Posts Tagged ‘Direct democracy’

President “Finally” On His “Own”?

May 19, 2015

So the President Of The U.S. (“POTUS”) claims. Hope we can believe in.

Barack Obama just got his own Twitter account. Just like millions of teenagers out there! He is coming out on his “own”! Let me reproduce the exchange:

President Obama ‏@POTUS May 18

“Hello, Twitter! It’s Barack. Really! Six years in, they’re finally giving me my own account.”

Patrice Ayme ‏@Tyranosopher

@POTUS Welcome! A question: who is “they”? What else are “they” “finally giving”? In any case, nice to see you on your “own”.

Barack Obama committed a Freudian slip, on steroids. This time, and not for the first time, he admitted he is not on his own. Barack Obama, president of the USA, is even more grounded that the average American teenager.

Some will say that this is understandable: a president, like other top politicians, has to have “handlers”, people in the shadows, telling him what to do, what to say, where to go, writing his speeches, etc.

A president, some will say, has to “preside”, represent everybody, the nation itself, he, or she, cannot be just an individual, but a function, an institution.

However, who does he talk to?

When one visits Barack Obama, and pays attention to the surroundings, what is striking is the military deployment. Hundreds of superb professionals, trained to kill with heavy weapons are all around, hidden from public view. It has to be hidden, because it were not, the USA would start to look like a military dictatorship. We don’t want to feel that way, do we?

So who goes through this (peregrinating) military fortress? The best and the brightest. Access is denied to common folks. Serious scholarly studies have show that, in the matter of legislation, only the preoccupations of the elite go through.

(Since this is known, that only the elite legislates, the very knowledge of this anti-democratic horror may have change the behavior of the “Democratic Party” rank and file. Thus, I feel incline to believe, the resistance to the Trans Pacific Partnership, the TPP. That other scholarly studies, just published have shown that such “free trade” treaties are reduced quality employment in the USA, did not improve matters.)

Who is the best and brightest? The most powerful and wealthiest. Those who will feed and comfort all the critters of the present Obama administration, once that vaporizes in two years.

In other words, the president, and his collaborators, talk to the powers that be. The wealth, that is.

Barack Obama was explicitly told, before he became President, that he had to leave his friends behind. “They only cause problems.” So he was told by a plutocrat who used to be Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff, Erskine Bowles.

Those are the ones who control Barack Obama as if he were an unruly teenager. After six years of good behavior, those worthies are happy to let little boy Barack get his own Twitter account. Little Barack is now a big boy. A boy who served the big white masters very well. They are grateful, and impressed.

So what we see is that, having just one, or a few people in charge, cannot work: unavoidably, they will come under the spell of the pre-existing class of owners.

That was a well-known problem. So Robespierre, Saint-Just and company decided to exterminate the pre-existing owners and controllers (the famous “Terreur” of the French Revolution). Earlier in England, Cromwell, the “Lord Protector” had instituted a similar system which dissipated quickly after his death (which happened within 5 years). The Terreur lasted roughly a year, before its perpetrators got cut down to size.

However Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and the Khmers Rouges were more successful: they eradicated the pre-existing class, ruthlessly. In retrospect, everybody agrees that was a mistake (and the present “Princelings” in command in China’s “People Republic” will be the first to tell you so, thus they reconstituted an elite composed mostly of themselves!)

The solution?

Get out of the class problem entirely. How? Make an increasing number of drastic decisions subject to the vote of the People.

For example, our newly liberated boy Barack wants to get “trade authority” to negotiate the TPP (and a similar Transatlantic Treaty). Then he will talk to the adults, the very wealthy and powerful adults who control his Twitter accounts and all what he is supposed to feel and think about, and how.

Why not to submit the TPP to a referendum?

Because most of the individuals negotiating the TPP right now are employees of giant corporations? Whereas government representatives are few; the TPP will give corporations right they don’t have now, such as modifying laws, and suing states. Although that was hidden below thick layers of lies.

That the boy who could only get his Twitter account after six years wants to represent, all by his little self, nearly a billion people in the West, is surrealistic.

We used to have representatives and officials and ministers, out of necessity. In countries such as France, or, a fortiori, the USA, it would take weeks to travel across. In the Middle-Ages, only the cardinals living around Rome, no more than 20 of them, would elect the Popes. A cardinal in England, or Spain, or Germany, would not take part in these elections.

But now we have the Internet.

The root of the word “minister”, as in “Prime Minister”, is the Latin ministrare “to serve, attend, wait upon”. In the Middle-Ages, it was closely related to servitude (or ministrels, the musicians who attended to courts). We don’t need those servants anymore: they have other masters, they do not obey us anymore.

Thanks to the Internet, we can give our own opinions, and debate them. Switzerland is increasingly using these “votations”. The system works splendidly. Most controversial measures lead to fierce debates, and public opinion varies accordingly.

Debates do not have to replace democratic institutions (army, police, justice, the orders of MDs, etc.). These institutions, which are meritocratic, are the answer to Socrates’ objection to electing generals and the like (as was done in Athens).

However Socrates did not object to Athens National Assembly, which often necessitated a quorum of 6,000. That meant that farmers of Attica, if they wanted to vote, had to leave their farms for many days. Nowadays, with the Internet, they could vote while having breakfast.

Debates allow good ideas to exterminate bad ideas. That’s what we need.

We don’t need to be led by people who need six years of good behavior to be authorized to have their own account.

Patrice Ayme’

Antarctica Heat Records. A Consequence Of Hubris?

April 1, 2015

WE KNEW OF NUCLEAR MELT-DOWNS. WHAT ABOUT HUBRIS MELT-DOWNS?

Hubris melting down world security, including Antarctica. Five national heat records were beaten since the start of 2015.

Including the one in Antarctica, last week.

The poles are where heat records are going to be achieved the most.

Why?

Planetary warming is concentrated there. If the temperature goes up two degrees Celsius overall, it will get up TEN degrees Celsius at the Poles. Or so I claim. (Right now we are up officially only .8 degree Celsius, in the global average.)

NASA explains why climate change is warming the poles of our planet faster than the rest this way: “energy in the atmosphere that is carried to the poles through large weather systems.”

That is true, but does not explain the big picture.

500 Kilometers South Of Esperanza Base, Lemaire Channel.

500 Kilometers South Of Esperanza Base, Lemaire Channel.

[Antarctica has 70% of the World’s sweet water.]

The big picture of why the poles are warming up so fast is proven by history, and explained by simple physics. The history of the last five million years, basic thermodynamics, biology and celestial mechanics. It’s etched in stone.

Five millions years ago, the planet was warm. The global CO2 level was the same as now. The global sea level was much higher (30 to 40 meters higher). Then the Central America isthmus closed down, thanks to all its volcanoes. This modified currents worldwide. Or, at least, so went the theory that reigned for thirty years. But now doubts have surfaced; the isthmus between the Americas may be much older than previously thought.

In any case, a few million years ago, Earth’s orbital parameters changed: the inclination of the Earth on the ecliptic (the plane in which its rotation occurs) diminished. That implied colder summers, hence the persistence, thus built-up, of ice at the poles.

Glaciations are all about the peak temperatures, in summer (the rest of the year does not count: ice melts mostly in the warmest two months).

The Arctic became colder, as it got colder in summer. Ice gained, shutting down the CO2 within the ocean with a cold water lid. So CO2 levels in the lower atmosphere collapsed… Down to about 280 ppm. That increased the cooling down. The ice gained further… Until it went so south that it melted in summer.

The planet ended up with two very white, snowy and icy poles, reflecting a lot of light back to space. Earth got equipped with two immense refrigerators. This is the environment in which our species evolved (although there were a few transient spikes even warmer than today, for as inclination over the ecliptic became momentarily pronounced, with torrid summers that made ice melt; the present warming is different, as it is Anthropogenic Green House Gases driven; particularly nasty volcanism could drive the CO2 up, but did not happen in the last five million years.)

Now we are back to Pliocene CO2 levels, 5 million years ago. With these levels of CO2, so much infrared radiation gets trapped close the ground, that the refrigerators are bound to melt. Another reason is that the warm CO2 blanket tends to unify the temperature.

Another way to look at it is that the temperature of the equatorial regions is an average of 25C. The average temperature of the planet is 15C. The average temperature within Antarctica goes from -10C (Coast) to -60C (Interior). Say it’s minus 45C (the official estimate).

If the CO2 blanket is thick enough, the poles will roughly get as warm as the rest.

There will be a lot of inertia: when an ice cube melts in water, the water stays around freezing during the process.

The warmest temperature recorded on the continent of Antarctica occurred on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, when the mercury shot up to 63.5°F (17.5°C) at Argentina’s Esperanza Base on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Shown below:

Esperanza Base, Antarctica: the Glaciers Even Appear To Be Melting

Esperanza Base, Antarctica: the Glaciers Even Appear To Be Melting

[Glaciers that are melting are thin at the margins, and convex… Just as above on the left and center.]

The previous record was 63.3°F (17.4°C) set just one day previously at Argentina’s Marambio Base, an island just off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

I am warming up to this subject. (And I did not even mention the relationship between obesity and rising CO2 that some researchers have recently suggested. C02 rose around 30% in 60 years…)

According to satellite data, researchers from the University of Southampton in the UK, found that sea level rise around the coast of Antarctica over the past 19 years was 8 centimeters (3.15 inches).

Average sea level rise was 6 centimeters (2.36 inches).

Why the difference?

Last summer, in Nature Geoscience, the specialists explained that melting glaciers create an outflow of sweet water. As it is less dense, it floats above the salted water, according to Archimedes Principle.

This will only accelerate melting.

Up north, on February 25, 2015, Arctic sea ice extent reached its annual maximum extent. It was the lowest, and earliest, ever.

Humanity would seem to be in a fascinating state of denial. But not really. After all, maybe only 2,000 individuals lead the world.

Those individuals, who Obama calls the “leaders” (what else?) can only adopt Louis XV of France’s utterance: ”Après moi, le déluge”. (After me, the flood.)

Indeed those leaders are different creatures. Those who are so much greedier for personal power that they end up dominating billions, can only be blinded by it. They have more power than anybody before. More power than any tyrant ever had before.

Contemplate Benjamin Netanyahu: he could fry Iran, with Israeli H bombs. That has got to make him dizzy. And he leads only six million Israeli Jews (who make 75% of Israel’s 8 million).

Now think of Putin, with 24 times more subjects, and more than 8,000 nukes.

Then contemplate the senseless wars the Greek city-states were making to each other. Everybody was allied, and enemy, of everybody else, and often in very short order (weeks). Meanwhile the “King”, namely the emperor of Persia, was busy making the mess messier, with the tremendous money, power and influence at his disposal.

This fibrillating, bellicose frenzy went on and on. Until the plutocrats from the north, the Macedonians, whose wealth rested on horses and gold mines, swooped down.

We could easily fall back in a similar state.

It was the inability of Athens to impose a sustainable empire that caused the war panic in Greece. The war itself was launched by Sparta’s anxiety for the rise of Athenian power (said Thucydides, 24 centuries ago). Sparta’s socio-economic model, ferocious racist exploitation (of the Helots) was failing. Athens’ global trade was winning.

But, too sure of her strength, Athens mismanaged the war (in several dimensions: ethically, strategically, tactically, diplomatically, epidemiologically, etc.).

Result? 23 centuries of eclipse of direct democracy. And counting. Direct Democracy has been re-installed only in Switzerland. Now the stakes are higher. Western Europe is at peace… All too much.

The Main Stream Media have put everybody to sleep. Regularly the media, in turn, publish articles of Matt Ridley. An excellent writer, with a PhD in biology, author of many best sellers in life sciences, Matt Ridley returns to the Wall Street Journal to to argue against clean energy rapidly scaling up, and the science linking the year 2014’s record heat, widespread extreme weather with carbon pollution.

Lord Ridley is a parody of plutocrat. Not only he sieges at the Chamber of Lords, he is a “coal baron” with a revenue from a coal mine on his family estate of six million dollars a year. Yes, he is a major corrupt banker too.

Such people mold world public opinion, as their friends in the MSM give them the means for propaganda. See Lord Ridley’s Rule.

Because they did not have even enough elements to get angry, let alone fight our corrupt leaders, and take over their so-called leadership, our supine populations will soon have to fight the flood. And a real one.

And that will come with a Greek situation, the war of all against all (whom Xenophon related in his Hellenica, the primary source for Greek history from 411 BCE to 362 BCE, the explicit continuation of the History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides).

The war of all against all may have already started. See Obama desperate to strike a deal with his friends of the instant, in Iran and Russia, while others (notably France) want an exemplary accord, and hang tough. Well, France is right. The last thing we need is nuclear weapons all over, while the global flooding accelerates.

Patrice Ayme’

No Taxation Without Decision

January 31, 2015

Responsibility, Greeks, Jews, Nazis, Decision Making, Trans Pacific Partnership, Big Pharmaceuticals… Or All the Evil The Lack of Direct Democracy Fostered:

Eugen Lowy”: Dear Patrice… The Greek economic problem is more a moral problem than an economic problem. The moral question is what responsibilities has an individual to take regarding the decisions of leading elites of community they belong to.”

I have thought of this problem deeply and forever, in light of the Nazi problem. When I was around the age of 6 (!), a cousin told me that Nazism was not the fault of the Germans, but of the crooks who had led the Germans. I did not believe it at the time, and I spent a lot of time demonstrating to my satisfaction that this was not true.

I do believe in collective responsibility. We are collectively culprit to let ourselves being abused by plutocrats and their giant corporations:

Banks: Mandated to Create  Money. Money Farmers. Pharmaceuticals: Mandated to Create Health. Health Farmers. Media: Mandated to Create Minds. Mind Farmers.

Banks: Mandated to Create Money. Money Farmers. Pharmaceuticals: Mandated to Create Health. Health Farmers. Media: Mandated to Create Minds. Mind Farmers.

The State and the Government is not just who We the People elect to be represented by. De facto.

I believe in the collective responsibility of those who accept wholeheartedly criminal systems of thoughts and moods.

To say: ”My leader was a liar and a crook, I disavow him (her)” is acceptable, and honorable. However, it loses all credibility if one still espouses the moods and ideas that made the leader what he (she) became.

There is plenty of evidence that, after the Nazis had been militarily extinguished, Nazi moods and thoughts survived in Germany for decades. In particular, Germans who had resisted, or fought the Nazis were viewed, then, as traitors. It took decades to honor those who had attempted to kill Hitler.

Young officers of the best lineage (Prussian aristocrats) who planned to kill Hitler, and survived the post-coup bloodbath of Hitler against his own officer corps (around 5,000 assassinated), were then blocked by top Nazis such as the famous Von Manstein, to have any influence on the Bundeswehr.

This only happened because tens of millions of Germans were still Nazis, for want of a better word. When the Nazi ringleaders (for example Von Manstein) died, moods and ideas changed: today’s Germany is much closer, in moods and ideas, to present day France than to the Germany of 1945.

Today Richard Von Weisacker died. He had been German president. His father, one of the top Nazis, got seven years imprisonment at Nuremberg. The president himself had served in Hitler’s army. Such people recognized their crimes, all the way to Jerusalem. However, only their deaths turn the page.

Here is another example: I was in the USA during the ramp-up and unleashing of the Iraq war. I saw “friends” and “family” lay on sofas, watching hours of American “Football” and basketball. They could not care less. They had no inclination to find what was going-on. It was all the way like that, throughout the media. The slightest murmur or comment against plutocrat Bush was viewed as an unpatriotic act.

That made them all, as individuals, accomplices of the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

As far as the Greeks are concerned, it is obvious that the average Greek did not partake in the erroneous and criminal decisions taken by the Greek and European elites.

Eugen: “So the moral question is, who has to take responsibilities for promiscuous behavior? Should it be the Greek leading elites? The Greek people? Maybe the German and French banksters and their servants? Or maybe the moral responsibility lays on the shoulders of the descendants of the German Nazis? And then if the one responsible to be blamed will be finally found, what will be the right punishment for them?”

To determine responsibilities, one has FIRST to determine causalities. Most people do not have the faintest idea about how money is created. Bankers create money (through credit). Thus bankers have extraordinary, unworldly, undemocratic powers.

This fact, in turn, is carefully hidden by systems of moods and thoughts whose main role is to hide what bankers really do.

Eugen: “Then the other moral-political question is, what responsibilities shout carry the leading elites, who implemented, short sighted policy of greed, personal enrichment and deception and if they are punishable for their crimes.”

Before they can be punished, the crimes they committed have to be understood, and viewed as crimes.

An example is the Jewish problem.

Eugen: “For 2000 years the Jews were an easy target for persecution. They were pushed to the edge of the societies, dehumanized, marginalized, humiliated, closed to their ghettoes. Too many times the Catholic Church initiated their annihilation.”

This is case where the crimes committed have not been understood. Not only that, but the very semantics used is criminal. Anti-Judaism is described as “anti-Semitism”. That confusion, per se, is a crime. A crime against reason.

Judaism is the mother religion of Christianism, and, thus Islam (although there is also a direct filiation, dues to the Yattrib/Medina stay of Muhammad). Judaism became, at some point, more than 2,000 years ago, a religion, not just an ethnic group (one can argue this happened more than 25 centuries ago, because of the Babylonian captivity of some Israelis). Thus “anti-Semitism” is not an appropriate term.

After the demented theocracy that smothered the Roman empire, Franks re-established Pagans, Atheists and Jews to their rights. Charlemagne took himself for Israel’s King David (somebody famous for disobeying god’s criminally insane orders).

Christianism (= Catholicism for 15 centuries) eradicated, or try to eradicate, using methods that made the Nazis look like choir boys, all religions for 15 centuries. Then those rabid dogs had a go at each other, logically enough.

In particular, in the case of France, seven religious wars occurred, in short order at the end of the Sixteenth Century (meanwhile the Church was busy burning alive philosophers). Then, in the following century the Sun-Tyrant, Louis XIV, threw the Protestants out of France (as a result France started to lose wars and territory, surprise, surprise).

Jews had been living in France for 16 centuries, and Protestantism was around five centuries old (I consider the Cathars to be the most radical Protestants, ever).

Eugen: “In your essay you attack the multinational corporations and their unscrupulous tendency not to pay taxes. The problem of paying or not paying taxes is not a question of morality… but a question, who is better to allocate resources to create maximal well-being for the people of the states. I personally have difficulty to believe, that the government is the best tool to do it. I rather believe, that decentralization of resource allocation decision process, could be more effective than its monopolization in hands of the government. “No taxation without representation”, is a very relevant slogan in these days, when the political elites can do any kind of unscrupulous decisions without a need to pay for its to many times disastrous consequences. ( viz Greece above ).”

Part of this argument has been made by Bill Gates. And it’s as old as plutocracy.

No taxation without representation” is itself a slogan that creates its own poisonous context. The context being “representation”. In the USA, as it is, around 600,000 people are “represented” by one person. The Greeks would have called that tyranny.

I propose instead: “No personal taxation without personal decision”.

In the 1790s, De Sade, eminent deputy of the far-left at the Constitutional Assembly, proposed not just that women vote, but that direct democracy be established. That was very sadistic of him.

Our leaders are ignorant little twerps. What they know best, is how to lie. Beyond that, they are at a loss. This is not surprising: the People is ignorant, ill-informed, and infantilized. An elite, mostly made of people with the worst motivations, takes all the decisions, and claims to have all the knowledge, and the wisdom.

In truth, they know naught.

The way to expose that is to establish a debate, that is, direct democracy. Out of the debate will come the intelligence.

Imagine the Nazis debating in public, with input from everybody, their “Final Solution” for the “Jewish Problem”. Imagine Putin having to explain in detail, in a debate, how the “volunteers” who stream into Ukraine are paid and equipped. Imagine having General Powel having to explain what exactly he meant with, and how he obtained, his little drawings of trucks converted into biological weapons labs. Powell, representing the USA, used these lies at the UN, but nobody was empowered to contradict him.

Entire nations ought not to be represented by real, or even potential, liars. It is high time for people to be fully informed, and fully enabled to take the fundamental decisions.

Are we getting more direct democratic? The decision of displacing a TGV (High Speed Train) in Eastern France’s Loraine is submitted to direct vote: very good. Meanwhile the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are pursued secretly among plutocrats.

Don’t Trade Away Our Health” whines the New York Times (where were you during the negotiations of “Obamacare”?)

Actually, I should not make fun of the author, Joseph Stiglitz, a good guy:

“A secretive group met behind closed doors in New York this week. What they decided may lead to higher drug prices for you and hundreds of millions around the world.

Representatives from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries convened to decide the future of their trade relations in the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (T.P.P.). Powerful companies appear to have been given influence over the proceedings, even as full access is withheld from many government officials from the partnership countries.”

Compare with the Wansee conference, where the Final Solution for the Jews was elaborated: ”a secretive group…” Abomination and infamy always entail secretive groups, as De Sade pointed out.

Stiglitz points out that the bad guy there is the USA Trade Representative, who wants to increase Big Pharma’s” profits.

If Big Pharma spent its money on research, that would be OK, but it’s not the case, most of the money goes to corruption: advertising, so-called marketing, and extravagant salaries for the Plutos and CEO class at the top.

The USA Trade Representative will soon be rewarded, as a good pet, with extraordinary salary and compensation (as Obama comes and goes). Stiglitz:

“Historically, though, the trade representative’s office has aligned itself with corporate interests. If big pharmaceutical companies hold sway — as the leaked documents indicate they do — the T.P.P. could block cheaper generic drugs from the market. Big Pharma’s profits would rise, at the expense of the health of patients and the budgets of consumers and governments… If the United States Trade Representative gets its way, the T.P.P. will limit the ability of partner countries to restrict prices. And the pharmaceutical companies surely hope the “standard” they help set in this agreement will become global — for example, by becoming the starting point for United States negotiations with the European Union over the same issues. ”

Let me have Stiglitz say what I did for years. But it’s good to have a Nobel in Economics saying it:

“Of course, pharmaceutical companies claim they need to charge high prices to fund their research and development. This just isn’t so. For one thing, drug companies spend more on marketing and advertising than on new ideas. Overly restrictive intellectual property rights actually slow new discoveries, by making it more difficult for scientists to build on the research of others and by choking off the exchange of ideas that is critical to innovation. As it is, most of the important innovations come out of our universities and research centers, like the National Institutes of Health, funded by government and foundations.

The efforts to raise drug prices in the T.P.P. take us in the wrong direction. The whole world may come to pay a price in the form of worse health and unnecessary deaths.”

In 2013, 100 leading oncologists from around the world wrote an open letter in the journal Blood calling for a reduction in the price of cancer drugs.

Dr. Brian Druker, director of the Knight Cancer Institute, one of the signatories, asked: “If you are making $3billion a year on [cancer drug] Gleevec, could you get by with $2billion? When do you cross the line from essential profits to profiteering?”

None of this would happen without secrecy, and the very respect which is extended to the creeps who lord over us. Time for some audacity from those who ought to govern, us: We The People, not them the bosses.

All this evil is made possible by the concentration of decision making in a few hands. That is intrinsically plutocratic.

Absolute power corrupts and pollutes absolutely: when watching our dear leaders, remember, you are watching people who are absolutely corrupt. If they were not so before they got power, they sure are it, now. The very notion that a few are only habilitated to know all, and decide all, is sick.

No taxation without decision.

Patrice Ayme’

World’s largest pharmaceutical firms
Company Total revenue ($bn) R&D spend ($bn) Sales and marketing spend ($bn) Profit ($bn) Profit margin (%)
Johnson & Johnson (US) 71.3 8.2 17.5 13.8 19
Novartis (Swiss) 58.8 9.9 14.6 9.2 16
Pfizer (US) 51.6 6.6 11.4 22.0 43
Hoffmann-La Roche (Swiss) 50.3 9.3 9.0 12.0 24
Sanofi (France) 44.4 6.3 9.1 8.5 11
Merck (US) 44.0 7.5 9.5 4.4 10
GSK (UK) 41.4 5.3 9.9 8.5 21
Astra Zeneca (UK) 25.7 4.3 7.3 2.6 10
Eli Lilly (US) 23.1 5.5 5.7 4.7 20
AbbVie (US) 18.8 2.9 4.3 4.1 22
Source: GlobalData

Tax Power Absolutely

December 9, 2014

The following reflections were inspired by recent meditations from Bill Gates (‘Good guys like me should not be taxed, because we are so good), Vlad Putin (‘I will not say I will be president for life, because I may not want it, when the time comes’). Paul Krugman will be spared today, as he just declared: “Just to be clear, I’m not calling the Obama-era economy a success story.

Light is finally reaching the long winter which has been Krugman’s mind.

And the good professor to explain: “We needed faster job growth this time around than under Mr. Bush, because the recession was deeper, and unemployment stayed far too high for far too long. But we can now say with confidence that the recovery’s weakness had nothing to do with Mr. Obama’s (falsely) alleged anti-business slant. What it reflected, instead, was the damage done by government paralysis — paralysis that has, alas, richly rewarded the very politicians who caused it.”

And first among those were, with all due respect, Mr. Obama, Pelosi, and company. They were actually consulted, and decided, upon the measures to be taken, even before Obama became president (Bush had washed his hands of the whole thing: although the crash happened below his watch, the real decisions which had led to it, were taken under Clinton, thanks to massive deregulation).

So the economy may be improving, but for whom?

Having more slaves employed makes a better economy for plutocrats, but not necessarily for common folks. Similarly, greater riches, if they only go to the .1%, may boost GDP, but not the average family.

Actually, the more powerful the plutocrats, the worse the society. Thus one has to look not just to the employment rate, but also to how much common folks earn. The employment rate stays deeply depressed, and so does median income.

Economics without the correct social indicators, is only ruin of the soul.

Bill Gates believes he uses power better than others. In: Wealth and Capital. Why Inequality Matters, Bill explains why he should be taxed less:

“But rather than move to a progressive tax on capital, as Piketty would like, I think we’d be best off with a progressive tax on consumption. Think about the three wealthy people I described earlier: One investing in companies, one in philanthropy, and one in a lavish lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with the last guy, but I think he should pay more taxes than the others.”

I propose, instead, a more general sort of tax. And a much more powerful one:

Tax power directly, and absolutely.

Bill Gates has much power than his wealth simply suggest. By heading a giant foundation, the Bill and Melinda, Gates doubles what the money he controls can buy. Plus, he gets to meet with whichever leader he wants to meet. If he wants to meet with Obama, Xi, or Putin, he just can hit Skype any time he wants.

Money buys power. Even political power.

When asked whether the president’s chair was with him “forever,” Putin told TASS: “No,” adding: “This is not good and detrimental for the country and I do not need it as well.” Apparently, too much criticism causes even Putin to melt…

Yet, even after Putin steps down, will his wealth (at least 40 billion), and his network of plutocrats and secret service types step down? Not a chance.

And what about Bill Gates’ control of immense wealth and networks? Will they step down, those wealth, networks, and power structures? Not a chance. Here is Bill again, deploying his stem argument:

I fully agree that we don’t want to live in an aristocratic society in which already-wealthy families get richer simply by sitting on their laurels and collecting what Piketty calls “rentier income”—that is, the returns people earn when they let others use their money, land, or other property. But I don’t think America is anything close to that.

Take a look at the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans. About half the people on the list are entrepreneurs whose companies did very well (thanks to hard work as well as a lot of luck). Contrary to Piketty’s rentier hypothesis, I don’t see anyone on the list whose ancestors bought a great parcel of land in 1780 and have been accumulating family wealth by collecting rents ever since. In America, that old money is long gone—through instability, inflation, taxes, philanthropy, and spending.”

Bill is (deliberately?) naïve. Or even downright silly. Look at the Congress of the USA. Many among the richest inherited their wealth. Actually the richest Senator is Jay Rockefeller, and he is an heir of the oil tycoon by the same name. If one added all the wealth and influence of the Rockefellers heirs, one would get astonishing numbers: there are lots of heirs.

The Roman Republic had an absolute cap on the wealth a family could own. It also had varied caps on absolute power. So it lasted 5 centuries, the absolute record for a Republic, so far.

What we have to limit is power. Gates has too much power, Putin has too much power. He seems to understand this. Power sucks in, it’s a disease of the soul. In general, plutocrats are too much power.

Even Paul Krugman has too much power. He talks, he talks, and then the New York Times makes readers believe comments have been allowed. But actually all my comments are severely inspected, many are censored (be it only because they don’t fit the mood that the New York Times wants to impart; say, a few years ago, that Obamacare was perfect). Most are delayed until noon the next day (so nobody reads them).

Krugman and the New York Times are just a tiny part of a gigantic problem: if we want truth to be blossom, the right of answer has to be systematic against any authority whatsoever. The enormous computing power we have at our disposal would allow to classify objections by categories and dimensions, bringing forth the most substantive critiques. Then those ought to be debated.

Elect ideas, not people. And use the right of answer to do so. That right of answer, by any citizen, was viewed as fundamental for Athenian democracy, in the National Assemblies. It even had its own name.

That was 25 centuries ago. Some progress is in order. The Christian Apostle Luke sniffed with disapproval that “the Athenians spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.“(So Luke hated novelty, thus secularism, no surprise there.)

Well, we are heading in an ever newer world every day, we need to debate it ever more, and in novel ways. And a few minds, be they Bill, Paul, or Vladimir Vladimirovich, are just not smart enough to replace the massive debates which are needed.

The most important product is not oil, or money, but truth. We cannot get to it, without limiting individuals’ power, when it extends beyond truth.

We have to limit power, and that means to limit how much power a single mind, physical or moral, can express without democratic challenge.

Patrice Ayme’

Even Vladimir Vladimirovich seems to come to realize that he has been collapsing under his own enthusiastic self-admiration, and metastatic power: he would have cut at the last moment some blistering criticism of the Ukrainian Republic, in a recent speech.

Censoring “Electrocoal”, Violating Democracy

November 26, 2014

“Scientific American” Censors “Electrocoal”, Violating Free Speech, the Status of the Internet as Public Utility, And, More Generally, Democracy:

President Obama declared last week that the Internet was a Public Utility. Rightly so. Say you build up a bridge. Does that give you the right to do whatever you want with the bridge when people use it? Not so, especially if the bridge has become a Public Utility.

Any media using the Internet is, to some extent, a Public Utility, because the Internet is a Public Utility.

Expression on the Internet is what Free Speech has become now.

A fundamental democratic right in Athens was that of addressing the Assembly.

There should be a right of free speech answer, especially when a site allows public comments.

More generally, the Internet is in need of laws, with the core aim of enabling Free Speech, and disallowing Hate Speech. Commercial, For-Profit Speech ought to be regulated: commerce is always regulated.

As it is, the Internet is the Wild West, and those with the biggest guns rule. Comments, rankings, private information and access are manipulated all over. Some companies’ business is actually to write fake comments and reviews, while passing for non-profit oriented free speech individuals: this ought to be considered consumer fraud, and the appropriate laws ought to be passed to criminalize the activity.

Scientific American is in the habit of censoring comments: “deciding what material is displayed on our website is our right”. They have censored strict scientific comments from me (without explanation).

A law ought to be passed forbidding public utilities to censor comments without some excellent reason. (Journalists are above the law in the sense that they do not have to reveal their sources, nor can be tried for opinion; so journalism always has a public utility aspect at its root.)

Take the example of Free Speech in the street: it is a right of democracy. Yet it can be curtailed by the police if, and only if, it “disrupts the peace”, or violates other laws. In practice, the police rarely intervenes (in democracy, it would have to justify its intervention!)

Scientific American censors, and others, such as Facebook, have argued that their website is their own property, they can do what they want. Well, not really. The problem is that they are in position of monopoly (or more exactly, oligarchy). Then, to empower their oligarchy, they use, and need to use, a Public Utility. That means they are financed by the citizenry in general. Moreover, they got a fiduciary duty: informing and debating in a non grossly misleading, non injurious way.

I related that The Economist censored me for quoting the Qur’an (no, I did not join the Jihad; my aim was to show that, at face value, the Qur’an calls for violent acts, and, thus, the need for Imams to inform believers that this is all allegorical, and outlawing interpretations that are stricto sensu).

In an article on fuel cell cars, the SA Master allowed dozens of comments from (taxpayer financed) Elon Musk’s minions, calling fuel cell cars “fool cars”. That was not censored. I replied in kind.

Scientific American censored me for calling electric cars, ELECTROCOAL. So doing, I claim that Scientific American violated the notion of PUBLIC UTILITY.

Scientific American sent me the following email:

“This comment has been deleted. Scientific American reserves the right to delete comments and revoke commenting privileges without notice. A subscription does not exempt you from our rules, and deciding what material is displayed on our website is our right, not censorship. You can create your own website for your own opinions and views, to share with the world. Scientific American does not owe anyone a platform – anyone may create a website of their own.

This comment is off-topic. Further violations will result in the loss of your commenting privileges, so please review our guidelines carefully. This help desk will not provide another warning.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/page/sa-community-guidelines/

Regards,

SA Webmaster”

[Notice the contradictions and the weasel words, Big Brother speech: censorship desk is called “help desk”, and “further violations…no other warning”.] “Webmaster” is an interesting Freudian slip: in a free society, the Internet should have laws, not “masters”.

Calling Tesla Electric Cars “electrocoal” is an allusion to the fact that electric cars in the USA are loaded with electricity that is half produced in coal thermal plants. So their global efficiency is that of a coal burning installation (more on this in another essay).

The Masters at Scientific American don’t like “electrocoal”. So they censor it, and call me a “violator”. And threaten to unilaterally cancel a contract with me, while still taking my money. No law prevents them to indulge in all these abuses of power.

Just as no law prevents Uber, an Internet based car-rental company, to use the private information it gathers on its clients, tracking them, selling the data.

Uber has apologized. But there should be a law, and employees, and owners, who have violated that law ought to go to jail. Yes, shareholders ought to be punished, as those who owned shares in companies that make money from slaves, ought to be punished; believe or not, those are still around!

Laws are not censorship, they are the common rules which apply equally. Private censorship, though, while using the Public Utility of the Internet, is a violation of said equality, which is the essence of democracy. Violation of democracy ought to be unlawful, just as the equally vaguely defined “hate speech”, or “genocide” are unlawful.

The problem is the same as when plutocrats use publicly financed research to increase their wealth or power (thus scientific publishing ought to be open source, and subsidies from the likes of NASA to private enterprises subject to serious examination… same as subsidies to big banks).

The ultimate reason for democracy, is not fairness, but intelligence. That makes even dictators long for democracy. Democracy allows the group to reach higher intelligence than any other society. The Internet is a tool to further the debate of ideas (ideas which do not violate the law, including hate speech, that is).

Violating the free debate of ideas ought to be left to dictators, and other “Masters”. It ought to be illegal in democracy.

The right of reply ought to be enshrined in democracy. The manipulations of commentary, and censorship for profit or bullies’ sake, or for perverting the minds of the public or children (see Islamism) ought to be illegal, even if done under the cover of higher morality, or hypocrisy.

Internet policing will not solve all the problems of vicious thinking, but it will allow to threaten to address the most egregious of them.

Patrice Ayme’

Elect Ideas, Not Clowns

November 6, 2014

Obama Versus Brown. Obama’s  Inexistence Made Blatant. Last Twitches Coming?

Obama, the Resident of the White House, said something particularly deep and clever today:”… to the two-thirds of Americans who did not take part in the process yesterday, I hear you too!”

Which process is Obama alluding to? Voting. Two-thirds of eligible Americans did not vote. American citizens are voting out the conventional electoral process. Although I always voted, and although I spent two years, and a fortune, in effort and treasure, to get Obama elected, eight years ago, this time I did not vote.

Your humble servant, and We The People have had enough of electing little dictators.

Antares Rocket, One Of Obama's Pluto Pet, Goes The Way Of His Presidency

Antares Rocket, One Of Obama’s Pluto Pet, Goes The Way Of His Presidency

If one wants democracy, We The People has got to vote on (most) laws. Politicians ought not to be called “legislators”. Instead, they should be just in charge of the details.

In the meantime, refusing to vote is a king of sitting in the middle of the street.

Brown is Obama’s skin: it turned out that color of the skin did not bring change. Duh. Brown is also the name of the governor of California, re-elected in a triumph, for the FOURTH time.

Brown did two terms as California governor, three decade ago. When he was re-elected 4 years ago, the situation was abysmal. Several governors could do anything to the California deficit. To raise taxes required 2/3 majority (66% for).

What did Brown do? He said: ”I’m raising taxes on the rich. You better vote for it. If you, Californians do not vote at more than 66% for that, I will close all your state parks.”

Californians love their parks. They screamed, and then voted as told. Plutocrats had said they would flee California. Guess what? They found they had nowhere else to go.

(BTW, had a referendum about taxing the plutocrats been proposed, I would have gone to vote.)

Brown spent 4 years training as a Jesuit for priesthood, in silence, prayer, and Latin. Later he went to UCB, became a lawyer, and worked, and studied (including Zen) in many countries (including Mexico and Japan).

He was not born yesterday.

Obama looked condemned to me the day after he got elected, 6 years ago: he went to work at a hedge fund. Hedge Fund: money changers, as president Roosevelt called them contemptuously (and FDR was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and basically brought up by Teddy Roosevelt, himself president of the USA).

That Obama went to work at a hedge fund told me he had understood nothing. Or, rather, strong supporters such as me, had understood nothing: Obama was the plutocrats’ candidate.

(That Obama was facing the wealthy Senator McCain, who did not even know how many mansions he had, does not make him any less the plutocrats’ candidate. Passing remark: Seneca, the philosopher, and Nero’s teacher, chuckled that he had no idea how many giant agribusinesses and properties he had on the various continents. Those who partake in the Stoic Religion, worship Seneca. And that’s a basic problem with the (hypocrisy of) stoicism.)

The leader of the Republicans, McConnell, Senior Senator of Kentucky, just said the Senate needed to be fixed. “We have an obligation to change the Senate”. He said he was going to fix the Senate, making it work on Fridays, even at midnight, and also Saturday, if need be.

McConnell’s head is entirely white: he has been elected to the Senate continuously, for 30 years. Hardly not an insider.

Question: what happened to the Tea Party? Well, it never really existed. It was one of the tricks used by Obama’s political allies to do nothing.

McConnell was asked whether he was afraid of Obama’s veto. He smiled: “the president vetoed 2 little bills in 6 years. In the first 2 years, he loved everything he saw.”

And nothing happened.

(Obama would say Obamacare happened. Or, as he calls it, proudly, in a marked cognitive dissonance, Romneycare. Even November 4, 2014, Obama gave a whole lesson to the press corps on how much Obamacare was actually his “former opponent” creation. That Obamacare was actually Romneycare should have told progressives something. In truth, Obamacare is an excellent deal for health care plutocrats. Everybody else? Not that much: the deductible on my health insurance is something like $9,000. So my family has to spent $9,000 from our pockets, before reimbursements kick in. That means if I spend $9,000 in the next 7 weeks in a hospital, I have to pay the whole thing. The clock restarts January 1. That, by the way, is on an expensive plan, $1,500/month.)

Nothing could happen under Obama, because he was, whether he realized it, or not, an agent of Wall Street, and various other plutocrats. Same problem with the Clinton. The Clintons’ “Global Initiative” has offices a rock throw from Wall Street.

Obama showed this in a telling way, supporting short term tweak to existing and past technologies, calling this support for Research (support for private entrepreneurs to get to orbit, such as the Antares rocket which exploded a week ago, is exhibit number one; the government of the USA ought to support only fundamental research, such as for thermonuclear fusion, or through schools).

We are still waiting for the reform of the financial system. It was not difficult: president Roosevelt’s system had to be dismantled. But then that would have dismantled Clinton Global Financial Initiative (I’m ironical).

And this is not just a USA problem. The European Central Bank just mentioned hundreds of billions of “financial derivatives” that European banks hold. Well, that cancer which spread form Chicago ought to be unlawful: banks ought to invest in the real economy, not in a parallel universe.

In case you wonder why financial derivatives billionaires give multi-million dollar prices for the Multiverse in physics, I just gave you the reason.

Is there anything to save from this Obama shipwreck?

Well, and this is what the colossal abstention vote is suggesting, we have to change the Constitution (all over; not just the USA and France, or Britain). No need to scream in my face, as a very busy San Francisco’s architect once did, and pontificate that this is not serious, and nobody would take me seriously, if I persist with my folly. It is. The best way is to do as Switzerland is doing, that is sensibly, and insensibly.

The Swiss Constitution was not designed for direct democracy, it’s just growing into one, with ever more referenda of We The People, on all important issues.

Interestingly (one of the) the “votation” coming in three weeks has to do with limiting immigration. It will not pass, but it has furthered an even more sophisticated reflection on the subject (a Swiss referendum against immigration from (the rest of) the European Union passed last year; negotiations Swiss-EU on it are intense).

Referenda are healthy. In Great Britain, immigration is a burning hot subject (people hate it). But because We The British People cannot vote directly on the issue, they have made the European Union (which has little to do with it) into the scapegoat.

We have to ask more from politics. This starts by voting out the conventional electoral process.

Elect grand ideas, not clowns.

Patrice Ayme’

Scottish Lessons; Catalonia Next

September 19, 2014

Scotland’s vote was a victory of democracy: 84% of the potential voters, voted. Nothing will be as it was before. The “No, tanks”, I mean, “No, thanks” scared rabbits won, with an impressive 55%. The “No, Thanks” were helped by enormous propaganda from the London elite, and promises never meant to keep. Yet, the debate is just starting. Worldwide.

It was independence from the London plutocracy which was demanded, and partially obtained further, even before voting, when London finally panicked, and offered whatever the Scots wanted.

It was pretty much plutocracy against Scotland: the financial markets rallied after they learned Scotland was nominally to stay subjugated to wealth friendly Westminster. Sir Mick Jagger and his fiscal paradises won (“Please to meet you, hope you guess my name…“).

The real fun is going to be when Catalonia proceeds with its independence referendum. This is going to be less civilized. The right wing Spanish Prime Minister is much less reasonable than David Cameron, the British PM. Of course, this is because Cameron was (erroneously, as he found out) sure to win, whereas the Spanish PM knows that Catalonia will vote for independence: a recent march for independence had 1.8 million Catalans in the streets, more than voted for independence in Scotland.

And the present French Prime Minister, the head strong Valls, in charge of saving France from herself, is Catalan born and raised. The French PM went to Catalonia, and made vibrant pro-European speeches there, in Catalan. For centuries, Catalonia, freed by Renovated Roman Emperor Charlemagne’s armies, was part of “France” (whatever “France” means), while Spain enjoyed an horrendous Islamist occupation. In practice, that meant Catalonia was independent for centuries… Until the German, Italian and Spanish fascists conquered the Catalan nation by force, massacres and gore, during their war against the Spanish republic (1936-1939).

Nationalism is obsolete. Yet direct democracy ought to be the future. There was an important transnational component in the Scottish vote, all for “independence”. Unsurprisingly, the anti-European hysteria in London pushed Scots away, and towards Europe.

“Independence” is all relative, as the Scottish National Party, like the Catalan one, is very pro-European.

In Athens, people had power: they voted themselves on the laws they wanted. Athenians did not “vote” through an oligarchy supposedly, and somehow, representing them. The “democracies” we have now are not democracies, but representative oligarchies. It’s joining insult to injury to call the regimes we suffer under, “democracies”.

Only the Swiss have a direct legislative democracy. Each of the 26 Cantons, has its own Constitution.

The independence referendum brought considerable concessions from London to Scotland. At least rhetorically. The UK now ought to equip itself with a federal constitution. No doubt that if London does not deliver, London will be punished.

Scotland is already a nation. Should it be a state? The average state in the USA is of the same size: 6 million people. The least to do is to give Scotland much more independence than the average American state enjoys, considering Scotland’s independent history (and resistance to the Romans, who never conquered it, although they tried, hard).

This is arguably even more true with Catalonia (more or less founded by Carthage, Catalonia was long independent, or part of the Frankish empire; Barcelona is named after Hamilcar Barca, a prominent Carthaginian plutocrat).

In general, as We The People vote by themselves, for themselves, the present oligarchies will have to make concessions. Thus just driving towards real democracy will have immediate effects, as it did in Scotland.

The lesson will resonate around the world. Time to ask for more than what the Scots already have. More independence from the powers that be.

Patrice Ayme’

Representation Is No Democracy

October 25, 2013

Imposing Representation Is Not Real Democracy

In 1789 the USA settled on a Constitution of “We The People” that set-up a “Congress” elected by the rich of the right color and religion. The president was elected by a few representatives (something that allowed to select the plutocrat G.W. Bush instead of the one who had won the election, by a few million votes, Gore).

A few people, easily bought, selected for their vainglorious greed, and anxiety to please, are in charge of the planet. This is not the rule of the People, it’s the rule of a few (=”oligarchy”). Can we do better? Yes.

Elevate Yourself With Towering Examples

Elevate Yourself With Towering Examples

Simultaneously, in 1789, France distinguished herself by the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen“. Although those Rights looked a product of the enlightenment, that Enlightenment was an outgrowth, a renaissance, of the spirit of the empire of the Franks (Imperium Francorum), that started around 300 CE with the “Lex Salica” (that went later through dozens of revisions, as it quickly grew to 65 chapters).

An example of this rediscovery of old values: the slave trade was made unlawful again, nearly 12 centuries after the Franks had done it the first time around.

The Rights of Man more or less grew into the Charter of the United Nations. The European Union made mandatory the “democratic” form of governance to belong to the EU.

Yet the problem is: what does democracy mean? The last law forbidding marriages of “mixed races” was outlawed in the 2000s.

The USA outlawed slavery only in December 1865. One cannot say the USA was a democracy before that. It was just the democracy of a particular We The People, before that.

How did the Athenian system work? Well, everybody had the same right of vote, and… speech. Mandates were widely spread (more than a thousand judges sometimes), and short. The Roman Republic used similar tricks (Consuls were elected in pair, but had full power alternatively, for a month, during just a year!).

The Athenian Assembly was open to the entire population. It had a quorum of 6,000 for some decisions.

Athens’ Democratic Index was ONE: one man, one vote, one voice.

The democratic index of the USA is roughly 600/200,000,000. 600 representatives (Congress plus Senate plus President), 200 million adults. That’s roughly one three divided by one million. In other words: ZERO, for the democratic index of the USA. No wonder the long faces.

Could we establish a democracy such as Athens’ nowadays?

Of course. It exists to some extent already: Confederatio Helveticae  (CH), Switzerland. The Swiss suggest, and vote on all the big decisions. Then elected representatives are in charge of enacting the decisions of the People. In Switzerland, the government officials of the seven members governing councils are really servants of the People, not big masters (by the way, the four most popular such officers are women).

Switzerland has more than eight million inhabitants, thus of the order of one hundred times the population of Athens. Modern telecommunications allow to conduct national debates before the “votations”. The results are often unexpected, as when a recent referendum prevented the further sprouting of speculative secondary residences for the rich in the magnificent landscapes.

Land speculators, especially in scenic Valais (see Matterhorn/Cervin above), were disgusted. They wasted big money fighting the measure. But, whereas in the USA, it’s easy to buy a big fat Clinton, or two, how do you buy six million Swiss voters?

So why is the rest of the so called “democracies” deprived of this direct, real democracy? The answer is obvious. Recently, the Swiss People voted systematically for anti-plutocratic measures. In the next referendum, in November, a proposed law would limit salaries to one million Francs (roughly one million dollars).

Representative democracy is not democracy. It’s a parody of democracy, perfect for the enormous buying power of the plutocrats, who can easily afford to buy body and soul a few hundred representatives.

The Dark Side’s secret will, is not the will to power. Nietzsche was naïve that way. The Dark Side’s secret will is the will to extermination. Ignore at your own risk. Or subjugate with real democracy: one person, one vote, one voice.

***

Patrice Ayme

*** 

P/S: The Salic Law born in 300 CE, broke the back of Greco-Roman self-destructive inhuman madness, that had ended devouring itself. The Salic Law replaced very systematically the death penalty by fines, and outlawing the slave trade. The law also re-established total religious tolerance, allowing Jews, Pagans, Atheists, and even Muslims to worship whichever way they wanted.

(I say “even Muslims” because the Muslims came in through violent full scale military invasions, starting around 715 CE until the end of the Tenth century. Yet, Muslim inhabitants were left alone, after the armies were thrown out; they were absorbed, leaving only African and Arab genetic markers behind.)


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