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  1. From Latvia the vote for the UK to Leave the EU looks very gloomy as well. The UK was the main Western European partner of the Baltic states and Poland in regards to EU's Russia policy - the French, Italians, etcetera are much softer towards the Russians. Germany is not to be trusted - Merkel is good for us, but we remember Gerhard Schroeder, we see the parties that he attends and the post he holds, courtesy of Gazprom. Frank-Walter Steinmeier is a dove towards Russia, too, calling NATO exercises with less than 10,000 troops in all in Latvia-Lithuania-Estonia a provocation against Russia (which recently announced that it was creating three [!] new divisions on its western borders in addition to the roughly 100,000 troops it already has stationed there). That is in regards to the security support in the EU's political arena we feel slipping away. Another thing is the economic and demographic impact this may well have on Latvia, which is a bit more knotty. On the one hand, it won't be so easy for Latvians to hop on a Ryanair flight to go start a new life in the UK. Immigrants may be good for you, but emigrants are bad for us - the overwhelming majority don't come back. So this severing of ties probably isn't going to affect the situation much anyway - Latvians living in the UK will still visit Latvia, send remittances home and so on, but it's not like many were coming back for good anyway. At the same time, those who are thinking of trying to move back to Latvia will probably choose to stay in the UK for good if they know that they won't be able to come back to the UK easily once you all Leave. The Latvian forestry and furniture industry exports a lot to the UK - they might get hit if trade goes to shit. At the same time, I can understand those who voted Leave, especially on the question of immigration. It was probably too much, too fast. Fifty and sixty year olds alive today have seen London go from 86% White British to 45% - that's a massive demographic and ethnic change in the course of a very short period of time. Latvia has experiences with that, as well - more than million Soviet migrants came to Latvia over the course of 45 years, leading to the share of native Latvians dropping from close to 80% to just over 50% country-wide. We're still struggling very much with this legacy of colonialism and forced ethno-linguistic demographic change, and while the UK is undoubtedly in a stronger position to assimilate and integrate migrants, who luckily don't share one general country of origin or common language (and not being occupied by Polish, Romanian, or Pakistani military forces and policed by their secret services and apparatchiks), it must be very uncomfortable for the older generations to see the streets where they grew up changed by people who look, walk, and talk completely differently - who have different shops and different values, some of them completely at odds with British culture. That's what Ben Judah, a British Jew and journalist, seems to be quite sure of - that the vote was very much about immigration, that the EU and real EU policies were just a formal front. @Dante - one month on, what is going on? It seems there is no plan still, no idea how to move forward.
  2. Of course fascism has returned to Europe. And Putin is schmoozer extraordinaire with both the parties of the far right and far left. I encourage you to check out the voting patterns and actions of your dear far-left parties, how they voted together with far-right parties against a resolution condemning Russia's actions in Ukraine. Die Linke, Bulgarian, Greek, and Czech communists, etc... http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.com/2014/04/pro-russian-national-bolshevik-alliance.html#more http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.com/2014/04/fascist-vultures-of-hungarian-jobbik.html http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.com/2014/03/moscows-friendship-with-european-far.html Putin is a fascist, make no mistake. Russia is the most fascistic state in Europe, and it is the one supporting the Fronte Nationale, Jobbik, and the other scumbags you rail against. Except the far left is in on it, too.
  3. Jayzus, Edric, I knew you were a Communist, but I never thought I would see you defending Putin's Russia because of their tough stance on the "fascists in Kiev". Fascists in Kyiv, really? What are you on, those fofas stored in old Soviet fallout bunkers? Nevermind that the new people in power in Kyiv shot dead Sashko Bily, a Right Sector boss, in a special forces operation, nevermind that Turchynov vetoed the annulment of the 2012 language law. Nevermind that pro-Russian "self-defence forces" with serious weaponry, with the same high level of professionalism, took over municipal buildings in Donbass. Right? Nevermind that Russia is waging a farcical infowar, like when they "retrieved" Yarosh's business card, money, and other shite from two cars that were burnt-out after an attack on a separatist checkpoint. All of which was in perfect condition, despite the state of the vehicles. "Enemy of my enemy is my friend"... What a joke. Take a look at the newest laws adopted in the Russian Duma, check out Pavel Durov, founder of VKontakte (Russia's Facebook) being forced out of his company and leaving the country because FSB goons wanted him to hand over data on users that were supporting Ukraine on the website. Check out the "concerned" and self-proclaimed mayor of Sloviansk, who said that he stop elections from taking place by taking someone and "stringing him up by the balls", who threatened to shoot local people who were caught with leaflets dropped by a Ukrainian helicopter about the situation in their city. You're delusional if you think that Russia didn't at least covertly support these thugs, if you think that elements in the Russian government haven't been supporting them for years. The mysterious "self-defence" forces with state-of-the-art weaponry and training, the people who tortured Volodymyr Rybak, a local councilman, and a student of a Kyiv university, cut open their stomachs, and tossed them in the river. They may have gotten out of control, but have no doubt that Moscow was helping these pigs out. I won't even address what MrFlibble has written, to be honest I feel sorry for the guy, living in the Russian infospace. He'd probably say that Yuriy Verbytsky, a 54-year-old seismologist who worked at the National Academy of Sciences, was a Right Sector militant who got what was coming to him. As well as insisting that the Crimean forces were "self-defence", except oops, Putin admitted that Russian forces were in there from the start, and saying that those shot dead on the Maidan during the events of 18-21 of February were shot by their own side - just like protesters in Vilnius, Riga, Tbilisi and other places were shot down by an unknown "third element" when the Soviet Union was coming down. Nationalist provocateurs, right? Man, it's bullshit - I can appreciate a different point of view, but you're just regurgitating Kremlin propaganda. So far, the only people who have been disappeared and found dead have been Euromaidan activists, locals who were against the pro-Russian separatists, a Ukrainian soldier and Tatar in Crimea... "Enemy of my enemy"... Psshaw. Go rub shoulders with Zhirinovsky, those corrupt old commies, and Dugin. You said something about Churchill? He said, "The fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists." Prescient old bulldog.
  4. Well now this is interesting, because it seems to me that an increase in the number of fascists/neo-Nazis who are open and vocal about it would actually be a boon to leftists. I mean that in the sense that anarchists, communists, and socialists would benefit from a more concrete enemy. There is the IMF and the World Bank, and the EU and (especially) Merkel and those darned Germans(not to mention their lapdogs in the Greek parliament), but they're all(with the exception of the mainstream party MPs) rather - far off. If you know what I mean. Ephemeral. The majority of Greeks haven't seen the IMF, or Merkel, and never will. The Golden Dawn, on the other hand, are a real presence on the streets of cities in Greece. Now it's just a matter of which side's propoganda the Greek people will respond to. But I have a feeling that it might really come down to picking sides. As far as I'm aware, most(if not all) Communist revolutions or upsurges happened only when there was a real and present threat that people could feel, see, hear. I'm not sure there's anything you can really do about those fascists, except give them a taste of their own medicine.
  5. I'm quite interested in the Greek military. On the one hand, it probably should get a downsize - military conflict with Turkey any time soon seems very unlikely. On the other, what would the reaction of the military be to any potential reduction of its power? I remember several months ago there was a shakeup among the highest levels of the military, and several former and current high-ranking military officers publicly and loudly protested any cuts in the defence budget. I'm not entertaining the thought of a Greek military coup being probable at all, but recent history might explain the reticence of Greece's political leaders to take away money from the armed forces. Perhaps it's an in-grained matter of national pride or feeling of safety - a strong military to guard against potential attack by an increasingly powerful Turkey, the left-overs of the junta now holding powerful posts and holding out against cuts... I have to agree with Wolf about Greeks - ordinary, regular Greeks - having to shoulder a good deal of responsibility for this. I see parallels with Latvia's boom and bust - easy, cheap credit for many Latvian mortgages(ours was a real-estate bubble) from Scandinavian banks. Sure, the banks "enabled" and encouraged reckless credit-taking, but many people simply didn't think things through. The difference is that Latvians took their punishment quite stoically - only one major riot, when about 1000 people threw bricks at the Parliament and looted alcohol stores in the center of Riga, which was and still is in marked difference to Greece. From there comes news of strikes seemingly every day that bring things to a standstill, a foolish reliance on central government handouts, and a lot of militant posturing by anarchists and communists. What the protesters don't seem ready to do, though, is lay down their lives in pursuit of a revolution or radical change. A few years ago, I lapped up the riot porn coming out of Greece and other places. Now it just seems so tired and worn out. I can't help but notice the differences in protests and activism between Greece and its neighbours across the sea. Egyptians got rid of their dictator after just over two weeks of bloody uprisings... Whereas the Greeks are obviously very angry, but it's just a morass of constant strikes, cat-and-mouse games between student rock-throwers and riot police, and general chaos that rumbles on and on. Anyway, the Latvian government that came to power in 2009 decided quite quickly that it was going to play by IMF/EU rules and enacted deeply punishing cuts. We had the highest rate of unemployment in the EU, at around 22%, the wages of public servants were cut by roughly 25%... And this was all generally accepted by the public at large. For better or for worse - depends on whether you think meekly submitting to the demands of an institution like the IMF is a good or bad thing. Now, though, we're slowly but steadily recuperating. I suppose much of it is just a difference of accepted tactics and temperaments, but the Greeks should temper their expectations of a good, easy life and exchange them for something much more unpleasant and realistic... And get on with it. Greece's economy... Well, there's not much of it. Olive oil, shipping, and tourism. Can't help thinking they've been living beyond their means for too long, and the hangover has come around.
  6. What are the examples being set to the rioters & looters & thieves? Interesting point of view. I think that the most accurate and striking of these comparisons is the one about the bankers. If the bankers profiteer and then the taxpayer has to pay for their recklessness, why shouldn't the rioters do the same? Edit: Source - http://thesnowolf.com/2011/08/a-few-thoughts.html
  7. Arnoldo, the Indians should know what they're talking about, as a Guardian contributor writes: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/10/uk-riots-political-classes And Dragoon, I understand that you feel angry and outraged, but you should be wary of making sweeping statements like that. Even if the riots were apolitical and the rioters not waving placards and making demands, it doesn't mean that these events didn't have deeper causes or explanations. Of course, since the riots seem apolitical it's easy for both the left and right to project their explanations onto it, and getting to any halfway objective agreement is going to be a lost cause. Not that people shouldn't try, of course... Even if it's me calling up The Spirit Level, which shows that more equal societies are less likely to experience crime of all sorts. Just my 2 cents.
  8. Mihail

    O Canada!

    This is for all the wonderful Canadians who visit, frequent, or indeed own this forum. I've been mulling over for a while a possible (drastic) course of action, something that I might do within the next few years - moving to Canada, either temporarily or permanently. Now, from what I've seen this is no easy task. To work(and thus get government approval to stay there, and, to a degree, survive) you need to have a Canadian employer jump through the hoops for you, prove that they need you and can't make do with a Canadian applicant, etc. Studying there, unless it's for a Masters degree, is out of the question - the costs are simply too high and I'm not too confident in my ability to get a scholarship, as well as not wanting to take on massive debt so early on in life. Canada and Latvia have a visa agreement - I can go there for 6 months without having to get a "serious" visa(so say Wikitravel and some other websites), so I might just do that next summer holiday. The reason? Europe is stifling. Latvia especially so. If I don't feel that I'm improving my life and my society there after this year, or maybe two, I'm simply going to take off for a while, get a breath of fresh (Canadian) air. The USA is out for reasons that I can't articulate... But I would very much love to explore the beauty of British Columbia and the Yukon, hitch-hike from the West coast to the East(Toronto - Vancouver, smth like that), experience things that simply won't appear in Latvia for many years yet. But the reason why I'm making this thread is to ask those who know how difficult this would be, thoughts on what it's like to live in Canada, how much slogging grunt work it would take for an Eastern European to eke out a residency & work permit from the gov't. Pictures are welcome, too. Thanks!
  9. Well, no. People are fools to go and buy the product before they get results. It's called marketing, and "customer testimonials" - and you can bet that something like 3/4 of those testimonials were cooked up by an Indian writer somewhere in Mumbai. Secondly, "real facts" are often twisted and any MD who goes on TV to sell this new super-jacket - well, I'm amazed if you don't believe he has his own agenda. Especially with Greece as gutted as it is, don't you think those doctors would like to make some quick, easy money? Hell, supposed Phd-wielding "doctors" also endorse penis enlargement pills on the Internet. When I first stumbled on ads like that - I was around 12, I think - I was amazed that people would fall for this. I don't need to be patient since I'm not eagerly awaiting this jacket at all. I'd rather Greece or Greek inventors did something truly worthwhile - clean up the murderous air pollution of Athens, for example. Look, they even say that people won't feel anything: "This has led many people to overstate the potential benefits of the FIR-TEX can offer and to make unsubstantiated or false allegations which the FIR-TEX rejects. Before you buy a product you should know firstly that the FIR -TEX is not designed and not presented in any way as medical treatment. Because it is not! aim of FIR-TEX is to introduce technological materials on the market and its products will help some people to perform better or feel better while others will not perceive any difference or even feel uncomfortable." It's just a fancy plastic vest, helped along by large amounts of placebo and many desperate people willing to try anything. Remember those Alex Chiu's magnet immortality rings? Yah. Same thing.
  10. I find it ironic that you tell me the BBC is not a good source for information about medical news, yet state that you get the information "mainly [from] the TV". If you start a thread about a new technology or medicine that is little-known, don't you think you should provide more information about it other than ?Ah, here we go. Source: Disabled.gr My conclusion - sounds like bullshit. Plus read this little disclaimer they have on their website: "See that? that little sentence there - "...but since there is no scientific evidence..."
  11. What are you talking about, really? What is this 'nanobionic jacket'? Ok, it's a revolutionary new product, uh-huh. It's also something I expect to see in a FanFiction post, not being touted as a new miracle cure. And diabetics can see improvement if they take insulin, improvement over severe symptoms like vomiting and pissing often. Diabetics, at least type 2 diabetics, can reverse their condition if they eat right for a couple of months soon after being diagnosed. This is my source. Now, when I google 'nanobionic jacket' this thread is the third result from the top. And your post has no content whatsoever. So... what are you talking about, really?
  12. Super-speed, coffee mind, that's what Red was thinking while the birds chirped and the sun rose. Coffee yoga, right before the exams. Not like he cared about the exam... It was a real fuckup, no doubt about it. Yawning, he took another swig from the steaming mug. Holy caffeine blitz energy surged through him. The chillum had been carefully placed in the blue ashtray, its bowl containing the ashes of what had been changa, now fine grey remains giving off a slight orange glow. The lowrider was parked outside, its fusion reactor in idle mode but still strong enough to fry all electronics within 4 feet. Poor boys those businessmen, who walked by blabbering into their Blackberries, only to jump in fright as the machines fizzed and spat sparks, and then died a smoky death. Yes, they were damm surprised and those with even a hint of sixth sense had the feeling that it had something to do with the cherry-red convertible... Meanwhile Red was oblivious to this. The coffee had acted as the key, the caffeine in it unlocking his neural pathways as only it could, allowing the full force of the changa to penetrate the seldom-accessed recesses of his mind. White light blinded him, white heat made him shake. All he saw was a vastness, undescribable. Slowly, it shrunk... Until a colossal mesa could be seen in the distance. It, too, was white, but a greyish sort of white – it was Red's grey matter. He zoomed in double-quick, he knew that both the changa and the coffee would only keep working for a little while longer, and he didn't have enough space-time to drink a brew. Short and sweet it would be. Gathering his will, Red summoned from the heavens – of course, any direction was as heavenly as the other in this world – but anyway he summoned from the heavens Star Wormwood, a rainbow laser that created a multi-coloured mist around it. Wormwood struck the mesa, and began to quickly envelope it. As it did, Red heard a sharp intake of breath... It was his body, reacting to the intrusion. But what an intrusion it was! Every atom of the mesa became a perfect diamond, reflecting all the other atoms, creating an infinitely complex structure... This was Red's brain. And he would utilise is as best as he knew. All the world's sounds and music came into his awareness – Beethoven right there beside the chirping of the birds and the rumbling of the jet bombers over Libya and the whale songs in the deep blue ocean. A bass beat then started drumming, slowly at first, picking up speed and intensity until Red's whole consciousness was rumbling with the ba-dump of his heart, the furnace of his existence, pumping Amazon rivers of blood through his mainlines and pipelines. The sound of the surf turned into constant static, clear white noise calming him down, reducing pressure, a release valve for the mind and body. The brilliant mesa began to blur and fade, as consensus reality returned. The smell of cigarettes, the droopy ficus, that red table lamp. Hemingway stared at him from the closet door, black-and-white face glowing. Everything seemed correct, but it could all be improved! The chillum was the exact color dried clay should be – a light grey-brown. His maroon jacket, old and worn, lay on the bed. Red found himself back in his computer chair. He realised he hated the feeling of sitting on his ass all day. Now it was evening, but tomorrow was a whole new day. Climbing into bed, he switched on a thunderstorm and drifted off to the sounds of the dragons of the earth breathing.
  13. Mihail


    "Why not?" This was one of the reasons for starting to write, again, after a long break. Another is that it would be a character-building exercise - see if I could keep it up, writing every day about several topics which were only loosely related. Started only a few days ago, but so far I've found things to write about, now I just have to hone my skills. In a certain period of time - a few months, a year, two - I'd like to be able to have some income from my writing. Wanted to be a writer since I first read "Dune", that nine(!) years ago, might as well get to it. Write and write and keep writing, it might be rusty, clunky junk at first but I'm confident that it'll get better with time - practice makes better, never perfect. But better is still better. How about all of you? Do you follow any blogs, publish one(or several), make guest posts? What do you enjoy reading about? Mine are a bit of a mix - news about psychedelic drugs, poor-boy travel, and a little guide to my home city.
  14. While Howlin' Wolf growled out "Smokestack Lightning", plucking his worn guitar with gusto, an old steam locomotive chugged by behind him, thick black clouds pumping out of its chimney accompanied by sparkling golden sparks. The smoke drifted towards the old musician, long dead but back for BB King's last performance. It enveloped him, fixed him up right good - gave him a pair of cloudy black eyes, a new coaly coat on his skin and everything! Not far off, Shive was shaking his hips and tossing his hair. That old Indian flute music that he was always associated with bored him to hell, and a righteous old blues cat like Wolf was not to be missed. A great opportunity to boogie and let loose! Wherever Shiva stomped his feet, flames would flare and scorch the earth beneath him, incinerating everything that they touched. This was not good for Beedle, the ant who had been enjoying the massive dead black man's music. Now, he found himself in a life-or-death situation, fleeing from those feet! Those destructive blue feet... Scurrying away as fast as he could, Beedle realised it was no use. Shiva was becoming more excited, his stomping flame-feet more active, creating larger circles of destruction. And they were coming towards him! They would catch up with him at any moment. Beedle stopped, turned around. Grimly, he faced the coming destroyer of worlds with clenched mandibles. stomp, fshhh, Stomp, Fshhh, STOMP, FSSHHH!, STOMP!, FFSSHHHHH! As the flames enveloped him, Beedle cried with every atom of his being; "DRAGOON KNIGHT! You blue basterd! [For he had mistaken Shiva for Dragoon Knight, both of them being blue] Vengeance will be miiiiiinnnne!" Chuckling, Howlin' Wolf said: "It shore will, liddle man. Shoore will. Awooohoo! Smokestack lightning..."
  15. Lord J, I vaguely remember that article. It was disconcerting and, for lack of a better word, spooky. The story of the patient who claimed he faked craziness to avoid going to jail, but was then put in a psychiatric hospital for 12 years really had me torn. Who was telling the truth? Of course, if there was a "truth" at all, which I'm not inclined to believe. In the comments of that article, somebody mentioned a frankly scary study where sane people faked symptoms to get into a psychiatric hospital. All of them were diagnosed with one disorder or another, and some were confined for several months. Another aspect of the study was to ask staff in psychiatric hospitals to detect patients who were supposedly "fake", sane people who had been planted into the institution. The catch was that there weren't any such patients. Nevertheless, the staff did pick several patients who they thought were "fakes". Ah, found it now. The Rosenhan Study. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenhan_experiment Things like this bother me, if only for the sole reason that I don't like the idea of a person either being mentally ill or normal. I'm not convinced that we can just divide it up like that. Of course, if it looks at issues that take place at a genetic level, then a diagnosis like that holds more weight. But scientists still don't know much more than they know about the human brain, emotions, etc. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, in the case of psychopathy at least. But in regards to the wider issue of mental problems in general, I'm very wary of those who attempt to arbitrarily impose a certain "answer". As a disclaimer, maybe I should add that there is certainly a personal investment in this issue. My ex-girlfriend wants to be a psychiatrist. In school, she excels - top marks for most subjects. But there is something definitely... off with her. I wouldn't call her crazy, since that implies a mania of sorts. 'Messed up' sounds milder to me, so I'll go with that. She is certainly a bit messed up, and it's not only me(as I might) that sees that in her. I wouldn't want her treating me, being my psychiatrist. It's a very queer world, that. Was it in the same article that it's mentioned that psychiatrists have the highest suicide rate of any profession? My two cents. EDIT: Sorry, I should mention that I didn't read the book but the article by Jon Ronson on the Guardian website. Less exhaustive perhaps, but I'm pretty sure the idea is the same.
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