By Paul Buchheit
The following are all relevant, fact-based issues, the “hard news” stories that the media has a responsibility to report. But the business-oriented press generally avoids them.
1. U.S. Wealth Up $34 Trillion Since Recession. 93 percent of You Got Almost None of It.
That’s an average of $100,000 for every American. But the people who already own most of the stocks took almost all of it. For them, the average gain was well over a million dollars — tax-free as long as they don’t cash it in. Details available here.
2. Eight Rich Americans Made More Than 3.6 Million Minimum Wage Workers
A recent report stated that no full-time minimum wage worker in the U.S. can afford a one-bedroom or two-bedroom rental at fair market rent. There are 3.6 million such workers, and their total (combined) 2013 earnings is less than the 2013 stock market gains of just eight Americans, all of whom take more than their share from society: the four Waltons, the two Kochs, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett.
3. News Sources Speak for the 5 percent
It would be refreshing to read an honest editorial: “We dearly value the 5 to 7 percent of our readers who make a lot of money and believe that their growing riches are helping everyone else.”
Instead, the business media seems unable to differentiate between the top 5 percent and the rest of society. The Wall Street Journal exclaimed, “Middle-class Americans have more buying power than ever before,” and then went on to sputter: “What Recession?…The economy has bounced back from recession, unemployment has declined.”
The Chicago Tribune may be even further out of touch with its less privileged readers, asking them: “What’s so terrible about the infusion of so much money into the presidential campaign?”
4. TV News Dumbed Down for American Viewers
A 2009 survey by the European Journal of Communication compared the U.S. to Denmark, Finland, and the UK in the awareness and reporting of domestic vs. international news, and of ‘hard’ news (politics, public administration, the economy, science, technology) vs. ‘soft’ news (celebrities, human interest, sport and entertainment). The results:
— Americans [are] especially uninformed about international public affairs.
— American respondents also underperformed in relation to domestic-related hard news stories.
— American television reports much less international news than Finnish, Danish and British television;
— American television network newscasts also report much less hard news than Finnish and Danish television.
Surprisingly, the report states that “our sample of American newspapers was more oriented towards hard news than their counterparts in the European countries.” Too bad Americans are reading less newspapers.
5. News Execs among White Male Boomers Who Owe Trillions to Society
The hype about the “self-made man” is fantasy. In the early 1970s, we privileged white males were spirited out of college to waiting jobs in management and finance, technology was inventing new ways for us to make money, tax rates were about to tumble, and visions of bonuses and capital gains danced in our heads.
While we were in school the Defense Department had been preparing the Internet for Microsoft and Apple, the National Science Foundation was funding the Digital Library Initiative research that would be adopted as the Google model, and the National Institute of Health was doing the early laboratory testing for companies like Merck and Pfizer. Government research labs and public universities trained thousands of chemists, physicists, chip designers, programmers, engineers, production line workers, market analysts, testers, troubleshooters, etc., etc.
All we created on our own was a disdainful attitude, like that of Steve Jobs: “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”
6. Funding Plummets for Schools and Pensions as Corporations Stop Paying Taxes
Three separate studies have shown that corporations pay less than half of their required state taxes, which are the main source of K-12 educational funding and a significant part of pension funding. Most recently, the report ”The Disappearing Corporate Tax Base” found that the percentage of corporate profits paid as state income taxes has dropped from 7 percent in 1980 to about 3 percent today.
7. Companies Based in the U.S. Paying Most of their Taxes Overseas
Citigroup had 42 percent of its 2011-13 revenue in North America (almost all U.S.) and made $32 billion in profits, but received a U.S. current income tax benefit all three years.
Pfizer had 40 percent of its 2011-13 revenues and nearly half of its physical assets in the U.S., but declared almost $10 billion in U.S. losses to go along with nearly $50 billion in foreign profits.
In 2013 Exxon had about 43 percent of management, 36 percent of sales, 40 percent of long-lived assets, and 70-90 percent of its productive oil and gas wells in the U.S., yet only paid about 2 percent of its total income in U.S. income taxes, and most of that was something called a “theoretical” tax.
8. Restaurant Servers Go Without Raise for 30 Years
An evaluation by Michelle Chen showed that the minimum wage for tipped workers has been approximately $2 an hour since the 1980s. She also notes that about 40 percent of these workers are people of color, and about two-thirds are women.
Monday, 26 January 2015 10:23
By Todd Miller and Gabriel M Schivone, TomDispatch | News Analysis
It was October 2012. Roei Elkabetz, a brigadier general for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), was explaining his country’s border policing strategies. In his PowerPoint presentation, a photo of the enclosure wall that isolates the Gaza Strip from Israel clicked onscreen. “We have learned lots from Gaza,” he told the audience. “It’s a great laboratory.”
Elkabetz was speaking at a border technology conference and fair surrounded by a dazzling display of technology — the components of his boundary-building lab. There were surveillance balloons with high-powered cameras floating over a desert-camouflaged armored vehicle made by Lockheed Martin. There were seismic sensor systems used to detect the movement of people and other wonders of the modern border-policing world. Around Elkabetz, you could see vivid examples of where the future of such policing was heading, as imagined not by a dystopian science fiction writer but by some of the top corporate techno-innovators on the planet.
Swimming in a sea of border security, the brigadier general was, however, not surrounded by the Mediterranean but by a parched West Texas landscape. He was in El Paso, a 10-minute walk from the wall that separates the United States from Mexico.
Just a few more minutes on foot and Elkabetz could have watched green-striped U.S. Border Patrol vehicles inching along the trickling Rio Grande in front of Ciudad Juarez, one of Mexico’s largest cities filled with U.S. factories and the dead of that country’s drug wars. The Border Patrol agents whom the general might have spotted were then being up-armored with a lethal combination of surveillance technologies, military hardware, assault rifles, helicopters, and drones. This once-peaceful place was being transformed into what Timothy Dunn, in his book The Militarization of the U.S. Mexico Border, terms a state of “low-intensity warfare.”
The Border Surge
On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a series of executive actions on immigration reform. Addressing the American people, he referred to bipartisan immigration legislation passed by the Senate in June 2013 that would, among other things, further up-armor the same landscape in what’s been termed — in language adopted from recent U.S. war zones — a “border surge.” The president bemoaned the fact that the bill had been stalled in the House of Representatives, hailing it as a “compromise” that “reflected common sense.” It would, he pointed out, “have doubled the number of Border Patrol agents, while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship.”
In the wake of his announcement, including executive actions that would protect five to six million of those immigrants from future deportation, the national debate was quickly framed as a conflict between Republicans and Democrats. Missed in this partisan war of words was one thing: the initial executive action that Obama announced involved a further militarization of the border supported by both parties.
“First,” the president said, “we’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings and speed the return of those who do cross over.” Without further elaboration, he then moved on to other matters.
If, however, the United States follows the “common sense” of the border-surge bill, the result could add more than $40 billion dollars worth of agents, advanced technologies, walls, and other barriers to an already unparalleled border enforcement apparatus. And a crucial signal would be sent to the private sector that, as the trade magazine Homeland Security Today puts it, another “treasure trove” of profit is on the way for a border control market already, according to the latest forecasts, in an “unprecedented boom period.”
Like the Gaza Strip for the Israelis, the U.S. borderlands, dubbed a “constitution-free zone” by the ACLU, are becoming a vast open-air laboratory for tech companies. There, almost any form of surveillance and “security” can be developed, tested, and showcased, as if in a militarized shopping mall, for other nations across the planet to consider. In this fashion, border security is becoming a global industry and few corporate complexes can be more pleased by this than the one that has developed in Elkabetz’s Israel.
The Palestine-Mexico Border
Consider the IDF brigadier general’s presence in El Paso two years ago an omen. After all, in February 2014, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agency in charge of policing our borders, contracted with Israel’s giant private military manufacturer Elbit Systems to build a “virtual wall,” a technological barrier set back from the actual international divide in the Arizona desert. That company, whose U.S.-traded stock shot up by 6% during Israel’s massive military operation against Gaza in the summer of 2014, will bring the same databank of technology used in Israel’s borderlands — Gaza and the West Bank — to Southern Arizona through its subsidiary Elbit Systems of America.
With approximately 12,000 employees and, as it boasts, “10+ years securing the world’s most challenging borders,” Elbit produces an arsenal of “homeland security systems.” These include surveillance land vehicles, mini-unmanned aerial systems, and “smart fences,” highly fortified steel barriers that have the ability to sense a person’s touch or movement. In its role as lead system integrator for Israel’s border technology plan, the company has already installed smart fences in the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
In Arizona, with up to a billion dollars potentially at its disposal, CBP has tasked Elbit with creating a “wall” of “integrated fixed towers” containing the latest in cameras, radar, motion sensors, and control rooms. Construction will start in the rugged, desert canyons around Nogales. Once a DHS evaluation deems that part of the project effective, the rest will be built to monitor the full length of the state’s borderlands with Mexico. Keep in mind, however, that these towers are only one part of a broader operation, the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan. At this stage, it’s essentially a blueprint for an unprecedented infrastructure of high-tech border fortifications that has attracted the attention of many companies.
This is not the first time Israeli companies have been involved in a U.S. border build-up. In fact, in 2004, Elbit’s Hermes drones were the first unmanned aerial vehicles to take to the skies to patrol the southern border. In 2007, according to Naomi Klein inThe Shock Doctrine, the Golan Group, an Israeli consulting company made up of former IDF Special Forces officers, provided an intensive eight-day course for special DHS immigration agents covering “everything from hand-to-hand combat to target practice to ‘getting proactive with their SUV.’” The Israeli company NICE Systems even supplied Arizona’s Joe Arpaio,“America’s toughest sheriff,” with a surveillance system to watch one of his jails.
As such border cooperation intensified, journalist Jimmy Johnson coined the apt phrase “Palestine-Mexico border” to catch what was happening. In 2012, Arizona state legislators, sensing the potential economic benefit of this growing collaboration, declared their desert state and Israel to be natural “trade partners,” adding that it was “a relationship we seek to enhance.”
In this way, the doors were opened to a new world order in which the United States and Israel are to become partners in the “laboratory” that is the U.S.-Mexican borderlands. Its testing grounds are to be in Arizona. There, largely through a program known as Global Advantage, American academic and corporate knowhow and Mexican low-wage manufacturing are to fuse with Israel’s border and homeland security companies.
The Border: Open for Business
No one may frame the budding romance between Israel’s high-tech companies and Arizona better than Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “If you go to Israel and you come to Southern Arizona and close your eyes and spin yourself a few times,” he says, “you might not be able to tell the difference.”
Global Advantage is a business project based on a partnership between the University of Arizona’s Tech Parks Arizona and the Offshore Group, a business advisory and housing firm which offers “nearshore solutions for manufacturers of any size” just across the border in Mexico. Tech Parks Arizona has the lawyers, accountants, and scholars, as well as the technical knowhow, to help any foreign company land softly and set up shop in the state. It will aid that company in addressing legal issues, achieving regulatory compliance, and even finding qualified employees — and through a program it’s called the Israel Business Initiative, Global Advantage has identified its target country.
Think of it as the perfect example of a post-NAFTA world in which companies dedicated to stopping border crossers are ever freer to cross the same borders themselves. In the spirit of free trade that created the NAFTA treaty, the latest border fortification programs are designed to eliminate borders when it comes to letting high-tech companies from across the seas set up in the United States and make use of Mexico’s manufacturing base to create their products. While Israel and Arizona may be separated by thousands of miles, Rothschild assured TomDispatch that in “economics, there are no borders.”
Of course, what the mayor appreciates, above all, is the way new border technology could bring money and jobs into an area with a nearly 23% poverty rate. How those jobs might be created matters far less to him. According to Molly Gilbert, the director of community engagement for the Tech Parks Arizona, “It’s really about development, and we want to create technology jobs in our borderlands.”
So consider it anything but an irony that, in this developing global set of boundary-busting partnerships, the factories that will produce the border fortresses designed by Elbit and other Israeli and U.S. high-tech firms will mainly be located in Mexico. Ill-paid Mexican blue-collar workers will, then, manufacture the very components of a future surveillance regime, which may well help locate, detain, arrest, incarcerate, and expel some of them if they try to cross into the United States.
Think of Global Advantage as a multinational assembly line, a place where homeland security meets NAFTA. Right now there are reportedly 10 to 20 Israeli companies in active discussion about joining the program. Bruce Wright, the CEO of Tech Parks Arizona, tells TomDispatch that his organization has a “nondisclosure” agreement with any companies that sign on and so cannot reveal their names.
Though cautious about officially claiming success for Global Advantage’s Israel Business Initiative, Wright brims with optimism about his organization’s cross-national planning. As he talks in a conference room located on the 1,345-acre park on the southern outskirts of Tucson, it’s apparent that he’s buoyed by predictions that the Homeland Security market will grow from a $51 billion annual business in 2012 to $81 billion in the United States alone by 2020, and $544 billion worldwide by 2018.
Wright knows as well that submarkets for border-related products like video surveillance, non-lethal weaponry, and people-screening technologies are all advancing rapidly and that the U.S. market for drones is poised to create 70,000 new jobs by 2016. Partially fueling this growth is what the Associated Press calls an“unheralded shift” to drone surveillance on the U.S. southern divide. More than 10,000 drone flights have been launched into border air space since March 2013, with plans for many more, especially after the Border Patrol doubles its fleet.
When Wright speaks, it’s clear he knows that his park sits atop a twenty-first-century gold mine. As he sees it, Southern Arizona, aided by his tech park, will become the perfect laboratory for the first cluster of border security companies in North America. He’s not only thinking about the 57 southern Arizona companies already identified as working in border security and management, but similar companies nationwide and across the globe, especially in Israel.
In fact, Wright’s aim is to follow Israel’s lead, as it is now the number-one place for such groupings. In his case, the Mexican border would simply replace that country’s highly marketed Palestinian testing grounds. The 18,000 linear feet that surround the tech park’s solar panel farm would, for example, be a perfect spot to test out motion sensors. Companies could also deploy, evaluate, and test their products “in the field,” as he likes to say — that is, where real people are crossing real borders — just as Elbit Systems did before CBP gave it the contract.
“If we’re going to be in bed with the border on a day-to-day basis, with all of its problems and issues, and there’s a solution to it,” Wright said in a 2012 interview, “why shouldn’t we be the place where the issue is solved and we get the commercial benefit from it?”
From the Battlefield to the Border
When Naomi Weiner, project coordinator for the Israel Business Initiative, returned from a trip to that country with University of Arizona researchers in tow, she couldn’t have been more enthusiastic about the possibilities for collaboration. She arrived back in November, just a day before Obama announced his new executive actions — a promising declaration for those, like her, in the business of bolstering border defenses.
“We’ve chosen areas where Israel is very strong and Southern Arizona is very strong,” Weiner explained to TomDispatch, pointing to the surveillance industry “synergy” between the two places. For example, one firm her team met with in Israel wasBrightway Vision, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems. If it decides to set up shop in Arizona, it could use tech park expertise to further develop and refine its thermal imaging cameras and goggles, while exploring ways to repurpose those military products for border surveillance applications. The Offshore Group would then manufacture the cameras and goggles in Mexico.
Arizona, as Weiner puts it, possesses the “complete package” for such Israeli companies. “We’re sitting right on the border, close to Fort Huachuca,” a nearby military base where, among other things, technicians control the drones surveilling the borderlands. “We have the relationship with Customs and Border Protection, so there’s a lot going on here. And we’re also the Center of Excellence on Homeland Security.”
Weiner is referring to the fact that, in 2008, DHS designated the University of Arizona the lead school for the Center of Excellence on Border Security and Immigration. Thanks to that, it has since received millions of dollars in federal grants. Focusing on research and development of border-policing technologies, the center is a place where, among other things, engineers are studying locust wings in order to create miniature drones equipped with cameras that can get into the tiniest of spaces near ground level, while large drones like the Predator B continue to buzz over the borderlands at 30,000 feet (despite the fact that a recent audit by the inspector general of homeland security found them a waste of money).
Although the Arizona-Israeli romance is still in the courtship stage, excitement about its possibilities is growing. Officials from Tech Parks Arizona see Global Advantage as the perfect way to strengthen the U.S.-Israel “special relationship.” There is no other place in the world with a higher concentration of homeland security tech companies than Israel. Six hundred tech start-ups are launched in Tel Aviv alone every year. During the Gaza offensive last summer, Bloomberg reported that investment in such companies had “actually accelerated.” However, despite the periodic military operations in Gaza and the incessant build-up of the Israeli homeland security regime, there are serious limitations to the local market.
The Israeli Ministry of Economy is painfully aware of this. Its officials know that the growth of the Israeli economy is “largely fueled by a steady increase in exports and foreign investment.” The government coddles, cultivates, and supports these start-up tech companies until their products are market-ready. Among them have been innovations like the “skunk,” a liquid with a putrid odor meant to stop unruly crowds in their tracks. The ministry has also been successful in taking such products to market across the globe. In the decade following 9/11, sales of Israeli “security exports” rose from $2 billion to $7 billion annually.
Israeli companies have sold surveillance drones to Latin American countries likeMexico, Chile, and Colombia, and massive security systems to India and Brazil, where an electro-optic surveillance system will be deployed along the country’s borders with Paraguay and Bolivia. They have also been involved in preparations for policing the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. The products of Elbit Systems and its subsidiaries are now in use from the Americas and Europe to Australia. Meanwhile, that mammoth security firm is ever more involved in finding “civilian applications” for its war technologies. It is also ever more dedicated to bringing the battlefield to the world’s borderlands, including southern Arizona.
As geographer Joseph Nevins notes, although there are many differences between the political situations of the U.S. and Israel, both Israel-Palestine and Arizona share a focus on keeping out “those deemed permanent outsiders,” whether Palestinians, undocumented Latin Americans, or indigenous people.
Mohyeddin Abdulaziz has seen this “special relationship” from both sides, as a Palestinian refugee whose home and village Israeli military forces destroyed in 1967 and as a long-time resident of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. A founding member of the Southern Arizona BDS Network, whose goal is to pressure U.S. divestment from Israeli companies, Abdulaziz opposes any program like Global Advantage that will contribute to the further militarization of the border, especially when it also sanitizes Israel’s “violations of human rights and international law.”
Such violations matter little, of course, when there is money to be made, as Brigadier General Elkabetz indicated at that 2012 border technology conference. Given the direction that both the U.S. and Israel are taking when it comes to their borderlands, the deals being brokered at the University of Arizona look increasingly like matches made in heaven (or perhaps hell). As a result, there is truth packed into journalist Dan Cohen’s comment that “Arizona is the Israel of the United States.”
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Kal’s cartoon: this week, terrorism and war
DWSpiroUploaded on 15 Jan 2011
Dame Judi Dench is featured on the South Bank Show in 1995, which centered around her appearance in the revival of “A Little Night Music”. The profile ends with this performance of “Send In The Clowns” – pure magic.
- Standard YouTube Licence
We were coming out of the cinema at Rich Mix one Sunday afternoon, nearly two years ago, and this group was rehearsing for a gig that night. Neither Nicky nor I had heard of them before, and they’ve been around for some time now, but they blew me away…hopefully these fragments will explain why.
Grand Union Orchestra
rs21 on January 26, 2015
1) Do not cry, do not wax indignant, understand. The great enlightenment philosopher Spinoza’s advice is pertinent. Let’s understand the logic (of which I am critical). This is not a time for absolutism. But neither for being mealymouthed.
2) This is not a surprise. The meeting lasted an hour between Alexis and Kammenos. It was finalising things. Discussions have been underway for some time. It will not do to say this is an emergency measure caused by falling short of 151 seats. And it certainly will not do to blame the Left – in or outside Syriza. Why?
3) As I explained in running commentary – seeking a coalition partner was never a matter of parliamentary arithmetic. It is about political logic.
4) The argument for including ANEL goes like this: we face a national humanitarian disaster. Greece faces international foes. Just as it did under the Mussolini invasion and the Third Reich occupation. We cannot face up to that with 36 percent support. The Left must broaden its base. To Potami and Pasok would weaken the anti-memorandum position. ANEL will have to stick with an anti-memorandum line. So we will strengthen the anti-memorandum hand in the negotiations with the Troika by having them in the tent. Additionally, this will discombobulate the Right. For the moderates in Syriza it also gives a counterweight to the Left.
5) (I am trying to do justice to the argument above. I do not agree with it.) This is not just tactics. It is a product of strategy. The theory of how to win hegemony this works from looks to the building of political blocs (resting on class blocs). That finds intellectual resource in a variety of traditions – Communist, eurocommunist, Maoist, even variants of the Trotskyist. I can justify those claims, but not right now. Put the ideological tradition to one side. The issue is political strategy. Consider that and then you can make sense of the ideological justification which, like mathematics to the natural sciences, comes in as handmaiden.
6) How can a party of the radical Left be in alliance with that Greek Ukip? Well – the memorandum cuts through politics in Greece orthogonally (at right angles) to the Left/Right divide. It is possible to be Right wing on all the social questions and against the memorandum. ANEL may loosely be compared with Ukip. But it was formed out of a split from New Democracy on an anti-memorandum basis. Ukip in Britain is Thatcherite and struggles to articulate the mood against austerity.
7) What is ANEL. It is a nationalist, xenophobic, anti-German party. But it has not built its support – unlike GD – on the basis of popular racism. It has built it by not being part of the coalitions which implemented austerity. That is an important distinction. But it is racist. Kammenos voted against the Pasok (when in government alone) law to grant citizenship rights to children of immigrants. Syriza supported the law. It has opposed the concentration camps for immigrants.
8) How does that pan out? Some on the Left of Syriza – many – are saying that with 149 MPs to ANEL’s 13, Syriza will “hegemonize” Kammenos. Friends from the internationalist wing of formal majority of Syriza – 70 percent of the Congress – say that. But they are worried by the move and do not like it.
9) The position of the Left Platform? Most of the Left Platform – led by Panayiotis Lafazanis – were privately more against a deal with To Potami or Pasok than with ANEL. Why? Because they share the strategy of building broad “popular alliances” shaped by what they frame as a “national struggle” against the Troika. Alexis Tsipras played with that language a lot in his victory speech last night. He spoke of sovereignty and national dignity. He did not describe the election as a victory for the Left. But it was a Left victory.
10) The anti-racist mobilisations and demands to do better than Pasok immigration, human rights, police brutality and jailing GD therefore become even more important in providing a counter pole to the presence of ANEL in the government. Kammenos – a poster boy of the shipping magnates – is pitching for shipping minister. That ministry has been in the hands of the maritime oligarchs for the last 40 years whoever is office. People voted for a break with the old corruption, not for tolerating it under a Left government born of hope.
11) The KKE? Its leader did not stick the boot into ANEL in his speech last night (but rightly attacked the GD as neo-Nazis). It will lambast the government as “more of the same”.
12) The anti-capitalist Left is in a position to make a clear political explanation of what is wrong with the forming of the coalition. The clarity and strength of that argument is immediately bound up with the movements, against racism and for migrant rights especially.
13) Was there an alternative? Yes. Syriza could have formed a minority government. But that would mean being very clear that the strategy was of using all positions of strength of the Left, inside and outside government, to conduct a fight with the Right, the oligarchs and the Troika. It is perfectly constitutionally possible to form a minority government. And politically. An aggressive challenge to the minor parties to vote against the government would put them under enormous pressure. In fact, with ANEL in the coalition, the government will have to rely on this tactic anyway. For example, if it wants to propose decent measures over migrants, racism, police behaviour, LGBT equality, it will have to challenge the likes of Pasok and the liberal modernising To Potami to dare vote against them, while facing down objections from ANEL. Either that or, despite the 149 to 13 balance of the coalition, the tail will wag the dog.
14) We are at the beginnings of this process. Not the end. There will be much more of this kind of thing. We must prepare for it and calmly understand and explain. Tout comprendre c’est tout pardoner: to understand all is to excuse all, goes another maxim. It can lead to that. But it should not. There is a debate. Some genuinely believe this to be a correct policy. I am one of those who does not. There is nothing wrong in friends of the Greek movement and Left saying so. And if you do think so, you should say so.
15) But we don’t want to demoralise people? No, we must not. The Left depends on hope and we must approach this – as all the future questions – from the standpoint of how we develop hope. That rests on deepening the impact of the electoral success in Greece and the breach it opens up over austerity and, whatever the political machinations here, over racism too.
16) So we should make our case from the standpoint of
a) developing the resistance and movements of hope where we are
b) seriously and acknowledging that these are major questions of strategy. That means debating them through and not foreclosing the argument with outraged indignation. It also requires talking to those from other traditions – with other viewpoints – an not just the comfort of those who agree with us.
c) placing a premium upon fraternal and intelligent political arguments. The aim is to convince, not to denounce.
d) taking account of the big lines of division – with the right and with the elites imposing austerity. The argument against putting ANEL in government is that it weakened the front on those battle lines. That has to be shown.
Concretely – a massive and unified display of opposition on the international day of action on 21 March, which originated in Greece, against racism and fascism and for migrant and Muslim rights is now a date which all on the Left should bookmark and take action on.
There will be much more too. But we should approach it all in this spirit.
Unlike Bilbo’s magic ring, which entangles human hearts, engineers have created a new micro-ring that entangles individual particles of light, an important first step in a whole host of new technologies.
Entanglement – the instantaneous connection between two particles no matter their distance apart – is one of the most intriguing and promising phenomena in all of physics. Properly harnessed, entangled photons could revolutionize computing, communications, and cyber security. Though readily created in the lab and by comparatively large-scale optoelectronic components, a practical source of entangled photons that can fit onto an ordinary computer chip has been elusive.
New research, reported today in The Optical Society’s (OSA) new high-impact journal Optica, describes how a team of scientists has developed, for the first time, a microscopic component that is small enough to fit onto a standard silicon chip that can generate a continuous supply of entangled photons.
The new design is based on an established silicon technology known as a micro-ring resonator. These resonators are actually loops that are etched onto silicon wafers that can corral and then reemit particles of light. By tailoring the design of this resonator, the researchers created a novel source of entangled photons that is incredibly small and highly efficient, making it an ideal on-chip component.
“The main advantage of our new source is that it is at the same time small, bright, and silicon based,” said Daniele Bajoni, a researcher at the Università degli Studi di Pavia in Italy and co-author on the paper. “The diameter of the ring resonator is a mere 20 microns, which is about one-tenth of the width of a human hair. Previous sources were hundreds of times larger than the one we developed.”
From Entanglement to Innovation
Scientists and engineers have long recognized the enormous practical potential of entangled photons. This curious manifestation of quantum physics, which Einstein referred to as “spooky action at a distance,” has two important implications in real-world technology.
First, if something acts on one of the entangled photons then the other one will respond to that action instantly, even if it is on the opposite side of a computer chip or even the opposite side of the Galaxy. This behavior could be harnessed to increase the power and speed of computations. The second implication is that the two photons can be considered to be, in some sense, a single entity, which would allow for new communication protocols that are immune to spying.
This seemingly impossible behavior is essential, therefore, for the development of certain next-generation technologies, such as computers that are vastly more powerful than even today’s most advanced supercomputers, and secure telecommunications.
Creating Entanglement on a Chip
To bring these new technologies to fruition, however, requires a new class of entangled photon emitters: ones that can be readily incorporated into existing silicon chip technologies. Achieving this goal has been very challenging.
To date, entangled photon emitters – which are principally made from specially designed crystals—could be scaled down to only a few millimeters in size, which is still many orders of magnitude too large for on-chip applications. In addition, these emitters require a great deal of power, which is a valuable commodity in telecommunications and computing.
To overcome these challenges, the researchers explored the potential of ring resonators as a new source for entangled photons. These well-established optoelectronic components can be easily etched onto a silicon wafer in the same manner that other components on semiconductor chips are fashioned. To “pump,” or power, the resonator, a laser beam is directed along an optical fiber to the input side of the sample, and then coupled to the resonator where the photons race around the ring. This creates an ideal environment for the photons to mingle and become entangled.
As photons exited the resonator, the researchers were able to observe that a remarkably high percentage of them exhibited the telltale characteristics of entanglement.
“Our device is capable of emitting light with striking quantum mechanical properties never observed in an integrated source,” said Bajoni. “The rate at which the entangled photons are generated is unprecedented for a silicon integrated source, and comparable with that available from bulk crystals that must be pumped by very strong lasers.”
Applications and Future Technology
The researchers believe their work is particularly relevant because it demonstrates, for the first time, a quintessential quantum effect, entanglement, in a well-established technology.
“In the last few years, silicon integrated devices have been developed to filter and route light, mainly for telecommunication applications,” observed Bajoni. “Our micro-ring resonators can be readily used alongside these devices, moving us toward the ability to fully harness entanglement on a chip.” As a result, this research could facilitate the adoption of quantum information technologies, particularly quantum cryptography protocols, which would ensure secure communications in ways that classical cryptography protocols cannot.
According to Bajoni and his colleagues, these protocols have already been demonstrated and tested. What has been missing was a cheap, small, and reliable source of entangled photons capable of propagation in fiber networks, a problem that is apparently solved by their innovation.
Explore further: A new approach to on-chip quantum computing
More information: D. Grassani, S. Azzini, M. Liscidini, M. Galli, M. J. Strain, M. Sorel, J. E. Sipe, and D. Bajoni, “A micrometer-scale integrated silicon source of time-energy entangled photons,” Optica, 2, 1, 88-94 (2015) dx.doi.org/10.1364/OPTICA.2.000088