Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A bit of tittytainment

"Tittytainment" was a term coined by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security advisor of US president Jimmy Carter, essentially to convey the thought that a mixture of "intoxicating entertainment and sufficient nourishment" that can "tranquilize the frustrated minds of the globe's population."

The term gained currency during/ after the famous first State of the World Forum held at San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel in 1995, where this idea was apparently proposed as the solution to the "20-80 society" of the 21st century.This excerpt from The Global Trap (1997) by H.P. Martin and H. Schuhmann describes the proceedings:

"...The pragmatists in the Fairmont Hotel reduce the future to a pair of numbers and a term: "20 to 80" and "tittytainment".

20 percent of the working age population will be enough in the coming century to keep the world economy going. "More workers will not be needed", said magnate Washington SyCip. A fifth of all jobseekers will be enough to produce all the goods and perform all the top-flight services that the world society can afford....

What about the others? Will 80 percent of those willing to work be without a job? "Certainly"... The question in the future will be "to have lunch or be lunch", to eat or be devoured.

....The term "tittytainment" makes the rounds... The frustrated population of the world could be kept happy with as mixture of numbing entertainment and adequate food.

The managers soberly discuss the possible doses and reflect how the wealthy fifth can employ the superfluous remnant.... The organizers of the three memorable days in the Fairmont imagined themselves underway to a new civilization. However the direction envisaged by the assembled experts from the executive floors and science leads directly back into the pre-modern age... The world model of the future follows the formula 20 to 80. The one-fifth society is brewing in which the excluded will be immobilized with "tittytainment"."

The future has arrived!!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Albrecht Ritschl: "If Germany paid war compensations, it would go bankrupt immediately”

19/10/2011 - 09:00
Interview with Isaac Karipidis
Arriving on the fourth floor in one of the buildings of the London School of Economics ...
It is not difficult to find the office of the German professor of economic history, Albrecht Ritschl. Above the door is stuck a card depicting a Piggy-Piggy to swim in the sea, holding in the mouth the Greek flag. Entering the office, the first thing you face is a photocopy of a 200 drachma bill of Rigas Feraios.
Professor Ritsl became known, as he admits, not very popular in his country, because he, through his articles in the British press and through the interviews in German magazines, has essentially argued that the attitude of Germany towards the financial problem in Greece is unacceptable, a position which he expressed even in the magazine Spiegel, which is not ... famous for philhellenic approaches. Indeed, in an interview in the magazine this summer said that if Greece, along with other countries' claims the compensations (note: the Second World War) and Germany is forced to pay, then they’d even get our ... shirts ".According to the professor, the German postwar "miracle" is due to a large extent on the fact that Greece has never claimed reparations from Germany, as others did. "That Germany should not forget," as he said in "Hot".
Professor Ritsl was born in Munich in 1959. He has taught at many different universities in Europe. From Barcelona and Zurich to Berlin. In recent years Professor of Economic History at one of the most popular universities in the financial world, the London School of Economics.

Sir, do you really have anything to do with Greece?
No, no.
How do you explain such a strong Greek presence in your office?
(Laughter.) I have some basic knowledge of Economic History of the 20th century thanks to my profession. Eventually, in an interview they asked me how bad things were in early 1900 - a time which is anyway not far from ours. I asked, then, give a comparison of the problem of Greece with the conditions then prevailing, and thus began my contact with your country.
Your relationship, then, with Greece was inaugurated when the problems started in our country?
(Laughter.) Yes, so it is. It is a coincidence. Unless, of course, the deep relationship that we all have with Greece, which is over 2,000 years. European culture, European course would be completely different without the positive contribution of the Greek spirit. But that's another story ...
Speaking strictly for my relationship with your country, I would say it started because of financial problems and mainly because of how the rest of Europe dealt with them and especially Germany.
Really, how did Germany dealt with them? How do you see the attitude of Germany towards Greece?
I must say that now, these recent weeks, the attitude of Germany has changed. It is not so intransigent and so cumbersome as  It was before.
Today there are two major trends within the country, which collide, even among themselves. One argues that there should be no default in the eurozone. Debts must be paid to the last cent not to expose Europe to international markets. The other "school", the other trend, if you will, which recently gained ground, says it should be restructured debt. According to proponents of this view, there is nowhere in the EU a rule, which impose the full financial support of a country on the verge of bankruptcy. And historically, indeed, this is the way in which the debt of a country goes.

You, as professor of economics, which solution do you favor?
Sir  Karipidis, I must say-and I know that this will not appeal to your readers, it is almost impossible for Greece to pay its debt. The debt of Greece in relation to production is much greater. So the restructuring is almost imperative. I am able also to tell you that within the German government, no longer speak for a large proportion of the debt restructuring of Greece. It is no secret anymore. Moreover, politically speaking, I would say that Greece has never been ready to enter the euro. Before you enter the Eurozone in a system such as the eurozone, you have to develop a strong, modern tax environment. I think the Greek government was not ready to face the difficulties of such a mechanism. This, indeed, we are seeing and experiencing now. Nevertheless, I must say that there is no reason to look back but to see how we deal with the situation together. All countries to cooperate for the common good of the eurozone. To see how we get out from this path, without creating more damage to the global economy.

Often, however, Germany, at least in our eyes, does not seem so minded as you say ...
There you are wrong, sir Karipidis ... The German government several times in the recent past have not acted with the required efficiency. Also, if you look a little old in the history of Germany, we see that this too has its own huge mistakes - not only politically but also economically.
What do you mean?
After the Second World War, Germany left behind a Europe essentially damaged. Furthermore, because of frivolous options, the same over the past century,  has gone bankrupt three times. If it were not for the U.S., which helped financially after the war, and countries such as Greece, which never claimed war damages, now my country would not have the economic power it has. I've said it before and am not afraid to repeat to you, Karipidis: Germany is the biggest sinner in the 20th century and perhaps of modern economic history. My compatriots seem to have selective memory on this issue. If you interpret it psychologically, it's because we always tend to remember only the good side of ourselves. (Laughter.) Nevertheless, it is right to remind my countrymen of historical events, which anyway remain vivid in the minds of people living in other European countries.
You know, for these positions I'm not very popular in my country ... Of course, I must say, as an economist and researcher, and that your country has a large responsibility for the current situation. As people, you spend much more than you produce and your life is not justified by your income.
Really, could Greece today claim reparations from Germany?
Allow me to tell you that this is a purely legal question, to which I will not take place. I know that it has launched a debate among legal circles in Europe -even informally-but I can not have a scientific perspective. I am not a lawyer. This, however, you will say with certainty is that the real issue is not whether Germany owes war reparations to Greece, but that we should all deal with this difficult situation. The point is that Germany must understand that it has its own share of responsibility and must leave the arrogant rhetoric. It should go into more effective and efficient approach to the problem. Germany must not forget that two generations ago was able to stand on its feet thanks to the generous attitude of Western powers, including Greece. It should be stopped, then, to see the solution only with numbers and see it with a more effective and wider political view.

I will not disagree with you on the necessity of immediate treatment of the problem should’ t we, however, look at the agreements signed in the past and have not been met? I refer to the Agreement on German debt was signed in London in 1953.According to this, if a reunification of the two Germanies took place, Germany would have to pay war reparations. Germany was unified in 1990, but compensation is not given ...
It is not such a simple issue ... The agreement says that Germany will pay its debts when it will be reunited and the new state created will be the "legal" successor of the German Empire. Like, say, before the war. It is still not clear whether Germany that emerged after 1990 is the "legal" successor of the German Empire. If it is proven, then the debts of the German Empire are passed in the state of Germany and countries like Greece can claim compensation from either the German courts or even by European courts. The issue is still open. Of course, Germany's view is that the united Germany is not the "legal" successor of the German Empire, and therefore not liable for any damages. I must say, however, that if Germany eventually asked to pay all such damages, not only to Greece but also in the world, then it will go bankrupt immediately. Because the amount that will be charged, will be much higher than the amount that Germany can afford.
Before closing, I would like to ask you what do you think should be done to Greece to come out from this difficult situation.
Look, things are very serious. To be perfectly honest, what is done should be done with great care not to have bad consequences. You should at all costs to avoid riots and strike a final and lasting solution in the least possible impact on the Greeks. The one issue this debt. Personally, I think much of it should be deleted. I am not able to tell you how much, but surely the number is large. The other major issue is that Greece from now on should begin to live with its own resources and not by loans and grants from other countries or the EU. One thing is certain: The years during which Greece was living with borrowed money are gone. From now on, your country faces a painful period to adjust to new, arguably more realistic, and unfortunately, my assessment is that this period will last many years ...
Although you do not sound particularly optimistic, I can only thank you, sir Ritsl for the discussion we had!
Thank you, sir Karipidis, and do not forget that Germany after the war was much worse than what is Greece today!
Published in the journal Epikaira: 14/10/2011

Monday, 28 October 2013

history repeats

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Why Schools Don't Educate

by John Taylor Gatto
I accept this award on behalf of all the fine teachers I've known over the years who've struggled to make their transactions with children honorable ones, men and women who are never complacent, always questioning, always wrestling to define and redefine endlessly what the word "education" should mean. A Teacher of the Year is not the best teacher around, those people are too quiet to be easily uncovered, but he is a standard-bearer, symbolic of these private people who spend their lives gladly in the service of children. This is their award as well as mine.

We live in a time of great school crisis. Our children rank at the bottom of nineteen industrial nations in reading, writing and arithmetic. At the very bottom. The world's narcotic economy is based upon our own consumption of the commodity, if we didn't buy so many powdered dreams the business would collapse - and schools are an important sales outlet. Our teenage suicide rate is the highest in the world and suicidal kids are rich kids for the most part, not the poor. In Manhattan fifty per cent of all new marriages last less than five years. So something is wrong for sure.
Our school crisis is a reflection of this greater social crisis. We seem to have lost our identity. Children and old people are penned up and locked away from the business of the world to a degree without precedent - nobody talks to them anymore and without children and old people mixing in daily life a community has no future and no past, only a continuous present. In fact, the name "community" hardly applies to the way we interact with each other. We live in networks, not communities, and everyone I know is lonely because of that. In some strange way school is a major actor in this tragedy just as it is a major actor in the widening guilt among social classes. Using school as a sorting mechanism we appear to be on the way to creating a caste system, complete with untouchables who wander through subway trains begging and sleep on the streets.
I've noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my twenty-five years of teaching - that schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very hard, the institution is psychopathic - it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to different cell where he must memorize that man and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.
Our form of compulsory schooling is an invention of the state of Massachusetts around 1850. It was resisted - sometimes with guns - by an estimated eighty per cent of the Massachusetts population, the last outpost in Barnstable on Cape Cod not surrendering its children until the 1880's when the area was seized by militia and children marched to school under guard.
Now here is a curious idea to ponder. Senator Ted Kennedy's office released a paper not too long ago claiming that prior to compulsory education the state literacy rate was 98% and after it the figure never again reached above 91% where it stands in 1990. I hope that interests you.
Here is another curiosity to think about. The homeschooling movement has quietly grown to a size where one and a half million young people are being educated entirely by their own parents. Last month the education press reported the amazing news that children schooled at home seem to be five or even ten years ahead of their formally trained peers in their ability to think.
I don't think we'll get rid of schools anytime soon, certainly not in my lifetime, but if we're going to change what is rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance, we need to realize that the school institution "schools" very well, but it does not "educate" - that's inherent in the design of the thing. It's not the fault of bad teachers or too little money spent, it's just impossible for education and schooling ever to be the same thing.
Schools were designed by Horace Mann and Barnard Sears and Harper of the University of Chicago and Thorndyke of Columbia Teachers College and some other men to be instruments of the scientific management of a mass population. Schools are intended to produce through the application of formulae, formulaic human beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled.
To a very great extent, schools succeed in doing this. But our society is disintegrating, and in such a society, the only successful people are self-reliant, confident, and individualistic - because the community life which protects the dependent and the weak is dead. The products of schooling are, as I've said, irrelevant. Well-schooled people are irrelevant. They can sell film and razor blades, push paper and talk on the telephones, or sit mindlessly before a flickering computer terminal but as human beings they are useless. Useless to others and useless to themselves.
The daily misery around us is, I think, in large measure caused by the fact that - as Paul Goodman put it thirty years ago - we force children to grow up absurd. Any reform in schooling has to deal with its absurdities.
It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety, indeed it cuts you off from your own part and future, scaling you to a continuous present much the same way television does.
It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to listen to a stranger reading poetry when you want to learn to construct buildings, or to sit with a stranger discussing the construction of buildings when you want to read poetry.
It is absurd and anti-life to move from cell to cell at the sound of a gong for every day of your natural youth in an institution that allows you no privacy and even follows you into the sanctuary of your home demanding that you do its "homework".
"How will they learn to read?" you say and my answer is "Remember the lessons of Massachusetts." When children are given whole lives instead of age-graded ones in cellblocks they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic with ease if those things make sense in the kind of life that unfolds around them.
But keep in mind that in the United States almost nobody who reads, writes or does arithmetic gets much respect. We are a land of talkers, we pay talkers the most and admire talkers the most, and so our children talk constantly, following the public models of television and schoolteachers. It is very difficult to teach the "basics" anymore because they really aren't basic to the society we've made.
Two institutions at present control our children's lives - television and schooling, in that order. Both of these reduce the real world of wisdom, fortitude, temperance, and justice to a never-ending, non-stopping abstraction. In centuries past the time of a child and adolescent would be occupied in real work, real charity, real adventures, and the realistic search for mentors who might teach what you really wanted to learn. A great deal of time was spent in community pursuits, practicing affection, meeting and studying every level of the community, learning how to make a home, and dozens of other tasks necessary to become a whole man or woman.
But here is the calculus of time the children I teach must deal with:
Out of the 168 hours in each week, my children sleep 56. That leaves them 112 hours a week out of which to fashion a self.
My children watch 55 hours of television a week according to recent reports. That leaves them 57 hours a week in which to grow up.
My children attend school 30 hours a week, use about 6 hours getting ready, going and coming home, and spend an average of 7 hours a week in homework - a total of 45 hours. During that time, they are under constant surveillance, have no private time or private space, and are disciplined if they try to assert individuality in the use of time or space. That leaves 12 hours a week out of which to create a unique consciousness. Of course, my kids eat, and that takes some time - not much, because they've lost the tradition of family dining, but if we allot 3 hours a week to evening meals, we arrive at a net amount of private time for each child of 9 hours.
It's not enough. It's not enough, is it? The richer the kid, or course, the less television he watches but the rich kid's time is just as narrowly proscribed by a somewhat broader catalog of commercial entertainments and his inevitable assignment to a series of private lessons in areas seldom of his actual choice.
And these things are oddly enough just a more cosmetic way to create dependent human beings, unable to fill their own hours, unable to initiate lines of meaning to give substance and pleasure to their existence. It's a national disease, this dependency and aimlessness, and I think schooling and television and lessons - the entire Chautauqua idea - has a lot to do with it.
Think of the things that are killing us as a nation - narcotic drugs, brainless competition, recreational sex, the pornography of violence, gambling, alcohol, and the worst pornography of all - lives devoted to buying things, accumulation as a philosophy - all of them are addictions of dependent personalities, and that is what our brand of schooling must inevitably produce.
I want to tell you what the effect is on children of taking all their time from them - time they need to grow up - and forcing them to spend it on abstractions. You need to hear this, because no reform that doesn't attack these specific pathologies will be anything more than a facade.
  1. The children I teach are indifferent to the adult world. This defies the experience of thousands of years. A close study of what big people were up to was always the most exciting occupation of youth, but nobody wants to grow up these days and who can blame them? Toys are us.
  2. The children I teach have almost no curiosity and what they do have is transitory; they cannot concentrate for very long, even on things they choose to do. Can you see a connection between the bells ringing again and again to change classes and this phenomenon of evanescent attention?
  3. The children I teach have a poor sense of the future, of how tomorrow is inextricably linked to today. As I said before, they have a continuous present, the exact moment they are at is the boundary of their consciousness.
  4. The children I teach are ahistorical, they have no sense of how past has predestined their own present, limiting their choices, shaping their values and lives.
  5. The children I teach are cruel to each other, they lack compassion for misfortune, they laugh at weakness, and they have contempt for people whose need for help shows too plainly.
  6. The children I teach are uneasy with intimacy or candor. My guess is that they are like many adopted people I've known in this respect - they cannot deal with genuine intimacy because of a lifelong habit of preserving a secret inner self inside a larger outer personality made up of artificial bits and pieces of behavior borrowed from television or acquired to manipulate teachers. Because they are not who they represent themselves to be the disguise wears thin in the presence of intimacy so intimate relationships have to be avoided.
  7. The children I teach are materialistic, following the lead of schoolteachers who materialistically "grade" everything - and television mentors who offer everything in the world for free.
  8. The children I teach are dependent, passive, and timid in the presence of new challenges. This is frequently masked by surface bravado, or by anger or aggressiveness but underneath is a vacuum without fortitude.
I could name a few other conditions that school reform would have to tackle if our national decline is to be arrested, but by now you will have grasped my thesis, whether you agree with it or not. Either schools have caused these pathologies, or television, or both. It's a simple matter [of] arithmetic, between schooling and television all the time the children have is eaten away. That's what has destroyed the American family, it is no longer a factor in the education of its own children. Television and schooling, in those things the fault must lie.
What can be done? First we need a ferocious national debate that doesn't quit, day after day, year after year. We need to scream and argue about this school thing until it is fixed or broken beyond repair, one or the other. If we can fix it, fine; if we cannot, then the success of homeschooling shows a different road to take that has great promise. Pouring the money we now pour into family education might kill two birds with one stone, repairing families as it repairs children.
Genuine reform is possible but it shouldn't cost anything. We need to rethink the fundamental premises of schooling and decide what it is we want all children to learn and why. For 140 years this nation has tried to impose objectives downward from the lofty command center made up of "experts", a central elite of social engineers. It hasn't worked. It won't work. And it is a gross betrayal of the democratic promise that once made this nation a noble experiment. The Russian attempt to create Plato's republic in Eastern Europe has exploded before [our] eyes, our own attempt to impose the same sort of central orthodoxy using the schools as an instrument is also coming apart at the seams, albeit more slowly and painfully. It doesn't work because its fundamental premises are mechanical, anti-human, and hostile to family life. Lives can be controlled by machine education but they will always fight back with weapons of social pathology - drugs, violence, self-destruction, indifference, and the symptoms I see in the children I teach.
It's high time we looked backwards to regain an educational philosophy that works. One I like particularly well has been a favorite of the ruling classes of Europe for thousands of years. I use as much of it as I can manage in my own teaching, as much, that is, as I can get away with given the present institution of compulsory schooling. I think it works just as well for poor children as for rich ones.
At the core of this elite system of education is the belief that self-knowledge is the only basis of true knowledge. Everywhere in this system, at every age, you will find arrangements to place the child alone in an unguided setting with a problem to solve. Sometimes the problem is fraught with great risks, such as the problem of galloping a horse or making it jump, but that, of course, is a problem successfully solved by thousands of elite children before the age of ten. Can you imagine anyone who had mastered such a challenge ever lacking confidence in his ability to do anything? Sometimes the problem is the problem of mastering solitude, as Thoreau did at Walden Pond, or Einstein did in the Swiss customs house.
One of my former students, Roland Legiardi-Lura, though both his parents were dead and he had no inheritance, took a bicycle across the United States alone when he was hardly out of boyhood. Is it any wonder then that in manhood when he decided to make a film about Nicaragua, although he had no money and no prior experience with film-making, that it was an international award-winner - even though his regular work was as a carpenter.
Right now we are taking all the time from our children that they need to develop self-knowledge. That has to stop. We have to invent school experiences that give a lot of that time back, we need to trust children from a very early age with independent study, perhaps arranged in school but which takes place away from the institutional setting. We need to invent curriculum where each kid has a chance to develop private uniqueness and self-reliance.
A short time ago I took seventy dollars and sent a twelve-year-old girl from my class with her non-English speaking mother on a bus down the New Jersey coast to take the police chief of Sea Bright to lunch and apologize for polluting [his] beach with a discarded Gatorade bottle. In exchange for this public apology I had arranged with the police chief for the girl to have a one-day apprenticeship in a small town police procedures. A few days later, two more of my twelve-year-old kids traveled alone to West First Street from Harlem where they began an apprenticeship with a newspaper editor, next week three of my kids will find themselves in the middle of the Jersey swamps at 6 A.M., studying the mind of a trucking company president as he dispatches 18-wheelers to Dallas, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Are these "special" children in a "special" program? Well, in one sense, yes, but nobody knows about this program but the kids and myself. They're just nice kids from Central Harlem, bright and alert, but so badly schooled when they came to me that most of them can't add or subtract with any fluency. And not a single one knew the population of New York City or how far it is from New York to California.
Does that worry me? Of course, but I am confident that as they gain self-knowledge they'll also become self-teachers - and only self-teaching has any lasting value.
We've got to give kids independent time right away because that is the key to self-knowledge, and we must re-involve them with the real world as fast as possible so that the independent time can be spent on something other than more abstraction. This is an emergency, it requires drastic action to correct - our children are dying like flies in schooling, good schooling or bad schooling, it's all the same. Irrelevant.
What else does a restructured school system need? It needs to stop being a parasite on the working community. Of all the pages in the human ledger, only our tortured entry has warehoused children and asked nothing of them in service to the general good. For a while I think we need to make community service a required part of schooling. Besides the experience in acting unselfishly that will teach, it is the quickest way to give young children real responsibility in the mainstream of life.
For five years I ran a guerilla program where I had every kid, rich and poor, smart and dipsy, give 320 hours a year of hard community service. Dozens of those kids came back to me years later, grown up, and told me that one experience of helping someone else changed their lives. It taught them to see in new ways, to rethink goals and values. It happened when they were thirteen, in my Lab School program - only made possible because my rich school district was in chaos. When "stability" returned the Lab was closed. It was too successful with a wildly mixed group of kids, at too small of a cost, to be allowed to continue. We made the expensive elite programs look bad.
There is no shortage of real problems in the city. Kids can be asked to help solve them in exchange for the respect and attention of the total adult world. Good for kids, good for all the rest of us. That's curriculum that teaches Justice, one of the four cardinal virtues in every system of elite education. What's sauce for the rich and powerful is surely sauce for the rest of us - what is more, the idea is absolutely free as are all other genuine reform ideas in education. Extra money and extra people put into this sick institution will only make it sicker.
Independent study, community service, adventures in experience, large doses of privacy and solitude, a thousand different apprenticeships, the one day variety or longer - these are all powerful, cheap and effective ways to start a real reform of schooling. But no large-scale reform is ever going to work to repair our damaged children and our damaged society until we force the idea of "school" open - to include family as the main engine of education. The Swedes realized that in 1976 when they effectively abandoned the system of adopting unwanted children and instead spent national time and treasure on reinforcing the original family so that children born to Swedes were wanted. They didn't succeed completely but they did succeed in reducing the number of unwanted Swedish children from 6000 in l976 to 15 in 1986. So it can be done. The Swedes just got tired of paying for the social wreckage caused by children not raised by their natural parents so they did something about it. We can, too.
Family is the main engine of education. If we use schooling to break children away from parents - and make no mistake, that has been the central function of schools since John Cotton announced it as the purpose of the Bay Colony schools in 1650 and Horace Mann announced it as the purpose of Massachusetts schools in 1850 - we're going to continue to have the horror show we have right now. The curriculum of family is at the heart of any good life, we've gotten away from that curriculum, time to return to it. The way to sanity in education is for our schools to take the lead in releasing the stranglehold of institutions on family life, to promote during school time confluences of parent and child that will strengthen family bonds. That was my real purpose in sending the girl and her mother down the Jersey coast to meet the police chief. I have many ideas to make a family curriculum and my guess is that a lot of you will have many ideas, too, once you begin to think about it. Our greatest problem in getting the kind of grass-roots thinking going that could reform schooling is that we have large vested interests pre-emptying all the air time and profiting from schooling just exactly as it is despite rhetoric to the contrary. We have to demand that new voices and new ideas get a hearing, my ideas and yours. We've all had a bellyful of authorized voices mediated by television and the press - a decade long free-for-all debate is what is called for now, not any more "expert" opinions. Experts in education have never been right, their "solutions" are expensive, self-serving, and always involve further centralization. Enough. Time for a return to democracy, individuality, and family. I've said my piece. Thank you.
Monday, 14 October 2013

EBT System Crash: 16 States Out of Service: “How Am I Going to Feed My Family?”

SHTF Plan website shares an article about how people reacted to a 72 hour glitch that shut down the EBT foodstamp electronic program in 16 states.

SHTF plan author brought up a very good point ” What if the shutdown was for 72 days instead ? ” – How would people respond ?

This is why food storage is so important, even if your doing it on a limited budget.

Click here to read the article:

Record 46 Million Americans Are on Food Stamps

Click here to read article:


Saturday, 7 September 2013

Syria(l) killers

Every Friday, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia , residents and guests (I imagine most of them Americans) can watch amputations and if they are "lucky" and executions too.

by Kostas Vaxevanis

With a horrific rite that includes gruesome functions for the "sensitive" stomach of a democratic Westerner, the executioner raises his axe and lets it drop to the end of the one being accused of stealing . A heartbreaking cry sounds before the blood starts to flow everywhere , reaching sometimes as the crowd attending the medieval exemplary punishment.

Each year , the Riyadh regime, the U.S. allied royal family, executes about 80 people who may have been accused of adultery , homosexuality , religious waiver or whatever else one mullah chooses, who however does not annoy the democratic sensitivities of President Obama, as he did not (also) for former presidents.

The UN, the international organizations and of course the U.S. government have not identified in the oilfields of Saudi Arabia no violation of human rights that will require some intervention. In contrast, the IMF commends Saudi Arabia for the economic miracle that is a carrier.

In 2011 , Saudi Arabia made ​​a military intervention in neighboring Bahrain, where Shiite protesters protesting against tyrannical Sunni regime. Bahrain also a U.S. ally in the region, has a tradition to torture and anti-democratic features, but does not employ the American fleet docked in its ports.

The U.S., however, are bothered by the tyrannical Syrian regime and the undemocratic regime in Iran. If what is happening in Saudi Arabia was happening in Syria, the U.S. would require, in the name of Democracy, to bomb Assad with nuclear weapons. And I imagine there would be many allies who would agree.

In 2003, the attack on Iraq was not only for biological weapons which of course did not exist, but it turns out now that the argument for their existence was a conscious lie to get the Americans in the region. In Afghanistan the Taliban fell, but the burqa and the lack of democracy remain. The modern international legitimacy, is a set of considerations, an offsetting of interests, an ostensible Republic of military generals and the cynicals of the so-called stability.

In Syria there is apparently an authoritarian regime, as in the 90% of the Arab world. There is also a civil war, which is maintained by the U.S. policy. With this perception of foreign policy the whole adventure in the Middle East in the 50's started. When the U.S. and Great Britain as evidenced by the documents of the CIA, threw the elected government of Mohammed Mosantech. In order to control the oil in the region, raised to power puppets, who later turned into beasts against them. The democratization of the Middle East, never moved forward, not because some in the area are born and remain undemocratic, but because those who wanted to control them did not allow it.

Throughout this geopolitical game, the position of the Greek government, first and foremost the very Vice-President's, shows what it is. Another slavish obeisance to the argument of the merely one way from which we can not escape. For some reason, the roads chosen by Mr. Venizelos, always are marking the one-way, with the pointer staring at powerful interests.

When the Samaras - Venizelos government formed, I risked a prediction. That Venizelos will require the Foreign Ministry with the sole purpose to use it as a lifejacket for his political survival. He knew very well that the national issues to be opened directly (Skopje, Cyprus) and the International ones, his willingness to contribute to international 'legitimacy' in a similar way that has helped in the Greek case, making ordered laws and by lump, would make him indispensable, so he would be kept politically alive.

Evangelos Venizelos, confirmed the predictions with cynicism as always, interspersed with nonsense of legal and democratic necessity. With the known  "kindness", he is ready to give permission to kill thousands of people so as to stay alive and popular with the transatlantic allies and not only with some "bad" publishers. He is changing track  in the game, hoping that will win a bonus.

In this war, even the Parliament of the traditional U.S. ally, Britain decided to vote "no." Obama himself is still being skeptical. But Samaras and Venizelos vote "yes" in deciding to become Syria killers too. Ultimately they are nothing other than serial killers started from their own country.

I, personally, am 'glad' that over the centuries democracy is evolving around the world and in extension in Greece, from where it was created!! Of course all people totally agree to it including Mr Obama, the U.N and all humanitarian organizations ... CONGRATULATIONS!


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Massacre of Chortiatis

On September 2nd 1944 the German occupiers and their "Greek" colleagues conducted one of the most gruesome crimes, killing and burning alive in the village bakery 146 residents of Chortiatis village. 109 of them were women and children.

The massacre took place on the occasion of the attack of Greek rebels of ELAS against passing Germans. Anticipating revenge of the Nazis on the basis of "collective responsibility", the rebel soldiers of ELAS convinced the vast majority of the villagers to hide in the mountains. Those who stayed in the village were killed almost in their entirety.

The Massacre of Chortiatis[edit source | editbeta]

The Chortiatis massacre was a World War II mass murder of 146 civilians by theWehrmacht, at the end of the occupation of Greece by the Axis powers on 2 September 1944.
After the capture of three German soldiers by the Greek People's Liberation Army(ELAS) on mount Chortiatis, the German occupation authorities decided to react immediately with a reprisal operation against the civilian population of the village Chortiatis. About twenty trucks with German soldiers and the paramilitary forceJagdkommando Schubert, named after the Wehrmacht sergeant Friedrich Schubertwho was in command, surrounded the village. They gathered all the people they found in the town square, and began to loot and burn houses down. One group of the civilians was led into the house of villager Evangelos Ntinoudis. They were locked inside and the building was set on fire. They were burnt alive. The other group was locked in the bakery. Schubert's men set up a machine gun and began to shoot them down from a small window in the door. After this they set fire to burn alive those who were not killed by the bursts of the machine gun. Apart from the people who were killed in the two groups, others were raped and killed outside their homes or even the village, while trying to escape. A total of 146 civilians residents of Chortiatis were killed that day. 109 of them were women and girls. 300 homes were burned down.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Ethnic Greeks Slaughtered, Greek Diaspora Silent

Extremism and private interests fuel next Greek Genocide

The prayers of Foreign Mujahedeen in Syria are moments away from being answered. The United States is days away from becoming the de factor air force of Al-Qaeda, in their struggle to overthrow Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad. The eve of a second Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian Genocide is upon us.

Syria is home to a large Arabized ethnic Greek population, as well as a small community of Greek expatriates. Already in Rebel-held areas, ethnic Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians live in fear of Sharia Law and forced conversion to Islam. What may have started as a secular motivated uprising for Democracy in Syria has now clearly transformed into a full-blown Islamist Revolution. In which, all ethno-religious minorities are being targeted for extermination.

In recent months alone, the world has witnessed a Massacre at Al-Duwayr outside of Homs, in which Jihadists slaughtered women and children, forcing roughly 100 ethnic Greek families to flee in terror. There has also been a mass exodus of Assyrians from Deir al-Zour and Hasakah, and the infamous Khan al-Assal Massacre, in which Jihadists used Chemical Weapons and executed numerous unarmed civilians and soldiers.

These outrageous attacks on our ethnic brethren combined with the continued support for the perpetrators of these crimes have led to the launch of “Operation Antioch” in hopes of preventing another Greek Genocide. Will Greek America sit back and allow our brethren to be used as sacrificial lambs for yet another ill-advised U.S. foreign policy?

We urge all Greek Americans to call their local Senators and Congressmen today and demand their support S. 1201, Protecting Americans from the Proliferation of Weapons to Terrorist Act of 2013, a bipartisan which hopes to stop funding directly and indirectly military operations in Syria.

Operation Antioch is an independently operated campaign to raise awareness about the suffering of the innocent Antiochian Greeks within the ongoing Humanitarian Crisis in Syria

For more information on what is happening to the ethnic Greeks of Syria and what you can do, please visit our blog

Learn more about Operation Antioch

Follow us on Facebook at /operationantioch

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Minoan colonies in America?

Sounds unbelievable, but may be true. Numerous findings seem to concede that the Minoans were keen navigators who crossed the Atlantic. They created colonies even in Canada and exploited local copper mines. All this before Columbus!

Tassos Kafantaris

It has not been many years since I heard the Professor of the University of Patras Anthony Kantaratos, talking specifically - about the possibility of ancient Greeks had arrived in …America, searching for new sources of metals.
I admit that I smiled then, thinking about all the other unlikely I had read about the ancient Greeks in America, Australia or Japan. And I would keep this story in my subconscious, if not learned about a recent book – The Lost Empire of Atlantis of Gavin Menzies- which returned resoundingly the issue and raised a host of discussion on the internet. Gavin Menzies, in his book, initially follows the Minoan traces in Asia Minor, in Egypt, in Yemen, in India and Ceylon- where the Sangam epics of the Tamil still speak about “the magnificent ships of the Greeks bringing gold and leave laden with pepper…”. Surprised by the museum findings which vindicated Strabo and Ptolemy, the author not only considered the navigation secrets held by the Minoans, but also where they found all those quantities of metals that they traded. The copper mines of Cyprus as it is historically known could not even meet the requirements of the Pharaohs. Yet the Minoans gave them bronze saws doped with tin to cut the stone blocks of the …pyramids. As was written in the records of the Acadian king Skarga, the Minoan ships brought since 2350 BC tin from Spain and Britain. And then this unlikely finding of 1450 BC at the Akrotirion in Santorini where did it come from? Lasioderma serricorne, meaning larva of the tobacco leaf! Yes the smoke that we all knew that first arrived in Europe in 16th century AD from the American continent. So, Menzies, now turned west  searching to find whether-and how-those intrepid sailors had not only crossed the portals of Hercules, but had also arrived in the New World.

Minoans and Mycenaeans on the Atlantic coast

The roadmap that was unfolded in the rest of the book by this 72 years old former officer of the British navy was not unprecedented: Two years ago, at the TV channel NET (watch video:, and in the newspaper  NEA ( , geology professor and member of the Central Archaeological Council Margiolakos Elias , had supported the idea that our ancestors had explored the coastal areas of Spain, France, Britain and Ireland in search of minerals and perhaps had arrived in Iceland, Greenland and America.
Specifically, the rationale of Mr. Mariolakos was given in a writing of him that you can find published on the Internet. There initially informs us how a geologist deals with one such issue: "The geomythology is a branch of earth science that deals with physical and geological conditions prevailing during the mythological era and, through this analysis, finds the connection between geology and mythology. My own experience as a geologist who has spent his life studying the geology of Greece, showed that (...) in Greek mythology are included physical and geological  processes that evolve in very remote areas, such as in the North Atlantic and elsewhere '. And then analyzes in detail the ancient sources examined, such as the work of Plutarch "On the face shown attached to cycles of the moon."

The “suspect” mines

Skeptical as I was in my quest to give "evidence". From what he told me I concluded that there were two keys to unlock the case of "Greeks in America." One was a metallurgical inexplicable: U.S. archaeologists have found 5,000 open copper mines (almost entirely pure) on the shores of Lake Superior, Michigan between the U.S. and Canada, where there have been exported some 500,000 tonnes between 2470 to 1050 BC ., which ... nobody knows where they went! Specifically, the Indians in these regions then were  living in the Stone Age, and only after 1500 BC began to use limited amounts of copper - and those only for jewelry. So who was the "thief" and from where and how did they come? Since the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia were those then passing through the Bronze Age (and copper was then more expensive than gold), the suspicions directed thither. By striking coincidence indeed, the mysterious massive copper mining both in North America and in Spain and Britain stopped around 1350 BC - The time the volcano of Thera (Santorini) determined the fate of the Minoans. And the Greeks who received the baton (Mycenaeans Achaeans initially, Dorians and Ionians then) are the ones who tell long trips in Ogygia (Iceland), the Sea of Kronos (North Atlantic) and the westernmost coast. On how they went, the answer could only be given to the key called knowledge of ocean currents - currents of the ocean that Homer described as βαθύρροο, meaning  flows deeply and βαθυδίνη,  twist in the deep. The current of the Gulf of Mexico, the famous Gulf Stream, twists the Atlantic branching in loops that penetrate the Mediterranean and the Baltic. Anyone who knows these places and Waterslides and place properly his hull onto them can "flies". For example - says Mariolakos - Plutarch concluded  that a boat like the "Argo" could have traveled the 900 km distance between Britain and Iceland in 5 days (4-5 miles / hour).

Minoan sea cruises in the sea of Kronos (North Atlantic)

Minoan words and sketches of ships await their explanation on the rocks of the coast of the Baltic.

The arguments of Professor Mariolakos were impressive and seemed reasonable. The achievement extraordinary but he could not be satisfied only with the evidence that ancient ships like the "Argo" could go so far - let alone the even more ancient Minoan ships. I remembered a story of 2010 by a Norwegian newspaper, according to which mysterious letters of the period from 1800 to 1000 BC had been carved in granite. These letters deciphered as Minoan by the Norwegian linguist and scholar Kjell Aartun who was honored about it with the gold medal of the king. In Aartun, the Minoan words translated "Soft and pure", referring to the largest deposit of silver across Europe which were found by these incredible treasure hunters in the Kongsberg  region of Oslo. But had they left other traces behind them?
 I asked Dr. Mina Tsikritsi who previously had identified the "earthen computer navigation" of the Minoans about it. When contacting us he questioned the interpretation of Aartun, but was certain that it was Minoans, as a recent study of him added evidence supporting the theory of Professor Mariolakos for passage to the other side of the ocean. He specifically said:

Plutarch on Canada

 One of the beaches –veins-  of copper in Lake Superior in the U.S., with traces of ancient mining

- "Plutarch writes:" As to the great continent, from which the great sea is contained in a circle from the other islands is less in distance, but the Ogygia about five thousand stages traveling by boat with oars. (...) from the mainland Greeks residing nearby places around vagina no less than the Maiotida (lake), whose mouth is in line with the mouth of the Caspian Sea. "The distances between Greenland, Newfoundland and Baffin Island in Canada is about 1,140 km, and between Newfoundland and Baffin Island is about 1,300 km A report that around the bay there are Greeks reveals a Greek colony in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The important thing in this description is that it provides geographic information that are correct. Indeed, the Gulf of St. Lawrence resembles Maeotid lake (Sea of Azov, Black Sea) and is slightly larger. As for the information that the mouth of the bay is in line with the mouth of the Caspian, looking in Google Earth anyone can easily discern that the two ports are located at latitude 47th, so on the same line. This information is the only reference in ancient literature that shows us that they were able, at that time, to determine the latitude of a place. But there is something more in Plutarch that I consider proof that the theory of travel to America  is true".

So What..

- "He says:" When the star of Saturn, which we call Bright (Φαίνοντα) while those nocturia, arrived in Taurus after a period of thirty years, after much time preparing for the sacrifice ... (start the return journey). "This enables us to control the astronomical period was possibly made this trip recounts. Plato had classified the planets in the solar system in order from outside to inside relative to the Earth, with the following names: Fainontas (Saturn) Faethontas (Jupiter) Pyroentas (Mars), Lucifer (Venus) , Stilvontas (Mercury), Sun and Moon. The name Fainontas etymologically means that which is visible, while the word nocturia means this is the last to be seen in the night.
Using special astronomy program I have checked the geographical coordinates of Canada in the time of Plutarch (1st century AD.) At what date and in what month the planet Saturn is in the constellation of Taurus before the sun rises. I have confirmed that every 30 lunar years appears indeed the phenomenon of Saturn rising in Taurus. Then, again, Plutarch says: "The islands are inhabited by Greeks over and watch the sun hide for less than an hour for thirty days. And the night there is a light darkness and dawn shines from the west." Since the return journey began early June, then we need to check where they faced the sun hiding under an hour for 30 days. With appropriate program found that at the time of the first century. B.C. Greenland (60 degrees north) the sun set for an hour between 04.05 am and this was for a period of one month, from 9/6 up to 9/7. This identification indicates that they initially traveled north, reaching close to the Arctic Circle, where the sea was called Cronion Sea (Sea of Cronus). In this area night has actually a dawn like darkness and light. This astronomical connection, combined with the geographical knowledge of the two sites that have the same latitude, shows that the journey described by Plutarch - from America to Carthage, 86 AD - actually happened.
The reasoning was shocking, but what held me was that we were measuring data of a longer trip of the Roman era - a time when perhaps the travelers had in use the Antikythera Mechanism onboard. What evidence do we have that Minoan ships achieved the journey? Surprises from the land of the Vikings gave us the answer.

Traces and intrigues in the New World

What remained was to find relevant evidence on the shores of St. Lawrence or Lake Superior to accept as likely the unlikely of the Minoans presence in America. Menzies mentioned such  the “ 1.200 Minoan finds around Lake Superior “. So I set out to find them.
It was revealed that the findings are indeed a lot: the first non-Indian elements were found in mining copper veins, at the Keweenaw Peninsula of Lake Superior - near a village called ... Lavrion  (Laurium). There was also found a petroglyph of a highly symbolic Minoan ship. Also in Newberry, Michigan, had already in 1896 been found three statues and a label with "strange writing ". Nobody could interpret it then, but when Evans went to the excavations of Knossos - in 1900 - it became apparent that the writing was also related to Linear A.
The abundance of 'imaging elements "referring to the Mediterranean was subsequently found in private hands, with most of them ending up to unknown collectors and many of them  - gold and silver - is rumored to have been melted by the greedy predators. Most were found in 1925 by a farmer in Illinois, Orville Lowery, and in 1982 by an adventurer named Russ Burrows, who claimed to have found a sanctuary and 13 undisturbed tombs in a cave complex, also in Illinois.
To sum up briefly, the listed Internet findings on American soil include numerous stones with engraved- on them-  forms of soldiers in uniforms reminiscent Minoans, Philistines, Mycenaeans, Phoenicians and Egyptians, many Petroglyphs with Minoan and Egyptian types of ships, and other inscriptions with Cypro-Minoan writing and other composited with Etruscan, Latin and Greek words. The most eloquent optically element (if proven authentic) is a medal that was found in Cleveland, Ohio in 2006, the Minoan axe on one side and on the other the Prince of Lilies that we know from the mural in the palace of Knossos (1690 BC)!

Self proclaimed Archaeologists – Messiahs

The issue got more complicated when the "Indiana Jones of the Bronze age" were approached by "archaeologists - militants" of the Mormon Church, who were attempting to vindicate the spoken by their prophets that, America was colonized by... Jews around 2000 BC. Since then an incredible carousel has been erected with nterpretations of any kind -of the findings- to “spring up” on the non scientific magazine Ancient American, while the official archeology is absent. This paradoxical situation has led to a weakness of the crossing of the truth of the allegations and to the expression of fiery theories. For example, a epigraphologist  named Paul Schaffranke claimed in his 1995 lecture that he deciphered the composite writing of the ancient plates and that it tells an incredible Requiem of those first settlers of America: that Greeks of Alexandria – fugitives of the now Christian Roman Empire - the last refuges, strongheld to the Phoenician Mauritania, and from there came together in the Great Lakes, to build their gross and last kingdom!

Indians with Cretan DNA

The only scientific fact that we have to support all the scenarios of colonization of the Mediterranean is the genetic study: «Origin and Diffusion of mtDNA Haplogroup X», 2003 ( /) . In this was detected that the mtDNA haplogroup X2 that is encountered in the Cretans in a high percentage (7.2%) occurs at a similarly high rate (to 5%) in 20,000 members of the Native American tribes of the Northeast America! In such a "Eurasian conclusion" was reached also the cranial comparative study of the University of Michigan «Old World sources of the first New World human inhabitants: a comparative craniofacial view», 2001. Then, in 2008, the work of a team of researchers from universities in Greece, USA, Canada, Russia and Turkey, under the professor of the Aristotle University, Constantine Triandafyllidis turned the projector of the genetic tracing back further: he concluded -by DNA- that Minoans had settled in Crete coming from Anatolia - the same place that in the 2nd millennium BC was conquered by the Hittites.
And then I remembered that Minos had married the witch princess of Colchis, Pasiphae. Was Colchis the sister kingdom of the expatriated Minoans? Scenario that fits well with the fact that Georgian epigraphologists insist that the language of the Phaistos Disk is in hieratic script of the ancient Colchis. And what was said in the "Argonauts" by Orpheus about the Argonauts escape to the Baltic through Borysthenes (Dnieper) and their course to the island of Medea’s sister, Circe, to the coast of Mauritania, delivers a new meaning for the extent of Minoan naval.

Should we rewrite the books?

But are all these enough to write again the history books, to forget that Columbus was from “Chios" and to engage that "the Last of the Mohicans was a Cretan patriot"? Not yet. Some mummies that were found in the "colonization" of America and in the neighborhood of Stonehenge in England perhaps illuminate better the case. But we will be sure if only archaeologists decide officially.
"Why", I asked Professor Mariolakos, "Since you are a member of the Central Archaeological Council (KAS), do not send an archaeological expedition on Lake Superior;”. "We should, as by now identified and sunken port projects have been found in the region," he replied. "From a scientific perspective, the Greek scientists can carry out the research project - and within one to two years we will have the answers. However, the APC is an Advisory Council, which does not form the research department policy and therefore can not take this decision. Besides the ministry, of course, there are the archaeological departments of the University. But in order to do such a thing, we must find both the necessary resources and will by our  archaeologists ", added meaningful.

Source: “TO VIMA” newspaper Sunday April 8th 2012.


Prehistoric connections Crete / Norway . English version
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