The Past Through To-Morrow

Book Cover the Past Through Tomorrow

Book Cover the Past Through Tomorrow

Easter is coming up. I mean Orthodox Easter on April 12 and not that Popish phoniness on the fifth.

All this put me in mind of Byzantium. Bear with me as I’d like you to try a thought experiment. Close your eyes and imagine writing a history of Civilization and when you got to the High Middle Ages and needed to figure out what to do next.

Well, naturally there’s the Renaissance in the 14th Century. Well, imagine instead of doing that, you skipped over the next hundreds of years, called it the ‘Dank Ages’ and then picked up the story  at the Battle of Midway in WW2 in the Pacific where the United States became the west’s undisputed power.

Would such a history be any good?

Of course not and it would be ridiculed because so many European institutions would mock it by providing mountains of unbroken chains of evidence to the contrary. The same didn’t happen after the fall of the Eastern Church and Byzantium. Byzantium had no inheriting institutions to claim its history. For example, after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Soviet Union inherited the Czarist Empire as well as all of its institutions, art, embassies, libraries, universities and social institutions.

Without getting too far into it, the traditional division between Antiquity and the Middle Ages is the division of Rome into Eastern and Western Empires. This happened for a lot of reasons including the power base had shifted from Rome itself to increasingly populated provinces and other municipalities, and the consequential shift in trade routes to meet new population demands, and the fact that power had shifted form the Senate to armies in the field. (It’s complicated: go look it up.) The Eastern Empire continued as Rome’s primary inheritor after being founded in 330 AD.

  • The kids at their state-run schools were taught Homer and other classics.
  • They called themselves Romans.
  • They spoke Greek.
  • Of the 5,500 written works that have survived from Ancient times, 4,500 come to us through Byzantium.
  • They even had women doctors!
  • Constantinople was simply referred to as ‘The City’ even as far as the Netherlands because it had no peer in the Western World.

But because of many things such as a string of leadership crises, and getting steamrolled by the newly-created Islamic religion, Constantinople’s Empire after 1,100-ish years of unbroken history ended only when the newfangled canon knocked down the Theodosian Walls, the Eastern Roman Empire had no inheritor.

So the fucking Catholics basically invented the myth that nothing happened between the division of the Empire in 476 and the removal of their competition, the Byzantines in 1453. That well-meaning autodidact Gibbon described the Byzantines as an aristocracy of no certain gender who did nothing except speak bad Greek. Well, were did all of that artwork, scholarship, gold, and those manuscripts suddenly appear from in Italy in the Renaissance?

It’s a myth. There was a massive, complex and interesting history to which we owe an incredible debt but because the Eastern Church got fragmented, the Vatican basically wrote their competitors out of the history books.

Talk about sore winners.

It’s my fear that the 21st Century will see Russia’s place in world affairs diminished beyond all measure. We rose to the fore in the 20th Century and were a factor in everyone’s calculations. Now there is only the US and they’re writing the history books.

Happy fucking Easter.

Post Scriptum: Of course, it would be helpful if Russia had some competing ideology to offer the world apart from gangsterism. I should probably work on that.

Anybody else have this problem?

Dammit so much. My HSBC cash card isn’t working. I wonder why?

These guys founded the original Silk Road which when the British Empire was running opium from the far East. I figured I was so much safer with them after I had to close my Deutsche Bank account a little while ago.

Darn it so much. I need to get some milk and bread for tomorrow and it’s freezing. I guess I’ll walk to the corner store up the street and pay the rip off fee at the machine. I hope it dispenses €500 notes.

Conference call today

Today I had a conference call between German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the illegitimate Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko, and French President François Hollande. The call was arranged to take place after the three met earlier for (what they think) were private face to face talks to discuss the situation in Eastern Ukraine that I have noting to do with.

I am very pleased to report that the talks reached a definitive milestone. I am happy to report definite progress on a key matter: Angela used my first name. Ohhh, I am on a cloud, I tell you.

On a cloud!

Putin and Angela

ISIL, steady on

If you’re going to pick a fight ISIL, be my guest and pick a fight with the West but why pick on Japan? Don’t get me wrong, Russia has its own territorial disputes with Japan but this go back to pre World War One days and hardly a burning concern. However, beheading the nationals of people who aren’t bombing you isn’t exactly good PR. And given that the ‘technicals‘ you have — modified trucks with heavy machine guns or larger anti-aircraft guns — are all Toyotas, you’ve just killed your supply chain.

I guarantee you the Germans won’t be selling you any Mercedes vans. And trust me, you don’t want to buy a Dodge. So, who’s going sell you trucks? Me? I’d not wish Russian vehicles on our worst enemies.

Besides, you idiots, this will mean a general purpose economic blockade on my south which is the last fucking thing I needed. Now I’ll have to get my rather badly-needed consumer goods though further east.

A final thought: The Japanese do outsource a lot of their ops to the Yakuza for both political deniability and because even the mob over there has bought into Six Sigma/Lean. Aum Shinriko learned this the hard way. The Japanese don’t have a lot of force projection to the middle east but I’d be worried about your couriers and bagmen you have as part of your money laundering operations in Pakistan suddenly getting garrotted.

The Japanese don’t have a lot of business interests in the Middle East, but there are interests there still, and much of it has to do with oil, and that is enough money for there to have folks who speak the languages. Business interests move money, and those business interests have ties to the Diet, and those gents have ties to organized crime, even if it’s just to ensure their shareholders toe the line, or to keep from having their shareholders fleeced by more sophisticated gangs specializing in government contracts and the movement of cash.

Really. Did you have to pick a fight with the one other culture that had suicide attacks?

The best birthday present ever

I was reading the Guardian this morning and noticed this lovely story. They interviewed someone called Keith Bristow, the head of the National Crime Agency. The NCS has the same job as the FBI in the United States.  Get a load of this choice quote:

Britons must accept a greater loss of digital freedoms in return for greater safety from serious criminals and terrorists.’ He also mentions pedophiles because saying ‘think of the children‘ never hurts.

The article covers the interview’s highlights only. (I know because my people bugged the room.) But he follows up with another quote he says that for ‘policing by consent,’ the consent is ‘expressed through legislation.’  While this might sound nice remember that the Home Secretary called last week for greater mass surveillance powers. Presumably whoever wins power in the elections next year will claim that this gives them the required consent to pass the laws.

Just a few weeks ago, Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, said ‘Regrettably, for some time to come, Australians will have to endure more security than we’re used to, and more inconvenience than we would like. Regrettably for some time to come, the delicate balance between freedom and security may have to shift.’

Ah, trading freedoms for safety always works out, doesn’t it? It’s almost like playing quotation bingo with these issues now.

  • ‘Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.’ — Pitt the Younger
  • ‘Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.’ — Benjamin Franklin
  • ‘The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without.’ — Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ — George Santayana

But what do we have instead? You guys becoming more like me.

As I said, a lovely present!

My new line of fitness equipment

 

Vlad's Chest Expander

Vlad’s Chest Expander*

Buy Now!

I’ve been having some cash flow problems because of these darned sanctions the west has imposed upon me just because I respected the democratically expressed will of the people of Crimea to be invaded, so I’m now selling my own line of fitness gear. I’m starting with a chest expander so that you can have an alpha male chest like mine.

Buy now and you can be as strong as a Spetsnatz!

Cash only.

 

* May contain depleted uranium.