Maurizio – Omnologos

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Archive for June 2008

First, Fastest, Tallest, Fat- and Cancer-Free, Money and Sex News

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London, June 30 (MNN) – Breaking a new, safe, easy and fresh way forward for the blogosphere, Maurizio Morabito, the green, environmental author of the blog Omnologos, is revealing the tricks and secrets “to get some ink in the general audience media” and to help “put your release at the top of the search engines.

Written by omnologos

2008/Jun/30 at 22:41:00

Posted in Blogging, Business, Innovation

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BBC: All The Reasons for Growing Opium in Afghanistan

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Not to be missed this week’s BBC Radio4’s “File on 4”, available in MP3 format at this link.

Although there is little mention in the programme’s download page, and in a small accompanying article written for BBC News site, journalist author Kate Clark explains in detail how and why to cultivate opium in Afghanistan has been for some years an entirely logical decision, if not the only option in some areas at least.

As soon as I’ll have time I’ll write a summary of Clark’s findings, but in essence: if the opium guarantees a safe monetary income, with buyers visiting the producers rather than the produces being forced to go to the market, if travel market is risky both because of road conditions and corruption at all levels including the police, if the opium is a commodity that never rots away; if the eradication campaigns always hit only the small producer with no political connections, THEN it become obvious why Afghanistan dominates the world production of opium.

The UN can try to pick the last flower, and destroy the last seedling; and NATO can attempt to link Afghan opium to the Taliban, Osama bin Laden or even to children snatchers and old grandma’s torturers, for all one cares; still if there is no effort on eliminating the underlying reasons, fields of Papaver Somniferum will still call in the thousands… and rightly so!

Written by omnologos

2008/Jun/30 at 01:06:11

Posted in Drugs, Politics

US Supreme Court’s Double Blow Against Death Penalty

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With a 5-to-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled yesterday June 25 against the capital punishment of child rapists.

Of course those rapists better spend a few decades in prison. But it is quite momentuous finally to hear affirmed in the USA the principle that the death penalty cannot be applied to crimes where victims have not died.

One may start wondering if, according to the Supreme Court, capital punishment is “just” a “State revenge”, a death to compensate another death. But we can leave that to a more appropriate time.: because the other important achievement in the majority’s opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy:

When the law punishes by death, it risks its own sudden descent into brutality, transgressing the constitutional commitment to decency and restraint

Justice Kennedy has thus confirmed what already known to those fighting for the abolition of the death penalty: the very application of capital punishment means (running the risk of) brutalizing the entire legal system of the whole nation, including the professional executioners, the prosecutors arguing to terminate a human being’s life, and the judges and juries deciding to end that life.

Three “hoorays” for Justice Kennedy.

Written by omnologos

2008/Jun/26 at 21:07:36

Posted in Death Penalty, Politics, USA

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Bush: Right about the Surge?

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I usually appreciate David Brooks’ peculiar take on many subjects, but am not sure I follow his reasoning about the Surge (“Look at that surge…“, IHT, June 25).

Brooks tells us President Bush and VP Cheney have made the “right” decision when they increased the US presence in Iraq by 20,000 troops. That may be correct but…wouldn’t it be more meaningful to discuss why exactly they made the right decision?

As the saying goes, not even the astrologer can be wrong all of the time. Among the hundreds and hundreds of decisions made by the Bush admnistration over the course of more than seven years in office, surely some “have” to be “right”, whatever the astuteness and courage of the people in charge.

Does the fact that the Surge appears to have achieved “large, tenuous gains” help build up confidence for the remaining six months of President George W Bush? One wonders what Brooks would say about that…

Written by omnologos

2008/Jun/25 at 20:50:26

Posted in Iraq War, Politics, USA

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Nothing Justifies Tibetan Independence…

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… as much as the behavior of the Chinese government.

If I only could ask a single question to Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, it would be this: if Tibet really is part of China and not a colony, then why is China treating it as if it were a colony?

Forget the Dalai Lama’s “political” or non-political ambitions; forget also what Tibetans inside and outside Tibet think about independence, and the anti-Chinese propaganda occupying most international media.

Those topics are important but they do not explain, and they will never be able to explain the reason for decades of harsh crackdowns by the Beijing government about the “Tibetan issue”, despite the fact that it is blatantly obvious that only a “softer China” can hope to avoid being categorized as a “colonial empire” (a point recently made by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former UK Minister of Defence, in “A pragmatic solution“, International Herald Tribune, 24/3/2008 )

The Chinese government can write miles and miles of articles against the Dalai Lama; Chinese historians may yell at will in Universities, on television, on the radio describing in all minute details how Tibet and China were united as a single state entity since before the dawn of Humanity; gigabytes of photographs and video clips can be published all over the Internet with happy smiling Tibetans greeting the Olympic torch, all too grateful of Beijing’s efforts to improve their material welfare.

Still, little of that will have any value, because ‘the truth’ is evident not in words, not in laws, not even in studies and in pictures. To understand whether Tibet is a colony, and thus whether it is entitled to Independence (provided that’s the wish of its inhabitants), the only things of value are facts, and attitudes.

And countless facts and attitudes point in a single direction: Tibet indeed is a colony of China.

For a help in the details, look at Howard W French writing in the New York Times in March last year ( “In Tibetan areas, parallel worlds now collide“); at an Economist “leader” article of March 22 ( “Tibet: A Colonial Uprising“) ; at the op-ed by Patrick French, author of “Tibet, Tibet: A Personal History of a Lost Land”, published in the New York Times under the title “He’s no politician“; and at the exceptional reportage of the Economist correspondent, “forgotten” in Lhasa exactly during this year’s riot days (“Thrashing the Beijing Road“):

  1. Fifty years have passed since Mao finally extended Beijing’s jurisdiction to Tibet. Yet, the only means to achieve “harmony” over there still seem to be firearms, and a heavy military presence
  2. When rioting broke out in Lhasa and other places in March this year, there was no immediate response by the authorities. With the local chief Zhang Qingli at that time in Beijing, this suggests that Zhang has centralized, without much thought for delegation, every possibility of a decision: and that’s precisely how a Viceroy govern his colony
  3. The Tibetans are treated as second-class citizens. Even if unofficially, the “system” still favours ethnic Chinese Han
  4. There are no Tibetans in command positions, in the military or in the bureaucracy or in the Party (structures well-known to be closed to strangers, and to colonized peoples)
  5. Thousands of Han Chinese are being encouraged to move to Tibet (if that is not “colonization” then what is?)
  6. Tibetans and non-Tibetans live in Tibet in virtually separate worlds
  7. Even very peaceful protests are virtually impossible
  8. There’s plenty of prejudice, and little trust among ethnic Han Chinese (the majority of Chinese in the world) and Tibetans, in Tibet. Few develop friendships across ethnic boundaries
  9. Chinese propaganda is crudely active, inculcating a series of “myths” such as the centuries-long “chineseness” of Tibet
  10. The “Father of Tibetan homeland,” the Dalai Lama, a symbol for all Tibetans anywhere in the world, is not just “unrevered” by the Chinese State: he is almost routinely the target for denigrations and insults. Described one day as “irrelevant”, and the following day as “capable of stirring up anti-Chinese sentiments” (and therefore not at all “irrelevant”)
  11. Do I need to mention the child Panchen Lama, “disappeared” by the Chinese government many years ago?
  12. And finally, there is the fact that the main thoroughfare in Lhasa has been renamed “Beijing Road”

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If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then … it’s a duck.

Similarly, if China behaves in Tibet as an occupying / colonizing power, then of course Tibet is a colony, and not “part of China”…

It’s not just that: the behavior of the Government in Beijing recalls in many ways the worst years of Stalin and Mao, as pointed out by Vaclav Havel, Frederik Willem de Klerk, and other eminent personalities in an open letter published on the New York Review of Books on 1 May 2008: “Tibet: The Peace of the Graveyard“.

Someone should tell Hu Jintao: what’s happening is no sign of strength and maturity, but rather of weakness and the inability to resolve a decade-long conflict. Behaving like a colonial power, China certainly cannot bring about any lasting solution of the “Tibetan issue”, let alone a generalized “state of harmony”.

The most it can do, is push Tibet towards full independence.

Written by omnologos

2008/Jun/24 at 22:51:36

Posted in Asia, Politics, Tibet

One for the Celtics

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Normally I’d side with the LA Lakers but tonight it’s high time that “Paul Pierce et al.” win the NBA title. There’s no super superstar among the Boston Celtics but they are a team, not just a series of Kobe Bryant extensions…

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2008/Jun/17 at 22:00:17

The Moon, and the Volcano

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Click here for beautiful pictures of the Moon setting behind active volcano Mt Etna in Sicily

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2008/Jun/17 at 21:53:52

Posted in Italy, Moon

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