France: Can You Hear Us Now?
Friday, October 22, 2010 – by Staff Report
Nobody expected this French revolution … The pensions row has turned into a referendum on Sarkozy … As the French Autumn of Discontent morphs into its second week (more trains, fewer planes, long lines at petrol stations, banlieues kids indulging in a bit of self-administered wealth redistribution in the streets), no one can predict how things will turn out for Nicolas Sarkozy (left) and his embattled government. And yet this should have been the easiest reform of his first term … The strikes have turned into a referendum on Nicolas Sarkozy – not his actual policies, so much as his style. The perception is that he panders to the rich, an unfair one when you consider his predecessor Jacques Chirac, who never paid for any holiday he took in or out of office. … Sarkozy (whose fortune is the product of selling his family flat for £1.6 million when he was elected in 2007) earned himself, early on, the “bling bling president” tag. Nothing he has done since has shifted the impression that he wants the French to make efforts he will not subject himself and his rich friends to. – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: The French are crazy and need to blow of steam once in a while.
Free-Market Analysis: Until recently we have been somewhat alone in trying to explain the reality of what was taking place in Europe. In a series of articles, we predicted that Europe would blow up sooner or later, because Europe was basically a tribal environment and, in fact, a patchwork of tribes. In one of our recent articles, we even provided a Wikipedia excerpt showing how the tribes had conquered Rome and then migrated throughout Europe in the next 500 years. To think that Europeans themselves are not quite conscious of their background, or have no tribal solidarity, was naÃ¯ve in our view.
The tribes are bloody-minded. In fact, Europe has been a cauldron of blood and resentments, much of it whipped up by the Anglo-American power elite for purposes of consolidating wealth and power. But the tribal solidarity and brutal arithmetic used by the tribes to calculate their well-being had not in our view changed much in eons. We felt fairly certain the tribes of Europe would take action once they perceived that the EU was not going to prove a net benefit but would actually have a negative impact on their wealth and property. We recalled the unrest of the 1960s (in which admittedly American intelligence played a part via Operation Gladio) and we predicted that those days would come again.
The EU, in fact, was not providing any other options, or making it any easier to avoid what has now occurred. Either the elite is out of ideas or out of options. We believe it may be the latter (assuming the powers-that-be are not engineering some sort of total implosion for nefarious reasons yet to be fully comprehended.) By insisting that the common man in various PIGS nations pay back large commercial banks that had lent recklessly to those same countries and enriched their political and industrial elites, EU leader were almost inviting (and arrogantly so) what has now occurred. The so-called “austerity” unrest was about this perception. Normal people saw that the EU had bribed national elites to build a consensus for joining – and they didn’t wish to pay the bill.
It’s not just government pensions. Taxes are going up even as services are going down. Distorted private industrial sectors, gorged on the inflationary euro, imploded over the past few years and shed jobs. Harried people have sought shelter in government work, and now the government jobs are leaving as well.
Many economies lie in ruins, and still there are no jobs to be had. Meanwhile, Brussels’ Eurocrats pretend it is the “people’s” fault. Sure governments had been greedy, but ultimately the blame lies with the electorate. So it is said.
The Greeks were the first to reject these assumptions. At the time, the mainstream media shouted in one voice that austerity was necessary and that the public unions in Greece were being unreasonable. The Anglo-American power elite that runs the EU no doubt hoped that anger against public unions and negative public opinion would help neuter protests. It was a clever dominant social theme. The mainstream media was not to cover the protests – which were to be blamed, in any case, on public sector profligacy. There might be protests, but they would easily handled.
Only they haven’t been because these protests are increasingly an expression of anger at how EU citizens have been treated over the years, and how the ever-expanding EU itself has been forced through. For years we have been writing about this. We have watched in wonder as whole nations were made to vote over and over again until the right answer was arrived at by the electorate. When the Eurocrats didn’t get their horrible constitution, they divvied it up into legislation and dumped some of it into a treaty that that didn’t need a popular vote.
The EU is an increasingly, profoundly anti-democratic institution. It has launched a torrent of job-killing regulations at the nations suffering beneath it. It has achieved power by pretense, but those running it behind the scenes no show indication of slowing down. Every arrogant, anti-democratic trick has been used to turn an obscure trade treaty into an over-bearing empire. What worked before will work again, or so it was thought.
From our point of view, the Internet era only made things worse. The truth-telling of the ‘Net noted each phony vote and every contemptuous and condescending statement. People doubtless grew angrier. But, as in America, it took bad times to turn the Internet from a social network into a instrument of freedom. As austerity rumbled across Europe, people doubtless went online and found plenty of chat rooms and alternative news articles to confirm their fears and incite their resentment.
And now they protest. The article with which began this analysis claims that, “no one expected this French revolution.” Au contraire! This has been coming for years. “The strikes have turned into a referendum on Nicolas Sarkozy – not his actual policies, so much as his style. The perception is that he panders to the rich.” Yes, this is another way of writing what we wrote yesterday – that the protests are a kind of class warfare. And we do not believe they will go away any time soon.
In Iceland, protestors chased legislators out the back door of the Parliament building. In Greece, protestors occupied the Acropolis. In Spain and Portugal they marched, and even in Ireland, resentment has started to boil over into activism and violence. In France, where everyone pretty much expected there would be SOME trouble, there has been quite a lot of it.
Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Nikola Sarkozy have put their heads together to come up with a solution to the troubles that rack Europe. They want Brussels to be able to penalize countries severely for being profligate; and they want a much larger pool of euro-money to bail out nations that indulge in bad behavior. They want a mini-IMF in other words.
But to get what they want, the dynamic duo will need to reopen the Lisbon Treaty to pan Euro voting. Mostly it will be the legislatures that will vote, and will no doubt do as asked. But in some countries, reopening the Treaty will reopen the whole issue of joining the EU. Countries like Ireland and Britain may end up having further referenda about the EU itself, and staying or going.
Eurocrats want to doom the PIGS to austerity for a decade or longer. Whole generations shall labor under a kind of neo-economic fascism. This is not the Europe that was promised. We have predicted that it may end badly, and we see no reason to revise that forecast now. Perhaps there is a reservoir of good will that we do not comprehend. Or perhaps the EU leader shall manage to impose some sort of quasi-martial law, as some have predicted.
Conclusion: But is that how class wars end? With the middle class muted and stuck in sullen rage? Like the Internet itself, a class war is a process, in our view, and we would be surprised if it doesn’t play itself out in fits and starts not just for several more months, but perhaps for several more years. And the topography of Europe may be much changed as a result. And more quickly than we expected.
The Big Science Promotion Grows Stranger
Friday, October 22, 2010 – by Staff Report
CERN scientists eye parallel universe breakthrough … Physicists probing the origins of the cosmos hope that next year they will turn up the first proofs of the existence of concepts long dear to science-fiction writers such as hidden worlds and extra dimensions. And as their Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN near Geneva (pictured left) moves into high gear, they are talking increasingly of the “New Physics” on the horizon that could totally change current views of the universe and how it works. “Parallel universes, unknown forms of matter, extra dimensions… These are not the stuff of cheap science fiction but very concrete physics theories that scientists are trying to confirm with the LHC and other experiments.” – Reuters
Dominant Social Theme: Isn’t it amazing how real-life imitates the movies?
Free-Market Analysis: In a series of articles, we have explored what we consider to be the risibility of building multi-billion dollar Big Science machines like colliders to enhance scientific understanding. Our point, though we have never entirely boiled it down to its essence until now, is that scientific progress should probably come out of the marketplace (or perhaps from dreamy, brilliant science students dozing under apple trees). It should conform to the modesty of accumulated profits – and certainly to natural law.
The strangeness of modern Big Science goes well beyond its funding stream. As those at CERN grow more desperate for results, the rhetoric surrounding the experiments grows more promotional. This is in fact how the power elites’ dominant and sub-dominant social themes are produced. They begin with ideas in controlled scientific journals and then are rebroadcast through the controlled elite mainstream media and if possible, may be recycled once more on TV or in the movies. Finally, once public fervor has been aroused, the ideas are guided to the public trough for financing with taxpayer dollars.
In the case of the Large Hadron Collider, we are startled to find in the most recent statements what sounds like concepts lifted whole from cast-off Star Trek episodes. Are those running this boondoggle really searching for evidence of parallel universes, extra dimensions, etc? (Yes, we’ve read this in the past but didn’t take it seriously.) It has certainly been the stuff of cheap science fiction for nearly a century now.
Hypotheses such as the ones based on an “electrical universe” have as much or more to recommend them in our humble view. Instead of building a multi-billion dollar tube, scientists might be better off “thinking out side the box.” It is like the law itself. When regulations stray from natural law they tend to not to work very well. One can pass a law, for instance, that all people wear seatbelts, but this is not a “natural law” in that it is impossible to enforce. What cannot be enforced will be flouted and bring more laws into disrepute. Legislation, therefore, that does not hew to natural law tends to be disregarded and, as well, spreads contempt for civil society.
Of course in our view Western canon law should be discarded entirely. It is monopoly law, in that the state passes laws, enforces them and punishes offenders. We would prefer to see eons-old common law resuscitated along with market-based justice. To the greatest extent possible, issues between people and families should be worked out locally or simply face-to-face. The idea that the current legal-industrial complex, with its jailed millions and working hypothesis that “a debt to society” needs to be paid is increasingly hard to justify in our humble view.
And the same should go for science. If someone, or a company, can afford an experiment, then by all means the research should be undertaken. It does not in any sense flout natural law. It is research moored to the market itself. But let a dozen governments contribute US$1 billion each to build a circular track the size of Belgium to crush invisible particles and we fail to see the linkage to reality. Absent the force of government, this money simply would not be allocated.
The best businesses are often built on cash flow. Put cash aside and expand an existing base of business or elaborate on what has worked with new ventures, built from successful ones. The easiest way to lose a lot of money is to start an entirely new business venture massively funded with other people’s money. Why should it be so much different with science?
Does the size of the project make a difference? People fondly point to the Manhattan Project as an example of successful Big Science. But in fact the research had already been performed by Albert Einstein (and maybe others who did not get the credit they should). The Manhattan Project was merely an elaboration of what had already been discovered and proven, at least theoretically.
Perhaps somewhere there is an example of multi-billion dollar government project producing new theoretical results. But we have never heard of any. We are quite aware of the chorus that rises when we present these articles however. We are always told by indignant feedbackers that science has simply grown too complex for any one individual (or even a modest group of individuals) to accomplish anything of merit.
Conclusion: Apparently, one must throw billions at science to achieve anything of note these days. Maybe there is nothing left for the future but ever more expensive superstructures presenting diminishing returns. Is this why the promoters of Big Science increasingly use the rhetoric of cancelled TV shows, some of it dating back decades? We find it odd. Is Big Science indeed merely a smokescreen for Big Military expenditures? Is the Hadron Collider actually being used for more specific and targeted war research? What exactly are they promoting? And why?