Friday, November 30, 2012

irredentism - the long-term wages of piracy...,

archdruid | The topic of last week’s post, the likely fate of Israel in the twilight years of American empire, makes a good example of more than one common theme.  As I commented in that earlier discussion, Israel is one of several American client states for whom the end of our empire will also be the end of the line.  At the same time, it also highlights a major source of international tension that bids fair to bring in a bumper crop of conflict in the decades before us.

The word “irredentism” doesn’t get a lot of play in the media just now, but my readers may wish to keep it in mind; there’s every reason to think they will hear it fairly often in the future. It’s the conviction, on the part of a group of people, that they ought to regain possession of some piece of real estate that their ancestors owned at some point in the past.  It’s an understandably popular notion, and its only drawback is the awkward detail that every corner of the planet, with the exception of Antarctica and a few barren island chains here and there, is subject to more than one such claim. The corner of the Middle East currently occupied by the state of Israel has a remarkable number of irredentist claims on it, but there are parts of Europe and Asia that could match it readily—and of  course it only takes one such claim on someone else’s territory to set serious trouble in motion.

It’s common enough for Americans, if they think of irredentism at all, to think of it as somebody else’s problem. Airily superior articles in the New York Times and the like talk about Argentina’s claim to the Falklands or Bolivia’s demand for its long-lost corridor to the sea, for example, as though nothing of the sort could possibly spill out of other countries to touch the lives of Americans. I can’t think of a better example of this country’s selective blindness to its own history, because the great-grandmother of irredentist crises is taking shape right here in North America, and there’s every reason to think it will blow sky-high in the not too distant future.

That’s the third and last of the hot button topics I want to discuss as we close in on the end of the current sequence of posts on the end of American empire, and yes, I’m talking about the southern border of the United States.

Many Americans barely remember that the southwestern quarter of the United States used to be the northern half of Mexico. Most of them never learned that the Mexican War, the conflict that made that happen, was a straightforward act of piracy. (As far as I know, nobody pretended otherwise at the time—the United States in those days had not yet fallen into the habit of dressing up its acts of realpolitik in moralizing cant.)  North of the Rio Grande, if the Mexican War comes to mind at all, it’s usually brushed aside with bland insouciance: we won, you lost, get over it. South of the Rio Grande? Every man, woman and child knows all the details of that war, and they have not gotten over it. Fist tap Dale.

arab spring chickens steady coming home to roost...,

guardian | The United Nations general assembly voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to recognise Palestine as a state, in the face of opposition from Israel and the US.

The 193-member assembly voted 138 in favour of the plan, with only nine against and 41 abstentions. The scale of the defeat represented a strong and public repudiation for Israel and the US, who find themselves out of step with the rest of the world.

Thursday's vote marked a diplomatic breakthrough for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and could help his standing after weeks in which he has been sidelined by Palestinian rivals Hamas in the Gaza conflict.
Abbas, who flew from Ramallah, on the West Bank, to New York to address the general assembly, said: "The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly: enough of aggression, settlements and occupation."

can israel survive?

archdruid | Yes, it’s time to talk about Israel.

By this I don’t mean that we need to go through yet another round of who-did-what-to-whom rhetoric in the shrill tones of moral absolutism that pervade the subject these days. There’s a point to discussing ethical issues surrounding the origins, conduct, and future of the nation-state of Israel, to be sure, but that discussion is already happening elsewhere, or more precisely would be happening if most of the potential participants weren’t too busy shouting past each other.  What gets misplaced in all the noise, though, is that this is not the only discussion worth having.

In particular, the central theme of this series of posts—the decline and fall of America’s global empire—has aspects that are easiest to see from the perspective of one of America’s more vulnerable client states.  Those aspects are not particularly moral in nature, and the stridently self-righteous arguments that fill most current discussions of Israel’s fate have nothing to contribute here.  For the moment, then, I’d like to set aside squabbles about whether the nation-state of Israel as currently constituted should survive, and ask instead whether, in the post-American world of the not too distant future, it can survive. That’s a much simpler question, and the answer is equally simple:  no.

straight piracy...,

wikipedia | The Mexican–American War, also known as the Mexican War or the U.S.–Mexican War, was an armed conflict between the United States of America and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, which Mexico considered part of its territory despite the 1836 Texas Revolution.

Combat operations lasted a year and a half, from spring 1846 to fall 1847. American forces quickly occupied New Mexico and California, then invaded parts of Northeastern Mexico and Northwest Mexico; meanwhile, the Pacific Squadron conducted a blockade, and took control of several garrisons on the Pacific coast further south in Baja California. Another American army captured Mexico City, and the war ended in victory of the U.S.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo specified the major consequence of the war: the forced Mexican Cession of the territories of Alta California and New Mexico to the U.S. in exchange for $15 million. In addition, the United States forgave $3.5 million of debt owed by the Mexican government to U.S. citizens. Mexico accepted the loss of Texas and thereafter cited the Rio Grande as its national border.

American territorial expansion to the Pacific coast had been the goal of President James K. Polk, the leader of the Democratic Party.[4] However, the war was highly controversial in the U.S., with the Whig Party and anti-slavery elements strongly opposed. Heavy American casualties and high monetary cost were also criticized. The political aftermath of the war raised the slavery issue in the U.S., leading to intense debates that pointed to civil war; the Compromise of 1850 provided a brief respite.

In Mexico, terminology for the war include (primera) intervención estadounidense en México (United States' (First) Intervention in Mexico), invasión estadounidense a México (The United States' Invasion of Mexico), and guerra del 47 (The War of 1847).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

mushroom men mashup...,

realitysandwich | I recently put my foot in it. I stepped, as they say, on a hornet's nest. All hell broke loose and verbal fury was loosed upon me. Here's what happened.

Some months ago, a chap called Jan Irvin, who runs Gnostic Media, put out a request for funds to help him pursue a project concerned with unveiling a sinister Elite/CIA/NWO conspiracy. Mind you, this was not just any old sinister Elite/CIA/NWO conspiracy. This one involved, allegedly, a vast labyrinthine PSYOPS involving psychedelic mushrooms, Gordon Wasson, Aldous Huxley, The Esalen Institute, Teilhard De Chardin, 2012 eschatology, Alan Watts, Terence McKenna, and all manner of other psychedelic spokesmen and counter-culture luminaries. The gist of it is that the whole hippy psychedelic movement was stage managed by the CIA/Elite/NWO and that the malign manipulations of these ultra-powerful puppet masters stretch back further even than Albert Hofmann's infamous LSD trip bicycle ride (Irvin even thinks Hofmann's bicycle trip was a "fabrication" and "BS"). Thus, Irvin is attempting nothing less than a total rewrite of psychedelic history. Believe me, with everything being bent into an infernal conspiracy shape, it's scary bad trip stuff. Of course, one might simply dismiss all this as the lunatic fringe, yet Irvin is backed and supported by numerous fans and supporters. Indeed, he has already managed to raise 3,000 bucks to fund this latest work.

What originally got me involved were Irvin's insinuations about Gordon Wasson. Recall that Wasson was the ethnomycological scholar who published a groundbreaking article about psilocybin mushrooms in Life magazine in 1957. This article was just as significant as Aldous Huxley's 1954 book The Doors of Perception in sparking the West's interest in psychedelics. Wasson was instrumental in channeling the psilocybin mushroom's mind expanding influence from the backwaters of Mexico to the very heart of the West. If you have ever experienced "magic mushrooms," then you have Gordon Wasson to thank -- at least in part.

Now, the conventional view of Wasson is that there was indeed a connection with dodgy mischief-makers -- in this case the thin-tied, shade-wearing CIA. But this connection was minor and indirect. The conventional view, which has been well documented, is that the CIA got an agent to infiltrate one of Wasson's mushroom hunting trips to Mexico. Here is what I wrote about it in my book The Psilocybin Solution:

"In his book The Search for the ‘Manchurian Candidate,' John Marks tells us of the CIA's covert involvement with our hero Wasson. In its relentless and arguably psychotic search for ever-more effective weaponry, the CIA had, by the 1950s, initiated a massive twenty-five million dollar long-term program called MKULTRA. True to its suspicious-sounding name, Project MKULTRA involved finding chemical and biological materials for use in "mind kontrol" and other psychological unpleasantries. Despite the morally questionable nature of such an unsavory federal project, its dogmatic pursuit meant that it was soon to pick up on rumors of sacred Mexican mushrooms. After learning of Wasson's 1955 experiences with the mushroom, an unscrupulous chemist named James Moore immediately began to work undercover for the conspiratorial agency. Presumably dollars changed hands surreptitiously. At any rate, in 1956, Moore craftily wrote to Wasson informing him that he knew of a foundation willing to finance another Mexican trip in order that he and Wasson bring back some of the legendary mushrooms. Moore innocently claimed that, as a chemist, he simply wanted to study the chemical structure of the mushroom's active constituents. The foundation was the CIA-backed Geschwickter Fund for Medical Research, and they were offering a two-thousand dollar grant. Would Wasson be interested?

Understandably, Wasson took the bait, and so it came to pass that the CIA's secret quest for the sacred mushroom became Subproject 58 of the MKULTRA program, possibly representing the most crass approach to psilocybin to date. It was as if the CIA were lobbing stones at angels. Fittingly, it transpired that the double-dealing Moore was well out of his comfort zone in Mexico and loathed the entire episode. Wasson later recalled that Moore had absolutely no empathy for what was going on. Whereas Wasson was sensitive to the customs of the native Mexican Indians and respectful of their cultural beliefs about the mushroom, Moore was there merely as a CIA pawn.

Once again, all those who were in Wasson's party took part in a mushroom ceremony hosted by the shaman Maria Sabina, though it was Moore alone who had a bad experience. Despite this, Moore was still able to bring back some of the fungi to the United States in the hope of isolating the active ingredient. Thankfully, however, he was beaten in his pharmaceutical pursuit by Roger Heim, an eminent French mycologist and coworker of Wasson, who managed to grow a supply of the mushroom from spore prints that he had taken in Mexico. Heim sent his newly cultivated samples to Albert Hofmann of Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland, and it was Hofmann, a highly distinguished chemist who had originally synthesized LSD, who, in 1958, first isolated and then named the entheogenic alkaloid within the mushroom. Psilocybin was thus officially born, a name devoid of the weaponry connotations the CIA would invariably have conferred upon the substance had they successfully isolated it first."

The thing to bear in mind is that Wasson did not know that he was being duped by the CIA. It is also worth driving home the point that all these events took place during the paranoid anti-Communist McCarthyism Cold War era of the 1950s, when the CIA had an active interest in mind control drugs for use in espionage. However, things never worked out that well for the CIA, as psilocybin cannot be used as a mind control "truth drug." As users will know, psychedelic drugs are more like de-conditioning agents that can make one challenge orthodoxy and cultural control structures. Indeed, that is probably one principal reason why psilocybin has been demonized and illegalized by the authorities. If you wish to control someone and extract information, or get them to do your dirty espionage work or whatever, then the psilocybin mushroom is not a tool for your arsenal.

living memory historical dustup on the entheogenic fringe...,

gnosticmedia | This episode is a presentation given by me, my first solo show, titled “Magic Mushrooms and the Psychedelic Revolution: Beginning a New History” – or “The Secret History of Magic Mushrooms” and is being released on Sunday, May 13, 2012.

Today is the 55th anniversary since the publication of the May 13, 1957, Life magazine article, Seeking the Magic Mushroom, published by Gordon Wasson, which is what is largely considered to have launched the psychedelic revolution.

Today we’re going to toss out the last 55 years of academic history regarding the discovery of magic mushrooms, the beginnings of the field of ethnomycology, and this major event in launching the psychedelic revolution; and we’re going to start a new history – one based on truth and verifiable facts rather than legends and myths.

Six years in the making, this episode exposes one of the largest coverups in modern academic history – something that may one day be regarded as large as the Piltdown Hoax. We’re going to reveal how the psychedelic revolution was launched by the CFR, CIA and the elite, and how R. Gordon Wasson, the so called discoverer of magic mushrooms, and the founder of the field of ethnomycology, was himself a government asset, a friend of Edward Bernays – the father of propaganda, and is one of the key figures for launching one of the largest mind control operations in history – information never before revealed until today. 

And it doesn’t stop there. I’m going to provide information that shows how R. Gordon Wasson may have been one of the key players in the organization of the JFK assassination. Gordon Wasson nominates George Keenan and John Foster Dulles to the Century Club. Foreign Affairs (CFR) letter head. Gordon Wasson nominates George Keenan to the Century Club. Foreign Affairs (CFR) letter head. The entire transcript of this show is posted for download on the page to this episode on the Gnostic Media website so that you can follow along. Also included in the transcript are 70 endnotes leading to the evidence presented herein.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

POP goes the student loan bubble...,

zerohedge | We'll let readers calculate on their own what a surge in 90+ day delinquency from 9% to 11% (or as footnote 2 explains: 22%) in one quarter on $1 trillion in student debt means. For those confused, read all about it in this September article: "The Next Subprime Crisis Is Here: Over $120 Billion In Federal Student Loans In Default" which predicted just this.

And so it's official: Pop goes the student loan bubble, as just confirmed by the Fed.

Luckily student debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy. Oh wait. It isn't.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

part of what needs to be done, and why the Hon.Bro.Preznit is incapable of doing it...,

jayhanson | The “bad news” is that “peak oil” marks the beginning of the end of capitalism and market politics because many decades of declining “net energy” [1] will result in many decades of declining economic activity. And since capitalism can’t run backwards, a new method of distributing goods and services must be found. The “good news” is that our “market system” is not efficient! Americans could be wasting something like two billion tonnes (metric tons) of oil equivalent energy each year!!
In order to avoid anarchy, rebellion, civil war and global nuclear conflict, Americans must force a fundamental change in our political environment. We can keep the same social structures and people, but we must totally eliminate corporate-special interests from our political environment. A careful review of the progressive assault on laissez faire constitutionalism and neoclassical economics, from the 1880s through the 1930s, explains how this can be done legally and without violence. These early progressives showed how we can save our country. All that is lacking today is the political will.

The reason that the reforms listed on this page are so important and must be implemented as the first in a series of many political reforms is because they are “constitutional politics” (politics that changes politics). The modification that I am proposing would fundamentally alter the nature of politics in America.

To achieve America 2.0, we must first separate and isolate our political system from our economic system so that government can begin to address and solve societal problems directly rather than indirectly by throwing money at corporate special interests. The second step is to retire most working American citizens with an annuity sufficient for health and happiness, as government begins to eliminate the current enormous waste of vital resources by delivering goods, and services like police and fire services are delivered today. This would allow the vast majority of adults to stay at home with their families but still receive the what they need to enjoy life—while greatly reducing natural resource consumption.

These reforms are based on the biological principle that people respond to environmental cues; change the cues and one also will change the behavior. If the voting public and political decision-makers only receive cues designed to “mitigate” (make less severe) our crisis, then all choices they make will be aimed at mitigating that crisis. The choices made by elected officials will be, by best calculations, “good” for the public. Corporations will become the public utilities that they were before 1860.

of course the Hon.Bro.Preznit knows about peak oil...,

hopedance | People say that I am hard core about some of this stuff but I know because I have been to Davos, and I’ve sat with Bill Clinton and I’ve sat with Bill Gates and I’ve sat with Tony Blair and I’ve sat with Nancy Pelosi. I’ve sat with all these people who we think are in charge, and they don’t know what to do. Take that in: they don’t know what to do! You think you’re scared? You think you’re terrified? They have the Pentagon’s intelligence, they have every major corporation’s input; Shell Oil that has done this survey and study around the peak oil problem. You think we’ve got to get on the Internet and say, “Peak oil!” because the system doesn’t know about it? They know, and they don’t know what to do. And they are terrified that if they do anything they’ll loose their positions. So they keep juggling chickens and chainsaws and hope it works out just like most of us everyday at work. That’s real, that’s real.

And so I’m hard on people, I try to tell a few jokes, you know, to make it go down easier, but I’m hard on people. But I will tell you why I am hard on people. This is real ball, this is the last chance, this is it. I’m not telling you that; You go to places like I go, and the Pentagon will tell you that. This is real ball and people, for whatever reason, need sometimes a little encouragement. You walk up to that limit of yourself and you want that limit, ‘cause that wasn’t your limit yesterday and you go Whooo! I made it, now let me start telling everybody else what to do. But the goal is over there and every step hurts and every step is challenging and every step is humbling but every step has to be taken or we’re not going to be here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

any religion that poses as science is dangerous...,

automaticearth | I’ve said this before, but just in case: I have very little appreciation and/or patience for the field of economics and its practitioners. Labeling it "the dismal science" does it far too much honor in my view, since it's not a science at all. No more than psychology is, or anthropology, or beer brewing. Nothing that can't stand the falsifiability test Karl Popper left us is a science. Falsifiability is the dividing line between the real thing and a whole wide range of mere pretenders.

That said, if there's one economist today (OK, maybe a few more) who I would be tempted to make an exception for, simply because he's made it his goal to at least approach economics from a solid Popper-like viewpoint, it's Steve Keen and his rigorous math. It's therefore no coincidence that Steve is both a good friend of The Automatic Earth, and controversial.

Since about WWII at the latest, a certain group of economists, think Chicago, have tried their stinking best to best recognized as scientists, an attitude that culminated in the launch of the faux Nobel Prize in 1968. They produce serious looking formulas and graphs up the wazoo, which the media reproduce alongside interviews replete with lofty terminology, and the general public has fallen for the trick: ridiculous though it may be, the field has acquired a scientific aura.

Why did and do they want this? Because trillions of dollars worth of policies based on their ideas gain critical respectability if they can make themselves look credible and in control. So it's no surprise that the entire effort has been carried by the support of virtually unlimited amounts of money from the finance industry, as well as 99% of the ruling political classes.

That's how Milton Friedman and his Chicago School became so prominent. Nothing to do with science, let alone falsifiability. Just money. Credibility for sale. If you're a politician, and you manage to get make people, your voters, believe that there's a scientific underpinning to whatever it is you want to do economically, you got it made. And there are plenty of rich people and institutions willing to finance that fake science, since it serves their purposes.

This is to a large extent why we are where we are: stuck in a long, long crisis. If you take a simple belief system, phrase its beliefs in difficult looking formulas and graphs, and thus dress it in the veneer of some kind of a scienctific method, you can push societies to the brink of financial disaster, and it makes no difference whether you're wrong 9 times out of 10. You just tell them that it's all very hard to understand, and you set up an education system that teaches only the models you want it to teach. This way you create the idea that things are knowable while they are not, and all students have to do is get a degree and be the next high-priests. Any religion that poses as a science is dangerous, and economics more so than all others, because it can turn entire societies into poorhouses.

what qualifies this asshat to publicly opine on this topic again?

cnn | If there's been one consistent thread running through the U.S. economic story since 2008, it's been the steady drumbeat of gloom.

Outright recession or sub-standard growth, stubbornly high unemployment and fiscal crises have been the topics du jour when it comes to the world's biggest economy.

But now an unlikely champion for U.S. growth under the Obama administration has emerged -- a former adviser to a Republican Party presidential candidate and Harvard history professor, Niall Ferguson, who says America could actually be heading toward a new economic "golden age."
And it has nothing to do with Washington and everything to do with energy.

Ferguson, who is also an author and commentator, believes the production of natural gas and oil from shale formations via a process known as "fracking" -- forcing open rocks by injecting fluid into cracks -- will be a game changer.

"This is an absolutely huge phenomenon with massive implications for the U.S. economy, and I think most people are still a little bit slow to appreciate just how big this is," he said in Hong Kong this week.

"Conceivably it does mean a new golden age."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

why so secretive?

readersupportednews | Luckily for the populations and societies that will be affected by the agreement, there are public research organizations and alternative media outlets campaigning against it - and they've even released several leaks of draft agreement chapters. From these leaks, which are not covered by mainstream corporate-controlled news outlets, we are able to get a better understanding of what the Trans-Pacific Partnership actually encompasses.

For example, public interest groups have been warning that the TPP could result in millions of lost jobs. As a letter from Congress to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk stated, the TPP "will create binding policies on future Congresses in numerous areas," including "those related to labor, patent and copyright, land use, food, agriculture and product standards, natural resources, the environment, professional licensing, state-owned enterprises and government procurement policies, as well as financial, healthcare, energy, telecommunications and other service sector regulations."

In other words, as promised, the TPP goes far beyond "trade."

Dubbed by many as "NAFTA on steroids" and a "corporate coup," only two of the TPP's 26 chapters actually have anything to do with trade. Most of it grants far-reaching new rights and privileges to corporations, specifically related to intellectual property rights (copyright and patent laws), as well as constraints on government regulations.

The leaked documents revealed that the Obama administration "intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations," as Obama and Kirk have emerged as strong advocates "for policies that environmental activists, financial reform advocates and labor unions have long rejected for eroding key protections currently in domestic laws."

In other words, the already ineffective and mostly toothless environmental, financial, and labor regulations that exist are unacceptable to the Obama administration and the 600 corporations aligned with the TPP who are giving him his orders.

The agreement stipulates that foreign corporations operating in the United States would no longer be subject to domestic U.S. laws regarding protections for the environment, finance or labor rights, and could appeal to an "international tribunal" which would be given the power to overrule American law and impose sanctions on the U.S. for violating the new "rights" of corporations.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

the protocols of the learned elder of babylon...,

thedailysquib | In a remarkable admission by former Nixon era Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, reveals what is happening at the moment in the world and particularly the Middle East. [ACCURATE SATIRE]
Speaking from his luxurious Manhattan apartment, the elder statesman, who will be 89 in May, is all too forward with his analysis of the current situation in the world forum of Geo-politics and economics.
“The United States is bating China and Russia, and the final nail in the coffin will be Iran, which is, of course, the main target of Israel. We have allowed China to increase their military strength and Russia to recover from Sovietization, to give them a false sense of bravado, this will create an all together faster demise for them. We’re like the sharp shooter daring the noob to pick up the gun, and when they try, it’s bang bang. The coming war will will be so severe that only one superpower can win, and that’s us folks. This is why the EU is in such a hurry to form a complete superstate because they know what is coming, and to survive, Europe will have to be one whole cohesive state. Their urgency tells me that they know full well that the big showdown is upon us. O how I have dreamed of this delightful moment.”
“Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”
Mr Kissinger then added: “If you are an ordinary person, then you can prepare yourself for war by moving to the countryside and building a farm, but you must take guns with you, as the hordes of starving will be roaming. Also, even though the elite will have their safe havens and specialist shelters, they must be just as careful during the war as the ordinary civilians, because their shelters can still be compromised.”
After pausing for a few minutes to collect his thoughts, Mr Kissinger, carried on:
“We told the military that we would have to take over seven Middle Eastern countries for their resources and they have nearly completed their job. We all know what I think of the military, but I have to say they have obeyed orders superfluously this time. It is just that last stepping stone, i.e. Iran which will really tip the balance. How long can China and Russia stand by and watch America clean up? The great Russian bear and Chinese sickle will be roused from their slumber and this is when Israel will have to fight with all its might and weapons to kill as many Arabs as it can. Hopefully if all goes well, half the Middle East will be Israeli. Our young have been trained well for the last decade or so on combat console games, it was interesting to see the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 game, which mirrors exactly what is to come in the near future with its predictive programming. Our young, in the US and West, are prepared because they have been programmed to be good soldiers, cannon fodder, and when they will be ordered to go out into the streets and fight those crazy Chins and Russkies, they will obey their orders. Out of the ashes we shall build a new society, there will only be one superpower left, and that one will be the global government that wins. Don’t forget, the United States, has the best weapons, we have stuff that no other nation has, and we will introduce those weapons to the world when the time is right.”
End of interview. Our reporter is ushered out of the room by Kissinger’s minder.

sprawling from grace...,

a call for papers on ripping off po folk....,

columbia | The Center on Global Legal Transformation at Columbia University in New York is launching a call for proposals by junior researchers on governing scarce, yet essential goods. Selected proposals shall be presented at panel sessions at a conference held in New York on 20-21 June 2013. The research project is coordinated by Prof. Katharina Pistor, the Director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation, and Prof. Olivier De Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food.

A number of factors have led to dramatically increased pressure on land and the essential resources it harbors: population growth and a corresponding rise in demand for agricultural and other commodities; competing uses of land between different forms of agriculture, resource extraction, large-scale industrial projects and urban sprawl; environmental degradation from climate change and unsustainable practices; and trade and investment liberalization, among others. As a result, water, food and shelter are increasingly considered scarce and subjected to commercial pressures that make them inaccessible to many.

Private property rights regimes have traditionally been considered the most effective institutional arrangement to allocate scarce goods and combat what has been termed the “tragedy of the commons” – the depletion of scarce common resources by actors who disregard the carrying capacity of the land and bear no costs for their actions. Individual property rights regimes lead to allocation of land to the highest bidder, who is presumed to put the land to its most efficient use. But conversion to private property regimes has also resulted in widespread displacement of small holders and indigenous people and the exclusion of many others from access to resources essential to their livelihoods.

Two well-studied alternatives to private property rights are collective governance by local authorities and centralized control. However, neither fully addresses the problems of scarce, essential goods. Collective governance is limited by a community’s ability to manage collective action problems, but the governance issues we are facing are those of a heterogeneous world with high social mobility and rapidly changing social norms. Similarly, centralized control depends on the authority and wisdom of the central decision-maker, who may lack local knowledge and accountability. Political voice might address problems of accountability, but how to organize voice in a global world remains an open question.

Proposals should suggest models for governing essential, scarce resources. They can be qualitative or quantitative; make use of empirical data and field research or suggest a new theoretical approach. They should address if and how the following three normative goals
(the basis of the triangle to which the title refers) for managing scarce, essential goods can be realized:

• equity (universal access to those resources that are essential for human life);
• efficiency (in managing scarce essential goods and minimizing waste); and
• sustainability (arrangements that do not unduly interfere with future productivity or availability of essentials).


wired | Most people have pulled long-forgotten vegetables from their refrigerator's depths at least once, and just the memory is enough to make a stomach turn. But one man's fridge mold is another man's still life. Estonian artist Heikki Leis' Afterlife is a veritable rotting cornucopia of vegetables photographed long past their prime.

"I was inspired by some potatoes I had once left out in a pot for too long. They had started to mold and on closer examination the colors and textures looked interesting enough to take some photos," Leis wrote in an e-mail.

Leis then started experimenting with various fruits and vegetables. He sometimes let them decay for two months, keeping them covered so they wouldn't dry out. When Leis finished, he was truly finished. "I'm tempted to say I ate them, but the truth is I just threw them away," he said.

Leis said he'd be open to an expert's analysis of his rotting concoctions, so Wired invited mycologist Kathie Hodge of Cornell University, who's working on a book about food-decaying fungi, to look at the work.
There are thousands of molds out there, and "we see them all the time and yet we don't look at them. They live with us and we automatically throw these things out," said Hodge, who took Wired on a tour of Leis' moldy world, though not without a warning.

"Getting them to this level is probably not a good idea, so don't try this at home!" she said.

Friday, November 23, 2012

be safe around trains...,

pot legalization puts banksters in a pickle...,

reuters | Financial institutions across the country still face legal risks if they do business with marijuana shops because pot remains illegal under federal law.

"If financial institutions are federally licensed or insured, they must comply with federal regulations, and those regulations are clear about conducting financial transactions with money generated by the sale of narcotics," said Jim Dowling, a former Internal Revenue Service special agent who also acted as an anti-money laundering advisor to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The ballot measures on Tuesday made Colorado and Washington the first states to permit recreational marijuana sale and use. Medical-marijuana laws have been around in some states for more than a decade.
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. With the addition of Massachusetts, which passed a medical-marijuana ballot initiative on Tuesday, 18 states and the District of Columbia now have such laws on their books.

The medical marijuana business was worth $1.7 billion in 2011 and growing, according to a study by financial-analysis firm See Change Strategy.

The federal government does not recognize states' authority to legalize marijuana under any circumstances, however. It has targeted some medical-pot businesses for violations of the 40-year-old Controlled Substances Act, which classifies the drug a Schedule 1 narcotic, meaning it is considered addictive and with no medical value.

The Justice Department on Wednesday said its marijuana enforcement policies remained unchanged. "We are reviewing the ballot initiatives and have no additional comment at this time," its public statement said.
A Justice Department spokeswoman did not respond to a request for additional comment related to banking activity.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

einstein letter warning of zionist fascism in israel...,

Letters to the Editor
New York Times
December 4, 1948
Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughoutthe world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.
Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin's behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement. The public avowals of Begin's party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.
Attack on Arab Village
A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants ? 240men, women, and children - and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin. The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party.
Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model. During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.
The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.
Discrepancies Seen
The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a "Leader State" is the goal.
In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country. It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin's efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.
The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.
New York, Dec. 2, 1948

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

status anxiety

store-level management told to "threaten workers"...,

thenation | As planned Black Friday strikes draw increasing media attention, Walmart continues to publicly dismiss the actions as stunts and the workers involved as an unrepresentative fringe. But workers charge that behind closed doors, the company is waging a stepped-up campaign to to intimidate them out of striking. That includes both alleged illegal threats and punishments, and likely legal mandatory meetings designed to discourage workers from joining the Black Friday rebellion.

Today, OUR Walmart filed the latest of dozens of National Labor Relations Board charges against Walmart. The charge, announced this evening, alleges that Walmart's national headquarters has "told store-level management to threaten workers with termination, discipline, and/or a lawsuit if they strike or engage in other concerted job actions on Black Friday" and that managers in cities including San Leandro, California, Fairfield, Connecticut, and Dallas have done exactly that. It also alleges that Walmart Vice President of Communications David Tovar "threatened employees" with his statements. OUR Walmart says it is seeking "immediate intervention" to remedy the alleged crimes. In an e-mailed statement, American Rights at Work Research Director Erin Johansson said, "Walmart appears to be issuing serious threats to employees to stop them from exercising their rights under law."

In past interviews, Walmart has denied that it illegally retaliates against workers for activism, and Tovar denied the latest allegations in an interview with The New York Times. But the company has not denied that it holds mandatory meetings to discourage it. (As in a union campaign, such “captive audience” meetings are legal, though some “threats” are not.) OUR Walmart confirmed that workers have reported being required to attend such meetings in the lead-up to Black Friday.

Christopher Bentley Owen, an overnight stocker at a Tulsa Walmart supercenter, told The Nation he and his co-workers were lectured about the strike at a mandatory 10 pm meeting last night. According to Owen, the highest-ranking manager on the graveyard shift read, “word for word,” what appeared to be a prepared script from corporate headquarters slamming the Black Friday actions planned by the labor group OUR Walmart. The statement called OUR Walmart a “wholly owned subsidiary” of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, called its actions a “stunt,” and warned that by discouraging customers, the Black Friday actions would hurt employees’ end-of-quarter bonuses. Rather than downplaying it, said Owen, “It seemed like they were treating it like the notion of people picketing outside of stores could be a big deal.”

Owen said that his manager read, verbatim, a list of questions and answers that appeared to have been designed to instruct managers how to respond to workers’ questions, rather than to be read word for word. According to Owen, the manager read a hypothetical question from a worker who had heard that the strikes were legally protected, followed by an answer that, “It seems to us that this action is not protected by the law.” He read a hypothetical question from a worker about whether striking on Friday could lead to punishment, and then, “Answer: No comment.” After reading that, said Owen, “He kind of chuckled.”
Judging by the scripted questions and answers, said Owen, “They want to communicate to us, or plant the idea in our heads, that we could get disciplined.” Owen described the statement as “very much corporate-speak. It didn’t seem like it was written by our guy.” When the co-manager opened the floor for actual questions, said Owen, no one spoke up.

walmart asks a judge to block strikes...,

thenation | Weeks into a wave of historic strikes, and days before a planned Black Friday showdown, Walmart has filed a National Labor Relations Board charge alleging that the pickets are illegal and asking for a judge to shut them down. Walmart is no stranger to the NLRB: labor groups have filed numerous charges there accusing the retail giant of punishing or threatening activist workers, including dozens over the past few months. But this charge is the first one filed by the company in a decade. It will pose a decision for a judge and, even sooner, for the Labor Board’s Obama-appointed acting general counsel, who’s been a lightning rod for past Republican attacks.

The National Labor Relations Board, created by the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, is tasked with enforcing and interpreting private sector labor law. Walmart’s charge, filed Thursday night and reported by Reuters Friday evening, sets two processes in motion. The first, which could take months, is the full investigation and resolution of the allegation, beginning with fact-finding by board agents based in Walmart’s backyard (NLRB Region 26, which covers Arkansas and three other states). The second, which could advance as soon as this week, is the decision whether to grant an injunction restricting strikes against Walmart while the investigation proceeds. Experts say NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon would have final say over whether the board seeks the injunction; if it does, a district court judge will decide whether to grant it.

Reached over e-mail, Walmart Director of National Media Relations Kory Lundberg said that the company filed the charge in part because “many of our associates have urged us to do something about the UFCW’s latest round of publicity stunts…” In an e-mailed statement, Dallas OUR Walmart member Colby Harris called Walmart’s charge “baseless,” and said, “Walmart is doing everything in its power to attempt to silence our voice.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

no way out: crime, punishment and the limits of power...,

bnarchives | In May 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the State of California to release 30,000 to 40,000 of its 140,000 inmates.[2] California’s prisons have become so overcrowded that the Supreme Court declared the situation unconstitutional. The decision was imminent. For nearly two decades, California, along with many other states, was busy getting ‘tough on crime’. In the early 1990s, the state enacted the ‘Three-Strikes Law’, which mandates life sentences for third-time serious crime offenders, and it pursued the country’s ‘war on drugs’ and other law-enforcement campaigns with increasing zeal. Soon enough, its prisons were overflowing at nearly twice their capacity.

The United States is often portrayed as the archetypical liberal model. It is the world’s largest, most prosperous ‘free market’ and the greatest generator of profit on earth. And yet this very liberal haven is also the largest penal system in the world. There are now more than two million inmates in its prisons and jails and another five million on probation and on parole. If you add these two numbers together, you get a ‘correctional population’ of over seven million. This correctional population is the largest in the world – both absolutely and relative to the overall population – and it is also the largest the country has ever seen.

To some, this combination of market prosperity and intense punishment may seem puzzling. Many people intuitively expect crime and punishment to correlate with poverty, backwardness and deprivation; to be a feature of the Third World, not the First.

Knowingly or not, this expectation is grounded in the conventional separation of production from state and capital from power. According to the liberal version of this separation, accumulation breeds economic prosperity, and prosperity in the economic sphere reduces crime and calls for less punishment in the socio-political sphere. However, if we discard this separation and instead think of capital as power, and of capitalism as a mode of power, the puzzle disappears. The greater the capitalization of power, the greater the resistance to that capitalization and the larger the force needed to prevent this resistance from exploding. As profits increase to make distribution more unequal, the result is mounting resistance from below, and this resistance in turn leads to retaliation from above. The rising crime and intensifying punishment that we now see in the United States are key manifestations of this dialectic of capitalized resistance and retaliation.

students hiding academic talent and dropping activities to avoid bullying

guardian | Many bullying experts rightly focus on the plight of vulnerable children targeted by bullies but, before now, I wonder how many of us considered being intelligent or talented a vulnerability? More than 90% of the 1,000 11-16 year-olds we recently surveyed said they had been bullied or seen someone bullied for being too intelligent or talented. Worryingly, this means our children and young people are shying away from academic achievement for fear of victimisation.

Almost half of children and young people (49.5%) have played down a talent for fear of being bullied, rising to 53% among girls. One in 10 (12%) said they had played down their ability in science and almost one in five girls (18.8%) and more than one in 10 boys (11.4%) are deliberately underachieving in maths – to evade bullying.

The government has recently pledged funding to develop a new maths course for sixth-formers based on the assumption that current maths courses are inaccessible to youngsters who can't see the relevance of the subject to their lives. What our findings are telling us though, is that there is more at play here. And we want government to take note.

What used to be left in the playground is now following children home, through social media. And what may have been historically viewed as a short-term problem, which many of us endured during our school days – but not necessarily beyond – can have a dramatic impact on our young people's futures. Fist tap Dale.

the parents should be punished for failure to invest in their children...,

usatoday | A fourth-grade teacher in southern Idaho is being criticized after having her students use permanent markers to draw on the faces of classmates who failed to meet reading goals.

Some parents and administrators say the punishments given to nine students in Summer Larsen's class were inappropriate and left the children feeling shamed.

Cindy Hurst said recently her 10-year-old son came home from school Nov. 5 with his entire face — including his eyelids — scribbled on with green, red and purple markers.

"He was humiliated, he hung his head and wanted to go wash his face," Hurst told The Times-News of Twin Falls. "He knows he's a slow reader. Now he thinks he should be punished for it."

Larsen, who has taught at the school for six years, didn't respond to requests for comment. But Cassia County School District Superintendent Gaylen Smyer confirmed what took place in her classroom, though he didn't name Larsen.

The students were allowed to choose their own incentive to meet the reading goal, but instead of a reward, the class chose a punishment: Students who failed to meet the goal could either stay inside at recess until it was met, or have their faces written on by classmates who met the goals.

Nine students didn't meet the goals, the paper reported Friday. Three chose to forgo recess, and the other six chose to have their faces marked on.

"Although all the students in the class agreed to the incentive, once it occurred it was not so well received. Nor should it have been," Smyer said.

Monday, November 19, 2012

currencies of the future..,

lfb | Banking industry insiders are upset with Amex and Wal-Mart, that also is offering prepaid cards, because these prepaid accounts would amount to uninsured deposits, according to Andrew Kahr, who wrote a scathing piece on the issue for American Banker.
Kahr rips into the idea with this analogy:
“To provide even lower ‘discount prices,’ should Wal-Mart rent decaying buildings that don’t satisfy local fire laws and building codes — and offer still better deals to consumers? And why should Walmart have to honor the national minimum wage law, any more than Amex honors state banking statutes? With Bluebird, Amex can already violate both the Bank Holding Company Act and many state banking statues.”
Kahr is implying that regulated fractionalized banking is safe and sound, while prepaid cards provided by huge companies like Amex and Wal-Mart is a shady scheme set up to rip off consumers. The fact is, in the case of IndyMac, panicked customers forced regulators to close the S&L by withdrawing only 7% of the huge S&L’s deposits. It was about the same for WaMu and Wachovia when regulators engineered sales of those banks being run on. Bitcoin supporters, unlike the general public, are well aware of fractionalized banking’s fragility.

Maybe what the banking industry is really afraid of is the Amexes and Wal-Marts of the world creating their own currencies and banking systems. Wal-Mart has tried to get approval to open a bank for years, and bankers have successfully stopped the retail giant for competing with them.

However, prepaid credit cards might be just the first step toward Wal-Mart issuing their own currency — Marts — that might initially be used only for purchases in Wal-Mart stores. But over time, it’s not hard to imagine Marts being traded all over town and easily converted to dollars, pesos, Yuan, or other currencies traded where Wal-Mart has stores. Fist tap Dale.

walmart strike spreading to your area, here are 9 reasons why it matters...,

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
policymic | The first retail worker strike against Wal-Mart has spread from Los Angeles, where it began last week, to stores in a dozen cities, a union official said Tuesday. According to the Huffington Post, Wal-Mart workers walked off the job in Dallas, Seattle, the San Francisco Bay area, Miami, the Washington, D.C., area, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Chicago and Orlando, said Dan Schlademan, director of the United Food and Commercial Workers' Making Change At Wal-Mart campaign. Workers also went on strike in parts of Kentucky, Missouri and Minnesota, he said.

Tuesday's walkouts included 88 workers from 28 stores ... a fraction of the 1.4 million who work at Wal-Mart, the world's largest private employer. Until Friday, when about 60 Wal-Mart employees walked off the job for a day in LA, no Wal-Mart retail workers had ever gone on strike, the union said.

The workers are protesting company attempts to "silence and retaliate against workers for speaking out for improvements on the job," according to a United Food and Commercial Workers news release. Walmart workers, who are not unionized, have long complained of low pay and a lack of benefits.

These workers must be heard. Here are 9 reasons why:

a tale of two discounters...,

cbsnews | This holiday season, the biggest discount chains in the U.S. will tell the tale of two very different shoppers: Those that have and those that have not.

Walmart (WMT), the world's largest retailer, on Thursday acknowledged that its low-income shoppers continue to struggle in the economy and issued an outlook for the fourth quarter -- which encompasses the holiday shopping period -- that falls below Wall Street estimates. On the same day, its smaller rival Target (TGT), which caters to more affluent shoppers, said it expects results during the quarter to exceed the Street's projections.

The two discounters offer valuable insight into how Americans will spend in November and December, a period that's traditionally the busiest shopping period of the year. Some merchants depend on the holiday shopping season for up to 40 percent of their annual sales, but economists watch the period closely to get a temperature reading on the overall mood of American consumers.

The forecasts seem to confirm a trend that has taken shape during the economic downturn. Well-heeled shoppers spend more freely as the economy begins to show new signs of life, while consumers in the lower-income brackets continue to hold tight to their purse strings even as the housing and stock markets rebound.

Walmart and Target both are discounters, but they cater to different customers. Walmart, which says its customers' average household income ranges from $30,000 to $60,000, hammers its low-price message and focuses on stocking basics like tee shirts and underwear along with household goods. But Target, whose customers have a median household income of $64,000 a year, is known for carrying discounted designer clothes and home decor under the same roof as detergent and dishwashing liquid.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

peace of mind for the left behind...,

NYTimes | On a clear morning in May, Ron Douglas left his home in exurban Denver, eased into his Toyota pickup truck and drove to a business meeting at a Starbucks. Douglas, a bearded bear of a man, ordered a venti double-chocolate-chip Frappuccino — “the girliest drink ever,” he called it — and then sat down to discuss the future of the growing survivalist industry.

Many so-called survivalists would take pride in keeping far away from places that sell espresso drinks. But Douglas, a 38-year-old entrepreneur and founder of one of the largest preparedness expos in the country, isn’t your typical prepper.

At that morning’s meeting, a strategy session with two new colleagues, Douglas made it clear that he doesn’t even like the word “survivalist.” He believes the word is ruined, evoking “the nut job who lives out in the mountains by himself on the retreat.” Instead, he prefers “self-reliance.”

When prompted by his colleagues to define the term, Douglas leaned forward in his chair. “I’m glad you asked,” he replied. “Take notes. This is good.”

For the next several minutes, Douglas talked about emergency preparedness, sustainable living and financial security — what he called the three pillars of self-reliance. He detailed the importance of solar panels, gardens, water storage and food stockpiles. People shouldn’t just have 72-hour emergency kits for when the power grid goes down; they should learn how to live on their own. It’s a message that Douglas is trying to move from the fringe to the mainstream.

“Our main goal is to reach as many people and get the word out to as many people as we can, to get them thinking and moving in this direction,” he said. “Sound good?”

The preparedness industry, always prosperous during hard times, is thriving again now. In Douglas’s circles, people talk about “the end of the world as we know it” with such regularity that the acronym Teotwawki (tee-ought-wah-kee) has come into widespread use. The Vivos Group, which sells luxury bunkers, until recently had a clock on its Web site that was ticking down to Dec. 21, 2012 — a date that, thanks to the Mayan calendar, some believe will usher in the end times. But amid the alarmism, there is real concern that the world is indeed increasingly fragile — a concern highlighted most recently by Hurricane Sandy. The storm’s aftermath has shown just how unprepared most of us are to do without the staples of modern life: food, fuel, transportation and electric power. Fist tap Arnach.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

how many times does history repeat itself?

at saviour's day?!?!?! these two killed more black people than the kkk...,

paul newman left out a bunch of historical details...,

it didn't end with the boxer rebellion...,

wikipedia | The Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, known by foreigners as the Boxers, or "Yihe Magic Boxing", was a secret society founded in the northern coastal province of Shandong consisting largely of people who had lost their livelihoods due to imperialism and natural disasters.[6] The group originated from the Lí sect of the Ba gua religion group.[7] Foreigners came to call the well-trained, athletic young men "Boxers" due to the martial arts and calisthenics they practiced. The Boxers' primary feature was spirit possession, which involved "the whirling of swords, violent prostrations, and chanting incantations to Taoist and Buddhist spirits."[8]

The Boxers believed that through training, diet, martial arts, and prayer they could perform extraordinary feats, such as flight. Further, they popularly claimed that millions of spirit soldiers would descend from the heavens and assist them in purifying China of foreign influences. The Boxers consisted of local farmers/peasants and other workers who were made desperate by disastrous floods and widespread opium addiction and laid the blame on Christian missionaries, Chinese Christians, and the Europeans colonizing their country. Missionaries were protected under the policy of extraterritoriality. Chinese Christians were alleged also to have filed false lawsuits.[9] The Boxers called foreigners "Guizi" (鬼子, literally: demons), a deprecatory term, and condemned Chinese Christian converts and Chinese working for foreigners. The Boxers were only lightly armed with rifles and swords, claiming supernatural invulnerability towards blows of cannon, rifle gunshots, and knife attacks. The Boxers were typical of millennarian movements, such as the American Indian Ghost Dance, often rising in societies under extreme stress.[10]

Several secret societies in Shandong predated the Boxers. In 1895, Yuxian, a Manchu who was then prefect of Caozhou and would later become provincial governor, acquired the help of the Big Sword Society in fighting against bandits. Although the Big Swords had heterodox practices, they were not seen as bandits by Chinese authorities. Their efficiency in defeating banditry led to a flood of cases overwhelming the magistrates' courts, to which the Big Swords responded by executing the bandits that were apprehended.[11] The Big Swords relentlessly hunted the bandits, but the bandits converted to Catholic Christianity, gaining them legal immunity from prosecution and also placed them under the protection of the foreigners. The Big Swords responded by attacking bandit Catholic churches and burning them.[12] As a result, Yuxian executed several Big Sword leaders, but did not punish anyone else. More secret societies started emerging after this.[13]

The early years saw a variety of village activities, not a broad movement or a united purpose. Like the Red Boxing school or the Plum Flower Boxers, the Boxers of Shandong were more concerned with traditional social and moral values, such as filial piety, than with foreign influences. One leader, for instance, Zhu Hongdeng (Red Lantern Zhu), started as a wandering healer, specializing in skin ulcers, and gained wide respect by refusing payment for his treatments.[14] Zhu claimed descent from Ming dynasty Emperors, since his surname was the surname of the Ming Imperial Family. He announced that his goal was to "Revive the Qing and destroy the foreigners" ("Fu Qing mie yang").[15]