Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

President Obalande?

February 14, 2014

One of the best evolution for civilization would be for France and the USA to get ever closer. France, hence Europe, as the latter is the latest ruse for an amplification of the former.

Well, and that’s very good, Barack Obama, differently from his dumb predecessors since the clever Kennedy (“Ich bin ein Berliner”… das ist, ich bin französisch…) has understood that France and the USA ought to be as close as possible.

After all, with a France-USA union of minds, there would have been no Iraq war, no Afghanistan war (Carter’s war against Afghanistan of 1979 was oriented against France, not just the USSR), no Hitler (FDR would have obeyed France in 1934, and cracked down against the Anglo-Saxon supports of Hitler), and no First World War (because, with the early and immediate help of the USA, either the Kaiser would not have attacked, or been quickly defeated by blockade).

The enlightened Obama (not to be confused with the drone rabid version) is turning things around. I saw the French president this week, in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley, of all places. I will relate the two things that astounded me most.

But first a bit of background:

The war between France and other colonists of the Americas, has been one of the longest: it is well in its fifth century. With Spain it was won, long ago: the Spanish king, more than three centuries ago, chose a Bourbon to succeed him (that started the world War of the Spanish Succession, and Louis XIV won it only by losing pieces of France… never recovered since.)

A generation earlier, after more than a century of war, the French army, having insured the creation and independence of the Netherlands (itself an 80 year long war) against fascist theocratic Spain, had defeated the (so far undefeated) “Spanish Squares”.

As I explained in the preceding essay, Jefferson, although a Francophile, was himself a philosophical battleground between the Liberty-Equality-Fraternity notion, the most human notion, and the Exploitative Principle, part of the Dark Side (which is to grab all what one can grab; recent experimental studies in human ethology have shown that the EP is extremely contagious.)

In all these conflicts, it’s all a matter of relative positions. France was more for Liberty-Equality-Fraternity, because that’s how the Franks established the successor regime of the pure Roman (-Catholic) state.

Spain was reconquered from a difference mentality, that of intolerance and revenge: the Reconquista. It applied not just to Muslims, but, less excusably, to Jews. At the same time some Jihad characteristics, such as Holy War, torture and slavery were kept as if they were precious gifts. Hence the clash with France (all the more as imperial Spain, having conquered all of Europe but for tiny England and large France, fed, as much as possible, seven religious civil wars in France, in the period 1550-1600 CE!)

So wars, contrarily to what clueless and lazy pacifists affect to believe, do not just arise from the badness of human nature, or making too many knives, but, all too often, deep down inside, wars arise from, and reflect, genuine philosophical differences… That can be settled only by war: think of the conflict between tiny Athens and the fascist plutocratic imperial Persian hyperpower.

Such wars, if the best philosophical side win, contribute positively to civilization.

The war of Athens against Persia was fundamentally a conflict between direct democracy and representative plutocracy (the Persian empire was an empire of nations).

So there I was. Listening to Hollande, the French Resident of the Élysée, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

My first astonishment was that all he said part of my own program. There was absolutely nothing I disagreed with. (That, of course, does not mean that Hollande’s vast world vision reduces to my much more cosmic grasp. Far from it!)

I had no disagreement with what he said, whatsoever, from Ukraine, to Syria, to using English (= Anglo-Normand, as I put it) in French education, to duplicating the successful techno-industrial-financial recipes of Silicon Valley (including “corporate venturing”, when a giant corporation, such as Cisco, Google or Microsoft  invest in start-ups).

I was pleasantly surprised when the French president, a socialist, breezingly stated that the making of what I call the Transatlantic Economic Area between the USA and the EU ought to be accelerated.

On this later point Hollande said the forces of opposition to the USA-EU union ought to be given no time to organize.

I believe that Obama desires to leave a more positive legacy than the two Bushes. He still has a chance: he can heavily reform Obamacare towards Medicare For All, he can find ways to decrease the greenhouse emissions of the USA (using the EPA)… and China (though customs threats), and he can cooperate with Europe.

A Transatlantic Economic Area would be a good occasion to ram positive reforms on both sides of the Atlantic, by arguing one has to duplicate the best, and throw away the bad, on each side of the pond.

A small example: In exchange for the anticipation of juicier profits, from a larger (USA-EU) market, Republicans may be willing to concede that poisoning Monarch Butterflies and bees is something that we could do without.

That union of unions would require that the cultural exception survives (lest the USA, or rather its army of Hollywood and its phalanx of plutocratic corporations, swallow everything). As Hollande pointed out, the cultural exception is not just about France.

Indeed France is big enough demographically and civilizationally to survive culturally… but not so most others (and that is basically nearly all other European countries; once one removes the six most populous countries of the EU; the average demographic size of the remainder is less than ten million, each of them a nation, with its own culture, history and civilization.)

The Transatlantic Economic Area (TEA) ought to go all the way to a free circulation of individuals and professions (extend Schengen!). Not to do so makes no sense, at least no sense between France (thus Germany!) and the USA.

What is the meaning of all this?

As I have explained countless times, France and the USA are two SISTER republics, THE sister republics. Those sister republics were born entangled together in 1789. Try as it may, the UK is not yet a republic. Try as he could, Bliar Blair left us with a Chamber of Lords.

Hollande reminded everybody in sight what I say all the time, namely that the United Nation Charter is a direct amplification of the 1789 Franco-American constitutional adventure (yes, France first, because the Franks’ Freedom obsession is from 17 centuries back).

The second thing that astonished me was the extravagant security. Secret Services, US Marshalls, local police and even “Federal Reserve Police “, with dogs, were there. And then there was French security. No less than 20 French Secret Service bodyguards were in full evidence around Hollande, but more were hidden as regular attendees (male and female). Twice apparent civilians showed me a badge discreetly and asked me to stop taking pictures of… security personel.

Most telling was the smart French military officer, complete with peaked white cap and cute gold ribbons. He was carrying the thick black computer case with the nuclear codes.

Imagine the French president ordering nuclear strikes from the Silicon Valley.

Well, this is actually a good sign. If America and France cooperate, it’s back to what it was 450 years ago, and where it ought to have always be.

Neither uncommon thoughts, nor uncommon individuals, arise from common situations. Fully integrating the American and European civilizations will bring us out of what has been all too common for centuries. From this higher point of view, greater conceptions will blossom.

Patrice Aymé

Note: What of Britain in all this? Well, it’s a psychiatric case. PM Cameron wants to ask the Brits if they want to part of the EU in a referendum. This shows that Britain is falling back in mental childhood. Not a serious partner. Proof? Well, Britain is experiencing the wettest winter in 250 years. What to do? Well, use the Princes (Harry Hairy, etc.), the army, but also, ask the European Union for a 200 million dollar emergency help…

ONE WAY PLUTOCRACY KILLS.

July 29, 2008

MORALITY WITHOUT ECONOMY IS ONLY RUIN OF THE CITIES.
***

Abstract: Those who believe in money-power (plutocracy) love to say that all and any excess of the “free market” will self correct. And thus such excess will stay self contained to the economy. Not so. We give one class of examples.
***

Two very severe quakes occurred in urbanized Japan during the last month (7 to 7.5 Richter). Nearly nobody was killed, and there was little damage. These miracles occurred because of the tough earthquake code in Japan, and reconstruction according to it. In California, similar quakes, centered on cities, could kill up to 100,000 people, or more. They are expected soon.

Why are so many deaths coming to California soon? Because, only in the city of San Francisco (a tenth of the Bay Area’s population) dozen of thousands of buildings are ready to collapse if the expected quake(s) occurred (a 7 to 8 Richter earthquake in the central Bay is predicted, within 30 years). The city of San Francisco has realized there is a serious problem, and that is what it says. It advises real estate owners of “soft buildings” to fix them, but it will not make the fixes mandatory, nor will it address the case of “non ductile” concrete buildings (there are thousands in the Bay). In case of severe quake, those are expected to “pancake”.

Why no mandatory fix? Why not prevent “pancaking”? Because there are not enough engineers to inspect and find out what to do, building by building.

This problem has been long in evidence (after a deadly quake in the LA area, the LA city council tried to make quake fixes mandatory in 1995, but rich real estate owners stopped them). Instead of directing economic activity that way, by morally correct legislation, it was directed towards speculation (Internet bubble, credit bubble, real estate bubble). The speculation made a few people much richer, and they were the ones pulling all the strings.

Thus the present US financial crisis it is not just a question of self correcting excesses in the financial sector. The financial sector directs the whole economy. By going crazy, it made the economy crazy.

By controlling the electoral process the financial sector and its attached plutocracy led the whole country in the wrong direction. A good example was the refusal to limit frantic consumption, energy waste, etc… Result: Iraq was invaded, but the USA did not get ready for quakes. Just as there is only a finite number of building inspectors, there is only so much capital. If most of the disposable capital, human or financial, is spent on the military, and “nation building” on the other side of the planet, among the haters, there is none for infrastructure, material or otherwise, inside the USA.

Senator Obama’s economic plan proposes a tax loophole for Venture Capitalists, supposedly to stimulate the economy. This makes little sense. Most of the economy does not have to do with improving widgets, and making the hyper rich richer is the Reagan way to go at it. This has been proven to be a disaster. Moreover, all the hyper billionaires will turn into “Venture Capitalists” overnight, to benefit from the zero percent taxation. They will probably all invent “new” financial “instruments”. No wonder they are all in love.

The preceding shows that gigantic infrastructure spending is not just a question of creating a real economy, but of basic morality. There are no mostly military solutions to socioeconomic problems, be it in Afghanistan or in the USA. There are no efficient financial markets without efficient law and morality to guide them, either.
***

Patrice Ayme,
Tyranosopher.
http://patriceayme.com/

***

Technical addenda: 1) To make an old building earthquake safe is not obvious, and requires highly technical assessments, which vary from building to building. The cost can be anywhere between 5% and 70% of total replacement by a brand new building.

2) The “financial engineering” found in the USA in recent years is a tail banging the dog around. So much so, the dog has lost its mind. The word “engineering” in this context is an abuse of a glorious concept. The late “investment bank” Bear Stearns used a leverage about 30 (the expression “investment bank” meant it went around all international regulations that banks have to respect, by law). It mostly “invested” in financial “products” of a type so obscure that more than one TRILLION dollars worth of it cannot be sold at any price. Meanwhile China is building the Bay Bridge piece by piece, in China; real economy for real (Chinese) people. That crucial bridge was broken in 1979, in a preceding quake. Excuse us if it’s so slow: we are spending all our money invading other countries, to justify spending more on “defense” than the rest of the world combined. In 1941, the USA was a country of engineers. That’s why it won the war in three years. In 2008, the USA has become a country of puppet masters pulling financial strings to nowhere, except decay, death and destruction. That’s why, even with Chinese help, it can’t repair earthquake damage in 20 years.

3) Japan can be said to be three times more egalitarian than the USA (using the RP 10% measure). Japan is actually (as measured by the Gini index) one of the most egalitarian countries in the world. Uniquely among the most developed countries, inequality has been rising considerably in the USA. (since 1970, leading to a decay of health and education).

4) The entire west coast of the USA (just like the entirety of Japan) is very exposed to earthquakes. There are many faults next or below Los Angeles, massive ones around Seattle, and no less than three major ones in the San Francisco Bay Area. The frequency at which segments shake is known, hence the predictions above. Four massive quakes occurred in the SF Bay Area in the last 170 years.


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