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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Yah Work


Jah Work (1997) by Ben Harper

Tell me do you really know
your brother man
cause a heart speaks louder
than a color can
and why would you even
shake a man's hand
if you're not going
to help him stand

Jah work
Jah work
Jah work is never done

Every man's actions
belong to he
if prepared for thereafter
to each his destiny
some people believe
and some people know
some people deceive
and some people show

Jah work
Jah work
Jah work is never done

You must do the heaviest
so many shall do none
you have got to stand firm
so many shall run
some they rest their head at night
some get no sleep at all
if you listen close to what you see
you will hear the call

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Milieudefensie vs NL Staat

Woensdag 27 december 2017 verloor Milieudefensie een bodemprocedure tegen de Nederlandse Staat inzake de Nederlandse luchtkwaliteit (Trouw, VK). Op 7 september 2017 had Milieudefensie het eerdere kort geding nog gewonnen (MD, Parool). "Het kort geding is een procedure waarbij de zaak met spoed wordt behandeld. De zaak wordt niet ‘tot de bodem’ uitgezocht, terwijl dat in een bodemprocedure wel zo is." (bron)

Ongetwijfeld zal deze laatste uitspraak een consequentie hebben bij het hoger beroep van de Nederlandse Staat tegen Urgenda, in een soortgelijke rechterlijke procedure die Urgenda - tot veler verrassing - won (NL StaatVK-2015-04VK-2015-05mijn 2016 blog). Dit hoger beroep loopt nog.

In Westerse democratieën, waaronder Nederland, kennen we de scheiding der machten, of trias politica. De wetgevende macht ligt bij het parlement, de uitvoerende macht bij regering en haar ambtenaren, en de rechterlijke macht toetst de uitvoering aan de wet. De burger kiest haar volksvertegenwoordiging - en dus de wetgever - via de Tweede Kamerverkiezingen.

Rechtszaken tegen de Nederlandse Staat, inzake geëiste veranderingen in de wetgeving, alsmede referenda ondergraven deze scheiding der machten. Er is geen parlement meer nodig bij een "directe democratie". Veranderingen in de wet horen thuis bij de wetgever, niet bij een rechter die alleen een toetsing mag doen tussen wet en uitvoering daarvan.

In mijn recente Engelstalige blog Wisdom and social class, maakte ik een onderscheid tussen arrogantie, domheid, en Prinzipienreiters. De 4e categorie (linksonder) wordt soms wel eens een gezond boerenverstand genoemd.

Milieudefensie en Urgenda behoren tot de dogmatici, de Prinzipienreiters. Mogelijk stemmen deze mensen op GroenLinks. Toch halen ze liever via de rechter hun gelijk dan te wachten op hun volksvertegenwoordigers.

De handelwijze van deze clubs past bij het verkiezingsprogramma van Forum voor Democratie inzake "directe democratie": "Bindende referenda en volksinitiatieven naar Zwitsers model, Gekozen burgemeesters, e-Democracy". Qua milieubeleid zullen beiden ver van elkaar staan. Het FvD milieubeleid krijgt nauwelijks aandacht: "Steun voor de agrarische sector".

Het beëindigen van het raadgevend referendum is een goed begin. Het niet-ontvankelijk verklaren van rechtszaken die gebaseerd zijn op buitenparlementaire politieke acties, zou een belangrijke vervolgstap zijn. De ondermijning van de Nederlandse parlementaire democratie dient een halt toegeroepen te worden. Liefst door de Politiek.

Politiek (1980) door Bram Vermeulen & De Toekomst


Friday, 29 December 2017

My Desert Island Discs

Joan Armatrading - Joan Armatrading (1976), Show some emotion (1977)
Burt Bacharach & Elvis Costello - Painted from memory (1998)
Anita Baker - Rapture (1986)
Black Keys - El Camino (2011)
Bløf - Blauwe ruis (2002)
David Bowie - Low (1977), Heroes (1977)
Brooklyn Funk Essentials - Cool and Steady and Easy (1994) 
Kate Bush - The kick inside (1978)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The boatman’s call (1997)
Riccardo Cocciante - Sincerita (1983)
CSN&Y - Deja vu (1970)
Eagles - Desperado (1973), Hotel California (1976)
Elbow - The Take Off and Landing of Everything (2014), Little Fictions (2017)
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (1977)
Foreigner - Foreigner (1977)
Marvin Gaye - What’s going on (1971), Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross - Diana & Marvin (1973)
Genesis - Wind & Wuthering (1976), Seconds out (1977), And then there were three (1978)
Gotan Poject - La revancha del tango (2001)
Phyllis Hyman - Living all alone (1986), I refuse to be lonely (1995)
Is Ook Schitterend - Hemel en aarde (1997)
Joe Jackson - Night and day (1982), Body and soul (1984)
Quincy Jones - The dude (1981), Back on the block (1989)
Alicia Keys - Songs in A minor (2001)
#1: Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate (2016)
Marillion - Seasons end (1989)
Michael McDonald - If that's what it takes (1982)
Chuck Mangione - Feels so good (1977)
Steve Miller Band - Fly like an eagle (1976), Book of dreams (1977)
Rob de Nijs - Rob de Nijs (1978)
Paolo Nutini - Caustic love (2014)
Pink Floyd - Dark side of the moon (1973), Wish you were here (1975), The endless river (2014)
Propaganda - A secret wish (1985), 1234 (1990)
Queen - A night at the opera (1975), A day at the races (1976)
Corinne Bailey Rae - The sea (2010)
REM - Out of time (1991), Automatic for the people (1992)
Damien Rice - O (2002), 9 (2006), My favourite faded fantasy (2014)
Mark Ronson - Uptown special (2015)
Simple Minds - New gold dream (1982)
Spinvis - Tot Ziens, Justine Keller (2011), Trein Vuur Dageraad (2017)
Lisa Stansfield - Real love (1991)
Supertramp - Crime of the century (1974)
David Sylvian - Brilliant trees (1984)
Talk Talk - It's my life (1984)
Tears for Fears - The hurting (1983), The seeds of love (1989)
The War on Drugs - A deeper understanding (2017)
Judie Tzuke - Welcome to the cruise (1989)
U2 - Boy (1980), War (1983)
Gino Vannelli - Powerful people (1974), Pauper in paradise (1977), Brother to brother (1978)
Joe Walsh - You can't argue with a sick mind (1976), But seriously folks (1978)
Paul Weller - Stanley road (1995)
Deniece Williams - My melody (1981)
Stevie Wonder - Talking book (1972), Songs in the key of life (1976)
Yes - Yessongs (1972), Going for the one (1977)
Neil Young - Everybody knows this nowhere (1969), After the goldrush (1970), Harvest (1972),
Comes a time (1978), Sleeps with angels (1994)

Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate (2016) - artist, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Cold Little Heart - lyricsvideo


Love & Hate - lyricsvideo


Thursday, 28 December 2017

Liberalism and Secularism

In part 2 of my blog on power dimensions and danger zones, I changed the label of the y-axis to Liberalism / Secularism. That felt more appropriate than the label "No Religion". Subsequently, it occurred to me that both concepts appear to have a strong correlation, especially today. That correlation deals with individual / personal freedom. Why?

The primary focus of Liberalism has been changing over time. Yet, its core concept is always about freedom (ie, Liber). Some 2,000 years ago, Liberalism was already a philosophical notion that humans (as a group) should be free from having a master or an owner. That ancient Greek (Western) concept did however not yet apply to slaves.

Liberalism had a 2nd wave around the Industrial Revolution (1760 - 1820/1840), which was the 1st wave of the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 (my blogs). Its focus was on the freedom of (economic and financial) markets as opposed to (state) monopolies. This 2nd wave of (Western) Liberalism resulted in Capitalism and Globalism.

Currently, there is a 3rd wave of (Western) Liberalism which is about the individual human right of freedom rather than the group right of some 2,000 years ago. To some extent, it's about the right to be what and/or who you are and when. Former exceptions become (legal) minorities and challenge the right of majorities to restrict their available (legal) choices.

Religion is under (severe) pressure in Western countries, like Netherlands and UK (eg, CT, Dutch NewsTimes). This development is labelled Secularism. This current pressure may also relate to the (international) tensions caused by the Political Islam (my blogs).

It’s important to separate Faith from Religion. Faith is an individual right and choice and fits in the concept of Liberalism. Nowadays, questions about Religion often incorporate the default answer: "Own interpretation". This answer shows the difference between Faith and Religion. Sometimes, it is labelled as Omnism or even All-theism.

Religion is a man-made institute in the Power domain of the 7 Belief systems. It has caused many (military) frictions over the past 2,000 years. Religion is dogmatic and wants you to believe that their God is the only God. This view would result in various Supreme Beings which makes no logical sense. Hence, Mahatma Gandhi once stated: "God has no Religion".

Several people have predicted the end of Religion (eg, Big Think). In my view, they confuse Faith and Religion. There will always be new religions as a result of the deeply ingrained human Faith in a Supreme Being, whether Allah, God, or Yahweh (eg, Aeon). Scientists have never found any culture on this planet without traces of religious worship (eg, Nature, WaPo).

At some future point, my concept of the 7 Belief systems will need an update. Science in the Knowledge domain will become Technology in the Power domain. Religion in the Power domain will re-emerge as Faith in the Knowledge domain. Liberalism (freedom) appears to be driving this.

Freedom (2015) by Pharrell Williams - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Wisdom and social class

Once in a while, I notice a study that makes no logical sense. On 20 December 2017, Justin P. Brienza and Igor Grossmann published their study on "Social class and wise reasoning about interpersonal conflicts across regions, persons and situations". Science Magazine referred to this study by using this heading: "The lower your social class, the ‘wiser’ you are".

In order to understand its conclusion, I made a diagram. I used rich vs poor to express social class. I used educated vs uneducated to express knowledge.

According to this study, Wisdom would then be found in the lower-left corner. The only example that fits this box is Chauncey Gardiner, the main character from the 1979 movie Being There (IMDb).

This study feels counter-intuitive.

The upper-left and upper-right corners were relatively easy to fill. Its extreme versions are often labelled as ignorance and arrogance. Initially, the lower-right corner was hard. Ultimately, I decided on the extreme version of the Prinzipienreiter, a German word for a dogmatist. For some, principles are a substitute for a rich person's pragmatism (and opportunism).

It would be incorrect to use "human stupidity" in the lower-left corner. If Wisdom is the inner circle then human stupidity is the outer circle - in all 4 corners. To some extent, the lower-left corner might - perhaps - be labelled as "street wise" or "street smart". Also see Wikipedia.

Wisdom is also at the heart of my concept of the 7 Belief systems, and of its 3 domains: Love, Knowledge and Power. Strong - and certainly extreme - beliefs have a nature of overriding Wisdom. The Knowledge and Power domain have a habit of creating a balance (ie, Knowledge = Power). Such a balance in life should enable finding Wisdom.

Socrates claimed that "the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing". Albert Einstein came to a similar conclusion: “A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing.” Wisdom in the words of Confucius: "By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."

Asking for 3rd party advice (a lead indicator in this study) indeed makes good (wise) sense, especially when you are confronted with a dilemma. Finding independentimpartial, and solid advice isn't that easy. Hence, any 3rd party advice must first be filtered from bias.

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. A quote by Henry David Thoreau.

Wisemen (2005) by James Blunt - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Father & Friend


Father & Friend (2008) by Alain Clark

Oh papa sit down, and hear my song
Oh, and if you feel like it then please sing along
No nothing that I wanna say
I haven’t said before
But to use your words
You can never be too sure

See, even though I don’t always show
I’m glad that you’re around
I Said I’m glad that you're around

Oh son it's so strange, to hear and see
That someone so different is and so like me
You may have gone right, where I would have gone left
But son, that’s alright
I will always have your back
See even though I don’t always show
I’m proud that you're my son

Old days, and all of the new. Wanting to be like you
Every time I look at you I see myself
I’m so proud of you
For you have made me what I am - a better man
I’m just so proud of you

O dad, your views in life
Tell me how they came to be
Well see, I didn’t know my father
Like the way that you know me
Son, life is just too short
For us to never be in touch
So that’s why I wanna tell you
That I love you very much
Oh even though I don’t always show, you know

And I want you to know that
Every time I look at you I see myself
And I’m so proud of you
You have made me what I am - a better man
I’m so proud of you

I’m here, and I’ll be if I can
A father and a friend

Oooh, every time I look at you

Every time I look at you
(What you see) I see myself. And I’m so proud of you
You have made me what I am. A son and a friend

I’m just so proud of you

You know that one day too, I'll be walking in your shoes

And I know that you'll do fine, 'cause you're a son of mine

Oh dear papa tell me what you've learned
So that I don't get my fingers burned

Son, you'll see that as you go
You'll make mistakes of your own

But that's oke man, see you live and you learn
you live and you learn

Monday, 25 December 2017

Please come home for Christmas


 Please Come Home for Christmas (1960) by The Eagles (1978)

Bells will be ringing this sad sad news
Oh what a Christmas to have the blues 
My baby's gone I have no friends 
To wish me greetings once again 

Choirs will be singing "Silent Night" 
Christmas carols by candlelight 
Please come home for Christmas 
Please come home for Christmas 

If not for Christmas by New Years night 
Friends and relations send salutations 
Sure as the stars shine above 
But this is Christmas yes Christmas my dear 

The time of year to be with the ones you love 
So won't you tell me you'll never more roam 
Christmas and new Years will find you home 
There'll be no more sorrow no grief and pain 

And I'll be happy, happy once again 
Oh there'll be no more sorrow, no grief and pain 
And I'll be happy, Christmas once again

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Hallelu-JaH


Hallelujah (1984) by Rufus Wainwright and (his "father-in-law") Leonard Cohen 




Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did—well, really—what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Bright (Netflix)

Yesterday, Netflix released its $ 90 million blockbuster movie Bright, starring Will Smith as a Los Angeles police officer in a futuristic and dystopian setting. I gave the movie a rating of 4 out of 5 stars as I liked watching it. Is it flawless? No, far from it. Is it worth watching? Yes, unless you dislike watching this type of movies.

Bright features a society consisting of 3 races: elves, humans and Orcs. The racial distinctions between humans belong to the past, similar to what we see in Star Trek and Star Wars. However, the same racial comments of today are now projected on Orcs. Orcs are the new blacks. Elves are the new whites. The social status of humans is somewhere in between elves and Orcs.

The movie Bright offers no explanation why elves and Orcs even exist on Earth. There are some references about a war in Russia some 2,000 years ago. The Orcs chose the wrong (losing?) side. As a result, the Orcs became the scapegoat of society. Such references feel familiar.

The elves live in the futuristic side of Los Angeles while the Orcs live in a dystopian part of LA. The movies also shows some drive-through scenes in LA (ie, outside the studio). There has been no effort to conceal contemporary LA (eg, cars, houses). This creates an irritating hick-up in the Space Time dimension of the movie.

So far I have noticed 2 reviews of Bright (ie, Quartz, Vox). Both are (very) negative. The Quartz review makes an interesting comment: it feels as if Bright was based on Netflix's algorithms. In this case, algorithms are based on the very many labels Netflix uses to describe a movie. Telegraph: "The genres, based on a complicated algorithm that uses reams of data about users' viewing habits to recommend exactly what a particular user is into, number in the tens of thousands."

To some extent, Bright indeed makes you feel - albeit subconsciously - that you are watching a mashup of movies like Bad Boys (eg, two arguing policemen, Will Smith), Harry Potter (eg, magic wands, The Dark Lord, his return), Robocop (eg, dystopian setting), and The Lord of the Rings (elves, Legolas). Feel free to add other examples.

The Vox review ("Netflix's Bright, starring Will Smith, is a colossal waste of time") is nonsense. I could claim that reading the Vox review is also a waste of time. That would also be nonsense. Either you like watching Bright or you dislike it. There is not much gray in between.

Luc Besson created an artificial world in the 2017 movie Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. JK Rowling created a contemporary hybrid world with animals, creatures, humans and wizards (eg, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Harry Potter).

Bright is also a hybrid using (i) contemporary (LA today), (ii) fantasy elements (eg, elves, fairies, Orcs), and (iii) Sci-Fi (eg, dystopian, futuristic) elements. The Space Time dimension of Bright is its major flaw. Otherwise, it's fun to watch.

Bright (2017) - official trailer by Netflix


AFM vs Accountants

"De bestuursrechter oordeelde dat de AFM niet op basis van fouten in individuele controledossiers mag concluderen dat het stelsel voor kwaliteitsbewaking van de hele accountantsorganisatie niet deugt. De beslissing van de rechter betekent dat de AFM zijn toezichtsmethode op de sector grondig moet herzien en is een grote overwinning voor de twee Big Four kantoren." (Financieel Dagblad, 20 december 2017)

Eigenlijk is deze hele kwestie (voor mij) een open deur. De uitspraak van de bestuursrechter is eigenlijk gewoon gebaseerd op elementaire kennis van statistiek (o.a. omvang steekproef en uitspraak over populatie). Toch heeft het - vreemd genoeg - zover kunnen escaleren.

De taak van accountants is - wettelijk gezien - duidelijk: een oordeel over de getrouwheid van een jaarrekening van een bedrijf of instelling. Getrouwheid betekent echter niet hetzelfde als juistheid. Er mogen - en zullen - dus fouten in een jaarrekening zitten zolang die maar geen afbreuk doen aan het oordeel van de accountant.

De werkzaamheden die accountants doen om tot dat eindoordeel te komen zijn niet wettelijk bepaald. Deze werkzaamheden zijn gebaseerd op een standaard controle model (per accountantskantoor) dat normaliter wordt aangepast aan de specifieke situatie van de klant. Risicovolle posten krijgen dus meer aandacht dan risicoloze posten.

De taak van de AFM lijkt duidelijk: toezicht houden. Bij de uitvoering daarvan dient de AFM keuzes te maken. De uitspraak van de bestuursrechter toont aan dat de door de AFM gemaakte keuze wordt betwist. Als accountant in business deel ik het standpunt van deze rechter.

Het afgeven van een accountantsverklaring is enigszins vergelijkbaar met het oordeel van een rechter. In beide gevallen bestaat er een kans dat naderhand blijkt dat een oordeel ten onrechte werd gegeven. Dit onterechte oordeel kan blijken uit een spoedige surseance van betaling. Meestal halen onterechte oordelen uiteindelijk de pers en leidt dit tot reputatieschade bij alle betrokken partijen.

Een fout in de controlewerkzaamheden betekent niet noodzakelijkerwijs dat de accountant een fout oordeel heeft gegeven. Een reeks fouten maakt die kans (veel) groter. Een kleine steekproef op controledossiers zal nooit een uitspraak kunnen gaan geven over de totale populatie en/of de kwaliteit van een accountantskantoor. Controle is mensenwerk en mensen laten steken vallen. Dit is tevens het standaardantwoord van accountants aan de AFM.

Interne model validatie zou een oplossing kunnen zijn. Het interne proces rondom model validatie zou dan object van extern toezicht kunnen zijn. Gebrekkige model validatie zou dan inderdaad het oordeel over de kwaliteit van het accountantskantoor beïnvloeden.

De uitspraak van de bestuursrechter kan er ook toe leiden dat de AFM nog meer mensen en middelen gaat inzetten. Dit zou de kosten van toezicht nog verder verhogen en nieuwe toetreders op de accountancymarkt nog verder beperken. De kwaliteit van het AFM toezicht zal echter nauwelijks toenemen noch de kwaliteit van haar beslissingen en/of sancties.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Power dimensions and danger zones (2)

Part 1 of my blog on power dimensions and danger zones was well received. I noticed some unusually high views from territories that usually rank (very) low in my list of viewers (eg, Russia). A friend recommended narrowing this subject down to Europe (EU). This new diagram exposes the danger zones within Project Europe, my 15 November blog.

The plotting of EU countries on both axes is mostly based on my gut feeling. In some cases, I used Wikipedia for verification (eg, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, LithuaniaMalta).

The upper-left corner includes the countries following the 2004, 2007 and 2013 eastbound EU expansion.

The upper-right corner includes all European nations that entered the EU after 1951 and before 2004.

Similar to my international version, the danger zone is in the upper-left corner: authoritarianism and religious extremism behind a facade of democracy. Hungary and Poland are both shifting to the left. Time will tell in which direction the other new EU nations will evolve.

On 20 December 2017, the EU took a drastic step to counter Poland's direction. This step is usually referred to as the "nuclear option" as it may - ultimately - strip a country of its EU voting rights (eg, EurActivGuardian, Politico). 

The lower-right corner may be a second danger zone. The Netherlands has often supported the UK within the EU, and has lost a close ally following Brexit. Rather than "No Religion", the y-axis now has a new label at the bottom: Liberalism (my blogs) and Secularism. Both appear to have a high correlation. Both also trigger another thought: a lack of solidarity

The philosophical belief in the concepts of Liberalism (ie, freedom) and Secularism (eg, atheism) may explain why some nations believe that independence (ie, freedom) benefits can exceed a union's solidarity benefits. In the Netherlands similar political parties have N-exit dreams. 

The benefit of Brexit is that its falsehoods are finally emerging. Hence, on 20 December 2017, "The International Monetary Fund has strongly defended its gloomy forecasts for the UK after Brexit, saying pre-referendum warnings of slower growth were coming true." (Guardian)

"To me, it really seems visible today that ethics is not something exterior to the economy, which, as technical matter, could function on its own; rather, ethics is an interior principle of the economy itself, which cannot function if it does not take account of the human values of solidarity and reciprocal responsibility." A quote by Pope Benedict XVI

All Together Now (1990) by The Farm - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Thursday, 21 December 2017

A new Cold War

"I think this past weekend is illustrative of what a great case officer Vladimir Putin is. He knows how to handle an asset, and that's what he's doing with the President." [] "You have to remember Putin's background. He's a KGB officer. That's what they do. They recruit assets. And I think some of that experience and instincts of Putin has come into play here in his managing of a pretty important account for him." These recent stunning words are from James Clapper, the director of national intelligence under 44th President Barack Obama (CNN, CNN video).

This conclusion cannot come as a surprise to James Clapper. If my assumption is correct then the 44th President Barack Obama must have known this too. My May 2017 blog, The 44th President and his very long con, already assumed what is now slowly emerging. This raises the question: why did Obama allow the national humiliation of the USA?

Initially, I assumed that is was about "pest control by using fumigation" (my 14 May 2017 blog). Late October 2017, Robert Mueller's investigation charged people with the fatal words “engaging in a conspiracy against the US government" (my 31 October 2017 blog). Smoking out the rats suddenly became "high treason". High treason is about (a) rivalling nation(s).

A 9 November 2017 Patribotics blog accuses both China and Russia of interference in the 2016 US Presidential elections. This is an interesting development which caught little attention, perhaps because its arguments were thin. A 1 December 2017 Patribotics blog adds some specific American names to this development. I'm still skeptic on Chinese involvement.

The duration of Robert Mueller's investigation suggests another motive: payback. Some days ago, the Russian President finally announced his participation in the 2018 Russian Presidential elections on March 18. Most likely, Mr Mueller's investigation will run parallel. The Russian President is likely to be humiliated by leaks during the forthcoming months. His reelection is, however, a no-brainer - unless he quits from participating.

The 44th President may have felt that he had no other choice than to let Trump's Long Con happen (my 9 October 2016 blog). It would be the only way to demonstrate high treason by the 45th President - at the expense of the USA. It was about exposing malicious intentions after the election of the 45th President. Exposing before would have been considered partisan politics.

Obama's (alleged) choice will have far-reaching consequences for America's future, if only because of the GOP's deep involvement in KremlinGate. It may even affect "America's tolerance for inequality, compared to many rich countries" (Economist-2017). 

The above is likely to result in a new American period of McCarthyism (my blog) and a new Cold War (1947- c.1990) between USA and Russia. The Chinese "helping hand", as suggested by Patribotics, is probably not enough for an American Cold War against China. 

Cold War (2010) by Janelle Monáe - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

This is a cold war
You better know what you're fighting for


Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Decisions

For several months, I have been struggling to find a new place to live after I will have sold my house. This process has still not resulted into anything tangible. It may have taken longer than necessary as I have been changing course for several times. Slowly, a picture is emerging. The lack of supply in available Dutch houses does not help in making any decisions.

The process of finding a new place to live is frustrating and irritating me. I know that I am a decisive person. I am not afraid of making decisions.

My apparent indecision did not make any sense to me. However, my indecision was a good reason for a new blog and a diagram on decision making.

In a way, the results in the diagram are comforting: my indecision is about doubt rather than fear. Considering my Zodiac (Pisces), doubt is familiar to me.

It's important to realise that this doubt is rooted in (not) establishing priorities. With hindsight, I must acknowledge that my priorities have long been shifting due to a continued change in circumstances.

In September 2015, I published my blog Why do we procrastinate? That blog already indicates that procrastination is about setting other and different priorities. There is no ambiguity which priorities are on the list, or their (official) ranking. Neither is doubt or fear involved. In 2015, I concluded that procrastination is about a time related risk / reward balance.

Much to my initial surprise, the genuine type of indecision is in the domain of cannot and will not making decisions due to fear related considerations. This domain is characterised by the notorious "What-If" questions. Removing the fear will enable a decision as doubt was not the issue.

The upper-right corner feels familiar to me: my decisions are usually free of doubt and free of fear. Obviously, any decision faces challenges on the information (quality) criteria of completeness, correctness, and timeliness. Assumptions fill the gaps. This is where education and experience enter the equation.

"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." A quote by Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th US President.

Your Decision (2009) by Alice in Chains - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Power dimensions and danger zones

I have been working on a new diagram for a while that is plotting the Power dimensions Law & Order versus Religion. Law & Order is a combination of the Belief systems Money and Politics. The resulting diagram (below) also indicates natural allies and natural enemies.

The high degree of secularization in the UK makes the UK more and more a lonely boy in class. In reality the UK is also drifting away from both Continental Europe and USA.

The secularization in Continental Europe is both high and low. The average still warrants a position in the upper-right corner.

Trump's USA is moving to the left following its admiration for authoritarian leaders. At home, it keeps undermining Law & Order.

China was the most difficult one to plot in this diagram as there are also reasons to indicate different directions (ie, below, left, up). In general, I expect that establishing Law & Order in China is essential for its aim of overtaking the USA as the leading Superpower. Religion in China is also gaining ground (eg, Telegraph-2014).

The Political Islam (my blogs) remains the most dangerous development as it combines authoritarianism and religious extremism behind a facade of democracy. The recent developments in Wahhabi Sunni Saudi Arabia are spectacular but might be short-lived. The previous Crown Prince survived 4 assassination attempts (Wiki).

The position of Russia in the upper left corner fits its current role in the Middle East (eg, Syria). Russian involvement is usually about protecting and/or expanding its vital interests (eg, Crimean annexationSyrian Khmeimim Air Force Base). One of these Russian interests is gaining control over the Bosporus (eg, Hurriyet-2015).

Recently, Turkey argued with Greece on the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne (eg, Guardian, Hurriyet). The Turkish control over the Bosporus - and indirectly the Black Sea and its Russian Fleet - was finally settled in the 1936 Montreux Convention. Turkey may have opened Pandora's box as Russia is eager to reclaim its former control over the Bosporus (my blogs #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5).

Turkey's 2016-17 purges following its alleged 2016 military coup attempt has made its army (very) vulnerable (eg, CNN, FTJane'sSpiegel). The mutual history of Russia and Turkey shows a long list of military conflicts (Wiki). As long as Turkey is a NATO member, its Article 5 should prevent a new Russo-Turkish war. The upper-left box remains a danger zone.

Danger Zone (1986) by Kenny Loggins from Top Gun soundtrack 


Monday, 18 December 2017

The triangle of Love Knowledge & Power

In my 1 December blog, I introduced the Strauss-Howe Generational Theory. In last Friday's blog, Simon Kuper linked the words "incompetence" to "generations". In business, there is a phenomenon called the "3rd generation curse". Time: "70% of wealthy families lose their wealth by the second generation, and a stunning 90% by the third, according to the Williams Group wealth consultancy."

I think, feel and believe that Simon Kuper is right to link the words generations and incompetence. I have been struggling to explain the why. The answer came to me when I realised what is being transferred from generation to generation. My concept of the 7 Belief systems and its Knowledge and Power dimensions proved to be useful again.

After ample thought, there appears to be a big difference in generational transfers. It's relatively easy to transfer Power (Money, Politics, Religion) from generation to generation. These transfers are often performed "automatically", at birth (Religion), during life time (Political connections), and at death (Money).

Transfer of Knowledge (Philosophy, Science, the Truth) is much more complicated because it isn't as tangible as the beliefs in the Power dimension. Knowledge is like intellectual property rights. We often aim to transfer Knowledge through education and upbringing. Our choice of friends as a child, teenager and young adult is often crucial for (the lack of) this transfer.

Excerpt of my 29 May 2017 blog: "Power without Knowledge is not lasting in history. Knowledge without Power isn't sustainable either, as it tends to get lost in human history." A successful generational cycle requires a transfer of both Knowledge and Power. Incompetency in our leaders may then be viewed as a mismatch between Power and Knowledge.

Donald Trump appears to be an excellent example: his family was successful in transferring Power (eg, Money) but unsuccessful in the transfer of Knowledge. The 45th President has been called a "fucking moron" by his own Secretary of State (eg, NY Magazine).

The element that may explain the successful transfer of Knowledge is Love, the 7th Belief system and perhaps the 3rd dimension, next to Knowledge and Power. The ancient Greeks differentiated 4 types of Love: Agápe (divine/spiritual), éros (romantic), philía (brotherly/sisterly), and storgē (parental). Parental and spiritual love might be crucial for being willing and able to receive Knowledge. Please also see my related 2017 blog: Love, the selfless belief (2).

Love, Knowledge and Power define a most powerful triangle in life. This triangle was already visible in my 15 July 2016 drawing (see default picture at the right of my blog). This triangle is represented by the 3 beliefs of Religion (Faith), Philosophy (Hope) and Love. 

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13-13)

The Power Of Love (1984) by Frankie Goes To Hollywood


Sunday, 17 December 2017

Across the Universe


Across the Universe (1969 / 2002) by Rufus Wainwright

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind
Possessing and caressing me

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a restless wind
Inside a letter box they
Tumble blindly as they make their way
Across the universe

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Sounds of laughter shades of life are ringing
Through my open ears inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
And calls me on and on across the universe

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva
Jai guru deva...

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Drie keer is scheepsrecht

De oorsprong van deze uitspraak is vreemd genoeg onbekend: "Drie keer is scheepsrecht". Toch begrijpt iedereen deze. Scheepsrecht slaat - waarschijnlijk - gewoon op de zeevaart, en niet op "rechtspraak door schout en schepenen" (Onze Taal). De Friese variant laat daar weinig twijfel over bestaan: "trije is skippers-rjucht en ien for de feint"; of "drie is schippersrecht en éen voor den knecht" (DBNL).

Ook in andere talen zijn er soortgelijke referenties naar het getal drie: (1) "Third time's the charm", (ii) "Aller guten Dinge sind drei", en (iii) "Toutes les bonnes choses sont au nombre de trois" (source). Indien gezegden in meerdere talen voorkomen dan is het logisch om naar stokoude verklaringen te zoeken.

Een voor de hand liggende oude bron betreft de religie (o.a. Heilige Drie-eenheid, nummer 3). Nog oudere verklaringen betreffen normaliter astrologie en astronomie, en de daaraan gerelateerde wiskunde (o.a. e, geometriePi, priemgetal, pyramide, trigonometrie). 

Driehoeken vinden we overal terug. In de bouw heeft het dak vaak de vorm van een driehoek (o.a. tentdak, zadeldak). De kracht van driehoeken blijkt ook uit het feit dat pyramides wereldwijd nog altijd overeind staan. In de rechtspraak geldt het concept "trias politica", de scheiding tussen de wetgevende (het parlement), de rechterlijke (toetsende), en de uitvoerende (of regerende) macht.

Vroeger kreeg ik van mijn ouders te horen dat het verschil tussen een bliksem en de daaropvolgende donderslag, gedeeld door 3, de afstand in kilometers aangaf. Drie seconden stond voor 1 kilometer. Licht heeft een snelheid van bijna 300 miljoen meter per seconde en geluid 340 meter per seconde. Het verschil tussen beide lijkt dan 1.000.000x. De hoogte van de bliksem en donder - in kilometers - speelt echter ook een rol. Het blijft een driehoek. (Bron)

Vanuit statistische overwegingen lijken 2 pogingen (te) weinig. Bij 4 of meer pogingen lijkt de kans op een uiteindelijke mislukking (te) groot geworden. Na 3 pogingen heb je voldoende ervaring voor een opinie, een recht van spreken.

Drie keer is scheepsrecht geldt ook voor relaties. Na elke breuk in een relatie ontstaat er een verlies van vertrouwen, los van de andere 6 criteria (communicatie, intimiteit, kwetsbaarheid, respect, saamhorigheid, vergevingsgezindheid). Het is dan ook logisch dat elke volgende breuk sneller gebeurt. Na de 3e breuk is er weinig tot geen kans meer op een succesvolle doorstart.

Bovenstaande doet me denken aan de uitdrukking "vertrouwen komt te voet en gaat te paard". Deze wordt algemeen toegeschreven aan de politicus Johan Thorbecke (1798-1872). Het lijkt echter een spitsvondigheid op basis van een veel oudere (internationale) uitdrukking: "Ziekte komt te paard en gaat te voet" (bron). Ziekte kan ook door het woord liefde worden vervangen.

Vertrouwen (1996) door Guus Meeuwis - artiest, tekst, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Friday, 15 December 2017

Brexit, Trump and a generation of incompetents, written by Simon Kuper

"I didn’t want Brexit, but I assumed the Brexiters had a plan. I didn’t think Donald Trump had a plan, but I assumed the Republicans did. They didn’t. Whether you like these people or not, the question is: why are they incompetent?

It seems that the Brexiters really thought the EU would just bow to their demands; that they never imagined the Irish border might be a problem. Even now, the cabinet still hasn’t discussed what sort of Brexit it wants. Last week’s deal with the EU may leave the UK tracking Irish regulations for ever (or as Brexiters call it, “freedom”). 

In the US, when Republicans finally got their chance to abolish Obamacare, it turned out they had spent seven years not preparing an alternative. Much of their tax bill got handwritten overnight by lobbyists. And Russiagate’s key characteristic is amateurism. Mike Flynn and others didn’t declare obvious contacts with foreign officials, assuming nobody would notice. Trump appeared to incriminate himself by tweeting that he knew Flynn broke the law, but then his lawyer said he’d written the tweet. Richard Nixon’s downfall was not his crime but his cover-up; this time there’s hardly any cover-up. The only comparable folly in recent US-UK history is the Iraq war. So what explains this incompetence? 

It’s useful here to recall the contrast — often drawn in the US in the 1990s — between the “greatest generation” who fought the second world war, and the baby boomers. From the 1940s until the 1990s, most politicians in both countries were men who had fought a world war. That experience shaped them. Harold Macmillan, British prime minister from 1957 to 1963, had been wounded five times in the first world war. Once, after being hit in the knee and pelvis, he lay in a shell hole for 12 hours, medicating himself with morphine, playing dead when Germans came near, and reading Aeschylus in the original Greek, writes Richard Davenport-Hines in An English Affair. 

Macmillan reflected much later that posh officers such as himself, leading working-class troops, “learnt for the first time how to . . . feel at home with a whole class with whom we could not have come into contact in any other way”. In addition, he was responsible for their lives. No wonder he never afterwards shook the “inside feeling that something awful and unknown was about to happen”. As prime minister, writes Davenport-Hines, he sometimes spent weekends hiding in bed. 

You could tell similar stories about Clement Attlee (badly wounded in Iraq in the first world war, prime minister 1945-1951), John F Kennedy and George HW Bush. In 1975, 81 per cent of US senators were military veterans, says the Pew Research Center. Experience of war doesn’t guarantee seriousness (see Flynn) but it helps. 

Other 20th-century leaders of these countries — Lyndon B Johnson, Bill Clinton, John Major — had a different visceral experience: poverty. They too knew in their bones that government mattered. 

But both countries have now fallen into the hands of well-off baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 — the luckiest members of the luckiest generation in history. These people had no formative experiences, only TV shows. They never expected anything awful or unknown to happen. They went into politics mostly for kicks. The paradigmatic shift was from George HW Bush (born 1924) to his son (born 1946). Like Trump, Bush Jr spent much of his early presidency on vacation. Then 9/11 jolted him into frenzied activity: the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

It’s often said that today’s politicians have no experience outside politics, but they do. Bush Jr ran a baseball club, Boris Johnson wrote funny columns, and Trump played a successful businessman on television. Along the way they learnt a skill their predecessors mostly lacked: performing on mass media. 

Then came populism, which validated amateurism. No need for “experts” — anyone could do the job. Thoughtful people who couldn’t bellow simplifications on TV drifted out of politics. 

Populism polarised. So the new governments selected people for their loyalty to the cause. Theresa May, as prime minister, had to give the “three Brexiteers”, Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox, jobs for which nothing in their experience had prepared them. Days after Trump’s election, his daughter Ivanka seized control of a transition meeting, praised Flynn’s “amazing loyalty”, and asked him, “General, what job do you want?” This month in Alabama’s senate race, Trump endorsed another loyalist: alleged paedophile Roy Moore. 

So we’re left with an insouciant, inexperienced political class of mostly ageing white men. Thankfully, that will soon change. Everyone raised under baby-boomer rule has learnt that awful and unknown things can happen anytime. Brexit and Trump have mobilised a generation of young people, taught them that government matters, and shown that not screwing up is a lofty goal. Unprecedented numbers of US women — most of them born post boom — are now seeking election at every political level. In the Senate, there are about 10 times more female candidates than in 2014. They will have a generation’s worth of mess to clean up."
Source: https://www.ft.com/content/3a31862c-df91-11e7-a8a4-0a1e63a52f9c