Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2003, 02:04 PM
Number of posts: 81,677
Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2003, 02:04 PM
Number of posts: 81,677
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and the US has become a wholly-enslaved colony of the Corporate Global Empire....
It's gonna take a revolution....
So you say you don't want a revolution?
Over the past few months we have been forced to bear witness to a humiliating farce unfolding in Europe. Greece, which was first accepted into the European Monetary Union under false pretenses, then saddled with excessive levels of debt, then crippled through the imposition of austerity, finally did something: the Greeks elected a government that promised to shake things up. The Syriza party platform had the following planks, which were quite revolutionary in spirit.
Put an end to austerity and put the Greek economy on a path toward recovery
Raise the income tax to 75% for all incomes over 500,000 euros, adopt a tax on financial transactions and a special tax on luxury goods.
Drastically cut military expenditures, close all foreign military bases on Greek soil and withdraw from NATO. End military cooperation with Israel and support the creation of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders.
Nationalize the banks.
Enact constitutional reforms to guarantee the right to education, health care and the environment.
Hold referendums on treaties and other accords with the European Union.
Of these, only the last bullet point was acted on: there was a lot made of the referendum which returned a resounding “No!” to EU demands for more austerity and the dismantling and selling off of Greek public assets. But a lot less was made of the fact that the results of this referendum were then ignored.
But the trouble started before then. After being elected, Syriza representatives went to Brussels to negotiate. The negotiations generally went like this: Syriza would make an offer; the EU officials would reject it, and advance their own demands for more austerity; Syriza would make another offer, and the EU officials would reject it too and advance their own demands for even more austerity than in the last round; and so on, all the way until Greek capitulation. All the EU officials had to do to force the Greeks to capitulate was to stop the flow of Euros to Greek banks. Some revolutionaries, these! More like a toy poodle trying to negotiate for a little more kibble to be poured into its dish, if it pleases the master to do so. Stathis Kouvelakis (a Syriza member) summed up the Greek government's stance: “Here’s our program, but if we find that its implementation is incompatible with keeping the euro, then we’ll forget about it.”
It is not as if revolutions don't happen any more. Just one country over from Greece there is a rather successful revolution unfolding as we speak: what used to be Northern Iraq and Syria is controlled by the revolutionary regime variously known as ISIS/ISIL/Daash/Islamic Caliphate. We can tell that it is a real revolution because of its use of terror. All revolutionaries deserving of the name use terror—and what they generally say is that their terror is in response to the terror of the pre-existing order they seek to overthrow, or the terror of their counterrevolutionary enemies. And by terror I mean mass murder, expropriation, exile and the taking of hostages.
Just so that you understand me correctly, let me stress at the outset that I am not a revolutionary. I am an observer and a commentator on all sorts of things, including revolutions, but I choose not to participate. Remaining an observer and a commentator presupposes staying alive, and my personal longevity program calls for not being anywhere near any revolutions—because, as I just mentioned, revolutions involve mass murder.
...The American revolution wasn't a revolution at all because the slave-owning, genocidal sponsors of international piracy remained in power under the new administration. Nor does the February 2014 putsch in the Ukraine qualify as a revolution; that was an externally imposed violent overthrow of the legitimate government and the installation of a US-managed puppet regime, but, as in the American Colonies, the same gang of thieves—the Ukrainian oligarchs—continue to rob the country blind just as before. But if the Nazi thugs from the “Right Sector” take over and kill the oligarchs, the government officials in Kiev and their US State Dept./CIA/NATO minders, and then proceed with a campaign of “brown terror” throughout the country, then I will start calling it a revolution.
* * *
The fact of mass murder does not automatically a revolution make: you have to make note of who is getting killed. So, if the dead consist of lots of volunteers, recruits, mercenaries, plus lots of nondescript civilians, that does not a revolution make. But if the dead include a good number of oligarchs, CEOs of major corporations, bankers, senators, congressmen, public officials, judges, corporate lawyers, high-ranking military officers, then, yes, that's starting to look like a proper revolution.
Other than big huge pools of blood littered with the corpses of high-ranking representatives of the ancien régime, a revolution also requires an ideology—to corrupt and pervert. In general, the ideology you have is the ideology you make revolution with. It stands to reason that if you don't have an ideology, it's not really a revolution. For instance, the American Colonists had no ideology—just some demands. They didn't want to pay taxes to the British crown; they didn't want to maintain British troops; they didn't want limits on the slave trade; and they didn't want restrictions on profiting from piracy on the high seas. That's not an ideology; that's just simple old greed. With the Ukrainian “revolutionaries,” their “ideology” pretty much comes down to the statements “Europe is wonderful” and “Russians suck.” That's not an ideology either; the former is wishful thinking; the latter is simple bigotry.
Taking the example of ISIS/ISIL/Daash/Islamic Caliphate, they are Islamists, and so the ideology they corrupt and pervert is Islam, with its Sharia law. How? Islamist scholars have been most helpful by compiling this top-ten list:
1. It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as “People of the Scripture.”
2. It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.
3. It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.
4. It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.
5. It is forbidden in Islam to destroy the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions.
6. It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat Christians or any “People of the Scripture.”
7. Jihad in Islam is a purely defensive struggle. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose, and the right rules of conduct.
8. It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats — hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.
9. Loyalty to one’s nation is permissible in Islam.
10. It is forbidden in Islam to declare a Caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.
But, as Lenin famously put it, “If You Want to Make an Omelet, You Must Be Willing to Break a Few Eggs.” And if you want to make a revolution, then you must be willing to pervert your ideology. Those Islamist scholars who eagerly exclaim “That's not Islam! Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance!” are missing the point: the ideology of ISIS/ISIL/Daash/Islamic Caliphate is still Islam—revolutionary Islam.
...Let us pause for a second to consider why revolutionary terror is necessary. A revolution is a drastic change in the direction of society. Left alone, society tends to worsen its worst tendencies over time: the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the police state becomes more oppressive, the justice system becomes more riddled with injustice, the military-industrial complex produces ever less effective military hardware for ever more money, and so on. This is a matter of social inertia: the tendency of objects to travel in a straight line in absence of a force acting at an angle to its direction of motion. The formula for inertia is
where p is inertia, m is mass and v is velocity.
To make a radical course change, revolutionaries have to apply force, counteracting the social inertia. To make it so that it is within their limited means to do this, they can do two things: reduce v, or reduce m. Reducing v is a bad idea: the revolution must not lose its own momentum. But reducing m is, in fact, a good idea. Now, it turns out that, with regard to social momentum, most of the mass that gives rise to it resides in the heads of certain classes of people: government officials, judges and lawyers, police officers, military officers, rich people, certain types of professionals and so on.
The rest of the population is much less of a problem. Suppose some revolutionaries show up and tell them that
they don't have to worry about paying taxes (because we are confiscating the property of the rich),
medicine and education are now free,
those with mortgages can stop making payments; they automatically own their real estate free and clear
renters now automatically own their place of residence,
employees are automatically majority stockholders in their businesses,
they should fill out an application if they want a free (newly liberated) parcel of land to farm,
there is a general amnesty and their loved ones who have been locked up are coming home,
ration cards are being issued to make sure that nobody ever goes hungry again,
the homeless are going to be moving in with those whose residences are deemed unduly spacious,
they are now their own police and are in charge of patrolling their neighborhoods with the revolutionary guards available as back-up, and
if any non-revolutionary authorities, be they the former police or the former landlords, come around and bother any of them, then these traitors and impostors shall face swift, on-the-spot revolutionary justice.
Most regular people would think that this is a pretty good deal. However, government officials, the police, military officers, judges, prosecutors, rich people whose property is to be confiscated, corporate officers and shareholders, those living on fat corporate or government pensions, etc., would no doubt think otherwise. The revolutionary solution is to take them as hostages, exile them, and, to make an example of the most recalcitrant and obstructive, kill them. This dramatically reduces m, allowing the revolutionaries to effect drastic course changes even as v increases. I compiled this list because it would be such an easy sell—piece of cake, a slam-dunk, a no-brainer. But I lack the uncontrollable desire to smash eggs and the insatiable appetite for omelets. As I mentioned, I am no revolutionary—just an observer....
Given that the price is so high, perhaps it would be better after all if we just sat quietly, allowed the rich get richer as the poor get poorer, watched listlessly as the environment got completely destroyed by capitalist industrialists in blind pursuit of profit, and eventually curled up, kissed our sweet asses good-bye and died? Good luck selling that idea to young radicalized hotheads who have nothing to lose—except maybe you, if you happen to stand in their way as they change the world! No, revolution is here to stay, and one of its main weapons is terror. No matter how well we remember, the annihilation of counterrevolutionary social elements is bound to recur.
* * *
Getting back to Greece and Syriza: what if Syriza were not just a particularly fluffy breed of miniature Europoodle but actual honest-to-goodness revolutionaries, ready to do whatever it takes? How would they act differently? And what would be the result?
Well, one thing that comes to mind immediately is that they wouldn't try to stay in the Eurozone—they would seek to destroy it. The solution is simple: no Eurozone—no Euro-debt—no problem. There is a general principle involved: never accept responsibility for that which you cannot control. Speaking from experience, suppose you invite a plumber to fix your toilet, and the plumber finds that the toilet has been Mickey-moused in multiple ways by an incompetent amateur. In this situation, the professional thing for the plumber to do is to completely obliterate that toilet. Now the solution becomes simple: install a new toilet.
Here's a very simple one-two punch which Greece could have delivered instead of futile attempts at negotiation:
1. Immediately announce an open-ended moratorium on all debt repayment, taking the position that Greece has no legitimate creditors within the Eurozone—it's all financial fraud at the highest levels. After a few months, the fake bail-out financial entities that magically convert garbage Eurozone debt into AAA-rated securities (because they are guaranteed by Eurozone governments) are forced to write off Greek debt. In turn, Eurozone governments, being pretty much broke, balk at refinancing them out of their national budgets, showing to the world that their guarantees aren't worth the paper they are written on. There follows a bond implosion. Shortly thereafter, the Euro goes extinct, and along with it all Eurozone debt.
2. Start printing Euros without authorization from the European Central bank. When accused of forgery, make the forgery harder to detect by changing the letter at the front of the serial number from Y (for Greece) to X (for Germany). Flood Greece and the rest of the Eurozone with notionally counterfeit (but technically perfect) Euro notes. As the Euro plummets in value, institute food rationing and issue ration cards. Eventually convert from the now devalued and debased Euro to a newly reintroduced Drachma and reestablish trade links with the now “liberated” former Eurozone countries using trade deals based on barter and local currency swaps with gold reserves used to correct any minor imbalances.
Could this have been done without any “red terror”? I doubt it. Greece is very much oligarch-ridden; even the celebrated former Syriza FM Yanis Varoufakis is the son an industrial magnate. The Greek oligarchs and the rich would have had to be rounded up and held as hostages. Numerous people in the government and in the military have a split allegiance—they work for Europe, not for Greece. They would have had to be sacked immediately and held incommunicado, under house arrest at a minimum. No doubt foreign special services would have run rampant, looking for ways to undermine the revolutionary government. This would have called for drastic preemptive measures to physically eliminate foreign spies and agents before they could have had a chance to act. And so on. This wouldn't have been a job for fluffy mini-poodles. As Stalin famously put it, “Cadres are the key to everything.” You can't make a revolution without revolutionaries.
But is this a job for anyone? Anyone at all? I leave this question as an exercise for the reader.
Posted by Demeter | Sun Aug 2, 2015, 11:51 AM (0 replies)
Yes, the Boy Who Lived (Twice) is now a sober 35 years old. He and his wife, the former Ginevra Weasley, have two sons and a daughter all attending Hogwarts, or soon to be. Harry and his school chums have revolutionized the Wizard government, and it's all beer and skittles.
Too bad for the Muggles, who are drowning in financial parasitism, debt slavery, and warmongering, that the magical folk among us are sworn to secrecy and non-intervention in our internal affairs.
Still, we must carry on regardless, as the Blue Moon shines on this special day for Wizard folk...
A VERY HARRY BIRTHDAY, ALL!
Posted by Demeter | Fri Jul 31, 2015, 06:58 PM (53 replies)
Our text today is How To Get Lucky by Max Gunther, published in 1986 by Stein & Day, Inc.
I recently stumbled somehow on this little gem of a practical book on preparation for whatever Life hands you...one could say, I got lucky! The author, Max Gunther, (1927 – 1998) was an Anglo-American journalist and writer. He was the author of 26 books, including his investment best-seller, The Zurich Axioms.
Born in England, Gunther moved to the United States at age of 11 after his father, Franz Heinrich (Frank Henry) became the manager of the New York branch of a leading Swiss bank, Schweizerischer Bankverein (Swiss Bank Corporation or SBC). In 1998, the bank was merged with Union Bank of Switzerland to form UBS, the second largest wealth management organisation in the world and the second largest bank in Europe. Gunther's book, The Zurich Axioms is largely based on his father's trading advice.
Gunther graduated from Princeton University in 1949 and served in the United States Army from 1950 to 1951.
He worked at Business Week magazine from 1951 to 1955 and during the following two years he was the contributing editor for Time Magazine. He also contributed to Playboy, True, Reader's Digest, TV Guide, McCall's, and Saturday Evening Post.
He lived most of his adult live in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
The Weekenders (1964)
The Split-Level Trap (1964)
Wall Street and Witchcraft (1971)
The Very, Very Rich and How They Got That Way (1973)
Instant Millionaires: The Secrets of Overnight Success (1973)
Writing and Selling a Nonfiction Book (1973)
Virility 8: A Celebration of the American Male (1975)
"The Lucky Factor" Harriman House ISBN 9781906659950 (1977)
The Zurich Axioms ISBN 9781906659943 (1985 1st print)
How to Get Lucky: 13 Techniques for Discovering and Taking Advantage of Life's Good Breaks (1986)
D. B. Cooper: What Really Happened (1986)
Doom Wind (1987)
Confessions of a P.R. Man (1989)
He wrote other books as well...a survey of Amazon's website turns up Kindle editions as well as used copies of many his oeuvre for sale. I have yet to plunge into that briar patch, but I hope to collect a few. I suppose it's too much to ask that somebody put them back in print...
Posted by Demeter | Fri Jul 24, 2015, 06:46 PM (83 replies)
They live 800 miles away, and I am oldest member of family left (it's been a year of losses).
What can I do to help sister and her husband? She has MS to cope with, besides.
Any suggestions appreciated.
Posted by Demeter | Fri Jul 24, 2015, 08:09 AM (3 replies)
You may feel you are just not a maths person, or that you have a special gift for languages, but scientists have shown that the genes influencing numerical skills are the same ones that determine abilities in reading, arts and humanities. The study suggests that if you have an academic Achilles heel, environmental factors such as a teaching are more likely to be to blame. The findings add to growing evidence that school performance has a large heritable component, with around 60% of the differences in pupil’s GCSE results being explained by genetic factors.
Although scientists are yet to pinpoint specific genes, the latest work, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that the same ones are involved across subjects.
Robert Plomin, a professor of genetics at King’s College London and the study’s senior author, said: “We found that academic achievement in English, mathematics, science, humanities, second languages and art were all affected by the same genes. People may think that they’re good at one subject and bad at another, but in reality most people are strikingly consistent.”
In the future, if specific genes were identified, nursery children could be screened to help target those who are likely to require more help learning basic skills such as reading and arithmetic, Plomin added. The researchers analysed genetic data and GCSE scores from 12,500 twins, about half of whom were identical. Results in all subjects, including maths, science, art and humanities, were highly heritable, with genes explaining a bigger proportion of the differences between children (54-65%) than environmental factors, such as school and family combined (14-21%), which were shared by the twins.
MORE AT: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/23/genes-influence-academic-ability-across-all-subjects-latest-study-shows
Posted by Demeter | Thu Jul 23, 2015, 09:28 PM (3 replies)
You don't look a year over 100.
Posted by Demeter | Thu Jul 23, 2015, 03:52 PM (6 replies)
Liberland, or the Free Republic of Liberland to give it its full title, is a would-be sovereign state founded April 13 by Vit Jedlicka and two fellow libertarians. Its total area of approximately seven square kilometers would make it the third smallest sovereign state in the world, after the Vatican and Monaco.
Where is Liberland?
It's sandwiched between Croatia and Serbia on the western bank of the Danube River. On some maps, this area is referred to as “Gornja Siga.”
So isn’t it part of Croatia or Serbia?
Not according to the founders. When the former Yugoslavia was split into new countries this small patch of land was forgotten about. Neither Croatia nor Serbia claimed it, making it a “terra nullius” or no man’s land.
What is a micronation anyway?
A micronation is an entity that claims to be an independent nation, but is not officially recognized by world governments or major international organizations. Micronations are different from other kinds of social communes because they make a formal claim of sovereignty over a physical territory.
Who is in charge?
The current president is Eurosceptic politician Jedlicka, 31, a member of the Czech Republic's Conservative Party of Free Citizens. Despite abstaining from Liberland’s first presidential election, he was still elected by the two other founding members, one of whom is his girlfriend, and now the country’s first lady.
Why was Liberland founded?
According to the founders the objective is to build a country where honest people can prosper with minimal interference from a centralized government. “We need more countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Monaco, especially in Europe,” Jedlicka says. “We really needed another tax heaven, not tax haven.”
So there won’t be any taxes?
All taxes will be voluntary, and the nation’s services - such as power, healthcare and waste disposal - will be run either by private enterprises or through crowdfunding campaigns.
THE FLAG OF LIBERLAND
What is Liberland hoping to achieve?
Quite simply to have Liberland recognized by already-established nations as a sovereign state, paving the way for what the founders are calling a “European Singapore.” To do this Jedlicka is appointing ambassadors from Liberland to countries all over the globe to drum up support for the idea.
Has it actually established embassies in other nations?
According to Jedlicka, Liberland has established embassies in several countries including the U.S., the U.K., France and the Czech Republic. He plans to open embassies in “a hundred more countries by the end of the year."
Is it even legal?
Liberland is attempting to use the homestead principle, which states that unclaimed and undeveloped land can be legally claimed by any group willing to develop it. But some legal experts have stated that even though the land may appear unclaimed, it is most probably already part of Serbia.
Is anyone actually living in Liberland?
Not yet. Croatian border police are arresting anyone who sets foot in Liberland. However, this has not deterred members of the Liberland Settlers Association, which attempts to reach it on a daily basis and often clashes with local police in the process.
What is the Liberland Settlement Association?
The Liberland Settlement Association (LSA) is an NGO based in Serbia, funded by the Liberland Settlement Corp. It is made up primarily of volunteers who attempt to maintain an active presence on Liberland to help it become a recognized country.
So what is the Liberland Settlement Corp.?
According to CEO Niklas Nikolassen, the Liberland Settlement Corp. (LSC) “is a group of liberty-minded investors who are funding the LSA.” The corporation, based in Switzerland, has a claim on 80,000 square meters of Liberland and is hoping that the actions of the LSA will help Liberland achieve recognition as a sovereign state and thus make the land valuable.
How many people will be able to live there if it’s recognized?
Liberland has already received almost 400,000 applications for citizenship, however only around 45,000 of these are considered to be serious. According to Jedlicka there will probably be a total of 30,000-40,000 Liberlandians, not all of whom will actually live in Liberland.
How are you supposed to run a country through crowd funding?
Liberland's government says it has already raised over $45,000 through crowdfunding on it's website, where they take donations in both regular currency and Bitcoin. This has paid for government offices in Praque and Serbia, a personal assistant for the president and his recent trips to the G-7 in Germany and Freedom Fest in the U.S.
Posted by Demeter | Tue Jul 21, 2015, 07:12 AM (0 replies)
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson
The very same events occur, falling like dominoes, more or less in order, in any empire, in any age:
...Once an empire has reached stage eight above, it never reverses. It is a “dead empire walking” and only awaits the painful playing-out of the final three stages. At that point, it is foolhardy in the extreme to remain and “wait it out” in the hope that the decline will somehow reverse. At that point, the wiser choice might be to follow the cue of the Chinese, the Romans, and others, who instead chose to quietly exit for greener pastures elsewhere...
HISTORICAL EXAMPLES AT LINK, AND MORE
Posted by Demeter | Tue Jul 21, 2015, 06:35 AM (1 replies)
...Nearly 30 years ago, Benner sketched out better versions of both DNA and its chemical cousin RNA, adding new letters and other additions that would expand their repertoire of chemical feats. He wondered why these improvements haven’t occurred in living creatures. Nature has written the entire language of life using just four chemical letters: G, C, A and T. Did our genetic code settle on these four nucleotides for a reason? Or was this system one of many possibilities, selected by simple chance? Perhaps expanding the code could make it better.
Benner’s early attempts at synthesizing new chemical letters failed. But with each false start, his team learned more about what makes a good nucleotide and gained a better understanding of the precise molecular details that make DNA and RNA work. The researchers’ efforts progressed slowly, as they had to design new tools to manipulate the extended alphabet they were building. “We have had to re-create, for our artificially designed DNA, all of the molecular biology that evolution took 4 billion years to create for natural DNA,” Benner said.
Now, after decades of work, Benner’s team has synthesized artificially enhanced DNA that functions much like ordinary DNA, if not better. In two papers published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society last month, the researchers have shown that two synthetic nucleotides called P and Z fit seamlessly into DNA’s helical structure, maintaining the natural shape of DNA. Moreover, DNA sequences incorporating these letters can evolve just like traditional DNA, a first for an expanded genetic alphabet...
Posted by Demeter | Sun Jul 19, 2015, 09:09 AM (5 replies)
Well, that was a week that was!
Sorry of the late thread, I worked over to make up for skipping Wednesday. It's hot, it's humid, it's Art Fair. They moved Art Fair up a week, but the typical Art Fair weather moved up a week, too. They really ought to schedule it for March. Maybe we'd have a Spring, then.
In honor of the madness, we will feature pop music that refers to changing times and unexpected surprises and so forth. This should give our audiophiles great scope to pull stuff out of the back of the closet to delight, amaze and confuse us...
as compared to recent events, which were prone to baffle, enrage and alarm.
Greece occupies everyone's minds, with China looming behind like a nightmare. Mosquitoes are eating us alive. Puts a lie to Gershwin...
Posted by Demeter | Fri Jul 17, 2015, 08:07 PM (56 replies)