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 10 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.

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 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.

Chinese Fishing Boat Collides with Japanese Coast Guard Vessel

The video described in the post may be seen at my video site here. This is a new viral video that was just leaked to the Internet on November 7, 2010. It shows a Chinese fishing boat deliberately colliding with a Japanese coast guard vessel on September 7 off the Senkaku Islands. The islands are located northeast of Taiwan and southwest of the Ryukyu Islands of which Okinawa is a part. They have long been held by Japan. The US administered the islands as part of the Ryukyus until 1972 when they were given back to Japan. Since then, they have been claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan. The dispute over the islands is a major problem between Japan and China and between Japan and Taiwan. There is natural gas in the region, so this has heightened the conflict. No one lives on the islands. The largest island, Diaoyu Dao or Uotsuri Jima has some rare species, including the Senkaku mole or the Mugeri Uchidai and the Okinawa-kuro-oo-ari ant. The mole has become rare due to goats being imported to the island in 1978. They now number 300, and they need to be killed off. The leaked video was not supposed to have been released. It was probably released by someone on board the Japanese Coast Guard vessel. Since the video was released, there have been nationalist rallies in Japan over the incident.

Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan

AJ asks:

Neoliberalism works in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. They are rated as the freest economies by the Heritage Foundation. No starvation or shantytowns there. 

First of all, I would never read anything that the Heritage Foundation says about anything, nor would I trust any of their scales, which are probably rigged so that rich countries mysteriously end up with the “freest economies” and poor countries somehow end up with the “least free” economies. Anyway, capitalism can definitely create wealth. Anyone knows that. The post asked why it can’t do stuff like feed people, educate them, give them medical care, give them decent clothes and housing, transportation and full unemployment. Obviously, neoclassical economics is a complete disaster as far as all that goes. Hong Kong is full of the most horrible shantytowns that lack even the most basic services. It’s truly awful. Singapore is a social democracy. Plus it has very heavy state involvement in the economy (corporatist), unless I am mistaken. Taiwan is another state in which the state is heavily involved in working with industry to plan the development of the capitalist economy. This is the corporatist model that is typical in that region. South Korea and Japan area also corporatist states. Taiwan appears to be a social democracy. They also did a huge land reform in the early days. In addition, their economic growth was predicated on decades of protectionism as they used trade barriers to protect their nascent industry from foreign competition. Neoliberalism is opposed to land reform, social democracy in any and all forms, protectionism and trade barriers, and in particular to corporatism. Even if those countries were running according to the neoliberal model (and it’s not clear if they are), one must ask why it is succeeding there and failing everywhere else.

More Debt and Deficit Sophistry

Japan’s is one of the highest on Earth – it is ~21 Mass capital flight can occur when you have external investors (unlike the US) Japan has almost none. (And as with the US their debt is payable in their own currency…) There are three very big differences between Japan and the US in regards to debt…around 5 The US has incentive to eventually renege on it’s debt either by outright default or by de facto default by printing money. US debt held by foreigners Total US debt Note usually when we speak of US debt we speak of Debt Held by the Public as opposed to total US Public Debt which includes intergovernmental holdings. If we were to compare total US debt to GDP, then the US would hit more than 10 There’s another option to massive deficit spending…raise taxes on fuel (7

Uncle Milton, a deficit hawk, repeats common falsehoods about the US debt. First of all, Japan had little to external investment before it ran up all that debt, and it has none now. So there was no loss of external investment with debt run-up. True, Japan’s debt is held internally. The US debt is the 3rd lowest in the developed world. Hardly anything to get exercised about. Uncle Milton plays the game of comparing debt held by the public (the only meaningful measure) with total debt, which includes intergovernmental debt, which is meaningless. Intergovernmental debt is where the government borrows from itself, for instance dipping into the Social Security trust fund. It’s not an important debt measure and it’s never used when comparing comparative debt burdens between states. Why do deficit hawks constantly bring up the meaningless intergovernmental debt? Because it produces a nice big fat number that scares people and makes them want to make the budget cuts that the deficit hawks slaver over. A phony number, but a big number. Another phony game they play is to add up all US federal debt, all state and local debt, and all consumer debt. Then they come up with some number that says that the US has more debt that any other country on Earth. But that’s not a meaningful or important measure last time I checked. It’s just another phony game they use to scare people into making cuts. A number that is typically tossed about is 10

Deficit Reduction

Erranter, a fiscal conservative, is in the comments attempting to justify the deficit reduction going on in the developed world:

But either way the fear of defaulting on debt is one of the main reasons for cuts, if not the reason. I think the UK is alright, mainly for historical reasons, along with Japan and the US, even if they went over 100 percent, but “newer” economies such as Spain and Greece don’t have as much credit history to back themselves up and are therefore making the cuts to show that they’re serious about fiscal stability. 

Japan’s is one of the highest on Earth – it is ~21 Erranter is right though. It’s the investors and bond markets who are calling the show here. The governments are making the cuts because they are afraid that if they do not, they will get hit by the investors via the bond markets. It’s not justifiable in the US or UK, it hasn’t happened in Japan, but I can’t speak of elsewhere. Shall I point out what is going on here? The international investor class (the internationalist rich who are the enemies of every poor and middle class person on Earth) are ordering national governments around and telling them what to do. National sovereignty is gone. Nations no longer even rule themselves. They are ruled by the international elite rich who pursue their own interests. So really what we have now is an International Dictatorship of the Rich, and all of world’s nations live under this dictatorship as subjects. Apparently the dictatorship has told many world governments that social democracy is unsustainable and therefore needs to go. Not surprising, as they’ve always hated it anyway. And apparently governments are starting to obey. The rich, the world media and the elites could not be happier. They have hated social democracy since the day it was born and have spent the last century plotting ways to destroy it. Now maybe they found one. What this points out, I think, is that capitalism sucks! I’ve been saying this over and over on this site, but few seem to listen to me. The World Capitalist Class has told the nations of the world that social democracy has to go. It’s actually blackmail. If you don’t get rid of it, we will cut off your loans and investment and drive you to the poorhouse. So we can have one or the other, capitalism or social democracy, but not both. I don’t want to live in a world like that, and I don’t want to live under a capitalist regime like that. Fuck it. I’m outa here. Try something else.

There Is No US Debt Crisis

La Fleur writes:

Speaking of the debt, what is the general consensus here on where the US dollar is headed? There are scary posts on financial sites claiming we’re headed for either hyperinflation or default, and soon. What do you guys think? 

I have seen those financial sites she reads. They are all coming from the Populist Right (They are basically the Tea Partiers), and I think they are unnecessarily alarmist. One would do better to read the economists on Counterpunch or Paul Krugman. The real risk? Not inflation and of course not default. But deflation. There is no debt crisis. Bottom line. Our debt is the 3rd lowest in the industrialized world. It’s about 6 Because our debt is so low, deficit hawks (all rightwingers by the way) have decided to add up all of the state, county, municipal and even consumer debt to conclude that our debt is by far the worst in the world. Dishonest accounting? You betcha! I say when debt gets to 10 Japan has the highest debt around at over 20 The result of the bubbles was an economic depression, and the dreaded deflation has had Japan in its grip for 20 years or so. The government has tried everything from

Is Conservatism Always Bad?

Yes. In my opinion, conservatism is always bad. Conservatism is always and everywhere at all times elite rule and only elite rule. Some support elite rule. I don’t. I support popular rule. I say elite rule is bad. Since elite rule is always bad, conservatism is always bad. Real simple. In addition, conservatism is almost always dishonest. As an elite philosophy, you can either be honest about your goals and say you are working to better the elite and harm everyone else – say, the top 2 But this continuous lying results in a destruction of Politics. There’s not much of a democracy left when almost the entire media is lying their fool heads off day and night. The population is bewildered at best or brainwashed at worst. This is the sort of “democracy” we have here in America. It’s hardly a democracy at all! Erranter asks if we should not be bashing conservatives.

Doesn’t a conservative just mean someone who is fine with the way things are going, the status quo? There are places where the status quo is democracy and none of those above things. I don’t think it’s fair to attach “bad” to the very definition of conservative and “good” to progressive. That’s changing the definitions which people use to communicate and permanently attaching a moral judgment. It’s also unequivocal that conservatives are bad, because a part of this new definition is that they are bad.

Someone who is fine with the way things are going, the status quo – No, that is not what conservatism means. Conservatism is elite rule. It always has been, it is now, and it always will be. Some things never change. Elites hate democracy. The Republican Party hates democracy. Notice how they are always trying to repress voter turnout. Heavy turnout is always bad for the elite Republicans. Given half a chance, sane electorates generally vote for popular rule (the Left) and against elite rule (the Right). Why would any electorate voluntarily vote against popular rule and for elite rule? They would have to be out of their minds (like the US electorate). It’s hard to vote in elite rule. People don’t like it too much. So conservatives usually need to rule by dictatorship in one form or another. Once Latin America got rid of the dictatorships, the first thing the people did was vote in the Left. There are only a few places on Earth where US style hard rightwing conservatives are actually voted into power, and those elections are problematic because the popular, anti-elite candidates of the Left are typically murdered. The US Guatemala El Salvador (though the Left is starting to win now) Colombia Chile Turkey The Philippines That’s about it. The conservatives in El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Turkey and the Philippines all rule by terror. They all run death squads and slaughter the Left. In the Philippines, conservatives run as populists who will fight and get rid of poverty, so that’s not really US conservatism. In Colombia, Guatemala and El Salvador, conservatives usually run on a platform of “kill the Communists (the Left).” Everywhere else on Earth, people generally vote in some sort of a liberal to socialist type government. All of Africa has generally been run by popular Leftwing parties, with a few exceptions in Zaire and Kenya. They haven’t done a very good job of popular rule, but US style conservatism simply does not exist there. In North Africa, most of the governments are socialist. Morocco was always the outlier, as it was ruled by a rightwing king, but he’s a dictator. All of the Arab World is generally run by some type of socialist party or other. US style conservatism never takes power there. All of the former Soviet Republics are now run by some type of socialist government or other. All of Europe is being run by some type of socialist government or other, with the possible exception of Great Britain. The UK was always the outlier. US style conservatism ruled under Thatcher, but she was probably the most hated ruler in the 20th Century UK, and she couldn’t get much done. Russia is run by a socialist regime under Putin. The Iranian religious government has always been socialist in nature. It’s hard to characterize the Karzai regime, but it is not US conservatism. The Pakistani government is very hard to characterize, but it is not US style conservatism. The recently assassinated leader, Benazir Bhutto, was a socialist. The President, her widower, is also a socialist. Since Independence, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka have generally been run by socialist regimes of one type or another. Myanmar is run by a regime that calls itself socialist. Singapore has a social democracy. SE Asia has been run by socialists since 1975. Thailand typically had rightwing military government. Recently, a progressive, Thaksin, was elected. He was extremely popular, but the conservative elite threw him out in a coup like they often do. At any rate, US style conservatism does not exist in Thailand. China is run by a socialist party. Mongolia is run by socialists. Japan has been a social democracy since 1945. True, South Korea was always a rightwing regime, but recently they elected a leftwinger. Taiwan was always ruled by a rightwing dictatorship, but I am not sure who is in power since independence. They have had a social democracy for a while now. Indonesia was always run by a rightwing dictatorship, but they recently went to democracy. The present leader has begun a number of socialist programs.

A History of Social Contracts Around the World in the Last Century

Sometimes when there is a real threat from the Left, the Rich consent to a “social contract.” This has happened in numerous places. The US in the Depression, with the threat of Communism hanging over their heads..

Western Europe, once again with a threat of Communism.

It never happens without a serious threat though. The rich only give up stuff as a compromise to fend off something a whole lot worse.

In places like Latin America, social contracts are more or less impossible. Most of the 3rd World is like that. Social contracts usually only happen in more modernized states. The 3rd World is characterized by backwards elites that never give up anything at all without massive violence.

Mexican elites did give up stuff, but it took a horrible revolution that killed

Same thing in El Salvador. It took 70,000 dead to get the rich to compromise a bit.

They compromised in Costa Rica too in 1947, but I don’t understand why.

There was also a social contract under Peron in Argentina for reasons that are hard to figure.

It’s notable that both Argentina and Costa Rica are White. Social contracts are much more likely in White than in non-White countries.

Social contracts occurred in the Arab World because the Arab-Islamic World is socialism-friendly. They don’t like the idea of massive wealth accumulations and people with nothing to eat. Something about evolving in the desert I guess…

A social contract took place in Taiwan as a way to ward off Communism from China. Similar thing in Japan. Asians are sort of natural socialists too, like Arabs. They don’t like the idea of folks starving. Guess they’ve seen plenty enough of that.

In addition, those are collectivist cultures, possibly due to Buddhism. Radical free market capitalism won’t fly to well in a Buddhist society. The Buddha surely would not have approved of neoliberalism. It’s against everything he taught. There is another thing. These are homogeneous and extremely ethnocentric societies. If a Japanese person is starving or homeless, this strikes at the heart of every Japanese person, as he is automatically your brother on account of ethnicity. That man on the street under a pup tent may as well be your cousin.

Thailand is one of the few Asian countries that has avoided wealth redistribution. The rest – Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and China, did it with guns. The Thai Communists had a lot of support due to SE Asian culture, but they eventually quit. They were resurrected recently in the Red Shirt riots, which was a classic socialist movement led by many former Communist guerrillas.

The Philippines has avoided wealth redistribution due to a horrible Spanish colonial culture that turned it into Latin America in Asia. Nevertheless, there is a huge Communist insurgency going on.

The situation in Indonesia is awful for a Southeast Asian country, but they had a huge Communist movement that was massacred by the state and the CIA. 1 million people were killed in 1965 to put that down. As in Pakistan, Islam gets in the way of justice.

Social contracts have been impossible in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, probably due to Hindu culture with its caste system in which the poor feel that they are ordained by God to their place. Caste and vile Indian culture has cemented in feudal relations in the entire subcontinent, even in Islamic nations like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Where wealth redistribution is prevented by peaceful means, as in South Asia, efforts shift to guns and bombs. The Nepalese Maoists have 4

Sub-Saharan Africa seems quite hopeless. Tribalism and worship of kings who steal it all and leave their subjects with crumbs mean that Africans apparently think it’s their lot to starve.

There is a militant redistributionist effort in South Africa though. Zimbabwe confiscated White farms. But in these places, the race factor was important. Africans won’t tolerate White grabbing it all and leaving them with crusts and heels, but apparently they let they don’t mind their own people doing it to them.

African tribalism is the worst. One tribe gets in power and tries to grab everything in the country and leave all the other tribes without a thing. The tribe in power thinks this is completely normal. Those out of power probably think it’s normal too. Those on the outside mostly plot to overthrow the tribe that’s in now so they can get in themselves and steal it all for their tribe. There’s little sense of justice in the continent. Everything is a zero-sum game.

Do Mean People Become Racists, or Does Racism Make People Mean?

tulio asks whether racists are naturally mean people or whether outside of their racism, they are pretty nice people. It’s actually a very interesting question:

I was wondering if racists just seem mean when discussing race, but are actually nice people otherwise if you stay away from the topic of race. We concluded that racists tend to just be miserable people period. Their racism is just a natural extension of their overall nastiness.

I learned this through a lot of dealings with them. They just are not very nice people period. However, some of the older ones are pretty nice. Jared Taylor is a nice guy, and so is Ken Hoop, but those guys are older. But those guys are pretty calmed down about race.

We concluded that racists tend to just be miserable people period. Their racism is just a natural extension of their overall nastiness.

I agree that most White nationalist-type racists are just nasty and ugly people period. Mean, specifically, and very angry. That’s why we have to keep banning them here, because they simply can’t seem to control their rage and hatred and they keep breaking the Comments Rules.

And if you hang on their fora a lot, it’s pretty clear after a while how mean a lot of them are.

However, I disagree that their racism is an expression of their meanness. Instead, I think they are mean because they are racist. Racism makes me mean. Period. It seems so obvious and it’s kind of a stupid anti-racist meme (Stop the hate!), but after you’ve been around a lot of them, it’s so clear that it hits you in the face, and it must be true.

Where I have problems is in the cases where you have entirely racist societies like the Old South (indeed, all the US before 1960 or so), Colonial Latin America, the Ottoman Empire, China, Japan, Korea, India and Nazi Germany and its puppet societies. I don’t think societies where racism is simply normative are mean societies. Most people were and are probably pretty nice in those places, unless they are dealing with the Other, in which they won’t act very nice.

I don’t know what life was like in Nazi Germany, but I bet in your average rural German area, most Germans were still pretty nice to each other.

Racism is funny.

So the racism of the White nationalists seems to differ from that of your typical racism-normative society. Which implies that they are pathological persons involved in a pathological movement.

Musings on Dual Loyalty, Judaism as Zionism, and Anti-Semitism

Repost from the old site.

Always-perceptive commenter James Schipper makes some astute, terse and cut to the chase comments on my post, The “New Anti-Semitism.” In it, he moves beyond the typically vulgar anti-Semitism that much modern anti-Zionism descends into and offers a perfectly logical explanation for the dual loyalty accusation leveled at Jews.

He also brings up some very difficult questions about the differences between Judaism and Zionism and whether there is really any difference at all.

Schipper:

If criticism of Israel = anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism, then we should be proud to call ourselves anti-Semites.

What is really wrong with Israel? It is not such a bad country for Jews, or even for the Arabs in Israel proper. I would rather be a Jew in Israel than an Arab in any Arab country. Israel was born in sin, but so was every country in the Western hemisphere. Israel is oppressive in the occupied territories, but by historical standards, this oppression is hardly unique.

The real reason for opposing Israel is that it does not see itself as the country of its citizens but as the country of all the Jews in the world. According to Israel, Jews in other countries are living in exile, are really Israelis and should be loyal to Israel.

In other words, Israel expects the Jewish citizens of other countries to behave like Israel’s fifth-columnists, and that is exactly what Zionists outside Israel are.

No political party outside Israel should accept Zionists as members, and no government outside Israel should appoint Zionists to a senior government job. Instead, Zionist should be encouraged to put their bodies where their loyalties are: in Israel.

Suppose that Italy saw itself as the country of all Catholics in the world and expected Catholics everywhere to defend Italian interests, then it would be behaving exactly as Israel does. That would also be a good reason for non-Catholics in other countries to look at Catholics with suspicion and to regard Italy with hostility.

The late Arthur Koestler wrote in an essay that after 1948 all Jews should choose one of two options: go to Israel or abandon Judaism altogether. He is right insofar as Judaism implies Zionism.

Judaism has always posited that Jews are a people and that Israel is their promised land, which is also the position of Zionism. If Judaism implies Zionism, then Jews outside of Israel, it they want to remain Jewish, should emigrate to Israel or else detribalize and deterritorialize Judaism, which may be denaturing it.

Theological question: Why does Obama allow bad things to happen and evil people to prosper?

More seriously, why did Obama appoint a hard Zionist as his chief of staff? It is not a good sign.

I agree with several things in this post.

First of all, he attacks some of the usual broadsides leveled at Israel and dismisses them.

What I find disturbing, and many Zionists have noted this, is the particular vehemence many Israel-critics level at Israel’s oppression of Jews inside Israel, while they are silent or even supportive of even worse oppression by states against minorities outside Israel.

White nationalists think it’s awesome for Whites to treat non-Whites like shit, except when it comes to White Jews versus “muds” in Israel. Kurds in the Arab World are treated awfully bad, Berbers less so but still poorly, and the Shia are oppressed all over the Arab World. There is open oppression and violence against Christians in Egypt and Iraq.

Baha’i are treated horribly in Iran, Sunnis less so but still poorly, and the Ahwaz have some good beefs. Turks treat Kurds horribly in Turkey. Russia has massacred 2

Japan treats its Koreans, Burakumin and Ainu pretty badly. The Hmong are still treated like shit in Laos, and the Montagnards are not done well by Vietnam. Pygmies are openly genocided and cannibalized as a matter of custom in Zaire, and the Khoisan are nearly murdered at will in SW Africa.

There is a real genocide of Arabs against Africans in Darfur, and another one, Arabs versus Christians, has just ended in South Sudan. Africans are routinely enslaved by Arabs in the Sahel.

We could go and on, but you get the picture. What is disturbing about all of this is that most Israel-critics are either indifferent to, ignorant of or even supportive of, the maltreatment of minorities above. Zionists are correct that this is either ignorance or anti-Semitism.

All, or most all, modern nations were born in sin.

This was due to the nature of the modern nation-building exercise, which typically involved ethnic cleansing or some sort of mass killing or genocide of any existing indigenous people, sidelining, subjection, forced assimilation (cultural genocide) or outright genocide against anyone not part of the dominant nation of the nation-state, and forced destruction of all languages but the one chosen by the nation-state or that is the dominant nation.

The Modern Left in the West, which has adopted Third-Worldism, minority-hugging and European hatred with gusto, errs in singling out Europeans for particular abuse in terms of nation-building. It’s been bloody and awful everywhere and at all times.

Schipper also points out that although Israel is oppressive in the Occupied Territories, by comparative standards, they are relatively mild. Considering the outrageous provocations and attacks of the Palestinians, I am amazed Israel has gone as easy on them as it has.

Arabs do not believe in fighting wars in a civilized manner, and the Geneva Conventions are regarded by them as Western comedy. Any Arab state faced with Palestinian-type provocations by non-Arabs would have been vastly worse than Israel.

Truthfully, just about every nation fighting an insurgency has been more horrible that Israel by orders of magnitude.

Consider this: according to counterinsurgency doctrine, enshrined by the US military and state and promoted by the US media and both US political parties, any civilian who “supports” an insurgency needs to be arrested, beaten, tortured and killed. All counterinsurgencies supported by the US have routinely massacred, mutilated and tortured to death insurgency “supporters.”

This has been true in every counterinsurgency in Latin America, in Indonesia in 1965, the US counterinsurgencies in SE Asia during the Vietnam War, the counterinsurgencies in Mozambique, Algeria and Angola, Russia’s counterinsurgency in Chechnya, India’s counterinsurgencies in India proper and Kashmir, in Sri Lanka against the Tamils, in Indonesia against the Acehese and East Timorese, in the Philippines against the NPA, and in Nepal’s recent Civil War.

In these counterinsurgencies, hundreds of thousands of “supporters” of insurgencies were murdered, tortured and mutilated, while the US cheered, poured in money and looked the other way.

In contrast, almost 10

Considering the provocations of the Palestinians, Israel has fought one of the cleanest counterinsurgencies in modern times.

Zionists are correct that these criticisms of Israel, combined with support for to indifference to much worse behaviors by non-Jews, are evidence of either ignorance or anti-Semitism.

But Schipper does hit it on the head.

The reason to oppose Israel is that it is not a state of its citizens. Israel openly says that it is the state of all Jews on Earth, not of its citizens. Hence, it is perfectly reasonable for non-Jews in every nation on Earth containing Jews to look upon their Jews as possible traitors and dual-loyalists. Dual loyalty, rather than being an “anti-Semitic canard” as many Jews shrilly screech, is actually grounded in immaculate reason.

Schipper also suggests that the wall between Judaism and Zionism may be little more than a wall of sand, and one that has been hit by so many waves that there’s almost nothing left.

Although anti-Zionist Jews offer various reasons for their non-support of Israel, the fact remains that Judaism has always said that Israel is the land of the Jews. Assuming the Messiah returns tomorrow, even Naturei Karta is willing to head to Israel and become fervent Zionists.

Hence the uncomfortable notion, typically parroted by ferocious anti-Zionists and some vulgar anti-Semites, that it is not just Zionism that is the problem, but Judaism itself, is lent some troubling weight. I don’t want to go near this thesis because to be honest, I’m a pussy when it comes to the Jewish Question.

Schipper finally suggests that the Jews of the world either renounce Judaism or practice what you preach and head to Israel. Once again, troubling stuff.

There’s nary a trace of anti-Semitism in Schipper’s comments, but the issues he raises are toxic as Hell.

Just some thought-meals.

Enjoy.

Does a Higher IQ Make You Superior?

There’s a debate raging in the comments section about race and IQ. I’m staying out of it, but if you’re familiar with this blog, you know very well how I stand on this issue. In some ways, I feel that the less said about it the better, although it’s true I do talk about it a lot on here. That’s because I’m trying to fashion some sort of a progressive response that’s fair to all ethnic groups out of the very un-PC facts on the ground. I’m more interested in raising IQ on this blog. That’s why you see all these posts on the Flynn Effect. Anyway, enough about me.

In the debate, Tulio makes an interesting observation:

Many people feel that if you say one group is collectively less intelligent than another, that is akin to saying that group is “inferior”. After thinking about it though, I’m not sure why someone being of less intelligence makes them inferior. No matter how smart you are, there is always someone smarter. Do you feel that you are inferior or less human than that person? I don’t. Do White Gentiles walk around with an inferiority complex to Jews? Or feel that they are inferior? I’ve never seen it.

Why does being smarter make someone superior per se? We don’t think that on an individual level, so why on a racial level? It just means they’re better at abstract reasoning on average. It doesn’t say whether you have common sense, whether you’re a nice person, a hard worker, a loyal friend, sociable, obey the law or gazillion other qualities we judge people on. Doesn’t say anything about them having superior humanity.

Tulio makes an excellent point. In ordinary society, the one I live in, no one cares about brains. I just went to the drug store to fill a prescription. There were mostly Hispanics in there, and I know some of them. A few poor Whites too. One thing I can tell you for sure: Not one of those people in that store gives two shits about IQ! Or even intelligence, really.

As someone with a genius IQ (over 140), I can tell you, it’s not so great.

You know how many people in Meatspace think my stratospheric IQ is cool? Just about zero!  It doesn’t benefit me in life. One more thing. You know how many chicks in Meatspace think that Chicago Tower of an IQ is cool? Just about zero! It’s been this way my whole life. No one cares if you’re a brain. Definitely, no one has ever thought that that made me a superior person! I did, sure, but who cares what I think? What matters is society. Society does not treat us brains like we are superior! If anything, it’s the opposite.

So in the real world Meatspace of ordinary humans, no one gives two shits about IQ or even intelligence really. Although I have done extremely well with women in my life, nevertheless, all my life, females have been abandoning and scorning us brains in favor of blockhead dumbass hulking caveman, thug and jock types. I don’t chicks don’t even want to screw brainy guys unless they have something else going like Game or Looks! They want to screw double digit IQ caveman with a club types.

So what good is a high IQ? Sometimes I wonder. But in general, society does not treat a higher IQ group, not to mention individual, as superior to a lower IQ group or individual, assuming the low IQ folks are not so dumb that it’s obvious that something is wrong.

In Meatspace, if you bring up IQ, you get resentful stares and attempts to change the conversation. Please don’t think this is something that happens to me a lot. I don’t do this very often because I know how people think. I do bring up my IQ in Meatspace sometimes, but 9

However, I do bring it up on the Web, but not very often either because I know how people think. But I have brought it up a few times on this site. And why not? This is an IQ blog after all where we talk about IQ as one of our main subjects of interest. But I can’t bring this up at all on the Web. I get slammed all the time for discussing my own numbers on here.  Now I don’t think discussing your own achievements is bragging – bragging is more in how you do it. What is interesting though is that I have “bragged” about quite a few other things on here, and no one cared, or I got nothing but praise. But IQ? Nope.

It’s funny a guy can go on and on about his achievements with women, in business, in sports and in building up his bank account, and the chicks will shower him with propositions and flirtations like confetti at a parade. But dare mention those two upper case letters denoting intelligence quotient, and most females will start screaming at you and calling you a braggart.

They’re lying, but women always lie. Thing is, women don’t care about braggarts; if anything, they like them. The biggest braggarts get the most and best women. It’s just that to women, they only give you pussy points for bragging about certain things, like the size of your damned wallet! The size of your IQ has no importance to a female in terms of their libido (in fact, it probably cools them down), so they raise a hissy fit if you bring it up.

Even around a bunch of White people, IQ even in general, leaving your own numbers aside, is not a popular subject. People start squirming in their chairs and trying to change the subject. Why? Because as far as IQ goes, even most Whites don’t have a very high one! So they resent the whole conversation. Even Whites with IQ’s around 115-120 or so or resent it, because they’re insecure, and they think that’s too low.

If you tell Whites that Blacks have lower IQ’s than Whites, most have never heard of it. Some are intrigued.

“Really?”, they ask, eyes twinkling with intrigue.

“Yep, it’s true.”

Then they sort of chuckle and say, “Well, that figures,” or “I always thought so.”

But then they move back into the “Yeah, but IQ means nothing” thing.

If you tell Hispanics, at first of course they don’t understand the whole subject (What do you expect?), then they mildly disagree.

“No way, it’s not true.” But they’re not agitated, just dismissive.

Then you convince them that it’s true.

Then they say, “Yeah well, so what? Who cares?”

The White nationalists and cognitive elite types have a dream. If they keep pounding away at this race-IQ thingie, at some point the evidence will become so overwhelming that Joe Sixpack White Guy will put down his beer, say, “Niggers ain’t got no brains!”, vote to rescind the Civil Rights and Fair Housing Acts, affirmative action, and all anti-discrimination laws, then I guess shave his head, and what? Move to Idaho?

Forget it! Your average White person is not that smart and resents the whole IQ subject and debate for that very reason. This issue will never resonate with average White people.

The charming folks hoping to spark the Great White Revolution would do better to focus on Black crime, an issue that resonates much better with average Whites.

Health Care Reform in Taiwan and South Korea

A couple of nice articles about health care reform, and frankly national health care, in Taiwan and South Korea. The article about South Korea is rather complicated, and I did not understand all of it. It’s from the American Journal of Public Health. The article about Taiwan is much easier to understand. Taiwan has more of a single payer system. One of the main beefs that US conservatives have about single payer is that you don’t get to choose your doctor, and the government wastes too much money and won’t spend efficiently. Actually, it’s the private sector that is inefficient. Taiwanese health care has the lowest administrative costs on Earth, and it’s a single payer system. Medicare also has very low administrative costs, around Both are beginning to run into problems, but that’s inevitable. For an example of the sort of problems Taiwan experienced before national health care, in 1999, 5 South Korean health care reform actually started in 1977, when the government began requiring companies to cover employees with health insurance. It’s pretty amazing that even this reform is apparently completely off the table in the crazy US. This is actually closer to the Japanese model. All Japanese are covered, mostly through their work. I believe that the corporations are mandated to cover employees, but they typically covered them anyway, since Japanese corporations have a much more paternalistic attitude than the “Fuck off and die!” attitude that US corporations take towards their employees. South Korea’s model is called “decentralized” and hence similar to that of France or Germany, but I don’t understand what that means. South Koreans have had problems with cost containment on the supply side as private hospitals, private physicians run up costs unnecessarily. There are also problems with increased outlaw for pharmaceuticals. I am told that the physicians’ groups, the hospitals, the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies reportedly promised Obama that they would not kill health care reform if he pushed it. He made this deal with them when he was running for President. All the ranting and raving you hear about health care is coming from independent rightwingers and the Republican Party – the corporations have stayed out of it. That’s possibly why the arguments sound so shrill and insane. If the corporations were running this campaign, they would be a lot slicker about it. Obviously, this was a quid pro quo. What we need to know is what Obama promised in return. I bet he promised nothing more than a public option and to declare single payer DOA. 6 The US seems to be the only country on Earth where people actually protest against health care. Americans are nuts.

The Failure of the Neoliberal Model For Developing Countries

On the 60th Anniversary of Chinese Liberation post, James Schipper says that I should compare China to Taiwan and South Korea instead and see who did better. I pointed out that a book on China by the reactionary Time-Life Corporation in 1962 at the height of the Cold War noted that Taiwanese miracle was not reproducible in China. They wished it was, but there was no way to do it. For one thing, one thing that helped create the Taiwanese miracle was a flood of US aid. In order to China to receive a concomitant amount of aid, China would have to have received an unheard-of figure that was simply not possible to achieve at that time, or even now. Further, there was the problem of feeding the people and rural poverty. Taiwan solved this, mostly by doing a land reform, but Taiwan is a little island, and feeding the island was not an insurmountable task. The book pointed out that the main problem facing China was feeding the population. Only 2 Everywhere on Earth, US imperialism has always fought the imposition of any kind of national health care, state involvement in the economy and especially land reform. Many nations have been overthrown by the CIA and other agents of US imperialism for attempting even those most meager reforms. Indeed, all Hugo Chavez seems to be doing is trying to create some sort of social democracy in Venezuela. Yet in Taiwan and South Korea, the US agreed to national health care, massive land reform, trade barriers, heavy state involvement in the economy, the whole works. This is because I believe that the US knew that all of these were necessary to develop an economy. Taiwan and South Korea were intended by imperialism to be “showcases against Communism”, to be sparkling examples of what “capitalism” could do better than say North Korea or China. It’s really amazing how cynical imperialism is, but if imperialism has to do a bit of a socialist dance to fight Communism, then that’s what it will do. The sad thing is that if the North Korean, Soviet and Chinese “threats of a good example” did not exist, there would be no reason for imperialism to create these “anti-Commie showcases” and the model for those countries may well have been the Philippines, Thailand or Indonesia instead. I would like to point out a few other things, mainly that we are comparing one socialist country to another, since I consider Taiwan at least to be a socialist country and South Korea to be a partly socialist country. As I’ve said on this site, I support all kinds of socialism. The main thing is that we are not comparing a socialist China to a neoliberal capitalist South Korea or Taiwan. Taiwan at least is a very socialist country. They did a land reform, and they have universal health care that even includes dental care! I don’t know much about South Korea, but I know that they did a land reform. It’s important to note how essential that land reform was developing those two nations. Neoliberal dumbasses never seem to figure that out. You have to deal with the problem of feeding your people and take care of the problem of rural poverty by doing a land reform, and then you can think about becoming a developed country. Until then, the best you can hope for is some backwards clusterfuck wreck like Brazil or Equatorial Guinea. Also, neither Taiwan nor South Korea are examples of neoliberal capitalism. Both were very heavily state-directed, state-guided and even state-involved economies. The state was pretty much setting economic policy and telling the corporations what to do. The state and the business sector were very much tied together. It was almost a “national socialism.” Also both countries protected their budding industries with huge trade barriers until they got big enough to compete with the big guys. All developing countries need to protect their budding industries from competition with huge economies – otherwise you are never going to develop. Of course all of this – land reform, national health care (including dental!), heavy state involvement in the economy, trade barriers to protect budding industries until they are big enough to compete – are anathema to the neoliberal agenda that holds sway over the entire world, mostly due to US imperialism. Neoliberalism never developed one undeveloped country ever, and probably never will.

Libertarianism – The Enemy of all Non-Human Life on Earth

As several posts on Occidental Dissent make clear, libertarianism (and its mainstream congener, neoliberalism) is utterly incompatible with the preservation of any non-human and non-domesticated or non-utilitarian life forms. Libertarians like to throw up weird scenarios whereby preserving wildlife, wild spaces and wild places would somehow be more economically viable than exterminating them, exploiting them, and devastating them. The problem is that this never works out in praxis. Even when we environmentalists produce reports showing that preserving forests and meadows is worth way more than chopping them down or ruining them with cattle, 10 Since neoliberalism is just libertarianism, neoliberalism also can never support environmentalism. Market-driven environmental policies must be some kind of a cruel joke. They can never work. In strict economically rational terms, it is either never or almost never economically rational to save species, habitats or places. Destruction and extermination is where the money is, and in neoliberal theory, maximum return is the only variable we are allowed to consider. Libertardarians now argue that humans (I guess maybe those of White European stock) now care enough about environmentalism that we can zero out government, privatize everything, and everything will still be hunky dory for the bighorns, the spotted owls and timber wolves. Yeah right. In the first place, this would only work with White people, because only Whites can be environmentalists at the moment, and only more advanced Whites in North America and Europe need apply even here. That’s because Whites in Latin America and Russia have proven to be utterly capable of taking care of the environment. Native Americans and Siberians can probably preserve things too, but they don’t run any states. Let’s test out the libertarian theory on most liberal-minded of the more progressive Whites on Earth, the ultra-liberals in California (though not a White state anymore, nevertheless, California is one of the most pro-environmental states in the nation). The argument that humans now care enough about species to preserve them is proven wrong here in the West. Even here in ultra-liberal California, the glorious salmon are nearly extinct. The striped bass fishery in the Delta and Bay has also been ruined. The vast herds of Tule Elk that roamed all over the valleys and coastal areas of our state have been decimated and only exist on miniscule preserves that look like petting zoos. Fishers and spotted owls are being driven extinct by the timber industry as we speak. A lot of CA endangered species are not real celebrities, but salmon would seem to have quite a bit of worth. Yet the salmon fishery in CA and up and down the West has been decimated. And even the ultra-liberal CA senators like Dianne Feinstein insist that we have not creamed the salmon enough, and need to take them out once and for all now. Feinstein’s mostly doing this for one of her rich Jewish buddies, Stewart Resnick of Beverly Hills. So much for liberal US Jews! The notion that humans (Anywhere!) now value wildlife enough to be trusted with preserving them in a libertarian society is seriously wrong, and we can prove it right here in California. In the 3rd World, humans are so bestial, venal, animalistic and backwards that they indeed are well on the way to extrerminating everything non-human, non-domesticated and non-utilitarian in sight. An excellent argument in favor of White superiority (which I agree with) is, as I noted above, that Whites are really the only humans on Earth (who run states) that care about non-human life enough to preserve it.* Virtually every other race and ethnic group of man will gladly exterminate every single non-domesticated species and non-utilitarian species in its land at the drop of a hat. Preserving species is something only Whites can do. And it’s something that only White governments can do, the White private sector haven proven endlessly to have failed at this endeavor. *I honestly wish that non-European states were capable of not exterminating everything in sight, but I doubt it. The Middle East is an environmental catastrophe. The only environmentally decent place is Israel, but that’s populated by White people. The only environmentally progressive place in Latin America is Costa Rica, but once again, that’s a White country. It seems that all Arabs and mestizos can do is destroy. Asians seem like a nightmare in environmental terms. They aren’t even capable of tender feelings towards cats and dogs, which they massacre for sport and food, so how can they possibly be trusted with non-domesticated things. The Japanese have been some of the worst scofflaws in international fishing and their bestial exploits in whaling have earned them the scorn of the planet. True, in some ways, Koreans and Japanese seem to want to preserve what’s left on their lands, but environmentally, those places are pretty much human-nuked anyway, mostly by overpopulation. A preservationist impulse isn’t worth much if there is nothing left to preserve. The hunter-gatherers of Southeast Asia never had the caretaker mindset of American Indians, instead opting for the more primitive mindset of “kill everything that moves.” The extinction process in SE Asia is very advanced and the state does very little to stop it. Environmental consciousness is extremely low. Probably Vietnam is one of the more standout states. China is just now starting to develop an environmental ethic, but it doesn’t seem to be very advanced, and in a lot of ways, environmentally, China looks like America 1890. I’m amazed that anything non-human and non-bovine is still walking around in India, where the extinction process is quite advanced, the state is extremely weak, and poachers are everywhere. Russians have always been some of the most backwards and barbaric of the Whites, and environmentally, that’s still the case. Since the collapse of the USSR things have really fallen badly apart. Market hunters and poachers stalk the land. In Siberia, the poacher harvest of salmon is the same size as the legal harvest. The Amur Leopard and the Siberian Tiger are hanging on by their bare claws, and I expect them to go extinct soon. Africa has to be one of the worst places on Earth to be a species of wildlife. Africans are primitive people, and primitives tend to kill anything that moves, usually for food. The only reason that there were still huge wildlife populations 50 years ago is due to White colonists, who forbade the Africans from wiping out the animals. With decolonization, Africans quickly set work slaughtering anything that moved. That they had not done so in centuries past was due only to the crudity of their weapons. You can’t kill many animals with a spear. In 1965, Africans with firearms were a threat the animal population of the continent. The large megafauna were only saved when the former White colonists were called back in by concerned Africans to save the animals. Many of the large animal populations still exist, but poachers and bush meat hunters take a devastating toll. I don’t see anything positive in the future. Africans don’t seem to be capable of not exterminating animals. One argument is that non-Whites do these things because they are poor. Equatorial Guinea now has a PCI of $21,000/year. Anyone seen any nice environmental initiatives coming out of there? Has the wealth of the Japanese prevented them from killing whales? Has Korean wealth prevented them from waging mass pogroms against dogs and cats? Has the relative wealth of Brazil and Argentina prevented environmental devastation in these places? The Gulf Arab countries are extremely wealthy, but my understanding is that they are environmental wrecks. So much for the “they do it because they are poor” line.

Japan The Model

All White nationalists and some White racists think that Japan is the way to go. We want a Japan for Whites, they say. A lot of reasonable folks may nod their heads. But why should they? Japan is a great country in a lot of ways, but not when it comes to foreigners. Maybe it’s ok to be a tourist there, but it’s not ok to live there as a guest worker, non-resident immigrant, resident immigrant, or probably even as a non-Japanese citizen. White nationalists say we need to ape Japan in terms of immigration and race. But Japan, despite all of its good points, is one of the most viciously racist places on Earth. As an anti-racist, I’ve always opposed this. The Japanese need Westerners to go over there and do business. For this, they are probably going to need to have some foreigners living there in some form or another. But no Westerner, or any kind of foreigner, in his right mind should go live in Japan. The Japanese can’t even stand their own Koreans and Ainu, their own national minorities. And that’s all a Japanese is, a Korean + an Ainu. Some Master Race, created from the spawn of two “horribly inferior” ones. On the question of whether or not non-Japanese should go live in Japan (I say no) the webpage of David Aldwinkle/Ardou Debito is the ultimate resource. Aldwinkle is an American who moved to Japan, it looks like married a Japanese woman, and finally, after an extremely long and arduous battle, was granted Japanese citizenship. The Japanese treat all non-Japanese living in Japan like shit. That’s the bottom line. This, one of the most fiercely racist societies on Earth, is what the White nationalists would have us emulate. Lord help us. There are many interesting links on the page. For instance, there are quite a few openings for foreigners to get teaching positions at Japanese universities. But non-Japanese professors are treated like such shit that Debito recommends that no foreigner ever accept a teaching job at a Japanese universities. Japanese cultural bullshit is backed up by the full weight of Japanese laws, so don’t think the courts will help you out. Don’t think you can assimilate your way to Japaneseness either. Turns out Japaneseness is either in your genes of it’s not. If you’re not born Japanese, you can never really become a Japanese, no matter how hard you try to assimilate. Marry a Japanese woman? Forget it, doesn’t cut it? Speak Japanese? Try again. Change your American name to a Japanese name? Nice try. Look, if the Japanese want to be primitive throwbacks like this, that’s their problem. But they ought to be punished. Let’s deprive them of the professors they so crave. Let’s pull our foreign businessmen out of there. Even the Japanese press says there are going to be economic repercussions if Japan doesn’t open it. Bring it on. But after all, the Japanese are happy themselves in the Land of the Rising Sun, right? (This supremacist phrase actually means that Japan is the center of the world, if not the universe – this is the first place on Earth the rising sun shines on.) Think again. Check out this article – What Do Japanese Women Want? A Western Husband. Some paradise. Unless you’re a White nationalist knuckledragger, Japan’s no model. What’s the difference between a “Japanese Only” sign and as “Whites Only” sign? Nothing. Western Open Borders national suicide isn’t a model either, but there’s got to be a Middle Way, as the inscrutable Orientals would argue.

National Socialism Can Unfold In Any Society

People often wonder what fascism is, what Nazism* is, what National Socialism* is, what socialism is, what Communism is, etc. The problem is that few people know the answers to these questions. Even I do not, really, but I know more than most people. Truth is that most humans do not have the foggiest understandings of what any of these things are. Perhaps if you actually experience them, then you can begin to understand them. In particular, the US Right in recent decades has decided to rewrite all prior political thought and marry Communism and Fascism, Socialism and National Socialism. It’s part of the Right’s war on the Left, but anyone serious about politics knows that fascism and National Socialism are on the Far Right wing of the political spectrum. All real fascists and national socialists know this very well; they have no illusions that they are a leftwing movement. The Left is their enemy; this is not controversial. Even people who are quite intelligent and educated typically do not really understand what any of these things are, especially if they are on the US (non-fascist) Right. The US Right has so mangled and married all of these concepts in recent decades that it’s no wonder American Rightists are confused. The Left is just as guilty. They are always screaming fascist and Nazi at many US Rightists and conservatives who surely are neither. So most people on the Left don’t know fascism or Nazism from a hole in the ground either. I shock people when I say, matter of factly, that National Socialism can unfold in any society. Even with Jews. Jewish National Socialism is surely possible. Nazism was only the German version of National Socialism. National Socialism can be developed to the needs of any society and anti-Semitism is by no means a necessary or sufficient ingredient. Jewish National Socialism would obviously not be anti-Semitic, and non-Jews could easily come up with a philo-Semitic and Jewish-allied National Socialism if they so wished. So what is National Socialism then? It’s a form of fascism, a rather aberrant and unusual form of it. Perhaps it is best to try to understand it in an intuitive and female sense. Let us just read some National Socialist passages and try to glean a “gestalt” or “feel” of it, since it is so difficult to describe in words. Here, from Faith and Action, a pamphlet from 1938 Germany:

You carry in your blood the holy inheritance of your fathers and forefathers. You do not know those who have vanished in endless ranks into the darkness of the past. But they all live in you and walk in your blood upon the earth that consumed them in battle and toil and in which their bodies have long decayed. Your blood is therefore something holy. In it your parents gave you not only a body, but your nature. To deny your blood is to deny yourself. No one can change it. But each decides to grow the good that one has inherited and suppress the bad. Each is also given will and courage. You do not have only the right, but also the duty to pass your blood on to your children, for you are a member of the chain of generations that reaches from the past into eternity, and this link of the chain that you represent must do its part so that the chain is never broken. But if your blood has traits that will make your children unhappy and burdens to the state, then you have the heroic duty to be the last. The blood is the carrier of life. You carry in it the secret of creation itself. Your blood is holy, for in it God’s will lives. Our highest treasure is the soul that we have been given. He who mixes his blood with that of foreign inferior races ruins the blood and soul that have been given to him to pass on in purity to his children. He makes his children impure and miserable, and commits the greatest crime that he as a National Socialist can commit. But he who follows the laws of race fulfills the great commandment that only like should be brought together with like, keeping apart those things like fire and water which do not mix. We see ourselves as integral with a unitary world around us, which evolves according to natural law. In the simplest words: There is only one reality, which we call Nature: not the “my reality” and “your reality” of the subjectivists and not the separate spiritual and physical realms of the supernaturalists. We are a part of Nature and subject to Nature’s laws. Within the scope of these laws we are able to determine our own destiny. If we err in our efforts there is no one to protect us from the consequences of our folly or our weakness. In other words, we ourselves are responsible for everything over which we have the power of choice: in particular, for the state of our environment and for the destiny of our race. A people grows from god’s will. Woe to him who wishes to destroy the peoples and make people alike. God created the trees, the bushes, the weeds and the grass not so that they could merge into one species, but that each should exist in its own way. Just as a tree, a people grows as a living whole from similar roots, but becoming one, it becomes the strongest of its kind. All of the same blood belong to it. A people knows no state boundaries. It is bound by the ties of blood that bind all the sons of a single mother. A people cannot be destroyed as long as its roots draw on the strength of the earth. Summer and winter may come and go. But it always blooms anew in indestructible life and perfects itself in the strength that rises from its roots towards god’s will. What does it mean when an individual dies? It is as if the wind blows leaves from a tree. New ones grow eternally every spring. The peoples are the greatest and most noble creation of god on this earth. There is no institution in the world, no party and no church, that has the right to make them the same or to rob them of even the tiniest bit of their individuality.

Does that give you a bit of a “feel” for the ideology? If you use your imagination, you can see that this political philosophy could be adopted for any society. It’s also highly appealing. The modern demonization of Nazism is not a bad idea, but it is not very honest. We have turned National Socialism into some caricature demonic philosophy that only a sicko Satanist deviate could support. The truth is so much more frightening. These ideas took Germany by storm, and whatever modern-day Germanophiles tell you, National Socialism had majority support in the land. Not only that, but National Socialism was adopted to the needs of many surrounding countries that become allies of the German state. It was very popular in these nations too. Where it did not hold state power, it had the support of significant minorities, even in the USSR and in neutral states like Sweden. Overseas, it was popular in Latin America. What looks like a strange Japanese version swept Japanese society with a mad fervor. Whether it’s evil or not, it’s very appealing to many humans, and its appeal is probably universal and eternal now that the ideas have been birthed. That’s why it’s so damned dangerous and why all serious anti-fascists ought to familiarize themselves with the Beast of Many Forms. *I can’t stand either Fascism or National Socialism, but I admit I am fascinated by them the way mice are fascinated by cats. One of the ways I am fascinated by them is that I am still trying to understand them, and have been for years now.

References

Stellrecht, Helmut. 1943. Glauben und Handeln. Ein Bekenntnis Der Jungen Nation. Berlin: Zentralverlag der NSDAP, Franz Eher Nachf.

Mankind Dodges a Bullet!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqPg-mc1CIQ] I am pleased to report to that an evil plot by the Illuminati to kill 8 Fulford and Zagami are both insane people. However, they allowed to have good jobs, make lots of money, run around free all over the world, etc. They are not stigmatized or put down. They are treated as if they are sane, and so are most of those who believe them. However, I am convinced that these people, the others like them, and their followers are all seriously insane. I knew a fellow who believed in all this stuff. He was apparently otherwise sane, and most everyone else thought he was too. He hung out at the coffee where I hung out at. He believed in this whole line. It’s mostly coming from Alex Jones from Infowars, but some of these other clowns like Fulford and Zagami have gotten in on it too. The conspiracy involves the Illuminati. If you don’t know who the Illuminati are or what the New World Order is, you need to read my backgrounder that uncovers the hidden plot and the monstrous conspirators for all to see. Anyway, via Alex Jones’ Infowars site, a new theory has been peddled in the past few years. Jones, who may be mentally ill, claims that there is a conspiracy by the Illuminati to kill off 8 It’s totally insane of course, but there are countless lunatics who believe this. That is the subject of this video. Fulford, formerly the Asian editor of Forbes Magazine, quit his post recently, probably because he was going psychotic. Since then he has been running around the world, though headquartered in Japan, blowing the whistle on the Evil Illuminati, whom he apparently knows very well. He also holds seminars, mostly in Japan, for which he charges a pretty penny. Attendees learn all about the wicked plots of some rich dudes once you fork it over. He is supposedly a heavy cocaine user, which may explain his apparent paranoid psychosis. For the last few years, he has been discussing the Unknown Rich Dudes’ Plan to Kill 8 Recently he has been hobnobbing with Prince Leo Lyon Zagami, who is either a con artist or a lunatic or both. Zagami claims to be a member of the Illuminati through ties via his royal Italian lineage. He says he is a 33th Degree Mason, but in reality he was thrown out of a Mason Lodge, which is very hard to do. He is now permanently banned from the organization. Zagami says many a crazy thing, but none can be verified. He says he did 9-11 (as an agent of the Illuminati of course) but that it had to be done, and when it’s all sorted out, we will all thank him for taking down the towers and killing all those people, because by doing so he somehow prevented a much worse plot from taking place. I have heard that Zagami was recently institutionalized. I guess that means he has been hospitalized for his apparent mental illness. Zagami has been involved, as a representative of the Illuminati, in intense negotiations with Fulford in Japan. Fulford has been trying to get the Illuminati to call off their monstrous plans to kill most of us. Recently he achieved major success! Zagami reports that the Illuminati plot to kill all of us has been foiled, and that the Illuminati themselves are crumbling and will soon be out of power. Whew! I feel better already! I can see the conversation now: Psychotic conspiracy theory monger: “Hey Illuminati, look. Please don’t kill of us. Please don’t do it, ok? We want to live! Please!” Mysterious unknown rich guy: “Oh. Um ok, man. Like, whatever dude. No problem.” However, if you read the comments below the video, the insane people who believe this stuff (that’s mostly all who commented) say that this is all a lie. The plan has not been called off, and 8 The evidence for is that Fulford is a Jew!

Bad Place to Visit, Wouldn't Want To Live There

Repost from the old site. This article has produced a tremendous amount of controversy, angry comments, and even, oddly enough, virulent hate mail. I guess I hit some raw nerves. I stand by my comments that these cities are some of the worst in the world, and, in doing further research on the Net, have found only further support for my thesis. Some of these cities, such as Bogotá, for instance, have large wealthy districts that are apparently quite pleasant. If one is rich, one can make a nice life just about anywhere on the globe. But this is not important – what is important is how the majority live. The title is a play on the line, “Nice place to visit, wouldn’t want to live there”, said about many less-than-desirable tourist locales. This post is about the worst places on Earth to visit, and probably to live too. The ratings were based on research done on the Internet in various places, including here and here. I’m going to focus on the places that are dirty, smelly, crime-ridden, trashy, rip-off havens, unsanitary and dangerous (Third World), and avoid places that are merely depressing, unsightly, rude, etc. (First World). Why? Because I live in the US, and those Third World qualities are going to be the most disturbing to me. I’m also avoiding active war zones because everyone knows they are horrible. To be fair to the “Third Worldists” out there, I noted that many people slammed various places in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Finland, South Korea, Ireland Italy, the US, Great Britain and Australia for various reasons, mostly because they are said to be unfriendly, depressing, tacky, cheesy, boring, etc. Detroit seemed to top the list as worst US city, along with Newark (though it had one fan), East St. Louis and New Haven (though some liked New Haven) were runners-up. Various small towns in the Rockies (especially Idaho) and Texas also were listed. For some reason, a lot of people hate Vancouver, BC in Canada. To my thinking, many of the horrible cities below point out the catastrophe of Latin American, Indian, Indonesian and Philippine capitalism. In much of Africa, capitalism doesn’t seem to working very well. For all its faults, impoverished Cuba certainly does not resemble any of these Latin American hellholes in any way, shape or form. I don’t think that capitalism in the First World is failing, but looking at many of the cities below, it’s hard to argue that capitalism is doing anything but failing in those places. Some of the winners in the Loser Destination Contest: Colon, Panama: A dirty, crime-ridden disaster of a city. The most dangerous city in Latin America, full of residents who seem like they would just as soon knife you as say hello. Other than the free trade zone, the entire city seems to be sprawling slum. Colon has no redeeming qualities. This city topped many worst lists. Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador: Guayaquil is horrible. A stinking, steaming, downright dangerous heap of a city with miles of slums. With armies of glowering gang members, this place is dangerous even in mid-day. There are garbage dumps everywhere with corpses laying out in plain sight and guns going off all the time. Quito is similar. Guayaquil topped many worst city lists. Johannesburg, South Africa: How sad that this country now has one of the worst violent crime rates on Earth. Although popular with tourists, this city is downright dangerous. This city also topped many worst lists. This blog supports the Mandela government, but the problems of this tragic nation seem insurmountable. ***** Lagos, Nigeria, or the whole country: This city, and even the whole country, seems to top everyone’s list. Garbage is everywhere, the city stinks, the poverty is horrible, animals are slaughtered on the streets, and it seems that at least half the population wakes up every morning thinking, “Who can I rip off today?” Up to 9 Nigeria has what must be the worst government on Earth and the country is rated the second most corrupt on Earth. The national airlines are dangerous and not recommended. The ripoff attempts often start as soon as you land at the airport and won’t let up until you leave. It’s best to assume that most, if not all, Nigerians you meet in Lagos are out to rip you off in some way or another and then proceed from there. The city is full of impostors, and you really do not know if anyone is really who they say they are. The police and Customs officials are all crooks and so is 9 Most bank and post office employees are also crooked. Imagine waiting in line at the post office, and a group of swaggering gangsters with fake ID’s strut in to pick up their stolen goods reshipped from overseas. They go straight to the front of the line ahead of everyone else, pick up their stolen property, and walk away laughing, having paid off the Post Office clerks. Welcome to Nigeria. There are Internet cafes all over the city, where 150,000 full-time Internet scammers ply their trade in plain view of anyone to see, and the government doesn’t bat an eye or lift one finger to stop them. In many cafes, 8 The scammers started out with the famous 419 email scams but have now branched out into lottery, romance, auction, roommate, orphanage and check-cashing scams. The scams are continuously evolving, and Nigerian con artists are widely acknowledged to be some of the best in the world, as they have been practicing the art for decades now. On highways outside of Lagos, you can see numerous vehicles wrecked on the side of the road, or even in the middle of the road, some with dead bodies still in them or beside them. Thieves pick through the wreckage and rifle the corpses looking for stuff to steal. All of the roads are dangerous, as armed robbers often set up roadblocks to shake down travelers. Nigeria is now a world center for counterfeit pharmaceuticals, credit card fraud and drug dealing, and a district of Lagos, Oluwole, is now a world center for top-notch forgery. The FBI and the US Merchant Risk Council recently came to Nigeria and inspected 40 packages coming into the country from the US to check for stolen goods. 39 of the 40 packages contained stolen property. When the agents arrived at a Lagos neighborhood and tried to arrest an 18-year-old boy for reshipping scams that targeted US merchants, much of the neighborhood – up to 100 people – rushed out of their homes to defend the local punk from Big Bad Whitey. Although the country is awash in oil, the power goes out all the time because the government power company is so crooked. The power company has either stolen all of its own budget money or the power comes in, but the crooked company resells it on the side. As with elsewhere in Africa, Whitey is blamed for all the troubles here. Hatred of Whitey is higher in Nigeria than in much of the rest of Black Africa and the White visitor will definitely feel it. The degeneration of Nigerian society is complete, and the culture appears near collapse. Mobs lynch thieves in the street and kill them in public for as meager a crime as stealing a cellphone, yet crime rages on anyway. Anyone can just up and say they own your house, put it on the market and sell it and you are out a house. Law enforcement, courts and anything resembling government seem to be nonexistent. ****** ****** Lima, Peru: When they tell you to visit Peru, they don’t mean the nightmarish capital. There are teeming slums as far as the eye can see, horrible crime (although not a lot of violent crime), pickpockets everywhere, and on top of all that, the sun never comes out. The fog mixes with the smog and the filthy streets to make a toxic brew. Lima made many worst lists. But it has its fans, and the upscale Miraflores district is said to be nice. The execrable Shining Path took up their nihilistic, deranged war in this country for a reason – because Peru is a rotten heap of a country. ****** ****** Medan (Sumatra), Jakarta, Surabaya, Indonesia: Jakarta is a reeking city with terrible pollution, open sewers and wrenching poverty. Medan seemed to top many lists for worst city on Earth, though it has a few fans. It’s hot, dirty and polluted, with factories, thieves and leering, menacing men everywhere. There is also nowhere to stay, not that you would want to stay anyway. Besides Medan, the rest of Sumatra is much better. The river running through Surabaya is so polluted you might vomit walking across the bridge. As you suppress your gag reflex, you will look down and notice that people are actually washing their clothes in this river. ***** ***** Mumbai, Patna (Bihar), Calcutta, all large Indian cities, India: Indian cities are very dirty and teeming with some of the most miserably poor and wretched people you will ever see, but at least there is not a lot of crime. The Hindu religion keeps crime down because believers fear they will be punished by returning in the next life as something terrible, like one of the huge rats you see scurrying about. Mumbai has pollution that is so bad that people actually get lung cancer from breathing the air. Mumbai, a stinking and sometimes dangerous city, made many worst city lists. Patna is the sorry capital of Bihar, the poorest state in India. It’s dirty and miserable, and it’s almost impossible to even get a taxi to get you out of town, which means it’s hard to leave the place. Calcutta is generally agreed to be one of the worst cities in India. ***** Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenyang, China: Deadly pollution, mostly from coal. Bucharest, all of Romania: Stalinist pollution covers the whole country and everyone seems depressed. Bali (in particular Kuta Beach), Indonesia: Hopes so high, reality so low. It seems everyone is out to rip you off. Surly locals hungry for money. Dangerous roads, nightmarish traffic, rude, leering men. When it rains, the sewers flood into the streets. Very high crime rate, hustlers everywhere. Most of the rest of Indonesia is pretty nice. Kuta is a tourist trap gone to Hell. **** Manila, Philippines: A crime-ridden hellhole. There are armed guards everywhere, especially in front of banks due to constant bank robberies. Their nemeses, criminal gangs armed to the teeth, roam streets filled with prostitutes and transvestites. It’s a town where everyone seems like they are out to rip you off in one way or other, and the hotel workers and cab drivers are all crooked. The latest advice is to have your Filipino friend meet you at the airport and head straight to their place, thereby avoiding all the ripoffs and con artists that seem to descend on every tourist. Traffic is horrible, and pollution is so bad it kills people. But some people don’t mind it. **** Gdansk, Poland: Combine a high crime rate and daylight robberies with totally crooked, thieving officials, and you get this Polish city. However, a number of others said it’s just fine. **** Mexico City, Villahermosa, Mexico: Mexico City is a dirty, polluted city suffering an insane, surreal epidemic of street crime, especially violent crime. Add 20 million people, stir well, bring to a boil, cover with a lid of otherworldly smog, and simmer. Reportedly, tons of human waste are blown into the air every day, and much of the population has constant respiratory infections. The sewer system is reportedly above ground and more or less runs through lots of neighborhoods where many people are residing. Villahermosa is a Mad Max-style, violent, crime-ridden disgrace of a city. There are stabbings and shootings galore here, even with a 10 PM curfew in place. ***** Tangier, Morocco: This is a dangerous place with lots of street crime. That’s unusual for a North African country, but Tangier is so close to Europe that it is almost a part of Europe. ***** Cairo, Egypt: Cairo has horrible pollution, smells terrible, there is trash everywhere, nothing works, there are armies of miserably poor people and it boasts some outrageously awful traffic. In the souks there are huge rats and wild, mangy scavenging dogs running about in plain sight. There seems no escape from aggressive, pestering hawkers. On top of all that, all the Customs officials are criminals. The crime rate is fairly low, though. Thank President Hosni Mubarak. 25 years ago, Cairo was one of the great world cities. ***** Bangkok, Thailand: This gigantic city has pollution so bad you need to wear a mask over your face. However, some folks like this city and say it has many positive attributes. ***** Brindisi, Naples, Italy: No one seems to like Brindisi. It’s a sad, dirty, polluted and ugly city, with hostile, brawling, drunken locals, hungry stray dogs, belligerent drivers, horrible traffic, and miles of soul-killing tenements. You would think that despite all of that, being genuine Italians, they could still manage to make a decent pizza. Forget it: even the pizza is terrible. Brindisi topped many worst lists, although it has a couple of fans. I had never even heard of Brindisi and had to look it up on a map. It’s located in southern Italy on the East Coast, southeast of Naples. Naples has a great deal of crime, and many think this city is overrated as a tourist destination, although others say that, despite the drawbacks, it has its joys. All of southern Italy has a lot of crime, but it’s mostly property crime. ***** ***** Athens, Piraeus, or the whole country, Greece: Greece, especially Athens, gets mixed reviews. A lot of people really hate Athens; others don’t. The detractors say the city is dirty, ugly, depressing, polluted, and covered with garbage and traffic. I was surprised that Athens made the list, as I had always thought it was a wonderful city. The port city of Piraeus is a nasty place. The whole city smells like a giant sewage treatment plant, and the ocean offshore has a sickening color to it. ***** **** Suburbs of Paris, France: These tragic towns, full of hostile Arab immigrants angrily refusing to assimilate to French culture or join French society, are a sign that the French model is not working well, at least for some folks. There is a terribly high crime rate here, and cops and firemen often won’t go there because they get attacked as soon as they show up. These mournful towns are packed with angry, unemployed young Arab men who like to seriously riot every year or so, or even more often if the mood strikes them. Lately, they have been staging mini-riots every night. If only 100 cars are burned, that’s a good night. Otherwise, Paris, of course, is one of the world’s great cities. But that doesn’t mean you might not walk into a subway station reeking of urine and see junkies shooting up in plain sight. But still, Paris is a must on any serious travelers’ list. ****** Brussels, Belgium: As with Paris, the districts with many Arab immigrants are quite dangerous and unpleasant, but the rest of the city is as nice as any big city. Abidjan, Ivory Coast: With one of the worst crime rates in Africa (although it has plenty of competition), this city topped many worst lists. ***** Bangui, Central African Republic: One of the worst cities in Africa, as bad as Lagos. The crime rate is totally insane. The locals will try to steal everything you own and even a contingent of armed guards will not be enough to protect you. Your hotel room will feel like a war zone. This fiendish city made a number of worst city lists. Lonely Planet’s guidebook more or less tells you to avoid this city altogether. Here is a harrowing report of a visit to Bangui. ***** Bamako, Mali: Mali has one of the worst governments in Africa, admittedly a race with a lot of competition. Bamako is a sick joke of a town, where the tourist surcharge is rigorously enforced, and the ridiculous, potholed streets are undriveable by any vehicle. Guatemala City, Guatemala: A totally dangerous, dirty, polluted, terminal patient of a city, full of scary, heavily armed teenage soldiers. The soldiers are there to keep the teeming, crime-ridden slums that stretch as far as the eye can see, from overrunning the place. But this city has a few fans. Belize City, Belize: This sweltering, miserable, impoverished, crime-ridden, very dangerous city is built on a swamp, with a jungle for a backyard. The beggars are aggressive and even menacing, and shady characters shadow you on the streets as you walk about. Cops are nowhere to be seen. This is one of the worst cities in the Americas. But the rest of the country is a great place to vacation. ***** Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Sao Paulo is the industrial engine of Brazil. This major city is full of garbage and very dangerous. There are hustlers as far as the eye can see, chaotic streets that render maps useless, not enough cops and Godawful traffic. Rio de Janeiro, the popular tourist destination with the killer skyline perfect for any postcard, is a deceptive place. It’s a very dangerous city with lots of violent crime. Street gangs armed to the teeth regularly shoot it out in military-style wars with the cops. Death squads of off-duty cops funded by local businessmen roam the streets at night, murdering homeless, drug-addicted street kids and petty criminals with impunity in a sickening “social cleanup” campaign. There are pickpockets and muggers all about, often in menacing, youthful gangs (especially on the famous beach) and they frequently operate in broad daylight. A dystopian horrorshow of a city. ****** Nairobi, Kenya: Unfortunately, this city is seriously crime-ridden. Even locals admit that violent crime has reached catastrophic proportions. Caracas, Barquisimeto, or the whole country, Venezuela: The crime is very bad here, sadly, and there is garbage everywhere you look. This blog supports Hugo Chavez, but crime in Venezuela is a tragic, long-standing problem with no quick fixes. Guinea-Bissau: There is no water, no electricity, no place to stay, and the only hotel is half-demolished. San‘a’, Yemen: In a Dickensenian touch, children are actually chained up here in order to beg! Moynaq and Nukus, Uzbekistan: These two cities broiling in a merciless desert have been ruined and turned into ecological dead zones by Stalinist pollution. ***** San Pedro Sulu, Honduras: This sad town has a horrible amount of crime. Swarms of locals will attack you on the bus, trying to steal your luggage. You will have to fight them off if you wish to retain your suitcase. Like the rest of this wreck of a country, it’s full of US gang members gone home to Honduras. People here are very poor and desperate. If you can make it to the nice part of town and afford to stay there, though, you can be quite safe. ***** ***** Dakar, Senegal: According to some, this large West African city has horrible street crime – it is very dangerous. They say if you don’t have armed guards with you, don’t even go outside your hotel room. However, others report that they spent a week there and found it to be safe, in fact safer than many American cities. Violent crime is reportedly rare, and the country is one of the most stable in Africa, and has been that way since independence. ***** Port Au Prince, Haiti: This filthy, degraded, extremely dangerous and desperately poor mess of a city is best avoided at all costs. It sports open sewers, enslaved children, riots, killings and lots of other fun things. This blog did support President Aristide’s efforts to improve the tragedy of a nation called Haiti. Lome, Togo: Criminals are as common as mosquitoes here, walking around fearlessly in broad daylight in this terrible city full of miserable people and crooked taxi drivers. ***** Istanbul, Turkey: The 20 The rest of the country is a great place to visit, has many fans and is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Best bet for Turkey is just to head to the tourist spots and blow off Istanbul altogether. ***** Phnom Penh, Kampuchea: This city has become a very dangerous, crime-ridden place. The gangs of little girl prostitutes add a particularly poignant touch. ***** Bogotá, Colombia or really the whole country: Bogotá is one of the most dangerous places in the Americas but there seems to be agreement that Colon, Lima and Guayaquil are worse. Really, all of Colombia is dangerous as Hell, to be honest. This comment about Bogotá was recently rebutted by a Bogotán blogger, with more comments here. His post aggressively taking issue with this entry is in Spanish, but my Spanish is good enough to get the gist of it. Also I am getting a lot of comments coming in from Bogotáns on the Internet aggressively objecting to the content. The sole issue that these Defenders of Bogotá are taking issue with is my contention that the city is a very dangerous place. To be honest, Bogotá used to have a truly horrible reputation for crime, but in recent years, there has been a huge effort put into cracking down on street crime. For some more agreement that Bogota is dangerous, see Bogotá is scopolamine. This drug is used by crooks to disable their victims so they can rip them off. It is sprayed in the face, dumped in your drink or spiked into a cigarette. Bogotá hospitals receive an incredible 2,000 scopolamine victims every month, or an astounding 66 a day. The drug knocks you out and can cause medical problems. Colombia has one of the world’s worst road systems. Many roads are not even marked. Drivers are reckless and many cars don’t have headlights at night. Cows have a tendency to wander into the road. Taxis are totally dangerous and are best avoided, if possible. Women are advised to avoid all taxis at night. Anyone is advised to avoid any taxi that already has someone in it. In many cases, this is a criminal accomplice of the thuggish driver. In addition to getting scopolamine sprayed in your face, another popular scam is the “jump-start”: you are told that the taxi has stalled and asked to get out and help push. As you do so, the taxi driver leaves with your luggage. Buses are also best avoided. Thieves haunt the buses, waiting for you to fall asleep, at which point, they rip you off. Certain bus lines are frequented by thieves offering drugged gum, sweets, food and cigarettes. After the drug knocks you out, they rob you blind. In addition to theft and druggings, kidnapping and extortion are also rife on buses. In view of all of the above, it is nothing short of amazing that all of these Colombians are angrily protesting my characterization of their country as dangerous. Or perhaps they doth protest too much? ***** Managua, Nicaragua: This dirty, crime-ridden, dangerous disaster of a city has a bombed-out look about it. This blog supports Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista Party and prays that they can ameliorate this mess. ***** San Salvador, El Salvador: See Managua. Full of dangerous former LA gang members. Death squads roam the streets, slaughtering gangsters by the dozen, but for every one you kill, it seems five more pop up in his place. This blog supports the FMLN’s efforts to reform this ruined land, but the crime here has become so terrible, one wonders if anything short of an act of God could make things better. In fact, I used to make contributions too the FMLN’s weapons fund via an FMLN agent in Los Angeles during the 1980’s. ***** ***** Detroit, New Haven, Newark, Gary (Indiana), Hammond (Indiana), USA: Detroit topped all lists as the worst city in the US. An ugly, dangerous, depressing and filthy city with a downtown that looks like a war zone – a despairing district surrounded by miles of crumbling, abandoned industrial buildings, torn-down fences and rusting cars. Newark is similar, with few to no redeeming qualities. It’s a frightening, polluted city with a postwar look of miles of weedy, trash-strewn vacant lots where crumbling apartment buildings have been torn down. It’s also a dangerous city with a high crime rate. New Haven, despite the presence of Yale University, is similar. There are legions of homeless, begging drug users clogging the streets, and the crime rate is very high due to hordes of crack-dealing gangs shooting it out on the streets. Congress and Columbus Avenues are notorious for drive-by shootings, drug dealing and muggings. It is reportedly the HIV capital of the East Coast due to IV drug use. A lot of the more respectable people have been moving out for some time now. Although much of the city is quite ugly, New Haven does have its bright spots, thanks to Yale. There are nice parts of town, parks, trees, etc. Gary is yet another postindustrial Rust Belt train wreck of a town. A grimy town full of abandoned factories, overgrown lots, rusting fences, graffiti, barred windows and vomit. Go downtown and see tall buildings all boarded up, with no vehicles in sight and unhinged stoplights swaying in the wind – for all practical purposes, a ghost town. This was once a vibrant, working-class city, and now it looks like Road Warrior. Hammond is similar, a suicidally depressing city lined with shuttered factories on the shores of Lake Michigan. Yet another Rust Belt post-industrial ruin. ***** Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: A collapsing, dirty, crime-ridden hellhole. Osaka, Japan: I never would have thought that this city would make the list but according to my friend Tumerica, she says it is the worst city she has ever lived in. I tagged her with the title of this story. In blogging, tagging mean you are supposed to write on the topic – kind of like, “Tag, you’re it.” I will let her explain why Osaka is such a crappy place in her post here.

Hiroshima Saved 500,000 American Lives And Other Lies

Repost from the old site. This is a debate that never really ends, and probably never will end. There is a lot of passion on the side of the debate that said the atom bomb saved Americans lives. They really want to justify the crime of dropping that bomb. Or 1 million American lives, plus countless Japanese lives (As if we cared about that!), plus British lives (Huh?). My father was quite fond of this one, as he was scheduled to be with the invading force for the invasion of Japan. This bullshit has become ingrained in the minds of tens of millions of otherwise intelligent, sensible and liberal Americans, like my parents for instance. It’s a bunch of crap. After the bombs were dropped, no one made any efforts to explain the mass slaughter of civilians away with justifications about saving lots of lifes by massacring 300,000 others in a couple of days. It was only after time went on and questions started arising about the need to drop those bombs in the first place that this choice piece of steaming propaganda crap steak was served up and fed to an American public hungry to have their guilt absolved. There has long been consensus among historians, including US historians, that the 500,000 lives saved figure is complete nonsense. In fact, when scholars finally got access to all of the secret reports that the US had made on how many US lives were be saved by dropping the two bombs, the estimates concluded that no more than 20,000 US lives were saved by dropping atom bombs, and possibly much fewer, even down to zero. Keep in mind that the Japanese were getting ready to surrender at the time. The military was devastated and the nation was in ruins. The army and civilians were both going hungry and there were shortages of everything. The whole society was near collapse. The Japanese were negotiating terms of surrender with us, but there was a sticking point in that they wanted to keep the emperor. We said no way, and dropped the bomb. We dropped the second one before they even knew what hit them. Why did we drop two bombs, including the utterly gratuitous bomb at Nagasaki? Because that was all we had – two bombs. As it turned out, we let them keep their emperor anyway. There is good evidence, knowing the depths of the evil and stinking gutters in which the worms of US imperialism have always slithered, that the bombs were dropped for the most part in order to scare the shit out of the USSR. Many historical analyses have stated that this was indeed the reason for dropping the bombs, or at least a secondary reason. Considering scholarly consensus on this subject for at least 23 years, it’s incredible that the American people have never been told that the 500,000 figure is a big, fat, stinking lie. “Freedom of the press” and American “democracy”, what a joke.

A Brief Look at the History of Art in the West, 300 BC – 1350 AD

Updated February 24. I added a few more things here. I’m just getting into the history of art, and most people don’t know the slightest thing about it either, so let’s take a little jaunt into art history and you’re welcome to come along on my journey. This will focus mostly on the history of art in the West. This post isn’t complete at all, but at least it gives you an overview of the subject. What it does in brief is gives a list of the finest art produced in the West from 300 BC until about 1400 or so, with a brief jaunt into the 1800’s. I only link to one of these works of art, but if you are interested in some of the greatest works of art ever produced by men, just copy paste the names of the works below into Google images and you should be able to get a look at what I’m talking about. I’m too lazy to track down links to all of these works, sorry. First of all, a previous post that suggested that there was little art in the Dark Ages was completely mistaken. What is true is that there was a decline in the great art and architecture produced by the Romans. Roman art came from the Greeks, and I think the Greeks were better sculptors. Great Greek buildings and statues include The Treasury of the Siphnians and Battle Between the Greeks and Giants (Delphi), Achilles or Spear Bearer, the Parthenon and the Temple of the Olympian Zeus (Athens), Temple of the Athena Nike (Acropolis), Aphrodite of Knidos, Hermes and the Infant Dionysus, the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos (out of this world), Warrior A, The Scraper, Venus de Milo, Gallic Chieftain Killing His Wife and Himself, Athena Attacking the Giants and Dying Gallic Trumpeter (Pergamon), Laocoon and His Sons, Nike of Samothrace and Hellenistic Ruler. Statues such as the Venus de Milo are some of the finest statues, albeit classical statues, ever made. They are very realistic; one could even say that they are hyper-realistic. It is better to say that Greek art was idealized realism. That is, it is more real than real. If you look at Greek statues of humans, they are more perfect than humans actually are. Anatomists have studied these statues and concluded that these statues are in fact more perfect than actual humans could be, down to the last detail. It’s an idealized and perfectionist vision of man and what he could be. Greek art, and the Roman art that followed, is very secular. This sets it apart from the art that followed in 1000 years following the Fall of Rome, in which art become focused solely on religion. So in this way, the Greeks and Romans were extremely advanced for their time. In contrast to the wildly religious-obsessed art of the Middle Ages, Greek and Roman art nearly avoids religion, as if it was not important. What was important, instead, was the secular, quotidian lives we live on Earth and all of the hopes, dreams, tragedies, comedies, joys, etc etc. of the human journey. In this crucial way, the Greeks and Romans were as modern as we were. If we could go back in time and air-drop cars and planes into their cities, I’m pretty sure they could go to town with them pretty fast. Quit thinking of these ancients as primitives. They were just like us! Some Greek art such as Gallic Chieftain Killing His Wife and Himself and Dying Gallic Trumpeter, while secular, is also histrionic is a staged sense. These are the exaggerated emotions of our films and plays, the timeless saga of man, his travails, conflicts and emotions. The point here is that the emotional content is wildly exaggerated in the way that it often is on stage in plays. Plays, like opera, since they lack the fancy sets of cinema, rely on exaggeration of emotion, to convey what they lack via fancy sets and multimillion dollar crews. The Greeks made some great tile art too, like Alexander the Great Confronts Darius III at the Battle of Isos and Stag Hunt. In a previous post I asked why the very early civilizations all built pyramids. The truth is not so surprising. A pyramid is the most basic and rational architectural structure to build. It’s a natural. If you empty salt onto a table, it ends up in a pyramid shape. A pile of about anything often ends up pyramidal. A pyramid is going to stay upright. Building large things other than pyramids that are going to stay upright is a lot more difficult. This is why the Roman invention of the arch was so essential. In architecture, the arch is an essential ingredient to any advanced building. If you see some of the reconstructed Roman structures in the context of the time, it’s as if they were built by aliens. That’s how far advanced they were beyond anything else of the time. I have seen interiors of large Roman structures that look like modern airport terminals (see the Central Hall of the Basilica Ulpia in Rome). Roman cities were laid out very rationally on perfect grids. They also made atriums, pillars, coliseums, on and on. Buildings had elaborate carvings made in them, often of men in combat. Roman paintings do exist, but due to the fact that they used wood and paints that decayed, little has remained. Most remaining Roman “paintings” were done with tiles. I have seen Roman paintings that achieve a look that was not achieved again until the 20th Century (see The Unswept Floor by Herakleitos). Pompeii has many of these. As with just about everything else, Roman art and architecture was out of this world. Some of the great statues, tilework, carved artwork on buildings, buildings and cities are Head of a Man, Aulus Metellus, Imperial Procession, Commodus As Hercules, Augustus of Primaporta, Gemma Augustea, the House of the Silver Wedding and the House of the Vetii (Pompeii), Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius, Battle Between the Romans and the Barbarians, Still Life (Herculaneum), the Colosseum, Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli and The Battle of Centaurs and Wild Beasts (at Hadrian’s Villa), Timgad in Algeria, the apartment blocks of Ostia, and the Arch of Titus, the Arch of Constantine and the Column of Trajan (all in Rome). The Pantheon in Rome may be one of the greatest buildings ever made, though the competition is tight. The Dome of the Pantheon is out of this world. It’s commonly said that Romans fell to barbarians, Germanic tribes. It’s true that they sacked the place, but it’s not true that the Dark Ages lacked art, as I noted above. What happened in the Dark Ages was a decline in the quality of art over that produced by the Romans and Greeks. Furthermore, art became very restricted. Paintings, usually done with tiles, have a dark, depressing and Hellish theme, overridden with a harsh moralism. The world was a cruel and nasty place, and if you didn’t watch it and pray all the time, you were going to Hell. Almost all paintings were of religious figures of one type or another. People often have a strange, otherworldly look. This is because as I noted in an earlier post on the Dark Ages, the Church had the only money at this time. If you wanted to get funded, you had to go to the Church and the Church would only fund Church-related stuff. Plus probably most art was being done in monasteries, as with most other productive activity beyond mere survival. The people looked strange because the Church frowned on realistic looking people. That looked like real life, and the Church did not want to portray real life. They only wanted to portray the otherworldly realms of religion. In this attitude we can see the common religious attitude that the worldly life is permanently tainted with sin and must be avoided as much as possible. Although this was a dark time for art and society, the focus on religion was reasonable. Truth was, life was so dark and dismal that the Church was where it was all going on. All art was about the Church because there was nothing else happening and life was really bad. All science, education, learning, reading, writing, wealth creation, art, architecture – it was all coming out of the Church. The money factor was crucial. Nowadays, if you want money, you go into business. Back then, you got into religion. The reason that things fell apart so much in the Dark Ages was the collapse of urbanization. Country folks and back to the landers may not like city life too much, but when cities collapse, most everything tends to go to Hell. By contrast, the greatness of Greece and Rome was actually related to their high level of urbanization. City life seems necessary for advanced civilization to occur. With urbanization, some crucial factors probably jell together that start to mandate civilizational advances. Characteristic of the time is large halos around everyone in the painting. It is accurate to say that art did not progress during the Dark Ages, that it actually went backwards. Nevertheless, much fine material was produced. Some of the excellent paintings, sculptures and buildings produced during the Dark Ages include the Church of Santa Sabina (Rome), the Church of Santa Costanza, the Mausoleum of the Galla Placidia, the Dome of the Baptistry of the Orthodox and the Church of San Vitale, the Transfiguration of Christ with Saint Apollinaris, First Bishop of Ravenna – a painting in the Church of Saint Apollinaire of Classe (all in Ravenna, Italy), the Hagia Sofia (Istanbul) – one of the finest buildings ever built, the first written Bibles such as the Rabbula Gospels from Syria, the Paris Psalter, the Ebbo Gospels and the great Crucifixion with Angels and Mourning Figures cover of the Lindau Gospels (all from France) and the Book of Kells from Scotland (Out of this world!), the Cathedral of Saint Mark (Venice), the Palace Chapel of Charlemagne (Aachen, Germany), ornaments from the Sutton Hoo burial ship (Suffolk, England), the Gummersmark brooch (Denmark), the Labro Saint Hammers (Gotland, Sweden) the burial ship from Oseberg (Oseberg, Norway), the Gero Crucifix from the Cologne Cathedral (Cologne, Germany) and the Church of Saint Cyriakus (Gernrode, Germany). Note that fine art was even produced up in Scandinavia. These people were not primitive by any means. The problem up there is that most art was created out of wood. There was plenty of that, but it doesn’t make very good art, and most important, it doesn’t last. For really great art, it helps to have some big rocks, and I think there are a lot more trees than rocks in Scandinavia. Greece looks like while God was creating the world, he took a break to throw rocks at Greece. The place is littered with stones. Hence all of the fine stone sculptures, buildings and cities of Greece. Great art continues in the High Middle Ages, such as the Church of the Monastery of Christ in Chora (Constantinople) and the painting Anastasis on its apse, the Doors of Bishop Benward at the Abbey of the Church of Saint Michael (Hildesheim, Germany), Doubting Thomas in the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos (Castile, Spain), Christ in Majesty in the Church of San Clemente (Tahuil, Catalonia, Spain), the Borgund Stave Church (Sogn, Norway), the Durham Cathedral (Scotland), the Church of Saint Etienne (Caen, France), the Speyer Cathedral (Speyer, Germany), the Church of Saint Ambrogio (Milan, Italy), the Cathedral Complex (Pisa, Tuscany, Italy), the Church of San Clemente (Rome), printed works such as the Worcester Chronicle (Worcester, England) and the Winchester Psalter (Winchester, England), the woven Bayeux Tapestry (Bayeux, Normandy,  France) and the Portable altar of Saints Kilian and Liborius from the Helmarshausen abbey (Helmarshausen, Saxony, Germany). The Leaning Tower of Pisa is also in the Pisa Complex. The tower is leaning not because it was top heavy, though it is, but because it was built on sand. It would have fallen over long ago without our efforts to shore it up. These efforts are vast and ongoing. We are tunneling under the building and shoring it up in various ways to keep it from falling. Right now things are so bad that it is so dangerous to be around the tower that visitors are forbidden from walking within toppling distance of the thing. One reason that the art above is so great, even those famous Bibles, is that monks would spend 20 years, 40 years, or a lifetime making say one Bible, one treasure box, painting one church. Not only that, but a whole team might work for many years on an object or interior church design. These monasteries were like miniature factories. They weren’t producing a lot, but no one else was either. They were very inefficient, but there was no competition. Gothic is in the High Middle Ages, and this is starting to head into the Renaissance, although everything is still about religion. Gothic had some superb works, and now we are looking at some of the finest churches of all, including the Cathedral of Notre-Dame (Chartres, France), another of the greatest buildings ever built, the Amiens Cathedral (Amiens, France), an incredible building, another Cathedral of Notre-Dame (Paris), a competitor with the Notre-Dame in Chartres and possibly better, another Cathedral of Notre-Dame (Reims, France), possibly the best one of them all, the Saint-Chapelle (Paris), yet another awesome building, and the Salisbury Cathedral (Wiltshire, England) – too much! Gothic architecture clearly produced some of the finest buildings that have ever been built. It’s characterized by tall, thin cathedrals with vast spires jabbing away at the sky. The purpose of those spires was to point towards heaven. The idea of the tall buildings was to make them closer to Heaven, and also the various monasteries and bishops were in competition with each other to see who could build higher buildings. The tall, thin shape that gets more pointed towards the top is the best way to build a tall building for the same reason that a pyramid is a natural form. A building that gets more pointed near the top is less likely to topple over than a top-heavy building that has as much weight at the top as at the bottom. One of those Gothic cathedrals actually had a building that did not get more pointed as it rose and that part of the building toppled over. How did they build those cathedrals? They used scaffolds. Often families of men, fathers, sons, grandfathers, multiple generations, would work on the buildings.  They usually worked for free or room and board. The Church told them, “Hey, if you guys work on this church your whole life, you will go straight to Heaven.” Yeah right. One purpose of the cathedrals was conversion. Life was pretty dismal in those days, and the life of a serf was bad. So you took a humble person and should him this wild cathedral, so beyond anything else he had ever seen that it may as well have been built by aliens, and you pretty much had a convert on your hands, so awe-struck was he. These cathedrals show us just how much money the Church had at this time. For all intents and purposes, the Church had all the money and no one else had a dime. It’s a truism that while the Roman Empire did formally fall, really it just morphed into the Roman Catholic Church. The fundamentalist crowd wonders why we care so much about separation of church and state. We care because back in those days, the Church was the state. English kings pondered for lifetimes ways to get the Church out of the business of running the damn country. No wonder Henry VIII threw the Church out and set up the Anglican Church. It was the only way to get free of this octopus and its tentacles. In the Late Middle Ages, great works continue, including the Exeter Cathedral (Exeter, Devon, England), a mind-boggling structure, the Ely Cathedral (Ely, Cambridgeshire, England), the dome of which makes you wonder how they even built it, the Cathedral of Palma (Mallorca, Spain), up there with the greatest and the Church of the Holy Cross (Schwabisch Gmund, Germany), the Virgin and Saint George, the altarpiece of the Church of San Francisco, Villafranco del Panades (Barcelona), the Shrine of the Three Kings (Germany), the Florence Cathedral (Florence), an incredible building, the Siena Cathedral (Siena, Italy), another awesome structure, the Life of John the Baptist on the doors of the Baptistry of San Giovanni (Florence), Giotto di Bondone’s Last Judgment on the west wall and Life of Christ and the Virgin on the north and south walls of the Arena Chapel and Duccio di Buoninsegna’s Maesta Altarpiece for the Siena Cathedral. Around 1340, one of the first works including landscapes and regular people with no religious significance was done, Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good Government in the City and Allegory of Good Government in the Country, two frescoes in the Sala della Pace in the Pallazo Pubbico in Siena. The moving away from religion and focus on our real world shows how the Late Middle Ages were leading into the Renaissance. The periods of the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance seem to blend together. The Renaissance ran from around 1350-1600. The Late Middle Ages are thought to be from 1300-1450, so there is definitely overlap. The truth is that the Late Middle Ages shade into and lead into the Renaissance. In the Renaissance, we get the first non-religious art since the fall of Rome. I don’t have much to say about the art of China and Japan except that it is good. It’s difficult to compare this art with the art produced in Europe. They all had their own styles  and it’s hard to say if any one of them is better than the other, but I don’t think that Japanese art is any better than what was being done in Europe at the time. Islamic art is actually very good, especially the tilework on the interior of mosques up on the domes. This is excellent art, and as good as what was being done in Europe. The only thing you can say about Islamic art is that their ridiculous religion bans them from drawing humans. I have seen some early Jewish art, but I wasn’t much impressed by it. Jews are very smart and many modern artists are Jews, so Jews can clearly make great art. The problem here is that like in Islam, Jews were forbidden to make graven images, and the forbidding of idol worship means you can’t draw people, and that tends to really limit your artwork. The fact that Islam has the same prohibition means to me that Islam has borrowed from Judaism. The art of Central America is interesting, and some of it is not bad. I don’t think it’s superior to European art, but I’m not sure if it’s inferior either. Some of the gold ornamentation is really great. I really hate to bag on Blacks here, but I should say something about African art. I was not very impressed with it. The best building was the Great Friday Mosque in Djenne, Mali, built in the 1200’s. It’s made of mud and wood. It’s ok, but compared to what was being built in Europe and the Arab World at the time, it’s not much at all. Afrocentrists like to go on about the Great Zimbabwe built around 1300. Yes, it’s a long wall made of stones with some conical structures here and there. If this is Africa’s greatest architecture, I don’t know what to say. It’s not much. However, I was very impressed by statue heads and masks out of Benin from 1400-1650 and continuing on to 1900. Some of that is excellent. It is usually made of brass. However, I am told that they were already coming under the influence of Europeans, especially Portuguese, and this spurred this nice art. I don’t care what influenced them. There is some cool art coming out of Benin around the time of European Renaissance. I’m not so impressed with the earlier stuff out of Yoruba or the very early stuff out of Nok in Nigeria. However, we must acknowledge that Nok was one the flashpoints for early African civilization and more was accomplished here sooner than anywhere else in Africa. At any rate, today Africans produce some superb art, especially African masks. Travelers to Africa with some cash often pick them up and it’s a great investment. I’d love to have one on my wall. In the 1800’s, all art and music was in the classical traditions. If you wanted to be an artist of a musician, you had to go to school and study the classics. That was really the only way to paint or make music. Hence, art and music had stagnated. The classical art and music had been taken to the limits and the best had already been done. Michelangelo and Beethoven were not going to be surpassed. There was nothing to innovate anymore. One of the first impressionist was Édouard Manet. His first impressionist painting, Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass) (1863) was a strange painting of a two clothed men eating a meal with a naked woman in a park. It caused a scandal because the people pictured were real people, not religious, historical, mythological, political or monarchic figures (the five permitted types). It was not really possible to paint a real person. All art had to be of one of the five types of persons above. The idea of painting a real person was ridiculous. Manet’s painting caused a scandal not because the woman was nude. It was ok to paint nudes if they were of the five types of persons allowed. The idea that someone would paint a nude of a real life person was outrageous. It was made even worse because people knew the names of those who were painted – the men were his brother, Eugene Manet, and his girlfriend’s brother and future brother in law, Ferdinand Leenhoff and the woman was Victorine Meurent, Manet’s favorite model and later an artist in her own right. Further, the subject matter was seen as shocking, nearly pornographic. What were the clothed men doing eating with the naked woman? It was as if they were both going to have sex with her at the same time in a menage a trois . What Manet did with that painting was like saying, “Screw you,” to the Art Establishment of the time. It was like punk rock, an act of artistic defiance. It was anti-art, anti-classical art, and anti-Art Establishment. Manet many and his supporters got banned from a major art exhibition in 1863, the Salon de Paris. The jury of the contribution to support more of this valuable research.

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