Random stuff

This post will cover some interesting news items and opinion pieces I stumbled upon on the web.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/03/ukraine-and-russia

The economic turmoil reflects recent political instability. But Ukraine’s economic problems were long in the making. Dodgy economic policy, distaste for reform and endemic corruption have brought the country to its knees. (…) Ukraine needs to find about $25 billion this year to finance its large current account deficit and to meet foreign creditors. Foreign exchange reserves are only $12 billion. Default is certainly on the cards.

This aligns perfectly with my own analysis presented on da-boss when the Crimean crisis started:

(…) Ukraine is not a free country. Tragically, along with the so-called West, it is deeply in debt and probably not economically viable in its current form. In short, it is not free because it cannot pay its bills.

I realise that the Western media presented the Maidan affair as an idealistic independence movement but the cold and hard economic realities underlying the Ukrainian situation are equally interesting (and probably more relevant). Economy and politics go hand in hand and their interaction often produces more than the sum of the parts. Let us not forget that Hitler’s Germany was only months away from bankruptcy when they invaded Poland in September 1939 …

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8515592.stm

A majority of women believe some rape victims should take responsibility for what happened, a survey suggests. Almost three quarters of the women who believed this said if a victim got into bed with the assailant before an attack they should accept some responsibility. One-third blamed victims who had dressed provocatively or gone back to the attacker’s house for a drink.

This one is an absolute shocker. After years of drumming into us that, not matter what, the sole responsibility for a rape lies with the (male) perpetrator it looks like the “blame the victim” mentality is still alive and well – among the women! One would expect the males to be more willing than females to accept that both parties might have contributed to the situations leading to a rape but apparently this is not so. The social engineers have a lot more work to do in this area!

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26926724

This story is so bizarre I will guide the readers through it. After being eradicated centuries ago the wolves came back to France, to the delight of the environmentalist crowd. The “wilding” of France was celebrated as an ecological success. But the problem is that wolves do what all predators do if given a chance – kill farm animals:

“When they attack a flock – especially when they get inside an enclosure – they don’t stop killing as long as there’s still a sheep or a lamb moving,” says Caroline. They eat one and kill the others just for the sake of it, she says.

In this eco-utopian arrangement the farmers were expected to adapt and co-exist with the wolves. The state even stepped in to cover their costs and losses:

The French government is spending 12m euros (£10m) a year on wolf attack prevention and compensation. French farmer Caroline Bourda is one of the sheep farmers fighting the wolf. In some areas the government pays out more for the wolf than it does for the unemployed, according to the hill farmers’ organisation Eleveurs et Montagnes (Breeders and mountains).

Lovely. But how did Caroline end up as a sheep farmer in the wolf country?

She first came to this farm as an “eco-volunteer” with the pro-predator organisation Ferus, which aims to protect bears, wolves and lynxes. As a 20-year-old ecologist activist, studying biology at Bordeaux University, she believed that, if farmers protected their flocks properly, they and the wolf could live side-by-side. She does not believe this anymore. “The wolves find a way around every protection we put in place,” she says, pointing to the electric fences she has put up. Caroline married the sheep farmer she had come here to help. As for Ferus, she was quickly disillusioned, she says. What they really want, she says, is for the farmers to leave so they can “re-wild” the mountains.

A juicy convert story will make any news item come alive. And to top it all off:

The French may also have to re-learn the realities of living close to wild animals again. According to the historian Jean-Marc Moriceau, wolves killed 2,000 people in France between 1362 and 1918 – mainly five- to 15-year-olds. We have simply forgotten that wolves don’t only prey on people in fairy tales.

This story very clearly shows how the West has lost its way. We are celebrating the events which would have been considered set-backs in the more sane times. We are happy to invest money and effort in promoting the spread of pests into areas where humans and farm animals live. How about re-introducing the smallpox virus into the wild? It was there before us, humans.

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