Archives for posts with tag: Collective identity


presedintele critica fiscul

Cred că libertatea de exprimare nu poate fi suprimată pentru banale motive administrative. În al doilea rând, această abordare heirupistă din partea ANAF mi se pare nepotrivită, dacă nu discutabilă, și am constatat din discuții avute că există deschidere la factorii de decizie și prin discuții așezate și calme se găsesc soluții convenabile”,

Indiferent de cati ii sar acum la beregata omul are dreptate.

Am folosit ‘omul’ in loc de ‘Presedintele’ pentru a sublinia faptul ca atat el cat si toti ceilalti – admiratori, detractori precum si cei care incearca sa isi pastreze capul limpede, sunt oameni, cu o capacitate de intelegere inerent limitata.
Si tocmai de aceea ar face bine ca macar sa incerce sa se inteleaga unii pe ceilalti inainte de a se exprima in ‘sentinte’.

De ce cred ca are dreptate Iohannis in cazul asta?

Hotararile justitiei au fost puse in aplicare. Din punct de vedere ‘contabil’ pagubele stabilite de instanta au fost acoperite. Imobilele in cauza sunt intabulate ‘pe statul roman’.

Mai sunt, intr-adevar, multe de facut. Aceste imobile trebuie valorificate.

Numai ca aceasta este o problema administrativa. Tine de modul in care niste functionari, niste angajati ai statului, inteleg sa-si indeplineasca indatoririle de serviciu.

Este o lege care cere ca imobilele confiscate sa fie valorificate prin vanzare?
Foarte bine! Atunci sa fie vandute.
Spune legea ca proprietarul are dreptul, in anumite conditii, sa ceara celui care ocupa o cladire sa o evacueze in termen de 5 zile? Asta inseamna ca proprietarul, sau un reprezentant al sau, are intr-adevar dreptul sa ceara acest lucru.


Nu neaparat obligatia. Aceasta poate decurge, insa, din legea care prevede modul in care sunt valorificate imobilele confiscate.

Iar cei chemati sa aplice aceste doua legi mai trebuie, atunci cand isi indeplinesc obligatiile de serviciu, sa tina cont si de celelalte reglementari care au tangenta cu situatia.

De fapt exact asta este datoria functionarilor publici. Sa faca in asa fel incat interesele noastre, ale tuturor, sa fie respectate.
In conditiile specificate de lege. De toate legile aflate in vigoare la un moment dat.

Inclusiv de cele care le permit celor de la Antena 3 sa ceara tot felul de lucruri in instante.

Iar evacuarea propriu-zisa, daca va fi pusa in aplicare vreodata, va putea fi facuta abia dupa ce toate formalitatile legale vor fi fost indeplinite. Altfel insusi conceptul de justitie va fi fost tarat in mocirla.

‘Da’, dar cei de la Antena 3 se dedau la niste actiuni oribile de manipulare a opiniei publice!’

Da, si mie mi se pare chestia asta.

Numai ca atunci cand te injura cineva ai la dispozitie trei variante.

– Te faci ca nu auzi.
Cateodata merge, mai ales daca nu te vei mai intalni vreodata cu respectivul.

– Il injuri si tu pe el.
Toata situatia degenereaza si peste putin timp vei avea de solutionat o problema mult mai mare decat cea de la inceput.

– Cauti o alta rezolvare.
De exemplu iti pastrezi calmul si ii raspunzi astfel incat sa i se faca lui rusine de ce a facut. Sau macar sa il faci de ras in fata spectatorilor.
Iar daca nu merge cu frumosul, il ‘dai in judecata’. Si astepti ca justitia sa isi urmeze cursul.

Ca daca nu ai o incredere reala in mersul justitiei toata discutia de pana acum a fost degeaba.
Iar daca nu iti plac legile in vigoare la un moment dai nu ai decat sa incerci sa le schimbi.
Daca incerci sa te fofilezi pe langa ele nu faci decat sa creezi un precedent care se va intoarce impotriva ta, mult mai repede decat iti poti inchipui.

Asta asa, ca sa-i dau dreptate si lui Ciolos.

ciolos are dreptate

Information is like bricks while knowledge is like buildings.
One can make his own bricks from the available mud and then proceed to build his own hut.
Inevitable all bricks made by man will have something in common – after all they are made from the same material, for the same purpose, by individuals belonging to the same species, but will also vary considerably – depending, among others, on the skills of the makers and on the quality of the available mud.
Inevitably the houses will also have something in common – again, they are made for the same broad purpose by individuals belonging to the same species – but they will vary more widely than the bricks do because they have to fulfill a wider selection of purposes in a variety of climates. (All bricks are made to be used as building blocks but buildings are used for many more purposes than simply sleeping in them.)
In conclusion information is something that was gleaned by an individual from his environment while knowledge is a patchwork put together by the same individual using the pieces of information he has acquired previously.
Also please note that while all information is gleaned using one’s senses this process can be a direct one – the senses probe the reality in a direct mode, the observer watches birds in his back yard, or it can be mediated by an information source – the passionate reads, using the ‘same’ eyes as the observer, a book about the same birds.
And any consideration about the difference between information and knowledge would be incomplete if we forget to mention ‘sensations’.
Which are nothing but the raw material – the mud, if you like – from where our brain extracts what we call ‘information’ – which, in its turn, will end up being attached, by the same brain, to the patchwork commonly known as knowledge.
I believe you are already familiar with this meme.
Here’s what I’d have used as a caption:
The older I get the more I realize that during my last days I might depend heavily on those around me.
Hence I started to treat them fairly, just as I expect them to treat me towards the end of my life.
Most of them responded in kind.
Therefore the older I get, the more I enjoy life.

We are very proud of our ability to make ‘rational decisions’.

So proud as to delude ourselves into believing that if we have enough information about something and enough time to consider it our opinion/decision about that subject will be “true”.

Take as much time as you wish.

“Alex prays on his own now, studying the Koran to work out what it really seems to say about gender and sexuality.

Yet he fantasizes about attending Eid festivities in Oakland next year where his mother celebrates. “She can’t deny me when I’m right there in front of her friends,” he says.

But it now feels like the hardest fight is in the past, not the future.

“When your mother hurts you, no one can hurt you as much as that,” he says. “My strength comes from that.” ”

I borrowed this title from the BBC because it frames nicely what I wanted to say.

First of all I’m at a loss to understand why so many people considers this to be a ‘Greek debacle’? Did the Greeks lend money to themselves and then refused to pay or this whole mess started years ago, when some private banks supplied huge amounts of money to a country notorious for her shoddy ways?
Then, when Greece was way outside the European norms about how much debt a country might have if it wished to join the Eurozone, the Greek Government lied blatantly and the European officials knowingly turned a blind eye in that direction.
Later, when Brussels started to make noises about this issue the Greek Government, instead of finding a way to pay some of the debt, used another ‘creative solution’ – a currency swap organized by Goldman Sachs. This time Euro-stat rubber-stamped the deal. Now the blame is put entirely on Goldman Sachs.

In 2010, after it became apparent that Greece was no longer able to service its foreign debt – at that time owned mostly by private banks, a first bailout plan was arranged. In 2011 a second one. This way ownership of most of Greece’s debt was transferred from private to public hands.

On the other hand giving Greece a ‘haircut’ now, before they had even started to mend their crooked ways, would be an insult towards the Irish, the Portuguese and the Spanish – who had all swallowed the bitter austerity pill.

And yet.
Moral hazard aside we have to consider two things. Greece is different from the rest of the Euro-zone and Greece’s accrued debt is so huge relative to it’s GDP that none in his right mind would ever expect it to be payed back. In this respect what is happening now is nothing but an exercise of ‘kicking the can down the alley’.

Now let me explain in which way Greece is different and why this is important for the future of the EU.

Samuel Huntington has put forward a very interesting theory in which he argues that “The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.” And as you can see in this map, borrowed from Huntington’s book, via Wikipedia, Greece does not belong to the same cultural space as the ‘Western Europe’.
Huntington has drawn that map using the dominant religion as a criterion, in Europe as well as in other parts of the world. Nevertheless he probably has ‘felt’ that his method has it’s shortcomings. America is divided into ‘Latin American’ and ‘Western’ but Europe is not divided into ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestant’.
And rightly so because what happened in Catholic South America is currently happening in ex Soviet dominated Eastern Europe AND in Greece: rampant and casual corruption that tears apart the social fabric.
What if the nations that inhabit these two cultural spaces have something more in common than ‘top-down’ religious systems – both Orthodox and Catholics have a rather rigid ecclesiastical hierarchy?
Relatively little experience at being independent? At thinking with their own heads, as nations? At being proud of their constant success as teams instead of defining themselves relative to something that had happened in their distant past?

A modern independent nation is, or more precisely used to be, defined by the fact that the elite understands its mission and takes it seriously. Because of that – the positive results, that is, the masses are content with their current elite and follow it – consciously or not so consciously.
A country where the population hasn’t fully reached the ‘national’ stage of development experiences an almost schizophrenic situation. The individuals who should gather together, coalesce into an elite and run country are more preoccupied with their individual short term well being than with making sure that their own children will be able to live in a fully functional country when they grow up. For this reason the general public doesn’t trust the ‘leaders’. And this mutual distrust/disrespect has a very practical consequence: corruption becomes the modus vivendi of the entire society.

It is relatively simple to understand that a relationship of mutual respect between the elite and the general public needs a rather long time to develop and that the process has to take place unhindered by outside intervention. That’s why it cannot take place while the country is dominated by a colonial power, by an imperium or in any other way.
That’s why the peoples that live in South America have only recently started to make peace with their politicians – and not in all countries yet:  they might have conquered their independence from Spain and Portugal almost 200 years ago only their elites had everything in their minds but the general well being of the countries they were running. On top of that the former colonial powers and later the US have all intervened in the daily life of their former colonies/neighbors, further hindering their natural development.
Same thing happened in Eastern Europe. The Baltic States, Poland and Hungary have been, on and off, under foreign occupation but not for so long as to severely damage their development. In contrast Romania, Bulgaria and Greece had not enjoyed real freedom since the XIV-th century. And after they did became independent their elite went looking elsewhere for inspiration. Towards Western Europe at first and to the Soviet Union afterwards.  A somewhat natural thing, given the circumstances, but which did little to forge fully functional nations out of their populations.
Meanwhile the ‘man in the street’ has developed a particular strategy for surviving. He trusts nobody but his family  and close friends and doesn’t pay taxes unless he really has to. He has no qualms to take ‘bribes’ from the state – early retirement, subsidies, etc. – but that doesn’t mean he will trust the politicians that ‘distributed’ those ‘gifts’.

What is happening now, when the European elites are supposed to take their cue from Brussels, is not helping much. Ms Merkel is preoccupied primarily with her own constituency and the EU top brass are fully aware that Berlin has the last word about who gets what top notch European position. Any wonder smaller nations feel ‘neglected’? We should keep in mind that, as Great Britain is just one example, that Europeans do not feel towards the EU what the Americans feel towards the good old US of A.
Eastern Europeans have a particularly hard time. They want to get in the EU – they are both fed up with their local politicians and would like to be part of a working environment but at the same time they have a rather ambivalent attitude towards the EU institutions. This institutions enjoy a lot of respect from the Easterners, because they had worked properly – until not so long ago, at least, but at the same time they are watched with great apprehension. People who have had to take, in the past, their cue from ‘foreigners’ are somewhat weary of this whole thing.

So yes, I’m afraid that the euro-zone will be damaged by the current crises only I don’t think we should be speaking of a ‘Greek debacle’.  In fact the union itself – the European elite, to be more precise – has not entirely fulfilled its duty.

The sooner we understand that, the sooner we’ll know what to demand of it. And maybe we’ll be able to bridge the cultural divide mentioned by Huntington.

The alternative would be dire. The Russian elite – not the Russian people itself, only a fragment of its elite – will grab the opportunity to extend their influence. And by doing so to continue to hinder the natural development of the Eastern European nations. Including Modern Greece.

“Why should the European taxpayers bail out the profligate Greeks?”

That’s the mantra I’ve been hearing for some time now, even though a way bigger, and darker, cloud slowly builds up on the other side of the world.

As almost all mantras there is a small nugget of truth in here, even if things are not at all as some want us to believe. wrote this almost prophetic article for Reuters, more than two years ago.


First of all I’d like to quote the definition proposed by for ‘moral hazard’:

“The risk that a party to a transaction has not entered into the contract in good faith, has provided misleading information about its assets, liabilities or credit capacity, or has an incentive to take unusual risks in a desperate attempt to earn a profit before the contract settles.
Moral hazard can be present any time two parties come into agreement with one another. Each party in a contract may have the opportunity to gain from acting contrary to the principles laid out by the agreement…..
Moral hazard can be somewhat reduced by the placing of responsibilities on both parties of a contract….”

The way I understand this definition is that it is the job of both parties who enter into a contract to perform every diligence they see fit before committing to that contract  and to assume the responsibility afterwards.
Let’s see if this definition sheds any light on today’s subject.
The Western World tends to act as if all countries were functioning as communities. If we don’t like what Putin does in Ukraine we impose sanctions that hurt the entire Russia in the hope that people will do something about the situation. That tactic works very rarely – see what happens in N. Korea and in Iran. Even more, sometimes it even backfires. Look at how popular Putin has become after the sanctions have been put in place.
Coming back to Greece we have become fed up with the shenanigans of the Greek politicians – right, left and middle – and now we insist on harsh ‘austerity measures’ in the hope that the Greek voters will somehow find among themselves an honest knight in a shinning armor that will appear from somewhere and teach them to pay their taxes – and by doing so they’ll dully repay the entire debt that has accrued over the time.
After all it’s their responsibility, isn’t it?
It was them, the Greek voters, that have elected the corrupt politicians in the first place. It was them, the Greek voters, that didn’t do anything when they noticed that their Government was corrupt. Even more, some of the ordinary Greeks must have helped the corrupt politicians – nobody can be corrupt by it’s own, somebody must be at the other side of the deal. On top of that dodging taxes was, and still is, a national sport in Greece – well, that’s actually a rational thing to do: ‘who in it’s right mind would willingly pay his taxes, knowing that most of the money would be squandered away’?
Does that mean that the Greeks should be made to reimburse, in integrum, what their creditors demand of them?
OK, lets forget for one moment that this not possible and that if Greece defaults not only the Greek people will have to endure harsh conditions for a while but also the creditors will loose a considerable amount of what they are due.
Let’s presume that a completely different Tsipras somehow convinces the Greek people to accept pension cuts, tax hikes and, lo and behold, to pay their taxes in an honest way.

Then we’ll still have a fine example of ‘moral hazard’.
We have just established that in a democracy the voters have the final responsibility for the actions of those elected/hired into meaningful positions.
And what did the elected officials, from Brussels as well as those from the rest of the EU capitals? Turned a blind eye when Greek politicians ‘cooked the books’ before Greece was admitted into the EU and, after that, into the Euro zone? Then, when the private banks that had unwisely extended credit to the profligate Greeks had troubles recouping their money, the same elected officials said nothing while Jean Claude Trichet, the then president of the ECB, helped transfer the entire burden – mind you, no ‘haircuts’, unto the ‘wider’ shoulders of the European tax-payer? Who said absolutely nothing!
Only now some of the elected politicians, afraid that their constituents might finally protest, have started to notice the irresponsible attitude of Greece, to demand harsh austerity measures and to refuse even the idea of any debt relief.
So how come we can speak of moral hazard when we describe what the Greeks (governments, tax dodgers and general public) did but never mention in this context the lack of financial responsibility displayed by the investment bankers that helped the Greek governments cover up their shenanigans, the European officials who turned a blind eye to what was going on and the wide European public who didn’t care about what was done with their money by those hired to take good care of the European finances?
What is going to happen from now on?
Before trying to gouge that we need to understand what sets Greece apart from the countries that have dragged themselves out of the worst phases of the latest crises – Ireland, Spain and Portugal: Greece is a country deeply divided by rampart corruption.
In most of Europe corruption is a cancer that reaches across the entire social organism, in Greece it divides the population in two almost equal parts: those who work for or do business with the Government and all the rest.
The situation is made worse by the fact that Greece has become independent rather lately, specially compared with the Western Europe. Furthermore, the process was a lengthy one, it started in 1821 and ended right after WWI, only to recommence during WWII. Add to that the long list of authoritarian leaders and you’ll understand the deep mistrust between the people and the Government – which is not at all ‘their’, despite Greece calling itself a democracy. I have a distinct impression that even those who work for or do business with the Government doesn’t really trust it – they know too much about what is going on there. Small wonder, in these conditions, that dodging taxes is a national sport…
What we have now is, on one side, some European leaders who were elected on a conservative/popular ticked and who have already introduced some austerity at home and, on the other side, a leader who has promised to end austerity.
For these people to reach an agreement both sides have to admit failure: the European leaders must accept the past errors and take responsibility for them and Tsipras must convince his constituents that they need to change their attitude. Completely.
Does any of this have any chance to come true?
There is a small difference between the first two and the last one.
The car and the pills where supposed to be safe while the guns have been purposefully designed to be deadly.
Just as ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, guns are dangerous only if used inappropriately while a badly designed car or some tainted pills are dangerous no matter what!

“An Amnesty International report reveals what the human rights group calls the ‘devastating impact’ of Ireland’s ban on abortion”

The same report asks us to take action and “urge” the Taoiseah (the prime minister of Ireland) to:

The troublesome amendment reads like this: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

On one side it make a lot of sense. What could be the difference between the life of the mother and that of the unborn and how could somebody choose between these two?

On the other side it unveils an ugly truth: “The State…”…

What we have here is a blatant example of an organized crowd – “the State” – imposing it’s will on a minority of it’s members in a matter that, in reality, doesn’t affect anything else but the feelings of the crowd. Besides the entire life of the mother, of course.

The point I’m trying to make is that we cannot equate the life of an unborn, specially so if the fetus is less than three month old, with that of its mother.
It makes a lot of sense to recognize the life of a self contained human being – once that it was born – and a lot less to impose as a sacrosanct value that of the life of a fetus that cannot survive, under any circumstances, outside the womb of its mother.
A child that has already survived its birth or a sick person can be successfully taken care of by the community. Same thing is not at all valid for an unborn fetus that is less than three months old.

So when discussing the relationship between the life of a mother and that of her unborn child we have two situations. When the fetus is too small to survive outside the womb it practically belongs to the mother and she should be the one who decides about it.
Only after the fetus has reached the stage from which it could survive a miscarriage we enter the realm described by the 8Th Amendment. Only from that moment on the life of the child becomes equivalent to that of the mother and only from that moment on the pregnancy should be terminated only if the life of the mother is in immediate danger, as specified by the current Irish legislation.

‘Democracy’ comes from ‘demos’, the Greek word for ‘people’.
Basically a democratic society is  a social arrangement where the people is in charge. Through representatives, as in most cases, or even directly – the Swiss organize referendums whenever they have something really important to decide.

‘Republic’ comes from Latin. ‘Res publica’ means ‘public matters (=issues)’ so a republic can be seen as a social arrangement where everything is out in the open.

Would it make any sense for the public to know everything that is going on if they don’t have any say in the matter? Could democracy work if people are kept in the dark?

In communism the state (in fact the rulers) decide everything – who does what and who gets what.
In socialism there is not much difference from the previous state. (I can vouch for both propositions, I’ve lived under both regimes)
‘Anarchy’ means no rules. If you happen to have two cows you need to defend them constantly, by your own, against anyone who covets them. Remember, anarchy means ‘no rules’ whatsoever. You cannot cherry-pick. I like this rule (property rights are fundamental for me) so this one stays in place while the the rules that I don’t like will be discarded.
As in ‘I won’t respect but the rules I like and I’ll hold everybody else to respect mine’.
That would be an absolutely one sided anarchy. If you’d be able to enforce such an arrangement it would be perceived by everybody else as the most authoritarian regime ever and Stalin would be jealous of your accomplishments.
As I said before ‘democracy’ means people having their say about how things are settled in a that particular society. If people respect each-other you have real democracy. If people band together to decide, against the will of the owner, about the fate of those fabled two cows we can no longer speak about true democracy. That would be ‘mob rule’, just another form of ‘anarchy/authoritarianism’. One ‘organized’ by a ruler who is a callous spin doctor skilled enough in his trade to make a considerable portion of the population follow him, usually against their better interests.

I was just speaking about the mutual respect that exists among the members of a truly democratic society…. I have a distinct feeling that those who promote this meme think of themselves as being ‘the true democrats’… I’m not a religious person myself, not in the classic sense of the word anyway. But I won’t ever think of a religious person as being ‘ignorant’ based solely on his creed and I’ll never refer to him using such a word, regardless of his level of education. One of the reasons being that if I ‘indulge’ in such a barbarism he’ll never listen to me again.
Why should he? To get some more abuse from me?

Now lets get this straight.
Mutual respect is absolutely essential for democracy.
There can be no such thing as mutual respect among individuals whose goals are mutually exclusive.
This meme actually doesn’t make much sense. No matter how well armed the lamb is, a determined wolf would eventually sink its fangs in the lamb’s sweet flesh so a rational lamb would do his best to shoot the wolf at the first opportunity. What kind of democracy are we speaking about here?

Most governments don’t get this. You can stretch it only that far. At some point, no matter how authoritarian the regime, people will take to the street.
This doesn’t mean that democracy will automatically be installed after a public uprising, far from it. The Arab Spring is only the latest example.
It only means that people have it in themselves to try to improve their lot. If they find a way to do this together then the sky’s the limit.
And this is a fact. Only the democratic America successfully landed a man on the Moon. The Soviet Union was the first to start this game but wasn’t able to keep up.

Yeah? And what are bragging about here?
About not finding a candidate to suit your wishes AND not doing anything about this situation?
How about running yourself? Or at least going there and annulling your ballot…
If you do not vote at all the political establishment will consider that you are either content with what is going on or so despondent as to not care anymore. So why should they even consider your plight? In which direction should they change their behavior in order to suit your needs if you don’t express them when you have the chance?

Really? Is he indeed unable to make distinction between democracy and mob rule?
‘Democracy in and of itself is not necessarily a good thing’…
I’m afraid he didn’t get the gist of it!
Real (=functional, stable over long periods of time) democracy IS good while mob rule IS bad. Period.

So, any chance for this cute fellow to have nailed it?

Close but there is space for improvement so I’ll try to rephrase this.
A democratic system invariable becomes weak/unstable if the general public becomes complacent and the power is grabbed by short-sighted but arrogant and callous spin doctors who, by eviscerating the true nature of democracy, transform the concept into an empty shell. This way the democratic process becomes a beauty pageant and an erstwhile democracy becomes a subtle dictatorship.

The strangest part of all this is that exactly those who should have known better – the professional politicians and some members of the academia – are the first to fall into the trap.


Activists dismantle Ukraine’s biggest monument to Lenin at a rally in the eastern city of Kharkiv on Sept. 28, 2014. Photo: Igor Chekachkov/Associated Press

Wall Street Journal reports that Ukrainian people are somewhat baffled by  a new law banning the use of Soviet (and Nazi) symbols.

“While few outside Crimea and the rebel strongholds of eastern Ukraine want to join Russia, not all Ukrainians are ready to repudiate a joint history that remains dear to many across generations.

“I wanted to tell my child that there was ‘Uncle Lenin,’ and at one point Mama took part in a big celebration in Kiev” in honor of the first Soviet leader, said 37-year-old Svetlana Arshavina, who lives in this suburb northwest of the capital.

“Now what will I tell her? That they took Uncle Lenin and smashed him to pieces?” she asked.”

Isn’t it rather strange that the nephews of those who survived the 1921 Famine still harbor any respect for the likes of Lenin?

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