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February 13, 2016Posted by on
The situation in Syria is horrible. The West is responsible for the situation in the Middle East. It is the West (especially USA and UK) who supported brutal dictators like Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad. They also supported the dictator of Egypt – Hosni Mubarak and they support the current dictator of the country.
The Western governments refuse to attack ISIS, although spending a lot of taxpayer money, giving fat contracts to companies producing weapons, and claiming they attack ISIS. In reality, they only attacked once the ISIS trucks transporting oil, three days after the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. ISIS can keep doing their business without being bothered too much by the West.
At very least, the West, together with its allies – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, should break a small part from Northern Syria and allow the refugees to come there, supplying them food and shelter. They have more than enough power to do that and to protect such a small area.
By the contrary, the Western governments are very happy with the disaster taking place in Syria, and the Western media spreads misinformation, claiming that the Arabs always enjoyed fighting and killing each others. Even the US president Barack Obama supports such miserable claims.
In Iraq, the USA replaced Saddam with a Saddam like president – Nouri al-Maliki. The USA supports an ultra-corrupt government in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan. While filling their pockets and bank accounts with billions of US dollars, the people of those corrupt governments are making the life of their people a living hell. All that with the support from the West. The West is doing nothing to pressure the governments in Iraq or Afghanistan to reduce corruption.
I live in Spain and that makes me a Westerner. I am deeply ashamed to be part of all this horrible situation. So my message for the people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan is that I am ashamed to be part of this, I am ashamed that, with my passivity, I am supporting the Western governments to devastate their countries. But I will try my best to change that, calling the other Westerners to stop supporting their governments and to pressure their governments to help Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, instead of devastating them.
February 13, 2016Posted by on
In my view, the Economic Crisis exists because of a few major factors:
- Importing cheap products from China. If the European workers wants to keep their job, they have to work for 200 Euro / month, like the Chinese workers do. International free trade is good, but every country must have some degree of protectionist measures in order to maintain the jobs into the country. Instead of buying everything from China, Europe should invite the Chinese companies to produce things in the Europe, using European workers
- Fiscal paradises, which allow the rich and the super-rich to do tax evasion. They have trillions of US dollars saved in the fiscal paradises. See Offshore leaks.
- No control of speculation. Any capitalist system must make sure that the prices of commodities are in the reach of the many, otherwise the system simply can’t work. Usually that can be achieved by ensuring real competition between companies, but sometimes more actions are required. The prices of the real estate properties exploded, driving the people into poverty. The government has to either force the players to keep the prices under a certain levels or to rent houses/apartments itself. In order to make sure that the people can afford to pay the rents/mortgages for their flats.
The Economic Crisis has a cause, and the cause is that the governments are not doing anything to protect their people. They refuse to put in place the rules that can keep the economy working.
Unfortunately, the public is not aware of such things and it’s not putting pressure on their governments to change the situation.
February 13, 2016Posted by on
I live in Spain and that makes me a Westerner. I am thankful to live here, since the situation in the rest of the world is much worse. But the West is far from being ok, and there are many things that make me feel disgusted and ashamed for being part of the West.
These are the things I don’t like in the West:
- providing a safe heaven to organized crime and most of the corrupt political leaders from all over the world who save their money in Switzerland or in the Western banks and who buy properties in the West
- tax heavens, which are helping tax evasion
- increasing poverty in the third world by exploiting the workers there, by doing business with local outfits (business, governments) who exploit their workers and by supporting corporations which destroy small farming and replace it with large farms, sending the people into poverty. Examples: Ethiopia and India
- damaging the environment by convincing corrupt governments to cut down forests in order to create palm plantations, leading to environmental disasters.
- growing crops for biofuels, and that leads to an increased the price of food, hurting very much the poor people
- fake and disingenuous charities who, instead of helping the poor people with real solutions, only make them become dependent of help. Instead of giving them food, the solution is to rent them land for cheap so they can grow their own food. Instead of selling houses for cheap to very few people, the solution is to rent them houses for cheap. There is no wonder why the big charities are so fake (Red Cross, World Food Programme, Habitat for Humanity) – they are not democratic movements started by the people – they are outfits created by the super-rich (also called “plutocracy”).
Unfortunately, the Western public doesn’t seem to be aware about how much damage all the above things are doing and they are not asking their governments to change any of those things.
December 4, 2015Posted by on
Rifaat al-Assad, the uncle of the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, involved in the Hama massacre of 1982 and in the 1980 Tadmor (Palmyra) Prison massacre, also named “butcher of Tadmor”, lives like a king in the West, having properties in the UK, France and Spain. The Syrians say that he is extremely rich and he also has 33% of the Eurotunnel.
Hussein Salem – Wikipedia – an Egyptian-Spanish businessman, co-owner of the East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), and ally and advisor to former president Hosni Mubarak.
Salem was accused by Egyptian authorities of corruption on charges he illegally gained public funds by obtaining a monopoly on the sale of gas to Israel, and as a result, squandering $714 million in public funds by selling Egyptian natural gas to Israel at below market prices. Hussein Salem, a former intelligence officer on the Egyptian side, conducted deals with Yossi Maiman, a former intelligence agent with Israel’s Mossad.
Egypt’s Lost Power, an investigative documentary broadcast today by Al Jazeera and available worldwide online – it provides new insight into how Egypt’s vast natural gas wealth was stolen through collusion by Israel and cronies of the former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.
The documentary focuses on the role of Hussein Salem, a close associate of Mubarak, and Samih Fahmy, a protege of Salem, who was installed as Egypt’s energy minister in the early 2000s.
in June 2012, the Cairo Criminal Court found Salem, in absentia, and former Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmi guilty and sentenced them each to 15 years in prison.
However, Salem still resides in Spain due to the Spanish authorities refusal to extradite him.
Al Jazeera asked Yossi Maiman about his role in back-door deals with Egyptian businessmen that resulted in Egypt exporting gas to Israel at prices well below market rate – YouTube.
Importing Syrian criminals
Mass murdering Muslims from the government forces, from Hezbollah, from Obama and EU’s infamous al-Qaeda affiliated “rebels”, and from the Islamic state who behead unarmed people are pouring into Europe by the thousands. As you can see on the photos they are pretending to be “desperate refugees”, some even rent children to pose with in a theatrical manner, crying crocodile tears.
This problem is a creation of the EU leadership who need to be charged with treason and face appropriate punishments.
Importing corrupt “investors” from Russia & Ukraine
London estate agents caught on camera dealing with ‘corrupt’ Russian buyer
In a documentary called From Russia With Cash, to be broadcast on Wednesday, two undercover reporters pose as an unscrupulous Russian government official called “Boris” and his mistress “Nastya” whom he wants to purchase an upmarket property in London for.
The couple – Russian anti-corruption campaigner Roman Borisovich and Ukrainian investigative reporter Natalia Sedletska – view five properties ranging in price from £3m to £15m, on the market with five different west London agents, in Kensington, Chelsea and Notting Hill.
Despite being made aware they are dealing with ill-gotten gains, the estate agents agree to continue with a potential purchase. In several instances the estate agents recommend law firms to help a buyer hide his identity.
London hotter than ever for Ukraine’s oligarchs
LONDON – Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea are the most desired destinations for ultra-rich homebuyers from around the world, and Ukraine’s oligarchs are no exceptions. House prices here are anything north of $2.2 million.
The influx of foreign cash – often of dubious origin – this year has forced the British government to consider tightening property-buying regulations and banning shell companies from offshore havens that hide real owners.
Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov bought the most expensive apartment in London in 2011, at One Hyde Park for roughly $200 million. According to a range of reports in the British media, Akhmetov’s London abode is a fortress, complete with bulletproof windows and a panic room where he and his family can retreat should an emergency arise.
June 8, 2015Posted by on
I live in the Western Europe, more exactly – in Spain. With all the problems we have, the life of the people here is much better than in the most parts of the world (Asia, Africa, Latin America). Almost every day I say thanks heavens I don’t live in such parts of the world.
Having said that, I don’t think that the West is perfect or very good. There are lots of bad things and I’ll try to mention some of them.
Today, the tax evasion: If a private person or the owner a small company evades paying tax, they are breaking the law and they risk to go to jail. But when big companies evade paying taxes using tax heavens, they are not breaking the law and they don’t risk anything. Because the laws are tailored in order to protect the big crime, legalizing tax fraud for the super-rich.
The missing $20 trillion – How to stop companies and people dodging tax, in Delaware as well as Grand Cayman, Feb 16th 2013, The Economist.
Delaware – a black hole in the heart of America – The US state has been named the world’s most opaque jurisdiction in a major new survey of financial secrecy. 1 November 2009, Nick Mathiason, The Guardian
Legalized Tax Fraud: How Top US Corporations Continue to Profit Through Offshore Tax Havens, Feb 18 2015, budget.senate.gov
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, today called on America’s leading corporations to stop sheltering profits in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens.
As CEOs seek tax cuts, senator slams corporate tax haven use, Feb 18, 2015, David Lawder, Reuters.
Sanders, top opposition member on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, released a report decrying what he called “legalized tax fraud.” It showed that 111 of the 201 member companies of the Business Roundtable are sheltering more than $1 trillion in profits overseas, where they are not subject to U.S. taxes.
June 5, 2015Posted by on
Introduction: no economic system can work without affordable prices. Without affordable prices, the people become poor and incapable to buy the basic goods they need to sustain their life as human beings.
One of the most important things in a functional capitalist system is a real competitive market. The economic agents must compete in order to be able to offer competitive prices for their products. The competition and the competitive prices make the goods affordable, so the people can actually buy them.
Without competition, monopolies and cartels can form, and they can inflate the prices of the goods. And when the prices of the basic goods are inflated, then the people become poor, because they won’t afford to buy those basic goods (food, water, electricity, housing, etc)
Therefore the government must make sure that there is real competition on the market, in order to have affordable prices for the basic goods.
The government must fight monopolies, cartels and speculation because these things are anti-competitive and the inflate prices of basic goods.
In the area of housing and real estate, because the land is in limited supply, the price of the land and of houses tend to grow constantly. A limited amount of land can only fit a limited number of houses, so the houses can not be produced indefinitely like for example food.
In the field of real estate, competition is not enough in order to ensure the affordable prices. The only real solution here is the government to interfere and to rent houses and land to the people, for a profit, but at a decent price. Nobody should be able to rent two houses from the government. If someone wants more houses, they can buy or rent them from the private market. But they should not get from the government more than one house, because such thing will prevent someone else to have a house.
In conclusion, the competition is very important in order to make a system functional. But the real goal is not the competition in itself. The real goal is to get to the affordable prices. And sometimes the competition alone is not enough. The government should rent houses (or — better — apartments) to the people who want such houses, in order to make sure that the people can have access to affordable housing.
June 5, 2015Posted by on
I do not agree that a functional communist society can be created with absence of money and state. On the other hand, I do support the ideas of egalitarianism and participatory democracy.
A communist system means the absence of state, and that means the system is sustained by participatory democracy, and that means the people in that system have to participate into the decision making. And this is the biggest problem with every single modern communist system or group of people: the sad truth is that the people do not bother to create a better society, they do not participate.
When a group of people want to have a communist system, they have to understand that they have to actually build their communist system, step by step, and they have to learn how to participate, because the ability to make the system work can come only from actually practicing it.
If the communists really want to build communism, they should start with the very basics: they can put money and effort together and they can start cooperatives, in order to start creating jobs and to practice. If one million communists will put 10 dollars each, they can get 10 million dollars, and with those money they can start a cooperative. That cooperative should work for a profit, and all the profits should be invested into growing the cooperative, to create even more jobs. Once they will make the system run, there will be a lot of enthusiasts available to donate much more than just 10 dollars. There are a lot of rich communist supporters in this world. So the money are not a problem. The real problem is to convince the people to actually participate.
If the communist supporters refuse to build their egalitarian society, then the only alternative left is for them to find leaders to build that egalitarian system for them. And there are very small chances that they can find the right people to do the job. Most likely, they will find a dictator like Stalin, Pol Pot, Ceausescu or Castro to enslave and terrorize them in the name of communism. All those dictators were free to do horrible things because the people prefer to find leaders who tell them sweet words instead of actually building communism.
So the problem is not the communism, but the real problem is the communists who refuse to participate and to actually build a better society.
June 5, 2015Posted by on
One very important thing about the self-styled “communist” countries (examples: Soviet Russia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, North Korea, China) that we have to notice is the fact that they were not and they are not communist at all.
In those countries, the “communist” leadership simply enslaved the people in the name of communism. Instead of working for greedy and corrupt rich investors, in the communist countries the people had to work for a greedy and corrupt communist elite. So there was no real change when those countries became “communist”.
Also there were no cooperatives in communist countries. What the governments called “cooperatives” were in fact state-owned companies where the people were forced to work for little money. The people did not own any land or means of production and they had no freedom to associate in order to create cooperatives. They were just forced to work together in government-owned outfits.
So, instead of giving the power to the working class, the “communist” governments simply enslaved the working class.
Also, they installed totalitarian regimes, and the people could not say anything against the communist party, and they could not even complain about the corruption of the “communist” leadership.
Therefore, we can safely say that the Western capitalist countries are much more communist than the “communist” countries, because in the West people are actually free to create cooperatives where each one has a share, while in the “communist” countries, they do not have that option.
So the people were just being indoctrinated (both in the West and in the East) to believe that those countries were communist, just like we (the Westerners) are indoctrinated today to believe that we live in capitalist systems, when in fact our systems are not capitalist, they are just being labeled as capitalist.
May 29, 2014Posted by on
It’s always a pleasure to hear about projects that develop modular or open source hardware. The more popular the hardware is, the better. And this time, it’s very good news.
Recently I found the Google’s Project Ara, that aims to create a modular mobile telephone.
2014-04-16 – http://www.wired.com/2014/04/google-project-ara/
2014-04-22 – http://www.wired.com/2014/04/google-ara-new-deal/
Google plans to release it in 2015. Sure, it’s an ambitious target and definitely Google has enough power to justify such an ambitious term.
However, making a modular mobile phone will probably be one of the greatest achievements of this century. Not only because of the telephone itself, but for the precedent it creates. It can be the spark that ignites a revolution in modular hardware. If this project will be the snowball that will start the snowball effect, then it will be for sure one of the greatest projects of this century.
It might take a little bit more time to deliver such a groundbreaking technology. I just hope that Google will keep working on the phone, even if it takes 5 years more to deliver it.
Also, I think that Google should also create modular tablets. Since they are bigger, it would be much easier to make them modular, as modular devices neeed to be bigger because the space consumed for provinding connections between modules. Also it would be awesome to create modular Notebooks.
Google Ara was inspired from the Phonebloks idea, which surfaced in 2013.
The only idea I found before 2013 for this was this post:
I wish that Google – or other big companies like Google will try to make also modular home appliances like washing machines, fridges, microwave ovens, coffee makers etc. Such machines will dramatically improve the life of the poor people, since they can’t afford to change a washing machine when a proprietary small part is broken.
February 22, 2012Posted by on
How wrong it is understood.
Democracy is a very good thing. But unfortunately, it is not really understood by most of the people in the world.
Democracy means indeed freedom of speech and the freedom to vote for the politicians you want to be in power.
But above all, democracy means something much more important: The freedom to associate with others and the freedom to solve community problems together with others. In a functional democratic society, the people do not only enjoy the freedom to speak and to vote, but they also take advantage of the freedom to associate in order to solve community issues together, therefore they assume the responsibility of living in a functional society.
Democracy doesn’t only mean that we just have opinions and we choose who will govern us every four or five years. Democracy means that we are free to join our forces in order to solve the problems in our society. From cleaning the streets together, to making associations that fight against any abuse of the government. At the very least, democracy means that we are free to check what our governments are doing and we ask them to do better (by protesting loudly) whenever an abuse occurs. Living in a democratic society doesn’t imply that we are just free to ignore each other and nothing else than that. Democracy doesn’t only come with freedom to ignore and to be indifferent, but it also comes with the responsibility of trying to find solutions together for all the problems in our community. If we will just ignore each others, then the democracy will turn into something ugly: all kind of abuses will be tolerated because of our indiference. Communism doesn’t work for sure – because it’s anti-democratic. But democracy also doesn’t work without good citizenship. That’s why we can see so many failing democratic states all over the world: because democracy doesn’t work when the people are indifferent and just ignore others. Without good citizenship there is no pressure on the politicians, government, police, judiciary and businesses to force them into a better behavior. Without the pressure from the citizens, those who are in power are free to commit any abuse. The best example that comes into my mind now is Philippines where in a single incident 58 people were massacred (34 of them were journalists) the Maguindanao massacre in 2009 and where children are imprisoned in the same rooms with adults, resulting in sexual abuses. Such abuses are possible only because the citizens allow them. A small abuse that is ignored today will encourage it’s perpetrators and it will lead to bigger abuses tomorrow.
This fundamental aspect of democracy is neglected in today’s world: that democracy doesn’t work without good citizenship and without assuming responsibilities.
Our politicians want us to think that democracy means only the freedom of speech and the freedom to vote. They promise to implement solutions but only if we give them the power.
They do not call the people to join them to create associations and solve things together, based on donations and voluntary work (like for example creating social housing). The politicians never try to implement solutions before coming into power.
That’s because they don’t really want solutions. The only thing the politicians really want is power. They don’t care about the people’s problems. They only use clever words in order to climb into power. It doesn’t matter if they are democrats, liberals, conservative, republicans, socialists, communists, fascists or ecologists. The politicians are all the same – they promise solutions but only if you give them the power. Without power, they won’t move a finger to create associations, cooperatives and NGO’s that can make a difference. And when they exceptionally do something like that, everyone can see that it’s astroturfing, not grasroots.
All the community problems can be solved by engaging the people of the community to build solutions together. Most of those solutions do not even require the involvement government. The people can solve those problems. We are missing this fundamental point. That’s because our education is simply wrong.
Even in some non-democratic regimes people had and have the freedom to associate and to help each other – like for example in the communist eastern European countries. But they had no idea how important was that freedom and how much they could do with it.
It’s a sad reality. The politicians don’t care about the people. They don’t care about others. But where is the root of the problem? The evil is inside us. Because we also don’t care about others. Before we blame the politicians, we should blame ourselves for not doing something to solve the problems in our community. Ever happened to you to meet some friends who talk about all kind of fancy stuff (cars, chicks, movies, legs of some famous actress) and you were wondering why they wouldn’t talk about other things like charity and community work?
The politicians of today’s world are very happy with this sad reality. They don’t want us to understand that we can solve our problems with community actions. They want us to be weak, they want us to think that we need to give them absolute power and privilege in order for them to fix our problems.
Therefore we, the people of this world, we are very weak and incapable to handle things on our own and we don’t have the capacity to create sustainable communities.
That’s why we have corruption, poverty, wars, dictators, economic crisis and so on.
Because we are educated so wrong we can see how all the big charities and foundations that claim they want to change the world are incapable to have real communication, we can see how they don’t engage the people to talk and to find solutions together, and worse than that, we can see how the people are accepting this situation.
Our education is wrong, and our indifference is even worse.
When you open the TV, it’s 95% about entertainment in form of sports, behinds and breasts of some fancy ladies, paparazzi fotos, etc., and less than 5% is about people who give a good example to their communities.
We are constantly indoctrinated in all public debates that the solutions come only from the politicians. Nobody comes to the TV to tell us that WE can solve problems and we should not wait for the politicians to solve the most of our problems. Therefore we always expect the government, the system, the politicians or the ideologies to fix everything for us. No system and no ideology can work without good citizenship. The only system and the only ideology that can really work is good citizenship. For example, in the recent years a new communist movement was formed in USA: Occupy Wall Street. But although they have a forum and they debate ideas together, all they do is only complaining and asking the system (or the new communist leaders) to fix everything for them. They would never talk about creating cooperatives together!
Our education is bad because we always expect the system, the government or new ideologies to find solutions for us, instead of involving into finding and creating those solutions on ourselves.
And all that is happening because we don’t understand this fundamental aspect of democracy – that we must use the freedom to associate, which is the root of the democracy. That’s why we become incapable to talk and to find solutions together.
So, what’s the solution?
One important step is to try to involve or at least to support some charities and NGO’s that are active in your community. Then you can ask some basic questions like “how many orphans are in my town?” “how well they are treated?” “how do old people or people with handicap live in my community?” and try to find answers. Try to engage your friends in such conversations. If they are not interested in such conversations, then probably it’s a very good idea to try to change your friends. Most of the people complain about the politicians (including your friends). But if they don’t care about others, then why would the politicians care about others (in this case about your friends)? Which leads to the idea that such people might be a bit hypocrite. That’s not to say that all people are hypocrite, but we can say for sure that all the people are indoctrinated to think in selfish terms. Therefore, if you feel it helps you to do better, change your friends, and find others who are interested in searching and finding solutions for the problems of your community – and also for other communities, not only yours.
Such a change will generate debates, talks, forums and will lead to the creation of groups of people who will implement solutions together.
We need governments and politicians, we don’t have to get rid of them. But we must constantly check them and we should always pressure them to deliver good governance. When the politicians commit abuses, they are doing them because they move into the shadows. And those shadows exist because we create them, with our indifference. So, those shady acts of politicians are going undetected because we do not check the things we should check. Therefore the fight starts with killing the monster that reside inside us.
In the end, I would like to quote from Marcin Król, one of the top contemporary Polish intellectuals:
“Western societies have achieved what liberal writers long yearned for: the equality of opportunity that comes with freedom of choice. This achievement was possible due to many restraints and is maintained thanks to a strong civil society. But the very idea of civil society assumes that we want something more than negative freedom, that we want to unite and struggle for common good, even if we do not see in it any immediate profit.”