Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pirates of the World, Unite!

You have to give it to the internet pirates who run The Pirate Bay (a web hub for torrent files), for they are currently looking into buying the micro-nation known as Sealand that sits off the coast of England. From their official website:
“Recently it was made clear that this country is for sale. To make sure the owners will be kopimistic and that the country won’t be governed by people that do not care about its future, we have come up with a plan.

With the help of all the kopimists on Internets, we want to buy Sealand. Donate money and you will become a citizen.

We’ve set up a forum to discuss how the country is supposed to function.
— It should be a great place for everybody. With high-speed Internets access, no copyright laws and vip accounts to The Pirate Bay, press officer of ACFI says.
Register and let us write history together.”

It sounds so out there, and so bizarre, even I contributed a few dollars to the project. I wouldn’t mind having a Sealand passport either.

They have mentioned that if they can not raise the 20+ million needed to buy the country, they will look to invest in another micro-nation or plot of land with which to further their cause.

30 years ago, radical Marxists and egalitarians were trying to gain control of nations and governments across the globe. Now, a much nerdier (and more interesting) group of revolutionaries seems to have emerged…

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Move over Batman and Robin

It is the news of the day, but I am still surprised that France and Britain discussed uniting in the 50s. It sounds like something out of a fictional/historical spy drama. Via the Independent:

“Fifty years ago today (let us say) the French and British parliaments reached their historic decision to merge two proud nations into one. Two declining countries, shaken by world wars, communism, rock 'n' roll and the loss of empire, decided to create a European superpower with the young Queen Elizabeth II of Britain ¬ La Reine Elisabeth I of France ¬ as head of state.”

I would love to hear how such a union would have been organized and implemented. It seems like the most unlikely duo. More is available at the Poor Mouth.

Speaking of unlikely duos, what does a giant rabbit and Kim Jon-Ill have to do with each other? Simply Jews has some info on that dynamic duo!

“Socialism for the 21st Century”

Everyone’s favorite “contemporary” communist is looking to turn Venezuela into a “Socialist Nation for the 21st Century”. That’s interesting; seems like the path to 21st century socialism is a lot like the one to 20th century totalitarianism. Via Alberto Padilla:
“Given the announcements made last week, when he was inaugurated for a new term and named a new Cabinet, we can say that Venezuela is heading towards the old communism of the last century, and more in the Cuban or North Korean style than the Chinese.
The decisions announced by Chavez are very similar to those taken in the early years of the Cuban Revolution.

Saying that these were strategic sectors from the point of view of national interests, Chavez announced the nationalization of CANTV, Venezuela's largest telephone company which is controlled by Verizon, as well as the production and distribution of electricity.

Although in the latter case he did not mention names, one of the most important electric power companies in Venezuela is Electricidad de Caracas, which belongs to the U.S. company AES.

And although the government has said there will be compensation for investors, it is far from clear that this compensation will be by market rules -- that investors will be compensated for the real market value of the properties they are being forced to hand over. And, of course, it is even more doubtful that a company that belongs to a government will offer even an adequate level of service and efficiency.

At the same time President Chavez announced that the license of Radio Caracas TelevisiĆ³n, a national television network, would not be renewed. He accuses the company of having backed an attempted coup against him.”

I am sure that some will say these tactics are “necessary” in creating a better world inside Venezuela, but those same arguments have been used by every single totalitarian government that hoped to reshape its country and people.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Alice Coltrane – Dead at 69

A true musical visionary who was often overshadowed by her more renowned husband. “Ptah the El Daoud” was such an amazing record; that alone should qualify her as one of the greats.