Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

Strikes Against Civilization

April 28, 2013

Dramatis Personae: Obama, Tyranosopher, and assorted characters meet in hell to discuss Obama’s “Signature Strikes”, the bombing by killer robots, of crowds of unknown people, on the chance an enemy would die.

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 Obama, face contorted by contradictory emotions, affects not to understand the strikes in Boston: “Why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence?… We will determine what happened. We will investigate any associations that these terrorists may have had.”

 Tyranosopher: The deepest association is with the breakdown of the spirit of the State of Law. In the West, now, as it happened 2,000 years ago, the spirit of republican law, equality, has broken down. Galla Placidia, made the “association” that counts.

Galla & Socrates: Absolute Power To Law Only

Galla & Socrates: Absolute Power To Law Only

 Galla reigned as a Roman empress, for more than three times as long as you will be president, and in much more trying times. She was acutely aware that the notion of State of Law was the fundamental bedrock of the State, and wrote eloquently about it.

 She explained that it is the Law, not individuals, who should reign. Equal law. Thus the law should apply absolutely, even to the absolute sovereign. The embodiment of the enforcement of this is the International Criminal Court.

 Treat people unequal, they will treat you unequal.

 Brainy Salafist: Obama, you have shown us the way. Killing civilians, you know nothing about, calling assassination of the innocent fighting terrorism. Hiding perfidiously, but ineffectually, behind the CIA to commit acts of wars against Pakistan, as the sedate New York Times’ editorial board pointed out in April 2013. 

 While you, in your unfathomable stupidly, advertized worldwide that you approved every single strike, as if you were anxious to be the first ever Nobel Peace laureate prosecuted for war crimes.

 Obama: I am the leader of the Greatest Nation on Earth, under God. That makes me infallible. Plus we the leaders of the USA have been careful to refuse to recognize the International Criminal Court.

 Brainy Salafist: Thus you, Obama, are just a mafioso leveraging A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood (New York Times, April 2013 again). These “Signature Strikes” and “Crowd Killing” your National Security adviser and now CIA head, Brennan, obliquely confirmed their existence in front of the Senate. Many of your associates, Obama’s associates, have confirmed the existence of an association, the Assassination Panel at the White House. So we, the Salafists, imitate you, and kill people we know nothing about. Thanks for teaching us. We call it fighting terrorism too.

 Tyranosopher: Yes, an official assassination panel is something unparalleled in the history of all and any known states. Yet, after the Boston bombing you, Obama, declared that any bombing of civilians was an act of terror. But that’s what your “Signature Strikes” and “Crowd Killing” are all about. 

 Obama: I was shocked  when I became president, and I found out about “Signature Strikes” and “Crowd Killing”. But that’s the only game in town, and I am a team player. It works. We killed thousands of terrorists, using them.

 Tyranosopher: Try to pay attention to your own sick sport semantics. It’s not a game. Killing people does not make you player in a team. You were right to be shocked. Now you are shocking.

 Napoleon, Corsican dictator: “Even in war, moral power is to physical as three parts in one.” “Signature Strikes” bomb the USA’s moral power. The more you use them, the weaker you get. Your “Signature Strikes” are an anti-American strategy.

  Brainy Salafist: Obama you told us terror is the way. We want to be like you when we grow up. We want to do hundreds of “Signature Strikes“, on your territory, as you did, on ours, the House of Peace.

 Tyranosopher: Mr. President, I am afraid Salafists have been associating with the own past behavior of the USA, “Signature Strikes” its latest symbol. This is what a full enquiry would reveal.

 The notion of military-industrial complex was introduced by Eisenhower, as the greatest danger for the USA. At the height of the Cold War! Now we have something worse, the notion of enemy-industrial complex. It looks as if some in the government of the USA consider that to make sure of having enemies is the best way to have an industry.

 Obama: I did not start the violence in the Middle East.

 Tyranosopher: You sure did not. Arguably, from his own declarations, Muhammad started it, for the present period, in the sense that he revealed to his followers that the Persian-Babylonian-Zoroasthrian and Greco-Roman empires were exhausted, and could collapse if struck vigorously, hence allowing the Arabs to re-instigate the raiding they had been deprived of for more than a millennium.

 Young Salafist: Watch it, Tyranosopher, don’t you insult the Prophet! The Prophet is all I dream about, all the time, wet or not.

 Tyranosopher: You know very well, Young Salafist brimming with uncontrolled hormones, that this is what the fundamental Muslim texts say. Muhammad’s analysis was astute. The Greco-Roman and Persian empires were culprit each in their own way, of the tremendous war they made to each other, and they were on their knees. Muhammad’s hatred of the Jews grew from the Christians’ hatred of the Jews.

 By the way, if I want to insult long dead characters, I have the right to do so, according to my own religion.

 Young Salafist: You don’t have a religion, you believe in nothing, you insult everybody, even your friend Obama.

 Tyranosopher: Quite the opposite, I am helping everybody, by telling the truth. I believe in truth, and I believe in desperately searching for truth. That makes me a follower of the second most fundamental religion of man. And I subscribe to the first one, too, love.

 The truth is that Muhammad came from a prominent family in Mecca, but differently from the rest of them, was an analphabet. Somebody less charitable than me may think that had to do with his tough youth, and attending neurological problems he may have suffered from, PBUH! 

 Young Salafist: Spare me the sarcasm. Peace Be Upon Him, that man I dream about all the time.

 Tyranosopher: Are you gay? I find you rather sad. In any case, Muhammad gave too much of a military mien to Islam. But then, he had to, or Islam would not be on the map. After all, it’s the Roman military dictatorship, that decided to put Christianity, or, more exactly “Orthodox Catholicism”, on the map, and in command. They did so in a disastrous way. Later, the Franks found the right way: use the Church, to impose… progressive secularism.

 Obama: Can you guys come back to the subject at hand? Why such violence? Why couldn’t they all just play basket ball? That’s what I did, look where I am!

 Tyranosopher: Don’t worry the reservoir of potential Salafists inside the USA is a small fraction of that it is in a country such as France. One will hold them back with the idea of the republic, not by taking their rights away, even before judging them.

 You, Obama, could afford to not take your studies seriously. You were the missing link. Your life experience was, from the start, out of the ordinary. You lived in a mansion in Indonesia, with servants’ quarters. You went to the top private school in Hawai’i, Punahou. You also went to Harvard, same as your father, and, because your father had been there (“legacy admission“). Harvard is where the leaders are selected, and the spider web of worldwide leaders is set-up. Most recent USA presidents came from the Ivy League. Aka the Evil League.

 Even the guy who organized Pearl Harbor, the head of the imperial navy, admiral Yamamoto, went to Harvard. Speak of a guy who “studied here”! And let me exceptionally not mention the Nazis.

 It’s not about smarts, but about connections with wealth, as an owner, look at the Bushes, Kennedys, or… as a servant. For compliance, look at Bill Clinton, who did exactly what Goldman-Sachs told him to do, in a Faustian contract. Clinton went to Yale, still Ivy League.

 The contract made him swear. But he did what he was told to do, namely to deregulate finance in a way never seen before in the history of civilization. The total devolution of the public to the private. OK, something like that happened to the republic in Florence, when it turned into “The Prince”, plutocracy, basically a few private banks. (But then notice that Italy fell off civilization for several centuries.) So now here we are, neo-feudalism coalescing.

 Harvard plays into a form of violence. Its connection with various bloody dictators were left unpunished, even unpublished. In economics, many of its professors have published academic papers claiming that transferring more assets to rich people was what the Harvard doctors recommended (allusion to austerity propaganda from famous Harvard professors: Reinhart. Rogoff, Alesina, Ardagna).

 Under the guise of fair, balanced, learned, equal opportunity, extremely stealthy methods of vicious exploitation have been invented. They are different from those denounced in the past, in the period from 1648 (year of parliamentary revolutions in England and Paris, La Fondre) until Proudhon, Marx, etc.

 Obama: Once again Tyranosopher you are drifting through an immense historical landscape that seems to have nothing to do with the Jihadists in our midst.

 Tyranosopher: The most important connections are the ones that have not been made explicit yet, because they are deeper.

 As I was saying, the USA outsmarted the Western European powers, partly deliberately, partly by serendipity, in a sort of selection of the most effective behaviors, however devious. Devious support, by the USA, for the worst of Islam was crucial, in the rise of the present day Jihadism.

 Young Jihadist: See, Obama, you are devious, even though you don’t know about it.

 Tyranosopher: A preferred devious method, has been the traditional one of dividing to conquer. To enact these divisions, support was given to extremely violent enemies of “American” values. Including various fascists, in particular the Soviets, the Nazis, and violently regressive Islamists. Those enemies of the USA turned out to be its best tools. 

 Such fascist embodiments are unsustainable, making them valuable. The mess they create leads to divisions, hence easy pickings. Since 1945, contrarily to the cautious policies of Britain and France, Roosevelt’s USA threw its mighty support to Salafists, starting with the Saudis. (For comparison, the Brits annihilated the fiercest Wahhabist army, not even two decades prior; most of the 9/11 highjackers were Saudis.)

 CIA support was given to Khomeini’s followers, in 1953, and still later to Pakistani Fundamentalists, then to bin Laden (and the SIA), etc.. Thus we see it was more than a plot. It was a plotted strategy, that unfolded over 60 years (the support of Bush II for various Muslim extremists in Iraq was a continuation of that strategy: let the museums and archeological sites be looted, help the fanatics, bury the secularists).

 This strategy is coming to an end for diverse reasons. Terror by drones the way practiced presently by the Obama administration tries to extend it, but it is not sustainable. However, it’s causing, long term, tremendous civilizational damage. The West is losing credibility.

 Obama: “Civilizational damage”? What kind of weird notion is this?

 Tyranosopher: Civilizational standards are not just what make a civilization worth defending. They constitute a fundamental military asset, as Nap said. Civilizational standards are how the Athenians won at Marathon, or Salamis against the immense might of the giant Persian empire. On the verso, uncowed Sparta vanished from history, because its civilization was racist and plutocratic, something that leads to unrecoverable stupidity, among other problems.

 The drone program may have killed only a few thousand people, but the bombing of civilization itself it wrought is unequalled. (Although it may still be reverted at this point, should one be contrite enough about it.)

 Faisal Shahzad, USA citizen of Pakistani origin: “I entered a 2010 guilty plea, to try to set off a car bomb in Times Square, and I justify targeting civilians by telling the judge, ‘When the drones hit, they don’t see children’.

 Obama: I am the leader of the Greatest Nation on Earth, under God. I say this all the time. Pay attention. I am not your average terrorist.

 Tyranosopher: You call the ones you killed, terrorists. Just like in Vietnam. However, the law says that people are innocent, until proven to be terrorists. So you do not respect the most fundamental pre-condition to law, namely that punishment never precedes conviction.

 We know for example that a 16 year old USA born citizen was killed on a beach in a USA drone attack (apparently with a number of other teens), in one of the “Signature Strikes”.  Such an assassination, in the name of civilization, is the signature of a failed civilization. For such a crime, in old republican Rome, you would have been executed the “old fashion way“. (The one Roman president Nero was condemned to by the Senate.)

 Where are the excuses for that, killing boys having fun on a beach? Where is the enquiry? Or do you, Obama, president of the USA, consider, justify and order, killing teens on beaches on the other side of the planet? Explain to me why this is not much worse than the worse pedophilia?

 Obama: As I always say, I am the leader of the Greatest Nation on Earth, under God. I am not a terrorist, by definition, but the very definition of respectability. Fear me.

 Young Salafist: If we killed you, Obama, you, and your followers would not be as respected. However we will not kill you, because you are our best agent. We kill for the Greatest Religion on Earth, in the name of the one and only God. We are not stuck in one nation, our house is the House of the rising Sun, the House Of Peace, the Ummah. My universal God is better than your national god. Watch me and other martyrs die for it.

  Obama: You can’t kill me, I am invincible. Wherever I go, there is an army protecting me. Same for my family. Taxpayers will support me and my family forever, making me forever invincible. As they did with other great USA leaders.

 Tyranosopher: Our Salafist friend here is correct, Greatest Religion beats “Greatest Nation”.  Mr. President, you are too fond of calling the USA “the greatest notion of Earth”. This does not serve the country well. Not at all.

 Obama, laughing: Nation, not notion. Keep your words cogent.

 Tyranosopher: Calling the USA “the greatest nation on Earth” is not just a ridiculous notion. It is also extremely dangerous. There is a plethora of examples in history about the extreme lethality of nationalistic hubris. Athens went down that road to hell.

 Obama: I will remember you for the next drone kill list. See who is lethal.

 Tyranosopher: You feel lethal, as a child, but supreme thoughts kill better. All you are doing, is messing up civilization. Killing crowds, just because some enemies may be there, is the end of any pretense to civilized behavior. Flaunting it, is an attitude that aggravates the practice. 

 The USA is not the first democracy proclaiming, urbi et orbi, that it had a right to kill innocent civilians. It never ended well. it’s a philosophical red line. When a civilization crosses it, it dies. Such a murderous hubris was the proximal cause of Athens’ downfall.

 “Signature strikes” the killing of civilians associated by mere physical proximity, is as low a notion as humanity ever got. You do not even pretend to hate them, or that you want to eat them.

 In the hierarchy of anti-civilizational values, “Signature Strikes” are lower than torture, because torture comes from giving some value to the person one tortures. One values the knowledge that person may have, or one appreciates the pain one inflicts to them, or one values theirmind enough to break it.

 Signature strikes are lower than hate crimes. Signature strikes are lower than even cannibalism. Signature strikes are all about smitting people utterly, as if they were insects.

 Signature strikes makes the president of the USA in a devil Picasso, signing horror with pride of office. It’s beyond terrorism. It enrages people worldwide so much, it does not even bring terror. It only brings horror for the absence of values you embody. It deserves a new name, horrorism. 

 American historian of the racist type: Tyranosopher, I would hate to call you naïve. Yet, face the facts: in WWII, we imprisoned citizens of the USA of second and third generation, if they had some Japanese ancestors. It was brutal. But the reputation of the USA as a brutal power serves the USA well. If, centuries ago, the European colons in North America had not killed nearly all the Natives, the USA would be like Bolivia or Peru. Look even at Mexico: by 1600CE, there were basically only a million natives left. Too many. Now Mexico is like half Indian.

 Tyranosopher: I am not naïve, just the opposite, you are. What worked before, to establish an empire, against naïve Neolithic Natives, can have the exact opposite effect, trying to grab resources from the rest of the world. each “Signature Strike” may kill one hater of the West, and create ten thousands. Better get your anti-missiles working well against Pakistani ICBMs…

 Herodotus, Greek historian: A more general problem is that, by deciding who, among citizens of the USA, would live or die, at your own whim, Obama, you have made yourself, symbollically and practically, into what the Greeks called a tyrannos, a tyrant. As I said of the Athenians under tyranny: …”they let themselves be beaten, since they worked for a master…” To establish new wisdom as Tyranosopher does, one has to be unique. But when a politician reigns as one, that’s a tyrant.

  Obama: Signatures strikes are effective. They show the power of the USA. Not only we can do it physically, but we have the moral strength to do it.

  Tyranosopher: Tyrannies are always short term effective. You do not know what “moral” means. It means: “sustainable”. A traditional war, although with supersonic bombers, drones and smart bombs, as the French republic does in Mali, is indefinitively sustainable, fair and square. But the French fight warriors, on the battlefield. They are not killing crowds of unknown people, not fighting anybody. That earns them respect, even from their enemies.

  Whereas Carthage, long a top civilization, was undone by its immoral morality, killing innocent children. You are making the USA into a modern Carthage.

  Obama: Carthage was defeated by Roman armies, not morals.

  Tyranosopher: Conventional wisdom, the seduction of the superficial, that’s what you want to overcome. Instruct yourself, young man, lest you came to be known as Obabad. The Greeks called barbararians ba-ba, because they thought like children. You add badness to the mix. Obabad.

 The planned annihilation of Carthage in a Third Punic war, was hotly debated in the Roman Senate. Many, including the imperator put in command of the destroying army, were fully aware that Rome was crossing a philosophical red line. That transgression could, and even would, bring Rome’s destruction. This was said explicitly at the time (source: Polybius). The tough-as-diamond Roman imperator cried, as he saw the great metropolis burn under the extermination assault of his crack legions. he knew Rome was sealing her fate.

  Yet, it was foreordained. The fact that Carthage had sacrificed children to the fire made the difference, in the minds of the Roman senators and the military. It was the excuse that allowed to forget the real reason for wanting the annihilation of Carthage.

  You, Obama, sacrifice children to the fire, including the occasional, highly symbolic American child. Killing other people’s children, on the other side of the earth, does not make it any less so.

  Don’t deny.

  If you insist to deny that you are flaunting child killing as a new bedrock for civilization, then make full light about who, among your drone people, decided to kill that 16 year old American born boy, and how. And if it was a honest mistake, so to speak, let’s confront it. Only then can you talk to history with an honest face.

***

Patrice Ayme

Truth Is Hell: Iraq, etc.

March 20, 2013

TRUTH DIGGING CONSISTS IN UNMASKING EVILS:

Abstract: I celebrate the Iraq invasion my way, pointing out some of the devils, or evils traditionally ignored. The lack of learning after the disastrous Iraqi crusade is directly due to the persistence, in the USA, of the power structure that brought the war. The war itself was a giant red herring to hide much worse, the collusion between Washington and some of its worst creatures.

A red herring that between 2003 and 2007, killed more than a million Iraqi. A red herring that caused morality in the USA to collapse, and stay collapsed, every day that the war criminals are not prosecuted (interestingly many major French politicians are on trial in France for unlawful activities in Iraq… for much lesser alleged crimes than the ones Bush and company would be charged with).

Often devils (O’Connor, Saint Louis, Joan of Arc) are still viewed honorably. Saint Outside, Devil Inside

With Saint Louis, the Dark Side overwhelmed any other side. Contrarily to his reputation. [In the Sainte Chapelle, Paris, 76 meters high, that he had built in 33 months.]

This failure to perceive devils for what they are is a consequence of the same cognitive-moral failure that brought us Bush, and his adulation by the sheeple. A lack of attention to the details, where devils lurk. Ever since there were evil beasts, and they wore camouflage, precisely because they were evil.

Democracy only survives if a truth machine, elucidating all hidden devils. If the devil is in the details, only the devil knows the truth. Truth should strive to go where evil lurks.

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WITHOUT CORRECT DETAILS, HISTORY IS JUST THE HOUSE OF DEVILS:

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” Said Edmund Burke, who added: “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

Sounds good. Yet in Burke’s mind, his version of history called to invade France, destroy the Constitutional government there, and  replace it by the Ancient Regime of time honored plutocrats and theocrats. Never mind that king Louis XVI himself had spent all his long reign trying to make plutocrats pay. The alternative was default. So Louis called for a revolution.

Burke yearned for the likes of Saint Louis. Somebody who kills in good faith.

Saint-LouisSaint Outside, Devil Inside.

Saint Louis was a co-patron of the Order of Saint Francis. By modern standards, he would have been caged immediately (see below). Nice to see the present pope being unaware of these intricacies. So he was with the Argentinean dictator Videla who he used to feed.

Never mind that Louis XVI himself, as king, had initiated, condoned, and literally signed on the French Revolution. Burke’s murderous policy was implemented, bringing the death of millions, in France alone. And many times that, over all of Europe. Armies roamed from Lisbon to Moscow.

In the end, Human Rights won, which revolted Burke so much, that he thought moral to risk killing much of Europe for it (as France was three times england, and as the government there was constitutional, to call for an invasion was to call for devastation throughtout Europe, as, indeed, happened).

Unfortunately for Burke and his followers, Human Rights are now the core of the charter of the United Nations. That god who Burke had the presumption to help, is in full retreat, except in the most desolate places (that will include the vacuity of many an American youth’s mind).

Burke was a hero to crypto-fascists such as Hayek and Friedman, who provided the “intellectual” justification for atrocious dictatorships from Chili to Argentina, all the way up to Mexico, just as Heidegger provided it for Nazism. Hayek, Friedman and their ilk, actually provided the ideology  for the new plutocratic order we are enjoying nowadays, all the way to Moscow, Cyprus and Dubai. (More on these forsaken pirates havens in another essay soon.)

So Burke lives to this day, in very many places, including the red hot anti-French hate among a significant part of the Wall Street journal readership (I’m a subscriber, so in a good position to judge.)

In a similar vein, the famous elected German chancellor, Adolf Hitler, started his mesmerizing work, “Mein Kampf” with pages of (anti-French pseudo-) history. Same idea as Burke: hit on human rights hard, right away. Only then did the fascist Guide switch to the ethological description of Jews in Vienna.

By April 1945, and 70 million dead later, the Guide conceded he had been misguided all along about the Germans and the Slavs.

So it’s not just enough to remember history, it’s important to know history, that is the facts as they really happened. History is about the details, and the devils therein, all of them. Leave none unturned.

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PLUTOCRACIES USE THOSE POOR DEVILS, MERCENARIES:

In Marches Of Folly, an excellent editorial, Paul Krugman asks: “Did we learn anything from Iraq?”.

“Ten years ago, America invaded Iraq; somehow, our political class decided that we should respond to a terrorist attack by making war on a regime that, however vile, had nothing to do with that attack.”

Let me comment  here right away on Krugman’s “somehow”. “Somehow” is the crux. A quick historical reminder helps to understand the madness that gripped the USA.

A similar situation happened after the Second Punic War. Carthage’s own mercenaries revolted, and attacked Carthage. Carthage defeated them with great difficulty.

Why did Carthage employ armies of mercenaries? Because it was a plutocracy. At that time, the Roman republic was a rather direct democracy. So Rome could bring up armies of citizens, who were fighting for themselves. Self motivation made Roman soldiers much more determined than any of their paid adversaries.

The lesson of that disaster was that Carthage had to become much more democratic. Ironically, considerably enriched by conquests all over, plutocracy simultaneously took Rome over (and that was going to lead to the crash of Greco-Roman civilization).

How does this relate to the “somehow”? Very simple.

Carter, the very Christian president, had launched war, secretly, against Afghanistan. Although he had entire armies of goons at his disposal, the Geneva Fourth Convention violator in Washington needed more, to attack an entire country. Using a mercenary army raised by the Saudi plutocrats was the solution implemented in 1979.

Al Qaeda was initially an organization created by the CIA and the Saudi Intelligence Agency: they literally went to fetch the young Osama Bin laden in Turkey. As he was very pious, the bellicose side of the Qur’an could be manipulated to guide him, by making him believe he was as good as anyone to interpret the sacred texts. Then the godless goons taught Al Qaeda how to conduct asymmetric warfare against the Afghan republic (attack schools, not the military).

The entire political, plutocratic and propaganda class of the USA was immersed in all this. And it worked well for 15 years, until, well, just as with Carthage, the mercenaries understood they were being played, and underpaid. Then they turned against the hands that had taught them. The result: an asymmetric war between the gigantic army manipulated by Washington and the mercenary force. And then 9/11.

By then the Washington establishment had to admit everything, namely that, since 1945, it had instrumentalized Salafist Islam, in Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Algeria, etc. Or then it had to deny everything, and be more in power than ever. It just had to tell a good story, and stick to it. The story was that on 9/11, the sky was very blue, and then planes came out of nowhere…

Just charging bin Laden presented the inconvenience that some were bound to dig, and ask how bin laden appeared on the scene. It was best to go charge an enormous red herring first, with the largest imaginable lies possible ( a technique used and explained by no less than the German Chancellor above). The very size of the lies would have distracting properties, all by their absurdity.  So Powell went to the UN with kindergarten drawings.

How does one disguise all this mess? Under which carpet does one hide it? Well, war against Saddam Hussein. (It also had the advantage of destabilizing the Middle East, and that is to Israel’s colonizing advantage.)

***

PLUTO PROFITS FROM WAR, ANY WAR:

Here is Krugman again: “Some voices warned that we were making a terrible mistake — that the case for war was weak and possibly fraudulent, and that far from yielding the promised easy victory, the venture was all too likely to end in costly grief. And those warnings were, of course, right.

There were, it turned out, no weapons of mass destruction; it was obvious in retrospect that the Bush administration deliberately misled the nation into war. And the war — having cost thousands of American lives and scores of thousands of Iraqi lives, having imposed financial costs vastly higher than the war’s boosters predicted — left America weaker, not stronger, and ended up creating an Iraqi regime that is closer to Tehran than it is to Washington.”

Counter-intuitively, many of the war party of the USA love a bigger and more influential Teheran:  with a bit of luck, Teheran will do like Saddam, feel overconfident, and offer a casus belli. Then full war against Iran could be joined. However, of course, not all wars can be won. Overall, although it may not look like it to the clueless, the war against Iraq was a defeat for the USA.

The USA has a lot of false friends in the Middle East. The SIA is feeding Al Nusra, a Syrian Salafist army in Syria, and something will have to be done about that, and soon.

Krugman again: “So did our political elite and our news media learn from this experience? It sure doesn’t look like it.”

Why would they look as if they learned something? That would mean they went, somehow, through something untoward, that something adverse happened, to THEM. It certainly did not happen to them; they are richer, and more domineering than ever. Fortunes were made. Not far from New York, a war profiteer built for himself a sort of Versailles. Don’t expect to see this sort of data points, or giant architecture, appear in USA Main Stream Media (it was on French TV).

***

ATROCIOUS WAR CRIMINALITY IN IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN:

The USA invaded Iraq. Now it has completely lost that war. 4,500 USA soldiers died, and more than that in allied soldiers and mercenaries. Dozens of thousands of other soldiers were gravely wounded and millions got psychologically damaged by suffering, or inflicting extreme violence.

After the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, Tomas Young, then a 22-year-old from Kansas City, Mo., made a naive decision parroted by many other Americans around the country: he enlisted in the military in hopes of getting even with the enemies who killed nearly 3,000 men, women and children. Little did he know that those enemies were in Washington, where the war had been fully engaged July 3, 1979. Little did he know that these enemies were just American mercenary forces. As a good vacuous American youth, he was unaware that his own government had already caused the death of three millions, not three thousands, in Afghanistan.

Less than three years later, Young’s Army service placed him not in Afghanistan — where then-President George W. Bush had told the nation the terrorist plot had originated — but in Iraq. On April 4, 2004, just five days into his first tour, Young’s convoy was attacked by resistance fighters. A bullet from an AK-47 severed his spine. Another struck his knee. Young would never walk again. For the next nearly nine years, he would suffer a number of medical setbacks, and now intent to die by withdrawing treatment. Neofascists should not worry: Young will not count as an Iraq war casualty.

From Young’s letter, published on TruthDig:

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Young goes on to attack the “cowardice” of Bush and Cheney for avoiding military service themselves, and to encourage them to “stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.”

(Read Young’s entire letter here.)

Not to worry: plutocracy is also a mood, where all values are inverted. Greed is viewed in more regards than altruism. As far as Bush and Cheney are concerned, Tomas Young is just a loser, with not enough brains to make the correct investment.

It goes without saying that international law ought to be brought to bear on all war criminals. Justice is not just about trying Serbs and Africans. Plutocrats should qualify too.

One of the USA’s main axes of exploitation, since 1945, has been to instrumentalize Salafist Islam. That was initially used against Britain, France, and even Israel (times change…) The difference between now and 60 years ago, is that many of the Salafists have realized they have been played (and first of all the Iranians; OK, technically the term “Salafist”, the “old ones” does not usually qualify Shiites, but I am generalizing, for semantic convenience!)

The hostility of the USA against the French republic during the Franco-Algerian civil war made a bad situation irreversibly worse:

***

ONGOING FRANCO-ALGERIA DRAMA:

51 years ago, on March 19, 1962, the Evian Accords finalized the transfer of power from the French Republic to the (“Algerian”) FNL (Front National de Liberation). Officially, this was a good thing, a step forward, the flow of history. In truth, it was basically a transfer of power from one terrorist organization, to another.

That was a disaster for the populations concerned. About 15% of the people living in Algeria fled, living everything behind, and many committed suicide. Algeria has known dictatorship ever since, first from the FNL, then from the military. Hundreds of thousands were killed in the following decades, at the hands of terrorists (from official Algerian numbers).

There is no doubt that the French state behaved extremely badly in Algeria, starting in 1945. Before that, it was just behaving badly. There is also no doubt that the FNL was an extremely nasty terrorist organization.

So there is nothing good to celebrate there. And the mayor of Perpignan, a major French city had the courage to recognize this simple fact today, that a very bad thing happened on March 19, 1962. The mayor ordered to bring down the French flags, and circled them with black.

Truth always start with an emotional admission. Even in mathematics, or science.

The politically correct emotion about the Evian Accords has been, for 51 years, that they were good, and necessary, however grim it was to sign them. They went with history. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. The French republic’s abuses in Algeria were not wiped out clean by another 51 years of abuse, starting with abusing truth.  

Confronted to that sort of past, in Algeria or Iraq, where reality is viewed as unbearable, there is only one principle worth having first. Namely that the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, can prevent nasty outcomes. Especially those lies festering to this day.

Because, of course, the basic reasons for the Franco-Algerian civil war, are festering to this day, just on a grander scale. And now, the USA, instead of pulling nasty (Salafist) strings from the shadows (against France, BTW), is now on the frontlines (with France, happily).

The main reason why Germany is, finally, doing so well nowadays, is that a lot of the truth finally came out about some very bad ways German minds used to consider politically correct to operate under, while knowing no others.

***

WITH SAINTS LIKE THAT, WHO NEEDS DEVILS?

Not that only Germany has to be freed from simplistic, hence devil laden history. It’s not just that the American Founding fathers were slave masters. By contemporary standards, Saint Louis was a vicious criminal, and, at best, would have been interned as an insane maniac (he had declared, in writing, that nothing could be more pleasing to him than planting a knife into a non believer’s gut, and then playing around with the blade, once so inserted; why the Catholic church considers such a creep a saint rests on the fact that Catholics are not familiar with the lives of their most famous saints… and of course, that the church hierarchy is deeply evil).

Speaking of saints, the most revered Joan of Arc was a peace breaker. Paris and London had come to terms, and decided to reunify the kingdom (Treaty of Troyes). The king of England reigned over France. Unfortunately, he died within 2 months. His infant son was supposed to reign upon his majority. Wise people in England and France knew that this was an excellent arrangement, because, France being much bigger than England in all ways, there was no risk she would be gobbled up by England (contrarily to misrepresentations ever since). End of the 100 years war.

But then Jeanne, or rather the forces behind her (Yolande of Aragon) , from the south (Armagnac, Bourguignons, etc.) stepped in.

Jeanne restarted the Franco-French(-English) civil war. This time London and Paris were on the same side. Jeanne had quite a difficult time seizing Paris. Why such a divisive theocratic war monger is admired to this day is no mystery. Once Bush was selected, I mean when Charles VII had been unconstitutionally made king, there was no turning back. Jeanne d’Arc had to be made into a saint, or at least the judgments against her thrown out.

So will say it was better that England and France kept fighting each other for another 4 centuries: war is a force that gives us meaning. Perhaps. However, it’s neither wise, nor glorious not to teach in detail the reality of what happened. What happened is that Joan of Arc is another Christian “saint” who killed millions, and whose message, bloody sword in hand, voices from god in her head telling her war was all we needed, for no rational reason, is really not something one anyone wise would want to promote.

History is sometimes made by rats. As the famous sayingobservation has it, a rat gnawing through a dike can drown a nation. Now to this list of most creative creatures, we can add Sandra O’Connor, a so called “Justice”. Not only she has no notion of history, or justification, but that most fundamental human instinct, regret, central to learning anything important, has been extinguished in her. Her excuse? She is a “Westerner”. (Is that supposed to mean she has a gun instead of a head?)

Speaking of handing the presidency to plutocrat Bush, the vacuous Sandra reverted to a three year old persona. Said she: There’s no point in my, at this point, saying I regret some decision I made. I’m not going to do that.”

Another bratty behaviour she may want to consider is to stop breathing and turning all blue until wiser people take pity. The Sandra girl by ordering to NOT recount Florida, gave the presidency to plutocrat Bush. The one who won the popular vote by two million, and also won Florida, Al Gore, was given a Nobel Prize instead of the presidency of the USA, to calm his nerves!

The point, O’Connor baby, is that, by saying that you regret your unconstitutional demolition of democracy, you would turn your back to Pluto, and join humanity. At least, symbolically speaking. That’s better than nothing. And better than staying forever, in the judgment of history, not just somebody who should never have existed, a one person democracy destroyer, but someone who persists into not even regretting her badness, contrarily to, say, Darth Vader.

It’s astounding one has to spell such an elementary truth to a big time Supreme Court “Justice”. Why are people such as these next to god? (Answer: because their very mediocrity insures that they will do the bidding of the plutocratic order.)

As the Romans knew, but O’Connor, and most of the truly bad soldiers of evil, do not want to admit: Errare Humanum Est, Perseverare Diabolicum! (Error Is Human, Persevering Diabolical!)

Going for the truth, and yanking it out of the entanglements where it lurks is always hellish in character. After all, woe onto those through whom scandal arrives.

Jean-Paul Sartre said: “Hell, it’s the others.” (L’enfer, c’est les autres): that was a neologism, an unusual way of using “autres”. It is mistranslated as “Hell is other people”, a different idea.

More generally, hell comes with the full reality that requires us to understand we would become obsolete, lest we change our minds. It may be painful to visit hell, but that’s where the hardest truths are lurking. Being ultimately good means turning hell into heavens.

***

Patrice Ayme

King Wastes Euros, Elephants; CO2 Denier Blames Cows!

April 17, 2012

THOSE WHO TEACH WASTE OUGHT TO BE TAUGHT A LESSON.

Five millions Spaniards are unemployed (out of 40 million). And now the king broke his hip. How? He was in a safari. It turns out that the good king loves to assassinate elephants in Bostwana. Each time the king reaches ecstasy by killing one single elephant it costs 37,000 euros ($50,000) to European taxpayers (and even to the American ones: globalization, remember?) But there is no money for the 35% of Spanish youth who are unemployed. Each time the king presses the trigger, it’s more than two median family incomes in Spain, which go to pierce flesh. It’s highly symbolic: you earn it not, while the king penetrates a terrorized victim with it.

King Juan Carlos loves to pose with elephants he perforated with bullets. It makes him feel mighty, he has got to feel completely empty inside.

The truth is that this assassin of elephants was put in power by a fascist, the treacherous general, Franco, who killed more than a million Spaniards, while overthrowing the republic, and even more for years after that. With the crucial help of Texaco, and other American plutocrats, Mussolini and Hitler. Franco and his subalterns were even engaged in child trafficking (killing the parents to get the children; no wonder the Catholic church who has had an obsession with abusing children ever since Abraham, was all behind Franco: Opus Dei!)

The latter two, Mussolini and Hitler, were punished, but they were only the puppets of the former, a worldwide conspiracy of plutocrats, whose heirs are doing better than ever, thank you. We are moving in a new phase, where their role and tastes are becoming obvious, in part for an extremely sinister reason: they don’t feel they have to hide anymore.

Starve millions of Spaniards, kill the elephants. Hopefully they all suffer very much, pleasing Juan Carlos to no end.

After one more scandal too many, should one want to improve matters for the commons, Juan Carlos and his family ought to be removed from their influential position. We have seen enough of his kind. Juan Carlos, a Bourbon, that is a descendant of a family that made France suffer so much, is there because his ancestor, the sectarian criminal, Louis XIV of France, put him there. OK, first France had to win a war, the War of the Succession of Spain, an enormous world war that lasted more than 13 years, devastating all of Europe, and even America, but especially Spain, France and Germany.

The main reason why Spain could be democratized is that admiral Duke Carrero Blanco, Franco’s confidante and successor was thrown, still in his armored vehicle, into a ballistic trajectory by ETA. After overflying the church where he had attended mass, Prime Minister Blanco was in for a rude landing. He died later, after contemplating his crimes.

It’s high time for Spain to become a republic again, a generation after the fascists killed millions to make sure it was not. The fact that several members of Carlos’ family have been stealing Spain in full sight makes Spanish, hence European, recovery difficult.

We have seen that problem in Italy with Berlusconi. Now that Berlusconi is gone, a great cleaning has started. As much as 35% of Italy potential tax base is evaded, one now hears. Italians are poor, Italian political parties, are filthy rich. It turns out that some in one of the parties, the Ligua Norte, stole in excess of ten billion dollars. The son of the founder had never seen an expensive sport car the Ligua did not buy for him.

That reminds one of the Chinese Princelings who all go to Harvard, to live like princes. Plutocracy is a world phenomenon and Harvard is a crucial link of this somber conspiracy of unprecedented reach. Harvard profs wrote Saif Al Islam Qaddafi’s PhD thesis, passed in London at the urge of George Soros (another plutocrat multi billionaire). Bo, the son of Bo, famous for his extravagantly expensive lifestyle was in Harvard, but now that his mother has been accused of being an assassin, he has disappeared. Don’t worry: the daughter of the coming Chinese president is also in Harvard.

Some Harvard supporter told me that 60% of student there receive scholarships. Paid by American taxpayers? and does that mean we are left with 40% heirs of plutocrats, and 60% future sycophants? Plutocrats need servants. The latter can go to Harvard, and get acquainted to their masters, who are, conveniently enough, in the same locale.

Spain’s problems mostly arise from a conspiracy of the bankers with the politicians. Bankers, backed up by taxpayers, engaged, thanks to politicians into projects that could not bring a profit, but would just force the People of Spain (hence Europe) to pay them rent.

Time for the clean-up. It has to start with the symbols.

Just as there is a worldwide banking mafia feeding its pet politicians, academic and media, there is a worldwide fossil fuel mafia feeding the same sort of critters.    

Paul Handover from the excellent Learning From Dogs site has detected a new angle of the fossil fuel mafia. I thought that I saw I read everything from the CO2 deniers, but this reaches new heights of perversity! Thanks to Paul to bring this to light.

Arizona State University Professor Darnall claims that:

“Livestock generates more greenhouse gases than all the planes, trains and automobiles on the planet. In part, that’s because the methane from, well, the other end of cows, has 21 times the greenhouse gas warming effect as carbon dioxide.”

Whatever. Good trick to utter a lie, and then explain it with something true. Yet, Prof. Darnall does not even know her own propaganda well. The Global Warming Potential (GWP) of methane, CH4, over 20 years, is actually seventy-two times that of CO2, and twenty-five times over 100 years. However its global Global Warming effect may be as little as 25% that of CO2.

Methane from herding may have spared us a re-glaciation, 7,000 years ago, some scientists have suggested. The good professor rides on that notion all the way to hell.

There is crushing evidence that what the good professor says about cows is NOT just incorrect, it is outright absurd. And the absurdity is easy to demonstrate. Why? Because the CO2 went from 280 ppm (1800 CE) to 395 ppm, but only up to 460 ppm in CO2 equivalent (see Radiative Forcing, below).

As Paul Handover points out: Darnall’s solution? Meatless Mondays — to start curving that scary trend line.”

Just to visualize, that’s a lions’ diet. Once a week, lions at the zoo are NOT given meat, for better health. So prof. Darnall suggests that Americans, who, as Homo Sapiens, are omnivorous, should actually eat just like lions at the zoo, with “Meatless Mondays“.  

So even if all the supplementary CO2 like gases were all methane, CH4 (and they are not), one would get a methane contribution of only 30%, over the 1800 base.

The good prof. should have said that one could cut off all greenhouse gases of industrial origin. Some have 32,000 times the Greenhouse Warming Potential of CO2. One easy way to mitigate the greenhouse would be to outlaw them all. Their Radiative Forcing is about two-third that of methane, itself a third of CO2.

 So I would dare to say that the good professor’s discourse is corrupt. She looks cute like that, young and smiley, but she is out to seduce the big industrial interests of the fossil persuasion, or to seduce on their behalf. Obviously. It’s all about small people not doing enough, she says. They just eat too much of the bad stuff. Let them eat arugula instead.

This is typical: those who don’t want to change anything claim it’s enough to change a few little things: put the cardboard in the green container, eat grass, don’t shampoo, etc. In truth, the real problem is energy. Energy has to be made expensive. Why? Because it is. At this point, it is kept cheap by big armies, and an exploitative mentality. Even if there was no greenhouse and CO2 poisoning, fossil fuels will run out soon.

Whereas I say: rise energy taxes colossally, force professors, bankers and politicians to video-conference, instead of jetting around. I am myself jetting around right now, but it’s for (literally, vital family reasons). I have known professors who go around the world all the time, as if frequent flier miles were all they were really after, thanks to taxpayers’ ever more colossal generosity (does not beat Obama sending an army around his 13 year old to play solo student in Mexico, or Sarkozy recovering his bad belly adult son in Ukraine with one of the French republic’s fast jets).

I have not eaten much meat in my life (last time was a few months ago), so my defense of meat is altruistic. I know that in vast swathes of the planet, meat is the ONLY source of protein. Lack of proteins is a huge problem in Black African children, cattle and bush meat their salvation. We are far from arugula salad there. Cattle is also an important export and source of livelihood in the Third World.

There is probably more cattle in Africa than in the Americas. So not so good prof is saying millions of African children should go around with enormously distended bellies, and the poor there, getting poorer.

I am presently generating lots of CO2 myself, as I travel around the planet. But I am no hypocrite: I admit to it.

Plus, I have to do this for family reasons. I minimize air travel as much as possible. Out of dozens of flights, I remember just one for pure “tourism”. I may be somewhat hypocritical though, as my destiny was sprawled over three continents plus one archipelago. Thus I was condemned to conflate sightseeing and common decency. There are no free trips.

***

Patrice Ayme

Fools’ Days.

April 1, 2012

The day of foolish jokes. I already wrote about Cosmic Inflation last week. What’s the joke in that? That a problem, the apparent synchronization of the universe over distances so great that light could never have covered them, is solved by an even more deeply mysterious, if not outright disturbing solution, Cosmic Inflation.

Solving one problem, with a worse problem is no solution, in my not so humble opinion. But that is exactly what has been done with finance, then the economy, and now the world. The biggest joke of them all?

***

Throwing Money At Banks To Make Us Richer?

Please don’t laugh. This is the solution that (supposedly left wing economist such as) Paul Krugman and the head of the central bank of the USA (“Fed”), Bernanke have found.  OK, the latter hired the former at Princeton, so they are related. They keep on exploiting this curious notion, because that is the only thing they can do.

Now it is duplicated by the European Central Bank (“ECB”). It works. The ECB lends money for (basically) free to banks. More than a trillion euros, to hundreds of European banks, and counting. Then the idea is that the banks would buy government bonds.

Europe is like the USA. Except in the USA, one has these rather fake states. In Europe, the states are actually nations, with full democratic systems therein. Or nations made of unions of nations, such as Spain (Basques, Catalans therein), or the United Kingdom (as its name indicates).

Of course the head of the ECB was a partner at Goldman Sachs, that means he is from the New York financial aristocracy. Same for Krugman and Bernanke. When Krugman sees the Manhattan skyline from his first class seat, once a week or so, tears well up, and he celebrates what he calls “the most beautiful city in the world“. In New York the notion of beauty itself is being leveraged.

OK. Let’s be serious. Jokes are best, when one sobers up. Krugman and company’s argument has been that the economy is in a Liquidity Trap. Krugman talks about that every day, like the crow croaks in the tree, every day.

A Liquidity Trap is a situation in which injections of cash into the private banking system by a central bank fail to lower interest rates and hence to stimulate economic growth. A liquidity trap arise when people, or companies hoard cash because they expect adverse events such as deflation, insufficient aggregate demand, or war. Characteristic of a liquidity trap are short-term interest rates that are near zero and fluctuations in the monetary base that fail to translate into fluctuations in general price levels.

Generally, historically speaking, when central banks lend money to private banks at lower interest rates, the banks lend more to the enthusiastic rabble, and the economy rebounds. However, it may happen that the rabble, or the banks, feel mournful, refuse to play, and reject spending, even if the central banks lends at zero  interest rates (or even negative, below the inflation rate, as not only Japan has been doing). This is the Liquidity Trap.

The Fed has been reacting by buying all sorts of unworthy assets. That supports the price of these unworthy assets, preventing, short term, runaway deflation. Another thing it does is that, as many as these unworthy assets belongs to Banks Too Big To Fail (BTBF), it supports these banks and their plutocratic managements (“My friend!” used to cry out Obama, each time he evoked Jamie Dimon, the Deimon at the head of the biggest BTBF)

In other words the Fed supports the powers that be.

Well, that’s a joke.

Why? Because supporting the powers that be, fosters the very problem, plutocracy, that caused the problem, dejection, not to say depression. People do not support the economy, because the economy does not support them. They are too indebted (much more than in 1929, the last time the global economy crashed, for that same reason. I will show the graph another time).

Just go back to the definition of a Liquidity Trap. It’s a consequence of the expectation of greater problems. At least Wikipedia has it that way. Krugman does not have it anyway, he just has it. He wants to fix it, by throwing more money at it, through the banks. If Pluto is not nice, make him nice, by making Him gifts. That’s basic Abrahamism: if the boss wants to kill your son, just appease him, and offer your son, saying it’s not what it looks like. I read it in the Bible (hey, I have a copy at home. Not as much fun as Tacitus’ “The Annals Of Imperial Rome“, but still fun).

So what is really going on?

Irrelevant, frivolous elections are coming in France and the USA. Obama and Romney in the USA, Hollande and Sarkozy in France. Basically the same program, a program the commons cannot inflect.

In the USA Obama runs with his proudest achievement: Romneycare, also known as Obamacare.

In France, both the conservatives (starting in 1973), and the Socialists (after 1980) invented a system where the government financed itself by asking the plutocrats for money. The plutocrats accepted. Not out of generosity, but out of interest. It is the existence of that interest which makes borrowing more expensive than taxes.

It is also addictive. The French Socialists, main promoters of the European Monetary Union (“EMU”), presented the same system of borrowing instead of taxing, to finance the states of the EMU. This way, they were sure to get the support of the plutocracy.

So now the plutocrats are coming and asking for what they were after, their interest. The learned to have it easy: no need to finance the real economy. Their friends the politicians created a wondrous loop for them. Now the Fed and the ECB have even free money for them.

Very serious economists’ now share this opinion of mine; see http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/who-captured-the-fed/. (Simon Johnson from MIT was chief economist at the IMF, and has long advised a rather deaf U.S. Congress.)

Thus here we are, and the situation is roughly the same, in the USA or in Europe.

What is really going on is that it is not just a liquidity trap. It’s a technology trap, as we are fast reaching the end of the present energy system, without an alternative (this happened last around 1300 CE; the population soon crashed by half in Europe).

What is going on now is not just a Liquidity Trap, it is also a globalization trap: globalize Pluto, enslave the People. Also, particularly in Europe, a plutocratic trap: the more one claims to help the people, the more one helps what oppresses society, the banks. And, worse of all, it’s an ecological trap, for the whole biosphere.

What is going on, is the greatest joke of all. A few small men, knowing basically nothing, are supposed to take all the decisions, have all the ideas. And what they know best, is how to look good, and how to lie to get elected. What a joke.

But don’t be surprised if democracy falls apart. Among other things. And that will be no joke.

 ***

Patrice Ayme

Why French Parents Are Superior.

February 5, 2012

IT’S ALL ABOUT REASON:

“While Americans fret over modern parenthood, the French are raising happy, well-behaved children without all the anxiety. Pamela Druckerman on the Gallic secrets for avoiding tantrums, teaching patience and saying ‘non’ with authority.”

Such is the abstract of the article “Why French Parents Are Superior” found in the Wall Street Journal on February 4, 2012. [See notes.]

To say “non” with authority, one needs to have intellectual authority to start with. The French develop the latter through a love of mental jousts (many of them about politics, sociology, ecology, history, geography, science, poetry, litterature, etc…). That intense Gallic practice of mental activity leads typical young French adults to have gone through at least 10,000 hours of intra familial debate by the end of their teenage years. So they are expert at it. They are also expert at being interesting, and being able to answer inquiries the little ones will have from all directions.

Inasmuch as the WSJ author tried her best, three years of study she says, she extracted very little from it: talk a bit firmer, sound more self assured. Step by step under the direction of a 34 year old French mom. Pathetic. To see why she so thorougly failed, keep on reading.

In truth French parents develop in their children a greater ability to present, develop arguments, and respond to them intelligently. This is done mostly through the intense practice of speech. That, in turn, comes from the love of speech, which is also imprinted, right from the start.

French parents talk more, with a richer speech between themselves, and back and forth to their children. Children are taught to not interrupt the conversations adults are having with each other. Learning not to interrupt, is viewed not as an exclusion, but an instruction, a fundamental part of education.

Speech also allows to communicate values. A child endowed with higher values, and the perspective of even the higher ones grandes personnes are responding to, understands that orders given by parents have themselves reasons. Those reasons have to be mastered to access to higher learning. It’s all about reason.

I asked two Californian parents who live (very well) in Cambridge, England, with their two American children, if they saw a difference between American and European kids. They immediately replied that European children were much better educated. This corresponds to the main difference the Wall Street Journal reporter saw in France, when she pondered why her own child was ruining her outings:

“After a few more harrowing restaurant visits, I started noticing that the French families around us didn’t look like they were sharing our mealtime agony. Weirdly, they looked like they were on vacation. French toddlers were sitting contentedly in their high chairs, waiting for their food, or eating fish and even vegetables. There was no shrieking or whining. And there was no debris around their tables.

Though by that time I’d lived in France for a few years, I couldn’t explain this. And once I started thinking about French parenting, I realized it wasn’t just mealtime that was different. I suddenly had lots of questions. Why was it, for example, that in the hundreds of hours I’d clocked at French playgrounds, I’d never seen a child (except my own) throw a temper tantrum? Why didn’t my French friends ever need to rush off the phone because their kids were demanding something? Why hadn’t their living rooms been taken over by teepees and toy kitchens, the way ours had?

Soon it became clear to me that quietly and en masse, French parents were achieving outcomes that created a whole different atmosphere for family life. When American families visited our home, the parents usually spent much of the visit refereeing their kids’ spats, helping their toddlers do laps around the kitchen island, or getting down on the floor to build Lego villages. When French friends visited, by contrast, the grownups had coffee and the children played happily by themselves… a 2009 study, led by economists at Princeton, comparing the child-care experiences of similarly situated mothers in Columbus, Ohio, and Rennes, France. The researchers found that American moms considered it more than twice as unpleasant to deal with their kids. In a different study by the same economists, working mothers in Texas said that even housework was more pleasant than child care.

Rest assured, I certainly don’t suffer from a pro-France bias. Au contraire, I’m not even sure that I like living here…”.

I will explain why she cannot like to live in France; it is directly related to her child trouble.

I asked a mother born and raised in the USA who considers herself ‘fortunate‘ that her parents, although American from a young age, were not American born. She has also lived and worked in France, and has a child who has never thrown a temper tantrum, even at the age of two and a half: “Why Are French Parents Superior?

She was haughtily irritated by the question and did not try to hide it. Talking to me as if I were a dimwit she had little time for, she blasted the following reply:

“Why French Parents Are Superior, you ask? For the same reason as French are generally superior.

The key is that one has to provide reasons to the child, and, most importantly, those reasons have to make sense. These are two necessary conditions.

Americans would say that they do that. But, instead of telling the children what to do, and why, they let the children decide. But children don’t know anything, they are just children, they can’t decide, using reason. Or then American parents make up stories that don’t make sense, and, or, are not truthful, and lose all credibility that way.

You see that in adult conversations all the time, so it naturally shows up in adult-child conversations. It is in fact the lazy man’s way of communicating. Hence the continual usage of non sequiturs and constant sport analogies. As far as I can tell, only Americans do this.

When American parents say “no”, they just say “no”. They don’t say why they are saying no, they don’t explain to their child why the child’s behavior or request should be denied, and if they do, they don’t wait for the child to articulate an answer, which can take up to ten minutes. They lose all credibility that way.

American parents also expect children to throw temper tantrums, so when one happens, they rarely try to explore why. When American children ask their American parents why? or, why not? the parents typically don’t make a genuine effort to provide an understandable and coherent answer. They just think that asking someone for their reasons or motivations is hostile. It’s a cultural limitation that cannot be overcome.

And when one tells them that they should provide children with reasons, American parents think that you do not understand parenting, children just behave like that. And if your child is different, she was born with a different character, and you are lucky.

Americans, in fact, view questions about their reasons and motivations as hostile interrogation. So, when children attempt to explore that with them, they view it as an hostile inquiry, unlike the French and many other cultures. Rather than try to cultivate that form of inquiry, as French parents do, Americans try to suppress it.

And why do you ask me all these questions? There is no hope, Americans don’t have the concepts!”

I suggested that it was a bit like explaining the Hahn-Banach theorem to someone who does not know there is such a thing as functional analysis. The francophile American mother threw a Gallic shrug:”Yes, for Americans, reason is like a foreign language they never encountered before!

If anything her very French like reaction showed that Americanization is fully reversible. 

Here is Pamela from the Wall Street Journal again:

“France is the perfect foil for the current problems in American parenting. Middle-class French parents (I didn’t follow the very rich or poor) have values that look familiar to me. They are zealous about talking to their kids, showing them nature and reading them lots of books. They take them to tennis lessons, painting classes and interactive science museums.

Yet the French have managed to be involved with their families without becoming obsessive. They assume that even good parents aren’t at the constant service of their children, and that there is no need to feel guilty about this… French parents want their kids to be stimulated, but not all the time. While some American toddlers are getting Mandarin tutors and preliteracy training, French kids are—by design—toddling around by themselves…

Of course, the French have all kinds of public services that help to make having kids more appealing and less stressful. Parents don’t have to pay for preschool, worry about health insurance or save for college. Many get monthly cash allotments—wired directly into their bank accounts—just for having kids.

But these public services don’t explain all of the differences. The French, I found, seem to have a whole different framework for raising kids. When I asked French parents how they disciplined their children, it took them a few beats just to understand what I meant. “Ah, you mean how do we educate them?” they asked. “Discipline,” I soon realized, is a narrow, seldom-used notion that deals with punishment. Whereas “educating” (which has nothing to do with school) is something they imagined themselves to be doing all the time.

One of the keys to this education is the simple act of learning how to wait…

After a while, it struck me that most French descriptions of American kids include this phrase “n’importe quoi,” meaning “whatever” or “anything they like.” It suggests that the American kids don’t have firm boundaries, that their parents lack authority, and that anything goes. It’s the antithesis of the French ideal of the cadre, or frame, that French parents often talk about. Cadre means that kids have very firm limits about certain things—that’s the frame—and that the parents strictly enforce these. But inside the cadre, French parents entrust their kids with quite a lot of freedom and autonomy.”

Authority is one of the most impressive parts of French parenting—and perhaps the toughest one to master. Many French parents I meet have an easy, calm authority with their children that I can only envy. Their kids actually listen to them. French children aren’t constantly dashing off, talking back, or engaging in prolonged negotiations.”

[—Adapted from “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting,” to be published Tuesday by the Penguin Press. ]

***

PHILOSOPHICAL DEEPENING OF THE PRECEDING:

Well, what to dare add for more enlightenment? Fasten seat belts, we are going to philosophical warp speed. The problem with American parenting is deeply entangled with a formal superficiality which is devouring American society, and reason itself. This decerebration is, of course, very comfortable for the “masters of the universe” based in Wall Street.

The USA is supposed to be a democratic republic. The law is the skeleton of such a state, and it is the paradigm of mental organization, collective and individual. The American parenting deficit is a manifestation of an American cultural deficit and its nexus is a sense of justice (or lack thereof).

That cultural deficit is of foremost importance, worldwide, considering the military-economic importance of the USA.

The article in the New Yorker “The Caging Of America” laid the blame of the dismal American “justice” system on the “Bill Of Rights“. That Bill is inferior, experts say, because it emphasizes formality, formalism, and superficiality, in other words, justice as fairness (something Rawls and his “liberal” followers got all confused about).

Instead justice ought to be justice as justice. The Declaration des Droits de l’Homme insisted simply on that:”Be Just!” For the Declaration, justice is a primary notion, not a derivative notion. Who speaks of justice speaks of judgments, sentences, reasons, causes, attenuating circumstances, discovery… Justice begs for strong, inquisitive, rational, well informed minds, in other words, minds toddlers will respect.

Toddlers respect good judgment. Toddlers instinctively rebel against bad judgment, and any mockery of the nobility of the human spirit, such as a travesty of reason.

The New Yorker points out that formalism has devoured true justice in the USA, and has made the incarceration mood pervasive throughout American society, from individuals covered with tattoos to clothes mimicking prison garb, to shoes without laces.

But formalism has devoured other things, all the way to parental facial expression, and viewing any explanation as a conflict to be avoided absolutely.

The emphasis on formalism throughout American society is striking. Murderers bathing in the blood of their victims have walked free, in the USA, because the police had no warrant (don’t try that in France!). A Chinese contractor formally presents a lower bill for a giant bridge, it gets formally accepted. Never mind that the USA loses industrial substance as a result. Etc.

Formalism, in the beginning, looks pragmatic, because it is easy to bestow. Formalism is reason reduced to its most basic. Formalism is a parody of rationality.

Toddlers have a deep instinctive dislike of irrationality. They observe, early on, that reason makes them strong, whereas irrationality assaults them. Parents choosing irrationality choose the Dark Side, as far as toddlers are concerned.

Exerting formalism blocks the exertion of reason as much as exerting justice requires. In any case the reign of formalism is how outrageous American meta principles such as “don’t be judgmental”, “don’t argue”, “stop rationalizing” have appeared.

How can a toddler sit in judgment of his own behavior, if his parents refuse, or are incapable, to do so? And, even worse, if they have not learned to exert enough judgment to establish the cadre of what is acceptable, and what is not?

And sure enough, the toddler in chief could not bring himself to find reasons to judge bankers, because it was a case where he had to find within himself, enough to transcend the formalism of formal politeness he owed to his sponsors. Looked at it formally, the USA is doing OK. Looked at it in all justice, not that much.  

And why can’t our Wall Street Journal reporter like to live in France, in her present state?

I went back to the francophile American mother who knows France much better than the WSJ reporter. She told me:

“Living well in France is all about loving reason, more than authority.

Instead, the WSJ reporter feels it’s all about French parents having more authority. She does not understand authority has a foundation, and its name is reason. She completely misses the mark, even after three years of studying it intensely. Why? Because she is American. Case closed.”  

France’s main pastime is not cheese and wine, it’s contradicting authority with reason.

This was already the case in the Middle Ages during the “Jacqueries” (14 C), and before that, when the philosopher Abelard (and the people behind him) opposed the religious, crusading fanatics led by Saint Bernard and the papacy (12C). Actually French history is all about a perpetual war between authority and reason.

The very foundational act of “Francia”, by the Franks, in 486 CE, was the act, tried persistently by the Franks for two centuries before that, to pry reason out of the jaws of fascist and theocratic authority (these notions were at the heart of the conflict between Greco-Romans and Celto-Germans, for a full millennium prior).

Submitting, and boosting, authority with reason is the master value of French culture. Thus it should show up on French children’s playgrounds, and it does.

Another related command: only reason can contradict authority, and authority is full of reason. (The resulting respect for authority sometimes backfire in French society.)

Thus, when authority is exerted, it better be full of reason, so it is full of reason. French toddlers learn this, and if they perceive the authority, they know reasons are not far behind, and they plead no contest, as it is the path of less effort.

***

Patrice Ayme

***

Note 1: Yes, the Wall Street Journal is francophile nowadays. (Amazingly, Murdoch’s WSJ does not censor me, and publishes me within three seconds, whereas the New York Times does all sorts of naughty things to my comments: thus, I have nearly stopped commenting in the NYT. This to point out that the NYT is not as “liberal” as the mob has it.)

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Note 2:

French Lessons [Wall Street Journal]:

Children should say hello, goodbye, thank you and please. It helps them to learn that they aren’t the only ones with feelings and needs.

When they misbehave, give them the “big eyes”—a stern look of admonishment.

Allow only one snack a day. In France, it’s at 4 or 4:30.

Remind them (and yourself) who’s the boss. French parents say, “It’s me who decides.”

Don’t be afraid to say “no.” Kids have to learn how to cope with some frustration.

Further French Lessons [Tyranosopher]:

Children also have to learn delayed gratification and being satisfied with what they have. Otherwise they would end up, or rather down, like Americans, with debts up the wazoo, enslaved by banks and Wall Street.

Inasmuch as speech with the vocal chords is important, facial and body language are even more readily understood, by the little ones. The “big eyes” the Wall Street Journal reporter is obsessed by is only part of the story. The rigid, expressionless faces of all too many American women go a long way to explain their dysfunctional relationship with their children.

Aphorisms May 2011.

May 17, 2011

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Main themes:

1) What the economy truly is, and why the USA not understanding this is causing the present malaise.

2) God as a big, bad, dad… Is believing in God a form of infantilism?

3) The strange, obdurate story of Israel, or why, relatively speaking, there are always fewer Jews. Intolerance and exclusionism do not bring understanding, oneself, or others.

4) Speaking of religious apartheid, Pakistan is, conceptually speaking, a child of Israel. OK, some are going to resent that remark. They also have a common Achilles’ heel, namely beng on the (bankrupt) USA payroll.

5) A set of nuclear reactors at Hamaoka in Japan, 190 kilometers from Tokyo, is being shut down, to build tsunami defenses. They are on a very narrow peninsula, with a government prediction of 87% probability of an 8 Richter  within three decades. How insane could deciders be?

6) Radioactivity, we can leave with, to some extent. Mercury, not so, to the present extent. Why can’t ecologists understand this? Is it because too many of them are anti-technological, thus anti-scientific, thus anti-rational?

7) Messing up with Iraq, has not started to backfire yet, for the USA. But it will. The USA started, unwittingly, the reunification of Iraq and Iran.

8) The notion of “conspiracy” is weaker, and thus more general, than that of “plot”. As the USA keeps broadcasting to the world its notions of justice, one week bin Laden is dispatched, another Strauss-Kahn humiliated as a “perpetrator”, there will be consequences. When they come, the food stamp country will not know what hit it (47 million food stamp recipients in the USA, speaking of humiliation).

***

***

Managing A House Is More Than Letting Greed Run Amok:

The ruling economic orthodoxy in the USA is that all the economy needs is greed. 1960s:”All You Need Is Love!“. Fifty years later:”All You Need Is Greed!” That fits plutocracy just fine, thank you. (However, the élucubrations of the director of the IMF about the need for more state regulations, were just insufferable. Hopefully that has been fixed in the usual manner…)

The sociopaths who lead America into oblivion do not know, nor want to know, nor want to consider, that greed is only one human motivation among others. By considering, at the outset, that those other motivations are not generators of economic activity, the plutocratic orthodoxy impoverish the notion of  economy (= housemanagement). No wonder the socioeconomies they manage have always tended to go down (Sparta, Macedonia, all Muslim countries are example, in the fullness of history). Its theory and practice of the dismal science is exerted on a body politics that they mutilate themselves.

Thus democracy does not just provide with superior intelligence, but also with a superior economy.

(Islam and its Golden Age, Constantinople and its Roman empire, China, all dictatorial and very wealthy seem to be counter-examples… But a detailed examination show that they achieved much less than their potential. Actually they all failed spectacularly, as they were unable to sustain enough of a socioeconomic effort to hold off enemies which wiped them out, or turned them into shadows of their former selves… as happen twice to China in 400 years). 

Taxes allow to finance economic activities not sensitive to greed. Thus, by shrinking taxes too much, one shrinks the huge part of the economy for which greed cannot be a motivation. Care, for example, is in another dimension than greed. So are science, philosophy, poetry, and most of the noblest arts of the human spirit. So is education, so are so many of the life giving arts.

One will not provide the best care, because one is the most greedy. Worse: selecting individuals and organizations on the basis of greed to provide care insures failure. Indeed, care and greed live in different parts of the brain.

The failure to understand that basic neurobiological fact, the failure to understand that loving someone else, is different from sucking all the life blood from a creature, explains why the USA is turning into an economic black hole.

The USA, and the UK, are both obsessed by destroying off the non greed based economy. They are doing a good job of destruction.  The latest numbers show that their economies are keeling over. Whereas France and Germany, havens of central planning and high taxes, are expanding at a hefty clip… In spite of a currency (the euro) which has been overvalued by as much as 50% in the last quarter (thus damaging what is by far the world greatest exporting economy, that of the Eurozone). Let me rephrase this: the dollar has been at the bottom, uncomfortably close to the breaking point.

Let us be fair. The USA has automatic stabilizers. California will close 70 (yes, seventy) state parks (hey, it will allow to “fire” 220 state employees, realizing enormous savings). Thus hungry Californians will be able to go scavenge in the forests, come next winter.  If only one legalized cannibalism, think of all the savings!

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My Dad Is Bigger Than Yours, Let’s Call Him God:

The mysterious concept of “God” is very handy. First it allows to confuse debates. Indeed, in an important a way,  “God” is the pseudonym of many a creature. “God” the pseudonym hides various actors, often with wildly antagonistic minds. So its use makes debates more ill defined than they would be otherwise. Let me explain: when Obama speaks of God, and say some religious fundamentalists do not speak of “God” correctly, it is more than just ludicrous. It’s typical. Obama and the religious fundamentalists he disagrees with do not mean the same thing by “God”.

Second, those with a bigger, better, badder god are obviously endowed with a bigger, better, badder dad. So they feel more powerful, and this display of confidence may induce others to feel that they are more powerful too. So these metaphysics of power have consequences on power in real life.

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Will Israel Survive?

OK, with nuclear weapons, anything can happen. Granted. Nuclear weapons could insure the survival of Israel. Entire populations could be exterminated, at the rate of a few Auschwitz a minute. So maybe Israelis some day will come out of their fortified burrows over radioactive ruins, lonely survivors of a Mid-East turned to a fine crisp. Think about all the West Banks to settle with men in black (radiation) suits… Think of King David’s kingdom, throughout the Fertile crescent… Hope springs eternal…

However, adverse developments, adverse from the Zionist point of view, that is, such as universal nuclear weapons’ disarmament and generalized peace are to be feared. In theory, generalized nuclear disarmament  has been launched. But not for Pakistan, which makes at least a new thermonuclear bomb, every week, and maybe much more. By making Armageddon more likely, Pakistan is the best future  many nuts in Israel can hope for.

Einstein refused the (first) presidency of Israel. Although he hated the Germans by then, and reproached heavily Born (fellow Quantum Nobel physicist) to go back to Germany for retirement, he could only espouse the natural position of those who have looked at hatred and exclusion in the eye.

The (Jewish German) philosopher Isaac Berlin summed the creation of Israel  this way:”They did not listen to us. They listened to Hitler.”

Similarly Obama, in the guise of killing him, listened to Osama’s notion of justice:”Whatever we say it is”. When a conflict there is, one conventionally looks at who won. The more sophisticated approach to conflicts is to look at which system of thought won.

The case of Israel is curious, and enlightening in the greatest scheme of history. At the time when Judea rebelled, most Jews did not. Maybe 15% of the Roman empire population was Jewish (more than 10 million, and much more than there were Celts, as those suffered heavy losses at the hands of legions, besides more than a million sent as slaves to Rome, after Caesar’s bellum gallicum).

The Judea war killed may be a million Jews (in multiple way fighting, as the war against Rome was augmented by a war of various fanatical sects against each other). However, the Jewish religion was not outlawed by the Romans (instead it had a covenant with Rome, and Saint Paul was prosecuted for having violated Jewish religious law, as he went into the temple with a bodyguard who was not Jewish).

Meanwhile, the Celtic religion was outlawed (basically for crimes against mankind, to put it in contemporary terms).  But the Celts stayed where they were. And last observed, restrict their inheritance to music, and being themselves. Curiously, for about 5 centuries, the Celts were the greatest enemies of Rome, and, later, in collaboration with the Franks, and other Germans, pretty much subdued Rome.

Lesson? Clinging to one’s superstition is apparently not the best way to impose oneself. The best way may be sometimes to accommodate the oppressor, collaborate, pick up the best it has to offer, and use it for intellectual assist. Out of the Roman occupation, the Celto-Germans made a superior civilization (thus, when Julian came to direct the legions in Gallia and Germania, the Parisians showed him the way, in the end proclaiming him Augustus).

A few rebellions later, and thanks to the tender mercies of Christianism, founded by a number of Jews who did not like Jews, the Jews got chased from Judea.

The question of Israel, if one listens to Orthodox Jews, boils down to this: should we make a refuge for each and every single religion? A refuge where those who are not of the religion are not full citizen, or not viewed as human, in other words? 25% of the population of Israel right now is not Jewish… Shall they be expelled?

It may be wiser to remember that “Outremer” and the kingdom of Jerusalem, the kingdoms and principalities founded by the Franks in the Orient lasted mostly a century. Two centuries at most. Why? They cost too much, and were not profitable, especially in light of negotiations with Muslims such as Saladin, which resulted in a significant and durable decrease of tension.

Israel is presently kept afloat by enormous financial help, direct and indirect (through Egypt), from the USA, plus the fact that the USA trains, equip and hypnotize the Egyptian army, and the Saudi plutocracy. If this contraption goes, can Israel do better than “Outremer”?

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How Did Pakistan Come To Be?

Heard on a French speaking TV (I don’t remember from where): “Pakistan is the fruit of the colonial past“. Sure. That, hail storms, malaria, and slavery, have got to have originated with colonialism. When something is wrong, blame the colonialists. Especially in India, where there were no colons. (India, was sometimes “ruled” with as little as 1,500 British civil servants; not to say that Britain did not behave in a thugish fashion in multiple ways; but, overall, the influence of Britannia was good).

Claiming that Pakistan was engineered by the colonialists: nothing could be further from the truth. The British had united India, or, more exactly, the Raj.

Previously, the Mughal Raj, starting in 1526 CE, had united most of what would become the British Raj, plus Afghanistan, and minus the extreme south of the subcontinent. The (Islamized) Moguls were not from South Asia, but of Turco-Mongol origin. The Mughal empire is also known as the Timurid dynasty, as its founder Babur descended from Timur (a ferocious, conquering Mongol, but not the partly civilizing force that Genghis Khan had been). The Mughal empire disintegrated mostly on its own, two centuries later. The British had little to do with it, and their rule was nice, in comparison.

The British civilized India, after millennia of racial apartheid stagnation. They made reason more prevalent.

The creation of states on the ground of religious appurtenance in India, post independence from Britain has been just the opposite. Building a religious state was a fundamental takeover of humanitarian principle by gross superstition. By definition superstitious religions such as Islam or Hinduism (and  various variants) stand above the real world. That means they stand above reason; that is they founding mental act: “We believe a number of things which make no sense, therefore we are more important than sense itself“. In other words, common people and their common sense make no sense, only the theocrats makes sense. In the case of Pakistan, a small group of adventurers used religion as a pretext to justify their rule.

Who decides upon religious appurtenance? Well the proverbial commander of the faithful. The one who send the death commandos, the Caliph, the maximum terror chief, the one who tells you when “Justice Has Been Done“. 

Gandhi was the main force behind apartheid in India: he initialized it, by extolling Hinduism. Gandhi was the anti-Mandela. True, he did not commit the irreparable, as the Muslim leaders did, but he instigated it. At the end of his life, Gandhi no doubt preferred to die, rather than to contemplate what he had done.

In a sense, Gandhi was one of the Twentieth Century’s greatest  racists (no wonder Hitler was his “friend”). People of his sort claims that Hindu apartheid, being religious, is not racial. Logics demonstrates otherwise, and recent genetic studies have confirmed that.

Pakistan was founded on the same principle as Israel: “our God rules, he rules us, and even you, so get out!” Universal Human Rights will have to rule over all these little ‘hoods divinities, though, if most of us want to survive, and it would be better for all these little ‘hoods to understand this in a timely manner.

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What We Don’t See Can’t Hurt Us:

On the narrow tip of the Tokai peninsula, two plates meet. On one side a bay, on the other, the Pacific ocean. Best place to build nuclear reactors of course. Right on top of the fault. The fault between the two plates.

Don’t worry: a 6 meter tall sand dune was installed, to protect against the six meter tsunami. There is probably a local tradition that tsunamis are polite, bow and make themselves less than 6 meters high. Not all tsunamis are as gross as the one of March 2011, whose wave crested at 42 meters.

That tsunamis be polite and bow low is all the more important that a fabulous megathrust Richter quake is expected, anytime, on the triple plate junction just south, or on the other one, 200 kilometers east. An embarrassment of very moving riches. As I said there are nuclear reactors there, by the beaches. The beaches, which are on both sides. Fun never stops. (Latest news: as of mid May, the nuclear fission is being stopped so that the plant can be made more resistant to quakes and tsunamis.)

Point to be meditated upon: when the Japanese nuclear plants were built, seismic activity was low in Japan. Looking at history shows that seismic activity is concentrated in space and time. Haiti had a lot of very bad quakes in the 18C. Then nothing until recently. Right now the entire Pacific plate seems to be in play, from one side to the other. But the Americans cannot notice such as thing: it would be anti-American, say those who don’t want Americans to work (as the key to the plutocrats’ peace is an unemployed population).

The Chernobyl reactors had no confinement, and were of an extremely dangerous type, which explode when coolant leaks (whereas a PWR loses nuclear fission, as its neutrons are going too fast to be captured, when it loses coolant/water). Both characteristics should be totally unlawful, by international law. Before the famous explosion (of reactor 4), at Chernobyl, reactor 1 had a partial meltdown, and then was refurbished. Three of the crazy reactors at Chernobyl kept operating at the site for up to 14 years… After the famous disaster.

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Some Hate What They Don’t Understand:

Burning coal is the leading cause of human-caused global warming. But did you know that coal-fired power plants are also the single largest source of mercury pollution in much of the world? Coal burning in China creates mercury vapor, which condensates over the Arctic, making wildlife there increasingly poisonous. China accounts for about half of the world’s emissions of mercury. As I hold that China is the USA in drags, it ought to be the responsibility of American politicians to push for a resolution of this. American corporations make pile of money by using mercury laced cheap Chinese energy (the rest of the world has taken anti-mercury measures).

Mercury poisoning attacks the nervous system, affecting everything from brain development to muscle coordination.

The not-yet-born, and infants are especially susceptible to mercury exposure. Mercury vapor released into the atmosphere settles into rivers, lakes and oceans, where it is absorbed and ingested by fish. When expectant mothers eat the tainted fish, they pass the mercury on to their children. One in six U.S. women of childbearing age have enough mercury in their bodies to harm a pregnancy. annual mercury emissions have increased two to five fold within the last century, with anthropogenic emissions now surpassing natural emissions in the industrialized world. Annual mercury emissions have increased two to five fold within the last century. They come mostly from a mineral (HgS) found naturally in fossil fuel, especially coal. Methyl mercury piles up in fatty tissues, and is not eliminated, so it concentrates up the food chain, from small fish to man.

Compare this enormous, worldwide mercury disaster, with the obsession with the dangers of nuclear power. True, nearly all existing nuclear power plants should be seriously refurbished, or replaced. They are not safe. Technology to make nuclear plants much safer not only exists, but is for sale.

In particular most of the plants in Japan should be scrapped or seriously worked on. But the fact is that, even nuclear power plants which have been constructed in the most dangerous fashion, and should never have been allowed to operate, even after they have exploded, do not , have not, and could not, create a disaster comparable to worldwide mercury poisoning. The most awful nuclear pollution pales relative to coal induced pollution. At worst, some areas may be returned to nature, and wolves, moose, lynxes and wild horses can come back, as is the case in Chernobyl. Six workers at Chernobyl were injured by one wolf (later shot).

So what is wrong with most ecologists’ heads? The simple fact that they don’t understand nuclear fire, but coal has been burned for a millennium?

Another thing self defeating ecologists do not understand is thermodynamics. Or even how the wind works, and why there is wind. If they understood all this, they would be less sanguine, especially about wind energy (10% decrease in wind speed bringing 30% down in energy, something to be expected not only as wind farms proliferate, but as the greenhouse proceeds…)

Some not only hate, or fear, what they don’t understand, but they hate it so much, or fear it so much, that they cannot be motivated to understand it, and, thus, fall prey to it with greater ease. It’s the deer-in-the-headlights syndrome. This mechanism was in full view, when the Nazis threatened the Jews, and various other potential victims. Failure to understand Nazism was the prime failure of their prey.

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More Middle East Gates Of Hell:

Secretary of Defense Gates on “60 minutes”: “We are gaining the upper hand in Afghanistan… We are turning the corner“. The USA already acquired the upper hand in Afghanistan in 2001. So we have to guess it slipped down the sand pile in the meantime.

Pursuing his flight of fancy, Gates has found an improbable culprit, everybody else: “Maybe spent a trillion dollars in Iraq, 4,000 dead (etc.), and now the state department is going to carry us across the goal lineand the Congress is going to be penny wise, and pound foolish [and it will not happen]“. Verdict: Gates has watched too much sports. The world is not American football, but Gates, the ex intelligence chief of the CIA, does not understand that. So what does he understand? Whatever it is, it will be minute, and inconsequential.

In Iraq, or in Afghanistan, the American oligarchs played with history, something they did not master at school enough, to get a sense of it. History bites back, and North America is no island anymore, but a 40 minutes ballistic reach away, from anywhere in the world. And the world you build, is the one you have to live in, thereafter.

What is that the “goal line” Gates evokes? The USA has nearly reunited Iraq with Iran, through their common Shiite inheritance. Otherwise said, the USA has nearly reconstituted the (Baghdad) caliphate (which succeeded the Arab caliphate in 750 CE). The U.S. state department cannot go through the goal line, even if bloated with thousands of mercenaries to chase the terrorists around Iraq. American foreign policy, at least in Iraq, is a chicken without a head: its goal has nothing to do with what it can do, and is advantageous, only if what it wants, is a war with Iran. In Afghanistan, of course, for 32 years, there has been more coherence: the goal has been unending war, not just for war’s sake, but, as I explained, to get to some more oil and gas.

In the realm of the mad, lunatics are kings. But there is hope: the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said that Colonel Qaddafi, his bright son Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, the de facto prime minister, and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Sanousi (chief of intelligence) formed an inner circle that ‘crushed peaceful demonstrations and ordered the use of live ammunition and heavy weapons against protestors’. Three judges will decide whether to issue arrest warrants.

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New York Justice: Stupidity Makes Vicious.

A few words on the repugnant, uncivilized way, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the IMF, was dragged in the mud.  It’s all too typical of the state with the world’s greatest incarcerated population. Fully one American adult citizen out of 20 is in serious trouble with the law, a proportion inconceivable in Europe.

A proportion which brings a question Americans may want to meditate: what could be an objective definition of a police state? Let’s put it slightly differently: if, just looking at numbers, one tried to define the planet’s top police state, what would it be? A hint from Wikipedia: “The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world.

Americans who do not have eyes to see, claim that, in the USA, people are “innocent until proven guilty“. While the police make sure the cameras are there before exposing said “innocent”. It’s called the “perp walk“. Yes, “perp walk”. So much for “innocence”. It is obvious that the “perp walk” creates a bias against the defendant, as, by definition, said defendant is presented as a “perpetrator (which is what “perp” means).

Such treatment against a person presumed innocent is unlawful in France. (Even suspected murderers can walk without handcuffs if not deemed very dangerous.) Judge Eva Joly, a well-known French and Norwegian magistrate, adviser of the Icelandic government on white collar crime, who once brought charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn for corruption (of which he was later acquitted), observed that “these are very violent images”. The images from New York. Very violent.

Americans seem unable to comprehend that the “perp walk” is a violation of basic rights. It is a curious thing.

At least, in the Middle Ages, when the humiliation of the pillory was applied, there was a conviction, prior. Madoff was free on bail, and so was Michael Jackson (suspected of serial pedophilia). That is what people know, when they look at it from the rest of the world.

Why does New York hate Strauss-Kahn that much? He was the Grinch who wanted to steal Christmas, as the French are won to (in the imagination of the owners of U.S. media).

Let me notice the following:

a) Strauss-Kahn changed completely the orientation of the IMF from an extremely abusive device at the service of American plutocracy, into something different. He also contributed to hold up European countries together with IMF funds (the EU contributes nearly 38% of the IMF; and the USA only 17%). Anybody reading even as “liberal” a “left wing” economist such as the esteemed Paul Krugman, will know that the Americans want to destroy the euro. To start with.

b) Strauss-Kahn held pro-government, pro-regulation opinions which are just the opposite from the anti-government, anti-regulation propaganda which presently reigns in the USA. As far as Wall Street was concerned, he was the enemy. Like Eliot Spitzer, or the Gracchi, long ago, Strauss-Kahn was the worst sort, traitor to his kind, and thus fully abreast of its tricks.

c) Manhattan is the very center of the pro-plutocratic worldwide octopus. The island lives off it. Such is often the paradox that people who profit most from an empire, find themselves at the center of it, and, even if they deplore it, they may sink themselves, if they think too much.

d) A conspiracy is not a plot. It’s much more sinister than that. The Romans had discovered that the simple fact that people together breathe (con-spirare) is enough to have dreadful consequences. A judge does not need to be bought off. Nor does the police. They are creatures of the same ecology, and if that ecology is threatened, they will strike back. In Manhattan, the ecology is the plutocracy.

Simple breathing-together of judges, police, and political, or plutocratic power, is enough to create bias, in the absence of very explicit legal guidelines. Breathing together is enough to build the right neurology of the conspirators, the neurology of mutually insured self survival.

Imperial Rome was full of police, and full of judges, all arrogantly above any suspicion, or self examination. They were full of it, and belong to the garbage of history, complete with their smug cruelty, and self interested stupidity. The Roman republic went down the drain on the heels of its degraded and degrading conception of justice. It resurfaced 2,000 years later.

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Patrice Ayme

PLUTOCRATIC USA AS A GIANT PONZI SCHEME.

April 12, 2009

 

AND WHY IT IS IN DENIAL, AND WHY IT IS NOT BEEN FIXED, AND HOW TO FIX IT.

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Abstract: The financial crisis is not what it is usually assumed to be. It’s essentially a crisis of the plutocrats, and the economy has been stopped to come to their rescue. Sadly, it will be in vain.

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In an excellent editorial in the New York Times, “Awake and Sing!”, [NYT, April 11, 2009], Frank Rich says that: “it is time to leave behind the bubble’s toxic culture that not only took away wealth but certain American values, and do something good… Some spoilsports raise the conflict-of-interest question about Summers: Can he be a fair broker of the bailout when he so recently received lavish compensation from some of its present and, no doubt, future players?” Rich, in his magnanimity, does not mention that some of the “players” have already been explicitly proposed as future recipients of the PPIP. Here is an expanded and clearer version of my comment on Frank Rich’s work, that the NYT was kind enough to publish:
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What is a Ponzi scheme? It is also known as a pyramid scheme. It is as scheme that is advertised as giving positive returns to investors, when, in truth, all they get is the money that new investors put in, while attracted by the claimed returns they are themselves bequeathing to their predecessors. This works until the last investors come in. The U.S. real estate market functioned like a giant pyramid scheme, the largest ever in history, and the last investors were called the “subprime” people. Naturally enough, those who set up the scheme, the plutocrats, deflected criticism heading their way, by pointing at the subprime people as the root of all evil.

Geithner’s scheme, the PPIP (Public Pays for Impudent Plutocrats) is the last attempt to save the richest of the rich from the collapse of the real estate pyramid scheme. These attempts have been made, one after the other, each a variant of the preceding one, to save the hyper rich. Such attempts, to make the hyper rich as rich as it used to be, cannot fix the economy, because the economy was made poor by the hyper rich being so rich that no money was left for the real economy. So the economy is left without enough money, while most of the disposable U.S. government money is diverted to the hyper rich.

Geithner’s PPIP is the most impudent Ponzi scheme ever planned in the history of humankind. It was advertised by the administration as the transfer of two trillion dollars of the public to the richest people in the world. That may sound baffling. Why, if they are already so rich, would one want to send them a few more trillions? The grave problem for these poor richest people in the world is that most of their riches is tied in derivatives, hedge funds, securitization, structured investment vehicles, most of them tremendously leveraged from real estate. In other words, the richest people in the world are threatened with losing their riches, except if the Summers-Geithner plan comes to their rescue. (By definition in this essay, some of these “hyper rich” are individuals, some are institutions, and various funds for the ultra rich, some hedge funds, some are institutions similar to hedge funds, all very leveraged with public money; an example being AIG, an insurance company part of which acted like a hedge fund; most insurance companies did nothing of the sort.)

What did some of the hyper rich do? They invested one million dollars, say, and then went to one of the largest banks, and asked the huge bank to lend them 40 millions. The bank did it, because it had huge deposits of the public’s money. So the bank took the public’s money and gave it to the hyper rich. Now, having started with just one million, the hyper rich had 40 million to invest. They invested it (say) in real estate.

But now the value of real estate, three years later, has been cut in half. Whereas the hyper rich invested 40 millions, now this property the hyper rich acquired is worth twenty millions. This means that, should the hyper rich try to get rid of that property, it would have a hole of twenty-million dollars, that would still be owed, by the hyper rich, to the huge bank (and, thus, indirectly, to the public). But all the hyper rich truly had was one million. Now the loan would be, typically, a “recourse” loan, which means that the huge bank, in theory, could seize the rest of the hyper rich’s property, in the amount of the sum owned, namely twenty-million dollars. But you know, these people are friends. Another way had to be found. So Geithner and Summers say: “This could not possibly be right, the market is not functioning correctly. We will reflate it with taxpayer money, until the hyper rich owe nothing, and that will help everybody”.

In truth it helps only the hyper rich, because millions of Americans would have been foreclosed, or forced to sell at drastically reduced prices. Moreover, Summers and Geithner plan to have hedge funds buy, with public money, only restricted types of assets, namely those the hyper rich own, and are highly leveraged with. It is not about average Americans. It’s all about the hyper rich remaking their money, with transfers of public money.

There have not been enough protests to stop the deployment of the PPIP. And the somewhat similar TARP; in TARP, contrarily to the even more outrageous PPIP, loans are supposed to be paid back, and some giant banks have been making a big noise about that. They claimed they wanted to pay back the loans of TARP money right away. But they conveniently omitted to say that they had already profited from GIFTS of TARP money made through intermediaries. Thus, for example, Goldman Sachs got a gift of 12 billion of TARP dollars made through AIG, as a payment, not as a loan.)

So this will go on, until the system blows up. And it will. A back of the envelope computation, using some plausible guesswork about what the giant banks have probably been up to, shows that, just directly from real estate, the four biggest banks are in a seven trillion dollar hole. And there is more worthless debt out there. There is no way that the U.S. public will keep on paying such giant sums. At some point, purchasing pitchforks, and going out in the street will seem less expensive.

Indeed, after wasting a few trillion dollars of the public thing in that bottomless pit of endless debt owed by the insolvent hyper rich, the four big banks will still go down. They know this. So they will not lend at anything approaching the old lending levels. The giant banks are part of what is known as the “shadow banking system”. That is what is completely broken beyond repair. It’s this entangled mess of leveraged Structured Investment Vehicles, firms handling derivatives, hedge funds, private equity, giant banks, etc… that is shattered. The crisis will go on.
***

HOW TO FIX THE CRISIS?
The first thing to do, at the very least, is to remove the people responsible of the crisis, as the S&L regulator, Black, pointed out. That would include Summers, who is, with Clinton, G. W. Bush, Rubin, Greenspan, and some members of the republican party under Newt Gingrich, one of the individuals most culprit of what happened. Geithner was there all along too: he is a fast talker, and know who his masters are, and serves them well. Black suggested that to find good people a good starting point was that good people pay their taxes. There are thousands of competent and honest bank managers in the USA. (To punish them, though, Geithner is going to try to bankrupt the FDIC with his PPIP Ponzi scheme, so FDIC fees will skyrocket, another way to exploit the public without directly using taxes.)

The solution is to write off the debt of the big banks (eradicate the wealth of the richest connected to that). And recapitalize. This is done by the FDIC, it’s called “receivership” in the USA (more than a thousand U.S. banks have gone through receivership in the past). Anywhere else, it’s called nationalization. It is all the more urgent to do so, because, now that the “shadow banking system” has vanished, it is of the essence to reconstitute conventional, old fashion, boring banking: that is the only way to get credit restarted, big time. The future consists into going back to the distant, financially healthy past, when the economy was expanding for real.

Ireland’s economy has been all too much a part of the international pyramid scheme. The Irish government just wrote off the books the entire commercial sector of its 6 largest banks. This is the sort of legislative effort that needs to be done: as I suggested many times, the G20 should outright outlaw many of the financial schemes involving various derivatives, and then write off the bank debts connected to these. That would help recapitalize the banks without spending money. The drawback is that many plutocrats would be wiped out, and some small people would have to learn new names to look up to. (Apparently Putin, who also has a problem of highly leveraged plutocrats suddenly owing billions, told them there will be no rescue for them, just for the workers who work all the way down in their industries; Putin has proven a great traitor to the plutocrats who helped put him where he is; maybe Obama should emulate him? Getting rid of Summers and Geithner would be a good start.)

In most civilized countries, Summers would be viewed as completely corrupt. He pushes to send a one way gift of trillions of dollars to hedge funds, that he worked for, and obviously will work for some more. The emperor has no clothes, and advocates to strip everybody else of all their possessions, but nobody dares to say that this should stop.

In France Summers would be probably arrested next week at 3 am, his homes would be searched, his computers seized (this has happened to top bank managers in France before, and even to Louis XIV’s Secretary of the Treasury). For suspected “traffic of influence”. At the very least, millions of aggrieved citizens would be demonstrating in the street to ask for Summers’ resignation.

But this is the USA: justice is not independent, and the public is afraid of itself. Actually, unbelievably, Federal judges are named by the president of the USA. The preceding presidents, Clinton and Bush, contributed to this giant Ponzi scheme that the financial system of the USA turned into, and contributed more than all their predecessors combined. It is actually fairly probable that this is the most corrupt episode of the entire history of the USA. It leaves far behind all the personal corruption that was involved in the launch of the Great Depression of the 1930s. How could those judges, named by those perpetrators, find that strength?

***

Patrice Ayme
http://patriceayme.com/

http://tyranosopher.blogspot.com/

***

 

Addendum: It is important to understand that the banks do not have a direct mortgage problem: more than 97% of the mortgages are paid in full, on time. Mortgage business is profitable. That may change, though, as Summers and Geithner extend the crisis, and leave credit starved of money (thus shrinking the economy, hence jobs).

Moreover banks can borrow from the Fed at 0% and lend long at 5%, so that, too is extremely profitable.

Thus, the basic banking business is profitable at this point. It does not have a liquidity problem.

The problem is then entirely with of the “Shadow Banking System” that the bank holding companies have allowed to steal the money from the banks, thus creating a 40 times leverage for the hyper rich. That system is so insolvent, it will disappear. Right now, it’s on fire, shaken by great explosions, but desperate plutocrats and their agents (Summers, Geithner, etc.) hope to save it. It does not matter to them that much if they steal all the liquidity from the real economy, as long as they save their personal advancement to the top of the world.

Hence to restart the credit system is easy: cut off, through receivership, the link between the basic banking business and the bank holding companies that have been exploiting them. To do this, the plutocratic agents have to be removed first.

Sorry to be so repetitious, but I have been saying this for more than 8 months, and the message does not seem to have reached the mainstream media yet…

***

JUSTICE IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE WEST.

December 7, 2008

THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE WEST, THE USA SHOULD JOIN IT, IMMEDIATELY.

Law is the intelligence of the many, in the fullness of time, it is best for the individual never to forget it.

Although there were predecessors in Egypt (3000 BCE), Babylon and the Torah, extensive secular law is an invention of the Greco-Romans. It was so strong an advantage in social organization that it survived the Dark Ages, when Christianity nearly destroyed civilization. Even that fanatical Christian, emperor Justinian, ordered to separate secular Roman law from Christianism, thus recognizing its superiority. (A lesson that totally escaped Islam until recent times.)

Frankish law dismantled a great part of the evil of Greco-Roman Antiquity, by outlawing slavery (660 CE).

Ever since Franco-English barons imposed the Magna Carta on their Anglois king, England has been at the forefront of ever more advanced refinements of secular law.

Overall, Roman and Frankish law succeeded to hold back crazed maniacs such as Saint Louis and Luther, who wanted to destroy the Jews. They did not do it, although they wanted it so bad, they wrote about it in exalted tones. Why? Because the law forbade it, and even kings had to obey the law (as a Roman empress, an Augusta, decided in the fifth century, inventing the concept of a State of law). 

So what’s the problem of the USA with the International Criminal Court? Cowardice? France and Rwanda have been exchanging war crime accusations, and Germany obliged by arresting a top Rwandan colonel on behalf of France three weeks ago. France has major military operations in half a dozen countries and is not afraid of being dragged in front of the International Criminal Court any time soon.

Why? Because the name for France in Chinese means “country of law”. Therein the bottom of the strength for France, and the bottom of the problem for English America. Technically, when slavery was established in English America, it violated Frankish (and therefore English) law. English America started as a rogue State, violating both the equality before justice at the root of the State of law, and the Frankish antislavery law. (Hopefully Obama, a Constitutional law professor, will appreciate the historical depth of the argument!)

English America has thrived by taking important short cuts on the law. But now this is all over. Transparency and the global village are here to stay. The West has interest to play according to the rules of law. It invented them, it is best at them.

Joining international justice is not just a question of ethics, it’s a question of the basic interest of the USA. It ought not to take many years to act on this.

Patrice Ayme


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Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

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Defense Issues

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Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

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Writer, Editor, Berliner

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SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism