I’ve been checking lots of blogs, new and not so new – this blog enterprise has at least this positive effect.
I have to decide what is the direction the blog is taking, may it be a definitive halt. If this goes on, I might just focus on different subjects for various periods of time – like food, politics, health, music, philosophy and who knows what else.

There are many things to be said and understood on the subject of my Day 5 post – corruption.
For now, I have to mention someone, an important ally of the fight against corruption – not just the one affecting individuals but the corruption/decay inevitable in human institutions – with a focus on the American Congress and on Corporations. I haven’t read any of his writings except parts of his blog. I’m talking about Larry Lessig, eminent law Professor at Harvard whose life was deeply changed by the life and death of Aaron Swartz – internet freedom fighter and brilliant mind. Lessig believes that representative democracy is decayed but can still be saved through reform. He had the courage to march and campaign for Presidency as a Democrat. He has recently withdrawn, although to my eyes it seems that the system has detected him as a menace and changed some code in order to reject him – he would politely call it “change of rules”.
Here’s a long story short in his own words:

I will regret forever not having a real chance at the debates to press the one real issue that is before us as a democracy, and that the other candidates just are not addressing: At the core of our democracy there is a hole where the Framers meant there to be a Congress. That crippled and corrupted institution will block progress until it is fixed. We desperately need a politics that can talk about that, and begin to talk about how it could be fixed. That is not just “campaign finance reform.” That is not just about “getting money out of politics.” It is an agenda for reforming a failed institution, by building on the cross-partisan recognition there is that this critical part of our democracy is broken.




The writing prompt du jour is: What is the thing you are most proud of?
I’ll only say that I’m most proud of the accomplishments of the people I love and I have to make sure they know it.
Today, I will try to write an article I can be proud of.


First, we need to talk about corruption.

Basic Google search shows:
dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.

But what does this mean exactly?
Let me give you some examples:
– need a passport? give the lady behind the desk 50 bucks and a pack of ground coffee and you can have it ready in 2 days instead of 3 weeks; and add a few bucks and she’ll ignore you didn’t bring proof of residence to include in the file
– need a driver’s licence or a dentist degree without opening a book? – find here an interesting blog post in The Economist.
– need to open a nightclub but find that dealing with security issues is useless? buy a permit (more on this in a moment)
– need an IT contract with the government? give the right amount of money and it’s yours – find here a very informative article on such a case
– need to sell expensive electricity that you buy cheaply in Russia? find a corrupt government and become a billionaire in no time
– need to sell your guns to the army?
and many more

Who are the people who benefit from corruption?
Not the middle class young woman striving to become a good surgeon but has no money to buy the right to operate on patients from the head surgeon. Not the local or national IT firm, even with an excellent software or service.

What does corruption look like in the eyes of the young generations?
What are the values at its core?
The big winners of a corrupt state are uneducated, money loving people, disrespectful of any law, not afraid to commit crimes, with a strong conviction that the world is theirs and that law-abiding citizens are a bunch of wimps that deserve their misery.
For our children,these people are either role models or their primary source of misery, preventing them from becoming who they are meant to be, reaching their full potential in our society.

That being said, what about the fire in Bucharest?

Bucharest is the capital of Romania. The end of World War II marked the debut of a communist regime that lasted for 50 years. 1989 was the year of a Revolution overthrowing the well-known dictator Ceausescu. Romania has been struggling with corruption and subsequent poverty ever since, their “democratic” government being controlled by ex-communist elites.
On 30 October 2015, the Colectiv nightclub fire killed 58 people and injured 153 according to Wikipedia. On 3 November, more than 15,000 people protested to demand the resignations of the Prime Minister and of the Mayor, who was criticized for giving an operating license to the club without a permit from the fire department.
On the morning of November 4, the PM, the government and the Mayor resigned. Protests ceased rapidly.

You might say the PM was not responsible for the fire. He was nevertheless the country’s first sitting premier to stand trial for corruption at that time (for forgery, complicity to tax evasion and money laundering). He was the living proof that corruption was rampant at all levels of the administration. By being the head of a corrupt government, he was responsible for the illegal licence that allowed the club to function and eventually the deaths of the young people that night. And the Romanian people in the streets understood that.

Next, let’s go to Paris.

The coordinated attacks that took place in Paris November 13 (A Friday, for the superstitious) were and are still largely covered by the media. The West has once more been attacked in the heart of it: France – symbol of past European glory, enlightenment, elegance – has been targeted by godless barbarians, in spite of what they pretend to be. There’s no argue about that.
The Islamic State has clearly become the n°1 enemy of the West. But who are the people willing to die in the name of ISIS? Common sense tells us that most probably ISIS recruits among the endless mass of ignorant and poor muslim peasants, willing to sell their children in exchange for food. Haroon Ullah, a professor at Georgetown University, seems to have a different take on this.

Why Do People Become Islamic Extremists?

What makes someone become an Islamic extremist? Is it poverty? Lack of education? A search for meaning? Haroon Ullah, a senior State Department advisor and a foreign policy professor at Georgetown University, shares what he discovered while living in Pakistan.

Posted by PragerU on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Now, that’s a shock.

So, two apparently unrelated events like an accidental fire in a nightclub and a suicide attack have a common starting point: corruption.
Corruption is appealing at first – you can have anything you want with the right amount of money. You might think it will make your life easier.
But in the end corruption is a plague that cuts the grass under the feet of young generations which desperately react in unsuspected ways – march the streets and dream of another Revolution like the Romanians or hope that religious extremists can bring justice for all and end up, in a twisted spiral of death half way across the globe, shooting other Middle class French youngsters enjoying a concert or a pint of beer.

One hell of a butterfly effect.

There are many other countries besides Pakistan and Romania where corruption is apparent; the people at the top feel so invincible they do not bother to hide their actions anymore.
Other countries, like France and the USA, have such well-oiled, seamless corruption machineries that the common citizen is convinced the country is corruption free.

The good news? all these people try to find a solution to end corruption and the injustice that comes with it. They are no longer passive. They sometimes make very unfortunate choices. And the men at the top won’t go away without a fight.
So what we can say for sure is there will be more blood.
Ok, that’s not good news.

Some questions to you:

Are we going to simply replace the corrupt ones by new people?
Are we going to change the system so we can prevent corruption?
If corruption is inevitable, can we build a system that does not fight it but acknowledges it and controls it?