Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Quiet Connect

Life is busy and by the by things pass in the manner we expect- with great difficulty and endless nuisance. Health-care is frontline, the environment hangs in the backdrop- sword of inertia drooping ominously above. The Financial sector is also going through an expected regulatory overhaul. The wars continue/the insurgents do their thing, an unfortunate fact for Pakistan and the world. Domestically, Swine Flu threatens to disrupt dinner. Unemployment rises, elections pass and new ones start, some companies post profits- and some don't. All is good in the end?

When you have nothing worthwhile to say, it may be best to stay a quiet connect.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Care for Health

The entire point of the State is to protect it's citizens. For what other reason would men band together, adhere to specified values and customs, and even accept the authority of another human being, if not for the compact of mutual assistance when any individual's physical existence is imperiled?

Sovereignty is held by the people, a principle established and reaffirmed at the creation of each State. Therefore if a State can not or will not provide for the health of its citizens, it is a sick State- a State with dying, or at best corrupt, Sovereignty. Government must at all times be most concerned with the health, and implicitly well-being, of its citizenry. The physical safety of its members is so essential to a State that it must monopolize the legitimate use of coercive force, granting us a military and police, in order to secure its borders from external threat and to ensure that its members do not harm one another.

The very concept of private property exists in order to protect the physical existence of individuals within society. In other words, private property is sacred to us because it is a source of health. The first man to have raised a fence, did so with the desire of ensuring nutrition-delineating and protecting a small patch of land for personal agriculture.

The very legitimacy of the State rests on its willingness and capacity to provide for the safety of its members, because no structure can withstand the test of time if built on a poor foundation.

"Free" Universal Health-Care is not an option, but a necessity of good-governance. The devil is in the details.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Harnessing the power of the word "Clean"

For the past few months my physical and mental space have been occupied almost exclusively by the global campaign to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and create a clean energy economy. So I haven't written anything, especially on a subject so dependent on science (that is too complicated and technical for me to have a worthwhile opinion on) as is climate change. However, here is my bit.

Our planet's climate is changing. Everyone over 5 years old agrees with that fact. The scandalous question is: "Why is our climate changing?"

Because of the Industrial Revolution? Natural planetary cycles? Does it really matter since the planet is only 6,000 year old and the rapture is coming?

There are only two real possible answers; one is the worst-case scenario and the other is the better but equally unfortunate scenario:

A) The first is that indeed, mankind has completely hijacked the evolutionary process of Earth and thrown it into a cataclysmic extinction level event spiral after a century and a half of unrestricted planetary poisoning through relentless heavy industrial production and warfare.

B) The second scenario absolves us of the blame, but leaves us with many of the same problems. The planet is undergoing one of its many multi-millenary cycles that shifts the status quo in favor of some species and forces mass adaptation to changing habitats- see the Ice Age. The only difference is that now, the process is slightly quickened by human activity- not much to worry about since something similar would happen anyway.

Either way, the human species will face the same challenges: Major shifts in agriculture, mostly affecting developing or undeveloped geographical areas. The poorest parts of the world do not have access to technology intensive agriculture (whatever its merits or entrapments may be, food is food); therefore these areas will be the most vulnerable to socio-political and economic unrest. This means more refugees, human rights abuses and disruption of trade- not to mention the opportunity cost of closed and/or chaotic markets. Concurrently an inevitable decrease in the quality of life of all people would be plainly visible- water is a precious commodity in many parts of the world already and is a basic common denominator example.

Throughout history, revolutions in production have been made possible by social crisis and these revolutions are the motor behind the technological progress of human society- once again, all strive toward efficiency. Fossil fuels are owed an immeasurable debt by humankind, for bringing us all the luxury and comforts of modern western civilization. Fossil fuels are owed due regard for bringing humankind to the point where such energy is anachronistic. Fossil fuels depend on combustion, wasting tremendous amounts of energy. The byproducts of these reactions are toxic- millions of Americans suffer yearly from respiratory, cardiovascular diseases and of course- cancer. Fossil fuels have made American intervention in foreign countries a matter of policy, even when such action was detrimental to all involved. That is expensive energy.

A truly advanced society, in terms of technology and social philosophy, thrives off of the natural cycles of the host planet, solar system, etc... We are gaining the ability to harness geothermal, tidal flux, wind and solar energy, battery technology has also made tremendous advances in recent years. A world power cannot afford to miss out on the energy revolution and the interest groups trying to forestall these natural evolutions in human capability are in the kindest of terms: unpatriotic.

The current economic crisis is the perfect time to look for new production methods and items, train millions of new workers, create new markets and expand the scope of international cooperation.
After all, Reagan himself pointed out that we needed a threat greater than any ideology or country to unite humankind.
So yes, it is time to end the wars and start the biggest overseas contingency operation of all- the global clean energy leap.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Virtues of Survival

When you take leave of home, parting to begin the day's work, you do so with Faith. The Faith that somehow, in the grand scheme of things, today is not your last Farewell. The road just begun is always besieged by Fear. In the cold mathematical world of probabilities, there is always a chance of a random fluke event, that may change your life. Fear will have you locked in a self constructed box, avoiding interactions with the world and your peers. Fear will make individuals violent, as life is construed to be constant presumed belligerence. Fear perverts Reason, while on the road to your destination.

Your journey through the forest of life, much like Little Red Riding Hood's, is made possible by the indomitable belief that in this day's work you are protected from the arbitrary stroke. On this foundation are drawn your day's plans, with the Hope that you will prevail upon the challenges on the way. In the face of starkest hardship, your efforts are levered by Hope. Moving the mountain to reach the Emperor, sealing the deal. Fear serves the purpose of stunning victims, freezing time and preventing action, undermining Hope.

The two cardinal virtues of survival are Faith and Hope. I would like to say that they are distinguished human emotions, were they not so readily observable amongst animals of all kinds. They are Virtues of Life; in the face of adversity these must be the most prized possessions of a Nation. A rhetoric of fear will always propagate the corruption of all organisms in society, with added pressure it can bring its collapse.

Amid two wars and economic shock, America needs to revive those Virtues that have distinguished it throughout history. Amid a huge ecological shift, the world must embrace in Faith and Hope so as to cooperate in the adjustment. Corporations must find Faith and Hope, in order to catch the train on globalized eco-nomics; as well taking the Social Responsibility concept seriously. The World is the market, it must not burn. The developing world is hit hardest from all directions, ultimately it must shake the Specters of Corruption and Fear before emerging Phoenix-like.

Shocks destabilize because they cause Fear, but they are shocks because they are overcome. Through any shock, economical or otherwise, when calm will is applied, solutions are found. A shock can shake the sickly bark off a tree, allowing for the rest of the body to develop healthily- growing new branches, maybe even where there had been occasion for sickness.
So it must be now, as more nutrients must be fed into those international organisms that may be best suited to regulate the future health of a world.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Last Remarks on a New Beginning

The US Election went as expected. The face of change, international cooperation and reform is the President-elect.
Americans are proud- and hopeful.
The future. . . however, is not bright. The most optimistic of Obama's supporters will likely be disenchanted, but I hope not.
Now that November Fourth has passed, Wall Street will resume it's decline.
Putin has already responded to our shift in the White House by moving missiles next door to Poland.
And there are of course our two ongoing wars. Many military analysts agree that nothing will be achieved by prolonging our occupation of Iraq; because the socio-cultural puzzle is just too complicated, because we destroyed the country's infrastructure, etc... So, yes we will leave that country while attempting to prop up the government. A likely scenario, we'll just treat the country like Nigeria, get our oil and let the locals sort the mess. Afghanistan is not a lost cause, keeping in mind that we haven't put any real effort into the fight, so as we try to control and rebuild we must keep in mind the lessons of the Soviet Union's campaign there. We have to pay close attention because of the perilous situation in Pakistan, a country not to be trifled with.
The financial meltdown has not peaked yet, credit card companies have not released the full extent of damages and invariably they will have an unaffordable bill on their hands.
The Democrats won the Executive and the Senate, it's a golden opportunity for them to implement difficult and necessary reforms- legislative and cultural. If they fail to act on their mandate, the Democrats will be scapegoated for everything that is going wrong.

Fortunately, the sheer amount of popular enthusiasm for the new President is going to empower the Executive.
Personally, I have rarely witnessed such mass euphoria for a politician. May his path be in the Light.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Once in a Century"

THE SKY IS FALLING! On some, on others... not so much. Many have debated whether or not there is a recession- in America, abroad or both. Certainly, after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG this week many agree that there is a crisis of some sort. I am particularly fond of President Bush's choice of words: painful adjustments.

The choice of words is, I feel, very apt. Certainly, the sky will continue to float above. Certainly, the economy will persevere. Most importantly, crises are a great time to make a fortune and/or enact systemic "painful adjustments". The process may, quite reasonably, sound fearful. However, there is a long tradition of crisis driven change. One may argue that this is a reactionary approach, commentators on the current situation have referred to the management system as being "defensive". Realistically, or optimistically, we should regard this "once in a century" breakdown as an opportunity to put in place much needed reforms.

Our economic system, as leftist critics have justly observed for a long time, has been based around a non-productive consumerist paradigm. We, as a nation and state, have borrowed huge amounts of capital and invested it in artificial economic constructions that would provide short term profits through the speculation of market bubbles. Bubbles are indeed meant to be speculated, but not lived in. We know this from the long series of similar 'catastrophes' throughout our economic history. Having restructured our economy toward the fabled service-sector, we ceased to produce. When international loans are given to third-world economies those countries are expected, at times naively, to invest them in infrastructure and industry- sectors that are productive. In a period where blind consumerism has reached a critical point of environmental destruction and separation from the real world problems of other nations, it is only natural that there be an adjustment.

In Europe such adjustments have been part of the blueprinting process through the 90's. Cheap energy, recycling, so called "alternative lifestyles" are not eccentric attitudes but at least pursued goals and public policy if not concrete fact. European countries have had to deal with financial market restructuring due to the integration project. In America we act on the motto "don't fix what ain't broke" (if it's squeaky, buy a new one). Such as in the face of technological advancement, we waited for our Pearl Harbor in order to enact the Patriot Act to update our security systems (the appropriateness of this legislation is debatable regarding certain portions).

The trend has been to centralize authority, to increase regulatory authority and to heighten the Executive's role during the Bush Administration. The Financial Regulatory Reform project, begun in March of 2007, previewed one year later and enacted during the next administration is modeled partly on the UK's reforms and follows the above trend. Establishing a tripartite bureaucracy that would hold the reigns of American finances under control, in a manner most likely similar to our national defense organisms, it would have been unpalatable before this week. After a number of billions of dollars are lost, reform sounds rather tasty. So the Democrats revamp their cry for reform and regulation and the Republicans stumble between constituency key-words.

Palin's war-cry is "let's shake things up", a phrase patently stomach churning to anyone with a vested interest in order and prosperity during transitional eras. The populist message does not imply anything concrete, while McCain's own stance on market reform is confusing, thusly irrelevant. To our comfort, the bureaucracy has been working for at least a year on Financial Regulatory Reform and things will be settled. For now, heads are falling. This is progressive, because others are picking up the pieces, merging- and growing bigger. The US government has essentially nationalized a number of the country's largest financial institutions. While this sounds bad from the classical liberal standpoint, it isn't... necessarily.

We are once more in a period of Cold War. This time, the parties involved may be divided in between Authoritarian Capitalism and Corporate Democracies. Authoritarian Capitalism is exemplified by Putin's Russia and post-Nixon China (especially as experienced today). On a side-note, I might add that this term resembles the economic structure of Fascism, centrally coordinated/privately operated. The Corporate Democracy is a modern, capitalist reinvention of the Greek city-state. Based on functional efficiency, ruled by the landed-citizenry, representative of its component parts. Efficiency is profit, the parts are the stock-holders, the elite are the members of the board. This body is transnational with expansionist tendencies. These may seem like built-in self-destruct mechanisms, but at the dawn of the Green era there is the opportunity to reform the fundamental "greed" paradigms that have defined these organisms. A corporation that makes its profit from the existence of a river cannot, as an organism interested in its own survival, destroy the said river. We therefore are gaining the concept of "corporate responsibility". The business model will serve as a form of new self-governing entities, as cells of larger bodies (e.g. EU, NAFTA, ASEAN). I have no doubt that we will see 'corporate cities' within a few decades, similar in some ways to parts of Silicon Valley.

The death of the dinosaurs will allow for the birth of new reptiles. I am eager to observe the amount of foreign direct investment that will arrive at Wall Street's gates, in a fashion similar to that of Barclay's late and strategic acquisition of North American departments of Lehman Brothers. The nationalized elements (AIG, Sterns, McFannie) of the economy will, as has already been announced, be sold on the market. Will sovereign funds bite? The US dollar is low, assets are cheap. Who will become, even more, vested in the welfare of the American economy?

The game is afoot, my dear Watson.

Monday, September 1, 2008

McCain: Hungry? I guess not.

McCain on SNL in May, 2008

Although Sen. Lieberman made a wonderful, compelling and undoubtedly true, case for Sen. McCain's brave dedication to our country, as the Republican party is engaged in what seems to be a very tasteful Convention; the Candidate has not shown any true desire to win these elections.

Contributing factors such as: McCain's lifeless public appearances and public self-deprecation (as exemplified by the SNL 'skit' above), missing great PR opportunities, constantly changing roles- appealing to the hardcore conservatives and then playing the "Maverick", thus undoubtedly alienating both sides of the party; especially since the far-right has a tradition of personal, I would even say, unwarranted attacks on the Senator has rendered him moot as a candidate.

In keeping with my previous position that the U.S. desperately needs a global P.R. coup, a Republican President would seem impractical. I find it quaint that McCain's dedication to the welfare of America is defended, when no one would, or has, questioned it.

I find it quaint that McCain's lucidity and proper ability to rule and withstand stress have not been defended. Even though these may be and have been questioned given his health and, I dare say only "possible", trauma resulting from his POW days. (I know I would have recurring psychological episodes after experiencing anything close to his situation.)

I find it quaint that McCain's team did not seize on the opportunity created by Russia's recent agression (which Putin even identified as political capital for American candidates).

The most cynical example of this poorly run campaign is the choice of the Vice-Presidential nominee: Sarah Palin. Cynical, because this person seems to have thrust her "loved ones" into the line of American media fire without blinking twice. While I don't know the people in cause, It is hard for me to imagine that Palin's 17 year old mother to be, or her equally young baby-daddy, feel a compulsive need to be scrutinized and in some cases insulted by national media outlets. Yet they are used to portray "an everyday woman" who is strong and able. Must modernity really be a curse on everyone?

I do believe that McCain knew of Palin's daughter's pregnancy, as he has stated. Why? Because I don't believe that the Republican war machine would fail to check their facts, to "vett" their nominees. Experience and credibility have been the true public issues of the 2007-2008 campaign season- after all Obama isn't ready, right? Yet, the same people who would have us take that into account would have us place a nobody as V.P.

Interesting? Maybe.

Palin is placed as 'bait' for Hillary supporters, but even the most ardent of Hillary gender-voters would fail to identify with someone as socially conservative as Palin. So Palin secures support for Obama right when some polls are indicating a dangerously close race, while failing to truly gain conservative support for McCain.

I find the Gulf hurricane fanfare of the Republican Convention saddening, because it makes a mockery of a real tragedy- to buy time so that the Palin factor could be resolved within Party factions.

The Republican party will regroup in the next four years, Palin will have gained national exposure and will continue her meteoric political career and Sen. McCain will enter a well-earned, and I hope prosperous and restful, retirement.

Like this blog-post, the scenario is messy.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Emergence of the Lost Word

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."

From the primordial energy extant before the Big Bang, we can imagine an emergent system, within which Deity is the primal unit that is giving impulse through the Word or Bang. The interactions of energy, which is neither created nor destroyed, but may be communicated, form extropic patterns. The tendency of a system is to create order from, apparent, chaos.

The dynamics within a system impose on its constitutive elements a process of rising efficiency in the communication of information. Thus solutions appear, ironically, in an entropic fashion. Of course, we may easily get lost in an epistemological discussion regarding our capacity to understand extremely complex systems, implicitly rendering the concepts of order and disorder unusable. It appears, prima facie, that unstable systems tend toward stabilization and stable systems tend toward destabilization. In this light we can observe solar systems and empires as being analogous with the human body and fundamental chemical bonds.

Human activity is characterized by continual striving toward streamlining the transmission of information. From oral tradition to the written word and the lightning fast access of online journal databases. To the improvement in electric transmission, from copper to silicon. Of resource management, from the hunter/gatherer social groups to capitalism's emphasis on profit margin which is essentially a base measure of transaction efficiency.The underlying goal is to transmit energy, or information, in loss less format through the fastest channel. That would be materialized order, if you will- a type of teleportation. However, even with teleportation, while we may 'print' the photon's data into another space, the original photon is lost- destabilized and transformed.

So, can we ever reach a perfect point of communication?
Can a parent teach the child to avoid all the errors of our ancestors?
Much like how a child is not an androgynous clone of its parents, but instead is a complex system with inherited genetic elements as well as proper unique emergent incongruities and mutations, communication is ipso facto incomplete. The very imperfection in the transmission of the Word, absorbed and altered by the matter through which it passes, allows for adaptation. Entropy and extropy are mutually dependent dynamics, as symbiotic as any other contrast.

Thus, while we must strive for the betterment of our world, we must not lose sight of the fact that progress is made possible by the obstacles opposed to it. We should embrace these as givers of strength. The dialectic processes observed on the micro and macro levels are the fundamental impulses that allow innovation. The entropy of the sub-system gives birth to order in the whole...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Whence We Came, Where to Now: Rebirth or Awakening?

When not breathing the same air as those walking the halls of power, it is easy to forget exactly what privileges come with power. Amongst the most important perks is unrestrained access to information, analysis...

One of the errors in interpretation that we have been primed to make, over the past eight years, is that the Bush administration somehow fumbled the ball when it came to the war in Iraq. The reality is that our officials have access to vast arrays of think tanks; not to mention that many of our key decision makers are highly educated men who are fully capable of strategic thought. From this perspective, it becomes incrementally more difficult to believe that our errors were the result of intelligence failures or lack of adequate planning. The fundamental 'mistakes' made during the US occupation of Iraq, once catalogued, look far more like an intentional plan to destabilize the country on a long-term basis.

Just as a quick refresher:

Our attack strategy was analogous to that used in the Pacific theater against the Japanese during WWII. Certain islands were taken, while others were skipped in order to ultimately reach the center of power. This approach lead to the infamous insufficient amount of 'boots' on the ground in Iraq. In itself this was a foreseeable problem, noting that previous peace-keeping, peace enforcement or other 'stabilization' missions often required massive amounts of military presence on the ground in order to make up for the power vacuum left by the collapse of the previous regime. Arguably, it was this first 'miscalculation' that paved the way for the disaster that ensued. In the next few years we watched as artifacts belonging to the world's patrimony were plundered in the chaos following the invasion; undefended weapon depots were claimed by paramilitary entities; the Iraqi Army was dismissed leaving hundreds of thousands unemployed and disenchanted; de-Baathification followed, effectively disenfranchising Iraq's professionals-all those who would have been able to maintain or restore order were pushed aside. Clearly my little narrative is less than an incomplete picture of what happened, but it is enough to display the cornerstones of today's circus.

Since invading Iraq was not favorable in the early nineties because of the predicted course of events, what exactly changed that made the same American decision-makers believe that the same project would be worthwhile a decade later? The Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Israelis, Saudis? What is the fate of the world's second largest known oil reserve?

We will hold our elections, a new shiny bright and appologetic face will come to hold the land's highest office and sweet nothings will be whispered between ideological lovers . And then we will embark on a global PR campaign, attempting to rectify our image, explaining that the War-Hawks are gone- it was just a phase, a freak accident. Now we're different, we've learned, a different party is in power and our poster boy is picture perfect- oh, almost forgot, we brought this vintage bottle of Marshall plan-type aid!

We have a special relationship with Brown and Sarkozy and as a bonus: Berlusconi is back. The alignment of the European stars seems to be favorable to NATO intervention in Iraq. A few months need to pass, the all-new-bigger-better-wider President elect will announce a change of national tone, we will once more cooperate with the international community.

Maybe, if we're lucky, we'll allow UN electoral observers into our country in time for the 2012 elections.

Just in time for the end of the world ;)

"Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun"
Ecclesiastes 11:7

Manly P Hall: The Twenty-First Century