Saturday, July 6, 2019

Sometimes it is easy to live near a palace

Palaces further away from my window
When I look out my window I see two palaces.  The next street holds several such structures as well. When you drive through Romanian cities (and I have read Moldova is the same) you see these huge buildings that could belong to the royal family, but they do not. They do not belong to a king or to any princes. Palaces in Romania are owned by Roma families (also known as gypsies), who live in them for short periods every year. Some use them for a month. Some are empty and others yet are lucky enough to have family members living in them. The one across the street was unused for a few years because the father of the family was in jail in Germany. Rumor has it the charge was human trafficking and that he was supposed to be released last year, but another victim came forward (they said a husband told the police 'he took my wife'; so trafficking of women) and the sentence was prolonged a bit.

In May he was released from jail and mentioned there are some restrictions. He cannot immediately return to Germany.   His family chose to stay with him. His sons drive large vans with dark windows in which they fit two relatively crappy mattresses that are in contrast to everything else they own. They say they use them for sleep across long trips. We've discussed owning houses abroad. They said there they would have to justify the money for the purchase, but here there are no such issues or rules. So, they celebrated his return from jail by buying another house in an even more central location. The house is now getting a makeover so that it looks more like a palace. They can also afford expensive looking finishes and furniture.

The palace dwellers don't appear to have many skills or formal education that would enable them to earn money beyond a fierce support of each other. The men do drive cars, which means they have passed driver license tests somehow and do not seem to have many accidents with their vehicles. They also buy property and redesign it. They thus invest some of their money wisely. The main thing they lack is education. They have the palaces, but they do not have the royal gardens. They cut all trees and have paved hot yards (with statues) that overheat in summer, but many other rich people do the same. Jail time seems to be reserved for older members of the family -- usually, the father figure; he is the one who can hold his temper in check, speaks languages poorly, and is likely to receive shorter sentences due to age and potential health issues. The Roma palace next to our house in Timisoara is empty because its owner is in jail in Austria - perhaps for drug trafficking but nobody knows for sure.

The owners of the other palace from across the road  (from my grandparents house in Lugoj) are more careful. They spent no time in jail and bought two houses this year.  My favorite from their clan is their grandmother.  She is a dear old lady in her eighties who married into the powerful clan many years ago. All her life she cleaned houses for a family of doctors. After she retired with a very small pension, she started working to maintain the big houses for her grandchildren who are abroad. She is close to the end of her life now, but she always has a kind word for me, and is happier working for her `own' people. Since her pension is small, she worries about what she spends, and about not having enough money even when surrounded by extreme luxury. Since she dresses in gypsy attire, Andy says she looks like a character out of a movie, but I love her. She gives me second hand clothes, and even food sometimes, and I take them to avoid offending her, and because reusing things makes sense. Her generosity reminds me that whatever their exploits her grandchildren are human with more than one facet of personality and whatever they've done there is this sweet old lady who loves them regardless and works hard to keep the palace ready for the one month they come home to it.

The Lugoj police protecting clans from shooting each other
 It is, however, important to understand that only a very small fraction of the Roma population live in palaces. Each city in Romania has a host of Roma families who are related to each other and who own and build these places. Their legality or how and where they get the money to build and maintain them is unclear. Only a chosen few join these families. The older members of the clan own some guns to protect themselves, and the police is so far only involved to record/resolve shootings/arguments between clans. Since they happen rarely, I have never seen such a shooting, but newspapers in Lugoj recorded one (see picture).

I would like to remind my readers that the aim of my post is not to increase their bias against the gypsies/Roma population, who have already suffered from a history of slavery and abuse. My writing is just an observation of what goes on around me, and I never want it to became a source of blame or hate. The palace dwellers are not representative of Roma/gypsies as a whole just like the top fraction of a percent are not representative of white people. My facebook-friend Alina Serban is Roma and is a tremendous force of good in the world. She is many people's hero including mine. She struggles to educate people through plays with social justice messages, against sexismracismhomophobia and various other forms of discrimination. She held the leading role in "Singura la nunta mea", which one of the best movies I have seen to date. Another person who fought for their rights is my mother, who is a gynecologist. Throughout her career she struggled to treat Roma women to the best of her ability and repeatedly fought social injustice to help them.

The palace dwellers are powerful, but still uneducated. So, perhaps if the next generation goes to school (some do and some do not) this trend might not continue, but then fewer palaces will be built. And it's not just Eastern Europe - only here we have the palace landmark and one cannot hide from them or not notice since they exist on almost every city street.

So, is Romania unique? Other countries do not have palaces on every street, but are not doing that much better in terms of criminality rate, and ability to stop crime and corruption.  The crimes my neighbors commit (one was in prison for traffic of women) appear to be perpetuated in Western Europe. They do not traffic women or children from their house. If they traffic them, they take them directly across the border AND across the border there is a market for whatever they do. The Roma money is made abroad and now so is their jail time. If they are criminals for hire, they are hired abroad by people who afford to pay them AND don't get caught. Italy is known for its mafia. The center of most US cities are known as a sort of Rest in Peace (RIP) zone, where children get shot on the street and the police does not come when one reports something as unimportant as a stolen car because they do not have the resources. In both areas I lived in Switzerland I have seen people arrested and neighbors questioned for drug trafficking. None were educated beyond some basic highschool. As for clans in power, the US has plenty of families in power and Trump brought his children into the White House. India with its casts is no better. Members of the family/clan support each other and make it hard for unrelated talent to make it to the top whether it is in the fashion industry or in education.

 It is sad that being powerful is not correlated to being talented or educated or to understanding the world, but it is more about being clannish enough and being born into the right clan. The Roma, the white, the Asian and the black, all give so much power to a few. These few represent us and may destroy our world yet again. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Home Grown Veg

I started the tomatoes (back of photo) at the end of Jan so they’ll be well-established by April/May. The plants at the front are runner beans, they’ll go out at around the same time.

I read your blog Ruxandra on not finding bugs in the UK, I’ll be encouraging the girls to take photos of the bugs we find in the garden - perhaps David and Edward can help to identify them for Gina & Maddie.

I’ll post photos of the plants as they develop....

Best wishes to all xx

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Le réveil des consciences

Mihai m’a écrit une lettre pour me souhaiter la bonne année. Je n’ai pas eu le temps de lui répondre et cet article répond en partie aux nombreuses raisons qui m’en ont empêchées. Il l'appréciera plus qu'un simple email. Je te remercie Ruxandra de me laisser m’exprimer sur ton blog fort intéressant et d’une grande ouverture d’esprit.

Mihai, le scientifique, a écrit un texte  brillant sur la politique américaine et sur son président.  Je ne prétends pas avoir vos connaissances surtout en matière scientifique mais je vais essayer de susciter la réflexion de la nécessité de ne pas se contenter de  constater ce qui arrive dans le monde mais vous inviter toutes et tous à entrer dans le combat.

Art by Austin Paulson

De quel combat je veux traiter aujourd’hui? Celui de la vie car notre existence est en danger. Bien sur ce ne serait pas un drame pour l’ensemble des êtres vivants sur cette planète  si nous disparaissons mais il serait bien d’essayer de réveiller les consciences pour empêcher  qu’un nombre réduit de personnes s’approprie les richesses de la planète et pour quoi faire? Cette quête d’appropriation n’a pas de sens et mènera à la fin de notre monde sauf si nous, citoyens du monde nous tentons de réagir. Je lance un appel vibrant à l’éveil des consciences.

Je vais tenter de vous parler de syndicalisme. Je suis une militante syndicaliste depuis 4 ans maintenant. Je suis en pleine campagne électorale dans mon entreprise. Je me retrouve face à une liste syndicale adverse qui n’en est pas une et qui est contrôlée par la direction. Ces personnes candidates au Conseil Economique et Sociale désapprouvent les méthodes syndicales et considèrent que nous sommes des « fouteurs de merde » Convaincus pilotés et aidés par la direction, ils pensant mener une bataille juste en prétendant être un syndicat « réformistes » et nous empêcher de faire notre travail d’opposant assumée à la direction. Je travaille pour une entreprise dont le propriétaire ne paie pas d’impôts et accumule les richesses et laisse à ceux qui travaillent pour lui des miettes pour survivre. Je milite pour la défense des droits des salariés et en revendiquent d’autres. Je suis également conseillers prudhommales, je juge des affaires opposant salariés à leur employeurs. 

Pour comprendre comment en est ton arrivée là, il faut remonter à la seconde guerre mondiale: quelques personnes ont échafaudé un plan des plus ingénieux. Ils ont constaté que la guerre ne leur était pas profitable, en tout cas pas assez. Dans le livre prophétique de Huxley, il décrit ce monde qui fait froid dans le dos tellement, c’est notre monde d’aujourd’hui

Revenons à la fin de la deuxième guerre mondial en France. Pour récompenser les syndicalistes de leur contribution, les syndicalistes et résistants ont mis en place la sécurité sociale modèle de santé publique à la française enviée ou incompris par le monde entier. Que vous soyez riches ou pauvres, vous avez accès aux soins.Tous ces acquis et le système de protection des salariés nous sommes en train de les perdre un par un dans la grande indifférence générale des salariés et du citoyen. Ces quelques personnes ont commencé juste après la guerre à diviser les syndicats en encourageant la multiplicité. Ils les ont perverti, corrompu et travaillent pour la disparition des syndicats, dernier remparts à l’exploitation totale des salariés. 

L’actualité montre une accélération de cet état de fait: les lois antisyndicale sous la présidence Macron, le mouvement des gilets jaunes qui discréditent les syndicats mais qui montre aussi une résistance saine de simples citoyens qui ont du mal à joindre les deux bouts!Une autre cible concerne le système éducatif à la française qui ETAIT l’un des plus égalitaires avec la possibilité pour tous, d’avoir accès à l’éducation et à la connaissance. 

Car ces quelques personnes ont décidé d’un plan  des plus parfaits pour nous exploiter sans que nous ayons envie de nous révolter. Ces quelques personnes ont inventé la société de loisirs et de consommation. Toujours occupé à consommer et à s’amuser, le citoyens abandonne ses droits les plus élémentaires:  la liberté de penser. D’autres pensent à notre place et en échange, on nous balance des programmes TV insipides et on éduque les jeunes à renoncer à leur liberté et ne pas se poser des questions sur les réalités du monde. 

Aujourd’hui, notre intelligence humaine n’utilise pas les technologies pour le bien être de l’humanité mais pour asservir le peuple dans sa globalité. Nous sommes capables  de résoudre les maux de la terre entière mais il n’y a aucune volonté politique à le faire et aucun intérêt économique de la part de ces quelques personnes contrôlant la planète entière. A quoi sert un smartphone dont nous sommes de plus en plus dépendants si ce n’est que pour nous contrôler et nous inviter encore plus à consommer…

J’invite toutes les personnes intelligentes et conscientes de se joindre à ce combat qui est à la fois environnemental, politique et économique. Alors l’autre question fondamentale: comment combattre ce géant invisible toujours prêt à s’enrichir et à ne pas redistribuer les richesses? Evasion fiscale, subventions aux entreprises qui partent avec l’argent de l’Etat, NOTRE argent.

Nous avons, par le passé, des exemples de luttes pacifistes: Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, ces personnes inspirantes ont un point commun: ils sont fondamentalement humains. Ils ont accompli leur destinée en ayant pour unique souci, le bien être et l’amour de l’humanité. 

Le réveil des consciences passe par un état vibratoire déterminé à empêcher la destruction menée par ces quelques personnes aveuglées par l’accumulation des richesses sans but. La science  nous apprend que par la pensée, nous pouvons transformer les choses, la matière mais aussi le monde dans lequel nous vivons. Nous devons empêcher ce qui arrive, tenter sans relâche de convaincre ce qui est bon et juste de faire. Nous devons utiliser la recherche scientifique pour le bien être de l’humanité. En unissant nos pensées dans un souhait profond de changement, chaque êtres humains et l’ensemble des êtres humains par la même pensée et dans le profond respect de ce que nous sommes, nous pouvons changer cet état de choses. 

Voilà, je ne prétends pas que ma démonstration ait été des plus concluantes, mais je voulais vous faire partager mes pensées et vous inviter à réfléchir. Malheureusement, je ne peux pas écrire en anglais, mais le français était la langue des débats et des progrès. Si nous partageons nos pensées, ils pourront peut-être rejoindre ceux des nombreux intellectuels qui ont utilisé le français pour façonner les siècles passés. Ensemble, nous pouvons réussir à transformer le monde en un lieu où nos enfants peuvent réapprendre à penser au lieu d'apprendre à disparaître par le biais du consumérisme.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Will there be a war that trumps all others?


Politics: Earth in 2019

Russia and China are well established dictatorships.  Europe is no longer united -- it is not coherent enough to exert any serious influence. A significant part of its military may split away if Brexit goes ahead.  The US is rife for a dynasty. We've seen presidents from the same family: a Bush was later followed by another Bush and a Clinton nearly followed by another Clinton

Trump, as a dynastic heir of a private empire, appears to be a good candidate for establishing a dynasty in the US. His family holds key positions in the White House and it wouldn't be hard to imagine Ivanka as the first female president. She is still young, beautiful, smart and now more competent because of insider experience -- must be a better thing than the string of 70 years olds who after successfully recovering from various strokes and other aliments persist in seeking power instead of retiring. Hillary Clinton is 71 and Donald Trump at 72 follows in a golf cart behind other leaders likely because he cannot walk far enough.

Normally, the life of a presidential candidate should be judged according to rules that are more strict before than after the election. We should make sure only suitable people do become presidents. Once we've chosen the president, we should close our eyes and let Him rule. This principle is recognized in law and its most obvious manifestation is presidential immunity. 

When the powers of this presidential immunity are lost, a US president is judged according to a higher standard after election than he was ever held to before. This portrayal of the president as a bad person -- potentially a criminal -- prevents them from running the country. There is one escape -- one way for the hunted president to find peace  :: WAR.

When America is at war, spurious and ridiculous challenges to the person and moral of the President are often forgotten and the President's position greatly improves. We've seen that recently with Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr. Bill's trouble with Monica were forgotten once the bombs started to fall in Yugoslavia. Bush's stupidity stopped being the focus of late night TV once the World Trade Center fell and America was at War with Iraq. Thanks to 9/11, Bush got a 2nd term in office. 

Now Trump isn't Bush or Clinton -- neither of them having done something illegal. Bush just looked stupid on camera. He may be less intellectually gifted than other presidents, but he's not a very stupid man. Clinton just enjoyed some cuddles with a beautiful young woman. She was pretty. She was smart. She was working for the White House. What man would not be charmed by Monica? And what woman would not be charmed by the Charmer in Chief? And... what law have they broken? None. It is not illegal to have sex even when married. Plus, the President is immune ... but not any more during peace time. 

Trump has much bigger things to hide. He may have used Russian intelligence to sway the US election his way. The same technology could have engineered Brexit. Trump's stormy past is nothing relative to these charges. He slept with many beautiful women, but none qualified to work in the White House and his beautiful wife graced naked some famous magazines. 

Many of you might disagree, but Trump isn't stupid. Trump has succeeded in managing a great fortune without losing it all (look, for comparison, at lottery winners -- most lose everything in a very short time). Trump also lost, but fell on his feet and regained. Trump also isn't a failed president. His governing method does work. Before Trump, the US administration was full of old incompetent fossils that exhibit the same pathology as tenured faculty. Old well-intended people who should have retired in honor long ago, but instead clog the administration with their incompetence. Under Trump, only his family is stable in the White House. Every one else gets changed randomly and often. That keeps young blood in the system and keeps people stressed and functional and loyal to Trump's state. Friendships and undercurrents break down in such circumstances. The results have been clearly seen on Wall Street. 

But Trump's popularity is low and he faces the prospect of losing the 2nd term in office. He is chased by powerful investigators who may use a Democrat-dominated Congress to remove his immunity and consider impeachment.  Trump needs a war -- but, maybe, not any war. His War should be commensurate with his problems. Maybe he needs a war like no other... a war to be won with ease and grace unlike the endless fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The theatre appears to be Venezuela. A once flourishing nation is currently in ruins. There's oil.  Oil is historically correlated with American wars. Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves on the planet -- even more than the Saudis -- the current leader in production. In Venezuela, Russia and China have recognized a president. The US and its allies recognized another. He may benefit from the US army. 

Trump's problem is to make a war like no other -- and perhaps a victory like no other. Easy, cheap, fast and impressive -- and, maybe, controversial enough to steal the world's attention from his stormy affairs and make America Great Again. 

Trump has previously casually considered nuclear weapons. What if nuclear weapons could be used to win the war in one day without a single man killed? A bomb that will crush the morale and stun the world, but not kill anyone? 

Nukes are powerful, but can be used this way. In Hiroshima, the bomb exploded in air, but close to the ground. The higher up the more diffuse the damage -- and the more people can see the explosion. 

Just below he explosion, the radiation from a bomb that explodes 1 km above ground is 10 000 times more than if the bomb is detonated 100 km above ground and at the border of space. Such an explosion would be a stunt that stuns the world and may win the war in one day, one move, one billion dollars (probably spent by previous administrations to develop he technology) and, most importantly, no lives lost. 

Winning a war without any American lives lost and enemy life expectancy just barely touched, could secure Trump's second term in office, increase his dictatorial powers and, possibly, make the Trump Dynasty a reality. 

Maybe, after Caracas, Moscow will follow, to thank Putin for the help in the election and provide a well-deserved boost in popularity and justify his nuclear program. 

Note:: Trump has allocated funds for the development of low-yield nuclear weapons that could be used in such an exercise.