4.11.11

Propaganda offensive played role in increasing sanctions on Iranian regime

Israel and the United States may successfully harm Teheran through the overt propaganda operation. It was launched last week by Israeli daily Yediot Ahoronot. And it was carried by Israeli politicians for few days. It appears to be coordinated effort of Israel and the Western states.

All parties want to avoid another costly and unnecessary military conflict in the Middle East. Therefore they may have decided to block and isolate Iran completely.

The propaganda offensive started with revealing the Iranian secret site for its centrifuges. It also made real possibility of military intervention of Israel. The United States highest politicians confirmed that Iran is growing threat. Last week during Congressional hearings Pentagon representatives were encouraging to attack Iran. Finally the least expected signal came from president of France Nicholas Sarkozy, who stated that his country will not be passive if Israel is threatened.

This propaganda offensive was intensified days before the publication of new International Atomic Agency's report about the Iranian nuclear programme. And days after House committee voted to introduce much more severe sanctions on the Iranian regime.

Congressmen decided that the Iranian-Libya Sanctions Act (1995), Iran, North Korea, Syria Nonproliferation Act (2006) the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (2010) are not sufficient to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. That is the sanctions on foreign investment in Iranian petroleum to hinder its ability to attract material, capital and technical support. The bill includes:


Any such action against Iran’s central bank – which serves as a clearinghouse for nearly all oil and gas payments in Iran – could make it more difficult for Iran to sell crude oil, its chief source of cash, by blocking companies doing business with it from also working with US financial institutions. Some Iranian officials have likened such a step to an act of war.Among many other things, the bill would also forbid American diplomats any contact with Iranian officials without advance congressional approval, and raise the bar further for exports of any US-made item – which would include civilian aircraft parts, an especially sore point for Iranians and their crash-prone domestic fleet of aging planes.



However some experts argue that military intervention cannot be excluded.


20.9.11

Poland supports Israel during current crisis

Poland will not participate in a shameful vote over so-called Palestinian state at the United Nations on Thursday, September 22nd.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk clearly stated that Polish government will not send its representative to that meeting.

“If the content of the resolution can be negotiated so that it moves the Palestinian matter forward and not pose a threat to Israel, and it appears there is a shadow of a chance for compromise, we will be prepared to vote for this,” Mr Tusk was quoted as saying by the Polish Press Agency.


“Poland will certainly not vote on a resolution that will directly affect the security of Israel,” Mr Tusk said.


Here is intelligent explanation why such decision should be made by other countries:







“As current president of the European Union, Poland’s decision to opt out of this lamentable gathering is particularly significant,” said American Jewish Congress Executive Director David Harris, reacting to a Polish Foreign Ministry statement announcing Poland’s decision.



19.9.11

Arab Spring unlike Solidarity Summer

Solidarity leader Lech Walesa leads shipyard workers in prayer
Big Peace published my article on the Christian origins of transformation in Poland. I tried to point at the difference between the Solidarity movement and the Arab revolutions. Here is an excerpt. 


the Solidarity movement was not aimed against anybody. Its first goal was to unite and reconcile people fragmented and isolated by the operations of Communist secret police and Communist propaganda. During the strikes, workers publicly forgave their oppressors. Secondly, workers demanded rights to freely organize themselves (free unions), inform (free speech) and to express their faith (freedom of conscience).


Anna Walentynowicz acknowledged the key role of John Paul II in the formation of Solidarity. She said: “I cannot imagine it without our pope”. Likewise Polish historian, Marek Lasota, who specializes in the history of 1980’s, concurred with the Solidarity leader: “The movement was born in the hearts of Poles during the first pilgrimage of John Paul II to his Fatherland in June 1978”. This pilgrimage had critical significance for the formation of Solidarity. Polish workers were inspired seeing themselves in mass public prayer meetings for the first time on a such a grand scale. Other Solidarity leader Krzysztof Wyszkowski explains: “we understood that there is more of us than them.” Polish workers rejected fear from their hearts. In this moment the Communist regime lost its power of influence because fear is a fundamental element of a totalitarian system.


Solidarity workers emphasized in their speeches and documents that they acted for the common good of man. The movement was not a political organization but a moral force for the renewal of society. Its ethics may be difficult to understand today.

31.5.11

Gorbachev praises Obama and admits that he did his best to save Soviet Union

An amazing interview with the top communist apparatchik Mikhail Gorbachev. He repeats, although this time quite clearly, that in fact he was fighting to keep the Soviet Union alive. He did his best to defend the Soviet Union. Gorbachev explains that perestroika succeeded but it was disrupted. Soviet Union "could have existed longer today as the community of the sovereign states".

 As a good communist he quotes Lenin's ("Lenin whom I respect" - he says) understanding of a chaos. Gorbachev says after Lenin: "Do not be afraid chaos". According to comrade Gorbachev "chaos produces new life".

Gorby adds that Obama is doing still a good job. 

It is difficult to say "enjoy" here. So rather watch carefully this interview











29.5.11

Walesa rejected Obama because US President favors Russia over Central Europe

Legendary Polish Solidarity leader and co-founder Lech Walesa did not agree to meet the President of the United States, Barack Obama on Saturday afternoon. Walesa said: "It does not suit me" answering a journalist why he was not going to talk to Barack Obama. Lech Walesa in the interview for a national newspaper added that he does not have time. According to the source, who spoke under the condition of being unnamed to the Polish Press Agency (PAP), Walesa was invited on short notice, a day before the meeting with the American president. Later the US Ambassador Lee Feinstein telephoned the former Solidarity leader asking him to change his decision. Walesa denied his request.

What was the reason?

President Barack Obama's administration changed their policies towards Central Europe. For instance it doesn't seem to understand the importance of Ukraine's freedom and independence for the stability of Europe.

In 2009 Walesa signed an appeal to the United States President Obama to not take Russia's side in the conflict over the missile defense system. In the open letter with twenty other former leaders of the antisoviet opposition he asked the United States to strengthen Euro-Atlantic relations.

We understand the heavy demands on your Administration and on U.S. foreign policy. It is not our intent to add to the list of problems you face. Rather, we want to help by being strong Atlanticist allies in a U.S.-European partnership that is a powerful force for good around the world. But we are not certain where our region will be in five or ten years time given the domestic and foreign policy uncertainties we face. We need to take the right steps now to ensure the strong relationship between the United States and Central and Eastern Europe over the past twenty years will endure.
As the countries living closest to Russia, obviously nobody has a greater interest in the development of the democracy in Russia and better relations between Moscow and the West than we do. But there is also nervousness in our capitals. We want to ensure that too narrow an understanding of Western interests does not lead to the wrong concessions to Russia. Today the concern is, for example, that the United States and the major European powers might embrace the Medvedev plan for a "Concert of Powers" to replace the continent's existing, value-based security structure. The danger is that Russia's creeping intimidation and influence-peddling in the region could over time lead to a de facto neutralization of the region. There are differing views within the region when it comes to Moscow's new policies. But there is a shared view that the full engagement of the United States is needed.
Many in the region are looking with hope to the Obama Administration to restore the Atlantic relationship as a moral compass for their domestic as well as foreign policies. A strong commitment to common liberal democratic values is essential to our countries


Unfortunately President Barack Obama's administration radically redefined US strategic alliances.
His withdrawal from the missile defense agreement was announced on the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland. Two months later to emphasize their superiority over the Central Europe, maybe even over Western Europe, Russians targeted Poland with nuclear missiles during their military exercises.

The Central European leaders asked the Obama adminsitration for the engagement. But the State Department and the White House did not react.

Unlike Obama, President Bush understood that there is a need for the ground military installations that would secure peace in that region. It would be a guarantee that Russians would never again invade Central Europe. Their political and business interests (since they are closely connected to their military or civil intelligence) would have to be reduced. Thus their sphere of influence would be clearly marked. With such an installation the political climate in Europe would have changed. Walesa and other signatories of this letter understood it.

A missile defense system remains a strategic issue for Russia.

"A European missile defense system can become truly effective and sustainable only in the case of equal participation of Russia," the Kremlin press service said in a statement Saturday, citing a letter by Medvedev to members of the NATO-Russia Council." 


****

I would not think that Walesa ignored Obama because he is not Ronald Reagan. That seems to be quite a shallow reasoning.

But above all, I imagine that Lech Walesa is not meeting with President Obama because he knows the current occupant of the White House is no Ronald Reagan. Reagan was a true friend of the Poles, who fought hard for their liberation in the face of Soviet tyranny. The Gipper believed in strong US leadership, in standing up to America’s enemies, and in the importance of standing shoulder to shoulder with America’s allies. President Obama’s “leading from behind” approach is the antithesis of Reagan’s foreign policy, and one which has frequently undercut US alliances rather than strengthened them.

One can say that George W. Bush was not Reagan too. However, Walesa met him despite criticising him for prolonging the occupation of Iraq. President Obama does not represent values that led Poles to victory. He seems to run policies that appease Poland's enemies. He favors Russia over the Central Europe.












24.5.11

Historic speech, profound statements

He was applauded 57 times. He deserved it. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his historic speech in the presence of the United States Congressmen. I think it is comparable to Reagan's Berlin Wall speech in 1988. It had so many profound statements.


TRANSCRIPT

The full speech to a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress - הנאום המלא בפני הקונגרס האמריקני

by Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I am deeply honored by your warm welcome. And I am deeply honored that you have given me the opportunity to address Congress a second time. Mr. Vice President, do you remember the time we were the new kids in town? And I do see a lot of old friends here. And I do see a lot of new friends of Israel here. Democrats and Republicans alike.

Israel has no better friend than America. And America has no better friend than Israel. We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism. Congratulations America, Congratulations, Mr. President. You got bin Laden. Good riddance.

In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability. In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America’s unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American. Israel will always be pro-American.

My friends, you don’t need to do nation building in Israel. We’re already built. You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it. You don’t need to send American troops to defend Israel. We defend ourselves. You’ve been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own. Thank you all, and thank you President Obama, for your steadfast commitment to Israel’s security. I know economic times are tough. I deeply appreciate this.

Support for Israel’s security is a wise investment in our common future. For an epic battle is now unfolding in the Middle East, between tyranny and freedom. A great convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar. The tremors have shattered states and toppled governments. And we can all see that the ground is still shifting. Now this historic moment holds the promise of a new dawn of freedom and opportunity. Millions of young people are determined to change their future. We all look at them. They muster courage. They risk their lives. They demand dignity. They desire liberty.

These extraordinary scenes in Tunis and Cairo, evoke those of Berlin and Prague in 1989. Yet as we share their hopes, but we also must also remember that those hopes could be snuffed out as they were in Tehran in 1979. You remember what happened then. The brief democratic spring in Iran was cut short by a ferocious and unforgiving tyranny. This same tyranny smothered Lebanon’s democratic Cedar Revolution, and inflicted on that long-suffering country, the medieval rule of Hezbollah.

So today, the Middle East stands at a fateful crossroads. Like all of you, I pray that the peoples of the region choose the path less travelled, the path of liberty. No one knows what this path consists of better than you. This path is not paved by elections alone. It is paved when governments permit protests in town squares, when limits are placed on the powers of rulers, when judges are beholden to laws and not men, and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule.

Israel has always embraced this path, in the Middle East has long rejected it. In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out. It is different.

As the great English writer George Eliot predicted over a century ago, that once established, the Jewish state will "shine like a bright star of freedom amid the despotisms of the East”. Well, she was right. We have a free press, independent courts, an open economy, rambunctious parliamentary debates.You think you guys are tough on one another in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset. Be my guest.

Courageous Arab protesters, are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies. We're proud that over one million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they're all citizens of Israel.

This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East.

Israel fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely. We long for the day when Israel will be one of many real democracies in the Middle East. Fifteen years ago, I stood at this very podium, and said that democracy must start to take root in the Arab World. Well, it's begun to take root. This beginning holds the promise of a brilliant future of peace and prosperity. For I believe that a Middle East that is genuinely democratic will be a Middle East truly at peace.

But while we hope and work for the best, we must also recognize that powerful forces oppose this future.They oppose modernity. They oppose democracy. They oppose peace. Foremost among these forces is Iran. The tyranny in Tehran brutalizes its own people. It supports attacks against American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. It subjugates Lebanon and Gaza. It sponsors terror worldwide.

When I last stood here, I spoke of the dire consequences of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Now time is running out, and the hinge of history may soon turn. For the greatest danger facing humanity could soon be upon us: A militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.

Militant Islam threatens the world. It threatens Islam. I have no doubt that it will ultimately be defeated. It will eventually succumb to the forces of freedom and progress. But like other fanaticisms that were doomed to fail, militant Islam could exact a horrific price from all of us before its inevitable demise.

A nuclear-armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger throughout the world. I want you to understand what this means. They could put the bomb anywhere. They could put it on a missile. It could be on a container ship in a port, or in a suitcase on a subway.

Now the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads in the sand. Less than seven decades after six million Jews were murdered, Iran's leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people, while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state.

Leaders who spew such venom, should be banned from every respectable forum on the planet. But there is something that makes the outrage even greater: The lack of outrage. In much of the international community, the calls for our destruction are met with utter silence. It is even worse because there are many who rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against Iran’s terror proxies.

But not you. Not America. You have acted differently. You've condemned the Iranian regime for its genocidal aims. You’ve passed tough sanctions against Iran. History will salute you, America.

President Obama has said that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. He successfully led the Security Council to adopt sanctions against Iran. You in Congress passed even tougher sanctions. These words and deeds are vitally important.

Yet the Ayatollah regime briefly suspended its nuclear program only once, in 2003, when it feared the possibility of military action. That same year, Muammar Qadaffi gave up his nuclear weapons program, and for the same reason. The more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation. This is why I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message: That America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously. We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.

My friends, while Israel will be ever vigilant in its defense, we will never give up on our quest for peace. I guess we’ll give it up when we achieve it. Israel wants peace. Israel needs peace. We've achieved historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan that have held up for decades.

I remember what it was like before we had peace. I was nearly killed in a firefight inside the Suez Canal. I mean that literally. I battled terrorists along both banks of the Jordan River. Too many Israelis have lost loved ones. I know their grief. I lost my brother.

So no one in Israel wants a return to those terrible days. The peace with Egypt and Jordan has long served as an anchor of stability and peace in the heart of the Middle East.

This peace should be bolstered by economic and political support to all those who remain committed to peace.

The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are vital. But they're not enough. We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: A Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.

I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace. This is not easy for me. I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the Jewish homeland. In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo.

This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace. No distortion of history can deny the four thousand year old bond, between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.

But there is another truth: The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they will be neither Israel’s subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people in their own state. They should enjoy a prosperous economy, where their creativity and initiative can flourish.

We've already seen the beginnings of what is possible. In the last two years, the Palestinians have begun to build a better life for themselves. Prime Minister Fayad has led this effort. I wish him a speedy recovery from his recent operation. We've helped the Palestinian economy by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people. The results have been nothing short of remarkable. The Palestinian economy is booming. It's growing by more than 10% a year.

Palestinian cities look very different today than they did just a few years ago. They have shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, banks. They even have e-businesses. This is all happening without peace. Imagine what could happen with peace. Peace would herald a new day for both peoples. It would make the dream of a broader Arab-Israeli peace a realistic possibility.

So now here is the question. You have to ask it. If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us? Because all six Israeli Prime Ministers since the signing of Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state. Myself included. So why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.

You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes. The Palestinians said no. In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War.

They were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.

My friends, this must come to an end. President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn’t easy for me, and I said - "I will accept a Palestinian state". It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say - "I will accept a Jewish state".

Those six words will change history. They will make clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end. That they are not building a state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it. They will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace. With such a partner, the people of Israel will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise.

This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967. The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines, reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and Greater Tel Aviv.

These areas are densely populated but geographically quite small. Under any realistic peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical strategic and national importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.

The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations. But we must also be honest. So I am saying today something that should be said publicly by anyone serious about peace. In any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel’s borders. The precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated. We will be very generous on the size of a future Palestinian state. But as President Obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible lines of 1967.

We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, independent and prosperous. President Obama rightly referred to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, just as he referred to the future Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people. Jews from around the world have a right to immigrate to the Jewish state. Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state. This means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.

As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city. Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I believe with creativity and goodwill a solution can be found.

This is the peace I plan to forge with a Palestinian partner committed to peace. But you know very well, that in the Middle East, the only peace that will hold is a peace you can defend.

So peace must be anchored in security. In recent years, Israel withdrew from South Lebanon and Gaza. But we didn't get peace. Instead, we got 12,000 thousand rockets fired from those areas on our cities, on our children, by Hezbollah and Hamas. The UN peacekeepers in Lebanon failed to prevent the smuggling of this weaponry. The European observers in Gaza evaporated overnight. So if Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be unchecked. Missiles fired from it could reach virtually every home in Israel in less than a minute. I want you to think about that too. Imagine that right now we all had less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket. Would you live that way? Would anyone live that way? Well, we aren’t going to live that way either.

The truth is that Israel needs unique security arrangements because of its unique size. Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world. Mr. Vice President, I'll grant you this. It’s bigger than Delaware. It’s even bigger than Rhode Island. But that’s about it. Israel on the 1967 lines would be half the width of the Washington Beltway.

Now here’s a bit of nostalgia. I first came to Washington thirty years ago as a young diplomat. It took me a while, but I finally figured it out: There is an America beyond the Beltway. But Israel on the 1967 lines would be only nine miles wide. So much for strategic depth.

So it is therefore absolutely vital for Israel’s security that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized. And it is vital that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace, they are necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels. For in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow.

And when I say tomorrow, I don't mean some distant time in the future. I mean tomorrow. Peace can be achieved only around the negotiating table. The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace. It should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end. I appreciate the President’s clear position on this issue. Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated. But it can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace.

And Hamas is not a partner for peace. Hamas remains committed to Israel's destruction and to terrorism. They have a charter. That charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, but says ‘kill the Jews wherever you find them’. Hamas’ leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior. Now again I want to make this clear. Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future of peace for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda.

So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas, Sit down and negotiate! Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this. Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so.

My friends, the momentous trials of the last century, and the unfolding events of this century, attest to the decisive role of the United States in advancing peace and defending freedom. Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty. All peoples who cherish freedom owe a profound debt of gratitude to your great nation. Among the most grateful nations is my nation, the people of Israel, who have fought for their liberty and survival against impossible odds, in ancient and modern times alike.

I speak on behalf of the Jewish people and the Jewish state when I say to you, representatives of America, Thank you. Thank you for your unwavering support for Israel. Thank you for ensuring that the flame of freedom burns bright throughout the world. May God bless all of you. And may God forever bless the United States of America.

23.5.11

Russian communists support Gaddafi and inadvertently reveal their inglorious past

Paranoid Russian anti-Americanism resulted in the glorification of Muammar Gaddafi. During recent the Victory Day parade a group of the pro-Putin supporters hold banners with the slogans about "Revolutionary Gaddafi". One of the banners read: "They reached Brest and we will get to Benghazi. Glory to the Antifascists of the Muammar Gaddafi".  However this slogan shows the degree of the confusion of these people.
The banner reads in Russian: "They reached Brest and
we will get to Benghazi. Glory to the Antifascists
of Muammar Gaddafi". Source: Liberty.ru

The Victory Day marks the capitulation of the Germany to the Allies (including the Soviet Union) on May 8, 1945. Signing ceremony took place in Berlin. Why then Brest instead Berlin on this banner? For many years Soviet propaganda tried to link a shameful event to the victorious campaign of the World War II. That event took place in the Polish city Brześć, in English literature as Brest-Litovsk, on September 22nd 1939. It was a miliary parade of the Soviet Red Army and the Nazi German Wehrmacht – together (excellent report and photo of that event).   Soviets tried to conceal that fact and prevent it from getting to the narration about the World War II.

Pro-Putin communist held pictures of Stalin and Gaddafi
with the title: "Revolutionists". Source: Liberty.ru

German Army friendly meeting with the Russian army officers
 in Brest on Sept 22nd, 1939. Source.









20.5.11

Propaganda slogans in the debate about the Middle East. Where Palestine is located?

Who can challenge the rights of the Jews to Palestine? Good Lord, historically, it is really your country. - Yusuf Diya al-Khalidi, Mayor of Jerusalem, in 1899.
Jordan is a home of the resettled Arabs 


The amateurish and empty speech of president Barack Obama on the Middle East policy shows that the White House prefers the propaganda slogans to facts. Let us start from the fundamental slogan: "the Palestinian nation".

In March 1971 the Dutch newspaper Trouw published an interview with Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee member Zahir Muhsein. Here's what he said. "The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel and for our Arab unity. In reality, today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people.
For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with de fined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Pales­tinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheva and Jeru­salem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will wait not even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan."
Arafat himself made a very de finitive and unequivocal statement along these lines as late as 1993. It demonstrates conclusively that the Palestinian nationhood argument is the real strategic deception - one geared up to set up the destruction of Israel.

More Arab voices?

Professor Azmi Bishahara born in Nazareth says that "there is no Palestinian nation. It is a colonial invention".

To sum up, "The Palestine" adjective is being used as a political weapon.

Other propaganda slogan is the Palestinian state. There will not be any Palestinian state this year or any other until the terrorists are removed. During the press conference at the White House President Benjamin Netanyahu clearly said that the Palestine state will not be established.
"We both agree that a peace based on illusions will crash against the rocks of Middle Eastern reality. ... For there to be peace, the Palestinians will have to accept some basic realities -- the first is that while Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace it cannot go back to the 1967 lines, because these lines are indefensible
So where is a place for those who really want to be in "Palestine"? In Jordan.




The Routledge Atlas of Jewish History (Routledge Historical Atlases)
Maps and a summary of
the Jewish State's history



13.5.11

New speak: "the Public Interest", "the Social Justice" or "the Change"

In the Soviet Neo-Collonial Empire or as Great President Reagan put it the Empire of Evil words had no meaning. The Communist Party leaders of different levels and by extension the Government used new-speak. A language that was not meant to be a means of communication but an instrument of  the Empire's policy. The Communist propaganda in more or less subtle form twisted meaning of the words every day. For instance the propaganda posters shouted: "peaceful war for better tomorrow". Not many people dared to comment it and even less to protest. Some did. But for the courageous reaction they paid with the reprimand, fine or sometimes even the arrest. Nevertheless majority of people had their opinions. Communist became a foolish or evil characters in the jokes or other stories. It is probably that's why people were able to make their own choices. It was hard to do it but it was possible.

One can comment that it was communism. However in todays so-called information age when information travels with speed that mind have difficulty to grasp it such methods are being used in the free society. Multitude of news very often deprive people from their reflection. I met people who complain that they do not have their opinions. Television or the Internet websites distract them from their own thinking. Most often not much is being left for the contemplation and reflection on what and why happened during the day. There are no room for questions.

It maybe also a reason why politicians or other speakers are not demanded to explain the phrases, the slogans they use. The most famous is "a social justice". Why? Because the definition of the justice is to return something to the one what one deserves. But what "society" deserves? Can it be somehow defined?
The other example of such a new-speak is "a public interest".


Is the "Public Interest" in the Publics Interest?
by Anthony de Jasay
Dinner Speech at the opening dinner, 4th International Gottfried von Haberler Conference, Vaduz, Sep. 25, 2008.

Your Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen, you may have remarked – I find it remarkable – that when a significant change is brought about by higher authority in the circumstances of a significant number of people, the change is usually justified by invoking the "Public Interest". It is striking that this practice employs the term "Public Interest" as if it were a wholly unambiguous, clear concept, as If It were a forgone conclusion that we understand perfectly what it is and need not worry about what it signifies or how it is recognised. Invoking the public interest, then, operates like a strong opening gambit: all that needs to be done to justify a projected change is to show that it fits into our well-understood concept of the public interest, whole arguing against the project seems tantamount to arguing against the "Public Interest" itself. A similar gambit operates in favour of measures that claim to pursue social justice: though in reality no objective meaning can be given to social justice (it is simply a rhetorical appeal to sentiments), claiming that a measure is in fact required for satisfying social justice is as good as winning the battle for it.
On the present occasion, I will argue that the concept of the "Public Interest" has no compelling meaning on which all bona fide people must eventually agree, but rather an expression of a speakers subjective judgment with which another speaker may be perfectly justified to disagree. It is also an appeal to people of good will for support of a particular proposal or project.
Many dividing lines can be discerned that cut humanity into two halves. One separates a half – I think the major part – of mankind that consciously or unconsciously is leaning Left from the other, I think the minor, half that leans Right. much the same line makes a division that coincides with the former, i.e. the Left and Right, halves. In this division, one part of humanity, mostly the left-leaning one, uses the words People, Society or the Public as if these metaphysical constructs were actually persons: “the people want”, “society has decided or “the public interest demands”. On the other side of the divide, mostly right-leaning people do not simply 2 assume that the public can have an interest. They sense that the word “the public” is just a convenient fiction, a sort of linguistic shorthand. When forced to think about it, they recognise that only individuals can have interests and if the idea of the "Public Interest" is to be given a meaning, it must get it by way of the interests of the individuals who compose it.
The problem, then, reduces to this: Is it possible to add up individual interests so as to get to some definition of the "Public Interest"? As you have no doubt understood this without my having to labour the point, the difficulty arises when, as is usually the case, a proposed change is not uniformly welcomed by all individuals concerned.
The great Italian social philosopher Vilfredo Pareto gave a very severe definition to a good change in the status quo: If it was desired by at least one person and opposed by none, it was what we now call a Pareto-improvement. Changes supported by some and opposed by others were Pareto-noncomparable: In good logic, we could not rate them better or worse in some objective sense. (As you have noticed, he did not suggest that what a majority wanted was better than what only a minority wanted).
In the field of public policy, there are few projects that are pure Paretoimprovements. Public works, changes in public services, income redistribution, even measures to retard climate change, all produce gainers and losers in society, if only because most of them cost money that the losers have to pay. On strictly logical Paretian ground, we should remain agnostic about all such changes.
This, of course, is very difficult to accept both for politicians and for all who hope to end up on the winning side when government is actively blowing up the status quo. They badly want objective justification that certain changes are good not only for them, but also for the public interest. They will explicitly or at least implicitly have recourse to the utilitarian doctrine that Bentham so successfully implanted in the public mind and that held unrivalled sway over educated opinion for nearly a century and a half. (It is ironical that John Stuart Mill, Bentham’s top pupil, is also held to be one of the Founding Fathers of liberalism). Utilitarianism taught that it was legitimate to conduct arithmetic operations with the “utilities” enjoyed by different individuals; if a projected change would produce both gainers and losers, one could simply deduct 3 the losers’ utility loss from the gainers’ utility gain and declare the difference to be society’s net gain.
By the late 1930s, it came to be understood that this was like subtracting four apricots from five peaches and declaring that the net result was one peach. Modern post-war economics dismissed this as gibberish. Nevertheless, there remained an unmet demand for objective justification of government action “in the public interest”. The famous Kaldor-Hicks theorem enunciated in 1939 and 1940 sought to demonstrate that a change was a good change if the gainers could “bribe” the losers to accept it and still have some of their gain left over. This theorem proved to be technically quite tricky and controversial. I am not going to enter into that debate. Instead, I will confront it with a childishly simple question: If the prospective gain is large enough to compensate the losers and still have something left over, why is government action necessary? Why don’t the gainers contract with the losers to carry out the project to mutual benefit, - or why does an entrepreneur not come in and arrange the deal? The answer is “Market failure”. In the words of the police chief in the great post-war film “Casablanca”, there are the “usual suspects” who obstruct a market solution: Transactions costs, incomplete and imperfect information, large numbers etc. prevent it. However, one must respectfully object that the very same “usual suspects” are present and apt to obstruct the government solution as well; and if the “usual suspects" were not powerful enough against a government, there would be two extra ones who were mighty enough, namely corruption and waste that are never very far when some people have the power to spend other people’s money.
I am for all these reasons submitting, in summary, that the public interest is a treacherous notion that should either be dismissed or treated with the greatest caution. Having concluded that, I will now declare that it is not in the "Public Interest" that I should keep you from enjoying the rest of this evening, and will accordingly sit down.






6.5.11

Is Poland's the debt to GDP ratio already unmanageable?

The United States have its own reasons to be concerned about future of their economy. However recent estimates show that so-called the new economies in Central Europe, not affected by the crisis, are also in the urgent need of repair.

According to the analysts from the Bank of International Settlements the debt to GDP ratio of the major Western governments will inrease over 200 percent without the fiscal reforms. This may not be a news but this information still remains relevant.

Central Europe was supposed to be an oasis with its growing population, opening markets and the modern economy. Surprise, surprise.

The Central Europe states face the same type of the danger as the West. They are however much less developed. Their growth depends on exports and the internal market sales. Their economies are fragile and burdened with a huge debt.

The new report by the Sobieski Institute in Poland reveals that the current real the debt to GDP ratio may be is more than 200 percent.

Author of the report calculated the debt through analysis:


  • an official debt,
  • projected debt of the state's pension fund,
  • the debt of the farmers' pension fund (KRUS),
  • the future costs of the special pensions (for the public sector workers),
  • the cost of the bridged pensions (for the pre-retirement period of about 2-5 years). This is not an easy problem as the below graph shows.



Analysts, who praise supposedly brilliant Polish economy are not aware of the state of the pension fund and other liabilities of Polish government.

In 90s during the restucturization of the heavy industry (coal, metal, shipbuiding etc) Polish governments permitted many workers to retire earlier. Industrial workers' unions managed to negotiate often extremely high pensions.  Ten percent of the 2009 budget expense were the special pensions (of the public sector workers: defense, judicial, education etc).

According to a reliable source Polish government did not count the value of non-fiscal liabilities such as for instance the cost of medical services or the public transportation for pensioners. But these services are part of the special pensions' package. 

Therefore even this estimate may not give a full picture. However it is the first attempt to estimate real debt of Polish government by the analysts from the private institution.

Here is this calculation:

the official debt + the estimated deficit
of the state's pension fund -                          598401.6 + 1363897.9

                                                                                     +
                                                                                                      
the Fund of the Demographic Reserve -                 50000

                                                                                    +

the cost of the special pensions
(for the public sector workers) -                          273347,1            =  208,2 %

                                                                                  +

the cost of the farmers' pension fund
(KRUS) -                                                          370 725,0

                                                                                   +

the cost of the bridged pensions                          46638, 4

___________________________________________________________________
__________________

PKB                                                                                   1271700, 0



The debt to GDP ratio is already 208,2 percent - four times higher than the official debt of the Polish government (47 percent).


But for the careful observers it should not be a surprise. Because in 2004 the fiscal imbalance of the Polish government was not a small.













5.5.11

A crisis of the Max Weber view on the economy

While Chinese economists are studying Christian roots of the capitalist system American believers have more doubts about it. A new survey claims that significant ammount of Christians rethought their view on the capitalist philosophy.

According to the survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, only 38% believe capitalism and the free market are consistent with Christian values while 46% believe the two are at odds. Half (50%) of women believe that capitalism and Christian values are at odds, compared to 37% of men.


What in this survey is interesting for me that even among Republicans, the political party with the numerous defenders of the free market system, only 37% say Christian values and capitalism are at odds, and nearly half (46%) say the two are compatible.

I think diligent and careful observers of the market cannot agree with the practices that led to the current financial crisis. Is it the begining of the end of the Max Weber protestant work ethic? Popularity of the recent movie based on the free market defender Ayn Rand's book seems to suggest that it is not. It maybe however a good time to think whether there is a third way between the socialism and capitalism.

About two decades ago an economist Louis Kelso noticed that key to the just economic system is a private property, a capital, owned by the every consumer - a rich and poor one.

You live in a great democracy. If the logic of capital acquisition is to buy capital assets on terms where they will pay for themselves in a reasonable period of time, AND THAT IS ITS LOGIC, you can persuade the government of your country to adopt - and implement - a national economic policy that recognizes your human right to acquire capital out of its own income.

Ownership of a reasonable holding of productive capital, legitimately acquired, is the prize of the great Industrial Revolution.
If the Industrial Revolution, at its outset, and as an ever-ongoing phenomenon, is sustained by the efforts of all citizens of every society, then every human being who lives in a democratic country should insist and work for the establishment of an institutional infrastructure through which he or she, over a reasonable lifetime, can acquire and own a reasonable holding of productive capital.
After all, when governments help their citizens to become capital workers as well as labor workers, the government is also cooperating with Nature, as it should.

  • It is enabling its citizens to augment their democratically-held labor power with capital power.
  • It will reduce, even eliminate, welfare costs, redistribution and subsidies.
  • It will make its people more productive and make it easy for them to pay taxes.
  • It will raise the quality of their lives.
  • Capital is the keystone of the life support system of every post-industrial society.
  • Every family and every single individual needs to legitimately acquire and own a reasonable part of that life support system - so that the principles of free market economics will work in the post-industrial age.

Two-Factor Theory: the Economics of Reality; How to Turn Eighty Million Workers Into Capitalists on Borrowed Money, and Other Proposals

The New Capitalists: A Proposal to Free Economic Growth from the Slavery of Savings

The Capitalist Manifesto



26.4.11

Chinese debate on values in the market economy

This essay by Chinese prominent economist, which appeared at the beginnning of the last decade, is being reread anew. Partly because an interest in the Protestant work ethic is growing among youth. But also that China is looking for a new economic and social strategy, which can help to increase influence on a global affairs.

That debate is not being widely transmitted in Western media. But it is present in major Chinese as well as its immediate neighbors forums.


Market Economies With Churches and Market Economies Without Churches
by Zhao Xiao
Roaming in North America was for the purpose of reading a wordless book, to have the chance to gaze at the heavens from a foreign land. In the country that has the most prosperous material civilization in the history of human society, the question that frequently occupied my thoughts was this: where does the greatest difference between China and America lie?


The greatest difference between China and America
What makes the deepest impression on our countrymen about the US is the forests of skyscrapers that this country puts up, representing the high development of America’s material culture. But skyscrapers are no longer scarce in China! It is evident that skyscrapers are not the greatest difference between China and the US.

Then, what about wealth? Without a doubt, the US is the world’s richest country. In 2000, China’s per-capita GDP was US$840, while America’s was US$34,100; there is great disparity between the two. But considering that China’s personal income levels are swiftly increasing, the wealth gap, though large, does not amount to the greatest difference between China and America.
Perhaps someone may suggest the gap in science and technology. However, China also possesses a great deal of high technology: for some time it has had the hydrogen bomb and the atom bomb, it sends rockets to the heavens, and it is developing a spaceship. So while a gap remains between the science and technology levels of China and the US, it is not an astronomical one.

Perhaps someone will suggest the financial gap. The pinnacle of the market economy is finance, and this is a weakness of China’s market economy. In comparison, the US has the world’s strongest financial system, and was the earliest to implement relaxations of financial controls to invite financial innovation. To date it has attracted 75% of the world’s financial resources, making finance one of America’s three superlatives (the others being sci-tech and political power). However, while China’s financial system lags behind, looking across the country one finds banks as common as rice shops, securities firms promoting themselves everywhere, and ads for funds airing one after another during prime time on CCTV. So the financial gap between China and the US, while large, still does not amount to the greatest difference.

Then it must be a difference in the political and legal system. To be sure, there is a noticeable difference between China and the US in this area. However, the particular national conditions of the US and China are not very similar, and China is currently involved in a rapid transition and transformation. It is possible to imagine that a modernized China will inevitably move in the direction of an improved political and legal culture, and the prodigious experience and techniques of the US, as the the world’s most developed country, have been taken as a model by the Chinese, who absorb everything. From this perspective, though reference can in fact be made to many areas in politics and law in China and the US, this still cannot be called the greatest difference.

Then where does the greatest difference between the US and China ultimately lie? My personal opinion: churches. Only in this area is the difference between China and the US not a question of numbers, but rather an essential difference between presence and absence. In the US, the spires of churches are more numerous than China’s banks and rice shops. On a street near Harvard Square, I once stood and looked around to find that in three different directions there were three churches. Truth be told, from the east coast of the US to the west coast, from towns to cities, in any place you look you will find that this country’s most numerous structure is none other than the church. Churches, and only churches, are Americans’ center; they are the very core that binds Americans together.

Churches and the market economy
Americans are not idiots. Their need for churches is overwhelming, and churches provide something in answer to their call — there is definitely some principle at work. During my time in America, the relationship of churches with America’s economy, society, and politics became the issue that most often occupied my mind. I came up with many interesting ideas; because of length, I will only address economic issues here. At its heart the problem could be stated as a comparison between market economies with churches and market economies without churches.

Ultimately, why is it that we need a market economy? It is because the market economy has one major advantage: it discourages idleness. The planned economy is different — its faults are faults of having no system of encouragement. Good work and poor work are identical. Under a free market system lazy people cannot live. So the market economy will force competition; it is an efficient economic system. However, the market economy can only discourage idleness; it cannot discourage people from lying or causing harm. This brings to the market economy a certain danger; that is, it may result in an unsavory situation: it may entice people to be industrious in their lies, industrious in bringing harm to others, and to pursue wealth by any means. Some people may say that this is because the market economy is imperfect, and that a perfect market economy would not be this way. However, a market economy that relies solely on the individual will never be perfect, since it can only call people away from idleness but cannot discourage lies and injury.

Indeed, repeated game-playing in the market may minimize dishonest and injurious actions, and legal punishments may be beneficial to normal trading actions. However, in conditions where information in the market is unbalanced and incomplete, contracts are forever deficient. Completely relying on repeated gaming and legal punishments to achieve normal market actions is not only impossible, but is possibly even uneconomic — the implication here is that the market may have unlimited costs, so expensive as to be unusable, and may ultimately come crashing down. To a degree, China’s market economy currently has fallen into this trap. In the mind of a majority of Chinese people is a simple understanding that the market economy means getting rich, and to get rich any means may be used.

Hobbled market ethics have already lead to two chronic ailments in Chinese society. First, becoming rich without relying on labor or on the creation of wealth for society, but rather relying on collusion between government and business and the malicious repurposing of public finances to gain wealth. Second, dishonesty in market trading: backing out of promises and gaining wealth through swindles. So we can see that the market economy in China has brought out a group of “freaks”: day and night they ceaselessly seek personal profit through lies and harm. Naturally, this kind of market economy has a exorbitant cost. And naturally, what causes the exorbitant cost of these market operations is the widespread lack of self-restraint among Chinese people.

These days Chinese people do not believe in anything. They don’t believe in god, they don’t believe in the devil, they don’t believe in providence, they don’t believe in the last judgment, to say nothing about heaven. A person who believes in nothing ultimately can only believe in himself. And self-belief implies that anything is possible — what do lies, cheating, harm, and swindling matter?
However, market economies that have churches are different. Perhaps it is difficult for Chinese people to understand what Christians are like. Here, I can only say that they are rational beings, just like ourselves, and it is sufficient for you to avoid thinking of them as monsters.

It cannot be denied that there are swindlers who go in and out of churches, but the majority of people are not going to church to fill their stomachs. The majority of followers go to church because they truly have a devout faith. Confucius said, “A true gentleman seeks out wealth according to the Way.” To the average person, this may be difficult to achieve since the average person is not a true gentleman. In comparison, it is people who turn their eyes to church spires who generally respect financial norms and integrity. Why? Here is the secret: Puritans, though they may be called the most fervent people in the world in their drive to accumulate wealth, nevertheless do not pursue wealth for personal benefit but rather “to the glory of God,” and to ensure that after they die they can enter heaven. This monetary ethic renders inseparable the motive and means of the Puritans’ pursuit of wealth, and those whose only thought is to create wealth for God will naturally be able to become true gentlemen — gentlemen among gentlemen. In passing, the following thought occurred to me: I suddenly have a new understanding of why Bush required his CEOs to swear according to the Bible when signing their financial statements: Bush was not only raising the the Damoclean sword of the law over his CEOs, but he also placed them under the threat of hell’s lakes of fire. The sword of the law together with the eyes of God is evidently more effective than the law alone. For this reason, the unity of means and method in acquiring wealth is able to remedy the market’s insufficiencies. From this standpoint, the market economy has an instinctive need for some kind of matching market ethics before its true force can come into play, just like horses have an instinctive need for the whip. From the perspective of human society, the most successful model is church + market economy. That is to say, the happy combination of a market economy that discourages idleness together with a strong faith (ethics) that discourages dishonesty and injury.
Is it not integrity that you are pursuing? Then you ought to know: places with faith have more integrity. For China’s crawling economic reforms, this ought to be an important inspiration. Market economies with churches are different in another respect from those without: in the former, it is much easier to establish a commonly respected system. The reason is simple: a people that share a faith, compared to people who only believe in themselves, find it easier to establish mutual trust, and through that to conclude agreements.

However, where is the cornerstone for the American constitution? In fact, as early as the first group of English Puritans who came over to the New World on the Mayflower, there was the Mayflower Compact, which would become the foundation of autonomous government in the separate states in New England. Its contents comprised civic organizations as well as working out just laws, statutes, regulations, and ordinances, and the first line of the covenant was “In the name of God, Amen.” So shared faith is the foundation for shared law. Otherwise, a legal system, should it arise, will not be respected.

Market economies with churches are comparatively open. The reason for this is perhaps explained thus: In the sight of God, all people are equal. It is easier for a core spirit of fraternity to extend to outsiders openness, acceptance, and respect.

Are there other uses of market economies with churches? Yes, and they are relatively important: guiding spending and modulating the close relationship between the poor and the rich.[**] In the case the wealth of a devout Puritan, the situation may be different. This is because his religious faith will tell him: gaining wealth is only for the glory of God; personally, he must use that wealth reasonably, for being forever humble is a virtue favored by God. So in the United States we can see that people with money must donate 10% of their wealth to the church for other church members to share. We can also see that the ranks of the richest people and the ranks of society’s largest donors overlap; the relationship between rich and poor is fundamentally unlike the antagonism found in mainland China. Some of the spending and handling of wealth on the part of the rich may violate the law, while others may not violate secular law, making legal oversight difficult. But I know that this malconduct does not please God. However, in the absence of God’s oversight, all of this is possible and even common.

Faith: the soul of the market economy
Modern economics—modern politics—modern culture form the trinity of the market economy. Seeking the fruits of the market economy, Chinese society ultimately will travel the road of cultural reconstruction, investing in market ethics. It is fortunate that in Chinese society there is already recognition that integrity is the cornerstone of the market economy, but establishing a good cornerstone is no simple matter.

Looking back at China’s recent history, what China has learned from the West stretches from superficial to deep, from externals to internals. From the power of the gunboats we learned to understand the enemy’s technology to defeat him; from the continual improvements to their military might we understood that we needed to develop our science, technology, and education; and because government-directed sci-tech and economics failed, we took a new road to the market economy, one that we have been on for 160 years now. However, this road to modernizing transformations is still far from finished. From the groans of present-day China’s market economy, we can see that danger draws near: we have already bid farewell to humanity’s most costly planned system, but because we lack a reasonable set of market ethics, we may be trapped in humanity’s most costly market system.

Reality unquestionably requires us to move forward another few steps. The first is cultural transformation. We must find a cultural framework compatible with the modern free market economy. To achieve this, we may unearth from our own long-standing traditional culture a set of ethics that are compatible with modern economics, or we may use absorption and introductions from elsewhere to recreate our cultural DNA.

From Boston to Indiana, traveling through North America’s vast lands, I could hear the serene sounds of church bells ringing in every church, and I recalled a poem by an angry poet that I wish to adapt as follows:
Be in awe of the invincible might,
Be in awe of the lightning,
And be in awe of the thunder in the sky;
Only through awe can we be saved. Only though faith can the market economy have a soul.

Zhao Xiao (赵晓) is a government economist, the director of macro-economics research at SASAC.

16.3.11

Russian nuclear physicist calls comparison of Japan to Chernobyl a misinformation

Today, a small distraction from the situation of Polish economy. This blog is trying to de-code propaganda themes in the world media. Majority of them are intended to stir up emotions in people to make them buy their local or national newspaper. Unfortunately frequently people are scared for a long time and media managers happy to sell their twisted stories to them.

In recent days the strongest of them was an attempt to enliken the nuclear reactors' failures in Japan to the catastrophy of Chernobyl. It was propaganda attack on the nuclear energy industry without any evidence in the Soviet style. (For instance here, here and there)

A daily newspaper printed even such opinion without any comment:

It is common rhetoric that U.S. reactors are much better designed, but it is a half truth at best. In 1986, Chernobyl 4 was state of the art and its lid was stronger than domes covering some plants in this country. Soviet engineers pronounced it meltdown proof and that even if the worst happened, the lid would hold.

What kind of the start of the art could have been Soviet machine RMBK?





Where in the world such reactors were installed outside Soviet Union? Answer: Nowhere. Today they are still operating in the Lithuania, Ukraine and obviously Russia.

Modifications have been made to overcome deficiencies in all the RBMK reactors still operating. In these, originally the nuclear chain reaction and power output could increase if cooling water were lost or turned to steam, in contrast to most Western designs. It was this effect which led to the uncontrolled power surge that led to the destruction of Chernobyl 4. All of the RBMK reactors have now been modified by changes in the control rods, adding neutron absorbers and consequently increasing the fuel enrichment from 1.8 to 2.4% U-235, making them very much more stable at low power. Automatic shut-down mechanisms now operate faster, and other safety mechanisms have been improved. Automated inspection equipment has also been installed. A repetition of the 1986 Chernobyl accident is now virtually impossible, according to a German nuclear safety agency report.


And here is Japanese modern BWR reactor:





Another journalist also assumed that the Japanese nuclear plant's reactor is the same like the one, which was in Chernobyl.

The most immediate risk is to the workers who are attempting to keep the reactors cool and bring the situation under control. High doses of radiation can kill cells, causing radiation sickness, a slew of acute symptoms that can come on in hours or days. They include nausea, vomiting, burns on the skin, bone marrow destruction, and even death. At Chernobyl, 28 emergency and plant workers died of acute radiation sickness.

And another expert:

While the situation in Japan arose from different circumstances, Hulse says the two are linked because of the potential for irreversible consequences.


"The real question is would you be comfortable raising your children there, and my answer is no," Hulse said nearly 20 twenty years ago discussing the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.


Perhaps such massive propaganda effort was nothing new only renewed efforts to promote certain lobbies for solar, water and maybe wind energy plant.

ABC Australia interviewed Russian nuclear physicist Leonid Bolshov who was in Chernobyl after explosion. He demolishes a myth of so-called similarity between a Soviet disaster and the Japanese nuclear industry problems.

In fact, when it comes to reactor design and safety systems, Fukushima and Chernobyl aren't even close. The Chernobyl reactor had no containment structure, just a thick concrete layer over the top of the fuel rods.


When the reactor exploded, highly radioactive fuel was released directly into the atmosphere.


The Japanese reactors are housed in pressure vessel tanks that are then encased in a reinforced containment structure. It's designed to stay intact even if the fuel begins to melt - a so-called meltdown.


All of that, in turn, is housed in a secondary containment building. Those were the structures destroyed when steam vented from the reactors caused hydrogen explosions.  


(...) For those such as Sergey Zaitsev, their lives would never be the same. He was sent to work at Chernobyl a month after the accident. He's suffered the health effects ever since.


(Sergey Zaitsev speaking)


"No one at that time understood how serious it was", he says. "They even told us what happened there but no one actually understood what it was".


In 1986 insiders from communist circles were saying that Soviets wanted to increased production of the plutonium for the military. That is why most probably the explosion was caused by excessive pressure buildup, hydrogen explosion and rupture of all containments, propelling molten core material into the environment (a “dirty bomb”).

It will not happen in Japan (the best explanation ever found why it is so) or anywhere else in the Western world.















11.3.11

Poland experiences goodness of carbon tax: electricity the most expensive in EU




Not long ago Polish politicians, who steer the country declared that free market is the solution for the economic problems. Their supporters thought that they won their prize in casino but it appears that in reality they lost in Russian roulette.

 Once Civic Platform (led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk and FM Radek Sikorski - former employee of American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC) won elections it appeared to them that economic crisis passed somehow Poland hitting all of its neighbors. New government criticizing the Polish president and the fmr president of the National Bank of Poland, thanks to whose decision to postpone the euro adoption (now it seeems to be again euro fever - clearly someone wants to push the Central Europe to that totally failured system)  the state's economy survived financial tsunami, in the same time were creating more "jobs for boys (*)" enjoying stable situation. In effect an average increase in the government bureacracy was about 10 per cent.

When finally tsunami hit Poland, government reached for the reserves and the flexible credit line from the International Monetary Fund. The reserves were used to keep public debt at the end of 2010 on the psychological level a little below 55 per cent GDP.

In January however ruling politicians did not find new ideas except tax increase. Government increased taxes raising VAT rate from 22 to 23 per cent and from 7 to 8 per cent. Food tax and books/magazines tax increased from 0 to 5 per cent. Higher taxes are paying also taxi drivers. Government taxed more constructing materials increasing VAT tax from 22 to 23 per cent.

Economic crisis hits homes with higher food prices. For instance, only in one month average price of sugar increased about 35 per cent per kilo. (from 2.9 in Jan to 3.9 Feb.). More expansive is flower and salt, as well. The other reason for sugar price hike is the fact that EU imposed production limit on Poland and current government capitulated resigning from any negotiations.



Negative result of the EU policy is also increase of the electricity prices. In January 2011 Poland was forced to implement the white certificate, which is another name for a carbon tax. It is an obligation of the EU member to reduce their consumption of the electricity about 20 per cent to 2020. Poland has to support also renewable energy technology development and to purchase the CO2 credit. In effect government imposed on consumer 20 per cent of the new hidden tax in the price of an electricity to cover all of these obligations.

Looks like also the new bank tax will be imposed allegedly to provide more financial stability.

New president of the National Bank of Poland has the same view on euro adoption as his predecessor.

(...) backs the government's long-term strategy of taking Poland into the euro zone but says "we are not obsessed" with the common currency. The plan has moved to the back burner due to the global crisis and more recently the euro zone's own woes.

In such situation I wonder from where these people get so much optimism about the Polish economy, which seems to be nothing more than indeed Russian roulette. 

Ronald Reagan Quotes