tisdag, oktober 23, 2007

Paris - a corner of Paradise?


I recently finished reading a book by the Swedish journalist Knut Ståhlberg. He was a well known reporter both in radio and television from the late forties till mid- eighties. He became very popular with his very personal style.
In a way he epitomized the general idea of a Frenchman. He talked with every part of his body almost, not least his hands. He leaned towards the TV-screen and almost came out of the TV-set.

He became so intimately connected with France and Paris that he almost became an institution. Before him there had been famous reporters stationed in France and Paris but for the majority of Swedes today he is the correspondent par préférence concering the French society.

The book I've read by him is called 'A Corner of Paradise. Light and Dark Years in Paris' (my translation).
He came to Paris in 1945 and came to live on Rue du docteur Blanche in the 16th arrondissement where he met his wife to be, Juliette. They were very happy but after a while the cold war broke out and this made Ståhlberg have to take on a great amount of responsibility concerning news coverage.

He also learns about his wifes family history from the trenches in the Flanders to the concentration camps of the Third Reich. A travel in time far from the Swedish self-righteous isolation.

He also writes about some of the people he met: André Gide, Claude Simon, Jean-Paul Sartre, politicians, musicians, painters (not least Swedish painters) and others.

It's a fascinating book and a evidence of the post-war history of Europe and also a story about love, the love to his wife, to France, to people who made an impression on him.

He has written several books and one of them is about Charles de Gaulle and called: 'De Gaulle, the General who was France' (my translation).

In 2006 he was honoured with Légion d'honneur' (Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur) - Legion of Honor.

I don't know if it has been translated into English but if so I would like to recommend it.

Unibet and France


The Managing Director for the online gaming operator Unibet, Petter Nylander, was arrested in the Netherlands yesterday (Monday). The French state gambling monopolies - Française des Jeux and PMU - claim that Unibet have violated the French legislation by offering online gambling.

The French government regard the arrest of the Swedish MD as being somewhat embarrasing. They mean that this way of looking at this issue is obsolete. This is also the way the French president Nicolas Sarkozy see things concerning this question at issue.

According to some sources Nylander is released from prison.

This is in a way the same debate as in Sweden concerning our monopolies. The government states that it's much better if gambling, alcohol, pharmacies etc is controlled by the state. This in order to avoid problems with people getting in to troubles caused by gambling and alcohol.

This is of course not true. The truth is that the state earns enormous amount of money thanks to the monopoly and this is the only reason for maintaining the monopoly situation.

The Government often say that they use money from these activities to help people with drug-and gambling problems and this is partly true.
The figures however show that from the billions of Skr that gambling generates to the state, there is only a negligible amount that is used to help people with these kinds of problems.

The astonishing thing is that the Government still tries to convince the citizens that monopoly is good for them because they are being taken care of when problems arise.
Even more astonishing is that some citizens think that this is true!

PKK and Turkey


PKK has taken up the fight again. They are now threatening Turkey and this has created great problems in the region.

People living far from the area in which these actions are taking place, urge the Turkish government to act immediately and strike hard against the PKK. People close to the battlefield instead want the Government to negotiate with the PKK.

However the Turkish Government doesn't want to negotiate, saying that they do not want to negotiate with terrorists.

Today the foreign ministers of Iraq and Turkey met in Bagdad and agreed to support each other in the fight against PKK. They have though declared that they want to solve the problems through dialogue.

We have to wait and see if they succeed in doing so and if this really is the aim of the two Governments in Irak and Turkey.

Historically these two countries have fought the Kurdish people fiercely and I think that one have to bear this in mind when one look at this conflict.

Of course the people in Turkey should not have to accept that they are being attacked but if one look at the problem 'from above' so to speak, violent behaviour have been the foremost way of ruling these two countries since decades. Not least have they treated the Kurdish people in a most respectless way to say the least. Murder and attempts to annihilate the Kurdish people have been a recurrent element in the policy against them.

If the PKK today have support from a majority of the kurdish people living in different countries in the region is hard to say. Maybe the support is strongest among them who share the communist ideals of the PKK.

The United States
is also worried that this relatively calm region in northern Iraq could be facing a war like situation. They have requested the Turkish government to solve this with negotiations, not force.

Somewhat ironic though as the Turkish leaders also stated. Turkey is now facing a threat from what they regard being a terrorist organization and when they want to strike back, the United States of all countries ask them to negotiate.

I haven't seen much negotiating from the American government after 9/11 but maybe I'm wrong?!

Göran Persson - Memoirs


Former prime minister Göran Persson will have his memoirs released today: 'My way, my choices' (my translation from 'Min väg, mina val').
In the book he says that he was prepared to initiate a coalition government if the Social Democratic Party had won the election. Not however with the right wing party, Moderaterna, with the current prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt as a party leader.
He says that he is not sure that the party members as a whole would have liked the idea but he thought it necessary.

He also regrets that he didn't take up to discussion the property taxation but his Minister of Finances Per Nuder was against this and therefore it became a question for the opposition parties. This is of course also a way of blaming some of the loss in the election on Per Nuder.
It's obvious that he is disappointed of the fact that he, as the only member of the Government and the party resigned as a result of the defeat in the election.
He states that other high ranked party members also should have taken on more responsibility for the loss, not him solely. I think he among others refer to the party secretary Marita Ulvskog. Maybe he also refers - as I pointed out above - to Per Nuder as he is said to have been Perssons 'crown prince' as a successor on the post as party leader. Other persons in his own generation might be local politicians in Malmö (Malmoe) and Göteborg (Gothenburg); Ilmar Reepalu and Göran Johansson. They are well known and strong in their constituencies and they stayed on.

Now Göran Persson is working as a consultant and some people within the party have accused him for betraying his ideals and loyalty with the party.

What ideals? I think that the ideals held high when a person is in the center of politics hardly have to stand on a solid ground. This goes also for religious leaders or any other sector of society. A leader is a careerist regardless field of work or engagement.
Why do you always have to be loyal with political ideas throughout your life? Everything changes and hopefully also we. Maybe you find that former ideals doesn't appeal to you anymore? During the time in office, Persson and other leaders chooses to stay on as heads of a party even though they feel that they can't share all the ideals connected to the political-ideological concept. It's however to exciting to be in the center of decision making to make a political leader leave a post like this, even though he/she doesn't agree with the ideas anymore.

History has it that the former leader of the Social Democratic Party - Olof Palme - first of all tried to create a political platform within the right wing party in Sweden. When he was rejected he turned to the Social Democratic Party and there he succeeded.

Anyhow as most politicians Göran Persson knows who to make money out of his political life: The tv-documentary, his work as a consultant and now this book. Every politician seem to think that they have something interesting to tell the world and yet we know that the most interesting parts of a biography of this kind is left out. Maybe in fifty years we will be able to get more information on the political development during this time. This when events that today are classified as top secret can be revealed.

Google, military expenses and NASA


It now seems as if we have to rely only on Google as it has become by far the biggest Search engine in the world, worth 200 billion US dollars.

The world is suffering under starvation and other global threats but there is never money enough to help those who need help the most. What could 200 billion dollars do for the poor and dying in the world? It of course depends on in what way we use the money but even poorly used it would be enough to help millions of people around the world.

According to some figures 1000 billion US dollars is spent every year on the military in the world. Could these money be used in a more constructive way? I am convinced it could.

I don't know if I understood correctly the other day when I heard mentioned the amount of money spent on the space programme in the USA. I think the sum 1200 billion dollars every year was mentioned.
How does this project help the poor and people exposed to war and plagues?
Maybe the USA and other countries in the world are planning to send poor people to the moon.

I could go on with figures like this for a long time but....
On the whole concerning the major problems in the world, it's not a lack of money but of will that constitutes the major obstacle.
This of course goes for you and me as well.

fredag, oktober 19, 2007

Thailand and JAS

Thailand has decided to buy six JAS 39 Gripen from Sweden.
Initially it was ment that they were going to buy twelve aircrafts but now it landed on half the amount of planes.
This purchase order is worth 3,7 billion Skr (more than 400 million € or almost 530 million US$).
These aircrafts are sold to a country with a military regime. I thought that Sweden - at least officially - wanted to support democracies not military juntas? No, I'm not naïve, I very well know that Sweden throughout decades has sold weapons to those wanting to buy them, whether or not in war. Pragmatism is always more important than moral, on a political level.

Some information says that the USA didn't want to go through with their offer because Thailand is a country ruled by a military junta that came to power through a military coup.
According to some information the legislation in the USA forbids this kind of sales.

Our foreign minister Carl Bildt (photo above) on the other hand states that there is no such law in the United States and this is proven by the fact that the country is going through with other military sales to Thailand. If this is true or not I don't know.
The fact is of course that Sweden as well as the USA or any other country are willing to leave their policy as long as it benefits the economical development in their own country. Ethical/moral questions are of secondary importance when we/the leaders of different countries see a chance to earn money, a truism but worth emphasizing.

Maybe you remember the scandal concerning arms sales from Bofors in Sweden to India during the 1980's when Olof Palme - the prime minister at the time - was accused of taking bribes and so also prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Who has been bribed this time and how much did it cost the parties involved?

(Photo Carl Bildt copied from: http://ivarfjeld.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/swedish-foreign-minister-carl-bildt.jpg)

(Photo canon from Bofors copied from: http://amreekandesi.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/155mmboforsfh-77b.jpg)
(Photo Olof Palme copied from: http://johngushue.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/olof_palme.jpg)
(Photo Rajiv Gandhi copied from: http://im.in.com/connect/images/profile/b_profile4/Rajiv_Gandhi_300.jpg)

tisdag, oktober 16, 2007

Putin, and Iran

Vladimir Putin is visiting Iran in order to meet president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

This is the first visit from a Russian leader to Iran since the dictator Josef Stalin visited the country in 1943.
The two leaders are going to discuss the safety for the countries around the Caspian Sea and of course the nuclear program in Iran.
Putin is also granted a meeting with the religious leaders and especially Ali Khamenei the highest religious leader in Iran.

President Putin spook about the importance of peace and stability in this area and that no questions should be solved with military means. None of the countries should be used for a base for at military attack.
Every question - even those who have not been solved - must be solved through dialogue, Putin said.

We will see what the final document that the countries around the Caspian Sea - that is to say Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia - will say.

(Photo Vladimir Putin copied from: http://topnews.in/files/Vladimir-Putin_4.jpg)

(Photo Mahmoud Ahmadinejad copied from: http://www.iranchamber.com/history/mahmadinejad/images/mahmoud_ahmadinejad1.jpg)
(Photo Josef Stalin copied from: http://www.glogster.com/media/4/14/52/69/14526917.jpg)
(Photo Ali Khamenei copied from: http://www.enduringamerica.com/storage/blog-post-images/KHAMENEI.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1300793590407)

Ericsson & Svanberg

The Ericsson shares fell when the company today had to annonce that the profit during the third quarter of the year 'only reached six billion kronors' (650 million € or 850 million $).
The economical market is incomprehensible and strange in many ways.
Ericsson's profit this time last year was one third bigger than this one but there are no deficits. Unfortunately - or fortunately - economy is not a precise science (if it should be regarded as science at all) and it's mostly psychology governing the stock market.
I can't say I am sorry for Ericsson but I think it's a useful experience for the MD Carl Henrik Svanberg who needs some resistance as he earlier has been so sure of himself and his capacity.

As long as a company (enterprise) is succesful the head of the company often gets the credit and also wants to take the credit for the success.
When setbacks arrives they are seldom eager to take on responsibility.
In this case it would be a natural consequence for Svanberg to leave the enterprise and see to that a succesor is appointed.
When it comes to the 'ordinary worker' in lower positions this is often the case. They have to leave when there are re-organizations within the company caused by a reverse development.

Personally I use a Nokia mobile-/cell phone.

(Photo L.M. Ericsson copied from: http://www.sweden.se/upload/Sweden_se/english/articles/SI/2008/Strong%20innovation%20drives%20Sweden%20forward/Sweden_LarsMagnusEricsson.jpg)
(Picture logo Ericsson copied from: http://ceoworld.biz/ceo/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/ericsson-logo-blue.jpg)
(Photo Carl Henrik Svanberg copied from: http://www.cbsnews.com/i/tim//2010/06/12/svanberg_NEW_370x278.jpg)
(Photo Nokia 9300i copied from: http://www.filesaveas.com/images/nokia9300.jpg)

Drum solos - obsessed?

There are a lot of impressive drum soloists in this blogsection but - besides the older and younger very well known 'legends' - take a look at the third clip below. He's amazing.

The Hives at Liljevalchs

The art museum Liljevalchs in Stockholm was the site for this recording by The Hives, the Swedish rock group. Artists making art in a art museum. Enjoy!

torsdag, oktober 11, 2007

Doris Lessing

Now we know: Doris Lessing.

In the interview above she concluded that she had won almost all the litterary prizes there are in Europe but not the Nobel Prize. She ment that the Academy had to hurry before she died. I think it's a wonderful reaction and not the "Oh, my God, meeee, I'm-not-worth-it-reaction" one normally gets.

When I talked to people I know, there are few who have read her books and some doesn't even know who she is! This was surprising for me to hear.
Listening to interviews from a book shop in London I heard the reporter talk to people who didn't know who Doris Lessing is. Not even in her native country (I know she was born in Iran or Persia as it was called then).

"That epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny" was the descripiton of her as a writer delivered by Horace Engdahl, Secretary of the Swedish Academy.

She is the eleventh woman to be awarded the Noble Prize in litterature since 1901! This out of 99 laureates!

She is by many regarded as very important for women writers and their possibilities to become and remain authors.
She is also a commentator of current development in the world, seeking to find out what it is to be human.

Look at these links for more information about her:



Nobel prize in litterature

Today, the 11th of October, The Swedish Academy will present to the world the laureate in litterature for this year.
If one would take a guess judging from what continents the winners of the last few years have originated from, I would say that this year it's time for an African (I know that sounds very generalizing), South American or Asian author.
Will there be a person who deals with questions concerning race, nationality and religious beliefs?
Will there perhaps be a poet who is regarded being non-political?

Orhan Pamuk was regarded as a political author even though he didn't regard himself as one.
Elfriede Jelinek is also in many ways a political author and that goes for the dramatist (playwright) Harold Pinter.

Will there be a woman or a man? We will see at 1 pm.

(Photo Swedish Academy copied from: http://www.ullamontan.com/foton/portratt_sv_forfattare/svenska_akademien_2_l.jpg)
(Photo Orham Pamuk copied from: http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-images/Books/Pix/authors/2007/05/29/pamuk460.jpg)
(Photo Elfriede Jelinek copied from: http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_krtpe6piS11qzn0deo1_400.jpg)
(Photo Harold Pinter copied from: http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45327000/jpg/_45327315_pinter7_bbc.jpg)

onsdag, oktober 10, 2007

Good news is no news

In Swedish radio one yesterday discussed the problems concerning news coverage and how biased it tends to become.

For a while the situation in Burma have been in focus but already now the journalists are moving towards other areas in the world.
This is perhaps most noticeable in European journalism.

I can't back that up with statistics but when I listen to Swedish news versus news from the BBC, French and German medias for example, it' s very much the same issues that are discussed.
In Sweden it seems though as if we have greater problems than other countries in focusing on a number of different subjects at the same time. This might not be unique for Sweden but I can only talk about my experiences from this country with some certainty.

Historically, journalists in Sweden have also neglected reporting on the development in South and Central America for example.

Only when it comes to big, revolutionizing events and when things have gone bad we can find a more profound interest from Swedish jounalists.

The era under Augusto Pinochet in Chile or when the Argentinean military seized power or when other military coups have occured, we can see that these events catch the attention of Swedish journalists.

Another area that have been covered is the drug trades and violence in countries like Bolivia for example.

Africa is also a continent that mostly is described as a part of the world where great problems dominate the everyday life of people in different countries. Of course Africa is a continent with great problems, like famine, different kinds of diseases that kills millions of people, violence in connection to either the rule in a country or the war and conflicts between different governmental and non governmental groups.
There are however also positive development going on in the different African countries and this ought to be displayed more often.

The countries in the former Yugoslavia are almost forgotten due to other conflict areas.
As one person from one of these countries said in an interview: "Where are the journalists now when we are trying to build up the country?"
A journalist answered this by saying that "Good news is no news".

The focus on the Middle East does not stand in proportion to other conflicts in the world either. Why then this coverage on almost a daily bases from Israel and Palestine?
Because the problems there are more serious than other conflicts and wars in the world? No. One answer could of course be - as a Swedish journalist pointed out - that Europe still is trying to 'repay a dept' not least to the Jewish community because of the atrocities during the second World War. This reason is of course not a valid one.

Now the focus also have been on the two Korean states and the meeting between their two leaders a couple of days ago. What came out of it? More or less nothing I would say. The only thing they agreed on was to start a process towards a peace treaty but not to sign one.

In the USA the focus of their foreign policy coverage is mostly Iraq and Afghanistan. This is maybe in a way understandable but as always one tend to wonder why this big - and according to their leaders great - country can't focus on other issues with the same energy at the same time.

"Good news is no news" contains in itself perhaps the most logical answer to the lack of news telling us about the more succesful developments in different parts of the world.
With the internet it's of course easier to find information on other issues if one study internetmedia working more or less independently from other more established news agencies.

Why is questions like these important?
Well, how well informed we are concerning the development in the world affects our standpoint in different issues. It affects for example our willingness to economically support different purposes in the work carried out by governments and NGO:s in different countries around the world. This in turn affects how efficient the work they carry out will be effectuated.
This in turn is of great interest, not least to the people living in these countries.

Look for information everywhere, not only in your local newspaper! Engage yourself!
Why should I engage myself in issues I can't influence?
Well I can't argue for why more than point out the very obvious that it might be you who's in need for help next time. If then people who could help you abandon you...?
This is exactly what the wealthier part of the world does; the inhabitants and more specifically the politicians and the journalists.

(Photo Burmese monks copied from: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1240/1457812694_46fb2b9040.jpg)
(Photo logo The European Journalism Centre copied from: http://b.vimeocdn.com/ps/119/444/1194442_300.jpg)
(Map South America copied from: http://www.ducksters.com/geography/flagmaps/south_america.jpg)
(Photo Augusto Pinochet copied from: http://msmonterossosfacebookpage.wikispaces.com/file/view/Pinochet2.jpg)
(Photo drug trafficking copied from: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs/thelede/posts/0105tijuana.jpg)
(Map the African continent copied from: http://www.africaguide.com/images/africa_map.gif)
(Map Yugoslavia copied from: http://balkansnet.org/yugo1.gif)
(Map the Middle East copied from: http://i.infoplease.com/images/mapmiddleeast.gif)
(Map Korea copied from: http://www.asiaworld.tk/wp-content/uploads/Seoul-korea-map-1.jpg)
(Map Iraq copied from: http://go.hrw.com/atlas/norm_map/iraq.gif)

fredag, oktober 05, 2007

Otto G.Carlsund and Olle Baertling

Svenska (English below):

I Stockholm kan man just nu se två stora utställningar omkring två svenska modernistiska målare:
Otto G. Carlsund Liljevalchs konsthall där man (bl.a.) målat upp hans stora väggmålning 'Rapid' (ovan) som gjordes till Stockholmsutställningen 1930. Det är en geometrisk soluppgång pekandes mot framtiden under konkretismens banér.

På Moderna museet öppnar höstens stora utställning nämligen, 'Olle Baertling - en modern klassiker'. Baertling född 1911 var autodidakt och skapade vinklade fält - ofta i triangulär form - i olika färger. Detta kom att bli sinnebilden för den moderna konstens abstraktion från det föreställande.
Baertling var mycket produktiv men utställningskommissarien John Peter Nilsson har enligt uppgift varit mycket sparsmakad.


In Stockholm one are able to visit two exhibitions displaying two great Swedish modernist painters:
Otto G. Carlsund at Liljevalchs art museum where they've (among other artworks exhibited) hanged his big wall painting 'Rapid', a painting he made in connection to the Stockholm exhibition in 1930. It's a geometrical sunrise pointing towards the future under the banners of concretism.

At Moderna museet (The Museum of Modern Art) the big autumn exhibition opens 6th of Octobre: 'Olle Baertling - a Modern Classic'. Baertling was born in 1911 and he was totally autodidact, creating angles and fields in different colours - often triangular in form.
This came to be the pure idealistic symbol for the modern art and its abstraction from the depicting art.
Baertling was very productive but the curator John Peter Nilsson has according to the information I've got, been very restrictive in his choice of works by Baertling.

(Photo 'Rapid' Otto G. Carlsund copied from: http://www.nt.se/inc/imagehandler.ashx?id=2278485&height=312&quality=75)
(Photo work by Olle Baertling copied from: http://www.svd.se/multimedia/dynamic/00238/Baertling494_238579c.jpg)

torsdag, oktober 04, 2007

Murder and manslaughter - legislation in Sweden

Svenska (English below):

Justitieminister Beatrice Ask föreslår att man skall se över straffsystemet vad gäller brott som dråp och mord. Detta genom att se till att skillnaden mellan de tidsbestämda straffen och livstidsstraff för denna typ av brott minskar.

Idag kan ett livstidsstraff utgöra mellan 18-25 år för mord emedan det längsta tidsbestämda straffet fortfarande är tio år.

Detta gör att skillnaden i straffsatser mellan de människor som döms skyldiga till mord och människor som har gjort sig skyldiga till exempelvis narkotikabrott inte alltid blir särskilt stora. Jämför man alltså de straffsatser som gäller för dessa två brottstyper, kan de rent spontant kännas ej stå i rimlig relation till varandra.
I de flesta fall skulle vi nog säga att ett mord är ett långt allvarligare övergrepp än ett narkotikabrott.

I de stora flertalet samhällssystem anses det grövsta brott man kan göra sig skyldig till vara att mörda en annan människa.

Dock kan man självfallet komplicera bilden en aning. Det kan ju vara så att en person som gjort sig skyldig till narkotikabrott härigenom indirekt är skuld till fler dödsfall än den som mördat en människa.
Oftast har man då resonerat så att den som gör sig skyldig till narkotiabrott oftast säljer sina ibland dödsbringande produkter till människor vilka är helt på det klara med vad de nyttjar samt de eventuella konsekvenserna av dessa produkter.
Det är t.o.m. så att man kan föra ett resonemang som går ut på att narkotikahandlaren - i alla olika led - i vissa fall utgör en 'räddande ängel' för en person med missbruksproblem.
Sistnämnde får hjälp att fly vardagens bekymmer och livets plågsamheter och kan härigenom med assistans av narkotikan hjälpas stå ut med ett liv som man i princip inte står ut med men som man samtidigt - genom en suicidal handling - inte vågar lämna för gott.

Vad gäller mord eller dråp (skillnaden anses ibland vara stor ibland hårfin) är det så att i vissa fall kan vi som enskilda självfallet känna en viss förståelse för att en människa tar livet av en annan individ.
I andra fall finner vi en sådan handling fullständigt oförklarlig och fylld endast med ondska.

Jag tror de flesta kan känna att mord på en diktator eller en människa som plågar och torterar andra människor kan upplevas fullt logiska i sitt sammanhang.
Däremot är övergrepp på barn - där människor med pedofil läggning förgriper sig på dessa tills de slutligen dör i fruktansvärda plågor - ett mord (dråp) som ingen till försvar kan anföra skäl för. Kanske med undantag för andra pedofiler.
Detta för att nu använda mig av två förhållandevis enkla exempel där vi rent intersubjektivt sällan finner skillnader i människors uppfattning om sådana brott.

Personligen anser jag att det kan vara på sin plats att se till att vissa föreliggande skillnader i straffsatser mellan skilda brott ses över. Detta så att det leder till en större diskrepans mellan exempelvis ett narkotikabrott och ett överlagt och brutalt mord.

Även vad gäller viss ekonomisk brottslighet måste man nog se över lagstiftningen. Dessa brott har en straffsats som ibland tangerar långt värre brott av ovan nämnda karaktär och detta anser jag i de flesta fall inte vara orimligt.


The Minister of Justice (Secretary of State for Justice), Beatrice Ask, suggests that one should look over the penalty system in Sweden concerning crimes like manslaughter and murder (homicide).
This would be done by reducing the difference between the time limited sentences and lifetime concerning these kind of crimes.

Today a lifetime sentence can vary between 18-25 years imprisonment while the longest time limited punishment for murder still is and for a long row of years have been ten years.
This leads to that the difference between people sentenced for murder and those who are charged with, for example, drugs crime are quite small, compared with the time limited sentences for murder.

If one compare the legal consequences for these two crimes, one feels spontaneously that there are no reasonable relational difference between the two that is possible to argue for.
In most cases we would say that a murder is a far more serious crime than a narcotics crime.
In the vast majority of societies the worst crime a person can perpetrate is murdering another human being.

Of course we can always complicate the picture somewhat.
It could be so that a person guilty of a narcotics crime indirectly has killed more people than a person who has committed a single murder.
Often the contra argument is that the one guilty of a narcotis crime often sells his sometimes lethal procucts to people who fully know what kind of drugs they use and the possible consequences of using that drug.

Sometimes one also reason that the drug dealers - on different levels - sometimes constitute a 'saving angel' for persons with drug problems.
The latter gets help to flee the problems and torments of life and is through the drugs able to stand a life one in principal can't stand but don't have the courage, through a suicidal act, to leave for good.

When it comes to murder or manslaughter (the difference sometimes is regarded to be immense sometimes subtle) we can sometimes feel some kind of understanding for a situation when one person kills another.
In other cases we see a deed of that kind as totally incomprehensible, only filled with a great amount of evil.

I think most of us can understand that murdering a dictator or someone who has tortured other people can be totally logical in its context.
On the other hand assaults on children where people with a pedophile disposition more or less torture the child until the child in the end dies in terrible torments is a kind of murder noone can argue in defense for. Maybe with the exception for other pedophiles.
I now used two comparatively simple examples where we purely intersubjectively seldom find any differences in peoples opinions concerning these kind of crimes.

Personally I consider it appropriate seing to that there come about a more obvious difference between the legal consequences for different kinds of criminal acts.
This leading to a greater discrepancy between for example narcotics crimes and a premediated and brutal murder.

Also when it comes to certain economic crimes I think one have to look over the legislation. These crimes do sometimes render a punishment that touch far worse crimes like the above mentioned and in most cases this can't be said to be reasonable.

(Photo poster Murder 'Let the evidence speak for themselves' copied from: http://www.rocketxl.com/dev/murder/MurderAd6.jpg)
(Picture 'Manslaughter' copied from: http://www.classicmoviefavorites.com/demille/manslaughter3.jpg)

Will the alcohol be back?

In yet another verdict the European Court of Justice declared that the prohibition against private import of alcohol to Sweden, stands in opposition with the EU Law.
This is the second time that Sweden is convicted for breaking the law within the European Union concerning this ban. This time it was the European Commission that put Sweden on trial because they considered this prohibition (ban) being an obstacle towards free trade.

In June the Court came to the same conclusion after Sweden had been put to trial by a Swedish citizen, wanting the alcohol back that had been detained, awaitening the verdict in the EU.

Will the Swedish government be forced to repay the money corresponding to the amount of alcohol detained and waisted? So far it does not seem to be the case. This ban was a decision from the former Social democratic government.

(Photo bottles copied from: http://smggermany.typepad.com/)

(Photo European Court of Justice copied from: http://elections.thinkaboutit.eu/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/ecj-300x225.jpg)

The Sputnik wll not be back!

Today we - or the Russians - celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first space aircraft launched into space - Sputnik 1.

This marked the start of a 'race in space' and for the Americans it was a great defeat to see the Sovjet Union being ahead of them. It was not only a defeat but the American government thought that this could become a military threat against the country.
President Eisenhower at the time declared that the United States also could have launched their own 'Sputnik' if they had lowered the scientific demands of the operation. This was of course nonsense. He lied to the whole nation.
The Sputnik showed that the Sovjet Union now could strike the United States with long distance missiles and USA was actually far behind.

A month later Sputnik 2 was launched with one passenger, namely the dog Lajka.

Sputnik 3 on the other hand became a failure as the tape recorder that was supposed to record the event did not work. This could have been avoided if not the premier of the Sovjet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, had refused to postpone the launch. This he did because he had promised the Italian communist leaders something special in connection to the election the day after.

Since these early days 4 500 satellites have been launched - half of which have been military spy satellites!

I heard an interview on the BBC where a Russian space expert thought that within twelve-fifteen years they will be able to launch the first manned space aircraft for a journey to Mars.
And for what good?

måndag, oktober 01, 2007

Vladimir Putin will be back!

Now it seems as if Vladimir Putin is willing to enter the election in order to become the next prime minister in Russia.

This is not surprising when studying who he suggested as prime minister recently and maybe his successor as president, namely Viktor Zubkov. Zubkov is a person not known to the vast majority in Russia and even less known in the rest of the world.

Putins idea is perhaps - as some have suggested - that he will run for the prime minister post, take the initiative in political matters and gradually undermine the position of the person succeeding him as president. After some years or even earlier than that, he will be back as a presidential candidate, hoping to gain victory.
Putin is still comparatively young and I don't think he wants to give up the possibility of ruling this vast country again.

With a small travesty from a well known governor one could say that: Putin "will be back".

(Photo Vladimir Putin copied from: http://www.yoursdaily.com/)

The 'brain-dead' military in Burma

Again we can see the problem with military forces as in every country where a totalitarian regime demands something to be done and the military respond by obeying orders.
In this as in many other cases they constitute the largest threat against the protest movement and those who want democracy.

Why are the military always incapable of taking an independent view in issues concerning violence against civilians? Maybe that is what they have done?
They are trained to kill as all other military personnel and it seems as if any other way of solving problems is impossible.
How can they be so cowardly as to shoot unarmed monks and other people who in a peaceful way demonstrate their miscontent with the regime?
Easily explained: They are soldiers.

Why don't they refuse to obey the orders from the dictatorship in Burma when they see that people suffer and innocent die?
Easily explained: They are soldiers.

Why is there no uprising among the military against the fact that they are ordered to shoot the revered monks?
Easily explained: They are soldiers.

Soldiers are supposed to obey orders and not question superiors.
This is of course only qualified nonsense. Each and every human being has the right and the duty to question other people's decisions.
This goes for soldiers too.

I hope that there will be a riot among the soldiers of Burma, mainly among those who maybe share the belief in Buddhism even if it's hard to think that any of these soldiers are believers.
Unfortunately I think it will be the contrary: They will seize power and continue the cruel way of governing.

What will the rest of the world do? What can I or you do?
Are the revolting monks and their allies beaten now?
What will China, India and other countries in the region do?

(Photo of Burmese military copied from: http://www.aseanaffairs.com/files/1772737/uploaded/Myanmar%20military%20top%20brass%20-%20Hints%20of%20power%20struggle.jpg)
(Photo monks and military copied from: http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44141000/jpg/_44141329_monks_416_ap.jpg)


In Ukraine only some 20 or more per cent of the votes have been counted but already now it's obvious that the more democratic parties have won.
Julia Tymoshenko already says she wants to form an 'orange' coalition with the party 'Our Ukraine' lead by the president, Viktor Yushchenko .
The other side with prime minister Viktor Yanukovych claim that there has been an electoral rigging. They don't seem inclined to leave the power voluntary.

Last time Tymoshenko and Yushchenko had the chance to start a new path towards a more democratic rule they lost this chance due to internal quarrel. Tymoshenko was dismissed by Yushchenko. Will they succeed this time?
Will the ruling party with Yanukovych leave the power or will he cling to it in spite of the result in the elections?
Of course there is no guarantee that a leadership under Tymoshenko and Yushchenko would lead to a more democratic rule but maybe the chances are better than under the leadership of Mr. Yanukovych ?
Ukraine is a vast country with a huge nuclear arsenal and it is a country more important for the development in Europe and the world than many people realize I think.

They also export metal and chemicals to China and are also building up a new industrial field by producing all kinds of vehicles like automobiles, buses, trucks, ships, airplanes, subway and rail cars. Even space crafts are being built. Antonov airplanes is a big export article.

According to reports in Swedish media, the people of Ukraine and not least the young are extremely tired of politics. After the election in 2004 when Yanukovych was elected people felt very disappointed as they had hoped for something else when the 'Orange revolution' broke out. Not least as most observers regarded the election as being rigged.
Now, as we can see, the same accusations are being put forward by the ruling party and its leader Viktor Yanukovych.

To be continued.....

(Photo protests in the square of Kiev copied from: http://upload.wikimedia.org/)

China and the internet media

The Chinese government have decided to exclude or ban the internet media in China during the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer.

All media should - according to official policies - be owned and controlled by the Chinese government. The internet media is privately owned and the government does not like them of course.
On the internet media any Chinese citizen can express their opinion concerning corruption or forced labour for example. However one also get a chance to talk about the latest tv-series and other more 'harmless' subjects.
From a formal standpoint The Constitution of the People's Republic of China states that the "fundamental rights" include freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion, universal suffrage and property rights.
How free are the citizens to exercise these human rights?

We can now see two contiguous examples of dictatorship and how the leaders of both China and Burma try to stay in power using every possible means. Nothing new in either case but however tragic.

In Western media when reporting from China one sometimes get the impression that the circumstances concerning the freedom of speech and democratic rights have improved radically since 1989 and the Tiananmen Square Massacres (video above).

Unfortunately I think that claiming this is more a way for the Western democracies to justify that they have been treating the Chinese dictators and leadership in a very mild way concerning human rights issues the last fifteen years. Since 1989 I would say that issues concerning the economic development have been predominant in the reports from China.
This of course only because of foreign trade policies considering the enormous market China constitute for business companies in the West.

Will there be any protests against this ban of the internet medias in China?
Probably a few - as now when it is highly topical - but when the Olympic games in Beijing starts there will be a focus on sports, not politics.

Now when the situation in Burma is more in focus, there will be very little debate concerning the human rights in China. Only perhaps when Chinas role in solving the situation in Burma is debated, one will also touch the question concerning the lack of freedom in this huge country.
In an international perspective we also have to consider the situation in Darfur (Sudan), Pakistan, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and many other countries in the world - not mentioning the Middle East - and in these countries it seems to be a more acute need of help. At least according to the reports in different medias around the world.

The general opinion today seems to be that if we let China continue its economical development, doing commerce with them, the democratic and human rights will also increase.
This is surely to some degree correct but I don't think that only economic development per se leads to democracy.
It is however easier for the democracies in the world leaving China to solve their own problems without interfering to much.

The West already have access to this great financial market and for the pragmatic leaders in Europe and elsewhere this is the most important issue, from their standpoint.

(Photo Chinese police man and computers copied from: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-5BD6vtBZm68/Tez0Z9DK_OI/AAAAAAAAA80/Js_3B6KXpgE/s1600/2003-10-5-china_internet_police.jpg)

(Photo Burmese military leaders copied from: http://www.cambodia.org/blogs/editorials/uploaded_images/burma+generals+Than+Shwe,+Maung+Aye,+Thura+Shwe+Mann-720992.jpg)