George Carlin – Saving the Planet

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Rogozin: NATO should actively combat the Afghan drug production

From RIA Novosti:

MOSCOW, June 9 – RIA Novosti. Russia is interested in the transit of NATO forces, but NATO must help to determine a more active stance against drug production in Afghanistan, said the permanent representative of th Russian Federation to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin at the international forum “The Afghan drug production – a challenge to the world community.”

“We are interested in transit of (NATO) forces, but further assistance to the coalition must result in a more active stance against drug production in Afghanistan”,  said Rogozin.

He noted that the Russian military should not be in Afghanistan.
“We were in Afghanistan with troops, and we did not like it”, – said Rogozin.
According to him, Russia is represented in Afghanistan by specialists of the Federal Service for Drug Control.

“We are not happy when the U.S. destroys coca crops in Latin America, but says that in Afghanistan this is not the way to go”, – said Rogozin.

He said the NATO forces in Afghanistan believe to their own detriment, that the economy of Afghanistan must be improve first.
“These things are not related. Even in rich countries, there is drug production”, – said Rogozin.

The Forum was initiated by RIA Novosti and the support of the State anti-drug committee, Council on Foreign and Defense Policy and the Institute of Demography, migration and regional development.

Dimitry Rogozin is a member of the Great Russia (Великая Россия) Party which he help found. The party – and Rogozin – are more towards the right , i.e. nationalist, conservative, end of the spectrum of the Russian political landscape.

No NATO on May 9, 2010!

NET NATO!

NET NATO!

From an open letter to President Medvedev:

May 9 is a special day for Russia. It is the day commemorate the great achievement of our fathers and grandfathers. The Soviet people paid an enormous price for this victory, in millions of lives.

Why  were NATO troops – our eternal enemy – invited to the parade on May 9? We are told that it is an ally of the last war. But the North-Atlantic military alliance does not have any relation to the allied coalition to victory in 1945 – in the 1945 NATO simply did not exist. On the contrary, it was created to combat the socialist camp, the Soviet Union, during the Cold War. This war we lost: there is no independent state with the most developed industry and the most powerful army anymore. Restructuring in Russia is over, owned by foreigners.

And NATO – the most powerful army on the planet is now known worldwide as predatory. These are not the veteran-winners of the anti-Hitler coalition, but young guys who despise us as a colony, as a “third world” country, convinced that victory in World War II over Hitler went to the U.S.. Our country is surrounded with NATO bases, over Russia to freely fly airplanes of the North Atlantic alliance. At the same time, our army is rapidly shrinking, losing weapons and combat effectiveness. Veterans of the Armed Forces have written an open letter to the President, which sounded the alarm: Our borders have a length of 25,000 kilometers, but we can protect only 800 km. The Army for 20 years has received virtually no armaments, the military equipment has expired shelf-life, and the new ones are produced mainly for sale …

At the parade in honour of the liberation of our homeland from the invaders will be a triumphantly marching those who now are invading foreign countries, causing death and destruction. Russian officers say that the number of foreign troops, visiting Russia in the parade, is much higher than official figures and the media could reach up to 30 000 people. For a parade in a foreign country is the number of military personnel is too much. What if they just do not leave? History – people’s experience – teach us! We remember the rebellion of the White Czechs, who in March 1918, rode the railway passing Samara, just got off the train. Samara did not seem enough …

What is in store for Russia the presence of NATO troops – a “velvet” occupation or a “peacekeeping” operation Yugoslavian-style, to destroy this country? Veterans who fought for the freedom of our country, outraged by the invitation of foreign troops, but no one hears them. Chief U.S. antisovetolog  Zbigniew Brzezinski recently reported to the CIA, that following to the scenario by which the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia would, if it continued the current leadership-style, split into 6-8 parts in the near future, and that the new world order will be built on the ruins of Russia. Allowing the enemy to  march on Red Square, is a sign of our impotence. Bloodlessly was the main opponent of U.S. – the Soviet Union – destroyed, just as bloodlessly destroyed are our people who are dying by 1.5 million a year from poverty and powerlessness (at a rate of loss in the Great Patriotic War! ).

In addition to the real threat of invasion by the strongest army in the world, there is also a moral defeat, and there is great symbolic significance to this ritual – the  passing of invading troops through the main sanctuary of the country. What disturbs is that the parade will be held at the same time in 24 cities of Russia , for example, in Vladivostok – at five o’clock in the afternoon! For whom and why was it necessary that the ritual of the rule of foreign troops be consolidated and carried out simultaneously across the country? Certainly not the Russians. In recognition of their right to this parade, we become slaves, and our children – too. An appeal against this slavery will require us to show civil courage, which is comparable with the military prowess of our ancestors. For fear  of the coming of “restructuring” our people are bound together. Fear and apathy – are a mental illness of the people. But there are many Russian citizens in whose hearts is burning pain for his homeland. Under the Constitution, the power in the country belongs to the people, and we should make officials hear us!

We encourage all citizens to join together and express their common will. The party of the people “VOLYA [en. WILL]”  asks all Russians to campaign “NO to NATO!”. Let there hand in every house, in every car, in every window a poster saying “No NATO!

It behooves us: we have one country and one destiny. Do this quickly, now – tomorrow may be too late! Passage of NATO is the beginning of the final phase of the colonization of Russia. The parade is only a few days away …
Let us not degrade the memory of heroes who defend the homeland! REVIVE RUSSIAN SPIRIT AND COURAGE!
Defense of Motherland from the disappearance of C map of the planet! Defend the country against foreign invaders!

Source: Open-Letter.ru and Volya Naroda.

С Первомаем, товарищи! – For May 1st, Comrades

From the Russian Communist Party’s website:

May 1st

May 1st

День международной солидарности трудящихся, День боевого смотра революционных сил – так называли 1 мая наши учителя, первопроходцы рабочего движения. Именно в нашей стране они смогли одержать первую победу над капиталом, сделали Первомай праздником освобождённого туда. Таким мы хорошо помним этот день – расцвеченным кумачом знамён, с ликующими колоннами демонстрантов и радостными улыбками.

Мир, труд, май! Сегодня эти слова вдохновляют нас на борьбу с капиталистической реакцией. В год 140-летия со дня рождения В.И.Ленина мы подтверждаем свою готовность отдать все силы борьбе за идеалы мира, социализма и дружбы народов. Нас ведет святая вера в то, что справедливость, правда, уважение к человеку труда восторжествуют на нашей прекрасной Земле!

1 мая – это день, когда голос людей труда должен звучать во всю свою мощь. Это время сказать: под знаменем Ленина – вперед, к социализму!

С праздником, дорогие друзья!

Председатель ЦК КПРФ
Г.А. Зюганов


The day of international workers solidarity, is the day for fighting review of the revolutionary forces – how our teachers, the pioneers of the labour movement, called the 1st of May. It is in our country that they were able to win their first victory over the capital, which made the May Day celebration one of freedom there. So we remember this day – adorned with a red cloth banners, with exulting columns of demonstrators and a smile.

Peace, Labour, May! Today, these words inspire us to fight against capitalist reaction. In the year of the 140th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, we reaffirm our readiness to give all the power struggle for the ideals of peace, socialism and friendship among peoples. We are led by the sacred belief that justice, truth, respect for the working man will prevail on our beautiful Earth!

May 1 – a day when the voice of working people must be heard in all its might. It’s time to say: under the banner of Lenin – Forward to Socialism!

Congratulations, dear friends!

President of the CC of the KPRF
G. A. Zyuganov

Governments are Outsourcing handling of Visa Applications to Private Companies

The Daily Mail reveals today:

Millions of visas allowing foreigners to enter Britain are being issued by an American company and a High Street travel agent rather than British diplomats.

The system – never officially announced to Parliament – means that instead of filling in a form at a British embassy and facing an interview by diplomatic staff, visa applicants are directed to commercially run ‘official’ offices around the world.

And hundreds of thousands of applicants simply fill in a form on a website run by the US company.

The two private firms are responsible for dealing with about 80 per cent of the 2.75 million visa applications every year, two million of which are successful.[Note: this is the UK only]

[…]

The American outsourcing firm, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), also runs an advice hotline charging large fees payable by credit card in dollars to help applicants complete visa forms, but which is described as ‘completely useless’ in a Government report.

Virginia-based CSC has opened visa application centres in 14 countries and is running websites and call centres covering 87 others. Its so-called WorldBridge Service uses no diplomats or other British Government staff.

A similar service is offered by VFS-Global, part of the Swiss-based travel firm Kuoni, better known for its luxury package holidays.

And best of all is this:

The man who heads the American company responsible for issuing thousands of British visas is Michael W. Laphen, a former National Security Adviser to President George W. Bush.

Mr Laphen is paid more than $1million (£671,000) a year as chief executive and chairman of CSC, the owner of WorldBridge. His total annual ‘compensation’ package is worth more than £5million.

Just let me point out one of the issues here again. Governments are outsourcing their services to private companies who then go on to make a hefty profit from these services that you must consume. That alone should be stopped.

However, there is more to this story because not only Britain is doing this.  VFS Global – which is part of Kuoni, but is domiciled in India – delivers the same services for many other governments.  Among their customer is also the Swiss government:

Meaning that coming from these countries, you may have your data handled by a private company, GFS Global, when you apply for a Visa to Switzerland.
Vice versa, if you are Swiss, you may have your data handled by GFS Global when you apply for a Visa to India:

Visas to India

This get’s particularly interesting, when you look at the VGS Global website and read about their Biometrics Capability, or about the services they are offering or intend to offer in this area:

In our constant endeavor to provide the best service to visa applicants and keeping in sync with the latest in technology, VFS Global recently completed a mammoth exercise of providing biometrics service for  UKvisas at all its posts globally (where VFS Global has been offered this mandate). We are privileged to provide this service at the following countries: India, Singapore, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, China, Ghana, Qatar, Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, Thailand, Nepal, Philippines, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Pakistan, Oman, South Korea, Ethiopia, Japan, Saudi Arabia & Syria. Today, VFS Global is the only outsourced service company that has the capability to seamlessly integrate biometrics in the operational flow pertaining to visa processing. [their emphasis]
Under this system, an applicant desirous of traveling to the UK can visit an UKvisas application center in any one of the countries mentioned above. Finger scanning and capturing of digital photograph are managed concurrently in order to link the fingerprints to the face of the visa applicant. The digital photography and electronic finger scanning procedure is quick, discreet and entirely safe. The entire biometric process takes just five minutes! The biometric data collected, is stored on a database in the UK and held strictly in accordance with United Kingdom legislation, including the Data Protection Act 1998. [my emphasis]

So as an Indian applying for a visa to the UK you will have your biometrics data stored in the UK.

This is interesting, especially for Swiss, who about a year ago voted yes to the introduction of biometric passports as well as to the central storage of their data with Swiss authorities in Switzerland.

One of the talking point of the government was that the ‘data would not be stored by or in foreign countries, it would just be read by the authorities when you present your passport at the customs.’

Obviously, this is and was then untrue.  As the above proves, is that it is entirely up to the host country, i.e. the country giving you the visa, what it wants to do with your data and there is nothing you can do about it.
In addition, the data may be stored, cached and/or handled by a private enterprise, which they also said would not be the case.

Of course, this is only when you are travelling to a country that requires you to have a visa, right? When travelling in countries where no visa and not even a passport is required you should be save. Well Swiss ID cards carry – or will carry – that biometric information too, and they can be read at any time by foreign authorities and private companies. They can store the data as they see fit.

New world order indeed.

Climate Science Must Become More Transparent Say MPs

Today, the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published its report on the so called ‘Climagate’ scandal, i.e. the accusations that scientists of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia had surpressed and falsified data to make their point of climate change.

The Committee concludes:

Phil Willis MP, Committee Chair, said:

“Climate science is a matter of global importance. On the basis of the science, governments across the world will be spending trillions of pounds on climate change mitigation. The quality of the science therefore has to be irreproachable. What this inquiry revealed was that climate scientists need to take steps to make available all the data that support their work and full methodological workings, including their computer codes. Had both been available, many of the problems at CRU could have been avoided.

First of all, it is important to take note that the Committees task was not to judge the soundness of the science behind the climate change claims, or in its own words (p.  20): Continue reading

Private Property in Communism

Karl Marx (Image Source: Wikipedia)

Socialism is often accused of wanting to do away with all private property. That, together with the ‘central planning’ is probably the most contentious point of socialism.
But is it true that socialism, or rather communism wants to do away with all private property?
The short answer is no. But to really understand why, we have to start by looking at what is meant by private property.

The Manifesto of the Communist Party says about property (emphasis mine):

The distinguishing feature of Communism [from other forms of socialism] is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.

[…]

We Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right of personally acquiring property as the fruit of a man’s own labour, which property is alleged to be the groundwork of all personal freedom, activity and independence.

Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! Do you mean the property of petty artisan and of the small peasant, a form of property that preceded the bourgeois form? There is no need to abolish that; the development of industry has to a great extent already destroyed it, and is still destroying it daily.

Or do you mean the modern bourgeois private property?

But does wage-labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage-labour, and which cannot increase except upon condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage labour. Let us examine both sides of this antagonism.

To be a capitalist, is to have not only a purely personal, but a social status in production. Capital is a collective product, and only by the united action of many members, nay, in the last resort, only by the united action of all members of society, can it be set in motion.

Capital is therefore not only personal; it is a social power.

When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.

You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.

In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.

From the moment when labour can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being monopolised, i.e., from the moment when individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital, from that moment, you say, individuality vanishes.

You must, therefore, confess that by “individual” you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must, indeed, be swept out-of-the-way, and made impossible.

Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriations.

Does this now mean that in Communism no one owns anything, as is often said? No, it doesn’t mean that at all, as the last sentence makes very clear.
All Communism is concerned about, it to prevent an individual or group of individuals (usually called the ‘bourgeois’ at the time, nowadays you would best call them the ‘corporatist’) from deriving power over others from their property.

This means you can still own a car or a house. This sort of property is not touched at all. However, you can no longer own the factory or the bank that produces or finances the production of these products. This sort of property is meant. According to Communism this sort of property, which it calls bourgeois property, needs to be in ‘public hands’.

Here is how Communism thinks it can achieve that goal:

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.

These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.

Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.

You can see, that while one could agree with the previous part, most people disconnect here with this list. I do as well, because certain points, I am completely at odds with.

However, to understand the list, one must first clarify what is meant by ‘the State’.
Most people belong to the proletarian (worker) class and not to the bourgeois (corporatist) class. This means that proletarians make up the vase majority of ‘the people’. For the people to own the means of production, they must first own the State.
This can certainly not be achieved by one party claiming to represent the proletarian class and imposing its will on everyone else. However, this was exactly what happened in history when so-called Communist parties did just that, calling themselves avant-guard.
This has nothing to do with Communism. All this does (or did) is replacing one small group of bourgeois elite with another small group of pseudo-communist elite. However, the latter is still a fundamentally bourgeois arrangement according to Communism’s own definitions. In the end, nothing changed but the names they were giving to it.

That is why I am of the opinion and keep saying that the Chinese Communist Party is and was not a Communist party at all. It is just another manifestation of the bourgeois class or the corporatists. The same was true for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

If the people are to own the State, you must start with a democracy, with votes, elections, referendums and initiatives. Once you have organized your democratic State, you will have to look at the economic organisation. It is true, that some political reform is needed, as for example campaign finance reform, but those reforms depend to a certain extent on the economic organisation, so I won’t discuss it here.

To do that, here is my starter list. It may not be complete and need change over time:

1. Abolition of property in land and natural resources in, above, on or under this land; – you can still own the house on the land, but not the oil beneath it.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax; – to slow wealth accumulation in a few hands;
3. Abolition of rights of inheritance above a certain maximum total amount; – to stop wealth accumulation in a few hands;
4. Creation of a new money system without interest; – interest requires growth, but focus on growth is deadly for the ecosystem and the survival of mankind;
5. Creation of a basic income guarantee for all over 18; – to cater for basic needs like food, housing, clothing, communication, transportation etc and to take competition out of basic things needed for survival;
6. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly;
7. Revision of laws concerning corporate personhood, etc; ownership of and by legal constructs and their position in the legal system must be redefined;
8. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s labour.
9. –
10. –

These points need some explanation and some additional work. Which I will do later on.