Posts Tagged ‘Roman Republic’

Computation Of Roman Republic Absolute Wealth Limit. Caesar A Revolutionary.

August 16, 2019

Greed, the power of a few, can’t grow to heavens, all over the solar system, then the galaxy, or we will end with evil so great, we can’t even imagine it.

The Roman Republic had the same problem, and succeeded to limit greed and power for around 5 centuries… This is why it lasted so long, until it was increasing replaced and displaced by the imperial plutocracy known as the Principate. 

By 150 BCE, Roma had a gigantic empire, taking weeks to cross. Plutocracy got out of control, thanks to globalization which, then as now, enabled the wealthiest to escape local laws. 

In -133, the tribune of the plebs Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, a very high level military official renounced his (topmost) Patrician status to be elected Tribune of the People. He attempted an agrarian reform in Rome (lex Sempronia) which stipulated that no citizen can personally occupy more than 500 jugeres of the ager publicus (public lands), with a maximum of 1000 (250 hectares) if he had two sons and forbids grazing on the public pasture more than one hundred head of cattle or five hundred of small. The land, taken over by the State from the large landowners (compensated), was to be distributed in inalienable lots of 30 jugeres to the poor citizens. Tibérius hoped to encourage the inactive plebs to return to the land and fight against depopulation of the countryside, and the increasing underclass..

Tiberius passed his law by relying on the tradition (the limitation to 500 jugeres was a return to the agrarian law of Caius Licinius Stolon) and on the liberal fraction of the Senate. The proposal is first supported by the consul P. Mucius Scaevola, the ex-consul Appius Claudius Pulcher, Pontifex Maximus  P. Licinius Crassus, Q. Metellus  and some others. The tribune M. Octavius, who opposes the reform, is deposed of his office unanimously by the comices summoned by Tibérius in violation of the constitution. The agrarian law passed in an aggravated form (no indemnity).

Now think of it. Say one acre is worth 4,000 dollars… 

https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Todays_Reports/reports/land0818.pdf

The maximum wealth is then 2,000 x 4,000 ~ 10 x 10^6= 10 million dollars.

This gives an idea of the order of magnitude of what Roman Republicans thought was reasonable as wealth limit. Later, under the fascist Principate (the degraded republican oligarchy Augustus set up), individuals worth many billions (of today’s dollars) were many: they would build entire circuses or theaters, organized and financed extravagant, extremely costly “games”…

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Topmost general, top revolutionary… But too trusting in human nature’s rationality… Iulius Caesar…

Roman censors punished those culprit as what was viewed as extravagant living (and they were busy). When that became not enough, the Roman Republic enacted “sumptuary laws”, limiting extravagant private wealth exhibition: no woman could wear more than half an ounce of gold, for example (Lex Oppia, 213 BCE, passed during the Second Punic War). Lex Orchia, passed three years after the Censorship of Cato the Elder (181 BCE), limited the number of guests at parties, among other things.

SUMTUARIAE LEGES, was the name of various laws passed over the centuries to prevent inordinate expense (sumtus) in banquets, dress, &c. (Gellius, II.24,XX.1). In antiquity, and not just in the Roman Republic, it was considered the duty of government to put a check upon extravagance in the private expenses of persons. The censors, to whom was entrusted the disciplina or cura morum, punished by the nota censoria all persons guilty of luxurious mode of living: a great many instances of this kind are recorded [Censor, p264, a.] 

There were many such laws. An example: Lex Didia, passed 143 B.C.E, extended the Lex Fannia to the whole of Italy, and enacted that not only those who gave entertainments which exceeded in expense what the law had prescribed, but also all who were present at such entertainments, should be liable to the penalties of the law. (Macrob. Sat. III.17.6). But as the love of luxury greatly increased with the immense foreign conquests of the Republic and the luxurious moods of various potentates thereupon infected the Republic, the sumptuary laws went by the way side too.

Nowadays, we could start sumptuary laws by not having We The People subsidize private jets… Or having cruise ships pay tax on fuel, etc. The French put a tax on business and first class air travel…

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Julius Caesar, Redistributive Revolutionary:

Caesar was elected consul for 59 BC. The most controversial measure Caesar introduced was an agrarian bill to allot plots of land to the landless poor for farming, which clashed with the traditional conservative opposition. In historian Cassius Dio‘s opinion, Caesar tried to appear to promote the interests of the optimates as well as those of the people (POPULARES). Caesar read the draft of the bill to the senate, asked for the opinion of each senator and promised to amend or scrap any clause that had raised objections. 

The optimates were annoyed because the bill, to their embarrassment, could not be criticised. Moreover, passing the law would give Caesar popularity and power. Even though no optimate spoke against it, no one expressed approval. The law would distribute public and private land to all citizens instead of just Pompey’s veterans and would do so without any expense for the city or any loss for the optimates. It would be financed with the proceeds from Pompey’s war booty and the new tributes and taxes in the east Pompey established with his victories in the Third Mithridatic War

Private land was to be bought at the price assessed in the tax-lists to ensure fairness. The land commission in charge of the allocations would have twenty members so that it would not be dominated by a clique and so that many men could share the honour. Caesar added that it would be run by the most suitable men, an invitation to the optimates to apply for these posts. He ruled himself out of the commission to avoid suggestions that he proposed the measure out of self-interest and said that he was happy with being just the proposer of the law. 

The senators kept delaying the vote. Cato advocated the status quo. Caesar came to the point of having him dragged out of the senate house and arrested. Many senators followed suit and left. Caesar adjourned the session and decided that since the senate was not willing to pass a preliminary decree Caesar would get the plebeian council to vote. He did not convene the senate for the rest of his consulship and proposed motions directly to the plebeian council

Appian wrote that the law provided for distribution of public land that was leased to generate public revenues in Campania, especially around Capua, to citizens who had at least three children, and that this included 20,000 men. When many senators opposed the bill, Caesar pretended to be indignant and rushed out of the senate. Appian noted that Caesar did not convene it again for the rest of the year. Instead, he harangued the people and proposed his bills to the plebeian council. Suetonius also mentioned the 20,000 citizens with three children. He also wrote that the allocations concerned land in the plain of Stella that had been made public in by-gone days, and other public lands in Campania that had not been allotted but were under lease. Plutarch, who had a pro-aristocratic slant, thought that this law was not becoming of a consul, but for a most radical plebeian tribune

Land distribution, which was anathema to conservative aristocrats, was usually proposed by the plebeian tribunes who were often described by Roman writers (who were usually wealthy aristocrats) as base and vile. It was opposed by ‘men of the better sort’ (aristocrats) and this gave Caesar an excuse to rush to the plebeian council, claiming that he was driven to it by the obduracy of the senate. It was only the most arrogant plebeian tribunes who courted the favour of the multitude and now Caesar did this to support his consular power “in a disgraceful and humiliating manner”.

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The Gracchi were assassinated. By the wealthiest. Because of the land redistribution law. So was Caesar, leader of the POPULARES… Caesar was in a league of his own. He was not just a fantastic general and a dictator, or, as some have erroneous said, the first “emperor” (there had been many “imperators” before). Caesar was also a genuine revolutionary, just what Rome needed. Like the Gracchi, he took shortcuts (they all may have had to). Their biggest mistake was to have been assassinated.

A few months ago, I was reading a new misinforming book by a famous historian from one of the wealthiest universities (most of the book was good, but that made the misinformation within that much more lethal). The professor pontificated that there was not a shred of revolution in Caesar’s bones. But, actually, the Lex Iulia, Caesar’s agrarian reform, passed… 15 years later, the plutocrats killed Caesar…

The absurd, counterfactual position of this US university professor teaches us that, to this day, the quarrel of the Populares with the plutocrats is ongoing. His wealthy sponsors (through his wealthy university) instilled in that historian, a spirit of dismissal of Caesar, where it could really hurt plutocracy….

Now Elizabeth Warren 2% wealth tax above 50 million dollars is far from the ferocity of the Roman Republic laws against wealth, power, and luxury. But one has to start somewhere…

Patrice Ayme

Warren: Progress, Survival of the Republic. Biden: More Plutocratization, Death.

May 29, 2019

Biden and other “democrats” in the 1980s voted Reagan’s anti-democratic laws (called by some the “New Jim Crow“). Then, in 1990s, those “Neoliberal” [1] democrats went further than even Reagan did, but in the same spirit, putting millions in jail, and then daring to unravel the banking reform of 1933 (passed by the Democrats of 1933, headed by FDR: the “New Deal“). Much of this extravagant return to the roaring twenties needs to be reverted.

One can’t have democracy and plutocracy at the same time. That’s why the Roman Republic put a cap on wealth: above some high level, Roman millionaires were taxed 100%. Yes, a margin tax rate of 100% (similar rates existed in the 1950s, when clean economic expansion was at its maximum: not a coincidence).

Also the Roman Republic taxed ostentatious wealth (“sumptuary” laws; an equivalent today would be to tax private jets; instead private jets are subsidized, while they contribute 1% of US CO2 emissions!).

More than 130,000 families have wealth above 50 million US$. Those should be taxed into extinction, Roman Republic manner. It is a question of survival of life as we know it on this planet. Why? Those 130,000 families worth more than $50 million, own roughly ALL WORLD MEDIA, which control cognition, hearts and minds. And they control the fossil-fuel-financial plutocracy system, which controls the world economy and the political class (truly their obsequious servants).

All this taxation of hyper wealth enabled the Roman Republic to last 5 centuries. However, because of the globalization the Roman empire brought, those anti-extreme-wealth laws became inapplicable, and the Roman rich became so wealthy, they could buy all politicians.,, and laws, or prevent the application of existing laws. When plutocracy took over Rome, the Republic collapsed.

Warren’s suggested heavy taxation of extreme wealth follows logic and history: otherwise the republic will die. So Warren’s candidacy is not just a matter of getting an experienced woman in power, it’s a matter of survival.

It is a woman with full power, queen Bathilde of the Frankish empire, an ex-slave, who, in 655 CE, outlawed slavery in Europe.  We need more of the feminine approach. Vote Warren, forget about the eternal return of the same, with Biden.

***

The preceding was a published comment to the New York Times. Then surfaced a history challenged Californian:

Cold Eye, from Kenwood CA, However, slavery in Europe was prevalent through the 19th Century.”

What is happening to the schools? The New York Times was kind enough to allow me to post the following answer:

@Cold Eye

You mean this figuratively in Western Europe. Russia was a different case, where serfs were often little better than slaves. It is true that, during the first century of industrial age , workers were treated very badly.

However, none of this is true slavery. In true slavery, people are bought and sold, as they were things. Those “things” performed like robots, enabling the colonization of the “New” World. For example, tobacco cultivation became very profitable in the English colony of North America, thanks to the massive utilization of slaves.

The colonies were far removed from Europe, and European law enforcement had proven illusory during the Spanish Conquista (in spite of determined efforts). The French colony of Canada imposed French law pretty well, it didn’t allow slavery, but the price paid was that the anything-goes English colony won the war, and ultimately conquered French Canada.

So I repeat my statement: queen Bathilde of the Imperium Francorum, ex-slave from Kent (England) outlawed slavery in 1066 CE. When the Franks conquered England in 1066 CE, they immediately freed all the slaves (explaining William’s popularity). Slaves coming from the Americas or Africa were immediately freed upon setting foot in Europe, for ever after (except in places under Muslim jurisdiction).

By the way, there is still slavery in some African countries. In the Kaye region of Mali, individuals who disagree too much with local slavery get killed. In Mauritania, there is at least half a million slaves. These two countries are next to each other. In Nigeria, Muslim Fundamentalists practice mass slavery, and so on. The reason is that the Qur’an takes slavery for granted:”those that your right hand posses” being the euphemism therein…

Who said progress doesn’t exist?

Outlawing slavery on most of the planet and formally at the United Nations was great progress, an extension of Saint Bathilde’s work (the foremost saint I recognize, if not the only one…). But all will come to nought, if plutocracy is able to progress and corrupt cognition, hearts and minds ever more. As I pointed out, we could start losing the oxygen making mechanism soon… And that comes from the fact a very small elite has perverted the planet mental system, by owning much of what matters.

Time to revert it.

Vote Warren.

Patrice Ayme

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P/S: And for new European Commission head? A woman, once again!

Margrethe Vestager, the powerful EC competition commissioner ticks many of the boxes needed for a righteous candidate: she can get things done, she is acceptable to the centre-right EPP and the S&D. She is championed by the Liberals and now more powerful Greens, whose votes will be needed to make a majority.

Ms Vestager has served as education, interior and economy minister of Denmark. As a EC commissioner since 2014 she has applied both a liberal sense of consumer rights and an interventionist commitment to regulating technology giant monopolies. She has taken on tax dodgers, infringers of personal privacy and market distorters. Thrusting macho hare brained bullies from Silicon Valley have turned up in her office berating her and come off the worse… So she can operate with the French who have long wanted to tax those financial and tech bullies whose main business model is monopolization and tax evasion. 

The EU in 2019 faces an array of security and economic threats. It needs a powerful, efficient, undaunted leader with experience of the European Commission and a sense of how the world is changing (for the worse). Europe needs a leader who can stand up for Europe and suggest legislation defending its citizens. It needs someone acceptable to left and right, north and south. Europe has to chose Ms Vestager.

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[1]: “Neoliberal” often seems little more than “neofascist”….

 

 

LIMIT WEALTH ABSOLUTELY II: Because Great Wealth Steers Elite Leadership. Referendums To Fix It All.

December 28, 2018

Extreme WEALTH SELF LEVERAGES THROUGH PURCHASED INFLUENCE. HOW TO FIX IT: Referendum Initiative Citizen, RIC.

The Roman Republic did it! And died from stopping to do it! Athens didn’t need to do it (its wealthiest citizens were not as wealthy as those of Rome; instead wealthy Macedonians killed Athenian democracy). The Republic of Florence didn’t do it, and died from not doing it!

This essay is a deepening, and development, focusing more on the spiritual aspect of oligarchy, and plutocracy, found in my essay “LIMIT WEALTH ABSOLUTELY”

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/limit-wealth-absolutely/

Want progress? Want democracy? Let We The PEOPLE VOTE in a referendum TO LIMIT WEALTH ABSOLUTELY! Once the issues are clearly explain and debated, it would pass.Who would object to limit wealth under, say, 100 million dollars?… Except if the work is of public utility (so the likes of Space X, Blue Origin could keep on going on private capital). Another referendum would pass universal healthcare in the USA (no need for debate there, the polls are overwhelmingly in favor)…

The ancient argument against great wealth, familiar to all organized savages, for most of the Neolithic, is that wealth exponentiates: the more of it there is, the easier it is to get more. Even the savage Plains Indians taxed extreme wealth nearly 100%, redistributing thoroughly the thousands of horses a great chief could own.

Another, newer, argument, developed here, is that in modern, massive civilization, wealth controls opinion, hence minds. Wealth can easily purchase the leaders of a Representative Oligarchy system, also known, by a common abuse of language, as “Representative Democracy”.

Corruption is intrinsic to this so-called “Representative Democracy” when wealth is not limited absolutely. Even if one put serious term limits and drastic limits on how much the private sector can influence the public sector. Indeed private actors of immense wealth have many powerful ways to influence (as I will show):

10,000 decide of everything, worldwide: that’s .00001% of the world population… Billionaires are a fifth of that in numbers… So roughly there is more than one very wealthy person for each top leader or influencer, worldwide. This is the crux of the disease attacking us and the biosphere: the leadership feels, think and acts to please wealth. Moreover, as the wealthiest are intrinsically evil (consult Christ!), bad decisions are deliberately taken to further the rule of this oligarchy, because wars, conflicts and disasters distract We The People…

Rome is our great lab study and warning sign:

The Roman Republic is our great predecessor. The Roman Republic made the principle of respecting secular law foremost, as Qin did in China roughly at the same time. This highest principle was a huge success.

Making secular law foremost is such a powerful principle that it makes powerful states: Qin (prolonged by their immediate successors and implementers, the Han) and the Roman Republic built giant empires which can be viewed as lasting to this day (France, thus Western Europe, and the Anglo-Saxon colonies are direct successor regimes of Rome: they use Roman law… refurbished by Constantinople and the Franks, foedi of Rome, and sole inheritors of Roman Imperium.

The Roman Republic collapse was long drawn out: republican elements were taken out, one after the other, for 550 years (let’s say for clarity from 150 BCE until 400 CE, when the Franks were given Roman military imperium over the Germanias and Gallia… by a strange government of Catholic bishops, who, practically then, governed the Roman empire).

Sometimes, under the fascist empire (launched by Augustus), things went back, the other way, towards more Republicanism. In particular under Trajan, with mass scholarships paid by taxes on the rich, or when emperor Caracalla gave universal citizenship. But overall, the Republican institutions decayed under the fascist empire…

The Roman Republic was an enormous success, as a territorial empire: most of the conquests were made under the Republic. If so successful, why did the Republic collapse (dragging the Roman state with it)?

***

Sylla, Cicero, Caesar and Augustus accompanied a (plutocratic) revolution they didn’t start and couldn’t control:

The Roman Republic lasted 5 centuries, in full. Then it ran into trouble, as civil wars happened all over. Caesar’s grand nephew, Octavian, aka “Caesar” (he took the name of his uncle and adoptive father, as per tradition), captured the Republic.

When Octavianus/Caesar/Augustus took control, peace got established, by force, and that enforced peace made this Augustus popular enough to stay in power.

“Caesar” made himself “Princeps” (first, principal)… First man in the Senate, somehow, controlling everything, but without the title of king. When he died, nobody knew what to do, and the generalissimo, Tiberius, stayed in seclusion, until the Senate, duly selected by Octavian/Augustus, a set of plutocrats, begged Tiberius to come out, and take some of Augustus’ responsibilities.

Indeed, by Augustus’ death, Rome’s billionaires occupied the entire political landscape… but for the army, which had been the force, and most of the will, behind Octavian/Caesar’s revolution (regressive revolution, revolution nevertheless!)

Augustus, an extremely gifted teenager who led a revolution, got unhinged early on. Plutocracy would drive anybody crazy, that’s its main purpose, in the grand scheme of evolution!

***

Roman Republic Lasted Five Centuries In Full, Because of Absolute Limit on Wealth, Vanished When they Did:

In the next four centuries after Augustus found himself “Princeps”, power would balance between billionaires, the plutocrats and the army, until the latter increasingly defanged the Senate (where billionaires ruled), and the plutocrats embraced Christianism, thanks to Constantine’s crazed family, etc.

How did the Roman Republic collapse then? From the switch to a professional army which reverted to old methods of pillage and the like (as Alexander’s men used to). That switch itself was caused by the impoverishment of Rome’s citizen-soldiers, obvious by 150 BCE (and which the Gracchi deplored in eloquent terms, claiming Roman citizen-soldiers had it “worse than wild beasts”, although they were called the “masters of the world”).

That destitution of citizen-soldiers, in turn was caused directly by the rise of the hyper wealthy. The latifundia (giant agri businesses manned by slaves, owned by hyper wealthy Senatorial class) undercut the work product of Roman traditional peasants…. That happened because globalization made it possible immense fortunes which, coming back to Italy bought out indebted citizen-peasants whose work products were undercut by slave work (on the giant latifundia).  

The Gracchi brothers tried to impose the wealth limit laws (existing, but not enforced). They were too late. A generation or two too late (but then of course the Roman army was busy destroying Carthage allies, including Macedonia). They were in turn undercut by the rise of global plutocracy eschewing local taxes and laws. As the hyper wealthy by then could afford private armies of goons, the Gracchi and more than 5,000 of their supporters were assassinated.

So the citizen-soldiers army disappeared… All the more as the invasion of the Teutoni, Cimbri and their allies, saw the near annihilation of the entire Roman army, before the peasantish Marius, helped by the Senatorial Sylla reestablished the situation spectacularly by annihilating the invading German armies.

In any case, out of that mess came professional Roman armies, and they had to be paid… by their commanders in chief, the imperators. When imperators, such as Pompey the Great and Caesar, collided, civil war resulted.

***

We Are Engaged In A Similar Decay, With The Similar Causes to Those Which Demolished the Roman Democratic Republic

The whole process of decay of the Roman Republic arose from the economic, and then social destitution of Roman citizen peasant soldiers… the same citizen peasant soldiers who had made Greek city-states so powerful and progressive (with the exception of Sparta, where citizens were just soldiers enslaving the Helots who were the peasants (and occasional soldiers, when Sparta needed massive armies).

Now, of course, we are decaying just the same, and the leading republics, France and the USA switched to professional armies. As happened in Rome, professional armies can make coups and even, revolutions (Octavian had to do what his centurions wanted him to do; one of them went to the Senate, and brandished his sword, adding that, if the Senate didn’t agree to the propositions the army made, that sword would force them to…)

***

Same process of wealth concentration in the oligarchy, while the public perishes, as under the decaying Roman Republic: public property collapses, while private holdings (the 1%!) blooms.

Representative Oligarchy, Our Present System, Attracts deliberately idiotic greedsters:

I watched ex-Président of the French Conseil Constitutionel Jean-Louis Debré. That institution, the Conseil Constitutionel, makes sure French laws are in agreement with the Declaration of the Rights of Man of 1789 (not the one of 1793; the UN follows 1789, not 1793; 1793 recognizes the right and duty of peoples to enter insurrection when Rights of Man are gravely oppressed: it was too progressive for the founders of the UN…) The US doesn’t have really a Constitutional Court, although the Supreme Court, SCOTUS, sometimes plays that role, somebody has to…   

Jean-Louis Debré is the son Michel Debré, long a Prime Minister, and brother of Bernard Debré, MD and MP. Also the great grand-son of a Great Rabbin of France. Same family as the famous Fields Medal mathematician , Laurent Schwartz. In other words, a family as connected as one gets, to the point of having a Wikipedia entry with around 50 names! In any case, the ci-devant Debré was on all French TV networks, day after day, to explain, with the bluntest bad faith, that Direct Democracy was the rule of the mob (he used the Greek word invented by the Greek hostage Polybius when he wanted to ingratiate himself with Roman plutocracy, circa 140 BCE… Small world, no? Debré hit just at the same period when civilization took a bad turn, and, as an oligarch, 22 centuries later, stand with the bad guys… Never mind that led straight to Nazism and he is a descendant of Jews…).

So there are those who belong to the oligarchy, and those who accede to it. Several contributors to my site have suggested the obvious: that Obama’s parents were CIA connected (that would explain why he could go through school doing dope and learning very little: the future was his, as a perfect pupett), Now finally, some on the vague left have the courage to say it as it is: the Guardian ran an excellent article saying what I long said: last thing we need is more Obamaism

…Obamaism leads us to believe that we do not need to choose, and that we can actually have it all – as long as we always make sure to line up behind policies that appease the super-wealthy.

It is, in other words, the ideology undergirding the argument recently put forward by former vice-president, Joe Biden, who insisted: “I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason why we’re in trouble … the folks at the top aren’t bad guys.”

Biden gets it all wrong, and that’s deliberate: 500 billionaires are precisely why we are in trouble. Actually, it’s not 500, but more than 2.200. Some of these billionaires are just creations of the powers that be, for example Abrahamovitch, a Russian sidekick of Putin, now equipped with Israeli citizenship, tight with Beatles legend Sir Paul Mccartney. I mention this, to show even artistic leadership is tight with the plutocracy, not really distinguishable from it. So here now is the beef of this essay:

BILLIONAIRES CAN BUY OUR LEADERS, SPIRITUAL  OR POLITICAL; Here Is The Math:

In the Representative Oligarchy we have now, the wealthiest can steer the few thousands politicians, CEOs, media pundits, influence peddlers, pseudo-intellectuals, university professors, etc. who drive the world.

Their total worth in 2018 is actually 10 trillion. Let’s divide by the number of individuals, like Debré, Biden, who they need to impose plutocracy aka “Representative Democracy” as the world’s best institution: 10,000 billions/10,000 = 10^13/10^4 = 10^8 = one billion.

OK, let’s be more realistic, suppose the 2,200 billionaires spent just 1% of their worth influencing the oligarchic influencers. That gives us a very sustainable, but gigantic 10 million dollars each! In other words, the world’s 2,200 billionaires can flood those 10,000 drivers of the world’s public opinion, with ten million dollars each, while spending a tiny portion of their wealth… And a spending that doesn’t function as a tax, which would go to the state, whereas here it goes to the hearts and minds of the oligarchy itself. The 1% spent influencing the influencers functions as a force multiplier! They recover much more, as when Steve Jobs persuaded Irish politicians to tax Apple just 1% on worldwide revenue, and then probably even more to persuade EU politicians to do nothing effective about this violation of EU law (minimum tax required: 12.5%).

The Guardian nails it, repeating what I said, and saw, from inside, a decade ago already : “It is easy to understand the political utility of this third-way legend: it lets Democrats continue raising gobs of cash from satisfied corporate donors and moguls, and it at least provides voters with more palatable rhetoric than what the Republican party offers. And yet the record of third-way policies over the past few years have made painfully clear that Obamaism’s refusal to choose a side can be a nihilistic choice unto itself.”

The Guardian is too generous. What we are facing here is institutionalized corruption. Past British PM (Major, Blair) made a fortune with jobs provided to them by the billionaire class and their agents. Let alone Al Gore, who made a cool billion and got a Nobel (for talking a storm about the environment while doing nothing about it when he could…)

In France the situation is hilarious: the top intelligentsia, politicos and plutocrats talk, dine and bed each other, sometimes in fancy palaces of distant monarchies. They have ruined the country, but never mind: they thrive, they rule the spiritual waves rolling over the countries. We have seen this before, say in the Ancient Regime (entangled with the Founding Fathers of the USA, nota bene…), or even earlier when Louis XIV was busy devastating France with his ethnocide against the Protestants he was so proud of (and the ensuing world wars…) Some Gilets Jaunes, Yellow Jackets, have concluded that it would best to burn the whole thing down, that entire conspiracy. I concur (are they going to try to get me convicted to inciting to burn down a conspiracy? Right now in France, as in Putinistan, inciting to rebellion sends one to jail. Well, corrupt judges will have to admit that there is one conspiracy, first. According to the 1793 Declaration Des Droits de l’Homme, it is our DUTY to rebel, then…)

So let’s recapitulate. Spending 1% of their wealth each year actually acts as a force multiplier: billionaires make more by spending 1% of their wealth a year, than by not spending it. As observed. A billionaire goes see a president in his presidential palace (happened countless times in the White House and the Palais de l’Elysée), The billionaire makes the president a very remunerative job waits for him when coming out (OK, doesn’t work with billionaire Trump, so Trump is very bad)… if the president consents NOT to tax the company of the billionaire, or his “foundation”, or if the president consents to let his company violate antitrust laws, or environmental laws, or even national security laws (as when French or US drugs have to be all purchased in China; or when “markets” are obtained from technology transfers to… fascist dictatorships, as happened plenty from the USA to Nazi Germany and the USSR).

Or then one takes all top state bankers and economists in Europe, two hundred individuals at most, and one persuades them that, to make real money they have to keep the Euro the way it is, as a  machine to further the wealth of billionaires. And so on…

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How To Stop This? TAX WEALTH ABSOLUTELY! REFERENDUM INITIATIVE CITIZEN!

Indeed suppose wealth was limited at, say 100 millions: then the total wealth of the wealthiest 2,200 would be only 200 billions, and the amount to spend on influencers and “leaders”, only 200,000 a year… Tempting, however, not irresistible.

The RIC: Referendum Initiative Citizenry is another way around, as the wealthiest can’t buy every single one of us.

So let’s re-establish real, direct, Democracy, after a savage 23 centuries interruption, and do both!

In 1911, a referendum in California decided that women should vote: RICs are progressive, because they are anti-oligarchic and oligarchy is always regressive. That was one the first polity to give women such rights, after Pitcairn island in 1838 (!), and Australia (1894-1902). France had to wait until after the Nazis to see this happen. So referenda have the potential to change not just politics, society, but even the neurohormonal balance of the planet.

As it, those 10,000 (mostly) men who rule the planet are not just any men. They are among the greediest, most delusional, most arrogant, shallowest, most self-absorbed guys around: they are selected that way, and they favor their kind… Just as banks lend to the wealthiest, to make them, and themselves, even wealthier.

Examples? Watch Nancy Pelosi, the incoming speaker of the House.  Her and her husband’s fortune maybe as much as $100 million. Not bad for someone who has only worked in politics, starting in 1987. Of course that fortune doesn’t include her five children (long ago, Pelosi was reported to be worth $250 million). The Senior Senator of California does even better: she and her husband are billionaires, a fortune gained in China by the husband, while the wife steered US policy there… These two examples are found within a radius of ten kilometers (and I don’t dislike Nancy, I prefer her, by a very long shot, to her predecessor Republican Ryan)…

It’s like that all over the planet: watch Macron, who went from highest level public finance inspection, to Rothschild Bank, to the finance ministry, to the presidency, all in 15 years, earning a fortune, living in a million dollar apartment, and, guess what, all this fortune earned by devious means, disappeared. And of course everybody knows Trump’s fortune was at the public teat the whole way…

And this is not just France and the USA. In Britain, the third of the large historical so-called democracies, the situation has become grotesque, and hurtful. As The Economist pointed out December 28, 2018, in its lead editorial “The elite that failed” (published after the first version of the present essay): “There are two popular explanations for this mayhem…a catalyst for a long-simmering civil war between successful Britain (which is metropolitan and liberal) and left-behind Britain (which is provincial and conservative). Both explanations have merit. But there is also a third: that the country’s model of leadership is disintegrating. Britain is governed by a self-involved clique that rewards group membership above competence and self-confidence above expertise. This chumocracy has finally met its Waterloo.

Big words, and similar concepts to those I have brandished for more than a decade. If so-called Representative Democracy in Britain, France and the US has turned to “chumocracy”, in other words, oligarchy, for all to see, time for a rethink.

Verily, electoral policy doesn’t select the best, most moral and disinterested, but the exact opposite. Removing, or, at least, controlling them with referenda of We The People will make greed, delusion, arrogance, superficiality, self-absorption less influential in steering our common destiny.

Let’s do it! Limit Wealth Absolutely and modify the constitutions to enable RICs!

As explained a bit in Note 2 below, imposing an absolute wealth limit, and the Will of All through referenda, will have metaphysical consequences: it will steer humanity away from Will to Power of destruction, to Will to Power of loving creation…. 

Patrice Ayme

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Note 1: Most of these iconoclastic views of mine are more than a decade old. Some can be found in the European Tribune:

https://www.eurotrib.com/user/uid:4331/diary

I published there until the editor at the time informed me that some prominent European bankers, men of wealth and taste, insisted that I be banned. So he told me, he was sorry, he had to ban me, because contemporary bankers insisted that my views on 1930s bankers collaborating with the Nazis were outrageous and unsupported by evidence (one of these bankers claimed to me that he did an Internet search, and all the articles he could find on the entire Internet  on the subject were… mine!) In the same few months I was banned from the Daily Kos (a popular leftist site created by the… CIA…) and relegated at the bottom of search engines. Dirty tricks work: a decade later. my obvious views, which should be taught all over the world, are not just considered outlandish, but are fully ignored, as everything was done, not to divulge them to the well-meaning, but ignorant masses…

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Note 2: So I hold that the switch to plutocracy unchained caused by the non-observance of wealth limiting laws, brought the fall of the Roman Republic. The same holds for other Republics, like Firenze, which fell to bankers (the Medici).

The conventional view is much more celebrity bound and shrunk in context: Julius Caesar’s political maneuvers (rather than his generalship), say the common historians, dep in their academic cheese, which had long-lasting effects on Rome and Europe. Caesar’s critical role in going against the Roman Senate by crossing the Rubicon led to the eclipse of the Roman Republic and the emergence of the Roman Empire, the common view holds: Caesar was a bad boy, that’s all.

That (Pluto compatible) view neglects all which happened before, like Lucius Cornelius Sulla’s brutal and weird dictatorship, or Cicero’s dubious, foolhardy and ultimately self-destructive breach of law and process during the “Catiline conspiracy”…

Or, as I said, the view that it is this, or that individual’s fault neglects many major social, fiscal, political factors, such as the rise of an army, a professional army, which depended upon their leaders, the imperators (not the state!) to thrive (when Caesar and Pompey met, once, at the head of their legions, they saluted each other ironically as “Ave, imperator!“… both had the title and function… Clearly who was at fault was not Caesar (born in 100 BCE) but the plutocrats who opposed and killed the Gracchi and their supporters, two generations before Caesar’s birth. Even Marius’ professionalization of the army was a consequence of the unbounded rise of Roman plutocracy. By the way, when the Roman state collapsed in the West (400 CE to around 493 CE, when the Ostrogoths took Ravenna), the plutocracy, which had contributed to that fall in many ways, including rising private armies, stealing all the riches, refusing to pay taxes, and promoting supine, turn-the-other cheek Catholicism, joined the invading barbarian bands with gusto: it is often as if the barbarians gave the Roman plutocracy the tool and excuse they needed to enter the feudal regime…

All this to say this: the devolution of Roman plutocracy over 550 years, until final collapse, show that there are no limits to how low a plutocracy will sink, to promote the brutal, cruel and demented view of humanity which defines it with glee… And why this? Because, Ecce Homo, the Dark Side gives us the neurological passion dozens of millions of years of evolution have honed to the fine art of Homo.

Torture Denies Brotherhood, Reason: Plutocrats Love It

December 13, 2014

Rejecting Torture Is Torture To Those Who Refuse Civilization. Let’s Torture Them That Way:

The government of the USA, fully duplicitous:

The Bush administration decided that Middle-Ages tortures (such as immersing a face under water) were not torture, when ordered by the government of the USA. This official policy of the USA got a further twist under Obama. Obama pontificated that “Torture is contrary to what we are”.

Thus the Obama administration did not prosecute torture advocates and torture administrators: surely we cannot be prosecuted for the opposite of what we are. Leon Panetta, CIA head and Defense Secretary wrote in “Worthy Fights” that, summoned to the White House by Obama’s chief of staff (now the mayor of Chicago), Rahm Emanuel “got ugly”. Says Panetta: ‘The president wants to know who the f**k authorized this to the committees,’ Rahm said, slamming his hand down on the table. “I have a president with his hair on fire and I want to know what the f**k you did to f**k this up so bad.”

Obama Facing Torture, Dec. 10, 2014

Obama Facing Torture, Dec. 10, 2014

It’s “contrary to what we are”, said Big Brother. So it cannot possibly be. And that sure infuriates Him.

Hitler used to tell the highest Nazi Party officials, that exterminating the Jews was out of the question. When asked about that much-emphasized position of the “Guide” at the Wannsee Conference, SS General Reinhart Heydrich bluntly said that it was what Hitler would keep on saying, if asked: thus the necessity of the Wannsee conference to make explicit to the highest officials what the real policy of the Reich was.

So what’s the real policy of the USA?

Now that the Democratic Party is in the last few days of its control of the Senate of the USA, Senator Diane Feinstein released a heavily “redacted” (= censored) report of CIA torture (over objections from the apparently pro-torture Obama administration). Feinstein is apparently keen to leave a trace beyond her own personal greed for money. She is suddenly interested by truth.

An aside: another Senator, Mark Udall, a Democrat from Colorado, who is in office for another few weeks (he lost re-election), said on Thursday that: “The CIA unconstitutionally spied on Congress by hacking into Senate intelligence committee computers. This grave misconduct is not only illegal but it violates the US constitution’s requirement of separation of powers.”

Funny all these pseudo-progressives trying to wash their souls in their last few days of power…

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Why not to engage in torture? The answer was found by the Roman Republic:

The Republic outlawed the torture of citizens. Why? Well, first, because it was not needed. In a coherent, cohesive society of peers, peers don’t torture peers, because peers never engage in some conspiracy so dastardly that only unbearable suffering is the only thing that will get them to confess.

So engaging in torture meant precisely that hatred, not fraternity, ruled.

France, the ex-Francia Occidentalis, had developed, by 1300 CE, the modern police state. (Proof? All Templars were arrested at the same time on the same day, all over; also the Pope was arrested in Rome by French Special forces headed by a lawyer, and died in custody.) By then torture was very scientific, and delivered results.

However, by 1600 CE, police methods were so advanced that torture was found to be counterproductive. The subtlety of having an informant networks was found much more efficient. During the famous “Affaires des Poisons”, a gigantic, mind boggling conspiracy of poisoners, greedy wives, sorcerers, plotting socialites, plutocrats, mistresses, duchesses, and the like, careful police work was more effective than torture to obtain (too much, said the King) information.

(That does not mean that burning alive some miscreants who had killed up to 2,000 children did not have a salutary effect on the public! Torture for punishment, and torture for intelligence are two different things… Observed a winged devil who passed by…)

So one can say that employing torture is a testimony to a non-cohesive social situation. Apparently, during the Battle of Algiers, French paratroops, confronted to amateur, but deadly bomb makers, were able to extract, through torture, crucial confessions under extreme time pressure, as bombs were literally ticking.

However what torture gains in military efficiency, is more than lost in the propaganda battle. To this day, the cogent reasons for paratroops to use torture in that very peculiar situation, are drowned by the jeers of those who wanted the Algerian society deconstructed.

Torture Is Contrary To The Brotherhood Of Reason Known As Direct Democracy, Our Ideal:

When the civilized West is confronted to barbaric fanatics, Muslim or not, it’s of its essence to not exchange nature: the West has to stay civilized. The West does not have to stay civilized at all and any cost, but close to it.

The aim of the war of civilization against barbarity is to establish a brotherhood of reason.

So we have to enforce both brotherhood, and reason.

It goes without saying that plutocrats like neither. That’s why they love torture: it contradicts both brotherhood, and reason. Instead it extolls the rule of cruelty, brute force, and extermination, it brandishes torture as an achievement, and gives it another name. (Just as Christianism did.)

Hence it was not a coincidence that torture became the official policy of the USA under Bush’s plutocratic government. Because it was not just the CIA. The CIA acted under order from the Bush government, and several torture lawyers such as Mr. Yoo (who made the mistake of inviting me to his home).

Now Obama is trying to hide all this, by saying that “true patriots” got panicked after 9/11. Says he:” “We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values. I understand why it happened.”

We? Maybe you understand why it happened, but you are trying to say the CIA and others did it all, whereas they obeyed orders by plutocrats from above. And their obsequious servants down below, from the gutter.

Mr. John Yoo, the lawyer, is a Berkeley Law Professor of pure Asian genetics, and who saw an occasion to make a name for himself in plutocratic circles with deviant legal reasoning in his famous “TORTURE MEMO”. Yoo was Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States.

It was signed in August 2002 by Assistant Attorney General Bybee, now an all-powerful Federal Judge, also a denizen of Berkeley. The memo advised the CIA, the DOD, and Bush and his goons that torture was legal. (So probably is slavery if you call it something else!)

So Obama, once again, is covering-up for the forces of evil. And the message is: if you, little mongrels, get out of line, and rebel against the powers that be, remember torture is contrary to what we are, and we get away with it.

You can escape the judgment of today’s pundits. But not that of history.

Patrice Ayme’