Saturday, December 10, 2011

Interesting times in Russia

'May you leave in interesting times', is such a doubtful proposition, that is has been used as a curse in both Jewish and Chinese traditions. Arab spring has arrived on the steppes of Russia; the response of its leaders to the challenge of their legitimacy is of great importance.

It is possible that Saturday's unprecedented demonstrations against the rigged voting in Russia are a fluke. There were demonstrations in at least 99 cities, including four major ones, with around 40,000 attending the demonstration in Moscow on the Bolotnaya Ploshad' (literally 'swamp plaza/square' it's located on a large island on the Moscow river).

Russian special police 'Omon' were out in force, but merely channeled the demonstrators, instead of beating and dispersing them, as was the case with recent, but smaller demonstrations. It seems that Russia leaders don't know to what extent to turn up the heat on the demonstrators. Russia is holding its breath and the grass-roots opposition is continually organizing, time is on their side, at least until Kremlin's move.
How will the United Russia, that is to say, Putin react to this challenge to legitimacy? As a sign of how heating things are going to become consider a recent outburst by Medvedev. He is typically seen as mild, seen as a reformer and relatively liberal counter-weight to Putin's bear, but said things about protestors implying various carnal animalistic indecencies have led to their madness. Very unseemly. The Russian government had to walk this one back, awkwardly, by implying that the Tweet came not from notoriously technically savvy Medvedev, but from an aide, during a routine pass-word change.

The Russian opposition, fragmented as it is has some hope of prevailing, given the uniformity of disgust with the party of 'swindlers and thieves', as the opposition derisively calls United Russia. The chance requires pressing their case. The government throws people in jail, and destroys their livelihoods, but has found it prudent not to kill as in old soviet times. The army will not shoot civilians, and there is no reliable 'Praetorian guard' - a cohort that would be willing to fight for the regime to the death.

A comparison with Syria is apt here. Having been born in Soviet Russia, it was a painful realization to me that distinctions between autocratically rule in Syria and Russia lie primarily in the size and presence of large stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Ideologically, both are equally bereft of justification. Both are based on Force and Lies. The proportions differ greatly, and the groups that may apply Force differ. In old soviet Russia, the feared ChK, NKVD were capable of wide-spread terror on the home-front. Having work the battle on the home-front, the successor of NKVD, the KGB, dealt mostly with external espionage. FSB is primarily and anti-corruption force, with elements of anti-terror and anti-demonstration capability, but not the kind of organization that could suppress demonstrations in blood, as has been done in Syria. Syria has additional ethic and religious divisions, and Alawites, are both and ethic and a religious minority in Syria, with around 10% of the population. They hold all high offices in the army ensuring its loyalty. That bond allowed the army to butcher over 4,000 protestors in Syria, with many them tortured and killed by the security services. My point is that Russia, despite disturbing similarities to Syria, is not capable of such bloody suppression of dissent.

Because overwhelming use of Force would be unseemly, the main strategy open to Putin is one of Lies. Here there are more similarities to Syria, than differences. Like the Syrians, Russians are promising to listen to legitimate concerns, but also make threats against agitators, thereby casting aspersions on the demonstrations, as 'pawns' incited by foreigners. Putin said last week that by criticizing the fairness of Russia’s parliamentary elections, Hillary Clinton had “given a signal” to the opposition.

State Duma deputy Alexander Khinshtein belittled the oppositions cause on the website of United Russia: “The opposition does not accept the results of parliamentary elections and is calling people out onto the streets… this is simply a provocation” he said. “[The opposition] should not be hiding behind simple people.” Another top United Russia official, Andrei Isaev, warned those attending the demonstration today that they should not let themselves be turned into, “cannon fodder".

United Russia official Andrei Isayev on Saturday acknowledged that the opposition "point of view is extremely important and will be heard in the mass media, society and the state."
It will be difficult for the state for United Russia to live up to their promise.

The independent Russian election-observer group, Golos, said Saturday that "it achieved the majority mandate by falsification," international observers reported widespread irregularities, and the outpouring of Russians publicly denouncing him throughout the country undermines Putin's carefully nurtured image of a strong and beloved leader.
"Participants at today’s rally demanding the release of all political prisoners, the annulment of the false elections, the retirement of Churov [the head of Russia’s Central Election Committee] and an investigation into his activities… the registration of opposition parties... and new transparent and fair elections,” said opposition leader Vladimir Ryzhkov.

Clearly, United Russia is going to ignore the substance of opposition’s demands, while paying it lip service, and hoping that the furor exhausts itself. If large scale demonstrations occur periodically, they could significantly undermine Putin's legitimacy. He's already playing these games, by starting the National Front - a loose organization of corporations, individuals and political groups that is above the United Russia (UR) party. Putin lamented: "They say the party in power [UR] is the party of swindlers and thieves. That is not a characteristic of any political system, but power per se." (Speech in Russian is here).

The next demonstration is scheduled for December 24th, and the presidential elections are on March 12th of next year. The opposition seems likely to be able to sustain interest for that long; however, given the complete grasp on power by Putin, the victor is uncertain.

The next three to four months in Russia are going to be very interesting.

Spreading the wealth

Republicans are trying to minimize the impending costs to US of IMF lending to EU, put simply: US dollars bailing out Europeans.

US has leverage over IMF, but we're on the hook for at least $109 of credit extended by the Obama administration in 2009. There is little need to get excited.

IMF lending is a stop-gap measure that could sour the relations between EU and US disproportionate to the actual costs. American dollars given bureaucratically through IMF will be received with no gratitude; on the contrary such dependence inevitably breeds antagonism. Natural reticence of many Americans to being fleeced, expressed by conservatives could serve as a convenient lightning rod: "Oh, these greedy Americans." Combine this with socialistic dogma based of zero-sum game that believes that great wealth is always stolen, never earned, and you have a recipe for trans-Atlantic discord.

In addition, over the last few of days the relationship between EU and UK appears to be moving swiftly through pangs of marriage that precede divorce - it's not pretty. Further rancor is inevitable as EU tries to reshuffle itself and work without UK, Czech Republic or Hungary, and possibly others, like Greece that may need to be ditched overboard. The lack of political unity will backfire on the European project, and I see nations on the continent increasingly frustrated with each other as a result, not becoming more harmonious.

EU is fatally flawed, and its (suicide) pact will drag everyone down, as long as wide economic disparities are present between members. A few unions, each moving at different economic speeds could be viable, but this solution lacks the ideological imperative for totality. Furthermore, such a patch-work is clearly not much better than countries working out their finances individually, and it does not need to result in reduction of trade. The truth about EU is that economic benefits of the union were largely realized before the common currency, and non-elected (but rotating - whoopee!) governance from Brussels. The desired benefits were political, but common currency could not overcome national, linguistic and cultural realities, which distinguish European nation, and make it such a colorful region. The pan-European projects endanger these national identities.

Using IMF money to prop up the EU amounts to giving men fish, when they should he taught to fend for themselves. It's an expensive little Band-Aid, not just because of the money, but also because of the national friction involved. Even 'developing' nations are reluctant to lend to EU - the word is out, and confidence is gone. While costs of borrowing are barely survivable in Italy, they are also going up in Germany. All the Band-Aids can do is delay the inevitable, and kick the can down the road a bit.

There is little US can do to safeguard it's money, besides trying to put political pressure on the new IMF chief . It isn't worth the trouble. If the unfolding European fiasco only costs US $109 billion, we should consider ourselves lucky. We have plenty of our own problems to fix, starting with 1.5 trillion dollar annual deficit. Why does our government cost 3.5 trillion per annum? The Pentagon's budget is a little over half a trillion, so where do we spend 3 trillion besides the military every year?

I find myself physically nauseated by the blatant double-speak and lies behind those shilling for more 'revenues'. But, I digress.

US should let EU have its IMF dollars with minimal rancor - even from conservative commentators. They should direct their fire to our own glaring problems. It would be interesting to find out the rate at which Europe bleeds red ink, basically how much it needs to borrow on a monthly basis and figure out how long that $109 billion would last. My guess is it would be a disgustingly short term, around ten weeks.

The scary part is that there is little desire to deal with real problems in the halls of power of either US or EU. Cameroon's selfish moves, are positive in that they increase skepticism in the EU project, which ultimately has to be dismantled.

Sad similarity between Russia and Syria

The independent Russian election-observer group Golos (voice) said Saturday that "it (Putin's united Russia) achieved the majority mandate by falsification."

A few years ago I read Barry Rubin's book 'Syria', which I highly recommend for anyone who wants to understand the contemporary Middle East. The book makes clear among other things why peaceful transfer of power to a democracy is impossibly in Syria: basically, the ruling Alawite minority is barely 10% of the population, and any civil war would end for Assad and his cronies as things did for Saddam or Quaddafi.

The insight I wanted to share relates to Russia. I realized that aside from its size, Russia, just like Syria, is supported on two foundations: Force and Lies. Once you let go of the idea that they are just like Western countries, this simple idea explains a lot. However, for Russia, the need to maintain appearances is great - it does not want to become a pariah, like Syria. As the linked article shows, the Russian rulers know that time is on their side. Russians are used to abuse from above, so the wave of discontent is unlikely to last. So, the emphasis is definitely on Lies, with a minimum of Force, to keep the crowds dispersed.

Russia is not about to become a descent player on a world stage. I will continue to provide cover for Iran's nuclear program, threaten energy supplies to Europe, and stick their finger in the eye of US every chance they get, while largely ignoring their own people. Domestic policy holds little interest to Putin - he's primarily focus on projecting Russian power outside its borders.

The conclusion: Russia is still an evil empire. It has barely stopped being one during its bankruptcy in the 1990's. I should know - I was born there. How do we get along? First, realize that Russia is not a true democracy. Its leaders care little for their true popularity. They want to be respected, not liked. Being liked is for children, and pets.

Obama's 'reload' was dead on arrival. Russian leadership does not respect the US leadership, and that's the problem. Nothing strikes contempt in their hearts like craven appeasement. The initial spelling by the State Department did not help either - it was mistranslated, and actually means 'overload' in Russian. That's right, Hillary Clinton gave a button to her Russian counterpart saying 'overload', while she smiled broadly. I'm sure the Russians had a hearty laugh about this episode, they may even like Hillary, however, all of that is beside the point.

Obama read one of Reagan's books during his many vacations. The current administration would do well to follow in his footsteps of negotiating from position of strength with Russians. That is the only way to have their respect, and ultimately, their cooperation. Clearly, that reading has not overcome Obama's inclination to resolve conflicts by appealing to his enemies from position of weakness. It's a disturbing fact, that US under Obama has treated its enemies with more respect and deference than it has treated its friends.

Shackled to economic corpses

After committing to WWI the Germans lamented that they were 'shacked to a corpse' of Austria-Hungary.

The EU treaty has shackled the economic corpse of Greece to Germany's ankle, as well as a few others. There is another sad connection: Austria-Hungary was a multi-ethnic union, but it was a prison for nations. The internal fractures in Austria-Hungary included resentment in Serbia, which eventually led to assassination of Duke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, which started WWI. This unfortunate analogy may prove very apt if EU introduces rules which are seen as oppressive bonds imposed by non-elected bureaucrats in Brussels.

The shackling of modern Germany that I'm referring to is a fitting analogy, because many other European countries such as Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Greece (PIIGS) are all financial corpses.

I see more equality in the foolishness of both parties despite their financial asymmetry, because this shackling reminds me a dark stories from days of German occupation of Russia, when prisoners or hostages were bound together to save bullets by drowning some of the victims bound to corpses. The point is that last one alive still perishes - the shackling is fatal to everyone. Will Germans want to trade the obligation to lend money to Greece for the power to increase their retirement age in to be commensurate with that of Germany? Or to enforce some other measure of austerity? Economic success is doubtful, but political failure is almost guaranteed: people would not part with their sovereignty in either Greece or Germany with the ease elites envision.

Positive thinking on EU

Majority of my commentary about the EU experiment is very negative - reflecting my opinion that the union was a mistake, and even a travesty.
I wanted to write something positive regarding EU, but I can't without descending into deep cynicism.  The best I can do, is to write something positive about Europe. Greece, the cradle of Western civilization, is bankrupt. If that happens to the entire EU, a good bet is that Western civilization will be marginalized, clearing the way for Asian century, when nations prefer to side with and emulate China not US. It hardly requires saying that I would like to see a prosperous Europe that maintain its rich cultural heritage, which is worth preserving and does not belittle it as just another trinket in a bag of multiculturalism.
To summarize: I wish the best to Europe, and I think that requires dismantling the EU.

As a sub-point, I see EU as a result of misguided over-reach, driven by an anachronistic competition with US, which is clearly having similar problems: namely lies that lead to overspending. China, Russia, Iran and India are of greater strategical significance to Europe, than juvenile competition with US. The first three do not play in good faith, and their attitudes present direct challenges Europe, although in very different ways. Economically weak Europe will cow-tow to these bullies, and take down the achievements of Western civilization that are truly worth preserving, such as individual freedom and equality, by a couple of painful notches abroad, initially, then progressively at home. I see these outcomes as near certainty, if European economies fail en masse, as they might when tied together in EU.

First to go, last to know

          Below I'm quoting what I consider to be a very revealing paragraph in an article about IMF that appeared today:
"Emerging markets, which are contemplating lending more money to the IMF -- which couples monetary assistance with tough conditions that seek to ensure a country does not default -- have also raised concerns in the IMF about the risks to the fund's capital, officials from emerging nations told Reuters."

So, even 3rd world, developing nations have wised up to the game. IMF has never lost money yet, but these formerly 'developing' nations now see financing Europe through IMF as too risky for their money!

Such good troopers, these Europeans. It seems they will be the last know they have a serious problem; it was a finance problem when the investors questioned the credibility of European bonds, now these investors are beginning to question the viability of the EU.

Don't hold your breath, waiting for Merkozy to wise up to the increasing gloom. Germany and France are too committed to their ideal of strength through unity to be stymied by mere facts.

Party of Ideals

A number of Democrats have made the claim that theirs was the party of ideas. That is a preposterous lie, and needs to be exposed.
A recent article by Charles Krauthammer, discussed the need Obama's reelection strategy based on class resentment: it's the only option left.
Obama's initiatives have failed. They are an admitted albatross around the president’s neck, as he seeks reelection. Stimulus, Obama-care, cap-and-trade, oil spill in the Gulf, EPA regulations, veto of pipeline - nothing he has done enjoyed success or popularity.
I would add to the above comments by the venerable commentator only that the Democrats have ceased being the party of ideas a long time ago, it did not happen yesterday. Their last notable success was the civil rights movement. It was a tremendous achievement, and is a credit, but it occurred a long time before I was even born, so by my measure, the Dems have not had any worthwhile ideas for some time. I do not count Obama's experiments with Keynesian economics, or flirtation with collectivism, through overbearing programs such as the stimulus and Obama-care as 'new ideas'. They are old ideals of the liberal establishment, held with religious fervor, enacted in the most partisan legislation.
The Obama administration has been an administration of "No" for all energy exploration, I do not count the heavy investment into 'green energy' - how original - that idea was tried and abandoned in the 1970's and 80's, and is failing again. If it was economical it would happen without the government. Forcing the public into the less economical, but more politically satisfying choice, is not being touted as a success due to lack of megawatts, and presence of failures like Solyndra.
The administration did do away with 'don't ask, don't tell". It seems that the most the liberals are capable of giving us is social guidance to make us feel good about ourselves, but refuse to abandon their regulatory strongleholds that ensure our continued our dependence on foreign energy, and stifle prosperity at home.

Fiscal mess in the EU

I am going to write a few comments about a bit of history of the slow-motion train wreck going on in Europe, going backward.

What are we to make of the latest development - Cameron's veto of new EU rules? You can read about the reaction of the Germans here.

The bottom line is that Mercozy (that's Merkel + Sarkozy, hence, plural) need to maintain the appearance of progress, and the best way to do that is to promise structural changes that would accompany a new set of laws for EU. Cameron tried to obtain guarantees of special privileges for the financial hub of London - over a million well-paying jobs in finance could be at stake.

Understandably, the French and Germans balked at this special treatment. Now, they are threatening to go forward alone.

One Brussels insider warned: "This is going to cost the UK dearly. They have antagonized everyone."
Mrs. Merkel complained: "I really don't believe Mr. Cameron was ever really with us at the table."
Others said, "It was a mistake to admit the British into the European Union."

There were even reports that the fuming Frenchman had to be "restrained" at one point. Mr. Sarkozy likened Mr. Cameron to "a man who wants to go to a wife-swapping party without taking his own wife", a strange analogy that would probably only occur to a Frenchman, perhaps it explains his hot-headedness.
"We are going to be a satellite on the edge of what is going to be an economic superpower. We need a different relationship", fretted the Liberal MPs. Deputy PM, Nick Clegg, warned Britain could end up marginalized in a two-speed Europe, where approximately half of the population is sceptical of the EU:
Foreign minister, William Hague, dismissed concerns about two-speed Europe: "No one should assume the Eurozone moves at a faster speed than the United Kingdom."

David Cameron's veto is completely consistent with the covetous nature of the European Union. It was initially founded on the assumption that unification will automatically bring prosperity. The events of the last couple of years belie this naive hope. The actions of the British reveal their motivation and attitude towards the EU - count us in, if there's a financial incentive, guaranteed by special privileges. This is why a senior Eurosceptic David Davis can describe the demand for special treatment as "utterly reasonable." The goal of making more money through unification has not changed, but the belief the unification per se can bring prosperity is clearly undermined; it seems all EU is capable of doing is averaging growth by massive transfers of wealth.

The patchwork assembly that impedes EU will be fatally exacerbated by introduction of multiple layers of treaties, because it will undermine egalitarianism, which is the sole justification capable of legitimizing any union, to replace it with a covetous oligarchy, where each nation grabs food from the common bowl according to its ability.

Why Israel matters

Why write about Israel? It is a part of Western civilization, whether or not this idea appeals to the Europeans. Israel is the canary of Western civilization in the dark mine, filled with noxious fumes that is the Middle East.

Watching the second intifada in Israel in 2000, I thought that it was naive of the West to think the antipathy of Arabs was limited to the Jews, and not necessarily applicable to the rest of the West.

That is an extremely naive, but dangerous view.

The hatred of Europe for Israel and the Jews is not uniform, and quite complex. However, the wide-spread antipathy is a fact, and has important implications for the future of the continent. Because of these connections, I will have a discussion thread on Israel and its relationship with the West.

Europe has finally started to wake up to the danger that is Iran. Will common interest with Israel be enough? The Europeans are likely to strengthen sactions, which are barely effective, but unlikely to provide any assistance to Israel, which will have to do the heavy lifting in halting Iran's nuclear ambition.

Europe's scapegoats

When European elites are finally forced to face their own failures, they will not recognize them. Their current behavior suggests that the more likely reaction is that of tin-pot dictatorships everywhere - to find scapegoats to take the heat off themselves. I don't think antipathy to US that is already quite strong in Europe will suffice. The people will likely need a more immediate culprit. That culprit will not be the immigrants, but the old boogey-man - the Jews.

This is not a pleasant charge to make. Some time ago, I have realized that contrary to their statements, the Europeans have never given up on their antipathy to the Jews. History of the continent is full of banishments, burnings and ghettos for the Jews since the time before the Black Death. As tempting is it is to believe that Europe has realize its ethical failures, we should remember the active collaboration Jew-hunters found in most countries, from Netherlands, which lost over 3/4 of the Jews, including the young Anne Frank, to Lithuania, which was declared Juden-rein (free of Jews) in record time. The current antipathy to the state of Israel cannot even be fully explained by the desire to maintain good trade relationships with much more numerous Arabs, rather than Jews, who have not oil.

From the moment of its creation, the British in particular, did everything to nip the nascent state in the bud. Today, Europe's support for Hamas, PA, UNIFIL, and other local Middle Easter obscenities, etc. amounts to this:

Europe is waging a war by proxy against Israel.

I know this is a scandalous assertion, which sounds hysterical and, therefore, implausible. Besides, EU is the champion of initiatives related to global warming/climate change, and a general do-gooder, who eschewed the death penalty and violence in the first half of last century.
Read the following articleby Caroline Glick, one of the most conservative contributors, who writes for Jerusalem Post about Norway, the land of the peace prize.

When you read about the justification of terror against Israeli civilians by Norwegians after their own experience with terror one can only hope that this genocidal hypocrisy is an exception. If only that were the case. Sadly, there is no shortage of support for this view-point, and I will accumulate evidence in this blog.

What the European Union is really about

The economic situation in Europe appears complicated. Just when you think you know what's going on, you may be surprised. Reading about the events in Europe I have been despairing, but have not been surprised. EU struggles was what originally gave me the idea of 'Suicide Pact'.

I submit to you that the test for any basic assumption or premise lies in its explanatory and predictive power. That is to say, only principles which are consistent with the past experience, and continually bear themselves out going forward, are sound. Here are a few such basic statements about 'Europe', by which I predominantly mean the EU. Despite this being a gross generalization, here are my three assumptions. Europe is:

1. Covetous of power
2. Willing to lie/is based on lies
3. Failing/dysfunctional

A brief elaboration:
1. POWER. The EU project was initiated shortly after the war as a way to keep peace, but only gained traction in the 80's and finally gained steam in the '90's from the desire to be an economic and political equal (read counterweight) of the US. The EU project is about power, and the elites were willing to subject their people to the trouble of ratification of EU treaties 'until they get it right'. Of course, everyone was assured it would not infringe on national sovereignty. Really, how could it not? The reality bears this point out, but need to surrender national sovereignty for unification was entirely ignored. The real question is did the geniuses who came up with the EU project not think it through at all, or did they simply not mention the risks to the masses? Are those in charge of this project utterly incompetent or deceitful? Generally, people in charge are low on scruples, not brains.

2. LIES. The first point contains the germs of the second. The treaty was built upon deception. And it was maintained through deception. The attempted rescue of Greece, occurring for mover 18 months has not succeeded in resolving the fundamental issues, merely buying time for Greeks to implement austerity. The gains are ephemeral, but the loss of sovereignty of both Greece and Germany is apparent. Furthermore, the solution is based on a great lie. The fundamental problem is not merely the overspending of cheating Greek officials. This is not uniformly the case in Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy. The larger issue is difference is exports, which previously were accounted for by adjustments of infidel currencies, with correspondingly lower cost of living in Greece than in Germany. Equalizing the costs of living, such as the price of a cup of coffee across EU in absence of equality of trade, inevitably leads to imbalances, which were initially financed by borrowing and covered up by lies.

The idea that austerity alone, or in combination with stricter rules, as Angela Merker wishes to do, could solve EU's problems, stemming from trade imbalances, is a lie. It is a convenient lie for the stronger, and an inevitable lie for the weaker partners. Greece is facing bankruptcy in weeks to days, if it fails to please its EU masters, so it had little choice. George Papandreou, the Greek PM, gallantly fell on his sword after his proposal to send the EU deal for ratification by the people frightened the EU and he resigned on November 9th. Technocratic government is unlikely to do much better, however, and austerity is proving very harsh, and very unpopular in Greece, so PM's sacrifice is unlikely to have lasting benefit. The Greeks receive their assistance with reluctance, and have already threatened to renege on the deal, which many people feel is unfair and unjust. In a Western society that emphasizes fairness of outcomes, rather than the process, this charge may get plenty of traction and prove hard to dispel. Germany of course, is being made to foot the bill, and seeing its own borrowing costs rise as a result, that's bad for Germans and bad for business. The elites, however, are increasing their power, which has been so marginalized after WWII.

3. FAILURE. Unfortunately, however appealing massive transfers of wealth may be to the leaders of Greece and Germany (for separate selfish reasons), it is a strategy which leads to less economic opportunity for both countries, because of joblessness and taxation, respectively, as well as loss of sovereignty.

This is where I see a big bang coming. Europe is already imploding economically and they still have to face two additional crises related to demographics - aging of the native population, and poorly assimilated and costly foreigners. Combine the abject failure with the lies, and you have a potential for great strife. The true culprits and multiculturalists, and moral relativists and their ilk, liberals have besmirched that good name and now like to call themselves progressives. Despite both Merkel's and Sarkozy’s pronouncements that multiculturalism has failed and is dead, it is still the dominant philosophy in Europe. A few speeches even by important people merely express common-sense skepticism, but do not provide an alternative.

Statement of Purpose

        Michelle de Motaigne, in an introduction to his famous philosophical essays wrote: "I myself am the subject of my book: it is not reasonable that you should employ your leisure on a topic so frivolous and so vain".
My time is too precious to simply write this blog for the purposes for ranting, cathartic though it may be.  I expect my readers to be equally non-frivolous. What is the purpose of this blog then?

Several years ago, I have noticed that I have ability to follow the signs of historical events to their logical conclusion. It may be the fact that I having been born in Soviet Russia, I learned political skepticism at a tender young age, or that my grandfather was a historian, and I was interested in history. I read three biographies of Bonaparte alone. I don't think I'm endowed with any special gifts in this field, besides a strong passionate interest.

If the drivel which passes for discourse in the lame-stream media is any indication, this combination of interest with common sense is apparently a rarity. It is only after overcoming my own fundamental skepticism of correctness of my ideas, and the presumption inherent in publicizing them that I say what the purpose of this website is:

The purpose of this website it to discuss basic trends of Western society and expose its fundamental lies as a first step towards addressing some of its potentially fatal pathologies.

Why suicide pact?

         I wanted visitors to my sight to be welcomed with a warm and cozy name, Suicide Pact, which should immediately put them at ease, and make it clear they will not be challenged to think while they are confronted with the realization that we are living in a house of lies.

In my posts I will elaborate on this point, which I believe is entirely accurate. Look at Europe - they are ahead of us, jumping off the cliff, but US is also so confused morally, that only a small fraction of the people appear to be aware of the disaster befalling the Western civilization.

The idea is quite simple. The Western system is based on Lies, with only a very small amount of Force mixed in. In a situation like this, the most dangerous thing is the truth. Armed with the truth, many young Europeans, and Russians (among others) are voting with their feet and living the old continent, with many immigrating to Canada, and Australia.

What are governments to do in this situation? To back down would be to admit their lies, and bring down the house, better to double down, and unite eliminating any refuge for hard-working people. It is the response of politicians who realize the reality of the dystopic situation that Ayn Rand prophesized in 'Atlas Shrugged'. Productive individuals, the movers, and not interested in being guarantors of retirement benefits of aging populations through even increasing taxes, or fulfilling all the vain promises the ruling classes knew they could not fulfill. It becomes necessary to level the playing field, by making the tax situation equally onerous in the EU, so businesses and individuals have not escape. There are two problems with this strategy; it's immoral and degrading, in addition to not being viable. Even if the Europeans could successfully corral every country on the continent, US and Canada, the competition from Asia and Polynesia, including Australia and New Zealand, as well as South America would make their strategy foolhardy. The capital would simply flow to these regions, leaving in Europe and aging tourist trap.

America has been replicating the worst European tactics, such as adoption of Obama-care, at the time when the British have finally began to move against their horrific socialized health-care system. TARP, stimulus, quantitative easing (printing and shuffling of money by the Fed) are all symptoms of a larger problem. Socialized medicine and economy are feeding troughs, where the risks are socialized the earnings are private. Obama-care in particular has promised to lower overall costs, while insuring an additional 40 million people. This combination flies in the face of logic.

Why are we being fooled? The middle class remind me of the lower cabins on the Titanic, which lacked windows, and prevented their residents from figuring out the problem in time. The truth is that there are not enough life-boats, and the longer the masses remain ignorant the longer the elites can pretend the ship is not sinking. And once the water actually begins to come inside, they will be guaranteed a spot on life-boats, unlike the hoi poloi below.

The big WHY

          Am I raising legitimate concerns regarding the economic suicide of US, and even worse future for Europe, or am I a fear-mongering ignoramus? Everyone should judge for themselves. I assert that our democracy and our rights are being stolen from under our noses. "A democracy, if you can keep it", was Benjamin Franklin's famous dictum that outlived the question.

Democracy, by its nature, is constantly under assault.

Speaking about economics, I always start with the facts, but they can at best provide anecdotal (or worse, a statistical) point of view. A big hurdle in believing the unbelievable is why would that be happening?

A better question is why wouldn't it be happening?

Throughout history, power sought to concentrate itself. Unless we believe we've living in end times, and are beyond man's historical weakness, we have to admit that this sharing power is psychologically difficult. It's in our nature to keep for ourselves, and decided by ourselves. That is one of the reasons why the achievement of the Founding Fathers of US stands alone in history, even among other revolutions. The foundation of this country did not envision the making of a new, better man, but accepted man with his flaws, and instead of perfecting him, sought to make the best community of imperfect individuals. 

We have grown lazy, and covetous. Now is the time to remember another of Ben's famous sayings that people who give up freedom in the name of a little bit of security deserve and beget neither.

The government is bankrupting us both economically and ethically. Of course, the people have a lot to say for: all people deserve their governments, in a historical sense, at least. Still, the fish rots from the head, and the powerful few have a lot to gain from fooling the majority. The fact that their strategies undermine the democracy is beside the point. They justify their covetous nature by hypocritically proclaiming themselves to be here to help us, with regulations, and taxes which pay for the costs of the nanny state, and provide excess comforts for the governing elite, which includes media and academia. America's bankruptcy in the 21st century is not inconceivable - we have external debts exceeding 14 trillion that is rapidly approaching 100% of GDP, and over 100 trillion in total unfunded liability.

We have to hold our government, media and academia to account. To do that we must first realize it is in their natural interests to lie and cheat.

Promoting the nanny state

        The nanny state wants us to feel good about being enernal babies, figuratively, as well as literally. The other examples showcase some of the consequences of the cultural degradation emposed from above.

1. First up, we have the 30-year old baby.

Given that Mr. Thornton is able to determine what is appropriate attire and actions in public, drive himself to complete errands, design and custom-make baby furniture to support a 350-pound adult and run an Internet support group, it is possible that he has been improperly collecting disability benefits for a period of time," Mr. Coburn wrote in a letter Monday to Inspector General Patrick P. O'Carroll Jr.

How do you think this story panned out? What if told you it was in California? You guess it.

The following paragraph is duplicated from this post.
A 30-year-old California man who wears diapers and lives as an “adult baby” can keep his $800-a-month Social Security disability checks, the agency ruled.
Stanley Thornton’s infantile lifestyle won him national attention after a National Geographic TV show revealed how he was spoon-fed and clad in baby clothes by his roommate and how he built furniture like oversized high chairs in his Redding, Calif., apartment.
The show prompted Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to demand a probe of Thornton's Supplemental Security Income checks, the New York Post reported.
But in a letter to Thornton, the agency said, “We recently reviewed the evidence in your Social Security disability claim and find that your disability is continuing.”
A spokesman for Coburn told The Washington Times that the senator did not understand how "a grown man who is able to design and build adult-sized baby furniture is eligible for disability benefits."
"The problem is not with Mr. Thornton, per se, but with the politicians and bureaucrats who have coddled him," the spokesman added. "Disability fraud effectively steals from those who are truly disabled, while weakening the economy for everyone."

I reproduced the post above in its entirety because there is little to add. The part that troubles me the most is that the decision to continue the charade came after national attention was brought to this story. It's no longer possible to excuse this situation by ignorance, or as a hasty decision made at low levels of a government bureaucracy. The latter is no longer ashamed of the moniker 'nanny-state' or what it entails.

Consequently, we can and should expect cultural degradation, accompanying the rise of dependency.
The following points are some of these consequences.


2. Popular culture: Rap.

When I came to US with my parents in the early '90s we used food stamps. However, we did everything possible to stop living off the dole as soon as possible. We were grateful for the support, but there was stigma born of dependence. That stigma is a healthy cultural phenomenon. Unfortunately it is being effaced both by government, and popular culture. The following is the link to 'My EBT' video, which satirizes the ease of living on the dole.

 3. Popular culture: The Muppets.

At the National Press Club (12/09/11), a 'food insecure' muppet, Lily, pitched free government food. It's hard to feed your children, these days, your EBT may not be sufficient, especially if you have higher priorities that food for your children. Fortunately, the government is here to help. If you've spent your government allowance of crack, you still don't have to worry, because your children get free breakfast and lunch in school. Isn't government great?

So, whether you're a your adult, into rap, or a child, who likes the Muppets, or a brainless adult who is parent to both of the above, you don't need to worry yourself with the basics of taking care of either. The government is here the help the entire useless lot.
4. What is left? That self-righteous egotism called narcissism.

On Black Friday, November 25th 2011, a woman (with three kids in tow) pepper-sprays a crowd of shoppers waiting to buy cheap Xbox video-game consoles at Walmart. She sprays about ten well enough to incapacitate them. The rest of the crowd nevertheless surges through the open doors to shop as soon as the doors are opened. Witnesses observed it was good that no small children were present, because they could easily have been trampled, as ten more adults more suffer bumps and bruises in the commotion. The store remained open and those not affected by the pepper spray continued shopping.

Importance of Europe's finances

Europe won’t work without that,” said Joschka Fischer, the former German foreign minister, referring to the state’s protective role. “In Europe we have nationalism and racism in a politicized manner, and those parties would have exploited grievances if not for our welfare state,” he said. “It’s a matter of national security, of our democracy.”

France will ultimately have to follow Sweden and Germany in raising the pension age, he argues. “This will have to be harmonized, Europeanized, or it won’t work — you can’t have a pension at 67 here and 55 in Greece,” Mr. Fischer said.

(I will to find the date of this comment).

Tell me how you really feel

Below is a fanciful account of the situation in Iran, based on a Haaretz article.

Reclining on a comfortable sofa was an elderly man dressed in strict black robes, with a flowing white beard. He rolled his eyes thoughtfully to the ceiling.

‘No, I’ve never been there’, he said scornfully, without looking up at the psychiatrist, who had the habit of doodling on his notepad, as he questioned his most tedious patients. He believed not looking at them directly reduced the pressure on patients, and made them relax.

The Supreme Leader would not relax, however. ‘Moreover, you will henceforth refer to it as the Zionist Entity, doctor’, he added sternly. ‘It’s a cancerous growth, and shall be removed’, he added vehemently, his fists clenched, his eyes bulging with emotion.

‘Isn’t the two-state solution encouraging? Wouldn’t that be nice?’

‘I hope their bid (UN state application) fails, and they see that they have no option but to fight.’ He was an angry old man. Prozac, or Lithium - thought the doctor vacantly doodling an elaborate peacock tail – or maybe both.

‘What a sham’, went on the bitter man on the couch, ‘the Palestinians should never settle for *some* of the land. Palestine spans from the river (Jordan) to the sea (Middeterannian), nothing less.’

‘If you could send Palestine a message what would be it be?’

‘Start killing the Jews, already!’

Alas, the presence of a medical specialist is entirely fictional. The physchiatrist ready to help a cantankerous old man was not there, however the patient is, and is in charge of a country one the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons.

Noone was. The Supreme Leader, Khameni, does in fact lead a nation, as a theocracy. His word is the closest thing to the word of god. So, when Khamenei told the "5th International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada" in Iran’s capital Tehran that was attended by other by senior Palestinian militant leaders, that the Palestinians should not limit themselves to seeking a country based on the pre-1967 borders because "all land belongs to Palestinians”, they rested easy in the knowledge that the planned genocide was sponsored by god all along.

Nobody was surprised when Hamas leader Khaled Meshal agreed with his paymasters; in addressing the conference he said "resistance" is the only option left for the Palestinians.

Having affirmed that genocide in the holy land is still the logical solution the two leaders and their genocidal cohorts had tea with sweets.

Germans genocide of the Jews, at least, became the ‘final’ solution amidst the ruin of total war, and was largely hidden from the public. The latest breed of genocidal wannabes considers genocide the only solution and sees nothing wrong with discussing it in public. They even have adopted pseudo-democratic language - the "5th International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada" sounds much cleaner than “Let’s kill the Jews in the Holy Land”. The latter is a type of slogan commonly held up at the demonstrations, or written on the sides of busses that transport massed to these hate-fests. In international circles you still want a veneer of decency. Of course, it’s preposterous to this this fools anyone; however this of English language and democratic structures was learned by Tehran directly from the successful and long-lasting duplicity at UN Human Rights committee. Tehran was also successful at stymying reviews by the international atomic energy agency (IAEA) for the same period as they held international conferences to extoll the benefits of genocide.

Could this boldness also have anything to do with the permissiveness of the West, such as is repeatedly seen in London where explicit calls to violence by Islamists right in from of 10 Downing St. go unchallenged?

And so Middle East burns and sizzles, while the West fiddles.

Written on 10/01/11