Donald Trump is becoming the Great Deconstructor. By pulling out of international politics in many ways, the US loses influence. And while doing so, it alienates the beach-front liberal states, making them push ahead alone too. Basically, not only he pulls out of the international scene, but he weakens the federal government inside the US as well. Some might think that this is what Republicans wanted anyway, however, I think The Donald is doing so by mistake, without realizing that he’s doing it. Because that definitely doesn’t make America “great again”, unless they’re referring to the America of 1830.
So what’s to happen in the global future? Probably some international chaos for a while, or, another country stepping in to fill the US shoes. Most say it’d be China, but my money is on Brazil. The EU won’t accept China, so since they can’t fill up these shoes themselves due to be drowning in bureaucracy, they will probably pick a rather big, but neutral power. Brazil fits that bill.
I’m personally against the recent European ban on wearing religious or political symbols at work (or in public). To truly be a well-functioning multi-cultural race, we must accept other people’s freedom to dress as they like. What this law is doing, is simply trying to equalize people by saying that “in work, or in public, you’re just one, bland, neutral culture”. But that’s wishful thinking, an illusion.
This is bound to create resentment, and in my view, it’s simply evil. As long as the job is not required to have very specific requirements (e.g. teachers having eye-contact, or special uniforms in chem labs etc), then people should be free to wear anything they want, at any time. Or wear nothing at all. Anything else, is tyranny, and not worthy of a progressive ideology.
True progressiveness gives freedom to the people to express themselves any way they like and at all times, not in time slots of 9-5, Mon-Fri. If anything, the enlightenment and individualism wave dictates as much! True progressives don’t hide behind the lame and hypocritical “your religion is a fairy tale, so I don’t want to be reminded of it”. Either you’re a true progressive on this, or you’re a closeted conservative.
What’s next? If there were aliens from another planet landing, that happened to be “spiritual” in some definition, to dictate to them what to wear and how to behave just so you can feel “European”? You know very well that the answer to that would be “no”. So why treat humans differently?
Star Trek: The Next Generation would be ashamed of you.
All these anti-Trump posts are laughable. Your fellow citizens VOTED for him because they felt desperate: racism is stronger when there are financial problems in the middle & lower class. You should have knocked THEIR door and ask them if they needed help BEFORE the election. Yes, it is your fault liberals. It is your FAILURE to be a truly progressive person in your daily life that drove everyone else towards Trump.
When was the last time you gave half of your earnings to a family down the street that’s out of work for months? When was the last time you actively decided to not buy something created in the slums of Asia? When was the last time you decided not to eat an animal that had lived a terrible life and had never seen the sun or ever walked? When was the last time you actively decided to buy an electric car instead? When was the last time you decided to not join the military, and not be in the business of killing? When was the last time you invited a homeless person in your home, even with the risk that entails? When was the last time you decided to not work for that oil firm, even if it’d make *you* homeless?
Oh, all that stuff are too drastic for you? Don’t say! Sorry, but that’s the price of humanity. That’s the price of love. That’s what needs to be done for things to CHANGE. It’s not a matter of a president, it’s a matter of EVERYONE changing. Without showing love, you get an opposite reaction. And this time around, it manifested like a Trump presidency. Now, go and march on, idiots. Trump doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you, he’ll still do what he wants. You did this. Look at the mirror, before you start pointing fingers to others. Your marches and your posts are nothing but hypocrisy.
I’m sick and tired of your blindness. You fail to understand that your life experience is utterly democratic. You create your reality with your everyday actions. If all citizens are all about themselves and no one else, they will create that shared reality, even if some of you paint yourself a “progressive” or not. You’re only progressive in theory! In action, you’re just as ineffective or close-minded as these “alt-right” [complete] idiots. And so you get what you deserve too, along everyone else.
Libertarians want a small government, where corporations have almost unlimited powers to do their business. Business and economic growth is the name of the game, and in fact, the only game in town. Unfortunately, along with that, they support reducing personal freedoms: the right to marry the same sex, abortion, privacy, surveillance etc.
On the other hand, the liberal lefties believe the opposite: they want more personal freedoms, and fewer corporate freedom.
Which one is the more “correct” or “best”?
Well, here’s the thing. Not one size fits all. It all depends on the level of consciousness found in the society at the moment. If this was still the old days, where people needed to build a new world and escape the medieval times, then libertarian conservatism makes more sense.
Think about it like this, as in an example: You just freed a Siberian village of some random mining slaves (ie the peasants of the medieval times). Do you just give them unlimited personal freedoms but not enough business-growth freedoms, or do you let them grow out of their slavery, in a way that they can prove to themselves that they can be free citizens that can contribute to the whole? In this case, the latter is a better option when taking into account the intellectual growth of these people *in the long term*. Newly freed people still need something to lean to in order to properly function until they grow out of it. This is the role of religion and nationalism that has played, and why restricted personal freedoms are still best for undeveloped intellects (and I’m metaphorically talking about the whole human race here).
In other words, the human race required this type of capitalistic right-leaning individualistic growth in the past, in order to prove to itself that it is a creator race that can stand on its own legs.
So there comes a time, where continuous business growth has its negative effects, to both society (e.g. shallow consumerism), and the environment. At the same time, the strictness of character found among conservatives, would need to be challenged in order to optimize and heal what we already built (and destroyed) in the last 200 years. Coming out of that phase is a sort of graduating.
That’s when social-democratic leftism (that is not communism or pure socialism, but rather left-leaning capitalism) can help.
The newly gained personal freedoms that liberalism/progressiveness calls for will create a new kind of more responsible citizen. One that does not require to “belong” in order to have an identity (as in the case of religion, or nationalism). While this personal transformation towards more personal freedom takes place, corporations would have to be restricted of absolute power simply because the humans that run them haven’t developed that sense of responsibility yet (they need to work for it first on personal level).
After another 200 years of leftism, and when personal responsibility has been tackled, a new kind of philosophy would be born yet again, to replace this type of social democracy. One with a smaller government, freer citizens AND freer corporations (that at the time might evolve themselves into “projects”, rather than plain business). Interestingly, that new order of things would be closer to left anarchism, than right wing libertanianism.
Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that everything evolves, and at each level of evolution, we have a set capacity of collective consciousness that reflects our economic and political system. So what I described above is simply one of the possible natural ways of society evolving away.
Change is inevitable. Flow with it, and you’ll be alright. Fear not fear.
It’s obvious to me that more preparations should have been done to switch currencies. It’s obvious that the European situation had no remedy, no matter the amount of negotiations that would take place. I believe that the way out of this tomb is to innovate. You can’t use old methods to fix old errors. You need new methods. And technology can provide those.
I know that printing a new currency would be difficult, and even more difficult would be to build trust. I’d suggest this: No actual printing of new currency. Make everything electronic. I’m NOT talking about bitcoin (which isn’t modernized in principle, as Mr Varoufakis has pointed out). I’m talking about people paying with credit cards (for large amounts) and smartphones using NFC (Near Field Communication) for up to 20 drachma (I’m assuming a parity with the Euro, at least in the beginning). Regarding notes, these can be in euros (since they’re already out there circulating anyway).
People WILL trust this new form of paying because of the same reason people in the States prefer to use credit cards: they don’t see the money, so they feel that they didn’t pay much for the goods. It’s a psychological trick. In fact, the NFC trick, where you simply touch your phone to pay a micro-payment up to 20 drachma/euro, is even more painless. People will use that, even if for convenience. Most people already have Android smartphones in Greece, and one can buy such a phone for 100 Euros today (Archos brand). Within a few months, people will be using this new system, and they will even like it. They won’t even realize that there was a change in currency. Overtime, all the euros will end up in banks, especially if you offer them a sweet buy-back program.
Now, regarding corruption in Greece: Since all businesses and micropayments in shops would have to happen via NFC/cards, it would be very unlikely that people will be able to not pay their taxes. In fact, the taxes could be calculated automatically in such a system. Who needs an accountant (that most people can’t even afford), when the system takes care of that for you?
And regarding the rest kind of corruption (e.g. fakellaki, rousfetia etc), since everyone would now have these smartphones, they should be fully supported by law to RECORD every chat they have with civil servants, taxi drivers, doctors, police etc etc. And I don’t mean just audio recording, but full video recording. Who ever doesn’t accept the new kind of currency, or wants “extra”, they should be admitted to court, given the video proof. Russia does the same with the dash cams for car insurance purposes. It works.
I would like to re-iterate: you have an old Europe in new lipstick, and an old style financial problem (debt). The problems Greece has are not novel, they are in fact the status quo throughout history. So in order to go around these problems, you need the tools of today, not old tactics of the yesteryear (be it diplomacy, negotiations, politics). It needs swift action, and mobilization of technology.
It rubs me the wrong way when people say “I’m proud that the XYZ place exists in my country” (e.g. a monument, or a natural place). Why would anyone be “proud” for something they had nothing to do with, is beyond me. For example, why would you be proud if Parthenon, or Santorini is in Greece, for example? You had nothing to do with either the building of the Parthenon, nor the volcano that created the Santorini island.
The correct vocabulary would be “I’m happy to live close by to such a place”. Anything more than that, is chauvinism at worse, or stupidity at best.
It’s funny seeing Redditors speaking of revolution in the comments of various political posts, in order to remove the oligarchy and increasing police/surveillance-state totalitarianism around the globe. However not one lifts their finger off their Minecraft distraction. They’re the worst of the sheep bunch: enlightened to the situation, but unable to overcome the system, because of their own personal limitations. They have reduced themselves into whining, or at best, to occasionally donating money to various activist causes (just as long they don’t have to do any heavy lifting).
My opinion is that a “revolution” is a waste of time. The root of the problem is not the evil oligarchy. It’s not even the monetary system, capitalism, banks, the Illuminati and what have you. These are just symptoms of the root cause.
The problem is the people themselves. They allowed to be sucked in into “wanting”, instead of searching for their true needs. They want a car, they want nice clothes, they want a nice, big house they can’t afford, they want this, they want that. They want everything, just like the people who control them from above. They’re mini-mes. They accept ridiculous jobs to achieve all this: lawyers, bankers, CEOs, or lower, donkey jobs for these types of people.
Not to mention the lowest of the lowest job, being a soldier. I have very litle compassion for soldiers who got themselves into killing others and following orders blindly. It’s better to sit your ass down and ask for food in the streets than become an active soldier. Same goes for police officers who are in the game for the control they can exercise when they’re given the opportunity, and not for the protection of their fellow citizens.
Starting revolutions is futile. Look at Egypt: they overthrow one government, only to overthrow the new one again a few months later. This is because it’s the people who can’t find balance in their life. The various government leaders are just a mirror of their people (including non-elected ones, as in the North Korea dire situation).
As a Greek, I’ve been telling my Greek friends the same thing about their situation, but they only resist that idea. It’s always someone else’s fault, isn’t it? It’s so much easier this way. So much more convenient. Let’s create a lie and a bubble around ourselves, just so we appear immaculate, while “the government” gets all the blame.
To change the world, you have to first change yourself.
If the majority was to decide to leave the cities, find a small community in the country and work the land in a sustainable & clean manner, that would be progress (aka permaculture). Don’t buy almost ANYTHING that corporations create. Grow your own organic food, wear second-hand clothes, use second-hand tools, recycle as much as possible, create your own, local, small-scale companies run by the people, stop watching false entertainment. Do business only with business of that type elsewhere. Don’t send your children to become police officers, military, or otherwise a control organ. If 50% of the people were able to do these things, then within 4-5 years there wouldn’t be any government, oligarchy, or corporations. And yet, there would still be a sustainable life, and order, without the need for these forces.
If you aren’t prepared to sacrifice your city life and its luxuries, a city life that entails a consumerist, slave life, built on top of the sweat and tears of other slave workers from the East, then you don’t deserve a better government. You get back, what you put out.
If all you want is “want, want, want”, then you have to give in order to get. And in this case, it’s not money they want, but your obedience and control. The Federal Reserve can print/create out of thin air as much money as it wants, do you think that the oligarchy wants your tax and shopping dollars? It was never about money, it was always about Power. Power, to feed their ego.
The only way to stop feeding their ego, is to lose your own ego. Then, their ego will have no egos left to fight, or control. Their house of cards will fall naturally, without any marching revolution, or much fanfare. It would be seen as a natural evolution of both our societal system, and our collective consciousness.
Now, some people would argue that this Gandhi system would never work, or that the hippie system failed in the ’60s. This plan would only fail if it doesn’t get enough momentum for long-enough. Remember: if most people don’t want it, then they’d get what they deserve — it’s up to them! It’s never about “it works” or “it doesn’t work”, it’s about what people DO. How determined they are for true change, and how much compassion they can show to each other.
The hippie system failed because:
1. It had no plan.
2. It had no elders (which is different from “leaders”).
3. It had no cohesion and inter-connection.
Today, the Internet can fix all these problems. There are elders (philosophers, political scientists etc) who can communicate their advice, and the Internet can keep these communities close and cohesively. The plan is to simply partake only to community-oriented business, love and protect the land that feeds you, grow only organic food and pastured animals, use clean energy, live a peaceful life without violence.
If the Amish can do it with even fewer resources and more self-imposed restrictions, why can’t you?
Now, you’re probably thinking: even if this was to work, it could bring my country a century back in terms of technology, since most big corporations would fall. And to this, I reply to you: so what?
When we have crapped all over the place and have nearly destroyed everything around us, it’s beneficial to take a step back. Only when taking a step back we can retrace our steps of what went wrong, and move on with a more solid foundation. Besides, the knowledge won’t be lost. It will be still there, sitting in archives, waiting for us to reclaim it when we’re ready for it again. Additionally, such a new world would be a type of mixed advancements, it won’t be purely pre-industrial — there can still be cars, and a form of internet, for example, because during the course of this change, some old-style corporations will seek to transition to the new style, just so they can survive. Technology won’t go away, it will simply refocus.
But I can sense that this idea scares you even more than having to move to a farm. Don’t be scared. It’s the price to pay for 300 years of constant overindulging in resources, animals, and human lives. Someone has to pay for that, and that’s the human race, since it was the sole perpetrator. Besides, to get sling’ed into the future, you need to stretch back on the catapult for a while. The longer you stretch back, the further you will eventually reach.
The paradigm must shift with all of us. Fighting the existing paradigm will create a new one just like the one before it, since it’s a Hydra system. The game is rigged. The only way to win the game, is to step out of it.
I watched the 2nd and 3rd Zeitgeist movies last night on Netflix. They advocate the abolishment of capitalism and the monetary system, for a “resource-based economy” that is environmentally friendly and equal for all people.
So far, so good. Since I identify as a social-anarchist myself (in truth, I’m a centrist realistically-speaking, with social-anarchism being an ultimate goal for our species), the things mentioned in the documentary hit home with me. They spoke truth about the evils of the modern times.
But at the second part of the two documentaries the “Earth/Venus Projects” were mentioned (full documentary), which is about a technocratic, and rather utopian society (even if the creators of the project hate the word “utopia”). Nobody will have to work, machines will do our jobs, with only 3% of the population needed to maintain the machines (volunteers). It’s a society where there is no market, no State, since everything available is available to all, while more complex machines are time-shared (e.g. cars). Art is free, services are free & mechanized.
“Three Minutes to Nirvana”
My artwork about the journey humanity must take towards ascending into a higher state of being. Full explanation here.
As much as I would love such a society to exist, it can’t happen. It won’t work. Here’s only a two reasons why, out of thousand reasons:
First Point: The failures of community development
This is the biggest point: Machines don’t design themselves. Technology does not invent itself. We are not living in a Singularity, and as such, human engineers are required to design new robots to do specialized jobs. So if nobody is required to work, who the heck is going to design/redesign/fix these machines, or build new ones that are more advanced?
The obvious answer here is “community development”, similar to that found on the various Linux projects (especially since all source code and hardware designs will be free for all to dive into).
As the ex-editor in chief of OSNews.com who dealt with Linux and its surrounding projects on a daily basis for many years, I can tell you this: it’s not possible to maintain such level of complexity with community projects. The Linux ecosystem has shown that this does NOT WORK.
There is nothing as LARGE and cohesive as Android or iOS today, made by community development alone.
GNOME, KDE, Linux itself, is getting the vast majority of code fixes and updates from COMMERCIAL COMPANIES, not from volunteers (for example, GNOME had Red Hat behind it in his heyday before it fell from grace, KDE had SuSE, and Google is now the biggest contributor for the Linux kernel). The volunteers are here to just make half-assed contributions most of the time. There are VERY FEW independent developers who are super-serious in providing daily, serious work to their pet open-source project. The rest, reply to you when you report a bug like this: “look man, I do this in my free time. If you don’t like it, write the code yourself”.
And we all know the kind of quality we get from projects that don’t have a company, or strong leadership behind them: they’re buggy, they’re slow, they’re often difficult to use, incompatible, broken dependencies, don’t follow a standard UI/rules, and very often behind in technology. For example, The GIMP was supposed to have full 16bit editing in 2002, but 11 years later, it’s still in alpha/half-assed mode. Not to mention the slowness this app has compared to Photoshop…
The reason for all this is because community developers DO NOT WANT BOSSES OVER THEIR HEADS. They don’t want to listen to a product manager, and they don’t want to listen to a UI designer, and they don’t want to spend 3 weeks to debug a bug that’s difficult to track down (that’s how long it can take to trace a race condition). They want to add FEATURES. As it has been said many times in the last 10 years, when Linux was trying to make it to the desktop, that there’s no glory in fixing bugs. The glory is in new features. But the person who pays afterwards for the half-assness is the user.
So how the heck do the Zeitgeist people expect the community to work as cohesively, as driven, as focused, as a REAL COMPANY would? It can’t! Not when there are no de-facto leadership. Community-driven open source developement has shown that it can’t compete in quality and speed of development with most commercial companies! Again, don’t forget that I’m talking about 100% community development here, not open source projects where big corporations make the most contributions.
And not to mention that when people get pissed off about some code or some feature they don’t like, or because of some asshole in their team, THEY LEAVE and THEY FORK the code (which can create major incompatibilities, something that the Zeitgeist people fight against, since they advocate for full compatibility among the various technologies).
But that’s only half the story.
The other half is that the complexity of the technology advocated by the Zeitgeist guys is just TOO COMPLEX. To create something like Android, Google had to not only skyrocket the number of developers it employed, but they had to stand on the shoulders of OTHER SW and HW COMPANIES that create their own little thing that is part of the whole, and so on. It’s also of no surprise that Apple had to pull developers off Mac OS X and onto iOS. These things are complex! This is NOT 1967, where a CPU can be designed in a garage, by hand. This is an era where the complexity *requires* SPECIALIZATION (something that the documentary also thinks it’s evil).
I highly suggest you read an article by my husband, a Google Android engineer. But before you, Zeitgeist advocates, shut down my and his article just because he happens to work for Google, know this: JBQ is the “community” guy, responsible for the open sourcing of Android. He’s THE guy who has one foot inside Google, and one foot in COMMUNITY development. So he knows the story INSIDE-OUT. He knows how the WHOLE thing works.
This is his article about today’s technological complexity, please read it before continuiing reading this article.
There’s a reason why the LiMO and OpenMOKO failed, there’s a reason that the VERY FEW open source hardware efforts have failed EVEN more than software equivalents. The complexity is so high, that it requires perfect co-ordination with too many other aspects in the whole process! Something that can’t happen on the volunteer-basis, without at least SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. Picking up another person’s code (if the original coder quit) is NOT EASY either! It can take MONTHS to get up to speed!
The point is, that without STRONG leadership (at multiple levels, for interoperability and building on top of other tech), complex work can not be done. Nature can teach us this same thing too. Think of ants, think of bees. These are among the few animals that create COMPLEX STRUCTURES. Oh, that’s right! These animals live under some extreme hierarchical rules, and they all have specialized JOBS. What does that tell you?
If the Zeitgeist people don’t agree with the above statements, it means that they have never worked in the SW or HW industry, and they simply talk out of their ass.
And after writing all this, we still haven’t mention medicine, and medical research, which is AS complex. Just because there won’t be patents and copyrights in such a utopia, doesn’t mean that NEW science can exist without massive amounts of work from vast amounts of people who work on schedule, and with specialization, and under a grand PLAN.
If this is not addressed, then within one generation, there won’t be people who would know how to operate, maintain or design new machines. Everything will just get old, unmaintained, and people will have fewer things than they had before. The system as described by the Venus/Earth project, will fail by natural decline, IF it worked at all.
Second Point: The jobs that no one wants to do and robots can’t do
In the documentary, we’re shown automated agriculture, veggies grown on skyscrapers and other such stuff. First of all, veggies that don’t touch the ground, just like humans and animals, become un-grounded from Earth’s EMF field, which makes them sick. But that’s just a kinda new point to the whole “health” puzzle.
So let me ask you this instead: Who the heck is going to milk and skin the cows? There’s no way to have pastured-raised cows (as they’re SUPPOSED to be, in an environmental- and animal-friendly society), and have robots chasing them all day long to milk them, or to kill them for food consumption. There are just too many variables in such a situation, that today’s robotic AI is not good-enough for it, because it’s not the same repetitive action they have to do all the time (you never know how a cow would react — these are all things that the AI must address).
Don’t forget that the documentary says that we have the required robotic technology TODAY to create such a utopia (in fact, the creator of the Venus Project was saying on TV in the 1970s that we already had the required technology back then, which is of course even more laughable). And as someone who has worked in the AI field, I’m telling you, that NO, WE DO NOT have the right technology for everything depicted. As demonstrated with the cow example above, our AI today is pretty dumb, and it would not be able to deal with wild cases. Self-driving cars (also shown in the documentary), won’t be ready for years to come either.
Or, are we’re supposed to be vegetarians in that utopian world of yours? Because you will get the meat and fish from me over my dead body. I didn’t spend 10 years being sick as a dog, just so I can eat wheat again, to kill me for good (wheat nearly killed me, EVEN if I’m NOT a celiac. The documentary proudly shows WHEAT in some of its shots!). The thing with wheat is that 95% of people are allergic to it, especially the unfermented US variety. People DO NOT know that they’re allergic to it, just because they’re not celiac. But brand new research in the last 2-3 years shows that wheat is POISON for EVERYBODY. It’s NOT a food we evolved with, it arrived with agriculture only 10,000 years ago. And yet, there we are, in a utopian society where we would have to eat wheat as a staple, and where animals are not even suggested as food (which is the food that we EVOLVED with).
The documentary talks about the psychology of today’s people, and how mentally ill they are because of how society runs. This is true. What is also true is that wheat is a huge factor on making people mentally sick. People who have gone to try the gluten-free Paleo-ketogenic diet (that includes offal, game, pastured-raised meat, greens, bone broth, animal fats, wild fish/shellfish, fewer carbs), had not only their auto-immune, inflammatory conditions reversed, but also their mental issues. So in a utopia where people are supposed to be healthy, the kind of foods we evolved with must be available. This is nowhere mentioned in the documentary, instead they take the WRONG approach of “whole grains”.
So, if the Venus/Earth Project is going to push such kinds of foods as grains, or vegetarianism, I can tell you right away: you can shove these projects in your ass. I prefer to live under today’s fascism, than eat wheat. Because even after living under fascism, I have BETTER CHANCES of living a healthy life, than in a utoprian society where I have to eat wheat and no WILD or PASTURED meat/fish (no farmed fish please). The 10 years of terrible health and pain I had before I went all-natural and hunter&gatherer-style diet are still too strong in my mind.
And not to mention that we would need hunters. The kind of meat available today in the US is laughable. It’s just cows, chicken and pork. Where’s horse? Where’s deer? Where’s antelope, wild sheep and wild goats? Where’s actual, real game and wild birds? These are foods that we EVOLVED with, so they should be part of the normal diet in a utopian world! These foods ARE utopia for me. So who the hell is going to go HUNT for everybody else (since everyone is supposed to have an equal share)? Or are you going to unleash robots for that too? Good luck with that.
So anyway, to go back to the point of robots chasing cows/hens in the field: we will need humans for these types of jobs. Until we reach singularity, there’s no way this kind of job can be done without humans. And I fail to see how someone would donate his/her time to get into dirt, and milk cows, and get farted upon by them. They won’t. Nobody would want to do such a job without some form of payment. Everyone would prefer to just “do art”, or maybe write some code, in the confy of their room.
In closing, I believe that maybe one day we will be close to such a system, but there will still be jobs and bosses. They have to. But instead of money, maybe the incentive should be “reputation points”. Instead of having pop-stars, in such a society, people who contribute the most become “star citizens”. Points would be equal for a cow-herder, and a doctor or scientist, as long as people who offer what it’s expected of them. So in my opinion, what is required is equality of job “payment”, not “no jobs” at all.
There is an ancient Greek saying: “Many people hated money, but no one hated glory“.
Maybe that’s the incentive required to have people do the needed work, almost daily, and under a somewhat strict management. Not money necessarily, but honor among peers.
Soon, the Greek debt will rise at $500bn. That’s the kind of debt that no small country can repay, unless it has invented, internationally patented, and marketed anti-gravity. So, let’s see why we’re where we are today, and what can be done about it.
- The origins of the fuckup
One thing you have to understand about Greece is that since it became independent, 190 years ago, there hasn’t been a single time when the Greek economy and standard of living was “good”. See, if you look at Germany, France, UK, and even Russia and Romania, you will find stretches of time that measure in years where you could say that these countries had a “mini-golden age”. Greece never had such a golden age in the modern times. It was always under the danger of defaulting. And it has, at least 3-4 times. From the Irish Times: “According to a study by economic historians Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, the Greek state has been in default for almost one out of every two years since it was founded in the 1820s.”
This financial situation has led to dictatorships, kings, and democracies come and go, like on a vicious cycle. And until the 1980s, this has kept the Greek people from living at the same standard as their European counterparts. In the 1920s, the bureaucracy had become so big that the public sector grew not only in numbers, but also in power. A law was enacted where from the moment you became a civil worker, you effectively couldn’t get fired.
This quickly created a two-tier citizenship in Greece. The powerful civil workers (who retire early, some of them work few hours, some of them working in offices are indeed lazy etc), and the private sector, which remained very underpaid, very hard working, and who’d retire at the age of 65. When Europeans today complain about the lazy Greeks, they must understand that Greece has a virtual cast system, and that not everyone is equal in it.
So, because of this social schism, the private sector had to resort in tricks to stay alive. They’d avoid taxes as much as they could. As the years went by, this whole mentality of corruption and “under the table business” was spread to every part of the state. From the poor workers, to the richest. Tax evasion is what everyone does, from the poor worker who pumps gas to your car, to the biggest construction company of the country. Being street smart was now how everyone was getting by in Greece. Want to see a doctor? Pay him under the table. Want to have your car pass the yearly examination? Pay the guy who does the checks. Want to get your case be heard at some civil office? Pay the clerk to just move his/her ass to go and find the file. In all truth, this kind of mentality was in Greece for centuries, but it amplified with the rise of the civil workers in the 1920s.
I was born in 1973 in Athens. In the first years of my life I lived in both big cities (Athens, 1-3 yo), small cities (Preveza, 4-7), towns (Louros, 12-18), and mountain villages (Skiadas, 3-4 & 8-11). One thing I remember very clearly from that early time is how many times I’d eat beans during the week. It was bordering to 5-6 times a week. Beans were our staple. And not just my family’s, but most of the people we knew too. We’d be lucky if some goat broke a leg, and my uncles had no option but to kill the goat, and share the meat among the family. The standard of living was a bit better in Athens, but not a whole lot better.
But after the inclusion of Greece’s in the European Community in 1981 something happened. Money poured in from the European countries to Greece. FREE MONEY, that is, in almost the most literal definition of the words. Not once in the past a country was ever so lucky to receive so much free money. That was such a major opportunity for Greece to get it right. Europeans wanted Greece to be part of the future European Union, and to be able to be as developed, money had to be given to Greeks, to make roads, businesses, develop more their agriculture etc, etc. In three decades, 240 billion Euros of European subsidies were given away to Greeks.
Instead, the money found three destinations. Divided, 1/3 went where it was supposed to go. Indeed, some new roads were made, some new athletic infrastructure etc. The other 1/3, the one that was given to businessmen to modernize their business and bring them to a European standard, went into building new houses for their family and buying cars. See, that money was like candy change for a street kid. Money was poured in to very poor people, so the natural reaction was to buy “luxuries” (if you can call a house that its floors are not made out of cow manure, a luxury — that was the case for many houses in Louros up to the late ’80s). Because the socialist PASOK wanted to be re-elected, they didn’t do anything about the situation. They just let the people “become happy”, so to get votes again. And they did.
The last part of that 1/3 (and maybe even more than just 1/3), was eaten away. By people who had access to it. Be it politicians, civil workers, the mob, rich people, it doesn’t matter. The point is, billions of dollars were eaten away, and that money never went where it was supposed to. They are probably in some Swiss banks right now, if they were not always spent away in cars, swimming pools and what have you. The point is, Greek lost a unique opportunity with that money back then, to modernize the country.
Another thing that was and is part of the problem, is the oligarchy in Greece. The career politicians are coming from families of politicians. While there are similar examples in the US too (e.g. the Kennedys), Greece has taken that to the extreme. 90% of same people are getting elected and re-elected all the time, and when they die, their kids, or their proteges, are taking over. The Greek political parties are like football clubs, with fan clubs, and fans that can be trusted to make trouble when asked. They are all populists, they are shouting at each other in a way that would land them in jail in any other parliament in this planet, they are short-sighted, and they are incapable of understanding what they’re into (consider that Greek ministries are NOT offered to academics or people of knowledge, but to these elected — so a dentist that got elected, might end up become head of the Education Ministry). Not to mention that the title of Greek President had true powers before 1988, and became just a ceremonial title after constitutional amendments that the Prime Minister of the time passed, ensuring that there’s only “one” person in power. The whole thing is power-gripped, and corrupted. Unfortunately, even if a new government takes over, the same underground people will still move the pawns. The only way for Greece to free itself from this political mob, is to not allow any of the politicians, behind-the-scene workers and their immediate families of these political clubs to be elected for 30 years. Take away their be-voted citizen right, destroy all political parties that have more than 5% of popularity. Politically, Greece must start from scratch in that front.
As much as I’d like to put all the blame to politicians and call it a day (as many Greeks do), the truth is that Greece is a form of democracy (yes, just a form). And as such, the citizens are responsible as to who they vote. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, you could have this bright chemist, or theoretical physicist, or mathematician just finishing up his university studies, and instead of trying to setup a research company to try and create “the next big thing in the world”, he has to go through almost two years of mandatory army service (doing nothing all day after the first 3 months of basic training, killing any urge to change the world via a new product, and forgetting what he learned at school), he then comes back to mom & dad and asks them to go and kiss the ass of their local politician to get him a job as a civil worker — sitting down all day, doing nothing of note, that is. And politicians did put these bright people in dumb, filling and data-entry positions, because they wanted to re-elected. Everyone was winning in their microcosmos they lived in.
But the country was losing in the big picture. Greece became a country that did not produce anything. Except feta, olive oil and tourism, the country was just living on virtual growth. And the civil workers made it difficult to get out of this terrible situation, by asking the government to “lock” certain modern professions (so only civil workers could do them), and by making it difficult to incorporate an LLC. Do you remember that Greek Android company that Google bought last year? The reason its two guys left Greece and tried their luck in the Silicon Valley wasn’t because they couldn’t get an internet connection from Athens, but rather because creating a new private company in Greece was a pain in the ass until recently, when finally Papandreou made it easier with a new law (acknowledged by the two engineers in a separate video interview).
At the same time, Europe has part of the blame too. They poured all this money to Greece, and they never checked it properly if the money was going where it was supposed to. They trusted Greece to be an adult, while Greece was just a little poor kid on the streets, and was just learning to become a spoiled teenager after it got adopted. As much as I’d like to put all the blame to “external forces”, zombies, Europe, vampires, and politicians in the last 30 years, the truth is that a lot of the blame goes to every Greek citizen. Every single one of them. They brought all this on to their heads for the last 90 years, and especially during the last 30 years.
Ah… the ’80s. What a nice time (*chillwave music plays in the background*). The time that we switched from beans and wild vegetation soups to chicken, beef, pork and Prada belts. Guess what kids: you now have to pay for a standard of living that was not symmetrical to what you generated as a country.
The blame of Europe does become more apparent and more serious in the last 10 years, when they started lending Greece even more money, on the promise that they will get their money back. There was no collateral, and they kept lending. That was not just a financial mistake on their part and for their customers, it was a crime against Greece. Every responsible bank is supposed to do the math if someone has the money (or the will) to pay back. ECB didn’t do the obvious math, even after Goldman Sachs helped Greece to cook the books. That’s how far the Greek corruption went, as to making illegal business with the GS sharks. Instead, Greece is now paying the price and GS still strongly sits in Wall Street like nothing happened (a bank that should taken apart by the US government in my opinion, for the problems they created to at least the American people recently).
And if the lending of money wasn’t enough, the paranoia that Turkey (also a member of NATO) will invade Greece has led to an arms race. Think of what was going on: France was lending money to Greece, to buy French arms. Let alone that most (all?) of the 12 Phantoms Greece bought in 1988 have crashed since during exercises (second grade quality?), killing most of their pilots. Not to mention that because of bribery to civil servants from foreign medical companies, Greece pays 3x the amount of money for medicines and medical instruments than any other European country.
- So what can we do?
There are only two things that can be done, and unfortunately, Greeks today are opting for the wrong option. When will the citizens see the big picture? Don’t get me wrong, both options are SHIT. There’s no way back to the old standard of living. But there is a difference between SHIT and SHITTIER.
Shit option #1: Austerity measures, more bail-out debt
This is the solution that the current Prime Minister is trying to pass. The advantages of this plan is that, at last, more laws will pass that will make free enterprise and growth a possibility (but definitely not a certainty). At the same time, crazy pensions, 14 months of payments for 11 months of work, and other crazy civil worker benefits like these, are all cut out. Personally, I’m looking forward to these kinds of social changes. For the long run, even if it stings 1 million civil workers who have learned to expect a specific standard of living that is not analogous to what they offer, it’s the right decision. If bankruptcy fear is what drives Greece to corrects the sins of the past, well, then that’s what it takes. The truth is, the kind of civil worker system that Greece has is not sustainable. It must be shrinked considerably.
The disadvantage of this plan is that Europeans are asking to privatize all national wealth. From transportation to healthcare, from banks to selling islands. I’m all for privatization of certain elements, but as a socialist myself I believe that a righteous government should have the upper hand when it comes to resources that are important for its citizens in the next 100 or 200 years. For example, while I’m for selling a few small dry islands that no one is living on them, I’m against of selling water. With the dangers of global warming, overpopulation, and the decline of the sea life, owning potable water is very important.
Greece must be bailed out, but without selling out its main life lines. These must remain property of the people. Papandreou should only sell parts that are not vital to life in the future.
Shittier option #2: Bankruptcy and back to drachma
This is the easy solution. But easier said than done. See, with bankruptcy, and going back to the newly devalued drachma, Greeks can start anew. Unfortunately, this is not what is going to happen. Have you ever seen what happens when you remove the Hi-Fi system from the room of your teenager kid? Hell, that’s what. He comes back and trashes the place out of anger.
I’m Greek, I love Greece as my birthplace, and I terribly miss its beauty. But I do NOT trust the Greek people to live like Zimbabweans do. Because that’s what is going to happen if Greece exits the Euro. Forget buying a new cellphone every year, or a new computer. These will all be parts of the past. Instead, the standard of living will go back 20 years, and the country will need between 30 and 100 years to get back to its feet — if civil war doesn’t tear it apart before that time. Expect a lot of violence. Lootings, rapes, robbings. When Argentina defaulted 10 years ago (an argument that many Greeks bring as a positive example), 25% of its citizens had to live (and some still are) under extreme poverty.
In my opinion what Greeks ask today when they riot, or when they write such half-truth articles, is not a viable policy. It’s a pipe dream. They think that if they are left to their own devices, and Europe ungrips, things will be good. No. Things will be way, way worse. The international market is like a web, and no country can live alone. Greece does not even have oil, it imports 100% of it. Greeks who riot to leave the European Union and NATO are romantics, their idea of how to proceed can not work. Unless they want everyone to live the way people in North Korea do, which is not very nice, to say the least.
Instead, they strike, bringing the country to its knees even more, which results to requiring more bail out money to pay for these un-worked days. The more these idiots strike, the more the country dysfunctions. Strikes is the worst thing a citizen can do to an almost dead country. I’m extremely sad that the Greek citizens don’t see this. It shows great irresponsibility.
- Some further ideas
What Greece needs to do is simply:
1. Get bailed out by Europeans, by convincing them that Europe without Greece will crumble. Get their money, but this time use it right. So far, Europeans do want to bail out Greece, but this will change in the next few weeks (mark my words). There’s no time to waste, from the Greek point of view, bailout is better than bankruptcy. With the right measures, the debt will be paid back eventually. Refuse to pay a part of the debt if lawyers find that some of it was illegal (like Ecuador did). But this “trick” can’t be done for all the debt.
2. Austerity measures where it matters, where it makes the country stronger, no matter if some civil workers don’t like it. Lower civil servant pays (it makes no sense that a private worker gets paid $800, when a civil servant gets paid $1950 on average), cut off the big pensions to no more than $1000 etc.
3. Privatization of only non-essential parts of life (current and future life). Fight corruption at all levels. Transparency everywhere.
4. Like India, become an off-shoring center for many things, not just software.
5. Start industries, make smart people create companies and products that international markets would care to buy.
6. Cut out the army service to 3 months. Stop buying arms, only parts if needed.
7. Ask people to go back to the villages where they came from. Ask them to use the land, make food. Athens holds 1/2 the Greek population, a negatively unique situation in the world.
8. Clean up the political system. Disallow all politicians and people currently in power from getting re-elected or serving for a number of years. Instead, the people who are eligible for that period should be under 50 years old, and never have been part of any political association before. Bring new blood into politics and put smart specialty people as heads of the various ministries.
9. Go back to the tax books, find the holes, and make the citizens and corporations pay of what they owe (there are terror cases of corporations paying $0 when they should have paid $15mil in taxes). While that money might have left Greece for Switzerland long ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if what is owed to the state by its own citizens and especially its companies, reaches to the heights of a trillion dollars.
10. Tourism, tourism, tourism. Put people to work, remove the Acropolis, and move it to a secure location. Rebuilt the Acropolis from scratch, according to how the archaeologists think it looked like in 400 BC. Rebuilt the Colossus of Rhodes. Greece’s landscape is also unique for extreme sports. But as my mom says, who I always found her to be the epitome of the very average Greek (in a bad way): “Allo ti tha kanoume. Tha paroume to ale3iptoto kai tha pame na pidisoume apo tis speles na pame na skotothoume. Den mou fernoun fai aftes oi vlakeies”.
Oh, and Greece is not just the islands. So far, 90% of all tourists go to islands, and that’s stupid. I bet most non-Greeks have never heard of Vikos, even if it’s as deep as the Grand Canyon (if not more). Except goats and a few know-hows, no one visit it. There’s another wasted opportunity to make money off of tourists. I can find about 100 such opportunities, that if I had all the money the Ministry of Tourism had in the ’80s in its hand (or was supposed to have), Greece would not be in this situation today. Even with all the rest of its problems in its back!
Heck, the place I come from, Epirus, is one of the best “blind spots” in the whole of Europe that can do astronomy better than any other place (especially because there are high mountains, clean non-polluted atmosphere, and weather is good too). And what has been done for that? Absolutely nothing. Instead of building roads that go up a mountain, and facilities up there so European amateur astronomers know about it and visit, I’m pretty sure that the idea has not even crossed anyone in Greece’s Ministry of Tourism, ever.
As much tourism Greece has (and has quite some), and Greeks think that their tourism is top notch, the truth is that tourism in Greece SUCKS. There are so many things missing, so much missing infrastructure (from public toilets to golf terrains — there are none). There is so much opportunity there, that make my eyes cry. If all that is not enough, there you have the Greeks essentially banning kite-surf. If this last part doesn’t show how short-sighted Greece can be, nothing will.
Make no mistake, I love my country. I close my eyes at night, and before Morpheus has taken me away, I’m that kid again, chasing hens in my village. I love my birthplace. But the good citizen is the citizen who says it like it is. Unfortunately, it’s my fellow Greeks who I disagree with in this case — and this puts me at odds, because unlike most blogs discussing the situation, I put the blame on the citizens too. I disagree with the Greeks’ expectations about entitlement, their beliefs about other countries owing Greece just for being Greek and having invented democracy (I didn’t know patents can last 2000 years), their kind of non-sustainable aspirations of getting a job that you can’t be fired etc. But I do love them for being so open, for always saying what they think, for being laid back and cool. But I can’t stand this short-slightness, both at a personal and national level. I left Greece to get a better future (since there was nothing to do there for the business of my then-fiance, and after I specifically commanded my parents to NOT go kiss ass to try to make me a civil worker), but I always, always dreamed of going back. The people at the day to day basis are lovely, the nature is beautiful. Hopefully, one day the political and financial climate there will be stable-enough for once. I hope during my lifetime I see this coming to fruition, and Greece becoming a true 1st World country. Not in the name only.
Additional reading: this article by Vanity Fair. A lot of Greeks hated it and found it anti-Greek, but the author has his head screwed on perfectly. Kudos.
I didn’t use to be political. And I didn’t use to be very progressive either (please, don’t call us “liberals”). But as I grow older (38 years old now), I surprisingly become more progressive and “hipster” with every passing year. And more of a socialist too (to the dismay of my right-wing family in Greece).
I’m your “traditional” progressive: pro-choice, pro-equality for all, pro-healthcare, pro-taxes, pro-peace, pro-stemcell-research, pro-regulatory, pro-environmentalist, pro-assisted-suicide, pro-social-spending etc. I’m a humanist, but not religious. Reddit is my crib. However, it goes beyond some buzzwords and issues that might sound current and important now, but already might be “well, duh” in 20 or 30 years from now.
Being a progressive (or a conservative) is a way of thinking. It’s how you see the world, and life. The reason I write this blog post is because in all my recent years’ arguments on online forums about stuff (from music, to movies, to technology, to anything really), if I had to analyze why some of my co-conversationists could not “get” my arguments, and why I couldn’t “get” theirs, is because we see things differently at a fundamental level. Our disagreements had nothing to do with my or their opinions on the said movie scene, or TV show, or the state of the music business. But it had everything to do with the “why”. Why I find a TV show engaging and intelligent, why I support the democratization of music, why a nude movie scene is nothing to get worked up about.
At the end, it all comes down to how we see our world. I want to see change in every level, even if that means that certain establishments must be abolished. I’m not afraid of change, I’m not shaking at the thought that something could be done differently. I embrace it.
On the other side of the fence are the conservatives who want nothing changed. Some because of religious reasons, some because they like things how they’ve always been and proved themselves to be working seemingly fine, and some because they are romantics.
Some will claim that progressives have it right, some will claim that conservatives do, while others believe that both need to exist in the world, in order to bring some balance in a society’s evolution. Full conservatism can bring a Medieval stall, while full progressiveness can create so many changes that could destabilize the society and the market.
Regardless, I’m a progressive at heart and I’d prefer it if we were to take our chances with that mind-set, rather than battling conservatives all day long, sometimes for things that I consider basic human rights. On a personal level, the part I have to work more on is towards tolerance. Conservatives do get on my nose on occasion, you see.
Today, TorrentFreak published an article saying that piracy in the US is on a downward spiral because of competition it’s facing from a legal opponent, Netflix.
Some people have said online that “no one has a silver bullet against piracy”, but this is not true: the all-you-can-eat streaming model is the only one that works for these easy-to-copy digital products. Especially if the product is now cheaply produced too (e.g. music), it makes little sense to try to sell works individually.
I envision a world where $10 per month gives you access to all movies, $5 to music, $5 to a conglomerate of news/magazines, and optionally for most, $10 for access to video games. Another $30 for a 25 mbps internet connection with an allowance of 250 GB of bandwidth per month, and another $30 for a 4G cellphone package with 25 GB of data/voice per month. For $80-$90 per month overall, your digital life is complete. Today, most people pay for such services about $150 per month, and they get LESS. Naturally, as people trying to balance their wallet, the less important services, like entertainment, are getting the short end of the stick, because of piracy.
It’s not just the lower prices that can make consumers become legit, but rather the differences in service. Consider the following:
- You get a beautiful and easy-to-use UI to find a movie/album compared to the chaos and spyware of a thousand bittorrent sites.
- With streaming you get to watch/listen immediately, with bittorrent you’ll have to wait for the download to finish first.
- Good quality rips from the master source, rather than an optical source or shaky-cam-from-within-a-theater.
- Ratings, suggestions, and other social features can make the experience better, more interesting, and help you find new movies/artists.
- Edge-caching is more effecting for the network than Bittorrent downloads that are killing worldwide bandwidth by often going transatlantic.
- By going legit you help the producers/artists/journalists produce more.
- You won’t have the FBI/RIAA/MPAA on your back.
Bittorrent still has a few advancements, but most of them are going to fade away within 2-3 years:
- Not all Netflix titles have closed captions, but this is worked on as we speak.
- New albums appear immediately in the library upon release, and eventually Netflix will be able to get movies within a few weeks from theater release too (especially after the death of Blu-Ray/DVD that is upon us already). Also consider that some TV shows already show up on Netflix a few days after broadcasting (e.g. Stargate:Universe, Gladiators).
- It’s still free for those who can’t even spend $15 per month for their entertainment.
It’s because of these reasons why I also believe that any cloud-based music service that might come around from Apple, Amazon, Google, or your mom, will fail to deter piracy. See, if these services only allow you to upload your own already-purchased music instead of letting you stream everything in THEIR library, that’s a near-useless service in the grand scheme of things. I’m personally subscribed to RDIO, and I loves me the legal, unlimited, streaming (that also has an offline mode).
All this is so clear for me that it’s mind-boggling as to why we don’t have all entertainment ever created, streaming, right now, worldwide. Technical difficulties aside, the real reason we don’t have this yet is because of conservative businessmen who don’t want to face the truth that their business is now commoditized, in some cases as easy to create on a bedroom, and that it therefore generates less money than it did in the golden age of the (culturally) read-only generation (that is, particularly, 1930-2000).
An ex-Warner Bros VP wrote yesterday that he believes that the Netflix model does not work for music because music can be listened in the background, as opposed sitting in front of a TV that has our full attention. Therefore, music has lower value than video in the minds of consumers, and so they won’t pay the price. I agree with this, music is more abstract as a product. But what this only means is that instead of $10 per month (as in video), music must cost $5 per month. Music is cheaper to produce than a movie anyway.
What his real problem seems to be is that he doesn’t want to see that lower return in investment. So he basically shoots down the whole idea, that Netflix has proven to work, just because he wants to make as much money as movies do. Sorry pal, but that’s not how much music costs or is valued at. Movies are way more expensive to produce! Get down with more realistic prices for music licensing, buy a smaller house, a smaller car — or change your profession if you don’t like it. But don’t shoot down a business model that does work because you want to cling in the old world’s unnaturally big profits.
Update: Another reason why the old school labels don’t feel that the Netflix way will work for music too? Because then their products would compete on the same grounds with the indie bands, and so the competition would be more fierce for them. It’s easy to pay radios to play your music, try to do that on an “on demand” service! So it’s not a matter of making less money, but of eventual irrelevancy.
The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) just released a PDF about Greece, one of the countries in their “most watched” list about piracy. In the first paragraph in that PDF they recognize that the governments’ austerity measures will increase piracy even more. Then, they go on to suggest strict laws and punishments to those who are caught pirating. Well, let me say something to these sharp knives over at IIPA:
When a country is under a huge stress over their previous quality of life getting vanished (as IIPA themselves are acknowledging), and they take that weight out of in the streets by rallying and striking every week, the government will not, and it should NOT, take further action against them for any home/digital copyright infringement. Not because copyright infringement punishment is not lawful (it is, and it should be up to a point), but because as a politician you must control these 11 million people from pulling a Jasmine on you.
And the best way to do this, is to keep them busy with entertainment. If piracy is how these straggling citizens are getting their fix and relax, well, let it be so.
IIPA, I hope the Greek government won’t listen to you. No problem catching the professional pirates, but at the current climate in Greece, the Greek citizens should get a free pass on digital piracy at home. At least until things calm down, which it will take a few years. If this means that you must stop selling your goods in Greece because of unmet trade agreements, then DO SO. Your goods were not going to be bought anyway, because there’s no money left to be spent on your products. But you have no right to dictate policy on the Greek nation.
I asked the question on Twitter a few days ago, and none of my 860 followers replied. I won’t let off that easily.
So, let’s assume that our galaxy is imminently dying for some reason. From all intelligent species out there, only one has the capability of traveling beyond this galaxy. Before they leave this galaxy for good, they go from intelligently habitable planet to planet to ask the life forms there about what would they send along to save. They have limited cargo space, and they aren’t terribly good in biology (so frozen eggs and human gestation is out of the question). So, if you were some kind of World President, who or what would you sent along to save humanity, and why:
By now you probably heard the news. My personal theory is that it’s DNA signature-based chemical weapon-testing.
According to the press, the facts are:
1. It happened in New Years Eve/Day (hoping for less media exposure, gets blamed on pyrotechnics).
2. It only affected a single bird species and a single fish species, in a single day, each incident just 125 miles apart (this is not how nature works).
3. It only happened on a 1-mile radius for the birds (possibly for the fish too, that were later carried away by the stream).
The only thing that doesn’t fit with this theory is that there was no poisoning found on the birds, which might mean that either the chemical compound used could dissolve itself after a short time, or that the kind of poisoning it creates can’t be found with common lab tests, or that it’s a radio-based weapon rather than chemical.
But I still believe it to be weapons testing (chemical or otherwise), in my (non-expert) opinion. Think how effective it would be to kill the enemy on the other side, on a specific radius! It’s expensive when bombing and destroying the ecosystem, because when you later take the country under your control, you still have to deal with the mess, fewer animal and plant resources, and destroyed buildings that have to be rebuilt. With this weapon, your newly acquired livestock, wildlife, transportation resources, and buildings all stay put, while the human enemy perishes. No reason to have your oil burn for months on end either.
I only hope that this is not some weapon that some lunatic super-villain invented to kill people on a whim, but rather a more controlled government project. Both cases suck goats of course, but if I could pick one, I’d prefer the lesser of the two evils.
In 2008 Obama made the world believe in him with his “Change” message. However, change has not come in the 2 years he’s been in office. His only major victory so far has been the health-care bill, a bill that is still not as good as most of the European ones. But he has done nothing to change Congress, or the way this whole system works.
Change instead came from someone else, Julian Assange. Not in the form of signing actual new bills, but in terms of offering a way to get transparency. Wikileaks’ hunger for that transparency is supported among others by Congressman Ron Paul, famed intellectual Umberto Eco, and US Senator & presidential candidate Mike Gravel. Gravel himself was persecuted by the US government all the way to the Supreme Court when he assisted the leak of the Pentagon Papers in the ’70s. He won the case. What Assange does today with these 251,000 cable files, is what Obama should have done after the first 3 months he was in office. Instead, Obama took a back seat (it feels like he’s not even governing anymore), allowing his staff to perpetrate further the Bush-era laws and paranoia (TSA scanners anyone?). In the meantime, Assange ended up in jail.
Making things worse, US companies like Amazon, Paypal, MasterCard, and now Visa have cut off ties with Wikileaks, trying to kill the organization. How is it possible to stop service to an organization as important to so many people, when not proven guilty, and for all we know not even charged with anything? All they will manage to do is drive Wikileaks underground, get it to run by organizations like Anonymous, which might end up being a worse deal for the USA in the long run. And isn’t it weird that organizations like the Ku Klux Klan can operate freely within these companies’ services, but Wikileaks can not? Hmm?
If you’re on Netflix, I highly suggest you stream this documentary at your earliest convenience. See, what Wikileaks is doing is not new. Back in the early ’70s, the EXACT same thing happened, when a government analyst, Daniel Ellsberg, leaked to the press the information about the horrors & lies of the Vietnam war, and how unjust & brutal the US had been to that war. Ellsberg has tweeted and written in support to Wikileaks too.
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