Belgian politics, a tragic joke.

I am sad. I am angry. What to say? The problem is not that I have nothing to write, the problem is I find it hard to organize my thoughts right now, while all kinds of emotions roll trough me. Mostly sadness and anger.

I was shocked when the Paris attacks took place, I am baffled every time a terrorist bomb goes off somewhere in the world. Let’s not be hypocrite, Arab countries are bombed on a daily basis by so-called ‘believers’, and thus are muslims the biggest victims of those who believe of themselves they represent Allah’s will.

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Brussels after the 22nd March 2016 bombings

But now these bombings came dangerously close. Close to my family, close to my friends, close to the people I love. In that way maybe I am a hypocrite too, for my sadness and anger never were as big as now after the Brussels bombings. It truly shattered my dream of a loving and peaceful society, my belief in an utopia where everybody would living along and help each other. Where the strong would help the weak, the rich would help the poor. Not that I am against a certain measure of inequality, the chance to become prosperous is an incentive for people to work harder and become successful, but there are limits. My libertarian conviction says everybody should be free, but one’s freedom ends when it might infringe the basic rights of another being.

Meanwhile, in Belgium, politicians are falling over each other, a true stampede got started to race from one homage to the victims to the next one. It is so important for them to show they care. But what they effectively did in the past decades belies their true motivation. Where were they when it became clear there would be problems in the future for our community?

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The control of the failing media

The media also have a big responsibility in this. Just like society in general, everything needed to become ‘ready for consumption’. Research journalism is on the brink of death. Better to bring shocking stories without much investigative effort, and bombard the public with little facts. The more shocking the better. But spending money to really investigate and find out crooked facts is too much asked for our media.

Under pressure of the public more and more facts come to the surface. It seems the bombings might have been stopped in time. Mistake upon mistake has been amassed. Missed opportunities to arrest the terrorists, miscommunication, bad management, incompetence, laziness, protection of own interests, etcetera.. By the people that swore they would protect us if we gave them our vote.

It would be too easy to blame the security forces. The are vastly understaffed, and enormously underfunded. Responsible jobs were given to candidates with the most political support, to the ones that would comply without much fuss with funding cuts, to the ones that would execute the will of their political masters without a second thought. Not to the ones with the most competences and best suited for the job.

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Philippe Moureaux, former mayor of Molenbeek

Philippe Moureaux, former mayor of Molenbeek during 20 years (he has been seating in the city council for 40 years) made a string of declarations in the past days and weeks. He declared that the ‘incarceration in prison of Salah Abdeslam (the terrorist from Paris that got caught but who grew up in Molenbeek) was the reason of his radicalization’. He declared  Salah Abdeslam was a harmless ‘amateur’. After the Paris bombings the minister for Security and Internal Affairs Jan Jambon declared he would ‘clean Molenbeek of all extremist elements’. Mr. Moureaux accused Mr. Jambon of being a ‘nazi’. Today Mr. Moureaux gave a press conference where he admitted ‘he might have been too cautious regarding the social mix’ in his former city. It seems to me it is the exact opposite. But these are a politicians’ words, often meaning the exact opposite of what is said.

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Bart Somers, mayor of Mechelen

A school principal was recently suspended because he failed to notify the authorities soon enough about the radicalization of one of his students, notably Bilal Hadfi who blew up himself later on in Paris. The police of the city of Mechelen, a stone’s throw away from Brussels, received information that could have led the security forces to the hiding place of Salah Abdeslam in december 2015. Police officers declared the chief of police withheld that information and did not inform the national authorities. Today on a press conference the chief of police of Mechelen declared that mistakes have been made, but that it was a lower echelon that made the mistake and not him. Whenever in the past there was a city to blame, the mayor of Mechelen, Bart Somers, did not refrain to point out his management of his city should be an example for all Belgian cities. Right now Mr. Somers stays mute, and his political appointee in function as chief of police tries to assure us he has no responsibility for this fuck-up. In contrast nobody in this case will be suspended, the Brussels school principal didn’t do his job, but our politicians did.

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“Belgian infrastructure: Tunnels – Nuclear Plants – Back Doors (loopholes)”

Belgium has become the laughingstock of the world, it is clear from the outside the political system is rotten and corrupt. Politicians have failed to tackle the problems that not only soothsayers could discern in the future, they have made cuts after cuts in our judicial and security force while raising the taxes and their own salaries. Politicians were more busy with appointing their family, relatives and their political supporters, with taxing people, going for the fast and quick gains by imposing tax after tax on the population, and with assuring their financial future by concocting secret tax rulings – against the laws of equal rights – to exempt multinationals and the wealthy from taxes, so they could look forward to a nice job in the board of directors of some big company. Luc Coene, the former director of the Belgian National Bank, recently literally stated that “the average Belgian was not hurt yet by the tax level in Belgium, so there was no taboo on imposing more taxes”. Nice statement in a country that groans under the highest tax level in the whole world. I suppose he sees his own upper class of the wealthy as being ‘average’, and of course there will never be any pain for them at whatever level the lower people are taxed.

If you, politicians, want to make a real homage to the victims of the bombings, step down, disband the parliament, form a temporary government of competent technocrats to bridge the transition, and let the people – assisted by unbiassed intellectuals – write a new constitution and legislation for our country. With no place for corruption, where politicians would be held accountable for their promises and decisions, and where love, peace, freedom and equality would be the basis for the new legislation. And where the new legislation would not merely be the protection of past rights and the legalization of the feudal system for the 1 percent. Meanwhile you will be persecuted for the many decades of your lies, your mistakes, your incompetence, your nepotism, your money-making schemes, in short: because of your failing to protect and serve the people as you pledged to do.

We need a revolution. Bloodless, peaceful, but a complete change.

lemmy terroristsAnd for you terrorist believers in that god you call Allah but where other believers in Him strongly disagree, I have bad news: you lose. And there are no virgins left in heaven, only a hell to burn in eternity.

Love ❤️, yann.

REVOLUTION!!!!

belgische-vlag-achtergronden-met-een-geschilderde-vlag-van-belgieThe Belgian government has been warned by the European Council that Belgium might end up, as first ever country in the European Union, under stricter financial control by the European authorities. Not even Greece nor Portugal have yet fallen under this procedure, so this should rightly be a great honor for Belgium. If the current situation stays unchanged the structural effort to ease the already huge deficit in Belgium would remain at 0.5 pct. in 2015 and 2016, while Europe demands a structural effort of at least 1.2 pct. The total amount of the Belgian State deficit is around 106 pct. of the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Right at this moment the Belgian government is in conclave about alleviating the deficit, but it has not yet taken the first hurdle, since it has been quarreling for a full week about the amount needed to be saved by expense cuts and/or tax raises. Some political parties say they only need to find 1.2 billion euro, some claim it is closer to 2.2 billion, and others suggest it might be more.

'Do you mind if I join you, guys?'

The tax burden on Belgian citizens is the highest in the world, higher than in the Scandinavian countries which are known for their high taxes, but unfortunately the benefits for the Belgian population are meagre in comparison to those Scandinavian countries. One could expect higher taxes would yield higher benefits, but one look at the Belgian road system, at the funding of education, at the level of support for the elderly, at the crumbling system of health care, at the mess in the energy supply (Belgians pay way more for energy than the neighboring countries while green energy is sparse) will convince every observer of the bankruptcy of the system. One might ask what is done with all that money taken from its citizens?

More and more Belgians are leaving the country, just like I did, and logically the first ones to leave are those able to leave easily. Those are young graduates, highly educated citizens, retired people, and the ones who can afford it. Exactly those needed most by a country to keep its economy running at full speed. In 2013 the exodus of Belgian nationals exceeded the return of nationals to the country, for the first time in modern history since World War 2. But not the richest ones, not the one percent, they are eager to join Belgium whatever their nationality. They manage to arrange secret deals with politicians and tax authorities, called ‘rulings’, which greatly exempt them from taxes for fear they would flee the country. Just like the biggest companies – often multinationals – have secret rulings with the Belgian tax authorities. It is estimated that the total amount of money not earned by those rulings with the top 80 companies (but there are more with rulings) amounts to 16 billion euros each year. The total tax income generated by all companies in Belgium is no more than 14 billion euros. So more money is exempted than earned in this country.

EU-VC-Geld(It is a misconception to think that the one percent generate labor, and thus income for the masses. The usual logic is that rich people spend more, but in reality this spending is not unlimited. Do people that are 100 times richer than average own one hundred cars? Do they wear one hundred times more trousers than average? Do they eat a hundred times more than the average person? The drama of nowadays is that capital is not generating labor (and thus income for the masses) any more, but capital yields much more capital by not investing it in labor by building new factories or setting up new businesses. Thomas Piketty, a renown French professor (math and economics) who worked at MIT in Massachussets, clearly explains this fenomenon in his book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” in which he describes the growing economic inequality in the world. The book was a bestseller, especially amongst politicians. For his work Mr. Piketty was offered the highest French order, the ‘Légion d’Honneur’ in january 2015, but he rejected it because “it is not the government’s role to decide who is honourable”. A nice short video to watch is a TED Talks-presentation by Nick Hanauer, a billionaire himself, about job creation and economic inequality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBx2Y5HhplI)

So now Belgium, as many other Western countries, is on the brink of some pitchfork uprising of the masses. The people cannot take it any more. It is not about creating a communist society, a capitalistic system needs richer people and middel class people to function, but within limits. Added to this is an always present corruption at the highest political levels. Politicians ‘serve’ in one or another government, in Belgium they have a panoply of governments to choose from. Six, to be exact. Six independent governments with each their own powers and administrations, serving a total population 11.2 million people (2013). A bit bigger than New York’s population of 8.5 million in 2014, which is served by ONE city council… And let’s not forget the added opportunity for Belgian politicians to ‘retire’ to a highly paid job as member of the European Parliament.

60The corrupt system is sustained by the omni-present nepotism in Belgian politics. Many parliamentarians are sons, daughters or close family members of former high-level politicians, and often public tenders are given to family members. Political functions are commonly cumulated with representative functions and honorary functions in the private sector, like a seat on the board of directors of a multinational, which demands a once-a-year presence but a rich remuneration, and consequential conflicts of interest. Belgian politicians are equally eager to please foreign powers, for that might be their ticket to a powerful job after the expiration of their political career. The USA is a very rewarding country to please, it might yield a powerful job as secretary-general of NATO. There is also the example of former prime minister Yves Leterme whose removal from Belgian politics looked more like an escape, just to end up as deputy secretary-general of OECD in Paris, to hop over a few years later to the job of secretary-general of International IDEA (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance) in Stockholm, Sweden. Not bad for a politician who has almost literally been thrown out by the population!mike-twohy-and-if-nepotism-exists-my-brothers-will-root-it-out-cartoon

A different problem is the current state of affairs concerning immigrants in Belgium. Due to decades of negligence and short-term electoral advantages politicians neglected the influx of illegal immigrants, and forebore to provide the legally present minorities with enough chances to integrate in Belgian society by providing jobs and by encouraging them to integrate. Brussels is rightly looked upon as the terrorist capital of the world. The most wanted terrorist in Europe, Mr. Salah Abdeslam, managed to hide out for Belgian security forces during more than four months hiding less than 300 meters from his parental home, while a part of the neighborhood was aware of his presence. This is the result of an alienated and even hostile generation of descendants of immigrants, mixed up with new extremist elements that managed to take a leisurely stroll inside the European capital under the radar of underpaid and understaffed security forces.

The threat by extremists in Belgium, evidenced by the dual bomb attacks in Brussels today 22nd March 2016, is a welcome distraction for Belgian politicians. The death toll, the sustained threat, the fears instilled by it in the hearts of the citizens, all these elements enable the politicians to hide their corruption and mismanagement in the past decades that led to this now. And to continue to pretend they are there to save us, and our salvation lies in their hands so we must trust them.

2016-01-05-1451989005-1518671-R1_RealRevolutionBut it is time for Belgian citizens to ask serious questions. Where is all our money going? Why is the yield on these outrageous taxes so low in comparison to other countries? Why is the Belgian government – or better: the Belgian governmentS – not able to protect its citizens with a normal degree of respect of privacy and liberty? Why is it deemed normal that families rule Belgian politics? Why is it an established Belgian political culture to ‘promote’ politicians towards high-power or highly remunerated private functions outside their political career? Why is there a dual system of taxes that is kept secret for the public, endorsed by the very people that were nominated by those same people to serve their interests? Why do politicians not have to answer before justice for the serious wrongs they did during their careers when taking decisions with grave impact, especially those where it is clear money was embezzled or the population was mislead on purpose? Why has Brussels become the world capital of terrorism? In spite of the massive amounts of our hard-earned money we have to pay each year to please the Belgian State.

So I might say: it is time for a revolution! Not a bloody revolution, please. But people all over Belgium should go out in the streets, sit down on the sidewalks and refuse to work, all businesses should close, the government should be made to resign, the parliament should be sent home. A new constitution should be written and voted. Not by politicians, and surely not by the 1 percent. That would again be a legal consolidation of the feudal rights of the few against the masses, in the same spirit as all constitutions in Europe were written in the 19th century by the 1 percent at the time to safeguard their privileges while maintaining an air of democracy to appease the population. But a new constitution written by and written for the masses. Where every one has the same rights independent of wealth, where nepotism is excluded, where politicians are held indefinitely accountable for their misleading and mismanagement, where freedom, peace and love for every one that respects our values should be the sole basis whereupon our society should be built.

 

Love ❤️, yann.

anonymous government has failed you

Thank you Greece!

819298_1280x720Now the votes have been cast, and the Greek people clearly have rebuffed the austerity measures imposed on them by the troika, the dust of the avalanche caused by this purest form of democracy is slowly settling. European politicians are running around like headless chickens trying to pretend nothing major has happened, and many have changed their discourse 180° opposed to what they declared in the days before the Greek referendum.

“…and when you grow up, Angela, destroy Europe!” – A. Hitler embracing Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany.

Now more and more governments of the European Union say major debt relief should be a possibility for Greece, except for Germany’s conservative powers, led by Angela Merkel. This is very remarkable, knowing that the “Wirtschaftswunder” (economic miracle) of post-war Germany only happened because of the total debt relief given to Germany after the war.

Looking a bit further in the past we can establish that Germany never paid a dime of reparations to any country after their defeat in WW I. In fact, the severe and exorbitant demands of the victorious nations in the Treaty of Versailles were a direct reason for the rise of Hitler and the break out of the second world war.

Angela Merkel personifying Adolf Hitler, the way more and more Europeans see her

So we can conclude Germany never paid back its debts, not a single dime of it, but are now the ones imposing stringent measures on Greece and are the ones refusing any debt relief for Greece. German conservative politicians are the ones that are threatening the unity of the European Union, and are leading this Union into economic recession. Maybe Germany should be the country to leave the EU?

I have always been a strong advocate for the idea of a unified Europe, where borders cease to exist, where people are treated on an equal basis, where the people’s voice is the single strongest power in the Union. But politicians have hijacked this idea for their own greed, advancing the interests of corporations and financial institutions to the detriment of its inhabitants. All they proudly have to show us are realizations in the same order of magnitude as: “look at us, we managed to standardize the cellular phone chargers!”. Now, instead of having a drawer filled with different models of phone chargers, we have a full drawer with the same phone chargers, while the 1% get richer, and the normal people get poorer every day.

Mark Twain fool peopleTo Germany: today is at last payday. To Europe: NO THANK YOU anymore!

Love ❤️, yann

 

Where is our money!!??!!

What we already knew since quite a long time, has been reconfirmed by the latest OECD-report published on the 14th of April 2015: Belgium has the honor to be the absolute number one of all OECD member states regarding tax burden on labour.

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OECD member states (dark blue)

The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) counts 34 member states and was founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade. Most member states have high-income economies and are regarded as ‘developed countries’, whatever that means. Every so often the OECD produces comparative studies about its member states.

Belgium is the only state where the tax burden on labour is higher than 50%. Still it has amassed in the past decade a public debt larger than 100% of its Gross National Product. True, the Belgian citizens get a lot for their hard-earned money that is left to their politicians’ care. Belgium counts a bit more than 11 million citizens, making it about the same magnitude as London or New York.

Of course Belgian has the greatest educational system of the ‘civilized’ world. Poverty is almost non-existent, old people are pampered in modern elderly care, and medical services are top shelf. The roads are plentiful and state of the art equipped with the most advanced technologies, and public transport is abundant and cheap. Justice is fast and just, the laws are clear and unbreakable. Sorry, I’m just being sarcastic… None of these statements could be further from truth.

Schools are chronically understaffed, their buildings outdated and some classes happen in rooms unfit for the purpose because of bad heating, crumbling ceilings, old furniture and dangerous electric lines and plumbing. Some schools had to place containers to take in the growing number of students in the past, and these are still in use more than ten years later. The school system is severely understaffed. Every year again we can observe the price of our underfunded schooling system when parents can be seen camping outside schools during a week to be the first to get a ticket earning them the right to enroll their children later on in that school, as the system is on a first-come-first-served basis.

disappearance_of_poverty_265465Talking about poverty and schools, more than 2000 young people are registered as students at a Belgian university while being homeless, on a total of a little bit more than 200,000 students, meaning that 1 in 100 students doesn’t have a roof over it’s head. They manage to get along by sleeping on the couch of a friend, or by spending their nights under the streetlights. Nothing much is done about this forgotten group that clearly wants to climb out of misery by studying against all odds and despite the hardship of their existence.

The streets of the bigger Belgian cities count too many beggars and homeless people. The state could not care less, except letting the police arrest them from time to time without any structural view of a solution for those people. If it wasn’t for some private organisations taking care of them with the limited resources they manage to raise via private funding, those living under the poverty line would be off worse. And even then many in need are not reached, between them a lot of children. One child in five is said to be living in poverty, where their parent(s) does not have sufficient income. In the past years poverty in Belgium has risen by 30%. Nothing much about them is done by the politicians.

More and more elderly people end up in poverty, for there is a great demand for but not enough elderly care, like affordable elderly homes and sufficient social and medical services. Yearly elderly assistants are protesting in the streets of Brussels because they are understaffed and funds are cut every year over again. Nothing much is done for them by the state.

As more and more medical services converted to private undertakings, where the making of profit is the first and foremost goal of these ventures, costs have steadily risen. When being included in the hospital the front desk asks new patients if they are covered by an extra medical insurance. If not, all services are provided at the prices dictated by the government. If they are, then the patients are charged with excessive surpluses for a room, and the bills for the consulting doctors are three- to fivefold the normal charges. Forgetting that those extra charges will have to be paid collectively by the people taking out a medical insurance, making it impossible for every one to afford such an insurance. But understaffed clinics are rife, and social workers and elderly assistants are joined in their protest by nurses. Still nothing much is done by the politicians.

The Belgian roads count the most traffic jams in the whole European Union, gladly overtaking The Netherlands who held that dubious honor in the past. In a country that encompasses a mere 300 kilometers at it’s longest point, mornings with 150 kilometers of simultaneous traffic jams are not uncommon. The public transport system is a little disaster, yearly budget cuts are rampant and trains often do not run on schedule. Getting around the country with trains, busses and trams is an adventure in itself and a sure way to provide a daily excuse to your boss for your tardiness at work. Nothing much about that is done by the politicians.

Belgian justice is… surprise!: heavily understaffed. A murderer caught red handed can spend more than three years in jail before appearing before court, some divorcing couples have juridical fights during more than ten years, and financial fraud cases are usually delayed with great priority for more than 15 years until barred. New laws are voted every day by 500 members of parliament, often contradicting previous ones, adding to the confusion needed for politicians, multinationals and the one percent to find the necessary loopholes to conduct their business in all legality. Many cases in front of courts are dismissed because of procedural errors, because the specialists in law – being the judges – cannot find their way in the labyrinth any more. Of course judges and legal staff are often protesting. Nothing much about it is done by the politicians.

polyp_cartoon_charity_aid_trade_exploitation_sweatshop_cash_crops_wealth_poverty_mediaSo where is all that money going? Could it be that having a government with prime minister, ministers, secretaries of state, members of parliament, political appointees, staff, parliament buildings, etc.. for less than 2 million people is a bit too much? You thought that Belgium counted more than 11 million citizens? It does. Only the Belgians have 6 fully working parliaments and governments, each with their powers, often overlapping each other. Added to that a purely representative royal family costing the Belgians millions a year, for they have right now officially two kings and two queens. In 2014 they boasted three queens! Each with their rightful endowment in accordance to their title. Plus the rest of the royal family who’s not supposed to work for a living, even when not in line for succession of the throne, thus needs a yearly budget.

Of course the politicians are working hard. Too bad the people being robbed of their income are not getting much return for their money. Last year the politicians proudly announced they found a solution to a poignant problem burdening their voters: couples finding no agreement for the names of their newborn children will now give both their names to their kids. What an advancement for the people! I think that when parents cannot come to an acceptable agreement about the last names of their babies, they should abstain from fucking and having children in the first place! Especially in view of the many problems in the future they will have to come to an agreement about the education of their kids.

Meanwhile the Belgian public is slowly molded into believing they really need those F-35 jet fighters. The cost is negligible, a mere 5 billions (projected) for the protection of this grand nation with 40 pieces of nuclear capable fighters. Because they need to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Belgium doesn’t have them, the USA did not stock them on the air force base of Kleine Brogel, but still they really need them. In case of war with IS, Al Qaeda, China or a soon-to-be-made but yet unknown new enemy. Those 5 billions are sufficient to eradicate all poverty in the whole Kingdom of Belgium three times over, but hey, those people are no real players on the political nor commercial market, and they do not represent a true commercial value for multinationals, so why should they invest that much in them when this offering to the Americans could gain a nice political appointment with NATO or something in the future?

Nothing much about it is done by the Belgians…

Well, that is not quite true, Belgians often choose one of the three following options. Most just endure the hardships and let them be robbed of the biggest part of their income (I did not yet mention that the 50-plus percent only takes into account the tax burden on labour, but there is also TVA, different levies, and a whole range of taxes bringing the total to 67% of the income being taxed by the state). They abide by the rules, by the newly imposed taxes because they believe the politicians when they tell the people they are working unselfishly hard for the profit of the citizens. And they allow the politicians to set them up between each other, brothers against sisters, left against right, workers against owners, natives against immigrants, Christians against Muslims, so that their leaders have their hands free to conduct their dark schemes behind the curtains. Protests between those people are tame, and ineffective.

Other Belgians realize ‘the American Dream’ by joining the one percent. Most of them purely by inheritance, some by working hard, getting a brown upper lip or sore vagina, and all by bending the rules and finding loopholes in the law.

Slowly a non-negligible group of Belgians decided to leave the country and find their luck elsewhere. In 2013 more Belgians have left the country than immigrants entered the country. The drama is that those Belgians leaving the country are often well educated, have bigger financial reserves, or consist of young people hence providing a good working force abroad. Their leaving numbers are often replaced by refugees, people in need, and persecuted minorities. A cultural enrichment for every country, but still needing a big investment before they can take part in the economic life of their new homeland. While those leaving take all the years Belgium invested in their education with them abroad.

Belgian politicians of every affiliation, shame on you!

Love, yann ❤️

Anonymous.. Who?

anonymous i am freeSince I often get questions from friends about who or what is Anonymous, I thought I would try to explain the phenomenon. I say try, because the movement is elusive, loosely held together by people joining forces for a certain cause, after which the formed group ‘disbands’ and the people get on with causes they think valuable enough to put their time and resources in, forming new bonds with others.

Anonymous is not an organisation, but rather a movement. No appointed leaders, no official membership cards, no rules, no predefined targets. In principle every one can call himself/herself Anonymous if he/she agrees with the general goals and worries of the movement.

anonymous-march-protest-activist.siAt the beginning Anonymous consisted mainly of ‘hacktivists’, a term formed by the words ‘hacker’ and ‘activists’. They allied themselves in the struggle to keep internet free, to fight censorship, and to react against what they designate as corrupt corporations and organizations, by putting their knowledge into having some effect on the world. To that end they meet via certain websites, and seek out like-minded hackers who want to join forces for a certain project. In 2008 for example, hacktivists started to attack the servers of the Church of Scientology.

Very soon the general idea behind Anonymous became the preservation or the installation of freedom of speech, and of freedom in general. No longer only hacktivists called themselves ‘Anonymous’, but more and more people not involved in hacking and computer technology joined the movement and joined the ranks of Anonymous. They organised protests and actions in the streets, for which they mustered sympathisers via social media. The Guy Fawkes mask is often worn during those protests to show affiliation with Anonymous.

1-vendetta-guy-fawkes-mask-on-black-849146
The Guy Fawkes mask

Guy Fawkes was an English military born in the 16th century, who was arrested and hung on the scaffold, and afterwards his lifeless body was quartered together with three other co-conspirators. They were accused of plotting the death of King James and nobles by blowing up West Minster with dynamite on the 5th of November 1605, but all confessions were obtained by torture. Anonymous made Guy Fawkes as the symbol of the fight against oppression and censorship by the establishment.

polish MP ACTA
Polish Members of Parliament protesting ACTA

The actions of Anonymous are always non-violent. Often Anonymous intervenes in causes where they consider the involvement of the government as being insufficient, in cases of oppression, child abuse, racism and radicalism, corporate exploitation, etc.. Sometimes they act against governments by hacking their systems and protesting. The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement in the United States and the ‘Indignados’ movement in Europe were widely supported by Anonymous, so were Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, Bradley/Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden. In the case of WikiLeaks Anonymous hacktivists attacked the servers of Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and the Swiss bank PostFinance because they acted against the interests of WikiLeaks. The standard method of the hacktivists is a DDoS-attack, whereby a server is bombarded by millions upon millions of requests until the server buckles under the massive data.

US-POLITICS-PROTEST-ANONYMOUSSo, if you are worried about the evolution of governments in our ‘free’ world, where slowly but undeniably our freedom is restricted in the name of ‘national security’ and ‘safety’, but allowing multinational corporations and money to rule the world, if you are indignant about the establishment not doing much about officials killing people with racist motives, or not acting promptly concerning the abuse of children or women, if you get angry about people oppressing others without our leaders intervening, or if you stand up against every form of freedom restriction, and you want to raise your voice in a peaceful but devastating way, than you are a proud member of Anonymous. You don’t need to have a specific quality like advanced computer knowledge or access to secrets, just your voice combined with millions of others is the force that makes Anonymous unstoppable. We are the masses, we are the 99%.

We are Anonymous

We are legion

We do not forgive

We do not forget

Expect us.

anonymous malcolm XLove, yann ❤️

The God of the Black Hole (AKA Belgian Treasury) appeased?

download (1)In their struggle to keep the electorate happy, politicians shun no means to reach that goal. Lying and deceiving are the standard ways to put the citizens on the wrong foot. What effectively is done about real problems is not the issue, perception is everything.

Last week the Belgian Minister of Finance launched a new proposal to tax the rich. Belgium has been in a kind of uproar since the appointment of the current government because – just like all the legislatures before them – they raised taxes for the ordinary people. These are protesting the fact that no contribution is made by the big companies and the rich, which are – as we know now – exempted from taxes via ‘rulings’ offered by politicians via the Belgian IRS. These rulings were kept secret from the general public for a long time, but after ‘LuxLeaks’, the leaking of documents about tax exemptions for companies and the rich in the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, reporters found out that Belgium also offers special treatments to those who have too much money to pay.

Tax-RichUnions in Belgium have taken a categorical stance against extra taxes for the working people while the rich do not contribute. Neither do they pay any taxes, but that is beside the point in this plea. The slightest disagreement with the government nowadays leads to actions by the unions, just because they do not appreciate the way the government is taxing the less-than-rich (except the unions, but they are rich).

corporation_cartoon_talk_things_outFortunately we have politicians to solve the problem, or rather to change our perception of the problem. The Minister of Finance declared that a withholding tax of 25% would be imposed on all foreign funds held by Belgian citizens. The Cayman Islands being a renowned tax haven for shady wealth, the tax was promptly baptized ‘Cayman tax’. The latest estimate of the wealth parked in foreign tax havens by our reverent Minister was in the order of 60 billion euros. The cautious estimate of specialists in this matter is the quadruple of that sum. But hey, you can’t be too strict on those people having to immigrate their money to get some yields less-than-rich can’t get.

Mark Twain fool peopleWe are talking about a ‘withholding tax’, that means that interests and dividends are taxed, not the original sum. The government is pleased that the new tax will enable them to make a ritual sacrifice to the God of the Black Hole of Belgian Treasury of 460 million euros per year, to start in 2016. I do not know on what yield those numbers are based, but I can only guess that the actual yields achieved by those 60 billions are far higher than 4% (the average yield when renting out property in Belgium). When I calculate with the minimal 4% yield (by interests and dividends), a taxation of 25% on those gains would result in 600 million euros of taxes. So somewhere the line already 140 million euros have disappeared even if we calculate with the cautious prognosis of 4% yield achieved by investing those 60 billions. Count on politicians to make money disappear even before they can put their hands on it!

The sum of 460 million represents 0.0077% of the total wealth parked off shore by Belgians (as estimated by the brave Minister).  Does the revolutionary Minister believe the Belgian public opinion will be appeased by the ‘bloodshed’ his new ‘Cayman tax’ will cause within the ranks of the wealthy? He does, and in the end, I fear I have to admit he will be right…

Keep on smiling! ? yann

anonymous government has failed you

They have no shame

In a Belgian newspaper appeared today an article about poverty among children in Belgium. The data are from 2012, and concludes that in that year, 16,7% of the youth under 18 lived in a family that had an income lower than the poverty threshold.

n-CHILD-POVERTY-large“Despite the global impact of the crisis the poverty levels in Belgium have remained stable, but the poverty risk for youth has slightly increased(..)” states a report from the Ministry of Social Security. “40% of the single-parent families live in poverty, but without child support and other tax benefits that number would amount to 60%”.

“These numbers clearly depict the importance of an efficient battle against social exclusion”, states the Secretary of State for Poverty Reduction and Equal Opportunities.

And me, I just grew silent by those numbers and statements.. And moments later, I felt the indignation grow inside me. How can a Secretary of State talk about ‘an efficient battle’ when so many families are victims of our hunger for profits? How can the Belgian people accept their leaders as competent and trustworthy when they are considering buying F-35 jet fighters for 5 billion euros, while so many people do not even have the right and means for a respectable and fulfilling life? Don’t they have any shame???

child-povertyMaybe the numbers are a bit too elusive for everyone to grasp. Suppose your kids are in a class of 25 pupils. Well, 4 (FOUR!) kids in that class live under the poverty threshold.. Is that in any way acceptable to you, while your kids at home are bickering between each other whose turn it is to put the plates and cutlery on the table for your nicely cooked evening meal? And if your kids go to University, remember that some of their co-students are homeless, for there are no less than 2400 homeless students in your little kingdom.

How can it be that you, the citizens of one of the richest countries in the world, pay the highest taxes in the whole wide world, and the politicians still manage to embezzle your trusted funds to provoke another deficit on the balance sheet, while some rich people (the 1%, remember) and multinationals get secret deals with the Belgian IRS getting exemptions on taxes everybody else has to pay, and while other people – including kids – are living in poverty? How can it be that you are so cowardly to shut up, just do your duty and vote, pay your taxes like obedient children, and just let this happen in your own back yard? While knowing that there are others, ‘the happy few’, who maximize their profits on the weakness of the people and just get richer and richer every day in a “legalized” way. And you even continue to march along when politicians break the news – with their grave and saddened faces – that taxes will be raised again for some more deficits need to be cleared.

your fear is their powerAgain, this horrible observation just confirmed my determination to pay never again taxes to the financial black hole called Belgian State. Every nation deserves its politicians, and I can confirm you deserved right. Go on putting the blame on the blacks or East-Europeans, the Muslims or Jews, the left or right wingers, the small business owners, the workers, or whomever, you are just playing the game the politicians want you to play for their own sake. And for their filled bank accounts.. Meanwhile be happy and don’t give a damn, the banks conduct business as usual and surely they can count on you if things go bad next time as you helped them out the time before? I am just happy in exile ?

Love, yann ❤️

They have no shame

In a Belgian newspaper appeared today an article about poverty among children in Belgium. The data are from 2012, and concludes that in that year, 16,7% of the youth under 18 lived in a family that had an income lower than the poverty threshold.

n-CHILD-POVERTY-large“Despite the global impact of the crisis the poverty levels in Belgium have remained stable, but the poverty risk for youth has slightly increased(..)” states a report from the Ministry of Social Security. “40% of the single-parent families live in poverty, but without child support and other tax benefits that number would amount to 60%”.

“These numbers clearly depict the importance of an efficient battle against social exclusion”, states the Secretary of State for Poverty Reduction and Equal Opportunities.

And me, I just grew silent by those numbers and statements.. And moments later, I felt the indignation grow inside me. How can a Secretary of State talk about ‘an efficient battle’ when so many families are victims of our hunger for profits? How can the Belgian people accept their leaders as competent and trustworthy when they are considering buying F-35 jet fighters for 5 billion euros, while so many people do not even have the right and means for a respectable and fulfilling life? Don’t they have any shame???

child-povertyMaybe the numbers are a bit too elusive for everyone to grasp. Suppose your kids are in a class of 25 pupils. Well, 4 (FOUR!) kids in that class live under the poverty threshold.. Is that in any way acceptable to you, while your kids at home are bickering between each other whose turn it is to put the plates and cutlery on the table for your nicely cooked evening meal? And if your kids go to University, remember that some of their co-students are homeless, for there are no less than 2400 homeless students in your little kingdom.

How can it be that you, the citizens of one of the richest countries in the world, pay the highest taxes in the whole wide world, and the politicians still manage to embezzle your trusted funds to provoke another deficit on the balance sheet, while some rich people (the 1%, remember) and multinationals get secret deals with the Belgian IRS getting exemptions on taxes everybody else has to pay, and while other people – including kids – are living in poverty? How can it be that you are so cowardly to shut up, just do your duty and vote, pay your taxes like obedient children, and just let this happen in your own back yard? While knowing that there are others, ‘the happy few’, who maximize their profits on the weakness of the people and just get richer and richer every day in a “legalized” way. And you even continue to march along when politicians break the news – with their grave and saddened faces – that taxes will be raised again for some more deficits need to be cleared.

your fear is their powerAgain, this horrible observation just confirmed my determination to pay never again taxes to the financial black hole called Belgian State. Every nation deserves its politicians, and I can confirm you deserved right. Go on putting the blame on the blacks or East-Europeans, the Muslims or Jews, the left or right wingers, the small business owners, the workers, or whomever, you are just playing the game the politicians want you to play for their own sake. And for their filled bank accounts.. Meanwhile be happy and don’t give a damn, the banks conduct business as usual and surely they can count on you if things go bad next time as you helped them out the time before? I am just happy in exile ?

Love, yann ❤️

The poorest president in the world..

presidentes_de_latinoamerica._mujica-1070x602
José Mujica

The name José Alberto “El Pepe” Mujica Cordano does probably not ring a bell. Still, he was the president of the Republic of Uruguay from March 2010 until March 2015. A sitting president cannot be reelected for a second consecutive term due to the Uruguayan constitution, and so he left the presidency to a democratically elected party member (Tabaré Vasquez).

josemujicavanrompuy
José Mujica, President of Uruguay, meeting Eric van Rompuy, President of the European Union.

Many people and media described José Mujica as ‘the poorest president in the world’ or as ‘the world’s humblest president’ due to his austere lifestyle. When instated as president Mujica refused all decorum coming with his new function, and stayed living on the farm he and his wife share in the outskirts of Montevideo, where they cultivate chrysanthemums for sale. He declined all the usual staff that came with the opulent palace, and insisted on driving his own car, an aging VW Beetle. He had not much use for his presidential salary of 12000$/month, and donated 90% of this salary to charities who benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs.

Jose Mujica, Danilo Astori, Mario Bergara
José Mujica presiding a meeting at the Ministry of Finance (Uruguay)

His road to power was bumpy and not unlike Nelson Mandela, having been shot and arrested many times when he was member of the Tupamaros movement – an armed political group inspired by the Cuban revolution. When the constitutional democracy was restored in Uruguay in 1985, Mujica was freed from prison and got amnesty.

In his first speech as president-elect he told the audience: “it is a mistake to think that power comes from above, when it comes from within the hearts of the masses (…) it has taken me a lifetime to learn this”, wanting other politicians and parties (who lost the elections) to join the efforts to make Uruguay a viable place for everyone.

Jose-Mujica
Mujica walking with his dogs on his farmland during his presidency

When addressing the United Nations General Assembly in a long discourse about humanity and globalization in september 2013, he spoke about the dangers of the current financial system and the economic fallout of ordinary people. He urged the other states to consider a return to simplicity with an emphasis on lives founded on human relationships, love, friendship, adventure, solidarity and family, instead of lives shackled to the economy and the markets.

His legacy is among others a country with the lowest level of corruption worldwide, the legalization of cannabis, abortion rights for women, and the establishment of gay rights.

If only more ‘leaders’ would think a bit more with their hearts than with their wallet…

tumblr_n7u40aQSng1r83d7lo6_500
José Mujica

The poor are not those who have too little, they are those who want too much” (José Mujica)

Love, yann ❤️

The poorest president in the world..

presidentes_de_latinoamerica._mujica-1070x602
José Mujica

The name José Alberto “El Pepe” Mujica Cordano does probably not ring a bell. Still, he was the president of the Republic of Uruguay from March 2010 until March 2015. A sitting president cannot be reelected for a second consecutive term due to the Uruguayan constitution, and so he left the presidency to a democratically elected party member (Tabaré Vasquez).

josemujicavanrompuy
José Mujica, President of Uruguay, meeting Eric van Rompuy, President of the European Union.

Many people and media described José Mujica as ‘the poorest president in the world’ or as ‘the world’s humblest president’ due to his austere lifestyle. When instated as president Mujica refused all decorum coming with his new function, and stayed living on the farm he and his wife share in the outskirts of Montevideo, where they cultivate chrysanthemums for sale. He declined all the usual staff that came with the opulent palace, and insisted on driving his own car, an aging VW Beetle. He had not much use for his presidential salary of 12000$/month, and donated 90% of this salary to charities who benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs.

Jose Mujica, Danilo Astori, Mario Bergara
José Mujica presiding a meeting at the Ministry of Finance (Uruguay)

His road to power was bumpy and not unlike Nelson Mandela, having been shot and arrested many times when he was member of the Tupamaros movement – an armed political group inspired by the Cuban revolution. When the constitutional democracy was restored in Uruguay in 1985, Mujica was freed from prison and got amnesty.

In his first speech as president-elect he told the audience: “it is a mistake to think that power comes from above, when it comes from within the hearts of the masses (…) it has taken me a lifetime to learn this”, wanting other politicians and parties (who lost the elections) to join the efforts to make Uruguay a viable place for everyone.

Jose-Mujica
Mujica walking with his dogs on his farmland during his presidency

When addressing the United Nations General Assembly in a long discourse about humanity and globalization in september 2013, he spoke about the dangers of the current financial system and the economic fallout of ordinary people. He urged the other states to consider a return to simplicity with an emphasis on lives founded on human relationships, love, friendship, adventure, solidarity and family, instead of lives shackled to the economy and the markets.

His legacy is among others a country with the lowest level of corruption worldwide, the legalization of cannabis, abortion rights for women, and the establishment of gay rights.

If only more ‘leaders’ would think a bit more with their hearts than with their wallet…

tumblr_n7u40aQSng1r83d7lo6_500
José Mujica

The poor are not those who have too little, they are those who want too much” (José Mujica)

Love, yann ❤️