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Friday, February 27, 2015

Ignorant Morons in Mosul

Ignorant morons in Mosul;
destroying great memories.
What would they replace them with?
decapitated heads?
Gross Angry buffoons,
Knocking down staid, timeless women,
beating their alabaster bodies to dust.
Fetishing their fear!
Thou shalt not image your God
And thou shalt not image that which is merely a thing of beauty.
An object of the past talking to ourselves.
Not an image of God, just a lovely work of art.
Yes, thou shalt not image your God!
But can't you leave other people's images alone?
Is your head misshapen like a cone?
Is your blood sugar low?
Do you need to eat a scone?
Are you really that stupod?
Yet I see you in a museum smashing ancient things.
Don't tell me your prophet said to do that.
You image a God who is a hateful destroyer.
Can that possibly be the True God?
I don't think so!
Your image of God is smashed stone dusting a museum floor.
You are idolators of destruction.
Imaging a destroyed world.
Your image of the future is dreck
Your image of God is a Ruler of hell.
Ignorance is Ignorance, stupidity is stupidity.
You cannot image the ineffable one.
And who would image God as broken stones on a museum floor?
Even if you try;
You can't speak for God, or tell H-m what to do.
Either you are a dead soul of false faith,
or deeds speak for you.
Either you walk in divine footprints,
Or you tread on the divine with brutal stupidity.
We Choose;
Nurture a World beauty
Or break the world in two.
But you put tires
around the necks of the innocent
and light them with lies
that make your prophet look like a Barbarian
It is you who defame your prophet.
It is you who blaspheme in the name of the Lord.
Not innocent statues broken on the floor.
Maybe you are jealous,
that these images stood for millennia
While people ignore your PR profile.
Maybe you are jealous,
That man could create such beauty,
in honor of the ineffable one,
and that you feel nothing but hate.
Maybe you are jealous,
because in your delusion
you hear no divine voices
and though you pray in front of others
silence greats your pleas.
Maybe you are angry because
Your sermons on Friday are preached by charlatans
And your scholars are liars who see a path of hate.
Don't tell me that it's I who make fun of your prophet
You walking parodies absurd with pretense.
You don't speak for God, that is the real Blasphemy
I doubt you even hear him.
I hear a voice in the night and it says:
He says "what manner of stupidity you do,"
assuming it is in MY name.
Meanwhile a museum has lost an invaluable collection
to a bunch of morons.
Christopher H. Holte


The Sun rose up
til it was high in the sky.
I saw new things.
I saw old things die.
Shadows spread,
then grew softer,
and died away.
Flowers bloomed quietly,
then faded to brown,
and fell to the ground,
Butterflies danced gently,
then laid their eggs,
and fluttered to the ground;
...and there was not a single sound.
CHHolte written March 11 1981

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Erdogan proves to be even more corrupt than the Secular leaders he displaced

In Latin America "fearless Leaders" are known as "Caudillos" (among other terms) and sadly Erdoğan is turning into a typical Caudillo. Until we develop a system that is representative down to the municipality and has true bottom up democratic and Republican structures for representation in federated form, such people will continue to assert power and both fear and use fear to suppress opposition.

Of course he's up against the Former Ms. Turkey, Ms Merve Büyüksaraç. So I think he's the one who should be in trouble now. The poem she's charged with reciting is a humorous and satirical poem. The title translates as the "Master's poem" from the weekly humor magazine Uykusuz. I wanted to post the poem's translation. Apparently it's based on Turkey's National Anthem and so could probably be sun. But our World Wide 1984 censors seem to have deleted it from the entire internet. If I find it I'll update this post with it. I'm more upset with the connivance of our cowardly Internet guardians than with Turkey. Caudillos will be Caudillos, but the real sort of Cowards are the folks who won't challenge them. Erdogan can kiss my Pettuty. (I would kiss Marve's anytime)

And of course this illustrates "Social Dominance" behavior in action. Erdoğan couldn't get away with repression without the lying and connivance of his followers. The Washington Post version of the report quotes A Turkish official, the prosecutor, one "Mr Tepe":

"Mr Tepe does not believe Ms Büyüksaraç's remarks were an example of freedom of speech and in his indictment wrote: "The remarks shared by the suspect could not be considered within the terms of freedom of expression."

So political speech is not "free speech", in Turkey at least. She's of course denying she meant to insult him. But the fact is that she should have meant to insult him. I would be insulting him. He's a political figure not God. Disgusting [Daily Telegraph Article]

Of course political speech, especially satire and criticism, are precisely what "free speech" is about. Our Turkish friends don't get it. Folks like Erdogan are the real ones insulting their countries by subverting and corrupting them. I guess I can cross visiting Turkey off my Bucket List. Wouldn't want to go to jail for criticizing a crook.

People like Erdogan are willing to break their countries to get to the top. Even if they succeed it will It will all fall apart again when they die and in the meantime all their tyrannical power does is to result in corruption for the few and misery for the masses. What does this "Social Domination" get them? Nothing. Seriously, are you a Or the kind of enabler that keeps jerks like Erdogan in power?

One Clue for both Social Dominators and Authoritarian Enablers is No Sense of Humor, or humility. The ones insulting these people or insulting the Prophet when folks make fun of how folks use his narratives, are the ones assaulting the humorists. Draw a little Hitler Moustache on his face and we could cast him to play the role.

Three stories on his behavior:

Former Miss Turkey, Ms Merve Büyüksaraç faces a prison sentance for political activity and faces prison for ‘insulting’ Erdoğan"
Guilt feelings over the Armenian Genocide

Turks still deny there ever was an Armenian Holocaust. The ethic cleansing of Greeks, Armenians and others is denied. The later efforts to ethnically cleanse or launder Kurds into Mountain Turks also gets denied. This is one of the drivers of Turkeys drift rightward.$1-million-dollars-to-eliminate-armenian-genocide-documents.html
Attacking his own Central Bank:
Another article on him and the model [$1-million-dollars-to-eliminate-armenian-genocide-documents.html]

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Irving Fisher and Stamp Script

In the last chapter [Postal Banking, Stamp Scripts and fixing our economic system] I used Monbiot's article ["A maverick currency scheme from the 1930s could save the Greek economy"] on the subject to introduce the notion of Stamp Scripts and a bit of it's history and successful application. In Austria, Stamp Scripts were squashed by the famous Austrian School economist Von Mises, who lated damned the author of the concept, Silvio Gessel, with faint praise. Irving Fisher was also mentioned in Monbiot's article. And it turns out he literally wrote the book on Stamp Scripts and Booms and Busts.

I've learned that it's not so much that the winner writes history, it's that the powerful do their best to bury it. This applies to the lessons of the great depression. Including both those learned and those suppressed and not learned. One of the great unsung heroes of the Great Depression was Irving Fisher, who belongs as much on the list of reformers and practical economists as does Keynes. If we want to get out of the system of boom and bust created by our perverse economics, we need to start with him. One reason his writings have disappeared is that like Smedley Butler's book "War is a Racket" the money business is a racket that causes our booms and busts. That has to change!. But in this article I'm going to focus on Stamp Scripts, which is more than a palliative means to fight the depressions created by bad money, is also a means to prevent money from going bad.

If you talk to an elitist, an Austrian, a Neo-Classical economist, or a conservative "bad money" is anything but Gold. To the conservative Gold is sacred and money is sacred, as long as it is their own money. But if you talk to someone like Fisher you find this expression:

"If proof were needed that overproduction is not the cause of the depression, barter is the proof - or some of the proof. It shows goods not over-produced but dead-locked for want of a circulating transfer-belt called "money." Many a dealer sits down in puzzled exasperation, as he sees about him a market wanting his goods, and well stocked with other goods which he wants and with able-bodied and willing workers, but without work and therefore without buying power. Says A, "I could use some of B's goods; but I have no cash to pay for them until someone with cash walks in here!" Says B, "I could buy some of C's goods, but I've no cash to do it with till someone with cash walks in here." Says the job hunter, "I'd gladly take my wages in trade if I could work them out with A and B and C who among them sell the entire range of what my family must eat and wear and burn for fuel - but neither A nor B nor C has need of me - much less could the three of them divide me up." Then D comes on the scene, and says, "I could use that man! - if he'd really take his pay in trade; but he says he can't play a trombone and that's all I've got for him." []

A stamp script is a credit instrument. It is a note that says after a set time the script is to be redeemed for an equivalent amount of money by the issuer. Further it requires a tax stamp for each week it is in circulation, and is null and void unless the tax is paid up to date for the day it is due. So there is a premium on holding onto the currency. It is only legal tender if it is paid up to date. Fisher describes the operation in:


In Chapter 4 he describes the various experiments using Stamp Script and their successes in Austria []. In Chapter 5 he describes how it worked in various towns in the United States []. In Chapter 6 he describes the organization and execution. He suggested it be done by a municipal Government. [] I have my own ideas on this, but they are pretty close to what he describes in chapter 8 []

In Chapter 9 he proposes why it should have been a national program, and how it should operate nationally:

"Reflation and stabilization are worked on the same principles - chiefly credit control; but reflation is a more radical application. Sweden did not try to reflate, but her stabilization has kept her price level steady since September 1931, while America's price level, since that same date, has kept foundering worse and worse. Yet many of us (ignorant, I fear, of Sweden's case) are still denouncing all reflationary principles as too radical. Evidently we need some reflationary force more radical than Sweden applied. But not without safeguards."

If John Turmel's observations are correct, the money supply doesn't so much inflate money as charging interest on issuing notes. The stamps could add some inflation, but nowhere near what happens when banks make loans based on an arbitrary pretense of reserves. A stamp script is a note that retires itself. It doesn't inflate permanently, though it will reflate. As Fisher noted:

"Even Sweden has a safeguard. Indeed, the safeguard is an integral part of the whole reflation-stabilization method. The safeguard consists of the average price of all commodities, the index number of prices. This index number and the level to which we want to raise and maintain our American price level are duly provided for in Senator Bankhead's proposed legislation. His goal for the price level is four-fifths of the price level of 1926. This, in the Senator's opinion, will give to both debtors and creditors a practical average of justice, and will restore the rank and file of business debtors to a degree of activity. At that precise point (four-fifths of the price level of 1926) Stamp Scrip is to retire. Thus, instead of threatening us with uncontrolled inflation, Stamp Scrip would improve the control by enabling it to operate faster."

But if we don't return to a faulty reserve currency then Stamp Script doesn't have to retire. The fact that it needs simply reflects the currency centralization created by our privateering banks. Money goes to the Headquarters and to the wealthiest people in the world who essentially hoard it as a commodity. It doesn't stay in local circulation. In his day it was the same.

"There are also some of us who believe Stamp Scrip to be more than a temporary auxiliary currency for the present emergency, believing that (if its volume and stampintervals were regulated according to varying conditions) it would be the best regulator of monetary speed, which is the most baffling factor in stabilizing the price level."

As it is Stamp Scripts have tended to be temporary. When money is available and easy to get, who needs to pay a stamp every week? But for local government, the ability to pay bills right away, and enable people to pay for things based on their income and credit -- without paying usury -- is just as necessary now as it was during the great depression.

Irving Fisher included "some of the goodnatured and open-minded give-and-take which occurred between Senator Bankhead and his colleagues when he introduced his and Congressman Pettengill's proposed stamp scrip legislation.":

Mr. Bankhead:

"Mr. President, the Bible says, 'The love of money is the root of all evil.' I think that statement may safely be paraphrased at this time by saying that a lack of money is the cause of most of our present troubles. We hear at all times nowadays discussion of the money question. We know the very great and difficult problems that are confronting our country, growing out of our situation with reference to money. Bank credits since 1929 have contracted in the neighborhood of $13,000,000,000, and are daily growing smaller and smaller. Nearly every day information comes to us about the condition of banks in the various sections of the country. It is not my purpose, Mr. President, to make any statement here that will tend in any way to aggravate the situation or to increase the state of alarm that so widely exists throughout the country, but we do know, without going into detail, the money condition in this country.

And Mr Bankhead continued:

"We have now a theoretical circulation of as much as or more money outstanding from the Treasury than we had in 1929; but Mr. President, we are confronted with the unfortunate situation that $300,000,000 of that circulation, as estimated by the Federal Reserve Board, is in foreign countries; that $100,000,000 of it has been lost; and that more than $2,000,000,000, in my opinion, is being hoarded; so that we are really without a sufficient circulating medium in actual use. "So far as the hoarded money is concerned, it might as well be idle in the vaults of the Treasury and not be outstanding . . . . We shall either have to take some positive, affirmative action on that subject, or decide that we will go through the painful, distressing, heart-breaking process of complete liquidation in this country."

Hoarded money is the US term for what Keynes called in more fancy language a "liquidity trap."

"If we are going to liquidate, why not let liquidation go on now and take its regular course? If we are going to let the farmers lose their farms, if we are going to let the town people lose their homes, if we are going to let bank after bank continue to fail, if liquidation is to be the ultimate result, why not abolish the Reconstruction Finance Corporation? Why not quit pouring money into various institutions like pouring water into a rat hole? Why further involve the credit of the nation and further burden the taxpayers of this country if it is merely to be used as a braking process to let the liquidation take place slower and slower?"

Bankhead was being rhetorical. But the thing about a Depression, is that unchecked it can result in a "failed state", or a complete collapse of an economy. So he continued:

""Mr. President, if there is to be liquidation, I want to point out to the gentlemen who are coming here and telling us to balance the Budget and to save the old standard - and I favor both if it is possible to do so - that if liquidation goes to its ultimate end, not only will the farmers and the small business men in this country be liquidated, but inevitably the cities, the States, the counties, and the Government itself will be liquidated; and the time will come when it will be impossible to collect enough taxes from the taxpayers of this country, after having lost their property, to pay the interest or the sinking fund upon the bonds of our cities, counties, States, and the United States."

In short our money is built on a wealth of goods, institutions, homes and prosperity, not the other way around. Those with wealth forget that.

"That is exactly what we are heading for, unless, through some intervention, through some plan or measure which might be devised by Congress or by some international action, there comes about a restoration of business, an increase in commodity prices, a renewal of the employment of those now upon the unemployed list . . . . " []

Sounds like now. Of course the same effect as they were proposing could be accomplished by using treasury money to pay people. But the goal of a stamp script is to provide temporary notes. I would suggest that stamp script be used for "future contracts" type notes; someone is to get paid next month, pay the with the script with the due date being payday. More importantly since the Constitution prohibits states and municipalities from having their own money the Federal Government should provide treasury services to States and municipalities so that they don't get treated badly by the wealthy.

Further Reading
Hard to read/poor translation:
More on Stamp Scripts:
A Biography of Gesell:
Related Articles:
Our Officers earn themselves a "black spot" -- piracy in Business Government
The Great Deformation -- Introduction to the "Good Money" debate
The only trickle down I see, are them marking my feet
Long Con Swindle of America, legalizing swindles through corrupt politics --
Money isn’t a Bubble or a Ponzi Scheme (or Shouldn’t be)
"Coddling" the Giant Oligarchic Companies
Satan's Usury, John Turmel and some basic observation about our Banking system
Postal Banking, Stamp Scripts and fixing our economic system

Monday, February 23, 2015

Yanis Varoufakis and the Importance of Saving Europe

In the Article by the Greek leader and politician Yanis Varoufakis: How I became an erratic Marxist [] he explains why some Marxian concepts still have currency, some of why Marx's efforts failed and at the same time mounts a defense of Marxism! As a syncretist I've learned to learn from multiple POVs and not to attach to any particular one. As usual the Marxists are experts at diagnosing societies ills, as long as one isn't talking about their own. Yanis here is making a deep critique and we need to read him carefully -- and critically:

Yanis writes:

"In 2008, capitalism had its second global spasm. The financial crisis set off a chain reaction that pushed Europe into a downward spiral that continues to this day. Europe’s present situation is not merely a threat for workers, for the dispossessed, for the bankers, for social classes or, indeed, nations. No, Europe’s current posture poses a threat to civilisation as we know it." [Erratic Marxist]

The financial crisis set off a downward spiral because the delicate state of most users of money and borrowers, made them a target of the superior power and "ownership" of creditors. Even before 2008 countries, like Greece, Iceland and Spain had been induced to borrow huge amounts of money at interest, which was not spent on actual capital improvements and which was used to fatten the pockets of a few people but could not be repaid by them. Worse international banks were swindled into buying mortgage backed securities that had been sold fraudulently.

Opportunity or End Times?

But the Marxian POV has that Judeo-Christian-Muslim escatology without the God Belief. And so Yanis sees the opportunity in disaster, but doesn't believe in the resiliency of European Civilization. He also doesn't have much faith the ability of radicals to replace it. I believe he is right. Solutions are needed, but whether radical or not hinges on what one means by "radical." He continues:

"If my prognosis is correct, and we are not facing just another cyclical slump soon to be overcome, the question that arises for radicals is this: should we welcome this crisis of European capitalism as an opportunity to replace it with a better system? Or should we be so worried about it as to embark upon a campaign for stabilising European capitalism?" [Erratic Marxist]

The issue with disaster is that the activist often sees disaster as an opportunity to let something be destroyed in order to replace it with something better. Marxists even went so far as to wage war on Capitalism, thinking the "end justifies the means" and going to extraordinary, violent and sometimes counter-productive means to do so. It not only failed to transform anything, but it sabotaged the integrity of those who subsumed ethics and compassion for violence, sabotage and betrayal. Writers like Arthur Koestler documented this corruption in Books like "Darkness at Noon". Maybe Marxists have learned from their failures? But the bigger question is; did their enemies learn from theirs or will they use their propaganda, power and influence over ordinary people to hold onto power. Yanis seems to believe the later is the more likely possibility:

"To me, the answer is clear. Europe’s crisis is far less likely to give birth to a better alternative to capitalism than it is to unleash dangerously regressive forces that have the capacity to cause a humanitarian bloodbath, while extinguishing the hope for any progressive moves for generations to come." [Erratic Marxist]

Maybe they have learned. But not all of them:

""For this view I have been accused, by well-meaning radical voices, of being “defeatist” and of trying to save an indefensible European socioeconomic system. This criticism, I confess, hurts. And it hurts because it contains more than a kernel of truth." [Erratic Marxist]

The Bolsheviks believed that the crisis caused by WWI and the 1929 crashes was their opportunity to impose communism world-wide. Instead former Socialists like Mussolini bolted the cause and led a counter-reformation known as fascism.

When you are talking about "capitalism" -- it's not the ideology that is dangerous it is the machine; the laws, the structures, the institutions. Individual capitalists can be Bolsheviks in their hearts and will still oppress workers, buy rivals, make deals with nasties, and play the game of monopoly. So essentially "capitalism" whatever the propaganda and professed ideology is "the game of monopoly" played out on the board of international finance and trade. The institutions we've set up are faulty and they are designed to fail because the game is designed so that it can be partially optimized. Partially optimized means that all can fail and the system is designed for them to fail unless they become monopolists.

Sadly the European Union was sold as a Union modeled after the Successful United States Model with improvements. But due to the difficulty of combining historically separate States and the power and influence of Centralized Bankers and Conglomerates on the process and design of the EU, it was created with a massive bureaucracy, concentration of powers in the wrong people, and yes, Yanis is right to say:

"I share the view that this European Union is typified by a large democratic deficit" [Erratic Marxist]

-- meaning that the Union itself, whatever the state of government of it's parts was designed to be dominated by bureaucrats who essentially are working for the central banks, who in turn are working for the Security State, the Giant Conglomerates and the Giant Banks. The Union itself fails to have genuine representation for all it's people and thus is a conservative institution. Worse it has the privateering banking model which created the plantation system that defined Colonialism, and the corporate Factory and predatory banking system that has defined neo-colonialism:

Faulty Monetary Architecture!

"that, in combination with the denial of the faulty architecture of its monetary union, has put Europe’s peoples on a path to permanent recession." [Erratic Marxist]

-- Faulty Architecture!!! For a single currency to work it must have built in central controls and subsidiarity in it's issuance. The European Union reverses that order. The Euro is essentially an alliance of central banks at cross purposes. At the local level. Yanis seems to believe that stepping out of the Euro might be the answer. But He also knows that the elements of the European Union still need each other.

He continues:

"I also bow to the criticism that I have campaigned on an agenda founded on the assumption that the left was, and remains, squarely defeated. I confess I would much rather be promoting a radical agenda, the raison d’être of which is to replace European capitalism with a different system."[Erratic Marxist]

The problem with Marxists is that they don't have the resilience to accept that a defeat for faulty marxist ideas is a victory for human progress. If the concept of "dialectic" has any merit it's in the realization that history never ends, that life is a constant dialogue of change and challenges. And that

"Yet my aim here is to offer a window into my view of a repugnant European capitalism whose implosion, despite its many ills, should be avoided at all costs. It is a confession intended to convince radicals that we have a contradictory mission: to arrest the freefall of European capitalism in order to buy the time we need to formulate its alternative."[Erratic Marxist]

What are the Alternatives

Our current Capitalist system is repugnant, but people are used to it and loyal to it. So when someone criticizes it they see that as treachery. When it fails they try to save it. When folks want to replace it they hire armies to kill them.

"A radical social theorist can challenge the economic mainstream in two different ways, I always thought. One way is by means of immanent criticism. To accept the mainstream’s axioms and then expose its internal contradictions. To say: “I shall not contest your assumptions but here is why your own conclusions do not logically flow on from them.” This was, indeed, Marx’s method of undermining British political economics. He accepted every axiom by Adam Smith and David Ricardo in order to demonstrate that, in the context of their assumptions, capitalism was a contradictory system. "[Erratic Marxist]

The system we currently operate under has it's own internal contradictions; faulty assumptions leading to dysfunctional policy suggestions. But the ones identified by Marx and his followers were only part of the equation.

But to criticize a system one has to have alternatives:

"The second avenue that a radical theorist can pursue is, of course, the construction of alternative theories to those of the establishment, hoping that they will be taken seriously."[Erratic Marxist]

Because of the fact that people will try to protect their own power, wealth and survive even the most destructive system:

"the powers that be are never perturbed by theories that embark from assumptions different to their own."[Erratic Marxist]

-- nobody is going to make changes until they have to...

"The only thing that can destabilise and genuinely challenge mainstream, neoclassical economists is the demonstration of the internal inconsistency of their own models."[Erratic Marxist]

But the trouble is that when internal inconsistencies come up, cognitive dissonance pops up. E. Kubler Ross's "stages of mourning" never get past the denial and anger stage as long as there is any hope that the patient (the economy) can survive. Folks whose place in hierarchy depend on being subservient to their masters would rather folks further down the hierarchy die or starve than challenge that hierarchy. Revolution is more difficult than it seems, especially if folks bolt from that hierarchy and form one of their own. Two hierarchies is a recipe for war not peaceful change.

Actually, destabilizing and challenging a mainstream is usually counterproductive. When a system is badly constituted that bad constitutions manifests as dysfunction, oppression, and collapse. That is what happened to the Bolsheviks, to Fascists and is happening now. When that happens to a system, the cons are usually waiting with an offered solution. If the rest of us have a better solution waiting on the bench we can offer that instead. Yanis goes on in the article to explain what he consider's Marxisms failures. But I'm more interested in what we can do to save our world, save capitalists from themselves, and make this world better.

Further readings

To read the rest of the article open up the Guardian. I may critique the rest of his article at a later time.

Yanis varoufakis: How I became an erratic Marxist []
Related Articles:
Our Officers earn themselves a "black spot" -- piracy in Business Government
The Great Deformation -- Introduction to the "Good Money" debate
The only trickle down I see, are them marking my feet
Long Con Swindle of America, legalizing swindles through corrupt politics --
Money isn’t a Bubble or a Ponzi Scheme (or Shouldn’t be)
"Coddling" the Giant Oligarchic Companies
Satan's Usury, John Turmel and some basic observation about our Banking system
Postal Banking, Stamp Scripts and fixing our economic system

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mazikim Poisoned Archetypes, Ideological Conflict, Israel and Social Domination

Myths Dominate our Lives -- to the Detriment of Rational Behavior

I can't be too tough on those defending Israel. I understand where they are coming from. Latent anti-jewish anti-semitism infects Christians, Muslims, even some secular Jews. When the Rabbis warned the Zionist movement of the dangers of re-creating a Jewish State in the historic Boundaries of Israel and they warned of them "waking up sleeping demons" [“mazikin,” literally -- “damagers.”] the expression was a metaphor but it expresses a reality. In their view secular Jews who were also non-believers would stir up trouble by breaking the law of Torah.

But some of them also understood this in it's metaphorical figurative sense. Social conflict is built on poisonous images and their related feelings and imperatives. And Jews defending their secular rights in a highly religious Muslim context would be awakening Christian and Muslim prejudices against those who are "heretical" and that would stir up these archetypical and religious demons. And of course for some of the Hasidim Zionism represented a resurrection of the Somewhat secular Zionism of Shabbetai Tzvi who was willing to nominally convert to Islam in order to get the Turks to let his people move back to Israel in the 1600s. Tzionism woke up Haredi Mazakim too. And with the rise of religious ultranationalism this has shown itself to be as damaging as that of the Christians and Muslims. The dueling and mutually fueling Archetypes of the three religions burn like poisons in the middle east now. And the heat from them is ignoring fires across the world. The Rabbis were afraid of something inevitable. Jews were in Palestine since long before Shabbetai Tsvi and this dream was bound to have people make it true. And with the dreams come the nightmares. Mazakim are the damaging images we carry around in our hearts. They manifest in irrational behavior and in dreams. {}

Poisoned Archetypes

Our feelings represent archetypes derived from myths and legends and sometimes our own actual personal history. These feelings are manipulated by Social Dominators, but they are like the Mazikin the Rabbis mention. They damage our ability to deal with each other humanely and rationally. In Social Dominance theory the myths are called "Hierarchy Enhancing" myths, but the psychology of them is more Jungian than anything else. Archetypes dominate our thinking consciously or unconsciously even if we don't go along with the Dominators who use them destructively to freeboot their way into fame and fortune.

And it's all over the place. Not just in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict or the anti-semitism aroused by it. It's even in conflicts seemingly totally unrelated. For some Russophiles the conflict in Ukraine is seen as a war of modern day "conquistadors" -- the same myths recycled for a new purpose. And it's not just old myths; the "Capitalist"/"Worker" conflicts are seen through mythic lenses. Our earlier Socialists/Bolsheviks especially and Fascists alike, invented new myths. Instead of dealing with our myths we keep adding new layers. So Darwinism becomes "Social Darwinism" and when Christians recoil against Social Darwinism, the clever Social Darwinians deflect their repulsion to the theory of Evolution.

Thus all these are dueling myths. And the avatars of these dueling myths are figuratively "Mazikim" -- who haunt people's sleep. I'm calling them Poisoned Archtypes. They pop out of our unconscious in visceral reactions to seemingly innocent phenomena. That evoke archetypes.

Like the Story in the French Novel "Trilby" that resurrected the "Eternal Jew", "Judas" and the Christian demonic archetype about Jews as the character "Zvengali" who has haunted literature, often in hidden forms such as, ironically, the Nazi Scientists in movies such as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark of the Covenant. [See Wikipedia article: []] The image has been manipulated and resurrected in countless forms by social dominators and folks seeking to use prejudice to oppress others.

This archetype gets resurrected again and again. Sometimes when someone is doing business with Jewish businessmen, sometimes in personal relationships. It is, figuratively, a "Mazikim" and it is a very real personal prejudice in a "recognition pattern" that even the most enlightened carry around in them as a cultural heritage. Sometimes it transfers to other ethnicities, such as Scots. If it were the only archetype poisoning world relations it might not be so bad. But it's not.

Zionism and Social Dominance

I started an article on this subject before seeing Tucker Carlson's Gaffe. I was raised a Christian and was Born Again for a while. I learned and ingested all the myths from the New Testament to preachings of charlatans including Martin Luther and Calvin. I know that the existence of Israel incites the minds of Christians in ways that are haunted with echoes of Roman atrocities, the destruction of the Second Temple, the Byzantines and their long war with the Arabs and then the Turks. All that haunts the three great religions with myths and legends, prejudices and visceral hates. It distorts the psyche and destroys generations of lives with conflict and war.

And the Poison is just beneath the surface

TPM reports an incident with Tucker Carlson and his daily caller:

The article, written by Maj. Gen. Jerry R. Curry, a retired US Army veteran and former assistant to the Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush administrations, argued that Muslim terrorists targeting Jews will soon turn to other groups such as Christians, “just as the Nazis did” during World War II.

So the Nazis have become a mythic group with mythic leaders, mythic powers and a set of lessons that justify Blitzkreig against nasty dictators or they will kill millions.

“If today the civilized world, led by the United States, doesn’t stand up and speak out for Israel and the world’s Jews, when Islam comes for the Christians, and it will come, there will be no one left to speak for them,” Curry wrote.

Islam is about a Trillion people. But Catholics alone are another Trillion. So this is more the expression of Curry's personal demons than any rational fear. Mazakim.

But what made the article crazy was the original headline:

"A glaring headline which read, “Kill All The Jews And When That Is Done Kill Those That Refused To Defend Them,” was published on Tuesday.

If a man commits murder being drunk doesn't excuse him. Why? Because a drunk man does what he is thinking of doing but wouldn't do sober. Which means that whatever the excuses the intentionality is revealed! Whether they meant it consciously or unconsciously the images of Auschwitz, the Inquisition and the Jews killed in the crusades by our "Christian" European Ancestors haunt Curry and the rest of us.

"Curry’s article has since been given a different headline and a note was added beneath it: “Correction: The original headline on this op-ed was wildly inarticulate and perverted the meaning of the piece. We apologize.”

Those arrows were loosed because of the "mazakim" that reside in anti-semitic and Western Hero myths. The image of the victims of Auschwitz have become their own "Mazakim" in the consciousnesses of those of us who live with them. We can either heal from events or let them damage us. But they play into other, newer (more or less) myths. Such as this from Curry's article:

"Now in the Middle East Muslim nations like Iran are publicly saying they want to kill every Jew on the face of the earth. So why shouldn’t the Jews want to sit down and negotiate they ask. Hitler and the Nazis, with the quiescence of the League of Nations, were leading a word wide assault not just on the Jews but also on the world’s Christians, like cleric Niemoeller. Today Muslims, with the quiescence of the United Nations, are leading an assault on the world’s liberty and freedom just as the Nazis did, and again no one is protesting."

Of course is that what they are really saying, or are they expressing their own poisoned Archetypes. Israel has Atomic Bombs. It treats the rebellious among it's own Muslim minorities like dirt sometimes. The fear of even negotiating with Iran represents the fear that the Iranians will just see negotiation as weakness. It's also could be an expression of irrational fears that exaggerate the danger from the Iranians and the risk of the Iranians getting the bomb. Would they really destroy Israel? Do the Shia really plan homicide? I don't think so. They want Israel to end as a country because it stirs up their own Mazakim.

And the images of the Holocaust and a great weight of past conflict and history weigh on Europeans who take up the Palestinian cause and on Muslims and Palestinians. It gets in the way of rational thinking. Because of dealing with real people we are like Don Quixote on ergot and seeing our "Mazakim" stereotypes/archetypes instead of the people we are talking to. This will only get worse unless people start educating themselves again and THINKING. The Mazakim are our internal demons. They aren't Gods.

Daily Caller Article: []

Further Reading

Romaniote Jews, Shabbetai Tzvi
Tucker Carlson Drunk
Comments about Ukraine reflect the language in this article:
The ARchetype is in the title "Corporations Are The New Conquistadors : Ukraine" []
More on Mazakim
The Mazakim in myth are related to the Daughters of Lilith. Mythically, they are related to the Japanese Kishimojin and her children and the Buddhist Goddess Hariti. So the archetype is common around the world. Both Lilith and Kishimojin were spiritual vampires. And their children are spiritual entities that haunt dreams. They are like the two wolves in the North American indigenous tale. "We all have two wolves; one vicious and the other kind. The one who wins is the one we feed. So Rabbis who take this too literally are afraid of ancient pagan demon Gods. Who manifest as Jungian Archetypes.

The Goddess of mosquitos

For more on Social Dominance please read these prior posts:
When it all Falls Apart: []
Why the Myths Are Bad []
Are you A Social Dominator? []
Fighting Authoritarianism: []
Understanding Social Dominance Theory []
Authoritarians and Totalitarians Reviewing Altemeyer's book: []

Ode to Plutonium: Oh Fukushima!

Plutonium, named after the Ruler of hell
Invented in a science lab
Created in artificial Uranium hells
They call them reactor wells.
Uranium, Thorium, names that ought to strike fear.
Radioactive things that decay slowly, over thousands of years.
Til, tiny particles no one can ever see,
Fly out of atoms and strike them.
Then the fun begins.
Uranium, Thorium, can radioactively decay.
There are certain of their children who are dangerous and fey
And plutonium is a member of that game.
Plutonium can do more than decay.
It can break in two
Plutonium! made by the pennyweight, made by the ton
Turned into bombs, dropped on Nagasaki,
Built into armories, that can destroy cities by the thousands.
Monstrous Giant Spears of Death. Armaggedon's key.
Oh Fukushima! and we put them into water.
We put them into water to heat it to a boil
We sold it to the world, as a means to save men from toil
Plutonium would save the world
from toil and pain.
Plutonium would provide boundless energy
So cold northerners would never freeze again
But with barbaric idiocy,
they put it in bottles that break
And when they broke, they broke with mighty energy.
Oh Fukushima!
No water! It gets hot
Fuel Rods melt. Zirconium burns!
The storage pools are on top of the reactors
They melt and burn too.
Fires burn, hot and unstoppable
As plutonium and U235 do what they do
They melt together and each atom breaks!
That is what they did!
Oh Fukushima!
Scatter and burn! Each fission reaction releases a stew of children!
Plutonium becomes barium and strontium!
It "bursts" when a neutron hits it
becoming a smoking, melting metallic stew.
They call this stew corium.
Oh Furkushima Corium!
It is a blob, a monster, an ever burning fiery magma.
So hot it burns water!
So unstoppable it burns through the places man thought he
A Creature of nightmares and holocausts.
A Child of Hope and hate.
A man-made Demon.
Smoking into the air, dissolving into the water.
Monster Corium! Oh Fukushima!
This demon released;
That only the hubris of men thinks can be contained.
that erupted, erupts into the world as a spirit of death.
... and maybe end our lives.
Forming Hot particles that burn humans to death.
spreading around the world in plumes, radioactive wreaths.
Poisoning the North Atlantic, North America with fallout in dust and rain.
A statistical nightmare of Cancers, leukemias, weakness and pain.
It burns til it is all smoke. And it kills all manner of folk
Far from where it is released.
Oh Fukushima!
Will you kill us all?

Raymond Alcide Joseph: Earthquakes, Oppression and Haiti


Raymond Alcide Joseph (born August 31, 1931) is a Haitian diplomat, political activist and journalist. He was the Haitian ambassador to the United States from 2005 to 2010, when he resigned to present himself as a candidate in the 2010 Presidential Election in Haiti. He is the uncle of singer and rapper Wyclef Jean.

My wife, got to work with him and meet him when she was trying to organize student activities for her students at Howard University and showcase Ethiopian and Haitian multiculturalism. Matilde Raquel Holte was a teacher first, but in her own way she was also an activist. As a "Adjunct Professor", "visiting scholar", "Researcher" and Scholar she was able to go places other activists couldn't go and bridge political gaps that otherwise would never get bridged. We met Ambassador Joseph at an event held by the Ethiopian Embassy. I believe it was before the Earthquake. We also saw him again when the Ethiopians sponsored an event to try to help Haiti after it's big earthquake in 2010. My wife was interested in civil rights, multiculturalism, religious diaspora, Jews in the diaspora, and other diaspora's such as the one of African peoples. As such we got invited and I was there as "husband of", sometimes with my Camera, sometimes just trying to absorb all the information. I think I snapped this picture using our electronic Camera. But I'm not sure, I can't find it in my archives, so this may have been snapped by someone at the embassy because the only copy I can find is a grainy print on ordinary paper. I found it while looking up something else. Haiti and Ethiopia happened to be on my mind. This reminded me how I think he's one of the heros of his country. Ambassador Joseph was therefore already on my mind, so I immediately scanned by copy. His Facebook Home page is here:

In 2010 Haiti had a disaster, remember? Probably not. I do. It was horrendous. People died, not only from the Quake, but from neglect. Haiti was already a disaster before the Earthquake, and so the people were very fragile. A lot of folks died from that quake. And the country has been neglected since the beginning.

Modern History is grounded in Ancient History. And both Haiti and Ethiopia have a proud history as independent nations. And were independent, and to the consternation of White Folks, were "black" countries, where white skin was the anomaly. My wife, with her interest in multiculturalism and syncretism found both countries remarkable. I do too. I was privileged to visit the Embassy as "husband of" something I could never do as a Federal Contractor employee supporting IT operations and new development. I got to take the pictures. Including I think this one. We heard testimony from one Ethiopian Jew who was surprised when he left Ethiopia to find out there was such a thing as white Jews. Thanks to her I also met a member of the Lemba tribe who had had the same experience from his community near the border between South Africa and Mozambique.

At the conference on Ethiopian Jews, we heard testimony from "Beta Israel" (House Israel) Jews who, on leaving Ethiopia, were shocked that any Jews could ever be white. When they got to Israel they ran into discrimination from Ashkenazi Jews who were surprised Jews could be anything but what they were used to. And Ethiopians have paid a price for their independence in other ways.

For more on the Ethiopians see this article:

Haiti: Paying a Price for Independence


For more on Haitian History (detail) read:
Bonapartism and Haiti
Further Reading:
Bonapartism and Haiti []
Declaration of Independence
Online Sources & Further reading for Haiti:

*Note, reading these histories is fascinating because they all parse the story differently. I have my own memories of actual physical books I've read and so the online accounts, in the way they contradict each other or support one another, helped me recall the histories I already knew from talking to a variety of people and reading a variety of physical books. But most are abysmally bad and gloss over details.

Actual book: Robert Heinl (1996). Written in Blood: The Story of the Haitian People, 1492-1995. Lantham, Maryland: University Press of America.
The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below By Carolyn E. Fick

Ethiopia; economic isolation versus neo-colonialism



This is a piece of a larger article I'm still working on.

It turns out that Ethiopia has two communities that claim a tie with Jewish people. I knew about the explicitly Ethiopian Jews. They once had had their own country which endured for centuries in the Ethiopian Highlands. It was their experience my wife wrote about and encouraged some of her students to do papers on, and so was involved in these embassy events to highlight. It also turns out that Ethiopian Christians also claim a relationship with Israel. Their ruling dynasty, the Kings of Aksum, claimed descent through the Queen of Sheba. Many Ethiopians claim that Ethiopians were Jewish even before they converted to Christianity. Due to lifestyle and proximity to "Beta Israel" communities over millennia this relationship goes back to when Israel and Judah were independent Kingdoms and lasted through the centuries. Ethiopia represents a syncretism between Egyptian, Arabian/Middle Eastern and African cultures. It's language is an ancient language that has evolved over centuries under influences from that syncretism. It's people's center of culture was once on the Red Sea and they once dominated trade in the region.

The Ethiopians who controlled trade along the red sea were related to the Nubians and to tribes across the Red Sea in Arabia. And their Kings seem to have ruled multi-Ethnic kingdoms as Feudal "Kings of Kings" more on the Babylonian/Persian ancient model than a centralizing hegemonic empire in the Greek or Roman Style. And as such the Christian Kingdom sheltered the followers of Mohammed when he first began preaching, which protected them, for a time, from the depredations of fanatical freebooting Arabs. Eventually that relationship failed and tribes along the coast were either converted or forced to flee into the Mountains. And that is how the Modern Kingdom of Ethiopia gradually moved it's center of power to where it is now. It's also how the historical Center of Ethiopia, Eritrea, came to be a Muslim country. There was no "reconquista" because after centuries of depredations by the Arabs and Persians (now Muslim) the Christians came back from Europe, but this time they came a privateers and colonial powers, not as friends. The Christians wanted those coastal cities as stations for their fleets. Later they wanted them as coaling stations for their fleets. Fleets of "tall" merchant and war ships with heavy cannon loaded on multiple decks could blow away most smaller lighter merchants. And European Countries preyed on each other but ganged up on Muslim sailors. Ethiopia was cutoff from the Ocean and survived in isolation in the mountains too until it broke out of its isolation in the 20th century.
For more on Ethiopia:

Friday, February 20, 2015

Postal Banking, Stamp Scripts and fixing our economic system


Three Articles came out recently that show that John Turmel's

and other ideas previously considered "moonbat" are becoming mainstream. I guess that is why one of the articles ["A maverick currency scheme from the 1930s could save the Greek economy" ] is by George Monbiot (;-)) All of them involve the growing realization that our cycle of booms and busts, bubbles and swindles, is a design flaw, a worldwide constitutional flaw. This has to be fixed. And even the wealthy are starting to see that.

After describing the mess created by Austerity and an upside down European Confederation constitution. Monbiot notes a number of "radical" seeming ideas:

"One of these radical ideas was proposed a few months ago by Martin Wolf in the Financial Times. He suggests stripping private banks of their remarkable power to create money out of thin air. Simply by issuing credit, they spawn between 95% and 97% of the money supply. If the state were to assert a monopoly on money creation, governments could increase their supply without increasing debt. Seigniorage (the difference between the cost of producing money and its value) would accrue to the state, adding billions of pounds to national coffers. The banks would be reduced to the servants, not the masters, of the economy." []

Of course this only makes sense due to the fact that our banks are constituted as privateers. They have a letter of marquee to make money and no restrictions on who they levy broadsides at in the process. And they do it with printed money ostensibly based on deposits from customers. However, on the other hand, Monbiot also notes that as Ann Pettifor notes:

"governments have failed to understand what money is. It should not be seen as a commodity, she says, but as a social relationship based on trust."

And of course because Banks create money taking away that power simply threatens to collapse the system even faster than banks do when the input of the "money multiplier" becomes negative. The problem is that money also is a token of wealth and a measure of wealth. If there isn't enough money in circulation for everyone to pay employees and buy stuff, the economy collapses. So while she's right that banks have been an improvement over the old usurous money lenders and over loan sharks. They do engage in usury by the mere fact of charging interest on money that really should be the property of the Governments. Martin Wolf is right and Ann Pettifor is only partly right. She should read John Turmel he nailed what is wrong with the system. Still Monbiot quotes her and notes:

"The supply of money is, in effect, unlimited: as long as there is sufficient productive activity to absorb it there is no obvious restraint on the amount of money that can be issued. So when governments and central bankers tell you that the money has run out, Pettifor argues, they are either deceiving us or deceiving themselves. What holds back economic activity is an unnecessary and artificial restriction of the medium of exchange." [Monbiot continued]

Silvio Gesell and Stamp Scripts

This is practically John Turmel verbatum. But Ann Pettifor claims "Banking’s great civilisational advance has been all but destroyed through deregulation" which is like blaming the cops for a bank robbery. But while Monbiot references both these writers. The heart of this subject is in a book, The Future of Money and in some real life applications of the ideas of Silvio Gesell. People driven by a shortage of valid money started creating their own money locally. Monbiot explains:

"In its original form, stamp scrip was a piece of paper on which a number of boxes were printed. The note would lose its validity unless a stamp costing 1% of its value was stuck in one of the boxes every month. In other words, the currency lost value over time, so there was no incentive to hoard it. Stamp scrip projects took off across Germany and Austria after national currencies collapsed in the early 1930s. In 1932, for example, the Austrian town of Wörgl was almost broke, unable to finance public works or to support its destitute population, until the mayor heard of Gesell’s proposal." [Monbiot continued]
This little pot of money kept circulating, enabling Wörgl to repave the streets, rebuild the water system He put up the town’s tiny remaining fund as collateral against the same value of stamp scrip, and used it to pay for a building project. The workers then passed on the currency as quickly as they could. Like the magic pudding, this little pot of money kept circulating, enabling Wörgl to repave the streets, rebuild the water system, construct houses, a bridge and even a ski jump. In the 13 months of the experiment, the 5,500 scrip schillings in circulation were spent 416 times, creating between 12 and 14 times as much employment as the standard currency would have done. Unemployment vanished, and the stamp fees paid for a soup kitchen feeding 220 families. [Monbiot continued]

So local money worked so well that where it was allowed it put people back to work and "cured" depression. Very encouraging. Sadly the Banksters were more important than the people and owned the government enough to nix this idea. Monbiot continues:

The governments of Germany and Austria, profoundly threatened by the success of these projects, shut them down and employment collapsed once more. When the US economist Irving Fisher examined these experiments he concluded that “the correct application of stamp scrip would solve the depression crisis in the US in three weeks!”. Roosevelt’s government, aware that such currencies could invoke a massive loss of federal power, promptly banned it.

Irving Fisher pushed this plan in the USA but couldn't get it accepted. But the Austrians? You'd think ole Ludwig Von Mises would have been an enthusiast for the idea. And after all he was:

“Engelbert Dollfuss [sc. was] ... the Austrian Chancellor who tried to prevent the Nazis from taking over Austria. During this period Mises was chief economist for the Austrian Chamber of Commerce. Before Dollfuss was murdered for his politics, Mises was one of his closest advisers.”

[Hans-Hermann Hoppe, “The Meaning of the Mises Papers,”, April 1997]

So not to belabor the point. Von Mises wasn't really interested in Local Money and in squashed Wörgl's stamp script idea like a bug. I've quoted Von MIses and his history directly from books before. I'm quoting a blog for convenience. He, like EVERY SINGLE AUSTRIAN SCHOOL ECONOMIST preferred:

"“In tackling the economic crisis the Dollfuss-Schuschnigg dictatorship pursued harsh deflationary policies designed to balance the budget and stabilize the currency. The government’s program featured severe spending cuts, high interest rates, and frozen wages. …. In a sense the Christian Corporative regime demonstrated the viability of the Austrian state, but it did so at the cost of alienating a majority of the Austrian people. On the eve of Anschluss a third of the population was still out of work, while those fortunate enough to have jobs were bringing home paychecks considerably smaller than before the Great War”

Von Mises later gives Gesell's ideas lip service, but the reality is that their solution to economy is banker rule and all the talk about doing away with Central Banks is aimed at getting them out of the way of privatizing money. Now Austria may have done better than the United States. But Von Mises' alienation of Austrian working people (and pretty much everyone else) is probably what put him so easily in German sapper targets. Von Mises fled Austria to move to Switzerland in the wake of Dolfuss' assassination. And contributing to that was that, instead of looking out for everyone, he imposed austerity. Van Hayek would later give the exact same economic and political policy advice to the Chilean Dictator Pinochet. So much for smaller government - but they will make it part of their propaganda.

"Linked to an exhausted determination of the Austrian government to resist the pressures from Germany, the economic crisis of the 1930s should be seen as an additional reason why the Austrian society was receptive to the annexation by Germany in March 1938” (Gerlich and Campbell 2000: 55)."

As to why the United States failed to apply Fisher's ideas. That is part of the narrative I'm driving at. If we want to fix our economy permanently we have to fix our banking system and money system. Not just in the USA but worldwide. And the reason that Roosevelt and Fisher couldn't implement Gesell's ideas is one reason that we are facing similar problems again. The good news is that Fisher never shut up, and Gesell's ideas are making a come back as folks like Monbiot and others start to listen to Chomsky and those who picked up the standard. Gesell's ideas were tried both during the Great Depression and also in the middle 2004-2008 period when Argentina's economy collapsed after the IMF and World Banking community attacked their currency and forced them off of 1:1 exchange with the dollar. I experienced this first hand while visiting the country, seeing local articles about how ordinary entrepreneurial Argentines homesteaded factories abandoned by the economic elites and failed companies.

Next Article

Irving Fisher and Stamp Script []

Further Reading
Hard to read/poor translation:
More on Stamp Scripts:
A Biography of Gesell:
Related Articles:
Our Officers earn themselves a "black spot" -- piracy in Business Government
The Great Deformation -- Introduction to the "Good Money" debate
The only trickle down I see, are them marking my feet
Long Con Swindle of America, legalizing swindles through corrupt politics --
Money isn’t a Bubble or a Ponzi Scheme (or Shouldn’t be)
"Coddling" the Giant Oligarchic Companies
Worstall, Krugman and John Henry -- Why we need minimum wages at the minimum []
Satan's Usury, John Turmel and some basic observation about our Banking system
Postal Banking, Stamp Scripts and fixing our economic system

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Trinity Church and Captain Kidd

Aristocracy, Trinity Church and Commoners

The first thing I noticed was that successful pirates joined the gentry. Unsuccessful ones were hung. This is illustrated by the tale of Captain Kidd who was elevated to Captain "pirate style" and not due to his family relations like most officers during the 9 years war "War of the Grand Alliance" [1688-1697]:

"By 1689 he was a member of a French-English pirate crew that sailed in the Caribbean. Kidd and other members of the crew mutinied, ousted the captain off the ship, and sailed to the British colony of Nevis. There they renamed the ship Blessed William. Kidd became captain, either the result of an election of the ship's crew or because of appointment by Christopher Codrington, governor of the island of Nevis. Captain Kidd and Blessed William became part of a small fleet assembled by Codrington to defend Nevis from the French, with whom the English were at war."

They were granted "Letters of marquee by the Governor, because that is the way that the English paid for Naval Warfare:

"Kidd and his men attacked the French island of Mariegalante, destroyed the only town, and looted the area, gathering for themselves something around 2,000 pounds Sterling." [Wikipedia article makes a great first stop: []

Continuing the fight:

"Kidd captured an enemy privateer off the New England coast."

But of course the borders between piracy and privateering were thin:

"One year later [1690], Captain Robert Culliford, a notorious pirate, stole Kidd's ship while he was ashore at Antigua in the West Indies." [Wikipedia article makes a great first stop: []

When you read about Robert Culliford. Culliford partisans claim Kidd was a pirate and that Culliford started as Kidd's Shipmate and "repeatedly check[ed] the designs" through his career. According to them Culliford led a mutiny against Kid in 1790 and appointed William Mason as Captain. All the stories of these pirates are full of these sort of inconsistencies, including some of the official records. Having his prize taken from him didn't stop Kidd from migrating to New York and:

"On 16 May 1691, Kidd married Sarah Bradley Cox Oort, an English woman in her early twenties, who had already been twice widowed and was one of the wealthiest women in New York, largely because of her inheritance from her first husband."

Privateering and piracy were means to wealth and respectability. From 1692-1697 the Governor of New York was Benjamin Fletcher, who traded in both privateering and pirate loot. Kidd contributed to Trinity Church, New York which was funded by privateering and pirate activity. Apparently New York City and Philadelphia were rivals in the Pirate trade during that time too. In 1697 Fletcher was deposed from the Governorship by Edward Randolph who is also famous for revoking the Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and who the Boston revolt in 1689 was jailed. It appears that one mans "privateer" and hero could easily be tried as another's pirate -- unless he was part of an important family like the Randolphs. Edward Randolph tried to revoke the charters of all the colonies in 1700 and was defeated. [Britannica: Edward Randolph

Culliford was caught after robbing the Great Mohammed in the Red Sea in September 1698 but pardoned and "disappeared" from history (probably settled down and changed his name or into anonymity). William Mason retired a rich man. Web Sites like The Pirate King may_william.htm depict them as pirates, but the reality is that they straddled the line between respectability and piracy as did, apparently, most of the ships and crews of those privateering times, and probably many of the ships of the Royal Navy. If they'd taken the "Great Mohammed" one year earlier the prize probably would have been legal. In 1698 the war was over.

Pirate Yarns and Nomme Du Guerres

So it's not surprising that pinning down these characters, or even their names, was hard. They went to sea to make money. And whether that money came from looting ships, smuggling, delivering slaves to plantations, or catching fish or whales didn't matter so much as the prizes of wealth and respectability. Many of them became adrenaline junkies (like Blackbeard is said to have done) and perished. But many more retired in the end to quiet lives and wealthy family legacies. Next time I go into Trinity Church I'll think of Captain Kidd.

The British weren't going to punish their privateering warriors in time of warfare. But if they didn't stop when the war was ended they were in trouble diplomatically. William Kidd probably didn't know the war was over when he overstepped his bounds:

"in January 1698, Kidd's luck seemingly changed when he caught sight of the Quedagh Merchant rounding the tip of India.

The war was over. English privateers were not supposed to be preying on ships on the open ocean.

"The Quedagh Merchant was no ordinary vessel. A 500-ton Armenian ship, it carried goods—a treasure trove of gold, silk, spices, and other riches—that were owned in part by a minister at the court of the Indian Grand Moghul. The minister had powerful connections, and when news about Kidd's attack reached him he complained to the East India Company, the large and influential English trading firm. Coupled with many governments' shifting perceptions of piracy, Kidd was quickly cast as a wanted criminal."

Kidds mistake was to try to clear his name. What he should have done was what his rivals; Mason and Culliford did; quietly go to ground. If he had his name would probably be on the list of famous and wealthy families in the United States history books. And his descendants captains of industry and finance. But by trying to clear his name he got himself put on the Gimlet. On the other hand, folks wonder where his treasure went. I would suggest they ask descendents of Sarah Bradley Cox Oort who I'm sure he took care of before trying to clear his name. Buried treasure? Yeah, sure.

Further reading and episodes:

Posts on Privateering and Piracy
Many Kinds of Privateering
An Ideology of Privateering
Many forms of Freebooting
Pirates and Privateers/Privatizing History
Origins of the East India Company
Bretton Woods, NeoColonialism and the "Money Men."
Origins of the East India Company
Corrupt Court and Undue Influence
East India Company and Islamic Jihad
Utility Versus the Pirates
Tribunals Admiralty Courts & Privateers
Black Sails:
Cross Bones
I buried other URLs in the notes in the article. But here's the article on William May:
More on Captain Kidd:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bonapartism and Haiti

Haiti, started as a paradise of indigenous Arawak people's. Christopher Columbus admired the Island of "Hispaniola" so much he had it conquered. It also was known as "Santa Dominica" by the Spaniards. But apparently the Indiginous Arawaks called it the "Land of Mountains" or Haiti (also Taino Hayiti) []. The land was enslaved by Spaniards, whose violent methods of land management over-worked, starved and enabled epidemics which killed their tenants both workers and rebels alike. To replace the dead the Spaniards brought in African Slaves. Even so the Spaniards, not being able to find a productive long term crop and keep their slaves alive wound up abandoning much of the Island to local herdsmen (Buccaneers), escaped slaves, pirates, foreigners and escaped sailors since many sailors were essentially treated as slaves. This led to the Western Part of the Island being dominated by French and Dutch Pirates and eventually to the Western part becoming a French Colony. The Eastern Part remained a Spanish Colony, but the Western part became a massive slave state producing Tobacco, Indigo, Cotton and Cacao. Prompting massive importation of African slaves to replace systematically killed by disease, overwork, hunger and oppression. Over time the French added Sugar Cane and Coffee. Haiti became a French powerhouse for producing valuable goods for it's slave owners. And a hell for the slaves.

Inspired by the principles and actions of the American Revolution and the French Revolution. Slaves all over the world heard of the principles of the American Revolution despite laws banning reading, education or conversation on the subject. After all a slave owner, Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence to include this line:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

It doesn't matter if they weren't thinking of poor whites, much less women or black folks. They were think of rallying the troops to fight the British, but one has to be careful in uttering mighty words. They are arrows that go where they will go and usually can't be retrieved until they do so. Maybe Jefferson did mean it. Certainly many of the Elites trying to take over from British Elites wanted those codicils and provisos. But the rest of us can, and do, take those words on their face value. "All Men" means "all men", not "all free men" or "all white males with property." There is good reason why folks think the Declaration of Independence should be part of the constitution and some cretins think it already is. Universal declarations do apply universally, no matter how much greedy people, politicians or lawyers want to add codicils and catch 22s to them. The slaves of Haiti revolted. They had a right to. Slavery is unjust. The Wikipedia article quotes:

"Have they not hung up men with heads downward, drowned them in sacks, crucified them on planks, buried them alive, crushed them in mortars? Have they not forced them to eat excretement? And, having flayed them with the lash, have they not cast them alive to be devoured by worms, or onto anthills, or lashed them to stakes in the swamp to be devoured by mosquitoes? Have they not thrown them into boiling cauldrons of cane syrup? Have they not put men and women inside barrels studded with spikes and rolled them down mountainsides into the abyss? Have they not consigned these miserable blacks to man-eating dogs until the latter, sated by human flesh, left the mangled victims to be finished off with bayonet and poniard?" [Taken from History of Haiti

What happened to the Indians (near extermination/holocaust) was nearly being repeated with black slaves. Slavery demanded an ever flowing replenishment of slaves from Africa as long as the plantations were going. In the USA when they abolished the slave trade greedy small scale slavers took to "breeding" slaves like cattle to be sold to the plantations. Plantations were farming factories that depended on slave labor to be profitable, yet were constantly in debt to banks due to the avariciousness of their owners, vagaries of climate, and extractive agricultural methods. They picked on Black people because they were the best at agriculture and could endure the harsh climates. And eventually those people revolted in Haiti, and would have revolted in the United States had not our local Governments used militia and private troops to hold them down.

The George Mason Article notes that before the revolt:

"The Caribbean colonies were quick to respond to the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789. The white planters of Saint Domingue sent delegates to France to demand representation at the new National Assembly, as did the mulattos. Several prominent deputies in the National Assembly belonged to the Society of the Friends of Blacks, which put forth proposals for the abolition of the slave trade and the amelioration of the lot of slaves in the colonies. When these proposals fell on deaf ears, some deputies sympathetic to blacks turned to arguing that full civil and political rights should be granted to free blacks in the colonies. Before long, radical journalists in Paris began to take up the cause of black slaves, pushing for the abolition of slavery, or at least for a more positive view of the Africans. The pioneering feminist and playwright, Olympe de Gouges, also wrote a pamphlet challenging the colonial pro-slavery lobby to improve the lot of the blacks." []

The slave owners of Haiti foolishly thought they could revolt against their masters and not expect their own slaves to revolt against them:

"the white planters mounted their own counter attack and even contemplated demanding independence from France....In October 1789 [the royal governor of Saint Domingue] reported that the slaves considered the new revolutionary cockade (a decoration made up of red, white, and blue ribbons worn by supporters of the Revolution) a "signal of the manumission of the whites . . . the blacks all share an idea that struck them spontaneously: that the white slaves kill their masters and now free they govern themselves and regain possession of the land." In other words, the black slaves hoped to follow in the footsteps of their white predecessors, freeing themselves, killing their masters, and taking over the land." [chap8a.html]

They weren't about to "do the right thing" because:

" Fabulous wealth depended on slavery, as did shipbuilding, sugar-refining, and a host of subsidiary industries. Slaveowners and shippers did not intend to give up their prospects without a fight. The U.S. refusal to give up slavery or the slave trade provided added ammunition to support their position." [chap8a.html]

And the planters didn't even want to extend those rights to free blacks and "mulattos" (mixed race)

"The March 1790 decree said nothing about the political rights of free blacks, who continued to press their demands both in Paris and back home, but to no avail. In October 1790, 350 mulattos rebelled in Saint Domingue. French army troops cooperated with local planter militias to disperse and arrest them. In February 1791 the mulatto leaders, including James Ogé, were publicly executed. Nevertheless, on 15 May 1791, under renewed pressure from the abbé Grégoire and others, the National Assembly granted political rights to all free blacks and mulattos who were born of free mothers and fathers. Though this proviso limited rights to a few hundred free blacks, the white colonists furiously pledged to resist the application of the law." []

The result was that free blacks and mulattos united with their unfree brethren:

"Just a few months later, on 22 August 1791, the slaves of Saint Domingue rose up in rebellion, initiating what was to become over the next several years the first successful slave revolt in history. In response, the National Assembly rescinded the rights of free blacks and mulattos on 24 September 1791, prompting them once again to take up arms against the whites. Slaves burned down plantations, murdered their white masters, and even attacked the towns. Fighting continued as the new Legislative Assembly (it replaced the National Assembly in October 1791) considered free black rights again at the end of March 1792. On 28 March, the assembly voted to reinstate the political rights of free blacks and mulattos. Nothing was done about slavery." [Chap8b]

Toussaint L'Ouverture

In Haiti the 1791 revolt was quelled but in 1793 the slave revolts started to be more successful, partly because capable leadership emerged along with the usual Social Dominators. Toussaint L'Ouverture was among those "free blacks" who had taught himself to read and right and acquired his liberty. And he was a natural leader and a smart general:

"Out of the fighting emerged one of the most remarkable figures of the era, Toussaint L'Ouverture, a slave who learned to read and write and in the uprising rose to become the leading general of the slave rebels. Toussaint faced incredible obstacles in creating a coherent resistance." [chap8b]

Toussaint L'Ouverture understood the importance of strategy:

"He soon discerned the ineptitude of the rebel leaders and scorned their willingness to compromise with European radicals. Collecting an army of his own, Toussaint trained his followers in the tactics of guerrilla warfare. In 1793 he added to his original name the name of Louverture." [Britannica article]

Toussaint L'ouverture understood the importance of Training, tactics, strategy, provisioning, and selecting the right temporary allies from one's enemies:

"When France and Spain went to war in 1793, the black commanders joined the Spaniards of Santo Domingo, the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola. Knighted and recognized as a general, Toussaint demonstrated extraordinary military ability and attracted such renowned warriors as his nephew Moïse and two future monarchs of Haiti, Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Henry Christophe. Toussaint’s victories in the north, together with mulatto successes in the south and British occupation of the coasts, brought the French close to disaster. []

However, the French were also fighting the British and their leader Légere-Félicité_Sonthonax [égere-Félicité_Sonthonax] who was the political head of the French Revolutionary forces took "the radical step of proclaiming the freedom of the slaves in the north province" on 29 August 1793.

This seems to have won over Toussaint, in May 1794 he:

"went over to the French, giving as his reasons that the French National Convention had recently freed all slaves, while Spain and Britain refused, and that he had become a republican." []

The Haitian Slaves and some of the Free Blacks and Mulattos now had an ally from France who could be relied on a bit more than the Aristocratic British or French. And the combination of his victories in battle and his willingness to turn on the opportunist English and Spanish gave him recognition and power. The Britannica article continues:

"He has been criticized for the duplicity of his dealings with his onetime allies and for a slaughter of Spaniards at a mass. His switch was decisive; the governor of Saint-Domingue, Étienne Laveaux, made Toussaint lieutenant governor, the British suffered severe reverses, and the Spaniards were expelled." []

This doesn't seem to be that duplicitous to me. Laveaux and Légere-Félicité_Sonthonax had an Army of French Soldiers, were fighting the Royalist oriented White Colonists and if the Mulattos had gone over the Spanish they still weren't on the side of freeing the slaves. If he had he not switched sides to the side willing to recognize manumission it's likely that the Spaniards and the Brits would have turned on him, just as they did on other temporary allies around the world once they were done using them to defeat an enemy. The Spanish refused to abolish slavery and the Brits had every intention of subjugating everybody.

So Toussaint was Lieutenant Governor from 1794, and effectively governor over the entire country. In 1795 the French and Spanish signed a treaty which took out the impetus for continued fighting with the Spanish. By 1796 Toussaint was essentially more powerful than either Laveaux or Légere-Félicité_Sonthonax, and he tried to get them elected to be representatives of Haiti in France. By 1797 both were out of the country. . By 1798 the Brits were forced out.

Sadly from 1798 on the French "Empire" began to strike back. The French sent a duplicitous "commissioner" Hédouville to try to bring Toussaint down by dividing him against other leaders, disbanding black troops from the Haitian Army, and in the process restarting the slave revolts. Hédouville especially worked to divide Toussaint, who was the supreme leader of blacks and slaves and André Rigaud. In his resistance to Hédouville Toussaint made a secret treaty with the Brits and Americans in that same year. Toussaint knew that slavery couldn't be ended by simple emancipation and so had simply imposed limits on the tyranny of the plantations, not eliminated them. They had to pay workers and could not whip them. But they still were under compulsion to work the plantation. So he didn't directly eliminate slavery. Meanwhile from 1798 to 1802 the French lost their spirit of "universal rights." And Haitian Mulattos were seduced into stepping into the hierarchy of power (Plantation ownership, bourgeoisie and police powers the pure whites had been forced out of.[haitihistory/8.html]

So sadly by 1799 the conflict that Hédouville (and others) had sought to instigate broke out:

"Civil war between Louverture and Rigaud breaks out: Rigaud takes over command of Léogâne and Jacmel while Louverture take over Petit-Goâve. This power struggle, fraught with issues of race and class, ultimately benefits the economic interests of the Americans and British, who seek to maximize their trade to the detriment of the French." [haitihisotry/8.html]

Haiti was in the process of transitioning from Colonialism to neo-colonialism, where local elites could be counted on to benefit the power and perquisites of a worldwide network of giant companies and banks. And key to this in Hispanola would be a class structure based on race and education. Toussaint defeated Rigaud, and he drove him out of the country. But he was quick to pardon Rigaud's officers. And in 1800 he reimposes the mandates first pioneered by Légere Félicité Sonthonax which by that time were seen as a reimposition of slavery. In response Toussaint brought about a Constitutional Convention and setup a representative government, including abolishing slavery forever in 1801. This causes a rare alliance between Brits, Americans and French. Probably their first. Sadly resistance to his work mandates leads to his own former lieutenants (including Moïse) revolting over the perceived oppression. A revolt breaks out which Toussaint suppresses in 1801, executing his own nephew in the process.

It looks like Toussaint was too willing to support the rights of land owners. But I think he was just trying to toe a fine line between some very powerful external forces and his own people's desire for freedom. The Timeline Article explicitly shows what he was up against by 1801.

In October 1801:

"Leclerc sails from France for Saint-Domingue. He is Commander-in-Chief of France’s largest expeditionary army ever with 20,000 European troops, who are called “the elite of the French army.” Rochambeau is named second in command. Bonaparte gives Leclerc very specific instructions on the stages of the expedition, which he expects will take three months." []

There is no mistaking the mission and purpose. Toussaint may have understood what he was up against. But Napoleon was not someone who could be trusted or negotiated with and his General LeClerk was the same. It was the same strategy that Hédouville had employed but with 20,000 troops and veteran generals to reinforce veteran French troops who were already in Haiti.

First stage,
15-20 days: Leclerc is to convince Saint-Domingue residents of France’s good will and peaceful intentions. Leclerc is to claim the troops are there to protect the colony and preserve its peace, allowing the troops to land and take control of the major port cities. []
Second stage:
"wage war against the rebel army generals to break the masses’ moral and leave them leaderless." []
Third stage:
"disarm all the blacks and mulattoes and force them back onto plantations to reinstate slavery. Bonaparte’s commands to Leclerc include “Do not allow any blacks having held a rank above that of a captain to remain on the island.”[]

3 Months was over-optimistic. 3 Years, however, was accurate. Toussaint was waiting for him. On the 4th of February 1802, "General Christophe sets fire to Le Cap, burning it to the ground in anticipation of the European troops’ arrival." When LeClerk arrives he demands Louverture's surrender. Seeing that the Haitians are not going to Surrender Napoleon sends an additional 80,000 troops in 1803 along with support and military ships. For perspective, the British expeditionary force dealing with the American Revolutionaries in the 1770's had 36,000 troops. This was more than 100,000 troops to put down Haiti's independence and reinstate slavery in a country the size of Maryland. All sent by Napoleon with the moral support of Jefferson and property Owners around the American colonies who saw their aristocratic plantation life threatened. Stage One was completed despite the burning of Le Cap.

In 1802 Toussaint faced an obstacle. Most of the Mulatto Generals including Alexandre Pétion, Jean-Pierre Boyer and other former Rigaud followers defected to the French promises. Toussaint's warnings of what the French were up to were intercepted. His loyal followers found themselves isolated and betrayed. Stage 2 was already in motion before the 80,000 troops even had arrived. The article notes:

"Louverture hastily sends instructions to his leaders throughout the colony, warning that the French intend to restore slavery. All of his letters are intercepted and one by one his generals defect to fight for the French. Dessalines and Christophe are trapped in the North. By mid-February nearly half of Louverture’s army is fighting under Leclerc, who gains entire control of the South." [9.html]

Even so in March 1802 in the battle of Battle of Crête-à-Pierrot Toussaint's loyal General Dessalines beat off 12,000 European soldiers and Colonial Militia with 1,500 black troops. Dessalines also managed to withdraw his troops safely after the holding action marking a turning point in the war, But meanwhile Louverture's other General Henri Christophe was sent to talk to Leclerk, And deserted!

After that Toussaint realized his own position was pretty much untenable. Leclerc made a cynical offer that would "allow him to retire with his staff, retain his army ranks and functions, and retire to a place of his choosing." In the process Dessalines is forced to stop resisting the French (temporarily) as well. Leclerk promptly betrays his promise as instructed by Napoleon in the first instance!

"Leclerc lures Louverture into a conference, arrests him, binds him “as a common criminal,” and ships him to France with his family and manservant. He is incarcerated and left “tragically, to die of consumption in an isolated prison cell high in the French Alps.”" [9.html]

With Toussaint out of the way the French still faced resistance. It soon became obvious what they were up to and even the Mulatto's who had betrayed Toussaint joined together in a final revolt which threw off the French. By November 1803 Leclerc was dead of Yellow Fever and Rochambeau was defeated. The Haitians had thrown off the French. Though the seeds of years of struggle between Mulattos and blacks, Spanish speaking Islanders and French speaking ones had been sowed. And the reinslavement project of the European powers would lead to years of forced payments, oppression, interventions and invasions. Eventually that project would be taken over by the USA/Americans. Many of the Generals who had alternatively supported and betrayed Toussaint L'ouverture would alternatively support, betray and rule Haiti.

Economic Royalism had taken a new form. No longer were the Aristocrats "Kings" but they were Capitalists and "Emperors" creating merchant empires with troops and modern weapons; and the support of local rulers willing to betray each other and their own ideals. Dessalines would be Hait's first Emperor. Henri Christophe would be his successor. Alexandre Pétion would be his competitor and the "first President" in 1806-1818. He'd be replaced with Jean-Pierre Boyer who would also try to be a "President for Life" and be succeeded by Charles Rivière-Hérard who overthrew him in a revolution.... etc, etc, etc...

Further Reading:
Declaration of Independence
Online Sources & Further reading for Haiti:

*Note, reading these histories is fascinating because they all parse the story differently. I have my own memories of actual physical books I've read and so the online accounts, in the way they contradict each other or support one another, helped me recall the histories I already knew from talking to a variety of people and reading a variety of physical books. But most are abysmally bad and gloss over details.

Actual book: Robert Heinl (1996). Written in Blood: The Story of the Haitian People, 1492-1995. Lantham, Maryland: University Press of America.
The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below By Carolyn E. Fick