Reflecting on Iran’s Recent Protests

Iran’s anti governmental protest enters its fourth day. People follow with mixed feelings, hope and worry. Few points and opinions for the western audience that the mass media may not highlight:

1. Technically, this time around things didn’t even start in the capital. They took off in few smaller cities across the country and spread to some big cities and then reached the capital. This points to different dynamics that could make the uprisings more difficulto control for the government. More than 30 cities have been involved. This is unprecedented.

2. Iran has reportedly repealed some net neutrality (restoring its freedom as some put it!) by reportedly discriminating against massaging apps that are used to mobilize populations. If protests spread further, they may shut down the whole network as they did before. In comparison to 2009 uprisings the Internet penetration rate has nearly doubled reaching above 80%.

3. During the first couple of days the hardliners tried to seize the protests and view them as economic disatisfaction of the masses to use it against the reformist government. That however backfired and slogans targeted the regime as a whole. This will intensify if the revolutionary guard (under the supreme leader) enters the scene; so far only the police forces have been in charge of controling the crowd with limited casualties.

4. Protesters as usual protest economic pressures and also demand social and political freedom. Economic pressures are partly due to neoliberal policies of the reformist government and the power it has given to the banks. This plus some typical-range curroption and mismanagement is not unique to Iran. Iran’s economy, however, suffers from few other elements:

The country has grown several political mafias in the past 40 years from cartels under the rule of the Islamic revolutionary guard and many other theocratic organizations. On top of these, the economic sanctions that were supposed to be relieved after the Iran Deal, still keep pressuring people. Needless to say that US under Trump resisted the agreement illegally, although Europe did its part after Iran showed its commitment to the nuclear deal.

5. Now Trump’s administration backed by the war machine is trying to harvest the fruits of this economic pressure their own way. His message [although in pure syntax and without a context] was heart-warming (The world is watching, we are supporting the people of Iran, they differ from the government, bla) in reality was only worrying, given where it came from!

The truth is, the majority of the people in Iran are tired of its theocracy, though a majority of those – hopefully – have some historic memory on what has happened to other places that US offered a hand of support; Iraq, Lybia, Afaghanistan, Yemen and Syria, directly or indirectly. So it seems they will pass this time too. Plus no one should be fooled that Trump’s administration has a slightest care for this thing called human rights, in any part of the world.

This is a political excuse to use against the geopolitical adversaries, and never against the temporary allies. And in itself is a hypocratic and psychopathic measure.

6. Along those lines, Fox News is shamelessly repeating that Obama lost a golden opportunity in 2009 to interfere or else the Iranian regime would not be in place. I wonder what kind of people watch this show. What’s their level of intellect, their fact-base or their empathy level, to buy this rhetoric, still in 2017? One of these three at least shall be questioned for any houshold who gets their news and analysis from such sources.

Had Obama meddled in 2009, [a quick look at other countries where they meddled show that] not only the theocrats in Tehran wouldn’t be in place right now, but lots of buildings and roads, infrastructure and universities and historic monuments and probably some half a million people wouldn’t also be there. Thus, Obama did the right thing not to seize that *opportunity* to wage war against a complex and misunderstood country. And did it wrong with any other country that it did meddle with, including Syria and Lybia. It’s that simple. And it’s mind-blowing that a large fraction of the American public watch this rhetoric on channels like Fox and don’t call it bullshit to change the channel immediately! This is about time for Americans (and with respect to the trends, soon the rest of the west) to understand how short-minded and manipulative these rhetorics are and to stop seeing themselves as the saviors of the world. Especially America that needs to deal with its own rigged politics before exporting a democracy that is running out at home.

7. War is a lose-lose game. That is, the end of all hopes. And the war machine does not miss any opportunity to wage another war. The west must not repeat its mistake this time around, when US adiministration will come to team up to get allies to participate in another war. We must be very clear that it is not an option.

War is lose-lose game for the whole planet, including the western voters who keep voting for war-friendly politics, not paying enough attention to the fact that much of their issues come from those counter-productive policies. Only few will win in a war: Right wing politicians, such as the Republican Party and the sentaros who will use it to distract the public while looting them. Hardliners, Mullahs and right-wings in Tehran who will probably get more powerful if they won’t be overthrown, as they did it before in the 80s. Even if they are rid of, other perhaps new radical groups and brands such as ISIS who will norture from a post-war ecology. And not to mention, of course the weapon industry and their shareholders. These groups combined mke a very tiny fraction of the world population. They are the winners of the next war and every one else will lose. Generations will be hurt and that pain – as usual – will NOT stay within the borders of the affected country. Its shockwaves does spread through immigration, economic difficulties, disease and a lot of other mysterious ways that Karma works. So do not get hopeful when you see another country in war cast on your TV. Right in that moment you are participating in it, and Karma works in mysterious ways!

8. Social and political freedom is a win-win game. It’s time for theocrats in Tehran to let go of their repressive measures and let the people breath. They sure know policies such as compulsory hijab, or the organizations that keep an otherwise democratic code from functioning democratically, do not come from their faith in some ideology. These are just symbolic signs to show who has the power, or some institutions to presever it. And similar to the collapse of soviets, they aren’t working for them anymore and if they try to keep those elements, they may lose it all.

So it’s about time for the Iranian government to allow genuine and radical reforms – socially and even politically – not as a passive response to the political unrest, but as proactive measures for the future events that will sure come their way even if they manage this one. In fact this might be one of their last chances to do so. The moment people know a different reality is imaginable they will not tolarate theb current fourty-years backwards politics of isolation. We are hopeful and we wish that somehow without any other foreign intrusion, the Iranian people manage to mobilize peacefully to align their demands, and confront their local dominators in large numbers to show that enough is enough. Let’s see how the future unfolds. But a large political shift, like a referendum should be within reach.

And as a usual princinple, screw the dominator!

Peace and love

Wars and Crashes

Few powerful humans can decide a war, but no one can predict a market crash.

Few hours before any bloody conflict there are people on earth who know hell is about to break loose, and they can as well stop it.

Market bubbles are inflated by humans, but their crash is really hard to see. Even few hours before a market crash no body can see it coming, and if they do it’s a point where it has become certainly out of control. Out of everyone’s control.

And when a financial bubble is about to burst, what can take the public attention away from it?

A war!

You matter!

This made me confess that, honestly, it’s been a while since I accepted (or forced myself to believe) that – just like you – I am being watched.

Not only by some unknown pairs of eyes sitting at NSA envying Snowden for his courage, but also by my grand children – already! – having fun in an extrapolated virtual reality of my life in data-archeological musuems of the future (if my boring practices interests any of them at all).

That’s why I find myself at ease assuming that we are at different simulations at the same time. The human park owner of the future, the alien simulator, God and the big brother are all staring at you.

This at least shows that you matter to someone.

Democracies are being rigged!

Democracy is the best we have, but it is outdated, because:

1. Capitalism is rigging democracies.
… while people are brainwashed but don’t know it.

I just came across this video that is Jeremy Corbyn’s response to Traingate. Sadly quite a late reveal, since this propaganda already had its negative impact on his campaign.In a previous poll 57% of brits wrongfully took side against Corbyn. Only 18% believed him. Embarrasingly brainwashed nation naively took side against a man who had the intention of improving their public transport and sided with the private owner of the train who owns private islands by ripping them off.

Just like normal Americans who voted for a billionaire class to rip off their health care, education, tax money and wellfare.

2. People are getting dumber:
That’s why racism is on the rise everywhere.

I wonder why the dumbest of any population typically believe in the supremacy of their own race. And this is not limited to white people.

In general, beliefs of collective supremacy doesn’t say much about a population. Says about an individual. To me when someone claims “my race is genetically smarter”, translates to “I’m most likely in the bottom quarter of my own population, intellectually.”

Anyway, people are getting dumber. Meanwhile dominators are becoming more experienced.

3. AI does it better:
Politicians are paid to make decisions. Can machines replace their job?

If yes, why don’t we use machines that are cheaper and more reliable? Say training a classifier that predicts whether or not Trump will sign a given bill tomorrow, provided his twitter account or other data available from him.

If no, if politicians are so random that machines can’t mimick them, why don’t we use a randomized algorithm instead?

Every four years people will turn up to vote for a random decision generator among few random options. During a randomized voting process, the genertor that collects the highest number of random votes will make random decisions till the next round!

We’re doomed.

Happy 2017

2017

Here’s my wish list for the world in 2017:

1. Not more stable countries and functioning pieces of the developping world fall in to the destiny of Syria. Not more peaceful cities be subjected to invasion, wars, conflicts, destruction and evacuation.
2. More refuguees go back home safe.
3. Less terrorist operations be observed in the western world.
4. The freedom of expression does not get more limited where it still exists.
5. There will be less policing, unnecessarily harsher law enforcement, survailance and control.
6. Less number of species go extinct during the year to come.
7. Multinational corporates do not come closer to a monopoly over our lives and choices. In particular there will not be more frequent mergers and acquisitions more than 10B dollars value.
8. Rich-poor gap does not get wider worldwide.
9. America becomes a democracy again!
10. The other democracies of the western world do not move to that direction, away from fair distribution of decision making and cashing out the political power.

Looking at the trends, most likely none of these will come true, so I make one last wish hoping less celebrities die in 2017. This one stands a relative chance. Specially because many more people asked for it.

Happy New Year!

Capitalism, Space and Time!

Or Borrowing from far and future.

I had no major problem with capitalism until I realized how the beast actually works. I don’t share destructive non-libertarian views of communism or the world views of the abrahamic religions and Islam in particular. All of these dangerous ideas have a viral code for dominance and that is exactly why they have been dominating large parts of the world.

Now what I see about capitalism is frightening me even more than its key rival ideologies. And that is its simple code:

Capitalism does not deliver its massive value out of thin air. It largely borrows it from far in space and time.

And these two problems are one.

Far in space could be wherever it outsources the suffering to make a little local joy. Whether it be ethnic conflicts, African mines, animal farms, species in the oceans or cheap child labor economies, such blind treatment of these resources by the capitalistic machine is prone to overexhaustion. And this will mean that what’s far comes closer and closer. You see it has already sneaked in to our safe bubbles and we should get the message.

And what far in time means? Future. That too gets closer and closer. I think we all agree on that. So what can stop us from facing a deserted earth full of angry human apes killing each other?

Nothing. Literally nothing. No reform, no software upgrade nothing but the shut down of the machine at least with the current model.

This choice is inevitable, or else this greedy machinary will shut itself down but only after destroying all of us together.

Aleppo; Fossil Fuel, Weapon Industry and Corporate Media

It doesn’t take conspiracy thoery paranoia, nor rocket science complexity to link the Syrian war to two strong industries on each side of the Syrian proxy war: Fossil fuel and the weapon industry. And the media outlet hasn’t been sitting idle when both groups on both sides need public opinions on their side at some strategic moments.

The latest wave of worries in the Western media over Syria didn’t start until the power shifted in Aleppo; the so-called “rebels” backed by the US, Nato, Turkey, the Gulf States and Israel lost control over their most important city they had held in Syria.

And in Aleppo those rebels are now primarily al-Nusra front, a previous branch of al-Qaeda that was rebranded this year for the sake of fundability, since al-Qaeda is a UN-recognized terrorist organization. This by the way means that the trillion dollar war on terror that officially started to fight al-Qaeda is now backing it.

Now we want to belive that the main concern that west has regarding the Syrian government is the genocide against its own people. Probably not. The pragmatic issues with Assad are strategic and financial. And on top of the list for many lobbyists who determine the destiny of the war in Syria, lies the choice of the Syrian government over the proposed alternatives for a pipeline that is going to bring gas from the Persian Gulf to the European markets.

Assad has for long rejected the Qatar-Saudi-Turkey pipeline and the unifying reason for the western media to chants for regime change in Syria is that the Syrian governmnet has sided with Iran and Russia for the pipeline to pass through Iraq and the Mediterranean see instead. He being back in charge of Syria means that the pipeline is not going to pass through the two most powerful allies of the west in the region, US-backed Saudis and Nato-member Turkey, both of them currently supporting ISIS, too.

Sadly this is the actual reason that the media needs your cries over children in Aleppo: al-Nusra (legitimately fundable al-Qaeda) is losing control over the city.

The new round of showcasing children filled with blood and dust narrated with fake emotions of the hosts accompanied by the *unbiased* informants in the field, are selected to justify the need for some further act of intervention in Syria. This pathetic level of propaganda conveys one message to the western citizens before christmas holidays: Syrian children are suffering and we are just sitting and watching.

No, you are not just sitting and watching in Syria. Your tax money has been spent actively to expand and prolong a war and to fund gladiators fighting each other. You are shown more children, more terrorists, more of good, bad and innocent guys so you keep buying the story.

aleppo

Have you seen the before/after pictures of Aleppo? (+). Perhaps what happened to Aleppo in the period from 2012 to 2016 was not precisely predictable at the dawn of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the so-called Operation Iraqi Freedom. But this trend should have been seen right through. That this will inevitably happen to some cities, somewhere, for its nearly impossible not to happen.

If we can’t predict where and how a pressed balloon will be torn apart at least we can know for sure that it will explode. I have learned from data analysis that if the patterns of the data does not depend on one dimension, change the dimension. If the predictions fail on one fieldn, change the key. So here if we can’t predict the world by its cities, we can do it by its bombs. Right?

I don’t have business data from the weapon industry but it should be intuitive what bombs are made for! It should be more clear than ever that the weapons produced and sold every day have a rather unpredictable path with a predictable destiny: they will go off. They get sold, travel around, change countries, meet new wharehouses, change owners with the shift of power, but one day they eventually reach the hands and brands that will use them.

The arms pumped in to this region every day is likely to go off one day and those who manufacture and trade them know this. They are well aware that this will not forever be about the cold power.

And so when the US president (whoever who takes office) or any other leader signs arms contracts worth of dozens of billions of dollars to their for-now allies, they have already created this before/after picture. We just get to see their effect materialized a couple of terms later.

And so we should be really naive ignoring that this destiny is awaiting many more peaceful cities around the world. We don’t know the list, just yet, but there will be a list. And it will also be very naive to assume that such future list will be limited to the middle eastern cities; Aleppo, Mosul, Ben Ghazi, San’aa…

Forget about countries, flags, names and borders. They are just made-up divisions in our heads. They are good for the media to tell stories for your dinner table.

Our shitty civilization is globally connected.

PS. On the other side of the proxy war, there was no secret that the Iranian state-run Press-TV and the Russian RT have been feeding their own shameless bunch of lies, to protect friends in their own weapon industry and meet their own fossil fuel interests. The thing is that post-Brexit BBC and post-Trump CNN are apparently adapting to their new climate too. Lessons are learned from the fascist states: Lies don’t have to be so subliminal. They work anyway so why not going for the big bald lies?

A bigger picture than politics

From the futuristic people of the past, also listen to Terence McKenna on politics, after the collapse of the Soviets:

Consider three or four minutes from 3:35 to 7:10, on the corruption of the two-party system of the American Republic and that the change must come from the independents. Suits our time after a quarter century. Doesn’t it? Now we get why Bernie Sanders stood no chance from within the democratic party platform.

Now let’s ask a more important question:

How can a quarter century old lecture by someone who was not even interested in politics, describe the geopolitical events of our time more accurate than opinions expressed by the up to date political commentators, op-ed writers of the prestigous newspapers and well-informed talkshow hosts of 2016?

How can experts be so zoomed in on the local events without the ability or tendency to connect them and infer more reliable conclusions?

We are an interconnected society of apes. Our geopolitics has roots in a deeper context, our anthropological roots. Knowing everything about the conventional world of politics is not enough to make a single correct prediction about it if we miss the bigger picture.

The explosion of articles about the personality of Donald Trump, the daily political interviews of the state media and the government-funded experts are all missing it.

Where are Trump voters?

I thought I have a diverse and colorful social network or at least I did not expect that I have somehow excluded a big parallel reality of Trump supporters from my life.

Everybody in my social circle (residing in Europe, the middle East and the US) – literally everybody – is frightened and is mourning over Trump’s precidency. Where are the others who have actually voted for him? I would not be upset or sad, at all, to see them celebrating but I don’t get anything on my news feed.

Either I have Trump supporters and they hide their celebration from the world which I doubt it. Or Facebook hides it from me as their algorithms assume that this will keep me longer on their platform to click ads. Or simply, Trump supporters are nearly non-existing in my social circle. I seem not to have friends who have voted for Trump. Or I may have really few.

The thing is that I never removed someone from Facebook for being a Trump supporter and I won’t. I have taken similar wrongful measures previously when my philosophy was more tied to my reactionary political views. There and then I have happened to exclude people from my social friendship because our political views deviated. But I haven’t something like this lately, at least not because of politics, and certainly not becose of someone being a fan of the Republican party or a Trump supporter.

YET, I don’t seem to have any one in my social network who have voted for Trump. Where are they? How can I find them, befriend them and hang out with them?

I don’t befreind people in political rallies, why am I located on such a politically polarized spot now? How come I ended up with so many Clinton, Sanders and Jill Stein supporters and have I not come across anybody from the majority of the American voters? Can they be stereotyped for me to understand why not? They love country music, have family values, and call themselves socially conservative in some sense? Well there’s not any reason for me to have excluded them for any of thse reasons. Quite the contrary. And neither for them there should be a strong stereotypical reason to exclude me. But we have not come across each other, probably in any of the red states that I have travelled, or the places that I have been to. Is that so?

I will travel to the US next week and will make sure I meet some Trump voters/upporters and will hang out with them to break the social network’s self-reinforcing illusion that the world is in a full agreement with me. And well, which agreement? I was not even a Clinton supporter.

We seem to live in two parallel realities, divided with respect to the bi-partisan magnet of the US election lately. But I don’t wanna blame it on the social media’s news feed algorithms and their so-called “echo chambers”. I think the links between me and Trump voters hasn’t been simply formed in reality and social networks can’t capture something that is non-existent. They haven’t helped it form either though, which is a different topic.

Are we two parallel intertwined species minding our own business and pass each other bye only in public transport where people’s political agenda is not written on their foreheads? And then we crawl into our own bubbles to keep spreading our ideas to like-minded people?

The reality of Trump’s precidency didn’t hit me so hard as waking up to the gravitational forces of some mysterious dark energy that we don’t see but we can detect its effect on the universe, for example, after seeing the election results!

Come on people. Who voted for Trump? Let’s hang out!

I am still in shock.

The Merger

dragon

I could write this in a thousand and one narratives, but tonight is the “merger” narrative. This is because this week two telecom giants merged together. Another merger, indifferent from anybody’s struggle to stop them.

This time 85 billion dollars. Let this number sink in a bit and then try to see the pattern here. You have seen it if you follow the global business news regularly:

  • Mergers are getting more and more frequent.
  • The acquisition prices get exponentially higher.
  • The industries involved get more diverse, which means more aspects of our lives is going under monopoly.
  • The rules that used to control and stop the mergers and guarrantee a minimal competition keep getting weaker by corporate lobbyists and bribed politicians.

What do we expect from these dynamics? They will slowly kill the competition and change our norms and habits. The pace of changing our internal habbits like the external environmental changes are not fast enough to be seen by the naked eye. It’s like staring at the hour hand of the clock; A 100x time-lapse can reveal it. Actually that was a while ago. We are talking about undergoing an exponential change so a 10x time-lapse is enough to make it visible for us, what change is happening around, and inside us.

But we are extremely adaptive creatures. We collectively conform to the norms around us and if they change, we change with them. What mergers do with those norms, is that when they get enormous enough to take over a whole industry at a globel scale, they kill the competition and unify the decision making between previously copeting entities. If one of the giants starts poisoning you, the other one will make a scandal out of it. But not if both are controlled behind the same dashboard. Can we comprehend the dangers here?

Megamergers are slowly changing our lifestyles, the food we eat and what it contains, the information we get, the politicians that rule us, everything! They can already predict and influence some of the decisions we collectively make and they won’t let you notice it. They think in statistics and you are just data points in their analysis. It is not even a month passed from Monsanto/Bayer merger that broke the historic world record of acquisitions at an stonning price of $65B, that this one silently came along with $85B. Can we extrapolate such an exponential growth and see what is waiting for us? Should we be suprised in three years witnessing a half a trillion dollars merger between an already merged food/retail company and another giant social network/media multinational corporate?

Let us fast forward this, fellow frogs:

Fighting cancer gets harder when it passes a certain level. Confronting mergers is increasingly harder when they get to such an gigantic size. Still, we may have a chance to bleck them now or regulate them more by antitrust regulators, but if we keep failing and wait longer, there comes a point that we cannot change the irreversible. That day we will see more clearly what is going to happen, but we will not have the power to stop it.

If things go as they are, in the course of decades if not years, the whole civilization as we know it will be acquired by one (not two) multi trillion dollar super-company or the coalition of multinational corpotations. Then their ultimate board does whatever they want with us data points. And they will have the means to do that, because we will be totally numb by then.

Did you actually follow me this far? Most people typically fail to care to this depth since they are already numb.

But you know that I don’t believe in conspiracy theories. Right? When I say “the board” I don’t mean the mysterious bad guys who are sitting and plotting the apocalypse right now. Or whatever Illuminati. Don’t buy into those naive theories. Conspiracy theories, most of them, are for the kind hearts and simple minds.

Nature is not designed. It is organized on its own, based on simple rules. And it repeats the same patterns over and over. Nature is full of collapses and Doomdays and apocalyptic events. Big and small in all scales. These collapses are smaller babies of the big bang, only reversed:

Reversed in the sense that more and more things will happen in shorter and shorter times!

Our apocalypse will have many faces. “The merger” is one of those one thousand and one faces. The merger is a “winner take all” game. It is a race and we are all in it, but we don’t know who will win, however, there will be a winner. And many many losers. No one can predict who eats whom at the end of the game, but that will eventually turn out. And everyone will be surprised.

Even the people who may think they are conspirist themselves. Even those who think they are the bad guys.

There is a power above us all; It’s cancer. It’s nature. It’s evolution.

I haven’t spoiled the movie for you yet, and I guarrantee it will be full of surprises that none of us can foresee.

Good night. Till another night of the 1001 night.