A Recap of February 2011
1) A poorly carried out American engineered betrayal and removal of an old puppet and secular friend Hosni Mubarak (showing to the world the growing incompetence of CIA at getting rid of even so called dependents)
2) A wealthy, growing, and secular Libya exploding (oil blessed 6 million Libyans are more comfortable than Russians on average)
3) Scott Walker, an incompetent Koch brothers puppet overreaching and finding that even American workers are refusing to roll over and die
4) Unveiling of a rather remarkable intuition software by IMB corporation via successfully promoting itself (second most highly watched Jeopardy game of all time)
In the process, Libyans not only became wealthy but continued wealth generation to the moment of recent protests. This country is a perfect demonstration of a political science proposition that revolutions mostly happen not when the economy is contracting but when economy is expanding but is perceived to not be expanding fast enough and/or equitably enough. Libya demonstrates to elites everywhere that very gradual shrinking of the economic pie (see Western world in last 40 years), lack of college education, and birth control are THE essential tools to prevent revolutions. The rapid generation of wealth creates too many expectations in the minds of the peasants, expectations that are vulnerable to even small shocks and outrages. Much easier to create fatalistic pessimistic cattle that viciously fights each other over ever smaller crumbs falling from rich man's table (see Americans).
Gaddafi, just as Gulgencio Batista had, grew soft and less competent in his old age. This age old problem is completely understandable if you lead a rich and productive life as they had. One slides into incompetence very very gradually to notice by introspection. But that often beats handing everything over to spoiled rich playboy children, to an elderly right hand man, or to some feisty 30 year old who hasn't similarly tested himself in battle. It appears that for this reason, real social progress can almost never be fully evolutionary but manifest itself in revolutionary jumps. For evolutionary growth, a faction of elites should at the very least attempt forceful visionary top down restructuring every 1-2 generations to capture the imagination of youthful human animals.
Gaddafi did the best he could and attempted a number of top down shake ups after taking power (a.k.a. real changes people could believe in). His green book provides a number of ideas for people across the political spectrum (yes there are even ideas for Tea Partiers on running multiethnic societies on a local decentralized level). Lets give a few examples:
"Domestic servants, paid or unpaid, are a type of slave. Indeed, they are the slaves of the modern age."
"The freedom of a human being is lacking if his or her needs are controlled by others, for need may lead to the enslavement of one person by another. Furthermore, exploitation is caused by need. Need is an intrinsic problem and conflict is initiated by the control of one's needs by another."
"Housing is an essential need for both the individual and the family and should not be owned by others. Living in another's house, whether paying rent or not, compromises freedom. Attempts made by various countries to solve the housing problem did not provide a definite solution because such attempts did not target the ultimate solution - the necessity that people own their dwellings - but rather offered the reduction, increase, or standardization of rent, whether it went to privately or publicly-owned enterprise."
Woah! Slow down Gaddafi you make too much sense, you must be insane. Somebody call the Zeitgeist movement, this guy is improving peoples lives with interesting new attempts. Coo-Coo for Cocoa Puffs material right here y'all.
The tragedy of Libya is that their leadership waited too long to engage in another wave of perestroika and that it is now too late (considering the alleged mass butchering of protesters). Gaddaffi's son gave a rather reasonable speech about dangers of a violent Yugoslav style splintering and subsequent occupation by Western powers. Of course Western media labeled the speech as "rambling" (it was short) and dismissed its points right away. If this socioeconomically interesting and different country (and completely ignored due to that) descends into Somalia style chaos followed by pathetic attempts to ape the Western oligarchies to "attract investment", then it'll be a sad end to current Libyan calls for freedom.
Constitutional Convention (to get sympathy and link up with poor rural people whose anger is skillfully redirected by elites onto unions), reintroduction of Glass-Steagall, impeachment of every union busting governor, and most importantly, impeachment of president Obama for complete betrayal of the working people. If they link up (energetically and hatefully) Obama, Wall-Street, and corporate controlled union bashers, it may just be possible to sway the seething countryside and some elites via a solid narrative.
We've yet to see how far AFL-CIO will go to nationally back Wisconsin uprising but all energies ought to be poured to support it. Time for crippling national full spectrum strikes is long overdue. It is either that or the whole country rapidly becoming Camden, New Jersey with heavily armed gated community islands (even more so than now :/).
Watson on Jeopardy
go head to head with a computer and even hold their own at times. The next step in Watson's evolution would be to have the computer use audio to text conversion to listen in on thousands and thousands of conversations of intelligent people in order to get more prepped up for the Turing test. IBM's partnership with a major TV program was a great move on their part to get the maximum amount of people excited about our future software companions (and IBM's products). In due time small children will be talking to their teddy bears and barbie dolls and having very interesting and educational conversations.
This warrants an article of its own.