Tuesday, March 31, 2015

License to Kill

Jakub Rozalski
[Permis de tuer]
[Licenza di uccidere]

The story is the same every time: some nation, due to a confluence of lucky circumstances, becomes powerful—much more powerful than the rest—and, for a time, is dominant. But the lucky circumstances, which often amount to no more than a few advantageous quirks of geology, be it Welsh coal or West Texas oil, in due course come to an end. In the meantime, the erstwhile superpower becomes corrupted by its own power.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Financial Feudalism

[En español] [En français] [In italiano]

Once upon a time—and a fairly long time it was—most of the thickly settled parts of the world had something called feudalism. It was a way of organizing society hierarchically. Typically, at the very top there was a sovereign (king, prince, emperor, pharaoh, along with some high priests). Below the sovereign were several ranks of noblemen, with hereditary titles. Below the noblemen were commoners, who likewise inherited their stations in life, be it by being bound to a piece of land upon which they toiled, or by being granted the right to engage in a certain type of production or trade, in case of craftsmen and merchants. Everybody was locked into position through permanent relationships of allegiance, tribute and customary duties: tribute and customary duties flowed up through the ranks, while favors, privileges and protection flowed down.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Rage of the Cultural Elites

Yoshitoshi Kanemaki
[По-русски] [En français]

A certain unhappy incident happened to my aunt in the summer of 1966. The Cultural Revolution—a political movement initiated by Mao Zedong—was beginning to engulf the country. That same year many American college students were protesting against the Vietnam War and Leonid Brezhnev was keeping his seat warm as the General Secretary of CPSU, having replaced the somewhat volatile Nikita Khrushchev two years earlier. My aunt was then a freshman studying literature at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A significant new development

The unspelled edition of King James Bible is now available:

No longer do you have to sputter and stall when when you encounter Biblical names such as Gittahhepher or Maalehhacrabim or Ramathaimzophim, but glide through them in style, like the best seminary graduate! They are being made available in two volumes because, given the constraints of print-on-demand technology, they didn't fit into one. But there is a positive side-effect: the New Testament is large type, just like all of the unspelled children's books.

For all those people who learn to read primarily in order to be able to read the Bible, this is a godsend. Why should they waste years memorizing ancient English spellings, like the difference between “prophesy” and “prophecy,” when they could be reading the Bible instead.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Chaos: Practice and Applications

Luciano Podcaminsky
[En español]

The term “chaos” has been popping up a lot lately in the increasingly collapse-prone world in which we find ourselves. Pepe Escobar has even published a book on it. Titled Empire of Chaos, it describes a scenario “where a[n American] plutocracy progressively projects its own internal disintegration upon the whole world.” Escobar's chaos is tailor-made; its purpose is “to prevent an economic integration of Eurasia that would leave the U.S. a non-hegemon, or worse still, an outsider.”

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Financial collapse leads to war

[По-русски] [En français] [In italiano]

Scanning the headlines in the western mainstream press, and then peering behind the one-way mirror to compare that to the actual goings-on, one can't but get the impression that America's propagandists, and all those who follow in their wake, are struggling with all their might to concoct rationales for military action of one sort or another, be it supplying weapons to the largely defunct Ukrainian military, or staging parades of US military hardware and troops in the almost completely Russian town of Narva, in Estonia, a few hundred meters away from the Russian border, or putting US “advisers” in harm's way in parts of Iraq mostly controlled by Islamic militants.