Synnefocracy_Abstract.2

“I want to tame the winds and keep them on a leash… I want a pack of winds, fleet-footed hounds, to hunt the puffed-up, whiskery clouds.” ‒ F.T. Marinetti.

♦ ♦ ♦

Cartography of the Cloud

 It would be pointless to discuss synnefocracy in any further depth without first defining what The Cloud actually is. Briskly, The Cloud is both a colorful placeholder for a particular modular information arrangement utilizing the internet and a design philosophy. Clouds always use the internet, but are not synonymous with it. The metaphor illustrates informational exchange and storage that is not principally mediated through locally based hardware systems, but rather ones wherein hardware is utilized locally, but accessed remotely. The Cloud is what allows one to begin watching a film on one’s laptop and seamlessly finish watching on one’s tablet. It is what allows one daily access to an email without ever having to consider the maintenance of the hardware upon which the data in the email account is stored. The more independent and modular one’s software becomes from its hardware, the more ‘cloud-like’ that software is. It is not that The Cloud is merely the software, but that the storage size, speed and modularity are all aspects of the system-genre’s seemingly ephemeral nature. Utilization of a computer system rather than a single computer increases efficiency (and thus demands modularity) creating a multi-cascading data slipstream, the full geopolitical effects of which have, up til now, been relatively poorly understood and even more poorly articulated, chronicled and speculated upon, both within popular and academic discourse (and I should add that it is not here my purpose to craft any definitive document upon the topic, but rather to invite a more robust investigation).

Cloud computing architecture offers a number of benefits over traditional computing arrangements, namely in terms of scalability, given that anytime computing power is lacking (for instance, if one had a website that was getting overloaded with traffic), one can simply dip into a accessible cloud and increase one’s server size. Since one never has to actually mess about with any of the physical hardware being utilized to increase computing power, significant time (which would otherwise be spent modulating and setting up servers manually) and money (that would be spent maintaining extra hardware or paying others to maintain it for you) is saved. The fact that one (generally speaking) pays only for the amount of cloud-time one needs for their project also saves money and manpower (in contradistinction to traditional on-premise architecture which would require one to pay for all the hardware necessary, upfront) is another clear benefit.

This combination of speed, durability, flexibility and affordability makes cloud computing a favorite for big businesses and ambitious, tech-savvy startups and, as a consequence, have turned cloud computing itself into a major industry. There are two distinctive types of cloud computing: the deployment model and the service model. In the deployment model there are three sub-categories: public, private and hybrid. The best way of thinking about each model is by conceptualizing vehicular modes of transportation. A bus is accessible to anyone who can pay for the ride; this is analogous to the public cloud wherein you pay only for the resources used and the time spent using them and when one is finished one simply stops paying or, to extend our metaphor, one gets off the bus. Contrarily, a private cloud is akin to a personally owned car, where one pays a large amount of money up-front and must continue paying for the use of the car, however, it is the sole property of the owner who can do with it what he or she will (within the bounds of the law). Lastly, there is the hybrid cloud, which most resembles a taxi, where one wants the private comfort of a personal car, but the low-cost accessibility of a bus.

Some prominent public cloud providers on the market as of this writing include: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM’s Blue Cloud as well as Sun Cloud. Prominent private cloud providers include AWS and VMware.

Cloud service models, when categorized most broadly, break down into three sub-categories: On-premises (Op1), Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), and, Software as a service (SaaS).

The impact of cloud computing upon sovereignty, particularly, but not exclusively, of states, is scantly remarked upon, but it is significant and is bound up within the paradigm shift towards globalization, however, it is not synonymous with globalization which is frankly, a rather clumsy term, as it does not specify what, precisely, is being globalized (certainly — within certain timescales, to be defined per polity — some things should not be globalized and others should, this requires considerable unpacking and, as a consequence shall not be expounded upon here).

Given that the internet is crucial for national defense (cyber security, diplomatic back-channels, internal coordination, etc) and that the favored computing architecture (presently – due the previously mentioned benefits) is cloud computing, it is only natural that states would begin gravitating towards public and private cloud-based systems and integrating them into their operations. The problem presented by this operational integration is that, due the technical specificity involved in setting up and maintaining such systems, it is cheaper, more convenient and efficient for a given state to hire-out the job to big tech corporations rather than create the architecture themselves and, in many cases, state actors simply do not know how (because most emerging technologies are created through the private sector).

The more cloud-centric a polity, the greater the power of the cloud architects and managers therein. This is due to several factors, the first and most obvious of which is simply that any sovereign governance structure (SGS) of sufficient size requires a parameterization of data flows for coordination. It is not enough for the central component of an SGS to know and sense, but to ensure that all its subcomponents know what it senses as well (to varying degrees) and to have reliable ways to ensure that what is sensed and processed is delivered thereto; pathways which the SGS itself cannot, by and large, provide nor maintain.

Here enters the burgeoning proto-synnefocratic powers; not seizing power from, but giving more power to, proximal SGSs, and in so-doing, become increasingly indispensable thereto. Important to consider, given that those factions which are best able to control, not just the major data-flows, but the topological substrates upon and through which those flows travel, will be those who ultimately control the largest shares of the system.


1Op is not a common annotation. Utilized for brevity. However, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS are all commonly utilized by those in the IT industry and other attendant fields.

Views On Genomic Engineering In The US

A 2016 study, US Public Wary Of Biomedical Technologies To ‘Enhance’ Human Abilities by Cary Funk, Brian Kennedy and Elizabeth Sciupac of the Pew Research Center, reveals that the US public are more concerned than positively excited at the prospect of biomedical technologies which are meant to enhance the human-soma capability (such as synthetic blood, brain-chip implants and genomic editing).

Some of the key findings include:

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Unsurprisingly, the more familiar one was with the listed technology, the more comfortable one was considering the prospect of its future utilization. A more wholesale integration of technics into the spiritual as well as cultural sphere may, however, be required before the mainlining of such procedures.

Compendium of Data Dominionism | INDEX_A.1: Alphabet Inc (Google)

Knowledge is power, but it does not exist in a vacuum. In any society, but especially an interconnected, technological society, those who can control the majority of the information flows are possessed of, not just great power, but arguably, the greatest power. This is not to say that control of data flows, nor power more generally, is always a negative eventuality (quite the contrary); some forms of information (such as those pertinent to the manufacture of deadly diseases or nuclear weaponry, etc) should be, it can be plausibly argued, controlled, and stringently. However, quite obviously, the majority of information placed onto the public sphere falls well outside this classification-range, thus, it is important to understand who controls what, where and how, and to evaluate such organizations and their practices without undue preconception.

With that firmly in mind, we can turn our attention to the report-proper, which looks to key nexus-points of information generation and control, in as thorough and metadiagrammatic a fashion as possible.

Alphabet Incorporated (Google)

“[Google’s] atmosphere of creativity and
challenge… has helped us provide
unbiased, accurate and free access to
information for those who rely on us
around the world.”
—Larry Page and Sergey Brin
2004 Founders’ IPO Letter

“Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main internet products contained in Alphabet instead. […] Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related.” — Larry Page, G Is For Google. 2015.

Notable personalities:

HQ: 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, US.

Whilst the name of Google is globally ubiquitous, Alphabet Inc. is considerably less well known. Alphabet Inc (abc.xyz) is a corporate holding conglomerate forged out of the 2015 restructuring of Google and the tech-giant’s present parent company.

In addition to Google (and Google Fiber) Alphabet’s subsidies as of this 11/30/18 writing include:

Alphabet’s Google is the single most trafficked website on earth. As such, it is also the single greatest conduit to information on earth and thus, potentially, the single greatest barricade. For sometime it has been something of an open secret that Google is partial to modulating its search engine to garner added visibility to company-approved topics and memory-hole sites deemed inimical to the software leviathan’s goals. Proof of this penchant for soft, creeping censorship can be found in the form of both their internally directed and externally directed campaigns (those solicited by foreign governments, such as China), as well as in their own written/spoken documentation or documentation obtained from Google (and its subsidies) staff.

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Google CEO, Sundar Pichai.

Corporate censorship practices

Google and by extension, Alphabet’s famous operative slogan “Don’t be evil” is a fascinating encapsulation of the moral rectitude of the company. Unfortunately for many, this sense of self-righteousness has led to more than one scandal involving censorship, a policy which has been admitted to and affirmed by Google internal documentation, most notably the infamous Good Censor memo, an 85 page document which lays out the company’s belief that the ‘American tradition’ of free speech was based on a misbegotten “utopian narrative,” and as a consequence, was no longer viable. In place of American concepts of free expression and speech, Google opted for what they call the ‘European tradition’ – ie. ‘good censorship’ through the prizing of “dignity over liberty” and “civility over freedom.”

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Excerpt from The Good Censor #1.
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Excerpt from The Good Censor #2.
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Excerpt from The Good Censor #3.

One of the European laws which Google mentions in its memo include the 2017 German Network Enforcement Act, informally referred to as the ‘Facebook Act’ which can entail a fine of up to €50 million (approximately 57 million USD) if a post designated as “hate speech” remains up for over 24 hours. To further compliance, the act stipulates that all social media companies covered under the ruling must submit public reports detailing number of posts flagged and removed. Facebook expressed concerns over the ruling, citing cultural-linguistic specificity, ie. some words, which are offensive in one culture, have a completely different meaning in another, such as “fag” which refers to a cigarette in Britain, but is a derisive term for a homosexual in America. The German government seemed unconcerned.

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German Parliament Building, Berlin.

Google accomplishes much of its censorship through passive modification to its search engine via a autocomplete blacklist, that being, a list of words and phrases which are purposefully excluded from Google’s autocomplete feature. In 2016, during the presidential election, two extremely popular nicknames for Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton (who many top Google brass supported) concocted by then-candidate Donald Trump included “Lying Ted” and “Crooked Hillary.” At that time, if using Google search, autocomplete would fill out “Lying Ted” instantly, whereas it would not fill out “Crooked Hillary.”

Google acknowledges the existence of the blacklist in their internal memorandum.

In addition to the autocomplete blacklist, Google also maintains a blacklist of certain territories in Google Maps. Some of these voided regions are military installations, others the homes of the wealthy. If someone who is not governmental connect or ultra-rich wants their home residence struck from the map or voided they are in for some bad news, as Eric Schmidt, responding to a question concerning privacy-invasion via Google Maps responded “Just move.” The question this obviously raises is: To where? Mr. Schmidt’s comments, though bizarre to many, are well in keeping with his personal philosophy; for example, in 2010, via a conversation with The Wall Street Journal, Schmidt stated the following:

“We’re trying to figure out what the future of search is. I mean that in a positive way. We’re still happy to be in search, believe me. But one idea is that more and more searches are done on your behalf without you needing to type… I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”

Corporate values & political activism

In 2016, after the election of Donald Trump an over 1-hour long confidential TGIF meeting video of top Google brass was leaked to the press, wherein various company staffers expressed their dismay and concern at the election of the new POTUS, which “conflicts with many of [Google’s] values,” and the need for Google to take a proactive stance in thwarting the Trump agenda. Google co-founder Sergey Brin takes a particularly hardline on Trump supporters, declaring that they were motivated by “boredom” and, at various points, compares them to fascists and rolls the idea around of increasing donations to progressive causes. Global Affairs VP, Kent Walker, echoing Brin, states that MAGA supporters are motivated by “fear, xenophobia, hatred, and a desire for answers that may or may not be there,” and later goes on to say that Google should bring its tremendous resources to bare upon the issue to ensure that the American Populist movement is rendered nothing more than a “hiccup” in the historical process, which, he believes, “bends towards progress.” Google CEO Sundar Pichai notes that Google’s AI and machine learning programs will be utilized to combat the “misinformation” of “low information voters.” CFO Ruth Porat broke down in tears during a consideration of the political situation. VP of ‘People Operations’ Eileen Naughton states that “diversity of opinion and political persuasion” are important and that she has heard from some conservative Google employees that they are “uncomfortable” being who they really are due to political polarization. Despite Naughton’s temperance and raising of the issue, a few months later James Damore would be fired from Google, allegedly due to his political beliefs regarding differences between men and women. Naughton also states the need for sweeping US immigration reform to remedy a “broken” system.

After the publication of the video by Bannon-created news site, Breitbart, Google released the following statement:

“At a regularly scheduled all hands meeting, some Google employees and executives expressed their own personal views in the aftermath of a long and divisive election season. For over 20 years, everyone at Google has been able to freely express their opinions at these meetings. Nothing was said at that meeting, or any other meeting, to suggest that any political bias ever influences the way we build or operate our products. To the contrary, our products are built for everyone, and we design them with extraordinary care to be a trustworthy source of information for everyone, without regard to political viewpoint.”

In 2017, after the publicization of Bannon and Trump’s muslim travel ban, numerous Google employees staged a walk-out in protest. During the protest, Sundar Pichai and Sergey Brin gave public speeches in solidarity with their employees and migrants at large. Brin also protested the POTUS’ travel ban with others during a demonstration at the San Francisco International Airport, stating, “I’m here because I’m a refugee” (Brin’s family emigrated from the Soviet Union in the 1979).

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Brin at airport demonstration against POTUS migration policy.

That same year Youtube (controlled by Google) was sued by conservative commentator, Dennis Prager, well known for his ‘Prager U’ video series. Prager alleged that Google via Youtube, was censoring conservative voices. In 2018, the case was thrown out; the judge, Lucy Koh, stated that Mr. Prager failed to show how Google, a private company at the time, had infringed upon his speech rights.

In 2018, Google witnessed a large data breach associated with its G+ platform, potentially affecting the personal information of 500,000 users. Fearing congressional investigation and subsequent action in the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company willfully obfuscated this fact and did not inform their users that a breach had occurred until long after the fact.

Affiliated Group: SPLC

“When I was 5, I bought a pig for a dollar. I fattened it up and sold it for 12.” — Morris Dees, Peoples Magazine.

Like many other tech companies, Alphabet/Google solicits advice from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a 501(c)3 legal advocacy group created in the 1971 by Morris S. Dees and Joseph Levin Jr., to determine what is and what is not a “hate group.” The Southern Poverty Law Center made its name combating the Klu Klux Klan at a particularly volatile period in the latter organizations history and as such garnered significant acclaim. However, the modus operandi for the organization, as revealed by a pertinent investigation of the facts surrounding their campaigns can only be described as free-mongering for-profit. Additionally, the SPLC has a long history of defamatory campaigns which slander and tarnish the reputations of political opponents (both real and perceived) of the organization. One such victim of the SPLC’s slander campaigns was US Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul, who was designated a “extremist” by The Center.

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Rand Paul SPLC “extremist” dossier excerpt. If Rand Paul is a extremist, I’m Paul Revere.


Sources & further reading

  1. Ben Smith. (2018) Project Strobe: Protecting Your Data, Improving Third-Party APIs, & Sunsetting Consumer Google+. Google Blog.
  2. Casey Newton. (2018) A Looming Strike Over Project Dragonfly Is Putting New Pressure On Google. The Verge.
  3. Frederic Lardinois. (2015) Google Is Now Alphabet, But It Doesn’t Own Alphabet.com.
  4. Google. (2018) The Good Censor. Memo. Insight Labs.
  5. Hillary Grigonis. (2017) Network Enforcement Act Says Remove Hate Speech Or Pay Big Fine. Digital Trends.
  6. Holman Page. (2010) Google & The Search For The Future.
  7. Ismat Mangla. (2018) Google Data Breach: Everything You Need To Know. Experian.
  8. Kamelia Angelova. (2010) How Google End Up At War With China. Business Insider.
  9. Larry Page. (2015) G Is For Google. Googleblog.
  10. Peter Hasson. (2018) Facebook, Amazon, Google & Twitter All Work With Left-Wing SPLC. Daily Caller.
  11. Robert Epstein. (2016) The New Censorship: How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites? US News.
  12. Taylor Hatmaker. (2018) Google’s Sundar Pichai Will Face Congress Next Week. TechCrunch.
  13. SPLC Website.
  14. Personal curated archives [forthcoming to Logos]

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Following Japan, China Develops Plan For Deepsea Habitation

Following Japan’s Project Ocean Spiral, China has recently released plans for a 1.1 billion yuan (160 million USD) underwater city in the Hadal Zone (6000-11,000 meters deep) of the South China Sea. The prospective habitation will be designed somewhat like a space station, with docking platforms and cutting-edge analytical equipment. In contradistinction to Ocean Spiral, China’s deepsea structure is planned to be partially autonomous, operating via a mechanical “brain.” Robotic submarines are to be deployed for sea-bed surveillance for the project.

The South China Morning Post has described the project as the “first artificial intelligence colony on Earth.”

The geopolitical complications will prove just as, if not more, challenging than the technical and financial challenges, given that the South China Sea (SCS) is one of the most strongly contested areas in the world. Seven territories lay claim to the waterway, including, People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. As of 2016, 5 trillion USD worth of goods were moved through the SCS waterways annually, with China being the primary benefactor of such freedom of movement, thus, the incentives to maintain a hold over the region are extensive. China has, in the past, come under criticism by the US for its actions in the South China Sea, most notably for its construction of artificial islands and its militarization of those maritime zones.

A Oct. 2018 close-encounter between a Chinese destroyer and the USS Decatur, only served to ratchet up tensions in the region even further.

The geopolitical snags will only intensify if China continues along with its other major project, crafting over 20 floating nuclear reactors in the SCS by 2020, a move which may violate international law (as per the 2016 UN court rulings), depending on who is asked and what, precisely, they build and where. Regardless, the scope of the project is grand and China’s ambitions, admirable.

One potential partner in the venture may be the Philippines, whose government, currently lead by Rodrigo Duterte, has pulled away from the country’s historical ally, the USA, in favor of closer ties to the Eurasian Bloc, namely, Russia and China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, said of the project, “There is no road in the deep sea, we do not need to chase [after other countries], we are the road.”


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USA-Japan Nuclear Alliance — History, Importance & Prospective Policies For Technocultural Exchange

This text endeavours to lay out the history of US-Japanese nuclear relations, the geopolitical implications thereof and some tentative policy proscriptions pertaining thereto for maximally mutual advancement of both nation’s interests.

Table of contents

  • Background on US-Japanese nuclear relations
  • 2018 US-Japanese memorandum
  • Importance of the alliance
  • Reasons for the durability of success
  • Geographic particularities of the alliance
  • Tentative policy proscriptions for further US-Japanese technocultural development & geopolitical stability

Background on US-Japanese nuclear relations

Civil nuclear relations between the United States of America and Japan began with the signing of the US-Japan Nuclear Research Agreement in 1955. Japan’s first long-term atomic energy plan was deployed the following year, 1956. Throughout the 60s and 70s bilateral operations between US and Japan increased.

Nov. 1987, Japan and the United States signed a nuclear cooperation agreement: Agreement For Cooperation Between The Government of Japan & The Government of The United States Concerning Peaceful Uses Of Nuclear Energy. The agreement went into effect a year later in 1988 and was set to expire July 2018. The deal afforded Japan the unique distinction of being the only nation without a nuclear arsenal which was allowed by the nuclear-armed powers to produce plutonium (with the stipulation that such material be produced solely for peaceful purposes), obviating a lengthy process of step-by-step verification which would otherwise be required. This allowed Tokyo to pursue nuclear recycling.

July, 2018, Agreement For Cooperation Between The Government of Japan & The Government of The United States Concerning Peaceful Uses Of Nuclear Energy is renewed. The agreement meant that Japan could receive special nuclear material (reactors, whole or in part, fuel, etc.) from the US so long as they kept to the non-proliferation standards of Section 123 pursuant to the US Atomic Energy Act (AEA) of 1954 which was amended to better account for nonproliferation (NNPA) in 1978.

2018 US-Japanese nuclear memorandum

A nuclear cooperation memorandum between the United States of America and the unitary, parliamentary, constitutional monarchy of Japan (which needs to import 90% of its energy requirements) was signed Nov. 13. The memorandum was signed by Japan’s METI and Ministry of Science and the US’ DOE and Department of Commerce. The purpose of the memorandum was to “promote the global leadership role” of both sovereignties in the arena of peaceful nuclear advancement.

METI stated: “With this memorandum of understanding, we will further advance cooperative relations between Japan and the United States in the field of nuclear power.”

Importance of the alliance

This is a significant partnership given that as per the WEF 2018 Global Competitiveness Report, The United States of America is the single most competitive economy in the world (85.6‡) with Japan trailing only slightly as the fifth most competitive economy in the world (82.5‡), pertinent for the obvious reason that the respective countries economic effectiveness will directly factor into their nuclear research, development and deployment (RDD). Further, as per the WEF 2018 Regional Risks Of Doing Business report the top ten risks, globally include:

1 Unemployment or underemployment
2 Failure of national governance
3 Energy price shock
4 Fiscal crises
5 Cyber-attacks
6 Profound social instability
7 Failure of financial mechanism or institution
8 Failure of critical infrastructure
9 Failure of regional and global governance
10 Terrorist attacks

… whilst the top 10 risk of doing business in East Asia & The Pacific are:

1 Cyber-attacks
2 Unemployment or underemployment
3 Asset bubble
4 Energy price shock
5 Data fraud or theft
6 Failure of national governance
7 Failure of regional and global governance
8 Fiscal crises
9 Failure of critical infrastructure
10 Manmade environmental catastrophes

Thus, the USA-Japanese alliance signals a potential, if not solution, mitigation to most of these issues in varying ways, especially as pertains to unemployment and energy price shocks (via obtaining energy independence). Further, the successful renewal and re-commitment of the Japan-US nuclear agreement is the single oldest civil nuclear alliance in the world, which serves as a example of bilateral success which other developing states and non-state actors can build upon.

Reasons for the durability of the alliance

In 1274 Mongol Khagan Kublai launched a military campaign against the Japanese archipelago. The Mongol fleet was initially successful and conquered the Japanese settlements of Iki and Tsushima but met fierce samurai resistance at Hakata Bay and were forced to withdraw and as they did so, the fleet was struck with a kamikaze or divine wind which some believed to have been sent by the god Raijin; the fleet was decimated and most of the Mongol ships were swallowed by the sea. The Japanese then began to build high walls to prepare for future invasions. Seven years later, the Mongols returned but could not pass the walls. The invading armada stayed afloat for a long period of time before Raijin sent yet another kamikaze which destroyed the fleet. The mongols never launched another invasion of Japan.

Since this time Japan has become a formidable maritime power in contestant with China over the Indian Ocean (via their OBOR and String of Pearls initiatives), a further strain on a already sour relationship, given the historical contestation of the Senkaku islands. China/Russia and Japan/America now sit on opposite sides of a newly congealing international order with the former as a rising superpower at the head of the Eurasian Bloc and the latter at the head of the new Atlanticist Bloc (which maintains economic dominance via the encapsulation of 7 of the top 10 most competitive economies). Japan also shares numerous attributions with the United States which makes for a durable alliance; for example, both share democratic principals and both have strategic investment in the trade routes in and around the Indian Ocean. It is more than “just business,” a relationship built upon mutual understanding as opposed merely to trade is invariably more lasting, provided those values stay within a certain threshold of alignment. There is no clear indication that they will be shifting any time soon.

Thus, it makes practical sense for Japan and America to work together, given their history, amidst this turbulent and accelerating reshaping of political geography. This analysis is accurate but not sufficient, given that it does not account for the emerging synnefocracies — non-state actors which rival or surpass traditional Westphalian states — such as The Party of Davos, Amazon, Google, Facebook, The Omidyar Network and Open Society Foundations, among many others, a issue which, sooner or later, will need to be addressed with considerable resources, given the way that such organizations obviate or undermine sovereign totalities (both intentionally, in the pursuit of a new international order, and unintentionally, in the reckless deployment of resources, policies and philosophies without accounting for their attendant, spider-webing effects).

Geographic particularities of the alliance

The Indian Ocean region is of considerable strategic importance, given that its sea-lanes form the world’s single largest trade route and account for 14% of total ocean-surface, globally. As of 2018, approximately 100,000+ vessels, including oil and LNG tankers and container carriers, were active in the region. Nearly 80% of the world’s oil tankers pass through the Indian Ocean. Of relevance to these facts: Japan is a large purchaser of Iranian oil yet Iran is at cross-purposes with the USA. 2018 US President Donald J. Trump backed the Saudis against Iran, condemning the latter as the single largest state sponsor of terror, world-wide (a dubious claim). Iranian-US diplomatic disintegrations began after the overthrow of US-sympathetic Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. This transitory period beheld the rise of religious fanaticism and the re-instantiation of islamic theocracy syncretically fused with republicanism. Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, known in the western media simply as Ayatollah Khomenini, an usuli of Twelver Shia, became the country’s supreme leader. The same year the shah was overthrown Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line took control of a US embassy in Tehran, holding the 52 US workers and citizens there hostage for 444 days. Khomenini was unaware of the the student’s scheme but supported their actions once they came to light. Shortly thereafter, the US shut down all diplomatic relations with Iran. The event still resonates discordantly to this day and, when paired with religious tensions, the US-Israeli alliance, past US support of Saddam, interventionism (on both sides) and posturing, a deep-seated animosity has blossomed between Persia and the land of the free and the home of the brave. This simmering hostility requires rectification, regardless of Japan’s relationship to it or the US, if a lasting middle eastern peace is to be established. Through Japan, this is possible.

Tentative policy proscriptions for further technological development & geopolitical stability

Accounting For Global Perception

A 2018 poll aggregation by Pew Research Center showed that the US is still generally viewed favorably and, of particular importance, globally, more countries prefer the US as the world’s superpower over China. Globally, the American People are still highly respected for their accomplishments and their dedication to liberty, however, global confidence in the Trump Administration is quite low (lower than both Bush and Obama, generally). Further, there has been a long-standing trend in other countries of a perception that the US does not adequately take other countries’ interests into account when making foreign policy decisions (a perception which is obviously laced in much truth, though the same may often be made of those who leverage the accusation). The US is generally viewed very unfavorably by Western Europe and very favorably in Asia. When the polled countries were asked who they would prefer as the world leader 81% of Japanese stated they would prefer the USA, indicating a extremely positive view of the USA. Additionally, the USA also holds a favorable view of Japan; a 2018 spring survey by the Pew Research Center showed that 68% (roughly two-thirds) of US citizens polled held positive views of Japan, a view Americans have held more or less consistently since 2005. Given this favorability and the history of US-Japanese relations, both nations should move forward, together, in a re-commitment to a rules-based international order.

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Japan & Iran

Given the trade and lasting 90 year diplomatic relationship between Japan and Iran and the centrality of Iran and the Shia Crescent more broadly to stability in the Middle East, it would be preferable for the US to renew its commitment to diplomacy with Tehran, if stability is desired. This will require a tempering of Israeli/Iranian proxy aggression and a mitigation of hostilities against the US and the west more broadly. This may be accomplished, slowly, by, first and foremost, ceasing all unnecessary military adventurism in the Middle East and making appeals to Khatami’s unrealized dialogue of civilizations initiative and the organizational aspects of Köchler’s dialogue entre les différentes civilisations. To this end, a inter-cultural institute, whether digital-only or both digital and brick-and-mortar, could be created as a tripartite cultural hub to advance a working knowledge and of Japanese, Iranian and US culture and history. Enlisting the aid of pro US-Japanese education, research and policy advocacy organizations such as the Sasakawa Peace Foundation may be helpful in realizing such a project if it is found to be desirable.

Even if this plan proves fruitful, the question will still remain as to what is to be done concerning China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Issues which should be kept in mind and integrated into further diplomatic ventures.

Indo-Pacific Strategy: Building Upon The TCTO

In 2016, during a speech in Kenya, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expounded upon a Two Oceans, Two Continents (TOTC) strategy for stability and growth in the Indo-Pacific region. Abe’s plan centered around Africa, which has tremendous potential for growth, and Japan, which had been experiencing rapid growth. It would be beneficial for the US, Africa and Japan to, at the very least, encourage this arrangement along.

Bilateral Fusion Advancement

Nuclear fusion is a extremely promising technological possibility, one which is increasingly feasible qua the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator and China’s EAST reactor. Given this, it would be reasonable to propose a joint nuclear fusion — of a breadth acceptable within the constraints of the time of initiation — R&D venture between the US & Japan as a avenue of technological collaboration outside of the parameters of the EU-hosted ITER program. Co-development of breeder reactors or SMRs may also be beneficial to increase the speed at which these technologies are developed, the venture would also allow for mutually beneficial cross-cultural exchange outside of just energy development, a exchange which could serve to further cement positive relations between both powers. As of the spring of 2018, 83% (roughly 8-in-10) Japanese held negative views of the workforce, fearing that automation would increase income inequality between rich and poor, 74% thought that ordinary Japanese will have a hard time finding jobs. Japanese’s population is in decline and expected to decrease from 127 million in 2018 to 88 million in 2065 from low-birthrates and emigration, which only contributes to anxiety surrounding automation, among other issues. Without significant immigration or a sudden and marked spike in birthrates, a employment deficit is probable. Further, though the Japanese have a favorable view of immigrants, they do not wish immigration to increase and view emigration from Japan negatively. Given these factors it is preferable for Japan to initiate a multi-pronged approach to job cultivation to inspire confidence. It is here that a international, bilateral arrangement between US and Japan could prove fruitful, not just for economic ends, but for markedly improving the lives of the forgotten citizenry of both countries and the knowledge of all mankind.

There is no purpose without power, and no power without resources. Here the alliance finds its purchase.


Numbers given are ratings based on a 0-100 scale – the USA is 14 away from 100.


Sources & further resources

  1. Paul Kerr & Mary Nikitin. (2018) Nuclear cooperation with other countries.
  2. WEF. (2018) The Global Competitiveness Report: 2018.
  3. WEF. (2018) Regional Risks Of Doing Business Report: 2018.
  4. Phyllis Yoshida. (2018) US-Japan Nuclear Cooperation: The Significant of July 2018.
  5. SPF. (2018) Policy Recommendations by Quadripartite Commission On The Indian Ocean Regional Security.
  6. SPF. (2016) Japan-Russia Relations: Implications For The US-Japan Alliance.
  7. Tomoyuki Kawai. (2017) US to renew nuclear pact with Japan.
  8. Joseph V. Micallef. (2018) The Strategic Implications Of American Energy Independence.
  9. Joseph V. Micallef. (2018) The South China Sea & US-China Trade Policy: Are They Becoming Linked?
  10. Kristen Bialik. (2018) How The World Sees The US & Trump In 9 Charts.
  11. The White House. (2018) Statement From The President Donald J. Trump On Standing With Saudi Arabia.
  12. Carol E. B. Chosky et al. (2015) The Saudi Connection: Wahhabism & Global Jihad.
  13. Kara Bombach et al. (2018) Iran Sanctions ‘Snapback’ Finalized Nov. 5th, 2018.

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Report Details Potential Of DOE-backed SMR Deployment Program

A 2018 report by Scully Capital in collaboration with Kutak Rock, Examination of Federal Financial Assistance in the Renewable Energy Market: Implications & Opportunities for Commercial Deployment of Small Modular Reactors details the government subsidization strategy of so-called renewable‡ energy (solar and wind) and looks at how a similar program could be crafted around small modular reactors (SMRs). Small modular reactors are advanced nuclear reactors that offer a number of benefits over classical reactor models, namely their smaller size, swift construction times, cleanliness, security applications and safer passive cooling systems. The DOE estimates that power shortages cost US companies approximately $150 billion per year, SMRs would greatly reduce this loss due to their ability to act as highly reliable back-up generators. Additionally, just like classical reactors, SMRs are a non-intermittent energy source.

Key findings:

  • SMR would be far more cost-effective than solar/wind.
  • To create a meaningful commercial impact the report suggest plan to incentivize and insure, 6 GW capacity by 2035 which would require approximately 15 SMR projects of 400 MW capacity each.
  • If such a plan was developed with production tax credits (PTCs) and DOE credit it would cost approximately 10 billion USD.
  • (Total) investments in wind and solar: $51 billion ($0.0108/kWh).
  • (Potential) investments in SMRs: $10 billion ($0.0034/kWh).

‡ Renewable is a obnoxious buzzword for numerous reasons, first and foremost is the fact that it refers to energy generation technologies which are manifestly not endlessly renewable. Putting aside the expiration of the sun and the earth (and hence the wind), solar panels and wind turbines still require raw materials which are of limited supply. Further, operating from the underlying assumption of renewables proponents, to say that “renewables” are the most desirable kinds of energy production technology is to also implicitly fall into alignment with the tendency to treat present and inferior (intermittent) energy generation technologies as superior merely by dint of their “renewability.” This is not to say that they should not be made but rather to note merely that such imprecise buzzwords are unhelpful to the degree they obfuscate or wholly obviate technical realities. Unfortunately, the paper makes no effort to dispense with the term.


Further reading

  1. Small Modular Reactors — Adding Resilience at Federal Facilities.
  2. Small nuclear power reactors

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Globally, 183 Nuclear Units Set To Be Decommissioned By 2020

Globally, around 76 nuclear reactors are expected to retire by 2019, followed by 183 units in the 2020s and 127 units in the 2030s. As of Sep. 2017, more than 110 commercial power reactors, 48 prototype reactors, 250 research reactors, and various fuel cycle facilities have been removed from operation. Europe has been leading the charge, specifically, France (as of 2017, nuclear was 75% of France’s total energy output, 17% of which is recycled nuclear fuel) and Germany.

Talk of a ‘Global Energiewende’ casts a shadow over the world…

This should be of particular concern to Americans given that America had, as of the end of 2017, 99 nuclear reactors at 60 power plants, more than any other country in the world. The energy produced by America’s nuclear reactors (approximately 102 gigawatts) can power 70 million residences. As of 2017, 10 nuclear reactors were decommissioned in the US, with many more slated for future obsolescence. There are numerous reasons for this which range from the fracking boom, climate hysteria driven on by groups such as the IPCC and the burgeoning modernist religion of Envirocracy, vested green-industrial-complex interests, keeping-up-with-the-jonesism, the natural gas boom and a bevvy of crippling regulations on nuclear.

The problems attendant to a global energiewende (German’s moniker for its energy transition plan wherein nuclear and coal plants are phased-out for solar and wind farms) are numerous. In Germany it was disastrous (though it was heralded a success!). Without getting into the intricate details, (a couple of) the principal problems are this:

  1. So-called “clean renewables” are neither “clean” (whatever that is supposed to mean) nor ceaselessly or endlessly “renewable.” Wind and solar energy harvesting systems require resources just like any other form of energy production and furthermore, create by-products. This is not to say that this is bad, but simply to note that the marketing tactics (“go green,” “renewable,” etc) don’t really mean anything. Its pure hype, untethered from factual analysis. Further, when this hyping is conjoined with morally manichean political theologies (such as the Gaia cultism of contemporary environmentalism) it becomes overwhelming anti-dialogical. Every form of energy production, biological or artificial, creates a by-product, which is generally called “pollution.” Thus, where there is no “pollution,” there is no life. Understanding this, it should be shouted from the rooftops: “Pollution is life!” The issue of central concern should not be pollution-as-such, but rather, the threshold(s) of negative pollution (obviously, no one wants to revert back to 19th Century air standards), ie. the point at which a certain amount of pollutants become intolerable to human thriving.
  2. Solar and, particularly, wind, require massive land consumption. To generate the same amount of energy as a contemporary nuclear facility, a wind farm requires 5000x the amount of land. That’s quite considerable!
  3. Wind and solar are intrinsically unreliable, meaning that the inputs (wind and the sun, respectively) cannot be controlled for, whereas, with nuclear, the inputs are completely controlled for, meaning that it is intrinsically reliable. If no wind, no sun, no energy. That’s not a concern with nuclear power.
  4. Perhaps most obscurely – but no less importantly – any significant drop in nuclear interest will see a comparable drop in research into the highly promising field of nuclear fusion. In 2016 German researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Particle Physics saw great success with their initial nuclear fusion experiments utilizing the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator. The magnetic reactor was able to generate the first ever hydrogen plasma, a significant step forwards in nuclear fusion development. Unlike the atomic splitting of nuclear fission (which is used in contemporary nuclear power plants), nuclear fusion (as the name suggests) combines atoms (usually hydrogen ions) and thus generates far greater amounts of energy. It is a shame that climate and “green” (ie. primitivist) energy hysteria have so consistently overshadowed this extremely promising vector of research. For further clarity in understanding just how promising nuclear fusion is, look up at the sun.
zoom
The first plasma achieved with hydrogen within the 170+ million degrees Fahrenheit Wendelstein 7-X reactor. (Credit: IPP).

Sources

  1. https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/11/07/1647102/0/en/Global-Nuclear-Decommissioning-Market-to-2023-Increasing-Decommissioning-of-Nuclear-Power-Plants-Witnessed-in-the-United-States.html
  2. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2016/02/03/germanys-nuclear-fusion-experiment-marks-initial-success/#.W-gt0SOyXIV
  3. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2016/03/23/nuclear-fusion-reactor-research/#.W-gsZCOyXIV
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster
  5. https://book.energytransition.org/sites/default/files/etbook/v2/en/German-Energy-Transition_en.pdf
  6. https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2018/11/Nuclear-Power-Dilemma-full-report.pdf

Istvan Contra McAfee

During the 2016 presidential race, the majority of the US public were spellbound by the unlikely rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and their various competing visions for the United States of America. Considerably less institutionally-heeled but far more imaginative and, some argued, outlandish, candidates, dead-ringer for the Dos Equis Man John David McAfee of The Cyber Party and Zoltan Istvan Gyurko of The Transhumanist Party. McAfee, a successful tech entrepreneur who worked with NASA between 1968 and 1970, was the more well-known of the two politicians, principally through the popularity (or infamy, depending on who one asked) of McAfee Antivirus Software. McAfee (the person, not the software) has also received a good deal of airtime and media attention for a scandal which saw him accused of murder and fleeing from the corrupt, Sinaloa-controlled Belize after the errant businessman found out about a government-sponsored plot to kill him.

Zoltan Istvan, a former NatGeo journalist and the founder of the US Transhumanist Party, though less well known than McAfee, garnered significant attention due to both his extraordinary statements concerning technological advancement and a 2015 four month campaign, wherein he drove around the country in a brown, coffin-shaped bus (dubbed ‘The Immortality Bus’) to bring awareness to his goal of working to end death itself through radical life-extension procedures. The Immortality Bus tour ended December 14, 2015, with Mr. Istvan delivering the Transhumanist Bill of Rights to the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. The Verge dubbed him, a “modern-day Ken Kesey” referencing the beat generation countercultural figure, well known for his novel, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. The comparison was not entirely inaccurate as Istvan was also a novelist, having penned the highly contentious sci-fi novel, The Transhumanist Wager, in 2013. He has also gained attention for inventing the sport of volcano boarding (alternatively, volcano surfing or volcanoging) on the isle of Tanna.

In 2016, the two men met during their respective presidential bids in Charlotte, North Carolina, and quickly fell into a series of discussions and debates surrounding their campaigns. Technology stood as a important mean for both of their platforms, however their ends were considerably different. Mr. Istvan, for example, advocated for radical life extension development (a central plank in the Transhumanist Party platform) aimed at eliminating aging as-such and the mitigation of warfare and various other exigencies and a general uplift of humanity. McAfee, in response, jestingly advocated for killing everyone by age 30 and, more seriously, stated that he despised the idea of indefinate lifespans which he described as both “horrific” and “anti-evolutionary.”

On the issue of security, the two also fell into cross-purposes, McAfee had been a long-time champion of total individual privacy and Istvan (who had been NCF RFID chipped) declared,  “I would prefer everyone gets tracked as it would increase safety dramatically. Transparency is everything. We’re all citizens. All public officials should be tracked 24 hours a day. They work for me, I want to know what they’re doing.” Whilst that might seem extreme, recall the mass support for body-cameras for law enforcement.

In terms of relation to the government at-large, Istvan said he’d work for any administration, whether Clinton’s, Trump’s, or anyone elses, so long as that administration advanced the transhumanist program; McAfee, in contrast, advocated for utilizing Article 5 of the Constitution to completely reset the government. It seemed they could agree on nothing.

Their debate and attendant motivating philosophies is worth-revisiting principally due to the way in which it highlights the divide between bio-conservatism and the emerging trends of bio-synthetic integrationism and modification, issues which are important to raise and properly elucidate, given the existential angst and slack-jawed utopianism they can engender when poorly articulated. Personally, I fall into agreement with Mr. Istvan and view life extension technologies not as something alien and new but rather as a continuation of the whole history of technological innovation. The principal points to make against McAfee’s vision of the optimal life being a short and merry one, are:

  1. Life extension, as-such, is nothing new. The sharpened stick of a human 150,000 years ago was a life extension tool. Toothbrushes, soap and reliable energy production systems are, similarly, all forms of life extension, they are merely so commonplace that it is strange to think of them as such; they are viewed as “givens”. The only difference between all hitherto life extension technologies (such as those aforementioned) and transhumanist and futurist life extension proposals is the prospective reversal of aging itself.
  2. Whilst many people doubtless think like McAfee and view the idea of living forever, or simply for a significant period of time beyond the “natural” human lifespan, as unnerving, no one is going to force anyone to take such procedures (given that, barring some kind of technological breakthrough, they will be costly for a very long time). If one does not wish to extend one’s lifespan, one does not have to.
  3. Perhaps most importantly, whilst one of the most common phrases used to describe treatments pertinent to increasing longevity is ‘life extension’ the phrase, ‘health extension’ should always be right beside it, given that the idea (within the circles of life extension theorists and researchers) is not to simply extend the aging process but to slow and reverse the aging process with the ultimate goal being the ability to chose one’s biological age at will. Thus, the project of radical life extension is not to simply have everyone live to 150+ in a state of decrepitude, but rather, to have as many people as possible live to be age 150+ with a biological age of 25-40 (or whichever age one wishes which is within the bounds of the technology at the time).
  4. Lastly, there is often a fear that the treatments required for significant life extension will be so expensive that they will be a fixture of the ultra-rich, far beyond the reach of the middle and lower income brackets. This is a valid concern, and it is almost invariable that such procedures, upon being developed (and much headway has already been made) will be extremely expensive; however, so were the first cars. The trend with groundbreaking technology is for it to always be expensive, at first, but then to become somewhat more affordable (even if it will never be as cheap as one would like). Further, it is a issue which the Transhumanist Party has built into their Bill of Rights, Article V of which states: Article V. No coercive legal restrictions should exist to bar access to life extension and life expansion for all sentient entities. Life expansion includes life extension, sensory improvements, and other technologically driven improvements of the human condition that might be achieved in the future. The point being not that this document will move the legal system anytime soon (it won’t), but rather that it has been widely covered (by outlets such as Wired) and is thus raising the issue in a interesting and accessible way. The more the issue is raised, and seriously considered, the more likely it is that similar articles may one day make it into law. That, however, is a debate for future times.

Sources & Further Reading

Anthony Cuthbertson. (2015) When Zoltan Istvan Met John McAfee: Watch US Presidential Candidates Discuss Life & Immortality. International Business Times.

Bitcoin Exchange Staff. (2018) Pro Crypto 2020 Presidential Candidate John McAfee Says US Dollar Can Collapse Anytime. Bitcoin Exchange Guide.

Luke Henderson. (2017) Is Zoltan Istvan A Libertarian? Being Libertarian.

Polina Marinova. (2018) John McAfee Says He Will Run For President In 2020. Fortune.

Simon Brew. (2018) John McAfee Confirms He Lobbied To Have Johnny Depp Fired From Playing Him In Hollywood Movie. Crypto News Review.

Steve Longo. (2018) Who Is John McAfee? Antivirus creator revealed after presidential run announcement. The Daily Mail.

Transcendent Man. (2017) What Is Radical Life Extension? Is It Possible To Live Forever? Transcendent Man.

Zoltan Istvan. (2017) To Grow Third Party Politics In America, Make John McAfee The Libertarian Party Nominee (Update). Huffington Post.

Zoltan Istvan. (2013) The Transhumanist Wager. Futurity Imagine Media LLC.

Zoltan Istvan. (2002) Extreme Sports/ Really Good Pumice Dude!/Volcano Boarding: Russian Roulette On A Snowboard. SF-Gate.

Zoltan Istvan & various members of the Transhumanist Party. (2016) Transhumanist Bill of Rights (2.0).

Division-Convergence: On The Accidental Perforation of American Sovereignty

On March 7, 2018, Defense Digital Secretary Director, Chris Lynch gave a talk at the Cloud Industry Day in Arlington, Virginia, announcing and outlining a Department of Defense (DOD) program known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI). Lynch’s talk was one of many, all of which revolved around a DOD-directed cloud migration entailing a ten year contract for platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) instantiations, both classified and unclassified. The project was spurned on by DOD’s retrograde infrastructure and lack of cloud presence which paled in comparison to commercial innovators, as well as the fact that Amazon was the world’s single largest provider of PaaS and IaaS services (which made them a natural go-to). Cloud computing tools had become increasingly normative. The DOD, one of the largest employers in the world, could no longer compete. Thus, significant change was necessary.

Shortly thereafter, in October, Google – who had previously been attached to the bid – saw a upswing of internal protest against the action and swiftly backed out of the arrangement stating that their ‘corporate values’ were in conflict with the DOD deal. This marked the second government contract the company had backed out of; in June, Google had also removed itself from a second bid with the Air Force’s AI initiative, titled ‘Project Maven.’ Again, the Maven-disentanglement was driven by internal protest, with thousands of Google employees reportedly signing a document declaring that, “Google should not be in the business of war.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shared no such apprehensions and went public with AWS’ direction in relation to the deal, emphatically declaring that he absolutely would not be backing out and that America was a great country which needed to be defended. He further went on to speculate that the country would be imperiled if the major tech companies turned their back on national defense.

As Amazon and the DOD continued hammering out the details of the cloud migration plan a intimate survey of 5,400 individuals was conducted by the Washington Post1 via support from the James L. Knight Foundation and the Baker Center For Leadership & Governance, conducted from June through July of 2018 and released in October. Of those polled 3000 were ‘nationally representative’, 800 were ‘african americans’, 800 further were ‘latinx2 americans’ and 800 were ‘asian americans.’ The results were, to many, surprising. Confidence in institutions was cratering amongst the polis and satisfaction with ‘democracy’ (despite the US being a constitutional republic and not a democracy) was also low. Upon being asked how satisfied they were with how democracy was working in the US, only 10% responded ‘very satisfied’, whilst 30% were ‘somewhat satisfied’, 25% were neutral, 21% ‘somewhat dissatisfied’ and 15% ‘very dissatisfied.’ There was very little variation between region and education; however, there was considerable difference of opinion between gender and race and especially, party affiliation. A meager 39% of Independents and 44% of Democrats were very or somewhat satisfied with democracy in the US whereas 76% of Republics were very or somewhat satisfied. Additionally, 35% of democrats polled believed that members of the opposing party were a ‘very serious threat’ to the United States and its people. 32% of republicans polled responded that the opposing party were a ‘very serious threat’ to the US and its people. Perhaps most interestingly, the study found that institutional confidence was highly driven by party affiliation. Google (which recently abandoned operations in Kreuzberg following heated demonstrations from locals), the US Military and Amazon were found to generally inspire high degrees of confidence from those polled whereas governmental institutions (congress, political parties) and Facebook were found to inspire low confidence.

Among republicans, the military inspired more confidence than any other institution (whether governmental or non), with the press inspiring the least. Among democrats Amazon inspired more confidence than any other company or governmental institution, with the executive branch (unsurprisingly) inspiring least confidence.

The results of the study were then predictably swept up by partisans of both parties and bandied as weapons to bludgeon their opposition. One Twitter user responded to the survey by declaring: “Democrats place more trust in a major corporation (Amazon) than in any other institution. Amazing encapsulation of the shift from the party of labor to the party of technocracy.” Another user responded to the findings by stating: “Incredibly sad. The FBI, Amazon, really??? Another reason not to trust the Democrats.” A list of similar comments could go on for some time, those above merely here interjected to illustrate a general public tenor which saw those opposed to the democrats expressing incredulity and outrage over the party’s affinity towards Amazon (and “big tech” more generally) and those opposed to the republicans expressing anger over their continued support for banks and the POTUS. However, what such commentators are missing is the uneven diagrammatic overlap of positive affinities between Republican and Democrat support as both heavily support Amazon. The Democrats support the tech giant directly where as the Republicans support them through their support of the military, of which the DOD is a part, the DOD in turn heavily relies on Amazon and hence, support of, at least the DOD, is itself, at this juncture, implicit support for AWS, which continues to unfurl itself across the world like a gigantic octopus. Whatever change they bring about it is unlikely that all of it will be negative; one thing, however, is clear, that the corporation and the state are becoming increasingly interwoven and as a consequence, increasingly indistinguishable. It is here worthy mentioning that this was largely accidental, Bezos didn’t set out in 1995 to completely restructure the US militaries technological infrastructure, he only got to his position through massive user consumption and promotion of his goods and services. A voluntary shift through the cloud from one sovereignty to another without disturbing the totality. A perforation of American sovereignty through a inability to successfully manage data-flows, the importance of which, can scarcely be overstated given that all states maintain their power, principally, through oversight, through being able to account for every pertinent perturbation (preferably before it occurs) when any other entity is able to better aggregate, manage and utilize dataflows that entity (without severe intercession) will nearly invariably assume a position commensurate or above the state. Displacing its conceptual efficacy without displacing its members or other appendages which will only be spurned on by the erosion of confidence in governmental institutions documented by the WaPo poll and recent Pew Research3 polls4 which are symptomatic of a continuing series of grand-scale narrative shifts and conceptual displacements (the new tale of various globalism running into competition with older narratives of nationhood; the tribal member vs the citizen vs the global citizen vs the ubiquitous non-citizen user).

Sovereign platforms congeal, regardless. Regardless of left or right or their imploding center. A political trichotomy for which there is little hope for extended future survival. Upwing is the future. Whether that will be for good or ill and who for will depend, chiefly, upon the constitution of those platforms which successfully integrate the US government and who, through new forms of sacral inscription (new cultural flows, modulated by multiplication of new data flows and attempts to controls them), garner the vestments of the priest (the ‘game changer’ the ‘tech guru’ the ‘self-made man’ etc) and subsume the contemporary clerisy. Where once the state was a great and self-contained machine, now it is the confluence of outputs of extra-national and intra-national forces. Neither, chiefly, user nor provider, but rather, mediating receptor.

1The Washington Post, just like Amazon, is owned by Jeff Bezos.

2A rebranding of ‘latino.’

3The Pew Research Center is a fact-finding and polling organization which describes itself as a ‘fact tank.’ Pew is led by President Michael Dimcock. They do not take policy positions.

4See: (2017) Political Typology Reveals Deep Fissures On The Left & Right. Pew Research Center.