Southern History Erased Overnight In Baltimore

Like the sneak thieves they are, Baltimore city officials summarily removed the magnificent statues of General Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson from the Wyman Park Dell,  in the dead of night.

Also erased overnight from the cityscape were the Confederate Women’s monument at West University Parkway, the statue of Justice Roger B. Taney at Mount Vernon, and the monument to the Confederate soldiers and sailors at Mount Royal.

The pretext is that southern monuments provide a rallying point for “white nationalists” and led to the death of a progressive activist in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12.

Bunkum.

The erasure and rewriting of Southern history has been an ongoing project of the globalists for a while now and what happened in Charlottesville was simply a step on the way, a pretext.

Charlottesville smacks of a cointelpro operation.

You had police forces at Charlottesville apparently told to stand down. They did nothing while both sides brawled openly.

You had black-masked antifascist or antifa provocateurs engaged in fist-fights with self-styled KKK and neo-Nazis.

What do the KKK and Nazis have to do with Robert E. Lee, except smear his supporters by association?

The antifa people have been proven to have received funds from George Soros, the leftist billionaire who works with the CIA.

Now the DOJ has a warrant to get the million-plus IP addresses of visitors to an antifa-linked site, an order that Dreamhost, the site’s hosting company, is fighting in court.

The leftist chumps were set up.

So were the right.

Jason Kessler who organized the march is of Jewish extraction and was until a year or two ago an Obama supporter. Some Nazi.

Christopher Cantwell, whom I have linked here, until he started advocating violence, proved he was a provocateur once more.

At Charlottesville, he stated that Trump should not have let his beautiful daughter marry a Jew, thus smearing by association any Trump fan as a biological racist.

Most Trump voters voted their pocket-book, not their race.

The right was set up in other ways.

Consider the behavior of Richard Spencer, a well-known provocateur mentored by the Judaist god-father of the alt-right, Paul Gottfried,

Of course, Gottfried, who has quickly side-stepped his responsibility, is not the only Judaist god-father of  gentile white nationalism. There was also Mencius Moldbug (aka Curtis Yarvin), who spun a more  attractive version of Gottfried’s spiel, but gave the game away by christening the unholy alliance of academia, media, and political ideology, the Cathedral. 

This slur is somehow not anti-Gentilism. But only mention the names of the real Sanhedrin that governs us and the cyber-ambushes and cybersabotage begin, as we found out to our grief recently.

On this blog, I have shown that Donald Trump/Drumpf is of Prussian and Jewish extraction. So also are such key figures of his administration as Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus, among many, many others.

In the media, the situation is no better.

Milo Yiannopoulos, Mike Peinovich, Andrew Anglin, and other assorted professional alt-righters adopt the most superficial, crude, provocative, and damning neo-Nazi language, while retaining many of the key presuppositions of their enemies. They are agents of deception, not cultural conservatives.

Since the infiltration of the John Birch society in the 1950’s and 60’s, there has been no major white nationalist group that has not been infiltrated, coopted, and turned.

Dr. William Pierce, the author of the “Turner Diaries” was known by insiders to have a cozy relationship with the powers-that-be, including the SPLC. Each group terrorized their followers with the other group and raked in the profits.

“White nationalism” as a clear-and-present danger to the republic is a red (as in, leftist) herring and a pretext created by the globalists, who are happy to fan the flames of both white and black racism, as it suits them.

The cowardly and disgraceful obliteration of Southern history was the goal all along.

What is equally disgraceful is that the provocateurs who are instigating the erasure of southern history are erasing their own history.

Jews were prominent in the Confederate army and government, and Robert Lee, now vilifed as a racist, was renowned for his respectful treatment of his Jewish soldiers, in marked contrast to their treatment in the North.

Migrants To Europe Missed By Kosher “Alt-Right”

From The Jewish News of North California:

Nearly 5,000 people have become citizens of Spain or Portugal following the passing of laws in both countries on the naturalization of descendants of Sephardic Jews.

In Portugal, where a procedure for naturalization under the law went into effect last year, 292 applicants for naturalization have been approved, Catarina Madeira, a spokeswoman for the Portuguese Justice Ministry, said on Oct. 12.

Spain has naturalized 4,538 applicants for citizenship by Sephardim since the law went into effect last year. However, only three applicants were granted citizenship based on the actual law, the ABC daily newspaper reported on Oct. 16. Others were naturalized by a royal decree and not through the nondiscretionary procedure devised for the law.

According to ABC, the Spanish government in effect blocked the nondiscretionary procedure to avoid mass immigration by an estimated 30 million non-Jewish descendants of Sephardim
eligible under the law.

In both countries, the passing of the laws of return for Sephardim was described as an attempt to atone for the state and church-led mass expulsion, dispossession, torture and forced conversion into Christianity of Jews during the Inquisition — a period that began in the 15th century and ended with the disappearance and dispersion of what used to be one of the world’s largest Jewish communities.”

What that means is that Muslims and non-Muslim refugees fleeing countries bombed and destroyed by the US, Israel and their allies, are considered persona non grata in Europe and considered an “alien invasion.”

But Sephardi-descent Jews alone and no other Sephardi group (not Christians of Sephardi background, for example) are being imported by subverting the existing law and imposing a royal decree, ostensibly to compensate said Jewish imports for grievances they suffered over 500 years ago!

First, there is plenty of historical evidence to suggest that those grievances have been exaggerated and that the alleged perpetrators of the offense – some of the inquisitors, for instance – were themselves crypto-Jewish:

The Judaizing of Spanish Catholicism under the influence of the Marranos explains in part the popularity of Erasmus, precursor of Luther, in that country. At Rome, they seriously feared the emergence of a Jewish kingdom in Spain.17

A second problem superimposed itself on the religious problem. The Marranos had purchased for cash the public offices of several Spanish cities, crushing the old-Christian people under the weight of taxes and usury. There were some popular uprisings against the Marrano power at Toledo and Cuidad Real in 1449. The Marranos regained control of these cities in 1467 and massacred a great number of old-Christians. There were other bloodbaths in Castile (1468) and in Andalusia (1473). Spain was then on the threshold of a racial and religious civil war. This war, which would have been appalling, was avoided, thanks to the Inquisition.

Note that the Jewish converts were not always Marranos. Many among them were sincerely Catholic. Think of St. Teresa of Avila who was the granddaughter of a Marrano who, moreover, had been condemned by the Inquisition.

In fact, the truly converted Jews were the biggest enemies of the Marranos. The former rabbis Salomon Halevi, become bishop of Burgos under the name of Pablo de Santa Maria, and Jehoshua Ha-Lorqui, become Brother Jerome of the Holy Faith, wrote violent works against Judaism.

The historian Henry Kamen notes that the principal anti-Judaic polemicists were themselves ex-Jews. It was they who clamored for a tribunal of the Inquisition to distinguish between the false Jewish Christian converts and the sincere new Christians. The first Spanish Grand Inquisitor, Tomas de Torquemada, was himself a Jewish convert. In addition, it must be noted that many Marranos judaized simply through family tradition or by misappreciation of the Catholic faith. The Inquisition thus had to establish another distinction between the Marranos who willfully altered the integrity of the faith and those who were the victims of an insufficient catechization.”

But don’t hold your breath waiting for any so-called alt-right or libertarian site to talk about this particular state-mandated discrimination on the basis of religion and proscription of the right of movement of non-Jewish people.

 

 

 

DARPA’s Dark History

With evidence of the hand of DARPA behind the Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu, a review of its history is in order.

From Activist Post:

  Cloaked in clandestine secrecy, DARPA has been called the “Oh God Why” branch of the Department of Defense. In the fiscal year of 2015, their requested budget was $2.91 billion, which doesn’t include classified and black budgets. Even still, through Freedom of Information Act requests and intrepid journalism, some of the historical truths and future plans of this nebulous government agency have come to light in recent years.

15. DARPA was responsible for the creation and weaponization of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

Back in 1961, when DARPA was called ARPA, the agency ran a toxicology branch at Fort Detrick, where it spearheaded one of the most controversial weapons programs in U.S. history. Project Agile utilized Agent Orange as a part of their highly classified defoliation and food crop poisoning efforts in the jungles of Vietnam. Their use of Agent Orange, which was manufactured by nine wartime government contractors, including Monsanto, may be responsible for cancer, nervous disorders, and skin cancer in 2.8 million servicemen who returned from Vietnam. The U.S. defoliation program directly killed about 400,000 Vietnamese, caused half a million children to be born with birth defects, and may be the cause of cancer in over 2 million more Vietnamese people.

President John F. Kennedy signed off on DARPA’s costly, deadly and, ultimately, ineffective program.

14. Four nuclear bombs were detonated during the Cuban Missile Crisis

It’s widely believed that nuclear weapons were not used during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Contrarily, with Eisenhower’s test ban failing, the United States actually detonated two nuclear weapons — code-named Checkmate and Bluegill Triple Prime — in space at the height of of tension in October of 1962. Then they tested two more bombs.

ARPA, at the behest of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, launched this effort to test an atmospheric nuclear defense shield known as the Christofilos Effect.

13. DARPA ostracized any scientist who discussed ethics or morality with regard to the use of nuclear weapons.

After the horror of witnessing the first hydrogen bomb test, which, in its initial blast had many scientists afraid the atmosphere was catching on fire, Robert Oppenheimer was forced into exile after expressing moral concerns over continued nuclear weapons development. Thereafter, it became official DARPA policy to not discuss ethical issues related to the use of nuclear weapons in warfare.

(Source: The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top Secret Military Research Agency.)

12. DARPA scientists drew up plans to nuke the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the Vietnam War.

Then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara called on the JASON scientists — at one time a dominant and prolific division within DARPA — to determine whether it was possible to take out the Ho Chi Minh Trail with nuclear weapons. Military leaders considered the disabling of this important strategic path the preeminent way for the United States to fatally weaken the Viet Cong insurgency.

However, in this rare instance of restraint, the JASON scientists determined it was impractical to use nuclear weapons for this purpose. They stated:

At least one TNW [tactical nuclear weapon] is required for each target, and the targets are mostly small and fleeting. A reasonable guess at the order of magnitude of weapons requirements … would be ten per day or 3000 per year.

11. DARPA developed weapons specifically for the purpose of brutally incapacitating anti-war demonstrators.

At the peak of the anti-Vietnam War fervor in 1968, then-ARPA scientists looked for methods of comprehensively dispersing the crowds that gathered in huge numbers to peacefully protest the war. The research and implementation of these methods included tear gas, phosgene oxide (which can cause temporary blindness), anticholinergics (which block nerve impulses), emetic agents (chemicals that induce vomiting), non-lethal grenades, poisoned tranquilizing darts, lasers, eardrum-shattering loud noises, and tagging (using markings only visible in ultraviolet light) for later apprehension.

“Nonlethal weapons are generally intended to prevent an individual from engaging in undesirable acts,” wrote the authors of a seminal report, which was only recently declassified.

The final crowd control effort, which persists today, sanctioned the upgrading of state police arsenals with military-grade equipment. The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 created the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), a federal agency whose sole purpose was to militarize local police forces.

(Source: The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top Secret Military Research Agency.)

10. In 2008, the NSA and DARPA collaborated for a covert data mining campaign called Project Reynard, which monitored millions of World of Warcraft users.

Project Reynard came at the first peak of MMO gaming and sought to track the online behavior of 10 million monthly subscribers to the World of Warcraft. This program wasn’t revealed to the public until 2013, when Edward Snowden disclosed top secret documents related to governmental abuses of power.

DARPA scientists configured a Video Analysis and Content Extraction tool, as well as something called Knowledge Discovery and Dissemination, so that Reynard was “automatically detecting suspicious behavior and actions in the virtual world.”

9. DARPA’s anti-polio vaccination campaign exposed millions of Americans to the “cryptic human infection” of monkey virus.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the JASON scientists were tasked with biological warfare defense. Their research produced a highly classified controversial vaccination campaign that exposed 98 million people to the “cryptic human infection” of monkey virus, known as Simian virus 40 (SV40).

No one was told of the risk and, even today, rancorous debate over the extent of the danger persists. Scientists have reported that the SV40 virus is found in cancerous human tumors.

Writing on the nature of a stealth virus, or ‘silent loads,’ in biological warfare, one Jason microbiologist wrote:

The basic idea behind a stealth virus is to produce a tightly regulated, cryptic viral infection, using a vector that can enter and spread in human cells, remaining resident for lengthy periods without detectable harm … [a population could be] slowly pre-infected with a stealth virus over an extended period, possibly years, and then synchronously triggered.

(Source: The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top Secret Military Research Agency.)

8. DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office was controlled by military Transhumanist, Michael Goldblatt, a McDonald’s employee.

Michael Goldblatt, who believes that humans will end up controlling their own evolution with technology, came to DARPA in 1999 with a vision for military-based Transhumanism. His plans included super-soldiers donning exoskeletons and the use of biotech to manufacture pain vaccines and rapid blood clotting for “rapid healing” troops. He also wanted to create the “24/7 soldier,” who requires little to no sleep on the battlefield.

He also happened to have served as chief science officer and vice president of research for McDonald’s.

7. DARPA’S Dark Winter war game simulated a biological terrorist attack and may have contributed to a biowarfare hysteria that paved the way for the Iraq war.

Dark Winter was a fictitious exercise developed by four organizations overseen by DARPA, who wanted to create a hypothetical biological terrorist attack and then assess military reactions to the scenario. The premise, which was pitched to Dick Cheney in 2001, before 9/11, involved a smallpox outbreak in Oklahoma City. The game played out over thirteen days, during which time the disease spread to 25 states and 15 other countries. With no response or vaccine available, a million people died within weeks.

As a result, the Congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism stated,

To date, the U.S. government has invested most of its nonproliferation efforts and diplomatic capital in preventing nuclear terrorism. The commission believes that it should make the more likely threat — bioterrorism — a higher priority.

Since Dark Winter, the government has spent more than $60 billion on biodefense. This number, of course, doesn’t tabulate the cost of the war in Iraq, the justification of which was greatly buoyed by fear-mongering over Saddam Hussein’s fictitious chemical and biological warfare capacities.

6. DARPA sponsored biosurveillance program Bio-ALIRT, which collected the medical records of millions of Americans without their knowledge or consent.

Even before 9/11 sent government agencies into Orwellian overdrive, DARPA had been leveraging a surveillance program known as Bio-ALIRT, for Bio-Event Advanced Leading Indicator Recognition Technology. Supercomputers did the job, scanning all available databases of medical records of American citizens.

5. Under the umbrella of a system known as Total Information Awareness, DARPA spearheaded many of the surveillance programs abused by the NSA.

DARPA’s Total Information Awareness concept created a veritable buffet of advanced surveillance and data mining programs, many of which ultimately were folded into NSA’s PRISM. We now know that PRISM culled citizens’ personal data from companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, and was later leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Total Information Awareness programs include:

Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery program (EELD) – Sole purpose is to gather as much information about both terror suspects and average American citizens as possible, using“phone records, computer searches, credit card receipts, parking receipts, books checked out of the library, films rented, and more.”Goal is to assess megadata on 285 million people a day in real-time.

Scalable Social Network Analysis (SSNA) – Program “monitors telephone calls, conference calls, and ATM withdrawals … also sought to develop a far more invasive surveillance technology.”

Activity Recognition and Monitoring (ARM) – With England’s CCTV surveillance cameras as a model, ARM created a massive database of people going about their everyday lives. Using advanced facial recognition software, the program highlighted any behavior that was outside the realm of a preprogrammed “ordinary,” the definition of which remains classified.

Deep Exploration and Filtering of Text (DEFT) – Operating on a 28 million dollar budget, this program utilizes advanced computer algorithms to analyze text-based messages in all shapes and forms, from text messages to reports, with the aim being to comprehend “implied and hidden meanings through probabilistic inference.” The full use of DEFT in the United States is classified.

Nexus 7 – With a classified budget, this particularly murky program studies and tracks social network content. First used in Afghanistan in a defense capacity, when aimed at domestic networks the use of the program is a mystery.

(Source: The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top Secret Military Research Agency.)

4. DARPA’S “culture-centric warfare” program conscripted social scientists and anthropologists into the Iraq war as mercenaries.

Operating under the idea that anthropologists would facilitate a more humane war effort, DARPA’S Human Terrain System sought to promote “honorable warfare” in its Iraq counterinsurgency efforts. This lead to the gruesome death of at least one social scientist. On the whole, the program seems to have muddled the already arcane purpose of combat forces in Iraq with a ‘hearts and minds’ type of ideology. It reminded some analysts of internal military propaganda from the Vietnam War.

After [Human Terrain System] training,” DARPA stated, “soldiers will be able to approach and engage strangers in unfamiliar social environments, orient to unfamiliar patterns of behavior, recover from social mistakes, de-escalate conflict, rigorously practice transition in and out of force situations and engage in the process of discovering and adapting to previously unknown ‘rules of the game’ encountered in social engagements.

3. DARPA believes the future of war involves animal cyborgs and insect-inspired drone technology.

The Stealthy Insect Sensor Project is part of a long-standing effort to use bees in war, particularly as bomb locators. It started in 1999 and evolved into the development of insect-inspired drones, which are known as micro air vehicles (MAVs). Eventually, DARPA plans for its “biohybrids” to be part animal, part machine cyborgs, which, according to Annie Jacobsen, author of The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top Secret Military Research Agency, will “fly, swim, crawl, walk, run, and swarm.”

The science fueling this futuristic vision is nanobiology. Most of the nanobiology applications DARPA is developing are classified. However, in an interview with Coast to Coast AM, Jacobsen said,

DARPA has already succeeded in creating a rat that will be steered by remote control by implanting an electrode in its brain.

And it’s done the same thing with a moth which is really remarkable because the scientists implanted the electrodes in the pupa stage of the moth when it was still a worm! And then it transformed into having wings, and those tiny little micro-sensors transformed with the moth and the DARPA scientists were able to steer that moth.

Imagine following that idea through — DARPA is moving toward engineering humans for war.

2. DARPA’s Narrative Networks program developed classified techniques used to manipulate trust in humans.

For its Narrative Networks (N2) program, DARPA collaborated with a CIA agency called the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) to develop methods of overwriting messages in the human mind. In an article for phys.org entitled “DARPA looking to master propaganda via Narrative Networks,” the program was described as having two parts: first, to understand what happens in the human mind when someone sees or hears a message; second, to figure out how to control how the brain interprets the message.

One researcher described Narrative Networks as an attempt to “detect narrative influence … [for the] prevention of negative behavioral outcomes … and generation of positive behavioral outcomes, such as building trust.”

The government is already trying to control the message, so why not have the science to do it in a systematic way?

1. Hunter-killer robots, guided by advanced artificial intelligence, will wage the wars of the future.

Despite the grand mystery of exactly what DARPA is currently working on, which of course is deeply classified, there have been relatively unambiguous signals that it involves artificial intelligence and the outsourcing of military operations to machines. The future of war will see the rise of unmanned autonomous drones, referred to as hunter-killer robots.

In 2011, the Defense Department released a document entitled “Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap,” which laid out a cursory overview of the next couple decades. It unequivocally states there will be fully self-governing autonomous machines … soon. Currently, DARPA is working on creating an artificial brain.

According to the undersecretary of defense Ashton B. Carter in 2010:

Dramatic progress in supporting technologies suggests that unprecedented, perhaps unimagined degrees of autonomy can be introduced into current and future military systems.

Perhaps the next great space race is taking place right now in top secret labs all across the world. This time the players include the private sector, too, as Google’s Ray Kurzweil is also trying to create an artificial brain.

Jallikattu Protests: Nachiket Mor & DARPA Links

A comment on this blog leads to new insight on what’s behind the huge, suspiciously well-organized pro-Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu in 2017:

Microsoft’s 2015  crowd mobilization report using mobile phone and social media in Tamil Nadu and Delhi.

That report was in turn based on earlier research summarized in a pdf entitled Vashishta-INTERACTIONS2015″

which concludes as follows:

“This paper presents the first crowd mobilization challenge conducted in India, a developing country context where effective social mobilization is broader and more inclusive than the rich country settings studied previously. We customized the design of the challenge to incorporate local languages and to enable participation at very low cost by anyone with access to a basic mobile phone. The challenge was successful in attracting broad participation, spanning 7,700 participants from all across India in less than a day.

While many participants utilized Internet technologies, we also found interesting usage
of SMS, voice, and face-to-face communications that offered benefits in the Indian context. Unlike previous social mobilization contests, participants relied primarily on their personal networks, and often recruited team members without offering any financial incentives. We synthesize our lessons learned as a set of recommendations to help
future crowd mobilization challenges extend their reach into low-income, offline envi-
ronments.”
These crowd mobilizations experiments came out of research begun by DARPA as early as 2009, when, as I’ve blogged repeatedly, a whole new generation of intelligence projects began, including Wikileaks.
DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is now actually headed by an Indian:
Since then, DARPA—now headed by India-born Caltech alumna Arati  Prabhakar—has driven innovation using a small, nimble team of 200 persons and delivered to the world technology ranging from the internet to hand-held GPS systems and is now focused on fields as diverse as mathematics, synthetic biology, and neuro-technology. What is critical is that it “does not perform its engineering alchemy in isolation”.
The article quoted above laments that India, which delivers high quality space, engineering, and medical research at a fraction of the cost that the US does, still doesn’t have an equivalent to DARPA.
The problem with that, as the author doesn’t realize, is that the Indians at the helm of such agencies, including Mor and Prabhakar, are simply tools used by larger interests.
And likewise, any “Indian platform” like the posited INDRA, will only be a means by which India’s low-cost, high-power advances are stolen, culled, and otherwise used to profit the Western oligarchy, while ordinary Indians themselves will be enslaved by “their government” (or rather, the financial cabal for which the government now fronts) technologically.
This has already happened, with American partnerships and joint ventures being thrust on Indian universities and promoted to Indian students, ostensibly for bringing local institutions up  to international standards, but, in actual fact,  for IP theft.
Many of these recently developed institutions, like Vellore Institute of Technology,  receive enormous promotion from left-wing English language papers like the Hindu.
It would be a reasonable guess that, with student bodies drawn from neighboring countries, they will be infiltrated by Chinese, US, and other intelligence agents.
Meanwhile, Microsoft, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,  are behind the push toward “cashless” in India.
Gates had already been a big player in computer systems used in the public sector in the country, as well in so-called philanthropic efforts implementing the UN Millennium goals, the ultimate aim of which – even with the most benign interpretation –  is global population control.
Previous posts (see below) have shown the Gates/NWO  hand behind demonetization in India.
[Scroll down for the original  blog comment posted by Shanty Mathew and my notes]

 

PREVIOUS POSTS RELEVANT TO THE PRO-JALLIKATTU PROTESTS

  1. Tamil Spring Color Revolution, January 18, 2017
  2. Meet the People Behind Tamil People Power, MBP, January 22, 2017  [Quote:The website is dated 2017 and 4/7 of the members seem to be the same people behind the pro-Jallikattu movement, so one wonders if the BiCCI has a substantial presence outside this particular web-page and this particular issue.  Under the tab CAMPAIGNS, one finds a few tweets about Jallikattu and nothing more, which suggests that BiCCI is simply a PR effort intended to create the impression of a substantial Indian body behind pro-Jallikattu activism. I could be wrong, but the evidence so far suggests that a very worthy cause (the viability of Indian cattle breeds) is being used as a vehicle for Tamil identity politics intended either to revive the fortunes of the Tamil parties…..or to co-opt it for some other purpose…” end Quote]
  3. Pro-Jallikattu protests hijacked by violent groups, MBP, January 26, 2017

On Nachiket Mor and the Gates Foundation’s role in Demonetization:

4. Na(chiket) Mo(r) Hatao, Desh Bachao

COMMENT from Shanty Mathew at Inkstainedmind.blogspot.in.

“THIS MIGHT JUST BE SHEER COINCIDENCE… But in September 2015, Microsoft India released a report on how they experimented with “Crowd Mobilization” via mobile phone and social media in Tamil Nadu and Delhi. The experiment was modeled around work done earlier by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The report with its vague and amorphous objectives and conclusions is available here (pdf) http://preview.tinyurl.com/j75pq7u

Remember, Nachiket Mor Country Director of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation India is from TN. (Btw, I want to thank you for bringing up that name.)

Lila: Thanks, and here is the post in which I brought it up.

As you can see, I have blogged about his connection to Aadhar as well.

I didn’t catch the Jallikattu link, but I knew the whole protest was a Rothschild creation, because of the links to the Ford Foundation, the appeal to a UN mandate,  the coordination with Trump’s inauguration, simultaneous appearance of world-wide anti-Trump feminist protests, and also the symbolism of the bull, in relation to Shiva-Shakti.]

COMMENT (continued)

Nachiket Mor, it would seem, is both omniscient, omnipresent, and yet invisible!!!

He was in the TAGUP Committee headed by Nanadan Nilekani which brought up the idea of monopolistic NIUs (National Information Utilities) to leverage Aadhaar. He was, of course, head of the RBI’s Mor Committee which brought out the report laid the roadmap for “cashless payment economy” in India. And he is currently sitting on the board of the RBI and as Director of BMGF.

It would be really interesting to know whose hands are up this sock puppet!”

Govt Circulates “Green Shoots” and “Vaccination” memes

In 2009, shortly after the colossal tax-payer-footed bank bail-out of  September 2008, the globalist media began to circulate a pernicious and fraudulent meme: the bail-out had worked, the economy was reviving.

I deconstructed this “green shoots” meme as a type of “verbal pandemic” at some length in this LRC piece.

Just a couple of weeks earlier, I had  deconstructed a literal pandemic – swine flu – as overblown and most likely a scare tactic in search of an audience.

The use of these memes is one of the prime ways in which the globalist cabal herds public consciousness in a predetermined direction.  Their use is a definitive signal that an elite psychological operation is in progress.

It is thus crucial to understanding what is going on when, post demonetization, the Indian government floats both these memes – “green shoots” and “vaccination.”

The effect of the memes is to connect financial bail-outs at tax-payer expense to public health crises mandating police-state measures.

In the leading organ of the globalist left in India, The Hindu, we find the following piece referencing Modi finance minister, Arun Jaitley:

Jaitley Sees Green Shoots After Demonetization (December 30, 2016).

Mr. Jaitley cited an upward trend in revenue collections and green shoots in several sectors such as life insurance, mutual funds, aviation, and petroleum.”

That the phrase is not a casual or accidental usage but a deliberate meme can be verified from its usage in previous years, also by Mr. Jaitley:

In the  2014 budget speech:

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Narendra Modi government’s first budget. Here are the highlights:

1. Two years of sub-five per cent growth has led to challenges to the economy

2. Green shoots of recovery seen in global economy.”

In 2015, almost to the year and once again in the Hindu, Jaitley saw green shoots:

‘Green shoots’

Jaitley said there are two indicators that can be termed as ‘green shoots.’ First, bad debts (non-performing assets) of banks have declined to 5.2 per cent as of March-end 2015 from 5.64 per cent at the end of December 2014.

Second, indirect tax collections grew by 46.2 per cent in April to ?47,747 crore, with excise duty collection logging over 112 per cent growth.”

A further indication that Jaitley’s usage of the meme is intentional and part of a psychological operation is the fact that  he has previously directly linked “green shoots” to the “war on terror”- another globalist propaganda term:

[Note: Terming the war on terror a propaganda term does not deny the existence of terrorism. It simply suggests that the way terrorism is described is misleading and propagandistic.]

“…if you see occasional green shoots or signs of recovery, that proves to be patchy at times and then it is overtaken by certain geopolitical factors which create global instability. What the ISIS has been doing in the last few months across the world, itself poses a new danger to civilisation and therefore it’s impact on global economy cannot be understated,” Jaitley said at an ASSOCHAM event here.”

The linking of demonetization to vaccination completes the resemblance of the Modi project to the Obama bail-outs:

Demonetisation is an effective anti-scam vaccine for corruption and black money and remonetisation is a part of anti-corruption strategy of the Government for the benefit of the common man as per the 2014 mandate, Information & Broadcasting  Minister Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday. He highlighted the key ‘Achievements of the Government’ during the past two and half years.”

World-wide vaccination programs are a pet project of the Gates Foundation, the charitable arm of Microsoft mega-billionaire, Bill Gates, a prominent part of the globalist cabal.

As I’ve blogged here, the Gates Foundation representative in India, Nachiket Mor, was on the cabal on the RBI that pushed through demonetization on November 8 hurriedly, circumventing RBI rules and RBI officials. The Gates Foundation is behind both the “financial inclusion” program that has the stated goal of roping all Indians into debt and credit issued by the central bank via digital payment networks and the “clean India” project, which aims to link health in India to globalist initiatives actually intended to control and diminish population growth.

Gates has run afoul of Indian activists multiple times over his “negligent” vaccination programs:

…the World Health Organization, the Gates Foundation and two organizations funded by them, PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health) and GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), have found themselves under fire, after a writ of petition originally submitted to the Supreme Court of India, by Kalpana Mehta, Nalini Bhanot and Dr. Rukmini Rao in 2012, was finally heard by the courts.

The petitioners submitting the petition stated:

“BMGF, PATH and WHO were criminally negligent trialing the vaccines on a vulnerable, uneducated and under-informed population school administrators, students and their parents who were not provided informed consent or advised of potential adverse effects or required to be monitored post-vaccination.” [2]

The Gates Foundation’s emphasis on vaccines followed on an original emphasis on birth-control, and, counter-intuitively, stems from it:

Bill’s dad had set up a dinner at Seattle’s posh Columbia Tower Club with the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH). While the meeting started with birth control—among other efforts, PATH taught Chinese condom makers to test their products before shipping them—Gates began consuming data that startled him. In society after society, he saw, when the mortality rate falls—specifically, below 10 deaths per 1,000 people—the birth rate follows, and population growth stabilizes. “It goes against common sense,” Gates says. Most parents don’t choose to have eight children because they want to have big families, it turns out, but because they know many of their children will die.

“If a mother and father know their child is going to live to adulthood, they start to naturally reduce their population size,”?says Melinda.

In terms of giving, Gates did a 180-degree turn. Rather than prevent births, he would aim his billions at saving the kids already born. “We moved pretty heavily into vaccines once we understood that,” says Gates.”

and

More heavily than anyone ever had—even John D. Rockefeller, whose Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research pushed many key discoveries in 20th-century virology—he changed the global dialogue when it came to ­vaccines, which a decade ago had ­become controversial because of now-­disproved autism fears.

[Lila: We should not perhaps be too sanguine about autism fears being  “now-disproved” ]

The first Gates vaccine donation, $100 million, ­directed at the United Nations and ­administered by PATH, focused on getting existing vaccines to kids. To celebrate the gift, Bill and Melinda hosted a dinner for vaccine experts at their 66,000-square-foot home on Lake Washington. After Gates asked his guests, “What could you do if you had even more money?” the room exploded with new ideas. That’s when he decided to blow up his original foundation and, in 1999, reconstitute it as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, endowed with $21 billion, instantly making it one of the largest charities in the world. The endowment is now $36 billion, with $25 billion given away.”

Most tellingly, the route the Gates Foundation took to finance its projects was the notorious one of “public-private partnerships” – where risks and some of the costs are absorbed by the public sector, while the private partner takes all the profits by using the government as its marketing wing:

Drug companies wanted to immunize kids in, say, Afghanistan, but couldn’t count on demand that would be large and predictable enough to cover their costs. They faced the unappetizing choice of being humane or profitable.

So back in 1999 Gates traveled to Bellagio, Italy to hammer out a solution, along with Unicef, the World Bank, the UN, various pharmas and aid groups. The result was the Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunisation, now called the GAVI Alliance, which Gates ultimately backed with a $2.5 billion pledge and personal will, exhibiting the tough-guy tactics, when necessary, that earned Microsoft the fear of its rivals and enmity of U.S. antitrust regulators.”

The final picture we are left with is of demonetization as a thoroughly globalist program underway in India, complete with calibrated propaganda terms from both the incumbent government (“green shoots”) and the opposition (“1 percent and 99 percent).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The United States Of Greater Israel

 

Image result for trump israeli stooge\

has finally arrived…..with a “white nationalist/anti-Semitic/outsider” leader…

on a kosher leash, as I blogged earlier.

For more detail, see this piece on Trump’s Israeli money-laundering and mafia ties.

Plus points of this outcome:

NO MORE CLINTONS

Good riddance to 25 years of  the baggage-laden couple.

Respite from 24/7 feminist-LGBTQ propaganda and political correctness. A little plain-speaking will be allowed.

Lower taxes across the board….let’s hope.

But the decider will be if Trump repeals the evil FATCA and FBAR requirements through which the US polices banks and depositors all over the face of the earth.

Minus points.

Israel-first foreign policy and dangerous vacuums abroad.

An important step for the New World Order – managed nationalism combined with faux decentralization [Added Nov. 22]

[Added, Nov. 22]. The National Security States speeds up.

Expect New Deal-type public works programs that will fatten the wallets of mega private equity entities.

Expect Dear Leader-type mania in the population, Soros-funded agitation on elite campi, and  gang-driven agitation on the streets. [Added on Nov. 22]

The famous 90s Indian rapper Baba Sehgal has come out in support of GOP nominee Donald Trump through a rap song.

Known for his original, meaningless lyrics and terrific music, Sehgal who delivered the rap hit ‘Chicken Fried Rice’ last year, has put out a song in praise of Trump called ‘Trump Ka Mania.

Sehgal uploaded the video on his twitter, Facebook pages and YouTube channel, and it has gone viral in two days with touching 2.5 lakh views already.

“Could not resist doing a track on Trump. This guy has something in him which puts him on top of the charts. He may or may not become President of United States of America but his popularity, temperament and attitude has already won him millions of fans,” he wrote.

 The song begins with, “Everybody bole Trump pum pump, Trump bole vote come come come (Everybody’s talking about Trump but Trump talking about votes)” and shows an earlier video of Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump introducing her father.

Then he goes to explain how his mania has gripped everyone from Mumbai to Kenya and surprisingly the video has a very catchy music. It also shows Mr Sehgal rapping in his trademark style as footage from Trump’s rallies across the US is played behind him.”

[PLEASE NOTE: Baba Sehgal is a Sikh. Sikh groups were actively working against Indian interests in cahoots with the half-Sikh full Shabbos Goy Attorney General, Preet Bharara, in  the Devyani Khobragade incident. By referring to Sikhs generically as Indians, the Rothschild media prevents you from knowing the ethnic identities of the interests behind its drive to fragment and destroy the Indian polity.]

Expect subliminal and maybe explicit public approval of pedophilia/ incest.

Yes, that much-circulated video of Trump’s 13-year- old alleged rape-victim doesn’t seem quite right…but convicted pedophile and known Mossad asset/sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein DID take the fifth when asked if Trump was present when underage girls were being solicited.

Evangelicals, hope you love the bargain you made with the second of the two equal evils they gave us.

Question:

Julian Assange, what was that email dump even about?

 

 

 

Behind #BlackLivesMatter, REVCOM dot US

From  AllNewsPipeline.com:

“According to Wikipedia, the media refers to the Black Lives Matter movement as “a new civil rights movement,” but a look into an organization behind the BLM shows a comprehensive plan by another group who are using the BLM protestors as nothing more than patsies to create a “profound and acute crisis in society,”  with the “goal of revolution and ultimately communism ,” as their endgame plan.

In other words…. to start a civil war.

The organization in question is seen clearly on a Black Lives matter sign held by protesters during a march against the New York City grand jury decision to not indict in the death of Eric Garner, in Oakland, California December 3, 2014, shown below:

BLMREVCOM.jpg

REVCOM.US

The revcom.us website header says “Welcome to the REVOLUTION – The Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.” The quotes above speaking to creating a crisis in society with the ultimate goal being revolution comes directly from their “New Communist Manifesto,” which is a 100+ page PDF document found here. ….”

….In their preamble they clearly state the need “to defeat and dismantle the forces of the old, oppressive order, and establish the new socialist state,” further stating the ” process and goal which, fundamentally and in the final analysis, can only be achieved on a global scale, with the advance to communism throughout the world”.

Briefly, #BlackLivesMatter, like #OccupyWallStreet and the Million Mask March, is an advertising campaign to sell race-wars and revolution, brought to you from the same people who brought you Pussy Riot, Anonymous, “V” for Vendetta, Wikileaks, #Kony2012 and #JeSuisCharlie…..

Migrant Population Interactive Map

There is an excellent interactive map of migrant populations at The Migration Policy Institute.

When looking at numbers of emigrants from a country, consider the numbers relative to the population size. 2 million Indian emigrants seems a lot until you set it against the approximately 1.3 billion Indians in India.

Then you realize that a far smaller proportion of Indians, for example, emigrates than of, say, Poles.

Indeed, far from emigrating all over the world, Asians and Africans are, by and large, confined to their countries by restrictive immigration quotas, the prohibitive cost of migration for relatively poor people, and the difficulties of even living in those countries, let alone planning emigration from them.

By contrast, relative to their populations, it is the affluent countries that supply the most emigrants to other places.

And that has always been the case…which is why so much of the landmass of the world has been appropriated by white populations that now deem them off-limits to other people.

Contrast these facts with the rhetoric of “white genocide by brown immigration” and “Eurabia” and you will find the latter largely baseless, except in so far as the latest migrant incursion into Europe has been manufactured to create a “fortress Europe” mentality.

And, now, with the Paris attacks, France has declared martial law for three months.

Thus, a full-fledged security state is in place in the heart of Europe, just as planned by the globalists.

 

Million Mask March On London Turns Violent

From Euro News, further evidence of orchestrated chaos, as the million mask march in London descends into violent chaos.

Notice the masks from the New World Order themed movie, “V for Vendetta,” typical of the intelligence-related group Anonymous.

The Million Mask March is said to be a rebranding of the failed Occupy movement, a Soros-infiltrated effort at stirring up the masses around the globe that was a bit of a damp squib. Anonymous has been orchestrating the MMM since 2013 and there have been complaints that it is infiltrated by CIA. Not sure if the complaints are genuine or just more theater by operatives.

Notice the timing – on Guy Fawkes Day (November 5).

I’ll add to this post, once I’ve researched the topic a bit more.

Pope Calls Chilean Protesters “Dumb”

The NY Times on more peculiar conduct from the Pope:

Many watched in disbelief: There he was, Pope Francis, calling people in Osorno, a city in southern Chile, “dumb” for protesting against a bishop accused of being complicit in clerical sexual abuse.

“The Osorno community is suffering because it’s dumb,” Pope Francis told a group of tourists on St. Peter’s Square, because it “has let its head be filled with what politicians say, judging a bishop without any proof.”

“Don’t be led by the nose by the leftists who orchestrated all of this,” the pope said.”

In Germany, Over 150 Arson Attacks Against Refugees

From a Reuters report in July 2015:

“I feel shame for the hatred of foreigners out there on the streets of Germany,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday after the Interior Ministry reported a near doubling of attacks on shelters to 150 in the first half of this year. There were 170 attacks in all of 2014.

Before dawn on Saturday, arsonists torched a shelter in the southwestern town of Remchingen, causing 70,000 euros in damages, just hours before assailants fired guns at the windows of another shelter in the eastern town of Boehlen near Leipzig.

In the Bavarian town of Vorra, an empty shelter was set on fire last week and swastikas were found painted on the wall.

There have been similar attacks in the eastern towns of Freital, Meissen and Troeglitz that prevented refugees from moving in.

In the northeastern city of Rostock on Sunday, police had to resort to tear gas to fight off right-wing extremists who had attacked a group of refugees from Albania andEgypt during a village festival.

Justice Minister Maas told Bild newspaper that aside from the “irrational fears and violence” against refugees in Germany, he has also seen an outpouring of compassion for their plight as well. An opinion poll in April showed 50 percent of Germans want their country to take in even more refugees.

Germany struggled with racist violence for several years during the economic upheaval that followed unification in 1990. Some 186 foreigners were killed.

Then, as now, critics assailed the government for failing to move quickly and decisively enough against the violence, and of indirectly encouraging attacks through inaction or, worse, populist comments against foreigners who abused asylum policies.

“The government doesn’t have a coherent strategy and some politicians, especially on the right, are making the situation worse with incendiary comments and actions,” Hajo Funke, a political scientist at Berlin’s Free University, told Reuters.

Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer and his Christian Social Union (CSU), the conservative sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), have called this week for quick deportations of people from Balkan countries that Germany no longer dangerous enough to warrant asylum.

“The right’s populist ideas are spreading like wildfire in the CSU and it’s extremely dangerous,” Funke said, noting that lethal fire bombings in the early 1990s often followed provocative rhetoric by anti-immigrant politicians that Germans call “geistige Brandstiftung” (“mental arson”).

More than twice as many refugees are expected in Germany this year than the 200,000 who sought shelter here last year. Of the 85,394 arrivals in the first quarter alone, most came from Kosovo, Syria, Serbia, Albania, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In poor regions of Germany, fears of competition from refugees for state resources are high. In well-off areas, fears of falling property values or a rise in crime also fuel protests and resistance to new shelters being created.”

 

Refugees In India, Post-Independence

I was quite pleased to find out that India has taken refugees into her borders consistently, even though those refugees were not fleeing as the result of anything India had done.

Moreover, Indian population density is very high and she supports the second largest population of any country in the world on relatively small land area:

 As per the provisional population totals of Census 2011, the population density of India has gone up to 382 [Lila: 394 according to more accounts] persons per square kilometer from 325 persons per square kilometer in 20011……….

[Lila: Compare this to a European population density of 105 per sq km and only 33 per sq km for the United States.]

India accounts for a meagre 2.4 percent of the world surface area of 135.79 million square kms. On the other hand, it supports and sustains 17.5 per cent of the world population. In contrast, the USA accounts for 7.2 per cent of the surface area with only 4.5 per cent of the world population. As such, among the ten most populous countries of the world, only Bangladesh has a higher population density compared to India.”

Meanwhile Indian Gross Domestic Product (by Purchasing Power Parity):

India 2013 –  $4000

US 2013  -$52,800

India  1999 – $1800

UD 1999 – $33,900  [CIA world fact book.]

In nominal terms, the numbers are even more divergent.

Here are some of the most notable refugee flows into India:

  1. 7.249 million Hindus and Sikhs entered India from Pakistan after the partition i 1948, with roughly the same number going out, in one of the biggest population movements in history.  There were other flows of about 3-4 million in each direction, thereafter.Given the impoverished state of the country and lack of facilities, the population exchange was quite extraordinary.
  2. 150,000 Tibetans have made their home in India, in the wake of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against China. They were given free education, health-care, identity cards that could function as passports, college scholarships, and several large settlements, including 3000 acres of land in Mysore District.
  3. 10 million East Pakistani refugees were taken into West Bengal from the present-day Bangladesh, after the 1971 Bangladesh genocide that India ended by military intervention.
  4. 60,000 Afghan refugees were admitted after the 1979 Soviet-Afghan war.
  5. There are over 400 refugee settlements for thousands of Hindus fleeing from Pakistan.
  6. Over 100,000 Sri Lankan refugees.

Trump Says KKK Story Bizarre, False

From the Daily Mail:

Trump however told Daily Mail Online that his father had not been arrested and that it was impossible he could have been, as it would have prevented him getting business licenses in the future.

‘This is ridiculous,’ he said.

‘He was never arrested. He has nothing to do with this. This never happened. This is nonsense and it never happened.

‘This never happened. Never took place. He was never arrested, never convicted, never even charged.

‘It’s a completely false, ridiculous story. He was never there! It never happened. Never took place.

‘Think – if it had, he would never have been able to get licenses in New York for anything associated with his business, with construction. This is just bizarre and untrue.

‘You don’t even know it’s the same person! Nobody says it was!’

Yes, it’s possible the whole thing is cooked up in some way.
As I commented yesterday (in the comments under the post), on his TV show, Stephen Colbert had superimposed the KKK image on Trump only the day before this KKK story sprang up.
It’s quite possible that the Fred Trump at the correct address is not the same person, but a relative;
or that the reporter got the name wrong;
or that Fred Trump was just an innocent bystander.
Fred Trump was only 21 at the time and it was long before his real-estate career began.
It’s also possible that the incident happened and  Donald Trump just didn’t know about it.
But the damage is done.
There will be more back-and-forth about it that will permanently link the anti-immigration arguments today with the KKK.

Moral Melodrama Of Migrant Crisis

From the always insightful Brendan O’Neill at Spiked.com:

This media-orchestrated moral drama, complete with invasive photos of dead children, highly inappropriate comparisons with the Holocaust, and the performative piety of politicians and the Twitterati holding up pro-refugee placards or promising to open their homes to migrants, confirms that what ought to be a democratic discussion — the question of what caused this crisis and where refugees should go — has been reduced to an opportunity for virtue-advertising in which rational thought and public engagement are positively frowned upon.

The most striking thing about the outburst of ostentatious concern for the refugees is its bad faith. What is presented to us as a sad humanitarian disaster that somehow materialised over the past seven days is in fact traceable to the disintegration of the Middle East over the past five years and the hollowing-out of 50 years worth of state structures in Libya and the knock-on destabilising effect that had across north Africa — globe-shaking events which our governments in the West played no small part in bringing about. ……

Indeed, the value of the refugees seems to lie in the extent to which, through playing dutiful humanitarian victims, they might help Western politicians assume the role of smiling saviour and in the process repair their flagging moral authority. It’s well known that sections of the hard right have a tendency to dehumanise asylum seekers, treating the complex human beings who cross borders as an amorphous threat. Over the past week we have seen that the other side in this discussion, those who pose as friends of migrants, also play the dehumanisation game. Where the right criminalises migrants, liberals infantilise them, reducing them from moral agents who have made a decision to migrate to childlike victims in need of rescue by virtuous Westerners. The much-shared, wept-over photo of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi spoke to the new Western view of the migrant: as hapless, helpless; pathetic; children requiring our care. The hard right juxtaposes itself to the threatening migrant; the pseudo-humanitarian left presents itself as lifesaver to the childish migrant. Both sides dehumanise them, for self-serving reasons.”

Privacy Expert Questions Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Privacy Surgeon.com:

I’m starting to believe the so-called “migration crisis” facing Europe is little more than a tragic confidence trick. Worryingly, however, it involves dangerous consequences for the rights of every EU resident.

I’m not being heartless. Yes, thousands of refugees have lost their lives in the struggle to reach EU borders. Many more are living in a desperate plight, often at the mercy of human traffickers. That’s not my point.

Relatively few of us have genuinely got to grips with the realities of this situation. It’s a massively complex issue that goes to the heart of geopolitics and national dynamics, but intelligent people should not be sucked into the orchestrated rhetoric that is being peddled. This isn’t the first time we’ve faced such circumstances – and it certainly won’t be the last.

The migration issue is trending across the political landscape of nearly all EU countries. Emerging from the hysteria over rising numbers of asylum seekers is a mix of innovative and humane solutions. Sadly, the “crisis” is also spotlighting the very worst of Europe, spewing out a raft of reactions that defy the very basis of the values that Europe is supposed to uphold.

Instead of making an effort to find a rational way through the difficult issues, some governments have cheered on a contagion mentality which has genuinely terrified entire populations that the barbarians are at the gate. It feels like Donald Trump’s shadow has fallen across Europe.

At one level (though certainly not for the migrants themselves) the situation is nowhere near as dramatic as some media outlets are portraying. At another level, the crisis is far worse for Europe than anyone could imagine. This situation could trigger a backlash for civil liberties across the EU.

Let’s deal first with the raw figures.

At the risk of simplification, here is the top level statistic. The EU’s external border force, Frontex, which monitors the flow of people arriving at Europe’s borders, says some 340,000 migrants have been detected at EU borders since the beginning of 2015. That compares with 123,500 in the same period last year.

My response is “what’s the big deal?

[Lila: Exactly my reaction. Anyone who has actually been in populous, poor, or war-torn countries, would find the numbers nothing so extraordinary.]

…….

During World War II, refugees flooded from Germany to Switzerland, as any Sound of Music fan will remember. Between 1933 and 1939, about 200,000 Jews fleeing Nazism were able to find refuge in France. At around that time several hundred thousand Spanish Republicans fled to France after their loss to the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. Unlike the EU of today, nations coped with such circumstances.

It’s true that the current headline figures can look dramatic. More than 300,000 migrants have risked their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year, according to the UN. This compares with 219,000 for the whole of 2014.

Nearly 200,000 people have landed in Greece since January this year, while another 110,000 made it to Italy.

To put the current situation into a statistical perspective, imagine a town of 10,000 people calling emergency meetings and getting into a froth of paranoia because ten migrants show up at the town hall office. 

Having said that, the total population of the EU member states is just over half a billion. Is anyone seriously arguing on any basis of rationality that a region of five hundred million people can’t find a way to absorb a peak of an extra half million migrants? In the view of many observers, this isn’t so much a migrant crisis as it is a crisis of political fragility over Europe’s teetering economy and employment.

To put the current situation into a statistical perspective, imagine a town of 10,000 people calling emergency meetings and getting into a froth of paranoia because ten migrants show up at the town hall office. Most of us would condemn such a response.

In line with this reasoning, let’s try to put the situation is a historical context.

Some people might like to forget that the decade leading up to 2001 saw the one of the bloodiest conflicts of modern times – and right on Europe’s doorstep. The Bosnian and Yugoslav wars saw genocide that murdered between 100,000 and 200,000 people (depending on whose figures you accept). States that are now happily part of the European family of nations were obliterating entire communities at the time your fifteen year old child was born. Now, all is forgiven – and almost forgotten.

But at the time, there was misery and human displacement at a scale that people these days can barely understand. Vast waves of refugees poured out of the carnage and tried for a new life in Europe and elsewhere.

Europe whines about a “crisis” of having to deal with an overflow that’s equivalent to less than one tenth of one percent of its population. Compare this to what Croatia agreed to burden at the time of the conflict.

The U.S. Ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, tried to put the number of refugees in Croatia into perspective during an interview in 1993. He said the situation would be the equivalent of the United States taking in 30,000,000 refugees. The number of Bosnian refugees in Croatia stood at 588,000. Serbia took in 252,130 refugees from Bosnia, while other former Yugoslav republics received a total of 148,657 people.”

Indonesian drug laws are Indonesia’s business.

Indonesia’s drug laws are Indonesia’s business, says one American expat sensibly:

Nobody who has spent a significant amount of time in Indonesia will make the argument that Indonesia’s legal system is perfect. Corruption is a major problem, and laws ranging from traffic violations to environmental regulations are flouted with impunity. One of my fellow teachers recently confessed that he would never call the police unless he was the victim of a very serious crime because he fears getting shaken down in return for the crime being solved. However, with the exception of the province Aceh, which uses a limited form of Sharia law, Indonesia’s political and legal system is based on secular values[iv] and thus cannot be dismissed as the product of radical Islam, even if critics might have you believe otherwise. Furthermore, there is no doubt whether the aforementioned drug traffickers are guilty, rather the question is if Indonesia has the right to execute foreign drug dealers. Indonesia is well-known for its strict drug laws as its airports are full of warnings that drug trafficking offenses carry the death penalty and even customs declaration cards carry the ominous threat that drug traffickers face the death penalty. Anti-drug signs and speeches are a regular part of life at an Indonesian high school and drugs, even marijuana, are considered completely taboo. Of course, drugs exist and people abuse them, but in my own experience, the Indonesian approach is very different from the West, where many drugs are illegal, but young peoples’ drug experimentation is often tacitly accepted.

I do not believe that drug traffickers should be given the death penalty; however, my opinion is irrelevant as I am not an Indonesian citizen, and even if I were the majority of Indonesians disagree with me.[v] This article is not attempting to argue that countries should adopt the death penalty for drug trafficking, but we should avoid trying to impose our more liberal views about drugs on other countries. Trafficking large amounts of heroin is considered a very serious crime worldwide including in the countries that have abolished the death penalty. The National Institute on Drug Abuse summarizes the effects of the drug as “once a person becomes addicted to heroin, seeking and using the drug becomes their primary purpose in life.”[vi] Hopefully, I do not have to devote any more time persuading the reader that heroin is a terrible drug and that Indonesia has a right to protect itself from drug traffickers. Some pundits have argued that Indonesia should not proceed with these executions because supposedly the death penalty does not deter drug trafficking, but the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2012 World Drug Report revealed that there is a significantly higher percentage of Australians who abuse marijuana, amphetamine-type stimulants, and opioids (heroin, morphine, etc) than Indonesians.[vii] This makes intrinsic sense as the more serious the punishment for breaking a law the less likely people will do so. Obviously, there are other factors at work here as well, as many countries with less stringent laws have less drug abuse, but Indonesia should be free to combat drug dealers how it sees fit, and even if its methods are inefficient that is Indonesia’s problem, not ours.

According to The Economist’s 2012 Index of Democracy, the only Muslim-majority countries that are functioning democracies are Senegal, Malaysia, and Indonesia.[viii] Unfortunately, this list is unlikely to grow significantly in the future as the Arab Spring has not led to the expected growth in democracy, if anything the opposite has occurred. Thus, it makes sense for the West to do everything in its power to build strong relations and support the aforementioned Muslim-majority democracies, even if they are imperfect. Trying to interfere in a country’s legal system will only have adverse effects, even if the death sentences are commuted, as we risk alienating the Indonesian people, the majority of whom support the death penalty of drug traffickers[ix] and most likely do not want foreign countries interfering in their justice system. This should only be acceptable if there is a real injustice, but facing the consequences after being caught with a large amount of heroin or other narcotics is not an injustice and it is not worth damaging bilateral relations. Bob Carr, the former Australian foreign minister, put it best when he said “to produce a nationalist backlash in Indonesia would be terrible for Australia’s future in Indonesia and I really think in South-East Asia.”[x]

We expect immigrants and visitors to respect our laws, so it seems a little perverse to assume that our citizens will not be held to the same standard when travelling abroad. Indonesia is a much more conservative place than Australia, the Netherlands, etc, so if foreigners find this abhorrent, they should avoid traveling or visiting here, especially if they intend to engage in illicit activity. The only country which should be worried about how Indonesia deals with drug traffickers is Indonesia. Trying to influence domestic policy in other countries through coercion and cajoling may provide a short-term political popularity boost in your own country, but it is not a long-term formula for success, and we must respect Indonesia’s legal system. Otherwise the West risks permanently alienating Indonesia and similar countries by trying to strong-arm them into adopting our legal rules and ethics, which is bad for Indonesia, but even worse for us.”

And Alan Royle writes:

 Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is trying everything to get the condemned men’s sentences reduced to life imprisonment, on the rather dubious premise that capital punishment is barbaric, that all human life is precious and has value. Frankly, I doubt if the lady is all that familiar with the ‘all human life is precious’ argument. Why? Because one of her brilliantly thought through proposals to President Widodo of Indonesia is that our two nations do an ‘exchange’. The proposal is that Indonesia gives us back our two Australian drug dealers, and in return we give them three Indonesian ones captured on our soil. Then, our home-grown scumbags can serve a cosy prison sentence here, and the Indonesian scumbags can go home and get shot! Evidently, Miss Bishop’s understanding of the sanctity of life only applies to those holding an Australian passport. As I write, the death toll in Katmandu has climbed over 4,000 following the earthquake on April 25, yet the Australian media and government continue to focus their attention on the fate of the Bali 9 leaders. Where the Hell are our priorities? Virtually every Australian I know has enormous sympathy for the Nepalese people and none for two greedy drug dealers, so why does our media and government continually tell the world the opposite? There are vigils being held around the country, but they concern Nepal not Bali!”

Exactly right.  If the “sanctity of life trumps all’ argument were really held seriously, then of course, the US, UK , and Australia wouldn’t be turning away migrants who face starvation and/or war in their own countries.

But they do. Routinely.

In other words, if you are an innocent victim of catastrophe or war, don’t expect the self-proclaimed lovers of liberty to support your right to free movement to other countries.  Suddenly Jean Raspail gets trotted out. Europe’s very existence is threatened.

But, if you are a first world drug-trafficker inflicting untold misery on native teens and young people via hard drugs, then expect every bleating phony to rush out and defend the sanctity of life.

No one with half a brain can avoid knowing that they face the death penalty if they traffic in drugs in certain Asian countries. If you still, do it, because you want to make money off of ruined lives,  and if a lawfully elected government then sentences you to death, with the support of the culture and people in the country, and there is a legitimate and rational argument to be made that the law in question is just, your legal claim is non-existent.

 

 

The Declining Value of Elite Credentials

Of Two Minds.com:

“Economist Michael Spence developed the job market signaling model of valuing employees based on their credentials in the 1970s. The basic idea is that signaling overcomes the inherent asymmetry of information between employer and potential employee, i.e. what skills the employer needs and what skills the employee actually has is a mystery to the other party.

Credentials (diplomas, certificates, grad point averages, test scores, etc.) send a signal that transfers information to the employer about the opportunity cost the potential employee sacrificed for the credential.

It is important to note that the credential doesn’t necessarily signal the employee’s actual skills or knowledge– it only signals the amount of human and financial capital the employee and his family invested in obtaining the credential.

Signaling boils down to something like this: if Potential Employee A graduated from a prestigious Ivy League university, and Potential Employee B graduated from a lower-ranked state university, this doesn’t signal that Candidate A is necessarily more intelligent than Candidate B; it does signal, however, that Candidate A probably worked harder to get into and graduate from the prestigious school.

The signal is: Candidate A will work harder for the employer than Candidate B, all other qualifications being equal.

The Signal Value of credentials is the entire foundation of higher education. The higher education system does not actually test or credential the body of knowledge or working skills of graduates; it simply accredits that the graduate sat through a semi-random selection of courses and managed to pass the minimal standards–or alternatively, that the graduate gamed/cheated the system to gain credit without actually doing any real learning.

The reason tens of thousands of parents are sweating blood to get their child into an Ivy League university is the signaling power of that degree is widely viewed as having the near-magical ability to guarantee lifelong highly compensated employment.

But the power of higher education credentials is eroding for systemic reasons.

1. Credentials of all sorts are in over-supply: there are more people holding credentials than there are jobs that require those credentials.

2. Higher education does not prepare graduates for the real world of work in the emerging economy, so the signaling value of a diploma has been lost.

3. The opportunity cost paid by those graduating from college is now more noise than signal.

4. The intrinsically ambiguous signal value of a credential cannot be substituted for real-world accreditation of real skills and working knowledge.

In essence, the failure of signaling to accredit actual skills and knowledge bases is being acknowledged by employers. This accreditation is precisely what diplomas fail to do. Specialty programs (nursing, medicine) accredit the skills and knowledge of the graduates, but this is not true of the vast majority of diplomas and credentials.

The job-market value of a college degree was relatively high in the 1970s when Spence developed the Signal Model because the number of workers with college diplomas was still relatively modest (around 15% of the workforce). The most basic function of the market–supply and demand–worked in favor of what was relatively scarce–a college diploma. As a result, the assumption that the applicant had worked hard to obtain the degree was more signal than noise.

Nowadays, conventional credentials such as college degrees are in over-supply: around 40% of the work force has a college diploma of some sort, and an increasing number of college graduates are taking jobs that do not require a college education.

This is reflected in the declining wages of college graduates: Even the Most Educated Workers Have Declining Wages.

While the cost of higher education has skyrocketed (tuition is up 1,100% since 1980), the educational yield of higher education has declined. The national study Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, found that over one third of college students “did not demonstrate any significant improvements in learning critical thinking and other skills central to success in the new economy” and concluded that “American higher education is characterized by limited or no learning for a large proportion of students.”.

From this dismal record, we can extrapolate that another third gained marginal utility from their investment of tens of thousands of dollars and four years of study.

Google is widely viewed as a bellwether of the new economy. It is noteworthy, then, that Google has found that academic success has little correlation with being productive in the workplace. Lazlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, made the following comments in an interview published by the New York Times in June 2013:

One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.s (grade point averages) are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and G.P.A.s and test scores, but we don’t anymore. We found that they don’t predict anything.What’s interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well. So we have teams where you have 14 percent of the team made up of people who’ve never gone to college.

Signaling an ability to grind though four or five years of institutional coursework is no longer enough; the signaling needed to indicate an ability to create value must be much richer in information density and more persuasive than a factory model diploma.”

 

Men Forced Into Sex More Often Than Women

In a thoroughly documented piece, “Yellow Journalism and the Meme of Rape Culture,” a blogger  takes apart Rolling Stone magazine’s coverage of the University of Viriginia “gang-rape” story to show the incredibly shoddy standards of investigation of many elite (read, left-liberal) news outlets and the biased advocacy that passes itself off as objective reporting.

Rolling Stone has retracted the story and issued an apology but no one has been fired for what amounts to criminal libel.

The agenda behind this, as admitted by the reporter herself, was to find a rape story that was “emblematic” of the rape culture that feminists declare is threatening women on campus.

But as I’ve blogged many times,  this isn’t so.

To find a “rape culture” on American campuses,  you would need to use a broad definition of rape that included seduction with alcohol, fraud, or other means.

I tend to agree with the broadening of what we define as rape, while disbelieving that the criminal justice system is the best place to address any of it.

Both Heather McDonald and Emily Yoffe named the beast that nobody wants to confront: an alcohol-lubricated hookup culture that begins in high school (if not earlier) and turns colleges and universities into rape traps for both women and men.

U-VA President Teresa Sullivan didn’t mention alcohol – not even once – in her November 22 statement about the Rolling Stone report of a gang rape at a fraternity house and her intention to quell sexual abuse on campus.

Yet a 2004 study by the Harvard School of Public Health (Correlates of Rape while Intoxicated in a National Sample of College Women) of almost 24,000 women at 119 colleges found that 72% of campus rapes happened when the victims were so intoxicated they were unable to consent or refuse.”

In this broad sense (but not in the narrow one) there is a “rape-culture”.

Only, today it victimizes men as much, or more, than women, as is the case elsewhere in the world .

Riversong.wordpress.com

“If any unwanted or not fully consensual sexual activity is defined now as rape, then more men then women are victims of rape and most of their victimizers are women.

An article about college students published in the Journal of Sex Research Vol. 31, No. 2 (1994), noted that Muehlenhard and Cook (1988) found that 46% of women and 63% of men had acquiesced to unwanted sexual intercourse, while Muehlenhard and Long (1988) also found that more men (49%) than women (40%) had engaged in unwanted sex. Muehlenhard and Rodgers (1993) found that 34% of women reported having engaged in token resistance to sex, in which they said “no” when they really desired to have sex. US women acknowledge a 55% rate of consent to unwanted sex, which is consistent with the findings of 50% false rape allegations in university studies.

[Charlene L. Muehlenhard, PhD, the author of all those studies, is a Professor of Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Fellow in Three Divisions of the American Psychological Association (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Society for the Psychology of Women, Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues), and a Fellow in the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality]

According to a 2014 paper published in the American Psychological Association journal, Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 43% of high school and college-aged men say they’ve had “unwanted sexual contact”, and 95% of those say a female acquaintance was the aggressor.

Researchers found that 18% reported sexual coercion by force (including by use of weapon), 31% said they were verbally coerced into sex, 26% said they’d experienced unwanted seduction, and 7% said they were compelled after being given alcohol or drugs.

Dr. Bryana French, who teaches counseling psychology and black studies at University of Missouri and co-authored the study, says that male victims are often less willing to describe sexual coercion in detail, “but when asked if it happened, they say it happened”.

French said, “Seduction was a particularly salient and potentially unique form of coercion for teenage boys and young men when compared to their female counterparts.”

The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions is co-authored by Lara Stemple, Health and Human Rights Law Project, UCLA, and Ilan H. Meyer, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law.

The authors assessed 12-month prevalence of sexual victimization from five federal surveys conducted, independently, by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 2010 through 2012. The review of these surveys provides an unprecedented wealth of new data about male victimization, challenging long-held stereotypes about the sex of victims.

In one of the studies included in the analysis, the CDC found that an estimated 1.3 million women experienced nonconsensual sex, or rape, in the previous year.

Notably, nearly the same number of men also reported nonconsensual sex. In comparison to the number of women who were raped, nearly 1.3 million men were “made to penetrate” someone else. The CDC data reveal that both women and men experienced nonconsensual sex in alarming and equal numbers.

The study also included the 2012 National Crime Victimization Survey, which found that 38% of all reported rape and sexual assault incidents were committed against males, an increase over past years that challenges the common belief that males are rarely victims of this crime.

“These findings are striking, yet misconceptions about male victimization persist. We identified reasons for this, which include the over-reliance on traditional gender stereotypes, outdated and inconsistent definitions used by some federal agencies, and methodological sampling biases.”

The 2011 CDC analysis referred to in the 2014 report found that 6.7% of men (7.6 million) reported that they were made to penetrate someone else, and that 82.6% of male victims of “made to penetrate” events and 80% of male victims of sexual coercion reported female perpetrators, meaning they were raped by a woman, according to the current and broadly accepted definition of rape as any unwanted sexual encounter.

The CDC report’s statistics for the preceding 12 months showed that a higher percentage of men were “made to penetrate” (1.7%) than women were raped (1.6%), such that if you properly include “made to penetrate” in the definition of rape, men were raped by women at least as often as women were raped by men.”

Not knockout “games,” but organized gangs

I found one site, which seems to have the same sense I have, that this black-on-white crime is not the work of random “flash-mobs,” or random thugs, or  “knock-out games.”

This looks like organized, pre-planned violence.

The incidents below occurred in 2011, in the run-up to the 2012 election, which I blogged previously, deliberately employed race-incitement as a strategy.

Chicago Illinois

In Chicago attacks by black mobs are becoming routine. So much so that the police is now mobilizing detectives and additional officers  to form gang  units in a  desperate effort to try to get a handle of this.

So far they are failing.

June 9th 2011,”police here are girding for another weekend of ‘flash mob’ attacks after arresting 29 people in connection with a recent rash of assaults and robberies in and around the city’s tony shopping and dining district. Twelve crimes involving large groups of young men were reported last weekend in addition to others earlier this spring. The incidents are some of the first major problems confronting newly appointed Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy”.

The attacks are typical of what this man, Krzysztof Wilkowski,  experience after shopping on Michigan Avenue.  He was sitting on his scooter a couple of blocks away checking his phone for a restaurant when he got whacked in the face with a baseball.   After he was dazed by the blow , “a few of the attackers dragged him off his scooter and pulled him onto Chicago Avenue where they punched him, hit him with his helmet and tried to grab his phone”.

Another victim was  “Jesse Andersen, the 35-year-old brother of Smashing Pumpkins front-man Billy Corgan” who was accosted and attacked by a black mob while waiting for the train.

Don’t think that these attacks occur in some devastated ghetto.  On the contrary.  The black mobs are praying  on victims in Chicago’s affluent North Side, including the very popular tourist attraction,  The Magnificent Mile.

A few days ago another balck mob invaded and took over a Walgreens store right on the “Magnificent Mile”.

Read full article here

Peoria Illinois ” kill all the white people”

A mob of African-American male youths terrorized White residents of Peoria, Illinois as they shouted “kill all the White people” while rioting in the downtown area late Saturday night.

Eyewitness Paul Wilkinson, president of the Altamont Park Neighborhood Association, wrote the following account in the Peoria Chroncile:
Tonight, around 11 p.m., a group of at least 60-70 African American youth marched down one of the side streets (W. Thrush) to the 4 lane main drag (Sheridan). They were yelling threats to white residents. Things such as “we need to kill all the white people around here”.  They were physically intimidating anyone calling for help from the police.
This is the fifth large mob action in about a month while smaller groups of 10-12 are out threatening children and adults a few evenings a week or later into the night.
Source

No. Virginia.

Three people were beaten by mobs in Northern Virginia in two separate incidents that occurred within five minutes of each other on Saturday night, authorities said.

To think that this is random stretches the furthest bounds of credulity and requires a suspension of disbelief bordering on comatose.  The spark of these attacks is planned and  some of them were actually organized on social media sites. Do you remember which president got elected using social media sites?

Flagolatry Then and Now

Third-World Traveler has an excerpt from “Hoax,” by Nicholas Von Hoffman

(Nation Books, 2004).

p33
Flag Waving

Flagolatry , or the excessive or demented reverence for the national symbol, has its innocent roots in the first lines of the National Anthem. Then things began to get out of hand. Respect for the flag commenced to become flagolatry, part of the degraded and antic patriotism which distorts what, in saner hands, are decent and praiseworthy feelings for one’s country. That country was hardly born before people started running Old Glory up the flag pole with a vengeance.

p34
Some flag waving is good, a lot of flag waving is tolerable, incessant flag waving is crazy and dangerous and easily manipulated by the war party to get people bubbling at the mouth in fear and rage.

p36
… when flagalotry takes over the landscape, as it has in the last generation, it says something about people who dwell in that country. Not only does every unpaid-for, overly-mortgaged house in the United States boast its own copy of Old Glory, but so does every SUV, every truck, every truck stop, the side of every barn.

p38
I suppose that the purpose of flag display is inspirational, but taken together with allegiance-pledging and such, its effect is stifling, confining, and intimidating. It was used for the same purpose in the months leading up to America’s entry into World War I. An electric sign was strung across New York City’s 5th Avenue in 1916 flashing the orders for “Absolute and Unqualified Loyalty to Our Country.” In a society of lapel pin flags and standing to attention and red, white, and bluing, the uninterruptedly repeated message is don’t talk, listen up, and get ready to rumble.

The insanity of public debate in America

Consider the following,:

1. A woman has the absolute right to kill her baby until the moment it exits her uterus. She can also dismember it and torture it by burning it with saline fluid, plucking off its limbs, crushing its bones, or sucking its brains out.

These actions are guarded ferociously as her “right to privacy” by the entire intellectual establishment that silently blacks out or distorts descriptions of these killings. Some 50 million babies have been killed in the past few decades but this holocaust is left to private conscience only. Women or their doctors are not punished for it at all. In fact, they’re applauded and public funding is used to pay for it, even while that part of the public that doesn’t go along with abortion is demonized.

2. An eighty-year-old man makes a few untoward remarks to a girlfriend in the privacy of their bedroom. The tapes are recorded. and published. He is denounced as a disgusting racist with no right to his opinions and he is deprived of his property rights.

Leading “libertarian” activists  say nothing or defend the media’s position. They tell people they ought not to say anything in private they can’t say in public.  This is a thought-control much greater than that under Sharia law, which all these activists would denounce, correctly. None of them sees the contradiction.

No one thinks of simply ignoring and not linking the Sterling material. Instead, they all follow the media’s cue automatically, as though pulled by invisible strings. Then they call themselves “fiercely independent” and talk about “freedom,:” “free speech,” “free choice,” “self-ownership” and other flattering mythologies with a straight face.

Meanwhile, so-called “evil statists” are the only ones arguing that the the recordings are on their face illegal and should not be distributed in the public realm.

The parameters of debate in the much-vaunted “free press” are set by media barons who profit from cheap gossip and extortion (which lowers the cost of running a paper, since the public does the reporting for free or for small sums), pornographers, and paid operatives of the government posing as private actors.

No one considers this a gross conflict of interest. The media barons are presumed not to have political agendas and presumed not to manipulate in collusion.

Nor is this manipulation termed what it is – an extension of the state into the private sphere. It is all deemed “free market” unproblematically.

3. The same people attack anyone who criticizes a paid porn performer for her consciously public acts. They argue that she has a right to privacy even though she sold her porn pictures to a public company voluntarily.

I actually agree with that argument, but those who deny a Donald Sterling his privacy can surely have no justification for giving a Belle Knox hers.

With equal confusion, recording the private sexual behavior of Tyler Clementi (the gay Rutgers freshman who committed suicide)  is a vicious assault on his privacy and dignity (it is), but recording the speech of a Donald Sterling is a righteous act of public policing (it is not).

4. The same people who attack Donald Sterling’s private speech and hold it to an arbitrarily decided public standard also denounce theocracy (with its logically entailed blasphemy laws) as an insupportable and “medieval” intrusion into free speech and thought. And they declare themselves the embodiment of “reason” against the “irrationality” of the religious.

5. The same critics of Sterling who believe it is legitimate for him to lose his livelihood over private speech within his bedroom have a fit over the most minor constraint placed on their right to use speech in public to degrade, inflame, incite, defraud, mislead, or titillate. They even object to any constraint placed on their right to disseminate for commercial profit the vilest images, even where they would be accessible by minors.

They defend their right to view violent child pornography, even though that right supplies the demand that drives a global market of child abuse and murder and though the act of viewing itself has been deemed criminal.

But while the act of viewing child-porn is criminal, the act of dismembering a child is deemed “private” and protected.

The left also defends without any nuance or moderation the right to publish “art”  that inflames the public, even where major violence could result  as in the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, which, as it turns out, were a deliberate provocation from a neo-con flack.

Study suggests whites don’t see non-whites as “people”?

From April Kemick at the University of Toronto (Scarborough) website:

“The human brain fires differently when dealing with people outside of one’s own race, according to new research out of the University of Toronto Scarborough.

This research, conducted by social neuroscientists at U of T Scarborough, explored the sensitivity of the “mirror-neuron-system” to race and ethnicity. The researchers had study participants view a series of videos while hooked up to electroencephalogram (EEG) machines. The participants – all white – watched simple videos in which men of different races picked up a glass and took a sip of water. They watched white, black, South Asian and East Asian men perform the task.

Typically, when people observe others perform a simple task, their motor cortex region fires similarly to when they are performing the task themselves. However, the UofT research team, led by PhD student Jennifer Gutsell and Assistant Professor Dr. Michael Inzlicht, found that participants’ motor cortex was significantly less likely to fire when they watched the visible minority men perform the simple task. In some cases when participants watched the non-white men performing the task, their brains actually registered as little activity as when they watched a blank screen.

“Previous research shows people are less likely to feel connected to people outside their own ethnic groups, and we wanted to know why,” says Gutsell. “What we found is that there is a basic difference in the way peoples’ brains react to those from other ethnic backgrounds. Observing someone of a different race produced significantly less motor-cortex activity than observing a person of one’s own race. In other words, people were less likely to mentally simulate the actions of other-race than same-race people”

The trend was even more pronounced for participants who scored high on a test measuring subtle racism, says Gutsell.”

Comment:

Actually, what the researchers found was not that “people’s brains” react differently when they watch people of other races than their own.

What they found was that white people’ brains reacted differently when they watched non-whites, as opposed to other whites. A bit of a difference.

Now, if the researchers had also done tests with brown people as the study group and then blacks and other groups, then it would be valid for them to generalize from their research to conclusions about people as a whole.

But they can’t generalize about “people” from one subset of people without being guilty of the very thing they’re supposed to be studying, racism.

Of course, the perceptions of the whites in the study might not have had so much to do with color as such, although it manifested that way, but as with the status evoked by white skin. Since white or light-skin tends to signify higher status in contemporary society, it follows that when white people – in this study – showed less awareness of or empathy toward dark-skinned people, they might have been doing that not so much because of the different skin-colors of the people they were observing, but because of what those colors signify today, which is lower status.

This inference is strengthened by a similar study of race and perception conducted by Sophie Trawalter et al. in 2012.

Quoting from the abstract of the Trawalter study:

Archival data from the National Football League injury reports reveal that, relative to injured White players, injured Black players are deemed more likely to play in a subsequent game, possibly because people assume they feel less pain. Experiments 1–4 show that White and Black Americans–including registered nurses and nursing students–assume that Black people feel less pain than do White people. Finally, Experiments 5 and 6 provide evidence that this bias is rooted in perceptions of status, not race per se.

The authors suggest that the findings of their study do not necessarily mean that whites are being racist in not caring when non-white people feel pain. The findings could also mean that white people show less empathy because, for one reason or other, they think black people can tolerate greater pain.

Of course, none of these conclusions means much until studies of black or brown perceptions of white people are also done.

One might guess that in those studies it will be found that browns and blacks are actually more sensitive to the pains of whites than those of their own.  One might guess that, because in recent studies it’s been shown that both whites and blacks rated white faces as more intelligent, honest, and attractive than they did black/dark-skinned faces….

I’ll pull up the link in a minute… (incomplete)

India And The War On Terra (Mater)

An excerpt from a Counterpunch piece I wrote in 2006, warning about the effects of Manmohan Singh signing India up for the US-led global  War On Terror, which actually fronts for the Rothschild “War On Terra”.

“In India, thousands if not millions of lives will likely be affected and India’s self-sufficiency in food destroyed, all for a few more H1B visas and some outsourcing businesses. And the sordid distinction of entry into the Big Boys Club of the WTO mafia.

Strike Two: Tariffs on industry were reduced and the coveted services sector was opened up like a brothel in Kanthipura. Public health, education, telecom, banks, water, all pimped by the state. And by failing to bring up TRIPS (The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) for review and amendment, India – junior Big Boy – ensured that prices of patented drugs will continue to soar, affecting the common people in poor countries. The length of patents, the patenting of life forms, health and food security – all this might have been reviewed with ease. Not one was.

Strike Three: On the other side, the senior Big Boys got away with unctuous promises to ease out export subsidies by 2013 knowing full well that export subsidies are only a drop (2%) in the total subsidies to agriculture. Even the vaunted “Aid for Trade” is smothered in conditional loans contingent on further breaking open the markets of poorer countries. And what gains were made in market access in the developed world went largely to agri-exporters like Argentina and Brazil, not to poor countries.

And not to the lost leader of the third world.

None of this need have been. India might have stood with the Caribbean, South American, and African countries and galvanized the G 110. Cuba and Venezuela clearly drew the line on service liberalization and India might have joined them. But the current Congress administration, which took the place of the BJP with a mandate to resolve India’s growing agrarian crisis, has proved itself if anything less concerned with the country’s welfare. One could well ask if a nationalist BJP government would have had the ideological stomach to betray the heartland of India.

The Indian government’s cowardice at Hong Kong matches it’s cowardice over the Iraq war, which it could have opposed more vocally, and the vote against Iran, which it need not have joined. But the Cambridge-educated economist Manmohan Singh seems to have decided to put opportunism before principle. For our elites, perhaps it’ OK just so long long as it’s Cambridge-bred, not Varanasi-bred. (4)

The betrayal of Hong Kong is the background against which events in Bangalore must be viewed. Having reneged on its public duties, the government of India is bound to release a flood of propaganda intended as a smoke-screen and a distraction from its own craven performance.

It’s also likely to tighten its grip in the face of mass protests or resistance as the implications of Hong Kong become more and more widely known.

At Hong Kong itself, union leaders, farmers, and workers protesting peacefully were attacked with water-cannons, pepper-spray, and tear-gas. 900 were arrested and 70 were hospitalized.(5)

Want to know what to expect in the coming year? Here’s the graffiti already on the wall in Indonesia, which currently occupies the presidency of the Human Rights Commission (though it has yet to ratify key international human rights treaties) and in November, 2005 became a full-fledged compadre of the US in the War on Terra.

On September 18, 2005, in Tanah Awuk village in central Lombok, around a thousand peasants gathered peacefully to protest development policies denying local people the ability to feed themselves, on which they blamed a severe problem of child malnutrition. Indonesia has abundant fertile land and all available land is cultivated for agriculture. The real problem is that policies favor elite profits over the hunger of peasants.

At about 9 in the morning, Indonesian police forces attacked the crowd with plastic and rubber (as well as some metal) bullets, tear gas, and truncheons. 33 were injured, 27 from gunshots, and the rest from assault. At least one child and two women were shot.
National TV footage showed unarmed women being dragged violently across rough terrain and police roughing up a man bleeding copiously from the head.(5)

That’s how you play the game when you join the US Terror team. Salaam, Bangalore.”

Black-On-White Racist Violence Increasing

From AIM.org, a report about black on white mob violence that looks instigated:

“What makes this even more startling is that it is just one of many examples of racial mob violence occurring around the country, without any comment from national figures such as President Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder. But if whites were attacking blacks in this manner, you can bet it would have already have become a national story worthy of comment from national political figures.

Consider these incidents:

  • At the Wisconsin State fair, groups of black teens numbering anywhere from 25 to 100 “were targeting anyone who was white or appeared to look white,” and beating them, according to the local police chief. At least 18 people were injured, and 30 have been arrested.
  • In Denver, couples leaving restaurants were being attacked by a group of black men with baseball bats.
  • A young white man named Carter Strange had his skull fractured by a mob in South Carolina. He was attacked at random while jogging.
  • A young white man named Dawid Strucinski was beaten into a coma by a mob in Bayonne, NJ.
  • Anna Taylor, Emily Guendelsberger, and Thomas Fitzgerald were beaten to the ground and stomped in separate Philadelphia flash mobs.
  • Every weekend in July,” according to local news, “police have battled large, flash-mob beatings and vandalism” in Greensboro, NC.
  • In a mostly-white suburb of Cleveland, witnesses reported large groups of young blacks walking through the streets, “shouting profanities and racial epithets,” and one man was viciously beaten while leaving a restaurant with his wife and friends.
  • A young white lady named Shaina Perry was taunted and beaten by a black mob in Milwaukee who remarked “Oh, white girl bleeds a lot.”

The similarities among these attacks point to a trend: First of all, these are not run-of-the-mill crimes. They typically involve group attacks against defenseless, random victims who have no means to resist and did nothing to provoke their attackers. These flash mobs often stomp their victims even after they are down, as most of the news reports describe.

Then there are the racial similarities: The attackers are invariably black. Philadelphia’s mayor conceded as much when he condemned flash mobs, addressing the rioters with the charge, “You damaged your own race.” The victims are usually not black. Several qualifications are in order: It is clear that only a small number of black teens take part in these attacks. Blacks are more likely to be victims of violent crime than any other group due to black-on-black crime. Also, interracial crime is a fraction of all crime, and hate crime is an even smaller fraction of that. Nonetheless, these flash mobs are a social problem that needs to be addressed. If the races were reversed, we would be witnessing an outpouring of guilt of biblical proportions. Instead, the victims are white and we get an outpouring of ignominious silence. So far, precious few leaders in academia, politics, the legal system, or the media have spoken out directly against this troubling trend.

Far from being isolated incidents, violent flash mobs are part of an emerging social problem that turns the traditional story of American racism on its head. If opinion makers reported accurately about these flash mobs, most Americans would probably alter their views about racism and conclude that these flash mobs are the worst form of racial violence in our nation today. Not all of the flash mobs meet the strict criteria of a hate crime. However, they do represent a growing wave of racial violence.

The national media should acknowledge what a serious and potentially widespread social problem they are, but instead the press has concealed the racial aspect of this problem.”

Comment:

I should add that black people are by far the biggest victims of violent crime (black-on-black). So this isn’t meant to suggest, as white nationalists do, that black-on-white crime is generally motivated by racial animosity. The evidence suggests it’s not usually so. [Correction: I should add, until recent years].

But, given that there was a program to stir racial tensions floating around in the summer of 2011 among some political and activist groups, and given that this administration has shown itself ready to frame the debate in that way, this new violence should be examined a bit more closely. There is a good chance it might be orchestrated, at some level.

Blogging Skirmishes, Donkeys, and Chomsky’s Taxes..

Some weird things have been happening to my blog….minor, but worth recounting.

First. A week or two ago, my blog was suspended because of a huge amount of spam that got sent my way.  That happened just after my first posts questioning the Gupta trial verdict. Not to worry, I told myself, can happen to any blog. Of course, in five years, it’s never before happened to my blog….

Second.  A video that I had posted on my blog was deleted….I didn’t delete it. Then that video shows up posted on a friend’s blog. The exact same thing happened last year, with another video that I didn’t delete either, which someone deleted from my blog.

OK. Petty harassment.

Third.  I opened my admin panel and found someone else added as a user. I didn’t add the person’s email.  So I deleted it. Next day, another user was added. I deleted it again.

Fourth,  I make a habit of searching my name to check blog comments or follow ups.  When I click the tab BLOGS on the side of the search, the top link these days  is to Veterans Today, where an error notice pops up saying an article apparently written by me has been taken down.  I’ve not written anything for VT since February 2011 and only wrote a few pieces for them, anyway. I asked them whether there was anything with my name on it on their site these days, they said no. So this is a google cache that someone is sending to the top of blog comments, for some reason.

Fifth. My blog posts show up in searches of Rajat Gupta, usually in the first two pages, sometimes quite high up.  In the last few days when I clicked on them, I found they were all set to private. I haven’t set any of those posts to private.

It’s possible that when updating the entire blog might have gone to private a few times, but why would individual posts change to private without my doing anything?

The posts that changed to private were all controversial ones:

One about Chomsky being for taxes for other people, but not for himself.

One about gold holdings by different countries, showing that India and China have much less than the developed countries and suggesting neo-colonial motives in manipulation of gold and currencies.

One about Goldman knowing all about Galleon and Gupta being a patsy ( a recent one)

Since I blogged, they’ve all been changed back. But I took screen shots,  so it’s not imagination or paranoia.

And a few other things.

I noticed at least one mainstream paper in India responding almost point for point to concerns about the trial I’d raised in my blog.

And then there was the Tahrir Square video on Gurcharan Das’s blog, which, as I said, was on the home page when I blogged it, and then the next day was hidden.

The internet, friends, is not an unalloyed force for good.

No more than TV was.  It is not instant liberation, as naive people like to say it is.

Heartwarming to say things like that. Not terribly true.

Something is good only in proportion to the motives with which it used.

The many well-intended people who use the internet do  make it a force for good.

Unfortunately, the net is also teeming with intelligence operatives, criminals, sting-operations, fakes, frauds,  and  police-state busybodies, who do not ever let really spontaneous interchange take place. They must have a thumb on the scales and rig the deal. They must manage the outcome so it goes in their favor….

Or supports their agenda.

Part of which is to lull people into a false sense of power and security on the net, so they put all their information out there. This is do-it-yourself surveillance. 24/7 and updated by the second.

Radical transparency is the carrot.  The internet kill-switch is the stick.

Either way, the donkey moves forward.

And when one donkey moves forward, so do all the others.

The net appeals to the herd in us.

Internet herds are no less herds because they are electronic. Think about the electronic trading that stampedes the market this way and that.

The internet may liberate us.

Equally, it may enslave us.

Right now it’s 50-50.

These days  I’d say  all bets are off.

Preet Bharara – Overhyped and Toothless

Gary Weiss in Salon

“Yet nowhere in Gabriel Sherman’s well-researched piece in New York is there even one mention of Preet Bharara.

There’s a simple reason for that:  Preet Bharara is not busting Wall Street. He’s not collaring the masters of the meltdown. He’s done nothing to even slightly discomfit Wall Street’s still-ferocious money machine, or has yet to bring to justice the architects, enablers and continuers of the 2008 financial crisis — the bankers who got us into that mess, and the ones who are continuing to extract pain from foreclosed homeowners, in the New York area and beyond.

As a matter of fact, his over-hyped insider-trading prosecutions, the main focus of the Time piece, are doing the Street a favor, by targeting people who actually ripped off Wall Street — individuals like hedge fund managers Raj Rajaratnam and Danielle Chiesi, who functioned a bit like the goons who used to dope race horses in the old days.

Bharara’s insider trading targets rigged the game for their own profit by illegally misappropriating information, in effect stealing from their employers and other investors, just as the horse-dopers cheated racetracks and other betters. Another analogy, also from the racetracks of old, would be to the scam artists who used to “past-post”: bet on races after they knew the outcome.

That’s how insider trading works. It’s a form of theft and cheating. It’s bad. Bharara was right to prosecute them, just as he has aggressively pursued drug gangs in the outer boroughs. But let’s be clear on something: The big players, the Goldman Sachses, Merrill Lynches, Banks of America and so on, don’t like insider trading any more than Preet Bharara does.

And none of his criminal prosecutions to date — including his recent bust of three high-ranking former Credit Suisse execs, accused of rigging the value of mortgage bonds they held in 2008 — had any connection to the pain being felt by Americans today, which can be directly traced to the misconduct of mortgage bankers and derivatives traders in the run-up to the financial crisis.

The real perps of the financial crisis haven’t been in Bharara’s — or the Justice Department’s — cross hairs for a single moment since Barack Obama took office three years ago. It’s one of the most troublesome failings of his administration.”

OWS Unites Against Corporate Personhood

Occupy Wall Street unites around abolition of corporate personhood (via Tikkun Daily):

“There is only one way to reclaim democracy and make our government one of, by and for the People. We must make support of a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood a campaign issue in 2012 and beyond. Candidates around the country are taking a pledge to amend. As they challenge incumbents and better-known challengers in the upcoming primaries, the issue will gain prominence in other races. Eventually it will become generally recognized that when faced with a choice between candidates willing to prove that they are seeking office in order to serve the interests of their constituents and not those of their corporate patrons and themselves, the choice will be obvious. As voters in more and more elections respond by electing candidates who have taken the pledge to amend it will become clear that the amendment will pass.”

OWS-Connected Manifesto Calls For Global Government

From the October 14 Manifesto endorsed, apparently, by Eduardo Galeano (socialist), Naomi Klein (socialist), Noam Chomsky (allegedly left-anarchist) and Vandana Shiva (environmentalist):

“Undemocratic international institutions are our global Mubarak, our global Assad, our global Gaddafi. These include: the IMF, the WTO, global markets, multinational banks, the G8, the G20, the European Central Bank and the UN Security Council. Like Mubarak and Assad, these institutions must not be allowed to run people’s lives without their consent. We are all born equal, rich or poor, woman or man. Every African and Asian is equal to every European and American. Our global institutions must reflect this, or be overturned.

Today, more than ever before, global forces shape people’s lives. Our jobs, health, housing, education and pensions are controlled by global banks, markets, tax havens, corporations and financial crises. Our environment is destroyed by pollution in other continents. Our safety is determined by international wars and international trade in arms, drugs and natural resources. We are losing control over our lives. This must stop. This will stop. The citizens of the world must get control over the decisions that influence them at all levels – from global to local. That is global democracy. That is what we demand today.

Comment:

If this weren’t so serious, it would be funny.

“Global Mubarak, Assad, and Gaddafi,” eh? All brown-skinned Muslims? No mention of  Barak Obama or George Bush or Bill Clinton? No mention of Paul Wolfowitz?

The Global Wolfowitz Is At The Door has a nice ring…..

Global Netanyahoo? Too polysyllabic for comfort.

And George Soros, many megawatts more powerful than some Middle Eastern dictators? But Global Soros sounds too much like a disease….

Talking about Soros, check back this to post of mine from June 2010, which analyzes a Soros proposal for global democracy, from 2009. This adds weight to what I said about the push-back against the Tea Party starting in 2009.  When he talks about  “demagogues” in the piece, he means the middle-class that rose up against the bail-outs.

Oh dear. A bunch of professional activsts, westerners all (Vandana Shiva notwithstanding), sharing the same old world view (all leftists), speaking for the six billion plus people of this planet, hundreds of nations, hundreds if not thousands of languages and dialects, scores of religions, ethnicities, millions of companies and associations, most of whom are going about their business and have nothing to do with OWS.

How’s that for Global Chutzpah?

Here is Vandana Shiva calling for global democracy and name-checking George Soros and Mikhail Gorbachev (ANC.net/au):

“And you might remember Gorbachev was a very keen free marketer, and he was speaking with me at the opening plenary of this meeting and said “it’s turned out to be very different from what I had imagined. I thought it would bring democracy; it brought mafia rule.”

And then the person who’s really won out in this game of globalisation — George Soros — he was there too, and this is what he said. (my italics and emphases throughout)

He said: “free markets were supposed to have created open societies, free societies, but we cannot speak of the triumph of democracy. Capitalism and political freedom do not go hand in hand. We cannot leave freedom and democracy to market forces. We need to create our own institutions and different institutions from those that serve capitalism to take care of it.

And anyone,” this is not my words, it’s not your words, it’s George Soros’, “who thinks they can leave freedom to free markets is a market fundamentalist, that’s not how societies work”.

Ms. Shiva, we love your work.  But don’t be taken in by this Hegelian dialectic, this Mighty Wurlitzer of media manufactured global consensus between faux free-marketers (Soros) and faux -anarchists (Chomsky). The missing term from both adjectives is “state”. Soros is a state capitalist and Chomsky is a state socialist. It is the capitalist-communist convergence.

State-capitalists fund the think-tank circuit and foundation activism. The corrosive effects of this on democracy have been established many times by serious analysts.  In what sense then can foundation activists call for democracy? A polarised dialectic is created by the state-capitalists to co-opt reform, and people like Ms. Siva are there to put a diverse face on the resolution of the dialectic and make it acceptable to the non-western world.

Step back and think about the invisible hand here.

Who is this George Soros?

Even Magasaysay Award-winning Medha Patkar, according to renowned anti-globalization activist Arundhati Roy, has allowed herself to be bamboozled by the Wikileaks-blessed Anna Hazare circus.

Now, it is becoming clear to many that behind the attractive “anti-corruption” agenda, which is dear to many, many ordinary Indians, the globalists are showing their hand, by trying to hustle through legislation favorable to them (the Janlok Pal Bill) in the hubbub of the cynically named so-called “Second Indian Independence.”  The government must be “transparent,” but foreign-funded non-governmental organizations promoting chauvinism and wedge-issues, mixing legitimate grievances with bogus accusations, must be exempt from transparency requirements.

Christmas 1914 in No Man’s Land

Christmas Eve 1914:

Christmas Eve 1914, stars were burning, burning bright
And all along the Western front guns were lying still and quiet
Men lay dozing in the trenches, in the cold and in the dark
And far away behind the lines the village dog began tae bark

Some lay thinking of their families, some sang songs while others were quiet
Rolling fags and playing brag to pass away that Christmas night
As they watched the German trenches, something moved in no man’s land
Through the dark there came a soldier carrying a white flag in his hand

Then from both sides men came running, crossing into no man’s land
Through the barbed wire, mud and shell-holes, shyly stood there shaking hands
Fritz brought out cigars and brandy, Tommy brought corned beef and fags
Stood there talking, shyly laughing, as the moon shone down on no man’s land

Then Christmas Day we all played football in the mud of no man’s land
Tommy brought some Christmas pudding, Fritz brought out a German band
When they beat us at the football we shared out all our grub and drink
Then Fritz showed me a faded photo of a brown-haired girl back in Berlin

For four days after no one fired, not one shell disturbed the night
For old Fritz and Tommy Atkins, they’d both lost their will to fight
So they withdrew us from the trenches, sent us far behind the lines
Sent fresh lads to take our places and told the guns, Prepare to fire

And next night in 1914, flares were burning, burning bright
The orders came, Prepare offensive! Over the top your going tonight
And men stood waiting in the trenches, looked out across our football park
As all along the Western front the Christmas guns began tae bark

And men stood waiting in the trenches, looked out across our football park
As all along the Western front the Christmas guns began tae bark

[1987:]

In no-man’s-land, between the British and the German trenches during the Christmas truce of that year [1914], an extraordinary event occurred.

“The night was cold. We sang, they applauded. Our lines were only two hundred feet apart. We played the mouth organ, they sang, then we applauded. They produced a set of bagpipes and played their poetic tunes.
Men were waving torches and cheering. We had prepared grog and drank a toast.”

[Letter] from a German soldier. –

From both sides men came running, and soon were fraternizing “in the most genuine possible manner. Every sort of souvenir was exchanged, addresses given and received.” A German N.C.O. with an Iron Cross, gained “for conspicuous skill in sniping, started his fellows off on some marching tune. I set the note for the Bonnie Boys of Scotland, and so we went on and ended up with Auld Lang Syne which we all – English, Scots, Irish, Prussians and Wurttembergers – joined in.”

[Diary] of a British Captain. – From some old rags and cord a makeshift football was made, and by the light of flares the two sides played a game of soccer, their previous deadly activities forgotten. (Notes Danny
Doyle, ’20 Years A-Growing’)

[1988:] At some points a “live and let live” system evolved – a means of existence involving tacit co-operation between the sides, recognizing a rough parity of forces. […] One was to have an unspoken agreement […] not to shell latrines nor to open fire during breakfast. Another was to make as
much noise as possible before a minor raid, so that the other side could withdraw to their protected bunkers. This limitation on hostilities did not exist everywhere and was stamped on by command when it came to light. But even such informal arrangements as survived could be quickly buried,
along with men killed by snipers, by the odd shell, or gas. The fraternization that did go on briefly between the lines on Christmas Day 1914 did not characterize the way the war was fought in the trenches.
Violence was always below the surface, ready to explode. (J.M. Winter, The Experience of World War I, 133ff)

Indian versus Israeli Reactions To Provocation

The Great Bong on the difference between the Indian and the Israeli approach to provocation:

“As someone primarily interested in sub-continental politics, what is most interesting for me however, more than the role of Turkey, is the difference between India and Israel in their reactions to provocation, being in similar boats—– — democratic countries with strong militaries, surrounded by antagonistic countries on many sides, eager to provoke them to conflict over disputed territories. Continue reading

Forbes On Where Richer Households Are Moving in America

Forbes on where richer than average households are moving within the USA, June 14, 2010:

No. 1: Collier County, Fla.
Arriving average income per capita: $76,161
Departing average income per capita: $26,128
Stationary household average income per capita: $49,959
Total arriving people: 15,150
Total departing people: 16,802
Top origin: Lee County, Fla. (2,987 people) Continue reading

Sudha Shenoy: The Evolution Of Accounting (Bibiliography)

Organizations and Markets has a brief bibliography of the evolution of accounting by the distinguished libertarian economic historian, Sudha Shenoy. Accounting emerged without state intervention as a type of Hayekian spontaneous order:

Someone asked whether accounting conventions can be interpreted as a kind of “spontaneous order,” in Hayek’s sense, or if the standard rules are the result mainly of state intervention. Sudha replied with these reading suggestions (lightly edited by me): Continue reading

What China Wants

The Financial Times points out the quirks in the Chinese market that have Western companies racking their brains to stay on top of sales:

The big spender in China, in years past and even more so today, is the state: private consumption as a percentage of gross domestic product has fallen from 60 per cent in 1968 to 36 per cent last year and could be as low as one-fifth in 2009 as the government ramps up capital investment.

In fact, the Chinese, who already have a world-beating savings rate of nearly 40 per cent of their income, tend to become more frugal when times are tough. As bank deposit rates decline, most of us spend more. The Chinese tend to stash away even greater sums to make up for the lost interest. The reason for this conservatism is the lack of a social safety net in China – citizens have to provide for their own medical care, old age and possible unemployment.

This makes them “penny pinching, ruthless, suspicious shoppers”, says Tom Doctoroff, north Asia director of advertising agency JWT and a writer on Chinese consumer trends. In a recession this behaviour only grows worse. “The downturn has made people keener on finding the cheapest deal,” says Yuval Atsmon, an associate principal in McKinsey’s Shanghai office. Even when they can easily afford it, buying a PC typically involves six visits to a store, and more often than not, customers will wait six months before making their decision after consulting blogs, online comparison sites and – the most important source of information in China – friends and family. Sales of copycat mobile phones, with all the functions of top models but a lower price, have soared from 17 million units in 2006 to 62 million units last year.

Brand consciousness is high, at least in the big cities, but brand loyalty is much lower than in the west. A price cut or good in-store promotion can often sway shoppers. And for cultural reasons, appealing to an individual’s taste or personal comfort typically doesn’t work, Doctoroff points out. A purchase either has to publicly signal status or wealth, like a flashy car does. Or provide a practical benefit: the latest craze in China is chocolate with added calcium, eaten not for pleasure but for the health benefits. The growing appeal of diamonds to women is not based on romance, but as a financial signal of a man’s commitment. Trust is another key issue in a country where so many consumer products are faked. Chinese mothers, for example, will pay 30 per cent more for safe baby milk – and this should favour foreign brands.

But foreign retailers and manufacturers have to cope with vast regional differences in demographics, language and culture that make it hard to plan a single marketing strategy – indeed treating China like a single country is usually a mistake. Natives of Zhejiang on the east coast like “toilet roll as rough as sandpaper”, the former head of Wal-Mart China liked to observe, a penchant thankfully absent elsewhere. Atsmon points out that cities even an hour apart can be entirely different: in southern Shenzhen, more than four-fifths of the population consists of migrant workers, mostly under the age of 35, who speak Mandarin and drink in bars. In nearby Guangzhou, migrants number just over a quarter, more people are older, enjoy watching Cantonese TV and go out to restaurants to drink with family members. Adequately addressing such niches requires an army of local suppliers, costly infrastructure and several layers of wholesalers and intermediaries. Even then, success may remain as elusive as it always has been: “No matter what you may be selling, your business in China should be enormous, if the Chinese who should buy your goods would only do so,” lamented Carl Crow, an advertising executive in Shanghai and author of the original book on how to sell to the Chinese … more than 70 years ago.”

Maya Angelou On What People Remember

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

— Marketing saw, quoted by Maya Angelou

My Comment:

This quote led me to think of the way in which political debates these days have become entirely devoid of emotional intelligence. I’m convinced that the way we debate things is at least as important as what we debate. Maybe even more important.

There’s something fundamentally wrong with the media when it humiliates public figures, either directly and anonymously on the internet, or indirectly though misrepresentation and innuendo in print. There’s nothing funny, liberated, or “free speech” about any of it. It’s an abuse of speech… a form of violence.

Now if you cuss out someone who’s provoking and attacking you directly, that’s one thing. Turn about is fair play.

But using sexual humiliation as a tool to demonize political candidates (Sarah Palin) or feeding public voyeurism about prominent figures with no political relevance (David Letterman, John Edwards, Tiger Woods) is morally wrong and socially dangerous. It feeds a constant cycle of partisan retaliation that drives everyone but the most insanely ambitious out of politics.

Then, of course, the media turns around and complains without irony about how insanely ambitious politicians are.

Reporters are professionals. They have standards to adhere to. It’s not their job to simply supply a demand. It’s one thing to follow stories that interest people (within certain boundaries of what’s relevant to public discourse). That’s fair enough. But reporters can’t just cave in to whatever it is they think people want to talk about.

You could, after all, argue that people like watching snuff movies. Does that mean the media feeds that appetite too?

Demand doesn’t just come into being. It’s created. And that’s not a one-way thing. There’s a feedback loop. Demand feeds supply, which feeds demand. There’s an addictive element to the whole thing.

That means writers can’t just give up their own moral freedom to feed a demand for immoral things. They have to make a conscious choice to go against what’s in their (or their publisher’s) economic interest and do what’s right.

Admittedly, it’s hard.

As for the so-called hypocrisy of politicians, politicians (and entertainers) aren’t meant to be moral exemplars, so the question really shouldn’t arise at all.

Since the public expects a certain image, politicians have to conform if they want to get elected. Wanting that image to reflect reality strikes me as an example of the foolishness of the public, not of the hypocrisy of politicians.

Public figures are more and more simply the victims of mob mentality. From that perspective, John Edwards did quite right to deny the scandal until the end. It’s no business of the mob’s to know everything about a politician’s marriage and demand a standard from him that the vast majority of people don’t hold to.

Now, Edward’s team members are a different issue. They sacrificed money and time and they might naturally feel betrayed. That’s a different matter. Perhaps they should have researched him a bit more before latching onto him. That they didn’t suggests they have a problem too – mindless hero worship.

People can have extraordinary talents but it doesn’t follow they’re perfect human beings, and there’s something deeply troubling about the urge to demand perfection from mere human beings…. and then attack them when they can’t supply it.

If I were Edwards, I would have banged the door on reporters who hounded me, a long time back. I would have turned the tables and started asking them a few questions about their private lives.

I suppose that’s why I have a degree of sympathy for people who’ve played the game back at reporters, like CEO Mark Cuban..and lately, Patrick Byrne.

Cuban has used Web 2.0 to his advantage against regulators as well.

A New York Times article in 2007 described how John Mack Mackey of Whole Foods and even disgraced and convicted financier Conrad Black of Hollinger International posted anonymously on message boards to counter negative posts about their companies. [The articles noted that they ran the risk of violating securities laws, especially if they disclosed company business in their posts].

Perhaps that’s where the problem lies. We have laws to stop CEO’s of companies defending themselves against attacks, but none for the people who do the attacking, even if they have a financial motive for it and even if their attacks are founded on semi-truths and lies indistinguishable by casual readers.

Mack Mackey used the handle rahodeb, an acronym of Deborah, his wife’s name, and he even commented on how cute he looked with a new hair-cut.  Byrne, on the other hand, has used a pseudonym Hannibal (the ruler of Carthage, not the star of “Silence of the Lambs”), but always signs his name underneath. Both took up the pen to counter attacks on their companies by anonymous internet posters.

It seems to have become a real problem.

In 2008 Apple CEO  Steve Jobs finally had enough of the rumor-mongering about his health and called Joe Nocera of the New York Times a juicy epithet I will chastely refrain from repeating.

[Since I’ve begun contributing to Deep Capture and enjoy a degree of bloggeraderie with them, I’m refraining from commenting directly on Byrne’s running battle with the media, about which I’ve written before. I will just admit to being on their side versus Goldman and the short-raiders. I think they tell it like it is. But any obscene rants at reporters’ expense don’t earn brownie points with me. And I maintain a neutral rating on Overstock, since I just don’t know enough about that end of things].

Either journalists act like a responsible press, or they are paparazzi, in which case they should expect to be hounded and harassed in turn. If reporters want access to the highest levels of business and government, if they want to report on subjects that are socially and politically important, then they should show some respect for their jobs, qualify themselves, adhere to professional standards of behavior, and avoid tormenting other human beings just to make their names.

Remember these are the same reporters who failed to report accurately or in time on one of the biggest stories in a hundred years. And why was that? Because (with honorable exceptions) they were either too comfortable with Wall Street, too lazy to do the research, too ignorant to know where to look, too provincial to read the people who could tell them, and too venal to go against their interests…. or all of the above..

This kind of public exposure we subject people to is not a one-time business. There is a record of the Edwards saga for ever on the net, visible to the whole globe….every little painful detail. What kind of sensitivity to a sick woman does that show, just to take one angle.

Or consider their children..

Isn’t it a kind of torture?
And doesn’t it make us, as it makes any kind of torturer, bestial?
Meanwhile, the victims never forget…..

Edward Bernays On Why Conspiracies Work

“In almost every act of our lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons […] who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.”

—  Edward Bernays

The “Enough Already” Factor

From AP, Americans signal they´ve had enough of the imperial state:

“WASHINGTON – Americans are turning away from the world, showing a tendency toward isolationism in foreign affairs that has risen to the highest level in four decades, a poll out Thursday found.

Almost half, 49 percent, told the polling organization that the United States should “mind its own business” internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own, the Pew Research Center survey found. That’s up from 30 percent who said that in December 2002.

Results of the survey appear to conflict with President Barack Obama‘s activist foreign policy, including a newly announced buildup of 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan to fight Taliban and al-Qaida extremists.

“Isolationist Sentiment Surges to Four-Decade High,” the nonpartisan research center headlined its report on the poll about America’s role in the world.”

Eduardo Galeano on the Nobodies

Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that, one magical day, good luck will suddenly rain down on them – will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn’t rain down, yesterday, today, tomorrow or ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day on their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms. The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The nobodies:  the no-ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way. Who are not, but could be. Who don’t speak languages, but dialects. Who don’t have religions, but superstitions. Who don’t create art, but handicrafts. Who don’t have culture, but folklore. Who are not human beings, but human resources. Who do not have faces, but arms. Who do not have names, but numbers. Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the crime reports of the local paper. The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.”

— Eduardo Galeano, “The Nobodies”

 

The Spectacle of General Secrecy

Political theorist Guy de Bord on the spectacle of public life:

“The concentrated spectacle

The spectacle associated with concentrated bureaucracy. Debord associated this spectacular form mostly with the Eastern Bloc and Fascism, although today mixed backward economies import it, and even advanced capitalist countries in times of crisis. Every aspect of life, like property, music, and communication is concentrated and is identified with the bureaucratic class. The concentrated spectacle generally identifies itself with a powerful political leader. The concentrated spectacle is made effective through a state of permanent violence and police terror.[edit]

The diffuse spectacle

The spectacle associated with advanced capitalism and commodity abundance. In the diffuse spectacle, different commodities conflict with each other, preventing the consumer from consuming the whole. Each commodity claims itself as the only existent one, and tries to impose itself over the other commodities:

Irreconcilable claims jockey for position on the stage of the affluent economy’s unified spectacle, and different star commodities simultaneously promote conflicting social policies. The automobile spectacle, for example, strives for a perfect traffic flow entailing the destruction of old urban districts, while the city spectacle needs to preserve those districts as tourist attractions.

The diffuse spectacle is more effective than the concentrated spectacle. The diffuse spectacle operates mostly through seduction, while the concentrated spectacle operates mostly through violence. Because of this, Debord argues that the diffuse spectacle is more effective at suppressing non-spectacular opinions than the concentrated spectacle.

The integrated spectacle

The spectacle associated with modern capitalist countries. The integrated spectacle borrows traits from the diffuse and concentrated spectacle to form a new synthesis. Debord argues that this is a very recent form of spectacular manifestation, and that it was pioneered in France and Italy.

According to Debord, the integrated spectacle goes by the label of liberal democracy. This spectacle introduces a state of permanent general secrecy, where experts and specialists dictate the morality, statistics, and opinions of the spectacle. Terrorism is the invented enemy of the spectacle, which specialists compare with their “liberal democracy”, pointing out the superiority of the latter one. Debord argues that without terrorism, the integrated spectacle wouldn’t survive, for it needs to be compared to something in order to show its “obvious” perfection and superiority.”

My Comment:

Thanks to reader J. T. Gordon for reminding me of this. I’ve posted before on de Bord and the notion of the spectacle of society. Like so much powerful analysis, this one too has roots in the ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche, one of the most productive thinkers of the last 150 years.

What should be noted here is that in the spectacle of secrecy, the greatest emphasis is placed on openness. Thus, “freedom of speech”  occupies a central position in the culture. By this means, all barriers to privacy are brought down, all psychological barriers between the individual and the crowd. Yet, this openness at one level (in public culture) operates side-by-side with secrecy at the highest level (governments and corporate leaders).

(More later)

Back…

Reading through this again, I feel I need to question De Bord’s division, which corresponds to communist, capitalist and liberal democratic. It’s too neat. In fact, things are much more muddy

War Pigs

War Pigs – Nothing’s Changed
Hat-tip to Brad Spangler

It’s still the bankers making money from debt and war…

While the sheeple swing their woolly heads back and forth, hypnotized –

left-right

black-white

public-private

socialist-capitalist

gay-straight, feminist-patriarchal, Muslim-Christian, East-West, poor-rich, working-class-middle-class, urban-rural, blue-state-red-state…

back-forth…democrat-republican…

Why More Swine Flu Deaths in Bangalore?

From Sify.com:

“State health commissioner P.N. Sreenivasachari told IANS: ‘It’s difficult to say why Karnataka, more precisely Bangalore, which is endowed with adequate healthcare facilities, is witnessing large number of swine flu deaths. We too are puzzled.

‘We can say the virus is already in the air and it’s time people became more aware and cautious to stop the spread of the virus. However, from the point of view of the administration, we have provided adequate healthcare facilities to treat swine flu patients,’ added Sreenivasachari.

Principal secretary (Health) I.R. Perumal said people should not get panicky.

‘People with swine flu like symptoms should immediately get themselves checked, as the city is well equipped to deal with the pandemic,’ added Perumal.

On Friday, two deaths were reported from Bangalore, one came from Bijapur.

My Comment

Why? I have no idea. More international travelers is one reason and a plausible one. But I confess  I couldn’t help thinking about this piece I wrote in 2005, “Terror Hits Bangalore.”

One result of swine flu scare-mongering  will be a shift of money to influenza research – hitherto absent in India. That means funding for drug trials. I wonder who the lucky drug companies are that will benefit?

The two states hit hardest are Karnataka (where Bangalore is) and Maharashtra (where Bombay is). Those are also the states that are the destinations of most foreign travelers and where India’s IT business and stock market are located. Bangalore is the home of a booming biotech business. And a locus of the anti-globalization movement as well. Just thinking out a loud…

Deaths so far are a hundred or less. That’s in a country of roughly a billion and a quarter where tens of thousands die from traffic accidents (300 a day or around 100,000 a year) and from water-borne diseases like diarrhea, typhoid, and jaundice. Hundred of farmers are committing suicide. None of that has qualified for the term pandemic….OR for the accompanying switch in research funding..

Here’s some information on malaria in India in 2008:

“While the official figures state that in 2008 India had 1.5 million malaria cases, resulting in 924 deaths, the real number of deaths is higher by several orders of magnitude.

“These numbers are a joke,” said Sunil Kaul, a doctor who works for a volunteer organization called the Ant that treats villagers. “In Assam alone we had at least 1,500 deaths last year.”

The real number of malaria-related deaths in India was closer to 40,000 in 2008, according to various non-governmental sources and some government officials who didn’t want to be named.”

Under-reporting and lack of knowledge about the disease are two of the main obstacles in retarding the spread of malaria. But interestingly, it’s also international organizations like WHO that obstruct progress in many ways:

“These problems are further complicated by foreign agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), which — under the influence of global lending agencies like the World Bank and big pharmaceutical companies — have pushed India to adopt prevention methods that don’t suit the local conditions and to initiate huge, ill-considered projects rather than targeted ones. ….”

More here at The Global Post.


The Political Ideology Behind Swine-Flu Hysteria

A new piece about swine-flu that I’m still working on:

The President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, the creators of the swine-flu scenario, has three co-chairs:

1. John Holdren (Director, White House Office of Science & Technology, Obama’s “science czar”)

2. Eric Lander, (head of the Broad Institute, MIT)

3. Harold Varmus (CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center, NY)

A little digging fills in the details.

1. Holdren:

Holdren isn’t just any old bureaucrat. He’s a climate change expert who holds the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government

(The ‘Teresa’ is, of course, John Kerry’s wife when she was spouse of Ketchup king, John Heinz)

The support for climate change policies goes hand in hand with support for nuclear technology that Holdren believes is needed for those policies. He also believes all nuclear energy should be under the monitoring of the International Atomic Energy.

Climate change and “peaceful nukes” have been the beneficiaries of a huge PR effort over the last 15-20 years, largely stemming from the Pentagon, specifically, from Andrew Marshall, a charismatic theorist of American dominance whose Office of Net Assessments is the most influential outfit you never heard of. This PR typically derides any dissent from climate orthodoxy and downplays the enormous costs and risks involved in the global move to nuclear energy.

There’s more. As early as 1969 Holdren teamed up with neo-Malthusian doomsdayer Paul Ehrlich to advocate population control to “fend off the misery to come.” In 1977, he and Ehrlich, as well as Anne H. Ehrlich, co-authored a textbook (“Ecoscience”) in which they discussed “a wide variety of solutions to overpopulation from voluntary family planning to enforced population controls…..”

Check out this site for some truly mind-boggling quotes:

Toward a Planetary Regime

Perhaps those agencies, combined with UNEP and the United Nations population agencies, might eventually be developed into a Planetary Regime—sort of an international superagency for population, resources, and environment. Such a comprehensive Planetary Regime could control the development, administration, conservation, and distribution of all natural resources, renewable or nonrenewable, at least insofar as international implications exist. Thus the Regime could have the power to control pollution not only in the atmosphere and oceans, but also in such freshwater bodies as rivers and lakes that cross international boundaries or that discharge into the oceans. The Regime might also be a logical central agency for regulating all international trade, perhaps including assistance from DCs to LDCs, and including all food on the international market.

The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries’ shares within their regional limits. Control of population size might remain the responsibility of each government, but the Regime would have some power to enforce the agreed limits.

Bill Blum on the Obama Cult

Bill Blum at the Anti-Empire Report:
“The praise heaped on President Obama for his speech to the Muslim world by writers on the left, both here and abroad, is disturbing. I’m referring to people who I think should know better, who’ve taken Politics 101 and can easily see the many hypocrisies in Obama’s talk, as well as the distortions, omissions, and contradictions, the true but irrelevant observations, the lies, the optimistic words without any matching action, the insensitivities to victims.  Yet, these commentators are impressed, in many cases very impressed.  In the world at large, this frame of mind borders on a cult.
In such cases one must look beyond the intellect and examine the emotional appeal.  We all know the world is in big trouble — Three Great Problems: universal, incessant violence; financial crisis provoking economic suffering; environmental degradation.  In all three areas the United States bears more culpability than any other single country. Who better to satisfy humankind’s craving for relief than a new American president who, it appears, understands the problems; admits, to one degree or another, his country’s responsibility for them; and “eloquently” expresses his desire and determination to change US policies and embolden the rest of the world to follow his inspiring example.  Is it any wonder that it’s 1964, the Beatles have just arrived in New York, and everyone is a teenage girl?
I could go through the talk Obama gave in Cairo and point out line by line the hypocrisies, the mere platitudes, the plain nonsense, and the rest.  (“I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States.” — No mention of it being outsourced, probably to the very country he was speaking in, amongst others. … “No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons.” — But this is precisely what the United States is trying to do concerning Iran and North Korea.) But since others have been pointing out these lies very well I’d like to try something else in dealing with the problem — the problem of well-educated people, as well as the not so well-educated, being so moved by a career politician saying “all the right things” to give food for hope to billions starving for it, and swallowing it all as if they had been born yesterday.  I’d like to take them back to another charismatic figure, Adolf Hitler, speaking to the German people two years and four months after becoming Chancellor, addressing a Germany still reeling with humiliation from its being The Defeated Nation in the World War, with huge losses of its young men, still being punished by the world for its militarism, suffering mass unemployment and other effects of the great depression.  Here are excerpts from the speech of May 21, 1935.  Imagine how it fed the hungry German people.
———————
HITLER:
“….. Germany, too, has a democratic Constitution.  Our love of peace perhaps is greater than in the case of others, for we have suffered most from war.  None of us wants to threaten anybody, but we all are determined to obtain the security and equality of our people……….
The German Reich, especially the present German Government, has no other wish except to live on terms of peace and friendship with all the neighboring States. Germany has nothing to gain from a European war.  What we want is liberty and independence.  Because of these intentions of ours we are ready to negotiate non-aggression pacts with our neighbor States.
Germany has neither the wish nor the intention to mix in internal Austrian affairs, or to annex or to unite with Austria.
The German Government is ready in principle to conclude non-aggression pacts with its individual neighbor States and to supplement those provisions which aim at isolating belligerents and localizing war areas…….
Germany is ready to participate actively in any efforts for drastic limitation of unrestricted arming. She sees the only possible way in a return to the principles of the old Geneva Red Cross convention. She believes, to begin with, only in the possibility of the gradual abolition and outlawing of fighting methods which are contrary to this convention, such as dum-dum bullets and other missiles which are a deadly menace to civilian women and children.
To abolish fighting places, but to leave the question of bombardment open, seems to us wrong and ineffective. But we believe it is possible to ban certain arms as contrary to international law and to outlaw those who use them. But this, too, can only be done gradually.  Therefore, gas and incendiary and explosive bombs outside of the battle area can be banned and the ban extended later to all bombing.  As long as bombing is free, a limitation of bombing planes is a doubtful proposition. But as soon as bombing is branded as barbarism, the building of bombing planes will automatically cease.
Just as the Red Cross stopped the killing of wounded and prisoners, it should be possible to stop the bombing of civilians……
The German Government is of the opinion that all attempts effectively to lessen tension between individual States through international agreements or agreements between several States are doomed to failure unless suitable measures are taken to prevent poisoning of public opinion on the part of irresponsible individuals in speech, writing, in the film and the theatre.…… [1]

— End of speech excerpts —

How many people in the world, including numerous highly educated Germans, reading or hearing that speech in 1935, doubted that Adolf Hitler was a sincere man of peace and an inspiring, visionary leader?

NOTES
[1] The entire speech can be found at: http://members.tripod.com/~Comicism/350521.html

Over a Million Refugees in Somalia

In the news on Friday, May 22:

“Martin Bell, former BBC war correspondent and current UNICEF UK Ambassador for Humanitarian Emergencies, recently concluded a three-day trip to the north-east zone of Somali to report on the situation of children and women affected by conflict, drought, displacement and other hardships – and to shed light on UNICEF’s efforts to provide them with crucial services.
In Bossaso, one of the country’s busiest ports, Mr. Bell visited settlements for displaced people and saw firsthand the dire conditions in which they live. Displaced populations form a group of chronically vulnerable people here, lacking even the most basic social services and livelihood opportunities.
Bossaso hosts 27 camps where 40,000 people have sought refuge from other parts of the country. Over 1 million people in Somalia are internally displaced, mainly due to the conflict and insecurities in the central and southern regions..”

More at Relief Web.

Doctors Without Borders/Medicins Sans Frontieres reports that more than 270,000 have fled to Northern Kenya, to camps operated by the UN High Commission for Refugees, where rations have been cut by 30% and malnutrition runs at over 22%, well above the emergency threshold. That’s driving many of the refugees back to the war-zone.

My Comment

This was sent to me by a young Somali friend, who urges everyone to help in any way they can.
Now, my focus in this blog is on mass thinking, but the organization of crowds (through state propaganda, coercion, and surveillance) has as its other face, the dis-organization of crowds in times of crisis, often state-produced crisis, such as at New Orleans during Katrina, or here. Among people on the move in large groups, refugees are probably the largest group.
What is amazing to me about crowds of refugees is that they move peacefully, giving the lie to fear-mongering imagery of masses of people overwhelming civilization. That’s the sort of imagery usually conjured up by authoritarians when discussing mass migration or mass movement of any kind.

Financial Follies: Condo Builders Under Water

In the news today, AP reports:

Multifamily construction plunged 46.1 percent to an annual rate of 90,000 units after a 23 percent fall in March. Permits for multifamily construction dropped 19.9 percent to 121,000 units. Analysts said apartment construction is being hurt by a glut of condominiums on the market and by tightening credit conditions for commercial real estate.”

My Comment

Oh, my. This made my day. Condo flippers and developers are in big trouble.

Overlook the opening of this article, with that plaintive reference to a ” modest rebound in single-family home construction in April” that  “raised hopes.

Hopes should not be raised. That’s pretty clear by now. Not unless you’re being paid to pump houses for some rash developer who ran out of buyers for his pet eye-sore. We can think of a number of things that should be raised  – black flags, eyebrows, interest rates…..but not hopes.

I’ve been checking condo prices all over the world and it’s the same news. From Panama to Kuala Lumpur, from Miami to  Baltimore. Commercial developers are in trouble.

If that doesn’t warm the cockles of your heart and put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will. These wretched companies drove up housing by 100-300% (and more) in some cities and literally chased people on small or fixed incomes out of places they’d been living for years.

And don’t tell me they added any real value.

In New York. construction in one building was so shoddy, the Buildings Department had to intervene.  I personally inspected a condo where, when the owner kicked the wall, her foot went right through.  Many of them were aesthetic monstrosities that ruined the skyline,  polluted the air, and destroyed the architectural beauty of the places where they metastasized.

Now there’s a glut and the developers are losing their shirts.

Miami’s condo king, Jorge Perez, is sitting on top of a market with the biggest glut in the country. Since 2003, nearly 23000 condos were added to downtown Miami, and 33% of them remain unsold. The financial hurricane hit just when Perez, the “tropical Trump,” had opened his newest project, Icon Brickell, a boutique hotel combined with over 1,640 luxury apartments and squeezed into three towers. Only 18 units have sold so far. Perez (once estimated to have a net worth of $1.3 billion) is in big money trouble. His company, Related Group, lost $1 billion in 2008 and ran up debt of $2 billion, $700 million from Icon Brickell alone.

It just doesn’t get better than that….

Record Prices for Rarities at Auction Sales

High prices at auctions are an indication that investors are avidly interested in high quality tangible assets which will hold onto their value and are ready to pay extraordinary prices for them even in this market. Two illustrations from the auctions houses:

In Namure in southern Belgium, on Sunday, demand for Tintin, the cartoon reporter, broke national and world sales records, AFP reports. Five hand-drawn pages by Herge raised 1, 172,000 euros (1.57 million dollars) a world record for Herge as well as a national record for cartoon strips books. Buyers came from all over Europe, the United States, Lebanon and China.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that at Sotheby’s semi-annual sale at Geneva, a virgin blue diamond straight from South Africa, weighing 7.03 carats, sold to any anonymous buyer on May 12, Tuesday, for a record 10.5 million Swiss francs ($9.49 million), including commission, the highest price paid per carat for any gemstone at auction and a new world record price for blue diamonds. The sale price without commission, a record, was $1,349,752, Sotheby’s said.

Judged by the Elitest of Elites

I knew the Supreme Court of the US was weighted heavily in favor of the elite products of high-powered law schools, high-powered federal work experience, and high-powered theories.

But this chart of the make-up of the Supreme Court in recent years at the New York Times (May 2, 2009) was still something of a stunner to me.

One hundred percent of SC justices are former federal judges.

How many now are state judges? Nil.

How many now are private lawyers? Nil.

How many now are elected officials? Nil.

How many now are government lawyers? Nil.

How many now are law professors? Nil.

As Adam Liptak, the SC correspondent at The Times, justifiably complains,

“None of the justices have held elective office. All but one attended law school at Harvard or Yale. And the only three justices in American history who never worked in private practice are on the current court..”

But then Liptak holds up as a model, David Souter, a former attorney-general of the State of New Hampshire.

This, as trial lawyer Norm Pattis points out, is like depending on a sprinter to win a marathon.

When is the last time a lawyer who made his living from fees earned
representing ordinary working people sat on the Supreme Court?”

But the question could be asked of many more government insitutions.

When was the last time the SEC was staffed with officials from small banks and  thrifts?

When was the last time a mayor from a small-town made it to the White House?

We talk about localism a lot. But in practice we’re heavily prejudiced against it.

A small-town resume, we presume, is fit only for small-towns.

There are a lot of reasons for this but I’ll focus on a couple that strike me at once (and I’ve blogged on them recently):

(1) It used to be that education fitted you to exercise judgment. These days we avoid judgment altogether, confusing it with judgmentalism.

In the absence of the ability to judge (and any common standard to judge by), we become victims of public relations and marketing. When no one can agree on substance, image becomes everything.

Brands rule. Harvard and Yale are the best known national brands, so we outfit our justices in them.

(2) Increasing specialization means that fewer people feel capable of pronouncing judgment about something, even if they felt it was permissble to. They look instead to experts to make their choices for them. The media, which has a disproportionate effect on nearly every choice made,  tends to focus on experts who come from the same educational and socio-economic background. The circle of the elite thus tends to get smaller and clubbier with every year.

Indian Business Students Drive Sales Of Mein Kampf

“Sales of Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s autobiography and apologia for his anti-semitism, are soaring in India where business students regard the dictator as a management guru.
Booksellers told The Daily Telegraph that while it is regarded in most countries as a ‘Nazi Bible’, in India it is considered a management guide in the mould of Spencer Johnson’s “Who Moved My Cheese”.

Sales of the book over the last six months topped 10,000 in New Delhi alone, according to leading stores, who said it appeared to be becoming more popular with every year.

Several said the surge in sales was due to demand from students who see it as a self-improvement and management strategy guide for aspiring business leaders, and who were happy to cite it as an inspiration.

“Students are increasingly coming in asking for it and we’re happy to sell it to them,” said Sohin Lakhani, owner of Mumbai-based Embassy books who reprints Mein Kampf every quarter and shrugs off any moral issues in publishing the book.

“They see it as a kind of success story where one man can have a vision, work out a plan on how to implement it and then successfully complete it”.

More at The Telegraph, UK

My Comment

April 20 was Hitler’s birthday and I suppose the anniversary provides the justification for stories like these.  Mein Kampf is a book that I’ve never read myself and haven’t felt curious enough to read, either . It’s apparently selling briskly to Indian students, not for its anti-semitism but for the inspiration it provides management students.

More mischievously, the article goes on to insinuate a link between Gandhi and the Nazis.

There was one, but nothing that would please any Nazi-hunter. Gandhi was not unusual in seeing the European war as intra-imperial and seemed to think that satyagraha would work on the Germans as well as it had done on the British.

He went so far as to advise  Jews to let themselves fall before the Nazis as a kind of sacrificial gesture that would turn the consciences of their oppressors. Many scholars have – unsurprisingly – reacted to this with repugnance, but the advice was more a symptom of Gandhian quixotry than anti-Semitism – conscious or unconscious.

Bernays On Citizen Parrot

Theory:

“Opinion polls are designed to gauge whether the agitprop of the corporate state is having the desired narcotic effect on the general population. The more the average citizen can parrot back what he has been told by his betters, the more democracy, as defined by the elite, can be preserved.”

– Edward Bernays, the father of modern marketing psychology

Practice:

“When You’re Flush But Acting Flat Broke: Social Cues Can Drive a Downturn” Washington Post, April 16, 2009, is an interesting piece by Michael Rosenwald, which quotes Robert Cialdini on how social influence can make a downturn even worse.

Interestingly, we referenced Cialdini’s enormously useful work in “Mobs, Messiahs and Markets” (Bonner & Rajiva, 2007) in Chapter 4, footnote 14. p.88. I happened on the book purely by chance, but now, reading the Post piece, I’d like to read his other work.

Rosenwald’s take in his piece is rather close to mine, with one crucial difference.

I see no reason why people who have money in their pockets should hold off buying when there are so many bargains to be had.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s your patriotic duty to go forth and spend when the economy is hurting.  But there’s certainly no reason why doom-saying should prevent people who are far from the edge from continuing with their investments. Panic only makes things worse. And many astute people are no doubt making things much worse because they’re on that end of the trade.

I don’t believe in papering over how serious the economic situation is. But ‘serious’ is not the end of the world, even if such a thing could be.

So I think the Wash Po piece gets the “Mobs” part of the equation right.

But I’m not sure if getting experts to sell optimism is the right advice. That’s where the “Messiahs” part of our book comes in.

Whatever you decide to do should be based on your own study of the matter at hand and should suit your own circumstance, life-style, psychological profile, risk appetite, and responsibilities.  Trading gurus, commodity mavens, gold boosters, currency experts, professors, analysts, and talking heads – take all the advice you want and look through as many eyes as you can.

But in the end, choose for yourself.

Ultimately, it’s the only way to build up your own economic and moral well-being.

No one else will do it for you.


Hedge Funds Reap Billions From Calling Market Right

“With a combined $2 trillion under management, the hedge fund industry is coming off its richest year ever — a feat all the more remarkable given the billions of dollars of losses suffered by major Wall Street banks.

In recent months, however, scores of hedge funds have quietly died or spectacularly imploded, wracked by bad investments, excess borrowing or leverage, and client redemptions — or a combination of those events.

“To some degree it’s a very gigantic version of Las Vegas,” said Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution.

As Alpha’s list shows, managers who reap big gains one year can lose the next.

Edward Lampert, the founder of ESL Investments and a member of the 2007 Alpha list, was absent this year. His fund fell 27 percent last year, according to Alpha. About 60 percent of ESL’s equity portfolio is invested in Sears, whose shares plunged 40 percent last year. ESL is also a major holder of Citigroup, whose abysmal performance matched that of Sears.

A manager who ranked high in the 2007 list and fell off in 2008 was James Pallotta of the Tudor Investment Corporation, who was 17th last year and earned $300 million. Mr. Pallotta’s $5.7 billion Raptor Global Fund fell almost 8 percent last year, according to Alpha.

A few who did not make the cut still made buckets of money. Bruce Kovner of Caxton Associates and Barry Rosenstein at Jana Partners didn’t make the top 50. But Mr. Kovner earned $100 million, and Mr. Rothstein earned $170 million, according to Alpha. Spokesmen for the hedge fund managers either declined to comment on Tuesday or could not be reached.

Since 1913, the United States witnessed only one other year of such unequal wealth distribution — 1928, the year before the stock market crashed, according to Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. Such inequality is likely to impede an economic recovery, he said.”

More at the New York Times.

Comment

Inequality in a free market is the result (among other things, of course) of  different levels of competence and of capitalization. It’s not the essential problem.  If it’s increased tremendously, it’s because we’ve also been fiddling with the market tremendously, ostensibly to make things better, but with the opposite result.

But the crash has now given a lot of people a platform to vent.

The very people who called the market wrong (Citi, Goldman and their buddies in the regulatory business) are going to blame their incompetence on lack of regulation…. and make successful managers  pay a price. (Note that it was Goldman and Citi managers in government who helped pushed many deregulatory initiatives and changes in leverage requirements, in the first place).

I’m all for transparency, following the rules, and proper regulation.

But let’s face it.  Where we are now, more regulation isn’t going to protect the little guy or a small business from fraud. The little guys are already crushed by rules and regulations….and they’re still being defrauded. It’s just going to give one set of  big money managers yet another weapon they can use against another set of big managers. And since the guys who didn’t lose are obviously smarter than the losers, what makes anyone think they’re going to sit around and become targets?

The only reason we have such monster financial firms, anyway, is because of laws that enabled the growth of monopolies….and because we keep depreciating the cost of money through interest-rate manipulation.