Phil Mirzoev's blog

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yes, Bradley Manning and Assange deserve the Nobel prize possibly more than Obama does!

Yes, I do enjoy my breakfast much more after Wikileaks with the help of such conscientious guys like Bradley Manning (the dying breed) dealt a good blow to the western governments on the front of their irresponsible international policies. Politicians have many years avoided introduction of new mechanisms of responsibility for their international actions. Everything continued to be covered with the dark veil of 'state secrecy' which allowed them decide the questions of war and peace without ANY control of their constituency. The system has not been reformed though this question was overripe and we paid THOUSANDS of lives of young boys in uniform killed in Iraq and Afghan - two wars started by governments of democratic countries just at the snap of fingers without a bit of sanction on the part of peoples that elected them. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in those countries where Western governments played at being God at the expense of money and LIVES of their taxpayers. Now they DARE give some cynical nonsense about the ' wikileaks putting in jeopardy lives'!!
So once there are no direct control over those games on the part of governments provided by the existing democratic systems, the Internet and good will of free global community came to the assistance.
I do think that the founder of the Wikileaks is more worthy of the Nobel Price than Obama (although I am a great fan of this president and persona). Western world (people) must know what their elected governments are up to, and if there is no other mechanisms for normal democratic control, then there's no other choice other than to resort to the 'Wikileaks surgery', last but necessary measure in the conditions and atmosphere of ABSOLUTE refusal of the governments to be at least a bit accountable in the realm on the external politics and policies.
I am not surprised  Assange is now being hunted by Interpol, and that suddenly some criminal accusations of rape "popped up" in Sweden. I don't believe it is a coincidence in time. Even the fact that he is accused of rape - a crime which would damage and denigrate his image and reputation in the eyes of the public - is quite fits in with logic of the behavior of the US government. His site was disrupted by cyberattacks the other day. Nothing surprising too. For me it proves almost 100% the following:
1) The governments of so called democracies are still feel themselves above the law and have the tools to be above the law and launch a hunt against every mere mortal individual in the world who makes them feel really uncomfortable regardless of whether this individual is right or wrong in legal terms.
2) They don't hesitate a second before launching a such major hunt. They are outside normal ethics or 'moral field' - all that can be uncomfortable for them is bad, and any any methods to dispose of 'the bad guy' are good because they are GOVERNMENT. That's all. They are intrinsically immoral and if they had no other option dispose of the opponent than by killing, thew would kill him (if they were sure that they do it really secretly without consequences).
In this sense we are still in 19th century. When it comes to confrontation between an individual and a government for the latter there's no such thing as MORAL.
3) This proves me for 120% that we need more more such Wikileaks, because nothing else can stop or restrain those immoral governments from doing bad things on the international stage than transparency and detailed info available to general public about what those governments are up to. Only only this could prevent 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc Afghan, Iraq etc War.

Those technocrats are now clucking about damage to Diplomatic Relations of the US. Poor State Dept, pity I don't have a hankie to wipe those pea-sized tears rolling down my cheeks. I am so sorry about the damage, but 1) it's hard imagine that those high officials found anything new about themselves and the true attitudes to each other - it would rather make sense to hide those things from the public eyes, cos they know about each other a lot 2) I, as a regular mortal citizen of a democratic country don't care a damn about the problems of the damage to the Diplomatic Agencies and their relations, I am much more concerned about the damage to myself and other people, including the damage inflicted by those Diplomatic agencies and their sweet interrelationship. For example, the US, when cooking the case for an invasion of Iraq, referred to 'data of the British intelligence', just one of many many examples of how those sweet diplomatic friendship can help start a war in which thousands of American boys and girls were killed. Huge orders for billions of dollars could be made by Governments - billions of dollars of taxpayers - to bye some military jets, and you can never check them or accuse them of corruption and kick-backs because... right! because those beautiful sweet diplomatic relationships sweetness of which is directly proportionate to the secrecy of the info about those deals for,.. the nation, true owner of the money!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Ghost of Chernobyl still hinders development of nuclear industry in the West?

On 26 April 1986 the Chernobyl nuclear apocalypse took place claiming lives of thousands of people as a result of direct and indirect radioactive poisoning.
Many public debates and research works ever since have been dedicated to this catastrophe in terms of true causes, the scale of health negative consequences and some other important aspects.
But what so far has been almost completely left outside the public debate is the colossal detrimental effect of this disaster on the normal development of nuclear power generation industry the world over. One may hear either the debate about the deadly result of the Chernobyl event or the discussion of whether going nuclear is acceptable to move away from burning fossil fuels, but never these two, seemingly different debates go together. However it could be extremely important to tackle in a straight and proper way the general post-traumatic syndrome that as likely as not has set back development of the Western nuclear power industry by decades. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the mainstream opposition against the nuclear solutions is 'covering' its case with all kind of ecological arguments, unwillingly masking heavy influence of the tectonic socio-psychological shifts resulting from the Chernobyl meltdown.
Only after oil price made itself quite comfortable around a new 'normal' level of $80-85 per bbl and the price of Russian gas surged beyond $400 per thousand cubic meters did the German Government tentatively decided to delay the permanent shut-down of one of its major nuclear power stations, and it's still unclear whether it will be able to take a step further towards building up its nuclear capacity. Would this wavering political behavior have been the case if it were not for this incredibly strong and equally as prejudiced public opposition against anything nuclear? Would the heart of European Economy as well as Europe on the whole have been critically dependent on the supplies of Russian gas in the first place if it had not been for these lost decades for the nuclear sector? From the Baltic to Bulgaria, governments in Eastern Europe are increasingly looking toward a revival of nuclear power generation to meet growing energy demand, looong after those new members of European family had been forced to mothball or permanently shutdown its nuclear facilities under the pressure from EU. Those decisions and instructions by EU were taken in a rather uncompromising and simplistic way without paying much consideration to the possibilities of modernization or replacement, or just installation of new safety and control system in place. The main factor, again, was FEAR, the horrible pictures invoked by the phantom of Chernobyl, not the reasonable caution. Now governments in Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia are renovating old nuclear plants or considering building new ones. Hardly surprising after a large chunk of Eastern Europe was literally frozen by Russia cutting off gas supplies almost for half a month in Jan 2009. Would all of it have happened if it had not been for the terrible memories of Chernobyl? How big is the damage in term of economy and technology that was caused by the nuclear lethargy?
In the US not a single reactor has been built fro 30 years since the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island. Some experts and publicists consider that this huge pause in the domestic development of the nuclear industry is a result of this very unpleasant though not fatal event at Three Mile Island plant, but there's little doubt that the fears created by that were multiplied manifold in the public mind after the Chernobyl catastrophe had taken place. Already frightened enough people just got an additional confirmation of their fears about nuclear generation, which got demonized ever after this in the mind of many. In the meantime developing Asia including China has little if any prejudices or fears about this source of power and is catching up at unbelievable speed with the West in terms of technology, alas. Yes, western traditional nuclear powers like France and US have continued to build new plants outside their borders, but in terms of technological development and competitiveness it was in part like jogging on the spot. Markets laws do play a role: on the one hand those external clients more often than not have been countries where nuclear technology has not been developed enough so that they were quite content with the existing level of proposed western designs (demand creates the supply), on the other hand with time western contractors helped quite a bit some countries get in the nuclear business and start its own technological development. For example, Westinghouse won a $5,3 billion contract in 2006 in China but the company paid a heavy price for this foray into the Chinese market because of a significant technology transfer. As a result, such countries like China and South Korea are turning from importers into exporters of nuclear technology and, consequently, into major competitors - competitors of our own making.
It is true, that the aforementioned existing circumstances - soaring price of oil and excessive dependence on foreign supplies - are slowly pushing the West towards a more rational and balanced attitude to nuclear generation, but this process is slow and bumpy, it well may be too little too late. Time sometimes heals, though slowly and often incompletely, but, perhaps, the energy sector would be now in a much better - qualitatively better shape, if the post-chernobyl syndrome had long before been addressed by the media, politicians and experts from various fields in a proper and timely fashion. The same goes for ecological and carbon emissions related achievements - the hot topic these days - which arguably are not possible for the present without building up the share of nuclear generation among other sources of energy.
Is it high time to recognize that it's the ghost of Chernobyl that has haunted the collective public mind for decades effectively preventing development of the nuclear energy sector, not ecology or the real safety issues? Isn't it time for intellectual elites in Western countries to recognize that the problem of nuclear stagnation must be primarily dealt with from a socio-psychological perspective, because the artificially induced social nuclearphobia has become one big restraining factor? That is not to say that ecological, safety and other aspects should not be addressed in a proper way, but it can be possible only after a large public debate is started in order to cure the nuclear hysteria which just prevents the public from rational and balanced consideration of all other sides, including multiple and unique advantages of applying nuclear technology and, what is more, developing it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ireland gets bail-out, but will it help avoid bankrupcy in the end?

The problem of a heavy debt from the previous loans is solved by giving Ireland another loan - fine. But does it change anything fundamentally? If Ireland's come to be unable to pay the old debt, why should one think that it will be able to pay the new even bigger debt? More to the point, the artificial support of government bonds of Ireland will allow the country to continue to borrow money from banks. In the end it will be taxpayers of other European countries who will pay the bill, and banks will be the winners - to big to fail as ever. That's the European socialism of the 21th century. Germany produces, Ireland consumes and is called with the fabulous name 'Celtic tiger' for the indomitable pace of consumption. The problem at root is that Greece or Ireland just cannot fairly have the same leverage ratio as such developed economies like Germany, but in practice they have because they are considered equal members of the euroclub. So their bonds are considered something quite the same as debt papers of the Netherlands or Germany.

The Pope belatedly approves the use of condoms

The Pope used to complain much about so called relativism, but nothing will change with the "sexual impasse" of the Catholic Church until it relinquishes its own relativistic attitude to sex: sex without pregnancy is bad, with pregnancy good, life without kids is bad but if in monastery then good etc. In essence Catholics follow the ideology of 'lesser but inevitable evil'. But they just refuse to recognize it - its own relativism.
Even more serious consequence of this is the notorious unconditional celibacy of all priests - a huge problem which is now presenting existential threat to the Church itself through the killing of reputation by the day on account of sexual crimes by the clergy

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is WES bribed by Russian Education Ministry?

Don't reward World Education Services (WES)!!
I was just appalled to see that the well-known credential assessment organization WES requires from Russians APOSTILLES from nothing less than Education Ministry of Russia!! Let alone this procedure in terms of time can consume months, this mere apostille from Russian Ministry will cost you more than TWICE the price of the FULL evaluation by WES, id est $500! If my guess is right there's very tight and warm friendship between WES and Russian top officials in Education Ministry.
Dear folks, don't reward CORRUPTION and don't overpay several times! In Canada go to ICAS, University of Toronto or other agencies to get your diplomas and other credentials confirmed! Don't condone dubious behavior!

Friday, November 19, 2010

War in Afghanistan

Now a majority of TV and radio programs dedicated to the topic of Afghan war try to discuss whether or not it makes sense to increase the number of troops there, whether or not it's worth to leave that country and what would be the best strategy to train Afghan army. Unfortunately the media is markedly falling behind the reality: the Afghan war has already been lost, and the exit in a 'cut-and-run' mode is inevitable. To transform Afghanistan into a country (which it is not), especially a stable one the world should have pumped into it not billions, not even trillions, but TENS of trillions of dollars, and now the humankind is still just not enough developed technologically and financially to create new countries from scratch. From the very first it was a game at the expense of taxpayers in monetary terms and at the expense of lives of the young boys in uniform who decide to join the army not based on rational knowledge and analysis but based on their blind trust and believe in the demagogy of politicians whom they mistakenly identify with their country.
The only practical question is how to minimize financial and human losses and - for politicians - how to leave in the most 'face-saving' way possible. How sharply to cut and how fast to run - that's the only headache of those who make decisions. That's all. Game over. Shedding tears about the actions of the US and its NATO allies is long irrelevant - it would have made sense not even yesterday, but the day before yesterday. But what really may be of some concern is rather ineffective tackling of this problem by the media, which continues to discuss the problems which must be left to historians to deal with.
What one would really like journalists, publicists and politics pundits to knock around in panel discussions is HOW to prevent the repetitions of the similar wars (including Iraqi one). How come that a whole bunch of so called developed democracies so easily and rashly involved themselves in such a preposterously catastrophic device? How could it be, that "mother of democracy" Britain just rushed headlong to wage a war against... Taliban after US declared its aim to catch... Osama?! For that matter, UK - parliamentarian democracy - plunged into Iraq war a couple of years latter only because it's PM for some absolutely unknown reasons individually decided to do so - how come?! With more than 80% British population against the war too! Is there really not a single tool or mechanism left even in the most advanced democracies to prevent them from the wildest most obvious and most dangerous war sprees?! Even when the most of the population of those democracies openly express their discontent and disagreement with the 'decision'? HOW COME - that's the first question. And what needs to be done to avoid throwing similar tantrums in the future is the second question. What Afghan and Iraqi campaigns brought to light is not the question of how we should transform those countries but the question of how we must transform our countries and political controls to avoid suchlike follies in future. Many publicists notice, and rightfully so, that the actions of the US and their many western allies were catastrophic for the countries invaded, but even more catastrophic they were for the those 'liberators'. Things that must not be possible in the 21th century for the western democratic world have happened to be quite possible, and that must sound the real alarm of the western media. That's where the main focus of the intellectual elites must be on, because if such absurdly uncontrollable and stupid things are possible we can only guess what comes next. It's a very big disappointment.
Emanuel Kant expected that democratic countries based on the concept of civil society are less inclined to wage wars, but, unfortunately his thesis so far has not been clearly and definitively proved in practice. Quite likely not because this German visionary was mistaken in his assumptions but because the real democracies are still very much underdeveloped. If the key decisions of war and piece beyond the country borders were taken only after a plebiscite British troops might have not ended up in Afghanistan or Iraq. All this dramatic happenings would have been even more unlikely if before such a plebiscite the people had been entitled to the full detailed information based on which such decisions were recommended, or, at the very least, parliamentarians had been given the pass to "the vaults of state secrecy".