Comment on The Autonomy of Public Space and Art Museums by helenatpinkhousehotmailcouk        
I was also really struck by the "visual space has essentially no owner" piece back when I visited in August (I think). This is really cheeky, but would you mind if I use your photo as my like cover photo on Twitter as my phone wasn't working that day - would be happy to include a link to this page, not that I'm at all well followed, I've only just got it, it just seems like the right thing to do?
          Expensive new trains on the Midland main line will be slower than the current diesels        

You may recall that it was announced last month that plans to electrify the line from St Pancras to Sheffield have been scrapped.

The line is currently electrified to Bedford. That will be extended to Kettering and Corby, but no further.

Services to Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield will be provided by new bi-mode trains that will take power from the overhead lines as far as Kettering and use diesel engines north of there.

Then the other day there was this story from Chris Doidge, BBC Radio Derby's political reporter:
BBC Radio Derby's learned that the government's decision to scrap the electrification of trains between Derby and London will mean slower journeys. 
Three weeks ago, the government said its new bi-mode trains - that run on electric and diesel - would mean "quicker journey times", but now it's admitted that's not quite the whole story. 
Journey times will reduce - because lines are being straightened and junctions improved. 
The trains will actually be slower than the electric ones the government has scrapped.
Today I met an old friend who knows far more about railways than I do. He explained why this may be the case.

The overhead electrification from St Pancras to Bedford was erected to serve commuter trains not faster long-distance services.

As a result, the maximum speed for trains using it is 100mph. So, unless a lot of money is spent to upgrade this electrification, that will be the maximum speed of the bi-mode trains using electric power on this section of the line,

Yet the diesels currently providing the service can travel at up to 125mph.

I suppose the bi-mode trains could use diesel power throughout, but then there is not much point paying extra for them.

Mind you, as Chris Doidge went on to say:
The group which represents rail operators says the bi-mode trains are heavier, less powerful and more expensive to buy, more expensive to maintain and more expensive to operate than their electric cousins.
And that is not the bottom of this mess.

As I said in my post when electrification to Sheffield was cancelled, a great deal of work has already been carried out along the line to raise bridges to make room for overhead wires.

The Leicester Mercury has also reported this and quoted my old friend Simon Galton, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Leicestershire County Council:
"We have already had the road closure and the disruption and for what – for the Government to scrap the scheme almost everyone else says is vital to the region. 
"The money that has already wasted adds insult to injury. 
"It would not surprise me if £50 million at least had been spent."
This whole affair has highlighted how hopelessly inefficient and centralised our current way of running the railways is. The Department for Transport is intimately involved in every decision.

In fact, the railways had far more autonomy when they were nationalised under British Rail.
          By: The Aim Of Transactional Analysis        
[…] Eric Berne stated that the aim of Transactional Analysis is Autonomy. […]
          Watch your wallets, urban Albertans: City charters meant city taxes in Toronto        
Less than a decade ago in Toronto, city charters were billed in much the same way they’re being floated in Calgary and Edmonton: to give the city more autonomy and independence. What city charters really meant for Torontonians was a heavier tax bill.
          True sharing means using your own money        
Last week, Alberta's Lt.-Governor Lois Hole talked about "sharing," and advocated spending more tax dollars on the arts and other government programs.

Are "sharing" and "spending tax dollars" the same thing

If Bob takes money out of Peter's wallet and gives that money to Paul, is Bob sharing Or is Bob violating Peter's autonomy, dignity, freedom and choice

          Pip Consultancy: Senior Technical Assistant, Technical Assistant, Quality Supervisor        
£30k + Benefits: Pip Consultancy: Fed up of working in a business where decisions take weeks? Looking for autonomy? Here the team work quickly in autonomy! Superb environment. Corby, Northamptonshire
          State Autonomy or Federal Negligence? Medicaid Cuts in the Fight Against Opioid Addiction        

State Autonomy or Federal Negligence? Medicaid Cuts in the Fight Against Opioid Addiction State and federal governments pay deeply for addiction. One study conducted by researchers at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control estimates that the opioid addiction crisis has cost the United States more than $78 billion. The cost is staggering. As […]

The post State Autonomy or Federal Negligence? Medicaid Cuts in the Fight Against Opioid Addiction appeared first on Cliffside Malibu.

          Baidu's Political Censorship is Protected by First Amendment, but Raises Broader Issues        

Baidu, the operator of China’s most popular search engine, has won the dismissal of a United States lawsuit brought by pro-democracy activists who claimed that the company violated their civil rights by preventing their writings from appearing in search results. In the most thorough and persuasive opinion on the issue of search engine bias to date, a federal court ruled that the First Amendment protects the editorial judgments of search engines, even when they censor political speech. This post will introduce the debate over search engine bias and the First Amendment, analyze the recent decision in Zhang v. Baidu, and discuss the implications of the case for both online speech and search engines.

Search Engine Bias and the First Amendment

When users enter a query into a search engine, the search engine returns results ranked and arranged by an algorithm. The complicated algorithms that power search engines are designed by engineers and modified over time. These algorithms, which are proprietary and unique to each search engine, favor certain websites and types of content over others. This is known as “search engine bias.”

The question of whether search engine results constitute speech protected by the First Amendment is particularly important in the context of search engine bias, and has been the subject of considerable academic debate. Several prominent scholars (including Eric Goldman, Eugene Volokh, and Stuart M. Benjamin) have argued that the First Amendment encompasses results generated by search engines, thus largely immunizing the operators search engines from liability for how they rank websites in search results. Others (primarily Tim Wu) have maintained that because search engine results are automated by algorithm, they should not be granted the full protection of the First Amendment.

Until now, only two federal courts had addressed this issue. See Langdon v. Google, 474 F. Supp. 2d 622 (D. Del. 2007); Kinderstart v. Google, 2007 WL 831806 (N.D. Cal. 2007). In dismissing claims against Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo brought by private plaintiffs dissatisfied with how their websites ranked in search results, both courts concluded after limited analysis that search engine results are protected under the First Amendment.

Baidu in Court

In May 2011, eight Chinese-American activists who described themselves as “promoters of democracy in China” filed a complaint against Baidu in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs, who are residents of New York, alleged that Baidu had violated their First Amendment and equal protection rights by “censoring and blocking” the pro-democracy content they had published online from its search results, purportedly at the behest of the People’s Republic of China. While the plaintiffs’ content appeared in results generated by Google, Yahoo, and Bing, it was allegedly “banned from any search performed on … Baidu.”

Baidu responded by filing a motion for judgment on the pleadings. Baidu argued that the plaintiffs’ suit should be dismissed based on the longstanding principle that the First Amendment “prohibits the government from compelling persons to speak or publish others’ speech.” Baidu also accused the plaintiffs of bringing a meritless lawsuit “for the purpose of drawing attention to their views.”

Last month, United States District Judge Jesse M. Furman concluded in a thoughtful decision that that the results returned by Baidu’s search engine constituted speech protected by the First Amendment, dismissing the plaintiffs’ lawsuit in its entirety.

Judge Furman began his analysis with a discussion of Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, a 1974 decision in which the Supreme Court held that a Florida statute requiring newspapers to provide political candidates with a right of reply to editorials critical of them violated the First Amendment. By requiring newspapers to grant access to their pages the messages of political candidates, the Florida law imposed an impermissible content-based burden on newspapers’ speech. Moreover, the statute would have had the effect of deterring newspapers from running editorials critical of political candidates. In both respects, the statute was an unconstitutional interference with newspapers’ First Amendment right to exercise “editorial control and judgment.”

The court then cited Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Group of Boston, which extended the Tornillo principle beyond the context of the press. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that Massachusetts could not require organizers of a private St. Patrick’s Day parade to include among marchers a group of openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals. This was true even though parade organizers did not create the floats themselves and did not have clear guidelines on who and what groups were allowed to march in the parade. Once again, the Court held that requiring private citizens to impart a message they did not wish to convey would “violate[] the fundamental rule of protection under the First Amendment . . . that a speaker has the autonomy to choose the content of his own message.”

These decisions taken together, according to the court, established four propositions critical to its analysis. First, the government “may not interfere with the editorial judgments of private speakers on issues of public concern.” Second, this rule applies not only to the press, but to private companies and individuals. Third, First Amendment protections apply “whether or not a speaker articulates, or even has, a coherent or precise message, and whether or not the speaker generated the underlying content in the first place.” And finally, that the government has noble intentions (such as promoting “press responsibility” or preventing hurtful speech) is of no consequence. Disapproval of a speaker’s message, regardless how justified the disapproval may be, does not legitimize attempts by the government to compel the speaker to alter the message by including one more acceptable to others.

In light of these principles, the court reasoned that “there is a strong argument to be made that the First Amendment fully immunizes search-engine results from most, if not all, kinds of civil liability and government regulation.” In retrieving relevant information from the “vast universe of data on the Internet” and presenting it in a way that is helpful to users, search engines make editorial judgments about what information to include in search results and how and where to display it. The court could not find any meaningful distinction between these judgments and those of a newspaper editor deciding which wire-service stories to run and where to place them, a travel guidebook writer selecting which tourist attractions to mention and how to display them, or a political blog choosing which stories it will link to and how prominently they will be featured.

Judge Furman made clear that the fact that search-engine results are produced algorithmically had no bearing on the court’s analysis. Because search algorithms are written by human beings, “‘they ‘inherently incorporate the search engine company engineers’ judgments about what materials users are most likely to find responsive to their queries.’” When search engines return results, ordering them from first to last, “they are engaging in fully protected First Amendment expression,” the court concluded.

The court declined to see any irony in holding that the democratic ideal of free speech protects Baidu’s decision to disfavor speech promoting democracy. “[T]he First Amendment protects Baidu’s right to advocate for systems of government other than democracy (in China or elsewhere) just as surely as it protects Plaintiffs’ rights to advocate for democracy.”

Implications for Online Speech and Search Engines

As the amount of content on the Internet grows exponentially, search engines play an increasingly important role in helping users navigate an overwhelming expanse of data – Google alone processes 100 billion search queries each month. As such, there is a definite public interest in shielding search engines from civil liability and government regulation. The decision in Zhang v. Baidu promotes strong constitutional protections for some of the Internet’s most heavily relied-upon intermediaries, making it clear that search engines cannot be compelled to include in their results the speech of others. Though not addressed in this case, these protections complement those guaranteed to search engines by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act . CDA § 230(c)(1) immunizes search engines from most kinds of tort liability for publishing the third-party content of others, while CDA § 230(c)(2) protects their decisions to remove it.

If search engines were subject to civil liability in the United States for the ways in which they display and rank content in search results, individuals would have the power to alter or censor those results via the federal courts. In addition to the obvious financial consequences of civil liability for search engine operators (the plaintiffs in Zhang v. Baidu sought more than $16 million in damages), such a course could result in significant compliance burdens. To better understand how this might play out, one must look no further than this order by a French court requiring Google to remove from search results at the request of a British executive certain images which had been deemed to violate his right of privacy in a United Kingdom lawsuit. The court seemed to take the position that Google’s argument that the First Amendment protected its search results was inconsistent with the “neutral and passive role of a host,” as required to claim the protection of French intermediary law. Marie-Andree Weiss did an excellent write-up on this controversial decision for the Digital Media Law Project.

Though it has been rightfully heralded for reaching the conclusion that operators of search engines are exercising their First Amendment rights when deciding which websites to display in what order, the decision in Zhang v. Baidu has serious and potentially negative practical consequences for online speakers. Search engines play a critical role in helping online speech be discovered. Allowing search engines to prevent certain types of content from being indexed in search results could mean that some online speech will be nearly impossible to find without a direct link to where it exists online. A tremendous amount of power over what online speech can be easily located now rests in an ever-dwindling number of private entities. Proposals for a publicly-controlled, open source search engine belonging to “The People” have yet to gain traction.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs in Zhang v. Baidu have announced plans to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Should the Second Circuit adopt the line of reasoning laid out so clearly by the district court, plaintiffs across the country considering bringing a lawsuit over search engine bias would be hard-pressed to overcome the First Amendment hurdles put in place by this likely influential precedent.

Natalie Nicol earned her J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law. During law school, she worked as an intern at the Digital Media Law Project, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the First Amendment Project.

(Image courtesy of Flickr user simone.brunozzi pursuant to a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 license.)

Subject Area: 


          Hitchens on the Scandinavian Utopia        
I had a couple of readers alert me to a post by Peter Hitchens, in which he reviews a book on the Swedish model of society by Michael Booth. Hitchens praises a particular insight in Booth's book:

But on pages 357 to 360 he produces one of those blinding-light moments that finally link up and solidify long strands of thought.

What is the blinding-light moment? It is that a liberal society aims to make individuals autonomous, by severing the natural connections existing between people, but that this then leaves individuals dependent on the state.

This is not a new insight - I've made the same point many times myself, as have others. But it is expressed well in Hitchens' blog post:
Michael Booth concludes that Swedish Social Democracy 'was driven by one single, over-arching goal; to sever the traditional, some would say natural, ties between its citizens, be they those that bound children to their parents, workers to their employers, wives to their husbands or the elderly to their families. Instead, individuals were encouraged - mostly by financial incentive or disincentive, but also through legislation, propaganda and social pressure - to ‘take their place in the collective’, as one commentator rather ominously put it, and become dependent on the government’.

But he notes that this can also be truthfully described as liberating Swedish citizens from each other allowing them to become autonomous entities.

But of course (and this conclusion is mainly me) they are only autonomous within the embrace of the strong state, which substitutes itself for family, employer and all other social ties, and seizes most of their wealth in return for requiring a loyalty and submission as great as any imposed in feudal times, in return for ‘social protection’. Thus did the peasant whose hovel lay in the shadow of his Lord's castle offer up his fealty in return for safety.

He quotes the Swedish author Henrik Berggren:

‘The Swedish system is best understood not in terms of socialism but in terms of Rousseau…Rousseau was an extreme egalitarian and he really hated any kind of dependence – depending on other people destroyed your integrity, your authenticity – therefore the ideal situation was one where every citizen was an atom separated from all the other atoms…The Swedish system’s logic is that it is dangerous to be dependent on other people, to be beholden to other people. Even to your family’.

Hitchens has another passage following through on this idea. He notes aspects of the decline in British society, such as permissive attitudes to drug use, and writes:
What were all these things about? Why, personal autonomy. Their central slogan was ‘I can do what I like with my own body and nobody can stop me. How dare you tell me what I can do with it?’

The paradox, well understood by Aldous Huxley, is that the person who proudly yells this battle cry also meekly accepts that in return he must surrender his mind, his privacy and his wealth to the power of the parental state.

In Michael Booth’s book, it all came together in an intentional, deliberate pattern. These things are connected. And it is the absence of the Christian conscience which makes them possible, and which is their enemy and rival. The new all-powerful parental state, the war against the married family, the scorn for conscience, the loud demand for personal autonomy and the rage against those who suggest it is in any way limited by morality or law, are all one cause, reborn in the West since the collapse of the USSR and advancing fast on all fronts. I saw it in Moscow and after my return from there, but instinctively. As so often, my instincts were right, and it has taken long years for my understanding and knowledge to catch up with them

There is just one thing I'd like to add to Peter Hitchens' observations. There are traditionalists who instinctively recognise the dynamic that Hitchens describes and who, quite rightly, think it important to uphold non-state institutions like church and family. So they become good churchmen and family men. I don't think this enough. When fathers stand only as individual men, they have little control over the torrent of influence that comes from the larger institutions of society, such as the mass media, the schools and the universities. Defending family or church requires organising together as fathers to shape the larger institutions, wherever this is possible.
          Cato libertarians take a step to the left        
The Cato Institute is a leading libertarian organisation in the U.S. The Institute recently published a significant article about race. It's fascinating to read because it shows the logic of how left-liberalism developed out of classical/right-liberalism.

But I need to quickly set the scene for this. All forms of liberalism begin with the idea that what matters is a freedom of the individual to be autonomous: to have the liberty to choose to be or to do whatever, as long as it does not limit a similar liberty for others to choose to be or to do whatever.

But this raises the question of how a society of atomised, autonomous individuals each seeking their own subjective good can be successfully regulated. Although there is no single answer given by liberals, the dominant form of liberalism in the mid-1800s, classical liberalism, emphasised the idea that the market could best regulate society. Millions of individuals could participate in the free market, each seeking their own profit, but the hidden hand of the market would ensure that the larger outcome was a positive one for society.

So what went wrong? The classical liberals would say that as long as everyone had an equal opportunity to participate in the market, then everyone had an equal human dignity as an autonomous individual.

But in the later 1800s this was queried. If I am poor and uneducated do I really have the same opportunity in the market as someone who is born to private schools and so on? The new liberals thought that there needed to be a greater role for government intervention to overcome institutional disadvantage.

And so the modern left emerged. For decades there has been a right-liberal party which emphasises markets (Republicans, Tories etc.) and a left-liberal one which emphasises government programs to overcome inequality (Democrats, Labour etc.). Libertarians have mostly been purist right-liberal types, pushing for limited government, markets, and liberty understood as individual autonomy.

So it is no surprise that the Cato Institute piece on race begins as follows:
Libertarians tend to think of freedom as either a means to an end of maximum utility—e.g., free markets produce the most wealth—or, in a more philosophical sense, in opposition to arbitrary authority—e.g., “Who are you to tell me what to do?” Both views fuel good arguments for less government and more personal autonomy.

That's exactly what you would expect from someone on the liberal right. Autonomy, free markets, limited government, freedom. But look at what happens next:
Yet neither separately, nor both taken together, address the impediments to freedom that have plagued the United States since its founding. Many of the oppressions America has foisted upon its citizens, particularly its black citizens, indeed came from government actors and agents. But a large number of offenses, from petty indignities to incidents of unspeakable violence, have been perpetrated by private individuals, or by government with full approval of its white citizens.

You can tell what this is leading up to. It's leading up to the left-liberal idea that there are institutional, systemic barriers to equal participation. That disparities in outcomes are to be explained in terms of institutional oppression, racism and systemic discrimination. And that's exactly where the Cato writer goes:
Take, for example, the common libertarian/conservative trope: “We believe in equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.” Most people, outside of the few and most ardent socialists, should believe that is a fair statement. But to say such a thing as a general defense of the status quo assumes that the current American system offers roughly equal opportunity just because Jim Crow is dead. Yet, that cannot possibly be true.

Think of the phrase “Don’t go there, it’s a bad neighborhood.” Now, sometimes that neighborhood is just a little run down, doesn’t have the best houses, doesn’t have the best shopping nearby, or feeds a mediocre school. But, more often, that neighborhood is very poor, lacks decent public infrastructure, suffers from high unemployment, has the worst schools, and is prone to gang or other violence. And, in many cities—in both North and South—that neighborhood is almost entirely populated by minorities.

There are only two conclusions possible when facing the very real prospect that thousands or millions of Americans live in areas you warn your friends not to go, even by accident: Either everyone in those areas is a criminal, or is content to live among and be victimized by criminals; or there is some number of people, and probably a large one, trapped in living conditions that cannot help but greatly inhibit their opportunities for success and advancement.

He goes on at length about racism and white supremacy and how the Federal Government has helped to overcome this more than markets have. He stops a short of endorsing big government solutions, but you can see how the logic of his argument prepares the ground for this.

The mainstream left and right are not so different from each other. They both exist within the same philosophical framework, sharing the same assumptions about what human life is for. Mainstream leftism is an attempt to perfect the liberalism that came before it, to realize it in a more equitable and consistent way.

The challenge for those who dislike what the modern West has become is to step outside of the liberal framework entirely - to be neither of the left nor of the classical liberal/libertarian right.
          Travel to Barcelona: A Country within a Country        
The distinctive regional culture of Barcelona is largely due to geography and a plentitude of national pride and elitism. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, one of Spain's 17 semi-autonomous states. The regional language is Catalan, along with the national language of Castilian Spanish. There has long been pressure from the Catalonian government and nationalists to earn complete autonomy from Spain. Consequently, the exclusive culture can be difficult to adjust to and there is significant animosity towards foreigners around the main tourist street of Las Ramblas. To thoroughly enjoy the sweet life and gentle hospitality of Barcelona, leave this busy area and explore the many diverse districts, endless with possibility.

Café Life and Nightlife for the Night Owl
Barcelona is truly a city that never sleeps, particularly during the warm Mediterranean summers. Avoid standing out like a sore thumb by eating dinner when the locals do: after 10 p.m. It is common to see children, grandparents and the family dog gathering at the outdoor cafes at these hours when the day's work is finished and time for friends and family has commenced. Since Barcelona hosted the Olympics in 1992, the city has been revamped with visitor friendly attractions such as the massive Olympic Village, a string of swanky restaurants, state-of-the-art nightclubs and boutiques along the beach. Most nightclubs do not get going until after 1 a.m. and club-goers typically wander out onto the beach around 5:30 to watch the sunrise over the Mediterranean.

A Modernista Mecca
The architectural wonders of Barcelona will keep even the most novice eye bewildered and intrigued. Antoni Gaudi decorated Barcelona with his treasures of modernism as a painter on a canvas. The grand boulevard of Passeig de Gracia is lined with elaborately adorned Casa Batllo and Casa Mila, both with the most intricate rooftops known to modern architecture. Arguably the most stunning of Gaudi's work is the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia. Each of the church's facades are meticulously designed with different themes and styles combining nature with religion and the soaring towers topped with mosaic grapes are built around a conch-like coiled staircase that visitors may choose to take instead of the elevator. Another tribute to Barcelona's artistic heritage is the Palau da la Musica Catalana. A view of the glass and mosaic inverted chandelier on the ceiling of the theater is alone worth the visit. Daily tours are offered in addition to the regularly held musical performances. Afterward, get lost in the tiny twisting passages of the surrounding historic Gothic Quarter.
Traveling Barcelona Right Not Your Weekend Visit

It is best to avoid traveling to Spain in August, when most of the locals (and most of Mediterranean Europe) take their vacations. Chances are that the restaurant you wanted to visit will be closed and museums will have extremely curtailed hours. August can also be uncomfortably hot.

Barcelona should be traveled with care and patience. The only disappointment visitors have is the inability to see all of the city's landmarks and hidden corners in a realistic amount of time.

Hainan China

china newspapers

Guilin China
          BANG BANG: Matthew Flanagan        
[BANG BANG is our week-long look back at 20!!, or "Twenty-bang-bang," or 2011, with contributions from all over aiming to cover all sorts of enthusiasms from film to music to words and beyond.]

by Matthew Flanagan

I seem to be roughly a year behind with everything at the moment, so will have to shirk the brief here and recall films I saw in and from 2010 instead. Perhaps that’s best: reflecting on a year too soon tends not to leave enough time for its patterns and convergences to emerge, if they are to. A few neat couplings from 2010: films about the sea and its displacement of capital (trade and gold) — The Forgotten Space, Film socialisme; gentle forest fictions — Yuki & Nina, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives; the past and present of American cities — Get Out of the Car!, Cold Weather; sharp, lucid digital films, shot for love and little money — Saskia Gruyaert, Raya Martin, Antoine Thirion’s Tales & Gina Telaroli’s A Little Death; and, loosely, Daïchi Saïto’s Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis & Richard Skelton’s LP Landings. There were other films of note — Thomas Arslan’s In the Shadows, Sharon Lockhart’s Double Tide, Jean-Claude Rousseau’s Festival, Nathaniel Dorsky’s sublime Compline & Aubade — but, in all, two favourites: Liu Jiayin’s 607 and Patrick Keiller’s Robinson in Ruins.

Liu’s Oxhide II (2009) is, in its small way, an extraordinary structural film, but I think I like the lesser-known 607 more. It’s an ostensibly minimalist work: a single, 16-minute shot (followed by three brief dissolves) of clear water in a wooden bathtub: a quiet, almost serene, space, just theatrical enough. The actors are Liu’s hands and those of her mother and father, a porcelain fish, a few bobbing mushrooms and the disruptions of the water line. That’s all. The hands tease and hook each other, and it seems most movements exist for their sound: ripples breaking and bubbles tearing the surface. A minor, playful film, and the most pleasurable of recent memory.

Robinson in Ruins was first screened here in the UK at LFF on the 19th and 21st of October, the days immediately before and after what was probably the year’s defining domestic event: the announcement of the CSR, a structural adjustment programme aimed at permanently altering the role of the welfare state in British society. Keiller’s film was shot between January and November of 2008, documenting that year’s financial crisis before the cost of its systemic collapse was transformed into the class project of austerity. Its study of mostly agrarian, bucolic spaces — connected by a network of military bases, oil pipelines and sites of social unrest — questions, laterally, the autonomy of our landscape by way of a biophilic inventory of flowers, plants, trees and a few animals. With this shift in focus, Robinson in Ruins leaves behind the urban and (increasingly invisible) sites of industrial activity in London (1994) and Robinson in Space (1997), and that geography is remapped instead in Owen Hatherley’s superb book A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain, published concurrently. Hatherley’s book is a more pointed analysis of the abject failure of the neoliberal project, and together with Robinson in Ruins offers a vital base to reflect on the point of transition at which we find ourselves: wondering whether the CSR signals a permanent reentrenchment of neoliberalism amidst crisis (seemingly, its natural state), or whether the strain of underwriting its collapse will prove too much for the vestiges of democratic capitalism to bear. This year, we’ve watched as the locus of what began to unravel in 2008 has shifted from the US, via the UK, to the most intertwined states of Europe, and it’s likely one particular sequence from 2011 could prove prophetic: the end of Christoph Hochhausler’s high-finance art movie The City Below and its hushed final retreat: “…it’s begun.” Hatherley’s book ends its dérive in Liverpool amidst one of the most striking visible corpses of the Blairite redevelopment project: the few lonely cultural and residential substitutes for deindustrialisation at the heart of its docks, the thinnest of economic and social hopes. We visited Liverpool on the second to last day of 2010, and, picking out some lights on the other side of the Mersey, the immediate future looked pretty bleak. This year, it’s bleaker still.


Matthew Flanagan lives in the UK and blogs sometimes at his blog.

          LG G2 Price & Specs        

LG G2 Price & Specs

Rs. 55,500 USD $572

 LG G2 Price Pakistan

Specs & Features  
 Whats New? LG G2 - Now it's all possible!
Enrich your senses with LG G2, The latest flagship android combining the cutting edge hardware with the latest OS and innovative design. With the launch of LG G2, LG affirms it's seriousness in higher end smartphone devices. Overall Mouthwatering and impressive technical features with an excellent attention grabbing design, thanks to the incredibly fine edges of LG G2, particularly on the sides and top. LG has incorporated the latest Graphic technology RAM (GRAM) in LG G2, reducing overall power consumption by the display while viewing still images. With a non-removable 3000 mAh, battery the South Korean company ensures that LG G2 has sufficient autonomy to operate for one full working day without recharging.  
 Dimension 138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm  
 Weight  143 g  
 Battery  Talk time Up to 16h 30 min, Stand-by Up to 790 h  
 OS Android OS, v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) 
 Memory 16/32GB built-in, 2GB RAM 
 Processor Quad-core 2.26 GHz Krait 400 MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 + GPU: Adreno 330 
 Connectivity  Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, LE, USB microUSB v2.0 (SlimPort), USB On-the-go, USB Host, GPRS Class 12 (4+1/3+2/2+3/1+4 slots), 32 - 48 kbps, EDGE Class 12, WLAN (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot), (HSDPA, 42 Mbps, HSUPA, 21 Mbps) LTE, Cat4, 50 Mbps UL, 150 Mbps DL  
 Display Size  1080 x 1920 pixels, 5.2 inches (~424 ppi pixel density)  
 Display Colour  True HD-IPS + LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors  
 Frequency / Band 
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 (HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100)  
 Browser HTML5  
 Colors Black, White  
 Entertainment  Stereo FM radio with RDS, MP3/WAV/FLAC/eAAC+/AC3/WMA player, MP4/DviX/XviD/H.264/H.263/WMV player, SNS applications, Games (Built-in + Downloadable)  
 Camera  13 MP, autofocus, optical image stabilization, LED flash, Simultaneous video and image recording, Geo-tagging, face detection, image stabilization, HDR, video(1080p@60fps), stereo sound rec, video stabilization, 2ndary (2.1MP)  
 Other Features  Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic, Photo viewer/editor, Document viewer/editor, Organizer, Voice memo/dial/commands, Predictive text input  
 Ring Tones  Polyphonic, MP3, WAV ringtones  
 Messaging  SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS  
 Price  Price in Rs: 55,500    Price in USD: $572

          The Communal Autonomy of Techno        
A CONVERSATION with Nic Holt and Trevor Cunnien How did you get into the techno scene? NH: In undergrad, I was really into Noise Music. I was a big fan of very heavy, very distorted Japanese Noise, like Mainliner, and High Rise, and Acid Mother’s Temple, and stuff like that. I think the idea of […]
          Amazon and Apple in Asymmetric Competition        
Today it is widely expected that Amazon will launch a 'next generation' Kindle. The rumor mill says that it will be called the Kindle Fire, it will be running an Amazon controlled and adapted version of Android 2.1, it will be priced 'competitively' a bit lower than the basic iPad, it will have a smaller form factor than the iPad (7") and may look much like the Blackberry PlayBook, but above all it will be a new and better way of consuming the books, films, music and other digital media properties that Amazon successfully sells to its large consumer following.

Many observers think that Amazon has perhaps the best chance of competing with Apple in the 'tablet space', which increasingly looks as though it might otherwise become an Apple preserve. As David Streitfeld in the New York Times points out, one of the reasons that Amazon has a chance is that it is not a straightforward competitor but an asymmetric competitor. The tablets that have abysmally failed to compete with Apple so far (and its a long list: Blackberry, HP a fistful of Android efforts) have failed because they have been competing head-to-head the level of hardware with a device that in every case, however serviceable the hardware, abysmally fails to match the content and software eco-system (its all about the apps) which sustains and grows Apple's market. Amazon will position its tablet not as a device that matches the iPad in specification and function, but as a better conduit to media resources and media consumption. Amazon does have a very significant content mix that it can channel through its device. In the books area it has a stronger and deeper selection than Apple, and although it may be lagging in its selection of music and film, it has nonetheless a respectable harvest. Books is a key strength and with its successful eInk Kindle track record Amazon has the potential to migrate millions of book lovers (and their purchased libraries) to the new platform. Apart from Apple no other media/tech player has anything like Amazon's content reach (not Google, not Facebook, not Microsoft or Sony).

But the competition will be intriguingly asymmetric "because Apple sells movies, music and books in order to sell devices. Amazon sells devices in order to sell books, movies and music. Apple has never faced an opponent with such a vastly different strategy." (New York Times 25.9.2011)

In fact the competition is deeply asymmetric in a number of ways. Amazon already provides access on Apple devices through its Kindle app, the chances are that Amazon will try to maintain the compatibility between its eInk-based Kindle app on the iOS platform and its native Kindle Fire app software. That could get to be complicated, it could inhibit development of better native-Android reading software, but this is an asymmetry that gives Amazon market reach. There is no chance that Apple will provide access to iTunes or to iBooks on an Amazon tablet app. Amazon would probably not allow that, and Apple certainly would not want that. If iBooks were to get a lot better, perhaps through taking advantage of hardware or system features, that would put some competitive pressure on Amazon's lead with eBooks. Asymmetric also in that Apple will stick to its 'agent' or facilitator role, whereas Amazon will act more as principal (Amazon is in fact becoming an eBook publisher). Apple will continue on its policy of levying a distribution tax from content that uses its iTunes marketplace (30%). Amazon will seek to maintain and re-introduce its 'merchant' role, wherein it can exploit and require deep discounts from publishers developers. Amazon will not lightly give pricing power to its publisher partners (its rules for the app market give Amazon the right to discount to zero!). Apple does give developers and publishers more pricing autonomy, because Apple knows that it will attract more developers that way and will sell more hardware and grow the ecosystem. Ironically, Apple will be able to move much more quickly to cloud-based services (Apple has struck deals which permit this streaming management of content with the permission of the music majors and publishers). Amazon will be more 'stuck with' a distribution and download model in which bits and megabytes are moved from server to device and copied to personal lockers. Ironic this, given Amazon's second to none services in cloud computing. Netflix (Amazon WSC's biggest customer) has been streaming film from Amazon cloud computers long before Amazon has the music majors signed up to a streaming approach for consumer music.

In fact the competition between Apple and Amazon at this point looks so asymmetric that one doubts that either side really needs to win a knock out. Mutually assured co-existence will be enough. Amazon will have an apparent success on its hands if it can migrate the majority of its existing and growing Kindle market to a better tablet Kindle Fire. It doesn't need to compete with Apple at this stage in the provision of the widest and richest form of app market. It has a lot of negotiating and catching up to do before it can hope to challenge Apple in music and film, and it is not interested in the new post PC computer market that Apple has in its sights. Apple may not mind Amazon getting further success in the books market (as Jobs said people don't read books anymore). The incidental benefit for Apple of a perceived to be successful Amazon tablet is that this 'success' will severely compromise and complicate Google's struggles to move Android from success in the smart phone form factor to successful tablets. If the first acceptable Android tablet is one in which Amazon have forked the operating system and taken control away from Google we can expect further fragmentation and frustration in the Android eco-system. Apple should be rather pleased about that.

From my standpoint, the most interesting area of conflict that now opens between Amazon and Apple is the one which touches on magazines and newspapers (and of course that interests us most at Exact Editions). It seems very likely that Amazon will have a strongish hand in the periodicals space for its new Kindle, and it will be very interesting to see how the Amazon commercial model for those periodicals works out. I doubt it will be easy to get an entirely satisfactory magazine/newspaper digital experience on a 7" tablet, and there will be some challenges in then moving a suboptimal experience to a 10" device in 2012, just about the time that Apple brings out its likely iPad 3. We live in interesting times!
          The Radio PD Of The Future        
Note: Today's guest blog is by Inside Music Media blogger and USC Music Industry Professor Jerry Del Colliano. In this post, Jerry highlights his future vision for successful radio PDs. Given the challenges facing radio today, now more than ever, it's important for market managers, general managers and operations managers to empower their programmers by giving them the resources, tools and support to create a more compelling product. With that in mind, here's Jerry...

I received a very inspirational email from a long time friend that has prompted me to put together the essential qualities of the next generation of program directors for terrestrial radio.

In doing so I am taking into account that radio today isn’t what it was 15 or 20 years ago and that, like it or not, radio is now consolidated. That many of the CEOs and COOs are clueless about content and even marketing, but still – I think I’ve got the PD of the future for you.

It’s also a lesson on how consolidators should handle a talented program director:

1. Give your PD enough rope to either do some great things or hang him or herself. That’s what a leader does. Budget cutting doesn’t make for great programming that you can monetize and throwing money at programmers is no more of a guarantee. Make the PD sell you the idea as if his or her neck is on the line and then say, “let’s do it”. Keep in mind that in the hey day of radio there really weren’t any budgets. You spent what you thought you had. Sales went and sold and hopefully somewhere expenses and income met without getting the owner too concerned. Somehow it worked better than what we’re seeing today.

2. Demand great ideas that you can use now. It ought to be obvious that programming stations that lose more talent every day and get cut to the bone in resources is not going to ever earn your station a return on investment. No investment is being made. Ask your programmers to present great, actionable ideas – this in contrast to edicts like – get by with no live jock from 10 am to 3 pm. A good PD can come up with great ways to make good radio for the available listening audience if you make them present ideas to you and then fund them.

3. Never disrespect the owner. A manager who has to cut expenses should warn his or her programmers not to get into it with the boss. There are plenty of forums in which to do that. Corporate should give true autonomy to the manager and any complaints go to him or her. George Johns of Fairbanks fame tells a story, “I remember once when Mr. Fairbanks (owner of Fairbanks Broadcasting), after learning that our station had a limited commercial load policy, which of course had been in place for several years, was outraged. He said, ‘you mean to say that we run fewer commercials than the law allows? And not only that but I have just found out we actually turn business away because of it? I want to know what idiot came up with that stupid policy?’”

That “stupid policy” was the work of brilliant programmer Jim Hilliard upon which these items are based.

There was always programming interference in radio – not just now in the wake of consolidation.

There were always budget constraints – as I said, often programmers didn’t actually know the budget.

True, most PDs only programmed one or two stations at the most and the pressure of being a public company was not felt on most radio programmers because there were a lot of Fairbanks-type owners out there.

And George Johns, the outstanding programmer from Canada, who partnered with Hilliard and shared some of this wisdom with me, had another excellent strategy that worked then and I believe would work now.

It was when Fairbanks took over KVIL and inherited the legendary Ron Chapman. But how to get free-wheeling Chapman to do Johns’ format?

Listen to him explain:

“What I had was a tape I had produced in Indianapolis. I had two of our best news guys from WIBC do me some "personality" type news. I had our afternoon jock, and production voice Chuck Riley, who later went on to become one of Americas biggest voice over guys, do some promos and ID's. I had some unbelievable great jingles already cut from Hugh Heller in LA, I had all of WIBC's best commercials and I also had a concept of music that had never been heard in America before. Now the final thing I had was some raw stereo tape of Ron Chapman”.

Johns put it all together laying Ron’s own voice in over the records with the production the way Johns would have it. After a nerve wracking 25 minutes without interruption and played back in perfect stereo in a production studio, Chapman said, “I can't very well say I don't know how to do this kind of radio, because there I was doing it.....Do you want to start it tomorrow?”The magic began immediately between between George and Ron, the station and Dallas.

So, the next suggestion:

4. Illustrate and demonstrate your ideas. This one is on today’s PDs. Too frequently they ask for money from serial budget cutters without going through the pain (and George Johns will confirm how hard it was to pull off the Chapman project) necessary to win support. Budget cutters above all need to hear it, see it and feel it. Hey, they still may be on a mission to cut at all costs, but where that’s not the case, demonstrating your programming ideas in a way they can actually hear is a necessary investment in winning support.

There is no doubt that it was easier to do good radio before consolidation. Bottom lines and good programming don’t always go well together.

While radio has changed, one thing hasn’t – the tried and true obligations and responsibilities that come with managing and programming a terrestrial radio station to today’s available audience.

Thanks for sharing your insights, Jerry. For more, check out Inside Music Media.
          Chris Hedges and Literacy        

Thomas Jefferson affirmed that a democratic republic can survive and prosper only if the citizens are literate and well-informed. This is why he proposed tax-supported schools in every community and founded the University of Virginia. So, how is the America of 2010 faring by Jefferson's standard? We don't have Jefferson to ask but we do have Chris Hedges. In his seventh book, entitled Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, Hedges, a recipient of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on global terrorism, takes a sober look at literacy in America (1). His book is fundamentally a literacy report card and he gives America an F. Consider these facts which Hedges cites:

  • 7 million Americans are illiterate and the number grows by 2 million a year
  • 30 million Americans cannot read a sentence
  • Among those who read, 50 million read at the 4th to 5th grade level
  • In 2007, 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book
  • One-third of those Americans who graduate from high school never read a single book after high school for the rest of their lives, and 42% of those who graduate from college never read a single book after college for the rest of their lives.

These jarring facts lead Hedges to indict our schools and colleges for training students to be compliant, money-driven careerists instead of critical thinkers who value autonomy and curiosity and who see the need to challenge the idols of the tribe.If Americans care little today about the pursuit of knowledge through books, magazines, and newspapers, what do we care about? Hedges claims that most of us care about entertainment in order to escape from reality.

Certainly TV serves this purpose. The average American watches TV four hours a day and in the average household the TV is on for six hours forty-seven minutes a day. But TV is not alone. Professional wrestling, celebrity worship, pornography, and many other diversions supplement it. Let's focus on pornography. Hedges points out the following:

  • Over 13,000 porno films are produced in America a year
  • There are 4.2 million porno websites. This amounts to 12% of the total number of websites
  • One out of four daily search engine requests, or 68 million a day, is for porno material
  • In 2006, the pornography industry raked in a staggering $97 billion worldwide. This is more than the combined revenues of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Apple, NetFlix, Earth Link, and Yahoo!
  • Approximately 80% of all porn dollars spent by Americans go to Broadband, Comcast, and Direct TV, which is owned by General Motors
  • The principal users of Internet porn are between the ages of twelve and seventeen.

Hedges says much more than I can report here on topics such as corporate influence in politics and journalism, NAFTA, Ivy League colleges, and others. Empire of Illusion is worth your time, as are his other books, especially the ones on American evangelicals and the new breed of in-your-face atheists. Few can match his analytical powers.

  1. All the data cited in this commentary are taken from this book.

© 2010 Tom Shipka

          John Stuart Mill on Women's Rights        

The 19th century British philosopher John Stuart Mill is recognized in modern philosophy chiefly for two reasons. He refined the Utilitarian tradition of philosophy established by Jeremy Bentham and he reemphasized the primacy of individual liberty and self-determination against the inroads of the majority in democratic societies. One part of Mill's contribution has been largely overlooked, however. It is his call for legal and social equality for women in an 1861 volume entitled The Subjection of Women. (1)

Mill lived in an era when women were subordinate to men by law and custom. They were expected to marry, rear children, and devote themselves to their families. In most cases they could not pursue a formal education, own property or amass wealth, vote, serve on juries, practice a profession or trade, seek a divorce, even from an abusive husband, or travel alone. Women lived in the shadow of their de facto masters, their husbands.

Mill's case for women's equality reflects his Utilitarian roots. The subordination of women, he argues, is not only "wrong in itself" but "one of the chief hindrances to human improvement." (p. 7) By denying women the same opportunities as men, he says, society not only impedes the development of roughly half the population but denies itself the benefit of their talents. (pp. 88-89) Why is such a foolish practice followed? Mill asks. Because, he says, our customs and laws are a carryover of the law of the strongest. (pp. 10-11) The fact that men are typically superior to women in physical strength leads to the presumption that men are superior to women in all areas, despite the fact that there is no proof to support the claim. (p. 10) In this respect, Mill says, the predicament of women parallels that of slaves. (p. 11, p. 18)

Mill argues that the progress of society requires that all people, men and women, not be imprisoned in the "fixed social position" in which they are born but instead be given opportunities to develop their talents and to pursue their desires as long as they pose no threat to the rights of others. (pp. 22-23) To the naysayer who doubts the potential of women to match the achievements of men in literature, science, government, medicine, education, and the arts, Mill retorts that this is self-serving speculation. The only way to measure the potential of women is to free them from domestic bondage, give them the same opportunities as men, and observe the results. (p. 22, p. 26, p. 62, p. 74) History confirms that Mill's confidence in the outcome was prescient. To the skeptic who opines that the liberation of women will destroy marriage and the family, Mill answers that a marriage which is attractive to women, one based on equality and mutual respect instead of subordination, will prosper indefinitely. (pp. 33-34) To those who argue that authority to make decisions in any organization must ultimately rest in a single person, Mill replies that this is certainly not the case in successful partnerships in business, and that even if it were, this does not mean that the controlling voice on a given matter must be the husband's. (p. 45)

In a nutshell, then, Mill argued nearly 150 years ago that the liberation of women will produce two important results. It will benefit society by triggering the contributions of women in many fields, and it will benefit women by granting them the autonomy that is essential to happiness. In my view he was right on both counts.

  1. The edition used here is Prometheus Books, Great Books in Philosophy Series, 1986 (ISBN 0-87975-335-8). References are by page numbers.

© 2009 Tom Shipka

          Coach Jim Tressel        

Jim Tressel has been known as a remarkably successful college football coach. With the publication of The Winners Manual for the Game of Life, (1) he is now known in the sports world and beyond as a coach and author. The book is a distillation of a nearly four-hundred page handbook called The Winners Manual which Coach Tressel gives to his football team each year as they begin preparation for a new season. He changes it slightly each year. The heart of the handbook is "The Plan," a "step-by-step process of personal assessment and goal setting" for the players which includes "nineteen fundamentals" which the Coach has boiled down to ten in his book. (2)

Why would a busy coach with a crushing schedule take the time to write a book? It is certainly not to enrich himself. He is already wealthy and he is donating all proceeds from the book to an expansion of the Ohio State University library. His purpose, he tells us, is to help people become more productive and responsible. He writes:

I want to present ideas, principles, and truths in a way that will encourage you, lift you up when you're wrestling with life, and push you forward and motivate you to be a better person and a more vital part of whatever team you serve. (3)

I invite you to read the book and decide whether it offers you the road to improve your life personally and professionally. If it doesn't, I'll be surprised. The book is a mirror image of Tressel the person, a master of time management, organization, and problem-solving, who has an extraordinary gift for bringing people of diverse backgrounds together in a common cause. All of us can learn from him, no matter what our vocation, age or circumstance.

Anyone who reads The Winners Manual for the Game of Life will learn that Coach Tressel is a devout Christian and that his religion shapes his approach to coaching and to life. Yet his practice of religion is refreshingly tolerant and humble. Coach Tressel acknowledges that "non-religious people can be moral and religious people can be immoral" and he insists that "all people are to be loved, regardless of what they think or do..." even when they differ sharply with him. (4) He generously supports many non-religious charities, including colleges and hospitals. He is the antithesis of those strident and arrogant zealots who believe that they have a monopoly on morality and that God speaks directly and exclusively to them. His coaches and players know his religious commitment but he respects their autonomy. On religious issues, he is scrupulously non-coercive. Players may attend chapel services or participate in prayer or not, as they wish. (5) In the goals sheet that his players and coaches fill out in the spiritual/moral domain, about a quarter make no mention of religion at all. Many times he has held practice on Sunday. (5) Further, his book features quotations in the border taken from his team handbook which he carefully selects to inspire his players and to encourage them to think. More than a dozen of these quotes are by atheists and agnostics. Finally, one of his mentors, who receives considerable attention in the book, is an agnostic, and a number of essays in the handbook are by a friend of the Coach's who is an atheist. This friend once paid the Coach the ultimate compliment an atheist can bestow upon a believer when he told a huge banquet audience that "Jim Tressel gives religion a good name." (6)


  1. With Chris Fabry, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2008.
  2. Pages xiv-xv. The ten fundamentals are attitude, discipline, excellence, faith and belief, work, handling adversity and success, love, responsibility, team, and hope. See p. xxii and pp. 39-241.
  3. Page xvi.
  4. Online interview of Coach Tressel, 9-18-08.
  5. Online interview of Coach Tressel on 9-18-08 and interviews on 9-17-08 with Ken Conatser and Carmine Cassese, two of Coach Tressel's long-time associates.
  6. The mentor and religious skeptic is Dr. Pat Spurgeon and the atheist friend is Dr. Tom Shipka. The compliment referred to was in an introduction of Coach Tressel at a banquet celebrating his remarkable success at Youngstown State University and his appointment as head football coach at the Ohio State University.

© 2008 Tom Shipka

          Confronting the Debt Culture        

Next week at the Washington, D.C. Marriott, a national conference will be held with the theme "Confronting the Debt Culture." It is co-sponsored by five organizations, including the Institute for American Values and the New America Foundation. (1) The conference will attract consumers and consumer advocates, scholars, elected and appointed government officials, philanthropists, and representatives from foundations, banks and credit unions, among others. The highlight of the conference will be the release of a report entitled For a New Thrift: Confronting the Debt Culture which the co-sponsors have been researching and writing for many months.
What prompts this conference? The conference co-sponsors are convinced that we Americans are living beyond our means and accumulating debt at a staggering, unprecedented rate, and that the time is ripe to transform a debt culture into a thrift culture. Consider these "debt facts" which they cite:
The subprime mortgage crisis, which is due to "over(ly) lenient lending and over(ly) exuberant borrowing," has resulted in millions of foreclosures and sharp declines in local property tax revenues. (2) In 2008 two million Americans will lose their homes. (3)

  • In 2005 and 2006, for the first time since the Depression, Americans spent more than they saved. (4)
  • "More than 20% of lower-income families spend at least 40 percent of their income in debt payments." (5)
  • "One in seven families is dealing with a debt collector." (6)
  • "Nearly half of all credit card holders have missed payments in the last year." (7)
  • "One-of-four undergraduate students "carry credit card balances in excess of $3,000." (8)
  • A typical college graduate completes his or her degree with $20,000 in debt, up from $9,000 a decade ago. (9)
  • "More than 40 percent of college graduates who don't pursue graduate school blame student loan debt." (10)
  • Two-thirds of Americans acknowledge that they don't save enough. (11)
  • On the average Americans save less than citizens of nearly every other developed nation. (12)
  • Payday loans doubled every year from 2001 to 2006 and topped $28 billion in 2006. (13)
  • 36% of Americans say that they lost control over their finances at one point or another. 45% in the 30-49 age group admit this, as do 40% of parents with children under 18 and 46% of African-Americans. (14)

Although we have yet to see the blueprint to increase savings and decrease debt which will be released at the Washington conference, and we cannot judge whether the proposed strategies will work, we can anticipate strong opposition to the plan from predatory lenders and others who "feed upon and aggravate the debt culture," (15) and we can applaud the ambitious efforts of the Institute for American Values and its sister organizations for taking this initiative. Although debt is virtually unavoidable, even for the most frugal among us, America is on a protracted debt binge. Debt for an individual or a family can be reasonable and manageable or it can be crushing and out-of-control. When debt is overpowering, people are robbed of autonomy, pride, and the fruits of their labor. Hopefully the Washington conference and the report which it issues will be important first steps in resuscitating thrift in America.


  1. The conference is May 12-13 at the Washington Marriott, 1221 22nd Street N.W. See The Institute for American Values is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization which seeks to strengthen the American family and the virtues of competence, character, and citizenship. See The New American Foundation is a nonprofit public policy institute which seeks to bring new voices and new ideas to public discourse on domestic and global issues. See Other co-sponsors of the conference are the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia; Demos; and Public Agenda.
  2. For a New Thrift: An Appeal to Prospective Colleagues, page 4.
  3. Ibid., p. 3
  4. Ibid.,
  5. Ibid.,
  6. Ibid.,
  7. Ibid.,
  8. Ibid.,
  9. Ibid.,
  10. Ibid.,

© 2008 Tom Shipka

          Ayaan Hirsi Ali : A Voice of Dissent in Islam        

For many Western political leaders, the problem in today's world is not Islam, which they see as a religion of peace, but religious extremists who subvert it. But this viewpoint is coming under fire from a growing list of writers (1), including Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Though a young woman at 36, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has received no less than a dozen major awards in Europe and the United States for her advocacy of Muslim women and in 2005 she was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. Recently she was the subject of one of George F. Will's syndicated columns (September 21, 2006).

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia and raised a Muslim. She lived there and in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, until, at the age of 22, she ducked an arranged marriage to her father's cousin and settled in the Netherlands where she learned the language, completed her education, and eventually became a member of Parliament. In 2004 Ali published a book in Dutch which was recently translated and published in the West the under the title, The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam. Ali also wrote the script for a short film "Submission: Part I " which highlights passages in the Koran which disparage women. Theo van Gogh, director of the film, was murdered by a Muslim fundamentalist shortly after the film was shown and Ali was herself threatened with death. Ali holds that in the name of religion, Muslim women "are enslaved in their homes" (p. 7) (2) subjected to genital mutilation and "disownment" (or abandonment) by their families for any real or imagined offense, and denied education and other opportunities for personal and professional growth.

But Ali's critique of Islam goes beyond this. She says that Islamic culture most needs what it most abhors : skepticism. She calls for an enlightenment in the Islamic world much the same as the one in the Christian world centuries ago. She writes: "(W)e Muslims are already imbued with faith and superstition. What we need are schools of philosophy"(p. 15) "Let Us Have a Voltaire" is the title of a chapter in her book. (pp. 35-41) "(A)ll Muslims," she says, "share the conviction that the fundamental principles of Islam cannot be criticized, revised, or in any way contradicted." (p. 9) This dogmatism explains virtually all the defects in Islamic culture, she says, including the 'fanaticism' of terrorists, sectarian strife, lagging the West in "technology, finance, health, and culture" (p. 15), lack of respect for individual autonomy and women's rights (p. 14), the political authority of mullahs, the failure of Muslims to read important Western thinkers, the lack of "a credible and workable political model" (p. 19), and Muslim hypersensitivity to criticism. On the last point, she writes "I am outraged that Muslims are not more offended by the invocation of Allah and 'God is great' for murder (by terrorists) than by cartoons." (p. xv) Her own skepticism is evident. "I have come to realize," she writes, "that the existence of Allah, of angels, demons, and a life after death, is at the very least disputable." (xi)

Ali recently left Europe for her own safety and accepted an appointment at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., where she is now working on a new book in which the Prophet Muhammad has an imaginary dialogue with John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Hayek, and Karl Popper. No doubt we can expect more sparks to fly once she publishes it.


  1. These include Muslims and non-Muslims such as Salman Rushdie, Irshad Manji, Ibn Warraq, Taslima Nasreen, Muhammad Abu Zaid, Bernard Lewis, and Sam Harris, among others.
  2. Quotes are from "The Caged Virgin"

Copyright © 2006 by Tom Shipka

          Are Startup Employees Motivated by Money?        
Autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the biggest motivators for startup employees, outweighing the importance of pay increases, according to a recent infographic.
          What next for Eastern Europe?        
While President Trump tweets, the United States and Russia drift towards war over Syria, and the new Thirty Years War between Shi'ite and Sunni continues on many fronts, another critical drama is playing out in the Eastern half of the European continent.  I find it particularly interesting because it is a replay of the drama I described about 40 years ago in my first book, Economic Diplomacy and the Origins of the Second World War, which is linked at left and available as an e-book.

For the first few centuries of the modern era the peoples of Eastern Europe lived under large empires.  The Ottoman Empire had reached Europe in the 15th century and eventually included what is now Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Rumania, some of the nations of the former Yugoslavia, and Hungary.  The Tsar of Russia ruled what are now the Baltic States and, by the 19th century, Poland.  The Holy Roman Empire--which in 1806 became the Austrian Empire, and in 1867 the Austro-Hungarian Empire--included parts of Poland and the present-day Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia and Slovenia.  All these peoples, to varying degrees, developed nationalist movements during the 19th century.

The enormous strain of the First World War proved too much not only for the Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires, but also for the German Empire.  The Allies--France, Britain, Italy and eventually the US as well--sponsored the claims of some of the national movements in their territory.  In January 1918, in his Fourteen Points, Woodrow Wilson endorsed an independent Poland and autonomy (not independence) for the peoples of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires.  When those nations collapsed ten months later, various national movements proclaimed new states.

As the brilliant but eccentric English historian A. J. P. Taylor noted in 1961, the post-1919 settlement in Eastern Europe reflected the astonishing fact that both Germany and Russia had been defeated. Only that allowed for the re-creation of an independent Poland, the new states of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia,a larger Rumania, independent Poland and Finland, and the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.  It seemed in 1918-9 that things might go even further and that Ukraine might become independent as well, but the Bolsheviks managed to secure control over it in the Russian civil war.  These states were economically and politically weak.  Nearly all of them initially formed some kind of democratic government, encouraged down that path by the western powers.

In the short run, several of the new states--Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Romania--were threatened by Hungary, which had lost huge territories at the peace conference, while in the long run Czechoslovakia and Poland had to worry about a resurgent Germany. France, eager to cement its status as the leading power in Europe, offered all those states some kind of alliance.  Clearly the French would have trouble defending them once the Germans or Russians regained their military strength, but the French were counting on keeping the Germans weak.  The alliances faced no serious threats until after the rise of Hitler.

By then all these countries had undergone profound political changes.  While all of them had begun as democracies, only Czechoslovakia, Finland and the Baltic States were still electing their governments by the early 1930s--the rest had come under some form of authoritarian rule.  The agricultural states among them, as I showed in my book, came under German influence after 1935 because the Germans, desperate for food, offered them a market for their produce.  In 1938 Hitler managed to destroy Czechoslovakia when the French abandoned their alliance.  In 1939-40, Hitler and Stalin concluded the Nazi-Soviet Pact. They partitioned Poland and the Soviets incorporated the Baltic States.  Hungary and Rumania became allies of Hitler while Yugoslavia was occupied by the Italians and the Nazis.  In 1945,  the whole region (except Finland) came under Soviet occupation and the USSR installed Communist governments.

The collapse of the USSR in 1991--77 years after the start of the First World War--started this process over again.  Once again, as in 1919, the entire region was liberated from foreign rule.  This time the proliferation of new states has gone much further, with Czechoslovakia and former Yugoslavia giving way to no less than 8 new states, and not only the Baltic States, but also Ukraine and Belarus, becoming independent.  Once again the new states established various forms of democracy.  And once again, powerful nations from outside the region offered them alliances. NATO, led by the US, offered membership to virtually every new state in the region, including the Baltic states--after initially promising the new Russian government not to do so.  The EU also offered many of them membership, choosing to ignore the enormous economic and cultural differences that still divide Europe somewhere around the frontiers of Germany and Poland.

Germany is no longer an imperialist nation, although it leads the EU and played a key role in its enlargement.  Russia once again went through a chaotic period but by 2000 it was recovering its strength under Vladimir Putin.  He is clearly determined to reassert Russian influence--if not more--over many of the states of the former USSR.  Belarus lost any real independence very quickly, and Putin is actively contesting the West in a bid for influence in Ukraine, and using the Russian military at the border to do so. He also very obviously has designs on the Baltic states, which are extremely vulnerable militarily.  And while Putin cannot offer these states markets the way the Germans did 80 years ago, he can provide them with energy.

And once again, democracy has proven fragile in Eastern Europe.  Rightist parties now lead the governments of Hungary, Poland, and some of the other states of the region. The governments of the Czech Republic and Slovakia are weak and subject to corruption and outside influence.  These nations face a choice between  western-style democracy--which is having enormous problems in the west--and Russian-style authoritarianism.  It is not at all clear which path they shall take.

Only a gigantic war settled the question of Eastern Europe's future 80 years ago.  Such a war does not seem in prospect now, but limited wars, such as a lightning Russian occupation of one or more Baltic states, cannot be ruled out.  Russian and NATO aircraft are constantly confronting one another in the region.  The Russians also seem to be using cyberwar against Ukraine, and they may use it elsewhere. To reach a new equilibrium diplomatically would require a level of statesmanship which is not apparent on the world scene.  Nearly thirty years ago, when the Soviet empire collapsed, I commented frequently that this time, Eastern Europe had taken a new shape without a new world war.  Now it seems that the process may involve a larger conflict--albeit of a possibly different kind.
          Trouble on the left        
Just as it is the duty of every patriotic historian to be harder on his own country than any other--a tradition that began with Thucydides the Athenian--it behooves every politically active person to be critical of his own side.  This is not especially difficult for me today, since the academic left and the ideology it has espoused for at least 30 years is so foreign to my own beliefs, but some may wonder why I am taking the trouble to do it.  One reason is the increasing evidence that that ideology is now firmly established in the nation's newsrooms and plays in important role within the Democratic Party.  Yet it has been politically disastrous and is increasingly at odds with the fundamentals of our civilization as I have always understood them.  If there is not a change on the Left, the Democrats will have great difficulty ever returning to power and will not be able to do much good if they do.

As David Brooks reminded us all this morning, the tradition of western civilization included universal principles of law, justice, and increasingly since the 18th century, of equality.  (To paraphrase Orwell, since I seldom agree with David Brooks, it gives me all the greater pleasure to record my agreement with him on this occasion. It believed that both natural and human science could improve life on earth.  Here in the United States, western civilization, having corrupted itself by importing African slavery, fought a huge civil war in the 19th century to abolish it and established legal equality among the races--even though it took a century to make legal equality a reality.  Women also received political rights in the first half of the twentieth century.  In the middle of the century the world fought a titanic ideological war among liberalism, Communism, and Fascism. The imperial powers retreated from colonialism in the second half of the century.  By then, aspects of western civilization--the rule of law, equal rights for citizens, and attempts to raise the general standard of living--had become a model for virtually the entire world.  The initial post-independence regimes in previously colonial territories were based on some form of western ideology, from liberalism through communism.

The new ideology that now dominates academia was developed by men and women who were children during the great crisis of the 1940s, but spread more widely by my own generation.  It denies the autonomy of ideas and really denies their importance as a motive force in civilization.  Instead, it sees civilization--and ideas--as nothing but a power struggle among different groups, defined by race, by gender, and by sexual preference.  And thus--to get immediately to the heart of the matter--rather than portray western civilization as a triumph of certain ideas that was, to be sure, mostly invented by white men, it portrays western civilization as an instrument used by white men to establish and maintain their domination over other groups--and which, therefore, has to be undone, in fundamental respects, to create real justice.

Let me take another paragraphs to introduce my own perspective.  I became a comparative historian at an early age, not only comparing different countries in the same period of history, but comparing different periods of modern European history.  A comparative perspective, it seem to me, is a good antidote to overly positive or negative views of human nature, since its judgments can be based upon reality.  Now unless one returns to the most primitive hunter-gatherer societies, there seems to be little doubt that western civilization has been less oppressive, on the whole, than any other developed civilization.  That is why movements for racial equality, equality between men and women, and, most recently, gay rights, originated in western civilization, and why such ideas have advanced the most in the most westernized countries.

Now let us go to the new orthodoxy.

The new orthodoxy holds that any attempt to see ourselves as equal citizens in a civic realm is at bottom a fiction designed to preserve the hegemony of white males.  It argues that every one of us is defined by our membership in either a dominant group (straight white males), or an oppressed or "marginalized" one (including all white women, all gays, and all nonwhites.)  Not only that, but everyone of us is morally and emotionally linked to the perceived historical role of those groups. Every straight white male, bears the guilt for the oppression of all other groups, whatever his personal history may be, and every woman and every nonwhite actively suffers from the scars of oppression.  And such oppression is expressed not only, and not merely, through specific, identifiable disadvantages in wealth, income, and opportunity, but through language and culture.

Last week, students a Claremont McKenna University in southern California successfully blocked the audience from hearing a talk by the conservative commentator Heather MacDonald, who is a critic of the Black Lives Matter.  The letter a black students' group wrote to the President of Claremont McKenna moved me to do this post, because it stemmed logically from the ideology whose origins I have just described   The letter replied to a critical statement by the President of Claremont McKenna, arguing that however one felt about Heather MacDonald's views (and I personally disagree very strongly with some of them myself), the Enlightenment value of free speech had to respected.  Here are a few excerpts from that letter.

"Your statement contains unnuanced views surrounding the academy and a belief in searching for some venerated truth. Historically, white supremacy has venerated the idea of objectivity, and wielded a dichotomy of ‘subjectivity vs. objectivity’ as a means of silencing oppressed peoples. The idea that there is a single truth--’the Truth’--is a construct of the Euro-West that is deeply rooted in the Enlightenment, which was a movement that also described Black and Brown people as both subhuman and impervious to pain. This construction is a myth and white supremacy, imperialism, colonization, capitalism, and the United States of America are all of its progeny. The idea that the truth is an entity for which we must search, in matters that endanger our abilities to exist in open spaces, is an attempt to silence oppressed peoples. We, Black students, exist with a myriad of different identities. We are queer, trans, differently-abled, poor/low-income, undocumented, Muslim, first-generation and/or immigrant, and positioned in different spaces across Africa and the African diaspora. The idea that we must subject ourselves routinely to the hate speech of fascists who want for us not to exist plays on the same Eurocentric constructs that believed Black people to be impervious to pain and apathetic to the brutal and violent conditions of white supremacy.

"The idea that the search for this truth involves entertaining Heather Mac Donald’s hate speech is illogical. If engaged, Heather Mac Donald would not be debating on mere difference of opinion, but the right of Black people to exist. Heather Mac Donald is a fascist, a white supremacist, a warhawk, a transphobe, a queerphobe, a classist, and ignorant of interlocking systems of domination that produce the lethal conditions under which oppressed peoples are forced to live. Why are you, and other persons in positions of power at these institutions, protecting a fascist and her hate speech and not students that are directly affected by her presence?

"Advocating for white supremacy and giving white supremacists platforms wherefrom their toxic and deadly illogic may be disseminated is condoning violence against Black people. Heather Mac Donald does not have the right to an audience at the Athenaeum, a private venue wherefrom she received compensation. Dictating and condemning non-respectable forms of protest while parroting the phrase that “protest has a celebrated” place on campus is contradictory at best and anti-Black at worst."

Now I am not suggesting--as the authors of this letter probably would--that this letter expressed the views of most black students at Claremont McKenna, much less elsewhere.  While few black people (and few white people) regard the United States as perfect, many of us are still proud to be Americans.  What makes this letter important is that it expresses an extreme version of what has become mainstream ideology on campus.  Humanity, according to this ideology, is divided into oppressors and oppressed who are defined by race, gender and sexual orientation.  (Class occasionally gets a reference, but economic status is not treated as equally important to these three.)  The oppressors are constantly inflicting great emotional pain on the oppressed, and this must stop.  "Eurocentric values"--that is, the values of western civilization--have always been, and remain, oppressive and suspect.  And those ideas are either the implicit or explicit premise of many thousands of pages of academic writing about "oppressed" or "marginalized" groups that has appeared over the last few decades.

This post is already too long, and I will confine myself to a few fundamental counterpropositions.

1.  The new ideology has sprouted in universities because they are safe spaces whose white male administrators adopted diversity and inclusion as their mission 20-30 years ago.  That mission has become more important than any purely intellectual function, certainly in the humanities and social sciences.  University administrations spend a great deal of time worrying about their facilities (which will affect their U.S. News ranking), their diversity, and the happiness of their minority students.  They spent almost no time trying to develop the best humanities curriculum, and they have given up preserving the heritage of western civilization as a major goal.  

2.   The new ideology has, as I have said, become very powerful in the mainstream media, which accepts the idea, in practice if not in theory, that the problems of "marginalized" groups are more important than anyone else's.  But it has obviously alienated more than 100 million Americans who do not live on the East and West Coasts (and a non-trivial number of those who do.)  After 30 years of political correctness in the universities, we have a self-identified sexual harasser as President and a very traditional white southerner as Attorney General.  Hillary Rodham Clinton in her campaign took pains to make clear that she took the concerns of marginalized groups more seriously than anyone else's.  Quite a few Democratic consultants and commentators look forward eagerly to the day when whites will constitute a minority of the electorate.  The reaction against all of this has been devastating and it was inevitable.

3.  The constant emphasis on the thoughts and feelings of "maringalized" groups--again, everyone but straight white males--is, among other things, a denial of any common value system that unites us all.  When I appeared on a couple of weeks ago, I was immediately followed by a female historian named Arianne Chernok. As you can here, she peremptorily dismissed everything I had to say about Strauss, Howe, and the crisis that the US is obviously going through on the grounds that "there were no women" in the story I had told. This was, to begin with, false:  Hillary Clinton had not only come up in my conversation with host Chris Lydon, but he had played a clip from her famous 1969 commencement speech.  Professor Chernok was repeating the most common claim of postmodernist historians: that traditional "narratives" of history left out women and nonwhites because they focused on political leaders, who were (in the Atlantic world, anyway) white men.  But whether or not that is true, it remains true that we are ALL political beings who live subject to laws and must inevitably be affected by the great political changes that occur every eighty years. Yes, some will in some ways be affected differently than others, but all of us will be affected in the same way by some of the changes that took place.  We do share a common experience that is very important to us all.

And that leaves me to a last, more tentative point.  The emphasis not only on marginalized groups and identities also denies that there is such a thing as "normal" human behavior.  The concept of "heteronormativity" was originally defined as the idea that heterosexuality was the only proper form of human sexual behavior.  I certainly join in rejecting that idea.  But in many instances, I believe, the concept has gone further, so as to deny that there is any biological or other significance to the heterosexuality of most human beings.  15 or 20 years ago, the American Historical Association cautioned teachers not to assume that their students with either heterosexual or homosexual.  This is connected to the postmodern idea that the heterosexuality of most human beings (a statistical fact) is not biologically determined, but culturally imposed.  Now to repeat, it is vitally important to respect the feelings and rights of those whose sexual orientation is different from that of the majority of their fellow human beings.  But I honestly wonder whether a society can hold together, in the long run, if it does not include some ideas of what constitutes normal behavior, in  a statistical rather than a moral sense, even if we recognize that there will always be people who behave differently and whom we must respect all the same.  One of the biggest functions of crises or fourth turnings as identified by Strauss and Howe is indeed to create or reaffirm a value system, both politically and personally, according to which most of us--never all--will live.  And historically, when societies cannot do this by consensus, some one does it by force.

In my opinion, the constant encouragement of young people in particular to define themselves by race, gender and sexual preference is making it much harder not only to find common ground across these barriers--which I regard as essential to our national survival--but also much harder for them to discover the most important thing about themselves.  Many of us have become obsessed with electing a female President--but no one was ever obsessed with electing a male President, because that was a given.  Because it was a given, the citizenry (male and female) could focus on the difference between the men they might elect, a difference defined by their party affiliation, their views, and what they might accomplish.  The emphasis on race and gender as qualifications for anything implies that there is nothing wrong with our institutions that could not be fixed by redistributing the rewards they offer along gender and racial lines. But there is, in fact, a great deal wrong with all our institutions that cannot be cured that way, but will require leadership that sees things more broadly.  And there is very little evidence indeed that simply increasing diversity at or near the top of powerful institutions actually changes the behavior of those institutions.

Great historians, I like to say, do not argue with history.  What has happened over the last few decades ot left wing thought must have been in some sense inevitable--but that does not make it right.  We need a rebirth of a vital center that can call on everyone.  Events, I think, will eventually force us to move in that direction.  The question is when.

          Border Changes: Not Just for the Balkans        
Could Western Europe see a revision of existing boundaries, depending on what happens in Belgium following the elections? The strong showing of the New Flemish Alliance raises the possibility that Belgium might, over time, break apart, particularly because there is no longer a strategic need for a neutral state to separate Germany and France.

Could we end up with a new state of Flanders? And what would happen then to Wallonia?

Found this part of the report in the Christian Science Monitor interesting:

Recent polls in France show two out of every three members of the French public would agree to absorb Wallonia as part of France. Meanwhile, a recent survey in Flanders by the Luxembourg broadcasting group RTL found that 32 percent want independence immediately, 17 percent would accept a "confederation" with Wallonia that is independence in all but name, and 25 percent want greater autonomy in Belgium.

Or would a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation work?

It's not just in eastern Europe that these questions need to be asked.
          The Mad Science behind Autonomy and AI in the Military         
The Mad Science behind Autonomy and AI in the Military
          Bastille Day 2017: "Operational together"        
Bastille Day Parade
13 July 2017

Bastille Day 2017: "Operational together"

"Operational together" is this year’s chosen theme for the Bastille Day festivities on 14 July. With the terror threat still looming, cooperation between the Armed Forces and domestic security forces is paramount. The parade is an opportunity to celebrate the commitment of these men and women who, together, keep French citizens safe on a daily basis. The Franco-American friendship and Operation Chammal will take centre-stage, alongside the technological prowess of the French Armed Forces.

A hundred years have passed since the United States entered World War I

2017 is the centenary year of America’s entry into World War I, bringing its support to France. The American President will be attending this centenary and tribute will be paid to the U.S. Armed Forces as a sign of this cooperation and the history of Franco-American friendship.
To open the military parade, the French Air Force aerobatic demonstration team, Patrouille de France, will be followed by the U.S. Air Force air demonstration squadron, Thunderbirds. On the ground, the marching parade will begin with an American joint detachment of 200 servicemen and women, some of whom will be wearing the authentic "Sammies" uniform from World War I.
The United States and France, partners and allies, are taking action on a number of fronts, including to combat terrorism through the Global Coalition against Daesh in the Levant.

Operation Chammal centre-stage

The efforts of French troops serving in the Levant as part of Operation Chammal are also being recognised this year. 114 servicemen and women from three branches of the Armed Forces will be taking part in the parade, illustrating the complementary nature of the means and troops committed in the fight against Daesh.
Operation Chammal
Chammal is the name of France’s contribution to the international operation Inherent Resolve. More than 1,200 soldiers are deployed in Iraq and Syria as part of this operation. They are involved in aviation or artillery support missions to assist the ground troops engaged in countering the terrorist group Daesh, as well as training missions for the benefit of the Iraqi security forces.

1917-2017: a whole century’s worth of technological innovation

In the limelight during this year’s opening festivities are technological innovations and the necessary efforts given over to planning for the future. The groundbreaking changes that have occurred over the period from 1917 to 2017 will be on show, not least the vehicles and weapons available to the French forces, as will the accomplishments in terms of planning for the future.
1917 marks the first time French tanks were used in battle. Since then, the Saint-Chamond tank has been replaced with the powerful and mobile Leclerc tank, the only one in the world to be able to fire while travelling at a speed of 50km/h. Technological innovation has been making a key contribution to France’s strategic autonomy throughout the past century: it represents the excellence and foresight of the French Armed Forces.

The parade will close with a rendition of Nissa la Bella, the city of Nice’s anthem written on 14 July 1903 by Menica Rondelly, performed in memory of the victims of the Nice attack on 14 July 2016.

The Franco-American Museum at Château de Blérancourt reopens

After being closed for more than 10 years for renovation, following the discovery of archaeological remains, Château de Blérancour... [Read more]
23 June 2017

          Comment on 12 Most Frustrating Moments of “Waiting for Superman” by Joseph Scalia III        
Great! You are not alone! My wife and I recently published the following as a Guest Editorial in Bozeman, Montana's Daily Chronicle: Does the Economic Fate of a Nation Rest on its Test Scores? In December 2010, the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test results from were released. Evaluating 15-year-olds from 65 countries, PISA is touted as the most comprehensive study to test and rank students internationally. As in past years, the 5233 public and private school U.S. students tested scored in the average range. As before, the apoplectic reaction of both pundits and government officials follows a predictable and faulty line of reasoning when looking at perceived international achievement gaps. It goes something like this: Public education is in a state of crisis. In order to avert the eventual economic ruin that will follow “middling”-range test scores, we must speed up school reform efforts and look to those who have higher scores, as models of superior educational systems. At the alleged root of the problem are complacent educators who are not willing or able to hold high expectations of their students or deliver high-quality instruction. The putative solution to the “crisis” is to hold educators “accountable” through incentives, punishment, and mandates, such as publishing school test scores, privatizing public education, replacing the school staff in low-performing schools, and using “performance”-based teacher pay. So the rhetoric goes. If low scores lead to inferior economic performance, then those nations who score higher than the U.S. on international tests should be doing better on indicators of economic success. In 2007, researcher K. Baker compared international test results since their advent in 1964, with seven indicators of national success, including economic growth, productivity, and creativity. He found that “a certain level of educational attainment, as reflected in test scores, provides a platform for launching national success, but once that platform is reached, other factors become more important...” The bottom line is that, beyond this platform, it is bad policy to pursue gains in test scores, diverting resources away from other factors that are more important determinants of economic success. On the 2009 PISA, both South Korea and Shanghai-China were two of the highest scorers. Yet they have GDP’s per capita below the average measured by PISA’s organizational body. The two Swiss-based organizations that rank nations on global competitiveness both rank the U.S. #1 again, the position it has held for a number of years. In 2008, when journalist F. Zakariya asked the Singapore Minister of Education why high scoring Singaporean students seem to fade when they became adults, the Minister answered that their children lacked what he thought America excelled in – creativity, ambition, and a willingness to challenge existing knowledge – factors of course not measured by the much-valorized tests. Author Yong Zhao, born and raised in China, in making comparisons between educational systems in European and Asian countries notes that centralized, standardized, test-driven countries like China and Singapore are attempting to get rid of the homogenization that the U.S. is now seeking to implement. They are, in fact, looking to the US to determine how to get their children to think. It is easier to blame educators than to look at our real problems – like the effects of poverty on children and the simplistic reforms that are not working. Policy makers should be talking about the less publicized PISA findings such as: (1) Schools that compete for students through charters, tax credits or vouchers do not yield higher scores; (2) Private schools do no better than public schools once family wealth factors are considered; (3) 20% of U.S. performance is attributed to social inequity, far higher than in other nations - inequitable and inadequate financial resources resulting in nearly a year’s lack of growth, and (4) Schools with greater autonomy score higher. Throughout the history of schooling in the U.S., schools have been routinely charged to carry out the dominant societal and political ideologies of the day. As historian W. Reese points out, when solutions to intractable problems that originate outside of school fail – poverty, racial and social injustice – schools are looked to as the source of the problems and educational reform ensues with vigor. Until educational policy is able to look at the economic and political conditions which are the real source of our educational problems, we are likely to continue our test-score fetishism. Lynne Scalia is the Superintendent/Principal of Monforton School District. Joseph Scalia III is the Director of Northern Rockies Psychoanalytic Institute.
          The Web of Life        

Given all the discussion of late about cetacean rights and captivity, it brings to mind the hotly debated issue of whether this is really such a black and white matter.  On one hand, some animal rights activists hold the view that you are either completely for animal rights (complete autonomy and anti captive for all species) or you can't truly claim to be for animal rights if you support places like zoos, safaris, and places like Sea World.

Personally, I think a lot of people are somewhere in the middle of this wide spectrum.  Some, like me, hold the belief that there are certain species that simply do not belong in captivity. For example, whales, dolphins, sharks, lions, tigers, bears, elephants, etc.   I'm also not a vegetarian.  While I mostly avoid red meat and am not a big fan of sea food, I do eat turkey, chicken, ham, and enjoy hamburger now and then.  Does this make me a hypocrite?  I don't think so.

I don't personally judge those who are 100% or semi-vegetarian, and I certainly hope they don't judge me.  But we're all human.  We're all passionate about our beliefs and some of us view things in black and white and don't consider that so much of life, what we do, and who we are is constantly venturing into shades of gray or other colors.  Some people are constantly evolving on these particular beliefs and some remain steadfast throughout their lives.

For me, what matters is akin to one of the greatest things about some Native American tribes that I have always respected.  And that is to treat all living beings with respect, humanely, and sustainably.  When they would, for example, kill buffalo or bears. they first thanked their spirits and the animal spirits for this gift.  Then they would use 100% of the animal for their needs.  Every piece of meat was used.  Bones were used for tools, jewelry, etc.  The fur was used for clothing, blankets, housing, etc.  This, to me, is the greatest example of humans taking what they need, maximizing the hell out of it, and always always giving thanks for each and every single gift it bestows upon them individually and as a tribe. And when they didn't need anything, they left the animals alone, even communed and/or worked with them, and again always treated them with respect.

In modern times, sustainability seems to be a dirty word when it relates to the wildlife.  Certain countries have zero qualms about killing, killing, and killing some more without regard for the increasing possibility that these very species are becoming endangered.  Certain people refuse to take responsibility for causing the extinction of so many species.  Certain people have the gall to blame the wildlife for their lack of food (IE: overfishing.)  And certain people see wildlife as cash cows to satisfy their own greed.

We've got to get these laws changed.  Education on sustainable practices, finding a balance, and living together in mutual harmony is paramount to just blindly killing thousands of sharks for their fins, slaughtering thousands of dolphins when fewer and fewer demand warrants it, and culling thousands of whales annually all in the name of so-called research.  The hypocrisy is so obvious.  Hardly anyone is buying it any more that it is necessary to engage in so much destruction against these species.

And more than that, we need to get past our egos and sense of superiority that humans are numero uno and to hell with everything else.  Humans alone do not make this world go 'round.  Every plant and every animal has a role in our large and diversified eco-system.  Some are so highly crucial that to lose them would be catastrophic. We need the mentality that everything here is necessary for every one's survival, including the animals. I don't know why it's so hard for certain people to not understand that if we just practice sustainability and balance, Mother Earth's gifts would remain infinite.

What brought the topic of today's post to my mind was coming across this link:  Irwin Family Plays at Dolphin Habitat.    The late Steve Irwin was a big Sea Shepherd supporter.  Frankly, it simply surprised me to read this because I figured this family was against captivity for cetaceans.  Goes to show how much I know.  I never followed Steven's Crocodile Hunters show nor really followed the news on this family much.  So my ignorance here is showing.  And I guess because they own a Zoo, then it really shouldn't shock me that they'd go see dolphins in captivity.   Are they hypocrites?   I don't know enough about the Irwin family to say.  My knee jerk reaction without all the facts is to say yes, they are.  They are profiting from their zoo, they spend money to see dolphins being held captive in the middle of the desert and seem to have no problem with that, and yet at the same time Terri Irwin claims to be a supporter of Sea Shepherd.   I just don't see how this can go both ways at the same time.  Maybe I'm being thick in the head.  I welcome feedback and comments on this.

Steve's father moved on to focus on his own environmental endeavors.  Currently, he's actively involved in saving the dugongs and turtles.  I've been hearing remarkable things about this man and I get the sense he doesn't like the spotlight on him, only on his cause.  Here's his link if you'd like to know more and would like to donate to his organization:  Bob Irwin Wildlife Fund

I had a bunch of other things to say and share today, but I think I've gotten carried away enough for this post :-)

Let's all work on instilling and sharing some of these wise Native American sayings that to me, are even more profound in today's times:

When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

~ Cree Prophecy ~

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.

~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~

          Stuff The Internet Says On Scalability For July 7th, 2017        

Hey, it's HighScalability time:



What's real these days? I was at Lascaux II, an exact replica of Lascaux. I was deeply, deeply moved. Was this an authentic experience? A question we'll ask often in VR I think.

If you like this sort of Stuff then please support me on Patreon.
  • $400k: cost of yearly fake news campaign; $50,000: cost to discredit a journalist; 100 Gbps: SSDP DDoS amplification attack; $5.97BN: wild guess on cost of running Facebook on AWS; 2 billion: Facebook users; 80%: Spotify backend services in production run as containers; $60B: AR market by 2021; 10.4%: AMD market share taken from Intel; 5 days: MIT drone flight time; $1 trillion: Apple iOS revenues; 35%-144%: reduction in image sizes; 10 petabytes: data stored; 1 trillion: photos taken on iPhone each year; $70B: Apple App Store payout to developers; 355: pages in Internet Trends 2017 report; 14: people needed to make 500,000 tons of steel; 25%: reduced server-rendering time with Node 8; 50-70%: of messages Gmail receives are spam; 8,000: bugs found in pacemaker code; 

  • Quotable Quotes:
    • Vladimir Putin: We must take into account the plans and directions of development of the armed forces of other countries… Our responses must be based on intellectual superiority, they will be asymmetric, and less expensive.
    • @swardley: What most fail to realise is that the Chinese corporate corpus has devoured western business thinking and gone beyond it.
    • @discostu105: I am a 10X developer. Everything I do takes ten times as long as I thought.
    • DINKDINK: You grossly underestimate the hashing capacity of the bitcoin network. The hashing capacity, at time of posting, is approximately 5,000,000,000 Gigahashes/second[1]. Spot measurement of the hashing capacity of an EC2 instance is 0.4 Gigahashes/second[2]. You would need 12 BILLION EC2 instances to 51% attack the bitcoin network.[3] Using EC2 to attack the network is impractical and inefficient.
    • danielsamuels && 19eightyfour~ Machiavelli's Guide to PaaS: Keep your friends close, and your competitors hosted.
    • Paul Buchheit:  I wrote the the first version of Gmail in a day!
    • @herminghaus: If you don’t care about latency, ship a 20ft intermodal container full of 32GB micro-SD cards across the globe. It’s a terabyte per second.
    • @cstross: Okay, so now the Russian defense industry is advertising war-in-a-can (multimodal freight containerized missiles):
    • Dennett~ you don't need comprehension to achieve competence.
    • @michellebrush~ Schema are APIs. @gwenshap #qconnyc
    • Stacy Mitchell: Amazon sells more clothing, electronics, toys, and books than any other company. Last year, Amazon captured nearly $1 of every $2 Americans spent online. As recently as 2015, most people looking to buy something online started at a search engine. Today, a majority go straight to Amazon.
    • Xcelerate: I have noticed that Azure does have a few powerful features that AWS and GCP lack, most notably InfiniBand (fast interconnects), which I have needed on more than one occasion for HPC tasks. In fact, 4x16 core instances on Azure are currently faster at performing molecular dynamics simulations than 1x"64 core" instance on GCP. But the cost is extremely high, and I still haven't found a good cloud platform for short, high intensity HPC tasks.
    • jjeaff: I took about 5 sites from a $50 a month shared cPanel plan that included a few WordPress blogs and some custom sites and put them on a $3 a month scaleway instance and haven't had a bit of trouble.
    • @discordianfish: GCP's Pub/Sub is really priced by GB? And 10GB/free/month? What's the catch?
    • Amazon: This moves beyond the current paradigm of typing search keywords in a box and navigating a website. Instead, discovery should be like talking with a friend who knows you, knows what you like, works with you at every step, and anticipates your needs. This is a vision where intelligence is everywhere. Every interaction should reflect who you are and what you like, and help you find what other people like you have already discovered. 
    • @CloudifySource: Lambda is always 100% busy - @adrianco #awasummit #telaviv #serverless
    • @codinghorror: Funny how Android sites have internalized this "only multi core scores now matter" narrative with 1/2 the CPU speed of iOS hardware
    • @sheeshee: deleted all home directories because no separation of "dev" & "production". almost ran a billion euro site into the ground with a bad loop.
    • We have quotes the likes of which even God has never seen! Please click through to ride all of them.

  • The Not Hotdog app on Silicon Valley may be a bit silly, but the story of how they built the real app is one of the best how-tos on building a machine learning app you'll ever read. How HBO’s Silicon Valley built “Not Hotdog” with mobile TensorFlow, Keras & React Native. The initial app was built in a weekend using Google Cloud Platform’s Vision API, and React Native. The final version took months of refinement. â€ŠGoogle Cloud’s Vision API was dropped because its accuracy in recognizing hotdogs was only so-so; it was slow because of the network hit; it cost too much. They ended up using Keras, a deep learning library that provides nicer, easier-to-use abstractions on top of TensorFlow. They used on SqueezeNet due to its explicit positioning as a solution for embedded deep learning. SqueezeNet used only 1.25 million parameters which made training much faster and reduced resource usage on the device. What would they change? timanglade: Honestly I think the biggest gains would be to go back to a beefier, pre-trained architecture like Inception, and see if I can quantize it to a size that’s manageable, especially if paired with CoreML on device. You’d get the accuracy that comes from big models, but in a package that runs well on mobile. And this is really cool: The last production trick we used was to leverage CodePush and Apple’s relatively permissive terms of service, to live-inject new versions of our neural networks after submission to the app store. 

  • And the winner is: all of us. Serverless Hosting Comparison: Lambda: Unicorn: $20,830.83. Heavy: $120.16. Medium: $4.55. Light: $0.00; Azure Functions: Unicorn: $19,993.60. Heavy: $115.40. Moderate: $3.60. Light: $0.00; Cloud Functions: Unicorn: $23,321.20. Heavy: $138.95. Moderate: $9.76. Light: $0.00; OpenWhisk: Unicorn: $21,243.20. Heavy: $120.70. Medium: $3.83. Light: $0.00; depends on the cost of running your managed Kubernetes cloud. 

  • Minds are algorithms made physical. Seeds May Use Tiny “Brains” to Decide When to Germinate: The seed has two hormones: abscisic acid (ABA), which sends the signal to stay dormant, and gibberellin (GA), which initiates germination. The push and pull between those two hormones helps the seed determine just the right time to start growing...According to Ghose, some 3,000 to 4,000 cells make up the Arabidopsis seeds...It turned out that the hormones clustered in two sections of cells near the tip of the seed—a region the researchers propose make up the “brain.” The two clumps of cells produce the hormones which they send as signals between each other. When ABA, produced by one clump, is the dominate hormone in this decision center, the seed stays dormant. But as GA increases, the “brain” begins telling the seed it’s time to sprout...This splitting of the command center helps the seed make more accurate decisions.

Don't miss all that the Internet has to say on Scalability, click below and become eventually consistent with all scalability knowledge (which means this post has many more items to read so please keep on reading)...

          Trump Tech Summit, Apple Airpods Arriving, Twitter Live, Amazon Autonomy – This Week in Tech        

How’s that polar vortex weather working out for you? As much of us (side-eyeing the South) have been blind-sided with a slap of polar pettiness, the only way we’ll get through this is to warm up with the hottest news in tech–shall we? Tech World Convenes with Trump On Wednesday the leaders of the free tech world such as Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, IBM, Oracle, and Facebook, jumped in their flying cars and landed in Mordor Trump Tower for what’s been called a “tech summit”. The event, headed by President Elect Snow Trump, who was also oddly joined by three of […]

The post Trump Tech Summit, Apple Airpods Arriving, Twitter Live, Amazon Autonomy – This Week in Tech appeared first on Awesomely Techie.

          Heisenberg Developers        

TL:DR You can not observe a developer without altering their behavior.


First a story.

Several years ago I worked on a largish project as one of a team of developers. We were building an internal system to support an existing business process. Initially things went very well. The user requirements were reasonably well defined and we worked effectively iterating on the backlog. We were mostly left to our own devices. We had a non-technical business owner and a number of potential users who gave us broad objectives, and who tested features as they became available. When we felt that piece needed refactoring, we spent the time to do it. When a pain point appeared in the software we changed the design to remove it. We didn’t have to ask permission to do any of things, so long features appeared at reasonable intervals, everyone was happy.

Then came that requirement. The one where you try to replace an expert user’s years of experience and intuition with software. What started out as a vague and wooly requirement, soon became a monster as we started to dig into it. We tried to push back against it, or at least get it scheduled for a later version of the software to be delivered at some unspecified time in future. But no, the business was insistent, they wanted it in the next version. A very clever colleague thought the problem could be solved with a custom DSL that would allow the users themselves to encode their business rules and he and another guy set to work building it. Several months later, he was still working on it. The business was frustrated by the lack of progress and the vaguely hoped for project delivery dates began to slip. It was all a bit of a mess.

The boss looked at this and decided that we were loose cannons and the ship needed tightening up. He hired a project manager with an excellent CV and a reputation for getting wayward software projects under control. He introduced us to ‘Jira’, a word that strikes fear into the soul of a developer. Now, rather than taking a high level requirement and simply delivering it at some point in the future, we would break the feature into finely grained tasks, estimate each of the tasks, then break the tasks into finer grained tasks if the estimate was more than a day’s work. Every two weeks we would have a day long planning meeting where these tasks were defined. We then spent the next 8 days working on the tasks and updating Jira with how long each one took. Our project manager would be displeased when tasks took longer than the estimate and would immediately assign one of the other team members to work with the original developer to hurry it along. We soon learned to add plenty of contingency to our estimates. We were delivery focused. Any request to refactor the software was met with disapproval, and our time was too finely managed to allow us refactor ‘under the radar’.

Then a strange thing started to happen. Everything slowed.

Of course we had no way to prove it because there was no data from ‘pre-PM’ to compare to ‘post-PM’, but there was a noticeable downward notch in the speed at which features were delivered. With his calculations showing that the project’s delivery date was slipping, our PM did the obvious thing and started hiring more developers, I think they were mostly people he’d worked with before. We, the existing team had very little say in who was hired, and it did seem that there was something of a cultural gap between us and the new guys. Whenever there was any debate about refactoring the code, or backing out of a problematic feature, the new guys would argue against it, saying it was ‘ivory tower’, and not delivering features. The PM would veto the work and side with the new guys.

We became somewhat de-motivated. After loosing an argument about how things should be done more than a few times, you start to have a pretty clear choice: knuckle down, don’t argue and get paid, or leave. Our best developer, the DSL guy, did leave, and the ones of us arguing for good design lost one of our main champions. I learnt to inflate my estimates, do what I was told to do, and to keep my imagination and creativity for my evening and weekend projects. I found it odd that few of my new colleagues seemed to actually enjoy software development, the talk in our office was now more about cars than programming languages. They actually seemed to like the finely grained management. As one explained to me, “you take the next item off the list, do the work, check it in, and you don’t have to worry about it.” It relieved them of the responsibility to make difficult decisions, or take a strategic view.

The project was not a happy one. Features took longer and longer to be delivered. There always seemed to be a mounting number of bugs, few of which seemed to get fixed, even as the team grew. The business spent more and more money for fewer and fewer benefits.

Why did it all go so wrong?

Finely grained management of software developers is compelling to a business. Any organization craves control. We want to know what we are getting in return for those expensive developer salaries. We want to be able to accurately estimate the time taken to deliver a system in order to do an effective cost-benefit analysis and to give the business an accurate forecast of delivery. There’s also the hope that by building an accurate database of estimates verses actual effort, we can fine tune our estimation, and by analysis find efficiencies in the software development process.

The problem with this approach is that it fundamentally misunderstands the nature of software development. That it is a creative and experimental process. Software development is a complex system of multiple poorly understood feedback loops and interactions. It is an organic process of trial and error, false starts, experiments and monumental cock-ups. Numerous studies have shown that effective creative work is best done by motivated autonomous experts. As developers we need to be free to try things out, see how they evolve, back away from bad decisions, maybe try several different things before we find one that works. We don’t have hard numbers for why we want to try this or that, or why we want to stop in the middle of this task and throw away everything we’ve done. We can’t really justify all our decisions, many them are hunches, many of them are wrong.

If you ask me how long a feature is going to take, my honest answer is that I really have no idea. I may have a ball-park idea, but there’s a long-tail of lower-probability possibilities, that mean that I could easily be out by a factor of 10. What about the feature itself? Is it really such a good idea? I’m not just the implementer of this software, I’m a stake holder too. What if there’s a better way to address this business requirement? What if we discover a better way half way through the estimated time? What if I suddenly stumble on a technology or a technique that could make a big difference to the business? What if it’s not on the road map?

As soon as you ask a developer to tell you exactly what he’s going to do over the next 8 days (or worse weeks or months), you kill much of the creativity and serendipity. You may say that he is free to change the estimates or the tasks at any time, but he will still feel that he has to at least justify the changes. The more finely grained the tasks, the more you kill autonomy and creativity. No matter how much you say it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t meet his estimates, he’ll still feel bad about it. His response to being asked for estimates is twofold: first, he will learn to put in large contingencies, just in case one of those rabbit-holes crosses his path; second, he will look for the quick fix, the hack that just gets the job done. Damn technical debt, that’s for the next poor soul to deal with, I must meet my estimate. Good developers are used to doing necessary, but hard to justify work ‘under the radar’, they effectively lie to management about what they are really doing, but finely grained management makes it hard to steal the time in which to do it.

To be clear, I’m not speaking for everyone here. Not all developers dislike micromanagement. Some are more attracted to the paycheck than the art. For them, micromanagement can be very attractive. So long as you know how to work the system you can happily submit inflated estimates, just do what you’re told, and check in the feature. If users are unhappy and the system is buggy and late, you are not to blame, you just did what you were told.

Finely grained management is a recipe for ‘talent evaporation’. The people who live and breathe software will leave – they usually have few problems getting jobs elsewhere. The people who don’t like to take decisions and need an excuse, will stay. You will find yourself with a compliant team that meekly carries out your instructions, doesn’t argue about the utility of features, fills in Jira correctly, meets their estimates, and produces very poor quality software.

So how should one manage developers?

Simple: give them autonomy. It seems like a panacea, but finely grained management is poisonous for software development. It’s far better to give high level goals and allow your developers to meet them as they see fit. Sometimes they will fail; you need to build in contingency for this. But don’t react to failure by putting in more process and control. Work on building a great team that you can trust and that can contribute to success rather than employing rooms full of passive code monkeys.

          Sally Satel on Organ Donation        

kidney.jpg Sally Satel, psychiatrist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of increasing the supply of donated organs for transplantation and ways that public policy might increase the supply. Satel, who has received two kidney donations, suggests a federal tax credit as a way to increase the supply of organs while saving the federal government money. She also discusses the ethical issues surrounding various forms of compensation for organ donors.

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Readings and Links related to this podcast episode

Related Readings
This week's guest: This week's focus: Additional ideas and people mentioned in this podcast episode: A few more readings and background resources: A few more EconTalk podcast episodes:


Podcast Episode Highlights

Intro. [Recording date: July 6, 2017.]

Russ Roberts: Sally Satel recently wrote an article with Alan Viard entitled "The Kindest (Tax) Cut: A Federal Tax Credit for Organ Donations," and that's going to be our topic for today.... So, you bring a special perspective to kidney donations. Talk about your personal story.

Sally Satel: Yeah. I got a kidney in 2006; and then I got another kidney a year ago, almost a year ago today. And, when I got my first one it was sort of a surprise. A lot of people who know that they're going to need a kidney--well, by definition, they know that they're going to need a kidney. What I meant is that they have certain illnesses--they are either diabetic, or they've got lupus, severe hypertension that's been poorly managed for a while, high blood pressure. People know they are at risk for this, for kidney failure. But my case was sort of a surprise. I just went to the doctor for a regular checkup. This is the part of the story that scares everyone, because I felt completely fine. And during a routine blood draw, found out that I had--well, that I had kidney failure. Which is rather easy to diagnose. It's a test called a creatinine level. But when you go for a regular blood draw, a routine blood draw, that's one of the indexes they measure. So, they tested it again, and that was the same. So, the clock was ticking for me, because I knew from my medical training that if you have kidney failure, you need a new kidney, or you will languish on dialysis for years. And no matter how long you are on dialysis, your life will be prematurely shortened. I mean, people have lived for 20 years, even a little longer, on dialysis. Some people tolerate it better than others. That's a process where your blood is cleansed of toxins about 3 times a week for about 4 hours at a time; you go to a clinic. Most people feel very debilitated by it. The average person on dialysis can't hold a job. But some do. And, some people--it isn't as psychologically devastating to some folks. But others find it so distressing, they are actually--suicide is not that unusual. So, the idea of being tethered to that machine, while, granted, it would keep me alive. Now, if my liver had failed and I didn't get a transplant, that would be it. So, kidney dialysis does keep people alive for awhile. But it just seemed like a really, really half a life. So, I knew I needed a kidney, but I didn't know exactly when I would need dialysis. So, as I said, the clock started ticking. And it turned out I had a good year before the function got to the point where I really was becoming physically debilitated. But it was very hard finding a donor. And that's what kind of galvanized me, this whole issue of the shortage. But, just in terms of finding a donor, as I say, it was extremely difficult. It's not like every day you ask people for a body part. And I didn't have--I have a very tiny family. And, to make a long story short, none of them--I didn't feel I could ask any of them. And in fact I never really asked anyone. I would do it all differently if, heaven forbid, there is yet a third time I have to go through this--see, I'm very nice to my interns. But I would just talk about it with folks and wasn't even being coy. I just sort of thought magically, 'Oh, well some people will think of being a donor, and it will work out.' But it became pretty clear that it wasn't working out. And a lot of people actually said they would do it; and I appreciate that in that I know they wanted to be--I know they felt empathy for my situation; but in the end, basically, a lot of them got cold feet and backed out. And then you're in this terribly awkward position, because you really can't be angry. I mean it's an enormous thing to ask, and it would be incredibly presumptuous to have the expectation that they owed you anything. So, I was really getting very demoralized and about to get ready to go on dialysis. And, Virginia Postrel, who I knew, not very well, had been at a cocktail reception somewhere--this was in November of 2005--and she ran into a mutual friend and asked that friend how I was. And the friend said, 'Not so hot. She needs a kidney.' And, Virginia went--I think the next went to her computer--I remember the subject line; I still have a printout of her email--it said, 'Serious Offer.' And she said, 'So-and-so told me you needed a kidney, and if I match, I will do it.' And I think she followed up a few minutes later with another email: 'I won't back out.' And, so, she went through with it. This was March of 2006. And I'm almost as grateful to Steve, her husband, as to her, because that was one of the reasons that two of my friends, other of my friends who had seriously considered donating did not go through with it--because their spouse basically said, 'It's the kidney or a divorce.' So, you kind of underestimate how important family buy-in is, in something like this. But, you know, God bless both of them. So she did it. And clearly I got a lot smarter. And Virginia did very well and she wrote some, I think very powerful articles about the importance of donating organs. And I suspect she influenced a few people. I know an article I wrote about the whole experience back in 2007--for about 2 years afterwards, I got emails from people. It was the most gratifying thing that's ever happened to me in my life: People saying, 'I read your article and I decided to donate to a stranger.' So I feel my work is done. Anyway, so that had a happy ending. Then I took on, in addition to my various interests, at AEI (American Enterprise Institute), I also took on the interest of how to expand the organ supply.


Russ Roberts: Virginia Postrel was a guest on EconTalk, and we talked about that. It is an incredible gift, kindness, an amazing thing. I want to talk about your second donor in a second. But first I want to stick with Virginia. And you are psychiatrist--so you are somewhat, at least, if not very self-aware of the emotional component to this. How did that, the receiving of that organ, affect you? You made a joke, 'I got a lot smarter.' I think that was an allusion to the fact that you have Virginia Postrel's kidney.

Sally Satel: Yes--

Russ Roberts: But how did it affect you psychologically? And how do you think it affected her? And have you and she talked about it?

Sally Satel: Oh, of course. You're certainly not the first person to ask me that. But I always find that a curious question. Some people have actually said, 'Do you still see Virginia?' My goodness! Yes, I see Virginia. And she's remained magnificent. You know, as she wrote about it, and as she acted the entire time--you know, we were planning to do this, because there's quite a bit of a workup medically, and to some extent psychologically for the donor--which is done by the medical center; and you know, and rightly so. So, she acted the whole time like, 'Well, let's just get this thing over.' And, in fact--and she's written about it. She said, her attitude--these are her words: I was 'very instrumental about it.' You know: 'I had something she needed, and I knew she had no one else to give it to her, and clearly, it truly was a life and death, or at least a quality-of-life-and-death solution'--I mean, 'situation.' And she did. And I mean, while, on the one hand of course I'm just speechless with gratitude--and I would actually, occasionally feel tearful in that first year, and a few years after with what I think of what she did for me. But, it was sort of [?]--I kind of shared her sense and hoped that I would feel the same way if the tables were turned and someone I knew needed one. But, you know, the sense of--I didn't feel--of course, I kid when I said my IQ went up: I could only wish. But, people do talk about--they kind of romanticize the whole process. I felt, and especially with hearts, as you can imagine--heart transplants--but they actually feel like a sort of piece of the person, almost spiritually, you know, inside them, or they feel a little change in their personality. And both of us were sort of, 'You know, I think, listen, we just exchanged organs'--or rather, she gave me one. And again, thank God. I wish I were wealthy: I would endow a wing wherever she wanted. But, I just feel like she's--of course, I mean a bond with her that I'm sure you don't feel with even your closest friend. It has a quality that's different and almost primitive in some way. But in a charming way.


Russ Roberts: But that kidney didn't work out completely.

Sally Satel: Yeah. It should have lasted about 15 to 20 years. Living kidneys last about 15 to 20 years. And ones you get from deceased people, cadaver kidneys, about 10 to 12. So, hers should have lasted longer. Also, because I wasn't on dialysis first. And that tends to also detract from the longevity of the kidney of like, a deceased or living kidney, if you've already been on dialysis for quite a while. So, I was an ideal candidate to have her kidney last, you know, quite a while. But, just make a long story short: I ended up getting pneumonia--possibly from the immunosuppressant--because you know you have to be on immunosuppressive drugs forever, so that your own immune system doesn't attack the new organ. But anyway, so I got a fairly serious pneumonia. So, then, it becomes very difficult, because in order to fight off the pneumonia, your immune system needs to be unleashed. But if it's unleashed, it's also going to attack the kidney. So it's a very delicate balance. Which I lost. Although, again, it was a gradual matter. It took about 3 years for Virginia's kidney to really, you know, for all the mileage, basically to run out. And so I knew about 2 years even before, it was probably going to fail completely, that I needed to start looking for another one.

Russ Roberts: So that's rather incredible; but I just have to ask a medical question first. So, your body, 8 or 9 years after getting this kidney--which looked something quite similar to your original kidney that you were born with. It's a kidney. It's not a repurposed Lego toy or a repurposed liver: It's a kidney. And 8 or 10 years later, your body still is angry at it and would reject it if you were not on immunosuppressant drugs?

Sally Satel: Oh, yeah.

Russ Roberts: That's so interesting to me. I didn't realize that.

Sally Satel: Oh, yes. That's true of all organs, and all transplants. And some organs are--some organs are--I think the word is 'immunogenic' than others. Which--kidneys are, bone marrow is, actually livers are--any organ will be rejected if there is no immunosuppression. But apparently people who have liver transplants need to take fewer--a smaller dose--of immunosuppressants. For some reason it's more resistant to rejection.

Russ Roberts: What's the rejection --what happens? What would have happened if you didn't take immunosuppression drugs, say, a few years after?

Sally Satel: Well, in two weeks, if you stop--if you stop taking immunosuppressant drugs completely, then within two weeks, 2-4 weeks, your organ just starts to fail. So, your complete metabolic milieu just goes out of balance. And if your kidney shuts down, basically--you don't, there's no way for fluid to leave your body. So, at its worst, you know, it would back up into your lungs and impede breathing. Although, by the time it gets to that part, you've been, such metabolic derangement[?] you are already somewhat delusional, or delirious, I should say. But, yeah, it happens. You know, people stop dialysis, for example, which is effectively the same thing: that's your external kidney, you could argue.

Russ Roberts: Right. Sure.

Sally Satel: And within about 2 weeks, if you have zero kidney function--some people always have a little residual kidney function--but if you truly have none, few people will last more than about a month. And that's called uremic poisoning--just a quaint term for it.

Russ Roberts: But you got a second kidney, from--this was a stranger?

Sally Satel: No. No. This is another earthbound saint. This woman is named Kim Hendrickson. And she was a kind of a witness to all this trauma during, before I met--well, as I said, I knew Virginia slightly, but before Virginia agreed to do this for me back in 2005. And Kim was a research assistant for Michael Greva [? Michael Greve?--Econlib Ed.]--I'm sure many folks probably know. He's a Constitutional lawyer who was a scholar who was at AEI at the time. And she was his assistant, and my friend. And she saw all this happening. And she thought: 'Wow, if you need another one, I'm keeping mine warm.' At the time, she couldn't do it because she was--just got married, wanted to have children; and understandably wanted to have her kids first, before she subjected herself to--it's a fairly small risk--but, you know, didn't want to complicate things for her future family. I understand completely. Also, at the time, she was--well, she still is--Blood Type B. And, at the time, you had to have the same Blood Type as your donor. But again, the science of immunology has made such progress that now you can get a kidney from a donor who doesn't even have your blood type. And, you do a little more preparation than last time. So, I had to go into the hospital a few days earlier, and then, what is called plasmapheresis: but basically they take out--they filter out some of the cells that would otherwise attack the new organ at the--right when it's introduced. And so, they were able to do that. And her kidney is working fine; and she did it; and that time around, the stress level was next to zero. Because, what made the experience of the transplant so difficult was not the surgery. You know, to tell you the truth, it's over. Right? I left the hospital in 5 days, 6 days. And I'm not that stoic, but actually all I needed was Tylenol. Not that it didn't hurt--but I mean--and then you recover. The scary parts are whether it's going to be rejected--in other words, whether your immune system will still overpower the efforts to suppress it; or whether you get an infection--because, again, you are immuno-suppressed, and they really do industrial strength immunosuppression at the time of the surgery. And that makes you very prone to infection--you are not supposed to go on a train or a crowded place or a plane for about 6 months. And I actually did get an infection and I had to go back, but only for 4 days; and the antibiotics were incredibly effective. And then I came home. And that was that. So, again, the difficult part, for me, was finding that donor; and Kim took that anxiety, just completely removed it. So, I'm so grateful.


Russ Roberts: Let's talk about the policy implications, or policy environment--which to review, which people have forgotten from our past episodes on this, which I'll put a link up to. So, let's say you were talking to me when you needed that second kidney and I'd said, 'You know, Sally, you are a nice person, but this is just a real hardship for me. But I'd do it $10,000.' Now, that's not a legal transaction, right? I cannot sell you my kidney. Can I give--I can donate a kidney to a stranger--and evidently I can donate a kidney to a particular stranger. So, there's a waiting list right now that's frighteningly long of people who are on dialysis who would like a kidney. They get one when someone just donates to the list. But Kim didn't donate to the list. She donated to you. Explain how that worked.

Sally Satel: Sure. So, among living donation--and then we'll get to deceased donation--but among living donation, which accounted for--I have the numbers here somewhere--but which accounted for a little under--well, there were 18,000 kidney transplants last year, and about 5600 of them came from living people. The remainder came from, obviously from deceased; but not 18,000-5600, because you can get more than one kidney--

Russ Roberts: 18,000, because you can get two from a--

Sally Satel: Yeah. In any case, a living donor either comes from a friend or a relative. And that's the typical scenario. There are some amazing souls, called good-Samaritan donors, who just listen to EconTalk and think, 'Wow, the shortage is just terrible.' Twelve people every day die because nobody is able to give them a kidney, or they could not survive the list--which now has 98,000 people on it. So, someone listens to this, goes to a GW (?) and says, 'I just want to be an anonymous kidney donor.' So, that's called Nondirected Donation. When someone gives to someone they know, a friend or a relative, that's Directed. Another form of Directed could be--and I don't imagine this happens very much, is, if I heard that your uncle needed a kidney, and I really just didn't want to deal with it--I just wanted to give him the kidney, and I could just literally go to the hospital and say, 'Please give my kidney to Russ's uncle.' But I think that's more common in the Deceased scenario, where your neighbor is on dialysis, and heaven forbid your kid is in a terrible accident and ultimately dies and you could say, 'Please give my son's kidney to Russ's uncle.' And, so that would be a Directed Deceased. But most Deceased kidneys, which come from people who are mainly brain dead, although there are some other mechanisms, but it's mainly brain dead individuals, those kidneys, right, go to the next person on the list, which pretty much is a first-come, first-serve as far as the kidney queue.

Russ Roberts: 98,000 people are on the list--

Sally Satel: Oh, Russ, it went down--

Russ Roberts: and 18,000 are available. So, that means there's 80,000 disappointed people who are going to have to wait till next year. And some of them of course don't make it. They die.


Russ Roberts: So, the first question--I'm sure someone's asked you this. It's not a comfortable question. I think it comes to mind. It's not my way of looking at the world; but there are people who look at the world this way. They would say, 'You had no right to two kidneys when there were 98,000 people on that list. You should have donated Kim's kidney--you should have asked Kim to give to the next person on that waiting list.' What's your response to that?

Sally Satel: If somebody said that to me, I would ask them--

Russ Roberts: Sally, I'm really glad you are here. Right?

Sally Satel: Thanks.

Russ Roberts: I don't know your work as well as I could or should. But, I'm glad you are alive. But it's an interesting question of, when there's a shortage like this, of who should get this precious thing. And--

Sally Satel: Yeah. Right. Right. Well, there are two answers to that. And I would truly ask the person who asked me that question: Why don't they consider donating? My other question to them is, would you please join our effort to change, frankly, the law--the ban--against rewarding people who would like to save someone's life? Let's be able to do that.

Russ Roberts: I mean, my view is: Kim is allowed to give her kidney to whoever she wants, and if it happens to be you, that's her choice. So, I have no problem with it. But I am sure there are many people who don't think she should have that choice, and who would resent or judge--that's the system for that aspect of it.

Sally Satel: Yeah. If they did though, the reality is, Kim would say, 'Well, tough. Now, I'm keeping it.'

Russ Roberts: Right.


Russ Roberts: The other question I had, and I don't know if you know about this, so you can certainly say you don't know. But, my understanding is that if you are a person of means and you don't want to wait on that list, you can go to certain countries in the world. We talked about--I think it's Iran--is it Iran that has--?

Sally Satel: Iran, but you couldn't go there. But, yes. This is a--

Russ Roberts: This is a separate issue. But a person could; or they could go somewhere else, where an Iranian kidney could be transferred to you, or it could be Turkey. Who knows where. But I would think that, given how valuable this is, you'd think it would be difficult to keep people from, stopping people from making the transaction. I guess the barrier is the medical system, because if I say to you--well, I don't know why. But let's say it this way. You come to me. I'm at the cocktail party. I hear you need a kidney. And I say to you, 'You know, Sally, I'd really like to give you a kidney, but it seems to me that it's a big pain--I was going to say in the neck--but a big pain in the side. I don't want to give it up. But, you know, if you made it worth my while, I think we could work something out.' And so, I quote, direct my kidney to you, but then you buy me a Ferrari six months afterwards--is anybody keeping an eye on that? I hope they're not; but--

Sally Satel: Nah. I don't think they are. And I'm sure this kind of thing goes on. And I would be happy to engage in that myself, if, you know, if that happened, and it was someone I could trust. Because you really do--it's uncomfortable. Well, let me back up. I didn't talk about, which is a website, kind of like a Jdate thing except it's Kdate--you are looking for someone to give you a kidney. And it's totally legal. You can go on it right now,, and it is, again, no money is exchanged; and there's a big warning sign that it's illegal to exchange any money. But that's a mechanism that I did try at first, before the guy backed out. And that's when Virginia came along. But that's relevant to what you just asked me, because there are people on that website who are looking for green cards--I mean, they are looking for something, in exchange. And, I've also gotten a lot of letters from people who say, 'I wish this was during the Recession.' I got so many letters from people saying, 'I wish I could sell my kidney, and get out of foreclosure'--or, one woman had ICU (Intensive Care Unit) bills to pay; another man lost his business. And every one of those letters--every person said, 'And I would be saving someone.' So, I grant you, even if they didn't have that, even if there wasn't that humane dimension to it, I still think it would be legitimate for people to be able to be rewarded for saving someone's life. But, the fact is that both the financial and the humanitarian dimensions intermingle. All the people who wrote to me--it was really kind of moving, and you wish they could have been able to do that.

Russ Roberts: Yeah. I often emphasize--I think it's a really important point--that money certainly motivates people; it's not the only thing that motivates people. There are many, many, many intrinsic rewards that we receive, or punishments for the things that we do. And financial incentives, both positive and negative are not the only things that motivate us. They can motivate us, though. And they can certainly co-exist with those other motives. So, certainly if I sold you a kidney for $25,000, or a new car, or whatever it was, I hope I'd still also, in addition to that, the satisfaction of knowing that a person whose health was impaired was now healthy and had a better chance of living a good and healthy life. So, I think that's a really important point. So, I have--in theory; maybe we'll get to this in a little bit--but I have in theory no problem with a market for kidneys where people buy and sell. I assume they would also get the satisfaction from helping people, not just the money. I don't see any reason why those things are exclusive, and I think it's a terrible mistake to think that they are.


Russ Roberts: Now let's move to your proposal. You have suggested in this article that the Federal government incentivize kidney donors with a tax credit. So, explain how that might work.

Sally Satel: A tax credit would just be one option. And I'll locate it in a larger context, and then I'll tell you what our plan was. But, the general idea--and, I think people have been talking about this since--I once found a paper from 1968. The first kidney transplant was in 1953. And soon, within a decade, people already realized that there was going to be a shortage, even though we officially didn't set up The List until 1984 in this country. But the idea is--well, think about, I guess, first, what you don't want to happen. You don't want someone to rush into this kind of thing and then regret it. Now, maybe you are going to say, 'Well, that happens all the time in human transactions.' And that's probably true. But in this case, if you were to design an ideal system--this is a transaction, kind of unlike other things. There are some analogies and we could talk about that. But, it's a momentous kind of engagement for a person to donate. So, you want to make sure they are not rushing into something that they regret. And so, this is why a free market, a classic free market, is not something that has ever seriously been considered, in terms of proposals. So, the general idea is that, there is a third party--and it could be the government; it could be a government-appointed charity; or even this could be at the state level--that is the provider of the benefit. And the benefit is not immediate cash. Because, again, you want to prevent a scenario where a desperately poor person is rushing to do this and then going to regret it. So, you don't offer what desperately poor people want, which is immediate cash. So, the kinds of rewards that people have talked about are [?] tax credits; or, a contribution to someone's 401k; loan forgiveness; or they could, for example, forward the benefit to a charity of their choice. But you get the idea. And, as I said, a third party would administer this. And there would probably be a waiting period built in, about 6 months to a year, again, for a cooling-off kind of aspect to it. And, the funding for this could come from dialysis, which is--payments for dialysis from Medicare, which is the largest payer of dialysis are 7%--seven percent--of the entire Medicare budget. So, it's about $90,000 a year for each person. So that could easily underwrite the value of the benefit. Which most people have pegged around $50,000, but it's just really almost an intuitive amount. So, the tax credit, if that were the route that was taken--it would be a refundable tax credit; so, people who didn't pay tax at all would be able to benefit. And they would get $5000 a year, either as a refunded benefit or off your taxes if you paid taxes. But that wouldn't kick in--we put in a lot of protections, and it's quite paternalistic--but it wouldn't kick in for a year. And then, again, it would be $5000 a year. And if it were refundable, it would be $5000 a year for 10 years. And if it were, if a person were paying taxes, I think we said they could have the $25,000 after 5 years. But the idea is to, again, dampen the magnitude of the incentive. And I can tell you why we are twisting ourselves in a pretzel to do this kind of thing. The answer, very quickly, is because of the intense opposition to this idea that has been mounted by much of the transplant community. Although, to the credit of the transplant surgeons, they are more receptive to it, and have become more receptive to it over the years.

Russ Roberts: I think they would be. They have a financial incentive. I want to interrupt, because I find it utterly fascinating. Obviously, there's a pragmatic aspect to what you are proposing, which I respect; I have no problem with it. I don't agree with the outlines of it, though. And I just want to make the case against it, and you can either say, 'Well, it's pragmatic,' or you can disagree with me, whatever you want. It's remarkable to me--first of all, of course, the doctor--the surgeon--is not expected to do this life-saving surgery, life-transforming surgery as a charitable act. No one says to the surgeon, 'We'll give you a $50,000 tax credit for every one of these you do,' or a $5000--whatever it is. We're not--I don't want you to get paid for it, of course, because that would be immoral and it might make you think that the human body is like, oh, I don't know, a slag mine, some kind of coal mine. So, we're not going to pay you directly, and we're not going to pay you right away, because I want you to do it for the good of the patient. So, obviously, the surgeon is somehow managed to live a decent life and survive being paid directly a full, semi-market--it's not a market amount, of course, because it's all messed up--but they get cash. They get what's called cash. And yet, you are going to make a poor person who wants to transform the life of their child, for example, wait 5 years to get their money. You are going to make them wait--

Sally Satel: Well, it's [?] a year, but--

Russ Roberts: No, but they are only going to get $5000 the first year.

Sally Satel: Oh, okay. All of it.

Russ Roberts: Yeah. To get all of it is going to be over a few years. And then, the idea that they might want to help their kid now: 'Too bad. We're going to make you wait 6 months so you can be sure you are not going to regret it.' Um, I find it interesting that--of course, I'm a messed up person; I'm an economist--but I find it interesting that anyone would object to this. So, the people--I'm fascinated--

Sally Satel: Welcome to [?]

Russ Roberts: What? Oh: Welcome to your world. So, who would--I mean, I think there are different ways to think about it. If you did a survey and said, 'Are you in favor of letting people buy and sell their kidneys?' I think the number would be 98% to 2% against. But if you said, 'If a poor person is really desperate and they can save someone's life, should they be allowed to sell their kidney and thereby get their child a college education?' I think the number would be very different than 98-to-2. And I'm curious how politically you think that works out. Why is it--a better way to say it: Is there a vested interest here that I'm not thinking about yet, when I work on it, who would be harmed by this? I mean, that the people who run the list, they are very important now, and they get a lot of attention, and they have a purpose in life that might be hurt by the fact that this market would work better if we had these incentives even though they are roundabout. Who would be against this? Who is against this?

Sally Satel: Well, start with the National Kidney Foundation. They have been the most vociferous opponent. And they actually did actively try to sabotage--I know I'm not supposed to talk about specific legislation, but efforts, years ago, that were made to try to rethink the National Organ Transplant Act, which is the legislation that forbids any kind of exchange. But--

Russ Roberts: Why are they against it? Why would the National Kidney Foundation, which is supposedly in favor of people being helped who are struggling with kidney issues--why wouldn't they be thrilled that, say, I don't know, 75,000 would get kidneys than now?

Sally Satel: Well, I'm baffled, as well. But I can tell you what they say.

Russ Roberts: Yeah: what do they say?

Sally Satel: Well, they say a few things. They start using the language of 'commodification'--in other words, you are treating people like spare fenders in a junk yard. They are afraid you are--'it will taint the process,' I've heard. It will devalue human life. It will--and then they say something that's actually something one could measure, because it's an empirical matter--that it will crowd out altruistic giving. And, worse, that it will just crowd out giving in general. But that's testable. I've actually looked into--go ahead.


Russ Roberts: That's possible. Right? I was going to say that--it's possible that if you don't--and this is an argument made for blood donation, as well: If you are not going to get the moral satisfaction of helping someone, and now it becomes something you can just buy and sell, you won't donate, because it's tawdry. Which just means that, as an economist, it just means you better set the price a little higher than you thought you might have needed to, to overcome--you might lose the, what is it, the 5000 people who donate right now, willingly, out of an incredible human kindness? And so, now you are going to get as many people as you want to donate out of mercenary motives. And--

Sally Satel: Exactly. Exactly. I see your point exactly.

Russ Roberts: I know you do.

Sally Satel: To the extent that anyone would be dissuaded, I would, as a psychiatrist, say, 'Well, gee, are we talking about altruism or narcissism? What was really motivating you--was social signaling motivating you?' But in any case, maybe it was. And then we know that is powerful for some people. But, well, okay, then I'm sorry that you won't be able to save someone. But here are 10 other people in line who would love to do it. So, that gets into the question of motivation, which is also held very dearly by the National Kidney Foundation, other opponents, which is: it has to be done for the right reasons. But this is what we hear from the National Kidney Foundation, what you hear from some particularly vocal transplant surgeons and nephrologists. Although, as I said, as a group, the transplant surgeons are--they did a poll of their organization in 2009, and the vast majority, 75%, were in favor of at least testing this idea. So, I do give them credit. But I have to tell you, I've looked at all the polls that have been done on this. And, the public is much more open-minded than the experts. And then we bring in the bio-ethicists--

Russ Roberts: Well, that's because the public--there are many of us who have relatives who have kidney problems. We want to help them. I just have to go back to the National Kidney Foundation for a second. I don't know anyone in the National Kidney Foundation. I know nothing about the NKF (National Kidney Foundation) or whatever it's called. But, it's not like a, um, it's not like the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), the American Association of retired people which has millions of members. The National Kidney Foundation is a nonprofit--I assume. Its headquarters, I assume, are in Washington, D.C. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Sally Satel: No, I think they are.

Russ Roberts: And they have some number of people in that building in Washington, D.C.--maybe 100. I doubt they have a thousand. What does it mean to say they are against it? Why do they matter? And, politically, why does anyone care what the National Kidney Foundation thinks?

Sally Satel: Yeah, they matter a lot. To my deep chagrin. Because they are the first organization that Congress, Congressional offices think of. They always say, 'Well, what does the NKF think?' It's kind of like a cancer issue: What does the NCI (National Cancer Institute), what does the American Cancer Society think they have? They have disproportionate influence. And they have a PAC (Political Action Committee) as well. But it is unfortunate--

Russ Roberts: Who would donate money to that PAC?

Sally Satel: Oh, anyone who is--see people who get, people who, people who have gotten deceased kidneys, and people who--they actually have--

Russ Roberts: I get it. It's okay. I get it. Obviously there's some sense of gratitude there, because they are the coordinators of the list, and they make a donation, or whatever. But I'm not giving them another penny until they change their view on monetary incentives. And I don't give them a penny now, so it's not much of a threat. But, it's a fascinating issue.


Russ Roberts: Let's take one of their arguments more seriously--we're picking on them, and of course it's not of course just them. They are not alone. It's not like they are the only people against this. There are a lot of people who are troubled or uneasy about monetary incentives. And I understand that. Would it--let's take the commodification idea seriously. Is there something immoral--or, we have taboos about it--but if we think about it rationally a little bit, is there something immoral about sharing a body part for money? I mean, that's really what it comes down to. What I think is fascinating--and the reason I bring up the surgeon thing--it wasn't my idea, forget who wrote about it first where I read it, but--it's fascinating: That's not commodification, that the surgeon's hands are used to make money to rip out somebody's kidney and shove it into somebody else's body. We don't consider that person somehow morally troubled. And yet, somehow--and they make money, real cash. And yet, somehow, if we are to do it, who don't have their--what, high priest status? I don't know what's the--I mean, I'm in an ornery mood, hearing your plight. It's just interesting that this idea--'commodification' is an interesting word, right? It sounds awful. I don't know really what it means when I push it.

Sally Satel: Well, it's one of the three words that are used to, frankly--I don't want to sound melodramatic but [?] folks like me, and I'm not the only one, heaven knows--Richard Epstein, a lot of us, Virginia, are vocal about changing the law. But commodification, exploitation, and coercion are the holy trinity that's supposed to end the discussion. But, you are exactly right. The one person who takes the risk and gives the thing of value gets nothing. Commodification, from what I can--becomes pretty clear from people who brandish that word in a menacing way. What they really are concerned about is having respect for the donor, and treating him or her well. And of course, that is essential. That is the basis of an ethically sound system. In fact, I would say there are at least four elements. One is respect for the person's capacity to make a decision about something that might be in his own best interest. Then of course, informed consent. These are all the things that are not, of course, in a black market. Yet, folks who have debated the others say, 'Well, if we do this here we'll have a black market.' You want to say, 'What?' We have a black market. Frankly, we have a thriving global black market in organs--because we don't have a transparent system. But, anyway: Respect for the person's autonomy, informed consent; protecting their help--which of course doesn't happen in a black market at all. And in fact, even in our current system, if you don't have health insurance and you have a complication a few months after you've donated--granted, probably most hospitals will help you out. But they don't have to. In fact, in our plan there would be health insurance for at least two years, so that if there were complications, a person would be guaranteed to be taken care of.

Russ Roberts: You know what that reminds me of? It reminds of--I think if you are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, you get a lifetime pass to any park in America. It kind of should be. This is not a serious comment. But there is something emotionally satisfying about the idea that if you have crossed into a hospital to voluntarily help save a life with one of your organs, you should be able to walk into a hospital for the rest of your life and say, 'I need this. Give it to me,' and they should just say--

Sally Satel: At least a gift shop--

Russ Roberts: Yeah. And they should just say, 'Yeah, you are one of those? You're in. It's all taken care of. It's free. Here's your free pass.' But that's a little extreme.

Sally Satel: Well, I was just going through my internal list, the conditions that need to be satisfied to allay the fact that someone is not being respected. So, you reward them amply. Obviously, if you gave them a buck, now that would be exploitation. But you reward them in a generous way. Gratitude is expressed. And that's really all that needs to happen. And none of it happens in a black market, of course. But it can easily happen here. And it happens already, except there's no money attached to it. But in this case, there would be a reward for people who would like, again, to benefit while they save someone's life.


Russ Roberts: You spoke loosely a minute ago--you said the one person who doesn't get anything out of it is the donor. But, of course, the donor does get the emotional satisfaction--

Sally Satel: Oh, definitely.

Russ Roberts: which is enormous. I know you meant that. It just was a figure of speech.

Sally Satel: Thank you.

Russ Roberts: But, it's an interesting question: I'm now going to take the critics of our perspective a little more seriously. Interesting question: Let's suppose, just hypothetically, that the market price--whether we're a literal market, which I understand, I agree is unlikely; no one proposes seriously except maybe me, and three other people. But let's say we went to some system where we allowed this sort of arm's length, third party compensation via the tax system or something else, that you'd like to encourage. And let's say that number got to be a million dollars. Okay? That's what it took. And someone, maybe a foundation steps forward and says, 'I don't just want to save the 98,000 people on the list. I want to save the x-hundred thousand, 500,000, whatever it is, who are at risk. And rather than wait till they go on dialysis, they should just get a new kidney. And I'm going to pick a large enough number, compensating them, that the donors, enough will step forward.' And that turns out to be worth a million dollars. Now, I'm going to say something really tacky here, which is--but it's mildly amusing for EconTalk listeners. Somebody who has been listening to EconTalk since 2010 has heard about Bitcoin. And I have a friend who mocks me because I knew about Bitcoin in 2010 and missed the boat. Of course, he wasn't an EconTalk listener then, so he missed the boat, too. So, it's kind of a mutual make-fun-of-each-other thing. But it would be an interesting thing to think about--you have two people in your life who did something unbelievably generous--what this system you are encouraging would do would put a monetary value in some dimension on their kindness. And it also in a way would suggest what they gave up to give you a kidney. That, it's one to say, 'Well, they risked their life'--which they did. It's one thing to say that they went through surgery, which is painful and scary, which they did. They also had recovery that they endured, which they did. And now you are telling them, 'And by the way, you could have made a million dollars. You gave away that precious thing.' Now, my view on that is: That makes it even sweeter to them, that they did something--in a way, it enhances their generosity. But perhaps some people would say it creates bitterness; it takes the emotion out of it. I don't know. What are your thoughts on that? [More to come, 49:01]

(16 COMMENTS) Posted at

           Monocular navigation for long-term autonomy         
Krajnik, Tomas and Pedre, Sol and Preucil, Libor (2013) Monocular navigation for long-term autonomy. In: 16th International Conference on Advanced Robotics (ICAR), 2013, 25-29 Nov 2013, Montevideo.
          Trump or Clinton or damn them all?        
I've thought a good deal about the US election today.   It is difficult to think of two people who were both about the worst candidates either major party has put forward in recent history.  Oh yes there have been some lousy ones, but both lousy and so incredibly awful in their own ways? No.

So in some ways I'll treat the election as a reason to gloat about whoever is defeated, whilst ignoring the gloating of the victor.  

Hillary Clinton oozes entitlement, is a shape shifter on issues time and time again (remember when she was against gay marriage until it became popular?).  Her ambition for power should be a sure sign of someone who should be kept as far away from power as possible.  The vast fortune the Clintons have amassed from speeches and running their Foundation, travelling first class, staying at five star hotels "for the people who need our help", indicates the usual concern of powerful socialists for those in need.   If she is elected, she'll demonstrate not that she has broken the "glass ceiling", but that First Ladies have a chance at becoming President.  She is not an example to other women, except those women whose ambitions at the jobs their husbands have had.   It's clear her tolerance for Bill's extra-curriculur activities (which are frankly neither here nor there to me) resemble more the wife of Francis Underwood/Urquhart in House of Cards, for the trappings of power and money matter more than anything else.   Hillary has been pro more-trade (never "free trade", she's never want to let go of influence by removing controls) and anti-trade, she is a traditional populist.  However, little goes past what is obvious, that when she says she has been "fighting for families" all her life, the family she fights the most for is her own, and it has benefited royally from it.

The only bright side to Hillary is that she may partially reverse Obama's isolationism, which has seen Russia fill the gap left by Obama's (empty) moral posturing.  Few would have thought after the end of the Cold War that a government could use chemical weapons against its own population again, with impunity.  Yet it has and Obama's words that it would cross a "red line" were proven as vacuous as his "hope" and "change" electioneering slogans.

Trump has had so much said about him that I needn't say much.  He and Hillary both lie as frequently as they use cutlery.  His stance on trade is economic lunacy,  his spending promises are loose and careless.  His utterances about Mexico (and almost all foreign policy) are ludicrous and about the only thing good thing is his interest in cutting taxes.   He's a rank populist who is a classic cardboard cutout celebrity politician.  Some may say he would take advice if he were President, and much of what he says is attention seeking. 

Both Trump and Clinton are the epitome of the airhead age of politics, where identity politics is fanned as much as it ever was.  Hillary Clinton, who has expressed her utter contempt for the 30% core support for Trump, and Donald Trump, who has talked generally about Mexican migrants being rapists.  Hillary knows her place in history is assured if she becomes the first female President of the United States.  About the only reason to celebrate a Trump victory is knowing how angry she would be if she lost,  but then what?  A Trump-Putin pact to divide the world into spheres of influence?  The utter destruction of the international trading environment?

Of course most media coverage is fairly one-sided.  Trump is irredeemable and all major media outlets share and express the same contempt for him, with much less contempt for Clinton.   The left-wing liberal bias is palpable, yet Clinton is such a heavily flawed candidate they both deserve contempt.

Yet the likelihood is that, unless the Democrats sweep through both Houses of Congress, Hillary will find her big empty expensive promises difficult to fulfill,  but even if the Republicans hung onto the Senate, it is much less clear that Trump could rely on a Republican Congress to facilitate his agenda unimpeded.  However, on foreign policy, the President has much more autonomy and power.  On that front, Trump seems a little unsettling, given his penchance for threatening US allies to pay up or lose support from the US. 

Sadly, the hope that Gary Johnson could break through and be a more significant third party candidate seems forlorn. 

I expect, given the polling, Hillary will win and there will be a nauseating display of faux humility and sloganeering, as she sinks her claws into the prize she long sought.   Yet the United States was not founded on nepotism or some sort of familial succession (and yes the Bush family started that, but this was rejected the third time round).  If Trump wins, watch the panic and doom and gloom emerging, but this too will be hysterical posturing, although he is obviously the less certain quantity.

The USA is going to get an utter arsehole as President, but I'll be cheering for the other arsehole losing.  What's utterly astonishing is that millions are willing to give moral endorsement to one of these vile entities.

Yes, it's been a while.  For the want of a better term, 2016 is "annus horribilis" for my family, with an uncle diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in February and dead in May, then my mother passing away unexpectedly in September, weeks before her birthday after months of a nuisance, but not anything like a life-threatening condition.  Let's just say some things matter more than a rant about politics. 

          Emotionalism - the new post-religious puritanism        
Forgive the length of this piece, but this is a very big issue that should concern not only those who embrace academic freedom, but also more generally individual freedom and the importance of reason.

As Mary Wakefield in The Spectator last week put it:

Back in the 1990s, PC students would stamp about with placards demanding equal rights for minorities and talking about Foucault. This new PC doesn’t seem to be about protecting minorities so much as everyone, everywhere from ever having their feelings hurt.

The illiberal left (and I am not being pejorative here, but believe that despite their claims, these are people who are as illiberal as any hardline social-conservatives, in their own way) regard the term "political correctness" as a reactionary pejorative label against "liberation" movements that seek equal treatment of people based on a whole set of agreed identity politics based categories.  It is swiftly dismissed, rather than the key arguments behind it tackled, not least because, unfortunately, so many who claimed "political correctness gone mad" (as if it was ever sane) were themselves not particularly articulate about their concerns, or (if you scratched the surface) racist, sexist and homophobic.

Today the illiberal left (yes there is a genuinely liberal left) have moved on, into what I call the new tyranny of emotionalism.  It is the belief that if something someone says or gestures or does, hurts your feelings, the person who says or gestures or does whatever, should refrain from doing so, to protect the hurt feelings of the "offended".

It is seen in the reaction of illiberal left to the Charlie Hebdo murders by Islamists - after a cursory expression of horror, their first reaction was that nobody should say anything to upset Muslims, by taking on the tyranny of those seeking Islamic blasphemy legal principles to apply to the free world. Then it went much further, with television in the UK refusing to show the cover of Charlie Hebdo magazine, because it might offend a tiny minority of viewers.

It is seen in the anonymous vitriol poured out by those offended by an article published in a newspaper that was neither illegal, nor gratuitous (but the newspaper was from the spawn of the devil - being The Times, owned by the illiberal left's own pantomine villain - Rupert Murdoch - whose main crime has been to establish or buy media outlets that express views they not only disagree with, but importantly disapprove of).   It saw the newspaper pull the article because of the angry mob.

It is seen in the complete absurdity of a UK National Union of Students Women's Conference asking delegates to not applaud speakers because it "triggered" anxiety for some students.  So "Jazz Hands" were suggested instead.  The language used by one of the advocates for this hyper-emotionalism responded by saying:

Our jazz hands request enraged Twitter trolls and sparked a flurry of tweets, unfortunately fuelled by some of Oxford’s own (students and tutors!). Often, these tweets used the language of oppression to mock and belittle us, by ridiculing issues of cultural appropriation, ableism and racism (as well as the very mature “jizz hands” parody).

There you go "the language of oppression".  You can't mock people who are being political, who are seeking power over others, and out comes the identity politics.  The intellectually lazy assumption that because you are of a certain sex, race, etc, you're automatically either empowered or a "victim", rather than looking behind the categorisation of people, into their actual individual backgrounds and cases.  

The "ableism" word adds another dimension - because the issue of applause was about those who had "anxiety triggered".  It reflects the inexorable growth of the trend of psychology not just pathologising reactions people have to difficulties in life, but rendering the pathology permanent and not the fault (or the responsibility) of the person with the pathology.  There is not the time now to go into that maze, but categorising anyone to be disabled if they identify themselves as such, means anyone can now join the identity politics circus and be "oppressed".  Finding that a group of people applauding makes you anxious, now makes you disabled - and you're "ableist" (which is just like being racist - the biggest sin in the illiberal left world).

The psychology and psychiatry professions are now pathologising boys who like wearing dresses and girls who like being tomboys as "transgender" and recommending when they get medical intervention to suppress their hormones.  It is as if the great changes inspired by the late Thomas Szasz's "The Myth of Mental Illness" have been for nothing.  Psychiatry remains embryonic in its scientific understanding of the brain, but it hasn't stopped the illiberal left from using it to justify both surgical and pharmaceutical interventions based on emotionalism, rather than a hard-headed rational discourse about reality.  After all, if you criticise pathologising children behaving in ways that could imply "trans-gender identity", you'll get hounded as being transphobic, because you're probably "cis-centred".  

Universities across the United States are also seeing requests from illiberal left student unions for "trigger warnings" to be produced for books. University students, who are demonstrably not children, who are invariably seeking an education to have a career, where they may create, innovate, produce, assist and be adults who have autonomy over their own lives, maturity and can manage not only themselves, but to raise families, run businesses, be lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, seeking protection from words.   It is the equivalent of extending the warnings that apply to movies and (the fading) media of DVDs of content, largely to assist parents in deciding what content their children should watch - but being extended to adults - because it might hurt their feelings.

Even the Guardian article warning of this trend going "too far" accepts the fundamental principle, that people need to be protected from words and art:

Nobody should have to feel victimized, or traumatized, particularly when they may have already been a victim of a trauma mirrored on the pages of a book. And, of course, everyone should have access to the information they need to judge for themselves what they should or should not be exposed to; there should be no horror by homework, nor any rape reminder by reading assignment.

Well yes, no one should "have" to feel victimised in an ideal world, but demanding that others have their actions or expressions prohibited or restricted to protect you is fundamentally illiberal and removes any responsibility for ones emotional reaction and more importantly how you deal with your feelings and places it upon others.

It is a recipe for insanity.

We have prohibitions on not wearing certain costumes because it "offends" people, but don't for one moment start saying that wearing hijabs offends some women.  You see criticising the cultural expressions of Islamic cultures is "Islamophobic" even if they actually embody the principle feminists reject that a woman is "asking for rape" if she reveals - any - of herself.

On public issues where, at the fundamental level, I agree with the key premise (in this case, that gay marriage should be permitted), the illiberal left proselytising this view are exactly that.  Illiberal. Anyone who expresses a different view is to be shut down.  It is the classic example of being "politically incorrect" as Mao coined it. The illiberal left take it further, with a level of adolescent vitriol and profanity that makes you wonder about the things they don't get this upset and angry about - like Islamism.  A Christian baker in Northern Ireland gets fined because it refused to bake a cake expressing support for gay marriage.  The illiberal left want to criminalise those who refuse to give them a platform for their own views.  However, they will happily shut down anyone who they find offensive or demand others exclude them.  

They are profoundly opposed to freedom of speech, because their conception of free speech (just like the Marxist-Leninist tyrannies that murdered and starved millions) is that it gets dominated by those they disagree with (invariably labelled racist, sexist et al.) so free speech must only be granted to the disadvantaged by their identity politics classification (and only expressing their received view or minor variants on it).  They want the media and social media especially, to be there for them - like their own Pravda, Central People's Broadcasting House, to allow the "diversity" of single opinion that they hold.

Of course, when they want to talk amongst themselves, they can't cope with being challenged, and so comes the trend for universities to create "safe spaces".  Mary Wakefield describes them as thus:

My favourite is that this daft bunch, who insist they’re quite sane, are demanding padded cells. Universities must provide ‘safe spaces’ in case a ‘triggered’ individual needs respite from a frightening lecture, on Shakespeare, say. The safe space at Brown University contains cookies, Play-Doh and videos of puppies. I feel a little triggered just thinking about it.

The infantilisation of adults is execrable . The contradictions abound with this.  As part of the identity politics silo classification of people, anyone under 18 is automatically vulnerable, and not responsible for their actions, so is to be protected.  Young people can take explicit nude photos of themselves and distribute them, but it is others responsible for their abuse - the social media websites, the internet service providers, the "culture".  Similarly, if they are violent, or verbally abusive and threatening, it isn't their fault, they are either reacting to being victims or are themselves, mentally ill and you're being "ableist" as is "society" for not giving them the help the need.

Yet these same vulnerable people, seemingly incapable of moderating their behaviour or acting rationally, are entitled to be "heard" and even to participate in the political process.  The illiberal left has supported extending the vote in the UK, to 16 and 17 year olds, with vocal support from leftwing political parties (who think they will benefit).  The claim is that they have a "right" to have their views heard.  The same people who are incapable of looking after themselves are deemed to have opinions that should shape who governs us all.  I don't have a fundamental problem with discussing extending the electorate down to 16 year olds, but it should also be accompanied by full adult legal responsibilities for your actions - something the illiberal left aren't too keen on, as they seek to erode even adult responsibility.  

This can be seen in the new puritanism about consensual adult sexual relations on universities in the United States, seen now in State laws enshrining a radical feminist approach to how consenting adults should interact.  Unsurprisingly, mainstream US Democratic Party politicians, such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Nancy Pelosi are cheering this on, all with the best of intentions I would think, but the impacts are chilling.  Yes, there is an issue with women under-reporting rape out of shame and shock, and that rape - by its very nature - is difficult to get convictions for.  Not least because it involves private acts between individuals where it is one person's word against another, in circumstances that (outside the commonly held view of rape being an unexpected abduction in a public place) can be interpreted in various ways.  Proving a serious offence beyond reasonable doubt is inherently going to difficult, but it is not a reason to create new rules or to dilute the presumption of innocence.

The new rules grant amnesty on rules on drugs if any student makes an allegation of sexual assault. So if are caught snorting cocaine, against college rules, just say you were sexually assaulted, and you'll get off.  

As Joanna Williams wrote in Spiked, what advocates of new laws on such behaviour are seeking can be seen in Goucher College in the US which has a 33 page policy that includes:

Each participant is expected to obtain or give verbal consent to each act of sexual activity. In order for consent to be valid, all parties must be capable of making a rational, reasonable decision about the sexual act, and must have a shared understanding of the nature of the act to which they are consenting.

It is not difficult to see what this does to intimacy.  It formalises, dehumanises and ultimately destroys it.  Imagine gaining verbal consent for "each act".  "Can I touch your boob"? "Can I touch your bottom?"  "Can I kiss your lips?" "Can I use tongue?".  The death of passion.

It declares that consent cannot be given by anyone who has consumed alcohol or drugs.  Ergo if you engaged in any sexual behaviour when drunk or even after one drink then you may be accused of rape. 

This is the new puritanism.  It is effectively a new set of rules that, instead of the old Christian religious values of shaming about the naked body, it shames about having any inkling of passion or spontaneity in intimate relations.  It removes any responsibility at all for your own conscious volition and relinquishes all power, as it implies that any touching that did not get explicit consent, is an assault.  

As Ann Furedi says:

Rape needs to mean something specific. ‘Unwanted sex’ or ‘unenjoyable sex’, is completely different to ‘non-consensual sex’. We need to understand the difference if we are going to have a sensible discussion about rape. You may agree to have sex that you don’t passionately desire for all kinds of reasons. 

It comes from the radical feminist claim that there is a so-called "rape culture" that pervades modern Western society.  Setting aside the relativism that ignores the true rape cultures prevalent in countries like India, South Africa and Pakistan, it is so utterly detached from the thoughts, feelings and actions of most of the public to give cause to pause and think.  Beyond the small number of those who rape or fantasise about rape, what tolerance is there for sexual assault? Almost everyone would be horrified if a family member, friend or acquaintance had been raped, and would want the assailant caught, charged, prosecuted and appropriately punished.  Yet what you think of as rape (and the law considers rape) and what radical feminists call rape, is not quite the same.  That sets aside the insane Orwellian notion that all sex is rape.  Ella Whelan says it is a victim culture being perpetuated through identity politics at university.

What it comes back to, again, is emotionalism.  The belief that what matters the most is that people's feelings are protected.  The woman who had sex she regretted is being told that she didn't really consent to it, either because she was drunk and wouldn't have "touched that guy" had she seen him sober in the "cold light of day", or because he lied to her about his job, or she "doesn't want to be the sort of woman who does that sort of thing" (except she is and did).   Even Transport for London now has an advertising campaign, understandably targeting women who get sexually assaulted on public transport, but starting with describing a man who "stares at you", as a reason to get distressed. Really?  A reason to call for help in and of itself?  

Daisy Buchanan in the Guardian epitomised this when in the context of figures about reported sexual assaults on train she said:

Any travelling woman who has ever sunk down in her seat and opened her book, only to be tapped on the shoulder and asked “What are you reading, then?” will be surprised that the numbers aren’t higher.

I had a woman sit beside me in an airport lounge some years ago and ask me about the book I was reading (it so happened she worked for the CIA, she claimed, and my book was about north Korea), I didn't think she was sexually assaulting me.

Buchanan continues:

I don’t go out dancing any more, even though I adore it – because I know from experience that something bad might happen if I have to get home after midnight and the streets are full of potentially terrifying men who might not take it well if I don’t want to stop and say hello.

There it is "something bad might happen". 

Yes, that's true for every moment of your life from the day of your first trauma - being born.

Buchanan talks about being tired of being "kind to creeps", having already decided that any man who spontaneously tries to talk to her wants to sexually assault her.  Yes, there is a problem with anyone who harasses and assaults, and yes some people do think they have a right to others. Rape is a horrendous crime, and victims do deserve support and there remain long standing issues around how some law enforcement agencies handle complaints. 

However, there are laws against all of this now, and a culture that openly embraces voluntary adult human interaction is not one Buchanan and her ilk tend to embrace, as they seek a hyper-vigilant layer of rules and enforcement to stop people being offended or having hurt feelings.

You see this sums up so much of the cultural pathology, fed by the illiberal left's intolerance of dissent and criticism, but centering on emotionalism.  The idea that other people should have their behaviour altered so it doesn't upset you, even when what they do does not infringe upon your body, your property or objectively threatens either.

They want a society where nobody gets upset or offended (or triggered) by what others say or do, and where all people deemed to be oppressed (by an almost Maoist categorisation based on non-objectively relevant factors) have unbridled rights to express themselves and demand others accommodate their thoughts and feelings.  They want to police this society with a Stalinist rigour and brutality that cares not one iota for the damage caused by those they harangue.  Academic Tim Hunt's joke about female scientists saw an on-line lynch-mob demand he be fired, and so they won.  Instead of simple criticism or even laughing at the silliness of his remarks, the offendotrons were out and they wanted his head - and got it.  For all of their demands for sensitivity, the emotionalists are ruthless, cold and as brutal as the Khmer Rouge when they identify one who offends them.  They have not the slightest concern about the impact on the lives of those they seek to destroy.  They are the new Red Guards.

Brendan O'Neill (who is most definitely one of the labelled and hated by the emotionalists) summarised it well, although he was focused on modern feminism it applies more widely:

The new feminism, this global franchise, this pop and political phenomenon, is not really a movement. Nor is it, as men’s rights complainers argue, a feministic conspiracy to do down men. Rather, it is but the keenest expression of the mainstream misanthropy and turn against Enlightenment thought of the modern West itself. The ‘male’ values being attacked are really the universal values of reason, autonomy, progress and truth — values that both men and women need, and deserve. Forget the ‘sex wars’. We don’t need new feminism, nor do we need a new men’s rights movement. We need men and women to come together to challenge the illiberalism and backwardness of the modern West, which is so often expressed in new-feminist terminology.

The answer is not the populist reactionary conservatism of the likes of Donald Trump, which is intellectually and philosophically barren, but for a new embrace of Enlightenment values by those who still stand by them.  Not just the objectivists, but the true liberal left (the ones like Nick Cohen, who confront the philosophy of Islam), and the tolerant conservative right.  

Universities across the English speaking world are dominated, but not monopolised, by the illiberal left emotionalists.  The political left is also dominated by them, be they far or centre left, and the so-called "conservative" right appeases them, because it lacks the philosophical foundations, motivation and intellectual fortitude to confront them. 

It's about time that those of us who believe in Enlightenment values stand up - confront the intellectual vacuity of identity politics, the rational bankruptcy of emotionalism, and vigorously demand that our relatively free, open and tolerant culture not be undermined, infantalised  and most of all, bullied, by the emotionally needy and power hungry.

For it is they that feed the culture of new laws on censorship, of new criminal laws (see Harmful Digital Communications Act) to sanitise consensual adult behaviour, and who demand an endless list of new "tolerances" to accommodate every hurt feeling by whoever claims it.  

          The Moral Blindness of Sam Harris: Horrors of Male Circumcision | Problems with Harrisian Veganism        
Recently Sam Harris gave some shallow, grudging, tepid, and also highly reprehensible statements regarding male circumcision.

My response:

link to my video:


On Harrisian Veganism:

My video also talks about the risks involved with veganism. Harris is a new vegan. Parkinson's awaits this fledgling neuroscientist.

Veganism represents a f-ing holocaust for insects (!). Think of all the insects much must die to support a vegan diet. All those slave worker bees. All those other insects who're killed, just so that all those f-ing selfish vegans can chomp on a carrot! It's inhumane, or it's ininsectane, or some such thing.

Bottom line is that insects are animals too. Insects are slaves and they die so that vegans can eat their lunches.

Leftist denial of evolution and human nature. It's not a new thing, not at all. Harris is generally speaking in the traditional leftist camp - the mostly non-regressive camp I suppose. A classic liberal / somewhat leftist libertarian. But leftists can and do fall prey pitfalls of denialism.

Veganism is a fundamental dangerous denial of human evolutionary history. Small stomachs. Big brains. Cooked Meat is required. If our ancestors had been vegan, they never would have developed large brains. But the children of Harrisian Veganism are headed for a separate evolutionary track: Parkinson's & small hobbled brains.
Rest In Peace (RIP) Robin Williams, a victim of Parkinson's and probably of veganism (same diff' apparently).

Further links, regarding veganism:

Leaders of the Vegan Movement Develop Parkinson's: Case Studies

10 Reasons Why I’ll Never Be Vegan

5 Reasons Why Vegan Diets May be a Bad Idea

I’m not vegan anymore

10 vegan diet dangers

Angelina Jolie - The Vegan Diet that Almost Killed Her

Veganism Is Bad | Top 5 Reasons Why Vegan Diets Are A Terrible Idea

How the Ethical Argument for Veganism Fails and One Possible Way to Fix It

Cooking Up Bigger Brains - "Our hominid ancestors could never have eaten enough raw food to support our large, calorie-hungry brains, Richard Wrangham claims. The secret to our evolution, he says, is cooking..."

Meat, Cooked Foods Needed for Early Human Brain

Why Fire Makes Us Human - "Cooking may be more than just a part of your daily routine, it may be what made your brain as powerful as it is..."

Raw Food Not Enough to Feed Big Brains

Food For Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter


Joint Conclusion

By becoming vegan & touting that veganism is one pinnacle of morality on his Moral Landscape, Harris shows just exactly why there's problems with any "scientist" trying to define morality, particularly one with as many moral blind spots as Harris has.

A morality which actively denies human evolutionary history, while ignoring the horrors caused by the genital rape of young boys - that really is telling.

Keep your "morality" to yourself Mr. Harris. Your pinging & beeping MRI machine cannot & will not determine the morality of any human. The "logic" you use in determining exactly where the valleys and peaks are for human morality is fundamentally flawed.

I have been in general a fan of how exactly Mr. Harris takes apart the arguments of his opponents, and how he engages in dialogue with people. But when I find myself on the other side of his apparently sometimes very faulty arguments, I can now see more clearly how Mr. Harris can also be very blind & boring & pedantic & morally flawed & petty himself.

Human morality is largely determined by evolution. As per Steven Pinker there've been improvements over time. But veganism is a de facto cultistic religion which seeks to separate humans too far from our evolutionary roots. Religions which seek to mutilate the genitals of children also do this! A forced separation from our evolutionary roots. Abuse is abuse. And when we are forced to become separated too far from or evolutionary roots we as evolved human animals are hurt by such acts.

          Comment on Afghan Hezbollah? Be careful what you wish for by Tony Badran        
It might be useful to pinpoint the intellectual sources of the inaccurate <a href="" rel="nofollow">analogy</a> between Hezbollah and the Taliban. While we cannot say for sure, the views attributed to "White House advisers" in the <i>Washington Post</i> report sound familiar. Similar views have been expressed by the White House counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan. In a 2008 <a href="" rel="nofollow">essay</a> entitled "The Conundrum of Iran: Strengthening Moderates without Acquiescing to Belligerence," Brennan wrote the following regarding Hezbollah: <blockquote>It is similarly foolhardy to believe that Hezbollah will not remain a potent political force within Lebanon for many years to come, as the organization has strong support within the Lebanese Shia community and well-established political and social welfare credentials throughout the country. Hezbollah's growing paramilitary strength and political and social resiliency were clearly demonstrated in 2006, when Israel showed a remarkable inability to inflict strategic damage on Hezbollah despite a major military campaign to do so. It would not be foolhardy, however, for the United States to tolerate, and even to encourage, greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon's political system, a process that is subject to Iranian influence. Hezbollah is already represented in the Lebanese parliament and its members have previously served in the Lebanese cabinet, reflections of Hezbollah's interest in shaping Lebanon's political future from within government institutions. This political involvement is a far cry from Hezbollah's genesis as solely a terrorist organization dedicated to murder, kidnapping, and violence. Not coincidentally, the evolution of Hezbollah into a fully vested player in the Lebanese political system has been accompanied by a marked reduction in terrorist attacks carried out by the organization. The best hope for maintaining this trend and for reducing the influence of violent extremists within the organization—as well as the influence of extremist Iranian officials who view Hezbollah primarily as a pawn of Tehran—is to increase Hezbollah's stake in Lebanon's struggling democratic processes. Because Israel views Hezbollah as a serious and lethal adversary, this will not be an easy sell. Washington will need to convince Israeli officials that they must abandon their aim of eliminating Hezbollah as a political force. This previously employed Israeli strategy did not work with the PLO and Fatah, and Israeli officials have adapted to the reality of engaging in political dialogue and negotiations with Palestinians formerly branded as "terrorists." A similar change must take place within the minds of Israeli government officials in regard to Hezbollah. One way to help effect this change would be if Iran were willing to press Hezbollah to cease its attacks against civilian targets and to declare so publicly. While insufficient to satisfy many Israelis who view Hezbollah as a serious military threat, it would be a positive first step.</blockquote> More recently, Brennan briefly made headlines for essentially reiterating this argument at a talk he gave at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in early August. Brennan's comments came in <a href="" rel="nofollow">response</a> to a question by <i>The Nation</i> correspondent, Robert Dreyfuss, whether the United States should start talking to organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban. Brennan focused most on Hezbollah and painted a remarkable picture of the group: <blockquote>Hezbollah started out as purely a terrorist organization back in the early '80s and has evolved significantly over time. And now it has members of parliament, in the cabinet; there are lawyers, doctors, others who are part of the Hezbollah organization. However, within Hezbollah, there's still a terrorist core. And hopefully those elements within the Shia community in Lebanon and within Hezbollah at large—they're going to continue to look at that extremist terrorist core as being something that is anathema to what, in fact, they're trying to accomplish in terms of their aspirations about being part of the political process in Lebanon. And so, quite frankly, I'm pleased to see that a lot of Hezbollah individuals are in fact renouncing that type of terrorism and violence and are trying to participate in the political process in a very legitimate fashion.</blockquote> Whether or not Brennan was the source for the <i>Washington Post</i> report, one can detect the similarity of the viewpoints that are evidently, as per the <i>WaPo</i> report, being raised by "some White House advisers." The main points of the argument are familiar to anyone who's kept up with the scholarly <a href="" rel="nofollow">literature</a> on Hezbollah, especially the proponents of the so-called "Lebanonization" theory, chief among whom is Augustus Richard Norton. This view holds that Hezbollah has "evolved" from a terrorist group into a mainstream political party. In order to sustain this argument, its proponents have often resorted to distancing Hezbollah from terrorist activity dating after its involvement in Lebanese politics, or, at the very least, minimizing it. This had been the norm in Hezbollah scholarship prior to the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh in February 2008. Brennan does the same in his 2008 article, claiming rather remarkably, that "the evolution" of Hezbollah into a political player was simultaneous with "a marked reduction in terrorist attacks carried out by the organization." Moreover, "increasing Hezbollah's stake" in the Lebanese political process has had no effect on Hezbollah's military operations, as evident form their involvement in Iraq, and Yemen, Egypt and Azerbaijan (as noted by Matt Levitt in his post). However, what's more problematic is the definition of "political participation." Hezbollah has made a mockery of Lebanon's constitution and parliamentary political traditions. Needless to say, the idea of a sectarian group with an arsenal that rivals that of an army, and with external foreign connections and networks, "participating in politics in a tightly balanced sectarian society" is itself an absurdity. Furthermore, those who make this argument miss the point of Hezbollah's political participation: it is precisely in order to protect its military autonomy. This was articulated by a Hezbollah spokesman in a 2007 interview with the International Crisis Group: "Paradoxically, some want us to get involved in the political process in order to neutralise us. In fact, we intend to get involved—but precisely in order to protect the strategic choice of resistance." Hezbollah has used its weapons in order to bend the political system to fit its agenda and has intimidated its political rivals by force of arms. As the author of the ICG <a href="" rel="nofollow">report</a>, Patrick Haenni, put it: "Hezbollah realized that they had [to be internally involved to a greater extent], but the issue was still to secure their weapons.... Hezbollah has a real interest in making the state part of its global project." The flawed understanding of the nature of Hezbollah has led people like Brennan to posit the existence of various "wings" in Hezbollah: "extremists" vs. "moderates" and those who supposedly "renounce terrorism" vs. those who support it. While this illusory categorization has not been translated into U.S. policy, it has, alas, become British policy. Ironically, Hezbollah officials have publicly mocked this kind of artificial dichotomies. This fundamental misunderstanding of the group is captured in the wording of the <i>Washington Post</i> report, which described Hezbollah as "the armed Lebanese political movement." That has it backwards. To quote Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh, Hezbollah is "first and foremost a jihadi movement that engages in politics, and not a political party that conducts jihad." One must qualify that further by adding what Na'im Qassem wrote in his book, that the jurisprudent (<i>al-wali al-faqih</i>)—i.e., Iran's Supreme Guide, Ali Khamenei—"alone possesses the authority to decide war and peace," and matters of jihad. Therefore, in effect Hezbollah is a light infantry division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. That's not the kind of model the US wants to see in Afghanistan. <i><a href="" rel="nofollow">Tony Badran</a> is research fellow with the Center for Terrorism Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.</i>
          Debunking the "Terrible Teen" Myth: I Love Teenagers        

If every parent of cherubic toddlers had a nickel for every time some well-meaning person chuckled and said, "Just wait until they're teenagers!," those parents would still be annoyed, but they'd also be filthy rich. For whatever reason, there is nothing more-seasoned parents love to do to new(ish) parents than warn them that someday, their beautiful babies will be teens -- and the implication is that this is a fate worse than death.

Our culture perpetuates this, both explicitly and tacitly. Children are adorable! But teenagers are difficult. "Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems!" And of course there's the oft-repeated moan, "I am not looking forward to the teen years."

I'm just going to say it -- right here, right now, in front of God and everyone -- I love teenagers. Teenagers are fantastic and fascinating. My whole life, I've been the person who loves babies; I still love babies, and I will still swoop right down on you and commence with the babytalk and steal your infant from your arms because I need a cuddle, but I have come to adore the creature that is the modern teenager now that I have two of them. Don't believe the hype that teenagers are terrible and parenting teens is so much harder than younger kids. Teenagers are not terrible and every phase of parenting has its challenges. But if you're tired of tongue-clucking admonitions about the horror that supposedly lies ahead, sit down with me for a minute.

Teenagers sleep. And then they sleep some more. My daughter never went to bed without first screaming for at least twenty minutes for the first two years of her life. My son had colic for his first four months and screamed pretty much non-stop. Babies are cute and all, but they're not a recipe for a good night's sleep. And both of my children spent their first decade of life springing out of bed at o'dark thirty and coming to stand over me and demand ridiculous things (like that I get up immediately and feed them). Teens, on the other hand, love to sleep. They may agitate to stay up a little later at night, sure, but once they're down, they're out. I can't yet lay claim to a perfect night's sleep every single night, but I can tell you that the last time I awoke to "Mom! Mom! Mom! MOOOOOOOOM!!!!" was a long time ago.

Teenagers can cook for themselves. Oh, sure, this doesn't mean the whine of, "I'm huuuungry, what's for dinner?" doesn't still happen -- it does! -- but a hungry teenager can actually forage, and a motivated one can learn how to cook and then actually do it. We went so far as to assign dinner nights when the kids would cook for the whole family -- something that used to be an expected part of life back in the "olden days" but has somehow gotten away from a lot of us. It's nice for us grown-ups to have a break from meal prep, and it's great practice and a dose of autonomy/service for them.

When teenagers help, it's actually helpful. Remember back when you were advised to let your kids help whenever they wanted to, because "soon enough they won't want to" and this was about forming good habits? I sure do. I also remember going back over the half-dusted room, rearranging the dishes in the dishwasher so that they'd get clean, and waiting until the kids were in bed to scrub the bathroom that had been proudly coated in Windex and left to harden. Sometimes little kids can accomplish household tasks, but more often, they're practicing and their "help" makes twice as much work for the adults. Now, I'll freely admit that teenagers may grumble a bit when you request their assistance, but more likely than not, once they do what you've asked, it's done. Not only that, but if you play your cards right, they often take care of stuff without you even asking.

Teens are funny
Credit: symic.

Teenagers are hilarious, both intentionally and not. Remember that phase when every other sentence out of your kid's mouth was "Knock knock!"? And then the jokes didn't even make any sense, because the punchline was always "Poop!" or some other "forbidden" thing? Yeah, you don't have to deal with that with teens. Their jokes make sense, and their developing understanding of the world makes for excellent jokes and humor in places you'd never expect it. (Don't believe me? The next time your teen quips, "That's what she said!" furrow your brow and say, "I don't get it. Can you explain to me why that's funny?" The ensuing blushing and shuffling of feet will be even funnier than the initial joke.) Most teenagers I know are just plain entertaining.

Teenagers have big emotions and big compassion. The number one complaint I hear about teens is that they bring excessive drama to everything. This is a fair observation -- hormones and increasingly complex peer and school circumstances do tend to make emotions run high. This can be wearing on those of us with older, cooler heads. But the gem in the midst of the ZOMG ALL THE FEELS emotion-storm is that they're only this way because they truly care about all sorts of things, in a way that society has yet to beat out of them. It may sometimes seem like they only care about themselves, but that's probably not the case. Ever seen a teen run with a cause that mattered to him? Ever seen a teen display startling empathy for a friend in crisis? It happens. It's pretty incredible to observe.

Little kids love you just because. Teenagers love you a whole new way. I'm not going to lie; it's true that teens are more likely to hurl the dreaded, "I hate you!" as a dagger, in the heat of the moment. But they don't really hate you (not for long, anyway), and as they grow and evolve, so does your relationship with them. For the first time, maybe, they start glimpsing their parents as people. The first time you see your teen truly appreciate you is fantastic. And it never gets old, seeing them just a little surprised to realize that you're kind of okay to hang around with, and stuff.

Teenagers are in the process of becoming, and you get to bear witness. There's a reason that we find watching a caterpillar transform into a butterfly captivating. It's biology, sure, but it's also just a little bit magic. You never really know what happens in that cocoon, not really. With teenagers, the cocoon is the skull, and the processes in their brains aren't quite as linear, but nevertheless, I'll take watching a teen find her footing over a baby's first wobbly steps any day of the week. Babies work to grasp objects, to move, to understand object permanence, to form words. Teenagers work to understand their place in the world, who they really are, and what matters to them most. If you get caught up in the Sturm und Drang of rules and curfews and limit-testing you might forget that all of that is merely the window-dressing to the transformation of a dependent child into an independent adult. Don't let the annoyances convince you that they're the process; they're not. Yes, set the limits, hold firm to reasonable boundaries, and don't stop the hard work of parenting... but don't forget to watch them fly. Because they do.

Let's stop talking about teenagers like they're flesh-eating zombies. I adore teens! Who's with me?


BlogHer Contributing Editor Mir Kamin believes that parenting teens is the toughest job she's ever loved. She blogs near-daily about issues parental and otherwise at Woulda Coulda Shoulda, and all day long about the joys of mindful retail therapy at Want Not.

          Moving along: Continuing to expand the Panama transport and logistics network        
A geostrategic location and the presence of the Panama Canal make Panama a natural centre for transportation and logistics. In fact, the transportation, logistics and communication sector combined is easily the largest contributor to GDP, a fact recognised by the current administration. In its Strategic Economic Plan 2010-14, the logistics sector, along with finance, agriculture and tourism, was identified as one of the country’s four pillars of economic growth. To secure the future of the sector the administration is investing $9.6bn, equivalent to 70% of public sector investment, from 2010 to 2014 in infrastructure upgrades alone. Public spending on infrastructure extends well beyond the flagship $5.25bn Panama Canal Expansion and includes the construction of a line on the Panama City Metro, a large overhaul of the national road network and several upgrades to maritime and airport infrastructure. With the canal’s ability to attract global trade, the country has been working for nearly a decade to create a business-friendly regulatory framework – replete with special economic areas and incentives for multinational headquarters – which should serve in attracting further investment as it continues developing the transport and logistics hub. While on the one hand the government is moving quickly to ensure its infrastructure networks are capable of providing a platform for the growing logistics and value-added manufacturing industries, on the other it is aggressively revamping airport infrastructure and further pushing to establish itself as a major aviation centre.

Quantifying Progress

Figures published by the National Statistics Agency (Instituto Nacional De Estadí stica y Censo, INEC) aptly portray the sector’s wider role within the rapidly growing economy. According to the latest available figures from INEC at the time of writing, the transportation and communication sector accounted for 24.1% of the nation’s total GDP (at 1996 prices) in 2012. Moreover, the sector has grown at double-digit rates in each of the past five years apart from 2009 when the global financial crisis slowed progress in the sector to 8.2%. The sector’s average annual growth rate from 2008 to 2012 was an impressive 12.7%. It has also been a major attractor of foreign direct investment (FDI) as logistics, construction and infrastructure firms look to take advantage of the country’s expanding role in regional and global transport. FDI stock in the transportation, logistics and communication sector reached $4.52bn in 2011 and represented 19.6% of the national total of $23.1bn, according to data from the National Comptroller.

Global Rankings

Heavy spending on infrastructure development has yielded improved scores in the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitiveness Report 2013-14”. Indeed, Panama’s score in the report’s metric on overall quality of infrastructure has improved drastically under the current administration from 67th in the 2009-10 iteration of the report to 30th in the 2013-14 edition. Other related categories also paint a similar picture. Panama improved from 54th in the 2009-10 index to 35th in 2013-14 in goods market efficiency, from 18th to sixth in quality of port infrastructure, from 32nd to fifth in air transport infrastructure, from 62nd to 30th in railroad infrastructure, and from 62nd to 48th in road infrastructure.

Sector Structure

Despite steadily improving infrastructure across the country, the transportation and logistics sector lacks a titular head in the form of a dedicated Ministry of Transportation and Logistics. In its place is the Ministry of Public Works (Ministerio de Obras Públicas, MOP) which oversees the construction and maintenance of the national public infrastructure network, though in practice the MOP is primarily responsible for the national road network together with the autonomous Terrestrial Transport and Transit Authority. Numerous additional public entities with varying degrees of autonomy oversee the rest of the sector, including the Metro de Panamá Secretariat, a special secretariat created in 2009 to monitor the planning, construction and administration of the Panama City Metro. The Panama Canal Authority (Autoridad del Canal de Panamá, ACP) has been in complete control of the Panama Canal and its finances since the country took over control in 1999. Although it possesses a board consisting of various ministerial heads, another autonomous government agency, the Panama Maritime Authority (Autoridad Marítima de Panamá, AMP) is charged with overseeing all things maritime. Meanwhile, in the aviation sector it is the Civil Aviation Authority (Autoridad Aeronáutica Civil, AAC), which also boasts a diverse board full of governmental leaders, that supervises the country’s aeronautical activity.
In October 2010 the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (Ministerio de Comercio e Industrias, MICI), together with the Georgia Tech Panama Logistics Innovation and Research Centre, launched the National Logistics Council (Consejo Nacional de Logística, CNL). The CNL was created to establish a platform for collaboration among the government, private sector and academic institutions and eventually facilitate the development of the country into “the logistics and trade hub of the Americas”. However, the lack of a governmental ministry or secretariat charged with overseeing the long-term development of all infrastructures and responsible for coordinating inter-agency stratagem and budgets is a common complaint from the private sector given the already large and growing impact of the sector on the wider economy. Indeed, though the creation of the CNL represents a step forward in the logistics segment, it still falls short of the sort of authority granted the Secretary of Science, Technology and Information, for example, in driving the growth of the information and communication sector.


The legislative environment in Panama has for the most part been conducive to business and investment in the country. Legal and tax incentives have been established through several laws for companies basing themselves in one of the country’s free or special economic and trade zones.
The Colón Free Zone (CFZ), the second-largest of its kind in the world, is a strong example of the importance of creating such areas, in particular for logistic and reexport companies. New special economic areas including Panama Pacifico and the City of Knowledge have also been created and should lead the way forward in the future (see Economy chapter).
However, in the second quarter of 2012 a new piece of legislation passed through the national legislature and was signed by the president. Known as Act 41, the legislation could cause issues with international investors within the maritime sector. The law stipulates that 75% of shares and personnel within the maritime services and auxiliary fuel distribution sector be sourced domestically. The rule sparked backlash from the EU, which considers it to be in violation of international commitments already made by Panama.

The Hub & Spoke

Panama’s location bodes well not only for its status as a trading hub, but also for its growing stature as a major regional centre of aviation. Indeed, Panama City’s location is within “narrow-body” range, the typical distance that the single-aisle airplanes which dominate the Latin American market can travel, of nearly all major cities within the Americas. Additionally, its improving airport infrastructure, expanding tourism sector and rapid economic growth are all supporting the country’s efforts to become the most important transit hub in the region.

Commercial Aviation

The impressive growth of Panama’s only major airline, Copa Airlines, also points towards a bright future for the sector. Founded in 1947, the Compañía Panameña de Aviación (Copa) is now the flagship airline of the country and one of the most prominent airlines in the expanding, yet still underserved, Latin America region.
Following the 2005 purchase of AeroRepublica in Colombia and the company’s initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, making Copa the third Latin American airline to list on the exchange, growth has been impressive. According to figures from Copa, from 2005 to 2013 capacity has increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17%, while earnings have experienced a CAGR of 21% during the same timeframe. As a result Copa has become one of the most profitable airlines on the planet, recording an operating profit margin of 17.9% for 2012. According to the latest data from the International Air Transport Association’s 2010 airline profitability report, the carrier ranked 10th in 2007 and fourth in 2008, with operating profit margins around 18-20%.
Meanwhile, the airline’s expansion plans include increasing its numbers in terms of fleet, route and frequency over the next five years. Indeed, Copa’s fleet plan includes the addition of 44 (30 firm orders and 14 optional) new aircraft between 2013 and 2018, most of which are single-aisle Boeing 737-800s with a range of 3000 nautical miles.

International Connections

Although Copa is responsible for more than 80% of daily operations at Tocumen International Airport, several international airlines also operate out of Tocumen including KLM, United Airlines, American Airlines, Iberia and Delta Airlines. In total, commercial airlines flying from Panama City service around 70 destinations – up from 29 in 2004.
The AAC has been working together with the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the executive branch to firm up accords with foreign nations over air traffic rights. According to Ivan Vergara, director of air transport at the AAC, “Over the past several years we have signed agreements with Brazil, Ecuador and Peru and expanded our accord with Mexico. In 2013 we also added or expanded agreements with Costa Rica and France as well.” Indeed, with Air France joining KLM and Iberia in operating transatlantic flights to Europe in November of 2013, Panama City could soon establish itself as a transit hub not only for travellers going from South America to North America, but to Europe as well.


One of the flagship projects of President Ricardo Martinelli’s administration, the construction of the $1.88bn Metro de Panamá should help to alleviate traffic congestion within the capital. The first line is expected to be inaugurated on March 5, 2014. The long-term master plan for the system’s development calls for the construction of four separate lines and one tramway line by 2035, though thus far construction has been started only on the first line (see analysis).

Urban Transport

In fact, the metro is just one part of a complete renovation of Panama City’s transportation system as the MOP has been in the midst of a major overhaul to the capital city’s road network since 2011. Meanwhile, structural changes to the existing public transportation system – mainly the replacement of the city’s diablo rojo (red devil) bus network – should also ease congestion in the medium to long term.
Over the course of the past few years numerous projects to improve road connectivity and traffic flow have seen various parts of Panama City turned into construction zones. In total the MOP reported in June 2013 that a combined eight road projects totalling $1.7bn were under way in the capital city. The largest project is the $782m construction of an underground connection between Avenida Balboa and Avenida Los Poetas, which was awarded to Brazil’s Odebrecht. It not only involves the construction of a new tunnel, but also renovations to Los Poetas, the construction of new sports facilities, bike lanes, gardens and even a sporting arena, the Maracanã Stadium. However, the project has become a source of controversy as it will also include the extension of the Cinta Costera (Coastal Beltway), a highway constructed a few years ago to relieve congestion inside the city and whose extension will wrap around the city’s Casco Viejo (Historic District).
While the project includes green areas and pedestrian walks it has drawn criticism as the beltway is seen as an eye sore and counterproductive to ongoing efforts to renovate the historic district. Fears that it would lead to the removal of Casco Viejo from UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites – due to the destruction of the centuries-old sea wall to make way for the highway – have been allayed as UNESCO announced in June 2013 the project would not impact Casco Viejo’s status.
The preservation of the historic district itself is a $175m project also being completed by Odebrecht and is seen as a key part of the country’s tourism development plan. Apart from renovating the area’s small streets and alleyways, the project also includes the construction of a new road dubbed Vía Cincuentenario. Both projects are expected to be completed in 2014.
Other projects include the $237m improvement and expansion of Avenida Domingo Díaz, which consists of the construction of three vehicular and three pedestrian bridges and the expansion of the road to six lanes.
Via Brasil, another major artery, is also being renovated in a two-phase project to the tune of $217m and $181m for each respective phase. The remainder of the investment, $76.5m, was poured into the construction of three underpasses, which are now fully operational.

On The Road

Outside Panama City, the road network is also under development as connectivity in the interior of the country continually improves. From 2009 to 2013 the MOP reported investing $3.4bn in road and public infrastructure projects, though the majority of that figure ($2.25bn) has been used to overhaul Panama City’s road network. Outside the capital the heaviest investment was found in Chiriquí, which received $262m, most of which was used to upgrade two highways from David to Boquete ($119m) and from Paso Canoas to Port Armuelles ($114m). Meanwhile, Veraguas received $179m; Herrera and Los Santos, each $156m; Coclé, $136m; Bocas del Toro, $72m; Colón, $64m; Comarca, $66m; and Darién, $61m.
In 2012 the introduction of a new stretch of highway from Panama City to Colón – easily the most important intra-city highway in Panama – reduced travel time from the capital to the Colón Free Zone to just 45 minutes. The project began in 2010, and when construction was completed in 2012, investment in the project reached $186m, MOP figures show. The $80.7m renovation of the Bridge of the Americas – which spans the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal – is another major project which was started in 2010, though it will not be completed until the end of 2014.

Maritime Transport

Obviously many of the maritime transport activities revolve around the Panama Canal, which has extensive port facilities at both entrances in the Port of Cristóbal (Atlantic), the Manzanillo International Container Terminal (MIT, Atlantic), the Colón Container Terminal (Atlantic) and the Port of Balboa (Pacific). In total Panama boasts 14 private and 14 state-owned and operated ports. Ensuring the country is able to meet demand increases following the arrival of post-Panamax ships after the completion of the Panama Canal expansion project is crucial to sustaining the long-term growth of the sector.
“Panama needs to have more terminals built in order to continue growing, especially a new post-Panamax port inside the canal,” Ricardo Lince Boyd, the executive president of Agencias Continental, a local ports and shipping logistics firm, told OBG.
Both the Port of Cristobal and the Port of Balboa are receiving an upgrade by the Panama Ports Company, operator of both ports, at a cost of $1bn. All expansion projects at both ports are expected to be completed by 2015 and will improve their combined capacity to 6.5m twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
Meanwhile, the MIT and the Colón Container Terminal (CCT) serve the CFZ and have also received sizeable investments in recent years. According to information published by Georgia Tech, the CCT recently spent $100m upgrading its terminal to its current capacity of 1.3m TEUs. The MIT is currently investing $270m to upgrade capacity to a total of 4m TEUs per year.


Identified as one of the four pillars of future economic growth, the logistics sector is arguably the most integral piece in further developing the Panamanian economy. According to Proinvex, the investment promotion agency, roughly 3% of global maritime trade, including 10% of US international seaborne trade, passed through the canal in 2013. These figures are likely to swell upon the doubling of the canal’s cargo capacity once the expansion project is complete. This fact alone gives the country an edge over competing logistics centres in the Caribbean and along the Atlantic coasts of the US and South America. Still, obstacles do stand in the way, mainly a lack of qualified personnel.


All of the ingredients for Panama to become a centre for transportation and logistics are beginning to coalesce. Domestic connectivity is being upgraded via major infrastructure projects such as the Metro de Panamá, the Panama-Colón Highway and an overhaul of the national road system. Meanwhile, international connectivity is also being improved thanks to continued investment in airports and seaports. Nevertheless, if the goal of improving national transportation infrastructure is to capitalise on goods moving through the canal by expanding the logistics and transport sectors, there are still obstacles to overcome such as the short supply of labour and strong regional competition.
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          Bolivia, After the Election        

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia—For an American inclined to think the worst of Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales, his victory celebration offered little in the way of reassurance. Even the choice of venue—the Cochabamba headquarters of the cocalero union, the movement of coca growers that launched Morales into national politics and has been at the forefront of the fight against U.S.-backed drug policy in Bolivia—could be taken as a provocation. Jubilant supporters, along with a bevy of journalists and cameramen, were packed into a narrow meeting hall adorned with black-and-blue banners bearing, as foreign observers never fail to note, the face of Che Guevara.

Before Morales took the stage, an official from Morales' party, the Movement Toward Socialism (known by its Spanish acronym MAS) instructed the crowd "to show a good face to the world." But instead of sounding a conciliatory note, Morales studded his speech with attacks on imperialism and neoliberalism and snide denunciations of his opponents. "To those who waged a dirty war against us, I can only say, 'Thank you,' " he sneered. He finished, in Quechua, with the battle cry of the cocaleros: "¡Kausachun coca, wanyachun yanki!"—"Coca live, Yankee die." The crowd erupted into a raucous "Viva!"

According to preliminary counts, Morales will be the first president in two decades of Bolivian democracy to have won more than 50 percent of the vote. The magnitude of this victory may come as no surprise to Morales or his supporters, who made "50 percent plus one" a campaign slogan. But received opinion among the Bolivian chattering classes in the days before the election was that Morales' rhetoric was driving middle-class voters to the eventual second-place winner: Jorge "Tuto" Quiroga, a Texas-educated and unrepentantly pro-American former president tied closely to the old political elite. The polls—and the predictions of most expert analysts—were off by almost 20 points.

For Morales' most devoted partisans in the poor communities that dot the high Andes and ring Bolivia's cities, the explanation for his sweeping victory is simple: An Aymara Indian who grew up herding llamas before becoming a coca farmer and union leader, Morales will be the first indigenous president in a country that is two-thirds indigenous. "Evo is a campesino. He knows hunger and misery," a potato farmer named Remedios Quispe explained. "The other candidates are the descendants of the Spanish, who have always ruled over us." Morales, playing on this theme, calls himself "just an instrument of the pueblo" and the MAS a "second independence movement."

Indeed, Morales would rather think of himself as a Bolivian Nelson Mandela than as the second coming of Che. (One of his first trips abroad will be to meet with Mandela in South Africa.) He realizes that his victory is less about specific policies than it is about making a symbolic break—from 500 years of indigenous dispossession and 20 years of disappointment with neoliberal economic reforms and a democratic system controlled by elite interests. "This is not just about a change of government," Morales has said. "It is about starting a new history for the Bolivian people, a history free from corruption and discrimination." Bolivian analysts have rushed to note that, after dominating politics since the 1980s, the old parties got almost no support this time around.

But Morales has also clearly been emboldened by his margin of victory. To cast his vote in Sunday's election, Morales traveled into the Chapare, the swath of jungle where he got his start as a coca farmer and cocalero leader. (Coca is the base material for cocaine, of which Bolivia is the world's third-largest producer, but Bolivians also brew coca leaf into tea, chew it as a mild stimulant and appetite suppressant, and use it in a variety of indigenous practices.) Over a breakfast of fried fish, yucca, and nonalcoholic beer in a coca market, he promised to "bury neoliberalism," to "overthrow the capitalist system," and to "nationalize" Bolivia's natural gas resources. He declared his respect for Fidel Castro and his friendship with Hugo Chávez, who has lately replaced Castro as Washington's chief menace in Latin America. After voting, he ran his hand through a pile of coca leaves and pledged to "legalize coca in all of Bolivia."

Americans hear comments like these as taunts. Although Washington has recently refrained from open hostility toward Morales, it has resorted to cool formality interlaced with thinly veiled ultimatums. In the final days of the campaign, a State Department spokesman warned that "the quality, the depth, the breadth, of any relationship with the United States will depend upon the intersection of our common interests." Within Bolivia, almost no one was in doubt about what this meant: Cooperate on coca, or else—a significant threat, since $150 million in U.S. aid to Bolivia is contingent on its being certified as cooperative in the war on drugs.

In reality, Morales' position on coca is less extreme than American drug warriors charge. The vast majority of Bolivians agree with Morales' criticism of U.S. drug policy—that it cruelly and corruptly focuses on poor farmers while ignoring the real roots of the problem and the beneficiaries of the drug trade. At the coca market on Election Day, Morales called his approach "zero cocaine, but not zero coca." The night before, I had asked him if he would be willing to compromise with Washington on drug policy—by, say, helping to prevent trafficking and to control the flow of other chemicals needed to produce cocaine in exchange for American acquiescence on the depenalization of coca cultivation. "Of course, that would be fine," he said. "I am not for drug trafficking." Silvia Rivera, a sociologist who advises Morales on coca-related issues, told me that his plan is to develop a "light industry" in licit coca-based products—everything from tea and baking flour to shampoo and perfume. The policy, she said, is "rational and economically smart, and above all, it will be the most effective way of fighting cocaine trafficking."

At any rate, there is little at this point that Washington can do to make the situation more favorable. When I asked Morales about the possibility of losing U.S. aid, he responded that it doesn't matter; the rest of the world will come to his rescue. His oil-billionaire friend Chávez has promised to help out, and Cuba has already begun issuing invitations to MAS activists for "training" in Havana. Many poor Bolivians are convinced that Castro will soon dispatch thousands of Cuban doctors to their neighborhoods, just as he has to Venezuela.

And the biggest concern right now—for both Bolivia and Washington—is not that Morales will succeed but that he will fail. For the past five years, centrifugal forces have been tearing Bolivia apart. The left has been pressing its demands—for more state control over natural resources, for an end to coca eradication, for indigenous rights and local autonomy—with paralyzing and occasionally violent protests. The more prosperous eastern lowlands, meanwhile, have been threatening de facto secession. When Carlos Mesa abandoned the presidency in June—the second Bolivian president to resign in the face of protests (led by Morales, among others) in two years—he warned of "civil war."

Morales, whatever his flaws, presents the best hope for averting such a fate. The decisiveness of his victory offers him at least a chance to establish effective governance, something recent Bolivian presidents have failed to do. The radical social movements that have been behind much of the recent chaos will likely give him a several-month grace period before heading back into the streets to press their demands.

But Morales has not found a way to mend the basic ruptures in Bolivian society. On the main points of controversy, he has talked out of both sides of his mouth or tried to obscure irreconcilable difference with windy slogans. He has, for example, promised to nationalize Bolivia's abundant natural gas resources, while assuring the private sector that he will respect private property—an attempt to appease the mass of Bolivians who think that they should be benefiting more, without provoking legal action or a complete withdrawal of investment by international energy companies. As a silver bullet, he offers up the constitutional assembly that will happen sometime next year. It is, he says, a chance to "re-found" the country, even though it's not clear what that re-founding will mean. When I asked Morales about all the problems he will face, he shrugged and said, "There are problems, but that's why we need a change. The important thing is to be honest and transparent." Even his close advisers admit that he doesn't really know what he's going to do once he gets into power on Jan. 22.

I met one such adviser a few days before the election. As we rode around Cochabamba in a black hatch-back covered in Morales posters, the white, upper-middle-class former journalist talked about how her friends and family had reacted to her support for Morales: "Another candidate approached me and said, 'You are white, what the hell are you doing with the MAS?' " I asked her why she had decided to work with Morales. "So many different people believe in him for so many different reasons," she replied. "For me, this is the crucial thing: that an Indian will be president of this country."

But she had no illusions about Morales' prospects as president. "Evo has rebellion in his blood, and I am trying desperately to give this rebellion a logic. … He has no idea how he's going to run the country, and I don't either." Later, at Morales' victory celebration, the adviser was gloomy. "I feel sorry for these people," she said, surveying the crowd. "They think everything will suddenly change."

          Comment on Why Puerto Rico Will Never Become the 51st State by ThePaganSun        
JB- You'd be surprised how much influence idiots like Glenn Beck have as spokespeople for the Tea Party. In the earlier years, PR DID mostly want to be independent, but the USA jailed and even KILLED many of our nationals and "independistas" (many of whom are STILL rotting away in jail! Such as Oscar López Rivera who Cuba is currently asking the USA to release on behalf of Puerto Rico). The USA even massacred many during a peaceful protest on Palm Sunday on March 21st, 1937 called the "Ponce Massacre!" None of those cowardly murderers even got any consequences! So don't think that we didn't try to get our independence! But the problem now is that many Puerto Ricans on the mainland and even on the island are being brainwashed by all this "pro-USA" media that makes it seem as if PR is nothing but a welfare state (Newsflash people! How about making these companies pay Puerto Ricans the same as they would get in the USA instead of exploiting them at about three times less that and then blaming it on welfare?!). Many Puerto Ricans that don't do their research then actually believe that nonsense and think that life in the USA or as a state would actually be better. But statehood itself won't magically solve all our problems (there are MANY poor states like Mississippi and many other states like Texas that actually want MORE autonomy) so I'm not one of those people who would whore out their country for a bit more money when that alone won't solve anything, As for Spain....yes, Spain should've definitely treated its colonies better, but it did treat them better than other empires at the time (the UK nearly wiped out all the indigenous populations of the USA while at least the Spanish mixed with them)and it still doesn't change the fact that PR had MORE autonomy under Spain (especially toward the end) than it does now with the USA. These "referendums" are being allowed only when it's convenient for the USA! Why didn't the USA give us a referendum back when we were demanding our independence in the 1930s?!?! But of course, back then they wanted us for our strategic location to use for their military and for sugar plantations! They're hypocrites. But the end, only full independence would ever allow PR to govern its own future without getting lost in a sea of 50 other voices. Eh....the Normans mixed with the Anglo-Saxons and they ARE Anglo-Saxon in culture so yeah...And the Spaniards are mostly Western white Europeans (CeltIberians) but they are also partially mixed with Moorish (15%-18% according to DNA Tribes 2013) and even some Sephardic Jewish, Visigothic, Roman, Greek, Phonencican and Basque.
          Comment on Why Puerto Rico Will Never Become the 51st State by JB        
Glen Beck??? This was who was used for some sort of point aside from complete idiocy? Sir, he has absolutely NO influence on the majority of US citizenry, neither does the Tea Party. If PR wants to be independent, then they should vote for it in majority ... but they don't seem to. Want to be a State, vote for it. The power "Stateside" USA is in the Striped States, the East. (Illinois is an exception) As for the one month long "autonomy" granted by Spain, that was because Cuba had just revolted and Spain wanted PR to remain their vassal. It had lost everything else to independence movements. In truth, Spain should have granted the rights for PR 100 yrs prior but simply could care less to. Cuba was Spain's Caribbean jewel. For once in its 500 yr existence as a colony and possession, it would be nice for PR to be an independent Country. We can then see what it can accomplish on its own. Sink or swim. Lastly, as to white Americans. They are not Anglo-Saxons. If of English ancestry, they are Normans (see William the Conqueror) A French speaking Germanic(Nordic) people who almost obliterated the Anglo Saxon of Britain. Oh, and Spaniards are White Western Europeans too.
          Comment on Why Puerto Rico Will Never Become the 51st State by Luis Arroyo        
In another blow to the ficticious 'Commonwealth' and its 'sovereign Fiscal Autonomy' ( ability to exempt itself from US Federal taxes) Puerto Rican based insurance companies recently began paying a new federal earnings tax for Obamacare. 'Commonwealth 'party (Populist Democrat Party/populares) Governor Padilla asked Obama to exempt Puerto Ricans from Obamacare. Obama wound up allowing ALL 4.7 million US citizens in overseas US territories exemption. Gov. Padilla claimed that 'The Islands Fiscal Autonomy' withstood against Congress. (The real reason Padilla wanted Obamacare out of PR is because the federal taxes that come with it would betray the whole 'Fiscal Autonomy Myth!) The TRUE reason Congress went along with exempting US territories from Obamacare was to CUT FEDERAL SPENDING THERE,ON THE BACKS OF TERRITORY RESIDENTS. What are they going to do? Vote congress out of office? OOPS! THEY CANT VOTE FOR CONGRESS. NOR THE PRESIDENCY!! YET, the healthcate providers ARE STILL required to PAY THE OBAMACARE FEDERAL EARNINGS TAX. That's passed along to the costumer buying health plans! Read about it... The Puerto Rico Report.
          Comment on Set Kids Up For Success: How Autonomy Can Rock Their World by Lisa A. Chesser        
I really wish I had read this when my kids were younger. I do agree that simple chores make a huge difference.
          As It Approaches Its Centennial, Is the Federal Reserve Losing Its Independence?        

The Federal Reserve will celebrate its centennial in 2013. Though independence for the U.S. lender of last resort and its peers elsewhere has historically come and gone, in recent decades it has become an article of faith. But these days, faith in central banking is far from rock solid.

Independence for the management of monetary affairs is supposed to allow prudent policymaking that is insulated from short-term political pressures. That should provide, for instance, the freedom to quash voter-pleasing bubbles. The problem is that Western central banks are looking more like volatile players than stable referees. To start, the sheer size of their balance sheets has expanded dramatically. Since 2007, the eve of the financial crisis, British and Swiss central bank assets have surged roughly five-fold, while the U.S. and European equivalent holdings have both approximately tripled. In the UK and the euro zone, central bank balance sheets have already swollen to around 30 percent of GDP.

And central banks are taking the sort of risks that normally merit political scrutiny. Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, portrays unprecedented post-crisis activities like quantitative easing – large-scale bond-buying programs undertaken by the Fed, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and others – as technical variations of traditional monetary policy. But critics see QE as straying into the government’s fiscal realm, distorting financial markets, fueling future inflation, or all of the above.

Central banks also have responsibilities which are undeniably political. The Fed is America’s most powerful bank regulator, the lender of last resort and, especially now, a major influence on interest rates and financial asset prices. The Bank of England, which gained monetary policy independence only in 1997, is about to take on a bigger watchdog role. Even in Japan, where the central bank has maintained a near-zero interest rate policy for well over a decade and is supposed to operate in harmony with government policy, newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants more influence.

Up to now, central banks have been able to defend their autonomy, which anyway isn’t complete. But anti-Fed political rhetoric and demands for greater accountability resonate with some American voters and many economists struggle to defend institutions which failed to predict or prevent the worst financial crisis in decades. Another big error or an unpopular move – perhaps a return to more typical interest rates – could mean the beginning of the Fed’s second century is marked by an assault on central bank independence.

          Did HP Just Lose $5 Billion Through Bad Accounting?        

How could Hewlett-Packard find a $5 billion-plus hole in an $11.1 billion deal? The U.S. tech giant claims to have uncovered all kinds of accounting nasties at Autonomy, the British software outfit it bought last year. But HP won’t say quite how the allegations - strongly denied by Autonomy’s ex-boss Mike Lynch - could produce such a colossal writedown. Breakingviews tries a spot of reverse-engineering to see how it could be possible.

Given what it now believes about Autonomy’s profitability and growth, HP is effectively saying it would have paid a little more than half the sticker price for the Cambridge-based company. The writedown outstrips the deal’s $4.6 billion premium over Autonomy’s market value at announcement.

Autonomy doesn’t have much in the way of hard assets or outstanding invoices, so the charge can’t relate to a sudden revaluation of kit or the failure of existing customers to pay their bills. The last balance sheet shows just $43 million of plant and equipment, and “accounts receivable” - customer debts - of $330 million: 0.4 percent and 3 percent of the purchase price respectively. Even if, say, half of accounts receivable proved suspect, that would only make up 3 percent of the mega writedown.

So the charge must reflect a reassessment by HP of the future cash flows it will obtain from the business. HP now thinks these are worth a lot less than it thought: smaller and growing less quickly. HP has provided one or two hard data points. The most important is Chief Executive Meg Whitman’s assertion that Autonomy’s real operating profit margin was 28-30 percent, not the reported 40-45 percent.

The difference between these numbers has to be explained by some combination of exaggerated revenue and understated expenses. It sounds like HP is more concerned with the former: Whitman accused Autonomy of “stripping the revenue out of the future” by turning long-term deals into upfront licence payments, and also of being too eager to record sales made through resellers.

The booking of revenue is a minefield in the software industry - and one that differing accounting rules make even harder to navigate. Still, if the claimed distortion comes from revenue manipulation, the window-dressing would have to have been on an industrial scale. Here’s why.

With Whitman’s comment in mind, imagine a company that has $80 million of revenue, with $56 million of costs. That leaves $24 million of operating profit, for a 30 percent margin. Now suppose it can somehow record $20 million of future sales now, without recognising any of the extra costs. This year’ revenue will swell by a quarter to $100 million, while operating profit will nearly double to $44 million, lifting the operating margin to 44 percent.

Do the same revenue adjustment at Autonomy using Morgan Stanley’s pre-acquisition estimate of 2011 revenue and earnings and Breakingviews calculates that the “true” income statement would show revenue 19 percent lower than HP expected. This assumes operating margins drop from 42.7 percent to 30 percent. In that case, EBITDA would be $372 million, about 34 percent below the number Autonomy would otherwise have reported.

A revision of this magnitude would cut the bid value by $3.8 billion, since deals are valued as a multiple of EBITDA. And that assumes that enterprise value was still calculated at the same 20-times multiple that was actually paid by HP.

Of course, that still leaves another $1.2 billion of destroyed value to explain. But that could easily stem from applying a lower multiple too. Profitability is one factor in determining the EBITDA multiple a business can command.

HP goes further. It also complains about poorly disclosed - and loss-making - sales of hardware. Autonomy was supposed to be a high-margin software company, so it’s easy to see why such sales would jar. But it is hard to see how this could move gross margins more than a percentage point or two.

The hardware sales, HP reckons, helped inflate revenue and boost gross margins, because some costs were mislabelled as sales and marketing expenses - which come out further down the income statement. The most striking impact would be seen if these sales were rising fast, flattering Autonomy’s overall growth rate. Since growth is another factor in valuation multiples, that could also have affected the price HP thought it could justify paying for Autonomy. But it is hard to tell whether what HP alleges was happening: Autonomy did in fact say some sales involved hardware, or “appliance”, but did not break out the exact revenue contribution.

Finally, there are potential factors that others have pointed to. For example, companies can boost profit by inappropriately treating current expenses, which must be written off as they occur, as investments, which are amortised over several years. Some analysts accused Autonomy of doing just that with research spending. Also, Autonomy was acquisitive. Takeovers can, for example, flatter growth rates, if pre-acquisition sales are understated. Sceptics also questioned Autonomy’s acquisition accounting.

It is, then, technically possible that HP could demonstrate that bad accounting led to a hole of the size it identifies. Lynch rejects all charges of distortion. He says he did nothing other than follow international accounting rules. Until HP’s accusations are spelled out fully, and investigated properly, it will be impossible for outsiders to know what really happened.

          HP's Accounts Bombshell: A Guide for the Perplexed        

Hewlett-Packard claims it was duped into hugely overpaying for Autonomy, prompting an $8.8 billion writedown. It blames at least $5 billion directly on dodgy book-keeping. Autonomy founder Mike Lynch says his company played by the rules. But complicated procedures for categorising sales and recognising revenue are critical to the strength of HP’s three central allegations. 

Sales mix

Autonomy’s core product is search software called IDOL. HP claims Autonomy covertly lumped in loss-making hardware sales with deals for IDOL. The implication is that this inflated Autonomy’s valuation.

HP says there was no “appropriate” disclosure of the hardware sales. It’s not clear what that means. Autonomy did reveal in its annual reports that hardware was sometimes bundled in with software. This disclosure would probably have been lost on a casual reader: customers needing an IDOL solution in a hurry generated “appliance” revenue as part of a turnkey solution. But HP and its advisers arguably should have known this was an issue that needed clarifying. Moreover, the classification wouldn’t alter overall sales, profit or operating margins. 

Sales to resellers vs sales to real customers

Autonomy sold software to customers through so-called resellers. HP says Autonomy improperly booked revenue before resellers had found end-buyers. But under IFRS accounting standards, Autonomy was permitted to recognise revenue in such circumstances, if certain conditions were met. It is aggressive, but legal.

HP may not have realised its accounting policy here was legitimate, because U.S. GAAP accounting imposes stricter conditions. Without full access to the detail of the software contracts involved, it is hard to assess the force of the allegation. 

Long-term data-hosting revenue vs licence revenue

HP says Autonomy brought forward sales by converting long-term data-hosting deals into licence payments. But this would have been a very foolish move for Autonomy. Auditors allow companies to book upfront payments in full if they establish a predictable pricing framework, known as “Vendor Specific Objective Evidence” (VSOE).

It is hard for companies to abuse this by re-jigging the split of recurring and immediate payments in their favour: if pricing is inconsistent, VSOE no longer holds. Accountants can then push the company to recognise all revenue, including upfront payments, pro-rata over contract lifetimes. Again, without knowing the detailed terms of the contracts, it is hard to make an assessment.

HP says these allegations are only “examples”, so more may come out. As things stand, HP’s accusations are hard to judge. Both distortions in profitability and revenue growth would have affected valuation, but this would need to be extensive to create a $5 billion hole.

Many analysts had already accused Autonomy of aggressive accounting. HP still has to prove its claim that it was duped by fraud which could not be detected before acquisition. A complete refutation would mean yet more heads rolling at the gaffe-prone HP. But so too would an inconclusive result that showed Autonomy to be cavalier but no worse. 

Read more at Reuters Breakingviews.

          How the victory for gay marriage could one day lead to legal rights for chimps        

Judge Barbara Jaffe, New York State Supreme CourtOn Wednesday, New York Supreme Court Judge Barbara Jaffe rejected a claim that two chimpanzees in a New York research laboratory have a right to bodily liberty.

The Nonhuman Rights Project had filed a petition for the two chimps, Hercules and Leo, for a writ of habeas corpus freeing them from unlawful imprisonment.

In denying the petition, Jaffe could have laughed off the NRP’s claims. Instead, she wrote a surprisingly thoughtful opinion that gives both liberty and morality a fair shake.

To its credit, the NRP has not argued that chimps and other great apes have a constitutional right to habeas corpus. (You don’t have to be an originalist to believe that the United States Constitution was written exclusively for Homo sapiens.) Instead, the NRP is attempting to develop a habeas right in New York’s common law.

That’s a smart strategy. Common law is developed by judges and can be modified by the legislature; in fact, both New York courts and the legislature have recently begun to treat animals as something more than property (though less than people). NRP is only looking to extend this trend by persuading Jaffe to declare that chimps deserve basic habeas protection.

Jaffe takes this claim seriously despite its novelty. No offense intended, I assume, but she does so by repeatedly citing the Supreme Court’s decisions broadening the rights of liberty for gay Americans.

“If rights were defined by who exercised them in the past,” she notes, quoting Obergefell v. Hodges, “then received practices could serve as their own continued justification and new groups could not invoke rights once denied.”

Moreover, chimps are undeniably humanlike in many ways: Humans and chimps share almost 99 percent of their DNA, as well as similar brain structure and cognitive development. They are our closest relatives; our lineages split just 7 or so million years ago, which is fairly recently in evolutionary time. Chimps also seem to demonstrate compassion, depression, and a sense of humor. They may not be human—but they aren’t totally inhuman.

Attorney Steven Wise, President of Nonhuman Rights Project, in courtStill, Jaffe writes, questions about chimps’ right to autonomy should be answered by a higher court or the legislature — not a supreme court judge. (In New York, supreme courts are low-level trial courts.)

While quoting another gay rights ruling, Lawrence v. Texas’ admonishment that “times can blind us to certain truths,” Jaffe throws out the petition for Hercules and Leo’s release.

“Efforts to extend legal rights to chimpanzees are understandable,” she writes. “Someday they may even succeed.” That day, however, is not today.

The movement for limited chimpanzee personhood has coincided felicitously with the steep decline in the use of great apes in research. In 2013, National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins declared that the continued use of chimps in biomedical research was “largely unnecessary.”

For now, apes still serve some utility in developing treatments for human illnesses — but that may not be true forever. If current trends continue, the twilight of chimp research could also be the dawn of chimp personhood. And if it is, Jaffe’s opinion denying chimps rights could turn out to be unexpectedly prophetic.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Watch a determined chimpanzee repeatedly take down a drone flying in a zoo

          Reply #3568        
Wow, lol. I'm not sure how much autonomy independent retailers get in terms of ticket stocking. I'd imagine there might be a minimum number of games they should have.

$1/$2 tickets sell like candy in low income neighborhoods, so maybe that's why that particular store only had those in stock
          Class War 03/2016: IRAQ 1991 - Class war and bourgeois containment        
It was a quarter of a century ago, on March 7th, 1991, when the proletarian uprising in Iraq against war showed to the world proletariat the only way forward to eliminate wars forever. As always, on the other side of the social barricade, all the global forces of Capital acted as one body to liquidate the autonomy of our class.
          Quick Glimpse at Globalization        
[Storm rising over the city]

I'll be covering globalization this week in one of my courses after introducing it last week. Globalization is a really complex issue, so there won't be time to look at all of it. Instead we'll briefly sort through a couple of main themes. Here's an overview if you keep hearing about that term and are curious. I refer a few times to a textbook I sometimes use (though not this semester) because I find the presentation or examples used by the author for certain aspects of globalization helpful.

Brief History

While there may have been (semi-)globalized economic systems in the past, our present version begins with the colonization of various societies by Western European powers from the 1600s through the early 1900s, including the colonization and integration of larger parts of North America by the former British colonies that became known as the United States of America. The exploitation or outright seizure of resources by those colonized or displaced helped to fuel the economies of these emerging Western powers while creating conditions of social, economic, and political tension in the colonies themselves which has in turn contributed to economic and political instability in many former colonies over the centuries, especially during the 20th century. While the United States and others attained liberation in the 1700s, many colonies in what is known today as Latin America weren't liberated until the 1800s. Asian and African colonies remained under European control until well into the 1900s (the scramble to colonize Africa was still going on in the first decades of the 20th century).

Those who favor modernization theory claim that the problems of former colonies are either the natural growing pains of economic development or are caused by failure to adopt certain political and economic institutions favored by the Western powers. These developing nations need guidance and funding to modernize and grow like the US and Western Europe, so institutions such as the IMF(International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank, largely funded and controlled by those same Western powers, provide economic advice and loans to help reduce poverty around the globe. Many countries are unable to pay back their loans and are saddled with debt, requiring that the terms of their loans be renegotiated. This renegotiation frequently comes with strings attached concerning efforts to combat what the lenders see as waste and corruption. 

However, some of these terms follow neoliberal ideals which see any constraints on doing business and making profit as obstructions to economic growth. Under the modern neoliberal view, markets should exist for practically every area of human life, a world in which everything becomes a commodity. This includes things such as fresh air, clean water, and environmental conservation. Markets and the market value of commodities, as determined by consumer demand and the availability of a particular item, are seen as the best guide for human activity since humans are rational actors who will behave according to enlightened self-interest. Anything truly bad or destructive will be weeded out because it is impractical, unsustainable, or offense to a sufficient number of consumers. By increasing the scope of markets and ramping up commodification(turning things into commodities -- things to be bought and sold in the marketplace), economic growth will lead to increased prosperity for all, which is turn is supposed to inherently promote democratic ideals and greater individual autonomy and choice. The best chance for solutions to human problems comes from unleashing the creativity of inventors as entrepreneurs.

Critics of neoliberal policies, such as those who favor development theory, suggest that institutions such as the IMF and World Bank are misguided or inefficient and not addressing the roots of the problems generating poverty but rather are reinforcing them. The stronger critics suggest that while such institutions and their controlling member states claim to be in favor of reducing poverty, their true agenda is to continue the economic exploitation of other nations bycolonizing or re-colonizing many parts of the world by economic means. The political and economic instability of the former colonies in places like Africa are attributed largely to continued interference by Western Powers. 

The broad Marxian critiqueof unrestrained Capitalism is also regularly applied to institutions and laws favoring neoliberal policies. These policies include cutting public welfare or subsidies supporting education, healthcare, and local (as opposed to international) economic activity. Instead, austerity policies are favored to reduce government spending. Economic activity favoring international trade, such as allowing increased foreign investment, lifting environmental protection policies, and producing goods that can be sold on the international market (rather than being used in country) are also promoted. Those opposed to the neoliberal view of economic growth claim that these measures are cruel and frequently counter-productive, making it harder for such poorer nations to get out of debt. Criticisms of such policy call for debt forgiveness, while several governments in South America, for instance, have turned more toward a socialist stance (public or government control or ownership of national resources and spending) by privatizing things such as oil fields and placing heavier restrictions on foreign investment.

The World Systems Theory was developed to try to place such competing views in context. Core nations (also known as first world or developed countries) control most of the economic capital and influence the focus of economic activity, whereas peripheral nations (a.k.a. developing or third world countries) have less influence and tend to provide labor and raw resources at low cost. Semi-peripheral nations occupy the space in between. The issue for this view isn't which policies promote economic growth or the welfare of people, but how the global economy is interconnected.

 Fiat Currency and the Need for Growth

The transition from commodity money to fiat money (a.k.a. debt or credit money) in the US and in other places around the world took place over decades and had important consequences. One is that the varying values from place to place of the commodities used to back money (usually precious metals like gold) no longer mattered. Hence fluctuations in the prices of those commodities could no longer directly affect the value of printed and coined money. Another is that money had value to buy goods and pay debts because it was backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing government rather than on how much of a particular commodity a government had to back the value of its currency. Which is all well and good except for two competing concerns: the welfare of the average citizen and the pursuit of wealth.

According to neoliberal economic theory and related views, the pursuit of wealth leads to an increase in the welfare of the average citizen. The opposing view suggests that more often than not the pursuit of wealth mostly favors those who are already privileged and wealthy to begin with. The responsibility of the state for the welfare of its citizens, known as governmentality, therefore places the state in a bind. There are potential advantages for most or all citizens if there is increased economic growth, but without redistribution mechanisms such as taxes, social protections such as workplace regulations, and public welfare programs and initiatives like public schools, public roads, public police and fire services, etc, these benefits will reach fewer people. In the US, what is known as "conservative" politics and its economic view is largely synonymous with neoliberal economics (the latter named for freedom of the markets) while progressive (and to some extent liberal) politics tends more toward focusing on public welfare. 

This isn't to say that only one side is concerned with either economic growth or the public welfare, it's just a matter of how one sees relationship between those two concerns. Nor do these views align completely with political parties in the US. While there are few if any progressives left in the nationally elected members of the contemporary Republican Party, the party has had more progressive leaning members in the past. There are quite a few economically "conservative" members of the Democratic Party holding national office. Much of the current political fighting around the US is centered largely on which political and economic decisions will best balance promoting economic growth while adequately benefiting the nation's citizens.

Growth policies
, which tend to be rooted in promoting the desire to accumulate wealth, require that people spend money on commodities. The more money there is, the more people can buy. No problem, because the government can just print more, right? Yet people need a reason to spend that money, like more commodities to spend that money on. Or debt with interest to pay off. Or maybe both. Because if people don't spend money in a fiat currency system the economy doesn't grow. Besides, the money itself has no value if it can't be spent on things that people see as valuable.

What if we print more money anyway without more reasons or opportunities to spend it? There will be more money around without more stuff to use it for, and since money only has value because it is spendable, it loses value. That in turn means it takes more money to buy stuff than it used to. What was once a 50 cent gallon of milk now costs a dollar. Then two dollars. Then three. And so on. This is called inflation. Inflation can also be caused by having the same amount of money but far fewer things to spend it on. The opposite effect, which for a time increases the buying power of money within a society, is called deflation. Monetary policies are concerned with managing the value of currency, and in the US such policy is determined by a private institution known as the Federal Reserve (a.k.a. "the Fed"). 

To give an example of why this matters, when inflation increases and money is less valuable, those who hold debts and are collecting interest may be paid back but they are being paid back with dollars that are worth less than the ones they lent. People repaying loans benefit in some ways, but may suffer from higher prices. Yet policies to control inflation have consequences and not all effects of inflation are negative. To give a related example, by lowering interest rates you can attempt to give banks to use their money for something other than lending, but you also reduce the rate at which people with savings accounts are rewarded for placing their money in the bank.

So, we can't just print more money for economic growth. We have to have more spending, which tends to mean more stuff to sell and new markets for that stuff (more people to sell it to). And we can't forget debt. People borrowing money to buy a house, a car, a college education, to start a business, to pay for hospital bills, and so on. And don't forget that companies and various levels of government borrow too. Our current economy grows as a kind of bet on the future, including the bet that we can keep finding new commodities and markets to make up for the debt we've already accrued. The modern economic system can't work without such growth. In fact, individual businesses as well as national economies must continue to grow at a minimal rate every year (~3%) in order to avoid default. Using credit to buy stuff allows the economy to grow, but it means you have to try to create additional wealth to pay it back (due to inflation as well as any interest you may owe). And besides, even if we didn't have debt and inflation, without spending there isn't new wealth, and remember, the system is meant to produce more and more wealth.

This is where capital conversion comes in -- converting things into "stuff" that people will spend money on. And because we humans live in a partly artificial social reality, we can readily attach meaning and value to things that have none or believe that trading things of high intrinsic survival value (forests, clean air and water, etc) into products that only have value as a convenience or status item, an item that may even have a harmful side effect, is a good deal. In his book "Cultural Anthropology: A Problem-Based Approach" Richard Robbins refers to social, political, and natural forms of capital (capital = resources of value) that can be converted into economic capital (i.e. money). He includes reciprocity, social networks, and family/community functions under social capital, access to information, access to government, and freedom of expression under political capital, and forests, water, minerals, and air under natural capital

Robbins uses the work of sociologist Robert Putnam to suggest that social capital is being converted into economic capital because people spend more time on TV, video games, and the internet than family time. People live further apart and spend more time driving to work for their jobs, further reducing community and family involvement. With more family members working more hours, there is again less social capital in favor of producing more economic capital (more of which goes to the employer than to the worker). The conversion of political and natural capital to economic capital is a bit easier to see.

Think about the "stuff" people try to sell that doesn't even require much physical material, such as insurance policies or those custom avatars on internet games. The point isn't that these things are bad, but rather than new commodities and market to support them can be as varied as the human imagination will allow.

The Consequences of Economic Growth and Development

There are consequences, though, to growth-based market economies based on fiat currency and a desire for wealth. In order to keep consumers from being upset and to make products cheaper, companies often exeternalize their costs. That means that the production, distribution, or consumption of a product has additional costs in social, political, or natural capital that aren't paid for by either the seller or the consumer (and is part of the capital conversion process mentioned above). It is up to nature or society to absorb those costs. If you sell fast food, you don't have to pay extra for the medical costs of obesity. That cost is externalized. If you dump pollution from your factory, you are externalizing the cost of a cleaner manufacturing process or proper disposal. And speaking of disposal, who pays for all of the garbage created by all of the "stuff" we buy and throw away?

Other costs include the effects of the economic system on other societies and their workers who may face long hours and dangerous work environments. And again with the natural world, which either to make profit or as a consequence of poverty is often degraded and polluted as another externalized cost of doing business. The effects tend to be more severe in peripheral nations, who may face economic sanctions for maintaining environmental protections (see the discussion of neoliberal policies above). Yet nation-states feel they must keep economic growth increasing even as it means the costs of growth conflict more and more with the welfare of citizens and environmental sustainability. In his textbook Robbins suggests that lip-service to protecting the poor and the environment, deferring to international institutions like the World Bank, and allowing corporate media to spin and confuse the issues involved are three ways democratic states avoid tackling the negative consequences of growth. Do you agree with him? Can you think of other ways states may dodge their responsibilities to their citizens?

And even if a state does what is best for its own citizens and environment, what about other people and places around the world? This is another often over-looked aspect of globalization. In an already inter-dependent planetary ecology and an increasingly inter-dependent social and economic world, thinking strictly in national terms is inadequate. While solutions must be implemented regionally and locally, they must be coordinated globally. Yet competing concerns over economic growth continue to hamper things like meaningful climate treaties (see the current protests over climate talks in Poland).

This is where it is important to remember that the values upon which the current world economic system is based isn't inherent to all people. It is culturally based. There are and have been societies that value more than material wealth and even shun excess material wealth. Our political and economic systems are socially constructed, and we accept them because we collectively believe in the assumptions upon which they are based. So changing the world must start with changing people's worldview.

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Top Stories

"A Chinese firm has stopped verifying safety and environmental standards for Iranian ships, becoming the last top certification provider to end marine work there as the trade noose on Tehran tightens. The China Classification Society (CCS) is the last of the world's top 13 such companies, all members of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), to confirm it has ended Iran-related certification work, key to insurance and ports access for ships... A letter seen by Reuters dated November 15 showed Beijing-headquartered CCS had not provided certification services to Iranian ships since June 28. It had been urged to pull out by U.S. pressure group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and clarify its position. 'Currently there is not any ship flying an Iranian flag or owned by an Iranian ship owner in our fleet, and we have not conducted any statutory survey for any Iranian ship,' CCS chairman and president Sun Licheng said in the letter to UANI dated November 15... A targeted campaign by UANI, which includes former U.S. ambassadors as well as former CIA and British intelligence chiefs on its board and is funded by private donations, has already led to other top classification societies exiting Iran. Without certification from classification societies, vessels are unable to secure insurance cover or call at most international ports. UANI's Wallace on Wednesday welcomed the move by CCS, but sought harsher measures being imposed on Iran's fleet. 'All of the world's major shipping certifiers have now ended their certification of Iranian vessels,' said Wallace, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. 'We call for even tougher sanctions: any vessel that docks in Iran or transports Iranian cargo should be barred from accessing ports in the U.S., EU, or elsewhere.'"

Reuters: "Hong Kong has deregistered five Iranian cargo ships and a further 14 are likely to follow after their classification society quit Iran due to sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States over its nuclear programme... Hong Kong's marine department has asked the owners of 19 dry bulk carriers, managed by an Iranian firm, to register their ships elsewhere after the Korean Register of Shipping said earlier this year it would not provide the ships safety auditing... Hong Kong had been urged by U.S. pressure group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) to deflag the 19 dry bulk ships, which the group said were owned, managed or operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) and its associated companies. In a reply to UANI dated November 9 Wong said it was of paramount importance to Hong Kong's marine department in safeguarding the quality of Hong Kong ships."

Reuters: "Six world powers agreed on Wednesday to seek renewed talks with Iran as fast as possible, reflecting a heightened sense of urgency to resolve a long rift over Tehran's disputed nuclear activity and avert the threat of war. Their call coincided with growing evidence of Iran expanding nuclear capacity in an underground bunker virtually impervious to attack and follows the November 6 re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama, which has cleared the way for new contacts. Senior diplomats from the six countries - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - met in Brussels on Wednesday to consider new negotiating tactics despite abiding skepticism that a deal with Tehran can be reached. It was not clear after the meeting what options, if any, were agreed. But the six said 'necessary contact' with the Iranians would be made 'in the coming days'. 'The (six powers) are committed to having another round of talks with Iran as soon as possible,' said a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the six countries in dealings with Iran."

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Nuclear Program

Reuters: "Iran has been hauling dirt to a military site U.N. nuclear inspectors want to visit, Western diplomats said on Wednesday, saying the findings were based on satellite images and they reinforced suspicions of a clean-up. They said the pictures, presented during a closed-door briefing for member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), suggested Iran was continuing to try to hide incriminating traces of any illicit nuclear-related activity. The allegations come a few days after the IAEA said in a report on Iran that 'extensive activities' undertaken at the Parchin site since early this year would seriously undermine its inquiry, if and when inspectors were allowed access. Iran has so far denied the agency's request for a visit. The U.N. agency believes Iran may have conducted explosives tests that could help develop nuclear weapons at Parchin and wants immediate access to investigate the facility. Iran denies this, saying Parchin is a conventional military complex."

NYT: "The conflict that ended, for now, in a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel seemed like the latest episode in a periodic showdown. But there was a second, strategic agenda unfolding, according to American and Israeli officials: The exchange was something of a practice run for any future armed confrontation with Iran, featuring improved rockets that can reach Jerusalem and new antimissile systems to counter them. It is Iran, of course, that most preoccupies Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama. While disagreeing on tactics, both have made it clear that time is short, probably measured in months, to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program. And one key to their war-gaming has been cutting off Iran's ability to slip next-generation missiles into the Gaza Strip or Lebanon, where they could be launched by Iran's surrogates, Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, during any crisis over sanctions or an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Michael B. Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States and a military historian, likened the insertion of Iranian missiles into Gaza to the Cuban missile crisis. 'In the Cuban missile crisis, the U.S. was not confronting Cuba, but rather the Soviet Union,' Mr. Oren said Wednesday, as the cease-fire was declared. 'In Operation Pillar of Defense,' the name the Israel Defense Force gave the Gaza operation, 'Israel was not confronting Gaza, but Iran.'"

Reuters: "Israel has a 'childish' desire to attack Iran and Tehran is capable of defending itself, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday. 'They wish to hurt the Iranian nation. They are waiting for the chance. They known that Iran does not attack anybody and they know that Iran knows how to defend itself,' he told a news conference in the Pakistani capital Islamabad. 'We don't accept the hegemony of Israel. They wish to attack Iran but it is like a childish desire.' He was speaking after attending a summit of developing nations."


In Auto News:
"After giant international automaker left Iran due to the sanctions on the nuclear programme, the country now relies on Peugeot to revive the auto industry here. Iran currently has to deal with increasing production costs and lack of technology on how to manufacture vehicles, after the world's most important automakers, such as Toyota, GM, Fiat, Hyundai and PSA Peugeot Citroen, were forced to leave the country due to the disputed nuclear programme. In September auto production in Iran dropped 66% from September 2011, and during the first half of the Iranian solar year, which began on March 19th, auto production fell 42%... On November 18th, the Iranian Industry Committee announced that Peugeot might return to the Iranian market, which would mean an increase in the country's car input. Although Peugeot has not yet officially confirmed this plan, its situation in Europe might force the automaker to make this step, also taking into consideration that Iran was its second major market."

Platts: "China's imports of crude oil from Iran in October fell 23.2% year on year to 1.94 million mt (458,716 b/d), but were up 23.3% on month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs received by Platts late Thursday. Iran remained China's fifth largest supplier of crude in October, similar to September. That is down from being the third largest supplier in August. In the first 10 months of the year, total Iranian crude imports were 17.73 million mt, down 22.2% from the same period a year ago. On June 28, China received a US exemption from sanctions levied against countries who trade with Iran for 180 days, with Washington saying China had significantly reduced its crude purchases from Iran. A renewal of the waiver is due December 25 and the US State Department said previously it would be dependent on further significant reductions of crude imports from Iran. China's total crude oil imports in October rose 13.8% year on year to 23.68 million mt (5.6 million b/d), the third highest level this year on a b/d basis, following the record 6.02 million b/d seen in May and 5.98 million b/d in February."

WashPost: "Iran is facing a possible crisis in its health-care system as a result of economic sanctions and alleged government mismanagement of diminishing state funds, according to officials here. The lack of money is already being felt in hospitals throughout Iran, where medical staffs have been told that they are working in 'war-time conditions' and should prescribe drugs sparingly - or in many cases, not all - in an effort to save resources... The scarcity derives from a complicated set of circumstances that includes both a heavy dose of Western sanctions, which are aimed at forcing Iran's leaders to halt their uranium-enrichment program, as well as what critics here say are missteps by the government. While some of the anger over the shortages has been directed at the United States and other global powers, there has also been an internal backlash. Hosseinali Shahriari, the head of parliament's health committee, said this month that 'the government is playing with our people's health and is not assigning the approved finances.'"

AFP: "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Thursday vowed to complete a mutli-billion dollar gas pipeline to Pakistan on time, downplaying financial woes and US pressure on Islamabad to scrap the project. Pakistan and Iran signed a deal in 2010 under which Tehran would supply gas to its eastern neighbour from 2014, with sales to reach up to one billion cubic feet (28 million cubic metres) per day by mid-2015. The project envisaged a pipeline, 900 kilometres (560 miles) in length built from Assaluyeh in southern Iran to the border with Pakistan. Another 800 kilometres pipeline was also needed inside Pakistan to receive gas from Iran's South Pars field in the Gulf. 'We want to complete this project by 2014,' Ahmadinejad told a press conference in Islamabad."

The Nation (Pakistan): "Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) and the Securities and Exchange Organization (SEO) - Iran entered into MoU in Tehran on Thursday wherein PACRA will provide technical assistance in establishing a credit rating regime in Iran. Under the MoU, PACRA shall prepare regulatory framework for regulating the credit rating business in Iran and in establishing rating agencies in Iran. PACRA is one of the two Pakistani CRAs that provides credit rating services in various countries. In order to enhance cooperation and assistance to each other in the areas of interest, SECP and SEO-Iran had constituted a Liaison Committee that is entrusted with the task of exploring areas of assistance to each other. During a meeting in October 2011, SECP arranged a meeting of both the domestic CRAs with an Iranian delegation visiting Pakistan and the Iranian delegation desired to seek assistance of SECP for the development of regulatory framework for regulating the credit rating business in Iran."


NYT: "Above the bustling Niayesh highway in the western part of the Iranian capital, a huge billboard hangs on an overpass to remind drivers of Iran's missile abilities. Cars zip underneath the image of a green missile on a launcher and text in Persian saying 'Destination Tel Aviv.' Few here take note of the sign, as average Iranians are too busy trying to cope with rising prices and occasional shortages brought about by a faltering economy. But Iran's missiles and weapons technology are getting plenty of attention hundreds of miles away in Gaza, giving the country's ruling clerics a rare bit of good news in what has otherwise been a long, dismal year... Throughout the battle, Iranian-designed missiles, the Fajr-3 and the Fajr-5 that allowed Hamas and another Gaza-based movement, Islamic Jihad, to hit Israel's heartland, sent Israelis fleeing to bomb shelters. While political support and money helps, Palestinian leaders said, Iran's weapons technology is a far greater help."

AFP: "Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal said on Wednesday that Israel had 'failed in all its goals' after a Gaza truce deal came into effect, while thanking Egypt and Iran for their support during the conflict. 'After eight days, God stayed their hand from the people of Gaza, and they were compelled to submit to the conditions of the resistance,' Meshaal said. 'Israel has failed in all its goals,' he told reporters in a Cairo hotel. Meshaal also thanked ceasefire mediator Egypt, as well as Iran, which he said 'had a role in arming' his Islamist movement during the conflict."

AFP: "Israel and the United States have agreed to work together to prevent the smuggling of weapons from Iran to militant groups in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday. 'Israel cannot sit idly by as its enemies strengthen themselves with weapons of terror so I agreed with President (Barack) Obama that we will work together -- Israel and the United States -- against the smuggling of weapons to terror organisations, most of which comes from Iran,' he said in a televised address."

LAT: "Iran for years has supplied Hamas with weapons as part of its own struggle against Israel, but the conflict in the Gaza Strip reveals a shift in regional dynamics that may diminish Tehran's influence with Palestinian militant groups and strengthen the hand of Egypt. The longer-range missiles fired by Hamas over the last week - believed to be modifications of Iran's Fajr 5 missiles - startled Israel by landing near Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. A front-page story in Iran's conservative daily, Kayhan, boasted: 'The missiles of resistance worked.' Tehran would not confirm the weapons' origin, except to say it sent rocket 'technology' to Hamas... But the Gaza fighting erupted during a new era in the Middle East brought about by the rise of Islamist governments, notably in Egypt, that have replaced pro-Western autocrats. The political catharsis has spurred anti-Americanism, which Iran relishes, but it also has upset Tehran's regional designs."

Reuters: "Iran reacted angrily to assertions by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and accused him of not understanding the realities in the region after the diplomat accused Tehran of being responsible for the Gaza conflict. On Wednesday Fabius accused Iran of negative intentions in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Gaza and that it bore a 'heavy responsibility' for the fighting for providing long-range weapons."

NYT: "Eighteen years have passed since a suicide bomber drove a Renault van loaded with explosives into the headquarters of the Jewish community center here, killing 85 people. Since then, investigations have meandered. Interpol arrest warrants have led nowhere. Aging suspects connected to the attack have begun to die. But in the elusive quest for justice in the bombing, which ranks among the deadliest anti-Semitic attacks anywhere since World War II, few developments have riled Argentina's Jewish leaders as much as the government's move in recent weeks to improve relations with Iran, the nation shielding in the high echelons of its political establishment various people accused by Argentine prosecutors of having authorized the attack... 'We cannot comprehend this,' said Guillermo Borger, the president of the Argentine Mutual Aid Association, the center that was bombed in 1994. 'The world is shutting its doors to Iran, and we're giving Iran a chance to say that Argentina is somehow now its friend. The Iranians have not budged in their assertion that their people are innocent, so why should Argentina be in dialogue with them?'"

Human Rights

Guardian: "The mother of an Iranian blogger who died in custody has accused the authorities of killing her son and launching an intimidation campaign against her family. Sattar Beheshti was a 35-year-old blogger from the city of Robat-Karim who lost his life while being interrogated by Iran's cyberpolice, accused of acting against the national security because of what he had posted on Facebook. Iran's opposition activists have accused the regime of torturing Beheshti to death. In jail, Beheshti had no access to his family nor to a lawyer. Beheshti's mother, who has not been named but is pictured with him in one of the only images available of him online, has for the first time spoken out against the state pressure on her family not to speak to the press. 'I have no fears. I can't accept that my son has died by natural causes,' she told Sahamnews, a news website close to an Iranian opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi, who is under house arrest. 'My son has been killed. He went to jail standing on his own legs and they gave us his dead body.'"

Reuters: "Iran said on Thursday a blogger who died while in police custody may have lost his life as a result of a form of shock, the official IRNA news agency reported, adding that investigations were not yet concluded. In a case that has sparked international outrage, 35-year-old Sattar Beheshti who wrote a blog critical of the government was arrested on October 30 after receiving death threats and died some days later, having complained of being tortured. Under increasing pressure at home and abroad for an investigation, Iran's parliament said it had formed a committee to examine the case and the judiciary said it would deal 'quickly and decisively' with those responsible. 'In its latest report, the seven-member medical committee says ... it is not possible to determine the exact cause of death,' IRNA quoted Tehran prosecutor's office as saying in a statement. 'But the most likely cause leading to death may be shock,' the statement said, adding that excessive psychological stress could have caused the shock."

AP: "In his last blog entry, activist Sattar Beheshti wrote that Iranian authorities had given him an ultimatum: Either stop posting his 'big mouth' attacks against the ruling system or tell his mother that she will soon be in mourning. 'We will tear down your cruel cage,' Beheshti typed on Oct. 29 before signing off... But while the specific circumstances of Beheshti's death may be given a public reckoning, the more far-reaching aspect of the case - Iran's rapidly growing corps of Web watchers - may remain in the shadows, as well as their motives in targeting an obscure blogger whose site was actively followed by more than a few dozen viewers. The 35-year-old Beheshti apparently fell under the custody of Iran's cyber police, created last year with a wide mandate to crush Web dissent. The powers displayed in the case - including questioning Beheshti outside the regular justice system - suggests a level of autonomy and authority that could bring far more aggressive measures against Web activists."

Opinion & Analysis

Kristen McTighe in IHT: "Houshang Asadi was a Communist journalist thrown into the cold confines of Moshtarek prison in Iran when he found an unlikely friend in the tall, slender Muslim cleric who greeted him with a smile. Imprisoned together in 1974, under the rule of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, they found common ground in their passion for literature. They shared jokes, spoke of where they came from, their families and falling in love. Mr. Asadi, who did not smoke, would give cigarettes to his cellmate who, uncharacteristic of a cleric, did. On days when Mr. Asadi felt broken, he said, the cleric would invite him to take a walk in their cell to brighten his spirits. So, when his release came six months later and the cleric stood cold and trembling, Mr. Asadi gave him his jacket. 'At first he refused it, but I told him I was going to be released,' Mr. Asadi recalled. 'Then we hugged each other and he had tears coming down his face. He whispered in my ear, Houshang, when Islam comes to power, not a single tear will be shed from an innocent person.' What Mr. Asadi found unimaginable was that the cleric would become president of the Islamic Republic that later imprisoned him again, sentenced him to death and brutally tortured him for six years in the same prison. Today that same cleric is the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Mr. Asadi's account of torture and imprisonment has offered a rare glimpse into what activists say was a decade of grave human rights violations in Iran. And at a time when international attention has shifted to the nuclear issue and sanctions, they say a campaign to bring justice and accountability through a symbolic tribunal has helped unite a once fractured opposition. 'I never expected he would get power, never,' said Mr. Asadi in an interview in Paris, where he lives in exile. Mr. Asadi, a 63-year-old writer, journalist and former member of the Tudeh party, was routinely arrested and tortured under the shah. He had supported the revolution, so when he was arrested again in 1982 and accused of being a spy for the Russians and the British, he was convinced that it was a mistake. In a plea for help, his wife wrote to Mr. Khamenei, who had risen to power as president after the Islamic revolution, but two weeks later the letter was returned with a note in the margin saying only that he had been aware of the journalist's political beliefs. Mr. Asadi's death sentence was reduced to 15 years in prison. During his time in prison, he again developed a relationship with the only person he had contact with - as he had done with Mr. Khamenei. This time it was with his torturer, a man he knew only as 'Brother Hamid.' 'He is your torturer and he thinks he is your god, he thinks he is religious, he is pure, and you are evil, you are the enemy,' Mr. Asadi said. 'So he can do anything to you.' Mr. Asadi said he was called a 'useless wimp' and hung by a chain attached to his arms twisted behind his back while the soles of his feet were whipped until he was unable to walk. Brother Hamid forced him to bark like a dog to speak or when the pain was too much and he was ready to make confessions. His ears were hit and his teeth were broken. Mr. Asadi said he had even been forced to eat his own excrement and the excrement of fellow prisoners. Beyond physical pain, he endured psychological torture. He was shown coffins and told his comrades had been killed. He would hear screams and was made to believe his wife was being tortured in the cell next to him... The torture continued daily for six years, until he was abruptly pulled out of his cell in 1988 when the supreme leader at the time, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, ordered the mass killing of thousands of political prisoners. Prisoners were asked three questions concerning their religious faith and loyalty to the regime. 'If you answered no to any question, they killed you,' Mr. Asadi said. 'I lied to save my life.'"

          By: David Foster        
There is a definite feedback loop between job design and employee quality. Highly scripted jobs will drive away self-motivated and thoughtful employees; the ones you can get, you can get cheap, but expect a lot of turnover. Design the job for a little more employee autonomy, and pay more, and you will get a higher quality of employees, in whom you can afford to make more of a training investment because they will be mostly sticking around longer. An interesting case is that of the supermarket cashier...the grocery biz is notoriously low-margin, but major supermarket chains pay far above minimum wage. Presumably, the cost of someone who has to fumble around every time to locate the UPC code for Plantains (for example) will exceed the amount of savings you can get on his salary vis-a-vis someone sharper.
          Copper demand from electric vehicles to be nine times higher by 2027        

The automotive sector is betting big on electric vehicles while also attempting to figure out how autonomy will function and what that means for ownership and miles driven assumptions. With battery technology improving all the time and with considerable investment flowing into the sector the potential for the electric vehicle market to grow from its current relatively modest footprint is considerable.

          Ronald A. Brand        
Ronald A. Brand
First Name: 
Middle Name / Initial: 
Last Name: 
Academic Director, CILE
Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg University Professor and John E. Murray Faculty Scholar
(412) 648-1307
JD, Cornell University
BA, University of Nebraska

Ronald A. Brand was the driving force behind the creation of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for International Legal Education (CILE) and its Master of Laws Program for Foreign Law Graduates. His reputation as a scholar on international and comparative law has helped the University of Pittsburgh School of Law attract prominent visiting scholars and lecturers from around the world and enhance opportunities for students to study and work abroad.

Professor Brand's scholarship includes a number of books and many articles in major journals. His books include: Transaction Planning Using Rules of Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments (Hague Academy of International Law, Pocketbook Series, 2014); Fundamentals of International Business Transactions, Vols I and II (4th edition, CILE, 2013); International Civil Dispute Resolution (with Charles Baldwin, David Epstein, and Michael Gordon, West Group, 2d edition, 2008); The 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements: Commentary and Documents (with Paul M. Herrup, Cambridge University Press, 2008); The CISG and the Business Lawyer: The UNCITRAL Digest as a Contract Drafting Tool, (with Mark Walter and Harry Flechtner, Oxford University Press, 2008); Forum Non Conveniens: Past, Present and Future, 3 CILE Studies (with Scott Jablonski, Oxford University Press, 2008); and Private Law, Private International Law, and Judicial Cooperation in the EU-US Relationship, (West 2005).

Professor Brand has been a Fulbright Scholar at the Universiteit Brussel, a Research Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bologna, and a visiting professor at the University of Augsburg. He has lectured on international trade and business law matters at universities in the U.S. and abroad. His excellence in the classroom has earned Professor Brand both the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award, a University-wide honor, and the Law School's Excellence-in-Teaching Award. He has also received the Chancellor's Distinguished Public Service Award.

Professor Brand represented the United States at Special Commissions and the Diplomatic Conference of the Hague Conference on Private International Law that produced the 2005 Convention on Choice of Court Agreements.

Courses Previously Taught: 
Course Name: 
International Trade Law Seminar
Course Name: 
Transnational Litigation
Key/Recent Publications: 


  • Transaction Planning Using Rules Of Jurisdiction And The Recognition And Enforcement Of Judgments, Hague Academy Collected Courses (Hague Academy of International Law, Pocketbook Series)
  • Transaction Planning Using Rules Of Jurisdiction And The Recognition And Enforcement Of Judgments, 358 Hague Academy Collected Courses (Recueil des cours) (2013)
  • Fundamentals Of International Business Transactions Vols I and II (4th edition, CILE, 2013), (3rd edition, CILE, 2012); (2nd edition, CILE, 2011)
  • Fundamentals Of International Business Transactions: Documents Supplement (4th edition, CILE, 2013), (3rd edition, CILE, 2012); (2nd edition, CILE, 2011)
  • Recognition And Enforcement Of Foreign Judgments (Federal Judicial Center International Litigation Guide 2012) available from
  • The Export Of Legal Education: Its Promise And Impact In Transition Countries (with D. Wes Rist, Ashgate Press 2009)
  • International Civil Dispute Resolution (with Charles Baldwin, David Epstein, and Michael Gordon, West Group, 2d edition 2008) (with Documents Supplement and Teacher’s Manual)
  • The 2005 Hague Convention On Choice Of Court Agreements (with Paul M. Herrup, Cambridge University Press 2008)
  • Drafting Contracts Under The CISG, 4 CILE Studies (with Harry Flechtner and Mark Walter, Oxford University Press 2008)
  • Forum Non Conveniens:  History, Global Practice And Future Under The Hague Convention On Choice Of Court Agreements, 3 CILE Studies (with Scott Jablonski, Oxford University Press 2007)
  • Private Law, Private International Law, And Judicial Cooperation In The EU-US Relationship, 2 CILE Studies (West 2005)
  • The Draft Uncitral Digest And Beyond – Cases, Analysis And Unresolved Issues In The U.N. Sales Convention, 1 CILE Studies (with Franco Ferrari and Harry Flechtner, 2005) (reissue of the original work published by Sellier European Law Publishers in 2004)
  • International Civil Dispute Resolution (with Charles Baldwin, David Epstein, and Michael Gordon, West Group, 2004) (with Documents Supplement and Teacher’s Manual)
  • The Draft Uncitral Digest And Beyond – Cases, Analysis And Unresolved Issues In The U.N. Sales Convention (with Franco Ferrari and Harry Flechtner, Sellier European Law Publishers, 2004)
  • Fundamentals Of International Business Transactions (Kluwer Law International, 2000)
  • Fundamentals Of International Business Transactions: Documents (Kluwer Law International, 2000)
  • Enforcing Foreign Judgments In The United States And United States Judgments Abroad (American Bar Association Section of International Law and Practice, 1992)
  • Basic Documents Of International Economic Law (with Stephen Zamora, Commerce Clearing House, Inc. 1990)
  • Disclaimers In Estate Planning:  A Guide To Their Effective Use (with William P. LaPiana, American Bar Association Section on Real Property, Probate and Trust Law 1990)

Books (Series Editor):

  • Michael Karayanni, Conflicts In A Conflict: A Conflict Of Laws Case Study On Israel And The Palestinian Territories, 5 CILE Studies (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Articles and Chapters:

  • State Recognition, Private International Law, and Kosovo, __ Review Of Central And East European Law (RCEEL) (forthcoming 2014)
  • The Unfriendly Intrusion of Consumer Legislation into Freedom to Contract for Effective ODR, Liber Amicorum Johan Erauw 365-380 (Maud Piers, Henri Storm, Jinske Verhellen, eds., Intersentia 2014)
  • Federal Judicial Center International Litigation Guide: Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, 74 University Of Pittsburgh Law Review 491-548 (2013)
  • The Evolving Private International Law/Substantive Law Overlap in the European Union, Festschrift Für Ulrich Magnus Zum 70. Geburtstag 371-384 (Peter Mankowski & Wolfgang Wurmnest, eds.,  Sellier European Law Publishers, 2014)
  • Special Report: Kosovo After the ICJ Opinion, Introduction, 74 University Of Pittsburgh Law Review 593-597 (2013)
  • Cooperation in Legal Education and Legal Reform, 74 University Of Pittsburgh Law Review 650-657 (2013)
  • Shaping the Rule of Law Through Legal Education, 75 Augsburger Rechtsstudien: Gerechtigkeitsfragen In Gesellschaft Und Wirtschaft, 40 Jahre Juristische Facultät Augsburg 11 (Arnd Koch & Matthias Rossi, eds. 2013)
  • Challenges to Forum Non Conveniens, 45 NYU Journal Of International Law And Politics 1003-1035 (2013)
  • Implementing the 2005 Hague Convention: The EU Magnet and the US Centrifuge, Liber Amicorum Alegria Borrás 267-76 (Forner Delaygua-González Beilfuss-Vinñas Farré, ed. 2013)
  • Forum Non Conveniens, Max Planck Encyclopaedia Of Public International Law (updated version 2013)
  • Jurisdictional Developments and the New Hague Judgments Project, A Commitment To Private International Law: Essays In Honour Of Hans Van Loon 89-99 (2013)
  • Party Autonomy and Access to Justice in the UNCITRAL Online Dispute Resolution Project, 10 Loyola University Chicago International Law Review 11-36 (2012)
  • Access-to-Justice Analysis on a Due Process Platform, review of Christopher A. Whytock and Cassandra Burke Robertson, Forum Non Conveniens and The Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, 112 Columbia Law Review Sidebar 76-82 (2012).
  • Recognition Jurisdiction and the Hague Choice of Court Convention, Liber Amicorum Kresimir Sajko 155-187 (Hrvoje Sikirič, Vilim Bouček & Davor Babič, eds., 2012)
  • The Rome I Regulation Rules on Party Autonomy for Choice of Law: A U.S. Perspective, (Dec. 2011).
  • Mr. Bergsten’s Neighborhood: The Vis Moot, Legal Education, and Rule of Law, International Arbitration and International Commercial Law, Convergence and Evolution, Liber Amicorum Eric Bergsten 687-696 (Stefan Kröll, Loukas Mistelis, Pilar Perales Viscasillas & Vikki Rogers, eds., 2011)
  • U.S. Implementation vel non of the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, 2010 Yearbook of Private International Law 107-122 (2011)
  • Promoting the Rule of Law: Cooperation and Competition in the EU-US Relationship, 72 University of Pittsburgh Law Review 163-169 (2010)
  • Exporting Legal Education: Lessons Learned from Efforts in Transition Countries, 32 Harvard International Review 43-47 (Issue 2, Summer 2010)
  • Arbitration or Litigation? Choice of Forum After the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, LVII Belgrade Law Review 23-35 (Issue No. 3, 2009), also reprinted at 7 Transnational Dispute Management (Issue 1, April 2010).  
  • Effective Techniques for Teaching About Other Cultures and Legal Systems, International Association of Law Schools Educational Program, Effective Teaching Techniques About Other Cultures and Legal Systems 209, May 30, 2008.
  • Consent, Validity, and Choice of Forum Agreements in International Contracts, Liber Amicorum Hubert Bocken 541-553 (I Boone, I. Claeys, & L. Lavrysen, eds., Die Keure, 2009). On SSRN.
  • Treaties and the Separation of Powers in the United States: A Reassessment after Medillín v. Texas, 47 Duquesne Law Review 707-729 (2009). 
  • The European Magnet and the U.S. Centrifuge: Ten Selected Private International Law Developments of 2008, 15 ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law 367- 393 (2009).
  • The Export of Legal Education: Its Promise and Impact in Transition Countries, The Export of Legal Education: Its Promise and Impact In Transition Countries, chapter 1 (Ronald A. Brand & D. Wes Rist, eds., Ashgate, 2009).
  • Competition in and from the Harmonization of Private International Law, Economic Law as an Economic Good, Its Rule Function and Its Tool Function in the Competition of Systems 353-368 (Karl M. Meessen, Marc Bungenberg and Adelheid Puttler, eds. Sellier European Law Publishers, Munich, 2009). 
  • An American Perspective on the New Japanese Act on General Rules for Application of Laws, Japanese Yearbook of International Law 298-313 (2009) (with Tabitha Fish). 
  • External Effects of Internal Developments: A US Perspective on Changing Competence for Private International Law in Europe, Liber Fausto Pocar: New Instruments of Private International Law 163-179 (Stefania Bariatti and Gabriella Venturini eds. 2009).
  • Forum Non Conveniens, Max Planck Encyclopaedia of Public International Law (2008).
  • The Road to Vindabona: Preparing for the Moot, The VIS Book: A Participant's Guide to the Willem C. VIS International Commercial Arbitration Moot, Chapter 3 (Janet Walker, ed. 2008). 
  • A New Role for Litigation in CISG Contracts: The 2005 Hague Choice of Court Convention, Drafting Contracts Under the CISG 149-166 (Harry Flechtner, Ronald A. Brand and Mark Walter eds., 2007).
  • Judicial Review and United States Supreme Court Citations to Foreign and International Law, 46 Duquesne Law Review 423-437 (2007).
  • Balancing Sovereignty and Party Autonomy in Private International Law: Regression at the European Court of Justice, in Universalism, Tradition and the Individual, Liber amicorum dedicated to Professor Petar Å arèiviè 35 (Johan Erauw, Vesna Tomljenovic, and Paul Volken, eds., 2006)
  • Federalism and the Allocation of Sovereignty Beyond the State in the European Union, 44 Duquesne Law Review 71-79 (2005)
  • CISG Article 31: When Substantive Law Rules Affect Jurisdictional Results, 25 Journal of Law and Commerce 181-202 (2005).
  • The European Union’s New Role in International Private Litigation, 2 Loyola University Chicago School of Law International Law Review 277-293 (2005)
  • Punitive Damages Revisited: Taking the Rationale for Non-Recognition of Foreign Judgments Too Far, 24 Journal of Law and Commerce 181-196 (2005)
  • The 1999 Hague Preliminary Draft Convention Text on Jurisdiction and Judgments: A View From the United States, The Hague Preliminary Draft Convention on Jurisdiction and Judgments 3-40 (Fausto Pocar and Constanza Honorati, editors, 2005)
  • Private Law, Private International Law, and Judicial Cooperation in the EU-US Relationship (West, 2005). Abstract available on SSRN.
  • ASIL Insight: The New Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements ASIL Insight, July 26, 2005
  • Community Competence for Matters of Judicial Cooperation at the Hague Conference on Private International Law: A View from the United States, 21 Journal of Law and Commerce 191-208 (2002)
  • Sovereignty: The State, the Individual, and the International Legal System in the Twenty-First Century, 25 Hastings International & Comparative Law Review 279-295 (2002)
  • Forum Selection and Forum Rejection in US Courts: One Rationale for a Global Choice of Court Convention, in Reform and Development of Private International Law: Festschrift for Sir Peter North 51-87 (James Fawcett, ed., 2002)
  • Comparative Forum Non Conveniens and the Hague Judgments Convention, 37 Texas International Law Journal 467-498 (2002)

Selected Presentations:

  • “Understanding Judgments Recognition,” Symposium on “The Changing Relationship Between International Law and U.S. Law,” sponsored by the North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, University of North Carolina School of Law, January 30, 2015
  • Comments on “When U.S. Treaty Powers and State Law Collide — The Controversy over Implementing the 2005 Hague Convention” by Peter D. Trooboff.  New York University Law School Center for Transnational Litigation, Arbitration and Commercial Law Program, November 24, 2015.
  • “Kosovo Accession to International Organizations: Private International Law,” Workshop on “Kosovo as a Member of the International Community – Accession to International Organisations,” University of Graz, Austria, March 21, 2014
  • “Protecting Consumers in Online Transactions:  Why EU Consumer Protection Rules Should be Replaced with Rules from ‘the Titanic of Worst Decisions’ by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Foreign Chair Lecture at the University of Ghent Faculty of Law, Ghent, Belgium, March 13, 2014
  • “The Recognition of Foreign Judgments in the U.S. and Europe and the Hague Conference Judgments Project,” Institute for European Studies (IES), Brussels, Belgium, March 11, 2014
  • Moderator, panel “Private International Law: The Year in Review” at the International Law Weekend hosted by the American Branch of the International Law Association, New York, Oct. 25, 2013
  • “Contract Drafting Lessons From Rules on Jurisdiction and Choice of Forum in Europe,” at the 2013 International Law Weekend-Midwest, held at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri, Sept. 20, 2013
  • “Making U.S. Judgments Recognition Law: A Three-dimensional Chess Game,” presented as part of a panel on “Responsible Enforcement of Foreign Judgments,” at a symposium on “Transnational Forum Shopping,” at Pepperdine University School of Law, Sept. 19, 2013
  • “The European Court of Justice and Private International Law: An American Perspective,” lecture at the University of Prishtina Faculty of Law, Kosovo, June 7, 2013
  • “An Introduction to U.S. Law” and “U.S. Legal Education,” lectures at Moi University School of Law, Eldoret, Kenya, January 14-15, 2013
  • “A Comparative Law Perspective on Forum Non Conveniens,” panel discussion titled “Regulating Forum Shopping: Courts’ Use of Forum Non Conveniens in Transnational Litigation” at the 18th Annual Herbert Rubin and Justice Rose Luttan Rubin International Law Symposium at the New York University School of Law, On October 25, 2012
  • “Legal Education and Legal Reform,” Conference on “Kosovo After the ICJ Opinion,” Center for International Legal Education, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, October 24, 2012
  • “International Law, Diplomacy, and National Politics: Reflections on the Negotiation and Implementation of the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements,” combined meeting of the Honorable Amy Reynolds Hay Chapter and the W. Edward Sell Chapter of The American Inns of Court, May 17, 2012
  • “Improving the World of Electronic Commerce:  Synthesizing Online Dispute Resolution, Consumer Protection, Private International Law, and International Arbitration,” at the Loyola Chicago University Law School conference on “U.S. Impact On International Commercial Arbitration:  Positive or Negative?” February 10, 2012
  • “What is the Effect of an International Arbitration Agreement?”  Teach-in on International Arbitration, Ramallah, West Bank, Palestinian Territories, December 7, 2011
  • “Shaping Rule of Law Through Legal Education,” Symposium on “The Shaping of Society and Economy Through Law” at the University of Augsburg Faculty of Law, November 18, 2011
  • “Private International Law in Action,” panel at the International Law Weekend, American Branch of the International Law Association, New York, NY, October 21, 2011 
  • 2011 Doctor Juris Honoris Causa, University of Augsburg
  • 2011 ABA Section of International Law, Leonard J. Theberge Award for Private International Law
  • 2003 Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award
  • 1990 University Center for International Studies Senior Research Fellowship
  • 1989 Fulbright Fellowship for Research in Belgium
  • 1989 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award
  • 1988 Student Bar Association Excellence in Teaching Award
Other Activities: 
  • Member, Inaugural Advisory Committee, Global Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh, 2012-present
  • Invited Expert Observer, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, Working Group III on Online Dispute Resolution, 2010-present
  • Member, Advisory Committee, Center for Russian and East European Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 2010-present
  • Member, Advisory Board, Sultan Qaboos University College of Law, Muscat, Oman. 2010-present
  • Member, ASIL Working Group on Implementation of the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, Washington, D.C..
  • Observer, National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) Drafting Committee for the International Choice of Court Agreements Implementation Act, 2009-2012
  • Member, Executive Committee, American Branch of the International Law Association, 2006‑present (Chair, Nominating Committee, 2009-11), (Member, Committee on ABILA Committee Rules of Procedure, 2011)
  • Member, American Law Institute 2000‑present; Member Consultative Groups: International Jurisdiction and Judgments Project; Intellectual Property:  Principles Governing Jurisdiction, Choice of Law, and Judgments in Transnational Disputes; International Arbitration Restatement; Principles of World Trade Law
  • Member, U.S. Delegation to Special Commission of The Hague Conference on Private International Law negotiation of convention on jurisdiction and effects of foreign judgments in civil and commercial matters, and concluding the Hague Choice of Court Convention 1993‑2005
  • Associate Member, International Academy of Comparative Law, 2008-present
  • Member, Editorial Advisory Board, The Journal of Private International Law, 2003-present
  • Member, Board of Editors, American Journal of Comparative Law
  • Member, American Society of International Law, 1977-present
  • Chairman, Ad hoc Committee to study international economic law programs, 1994‑1995; Member, Interest Group on International Economic Law, 1983-present (Chairman 1987‑1989; Vice-Chairman 1985‑1987; Member, Advisory Committee, 2007-present)
  • Special Master, appointed by Federal District Judge Robert Cindrich, in Dow Chemical Co. v. Federal Ins. Co., C.A. No. 94‑0649, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • Member, Advisory Committee, EU Center of Excellence, University of Pittsburgh
  • Member, University Center for International Studies Global Studies Faculty Advisory Committee, 2003-present
  • Open Society Institute Academic Fellows Program International Scholar to support Kyiv-Mohyla Faculty of Law, 2007-08
  • Member, Open Society Institute selection committee for 2000‑2001 Muskie/FSA Graduate Fellows in Law; selection committee for Palestinian Rule of Law Fellows 2007
  • Reviewer, ABA Central and East European Law Initiative Draft Law on Foreign Investment for the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Report issued June 1, 1995
  • Member, ABA Central and East European Law Initiative Working Group for Concept Paper on International Trade for Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Poland, 1994‑1995
  • Member, Nominating Committee, American Society of International Law, 1992‑1993

Director, Center for International Legal Education

Director, LL.M. and S.J.D. Programs for Foreign Law Graduates

Program Director, International and Comparative Law Certificate Program

Areas of Specialization: 

International Business|International Trade|Transnational Litigation

Hi-Res Photo: 

          Reckitt Has a $16.6 Billion Way of Fending Off Boredom         

This is not the first time one Autonomy has consumed another and is a further example of how capitalism trends towards concentration. In the other words the large consume the weak.

          Mosque Money: New Controversy Erupts Over Proposed Tax Funding Of NYC Facility        
Sandhya Bathija

Just when the hubbub over the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” seemed to be dying down, some new information has come to light.

Back in the summer, when the issue was making headlines, Americans United took a strong stance: The Islamic Community Center and Mosque, a project known as Park51, was being built with private dollars on private land. The religious group had complied with applicable laws and had every right to build the center; there was no reason for the government to get involved.

But some recent developments have since complicated the matter. According to a report by CNN, the developer of Park51 has requested federal funding through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to support the project.

“Park51 has applied for a Lower Manhattan Development Corporation grant,” said Sharif El-Gamal, CEO of SOHO properties, and developer behind the Islamic center. El-Gamal said the money would “In part fund social service programs such as domestic violence programs, Arabic and other foreign language classes, programs and services for homeless veterans, two multi-cultural art exhibits and immigration services.”

For the first time, the controversy over Park51 has become an actual church-state issue. While it’s true the center will be performing some social services and be open to the community, it still contains a mosque and is religious in nature. Taxpayer funds should never go to support the erection of any building used wholly or in part for religious activities.

It does no good to argue that government will only pay for secular activities at the center. There will be a mosque on site where religious activities and worship will occur. All houses of worship should be erected and maintained with private funds. AU would not support the government paying to build half a church, and we won’t support it paying for half of a mosque either.

This is exactly why Americans United has been opposed to the “faith-based” initiative and any other form of government aid to religious groups. For years, Americans United has been struggling to stop the faith-based initiative, which has funneled taxpayer money to religious groups to perform social services with precious little accountability for how and where the money is spent.

Just last week, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that makes some improvements to President George W. Bush’s version of the faith-based initiative. Still, Obama failed to address the issue of whether religious organizations receiving public funds can discriminate in hiring. He also failed to require that religious groups receiving government funds keep the money separate for religious activities from the public money received for social programs.

Barry W. Lynn, AU’s executive director, expressed disappointment with Obama’s decision to not touch these issues. In testimony before members of Congress last week, he said it was necessary that houses of worship that seek federal funds form separate incorporated entities to use those funds.

“This is necessary to protect the autonomy and integrity of the religious institution as well as ensure that federal funds are not used for religious purposes,” Lynn said. “The ‘faith-based’ initiative, however, permits public funds to flow directly to houses of worship” into one large pot without any accountability.

To avoid all these constitutional concerns, it will be best if the developer of Park51 uses private dollars to fund the project. Just like all other projects and activities that are religious in nature – whether it involves a temple, synagogue or church – the government (and taxpayer funds) should stay out of it.

          FEB 17 - Minutes of the Board Meeting        
February 17, 2007, White Room PBC, Baguio City

Present: Eusebio Tanicala, Santiago Sameon II, Mardonio Bernardo, Pablo Lachica,
Arnold Zambrano, Edwin Valencia, Rolando Dumawa, Rachel Cabuenas
and Rebecca Braga.
Absent: Bonifacio Patricio Jr. – in Hongkong; Eliseo Tangunan; John Quiniones
Food was served by Eusebio & Liza Tanicala.

Meeting called to order at 1:30PM
Presiding brother: Eusebio Tanicala
A. Old Business
1. Evaluation of IT seminar held in the morning
- appreciate & commend brother Pablo Lachica for teaching
- lessons were very good, excellent
- will have a follow-up seminar but will have to begin with the basic principles of using the computer
- brother Pablo Lachica can come and teach IT every other Saturday
- March 10, 2007 – hands on so bring your computers
-Motion #1 The body recommend to PBC to offer computer as a subject immediately. Approved. Those graduating students can get a crash program. PBCAA sponsor. We will write the Church and school.

2. January 20, 2007 minutes as read moved for approval. Approved.

3. Follow-up of previous assignments & tabled items:
3.1. Preacher’s training & raising of funds – brother Arnold Zambrano
- PBC should have a program to deploy graduates
- PBC/BCoC to continue support of the students after graduation
- Trust Fund – for the purpose of student support after graduation
Motion #2 – The body request the PBC Administrator to put a course description in every subject taught with teachers projected plan and output. Approved.
3.2. April 30-May 1, 2007 program of activities. Brother Bob Buchanan
to be the devotional speaker.
3.3. October 2007 Alumni & Church Leaders’ Forum initial plan brought out:
- topic on Islam & Cooperation
- think of specific topics & suitable speakers
- integrate Preachers training & raising of mission funds/church giving if
acceptable to the brethren (local autonomy & interdependency)

4. Collection of BOT for PBC scholarship fund = Php8,000.

5. Brother Pablo Lachica has disseminated and sent out invitation and information
to Luzon alumni about the April 30-May 1, 2007 PBCAA homecoming.

6. Masteral Program committee – conduct entrance exam & interview, leave the
specifics to the committee; recommend to the committee to meet before
March 10, 2007 to discuss the subjects.

Motion #3 – The body amended membership of the masteral committee that since brother Santiago Sameon II is going to the Visayas for preaching that sister Sarah Sameon be included in the committee. Approved.

B. New Business:
1. New disk & CD rom for computer donated by brother Pablo Lachica in the
amount of Php4,500. Recognized and thanked for.
2. Place this donated computer for PBC students’ research use under the
supervision of sister Rebecca Braga in LTE Room #2. Approved with
3. March 10, 2007 meeting– Lunch host – brother Santiago Sameon II;
-Merienda (IT seminar) – brother Edwin Valencia
4. Meeting adjourned at 3:55 PM with a prayer led by brother Arnold Zambrano.

Certified correct: Noted:
Secretary President

Agenda PBCAA Board of Trustees Meeting
10 March 2007 at 18 Rimando Road, Baguio City

*Lunch hosted by Dodoy & Sarah Sameon at the “White Room”

1. Call to order for the business meetingand prayer
2. Reading of minutes of previous meeting.
3. Old Business
a) Review masteral program
b) Follow up of previous assignments
c) Program for the April 30 & May 1 alumni reunion; committees
4. New Business
5. Others

Eusebio Tanicala

PBCAA Office, 18 Rimando Road
Baguio City
March 6, 2007

The Elders & Deacons
Baguio Church of Christ
18 Rimando Road, Baguio City

Dear brethren:

Recognizing the great benefits that could be derived from information technology, the Board of Trustees of the PBC Alumni Association would like to suggest that you encourage PBC faculty members and students to attend the Saturday morning seminar sponsored by the PBC Alumni Association.
This seminar was started February 17. Another seminar will be conducted in the morning of March 10 at the PBC Library. If you believe that the PBC teachers and students are interested in this seminar, we could arrange for more Saturday classes. We would like to know if this suggested group could be assembled for this special instruction.
Brothers Pablo Lachica and Eliseo Tangunan are our resource persons. They also have programs relative to Bible Study, sermons, Bible lessons, general references that they could load into individual computers for free.

Yours in His service,

Rebecca E. Braga Eusebio Tanicala
Board Secretary Board President
          Laura Weinrib, “Freedom of Conscience and the Civil Liberties Path Not Taken”        
Recent efforts by opponents of same-sex marriage and reproductive rights to reorient their agenda around religious freedom have sparked an explosion of scholarship on religious claims for exemption from generally applicable laws. Professor Weinrib will discuss an early antecedent of this strategy: the campaign by the National Civil Liberties Bureau, the organizational precursor of the ACLU, to secure exemptions from military service for conscientious objectors during the First World War. The conception of liberty of conscience that the ACLU’s founders advanced, which they linked to an “Anglo-Saxon tradition” of individual rights, clashed with Progressive understandings of democratic citizenship and failed to gain broad-based traction. Civil liberties advocates consequently reframed their wartime work in terms that foregrounded democratic dissent rather than individual autonomy. By the Second World War, the new emphasis on expressive freedom had worked its way into American constitutional law. Even then, however, most Americans rejected a court-centered and constitutional right to exemption from generally applicable laws. Laura Weinrib is Assistant Professor of Law and Herbert and Marjorie Fried Teaching Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School. This Chicago’s Best Ideas talked was recorded on February 17, 2016.
          Moshe Halbertal, "Three Concepts of Human Dignity"        
Human Dignity has become a central value in political and constitutional thought. Yet its meaning and scope, and its relation to other moral and political values such as autonomy and rights have been elusive. The lecture will explicate the value of Human Dignity through the exploration of three distinct ways in which dignity is violated. Moshe Halbertal is the Gruss Professor of Law at NYU and Professor of Philosophy Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. The 2015 Dewey Lecture was recorded on November 11 at the University of Chicago Law School.
          Laws Prohibiting Sex-Selective Abortion in the United States        
As part of the anti-abortion movement's legislative campaign, seven states have passed bans on sex-selective abortion and many more are pending, including in Congress. Advocates of the bans argue that they are needed to prevent widespread elimination of female fetuses by Asians in the United States. They argue that the United States is contributing to the global pandemic of "missing women" and that sex-selective abortion must be banned to promote women's equality. Opponents of these bills point out that they are a "wolf in sheep's clothes" couched in the language of women's equality, but restricting women's autonomy and unfairly stigmatizing minorities. Students in the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School have been working with economists and the National Asian Pacific Women's Forum to draft a report that will bring empirical data to bear on these policy debates. This panel was recorded on April 24, 2014 and was sponsored by: International Human Rights Clinic, Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ), Asian Pacific Law Students Association (APALSA), and South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA). Panelists included Sital Kalantry (UChicago Law), Sujatha Jesudason (University of California, San Francisco), Arindam Nandi (Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy), Alexander Persaud (University of Michigan), Kelsey Stricker (3L), Miriam Yeung (NAPAWF), and Brian Citro (UChicago Law).
          Ordained as a Nation        

Pankaj Mishra

  • The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anti-Colonial Nationalism by Erez Manela Buy this book


Early in The Wilsonian Moment, Erez Manela tells a story about Ho Chi Minh that I often heard in student Communist circles in India. Ho was an indigent worker in Paris when Woodrow Wilson arrived in the city in 1919 with a plan to make the world ‘safe for democracy’. Inspired by Wilson’s advocacy of national self-determination, Ho sought an audience with the US president, hoping to persuade him to use his new influence to restore Vietnamese rule in French Indo-China. He carefully quoted from the US Declaration of Independence in his petition. In Manela’s more poignant version, he also rented a morning suit. Needless to say, Ho got nowhere near Wilson or any other Western leader; he found a sympathetic audience only among French Communists.

Many Communist students I knew in India repeated with reverence the story of Ho’s failed mission because it appeared to confirm their ur-text, Lenin’s Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism. Written in 1916, this pamphlet had proved that Wilson was as unlikely to restore Indo-China to the Vietnamese as he was to withdraw American troops from Panama. The United States was as much of an imperialist power as Britain and Japan, greedy for resources, territory and markets, part of a capitalist world system of oppression and plunder whose inherent instability had caused the Great War.

Lenin’s text came to many of us in the Indian provinces as an exhilarating revelation. No amount of praise appeared sufficient for the Soviet leader who had pre-empted Wilson in calling for national self-determination. Hadn’t he exposed the secret agreement between France, Britain and tsarist Russia to carve up the Middle East, among other booty of the imperialist war? True to his anti-imperialist rhetoric, he had promised autonomy to Russia’s ethnic minorities and had voluntarily given up the special concessions Russia enjoyed in subjugated China along with other Western powers and Japan.

Communist study circles did not of course discuss what Stalin made of Lenin’s promise to Russia’s ethnic nationalities, or how Asian Communists overturned Lenin’s facile equation – imperialism equals monopoly capitalism – when in the early 1960s China accused the Soviet Union of imperialist aggression. I learned even less about the capitalist rival of Marxist internationalism: liberal internationalism, which originated in the Progressive Movement of the United States and, as eloquently articulated by Woodrow Wilson, enjoyed worldwide appeal for a few hopeful months after the end of the First World War, when a new world order seemed likely to rise on the ruins of the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman and Russian Empires.

Trawling through four national archives, Manela has produced an immensely rich and important work of comparative politics centred on the ‘Wilsonian moment’, which he dates from autumn 1918 to spring 1919. ‘Disseminated to a growing global audience’, Wilson’s rousing speeches leading up to the Paris Peace Conference earned him, as Maynard Keynes later recorded, ‘a prestige and a moral influence throughout the world unequalled in history’. Emboldened by him, nationalist leaders in Egypt and India joined Sinn Féin in seriously challenging British authority, and China and Korea grew more aggressive in their demands for political and economic autonomy.

Anti-colonialists everywhere had been transfixed by the swift rise of the United States, a new political and economic power rare among Western nations for possessing a strong tradition of anti-imperialism. For much of the 19th century, the United States had been isolationist in its foreign policy and protectionist in its economic; and its footprint was light in Asia and Africa, where, as even Raymond Aron conceded, the natives did not need to read or even understand Lenin, or have to deal with a repressive imperial police state, to identify Europe with imperialism. There was enough evidence for it in everyday life and memory: ‘the exploitation of raw materials without any attempt to create local industry; the destruction of native crafts and the stunted growth of industrial development that resulted from the influx of European goods; high interest rates on loans; ownership of major businesses by foreign capitalists’.

The war, which enfeebled the economies of the major imperialist powers – Britain, Germany and France – and further discredited their regimes, endowed America with both power and moral prestige. Wilson, who barely had a foreign policy before war broke out in Europe in 1914, wasn’t slow to realise the implications of European turmoil for the United States; and he fleshed out a new and noble American sense of mission before he reluctantly took his country into the European war. ‘We are provincials no longer,’ he famously declared in his second inaugural address in March 1917. Though still publicly opposed to American intervention in the war, he insisted that ‘our own fortunes as a nation are involved whether we would have it so or not.’

In speeches addressed to ‘the peoples of the countries now at war’ he burnished his credentials as a mediator who could negotiate what he called (borrowing the phrase from Walter Lippmann, the energetic young editor of the New Republic) a ‘peace without victory’. Later, he would propose a much more unusual and high-minded plan for enduring peace – replacing militarist regimes with democracies – which liberal intellectuals as well as conservative politicians would invoke with diminishing returns throughout the 20th century, culminating in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which inspired the New Republic to declare George W. Bush ‘the most Wilsonian president since Wilson himself’.

Wilson had begun to outline the American preference for regime change in unfriendly countries well before he declared war on Germany. Faced in late 1913 with revolution and the likely rejection of American influence in Mexico, he had decided to ‘teach the South American republics to elect good men’. ‘When properly directed,’ he claimed, ‘there is no people not fitted for self-government.’ Wilson was also convinced that proper direction in the postwar order could be provided only by the United States. When his peace overtures failed, he went to war in April 1917, still confident that ‘we are chosen, and prominently chosen, to show the way to the nations of the world how they shall walk in the paths of liberty.’

Wilson, an academic by training, was fortified in his convictions by such liberal intellectuals as John Dewey, Walter Lippmann and Herbert Croly (co-founder of the New Republic), who believed that by joining the war America would make the world safe for democracy rather than, as was the case, help the Allied powers deliver a knockout blow to the Germans. As Randolph Bourne, a young critic whose opposition to American intervention made him an outcast among liberal intellectuals, pointed out as early as August 1917, the United States had lost whatever leverage it had as an impartial mediator when it declared war on Germany.

Nevertheless, Wilson pressed ahead with his scheme for a democratic international order, which he hoped would be cemented by a League of Nations. Speaking to Congress in January 1918 he revealed his most ambitious project yet: a 14-point manifesto for the new world envisaged by the United States. Secret diplomacy was to have no place, and free trade, popular government, freedom of the seas, the reduction of armaments, the rights of small countries, and an association of nations to keep the peace were to be the new articles of faith.

Wilson’s Fourteen Points would have been lofty ideals at any time (God, as Clemenceau joked, had only ten). They were particularly unrealistic during a global war that would soon end with Britain, France and Japan adding to their possessions in the Middle East, Africa and East Asia. As it turned out, Wilson was soon forced to compromise his ideals while dealing with the victorious allies at the postwar peace conference in Paris.

It is likely that Wilson would not have stepped up the rhetorical ante in January 1918 if the Bolsheviks had not withdrawn Russia from the war and called on workers and soldiers to cease fighting one another and become revolutionaries against their own rulers. In asserting that America was fighting for a better world, Wilson was trying to undercut Bolshevik claims that the war was a struggle among imperialist powers, with the victorious elites likely to share the spoils. He aimed to influence those Americans and Europeans who, growing tired of the endless fighting, appeared dangerously susceptible to Bolshevik propaganda. Almost by accident, he reached a much bigger and more receptive audience in the colonised world.

Marxism was then being studied and debated in many Asian cities and towns where European traders and missionaries had set up Western-style educational institutions. But the Russian Revolution and its anti-imperialist ethos was not much known. The United States, too, was an unknown player in international relations, and its record in the Philippines or Latin America – Wilson’s imposition, for instance, of military protectorates on Haiti and Nicaragua – went mostly unexamined. Boosted by a slick propaganda campaign, Wilson easily won the first round of his war of ideas with the Bolsheviks, heralding a world where small nations would enjoy the right of self-determination. And so ‘when peace came,’ Manela writes, ‘colonial peoples moved to claim their place in that world on the basis of Wilson’s proclamations.’

In Egypt, Sa’d Zaghlul, a liberal reformist, organised a new political party called the Wafd (‘delegation’) in preparation for the Paris Peace Conference. Soon after war began, the British had declared Egypt a protectorate of the British Empire, formalising their invasion and occupation of the country in 1882. Zaghlul, who is known in Egypt as the Father of the Nation, denounced the protectorate as illegal and hoped to enlist Wilson on his side. ‘No people more than the Egyptian people,’ he wrote in a telegram to Wilson, ‘has felt strongly the joyous emotion of the birth of a new era which, thanks to your virile action, is soon going to impose itself upon the universe.’

Inspired by Wilson’s rhetoric, nationalist leaders in Korea wrote their own Declaration of Independence. Expectations ran even higher in India and China, which had contributed more than a million soldiers and labourers to the Allied war effort in Europe and the Middle East. Tagore wanted to dedicate one of his books to Wilson and, stirred by Wilson’s wartime speeches, Hindu and Muslim leaders of the Indian National Congress jointly demanded to send their delegates – Gandhi among them – to represent India at the peace conference. In Beijing students gathered in front of the American Embassy chanting ‘Long Live President Wilson!’ Liang Qichao, the reformist intellectual and earliest inspiration of Mao Zedong, went to Paris to ensure that China’s sovereignty was respected by the victorious powers, particularly Japan, which, in a campaign green-lighted by Britain during the war, had seized German-held territory in the Shandong peninsula.

Asians and Africans accustomed to stonewalling colonial officials were naturally attracted to the generous promises of the American president. But Wilson, a Southerner who shared the reflexive racism of many in his class and generation (and liked to tell jokes about ‘darkies’), was an unlikely hero in the alleys of Delhi, Cairo and Canton. Piously Presbyterian, and a helpless anglophile (he had courted his wife with quotations from Bagehot and Burke), he had hoped that in the Philippines and Puerto Rico the United States would follow the British tradition of instructing ‘less civilised’ peoples in law and order. After all, ‘they are children and we are men in these deep matters of government and justice.’

Ho Chi Minh would not have bothered to rent a morning suit had he known that Wilson believed as much as his bellicose rival Theodore Roosevelt in America’s responsibility to shoulder the white man’s burden. In January 1917 Wilson argued that America should stay out of the war in order, as he said in a cabinet meeting, to ‘keep the white race strong against the yellow – Japan for instance’. He believed, as he told his secretary of state, Robert Lansing, that ‘“white civilisation” and its domination over the world rested largely on our ability to keep this country intact.’ Though apparently all-encompassing, his rhetoric about self-determination was aimed at the European peoples – Poles, Romanians, Czechs, Serbs – who were part of the German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. In his effort to establish the League of Nations as a framework for collective security and enduring peace in Europe, he had little interest in persuading Britain and France to relinquish their colonial possessions.

Not that this was possible. Wilson had had his chance in the spring of 1917 when he first heard of the secret treaties that outlined how Britain, France, Japan and Italy planned to divide up entire empires among themselves after the war. He could have made American intervention contingent on the Allied powers cancelling these arrangements. Instead, he pretended that the treaties didn’t exist, and even tried to prevent their publication in the US after the Bolsheviks exposed their existence.

Travelling to Europe in 1919, Wilson hoped to appeal directly to the people, over the heads of their leaders. Ecstatic crowds in France and Italy credited him with hastening the end of a deeply unloved war, but in Paris he confronted hardened and cynical imperialists in Lloyd George and Clemenceau. After several internecine wars, Europe’s imperial powers had arrived at a balance-of-power politics. Their representatives in Paris hoped to restore the equilibrium that war had disrupted by reducing Germany’s power; and Wilson kept compromising in the hope that old and new problems in the world order would be solved by his cherished League of Nations.

Mao Zedong caught Wilson’s haplessness in Paris perfectly:

Wilson in Paris was like an ant on a hot skillet. He didn’t know what to do. He was surrounded by thieves like Clemenceau, Lloyd George, Makino and Orlando. He heard nothing except accounts of receiving certain amounts of territory and of reparations worth so much in gold. He did nothing except to attend various kinds of meetings where he could not speak his mind. One day a Reuters telegram read: ‘President Wilson has finally agreed with Clemenceau’s view that Germany not be admitted to the League of Nations.’ When I saw the words ‘finally agreed’, I felt sorry for him for a long time. Poor Wilson!

The League, rejected by the US Senate, turned out to be a fiasco. Wilson’s failures in Paris angered and eventually lost him his liberal supporters at the New Republic. Defeated over Germany, he barely put up a fight when it came to the rights of non-European peoples, many of whom – including the Persians and Syrians – did not get a hearing at the conference. Though backed by a majority of votes, a clause for racial equality proposed by the Japanese delegation foundered because Wilson feared alienating the British and their Australian allies, who wanted to maintain their White Australia Policy.

To a large extent anglophilia blinded Wilson and his advisers, mostly members of the East Coast WASP elite, to anti-colonial feelings in Asia and Africa. The American secretary of state fully backed British rule over Egypt. Allen Dulles, a future Cold Warrior who was then a state department official, suggested that Egyptian demands ‘should not even be acknowledged’. The British, working the special relationship to their advantage, ensured that petitions sent to Wilson in Paris were filed away never to be heard of again; they also told Wilson that Tagore was a dangerous revolutionary (he didn’t get permission for his dedication).

Indian and Korean nationalists didn’t get anywhere near Paris. India was represented by a delegation picked by the British, including a maharajah in a flamboyant red turban. The Egyptians suffered a deeper humiliation. In March 1919 the British arrested Zaghlul and deported him to Malta, provoking widespread public protests in Egypt – what later came to be known as the 1919 Revolution. Faced with nationwide revolt, the British relented and allowed Zaghlul to go to Paris. But while he was honing his English, the British managed to persuade the Americans that Bolsheviks had plotted with Islamic fanatics to fuel the unrest in Egypt. Zaghlul was on his way from Marseille to Paris when Wilson recognised the British protectorate. The Egyptian journalist Muhammad Haykal expressed the general outrage when he wrote:

Here was the man of the Fourteen Points, among them the right to self-determination, denying the Egyptian people its right to self-determination . . . And doing all that before the delegation on behalf of the Egyptian people had arrived in Paris to defend its claim, and before President Wilson had heard one word from them! Is this not the ugliest of treacheries?!

The sense of betrayal was even stronger among millions of Chinese who, unlike the Indians and the Koreans, were adequately represented at the conference. Wilson was sympathetic to Chinese claims on Japanese-occupied Shandong, but he could not persuade Lloyd George and Clemenceau to rescind their wartime promises to Japan. News of China’s failure in May 1919 brought enraged students out on the streets of Beijing, denouncing the US president as a liar. Demonstrations and strikes erupted across China in what would later be known as the May Fourth Movement, an explosion of intellectual and political energy that reverberated through the next decades.

‘The emergence of the Wilsonian moment had heralded the end of a great conflict, the European war,’ Manela writes, ‘but its dissipation gave rise to a greater one still, one “between East and West, between imperialism and self-determination”.’ Western powers could not forever ignore or suppress the nationalist claims and in 1922 China, which had refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles, received a new settlement, restoring Japanese-held areas in Shandong to its sovereignty. Egypt remained volatile, and in the same year the British were forced to grant it a degree of self-rule. In India they tried to retain the repressive policies introduced during the war; but the killing of four hundred demonstrators in Amritsar in April 1919 only accelerated the transformation of the Indian National Congress from a gentleman’s debating club into a mass political party.

‘The new era of self-determination’, as Manela writes, had come, but ‘it was one of conflict rather than co-operation.’ Wilson’s apparent complicity with old-style imperialists united many educated Asians in what Manela calls ‘cynical hostility to Western civilisation’. The early generation of Asian intellectuals and activists had looked to their Western conquerors with awe and admiration. Their nationalism tended to be frankly ‘derivative’, an admission that those who wanted to catch up with the West could do no better than learn from its industrialism and the obviously superior institutions of liberal democracy. But such bourgeois gradualism no longer seemed so attractive to many anti-colonial intellectuals after the Paris Peace Conference.

Liberals such as Tagore who believed in synthesis, a dialogue between West and East, felt particularly humiliated. Gandhi had never expected much of Woodrow Wilson but Tagore had, and on a lecture tour of the United States in 1930 he unexpectedly turned on his American audience, who were probably expecting to be educated about Eastern spirituality. ‘Our appeal does not reach you,’ Tagore said, ‘because you respond only to the appeal of power. Japan appealed to you and you answered because she was able to prove she would make herself as obnoxious as you can.’ Only a deep lingering bitterness could have made the poet tell a New York audience including Franklin Roosevelt, Henry Morgenthau and Sinclair Lewis that ‘a great portion of the world suffers from your civilisation.’

Travelling to Paris, Wilson may have believed that liberalism ‘must be more liberal than ever before, it must even be radical, if civilisation is to escape the typhoon’. But secular liberalism in Muslim countries under direct British control had been tainted well before the true scale of British duplicity in the Middle East was revealed at the end of the war. Even the moderate Islamic scholar, Egypt’s grand mufti Muhammad Abduh, said that ‘we Egyptians . . . believed once in English liberalism and English sympathy; but we believe no longer, for facts are stronger than words. Your liberalness we see plainly is only for yourselves, and your sympathy with us is that of the wolf for the lamb which he designs to eat.’

In China, hostility to Japan and anger at the country’s own fractious warlords fused with anti-Western sentiment to create a sharper-edged nationalism. Western-style liberalism would continue to enjoy a vogue among educated, well-travelled Chinese. But the 20-year-old poet Qu Qiubai, a student of Buddhism who later became a crucial contact in Moscow for the fledgling Chinese Communist Party, found – and he was not alone – that ‘the sharp pain of imperialistic oppression’ liberated him from the illusions of ‘impractical democratic reforms’. Mao Zedong was left with an enduring suspicion of Western motives and policies, and a broader awareness of the political possibilities available to subjugated peoples. As Manela puts it,

the Chinese protest against international injustice, Mao discovered, was part of a wider pattern of uprisings of marginalised groups in international society striving for the recognition of their rights to self-determination and equality. Only the transformation of the norms and practices of international relations would allow China to attain its rightful place among nations.

Manela believes that ‘the rise of Communism in China and elsewhere in the early 1920s was part of that quest, as the failure of the liberal anti-colonialism of the Wilsonian moment to fulfil its promise sparked a search for alternative ideologies.’ After initial successes, Wilson’s influence was overtaken by Lenin’s; China may have been ‘lost’ to Communism not, as the Cold Warriors alleged, in 1949, but in 1919. State-regulated capitalism rather than central planning would bring China – and India – close to their rightful place among nations in the age of globalisation; but the change of economic models did not diminish the lustre of national sovereignty. Nationalist feeling, defined by these early anti-imperialist campaigns for equality, remains potent in both countries, continuing to fuel middle-class Chinese and Indian desires for greater dignity in a world where economic power is shifting back to Asia.

Faced with an enormous task of compression, Manela can only outline how anti-colonial nationalism drew on a great suspicion of Western politicians with noble ideals as well as of those with guns. It would be too much to expect him also to examine Wilson’s legacy, the ‘liberal internationalism’ whose tattered flag was held up most recently by liberal hawks supporting the invasion of Iraq. It is hard, however, to read his book without wondering how those espousing compassionately liberal policies at home become susceptible to violent humanitarianism abroad – what Randolph Bourne incredulously called ‘war in the interests of democracy’. ‘This was almost the sum of their philosophy,’ Bourne wrote of his old friends. ‘The primitive idea to which they regressed became almost insensibly translated into a craving for action.’

Wilson chose to cast American interests abroad in highly moral, even mystical terms, claiming that, as Bourne described it, the United States had been ‘ordained as a nation to lead all erring brothers towards the light of liberty and democracy’; and since the objectives of liberal democracies coincide, Germany could become peaceful by discarding its militarist regime and embracing democracy with American help. (The more corporate-friendly version of this peculiarly American idea is Thomas Friedman’s belief that countries where McDonald’s burgers are eaten never go to war with each other.)

In Paris, Lloyd George and Clemenceau demonstrated that leaders of democracies could be just as brazenly imperialistic as military dictators. But then Wilson, who had presided over a serious erosion of civil liberties at home during the war, was no stranger to moral compromises in foreign policy: he had supported, for instance, China’s militarist president Yuan Shikai against the nationalists allied with Sun Yat-sen in 1913 in the hope of keeping America’s ‘Open Door’ to China.

Such expediencies were later to define the Cold War, in which the United States, as Dean Acheson unironically proclaimed, was ‘willing to help people who believe the way we do, to continue to live the way they want to live’. Or, as the current national security adviser, trying to explain Bush’s recent farewell calls on pro-American dictators in the Middle East, put it, ‘these folks . . . are on board with the freedom agenda and they are pursuing it in their own fashion.’

Wilson’s rhetorical achievement – which distinguished him sharply from traditional European practitioners of realpolitik – was to present America’s strategic and political interests as moral imperatives, and its foreign interventions as necessary acts of international responsibility. European leaders periodically stressed their civilising mission, but no one before Wilson endowed national exceptionalism with such a modern and unimpeachably noble aspiration as ‘democracy’.

Intoxicated by the moral passions of Wilsonianism, American liberal intellectuals would work harder than their European counterparts to justify wars that political leaders promised would make the world safe for democracy. These sincere believers would also be more vulnerable, when faced with the collapse of their bold schemes, to the guilt-laden ‘fear that what we had meant, and what alone could justify it all, was not the meaning and the justification of those who will decide’ – Lippmann’s words, which handily summarise the long, tormented mea culpas produced by liberal hawks after the catastrophe in Iraq.

What neither hard-headed politicians nor their intellectual dupes fully understood was how the rhetoric of liberalism and democracy had gone down in the colonised world. Certainly, Wilson, working deep in a world run by and for white men, could have little sense of the bitterness and disillusionment felt by his ‘darkie’ admirers. But the excuse of racial and intellectual seclusion could not be claimed by apparently liberal politicians and journalists who stridently echoed Wilson’s rhetoric after the collapse of Communism when the world seemed riper for remaking, more ready to absorb Western values while fulfilling Western interests, than at any time since 1919.

‘We are all internationalists now,’ Tony Blair declared to the Chicago Economic Club in April 1999, in the midst of bombing Serbia. ‘In the end,’ he said, ‘values and interests merge. If we can establish and spread the values of liberty, the rule of law, human rights and an open society then that is in our national interests too.’ Dazzled by the wealth and power of fin-de-siècle America (as though returning the compliment after decades of anglophilia among the American ruling class), Blair and other New Labourites turned out to be the most eager European consumers of Wilson’s potpourri of values and interests. Their eloquence proved useful to the most Wilsonian – but also the most inarticulate – of American presidents, and his cronies.

The victories of the Cold War – and the giddy speculation that history had reached the ideological terminus of liberal democracy – revived illusions of omnipotence among an Anglo-American political and media elite that has always known very little about the modern world it claims to have made. Consequently, almost every event since the end of the Cold War – the rise of radical Islam, of India and China, the assertiveness of oil-rich Russia, Iran and Venezuela – has come as a shock, a rude reminder that the natives of Delhi, Cairo and Beijing have geopolitical ambitions of their own, not to mention a sense of history marked by resentment and suspicion of the metropolitan West. The liberal internationalists persist, trying to revive the Wilsonian moment in places where Anglo-American liberalism has been seen as an especially aggressive form of hypocrisy. Increasingly, however, they expose themselves as the new provincials, dangerously blundering about in a volatile world.

          Pankaj Mishra : The 'People's War'        
[from London Review of Books: Vol. 27 No. 12 dated 23 June 2005 ]

In Kathmandu this March, I met a Nepalese businessman who said he knew what had provoked Crown Prince Dipendra, supposed incarnation of Vishnu and former pupil at Eton, to mass murder. On the night of 1 June 2001, Dipendra appeared in the drawing-room of the royal palace in Kathmandu, dressed in combat fatigues, apparently out of it on Famous Grouse and hashish, and armed with assault rifles and pistols. In a few frenzied minutes, he killed his parents, King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya, a brother, a sister and five other relatives before putting a pistol to his head. Anointed king as he lay unconscious in hospital, he died two days later, passing his title to his uncle Gyanendra.

Dipendra’s obsession with guns at Eton, where he was admired by Lord Camoys as a ‘damn good shot’, his heavy drinking, which attracted the malice of the Sun, his addiction to hashish and his fondness for the films of Arnold Schwarzenegger – all this outlines a philistinism, and a potential for violence, commonplace among scions of Third World dynasties (Suharto, Nehru-Gandhi, Bhutto). And it is not so hard to believe the semi-official explanation for his actions: that his parents disapproved of his fiancée. However, the businessman, who claimed to know the royal family, had a more elaborate and intriguing theory.

We sat in a rooftop café in Thamel, Kathmandu’s tourist centre, a few hundred feet from the royal palace. March, the businessman said, was a good season for tourists in Nepal. ‘But look,’ he continued, pointing to the alleys below us, where the bookshops, trekking agencies, cybercafés, bakeries, malls and restaurants were empty. In recent years, the tourist industry has been damaged by news in the international press about the Maoist guerrillas, who model themselves on the Shining Path in Peru, and whose ‘people’s war’ has claimed more than 11,000 lives since 1996. Even fewer tourists have ventured to Nepal since 1 February this year, when King Gyanendra, citing the threat presented by the Maoists, grounded all flights, cut off phone and internet lines, arrested opposition politicians and imposed censorship on the media.

A portly man wearing a cotton tunic, tight trousers and a cloth cap, the businessman had the prejudices of his class, the tiny minority of affluent Nepalese whose wealth comes largely from tourism and foreign aid; and that morning – the spring sun growing warm and burning off the smog over the Kathmandu Valley; the vendors of carpets, Gurkha knives, pirate DVDs and Tibetan prayer flags sullenly eyeing a stray tourist in tie-dye clothes – he aired them freely.

He said that Maoists had bombed the private school he sent his children to; he worried that his servants might join the guerrillas, who controlled 80 per cent of the countryside and were growing strong in the Kathmandu Valley. He said that he was all for democracy – he had been among the protesters demanding a new constitution in the spring of 1990 – but peace and stability were more important. What the country needed now, he declared, was a strong and principled ruler, someone who could crush the Maoists. He said that he missed Dipendra: he was the man Nepal needed at this hour of crisis.

According to him, Dipendra’s three years as a schoolboy in Britain had radicalised him. Just as Pandit Nehru had discovered the poverty of India after his stints at Harrow and Cambridge, so Dipendra had developed a new political awareness in England. He had begun to look, with mounting horror and concern, at his homeland. Returning to Nepal, he had realised that it would take more than tourism to create a strong middle class, accelerate economic growth, build democratic institutions and lift the ninth poorest country in the world to the ranks of modern democratic nations. As it turned out, he had been thwarted at every step by conservative elements in the royal palace. He had watched multi-party democracy, introduced in 1991, grow corrupt and feeble while enriching an elite of politicians and bureaucrats; equally helplessly, he had watched the new rulers of Nepal fail to tackle the Maoists. Frustration in politics rather than love, the businessman claimed, had driven Dipendra to alcohol, drugs, guns and, finally, to regicide.

It’s often hard to know what to believe in Nepal, the only Hindu kingdom in the world, where conspiracy and rumour have long fuelled a particularly secretive kind of court politics. Independent newspapers and magazines have been widely available only since 1990, and though intellectually lively, the press has little influence over a largely illiterate population easily swayed by rumour. In December 2000, news that a Bollywood actor had insulted Nepal incited riots and attacks on Indians and Indian-owned shops across the country. Little is known about Dipendra, apart from his time at Eton, where his fellow pupils nicknamed him ‘Dippy’. There is even greater mystery surrounding Pushpa Kamal Dahal, or Prachanda, the middle-aged, articulate leader of the Maoists, who has been in hiding for the last two decades.

King Gyanendra appeared on national television to blame the palace massacre on a ‘sudden discharge by an automatic weapon’. A popular conspiracy theory, in turn, blamed it on the new king himself, who was allegedly involved in smuggling artefacts out of Nepal, and on his son, Paras, much disliked in Nepal for his habit of brandishing guns in public and dangerous driving – he has run over at least three people in recent years, killing one. More confusingly, the Maoists claimed that they had an ‘undeclared working unity’ with King Birendra, and accused Gyanendra, and Indian and American imperialists, of his murder.

This atmosphere of secrecy and intrigue seems to have grown murkier since February, when Gyanendra adopted the Bush administration’s rhetoric about ‘terrorism’ and assumed supreme power. Flights to Nepal were resumed after only a few days, and the king claimed to have lifted the emergency on 30 April, but most civil rights are still suspended today. When I arrived in Kathmandu, fear hung heavy over the street crossings, where soldiers peeped out from behind machine-gun emplacements. Men in ill-fitting Western suits, with the furtive manner of inept spies, lurked in the lobby of my hotel. Journalists spoke of threatening phone calls from senior army officers who tended to finger as Maoists anyone who didn’t support the king. Many of the people I wanted to meet turned out to be in prison or in exile. Appointments with underground activists, arduously made, were cancelled at the last minute, or people simply didn’t turn up.

Sitting in her gloomy office, a human rights activist described the routine torture and extra-judicial killing of suspected Maoists, which had risen to a startling average of eight a day. Nothing was known about the more than 1200 people the army had taken from their homes since the beginning of the ‘people’s war’ – the highest number of unexplained disappearances in the world. She spoke of the ‘massive impunity’ enjoyed by the army, which was accountable only to the king. She claimed that the governments of India, the US and the UK had failed to understand the root causes of the Maoist phenomenon and had decided, out of fear and ignorance, to supply weapons to the Royal National Army: 20,000 M-16 rifles from the US, 20,000 rifles from India, helicopters from the UK.

She said that the ‘international community’ had chosen the wrong side in a conflict that in any case was not likely to be resolved by violence. Though recently expanded, and mobilised against the Maoists in 2001, the army was no more than 85,000 strong, and could not hold the countryside, where, among the high mountains, ravines and rivers – almost perfect terrain for guerrillas – it faced a formidable enemy.

She spoke with something close to despair. Much of her work – particularly risky at present – depended on international support. But few people outside Nepal cared or knew enough about its human rights record, and the proof lay in her office, which was austerely furnished, with none of the emblems of Western philanthropy – new computers, armed guards, shiny four-wheel drives in the parking lot – that I had seen in December in Afghanistan.

‘People are passing their days here,’ she said as I left her office, and the remark, puzzling at first, became clearer as I spent more time in Kathmandu. In the streets where all demonstrations were banned, and any protest was quickly quashed by the police, a bizarre feeling of normality prevailed, best symbolised by the vibrant billboards advertising mobile phones (banned since 1 February). Adverts in which companies affirmed faith in King Gyanendra appeared daily in the heavily censored newspapers, alongside news of Maoist bombings of police stations, unverified reports of rifts between Maoist leaders, promotional articles about Mercedes Benz cars and Tag Heuer watches, and reports of parties and fashion shows and concerts in Kathmandu.

Thamel opened for business every day, but its alleys remained empty of tourists. Months of Maoist-enforced blockades and strikes were also beginning to scare away the few foreign investors who had been deceived by the affluence of Kathmandu into thinking that Nepal was a big market for luxury consumer goods. Interviewed in a local newspaper, a Dutch investor described the Nepalese as an ‘extremely corrupt, greedy, triple-faced, myopic, slow, inexperienced and uneducated people’, and declared that he was taking his hair-replacement business to Latvia. Western diplomats and United Nations officials – darting in their SUVs from one walled compound to another – speculated about a possible assault on the capital by guerrillas.

But it is the middle-class Nepalese, denounced by the Maoists as ‘comprador capitalists’, who appear to live most precariously, their hopes and anxieties echoed in the newspapers by royalist journalists who affirm daily that Nepal needs a strong ruler and Gyanendra is best placed to defend the country, by means of a spell of autocratic rule, from both Maoist ‘terrorists’ and corrupt politicians.

Often while listening to them, I would remember the businessman I had met in Thamel and what he had told me about Dipendra; and I would wonder how the crown prince, if he had indeed been sensitised to social and economic distress during his three years in Thatcher’s England, had seen his strange inheritance, a country where almost half of the 26 million people earned less than $100 a year and had no access to electricity, running water or sanitation; a country whose small economy, parasitic on foreign aid and tourism, had to be boosted by the remittances of Nepalese workers abroad, and where political forces seen as anachronisms elsewhere – monarchy and Communism – fought for supremacy.

Histories of South Asia rarely describe Nepal, except as a recipient of religions and ideologies – Buddhism, Hinduism, Communism – from India; even today, the country’s 60 ethnic and caste communities are regarded as little more than a picturesque backdrop to some of the world’s highest mountains. This is partly because Western imperialists overlooked Nepal when they radically remade Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries.*

While a British-educated middle class emerged in India and began to aspire to self-rule, Nepal remained a country of peasants, nomads and traders, controlled by a few clans and families. Previously dependent on China, its high-caste Hindu ruling class courted the British as they expanded across India in the 19th century. As in the so-called princely states of India, the British were keen to support despotic regimes in Nepal, and even reward them with territory; it was one way of staving off potentially destabilising change in a strategically important buffer state to Tibet and China. The country was also a source of cheap mercenaries. Tens of thousands of soldiers recruited by the British from the western hills of Nepal fought during the Indian Mutiny, the Boxer Rebellion in China, and in the two world wars. The Gurkhas also helped the British suppress political dissenters in India, and then, more violently, Communist anti-colonialists in Malaya in the 1950s.

As the movement for political independence grew in India, Nepal came to be even more strongly controlled by Hindu kings and the elites they created by giving land grants to members of the high castes, Bahun and Chhetri, which make up less than 30 per cent of the population. The end of the British Empire in Asia didn’t lead to rapid change in Nepal, or end its status as a client state. Indian-made goods flooded Nepalese markets, stifling local industry and deepening the country’s dependence on India. In the 1950s and 1960s, as the Cold War intensified, Nepal was the forward base of the CIA’s operations against China.

American economists and advisers trying to make the world safe for capitalism came to Nepal with plans for ‘modernisation’ and ‘development’ – then seen as strong defences against the growth of Communism in poor countries. In the Rapti valley, west of Kathmandu, where, ironically, the Maoists found their first loyal supporters in the 1990s, the US government spent about $50 million ‘improving household food production and consumption, improving income-generating opportunities for poor farmers, landless labourers, occupational castes and women’.

Modernisation and development, as defined by Western experts during the Cold War, were always compatible with, and often best expedited by, despotic rule. Few among the so-called international community protested when, after a brief experiment with parliamentary democracy in the 1950s, King Mahendra, Dipendra’s grandfather, banned all political parties. A new constitution in 1962 instituted a partyless ‘Panchayat’ system of ‘guided democracy’ in which advisers chosen or controlled by the king rubber-stamped his decisions. The representatives of the Panchayat, largely from the upper castes, helped themselves to the foreign aid that made up most of the state budget, and did little to alleviate poverty in rural areas. The king also declared Nepal a Hindu state and sought to impose on its ethnic and linguistic communities a new national identity by promoting the Nepali language.

Such hectic nation-building could have lulled Nepal’s many ethnic and linguistic communities into a patriotic daze had the project of modernisation and development not failed, or benefited so exclusively and egregiously an already privileged elite. During the years of autocratic rule (1962-90), a few roads were built in the countryside, infant mortality was halved, and the literacy rate went up from 5 per cent in 1952 to 40 per cent in 1991. But Nepal’s population also grew rapidly, further increasing pressure on the country’s scarce arable land; and the gap between the city and the countryside widened fast.

What leads the sensitive prince to drugs and alcohol often forces the pauper to migrate. Millions of Nepalese have swelled the armies of cheap mobile labour that drive the global economy, serving in Indian brothels, Thai and Malaysian sweatshops, the mansions of oil sheikhs in the Gulf and, most recently, the war zones of Iraq. Many more have migrated internally, often from the hills to the subtropical Tarai region on the long border with India. The Tarai produces most of the country’s food and cash crops, and accommodates half of its population. On its flat alluvial land, where malaria was only recently eradicated, the Buddha was born 2500 years ago; it is also where a generation of displaced Nepalese began to dream of revolution.

In Chitwan, one of the more densely populated districts in the Tarai, I met Mukti Raj Dahal, the father of the underground Maoist leader, Prachanda. Dahal was one of the millions of Nepalese to migrate to the Tarai in the 1950s. His son was then eight years old. He had travelled on to India, doing menial jobs in many cities, before returning to Chitwan, which American advisers and the Nepalese government were then developing as a ‘model district’ with education and health facilities. In Chitwan, Dalal bought some land and managed to give his eight children an education of sorts. Though he is tormented by stomach and spinal ailments, he exuded calm as he sat on the verandah of his two-roomed brick house, wearing a blue T-shirt and shorts under a black cap, a Brahminical caste mark on his forehead.

He had the serenity of a man at the end of his life. And, given the circumstances, he had not done too badly. I had spent much of that day on the road from Kathmandu to the Tarai, shuffling past long queues of Tata trucks from India, through a fog of dust and thick diesel smoke, ragged settlements occasionally appearing beside the road: shops made of wooden planks, selling food fried in peanut oil and tea in sticky clouded glasses, mud houses with thatched roofs – a pre-industrial bareness in which only the gleaming automatic guns of young soldiers and the tangle of barbed wire behind which they sat spoke of the world beyond Nepal.

The jittery soldiers who approached the car with fingers on their triggers were very young, hard to associate with stories I had heard in Kathmandu – stories no newspaper would touch – of the army marching men out of overcrowded prisons and executing them. My companion, a Nepalese journalist, was nervous. He knew that the soldiers in the countryside attacked anyone they suspected of being a Maoist, and journalists were no exception. Many of the soldiers barely knew what a journalist was.

There are few places in Nepal untouched by violence – murder, torture, arbitrary arrest – and most people live perpetually in fear of both the army and the Maoists, without expectation of justice or recompense. Dahal, however, appeared to have made a private peace with his surroundings. He told me that he spent much of his day at the local temple, listening to recitals of the Ramayana. He said that he still believed the king had good intentions. He appeared both bemused by, and admiring of, his famous son, whom he had last seen at the funeral of his wife in 1996. The ideas of equality and justice, he thought, had always appealed to Prachanda, who was a sensitive man, someone who shared his food with poor people in the village. He couldn’t tell me how his son had got interested in Mao or Marx in such a place as Chitwan, which had no bookshop or library. But he did know that Prachanda had got involved with Communists when he couldn’t find a good job with the government and had to teach at a primary school in his native hills of Pokhara.

In his speeches, which claim inspiration from Mao and seek to mobilise the peasants in the countryside against the urban elite, Prachanda comes across as an ideologue of another era: he’s an embarrassment to the Chinese regime, which is engaged in the un-Maoist task of enriching Chinese coastal cities at the expense of the hinterland, and feels compelled to accuse Nepalese Maoists of besmirching the Chairman’s good name.

In the few interviews he has given, Prachanda avoids answering questions about his background and motivation, which have to be divined from details given by Dahal: the haphazard schooling, the useless degree, the ill-paid teaching job in a village school, all of which seem to lead inexorably to a conflict with, and resentment of, unjust authority.

The ‘modernisation’ and ‘development’ of Nepal during the 1950s and 1960s created millions of men like Prachanda, lured away from their subsistence economies and abandoned on the threshold of a world in which they found they had, and could have, no place. Nepal’s agricultural economy offered few of them the jobs or the dignity they felt was their due, and they were too aware of the possibilities thwarted by an unequal, stratified society to reconcile themselves to a life of menial labour in unknown lands, and an old age spent in religious stupor. Educated, but with no prospects, many young men like Prachanda must have been more than ready to embrace radical ideas about the ways that an entrenched urban elite could be challenged and even overthrown if peasants in the countryside were organised.

Growing up in Nepal in the 1960s, Prachanda watched these ideas grow in the Naxalbari movement in India. Communist activists lived and worked secretly in parts of Nepal during the Panchayat era – in the 1950s, a famous Communist leader called M.B. Singh travelled in the midwestern hills and acquired followers among the Magars, one of Nepal’s more prominent ethnic groups now supporting the Maoists. But Prachanda says that the ‘historic Naxalbari movement’ of India was the ‘greatest influence’ on the Communists of Nepal.

In the late 1960s, thousands of students, many of them middle-class and upper-caste, joined an armed peasant uprising led by an extremist faction of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in West Bengal and Bihar. Known as Naxalites, after the Naxalbari district where the revolt first erupted in 1967, they attacked ‘class enemies’ – big landlords, policemen, bureaucrats – and ‘liberated’ territories which they hoped would form bases for an eventual assault on the cities, as had happened in China. The Indian government responded brutally, killing and torturing thousands. Driven underground, the Naxalite movement splintered, and remained dormant for many years.

In the 1990s, when India began to move towards a free market, the Naxalite movement revived in some of the poorest and most populous Indian states. Part of the reason for this is that successive Indian governments have steadily reduced subsidies for agriculture, public health, education and poverty-eradication, exposing large sections of the population to disease, debt, hunger and starvation. Almost three thousand farmers committed suicide in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh after the government, advised by McKinsey, cut agricultural subsidies in an attempt to initiate farmers into the world of unregulated markets. In recent years, Naxalite movements, which have long organised landless, low-caste peasants in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, have grown quickly in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh – where an enfeebled Indian state is increasingly absent – to the extent that police and intelligence officials in India now speak anxiously of an unbroken belt of Communist-dominated territory from Nepal to South India.

The Naxalite uprising in the late 1960s invigorated the few Communists in Nepal, who, like the members of the Nepali Congress, the main underground political organisation, sought guidance and encouragement from India. In 1971, some Nepalese Communists living across the border from Naxalbari declared a ‘people’s war’ against the monarchy. They killed seven ‘class enemies’ before being suppressed by the king. As fractious as their Indian counterparts, the Nepalese Communist parties split and split again over petty doctrinal or personality issues. In 1991, after the restoration of multi-party democracy, several of them contested elections, and even did well: a Communist coalition became the biggest opposition party, and briefly held power in 1994. In the early 1990s, however, few people in Nepal could have predicted the swift rise of Prachanda and the obscure faction he led.

The Maoists under Prachanda resolved as early as 1986 to follow Mao’s strategy of capturing state power through a ‘people’s war’. They did not start the war until the mid-1990s, however, when disillusionment with parliamentary democracy created for them a potentially wide popular base in the countryside. Still, hardly anyone noticed when on 4 February 1996 the Maoists presented the government with a list of 40 demands, which included abrogating existing treaties with India, stripping the monarchy of all power and privileges, drafting a new constitution by means of a constituent assembly, nationalising private property, declaring Nepal a secular nation and ending all foreign aid. These demands were not likely to be met; and as though aware of this, the Maoists began their ‘people’s war’ by attacking police stations in six districts four days before the deadline.

For the next five years, the Maoists forced their way into the national consciousness with their increasingly bold tactics. They financed themselves by collecting ‘taxes’ from farmers, and they exacted ‘donations’ from many businessmen in the Kathmandu Valley. They indoctrinated schoolchildren; they formed people’s governments in the areas they controlled and dispensed rough justice to criminals and ‘class enemies’. But much of the new power and charisma of the Maoists came from their ability to launch audacious attacks on the police and the army.

The military wing of the Maoists initially consisted of a few ill-trained men armed with antique rifles and homemade weapons. But they chose their first target cannily: the police, almost the only representatives of the central government in much of Nepal. Poorly armed, often with little more than sticks and .303 Lee Enfield rifles, the police retreated swiftly before the Maoists, who also attacked roads, bridges, dams, administrative offices, bridges, power plants – anything they felt might aid the counter-insurgency efforts of the government.

In recent years, the Maoists have grown militarily strong, mostly through conscription in the countryside, and regular training – allegedly provided by Indian Naxalites. They have acquired better weapons by looting police stations and buying from the arms bazaars of India; they have also learned how to make roadside explosives, pipe and ‘pressure cooker’ bombs. In November 2001, the Maoists launched 48 attacks on the army and the police in a single day, forcing the Nepalese government to impose a state of emergency. More than 5000 people died in the next 15 months, the bloodiest period in Nepal’s modern history.

But violence is only a part of the Maoists’ overall strategy. In an interview in 2000, Prachanda criticised Indian Communist groups for their lack of vision and spoke of the importance of developing ‘base areas’. Since 1996, the Maoists have spread out from their traditional home in the midwestern hills of Rolpa and Rukum districts. Their cadres – estimated to number as many as 100,000 – travel to deprived areas, addressing, and often recruiting from, the large and growing mass of people deeply unhappy with Nepal’s new democratic dispensation.

Some measure of democracy was inevitable in Nepal by the 1980s. In previous decades, the state’s half-hearted efforts at development had produced many low-level bureaucrats, small businessmen, teachers, students and unemployed graduates. This new class resented the continuing dominance of upper-caste clans and families. The conflict between the old elite and its challengers was aggravated by a series of economic crises in the late 1980s. In 1985-86, Nepal had negotiated a loan with the IMF and World Bank. The bank’s euphemistically named (and free-market oriented) ‘structural adjustment programme’, which was then causing havoc in Latin American economies, forced the Nepalese government to cut farm subsidies and jobs in the public sector. GDP grew as a result but the gains were cancelled out by inflation of up to 10 per cent and a trade and transit embargo imposed by India in 1989, which caused severe fuel shortages and price rises.

The protesters who filled the streets of Kathmandu in the spring of 1990 were convinced that the decaying Panchayat system could not deal with the shocks of the new world and needed to be reformed. In acceding to demands for multi-party democracy, the king appeared to acknowledge the strength of the new educated class and to recognise that the old political system needed a degree of popular legitimacy if it was to survive. It’s clear now that what happened in 1990 was less a revolution than a reconfiguration of power, sanctified by elections, among the old royalist oligarchy and an emerging urban middle class. Many courtiers and sycophants of the king managed to reinvent themselves as parliamentary politicians, often joining the Nepali Congress, the political party that ruled Nepal for all but one of the next 13 years. There were few ideological differences between the Nepali Congress and the main opposition party, the radical-sounding Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist), both of which continued to be led by upper-caste men motivated largely by a desire for money and power. Elections were held frequently, and a procession of governments – 13 in as many years – made Nepalese democracy appear vibrant. But the majority of the population, especially its ethnic communities, went largely unrepresented.

In 1992, when democracy still promised much, and Maoism was no more than another rumour in the streets of Kathmandu, Andrew Nickson, a British expert on Latin America, wrote prophetically:

The future prospects of Maoism in Nepal will . . . depend largely on the extent to which the newly elected Nepali Congress government addresses the historic neglect and discrimination of the small rural communities which still make up the overwhelming bulk of the population of the country. As in the case of Peru, this would require a radical reallocation of government expenditures towards rural areas in the form of agricultural extension services and primary healthcare provision.

Needless to say, this didn’t happen. In 2002, Dalits, low-caste Hindus, had an annual per capita income of only $40, compared to a national average of $210; fewer than 10 per cent of Dalits were literate. The upper-caste men who dominated the new democratic regime were competing among themselves to siphon off the money pouring into Nepal from foreign donors. A fresh convert to the ideology of the free market, the Nepalese government dedicated itself to creating wealth in urban areas. Trying to boost private investment in Kathmandu, it neglected agriculture, on which more than 80 per cent of the population depend for a living. Not surprisingly, absolute poverty continued to increase in the late 1990s, even as Kathmandu Valley benefited from the growth in the tourist, garment and carpet industries, and filled up with new hotels, resorts and villas.

In such circumstances, many people are likely to be attracted to violent, extra-parliamentary groups. The Maoists in Nepal had their first ready constituency among rural youths, more than 100,000 of whom fail their high school examination every year. Unemployed and adrift, many of these young men worked for other political parties in the countryside before becoming disillusioned and joining the Maoists.

Mohan was one of the young men who joined a newly legitimate political party after 1990 and then found himself remote from the spoils of power. He then worked with the Maoists for almost five years, living in jungles, once travelling to the easternmost corner of Nepal, before deciding to leave them. He couldn’t return to his village, which lay in the Maoist-dominated region of Rolpa, and had gone to India for a while. He was now trying to lie low in Kathmandu, and although he didn’t say so, he seemed to be ‘passing his days’ and making a living through odd jobs, like so many other people in the city.

We had arranged to meet in Boudhanath, Kathmandu’s major Buddhist site. Sitting in the square around the white stupa, among monks in swirling crimson robes and often with white faces, Mohan spoke of ‘feudal forces’ and the ‘bourgeoisie’: their corruption had paved the way for the Maoists, whom he described as ‘anarchists’. He used the foreign words with a Nepalese inflection. He said that he had picked them up while accompanying a Maoist propagandist on tour; and it occurred to me, as he described his background, that he still used them despite having left the Maoists because he had no other vocabulary with which to describe his experience of deprivation and disappointment.

He was born and brought up in a family of Magar shepherds in a corner of Rolpa district that had no proper roads, schools or hospitals. Educated at a school in Palpa, a walk of several miles from his village, he had joined the Nepali Congress in 1992, when still in his late teens, and become a personal aide to a prominent local politician. There were many such young men. They received no money for their services, but slept in the politician’s house, ate the food prepared for his family, and travelled with him to Kathmandu. Mohan said that it was a good time, the early years of democracy. He liked being in Kathmandu, especially with someone who had a bit of power. But he couldn’t fail to notice that the politician returned less and less often to his constituency in the hills and often refused to meet people who came to his door asking for jobs, money and medical help. He was surprised to hear that the politician was building a new house for himself in Kathmandu. Soon, he felt he was not needed, and one day the politician’s wife told him to eat elsewhere.

Clashes between Nepali Congress activists and the Maoists were common in his area; he felt that he could be useful to the Maoists with his knowledge of politics. He was also attracted to the idea of ethnic autonomy that the Maoists espoused. He had seen in his time with the politician how the upper-caste-dominated government in Kathmandu possessed an unjust share of the country’s wealth and resources. Many people he knew had already joined the Maoists, and in 1995, one of his friends introduced him to the Maoist ‘squad commander’ in the region.

As he spoke, I wondered if this was the whole truth, if he hadn’t joined the Maoists for the same reason he had joined the Nepali Congress, the reason many young men like him in India joined political parties: for food and shelter. In any case, he joined the Maoists at a bad time: it was in 1995 that the Nepalese government launched Operation Romeo.

This scorched-earth campaign is described as an instance of ‘state terror’ in a report by INSEC (Informal Sector Service Centre), Nepal’s most reliable human rights group. The police, according to the report, invaded villages in the Rolpa and Rukum districts, killing and torturing young men and raping women. When I mentioned this to Mohan, he said that things weren’t as bad as they were made out to be by the ‘bourgeois’ intelligentsia in Kathmandu, who, he thought, were soft on the Maoists. He said the Maoists were simply another opportunistic political group; this was why he had left them. They were interested in mobilising ethnic communities only to the extent that this would help them capture ‘state power’; they weren’t really interested in giving them autonomy. He had also been repelled by their cruelty. He had heard about – if not actually seen – instances of Maoists punishing people who refused to pay taxes, defied their alcohol ban or were suspected of being police informers. Using rocks and hammers, they often broke all the bones in their victims’ bodies before skinning them alive and cutting off their tongues, ears, lips and noses.

Many of these stories appear in reports by Nepalese and international human rights groups. The Maoist leaders were, I often heard in Kathmandu, riding a tiger, unable to prevent their angry and frustrated cadres from committing torture and murder. Criminals had infiltrated their movement, and some Maoists now made a living from extortion and kidnapping. When confronted with these excesses, Maoist leaders deny or deplore them. They probably realise that that they are losing many of their original supporters, who are as tired of the organisation’s growing extremism as of the years of indecisive fighting. Nevertheless, these leaders can often seem constrained in their political thinking by revolutionary methods and rhetoric created in another time and place. Prachanda, for instance, is convinced that ‘a new wave of revolution, world revolution is beginning, because imperialism is facing a great crisis.’

When the subject is not world revolution but the specific situation of Nepal, he can be shrewdly perceptive. A police officer in India told me that many of the Indian Communists he interviewed confessed to learning much from the Maoists in Nepal, who were not as rigidly doctrinal as Communists in India and Afghanistan. As Prachanda put it:

The situation in Nepal is not classical, not traditional. In the Terai region we find landlords with some lands, and we have to seize the lands and distribute them among the poor peasants. But in the whole mountainous regions, that is not the case. There are smallholdings, and no big landlords . . . How to develop production, how to raise production is the main problem here. The small pieces of land mean the peasants have low productivity. With collective farming it will be more scientific and things can be done to raise production.

It is not clear how much collective farming exists, or what non-military use the Maoists make of the taxes they collect. In fact, there is little reliable information about what goes on in the countryside. Few journalists venture out of their urban bases, and the Maoists aren’t the only obstacle. Most of the very few roads outside Kathmandu are a series of large potholes, and then there are the nervous soldiers at checkpoints. And once you move away from the highway, no soldiers or policemen appear for miles on end. In Shakti Khor, a village in the Tarai region populated by one of the poorest communities in Nepal, a few men quietly informed us that Maoist guerrillas were hiding in the nearby forest, where no security forces ever ventured and from where the Maoists often escaped to India. At a small co-operative shop selling honey, mustard oil, turmeric and herbal medicines, two men in their mid-twenties appeared very keen to put in a good word for the Maoists – who the previous night had painted red anti-monarchy slogans on the clean walls.

In the other Maoist-dominated regions I visited, people seemed too afraid to talk. At Deurali Bazaar, a village at the end of a long and treacherous drive in the hills near Pokhara, a newly constructed bamboo gate was wrapped with a red cloth painted with a hammer and sickle and the names of Maoists either dead or in prison. The scene in the square appeared normal at first – women scrubbing children at a municipal tap, young men drinking tea, an old tailor hunched over an antique sewing-machine, his walking stick leaning against his chair – but the presence of the Maoists, if unacknowledged, was unmistakable. When I tried to talk to the men at the teashop, they walked away fast, one of them knocking over the tailor’s stick. The shopkeeper said that he knew nothing about Maoists. He didn’t know who had built the bamboo gate; it had simply appeared one morning.

When I got back to Pokhara that evening, the news was of three teenage students killed as they tried to stop an army car on the highway. The previous day I had seen newspaper reports in which the army described the students as ‘terrorists’ and claimed to have found documents linking them to the Maoists. But it now seemed clear that they were just collecting donations for Holi, the Hindu festival of colours. There were eyewitnesses to the shooting. The parents of the victims had exhumed their corpses from the shallow graves in which the army had quickly buried them and discovered that two of them had been wearing their school uniforms. Like much else in Nepal, this would not appear in the newspapers.

The bloody stalemate in Nepal may last for a long time. The army is too small and poorly equipped at present decisively to defeat the Maoists. In some areas it has recently tried arming upper-caste villagers and inciting them to take action against the Maoists. In the southern district of Kapilavastu, vigilante groups organised by a local landlord and armed by the government claim to have killed more than fifty Maoists in February. Such tactics are not only likely to lead to a civil war but also to increase support for the Maoists in areas where the government is either absent or disliked.

Though unlikely at present, talks may offer a way forward. The Maoists have shown themselves willing to negotiate and even to compromise: in July 2001 they dropped their demand that Nepal cease to be a monarchy. More recently, Prachanda hinted at a flexible stance when he called for a united front of mainstream political parties against the monarch. He probably fears that the guerrilla force might self-destruct if its leaders fail to lead their more extreme cadres in the direction of moderate politics. But any Maoist concessions to bourgeois democracy are unlikely to please Gyanendra, who clearly wants to use the current chaos to help him hold on to his power.

If he periodically evokes the prospect of terrorists taking over Nepal, Gyanendra can count on the support of India, the US and the UK. In late 2001, the US ambassador to Nepal, Michael Malinowski, a veteran of the CIA-sponsored anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, said that ‘these terrorists, under the guise of Maoism or the so-called “people’s war”, are fundamentally the same as terrorists elsewhere – be they members of the Shining Path, Abu Sayaf, the Khmer Rouge or al-Qaida.’ The then Hindu nationalist government in Delhi, just as eager to name new enemies, also described the Maoists as ‘terrorists’.

The present Indian government has a more nuanced view of Nepal. But it is worried about India’s own Communist rebels and their links with the Nepalese Maoists, and it believes that, as Malinowski put it, ‘all kinds of bad guys could use Nepal as a base, like in Afghanistan.’ Responding to fears that the army in Nepal was running out of ammunition, India resumed its arms supply this year, partly hoping to contain the Maoists and wanting too to maintain its influence over Nepal in the face of growing competition from the US.

There is no evidence that bad guys, as defined by the Bush administration, have flocked to Nepal; the Maoists are far from achieving a military victory; and the Communists in India are unlikely to extend their influence beyond the poverty-stricken districts they presently control. The rise of an armed Communist movement in a strategically important country nevertheless disturbs many political elites, who believe that Communism died in 1989 and that history has arrived at the terminus of liberal-capitalist democracy.

A European diplomat in Kathmandu told me that although Western countries hoped the political parties and the king would put up a joint front against the Maoists, they knew they might at some point have to support the king and his army if he alone was left to protect the country from the Maoists and keep alive the prospects for democracy. I did not feel that I could ask him about the nature of a democracy that is protected by an autocrat. Perhaps he meant nothing more by the word ‘democracy’ than regular elections: the kind of democracy whose failure to contain violence or to limit systemic poverty and inequality does not matter so long as elections are held, even if, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, under a form of martial law, and in which the turnout of voters does nothing but empower and legitimise a native elite willing to push the priorities of its Western patrons.

Such a form of democracy, which is slowly coming into being in Pakistan, could be revived again in Nepal, as the king repairs his relationship with the mainstream political parties. It is possible, too, that the excesses of the Maoists will cause them to self-destruct. Certainly the international revolution Prachanda speaks of will prove a fantasy. Yet it’s hard to wish away the rage and despair of people who, arriving late in the modern world, have known its primary ideology, democracy, only as another delusion – the disenchanted millions who will increasingly seek, through other means than elections, the dignity and justice that they feel is owed to them.


* For an accessible account of the beginnings of modern Nepal, see John Whelpton's A History of Nepal, Cambridge, 2005. Some recent scholarship on the Maoists is collected in Himalayan 'People's War': Nepal's Maoist Rebellion, ed. Michael Hutt, Hurst and Co, 2004. The Nepalese novelist Manjushree Thapa provides an engaging personal account of Nepal's recent turbulent years in Forget Kathmandu: An Elegy for Democracy, Penguin India, Delhi, 2005'
          Kashmir's Endless Autumn        
by Rehana Hakim [from Counter-Currents:18 November 2004]

Where or how does one begin? Three weeks of reflection after a five-day journey into "forbidden land" yield only one absolute truth: in Kashmir - Jammu, the valley and 'Azad' - there is no absolute truth.

And in the myriad faces of the conflict that has spanned 57 years and claimed tens of thousands of lives, there are no winners.

So where does one begin?

At the very beginning of the first-ever trip in 57 years to Indian-administered Kashmir by a group of Pakistani journalists? That would be the meeting in Anantnag with Mehbooba Mufti - Kashmir's answer to Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto - the supremely confident and articulate daughter of Jammu and Kashmirs' chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Or does one start with the scion of the 'Lion' of Kashmir's family, the suave Omar Abdullah, who holds Pakistan responsible for most of J&K's travails. Does one focus on JKLF's angry young man, Yasin Malik, who accuses the "imperialist Punjabis" from both sides of the divide of deciding the fate of Kashmir without taking the Kashmiris' aspirations into account. Or should the curtain open to the APHC's Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who staunchlyopposes reopening the bus route between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar because he believes it will dilute the Kashmir problem.

Perhaps one should start at the other end of the ideological divide - at the camps of the Pandits in Jammu, who fled the valley after the latest insurgency erupted and who accuse the Pakistani media of never failing to report on the "excesses" on Kashmiris by the security personnel but ignoring the "genocide" of Pandits by the militants. Or should one just plunge into the heart of the issue: the homes of hundreds of those Kashmiris who have lost fathers, husbands and sons to security forces, to the freedom struggle or to militancy, and been left at the mercy of the state apparatus?

Kashmir is tricky terrain. It's like walking a minefield. Passions and tempers run high. There is a high degree of skepticism, cynicism, and of suspicion - borne understandably of 57 years of a closed-door policy - when a delegation of 16 journalists sponsored by the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) arrives in Jammu and Kashmir as guests of The Kashmir Times.

The opening salvo is fired by Asiya Andrabi, leader of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, a right-wing women's group that hit the headlines in 1992 for reportedly trying to implement their version of the Islamic code of dress and throwing acid on some women who refused to cover their faces.

Speaking at an impromptu press conference at one of her many hideouts, Andrabi, who is currently a fugitive from the law, alleges that the visit is sponsored by the Indian government, and that the delegates are guests of pro-India political parties and the army. She demands to know why Pakistani journalists have been allowed to enter J&K, when Amnesty International and other human rights groups have been denied permission. Andrabi describes the visit as part of a "diabolical plan" for Musharraf's sellout on Kashmir. Andrabi is not the only one who has reservations about the trip.

JKLF's Yasin Malik feels the delegation has compromised the legal status of Kashmir by travelling on Indian visas. The APHC's Syed Ali Shah Geelani is not pleased that Doda, Baramulla, Rajouri - the areas that have borne the brunt of the army's excesses - have not been included in the itinerary. And the Kashmir Bar Council takes the journalists to task for partaking of wazwan (Kashmir's gourmet cuisine) with state functionaries. In short, we are put on the defensive from the word go.

No, we are not representing Musharraf, Manmohan Singh, or the US; no, we have no agenda; no, we do not represent any government; no, we have no roadmap on Kashmir; no, we offer no solutions; no, we are not the UN Secretary-General.

We are lambasted time and again for travelling on Indian visas, till an irritated Imtiaz Alam, SAFMA's head honcho, responds with: "How come you don't question Hurriyat leaders who travel on Indian passports?" That clinches the argument.

Andrabi's tirade aside, no one, with any shade of political opinion, would miss an opportunity to meet a corps of Pakistani journalists.

The 76-year-old Syed Ali Shah Geelani, often branded an ISI agent by the Indian media, meets us at the Tehreek-i-Hurriyat headquarters in Hyderpore. He remains firm on his stand: J&K's accession to Pakistan. He sees no other option. "An independent Kashmir will become a playing field for vested interests," he states in categorical terms. "There has to be a plebiscite in accordance with UN resolutions." He warns against an Afghanistan-like U-turn on Kashmir and even opposes the proposal of soft borders and free travel between the two Kashmirs. He fears it would dilute the Kashmir problem. "Even if India were to pave the streets of Kashmir with gold, it would not atone for the blood of its martyrs," says Geelani.

Questioned about the differences within the APHC's ranks, he says there are none. "Only those people who violated the party's constitution by contesting in the 2002 polls were suspended." Told to prove his electoral strength by contesting an election, he says, "I will do so only under UN observers. The Indians would rig elections to embarrass me."

Unlike APHC's hardliners, the moderate faction of the APHC, led by Maulana Abbas Ansari, accuses Islamabad of scuttling any peace moves by funding a plethora of agencies to foment trouble in Kashmir. "We never thought a symbol of political unity would be broken up by its mentor," fumes Abdul Ghani Bhat, the former Hurriyat Chairman. He says he tore up an earlier will in which he had expressed a desire to be buried in Pakistan. The Ansari group, however, claims to have a blueprint for a settlement of the Kashmir dispute which would be acceptable to all three sides and which would take into account the "sensitivities, security concerns, economic interests and national honour of all three as well as the functional togetherness of different regions of J&K."

Sheikh Abdullah's son-in-law, G.M. Shah, a former chief minister of J&K who heads the JK Awami National Conference, proposes what he calls "the mother of all confidence-building measures" - an intra-Kashmir conference to hammer out a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

The walls of the entrance to the house where we meet the J&K Democratic Front Party's Chief, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, are a testimony to the violence in Kashmir: pasted all over are snapshots of hundreds of bullet-riddled, tortured bodies of those killed in the valley.

"India should stop custodial killings, release detained political activists, withdraw the Public Safety Act under which people can be detained for two years without any trial, set up a Kashmir Committee headed by a man like Vajpayee to carry the peace process forward, and it should include Kashmiris."

Any implication that the militants have hijacked Kashmir's freedom movement are cast aside. "We are grateful to the militants for taking the Kashmir issue out of cold storage and pushing it centrestage," he says. "In any case, they are mostly locals and, those who are not, will go back home once the peace initiatives begin to show results. Before 1989, no one carried even a penknife. The Kashmir issue is a political issue and it has to be resolved politically," he says categorically.

The most passionate, and the most volatile of the separatists, is the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman, Yasin Malik. Unlike Shabbir Shah who breaks into a smile every now and then, the lean, wiry Yasin appears grim, pensive, angst-ridden. There is an impenetrable barrier of reserve. But as the 38-year-old freedom fighter, who has spent 15 years in jail, off and on, in Srinagar, Jodhpur and Tihar, begins to speak to the Pakistani media at the party headquarters in Maisuma, the reserve boils over into seething rage.

There is overwhelming anger at the Kashmiris being left out of the dialogue process. "Are we a pack of animals?" he asks angrily. "This is not a border dispute between India and Pakistan that has to be resolved by its rulers. The solution has to be in consonance with Kashmir's aspirations."

In the last 16 months, Malik has gone from village to village collecting signatures of the people of J&K demanding that they be allowed to determine their own future - 16 lakh signatures at last count. He accuses the Indian government of wanting to change the demographic character of J&K.

Yasin is dismissive of the 2002 state assembly polls. "According to the Election Commission, the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, secured only 2,81,000 votes in the entire state. Besides only 20 per cent of the population participated in the polls, which means 80 per cent boycotted the polls on our call. So who was defeated?"

He reads extracts from the works of the well known Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali's collection, A Country Without a Post Office (Shahid died of cancer at age 55 in the US), copies of which he gifts to all the delegates:

"When the muezzin died,the city was robbed of every call.
The houses were swept about like leaves for burning.
Now every night we buryour houses - and theirs, the ones left empty.
We are faithful. On their doors we hang wreaths.
More faithful each night fire again is a walland
we look for the dark as it caves in."

Agha Shahid's father, the erudite Agha Ashraf Ali, a former professor of political history, is scathing in his comments, but his contempt is not reserved for India alone. He refers to India and Pakistan as the "pipsqueaks with their little bombs," and ends on a telling note: "Leave us to our own devices, we will manage. The Kashmiris will have the last laugh."

In Srinagar, both expectations and passions run highS Every Kashmiri you run into at Srinagar's Broadway Hotel wants five minutes of your time; wants you to understand his trauma, his suffering, his pain; wants you to hear his story - and there are many, many stories. Stories of missing sons, abused daughters; stories of women whose husbands have gone missing and widows; abandoned orphans, destitute families and charred properties.

Each more poignant than the other.

There's Parveena Ahangar, whose son has been missing for the past 17 years. A college student, he was picked up by security forces from his house at three o'clock in the morning. Since then Parveena has been running from army cantonments to prison cells to government offices demanding to know the whereabouts of her son. She believes he's been killed. "At least, give me his body to bury," the mother cries in anguish.

Ahangar now heads an organisation called Parents of Disappeared Persons (PADP). She takes Ary Televison's Syed Talat Hussain in a rickshaw to meet other parents of missing children. In her neighbourhood alone, there are apparently 60 such cases.

At Syed Ali Shah Geelani's press briefing, a dozen or so women approach the female journalists. One of them holds The News' foreigncorrespondent, Mariana Baabar's hand and cries out aloud as she talks of how life has become a veritable hell ever since her husband decided to join the militants. She lifts her pheran (long Kashmiri outer garment) to reveal a big gash in her stomach. She accuses the security forces of torturing and tormenting her. "My young daughters are summoned to the army camp every now and then," she says. We are told to visit Doda, Baramulla, Budgam and Rajouri that are teeming with stories like hers.

We hear the sorry tale of Pattan, an entire village which was burnt down as "retribution" when some army personnel were killed. Another village, we are told, was torched when the security forces found a militant holed up in one of the houses in the area.

"Is it fair to punish an entire village because a militant has sought refuge in one home?" says an angry Kashmiri shopkeeper. "In many cases the militants don't enter our homes with our permission. They just barge in." He recalls the time when a group of eight militants forced their way into his house, when he was away at work. His sisters were forced to vacate their room. "The visitors, from Jaish I suspect, didn't harass anyone, but they mounted their guns, and stayed and prayed through the night. Before they left early the next morning, my family made breakfast for them and they insisted on paying for a pack of butter they had asked my brother to get from a corner shop. But till the time they were there, my family was on tenterhooks."

Suddenly, our hitherto forthcoming shopkeeper is struck by the realisation that talking to us might cost him dearly. "Please don't reveal my identity," he pleads. "If the security forces find out, they will lock me up on charges of harbouring terrorists." His fear is palpable. As is the fear of a hotel employee who looks around to see if anyone is listening as he informs me about his son, a college student, who was constantly being approached by militants to join the freedom movement. He pulled his son out of college and found him employment elsewhere. "Please don't disclose my name," he beseeches "or else I'll be in deep trouble."

In Kashmir, the battle lines are drawn: 'Either you are with us - the militants or the security forces - or you are against us. And whichever side you are on, prove it.' There is no sitting on the fence, no such entity as neutral observer. One is constantly looking over one's shoulder to see who's eavesdropping. "But some Kashmiris have learnt the art of survival," says a Delhi-based reporter. "They'll give the ISI or a Pakistani one story, they'll gave RAW or an Indian another."

However, at Srinagar's Kashmir University with 4,000 students on the roll, there is just one storyS

SAFMA's Imtiaz Alam throws a simple question at the 20 students who have been chosen for an interface with SAFMA delegates: If they had to choose between India, Pakistan and independence, what would they opt for?

"Total independence" is the overwhelming response. They don't wish to merge with either India or Pakistan. "Firstly we'd like a reunification of the Indian and Pakistan-administered parts of Kashmir, plus the part that is with China, and then we want independence." But even as they speak, around 50 to 60 students carrying placards raise slogans of "Azadi ka matlab kiya? La illaha illalah," "Pakistan Zindabad," and "Jeevay, jeevay Pakistan." Some say they want 'Nizam-e-Mustafa.' Asked whether they know what it implies in practical terms, they are vague.

The students complain to Pakistani TV anchors, Talat Hussain of Ary, Munizae Jahangir of Geo and Mujahid Barelvi of Indus TV, on camera, that they were not informed about the Pakistani media team's visit and that their university's principal unilaterally decided on the list of students and faculty members who would be allowed to meet the journalists. The number of protesting students swells to roughly 300, all wanting to be heard. The media team has to be moved to the main auditorium of Gandhi Bhavan next door to hear them all.

The anger here pulsates through the hall. They want azadi, azadi, azadi. "Politics is not allowed on the campus," Kashmir University's vice chancellor had said earlier in response to my query. But obviously you can't drown the cry of freedom.

Asked if the faculty has done any definitive study on the Kashmir question or examined possible resolutions of the dispute, Professor Noor Mohammed Baba, head of the political science department, acknowledges that no such study has been possible because of the "pressures from both sides - the government and the militants. Everyone has gone through a traumatic experience and free expression is not possible."

The university has had its share of problems. The early '90s saw the departure of a major chunk of the faculty, primarily comprising the Pandits, who were highly educated. They couldn't withstand the pressures of the volatile political situation. They were among the three lakh Pandits who left the valley in the wake of what they say was a "calculated genocide" to drive the Pandits out of the valley. Only 18,000 Pandits chose to stay behind. "The community's unity has been lost," says a Muslim teacher. "We never thought in terms of Muslims and Pandits, but the violence has pulled us apart. A cultural erosion has taken place."

As we drive into Muthi, a 10 km drive from Jammu, crowds carrying placards denouncing the violence against Kashmiri pandits dot the landscape. This is one of the 500 camps spread all over Jammu, where displaced Kashmiri Pandits have taken sanctuary.

They live in tiny, 10x10 one-room tenements, each with a small kitchenette, but communal bathrooms. The affluent among them have moved to Delhi, Mumbai and other cities.

Shouting, screaming men converge on us from all sides as we settle down, amidst much jostling and pushing. They are livid at having had to leave the comfort of their homes and live in squalor. They blame the Pakistan government for continuing to sponsor cross-border terrorism and militancy in Kashmir. The Pakistani media is also ticked off for highlighting human rights violations by security forces in Kashmir, but failing to mention "the barbarism perpetrated by militants."

"This amounts to ethnic cleansing," says Ashwini Kumar Chrangoo, chief of the Panun Kashmiri Movement, an organisation for displaced Kashmiri Pandits.

Separatist leaders, however, allege that it was the J&K Governor, Jagmohan, who manoeuvered the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits from Srinagar and communalised the issue. Says the Democratic Freedom Party's Shabbir Shah, "We have asked the Pandits to return to the valley. We will protect them with our lives."

But the mood in the camp is one of fury. "We are not ready for another migration. We want a separate homeland within the valley, carved from the north and east side of the Jhelum valley." And they say that they too want to be included in the talks on the Kashmir issue.

They have a parting request to make: they want the Pakistan government to take steps to renovate the Sharda temple, an ancient shrine of Kashmiri Pandits in Azad Kashmir, and make it possible for them to visit it. The queue of people wanting to visit family, friends and religious sites on the other side of the divide is long... and growing.

Ram Lal, 88, grabs hold of Tahir Naqqash, Dawn's correspondent in Muzaffarabad, and enquires about friends he left behind at the time of Partition: Lassu Ju, Wali Ju, Usman Bhoriwalla. Ram Lal lived in a refugee camp in Muzaffarabad for five months. A Pathan saved his 10-month-old daughter from a fire. The girl is now a professor - and 57-years down the road, Lal's heart is still full of gratitude. He anxiously awaits the start of the bus service between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar.

As does Daljeet Singh, an employee of the Food Corporation of India, who hails from Chakothi Village in Muzaffarabad. He has named his house in Nanak Nagar, 'Chakothi,' after his 82-year-old father's village. His father refers to the house as "Chakothi, sone di kothi" (Chakothi, house of gold), as he regales his grandchildren with stories of his village where he was a numberdar.

Naqqash himself is meeting his family, including his maternal uncle, for the first time. How was the reunion?

"Very emotional," he chokes, "we barely talked. We simply held hands and cried." Naqqash's father, who died three years ago, lived in Srinagar till 1956, and in his last days would often ask his son; "Bus chal rahi hai? Main ghar jaana chahta hoon." (Is the bus service operating? I want to go home).

The channels of communication between the two Kashmirs have been abysmal. In fact, the minute one landed in Srinagar, telecommunication links with Pakistan died. Even the satellite phones of Ary and Geo correspondents wouldn't work.

One learnt that Jammu and Kashmir's residents could make International Subscriber Dialling (ISD) calls to anywhere in the world - except Pakistan. The Indian Defence Ministry withdrew the facility after the border buildup in June 2001 and people wishing to make calls to Pakistan had to drive down to Lakhanpur or outside the state. The status quo remains.

Mobile phones have been allowed in the valley only recently, but the service is hampered by the usual glitches. Newspapers are full of letters complaining about dead mobiles. In the area of Boulevard and Dalgate, for instance, mobiles had been dead for three weeks, with the "network busy" signal coming on each time anyone dialled.

Finally, the governments of the two countries are beginning to consider the proposal of allowing travel between the two Kashmirs. But differences remain over the documents to be used: while the Pakistan government proposes travel on UN documents, so as not to compromise Pakistan's position on the LoC status, the Indian government insists that visitors travel on the passports of their respective countries.

Not everyone views the concept of soft borders and free travel between the two Kashmirs favourably. APHC's Syed Ali Shah Geelani maintains that the move is designed to dilute the Kashmir problem. He fears that once people-to-people contacts begin, the dispute will be consigned to the backwaters. "We have not sacrificed a hundred thousand lives, just for opening up the borders," says Geelani angrily. The PDP chairperson, Mehbooba Mufti, disagrees vehemently. "It's not just about an international border, it's about a people. If I had my way, I would say no documents at all. There is a human dimension to this tragedy that needs to be dealt with urgently. Moreover, the bus travel would boost our respective economies too. Our crates of Sopore apples should be able to fetch cash instead of guns."

J&K Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed's daughter, Mehbooba, an MP and President of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is among the more articulate young voices emerging from Kashmir. Clad in an abaya, with a scarf covering her head, she seems perfectly at ease and fully in charge in an all-male domain. A colleague refers to her as 'mahi munda.'

Mehbooba Mufti maintains that the valley is becoming safe for its residents and that they can actually step out after sundown, never mind that the dak bungalow in Anantnag, where she meets us, is teeming with hundreds of security personnel, and an APC with a jamming device is parked nearby. "My father's 'healing touch' policy is actually working," she says. "He has ordered the release of all those people who are languishing in jail despite completing their terms. Additionally, security personnel who were guilty of excesses against innocents are being taken to task."

The PDP President impresses with her candour and steals a march over her father. As does Omar Abdullah, who leads the main opposition, the National Conference. Unlike his father, Farooq Abdullah, often referred to as the "disco chief minister who spent more time hobnobbing with Delhi socialites and Bollywood queens than he did with his constituents," Omar ("drop-dead gorgeous" by at least one young colleague's account) appears extremely focused. And he does not mince his words when he says that in his view the Kashmir problem is largely of Pakistan's making.

"We grew apples, we grew peaches, we grew pears. We didn't grow guns," he says angrily. "A neighbour took advantage of our sense of alienation, disillusionment, disenchantment and a people who were peace-loving have turned violent." He laments the loss of his party workers at the hands of people "who came from across the border." Ask if state terrorism is justified, and he retorts, "What came first - the terrorists or the state perpetrators?" But Kashmiris want independence, you say. Does his party too? "I do not want to promise anything that we cannot deliver, we don't sell dreams we cannot fulfill. Our vision has to be grounded in reality."

NC stands for maximum autonomy within the Indian constitution. "We will strive for the kind of autonomy the state enjoyed originally under Article 370 in 1952," says Omar. However, if the composite dialogue throws up anything else, we will not stand in the way." He sounds a note of caution: "You have to include all factions of the APHC. You can't split the party and talk to just one group."

The battle over India's 'atoot ang' (integral part) and Pakistan's 'shahrag' (lifeline) has extracted a heavy toll: 100,000 dead, among them 18,251 militants, 4,471 security personnel and 15,121 civilians according to unofficial estimates. Sand-bagged bunkers, olive green trucks, APCs, barbed wires and cocked rifles have become a part of the landscape. As have the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Jammu and Kashmir Police. Among them is the young, attractive Zohra, mother of two, who we run into at the Jammu Women's police station. She joined the police force after her husband, a driver in the police force, was killed by militants.

Life couldn't be easy for the forces either: the 'enemy,' whatever his colour, is unrelenting. There have been suicides, nervous breakdowns, desertions, and reports of service-men pulling the trigger on fellow officers.

But the brunt of this never-ending tragedy has been borne by the ordinary Kashmiri. Human rights groups produce list upon list of persons who have been picked up either by the security forces or the militants and disappeared in the black holes of Jammu and Kashmir. Here there is an all-pervasive rage, and alongside a sense of hopelessness, a sense of a helplessness, a feeling of having been betrayed by those who perforce control their destiny: India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiri leadership. Says Muslim Jan, an educationist, "My soul has been destroyed. I feel a void within. Each time a euphoria is created, but the reality is different - it's not a step towards the grand narrative. A low intensity conflict can upset the apple cart any time."

Azadi, it seems, is still a long way from Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali's dream for his country without a post office...

"We shall meet again, in Srinagar,
by the gates of the Villa of Peace,
our hands blossoming into fists
till the soldiers return the keys
and disappear. "

- Agha Shahid Ali [ The Country Without A Post Office ]
When I came out as an atheist almost 3 years ago, very few people were surprised or upset. Whether it was because I’d made efforts warn those who might take the news poorly or because I made clear that I was not trying to convert anybody to my position, I ultimately didn’t catch much flack for a decision I thought would be controversial. I imagine I’ll get a slightly different response from this note. I am coming out of the closet as a future abortion provider. On the one hand, this should not be surprising: I’m openly pro-choice, I’m an unabashed feminist, and I’ve been leaning towards a career in OB-GYN for quite some time. On the other hand, coming out as a future abortion provider increases the chances of being killed for my profession. Many providers take great pains to protect their personal safety, purchasing their homes with corporate shell companies, carrying weapons in public in response to death threats, and fighting to keep their information from being disseminated by pro-life extremists. I feel the need to come out as a “future abortion provider” however, because I fear that vacating the rhetorical battleground only strengthens those who would ban a woman’s right to choose. We have seen a radicalization of Republican politics and policies which explicitly seek to deny access to contraception, target abortion providers for pseudo-scientific and medically unnecessary reasons, and ban abortion even in cases where the life of the mother is seriously endangered. Given the sheer volume of factually inaccurate information readily available—and actively peddled by anti-choice activists—I feel compelled to at least make an attempt to spread the truth about abortion, even if doing so makes me an easier target to violent radicals. But I want to abandon the marketing and rhetorical spin that sometimes clouds these debates. I don’t care if you think I’m a terrible person, and will make no effort to convince you otherwise. I want to head off any ad hominem attacks by simply agreeing to accept any personal smears as irrelevant to the debate at hand. If it makes you feel better to call me a “baby killer” or participating in “genocide,” I’m fine with that. But know that I feel an equal and opposite open disdain for those who would make abortion illegal. Let’s just agree that personal rage is simply not a cogent argument. Although the debate around abortion often centers on the exceptions, I feel passionately that abortion is moral and should be legal at any stage before viability. Although there should absolutely be exceptions for rape, incest, and “health and life of the mother,” too many social liberals have allowed the line to be pushed to these few exceptions, and have neglected to win hearts and minds for common, elective abortions. This has led to nut jobs on the right trying to turn a blanket ban on abortions into a respectable position. Let’s start with the science. About one half of all pregnancies end in spontaneous abortions. Many women who have these abortions are not aware that they’ve even had a one. I start with this point first because I think it fairly roundly destroys the sentimental religious supposition that every embryo is endowed with a soul, and that this soul is non-transferable to a different body, should the mother choose to abort. God didn’t design a very good system for supplying souls with bodies, if he has no b-plan for when an embryo fails. If you really believe that every single embryo is divine, take it up with God before bothering me. The next important statistic is that giving birth is 14 times more dangerous to a woman than getting an abortion is ( ). I’m willing, but frankly not terribly interested in debating the science on this as if it were under dispute. There are any number of reasons why becoming pregnant can be very dangerous to a woman, including increasing the chance of fatal blood clots, massive blood loss, or preventing her from taking required medications like anti-epileptics because of feared possible effects on the growing fetus. Abortion also poses some health risks, including sepsis, bleeding, and perforation of the uterus (in mechanical modalities), although they are clearly far less numerous and less extreme than those commonly associated with pregnancy. If any of you are interested in or confused by anything you’ve heard about the dangers of pregnancy or abortion, shoot me a message and I’d be happy to parse it in public or private, or send you to other sources which you can trust. The obvious retort to this line or reasoning is to focus on the fetus. In 1,000,000 theoretical pregnancies, we could save 634 women by aborting all the pregnancies, but we’d be killing 1,000,000+ fetuses to do so, would we not? The fact that there’s no easy, bumper-sticker-length answer to this question is probably why public opinion on abortion has not been liberalizing in the same way that attitudes about gay rights have been doing in recent years, and that racial attitudes have been doing for decades. Before I try and explain my answer to this argument, I need to head off yet one more frequent ad hominem attack. While I believe that all life has some value and should be respected, I also strongly believe that quality of life should have equal consideration with quantity. This is not to say that I’d barter human lives for fiscal gain or genetic social hygiene a-la Nazi Germany, but I also don’t think that Nazi Germany’s manifold crimes should force us into a patently absurd sentimentality which values any and all hypothetical lives above all other considerations. To my friends who call abortion “genocide,” I would submit that you’re cheapening the term and confusing the issues. Gassing adult gypsies is a far cry from allowing a woman to not carry to term a fetus which has less than a 50% chance of survival anyway. It’s mostly because of this that I don’t see the definition of human life as being the ultimate trump card in the abortion debate. Fine. I’ll admit—even if only for the sake of argument—that a zygote is a full human being. That still doesn’t mean, however, that a pregnant woman can’t morally and ethically decide that she doesn’t want to carry that full human being to full term. Imagine a woman who finds out at the 20-week scan that her child has gross physical deformities which will prevent it from living more than a few days past birth. Should she carry that child another 20 weeks so that the child can experience life for 72 hours? What if those hours are miserable? What if those additional 20 weeks greatly jeopardize that mother’s life? What is the rubric to determine just how much value that child’s life will have, and how do we decide whether it’s worth the costs and risks? I picked a deliberately difficult case to illustrate the point that this IS NOT an easy question with a pat answer, even if we start with the supposition that a 20-week fetus is as human as you or I. Some women in that case would surely want to carry the fetus to term. Others might choose to abort. Yet others might decide to carry the fetus, and then reconsider if a major health concern like preeclampsia came to bear later in the pregnancy. As a society, we have the ability to pass laws and regulations. When faced with the difficult question of abortions, the first question is rather broad: do we allow women to make her own decision about whether she wants to incur the risks and costs of continuing a pregnancy, or do we intervene and restrict or mandate her decision for her. In analyzing (and in talking with a woman in this exact) situation, I am personally uncomfortable with making any decision FOR her. I’d be loath to deny her an abortion if she decided that it would be immoral to force that baby to endure 72 hours of misery. And I can’t imagine being forced to perform an abortion on her if she decided that she wanted to keep her pregnancy. While I can see the theoretical ethical arguments for all cases, I ultimately conclude that it’s beyond my pay grade to make a personal, ethical decision for any woman in this case, because it ultimately has nothing to do with me. And this brings up my ultimate bias—that of being a future physician. Abortion is only one of many ethical questions that I face daily in learning to practice medicine. And, while society occasionally debates these questions in a public forum, medicine already has its guiding principles laid down in our profession. These are: beneficence, non-malfeasance (“first do no harm”), respect for autonomy, and justice. In my view, refusing an abortion to a woman who wants it violates at least the first three of these without question, and the fourth is a debatable point. Given that pregnancy is more dangerous than an abortion would be, I feel it’s a gross violation of medical ethics to force a woman to accept risk to her health against her will. While there are a few points of clarification I’ll get to in my next paragraphs, my point with bringing up the Hippocratic Oath is merely to make the argument that no doctor should consider themself a doctor if they are violating these standards. I feel it should thus be illegal for a physician to refuse a patient an abortion (or a referral to a competent provider). Where the law sometimes provides cover for physicians to refuse, I would submit that these doctors should have their licenses revoked, just as they would be if they violated medical ethics in other situations. There are two arguments I’ve heard repeatedly as assaults on this ethical stand: that the life of the child outweighs any non-mortal costs the mother might have to pay, and that the child is innocent of its conception, and thus has moral standing to demand the costs the mother might pay. The first claim is roundly defeated by medical tradition and laws currently in place. We could easily save hundreds of people today by mandating that every person donate blood or a kidney. Although transplantation medicine is complicated, odds are very good that if we took a kidney from you right now, that it could be implanted into someone with failing kidneys and extend their life for decades. Aside from the cost of the surgery and recovery, it’s likely that your life would not be significantly reduced. And yet we have no such laws. We value your freedom to not undergo forced surgery as being more important than a person with kidney failure’s life. The risk to your life—and the violation of your autonomy—is more important than the guaranteed life of someone else. If only 634 people out of 1,000,000 kidney donors would die in saving 1,000,000 children in need of kidneys, would it be kosher to pass a law mandating it? The second is related to the first, but demands that in some circumstances, that you would owe it to someone else to undergo that surgery. But where is that line? Let’s imagine that you purposely stabbed a family member in the back (literally) and destroyed both of their kidneys. Would it then be moral to forcibly take one of your kidneys and give to that family member? What about if you accidentally got into car accident with them and their kidneys were destroyed? These are tough questions. I’m not sure I have good answers for them. But neither am I convinced that they have any place in our laws or traditions anywhere. The opposite of this ethical claim, however, does have a large precedent. Where else do we refuse to treat a patient if they “deserve” the outcome of their mistakes? When we find someone unconscious on the ground, should we look around for clues as to whether they deserved what they got, before starting CPR (did they look both ways before crossing the street)? If someone has a heart attack because they are obese, should we require an exercise log to determine if they deserved the heart attack, before beginning treatment? What if someone gets a sexually transmitted infection? Chances are pretty nearly 100% that they would not have gotten that infection had they properly used a condom, yet we regularly treat these infections. Indeed, I think the notion of refusing treatment for a patient based on a moral judgment is a path we do not quickly want to go down. While society could clearly mandate more laws to punish people by refusing certain medical treatments (no removal of gangrenous feet due to uncontrolled diabetes), a physician’s perspective chafes wildly at being a form of executioner for the moral majority. It’s one thing for society to not pay to correct the mistakes of others, but it’s entirely different for society to ban treatment because it believes that illness is a just punishment from God. Society does ultimately pay for the mistakes of its citizens, whether in lost productivity or expenses on its balance sheet. We can and should aim to correct and provide incentives to citizens to act responsibly. But forcing them to suffer for their sins when a remedy is available is a virulent form of Christian theology that should not be allowed to gain purchase as public policy. If you want to scourge yourself for your carnal sins, go right ahead. If you want to pass a law that forces us all to do the same, don’t regulate that I have to do the whipping for you. I’ve done dozens of hours of research over the years on abortion statistics and controversy. While I’ll happily parse the statistical nuances of any study you find convincing, it wouldn’t be influential or useful to throw endless statistics at you and expect them to be persuasive. Part of the problem is that both sides of this debate have their own facts and statistics, and the debate about which side is trustworthy quickly eclipses the debate on the issues. So we’ll start with a few (hopefully) non-controversial statements: Making abortion legal and available increases the number of legal abortions. When medical abortion is not legal, some women will seek other ways to end their pregnancy. In both of these sets of women—those who have babies they would prefer to abort, and those who abort using coat hangers—fatalities for the women will be higher than they are where abortion is legal (and thus safe). I thus conclude that laws which prevent abortion will always kill women. For this reason, I chafe at the term “pro-life” for those who oppose legalized abortion. Yes, you’re pro-fetal-life, but that necessarily connotes the deaths of some number of unwilling women. As a future abortion provider and medical practitioner, I’m very much aware that I’m aiding in ending the lives of many fetuses. I’m not the one deciding to kill them, however, so I consider myself free of any sin. Those who support abortion bans are at least partly to blame for forcing women to die as a result of them. So how do we mediate this conundrum? How many fetuses equal one pregnant woman? If you’re passing a law dictating how I do my job, what is the threshold for the health of a woman which dictates when an abortion would be acceptable? Is a ten percent chance that the woman will die enough to justify your blessing to allow an abortion? Fifty? Perhaps such questions are unfair. I sure as hell can’t answer them. As a self-professed libertarian, I don’t think these are questions any government should answer for a woman. Radical as it sounds, I believe that a woman should be the only person who decides what is best for her medically. I’ll be happy to advise her and give her the information she needs, but I deem the “pro-life” laws to be nanny-state government at its worst. To any “conservative” who supports banning abortion, know that you violate the conservatism and the small-government rhetoric you espouse in the worst possible way. I don’t really expect that I’m going to convert anybody to accepting that abortion should be legal. I was religious for long enough to know that reason and logic have no power to dislodge any belief that was arrived at through non-logical means. I do hope, however, that starting this conversation will help people to gain a more nuanced view of the difficult questions which abortion laws address. Far too often I get “I don’t believe in abortion because it’s against my religion” as if that were an answer. Fine. Your religion bans abortion. That is a great argument that your religion is a horrible institution which needlessly endangers women and seeks to enforce its precepts with the force of law, but not a very good argument about why YOU support banning abortion even in cases of rape or incest (or why you’d vote for a congressperson who does the same). I have quite a few friends who are vegetarian and vegan. While I have nothing but respect for their views, I personally think it’s appropriate and even enjoyable to eat meat. I’ve never felt threatened, however, that vegetarians would rise up and pass laws against eating meat, much less that they’d try to close down slaughterhouses, bomb butcher’s shops, or kill producers of veal while they’re in church. If you’re opposed to abortion, do your best to convince people that abortion is wrong. Pass out Bibles in front of clinics. Talk your daughters in to keeping their illegitimate children. But please don’t ban it for everybody else. Don’t pass laws which arbitrarily make abortions harder to get or needlessly expensive. Or at the very least, don’t ask me to respect you when you do.
One of the most common questions people ask me is whether I think abortion should be legal. Although I’ve recently read some great argumentation on both sides of the debate, it has either been too simplistic or too long to pass off as my own opinion. I will try and be concise with my opinion, but will answer any more nuanced arguments or questions any of you may have. Some of my positions have recently changed, so I’d be curious to know what those of you think who I’ve debated with previously.

I believe that a pregnant woman should have sole discretion and absolute authority in determining whether to abort a fetus or to carry it to term. This right is derivative of the fact that no other person beside the mother and no current technology can provide life to a growing fetus. The right to control one’s own bodily resources holds, even if we consider a zygote a full human, as I will attempt to show. Although this caveat will make more sense later, this paradigm does not justify partial-birth abortions, and I do support laws banning that practice.

Although I do not believe that a zygote should be considered a full-blown human, my position on abortion is not contingent upon this definition. For purposes of my explanation, I will consider zygotes as humans, possessing all rights and privileges that any other human has.

Living in Chicago, I am frequently asked for money by beggars. I often don’t carry much cash (after having been mugged), but I usually give any spare coins I have in my pockets. I take it for granted, however, that I am not legally required to give, no matter how desperately the person asking me needs the money. Even if, for example, I alone had the power to save the life of a fellow human being, I would submit that only a terrible law would mandate that I actually do so. If my freedom to withhold spare change is guaranteed, it should go without saying that my right to keep both of my kidneys—and let’s face it, almost any of us could save a life right now by donating our extra kidney—goes without saying. We can argue all day about whether it’s moral or ethical to refrain from giving, but no brightline of ethicalness exists which should suddenly trump legal rights. What if, for example, you could save 100 lives by killing an innocent person and sharing out their organs to those who need them? Should it be legal to do so? What number of lives would justify such a killing?

I would submit that the freedom to deny an unborn child the right to life is equally absolute as the right to keep both kidneys.

I have heard many compelling arguments which attempt to define the rights of a child based on the intentions and responsibility the mother showed in beginning the pregnancy. A woman who is raped, for example, would have more rights to abort than a woman who willingly practiced unprotected sex. A full gamut of responsibilities and regulations may exist based on the intentions of the mother, the actions she took, and her level of knowledge about the risks she was taking. Although these arguments make logical and legal sense to me, I personally think they are too fraught and complex to be useful or practicable.

In keeping with my philosophy of radical choice, I think that the woman should also have the unabridged right to determine whether the life within her should legally be protected as a human or not. If a woman is planning on carrying a fetus to term, someone who purposely causes her to lose her pregnancy could be responsible for manslaughter. That, ultimately, should be her choice, however, and not merely a function of statute.

If I woman decides that she no longer wants to carry a child at a point when it could survive without her, she should only have the right to induce parturition or have a C-section. If the child can and does survive after separation, she would have no more right to kill it than she would to kill you or me. If giving birth or even having a C-section would prove an unreasonable danger to the mother, more radical abortive procedures would be justified under the same laws that allow for killing another person in the name of self-defense. Again, even considering the fetus fully human does not change this.

I don’t mean to imply in any way that discussing rights is somehow simplistic or clean. Should fathers have a legal right to veto an abortion, since the baby is genetically half his? What about the state’s vested interest in having more children? Although I firmly believe that a woman’s right to control what she does with her own body is a more fundamental right than either of these, I can understand how others—especially those who believe that a fetus has an immortal soul—might weigh another set of rights above a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. I ask only 2 points of consideration from those who want to discuss abortion:

First, allow each person to define their own advocacy. It’s rhetorically effective to demonize your opponent and define for them what they believe—“you are pro-life because you hate women” or “you enjoy killing babies so you’re pro-choice”—but it’s not accurate or helpful in any way. Just because it’s harder to actually engage your opponent than it is to make things up about what you assume they believe, it doesn’t make it honest or responsible to do so.

Second, try to define exactly what you think should be done on a policy level, and be ready to discuss the implications from the extreme cases. If you believe that every fetus deserves the right to be born, do you believe that we should mandate that all fetuses in IVF clinic freezers be implanted in women so they have the chance to be born? How, if at all, do the circumstances surrounding conception define the rights of women or fetuses? What are the disadvantages of allowing unfettered and absolute access to abortions? Should pro-life medical professionals be exempt from performing abortions? What about when the life of the mother is in serious danger?

As with almost any topic, 1000 words doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of what could be said. I’ve promised myself that I’d only spend 2 train rides on this topic, however, so I’m going to leave it at this. Cheers.
          Common rites        
As I write this, the midnight hour sweeps round the world, ushering in a new year. It's a half hour 'til midnight here, and I'm the only one in the house who remains awake.

I'm remembering tonight the New Year's eves of my childhood. We'd spend the evening at my grandparents' house, a classic bright yellow, brick-porched California bungalow just a few doors down from our own home. Perhaps folks would drink a bit too much, but usually my sister and I didn't notice--we were drifting to sleep as my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles laughed at The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

At midnight, we'd run out onto the porch, banging pots and pans with wooden spoons. Some of the older neighbors joined us in this rite. At some point during these years, my grandfather declared it was an old Scottish tradition to run around a tree three times at midnight for good luck. We're not a superstitious people, but we gave in to Pops's tradition, circling the block's palm trees.

Fang and I don't have any New Year's rites, though I suppose we will concoct some as Lucas grows more cognizant of the significance of a new year, and how in one moment we can be in (for the nation) a truly awful year like 2010 and in the next moment be completely free of it, at least temporally.

2010 has been a dynamic year for my little family. So that I might pursue a tenure-track job, we uprooted the family and moved to Boise. It's a move I don't regret, as I really do love my job and adore my new colleagues, but at least once I day I think of California and feel very much as if I'm in exile from where I ought to be. After all, California is more than just a place I was passing through--my family has deep, deep roots there. I suspect one day I'll return, though not any time soon, as I have lots of exploration and growth waiting for me here.

One of the things I've learned in my first semester here is that faculty here really do have a great deal of autonomy. I'm enjoying that tremendously, and I plan to write more here about how my teaching might change as a result of that independence. The expectations for my position really do seem to be wide open, and folks have seemed interested in whatever I propose. 2011 may, then, be a very interesting year intellectually.

On the home front, I have more work to do. We need more grounding in this place, as individuals and as a family. I need to help Fang find what he needs here—and that means both meeting physical needs and finding him greater intellectual and emotional fulfillment. He is, after all, a newspaperman in an era of newspaper extinction. What do you do when you're almost fifty years old and your entire industry disappears--especially if you don't have a college degree? Fang says he suddenly feels sympathy for hoop skirt makers, but I suspect under his humor there's a good deal of pain and perhaps even some fear about how he fits into our new life here.

So we need to spend more time together, to establish rituals and common rites, and to aid one another's intellectual, personal, and professional development in this next stage of our lives. I need to remind Fang that the advice offered to Seamus Heaney's narrator by the shade of James Joyce applies to both of us, even though our recent move was driven by my career, not Fang's:
‘Your obligation
is not discharged by any common rite.
What you do you must do on your own.

The main thing is to write
for the joy of it. Cultivate a work-lust
that imagines its haven like your hands at night

dreaming the sun in the sunspot of a breast.
You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous.
Take off from here. And don’t be so earnest,

so ready for the sackcloth and the ashes.
Let go, let fly, forget.
You’ve listened long enough. Now strike your note.’

Here's hoping 2011 brings both roots and wings.

I'm heading outside now to thrice circle a tree. I'll take an extra lap for you and yours. Happy New Year.
          Psikologi Perkembangan Anak Usia Dini        
Sangatlah tidak bisa dipisahkan mengenai perkembangan dan pertumbuhan anak saat lahir. Perkembangan motorik dan fisik anak sangatlah berhubungan dengan pertumbuhan psikis anak. Oleh karena itu psikologli perkembangan anak usia dini berkaitan dengan pertumbuhan dan perkembangan anak secara menyeluruh.
Anak akan mengalami suatu periode yang dinamakan sebagai masa keemasan anak saat usia dini dimana saat itu anak akan sangat peka dan sensitif terhadap berbagai rangsangan dan pengaruh dari luar. Laju perkembangan dan pertumbuhan anak mempengaruhi masa keemasan dari masing-masing anak itu sendiri. Saat masa keemasan, anak akan mengalami tingkat perkembangan yang sangat drastis di mulai dari pekembangan berpikiri, perkembangan emosi, perkembangan motorik, perkembangan fisik dan perkembangan sosial. Lonjakan perkembangan ini terjadi saat anak berusia 0-8 tahun, dan lonjakan perkembangan ini tidak akan terjadi lagi di periode selanjutnya. Saat perkembangan anak khususnya saat perkembangan dini, orang tua harus betul menjadikannya sebagai perhatian khusus, karena hal ini tentunya akan sangat berpengaruh terhadap kehidupan anak di masa yang akan datang. Guna mendukung hal tersebut berikut adalah beberapa hal yang harus di perhatikan orang tua mengenai perkembangan anaknya.

Perkembangan Kognitif

Perkembangan kognitif anak terbagi ke dalam beberapa tahap:
  • Tahap Sensorimotor, pada tahap ini kemampuan anak hanya pada gerakan refleks, mulai mengembangkan kebiasaan-kebiasaan awal, mereproduksi berbagai kejadian yang menurutnya menarik, mulai menggunakan berbagai hal atau peralatan guna mencapai tujuannya, melakukan berbagai eksperimen dan anak sudah mulai menemukan berbagai cara baru. Tahap sensorimotor terjadi saat usia 0-2 tahun.
  • Tahapan Pra-operasional, pada tahap ini anak mulai menerima berbagai rangsangan yang masih terbatas, Kemampuan bahasa anak mulai berkembang, meskipun pola pikirnya masih bersifat statsi dan masih belum mampu untuk berpikir secara abstrak, persepsi mengenai waktu dan mengenai tempat masih tetap terbatas. Tahap pra-operasional berkembang saat usia anak 2-7 tahun.
  • Tahap konkret operasional, pada tahap ini anak sudah bisa menjalankan operasional dan berpikirnya mulai berpikir secara rasional. Dalam tahap ini tugas-tugas seperti menyusun, melipat, melakukan pemisahan, penggabungan, menderetkan dan membagi sudah dapat dilakukan oleh anak. Tahap konkret operasional berlangsung pada usia 7-11 tahun.
  • Tahap Formal Operasional, dalam tahap ini anak sudah mulai beranjak sebagai seorang remaja. Dalam tahap ini, anak sudah mulai berpikir secara hipotetik, yaitu penggunaan hipotesis yang relevan sudah dilakukan anak guna memecahkan berbagai masalah. Sudah mampu menampung atau berpikir terhadap hal-hal yang menggunakan prinsip-prinsip abstrak, sehingga anak sudah bida menerima pelajaran-pelajaran yang bersifat abstrak seperti matematika, agama dan lain-lain.

Perkembangan Fisik Anak

Mengenai perkembangan fisik anak bisa dilihat dari perkembangan motroik anak. Perkembangan motorik anak ini terbagi lagi ke dalam perkembangan motorik halus dan perkembangan motorik kasar. Untuk lebih jelasnya bisa di baca di: Perkembangan Motorik Anak

Perkembangan Bahasa

Perkembangan bahasa anak usia dini terbagi ke dalam beberapa tahap, yaitu:
  • Periode prelingual, usia anak 0-1 thn, ciri utama adalah anak mengoceh untuk dapat berkomunikasi dengan orang tua, anak masih bersifat pasif saat menerima stimulus dari luar tapi anak akan menerima respon yang berbeda. Contoh: bayi akan senyum kepada orang yang dikenalnya dan menangis kepada orang yang tidak dikenal dan ditakutinya.
  • Periode Lingual, usia antara 1-2,5 tahun, dalam taha ini anak sudah mampu membuat sebuah kalimat, satu atau dua kata dalam percakapannya dengan orang lain.
  • Periode Diferensiasi, usia anak 2,5 - 5 thn, anak sudah memiliki kemampuan bahasa sesuai dengan peraturan tata bahasa yang baik dan benar. Permbendaharaan katanya sudang berkembang secara baik dilihat dari segi kuantitas dan kualitas.

Perkembangan Sosio-emosional

Perkembangan sosio emosisonal anak terbagi ke dalam beberapa tahap, yaitu:
  • Tahap percaya versus curiga (trust vs mistrust), usia anak 0-2 tahun, dalam tahap ini anak akan tumbuh rasa percaya dirinya jika mendapatkan pengalaman yang menyenangkan, namun akan tumbuh rasa curiga jika anak mendapat pengalaman yang tidak menyenangkan.
  • Tahap Mandiri versus Ragu ( Autonomy vs Shame), usia anak 2-3 tahun, perasaan mandiri mulai muncul tatkala anak sudah mulai menguasai seluruh anggota tobuhnya, sifat ragu dan malu akan muncul pada tahap ini ketika lingkungan tidak memberinya sebuah kepercayaan.
  • Tahap berinisiatif versus bersalah (initiative versus guilt), usia anak 4-5 tahun. Pada masa ini anak sudah mulai lepas dari orang tuanya, anak sudah mampu bergerak bebas dan berhubungan dengan lingkungan. Kondisi ini dapat menimbulkan inisiatif pada diri anak, namun jika anak masih belum bisa terlepas dari ikatan orang tuanya dan belum bisa berinteraksi dengan lingkungan, rasa bersalah akan muncul pada diri anak.

          The Moral Education of Children        
Many parents are concerned about laying a good foundation for their children that they might grow to become moral, responsible adults. In part, parents often rely on Sunday school or other types of religious education to help convey the message of morality. In raising moral children, there are a few points that bear remembering.

First, child rearing is a developmental endeavor. That implies that children progress through moral stages and understandings at a certain (variable) pace. There is little evidence that children can be hurried along the developmental journey. There is a developmental track for moral development, social development, and cognitive development. All areas of development come into play in our efforts to raise moral children. Jean Piaget, the famous developmentalist, reminds us that young children have not yet arrived at the stage of formal, symbolic thought.

Many parents will attempt to moralize with children in abstract, moral discussions-suitably "watered-down," or so they think, to meet their kids where they are. However, if research on cognitive development is at all correct, it is unlikely that children are being "converted" to a moral or religious stance. They may say "yes" and seem to get the point, but it is unlikely that they do.

A much better approach is to work on actions involving simple reciprocity, things like sharing of toys and friends. Young children are naturally egocentric. By involving them in such simple understandings as "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours," children come to see simple morality as pragmatic, paving the way for the later stages when formal reasoning makes children receptive to more abstract appeals.

In terms of social development, Erik Erikson would no doubt point us to those natural conflicts that occur at each advancing stage of development. In the early stages when a child struggles between trust and mistrust, and shame and guilt vs. autonomy, children need reassurance. If they are subjected to constant moralizing and put-downs, they will likely adopt an outlook of inferiority. In addition, they will become increasing likely to look to an outside locus of control. The best way to raise autonomous, responsible adults is by acceptance as opposed to constant correction. Erikson's theory predicts that someone might "get stuck" at an early stage if that stage is not successfully navigated.

Furthermore, problems may appear during the adolescent identity crisis of even later in adulthood. Lawrence Kohlberg was a theorist of moral development. His theory reminds us that young children do not see the world in such philosophical categories as moral or immoral. Here the focus is on reward and punishment. What is good is what brings a reward. They also develop a sense of parity; one hand washes the other. "If you are nice to me, I'll be nice to you," is one of the earliest orientations. In late childhood, children reach a stage of wanting things to be fair and law-driven. Here they are concerned about following the rules. It is not until adolescence or later that kids begin to see right and wrong in truly moral terms. From this perspective, the best we can do is "play along" with development. We must never expect young children to have a truly moral view of things. This is something they are "nurtured into."

If caregivers follow the rule of gentle persuasion and fairness, children will naturally move into an understanding of morality. What about religious instruction? James Fowler has spoken to this at length. Combining theories of earlier theorists, he has noted that the earliest claim to faith is affiliative. Children make "professions of faith" to please their parents and feel a sense of unity with them. It is very doubtful that children really understand the notion of freely chosen conversion before early adolescence. How do we put all of this together to get some direction?

Follow the developmental curve. Meet children where they are. Do not moralize with them, and do not expect more than they are able to deliver. Keep discipline mild, and aim it towards learning such socialization skills as sharing in a polite and caring way. Do not expect little ones to be too selfless. Remember that childhood is not a race; the stages cannot be bypassed. Accept children where they are developmentally, and provide a warm nurturing environment. If we "teach from behind," letting the child's natural developmental stages take the lead, we will be doing the best we can to raise moral, responsible children who grow into moral, responsible adults.

          Alcohol and Drug/Mental Health Counselor (LCDC III/LSW/LPC) / Recovery Resources / Cleveland, OH        
Recovery Resources/Cleveland, OH

Alcohol and Drug/Mental Health Counselor

Do you have experience assessing and treating clients with mental illness and addiction? Are you passionate about helping? Do you want to use your clinical skills? If so, then this may be your next best career move!

Major Responsibilities:

We are seeking Clinicians to join our company to treat clients who are dually diagnosed with mental illness and addiction. Clinicians provide group and individual counseling services including assessment, treatment planning, referral, and service coordination. The successful candidate will ensure that clients are engaged in their treatment and in the treatment process and will form productive and collaborative working relationships with other team and support members. They will ensure that additional client needs essential to maintaining sobriety are addressed, maintain productivity goals, and keep clinical and administrative records current. When necessary, this clinician will connect clients to resources outside of treatment when appropriate, advocating for their overall needs, and will document collaboratively/concurrently whenever possible within our Electronic Health Record. If you're a licensed clinician who loves working with people and being part of a collaborative team while still operating with autonomy, then this is the role for you!


This position may include some evenings. LSW or PC required, independent licensure preferred. Experienced LCDCIII may be considered. Self-motivated professional with a passion for working with people who is comfortable providing therapeutic interventions in a community-based environment. Prior experience in the mental health field preferred, ideally with dually diagnosed clients. Must be able to form strong and engaging treatment relationships, engage clients in the mutual assessment of problems and in goal setting, and implement treatment plans from initial contact through termination. Important to have working knowledge of the stages of change and must have good oral and written communication skills and an ability to make sound decisions under stressful conditions. All employees will receive an extensive training program as part of their on-boarding at Recovery Resources.

Why work for Recovery Resources?

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Employment Type: Permanent
Work Hours: Full Time

Apply To Job
          Will we be able to control the killer robots of tomorrow?        

From ship-hunting Tomahawk missiles and sub-spying drone ships to semi-autonomous UAV swarms and situationally-aware reconnaissance robots, the Pentagon has long sought to protect its human forces with the use of robotic weapons. But as these systems gain ever-greater degrees of intelligence and independence, their increasing autonomy has some critics worried that humans are ceding too much power to devices whose decision-making processes we don't fully understand (and which we may not be entirely able to control).

          Tech News Today 1828: The TonkaBook        

Tech News Today (MP3)

Essential announced that Amazon's Alexa Fund and Tencent have invested $300 million into the company. The phone will be sold on Amazon and Best Buy when it finally gets a release date that could be within a few weeks.

Intel finalized its acquisition of Mobileye, and now plans to prepare a 100-vehicle fleet of test vehicles with near-full autonomy. Vehicles of all different brands and types will be utilized to show off how the tech can be supplied to all sorts of partners.

Facebook says that it's cracking down on cloaking, a practice that enables an ad or post to represent itself legitimately to Facebook's reviews process, while simultaneously serving up another thing entirely to those who click through. Facebook is assigning artificial intelligence along with additional human attention to the problem.

Plus, Fallout gets a tabletop game, Acer announces a tough chromebook, Anker announces a cheap Echo Dot competitor, and Jonathan Strickland and I tell you how to select the best password.

Hosts: Jason Howell and Jonathan Strickland

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          Who Is An Indian? Race, Place, and the Politics of Indigeneity in the Americas        
“A significant addition to research, Who Is an Indian? provides an extended examination and a clear picture of Indigenous identity issues in the Americas. Among the book’s important contributions are its examination of the site of interface between the modern state and Indigenous peoples, as well as its analysis of how state discourses of identities are interpolated by Indigenous peoples and come to be important sites of tension.” --David Newhouse, Department of Indigenous Studies, Trent University
“Who Is an Indian? makes a strong and distinct contribution to the literature on Indigenous identities. The contributors examine imposed markers of distinctiveness, particularly those racial categories that have often been formulated by experts and imposed by dominant societies. This is a topic that is rife with controversy, but it is handled here with directness and historical acumen.”--Ronald Niezen, Department of Anthropology, McGill University
Who Is An Indian? Race, Place, and the Politics of Indigeneity in the Americas  is my newest edited collection, published by the University of Toronto Press. It completes a trilogy of edited volumes on indigeneity in the Americas that I began in 2006 with Indigenous Resurgence in the Contemporary Caribbean: Amerindian Survival and Revival, and in 2010 with the publication of Indigenous Cosmopolitans: Transnational and Transcultural Indigeneity in the Twenty-First Century.

About this Book

Who is an Indian? This is possibly the oldest question facing Indigenous Peoples across the Americas, and one with significant implications for decisions relating to resource distribution, conflicts over who gets to live where and for how long, and clashing principles of governance and law. For centuries, the dominant views on this issue have been strongly shaped by ideas of both race and place. But just as important, who is permitted to ask, and answer this question?
This collection examines the changing roles of race and place in the politics of defining Indigenous identities in the Americas. Drawing on case studies of Indigenous communities across North America, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, it is a rare volume to compare Indigenous experience throughout the western hemisphere. The contributors question the vocabulary, legal mechanisms, and applications of science in constructing the identities of Indigenous populations, and consider ideas of nation, land, and tradition in moving indigeneity beyond race.

Genesis of the Project

This latest volume is probably the longest I have worked on any one publication project. It first began to take shape in 2006, as an effort exclusively focused on race, motivated by recognition of the fact that there were no volumes, treating the Americas as a whole, that compared and contrasted different ideas and applications of race in the definition of Indigenous identity. This was the basis for the first symposium in 2006, “Indigeneity and Race: ‘Blood Politics’ and the ‘Nature’ of Indigenous Identity,” organized under the auspices of the Canadian Anthropology Society’s annual conference, held at Concordia University on May 13, 2006. The same theme carried over into a following seminar, “Who Is an Indian? Race, Blood, DNA, and the Politics of Indigeneity in the Americas” involving 14 participants and hosted at the Clarion Hotel in Montreal, August 2-5, 2007, with the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. However, as a result of the discussions held at the second symposium, we came to the realization that race alone could not be the exclusive subject of our concerns in addressing who people have historically answered the question, “who is an Indian.” The role of place, land, and territoriality, and resistance to neoliberalism, figured prominently in a number of the papers to the extent that we concluded that both race and place should be our dual, framing concepts.

The original impetus for this project came from a very particular context of concern. My research in the Caribbean alerted me to the extent to which notions of “purity,” “blood,” and lately even DNA analysis came to figure prominently not just as ways of ascribing Indigenous identities, but also as means of claiming them in light of widespread, categorical assertions by colonial rulers and scholars that these peoples had vanished. To my surprise, similar politics of identity were being instituted in North America—indeed, the interest in DNA studies had spread from the U.S. to the Caribbean, and in North America as well I found a concern with blood, purity, and the stigma faced by “Black Indians” who were being rejected as claimants to Cherokee citizenship. In Canada, First Nations residents carry cards indicating what degree of Indigenous “blood” they possess. Also in Canada, I repeatedly hear Euro-Canadians refer to this or that Aboriginal figure as “not a real Indian…he looks white”. (I had encountered similar purist prejudices during my years in Australia, directed at some of the most prominent Aboriginal activists who, phenotypically and superficially appeared to be “mixed” if not “almost white”.) If race, blood, and DNA were so prevalent, could we find similar concerns spread out across all of the Americas? If so, why? If not, why not? Are race, blood, and DNA essentially the same thing? These were the very first, seemingly very simple questions that led to the emergence of this project.

Taking together all stages of this project, it included a total of as many as 21 scholars from across the Americas and from across the disciplines, only some of whom appear in this volume. In particular I would like to thank and acknowledge the advice, support, varying degrees of participation and interest, and correspondence of individuals who were involved at different stages of the project, including: Kimberly Tallbear, José Barreiro, Phil Bellfy, Marisol de la Cadena, Alice and Dennis Bartels, and the late Melissa Meyer who sadly for us passed away mid-way through the development of this project. We also benefited from the participation of Indigenous scholars, who comprised half the number of participants in the overall project. With an immense amount of research and writing taking place in the U.S., there was often a tendency to have greater American representation, more than Canadian, Latin American, and least of all, from the Caribbean. The result of this struggle, the constant revision and reinterpretation, we hope will offer some critical insights into the processes of making “race” out of (or against) Indigenous identity and the role of “place” in debates about Indigenous identity. The final product strikes some geographic balance, with two chapters on Canadian cases, two dealing with American Indians, two focused on Central America and the Caribbean, and two pertaining to South America.

What about DNA Testing?

The previous concern with DNA, represented by as many as four participants early on in the project, largely diminished and then vanished altogether, especially when we no longer had the same participants as in earlier stages of the project. This is not to say that DNA debates are absent in the volume as a whole, but rather that they no longer structure the volume as a leading focus, which in any case would be more relevant to the North American situation than elsewhere. Yet even that is not entirely accurate, as the use of DNA testing to determine Indigenous ancestry has traveled to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and to my great surprise to the very community I studied for four years in Trinidad & Tobago, as the result of the work a team from the Molecular Anthropology lab at Pennsylvania State University and the National Geographic Genographic Project. In the past, similar studies have also been conducted among the Garifuna in Central America and recently in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, in the latter case again by the Penn State team.

Sidebar on U.S. "Science": DNA Testing for Indigeneity Comes to Trinidad
DNA testing comes in for severe questioning and criticism in the volume, and I would also add here to my public objections to the DNA research done in Trinidad. Aside from the more than just questionable merits of using genetics to prove cultural identities and political constructs such as tribal affiliations, I also pointed out that, "given the harvesting of biometric data by U.S. universities with research ties to the Pentagon, there is always the risk that this information could be put to uses of which the Caribs are unaware." Indeed, one of the researchers involved in the Trinidad DNA study, Jada Benn-Torres, from a military family, has conducted research in the field funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. I cannot see any reasonable purpose for conducting the study in Trinidad, as the local Carib community has been officially recognized for decades, and is not possessed by any self-doubts of their identity. Indeed, not all of the Caribs in Arima chose to participate in the study, which raises more questions about the extent to which those examined are representative of the community as a whole, and thus places in doubt even the basic scientific merits of the study. What has also not been made known is what is the ultimate purpose of the research, where the information is stored and for how long, and who has access to the database.

The Historical Importance of a Bad Question

The collaboration that produced this volume through much iteration has been focused on what is arguably one of the worst questions to be posed to or against Indigenous Peoples ("Who is an Indian?"), one that ultimately calls on them to give an account of themselves, for being who they are in the light of foreign invasions and occupations. It’s as if being who they are is a problem, and furthermore, it is a problem that they caused. Worse yet, they may not even be who they think they are.

As with all bad questions, one can expect to get a lot of bad answers. So why address such a question, going as far as making it the leading question of this project? The answer is simple: the question, however one may assess its epistemological qualities, is a politically important question (the most important perhaps), an institutionalized question, a governing question that structures people’s lives, their access to resources, and even their self-perceptions. It is also a key historical question, one that continues to be asked repeatedly, and one that will inevitably lose relevance. That this question has been raised across the Americas, in different forms (substituting, as the case may be, any number of cognate or tribal labels in the place of “Indian”), is due to a shared history of colonization and state-building and the dominance of European theories of citizenship, nationhood, race, and identity. Here we can start to look beyond the constraints and limitations of that question and in seeing past the constraints imposed today by states.

It was not the intention of the contributors of the volume to either advance academic expertise as the ultimate arbiter of Indigenous identities, to provide an easy-to-follow menu for “accurately determining” who is Indigenous, or to provide advice that caters to the functioning of government bureaucracies and their micro-management of Indigenous affairs. Our greater concern was with the politics that work to preserve the dominance of a “bad question,” a very “bad” and yet historically very important question: “Who is an Indian”? Our hope is that readers will come away from this effort with a determination to ask better questions—better in the sense of being more analytically productive and with implications that are more socially just and fair. Among the questions we would like to see posed are those that posit indigeneity as a historically specific type of relationality, that involve issues of power and affectivity, without searching for the elusive “one size fits all” solution. If, however, we overcame the stigmatization of being Indigenous only to then treat it as a category implying “privilege” and uniquely demanding “proof” of belonging, then we will not have gone far past the point of endorsing extinction.

Setting the Stage: Some Opening Quotes to Remember

“When they get off the boat, they didn’t recognize us. They said: ‘Who are you?’ And we said: ‘We’re the People, we’re the Human Beings,’ and they said: ‘Oh Indians,’ because they didn’t recognize what it meant to be a human being. ‘I’m a Human Being, this is the name of my tribe, this is the name of my people, but I’m a human being.’ But the predatory mentality shows up and starts calling us ‘Indians’ and committing genocide against us as a vehicle of erasing the memory of being a human being….Even in our own communities, how many of us are fighting to protect our identity of being an Indian, and 600 years ago that word, ‘Indian,’ that sound was never made in this hemisphere—that sound [‘Indian’], that noise, was never ever made! Ever. We’re trying to protect that as an identity, see, so it affects all of us”. —John Trudell, Lakota poet and activist. 
“It is one of the many ironies of the American experience that the invaders created the category of Indians, imposed it on the inhabitants of the New World, and have been trying to abolish it ever since”. —David Maybury-Lewis, co-founder of Cultural Survival. 
“There’s tremendous racism in Peru. In Lima, brown people, the descendants of Indigenous people, try to live as white as possible. That’s because of the influence of the media and government. If you embrace your Indian-ness, you’re shunned. You’re less than a third-class person. It’s an insult to call someone an Indian. It’s the equivalent of calling someone stupid”. —Benjamin Bratt, actor. 
“The question of my identity often comes up. I think I must be a mixed blood. I claim to be male, although only one of my parents is male”. 
—Jimmie Durham, Cherokee artist. “What does part Indian mean? (Which part?)….you don’t get 50% or 25% or 16% treatment when you experience racism—it is always l00%”. —Joane Cardinal-Schubert.


Preface, pages vii-ix

Introduction: “Who Is an Indian?” The Cultural Politics of a Bad Question, pages 3-51 Maximilian C. Forte (Concordia University, Sociology and Anthropology)

In this chapter I discuss the genesis, multiple meaning and historical applications of this "bad question," across the Americas. In the process I also defend the thesis that the Americas as a whole serve as the appropriate unit for analysis in understanding the colonial, "scientific," ideological, and (geo)political efforts to define Indigenous identities. While I outline how the racialization of indigeneity spread across imperial domains in the Americas, I also examine the centrality of place, of territoriality, and how place also intersects race. I discuss the emergence of "Indian" as a racial construct, and from there I proceed to build the larger theoretical and analytical narrative which the various chapters help to form. Who is the "real Indian" and issues of "race mixture" and the impact of slavery and the plantation system in North and South America and the Caribbean forms one level of analysis. Another has to do with kinship and science, with blood, DNA, and how these relate to ideas of "race purity." Going beyond "blood quantum" and race, I provide some context and the wider debate around the critically important contribution by Julia Coates in this volume, on the always timely issue of the Freedmen and the Cherokee Nation. Debates around self-identification, and tribal politics, progress toward a discussion of the many cases of "Indian non-Indians" and "Non-Indian Indians". Finally I end with an overview of the problems involved with "recognition", with some discussion of the geopolitics of recognition and then, pointing toward the Conclusion, looking beyond the politics of recognition.

Chapter One Inuitness and Territoriality in Canada, pages 53-70 Donna Patrick (Carleton University, Sociology and Anthropology and the School of Canadian Studies)

“The question of who counts as Aboriginal [in Canada],” explains Donna Patrick (this volume), “has long been linked to the question of who owns traditional Aboriginal lands”. Patrick’s chapter explores “the question of categorizing Indigeneity in Canada by examining the linguistic, political, and judicial processes associated with the notions of territory, ancestry, and belonging that shape Indigeneity today,” with a focus on the Inuit in Canada, situated within a broader analysis of Aboriginal identity in Canada. “Inuitness” in Canada, as Patrick tells us, followed a different trajectory from that of First Nations, in that the construction of Inuit identity has been guided not just by state policy but by Inuit attachments to both land and language. In Patrick’s chapter we learn that for the Inuit “the notion of ‘territoriality’ operates together with the notion of ancestry” in shaping the identities of Inuit living in urban centres of the Canadian South as much as those living in the Arctic. Donna Patrick observes that Indigenous ideas of identity in early colonial Canada “had little to do with race, biology, or ethnicity” and that Indigenous Peoples in fact demonstrated in practice that they were guided by a “notion of inclusivity” whose existence “has been supported by numerous accounts of Euro-American settlers and soldiers being accepted and adopted into First Nations groups”. While Patrick argues that we do not see in Canada a dominant discourse about the bio-politics of Indigenous identities to the same extent that we find in the U.S., she admits that a “‘covert’ or de facto blood quantum” has been part of policies governing Aboriginal, and in particular First Nations, peoples.

Chapter Two Federally-Unrecognized Indigenous Communities in Canadian Contexts, pages 71-91 Bonita Lawrence (York University, Equity Studies)

In her chapter Bonita Lawrence points out the cases of First Nations that span the Canada-U.S. border, where for example “the Passamaquoddy Nation of New Brunswick, or the Sinixt Nation, in British Columbia, have federal recognition in the United States but not in Canada,” which underscores the arbitrary, shifting, and inconsistent standards used by states to “appraise” indigeneity, as Lawrence argues. Bonita Lawrence explores identity issues among two federally-unrecognized groups—the Algonquins of Eastern Ontario and the Mi’kmaqs of Newfoundland—which have been the subject of her research for the last decade, providing a window into how the Canadian state produces unrecognized Aboriginals. As she explains, “most federally-unrecognized bands or nations are created by the nature of the treaty process itself,” while other bands are federally-unrecognized “because Canada has refused to honour historic relationships or has disregarded the traditional boundaries of Indigenous nations”. The primary means for such communities to gain federal recognition, to legally become Aboriginal again, is to assert Aboriginal title through the courts (if there is a treaty governing particular territory), or as Lawrence outlines in her chapter, “to take part in the comprehensive claims process if no treaty has been signed in the territory”. Otherwise, federally-unrecognized Indigenous peoples are “incorporated simply as ‘citizens’ within the wider nation-state dominated by settlers”.

Chapter Three The Canary in the Coalmine: What Sociology Can Learn from Ethnic Identity Debates among American Indians, pages 92-123 Eva Marie Garroutte (Boston College, Sociology) and C. Matthew Snipp (Stanford University, Sociology)

Eva Marie Garroutte and Matthew Snipp in their chapter in this volume titled, “The Canary in the Coalmine: What Sociology Can Learn from Ethnic Identity Debates among American Indians,” devote considerable attention to debating the racialization of indigeneity. As just one example of the kinds of interests vested in the non-recognition of “mixed” American Indians, Garroutte and Snipp point to Donald Trump: as a competitor against the newly recognized Pequots, and their plans to open a casino, he produced a definition of “who is an Indian” in phenotypical terms: “they don’t look like Indians to me. They don’t look like Indians to Indians,” injecting his racial bias by further calling them “Michael Jordan Indians”. This is useful in showing how ultimately one of the most common ways of assigning Indigenous identity in the Americas is focused on appearance, and where racial discourses prevail, a specific type of appearance: phenotype. Garroutte and Snipp  also discuss some of the additional, problematic conceptual issues raised by the quantification of identity, which can apply to both genetic testing and blood quantum. Quantification establishes distance as a prerequisite for measurement, “with the corollary that, at some point, individuals’ connection to American Indian forebears becomes exhausted”. Quantification of identity presupposes distance, and tends toward disappearance. It raises physical standards about ideational and subjective identities, even as it creates new subjectivities around the use of scientific resources. The right to measure involves a power to erase, just as the power to speak for Indigenous peoples, and to assign their identities, is the power to silence them, permanently. The two case studies at the focus of their chapter, the Mashantucket Pequots and Kennewick Man, make for highly engaging and illuminating reading.

Chapter Four “This Sovereignty Thing”: Nationality, Blood, and the Cherokee Resurgence, pages 124-150 Julia Coates (University of California Davis, Native American Studies)

Julia Coates strongly and productively challenges a number of prominent, published perspectives that have been critical of definitions of Cherokee identity by the Tribal Nation’s government. Coates argues that legal definitions are often overlooked in discussions of indigeneity, while race and culture gain greater attention. Yet, as she explains, many tribal governments in the U.S. regard legal definitions, not as artificially imposed from external colonizing institutions, but as internally achieved definitions of nationality and their sovereign statuses. While the Cherokee Nation’s lack of cultural requirements are frequently not understood by non-Indians and derided by other tribal nations, the Cherokee Nation has continued to assert that nationality derived from their specific history of tribal citizenship is a more inclusive category for contemporary times than race or cultural markers. This is almost a reversal of arguments criticizing the Tribal Nation’s exclusion of certain persons. Based on interviews with what Coates calls “a particularly challenging group of Cherokee nationals,” the 60 percent of the citizenry living outside the tribal core in northeastern Oklahoma, her chapter examines the potential of nationality as a basis for self-identification for those in the Cherokee diaspora, and the role the concept of citizen plays in the contemporary Cherokee resurgence. Coates points to problems with a debate that “focuses on identity construction as located in race, heritage, DNA, and cultural attributes and expressions” and that leave out law and sovereignty. She says that one reason why the cultural, racial, and ethnic aspects of identity may be the primary sites for investigation and discussion, for many Indigenous Peoples is the fact that many of them are not formally organized into nominally sovereign political entities with an internal jurisdiction. Speaking of academics, Coates suggest that one reason most academics seem to differ from tribal governments’ rigid determinations of citizenship, is that academics tend to be more inclusive in their view of who is an American Indian, not wanting to serve as identity police and imposing definitions of Indigenous identity on Natives. Her emphasis is on nationality as a potential for retention and resurgence (or what some call resilience), rather than simply acting as a colonialist mechanism of control and exclusion.

Chapter Five Locating Identity: The Role of Place in Costa Rican Chorotega Identity, pages 151-171 Karen Stocker (California State University, Anthropology)

Designating a special place as the locus of persons with an Indigenous identity can be a way for an assimilationist state, one that historically rejected the Indigenous presence as in the case of Costa Rica, to create the illusion that indigeneity is minimal and marginal. As Karen Stocker explains in her chapter in this volume, in Chorotega some residents of what later became the reservation opposed reservation status given their “tremendous resentment at being the only community in the region officially designated as Indigenous when the whole area had Indigenous roots, and aversion to the stigma attached to Indigenous identity in a country that often projected an image of whiteness and European heritage”. The Costa Rican government’s imposition of an Indigenous identity on residents of Chorotega was a convenient way of removing that label from everyone else who resided outside of that particular place, using the assigned indigeneity of some to reassure others of their Europeanness. Karen Stocker’s chapter, based on ethnographic research carried out between 1993 and 2007, addresses how various residents of the Chorotega reservation, those who live just outside the reservation, scholars, legal discourse, historical discourse, those who have resided or studied in other Costa Rican reservations and, more recently, the tourism industry have “defined Indigenous identity in contradictory ways, and in manners that have had varying consequences for those labeled as Chorotega in Costa Rica”. She addresses the history and impact of these multiple competing definitions. Stocker traces the ways in which “one set of customs has gone from Indigenous to non-Indigenous, national custom, and back again, as a result of the shifting of discourses around it”. Stocker spotlights what she finds to be “a common thread through all of these definitions and interpretations of indigeneity,” and that is “the role of place, and how the same concept that mired inhabitants of the Chorotega reservation in discrimination now serves to authenticate its practices”.

Chapter Six Carib Identity, Racial Politics, and the Problem of Indigenous Recognition in Trinidad and Tobago, pages 172-193 Maximilian C. Forte (Concordia University, Anthropology)

My own chapter in this volume, based on four years of ethnographic research and ethnohistoric research dating to early colonial times, shares some features similar to both those by Donna Patrick and Karen Stocker. On the one hand, the state’s recognition of only one single, organized Indigenous community in just one of Trinidad’s 16 former mission towns—the Santa Rosa Carib Community in Arima, on the island of Trinidad—makes it seem, however implausibly, that indigeneity was somehow contained and delimited (which instead reflects the state’s bias in how indigeneity ought to be controlled and secluded). On the other hand, in articulating their own indigenous identity, members of the Carib Community point to a multitude of factors, beyond but including race, to include a history of residence in Arima. The structure of this chapter follows three basic lines of argument: first, that the political economy of the British colony dictated and cemented racializations of identity. Second, the process of ascribing Indigenous identities to individuals was governed by the economic rights attached to residents of missions, rights which were cut off from any miscegenated offspring. There were thus political and economic interests vested in the non-recognition of Caribs, and race provided the most convenient justification—a justification that took the form of a narrative of extinction. Third, over a century later, while racial notions of identity persist, current Carib self-identifications stress indigeneity as a cultural heritage, an attachment to place, a body of practices, and recognition of ancestral ties that often circumvent explicitly racial schemes of self-definition. State recognition of the Caribs occurs within this historical and cultural context, and therefore imposes limits and conditions that simultaneously create new forms of non-recognition.

Chapter Seven Encountering Indigeneity: The International Funding of Indigeneity in Peru, pages 194-217 José Antonio Lucero (University of Washington, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies)

As José Antonio Lucero explains in this volume, “blood” is already incorporated in national ideologies of race-mixture, and is not specific and particular enough to be used as part of the regimes of identifying the Indigenous. As Lucero adds, “in a region where ‘everyone’ has native blood, but not everyone is ‘Indian’ the social category and social fact of Indianness rely, necessarily, less on biology or blood than on the intersecting socio-cultural workings of politics, language, place, class, and gender”. More specifically, Lucero's chapter takes the work of Oxfam America as the focus of his case study, as it has been among “the earliest funders of Indigenous activism”. His chapter examines two different moments in the interactive process of legitimation between organizations such as Oxfam America and Indigenous political organizations in Peru, “as actors on both sides of the development encounter shape discourses over the meanings of development and indigeneity across local and global scales”. The “geopolitics of recognition” is what Lucero conceptualizes as regimes of indigeneity that span local, national and global scales. Lucero discusses how Indigenous people throughout the Americas (and beyond) have often found it inevitable, and sometimes useful, to engage a variety of legal, economic, and political systems. “Since the first contacts with missionaries,” he writes, “the state, and agents of global capital, Indigenous people have found that new systems of domination are not without points of entry within which they can contest the very terms of domination,” and in the present context, “the rising importance of non-state actors in the wake of aggressive neoliberal economic reforms (which shrank already weak states) provided an additional set of opportunities that Indigenous people have been able to use” (Lucero, this volume). However, one of the problems for Indigenous actors bound in relationships with external agencies is that the reconstruction of indigeneity that results is often Janus-faced, where “some discourses are for external consumption and have little to do with the lived ‘social fact’ of indigeneity at the local level”.

Chapter Eight The Color of Race: Indians and Progress in a Center-Left Brazil, pages 218-223 Jonathan Warren (University of Washington, International Studies, Chair of Latin American Studies)

Jonathan Warren begins by telling us that "since the 1990s a large number of Brazilian Indigenous communities have been federally recognized, successfully acquired land, established their own schools, and achieved a higher degree of autonomy and self-determination. Furthermore, anti-Indian violence is no longer condoned by the Brazilian government; racism has been officially acknowledged; race-cognizant government policies, such as affirmative action, have replaced race-neutral ones; and a number of antiracist commissions and initiatives have been established at federal, state and municipal levels. Finally, the first centre-left politicians in Brazilian history, Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva (2003–2010) and Dilma Rousseff (2011–present), both of the Workers’ Party, have controlled the executive branch of government for almost a decade. Given these substantial changes, one could be forgiven for expecting a positive report on the state of Indigenous affairs in contemporary Brazil. Unfortunately, the outlook is rather dim. Perhaps most surprising is that many of the culprits are from the centre-left, namely the Workers’ Party, social scientists, and sectors of the movimento negro". Jonathan Warren’s chapter reveals to us that in Brazil, the racial question, and thus conceptions of antiracism—like much of “critical race studies,” he adds—simply removes the Indian from analysis, as if Indian subjectivities were entirely irrelevant. A key example of how this has occurred in critical race studies comes from Howard Winant’s very own analysis of racism in Brazil, which singles out Africans. This is odd, as Warren finds, given that as many as a third of Brazilians have some Indian ancestry. As Warren explains in this volume, Brazilian Indians are removed from the racial question in Brazil: “race is reduced to a question of blackness”. Indeed, throughout Latin America, Warren sees that Indigenous peoples are “not considered germane to race matters,” and quoting Peter Wade he adds: “the virtually unquestioned assumptions [prevails] that the study of blacks is one of racism and race relations, while the study of Indians is that of ethnicity and ethnic groups”. Warren also shows that phenotype is present in Brazilian estimations of “authentic” and “real” Indigenous identities, with those who have African and European features routinely dismissed as “racial charlatans,” in ways that echo experiences both in the U.S. and the Caribbean. Warren’s chapter is critical to this volume’s contention that race is a problem that needs to be studied in connection with indigeneity, not apart from it. His argument is critical not only for developing critical race studies, but also for political practice: the antiracist movement in Brazil cannot be just a Black movement.

ConclusionSeeing Beyond the State and Thinking beyond the State of Sight, pages 234-241 Maximilian C. Forte (Concordia University, Sociology and Anthropology)

Rather than restating or summarizing the contents of this volume, the Conclusion helps to sketch some of the ways in which critical Indigenous perspectives have sought to develop alternative ideas and practices of indigeneity and indigenization. In a hemisphere which sees, in most cases, Indigenous Peoples moving to cities, and an increased decoupling of indigeneity and territoriality, along with the incursion of the industrialization of ethnic ascription--the commerce in genetic identities--these issues become especially important. The volume closes with a sharp reminder of why "Who is an Indian?" is a bad question that produces even worse answers, and what our task as intellectuals ought to be when confronted with such questions.

Contributors, pages 243-246
Index, pages 247-254

A Little About the Contributors

Julia M. Coates (Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, Oklahoma) is presently at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her title is Senior Writer/ Oral Interviewer in American Indian History for the Center for Oral History Research of the Charles Young Research Library. At the time of writing she was an assistant professor in the Department of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis. Her research interests cover Native American diasporas, history, identity, women, and politics. She has conducted participant-observation fieldwork with hundreds of Cherokee citizens in California, Texas, and New Mexico. Coates also helped to form numerous Cherokee community organizations throughout California and in other states. For over six years, she was the project director and lead instructor for the award-winning Cherokee Nation history course, which brought her into personal contact with most of the employees of the Cherokee Nation, along with thousands of Cherokees in northeastern Oklahoma communities and throughout the country. She also serves on the Tribal Council of the Cherokee Nation as its “At Large” representative. At UC Davis she teaches the Introduction to Native American Studies as well as classes on race, women, development and history within Native America.

Eva Marie Garroutte (Cherokee Nation) is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Boston College. She has a background of research and publication related to the study of Native American issues, health and aging, racial/ethnic identity, and religion. She is the author of the influential book Real Indians: Identity and the Survival of Native America (University of California Press) and various articles in sociological and health-related journals. In collaboration with Cherokee Nation Health Services, she has conducted a series of research projects funded by the National Institute on Aging to examine medical communication needs among American Indian elders using tribal clinics. Her current service on editorial advisory boards includes the Journal of Native Aging and Health, American Indian Quarterly, and the University of Arizona Press series Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies. She is a past Area Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Bonita Lawrence (Mi’kmaw) is an associate professor at the School of Social Sciences of the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada, where she teaches Indigenous Studies and anti-racism. Her research and publications have focused primarily on urban, non-status, and Métis identities, federally unrecognized Aboriginal communities, and Indigenous justice. She is the author of “Real” Indians and Others: Mixed-Blood Urban Native People and Indigenous Nationhood (UBC Press), and co-editor of Strong Women’s Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival, a collection of Native women’s scholarly and activist writing (Sumach Press). She is a traditional singer who sings with groups in Kingston and Toronto at Native social and political gatherings.

José Antonio Lucero is an assistant professor in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of Struggles of Voice: The Politics of Indigenous Representation in the Andes (University of Pittsburgh Press) and the editor of Beyond the Lost Decade: Indigenous Movements, Democracy, and Development in Latin America (Princeton University Program in Latin American Studies). He teaches courses on government, politics, and social movements in Latin America, among others. His research interests focus on comparative politics, Latin American politics, democratization, social movements, and the politics of race and ethnicity.

Donna Patrick is professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Her current SSHRC-funded research focuses on multiliteracies, identity, and community-building among urban Inuit in Ottawa. Her other interests lie in the broader area of Indigeneity and urban Aboriginality in Canada, as well as in the political, social, and cultural aspects of language use, with a focus on language endangerment discourse and Aboriginal languages in Canada. Her 2003 book, Language Politics and Social Interaction in an Inuit Community (Mouton de Gruyter), examines these issues in Arctic Quebec. She teaches courses in language, culture, and power and in Aboriginal and northern issues, with a focus on the Arctic. In teaching and research, Donna approaches the study of Aboriginal issues, language, and discourse through an interdisciplinary lens, focusing on historical, geographical, and social processes.

C. Matthew Snipp is a professor in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University where, among other positions, he has been the director of the Center for Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity. He teaches courses in contemporary and historical American Indian Studies as well as rural sociology. He is the author of American Indians: The First of the Land (The Russell Sage Foundation, New York), which was selected as an academic book of the year by CHOICE.

Karen Stocker is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at California State University, Fullerton. She is a scholar of applied anthropology with interests in education, the social constructions of race and ethnicity, language, and Latin American ethnography. She is the author of “I Won’t Stay Indian, I’ll Keep Studying”: Race, Place and Discrimination in a Costa Rican High School (Colorado University Press).

Jonathan W. Warren is an associate professor in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he is also the director of the Latin American and Caribbean Contributors Studies Program. Within the broad area of critical race studies he has focused on Whiteness, racism literacy, racial identity formations, and the links between everyday practices and racism in the U.S. and Brazil. He is the author of the highly regarded book Racial Revolutions: Antiracism and Indian Resurgence in Brazil (Duke University Press).

...and myself.

          So Much for “Conscious Capitalism”        

Whole Foods Market founder John Mackey was livid. They’re “greedy bastards,” Mackey spouted to Texas Monthly in April after the investment management firm Jana Partners, Whole Foods’ second-biggest shareholder, signaled its intention to sell off his company. “These people, they just want to sell Whole Foods Market and make hundreds of millions of dollars, and they have to know that I’m going to resist that.” Whole Foods is “my baby,” Mackey declared. “I’m going to protect my kid, and they’ve got to knock Daddy out if they want to take it over.”

Yet just two months later, Mackey is selling his baby to Amazon for $13.7 billion, a dramatic denouement for a company that is deeply rooted in the hippie counterculture of the 1960s and ’70s. Since its founding, Whole Foods has made its name bucking corporate conventional wisdom—even as it has come to epitomize the massive, often mercenary contradictions of Big Organic. The company sold organic foods long before any major supermarket chain thought it was worthwhile, and it’s thrived in part by defying the grocery industry’s insistence on centralized distribution and standardization.

Now the organic supermarket pioneer will be owned by one of the most brutally efficient and standardized retailers in the world, a company with a relentless focus on selling things cheaper and faster.

The purchase is a dramatic leap for Amazon into brick-and-mortar commerce. So far, the company has only launched a handful of grocery pick-up locations and storefronts for selling books. But the acquisition of Whole Foods vastly expands Amazon’s share of the grocery trade, a move that should raise deep concerns about a marketplace already dominated by a handful of massive retailers. (Disclosure: Slate is an Amazon affiliate; when you click on an Amazon link from Slate, the magazine gets a cut of the proceeds from whatever you buy.)

But perhaps more significantly, it signals the end of a dream for Mackey and Whole Foods, and even for the entire organic food business. With more than 400 locations, Whole Foods has long ruled the organic marketplace. But unlike any other national retailer, it claims to be rooted in environmentalism and the hippie movement of the 1970s. It’s not that Whole Foods didn’t care about profits. Mackey has long contended that Whole Foods began as a company seeking to “make our country and world a better place to live” by recognizing “human rights, food safety, and environmental deterioration were major concerns.” But with its sale to Amazon, a company with a poor environmental track record, questionable labor practices, and limited experience selling organic food, Whole Foods has lost any credible link to its countercultural roots. Whatever Whole Foods will be able to say about itself now, it will be much harder for it to maintain its do-gooder image.

The modern organic food business started as a cottage industry of longhairs selling brown rice and tofu out of wooden barrels in small stores. In 1978, Mackey and his then-partner, Renee Lawson Hardy, launched one such store, a vegetarian grocery in a two-story house called SaferWay. The name spoofed Safeway and indicted the environmental dangers of supermarket chains’ reliance on large-scale agribusiness and wasteful production methods. Two years later, Mackey merged the store with a competitor to form a new business he and his partners would call Whole Foods Market. In the next decade, the store expanded throughout Texas and into other states, and by the start of the ’90s, it had become the highest-volume seller of organic food in the country.

Whole Foods’ growth was rapid. In 1992, the company became the first ever publicly traded organic foods retailer. The organic food marketplace transformed into a major industry with Whole Foods at its helm. Yet Mackey and Whole Foods insisted their company wasn’t only interested in profits. The company’s “Declaration of Interdependence,” a mission statement of its core values, contains sections on “Team Member Happiness” and “Environmental Stewardship.” With missionary zeal, Mackey has devoted himself to promoting “conscious capitalism” in a popular 2013 book by that title and in a series of CEO summits he organizes.

Mackey’s politics haven’t always aligned with Whole Foods’ stated values of conscious capitalism, of course. In recent years, he’s speciously criticized the Affordable Care Act as fascist, and he’s also remarked that climate change “isn’t necessarily bad.” And for all its public statements endorsing employee satisfaction, Whole Foods has long opposed workers’ efforts to unionize.

Yet Whole Foods remains one of the most environmentally responsible retailers in the country, ranking highly on a variety of sustainability metrics. Whole Foods also offers its employees some unusual freedoms. Individual stores and their departments have considerable power to make purchasing decisions, and local managers enjoy a level of discretion unheard of at most chain stores. Employees have major input in hiring and get to vote to approve or reject new co-workers who’ve completed a trial period. Despite Mackey’s libertarian leanings, Whole Foods sets itself apart from other chains through these practices.

Will Whole Foods be able to retain its distinctive culture once this deal is finalized? While Amazon says it wants to keep Whole Foods as is, it’s impossible not to wonder how Amazon's corporate culture might rub off, especially as the store struggles to compete with other sellers of organic products such as Trader Joe’s, German discounters such as Aldi and Lidl, and even Walmart and conventional supermarkets.

While deeply objectionable, Whole Foods’ efforts to discourage unionization seem timid in comparison to Amazon’s proud endorsement of “unreasonably high expectations” with uncompensated overtime, combative meetings, and encouraging employees to anonymously report each other’s mistakes to management. Working conditions in Amazon’s shipping facilities appear just as bad, if not worse. It seems unlikely that Amazon’s cutthroat managerial approach will tolerate Whole Foods employees’ long-held freedoms and team leaders’ decentralized autonomy for long.

The sale also jeopardizes Whole Foods’ devotion to environmental stewardship. Amazon’s Web Services subsidiary is one of “the dirtiest and least transparent companies in the sector, far behind its major competitors, with zero reporting of its energy or environmental footprint to any source or stakeholder,” according to a 2014 report by Greenpeace. If Amazon doesn’t value sustainability, will it accept the considerable expense and effort that Whole Foods devotes to environmental stewardship?

After six consecutive quarters of losses, Whole Foods had recently begun to make its own changes in the composition of its board and executive team. But such changes are trivial compared to being swallowed by the world’s largest online retailer. With its relentless efficiency standards, Amazon is poised to radically transform not only the pioneering organic chain but the entire brick-and-mortar grocery business.

Whole Foods may have been John Mackey’s baby, the object of his affection he raised from infancy. But once this sale is completed, Amazon will be its legal guardian and Whole Foods will be the online retailer’s stepchild. Mackey and Whole Foods’ already debatable claims of “conscious capitalism” now seem even more dubious.

          Comment on Comments & Reviews by Alexis from Sydney, Australia        
I honestly cannot recommend this company enough. I have done a much more detailed review on Trip Advisor. You will be really missing out, and most likely adding stress to yourself and you wallet, if you do not use this company. Everything was seamless, every external company they used was the most highly rated for that activity. Thank you for the most incredible trip that gave me the autonomy I wanted but also the safety and diversity of experiences in a short amount of time. Thank you Nina!
          Currency Wars Yesterday and Today        
An energetic debate on the danger of a global currency war has flared up in recent months, stoked by a renewed move to quantitative easing in the United States, resurgent capital flows to developing countries and strong upward pressure on emerging market currencies. This note reviews some of the arguments and concludes that the current U.S. monetary easing is a useful insurance policy against the risk of global deflation. But it is increasing pressure on developing countries to move toward greater monetary policy autonomy and exchange rate flexibility, as well as to undertake the institutional and structural policies needed to underpin such flexibility.
          Coronet Instructional Films        
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? Dating
Dating: Do's and Don'ts (12:26) -1949 Shows the progress of the date, from choosing the right girl and asking her through the last "good night." This social guidance "how-to" film has received more camp accolades than any other, and deserves it. Alan Woodruff ("Woody") receives a ticket to admit one couple to the upcoming Hi-Teen Carnival. "One couple," Woody reflects. "That means a date! Not like just going around with the crowd!" Woody decides to ask Ann Davis, who, the narrator points out, "knows how to have a good time." With her perpetual squint and chipmunk cheeks, Ann (pronounced "Ay-yun" by the actors in this film) is the perfect companion for super-nerd Woody. At crucial moments in the date, the narrator stops the action and presents Woody with several possible options for his actions. Happily, Woody makes all the correct decisions and ends up walking home from Ann's doorstep whistling with satisfaction at a job well done. "Thanks so much," says Ann with a toothy grin. "I had LOADS of fun." Rare (but incomplete) Kodachrome version. Going Steady? (10:37) -1951 Attempts to provoke teens into discussion on the complex issue of going steady. Provides little support for the practice. How Do You Know It's Love? (12:58) -1950 Gives students a basis for thinking clearly about real love and shows that mere conviction of love is not enough to insure lasting happiness. A drama. Young "Nora" (star of Writing Better Social Letters and future star of How To Say No) thinks she's in love with equally young Jack. Mom gives Nora some general advice (borrowed almost word for word from Are You Ready For Marriage?), and Nora and Jack have dinner with Bob (Jack's older brother) and Jean (Jack's fiance). Nora spends her time thinking about her mother's advice and comparing her relationship to Jack and Jean's. Common sense triumphs, Nora realizes she isn't really in love, and everybody is happy in the end. One of the few Coronet productions to use background music (the "wistful" theme) within the film as a narrative bridge -- to good effect. How Much Affection? (19:59) -1957 How far can young people go in petting and still stay within the bounds of personal standards and social mores? How to Be Well Groomed (10:41) -1949 This film details the grooming rituals of brother Don and sister Sue. Both are incredibly neat; in fact, grooming seems to occupy their entire day, while their evenings are spent ironing outfits and polishing shoes. The work load is so heavy it requires two narrators! Features some excellent voice over lines, including: "Sue avoids red nail polish since it would call attention to her stubby hands." "Mother too keeps up a good appearance even around the house, for that keeps up her spirits." "Their good grooming habits help them in friendships and business. For your success depends a great deal on how you look." What to Do on a Date (10:46) -1950 A high school senior learns how and where to ask a girl for a date, where to take her for a good time, and how to avoid spending too much money or being bored by commercialized amusements. One of the most entertaining films in the social guidance genre, principally because of the bad acting of goony "Nick Baxter." Nick wants to go out on a date with Kay, but he's afraid she'll say no. He finally works up the courage to ask her to the movies (to see Wagon Train), but since she's already seen it, they decide to go to the high school scavenger sale instead. And, boy, do they ever have fun! Nick discovers that Kay likes the same things he does (miniature golf, taffy pulls and weenie roasts) and these two social oddballs are well on their way to a meaningful relationship. Are You Ready for Marriage? (16:04) -1950 Two teenagers, wishing to marry early, visit their minister for advice and receive counseling, some of it quite pragmatic, the rest a little strange. Larry and Sue, a couple of fresh-scrubbed teens, want to get hitched -- but Sue's parents disapprove. The two lovebirds decide their only recourse is to visit "Mr. Hall," a marriage counselor with incredibly wide lapels on his suit jacket. He shows them some very scientific looking graphs and a "psychological distance board" complete with tiny wooden dolls tied together with piano wire and shoelaces and -- somehow -- this helps them understand that they should wait until they're older. Educational Screen remarked; "The producers are to be complimented on creating an atmosphere of life-like situations." Good stuff, and the cast is a veritable Who's Who of classroom films: "Sue" starred in How To Be Well Groomed, her "dad" had the feature role in Build Your Vocabulary, Mr. Hall played "Treadway" in The Middletons At The World's Fair, and "Larry" went on to play a heroin junkie in Drug Addiction. Marriage Is a Partnership (16:21) -1951 Flashback on the problems, adjustments and transformations occurring in the first year of a couple's married life. Pretty surprising film coming from Coronet about the "honeymoon is over" drama that newlyweds face. The marriage between Dotty and Pete is pretty traditional--Dotty quits her job to be a homemaker once they are married--but some more modernistic ideas come out, such as the idea that the two newlyweds decide together how the money that Pete earns will be spent, and the small mentions of sex. (!!) The "educational collaborator" listed at the beginning, Lemo Rockwood, was a professor at Cornell University, and her marriage course advocated sexual frankness and pre-marital experimentation, so it's easy to see her stamp on this film.
Social Guidance for Teenagers
Are You Popular? (9:53) -1947 Dramatizes behavior of two teen-agers to illustrate characteristics of personality which lead to popularity & success in dating. Contrasts carolyn, attractive newcomer in high school, with ginny, who is willing to date all the boys but is unpopular with both boys & girls. Shows how carolyn & wally are careful of their appearance, polite, considerate in arranging dates, etc. One of the best examples of post-World War II social guidance films, with examples of "good" and "bad" girls, proper and improper dating etiquette, courtesy to parents, and an analysis of what makes some people popular and others not. A scream and a sobering document of postwar conformity. Mind-boggling double-standard for the "bad" boy and the "bad" girl. Classic Coronet. "Caroline and her mother had found one way a girl can repay a boy for entertaining her [...] perhaps they could bring another couple home with them. That would be fun." How to Say No: Moral Maturity (10:31) -1951 How to say no to unwanted smoking, drinking and petting, and still keep your friends. "How can you say no and still keep your friends?" A discussion group of earnest, clean-cut teens talk directly to the camera as they (and we) flash back to situations where they had to say no: Drinking beer after football practice, smoking cigarettes at a pajama party, and the ever-popular "petting." Control Your Emotions (13:18) -1950 Well-balanced emotions help to create a well-rounded personality, especially in teenagers. This bizarre film is hosted by an unnamed "psychologist." While spouting Pavlovian claptrap such as "Fear is triggered by loud noises" and "Your emotions can be your own greatest enemy," he repeatedly interrupts the story of "Jeff," the film's protagonist. Jeff -- who looks like a heroin addict -- has a lot of trouble controlling his emotions, and the psychologist is always ready to pop in with statements such as "If this kind of behavior is repeated often, it might lead to a permanently warped personality."Control Your Emotions doubles as a lesson in behaviorist psychology and an admonition to postwar American children. "Before man learned how to control fire and put it to work, it was man's greatest enemy. In much the same way, your emotions can be your own greatest enemy." Similar messages percolate throughout the social guidance films of the 1940s and 1950s (see, for example, A Date With Your Family, where the narrator intones, "Pleasant, unemotional conversation helps the digestion"). The links between the effort to manage and regulate outbursts of feeling and the national offensive to smooth out adolescent behavioral excesses often seem obscure. There is no doubt, however, that the architects of Fifties consensus (psychologists, educators, the judiciary, sociologists and advertisers) wished to discourage "unproductive" and negativistic behavior. "Severe emotional stress," says the narrator of this film, "often decreases efficiency." What seems clearest is that for Americans, recovery from wartime damage was more about drawing away emotionally from war's stresses and strains than digging graves and sweeping up rubble. After twelve years of economic depression and almost four years of world war, parents (and the authorities on child development that stood behind them) wanted a peaceful and disruption-free world for their kids, and they don't seem to have distinguished between internal and external turmoils. All were undesirable. Responsive both to the demands of the era and the process of individual maturation, Control Your Emotions ultimately promoted social adaptation over self-expression. It assumed that kids' behavior was a vehicle for emotions that were essentially uncomplicated, individual rather than social. In its scheme, teenagers' emotions weren't linked with any cultural or social contradictions, but simply combinations of the three basic emotions: rage, fear and love. So while other Coronet films like Shy Guy hinted at the existence of a youth culture with its own rewards and pressures, Control Your Emotions saw teens more as creatures of their hormones than of their times. Law and Social Controls (9:40) -1949 Uses the story of teens trying to extend the hours of their "Teen Canteen" as a vehicle for explaining customs, moral codes, and laws. The gang at the "Teen Canteen" can't decide if they should close their establishment at ten thirty or eleven. Adult advisers guide them to the correct decision (ten thirty). Coronet obviously felt it plausible that resolving an issue such as this would require the efforts of both teens and adults -- though it's doubtful anyone else would. Some narration and crude animation. "Jane" also appears in Going Steady and you might recognize "Edward" from Dating Do's and Don'ts. This one grows on you. Act Your Age (13:22) -1949 Jim, an emotionally immature teen, learns to evaluate his personality and to better work out his problems. Mind boggling expose of a delinquent (?) teen who gets frustrated with school and starts vandalizing his desk, only to be sent to the principal to discuss "infantile reactions." Even the wise old janitor gets in on the action. Classic film about using logic to guide your complex, multi-faceted emotions. Fun of Being Thoughtful, The (10:09) -1950 Social guidance film for teenagers encouraging insight into the motives, tastes and desires of others. "Everywhere you go, people talk about thoughtfulness." With this premise in mind, we are wisked into the life of "Jane Proctor," a happy teen who is slavishly devoted to her "fine, thoughtful family." While uttering lines such as "It'd be the thoughtful thing to do," and "That's what makes thoughtfulness worthwhile!" Jane tidies her room, fixes dinner for the family, and fixes her geeky brother Eddie up with a date. In the end, Jane's thoughtfulness pays off ("A new dress!!!") and we leave the Proctor family basking in the sunshine of family togetherness. The script for this film flies in several directions at once, which makes it fun but a little hard to follow. Everyday Courtesy (8:56) -1948 Courtesy in connection with invitations, telephone conversations, introductions and entertaining guests. Possibly the first feature to star John Lindsay, who later achieved immortality as "Woody" in Dating Do's And Don'ts. In this film he plays "Bill Anderson," a young fellow who proudly shows his mother around the "courtesy" displays in his classroom at Sunnyside School. This scenario allows the narrator to teach us the time-worn fundamentals of social courtesy, but the only thing you'll remember from this film is Woody, who is a much better actor here than he was later in life. A film with lots of potential, but no payoff. Better Use of Leisure Time (10:33) -1950 How to make the most of your free time. "Ken" has nothing to do, but the helpful interactive narrator soon puts a stop to that. Sensible leisure activities (bird watching and reading, for example) help Ken "prepare himself for better living" and "use his time well." This film is more imaginative than most when it comes to visual gimmickry. Ken later starred as Chuck-of-the-future in Good Table Manners. Keeping the world safe from beatniks, juvenile delinquents, and riff raff one 72 hour work week at a time. Mind Your Manners (10:42) -1953 How teenagers can cultivate good manners by manifesting a real desire to get along with others. This classic stars "Woody" from Dating Dos and Don'ts -- a few years older, but just as out of touch with reality. As "Jack," he goes through this entire film being unbelievably polite, but the weird leer on his face makes you wonder what he's really thinking. Don't miss the soda shop populated by waitresses in Hans Brinker costumes(!), or the montage of adults thinking approvingly of Jack's behavior. Overcoming Fear (12:39) -1950 How Bill overcomes his fear of the water through understanding its sources. Right or Wrong? (Making Moral Decisions) (10:53) -1951 Assessing the behavior of a juvenile delinquent who refuses to rat on his companions. A gang of "toughs" breaks some warehouse windows, and the night watchman recognizes one of the punks as youthful Harry Green. He's hauled into the police station and he has to decide which is worse -- "squealing" on his friends, or "hiding lawbreakers." This dark film takes place entirely in one night, and as we encounter each character we hear them agonizing to themselves in VOs as they make moral decisions. Sgt. Kelly ("It'll be much easier for you if you help us") played Dick York's weird dad in Shy Guy. Shy Guy (13:36) -1947 Phil (Dick York), new in his high school, follows his father's suggestion and observes the most popular students to determine what makes them popular. By offering to help others he becomes popular himself and sheds his shyness. Phil (played by Dick York) is the son of an apparently single father who seems recently to have undergone corporate relocation, and things are very different for Phil. He has a problem "fitting in." Everything from the nature of the kids in the new town ("different") to what they wear ("not jackets like me, but a regular sweater") sets Phil apart. Armed only with confusing advice from his father, Phil has to reorganize his behavior and make a new home for himself. Shy Guy marks a kind of turning point in postwar history. When Mr. Norton advises Phil to "look around him" and see what the other kids are wearing and how they behave, he's conceding parental authority to the "gang" and, ultimately, helping to legitimize the formation of a distinct youth culture that rests on group identity and validation rather than the authority of elders. Such a youth culture probably has its roots in the wartime autonomy that teens experienced, but here the adults are okaying it. This change, of course, is one of the key social currents in postwar America. This is Dick York at his dorkiest. Dick's father is especially strange in this classic. Shy Guy is the film that established Coronet as THE social guidance filmmaker. Required viewing. Self-Conscious Guy (10:22) -1951 Shows how feelings of self-consciousness keep a high school boy from doing his classwork well or making friends easily. Shows how the feelings of self-consciousness keep a high school boy from doing his class work well or making friends easily. The boy discovers many of his classmates suffer from similar feelings, but that several of them have overcome these feelings and developed poise and self-assurance. If you watch this bland film expecting to see another Shy Guy you'll be disappointed. It follows the tribulations of "Marty," who wants a part in the school play but whose self-consciousness dooms him to the inferior role of stage hand. He feels, he explains, "as if there was a spotlight on me," and the inferior stage hands at Coronet help us understand this by shining a spot on Marty whenever he has a nervous moment. Cheap, but effective. Happily, Marty's life turns around when he discovers that he's more confident than leading man "Jack" when it comes to ping pong. Marty, who also starred in How To Say No, has a swath of shaved skin around his ears so wide you could park a truck on it. How Honest Are You? (13:50) -1950 For teenagers, honesty can come easy or hard, depending on the stakes. Did basketball star Bob really steal money out of Ben's locker? Since this is a Coronet film he probably didn't, but the characters in this production have to flesh out the truth for themselves. Lots of deep self-examination of motives and what was and wasn't seen, lots of interplay with the camera, and acting that's actually pretty good. There's even a plot twist, when "Rose" confesses her real reason for ratting to the coach about Bob. "I can just see it," she says, as the camera dollies in for a CU of her glazed eyes. "You'll get Bob off the team and Terry will become the regular center. MY Terry. He'll be the star of the team. And I'll be sitting on top of the world!" Whew, pretty heady stuff for Coronet. Snap Out of It! (Emotional Balance) (12:06) -1951 Discusses why an achievement-conscious boy becomes emotionally upset when he fails to get an expected 'A' in a history course. This film follows the frustrations of confused teen Howard Patterson, who won't show his report card to his parents because he "should've gotten" an A in social studies. "Sometimes we expect great things," Mr. Edmunds reflects, leaning back in his chair as Howard looks on. "And when we're severely disappointed, we become emotionally upset." Mr. Edmunds counsels Howard against "expecting too much" and tells him to keep his emotions "in balance." "If your emotions are in balance, you channel your emotional energy into a direct attack on your problem!" Howard promises to lower his expectations and be more balanced, and another member of the Silent Generation leaves a Coronet film to paint the world gray. Benefits of Looking Ahead, The (10:30) -1950 Nick cannot plan ahead, but is convinced to do so after imagining himself as a drifter or a bum. "Nick Baxter" is a sloppy teen with greasy hair and a poorly-knotted necktie. His clean-cut friend, "Don," tells him that he'll end up on skid row if he doesn't come up with some detailed plans for his future. Nick's hammy acting make this a fun film. The fantasy sequences -- where Nick imagines himself as a bum and then a successful businessman -- are high points. "Who are the people most likely to succeed?" asks the narrator. Well, not Nick Baxter, a senior in high school and slacker in the making, who can't plan ahead. Whether it's building a table in shop class or planning his life's future, he's clueless and, unless he gets his act together, destined to be a bum. Let's assume for just a moment that Nick is a real person. Since this 1950 film shows him at age 17 or 18, he would have been born in 1932 or 1933--the two hardest years of the Great Depression. This makes him one of the left-behinds--one of the Depression children who didn't get to fight in the war, a sort of middle child between two groups of people who underwent profound experiences completely beyond their control. Is it any wonder that, for Nick, reality bites? Of course, the other, perhaps more valid, argument is that Nick just doesn't understand what it takes to make it in the fabulous Fifties. Don: "To succeed in something, you have to have a purpose, and make plans for reaching it, and work at it all the time." Nick: "Sounds crazy to me." But Nick's friends get the message, and even Nick sees their futures are pretty much assured already. When Don blithely tells Nick that he's "least likely to succeed," and well on the way to becoming a drifter or a bum, this is the kick in the pants Nick has been waiting for. "That could be me...nothing but a bum." Nick finds a worthy metaphor for all of his unfinished business in the school shop. Realizing that drawing up a plan is necessary to building a table that can stand on its four legs, he decides to draw up a plan for his own life. "Plans...sketches...measurements...that's what I have to do with my own future...I've got to look ahead and imagine...what I want it to be like...". He is shortly back on course and in command of his future, and fantasizes himself telling his father that he's been elected chairman of the "Community Club." "Yes, I want a future that's something like that. I want to be happy. Be somebody. Have a good job. Friends. A home. A wife and kids. But how do I get there? If that's my purpose, how do I reach it. How? A detailed plan. How to achieve my purpose. And I'd better be getting at it right now." Although Nick does lack a detailed plan, he's already got something much more important--a sense of middle-class entitlement peculiar to that postwar period. This is the feeling that the world is made to help him achieve his goals, that it can offer him what he needs if he can only figure out how to take it. I'm not so sure Nick (or even Don) would feel the same way in the 1990s. What's going to take the place of a "future that's something like that?" This film represents a whole culture of vocational guidance, a panorama of alternative futures for the young that has given life to thousands of books, films and training aids. In this visually minded century, these publications have focused on visual means of expressing abstract ideas like planning ahead, avoiding vocational deadends, and measuring progress towards concrete objectives. But whether it's little cartoons about the "steps to success" or parables taking place in the carpentry shop, the prejudices and kitschiness of this culture have hardly been explored and urgently await the attention of historians. Understand Your Emotions 2 (12:54) -1950 Biology teacher explains emotions, voluntary and involuntary behavior. Friendship Begins At Home (15:40) -1949 How a strong family group helps teenagers learn to form strong friendships. Barry is a teenager who doesn't appreciate his family. "Everybody's always picking on me," he whines. "I declare, Barry," replies mom. "I do wish you'd show as much consideration for the members of your own family as you do for your outside friends!" "Maybe I would," he snorts, "if my family'd show me as much consideration as my friends do!" Barry decides to be a brat and not accompany his family on their annual two-week fishing trip. "I'd rather stay here with my friends," he mutters, sulking. "Don't you consider your FAMILY your friends?" asks kid sister Diana. "How can a guy be friends with his family?" Barry snaps back. But dad is agreeable; Barry is left money for food and the family departs. "We're going away to have FUN," dad declares. Barry's first few hours of freedom are glorious, but he quickly discovers that his "friends" aren't as dependable as his family. George won't invite him over for dinner (Barry eats canned beans and soup for two weeks). Heartthrob Lorraine gets sick and cancels her party. The rest of Barry's friends are either away, working, or on vacation (with THEIR families, no doubt). This mid-section of the film is a thespian tour-de-force for Barry, as his non-stop internal sentence fragment monologue takes the place of a narration, saying things that no outside voice over could get away with. The Coronet "wistful" theme builds as the camera dollies in for close ups of Barry at critical points; he affects these moments of deep thought by suddenly raising his head, narrowing his eyes, and looking up and off-camera at a 45 degree angle. "Why haven't any of my friends called me?" he muses. "Not much fun spending the day alone." (NOTE: No TV in Barry's home) "Nobody to do things with. What are friends FOR, anyway?" Though Barry is a "free man," his friends can't match the "thoughtfulness" of his family. "I never before listened to an -- empty house," he reflects. And now he's visited by ghosts! -- double-exposure images of his family doing thoughtful things that Barry had, until now, not appreciated. Barry realizes that he probably took away some of his dad's "fun" by staying home. "That's a selfish thing to do," he concludes. Mom offers ice cream, Diana offers to get his suit pressed, and kid brother Dick plaintively asks to play checkers. "Boy," Barry cries, "how I'd like to play checkers with you right now!" "They're swell people!" Barry declares, scales falling from his eyes. "ALL of them! They do the kinds of things you expect of your friends! FRIENDS! That's it!!!" Now Barry is a changed young man. His family returns to find him scrubbing the kitchen floor ("You know, mother, you never really appreciate your family until they're not around"), he's bought Dick a new tennis racket ("Gee, Barry, you're swell!"), and he takes his kid sister to a dance when her date backs out ("Wow! Is that my sister? Well -- no WONDER all those fellows telephoned while you were away!"). The gulf between the America that applauded this production and the America that cheered Tom Cruise in Risky Business is what the study of these films is all about. Understanding Your Ideals (13:37) -1950 A high school boy primarily concerned with automobiles, dates, and parties learns from his father's example that ideals are really based on honesty, sincerity, and good sportsmanship. What About Juvenile Delinquency? (11:27) -1955 Jim leaves the gang after it attacks his father, and joins other teenagers at City Hall to argue against the imposition of a curfew. Drama filmed in Lawrence, Kansas. What Makes A Good Party? (10:33) -1950 Shows teenagers how to plan and attend a party, suggesting games to play and songs to sing ("Jimmy Crack Corn"). This film creates a world so innocent that it's embarrassing. Jean, Nora and Eileen are high school girls who want to throw a "coming out" party to introduce college boy "Steve" to the rest of the gang. But whoa, let's not be impulsive, the narrator cautions, for "a successful party needs planning and skill." Accordingly, every detail of the get-together is mapped out beforehand, from the refreshments (hot chocolate and sandwiches) to the "well-chosen games" (a hat-making contest and Charades). "Everyone's out to have fun and to help OTHERS have fun," the narrator emphasizes. This need to do everything collectively, to allow no room for individual interests, to "help keep the party fun for all," is shown when Nora attempts pull Steve aside for some conversation. Nuh-uh! Who knows where that behavior would lead! Jean drags the two rebels back into the group, and the gang soon has a grand time singing Jimmy Crack Corn around the piano. The narrator offers one last nugget of wisdom -- "Part of a good party is knowing when to go home" -- and the kids do just that. The disapproval of anything impulsive or individual in this film shows a really warped sense of "democracy," and more closely resembles socialism, if you think about it. According to Ted Peshak, "This whole part of the north Chicago area has changed because of that film." Writing Better Social Letters (10:31) -1950 While a teenage brother and sister write a thank-you note to their grandmother after visiting her on vacation, we learn the five parts of a friendly letter and more about why and how to write one.
Social Guidance for Children
Developing Responsibility (10:06) -1949 Tells story of how frank assumes his everyday responsibilities at home, at school, & on his paper route, & is rewarded by being given a pedigreed dog by a man on his paper route who has observed his acceptance of responsibility. Why We Respect The Law (12:54) -1950 Ken and three friends steal boards to make backstop for baseball field. Ken suffers from guilt & sees family lawyer who helps him develop respect for laws. Ken then helps other boys settle accounts with the construction company. Explains the importance of law in keeping order in a society. Shows that respect for the law is developed by a realization that law represents accumulated wisdom, that it is in harmony with laws of nature and that it is necessary to prevent trouble In the most jaw-droppingly awful defense of the law ever put to film, the lawyer steals Ken's shoes, imagines a world where hillbillies attack homes at random, and makes the following deductions: - The universe has physical laws, therefore laws are a part of nature. - A child who starts out stealing pennies from his mother's change will end up an armed felon. He actually says, "Peace and happiness are impossible unless our individual possessions are secure." So remember kids, things = happiness. Joan Avoids a Cold (10:26) -1947 How young children must behave to avoid transmitting germs to one another. Ways to Settle Disputes (10:07) -1950 Everyday incidents at school and at play teach Alice, Jerry and Eddie to resolve conflicts by compromise, by obeying rules, by finding facts, or finding opinions. Fun of Making Friends, The (9:19) -1950 Discusses the values of friendships and how to make and keep friends. Beginning Responsibility: Taking Care of Things (9:20) -1951 Instructs children how to care for toys, clothing and other property; to have a definite place to keep belongings, and how to store and handle possessions properly. Young Andy learns that "cleaning up after yourself is a grown-up way to behave." The narrator helps us become motivated by reminding us that as long as we're messy, we'll be shunned (loners were always given a wide berth in the fifties). The best moment occurs when Andy comes home from school to his messy room: Narrator: "And here are Andy's tadpoles." CU of bowl. "Aw. They're dead." How to Study (8:50) -1946 Jim prepares a civics report on labor unions. He uses four different types of reading: scanning, rapid reading, careful slow reading & re-reading. He organizes his information, collects further data, writes his report. Good Sportsmanship (9:30) -1950 How sportsmanship enriches daily living: a lesson for teens. This film for pre-teens teaches youngsters to "think of what's best for the group." Even if things don't work out the way you'd like, the narrator explains, "it's more pleasant just to take what happens." And if you don't put up a fuss, "everyone will like you better." 1950 must have been a strange year to be a kid. Build Your Vocabulary (10:37) -1947 Dramatizes the story of a father, who, after finding himself at a loss for words at a public meeting, follows his son's lead and starts a campaign of vocabulary improvement. The film opens at a "civic association" meeting, probably a familiar setting for its late forties audience. "Mr. Willis" wants to speak his mind, but he lacks the vocabulary he needs to articulate his thoughts properly. Afterward, as he sulks at home, dutiful son Pete asks him to read his term paper before he hands it in -- a paper about the need to turn public parks into "playgrounds for the direction of youthful energy into character-building channels." Mr. Willis is impressed with Pete's "explicitness," and Pete encourages him to keep a "vocabulary notebook" in "a business-like way." "People can be interested in new ideas," the narrator explains, but apparently only if they're articulated correctly. Mr. Willis doesn't find building his vocabulary easy ("Nobody can learn all these words!" he yells at one point, "I'm going to bed!"), but in the end it pays and he becomes the star of the next civic association meeting. Who says the young can't teach the old? All interiors. Some nice low-light photography as dad struggles at his desk at night. Some actual intended humor as dad's secretary flees from his silent scowling. Nice use of layered voices echoing inside dad's head as he wrestles with his conscience. The camera actually dollies in for reaction shots; unusual, tricky and effective. Let's Play Fair (8:43) -1949 Sharing, taking turns and obeying rules are the basic elements of fair play. If Coronet would ever make a German Expressionistic film, it would certainly look like this. Let's Share With Others (10:27) -1950 A kid-centered pitch for fair play and thoughtfulness. This film is an excellent window on the weird fifties concept of profit through communal living. Young "Jimmy Blake" has a lemonade stand that he wants to run all by himself, even though the narrator warns us that "when we share things there is often more for everybody." Sure enough, Jimmy's off-the-job responsibilities start cutting into his lemonade sales and he quickly realizes that the way to success is through shared effort. Jimmy calls in his friends to help and soon "EVERYONE is having fun. Sharing with others certainly is a good idea, isn't it?" This may not be a very exciting film to watch, but its equating of "fun" with profit, "sharing" with a business, and group action with popularity make it worth viewing. "Learn to share with others. You'll like it. Your friends will like you, too!" Developing Self-Reliance (10:20) -1951 Social guidance film showing how necessary self-reliance is to all successful endeavors and happiness. The narrator explains that some people like "being dependent," but that those who do "never do any more than just 'get by'." Alan understands this, and after being chided by his dad ("Haven't you read Emerson's Essay On Self-Reliance?") Alan develops leadership qualities and becomes "a happier and better person." As he becomes more and more confident, he starts wearing ties on dates (Does he bring flowers, if it's a ritzy affair?.. oops, wrong movie) and settling school issues on his council. Am I Trustworthy? (10:22) -1950 How a child learns to return borrowed items, keep promises and fulfill assignments. his film follows young "Eddie" as he learns to become trustworthy. Actually, "trustworthiness" in this film is pretty loosely defined -- it seems to be synonymous with "obedience" and "conformity." Eddie, at the prodding of his dad and the narrator, quickly and eagerly sees the value of trust (he even makes his own Trustworthiness Chart), and we leave the film knowing that Eddie is well on his way to normalcy. "People have to show they can be trusted with little things if they want to be trusted with big things." Family Life (9:48) -1949 Impossible drama proving that proper management of schedules, responsibilities, privileges and finances leads to a happier home. Another winner from Coronet Instructional Films! Get a little organized and you too will be able to afford those major medical expenses and finally get your hair under control! Sharing Work At Home (10:21) -1949 A family cooperates to an unbelievable degree. The Taylor family -- Mom, Dad, Howard and Martha -- live in a messy house and, what's worse, they don't seem to care. But Martha has culled some modern ideas from her home economics textbook and the Taylor renaissance is about to begin. "General housekeeping is made much easier if each person picks up after himself," Martha reads to Howard; he thinks for a moment and responds, "Hey, sis...maybe we should get organized!" As anyone familiar with postwar Coronet films knows, "get organized" is an unresistable rallying cry. Soon, the Taylors are making neat, handwritten lists for everything, and smiling so broadly that it must hurt. "Here! It's all organized!" cries Howard as he holds aloft yet another list. "That's the idea! Each of us picks up after himself!" echoes Dad. In less time than it takes to pull a tally sheet out of the Job Jar, the Taylors have become "a far happier and better family." "This is more than just a story of wallpaper and slipcovers," the narrator proclaims. "It's a story of improvement in the Taylors themselves!" Your Thrift Habits (10:35) -1948 Modern-day moral tale resembling Ben Franklin's autobiography. Irresponsible "Jack" is envious of the camera that sensible "Ralph" has just purchased. How can Jack possibly save the money he needs to buy one for himself? "Are budgets just for parents?" the narrator asks, mockingly. "If he'd do without extravagances he could save every week!" Jack concedes that he should learn to budget his income, so he devises a "cameragraph" and attempts to follow it. This isn't always easy, but the narrator is always on hand to humiliate Jack whenever greed and gluttony surface. "Too many movies! Too much candy!" he chides. "You can't have EVERYTHING you want!" Needless to say, Jack does finally save enough money to buy his camera -- and probably had a good laugh at this film once the unthrifty fifties got rolling. Your Family (7:37) -1947 Family values in action bring happiness and concord. "Your Family" details a happy go-lucky family willing to jump through hoops to do family chores so they could get dinner over with so they can watch their home movies of them shoveling snow. All the family has duties, Mom takes care of the house, Tony takes care of the unfortunately-named terrier Fluffy, Nancy sets the table, and Dad, well, he doesn't deserve to do anything, as he's of course had a hard day at the office. How Quiet Helps at School (10:28) -1953 Social guidance film for young children suggesting that they take their noise out to the playground. This film starts off dull, but then it gets pretty strange. First, we're taken on a tour of a typical, boisterous grade school classroom ("You couldn't be proud to be part of such a noisy room, could you?" asks the narrator), and then we're taken into the classroom of "Miss Bradley" -- a place where all sound has apparently been banished. Miss Bradley tells us that keeping a classroom this quiet is good because it's "like an office," and that "knowing when to be quiet is a part of growing up." A cheerful geek named "Bobby" then gives several demonstrations of quiet behavior, and the narrator ends the film by asking, "This is a good room, isn't it?" Pretty weird stuff; lots of dead air. Watch for the scenes displaying the strange, tabletop "model farm." Good Table Manners (10:20) -1951 A bad-mannered 14-year-old meets himself as a young man of 21, and learns the fundamentals of good table manners. The best of the table manners films. "Chuck" has terrible table manners. But then he's visited by himself, several years older (and with even less acting ability), and Chuck-from-the-future teaches Chuck-of-the-present how to "park your fork" and countless other details of table etiquette. "People judge many things about you just by the way you eat!" School Rules: How They Help Us (10:13) -1953 Shows everyday scenes in which rules influence our behavior. Shows ways new student can learn rules, why exceptions can't be granted. Discusses rules and stresses the point that rules are ways of making life more pleasant, smooth and safe. Rules are good for you. Obey. Obey. Social Courtesy (10:17) -1951 Dramatic film offering instruction in basic social graces. Sour-puss "Bill" is invited to a "hard times" party with his girlfriend Carol, but he believes that social courtesy is "old fashioned." Whoa, just a minute there, says the feisty interactive narrator, who soon sets Bill on a proper course. Bill takes the narrator in stride, as he does being teleported through space and backward in time (repeatedly) in this very bizarre Coronet production. "Let's take a picture of this situation," the narrator says as a strobe flashes from behind the camera and the scene we just saw is transformed into a photo on a wall in the next scene. "You'd better back up and start all over again. Maybe you'd better try to be more FRIENDLY this time." Bill beckons the invisible narrator closer so that he can discuss things in private, and the camera obligingly dollies in while the other teens at the party remain utterly oblivious. "You discourage others when they want to be friendly," the narrator scolds. "You're supposed to rise when an adult speaks to you; everybody knows that." "Come on, Bill. Sit up! That's a chair, not a bed." You have to wonder why Bill, who is so rude to his friends, puts up with this invisible nagging narrator (you also have to wonder why he has any friends, period). Even the party is surreal. Signs such as "hobo jungle" and "bum's rest" (over the couch) hang on the wall, which is spotted with weird, unexplained stains. One of the girls, suddenly aware that Bill is having a solo conversation, asks "Are you talking to yourself?" which, in the early fifties, was much worse than talking to an invisible narrator. "Learn from watching others," the narrator concludes. "You can even get a book on courtesy from the library. Be friendly. Thoughtful. YOU'LL get along!" It works; the mom chaperon exclaims "Isn't that the boy who used to be so rude?" and Bill is accorded the ultimate symbol of fifties' conformist success; he's invited to another party. "Those changes made a big difference, didn't they!" he exclaims in wonder. "Social courtesy DOES pay! Thanks!!!" Certainly one of the most inventive Coronet films ever made. Good camera work by Bruce Colling. Appreciating Our Parents (10:00) -1950 Shows Tommy's development into responsible family member after he is brought to realize depth of parent's affection for him and their sacrifices. He tries to help family by saving money, putting things away, drying dishes and repairing broken furniture.
Science & Health
Nature of Light, The (8:28) -1948 Demonstrates light as a form of radiant energy. Explains the principles of reflection & refraction & shows how these principles apply to the science of optics. Shows how 2 boys on early a.m. Fishing trip discover principles of reflection and refraction of light through simple experimentation. Diagrams explain the operation of camera & human eye. Nature of Sound, The (10:45) -1948 Boy uses his radio equipment to demonstrate how sound is produced and transmitted. Attitudes and Health (9:56) -1949 Demonstrates how self-confidence and right attitudes are necessary to good health. This film tells the story of "Marvin Baker" -- "an average fellow from an average home in an average town" -- who learns that having an "attitude" can make him sick and a failure in life. Happily, by the end of the film, Marv has adopted a "better perspective" and makes the first team in basketball. Watch for the montage of people with bad attitudes, including a woman with giant shoulders and scary eyebrows, and a fat-faced man with a "tick." Exercise and Health (9:51) -1949 How exercise will make you healthy and popular. Ernie, Jean, and Hal are three teens who have problems: Ernie is in "a run down condition," Jean is "shy and withdrawn," and Hal is "tense and irritable." But then all three join the Acrobatics Club at school and get into shape. Now Ernie, Jean and Hal "make friends easier" and have "outlets for their emotional tensions." But they're still painfully dull. Good Eating Habits (9:46) - 1951 Drama focusing on gluttony and "hidden hunger," where well-nourished people eat poorly and malnourish themselves. Rest and Health (10:36) -1949 Dick York plays a high-school track star whose running lags because of his lack of sleep.
Alaska: A Modern Frontier (Revised edition) (10:20) -1948 Views of the Territory of Alaska. Life in the Central Valley of California (10:23) -1949 Shows the agriculture, trade and infrastructure of California's Central Valley, all made possible by irrigation. Mighty Columbia River, The (9:59) -1947 Hydroelectric power, shipping, irrigation and salmon fishing. Rivers of the Pacific Slope (10:39) -1947 The Columbia, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Colorado river systems. Who Are the People of America? (10:07) -1953 Explains how the United States came to be a diversely populated nation. Not a very exciting film, but one with an interesting, transitional attitude -- forties' One-Worldism diluted by fifties' "sharing." The narrator tells us that Americans are "a mixture of the people of the world" and that "much of that which is American is of the world." We're shown a montage that includes spaghetti, baseball, a jukebox, and hot dogs, and the narrator explains that "these are some of the things we share as Americans. For we have become Americans through the process of sharing." Lots of stock shots from previous Coronet films litter this production (along with the obligatory cheap animated lines and arrows converging on a map of the U.S.), but it's all incidental eye candy to hold our attention while the narrator delivers his social utopian blarney. "Playing together, growing together, learning together," he declares. "America is a land whose people shared what they knew." This film is one of Mel Waskin's favorites; he claims he wrote the script and then assembled the film "rhythmically" at home using footage from the Coronet stock library. According to Mel, this film brought tears to Jack Abraham's eyes when he first viewed it.
Work of the Stock Exchange (15:40) -1941 Examines each step of incorporation and listing of stock. Illustrates the details of buying and selling operations on the exchange floor and in the broker's office, showing how these operations bring to land, labor and management the necessary capital for production. Corporations: "What Is A Corporation" (10:26) -1949 Discusses the principal forms of business ownership-single proprietorship, partnership and corporation-and explains the advantages and disadvantages of each. Selling as a Career (10:34) -1953 Typical Day Of Work Of Art Williams, Salesman Of Sporting Goods. Preparations At Home For Next Day's Work, Fills Out Reports, Estimates Sales Prospects, Schedules Calls. Focuses On Procedures & Personal Characteristics. How to Keep a Job (11:23) -1949 What you need to do to stay employed: choose the right job, get along with colleagues, maintain positive attitude, etc. "Ed" is a teen seeking employment at the "Star Products Company." His interviewer, Mr. Wiley, is a little leery of Ed, since the brash teen had the audacity to quit his prior job. "Nobody thinks very much of a man who talks against the company he works for," Mr. Wiley explains. However, Ed "might really amount to something," so Mr. Wiley tells him the story of identical twins Bob and Walter Anderson, who worked in the Star Products shipping room. Through the miracle of split screen photography (pretty daring for Coronet), we see that teen actor Bob is presentable and conscientious (he gets a promotion) while identical teen actor Walter is sloppy and ungrateful (he gets the boot). "Wouldn't you like to have Bob working for you?" asks Mr. Wiley. Ed is humbled and promises to be a good corporate man from now on. Let's hope he didn't rush out and buy a suit jacket with lapels as wide as Mr. Wiley's. I Want to Be a Secretary (15:52) -1941 Follows a young woman through her clerical training and job search. Shows pre-World War II offices and office workers, primarily women. One of Coronet's earliest educational films. Great title, but the muddled soundtrack and bargain basement production of this early Coronet effort make it less satisfying than other "career woman" films. The stilted interaction between the aspiring secretary and her various elders is okay, but nothing to write a memo about. This film's soundtrack was re-recorded when it was re-scripted and re-edited down to a 10-minute version in 1951. It was then remade in 1954 as the less-dogmatic Do I Want To Be A Secretary? Supervising Women Workers (10:37) -1944 Management addresses the special problems of women workers with concern and a heavy dose of sexism. Secretary's Day, The (10:47) -1947 Compares daily activities of a secretary with those of a stenographer. This film takes us through a typical work day of "Jean Carroll," a professional secretary who is tactful, courteous, poised, alert, personable, efficient, prompt, neat, and orderly. We learn that Jean's morning dictation period is "the foundation of secretarial skill," and are given many opportunities to view her invaluable calendar pad. A more or less typical secretarial film. Jean's boss, "Mr. Williams," plays the young politician in Political Parties.
Banks And Credits (10:36) -1948 Coronet Instructional Films (a division of Esquire Inc.) presents Banks and Credit. Educational collaborator James Harvey Dodd, PhD., Professor of Economics and Business Administration, Mary Washington College at University of Virginia Understanding The Dollar (9:39) -1953 A dramatization which explains the essential purposes of money as a medium of exchange, analyzes factors which affect the value of the dollar, and shows the effects of rising prices on people with various types of income. Capitalism (9:24) -1948 A group of teenagers on a high-school radio program discuss just what capitalism is, seizing onto the example of the butcher who supplies the weenies for their picnic. Capitalism is one of many "free-enterprise education" films released in the first few years of the Cold War. Unlike many films produced under corporate sponsorship, it avoids taking jabs at socialism, Russia or New Deal government programs. Nonetheless, it uses the common Coronet device of showing a group collectively engaged in coming to terms with an idea -- a process with predetermined conclusions. In this respect, I imagine that it's not so different from Soviet educational films. Introduction to Foreign Trade (10:38) -1951 Cold War-era treatise on globalization. Trading Centers of the Pacific Coast (10:38) -1947 The Pacific Rim at the start of the air age. What Is Money? (10:33) -1947 Following the journey of a five-dollar bill through many transactions, the film shows how money functions as a standard of value and future payment, a storehouse of value and a convenient medium of exchange. This film follows a five-dollar bill (Federal Reserve Note G12463089B, series 34E) as it flows from person to person and performs different functions in the money channels of America. The narrator explains that money is "a quick and easy medium of exchange," which we use because "life today is too complex." Actually, money is a pretty abstract concept, and this film does a good job of making us aware of it. Watch for the cameo by "Mrs. Moore," who later played roles in Making Your Own Decisions and Political Parties. What Is Business? (9:49) -1948 Business produces Mother's pen, the bread on the breakfast table, and the pop-up toaster into which the bread goes. "The world we live in is a world of business." This postwar paean for the glories of free enterprise showers much praise on the Trinity of production, distribution and communication, which "have made the world of business TRULY one world." There's no narrative story line in this film, just a general overview, and much impressive talk about how business is "essential to our modern mode of living" and "helps fulfill our desires for a better way of life." As the camera pans down the storefronts of Main Street, the narrator cries, "Just think what it would mean if all this were taken away!" The battle lines of the Cold War couldn't have been drawn more succinctly.
Communism (10:41) -1952 Educational film on the Cold War conflict. Unlike Capitalism, this Coronet film has no dorky teenagers or weenies in it. Classic cold war propaganda film. Starting Now (10:44) -1951 High school students anticipate and prepare for the military draft. (Are You Ready for Service? No. 4) Getting Ready Emotionally (10:25) -1951 (Are You Ready for Service? No. 6) Getting Ready Morally (10:43) -1951 (Are You Ready for Service? No. 7) Getting Ready Physically (10:29) -1951 Korean War-era film encouraging high school boys to use the physical training, health and recreational resources of their communities so as to be ready for military service. Service and Citizenship (11:03) -1951 Korean War-era film points out that military service should be understood as part of citizenship and that training in the everyday duties of citizenship is a part of the preparation for military service. Powers of Congress, The (10:30) -1947 Mr. Williams drops off to sleep for a few minutes to find himself confronted with a world in which Congress has been suspended and federal authority dissolved. This film marks Coronet's earliest excursion into surrealism. It opens in the living room of "Charles Bentley," whose checked suit and zebra-striped tie clash maddeningly with the room's bulls-eye wallpaper pattern, and give some hint of the strange sights to come. "Congress this! Congress that!" Bentley snorts as he throws down his newspaper. "I've got more things to think about than Congress!" He stomps down to the post office to mail his tax return, and continues his tirade for the benefit of his strange-looking friend, "Williams." "What's Congress ever given me except a lot of trouble?" Bentley grunts. "You know what I think? I think we'd be better off if there WASN'T any Congress!" CUs of soap bubbles suddenly appear as Bentley is catapulted into a black void nightmare world where all the sets are built on German Expressionist angles and everyone's voice has an echo. "LOTS of things are different without the powers of Congress!" cackles Williams, who has been transformed (thanks to low-angle lighting) into a kind of omnipresent demon. "YOU'LL see! Hee hee hee hee...." Bentley quickly discovers that, without Congress, his money is worthless, his court system is in ruins, and, worst of all, Social Security is bankrupt. "You'll have to look out for yourself when you lose your job!" Williams crows. Next, Bentley's wife arrives, sobbing that without Congress "our FHA loan was no good" and that now the Bentley's have been thrown out on the street! Thankfully, the soap bubbles reappear and Bentley wakes up back is his nightmare-inducing living room. It was all a dream! "NOW I know what to put in my speech for the club!" he chuckles, and we leave him with a better attitude and a Social Security system that his beloved Congress would eventually leverage into bankruptcy anyway.
Plantation System in Southern Life, The (10:39) -1950 Eurocentric view of the plantation system and its effect on Southern U.S. culture. Palmour Street (23:54) -1957 Everyday aspects of mental health in an African American community in Gainesville, Georgia.
Much of the annotation of this post was written by shaggylocks and the good folks at the Internet Archive - where all of these videos should be accessible in perpetuity if their current links die.
          Wealth & World-Class ~ Universities & Growth... Thanks to a WEForum post for spotting infographics created for Times Higher Education by Ben Hennig, an associate professor at the University of Iceland, which spotlight the relationship between wealth and world-class universities...
"What are the essential ingredients needed to make a world-class university? [...] The answer always involves a discussion of the importance of institutional autonomy and academic freedom, and a recognition of the crucial fact that without great people, there can be no great university. But one element is undeniably more important than any other: cold, hard cash. [...] You can’t create the appropriate research facilities, or provide the appropriate teaching environment, without money -- but most importantly, you can’t attract and retain the required talent in a highly competitive global recruitment market without the resources to pay attractive salaries."
          Reforms in Sri Lankan Universities        
| by Aboobacker Rameez

( January 23, 2015, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian)
It is heartening to see a suitably qualified person being appointed as the Minister of Education. It is even more heartening to see the Minister, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe, attempting to introduce much needed reforms to the universities.

One of the other important aspects that has credibly crippled the system of Universities in Sri Lanka is the appointment of non-academic staff by the politicians, particularly the Higher Education Minister, with the collusion of the Vice Chancellors, some of whom also include their candidates in the list to be appointed as non-academic staff.
There are two key important factors, which I think have contributed to the total collapse of system in the universities in Sri Lanka: 1) the process involved in the selection of Council Members; and 2) the process involved in the selection of Vice Chancellors. It is encouraging to note that the new Minister’s reform proposals have taken note of these factors. This article seeks to propose suggestions on how the system in the university could be made immune to political meddling and other influences, so that there will be good governance and the autonomy and integrity of universities intact.

Selection of Council Members

In the past, politicians including the Higher Education Minister, and respective Vice Chancellors of universities played a pivotal role in the selection process of council members. They were selected not purely based on their educational and professional qualifications, but based on their political affiliation with politicians or to their political parties. Vice Chancellors also exploited the opportunity, based on their influence with the subject Minister, in recommending to the UGC/HEM a list of names to be selected to the council. Hence, the council of some universities was constituted with individuals with questionable credentials. I know of a University Council where a brother of a former Higher Education Minister and a relative of the Vice Chancellor were appointed as members of the council. These members are provided personal transportation or their travelling expenses reimbursed; they are also provided with lodging, honorarium and other sitting allowances. These perks and privileges functioned prompting them to play a passive role in the councils, simply giving consent to the decision taken by the Vice Chancellors. It is true that Councils are deemed as mere rubber stamps in the university sector. However, we cannot wholly dismiss the important role these council members can in reality play. They can indeed play a constructive role in making the universities real hubs of knowledge and professional ventures where scholars of higher standard are produced. The sordid practice I mentioned above has not only brought the universities into disrepute, but it has degenerated the university system in Sri Lanka. Thus, it is important that the Higher Education Minister rethinks strategies for the selection of council members to make it corruption-free and efficient. There should be clear-cut criteria for the selection of council members. In my humble view, first and foremost, the criteria should not merely focus upon the educational qualifications of the applicants, but it should also encompass professional expertise and the industrial experience/expertise of those applicants. Secondly, meddling of politicians and Vice Chancellors of respective universities in the selection process of council members should not be permitted. A commission in the UGC, free from political interference, should be delegated with the task of selecting the council members. This process, I believe, will ensure the restoration of a well-organized system in the country, thereby empowering the council members as guardians of the universities, instead of mere rubber stamps.

Process of Vice Chancellor Selection

The lapse in the selection process of council members consequently affects the selection of suitably qualified candidates to the position of Vice Chancellor (VC) in Universities. More importantly, appointing the Vice Chancellors of Universities is so far the prerogative of the President of the country. Thus, politics plays a key role in the selection process of VCs. President favors, for appointment, those who are loyal to him and his parties from a list of 3 candidates forwarded to him by the UGC after being short-listed by the respective University Councils. The Manifesto of His Excellency President Maithiripala Sirisena categorically states that the “Senate of each University will be responsible for the selection of VCs in the future.” This is indeed commendable, not simply because the task would be entrusted to a non-political entity, but because the Senate is the highest standard entity, constituted with the Deans of faculties, the Heads of departments, and members of each faculties of the university, in terms of academic affairs and that they would select the most suitable persons in terms of educational and professional qualification, and administrative experience/expertise without undue political interference or other influences. If this is not possible to implement in the short run, I recommend that a professional committee/body in the UGC level free from political interference should be constituted with the responsibility of selecting the most qualified person from the 3 short-listed candidates recommended by the council of respective universities. It is indeed plausible to assume that people with little academic background/qualifications would be appointed even in the future provided that the status quo is not checked.

One of the other important aspects that has credibly crippled the system of Universities in Sri Lanka is the appointment of non-academic staff by the politicians, particularly the Higher Education Minister, with the collusion of the Vice Chancellors, some of whom also include their candidates in the list to be appointed as non-academic staff. This politically motivated outrageous trend needs to be arrested with an immediate effect, given the fact that such appointments brought the universities into disrepute to a greater extent. We hear that such politically appointed non-academic staff dictate terms to their administrative heads because of their political influence. Instead, competitive exams, constructive interviews and presentations are some other ways and means through which non-academic positions can be filled at the Universities. We are optimistic that the present Higher Education Minister will never leave a room for obnoxiously sordid practices to be perpetuated in the Universities.

Overall, this process, if it is revamped, will ensure the good governance and autonomy of the universities and thus universities will serve as places of genuine intellectual discourses, nurturing scholars with both theoretical and practical/applied knowledge to keep abreast with the modern trend of the world and Sri Lanka.

This writer is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at South Eastern University of Sri Lanka(SEUSL). He is waiting for the viva on his PhD dissertation submitted at National University of Singapore (NUS).

          Call for Contributions: “Consolidating the field of Human Rights from the Perspective of the countries of the South: Actions and Reflections on a) sexual rights, b) access to medicine and intellectual property and c) religious freedoms”        
Source: Sur

Topics: Sexual & reproductive rights

The Interdisciplinary Human Rights Observatory of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) and Sur - University Human Rights Network invite all who are interested to submit contributions regarding a) sexual rights, b) access to medicine and intellectual property and c) religious freedoms, under the lens of human rights and from the perspective of the countries of the South, to be published in the upcoming editions of Sur - International Journal on Human Rights (Revista Sur). Deadline for contributions: March 10, 2010.

Revista Sur is published twice a year and distributed free of charge to approximately 2,700 readers in more than 100 countries. It can be accessed online and is available in three different languages: English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Revista Sur aims at opening channels of communication between and among professors and human rights activists, as well as disseminating the perspectives of the southern hemisphere, though not excluding contributions from other regions.

This invitation to submit contributions to Revista Sur comprises part of the project “Consolidating the field of Human Rights from the perspective of countries of the South: Actions and Reflections on a) sexual rights, b) access to medicine and intellectual property and c) religious freedoms”, financed by the Ford Foundation and executed by the Interdisciplinary Human Rights Observatory of UFRGS, between 2007 and 2009.

The goal of this project is of both an academic nature – requiring theoretical-conceptual and interdisciplinary reflections on selected subjects – and a political nature, as indicated by a need to intervene into the national and international debates surrounding these topics. Of particular interest to the project is the development of plans of action and cooperation for countries of the southern hemisphere, on various human rights themes. It is for this reason that the Journal seeks contributions that discuss the following subject areas:

a) Sexual Rights:

The discussion of sexual rights raises a question that is central to the equality of rights and corporal autonomy, independent of sex, gender or sexual orientation. If, on the one hand, it is possible to identify significant advances in terms of overcoming this inequality, on the other hand, one can observe that such advances are restricted to certain social groups, cities or countries.

In this way, sexual rights can be perceived as one more element of inequality, existing both: among the countries of the Global South; and between the countries of the Global South and those of the North.

For this reason, the editors propose bringing insights from countries of the south to the debate on sexual rights, in order to underscore the problems associated with the dichotomies and classifications traditionally addressed within this debate, such as: heterosexual/homosexual, masculine/feminine, health/pleasure, right/responsibility, sex/gender.

b) Access to Medicine:

The belief that individuals have the right to certain goods and services is relatively new, resulting from a series of discussions that have been carried out with the aim of including certain segments of society, in cases relating to health and education, among others, that had formerly been excluded.

Practically speaking, it can be said that access to certain goods and services constitutes an object of political debate and is in a place of tension in different fields, such as society, law, economics, health and politics. On the theoretical side of this discussion, we think it prudent to articulate, within the scope of the Journal, three concepts that are found on the interface of human rights, law and health: accessibility,
vulnerability and necessity.

c) Religious Freedoms:

This topic refers specifically to articulations between the field of human rights and the field of reflections and actions surrounding religious freedoms, the processes of secularization and the secularity of the State. To think of the subject of religious freedoms from the historical perspective of the countries of the Global South is to imply: (i) on the one hand, taking into account colonization by European nations,
special importation of Catholicism, and subsequent mixing with the local religions; and (ii) on the other hand, connecting the deepening of democratic experiences in the countries of the South to the strengthening of human rights, societal secularization movements and the constitutional demand of secularization of the State. For this reason, some subjects appear as priorities, including: the construction of inclusive and secular public policies, which are especially important in the areas of health and education (within which are several sensitive subjects, such as: abortion, religious education in public schools, homosexuality, assisted conception, stem cell research, etc.); and the effects of religious representation in local and national governments and religious coalitions and their forms of political pressure.
Articles discussing the topics proposed above, which are submitted by March 10th 2010 will be considered for selection in the 12th edition of the Journal (to be published in the first semester of 2010). Only original articles will be evaluated. All contributions will be evaluated by at least two members of Revista Sur’s Editorial Council or Consultative Council and, as often as necessary, by outside specialists. Any suggested changes will be sent to the respective author, and the incorporation of such changes will be subject to the express authorization of the author. Because distribution of the Journal is free of charge, the Journal unfortunately cannot remunerate its collaborators. In terms of authors’ rights, the Revista Sur uses the Creative Commons 2.5 license to publish its articles (


Contributions should be sent in electronic form (MS Word format) to and should follow these guidelines:

* Between 7,000 and 10,000 words or up to 70,000 characters.
* Concise endnotes. The Rules for Citation can be found at:
* Short biography of author (maximum of 50 words).
* Abstract (no more than 150 words), including keywords for the required bibliographical classification.
* Date when the paper was written.

Important: The guidelines for authors have changed and will be in force from the Sur Journal issue 10 on. If you have any doubt, do not hesitate to contact the editorial board at

For further information, please go here
Article License: Copyright - Article License Holder: Sur
          LIT C1 — A promising electric vehicle        

Lit C1 is a electric urban vehicle, combining the size of a motorcycle and durability of a car. The C1 uses electronically-controlled gyroscopes to remain upright even in the case of an accident. It can be charged up in six hours, has a top speed of 120mph, and the battery provides enough autonomy for 150 to 220 miles. It will be available in 2014 and will sell for $12,000 to $16,000 (USD)....

The post LIT C1 — A promising electric vehicle appeared first on AutoWorldCar.

           Artistic autonomy and the Soviet Cultural project: the Kirov and Bolshoi Ballet companies, 1953-1968         
Ezrahi, C.F.; (2009) Artistic autonomy and the Soviet Cultural project: the Kirov and Bolshoi Ballet companies, 1953-1968. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).
          Breaking the Frames        
When I was a college undergraduate, I studied the theoretical underpinnings of Freudian psychoanalysis with J. Giles Milhaven, a former Jesuit priest and professor of religious studies at Brown University. One of the central concepts that I took away from my studies with Dr. Milhaven was the therapeutic necessity of what he called "breaking the frame." His belief was that problems in human relationships come mainly from the way that we frame those relationships; the belief structures that we build around our relationships to make sense out of them and align them with our own needs and desires. Not all of our frames are dysfunctional. But when our framing stories are too far out of alignment with reality, we expend useless energy trying to force the world back into our frame, instead of allowing our frame to adjust to reality. This is the source of much of our distress: our framing of reality is out of step with reality itself yet we remain committed to our frame.

Our frames are intimately intertwined with our sense of who we are.  To dissolve one of our essential frames is to lose our sense of self. We are so committed to our mental frameworks, that we usually fight like hell in defense of the frame, even as it diverges further and further from the truth. In those cases where our commitment to our frame is absolute, the only solution is for something outside of us, some person, some situation, some unexpected force, to break the frame. Something has to happen that exposes the false frame, allows it to be seen at last for what it is. Not reality; merely a way of interpreting reality. Not the self; merely a story about the self. Not the other; merely an image of the other.

This is not an easy thing to go through. We pin our sense of security, our sense of identity, on our mental frameworks. When the frame is broken, we feel truly lost for a time.  This is well known to everyone who has lost anything that helped define our life: losing our health, losing a job around which we organized our life, losing someone we love, discovering that someone we trusted has been deceiving us; discovering that the system that supports us abuses others. The loss is hard enough, but the disorientation that comes with the breaking of the frame can be completely debilitating. We resist this disorientation, so we can carry on for years beyond the point at which we receive the first clues that our framing story is out of alignment with the truth. We resist and resist and resist the loss of the frame, because along with the frame goes a solid sense of identity. The frame is the boundary of the self. Without the familiar frame, who am I?

My work with Giles Milhaven was very influential. A lot of my frames have broken over the years, and it has never been easy. But I also have seen that ultimately it is healthier to stay in touch with reality than it is to carry on in conflict. It is easier to have a fluid and adaptable sense of self, than it is to have a rigid and fixed identity that is in conflict with the living world.

And I have seen that the framing of reality is not only something that happens in the individual; it happens to entire cultures, especially now when so much information is channeled through mass media and shared by millions of people almost simultaneously. When a distorted frame is shared, it becomes more and more possible for us to participate in mass delusion. It is hard enough to break the individual frame. It is even harder to break the societal frame, because we seem to be wired to conform to societal norms. We prefer to do what our peers are doing, to think the way our peers are thinking, to care about the things that we perceive our peers to care about, to look like the images that claim to convey what our peers look like. The risk of not conforming is isolation, being ostracized, kicked out of the community. If we rebel at all, we usually rebel within a subculture to which we continue to conform.

The planetary ecological crisis requires the breaking of frames at many levels: individual, societal, economic and political. A truly daunting prospect. I find myself frustrated with most attempts at change because they end up being the sort of change that tries to massage reality into the existing frame. Very rarely does anyone dare to break the frame. The consequences are too frightening. We react violently when someone tries to break our frame before we are ready. The frame is "me" until it is broken, so I will fight to the death to preserve it.

This is a great conundrum. Fundamental change is required of us at this time but most of us are not ready for the change. We are committed to our worldview, not to the world. We are willing to tweak the system, but not to turn the system on its head. We want our life to go on in its familiar track, not to change everything. We want security, not uncertainty. We want more, not less. We want to keep the frame intact and just change the picture. If someone tries to break the frame, or the Earth breaks the frame, we will resist. But the frame has to break nonetheless. Life depends on it now.

An example of changing the picture without breaking the frame would be our hope that technology will solve all of our ecological problems. The techno-optimists believe that we can solve all of our problems with solar panels, wind turbines, smart grids and electric cars. The only change required is a change of means, not a change of self or society. It won't work. As long as we have a sense of self - or an economic system - that endlessly demands more and more, the technology won't help. We'll keep needing more of it, and the planet is already groaning under the weight of our perceived needs. Emphasis on the word "perceived." These are not real, biological needs. They are needs arising from how we frame reality, including our sense of identity. The frames need to be broken. How do we do that without creating a backlash? How do we get around our resistance to essential change? That is the conundrum.

There is no easy solution to this. We are not yet ready to break the frames that define us in relation to the natural world. All I can say right now is that the longer we postpone the reckoning with reality, the harder the reckoning will be. The farther we push the physical limits of the planet, the harder the crash will be.

Take one example: Imagine a world without fossil fuels. Not 100 years from now when some unlimited fantasy fuel has magically appeared or the beleaguered Earth has somehow supplied us with the raw materials and the land to build millions of solar panels and wind turbines and hydro dams. Now. Imagine your life right now without fossil fuels. The blasting and drilling and fracking and pumping have stopped. Coal and oil and natural gas are gone. How does the limiting of your mobility, your autonomy, your employment options, your material security - all of which are presently tied to the availability of fossil fuels -  affect your sense of who you are, of how your community is structured, of what you can do?

Which of your frames - your fundamental assumptions about who you are and what the world is and what you expect the world to give you - are dependent on fossil fuels? Are you willing and able to abandon those frames for the sake of life on Earth?
          Mike Lynch, Founder of Autonomy, Sues Hewlett-Packard for $150 Million (Mark Scott/New York Times)        

Mark Scott / New York Times:
Mike Lynch, Founder of Autonomy, Sues Hewlett-Packard for $150 Million  —  The legal wrangling surrounding Hewlett-Packard's much-maligned takeover of Autonomy, a British data intelligence company, shows no signs of ending.  —  On Thursday, Mike Lynch, the founder of Autonomy …

          la familia y el desarrollo        
Family and personality development.

By Prof. Miguel Lucas Martinez. Teachers Normal School Jilotepec. State of Mexico.

Families where children grow up are probably the biggest factor of influence on their development. Topics to question: "The arrival of this child was planned and welcome? What was the age of the parents? Does personality relate well to parents and their children? Parents Are they healthy? Are they rich or poor? How many people live in the house? The influence also travels in another direction. Children affect their parents turning their mood, their priorities and future plans, and even marriage itself. In the mid-90sm family life is quite different from what was a century ago, and is likely to change family life even more in the future. It is quite possible that an actual child only has a brother, a mother working outside the home and a parent more involved in their children's lives than his own father was. It is possible that a child receives good care from people other than their family, first with someone at home and then a preschool. Today, children have a 40% to 50% chance of spending part of his childhood with one parent, perhaps the mother, and perhaps due to divorce (PC Glick and Lin, 1986). In USA, family life for these children is also typically very different from other children living in many other societies. Early social experiences vary greatly around the world. Among the Efe of the African nation of Zaire, for example, children first engage in a close relationship with a person, mother, and then go on to form other relationships based on this pattern (Tronick, Morelli, and Ivey, 1992) By contrast, birth efe infants are cared for by five or more people at a regular time, and other women, like their mothers, fed on a routine basis. Three years have passed about 70% of their time with people other than their mothers. This social pattern conforms to the shape of efe life and can lead to a distinctive set of social skills for these children. Consider the child in the family The awareness of different social experiences in the lives of children has revolutionized the study of socialization, as children learn the behaviors that the culture considers appropriate. Mothers and children were studied before, are now studying the links between parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and others involved in your care Another study is the approach to the whole family. There are important questions of three individuals who share an environment, a context, but their relationships are different. Charles-son Mother Ellen Vicky - grandmother. An example of this. How it affects the marriage relationship to the children? What are the behaviors of the children alone and in groups? As it affected the development and growth of a child when he has only one parent. Each research topic would generate a host of responses according to many possibilities and ways to develop, nurture children. Watching a family as a unit, you have a fuller picture of the network of relationships among its members. It is interesting how how babies are related to those close to them and the meaning of these links. Bonding: a reciprocal connection Bonding is an active, affectionate, reciprocal and strong between two people, who in nonscientific circles is known as love. The interaction between two people is continuing to strengthen this link. Mary Ainsworth (1979) pioneered the investigation of these ties of affection. "An essential part of the ground plan of the human species for an infant is linked to a mother figure" Do not have to be the child's biological mother, but may be the closest person that cares. Ainsworth wrote 4 stages superimposed bonding behavior. 1 .- Before you respond infants two months without discrimination against any "person. 2 .- to 8 to 12 weeks the babies cry, smile, babble over to the mother with another person, but continues to respond to others. 3 .- to 6 months, babies show a clearly defined emotional bond with the mother, with a decreased expression of friendship towards others. 4 .- The babies develop a bond with one or more familiar figures as the father or siblings. Fear of strangers can appear between six to 8 months. Study of bonding. Mary Ainsworth, first study the bonding in the early 50s. As a colleague of John Bowlby 1951. Bowlby was convinced of the importance of bonding between mother and baby, from linkage studies in animals. From the study of disturbed children in a psychoanalytic clinic warned against the separation of mother and child. Ainsworth, influenced studies on bond between monkeys and African babies behavior of Uganda (1967) tried to repeat them in Baltimore. Designed the famous strange situation. Reveals the behavior of the closeness between an adult and an infant, is now common mechanisms to study bonding. In the 8 episodes of the Strange Situation: 1 .- The mother and child entering fourth unknown. 2 .- mother and baby sitting is free to explore. 3 .- enters an unknown adult. 4 .- the mother goes out and leaves the baby alone with the stranger. 5 .- the mother returns and stranger leaves the room. 6 .- the mother goes out and leaves the baby alone in the room. 7 .- the stranger returns in place of the mother, and finally 8 .- the strange way when the mother returns. The mother encourages the baby to explore and play again, comforting if your baby seems to need (Ainsworth, Bleher, Waters & Wall, 1978). Of particular interest is the response of the baby when the mother returns. Bonding patterns When Ainsworth and colleagues looked at children under one year of age in the Strange Situation and at home, they found three major patterns of link: Security emotional bond pattern .- bond in which the infant is expected in rapidly from the caregiver and actively seeks then when she returns. Distinguishing two forms: anxiety and insecure attachment. Babies with security ties cry or protest when the mother leaves and expressed when he returns. They use it as a secure base: let it go and explore, returning occasionally to make sure. Babies who cooperate and are relatively free of anger. At 18 months, they move better than babies with long ties of anxiety. (Cassady, 1986) Avoidance emotional bonds. Bond pattern in which an infant rarely cries when the person who cares first leaves, and avoid contact with her when she returns. Babies cry when they rarely prevent the mother leaves, and avoid when you return. Remain aloof from it even when they need and tend to dislike. They dislike that rise up but even more than down. Ambivalent or resistant bonding. Bond pattern in which an infant becomes anxious before the caregiver leaves but also the search and when to avoid contact with her when she returns. Babies ambivalent (resistant) become anxious even before the mother goes and alters when it exits. on his return, show their ambivalence to seek contact with her even while kicking and screaming. Resistant infants do not explore much and are difficult to soothe. Subsequently identified emotional bonds disorganized-disoriented. Bond pattern in which the infant shows contradictory behaviors. Often babies with this type of bond present inconsistent and contradictory behavior. They greet the mother with alacrity when he returns but then move away or close without looking. They seem confused and afraid I can represent the pattern less secure (Main & Solomon, 1986). As stated bonding. Based on the interaction of a baby with his mother, the boy can build a "working model" of what to expect from it, says Ainsworth. Different types of emotional ties lead to different cognitive representations, and thus to different expectations. To the extent that the mother continue to act basically in the same way the model is maintained. If it changes the behavior of one or two times, the baby will change the model and bonding can change. The security bond evolves from trust, which allows the child to explore the world from a secure base and then to develop virtues that Erikson determined in relation to the autonomy and initiative. As the mother should Mothers of insurance with one year of age are sensitive to their infants during the first year of life (Isabella, 1993). They pick up signals from their children about when to feed and serve the child's signals to stop, slow or speed up their food. (Ainsworth, 1979) Mothers whose interaction with their children in five months is loving, caring and timely tend to have positive personalities, higher educational levels and esposaos that support them. (Fish, Stifter, and Belsky, 1993). As the baby comes Not only the mother who helps the security bond, infants actively influence on caregivers. Mothers of babies with security ties (measured in the strange situation) were more sociable, dedicated to breeding, showed more empathy and experienced a positive emotion, but also openly expressed more anger and sadness about their children. Moms of babies with long ties of insecurity felt more insecure and helpless, they experienced more anger and sadness, but less openly expressed these feelings about their children. Infants with insecure bond cried again m'pas demanded attention and showed more sadness and anger. The behavior of mothers affects babies with a certain probability. The temperament of a child appears to influence the affective, as researchers found that such a link, such as frustration levels and rates of crying (Izard, Haynes, Chisholm, and Baak, 1991).

Leer fonéticamente

Diccionario - Ver diccionario detallado
          My Digital Hermitage        

It's all coming together rather nicely. As you'll know by reading this blog, I'm very much a member of the "leave me alone" pioneer type Libertarian, desperate to get the State and pretty much anyone else off my back, preferring an autonomous, peaceful existence to live my life how I see fit.

I've struggled hard over the years to remove myself from voting lists, taxation, Government systems, surveillance and all of the little nagging demands that an "interconnected modern society" run by Politicians on my behalf has to offer. I reject "permits" and "authorisation" wherever remotely possible (I'm currently trying to become Stateless negating the need for a Passport) and refuse to seek permission from those who would be my masters. My latest project is a down to Earth instruction manual for budding free thinkers and non Statists to learn from the experiences I've been through and find their own way in this complicated world of regulation and intrusion we live in. I intend to show you all how to do it, how to throw off shackles, how to defeat authority and how to reclaim your life and liberty from those who would rather you didn't. Some tricks are simple, some are complicated and all require courage - if you prefer the warm blanket of State security, high taxation and high welfare benefits over "dangerous" freedom, I wish you all the best - on the condition you leave me alone to pursue my happiness unimpeded. 

Firstly, you'll need to decide what your core values are. I didn't find mine until I reached 40 years old, I was too busy making money to care about anything else. The acquisition of "stuff", business "success" and simple egoism drove me. Then it changed - quite simply, what I owned was beginning to own me. So my core values changed because underneath it all, I was actually seeking freedom. Freedom from debt and security for my large family.

My core values are now:

  • Free Speech to say, write and read what I desire
  • Liberty to choose how to live my life, as I see fit
  • Autonomy to do so - free from the meddling theft of Politicians and their endless promises
  • Minimal taxation - to live in a minimal State that respects my need to defend my property
I've fought the system for a decade now, and I'm not winning. I've tested laws to destruction, exposed hypocrisy and fraud, denounced the corrupt and ridiculed pompous authoritarians who decide they know better than you how to run your life. I've become a determined Libertarian and I'm no longer interested in changing anything for others. My only concern is securing my peace and freedom for me as a sovereign  individual.

My only task is now to leave those who are interested a guide book on how to become free - take it or leave it. If you seek what I seek, I'm happy to help. I expect to publish within the next 12 months. 

Me? I'm finally free. I've found what I've been looking for. I can own an AK47 to protect my life, property and liberty. I can build without "permits", grow produce of my own, feed and house myself, pay a minimal 10% tax on my earnings and live without Diversity Coordinators or a license to watch a television. I can speak and publish freely on the fastest internet connection in Europe. My chosen State has no interest in me, my politics or my "wellbeing". I buy what I require from the free market and am free to sell to anyone. I can work remotely, independently and successfully without interference. I am no longer a slave to consumerism, commuting or taxation, I am no longer a number to filed, stamped, regulated and monitored. Now, that's Liberty and I thoroughly recommend it.

          Middle East Today: Libya --- At Least 25 Killed in Clashes Between Protesters and Government-Backed Militia        

See also Syria Today: Opposition Repeats --- No Participation in International "Peace" Conference
Saturday's Syria Today: UN Appeal on "Record" Aid for Syrians --- Significant Step or Meaningless Gesture?

Turkey: Massive Istanbul Anti-Government Rally as PM Erdogan Addresses Supporters in Ankara

A visual story of the competing rallies for and against the Erdogan Government --- first, Sunday's large gathering in Istanbul's Taksim Square, where mass protests began nine days ago:

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told supporters in Ankara tonight, "How can you attack my police?...We are going to show patience, but patience has a limit as well":

Yemen: 1 Dead in Fighting

One protester has been killed and 10 people injured, including four guards, in clashes with Houthi demonstrators who were demanding the release of political detainees.

An official said the Houthis, who have been demanding autonomy in the north of the country, fired at guards while trying to storm intelligence headquarters in Sanaa on Sunday. He claimed some protesters were arrested for smuggling weapons and drugs.

Meanwhile, hundreds of supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh demonstrated in Sanaa against the release of 17 men who were detained in connection with a June 2011 explosion that injured Saleh in his palace mosque.

Saleh stepped down in early 2012 as a transitional Government was put in place.

Tunisia: IMF Approves Major Loan

The International Monetary Fund has approved a two-year, $1.74 billion loan for Tunisia, giving Tunis access to foreign currency urgently needed to help balance its budget.

The Tunisian Government has devoted 1/3 of its 2013 budget to infrastructure projects, which it says will create short-term job opportunities for youth as well as helping private businesses.

However, Tunisia is running a 6% budget deficit this year, and political tensions over a draft Constitution have prevented Parliament from debating legislation allowing the government to apply for Islamic finance instruments.

The IMF money, like most loans from the Washington-based organization, comes with strings

The IMF has set conditions on the loan, including restructuring of Tunisia’s banking sector. Analysts believe that non-performing loans on the books at state-owned banks amount to billions of dollars.

Turkey: Protests Continue, But PM Erdogan Defiant Over "Handful of Looters"

Moving through the country to gather support against nation-wide protests, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to concede any ground. He told supporters who had greeted him at Adana airport:

We won't do what a handful of looters have done. They burn and destroy. ... They destroy the shops of civilians. They destroy the cars of civilians. They are low enough to insult the prime minister of this country.

He urged his supporters to avoid violence themselves and predicted that he would defeat his opponents during local elections in March: "As long as you walk with us, the Justice and Development Party administration will stand strong. As long as there is life in my body, your prime minister and your party chairman, God willing, will not be deterred by anything."

He then traveled to the city of Mersin to make a similar speech and to open new sports facilities.

Later Sunday, Erdogan will speak to his supporters in the capital Ankara.

On the 10th day of mass protests against the Government, demonstrators near Istanbul's Taksim Square yell to Erdogan, "Tayyip, Resign!"

Libya: Deadly Clashes in Benghazi

At least 25 people have been killed in Benghazi in eastern Libya in clashes during Saturday's protests outside the headquarters of the Libya Shield Brigade, which is working with the Ministry of Defence.

Dozens more were wounded, according to medical officials.

Demonstrators had gathered outside the headquarters of the Brigade demanding the disbanding of militias, including those which fought during the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. They specifically called for the Brigade t leave its premises.

One witness said he had seen around 200 protesters. While most of them were unarmed, a few had AK-47 rifles, although he said he did not see them used.

A spokesman for the Libyan's Army Chief of Staff, Ali al-Sheikhi, described the Libya Shield Brigade as "a reserve force under the Libyan army." He said an attack on the brigade "is considered an attack against a legal entity".

          Syria Feature: Jabhat al-Nusra, Al Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq        

Activists with Jabhat al-Nusra FlagWriting for Al Jazeera English, Basma Atassi, claims that the head of Al Qa'eda, Ayman al-Zawahari, has intervened in a dispute between the Syrian insurgency Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq with a letter to the leaders of the two groups.

The clash arose in April when the head of the ISI, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, tried to claim oversight of Jabhat al-Nusra in a message. A senior JAN commander, Abu Muhammad al-Joulani, responded by asserting the insurgents' autonomy in Syria.

Media coverage incorrectly claimed that the ISI and JAN had "merged", as well as emphasising al-Joulani's reference to al-Zawahari as a "pledge of allegiance".

Instead, the challenge for Jabhat al-Nusra was that --- even as it tried to maintain indpendence from the Iraqi faction --- its fighters might join ISI. Atassi claims that al-Baghdadi went as far as to travel to the suburbs of Aleppo to open offices. Local conflicts in Syria's largest city followed, according to JAN sources, with fighters who joined ISI refusing to give flour to the committee distributing the supplies to residents.

Amid the conflict, Jabhat al-Nusra’s official publication, al-Manara al-Baydaa (the White Minaret), suspended publication after it posted al-Jowlani's objection to the ISI's statement.

So, according to Atassi, al-Joulani sent a letter to Zawahiri to arbitrate between the two groups.

Atassi continues, from JAN sources, that Zawahiri sent letters to al-Joulani and al-Baghdadi last week, ruling in favour of Jabhat al-Nusra and appointing a commander named Abu Khaled al-Soury as a personal emissary "to oversee the implementation of the accord".

           The particularity of autonomy         
Newbigging, Eric Lomax (1997) The particularity of autonomy. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
          Prisoners Outwit Mobile Phone Blocking Technology        

This is a post from the meshDETECT Blog -

An interesting article in light of the recent letter submitted to the FCC by ten Republican governors  who want the Federal Communications Commission to give states more autonomy to apply technology that can stop prison inmates from using smuggled cellphones. Gov. Nikki Haley and her counterparts encouraged FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler in a letter Monday […]

We offer secure prison cell phone solutions::Brian

Related posts:
  1. Texas To Invest in Cell Phone Blocking Technology This article discusses the TDCJ’s decision to investigate the viability...
  2. FCC Takes Up Technology Solutions To Contraband Cell Phones The FCC today issued FCC 13-58, Contraband Wireless Device Notice...
  3. CCST Report Raises Concerns About Untested CDCR Cell Phone Jamming Technology As we have written previously, the CDCR has forgone all...

          Peace Revolution episode 080: JFK 50 Years Later / QUI BONO?        
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Peace Revolution episode 080: JFK 50 Years Later / QUI BONO?

To Donate or Subscribe to the Tragedy and Hope online learning community:

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Reference Map to Episode 080

Click here to download this episode.

(0m-1m) Judge Jim Garrison on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

(1m-4m) President Lyndon B. Johnson casting doubt on the veracity of the Warren Commission Report, speaking with World Federalist Walter Cronkite, who worked for Prescott Bush’s people at CBS.

(4m-5m) Walter Cronkite describing the wound to the FRONT President Kennedy’s neck, declared as an entrance wound which exited his back; sampled from Evidence of Revision: JFK Assassination Rarities

(5m-7m) Robert F. Kennedy and RFK Jr. Disagree with Warren Commission

(7m-10m) The Latest News: RFK Jr. Skeptical of “Lone Gunman”

(10m-14m) Meet Lee Harvey Oswald, Sheep-Dipped Patsy by James Corbett, Episode 287

(14m-20m) sample clip from Judge Jim Garrison vs. Johnny Carson, January 31, 1968

(20m-22m) sample clip from JFK Assassination Debate with Mark Lane vs. Warren Commission Supporters/Participants, December 4, 1964

(22m-29m) sample clip from Forgotten Evidence: JFK Conspiracy, linking Nixon, Hoover, LBJ, and Mac Wallace to a meeting the night before the Assassination in Dallas

(29m-33m) sample clip from JFK Assassination Debate with Mark Lane vs. Warren Commission Supporters/Participants, December 4, 1964

(24m-28m) sample clip from Forgotten Evidence: JFK Conspiracy

(33m-37m) sample clip from JFK Assassination Debate with Mark Lane vs. Warren Commission Supporters/Participants, December 4, 1964

(37m-42m) sample clip from Forgotten Evidence: JFK Conspiracy

(42m-43m) Judge Jim Garrison closing speech from Forgotten Evidence

(43m-1h45m) Richard’s Introductory Monologue

Self-Reliance playlist 1:

Self-Reliance playlist 2 (Advanced Autonomy):

The Origins of the word “Redneck”:

Graphical Grammar of a Leghold Trap:

J. Edgar Hoover in the 1956 Elks Magazine, primary source for quotation on the monstrous conspiracy.


Documents relating to disposition of JFK casket

JFK Casket Buried at Sea: Map of Disposition of the Casket

Order to Destroy JFK’s Casket by Attorney General Katzenbach

Why JFK's Assassination Still Haunts America by Tim Kelly

JFK versus CIA by Tim Kelly

(1h45m-4h35m) T&H Casual Café: JFK 50th Anniversary / A Cold Case Investigation (become a T&H Advanced Access member to see the video version of this discussion)

(4h35m-6h35m) Forgotten Evidence: JFK Conspiracy

(6h35-7h) Evidence of Revision: JFK Assassination Rarities (not part of “Evidence of Revision” series)

(7h-8h) Project Censored: JFK 50 interview with Mark Lane

(8h-9h30m) The JFK Assassination: The Jim Garrison Tapes 1992

(9h30m-12h5m) JFK Assassination Debate with Mark Lane, December 4, 1964

(12h5m-12h50m) Jim Garrison vs. Johnny Carson, January 31, 1968

(12h50m-14h20m) “Rush to Judgment” by Mark Lane, 1967

(14h20m-19h38m) L. Fletcher Prouty: The Secret Team / JFK Assassination

Would You Like to Know More?

See also: (Audio)

Peace Revolution episode 023: How to Free Your Mind / The Occulted (Hidden) Keys of Wisdom

Peace Revolution episode 046: Liberty is Life / Practical Applications of Rationality

Peace Revolution episode 047: Slavery is Death / Practical Applications of Irrationality

Peace Revolution episode 048: The Philosophy of Life / This is John Galt Speaking

          Peace Revolution episode 050: How to End Slavery in the 21st Century (and Beyond)        
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Notes, References, and Links for further study:

  1. Tragedy and Hope dot com
  2. February’s Invitation to the Tragedy and Hope online community (link expires monthly)
  3. Log in page for the Tragedy and Hope online community
  4. Peace Revolution primary site (2009-2012)
  5. Peace Revolution backup stream (2006-2012)
    1. Includes the 9/11 Synchronicity Podcast (predecessor to Peace Revolution)
    2. These 2 podcasts amount to 250+ hours of commercial-free educational content, which formulate a comprehensive and conscious curriculum.
    3. The Ultimate History Lesson dot com
    4. The Ultimate History Lesson Official Playlist (on YouTube)
    5. The Ultimate History Lesson (Torrents)
      1. (Video) The Ultimate History Lesson (5+ hours / 1080p HD mp4)
      2. (Audio) The Ultimate History Lesson + Commentary (16+ hours / mp3)
        1.                                           i.    If you’re interested in downloading the torrent versions, please send an email to: with the word “torrent” in the subject line.
        2.                                          ii.    What is a Torrent? (on Wikipedia)
          1. uTorrent (software to create and download torrent files)

10.  The Snake or the Rope? Courtesy of the Teaching Company Lectures on Freedom

11.  Swaraj (on Wikipedia)

  1. Swaraj can mean generally self-governance or "self-rule", and was used synonymously with "home-rule" by Gandhi[1] (Hindi: swa- "self", raj "rule") but the word usually refers to Gandhi's concept for Indian independence from foreign domination.[2] Swaraj lays stress on governance not by a hierarchical government, but self governance through individuals and community building. The focus is on political decentralization.[3] Since this is against the political and social systems followed by Britain, Gandhi's concept of Swaraj laid stress on India discarding British political, economic, bureaucratic, legal, military, and educational institutions.[4]

12.  Self-Governance (on Wikipedia)

  1. Self-governance is an abstract concept that refers to several scales of organization.
  2. It may refer to personal conduct or family units but more commonly refers to larger scale activities, i.e., professions, industry bodies, religions and political units (usually referred to as Local Government), up to and including autonomous regions and aboriginal peoples (or others within nation-states who enjoy some sovereign rights). It falls within the larger context of governance and principles such as consent of the governed, and may involve non-profit organizations and corporate governance.
  3. It can be used to describe a people or group being able to exercise all of the necessary functions of power without intervention from any authority which they cannot themselves alter. Self rule is associated then in contexts where there is the end of colonial rule, absolute government or monarchy, as well as demands for autonomy by religious, ethnic or geographic regions which perceive themselves as being unrepresented or underrepresented in a national government. It is therefore a fundamental tenet of republican government and democracy as well as nationalism. Gandhi's term "swaraj" (see also "satygraha") is a branch of this self rule ideology. Another major proponent of self-rule when a government's actions are immoral is Thoreau.
  4. Generally when self-governance of nation-states is discussed, it is called national sovereignty - a concept important in international law.

13.  Who is Frederick Douglass?

  1. Frederick Douglass (on Wikipedia)
  2. Frederick Douglass (Library of Congress Archives)

14.  George Santayana and the mis-attributed phrase

15.  The Ultimate History Lesson on “The Power Hour” radio show on GCN Network

16.  Jan Irvin’s interviews with Larken Rose on Gnostic Media dot com

  1. Larken Rose interview, pt. 3 – “Government – The Fallacy of Ad Verecundiam, pt. 2” – #137

17.  “The Most Dangerous Superstition” @

  1. See also: “The Iron Web” by Larken Rose

18.  Corbett Report Episode 218 – The Philosophy of Liberty: The Magna Carta

Peace Revolution partner podcasts:

Corbett Report dot com

Media Monarchy dot com

Gnostic Media Podcast

School Sucks Project Podcast

Remedy Radio Podcast

Meria dot net

Other productions by members of the T&H network:

The Ultimate History Lesson: A Weekend with John Taylor Gatto (2012) a journey into the dark heart of public schooling, revealing how America became incoherent, one student at a time.

Navigating Netflix (2011) our video series wherein we conduct a critical analysis of films you might have missed; Navigating Netflix is available for free on YouTube.

"Memories of a Political Prisoner", an interview with Professor Chengiah Ragaven, graduate of Oxford, Cambridge, and Sussex; AFTER he was a political prisoner, who was exiled from South Africa, during Apartheid. (2011)

What You've Been Missing! (2011) is our video series focusing in on the history of corruption in our public education system.

Top Documentary Films dot com: Hijacking Humanity by Paul Verge (2006)

Top Documentary Films dot com: Exposing the Noble Lie (2010)

Top Documentary Films dot com: The Pharmacratic Inquisition by Jan Irvin (2007)

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          Peace Revolution episode 043: The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto / Hour 3 + Commentary        
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Notes, References, and Links for further study: 

  1. Use the donation buttons at the bottom of these notes, or on the sidebar of this site, or the sidebar of Tragedy and Hope dot com,  for “The Ultimate History Lesson: A Weekend with John Taylor Gatto” multi-DVD interview project, currently in post-production. With over 5 hours of interview footage, this is a collection of education which is invaluable.
    1. If you donate $50 or more towards the completion of this project, you will receive the entire DVD set; as our way of saying Thanks!
  2. Your invitation to the Tragedy and Hope online critical thinking community
  3. Peace Revolution Podcast’s primary hosting site (2009-2011)
  4. Peace Revolution Podcast’s backup hosting site (2006-2011, also includes the 9/11 Synchronicity Podcast episodes, starting at the bottom of the page)
  5. Tragedy and Hope dot com (all of our media productions, free to the public)
    1. On the top menu, there is a “Trivium” selection, which includes the Brain model discussed in Peace Revolution episodes.
  6. A Peaceful Solution” by Willie Nelson w/thanks to the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute
  7. T&H Partner Podcasts: Media Monarchy, Corbett Report, Gnostic Media, & Remedy Radio
    1. Useful Tools:
  8. (It uses Google’s search algorithm, but doesn’t collect your private info and search history)
    1. StartPage search engine Firefox add-on
  9. The Brain (mind mapping software to organize your research) download for FREE
    1. The free version works for all functions except web publication
  10. Ultimate History Lesson Hour 3, minutes 1 -15 (approx.):
  11. Reece Committee (or: U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations)
  12. Norman Dodd (on Wikipedia)
  13. (Book) “Foundations: Their Power and Influence” by Rene Wormser (1958)
  14. (Book) “The Leipzig Connection: Basics in Education” by Paolo Lioni (1993)
  15. The Metaphysical Club (on Wikipedia)
  16. William James (on Wikipedia)
  17. John Dewey (on Wikipedia)
  18. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (on Wikipedia) 
  19. Charles S. Peirce (Peirce Society)
  20. Pragmatic Philosophy (on Wikipedia) 
  21. Immanuel Kant (on Wikipedia) 
  22. Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” (on Wikipedia)
  23. (Book) “The Impact of Science on Society” by Bertrand Russell (1952): (Fichte quote & page)
  24. (Book) “Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine” by Norbert Wiener (1948):
  25. (Book) “The Human Use of Human Beings” by Norbert Wiener
  26. Norbert Wiener (on Wikipedia)
  27. Hour 3 Roundtable Discussion of minutes 1-15:
  28. Tax Exempt Foundations
  29. Walsh Committee (Wikipedia)
  30. Carroll Reece (Wikipedia)
  31. Reece Committee
  32. Norman Dodd (On Tax Exempt Foundations)
  33. Federal Reserve
  34. Income Tax
  35. General Education Board (Wikipedia)
  36. Rockefeller Foundation
  37. Ford Foundation
  38. Carnegie Endowment
  39. Charles Sanders Pierce (Wikipedia)
  40. Immanuel Kant
  41. Edgar Rice Burroughs / John Carter and the Princess of Mars
  42. Thomas Paine (Wikipedia)
  43. Printing Press
  44. DIY / Do It Yourself (Wikipedia)
  45. Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century by Scott Noble
  46. PsyWar by Scott Noble
  47. Leo Tolstoy (Printing press ignorance)
  48. “Literacy is a form of slavery, until a method of critical thinking is exercised by the reader.” – R.G.
  49. Utilitarianism (Wikipedia)
  50. Jeremy Bentham (Wikipedia)
  51. Panopticon (Wikipedia)
  52. Adam Weishaupt (Wikipedia)
  53. William James “truth as collective name” quote
  54. Dewey “knowledge is belief authorized by enquiry
  55. Metaphysical Club
  56. Philosophic Corruption of Physics by David Harriman 1, 2 (Gnostic Media Interviews)
  57. Nihilism
  58. Existentialism
  59. National Socialism (Wikipedia)
  60. Classical Trivium (Wikipedia)
  61. Metaphysics
  62. Epistemology (Wikipedia)
  63. Ethics
  64. Aesthetics (Wikipedia)
  65. Allusions
  66. Abstraction
  67. Metaphor
  68. Rhetoric & The Active Literacies
  69. Albion Seed by David Hackett Fischer (Chapter 1 Social Statuses)
  70. Bete Noire (a person or thing strongly detested)
  71. Bavarian Illuminati
  72. American Historical Association (on Wikipedia)
  73. Andrew Dickson White (Wikipedia)
  74. Timothy Dwight (Wikipedia)
  75. Daniel Coit Gilman (Wikipedia)
    1. Skull and Bones Trust
  76. William Huntington Russell (Wikipedia)
  77. Johns Hopkins University
  78. The Yale Troika
  79. Skull and Bones (Wikipedia)
  80. America’s Secret Establishment: An Introduction to The Order of Skull and Bones by Antony C. Sutton
    1. How the Order controls Education (Chapter 8)
  81. The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Iserbyt
  82. Pestalozzi (Wikipedia)
  83. Lavater
  84. Fichte
  85. (Book) A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1917)
  86. The Philosophic Corruption of Physics & The Logical Leap” (Gnostic Media podcast #111 & 112/ David Harriman interviews)
  87. (Book) “Perfectibilists: The 18th Century Bavarian Order of the Illuminati” by Terry Melanson (2009) 
  88. (Book) “The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America” by Louis Menand (2001)       
  89. Norman Dodd/Katherine Casey/Hidden Agenda Interview (transcript)
  90. American Historical Association History & Archives
  91. Guggenheim Foundation (on Wikipedia)
  92. Walsh (Commission on Industrial Relations) 1915 (on Wikipedia)
  93. Charles Sanders Peirce: “Pragmatism As a Principle and Method of Right Thinking: The 1903 Harvard Lectures on Pragmatism” 
  94. Bertrand Russell
  95. Hour 3, minutes 15 -30 (approx.)
  96. Academic Genealogy Chart
  97.  (Book) “The New Atlantis” by Sir Francis Bacon (1624):
  98. Sir Francis Bacon (on Wikipedia) 
  99. “Principles of Psychology” by William James (1890):
  100. “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper (1826):
  101. James Fenimore Cooper (Wikipedia)
  102. “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine (1776):
  103. Bill Clinton (mentor, Quigley, speech reference): 1992 Democratic National Convention:
  104. Unitarian /Harvard (on Wikipedia) 
  105. Herbert Spencer + Eugenics:
  106. “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand (1957) (pages 1000 -1070, John Galt’s Speech):
  107. Fabian Society (on Wikipedia) 
  108. London School of Economics (on Wikipedia) 
  109. Society for Psychical Research (on Wikipedia) 
  110. Arthur Balfour (on Wikipedia) 
  111. Beatrice Webb (on Wikipedia) 
  112. William T. Stead (on Wikipedia)
  113.  “The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes” (1902) with elucidatory notes by William T. Stead
  114. “The Avengers” (1960’s British television series, featuring a character “John Steed”)
  115. Martin Luther (on Wikipedia) 
  116. Ninety-Five Theses by Martin Luther (1517) (on Wikipedia) 
  117. Senator Oscar Callaway (on Wikipedia)
  118. Congressional Record (February 9, 1917)
  119. U.S. Senate Speech (1942) Truman + Standard Oil Treason of Rockefellers
  120. (Book) “Wall Street and The Rise of Hitler” by Antony C. Sutton (1976) (Krupp reference)
  121. Hour 3 Roundtable Discussion of minutes 15-30:
  122. History of the U.S. Census (Wikipedia)
  123. Self-Reliance (Wikipedia)
  124. Concept of Property
  125. John Locke (Wikipedia)
  126. Concept of Informed Consent
  127. Death and Taxes
  128. Von Clausewitz (Wikipedia)
  129. Absolute War (Wikipedia)
  130. Hegelian Dialectic (Wikipedia)
  131. Stimulus Response (Wikipedia)
  132. The High Cabal with Col. L. Fletcher Prouty
  133. Peace Revolution episode 038: The High Cabal
  134. British East India Company (Wikipedia)
  135. British East India Company Flag
  136. Elihu Yale (Wikipedia)
  137. Cotton Mather (Wikipedia)
  138. Yale University
  139. Root Hog, or Die! (Wikipedia)
  140. Herbert Spencer (Wikipedia)
  141. W.G. Sumner (Wikipedia)
  142. Social Darwinism
  143. Society for Psychical Research (Wikipedia)
  144. Edward Pease (Wikipedia)
  145. Fabian Society (Wikipedia)
  146. Thomas Davidson (Wikipedia)
  147. Frank Podmore (Wikipedia
  148. Sophism (Wikipedia)
  149. Solipsism (Wikipedia)
  150. Intellectual Self-Defense
  151. Carroll Quigley
  152. The Anglo American Establishment (.pdf)
  153. New England and the Bavarian Illuminati (.pdf)
  154. Boston Brahmins (Wikpedia)
  155. University of Chicago
  156. Obama Transcript via Associated Press
  157. Fabian Socialism (Wikipedia)
  158. Fabius Maximus (Wikipedia)
  159. War of Attrition (Wikipedia)
  160. Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (Logo of Fabian Socialism)
  161. Rhodes Round Table Group (Wikipedia)
  162. Rhodes Scholars (Wikipedia)
  163. William T. Stead (Wikipedia)
  164. The Republic by Plato
  165. Kybernetes
  166. B.F. Trentowski (Wikipedia)
  167. Cybernetics (Stanford)
  168. Norbert Weiner (Wikipedia)
  169. Bertrand Russell (Wikipedia)
  170. Corporate Personhood (Wikipedia)
  171. Prophylactic (Dictionary)
  172. Harry Truman Rockefeller Quote WWII (Time Magazine)
  173. "Standard Oil of New Jersey was putting forth every effort of which it was capable to protect the control of the German government..." – Harry Truman
    (see also: Pittsburg Press Article; March 27th, 1942)
  174. The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA by Burton Hersh (Amazon)
  175. Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution by Antony C. Sutton (.pdf)
  176. Wall Street and the rise of Hitler by Antony C. Sutton (.pdf)
  177. Wall Street and FDR by Antony C. Sutton (.pdf)
  178. Senator Oscar Callaway’s 1917 quote”
  179. "In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, shipbuilding, and powder interest, and their subsidiary organizations, got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press. … They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. An agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought, to be paid for by the month; an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies, and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers."
  180. Henry P. Davison / Time Life (Wikipedia)
  181. Henry Luce (Wikipedia)
  182. C.D. Jackson (Wikipedia)
  183. Zapruder Film (Wikipedia)
  184. George DeMohrenschild (Wikipedia)
  185. R. Gordon Wasson (Wikipedia)
  186. MK ULTRA (Wikipedia)
  187. Buchenwald
  188. Sykewar (Amazon)
  189. Life Magazine “The Discovery of Mushrooms That Cause Strange Visions” by R. Gordon
    Wasson; May 13, 1957
  190. J.P. Morgan and the Hull Carbine Affair
  191. Bilderberg Group (Wikipedia)
  192. Hedley Bull (Wikipedia)
  193. Herbert Butterfield (Wikipedia)
  194. British Committee for the Theory of International Politics (Wikipedia)
  195. Liberal Realism (Wikipedia)
  196. Rothschild Banking Empire (Wikipedia)
  197. Economist (Wikipedia)
  198. Roll Call (Wikipedia)
  199. Congressional Quarterly (Wikipedia)
  200. Reuters (Wikipedia)
  201. Psychological Warfare (Wikipedia)
  202. William Paley (Wikipedia)  
  203. War of the Worlds (Wikipedia)
  204. H.G. Wells (Wikipedia)
  205. The New World Order by H.G. Wells
  206. The New Machivellis by H.G. Wells (Project Gutenberg)
  207. Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces (Wikipedia)
  208. Office of Special Services (O.S.S.)
    1. Globalizing Ideal Beauty: How Female Copywriters of the J. Walter Thompson Advertising     Agency Redefined Beauty for the twentieth Century
    2. Rhodes Scholars (Page 137)
    3. Oxbridge = Oxford + Cambridge (Wikipedia)
  209. James Walter Thompson Company (Wikipedia)
  210. John B. Watson (Wikipedia)
  211. De Beers Diamond Cartel (Wikipedia)
  212. Cecil Rhodes (Wikipedia)
  213. Oppenheimer (“The Diamond Empire – Oppenheimer Family’s Cartel, Artificial Scarcity”)
  214. All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace by Adam Curtis / BBC (
  215. “White, King, Red Rubber, Black Death” (YouTube)
  216. Basil Nicholson (Globalizing Ideal Beauty) (Co-Founder of the London Daily Mirror)
  217. “Cultural New Deal Urge to Bring Order” /article published in The Science News-Letter  Vol. 37,   No. 1 (Jan. 6, 1940), pp. 6-7 by Lawrence K. Frank
  218. Macy Conferences (Wikipedia)
  219. Film: “The Net: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet” by Lutz Dammbeck
  220. Lawrence K Frank / Josiah Macy Junior Foundation  
  221. Human Use of Human Beings by Norbert Wiener (Amazon)
  222. William T. Stead (Wikipedia)
  223. The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes edited by William T. Stead (
  224. Council on Foreign Relations (Wikipedia)
  225. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time by Carroll Quigley (1966) (Book)
  226. The Evolution of Civilizations by Carroll Quigley (Book)
  227. The Anglo American Establishment by Carroll Quigley
  228. The Balfour Declaration (Wikipedia)
  229. Lord Rothschild (Wikipedia)
  230. Paris 1919 by Margaret MacMillan (Amazon)
  231. Alfred Milner (Wikipedia)
  232. The Rise and Fall of Diamonds by Edward J. Epstein (Amazon)
  233. Peace Revolution episode … Diamonds: The Jewel of Denial (
  234. Carl Von Clausewitz “Absolute War” (on Wikipedia) 
  235. “On War” by Carl Von Clausewitz (1832)  (Scribd)
  236. Hegelian Dialectic (on Wikipedia) 
  237. “Root Hog, or die” (on Wikipedia) 
  238.  Peace Revolution episode #38 The High Cabal / Lessons in Foreign and Domestic Policy
    (Fletcher Prouty, Elijah Yale, British East India Company)
  239.  Beatrice Webb (on Wikipedia) 
  240. Edward R. Pease (on Wikipedia) 
  241. Fabian Society (on Wikipedia) 
  242. Obama / University of Chicago
  243. University of Chicago / Rockefeller Foundation  
  244. “How Corporate Law Inhibits Social Responsibility” by Robert Hinkley (February 2002 article)      
  245. Congressional Record (February 9, 1917):
  246. TIME magazine (on Wikipedia) 
  247. LIFE magazine (on Wikipedia) 
  248.  Zapruder Film (on Wikipedia)
  249. Bruce Campbell Adamson (JFK assassination research & books) 
  250.  R. Gordon Wasson (on Wikipedia) 
  251.  (Book) “Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality” by R. Gordon Wasson
  252.  “When The Elite Loved LSD” by John Cloud (Time magazine article; April 23, 2007 article)
  253.  “Great Adventures in the Discovery of Mushrooms that Cause Strange Visions” by R. Gordon Wasson  (LIFE magazine article; May 13, 1957)
  254. William Paley CBS (New York Times Obituary October 27, 1990)
  255.  “The CIA and the Media” by Carl Bernstein (Rolling Stone article; October 20, 1977)
  256.  (Book) “The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America” by Hugh Wilford (2008; reference chapter 10 -“Things Fall Apart: Journalists”)
  257.  (Book) “Psychological Warfare” by Paul M. A. Linebarger (1948)
  258.  (Book) “The Hall Carbine Affair: A Study in Contemporary Folklore” by R. Gordon Wasson (1948)   
  259.  Charles Douglas Jackson / Bilderberg to America reference    
  260. Hedley Bull (on Wikipedia) 
  261. Herbert Butterfield (on Wikipedia)
  262. Liberal Realism (on Wikipedia) 
  263. London School of Economics (on Wikipedia)
  264. Council on Foreign Relations History (CFR)
  265. Sir Evelyn de Rothschild / The Economist (“Evelyn’s dauphin” February 13, 2003 article) 
  266. The Economist / Congressional Quarterly / Roll Call magazines
  267. Orson Wells (on Wikipedia)
  268. (Book) “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells (1898)
  269. The War of The Worlds (on Wikipedia)
  270.  (Book) “The New World Order” by H.G. Wells (1940)
  271. H.G. Wells (on Wikipedia)
  272. Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (on Wikipedia)
  273. (Book) “Globalizing Ideal Beauty” by Denise H. Sutton (2009)
  274. James Walter Thompson (on Wikipedia)
  275. J. Walter Thompson Company (on Wikipedia)
  276. John B Watson / Behaviorism (on Wikipedia) 
  277. (Book) “The Rise & Fall of Diamonds: The Shattering of a Brilliant Illusion” by Edward Jay Epstein (1982) (Cecil Rhodes/ Rothschild Bank reference chapter 7; Oppenheimer reference chapter 12; DeBeers / J. Walter Thompson reference chapter 13)
  278. “The Diamond Empire” Transcript (PBS Frontline; February 1, 1994)
  279. Josiah Macy Junior Foundation (on Wikipedia)
  280. Macy Conferences (on Wikipedia) 
  281. William T. Stead (on Wikipedia)
  282. (Book) “The Last Will and Testament of Cecil John Rhodes” with elucidatory notes by W.T. Stead (1902)
  283.  (Book) “Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time” by Carroll Quigley (1966)
  285.  Carroll Quigley (
  286. (Book) “The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis”  by Carroll Quigley   (1979)
  287.  (Book) “The Anglo-American Establishment” by Carroll Quigley (1981):
  288. Margaret MacMillan (on Wikipedia)
  289. (Book) “Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed The World” by Margaret MacMillan (reprint 2003)
  290. Hour 3, minutes 30 -45 (approx.):
  291. (Book) Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time by Carroll Quigley (1966)
  293. Carroll Quigley (on Wikipedia) 
  294. Council on Foreign Relations (on Wikipedia)
  295. “The Anglo-American Establishment” by Carroll Quigley (1981):
  296. Hour 3 Roundtable Discussion of minutes 30-45:
  297. Interview with Carroll Quigley (1976) (YouTube)
  298. Peace Revolution episode 018: A History of the World in Our Time / Origins of Tragedy and Hope
  299. False Flag Attacks (Wikipedia)
  300. Emad Salem (Wikipedia)
  301. World Trade Center 1993 Bombing by FBI (CBS)
  302. The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin (
  303. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (Wikipedia)
  304. William Jefferson Clinton (Wikipedia)
  305. Georgetown Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service
  306. Jesuits (Wikipedia)
  307. Dr. Frank Adeyloette (Wikipedia)
  308. The History of the Rhodes Trust by Sir Anthony Kenny (Amazon)
  309. Sir Anthony Kenny (Wikipedia)
  310. “This radical Right fairy tale, which is now an accepted folk myth in many groups in America, pictured the recent history of the United States, in regard to domestic reform and in foreign affairs, as a well-organized plot by extreme Left-wing elements.... This myth, like all fables, does in fact have a modicum of truth. There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the Radical right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other group, and frequently does so. I know of the operation of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960’s, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies... but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.” (“Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time” by Prof. Carroll Quigley, Page 949-950)
  311. John von Neumann (Wikipedia)
  312. Martin Luther (Wikipedia)
  313. The Early American Reception of German Idealism by James Good (Amazon)
  314. Wilhelm Wundt (Wikipedia)
  315. Thorsten Veblen (Wikipedia)
  316. Conspicuous Consumption (on Wikipedia)
  317. Vilfredo Pareto (Wikipedia)
  318. Gaetano Mosca (Wikipedia)
  319. Sociology of the Elites by Michael Hartmann (Google Books)
  320. Elite Theory (on Wikipdia)
  321. Peace Revolution episode #22 “The Best Enemies Money Can Buy / The Arch which connects 2 Pillars”
  322. Peace Revolution episode #37 “Justified Sinners / The History of Eugenics in America”  
  323.  “The American aborigines, Negroes and Europeans are as different from each other in mind as any three races that can be named; yet I was incessantly struck, whilst living with the Fuegians on board the ‘Beagle’, with the many little traits of character, shewing how similar their minds were to ours; and so it was with a full-blooded negro with whom I happened once to be intimate” (on SCRIBD)
  324. Panopticon (on Wikipedia)
  325. Bill Clinton speaks of Carroll Quigley at 1992 DNC (on YouTube)
  326. Edmund Walsh (on Wikipedia) 
  327. Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (on Wikipedia)
  328. Hour 3, minutes 45 –end:
  329. “The Descent of Man” by Charles Darwin (1871):
  330. Francis Galton (on Wikipedia)
  331. Adam Smith (on Wikipedia)
  332. CATO Institute (on Wikipedia)
  333. Marshall Fritz (on Wikipedia)
  334. Benjamin Franklin (on Wikipedia)
  335.  “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”(1793)
  336. Thomas Edison (on Wikipedia)
  337. “Young Thomas Edison” (biographical film 1940):
  338. Niccolò Machiavelli (on Wikipedia) 
  339. (Book) “The Prince” by Machiavelli (on Wikipedia)
  340. Thomas Hobbes /Leviathan (on Wikipedia)
  341. Crisis of Democracy: Report of the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission (Michael J. Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington, Joni Watanuki / published 1975)
  342. Hour 3 Roundtable Discussion of minutes 45-End
  343. Proofs of a Conspiracy by John Robison (1798)
  344. The Prince by Niccollo Machiavelli
  345.  Martin Luther trained in the Trivium
  346.  Venetian Black Nobility by Webster Tarpley (1993)
  347.  Rosicrucians (Wikipedia)
  348.  Artificial Scarcity (Wikipedia)
  349.  Walter Lippmann (Wikipedia
  350.  Edward Bernays (Wikipedia)
  351.  Maritime Admiralty Law (Wikipedia)
  352.  Ben Franklin’s House: The Naked Truth” by Maev Kennedy (The Guardian article; August 11,        
  353. Trilaterals Over Washington by Patrick Wood and Antony C. Sutton
  354.  George Washington’s Letters (Library of Congress) October 24, 1798
  355. Sovereign (Wikipedia)
  356.  Swa Raj (Wikipedia)
  357.  Autonomy (Wikipedia)
  358.  Integrity (Wikipedia)
  359.  Consent (Wikipedia)
  360.  Medici Banking Empire (Wikipedia)
  361.  Empires: The Medicis / Godfathers of the Renaissance (PBS)
  362.  Borgia Family (Wikipedia)
  363.  Pope Leo X / The Medici Pope (Wikipedia)
  364.  The Art of War by Nicolo Machiavelli
  365.  The Borgias (Showtime Miniseries) (Showtime)
  366.  Old Nick (Wikipedia)
  367.  Modus Operandi (Wikipedia)
  368.  Machiavelli (on Wikipedia)
  369.  “Against Oligarchy: Venice” (Essays and Speeches, 1970-1996) by Webster Tarpley
  370. Trilateral Commission
  371. Crisis of Democracy: Report of the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission  (Michael J. Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington, Joni Watanuki / published 1975)
  372. (Book) “Trilaterals Over Washington” by Antony C. Sutton, Patrick M. Wood (1978) (“Crisis of
    Democracy”, see pages 20- 24; 95- 98)
  373. Thomas Jefferson Letter / Illuminati / Adam Weishaupt reference             
  374. Zbigniew Brzezinski (on Wikipedia)

End of Hour 3

Stay tuned for Peace Revolution Episode 044: The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto / Hour 4 + Commentary

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          Peace Revolution episode 042: The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto / Hour 2 + Commentary        
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Notes, References, and Links for further study:

  1. Use the donation buttons at the bottom of these notes, or on the sidebar of this site, or the sidebar of Tragedy and Hope dot com,  for “The Ultimate History Lesson: A Weekend with John Taylor Gatto” multi-DVD interview project, currently in post-production. With over 5 hours of interview footage, this is a collection of education which is invaluable.
    1. If you donate $50 or more towards the completion of this project, you will receive the entire DVD set; as our way of saying Thanks!
  2. Your invitation to the Tragedy and Hope online critical thinking community
  3. Peace Revolution Podcast’s primary hosting site (2009-2011)
  4. Peace Revolution Podcast’s backup hosting site (2006-2011, also includes the 9/11 Synchronicity Podcast episodes, starting at the bottom of the page)
  5. Tragedy and Hope dot com (all of our media productions, free to the public)
    On the top menu, there is a “Trivium” selection, which includes the Brain model discussed in Peace Revolution episodes.
  6. A Peaceful Solution” by Willie Nelson w/thanks to the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute
    T&H Partner Podcasts: Media Monarchy, Corbett Report, Gnostic Media, & Remedy Radio
  7. Useful Tools:
  8. (It uses Google’s search algorithm, but doesn’t collect your private info and search history)
    1. StartPage search engine Firefox add-on
  9. The Brain (mind mapping software to organize your research) download for FREE
    1. The free version works for all functions except web publication
  10. Ultimate History Lesson Hour 1, minutes 1 -15 (approx.):
  11. (Person) Plato (on Wikipedia)
  12. (Person) Socrates (on Wikipedia)
  13. (Book) "The Republic" by Plato
  14. (Book) "The Laws" by Plato
  15. (Person) Charles Darwin (on Wikipedia)
  16. (Book) “The Descent of Man” by Charles Darwin (1871)
  17. (Book) “On The Origin of Species” / “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” by Charles Darwin (1859):
  18. (Person) Thomas Malthus (on Wikipedia)
  19. (Book) “An Essay on the Principle of Population” by Thomas Malthus (Darwin read for “amusement” in 1838)
  20. (Book) Anglican Book of Common Prayer (on Wikipedia)
  21. (Artifact) Anglican Homily of Obedience (on Wikipedia)
  22. (Group) Darwin-Wedgewood family (on Wikipedia)
  23. (Person) Francis Galton (on Wikipedia)
  24. (Concept) Eugenics (on Wikipedia)
  25. (Book) “War Against The Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race” by Edwin Black (2003)
  26. (Book) “Preparing for Power: America’s Elite Boarding Schools” by Cookson & Persell (1987)
  27. (Group) Independent School League (on Wikipedia)
  28. (Article) “America’s Best Prep Schools” (Forbes Magazine article; April 2010)
  29. (Event) “Fitter Family Competition” + Eugenics (on Wikipedia)
  30. (Person) Wilhelm Wundt (on Wikipedia)
  31. Roundtable Discussion of minutes 1-15:
  32. (Person) R. Buckminster Fuller
  33. (Book) “Grunch of Giants” by R. Buckminster Fuller (1984) (read online via Buckminster Fuller Institute)
  34. (Book) “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth” by R. Buckminster Fuller 
  35. (Book) “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth”; Chapter 3, Comprehensively Commanded Automation - Thomas Malthus reference)
  36. (Book) “Buckminster Fuller’s Universe: His Life and Work” by L. Steven Sieden (2000)
  37. (Video) “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace” by Adam Curtis (BBC documentary)
  38. (Person) Wilhelm Wundt (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
  39. (Book)“The Leipzig Connection: Basics in Education” by Paolo Lionni (1993)
  40. Hour 1, minutes 15 -30 (approx.)
  41. (Concept) Doctor of Philosophy (on Wikipedia)
  42. (Person) Edward Everett (First American PhD; on Wikipedia)
  43. (Concept) Academic Tenure (on Wikipedia)
  44. (Book) “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith (1776)
  45. (Person) William Playfair (on Wikipedia)
  46. (Person) Edward Bernays (on Wikipedia)
  47. (Book) “Propaganda” by Edward Bernays (1928)
  48. (Person) Ivy Lee  + Nazi + I.G. Farben (on Wikipedia)
  49. (Book) “Wall Street and The Rise of Hitler” by Antony C. Sutton (1976)
  50. (Book) “The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben” by Joseph Borkin (1978)
  51. (Book) “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville (1851):
  52. (Concept) Destiny (on Wikipedia)
  53. Minutes 15 -30 / roundtable discussion references:
  54. (Concept) Tenure / Rockefeller
  55. (Concept) The Roman Collegia (Encyclopedia Britannica)
  56. (Person) Stanley Milgram (on Wikipedia)
  57. (Event) The Milgram Experiment (on obedience to authority figures; 1961)
  58. (Person) Ivan Pavlov (on Wikipedia)
  59. (Concept) Behavioral Psychology (on Wikipedia)
  60. (Concept) Kabbalah (on Wikipedia)
  61. (Concept) Definition of Occult (Johnson’s Dictionary 1709 -1784)
  62. (Person) James Rowland Angell (on Wikipedia) 
    1. President of Yale University, President of the Carnegie Corporation, Instrumental in creating the Rockefeller funded Yale Institute of Human Relations with Robert Maynard Hutchins and Milton Winternitz, Creator of the Yale Institute of Human Relations Advisory Committee, John B. Watson obtained his Ph.D. under the supervision of Angell in 1903 at the University of Chicago, Angell was "pivotal figure in the development of the functionalist school of thought", Earned one of his Masters Degree's under John Dewey, who he later selected for the Human Relations Advisory Board among many other noteworthy characters.
      1. "To Read Wundt...after a session with James, was an anticlimax which disturbed one's equilibrium...The complete lack in James of anything which could be recognized as system was highly disturbing" - James Rowland Angell
      2. James Rowland Angell's unsuccessful attempt to study under Wundt
      3. His cousin Frank Angell was one of the first to obtain a PhD from Wundt
  63. (Event) James Rowland Angell + Yale Institute of Human Relations (Time magazine article; February 1929)
  64. (Person) Frank Angell (on Wikipedia)
    1. Frank Angell, American Psychologist, earned his PhD at Leipzig under Wilhelm Wundt. Founded the experimental laboratories at Cornell University (1891) and Stanford (1892)
  65. (Person) John Dewey (on WIkipedia)
  66. (Person) John B. Watson (on Wikipedia)
  67. (Event) The Little Albert Experiment (1920)
  68. (Person) Frank Aydelotte (on Wikipedia)
    1. "On this basis, which was originally financial and goes back to George Peabody, there grew up in the twentieth century a power structure between London and New York which penetrated deeply into university life, the press, and the practice of foreign policy. In England the center was the Round Table Group, while in the United States it was J P Morgan and Company or its local branches in Boston, Philadelphia and Cleveland. Some rather incidental examples of the operations of this structure are very revealing, just because they are incidental. For example, it set up in Princeton a reasonable copy of the Round Table Group's chief Oxford headquarters, All Souls College. This copy, called the Institute for Advanced Study, and best known, perhaps, as the refuge of Einstein, Oppenheimer, John von Neumann, and George F. Kennan, was organized by Abraham Flexner of the Carnegie Foundation and Rockefeller's General Education Board after he had experienced the delights of All Souls while serving as Rhodes Memorial Lecturer at Oxford. The plans were largely drawn by Tom Jones, one of the Round Table's most active intriguers and foundation administrators." - Prof. Carroll Quigley, (Tragedy and Hope, Pg.953)
      (See connection: Institute of Advanced Study + Cybernetics)
  69. (Person) Abraham Flexner (on Wikipedia)
  70. (Search) Thomas D. Jones + The Institute of Advanced Study Princeton
  71. (Book) “World As Laboratory: Experiments with Mice, Mazes, and Men” by Rebecca Lemov (2005) 
  72. (Person) G. Stanley Hall (Encyclopedia Britannica)
  73. (Person) William James
  74. Hour 1, minutes 30 -45 (approx.):
  75. (Person) Edward Jay Epstein (on Wikipedia)
  76. (Book) “Inquest: The Warren Commission and the Establishment of Truth” by Edward Jay Epstein (1966)
  77. (Book) “The Rise & Fall of Diamonds: The Shattering of a Brilliant Illusion” by Edward Jay Epstein (1982)
  78. (Book) “News From Nowhere: Television and the News” by Edward Jay Epstein:
  79. (Concept) Hegelian Dialectic (on Wikipedia)
  80. (Person) Sir Richard Branson (on Wikipedia)
  81. (Book) “Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, & made a Fortune Doing Business My Way” by Richard Branson (1999 autobiography):
  82. (Concept) Definition of Entrepreneur (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
  83. (Concept) Financial Speculation (on Wikipedia)
  84. (Concept) Rites of Passage / Walkabout
  85. Minutes 30-45 / roundtable discussion references:
  86. (Book) “The Corporation That Changed The World: How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational” by Nick Robins (2006) (re: profit motives/corporation –short term goals)
  87. (Event) “Thousands Mourn Boy Killed in Brooklyn” (New York Times article; July 13, 2011)
  88. (Event) “Charges Against Dominique Strauss-Kahn Dismissed” (New York Times; August 23, 2011)
  89. Hour 1, minutes 45 –end:
    Carnegie Philanthropy / teachers pensions (1905) (Columbia University Libraries)
  90. (Group) Rockefeller Foundation (on Wikipedia)
  91. (Event) Rockefeller donates $80 million to University of Chicago & William Rainey Harper
  92. (Person) William Rainey Harper (on Wikipedia)
  93. (Event) John D. Rockefeller $500,000 “gift” to Teacher’s College (New York Times article; September 1902)
  94. (Concept) “Rockefeller Stewardship” (TIME magazine article; June 17, 1929):
  95. (Religious Group) The Quakers (on Wikipedia)
  96. (Person) Richard M. Nixon / Quaker (on Wikipedia)
  97. (Person) Herbert Hoover / Quaker (on Wikipedia)
  98. (Person) Frederick Taylor Gates + Rockefeller (on Wikipedia)
  99. (Group) The General Education Board (on Wikipedia)
  100. (Event) Walsh Commission on Industrial Relations (1915) (on Wikipedia)
  101. (Event) Cox/Reece Committee (1952- 1954; United States House Select Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations) (on Wikipedia)
  102. (Book) “Foundations: Their Power and Influence” by Rene Wormser (1958):
  103. (Video) The Hidden Agenda of Tax Exempt Foundations for Education & World Government: 1982 Norman Dodd interview (on YouTube)
  104. (Document) The Hidden Agenda Transcript (Rowan Gaither / CIA / Ford Foundation)
  105. (Resource) Who Owns The Media (Columbia Journalism Review)
  106. (Resource) Media Ownership Chart: The Big Six (
  107. Final roundtable discussion (min 45 –end) references:
  108. (Event) JP Morgan Chase $4 million donation to NYPD pre-Occupy Wall Street
  109. (Concept) “dyed-in-the-wool” (on Wiktionary)
  110. (Video) Norman Dodd Radio Liberty interview with Stan Monteith (1980 “The Secret Agenda of the Tax Exempt Foundations Revealed”) (Vimeo)
  111. (Transcript) Norman Dodd interview
  112. (Person) William Godwin (on Wikipedia)
  113. (Concept) Anarchy (on Wikipedia)
  114. (Concept) Swa raj (on Wikipedia)
  115. (Concept) Autonomy (on Wikipedia)
  116. End of Hour 2
  117. Stay tuned for Peace Revolution Episode 043: The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto / Hour 3 + Commentary

    Peace Revolution partner podcasts:

    Corbett Report dot com

    Media Monarchy dot com

    Gnostic Media Podcast

    School Sucks Project Podcast

    Remedy Radio Podcast

    Meria dot net

    The Unplugged Mom Podcast



    Navigating Netflix (2011) our new video series wherein we conduct a critical analysis of films you might have missed; Navigating Netflix is available for free on YouTube.

    "Memories of a Political Prisoner", an interview with Professor Chengiah Ragaven, graduate of Oxford, Cambridge, and Sussex; AFTER he was a political prisoner, who was exiled from South Africa, during Apartheid. (2011)

    What You've Been Missing! (2011) is our video series focusing in on the history of corruption in our public education system.

    Top Documentary Films dot com: Hijacking Humanity by Paul Verge (2006)

    Top Documentary Films dot com: Exposing the Noble Lie (2010)

    Top Documentary Films dot com: The Pharmacratic Inquisition by Jan Irvin (2007)

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! If you would like to donate so that we can continue producing independent media without commercial advertising, simply click the button below for a one-time donation:

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! If you would like to donate so that we can continue producing independent media without commercial advertising, simply click the button below for a one-time donation:

    Alternatively, You can become a Member and Support our ability to create media for the public (while You make new friends and enjoy educating yourself along the way) by subscribing to the Tragedy and Hope Community: Monthly @ $14.95 / month

    Yearly @ $120.00 / year

    *Subscription details on Subscribe page in the Top Menu.

          Peace Revolution episode 034: How the World Really Works / Cause and Effect vs. Our Beliefs        
itunes pic

Notes, References, and Links for further study:

1. Use the "Donate" buttons at the bottom of these notes, or on the side bar of this site, or the T&H Community, or the T&H dot com site, for “The Ultimate History Lesson: A Weekend with John Taylor Gatto” multi-DVD interview project, currently in post-production. With over 5 hours of interview footage, this is a collection of education which is invaluable.

2.     Invitation to the Tragedy and Hope online community

3.     Peace Revolution primary site (2009-2011)

4.     Peace Revolution backup stream (2006-2011)

5.     Tragedy and Hope dot com (all of our media, free to the public)

6.     “A Peaceful Solution” by Willie Nelson w/thanks to the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute

7. (It uses Google’s search algorithm, but doesn’t collect your private info and search history)

a.     StartPage search engine Firefox add-on

8.     Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Franz Lizst

9.     How the world really works (Jordan Maxwell)

10.  Moments of Clarity by Lee Camp


b.    “That’s the real history of America?” by Lee Camp on YouTube (intro to episode)

c.     “Evil people have plans” by Lee Camp on YouTube (closing of episode)

11.  Definition of Anarchy (absence of government)

12.  Definition of Autonomy (absence of others controlling your mind)

13.  Definition of Amptssprache

14.  Amptssprache Fallacy: the belief that someone else can be responsible for your actions, or that your actions are exempted from the natural law of cause and effect.

15.  Definition of Meme (a mind virus, which you have to outlearn, as you cannot delete it)

16.  Larken Rose /

17.  Gnostic Media /

a.     Gnostic Media interview with Larkin Rose (complete)

18.  Free Your Mind Conference /

a.     Larken Rose @ the FYMConference on YouTube

19.  Stanford Prison Experiment

a.     Indoctrination

b.    Operant Conditioning

c.     Operant Conditioning Chamber

20.  Prussian Education System

21.  Natural Law: to treat yourself and others with honesty.

Peace Revolution partner podcasts:

Corbett Report dot com

Media Monarchy dot com

Gnostic Media Podcast

School Sucks Project Podcast

Red Ice Creations dot com

Meria dot net

Other productions by members of the T&H network:

Top Documentary Films dot com: Hijacking Humanity by Paul Verge (2006)

Top Documentary Films dot com: Exposing the Noble Lie (2010)

Top Documentary Films dot com: The Pharmacratic Inquisition by Jan Irvin (2007)

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! If you would like to donate so that we can continue producing independent media without commercial advertising, simply click the button below for a one-time donation:

Alternatively, You can become a Member and Support our ability to create media for the public (while You make new friends and enjoy educating yourself along the way) by subscribing to the Tragedy and Hope Community: Monthly @ $14.95 / month

Yearly @ $120.00 / year

*Subscription details on Subscribe page in the Top Menu.

          Peace Revolution episode 032: How College Subverts Students / Dumbing us Down for Profit and Power        
itunes pic

Notes, References, and Links for further study:

1.     Invitation to the Tragedy and Hope online community

2.     Peace Revolution primary site (2009-2011)

3.     Peace Revolution backup stream (2006-2011)

4.     Tragedy and Hope dot com (all of our media, free to the public)

5.     “A Peaceful Solution” by Willie Nelson w/thanks to the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute

6. (It uses Google’s search algorithm, but doesn’t collect your private info and search history)

a.    StartPage search engine Firefox add-on

7.     Navigating Netflix episode 01: “The Experiment” featuring: Paul Verge (of Remedy Radio), James Pilato (of Media Monarchy), Lisa Arbercheski and Richard Grove (of Tragedy and Hope)

a.    Stanford Prison Experiment (1971)

b.    Stanford Prison Experiment on YouTube

c.    “The Experiment” (2010) trailer on YouTube

d.    Dr. Philip Zimbardo

e.    Office of Naval Research (sponsor of 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment)

f.     Stanley Milgram

g.    Milgram Experiment @ Yale University (1961)

h.    Milgram Experiment on YouTube

8.     (audio)  John Taylor Gatto interview (2004) on Radio Free School, Canada

a.    John Taylor Gatto dot com

b.    John Taylor Gatto on Wikipedia

c.    Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto

d.    Dumbing us Down by John Taylor Gatto

e.    Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto

9.    (audio) The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (theme song)

10.  Definition: Collectivism

a.     “The socialistic theory of the collective ownership or control of all the means of production, and especially of the land, by the whole community or State, i.e. the people collectively, for the benefit of the people as a whole.” Source: Oxford English Dictionary

11.  Definition: Autonomy

a.     “The right of self-government, of making its own laws and administering its own affairs. Liberty to follow one's will, personal freedom.” Source: Oxford English Dictionary

12.  Quote: “All schools, all colleges, have two great functions: to confer, and to conceal, valuable knowledge. The knowledge which they conceal cannot justly be regarded as less valuable than that which they reveal.” Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1908

13.  (video) Norman Dodd: The Hidden Agenda: the role of Foundations in Education

a.    (transcript) The Hidden Agenda / Norman Dodd and G. Edward Griffin

b.    Norman Dodd on YouTube

c.     Norman Dodd on Wikipedia

14.  B. Carroll Reece

a.    Reece Committee on Education (Congressional Transcripts)

b.    Carroll Reece on Wikipedia

c.    Reece Committee on Wikipedia

d.    Foundations and their Influence by Rene Wormser

15.  Charlotte Iserbyt

a.    Charlotte’s website

b.    The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Iserbyt (pdf download)

c.     Outcome Based Education on Wikipedia

d.    Benjamin Bloom and Outcome Based Education on Wikipedia

16.  Quote: The purpose of education is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of students.” – Benjamin Bloom

a.     Taxonomy of Educational Objectives by Benjamin Bloom

17.  (video) College Conspiracy: How “education” creates indentured debt slaves

a.    (video) The History of Corruption in Public Education (playlist)

18.  The Tax-Exempt Foundations and their Influence

a.    Rockefeller Foundation on Wikipedia

                                          i.    The story of the Rockefeller Foundation by Raymond Fosdick

b.    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Wikipedia

c.    Ford Foundation on Wikipedia

                                          i.    Ford Foundation + CIA

d.    Reece Committee on Education (Congressional Transcripts)

e.    Carroll Reece on Wikipedia

f.     Reece Committee on Wikipedia

g.    Foundations and their Influence by Rene Wormser

Peace Revolution partner podcasts:

Corbett Report dot com

Media Monarchy dot com

Gnostic Media Podcast

School Sucks Project Podcast

Red Ice Creations dot com

Meria dot net

Other productions by members of the T&H network:

Top Documentary Films dot com: Hijacking Humanity by Paul Verge (2006)

Top Documentary Films dot com: Exposing the Noble Lie (2010)

Top Documentary Films dot com: The Pharmacratic Inquisition by Jan Irvin (2007)

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! If you would like to donate so that we can continue producing independent media without commercial advertising, simply click the button below for a one-time donation:

Alternatively, You can become a Member and Support our ability to create media for the public (while You make new friends and enjoy educating yourself along the way) by subscribing to the Tragedy and Hope Community: Monthly @ $14.95 / month

Yearly @ $120.00 / year

*Subscription details on Subscribe page in the Top Menu.

          The Sentimental Luddite        
Is sentimentality over-rated?

If you've chanced by the article about a tomboyish girl and her 11 year old pink scissors given by her mum (which she hated) and now cherish in memory [in Starmag today, 3rd of October, TheStar.] it might trigger your thoughts a little.

My dad had a watch, given by his dad, which he used for more than 45 years. He couldn't part with it even when it breathed its last (despite innumerable fixes and CPRs). And I believe he's still keeping it somewhere safe, laying in the midst of his black hole of a Cabinet

Then there's this guy in ?japan ?UK who has been using the same Gillete Razor for 75 years.
I bet if you're Gillette, he'd be The MOST LOYAL customer ever, that you wouldn't want, LOL. Coz his first purchase, is his last purchase..

Do you have something in your keeping that you know will practically be useless, even as a decorative piece? I know I have plenty....

Nowadays, there's a Gadget-Grabbing Techno Rage that surrounds us, Iphone 4 being the recent case in point.

IPhone 4

With radio deejays, blog posts humming the Apple's Tune, there's really been a craze over it...

but, as I've said in my facebook wall-post,

Going out for dinner that day, we saw how many parents gave their childrens gadgets; initially it could have started with a mobile phone java game- parents passing the phone to child who claims they are bored in order to shut them up so that parents can do their shopping in peace.

Now we have dad, mom, and child playing with gadgets during dinner, with grandma looking forlorn at the food because no one is talking at a meal.

I believe children who you shut up with gadgets, will really no longer talk to you when they are adolescents, being absorbed by the fancy tech, and the relationship will just turn worse into adulthood.

So I'm a luddite; until we can really plan, and educate them about using it responsibily. I've seen People who get caught up with gadgets, often turning into otakus, becoming less adventurous, reliant on their GPS, lose their natural instincts for adventure... bla bla bla..

Coz I really pity the grandma... and discussion with my colleagues on it. 3 out of 4 of them recommend that they should buy grandma a gadget.

It's really Sweat inducing, their mentality...

Technology should improve communication, not stifle it. Especially within families.

That said, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, as they are entitled to the autonomy over their own cash. But maybe you'd like to hear me out...?

Although often situations make me hail 3 times to the person who espoused
"Nature is awesome, adventure is wholesome, Human Beings, plain troublesome"

I'm actually sentimental with human relationships as well. And striking up conversation with strangers on my trips and forging unique relationships has always been a part of me, and has always enlivened my adventures everywhere. 或许我贵人运不错?

My latest trip to Brunei alone has two such people touch my lives. One who is a resort manager,

Swell Guy
(the guy in blue, that's my saviour!)

who went out of his way to help secure a stay for me at a rival lodge because I'm a student who couldn't afford his accommodation. This swell guy actually called two other tour operators and even concocted the story of me being an exchange student to help me secure a stay in Ulu Temburong, without which
these pictures would never have been taken.

Another is a poor little ol lady who has no friends, cheated by her husband in relationship, and of money by the hubby's little vixen, and ostracized by her own family because of her subsequent depression- who was my tour guide, personal transporter and story-teller in and out of Bander Seri Bagawan.

Sabah- where the resort operator for Halleluyah hill resort gave us a whole apartment to ourselves when we paid the amount for a room, invited ruhui for hot showers in their own home, and dished out finger licking meals fro a paltry RM5, just a stone's throw away from Mount Kinabalu. Their numerous pets entertained us, as much as their owners did!

Over in Terengganu,
there's this extremely tasty yummy juice drink that's almost 100% real, thick, fruit puree sold in a little shop for RM3.00, and I would return to the stall like a homing pigeon everyday after cycling through KT.

pure fruit juice

I chatted with the lady during my 1st visit, on my second visit, she offered us free keropok lekor,
Keropok lekor

and on my 3rd visit, we enjoyed a coconut mango, straight from her garden!... It's a stall I vow to return to if and when I go there..

then there's also this gentleman who runs a bubble milk tea stall opposite Ping Anchorage, where I was staying...

had a short chat with him... then on my second visit, he invited me to play badminton with his pals, and even prepared badminton shoes in addition to the racquets for me because he knew I wouldn't be well prepared.

So on the last day before I left terengganu, I had a great game with uncles and aunties in terengganu, haha...

Friend, and friends of said friend while in UK, Cheery lil lady Yumi while in Hong Kong, ... another lady who gave me a discount because I didn't have enough cash with me, no questions asked while in terengganu; marvelous people who I would not have met or talked to were I having me head down looking at a GPS instead of asking for directions, or playing a Java Game instead of striking up a conversation with a fellow bus passenger. Therefore, I'm a placard carrying dude who lifts the sign: a handphone, should be a handphone, and nothing more.

Speaking about losing our natural instincts, strip the handphone of a teen anywhere- and he'd rather part with his wallet no matter the amount or cost- and you'd find him dumbfounded,disorientated and lost in the city. this is not conjecture. This came from an Interview I made with one. And Experienced with many, my relatives included.

why are we revolving our lives around gadgets and tools when they should be just an aid, a hammer we occasionally use, a lightbulb we change now and then.

By the way, how many 21st Gen Y adults do you need to change a lightbulb? 5;
one to call up a electrical engineer friend to complain,
one to tweet :"OMG! D wurld 's ending, 'm blind, 'm freakin scared X("
one to blog about his blackout experience in an overdramatic fashion,
one to surf wikipedia to find out,
and one to turn to DIY-for-dummies to learn how to unfold a collapsible ladder)

Har har..says you. now, which 3 parts should you suspect is bust when the flourescent light blows out?

Gee... My post looks pretty protracted by now... but, this is a topic that I will certainly return to, no doubt about it...

I'd end the post with this video on sustainable consumerism, enjoy :-) It starts slow, but it will certainly not ring hollow.

The price of consumerism- on the planet, on other people, on ourselves,

Notice what are:
Externalizing costs
Planned and perceived obsolescence
The purpose of an ad, is to make you unhappy with what you have.

By buying the newest gadget that money can buy, are you falling into the trap?

ps.- the answer, the flourescent tubing, the starter, and the choke.

          How to keep Sales Happy        

There`s nothing like having a hungry and motivated sales team working for you, nurturing your existing customers and converting new prospect. Your sales people are the driving force of your business.

Keeping sales consultants happy, focused and motivated is a constant endeavour, one that is essential to retain top talent and achieve your quarterly numbers. So how do you motivate your sales team to ensure you maximise their potential and get the best results?

provide coaching1. Provide coaching

In the business world, coaching rather than managing is a necessity not only for your success, but it is essential to your team’s personal success; perhaps even their survival. Coaching influences employee adaptability, productivity and retention, expanding people’s capabilities and therefore the capability of the organisation
Coaching, involves developing people who can contribute to the company’s mission and goals. The secret to developing superstar employees, lies in your ability to coach first and manage second.

2. Set goals

Setting goals is a fundamental component to long-term success and provides direction. Goals will help your team focus on what is important and not waste their time. Each team member will have their own individual goals that contribute to the teams overall targets. Setting individual goals makes people feel personally responsible for their work. Goals give people the feeling that their work is contributing to something larger, something worthwhile. Research studies show a direct link between goals and enhanced performance in business. Goals help employees stay aware of what is expected from them. 

3. Support with sales tools

Sales teams have a countless number of responsibilities, ranging from paperwork, establishing relationships with new contacts and preparing pitches. Sales people can improve their performance through the use of sales tools, namely a CRM solution that has mobile access. For more information on how CRM can assist sales, read my blog from earlier in the week.

Tailor rewards and motivators 4. Tailor rewards and motivators

Motivational dynamics have changed dramatically to reflect new work requirements and worker expectations. One of the biggest changes has been the rise in importance of psychological rewards and the decline of material commissions. Therefore, simply receiving a pay cheque is not enough of an incentive to keep employees dedicated and focused. Managers must think of new ways to hold an employee's attention and interest on a project, or the company as a whole.

5. Create competition

Competition is an intrinsic and powerful motivator. Creating a work environment where employees can quantify and compare individual benchmarks, channels competitive spirit and increases performance.

Even though sales teams have an innate competitive drive, contests don’t need to be cut-throat to be effective. Finding the right level of competition will add excitement and motivation to the team dynamic, without creating a hostile environment.

empower 6. Empower

Giving members autonomy and responsibility is key to their growth and development. Companies that give employees the freedom to make decisions often find that service to customers improves. In addition, empowered employees take pride and ownership in their jobs. Always encourage your sales team to provide feedback and suggestions, because they`re the ones who are out seeing everything first hand, so they know better than anyone what they need to feel motivated and to succeed.

While it might be tempting as a sales manager to focus on numbers, it takes a lot more to motivate and manage a team of sales people effectively. Get to know the personalities, and the strengths and weaknesses of everyone on your team. This will help you structure your team and tailor rewards to individuals, and it will increase their engagement and motivation. Don't micromanage people, set SMART goals for each member of your team, and take time to coach or mentor people who are struggling. For more tips read our eBook 6 ways to keep sales happy, motivated and selling!

          The history and plight of the Rohingyas         

The Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted communities in the world. Although, they have been living in the state of Arakan since the 8th century (which is now part of Burma), the Rohingyas have been under extreme scrutiny by the Burmese government. They haven’t been recognized as citizens of The Union of Burma since Burmese independence in 1948, instead they are known as ‘non citizens’.
The Burmese Junta have discriminated the Rohingya because:
• They are not similar in looks
• Speak a different language
• Have a different religion.

As a means of clamping down on the Rohingya, the Junta has restricted even the most basic of rights such as education, marriage and citizenship.
The Burmese government endorses the Burmese culture and the Buddhist faith for their national citizens; the Rohingyas fall outside of this ideal criteria because they want to retain their own culture and the Muslim faith. As a result, the Rohingyas, sidelined and marginalized, have to live with their derogatory national status of ‘non-citizens’.
Between 1978 and 1992, approximately 200,000 Rohingyas left Burma to escape the tyranny of the Burmese military. Most of them moved to southern Bangladesh where they remain as refugees. In one of the most densely populated countries in the world, life in Bangladesh proved just as hard as it did in Burma.

In Bangladesh, the Rohingyas are faced with hardly any protection from their host country. A burden to the densely populated country, the Rohingyas are denied humanitarian aid which forces them to turn to other means of income such as drug trafficking.
There is one registered camp situated meters away from the registered camp where 90,000 refugees live. Another camp 15 miles away, in Leda Bazaar where approximately 25,000 Rohingya live, is where Restless Beings focus has been.

In 1962, the Rohingyas were systematically denied of political, civil, economic and social human rights. Today, the Rohingyas in Burma cannot commute from one village to another due to the security forces known as ‘Nasaka’ that patrol their movement at various checkpoints. This affects their education and access to medication.
Rohingyas are denied citizenship despite living in Arakan for centuries because Muslims are portrayed as ‘relics of a colonial past’. This stems from the fact that Muslims supported the British during the colonial period because they were promised autonomy in Rakhine previously known as Arakan.
Rohingyas have been subject to the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war, forced labour, and land confiscation. Over 3,500 villages have been destroyed since 1996.
Similar to the Rohingyas living in Burma, the Rohingya refugees are limited in their movement and subject to exploitation. In refugee camps, the Rohingya women are victims of sexual violence, children are denied education and there is limited access to health and medical aid.
The hostile environment for Rohingyas in Bangladesh urges the refugees in Bangladesh and Burma to seek help in other parts of Asia such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia; however, these parts are not usually welcoming.

Update from Restless Beings
rohingyas arkan

Reports have been flooding in this afternoon of a new wave of attacks on Rohingya this afternoon leaving hundreds homeless and looking for shelter on foot during torrential monsoon rains whilst others were left dead. The recent clashes have been reported from 4 villages near Rauthedoung were as many as 12 have been killed with 1,000 Rohingya displaced as well as in 3 villages south of Maungdaw where 3 people have been killed this Thursday, August 16, 2012.

In the minutes leading up to sunset as many Rohingya were preparing to open their fasts (Ramadhan) hundreds of Rakhine activists armed with sticks, batons and other weaponry forced their way into Rohingya houses in three adjacent villages. As the villagers attempted to fight back against the Rakhine who had violated their homes, Lun Htin and Nasaka (Burmese armed forces and paramilitary) opened live rounds of fire on the villagers.
Three men and one woman have been shot dead whilst many others have been injured. In total the three entire villages are being evacuated with the Rohingya unsure of where they are to move to next. Whilst one of the sources was describing the events, shooting and wailing could be heard in the background.

In a separate incident, but most likely part of this new wave of violence, four villages near Rathedoung were attacked late last night, Wednesday, leaving more than 12 dead and over 1,000 Rohingya displaced. Similar to incidents in Maungdaw today, Rakhine had attacked the villages and were backed up by Burmese armed forces and paramilitary servicemen.
The forces pushed the Rohingya villages from their homes, across the river and now the camp of 1,000 are moving north through mountainous terrains and during monsoon season looking for shelter. 12 people have been confirmed dead – 8 were shot dead and 4 more have lost their lives battling against the elements whilst being shelter less.
As international media have recently been reporting from the region and as an aid deal has been agreed by the President with OIC, this is seen as the final, brutal wave against the Rohingya during the recent clashes. It is feared that this move will be drawn out over many days surely; many more lives will be lost.
The author is Mabrur Ahmed of Restless Beings –

          Comment on Review of Chinua Achebe’s There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra by Toluwaloju Taiwo        
However realistic Chinua Achebe's Memoire,There was a country might seem,it only earned Achebe more Nigerian Enemies. This is because of the Memoire's daring bluntness,There was a Country became liable to Socratic questioning. It contains informations that are not inclusive to Achebe's Intellectual autonomy
          Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us        
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
author: Daniel H. Pink
name: Debs
average rating: 3.94
book published: 2008
rating: 4
read at: 2017/07/16
date added: 2017/07/17
shelves: 2017, shopify, self-growth, nonfiction
I grabbed this book off the library shelf at Shopify HQ in Ottawa. Said shelf has a bunch of books related to business and self-growth that employees are free to grab, and we can keep or return them as we like. I was in BC when I finished it, so I'm passing it on to a Shopify friend who also works out here so that it can continue the rounds.

The idea here is that we're motivated by more than just the rewards/punishments that come as a result of doing a task - that for creative and challenging tasks (aka, the jobs that many of us are lucky enough to have), there is intrinsic motivation at play as well. The argument that we can find inherent satisfaction in tasks as opposed to being motivated solely by what will happen when we complete that task makes a great deal of intuitive sense.

The book goes on to distinguish between Type I folks (intrinsically motivated) and Type X folks (externally motivated), with the caveat that Type I is a natural state of being, however there's a great deal (if-then rewards as school for instance) that pushes us into being Type X. As an example, someone of Type X might be studying with the goal of getting a good grade on an exam, while someone of Type I might be studying so that they can learn the subject.

Our default setting is to be autonomous and self-directed, but there are a lot of structures in place in the workplace that are holding us back from being that way. To encourage Type I behaviour, the idea is to allow folks to have autonomy over task (what they do), time (when they do it) and team (who they do it with). The book touches on mastery and flow as well - the growth mindset (as opposed to the fix mindset) is key, as is deliberate practice.

The typical workplace subscribes to more of an "if-then" reward system that doesn't allow people to do their best work (Type X), and so the second part of this book talks about how a business can shift from this to more of a Type I mindset. Given that I got this book through work, I wasn't entirely surprised to see some of the ideas have already been applied - FedEx days/Hack Days, where employees have two days a quarter off to work on projects of their choosing is a notable example. I found it interesting to see how these principles are applied within my team as well and, though my engagement/intrinsic motivation at work is quite high - I'm thinking on how I can leverage these ideas both to be more effective myself, and with the folks that I train. There were some personal takeaways as well - so though this book may be geared towards helping businesses, I'd really recommend it. :)

          Netflix's latest: a James C. Strouse trifle titled THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES        

Not terribly bad, but unfortunately not very good either, THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES, starring an either miscast or mis-directed Jessica Williams, makes its streaming debut via Netflix this Friday, July 28. As written and directed by James C. Strouse (shown below and who, as Jim Strouse, did a hell of a lot better with his earlier People Places Things), this thankfully short movie introduces us to a character who, in current rom-com fashion, is incredibly inappropriate.

Except when, conveniently, she isn't. This little matter of conveniences sticks out throughout the film like a sore thumb. You may notice it first as Jessica has a date with a new guy (Chris O'Dowd, as delightful and real as always) and suddenly decides to have a few "honest" moments. Great. But then we're back to the nonsense again. Our girl Jessica (below) is a control freak, and this is understandable when so many things in her life are going wrong -- from significant others to the workplace to her lifelong love of theater.

Nonetheless, the girl is, as they say, a handful, carrying her inappropriateness into every area of her life. At best she's mildly amusing; at worst, she's just annoying. -- never more so than at the family baby shower for her younger sister (below), at which her gift is both dumb and, yes, inappropriate.

The themes here include how to fit into things, what divorce does to children, hook-ups vs relationships, and commitment -- to everything from a man to the theater. Plenty of little life lessons are learned along the way, all worked out sweetly and conveniently, and, as with most rom-coms these days, much too quickly and easily.

I don't think I've seen Ms Williams in anything other than Mr. Strouse's earlier People Places Things, in which she was quite good. I suspect that she is not being shown to her best here, but as Mr. O'Dowd (above) notes at one point, she does have a beautiful smile.

If you're interested, the only place to see The Incredible Jessica James right now (starting this Friday, anyway) is via Netflix streaming. So: your move. (That's Lakeith Stanfield, above, left, who plays Jessica's ex very well, even though his character, too, seems only quasi-real.)

          Esperanza Demo (2000): Southern California Hardcore Retrospectives of the late 90's and early 2000's.         

Let’s Dig Deeper

In the last 5 years or so I’ve tried my best to keep my ear to conversations being held in a number of circles deemed as “critical” or “radical”. When you live in a small town, and you want to stay connected to whatever is happening it’s important to maintain some kind of link to these “critical”, “radical”, and “creative” circles, whether it be through social media, art, culture, scholarship, music, or activism, I’ve tried my best to find some kind of commonality between these circles. Some of these commonalities revolve around this basic need for marginalized people to tell their own stories, to document their own histories and realities, and to do so by using a broader lens that incorporates history, society, politics, economics, race, class, gender, age, environment, and location. I’m not sure to what degree we’ve done this in recent conversations on the hardcore/punk subculture, but I’ll do my best to dish out my own version of this.

Through social media, through zine fests, through documentaries, through collectives, and organizations, through art shows, through articles, through a ton of other mediums, I’ve gotten hints of something that happens in sparks: the counter narratives by people of color that seek to contextualize subcultures and social expressions and cultural production within bigger often oppressive social and historical systems.  Alice Bag’s publishing of Violence Girl, Beyond the Screams Documentary, AfroPunk Documentary, Ovarian Pyschos Documentary (not sure where they are with that, I know they had a Kickstarter campaign), Martin Sorrondeguy’s Art Exhibits, and other events around the state of California, the US, and the rest of the world. I perceive these to be sparks, because I wish they happened more often, I wish they had a bigger platform, I wish there was an authentically receptive community that acknowledged the revolutionary aspects of all subcultures. Those examples I listed above relate specifically to hardcore/punk, I know many other subcultures that have embarked on this journey to tell their own story, whether it be in Hip Hop, Jazz, Corridos (narco corridos I guess), Salsa, Graffiti, or any other subculture. Within Hip Hop specifically I’ve noticed that lines have been blurred between subculture and the narratives devised to contextualize and explain the significance of this subculture. This has come largely from some circles in academia, where “hip hop” scholars have emerged. By dissecting the racial and political climate under which hip hop was born, and by using critical theories on race, gender, whiteness, blackness, anti-blackness, African American history, criminal justice system, incarceration, history, capitalism, the Drug War, education, reproductive health, environmental racism, and everything in between, they have managed to create a truly comprehensive framework from which we can analyze, deconstruct, and talk about hip hop. It’s through this realization that I attempt to turn the focus on other subcultures, in this case our hardcore/punk subculture.

If we claim to have an interest in revolutionary subcultures or in revolutionary and radical forms of expression we must push ourselves beyond our own personal subcultures of interest and see the beauty of struggle across our communities and the world. So I challenge you. Even those who are not into hardcore/punk, I challenge you to appreciate a moment in time, I challenge you to respect a moment of cultural and racial resistance. I challenge you to acknowledge an era in Los Angeles and Southern California that saw youth of color create their own responses to the challenges of the “global city” where “flows of capital, labor, goods, raw materials, tourists” oppression, racism, inequality and a host of other phenomena create a social stew that is always at its boiling point. I suggest you check out sociologist Saskia Sassen’s work. She does a great job at dissecting what cities across the world have become. Going back to our main point. I challenge you to learn the history of Southern California's hardcore punk scene of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  If we are to talk about the importance of community, autonomy, of youth of color using art, expression, and cultural production to read, deconstruct, and challenge the injustices of their world, then we must know this history. Regardless of your opinion of hardcore/punk as a form of musical expression, I challenge you to learn this critical history, one demo, one 7” EP, or one LP at a time. In our first installment, we bring you Esperanza’s self-titled demo recorded in the year 2000. Enjoy!

The Living Room: Santa Barbara Bound

The Esperanza demo was recorded by Santa Barbara legend John Lyons at the Living Room on June 4, 2000. The Living Room was this awesome venue in Isla Vista. Isla Vista is an unincorporated neighborhood in Santa Barbara where UCSB is located. The Living Room was in this neighborhood. And to be more precise, this location where the demo was recorded was The Living Room’s second location, the first being in another part of Santa Barbara, not sure exactly where.

Moving on, I first saw Esperanza sometime later that year, after the demo was recorded. I want to say it was like in December or something. I was already 17 at this point and was itching to start my own hardcore band, which would happen two years later (VYO Oxnard Straight Edge). As a 17 year old hardcore kid, I was also a bit of a loser, I guess being low income didn’t help, but the point is I didn’t have a car. I could drive, but no car. So that week my dad gave me and my homie Mike Doane a ride to SB. My dad had a lot of connects in SB since he lived and worked there in Carpinteria’s (an agricultural community in SB) flower nurseries. It was a school night and he was cool with it too. I got a ride out of it, and he got to kick it with his homie in Santa Barbara—everyone came out winning. This particular show featured a pretty cool line up, the headliner being this band put out by Martin Sorrondeguy’s Lengua Armada Discos, they were called Hog. They came out all the way from Mexico City if I’m not mistaken. That was the key selling point for me. They kind of gave me a power violence vibe. Back then, the internet hadn’t really exhibited its full force on hardcore, so we still found out about most shows through flyers and word of mouth. I recall seeing a bad ass flyer for a show Hog would end up doing at the legendary PCH Club in Wilmington that was kind of a rip on one of Larm’s record/t-shirt designs. The one where Larm are riding the cow, haha! That show seemed kind of far so I figured I’d go to this one in Isla Vista.

We got there pretty early and were hanging out in the parking lot. It was already dark but we managed. They show eventually started and I only really recall three bands playing, one I believed was called Bread & Water from Wisconsin, Esperanza, and Hog. I remember the band Bread & Water (although Ray from Esperanza remembers another band) having a vocalist with dreads. As far as the sound? I’m just gonna go and say a crust type vibe? Haha! I mean, when you have dreads and you play hardcore, unless you’re Bobby Sullivan, you’re probably gonna play crust. Haha!

Now, as I type this I have this doubt in my mind and with the benefit of the internet I have just checked and damn! It seems like Bread & Water is an anarcho punk band from Dallas, Texas. Female fronted too. The band I thought was Bread & Water had a male vocalist with dreads. Unless I find the flyer I will not know who the hell that band was. Damn it. Regardless, the band I saw with the dreaded white vocalist was anarcho punk/crust sounding as well. They were pretty cool and seemed really nice. That night however, the stand out for me was Esperanza. Not sure if they opened or at what point they played, but I just recall being blown away by the DC style hardcore that graced us that night.

Southern California Hardcore: One Big Happy Family and Steve Aoki’s Punk Roots

There weren’t that many people present since the show was during the weekday. That didn’t matter, as it never matters when you have world class hardcore. Esperanza sounded like they were some lost Dischord Records band and it was topped off by vocalist Rich Booher’s distinctive style. I had heard Rich before from another band he once fronted called Dirty Dirt & The Dirts.  I’d heard them on this awesome compilation put out by this kid from Ojai (a rural community where many wealthy folks live in northern Ventura County, CA). Guitarist Graham Clise of Annihilation Time and Lecherous Gaze, who also recently appeared playing guitar with J. Mascis is from Ojai as well, so you know Ventura County was legit back then too! The compilation was called As The Sun Sets: A Southern California Hardcore Compilation.

For me it was a watershed compilation, since it kind of nudged me away from the Profane Existence/crust stuff I was into and led me to finally start embracing the beautiful hardcore scene that we had strewn through Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Orange County. Esperanza also featured two other members I had heard of/known about, one was Steve Aoki, who also had a band featured on the As The Sun Sets compilation. He also ran a venue in Isla Vista called the Pickle Patch, played in other bands, and was a frequent contributor to HeartAttack Fanzine. I don’t think much needs to be said about where Steve Aoki is now. Dude’s huge. Like HUGE!!! Haha! The other dude I had heard about was Miguel Amezcua, who ran El Grito Records (which at the time was putting out a lot of diverse hardcore stuff) and who was also another contributor to HeartAttack Fanzine. At the time I hadn’t known Scott Deitz (drummer) and Raymon Ruiz (guitars). Raymon Ruiz, would go on to be in two bad ass bands throughout the mid 2000’s, one being Mugre and the other Descarados (along with Mike/Miguel Amezcua).

From the moment Esperanza played the first chord I was hooked. The Dischord riffage was beyond evident and the deal was sealed with Rich’s vocals. After the show I talked to them and they were all the coolest dudes. I’m not gonna lie, at 17 I was still kind of star struck when I would meet older dudes that either ran fanzines (Kent McClard), played in bands, or had some heavier involvement in hardcore than myself. Now whether we like it or not, all subcultures whether consciously or not reproduce hierarchies. Hardcore was and is no exception. Some folks I had met in the past did come off as a little bit more…how should I say? Less approachable. These dudes were the complete opposite.  After the show I remember buying the demo from Miguel (Mike) and going back to Oxnard. I would go on to see Esperanza again one more time. In Downtown LA’s Lafayette Community Center. I believe that show was with E-150 from Spain and What Happens Next? Or it may have been with Life’s Halt and Tragatelo. I’m not sure. But they shredded once again. This time I had learned the lyrics and sang along. Rich passed the mic in that traditional youth crew hardcore fashion. Esperanza’s lyrics were poetic, political, and encapsulated the rage of social, racial, gendered, and political injustice. I mean, the insert had an excerpt from Mexico’s revolutionary indigenous army, the EZLN (Zapatistas) as well as a quote from revolutionary activist and scholar Angela Davis. What else needs to be said?

You Act Like Everything Is Just Fine…Well, Not To Me!!!

During the late 90’s and early 2000’s Southern California, and the US hardcore scene in general was in one of its renaissances. Or at least it seemed to me. Maybe this perception is a result of this being the hardcore era I was involved in during my “youth”, during the formative years of my adolescence. So I guess whichever scene you are a part of during those crucial years in your life will forever leave an indelible mark on your soul. Nonetheless, it is undeniable that every cultural era is different and defined by its own challenges and opportunities. From my perspective there are notable differences between the present state of hardcore/punk and the one existent in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. To be brief, there were more venues back then, at least in my part of California, Santa Barbara/Ventura/Oxnard. There was a notable hardcore presence in Santa Barbara that circulated around HeartAttack Fanzine, which was based there. Ebullition Records, the legendary 90’s hardcore punk label noted for its more political and DC/Revolution Summer inspired hardcore vibe was also based in Santa Barbara and was made up of the same folks who ran HeartAttack. Both Ebulltion and HeartAttack exerted a significant influence on the Santa Barbara scene, one marked heavily by politics. To me, that was awesome.

Because there were more venues it seemed as if there were also more shows, a bigger scene, more fanzines, more networks between the different scenes, and an overall more politicized voice within hardcore. Today most of this seems to be lost, or at least minimized. Santa Barbara was important in the respect that it is a smaller city, non-urban, and was a big hub for subcultural expression and the subsequent cultural production. Oxnard and Ventura County (where I am from) felt this. Sandwiched between the LA scene and the SB scenes at the time, it was only natural for Oxnard to have its own scene flourishing. After all, Oxnard has a strong subcultural pedigree. Oxnard challenged the traditional notions of cultural production we usually hold on to (thank you to Mike Amezcua for helping me articulate it like this), where the urban centers are seen as the sole producers of all things cultural, artistic, and musical. During the 1980’s Oxnard produced such legendary hardcore punk bands as Dr. Know, Stalag 13, Agression, and Ill Repute as well as legendary Xicano artists like Jaime and Gilberto Hernandez who would go on to create Love & Rockets (which helped usher in alternative comics). When you add this dynamic past, with the renaissance going on in LA and Santa Barbara during the late 90’s and early 2000’s it should go without saying that Oxnard established its own presence on the Southern California hardcore map of that era. During the era of the mid 90’s to the late 90’s Oxnard had a bunch of bands, some of the ones I remember more clearly were Burning Dog, The Whereabouts, Voice of Defiance, No Motiv, and at the time, our biggest hardcore exponent: Stand Your Ground (some of the members would go on to form Oxnard giants In Control). That said, like any other Oxnard kid of the time it was almost mandatory to like all the old Nardcore bands and to prove yourself by going to shows to see the contemporary bands. Pretty standard right? Supporting your scene. However, it took me some time to fully embrace this. For a number of reasons.

For one, like many folks who didn’t get into punk during the formative eras, between the late 70’s and I’d dare to say up until the early 90’s, getting into punk became like some weird mish mash. For many of us the punk trajectory was all out of order, many of us getting into it because of the alternative and pop punk explosions of the mid 90’s, thanks to bands like Nirvana, Green Day, Rancid, and Soundgarden, etc. As a result, many of us went from one era to the next, skipping bands and genres all together. I was one of these kids. I got into a lot of the UK 82 stuff, the anarcho punk stuff, then into the crust/Profane Existence stuff as well. During this time a lot of the hardcore scene in Oxnard was very much into the straight edge stuff and the metal hardcore stuff, bands like Ten Yard Fight, Floorpunch, Snapcase, Strife, Earth Crisis, etc. The Victory Records and Revelation stuff. You get the picture. A lot of this stuff wasn’t my cup of tea for the most part, since I perceived it to have a jock/macho vibe. Eventually I’d catch up to speed (with help from the As The Sun Sets Comp) and get into a lot of the bands every kid in Oxnard liked. For a while I was also turned off from the Oxnard bands because they all liked all the stuff that seemed jock/macho. But like I said, I got past it. I ended up liking all the Nardcore stuff too, but despite liking these bands, learning all the In Control lyrics from their demo (which I think came out in 1999) and the first EP, something about the Oxnard bands wasn’t really clicking with me.

By the time I discovered Los Crudos this void became very clear to me: None of the Oxnard bands past or (at the time) present articulated the exact feelings I had. We get into hardcore for a lot of different reasons. For me, one of those reasons was having a voice that articulated things I was feeling and my own reality. While Los Crudos was a landmark/watershed moment for many people of color in hardcore they were not the only ones. Along with Huasipungo in New York, and the scenes that would eventually sprout in places like Los Angeles hardcore after Los Crudos and Huasipungo would experience an explicit rearticulating of its racial politics. While bands like No Motiv, The Whereabouts, Burning Dog, Voice of Defiance, and Stand Your Ground were defining the hardcore scene of the mid to late 90’s in Oxnard, bands like KontraAtaque, Tezacrifico, Subsistencia, Parades End, and Life’s Halt were defining and establishing a politically infused hardcore that sang about issues related to race, immigration, and social injustice. For someone who had seen the ravages of industrial agriculture in my own family, it was a no brainer. The LA hardcore bands singing about these issues would become foundational for me. Hometown pride was overpowered by a deeper political analysis on the realities of capitalism, immigration, race, sexism, etc.

California from the period of the mid 1990’s to the late 2000’s was marked by a series of heavily racialized and xenophobic propositions that were largely targeted at people of color within California. Proposition 187 was a draconian measure aimed at limiting health, education, and social services for undocumented immigrants, this was passed in 1994, California’s Three Strikes sentencing law was also enacted in 1994, this measure required “a defendant convicted of any new felony, having suffered one prior conviction of a serious felony to be sentenced to state prison for twice the term otherwise provided for the crime. If the defendant was convicted of any felony with two or more prior strikes, the law mandated a state prison term of at least 25 years to life”, this law disproportionately affected African American males, see Michelle Alexander’s New Jim Crow for a deeper analysis of measures such as these. 1996 saw the passage of Proposition 209, which eliminated Affirmative Action in California. 1998 would see the passage of Proposition 227, which severely limited (in many cases eliminated) bilingual education from public schools. And lastly, the year 2000 saw the passage of Proposition 21, which increased a variety of criminal penalties for crimes committed by youth and incorporated many youth offenders into the adult criminal justice system. All, if not most of these propositions disproportionately affected low income folk and communities of color. Along with the Drug War at the national level, legislative action at the state and federal levels reflected a shift that sought to peel back the “gains” made during the civil rights era. Many of these were essentially attempts at racialized social control and were pristine examples of American white supremacist governmental policy. With the exception of Proposition 187, which was later ruled unconstitutional, most of these propositions continue to this day. If we take a critical look at the more recent history of this continent and the world we’ll see that these propositions are a reflection of the legislative mechanisms devised by colonial/settler-state societies established after the periods of exploration and colonialism. Settler-state societies which intend to control the land, bodies, and cultures of the conquered subjects. Imposing their own laws, languages, world-views, religions, and everything else. These propositions are firm representations of the state of white supremacy in the US nation-state. The War in Iraq/Syria/Afghanistan, the Keystone XL Pipeline, the Drug War, the Black Lives Matter movement, all of these are examples of the continued struggles and battles we must engage in today. During the late 90’s and early 2000’s, hardcore decried these injustices. I often wonder what is being done today within our subculture?

Esperanza was at the forefront of the struggles that called out white privilege and white supremacy within hardcore. Their stance has been largely ignored and forgotten. This is surprising and simultaneously disappointing since there has been a growing number of alternative media sources that attempt to give voice to stories that have often gone untold. During their brief existence Esperanza challenged white privilege within the high contested racial spaces of the Southern California hardcore scene. They went as far as printing t-shirts that said "Fuck Your Privilege". This went on to cause controversy and disrupt a perceived "harmony" and "unity" that pervaded the entire Southern California Hardcore scene. Message boards (popular at the time, predating Facebook) were ravaged by debate, and to put it lightly, "argument" and defamation, songs were written, the scene was "separated". This is what happens when you take radical ideals and call out things for what they are. I will dedicate a post that goes more in depth on this forgotten conflict of Southern California History, not because I want to open old wounds, but because I want to retell a story, a counter narrative that displays the delicate racial string by which hardcore hangs.  

By the year 2000 it was clear to me that while I was from Oxnard, and appreciated and loved all the hardcore that came from here, what really spoke to me was what was going on in Los Angeles. The bands from LA actually sang about these issues. As the son of Mexican immigrants who broke their bodies to benefit the agricultural industrial complex and the sweatshops of the US, I needed something, I needed someone who could articulate the anger and alienation I felt at the things I had seen and experienced in Oxnard. One look out the window and I could see the state of bondage people in Oxnard were subjected to—as they broke their bodies over the strawberry fields, exposed to back breaking labor and record levels of pesticides. A state of bondage existent since the early 1900’s. Hardcore from Oxnard, while angry, did not sing about my realities.

I had gotten into Los Crudos right as they broke up, missing their show at the legendary PCH Club. By 1999/2000 LA continued to have a handful of critical hardcore bands, one of these being Esperanza. When I got home and read the lyrics I was floored. Lyrics talking shit about Pete Wilson, who was the Republican governor of California from 1993 to 1999, and one of the main architects behind all the propositions I mentioned. This is where I felt a deeper connection to the hardcore coming out of LA. Bands like Esperanza explicitly articulated the anger many people were feeling in California. Through songs like the 21st Reason to Kill Pete Wilson they called out the injustice behind Proposition 21. These were lyrics talking about real things that were affecting communities across California! Their excerpt by one of the Zapatista declarations was another thing that connected deeply with me. Here, a hardcore band from Los Angeles was using the indigenous world view of people that looked like my grandmothers, that worked the land like my father, here they were including the revolutionary world view that challenged white supremacy, not in the traditional way most hardcore punks envision white supremacy, but in the deeper way, White Supremacy that rewards whiteness, through institutions such as education, labor, capital, economics, the legal system, etc. Esperanza were embracing revolutionary voices from the global south, Esperanza stood against “the international of terror representing neoliberalism…” Esperanza means “hope” in Spanish, “Hope, above borders, languages, colors, cultures, sexes, strategies, and thoughts, of all those who prefer humanity alive”. (from the Zapatista Encuentro, Seven Stories Press 1998, printed in Esperanza insert). This band was teaching me. Now at the time, the Zapatista uprising in Mexico was still making waves. And the Zapatista Uprising was still relatively fresh, having taken place in 1994, where even bands like Rage Against The Machine (who also came from the hardcore scene) were singing about it. Some would say that this era had more reasons to be pissed. But I kind of debate that. By 2000, the Zapatista Uprising had already been 6 years passed and folks in critical/radical circles across the board fully embraced it. Many hardcore punks were not the exception. What does seem to be the exception is the receptiveness of hardcore punk kids back then in comparison to now. I mean, we still have a whole lot to be angry about, and events in Mexico, the US, and the rest of the world are still on fire. The Black Lives Matter movement, the 43 slain students in Mexico, the wars raging overseas, etc. I ask, where is the receptiveness within hardcore to these movements?

These are the types of things bands like KontraAtaque, Esperanza, Tragatelo, Life’s Halt, and Former Members of Alfonsin were singing about. These were voices that were prominent in the hardcore scene of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Whether or not you were listening was on you. Emblazoned above the lyrics sheet for Esperanza was an Angela Davis quote that fiercely denounced the racism that was represented by the police state, “We Must Learn to Rejoice When Pigs’ Blood Is Spilled”. Wow. It doesn’t get more radical then that. The demo ends with a song titled “Today’s Lesson Plan”, denouncing the indoctrinating and racist public education system (which has been HEAVILY RESEARCHED and yes people, the public education system of the US has a sordid legacy, like most public education systems in every nation state), the lyrics reading:

 â€œâ€¦a story once told, about the brave and the bold, so many stories left untold, of people taking what isn’t sold, we got genocide, we got unwanted signs, we cover the truth with lies, cause we’ve got so much to hide”.

This demo was a representation of critical pedagogy. Of revolutionary education that counteracts the dominant narratives of the US nation-state. For a 17 year old who was enrolled in a public education institution (with everything that implies) this was part of a different education process, a critical/decolonial education process that was authentically pushing me to question everything, but this time from a more well articulated perspective. Not some abstract lyricism written by kids that were living in a suburb, rather a well-articulated lyricism made up of a multiracial hardcore outfit. Made up of members from different cities of California, from Victorville, Glendora, South Central/Downtown LA, and Santa Barbara. This was a lyricism by people in different locations of California experiencing these social forces, deconstructing them using critical scholarship and literature, analysis, and conversation. All the while, I was having fun listening to fierce power chords paying homage to the Teen Idles, Government Issue, Minor Threat, State of Alert, Void, and other DC greats. It was the best of both worlds. If you want to teach youth, you have to do it in a language, in a form they understand. The Esperanza demo helped me understand and articulate things I was feeling in a way that couldn’t have happened if someone had handed me a book and just told me to read it.

So Many Stories Left Untold

In the end I’m not sure about how many shows Esperanza played. Because the members were littered throughout SoCal I know that for sure it wasn’t always the easiest project to get off its feet. I know they played a pretty bad ass show with Total Fury and The Oath around 2002 (I think it was 2002), they played one of the Chicago Fests (I think it’s safe to say that this was the fest that ushered in the era of the fests within hardcore, around the same time you had the Positive Numbers fest, and shortly thereafter the Chaos en Tejas fests, the Chicago Fests definitely helped set this off), and possibly a tour up to the Bay Area as well as the occasional shows around SoCal. I think by around 2003 Esperanza called it quits.

To this day I look back fondly on this demo as one of those life changing moments, that nudge you in a direction that nurtures the better elements of the human spirit, the better manifestations of humanity, the sense of wanting to help others, the sense that cries for social justice, the sense that pushes you to challenge yourself. At 31, I am still involved in hardcore punk (after a brief period of questioning in my mid 20’s), and I’m currently an educator. I like to think of myself as a social justice educator. I’m heavily involved in my community, currently part of on organization named the Association of Mexican American Educators, which is Ventura County’s only social justice oriented education advocacy organization. The Association of Mexican American Educators (AMAE) is one of the remnants of the myriad social justice organizations that started in the 1960’s, the ones all those propositions sought to dismantle. Unlike LA or the Bay Area we don’t have as many autonomous/radical organizations. We make do with what we have in smaller towns. 

I also publish this fanzine (very close to being done with issue two), Staycool Fanzine. One final reflection that I stay with is the necessity for explicitly politically charged hardcore. At least within the US, it seems that punk (in all of its manifestations and scenes, regardless of race, gender, class, etc.) has gone through a serious depoliticizing. We continue to suffer from the same problems, if anything you could even say we’ve suffered a regression, and yet I don’t see any consistent and well-established response from the various hardcore communities. I know there may be different perspectives on why this may have happened. But man, it can be very discouraging. I certainly hope we can work to remedy this. I, for one, am willing to take part in any project that seeks to use creativity, art, and culture, to challenge the multiple forces of oppression that assault our communities. While hardcore means different things to different people, for me it is one of the many subcultures existent in the world that embraced revolutionary change and critical thinking. Maybe sometimes we romanticize our subcultures too much. But we have to be willing to “dig deeper”, as Esperanza taught us.

“This is part of my life, not an escape from it” (Esperanza, 2000). 

          Turkey’s Incursion Into Syria Is the Last Thing We Needed        

In what will likely rank among the less fruitful sideshows of the G-20 summit in China this weekend, President Obama will meet one on one with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and discuss recent tensions—to put it mildly—between their two governments.

As if the conflicts in the Middle East weren’t baroque enough, Erdogan’s armored incursion into northern Syria on Aug. 25 smacked the region with a new sheen of complex futility. Some have tried to paint his move as an encouraging sign of Erdogan’s willingness to attack ISIS, as Obama and others have been urging him to do for some time. But several close observers on the ground, civilian and military, say the Turkish offensive was aimed mainly at the Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias that is fighting ISIS itself. In other words, the offensive was aimed mainly at Erdogan’s primal enemy—the Kurds—and also at their chief protector, and his new whipping boy, the United States.

Erdogan, according to these sources, seems genuinely convinced that the attempted coup against him on July 15 was hatched by the émigré cleric Fethullah Gülen, who now lives in the Poconos mountains of Pennsylvania—and that Gülen was aided or abetted in this plot by senior U.S. officials, as evidenced by their refusal to extradite him to Turkish soil (a move that would amount to his death sentence).

Vice President Joseph Biden recently flew to Turkey—the first visit by a senior U.S. official since the coup—to assure Erdogan of America’s continued friendship as a NATO ally. Erdogan rewarded the gesture by sending troops and tanks into northern Syria, with no advance notice, while Biden sat at his side. Though the offensive did push some ISIS troops out of their havens, it dealt much more damage to the Arab-Kurdish forces, who have received the most U.S. military aid and have proved to be the most effective force in the ground fight against ISIS. In response, Biden lightly criticized the Turks and sternly demanded that the Kurds pull their forces back across the Euphrates River—a tongue-lashing that puzzled and alienated the Arab-Kurdish alliance, which U.S. Special Forces had been assisting up till then.

At this point, any sane reader might be wondering what the hell kind of war this is and what the hell we’re doing in it. Obama perceived the region’s madness early on: It fueled his reluctance to intervene. And now that he has waded into the dunes, it’s bogging him down. Like the Hotel California, the modern Middle East is “programmed to receive / You can check out any time you like / but you can never leave.”

Though justifiably keen to disentangle himself and his country from the region’s ancient feuds, and instead “pivot” toward the Asia-Pacific’s thriving dynamism (the main agenda of this weekend’s G-20 summit), Obama was pulled back into the land of old morasses by the rise of ISIS and the need to crush the new jihadi movement in its cradle. His idea was to avoid George W. Bush’s approach—a massive invasion by American troops—and instead rely on local Arab and Kurdish forces to fight ISIS on the ground, while the United States provided air support, intelligence, and maybe some arms shipments to a particularly reliable militia. It seemed logical: Every country and almost every militia in the region loathed ISIS. What Obama underrated was just how much those countries and militias (including, very much so, Turkey and the Kurds) loathed one another—to the point that an effective coalition against ISIS proved impossible.

Here is the key fact to understanding the Middle East’s conflicts and why they seem so intractable: The United States is the only combatant in the region that views ISIS as the main threat and that views the destruction of ISIS as the main mission. All of the other combatants regard ISIS as, at worst, a secondary threat; their main threats—real dangers to their regimes and their survival—stem from the long-simmering sectarian rivalries (mainly Sunni versus Shiite) and territorial disputes (leftovers from the arbitrary borders set by European colonialists at the end of World War I), and have little to do with ISIS, al-Qaida, or any other jihadi group. (ISIS exploits these rivalries and disputes, but it doesn’t displace them as primal facts of life in the region.)

As a result, the local powers play the United States, promising or pretending to join the fight against ISIS (and sometimes actually doing so, to some degree) as long as we help them go after their main threats—in other words, as long as we help them pursue their vital interests. But the problem is that the interests of some of these countries conflict with the interests of others. We can’t help all of them without also alienating all of them. And so we wind up wreaking displeasure and worse, no matter what we do.

For a while, Obama tried to transcend these medieval squabbles. After all, the Sunni-Shiite schism had no parallel in U.S. foreign policy. We were friendly with some Shiites (Iraq) and adversarial with others (Iran, Hezbollah, several Iraqi militias); the same was true of Sunnis (friends with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Gulf states—abject enemies with al-Qaida and ISIS). Obama was determined to pursue American interests in the region, regardless of how they fell into local categories. And if these factions—Shiites, Sunni Arabs, and Kurds—could be corralled into an anti-ISIS coalition, if they could cooperate in the pursuit of this common interest, then maybe they could tone down their disputes on other issues. And who better to lead them down this path than the United States, which had relationships with powers on all sides?

Well, it didn’t work. The United States, it turned out, has enough leverage in the region to make the factions diddle us for our support but not enough leverage to impose a single direction. This is another reason for the persistent, multidimensional violence: the absence of an outside international order. For 500 years, the region was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. When that empire collapsed during World War I, the British and French redrew the map of the Middle East and imposed their own surrogates, in part to suppress sectarian self-rule. When their colonial banners receded in the wake of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union—the emergent Cold War superpowers—carved the world, including the Middle East, into separate spheres of influence. When the Soviet Union imploded and the Cold War ended, it was inevitable that the spheres, the surrogates, and the artificial borders would melt too, reviving the long-suppressed but unforgotten rivalries.

These rivalries—a localized version of the Great Game that lured Britain, France, Russia, Turkey, and other 19th-century powers to compete for treasure and territory in the Middle East and South Asia—dominate everything about the region today. Other outside powers, notably Russia, are getting sucked into this game, and, if the United States remains interested in what happens there, it—we—will get sucked int