Many people write or speak to tell us what we should think. Some want to be believed because they are experts, or think they are. Some want to be believed because they claim to speak for us. Some have had revelations. Others want us to trust them because they communicate through prominent media outlets. Many tell us what we should think. I write to encourage my readers to think for themselves. I write to ask you to inquire. Question me. Have fun.

  
Comment of the Day
Net neutrality exposed

Jan 16, 2014

Internet service is not much different than other utilities, such as electricity, gas or water. Politicians and commentators focus on the nominal speed offered by ISPs. Comparing to water for example, nominal speed offered is analogous to water pressure. We are charged not for the nominal pressure, but for how much water we consume. The pressure offered is a mere technical consequence of the need to satisfy our demand for the volume of water. Similarly, for the internet service providers the cost of service is related to the volume of data transmitted. In order to have this transmission be useful (for example, being able to watch live TV) certain speed needs to be guaranteed.

    If we want the internet to grow and develop freely, we have to expect that its users are charged based on real cost of the service delivery, not on some political fiction imagined by politicians that do not understand neither technology nor business.
      Net neutrality came into existence due this ignorance of politicians and their eagerness of mingling with things beyond their comprehension. As much as this seems to be a norm, it does not release us from exposing it every time when it occurs.

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        Can Russians’ seizing of Crimea be legalized?

        For a few months, media and politicians in the U.S. and Western Europe were cheering the populous upheaval in Kiev, triggered by the decision of then-President Victor Yanukovich to abandon negotiations about agreement with the EU last November. Even innocent sounding words of moral support were perceived in Moscow as an attempt to change the delicate political balance in the region. Russians worry about Ukraine not only because of their imperial traditions and aspirations, as the West would like to see it, but also because Ukraine, with its territory cutting deep into Russia’s underbelly, and with deep economical connections with Russia, is too large and too close to be ignored in Moscow. To top it off, the Russian navy port in Sevastopol is one of the very few that Russia has, and the only one in this part of the world. When, in Russians’ perspective, things in Kiev went out of control, Moscow decided to take Crimea.

        Theoretically, Moscow could achieve the same by playing by the rules. It could provide political support to the ethnic Russians in Crimea, encouraging them to use the Ukrainian legal process to separate themselves from Kiev. This might take months or years, and could give Kiev a chance of luring ethnic Russians back, with the promise of a better economy in Ukraine closer associated with the EU. Russian leaders could not allow themselves this margin of error and went with the policy of the faits accomplish.

        This land grab is reminiscent of 1938, and if left unanswered, creates precedence that the international laws so carefully crafted to keep peace in the world after WWII do not always apply. This is too much risk for the worldwide leaders to swallow; sanctions have been imposed, Russian leaders ostracized.  However, Russia is not Cuba; it cannot be kept on the sidelines for long. The world has too much to lose by cutting Russia off; new risks may arise from this as well. Russia can be brought back as an equal and respected partner of the worldwide community only if the West will recognize that the recent change in Kiev shifted political balance in the region, and impeded Russia’s vital security and economic interests. World leaders need to acknowledge that, if wearing Mr. Putin’s shoes, they would try to accomplish the same, but they might do it differently. Hence, condemning the methods used, they need to give Russia and its President a chance to legalize the grab of Crimea.

        The simplest would be by brokering the sale of Crimea from Ukraine to Russia. No one seems to question that the Russian majority in Crimea prefers to be in Russia, not in Ukraine. That desire was amplified by nationalistic overtones of the changes in Kiev; hence, for Ukraine, giving up Crimea might be an acceptable price to pay. The deal should be crafted in a way as to give all parties concerned a long-term guarantee of stability. In particular, Russia might pay for Crimea in a form of discounts in Ukrainian payments for natural gas, spanned for the next twenty or thirty years. Brokering the deal, world leaders would assure Russia that Ukraine will not join NATO, and Russia would relinquish any claims to any other parts of Ukrainian territory.

        About one thousand years ago, Kievan Rus’ was a cradle of what later became Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. As the most successful, Russians want to own this tradition, and Russian nationalists see Ukraine as a younger sibling, maybe deserving some recognition, but not the status of the independent nation and state. It is time to give up this notion.

        The Ukrainian national identity first manifested itself in the 17th century in the revolt against Poles. Ukrainian language could be traced back to the times of Kievan Rus’, but it matured as recently as the 19th century. There were ephemeral attempts of creating an Ukrainian state before, but Ukraine as we know it since 1991 is the first Ukrainian statehood. The word “Ukraine” reaches back to medieval times; and, in both in Russian and Polish it meant literally “on the edge” and was used to describe territories on the boundaries. In the past, Poles have had a hard time in accepting Ukrainians right to self-determination; now, it seems, Russians do.

        Ukrainians themselves should see their country what it is and what the name used to say, a land on the boundaries between Russia and the rest of Europe. Ukraine can only prosper by accepting this reality, and becoming a bridge between the two, not a pawn pushed back and forth in the struggle for their political influence. Drafting a contract converting a grab of Crimea into a sale gives an opportunity for reiterating interests of all parties concerned thus forming a treaty resolving the current crisis and outlining the future peaceful cooperation.

        About me

        I was born in 1951 in Gdansk, Poland.
        Since my high school years, I have interest in politics and love for writing. During my college years, I started writing to student papers and soon became freelance author to major Polish political magazines.

        In 1980 I wrote a book “Czy w Polsce może być lepiej?” (“Could it be better in Poland?” – this book is available only in Polish) analyzing major problems in Poland at the time and outlining possible solutions.

        I was among those Polish political writers who by their writings contributed to the peaceful system transformation that finally took place in 1989. Since 1985, I live in the Chicago area. I went through the hard times typical of many immigrants. Working in service business, I have seen the best and the worst places, I met the poorest and the richest. I have seen and experienced America not known to most of politicians, business people, and other political writers. For eleven years, I ran my own company. Presently, I am an independent consultant.

        My political writing comes out of necessity. I write when I see that the prevailing voices on the political arena are misleading or erroneous. Abstract mathematics and control theory (of complex technological processes) strongly influenced my understanding of social phenomena. In the past, my opponents rebuked my mathematical mind as cold, soulless, and inhuman. On a few occasions I was prized for my engineer’s precision and logic.

        I have a master’s degree in electronic engineering with a specialization in mathematical machines from Politechnika Gdańska (Technical University of Gdansk).

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