The decade 1989-2001 is defined by two events: the collapse of communism at the start, and the terrorist attacks on America in 2001. This can by counted as the long decade, following the 'Short Twentieth Century', going from 1914-1989. The next short decade is 2001-2008, marked by the 'War on Terror', and rising property prices. After the collapse of the American housing market in 2008, USA and EU governments had to spend more money than they had on rescuing the financial institutions which had so abjectly failed. The resulting deficits meant a great reduction social programmes, and many job losses, so 2008-2011 can be called 'War on the Poor'.
Eric Hobsbawn, born in Egypt, coined these terms in his historical works. Right at the beginning of 2011 North Africa has seen mass demonstrations against state terrorism. The Tunisian dictator fled to Saudi Arabia in January, and with surprising speed the largest Arab nation emulated the anti-regime demonstrations of Tunisia. Mubarak was one of the chief jailers of the Middle East.
North Africa has demographic problems, with many young people and few jobs. For a long time, regimes of heavy censorship and enforced lies attempted to keep the people down by running torture regimes. The people needed to be kept down to support the current world capitalist system which concentrates wealth into tiny elites. The torture regimes are easily be reinforced by harsh anti-immigrent rhetoric in countries on the other side of the Mediterranian.
The world has seen big changes since 1989. The rise of China has been the most important. Russian credibility had collapsed in Afghanistan. America took on itself the role as a unique world superpower with excessive reliance on military adventures such as Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Military adventurism happens when the rulers can offer nothing else. There is no plan to deal with global poverty at government level because forward planning is unfashionable. The 'One Child Policy' and the 'Three Gorges Dam' are products of a regime which planned for growth and prosperity based on the sort of technocratic development which followed the French Revolution. The Suez canal was initiated by a French technocrat. (Saint Simonism).
The world has many problems but with the demise of the political left there are few solutions on offer. The people are starting to have more insight than their leaders and a few years of mobile phones, internet access, cheap digital cameras have given people more information.
Temporary closure of the internet and phone networks is possible and indeed likely but this will not deter anti-regime protests.
The whole Arab world has been noted for the cruelty of its regimes. The Americans have been complicit in this by 'outsourcing' the torture some of them thought necessary for the War on Terror. In the meantime the capitalist crisis of 2008 has morphed the 'War on Terror' to the 'War on the Poor'. The leaders fell asleep at the wheel.
Food price rises and iniquitous terms of trade provoked the self immolation of a young Tunisian market trader. Within days Egypt is in turmoil. Sympathy demonstrations have taken place in Khartoum and Sana.
Who will benefit ? The opening up of a society with repressive laws will be welcomed by those opposed to censorship and the end of cronyism within the regime will benefit businesses run by those outside the loop. Communications industry moguls stand to benefit. These people are not necessarily members of the 'carbon club' which dominates so much of the Middle East.
A few editors and journalists working for Qatar based Al-Jazeera will be happy to see these events unfolding, as a culmination of a project not only to make the Arabs more free, but also to give a voice to those who do not agree 100% with the Western propaganda which is used to justify the support of autocratic regimes.
Western and Zionist percetions of the Arabs and Islam are often cruel and grotesque, but many of the Arabs who work for international organisations have sufficient insight to see that reform is needed.
THE ARGUEMENTATIVE ARABS
Ralph Nader threw grit in the works when he got his name on the USA presiidential ballot back in 2000. Ralph Nader did not succeed but other people with Arab heritage have made good in the New World. Argentina's Menem family are examples. Ralph Nader was more radical. The Green Party attracted votes from some of America's anti-Capitalist movements, and from those sceptical of the widely touted 'New World Order' project which had merely morphed from Reagan-Thatcher to Clinton-Blair. By the time that Nader ran for the Green Party, the peace dividend from the collapse of communism had been well and truly dissipated, and especially in the Middle East.
Noam Chomsky writes that the Americans really fear democracy in their client states. Chomsky's narrative is quite predictable. America still behaves as a 'Fourth Imperium' but it has recently become a bit more defensive following the recent economic crisis and the continuing rise of China.... just another big country that does not really care for democracy. The Americans have knowingly supported fundamentalist Islam and continue to turn a blind eye when it suits them. Chomsky states that the Saudis sponsor much mayhem, and of course the Americans prefer to point the finger at Hezbollah and Iran.
Chomsky is well known for his support of critical writers in countries where self-thinking is close to being forbidden. Chomsky is also sanguine about the 'Wikileaks' affair. His own blog, Z, was one of the earlier internet efforts to deal in poorly publicised information leaked from the American foreign affairs establishment. This type of leaking goes right back to the days where the Genaralissomo Chiang Kai Shek was percieved as a fascist by some foreign policy experts, plus four star general Joseph Stilwell, but they could not necessarily say so in public. Wikileaks reveal that officials paid for by tax payers' money really do think that many client states are run by corrupt and brutal dictators who oppress their people. In the end it means that tax payers are getting some value for money.
AUTOCRACY VERSES DEMOCRACY
In 2009 the Thai government broke up protests in the center of Bangkok with military bulldozers, tanks, and live ammunition fire. One of the protest's most prominent leaders was gunned down by a sniper. There were former military people amongst the protesters who were prepared to use rocket propelled grenades.
The local super power, China was embarassed by the trouble. A regional summit of East Asian leaders, scheduled to take place in Thailand had to be abandoned. World leaders were effectively chased out of the country by angry mobs.
The protests took place over a period of several weeks. The streets were thronged with poor people who had been left behind by the economic changes that had bought increased prosperity for many. They were put up in the sort of Buddhist temples that cater for junkies and alcoholics. When the army finally moved in the hard core protesters burnt down one of Asia's largest shopping malls.
During much of the last two decades Thailand has been exposed to a sort of Democracy Pendulum where the style of government ranges from direct military rule to the sort of Democracy where politicians are often inclined to seek political kudos by persecuting minorities. Former policeman and Narcotics Control chief, Taksin Sinawat, made a fortune in mobile phones, and then financed his own political party, Thai Rak Thai, to become elected as prime minister. His reign started with the assassination of quite a few people classed as drug traffikers followed by a policy of brutality against moslem protesters in the South of Thailand.
Amy Hua, an American of Filipino-Chinese background, has written an interesting personal memoir dealing with Pendulum Democracy. Racial tensions exacerbated by poverty for the many and nepotism for the few, magnify small changes and you get an unstable dynamic system. Her book, World on Fire (2003) succinctly describes how Western attempts to export democracy are in fact reckless acts of political adventurism. Anyone who wants to understand the politics of Thailand, or the rise of the oligarchs in Russia has to read Amy Hua aka 'Tiger Mother'.
SUCCESS OF CHINA
Of course the world has one regime which is proud to stand aloof from western democracy and that is China. The 2008 financial crisis has only made a small dip on economic growth, and the leaders have claimed that they can compensate for lower export trade by generally bringing up the level of the local population. No one complains about weakness of Chinese banks.
China has a leadership which pays lip service to a high degree of central planning. The 'One Child Policy' is a keystone of this. The next step is a decarbonisation plan to reduce the link between energy consumption and GDP. They also plan to introduce carbon trading, and maybe some form of energy rationing.
In the West there are many progressive movements whose leaders fail to see the benefits of these policies. Central planning is considered an 'Attack on the Free Market', and it is resisted by organised rallies by self styled patriots. Getting the USA to accept healthcare is great political task.
In fact China is really running two experiments in Democracy. One is called Hong Kong and the other is called Taiwan. Taiwan is not part of China. Taiwan is a democracy. The Taiwanese could always have the chance to vote in a regime which wants to change the status of Taiwan.
Wadah Khanfar, the network director of Al Jazeera (Guardian 07.02.11) claims that Al Jazeera's workers have paid a high price to bring the news. Their offices have been bombed by the Americans, and its jornalists have been killed or imprisoned and tortured. To anyone who is not an Arab it is clear that the Arabic language can only flourish by becoming a medium of free expression, and the suppressed poets and authors can only look forward to better book sales than at present.
Khanfar also notes that keeping oppressed people in ignorance often serves the backers of rotten regimes. It means that many economic decisions may be taken in secret. The British Government has itself pulled off investigation of Saudi arms deals.
THE SOLUTION TO EGYPT'S PROBLEMS
1. ONE CHILD POLICY
2. CULTURAL REVOLUTION
Cultural revolution has already started. It's quite ironic that the first victim of 'Cultural Revolution' has become enabler of the second round of Cultural Revolution. Japanese made cassette recorders carried the sermons of the Ayetollah Khomeini back in the 1970s but cheap videophones 'Made in China' are carrying images of working class struggle and police brutality around the world.
Cultural Revolution is also the name of a group of hip-hop fans based in Amman, Jordan. These people have occasinal run-ins with the authorities because they seem to upset some of the more traditionalist people. That's a common story everywhere.
The Cultural Revolution is incomplete, and threats to stifle the free exchange of information become even greater as monopoly capitalism and lawyers move in. They may block new technology, or place robot programmed restrictions on the sort of media which people may access. There are already employers in the so called 'free world' who have tried to ban employees from looking at certain websites and they discriminate against people who put the wrong sort of stuff online. The 'Pirate Party' seeks to enforce basic safeguards on the freedom of information. The Pirate Party has had its greatest impact in Sweden.
'Decarbonisation' and 'One Child Policy' are mere sub themes of Cultural Revolution.
MUBARAK STEPS DOWN
Fri Feb 11 20:56:30 GMT 2011
Mubarak adressed the Egyptian public on Thursday and stressed that he would stay on until September. His speech was received with disdain and anger by the waiting crowds in Tahrir Square who had been expecting a resignation speech. On Friday the mood changed when it was announced that Mubarak was no longer in charge of the country. The crowds became jubilant. A pharoah had been toppled. Previous friends of the pharoah made indecent haste to praise the Egyptian people despite their previous support of the detested regime.
A couple of days later the army announced that Mubarak was no longer in charge.
BLOOD BATH IN BENGHAZI
Thu Feb 24 22:11:50 GMT 2011
The Eastern part of Libya witnessed see-saw battles between British, German and African forces during the Second World War. Benghazi became a focus of revolt around mid February 2011. Peaceful demonstrations were met by gunfire, and the deployment of foreign mercenaries to enforce order by brutality. This further enraged the people of Eastern Libya and hundreds died. Youtube videos showed scenes intense violence as thousands of ordinary people took on professional soldiers and took the police station and military barracks. The regime ordered its own air force to bomb the people, and a couple of the pilots simply flew to Malta to claim political asylum.
It is just one week ago that the Benghazi demonstrations started. The people had been requesting a 'truth comission' concerning the killing of 1200 prisoners during a single day in 1996. Saif al-Islam, second son of Colonal Ghadafi, had himself started the process by trying to fashion western style NGOs in Libya. Maybe he had been exposed to 'Big Society' ideas during his sojourn at LSE. He was trying to update the police state. Saif himself had set up some sort of human rights organisation in Libya, but despite top down control the prison massacre would not go away. There had been a string of incidents where lawyers or anyone else raising the issue concerning massacre of Abu Salim prisoners had been arrested and silenced.
The difference between the previous incidents and the demonstration in February 2011 was the recent turmoil in Tunisia and Egypt. Right at the beginning Muammar Ghadafi had set himself against Arab Youth, (Al Shebab) by denouncing the popular revolt in Tunisia.
Now Libya is in a virtual state of civil war with heavy weapons in the hands of government, mercenaries, insurgents, looters and citizens who merely want to protect themselves. Most foreign workers are trying to flee the country. Hard information from the streets of Tripoli is lacking. There is no press pack and no internet. the British foreign minister himself gave credance to a rumour that Ghadafi had decamped to Venezuela. Tony Blair took Britain into war with Iraq on nothing more than amplified rumour.
Many commentators try to give brand names to these popular uprisings. Phrases such as 'Facebook Revolution', or 'Twitter Revolution' do show the phenomenal leverage of American corporations in determining media content, but the wide acceptance of the enabling technology comes from low prices brought about by intense exploitation in China and elsewhere. Both France and China had a recent epidemic of suicides brought on by harsh working conditions.
In Arab dictatorships it is taken for granted that the government controls the press and other media. Western democracy often sees the reverse: media controls the government. In Italy Berlesconi media is the government. England has the sort of zombie democracy where most elected politicians pay homage to unelected press barons.
The situation in Libya is so awful that most ex-pat workers are trying to flee the country. High paid workers in desert based oil production facilities seem at high risk. Ordinary Libyans who speak their minds in Tripoli are in extreme danger of being rounded up and tortured. China and Turkey have run large scale evacuation operations.
The Americans press for UN sanctions, and nearly all the Libyan UN delegation wants to see a very quick change of regime, already started by the Libyan people.
All of the nations on the UN sceurity council are morally bankrupt.
USA Organised 'torture tours'.
President Obama won Nobel Peace Prize
Continued lethal 'Drug War' in 'Near Abroad'
UK Aid and abet the above
Government by millionaires.
RUSSIA Media savvy capitalist kleptocracy.
Opportunist foreign policy
CHINA Used tanks it's own population
Makes cheap smart phones
FRANCE Dismal colonial legacy, mostly dictatorships.
UK-USA-FRANCE. 2 - engined bomber.
All of UN Security Council members are famous for their arms trade. Only China does not spend too much, since they do food and mobile phones as well.
Ghadafi himself made a notable speech drawn from commonplace 'anti-drug' rhetoric. Foreign nationals with conspiratorial organisations are subverting the normally well behaved youth with illegal and dangerously psychoactive drugs. The foreigners are Afghans, and the drugs appear to be some sort of 'Ya Ba' or 'crazy drug'. Nearly all world leaders endorse the supression of drugs and believe that prisons should be filled with drug traffickers and that armed enforcement of drug laws should be seen as normal, even when armed enforcement can sometimes result in pitched battles. Parts of Mexico are as dangerous as Iraq and Afghanistan. In Mexico female lawyers or criminologists are sometimes catapulted into dangerous positions in order to uphold a modicum of 'The Rule of Law'. They have been abducted or gunned down right in America's back yard. The powerful criminal syndicates are run by men with moustaches and suits rather than men with beards and khamise, but the violence is similar. America and it's adjacent ally Mexico have great difficulty in applying the 'Rule of Law' to both drugs and immigration. The USA has witnessed vast demonstrations and legislative pantomine over the policing of frontiers.
William Hague, the British foreign secretary has conducted a policy based very much on wishful thinking. The celebrity flatterers of the Sheikhdoms endorse most upper class capitalism of the hunting shooting fishing type that make up the elites of Western capitalism. They also own football clubs and bits of Disney World. All of these countries have western trained police systems and they oversee non unionised forces of immigrant labourers from very poor countries.
William Hague adopted the rumour that Ghadfi was going to run off to Zimbabwe or Venezuela. But neither Mugabe or Chavaz are likely to welcome a ghost without oil. Next Hague decides to evacuate the British embassy in Tripoli and then rely on military reach to evacuate some people, and also to conduct diplomacy.
These people do not understand the scepticism of the locals to benign intervention. All that British diplomats seem to want are leaders from the same class as their own ruling class who will crack down on drugs and terrorism and illegal immigration.
British PM David Cameron conducted an arms selling tour of Gulf States during this crisis. What is less well known is that the fruits of recent advances in biotechnology are touted to the police forces of all these states so that they can more easily arrest and imprison more people with minute traces of illegal drugs in their blood or any other bodily cells such as skin or hair. This is forensic policing at its worst, and it serves the interests of people like Jack Straw, Gordon Brown or anyone else who engages in similar rhetoric to Muammar Ghadafi's now famous 'Anti Drugs' speech. Most Western politicians share Ghadafi's vision on drugs: We are ignorant, but since we have power we will just lock up more people, and use more and more force until we have a 'Drug Free' civilistion.
While revolutions and civil wars break out, celebrity culture draws much media attention. Arab media draws heavily on celebrity culture for much of its content. Look at any Arab language magazine to see something like OK, or HELLO. Leaders and pop stars mingle with tycoons and Gulf state princes.
The Fashion World faught back against the Libyan civil war with its own story of 'Celebrity Anti-Semitism'. Mel Gibson was the first noted example of 'celebrity anti-semitism' when a drunken diatribe against Jews was reported by police officers who had arrested him for reckless drunk driving. And so in 2011 a Dior fashion designer was exposed on smartphone to be praising Hitler and the gas chambers implying that the people who were annoying him should not even have been born. Gallianis drunken diatribe was captured in an upmarket drinking place in the center of Paris' world famous disneyland style Jewish Quarter (Near to Place des Vosges).
For some Jews this type of celebrity anti-semitism is seen as an existentail threat but there must be many who see it as a great joke. The subversive style of Jewish humour that can question God is pretty much part of the people's world wide heritage.
CIVIL WAR INTENSIFIES
Tue Mar 8 14:28:05 GMT 2011 --- International Woman's Day
Tariq Ali has written that the main factor in Libya remains the American wish to maintain hegemony in the Mediterranien region. From 2001 to about 2008 America outsourced torture to Marocco, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan and Syria, and under Obama it still endorsed the use of tanks, artillary, phosphorous bombs, missiles, armoured bulldozers and human shields when Isreal waged war on the people of Gaza.
Turkey and China have taken a low profile in evacuating their own people from Libya, in contrast to the UK which has gone in for daring do exploits and barking. British politicians are barking like noisy terriers at the feet of Obama asking him to enforce a no fly zone over Libya. Many American politicians are posturing to take the position that something must be done. An aircraft carrier task force is in the Gulf of Sirte.
Tripoli is in the hands of the Ghadafi regime which has armed its supporters. Benghazi remains in the hands of rebels who may soon run out of food and ammunition, and whose electricity and fuel supplies can be subjected to bombing by the Libyan airforce which is mostly controlled by the regime.
The record of the USA and EU in 'doing something' is abysmal. It took over seven years to deal with the Yugoslav civil war, and a cast of panjandrums and high comissioners recruited from the ranks of failed politicians. It is frightening to see people promoted above their level of competence pitching in their thoughts. The media blackout in Libya has pretty much halted the 'Facebook Revolution', and in the resulting informtion vacuum we get our mainstream media filled with silly stories and idiotic ideas from nationlly based politicians with an axe to grind. The UK wants to project power but it can't because it has no aircraft carriers and hardly any planes, and an unfinished war in Afghanistan which it is losing. It makes for good 'Punch and Judy' politics in Westminster, but this must seem quite disgusting to thse Arabs (or Englishmen) who want to see a better world.
BLOWING UP BRITAIN
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Osama bin Laden released a communique telling people not to live in tall buildings. Since then the World's highest skyscraper has opened in Dubai. Britain is different. Under the 'New Labour' government many tall buildings were blown up or otherwise demolished. These were homes for the poor, otherwise called 'Social Housing'. Tower blocks have been demolished under the flimsiest excuses. The 'experts' said that social housing of this nature provided havens for drug dealers and other types of criminal. They said the Englishman did not want to live in a flat, but wanted to live in a house with a garden near to a motorway so that they could drive to an out of town shopping mall. All of this is ecological nonsense. The whole project is unsustainable.
In the Anglo-Saxon democracies the house building industry has become more corrupt and debilitating than 'Big Oil'. It is true that the oil and auto industries provided the technology for endless sprawling suburbs, but it was the house owning ethos that directly lead to the 2008 financial crisis.
In Moscow some tower blocks were blown up, allegedly by Chechen terrorists. The Russians subsequently undertook a second war in Chechenya, but the Caucus region remains unstable. In Britain the terrorists were the 'New Labour' administration which undertook the demolition of social housing in order to increase house prices and thereby obtain the consent of the burgeoisie for foreign wars and arms sales. The new Conservative government is merely continuing these policies.
WHAT IS A GERMAN MACHINE GUN ?
Sat Mar 19 04:24:26 GMT 2011
Saif al Islam Ghadafi goes on TV to correct his accusers.
When I stood on the tank and made my speech my enemies said I was brandishing an AK47, a Russian machine gun. Let my critics stand corrected. The gun was a Heckler and Koch, a German made gun!
This is an easy mistake to make. It really shows how clever the British can be. The Heckler and Koch was standard issue to those running military checkpoints on the streets of Belfast. An armoured landrover stands in the middle of the road with armed police and soldiers on hand. In a nearby church tower you see another man with a machine gun ready to give covering fire in case things get nasty.
Heckler and Koch was long ago acquired by the British arms company BAE. The H&K is a British gun !
Another famous British invention, the track laying battle tank was quickly deployed to intimidate the population of a British city during the zenith of that global bloodbath aka 'First World War'. The city is called Dublin. Look at the picture archives. Easter 1916 happened before the battle of the Somme. Part of central of Dublin was levelled by land and sea bombardment.
At the end of the first world war there was a great problem of dealing with demobilised survivers of the Western front. In Germany many of these survivors went on to the supression of socialist and communist movements, while in Britain they were sent off to join the Black and Tans paramilitary group in the hope of supressing the Irish revolt.
The aftershocks in Germany lead to Ludendorff and Hindenberg helping Hitler in his rise to power.
Britain rewarded chemist Chaim Weizmann for his clever fermentatation process used in making acetone, a vital ingredient in making high explosives. The reward was Israel.
Germany later persecuted Fritz Haber, who had set up another clever process for making high explosives. Haber pioneered the extraction of Nitrogen from the air to make ammonia which could easily be turned into nitrates (NO3 radical).
Many demographers reckon that Fritz Haber has had more signifacance in world history. The current world population of 6.85 billion is estimated to be 20%-30% attributable to industrially manufactured fertilisers used in growing food.
Earthquake plus Tsunami in Japan 11.03.11
Nuclear Meltdown at Fukushima power station. (4 units).
Deployment of tanks and foreign troops in Bahrein.
Bahrein is linked to Saudi Arabia by causeway.
Bahrein has seen peaceful demonstrtors attempting to encroach on the financial district. The Sunni rulers have called for help from Saudi Arabia and other members of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). Armoured vehicles crossed the causeway, and demonstrators were chased away from the Pearl roundabout close to the financial district.
The Saudi end of the causeway is close to most of Saudi Arabia's oil export facilities. There is a shia minority in many of the adjacent towns. The high handed action of the Saudi and Bahreini ruling class will obviously enrage many of the people, but dissent is likely to be met by brutal violence. The Iranian and Iraqi regimes both feel obliged to speak on behalf of the shia minorities in the Arab Gulf states.
The world waits.
Fri Mar 25 06:56:34 GMT 2011
The whole world still resonates from the aftershocks of the 2011 Sendai earthquake. The Scientific American tells how well the Japanese beefed up their earthquake management systems after the 2003 Sendai earthquake, but magnitude 8.9 is ultra serious.
The UK-USA-FRANCE two engined bomber is now operational in Libya, so media coverage of all events in the Arab world is highly suspect.
Eric Hobsbawm has used the term 'Human Rights Imperialism' in lectures and essays for several year. Several cliches are useful ino describing the manufacture of consent (Chomsky) for efforts to either start or maintain Anglo-saxon hegemony.
 Human Rights Imperialism.
 Drug War Imperialism.
 Brand Label Imperialism.
HUMAN RIGHTS IMPERIALISM.
Abolition of the negro slave trade. British ships can stop search and confiscate other ships almost anywhere in the Atlantic or Indian Ocean. Slaves are now migrant workers and they can no longer rely on free transport. Transport is financed by forced loans with interest which looks good on balance sheets in the City of London. The worker is no longer a slave but a debtor, often for life. Up to 1880 or so, free transport was still given to people who fell foul of the legal system. After the Paris uprising of 1870-71 many communards were deported to Gayana, or to Pacific Islands.
Ottoman Empire. 1850-1921. Christians opressed by muslims. Big campaigns in USA to support Christians. The writer has to admit that the establishment of relatively free universities in the former Ottoman empire has had it's benefits, and these universities are widely admired. They have pretty much educated a whole political elite, including people with progressive socialist and communist tendencies.
The downside might include Greek attempts to liberate Christians in Asia (1919-21) and contribution to the Lebanese Civil War (1976-91).
Most recently 'Human Rights Imperialism' has targeted former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and especially China.
China is particularly important for the future of the whole planet.
One child policy.
Greatest Investor in Green Power.
Owns world's largest super-computer, quite likely for cyberwarfare.
Relatively low arms exports.
Relics of centrally planned economy.
Workshop of the World.
As the main rival to the USA, China is a key target of Human Rights Imperialism. Many people including some cadres of UK's Green Party have become unwitting agents of America's attempts to dismember China by circulating 'Free Tibet' appeals.
DRUG WAR IMPERIALISM.
Long history. First big target was China.
Since about 1929 the objective of the 'War on Drugs' was to criminalise drug users. The illegal drug trade continues to make vast profits, mostly because of prohibition. The 'Drug War' is another means of manufacturing consent for brutal behaviour and extra-territorial judicial reach. Vast numbers of ordinary people can be subject to arbitary search, arrest, brutality and confiscation of assets. Elite policemen world wide can get training in the USA and go on to successful careers in their own country (Taksin Sinawatr).
When 'Human Rights Imperialism' may not be appropriate because America wants to support an unsavoury regime, then the Property Owning Democracy can support drug eradication efforts. Burma and Helmand spring to mind. Most long running conflicts in the Americas are justified as the war on narco-terrorism.
The so-called War on Terror attracts much publicity, but it's pretty clear that suicide bombers and urban purchasers of large quantities of ammonium nitrate or hydrogen peroxide are everyone's enemies and should be turned in by any honest citizen, including drug users.
Many Christians and other well meaning people support drug prohibition because they think drug users are lazy and good for nothing layabouts who finance their habits by crime, and commit all sorts of mayhem under the influence of prohibited drugs. All of this is good rhetoric and a fine rallying cry for the supporters of the Property Owning Democracy, and Muammar Ghadafi. In fact opium and coca leaf have a long history as survival drugs, while synthetic amphetamines were dished out to American aircraft pilots during the Second World War (which the Americans won).
BRAND LABEL IMPERIALISM
This has a long history starting from the invention of language. This type of imperialism affects the way that all of us think. National flags and symbols along with the names of our creeds are all part of this. Language is always more likely to win the war rather than arrows, bombs or bullets.
A teenager in Los Angeles can get killed for wearing a jacket with the wrong label. Replace 'jacket' by 'religion' and you have seen kids killed in Belfast or Beirut. The commodity may be the same but the label is important.
Recent events have seen attempts to label popular uprisings by the names of American based communications providers such as Facebook or Twitter.
The confluence of social movements and nuclear power meltdowns have global impact. Property distribution plus level of policing plus energy consumption map different possible countries into a cube. Possible property distributions always have a jump discontinuity between owners and non-owners. Wherever this wall is you may see social problems except at the boundaries of [0,1]. No-one owns property, or everyone does. For the rest you do not get a 'spirit level' effect of Kate Pickett measurements, but you always get a vertical cliff somewhere. The people on one side of the cliff are meant to try and get to the other side, but not by what is called crime. Desirable levels of home ownership are 0 and 1 for complete equality but points near to 0 are like prisones for people on one side of this poverty wall, and points near 1 are the society of nepotism where one or two families own everything. Of course one could argue that a beggar sleeping in his own cardboard box under a flyover is a property owner, but really the point 1 is assuming equal size homes.
There is always a tendency by those one one side of the divide to either enslave the other, or the none owners to cross the barrier by force, hard work or quantum tunnelling. In this context quantum tunnelling is like winning a lottery or making a successful startup. The odds of making a successful startup very much depend on which side of the poverty wall that you start at.
SELF HATING ARAB.
Ghaith Abdul Ahad and other reporters detained by police often say they were accused of being zionist agents. They were in the hands of those from regimes which had made a great fuss over the zionist issue, but also used it to justify oppression of their own people. If these detainees were not zionists, they must be Al Qaeda, because these regimes had been collecting points by waging the 'War on Terror'.
This is great news. The self hating Jews and the self hating Arabs will be able to get together take a cool look at the roots of Israeli Palestinian stasis, and perhaps the role of external powers in reinforcing hatred.
SHIMON PERES OPTIMIST
Writing in the Guardian, 01/04/11, Israeli president Shimon Peres seems to agree that the Youth Revolution is an opportunity rather than a threat. He then goes on to stress the importance of science and technology in promoting growth. But after that the narrative goes downhill. He seems unaware that Israeli policies deny about 50% of those under de-facto Israeli control access to free international or local travel which is essential to those wishing to achieve success in academia. The single state period 1967-73 saw some attempts by progressive Israeli academics to encourage Arab access to national institutions, but now distance learning is the best that most Arabs can hope for.
In England the First of April is known as 'All Fools Day' and it is a popular occasion for playing practical jokes. The Shimon Peres article seems to be one of these. One asks which planet the man lives on. Does he not realise that Israeli policies have done so much to strengthen the support for fundamentalists in the region. Worse still, some of the natural and long standing opponents and victims of Sunni fundamentalism, namely Shiite resistance groups have themselves been targeted by the Israelis.
It's a shame that Israeli politicians fail to give the peace process with the same urgency that Wiezemann gave to acetone production during the 1914-18 war. Chaim completed the process quite quickly, so that the British could start making ammunition in quantities enough to impress politicians and encourage the bloodbath generals.
Fritz Haber also worked quickly. After inventing the most common process for fertilizer he went on to supervise the production and use of poison gas, right on time.
When Eric Hobsbawm mentions the increase in failed states we see that Israel may not only senior member of this club, but it has diligently tried to produce offspring called Lebanon and Palestine.
Chaim went from research chemist to a man gifted with a state in about two years. He could not have succeeded without a vast change in English ways of working. Many women worked in the ammunition factories. They risked being blown up daily.
TAHLIA -- SECULAR SCHOOL SYSTEM
Opening internal frontiers must be seen as an acceptible risk. Northern Ireland saw sharp violence in the 1970s but it's university system thrived. The Israelis should divert more resources to building new universities and issuing more student visas. Visas could start immediately.
The Israelis could manipulate the settlements. They could introduce a rule that settlement schools should be able to teach any local child who wishes to be educated via Hebrew and English. 'Arabic as a language' classes in these schools would be allowed to be as little as two hours a week, but some rules would be enforced.
The freeze on settlements should be replaced by a more open process whereby facilities such as schools and local media companies and cultural centers are shared by the local population. Sharing academic or company premises would eventually extend to housing after a limited period. In the meantime more settlements could be built, provided a means can be found of making the existance of a settlement advantageous to Palestinians.
The settlement schools would have to be secular schools, and have tough rules on sectarian dress, and possibly, social class dress. Teachers would not have to wear suits and ties. Working class dress should be the norm. Uniforms would not be considered necessary. Veils would be forbidden in the classrooms and libraries. Theft of library books is common in many universities, so the librarians have the right to see the faces of anyone using the facility.
Sectarian dress would be permissable in Drama School, and some media environments, but not in most other places in the locale. These rules would be subject to annual review.
Wearing of veils is forbidden unless compulsory on health and safety grounds.
Symbols or emblems supporting sports teams should be forbidden.
Symbols such as triangle, cross + variations, circle + derived shapes and some common chinese characters would be allowed. The CND symbol is derived from circle and sectors. The swastika is a variation of the cross, but meant to give a sense of rotation.
Teachers would have the right to ask students to remove items of jewellary in class , along with banning offensive ringtones on phones.
All of this has to be called 'cultural revolution'.
The whole point of 'cultural revolution' is that it does not mean removing all rules, but by changing obstructive rules very quickly.
Israeli settlements are just one example of 'gated compounds' which are pretty much a world wide phenomenon. The rich live in compounds surrounded by pramilitary security guards whose purpose is to keep out all of the poor except servants.
The world has many gated compounds for the rich, but it also has many guarded compounds for the poor. These places are normally prisons, but sometimes whole states may seem like prisons. It is not necessary for a state to be failed or failing for that state to create prison states. England sent convicts to America and Australia just while it was succeeding.
Eritrea is seen by many of its inhabitants as a state-wide prison. A typical escape journey will involve chances of further imprisonment or death. A land journey across troubled Sudan then Libya will be followed by a perilous sea voyage to an EU shorline, or an EU island such as Malta and Lempedusa. Next follows travel across the EU by any means possible and then arriving at a channel port. Finally the traveller must stow away on a truck, and evade border controls. [AH] Finally he arrives at that destination evocatively recalled in Blake's poem 'Jerusalem'. In the beginning such epic quests were described in holy books and nation building literature, but now they are commonplace.
in an age of Globalisation refugee flows can be shown as statistics but individual accounts often show how weak people are at collecting statistics which reflect reality.
INTERNET VERSUS INFRANET
Recent events in Syria have shown that networks such as Twitter and Facebook can help to spread revolutionary ideas, but these same social networks are easily infiltated by the secret police who wish to to find, imprison and torture political activists.
In order to evade the secret police people have to resort to other means of possibly secure communication. Encryption is no answer because the sending of encrypted messages can itself be regarded as a crime. UK counter terrorism legislation pretty much makes it a criminal offence to forget encryption keys.
Slow burn revolutions may require hand carried memory sticks, but even this may not work. There is very little to stop monopolies like Microsoft to cease to ship computers which recognise the 1980s MS-DOS file system which is currently universally used.
There is immense pressure on computer users to upgrade their software. Old and well tested applications may just cease to work on modern websites. This may be a form of censorhip by stealth.
It is rumoured that Ai Wei Wei's blog has been completely deleted in China. Even in a country with a population of over a billion it is unlikely that any devoted follower of his blogs has archived all of them. It takes time and trouble to save all the cache files of internet browsing. More probable is that his blogs have been saved by his enemies in the state security apparatus who may wish to keep them as evidence for prosecution. This is something of a paradox.
All of this strengthens the arguement for internet scepticism. Machine readable data can quickly become written out of history by the mere meeting of a handful of cartel bosses who set de-facto standards for filetypes. JPEG gets replaced by GPEG or Google Picture Group. Add a few censorship bytes in the image header and most people may not notice.
The inventor of the internet, Berners-Lee, has deplored FACEBOOK because much of it is password protected against universal search engines.
There are proofs in Graph Theory that say that most graphs become connected after you add a certain number of edges, but there are good arguements to say that some social networks should have isolated nodes, or very small cliques for security reasons.
The Infranet is the collection of small cliques.
The most famous infranet blogger was Victor Klemperer who kept a meticulous diary of Germany's Hitler period. When things got tough Victor would take a trip to the suburbs of Dresden as often as possible and leave a paper copy of his blog to a single trusted person for safekeeping.
Klemperer's narrative descriptions interspersed with humerous asides help to fill in the various shades of grey between 'Good' and 'Evil'. Another member of the clique was Klemperer's wife, Eva, to whom he read things aloud.
Fast forward from Hitler's Germany to Cameron's Britain and we see deliberate social exclusion where the barbed wire of the death camps becomes the various virtual walls of the INTERNET. Public libraries are being closed because it is said that everyone can get more information at home. Any one who goes to a UK library these days sees lots of marginalised people using the public computers because they don't have the INTERNET at home.
Library closure programs endanger state security. The American Unabomber terrorist got turned in because a sibling recognised the style of his diatribe via a public computer, and informed the authorities.
The USA's deployment of drones or RPVs (Remotely Piloted Vehicles) raises the normal ethical and moral problems pertaining to robot warfare. The most dangerous type of high impact robot warfare could easily affect hundreds of millions of people. These robots only cost a few hundred dollars in time and material, and they featured in William Gibson's sci-fi classic called NEUROMANCER. Sometime in the last decade NEUROMANCER cossed the border from science fiction to reality. Search robots constantly probe webservers for signs of weakness ready to alert human cyberwarfare experts to signs of weakness. These weaknesses will often be very transient events such as after corporate takeovers when people get fired and deliberately skip permissions checking before losing their jobs. Russia, China and Israel all have hackers paid by their governments. The targeting of nuclear power plants, governments, and millions of Sony Playstation users are warnings.
Needless to say the Islamic holy book aka KORAN has a whole sura which could be interpreted as a warning on the over reliance on communications networks. The sura is called ANKABUT or spider, and the metaphors are obvious to any diligent student, or for that manner any complete beginner who studies the Koran.
Scientists have long predicted that a single solar storm could wipe out our communications infrastructure in a few hours but the probability is extremely low. Think of the surface area of a sphere of 93 million miles and the diameter of the earth of 4000 miles. It does not matter whether the distances are measured in kilometers or miles, since we are only interested in the ratio. There is a very low chance of actually getting hit by a great lance of magnetic plasma.
R = distance to sun 93000000
r = radius of earth 4000
(PI*r*r) % 4 * PI * R * R
= r*r % 4 * R * R = (r%2*R)^2
= (2000 % 93000000)^2 say.
$ X<- 2000.0%93000000
There is a high probability that financial institutions and infrastructure networks will fall in the firing line of ever more sophisticated cyberattacks. The 2001 attack on New York was televised world wide. The next such act of terrorism could just see blank screens almost everywhere.
DOCUMENTS OF IDENTITY
Thu Apr 28 06:48:02 BST 2011
Last Sunday I met a person with a PhD in physics and started to discuss symmetry groups using the games of Chess, Xiang Qi (Chinese Chess) and Weiqi (Go) as games with different symmetry groups, and the way that these groups affect the difficulty of programming these games on a computer. I later mentioned that I attended asylum seeker support group and had interesting discussions on the defects of capitalism with an Ethiopian refugee. The physics Phd made a rather racist remark when he heard this, so I told him that I had once worked for a Washington organisation in the Middle East and had encountered racism amongst Americans. The physics PhD admitted that he had American citizen ship so I mentioned driving off the Washington DC Beltway to look at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, simply because there was a prominent highway exit sign saying 'CIA'. After a short drive through a forest I saw the guardhouse and made a speedy U-turn to rejoin the Beltway. No one seemed to care back in 1987, but a few years later a mujehaddin discretely parked his car in the forest, took out a sniper rifle and fired lethal shots at CIA employees turning up to work. He then drove off and was only captured a few years later.
My adversary denied that the CIA could ever have advertised itself so openly so I became rather skeptical about his US status. He took out his wallet, shuffled through some sections and displayed a cheap looking card with two blue pillars and a blue arch bearing the logo SOCIAL SECURITY. Within within the portal was a string such as 078-78-1353 and a name plus a signature. Overleaf it is written:-
Do not laminate this card.
Even during a drunken arguement in provincial England there are some skeptics who ask for proof and verification. This applies to everyone.
President Obama does not get drunk in public, so there is no reason to ask him for verification, but his enemies wish to destroy the USA by reducing politics to the type of name calling that happens in places such Ivory Coast or Vietnam. Some people said Ho Chi Minh was born in Thailand. President Obama has just publicised his birth certifacate showing he was born in Hawaii on 4, August 1961, when President Kennedy was helping to rebuild American confidence after the launch of the Soviet Union's sputnik.
Tomorrow injured Congresswoman Gabriel Gifford is due to witness one of America's last space shuttle missions, while China anounces a self started plan to build a space station and then explore the moon.
Gabriel Gifford was shot at a public meeting in what should have been a safe place protected by the rule of law, but as a Democrat she is in the gunsights as depicted on some rightwing TV commercials.
Obama's opponenents are bringing the violent politics of Manila to America, so his childhood experiences in Jakarta are an excellent experience for dealing with his adversaries. It is reasonable to expect that some of Obama's schoolmates asked him to prove he was an American and for that matter proof of American citizenship would enable he and his family to be flown out of Indonesia in some sort of evacuation plan if the political situation turned really nasty like it did in Saigon in the 1970s.
Barack's opponents are also accusing him of social security fraud because in America, a place where local and federal burocracies usually prefer to compete rather than collaborate, there is no workable system of ensuring a one to one mapping between social security numbers and people.
Any mismatch between documents and people is solely attributable to those politicians that spend their lives sabotaging effective government.
WE CAN BUILD YOU
Mon May 2 17:45:31 BST 2011
The Americans claim that they have killed Osama Bin Laden during a helicopter borne raid at a Pakistani villa, and that they flew the body away and had it buried at sea according to a Moslem ritual.
Many people are pleased by the news, but perhaps they want to be sure that Osama is really dead.
The whole story could have come out of mid twentieth century science fiction. Philip K. Dick wrote novels about political developments in the USA, starting off with 'The Man in High Castle' giving a scenario where Germany and Japan won the Second World War. Two stories, 'The Simulacrum', and 'We Can Build You' touched on the idea of robots occupying the White House. Surprisingly the Obama election campaign did not raise suspicions that some such plot was afoot.
The conspiracy theory runs as follows. A group of scientists and engineers sees the political process as a game between 'Old Money' and 'New Money'. The Oil and Automobile cartels are losing out to Communications infrastructure networks, but the latter do not excercise political power. Micheal Moore sums this up as 'Stupid White Men'. These are the WASPS (White Anglo Saxon Protestant). East coast based, and educated at Ivy League universties, or possibly West Point, these men have dominated politics for generations. They all share drinking clubs such as 'Skull and Crossbones' or Bildeberg Group. Catapult a 'No Money' man into the game and it becomes more interesting. Dukakis, Gore and Kerry were all dead loss people, and Clinton was liberal only towards the rich, and some White house interns.
So the 'No Money' man is a robot, designed and put onto the stage by scientists and Comms Corps billionaires ? Chicago is famous for its indoor tennis court as well as its Democratic machine. Enrico Fermi and others built the World's first nuclear pile in a Chicago sports facility.
The recent deployment in Pakistan has to end this particular conspiracy theory once and for all. The civilian president decided to commit men rather than machines to target Osama bin-Laden. He had also seen the fulfillment of one of America's main war aims after the 2001 attacks on New York.
This whole text since February has seen me under-estimate Barack Obama. He has been playing very cool: too cool for many. His alignment with generals who have picked up the pieces from the Bush Wars now seems rather sinister. It reminds me of 1920s Japan where the Kwantung Army became a state within a state.
Osama Bin Laden became a rather easy target. Just as in the case of the Mongols liquidating the assassins there are few mourners. Osama was a mere fire and thunder terrorist rather than a book burner. The main detriment of Islam remains with the book burners rather than the terrorists, and these book burners have to take their place amongst other groups who wish to run censorship regimes such as secular dictatorships (Libya and Syria), or those who wish to place all knowledge online where its distribution may be controlled by paywalls (Newscorp) or spyware (Apple, Google).
Osama Bin Laden may have bought some time by having no phone and no internet, but events had marginalised Al-Qaeda anyway.
MORE ON NETWORK TOPOLOGY
Sun May 8 05:28:02 BST 2011
After killing Osama Binladen the Americans have released details of Osama's magnetic media. The TV footage seems dramatic: rooms with cheap furniture, video cameras, sound recording stuff, CDs, memory sticks and one or two offline computers. The Americans claim that this rather modest equipment was sufficient to run the most dangerous terrorist organisation which has ever existed in the history of the World.
Binladen was also a home educator. World media reports show that his compound contained a school for his numerous offspring, but we do not yet know the syllabus.
The cutting edge maths that deals with network topologies is to be found in Ramsey Theory. This theory is interesting in its own right. It lead the Hungarian mathematician Erdos to make the remark that if God were to set mankind the task of exactly computing a smallish Ramsey number or get destroyed , then the best response would be to drop the computation and make a preemptive attack on God!
Ramsey proved that if graphs exceed a certain size, and edges are colored then you must get either one sort of clique for one color or another designated type of clique in another color. The interpretation of this type of general theory has many messy details but some useful resources can be downloaded for offline perusal [NJAS].
Ramsey Theory seems abstract and academic but it is a logical tool. Another logical tool is called Occam's Razor. Occam was a scholastic philosopher working in the distant past, but Occam's Razor is very appropriate for debunking internet circulated conspiracy theories. The arguement is pretty much as follows:-
If you a given a choice of competing hypotheses chose the least complicated hypothesis in preference to more complicated probabilities.
The case of Osama Bin Laden's hiding place is quite interesting. There is much speculation as to who knew what, and the initials ISI crop up quite often. ISI stands for Inter Services Intelligence agency. Someone like Noam Chomsky or Tariq Ali may try to analyse this syntax, not to mention dozens of standup comedians and thousands of people who have worked in the beaurocracies of large organisations. To many such people the combination of Military + Intelligence may seem a contradiction in terms. When you get mutually antagonistic forces being told to pool their efforts you get a recipe for chaos and confusion. ISI is an organisation which is meant to work for politicians in government, or the military, or organisations responsible for Kashmir and Afghanistan along with work on nuclear proliferation or nuclear non-proliferation.
The safest place for a high profile terrorist to hide may be an overlap zone where the main struggle is not between armed tribesmen in the mountains, but where the struggle is between overlapping beaurocracies. There is no paradox. There is no guilty mastermind who hid Osama. The high powered thinkers in ISI are under so much pressure that they are working most of the time just to avoid being fired. There is no social security in Pakistan.
Move from Abbattebad to the Washington Beltway, or the Sandhurst, Aldershot, Weybridge triangle and you will find plenty of warlords and shareholders in warlord organisations such as Xe or G4 or whatever. Perhaps one day some of these warlords will see men coming out of black helicopters which land in their gardens with the express aim of eradicating these same warlords with machine guns.
During the 1990s many right wing psychos were pushing conspiracy theories that intergovernment organisations such as the UN and the EU could threaten 'freedom and democracy' via the use of black helicopters carrying armed men and women.
Another application of Ramsey theory is organised religion. You see high connectivity of content poor vertices. There are lots of preachers and followers but essentially the only content is "Have faith in this holy system. Do not think. Thinking is prohibited!."
You also get low connectivity but content rich vertices.
Fri May 20 05:40:27 BST 2011
The last week has seen exciting developments at the International Monetary Fund. It's chief honcho, Dominique Strauss Kahn was detained at a New York airport following an allegaton of rape. DSK had been due to attend a series of meetings in Europe with the aim of sorting out the problems of Greece, Portual, Ireland and so on, but following his incarceration in New York's famous Riker's Island prison the IMF finds itself without a leader.
The IMF and the World Bank are twin pillars of the Capitalist World's econmic system set up in 1945. It is quite ironic that one of these pillars has taken a beating so quickly after the death of Osama Bin Laden who railed so much against the evils and immorality of the West.
OBAMA MAKES STATE VISITS
Thu May 26 01:22:26 BST 2011
President Obama is making a European tour. His entourage is said to number 1500 people, and undoubtedly there are snipers amongst them. Ireland is a good place to see American presidents. Obama himself, being of mixed race, was able to visit an ancestral village unearthed by patient research.
Obama's visit was cut short by the threat to his schedule caused by a volcanic eruption in Iceland which had the potential to close European airspace. Despite this Obama was able to meet Irish politicians and utter supportive words and promise some investments in the economy.
I remember when Clinton visited Ireland in the 1990s. He came to Belfast and visted Queen's University during one evening. I was in the crowd that was trying to catch a glimpse of the president and people were pointing to the shadowy figures on the student union roof and trying to spot their guns.
These occassions may seem like grand opera or pop concerts. I have no direct experience of either. Recently I took a degree at a convocation in the Senate House of Cambridge University. I clasped my hands and they were held by a woman dressed and made up like a character from Lewis Caroll's lampoons of people weilding power, such as the Queen of Hearts. She said some formula in Latin, and then I went to a door and someone handed me a degree certificate (Master of Mathematics).
The woman was an expert in management and finance, and was leader of the college which had educated the famous regicide, Oliver Cromwell. I was rather pleased about that since I had not really approved of all the flummery associated with the previous day's Royal Wedding. To me, royalty was associated with the red white and blue painting of the kerbstones in sectarian Sandy Row, Belfast. Not all british citizens are royalists. Very few seem to wish to remember the role of Cromwell in creating 'Western Civilisation'.
Later on I fell foul of the 'no smoking' rules that were in force in the grounds of the Senate House. That did not matter very much because myself and my companion, Dora, were about to leave that precinct.
The English and Americans have much in common in the way that they run formalities, at least in Ivy league universities. Obama with his time at Harvard is well equipped to do such things. Of course Obama is different. There are not so many Ivy League students who spent childhood days on crowded buses in Asiatic cities, apart from a few from India or the Far East.
Obama adressed both houses of parliament with a fantastic speech claiming that the Arabs had at long last discovered for themselves the virtues of 'Freedom and Democracy' and US and policy was supportive of these aims, and of course the British policy would also be the same. Great words in the hallowed halls of Westminster but they may not have seemed so apt to the unlucky Syrian youths finding themselves stamped on by the boots of Baathist thugs.
All of this gives the impression of a popular professor giving a lecture on international relations to bright students, but most of these students come from privileged backgrounds and the few of them have taken part in student protests have now swung towards oppression and defence of the status quo.
The first lady, Michelle Obama, made a conciliatry gesture by taking a group of London schoolkids to an Oxford college and encouraging them to think 'Ivy League'. It would only take a single classroom of black schoolgirls to double the number of black female undergraduates at Oxford.
The visit finished off with the presidential couple entertaining Queen Elizabeth II at the residence of the American embassy. Many of these royal occassions were marked by serving soldiers, and veterans being prominent n the guest lists. This might be an improvement on internet entrepreneurs, but it does confirm the fact that Obama is involved in a possibly unhealthy relationship with West Point... think of the relationship linking the Japanese emperor to the 'Kwantung Army'.
Obama's next stop is a G8 meeting at the casino resort of Deauville in France.
G8 MEETING AT DEAUVILLE
There were no large demonstrations at Deauville. The largest recent demonstrations occurred in Spain, where activists camped out in large plazas in Madrid and Barcelona. The Spanish government did not have the stomach to use Syrian style repression on these gatherings despite the inconvenience of having the public places blocked off.
The 'left' is moribund in Europe. This is the conclusion of many academic philosophers. The threat from the 'right' is there, but mainstream parties are all determined to meet this threat by adopting some xenophobic mantras for thmselves, especially when it comes to the free movement of labour.
The Concert of Great Powers faces the North African revolts by the promise of cash in the form of loans. Rewind the tape one hundred and thirty years and you see Egypt falling into the hands of the British because of the debt incurred by the Suez Canal infrastructure project, and France gets Tunisia as a sort of consolation prize for its loss in Egypt. France was able to take over Tunisia by calling in debts.
Europe itself is shaken by financial problems, so it can be seen that these loan offers are merely an attempt to preserve capitalist hegenomy in North Africa, and hopefully to prevent mass migration which could further destabilize Southern Europe.
The North African labouring classes can be liberated by working in efficient factories and call centers run by the likes of Google and Hitachi rather than working for the innefficient beaurocracies of Ben Ali and Mubarak, and of course there will still be lots of security guards to separate the rich from the poor, and enforce labour discipline, and uphold the rule of law according to the ability to pay for it.
THE TELEKOMMUNIST MANIFESTO
Dmytri Kleiner and others have worked on a pamphlet called 'The Telekommunist Manifesto'. Based on the original Marx-Engels Communist Manifesto, it is a critique of the capitalist system as applied to computer networks. It was written over a period of time starting after the year 2000.
The document deserves wide circulation. Online material is available at http://www.networkcultures.org
The preamble includes a subsection 'PEER PRODUCTION AND THE POVERTY OF NETWORKS', which includes the proposition:;-
'A freer internet cannot exist within the present system of capitalist financing'.
This proposition seems obvious to some, but requires explanation for many. The authors of the Telekommunist Manifesto note that the internet has become degraded since its commercialisation in the 1990s, and they cite as an example the concentration of power into a small number of monopolies who try to control both online and offline computer use.
The age of 'personal computing' is over. In the 1980s many computers were shipped with user manuals telling users how to program their machines. When Microsoft got started its only product was a BASIC interpretor which became an industry standard for desktop computers. Nowadays the standard Microsoft product line does not include any simple method of doing calculations such as 3.142 x 5.66^2.
Back in the 1980s when the Japanese companies were pushing products such as SHARP, EPSON, OKI and CASIO there were plenty of manuals which might contain program fragments such as:-
20 PI=4 * ATAN(1)
30 R = 5.66
40 PRINT PI*R*R
Possibly the version of BASIC will allow immediate evaluation.
Home computer users in the United Kingdom would generally have to try some other rigmarole sine the popular machines such as Sinclair and Acorn were interested in setting completely different standards.
In this way most users can become 'trapped in the world wide web'. The inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, must be quite amazed by these developments.
BAD PLACES FOR WOMEN.
Fri Jun 17 14:19:08 BST 2011
A recent report listed the five worst countries in which to be a woman. These were Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Pakistan and Somalia. India was in the list because of wide spread poverty, and also the obstacles that face females even before birth.
GREEN PARTY CONFERENCE. SHEFFIELD 2011
Wed Sep 14 13:10:49 BST 2011
Over the weekend 9 September 2011 to 12 September 2011 the Green Party held its Autumn conference at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) in the center of Sheffield. The Sheffield Green Party is to be congratulated in hosting this event in a modern building right next to Sheffield train station. Jon Ashe and Eamonn Ward must be thanked for making the conference a success.
A bazaar took place in the atrium of SHU's main building. It is only possible to describe a small number of stalls, because many were left unstaffed when I visited on Sunday 11 September.
They gave a talk at Sheffield Humanist Society earlier this year. Their key thesis is little changed from what I learned during religious education about fifty years ago. The teacher was an Anglican clergyman who had studied both economics and comparative religion. Buddha, Malthus, Marx and Mohammed were all on his syllabus,
One of the stallholders mentioned the 'Conservation Society' which was an early ecological group in the UK. These were mostly conservative types, probably influenced by Mary Stopes amongst others.
The stall gave out leaflets, badges and condoms.
Palestinian Support Group.
Sheffield has a long established Palestinian Support/Solidarity Group. Since I started to attend meetings in the 1980s the condition of the Palestinians has become arguably become worse.
I took a leaflet, and was prompted to go a recommended meeting.
Stop the War Coalition.
I spent considerable time talking to the stallholder, who had come up from London.
How to increase working class representation in the Green Party.
This meeting did not really impress me.
There was a double booking of the lecture room. The other meeting was a high profile meeting on Euthanasia, chaired by Caroline Lucas MP, One of the speakers was Sarah Wootton, of 'Dignity in Dying'. Both meetings were advertised to take place in room 1029.
Once the rooms were sorted out we made the best of the small space. One delegate said that confined spaces made her nervous so I said I also feared these things.
Much of the discussion seemed to be about 'accessible language' and perhaps ways of thought. There was a rather patronising film showing a family on an estate with parents at minimum wage level. A young child explained to the green party audience that when an electricity key ran out of credit the whole house gets plunged into darkness and the TV goes off.
Do we really need a film clip about poverty ? Surely much of the working class knows that the cause of poverty is usually low wages. It's all very well to fight cuts and go for 'nanny state' schemes but the best incentive to get people back to work is plenty of jobs with high wages.
The people who run capital markets have got to prove that the ventures they are touting for sale are based on efficient means of production based on low wages. If the capitalist bosses want to run the economy as a zero sum game, then they are being
I told the people at the meeting that most people who had worked in the energy industry might just not like some of their policies even if they agreed with many others.
Some of the difficulties mentioned by other participants seemed remote from the activities of the Sheffield and Rotherham Green Party. There is no problem about people understanding the policies. The people who live one the inner city estates include all sorts of proletarianised some of whom have good levels of education. There are musicians who busk and artists who get some of their comissions bought by the municipality.
To me the 'working class' is really the international proletariat. The English Green Party needs to think of these people very much. The Green Party has many who have seen the world through work with NGOs, but few of them have worked as close to the CIA as I did. At least the US Treasury paid my air fares.
My own residency in an English tower block brings back memories of my residency in Riyadh. African, Asian, European etc. So you have an international proletariat building new skyscraper cities nearly everywhere except England.
The leaders of the Green Party must try to initiate cultural revolution which includes the international proletariat. In Sheffield this is no problem. Jillian Creasy has been instrumental in outreach events with refugee groups.
NUCLEAR POWER AFTER FUKUSHIMA
Councillor Jillian Creasy chaired a panel discussion on Nuclear Power after Fukushima. It's likely that every one at the meeting had followed the story of hydrogen explosions then meltdown in all of the nuclear reactors at Fukushima, followed by the total evacuation of a large death zone. After Fukushima surely the very idea of nuclear power is indenfensible.
There were three on the panel. They represented three points of view. This is a satirical account.
1. Environmental Engineer. HE = heavy engineering
2. Social Scientist from Hiroshima. SS = Social Science
3. Campaign for Nuclear Disarmamament. CND
HE: Nuclear power may be necessary for a while. Some time charts show electricity demand over a time period. Electricity from different sources is presented as a chart. Renewables were very insignificant. Geological dispersal is the only choice at the moment. There used to be a natural reactor in Gabon/Cameroon. Finally we are all remnants of the debris of nuclear junk, and here is a picture on the screen of a supernova to prove that I am right.
SS: The disruption of life in Japan has been awful. Farmers comitted suicide because of contaminated crops. After the Second World War the Japanese wanted to catch up with America, and getting nuclear power stations is part of the recipe. The electricity company lied to us all the way.
CND: We used to be only opposed to nuclear bombs, but we have come round to opposing the nuclear industry in general. These nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima have released far more radioactivity than the atom bombs of 1945.
The speakers were limited to ten minutes. Much was omitted.
To me, this seems to be a sort of tribal issue. A nuclear power industry was set up in about four years. Power was a mere byproduct of making bombs.
The energy conversion process was and still is tempting for those who want cheap energy on tap. No safe system has yet been invented, but there have been many plants in many parts of the world.
The arguement seems to be about relative safety of systems where there are other constraints. Can we always meet rising demand safely ? If we are to cut demand, how are we to do it ?
Solar power is the obvious alternative, because it is theoretically just as good as nuclear power. Photon harvesting gives free energy to the harvester. That can be and often is a plant. The energy is not so free, because the photon harvester needs infrastructure.
Nuclear verses No-Nuclear is a Manichean arguement. Many nuclear power advocates see their opponents as heretic burning popes, while the anti-nuclear lobby see nuclear power apologists as nasty witches who want to poison space and time with their deadly emanations.
For Green Parties the issue of Nuclear versus Non-Nuclear is profoundly important, because it is in their manifesto.
Nuclear power has its uses but the harm involved outweighs the benefits. This proviso also applies to other methods of energy generation. Accidents also happen during energy transportation and storage.
Several people in the room mentioned the downsides of other energy sources, and some people did say it was a political problem as to whether society as a whole wanted electricity even with the potential extra hazards of nuclear.
Planning large scale infrastructure such as power generation systems and grids then supergrids is a spcialised job. It is likely that most people in the world will have opposed or disliked some planning decision during their lives.
Since the nuclear age in 1945 there have been no battles in countries with nuclear power stations. What if opposing armies try to seize a nuclear plant, or a retreating army tries to blow it up with maximum damage. The next scenario is where a government tries to blow up power plants in another country by remote control.
Internet sabotage, or cyberwarfare is claimed to have happened already during Iran's nuclear programme. This means that the list of risks of nuclear power get worse. Multiply the probability of the worst possible outcome by the number of deaths. An individual death from meteorite strike is much less likely than everyone dying at once in a big meteorite strike. Its the same with nuclear power. The probability of the worst possible outcome increases very much if the power plants became battlefields.
Up to date the worst outcome is hydrogen explosion breaking the containment vessel, then further fires and explosions wafting the contamination into the jetstream.
There is no safe shutdown once all the control stuff is destroyed in the explosions. Man cannot control nuclear fission yet. Worse still, an over reliance on advanced and complex technology infrastructure could lead to billions of deaths in face of failure. After all some say that altering the planetary nitrogen cycle lead to a temporary sustainability to support a billion extra births in the twentieth century.
Nuclear power was invented by literate people with the mindset to follow through their ideas. This is the same set of ideas that lead to examination of the consequences of CO2 (Carbon dioxide) and even NOx (Nitrogen Oxides). The people who work in nuclear energy will not all stop being 'dangerous'. They will start to think of other potentially nasty ways of controlling climate change. Seed the oceans and get more plankton ? Use rockets and new carbon chain stuff to put up big parasols ? It seems that Nuclear power has been around for around half the age of Electrification which only really started in the late 1800s (65) years or so.
The fastest way to close down the Nuclear Industry is a UN resolution backed by the permanent five members of the UN security council. Rusia, China, America, the UK and France control most of the World's nuclear technology.
Despite protests the big five continue to run nuclear plants. Groups like the Greens and CND act as a brake while big nation states and some power generating utilities act as the accelerator. Nowadays most nuclear power plants are supposed to produce electricity rather than bombs, but everyone knows that bombs can be produced relatively quickly.
If you look at probabilities of worst outcomes then many things can go wrong all at once with weaponisation of cyberspace,
There is no failsafe shutdown system for a single nuclear power plant, but there is no good way of stopping new technologies bringing new sorts of harm.
There is no completely safe heavy industry of any description. Bad agricultural practices are older than nuclear accidents but recent demand driven irrigation systems have lead to desertification on a grand scale.
Once started it's necessary to balance the brake and the accelerator.
Do you cut demand, or cut production ? There is always reluctance to cut out something which is working, without getting an eual price replacement.
Mon Nov 14 12:33:20 GMT 2011
Occupy Sheffield started about 5 November 2011.
A group of people set up tents in front of the Anglican Cathedral. Since then the group has sent out requests for support, and received endorsements via the social media e-mail, facebook, and twitter.
OCCUPY YOUR MIND
A cartoon has appeared on facebook. It is not reproduced here
Scene: Crowd confronts banker. Crowd hold slogan:-
"End Corporate Bribery of our Elected Officials and
Return Our Democracy Back to The People."
Banker: "That's Nice, but What do you stand for ?"
That's all very well, but Steven Leacock satirised similar looking campaigns in Canada almost 100 years ago. There are other slogans.
WE ARE THE NINITY NINE PERCENT
This is a popular now, but it requires analysis.
The World Population of 7 billion = 7*1E9 gives 1% as 7*1E7=70 million. These 70 million run the military industrial complex so just outside the image the behind the banker is a command and control center (telecomms monopoly directors) and an array of weapons of mass destruction such as machine guns, smart rockets (even dumb rockets could intimidate the 99%), chemical, electronic stun guns and other hi-tech nasties.
70 million is a lot of people. 70 million spartan type warriors could easily maintain power for centuries. The 70 million rich are not just money rich, but by controlling the patent system, they ensure that they are data rich. The patent system is what adds information as a commodity to the dollars and yen of the money on which the capitalist system is based. It is no longer sufficient to abolish money to take on the elites. We must also abolish patents, or the very idea of intellectual property.
Think of Tesla. He pretty much invented AC power but by the time he died he was old, feeble and quite poor. He was always disenchanted with the patent system. Think of Gregory Perelemen, winner of a million dollar prize for solving the Poincare Conjecture. He walked away from the money, preferring to remain in relative poverty.
Human intelligence is a sustainable and renewable resource. There is no need to ration it, and yet that is what is happening.