Highly inappropriate!

A tale of 2 Norwegian Nobel Prize winners Op-Ed Contributors Jerusalem Post: "Norway recently assumed the chairmanship of an international task force on Holocaust education. Yet the Norwegian government also recently launched a year-long celebration of the life and work of a supporter of the Nazis. The object of this adoration is Knut Hamsun (1859-1952), author of such acclaimed novels as Hunger, Pan and Growth of the Soil, which won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1920. Among the latter book's most ardent fans was Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, who had it translated and published in a special edition for German soldiers during World War II."

The Norwegians are even raising a statue of Hamsun. Hamsun apparently gave his Nobel Prize to Goebbles 1943 as a gift!? Unbelievable!

The Delicate Balance of Government in Israel

EJP News France Sarkozy to Netanyahu: ‘you need to get rid of Lieberman’: "French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a meeting last week at the Elysée palace in Paris, to remove Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and replace him with opposition leader Tzipi Livni, Israel's Channel 2 television reported Monday night."

Well, now that Binyamin Netanyahu have said the magic word "two-state solution" it would be possible for him to please the world by engaging Tzipi Livni. She does not have to be a "fig-leaf" any more.

Justice, when Freedom is too much to ask for?

Caroline Glick at The Jerusalem Post discusses whether people asked for justice or for freedom in her latest column called Ideologue-in-chief which pertains to president Obama.

She meant they were fighting for freedom whereas Obama and most Iran watchers in "Washington and beyond" thought they were fighting for justice.

I must say I agree with the Obama crowd on this one. However, there is probably also elements of freedom seekers involved in the fight for justice.

The article really deals with the notion that Obama has given up on democracy. It is understandable that people in Israel think this is the case. It seems like the US have changed tack and decided not to be the police of the world any longer. I don't think Obama has given up on democracy for the US. He wants to maximize total foreign friendship. EU seems to want that also.

This all seems pragmatical to me rather than ideological?

Islamic Law for Governance?

Many writers have argued that what happened in Iran cannot be reversed. Amir Taheri suggests the creation of a new imamate.

The fight for Iran’s future is far from over Amir Taheri - Times Online: "The new system that seems to be emerging in Iran appears to be modelled on two Islamic states of recent times."

What is interesting with the article is that Taheri seems to suggest that Iran cannot be ruled only with force of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps military dictatorship. They need further legitimization. They need an ideology as well.

Based on the other Iran that Taheri spoke of last time, I would like to ask if this Iran really buys in on that kind of religious legitimization. That the rurals in Afghanistan on their educational level does might not be that surprising but the other Iran is rather educated. Ahmadinejad's supporters might buy it. Isn't the problem right now that a religious legitimization and a constitution based on sharia does not function for a modern state today? The other Iran demands a government that can bring them out of a global economic crisis.

It would be of considerable interest to discuss the fact that sharia is not suitable for governing a modern European state, based on the failure of the Islamic Republic, since there are more and more demands for the use of sharia instead of the Western Law in for example Great Britain.

Lisbon Treaty?

Germany's top court gives green light for Lisbon Treaty but delays ratification Europe Deutsche Welle 29.06.2009: "Germany's highest court ruled on Tuesday that the European Union's Lisbon reform treaty was compatible with German basic law but said that additional national legislation was needed before the Lisbon Treaty could be ratified."

This was a major hurdle that was just passed for the Lisbon Treaty invocation. Remaining is the referendum in Ireland in October and the signature by the Polish President Lech Kaczynski who will not sign the ratification until the Irish referendum is passed. The Czech President Vaclav Klaus will not ratify until the last moment. He might be hoping that David Cameron is going to block the treaty all together by bringing Great Britain out of EU.


Stem control behaviors?

Stå upp mot övervakningsstaten Ledarsidan SvD: "Som statsråd är det väldigt lätt att identifiera sig med systemet, men borgerliga ministrar måste precis som Cameron sätta individens perspektiv framför statens. Ambitionen ska vara att rädda oss undan kontrollstaten, inte att administrera den"

PJ Anders Linder writes good words today. I have a question though. It might just be too late to protect us from the control state. It might be here already.

In this case what is of paramount importance would be to make it possible to deal with criminality as a result of the control state, and also in private organizations.

I believe we all have to sit down an talk about this...before it is too late.


Civic power

The Saturday Profile - Shimon Peres, Israel’s Elder Statesman, Now With Renewed Clout - Biography - NYTimes.com: "Youthful looking and elegantly attired, he says he now enjoys “unprecedented popularity, which is almost embarrassing for me — I’m not used to it.” He adds that he has discovered a new force, the “tremendous good will of the people,” which he says can be “more powerful than government.”"



There has been a lot of writings about the Swedish party Kristdemokraterna recently. They are currently engaged in their yearly meeting.

The debate have centered on what the party should stand for. There are concerns for the Alliance if KD would not pass the 4% barrier in the next election for parliament.

I have not solution to this problem but I have a question. Should the party really be called Kristdemokraterna when they never mention anything about religion in the writings I have found?

I'm not for mixing religion with politics but if there is a situation where the party get less votes if they mention God, I think it is time to change the name.


The American Presidency?

Obama's Mistakes: Chancellor Merkel Visits the Debt President - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: "The president may have changed, but the excesses of American politics have remained. Barack Obama and George W. Bush, it has become clear, are more similar than they might seem at first glance."

Well, well, Gabor Steingart starts to reach the negativism he demonstrated for George W. Bush. Maybe in a year from now there will be diatribes like the one's he actually wrote for Bush. The mere fact that Steingart compares the two presidents is a highly negative assessment. Can an American president be tolerated in Europe? I for one want Obama to succeed.

For example, I believe President Obama did very well so far in the difficult Iran question. The situation when he began was that of a standoff where the regime in Iran finally displayed their true face to the world. Patience then the verdict.

I believe both North Korea and Iran deserves to be ignored. Their behavior would be much better if China would take responsibility for their partners. Right now one might conclude that what we see from North Korea and Iran now is what we will get from China later. China lets them serve as the sty in the eye of the West.


Was the election rigged or not?

Israeli Radio Show Captivates Iranians - WSJ.com: "Mr. Amir minces no word in expressing his outrage over a statement by Meir Dagan, the chief of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, who told a parliamentary committee last week that the extent of fraud in Iran's contested presidential elections was no worse than what happens in liberal democracies.
'If that's what Mossad really thinks, they don't have any idea of what's going on in Iran,' Mr. Amir said"

Mr. Amir is an Iranian that runs a radioshow to Iran in Persian from Jerusalem.

Legalization of drugs?

Failed states and failed policies: How to stop the drug wars The Economist: "A calculated gamble, or another century of failure?
This newspaper first argued for legalisation 20 years ago. Reviewing the evidence again, prohibition seems even more harmful, especially for the poor and weak of the world. Legalisation would not drive gangsters completely out of drugs; as with alcohol and cigarettes, there would be taxes to avoid and rules to subvert. Nor would it automatically cure failed states like Afghanistan. Our solution is a messy one; but a century of manifest failure argues for trying it."

3000 soldiers have died in Iran lately in the battle against drugs from Afghanistan. A common problem since 90% of the heroin on the streets of London comes from Afghanistan. The "narco state" Mexico is in dear trouble. The taxation that would result should pay for the health related problems of usage. It would mean trusting the citizens on this, not prohibition. Responsibility might replace crime.


There is, of course, democracy advocates in Iran, but how many?

Reuel Marc Gerecht writes an interesting article in The Weekly Standard called The June 12 Revolution. It points out that there was democracy talk of reform during Khatami in the 90s but this talk was suppressed by Rafsanjani and Khamenei.

Gerecht seem to have a grain of optimism regarding a possible opening of Iran's politics in his argumentation if Moussavi wins but I don't get an answer to the question of why Iran only makes business mainly with the SCO and with the Friday prayers sounding fiercely "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" and now recently "Death to UK". Western orientation does seem small and insignificant?

Gerecht writes about "leaving the revolution" whereas I earlier read "restoration of the revolution". That is more like Taheri's becoming a normal country and in-line also with the devout clergy who advocated separation of church and state.

Wikipedia tells me that Khomeni preached that revolt, and especially martyrdom, against injustice and tyranny was part of Shia Islam, and that muslims should reject the influence of both liberal capitalism and communism with the slogan "Neither East, nor West - Islamic Republic!" I might remind of an incident during the Gaza War in January where Khamenei asked for volonteers for suicide bombings in Israel and got 75,000 answers.

In other words they tried Islamic Republic for 30 years but it is not popular anymore, whatever it was politically--obedience to Islamic jurists. Ahmadinejad has by now bungled the economy. Will they now try East or West? Again my bet is they want double digit growth under severe control like in China. President Obama's dialogue would depend on if they want to go global, both East and West.

Europe might have an influence in Iran and could possibly build on the experience from German and Italian exports to the country as Bronwen Maddox discusses in Iran's mullahs cannot afford to ignore EU but it is what Obama says that count. So far there has not been any Death to Germany or Death to Italy. The reason, as I have discussed earlier, might be that Ahmadinejad thinks the German will come out as anti-Semites and join him in the holocaust denial, although recently Gerard Schröder had to remind him that the holocaust is a historic fact.

President Obama did indicate today, depending on the violence in Tehran, that he is about to change strategy on dialogue which might mean that he in principle listens to Gerecht and EU.

Update from Robert Kagan.
Update from iht.com by Philip Bowring. Iran's Chinese lessons.


Amir Taheri - Times Online

Iran’s dictator gives up pretence of democracy Amir Taheri - Times Online: "Today there are two Irans. One is prepared to support Khamenei’s bid to transform the republic into an emirate in the service of the Islamic cause. Then there is a second Iran – one that wishes to cease to be a cause and yearns to be an ordinary nation. This Iran has not yet found its ultimate leaders. For now, it is prepared to bet on Mousavi. The fight over Iran’s future is only beginning."

For the sake of arguing I would like to ask if there is an other Iran that yearns for normality, this normality would probably be the Chinese version with dictatorship style government. Like Afghanistan and Pakistan they seem to want this growth pattern under tight control. Most articles that I read don't talk about freedom fighters. Roger Cohen at iht.com, for one, is very careful with the freedom talk. There used to be more talk about an Iran that was Western oriented in for example The Economist but as Pletka and Alfoneh at AEI pointed out there has been a non-bloody revolution to an ideological dictatorship.

If "restoration of the revolution" is what they want to achieve it might be the 80% theocracy and 20% democracy of Taheri they talk about. Why this would be interesting is however a little strange because the democracy fraction would mean to elect one president of several from the same camp. Right now the debacle looks like a power struggle between Khamenei and Rafsanjani.

I would like to see an in debt discussion about the character of the ordinary other nation. Is it Western or is it Chinese?

Theocracy vs. Ideological Military Dictatorship?

Articles & Commentary: "Today, the majority of Iran's grand ayatollahs oppose the concept of theological rule. Not by coincidence, the majority are now in prison or under house arrest."

Shiite Islam is healthier than the theocracy!? I used to think that they have not reached the point where they would separate church and state but that seems to be wrong. However, it seems to be the state that likes it, not the clergy.

The pious workers and rural people that support Ahmadinejad and thus the regime are probably not particularly Western oriented, as would students be. The Chinese apparently helped the regime after the student revolts ten years ago. Opening up Iran probably have to happen via entry of Western businesses that aids Ahmadinejad's supporters. However, it seems like they rather would do business with its SCO partner China.

After this election debacle the Iranian regime will be even more sensitive to influence from the West and it might be very difficult for President Obama to enter into a dialogue with Ahmadinejad and Khamenei. Both Export and Import are the greatest from China and it's only Germany that has export to Iran significantly of the Western nations according to CIA World fact book. Ingvar Kamprad, however, pointed out that he did business behind the iron curtain with IKEA early on.

With Iran's current attitude it really smells a new Cold War situation.


Britain, the most treacherous enemy of Iran?

There is an interesting article about the reasons for why Ayatollah Ali Khamenei think Britain is the most treacherous country around.

Ayatollah Taps Into Distrust Rooted in History - NYTimes.com: "But perhaps the sharpest thorn in Tehran’s side has been the BBC’s Persian-language services, by radio since the early 1940s, and by a recently established television channel. Millions of Iranians have come to rely on the BBC’s reporting on Iran, regarding it, Professor Ansari said, as the “most trustworthy” account of what is happening in their country."

Apparently the attack on Britain figures with support to Ahmadinejad since animosity towards the Brits is the largest among workers and rural people which is his power base. However, I can't resist thinking that Khamenei is generating a fuzz just to tempt interference by the West into their internal affairs now since they used teargas today and not bullits. President Obama's softening of the tone and invitation to dialogue represents a problem for Khamenei since the "Great Satan" is mollified.

Pletka's idea that the debacle is about restoring the theocracy rather than maintaining the ideological military dictatorship that Ahmadinejad have been building lately with the Iranian Republican Guard Corps is interesting. Educated youth might very well prefer a theocracy rather than a military dictatorship. It is more intellectual.

I think President Obama have been wise in keeping a low profile on the events in Tehran. Ignoring a meaningless election where Khamenei only anyhow wants to select his preferred man on the job might very well be the best approach.

What is actually going on in Iran?

Weekend Opinionator: Watching Iran, Re-Fighting Iraq - The Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com: "Rafsanjani, Mosavi (whose own records on human rights and democracy are deeply troubling), and various ayatollahs and clerics (including the longtime and truly honorable dissident Montazeri) want to restore the revolution; but do they really want to restore the freedom of the Iranian people? And are they really winning?"

Danielle Pletka at the AEI have this comment. Restore the revolution. I have been wondering what actually goes on in Iran and this makes sense. It is more civil war than what the West wants to see, a freedom fight of the educated and young hopefuls of Iran.


The Two-state Solution?

6% of Jewish Israelis: Obama dministration is pro-Israel Israel Jerusalem Post: "Only 6 percent of Jewish Israelis consider the views of American President Barack Obama's administration pro-Israel, according to a new Jerusalem Post-sponsored Smith Research poll."

This result is down from 31% a month ago and comes just after Tony Blair, envoy of the Quartet have suggested that peace is within reach in a year.

President Obama has said he wants peace "aggressively". What happens in Israel, considering the above, when Obama goes aggressive?

What will Piratpartiet do next year?

Darth Vader and the Vikings: The Rise of Sweden's Pirate Party - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: "But what if the established parties simply plagiarize his demands? 'We're pirates,' says Engstrom. 'We love copying! If that happens, then we will have reached our objective and we will abolish ourselves.'"

Doesn't seem like we are talking about champions of human rights and personal integrity.


Habits of the Heart?

Tocqueville meant that "habits of the heart" prevented "soft despotism" from appearing in the US.

It is in my opinion a force acting on society right now that has potentiated the development of soft despotism. A very important factor might be which societies are most resistant. Unfortunately I don't believe that the Palmeian social democracy was particularly resistant with its notorious wardship mentality from my own experience. Mona Sahlin said herself that she is the sole heiress of the Swedish model yesterday.

Could "habits of the heart" be the key to what has been called American exceptionalism? It is my sincere hope that the Americans have organized themself differently than the Swedes and thus are more in control of their future. Therefore I want to believe in American exceptionalism.

Tocqueville thought people have to be religious in order for society to function well. Heart rather than mind. In America the contemporary Ralph Waldo Emerson gave up his career as priest. It is interesting to note that the country that is most successful in science is to 50% composed of believers in creation according to the Bible and relatively few scientists where most do not believe in a personal God. Tolerance might be the explanation since creationists allow science to take place and only require that information of the creation should be taught along the evolution theory. As long a science is also useful there should be no problems.

Just finished watching a program devoted to the effects on society after the Reformation in Europe. Francis Collins, the leader of the Human Genome Project and perhaps the future leader of the NIH, was interviewed in the program and said that we didn't do much progress because the 50% creationists mentioned do not seem to be wanting to change their mind. My feeling is that we are talking of two populations of people that have to learn to coexist. We cannot make all religious or all secular.

The distant future might tell if it is good with a mix of people that are religious and secular. It seems that we have reached a maximum of secularism on Earth because the fraction of religious people will increase in the near future, mainly due to the conversion of the Chinese population. I have not seen any predictions, however, on how the secularism will develop in the Western civilization.

Some people argue that it is necessary to remove religion to get rid of wars. As I argued this might be changing too much in the human brain function for it to be possible within a foreseeable future, should it be correct.

I would like to make one clarification on a benefit of my image of God as Nature. It solves the problem of lack of information on how life, i.e., the first cell, evolved on Earth. Yes, it is not known, and a major problem for the evolution theory. However, if God is Nature there is no problem.

Soft despotism?

Yesterday I thought about the concept of freedom, freedom with responsibility. I went through my own situation in terms of how free it was and tried to compare it to how the Iranians might define the concept. Dr. Harvey Mansfield at Harvard writes in The Weekly Standard about soft despotism. I guess Iran suffers from hard despotism. To understand what seemed like an interesting article I started out in Wikipedia.

Soft despotism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by 'a network of small complicated rules' might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people. Soft despotism gives people the illusion that they are in control, when in fact they have very little influence over their government. Soft despotism breeds fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the general populace. Alexis de Tocqueville observed that this trend was avoided in America only by the 'habits of the heart' of its 19th-century populace"

Well, are we degrading? Are we degrading as Human Destruction Inc. and their servers hammer away on societal control? Nothing is as powerful as an idea who's time has come? Is this idiom correct? Mansfield discusses whether an idea always has consequences or whether the time that provides context also must be right. Do we have "habits of the hearts" here in Sweden right now?

Mansfield also brings up the question if rules for a republic can be the same now as in ancient times. If it only is dependent on human psychology that has not changed in historic times or whether technology in society also might create difficulties. I believe that the technological factor is important because it changes the way psychology expresses itself. People with alternative skills are in power.

Soft despotism, according to Tocqueville, "it does not break wills; it softens them, bends them and directs them". I have heard of a term called "system therapy"!? Is Human Destruction Inc. involved in breaking people's will. It certainly seems like this.

Mansfield continues "But the prize of the benefits is to hinder and to discourage all political and associational activity in the people, leaving democracy in the condition of a mass of dissociated individuals governed by an "immense being" known today as Big Government." The low voter turnout seen in the US and the EU today might result from soft despotism?

Do we have "habits of the heart" in Sweden to avoid what Tocqueville mean is soft despotism? Sweden does not have that reminder Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Life for me includes social context which the individualism of Human Destruction Inc. is destroying.

Tocqueville called for a "new science of politics" something I have also done. What I mean with new political science is what psychology have given the last 40 years when it went from behavioral to cognitive. It so happens when new methodology comes around that it is used to produce new knowledge, which in this case unfortunately is secret, and has created a new aristocracy in charge of the information and its use. I guess Tocqueville at the time was intrigued by the biological sound of the American Declaration of Independence. Its natural qualities.

Perhaps therefore one might ask whether man has created reverse democracy, or a "democracy drift", and that we face a new revolutionary phase to set democracy in order again? Maybe this is why people cry for change and not for freedom?


Pro-democracy protests in Iran: Still defiant in Iran | The Economist

Pro-democracy protests in Iran: Still defiant in Iran The Economist: "Outsiders are treading cautiously. Barack Obama has said he is troubled by the violence in Iran but has warned against meddling in internal politics. He seems to have learnt the lessons of 1999 when American support for student protesters weakened their position. He has also acknowledged that there may be fewer differences between Mr Ahmadinejad and Mr Mousavi than some might hope."

It might be wise to not interfer despite calls for standing up for freedom?

Ahmadinejad's Iran, does it belong to the West or to the East

Op-Ed Contributor - Iran’s Hidden Revolution - NYTimes.com: "Meanwhile, the Iranian people will have suffered the consolidation of power by a ruthless regime and the transformation of a theocracy to an ideological military dictatorship. That Iran neither needs nor wants accommodation with the West."

Danielle Pletka and Ali Alfoneh discuss the transformation of the theocracy Iran to that of an ideological military dictatorship. However, I have not seen any discussion about whether Iran and its president Ahmadinejad prefers the East of SCO or the West. Other than complaint of the West from the regime, which does not automatically transfers to love of East.

As Ahmadinejad flew to Yekaterinburg for the SCO conference in the middle of the turnmoil on the streets of Tehran, a city at the Russian border between Asia and Europe, I wonder if not the population of Iran is split between the two poles. On one hand the workers, poor and pious that support Ahmadinejad and on the other hand the more Western style educated young urban individuals that probably took the opportunity to express their discontent.

I must admit that I have not quite understood what actually happened in Iran during the election. The two candidates are not all that different, functionally speaking. It seems likely that it is influence from friends and relatives in the West that have a part in the demonstrations. Was it a trick for the rulers to find dissident leaders? The dictatorship in Iran might not need or want the West but how about all these young people--a boom of young that could either be the future of Iran or a giant army for adventurism in the Middle East.

Maybe Ahmadinejad wants to be great in between West and East. A Middle Kingdom. A new Persia. Will he accept leadership from Russia or China in the SCO?



Jan Blomgren writes an article at SvD.se called "Kraftsamling mot USA" or "Joining forces against the US". Maybe that is also against the EU and NATO?

In Yekaterinburg, at the border between Europe and Asia along the Transsiberian railroad, Medvedev currently host a meeting of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).


Voter turnout in the European Parliament elections?

Especially the euro-sceptics lament over the falling trends for the voter turnout in the European Parliament elections. It was 43% this year which was slightly down from the 2004 election. However, so close as to question whether it was part of the trend or not.

The national parliament elections have higher turnout, that is true, but a comparative in size election, that of the US Congress, have comparable turnout. The Presidential elections have been around 50-55% the last decades and the Congressional elections are 10-15% lower than these.

Furthermore, only about 36% of Americans currently support the work performed by Congress. It is about 60% approval for Barack H. Obama at present but it was about 25% for George W. Bush last fall.

If it is the size of the democratic system in which the election takes place that matters, changes in the procedure is not likely to have much effect. The turnout is a symptom of the age because turnout have fallen in all Western styled democracies since the sixties.

Maybe we should be happy that nearly half of the population cares and accept this as sufficient legitimacy-rendering turnouts? What would be the alternative?

If you can't beat them, join them?

Something happened this spring. Only 30% of Israelis now believe President Obama is pro-Israel. The foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman out of Moldavia, now courts Russia and according to Levy at The New York Times he has the same problem as Putin on dealing with terrorists--double standards from the West in judging methods used.

Europe has not been bad towards Lieberman, they have been ruthless and cold. It is easy to see how Israel might solve its security problem with Iran if it teams up with Russia instead of getting support from the US for an act of aggression against Iran. Ahmadinejad stays and the relationship building with Iran might not work that well, after all, according to Joe Biden this week-end.

Playing the Devil's advocate, with Obama as the Devil, it could be concluded that the friendship with Israel costs a lot. Iraq for example doesn't like Israel and it would be of great importance to better the relationship with its Arabs.

President Obama has recently courted both the Turks and the Egyptians, no great friends of Israel either, countries that are very important for the stability of the Middle East. And the Saudis, which Obama paid a visit to prior to Cairo, do have a lot of oil.

Binyamin Netanyahu's talk yesterday offered a partial agreement with Obama's administration in accepting a two-state solution with a demilitarized Palestine. No concessions, however, were made on Jerusalem or the settlements.

Will Jerusalem end up behind a new iron curtain where Israel joins the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization with China and Russia), Iran and Syria. Iraq joins the US, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Arabs in Palestine are already dear friends of the EU and might become truer friends of the US.

Up until now Iraq and Israel have been friends of the US but because of this friendship Arabs as well as Iranians have been reserved. Will the unthinkable actually happen: 5.3m Jews in East Juda, Israel, and 5.3m Jews in West Juda, the US? Including increased anti-semitism for the 1.3m Jews in the EU.


A Personal God?

Victor Hugo, the national poet of France who lived most of the 19th century, have according to Richard Dawkins said:

"Every village has a torch--the teacher, and someone who extinguishes it--the priest"

One senses a problem between the poet and the Catholic Church. Today in Sweden the teacher has the upper hand but as I have indicated there might be a new problem that turns flame into ember for clandestine purposes. It seems these people think they are gods, not priests, a new polytheism.

Dawkins also gives an interesting piece of information. Only 7% of the members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences in the USA claim they believe in a personal God. And this is in a country where 50% of the population goes to church each Sunday. Dawkins tries to make the point, smart people are atheists. He goes on to quote Bertrand Russell:

"The majority of successful intellectual people don't believe in Christianity, but they don't admit this officially, because they are afraid of losing their daily bread."

As seen by the numbers from the NAS of the USA times have moved on since Russell. For a scientist, as myself, it boils down to the probability for certain miracles as described by a literary text called the Bible, but I know there is a non-personal God. Dawkins calls my Spinoza-inspired pantheism an atheism with a make-up but I don't agree. I know he is wrong.

Dawkins then talks about unsophisticated Christians, which I think is wrong. Non-scientists that are believers are not necessarily unsophisticated. They are just created in a fashion where they put faith over science and live perfectly happy as such. At the same time they accept paying taxes for scientists to do what they do. People are differently made and it is intolerant to call a creationist a sick person. It is a problem but we have to get along.


Ambres and/or Sture Johansson?

Christer Sturmark has discussed the medium Sture Johansson that lends his voice to Ambres an old egyptian spirit. He is described in Wikipedia also.

I come to think about this since my last post concerned the Technology That Doesn't Exist and the Humanists.

The technology can explain the mystery of this medium. Someone might fool Mr Johansson to believe that he is receiving thoughts from somewhere perfectly well. Presumably as a practical joke.

Most likely, Christer Sturmark is correct in assuming that Ambres is not a supernatural phenomenon.

Human Destruction Inc. (Människoförstörelsebolaget) can for example use this technology to make a person believe he got an idea himself. It can be difficult to feel whether an idea is generated by oneself or is delivered by the technology.

Human Destruction Inc. might thus claim that a person is given information and in reality is not really that smart.

In Vacation Mood

I'm enjoying my vacation. The rain is pouring down and I'm roaming the net.

My last post dealt with the possible consequences of being old in politics. Some seem to believe that it is possible for an old politician could do something naughty without sacrificing their career. Well, how about doing the right thing? Some people seem to have created a new society without saying so and that is wrong since it seem to involve criminality.

I have realized that certain conversation topics turns my conversant into an avenger of misconduct. The poor soul barks like a dog. Probably as a result of obedience to "system rules".
I wish there was some politician that became real and started a conversation about something very important. As I have pointed out in earlier posts, there is crime in the air and it can get worse. We need to stop this.

Another important matter is the concept of God. I discussed my views on this topic before in my blog and they have not changed. I'm bringing it up because I found some time to read Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion or Illusionen om Gud as it is called in Swedish. I have discussed the content of the book in my blog before. I should say that I, unlike Dawkins, respect people of faith and think the selection of the word "delusion" might be a little too much, too psychiatric.

I found an interesting reference to the world of politics. Thomas Jefferson, the drafter of the Independence Declaration of 1796 says: A professorship in theology should not have a place in our Constitution. Dawkins himself don't really think theology is a subject at all. I didn't know this when I a while ago wrote that I believe scientists are on a track of finding out about God whereas theologians are not. This is because I subscribe to Spinoza's idea that God is Nature. As I see it agape or love is then part of Nature. Dawkins is very clever. He describes a God concept that Einstein had. Thus creating an intelligent haven for those so inclined. Einstein apparently thought that a personalized God concept was naïve.

Charlotte Therese links to a test made by the Humanists. It is supposed to probe my religiosity and I couldn't resist doing it after having performed another test stating that the movie character that I am most like is Batman. The Humanist's test told me I might be an agnostic which I know I'm not. But then again, I don't really feel like Batman either. However, political tests that I performed before the EP election told me I was a liberal, something I had concluded earlier. However, I became a little suspicious when the test that Aftonbladet.se featured made me more social democratic than other tests?

What then is theology all about? Well, since people of little knowledge and intelligence very well can be religious the theological formalism is possibly created as a bulwark for defending faith. Making it look impressive. Clever clerics can use their knowledge to snare an individual of lesser knowledge in theology to convince those in need of its importance. I have experience of this. When I confronted catholics with the problem of cloning, which proves a catholic dogma about the origin of life wrong, they tried to talk me down argumentatively, not logically.

The Citation of the Day

Politik viktigare än karriär för oss äldre - Debatt - Expressen.se: "Samtidigt har vi äldre en fördel som det sällan talas om. Vi vågar vara ärliga och rättframma eftersom det inte är någon katastrof om vi inte hamnar på valsedeln om fyra år."

Solveig Ternström, 71, is the author of this article. She is in the Swedish Riksdag since 2006. I don't know, but it does seem like our politicians normally are not very trustworthy?

An EU President elected by all members directly?

The question: Which of the following elements would strengthen the most your feeling about being a European citizen? was asked to EU members during October to November 2008 and published in April 2009 by Eurobarometer.

20% of people answered that a European president directly elected by members would be good. Nearly as many, 18%, answered that a European civic education course for children from primary school age would be good. 18% also answered that a European ID card in addition to national ID cards would be good. Only 5% believed in a European Olympic team.

However, 39% thought a European welfare system harmonized between the member states would be good.

It therefore seems like EU citizen ponder their health and pension future more than the prospect of gaining power to select a president and thus influence their future. They want to be taken care of but don't really want to be able to directly influence in what way.

Sweden managed with information to slightly increase the interest in the European Parliament election whereas it for the EU in total have been decreasing slightly over the years. In the Eastern European states it is interesting to note that their interest is far lower than in the West but they revere the institutions of the EU more. Therefore it seems like the people of Europe want to be taken care of rather than taking responsibility for their lives.

I have wanted to believe that it with information would be possible to make people sense the importance of EU as a unit in the world en par with the US, China, India, etc. Perhaps, like with the problem of the hen or the egg, it is possible to increase the EU mentality by means of increasing social cohesion, rather?


Centering across the world?

RealClearPolitics - The Collapsing Global Left: "Does the smashing victory of the Conservative Party, and these other victories mean that the democratic world is suddenly embracing our conservative principles? No: not at all. But does it mean that voters, almost everywhere they can vote, are rejecting the message of the Left? Yes. Real conservatism is not winning elections yet; but the Left is clearly losing."

On and off I have been discussing this phenomenon. Centering of the most popular politics around the centre-right. I don't think it will ever go conservative as Bruce Walker, the author of the article, suggests. It will linger at the centre-right versus the center for a while.

In Sweden it is interesting what will happen when the people younger than thirty will start to influence the voting. The Pirate Party and the Greens have their majority voters in this age group.

Reading up on the Pirate Party and the international evaluations of its success, it seems like it will be important which feature of its policy will come to dominate. Civil rights or free access to the Internet. The most probable group placement for the Pirate Party in the European Parliament is the Liberals or the Greens. They claim non-alignment to the traditional right and left scale in Sweden.

If the Pirate Party (in this case what an unfortunate name) and the Greens join forces to mobilize the young in Sweden the civil rights question and the righteousness of climate thinking would amount to a formidable political force in 20 years.

Evidence for this can be found in the Eurobarometer survey 2009. Sweden, Finland and Denmark feature 71%, 69% and 68%, respectively for The Protection of Human Rights in the World. The EU27 average is 53% for this item.

For Combating Effectively Climate Change one finds for Sweden, Denmark and Finland, 79%, 59% and 53%, respectively, that are positive. The EU27 average is only 31%.


Thoughts about the EP election

Well, the Piratpartiet is the largest party among people younger than 30 years of age. The civil rights party (medborgarrätt). Only one that got a seat in the EU. I ask the question again. Is it possible to channel interest for civil rights against Human Destruction Inc. It should be. It is a little surprising that Swedish youth should lead the world in this respect.

Rick Falkvinge, the leader of the Piratparti, called the other established parties for "Gammelpartierna". Majority voters of all parties except Piratpartiet and Miljöpartiet are retirees. There is a generation gap. Interest for parties in the EU election is being phased out. Alliansen got slightly more votes than the red-greens totally which is good because of the EU chairmanship of Reinfeldt in July.

The voter turn out for Sweden went up a little (approx. 44%) but the voter turn out for the EU went down despite an intensive effort to stem this tide. Legitimacy of the EU project is falling according to the trend. The winds that blow in the EU are right wing. Some extreme right wing but mostly moderates. EPP-ED and ALDE got slightly less than half of the mandates. One thought is could President Obama's friendship with the Muslims create a voice for the extreme right in the EU?


EU parliament election debates

The eight top candidates for the EU parliament election debated yesterday on television and today on the radio. It seems they are well poised to represent Sweden in the parliament where apparently no party wip is used and more of the individual aspects of the candidate will be forthcoming. However, on television it seemed like they were willing to work for free. I don't understand why they don't realize they are about to have important jobs that are valued and paid accordingly?

Gunnar Hökmark gave a very good comment concerning the claims of Miljöpartiet and Vänsterpartiet that since they had voted against the EU their claims would amount to zero. Also the accusations by Marita Ulvskog that EU is promoting "job trafficking" were distasteful. Making the job issue such a prominent feature of their campaign, the Socialdemokrater apparently are trying to surf the wave of the financial crisis in a very low, opportunistic and anti-government fashion.

Marit Paulsen, Ella Bohlin, Gunnar Hökmark and Lena Ek all made knowledgable contributions to the debates and I have begun understanding the issues that were brought up by the election. I think Folkpartiet Liberalerna will get my vote. They deal in schools and research that I as an academic have opinions about. Lars Leijonborg has made a great job in securing the ESS facility to Sweden and the important Öresundsregion that is of sufficient size that it will probably overtake the Stockholm area as the most vibrant area of Scandinavia. Cecilia Malmström, Nyamko Sabuni and Birgitta Ohlsson are hardworking and competent people I have followed in the press. I also feel that Folkpartiet is enthusiastic about EU and that is important.

As I discussed earlier I'm probably more of a liberal than conservative so I ought to belong to this group in the EU parliament. The legacy of the Swedish Folkparti of being critical against Fascism and Communism during World War II is also something I was impressed by. Wikipedia features a cool poster of the 1936 election where someone is brushing tendencies of dictatorship out of their house. My experience tells me this line of work is still important.

I have followed Fredrik Malm on his blog for a while now. He is number four on the list of Folkpartiet. I will make a cross on my ticket for him. He seems intelligent and hardworking and would represent a new fresh spirit for a European career.


Lieberman a game-changer?

Well, couldn't help noticing that Avigdor Lieberman, the Israelian foreign minister and leader of the party Israel Beiteinu, that consists of many immigrant Russians, have put an end to the speculations that Israel would make a raid towards Iran.

He spent the last three days in Moscow and have thus appeased Iran by befriending Russia. Was this the main idea by Binyamin Netanyahu when he chose the in the West controversial Lieberman? If the US and the EU are unfriendly I turn to Russia.

After all, President Obama is disregarding the democratic process in Israel when he asks Netanyahu to go against people in his coalition concerning settlements. To me it seems he will risk become unfriendly with the Israelis at the same time as he is not satisfying the Palestinians.

As a friend of the US and Israel and a person sceptical towards Russia, this is frustrating times.


EUs Organization?

Erixon commonly concludes, as many others, that there is a democracy-deficit in the EU organization. Today he concludes:

Dick Erixon — I hjärtat rebell: "Inte förrän EU börjar arbeta enligt traditionella demokratiska principer för styrelseskick — det vill säga där man antingen har parlamentarism (riksdagen tillsätter regeringen) eller maktdelning (som USA där presidentens förslag granskas öppet av majoritet och opposition i kongressen) — kommer vi att få en debatt och mediebevakning värd namnet."

The question I would have in this respect is if the EU really can be treated as a traditional organization. There are 27 different states and 23 different languages and cultures. The organization of the EU must be considered as an experiment. There is no manual. Research on this novel organization is important.

Asking for the same function as for example Sweden or the US is not really relevant. When I began thinking about this I went through a phase where the solution was a common language, which would be English as a second language. I read in Swedish media with pleasure that the government is planning to introduce English in first grade. This would probably result in proper English knowledge for most citizens. An important question, however, is how the Germans feel about this?

The cultural differences are still there, however, and everyone has their own history book. I believe the problem is nationalism, rather than an organizational deficit. People don't realize how important it is to form the EU for peace and prosperity. Many Swedes, in particular, takes peace for granted. The US fixed that for them but despite this they are ungrateful.

If anyone wonders, I'm spending my vacation trying to learn a little about the EU.


Summer vacation

I have been taking time off since Ascension Day and will have a little vacation until the EU-parliament election.

Party Groupings in the EU parliament

Swedish media talk very little about the various party groupings in the European parliament. If you are in Sweden voting for the "Alliansen", this does not separate your election for the two party groups EPP-ED (European People's Party--European Democrats) and ALDE (Alliance for Liberals and Democrats). EPP-ED is the largest grouping and ALDE the third largest after PES, the Socialists.

ALDE is the destination for Folkpartiet Liberalerna, Centerpartiet and Feministiskt Initiativ. Kristdemokraterna and Nya Moderaterna is more like EPP-ED.

I suggested earlier that it might be a good idea to fuse the four right wing parties in Sweden to a Valallians. However, looking into the future it might be better fusing FP+C and M+KD to streamline with Europe.

The reason for not talking very much about this in Sweden is of course because of the relatively small contribution of the Swedes in the EU. Loss of power is never popular but it would make a lot more sense to work according to the same principles as in Brussels.

The European Parliament is apparently unique because it organizes itself according to ideology rather than nationality. ALDE is supposedly the grouping most dedicated to European Integration. According to Graham Watson, the leader of ALDE, they are also for EU expansion, something I'm not so fond of. EPP-ED has an europhilic centre-right branch and a right wing eurosceptic branch.

EPP-ED is in a Grand Coalition with the Socialists in the Parliament for majority voting. According to Watson of ALDE it is not so important any longer how you position yourself left-right, everyone needs a functioning economy, but rather how you position yourself towards globalization.

I'm not sure I agree on the indifference between the left and the right. I see fundamental differences to important questions. Therefore I consider a vote in Sweden on KD or M which would hopefully translate into a majority situation in the EU parliament for EPP-ED. Hopefully the election in Germany will also remove the "grand coalition" and become a coalition between the centre-right and the liberals.

Obama's speech in Cairo

Barack Obama extends hand of friendship to Muslim world - Times Online: "White House aides warned that the speech will contain few detailed policy prescriptions for the region. Yet they hope that the simple fact of a black American President with a middle name of Hussein, pledging respect for Islam in a leading Arab country, will generate excitement, and less cynicism, in the Muslim world"

On June 4 President Obama is going to give a speech in Cairo. The citation from the article above perhaps summarizes the impact of such a speech. It is beginning to be a little to much "excuse me I'm from the US" over the itinerary of the President for my taste.

Is Obama, in a way like Sonia Sotomayor, using race as a method to diffuse agressions?

We in the West created all this and we will continue to be in the forefront of development is an attitude that should work. If not, there is not much hope for a world that aspires for nothing.