A Wall is a Wall is a Wall

I've been quite silent since the US election cycle about most things America. I haven't gone too in-depth about the election in social media or forums I frequent, or here on the blog for that matter. I saw Bernie's rise in popularity, and his quick an painful downfall, and I saw Clinton's non-campaign as an alternative choice to Trump. I can't say I was shocked when I saw Trump won. I was surprised, but not shocked - I had been watching the US media devour with glee the rise of groups such as the Tea Party and give untold hours of airtime to far-right conspiracy theorists during the eight years of the Obama presidency, being shocked would necessitate having hope in the American public. Any smatterings of hope have been quickly extinguished by the "you lost, deal with it" crowd of conservatives that have popped up everywhere in the aftermath of the election, despite the more recent protests against Trump's executive actions and orders.

The United States doesn't make sense, no matter if it's blue or red politically. To great degree, I believe, that is because the world's greatest superpower is reaching - after less than a decade on top - the point of no return in it's decadent downspiral. The infrastructure network is in shambles, the political system is infested with lobby groups with practically bottomless pockets, and the services afforded to the general public are utter self-defeating crap. Not to mention, the general public is also infatuated with a cult of individuality: everyone is best, everyone can pull themselves up if they really want to, everyone can be rich and damn the rest. This downspiral is going to happen eventually to each great power, and now it's the turn of the "land of the free and home of the brave" to suffer that same fate. How they cope with that is for everyone to find out.

See, walls can take many shapes and sizes. They can be as high and deep as you can make them out of whatever material you want, or they can be words of a paper, but there is always one singular goal to them: to limit movement. When you limit the movement of one or more groups, you limit the movement of all groups. There is no such wall that does not have two sides to it. Either the wall will contain those it should be protecting, or simply the act of erecting the wall will make those outside of it more hostile towards those coming out of the gates. It's as simple as that.

In the coming years, if Trump gets what he wants and promised during the campaign, we will see an increasingly protectionist and isolationist USA. It might also become more belligerent at the same time, which will not lead to anything but grumpy allies. It will also lead to increasing defiance of the current global order. Russia has already started by reigniting the proxy war inside Ukraine, Iran is conducting in missile tests in direct defiance of the Trump administration's warning not to, and China... well, who knows how China will be enforcing their claims to the South China Sea from now on.

My concern is no longer on the United States' internal issues and politics. Well, they are, but not directly. My concern now lies much more on the response to the internal politics. An emboldened Russia is a direct threat to all countries that surround it - mainly the Eastern European countries and Turkey in this part of the world, but also Finland and Scandinavia. I do not fear is not one of Trump picking the wrong fight, it's Trump choosing not to pick fights where it matters. My fear is that during the next four to eight years, I will have to plan for the very real possibility that I might need to rush to the airport and fly back to Finland because the reserves are being called up, and no matter where I live I will always go back to defend my homeland if that is necessary. You may think that Russian hostilities are unlikely to happen, but Finland and Sweden stand directly in the way of Russian hegemony over the Baltic region, and they have already been prodding a lot more than usual ever since the war in Ukraine began.


Okay world, it's time to have a talk.

What is it with this wave of anti-intellectualism? Really. Why is it that conservatives across the globe have suddenly decided that education is the perfect place to cut from in order to make small savings to government expenses now. Great, savings. A few hundred thousand euros away from an already underfunded and extremely important part of our society, in return for... what? Defunding schools only works to take away from a future generation, and limits growth in the future, crumbling the basis of our wider economic stability a few decades from now - all in the name of not going that extra hundred thousand euros into national debt this year. Is that really worth it?

While we're talking about education, let's talk about school systems too. Why is it that commercial school systems should be brought over everywhere? Tuition fees and ever larger school corporations? At some point that is going to end up blowing up on our faces when these school conglomerations decide to put money before the service they provide. that's already happening in the United States, and to a lesser extent in the United Kingdom. How is this a good idea? How was this a good idea ever? Was this another decision made to save the government a few hundred thousand in upkeep fees? Urgh...

A couple of years ago during a New Year's celebration, I was sitting around with my fiancée's aunt, and the conversation leaned towards the Finnish school system. There are a lot of teachers in the extended family, and many others work in schools doing office work. It is very strange to discuss it with someone who only knows the Finnish school system from all the reports and studies "proving" that Finland's system is one of the best because hey, look at the students scoring well. Okay, the system may be good, but that's probably mostly thanks to good and dedicated teachers, as well as regimented school days. The system itself is old, inflexible, and keeps growing more and more strapped for cash, which also meaks it grows more and more outdated. One way or another, it needs to change. It needs to adopt modern technology, and modern teaching methods.

I'll be the first one to admit that I didn't care much for school. I love to learn, but the education system itself felt more constricting than anything else. After the foundation was laid down, everything started to feel more and more like they were walls being built around me. I understand the need for hard sciences and even languages, even in cases where I disliked or didn't enjoy them as subjects, and they should of course be taught in a regimented and stable way. But outside of those, I cannot understand it.

Why teach history based on numbers and locations, instead of broadening the horizon? Why teach analytical facts about religions and cultures and refuse to debate them so students might better internalize the knowledge being gained? Why rely on a single official set of books throughout the entire course of education, instead of teaching critical thinking from the very beginning? I know the answer. The answer is money, time, and the fact that the system still works. If a system is working so well as to gain praise from global studies, then surely the system must not be broken, right? Well, at some point someone has to start looking forwards, so those who enjoy learning don't have to default to becoming autodidacts on top of everything they learn in school.

I didn't learn the English language in school. I had classes for it, but I was constantly several years ahead. That's because I went out there, used modern technology and found the Internet. With the most basic understanding of the language, I forced open my horizon and strove out, and now I strive to make it into a profession. This road needs to be lauded as a path open to students, and schools must learn to utilize the modern global network.

There is no going back to dusty books, and the technology at our fingertips means students must learn critical thinking. Just because the coming of a new age rustles your image of the world doesn't mean you get to attack the school system and defund it, it means you must be responsible and help evolve it. For the sake of our race, and for the sake of the generations that follow us.

The Cycle of Outrage Culture

It's been about a week now of ups and downs with the Ahmed the Clockmaker story. A young 14-year-old took an LED clock assembled inside a small case to school to show his engineering teacher. Fairly innocent, right? Until the clock beeped in English class and the English teacher upon seeing the circuitry decided it looked like a bomb. Fair enough, it looked a bit iffy in that case, but it did have a major design flaw to be a bomb: a critical lack of anything explosive attached to it. Principal got involved, police got involved, a clock became a "hoax bomb" and an excited kid was expelled for four days.

Now here's the truly impressive and interesting part of the modern construct of outrage culture, where news stories get 120 characters to get to the point and where every response is immediate. There's no time or space for facts, and thus only emotional knee-jerk emotions get through. This is not the fault of social media per se, I would rather say that it is more the fault of people demanding snappy headlines in favour of actual news. A story about a Muslim adolescent getting expelled for four days got riled up into a storm by social media, and then escalated by news outlets who are desperately clinging to try and report on the fast fluctuations of social media.

Ahmed got invites to the White House, Universities, Facebook; he received computer parts from Microsoft. The four day detention became a matter of race, equality, human decency, and ultimately a grab of corporations to seem human. I don't fault them, they were trying to stay on top of the upswing of media attention, and the fact that the kid seemed to be oppressed in this case was definitely a plus. Good job looking human. Ahmed made a public speech about wanting to keep on making and thanking people for support. Soon after, a backlash started picking up momentum.

Right now on the imgur frontpage, someone has posted a .gif of someone dismantling an ordinary LED clock and showing that Ahmed's clock was thus a hoax the whole time. It wasn't. It was stated the whole time by news outlets that this was either a LED clock kit that he put together, or a clock that he took apart and put back together, depending on which outlet you read. On social media, this fact never came across on most people. Hell, even Dawkins is questioning the kid's motives now! What is going on in this world?

We need to encourage young kids to make things, experiment, and live a life of questioning both social constructs as well as natural laws. This is the way science works, this is the way our society adapts and evolves. To have an adolescent boy raised up onto a pedestal, worshipped for two days as a hero and then jackhammering down that pillar because he doesn't somehow deserve being a hero for two days, is absurd. He brought a clock to school, we as a collective raised him up into some kind of a symbol. He is not at fault for the cycle of outrage in this case, and everyone now outraged at him for having some ulterior motives should be ashamed of themselves.

People get treated unfairly. Our job is to latch on to that, figure out the source of that problem and change it for the better. When we personalize the problem into a single person, we are only hampering ourselves.

The Child Who Loves Freedom

So, Gaddafi is dead and the world is saved. The US senate has finally decided that the war in Iraq is over and the troops are to be pulled out. We're safe now from everything.

Oh right, theres still a riot going on in New York. Except that Occupy Wall Street isn't a riot, no matter how much the media pushes false information down our throats about the movement. Media and corporate suits fear the movement, since it has no clear leader and no real demands. And that's why they're so dangerous to American capitalists; they protest because they know things aren't like they should be and they have the moral high ground as well. It's a rainbow group that's determined to change things. They want to get rid of the corruption and build from that. Quite frankly, I'm all for that. If I wasn't tied down in the army greens, I'd be out there supporting the Occupy movements.

Like a Lost Puppy

Since the last post, things have cleared up a bit. I believe that if I make any trip after military, they will be made to someplace other than Scandinavia. There's nothing here for me that wouldn't be here when I get back. Besides which, I'm tired of being jerked around.

In other news, for the first time in years I've been challenged to think about politics. Not a general banter about Finnish politics and how it's going down the toilet, but rather a challenge to think about actual political views and currents. It's refreshing to have someone come up and start debating stuff like that, even if it's slightly off-putting when I have less argumentation experience than the other guy. It's also slightly depressing that someone can be so bright-eyed about laissez-faire capitalism while the Occupy Wall Street movement rages around the globe.

Capitalism is just as failed as a policy as communism has been, as can be seen in the current situation in the world. Corporate greed, economic inequality, governments under the foot of corporate lobbyists... Corruption riddles both economic systems and the biggest reason for this is that governments and society as a whole is not even close to being open enough.
I admit that capitalism can work, if the society is open and free. But the same goes for socialist economics.
What I want to see first and foremost is an open and free society where direct democracy is key and people are told what their government is up to. After that, economy can find it's way to fit the society's needs. Perhaps finally even the anarcho-communists would find something else to do than smash cars and throw rocks at police.

An interesting column and a good read:
We are the 99%

Kick Out The Jams

This heat is killing me.

That is all...


No, seriously.

Oh, fine then.

It's been a couple of months from the Finnish parliamentary elections and we still don't have a cabinet formed. Our old cabinet, which is still holding out as acting cabinet until the next one is sworn in, refuses to enact any policies for the time being and basically runs things by bare minimum. Every decision is pushed forward, Finland is getting more and more indebted by something like 20 million euros per day. Is this what we seriously voted for? No! That's why previous parties that had ministers lost a lot of seats. The people demand a change to how things are run.

But holy fuck. Seriously? I can't say I voted, but did YOU really vote four years ago for a government that first pushes Finland right into the mix of a global economic crisis, that refused to listen to any sort of reason when it came to running the interests of Finland through the EU, that is now paralyzed and cranky towards the people to the extent of allowing Finland to spiral out of control? Do these politicians honestly want us to be the next Portugal? We have unrepayable loan as much as they do, we're taking out even more loan just to cover Portugal and Greece.

Right now, the right decision would be to shift the opposition parties into power and let it be. Katainen, as the leader of the biggest party and as one who has failed now three times in finding a compatible coalition, should honourably step down and let the social democrats to take charge of building the future government. The cabinet seats should be spread between SDP, Left Alliance and the True Finns. As much as I hate the True Finns, the fact of the matter is that with these three parties, we would have a strong eurosceptic government for the next four years. One that would not drag us down to the extent of what the last government has done.

"Socialism is no longer viable"

The formation of a new Finnish cabinet has reached a dead end. The two leftist parties were thrown out due to their uncompromising attitudes towards economic decisions, the True Finns left when it became clear the new government would back the Portugal aid package. The National Coalition Party has lost two of four big parties and the largest small party. With that it seems the next government will be formed of pretty much the same parties as were part of the previous one, despite the massive losses they faced in this election. That happens only if the Centre Party decides to change it's previous statements about going over to the opposition due to the election loss. But even if they do change their minds and Jyrki Katainen finds a deal for the next cabinet, it will be a short-lived one. The opposition will find reason for a motion of no confidence and they will have a chance for getting a majority on their side in the parliament. That would mean a dissolution of the government and a new election. Poison for SDP and Centre Party, which lost seats and will continue losing seats to the True Finns, but perhaps something that is necessary for the creation of a democratically elected government.

During the election, the resounding opinion seemed to be that socialism is not a viable way to go anymore. It was claimed that the leftist parties were outdated and their views would hamper more than aid in the current economic situation. Frankly, people who say such things couldn't be more wrong. And it showed in the election results as well. SDP lost few seats compared to most other parties and the Left Alliance lost only a three seats. Even the climb of populist True Finns could not break the Left Alliance, which under Paavo Arhinmäki pushed back and was very vocal against the True Finns who tooted their horn about supposedly being the only party that was opposing cabinet policies.

I admit that neither SDP nor the Left Alliance stand for good old-fashioned socialism anymore. SDP especially has lost it's touch over the last couple of decades. The Left Alliance with their Green Socialism are the best that Finland still has to offer that's a viable political force.

In current economical times, with Greece and Ireland and Portugal facing bankruptcy despite aid from other EU nations, the need for socialist ideals is even greater than before. Finland has as much loan that it can't pay back as Portugal and it will only get worse if it keeps spewing money to relieve countries just for the money to end up in the hands of British, German and American banks.
What we need right now is to remove nations from the reach of banks and corporations. In these current times, money is drastically undermining the sovereignty of nation states. Common currencies, countries acting according to their customs despite international treaties, disregarding EU policies and the common disregard for the EU founding document which specifically says no to any involvement in aiding countries with economic difficulties. Globalization, the European Union and the economic crisis that started from American banks is not the problem - it's the result. It's the result of weakened national integrities in the face of conglomerates and moneyhungry businessmen.

I'm not saying that there's a conspiracy. It's far from that. If there were a conspiracy of some sort, the economic situation would be much more stable and foreseeable than it is. The facts are that banks have been for decades been churning out loans that they know cannot be paid back. They hold individual people in just as much of a stranglehold as they do countries such as Iceland, Greece, Ireland and Portugal. It's not that they are being malicious or wish to dominate the globe, not at all. It's all because of good business practices. You give someone a loan, you tend to wish for it to come back your way with interest; it's how banks roll. Unfortunately for the banks, they are plenty and all of them have been financing utterly ludicrous national projects that have benefited nobody but the few upper echelons of the social structure. The world is once more becoming polarised and subsidies to banks and large businesses will not aid in preventing that.

What is needed is for banks to be responsible for their actions. They have knowingly lent money they would not get back. There must be a system to watch over banks and corporations for wrongdoings and business practices that would in the end lead to situations such as the one in Greece. There must be a system where people can decide where their money goes off to, not one where the decider is some banker with a new quarter million dollar car on the parking lot of his private luxury residence.
But the blame doesn't reside wholly on banks. Governments must realize that the money they get isn't a luxury for them to use up into private salaries and benefits. They must use the money to benefit the people of their nations. They must build infrastructure, provide job opportunities, give healthcare to those who need it, enable the growth of their economy by investing in their own citizens.
If governments do not realize that the people are the ones they should serve, then the future will look very bleak. The current situation will continue in one way or another until it sparks a revolution against the established policies. And one thing we do not want is for a vengeful mob rule.

Homo unius libri

I have a couple of things that have been bothering me lately. I'll start in entirely reverse chronological order, since I'm more pissed off about this particular news story.

As seems to be the case, according to a leaked memo from the Copyright Council of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, there is a process for introducing new legislation which would censor any website which includes pirated material. This includes many many websites, but one site that has been held up in the limelights is, as one can expect, The Pirate Bay.

Now a few years ago I would've laughed in my naivete and trusted that our nation, which has been ranked for years amongst the most free and uncorrupt nations in the world, would never go through with this kind of notion. That it would be thrown out of parliament like a rat out of a five star kitchen. But now I'm not entirely sure anymore. The fact of the matter is that in the last eight years, Finland has moved away from independence and freedom, only to become a lobbyist-infested pro-nuclear powerhouse for mad schemes and utter disregard for personal rights and freedoms.

I wouldn't perhaps be so angry about this, had I not read the comments of a certain copyright group lobbyist who stated that legal alternatives cannot be put out and developed if piracy is still on the internet.
As we saw with Spotify and Voddler, simple easy-to-use alternatives that are cost-effective and still bring certain royalties to artists is the way to go. They cut down drastically the amount of music and movies pirated off P2P networks. They are cheap and good alternatives for laggy and buggy websites with a shitload of advertisement and exploitative prices. And who knows how much of that money really would go to artists.

The solution to piracy is not to try and ban it or put up flimsy obstructions. Even the average internet user can find out how they get around blocks in e.g. China and Iran. The solution to piracy is to win hearts and minds. Smear campaigns, warnings, fines and blocks will not avail those dastardly flames of Udûn.
If the money currently being spent on tracking down and making life miserable for pirates of the world would be used into developing a good, reliable and cheap alternative to P2P networking, there would be no problem for the big corporations. A lot of people find pirating stuff annoying and if there is a good alternative that is within legal confines, they will gravitate towards it.

But that would mean corporations and governments listening to the masses and relinquishing their notion about how evil piracy and pirates are. Forget terrorists, pirates seem to be the real problem of the world. And why wouldn't they be? They cost corporate America more money annually than a few suicide bombers hitting a subway station.

The world is a corrupt place. There's no such thing as a democracy any longer. People put their faith in parties who then do what they will after securing enough seats of a stupid fucking parliament. The world's full of fucked up oligarchies which in turn are puppeted around by special interest groups.

But alas, democracy does not build consensus - it enforces consensus.

Fait accompli

So, Obama got Osama. Or rather Navy Seal Team Six did.


So what?

The war against terror is a war of terror waged against civilians and counterrevolutionaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan. What Al-Qaida and other terrorist groups stand for is of course well out of order, but it is not our place to go in there and tell them so. The efforts of countless western countries to establish pro-western democracies in the Middle-East has failed time and time again. Our laws and our ways are not the ways of Iran or Afghanistan or Iraq. For change to matter, it must come from within. Even if it's crushed, like the efforts in Syria are currently being crushed without international outcry, it does not make the change any less true. History books are full of crushed attempts at change; every single crushed revolution means another one in the future.

Revolutions will always provoke counterrevolution. When the change is being implemented by a foreign power, the people will get a patriotic reason to stand up against it even if it were a better way. Sovereignty of nations relies on this principal that the people in a nation are responsible for themselves and that no other nation may barge in to say what should be done next. Unfortunately, this utopistic view on things has never been factual. Nations that actively avoid intervening in other nations' internal affairs are sidelined as unimportant.
If the people themselves rise up and call for change, it will be much more focused and it will reveal the true colours of the government and civil servants. No matter how it ends up, the seed has been planted. This can be seen in the republican revolutions that started off the French Revolution, the American war of independence, the socialist revolutions across the globe after the February and October Revolutions of Russia, the wave of independence in former colonies, the dissolution of apartheid, and to no small part in the Fascist movement in Italy, Austrian and Germany.
If the people are unhappy, they will show it and join together when you push them too hard.

Never has the killing of one person ended a powerstruggle. Julius Caesar was murdered in an effort to save Rome from becoming an autocracy, only to be followed by Emperor Augustus crowning himself to head Rome.
We can expect only few changes to how Al-Qaida and the Taleban conduct themselves in the near future. Why? Because Osama has not been in tight control for years. He has been hiding, unable to operate due to the manhunt. The true power lies elsewhere and this power remains unchanged. The only thing to change is the whitewash of the inability to locate Osama sooner and the declared martyrdom of Osama.

What's done is done. There is no way to change that.

Thanks, I'm fine

This week's been weird. I can already see the effect that vacations usually have on me in that weekdays get mixed up. It hasn't even been a week since I put the papers in, but it feels like I would've said my goodbyes to the teacher and councillor a month ago.
In any case, I've had time to think during this week. So I wish to address a few points in this blog post.

First of all, the boring issue of politics. The election results came in Sunday night and the following turmoil over the True Finn surge into the third largest party could be seen everywhere. In all honesty, it could be expected and I was prepared to face the annoyance of it when it came. Their policies and how they act in the public eyes remind me of the teabaggers of the United States. It's not healthy politics what they advocate, but the spotlights being on them force people to recognize faults in the system. Populism tends to do that; raise problems to public knowledge and not do much towards fixing a broken system.
What annoyed and angered me most about the elections was the National Coalition Party standing as the biggest party. They are the worst possible choice and their prime minister candidate is furthest from what Finland needs right now. It's not fair or right. The ideal situation would have had the Social Democrats and Left Alliance form a coalition government with the True Finns and topple the unsatisfactory EU policies that have been set up during the last four years of economic uncertainty.

Second thing I wish to raise up from my last week or so is that there's been a lot of confusion about what I should now do. Since I dropped out to take a break from everything, nobody really seems to know what to expect from me. My advice is to expect nothing. That way there's no further disappointment and I can take a break from the pressure and stress of trying to do something too significant in a limited time frame.

On a third point, I've been thinking a lot about relationships lately. I have to admit the unfortunate fact that there has been nobody significant in my life for a good year now (I've stopped counting how long it's been, so that's been an improvement) and it's really starting to feel like it as well. I mean, sure the feeling's there when you're in a long-distance - in retrospect "relationship" may be the wrong word to use - thing with someone, but at least then you maintain connection via IM and text message and whatnot else.
The Finnish phrase "Vanha suola janottaa" comes to mind, which basically means a wish to get back together with someone from your past. I'm sure I'll get flak from certain people just for brooding over the past, and I realize I'm doing that. I recognize the problem myself. Love's a hell of a thing, something you'll never get rid of once you've experienced it towards someone. And the fact of the matter is, no matter how much this person loathed you or disliked your personality or even shunned you, you can't let go without leaving a bunch of yourself behind. Don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned relationships aren't something to bounce in and out of like the other persons in the relationship wouldn't matter. You can't go into a relationship just because you can. There has to be something there for it to work. For my perhaps not so unique personal experience, didn't quite work out like that no matter how much energy and money I invested or wished to invest. I can wear my promise ring again without feeling any nostalgia or loss.

Viento de cambio

I first wrote about the topic of politics way back in January. The topics in the news then were the rise of Perussuomalaiset (True Finns) and the crisis of the Euro that seemed it wouldn't die down even with Greece and Ireland being bailed out. My general mood towards politics back then was that I didn't know who to vote for, or if I should in the first place. The feeling of protesting by not voting or voting blank was strongest throughout March. But with the coming of election panels and the release of party policies for the next term, my changed drastically. Like I thought, my mind was divided between Vasemmistoliitto (Left Alliance) and Piraattipuolue (Pirate Party). I chose Vasemmistoliitto, mainly due to the lack of all-rounder policies by the Pirates. As much as I'm for representatives in the parliament voting for their own beliefs and for those who have voted them in, under the current election system it just doesn't work like that. In the parliament elections, the vote goes first and foremost to the party, not to the person in the party.

If the polls are anything to go by, this time next year Finland will have four almost equally strong parties and a number of smaller ones in the parliament. Which of those will get into the cabinet is anybody's guess. However, the fact of the matter is that Perussuomalaiset will have a massive election victory and only because the Finnish people are sick and tired of lying politicians who hide behind party politics to make a difference. EU is blamed for the massive amounts of red tape and bureaucracy that's been introduced to the Finnish system and the immigrants are blamed for the increase in crime statistics. The Finns are sick and tired and they want a wind of change to go through the parliament. Unfortunately, the bunch that's being sent to do the job is an incoherent mess. On one extreme, there are real people who might make a difference, on the other there are borderline nazis and holocaust deniers.

I do hope that the Finnish people will see some sense before they go off in a nationalistic rush to vote for Perussuomalaiset. It would be a better direction than if Kokoomus (National Coalition Party) or Keskusta (Centre Party) remain in cabinet and nothing changes in the Finnish policies, but there are better options. Fortunately for us, even if the Perussuomalaiset get into the cabinet as a majority party, they can't revert the decade of europolitics and perhaps someone less crazy can retake control after the four years.

East in the Middle (and not much else)

Tunisia, Egypt.
Libya, Iran, China.

I believe everyone is familiar with the aforementioned nations and why they have been in the news in recent months. A sudden surge of democratic movements in North Africa. Commendable, but that's how these people got to be on their seats in the first place. Africa and Middle East have been established on these sorts of revolts and it's just another revolution of a vicious cycle of oppression.

I'm sorry to burst your bubble of optimism, but the problem in these countries runs far deeper than just one government or a head of state. Corruption is high, tribal rivalries and religious intolerance drives several groups into possible conflict and there are always people who will grab power if they see a good time and place to do so.
Tunisia, the hailed starting point of this massive call for democracy, is still in turmoil and the revolt will continue all the way to the new elections. You don't see that in the news anymore, do you?
Egypt, the military is in charge and has begun to beat down protesters if they stray off their designated areas. There was brief mention in the news, but all hail the democracy this temporary military junta will bring!
In Libya, the armed forces are in full combat readiness and resort to bombing cities to keep Gaddafi in power. This is the current headlines, but has started to disappear a bit since it's just not too exciting enough.
Iran, the student protests were crushed immediately.
China, the student protests were crushed immediately and reporters are threatened with deportation if they make news about protests.
Iraqis would be protesting were they not sick and tired in the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The truth is that the world is not a nice place and it's not a fair place. What revolts create, revolts take away. Life goes on even without progress.
It may be historic, it may be amazing. But I doubt it will last. Middle East and Africa are not stable enough to uphold well working democracies.
Ironically, the "democracies" that come out of these revolts will still probably have more fairly elected representatives than the United States Congress or the Finnish Parliament.

Home Taping Is Killing Music

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.
- Thomas Jefferson

The progress of international conglomerates and corporations to block and curb the spread of everything from music to games to artwork still rampages across the globe. Not only that, but the entire concept of freedom is under threat. Not by conglomerates or corporations perhaps, but the united power of such, from which blossoms the hideous flower of ACTA.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is not just a special lobbyist group or a loose band of special interest groups to try and lessen the impact of piracy on the shareholders' profits. It is much more than that. The Deliberative Draft of ACTA is by no means some angelic choir that protects the rights of artists or developers. It is a gathering of copyright owners and lawyers who seek to breach the freedom and security of regular people under the guise of the good guys.

ACTA seeks to bypass national laws and international agreements by using the copyright ace card. It's not worrying that it exists, it's worrying that politicians are actually going for it. The full exposure of any possible copyright infringements revealed to copyright holders will only give massive amounts of useless information to corporations who... well, what would they do with such information?
The EU political system has very much already approved the ACTA. It's been done in full silence without the knowledge of the citizens of EU member nations, without even mention in any of the respectable large news outlets. Such a shame.
The ACTA has been challenged by a number of European law professors who state that the treaty is not compatible with EU laws and statutes. Neverminding such frivolous little facts as national integrity, it is still pushed through.

The entire concept of working in the name of freedom and transparency and keeping all negotiations secret is ludicrous. An agreement made in secret and kept as secret will not strengthen the judicial standing of anyone but those who have signed ACTA.

The world is looking more and more like System Shock.
This worries me.

A very good source of information on ACTA and the progress of it's quest for infringement of personal rights and liberties.


The elections are coming up fast. I'll be getting the chance to make a difference for the first time in my life by entering the voting booth and scribbling something on a piece of paper. It's an oddly unnerving feeling - not because of the make a difference crap, but because there isn't really anyone to vote for.

As long as I have been around and heard about politics, there has always been someone who I could have voted for had I been of age. But as time has gone by, I've time and time again come to the conclusion that these politicians just aren't worth it. I ruled out Keskusta and Kokoomus right off the bat, since I've been leaning left for a long time, and the small parties are usually special interest groups that have managed to wriggle themselves through the parliament doors. SDP may be the largest "socialist" party but it just is not worth it, since they are in some ways more right-leaning than the right wing. The success story, that is Perussuomalaiset, has started to grow closer to the big three as far as actual agendas go, criticizing big parties at every turn while announcing policies that could hardly be seen as profitable towards the general public. They will get the unsure and disappointed voters by pure populism, hiding their true colours behind the smoke and mirrors.

I've been really thinking about this for a couple of months now, following the viable parties much closer than I usually would. I've narrowed it down to two possibilities; Piraattipuolue or Vasemmistoliitto. They're both good choices, the first looking out for my interests as an avid internet and computer user, the latter on the other hand would look out for my interests as a student and young adult. Vasemmistoliitto really is the only political party in Finland at the moment that is on the left. I can't see the Pirates achieving their goal of entering the parliament this time around either, so it would be in my best interest to support a party that's already there, right?

All in all, Paavo Arhinmäki has done a great job in moving the left back to the left with Vasemmistoliitto. If he gets his ranks together and they look competitive, it might just be that they will be getting my vote next election. Sure they won't probably get into the government, but it would still be a much more worthy cause than a party that probably won't even get a seat in the parliament in the first place.