Ktismatics

25 June 2013

Accelerating the Float

Filed under: Fiction, Ktismata, Reflections — ktismatics @ 11:45 am

[In light of ongoing blog discussions of Accelerationism, I thought I’d post the chapter that I’ve been editing this morning. It’s one of several “news reports from the future” interspersed through the novel. Suggested augmentations are welcome.]

TAHITI – The first three of fourteen floating tax-free islands being built in the South Pacific are ready for occupancy. Some two thousand of the wealthiest individuals and families in the world have commissioned the construction of the artificial archipelago as a residential and financial paradise. Together the islands will comprise a new nation-corporation, with citizenship granted to anyone paying one billion dollars into the archipelago’s development trust. According to domestic and international law, the floating nation will constitute a tax-free haven for the global earnings of each citizen.

The floating islands, located in the open sea twelve hundred miles east of Tahiti, represent a significant advance in large-scale artificial land technology. Each island is assembled from enormous modules that are themselves being constructed at a Peruvian offshore assembly facility and towed into position. Layered with topsoil, the artificial surface can support most varieties of the lush plant life and exotic bird species native to the South Seas habitat. The islands are convex, a hundred feet above sea level at the center and sloping gradually toward the ocean, where a layer of sand will be maintained as an artificial beach. Each citizen is deeded a wedge of property extending from the island’s apex to the shore. Residences, constructed from strong ultralight material, are limited to a single storey and will be built at least forty feet above sea level as protection against tropical storms and the high waves they can generate. Citizens are also permitted to erect beachside cabanas. An area of each island will be set aside for establishing a small village of sturdy, attractive huts that will be assigned to servants and nannies and other personnel supporting the citizens’ households.

Automobiles are prohibited, so residents will use bicycles and motorboats to get around. A limited number of cafés and small shops will be built on the islands. Groceries, clothing, and other bulkier commodities will be sold from ships that travel from island to island, ferrying customers back and forth from their homes. A small, fully outfitted cruise ship will house’s the archipelago’s schools. Teachers, support staff, and boarded students will live in the luxurious on-board suites, while day pupils take the hydroplane “bus” to and from school. Electricians, plumbers, police, and other maintenance personnel will make “house calls” to the islands from their motorboats. The service marina will thus comprise another sort of floating community within the perimeter of the artificial archipelago. A decommissioned aircraft carrier will function as the local airport, with commercial flights scheduled to and from Tahiti and Pago Pago. Citizens will also have the opportunity to purchase private craft hangar space on the carrier.

The islands are kept afloat by enormous bulkheads that sink half a mile beneath the surface. The bulkheads are automatically maintained at the optimal level of inflation by computerized pumps and pipelines mounted on low, subtly-landscaped platforms positioned a mile offshore of each island. Instead of being anchored to the seafloor, the islands are stabilized by means of a network of enormous underwater buoys submerged at varying, precisely calibrated depths. The buoys are automatically raised or lowered to adjust for variations in tides, currents, and temperature. On the surface, the islands are buffered against trade winds and waves by a circular system of levees, also anchored to underwater stabilizers, that completely surround the archipelago.

Collectively, the fourteen islands and their citizen-owners will comprise the floating nation-corporation. It is anticipated that, once formed, the archipelago’s government will rapidly establish the country as a tax-free, unregulated offshore financial center. It has been proposed that multinational corporations and partnerships of which island citizens own at least twenty percent will be granted tax-free status by the archipelago. Not surprisingly, financial institutions, shipping firms, and other companies desirous of taking advantage of the islands’ attractive business climate have begun wooing potential citizen-investors by means of designer low-price stock offerings, limited-liability partnerships, and hedge funds.

If the floating nation-corporation proves successful, the owner-citizens may consider expanding the territory, constructing additional islands within the protected perimeter or even extending territorial boundaries farther into the open seas. While citizenship presently costs a cool billion dollars, the sticker price might well go up in future offerings. Other wealthy consortia are forming to explore the possibility of launching their own start-up floating nations that would demand less up-front outlay.

The wealthiest one percent of the world’s population controls more than sixty percent of the world’s wealth; soon most of that wealth might be sailing out to sea. Traditional land-based countries, watching their tax revenues floating away, are rapidly lowering their tax rates in order to compete.

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28 Comments »

  1. Ah Mike Davis would have a heyday with another Evil Paradise! A sort of Brave New Void rather than World…

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    Comment by noir-realism — 25 June 2013 @ 2:27 pm

  2. Good call, Noir. As I recall, I had just finished reading Davis’s Planet of Slums when I wrote this chapter.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 25 June 2013 @ 2:59 pm

  3. Keep them in one place to facilitate an ecoteur strike, eutrophicate them

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    Comment by ombhurbhuva — 25 June 2013 @ 4:32 pm

    • Just you try it, MIster. I’m sure they’ll spend a pretty good chunk of the $2 trillion on security, not to mention friends in high places in governments around the world providing military and espionage support. Maybe I should mention that in a sentence or two.

      By the way, Michael, the tree overlooking the eutrophicated pond is still hanging on 2 years after the lightning strike, with about 20% of the branches leafing out this year despite much of the tree’s bark having pulled away from the core.

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      Comment by ktismatics — 25 June 2013 @ 6:25 pm

  4. I was reminded more of Ballard’s ‘Cocaine Nights’ and some parts of ‘Super-Cannes’ (I agree with you that he was writing more about Silicon Valley.) Good writing, but I can’t get into this viral bleug accelerationism. Doesn’t it give people serious headaches? I had to get a ticket to the ballet this morning for the first time in almost a year, out of desperation. Oh, and it had to be an aisle seat, I couldn’t bear even the slightest discomfort during my exit.

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    Comment by Patrick — 25 June 2013 @ 5:09 pm

    • Those are apt allusions too. The floating archipelago isn’t integral to the story, this short chapter being the only mention of it. Bulkheads and buoys, pumps and levees — I have no idea whether any of this technology is feasible or might become so in the future; I just sort of like the idea of a floating Super-Cannes or Silicon Valley. Positioning it near Tahiti is a personal tribute to you, Patrick, though I’m sure you would never include a visit to the place on your itinerary.

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      Comment by ktismatics — 25 June 2013 @ 6:35 pm

      • Ah, thank you for all of that. No, but the idea of getting
        ‘traditional land-based countries’ in competition with these ‘better-than-paradises’ is very witty. I don’t think that’s supposed to be included in any of the earlier accelerationist manifestoes, and some of the reviews coming in today of the ‘leftist’ one talk about how brilliant it is, while more or less conceding it’s a sort of necessary wet blanket. Same day Nick writes on his newly upgraded Chinese bleug a quote by someone at UK Telegram “China is therefore, in many ways, already the most important country in the world – by a distance.” I whooped, because even he wouldn’t ever write a publicity sentence that bad. But I could only post that same photo of the Shanghai skyline that Noir also posted (it has the post-modern look only, so it doesn’t stick out the way it does in New York and other cities that ‘boomed’ earlier) along with that design of a beautiful (I thought) center of some sort in Nanjing (I thought at first that was Shanghai too.) Actually, I think the ‘leftist accelerationist manifesto’ is necessary even if it can’t go as ‘all the way’ as the neo-reacties. I wouldn’t put that post up till I’d put the ballet post up though. Thing for me is that this ‘accelerationism’ seems to be overheated in a strange way such that it’s the ‘only domain’, the very prime definition of all existence, and it sure is getting its attention. I read that even ‘slowing down’ was a form of accelerationism, even if it was deceleration.

        In fact, at this point in time, I even think of myself as a Luddite, without ever intending to have been one. Just be comparison to the way things seem ‘supposed to speed up’ logically (or something.)

        Even more extreme versions of tropical paradises than Tahiti itself would be logical for billionaires +. because it’s a favourite billionaire’s playground. Bill Gates, etc. I never thought of that till I got there, even though I knew honeymooners were paying several thousand dollars a night for Overwater Bungalows in many, many parts of the Society Islands. You have ‘the open sea 1200 miles east’ and there’s plenty of ‘open sea’ there too, but the Marquesas, which many think are the most pristine (and very low populations, they’re hard to get to, an hour’s flight from Tahiti even), are about that far from Tahiti as well, as these billionaires would know, and they would have helicopters if they needed them, although in that case they probably wouldn’t use them, although I doubt they’d use Tahiti or Pago Pago (which is very far) either, and just speed on to New York or Hong Kong for precious ‘rare things’ for their embalmed paradises. Gauguin and Jacques Brel lived in Les Marquises, and Brel used to fly to Papeete and back from time to time. They both lived on Fatu Hiva, which sounds the most beautiful. Maybe I’ll see it, but for now ABT will do just fine, and AC too, as this summer is having monster heat waves like 1999, with everybody on allergies. But your characters would be hard to write in some ways, this tension between their knee-jerk preference for the artificial, and the fact that there are still people living in the comparatively Luddite poverty of elsewhere, but it could be really funny too. There’s some Robbe-Grillet in this painstaking description that includes details like hedge funds (of course that would be part of the very oxygen. Then they could be the ‘Melancholia II’ people or something like that, and wait for an asteroid.)

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        Comment by Patrick — 25 June 2013 @ 7:02 pm

      • I will return to this lush comment, but briefly for now I commend you on your aisle seat at the ballet. I realized this afternoon that reading even my own fictions can serve as an escape valve from besetting tedium and frustrating quotidities.

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        Comment by ktismatics — 25 June 2013 @ 7:09 pm

      • Pago Pago I added on a whim this morning just for the sound of it, but I might take it out tomorrow morning. Helicopters certainly should be added, and clearly you’re right that the high-end private aircraft could make the trip to world capitals without having to step up to larger jets at Tahiti. I agree that comedy could be made from this set-up, it would surely be irritating as hell to live on these islands. That Saudi sheikh who’s suing one of the big magazines for reporting that he’s worth only $20 billion would doubtless have a bungalow on one of the islands, his neighbors would detest him and vice versa, his wives would want to be off to Paris or Dubai all the time, he’d be afraid of the water, etc. The sushi restaurant would be bombarded with endless complaints, the scuba teacher on the school cruise ship would have affairs with the pupils, including the Saudi’s headscarfed daughter. “Open sea” is there twice; I’ll eliminate or modify the first one.

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        Comment by ktismatics — 25 June 2013 @ 8:22 pm

  5. The helicopters would likely be deemed too heavy to stay on the islands, so they’d function more like taxis. Only widespread eco-collapse or public uprisings would keep the super-rich living on these islands permanently. I doubt anyone actually lives in the Caymans, and Monaco looks like a ghost town compared to its high-tax French and Italian neighbors. Financial advantages aside, as a place to live the islands would function mostly as a last resort. That could be the name of the sitcom: The Last Resort.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 26 June 2013 @ 6:21 am

    • ‘The Last Resort’ is hilarious because it’s funny even while being corny (somehow.)

      These would be the techies of Silicon Valley, of course. Actually, I think the Famous Super-Rich don’t want to live like this, they aren’t totally anti-social. These are, I would guess, all nouveaux riches except for some once-distinguised types now become demented, and they take those courses in ‘culture’ like in Cocaine Nights. They’ve probably just gotten around to finding out about that tacky decadent thing which I first heard of in the 70s of celebs getting food flown in from New York from Pearl’s Chinese Restaurant and other places. Tacky because if you’re in a big city, it’s just tacky to do that. They never ever talk about doing that anymore, and I’d forgotten about it (even though I wrote up something with that motif, I think a ‘champagne cocktail flown in’ in the early Crebillon things in the 80s) till I read that Mubarak and family had some fish or fruit or something flown in before he went into the cage. So they’d to that for awhile unless they were drunk or on drugs. These people don’t mind that the real celebs really don’t want that kind of enclave, and would rather pay some tax than live in the Caymans (yes, people do live there), but lots do want to live in Switzerland for that reason; I don’t know how the new developments are affecting these big celebs who moved there like Tina Turner. David Bowie moved back from there to New York.

      And so on and so on. I guess it’s the idea of ‘too-isolated enclave’ that these neo-reacties need. The ones on the bleugs aren’t that rich, or they would find an enclave like you’ve written up or Switzerland or Russia like Depardieu, or the Caymans (but you can’t usually leave that, I bet, as it must be deadly dull. Werner Erhart, that Est Scientologist does live there.) It must be in their professions that they get all redneck-Rush Limbaugh about these P.C. things. Scalia on the SCOTUS ruling was amazing (I posted his photo). Some of the bleugers were saying things like ‘minimum requirement for a bride is to have zero interest in politics’ and ‘a good woman will follow a good man anywhere’. Christ, and I thought I was anti-feminist.

      I think it boils down to these newly-wealthy reactionaries not being able to defeat the Old Guard fully. Even if there aren’t the old monarchs in most European states, their descendants are still archdukes and filthy rich and they just hang out with each other, the Brits being the high-profile exception. At some point, the buck does stop, but these types really are having a hard time learning that. They project that they think that, and it makes them almost visibly boring as a result. I do recall in the 70s the Voice enjoying pointing out some Olympics in Montreal, when Prince Andrew was there and the center of everybody’s attention. The searing line was that the trendy EST-wheeler dealer “Werner Erhart went completely unnoticed”. No wonder Cynthia O’Neal didn’t pay any attention to my book, it turns out she considers him ‘her most important teacher’. Somehow she’s stayed close to Mike Nichols and has some big-name friends still, but she’s pretty and was a clever socialite, but not too bright (I read her terribly written bio ‘Talk Softly’, and no wonder she wouldn’t speak to me, after my polite, devastating written reaction.)

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      Comment by Patrick — 26 June 2013 @ 2:08 pm

  6. DOMA had already been judged unconstitutional by several Federal Court rulings, so it didn’t seem like much of a stretch for the Supremes to endorse prior precedent. I wonder how inheritance, insurance coverage and so on work in Scandinavia and France, where fewer than 50% of “committed couples” enter into legal marriage contracts. Too bad individual states’ deciding to opt out of Medicaid can’t be ruled unconstitutional on similar grounds.

    The blogs already function as virtual “too-isolated enclaves” for various nerdy online affiliations. The neo-reactionaries get all excited about achieving some sort of critical mass when some small clump of blogs and followers accelerate the posts and comments. I suspect that even the Tea Party wouldn’t understand much of their discourse, even that produced by the redneck contingent.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 26 June 2013 @ 3:24 pm

    • “The neo-reactionaries get all excited about achieving some sort of critical mass when some small clump of blogs and followers accelerate the posts and comments. I suspect that even the Tea Party wouldn’t understand much of their discourse, even that produced by the redneck contingent.”

      I started to reply last night,. since I understand little more than the Tea Party, which at least wields power for awhile and then doesn’t very much. Mainly, I don’t understand much of their discourse either, and have found but one thing that by now makes reading them worthwhile: Enough of them really know world history, and know it well, that you can learn a great deal of that. They’ll know about China and India in old periods, and they’ll know it cold. Probably most of these are English, I have found that’s much more typical of English than Americans to know world history like that, although not nearly always Asian. The ‘Cambridge Whorebag’ knew her European history fantastically well, and well outside art history, this was one of the pleasures of knowing her, she could answer anything, her ex-husband still more (and he would also know more than any of these on the boards most likely, but among them, there are some real historical scholars, or something close to scholar).

      But now I get some of it, but mainly I think it’s bullshit and ‘having no life’ even. Noir quotes Mark Fisher in a 1998 interview with Simon Reynolds, and this is maybe why I get some of it: “It’s obvious that capitalism isn’t going to be brought down by its contradictions. Nothing ever died of contradictions!” Exulting in capitalism’s permanent “crisis mode,” CCRU believe in the strategic application of pressure to accelerate the tendencies towards chaos.”

      They seem to all have splintered off from each other, having found each others’ nerdy asses in the dark, as it were, and lit a great flame, which has nothing in common but the desire for chaos. They are not even all after chaos, they are not even all after anti-capitalism. some of them still want Communism or Socialism while talking about accelerating (but toward chaos? the leftists? I don’t think they think they want chaos, but rather to keep up with the right, which may be necessary), and the neo-reacties claime to want these enclaves and to be as reactionary as possible, and for some things to collapse into chaos, so somebody was even talking about ‘Noah’s Ark’ a few weeks ago. Why would they want these enclaves? Do they just want ‘chaos’ for all but this elite group of money-egotists? And it seems that class in the old sense is supposed to be ruled out too. So by last night I could see that these hornets’ nests of blogs are by themselves (not in the ‘meatspace’, that abhorrent term, but they always use it) holding onto something they consider to be ‘order’, so how do they want ‘chaos’? What they actually do per bleug activity is primarily to go faster and faster around in circles, I can’t see they’re getting a thing done. And this desire for just the too-isolated enclaves on artificial islands, this ‘exit’, this ‘secession’, still sounds like there’s some fantasy order they want, because it’s got to be so boring for history to actually continue. It just doesn’t ‘amuse us’, ‘my kids live in a sci-fi world’ and ‘they get it’, etc. But the ‘too-isolated enclaves’ are chaos themselves. Why don’t they want to be blown up too if they think acceleration must get faster and faster and destroy everything? Why are they always demanding that something hit the most painful ‘bottom’? I don’t think it’s for anything but their own fantasy, because even in less illumined times, there are always things to live for, to value, as a bachelor I’m the one who can say that most–since I don’t have such ‘low time preference’. They’ve all got families and so is that why they want to escape? So why do they care about an urban center becoming the most important one, since there’s no way they can get any rest in one of those, and the real inhabitants of those towns haven’t the slightest interest in this crap. The Chinese Govt. does, or they wouldn’t force 250 million in the8ir program off what’s left of the rural, and then starve them, or let the air in Beijing become so filthy that rich Chinese are moving.

      It just seems hysteria to me, excepting, as I said, there are some smart historians. But all this talk about ‘sovereignty’ is just hobbyist, even if they refine it. And it was interesting that that ‘perfect authoritarian state’ Singapore, also has one of the world’s major air-pollution problems.

      Some of these people probably need some of those birth-trauma New Age breathing techniques. The idea that even in periods of decline (if these are) there might be something other to do than the bipolar solution of massive blow-up or escape to some lobotomized ‘last resort’ sounds like a kind of schizophrenic attitude they are trying to ENFORCE, as if it were something people must accept as inevitable. That’s part of what is behind that statement ‘reality isn’t popular’, which was spoken by someone whose credentials about knowing what reality IS are very questionable. If you don’t know what it is, you can’t know whether it’s selling or not.

      Is the Srinicek/Williams thing some ‘backlash’ to the old CCRU stuff? I remember when there was that talk back in 2011, and Fisher talked about ‘using accelerationism against capitalism’. It’s all just squishy, since it’s hard to tell what accelerationism is even supposed to be forced on. The original ones, or those still extant, keep glorifying capitalism, with ridiculous rhetoric that always contradicts them very shortly (Obama’s war policies continue lots of Bush’s in a lot of ways, so they’re stuck with realizing that all that had been kept secret. That, btw, does make me wonder if Obama’s ‘ending of Predator Drone program’ or slowing it down hugely, just before Snowden’s leak, was not propaganda, and not actually what was happening. But the timing couldn’t have been better for the leak: If the drones were being stopped or slowed down because of the ‘decimation’ of Al Qaida, it’s sort of unbelievable for the NYTimes, in the persons of Friedman and Keller, to talk about ‘another 9/11’, which could never be afforded by now. They can do more Boston Marathon massacres, I guess, and they had already admitted that it would be more that way, but that’s because they’re so cheap–and even those weren’t apprehended, as you pointed out, while being on a watch list.

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      Comment by Patrick — 27 June 2013 @ 8:38 am

  7. I agree with your reaction to the Accelerationist Manifesto. It’s garnering far more attention, both pro and con, than it warrants. I read it 3 times and never found anything substantive. It reads like the launch of a think-tank ad campaign pitched at technonerds and those who like to finance them. “Thatcherism for the left.” At least the neo-reactionaries are being more explicit about what they want to accelerate: technology, stratification of rich/poor and master/servant, space travel. And they’re fairly clear about the means of achieving acceleration: privatize, give the tech geniuses money and freedom and get out of their way, jettison the dead weight — poor, stupid, sick, old.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 27 June 2013 @ 7:09 pm

    • “And they’re fairly clear about the means of achieving acceleration: privatize, give the tech geniuses money and freedom and get out of their way, jettison the dead weight — poor, stupid, sick, old.”

      It IS interesting that even the slightest whiff of compassion is viewed with extreme suspicion. Like ‘guys who are soft’, as Edward G. Robinson says in ‘The Public Enemy’.

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      Comment by Patrick — 30 June 2013 @ 7:26 pm

  8. I just added a paragraph about security on the islands:

    In this man-made Elysium security is godlike: omniscient and omnipotent but invisible. Hidden cameras dot the islands and the marina while surveillance drones patrol the airspace to the upper reaches of the stratosphere. The archipelago’s floating perimeter bristles with antennae and satellite dishes, and the substructure is outfitted with sonar at varying depths. Two nuclear submarines continually patrol the waterways, backed up by a small fleet of fighter jets permanently stationed on the aircraft carrier. In exchange for economic concessions from the floating nation, the U.S. and China have pledged emergency rapid-response military support by air and sea.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 9 July 2013 @ 8:53 am

    • Probably some of the design can be like that new Chinese ‘inland sea resort’ (600 miles in) that I posted today. http://illegaldancesofnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/2013/07/vegas-in-red-china-shit-on-bloated.html This is so hideous in all ways there are no words for it.

      There’s also a good new NYRBooks article (finally) on this current NSA business, finally refusing the ‘it’s only metadata’ and other panicked theories the government has used while they fail to play it cool. http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/jul/02/electronic-surveillance-missing-laws/

      One of the TPM people, David Kurtz, said there was a Russian tweet this morning saying that Snowden had accepted Venezuela’s offer, but then it was quickly removed. Have you any idea how they’d get to Cuba, thence Venezuela, if he did try to get there? Have they ways to keep that hidden? If it works, it’s the bumbling of France and Portugal, at the behest of the U.S. in the Bolivian president’s plane episode that is still keeping the narrative going the right way. If he gets caught, it won’t still have resonance. It’s interesting how differently it’s played by now compared to Assange and Manning, Snowden is cannier and doesn’t have some of the baggage they had. He may also have just had incredible luck, but I think good luck sometimes follows from planning the first steps carefully.

      I like the idea that those people on the floating islands would NOT be the type that would say ‘go ahead, spy on me, I have nothing to hide’. They’d simply be able to hide it all, they’d BE a form of NSA.

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      Comment by Patrick — 9 July 2013 @ 10:38 am

      • An island built inside of a building — another present-day outpost of the dystopian future.

        I don’t know Snowden’s itinerary, but if he’s planning to get to Venezuela via Cuba he might have an easier time of it now that his US passport has been invalidated. Cuba is a regular stop for airlines flying out of French commercial airports; also for Caribbean cruise ships that don’t originate in the US. The only reason I couldn’t have hopped on one of these flights was my US citizenship. The Daniel Ellsberg excerpt you quoted on your bleug is excellent.

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        Comment by ktismatics — 10 July 2013 @ 6:11 am

  9. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/07/09/snowdens-five-dubious-options-for-getting-to-venezuela/

    I found this yesterday after posting the above. Was interested to see that WaPo coverage of Snowden is much, MUCH better than NYTimes. And there’s no reason why the fact that they got the leak just after The Guardian would make it so. TPM never followed up with the fact that Snowden indeed had accepted the offer, the Russian just needed to tweet about TV or something that was more Putin-friendly. I thought this interesting, because I didn’t know how complicated flight and refueling matters were, and then talk of ‘expensive planes’ and such. That’s obviously not a matter of any importance if it’s decided it’s politically worth it. They might. I hope so. The narrative is not, for once, going to be satisfying, if this big top-heavy monolith wins, and they are so embarassed by now that they’ll use anything in the media to distract from it.

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    Comment by Patrick — 10 July 2013 @ 10:21 am

  10. https://www.google.com/search?q=bora+bora+images&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=GxTnUdmyJ43j4AOTuIHYAQ&ved=0CC0QsAQ&biw=800&bih=412

    Here you can see that there already almost-floating natural islands around Bora Bora, in the same archipelago as Tahiti. If you look at some of the images, you’ll see they’ve taken even that one step further into the overwater bungalows. These are all for the very rich, and in a sense, the fact that Bora Bora is so ‘billionaire’ may protect it, although that doesn’t fit quite into the ‘tax-free’ plastic islands you’re talking about, i.e., they protect it because even ‘the mainland’ of Bora Bora is quite small, and two Swiss staying at my beach bungalow bicycled around it in 2 or 3 hours. Nearby Raiatea is the biggest of this archipelago after Tahiti, and likewise has many motus with the many-thousand-a-night resorts on them. However, it is not nearly as famous as Bora Bora because Bora Bora also has incredible pristine-white beaches on its ‘mainland’. I stayed on the most famous of these, Matira Point, which is breathtaking. I can’t believe I was actually there, and still alive to tell the story. It was so relaxing I even spoke French fluently and easily for the first time ever, and there were several there with whom I’d go back and forth from French to English. In the 4WD tour, we went quite high, although the trip itself was not wonderful and unearthly like the one I’d done in the interior of Waterfall-Tahiti the year before, although the views were unbelievable, all the motus, every colour of water (never saw such a palette before), even an unused WWII machine gun up there. The airport is on one of the motus, but the motus are really tiny and for those (very popular with honeymooners, including some of the ones on the 4WD from Israel) who really want to only vegetate. I had a bungalow, though not overwater, with just me (which the lady-owner found slightly strange) and a gecko way in the top of it, and the gecko scared me, to everybody’s delight. It seemed 30 ft. up, was an optical illusion, only about 15 feet up the round thatched roof room, and it wouldn’t quit staring at me. I kept thinking it was a snake even after people told me it would eat all the mosquitoes for me. You can see how enormous those motus and their connecting reef make the lagoon, and the last morning I was there, I thought I could somehow get the whole mile and half out to the reef, but it got too late. I’m so glad I went.

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    Comment by Patrick — 17 July 2013 @ 4:19 pm

  11. http://investmentwatchblog.com/a-millionaires-paradise-in-detroit-tycoon-plans-to-buy-island-park-in-motor-city-and-turn-it-into-tax-free-state-where-citizenship-costs-300000/

    This is probably more to your point, but I saw it today (as you see, it was written in January) because obviously it was one of the neoreacties’ ways of celebrating the Detroit bankruptcy.

    Just found this, too. Never been to Detroit, although I’ve sort of wanted to. http://stonesdetroit.com/detroit-fights-michigan-for-control-of-fraying-belle-isle/

    What a desperate situation, and it had been desperate already for so long, that when I read in this second article that it had lost 1/4 of it population since 2000, it was nearly unbelievable–it already had the reputation of the most collapsed major city in the U.S. way back in the 80s, maybe even 70s. I didn’t know about Belle Isle, Detroit, there’s one in France (S. Bernhardt and others lived there, I remember it from a Sagan novel about her), and probably many other places, Louisiana, etc. So, since there are no ways to solve these racial matters in the conventional ways, it seems, these collapses are quickly picked up as golden opportunities by the .01% and 1%. This one is different, because it would be a kind of conspicuous consumption beyond what Dearborn and the other suburbs represent. Many of these ‘evil paradises’ have different features: This one could have a Saudi Arabian/Dubaian vulgarity to it, with a backdrop of poverty as a kind of ‘entertainment’, I can see the appeal to some in that.

    It’s ‘never enough’ for this crew, as they grow and keep ‘re-proclaiming themselves’. One of them was deeply depressed after watching a youtube of a couple of sissy-types talking about p.c. things, including somebody getting fired for saying he admired John Wilkes Booth. This turned out to be almost an hour youtube, which I noticed only after two minutes of total boredom, as if I needed to hear some obvious bullshit. These extreme accelerationists take all these big movements and trends very personally, they have been talking with great praise about the Hutterites and the Amish. Unbelievable. After reading one of them’s desire for a ‘Confederate States of America’, Obama’s speech about Trayvon Martin seemed well-placed, although I tend to agree with Jimmy Carter’s assessment about the verdict, and if you have a stupid prosecution, the most obvious things can get by, and although this seems straightforward enough, it wasn’t nearly as straightforward as the O.J. murder case, and the New Yorker quickly wrote up the stupidity of Marcia Clark’s idealism that there would be no racist component in the matter of jury selection. But there is black racism, I’m so sick of people pretending there’s not, or that it’s somehow always ‘excusable’ or under different rules. Not in a court case.

    I really don’t care about Obama’s Trayvon speech as much as I would have were he not trying everything possible to prosecute Snowden. That wily Putin is very wicked, and smart, and unpredictable, he doesn’t seem all that easy to push around, and has a big ego and a lot of vanity about his image.

    Like

    Comment by Patrick — 20 July 2013 @ 8:37 pm

  12. Thanks for both of these stories, the Bora Bora and the Belle Isle, which are right along the trajectory toward the floating islands. Detroit will have to sell off its “jewels” to satisfy creditors, which will probably include the big parks. Will it become a privately owned city I wonder, with private security companies replacing the police force and so on? I’ve not been there in years but it’s such a decimated place that even at bargain basement prices it’s got to be deemed a high-risk investment. I remember when NYC nearly declared bankruptcy, but as you point out Detroit has been depopulating for decades, whereas New York always had a core vibrancy. The bailout of the auto industry resulted I believe in even more job losses due to automation and outsourcing. Mortgage companies have let a lot of foreclosed Detroit properties go, not paying property taxes or doing maintenance so that the City takes ownership/responsibility.

    Lately I’ve been distracted by far more mundane relocation endeavors. At the end of the month we’re moving to Durham NC to be closer to family, so I’ve been packing and stacking boxes for a week now.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 20 July 2013 @ 11:50 pm

    • Wow. Seems so sudden. I had thought you were pretty permanently settled there, although I know you were tired of it. If they really went so far as to substitute chicken for veal, they’d be the extreme well-to-do goody-goodies, most likely, instead of the hicks (who think veal is ‘sophisticated’. I guess it is to some degree, in that you don’t get anything but a fried thing with some half-melted cheese at the lower levels.)

      Like

      Comment by Patrick — 21 July 2013 @ 11:24 am

  13. Well-to-do goody-goodies is a pretty good characterization. I don’t see our move to NC as necessarily a permanent one. My father is fading, so we wanted to be nearby while he’s still alive and reasonably coherent. Durham is about halfway between my dad in SC and A’s family in VA. We left Boulder twice before to go to France, never expecting to come back. I’d be very surprised if the eternal return recycles us back here again.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 21 July 2013 @ 11:42 am

    • Well, best wishes, a big move is always a pain, though. Yes, you talked a lot about your father, but I hadn’t got it straight he was in S. Carolina somehow. Did you get new houses every time you came back to Boulder? You must have once liked it, or Anne did.

      Like

      Comment by Patrick — 21 July 2013 @ 11:46 am

  14. We used to fit the profile.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 21 July 2013 @ 12:01 pm

  15. Good luck with the move. I shall have to reconfigure the synchronicity channel. A difficult time for you. Best Wishes, Michael

    Like

    Comment by ombhurbhuva — 21 July 2013 @ 3:45 pm


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