding the very wealthy, went from paying just under 24 percent on average to just over that level.”

Actually, the .1% hide behind the 1%. As I have explain before, and will explain again in the future, the main interest of taxation is to prevent the richest to gather ever more riches, at an ever faster rate, just because they are the richest.

This is what is precisely failing in the West right now. Thus the most important function of taxation, progressive taxation, what differentiated the West from the rest, is failing:

“We do have two different tax systems, one for normal wage-earners and another for those who can afford sophisticated tax advice,” said Victor Fleischer, a law professor at the University of San Diego who studies the intersection of tax policy and inequality. “At the very top of the income distribution, the effective rate of tax goes down, contrary to the principles of a progressive income tax system.”

This, as have argued many times, is how the West, and not just the West, has fallen many times. New York Times:

…”the Managed Funds Association, an industry group that represents prominent hedge funds like D. E. Shaw, Renaissance Technologies, Tiger Management and Third Point, began meeting with members of Congress to discuss a wish list of adjustments. The founders of these funds have all donated at least $500,000 to 2016 presidential candidates. During the Obama presidency, the association itself has risen to become one of the most powerful trade groups in Washington, spending over $4 million a year on lobbying.

And while the lobbying clout of the wealthy is most often deployed through industry trade associations and lawyers, some rich families have locked arms to advance their interests more directly.”

“Some of the most profound victories are barely known outside the insular world of the wealthy and their financial managers.

In 2009, Congress set out to require that investment partnerships like hedge funds register with the Securities and Exchange Commission, partly so that regulators would have a better grasp on the risks they posed to the financial system.

The early legislative language would have required single-family offices to register as well, exposing the highly secretive institutions to scrutiny that their clients were eager to avoid. Some of the I.R.S.’s cases against the wealthy originate with tips from the S.E.C., which is often better positioned to spot tax evasion.

By the summer of 2009, several family office executives had formed a lobbying group called the Private Investor Coalition to push back against the proposal. The coalition won an exemption in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, then spent much of the next year persuading the S.E.C. to largely adopt its preferred definition of “family office.”

So expansive was the resulting loophole that Mr. Soros’s $24.5 billion hedge fund took advantage of it, converting to a family office after returning capital to its remaining outside investors. The hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller, a former business partner of Mr. Soros, took the same step.”

Then the New York Times explains that the part of the IRS after taxpayer earning more than ten million dollars of income a year has been decimated, gutted, with reduction of personnel in some cases going down to zero.

“Several former I.R.S. officials, including Marcus Owens, who once headed the agency’s Exempt Organizations division, said the controversy badly damaged the agency’s willingness to investigate other taxpayers, even outside the exempt division.

“I.R.S. enforcement is either absent or diminished” in certain areas, he said. Mr. Owens added that his former department — which provides some oversight of money used by charities and nonprofits — has been decimated.”

[The Wall Street Journal, owned by the global plutocratic family Murdoch, has a greater distribution than the New York Times. It immediately ran a lead article to counter any damage to the top 400 which the NYT may have visited on their aura: “Tax Rates For Top 400 US Taxpayers Climbed in 2013“.]

Sometimes, in history, a revolution is needed. In Europe, a revolution was needed as early as 1089 CE. But it took seven centuries to come.

However, England was more  lucky. Notice that, when the Duke of Normandy and his Frankish barons invaded England, in 1066 CE, he was able to consolidate power because he organized a Revolution, top down. The Duke, now King, outlawed slavery (standard Frankish law; 20% of the population was enslaved). The new King also made the relationship between King and People direct, and established Parliament.

In mainland France, the Revolution came in only in 1789 CE (although there was an important attempt in the middle of the 17 C, just when two Revolutions, and an invasion in quick succession, modernized England; Revolution is contagious: the English “Glorious Revolution was imported from the Netherlands, itself a rogue part freed from Spain, mostly by French military intervention).

After 1789 CE, French plutocracy regrew quickly. In the USA, plutocracy was present in miniature all along, thanks to the existence of slavery. It started to blossom only after Carnegie (who himself was a scathing, and sincere critique of it!). It went on haltingly, as plutocrat Teddy Roosevelt (another enlightened Pluto!) cut down, as president, the most outrageous monopolies.

American plutocracy then focused on Europe, from Franco to Stalin, without forgetting Mussolini and Hitler. The Second World War itself could be fought only with huge manpower, and those more than ten million soldiers, all them trained killers, had to be pleased after 1945, lest they revolt. A time of increased equality ensued, all over the West .

But now here we are: plutocracy is completely out of control. The New York Times article focused only on what can be seen, thus, potentially, taxed. However, most of the money escapes detection outright.

That the New York Times does not seem anxious to focus on. Nor does Hillary Clinton, or even Bernie Sanders. And in Europe, don’t worry, none of the political parties, not even France’s National Front, or the Communist Party, or the New Left, has called on changing the tax structures which exempt the .1%.

However, I claim they are draining the socio-economies. Not just through sheer tax avoidance, but also through the atrocious mental influence they exert. It’s not just the “austerity” insanity, but also the sport score insanities, and other mind numbing and civilization destroying strategies and love fests (complete with adoring Islamism, something which has recently backfired).

If you want humanity, you will have to deprive of power Pluto and its emulators, admirers and other imitators. If you don’t want humanity, you will lose the biosphere, to start with. Shortly before the return of cannibalism, and other discomforts.

Patrice Ayme’  

BEING FROM DOING: EFFECTIVE ONTOLOGY, Brain & Consciousness

December 29, 2015

Thesis: Quantum Waves themselves are what information is (partly) made of. Consciousness being Quantum, shows up as information. Reciprocally, information gets Quantum translated, and then builds the brain, then the mind, thus consciousness. So the brain is a machine debating with the Quantum. Let me explain a bit, while expounding on the way the theory of General Relativity of Ontological Effectiveness, “GROE”:

***

What is the relationship between the brain and consciousness? Some will point out we have to define our terms: what is the brain, what is consciousness? We can roll out an effective definition of the brain (it’s where most neurons are). But consciousness eludes definition.

Still, that does not mean we cannot say more. And, from saying more, we will define more.

Relationships between definitions, axioms, logic and knowledge are a matter of theory:

Take Euclid: he starts with points. What is a point? Euclid does not say, he does not know, he has to start somewhere. However where that where exactly is may be itself full of untoward consequences (in the 1960s, mathematicians working in Algebraic Geometry found points caused problems; they have caused problems in Set Theory too; vast efforts were directed at, and around points). Effectiveness defines. Consider this:

Effective Ontology: I Compute, Therefore That's What I Am

Effective Ontology: I Compute, Therefore That’s What I Am

Schematic of a nanoparticle network (about 200 nanometres in diameter). By applying electrical signals at the electrodes (yellow), and using artificial evolution, this disordered network can be configured into useful electronic circuits.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-09-electronic-circuits-artificial-evolution.html#jCp

All right, more on my General Relativity of Ontological Effectiveness:

Modern physics talks of the electron. What is it? Well, we don’t know, strictly speaking. But fuzzy thinking, we do have a theory of the electron, and it’s so precise, it can be put in equations. So it’s the theory of the electron which defines the electron. As the former could, and did vary, so did the latter (at some point physicist Wheeler and his student Feynman suggested the entire universe what peopled by just one electron going back and forth in time.

Hence the important notion: concepts are defined by EFFECTIVE THEORIES OF THEIR INTERACTION with other concepts (General Relativity of Ontological Effectiveness: GROE).

***

NATURALLY Occurring Patterns Of Matter Can Recognize Patterns, Make Logic:

Random assemblies of gold nanoparticles can perform sophisticated calculations. Thus Nature can start computing, all by itself. There is no need for the carefully arranged patterns of silicon.

Classical computers rely on ordered circuits where electric charges follow preprogrammed rules, but this strategy limits how efficient they can be. Plans have to be made, in advance, but the possibilities become vast in numbers at such a pace that the human brain is unable to envision all the possibilities. The alternative is to do as evolution itself creates intelligence: by a selection of the fittest. In this case, a selection of the fittest electronic circuits.

(Selection of the fittest was well-known to the Ancient Greeks, 25 centuries ago, 10 centuries before the Christian superstition. The Ancient Greeks, used artificial and natural selection explicitly to create new breeds of domestic animals. However, Anglo-Saxons prefer to name things after themselves, so they can feel they exist; thus selection of the fittest is known by Anglo-Saxons as “Darwinian”. Hence soon we will hear about “Darwinian electronics”, for sure!)

“The best microprocessors you can buy in a store now can do 10 to the power 11 (10^11; one hundred billions) operations per second and use a few hundred watts,” says Wilfred van der Wiel of the University of Twente in the Netherlands, a leader of the gold circuitry effort. “The human brain can do orders of magnitude more and uses only 10 to 20 watts.  That’s a huge gap in efficiency.”

To close the gap, one goes back to basics. The first electronic computers, in the 1940s, tried to mimic what were thought at the time to be brain operations. So the European Union and the USA are trying more of the same, to develop “brain-like” computers that do computations naturally without their innards having been specifically laid out for the purpose. For a few years, the candidate  material that can reliably perform real calculations has been found to be gold.

Van der Wiel and colleagues have observed that clumps of gold grains handle bits of information (=electric charge) in the same way that existing microprocessors do.

Clump of grains computing operate as a unit, in parallel, much as it seems neurons do in the brain. This should improve pattern recognition. A pattern, after all, is characterized by dimension higher than one, and so is a clump operating together. A mask to recognize a mask.

Patterns are everywhere, logics itself are patterns.

***

WE ARE WHAT WE DO:

So what am I saying, philosophically? I am proposing a (new) foundation for ontology which makes explicit what scientists and prehistoric men have been doing all along. 

The theory of the nature of being is ontology, the “Logic of Being”. Many philosophers, or pseudo-philosophers have wrapped themselves up in knots about what “Being”. (For example, Heidegger, trained as a Catholic seminarian, who later blossomed as a fanatical professional Nazi, wrote a famous book called “Zein und Zeit”, Being and Time. Heidegger tries at some point to obscurely mumble feelings not far removed from some explicit notions in the present essay.)

Things are defined by what they do. And they do what they do in relation with other things.

Where does it stop? Well, it does not. What we have done is define being by effectiveness. This is what mathematicians have been doing all along. Defining things by how they work produce things, and theories, which work. The obvious example is mathematics: it maybe a castle in the sky, but this castle is bristling with guns, and its canon balls are exquisitely precise, thanks to the science of ballistics, a mathematical creation.

Things are what they do. Fundamental things do few things, sophisticated things do many things, and thus have many ways of being.

Some will say: ‘all right, you have presented an offering to the gods of wisdom, so now can we get back to the practical, such as the problems Europe faces?’

Be reassured, creatures of little faith: Effective Ontology is very practical. First of all, that’s what all of physics and mathematics, and actually all of science rest (and it defines them beyond Karl Popper’s feeble attempt).

Moreover, watch Europe. Some, including learned, yet nearly hysterical commenters who have graced this site, are desperately yelling to be spared from a “Federal Europe“, the dreaded “European Superstate“. The theory of Effective Ontology focuses on the essence of Europe. According to Effective Ontology, Europe is what it does.

And  what does Europe do? Treaties. A treaty, in Latin, is “foedus. Its genitive is foederis, and it gives foederatus, hence the French fédéral and from there, 150 years later in the USA, “federal”. Europe makes treaties (with the Swiss (Con)federation alone, the Europe Union has more than 600 treaties). Thus Europe IS a Federal State.

Effective Ontology has been the driver of Relativity, Quantum Physics, and Quantum Field Theory. And this is precisely why those theories have made so many uncomfortable.

Patrice Ayme’

Long Live The Euro: 3) Exiting By The Top

December 28, 2015

“SORTIR PAR LE HAUT”:

The Euro is one of the elements necessary to unify France and Germany. Fully constructing the supporting apparatus the Euro needs, entails, by itself, an entire hierarchy of unification projects subordinated to it.

So the problems the Euro creates are supposed to appear, and being solved, thereafter. How? By “coming out on top”. Division and bitterness, is coming on the bottom. Coming out on top means higher ideas, unification, harmony.

To reconstruct a European state is as if one were constructing a cathedral: one has to do the following. One decides to build it, and then make it so. Cathedral construction was modified, as needed. Arches were progressively added, and, when problems were found, they were fixed. When it was discovered that the gigantic Amiens cathedral was bulging out, and was going to collapse, and enormous iron belt was added to its waist. It survived the world wars.

Paris had an enormous Roman cathedral for nearly a millennium. However, in the Twelfth Century, Parisians decided that, instead of refurbishing it once again, and expanding it, it would be better to build an entire new cathedral in what was known then as the “Frankish style”. The church leaders explicitly stated this as a technological project to awe the masses, and instruct the plutocrats as to the new possibilities technology offered. So the old cathedral was demolished, and the present one built. (There are no picture of the previous building, it stood fifty meters west of the present one.)

What present day, patritotic Europeans do not want to see again:

By 1200 CE, The Renovated Roman Empire of the Franks Had Become A Big Disunited Mess. Wars Blossomed All Over

By 1200 CE, The Renovated Roman Empire of the Franks Had Become A Big Disunited Mess. Wars Blossomed All Over

One thing can be picked up from the map: it is the French themselves, the Western Franks, those based around Paris, who created the mess, by insisting on going their own way, and that everybody had the right to go their own way.

Charlemagne himself had launched the way towards that mess: he let Venice stay sort-of independent (although the Frankish empire needed Venice’s fleet), and then Charlemagne outright created the Papal States (by giving territories to the Pope upon which he could exert material power).

It is finally Francois I who understood that France and Germany had to be unified again. But, although he had been elected king of France (by the kingdom’s council), he failed in the 1519 CE election as Roman-German emperor.

Instead, Spain, Germany and Italy (plus the Americas) got united. The result was nearly 200 years of war between France and Spain, which created the independent, tolerant, somewhat republican Netherlands, while finishing with still another world war, the War of the Spanish Succession, which France barely won (losing territory in the process, and fostering British and Dutch power).

By then the Netherlands, Britain and France, the former two created by the latter, and long the same polity, were at each other’s throats. To win, Britain heavily financed Prussia, while France enjoyed a succession of ill advised dictators (Louis XIV, Louis XV, Napoleon).

Clearly one should go back to basic principles:

Europe Was A Creation Of The Franks, Not Just As A State, But As A Concept:

The power, and vision, of the Franks created Europe. It was originally mostly motivated by survival, and the will to set right was Late Romans had set wrong.

We actually know enough about the rise of Frankish power to discern the philosophies at work. Aetius, a Roman commander-in-chief who had been brought up (from an exchange/hostage program) among the Huns all too long, naturally used the Huns all too much. After Aetius was assassinated in one of these conspiracies Late Rome was rife with, his closest collaborators took over. They switched back to the 150 year old alliance with the Federated Franks, the fiercest enemy of the Huns (who thereafter disappear from history).

Europe is a modern concept created by the Franks anew in the Eighth Century; the original Europe, in the Eighth Century BCE, 16 centuries earlier, designated continental Greece. But that name, itself, the name of a Princess, was an older myth which acknowledged the debt Greece had to Phoenicia (nowadays Lebanon, and, more generally, the Middle East).

If one wants to build something great, one has to start somewhere. A European currency exists, and France and Germany constitute an “optimal currency area”, all by themselves. They have very similar republics. Both have a very high minimum wage, German police can pursue thugs inside France at will (and reciprocally). Both consult continually, Germany has agreed to help France’s wars in a supportive role.

In truth, Germany has become France, after around two centuries of error under Prussian misguidance.

So what are the problems with the common currency? Well, all these problems it was supposed to bring. A first one, of course, is the problem of making a Banking Union. The situation there is quite complex, yet unification is under way: the 200 largest banks are supposed to be inspected (smaller banks are crucial to the German economy, but they tend to be bankrupt, so they have been spared the present inspection regime).

What is there not to like? Well, don’t ask American plutocrats and their obsequious servants; they will stat to recite again Friedman’s hare-brained, shallow and disingenuous arguments.

Finally all what the American plutocrats and their butlers have to stay is that, never, ever, could France and Germany get unified again, so they could not possibly share a common currency (aside from the dollar, which American plutocrats control, through their rogue financial system). What they should stay, if the truth was their goal, is that they dread an ever greater unification of France and Germany.

First, because they won’t control it as readily. Secondly, because of the tradition of revolution, for which France, in particular, is known.

Civilization means revolutions, plutocracy, its obsequious servants and greedy opportunists, hate both. Thus they hate European Unification.

Why is the USA different? Simple: countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia are gigantic, and full of recent immigrants. Recent immigrants in a giant country can always go somewhere else, where construction, expansion, conquest, fracking, tar sands, coal and iron ore, lithium, what-not, is going on. No such possibilities in Europe, or then tightly regulated.

Recent immigrants are also anxious not to be seen whining, complaining, talking back, agitating, rebelling, lest they be not trusted anymore. In countries such as France, or Greece, if you do NOT whine, complain, talk back, argue, rebel, it is the exact way around: it is a servile, anxious to please, fit and conform attitude, which is not trusted.

One could see this with Obama: for years, it was said by his opponents that he was not a genuine American. Actually, he was not even an American, they asserted. The American Constitution invites this: it distinguishes American-born Americans, and immigrants (the French and now German Constitutions do not). An immigrant American cannot be elected president.

Discrimination is more American than mother or apple pie. Anxious to conform, American Jews, such as Milton Friedman, who could not even bother to express concern on behalf of their brethren while they were in danger of being exterminated, now have the infuriating impudence to teach us about strife being hindered by division. Verily, some people learned nothing, and are the lowest of the low.

So should the French and the Germans have a common currency? Well, in a sense, they used to have one, what was called “Euro-dollars”. The dollar, was, de facto, Europe’s common currency.

France and Germany do not discriminate against their citizens on ground of their origins. This is one of many ways in which France and Germany are similar. Why so similar? Well, they spend a lot of thinking finding out which French, or German qualities, laws, regulations, habits, appreciations, they should adopt.

France and Germany are now closer in spirit with each other than they are with the USA. So they should have rejected the dollar as a common currency, and get their own, according to the very argument the Euro haters have been using. And that’s exactly what they did.

Patrice Ayme’

Long Live The Euro: 2) Friedman Ignorant Anti-Euro Rant

December 27, 2015

Is Europe an “optimum currency area”? Milton Friedman believed it was not, and he gave apparently cogent, and now much repeated reasons, why it was not. However one should remember that appearances are deceiving, the most venomous snakes look like pretty leaves. Some people do not know how to add, but they claim they can multiply.

American economist have been lying, they are paid to lie, because their lies in economy give justification to otherwise unjustifiable policies. The policies of the USA have been, overall comfortable: having eliminated the Natives, American and Canadians, like the Australians, enjoy entire continents for themselves, far removed from the rest of the world, and its often crowed, overwhelmed realities.

Whereas France is in a different situation. French major policies have not been comfortable, since 360 CE (when the elite Parisian legions revolted, refused to leave France, and proclaimed the Caesar Julian, Augustus; the central government in Constantinople was not happy, and those in-between, distinctly uncomfortable).

France did not just declare war to the Nazis in the 1930s, when the USA was busy doing profitable business with them. France has been fighting Islamists since 721 CE (before that the Franks’ James Bonds were spying on said Islamists in the Middle East).

The war with the Islamists requires much power and determination. Here is a picture from April 2015, taken at night, with a high resolution radar. The famous Second Foreign Parachute Regiment (2 REP) is dropping at night on the Salvador Pass, in the middle of the Sahara, at the Libya-Niger border. It then engaged Islamists in combat:

Reality Check: Economics Serves War. Combat In More Than Half A Dozen Countries Costs France Beaucoup Euros

Reality Check: Economics Serves War. Combat In More Than Half A Dozen Countries Costs France Beaucoup Euros

[The dots are French soldiers, and equipment, not trees. The area is the most barren desert on Earth.]

Here is Milton Friedman, that supposedly great economist, as we will see a great liar, a little man, a European war lover, in the conclusion of his famous essay supposedly demolishing the Euro. That essay is oft-repeated with glee since, by pseudo-”liberal” luminaries such as Paul Krugman, and, in general, all faithful, one should even say, obsequious, servants of Uncle Sam:

“The European Commission based in Brussels, indeed, spends a small fraction of the total spent by governments in the member countries. They, not the European Union’s bureaucracies, are the important political entities. Moreover, regulation of industrial and employment practices is more extensive than in the United States, and differs far more from country to country than from American state to American state. As a result, wages and prices in Europe are more rigid, and labor less mobile. In those circumstances, flexible exchange rates provide an extremely useful adjustment mechanism.

If one country is affected by negative shocks that call for, say, lower wages relative to other countries, that can be achieved by a change in one price, the exchange rate, rather than by requiring changes in thousands on thousands of separate wage rates, or the emigration of labor. The hardships imposed on France by its “franc fort” policy illustrate the cost of a politically inspired determination not to use the exchange rate to adjust to the impact of German unification. Britain’s economic growth after it abandoned the European Exchange Rate Mechanism a few years ago to refloat the pound illustrates the effectiveness of the exchange rate as an adjustment mechanism.”

This sounds all very smart, but, it’s mostly poorly informed BS. When one knows enough, and when one is in a mood favorable to European Unification, Milton Friedman just sound like a highly paid prostitute. What he sells is lies.

Examples of Friedman ignorance, or deliberate lying:

  1. The member countries are more important, true, but only to some extent.Even France and Germany are tied up by the various European institutions, because the latter are part of the member countries national laws (that’s called the Single European Act). So France, for example, cannot contradict the European Court of Justice, without contradicting the FRENCH Constitution.
  2. Member countries are of three types: great powers (France, Germany, Britain), middle powers (Spain, Italy, Poland; Italy is a middle power because its north is more Franco-German than Sicilian, so it’s de facto divided; Spain has the same problem: Catalonia historically is more French, or Roman, than Spanish). And then small powers. Small powers can stand in the way, but not for long (Greece being the best example).
  3. That “regulation of industrial and employment practices… differs far more from country to country than from American state to American state” is simply, a lie. A lie disguised as a truth. European regulations are extremely similar to each other, and very far from the American ones. The exception is Great Britain, which asked for an exemption, and got it.
  4. Labor is less mobile in Europe, because Europe is made of different nations talking different versions of English.
  5. If one country is affected with negative shocks”: the entire idea of Europe, Friedman, is to have no more “negative shocks”.
  6. When Friedman talks of France, he brays like an ass. The strong Franc policy is an atavism of France. France invented the strong currency thing, like 12 centuries ago. Those who did not believe in it, were boiled in wine. Alive. France applied it in the 1920s and 1930s, when the USA, the UK, Germany, and other critters tried to devaluate themselves to health (some got mad in the process). The strong Franc is a case of Germany coming to think like France, not conversely. (True France devalued in the 1960s, but then Germany wrote off more than half of its debt, with the benediction of its allies, in the 1950s.)
  7. The United Kingdom has been highly successful with its currency policies in the 1990s, and after 2008. However that is, first of all, because enough money was provided to run the economy. Although having a national currency allowed it to do so, currency independence is neither necessary, nor sufficient.
  8. Wages, prices, regulations, national laws are under convergence in Europe. Recently Germany finally imitated France and introduced a high minimum wage. German workers are now for the first time as expensive as French workers.
  9. Friedman ignores ways in which European countries are more similar to each other, than to American states: no death penalty, universal health care, strong privacy laws, labor protection are examples.
  10. The important political entities in the Eurozone are France and Germany. United, they form a superpower, especially when adding their automatic influence zone (Austria, The Benelux, Northern Spain, including Catalonia, Northern Italy, and yes, Switzerland). Since May 8, 1945, France and Germany did not have ONE serious differences, and have pursued a steady program of “ever closer union” (to use the language of the European de facto constitution). The heads of France and Germany sit together at the European Parliament, during important events. I believe, and French and German leaders believed

All right, so Friedman does not know what he is talking about.

Friedman also asserts what is well-known, that the Euro is a political project (what he does not say is that it is a French political project, because he is not anxious to spoil his hidden bias with obvious francophobia). Notice that, if some project is mostly driven by politics, that does not mean that it cannot turn out to be economical. Says Friedman:

“The drive for the Euro has been motivated by politics not economics. The aim has been to link Germany and France so closely as to make a future European war impossible, and to set the stage for a federal United States of Europe.”

Of course a USE, a United States of Europe, would be a formidable rival to the USA, and probably less friendly to the people who paid Friedman for his flood of BS venom. Then Friedman, in his conclusion, slips into psycho-politics, a domain which mixes psychology and politics, for which, considering the long list of erroneous ideas I exposed above, he has no expertise whatsoever. Friedman is like somebody who does not know how to add, and now he wants to multiply:

”I believe that adoption of the Euro would have the opposite effect. It would exacerbate political tensions by converting divergent shocks that could have been readily accommodated by exchange rate changes into divisive political issues. Political unity can pave the way for monetary unity. Monetary unity imposed under unfavorable conditions will prove a barrier to the achievement of political unity.”

The truth? Milton Friedman, the economist does not the history of economics. Let me give him a F. F for “Failed”. The Thaler/Tollar, functioned as a currency in Europe for centuries without any political unification.

The truth? France and Germany are unifying ever more. The last divergence was about Libya: France decided to overthrow the dictator there, and Germany did not help. However in Syria, Germany, and Britain are now helping France. Germany is presently sending troops for occupation and control in Mali, because and while France is getting its shock troops for attacks in Syria and Libya.

The truth? When Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s president, decided to switch to the Euro for international transaction, thus exiting Washington’s orbit, Washington decided to make Iraq an example for those who switch to the Euro. The Washington strategists wanted a murderous mess for those who switch to the Euro, and now they have it, and one must them chuckling at night, far from prying eyes. (People like Paul Krugman absolutely refuse to understand any of the preceding, as it would murder their careers to do so. At the very least.)

The truth? In the 1940s, the Nazis and the French resistance, the Free French and the French Republic agreed that “divisive political issues” and “exacerbated tensions” came from “converting divergent shocks”. To eliminate divergent shocks, eliminate differences. In this respect, the Euro is helping France and Germany achieve an ever closer union. (Notwithstanding the sea of lies American economists swim in.)

And it’s all that matter. American Jews such as Friedman, Krugman, and all these other “mans”, should remember that, when “Francia”, the Renovated Roman empire, Franco-Germania, extended from Barcelona to Berlin and beyond, there was no discrimination against the Jews.

Why? Because the very nature of a sustainable, vast empire, is tolerance. So let a common European currency be, it will be more comfortable to divergences, hence ideas.

Patrice Ayme’

Long Live The Euro: 1) Basic History of Romans & Franks

December 26, 2015

Marine Le Pen proposes to go back to the Franc. This is rather ironical for a nationalist, as the Euro, a French invention, extends French power. However, as it is, in the present international context, the Euro is not functioning optimally, and indeed, seriously hindering the French Republic. Nevertheless, I will demolish the stale anti-Euro arguments imagined by servants of the USA’s plutocratic order, the ones Le Pen is following like a bleating sheep. There is a glaring problem with the Euro, indeed, but not the one talked about by those who dislike the Euro. And that problem has an obvious remedy (long found by the USA), a change in the mandate of the European Central Bank.

In a nutshell, the Euro was conceived as a top down mechanism to force one more unification device inside Europe. The idea is to create problems which only further European unification can solve. The Euro is functioning correctly that way, albeit too slowly. And no wonder: at this point, European finance is led by an ex-partner at Goldman Sachs, a Wall Street bank, under the mandate of making the Euro a store of value (even if kills the European economy). That has to be changed. Along… American lines.

Common Currency Area: Roman Empire Europe, 815 CE. In 1066 CE, the Franks Launched Their Re-Conquest of Great Britain

Common Currency Area: Roman Empire Europe, 815 CE. In 1066 CE, the Franks Launched Their Re-Conquest of Great Britain

Those who don’t understand the map above, should not talk about the Euro. As we will see, though, they do talk about the Euro, while not minding whether, or not,France and Germany were actually part of the same polity, for half a millennium.

(For the election of Holy Roman emperor in 1519, the two candidates were the Duke of Burgundy, ruler of the Netherlands and Loraine, and the King of France, Francois I; both were native French speakers, born not far from Paris. The former became emperor as Charles V.)

Those who don’t know European history, including hordes of American pseudo-intellectuals, can only talk foolishly about the Euro. That’s the whole idea: they are supposed to make us all stupid. Once we are stupid enough, we will be eager to serve them, or so they have observed.

That despicable horde of greedy disinformers and impudent liars includes one of the leading (diminutive) bulls, Milton Friedman, bullying his way into a thicket of absurdities which he himself erected.

Friedman learned nothing, absolutely nothing, from the Second World War. That, too, is no accident. It’s a disease frequently found in American Jews. It’s not just the usual francophobia. There is a much more sinister mechanism at work. American Jews are supposed to know nothing much about the Second World War, except there was a big bad “The Holocaust”, and, somehow, the French were involved.

Why so ignorant? Preservation of their own Jewish sanity. If American Jews knew more of the history of the Second World War, they would have to explain why they did nothing, while their brethren and relatives were mass assassinated in Europe.

In particular, American Jews would have to explain why they did nothing, while racist American plutocrats were totally, massively supporting and enabling Hitler and Mussolini. Where was Friedman then? Well, he was employed by Roosevelt’s National Resources Committee (on which he more or less spit later, naturally).

Fortunately the Nazis and their enemies, the French, did learn from WWII what had to be learned. And what they learned, is that they had to unify.

Whereas, it is telling that people who allegedly claim to care about holocausts in Europe, want to divide Europe some more, when it is precisely those divisions which caused the holocausts. The basic flaw of Eastern Europe, where most American Jews are from, is that a divided, divisive, grotesque patchwork of little authorities at each other’s throats, some of this nation, some from another, some from one religion, some from one other, some from a language, or sect, some from another language, or sect.

The first fact of European history is that those who invented the modern usage of the word Europe, the Franks, conquered, unified, and… (to a great extent) created Germany. Including the German language! (The Franks, being themselves Germans, were in excellent position to bark out orders to other Germans.)

To understand the Euro, one has to go all the way to the first Roman State, and why it failed spectacularly:

The Roman empire’s border inside Germany, anchored on the Rhine and Danube, was too long, too fractal, hard to defend. The one and only solution was to conquer all of Europe (and make a short border across the European peninsula). The only Roman who decided to do this, Julius Caesar, was assassinated on the eve of his departure at the head of the most formidable army Rome ever had. After that unfortunate event, the assassination of the leader of the Populares, Roman plutocracy took over enough to impose its agenda. Roman plutocracy was more interested to exploit the Roman people, rather than to call on the Republican spirit to make Rome safer, and more sustainable.

Actually, the history of the next five centuries of Rome showed that Roman plutocracy preferred to be invaded by barbarians, rather than to call back the Roman Republic (analogies with what is going on today, are invited). In the end, it was the Franks who brought back enough Roman republican elements to progress beyond Greco-Roman civilization, and, later, thoroughly destroy the invading Islamists (once again, comparisons with today jump to mind).

As it sank in ever thicker plutocracy, the first Roman State never conquered Germania. The result was half-baked military solutions, beating the German hordes back, each time they raided the much richer Roman empire. It brought constant, expensive wars which Rome could not afford. It also brought catastrophe, when the Huns, charging through the steppe, all the way from Mongolia, pressured the Goths, and the latter decided to take refuge inside the Roman empire. It was a refugee crisis second to none, yet the refugees came in, fully armed and battle trained, and the Christian dazed Roman emperors confronting the problem, may have longed so much towards the apocalypse, promised by the Bible, that they may have spurred it along. (Once again, comparison with today, are invited.)

However, the Franks turned Augustus’ strategy on its head. As soon as it succeeded the first Roman State, the Second Foundation of the Roman State, the empire of the Franks, threw overboard Augustus’ stupid advice, to leave Germania alone. The Franks relentlessly pursued the conquest of all of Germany, and more. It took three centuries. Charlemagne, Carlus Magnus, finished the job.

The preceding map of Europe is not understood by despicable people such as Milton Friedman and his ilk, who are paid not to meditate upon it (supposing they ever came across it). Friedman is paid to entertain the idea that Germany is bad for France.

Low intellectual lives such as Friedman typically don’t know that, under the Franks, freedom of cult was extended to all those who did not have a Cult of Death (thus the safe Sufi practice of Islam was tolerated). They don’t know that the Franks three times, earlier than Charlemagne, broke three massive Islamist, Cult of Death invasions, and that the Damascus Arab Caliphate fell consequently, having lost its armies (750 CE). They know nothing, these haters of Europe, and still they talk, exuding their venom, because they are paid to do so: it helps the American empire and its overlord, global plutocracy, to tell the world and themselves that the Europeans are self-destructive idiots. At this point the Friedman-Krugman venom is feeding Marine Le Pen (who has opportunistically jumped on it; as a Member of the European Parliament, she probably knows better; in any case she could only hope to implement her program if she had an absolute majority at the French National Assembly).

The Roman Currency failed, because Rome did not conquer Eastern Europe:

The Romans ran out of precious metals in the Third Century: using the technology they had, the mines were exhausted. By 300 CE, Rome, under emperors Aurelian and then Diocletian, had switched to a complicated mix of Fiat Currency and command economy. As the state, weakened by plutocracy, was not strong enough, the Roman Fiat Currency suffered inflation (although the Roman gold currency would not, and was used for another millennium).

China had the same problem, lack of precious metals and invented the ultimate Fiat Currency, paper money, in the Seventh Century to circumvent it (Bolivian silver traded by Spain would solve the Chinese problem nearly a millennium later).

The Franks solved the argentum/argent problem the old fashion way: they did what the Romans did not find the force to do. The Franks conquered Eastern Europe, where the silver mines were. Suddenly, there was enough money to operate the economy again, and, by 1000 CE, the Franks were the richest per person and per unit of energy (my AWE), in the world (contrarily to what the “China-on-top” school of thought has it).

[To be continued… Next: Milton Friedman ill-informed, asinine and biased observations about the Euro, and whether the Eurozone is not an “optimum currency area”]

Patrice Ayme’

Solstice Song

December 25, 2015

So this is the Solstice,

And what have we done,

We, the civilization of Humanity,

The only one there is,

Our Earth, her Moon, our biosphere,

Once more around the Sun: another year over, a new one just begun.

In this dark universe, we have brought our lights, our lonely lights,

Gentler than all others, peering through the night,

Dark Universe, Enlightening Humanity. Light of Moon, Enlightenment of Thinking, Throwing Light On A Fragile Future That Better Be Human

Dark Universe, Enlightening Humanity. Light of Moon, Enlightenment of Thinking, Throwing Light On A Fragile Future That Better Be Human

To our Moon, we may owe our life, the Enlightenment of Humanity, the snows of temperate climate, which helped.

Merry Christmas, Roman Saturnials, Celtic Yule,

Our northern ancestors celebrated that birth of the year, ever since they created edible plants, and took care of them,

Eons ago,

Well before their words could come to us.

I hope you have fun,

The far and the dear one, the old and the young,

A very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year,

Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear,

To use your minds as much as,

This civilization needs to keep on going,

Minimizing pain, maximixing love.

And so this is Christmas,

Verily We are the Anointed Ones.

For weak and for strong, for rich poor alike

The world is so wrong, yet so right.

No doubt a heavy, confusing, exhilarating,

Cross for us to bear,

No need to go the gym,

Exercising our minds is plenty.

And so happy Christmas,

For black and for white, for yellow and red ones,

Let’s stop all the fighting, which brought nothing good

And start those Jihads we really need,

Smartly discarding those we don’t.

A Happy New Year, let’s hope it’s a good one

Without any fear, to assume what we are,

Anointed to pursue,

Thought in the universe.

We hope you have fun

The near and the dear one, the old and the young,

A very Merry Christmas, a happy new year, let’s hope it’s a good one.

Those wars we don’t need are over, if you want it,

New wars have begun, which we really need,

Just to save our biosphere, our sanity, our civilization.

Merry Christmas:

It’s not a question of never more wars over the horizon,

It’s a question of how we fight, and why.

Humanity never rests,

Thinking is a debate,

Debate is combat,

Humanity means ever more dashing,

Incomprehensible, yet enlightening thoughts,

Where gods never threaded before,

Made obvious for all to see.

Humanity means ever more science, and fiction,

Humanity means going to Mars,

And well beyond, Plus Oultre, as Charles V put it,

Humanity means going thermonuclear,

Humanity means never aging,

Humanity means ever anew,

Thinking through everything.

Humanity means never any return of the same,

Humanity means there is no horizon,

But for the next one,

And the one after that.

Humanity means love for us shall lead us,

Ever after.

So enjoy,

Enjoy your Earth and her Moon, ever rotating around their Sun.

Life has been an ever-changing journey,

Ever since it started to evolve, more than four billion years ago,

Ever faster,

Ever more potent,

The greatest change is upon us now,

Life, thought,

Will blossom across the galaxy,

They have to, just to survive,

And we are in charge,

So happy Solstice,

We are going to need ever more happiness,

To conquer all,

Starting with ourselves.

Patrice Ayme’

Trumped: Hillaryously Cruzing To Hell

December 24, 2015

Trumped by the hilarious Hillary Clinton, the USA may be cruising towards Ted Cruz:

Looking at the possible future presidents of the USA, one is left with nervous ticks. The only one I like is Senator Sanders. Contrarily to his reputation of wild radical, he is anything but. Long time Senator of Vermont, Sanders supports the availability of guns so Americans can shoot each other, a fundamental right, and Sanders supports the F35, the most expensive, corrupt military project ever (it’s a flying Maginot Line, except the Maginot Line worked, and the F 35 does not).

Sanders: “I want to end the international embarrassment of the United States of America being the only major country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee healthcare to all people as a right, not a privilege.”

Clinton, second greatest recipient as a Senator behind Rick Santorum, of health care industry dollars, of course, is using weasel concept (“we have to be careful, how can we afford it?”) to sustain the health care plutocracy, one of her main supports. Fortunately, God, or Satan, whoever rules heavens, has a direct line to a much more inspired candidate:

Senator Ted Cruz Does Not Need The Message From The Messenger Muhammad, He Has God In His Head

Senator Ted Cruz Does Not Need The Message From The Messenger Muhammad, He Has God In His Head

Muhammad said he had a vision, in the desert, and a professional Christian monk, cousin from Muhammad’s very rich first wife, told him that he had encountered Archangel Gabriel. Muhammad was not going to contradict an expert. Now, in 2016, Americans will have the opportunity to elect the new Archangel Ted. It cannot be an accident that His name means “Cross”.

Now, craftily, Cruz propagandists say that Ted Cruz may never have said such a thing. Exactly. Instead he said it in bits and pieces: “Any president who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief of this country… I am blessed to receive a word from God every day in receiving the scriptures and reading the scriptures. And God speaks through the Bible.” Cruz presents himself as the Christ specialist: “will simply show up and vote our values, we’ll turn this country around. We can turn our country around, but only if the body of Christ rises up.”

Divine Justice: Health Care, Ted Cruz's Style

Divine Justice: Health Care, Ted Cruz’s Style

Cruz was booed off the stage for his frantic support for Israel. He accused those who disagreed of being “consumed with hate” concluding, “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you.” I guess Cruz is not bringing back the Inquisition any time soon.

All the other candidates to the presidential election are caricatures from the Dark Side.

To recapitulate: in the 1990s, president Clinton, an ignorant, yet conniving schmoozer who used empathy as a weapon of mass domination, followed the orders he got from Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, and “deregulated” finance. Basically Clinton took all the work from President Roosevelt on finance, and flushed it down the toilet of history. Financiers were given carte blanche to do whatever they pleased.

On the other hand, Clinton “never had sex with that woman“. At least before DNA.

Now Hillary Clinton, who declared herself “broke” after the presidency (imagine: everything is paid for you, and then one gets a measly 450,000 dollar tip on top of that!), is the proud owner of at least 50 million dollars (just in case she has a problem remembering her “friends” when she becomes president). Hilarious Hillary repeated the far right talking points against single payer health insurance which both Sanders and Trump favor, attracting the furor of the health care plutocrats (apparently Obama got 350 million dollars from them in 2008).

To understand Clintonphobia, you have to understand that, in the existent fractional reserve banking system, private banks create money (through credit). Deregulation allowed banks and their financial accomplices to create as much money as they please, for their managers, stakeholders, and accomplices, and buy the world with it. Including politicians and administrators as found inside the USA and the EU (or Britain, or China, Russia…)

The maneuver was comparable to stealing candy from baby.

So now here we have the “dangerous” Trump perilously suggesting the USA needs single payer health insurance, or even, horror of horrors, “Socialized Health Care”, as in “Scotland”. Trump is really a horrible man, a mad man.

It goes without saying that the pseudo-left, the so-called “liberal with a conscience” are hysterical against Trump. Gee, with Obamacare, 30 million go without health insurance, and prices of drugs keep on creeping up (+ 4.5% last year). That’s all real progress, sing the likes of Krugman from the rooftops, while watching little students below pay $70,000 dollars to listen to the great masters of the dark art of economics…

While the “left” focuses its ire on Trump, it feels ready to accept anybody-but-Trump. This fostering of the mood of anybody-but-Trump fosters whom plutocracy much prefer. Not a traitor like Trump, but an obsequious servant.

Senator Ted Cruz says worse than Trump, calmly, and much more crazy, but nobody notices… Aside from the likes of Goldman Sachs. Ted has made already 4 million dollars. Having his wife work at Goldman Sachs cannot hurt.

Senator Ted Cruz makes Trump sound reasonable

Glenn Andrews: I was thinking exactly the same thing. It Trump were elected, other world leaders might detest him but they would at least understand what he was. With Cruz, they would be left scratching their heads.

So what is going on at this point? Cruz says that talking to god in one’s head is fine, and, by looking most reasonable, advocating this, he advertises the very mood which makes Literal Islam, and crazed out Christianism strong. Cruz makes jihadism honorable. Hillary Clinton, not to be undone, said that Trump was helping the Islamist State. Trump responded strongly to Clinton’s debate statements over the weekend, calling her a “liar.” “It’s just another Hillary lie. She’s a liar and everybody knows that.”

Fact checkers said there was no public evidence to support the comments Clinton made during the Democratic debate on Saturday. Hillary Clinton subsequently changed her music.

Trump says socialized medicine may be the answer.

For all these years, we have listened to Obama, who basically said nothing, as he droned on, smothered by the impotence of reasonability unchained. Now we have Cruz, a new Ayatollah Khamenei, who, likes Hitler, and unlike Ayatollah Khamenei, wants to be elected, while praising god. As Cruz does this show, common Americans are told it’s OK to be crazy with god. Trump’s message is strikingly opposed: he wants to bar those crazed with god.

Plutocracy has learned to reign with decoys. In France, Marine Le Pen calls to national thoughtfulness are derided as fascism. So one does not have to debate the fact that France needs a massive devaluation of the Euro, or that some of the points of David Cameron against the present European Union constitution may be reasonable. Properly managed, Trump becomes a decoy to free the path to the major insiders of plutocracy, Hillary and Cruz.

We are hilariously cruzing towards more the same, just worse. As time goes by, the mood that plutocracy is here to stay feels ever more reasonable. Now the future president is inhabited by god. What could go wrong?

Patrice Ayme’

We Are All Romans Now

December 23, 2015

China is still China. Rome is still Rome.

China is still China, sort of. Rome is still Rome, Rome more than ever, Rome, much expanded.

China still writes in Chinese, something very useful, when one wants to be read by 100 nations within “China”, each with its own language. However China is now endowed with a Republic (of sorts), and plenty of philosophy which blossomed in the Greco-Roman civilization. Not. In China. So much for Confucius, Lao Tsu, Mencius.  Today’s China thinks in Greco-Roman terms.

Today’s world is as if the Roman armies went to the ends of the world, and they did. When the French and British armies thought intelligent (it was not) to burn the Summer Palace, they were Roman armies, actually. The United Nations’ basic set-up is reminiscent of that of the Roman National Assembly (not really one, in the Athenian, or modern sense).

Yesterday’s philosophy rewrote, re-interpreted the history we had yesterday. Philosophy reborn now implies that history should be reborn now. Look at it anew.

Freedom Reinstituted. Notice The Analogy With the Symbols Of the European Union & the United Nations. Also Notice Both Pictures Are Of Females: Rome 2,000 Years Ago Was Less Sexist Than Some Nations Today

Freedom Reinstituted. Notice The Analogy With the Symbols Of the European Union & the United Nations. Also Notice Both Pictures Are Of Females: Rome 2,000 Years Ago Was Less Sexist Than Some Nations Today

Clearly, the Roman imperial Republic is still going on. Or, more exactly, was reborn. We have the laws, the institutions, the language, and, even more, the spirit of the Republican Republic.

But for a telling Republican “detail”, which is no detail: the Roman Republic anti-wealth laws (which were mortally wounded by 140 CE… something which ailed us, ever since).

We are all Romans: English, imposed by the Franks, is 85% Greco-Roman, and the rest is German. The Germans themselves got Romanized, much of it a distance (archeological studies have shown, and so does a critical reappraisal of history).

Germans got fully integrated in the empire, starting as early as under Augustus (the emperor’s bodyguard was German). One could even say that Germania started to get integrated, manu militari, under seven times Consul and imperator Marius (circa 100 BCE). After destroying three invasive, invading and hyper furious, lethal German nations, including the Teutoni, Marius had the pleasure to enslave hundreds of thousands of German children and infuriated, strong headed Teutonic women.

The Roman empire was officially “RENOVATED” in 800 CE. Charlemagne, a Roman emperor, Constantinople had to grudgingly agree, indeed, finished the conquest of the Saxoni, Frisi, etc… Charlemagne pushed the borders of the Roman empire all the way to incorporate Eastern Europe.

Charlemagne displaced whole tribes to the south-west empire (next to the Basque country). And so on.

If Washington looks like Rome, it’s no coincidence, but the perseverance of will and habit.

Marcus Aurelius’ acts and facts are even more eloquent than his writings, and he faced a crisis very similar to the one we face today: plutocracy had given up on the Republic (naturally enough). Yet, Marcus showed that stoic does not mean static. The morality from his life? Be more pro-active.

In the end, bits and pieces of the Roman Republic fell, and declined, mostly because the rise of plutocrats had made the Republic moribund (thus, in particular, Rome was not as strong militarily).

Military problems were entangled with civilian and political, and economic problems. And epidemics, and ecological and sustainability problems. All the problems could have been solved with good governance.

But Only Democracy Means Good Governance, As Pigeons Show:

Pigeons can be trained to recognize breast cancer cells, when showed pictures of breast tissue. Trained pigeons achieve 80% correctness. However, by having several pigeons look at the picture, one achieves 99% correctness, much higher than by other systems, including present day supercomputers.

This shows that the flock, even a flock of pigeon, can be, on a given task, be more intelligent than individual humans.

How the Roman State Fell:

I make my own opinion about what ailed Rome (and why we are still Romans!) I  keep appraised of the latest archeology (which differ wildly from the classical views of pure historians, some of them loud Christian apologists). I read original texts directly: I had to put to work all these years studying Latin, get a return on my investment.

My view that Christianism was the proximal cause of the fall of the empire is nuanced: it is not the fundamental cause (as Gibbons boldly thought). The fundamental cause is what brought theocratic Christianism. The fundamental cause is clear, reading the Gracchi, around 140 CE.

The fundamental cause of Rome’s degeneracy, and what made the Republic moribund, is the rise of plutocracy, culminating in nasty laws with long-term consequences, passed by 140 BCE (five centuries before the Decline and Fall was fully engaged). Plutocracy led to fascism, which brought theocracy (as early as Domitian, circa 80 CE. and then Emperor Julian himself wrote plenty on the subject, and was himself nuanced (maybe all too nuanced).

Julian’s successor, the general Jovian (emperor 363-364) allowed the destruction of libraries by Christians, and things quickly got much worse, as a quick succession of zealot Christian emperors, and co-emperors, Valentinian, his brother Valens, and their son and nephew Gratian, who nominated zealot Christian general Theodosius I co-emperor, established the rule of insane stupidity, and intellectual fascism. The successions were amicable and orderly; however those Christian military leaders besides were disconnected from the Roman Senate(s), where the uncooperative wealth was.

Stupidity and Christianism brought not just to Rome an Islamist State like tyranny, but also consequential idiotic battle management (see the Battle of Adrianople with emperor Valens doing his best to have the Goths defeat the Romans), and astounding strategy.

Not only were the Franks put in charge of defense (there was no money for the army, something reminiscent of the adventures of present-day France, at war on an extent of land much larger than the fighting zone of the Roman empire at the time of the battle of Adrianople).

The policy of “federating” the Franks in defense of the empire, lasted nearly two centuries, before the Franks took power outright and absolutely (defeating the Goths). That the Roman State subcontracted its power to the Goths was OK, as the Franks wanted to re-establish secular rule. The Goths were also brought in (while antagonizing them!)… And even the Huns (Who sieged Toulouse, capital of the Goths, as allies of the Roman army!)

The relationship with the Goths was complex: emperor Valens’ advisers held that the Gothic armies, fleeing the Huns, could supplement, and be integrated, in the Roman army.

These were very complex times. We are heading the same way. For the present sort-of worldwide Republic to survive, to exactly establish how the Roman State came to be replaced by the Franko-Roman state, after the near-extinction of civilization, is of the highest importance.

History is not past, it is not dead, it is more alive than ever. History is no easy and gentle teacher, but it is the best we have. If we want Rome not to decline and fall again, dragging with it this time much of the biosphere, we have to learn what most people don’t know: we have seen that movie before.

Patrice Ayme’

Should One Be Stoic With Fanatics?

December 22, 2015

One of the greatest stoic philosopher ever was Marcus Aurelius. We will ask his opinion here, not by brandishing his famous quotes, but by observing what he did, in his acts, as emperor. And the answer is unambiguous, and we will see that it has bearing to today’s governance. All the way to Libya.

We are now enjoying the holidays known by our ancestors the Romans as Saturnalia (Christians displaced Christ’s birth by 6 months, around 400CE, to give the impression that those celebrating the Winter Solstice were also celebrating Christ!)

Marcus Aurelius was a philosopher-emperor. However, he encountered a problem we are encountering today. Marcus, uncharacteristically for somebody obsessed by stoicism, inside out, criticizes the Christians. He finds their readiness to die founded on perverse perseverance:

“What a great soul is that which is ready, at any requisite moment, to be separated from the body and then to be extinguished or dispersed or continue to exist. But this readiness must come from a man’s own judgment, not from mere obstinacy, as with the Christians, but considerately and with dignity and in a way to persuade another, without tragic show.” [Meditations, Book XI, #3]

Indeed: “Errare humanum est, perseverare, diabolicum” (to err is human, to persevere in error, diabolical) was one the pillar of Roman Republican philosophy, and it fed well Roman pragmatism.

Under Roman Law, private citizens could launch a CRIMINAL lawsuit (not just a civilian lawsuit, as presently the case). Such criminal actions were launched against a handful of Christians during Marcus Aurelius’ reign. Six were executed in Rome (during a twenty year reign). More, overall (at least so the Christians claim.)

Fine. Indeed. However the Problem Is Not What To Do With The Gods, But With The Fanatics Who Invent Them

Fine. Indeed. However the Problem Is Not What To Do With The Gods, But With The Fanatics Who Invent Them

One of them was a centurion, and an author. Another was Justin Martyr, who was brought to Rome from the Middle East, and tried. This is from the minutes of the trial:

“The Prefect Rusticus says: Approach and sacrifice, all of you, to the gods. Justin says: No one in his right mind gives up piety for impiety. The Prefect Rusticus says: If you do not obey, you will be tortured without mercy. Justin replies: That is OUR DESIRE, TO BE TORTURED for Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and so to be saved, for that will give us salvation and firm confidence at the more terrible universal tribunal of Our Lord and Saviour. And all the martyrs said: Do as you wish; for we are Christians, and we do not sacrifice to idols. The Prefect Rusticus read the sentence: Those who do not wish to sacrifice to the gods and to obey the emperor will be scourged and beheaded according to the laws. The holy martyrs glorifying God betook themselves to the customary place, where they were beheaded and consummated their martyrdom confessing their Saviour.”

Justin Martyr invented the theory that reverence for the LOGOS was actually reverence for the Christian god, so Plato, Aristotle, etc. were truly Christian, and thus Christianism existed before Chris…

However, the claim that people want to be tortured, is most troubling: if one will do with others as if with oneself, does that mean one want to torture others? Actually Chris expected this to happen. Christ realized that the persecuting instinct found in many of His followers would mar the future path He wished for civilization. “They shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you . . . for my name’s sake” (Luke 21:12).  It’s not clear what remedy Chris proposed. Nor is it clear what Marcus Aurelius proposed, either.

Justin Martyr was executed around 165 CE. However, a decade later or so, Marcus Aurelius stopped the prosecution of Christians… under the penalty of death. This came from the following incident, which has several versions. Here it is, supposedly in a letter of Marcus Emperor to the Roman Senate:

…”For during five days we had got no water, because there was none; for we were in the heart of Germany, and in the enemy’s territory. And simultaneously with their casting themselves on the ground, and praying to God (a God of whom I am ignorant), water poured from heaven, upon us most refreshingly cool, but upon the enemies of Rome a withering hail. And immediately we recognised the presence of God following on the prayer-a God unconquerable and indestructible. Founding upon this, then, let us pardon such as are Christians, lest they pray for and obtain such a weapon against ourselves. And I counsel that no such person be accused on the ground of his being a Christian. But if any one be found laying to the charge of a Christian that he is a Christian, I desire that it be made manifest that he who is accused as a Christian, and acknowledges that he is one, is accused of nothing else than only this, that he is a Christian; but that he who arraigns him be burned alive. And I further desire, that he who is entrusted with the government of the province shall not compel the Christian, who confesses and certifies such a matter, to retract; neither shall he commit him. And I desire that these things be confirmed by a decree of the Senate. And I command this my edict to be published in the Forum of Trajan, in order that it may be read.”

The legion involved in the incident came to be known as “Fulminata”, to remind the future that it was reborn in a terrible thunderstorm (the soldiers were drinking the rain, mouths open to the sky, while fighting).

In the end, Christianism was disastrous for Rome, 190 years later: libraries were destroyed, and a “war against the philosophers” engaged. The empire sank into incompetence and fanaticism. Within 20 years of making Christianism the official state religion (edicts of Theodosius), the Roman government was a government of bishops. The defense of three huge provinces was delegated to the Franks. Six more years, and the legions were ordered to evacuate Britain, as part of the austerity program.

So what to do with fanatics?

It depends which fanatics. Fourth Century Christian “Men In Black” were the exact predecessors of the Islamist State: they should have been destroyed. The case of the Christians of the Second Century was completely different.

Second Century Christians should have been left alone, as long as they did not breach secular law, or military law. Military law demanded total obedience to superiors, and breaching that meant death (a problem arose when the superior decided he would become emperor, hence the period of “barrack emperors” of the Third Century; this is also the main proximal reason why the imperial system appeared).

Leaving Second Century Christians alone is what Marcus Aurelius finally decided to do. But too late to prevent Christians to whine for the next two millennia about the horrible persecution they had endured (notice they don’t moan about the millions of Albigenses and Cathars they exterminated).

Marcus Aurelius, confronted to fanatical German tribes which swooped into Italy from their their wild wastes, understood that he had to carry war and extermination into the enemy. So he advanced into Germany, conquering two provinces, and was poised to go where no Roman emperor had gone before, deep in the heart of Germany, when he suddenly died in 180 CE.

Marcus was perhaps assassinated by his own son, the assassin, self-obsessed and general catastrophe, the spoiled Commodus. In any case, if not assassinated physically, Marcus was certainly assassinated in spirit by his son: Commodus not only stopped the military campaign, but he abandoned ground dearly acquired by his father.

So what to do with fanatics? The stoic theoretician Marcus Aurelius Emperor shows the way (contrarily to what a naïve interpretation of stoicism would lead one to).

Don’t turn the other cheek. Hit them hard. Force fanatics to obey the republic’s secular law. By sending them to jail when they don’t. (Sending felons to jail massively works very well, as the situation of increasing peace and quiet in the USA demonstrates…)

Practically it means that that the French Republic should attack in Libya, destroy the Islamist State there, and, this time, stay long enough to establish a democratic, confederal republic (don’t laugh, the Romans used to do that).

If anything, Marcus the Stoic did not hit felons hard enough. He should have struck the plutocrats hard to pay for the war, and disappear as a class. And, instead of spoiling rotten his son, he should have adopted somebody else with a better character (this is the ploy of the excellent movie, “Maximus”).

In the genealogy of philosophy, stoicism ( bear it and carry on) descended from cynicism (look at the wolf at the core of man, don’t flinch, and draw the consequences). Thus stoicism descended from the most abrasive critical mentality possible. The high standard the stoic sets for the individual should also apply to the society.

So, as it is obvious that Libya is the soft underbelly of the empire, it implies that said empire should strike and domesticate, there. Or, to put it in a slightly more Politically Correct way,  civilization should be re-imposed in the land which saw the birth of emperor Septimus Severus (the first significant emperor after Marcus).

If you want civilization, you need an imperial republic, and that does not go without guts, hearts and brains. Thus, without the latter, you can’t have the former, as the butchery in Paris in November demonstrated. Spineless doesn’t work, feel, or think.

Patrice Ayme’

P/S: The French Interior Ministry just revealed it stopped ten mass murdering attacks by Islamists (and that does not the fake bomb in an Air France jet with 459 passengers on board).