Sunday, July 10, 2016

White-on-white murder is an epidemic

Dear White Folks, we've got to stop killing each other!! How're blacks supposed to see us as responsible and credible on the issue of racial profiling by police if they know damn well we're killing each other everyday in our all-white neighborhoods? How're they supposed to respect us if we don't respect ourselves? And it's not because we're inherently more violent: we're Christian, just like they are; and our white brothers and sisters in Norway, Sweden, Germany, England... you name it, aren't killing each other like animals in their streets, homes and offices like we are. We've just got to LOVE our white brothers and sisters more... And for God's sake, we got to stop selling each other meth, heroin and other opioids! Those drugs are worse than anything outsiders could do to oppress us! It's an epidemic! We have to clean up our own communities before we can expect blacks to give us a sympathetic hearing. I'm just saying, we white folks can't just be complaining all the time about the burdens of reverse racism; nor can we lay all the blame at our economic station or the condition of our all-white schools and neighborhoods. First we have to take some responsibility for ourselves and end the violence. Peace!

White-on-white murder in America is out of control
By Matthew Yglesias
February 20, 2015 | Vox


OMG I agree with Krauthammer on Brexit

This might be a first: I agree almost completely with conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer. 

I'm not sure why it is -- because of Trump? -- most Republicans seem to cheer Brexit, which indisputably harms U.S. influence in Europe, besides its other bad effects.

Brexit: Sovereign Kingdom or little England?
By Charles Krauthammer
July 1, 2016 | Freedom's Back


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Acceleration of generational change

If I had the time I would write this book, or maybe the book already exists (?); nevertheless, I would write a book about the generations that have really mattered in human history.... And speculate about the generations that will matter in the future....

Today, we classify generations based on the pace of technological change. The truth is, for over 90% of human history, technological change hasn't been a factor; technology didn't changed much from one generation to the next, hence generations didn't matter so much. One generation was hardly distinguishable from the last.

Historians might take exception with my claim: with migration, exploration, conquest, and mixing of peoples, religions and cultures, one generation of people in a particular place could be dramatically different than another. But such historical changes mostly revolved around culture. Culture is important but deeper analysis is called for....

It would be interesting to trace an exact date when generations started to become markedly different. Up until about 150 or 120 years ago, there were long gaps between significant changes. Today, we name each new generation; a reason why is that we take it for granted that each new generation will look at the world differently, and, essentially, be smarter than us.  The driver of change is technological innovation that makes the world smaller; technology that changes our ideas of what it means to be human, and what it means to be members of a planetary race....

In ancient history we talk of ages, not generations, because historical records aren't so precise; and because changes spread slowly and locally because of distance and poor communications.

Granted, even today change doesn't spread uniformly.  The Internet still has poor penetration in Africa, for instance.  Yet in the not-too-distant future, we can anticipate that everyone will have access to all of the latest knowledge via the Internet.  Air travel, phones and television already facilitate cultural mixing on an unprecedented scale.

What will be the clear markers of future generations?  Space colonization?  Unlocking the secrets of human immortality? Climate change catastrophe?  Roboticization of most human work?  The common integration of tech hardware and software with human bodies, i.e. androids?  Some breakthrough discovery in physics that unites relativity and quantum physics. i.e. a Unified Field Theory?  A new economic system that supplants capitalism?  The decline of religious practice?  Massive migration from the developed to the developing world?  Widespread negative birthrates (which are already happening in Europe)?  Or a combination of all these factors and other things?

The crazy thing is, today we can almost anticipate what those changes will be. We know that most of the above-mentioned drivers of change will happen, or are happening; their advent is only a matter of time.

And perhaps our current anticipation of future change is a generational marker in an of itself. Perhaps historians in the future will look back and say, in the 21st century, humans for the first time were able to predict accurately futures that hadn't happened yet.  Perhaps that will be a great marker in human time.  We take our forward-looking for granted, but relatively it is a very, very recent phenomenon. These are the first generations looking forward and backward at the same time, but for the first time perhaps in human history, more focused on the future. Today we expect the world to be turned upside-down. We are the first generations to anticipate our own obsolescence.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Galeotti on Putin's preparations to stay in power forever

Prof. Mark Galeotti -- in Moscow! -- is brilliant on how an ageing, increasingly isolated, paranoid dictator with no way out except jail or the morgue is consolidating police-spy power around himself, and substituting regular army troops for expendable mercenaries, as Putin prepares his gov't. to overreact and "break heads" to head off any popular riots -- a Russian Maidan. Will the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution be the trigger?
And there's the truism that Western observers always have trouble with, yet Galeotti oft repeats: In Russia, money is a "symptom" of power, not vice-versa like in the neoliberal West. In Russia money could be gone tomorrow; whereas power can get money or whatever money can buy whenever it wants. So Russia is beyond oligarchy. It's hard for us Westerners to conceptualize.
Everyday Russians expect their leaders to be corrupt, Galeotti argues, therefore, the Panama Papers were a big yawn for Russians. It's the corruption "in their face" that bothers everyday Russians. And so for now Russians don't make the connection between everyday corruption and Putin's regime. For now.

War College
By Jason Fields
Reuters | April, 29, 2016

Monday, April 4, 2016

Is the U.S. alone against ISIS?

This old semi-satirical article from The Atlantic disturbed me:

Defeating ISIS: The Board Game

I read this and ask myself, who is our ally against ISIS?  Nobody.

(Granted, this was before Russia entered the picture; but it's surprising how little Russia changed things in the regional calculus).

This started by asking myself, why is our #1 ally in the Mideast, "the only democracy in the Middle East," Israel, not helping us against ISIS, at least not openly?  I read the news; I read nothing about Israel in the fight against ISIS.

This thought alone disturbs me.

It disturbs me even more that countries in the region don't see ISIS as the biggest threat, but rather their neighbors, or homegrown groups.  Or the Kurds, whom Russia and the U.S. love to love but can't really support too much, because of Turkey.

What disturbs me the most, I guess, is that the world's #1 military power seems to care a lot about ISIS while all the countries where ISIS actually exists don't seem particularly bothered by it.  

It bothers me when I'm feeling manipulated. I don't like being jerked around. I think that's what's going on with ISIS.