government bureaucrats

I remain utterly convinced that if you took the most assertive middle-class capitalism-apologists and shipped them to an alternate dimension where a socialist-in-name society existed with basically the same features as the capitalist world today, they would absolutely rail against the system. They’d blame “socialism” for the ungodly wealth inequality, the lack of political power among the masses, the police brutality, the systemic bigotry, the corruption, the imperialism, the alienation, etc. No class/structural analysis; just a surface condemnation based on labels.

Put most socialists in the same scenario and they’d immediately recognize the society for what it is: a class system based on top-down control of the means of life – by capitalists and bureaucrats. The government might be “doing stuff” and calling it “socialist”, but that doesn’t eradicate the class form in any meaningful way.

For god’s sake, actually take a look at the skeletal structure of society for once in your goddamn lives, you Monster-swigging yuppies.

News from the Turnt fandom:

(And yes, I spelled it that way on purpose…)

Was present for a bit of filming today at Colonial Williamsburg. For a split second I saw Owain, and could hear Sam’s Simcoe voice shouting at his Queen’s Rangers. They were filming in a courtyard sort of area of the capitol building. The Rangers were facing some redcoats, which I’m assuming Arnold is in charge of. I could hear him as well, something about enemies’ hearts on the field of battle or whatever.

I chatted with one of the PAs who was very friendly, and she said we probably won’t get the show until late summer or early fall. Seth Numrich was at home (I asked, because I’m that person). And she said not many people ask about him! More people ask about Jamie and/or Sam! WHAAAT. 

I also asked if they’d be filming down in Yorktown (because that’s where I’m closest too), and she said they were TRYING. But the battlefields are a part of the national parks service and you know how that bureaucratic government shit goes…

Cool to see it. Jamie was there as well, don’t know if anyone else was, but it was a neat experience. Here’s to hoping they can get down to Yorktown!

I’ve started watching Father Brown on Netflix and I’ve taken quite a liking to it.

Similar to Sherlock and White Collar, I’ve really enjoyed it because it’s a Cop Show without all the things that usually make me hate Cop Shows– y’know, chest-beating interrogation scenes, a general attitude of moral fury, on-the-nose manipulative storytelling designed to make you think the newest suspect is the perp when you KNOW a twist is coming, implicit “shut up and trust the system” messaging.

I’ve been thinking for a while that every police procedural, or similar villain-of-the-week drama, has this implicit structure where there’s three types of people: cops, criminals, and bystanders, and the fundamental character of the show comes from which of these groups are considered more similar to each other than to the third– which of the groups are two sides of the same coin, and which is the outlier. 

Sherlock and Moriarty are more similar to each other than either of them is to the rest of the cast. Same goes for Batman and the Joker, or White Collar’s Neil Caffrey and the con artists he chases after. In these shows, the Cops and Criminals are two of a kind, conducting a secret war with each other, and the Bystanders are the outliers.

Whereas in a standard police procedural like Law & Order or NCIS, the cops have a kind of contempt for civilians, and the narrative tends to focus on the ways in which Bystanders interfere with police work, usually by keeping secrets, or by government bureaucrats and private sector institutions challenging police power. In these shows, the Bystanders and Criminals are two of a kind, both “people who get in the way of THE LAW”, and the Cops are the outliers, the Only Adults in the Room keeping the squabbling children in line.

The Cops and Bystanders are considered two of a kind in Sentai shows, like Sailor Moon and Power Rangers, where there’s a lot of focus on the protagonists living double lives as both superheroes and civilians, and also in many adventure stories, where one of the major themes is the protagonists as ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances.  In shows like that, the Criminals are the outliers, and tend to be not merely strange or bad people, but an altogether otherworldly force. 

But in Father Brown, these distinctions don’t exist. There are no hardened career criminals, heroic ubermensch cops, or clueless civilians. Everyone’s just people. And I think it’s the fundamentally religious character of the show that allows this to happen: nobody’s a superhero, nobody’s a monster, we’re all just all-too-human sinners.
EPA McCarthy Admits CPP Has No Measurable Climate Impact: ‘One one-hundredth of a degree?’ She defends regs as enormously beneficial symbolically.
[Amid all of the recent environmental handwringing, I thought that it might be interesting to revisit former Secretary Gina McCarthy's testimony in

Watch Obama EPA chief Gina McCarthy Testify to Congress: ‘The value of this rule is not measured in that way. (Temperature impact) It is measured in showing strong domestic action which can actually trigger global action to address what’s a necessary action to protect…I’m not disagreeing that this action in and of itself will not make all the difference we need to address climate action, but what I’m saying is that if we don’t take action domestically we will never get started and we’ll never…’


“Regulation costs billions but does nothing, it’s okay because of symbolism”, Crystal Wearing Government Bureaucrat 

Spring 2017 Watchlist (New-This-Season Edition) First Taste

I’m so happy the shitty winter season (in terms of both the anime season and actual season) is finally over and spring is upon us once more. Here are a few new shows this season I’ve watched the first episodes of; some I’ll keep going, some I’m dropping immediately because why do these even exist please why (please don’t take these “reviews” too seriously LOL; I just enjoy rambling about new shows):

Kado: The Right Answer | Seikaisuru Kado

If you’re into sci-fi and handsome government bureaucrats negotiating with equally handsome alien (???) whose spaceship (I think it’s a spaceship?) is shaped like a giant fractal cube, Seikaisu Kado is looking to be very promising. The 3D animation puts me off at first, but I soon didn’t care for it as the story becomes more fascinating. Just what does this white-haired alien want with Japan and can Shindou, the protagonist ace-negotiator, handle this? And what about his cute assistant Hanamori voiced by the even cuter Saito Soma? Will we see him again soon? The first episode and prequel just came out; I personally recommend watching ep.1 first before watching ep. 0. 


Alice & Zouroku | Alice to Zouroku

I only started watching it because the bf was excited about it, so I thought I’d give it a try since the art style looks cute. And boy oh boy it’s definitely different than what I was expecting. The show opens with a young girl named Sana who escapes from a research facility, which is later revealed to be a place for kids with special abilities (Sana can materialize things she imagines). Weakened and lost, she encounters an old man named Zouroku, who takes her into his home after an incident that involved the police. It’s a weird combination of fluff and fantasy/mystery that has heartwarming moments and decent fight scenes. Sana’s goal is to destroy the facility to rescue the other kids stuck in there, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes. 


As the Moon, so Beautiful | Tsuki ga Kirei  

If you’re looking for slow-burn junior high school romance with very gorgeous art where the two leads are shy as heck, then Tsuki ga Kirei might be a show for you. Personally, I found the pacing a bit slow, and I dunno, maybe it’s because I’m in my late 20′s and these kids are like 14? I can’t really relate much to them, especially in the romance department. From what I can see so far, I think this show is more about the characters than the plot, so if you’re into character-driven romance, you can give it a try.


Renai Boukun | Love Tyrant

Think Death Note… but Kiss Note, so instead of dying when your name’s written in the notebook, the people whose names are written together will kiss kiss, fall in love. That’s it; that’s the premise. It’s essentially a harem anime with half-assed comedy, so don’t ask me why I even tried watching the first episode; it was 20 minutes of my life wasted.


Hinako Note

A country girl, who’s shy as heck and will freeze up and become a scarecrow (metaphorically, I guess?) when she’s under stress, attends a high school in Tokyo because she wants to join the drama club. She lives in a boarding house above a secondhand bookstore, where she meets a girl who… eats books??? Not sure if that part is important or it’s just a one-time gag. Essentially: cute girls doing cute things. 



So I know this show is about kabuki, but please don’t expect it to be anything like Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu because it definitely is nothing like the latter. A high-school kabuki enthusiast wants to start a kabuki club in his school, but to do so, he needs to find at least five members. Cue: megane-kun best friend, pretty boy from the drama club who’s actually a pretty girl (think GSNK’s Kashima), terrible vocalist who got kicked out of his own band (rock band AU Minami-kun?), pretty boy dancer who’s now a delinquent???, and an actual kabuki actor who takes his art way too seriously. Also featuring character designs by CLAMP. So… sports anime formula but with kabuki, basically. Yeah.


Eromanga Sensei

All I can say of this right now is that I was expecting lots of fan service and cringe-worthy moments, but it wasn’t actually that bad. Protag boy is a light novel writer; his books are illustrated by someone named Eromanga, whom he’s never met before. Turns out the illustrator is his own little sister, who’s become a shut-in since their parents’ death a few years ago. According to the summary, there’ll also be a shoujo mangaka who’ll become their rival. So… I dunno, I might keep watching if I have time. 


The Royal Tutor | Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine

Four spoiled German princes, one royal tutor (who’s short and the short jokes never end). It looks like a BL otome… but according to MAL it’s just a comedy. So. Featuring: long-suffering tutor, youngest prince who’s a playa (seiyuu Aoi Shouta also plays this role in a stage adaptation — yes there’s a stage production of this already), 4th prince who hates studying, third prince who’s basically prince!Kyoya of Ouran, and second prince who can’t seem to form words and looks like he’s refraining from punching a wall at all times. You bet I’ll be watching this trash. 

I’ll make a separate post for sequels (because there are so many good shows coming out with sequels this season), but for now, let me know what you guys are watching!

“The system that produces the largest profits is not necessarily the most efficient in the long run, even from the economic point of view. A purely urban industrialism is at its best a wasteful system, for it destroys the natural mechanism of social life, and is forced to construct at immense cost an artificial mechanism to take its place. For example, under the old order the land-owning class was also the ruling class, and provided the permanent ‘cadres’ from which the administrators and the servants of the state were recruited. But in an industrial state the wealthy class is a plutocracy that possesses no definite social function, and a separate governing class of paid bureaucrats has to be created and trained at the expense of the state. And thus the plutocracy of the industrialist order actually costs the country more than did the old ruling class, while it is decidedly inferior to the latter, from the non-economic point of view, as an organ of national culture.”
— Christopher Dawson, The Dynamics of World History, 1956

Lots of people seem to agree with me about making FDA approval easier, but every so often I flirt with a much crazier position - I think we need to overhaul the prescription system, with less of an emphasis on making people get constant prescriptions from doctors every time they want to take drugs. Let me give an example.

Yesterday I was called in to evaluate a patient who had attempted suicide. He’d attempted suicide because his pain was so bad. His pain was so bad because he “couldn’t afford” the one medication that could control his pain.

(I’m being deliberately vague for confidentiality reasons, sorry)

I looked up the medication that could control his pain on It costs $5 per month in our area. This guy was poor, but not so poor he couldn’t pay $5/month to prevent pain so bad it made him want to die.

Turned out the problem was: he’d been receiving the medication happily for a couple of years, getting new prescriptions from his doctor each month. Then he lost his house. Somehow his Medicare (Medicaid? I can’t remember) was tied to his home address, such that by missing some stuff they sent to his home address he lost the insurance and had to re-apply for it. This took however long it takes to re-apply for things with government agencies. During the interim, he had no insurance. When he had no insurance, he couldn’t afford to see a doctor. Without a doctor, he couldn’t get his monthly refill on the prescription that he’d been receiving without any problem for years. So he couldn’t get the $5 medication he needed to control his pain. So he decided to commit suicide.

This is an interesting case because it cuts through a lot of the pat solutions that people have for these kinds of things. “Oh, just regulate the price of everything!” Wouldn’t help. I guess making applying for government insurance less bureaucratic would help, but good luck with that.

I know this isn’t the most consequentialist way to think about things, but imagining that I’m in terrible pain, and there’s a medication which I *know* works, and which I’ve used safely for years, and which only costs $5, but nobody will let me buy it because I don’t have an Official Piece Of Paper from a suitably credentialled rich person, would make me…well, it’d make me want to kill myself.

Star Wars Pacific Rim AU

Anakin, Luke, and Leia are the three co-pilots of the Jaeger Binary Eclipse, and they’re pretty much the greatest Jaeger team in history (although Han Solo begs to differ).

Padme, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma are the directors of this entire operation. They direct things on the ground, make final executive decisions in the war room, and also deal with government representatives and bureaucratic red tape.

Obi-Wan used to be Anakin’s co-pilot back in the day, but now he handles ops on the ground because he’s “getting too old for this sort of thing.”

Han and Chewie are the co-pilots of the Jaeger Millennium Falcon (of course).

Lando is the superintendent of the Shatterdome: he keeps everything running smoothly, makes sure the funding can stretch and does grant writing when it can’t, and in general mother hens everyone. (He’s the responsible one.)

Luke and Leia are partnered with their dad not only because they all make an amazing team, but also because Anakin can sometimes have trouble with “chasing the rabbit” (he saw a lot of stuff in the first wave of Kaiju attacks, when he was partnered with Obi-Wan, and he never talks about it but Luke and Leia know, because they’ve seen it in the drift), and they’re better than anyone else at pulling him out of it.

(Obi-Wan may or may not work ops for similar reasons.)

Han and Leia have an ongoing, and very vocal, Kaiju kill competition. Leia is currently winning. (Everyone else in the Shatterdome has an ongoing bet about how long it will take them to officially get together.)

One time Artoo basically hijacked a Jaeger and took Threepio along for the ride. They killed two Kaiju.

IDK what Palpatine’s up to, but he’s probably behind the Kaiju somehow.

anonymous asked:

Could you clearly explain what the term neoliberalism actually means? Because it is used so often to describe such a variety of things but always in a vague manner

Neoliberalism, as I and others talk about it, is a broad ideology that really started becoming popular in political, economic, and governmental circles in the 1970’s and reached its peak in global popularity in the 1980’s. It describes the political paradigm we are in right now, the political conditions of modern society. As the name suggests, it calls for a revitalization of the classical liberal view of economic policy. Concretely, this means free trade, low taxes, deregulation, privatization, and balanced budgets.

This post is going to shortly explain the neoliberal story as it took place in America. I only mention the experiences in other nations at the end for brevity, relevance to my followers and I, and because I don’t understand them as well as I understand America’s.

Neoliberalism emerged as a reaction to the Keynesian welfare state politics that had become popular in the West. In the 1970’s, the American economy was experiencing a phenomenon called “stagflation”- simultaneous stagnation and inflation- that the old-school Keynesians who had been the dominant group in American economics had believed to be impossible for any extended period of time. In the intellectual gap their failure left, economists like Milton Friedman made the case not only for a different approach to monetary policy in order to solve stagflation, but also for the idea that many forms of governmental involvement in the economy being harmful. Others, like James Buchanan, made the case to the economics profession that government bureaucrats acted in selfish self-interest, not the public interest, and thus that policy prescriptions should be much more cautious in calling for governmental solutions to economic issues.

At the same time, businesses began to be more aggressive in asserting their interests in politics. This development was prompted in part by soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. writing a memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1971 arguing that “the American economic system is under attack” from progressive critics of big business, and that the business community should fight back. A number of conservative and libertarian think tanks and advocacy organizations were created and expanded in order to make the intellectual case for “freer” capitalism, including the Heritage Foundation (1973), the Cato Institute (1974), and the American Enterprise Institute (founded in 1938 but became influential during the 1970′s).

Take all of these trends, throw in increased public skepticism of government after Vietnam and Watergate, and you have a recipe for fundamental political change.

Between the economic disarray, the public distrust, and both intellectual and financial support for an alternative to post-war welfare statism, a new ideology became dominant in the political sphere. This ideology was encapsulated by Ronald Reagan, who summed it up perfectly with his famous quote: “in this current crisis, government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem.”

That’s is standard conservative fare today, but we forget how radical both that message and Reagan himself were at the time. I’ve noted before that, even at the time of his election, Reagan was seen by some as too far right to win. The last (elected) Republican president before him, Nixon, created the EPA, OSHA, and a number of other progressive programs. He also called for healthcare reform even stronger than Obamacare, and an expansion of welfare, the latter of which was the inspiration for the Earned Income Tax Credit, passed shortly after he left office. Parts of Nixon’s economic agenda (but not many other parts of his agenda, I should note) were noticeably left-wing, so much so that one journalist at the time noted that he left the Democrats having to resort to “metooism.”

But Nixon was simply responding to political pressures from the left, the same pressures that had forced LBJ’s hand with civil rights legislation and the war on poverty. In the late 1970’s, those pressures began to be outweighed by increasing pressure from businesses in the direction of neoliberalism. This started under Jimmy Carter, who oversaw the cautious deregulation of airlines and the trucking industry. However, it was Reagan who truly delivered the neoliberal agenda in America and institutionalized it into government.

The Reagan era also saw the start of the growth in importance of campaign donations. Republicans had not only a strong base of think tanks to provide them with a network of intellectual support, they also had far more donations from the corporate interests they were serving. Congressional Republicans beat their Democratic counterparts in campaign expenditures in every election year from 1976-1992.

Traditionally, Democrats had relied on unions as a critical source of both campaign donations and organizational support. With union strength declining (thanks, in part, to attacks by the Reagan administration), the Democrats were being totally outgunned. Recognizing that the game has changed, a number of Democrats (including one Bill Clinton) joined together in the Democratic Leadership Council with the stated goal of dragging the Democratic Party to the right and boosting campaign contributions. They succeeded. When Clinton eventually won the presidency, he cemented neoliberalism as the law of the land by making it clear that the Democrats would not challenge the fundamental new doctrine of limited government involvement in many parts of the economy, and as a result made the Democrats competitive again. (Read Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson’s “Winner-Take-All Politics” and Thomas Ferguson and Joel Roger’s “Right Turn” for more on this issue).

Instead of challenging the entirety of Reagan’s assertion of government as problem, Clinton espoused a “third way” ideology: in his second inauguration, Clinton said that “Government is not the problem, and Government is not the solution. We—the American people—we are the solution.” Though he made concessions to left-liberal voters with things like mild tax hikes on the wealthy, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Family Medical Leave Act, he continued the neoliberal march of rolling back progressive achievements through the deregulation of Wall Street, conservative reform of welfare, NAFTA, and gutting public housing.

Clinton himself was aware of the way that American politics was moving to the right, and he was sometimes frustrated with it. Allegedly, he once entered a meeting in the Oval Office complaining:

Where are all the Democrats? I hope you’re all aware we’re all Eisenhower Republicans. We’re Eisenhower Republicans here, and we are fighting the Reagan Republicans. We stand for lower deficits and free trade and the bond market. Isn’t that great?

But he didn’t really do anything to slow the process. Most of the Democratic Party accepts their role doing nothing more than, to borrow a phrase from Roberto Unger, “to put a softer face on the agenda of their conservative opponents.” They’re there to make things a bit better for the little guy here and there, but never to fundamentally shake up the political-economic system in any way. This is why people will refer to many Democrats as neoliberals even when they don’t literally advocate for a “free market.”

As a result, the Republicans continued to push further right under the leadership of Newt Gingrich. The Democrats started to dig their heels in and push back a little for the first time during the later part of the George W. Bush administration as his (and the wars’) approval ratings sank, and they now seem to have stabilized more or less. An increasingly loud progressive wing of the party continues to push for the type of reforms that would have been center-left in the 1960’s, but the party establishment is now fine just holding on to ideological territory to the right of where it was several decades ago.

With the establishment of both parties accepting neoliberal ideology, it achieved status as what Antonio Gramsci called “cultural hegemony”: because the most powerful class of America accepted it as fact, it was instilled into the American consciousness as “common sense” that can’t be seriously challenged. Ex.) “You want to raise taxes to pay for universal healthcare? That’s ridiculous, everyone knows taxes need to be cut, even the Democrats want tax cuts for the middle class!,” “Everyone agrees there’s too much regulation today,” etc.

But things are changing. What we’re seeing now in this election is the collapse of neoliberalism’s hegemony. Republican elites took neoliberalism being their root organizing principle for granted while running campaigns utilizing dog whistle racism (that’s a whole post in itself), never realizing that they were attracting a base of voters who hated immigrants a lot more than regulation. The Republicans have drifted so far to the right that unabashed nationalists like Trump can now take the lead of the party, even though he’s running on racist xenophobia and protectionism that are in conflict with neoliberal ideals. The Tea Party was the first hiccup, and Trump is the new one. The GOP’s electoral strategy is coming back to haunt them.

Even during their neoliberalization, the Democrats always had a left-wing occupied by social democrats who wanted to continue the progress that was abandoned in the late 70’s. They were empowered by both opposition to the Iraq War late in the Bush era and the subsequent economic crash that occurred as a result of neoliberal deregulation of the finance sector. Obama ran as a semi-progressive but governed as a standard Democrat who wanted no fundamental changes (Obamacare instead of single-payer, Dodd-Frank instead of reshaping the finance system, etc.), leaving progressive disappointment and frustration to rise to the surface again once a primary was held to determine who would be the Democratic candidate after Obama. Thus, the Bernie phenomenon.

I think that the collapse of neoliberalism is embedded in the formula of neoliberalism itself, very similar to Marxist views about how capitalism creates its own life-threatening crises (which, I should clarify, I don’t believe). Neoliberal globalization results in devastating deindustrialization in blue collar parts of America, leaving a class of people unemployed and feeling totally forgotten by their government, especially since government aid to the poor is often seen as shameful in a hyperindividualist neoliberal environment. This prompts an inevitable political reaction. The center-left (ex. Clinton) and center-right (ex. Jeb Bush) sing the praises of neoliberal globalization, the left (ex. Sanders) vigorously attacks the “neoliberal” part, and the far-right vigorously attacks the “globalization” part (ex. Trump). If you can’t tell, my position on the left leaves me disliking neoliberalism and believing that the far-right’s disdain for all forms of globalization is a distraction and misidentification of the root issue, using foreigners and people of color as scapegoats.

A number of other industrialized countries have underwent neoliberalization on roughly the same time frame and are now experiencing similar backlashes: The U.K., neoliberalized under Thatcher, now has UKIP, Jeremy Corbyn, and social democratic Scottish nationalists. France has the National Front. Germany has the AfD and Pegida. New Zealand has New Zealand First. Sweden has the Sweden Democrats. Spain has Podemos. Neoliberalism was pushed on much of Latin America through the “Washington Consensus” doctrine of the U.S. government and international finance organizations like the IMF, leading to a revitalization of Latin American left-populism in many countries.

There are exceptions of course: Australia, weirdly enough, doesn’t have as much far-right or far-left activity as the other nations, as far as I’m aware. Mexican politics don’t have very strong far-right and far-left forces either right now, though the Zapatista movement was undoubtably the type of response I’m talking about. Russian politics are odd enough that it’s kinda hard to determine whether what’s going on there is the result of their neoliberal shock therapy after the fall of the USSR or not.

Regardless, the only countries where neoliberalism has had serious economic success are nations with authoritarian political systems that can suppress dissent: neoliberalism was forced upon the people of Chile under the brutal rule of Pinochet, and China underwent large scale economic liberalization under the brutal rule of Deng. For all of the other problems that may have occurred, both resulted in astonishing economic growth. Regardless, these experiences seem to directly conflict with the classical liberal argument of a strong correlation between a laissez-faire economy and political democracy, at least at all points on the curve.

This post is already way too long, and I’ve probably tried to cover too much, but the concept of neoliberalism is so important to understanding our modern world that I feel like all of this is important to cover.

anonymous asked:

this is probably a strange question but do you know if racism was prevalent in ancient rome and greece? i've been looking online and there are just so many mixed answers and i was hoping that you had some more reliable information. thank you! x

i mean, isn’t racism prevalent EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME, including now?

there are probably people more suited to talking about this than me, eg. argonauticae, but the bulk of what’s kind of evident in the HUGELY eurocentric and chronologically specific reading i’ve done (alexander. alexander. god someone should punch me everytime i say the word alexander) it’s almost like the greek sense of homophobia, in that it’s very similar to our own brand but with its specific cultural nuances, which is par for course

like i mean, every ancient culture - every CULTURE, you could argue - is based on some level of othering, some sense of nationalism, because in a pre-city state or pre-bureaucratic government era you need something to unify people, to give them a sense of self, and the easiest and fastest way to do that is identify the one that Does Not Belong. the egyptians wrote some very rude things about their eastern neighbours, and the persians actually, beginning with cyrus (though it probably goes far beyond that, i’m just woefully unread on anything predating the achaemenids) established a kind of imperial doctrine that stated it was their royal duty to bring those people who were far from the centre of Truth (persia) into the empire, and that the further you were from persia the more susceptible you were to the Lie

which is probably, you know, where the alexandria brotherhood of man shit came from


so the greeks, because in no way were the greeks morally superior, obviously, had their own version of this. plato advocated for eugenics, aristotle famously told alexander to treat the greeks as men and the persians as animals and also more famously wrote that it was the greek destiny to rule and other men’s to be ruled. interestingly enough, it seems that this kind of belief is based less in colour - like modern racism - and more in who is or isn’t greek. and within that, because the idea of being greek didn’t really exist until long after alexander, probably not until the roman annexation, some greeks regarded other greeks as barbarians. macedonians thought the epirates were barbarians, and the athenians+thebes+sparta+everyone and their mom thought the macedonians were barbarians. although the idea of greeks being slaves were uncomfortable for a lot of free greeks, it never really STOPPED anyone from making a quick buck. philip did it, alexander did it, nicias did it. (interestingly enough, achaemenid law specifically forbade slavery) like the romans, greek slaves could buy their freedom as well, and if we move forward in history to the romans, you get north african soldiers in britain, you get philip the arabian who became a mover and shaker during the age of empire. this is significant, but it’s not a blanket statement saying that racism doesn’t exist, because it’s like saying ‘we don’t have segregation anymore! america has a black president! we are Post Racism' 

what it does show us is that while the idea of civilization in greek/roman culture is very eurocentric, civilization is attainable (but at the same time, that also sounds like assimilation in a modern sense). a lot of acceptance of different cultures is based in self interest and political pragmatism than it is in actual acceptance - the greeks accepted fringe cults and different gods (alexander, famously though probably not entirely true, paid respects to the high priest of the temple at jerusalem in 333; what’s more likely is that he didn’t want to attack jerusalem because it took too long, so made a diplomatic overture) so long as it doesn’t threaten the stability of the existing order. the romans, similarly, was tolerant towards jews, christians, arabs, persians with all their different gods, until it threatened roman power. theres also old superstitions about how you don’t want to offend any gods just in case they were real, but religion for the greeks and romans was usually a matter of state and civic duty - the word religio in latin actually means bond or contract - and unless that power of state is breached, they were usually pretty tolerant. there’s a reason why when christians came under attack, the ban was actually against roman citizens becoming christians. in pretty much every single invasion of jerusalem by rome - and there were PLENTY, most of which ended up pretty fucking bloody re: trajan - it was because rome saw uprisings and religious messiahs in jerusalem, including jesus, as being insurrectionists against the state of rome, rather than against the gods of rome, which became kind of religious sounding in the aftermath, but in the context of the time was because rome feared losing foreign interest against people who were against the military occupation of jerusalem. 

so this seems like a loooong winded deviation, and you’re right, it is, but i just want to bring it back to the greeks in the sense that - 

solon in writing the laws of athens forbade slaves from practicing pederasty, a social institution among citizens in athens. similarly, athenian law also forbade penetration of athenian citizens, and created pretty heavy punitive measures against men who made sexual advances on athenian boys. in the prosecution of timarchos by aeschines, timarchos an athenian citizen was forbidden from taking party in civic duty because he allegedly prostituted himself to other men as a boy. no such law exists for slaves, most of whom were foreign, with regards to penetration or prostitution - and that kind of gives you a good idea of what their stance is on these measures. while a lot of rhetoric in this time period and of this nature have a racial slant, the main offense and deviation from the norm wasn’t so much based in race as it was in citizenship, in duty to the state. that’s the difference between a greek and a barbarian - in that a greek is free, and a greek is equal to other greeks and no man, and that a barbarian (def. of which includes some weird shit about being Feminine) is a man who is ruled by a king or an emperor, so slavery - intertwined with Us and Them - is something that you disgard as you become More Greek. 

so like, long story short, yes racism did exist, yes racism was prevalent, but it was subject to a series of cultural nuances that makes it different from what is modern racism where you know, white people are expatriates and not white people are immigrants and forever immigrants, and it’s important to highlight those differences.

Which economist should you fight?
  • Arrow: You can fight him, you can keep all ten of your fingers, or you can keep your life, but it's impossible to do all three at the same time.
  • Barro: Barro has enormous upper-body strength as a result of almost single-handedly carrying American conservatism on his back. Bad idea.
  • Becker: He's a snitch. He'll call the cops. Don't even talk to him.
  • Buchanan: Dress up like a government bureaucrat, punch him in the mouth, and he'll drop in one hit.
  • Clark: Each punch of his is marginally more painful than the last, so he'll kick your ass in any fight lasting longer than five minutes. Don't do it.
  • Coase: He'll try to avoid fighting you and settle the issue through the assignment of property rights. Don't let him. He's weak and you can take him.
  • Fama: Fight him. He thinks he's way smarter than he is. You can take him.
  • Fisher: Don't fucking kid yourself. Fisher's stats are legendary. You might as well fight a bear. Give me a break.
  • Friedman: Look, I get it, you want to fight Friedman. Everyone wants to fight Friedman. But he makes up for his lack of size with speed and understanding of monetary policy. You'll lose. Not worth it.
  • Galbraith: He's a great guy, but an absolute lightweight. If you're really looking for a fight, pick Galbraith.
  • Hayek: There has never lived a man who is angrier than Hayek. Fighting that is like fighting a hive of wasps. Just pure, unfiltered anger. Fucking terrifying.
  • Hicks: Hicks knows how to throw a curve. Don't fight him.
  • Kahneman: He looks weak on paper, but because of his exposure to prospect theory, his attack patterns and movements are a lot less predictable. Be cautious.
  • Keynes: John Maynard "Sticky Fists" Keynes gets up after being knocked down, every time. You can't face Keynes' pain. You aren't strong enough.
  • Krugman: Fight Krugman, steal his lunch money, and then spend it somewhere to boost aggregate demand. He'll probably thank you.
  • Lucas: Don't fight Lucas. He thinks too far ahead, gathers information, sets expectations accordingly. He cares more about beating you than you do about him.
  • Malthus: Look, I have no idea if you can actually beat him, just please fight Malthus. You practically have a moral duty to do so, given the chance. Kick his ass.
  • Mankiw: His strength is overrated. Go for it.
  • Marshall: Undefeated record so far. Stay away.
  • Marx: Conserve your energy right. Marx is known for dragging fights on for absurdly long amounts of time, but he eventually suffers from a long-term tendency for his rate of energy to fall.
  • Minsky: Total wildcard. Dude disappeared decades ago and just popped up out of nowhere again a few years ago. I don't know.
  • Nash: Could you beat Nash in a fight? Yeah, probably. But why would you want to? What has he honestly done to you? Leave him alone.
  • Pigou: He'll let you beat the shit out of him, but he charges you $5 for every hit. At a certain point, you'll just decide it isn't worth it anymore.
  • Ricardo: Everyone's beat Ricardo already. His ass is grass. Shit's old. Find someone else.
  • Robinson: Robinson is dangerous and extremely adaptable. She can thrive in England, she can thrive in North Korea, and she can thrive in a cage match with you. I wouldn't recommend fighting her.
  • Samuelson: You can't even touch Samuelson. He knows what you're thinking before you do. He will suplex your ass into another dimension.
  • Schumpeter: Your odds totally depend on how bad his day has been. If it's raining, he'll win. If he had his morning coffee, you'll win.
  • Smith: You can beat Smith. His "invisible hands" boxing technique was really impressive back in the day, but everyone's seen at by now, and they know how to dodge it. Easy.
  • Solow: You can beat Solow, he's too by-the-books. Keep it hand-to-hand, he's good with physical capital.
  • Sraffa: Who?
  • Stigler: The guy is just a lost soul, seeking knowledge and friendship. Don't fight Stigler, take him out to coffee sometime, talk about good books that you've read. Kiss him. Kiss Stigler.
  • Stiglitz: Stiglitz is known for his work on information asymmetry, his views on inequality, and his constant body building. Absurdly swole. Don't fight Stiglitz.
  • Veblen: Very weird. Seems like an easy fight, but also seems like the type of guy who carries knives with him. He might not play fair.
  • von Bawerk: Fight von Bawerk and then tell him that Menger is disappointed in him. Let him cry.

(A table of contents is available. It will be kept updated throughout the series. This series will remain open for additional posts.)

Part Eight: Growing Out Living

Last time I walked you through some considerations on how to grow details of culture and life out of your original conception, but there’s so much more to living than simply the homes and subsistence methods. The next thing to grow out is your government.

Government - Here’s a tip: Don’t try to grow out more than one government at a time. The way your culture decides to keep itself in order will have nothing to do with how their next-door neighbors govern themselves. The reason I had you think about how a group of people will acquire food before anything else culturally-related is because often the rest of the culture develops around that singular aspect. The same is true of government. The type of food-gathering mechanism your group deals with will tell you how large a population you can sustain. Once you know the population size, you can begin looking into governments.

The smaller the population, the more likely they are to have more informal methods of keeping people in line. Your society will develop based on the idea of keeping themselves going: of being sustainable. They’ll develop taboos and consequences, and in the end, that’s what government is. It’s organization for the people, sure, but it’s also the group of people or single person in charge of keeping the people in line. Social norms are how this comes about: the ideals a group of people holds about what is right and what is wrong, and the things that keep people from doing the wrong things.

Your government for a small population could be as small as an honor code where it’s up to the individuals to hold themselves accountable. Social norms will be things like, “It’s unacceptable to disturb graves.” How do you keep people from disturbing graves? Depends on the society! Maybe there’s a belief that the dead won’t be able to rest or the dead will hurt the individual, holding implications of family and the afterlife as important values; maybe it’s said that disturbing a grave releases toxins into the air, putting a scientific mind into their values; maybe everyone just knows it’s gross, so why would you do it? Values of practicality come into play. Your government for a larger population could be a bureaucratic-style governing body; maybe a monarchy, a patriarchy, an oligarchy, a dictatorship, a democracy, a republic–the varieties abound. I wrote an exceptionally simplistic overview of how population size can impact governmental styles here in my anthropology for writers series.

Religion - Religion is another step you’ll need to take in your growing out process for each group of people. There are many things that influence how a religion may form for a culture, so depending on what you already have developed, you will need to take a different route into religion. Some questions to help get you started with religion:

  • Is it all-pervasive?
  • Is it required?
  • Are there more than one that are attributed to this specific people? (A distinctly different question than whether there are more than one religions in the area, some of which may have come from another culture.)
  • Is is monotheistic? Polytheistic?
  • Is it based off cultural values and necessities of life?
  • Does it reinforce social norms?
  • How does it influence architecture? Art? Clothing? Speech?
  • Is it real? (Distinct from the idea of whether the adherents believe it to be true; is yours a world where the gods actually exist or are only legends that have become like truth?)
  • What are some festivals that go with it?
  • Traditional garb that goes with ceremonies? Regular everyday ornamentation or jewelry?

The biggest thing to remember when building religion is that you cannot simply lift an entire religion from our world or a fictional world and apply it to your own. Every religion is specifically tailored to the culture and living style of the group of people who originated the religion. If your religion is old, think about how modern day religions have changed (or not changed) to move with the thinking of the times. Religions adapt, despite their claims not to.

Next up: Growing out details!

“All that I can hope to do is get every unworthy school–every incompetent samurai–declared  G U I L T Y  of inferiority. So I make that my  p a t h .”

“Mitsurugi…you’ve changed.”

“…Don’t expect any special treatment, Naruhodō Ryūichi.”

Did someone say jidaigeki/samurai AU for ace attorney/narumitsu??? 

tl;dr everyone’s a samurai sort of. miles edgeworth is a samurai. phoenix wright might be a ronin? lots of duels !!!! (more details under the cut)

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searibox  asked:

Hello, I was wandering can u give us some background on the Helvault. What is it and how Grisel and Avacyn got traped in it. This morning I woke up to an idea. I remembered some talk about Avacyn being Nahiri resurected as an angel by Soryn, which made me think that the Helvauld actualy have some Hedron properties both mechanically and in terms of physical dimentions. What do u think, Necrogen?

Hey there! 

Of course! It’s always a pleasure to write about my favorite plane.

Initial concept (”Hell Vault”) in the Innistrad World Guide

The Helvault was created from a slice of Innistrad’s silver Moon. Located at the edge of a cliff in Thraben Cathedral’s yard, this powerful prison was used by Avacyn and her flights of angels as a solution to the demon menace on the plane.

Unlike other planes’ demons, the ones we find in Innistrad are quickly replaced by others when destroyed, and their number remained constant until the archangel coined the notion that “What can’t be destroyed must be bound” (yes, this is somewhat similar to the binding of the Eldrazi titans in Zendikar).

It’s not a magically sculpted stony hedron with glyphs and inscriptions (and some icons depicting Ugin among them). It’s an unpolished silver shard with veins of mortar in it, but the principle is the same (it always reminded me of the Ghostbusters movie, when the government bureaucrat demands they shut down their containment unit).

Sorin may have transfered this knowledge and this principle to Avacyn. Also, last time we saw Nahiri she was planeswalking after Sorin (possibly to Innistrad) and even if she wasn’t transformed into Avacyn (more on this here) she may have some relation to the Helvault history.

Anyway, by engaging in combat with every demon she could find, Avacyn imprisoned them one by one in the silver shard as part of her efforts in keeping humanity’s foes at bay.

Art by Jaime Jones

The archdemon Griselbrand, however, landed on top of the Helvault and challenged her to face him. For long days they battled before Mikaeus, and in the end both of them were imprisoned when Griselbrand impaled her heart with his spear, dragging her with him when she finally succeeded to bound him.

Avacyn’s absence made her church’s spells and prayers fail, and humanity saw itself helpless while ghouls, geists, werewolves and vampires feasted on them. Facing the risk of extinction, humans reunited with their savior as a collateral effect of Liliana’s quest to destroy her four demonic creditors.

Let’s go back. Just before rival necromantic brothers Geralf and Gisa destroyed most of Thraben’s defenses in one of their Necrowarfares (in which they put their ghouls and skaabs to fight in a chosen location), Geralf killed Mikaeus, the head of the Avacynian church.

The stitcher was then approached by Lili, and she proceeded to reanimate the Lunarch as a undead mockery of his previous incarnation. The zombiefied Lunarch revealed her some of the church’s secrets, including the demon’s whereabouts.

Art by Todd Lockwood

In the cathedral’s yard, the cathar Thalia and her soldiers kept guard, but Liliana presented her with a dilemma. The cathar could use her white magic to destroy the artifact, or the death mage would use her black spells to slaughter her army. Thalia agreed, and Avacyn, Griselbrand and legions of demons were released.

The necromancer used the Chain Veil’s power to destroy her second creditor, and the blessings of Avacyn were restored. Her flights of angels finally found their guiding instructions again, and the powerful wave of spells known as the Cursemute was cast, halving or nullifying most of the plane’s curses, including lycanthropy (each werewolf could choose to merge his human and animal forms to become a noble wolfir subservient to Avacyn) and Garruk’s curse (he regained his conscience for a little while).

While Lili’s plans didn’t include helping Innistrad’s humans, she indirectly did it by releasing the archangel and other demons in her hunt for Griselbrand. We don’t know exactly which horrors where released (Shilgengar, maybe?), but at least humanity has a chance now. It would only be a shame if someone or something cursed Avacyn herself, right? That would really be a shame, to have human’s only hope and her flights of angels tainted by evil as shadows over those beautiful cold cities.  

You may also want to check my Table of Contents

Dear Hillary Clinton, I'm so proud of you.

Because I grew up under eight years of your husband, eight years watching you in the news serving New York, four years as Secretary of State, and another four years inevitably planning this campaign, I don’t know if my feelings toward you as a politician are based predominantly on fact or on a skewed narrative as presented by the media.  I’ve never been 100% Team Hillary, but to be fair, I’ve never been 100% Any Politician.  I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect any person serving in our government to agree with us on each and every issue, because it’s their job to know more about them than we do.  For you though, because of your long history in the government as the most high-profile politician we’ve had during my lifetime, I hold more against you than the average liberal politician.  Part of that is because you’re an old white person whose history contains more than a few hiccups that affect people who look like me, but part of that is because the country decided they hated you long before I was old enough to pay attention to politics, and I’ve been affected by it on some level.  For me, that Hillary vs. America narrative wasn’t enough for me to withdraw support, but it was enough for me to never be overly excited about the prospect of having you in the White House in the pilot’s chair.  All of this is too fresh for me to fully wrap my head around what part of my hesitance is warranted because of your politics and what part is a reaction to Hillary The Monster as spoonfed to me by the news media, but that’s not why I wanted to write this.

I like you as a person.  Aside from politics, I think you are a formidable woman, a passionate patriot, an exceptionally intelligent politician, and a thoughtful humanitarian who really does want the best for everyone.  I feel so disappointed in America, but that’s a given.  Everybody is writing about it, everybody is feeling it, everybody is frightened about the next four years.  But just on a human level, my heart breaks for you.  I can’t imagine spending fifty years working toward a goal that was pushed just out of your reach by an actual monster.  You love America so much more than I do because I would’ve given up on us the first time we told you we hated you, and then the second time, and the third, and the fourth.  The fact that you never give up has been used as evidence of a personality defect, even though we tell our children to work hard for what you want, and if you don’t succeed, try and try again.  

You tried so many times.

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“A romantic adventure with an intriguing blend of modern and classic touches, The Rendezvous throws together Rachel, a Jewish-American doctor and Jake, an Arab-American government bureaucrat, who are trying to solve the mysterious death of Rachel’s treasure hunting brother. Racing around the world, they find themselves being hunted by a doomsday group calling themselves the Armageddonites who believe Rachel and Jake possess an ancient script discovered by Rachel’s brother that could bring about the end of days. Caught in the middle of a plot to hasten the end of mankind, Rachel and Jake need to solve a murder, save the world and discover for themselves that treasure is where you find it.” - The Rendezvous starring Stana KaticRaza Jaffrey