Sunday, April 30, 2006

Dutch political party hits back at "watvooreikelbenjij" campaign

I spoke about the disgrace the "watvooreikelbenjij" campaign was 2 posts earlier. Especially how it's one big government sponsored commercial for Microsoft. It seems one political opposition party also agrees, the sp. Asking questions why we are wasting money on a doomed to fail campaign and promoting Microsoft to boot. They launched their own parody website "whatvooreikelzijnjullie" (what kind of an idiots are you) to the campaign. It's in Dutch only and can be viewed here: http://www.watvooreikelszijnjullie.nl/

Sorry Darfur, maybe next year

The UN announced it is cutting it's food supply and relieve effort basically in half in Darfur. This because the wealthy nations of our wonderful planet Earth did not make true their promises of financial aid. The fact the international community has so far stood by as entire villages get slaughtered and genocide is being executed on a large scale is a crime onto itself of a magnitude one can not even be ashamed enough for. That an entire population is being murderd; men, women, children and even babies.... "hey we want to help, but right now we are 'busy'. Have some patience". This does not sit well on the eternal scale of human beings as being civilised and helping one and other.

What also bothers me now is that the little help that was promised was only just that... promised! A hollow promise that looked good on TV when it was made, but never actually backed up with action. Now the refugees there are cut back to the absolute minimum to survive and many more will die due to broken, hollow promises of aid. At least be so honest mr. Present to go on TV and proclaim "Sorry, we are selfish bastards and you are not getting a single dime!". Letting people starve is a horrible crime, but claiming your going to help when you fully well know your not makes it even worse.

The only good thing I've heard in this matter is that the Dutch government has promised (ohnoes!) to aside from the money already given, to give even more money to make up for the broken promises of countries like the US. Lets hope it's not another hollow promise.

And for the rest, another cartoon of my favourite political cartoon site: pre-emptive apology

Friday, April 21, 2006

The madness within

Sometimes people confuse me greatly. Recently it became known that Yahoo! Has been actively helping the Chinese government to persecute it's citizens who wish China to become more free and a democracy. I would have expected a huge outcry about this. Here you have a US company for profit helping a dictatorship oppress it's people. Of course Yahoo! Here just follows in line with a long range of companies through the ages who have supported dictators for a few bucks extra. But what has surprised me is how many people have jumped in to defend Yahoo! And especially the arguments used.

The most favoured argument seems to be that if you want to do business in a country you need to follow it's rules. This indeed is true. That however is not an argument that in any possible way absolves blame. The argument itself actually indicates that sometimes a company should not choose morals and common decency over financial gain. I wonder if Frans van Anraat (Dutch businessman who provided the base materials to Saddam Hussein used to murder his own people) will use the same defence and people will think this to be a solid defence? "Well, yes I know my actions caused a lot of deaths, but those where just the laws of the country and I wanted to do business".

Don't get me wrong, if businesses want to operate in China they should go for it. But operating a business and actively helping to round up activists are two different things. And if a dictatorship gives you no other option then to help them oppress their own population, perhaps it is time to pack up and go?

Other strange defences I've heard of people included that "perhaps these people where really criminals? How do we know?" and "If they had helped to arrest nazi's you would be cheering them". The first one must make any oppressive government very happy. When China has one of the worst human rights records around (mass executions of political dissidents and torture on a large scale), you want to bring in doubt that the people they arrest for wanting an democratic China without human rights violations might actually be real criminals? The other comment is just to silly for words. Yes, if somebody helps arrest really bad people who want to hurt others or who do hurt others of course that is a good thing. But that is not the issue here. If I say I don't like the colour of that green car it hardly is an argument to shut me up to say "but if it had been blue you would have liked the colour. So don't speak up!". My head can't get around such comments.

It is just a funny old world how people can start to justify a regime that tortures and murders it's own subjects and oppresses them, a regime that is systematically purging the Tibetan people from the face of the earth through slow genocide and social migrations, a regime that is nothing more then a common dictatorship can somehow be defended. All because of economic interests that may be interesting for large corporations, but irrelevant for an individual.

IRepress (cartoon regarding recent IT companies in China)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

What kind an idiot is the Dutch goverment?

The Dutch government doomed to fail attempt to appeal to young people with the campaign "wat voor een eikel ben jij?" ("what kind of an idiot are you?") would normally not bother me much. One more attempt of the government to appeal to young people to become less aggressive and more respectable. But in this case I must admit I am a bit bothered. Not because of the campaign itself. But because of the website supporting it.

While the government officially is trying to promote open standards, open source and freedom of a monopolist, the website for this campaign is one huge Microsoft advertisement! The website is more Microsoft and MSN commercial then actually informative. Both top and bottom bars are completely filled with it. Not just does it make the website look very amateuristic (it looks like a free newsgroup made by somebody in 10 minutes with some online "community" creation tool), but with the accompanying video clip, commercials on TV and what more, tax payers money is actually used to promote Microsoft. A commercial company. Even if I was not worried about Microsoft's market dominance, why is a commercial company being sponsored basically with tax money and it's competitors being ignored? Public awareness campaigns should be add-free!

http://www.watvooreikelbenjij.nl/

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

How stickfigures come into the world

Monday, April 17, 2006

Adopt a granny

While the debate rages in my own country about being responsible for your own poverty, cutting back on the care for the elderly, the sick, people needing to be being made "cost aware" of our healthcare system and what more... the Dutch TV show "netwerk" showed the horrible situation of some elderly people in eastern Europe.

The aid agency Dorcas has out of desperation started a project where you can adopt a "granny". Elderly people (both male and female) who live in the most horrible of situations, who are often cut of from electricity, water and can not even afford to eat every day. These people saved all their lives, but their pension plan got destroyed due to extreme deflation of their countries monetary system (so much for own responsibility?). Some of their pensions are no less then 20 euros a month now due to this.

The situation for some of these people without aid is so desperate. One of the women they showed was blind and is taken care of by her granddaughter of 14 years old. Her daughter and mother of her granddaughter left to work in Turkey but has since disappeared. The first thing that came to my mind, and also to the aid-workers was that she, like many women, has ended up in the sex-slave industry probably. Her 14 year old granddaughter also already is being targets by men buying her gifts now. Luckily she realises these men are looking to sell her into the white sex-slave trade it seems. But how long can you keep them at bay when you have no more electricity, water, when you only live on bread with rice and oil and some days don't eat at all? And you see your grandmother wasting away.

I to god hope these people can get helped, these situations can be prevented in the future and that they do not spread to more parts of the world. Because I can see this happening to the western countries soon as well if we continue on this course where people are in service of the economy and not the economy in service of the people. At the very least I can adopt one of these people and help them out this way.

All links, but two are in Dutch. Dorcas is an officially approved and monitored charity.

Information about the TV show | Adopt a granny (dutch) | Dorcas



Saturday, April 15, 2006

Francis Fukuyama about Bush

It has become popular under some neo-conservatives to now turn their back on the Bush government. Their motives for turning their back on the policy they before pushed for can and of course should be questioned. But I will say I was impressed with Francis Fukuyama in the Dutch TV show "tegenlicht". Especially his opinion on where to go from now and how he thinks restoring the US credibility may take an entire generation is quite interesting.

The entire TV show can be viewed online I believe and the interview is in English. The rest of the website is however in Dutch.

Episode information | View the episode

Pleasantly surprised

Despite the huge amount of music and genre's available out there I'm not that often truly surprised anymore. A long time ago a colleague of mine directed me towards the music of Wendy McNeil. I was immediately impressed, but till today had not taken much more notice of her. Mainly as her albums are very hard to get. A newer album seems to be available again now, so time to rekindle my interest I guess.

If you fancy some very experimental music made by a women and her accordion then it might be an idea to stop by her website quickly and check out some samples. It truly is amazing stuff.

http://www.wendymcneill.com/index.php

Friday, April 14, 2006

Especially for our US viewers.. migraphobia!

Have you got a case of Migraphobia?

http://www.markfiore.com/animation/phobia.html

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Responsibility

Responsibility for your own well-being is the keyword that right winged people, liberals and conservatives love to use. If you fail in life it's your own fault, if you succeed in life, it should be your own doing. Selfishness is promoted above all. While I agree people should take responsibility for their life, remember that the right's "own responsibility" includes being responsible for things you have no control over, being responsible for things totally out of your own hands and out of your own control, being responsible for every setback you fought so hard to prevent, but fate just decided otherwise. Remember this as you wear your suit, get laid off due to middle management being the first jobs to go due to merges, as your own company goes bankrupt due to factors outside your own control, as you lose your job to "cut costs" to please stockholders. Because yes, this too you are responsible for in their vision.

This society lost it's lack of responsibility for others long ago.....