locura – (es)

Para empezar, mi locura no actúa locamente. ¿Cómo lo diría?; no vino con estruendo ni fanfarria. En su día, llamó cortésmente a la puerta y cuando la dejé entrar simplemente se sentó en una esquina, sin problemas. Intercambiábamos opiniones, cuando aún tenía alguna. Creció (o maduró, no sé), y sus razonamientos prevalecieron. Nos aventuramos por paisajes que ya no eran míos, pero en los que reconocía al paisajista. Me acercaba al borde, aunque no había una forma honesta de saberlo, pues los que lo conocen son los que han saltado. Curiosamente nadie se percataba, suficientemente afortunado como para sobrevivir en este mundo tan insanamente cuerdo, manicomio del universo. Y estoy inmerso en ella, o ella descendió sobre mí, densa y a la vez ligera, como una gelatinosa medusa adherida a mi cerebro, con sencilla, y por sencilla, implacable lógica. Y al hacerlo, me he quedado sin voz, cadáver pospuesto que procrea, pues hablo conmigo mismo porque soy el único cuyas respuestas ella acepta. Soportando esta farsa que es la vida, en la que solo un psicópata puede permanecer cuerdo; donde lo normal es psicótico y llamarme lunático sólo hace que les sea más fácil explicar lo que no entienden. Y corriendo. Corriendo hasta caer muerto, asegurándome de que el corazón se detenga antes de que me alcancen, antes de que me toquen.
Locura – Dugutigui
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fear – (en)

3 - fear - (en)
Someone left me with a question … and no answers.
Then, out of sadness and sordid anger, like whirling water running down the sewer, I felt dragged to dive into my inner self, in need of my own answers. An introspection (or hallucination) in which I realized I can’t see anybody truly because my own flaws. Add to this distortion the fears of the others, and the glass through which we look at each other becomes opaque, inscrutable.
May only love without fear burn through all these layers of opacity to see each other’s naked souls? Fears shouldn’t be there to scare you. They should be there to let you know that something is worth it. To tell your heart that the fear of pain is worse than the pain itself. To confirm you that nobody has ever suffered when they go in search of their dreams, because the search, not the dream, is your encounter with eternity.
But people, most people, do not really want freedom, because it involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. They are cowards, and cowards make the best torturers, as they understand fear. Most adults have resigned themselves to failure.
3 - fear - (en) 2
Someone I love left me with a question without answers. I found some by myself:
I’ll hurt you. You’ll hurt me. Tomorrow I shall contradict myself. You shall contradict yourself. But this is the very condition of existence, and the one way we have of asserting our liberty, the real freedom one does not find as a member of society.
It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most.
Fear – By Dugutigui
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the bridge – (en)

2 - the bridge – (en)
We are all defined by something we can’t change. Even so, someone, sometimes, spells us enough to get our souls into a battle between wish and fear…
On the other side of the watercourse, a stone’s throw away, her sanity and madness were my fascination as a bright Polaris in a sinking sun. God, I could not stand staring at her from the pier. I want so desperately to reach the other side I dreamed myself across the scary one, the bridge of eternal reconciliation between what you want, what others expect of you and what others themselves want; the abysmal bridge, very often in need to be patched up.
To my surprise, she busily started to build the bridge from her side.
But because we never learned each other’s language, the two halves of the bridge we started never met.
Today, up on my end of our unfinished dichotomy, miles in the wrong direction from the meeting point, I’m standing in agony, waiting to jump again into the contradictions, impossible abysses that create forever separations.

2 - the bridge – (en) 2

…a battle between wish and fear , in which fear generally proves stronger, leaving a bitter taste of disappointment on the tongue.
The bridge – by Dugutigui
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mi poema favorito… eres tú – (es)

1 - mi poema favorito… eres tú – (es)
Ojos pintados de colores celestes, labios suaves que besan como el fuego lame a la inocencia; aún la belleza siendo la menor de tus cualidades, eres hembra hermosa, fascinante prototipo.
Y en perfecto equilibrio entre encanto y amenaza, tu ahíto talento y tu latente tristeza inducen a ansiar los anaqueles más velados de tu preciada amistad, vereda sin retorno y sin destino, mas no en vano, en la que solo el viaje cuenta, narcótico tentador y proscrito que a nadie deja desafecto.
El asalto al corazón de un cínico, dijiste que era un reto. Subyugada ya mí distante impecabilidad, cabría preguntarte si eso era todo, si el desenlace mereció la pena… quimera tan hermosa que solo pueda habitar en la imaginación, como duele pensar que nunca podré darte todo lo que tengo.

1 - mi poema favorito… eres tú – (es) 2

Para L.
Mi poema favorito… eres tú – Dugutigui
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what is politics? – (en)

“Dad, what is politics?”
“Son, imagine our house: I represent capitalism because I’m the one who brings the money home. Your mother is the government that manages the money. The maid is the working class because she deals with the heavier tasks. You are the people as you enjoy the benefits of the system. And your little brother is the future of the country. Got it?”
“No dad, I do not understand.”
“Well, don’t worry; you’ll understand when you get older…”
That night the child is awakened by the persistent crying of his little brother.
He goes to the crib and find he is completely full of shit, and someone should change the diapers.
He goes for help to his parents’ bedroom and sees that his father is not there, and his mother is sound asleep, snoring, belly up, and he fails to wake her.
Then decides to go to the maid and enters her room to find his father having anal sex with her.
What is politics? – Dugutigui (on a joke from the net)
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blues gone grey – (en)

Blogging has been a funny story, but the longer and more carefully we look at a funny story, the sadder it becomes. A life in between green and indigo gone gray.
As the dawn’s disappointment of sleeping with one’s fantasy, blogging is a dry act, alone in the magnitude of the grief, as a devil that grabs you and pretends to keep you in hell for eternity … so what’s the point of it all?
Millions of people in their lonely little shacks, viciously writing and posting to their lonely little blogs the sadness they carry around in public in order to drown it out with the noise, but after a short interval breaks out again all the more terribly; and gathers inside us and is life, life that we can die of. It kind of makes me fell the saddest sadness.
Wouldn’t you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth when you caught yourself pretending that everybody out there cared about what you thought, when really nobody gives a shit? There is enough loneliness in the world already. I don’t need to add to it.
As Billy Joel goes “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.”
You bet your sweet ass I’m speaking of the days that are no more.
Blues gone grey – by Dugutigui
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dreaming in 3d – (video) (en)

DREAMING IN 3D_Dugutigui_Blog_0
3D modeling is like “playing God” (in secular and vague terms) …
In the beginning God downloaded SketchUp. Now the earth was formless and empty, green was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over a blank canvas.
And God said —using the controls in the Shadows Settings dialog box at Window > Shadows, “Let there be light,” and He manipulated the shadows and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “UTC+01:00 13:30 11/8,” and the darkness He called “UTC+01:00 17:33 11/8.” And there was evening, and there was morning. God saved the settings —the first day.
And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God created a new SketchUp material called “water” or something, and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the HDRi background image in the shape of a dome, providing a full 360 degree background, “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning. He saved the work —the second day
The next day God considered it’s not always necessary to reinvent the wheel. While his creativity soared creating his own 3-dimensional worlds, He found most of the objects He was seeking at 3D Warehouse within Google SketchUp, some creations for general use and others for showcase purposes —as two 2D persons. He forgot to save the project, but the auto-save “saved” His day! And there was evening, and there was morning —the third day.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind from the 2D persons standing at the origin of the axes, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” But the 2D persons were static as well as all the 3D Warehouse’s animals.
He downloaded and installed in His heaven’s desktop Lumion 4.5 Pro render, and God saw that it was good.
So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. He started rendering the scene. And there was evening, and there was morning, and there was evening —the fourth day.
Then God said, “This fucking Lumion rendering takkeees tooo looonnng,” and went back to bed. And there was morning —the fifth day.
God saw all that He had made, and it was not very good. So He downloaded and installed in His heaven’s desktop Adobe Premiere Pro CC. He imported His many video and audio files dragging them from his desk and edited His feature film, “Genesis”.  And there was evening, and there was morning —the sixth day.
(*) Disclaimer: Please, before you think about hurting someone over this trifle of a Genesis, remember: even God has a sense of humor. Just look at the platypus. Thank you and enjoy the show.
Enter full screen (and speakers up!)
Dreaming in 3D – by a fallen angel (Dugutigui) | 3d architecture – Glass Pavilion – by a fallen angel (Dugutigui again!)
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nature and civilization – (video) (en)

In the middle of Nature your dreams emerge, and then, with a dry mouth, you emerge from your dreams, and the battle is waged. The body, tired, and the mind, disgusted, thirsty enough to continue with the spectacle of the rapid. Ruthless enemies … But then, you listen silently to the water, it does not resist, but flows, you listen silently to it not just as water, but as the voice of life, like a river who loves water, and you go ahead.
Enter full screen
It is impossible to express the experiences you have below the surface with words, when water gently caresses your face and body, the pulse decreases and your brain relaxes. You are immediately cut off from the stress and hustle of everyday life when you are below the surface – there are no noisy telephones or SMS messages, no inboxes full of mail, no electrical bills, or other trivialities of everyday life taking up time and energy. There is nothing connecting you to the surface but the same withheld breath that connects you to life. There is only you and a growing pressure on your chest that feels like a loving hug and the vibrations from the deep quiet tone of the sea. It is quite possible that this deep quiet tone is none other than the mantra Om, the sound of the universe, trickling life into every cell of your body.
Nature and Civilization – Footage and first paragraph by Dugutigui. Second excerpt by Stig Åvall Severinsen
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mil – (en)

Since childhood I’ve always told the truth. I’ve been a sincere guy. But for some time I realize this is wrong. Since I got married to be precise. Like a cuttlefish spurting out black ink I’ve become socially insincere. And when you aren’t sincere you need to pretend, and by pretending you end up believing yourself; that’s the basic principle of every faith.
Let me elaborate it. If there was a nuclear war, it would still leave radioactive cockroaches and a meddling, snooping, complaining and controlling female entity called MIL.
Allow me introduce you to my mother-in-law: Mrs. Hope –suitably, the last thing you lose. Like a Canada goose she migrates every year between the north and the south. So here she’s for week-long visit… and I’d have to call an exorcist and bathe myself in holy water to get my home rid of the evil presence that she leaves behind (if I pour the holy water on her she may melt…) But … this day, unlike in the past, I won’t dare to verbalize it.
I opened the door and there she was in full swing: sharp horns and a shiny halo. With my best grin –a combination of Brad Pitt’s and Prince William’s catch, I managed, “Glad to see you! You look great!” I’m not at all glad to see her and definitely she doesn’t look great. In India they’d consider her sacred, and in England a disease. But if you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though. She fixed me with a hawk eye and I didn’t get clear her response, but I though I saw slime oozing from the festering pustules on her face … I have less chance than an ice cube in hell.
Nevertheless she brought a gift that she handed to me abruptly, as with little conviction that I was worthy of it. Some sneakers! Not an Air Jordan. No. These shoes were the ones you find in a big box in the store that is like the mass grave of sneakers, and it’s like nightclubs at eight in the morning, all loose pairs. They were size 45 … I use the 41 … She said it will be okay with some cotton … I profusely thanked her.
After Patton finished supervising everything –clarifying, “I do not want to criticize,” and, “I have nothing against your husband,” she decided she wants to prepare us a nice dinner. Let me tell ya, I would rather have a chainsaw enema, than have dinner with her, but you gotta pay attention to signs –how often has the direction of your life been shaped by such misunderstandings? “That’s a wonderful idea,” I grinned.
“Darling will you take my mother out to the grocery?” asked my already anxious significant other. “Yes, sure!” I was going to take the dog for a walk anyway…
Driving her to the store was the gross five minutes of my life. I haven’t spoken to her. We haven’t quarreled. I just don’t want to interrupt her monologue -it was as clever as a stick in a bucket of pig swill. Like a shadow I ingratiatingly nodded when she nodded … almost nodding off. I was thinking that English Law prohibits a man from marrying his mother-in-law. This is their idea of useless legislation!
Back at home, the opulent dinner consisted of pea soup and a steak. I tried the soup and wondered how a simple food like a pea could be manipulated to taste so bad. I mean, I thought it, but didn’t say. Instead, with a wax museum smile, I pointed, “Mom, you’ve outdone yourself! Yummy! … I don’t take more because it got cold. No! No! Don’t heat it. Thank you! The steak on other hand… At first bite I got paler than a vampire’s armpit. It was … a brown brick. Even the smoke alarm seemed to be cheering her on! In brief, an endless hour on the table and I was still hungry.
Well … I wasn’t going to socially kill myself that night. You can’t say today that you prefer three thousand people die in a tsunami in another hemisphere to have flu. You can’t tell that. What a wretch, what a human waste! But then … you don’t know them! Who’re that people? … And flu is seven days in bed, fucked, with boogers. It can even turn into bronchitis! Better another three thousand buy the farm!
Well, what I mean is that sincerity does not go anywhere. You must know that.
Course. Before I go I want to tell you I’ve never had more friendly, loving, cordial, and endearing followers than you!


MIL – By Dugutigui
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around from above – (video) (en)

AROUND FROM ABOVE_Dugutigui_Blog_0
To live for the hope of something isn’t really living at all, and so, while Chinese checkers is indeed a fine pastime, a person may also play dominoes, chess, strip poker, tiddlywinks, drop-the-soap or Russian roulette with his brain, and so, I marched to my imaginary bathroom, to shower off the stench of failure, soap up the death of hope, then wash away the ashes of my love for writing, and so, I abandoned my blog, and took my drone to film streets that are a poor kid’s PlayStation, from above.
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If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Overlong, detailed to the point of distraction, and ultimately, without a major resolution.
Around from above – Aerial footage by Dugutigui
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amplitude | new zealand (video) (en)

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” – Jack Kerouac.
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“Time-lapse, a reminder that we are on a massive, moving orb and definitely not the most important thing even in our own lives.” – Lindsey Clark.
Amplitude | New Zealand 4K – Time-lapse by Martin Heck
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not the american way – (en)

Don’t Walk Away from War, It’s Not the American Way.
The United States has been at war — major boots-on-the-ground conflicts and minor interventions, firefights, air strikes, drone assassination campaigns, occupations, special ops raids, proxy conflicts, and covert actions — nearly nonstop since the Vietnam War began.  That’s more than half a century of experience with war, American-style, and yet few in our world bother to draw the obvious conclusions.
Given the historical record, those conclusions should be staring us in the face.  They are, however, the words that can’t be said in a country committed to a military-first approach to the world, a continual build-up of its forces, an emphasis on pioneering work in the development and deployment of the latest destructive technology, and a repetitious cycling through styles of war from full-scale invasions and occupations to counterinsurgency, proxy wars, and back again.
So here are five straightforward lessons — none acceptable in what passes for discussion and debate in this country — that could be drawn from that last half century of every kind of American warfare:
1. No matter how you define American-style war or its goals, it doesn’t work. Ever.
2. No matter how you pose the problems of our world, it doesn’t solve them. Never.
3. No matter how often you cite the use of military force to “stabilize” or “protect” or “liberate” countries or regions, it is a destabilizing force.
4. No matter how regularly you praise the American way of war and its “warriors,” the U.S. military is incapable of winning its wars.
5. No matter how often American presidents claim that the U.S. military is “the finest fighting force in history,” the evidence is in: it isn’t.
And here’s a bonus lesson: if as a polity we were to take these five no-brainers to heart and stop fighting endless wars, which drain us of national treasure, we would also have a long-term solution to the Veterans Administration health-care crisis.  It’s not the sort of thing said in our world, but the VA is in a crisis of financing and caregiving that, in the present context, cannot be solved, no matter whom you hire or fire.  The only long-term solution would be to stop fighting losing wars that the American people will pay for decades into the future, as the cost in broken bodies and broken lives is translated into medical care and dumped on the VA.
Heroes and Turncoats
One caveat.  Think whatever you want about war and American war-making, but keep in mind that we are inside an enormous propaganda machine of militarism, even if we barely acknowledge the space in our lives that it fills. Inside it, only certain opinions, certain thoughts, are acceptable, or even in some sense possible.
Take for an example the recent freeing of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from five years as a captive of the Haqqani network.  Much controversy has surrounded it, in part because he was traded for five former Taliban officials long kept uncharged and untried on the American Devil’s Island at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  It has been suggested that Sgt. Bergdahl deserted his post and his unit in rural Afghanistan, simply walked away — which for opponents of the deal and of President Obama makes the “trade for terrorists” all the more shameful.  Our options when it comes to what we know of Bergdahl’s actions are essentially to decry him as a “turncoat” or near-voluntary “terrorist prisoner” or ignore them, go into a “support the troops” mode, and hail him as a “hero” of the war.  And yet there is a third option.
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Before
Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl
According to his father, in the period before he was captured, his emails home reflected growing disillusionment with the military.  (“The U.S. army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at.  It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies. The few good SGTs [sergeants] are getting out as soon as they can, and they are telling us privates to do the same.”)  He had also evidently grown increasingly uncomfortable as well with the American war in that country. (“I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live.”)  When he departed his base, he may even have left a note behind expressing such sentiments.  He had reportedly told someone in his unit earlier, “If this deployment is lame… I’m just going to walk off into the mountains of Pakistan.”
That’s what we know.  There is much that we don’t know.  However, what if, having concluded that the war was no favor to Afghans or Americans and he shouldn’t participate in it, he had, however naively, walked away from it without his weapon and, as it turned out, not into freedom but directly into captivity?  That Sgt. Bergdahl might have been neither a military-style hero, nor a turncoat, but someone who voted with his feet on the merits of war, American-style, in Afghanistan is not an option that can be discussed calmly here.  Similarly, anyone who took such a position here, not just in terms of our disastrous almost 13-year Afghan War, but of American war-making generally, would be seen as another kind of turncoat.  However Americans may feel about specific wars, walking away from war, American-style, and the U.S. military as it is presently configured is not a fit subject for conversation, nor an option to be considered.
It’s been a commonplace of official opinion and polling data for some time that the American public is “exhausted” with our recent wars, but far too much can be read into that.  Responding to such a mood, the president, his administration, and the Pentagon have been in a years-long process of “pivoting” from major wars and counterinsurgency campaigns to drone wars, special operations raids, and proxy wars across huge swaths of the planet (even while planning for future wars of a very different kind continues).  But war itself and the U.S. military remain high on the American agenda.  Military or militarized solutions continue to be the go-to response to global problems, the only question being: How much or how little? (In what passes for debate in this country, the president’s opponents regularly label him and his administration “weak” for not doubling down on war, from the Ukraine and Syria to Afghanistan).
Meanwhile, investment in the military’s future and its capacity to make war on a global scale remains staggeringly beyond that of any other power or combination of powers. No other country comes faintly close, not the Russians, nor the Chinese, nor the Europeans just now being encouraged to up their military game by President Obama who recently pledged a billion dollars to strengthen the U.S. military presence in Eastern Europe.
North and South Korean soldiers at the DMZ. Korea 2013
North and South Korean soldiers at the DMZ. Korea 2013
In such a context, to suggest the sweeping failure of the American military over these last decades without sapping support for the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex would involve making the most breathtaking stab-in-the-back argument in the historical record.  This was tried after the Vietnam War, which engendered a vast antiwar movement at home.  It was at least conceivable at the time to blame defeat on that movement, a “liberal” media, and lily-livered, micromanaging politicians.  Even then, however, the stab-in-the-back version of the war never quite stuck and in all subsequent wars, support for the military among the political class and everywhere else has been so high, the obligatory need to “support the troops” — left, right, and center — so great that such an explanation would have been ludicrous.
A Record of Failure to Stagger the Imagination
The only option left was to ignore what should have been obvious to all. The result has been a record of failure that should stagger the imagination and remarkable silence on the subject.  So let’s run through these points one at a time.
1. American-style war doesn’t work.  Just ask yourself: Are there fewer terrorists or more in our world almost 13 years after the 9/11 attacks?  Are al-Qaeda-like groups more or less common?  Are they more or less well organized?  Do they have more or fewer members?  The answers to those questions are obvious: more, more, more, and more.  In fact, according to a new RAND report, between 2010 and 2013 alone, jihadist groups grew by 58%, their fighters doubled, and their attacks nearly tripled.
On September 12, 2001, al-Qaeda was a relatively small organization with a few camps in arguably the most feudal and backward country on the planet, and tiny numbers of adherents scattered elsewhere around the world.  Today, al-Qaeda-style outfits and jihadist groups control significant parts of Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, and even Yemen, and are thriving and spreading in parts of Africa as well.
Days before the drawdown. Iraq 2011
Days before the drawdown. Iraq 2011
Or try questions like these: Is Iraq a peaceful, liberated state allied with and under Washington’s aegis, with “enduring camps” filled with U.S. troops on its territory?  Or is it a riven, embattled, dilapidated country whose government is close to Iran and some of whose Sunni-dominated areas are under the control of a group that is more extreme than al-Qaeda?  Is Afghanistan a peaceful, thriving, liberated land under the American aegis, or are Americans still fighting there almost 13 years later against the Taliban, an impossible-to-defeat minority movement it once destroyed and then, because it couldn’t stop fighting the “war on terror,” helped revive?  Is Washington now supporting a weak, corrupt central government in a country that once again is planting record opium crops?
But let’s not belabor the point.  Who, except a few neocons still plunking for the glories of “the surge” in Iraq, would claim military victory for this country, even of a limited sort, anywhere at any time in this century?
2. American-style wars don’t solve problems.  In these years, you could argue that not a single U.S. military campaign or militarized act ordered by Washington solved a single problem anywhere.  In fact, it’s possible that just about every military move Washington has made only increased the burden of problems on this planet. To make the case, you don’t even have to focus on the obvious like, for example, the way a special operations and drone campaign in Yemen has actually al-Qaeda-ized some of that country’s rural areas.  Take instead a rare Washington “success”: the killing of Osama bin Laden in a special ops raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  (And leave aside the way even that act was over-militarized: an unarmed Bin Laden was shot down in his Pakistani lair largely, it’s plausible to assume, because officials in Washington feared what once would have been the American way — putting him on trial in a U.S. civilian court for his crimes.)  We now know that, in the hunt for bin Laden, the CIA launched a fake hepatitis B vaccination project.  Though it proved of no use, once revealed it made local jihadists so nervous about medical health teams that they began killing groups of polio vaccination workers, an urge that has since spread to Boko Haram-controlled areas of Nigeria.
In this way, according to Columbia University public health expert Leslie Roberts, “the distrust sowed by the sham campaign in Pakistan could conceivably postpone polio eradication for 20 years, leading to 100,000 more cases that might otherwise not have occurred.” The CIA has since promised not to do it again, but too late — and who at this point would believe the Agency anyway?  This was, to say the least, an unanticipated consequence of the search for bin Laden, but blowback everywhere, invariably unexpected, has been a hallmark of American campaigns of all sorts.
NSA’s surveillance hearing. U.S. 2014
NSA’s surveillance hearing. U.S. 2014
Similarly, the NSA’s surveillance regime, another form of global intervention by Washington, has — experts are convinced — done little or nothing to protect Americans from terror attacks.  It has, however, done a great deal to damage the interests of America’s tech corporations and to increase suspicion and anger over Washington’s policies even among allies.  And by the way, congratulations are due on one of the latest military moves of the Obama administration, the sending of U.S. military teams and drones into Nigeria and neighboring countries to help rescue those girls kidnapped by the extremist group Boko Haram.  The rescue was a remarkable success… oops, didn’t happen (and we don’t even know yet what the blowback will be).
3. American-style war is a destabilizing force.  Just look at the effects of American war in the twenty-first century.  It’s clear, for instance, that the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 unleashed a brutal, bloody, Sunni-Shiite civil war across the region (as well as the Arab Spring, one might argue).  One result of that invasion and the subsequent occupation, as well as of the wars and civil wars that followed: the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Syrians, and Lebanese, while major areas of Syria and some parts of Iraq have fallen into the hands of armed supporters of al-Qaeda or, in one major case, a group that didn’t find that organization extreme enough.  A significant part of the oil heartlands of the planet is, that is, being destabilized.
Meanwhile, the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the CIA’s drone assassination campaign in the tribal borderlands of neighboring Pakistan have destabilized that country, which now has its own fierce Taliban movement.  The 2011 U.S. intervention in Libya initially seemed like a triumph, as had the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan before it.  Libyan autocrat Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and the rebels swept into power.
Taliban regaining control. Afghanistan 2014
Taliban regaining control. Afghanistan 2014
Like Afghanistan and Iraq, however, Libya is now a basket case, riven by competing militias and ambitious generals, largely ungovernable, and an open wound for the region.  Arms from Gaddafi’s looted arsenals have made their way into the hands of Islamist rebels and jihadist extremists from the Sinai Peninsula to Mali, from Northern Africa to northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram is entrenched.  It is even possible, as Nick Turse has done, to trace the growing U.S. military presence in Africa to the destabilization of parts of that continent.
4. The U.S. military can’t win its wars.  This is so obvious (though seldom said) that it hardly has to be explained.  The U.S. military has not won a serious engagement since World War II:  the results of wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq ranged from stalemate to defeat and disaster.
With the exception of a couple of campaigns against essentially no one (in Grenada and Panama), nothing, including the “Global War on Terror,” would qualify as a success on its own terms, no less anyone else’s.  This was true, strategically speaking, despite the fact that, in all these wars, the U.S. controlled the air space, the seas (where relevant), and just about any field of battle where the enemy might be met.  Its firepower was overwhelming and its ability to lose in small-scale combat just about nil.
It would be folly to imagine that this record represents the historical norm.  It doesn’t.  It might be more relevant to suggest that the sorts of imperial wars and wars of pacification the U.S. has fought in recent times, often against poorly armed, minimally trained, minority insurgencies (or terror outfits), are simply unwinnable.  They seem to generate their own resistance.  Their brutalities and even their “victories” simply act as recruitment posters for the enemy.
5. The U.S. military is not “the finest fighting force the world has ever known” or “the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known,” or any of the similar over-the-top descriptions that U.S. presidents are now regularly obligated to use.  If you want the explanation for why this is so, see points one through four above.  A military whose way of war doesn’t work, doesn’t solve problems, destabilizes whatever it touches, and never wins simply can’t be the greatest in history, no matter the firepower it musters.
The look of defeat. Vietnam 1975
The look of defeat. Vietnam 1975
If you really need further proof of this, think about the crisis and scandals linked to the Veterans Administration.  They are visibly the fruit of a military mired in frustration, despair, and defeat, not a triumphant one holding high history’s banner of victory.
As for Peace, Not a Penny
Is there a record like it?  More than half a century of American-style war by the most powerful and potentially destructive military on the planet adds up to worse than nothing.  If any other institution in American life had a comparable scorecard, it would be shunned like the plague.  In reality, the VA has a far better record of success when it comes to the treatment of those broken by our wars than the military does of winning them, and yet its head administrator was forced to resign recently amid scandal and a media firestorm.
As in Iraq, Washington has a way of sending in the Marines, setting the demons loose, leaving town, and then wondering how in the world things got so bad — as if it had no responsibility for what happened.  Don’t think, by the way, that no one ever warned us either.  Who, for instance, remembers Arab League head Amr Moussa saying in 2004 that the U.S. had opened the “gates of hell” in its invasion and occupation of Iraq?  Who remembers the vast antiwar movement in the U.S. and around the world that tried to stop the launching of that invasion, the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets to warn of the dangers before it was too late?  In fact, being in that antiwar movement more or less guaranteed that ever after you couldn’t appear on the op-ed pages of America’s major papers to discuss the disaster you had predicted.  The only people asked to comment were those who had carried it out, beaten the drums for it, or offered the mildest tsk-tsk about it.
By the way, don’t think for a moment that war never solved a problem, or achieved a goal for an imperial or other regime, or that countries didn’t regularly find victory in arms.  History is filled with such examples.  So what if, in some still-to-be-understood way, something has changed on planet Earth?  What if something in the nature of imperial war now precludes victory, the achieving of goals, the “solving” of problems in our present world?  Given the American record, it’s at least a thought worth considering.
As for peace?  Not even a penny for your thoughts on that one.  If you suggested pouring, say, $50 billion into planning for peace, no less the $500 billion that goes to the Pentagon annually for its base budget, just about anyone would laugh in your face.  (And keep in mind that that figure doesn’t include most of the budget for the increasingly militarized U.S. Intelligence Community, or extra war costs for Afghanistan, or the budget of the increasingly militarized Department of Homeland Security, or other costs hidden elsewhere, including, for example, for the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which is buried in the Energy Department’s budget.)
That possible solutions to global problems, possible winning strategies, might come from elsewhere than the U.S. military or other parts of the national security state, based on 50 years of imperial failure, 50 years of problems unsolved and wars not won and goals not reached, of increasing instability and destruction, of lives (American and otherwise) snuffed out or broken?  Not on your life.
Don’t walk away from war.  It’s not the American way – By Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He runs the Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com. His latest book, co-authored with Nick Turse, is Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050.
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por amor a mi país – (re) (es)

La monarquía nos hace parecer ridículos. Nos exige y recibe deferencia por razón de nacimiento. Es una idolatría tan bruta y estúpida como la de los antiguos paganos. Esto distorsiona nuestra capacidad de inventar ceremonias y honores por nosotros mismos y arruina el funcionamiento del Estado con reverencias tontas y envaradas. Más grave aún, la monarquía crea una falsa idea de unidad de la nación, mientras nuestros verdaderos gobernantes juegan a la ruleta con millones de nosotros, mientras que millones de nosotros -“súbditos”- nos la estamos jugando con nuestras casas y finanzas.
La monarquía tiene tres efectos negativos para la sociedad: personifica y alienta la idea de una jerarquía social que se basa en la creencia de que la sangre y el nacimiento, en lugar del mérito personal, son suficientes para justificar el respeto e incluso admiración; estimula la nostalgia por el pasado, en el que se asienta firmemente, en lugar de esperanza en el futuro. También es muy cara. Pero eso es un perjuicio insignificante en comparación con los otros efectos dañinos.
La monarquía sigue siendo el único metrónomo en nuestra tierra que no fibrila a mil pulsaciones por segundo. Es nuestro guardián de la continuidad, que nos ancla a una identidad histórica impermeable a la siguiente actualización de Windows, en una época en la que mucho de lo que era culturalmente familiar se ha ido, se ha desconectado, o se ha usurpado con fines de lucro.
La monarquía refleja y refuerza una parálisis en el corazón de nuestra cultura política. El encanto de la realeza o la idiotez del súbdito no son más que una distracción de la realidad, aunque las travesuras reales alimentan muy bien a una cultura cada vez más basura. Sin embargo, es la deferencia la que siempre ha sostenido a nuestra monarquía. La gente todavía reverencia al rey y reverencia a la reina -hasta hace poco ha sido inculcado en nosotros- pero no puedo imaginarme a mi generación hacer lo mismo con un Felipe rey: “¿por qué? ese tipo no es diferente a mí”, muchos podrían reclamar.  Y eso es antes de volver la atención a los costos de esta institución inexplicable.
Creo que la monarquía se ha convertido en una especie de telenovela nacional, pero un poco más cara de mantener. Debo confesar que resulta algo entretenida, a pesar de mis aspiraciones a una mayor altura de miras. Ciertamente pulsa todos los tópicos (muy españoles): la clase social, la herencia, la riqueza, la intriga familiar y el mal comportamiento, entre otros. Pero se pone un poco repetitiva y no parece ser muy buena para los propios actores, que se encuentran atrapados en papeles de los que no pueden escapar. Tal vez es el momento de poner fin a la serie.
A pesar de la predisposición de las personas en general a aceptar la monarquía sin crítica -como una especie de fondo de pantalla constitucional- lo cierto es que esta se encuentra en el ápice de una pirámide de jerarquía que está compuesta mayormente por personas que gozan de riqueza no ganada, de poder no democrático o de prestigio inmerecido, o los tres. Cualquiera que acepta esta institución participa de un engaño masivo: que la única manera en que una democracia moderna puede ser gobernada es por medios profundamente anti-democráticos, que la única manera de tratar a los ciudadanos es como súbditos. A mi juicio, estos “súbditos” sólo alcanzarán la mayoría de edad política con la abolición de la monarquía.
Y si usted duda el patriotismo de un republicano, considere el tratar de explicarle a un americano por qué los EE.UU. deberían importar la Constitución española. “Ustedes deben hacer a alguien presidente de por vida”, podría empezar. “Podría ser Barack Obama, como él ya está en el poder y todas las dinastías empiezan con alguien que se ha apoderado del trono…  Sus herederos le sucederán, sin importar lo altivos, ilusos, enfermos o, de otra manera, inadecuados que puedan resultar para ocupar altos cargos. Serán los jefes oficiales del estado y las fuerzas armadas les jurarán lealtad a ellos y no a la Constitución de los Estados Unidos“. Puede que reforzara su terreno de juego si usted añade la conclusión: “A los turistas les encantará la monarquía americana. ¡Piense en los beneficios para los hoteleros de Washington!”
Por amor a mi país – Dugutigui
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start again – (en)

START AGAIN_Struggle_Against_Capitalism_Dugutigui_Blog_0
Savage capitalism is back – and it will not tame itself. Capitalists spread prosperity only when threatened by global rivalry, radical movements and the risk of uprisings at home.
Back in the 90s, there was a series of assumptions everybody had to accept in order even to be allowed to enter serious public debate. They were presented like a series of self-evident equations. “The market” was equivalent to capitalism. Capitalism meant exorbitant wealth at the top, but it also meant rapid technological progress and economic growth. Growth meant increased prosperity and the rise of a middle class. The rise of a prosperous middle class, in turn, would always ultimately equal stable democratic governance. A generation later, we have learned that not one of these assumptions can any longer be assumed to be correct.
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The real importance of Thomas Piketty’s blockbuster, Capital in the 21st Century, is that it demonstrates, in excruciating detail (and this remains true despite some predictable petty squabbling) that, in the case of at least one core equation, the numbers simply don’t add up. Capitalism does not contain an inherent tendency to civilise itself. Left to its own devices, it can be expected to create rates of return on investment so much higher than overall rates of economic growth that the only possible result will be to transfer more and more wealth into the hands of a hereditary elite of investors, to the comparative impoverishment of everybody else.
In other words, what happened in Western Europe and North America between roughly 1917 and 1975 –when capitalism did indeed create high growth and lower inequality– was something of a historical anomaly. There is a growing realisation among economic historians that this was indeed the case. There are many theories as to why. Adair Turner, former chairman of the Financial Services Authority, suggests it was the particular nature of mid-century industrial technology that allowed both high growth rates and a mass trade union movement. Piketty himself points to the destruction of capital during the world wars, and the high rates of taxation and regulation that war mobilisation allowed. Others have different explanations.
No doubt many factors were involved, but almost everyone seems to be ignoring the most obvious. The period when capitalism seemed capable of providing broad and spreading prosperity was also, precisely, the period when capitalists felt they were not the only game in town: when they faced a global rival in the Soviet bloc, revolutionary anti-capitalist movements from Uruguay to China, and at least the possibility of workers’ uprisings at home. In other words, rather than high rates of growth allowing greater wealth for capitalists to spread around, the fact that capitalists felt the need to buy off at least some portion of the working classes placed more money in ordinary people’s hands, creating increasing consumer demand that was itself largely responsible for the remarkable rates of economic growth that marked capitalism’s “golden age”.
Since the 1970s, as any significant political threat has receded, things have gone back to their normal state: that is, to savage inequalities, with a miserly 1% presiding over a social order marked by increasing social, economic and even technological stagnation. It was precisely the fact that people believed capitalism would inevitably civilise itself that guaranteed it no longer had to do so.
Piketty, in contrast, begins his book by denouncing “the lazy rhetoric of anti-capitalism”. He has nothing against capitalism itself –or even, for that matter, inequality. He just wishes to provide a check on capitalism’s tendency to create a useless class of parasitical rentiers. As a result, he argues that the left should focus on electing governments dedicated to creating international mechanisms to tax and regulate concentrated wealth. Some of his suggestions –an 80% income tax!– may seem radical, but we are still talking about a man who, having demonstrated capitalism is a gigantic vacuum cleaner sucking wealth into the hands of a tiny elite, insists that we do not simply unplug the machine, but try to build a slightly smaller vacuum cleaner sucking in the opposite direction.
What’s more, he doesn’t seem to understand that it doesn’t matter how many books he sells, or summits he holds with financial luminaries or members of the policy elite, the sheer fact that in 2014 a left-leaning French intellectual can safely declare that he does not want to overthrow the capitalist system but only to save it from itself is the reason such reforms will never happen. The 1% are not about to expropriate themselves, even if asked nicely. And they have spent the past 30 years creating a lock on media and politics to ensure no one will do so through electoral means.
Since no one in their right mind would wish to revive anything like the Soviet Union, we are not going to see anything like the mid-century social democracy created to combat it either. If we want an alternative to stagnation, impoverishment and ecological devastation, we’re just going to have to figure out a way to unplug the machine and start again.
Start again – David Graeber
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empezar de nuevo – (es)

EMPEZAR DE NUEVO_Lucha_anticapitalista_Dugutigui_Blog_0
El capitalismo salvaje está de vuelta -y no va a domarse a sí mismo. Los capitalistas generan prosperidad sólo cuando se ven amenazados por las rivalidades globales, los movimientos radicales o el riesgo de revueltas en sus propios países.
En los años 90 se establecieron una serie de supuestos que todos teníamos que aceptar para que se nos permitiera incluso entrar en un debate público serio. Estos se presentaron como una serie de ecuaciones evidentes: “El mercado” era equivalente al capitalismo. Cierto que el capitalismo significaba riqueza exorbitante para la élite superior, pero también significaría un rápido progreso tecnológico y crecimiento económico general. El crecimiento traería un aumento de la prosperidad y el afianzamiento de una clase media. El surgimiento de una clase media próspera, a su vez, permitiría un gobierno democrático estable en última instancia, etc., etc. Una generación más tarde, hemos aprendido que ninguno de estos supuestos se puede seguir considerando correcto por más tiempo.
EMPEZAR DE NUEVO_Lucha_anticapitalista_Dugutigui_Blog_2
La verdadera importancia del libro de Thomas Piketty, Capital en el siglo 21, es que demuestra, con absoluto detalle (y esto sigue siendo cierto a pesar de alguna pequeña discrepancia predecible) que, en el caso de al menos una ecuación básica, los números simplemente no cuadran. El capitalismo no contiene ninguna tendencia inherente a civilizarse a si mismo. Abandonado a su suerte, solo se puede esperar que cree tasas de retorno de la inversión mucho más altas que las tasas globales de crecimiento económico, cuyo único resultado posible es la transferencia de más y más riqueza a las manos de una élite hereditaria de inversores. Y el empobrecimiento comparativo de todos los demás.
En otras palabras, lo que sucedió en Europa Occidental y América del Norte, aproximadamente entre 1917 y 1975 -cuando el capitalismo, efectivamente, fue capaz de crear un alto crecimiento y reducir la desigualdad- fue algo así como una anomalía histórica. Hay un acuerdo creciente entre los historiadores económicos de que realmente ese es el caso. También hay muchas teorías en cuanto al por qué. Adair Turner, ex presidente de la Financial Services Authority, sugiere que fue la naturaleza particular de la tecnología industrial de mediados del siglo pasado lo que permitió tanto altas tasas de crecimiento como un fuerte movimiento sindical. El mismo Piketty apunta a la destrucción de capital durante las guerras mundiales, las altas tasas de impuestos y regulaciones que acompañaron a la movilización de las guerras. Otros tienen diferentes explicaciones.
Sin duda muchos factores tuvieron que estar implicados, pero casi todo el mundo parece querer ignorar el más obvio. El período en que el capitalismo parecía capaz de extender y ampliar la prosperidad también fue, precisamente, el período en que los capitalistas sentían que no eran el único equipo en la ciudad: cuando se enfrentaban a un rival global como el bloque soviético, a los movimientos anticapitalistas revolucionarios desde Uruguay hasta China, y a la posibilidad real de levantamientos de los trabajadores en sus propios países. En otras palabras, en lugar de las altas tasas de crecimiento que permitirían una mayor riqueza para que el capitalismo se extendieran, el hecho es que los capitalistas se vieron en la necesidad de comprar al menos una parte de las clases trabajadoras, colocando más dinero en manos de la gente común, creando cada vez una mayor demanda de los consumidores, que fueron en gran medida los responsables de las tasas notables del crecimiento económico que marcó la “edad de oro” del capitalismo.
Desde la década de los 70, a medida que la significativa amenaza política retrocedía, las aguas capitalistas volvieron a su cauce original, es decir, las desigualdades salvajes, con un mísero 1% que preside un orden caracterizado por el aumento del estancamiento tanto social como económico, e incluso tecnológico. Fue precisamente el hecho de que las personas se creyeron que el capitalismo inevitablemente se civiliza a si mismo, lo que le ha garantizado el no tener que hacerlo.
Piketty, por el contrario, comienza su libro denunciando “la perezosa retórica de la lucha contra el capitalismo”. Él no tiene nada en contra del capitalismo en sí, o incluso, todo sea dicho, en contra de la desigualdad. Él sólo busca proporcionar un cierto control sobre la tendencia del capitalismo a crear una clase inútil de rentistas parasitarios. Como resultado de ello, sostiene que la izquierda debe centrarse en la elección de los gobiernos dedicados a la creación de mecanismos internacionales para gravar y regular la concentración de riqueza. Algunas de sus sugerencias -¡un impuesto sobre la renta del 80%!- pueden parecer radicales, pero todavía estamos hablando de un hombre que, habiendo demostrado que el capitalismo es una gigantesca aspiradora creada para chupar riqueza y depositarla en el saco de una pequeña élite, insiste en no desenchufar simplemente la máquina, sino que tratemos de construir otro artefacto succionador, un poco más pequeño, que trabaje en la dirección opuesta.
Lo que es más, él no parece entender que -no importa cuántos libros venda, o las cumbres que sostenga con luminarias financieras o miembros de la élite política- el simple hecho de que en 2014 un intelectual francés de tendencia izquierdista pueda, de manera segura, declarar que él no quiere derrocar el sistema capitalista, sino que solamente  pretende salvarlo de sí mismo, es la razón por la que este tipo de reformas nunca van a tener éxito. El 1% no está preparado para expropiarse a sí mismo, incluso si se le preguntase amablemente. Y han invertido los últimos 30 años en la creación de un efectivo cerrojo de los medios de comunicación y la política, para asegurarse de que nadie lo hará por la vía electoral.
Ya que nadie en su sano juicio desearía revivir algo parecido a la Unión Soviética, tampoco vamos a ver nada parecido a la socialdemocracia de mediados del siglo XX, creada para luchar contra dicho bloque. Si queremos una alternativa al estancamiento, el empobrecimiento y la devastación ecológica, mejor vamos a tener que encontrar una manera de desconectar la máquina y empezar de nuevo.
Empezar de nuevo – Dugutigui (Traducción de un artículo de David Graeber)
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pivoting to china – (en)

PIVOTING TO CHINA_Dugutigui_Blog_0
Only halfway through 2014 and it is clear the year will be remembered for a number of seismic shifts occurring in the Asia-Pacific region. Because Asia in the early 21st century is, as Europe was in the early 20th, the center of world power and potential, and the implications for the wider global order are considerable.
The center of the Asia Pacific Region is China. The “pivot to Asia,” whether in its original American form, or its many reiterations, is in fact a “pivot to China.” During his Asian “pivot” tour to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines in April, US President Barack Obama kept insisting that his policies —whether the Trans Pacific Partnership, from which China is currently excluded; mega-regional trade pact; or the 10-year defense pact with the Philippines— were not meant to contain or control China. He seems to protest too much!
In the meantime, Japan, which has a fair number of issues with China, including a tense dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, is proposing under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to “reinterpret” the pacifist constitution so as to allow Tokyo greater maneuverability in boosting collective defense: another “pivot to China.”
Russia is making its own “pivot to Asia,” after the recent Ukraine kerfuffle, as highlighted by the May meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Shanghai, culminating in a 30-year energy agreement. This apparent Sino-Russian “rapprochement” —complete with a joint naval exercise— reversed a frigid relationship arising from the 1960 Sino-Soviet split, only marginally improved in the 1990’s, of tense distance between Beijing and Moscow.
To the south, China is engaged in hostilities with Vietnam in the South China Sea, as it was and almost certainly will be again with the Philippines, as well as having disputes with Brunei and Malaysia. That Hanoi looks to Washington for support in its confrontation with Beijing is perhaps one of the more flagrant paradoxes of history. All member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are torn between economic benefits of a rising China and security assurances from a seemingly retreating America.
The landslide election of Narendra Modi has electrified India and observers throughout the world. Can this “strongman,” as The Economist dubs him, “unleash India”? The Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China, respectively established in 1947 and 1949, are geographically close, but are not congenial neighbors, politically or emotionally. There was a war between the two in 1962, the bitterness of which is ingrained in the collective Indian memory. There are territorial issues —as recently as May 2013 the Chinese People’s Liberation Army made a deep incursion into the Ladakh region in India causing widespread resentment and alarm.
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Perhaps most ominously there is a potential for major confrontation between India and China over water, as China controls the flows from the Tibetan plateau, sources of which are vital to India and surrounding countries. Modi’s “pivot to China” could either take the form of “doing a Nixon,” as some Chinese commentators have suggested —referring to US President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to Beijing in 1972 thereby laying foundations for renewed Sino-American relations— or, as he seems inclined, beefing up the relationship between Tokyo and Delhi, as a means to enhance both economic and security partnership: a sort of Indo-Japanese entente cordiale.
Ties between China and the Korean peninsula are bizarre. Seoul and Beijing are major trading partners. South Korean investments and technology represent a critical component in China’s economic development and performance, and because of territorial and historical legacy disputes with Tokyo, Seoul is bolstering ties with Beijing. Pyongyang, however, continues to depend on financial, political and military support from Beijing. While Beijing has expressed frustration in its alliance with Pyongyang, any break is unlikely as China does not fancy the idea of a united Korea, allied to the US, with troops stationed along the frontier at the Yalu River. The Korean peninsula is likely to remain a bubbling cauldron.
Closer to home for China are Hong Kong and Taiwan. Since July 1997 Hong Kong has been a “Special Administrative Region” under the so-called “one-country-two-systems” regime. While Hong Kong has a degree of autonomy, and retains the rule of law, it has become highly dependent economically on China, including in tourism, which has, in turn, spurred a considerable degree of anti-mainland China sentiment. Hong Kongers chafe at the Chinese leash, and demonstrators demand democracy. The test may come in 2017 when, as earlier promised by Beijing, Hong Kongers expect universal suffrage in the election of their chief executive. The incumbent, pro-Beijing tycoon C.Y. Leung, is deeply unpopular, arising from the perception that he is catering to the Hong Kong elite and Beijing, while ignoring the concerns of the Hong Kong citizenry.
Similarly China has been a huge boon to the Taiwanese economy; some 10 percent or more of the Taiwanese population, 2.5 million in all, live, work and make money in mainland China; Taiwanese companies, including Foxconn and others, account for a large proportion of China’s exports; mainland Chinese visitors are a bonanza to the local tourism industry. While Taiwan’s own economy flounders and would be floundering even more were it not for China, a significant number of Taiwanese ferociously wish to preserve their identity and autonomy —as illustrated in recent massive demonstrations in Taipei, including occupation of parliament, staged in protest at the proposed China-Taiwan cross-strait agreement on trade in services. President Ma Ying-jeou, who campaigned on a platform of closer relations with Beijing, is a lame duck.
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At home, or so official Beijing policy upholds, there are strong separatist movements, not only in Tibet, but arguably far more alarming for Beijing in the western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Whereas Tibetan pro-independence separatists engage mainly in self-immolation, Muslim Uyghur nationalists have resorted to terrorist acts that have left scores of people dead or injured. Chinese authorities can’t help but worry about Xinjiang’s ties with global networks of Islamic organizations.
The Sino-centricity of this age is not limited to China’s neighborhood. Economies in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America have become highly dependent on the Chinese locomotive, whether in terms of exports, especially commodities, including energy; investments; and development assistance. China’s multi-billion dollar investment in a Pan-East African railway eventually linking Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan is one of many examples.
A Chinese economic crisis or hard landing would have deleterious consequences for many economies. As the saying now goes: If China sneezes, the world will catch pneumonia. This also applies to the industrialized economies.
Japan, the European Union and the United States all, in different but significant ways, have “pivoted” their economies towards China. China is Japan’s biggest trading partner. Germany exports more to China than it does to the United States. Chinese firms are saving failing French companies —consider recent Chinese investments in Peugeot and Club Med. The United States depends on China to finance its debt at the macroeconomic level, and American universities relish all the massive fees they collect from Chinese students at a more micro level.
This is the world stage in the early 21st century. The United States, long accustomed to the limelight, must now share this with China. Does China have a script? Indeed is China one actor or are there several actors within China seeking to write the scripts? Today, no questions are more burning than these.
Pivoting to China – Jean-Pierre Lehmann’s “The Whole World Is Pivoting to China.”
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podemos – programa político – (es)

Estas son algunas de las ideas más llamativas incluidas en el programa de 36 páginas del partido político PODEMOS liderado por Pablo Iglesias. El programa es el resultado de un proceso de elaboración colectiva a través de un método abierto y ciudadano en el que han participado miles de personas. Partiendo de la propuesta de un borrador el proceso ha consistido en tres etapas:
(i)                             debate y aportaciones online a título individual,
(ii)                            enmiendas colectivas de los Círculos Podemos y
(iii)                          referéndum online sobre las enmiendas.
Pablo Iglesias, Fort Apache, HISPANTVPablo Iglesias, en su programa Fort Apache, de la cadena HISPANTV.
  • Reducción de la edad jubilación a 60 años y de la jornada laboral a 35 horas semanales para “redistribuir equitativamente el trabajo y la riqueza”.
  • Derecho a una renta básica para todos los ciudadanos “por el mero hecho de serlo”. La financiación se haría “a través de una reforma progresiva del IRPF y de la lucha contra el fraude fscal”.
  • Prohibición de los despidos en empresas con beneficios.
  • Eliminación de las Empresas de Trabajo Temporal.
  • Incremento del salario mínimo interprofesional y establecimiento de un salario máximo vinculado proporcionalmente al mínimo.
  • Derogación de las reformas laborales aprobadas durante la crisis.
  • Derogación de la última reforma de pensiones.
  • Derogación del artículo 135 de la Constitución española. Es el que hace referencia a la obligatoriedad de cumplir con el déficit.
  • Supeditación del BCE a las autoridades políticas.
  • Apoyo a la financiación pública de los Estados a través de la compra directa de deuda pública en el mercado primario sin limitaciones.
  • Creación de una Agencia Pública Europea de Rating que sustituya a las tres privadas actuales (Moody’s, S&P y Fitch).
  • Establecimiento de una tasa sobre los beneficios bancarios para la reinversión productiva.
  • Regulación pública de los tipos de interés básicos de la economía.
  • Recuperación del control público en los sectores estratégicos de la economía: telecomunicaciones, energía, alimentación, transporte, sanitario, farmacéutico y educativo.
  • Este proceso se haría mediante “la adquisición pública de una parte de los mismos, que garantice una participación mayoritaria pública en sus consejos de administración y/o creación de empresas estatales que suministren estos servicios de forma universal”.
  • Obligatoriedad para todas las empresas multinacionales y sus fliales de rendir cuentas de sus actividades en términos globales y desglosadas por países.
  • Implantación de la Tasa Tobin sobre las transacciones fnancieras.
  • Tipificación del delito fiscal a partir de 50.000 euros de cuota defraudada (actualmente se encuentra en 120.000 euros).
  • Eliminación de los paraísos fiscales ubicados en territorio de la Unión Europea.
  • Recuperación del Impuesto de Patrimonio.
  • Supresión de las SICAV.
  • Aplicación de un IVA súper reducido para bienes y productos básicos.
  • Introducir un nuevo tipo de IVA que grave los bienes de lujo entre un 30-35%.
  • Reducción del IVA cultural del 21 al 4%.
  • Reducción de la partida presupuestaria destinada al gasto militar para destinarla al sector de la investigación.
  • Moratoria de la deuda hipotecaria sobre primeras viviendas de las familias con difcultades para afrontar el pago de los préstamos.
  • Paralización inmediata de todos los desahucios de primeras viviendas y de locales de pequeños empresarios.
  • Dación en pago con carácter retroactivo.
  • Consideración del suministro de luz, agua y calefacción como un derecho básico inalienable, que debe ser garantizado por parte de empresas públicas.
  • Ampliación y extensión de la figura del referéndum vinculante.
  • Ejecución y evaluación de la inversión pública a través de presupuestos participativos.
  • Fin de las puertas giratorias: establecimiento para ello de un plazo mínimo de cinco años para que los políticos pasen a ocupar cargos en empresas privadas.
  • Garantías de la inviolabilidad de las comunicaciones, entre las que destaca que el respeto a la privacidad y a la intimidad se incluya en los acuerdos internacionales con terceros países.
  • Defensa de la libertad de expresión frente a las restricciones de acceso y el monopolio de la información. Apoyo al ‘crowdfunding’, el software libre y el ‘copyleft’.
  • Creación de medios públicos al servicio de los ciudadanos con una gestión democrática e independiente de los gobiernos de turno, con una agencia de noticias europea independiente. Ninguna empresa o grupo podrá ostentar más del 15% del total de un ámbito comunicacional, sea prensa, radio, televisión, internet o el sector editorial.
  • Puesta en marcha de medidas encaminadas a garantizar la igualdad salarial entre hombres y mujeres.
  • Devolución al sector público de todos los centros y hospitales privatizados.
  • Prohibición explícita del copago sanitario y farmacéutico.
  • Contemplación del derecho a la interrupción voluntaria del embarazo de forma segura, libre y gratuita, dentro de la red pública.
  • Garantía del derecho a una muerte digna.
  • Elaboración de un plan para promover la implantación de una cobertura sanitaria universal para todos los ciudadanos de la UE en cualquiera de los países miembros.
  • Eliminación de cualquier subvención y ayuda a la enseñanza privada, incluida la modalidad de concertada, destinando el ahorro a la financiación y mejora de los centros públicos.
  • Derogación del Plan Bolonia.
  • Limitación salarial y temporal (dos legislaturas) de los cargos públicos. Eliminación de “instituciones duplicadas e innecesarias, como las diputaciones”.
  • Eliminación del aforamiento de los diputados de todas las cámaras y senadores
  • Aplicación estricta del principio de incompatibilidad entre el ejercicio de un cargo público y cualquier otra actividad remunerada
  • Reforma de los marcos normativos destinados a designar el Fiscal Generaln del Estado, a los miembros del Consejo General del Poder Judicial, los miembros del Tribunal de Cuentas y los miembros del Tribunal Constitucional.
  • Prohibición de acumular cargos públicos (alcalde, senador, diputado, eurodiputado, etc.).
PODEMOS – Programa Político – PODEMOS
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anti-política – (es)

La anti-política, tanto aquí como en toda Europa, se ha convertido en el estado de ánimo predominante.
Si de hecho votas, la papeleta a recoger en el 2020 no se parecerá en nada a la que te ofrecerán en 2015, o 2010, o incluso ningún año anterior. Aunque la política frente a nuestros ojos parece ser la de siempre, un terremoto está retumbando bajo los Parlamentos. Dos tendencias tectónicas están empezando a chocar entre sí. El impacto tiene el potencial de tumbar el decorado político -los familiares rojos y azules, las líneas divisorias del consuelo, las mismas opciones básicas- al que nos han acostumbrado a lo largo de generaciones.
La primera de estas tendencias es la crisis de la política moderna. Durante las últimas décadas, la política dominante ha quedado atrapada en una espiral descendente. Los partidos políticos tradicionales han perdido millones de afiliados -representando ahora sólo 2 por ciento del electorado. En 1977, el 79 por ciento del electorado acudió a las urnas. En 2011, era el 71 por ciento, y menos de la mitad de los votantes menores de 24 años. En las pasadas elecciones Europeas, un triste 45 por ciento. Sólo un tercio de los jóvenes de hoy parecen están interesados en la política, y sólo la mitad de estos piensan que es su deber votar. La participación se prevé que seguirá disminuyendo a medida que los jóvenes representen un porcentaje cada vez más alto de los electores.
Subyacente a esto está la caída libre en nuestra actitud hacia la política; nuestra percepción de su capacidad para cambiar de manera significativa y positivamente nuestras vidas. Alrededor del 88 por ciento de nosotros simplemente no confía en lo que dicen los políticos. El año pasado, una encuesta de Metroscopia mostró que los políticos son el grupo que inspira menos confianza entre todas las instituciones y grupos sociales.  Le siguen, por si quedaba duda, los partidos políticos y (¡Aggg!) los banqueros. Desde el paro a los escándalos de la corrupción, nuestros representantes han recibido largas décadas de merecido maltrato desde los medios de comunicación y el mundo cultural. La anti-política, tanto aquí como en toda Europa, se ha convertido en el estado de ánimo predominante.
La segunda tendencia es el surgimiento de las redes sociales y los usos cada vez más políticos que se dan de estas. Es hoy, por supuesto, la forma predominante de utilizar el Internet. Alrededor de cuatro de cada diez de los adultos en España (42 por ciento) aseguran participar activamente en alguna plataforma de medios de comunicación social. Por cada hora que pasamos en línea, 13 minutos se usan en las redes sociales -más que en entretenimiento, compras, control de la prensa, correo electrónico o cualquier otra cosa.
Las redes sociales están tomando un giro cada vez más político. Los jóvenes no se desacoplan de los temas políticos -en realidad están probablemente tan comprometidos como cualquier otra generación. Ellos recurren a las redes sociales para perseguir sus creencias y pasiones por un mundo mejor, fuera de esas instituciones convencionales en las que confían tan poco. Desde los grupos que se encuentran fuera de la corriente principal -como Podemos (un grupo de Facebook con un ala basada en la calle), a todo tipo de voluntariado, activismo y debate apasionado -tanto legítimo como ilegítimo, esta actividad para-política es ahora un fenómeno potente y creciente. En última instancia, los privados foros Bilderberg se van a tener que enfrentar, de tú a tú, con los populares foros de Internet.
Más temprano que tarde, las redes sociales van a cambiar drásticamente la forma de hacer en la política formal. Sólo tenemos que mirar a Italia para ver cómo un cansado y poco fiable status quo político y un electorado cínico, se ha mezclado con las redes sociales para crear nuevas realidades políticas. Ese ejemplo es Beppe Grillo: un cómico italiano canoso, enojado, sin antecedentes en la política. Grillo tenía un millón de amigos en Facebook, un millón de seguidores en Twitter y el blog más popular en Italia. Este seguimiento se convirtió en el Movimiento Cinco Estrellas -una furiosa oleada insurgente y anti-corrupción que disputó las últimas elecciones italianas, en 2013. Grillo no siguió las reglas del juego. Se negó a dar entrevistas a los principales medios de prensa, Berlusconi le llamó “psico-enano”; él ni siquiera (según las propias reglas de su movimiento) asumiría ningún cargo por sí mismo. No tenía lacayos en la prensa o la televisión. No tenía grandes financiadores del mundo empresarial. No importaba.
Los institutos de demoscopia que estudiaron a Beppe Grillo y su movimiento a medida que crecía, se dieron cuenta de que un nuevo tipo de política estaba tomando forma. Los medios sociales le dieron una voz y una maquinaria de partido (político, no recreativo). Usó grupos Meetup (reuniones ordinarias de personas que comparten un interés particular y se conectan entre sí a través de redes sociales) en todo el mundo para construir un ejército de voluntarios capaces de ganar lo que los estrategas electorales al uso llaman el “juego sobre el terreno”. Se estima que tenía alrededor de 250.000 personas que se consideraban miembros de su partido. Funcionó. En un año, el Movimiento Cinco Estrellas salió de la nada para ganar 1 de cada 4 votos -unos masivos 10 puntos por encima de donde las encuestas le pronosticaban. Creado en 2009, en las últimas elecciones al Parlamento Europeo ha consegudo 5.807.362 votos, o el 21,15% de los votos y 17 escaños.
Aquí en el España, la sorpresa de Pablo Iglesias y PODEMOS (creado en 2014. 1,245,948 votos, 7,97% del total de los votos y 5 escaños en las últimas elecciones al Parlamento Europeo) también nos muestra lo poderoso que puede ser el mensaje anti-sistema. Pero esto, de momento, solo refleja hasta que punto las personas más desfavorecidas están en contra de las políticas al uso, más que el convencimiento general de que PODEMOS llegue a cambiar la forma actual de hacer política. No obstante, es un gigantesco paso hacia el día en que la crisis de la política moderna y el auge de los medios sociales final y verdaderamente se unan. El resultado será una transformación drástica en el panorama político. Una voz carismática -tal vez Iglesias- se levantará con un insurgente y enojado mensaje anti-castas que atraiga a la gente de todo el espectro político. El mensaje -probablemente al igual que el mensajero- no reflejará los consensos y las divisiones políticas actuales. En este sentido, si se pretende llegar a todo el espectro político (única forma de ganar unas elecciones), será necesario sustituir términos de la era de los dinosaurios, como “izquierda” y “derecha” (que implican necesariamente bipartidismo), por otros que reflejen la realidad de los cambiantes tiempos que corren. Por ejemplo: “inteligencia” y “honradez”.
Pero por encima de todo, van a aprovechar el enorme poder de las redes sociales para nivelar el campo de juego con los partidos mayoritarios. Al igual que Beppe Grillo o Pablo Iglesias, las utilizarán como una plataforma sin costo para ambas, la promoción y la organización del partido. La puerta del cambio político está entreabierta. Pronto alguien va a usar las redes sociales para arrancarla de sus goznes.
Anti-política – Dugutigui (adaptación de un texto de Carl Miller)
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podemos ‘earthquake’ – (en)

The Podemos ‘earthquake’ could spell real reform in Spain.
The focus in last week’s European elections was on the seismic waves of the distinct currents of Euro-populism and reaction that “earthquaked” to the top of the polls in France, Britain (or at least England), Denmark and Greece. But arguably the most intriguing insurgency was Podemos (We Can) in Spain, a phenomenon worth examining outside the swish and swirl of populism.
Much of what I have seen written about Podemos has them “coming out of nowhere” –a cliché employed by politicians and analysts that means “we didn’t see them coming”. Yet a three-month-old party with a budget of barely €100,000 shot into fourth place with one and a quarter million votes and five seats in the European Parliament –similar to Syriza, the Greek left-wing party they plan to hitch up with.
The eruption of Podemos and its compellingly outspoken leader, Pablo Iglesias, has already triggered the fall of Alfredo Perez Rubalcalba, the Socialist secretary general who has presided over the party’s worst electoral performance since democracy was restored in 1977-78. But while obviously a rising current of a new left, Podemos could be a broader catalyst for political change in Spain and beyond.
The most obvious origins of this cleverly improvised party are in the mass movement of indignados that took over some 50 public squares across Spain three years ago, proclaiming that the EU-wide crisis was not so much a crisis as a scam by bankers and politicians that denies employment to more than half of Spain’s youth.
“If people don’t do politics themselves, they get it done to them, and that’s when they [the politicians] steal your democratic rights as well as your wallet,” Iglesias, a 35-year-old political science professor, said in an interview on Tuesday.
The embryonic party’s emphasis on grassroots participation –through some 300 “circles” across the country– and voting for candidates through a system of primaries, also has obvious inspiration in the indignados assemblies. But Podemos also links back nearly five decades to the soixante-huitard tradition, through figures such as the former Trotskyist leader Jaime Pastor, or Publico, an online newspaper owned by Jaume Roures, Trotskyite-turned-media-tycoon owner of the Mediapro group. Publico’s TV programmes turned Iglesias into a sought-after guest on a range of mainstream current affairs programmes, and this made him a national figure.
The tendency of some media and political analysts to fixate on the internet and social media as the all-powerful enabler in modern politics and, especially, of political insurgencies misses the fact that it was TV that was key to the Podemos breakthrough. It used the web for crowd-funding, for the primaries and to convene meetings. But with almost no money, it pragmatically personalised the campaign in the TV personality of Iglesias, a media scholar who says “the main space or political socialisation in this country is television”.
Podemos policies are vague, populist, anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation. It rages externally against Germany and the troika (the European Commission, European Central Banks and International Monetary Fund) for imposing untenable levels of debt and joblessness on the EU periphery –as they see it– to save German banks. Internally, Iglesias never speaks without lambasting what he calls la casta (the caste) – the ossified hierarchs of the governing Partido Popular and the Socialists, most of whom have never done anything in life except rise inexorably up their parties, all the while (Podemos says) failing or betraying the country.
But this has struck a note amid Spain’s crisis, which is institutional as well as economic –a message that extends beyond the usual leftie suspects to the thinking and sinking middle classes.
Practices emphasised by Podemos such as selection primaries did not come out of nowhere. One of the root causes of institutional decay in Spain is its political parties, in which the list system vests all power in the party leadership. In the course of last year, for example, a group impelled by diverse independent figures such as Carles Casajuana, former Spanish ambassador to the UK, called for wholesale democratic reform of Spain’s parties, which habitually politicise other institutions such as the judiciary. Another of the 100 initial signatories of that manifesto, the economist Cesar Molinas, said this was essential to overcome the “extractive elites” plaguing the country. A smaller group of left-wing independents around the controversial crusading magistrate Baltasar Garzon called somewhat optimistically for a new and unified politics of the left to overcome the crisis.
So no, Podemos did not emerge from nowhere. However well it goes on to perform, the momentum it has already generated could be a catalyst for reform.
Podemos ‘earthquake’ – By Gideon Rachman
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heaven on earth? – (en)

Two hundred years ago, before the development of potent synthetic pain-killers or surgical anesthetics, the notion that “physical” pain could be banished from most people’s lives would have seemed no less bizarre. Most of us in the developed world now take its daily absence for granted. The prospect that what we describe as “mental” pain, too, could one day be superseded is equally counter-intuitive. The technical option of its abolition turns its deliberate retention into an issue of political policy and ethical choice.
Why does suffering exist? The metabolic pathways of pain and malaise evolved only because they served the inclusive fitness of our genes in the ancestral environment. Their ugliness can be replaced by a new motivational system based entirely on gradients of well-being. Life-long happiness of intensity now physiologically unimaginable can become the heritable norm of mental health.
Contemporary images of opiate-addled junkies, and the lever-pressing frenzies of intra-cranially self-stimulating rats, are deceptive. Such stereotypes stigmatize, and falsely discredit, the only remedy for the world’s horrors and everyday discontents that is biologically realistic. For it is misleading to contrast social and intellectual development with perpetual happiness. There need be no such trade-off. Thus states of “dopamine-overdrive” can actually enhance exploratory and goal-directed activity. Hyper-dopaminergic states can also increase the range and diversity of actions an organism finds rewarding. Our descendants may live in a civilization of serenely well-motivated “high-achievers”, animated by gradients of bliss. Their productivity may far eclipse our own.
Genetic engineering and nanotechnology allow Homo sapiens to discard the legacy-wetware of our evolutionary past. Our post-human successors will rewrite the vertebrate genome, redesign the global ecosystem, and abolish suffering throughout the living world.
Try summoning up the most delightful fantasy you can imagine. Try and imagine feeling more blissfully fulfilled in pursuing whatever you love and value than you’ve ever felt before.
Unfortunately it’s quite futile. We run such simulations on legacy wetware. Even the most virile imagination glimpses only a shadow of the biological nirvana awaiting our descendants. For decoding the human genome allows happiness beyond the bounds of contemporary human experience to be genetically pre-programmed by rational transhuman design. In a post-Darwinian era of paradise-engineering, life on earth promises to be inconceivably good.
The Hedonistic Imperative (David Pearce’s abolitionist manifesto, 1995) predicts we are poised to explore a spectrum of outrageously beautiful states of consciousness. States of consciousness far more sublime than today’s fleeting “peak experiences” can potentially imbue the texture of everyday life. In contrast to our animalistic mix of pleasure and pain, utopian biotechnology will permit our genetically enriched descendants to be animated by gradients of immense well-being. In the new reproductive era of “designer babies”, an informational economy of mind based on innate bliss can form the bedrock of invincible mental health.
Early in the 21st Century, the prospect of paradise-engineering still sounds weird, and perhaps “unnatural”. Yet the metabolic pathways underlying heavenly states of consciousness are neither more nor less “natural” than any other patterns of matter and energy instantiated elsewhere in space-time. Knowledge of these (hitherto) genetically maladaptive forms of mental life has mostly been impossible to emotional primitives like us. This is because of the pressure of natural selection. Cruelly, any genetic blueprint for naturally “angelic” minds [if evolved blindly via the mechanism of natural selection acting on random genetic variations] would entail crossing dips in the evolutionary fitness-landscape. Such jumps are forbidden for reasons of neo-Darwinian theory. So truly beautiful minds never evolved; brutish Darwinian life forms were selected instead.
Fortunately, thanks to genetic engineering, a spectrum of mental superhealth will soon become safely accessible to all. Better still, primordial-DNA-driven minds are destined to redesign themselves out of existence. An enriched neural architecture will then disclose modes of ecstatic bliss far more intense, diverse and exhilarating than a drug-naïve hunter-gatherer psyche can comprehend. Such magical kinds of happiness are only travestied, alas, by the dry textual placeholders found here. Such happiness is only travestied, too, by today’s short-acting euphoriants or wirehead rodents.
For within a few generations, lifelong bliss that exceeds any fantasised Christian afterlife can become the genetically-coded basis of our existence. If we want our kids to enjoy mental superhealth – emotional, intellectual, and ethical – then we can design their genetic makeup to ensure every moment of every day is a sublime revelation. Gradients of well-being surpassing our own lame “peak experiences” can be their everyday norm of mental health.
On this scenario, Post-Darwinian superminds will go on to rewrite the vertebrate genome, redesign our whole global ecosystem, and abolish suffering and cruelty throughout the living world. The abolitionist project has an overriding moral urgency. Yet the conquest of suffering is just the beginning. The molecular biology of paradise may be closer than we think.
Pleasure for the People! Do you consider whether there should be more opiates for the masses … or do you settle for nuts and seeds?


Heaven on Earth? – The Hedonistic Imperative (The Hedonistic Imperative outlines how genetic engineering and nanotechnology will abolish suffering in all sentient life)
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