Catalonia votes for independence

Spain’s north-eastern region of Catalonia finally cast their vote despite all of the resistance from the Spain’s authorities. The non-binding vote went ahead after Spain’s constitutional court ruled out a formal referendum. Almost 2 million people out of the population of 7.5 million could vote and the preliminary result is an overwhelming 80% in favor of vote of independence for Catalonia.

Catalan leader Artur Mas hailed the non-binding poll “a great success” that should pave the way for a formal referendum. Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala dismissed the poll as “fruitless and useless”, however. “The government considers this to be a day of political propaganda organized by pro-independence forces and devoid of any kind of democratic validity,” he said in a statement.

Judging from the recent events the region will not be allowed to gain independence in any democratic sort of way. Unfortunately, it is completely unclear whether Catalan are prepared to stand up and fight for their rights with weapon in hand. With the non-equivocal resistance from Spain that may eventually remain the only way though, just like the fight of the Eastern Ukraine for independence showed. It may be hard to imagine a bloody military battle in Spain but a year ago it was impossible to imagine a bloody battle in Ukraine either.

One thing that Spanish government made very clear is that they are not letting the region go. That stands to reason, no country is keen on breaking itself up, so why should they? If Catalonia wishes independence, they will have to fight for it. The economics of politics is such that it must become more expensive for Spain to keep them than to let them go. Is there a peaceful and non-destructive way to do that?

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“Democracy” at work – Scotland’s independence referendum

The people of Scotland voted in a referendum to end Britain’s rule on 18 September 2014… The official result of the referendum is negative, saying that the majority of people voted to stay under the British rule. The event demonstrated clearly that the so-called democracy is just a never-ending farce that has nothing to do with people’s will or interests.

The referendum had a very large turnout – according to official data 85% of people came out to vote. What does that tell us? It tells us that the question of Scotland’s independence was taken to heart and people became politically active. We know that the population usually becomes politically active when they wish to influence the government to make changes and they recognize an opportunity. The population remains largely passive when it finds the status quo agreeable or sees no chance of influencing the situation. The large turnout indicates the rather strong desire of change in the masses although the official result states the opposite.

Note that the preliminary polls, widely publicized by sources like BBC, Bloomberg and others, indicated that the referendum results will be negative with 52 % of population against the independence of Scotland. Under this premise, why would a large part of population suddenly become active? If they wanted to keep the status quo, all they had to do was to stay at home in front of the TV. There is only one explanation: the population became active precisely because they wanted to demonstrate their disagreement with the preliminary results. They all went out and voted because they wanted change and they noted that the change is close, they only need a couple percent to sway the balance. That is the kind of incentive that activates the electorate and causes large turnout: a desire for change and the impression that a single vote may decide the future of the country.

My guess is that the CNN accidentally published partially correct numbers when they announced the preliminary results where the Yes vote achieved 58%. That would be perfectly logical under the circumstances: the preliminary polls show 52% against (that’s what they put on the first line) and the final result was closer to the 58% in favor due to the high turnout of the population activated by the circumstances. I think, Scotland voted positively on their independence but… -->

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Fidel Castro: U.S. decided to settle scores with Russia and China

Cuba’s former president Fidel Castro compared NATO’s recent statements to that of Nazi SS and accused US and its allies of igniting conflicts abroad in an article published in Cuban media. Castro slammed John McCain for backing Israel and accused both of being involved in the creation of ISIS.

Apparently referring to the pressure the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been trying to exert on Moscow in connection with the Ukrainian crisis, which coincides with calls for the ramping up of military budgets of NATO member countries, Cuba’s iconic leader accused Western politicians of hypocrisy and aggression.

“Many people are astonished when they hear the statements made by some European spokesmen for NATO when they speak with the style and face of the Nazi SS,” Castro wrote in a column published in Cuban state media.

The statements of the 88-year-old leader came after NATO announced it will create a 4,000-strong “spearhead” high-readiness force that can be deployed rapidly in eastern Europe and the Baltic states to help protect member nations against potential Russian aggression.

“Adolf Hitler’s greed-based empire went down in history with no more glory than the encouragement provided to NATO’s aggressive and bourgeois governments, which makes them the laughing stock of Europe and the world.”

Castro attacked the West for its “cynicism” and said that it became “a symbol of imperialist policy.”

“The world has seen no respite in recent years, particularly since the European Economic Community, under the strict and unconditional leadership of the United States, decided the time had come to settle scores with what was left of two great nations – Russia and China – that… had carried out the heroic deed of putting an end to the imperialist colonial order imposed on the world by Europe and the United States,” Castro said.

Instead of promoting conflicts, the governments should “introduce more food, build hospitals and schools for the billions of human beings who desperately need them,” the Cuban leader believes.

Castro stressed that Cuba will continue to resist the US, despite the costs to the Cuban economy due to the US embargo, saying that “there is no worse price than capitulating before an enemy who attacks you without any right to do so.”

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Privacy, Democracy and Big Data

I read recently two very interesting articles that discuss in depth the current problems with the internet, privacy and democracy implications. I highly recommend reading both:

  • The Real Privacy Problem
  • Three Paradoxes of Big Data

The Internet and the related technologies erode the very fabric of society. They do so quietly, surreptitiously, in little steps. As usual, do not blame the tool, blame those that use it for evil. Although some tools better not have existed in the first place, I feel.… -->

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Plato’s parable of the State

Reading this excellent book called “The Republic” written by Plato reportedly in circa 380 b.c. amuses me to no end. This passage is simply irresistible:

I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures.  Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering –every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them. Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion, they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made

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Quote of the day

Deep understanding of politics from the author of The Chronicles of Narnia:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron‘s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.
— C. S. Lewis

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USA love TSA!

The Reg reports on a recent survey that conclusively shows that “the majority of Americans think the Transportation Security Administration, which handles security screening at US airports, is doing just fine…”

Overcoming the initial shock, my conclusion is that if the government keeps something up long enough, people will just swallow it in the end because they will no more know any better. Duh, the humanity.… -->

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Olympics 2012

I wonder, is it only my personal impression or Olympics 2012 is really quite a bit understated and under-promoted? I have a feeling that all previous Olympics were going up the curve in terms of publicity, advertisements and public expectations.

This time… it feels like if the world has a lot on its mind and could not care much for a yet another Olympics. Weird.

  • Hottest Female Athletes in the Olympics 2012
  • The naughty 2012 Olympics logo
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