Archives mensuelles : septembre 2019

Le bonheur pour chacun au détriment d’aucun, et sous toutes ses déclinaisons !

“In 1796, Jeremy Bentham, the great legal reformer and utilitarian philosopher, published a grandiose scheme for ‘Pauper Management’. This early example of privatization proposed the formation of a National Charity company that would construct a chain of 250 enormous workhouses, financed by a large number of small investors. Each workhouse would hold around two thousand inmates who would be put to profitable work and fed on a spartan diet.

The plan, in brief, was for all of England’s paupers to be housed in purpose-built facilities [panoptical prisons], specified by Bentham in elaborate detail, and run on a strongly coercive basis, with all paupers held to work until they had paid off their accounts.

JeBe²

In many cases, that day would never have come, as children born in the pauper house would be held there until they had children in their turn, all of whom would be educated so as to eliminate desire – not by the normal mechanism of satiating it, but by the more cunning approach of ensuring the children were so totally ignorant of the outside world they would be happy in their prison. This was what Bentham was pleased to call his “Utopia,” and it was one from which he would personally have profited, since he proposed to serve as the owner, manager, and jailer of the entire system.”

http://bev.berkeley.edu/PE%20100/On%20Pauper%20Laws%20-%20Bentham.pdf

Idleness, intemperance, and vicious connexions, are the three principal causes of corruption among the poor. When habits of this nature have become to such a degree inveterate, as to surmount the tutelary motives, and to lead to the commission of crimes, no hope of reformation can be entertained but by a new course of education — an education that shall place the patient in a situation in which he will find it impossible to gratify his vicious propensities, and where every surrounding object will tend to give birth to habits and inclinations of a nature altogether opposite. The principal instrument which can be employed on this occasion is perpetual superintendence. Delinquents are a peculiar race of beings, who require unremitted inspection. Their weakness consists in yielding to the seductions of the passing moment. Their minds are weak and disordered, and though their disease is neither so clearly marked nor so incurable as that of idiots and lunatics, like these they require to be kept under restraints, and they cannot, without danger, be left to themselves.

https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/bentham/jeremy/principles_of_penal_law/book5.html

At some stage, we said : work is everything we are, to the point where [we would] just name [our children] Ben Farmer, [or] Painter, [or] Blacksmith, [or] Goldsmith, etc. You know, these are [actual] names.  [Their last names would just indicate their professions]…  So, the job became the identity. And the point is that the unique characteristic of a human being is not the fact that they are a painter or a goldsmith, or that they can produce economic output. That’s not the unique characteristic of a human being. The unique characteristic of a human being is that they can discover undiscovered knowledge and perceive it. There is no other such [entity] that we know of that can discover undiscovered knowledge and perceive it.

That, along with mankind’s capacity to produce singular, non-industrial, non-stereotypical objects and ideas, like care or a meaningful musical symphony for instance, is probably, as I’ve often stated, the most precious – if not the only – added value the human species has left, the only set of specificities still making it original and exchange-worthy to a (soon-to-be-deified ?) hyper-computer.

Choosing – but who actually chooses ? – to focus solely on a false conception of efficiency, reduced to the immediacy of its expected results, each (wo)man being, in that perspective, but a cog in a stone-cold machine, each confined to one role, to an often simplistic function, more often than not determined by others and/or by standardized circumstances instead of free will, talents and self-definition, is what led us to doom already, more than once, and will again if again we consider focusing on life is detrimental to the superstructure supposedly organizing it, as if said superstructure’s vivacity and life’s maximization were not each other’s sine-qua-non conditions.

From “pleasure for the greatest number” to ‘pleasure for a select few and pain for all the rest’ to ‘happiness for each one, at the expense of no one, and in its greatest possible diversity’ ? Therein lies the complex challenge of sustainability awaiting the human species and its environment in the coming centuries. But God knows how much some false conception of efficiency and an obsession for superfluous norms, meant not to protect but to contain life, not only adore hierarchy (which is never truly communal) but hate complexity as well…

Live and let live… There is but one true religion !

Catégories : Politique / Société | Étiquettes : , , , , , , | Poster un commentaire

Analyze this…

s1e2

Boris

psychedelics : means of freeing oneself from the gurus (of everyday life)

Any similarity to actual events or characters is purely coincidental.

Catégories : Eclairage cinématographique, Expressions de sagesse passagère, Observation d'Art, Philo de comptoir, Politique / Société | Étiquettes : | Poster un commentaire

« The helicopter is a fine way to travel, but it induces a view of the world that only God and CEOs share on a regular basis. » – Morley Safer

nytimes.com/2019/09/16/business/repo-markets-rates.html

___________________________________________

October 3, 2019 clarification : one way for the stinking rich and the corporations to obtain massive amounts of helicopter money was through the huge programs of quantitative easing that have since been halted.

While we might technically consider the money the US Federal reserve has been injecting into the Repo market for about two weeks as a form of “quantitative easing”, it should not, however, be defined as helicopter money, but rather as short-term loans (provided the beneficiary banks remain able to repay them) : in this instance, “the Fed […] is acting as a lender.

However, there might be a direct link between both in that “the central bank’s decision to gradually reduce the vast holdings of [junk ?] bonds it had acquired to bolster the economy after the financial crisis” might explain why major banks suddenly and massively curtailed their Fed deposits during the first semester of 2019, which might in turn have triggered the Repo-market fever.

For instance, “Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), the second-biggest U.S. bank by assets, with a $2.4 trillion balance sheet, took down 30% of its deposits, a $29 billion reduction” whereas JPMorgan’s strategic diet “accounted for about a third of the drop in all banking reserves at the Fed during the period”.

Which leaves us with three questions :

  • Why didn’t said banks coordinate with the Fed in order to avoid irrational market reactions ?
  • Why did the Fed’s long-announced decision and the known consequences thereof bring about said Repo-market frenzy ? Sheer cocaine-fueled stupidity ?
  • Can its decision alone warrant this level of Fed deposit withdrawal ? And if not, what else is at play here ?…
Catégories : Politique / Société | Étiquettes : , , , , , , | Poster un commentaire

To impeach or not to impeach… That oughtn’t be the question.

Catégories : Politique / Société | Étiquettes : | Poster un commentaire

« I wrote about it in the NYT. Enough already ! »

https://www.opensecrets.org/2020-presidential-race/contributors?id=N00001669

Catégories : Politique / Société | Étiquettes : , , | Poster un commentaire

Democratic theatre…

Titania

Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence;
Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds,
Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings,
To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;
Then to your offices and let me rest.

The Fairies sing

You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong,
Come not near our fairy queen.
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby:
Never harm,
Nor spell nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh;
So, good night, with lullaby.
Weaving spiders, come not here;

Hence, you long-legg’d spinners, hence!
Beetles black, approach not near;
Worm nor snail, do no offence.
Philomel, with melody, &c.

Fairy

Hence, away! now all is well:
One aloof stand sentinel.

Exeunt Fairies. Titania sleeps

Enter Oberon and squeezes the flower on Titania’s eyelids

Oberon

What thou seest when thou dost wake,
Do it for thy true-love take,
Love and languish for his sake:
Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
In thy eye that shall appear
When thou wakest, it is thy dear:
Wake when some vile thing is near.

Catégories : Politique / Société | Poster un commentaire

There’s one major flaw in your reasoning, Robert…

In the end, is Burisma corrupt or not ? Antac’s Daria Kaleniuk seems to think it is (conspiracy theory ?). But why then did anti-oligarch white knight Joe B.’s salutary firing of former Ukrainian chief prosecutor Shokin not lead to his successor, Lutsenko, investigating the firm’s possible wrongdoings after Hunter B. was appointed to its board without any relevant experience ?

What exactly has been debunked ?…

Catégories : Politique / Société | Étiquettes : , , , , , | Poster un commentaire

R to the E to the I to the C to the H… What does that spell ?

Sometimes, I like to compare the European Union, as a creation, to the organization of empires. Because we have the dimension of empires. But there is a great difference : the empires were usually made through force, with a center that was imposing a diktat, a will, on the others, [whereas] now we have what some authors call the first non-imperial empire. […] I believe it’s a great construction and we should be proud of it. At least, we, in the Commission, are proud of our Union.

Thus spoke a prominent Goldman Sachs employee some 12 years ago, a few months before unveiling the Lisbon Treaty, which would essentially paraphrase the content of a proposed European Constitution that had been rejected by the French and Dutch peoples through a May/June 2005 referendum, adding to it a few draconian measures regarding national budget discipline (read : austerity), and a few years before the memorable clash between “the center’s diktats” and Greece, which, despite its many economic and budgetary flaws, had been admitted into the Eurozone in 1999 following Goldman Sachs’s advice and data manipulation.

Back then already, notwithstanding the careful wording and impressionist nuances, likening the EU to an empire was not particularly well received outside the often hermetic cocoon of European bureaucracy…

Oxford’s Lexico (a.k.a. dictionary) defines an empire as “an extensive group of states or countries ruled over by a monarch, an oligarchy, or a sovereign state” (emphasis mine). When we think of empires, we think of merry colonization (The East India Company, Africa, the Americas), of happy conquests and invasions in comparison to which the Crimea incident was merely a walk in the park (De Bello Gallico, Full Metal Jacket, etc.), of war (which is far from being the nation-state’s monopoly) and of course of strong yet joyful Führer figures making those dreams come true (Napoleon and Palpatine among others). In regard to the latter, how could Orwell not come to mind : “The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” ?

Domestically, empire always stands for iron-fist rule, abuse of power and political regression, since there is a huge distance (both geographically and democratically) between the emperor and his suite on the one hand, and his subjects on the other hand. The concept of emperor is a Hobbesian one; ‘t is the Republic which gave birth to the notion of citizen, as well as to said citizen’s – and by extension to the individual’s – rights. It is against an empire that the American Revolution took shape : “a great Empire, like a great Cake, is most easily diminished at the Edges.” And it is ultimately at the expense of continental empires that the European Enlightenment rose, bloody though the transition may have been (yet didn’t need to be) : “A truly great man will neither trample on a worm nor sneak to an emperor.

In an empire, there is no room for grassroot initiatives. And every empire always attempts to crush dissent. Yet, it is this obsolescent form of (manly) power, not a flexible, mature and visionary federation, the most intrepid of fools are advocating for Europe, obviously failing to realize that if anything unites Europeans right now (particularly the younger ones), whether they’re desperately clinging to their precious little nation-state like oysters to a rock or jumping over borders like goats in heat do over fences, it is their aversion to rigid, impersonal superstructures telling everyone how to behave.

For a self-proclaimed liberal paradoxically fond of the latter, it seems, to boldly cross the Channel and, in these trying times, indirectly preach to Perfidious Albion’s unconverted, all impressionist nuances aside, therefore required a yet unmatched level of democratic commitment and political finesse only a seasoned strategist with the charisma of a teen emperor on amphetamines like Goofy Guy could flaunt with such unrestrained bravado. Hail maestro !

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1178957/Brexit-News-Nigel-Farage-latest-LBC-EU-Andrew-Adonis-Twitter-Guy-Verhofstadt

Catégories : Politique / Société | Étiquettes : , , , , | Poster un commentaire

That time again, huh ? (Look, mom, I’m a journalist…)

Bill Keller, fmr. editor-in-chief of the NYT (strong believer in the WMD narrative and resolute proponent of the invasion of Iraq)

Ret. Gen. Mark Hertling said the images « really don’t show anything, other than pretty good accuracy on the strike of the oil tanks.” Ret. Adm. John Kirby echoed this point, stating « there is nothing I see in these pictures which confirms a launch from any particular location.« 

« I’m struck by the precision of the strikes. Almost pin-prick, » Kirby said. « Certainly possible with (unmanned aerial vehicles). But again, that doesn’t really confirm anything.« 

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/15/politics/trump-us-saudi-arabia-attack-iran-iraq/index.html

“Blackwater founder Erik Prince’s new company is reportedly operating in Iraq, a country from which his former company was banned for killing civilians.

A subsidiary of Frontier Services Group, a security and logistics company Prince founded in Hong Kong, has set up shop in Basra, Iraq, BuzzFeed News reported Saturday, citing official documents. The subsidiary, the Dubai-based Frontier Logistics Consultancy DMCC, has officially registered as a foreign company with Iraq’s Ministry of Trade, an official document from last year shows.

In March, Prince told Al Jazeera that he hoped to see FSG supporting oil operations in countries like Iraq. Their subsidiary is operating out of Basra, which is located in the oil-rich southern region.”

https://www.airforcetimes.com/flashpoints/2019/04/29/blackwater-founder-erik-princes-new-company-has-reportedly-set-up-shop-in-iraq/

Jeremy Scahill : First of all, Erik Prince seldom has been subjected to the kind of real journalistic scrutiny face-to-face that you unleashed on him. So, I congratulate you for that. This is an incredibly slippery character who has repeatedly attempted to graymail the U.S. government by basically saying if you come after me, I’m going to tell the public or prosecutors where the bodies are buried in these various wars where you’ve contracted me to work for the CIA or the State Department or the Pentagon. But one sidebar of interesting kind of palace intrigue here, Mehdi is that Don Jr., I understand from sources, thinks that Erik Prince is like a mixture of you know, Rambo, Jason Bourne, and Oliver North and that it sort of ups their cool kid credibility to be around Erik Prince.

So, part of what was happening is that you have Erik Prince, comes from a very wealthy family, early on they decide that Trump is going to be their man. They start pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Erik Prince, and this story doesn’t get talked about enough, has been a longtime backer of Vice President Mike Pence. I don’t know that Donald Trump knew Erik Prince before the 2016 election cycle or he knew him well. Mike Pence certainly does. And the fact that this meeting that you’re questioning Erik Prince about was centered around Iran policy. And we know that Mike Pence and now John Bolton is in power and Mike Pompeo — these guys ultimately want war with Iran. And Erik Prince was a guy who could help them in a kind of, off the books way, put some things in motion before Trump even took power so that they could move forward with a very hawkish aggressive plan on Iran. And what was amazing to me about your interview, Mehdi, is that Erik Prince refused to say that he has any aspiration to do anything regarding Iran. His entire career indicates that he has viewed Iran as a regime that must be brought down by any means necessary covert and overt. So, at best he was obfuscating with you. But you know, more likely, he was just lying to your face because he thinks he’s above the law.

Mehdi Hasan : MH: What’s so amazing is that he volunteered to me that the meeting was about “Iran policy” as if that somehow makes it less suspicious, less controversial. As you say, here is a guy with a hawkish record on Iran, founder of a mercenary company in a secret meeting in Trump Tower with the Republican presidential candidate’s idiot son Don Jr., his white nationalist adviser Stephen Miller, neither of whom are foreign policy experts, and they’re joined by a representative for the Emiratis and the Saudis and the Israeli head of a social media company.

https://theintercept.com/2019/03/14/erik-prince-perjury-and-the-secret-trump-tower-meeting/

A ret. Gen. and a ret. Adm. on the verge of senility ? The new Axis of Evil poking fun at Trump by testing his military resolution, a week from the UN’s General Assembly meeting ? Too hasty a validation of the Houthis’ claim by Tehran for there not to be something fishy behind it ? A Houthi militia with enough training and experience (of drones, of precision-guided munitions, of the terrain) to carry out such a sophisticated endeavor, or just eager to boost their rep ? A completely schizophrenic reformist/conservative Iranian hydra sending the country’s minister of Foreign Affairs to Biarritz, yet on the verge of starting a war with Saudia and the US three weeks later ? Mad Persians pushing their luck the Assad way without clear motive (and without gas this time !) or, on the contrary, rationally firing a few dissuasive warning shots to show what they’re capable of (under the nose of the USS Lincoln !), and what an actual war would look like ? Even if the points of impact can be indicative of the weapons’ trajectory, how difficult is it for a drone to make a 90- or a 180-degree shift ? Israeli involvement ? Saudi masochism (Rumor has it MBS has built quite an impressive dungeon for himself.) ? Bolton’s resignation on Thursday, Oil Apocalypse on Saturday : a coincidence ? As is the partial (5 %, for now) privatization of Aramco (“Nobody would want to buy shares in a company whose oil fields are on fire or under rocket barrage.” says Forbes. Really ? Even if this means the share price goes down or a critical security infrastructure has to be put in place, with a little help from some US corporations ?) ? If not a coincidence, what does it imply ? Instantaneous opportunism on the part of Iran ? A willingness to carry out a long-prepared plan in a rush, both because of and despite this latest development ? A mutiny within the US government, Bolton, his inner circle and his distant allies being less submissive than Tillerson, Mattis et al. ? Or is it all, Bolton’s last-minute firing included, just Chinese kabuki theater justified by plausible deniability ? FSG in the mix ? A pre-war climax to give the Iranians a real incentive to talk while making clear who the boss is ? None of that really matters, says Bloomberg : questions and hard evidence, as 2003 has shown, are superfluous; ite missa est… Or so they seem to hope. Because, you see, in a democracy, the role of the news media is to oversimplify an immensely complex situation, not to render its complexity to the public. It is not to investigate (a little longer than a day or two), but to (immediately) call for military action !

Justin B. Smith, Bloomberg Media CEO

Catégories : Politique / Société | Étiquettes : , , , , , , , , , , | Poster un commentaire

Drive out, lock up, cast off…

There are various ways of ignoring people, of denying them their say, and thereby their very existence.

You can ignore them and hope the mere fact of ignoring them will erase them from society : despite giving constant lip service to the middle class, not even once did Saint Barack, whether during his presidential campaigns or afterwards, mention poor people, let alone the homeless. Why would he have, knowing his actual constituents, the ones on his donors list, don’t care ? To the saint and his sometimes cumbersome entourage, for others to be extremely poor or homeless is just part of the normal order of things : even if equal opportunity were more than just a hollow slogan meant to clear the owner class’s conscience – provided they have any –, isn’t it normal indeed for hundreds of thousands of people to live like – often urban – prehistoric men and women unable to ensure their basic dignity in supposedly enlightened digital societies ? Doesn’t the Grand Liberal Design require this abject discrepancy to deploy its full potential, its greatness, and keep the man-machines obedient (as long as possible) ? Wouldn’t it be “a bunch of malarkey” to pretend those subcitizens are not the sole responsible for their abnormal normalcy ? Learning not to care, isn’t that the first sworn duty of a (wo)man of power ? Isn’t it the cornerstone of the teachings of the Bohemian Club and other – better hidden – select circles for the wellborn : Dionysiac orgies in the middle of neo-Dickensian misery ? In other words, decadence ?…

Often throughout history, when merely ignoring a group of people proved unsatisfactory in getting rid of them, the elites resorted to depriving said people of their humanity, usually by reducing them to  rodents, insects or vermin : to Thousand Hills Radio (Radio Mille Collines), for instance, Rwandan Tutsis were but cockroaches. Qualifying them as such was an essential step in the extermination process : if they weren’t human, how could killing them ever amount to a crime against humanity ?

In emerging dystopian societies, where massacring, for some obscure reason, still remains taboo, it is possible, however, while (falsely) essentializing a particular race or creed, to view another group of people as a burden, a nuisance, and to eradicate their presence, for lack of a more permanent and final solution, all while only elliptically referring to them, that is to say without ever mentioning them as human beings. The homeless don’t get butchered in Trumpland any more than they do in Orbanland; they’re only left to die on the cold (or boiling) concrete. Yet, in the former country, they are not even deemed worthy of being equated with another organic lifeform, however repugnant : logically, “those who are nothing” simply are not

Were it not for the angle chosen to do so, one might argue tackling the indignity of homelessness at least has the merit of breaking with the myopic hypocrisy which consists in flying to the rescue of the homeless fellow human beings when the Orange Menace looms, but leaving them to their sorry destiny the rest of the time. But the angle, of course, is everything : there is no fellowship, there are no human beings. There’s only a $ 413+ million inheritance !

DEMAND :

In a country where voting is optional and, usually, the poor either choose the other option because they’ve lost faith in the greatest democracy in the world, or find out what they thought was their most fundamental democratic right is not a given, any politician knows they have nothing to gain electorally by emphasizing the ethical need to lift 500,000+ people out of their modern prehistoric condition – for good. Those who do nonetheless, and who lay out concrete plans to reach that basic goal demonstrate electoral arithmetics are not their primary concern; the people are ! All of them. Every single one of them. Despite the renewed brutality of the times, those politicians have remained faithful to both the ideal and the practice of true Humanism. Perhaps that is what U.S. voters should start looking for when trying to determine whether a candidacy for president is viable or not…

Catégories : Politique / Société | Étiquettes : , , , | Poster un commentaire

Propulsé par WordPress.com.