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.

brussel aanslagen
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?

media_control__alfredo_garzon
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.

moureaux
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.

Bart-Somers
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

We take away your freedom just to protect it

ANY critical observer agrees that in the past years, especially since 9/11 2001, our individual freedom has greatly disappeared. Under the motto of “we do it to protect your freedom”, more and more laws have been enacted that conflict with the spirit of democracy, or are even undemocratic.

Mark Twain fool peopleThis has always been a wet dream of all secret and security agencies: to be able to follow each individual wherever he goes, and to know at every moment what that individual does, thinks and plans. Not much unlike the 1948 novel by George Orwell, ‘1984′. Secret agencies are known not to strictly follow the laws, sometimes secretly sanctioned by politicians for ‘the good of the country’. It is striking that secret laws are enacted and secret justice courts are instated without the knowledge of the general public nor its representatives, in the name of that same public with the so-called purpose of protecting the freedom of that same public.

Again, this is not a black-and-white story, I will not fall in line with Mr. Bush’s rethoric of “you are either with us or against us”, but the protection of our freedom against the threat of terrorism is a paradox. Politicians are the first to rant about our the freedom of our democracies that will prevail over all, but at the same time they are eager to dismantle that freedom.

edward snowden
Whistleblower Edward Snowden

Are we just fed an illusion of freedom? Are we willing to give away more freedom under the pretext it needs to be taken away just to protect us? Is this not the greatest victory of terrorism over our democracies? Keep in mind that our children, the generation born some 10 to 15 years ago, is the first ever generation that will never have known in real life what ‘privacy’ means. There is no more privacy. Everything you mail, everything you text via your cell phone, whomever you call via your phone, wherever you go, all this is known by the authorities.

Besides that major private companies now know more about you than your partner. Everything you do on internet, everything you buy in shops, everywhere you go thanks to the GPS in your smartphone. Certain shops even know which aisles you stroll in their shop, what products took more of your attention, because they can exactly monitor you by your unique smartphone signal. That way they can send you personalized spam and prompt you to buy these things. Never wondered why, after you visited some website of a window-selling company, you almost immediately get ads for windows in Facebook, on some other sites, in your mail?

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, second from right, is escorted to a waiting security vehicle outside of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Monday, July 15, 2013, after appearing for a hearing at his court martial. Lawyers for Manning, who leaked thousands of classified government documents to WikiLeaks, urged a judge Monday to dismiss a charge he aided the enemy, saying prosecutors failed to prove Manning intended for the information to fall into enemy hands. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Whistleblower Chelsea/Bradley Manning (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

So the end questions are: how much are you willing to part with freedom? Or do you want to give it completely up to get a feeling of security? Because all experts agree, no measures can ever safeguard us 100% against terrorist attacks. It happened before, and these attacks will happen again. And in the mean time the governments – and multinationals – know everything about you.

I would rather have them install a camera in my bathroom (my body is not much different than the other 3,5 billion men on earth), than to be able to follow my thoughts and passions. But that is just me.

“THE FURTHER A SOCIETY DRIFTS FROM TRUTH THE MORE IT WILL HATE THOSE WHO SPEAK IT” George Orwell (?) (1903-1950)

(Whistleblower = A person who tells the public what the government doesn’t want them to know)

 

Love ❤️, yann.

anonymous government has failed you

And justice for psychopats?

Last Monday 7th September 2015, was quite an emotional day for me. The man who has been terrorising my wife and by default our little family for the last 7 years, was put on trial for having given his former girlfriend the same treatment as he gave his then wife years before. His wife left him because of the years of physical and mental abuse, because of the many women with whom he cheated on her, because of the many days and nights she was left alone to raise their three children, because of the lies he had been telling her every single day about the most trivial things, because of his dominant ego that did not allow challenge, because of his unrelenting alcohol abuse, and for many more reasons.

In previous posts I wrote about domestic violence, and about him. It turned out he had been cheating on his former girlfriend with at least 10 women at the same time when she found all the messages he sent them on his mobile phone, including close up videos of him ‘spanking the monkey’. When she confronted him with this in June 2014 he did not react, so she shoved him while he laid in bed. She wanted to provoke a reaction but she never expected him to react the way he did. The medical exam found bruises on her neck where he tried to strangle her, a broken eye orbit, a broken nose, a broken lower jaw, a concussion, several bruises and cuts, etc.. Their 5 kids (3 of him, 2 hers) saw her running with her blood-soaked front out of the bedroom… The kids saved her life by yelling and crying, which gave her the opportunity to escape out of the house.

So yesterday morning we gathered at the entrance of the Ghent courthouse to witness the fall of this violent man. His former girlfriend was of course there, as being his victim. Two colleagues and a friend of her were there too, as was I. My wife could not take the day off from work, but as a former victim she was continuously kept up-to-date by me via cellphone, and she could not concentrate on her work by the stress this event generated and the painful memories coming back to her.

First the counsellor for the victim started his plea. The accused had also filed a complaint against his victim saying she hit him, and she violated his privacy by opening his mail on his phone, trying to counter the charges against him. The victim confirmed she ‘hit’ him by giving him a shove after he refused to answer her questions about his many affairs she just found out. The judges seemed well informed about the case, and listened attentively to the victim’s counselor plea.

Then came the prosecutor. The courtroom went quiet when the prosecutor demanded a jail sentence of 10 months, a fine (I could not clearly understand the amount), and all charges against the victim dropped. My confidence in Belgian justice has always been close to nonexistent after all the years we lived in terror by this guy without justice nor police intervening despite our numerous complaints (they even dropped the case when my wife was hit unconscious on the street in front of their own children two years after their divorce), but the prosecutors stance revived my hopes.

And then it was the turn of the defendant’s counselor to plea. She demanded the court that the charges against her client would be dropped, and that his victim would be convicted because it was she who hit him first, and he couldn’t respond in no other way than hitting her back, thus making it legal self-defense. The counselor admitted that her client was not physically hurt by the ‘hits’ of his then-girlfriend, but abstraction should be made from the incurred consequences. The faces of the judges changed into disbelief. The President of the Court started attacking the defendant’s counselor, asking if she had clearly seen the pictures of his victim, and if she was trying in any way to deny the horrible things her client had done to his victim? The counselor stammered and tried to talk herself out of this but to no avail, the President was clearly irritated and agitated by her plea.

The defendant was given the chance to speak up, and the judges seemed at first rather friendly, asking him if he had anything to add to his counselor’s plea. He started to apologize for what happened to his victim, but explained he had suffered so much in the past year because of his name being dragged trough the mud and his ex-wife giving him a hard time. The President asked him if he really felt sorry, and the accused confirmed. Then the president asked him how this could be reconciled with the fact that he pleaded not guilty and indicted his victim for having committed a crime against him. How could you feel sorry when you tried to invoke legitimate self-defense? Why feel sorry if you say you did nothing wrong? The accused was cornered and could not find the words any more, for every time he declared something the President attacked him on that. It was a rather unfair fight but it raised my spirits.

During the verbal beating by the President all the lies and flaws in the story of the defendant were uncovered, one by one, and in the end no one present in the courtroom could believe any word of that man any more. He tried to explain that his alcohol abuse was the fault of his ex-wife who left him, the same for his sex-addiction. But that he went to a psychiatrist to let himself be helped. Direct questions by the President as to who did the therapy and where and when were answered by evasive responses, just like all questions asked by the judges. It all became too much for him and he asked the court to be allowed to be seated for he felt ’sick’. When asked a direct question about his cheating he tried to get off the hook by stating that he would not answer that question “out of respect” for his ex-girlfriend. And he tried to wriggle himself out a few times by saying that he would give ‘one example’ but that the same happened dozens of times. I thought every time again the President of the Court would explode. He demanded proof but none could be given by the accused, even not a simple proof of the one example the defendant brought up.

This was clearly one of the few times in his life he did not manage to impress a counterpart by his lies, a completely new situation for him I guess. The standard tactic of him had always been to give a little example, mostly a lie, and then to emphasise the same had happened so many times he could give dozens of examples. This sometimes followed by the statement that he would not do that ‘out of respect’ for this or that person, that way closing off any further inquiries into that matter and selling his lies as a credible fact. As long as people did not go to much into detail he managed to keep up the smoke curtain. Whenever people asked too many questions, he just broke off contact, or in the case of women, he just beat them up if he got a chance.

The defendant lost his arrogance, convinced of his righteousness at the start of the court session, and broke up in tears. Completely overwhelmed by frustration of not being able to show the judges his presumed innocence, and completely cornered by his own contradicting words that led the judges not to believe any word from him any more. He sat down repeatedly rubbing his face in his hands. It was quite an emotional sight for me to see this, and tears flowed from my cheeks as all the pains and fears incurred in the past seven years seemed to come out. Of course his tears were not out of remorse, they were tears out of self-pity for the whole world seemed to be against him with nobody understanding nor believing him.

The court concluded the accused always took the time to scrutinize others to lay the blame upon them, but constantly avoided to look at himself and to search for the reasons of his problems in his own behavior. And he clearly did not show any genuine regrets about what happened. The defendant replied in tears he was sorry, but the President pointed out the complaints he filed just two months before against his victim (he did this one year after the facts and after having read the charges against him, so he could counter the charges by trying to blame the other – bad move…) and his demand he would be exonerated while she should be punished.

Just when the President wanted to finish the hearings the prosecutor intervened. Dismayed by the pertinent lies and the complete lack of any sense of guilt by the defendant, she demanded that the jail sentence should be given effectively, and that she would strongly oppose a suspended sentence.

We, friends of the victim, stood up and positioned ourselves in the corridor the defendant would have to use to leave the courtroom, thus forcing him to look into our eyes as he passed us. I have never seen him looking so pale and shocked. The fact that he could be punished for his deeds was unthinkable for him, he always looked at his surroundings as ‘him against the world’, or rather ‘the world against him’, but with him being the best and smartest, superior to all and invincible.

Unsurprisingly no one turned up at court to support him. With so many women thinking he was having a relationship with them, with all his family, friends and colleagues, at least someone should have offered to show up to comfort him. Many of them knew he had to appear in court that day, I made sure they knew… Surely he told them off, with whatever excuse for he absolutely did not want others to hear the truth about him. Especially his relatives and his drinking buddies hiding under the pseudo-philantropic organisation called Kiwanis Gent disappointed me. The Kiwanis declared, when confronted by the last beaten-up victim (she showed up at one of their meetings with her bruises, swollen lips, darkened eyes, her facial cuts) of their candidate-chairman that: “their friend and colleague was in need, and they would do whatever they could to help him”. Never mind the victims thus… But maybe they were too scared to find out the truth about him in court?

The court will present the final sentence on the – for us – historical day of September 21st, 2015.

Last Friday I sent the defendant a mail with a prediction. My prediction was he would be convicted by court, and that he himself would help the court convict him. My prediction came true. His own lies and contradictory declarations served him badly, as did his poor attempt to reverse charges on his victim.

I will make sure the world knows what he has done, and what his punishment is. Even if I do know I might be breaking the law doing this. But when we needed the law to protect us, they were not there, except for seven years later and for another one of his victims. Last time my wife filed complaint against him for stalking (at least once a week he sends text messages in the middle of the night usually starting with something like “I love you even more than before”, and ending up one hour later with: “you bitch, you killed your family!!”) the police told her “to come back in one year if he persisted in his behavior”. But if he expects this to be the last lawsuit against him, I can reassure him this is just the beginning. Our children need protection from this monster. As do his future victims, which could be any living woman on earth.

We will not forgive. We will not forget. Expect us.

Love ❤️, yann.

Das Vierte Reich?

das vierte reich
THE FOURTH EMPIRE

I know it is not very politically correct to ventilate these kind of thoughts, but I must admit that I already have these thoughts since many years… I do not resent nor condemn the current generation of Germans as being responsible for the things their country did in the past, even if I do know that even now, these days, many older homes in Germany, especially in the South, have pictures of the Führer hanging on the wall as was told to me by a former girlfriend who is an ambulant nurse for elder people in the German South country.

5reihs
“One empire – one people – one Euro”

But since ten years or so I have a fantasy that the ‘old German class’ of Aryans were about to reach their goal without bloodshed by forming and dominating the European Union. I admit it started as a far-fetched fantasy, but these days I get the worrying feeling this fantasy of mine is not just a bad dream but slowly becoming a horrifying reality.

What to say about a country that caused so many deaths, that staged two consecutive wars just because they thought it was their birthright to do so, which exterminated so many innocent people, amongst them a great deal of children, just because for them they were of the wrong race, the wrong religion, or just ‘different’, knowing that country never had to pay back its debts by causing so much harm and suffering? Germany never paid a dime in war reparations to the countries and people they harmed for their own misplaced glory.

Modified poster of Merkel’s election campaign: “My empire Europe”

And now this same country is the country that hammers on the condition that Greece fully has to pay back its debts. For the German leaders this is a sine qua non for Greece to stay member of the Eurozone. Admittedly Greece incurred those debts by mismanagement, by corruption, by a deficient administrative system. So much of the misery is provoked by the former political leaders of Greece.

But the common people of Greece are more innocent for the past policies of their politicians than the hordes of Germans before and during the Second World War who were jumping up and down to raise their right arm in the Hitler-salute as high as they could. The Greek political system did not lead to war, nor did it cause people to be gassed for their race, religion nor ideas. And still the Greek people have to suffer more for the mess their politicians made than the nazis suffered for the holocaust and deaths they caused.

MerkelnazieuroWhere is the logic? Where is the humility of a country with a horrifying past like Germany? Why is Germany so adamant in making the Greek people suffer? What is their hidden agenda? I might sound like getting paranoia, but seen from a distance, this ethical discrepancy does not seem acceptable any more if you look into the recent European history.

I do not believe our leaders are serving us, the common people any more. I do not believe politicians worry about us, the common people any more. I do not believe justice is unbiassed towards us, the common people any more. I do believe we need a peaceful revolution in our countries, where laws should be rewritten to restore equality, where politicians should be accountable for their words and deeds, and where freedom is a basic right that is respected.

angela merkelnAnd Germany? Maybe they should start paying the Greek debt they are so keen to insist on. The debts Greece made with our financial institutions who wanted to cash-in big gains, but were bailed out by our governments by the taxpayers – OUR – money so the banks could get richer.

anonymous government has failed youWe are Anonymous

We are legion

We do not forgive

We do not forget.

Expect us.

Love ❤️, yann.

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

 

Greece: please vote NO!

Poster calling people to vote “NO” in the upcoming referendum on July 5th 2015

Whenever we watch, read or hear the news these days it is impossible not to see, read or hear something about Greece, the oldest democracy in the world. I do not want to find an explanation for the current Greek crisis, but there are some things I see, just as everybody can see them. And they are not very positive. Certainly not for the Greek people.

Poverty is at an unimaginable high, youth unemployment is soaring with more than 60% (!), and those taking the hardest hits are the elderly, the young people, the simple families, the workers. That makes me wonder what our politicians are all bickering about, when millions of children, women and men slide down towards total poverty at a hallucinating rate. Whatever your political conviction, if you have a heart you cannot ignore what is happening right now inside the European Union.

Mr. Dijsselbloem – Chairman of the Eurogroup. Yet another socialist politician who realized his real friends are corporations and their money.

Politicians of both sides, the Greek government on one side, the ‘Troïka’ (European Commission, European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) on the other, are hitting the public with bolder and bolder statements, it looks more like a contest between mountain gorilla’s about the supremacy over the flock. And lots of what is told is just Ballyhoo to get us on their side, never mind the truth. Because the truth still is that millions of Europeans are suffering right now because of our politicians ineptitude to find a human solution for this crisis.

The ECB and EU are fast to point out they already spent billions and billions on the Greek economy. What the public is not aware of is that indeed, the ECB invested millions in the Greek economy, but it never benefited for more than 90% of these vast sums to invest in its economy. It starts to become a tiring and boring story, but the winners are again our banks. How come? Well, in the past the banks bought bonds from the Greek State, and as the Greek rating was low, the interest margins were very high. Now Greece is heading towards a total collapse, the EU and ECB decided to buy back these bonds from the banks who wanted to make nice – but risky – profits in the recent past.

soup kitchen in Athens
Solidarity soup kitchens are a normal appearance in Greece’s cities nowadays.

In short: our financial institutions wanted to earn good money by buying risky bonds, and when the risks of a collapse of Greece became too high, Europe bought these bonds from the banks (don’t worry, they got a nice deal) with our money, that we paid as taxpayers throughout Europe. So now our banks got out of the danger zone – yes, exactly those we spent billions on in a not-so-distant past because of the junk-bonds in their portfolio – and again our money we worked for was abused to buy these bonds. Stating that the ECB invested all those billions in the Greek economy is thus far from the truth. AND now the Greek people have to pay back these bonds to the ECB, bonds the financial institutions bought in the first place as risk-capital to make nice profits.

It is true, Greece has a long history of corruption, where taxes were often not collected, Greece has a humongous bureaucracy incomparable with any other European country, and there are so many more problems to be addressed without delay. But imposing higher taxes on pensions and increasing the TVA, just as the Troika demands, victimizes those who are in need today and strikes them with poverty. This is not in any way acceptable for me, as an European, and as a human being.

anonymous government has failed youOur politicians should stop their strategic and tactical games, interfering with the democratic process of a country where the people chose the government they wanted, and do what they are paid and chosen for: to help the ones in need, to solve the growing problems and to serve the people of Europe. But I guess this is not figuring on their agenda since they joined politics.

Love ❤️, yann.

 

p.s.: for those wanting some more detailed info, below is a list of recent quotes of renown economists and political analysts about the Greek crisis.

Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel laureate in economics): “I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences. It is startling that the Troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not learned”.

Martin Guzman (Columbia University): “The disparity between what the Troika thought would happen and what has emerged has been striking — and not because Greece didn’t do what it was supposed to do, but because it did, and the models were very, ver flawed”.

Peter Morici (University of Maryland): “Neither Germany’s finance minister, nor any other European government or competent private institution, has tabled a credible analysis demonstrating how more austerity and labor-market reforms (read more layoffs and wage cuts) will instigate growth and not result in even bigger losses for bondholders down the road. Another round of austerity would only further pummel the Greek economy, and impose economic deprivation that European leaders should be ashamed to engineer.”

Vicky Pryce (chief economic advisor at the Centre for Economics and Business Research): “The rescue that took place in the banking sector was really more of a rescue of northern European financial institutions that had exposed themselves to Greece. The concern about this particular debt is that all it did is it transferred this large burden to the Greeks.”

Paul Krugman (Nobel laureate in economics): “The Troika clearly did a reverse Corleone — they made Tsipras an offer he can’t accept, and presumably did this knowingly. So the ultimatum was, in effect, a move to replace the Greek government. And even if you don’t like Syriza, that has to be disturbing for anyone who believes in European ideals.”

Mark Weisbrot (co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research): “The confrontation between the new Greek government and the European authorities is the first time since the Great Recession that voters have successfully been able to challenge the Troika’s previously unaccountable power. Their policies have been widely unpopular in Europe, but this is the first government that is really forcing them to change. So European authorities continue to take steps to undermine the Greek economy and government, hoping to get rid of the government and get a new one that will do what they want”

Larry Summers (former US Treasury Secretary): “Greece is a failed state in waiting. Greeks have imposed more austerity on themselves than any industrialized country has suffered since the Depression.”

Flag_of_Greece

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

And Justice for all…

Instituut-voor-Rechten-Vrouwe_Justitia_shA few years ago Belgian politicians created a new toy to evade their responsibilities to adequately fund the judicial apparatus. In the last decades Belgian justice has become a class-justice. Understaffed, underfunded, and lost in an incomprehensible maze of laws often contradicting each other, the doors have been set wide open for shrewd lawyers and rich clients to evade the full penalty of law. There has been proof of corrupt judges in the past years, and nothing guarantees us that corruption has been eradicated within the system meant to protect the weak.

834734587The police is also low on budget, and needs to economize year after year. Investigations of simple and clear matters take years to finalize, and after that these cases are handed over to a slow and incompetent judicial system. Not incompetent because of the lack of competence levels of the staff, but incompetent for the lack of staff and funds. It is not uncommon for a thief having been caught red-handed by the police forces to be convicted three or four years after the crime, nor is it uncommon for a man literally with blood on his hands from grave domestic violence on his partner to be left roaming freely in society during the following years, awaiting trial. Meanwhile the psychopath is left free to manipulate and deceive, and to go to his job as high-profile manager acting as if nothing happened. The psychopath is even allowed to educate his minor children during these years, because he was not convicted and last trial during divorce granted him co-parentship, even if those same kids were witnesses during the several bloody beatings by their father of his partners and their mother.

'At Filmore holdings, we don't break the law. We donate to politicians to change the law.'But fortunately we have our heroic politicians to come up with creative and lucrative solutions. They invented the ‘GAS-fines’. Gas is an acronym for ‘Gemeentelijke Administratieve Sanctie’, which means ‘Municipal Administrative Sanction’. With the system they effectively sidetracked justice, which they first deliberately made slow, expensive and ineffective (and thus incompetent), and then created the golden egg for the authorities. Each municipality has now designated civil servants charged with the task to search and fine perpetrators of the rules that vary from municipality to municipality. Every town, city, village, is free to set up their own rules to be obeyed.

In some places it is prohibited to climb in a tree. In others it is strictly forbidden to eat a sandwich on the steps to the church. Some places banned singing by children in the street. And there are places where you cannot throw personal trash, like the peel of an orange, the receipt of a purchase or the wrap of your sandwich into the bins lining the streets, placed there to.. right, throw in your small trash while wandering the streets. The main problem is that even a Belgian citizen, visiting a nearby locality, never knows which rules are instated in that place. That gives the Belgian a hard time, and surely seems to enhance the feeling of freedom of the nationals.

When kid I learned in school that our constitution is based on the separation of the three main powers: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. I cannot determine anything else but an infringement against the constitution. The power that voted the rules, that effectively implements those rules, and the one that fines the transgressions is one and the same.

sheneman-supreme-courtjpg-c6ccb73d1afd2649I also learned – bad student as I was – that there is a legal separation of authorities in the persecution and verbalization of offenders. First the assessment and investigation of a possible infraction (most often done by the police), secondly the review of that infraction by the court, followed by the establishment of an eventual fine, and third the claiming of the pecuniary fines by the State. In this case we have one authority doing the assessment, the fining, and the collection of the fines. Without much of a hassle citizens are robbed in an unconstitutional way of their money, thanks to an illegal system that was legalized by their own politicians.

Of course some people are protesting. The majority is against, but as always the ones raising their voices and straining their necks are part of a minority. Politicians understand well the old adage of ‘divide and conquer’ combined with disguise and deception, by keeping their poor subjects busy with their daily concerns of keeping themselves afloat in the sea of taxes, of worrying about their jobs, of being scared for the future of their offspring, and setting population groups up against each other. So the majority is effectively silenced, and the few ranting and raving are presented to the public as antisocial, as extremists, as unstable personalities. With thanks to the media.

Many lawsuits have been filed against those ‘GAS-fines’, questioning the legality and constitutionality of the laws permitting these fines. But I think you get it.. Justice is understaffed and underfunded… So we are not near a final verdict concerning this matter.

Keep smiling! yann ❤️