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The loneliness of the all-too-powerful dictator (21/01/22 19:53:24) Reply
    The old kings had their jesters, who could get away with telling truths to the sovereign. There would be no point if the sovereign or the jester, or both, were stupid. But sometimes, perhaps ...

    Do the present-day dictators hold jesters at their courts? From what I see of their policies, I doubt it.

    There was a joke - East Germany, IIRC.
    Question: Is it true that Erich Honecker collects illegal jokes?
    Answer: No. But he collects people who do.
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The jester in the football team (24/01/22 11:10:28) Reply
    One of our best ever and highest profiled ever football coaches died recently. He was colourful and temperamental, but funny too, and there was no shadow of doubt that he loved his team and that his team loved him back.

    Many years ago out national team was rather good, too. The coach was a serious guy, but with a hangup on football history and geography. But on his team he had a dribbler who was a joker who was not afraid of making himself look like a clown in between the dribbling (mostly off the field, though).

    I have a feeling, but no proof, that these two coaches were successful because they made room for humour in their teams. Maybe that took away some of the jealousy and rivalry that seems to weaken teams.

    And I don't think it only applies to football.
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Winter sports trainers and culture clash (26/01/22 10:23:03) Reply
    On the news today there wasw some news.

    Background: A Chinese oppositional

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_Xiaobo

    received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. This was quickly followed by a Chinese boycott of all things Norwegian. To repair this, the Solberg government (shame on her) sold in the capacity of 60 Norwegian trainers to create medal class winter sporters of Chinese talent. Now only a few are left. Much was related to the clash in culture. The Norwegian athletes are internally driven, and many heads are involved in the care of the athlete. The coach is there to correct errors and provide structure when needed. In China the coach gives orders, and fewer heads, perhaps not even particularly good ones, have dictatorial powers..

    (Generally, I hate sports. But I have to acknowledge that the bottom-up approach looks successful. Then again, to prevent being accused of chauvinism, there are some rather dramatic failures to the structure - specially when ambitious male trainers are training women. The stupid and ignorant men induce anorexia in the girls, sometimes to a very serious degree.

    In men puberty means gain of muscle. In women, puberty means gaining weight, gaining body mass index and gaining fat.
    Weight gain in girls at puberty has to be not only accepted, but has to be part of the planning. So women have to be involved in the day-to-day training of women to avoid blockhead males critisising the eating habits of the girls.)
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On a side note - one benefit of being old (26/01/22 14:38:18) Reply
    is remembering this one

    https://www.firstpost.com/sports/fifa-world-cup-moments-when-eusebios-magic-ended-north-koreas-dream-1966-run-4495701.html
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Picking up old titles from the mothbag of history (20/02/22 10:39:27) Reply
    The tsar, the emperor of China, the sultan of Turkey, the farao of Egypt, the wannabe king of USA. I used to think I lived in modern times. No more (picking up Herodotus once more, this time in the shape of

    https://norla.no/nb/books/1218-world-history-with-the-past-as-a-mirror
    ).
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Conquest, then massacre (21/02/22 17:36:23) Reply
    Putin seems to have made sort of a a rehabilitation of Stalin. So it could be of interest to see how Stalin treated Polish prisoners at the start of WWII.

    "from October 1939 to February 1940, the Poles were subjected to lengthy interrogations and constant political agitation by NKVD officers, such as Vasily Zarubin. The prisoners assumed they would be released soon, but the interviews were in effect a selection process to determine who would live and who would die.[22][23] According to NKVD reports, if a prisoner could not be induced to adopt a pro-Soviet attitude, he was declared a "hardened and uncompromising enemy of Soviet authority".[22]

    On 5 March 1940, pursuant to a note to Joseph Stalin from Beria, six members of the Soviet Politburo — Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Lazar Kaganovich, Kliment Voroshilov, Anastas Mikoyan, and Mikhail Kalinin — signed an order to execute 25,700 Polish "nationalists and counterrevolutionaries" kept at camps and prisons in occupied western Ukraine and Belarus.[24] The reason for the massacre, according to the historian Gerhard Weinberg, was that Stalin wanted to deprive a potential future Polish military of a large portion of its talent.[25] The Soviet leadership, and Stalin in particular, viewed the Polish prisoners as a "problem" as they might resist being under Soviet rule. Therefore, they decided the prisoners inside the "special camps" were to be shot as "avowed enemies of Soviet authority".[1] "

    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre)
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Re: Conquest, then massacre (22/02/22 20:34:27) Reply
    According to my sources, the leaders of the initial popular uprising in Donbas have already been murdered and replaced with putinpuppets. So it seems to proceed according to the standard procedure.
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Separatists movements elsewhere: Support expected (22/02/22 20:43:53) Reply
    Now that the tsar has legitimised separatism - it does seem, doesn't it, that some of the Siberian populations really belong in Mongolia.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuvans
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buryatia

    And I am sure that the tsar now is on his way to making Xi Jinping see the errors of his ways with regard to Tibet and East-Turkestan. Freedom bells will soon ring both places thanks to the tsaric intervention in Ukraine.
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Re: The loneliness of the all-too-powerful dictator (23/02/22 20:37:41) Reply
    To me he looks ashamed of his own behaviour.
    A tiny soul. A vengeful mind. And a balloon ego. He is not playing a zero sum game: he is playing a subtraction game. He loses. But he has made his precautions during 20 years, so he is surrounded by wimps who will not topple him.
    Our side has been wimps, too. Business as usual, instead of instant sanctions the moment he put himself in the position of reaching tsardom.

    Let's see if the Austrians will seize his assets.

    "Austria was the first foreign country that Russian president Vladimir Putin visited officially in June 2018 following his reelection for the fourth term as president of Russia.[16] In the course of Putin's visit, the CEOs of OMV and Gazprom signed an agreement to extend Russian gas supplies to Austria until 2040, with both Putin and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in attendance.[5] The signing occurred at a time when the two countries were marking 50 years of Soviet/Russian gas supplies to Austria.[5]"

    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austria%E2%80%93Russia_relations)

    "Austria's ex-foreign minister Karin Kneissl has joined an ever-expanding list of senior Austrian and German politicians working as Kremlin lobbyists.

    The 56-year old, who led Austria's diplomacy between 2017 and 2019, is to become a board member of Russian state oil firm Rosneft, in a move announced by Moscow on Tuesday (3 March).

    The firm is run by one of Russian president Vladimir Putin's closest friends, Igor Sechin. "

    (https://euobserver.com/foreign/151123)
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Splitup of Russia. Disarmament. Payment of reparations. Return of the oligarch money to the legitimate owners. (01/03/22 09:55:47) Reply
    Present-day Russia is the result of centuries of nibbling neighbouring countries. Formal reversal is no good idea. The politics and economics must be repaired, too, and the systems must be set up-to-date. It might need 20 + years of education and institution building. There is money for it in the coffers of the oligarchs.

    Fissile material from the strategic nukes must be recycled into peaceful materials in parallel with development of more sustainable nuclear power technology (read: less dangerous waste; higher degree of utilisation of the heavy elements).

    All of the offensive naval hardware need to be scrapped and recycled. (Steel armour plates from the Tirpitz are still doing useful work).

    With the largest land mass on the globe there is room for and need for massive efforts in building sustainable energy production to replace fossil.

    The aggression against Ukraine has triggered a massive anticorruption campaign, first directed towards Russia - but the collaborators on the other side should be brought to justice with the same power. If the US does not follow up on this, she will inevitably fall behind, now that the tsar gave Europe the wake-up call.
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Splitup - I. (04/03/22 18:08:11) Reply
    The European part could be divided into several smaller states. If so, some might even - after a suitable cooling period - apply for EU membership.

    (I hope - after Ukraine and Norway and Belarus have settled themselves as members)
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Splitup -II (06/03/22 19:27:04) Reply
    Russia as it is has been a danger to world peace for a very long time, and it should be split. No part more than 30-40 million people. Naval harbours must be converted into purely civilian ones.

    A country wishing to live in peace with its neighbours, does not have to fear being surrounded or having no ports of its own.

    Splitting Russia should not leave a vacuum to be filled by Chinese aggression, so future NATO membership should be in the package.

    Some idea about split lines might come from reading about population centres.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_and_towns_in_Russia_by_population
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Splitup - III (08/03/22 08:47:36) Reply
    A splitup Russia - there must be guidelines.
    1. All harbours for a country must be to the same ocean. Specifically: Murmansk/Arkhangelsk, bordering on the Arctic Sea must be under another government than that of St. Petersburg bordering on the Baltic Sea. St Petersburg must not have any say over the coastline of the Black Sea.
    Moscow must be landlocked. Any connection with the sea must be via friendly interaction with neighbours.

    (for a start)
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Re: Splitup - IV (09/03/22 17:22:26) Reply
    Maybe a splitup like:
    South-West: Capital: Rostov or Volgograd
    Middle-West: Capital: St.Petersburg
    North-West: Capital: Murmansk
    Europe-East: Capital: Moscow
    Siberia: Capital: Irkutsk

    Besides the split of Russia should be run in parallel with splitting of the Russian orthodox church, which supports the war against Ukraine and lists God as an ally.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarch_Kirill_of_Moscow
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Sergiy Kyslytsya in VG today (31/03/22 12:08:09) Reply
    Today's inverview with him in a .no newspaper

    https://www.vg.no/nyheter/utenriks/i/V93WK6/ukrainas-fn-ambassadoer-til-vg-vil-ikke-vaere-over-med-en-fredsavtale

    (my rather free transolation of selected quotes after Zelensky's speech in Stortinget)

    When Putin is removed ..... this will not mean that Russia will be a country to talk to or have normal relations to. We (all countries, not only Ukraine) will need to help the Russian people put their country back on the road towards democracy, help them develop democratic institutions and a living and sustainable society.
    ...
    Thousands and thousands of Russians flee their country, so the chances of having sufficient numbers of people fighting inside of the country to get democracy back, is weakening day by day.
    ..
    Russian military defeat on Ukrainian territory, which will happen, will not solve the fundamental challenges. "
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Dictators (and other persons of power), children and dogs (11/03/22 09:39:30) Reply
    They will never learn to behave if the surroundings do not discourage bad behaviour. On the contrary: yielding just rewards bad behaviour. With children, diversion is a well-tested and largely successful trick. With dogs I have no personal experience - but I've seen some rather disgusting end results where the owner and the dog are equally disgusting. With dictators there is extensive literature on what does not work, or the losses needed when the situation escalates - to paranoia, or to full-scale external confrontation.

    Stifling the economy has been tried before, but with limited success. This time the stranglehold is stronger. Leaks are much easier to detect now, and public opinion can make strong crackdown.

    I see a generation conflict too. Reactionaries of my generation - too stupid to step down when their time is over and their ways of thinking are obsolete - against young people who never knew a world without internet, and who have to repair the wastelands left for them by the reactionaries and the silent majority.
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Wishful thinking - indeed.  (12/03/22 11:41:56) Reply
    The sanctions seem to bite. Bankrupting Russia - who would have thought that possible? And the home front crumbling - from the state TV talk show in Moscow - to the gift to Ukraine from the Russian ship's crew - 5000 NOK in cash in an envelope handed over to a harbour worker somewhere in Norway (to end up with Ukrainian Red Cross). Full trains to Helsinki; full extraflights to Tbilisi.

    There seems to be minimal chance that the tsar can save his face. Or his money.

    Meanwhile the killings and destroyings continue.
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Fetching a disguised thug from the gutter and making him president: a warning (30/03/22 07:40:37) Reply
    His background was among the worst, and his self-structured upbringing was, too.
    I met such thugs during my childhood, and I was always on the beaten side. Nice and civilised people usually refuse to believe in real evil until they have seen the physical evidence at close quarters.

    I think Johnny Cash knew something about thugs from the thug point of view

    https://genius.com/Johnny-cash-a-boy-named-sue-lyrics
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Bottom-up-revolutions (31/03/22 18:12:23) Reply
    I think I live in a country which actually had a bottom-up revolution. It seems like Ukraine is having one now.

    Now I have to elaborate further. Maybe tomorrow, maybe some other day. Too late in the evening now.
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Monarch: From Greek: one who rules alone (17/05/22 17:36:34) Reply
    We can read in today's headlines the allegation that Putin micromanages part of the war against Ukraine. Commentators remark that this might illustrate the fear-governed structure of the army: Lower-level officers fear being held responsible for failures, so the higher, or even top levels, will have to make them. So political beliefs or delusions may influence or decide the actions in the field. Earlier today I accused Putin of squandering his army. It seems that his role may have been more direct than I imagined. So he must be even more stupid than I thought.
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