Friday, April 18, 2014

The Geneva agreement on Ukraine, translated

Semyon Uralov,
The talks in Geneva resulted in an agreement that is in favor of all that is good and opposed to all that is bad. That's the basic gist of it; but what does that mean? Let's translate this memorandum from the language of high diplomacy into the language of the Ukrainian crisis.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

RIP Mike Ruppert

Mike Ruppert has shot himself. This makes me very sad, but I certainly won't think any less of him for his decision to take his own life. Everybody has that option. I'll remember him for the happy times we had together, and for the big difference he's made in so many people's lives, opening their eyes to what's really happening in the world.

Why technology doesn't matter—Oh but it does!

Erika Deoudes
[This week, Eerik is back, continuing the series which started with “the travesty of the anti-commons.” His solar concentrator company is picking up steam (pun intended). If your ecovillage needs a communal kitchen/laundry plus internet café, all powered by a solar concentrator array, you need to talk to Eerik.]

In my last series published on this blog I dispensed with the notion of “the tragedy of the commons,” pointing out its inadequacies, and its absurdity, given that the institution of private property depends for its existence the commons, which is both its origin and is instrumental to its preservation. Being the ultimate guarantor of private property, society has every right to assign duties to the private property holder, as well as to demand that private property be returned to the public realm should conditions warrant. Industry and finance often expropriate private land for some industrial purpose, so this principle is not in dispute. But it seems increasingly unusual to think that such expropriations should serve the public good.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Business as usual

Ben Newman
[Update: After a lot of unthinking “but we Americans have guns!”-type comments, I held my nose and added a paragraph on that vile topic.]

Thinking about collapse is very useful because it allows you to prepare for it. And preparing for collapse is very useful too—from the pragmatic perspective of risk management. Consider the possibilities.
  • If you prepare for collapse and it doesn't happen, then you look a tiny bit foolish.
  • If you don't prepare for collapse and collapse does happen, then you look a tiny bit dead.
Now, which would you prefer to be, foolish or dead?

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

In the US, democracy is now a sham

[Guest post by Ray, just in time for April Fool's Day.]

The founding principle for this new form of government which emerged in the 18th century, was that the Common Man was the ultimate source of power. Citizen legislators would enact the laws and shape the nation’s destiny. But instead, our republic is now strong-armed by professional politicians. The two dominant concerns of these careerists are to STAY in power and to do the bidding of those who ENABLE them to stay in power. Anyone who doubts this statement might try explaining why campaign finance reform and term limits are perennially “off the table.” Actually, that is an understatement - they aren’t even in the building.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Putin jokes

Joke #1: President of Israel calls up Putin and says: “Vladimir Vladimirovich, I didn't know you were a Jew!” Putin says, “I didn't either; what makes you think I am a Jew?” President of Israel says: “You got Americans to pay you $5 billion to take over Crimea. You must be a Jew!”

Joke #2: Putin is watching TV. Calls up his Chief of Intelligence: “Give Tyagnibok a medal for banning the use of Russian in Ukraine. What do you mean he isn't one of ours? Ok, give Yarosh a medal for the idea of blowing up Ukrainian gas transit lines. What do you mean, that's his own doing? How about that cretin Lyashko? How about those cretins from Svoboda—Miroshnichenko and others? So, DO WE HAVE ANY AGENTS ON THE GROUND IN UKRAINE AT ALL?! Where the hell are they? What the hell do you mean they bought a dump-truck of pop-corn and a tanker truck beer and are watching it like a movie?!!!” Hangs up in disgust. Calls again: “How could you let Muzychko get killed?”

Muzychko, killed in a shootout with Ukrainian police

My interview on the Pete Santilli Show

My interview starts one hour into the segment.

Book Announcement: Communities that Abide

Over the past few months I've been living in a place that agrees with me in a lot of ways. I like the fact that pets and children here roam free. The dogs roam about in playful packs, and temporarily attach themselves to humans they like. The cats stand their ground against dogs, and bring presents of dead animals to humans they like. There are even some wild horses that graze in the jungle during the day and go to the beach in the evenings, to be petted by tourists. The children quickly develop an ecosystem of their own, and look out for each other, with random adults providing whatever parenting might be required from time to time. Indoor cats, dogs on leashes and “helicopter” parenting are unheard of here. I also like how schedules here are for buses, while people do what they like when they like, depending on the general mood and the weather (which fluctuates between pretty nice and extremely nice). Having such great neighbors does a good deal to heal one's soul.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ukrainians on the verge of a nervous breakdown

[Wednesday update: In the wake of the Ukrainian defense minister walking away from his job yesterday, there is talk of mass desertion in the Ukrainian army.]

[Tuesday update:

Ukraine's defense minister has resigned (via El País).
“Since some don't like the decisions I have made, I am not going to stay in this post,” he said before the Supreme Rada (Parliament) in Kiev. The deputies, which initially rejected his resignation, ended up accepting it after an emergency meeting among the different political parties... In his speech before the Rada, he offered a new—and disheartening—tally of desertions: only 4,300 of the 18,800 [Ukrainian] soldiers in Crimea will continue in the Ukrainian army; the rest have accepted the offer by the Russians to join their armed forces.]
In this intercepted phone call Yulia Tymoshenko, a likely Ukrainian presidential candidate (but there will be no elections*) talks about using nuclear weapons on the eight million Russian citizens who live in Ukraine.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Video interview on USAWatchdog

[Thanks to Greg for making this possible and to Banana Azul for letting me use their splendid tiki hut.]
(But we spend the bulk of the time talking about Ukraine, of course.)