Thursday, August 21, 2014

Interview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caIut3wSjcg&list=UUGMeFM9kOKirFJBfqqouVIg

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The thick façade of civilization

Michael Jaecks
[This is a guest post by Capt. Ray Jason. To read more of his essays, please visit his blog. (And to read more of mine, please buy the book I just published.)]

Most of the sky was clear and starry, but ten miles out to sea there was a cluster of clouds filled with lightning. I was anchored peacefully behind a low island that afforded me a perfect view of this dramatic spectacle. Sitting on the foredeck with my back against the mast, I sipped some hot sake and marveled at this exquisite display. Each burst of sky fire was contained within an individual cloud. Some would erupt in amber-colored brightness and others would shimmer in soft silver or lavender. The almost Japanese lantern quality of the clouds sparked a memory within me that I struggled to recall. A second cup of sake unlocked the remembrance vault, and the incident drifted back. It was a good one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Permission to Steal Everything

There is a convoy of 280 gleaming white trucks moving through Russia toward Ukraine loaded with humanitarian aid for the populations of Donetsk and Lugansk. This isn't much, considering that well over a million people have been cut off from food, water, electricity and (soon) heat because of indiscriminate artillery bombardment by the Ukrainian military. But it's a start. But it seems like a rocky start; first, NATO's mouthpiece Rasmussen tries to characterize this humanitarian mission as a clandestine invasion. Then the Ukrainians start imposing various conditions. Let's consider these separately.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Obama risks American lives to save the devil worshipers

If you've been paying attention to the news, the US is bombing Iraq again, this time to avert a humanitarian crisis: a group of Yezedis is stranded on top of a mountain, driven there by those Daashing lads from the Islamic State (the Arabic name for them is “Daash”).

Now, if your reaction on hearing these news was “Who the heck are the Yezedis?” then you are in good company. This is a very obscure, fairly small, incredibly ancient cult, and few people have heard of them. I have, and so my reaction was “Oh no, they are killing the devil worshipers!”

Just Published: Societies that Collapse

https://www.createspace.com/4942819
CLICK TO ORDER

Dear Readers,

I am happy to announce that the essays I have written over the past three years are now available for purchase worldwide in book form. Of course, you can read these essays right on this blog, but I hope that having them all together in a single plump little book will make the experience more enjoyable. Presenting these essays as a single collection and juxtaposing the deadly serious with the downright whimsical makes difficult subjects a little bit lighter.

At the risk of overstating the obvious, I'd like to point out that it is your purchases of my books—nothing else—that make it economically possible for me to continue writing and for you to continue reading what I write.

Friday, August 08, 2014

German Stunner: “West is on the Wrong Path”

Gabor Steingart, the the publisher of Germany’s leading financial newspaper Handelsblatt, just let loose with an editorial directly challenging Washington's idiotic anti-Russian policies.

The appearance of this document is very timely: just yesterday Russia unleashed the first round of counter-sanctions, banning the import of foodstuffs from the US and the EU. These counter-sanctions are cleverly designed to cause pain in proportion to the level of anti-Russian activity of the country in question; thus, the three Baltic countries, which are virulently anti-Russian in spite of having large Russian populations and surviving largely through trade with Russia, face staggering losses, followed by equally anti-Russian Poland, followed by the rest of the EU, including poor Greece, which is friendly to Russia and should be considered collateral damage. The greatest beneficiaries of these sanctions are all those countries that opposed (11) or abstained (58) when the UN voted to condemn Russia's annexation of Crimea: they get to leapfrog over EU and US economically by exporting foodstuffs to Russia. Russia's consumers and Russia's agricultural sector are also among the winners: Russians will eat healthier food, with no GMO contamination, while profits that used to flow to the US and the EU will now be invested in domestic agriculture, making Russia more self-sufficient in food and aiding in the development of rural districts. Another clever element to these sanctions is that farmers tend to be politically vocal and influential. I see tractors clogging the streets of Europe's capitals and dumptruck-loads of manure decorating the steps of government buildings before too long.

As to his diagnosis of Obama's true motivation, I think he has it wrong. It's not all about pleasing the Tea Party. They, and American voters in general, are irrelevant, it makes no difference who gets elected, and Obama's policies are not Obama's. There is a deeper reason why the oligarchs who own and operate the country formerly known as America are currently attempting to enlarge every problem they see, be it stoking civil war in Ukraine or provoking ISIS into attacking Americans: they are desperate to avoid a scenario where the US collapses on its own, with no external enemy to blame. Not only would it be just too humiliating, but also the population, suddenly brought out of its stupor, might turn on those actually responsible rather than helplessly blame some foreign scapegoat. Putin has to fit the bill, reality be damned.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Some facts on flight MH17

Finally, here are some facts. In spite of most of the “evidence” offered by the Ukrainians or the US being either a forgery or missing altogether, it's looking like the Ukrainian military shot down the plane in a coordinated attack. The black box recordings, the air traffic control records, the satellite surveillance photos—where are they? They have been hidden away. Why? Because they don't support the narrative that “it's all Putin's fault”?

Treeware

As some of you pointed out, there is a certain amount of cognitive dissonance caused by the mismatch between the e-book format and the post-industrial subject matter, and so, by popular demand, Communities that Abide is now available in paper form. It should pop up on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, etc., in a few days and you can order it directly from the printer in the meantime. Enjoy!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Laughter can heal

Duarte Vitória
[Update: Makeda's playful take on a very serious ethical failing has elicited a surprising number of not-so-clueful comments. Many readers completely missed the point. Here is the point: “America has covertly adopted the crudest, cruelest, stupidest and most profligate form of eugenics conceivable: sterilizing and killing the poor while lavishing resources on unnaturally breeding the rich. When the rich cannot be bred by scientific means such as IVF, we are expected to suspend our disbelief and pretend that they can, celebrating every obviously stolen surrogate-born or donor-egg baby as if it were a scientific miracle.” Touché, anyone?]

[Another guest post by Makeda. Before you submit comments criticizing me for writing this, please know that I just love being mistaken for a young black woman-doctor, even if that makes you look silly.]

I recently caught myself snapping at a white-haired man who simply said hello to me. The context was a leftist gathering of sorts. I find such men, greying male leftists, unusually creepy. Perhaps I've been traumatized by men my father’s age making passes at me in the synagogue, or the surprising prevalence of borderline pedophilic academics who get caught sleeping with their students, but I’ve come to suspect that all old leftist men are acting politically involved only to try to pick up younger women.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Saving Face

The Americans are finding out the hard way that a fact-free zone is not a comfortable place to inhabit. The initial knee-jerk allegations, voiced by Obama, by the screechy UN representative Samantha Power, by John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and any number of talking heads, were that the downing of flight MH17 was all Putin's fault. These were swiftly followed by a complete and utter lack of official evidence of any Russian involvement but lots of strange, unexplained coincidences pointing to Ukrainian and American involvement. These were, in turn, followed by an uncharacteristically frank admission from US intelligence that there is no proof of Russian involvement. The newly installed Ukrainian oligarch-turned-president Poroshenko (code-name “Piglet”) switched from claiming that he had proof of Russian complicity to being very very quiet. Incompetently concocted fake “evidence” of this and that continues to appear on social media sites, only to be swiftly disproved. Once disproved, the fake evidence vanishes, only to be replaced by more of the same. The latest fake is of Russian artillery bombardment from across the border. All of this has added up to quite an awkward situation for the Americans. Barefaced lying may be fun and profitable, but it does not provide a solid foundation for foreign policy. Nobody wants to go down in history for blowing up the world over some fake Youtube videos.