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Mitch SMith


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Syria: What is the core principle?

I have a friend who is a Syrian ex-pat.
He runs a grocery store in my town and I meet him almost every day.
When the Syrian conflict started getting bad I asked him about it. He said:

"We have a saying - when elephants fight, the grass is killed".

He went on to say: "I have a brother in a town that is at risk .. I plan to go in through Turkey and get him out of there." .. He has not been able to do that yet. And he explained to me the factional power that most Syrians understand .. the Sunnis, the Shiites and the Alawi .. but there are also Druze, Coptics etc etc..

And now, the USA wants to throw bombs to destroy critical infrastructure - regardless of who gets killed in the process.

This is a subject that is so complex that no one can really know what is happening.

My question to the TED community is this:

What is the basic principle?

My friend alludes to elephants and grass .. that seems basic.

Is there any other reliable abstract to be had?


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  • Sep 17 2013: Mitch, I didn't see a reply button on your last comment.
    but I wanted to add something.

    The ISPs, (my daughter runs one) have towers and services and get
    nailed with the FBI types and other things we never hear about.

    A very few years ago.
    The US Gov't and 4 or 5 other EU partners decided to control the Search Engines,
    and have hired most of them. They are even today getting inroads into free-ware

    I believe for 45 years the US Gov't has allowed us to develop the web, while they,
    like China, and several other nations have copied and developed their mirror-like web.

    I haven't looked back past 1968, but a really good researcher could verify this is true.

    Mitch, your on the right track about changes in the work force.

    Our system of Commerce is broken.
    Congress developed rules for Corporations. They provided a Carrot to motivate
    Corporate obedience. It is called Limited Liability.

    Congress overlooked the marketability of Corporation themselves.
    Every day 24/7/365 other nations solicit Corporations to move from one local
    in the United States to another location in the other nation. These solicitors
    have Carrots too.

    As Americans became glutted with industry, grown because of WARS that had
    to be fed, other nations picked at the edges. ..While glutted, the Americans
    could let it happen. But, when the WARS ended, the other nations still picked.
    Bringing soldiers home, meant no jobs to offer, industry slowing down, and
    pick, pick, pick. ..A misguided Supreme Court allowed Unions to collectively
    bargain for wages and benefits, price increases followed, recession, and pick,
    pick, pick. ..A misguided US Gov't want back to WARS. 57+ Armed Conflicts
    since WW2, and pick, pick, pick.
    We end up today, No Real Jobs, and No Change We Can Count On...

    And next year.... Like the British Pound Sterling 1965, The US Dollar, Kaput.
    Other Nation's Trade Deals don't include the US.
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      Sep 17 2013: Hi Frank,

      I largely agree. But the economic story is not exactly as you have presented it .. although it's pretty much what I believed only 2 years ago.
      With the ISPs and corporations, Well, I was a senior manager in a large ISP for a while. The really big ones re like medium-size countries. Very interesting dynamics, but they are all subject to a certain amount of state capture - most of them were started by public funds by the governments, and are pretty much traded between nations right now. What the "state" is now, is not like the state was for my father and his father.

      Here's the thing: all the job-losses break down as 60% technological displacement, 30% off-shoring and 10% for fringe reasons.

      With political economy, well, The plan was that off-shoring would prime the system so that people in disadvantaged countries would build a middle class, their wages would rise while ours stagnated until there was global parity - global abundance would be shared and off-shoring would reverse. The jobs would come back. But we didn't count on technology. Technology exiles people from the money economy - and only Keynesian welfare measures hold-up the money economy - the exiles do not produce into the value system. What they do is form street-gangs. Tribes. They have to - or die. So we make them criminals and begin the industry of their incarceration, and ultimate extermination.
      That is how money-economy works. It has done that in all civilisations that do money.
      In the past, those civilisations exhaust the resources that support them and collapse, you then get a period of loose feudalism, and then it all starts up again - the value built-up by generations of community are trashed and converted into money again, and then it crashes again.

      I'd like us to progress into a modern tribalism - humans form into tribes by default, so let them do it. Within a tribe, there is no need for money, government or law (law is replaced by custom). But there is a need for inter-tribal law
      • Sep 17 2013: Mitch,
        I could argue with something like this, but It just gets George W. messy...

        Instead, Let you and I look back in history --- Take a trip, a short one.
        2,000 years ago.
        Plutarch, in writing, "On Morals," two thousand years ago, described market
        bubbles in the near-ancient world and how the lending industry came to
        periodically bankrupt (bank corrupt) nearly everyone in order to create
        exorbitant wealth for themselves, simply as result of their own avarice and
        greed. He was writing on why no one should allow themselves to get into debt
        through borrowing, but to live threadbare if need be, and to sell what you
        have and live roughly, rather than see a money lender. People have always
        sought to live beyond their means. And sooner or later, many are found that
        they do not have sufficient funds to pay the piper.
        Today's Headline --- Not too long ago.

        As Worries Ebb, Small Investors Propel Markets

        Millions of people all but abandoned the market after the 2008 financial
        crisis, but now individual investors are pouring more money than they have
        in years into stock mutual funds. The flood, prompted by fading economic
        threats and better news on housing and jobs.....
        What we tend to forget --
        The people who abandoned the market were broke !!!
        ..periodically bankrupt (bank corrupt)....

        The new Small Investors are different people...
        We call them Fodder. (aka: new cannon fodder)
        Wall Street Mafioso's will reap them too.
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          Sep 18 2013: Hi Frank, I think you nailed that one!
          There sure is a lot that needs fixing.

          Lending at interest is always a disaster.

          I'm with Plutarch - one drops into what Marx called the "ancient" economic model.
          It's solitary and politically precarious, but the simplicity compensates. And, with all the leaches off your back, you don't need to work so many hours and have a lot more time for TED ;) (we could discuss cognitive capture :)

          The nation-state has a big problem when it gets unbalanced distribution of surplus. The danger of inflating the military is that the energy goes out of natural family and community values. Our capacity to invest locally gets hijacked.

          So what's going on there? Our families and towns start to wilt.

          With debt .. well that's promises - .. a terrible thing happens when one makes too many promises, .. you lose faith in yourself because the weight of the future becomes to heavy to bear.

          I think people are beginning to notice that their promises have been elicited by fraud and deception. I can see a time when the western nations are going to have to sit down and sort-out exactly what promises are credible and throw away the rest .. a kind of calculated "jubilee".

          Personally, I have found that any promise beyond intent is a lie. The future is unknowable. We cannot do more than our best, and we cannot be at our best all the time.

          With Syria, who benefits from national interests? Even if energy security is won, our families and home towns won't see much of it while they are being blood-sucked by wealth-concentrators such as banks and military empires. And man, military empires are no more stable than economic empires .. and they have more guns.

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