Of Failed Artists and Failed Artist Husbands

Art is a jealous mistress, and if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture, or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider.

Fished this out of my spambox. Somebody important said that, hopefully, or else spammers are more talented than I ever thought.
But of course it’s true.
Artists and genius types make lousy husbands. The real world examples and many and well documented.
Their problem is not just their narcissism, and all artists are narcissists. If you don’t think your shit doesn’t stink, why else would you think that anyone else on Earth would possibly want to read your crap, listen to your bullshit, look at your scribblings and mudpiles, inhabit your Lego brick structures, or read your impenetrable jerkoff effluvia laughably called “philosophy” or the study of the meaning of life (Of all the pretentious disciplines, LOL)?
Obviously, no one would possibly want to pay much attention to anyone’s artistic jerkoffs of this or that narcissistic folly. Unless, that is. Unless you are the greatest fucking writer, artist, musician, architect, philosopher, etc. on the face of the Earth. Then they will line up to subject themselves to your dribblings, blabberings and jammings.
Of course we arty types all think we are great. If we didn’t think we were great, we would not exist. Of course that is why we are insufferable. If we spent our time being normal humans, we’d scarcely produce a thing. Duh.
Imagine something else, if you dare. Imagine a world where everyone is an artist of some type or another. You’re now living in the part of Los Angeles right around Hollywood. I know because I lived there. Supposedly Manhattan is like this too.
It’s actually a drag. Hollywood sucks because if “all you do” is go to work every day like a normal human being, you’re treated as if you are disabled. Everyone’s a shooting star, and 99% of them will fail. But everyone’s just got a day job, just for now. Their real job is screenwriter, director, singer-songwriter, actor, musician, writer, poet, artist, bla bla. 99% of them will fail, but no matter.
The truth about Hollywood is not usually stated. It’s not the land of runaways or stars. It’s the land of failed artists, musicians and writers; and to be one is more than to be normal, it’s a state of high achievement.
Hey, at least you tried. Unlike that loser in the cubicle next door! All he does is go to work every day!

Jews, European, Americans, National Difference, and Accomplishment

A very interesting comment by Wade From MO. I happen to agree with him, but feel free to discuss. I get so tired of IQ reductionism. Nature provides the clay, cultures the sculptor! It’s so true, I don’t even see why we bother debating except for all these ideologues with axes to grind.

I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the impact of national characteristics in types and ‘flavor’ of accomplishment?I think it is quite an interesting question. Look for example at Germany/Austria. German philosophy is widely know as being highbrow and almost impenetrable (read Kant). It is traditionally more idealistic in outlook. In Germany/Austria, at least early in the 20th century, there was the tradition of the philosopher-scientist. Men like David Hilbert, Albert Einstein, and Gottlieb Frege made great breakthroughs in science that also had a huge philosophical significance.
Of particular interest is the relationship between Albert Einstein and the great logician Kurt Godel. Both were extremely interested and inspired by Kant. Their work has almost mystical overtones, at least when it first came out. Godel was a well known Platonist and this is said to have been a large influence on his philosophic views.
England, however, is quite different. The English have always been a more practical people. Metaphysics has been looked down upon at times there. Originally Isaac Newton only wanted to talk about experiments. He thought the ideas of atoms and other unseen things was unscientific. England has had a lot of physicists and engineers who were great, but a considerably lower, but still significant, number of pure mathematicians.
The United States has gone to the extreme. Americans, at least until a few decades ago, were probably the most practical of scientifically advanced peoples. Americans abound in the annuls of technology and engineering from about 1850-1950 but have almost a total dearth of significant mathematicians. While America did have some significant theoretical physicists, it seems most of out most important ones at this time were experimental physicists.
America has gotten better on theoretical things in this past half century though. If you want an idea of the people in this era look at Charles Murray’s “Human Accomplishment.” Some people don’t like the methodology, but the figures closely resemble things I’ve read about.
What does this have to do with Jews?
It just seems to me that, while they may have higher IQ’s, Jews can’t overcome their host societies. Something I thought was interesting in Murray’s book was that he points out that while Jews may have disproportionately high amounts of influential people, they all existed in societies that were already producing influential people.
Jews were great physicists and mathematicians in Germany and Hungary, but those entire societies were known for physicists and mathematicians. Jews became important figures in the United States, but they begin to come out after the civil war when all of America began exploding with scientists, especially inventors and engineers.
I’ve never heard of Jews making great contributions to science or culture where the rest of society is not. How many great Jews scientists have come from Latin America? Historically there were some Jews down there and there are today, but they don’t put out geniuses like they do in the US. Even Israel doesn’t seem to produce smarter Jews like the US. Maybe it’s because the US has a higher proportion of Ashkenazi Jews and Israel has more Arab Jews. I don’t think this can account for it all though.
I don’t think even Jewish intelligence can break out of a fundamentally dumb culture. There has to be something more than just IQ in the air to make a society that will contribute fundamentally to the intellectual and cultural life of mankind.

Rumors of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

Savvas Tzionis, one of my favorite commenters, writes in, expressing some concern:

Robert,I thought YOU were dead…. post wise, you were (relatively) quiet! LOL

Boo! I’m here!
Scared you, huh?
Sorry folks, it’s Thanksgiving, I’ve been depressed for some reason, and I’ve been extremely tired.
This is a very bad time of year for me. I tend to get depressed from around Thanksgiving to around Christmas and maybe through January too. This coincides with the two months in which the days are the shortest of the whole year. Not only that, but even when the sun bothers to come out, it might as well not even be there. It gives off little heat and the light it gives off is pitiful. You look up at the sun and think, “Damn, is that all you can do? You’re sorry!” Sometimes the sun is so shitty and dim, I figure the moon might as well come out in the day instead and it’d be a wash.
I think I may have Seasonal Affective Disorder – SAD. This time of year is so damned dreary for me! I used to have it a lot worse, but I’m on Lexapro fulltime now, and ever since then, I don’t have it as long. I used to have it all winter until the start of true spring!
I remember once I was in therapy for OCD and Depression. It was March or so and we were making no progress with the depression. I was apologetic, but when you’re down, you’re down, and there doesn’t seem to be much you can do about it! I had a girlfriend at the time and she was getting pissed too, because she wasn’t really subject to depression.
Finally, Spring came, and I brightened up just like that! Nothing had changed; my life still more or less sucked just as bad as before. Next therapy session, I announced that my depression had lifted. The therapist was joyful and wanted to take credit. I shot him down real quick. It was nothing he had done, it was only that the seasons had changed! He looked a little downcast, but he was still happy that I was better.
Often, it’s Spring, Summer or Fall, and I’m happy as a clam. Every now and then I look around and notice that my life frankly sucks to high heaven, but I’m happy as a pig in shit anyway. Then I look outside, it’s 90 degrees outside, and it’s like no matter what’s going on, how could you possibly be depressed in this?
I’m told that most humans in non-tropical climates get happier and more active in hotter weather and longer days and gloomier and less active in the depths of the dark and cold days, but it’s only clinical depression in a minority. I’ve also heard of folks in Minnesota or places like that who had bad Winter Depression moving to tropical places like the Philippines and suddenly they were happy year-round. By the way, there are high suicide, depression and alcoholism rates in Siberia, Russia, Scandinavia, Canada and Alaska. Obviously, it’s related to latitude and little else.
I wonder if any of my readers have the same experiences?

"Going Where Men Fear to Tread," by Alpha Unit

Hermila García is dead.
The 38-year-old attorney was killed by gunmen on her way to work on Monday. She was the police chief of the town of Meoqui in Chihuahua, Mexico, the state that borders Texas. She had been on the job for only two months.
Reportedly there were no men willing to do it.
It’s so dangerous to be a police chief these days in Chihuahua that towns there are having a rough time filling the jobs. When 20-year-old criminology student Marisol Valles García was sworn in as police chief of Praxedis G. Guerrero, Mexico, it made headlines around the world.
Her predecessor had been tortured and murdered.
Rival drug cartels have unleashed unprecedented carnage in Ciudad Juarez, which is the municipality seat of Juarez in Chihuahua. They are not only battling each other, but they are in conflict with Mexican security forces. Police chiefs and mayors who get in the way of the drug gangs sometimes end up murdered – along with anyone in the crossfire. So far this year there have been nearly 3,000 homicides in Ciudad Juarez.
The violence has spread throughout the entire state.
Two other women besides Valles García have been sworn in as chiefs of police in Chihuahua. It’s dangerous work. But somebody’s got to do it.

5 Million Hits a Year on Robert Lindsay Sites

In the last year, the two Robert Lindsay sites received an amazing total of 4.9 million hits from visitors, 1.7 million on this site and 3.2 million on the video site. The number of visitors is not known, but there were probably 1.9 million visitors to the video site and possibly 1 million visitors to this site.
All in all, a pretty amazing performance.
Of course, the two sites combined still barely make a nickel. The video site brings in ~$10/month in syndication fees, and this site makes no money at all, since advertising is not allowed on WordPress yet, if it will ever be allowed. There are no advertisers at the moment on the video site.
The fact that two sites with combined traffic of 6 million hits/year still make almost no money to the lie of “build a high traffic website and make big money.” There may indeed be money to be made on the Internet, but it’s through selling products or services, not selling ads.

Sometimes They Really Are Out to Get You

Repost from the old site.
While I was getting my Master’s Degree at a local university in the 1990’s, I used to read a lot of academic journals. One of my favorites were the psychology and psychiatry journals, but I read journals in all sorts of areas – medicine, linguistics, history, political science, biology, sociology, etc.
I found the most interesting case study!
At some time between 1991-1994, a middle-aged man presented to a Canadian mental health unit complaining that “the Mafia was trying to kill him”. (When I wrote this post, I thought the Canada part was strange because I was not sure if there was a Mafia in Canada, but Googling shows there is). He described an elaborate conspiracy involving various figures, surveillance, threats, etc.
After an extensive interview, the man received a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. He stayed in the hospital, was medicated, and was released after a few weeks.
About three months after his release from the mental hospital, the man was murdered…by the Mafia!
This was a true case written as a letter to the editor up in one of the most respectable, peer reviewed journals. I could not believe what I read! The theme of the letter is that you have to be careful diagnosing psychosis in folks complaining of plots to kill them, because in some cases, there really are people trying to kill the person.

Facts and Nonsense About the Brain

Repost from the old site.
Like most things, there is much nonsense spoken about our brains. Our brains are very interesting to us, even to stupid people, because we use them to think. Yes, even dumb people do use their brains to think. We don’t really understand how our brains work, so some of us try to sound smart by pontificating about our mysterious brains.
Here are some widespread myths about our brains:
We only use [choose one: 10%, 20%] of our brains. This silly statement makes us feel good, because it suggests that if we really try hard, we can use 30 or 40% of our brains and make more money or get laid more or dazzle folks with our wit, or this or that. Problem is that no neurologist will agree with this statement, and no one quite knows even where it came from.
It’s one of those feel-good statements that is complete nonsense. We use all of our brains. Even total idiots are using all of their brains most of the time, strange as it may seem.
There are parts of the brain that are emotional and parts of the brain that are dedicated to cognition. This one is not nearly as silly as the first one, but it’s still not true. I know this because 15 years ago I was acquainted with a neuropsychologist. He did various sorts of cognitive testing, and he also worked with people with various forms of brain damage.
He was also a strange guy, but he was nice enough, and he did have a PhD. I assumed that getting the PhD had probably driven him partly crazy, and he was neurotic as a result. He informed me that there were no emotional or thinking parts of the brain. He said that all of the brain engages in both thinking and emotion.
Sure, some parts, like the amygdala, are more dedicated to emotion and other parts, like the prefrontal cortex, are more dedicated to thinking, but all the parts do both.
Every drink (or joint) kills a few brain cells. I can’t believe even physicians tell me this crap. It’s nonsense. Yes, alcohol is one of the few drugs that actually kills brain cells, but you have to drink alcoholic-style for years before it happens. Cannabis, like many drugs, does not kill brain cells at any dose. Unfortunately, drugs don’t need to kill cells to mess up your brain. They can damage cells and destroy connections between cells.
Male brains are better at math and science than female brains. Actually, they start out the same, but worldwide studies show that at about age 13, when massive male hormones kick in, males all over the world start to surpass females.
A personal observation is that females who do well at these subjects are more likely to be more masculine (not necessarily lesbian) than other women. The President of Harvard, Lawrence Summers, was recently massacred for stating this obvious fact.
Female brains are better at verbal than male brains. Apparently the case, though there are arguments about which type of verbal we are talking about. If you think about it, there are evolutionary reasons why females would end up better at verbal (needed to raise young kids) and males are better at visuospatial (needed for hunting).
There are some more facts about the brain that you may find interesting.
We have a maximum number of brain cells at age 23, and after that, there is a steady decline. This is correlated with what is known as fluid IQ, a rough measure of brain efficiency. This is why mathematicians, physicists, novelists, poets, songwriters, musicians, artists and others like them tend to do their best work when they are still pretty young.
On the other hand, only an insane person would put the 18-22 year olds in charge of a country. This group has never been put in charge of anything in any society, with good reason. Their brains are going like gangbusters, but they don’t have any sense.
They think they know everything, but they don’t know shit. They are supremely self-confident, and they have not even reached the stage of self-doubt.
Other than passing their classes, they are contemptuous of learning and knowledge in general and never admit there is anything they don’t know. If they can’t figure it out, it’s worthless. This age group is a prime example of the notion that a little bit of knowledge is dangerous.
They have a grotesquely poor understanding of their fellow man, and they are horribly intolerant. Also, they are very much group-thinkers who are terrified to defy group-think and peer pressure.
If we put them in charge, it would be a nightmare. They would hold public executions and would probably torture people in public. There would be stupid wars all the time. Everything would be legal, and no one would care. There would be private armies all over the place and probably some form of fascism would be the flavor of the day.
We occasionally put them in charge of some stuff, like being Presidents of fraternities, but often they even fuck that up.
Mind you, I was an 18-22 year old too, and those were the best days of my life. I remember myself as being supremely mature and with-it, but I assume I had my head up my ass like the rest of them.
Yes, the brain declines with age, but wisdom is good. The crystallized intelligence of age does have advantages over the rarely-used super-brains of the young. Our brains are slower, but with the gifts and harsh lessons of time, we are vastly superior at making decisions.
Any tribe or civilization of any worth always put middle-aged to old guys in charge and revered its elders. We are cautious and careful, and we already did most of the dumb things there are to do, and we are not likely to do them again.
Crystallized intelligence is more or less the stuff you know. As you age, you accumulate knowledge and theoretically wisdom. You don’t get a hardon with every passing breeze, but you’re much less likely to do stupid shit. It’s called a trade-off.
A process called pruning occurs in which there is actually a massive loss of brain cells and connections. Most folks do not know this, but there is a massive overgrowth of brain cells in childhood. At adolescence, the brain decides to clear out all those stupid dirt roads that don’t go much of anywhere and make some superhighways instead. The result is like pruning a tree, and the brain works much better as a result.
There is quite a bit of loss of brain structure in the process, but it’s all good in the end. In fact, pruning is an essential process for the adolescent brain. If you observe most adolescents, it would not seem controversial that they are experiencing massive loss of brain structure, but a lot of folks still refuse to believe this.
There is a window in the brain for language that starts to close at about age 7. If you wait until later, you never really get language right. We have folks born deaf who got hearing at age 33 and have still never picked up language right. You can learn a foreign language in adulthood, but you will always have an accent, and you will never get 100% native speaker competence.
There is a blind cave fish that has a window for sight. If it is exposed to light before a certain age, it can see. If not, it just figures there is no light down in this cave, so it just goes blind and turns the visual portion of the brain over to something else. The brain seems to open up windows, so to speak.
The brain opens a language window that says, “Any language here?” as it waits for input. If there is no input, the brain just closes the window, figures there is no language coming, and turns the area over to something else.
The brain is plastic. That does not mean it is made out of polyurethane. It just means that it is smart. For instance, if one part gets damaged, your brain will try to reroute connections around the damaged area. Also, other areas of the brain will try to take over for the damaged area. Brains are smart! They actually think about how to fix up messed up brains! Cool!

An Examination of the Frog Extinction Epidemic

Repost from the old site.
Although many factors are involved in this epidemic, one of the worst is the Chytrid fungus epidemic. It is being spread by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes chytridiomycosis. This fungal disease is devastating frog populations all over the world, but particularly in Australia, and North, Central and South America.
The devastation in Central America has been particularly acute, with many species simply vanishing from the face of the Earth. Bd is just now spreading here in the US, with serious devastation of Sierra Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog populations in the Sierra Nevada. However, some populations are apparently surviving the epidemic with some some survivors intact and thereupon rebuilding their populations.
A paper in Nature (Pounds 2006) made the case that the chytrid epidemic was being driven by global warming. They suggested that Bd had always been there but had only become pathogenic in the face of global warming.
A new paper (Lips 2008) in the journal PLoS Biology challenged that theory with some interesting data. I did not read the Pounds paper, but the Lips paper was quite convincing.
Their argument is rather simple. If Bd had always been there, it would not show a spread rate typical of a spreading disease epidemic. Instead, it would tend to erupt in all places at once.
Lips’ team showed first of all that Bd had not always been in the environment, that is, it was not an endemic. It appears to have escaped from an Australian lab around 1970 and from there spread through Australia. From Australia, it made its way to the Americas.
We can see several places where it seems to have been introduced, and we can plot the years of introduction on a map. So Bd is acting like an invasive alien species.

Bd appears in Costa Rica in 1987 and then heads south to Panama. It seems to be following mountain ranges there too. The number of species lost in Costa Rica is very large.
Bd spread in South America following two introductions, one in 1977 and one in 1980. The 1980 Ecuadorian introduction heads both north and south along the Andes. The 1977 Venezuelan introduction heads south along the Andes. For some reason, Bd in South America is sticking to the Andes.

This is precisely how we would expect an epidemic following an introduction by an alien species to operate – a geographical spread from a point of introduction with a rate of spread in miles per year. Furthermore, the testing of many specimens in museums failed to find Bd in any of them prior to 1977. This suggests strongly that Bd is an invasive alien fungus that was not present in the environment before.
An alternative hypothesis was not tested but did occur to me: That even though Bd was an alien exotic invasive fungus spreading after accidental introduction, global warming had somehow made Bd much more lethal to frogs. I can’t figure out a way to test that hypothesis, and I guess none of the researchers are considering it. The Pounds team is sticking to their guns on this one, but I think that they are wrong.
It’s a good mind exercise to read academic science journal articles that test scientific hypotheses against competing hypotheses. It’s hard to read that stuff, but if you can get through it somehow, personally I find these brain puzzles to be a lot of fun. If you see learning as virtually a sensual activity as I do, this kind of stuff is almost as fun as a vacation, sports, sex or any other other purely sensual activity.
Learning and thinking is actually a blast, to me anyway. Try it sometime!

References

Lips, Karen R., Diffendorfer, Jay, Mendelson III, Joseph R., Sears, Michael W. 2008. Riding the Wave: Reconciling the Roles of Disease and Climate Change in Amphibian Declines. PLoS Biology 6:3.
Pounds JA, Bustamante MR, Coloma LA, Consuegra JA, Fogden MPL, et al. 2006. Widespread amphibian extinctions from epidemic disease driven by global warming. Nature 39: 161–167.

Cow Farts Cause More Global Warming Than Humans?

Repost from the old site.
The latest rightwing crap.
I was on a rightwing blog a couple of years ago and decided to ask how many believed in global warming. The vast majority did not. A few said it was happening, but it was natural. One or two said it was happening, but no one knew what was causing it, and we needed to study it more.
This blog has unfortunately become infested lately with some young White male 20-something reactionary-to-libertarian trolls who are lurking in the comments section.
It’s quite simple to be a libertarian when you are young, dumb and full of cum. I voted Libertarian at age 22. I’d never do it again, but that’s how you learn. People that age just haven’t been fucked hard enough and enough times by life yet. By the time we are 40, most of us have had about a million horrible things happen to us, and narcissism is on sharp decline. That’s why age and wisdom are traditionally synonymous.
They’re causing a lot of dissension, but echo chambers are boring. Comments rules forbid me from banning folks based on ideology, so for the moment, they are sticking around.
It’s kind of interesting to have some pet rightwingers to play with, because like a lot of pets, they do a lot of stupid shit. Since rightwingers can talk unlike all other pets, rightwingers also say stupid shit.
Debating rightwingers is like debating ultranationalist Jewish Zionists. Most of their arguments are absolute crap. The reason is because what they are arguing for is perfectly horrible to most folks.
Hence I really admire Zionists like Samson Blinded who just tell it like it is. I admire libertarians like Entitled to an Opinion who just lay it out in all of libertarianism’s heartless nastiness. Plus TGGP and Obaidah Shoher and really bright guys, and I have to admire that, if they are pushing something pretty awful.
Since conservatism and Zionism are unpalatable to most folks as they actually exist, conservatives and Zionists always have to lie to try to get decent people to go along with their programs, which most folks find repellent.
Anyway, it looks like the rightwing has moved on on global warming. Only 6% of the US says it doesn’t exist, but about 50% of Republican Congresscritters say so.
But the new line is that global warming exists, but it’s not caused by people, it’s caused by cow farts!
Well, if that were so, as a totalitarian, I would just say fine, so kill all the cows, serve the whole world steak for a month and be done with it. If that’s too radical, make a beef hamburger at McDonald’s cost twice what a chicken or turkey hamburger does. Soon every fast food joint has beef and non-beef options and profits are blasting right along.
This rightwing argument, like most of them, is ultimately devious. The rightwingers know that this hamburger-munching Americans will never tax their beloved burgers even one penny.
So they throw up their hands and say nothing can be done, especially about reducing auto emissions, which is really what they have their butts smoking about anyway. How dare you order me to ride a bike!
Cow farts cause global warming, so what business do we have trying to reduce car emissions? Let global warming continue apace.
Problem is that they are playing games with figures.
It is true that the cattle industry, in the totality of its effects, does account for 18% of global warming. However, cow burps and farts only account for 12% of that 18%, and that 12% is 98% burps and only 2% farts. So cow farts actually account for .04% of global warming. That is something like 1% of all transportation (mostly vehicle) emissions. Cow farts and burps in total account for 2.1% of global warming.
If cow burping and farting is only 12% of cow global warming, what’s all the rest? All the land, especially tropical forest land, that is cleared for cattle. All of the fossil fuel burning that goes into the production of fertilizer, feed and growing cattle. All of the transportation costs involved in the cattle industry. And on and on.
One would think that any livestock or animal husbandry is as capable of producing this problem as any other. Not so. Cattle cause the overwhelming majority of the global warming from animal husbandry.
Therefore, we could continue to eat meat, but just switch from beef to lamb, turkey, chicken, pork, goat, etc. I’d love to turn a lot of the cattle lands on the Great Plains back to buffalo and then harvest them for food. We had great herds of buffalo roaming our Midwest for thousands of years with no problems for the ecosystem and no global warming issues. I am told that rabbits are an excellent food.
A great way to do this would just be to tax beef and probably even milk based on the amount of damage it does to the ecosystem. My brother (I won’t go near the place) informs me that hamburgers at McDonald’s cost from $1-4. Double the price. Make them cost $2-8 instead of $1-4, as I mentioned above. It’s probably politically impossible, but that’s why I have totalitarian tendencies.
Cattle also cause a tremendous amount of other damage above and beyond global warming. I will just let the article summarize:

Livestock also produces more than 100 other polluting gases, including more than two-thirds of the world’s emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid rain.
Ranching, the report adds, is “the major driver of deforestation” worldwide, and overgrazing is turning a fifth of all pastures and ranges into desert. Cows also soak up vast amounts of water: it takes a staggering 990 litres of water to produce one litre of milk.
Wastes from feedlots and fertilisers used to grow their feed overnourish water, causing weeds to choke all other life. And the pesticides, antibiotics and hormones used to treat them get into drinking water and endanger human health.
The pollution washes down to the sea, killing coral reefs and creating “dead zones” devoid of life. One is up to 21,000 sq km, in the Gulf of Mexico, where much of the waste from US beef production is carried down the Mississippi.
The report concludes that, unless drastic changes are made, the massive damage done by livestock will more than double by 2050, as demand for meat increases.

Human Races and Subspecies

Repost from the old site.
A question that comes up all the time in race realist circles is whether or not the various races of man, however defined, can be considered to be subspecies. No reputable scientist considers the major human races to be separate subspecies of Homo Sapiens. At any rate, Homo sapiens himself is already a subspecies called Homo sapiens sapiens. There was H.s. neanderthalis , H.s. idaltu, probably H.s. rhodesiensis and finally, Homo sapiens sapiens.
So a human subspecies would be look more like a Neandertal, with dramatic differences between them and modern humans. Even Khoisans and Pygmies are much closer to the rest of us than Neandertal or Idaltu Man was.
This area is still quite controversial, but the only scientists and theorists who are suggesting that the differences between the races are great enough to constitute subspecies are racialists, many of whom are explicit racists. Almost all are associated with White nationalism and usually with Nordicism. Nordicists are best seen as Nazis.
You must understand the differences between races and subspecies. For instance there is the California kingsnake . There are no subspecies of the California kingsnake. However, there are numerous races, many of which look radically different from the California kingsnake norm. They are simply called races of the California kingsnake.
So races of humans and other animals are really a level even below that of the subspecies. They are not protected by the Endangered Species Act, and I’m not sure anyone cares about them all that much. They’re better seen as regional variants.
Subspecies are a variant of a species that only occurs in one limited geographical area in which no other subspecies of that animal reside. Hence, each subspecies is geographically isolated from the others such that interbreeding is rare to nonexistent. At some point, subspecies’ territories may start overlapping. They begin to interbreed a lot, since subspecies of a type are readily capable of interbreeding. Once their territories overlap and interbreeding begins, we often stop calling two types separate subspecies and wrap them into a single entity.
Subspecies were differentiated in the past based on a significant degree of anatomical difference. Nowadays, genetics is much more popular. The combination of significant anatomical and behavioral differences combined with significant genetic difference at some point is deemed great enough to warrant a subspecies split. These discussions are carried on very civilly in academic journals and after a bit of back and forth, a consensus of some sort is arrived at regarding whether or not two variants of a species differ enough to be called subspecies. At that point, the discussion typically dies.
In addition, new genetic discoveries now show that some subspecies are so far apart genetically that a good case can be made that they are actually full species and not subspecies. This argument is also written up carefully in a journal, and usually seems to be accepted if the argument is well thought-out. In addition to splitting, there is lumping.
Some variants of a species have in the past been divided into various subspecies. Some new analyses have shown that all of these subspecies definitions were in error, and in fact, the species is fairly uniform, with few to no subspecies instead of the 10-15 they had in the past. This argument also gets written up in a journal and passed around. Usually the new designation is accepted if the argument is well-crafted.
The species/subspecies question is not as wildly controversial among scientists as laypeople think. Designations change back and forth, all are based on good, solid science, and science simply coalesces around the paradigmatic view of a species as it may change over time. Science, after all, is always a work in progress.
The reasons that the California kingsnake races were not split into subspecies is because apparently the genetic differences were too small to warrant a split into subspecies. It is also possible that these races are widely distributed over the kingsnake’s territory, with no particular race holding sway in any certain locale. So probably all of these kingsnake races can not only interbreed like subspecies but they probably are actively interbreeding as they are probably not geographically segregated.
At some point, it is discovered that two animals, previously thought to be separate species, have interlapping territories and the two species are observed readily interbreeding. Since separate species cannot interbreed, once two species start interbreeding easily, science often decides that they are not separate species after all and instead that they are subspecies of a single species
At some level X, two living things are split into species. At some lesser level of genetic differentiation Y, a species is further split into subspecies. At some lesser level of differentiation Z, we can start talking about races. I believe that all of the various breeds of dogs and cats are races.
“Race” and “subspecies” are two terms often conflated in speech, even by biologists, but strictly speaking, they do have different meanings. I do not know any reputable biologist who thinks that any of the various extant human races or subraces, however defined, need to be preserved on solely anthropological grounds in order to preserve their phenotype.
The various human races have been changing all through time continuously.
North Africans were once pure African, now they are mostly Caucasian.
Northeast Asians looked like Aborigines until 9,000 YBP (years before present).
South Indians looked like Aborigines until 8,000 YBP.
Southeast Asians looked like Negritos and Melanesians until about 5,000 YBP.
Over 10,000 years ago, Amerindians looked like Aborigines. Between 7,000-9,000 years ago, they looked something like the Ainu or Polynesians.
Europeans looked like Arabs 10,000 YBP, like Northwestern US Amerindians 23,000 YBP and 30-40,000 YBP, they looked very strange, possibly resembling a Khoisan more than anything else. White skin only shows up 9,000 YBP in Europe.
Polynesians and Micronesians only show up in the past 2,000 years.
So all of the modern human races and subraces, however defined, have been continuously changing down through time. The notion that they are some kind of unique subspecies in need of conservation like Northern Spotted Owls is completely mistaken and has little basis in modern science.

Deep Ecology – An Overview

Repost from the old site.
One thing people ought to know about this blog is that one of
my philosophies is Deep Ecology. Click that link and you so you can try to figure out what it means. It was part of a debate in the environmentalist (especially radical environmental) movement that probably really got going in the 1990’s.
It had several rivals, including Social Ecology, promoted by a fellow named Murray Bookchin . Deep Ecology was promoted by a guy named Arne Naess. There’s also Ecofeminism, which I’m not really up on, because I can’t stand most kinds of feminism, although pro-porn feminists sounds like they are after my heart.
To me, Deep Ecology means something like, “Up with the animals, down with the people.” I’m not saying kill the people or anything like that, but I think in general, most species have a right to survive just like people. And no, White nationalists may not give me a debate in the comments section of this post about why their race is an endangered species.
Notable Deep Ecologists and influences include Edward Abbey of The Monkeywrench Gang fame, Dave Foreman, founder of Earth First! (many EF’ers are Deep Ecologists), Mike Roselle, also of EF!, Judi Bari (probably framed by the FBI), Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold , Theodore Roszak, John Zerzan (anarchist intellectual from Oregon) and Gary Snyder (Buddhist beatnik poet).
An overview of the Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology dust-up is here. In general, Deep Ecologists were more anarchists and Social Ecologists were more traditional socialists. I recall a Social Ecologist saying that if an animal had to be driven extinct to keep poor humans from suffering, than so be it.
They also opposed the idea of protecting animals like tigers that kill humans. If a tiger protection plan deepened the poverty of already poor humans, they would oppose that. This is pretty much the mentality of socialist states in the past 100 years, which in general have cared a lot more about the needs of humans than animals.
Deep Ecologists had major roots in the Green Party and the worldwide Green Movement as a whole. They tend to support not just reduced population growth, but actual negative population growth and population declines within nations.
This puts Deep Ecology on an oppositional status with almost all nationalists, especially ethnic nationalists. Ethnic nationalists in particular have always championed high birth rates. White nationalists are extremely pro-natalist for Whites only, and they go nuts over articles about White women having 18 kids. That would keep me out of such a movement right off the bat.
Ominously, all fascists have also always been fiercely pro-natalist.
Capitalism also, dependent on ever-increasing population for the insanity of ever-increasing economic growth, is very much pro-natalist. Capitalist theory holds that population declines will destroy the capitalist economy. That’s a great reason to reject neoliberal capitalism, or possibly capitalism itself, right there.
One of Deep Ecology’s critiques of standard environmentalism is why we should preserve habitats and species.
The standard line is that we must do this because these things can or may provide great benefit for human beings. Wilderness areas are preserved so humans can run around in them, birds are preserved so humans can look at them with binoculars, and rainforests and species are preserved because science can study them and figure out new medical or technological applications to benefit humans.
Deep Ecologists say that this is anthropocentrism. Species and places should be preserved for their inherent value, regardless of whether or not humans can use them or exploit them for human benefit. That’s a major philosophical position that you might want to ponder.
We had a big to-do over the California spotted owl (CASPO) in this part of the Sierra Nevada about 15 years ago. Bottom line is some mills closed, people lost their jobs, homes went into foreclosure, etc. About 100% of the population up here was in favor of the loggers who were wrecking the forest and against the owls.
As it turns out, the restrictions that the Forest Service put in are not even working to preserve the CASPO, and it surely needs to be listed at least as federally threatened. The crooked Fish and Wildlife Service won’t do so because that would mean further logging restrictions.
At the time, I used to delight in infuriating people by saying that 1 spotted owl was worth about 20 humans. Hardly anyone seemed to go along with that.
The species accounts on this blog are in the spirit of Deep Ecology. I’m an animal lover. I wish I could love human animals just as much, but it seems like non-human animals are in general nicer and more reliable.
By the way, Dave Foreman’s Confessions of an Eco-Warrior (1991) is highly recommended as a primer in deep ecology.

Adventures in Owling

Repost from the old site.
For the last few weeks here in Coarsegold, California (elevation 2000′ in the Sierra Nevada Mountains), I have been hearing strange “Screech! Screech!” noises at night, often very late at night. I’m hearing them right now, as a matter of fact. I’m an experienced bird watcher, and I assumed they were birds, so I grabbed a strong flashlight (you need a strong flashlight to look at any night birds) and went outside.
Most birds are simply not active at nighttime. Day-active birds will usually just go up into a tree and sleep there at night. I had a rare bird on my property in 1990 in Southern California and I had bird-watchers coming every day to come see it.
It was a Brown Thrasher, common in the Eastern US but very rare in the West. The bird stayed on my property for about three days. At nighttime, I went out looking for it and found it in a bunch of trees on the side of the house. We think that they just go up into a tree and probably sleep up there. I guess they need to sleep too, like everything else.
The only birds active at nighttime are generally owls. There are also some birds like nightjars and whippoorwills that become active at dusk. I’m not sure if they stay active at night or not. So if you hear a bird at night, it’s an owl.
Well, I went outside and the strange screeches kept coming from a huge tree nearby. I shone my light up there and there were some good-sized owls up there. I couldn’t figure out what kind they were because it was night and they weren’t fitting into any known categories. One flew away and I noticed how huge it was in flight. I went back in and did some research on the Net.
At first I was thinking “Screech owl” because we do have Western Screech Owls here. But they are quite small and have a distinctive call. They make this call on hot summer nights, often very late at night, but it’s not a screech, in spite of the name. It’s more of a “bouncing ball” call. It’s hard to describe unless you have heard it.
On the Net I learned that baby Great Horned Owls do make a “Screech!” call. That fit in with my perceptions about the birds’ size. A horned owl is a very large bird. They are so large that they are known to prey on house cats. They are also very common in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
So these were baby Great Horned Owls. I guess they fledge here in July and August. What was interesting was there were around 5-10 of them in a small area, all calling to each other. The size also ruled out Screech Owls , because they are quite small.
You need to understand that “baby birds”, once fledged, are about the size of adult birds and are often indistinguishable from them. Some smaller birds have juvenile plumage, but among larger birds, it’s not common.
In Orange County in the late 1980’s, I saw two crows of about the same size, one feeding the other one with its beak. This is how birds feed each other. I did some research and learned that that is a baby crow. Baby crows are about the same size as adults. Adults will feed them for a while after they fledge and leave the nest, but then they need to take off.
I also had some acorn woodpeckers living in a huge oak tree on my property in the mountains. They live in communal units of multiple adults and even raise the young communally. They may raise more than one clutch in a good year. I noticed that after the young were fledged, they stuck around for a while, and the adults continued to feed them. Then I guess they took off.
This myth, so beloved by American parents with adult kids still at home long past the time to leave, about adult birds “throwing the young out of the nest” as soon as they fledge, is just not true.
First of all, baby birds can’t fly very well as soon as they fledge. Sometimes if you are lucky in Spring you can see baby birds scuttling along the ground trying to fly. I’ve seen this in House Sparrows in Fresno, California. I think they scuttle along the ground and half-fly for a few days or so, then they get it. They fly for a short distance, then they land. They must be extremely vulnerable to predation in this stage.
Keeping baby birds around after they fledge is a positive adaptation in evolutionary terms. Larger birds such as woodpeckers and surely crows are thought to be more evolved, so they seem to keep the young at home for a while after fledging. Tossing the babies out of the nest is evolutionarily stupid, since if they can’t fly well, they will be very vulnerable to predation.
Trust me, they are vulnerable enough in the nesting phase! I had an Ash-Throated Flycatcher nesting on my Oakhurst property one year. My cats figured out the story after a while, and kept trying to climb up to the nest. I’m sure predators like raccoons are even worse. I even understand that snakes can climb trees and raid nests.
I’ve never seen so many owls as I’ve seen up here in the mountains.
Twice I saw Northern Saw-Whet Owls on the road in Oakhurst, once at dusk and once at 9:30 PM on a sleety night in winter – this one had a mouse in its talons! Saw-Whet Owls descend to the Oakhurst area in winter.
Another time, also in Oakhurst at dusk, I saw small birds “mobbing” something just before dusk. When you see that, it’s generally a predatory bird like a hawk or an owl. It was dusk. I ran inside, got my binoculars, and went back. After a while, I saw that they were mobbing a Northern Pygmy-Owl .
It’s a pretty cool little bird, with fake eyes in the back of it’s head! Nice evolutionary trick to fool you into thinking it’s looking at you when it’s not. I think that this trick evolved to help this small owl avoid predators, because there I’m not sure there is an advantage for a predator to seem like it has eyes in the back of its head.
A couple of years ago, in Oakhurst near some apartments at dusk, I saw a huge bird swoop down on some bare ground in front of some apartments, grab something and take off back up to a Ponderosa Pine tree, where it was promptly mobbed by a bunch of small birds. I stopped and looked long enough to see that it was a Great Horned Owl with a mouse (probably a deer mouse) in its talons.
Mobbing is an interesting tactic. Small birds with fly in large numbers at a hawk or an owl. Often these hawks or owls are the same ones that kill and eat these same small birds. Accipter hawks such as Goshawks are mobbed, but I have never seen a Buteo such as a Red-tailed Hawk mobbed.
Buteos typically subsist solely on small mammals and reptiles and seldom if ever eat other birds. But accipters are bird hawks. They prey on other birds. I once saw a Goshawk being mobbed by small birds, fly out of some underbrush, and over to a post where it sat for a bit while the others continued to mob it.
The idea of mobbing is strength in numbers. Although they attack predators known to prey on them, if you have enough small birds, it will confuse and upset the predator enough to so it won’t attack them. It’s also an early warning system for any other small birds in the area that a predator is in the area. In addition, by mobbing, the small birds try to drive the predator away from them and off to somewhere else.

On Spotted Owls

Repost from the old site.
There are three subspecies of spotted owls in the US. The Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) ranged from Oregon and Washington down into the California coast ranges and over into the Siskiyous and Cascades.
The California Spotted Owl (CASPO) lives in the Sierra Nevada, down into the Tehachapis and and into the mountain ranges of Southern California.
The Southern California population is isolated in mountain ranges that are not connected and is projected to go extinct over at most 100-200 years. Before mass settlement of Southern California, CASPO may have moved from range to range via river corridors, but now that is not possible. The Techachapi CASPO is probably not sustainable either. CASPO also lives in the Coast Ranges south of San Fransisco.
The Mexican Spotted Owl lives in the Southwest, mostly in Arizona and New Mexico. It was listed as threatened recently and recently had a huge amount of critical habitat set aside. It seems to be threatened by cattle grazing, but I forget how. Serious overgrazing in the Southwest seems to be devastating the grass and forb understory of the old growth pine forests.
This overgrazing has promoted heavy stands of small trees that are susceptible to drought and fire. The truth is that the Southwest should not even be grazed in the first place; it’s too dry and cows just devastate arid regions.
Cows evolved in cold, moist England and they are not well suited to arid regions. During the hot, dry months, they congregate in riparian areas, which they utterly devastate. The Eastern US is much moister, and cattle grazing causes few problems there.
The NSO was declared a threatened species in 1990, setting off the timber wars in the Pacific Northwest. Clinton pushed through a crappy Northwest Forest Plan, which sold out way more to industry than was necessary. Logging in the region declined by 80%, but they had been horribly overcutting for decades.
As one might expect, the new regulations did not save the NSO, and it has continued to decline at 3.5% per year. The continuing decline of the NSO means that it may soon have to be uplisted from Threatened to Endangered.
In the far north, in northern Washington and British Colombia, the NSO is declining at about 7% per year. In southwestern B.C., there are only about 50 owls left and they are going to go extinct in the past few years unless something is done.
All spotted owls have selected for old growth forests. A new threat is the Barred Owl, which is a relative of the Spotted Owl, coming down from the north. The Barred Owl is much more tolerant of the open conditions created by massive clearcutting, and is displacing Spotted Owls in many places. In particular, it is interbreeding with them, creating a new hybrid type.
Loggers claim that the Barred Owl invasion is the true cause of the NSO decline, but they are lying as usual. The Barred Owl invasion is due to the more open conditions created by out of control clearcutting for decades in the Northwest.
The CASPO was petitioned twice for listing, in 2000 and 2004. I haven’t read the petitions, but I have read hundreds of pages of studies on the CASPO. The CASPO, last I heard, was declining at a greater rate than even the NSO. In 2006, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list the CASPO as an endangered species.
That strikes me as a wrong decision, but Bush is listing species at a rate even 85% lower than his rightwing father, George Bush. Bring back George Bush Sr.! As we can see, with the years, the US Republican Party, and consequently the US Whites they represent, have gotten increasingly virulent in the attitude of hatred and destruction towards our precious environment.
Next to the immigrant hordes flooding our shores, our precious slice of American Gaia has no greater enemy than White Americans.
What is curious about this is that White nationalists insist that only Whites are altruistic enough to care enough to be environmentalists in any way. It’s an interesting argument, but it’s sure not true in the US, and almost everyone making this odd argument is voting for the party of Nuke Gaia. Go figure.

Many New Sick and Evil Videos and Photos at the Video Site

One cheer for sick! Two cheers for evil! Three cheers for sick and evil! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Sick sick and evil! Sick sick and evil! Sick sick and evil!
Yay! Gather round, boys and girls from 8 to 88, we have have lots of great new twisted videos and pics available on the video site.
Man Swallows His Own Face: The first is a photo of a man in China who appears to be swallowing his own face! This is known as “girning.” I’m not quite sure why some folks can girn and others cannot, but it sure is weird.
Leanne Holland Death Photos: These are photos that were obtained by a website called Viral Death showing the crime scene photos of a young girl named Leanne Holland who was brutally raped and murdered in Australia. A man who was staying with the family was arrested and convicted of the crime, served a number of years in prison, but was then released due to lack of evidence. It appears that he is innocent after all, and the real killer was a known predator who lived a few miles away. The photos don’t show nudity, so there is no child porn. Their release caused quite an outrage in Australia.
Kurdish Teenager Stoned to Death in Iraq: The famous case of the Yezidi girl Doa Khalil Aswad, stoned to death in a crowd of 10,000 men in a village near Mosul. This post has already been published to this site.
Car 1, Motorcycle 0: Shows the aftermath of a car-motorcycle crash somewhere in China, followed by photos of the victim, apparently a prominent politician, meeting with his constituents. By the way, the car won.
Black Man with Split Face: This poor Black guy has had his face nearly split in two but is somehow still alive. Photo. Some say this is fake, but it appears to be genuine.
The Man With No Face: A very strange set of photos of a man who suffered a horrible injury that resulted in the loss of most of his face, including his eyes and nose. As you don’t need these organs, he’s still alive. The surgeon then amazingly constructs an artificial face for the guy with fake eyes and nose and somehow sticks it onto his real face with metal pinnings. Incredible set of heartbreaking photos, but I don’t know the details of the case.
Drunk Girl Knocked Out by Dive: A drunken girl dives off a high cliff into the Colorado River and is knocked unconscious due to the height of the dive. Guys jump in and rescue her.
Dive Gone Wrong in Oregon: Similar video, in this one, another young girl dives off a 90 foot cliff into Lake Oswego in Oregon, which was a totally insane thing to do. She too is knocked out and rescued by guys. It’s amazing she did not die. She was in bad shape for two days but came out of it ok.
Three Men Electrocuted in Iran: This video is amazing, Good Samaritanism gone wrong. An idiot is stuck way up on a high tension pole and is getting shocked. A large crowd has gathered and is screaming. One guy climbs up to rescue him, but he can’t get him down. He starts getting shocked too. Towards the end, a third guy climbs up the pole very fast and grabs the other two guys. Quickly the whole pole blows up in a huge explosion as the guys go flying and the crowd goes nuts. Details not known.
Tire Blows Up under Russian Man: A very strange video. Three young Russian men are drunk in a tire shop. Two guys put an air bag under a tire, cover it with a towel and then encourage a third guy to sit on the tire. The victim apparently knows what is going on and does so willingly. After a short wait, the air bag blows and the guy goes flying in the air. Lots of drunken laughs all around, but this guy could have gotten seriously hurt in this incident.
Chicken with Its Head Cut Off: Laughing rednecks grab a chicken and chop off its head. The headless body runs around a bit, and the other chickens freak out and attack the ghoul chicken. The guys laugh their heads off.
Lunatic Dives into a Burning Car: This is one of the creepier videos I have seen. Guys are filming a burning car by the side of the road somewhere in the US, possibly in the forested northern US. A crowd has gathered to watch the car burn. A fire engine pulls up. Then a guy in his late 20’s suddenly breaks from the crowd towards the car and dives into the burning vehicle. It’s hard to see, but you can see it if you slow the video down and pause it. He has a weird and disturbing expression on his face.
Gang of Teens Attack Elderly Man in Cleveland: A gang of young Black teens is in front of the home of a man in his 70’s. The man and his friend, a man in his 50’s, confront the teens and tell them to get out. Then the two men, both White, drive to a nearby liquor store, apparently to call cops. The gang follows them there and beats both men. The man in his 70’s was beaten badly. The teens run away.
Man Stabbed to Death in New York: It is 3 AM on a street in a bad part of New York City. Video is taken by a security camera. A young woman walks by, and a thug jumps out and tries to rob her. A man runs up to the thug to try to prevent the crime and the thug stabs him with a knife. The guy staggers away and falls down on the sidewalk. For about an hour afterward, people come and go and no one tries to help him. Firemen come after a bit, but he’s already dead.
Crazy Russian Jumps from Building to Building: Amazing video of a young Russian guy engaging in parkour jumping in Russia, where they jump from the roof of one apartment complex to another roof below. Jump may well be 50-75 feet, broken only by a mat below. Very risky sport.
Insane Bungee Jumping off a Waterfall: Young people line up to bungee jump off a waterfall. It’s a long ways down! Footage possibly shot in India. Amazing video.
Idiot Jumps Off Building and Walks Away: A very mysterious video taken off a Danish video site. A young man or teenager is on the roof of a tall building, several stories high. He leaps off the building and lands flat on the ground below, stomach first. There is blood coming from his head. He picks himself up and there is blood dripping off his head. He walks towards the camera and the video ends. I don’t see how this guy survived this fall to walk away, but the production is way too cheap for it to be faked. This video doesn’t really make sense.
Man Commits Suicide at Hoover Dam: Amazing video. Guys are videotaping the face of Hoover Dam and suddenly an idiot jumps off the edge and tumbles down the front, killing himself. The top of his skull appears to come off as he tumbles down the concrete.
Cow Loses Face in Train Crash: There has been a train crash in India, and a cow has been seriously hurt. Most of its face has been torn off, but somehow it is still alive and standing there like nothing is wrong. Scene shifts to the side of the train where people are laying flowers by wreaths.
Girl Throws Live Puppies into River: This is the famous video that was discussed quite a bit on this blog. Video recently went wildly viral. A wild dog in Bosnia gave birth to puppies in the backyard of a home. The dog was very sick. Grandmother found the puppies and feared they were as sick as the mother. She put the puppies in a bucket and gave them to a teenage girl, telling her to throw the puppies in the river and kill them. Video shows girl doing just that. The video resulted in a hunt for the girl. Bosnian authorities tracked her down, but did nothing to her due to her age.
Man Commits Suicide in a Police Station: Famous video of an illegal alien who shot a cop and was then arrested in San Bernardino, California. For some reason, he was never searched. Video shows the man in the interrogation room. Detective leaves to go get some coffee. Criminal reaches into his pocket, pulls out a huge gun and shoots himself in the head, killing himself.
Chinese Fishing Boat Collides with a Japanese Coast Guard Vessel: This was previously published on this site.
Tarzan Swings into a River and Crashes: Two young American guys have fashioned some sort of a rope from a bank out to a river. The distance from launch site to river is about 50 feet or so. One guy goes to the launch site and launches towards the river, then crashes hard onto the bank instead. Looks like he got hurt.
Horrible Injuries and Infections: Series of photos of some very nasty injuries and infections. Everyone survived and is doing ok though.
Brazilian Man with Infected Shoulder from Shooting Steroids: A gruesome operating room video of a Brazilian guy with a massively swollen shoulder from an infection acquired by shooting steroids with a dirty needle. They endless drain the horrible pus from the wound. Really gross.
Farmer Hay Bales Himself: Crazy video. Farmer tears off his clothes and jumps in his hay baler. His friend turns it on. The guy gets packed into a bale of hay and ends up being shot out the chute at the end. He stands up and its a human hay bale with arms and legs sticking out. Really ridiculous.
Bum Eats Rats: Weird video of a bum in Brazil. He reaches down, picks up either rats or mice one by one, puts them in his mouth and munches them down while smiling. He pauses a couple of times to drink some water.
Man with a Shovel Stuck in His Head: Crazy video shot in Brazil. A gang of young men in a favela were roaming around robbing people in their houses. At some point, a posse of angry residents caught up with them and attacked them. One guy was shot several times and someone took a shovel and hit him in the head with it so hard that it stuck in his head. Video shows the crook writhing on the ground, shot by bullets with a shovel stuck in his head. Disturbing.
Guy Has Tongue Splitting Operation: This shows the operation to give you one of those body mod forked tongue things we showed in a gif a while back. File under Don’t try this at home. The incision is made and his mouth is full of blood. Afterward, shows the guy smiling with his new weirdo forked tongue. Really gross video with tons of blood.
Budd Dwyer Suicide Video: The very famous live recorded suicide of Budd Dwyer, former Treasurer of Pennsylvania, recorded before a crowd of reporters taping the whole thing. Detailed here.
Serbian Dogcatcher Chokes a Dog: Previously described on this site.
Foolish Dancer Creamed by Ice Cream Truck: Previously posted on this site.
Weightlifter Tries to Lift Half-ton Barbell, Nearly Dies: Previously posted on this site.
Skateboarder Has Serious Accident and Hurts His Balls: A young boy, maybe around 13 or so, is skateboarding with some other boys. He goes off a staircase with 11 stairs on it and crashes at the bottom. He jumps up and starts screaming that he’s hurt his balls.
Eat My Engine Block!: Previously posted on this site.
Al Jazeera Releases Photos of Sri Lankan Genocide: Previously described on this site.
Bullfighter Gored in Throat by a Bull: Previously posted on this site.
Swedish Man Commits Suicide Live on the Internet: In October 2010, a young Swedish man with Aspergers killed himself live on the Internet while a large group of people watched helpless to do anything about it. Video shows time lapse photography of the man setting up a rope to the ceiling, then fastening his neck to it until he slowly hangs. At the end, the firemen bust down the door and try to rescue him, but he’s gone. Really disturbing.
Black Female Fried Chicken Eating and 40 Oz Drinking Contest: Previously posted on this site.
Ukraine Air Show Disaster 2002: A truly disturbing video of a terrible accident at an air show in the Ukraine in 2002 that killed 92 people when the plane crashed into the crowd. You see the plane doing its maneuvers, then the camera goes nuts as the plane crashes to the ground. The cameraman runs to the scene of the crash, filming all the way. He comes upon injured people, dead people, parts of dead bodies, people missing limbs, people running everywhere to get away or try to help and cops and military personnel everywhere. Curiously, no one tries to stop him filming. Really disturbing stuff.
Pakistani Troops Execute POW’s in Swat Valley: Described on this site earlier today.
Criminals Chase Cops from a Banlieu in France: Recently posted on this site.
Cow Death Row: Previously posted on this site.
Plus lots of new translations into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, German, Korean, Norwegian, Tagalog, Polish, Finnish and Swedish.
Have fun sickos!

Pakistani Troops Execute POW's in Swat Valley

The video discussed in this piece is available on my other site here.
This amazing video of Pakistani troops executing Taliban POW’s in the Swat Valley of Pakistan during heavy fighting there in Summer 2009 appeared on the Internet uploaded to YouTube by a user named ‘drjack20061’ on October 1, 2010. The footage was claimed by the Pashtun International Association. It is over 5 minutes long.
The Pakistani military says that the footage is fake and intended to defame the military. There is no proof that the tape is real, but the available evidence suggests that it may well be. For instance, there have long been reports of mass executions of young Pashtun Islamists in the Swat Valley during the Swat Rebellion in Summer 2009.
Especially towards the end of the campaign, large numbers of fighters were rounded up and disappeared by the Pakistani military. Many of their bodies reappeared later by the sides of roads, blindfolded and bound, with bullet wounds and signs of serious torture. It was for all intents and purposes the Salvadorization of the Swat Valley Rebellion.
This mass murder of the Swat Valley guerrilla army POW’s seemed to have put an end to the rebellion for some time, though residents were in a state of high outrage mixed with impotent terror.
But some time after the Swat Rebellion had been stomped, a peculiar recrudescence arose again, Phoenix-like, from the bloodied bones this fall. The Swat Rebellion is starting to look like a zombie. You knock it down and even think you kill it, and it just gets up again and keeps coming at you.
A snapshot from the video as the men are lined up to be executed.
The video is shot with a cellphone and is very poor in quality. It seems to have been taken clandestinely under conditions of extreme risk. The photographer may have been under risk of be punishment if he was caught filming the incident.For the first few minutes of the video, we see several young Pashtun men wearing traditional garb, blindfolded and bound, slowly being moved into a line that eventually reaches six men. On the other side, fully equipped Pakistani soldiers are lining up and fixing their automatic weapons. Their garb looks like what the Pakistani army wears. A bearded officer appears to be in charge.
In the background, you can sometimes hear what sounds like automatic weapons fire ricocheting in the air and artillery shells slamming away. We are obviously in the midst of a war zone.
The men, silent, are lined up. The bearded man goes from one to the other, saying making a very short statement that is inaudible. Then he moves back and the soldiers begin to speak. We can hear what they are saying, and they speak in Urdu. Urdu is the language of Pakistani army and is little spoken in Swat.
The soldiers ready their weapons and fire and all of the men fall down. Soon they are moaning horribly. The creepy and awful sound reminds one of sheep baying or children wailing. The soldiers then advance forward and empty their weapons into the wailing bodies. The guns are very powerful, and the bodies lift off the ground with each hit. Soon the bodies are silent, and the horrible baying has stopped.
The video ends.

A Rather Subjective Analysis of European Minority Languages

One way to see how well European minority languages is if you run a popular website that gets a lot of hits from all over Europe. I run one here on my old site, which is in the top 1200 blogs on the Internet (This blog is also in the top 1200).
If you have a good weblog (a weblog allows a webmaster to monitor all of the visitors from your site), and I do, you can see what languages people are using on their browsers. When browsers come to the site, they are marked with language tracking. I am not sure if that is a language preference for webpages or if it is the language that the browser itself is written in.
Minority lanugages are languages that are not the main spoken language of the country or languages that only have a small speaker base. In this piece, we will be dealing with Irish, Welsh, Catalan, Basque, Galician and Luxemburgish. Those I am quite sure are offered as language versions of the major browsers.
Luxemburgish: Luxemburgish is the official language of Luxemburg, however, there are worries about it due to the small speaker base of only around 500,000. Further, there is a problem in that not enough new and technological words are coming into the language. Most browsers from Luxemburg are using the Luxemburgish language, so the language seems to be in pretty good shape.
Catalan: Catalan is the most popular of the remaining five. However, considering how many readers I get from the Catalan region, very few Catalans are using Catalan browsers. Most are using Spanish language browsers. So the situation of Catalan does not look so good.
Irish: I am amazed that there are any Irish browsers at all, but now and then, we do get one from Ireland. Needless to say, nearly all browsers from Ireland are using English. Still, everyone knows that Irish is in bad shape. Considering there are Irish browsers at all, I think Irish is in better shape than we think it is.
Galician: I was quite shocked to find a few Galician browsers out there coming out of Galicia in the far northwest of Spain. This language is probably in better shape than people think it is. Most Galician browsers use Spanish.
Welsh: Considering that most reports indicate that Welsh is doing pretty well, I was surprised that one almost never sees a Welsh browser. Almost all browsers coming out of Wales use English. I wonder if Welsh is in as good a shape as people say it is considering the dearth of Welsh browsers.
Basque: I have yet to see a Basque browser! If browsers are indeed offered in Basque (uncertain) this is very bad news. I get quite a bit of traffic out of the Basque country, and 100% of the time, Basque users are using Spanish as their browser language. Things don’t look good for the Basque language.
I can’t speak of other small languages in Europe because in general, browsers are not offered in those languages.
This was an interesting little experiment though.

No Death Threats and Stalking Please

This comment recently appeared in the comments section:

As the commentary above PROVES, Lafayette IS a Nazi – and Nazis should be KILLED! That is the only appropriate response from any genuine adherent of the left and supporter of human equality and freedom worldwide. Nazi fascist vermin such as Lafayette Sennacherib must NOT be allowed to preach the “socialism of fools” to divert the GENUINE left’s struggle with their attempts to incite murder and genocide as he preaches above.
Nazis are NOT human beings and they therefore have NO “human rights” – including the “right to life”. As the commentary above PROVES, Lafayette IS a Nazi – and Nazis should be KILLED! That is the only appropriate response from any genuine adherent of the left and supporter of human equality and freedom worldwide. It is my dearest and fondest hope that a genuine and well-armed anti-racist and anti-fascist will hunt down such “people” and give them a PERMANENT AND IRREVERSIBLE taste of their own medicine.

I know who this guy is. He used to stalk an old friend of mine named Wendy Campbell on Indymedia, and Wendy was terrified of him.
I think he is the same guy who used to come to the site periodically and leave various weird comments along the lines of saying, “Good job Robert! I agree! Kill the Jews!” Even when I was not advocating anything of the sort, of course. In other words, he’s trying to paint me as a Nazi and say he agreed with me. At the time, he was trying to paint the pro-Palestinian movement as Nazis and trying to get us to say, “Kill the Jews! Up the Palestinians!” or things along those lines.
He also threatened to kill me once too for “going easy on the evil kike scum” LOL.
He’s apparently a young male Jewish college student who is in New York City, upstate New York and Chicago at various times.
I’m banning him, and I’m going to amend the comments policy to not allow any more of these types of death threats or stalking behaviors.

In America, Socialism Is Everywhere

Repost from the old site.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about what a welfare state really is. A commenter in the comments section who says he supports the free market also supports the welfare state.
But the two are antithetical. A free market wants to eliminate all welfare statism, and in a welfare state, there are substantial restrictions on the free market. What the commenter meant was that he supported most of the economy being in private as opposed to state hands.
Truth is that a welfare state is socialism in practice. It’s a form of socialism often called social democracy. Any state with welfare statism in whatever quantity or quality has some form of social democracy or socialism, no matter how meager. That is why we socialists are happy to say that almost all states on Earth have at least some socialism these days and we predict that clearly, the future of the world will be some form of socialism.
All welfare state programs are socialist programs. Any government or public program is a socialist program, de facto. There is much confusion about the word socialism.
Everything public is generally socialist.
Let us make a list of all of the de facto socialist programs in the US:
Public lands, parks, roads, housing, food stamps, health care, education from kindergarten to graduate school, education grants and loans, stipends and assistance for low income folks such as renters’ assistance and negative income tax, national forests, national parks, public airports, public railways, pubic mass transportation such as buses and trains, libraries, research, utilities such as water, electricity and radio and TV airwaves, shipping lanes and public ports, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, WIC, welfare, disability, unemployment insurance, health and building code inspectors and laws, environmental laws and regulations, health and safety codes in the workplace, labor laws many and varied, the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Post Office, garbage collection and recycling, road sweeping, irrigation canals, dams and water districts, ambulances, disaster personnel and homeland security, firefighters urban and wildland, prisons and corrections, including prison labor provided free to cities and towns that cannot afford to hire labor, public hospitals and border controls, immigration laws and enforcement personnel, vaccination and public health initiatives, flood control districts and projects, mosquito abatement, predator and pest control, sewage pipes and treatment, telephone lines, the Internet, customs laws and enforcement, alien pest control at the borders, disease epidemic abatement and control including mass food recalls (salmonella epidemic) groundwater recharging, cloud-seeding, road-salting and snowplowing, public campaign financing, game wardens, fishing and hunting regulations, conservation easements, government land buyouts in regularly flooded areas, wildlife refuges, homeless shelters, election teams, business licenses, drug approval and regulation, laws against misleading advertising and drug claims, rural electrification, consumer protection laws, animal control including destruction of rabid or dangerous animals and pets, fish stocking, anti-fraud legislation, civil rights laws and enforcement, the list goes on and on.
No doubt I have left some out.
Nowadays, towns, cities and possibly even states even run for-profit enterprises. This is actually one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy, believe it or not. The cooperative sector (cooperatives or labor collectives) is also growing very fast, but you never hear about it either.
All of the are socialist programs. Even police and military are best seen as socialist programs, since in the 3rd world, the rich are loath to fund them, and both police and military are paid out of taxes. Most any government service that is paid out of taxation is in some way or another a socialist program.
The libertarians are quite correct on this when they say that all of the above are socialist programs.
The hardest core libertarians want to get rid of all or most of them on the grounds that they are all socialist programs. I don’t agree with that, but they are ideologically correct in identifying a socialist program for what it is.
When you look at that list above, it’s actually kind of frightening. At first glance, it seems like government barely exists in the US, but when you sit down and tally it all up, socialist and government programs are just about everywhere. If you hate government and socialism, there is a lot to be upset about.

Problems of Leftwing Democracy

Repost from the old site.
In the comments section, astute commenter huy remarks on the conundrum of socialist democracy when capitalists retain control over the media and culture::

The only problem is that a socialist revolution would probably require a dictatorship and repression.
This is because without dictatorship and repression, rich capitalists would be able to prevent significant social services and state planning in a democracy via their control of the media and peoples’ thoughts.
I’m not for socialism as a long term thing, but only as a way to quickly develop a country’s infrastructure and economy, before gradual privatization of suitable sectors.

I respond:
huy is are correct as far as his first two sentences go. I will deal with the third sentence at the end.
This conundrum is why Communists opted for the dictatorship of the proletariat, not because they are lovers of repression and haters of freedom.
The rich capitalists, through their media control and also their cultural construction and fertilization creating Gramscian cultural hegemonies (what huy referred to as “control over people’s thoughts”), are typically able to prevent social services and state planning in a democracy.
This is why Communists say that you never really have a democracy in capitalism. You always have a dictatorship of capital. Be that as it may, most folks nowadays do not seem to want to live under a dictatorship of the proletariat.
Nevertheless, the roadblocks in the way of socialist democracy present a a serious problem.
Not only are the capitalists able to thwart significant progressive change via media and cultural control, but the same capitalists, via control over the economy, are able to stage lockouts and capital strikes, to send their capital out of the country, to artificially create shortages, and to send wealthy housewives out into the streets beating pots and pans in a middle and upper class strike, etc.
These housewife pot-banging strikes occurred in Chile under Allende, Venezuela under Chavez, and just recently occurred again in Argentina when President Kirchner tried to tax booming agricultural exports.
The big ag producers in Argentina responded by trying to starve the cities by staging ag strikes and refusing to ship produce to the cities so the people would have nothing to eat.
What is ominous about this is that these same rich housewife pot-banging demos and a latifundista (large landowner elite) strike presaged the coup that brought the death squads into power in Argentina in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
The generals stayed in power for several years, during which they murdered 30,000 leftwing Argentines, the vast majority of whom were just idealistic young people working with the poor and had not taken up arms at all.
The capitalists will usually try to stage a coup through their control over the military too.
That is why Hugo Chavez is correct in cleansing the corrupt bosses’ oil workers’ union, in cleansing the officer corps of the military of reactionary elements, and putting in some state media.
The corrupt state oil workers union was a white collar union of well to do managers who had been operating the state oil company as a personal ATM for decades. They were behind the owners’ lockout strike that followed the coup, and after Chavez fired those who had been behind the lockout and sabotage, they destroyed much of the records and paperwork of the oil company before they left. Clearly they had to go.
In the previous coup attempt, the middle and upper-class officer corps supported the coup, but the enlisted men, who came from the poor, did not. The poor rank and file military refused their officers’ orders, and the officers backed down. Hence, cleansing the officer corps of coup supporters was a must.
Getting a foot in the door of the Right’s media monopoly was also important. Previously, the rich had all of the papers, magazines and especially TV stations and they used these to wage continuous lying propaganda war against Chavez.
Furthermore, the entire rightwing media not only supported the coup attempt against Chavez but was actively complicit in it. For that treason, Chavez is perfectly within his rights to shut down the entire rightwing media. He only does not do this because of the international outcry it would arouse.
The Right did the same thing with their media control during the Allende regime in Chile, printing wild lies about Cuban armies offshore and hiding in Chilean bases ready to invade Chile and impose Communism at gunpoint.
Middle class and upper class capital strikes can be devastating to the economy, and most folks, no matter how revolutionary, just get tired of the economic pain after a while and vote to put the reactionaries back in power.
Sanctions work the same way. The US and UK and sometimes France and Canada (when those two latter states are in an imperialist mood) usually slap sanctions on democratic Left states as soon as possible.
Recent examples are Nicaragua, Haiti and Zimbabwe (at first democratic, now increasingly dictatorial), and this alone is enough to devastate the economy and cause the people to vote out the Left and put reactionaries back in power.
What happens is that in an effort to get some control of the country back and fight back against all of this US plots, the Left regime often starts becoming more authoritarian and less democratic. Then the US says it’s a dictatorship and needs to be overthrown on that basis.
If that doesn’t work, the US forms a reactionary contra counterrevolutionary army that goes around killing any civilian that is pro-Left, murdering teachers and health care workers, burning down schools, ag cooperatives and health care facilities and just making the place ungovernable. In order to fend off contras and coups, Chavez has built up his military and even armed the population.
One more thing the US does is to flood money into the democratic Left country to buy the election of the reactionaries via all sorts of fake civil society groups. A good way to stop this is to ban all money coming to political groups from outside the country, but that is easier said than done. The money seems to find its way in anyway.
The US and its reactionary allies also stage bombings, shootings, riots, etc, against democratic Left states, and then often blames them on the Left. This is what they did in Chavez’ Venezuela, Aristide’s Haiti and Mossadegh’s Iran.
If worse comes to worse and none of the above works, the Left regime is overthrown by a coup and replaced by a reactionary dictatorship. This dictatorship typically then institutes a reign of terror in which anywhere from 100’s to 1 million progressives are killed all over the land. This is what happened in Indonesia in 1965, when 1 million Leftists were killed in a CIA coup.
What is even creepier is that while the Left is in power, the CIA is usually running around the country making up lists of leftwingers. As soon as the coup comes, the CIA hands over the lists to the death squad Right now in power, and they use these lists to hunt down progressives and murder them.
So if a Left regime is in power, there is always the terror of a future coup followed by a murder spree against anyone politically active in the regime. This is enough to make people afraid to get politically active.
The reign of terror itself so so terrorizes the population that most people are afraid to get involved in progressive politics for years or even decades afterwards. Why get involved? Who is to say when the death squads will come back in power and try to kill you for being politically active in Left politics?
All of this makes socialist democracy or even social democracy in backwards states almost impossible to achieve.
On the other hand, lots of leftwingers are trying to figure out a way to have some sort of socialist or even Marxist democracy, despite all the challenges. The Sandinistas had a democratic socialist revolution, and Hugo Chavez is having one too. The Nepalese Maoists support 100% democracy. There’s new thinking with a lot of Communists nowadays that socialism is not really possible without total democracy.
When I look at Cuba and I think about a few dissidents getting thrown in prison, is that really worse than masses of people dying early from preventable death or not having enough food to eat, or living in shantytown hovels, or prostituting themselves, or homeless kids sniffing glue, turning into criminals and getting killed by cops as happens all over Latin America?
Third World capitalist nightmare states punish an awful lot of innocent people too. Doesn’t Cuba punish a lot fewer innocent people by clapping a few dissidents in prison than are harmed in these failing 3rd world capitalist states?
In India, capitalism is killing 4 million people a year. That’s a five-alarm fire right there. If we had a socialist revolution there even with a dictatorship and saved 4 million lives a year, would it be worth it for a few folks slapped in prison?
I do think that the new way of Chavez, the Sandinistas, the FMLN of El Salvador and the Nepalese Maoists is the better way to go. Nothing wrong with democracy. If the people reject socialism at the polls and go back to capitalism and lots of them go hungry, go homeless, drink sewage water, get sick, get crippled and start dying, I guess we can say that they made a choice to have that happen to themselves.
Most socialist countries did go socialist for a while (usually decades) to develop the economy and then go towards capitalism after they were pretty well developed.
People have no idea how much of China’s economic growth is based on the foundations laid by decades of Maoism. At any rate, most do not realize China is still a very socialist country in many ways.
The Communists in Russia built that place up from nothing. Without the USSR, Russia would probably be like India or Afghanistan. The Vietnamese and Laotian Communists are also putting in a lot of capitalism, and North Korea now has joint partnerships for foreign investors. I support Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela in their experiments at mixed economy. I also really like social market of Belarus.
Really what we ought to look at is does the system give us the outcomes that we want? If it does, it doesn’t matter what mixtures of socialist, collective and private ownership it has.
There are also all sorts of ways of enterprise ownership.
We can have nonprofits, labor collectives, family-run businesses, single owners and ownership by neighborhoods, towns, cities, states and nations. All of these forms of ownership are operating all over the world as you read this.
The cooperative sector in particular is a great way to go, and most do not realize it is a non-capitalist economic system. Worker-owned firms compete with each other, and there is no exploitation of labor as in capitalism.
One of the best examples of that is the Mondragon cooperatives in the Basque Country. Most Cuban agriculture is now run by cooperatives. In the cooperative model, you get away from the management-labor conflict you see in capitalism.

More on Socialist Institutions in Capitalist States

Repost from the old site.
In response to my post, Dr. Andrew Austin, a sociology professor at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, commented, rejecting my notion that all government structures in a capitalist system were de facto socialist institutions.
His response is a typical Marxist rejoinder.
Andrew Austin:

Socialism is a political economic system in which the workers own and control the means of production. That means the workers run the firm, so to speak.
Leaving aside the question of whether they produce anything of value (in an exchange sense), soldiers and police officers do not run the firm. They are employees of the state and are told what to do by those who run the state. They have no say-so in determining who stands above them. The hierarchy that controls their work lives (and to a large extent their leisure lives) is not comprised of democratically-elected offices.
Moreover, the military and the police serve the interests of the capitalist class and its managers and associated functionaries, not the interests of the working class.
Government functions are socialist to the degree that they are controlled by and benefit the working class.
An example of a public system in the US that is often said to have the appearance of socialism is the educational system. School board members are elected, subject to public pressure, and every child can access the system. However, public education has become a system for indoctrinating children into the values and norms of capitalist society.
Just because the state sector is involved does not signal socialism. The capitalist state is by definition not socialist because it is controlled by capitalists for the benefit of capitalists and the perpetuation, expansion, and entrenchment of capitalist relations.
States reflect the character of the underlying mode of production. I see a lot of people make the error of thinking that extensive state intervention means socialism. The only way state intervention is socialist is if the social relations are socialist or society is undergoing a revolutionary transformation.
Authoritarian capitalism – fascism, whatever – has a massive state sector, but it is the antithesis of socialism. Capitalism can be more or less democratic – though there are always sharp limits on how democratic capitalism can be. Socialism can be more or less democratic. Unlike capitalism, the more democratic socialism becomes, the more socialist it is.

I’m not going to comment on this because I am more or less at a loss for words. Feel free to comment in the comments section.
On the other hand, astute commenter James Schipper agrees with me, but takes a non-Marxist and more social democratic view of socialism.
Keep in mind that social democrats call their system socialism, while Marxists reject that, calling social democrats “bourgeois democrats” when they are in a good mood and “social fascists” when they are in a bad mood (recall the epithet used by the German Communists against the German social democrats in the 1920’s and early 1930’s).
Schipper:

I agree totally with you. Every country in the world has a socialist sector. The market can’t exist without the state, but the state can exist without the market. A country in which the state ran everything would be a disaster, but it could exist. A country in which literally everything were left to the market would sink in anarchy and misery. Some African countries have come close to this.
Socialism means essentially three things: state-directed production, state-directed distribution of income and state-regulated private production. There is plenty of that all over the world.
The biggest department in the socialist sector in the US is the Pentagon. Many American generals might balk at being called employees in the socialist sector, but that’s exactly what they are. They don’t get their paychecks from a corporation.
However, I would like to add that socialism in the sense above does not necessarily mean egalitarianism. There can be such a thing as socialism for the rich. Even a totally socialist economy could be run mainly for the benefit of an elite, in the same way that a corporation can be run mainly for the benefit of senior managers and at the expense of shareholders and employees.

I respond, agreeing with James:
Indeed, what we have under Bush seems to be something like a socialism for the rich. The rich are allowed to gamble all they want with their money and possibly even blow up the economy. If they make money, they get to keep all of it. If they lose, we taxpayers cover all of their losses. Hence there is nothing to prevent them from making mad and wild gambles with money, which are quite risky for the economy.
Guaranteeing the losses of capitalists is something that economists call “moral risk”. It’s like if I get to go to the casino all day and win as much as I want, but once I start losing, I get to come hat in hand to the taxpayers and demand that they bail out all my losses. I might just stay at the casino all the time if that were the case.
This is the moral risk inherent in today’s corporatist system.
On the other hand, we cannot allow big banks and strange institutions like Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac to fail. In return for bailing these clowns out, though, taxpayers must demand either an ownership share in Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac (I would argue that there is an excellent for nationalizing these institutions, but after Ronald Reagan, that’s hardly possible).
Or those two institutions, and the entire finance industry for that matter, must submit to the kind of intense state regulation that they formerly labored under, and that worked very well from 1935 until 1973 or so when capitalists started destroying it.
Surely socialist states can be run solely for an elite as James notes. This is why I object to supporting the Burmese state. Some Leftists are supporting Burma on the basis that the Western sanctions on Burma are not because it is an evil murdering state, but because it refuses to open up its state economy sufficiently to multinational capital. They are correct that this is the real reason for the sanctions on Burma.
But while Burma is formally a socialist state and most of the economy is in state hands, the state sector is run by a venal, callous, paranoid and murderous military elite as a cash cow. They pocket the substantial profits of this state sector while disallowing any private competition with it and at the same time treating their people little better than chattel.
This is something like a crony state capitalist state, and there is nothing progressive about it, especially while the vast majority of Burmese wallow in the worst misery. Just to show that there is nothing progressive about it, the Burmese Communist Party (admittedly very radical Maoists) has been waging armed struggle against the Burmese “socialist” junta since it was formed in 1962.
The junta has oppressed the various Burmese nationalities, most of whom never even consented to be a part of the new Burmese state freed from colonialism in 1948 in the first place.
A proper progressive state gives substantial rights and autonomy to national minorities, and the USSR, Vietnam and China have all done this, despite a lot of problems along the way. The progressive socialist states in Europe also give cultural rights to national minorities.
Vicious repression of minorities is a quality of fascism and ultranationalism and not properly of the Left. On the other hand, the divergent, quirky and twisted Khmer Rouge ferociously attacked all non-Khmers, though they were surely Marxists. The Khmer Rouge was a sad case of ethnic nationalist and racist Marxists. I would agree that a racist Marxist is still a Marxist, but he just isn’t a very good one.

Pancho Villa, Presente!

Repost from the old site.
In the comments section, Uncle Milton comments that Mexican history shows that Mexican revolutions have quickly turned into kleptocracies. He also says that the Mexican electorate has more sense than we think they do. He also makes a lot of good points about Mexico and decides that it is neither a capitalist nor socialist state, but some sort of a kleptocratic oligarchic state.
I argue, first, that the Mexican electorate is ignorant and does not vote in its best interests. Second, that we Americans owe the Mexican revolution a tremendous debt and that the achievements of the revolution are deliberately ignored and downplayed by the US ruling class.
Third, that while the revolution did degenerate into a corrupt, fat, lazy, greedy and fake-revolutionary PRI mess, it did make very real and substantial achievements. Fourth, that no socialist on Earth would claim Mexico, one of the most unequal states on Earth. Fifth, that Mexico is actually a fairly wealthy country.
If you’re a poor Mexican, like most of them are, you have to vote for the Left and against the oligarchy. It’s the only rational thing to do. Mexicans haven’t voted for the Left and won since Cardenas in the 1930’s. The Rightwing parties, including the fake revolutionary PRI, haven’t done fuck-all for the poor Mexicans since 1920.
The PRI was originally a revolutionary party that went corrupt and bad with time, stasis, greed and inertia. It’s true that the Mexicans voted for Cardenas and the Left in 1988 and had the votes stolen from them. In the last election, they voted Left again, for AMLO, and it was stolen again.
I think you have to agree that the Left is the party that is going to benefit poor Mexicans the most. They may well be bad to neutral for middle class and rich Mexicans, but they will be good for the poor. As for the rightwing parties, what have they done for Mexicans in the last 80 years?
US conservative apologists need to explain why conservative politics has failed the Mexican poor so horribly for most of the last century and all of this one. When is rightwing politics going to start working down there, anyway? I say they had their chance.
Milton: Historically rebellions and revolution in Mexico have led to the same old kleptocrats running the show.
This is not really completely true if you are arguing that all Mexican revolutions have failed.
The Mexican revolution was a great thing. 10-20 million people died, but it had to be done, just like World War 2. You must understand that prior to Pancho Villa, Mexicans lived in a state of feudalism. I am not kidding. Read descriptions of Mexicans in 1910.
The revolution broke up the big feudal estates and destroyed the power of the Catholic Church who supported the feudal lords. The reason Americans don’t know this is because we were not taught this.
At the time, our government hated the Mexican revolution and supported the feudal lords, and it probably still hates the Mexican revolution, because the American government hates all populist rebellions.
They don’t want us to know about a successful populist revolution in Mexico, or anywhere.
One thing the revolution did was give land to the average Mexican. It is the case to this day. Most Mexicans have access to land if they wish to farm it, often collectively. These collective farms have been very successful for the last 90 years, at least in terms of warding off starvation and putting food in stomachs.
Our government never teaches us this either because they don’t want us to know about a successful experiment in collective agriculture.
At least the average Mexican can eat; he need not go hungry. To this day, Mexico has one of the lowest rates of malnutrition in Latin America.
The revolution also created public schools and public health care. Most Mexicans do have access to free and public health care. The health care is not the greatest, and you may have to wait ages, but it’s there. In the rural areas, many kids are pulled out of schools to work on farms, but the schools do exist.
The US should be indebted to the Mexican revolution. When Central America was in flames in the 1980’s, did you notice that Mexico was quiet? At the time, I asked my Mother why Mexico was not in flames and she shrugged her shoulders and said, “They already had their revolution.”
We should throw a shout out to Pancho Villa that he kept Tijuana from becoming San Salvador in 1989.
It’s clear that this venal Mexican elite uses the US border as a safety valve to send their poor to the US so the rich don’t have to share with them. I think that rightwingers in the US ought to admit that conservatism in Mexico has failed in that it has caused the illegal immigrant crisis in the US.
To call Mexico a socialist country is an insult to socialists everywhere. If it were a decent social democracy, I do not think we would be having all these Mexicans flooding up here. Mexico is not a poor country. It has a PCI of almost $13,000/yr, and that is not bad. Mexico has near the same PCI as Argentina, Uruguay, Turkey and Lebanon. It’s much higher than Costa Rica, the middle class jewel of Latin America.
Yet I believe that over 50% of the population of Mexico lives in poverty. No socialist on Earth would wish to claim such an unequal state, one of the most unequal countries on Earth.
Milton is probably correct that a kleptocracy is going to make a working social democracy difficult. But Chavez is doing well in a Venezuela burdened with massive corruption. Not that this is optimal. Perhaps windfall oil profits enable Chavez to make this suboptimal state of affairs functional.

Cool Page On Social Democracy

Repost from the old site.
This is a really cool page on the Social Democratic Party of America. There are several social democratic parties in the US, and no, rightwing fuckwads, they are not much like the Democratic Party at all. A lot of them don’t even like the Democratic Party. Social democracy means a lot of things all over the world.
There is a Socialist International of socialist parties all over the world, and I support that organization. Even a lot of Communists don’t necessarily hate it. A lot of us on the Left support all sorts of socialist models, from Communism to social democracy even all the way to the US Democratic Party.
Your average US rightwing shithead can’t seem to figure that out, but then, they subscribe to a philosophy that is narrow-minded and stupid in both intent and praxis.
Truth is, as you can see by this page, there is not a lot of love lost between at least this social democratic party and Communists. To say that they are one and the same just shows that you are a stupid rightwing asshole. No serious political scientist would make such a statement.
I don’t necessarily agree with this party in their critique of Cuba, Belarus and other countries ruled by Communist-type regimes, but hey, it’s a big tent here on the Left.
There are all sorts of social democratic parties all over the world. As you can see, they are major parties in Slovenia, Japan, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Romania, Ukraine, Iceland, Austria, Serbia, Poland , Paraguay, Portugal, Finland, Cameroon, Guatemala, Tajikistan, Macedonia, France, Italy, Sweden, Belarus, Denmark and all sorts of other places.
I have varying opinions on how well they are doing; I think that the ones in Europe have done a pretty good job. But I have a pretty low opinion of Lula’s PT in Brazil, Bachelet’s Socialist Party in Chile, the UK Labor Party (An imperialist socialist party?), and I doubt if this new Guatemalan party is going to get much done.
The Peruvian social democrats have a particularly horrible record. The Sandinistas in Nicaragua will not be able to get much done either. Cristina Merkel is having a hard time getting a lot of her agenda through in Argentina.
Social democracy seems to work best in highly developed and wealthy countries, as you can see above. In the poor Third World, they haven’t been able to do much to change the reactionary and backwards nature of society, nor to alleviate poverty, nor to do much of anything.
I think in a lot of cases there may be a necessity for revolutionary change, either via the way of the gun, or possibly peacefully in a more civilized society via the Hugo Chavez model.
In Europe, the ruling classes and the Right were completely destroyed in World War 2, which left millions of rightists and fascists dead and left the whole rightwing movement scattered and discredited. Hence social democracy was able to make a lot of headway with a defeated and more or less rendered-civilized and neutered Right.
Further, society itself changed in that even the wealthy, the upper middle classes, the middle classes, and corporate executives began to support social democracy.
In part this social pact was due to massive pressure from the Left which caused the European Right and business classes to sue for peace via a Social Compact. Also, society itself changed and social democracy became the dominant model for all classes.
Something similar occurred in Japan. The Right was destroyed by the war, and those that were not dead were discredited and humiliated.
In Eastern Europe, decades of Communism may have left a distaste for Communism but not for social democracy. Once again, most of the rightists were simply slaughtered, the rest were in jail or discredited, and society itself was well-molded along socialist lines for decades.
In Latin America, faced with a much more backwards, venal, dishonest, amoral, criminal, corrupt, and murderous upper class and upper middle class intent on staying in power at all costs, social democracy has had a really hard time getting much done. It’s fascinating that the US has allowed social democracy to flower in Europe, but has smashed every glimmer of it in Latin America as “Communism” or “dictatorship”.
Socialist parties in India (the Congress Party) have failed for similar reasons as the ones in Latin America. Social democracy in Sri Lanka has a good record.
In most of the Arab World, there is a more or less socialist model in place, no matter what the governments call themselves. Radical free market capitalism is contrary to Arab society and to Islam itself, hence it is not likely to succeed in any Arab or Islamic society.
Cambodia is run by a socialist party. So is Burma, but most socialists want nothing to do with them.
Contrary to rightwing bullshit, socialism in the form of social democracy has not failed at all. It is not a failed or discredited model or any of that.
Social democratic parties have sadly had a really hard time getting off the ground in the United States. For the most part, this is because America is extremely rightwing for a developed country. It is no exaggeration to say that the US is the most reactionary developed country on Earth, in both its leadership and in its citizens. This is 100% the fault of US Whites, and always has been.
There’s been a decades-long propaganda war against socialism in which the word “socialism” was deviously married to word “Communism”. Americans being a bunch of morons, and basically very rightwing in their natures, swallowed the whole thing. But in the mid-1970’s, things were different.
We had had over a decade of fairly progressive politics, even under Republicans, and leaders of major US corporations got together, agitated and worried. They said that if something is not done now, we are going to have a European-style social democracy in the US. This began a years-long project to set up and fund a series rightwing foundations and think tanks in the US.
They are still going strong, and have tremendous influence on US politics due to their ability to churn out papers, speakers and conferences on issues almost immediately. They have deep ties to the reactionary corporate media and quickly popped onto TV and the front page and kept there as long as the Right wants or needs any issue to be spotlighted.
It is true that there is a tradition of radical individualism in the US, but that’s only among White people. This may have been slightly reasonable at some point if you were Davey Crockett building a cabin in the woods, but those days are long gone.
One great thing about the loss of a White majority in the US (which will be both good and bad) is that US non-Whites, in particular Hispanics and Blacks, are much more sympathetic to at least Democratic Party politics and possibly social democracy.
On the other hand, reactionary politics have such a deep hold on this country that even some younger Blacks and Hispanics, once they start making some money, adopt some form of reactionary politics, typically nowadays along the lines of the faddish but ultra-rightwing libertarianism. This is discouraging, and shows that a non-Whites in the US are not necessarily a progressive bloc.
Another thing to note is that despite the hostile rhetoric some US social democratic parties take towards the Democratic Party, we already have a lot of social democracy here in the US, brought to us actually by both political parties.
The Right, meaning White America, has been savagely slashing away at this social democracy for decades now, but even so, it’s a Hell of a lot better record than the social democratic parties in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Guatemala, Jamaica and Brazil, which in my opinion have failed to varying degrees.
If Americans were anything like Europeans, social democracy ought to be an easy play here in the US. But for one thing, White Americans’ opposition to high taxation is going to make this a difficult project.
White Americans’ opposition to socialism and social democracy is rooted in a lot of things, but one of the main things is race. It’s all about taking the hard-earned tax dollars of White Americans and giving them to worthless gangbanging, welfare-addicted, drug-abusing Hispanics and Black criminals, scumbags and lowlifes.
Truth is that this simple-minded mindset has devastated a lot of hardworking working-class lower to mid-income Whites, but White America just can’t see that.
White Americans don’t have much in the way of racial solidarity. If there is anything, there is solidarity based on class and that’s it. Whites in the suburbs think that low-income and working class Whites, whom they refer to as White trash, can fuck off. While White American politics are indeed often rooted in race, they are also rooted in class too, and the two can be contradictory.
Life is complicated.

Socialism Wastes Money, Capitalism Wastes Humans

Repost from the old site.
There has been a lot of talk, even by socialists, of the profound “wastefulness” inherent in various Communist economic systems. As I’m not an economist, I don’t really understand what they are talking about.
However, I can give you a few ideas.
In recent years, Cuba has revolutionized organic agriculture to where they probably have one of the most highly developed organic ag systems on Earth. For starters, Cuba has more agronomists per capita than anywhere else on Earth. During the Special Period, they were put to work devising organic solutions to problems that were previously solved by industrialized agriculture.
Right now, in the intensive organic farming collectives all over Havana, crop yield has reached some of the highest levels on Earth per unit of land. And that’s with a 100% organic system. Now, who ever said that socialism could not produce?
However, interviews with collective farmers reveal that the system could not be replicated on a capitalist model. It is “wasteful”, that is, it has to either spend too much money to get that yield, or it pays too many farmers as workers to get the yield. It’s pretty much the same argument.
A similar complaint has been leveled at Cuban enterprises. In some office jobs, it seems as if there are four or five workers for every real job. They rest are screwing off or shuffling papers or engaging in make-work.
I suppose all of these examples are of “waste”, right? Waste of money! Well, Cuba is a poor country dedicated to 100% employment.
In most of the Third World, college grads just don’t have any jobs. The state has no jobs for them and the private sector doesn’t either. So there are vastly more applicants than positions. A lot of these places have much more wealth than Cuba.
Cuba’s not going to go that route. It has enough money to hire workers even for jobs that barely even exist, and it wants everyone to have a job, figuring that’s better than sitting on your ass. 3rd World capitalism creates armies of over-educated young unemployed men with no income to start a family. In the Muslim World, lots of them are going in for radical Islam and blowing themselves up.
I suppose that Cuba has a similar problem, but they just dealt with it by creating make-work jobs and at least giving folks an income and something to do with their time. There’s waste of humans in one case (3rd World capitalism) by lack of jobs for them, and waste of money in the other case (Cuba) for creating make-work jobs.
I would point out that the Cuban organic collectives are run by the workers themselves. They hire other workers to join on. If you don’t pull your weight and slack off, you’re fired. They have to sell some of their produce to the state, but there’s plenty left over for farmers’ markets. There are many people clamoring to get into these collectives, as it’s seen as a good job with a good income.
As a collective economic form, it’s also non-capitalist. Right now, only 6% of Cuban agriculture is in state farms. Most is in farming cooperatives. Much is made of the very high productivity levels of the private farms (they are limited to 150 acres), but they do this by using vastly more than their share of labor, so perhaps they are not so productive after all.
Here in the US, a lot of very smart people are just completely wasted by capitalism. I’m not talking about myself here, because I’m not healthy enough to work in a regular job, so I just live off a meager trust fund.
But I know two people with IQ’s over 140 who are not doing much productive. One works at low-level jobs and the other is on disability, but could work if they wanted to. What puzzles me is why this wonderful market is not beating their doors down trying to hire our most valuable citizens (cognitive elite)?
If the stupid market can’t utilize their brains in any way, why doesn’t the state? The very same thing happens in 3rd World capitalism. Very bright people, with degrees and advanced degrees, have nothing to do.
If aliens landed on the Earth and saw a bunch of the smartest people around being wasted by society, wouldn’t they say that was insane? The capitalists would explain to the aliens that these folks are useless for making money, so they are a waste of air, and that capitalists don’t give a damn about talent or brains or anything.
I guess that’s what it boils down to? Capitalism is good for creating wealth, that’s it. Hell, even Marx said that. Read The Communist Manifesto. He praises this greatest wealth-creating engine to the skies.
What else is capitalism good for? Nothing. It ain’t good for fuck-all else. I assure you that Cuba would find something to do with everyone in the land who had a 140-150 IQ.
I guess the market feels it can’t use the smartest people in society to help it make cash , so it has no use for them. Capitalism and the market is just a fucking money-generating machine. It’s in business to make money, nothing else.
That’s what all this crap the market-fetishists go on about in terms of “generating wealth” is all about. Making money. “Generating wealth” means making money. Big deal. Since when is that a value worth anything of importance?
I hate capitalism and the damned market. Looking at the failure of socialist models (For example, when Albanian leader Hoxha died in 1985, there were shortages of even the most basic foodstuffs.) I’m willing to acknowledge that it may be necessary, but it sure sucks.
Have you ever noticed the contempt that capitalists have for professors in universities, our finest minds at work in various sciences and fields, advancing the knowledge of our species? They sneer and call them eggheads and talk about how their tax dollars are wasted on these guys. They brag about how they never went to college.
There’s no money in a lot of these fields of study at the university (probably, or at least at the moment, or from what we can tell), so capitalists figure it’s all a total waste. If there’s no money in it, it’s worthless. That’s your glorious market.
Fuck the market.

Buttered Peas and Beets

This is actually two separate recipes, but you can combine them if you like.
1 15 oz. can peas, drained
1 15 oz. can beets, drained
4 TSP margarine
2 TSP dried onion flakes
2 tsp dried parsley
In a pan, melt 2 TSP margarine over medium heat. Add peas. Add onion flakes. Cook for 5 minutes on medium.
In another pan, melt TSP margarine over medium heat. Add beets. Add parsley. Cook 5 minutes on medium.
You can eat them separately or combine them, but I combined them over rice. The onions go very well with the peas, and the parsley goes great with the beets. Good vegetarian meal. 12.5 servings vegetables. 600 calories.

Reactionary Nut Republican On Various Non-Existent Threats

From In Mala Fide, where many a flipped out reactionary hangs out, a super-rightist named Whiskey holds forth:

You’re completely off base on this. The objections to the START treaty is that it hamstrings the US, particularly with weapons modernization (so they actually work) and forbids a ABM shield. Which is needed.
Obama’s objective is to punish White America for having and using Nukes by eliminating them first. As he’s pushed for repeatedly in speeches and actions. No one trusts him because he’s against the US having nukes or a military in the first place.
Nor are you correct about Iran not being able to get nukes. North Korea has them, and just today it was revealed their centrifuge program, thought impossible was far along and done in less than a year, right before our eyes. Of course they have help, as does Pakistan and Iran: CHINA.
China wishes to use proxies to threaten or even nuke the US, deniably, so they can scoop up much of Asia, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Their economy is a sham and they know it. They have a massive gender imbalance. They have looming demographic shortages coming.
This is the mark of a “use it or lose it” aggressive power: see Japan and Germany, 1930′s. For the Chinese to take Taiwan, and the rest of Asia, as colonies and mercantile advantages (think 1600-1700′s France) they must move the US out, and indirect ways are less risky than overt war (which is disturbingly contemplated in Chinese media and thus with official approval).
Iran is a threat because it too faces a looming crisis domestically with their economy, looming demographic implosion, and like China and Turkey aspirations for empire rebuilding. Iran’s leaders have stated they wish to reconstitute in Islamic form the Persian Empire, stretching into the Balkans, down to Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula.
As a practical matter, Iran’s nukes would allow it to keep oil prices sky high (by threatening the Gulf states) and turf out the US Navy. If you like paying less than $20 a gallon for gas and keeping your job, you’ll find Iran’s nukes a threat. Given the need to start paying off their gunmen and what amounts to a cadre of military gangsters they are likely racing to this goal of nukes + ballistic missiles. Both technology more than sixty years old.
Its not that hard to do, the Russians did it in the 1950′s.
As far as Iran plus Pakistan, each could point to the other if they are both nuclear, if a major US city goes boom!
Which is why Lindsay Grahmanesty is right. We need to dismember Iran before they go nuclear. So we can have gas that is not so expensive it destroys the economy and puts us in horse and buggy times. We also need a robust nuclear deterrent, and ABM against nations like North Korea which are thinly disguised proxy attackers helped by China. Iran does not have any friends and a major power like the US needs to provide useful lessons and reminders of the danger of attacking us.
Our main problem is that no one really believes we have the will and ability to punish nations severely if they threaten our core interests. China has no such problem and is our major competitor. Thus we need to dump the START treaty and do something about Iran, like bomb all its major facilities. Setting back its nuke program and promoting useful fear. [I mean really, who’d care if we bombed the crap out of Iran? But its a good way to put fear of the US into Pakistan’s military, so they control their jihadis.]
Never underestimate the power of a useful example in international relations.

One insane remark at a time here.
The objections to the START treaty is that it hamstrings the US, particularly with weapons modernization (so they actually work) and forbids a ABM shield. Which is needed.
This guy must go to the Richard Perle School in International Relations. First he trots out the old, “We need to still keep building nukes ‘to make sure they still work'” line. Can you believe that this crazy line has captured the famished imaginations of many a US President? Sad but true.
Next up we have the ABM shield. It’s a bad idea, and it’s based on the premise of a winnable nuclear war. Nuclear wars are not winnable. Everyone loses. In the we can win scenario, the ABM shoots down all the enemy nukes, and then we blast them with our nukes. It goes back to the USSR and the Cold War, which is supposedly over, but neocons like this guy are always finding new wars to fight.
Obama’s objective is to punish White America for having and using Nukes by eliminating them first. As he’s pushed for repeatedly in speeches and actions. No one trusts him because he’s against the US having nukes or a military in the first place.
Wow, some Tea Party White racism thrown in for good measure. Obama hates US Whites because we have nukes and niggers don’t. LOL. No one cares that Obama opposes even the US having nukes, supposedly, but even Obama isn’t nuts enough to unilaterally disarm.
Of course they have help, as does Pakistan and Iran: CHINA.
China, a nuclear power, is helping potential enemy neighbors and near neighbors also become military powers, so that maybe they can threaten China in the figure. Right dude. Rule #1 about nuclear powers is that they don’t tend to spread it around. Look at all the big nuclear powers. Any of them proliferated? Of course not. If you had the deadliest poison on Earth, would you even give it to your best friends or family? Of course not.
China wishes to use proxies to threaten or even nuke the US, deniably, so they can scoop up much of Asia, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Their economy is a sham and they know it. They have a massive gender imbalance. They have looming demographic shortages coming. This is the mark of a “use it or lose it” aggressive power: see Japan and Germany, 1930′s. For the Chinese to take Taiwan, and the rest of Asia, as colonies and mercantile advantages (think 1600-1700′s France) they must move the US out, and indirect ways are less risky than overt war (which is disturbingly contemplated in Chinese media and thus with official approval).
LOL, whoa dude. Too much, dude, too much. Even the Perle – Wolfowitz – Gaffney – Rumsfeld – Cheney – Feith Project for a New American Century sociopaths don’t say things this crazy. There’s crazy and there’s batshit crazy. This is batshit crazy. So nuts I won’t even bother to refute it. Suffice to say there is no evidence for it.
China’s economy in some ways is in better shape than the West’s. It is growing at a remarkable pace. It avoided the financial ponzi scheme World Depression through the use of state banks. China invests in real capital investment, real productivity growth and real commodity production and increasing wages and living standards, whereas the US engages in asset stripping, bald and naked class war out of the 1890’s, financial ponzi schemes, the destruction of the real economy, a financialized casino economy that in reality is a house of cards, declining wages and living standards and an economy that both parties run only so the top 2% can attack the bottom 98%.
China’s economy is run for the nation, the people and workers. The US’ economy is run by and for a parasitical FIRE sector with banksters at the helm determined to suck every last bit of surplus out of consumers in form of payments to banks.
Iran is a threat because it too faces a looming crisis domestically with their economy, looming demographic implosion, and like China and Turkey aspirations for empire rebuilding. Iran’s leaders have stated they wish to reconstitute in Islamic form the Persian Empire, stretching into the Balkans, down to Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Iran’s demographics are no big deal anymore than any other 3rd World Country. The birth rate is below replacement. The economy is doing ok, barring the sanctions. Iran certainly has no desire to be an imperialist state, and neither does Turkey (LOL) and even China does not aspire to such.
Iran’s leaders certainly have never said that they want to recolonize the Arab World under a recreated Persian Empire. This sounds like the fevered blatherings of fanatical Sunnis more than rational analysis.
As a practical matter, Iran’s nukes would allow it to keep oil prices sky high (by threatening the Gulf states) and turf out the US Navy. If you like paying less than $20 a gallon for gas and keeping your job, you’ll find Iran’s nukes a threat. Given the need to start paying off their gunmen and what amounts to a cadre of military gangsters they are likely racing to this goal of nukes + ballistic missiles. Both technology more than sixty years old.
Won’t happen. Even if they ever get them, Iran won’t use nukes to blackmail the world. This is just ridiculous. They will use them like all other sane countries use them, in order to keep idiots like us from attacking them. Duh.
As far as Iran plus Pakistan, each could point to the other if they are both nuclear, if a major US city goes boom!
A US city won’t go boom unless someone shoots a nuke at it. If that ever happened, I’m sure the Pentagon has the high tech to figure out which country launched it. Snark. There’s no way to nuke a US city without shooting a ballistic missile at it. I deal with the suitcase nukes bullshit in an earlier post.
Which is why Lindsay Grahmanesty is right. We need to dismember Iran before they go nuclear. So we can have gas that is not so expensive it destroys the economy and puts us in horse and buggy times.
The homosexual Lindsay Graham is not right. We don’t need to invade Iran, much less dismember it. If you thought Iraq and Afghanistan were fun, try doing Iran!
Iran does not have any friends and a major power like the US needs to provide useful lessons and reminders of the danger of attacking us.
Yeah but no one’s “attacking us” you neocon dumbshit. Oh, that’s right, in the 107 degree minds of the neocons, the US is always “under attack.” Usually the attacks are the “invisible” kind, but they are attacks nonetheless. Snark.
We also need a robust nuclear deterrent, and ABM against nations like North Korea which are thinly disguised proxy attackers helped by China.
We don’t need the ABM, and it doesn’t even work anyway. Ever try shooting down a bullet with another bullet. That’s what an ABM is. It doesn’t work. North Korea is not a Chinese proxy. China has it’s own nukes, and it’s almost an ally anyway. There is huge trade between the US and China. No reason to screw that up with messy things like wars.
Our main problem is that no one really believes we have the will and ability to punish nations severely if they threaten our core interests.
Neocons are always saying this. “Our enemies think we are weak. We need to attack someone to show them we are serious!” By the way, this was one of the main rationales for the Iraq War, and look where that got us. Sure the world is scared of the US.
In the above, “threaten” means just about anything. It means looking at Uncle Sam wrong. It means not following orders when the US issues them. “US interests” means the interests of US imperialism. Not a good thing.
Thus we need to dump the START treaty and do something about Iran, like bomb all its major facilities.
Yeah, brilliant idea, dumbass. Want to see that $20/gallon oil? Then try this.
I mean really, who’d care if we bombed the crap out of Iran?
Just about the whole world, in particular the Muslim World, Russia, China, everyone really? This is another of the neocon delusions. First of all, the world is full of enemies who “hate us for our freedom” or whatever bullshit reason they thought up last night. We have no friends. Second of all, the world really does love America and will secretly be overjoyed when we start the next war. This is the thinking behind the assholes who started the Iraq War, exactly.
But its a good way to put fear of the US into Pakistan’s military, so they control their jihadis.
Yeah dude. Um, Pakistan is afraid we are going to bomb their nuclear facilities? WTF.
Never underestimate the power of a useful example in international relations.
This is the “make an example out of them” neocon school. This argument was also very important in the Iraq War. Boy, this guy is drumming them out one by one here, no?
The scary thing is that this raving lunatic represents the way the Republican Party thinks, and the way that 10’s of millions or possibly even a majority of Americans think, or could easily be led to think. Commenter AJ is right. US imperialism is a menace to humanity. The sooner it crashes and burns, the better.

Psilocybin Doesn't Cause Brain Damage

Repost from the old site.
Told you so.
Hell, I’ve only taken it, what, 30 times or so? It never fried me, or at least I don’t think so. I never noticed any long-lasting harm after taking this drug. One time, I had bright colors for about six months after I took it. Another time, I got depressed and sat around alone on Saturday night feeling sorry for myself. Next morning, I woke up and was not depressed anymore.
One time, I took some, got in my car, and drove from Los Angeles to the Owens Valley, then turned around and drove home again. I think the whole trip took me about 12-14 hours. You can drive great on the stuff if you have a nice, clear, open road in front of you, and the towering Sierra Nevada sure looks great when you are frying. Plus, the stuff keeps you awake for many hours somehow.
I used to sell these mushrooms, and boy was it fun. I was a student, a schoolteacher, a paralegal and a drug dealer. I would sell quarter pounds and pounds and make insane profits like $300 for an hour’s work or so. Plus you get to feel like a spy and feel some real terror when you carry the dope around and do the deal itself.
You get to drive past lots of cops with a car full of dope that could send you to jail for a long time. You look at the cops and just drive right on by like nothing is happening. You carry the dope in a briefcase and dress up like an office worker, or you carry it in an athletic bag and dress up like you’re going to gym.
There’s nothing like the rush you get being out in public with a car full of felonious dope or a wallet full of tainted drug money.
My friends and I dealt dope in the smart way, and most of us never got caught. We were not all totally White, but most of us were raised in a mostly-White beach town. We dressed up like college kids, office workers, gym enthusiasts, and conformed to White middle class society in every way.
Yet we sold dope right in front of the cops and society’s noses for years for years and never got caught. There’s a luscious feeling in that.
A friend of mine made so much money selling coke that he bought two homes in San Fransisco, one to store the coke and another to live in. He was so hot I didn’t dare even look him up. You don’t even want to hang around some super-dealer like that.
I just checked him out and he’s resurfaced in Southern California, fit, healthy and fifty, selling real estate. A survivor. I guess he never got caught either. Even my Mom shakes her head in admiration of him. White society always respects someone who can outsmart the cops in a not-too-evil way. Why? It places a premium on not being stupid, and not being caught.
I often wonder if other ethnics share this value.
Sometimes I think that these young Blacks and Hispanics nowadays place a premium on getting caught, and therefore being a moron. This I will never understand.
These Hispanic kids around here are the biggest idiots on Earth. They do dope deals, albeit for small amounts of pot, right out in the open in front of everyone. They seem to take special delight in doing an obvious drug deal right out where anyone can see it happen. I guess it’s a macho thing.
White middle class me says it’s not a macho thing, it’s a stupid thing. No wonder they are always getting hauled in on dope-selling charges. They dress up like gangsters and criminals and then wonder why they get stopped by the cops. Duh.
There really is an art to being a criminal.
All in all, psilocybin is a fun drug. You keep hearing horror stories about this stuff, about people who took too much of it and are mentally ill, or people who took too much and are fried in some way or another. Problem is that there is not the tiniest evidence that this stuff damages your brain, unlike almost other drugs of abuse. Yes, the drugs that make you feel the most insane of all do not do the slightest harm to your brain in any way.
All those stories floating around about people taking too much hallucinogens need to be taken with a grain of salt. If it’s harmless to the brain, how is it supposed to create fried-out acidheads? Answer: it’s can’t.
I’m not saying take them every weekend. I haven’t taken the stuff in about 23 years, and I’m not sure if I will ever take it again.
Taking these kinds of drugs is one of the most bizarre experiences that one can have on this Earth, though, and you can have some really terrifying bad trips. Psychological harm can occur from traumatic experiences.
By the way, it’s not harmful to any other organ in your body either. Plus there are long-lasting positive effects, apparently.
On the other hand, this drug can cause HPPD , so I’d advise against taking it. I have HPPD, but I only have bright colors, and it’s really not so bad. You’re living in a Technicolor world, and if you just accept it, the world looks a lot better this way.

Cannabis, Teens and Schizophrenia

Repost from the old site.
I received a mail today from someone who attended an interesting conference in the Midwest.
At a Mental Illness and Criminal Justice Conference today in Omaha, Nebraska, Dr. Frederick Frese, who is the Coordinator of the Summit County Recovery Project and Assistant Prof of Psychology in Clinical Psychology at NEOUCOM and Case Western Reserve U, and on the Board of Trustees for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, gave a session on teenage cannabis use and schizophrenia.
He has been a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic for 40 years.
Frese stated that use of cannabis between the ages of 15 and 18 in persons who have a variant allele of the COMT gene will lead to an almost certain psychotic break by the age of 25. He said it’s because of the formative time that the brain is in during those years, in combination with that certain allele, together with cannabis use.
He said that if you have do not have the variant allele, no problem. Frese is so concerned about this that he and his team are going to start setting up genetic testing booths for kids at rock concerts because of the very real danger that the studies show exist.
I applaud Dr. Frese for the very real efforts he is taking to try to prevent schizophrenia in vulnerable youth.
I am dubious about how many kids this will save. The rate of schizophrenia has not gone up since the cannabis era began. This suggests that use of cannabis if anything will cause schizophrenia to occur sooner than it would otherwise occur, and it would occur anyway, just later.
The number of folks with this variant allele is high in absolute numbers, and many of them use MJ and don’t get schizophrenia. But it does cause a 10 times elevated risk. I think that Frese is wrong to say that it’s almost certain that these kids will get schizophrenia by 25 after smoking one jay between ages 15-18.
As I’ve said before on this blog, I have known 1000’s of cannabis users over my lifetime, many heavy users. The number who went on develop schizophrenia? Zero. This is why this whole subject makes me yawn.
I wish Frese good luck with his experiment though. Ideally, we could construct a good experiment this way. We could follow kids with the variant allele who wait til 19 to start MJ (Is this protective?) or avoid it period, with another group who did not avoid cannabis and see how many of each develop schiz and at what ages.
Tell the truth, I am quite concerned about use of cannabis by minors. I wish they would not do it. Period. Wait til you’re an adult!
I have OCD (another, though vastly less devastating, mental illness), and I have found that cannabis is actually a superb psychiatric drug for this illness. It works better than almost any med I have ever taken for this (The drugs work great at high doses, but nuke my sex drive, so what good are they?), and I have suffered for 26 yrs.
No clinician believes me when I tell them this; all insist that pot makes you mentally ill or worsens all mental illness or caused my problem in the first place (The gall of them!?), and all try to steer me to drug treatment or drug counseling when I tell them I use. I’m really getting tired of this shit. I’m 50 years old, and I’m being treated like a child.
I have some opinions about the mental health profession, but in general they are extremely low. For such a bunch of super-smart people, there sure is a lot of bullshit groupthink, scaredy-cat thinking and just general lack of an empirical outlook.

Cannabis Is Good For You

Repost from the old site.
Well, not necessarily in general, but if you are a regular methamphetamine user, there is a suggestion that you get less, not more, brain damage, or cognitive impairment (whichever it was) if you concurrently use cannabis than if you use methamphetamine only. The fact that there is a drug that gets you high that might actually be protective of brain damage in some cases is downright fascinating.
Keep in mind that this study found only a trend, and did not prove that cannabis protected against the damage caused by meth use. However, if you read the study, there was a linear trend that showed that the meth + cannabis users had scores intermediate to the controls (no drugs) and meth only groups.
The meth only group scored worst, the controls scored best, and there was a trend for the meth + cannabis group to score intermediate. The trend was not significant enough at the .05 level to be probative, but there was a suggestive trend towards better scores if meth users used cannabis also.
What was found was only cognitive impairment, or worse scores on a test, but with meth use, at some level, say 1/2 gram a day for 1 1/2 years, there is definitely brain damage, and it does not completely clear up with abstention.
There is anecdotal evidence for permanent damage after only 2-3 weeks of very heavy use, but it’s not proven. We don’t yet know when structural damage to the brain due to meth use begins. Meth can probably be used up to a dozen times or so in a lifetime with no problems, but after that, all bets are off.
If anyone has some good data on meth and brain damage, please comment or email me the links.

The Slow Death of France

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5D-1WO8KkIA&feature=player_embedded]
Good Lord, this is terrible. This is the great France of Hugo and Sartre, Renoir, Flaubert, Zola, Proust, Beckett, Godard, Truffaut and Cocteau? The France of the Paris cafe scene in the 1920’s, with Hemmingway, Joyce, Pound, Toklas, Stein, Barnes and the rest?
Now it’s descended into sheer jungle savagery. France is turning into Africa.
They would have done better to import African-Americans. These are the worst of all possible Blacks, straight out of the primal backwards of the Dark Continent itself. To make matters worse, not only are they Black Africans, but they are Muslim Black Africans!
I can’t imagine things are this bad even in US ghettos, terrible as they are. US ghettos are awful places, but I don’t think there are no-go zones for cops. I’ve worked in these ghettos, and the police are everywhere, making arrests constantly. I’ve never heard of cops going to investigate a rape and being driven away by hostile residents out to protect the rapists.
And anyone who pulls a baseball bat on a US cop is probably going down on charges to say the least. If I pick up a bat and advance towards a US cop, I’m guilty of a crime, no?I doubt if the cops are going to run away.
Nor do US Blacks, even in our worst ghettos, burn dozens of cars a night, and hundreds on bad nights. They scarcely burn cars at all, at least not as social protest.
These areas have essentially been ceded to a hostile foreign enemy. The Muslims and Blacks rule these places and don’t let any government entities in.
In the video, the detectives go with the rape victim to the site of the crime. It’s a squat where 10 young Black Muslim men are living. These Blacks are obviously the ones who raped the woman. They probably felt she deserved it for some reason, maybe because she was fair game, maybe because she was dressed like a slut. The victim can be seen throughout the movie dressed in a red coat. At one point, a detective says, “We are here for her.” She’s a Caucasian woman in her 20’s.
I watched this video with a dropped jaw. The French have created a monster. God help them.