Monday, September 27, 2004

I redirect all my blogging activity on my StumbleUpon blog. It has a convenient user interface (after you install their toolbar) and a lot of new possibilities for interaction.

Friday, September 03, 2004

The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations.
– Ambrose Bierce

An Antiwar.com random quote.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

balkanalysis.com - Interview with Boris Trajanov (Part 2)

Excerpt:
CD: What about with the new minority language rights, and new Albanian university in Tetovo. Do you think these things will lead to federalization, with or without the decentralization?

BT: That’s interesting. Several years ago, when [the furor over an Albanian university at] Mala Recica happened, I surprised some people when I said, “why not? Why not let them study in their own language?” After all, Nikola Tesla, one of the most brilliant people in history, came from a small village in rural Yugoslavia. Right now, perhaps somewhere in Macedonia, in some small mountain village with an Albanian population, is sitting some genius of a child. He’s growing up with Albanian language only until the age of 7 anyway, and so it’s much easier for him to learn in that language. Why not give him the chance to study in his language?

So that could be fine. But on the other hand, the Albanians are generally not paying their taxes. Understandably, it becomes very difficult for the Macedonian population to see why they should support such a university, one which will not benefit themselves in any way, when they see that they alone must fund it!

So if we will share in this country, then let everyone be a loyal citizen. I was 8 years living in Germany. I paid more taxes than most Germans, but I had to because I was living there. In the end I became a German citizen. After 8 years they said, “Okay, you always pay regularly your taxes, you didn’t get into any problems with the law, here’s your citizenship.” And I was very grateful for that.

It comes down to this: if DUI wants to show their loyalty to Macedonia - not only with demands “we want this, we want that!” all the time, but to give too – they should convince their voters to pay their taxes. And not only to get their way, like in the last meeting in Radusa, by reserving the threat of war. We are not afraid because of that intimidation, and we could defend ourselves very successfully, but I think that war, as in the rest of Europe, should be left in the past. A life together, with a fair basis for all, this is our future.

A BrainyQuote by George Eliot (1819-1880).
Any coward can fight a battle when he's sure of winning, but give me the man who has pluck to fight when he's sure of losing. That's my way, sir; and there are many victories worse than a defeat.

BBC NEWS | Europe | Croatia erases 'fascist' tributes

Get a load of this blurb in the article about removal of monuments of Ustasha ("rebels" in Croatian, coming from "ustanak" = "uprising") officials:
Following the Nazi invasion in 1941, a "Greater Croatia" was formed, also comprising most of Bosnia and western Serbia.

The fascist puppet government under Ante Pavelic acted brutally against Serbs and Jews as it sought to create a Catholic, all-Croat republic. (my emphasis)

Wow! As far as I know, a republic is a form of democratically elected government based on representation of the voters. BBC continues its series of misrepresentation of balkan issues by bestowing such a noble title to a genocidal Nazi dictatorship.

Taiwan Cancels War Games to Reciprocate China's Friendly Gesture

Hurrah and Hazzah for peace!
Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian has asked the military to call off annual war games in a goodwill gesture aimed at mirroring China's cancellation of its military drills, newspapers said on Tuesday.
International News Article @ Reuters.com. Thanks Antiwar.com!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Groupthink Viewed as Culprit in Move to War

A Los Angeles Times article has a good analysis of an important phenomenon in this day and age, which infests a wide range of organizations:
"Groupthink," an insular style of policy-making, has been identified as a chief culprit in all. And to these, the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday added the process leading to the decision to attack Saddam Hussein in March 2003.

Irving Janis, a Yale psychologist, coined the term in 1972 to describe a decision-making process in which officials are so wedded to the same assumptions and beliefs that they ignore, discount or even ridicule information to the contrary. When members of a cohesive, homogeneous group value unanimity and agreement on one course of action more than a realistic appraisal of alternatives, they are engaging in groupthink.

Applied psychology! I love it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Revenge of the Mahdi

The latest article by Antiwar.com's Justin Raimondo discusses an important issue: the timing of Islamic terrorist attacks. Starting of from the information that a captured al Qaeda "operative, described as 'credible' by British intelligence, told his debriefers that the attack would take place '60 days before the presidential election' on Nov. 2," Raimondo proceeds:
No one doubts for a moment the willingness or ability of the War Party to manipulate public opinion in an election season by ratcheting up its system of color-coded terror alerts. But seeing everything through this particular prism is typical Western "it's all about me" narcissism. It is blind to the reality that some people are not entirely focused on American politics, and that the terrorists come from a different mindset – one which recalls a long history of grievances against the West.

Al Qaeda is the spearhead of a movement that is still seething about the Muslims' loss of Spain, which Bin Laden refers to as "the tragedy of Andalusia." It is reactionary in the essential meaning of that much overused term: Bin Laden seeks vengeance for wrongs that, to any Westerner, seem ancient, and laughably archaic. We are faced with an invasion from the past, as 12th century Islamist warriors utilize 21st century technology to devastate the symbols of modernity.

The image of George W. Bush addressing the Republican national convention on Sept. 2, just as a few more "iconic" American buildings go up in flames, is more fodder for the kneejerk scoffers, who see everything in terms of the election. But that date has significance other than in terms of American politics: September 2 is also the 106th anniversary of the Battle of Omdurman, which marked the triumph of the British in the Sudan over an army of Islamic fundamentalists known as Mahdists. It is an anniversary fraught with significance for Osama bin Laden and his followers worldwide: the history behind it illustrates both the nature of the threat we face and the inability of the U.S. to effectively confront it.


Raimondo proceeds to inform us that:

The popular idea that the 9/11 date was chosen because "911" is the common U.S. emergency response number is typical of the ethnocentric mindset of Western universalists. That it is also the anniversary of the day Britain seized Palestine, in 1922, with the complicity of the League of Nations, would seem a bit more relevant. Anniversaries are a big deal to these fighters for antiquity: the August 7, 1998 simultaneous bombing of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya took place on the eighth anniversary of the entry of foreign troops onto Saudi soil. With targets in Britain as well as the U.S. apparently in Al Qaeda's sights, the September 2 date follows a similar pattern.

Come to think of it, forces willing to change the course of history to fit their nationalist and irredentist goals have been at work elsewhere, notably in the Balkans. All who wish to understand these movements may benefit from reading this article.
Daze of Our Lives - Club Iceberg


For the adventurous spirit on a severely limited vacation budget:
"Go Club Iceberg".

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Boris Strugatsky Interview: "We cannot do it any other way yet"

The Moscow News has an interview with one of the greatest Russian SF (sci-fi) authors, who alongside his brother Arkady wrote a number of great books I've read during my teens (Serbian translation, from the edition "Kentaur"). The intro says it all: "A famous sci-fi writer believes that the authoritarianism of Russian society is thus far incurable. So the screen version of his novel It's Hard To Be A God, now in the making, is not about to lose any of its relevancy." Excerpt:
For some reason, one outcome of a decade-long democratic reform has been the revival of the autocracy - the building of an authoritarian regime. Why is this?

Because we cannot do it any other way yet. We can only hope that all of this is but a stage in the transition from the accustomed totalitarian Russian system to a totally unaccustomed democratic system. At the end of the day, we are less than 20 years removed from classic totalitarianism - less than the lifetime of one generation.

How long could the "authoritarian stage" last in Russia - until,for example, an economic catastrophe strikes with the plummeting of oil prices?

Should - God forbid - an apocalypse, called "the crashing of oil prices," occur, a real "authoritarian stage" will set in. The present situation will be just the thin end of the wedge - nothing compared with what is to come. A new serious decline in living standards will only be compensated by a further tightening of the screws. It is another matter that the screws are not what they used to be. So what - a new Great Anti-bureaucratic Revolution? God forbid! There has been enough trouble, enough damage caused already. High oil prices impede our advancement. ("Why do we need advancement if things are going so well for us?") With low oil prices advancement raises its head, but then it turns out that this is the head of a dragon (uprising, coup, revolution, etc.).

People's tendency to swap freedom and democracy for order and security is unmistakable. Is this a purely Russian phenomenon?

This is characteristic of any country with a rich totalitarian past. In 1933, the Germans traded freedom and democracy for "order and statehood." But Nazism is a dictatorship of nationalists. Ours is somewhat different - a dictatorship of bureaucrats. The similarity comes from dictatorship. The common denominator is dictatorship. Always and everywhere it has the same characteristics: the iron hand, the rigid vertical chain command, unbridled demagoguery, the enemy stereotype, etc.

Why is there none of this today in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, or Bulgaria? How do they - those that at one time resembled the USSR - differ from us now?

As a matter of fact, they have never resembled us. Their peoples are also different, with a different history. The same with their rulers. Their method of governance is more European. It's simply that there are no Soviet troops there now nor Soviet secret police, which were the only source of this "similarity."

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Antiwar.com's random quote:

"A man who says that no patriot should attack the war until it is over...is saying no good son should warn his mother of a cliff until she has fallen.
- G. K. Chesterton "

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Incompetent Imperialists - by Charley Reese

Quote:
Let's face it – we have become a secular and materialistic society. The two kinds of people we have real trouble believing actually exist are people of true religious faith and people to whom honor means more than money.

Years ago, an understandably irate chiropractor said of medical doctors, "If they can't drug it or cut it, they don't know what the hell to do." Similarly, if we can't bribe with our dollars or intimidate with our bombs, we don't know what to do. That disqualifies us to run an empire, so we ought to cut our losses and go back to being a republic.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Wherever All the Turks Go, So Goes Little Mujo

(Kud svi Turci, tamo i mali Mujo)
 
The New York Times has a great article by Frank Rich, "Happy Talk News Covers a War," which should be a required reading for all who desire to influence the way people get their information.
In the now legendary White House press conference of March 6, 2003, not a single reporter, electronic or print, asked a tough question about anything, including the president's repeated conflating of 9/11 with the impending war on Iraq (eight times in that appearance alone). To some critics on the left, this Stepford Wives performance indicated a press corps full of conservatives, but I doubt it. This lock-step spectacle was at least in part an exercise of the Burgundy principle of pandering: don't do anything that might make you less popular with your customers. In that same month, Frank N. Magid Associates, still a major player in the news consulting business, released a survey telling its clients that war protests came in dead last of all topics tested among 6,400 viewers nationwide. In other words, if you're covering the news based on what's happening as opposed to what your viewers like, you're taking a commerical risk. Given that the ownership of local stations, networks and cable news alike is now concentrated in far fewer hands than it was in the 1970's, such thinking quickly becomes orthodoxy in much of the American news business.

Good morning, America!

Monday, July 19, 2004

Play Chess, Go to Jail

Guardian of London tells the sad tale of end of Bobby Fischer's 12-year long flight from relentless persecution for playing chess in then-ostracized Serbia and Montenegro. Apparently, the controversial chess champion can't be persecuted for his anti-US, anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian views, but he's still liable for "trading with the enemy." AP's shorter version of the same story is also available.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Some of the Better-Looking Legs from Macedonia



Vest daily published, and Reality Macedonia republished the article about some of the most beutiful pairs of legs in Macedonia. Educational? Not. Entertaining? Yes.

PS
He Ate Till the Morning! - more Macedonian trivia

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

One Big Leap for a Gorilla, One Small Murder for Mankind

The article "Gorilla leapt over wall, officials say" tells a story of a "gorilla that was shot to death by police after breaking out of its enclosure at the Dallas Zoo in March escaped by leaping from a mound of dirt over a 12-foot wall."

Gorillas have no underground railroad, no Warshaw sewers, no ways to communicate their stories of slavery and genocide. Like the ancestors of today's African-Americans, they've been snached from their homes, taken across the sea never to return. Those who remain free face extinction more surely than the Jews in Nazi Germany, their population just a shadow of its former self.

Yet, their genetic material (as I recall) differs from hominids' for just a few percent. They are capable of using sign language, of caring and bragging, of love and hate. They are far less violent than "humans."

Unless they evolve and take over the world soon, there will be no "Roots." No "Night." When we kill them all, we will make computer simulatated interpretations of their lives, and sad movies similar to those about the Indians/Native Americans. If Nazis had won the World War II, would the "pure aryan" people in their distant future of such a society write sad stories and make tragic movies about the doomed yet romantic "subhuman" "races?"

Monday, June 14, 2004

"A Linux Poised to Remake Telco Markets"

But since the operating system is Linux and since Linksys has respected the Linux GPL by publishing all the source code for anyone to download for free, the WRT54G is a lot more than just a wireless router. It is a disruptive technology.

PBS | I, Cringely . Archived Column

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Live Free, or Be Killed

David Gordon of the Ludwig fon Mises Institute explains:
I am no expert in Islamic theology and, in any case, have no wish to defend Wahhabi Islam. But before we take action against the religion of millions of people, ought we not to be cautious? Surely belief in fundamentalist Islam does not always lead to anti-American violence. It has after all not prevented Saudi Arabia from entering into an alliance with us. I suggest that watchful waiting is a wiser course of action than a quixotic attempt to cram neoconservatism down the throats of the world’s Muslims.
Along the same lines, Antiwar published a short history of recent U.S.-Iraq relations, from a perspective of a former Iraqi general Jaber who "was in charge of communication and radar for the Iraqi military," during the Iran-Iraq war, which coincided with the reign of Reagan.

Monday, May 31, 2004

An Art Lesson in Usability

I like Kimberly Kopp Krause's article
Your Web Site Is A Wonderland What Picasso's Art Taught Me About Persuasive Design, and recommend it to all who would like to understand good organization of a web site. Short quote:
Persuasiveness and desirability in web site design are in the details. They're in the point of view and in the delivery, and more than anything else, in the experience of interaction. They are that inner cosmic connection between the web site and site visitor.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Would you be willing to die to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq?

The libertarian Harry Browne asks: How Much Is Hussein's Departure Worth?

Friday, May 21, 2004

Eurovision soap opera

Few days ago, On.net published a slanderous reaction to my text "Life is a bitch and then you die" by an alegged Emilija. Considering the fact that the message contained untruths and libels, I decided to join the exchange. On.net published edited version of my response, while you can read the full version here.

Евровизиска сапуница

Пред некој ден, Он.нет објави една оцрнителна реакција на мојот текст „Лајф из а бич енд ден ју дај“ од некоја си Емилија. Со оглед на тоа што пораката содржеше невистини и клевети, решив да се вклучам во полемикатата. На Он.нет се појави скратена верзија од мојот одговор, а него во целост може да го прочитате тука.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Life is...

Reality Macedonia published my article "Life is a Bitch and Then You Die", about the Macedonian participation in the Eurovision Song Festival. It's a review from the aspect of strategic thinking, and so far, its reviews are quite favorable. :-)

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Useful Definitions

Hits, Visits, Uniques, Users and User Sessions...
Riverbend

Baghdad Burning is a "Girl Blog from Iraq" inviting people to "talk war, politics and occupation." She deservingly gets major coverage. Check it out!
Converted Insight

Former Iraq war supporter repents:
But it doesn't matter why we supported the war - because we truly believed the lies our Prime Minister told us about weapons of mass destruction, because we thought that Saddam deserved to be buried by history, or because we have a sentimental attachment to the armed forces of this country and could not contemplate criticising our soldiers when they were fighting and dying - we were wrong.

Whatever the reason, we were dead wrong.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Arameic vs. Hebrew

I saw Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and liked its property of using the languages particular to the time and space.

I wonder why Gibson used Aramaic instead of Ancient Hebrew as a language spoken by the Jews of the time (including Jesus, or Jeshua ben Joseph of Nazareth). Considering the role of language in defining identity, paired with political allegations, one might suspect that this is a device to de-Jewify Christ, in spite of the fact that Christianity continued to survive as a Jewish sect for some time, until St. Paul managed to persuade the elders to let gentiles become Christians (without being circumsized).

Both languages belong to the Semitic family (which also includes Arabic). According to NPR article, a French scholar claims that "Jesus would have spoken the local dialect, referred to by scholars as Palestinian Jewish Aramaic."

Who spoke Hebrew, then?
New Macedonian Blog

Some guy Bukaro started publishing a blog. I learned about it from the responses to an article in Vreme daily. More power to him! :-)

Monday, May 03, 2004

Kill Bill

eXile - Issue #179 - Kino Korner provides a review of Kill Bill by Mark Ames. Highlite:
Kill Bill is so bad that I have to wonder if Tarantino was a moron all along who just happened to get lucky with Pulp Fiction, a truly brilliant movie that has aged well, and Jackie Brown, a spotty movie whose great parts are every time Samuel Jackson appears.

Samuel Jackson. That's what's missing. That poor bastard made Tarantino, he made him look like a genius. And never got the Oscar he deserved, proving that a black man...Hollywood...it ain't legal.

It made me think that an ad should be run before viewing Kill Bill: "This is Quentin Tarantino." [Show movie theater, people thrilled, laughing] "This is Quentin Tarantino without Samuel Jackson." [Show movie theater nearly empty, few people remaining either angry, asleep or vomiting.] "Any questions?"

I hear that Jackson appears in Kill Bill II.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Monday, February 16, 2004

Serb, an Indian Chief

According to this Salon article, the chairman of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is called Richard Milanovich. Even though the Balkan and the Native American experiences resonate, this is getting surreal.
Are you an e-bore?

Try the e-bore-ometer.

Razvigor's score: 50%. "Diagnosis:
You're pretty balanced all in all, but you could find yourself getting excited about bandwidth before long and it's only downhill from thereon in."

Friday, January 16, 2004

Virtual Cultures, Vanishing Cultures

Following a link from National Georaphic article about historical roots of Tolkien's work I get to know more about the explorer Wane Davis. His bio page features a must-hear realaudio speech on vanishing cultures. Introducing the term ethnocide refering to destruction of cultures, languages and ways of life.