one dollar

On Life

Body starts to degenerate only when you reach middle twenties. Your purpose is to procreate, after that - nature does not care.

I admire the ability to accept those sad facts of life with a shrug. What does it mean that my body starts to degenerate ONLY when I reach my middle twenties? I started to live only when I reached middle twenties. I am actually in the best shape of my life now when I am 33. Yet I know that is right, biologically. I should have been in this shape 20 years ago - then by middle twenties I might have achieved happiness necessary to want to live. Maybe that would then make me settle and do my life's purpose as you neatly put it. But my life always sucked and I hated it. I hoped it would change, but it didn't. When I see those 14 year olds doing 360 misties (a snowboarding term for something really back-breaking) I can't avoid remembering that sickness-prone nervous wreck weakling with oil-stained glasses who was barely able to walk properly at that age. Huhuhu, oh yes, that was me, of course. I was a prototype of a nerd for whom everybody thought has a great future of the mad scientist ahead of him. Added to that was that my best friend was the national champ in ski slalom in Croatia, and he always got laid, while, obviously, his cartton character pal (me, should I say) stood there comprehending more and more how much is he screwed. And, yes, now when I finally reached my 14th year in terms of health, strength, body abilities and skills, and I do work as a snowboard instructor (I never learned to ride a bike, though), I should start degenerating? Thanks, buddy. Yup, I know I perhaps would never be able to do 720 spins and backflips, given that to train this I'd need a flexibility of a teenager, which despite of my looks and behavior, I lost (flexibility is the first to go; I just started doing Yoga to prevent this of ruining me further). I took a scientific approach in preserving my twenties (vitamins, proteins, dhea, creatine and other stuff). So, I will have fun despite all odds.

Because what would life be for if not for fun? I need something to hold on to if I am to accept life. Otherwise, why would I live? What is the purpose? Aha - to procreate. Well, on Sunday my good friend Mandy (she made that documentary about rape in Bosnia - Calling The Ghosts) came to ski at the mountain where I work. We got baked and she asked me why don't I get married. I said I don't wanna marry - what for? Well, to have kids - since it is so obvious that you like working with kids maybe you wouldn't mind having your own. Yup. But the good news are: I can't have kids. Something's fucked up with my sperm. This is besides that I do not want the responsibility and hassle of having kids with my present level of no-income day-to-day scrapping for survival. True, should I have money, I'd probably go for in-vitro or even adopt, but since I have no means for my own survival, why should I force bringing another human being in a such sad world of mine? Wouldn't that be ultimately irresponsible? And if the nature didn't want it to happen through natural means, maybe there is a reason. Well, how did I learn that? For years both in Yugoslavia and here I had a lot of unprotected sex with various girls - yet nobody ever got pregnant. Here I had a girlfriend, American, and she, just look at that bitch, secretly wanted to carry my child, so she dropped her contraception and she would never let me use a condom (and I did not fight that much against that decision of hers). We had sex for about 8 months on almost daily basis. Finally she grew terribly frustrated - but with no apparent reason to me - and she left me. Three days later she had sex with somebody else. She was relieved for she got pregnant instantly. Later, when we were passing through the picket lines shouting "You are delivering your child to Satan," she told me the whole story. Inside the clinic she answered to the nurse's question about her business there: "I came to deliver my child to Satan."

She used to complain to my bickering about the imperfections of an immigrant life in the U.S. saying that American dream is intended to be lived by the second generation, i.e. by those born here, while the immigrants are expected to live hard and work their ass off in order for their kids to prosper. Later, a friend of mine who doesn't give up trying to find me jobs, called me about the job opening at the Sperm Bank. They needed healthy young males with reasonable intelligence to come in and jerk-off. Each jerk-off is paid $50, and you can do it 10 times a month max. So - this is a $500 additoional monthly income, and it takes you less than 5 hours a month, i.e. you are effectively paid $100 an hour. I liked the idea, I went there, filed the forms. Then I was given a small jar and directed to the room with a comfortable recliner and a library of XXX rated magazines. Huhuhu, how interesting. I don't get excited at all just by watching pictures, and I like to jerk-off standing, not sitting in a recliner. So, I did it, returned the filled jar and they told me they'd call me in a day or two, to tell me if I was accepted. When they called they were very polite (assuming, perhaps, that one day I might be their customer) and they told me that my sperm is no good (some of it is deformed, some of it is dead, and the environment is a bit to acidic, was the lab low-down). This doesn't affect my sex life at all (except that some girls complained about the itchy filling caused by my sperm - I guess that's the lower pH of my sperm, hee, hee). But the bottom line is that I can't father kids in a natural way, meaning that I might not have the second generation to cheer, so I refuse to accept the immigrant reality of the American illusion. Instead I am living my unborn son's life. And I am doing everything to make him love life. Seeing him happy makes me happy, too. Should I convince my parents that I am their grandson from now on?

I found out that children that grew up in the stable environment grew to accept it as LIFE, and then when they moved on to live alone they had less problems accepting social realities as LIFE. Children who for some reason rejected their parents (it can be many reasons - sometimes parents do not even need to divorce to get rejected by their children), those children when they become adults they will reject society as well. Of course, this all happens to various degrees. Like I don't live in some shack in Montana mailing letter-bombs as Kaczinski did. Once the child loses faith in his/hers family, in the adult life he/she would never feel comfortable with society at large. Socialization is done through mutual acceptance: parents recognize what makes their children tick and they use that as a guide in their upbringing. But sometimes parents simply have no time to listen because they are busy chasing the dollar or deutschmark and they are busy with their own vanity and status. But kids hear and remember everything. And I am a kid who is blessed (or maybe cursed) with a particularly good and precise memory.

I was always the one who did things that others wouldn't. Once in high-school I jumped of the first floor clasroom window to skip the class just seconds before the teacher entered (and before I stayed in the doorway so she could see me walking into the classroom). While working for Radio 101 I actually stole a $1 million Chinese vase from Mimara museum and made a show about how their security sucked. Here in the States lacking the trouble, I go snowboarding and skydiving and surfing and bungee-jumping to re-create the adrenaline rush that I crave so much. Maybe I'd ski into the tree once like Sonny Bono, huhuhu.

My life is, although not willingly, of a "Career dissident": the Yugoslav Secret Police took my pasport away when I was 21, held me in detention, interrogated me sometimes for 12 hours in the row, followed me around, messed with my car (you know you drive on the highway and ooops suddenly one of your wheels wheel off). And before that when I was in high-school I hated myself and I hated my dad for not being able to comprehend how deeply I hate myself, so I drunk a lot and sometimes I just didn't come home for a while, sleeping in Maksimir park and in various doorways in the city. Then when I started to live alone I also started to write for Polet and produce shows for Radio 101. Visiting my mom in Germany I befriended Die Gruenen and Petra Kelly, and took their ideas to Yugoslavia, where I immediately joined Peace Movement in Slovenia with Jansa, Hren, Bavcar and co. The police in Zagreb didn't like that, so Radio 101 was forced to fire me. The rest of my story was that I wrote for Mladina and Omladinska Iskra and worked on establishing of Svarun (that is now Anti-War Campaign Croatia). Oh, and the fun part is that the detective who was heading the department that was interrogating me at the time is now chief of Tudjman's military police (Mate Lausic).

On globalization of communism

Communist party in the U.S. is a bunch of stalinist metuzalems, and btw there are like 40+ communist parties and each numbers like 11 people at average; don't expect them to do anything else but die soon. Who said that I am looking for ideas that work? I am looking for like Abby Hoffman type of ideas (remember throwing dollar bills on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange?). Should all New Yorkers decide not to pay the subway fare that would effecticely render transit cops helpless. Of course the city (or perhaps state in this case) would in a week come up with the suggestion that subway would be free from now on but the tax would be added on the sales tax of other products to cover the cost for running MTA. About a week later many people would voluntarily brake the anarchic picket-lines paying the fare under the protection of police.

Serbia's Milosevic's (in Belgrade people actually decided to stop paying the public transportation fare en masse main problem is that he (like Croatia's Tudjman, too) CAN'T rise any taxes any more: they are all like totally huge.

"Sarma" is ,as we all know, rolls of cabbage stuffed with minced meat. Now, somebody gets the meat and somebody gets to eat the cabbage. That's what I think of the "overall tax burden reduction" - which is not very different between what Clinton did and what Tudjman did (only Clinton, as usual, had a much better p.r.): even when it filters to the system it will mostly benefit the rich. You see - down here where I live in Spanish Harlem - I don't see much of those flashy numbers often displayed in the U.S. business journals about the unstoppable economic growth and eight years of bull market. People are poor. The social security office is overcrowded. They sell dope in the streets to supplement their meager minimum wage checks. Houses are in bad condition. Walls collapse. I have no reason to belive that Tudjman will do any better out of initially weaker economy.

Without unnecessary taxation the exporting corporations would end up with more profits. Those profits may be invested in new jobs, or may not. New jobs may be the desired decently paid ones, or they may be dead end minimum wage shitty ones. If the first is the case - the society will become on average more affluent (larger middle class) which would compensate the basic food price increases due to taxation (Croatia's VAT). In the opposite case the gap between rich and poor would widen and a social discontent may result. Of course, the government cannot solely be blamed for that. As it is very often stressed by Clinton's government here: corporations have responsibility to society, too. People who are workers 9-5 are consumers 5-10: if they are underpaid as workers they will be underspent as consumers. The society as a whole benefits from higher wages being paid to the great majority of employable citizens. But I am not sure that Croatian upstart export companies built by greedy individuals very alike to the "robber barons" of the earlier days of American capitalism, understand that equation.

I know many corporations here in the U.S. which do not understand that equation either, so to cut cost they move businesses to various countries that offer cheap labour. All sneakers that I have were made in China (yet they are Nike and Adidas). My snowboard gloves were made in Sri Lanka - it never snows there, so I wonder what the women who sew my gloves thought the white men need them for. And I know many on the workforce who are not satisfied with the hefty bonuses the executives distribute among themselves each year. Of the $100 price for the dress that sells in some of the large retail chains like Wal-Mart (which doesn't sell Marylin Manson, but DOES sell guns), the workers who actually made the dress get $6. So, why don't we move executives from the U.S. to let's say Croatia? Because the executives are the ones who do the moving, and workforce is being moved. Look, over 200 people on Wall Street on Christmass '97 collected bonuses in excess of $2 millions! Now, this is something that the "workforce" people and their families don't see over three generations of full time employment - and some stuffed suit ("institutional broker") takes this home in one year. What can it be that he has done so much more valuable for the humankind than the rest of us mere mortals to be awarded with such a large prize?

It is the responsibility for large sums of other people's money that they are paid for.

But I don't need anybody to be RESPONSIBLE for me and CONTROL my money - and on top of that get paid a nice premium for doing that. I'd be quite comfortable without any of that. So, I refuse to accept it and I write about it. I warn the system to leave me alone. In return I pledge peaceful co-existence. But, please, do not mess with me, because if I am angry I don't care what would happen to me while acomplishing a mission.

So far, this position worked fine for me.

A corporation is just one of many, and they all together make a humankind, don't they? So, by paying somebody extra for the benefit he created for a company, not for the benefit he did for the humankind establishes the rule of greater value of particular over universal, which is contrary to math laws. Therefore, our way of life is inherently doomed.

Consumers are the key word. And they are so far the only effective way to protest the overseas sweathops: boycott the barnd. Now, for that we need qualified consumers - somebody like studenst, who come from relative affluence and who still can afford to be seen in a sit-in. Therefore we got the United Students Against Sweatshops. This largest recent wave of student activism aims primarily to ban the clothing companies that do not pay their workers (wherever they are) a living wage from using campus logos. Students gathered support of many universities staff for their ideas and the industry is now on defensive. But once they "grow up", get a "real job" and families of their own this is going to evaporate - their employers even may include some gag rule about that in the contract. On the other hand, the unemployed and minimum wage paid laborers are awful consumers. So, they are better kept in prisons, as New York state just gathered. Extending of immense household credit to American citizens was done in order to build consumers out of underpaid workers. But how long can the U.S. banks give out credit cards? The interest rates are sky high - but so is the number of defaults and bankruptcy filings. People don't pay the debt. Banks are covered by insurance. Insurance is paid by the corporations. Which then pay less its workforce. Therefore it makes perfect sense to go in debt and then go bankrupt.

Some other sucker will pay for my default. However, in the case of MASSIVE default (there were more than 1 million personal bankruptcies in 1997, the U.S. citizen on average owes $7000 and the total US household debt exceeded the GNP of Great Britain) - nobody really yet knows what would happen. As for getting blacklisted, I am used to that. Citibank almost failed by overextending itself with bad loans to South American dictatorships. Then they gave Gen-Xers like me plenty of credit cards five years ago. Those cards came with 19.8% annual percentage rate on average. Correctly, they hoped that many of us would eventually land well paid jobs or open our own businissess and then keep theam afloat for about ten years paying off our debts. That actually happened and my case of default is perhaps just a pre-calculated loss.

Of course, somebody who grew up in a little village in China without a telephone, may have a different perspective on life than somebody who grew up in an American suburbian household with cable TV and Internet. Basically the KNOWLEDGE is the key. If everybody would have a knowledge of what a certain job should be paid and what rewards should it yield, then this would not be possible. Capital became international - yet labour remained confined to its national borders: and governments even stress the national stuff (patriotic values and other horseshit) very loudly to its lower classes, while rich take none of this really seriously. Marx failed at predicting the unified world workforce against particularized capitalist economies of nation-states. It happened exactly the opposite way: we have particularized nation-state workforce against the multinational corporations who freely move capital to the nation-state that is able to offer lower labour cost at the higher level of social peace and consumer confidence. Now there is a trick here: this is not that easy to achieve. Corporate capitalism wants also to sell its products - so the underpaid workers have to be able to buy stuff and still they have to "know their place", i.e. not to rebel if they can't buy all the gadgets.

Places like China are PERFECT. It is a huge market. And the population is for centuries trained to be docile and content. But what would the world do with the excessive labor force in the western world then? I'll tell you what they are ALREADY doing here - and what is not a perfect prescription for future social peace - the largest growth industry in New York state is building PRISONS. Upstate every month there is a new prison opened. So, that the unemployed upstate white trash can get jobs as guards. Of course, then they need prisoners. That's why they invented mandatory minimums. Now, each particular felony charge carries a particular mandatory punishment, reducing the role of the judge to a rubber-stamp approval of the prosecutorial decision. The possibility of putting more people in prison gives prosecutors an incentive to try more cases and it gives police the incentive to arrest more people. It also gives prosecutors powers unforseen by the Constitution: he can strike deals with arrested people to lessen their charges (i.e. to shorten their mandatory time in jail) in exchange for them snitching upon others. The particularly nauseating part is that some prosecutors actually encourage perjury in effort to obatin even more convictions on their prosecutorial record, and their power is left unchecked by the justice system of this country. This is not what America should be about.

Prisoners are then collected (mostly among colored minorities) in inner city slums of New York City, where mayor Giuliani is just bringing MORE cops (the police presence around where I live is already more pronounced than it EVER was in former Yugoslavia). Arrests are done increasingly for non-violent offenses - because there is a DROP in real crime-rate in New York: people go in prison for possession of marijuana (mandatory), speeding, driving intoxicated, grafitti spraying, jaywalking, public nuisance, dubious frauds, but mostly because they are unemployed or poor. On Howard Stern show (August 1999) there was a short notice how some kids beat up other kid because he did not want to give up his cell phone. Stealing a cell phone is stupid, useless crime, of course. But how would a teenager know that? He is brought up in the society where every billboard screams at you that you NEED to HAVE certain things to be considered worth living. And then sometimes you can't have them, and you can't understand that - why some kids can have and you can't have them? You don't wanna be worse than others. You don't wanna feel that way. So, you steal them. That's the first reasonably natural impulse, isn't it? So, you end up in jail. The New York state employs the upstate poor white as guards and the city poor blacks and hispanics as prisoners.

I say "employs", because the new prisons are going to be PROFITABLE. No more life of idle work-outs and bad television: the prisons are going to produce stuff - bags, gloves, etc. - prisoners are paid some silly wage that reminds of what workers are paid in Indonesia, and the product is sold in the open market. Not only that the problem of unemployment is solved, but also products Made in U.S. are again competitive because of reduced labour costs. This, of course, force the workforce to work for lower wages or be unemployed and poor, forcing them into crime. In South Georgia a recycling plant laid off 50 workers. 35 of 50 took that job to get off welfare. Now they are back on welfare. The workers were replaced with cheaper prison laborers. What is the message? If you want a job, you have to comit a crime and you'll get to work as a prisoner for the fraction of the livable wage, so that fat cats of the U.S. can get even fatter. In 1891, when the Tennessee Coal Company locked out all of its union workers for them refusing to renounce their union membership, replacing them with convicts, the mine workers stormed the prison, released the convicts and burned the prison to the ground. This "legal" action led the State to discontinue the practice of hiring out inmates. In the past 100 years however the State acquired much more power over the People in the U.S. and such an action today, unfortunately, is not possible. Today prisoners are hired by TWA (they book flights), Microsoft (they pack Windows software, how unsurprising), AT&T (telemarketing), Honda (manufacturing), Toys'R'Us (cleaning and stocking), and money managers like Allstate, Merrill Lynch and Shearson Lehman are investing in prospects of private prisons. Soon, perhaps the prison stocks will become the new hot item on the Wall Street.

Is the U.S. actually taking cues from China? Or is it vice versa? This is slave labour! And the methods of coercion are the same. In China's slave labour prisons the stun guns (high voltage battons) were introduced as soon as China opened to the West: the stun gun technology was the FIRST thing Chinese government imported and copied! The so-called less-lethal weapons are a best-seller in the U.S., too: the newest in the market is a $600 REACT stun-belt - prisoners wear the belt and the guard holds the remote control. At any time guard may punish the prisoner with the release of high voltage electricity from the belt which would in 8 seconds reduce the prisoner to the pile of jello on the floor that shitted his pants. Yet, China, with five-fold U.S. population, the largest totalitarian state in history, often cited for its human rights abuses, still has a half-million prisoners LESS than the U.S., the world's preeminent democracy, that so much loves to educate the Chinese and others on human rights practices. The U.S. has 7 times more prisoners per capita than China: 2 million by the end of 1999, nearly 1% of total population. How possibly can that happen in the so-called free world? With bad laws passed by the lobbyists of the rich since 1980: mandatory minimums, three strikes (that put minor offenders in prison for life), anti-drug abuse act (that doubled the federal prison population in six years). Since 1980, annual state spending on corrections went from $4.2B up to $19B, and California's (the first state to introduce "three strikes") backlog of arrest warrants (the number of arrests that have not been made for there's no room in the jails) now stands at 2.6 million - larger than the entire American prisoner population.

Today, the U.S. incarcerates seven times more people per capita than its main rival - communist China. A sharp increase in the incarceration rate in past two decades - prison population had grown 80% in the last decade (NYT, 11/02/03) - presented the system with four problems. What gets in, must come out...First, there is not enough prison guards, so many States decided to lower the required age for prison employees from 21 to 18 in order to meet the requirements of more prisoners. Second, there is not enough prison space - even with accelerated construction of new prisons, the demand can't be met - particularly in States with above average incarceration rate - like Louissiana and Alabama. Third, the social impact of broken families due to incarceration is felt: kids that grew up with one or both parents in prison are more likely to end there themselves, further burdening the system (the cost of incarceration is on average $20,000 per person a year - that's striking $40 billion dollars for 2 million prisoners, which could be better used for education and social services). Fourth, those who go in, will eventually come out one day, unless put to death, i.e. the increase of incarceration rate today, means more ex-cons back in society tommorow. With prisons NOT being expected to rehabilitate, but rather to PUNISH the person convicted of committing a crime, those who come out will be roughened up and angry, one may expect. Even that majority of people who were in for frivolous non-violent crimes, after they come out after long years of abuse, they might become violent and dangerous. Welcome to the U.S. from the movies like "Escape from NY" - because that's the future of the incarceration madness.

I will never understand why Marx put capitalism vs. communism believing that they are both "systems of ideas." Bad Hegel influence. Hegel was one who believed that the "burgeois" society was the ultimate achievement of mankind, and Marx disputed that on the basis of social injustices in early laisezz-fair capitalism. Marx understood that "capitalism" as a principle exists in all "systems" (slavery, feudalism, etc.). The "capitalist" laws are plain economic laws. Fighting them would be like fighting gravity. I used to write that Communists remind me of people who want to run a river up the mountain, and when the river refuses, they organize demonstrations against the river, shout at it, beat the shit out of it, and when the river still refuses, they build dams higher and higher to make the river behave acording to their decrees. One day the dams will burst, I wrote. And they did. But what Marx wanted is a class-less society. None of the communist states ever even considered such a nonsense. Party bosses were a class - very similar to the corporate executives in "capitalism" - communism in Russia and in Yugoslavia (or in China) was just a variation of capitalism - economy behaved in the framework of the same rules. Communists just took the monopoly and banned others from competing against them and then shielded themselves behind the thick veils of ideological doublespeak from their dumb followers. Yes, the social services were better than in the U.S. - but they were not better than in Sweden, and Sweden was never a communist country. Nor is Sweden ideal, either. The classless society would require much more than just a simple change of government - people have to change. The level of education of citizens, the environmental consciousness, the cultural set of values, the technological level of production - all that plays a role in achieving the classless society. Revolutions are actually a setback - what an irony, hahaha. As the society is more developed and people better educated and environmentally conscious the idea of clasless society would be more acceptable to them. Marx's biggest, yet so obvious mistake, was to believe that it is possible to FORCE people to live in a classless society. If you need to FORCE people to do anything, you would obviously need a class of enforcers, and there goes your classless society dream.

If you come up with something that you think it is a good idea - it is your duty to spread it through the world. If there is interest in your idea, other people would catch on and the idea will become a reality. If you don't do that - a good idea might be wasted. The only thing not permitted is to FORCE people to accept your idea.


Croatian government announced reduction of income taxes, as well. That remains to be seen - that somebody in the post-communist world reduces income taxes. That's the key American advantage over the rest of western economies: ability to pay its government bureaucracy with dirt low income taxes. But it is very difficult to introduce that system in a small country with a small work force - you see the government of any country is relatively of the same size - or you have to CUT IT, like maybe a small country does not need embassies in every corner of the world. There are also downsides to this system: other western economies have much better social services than the U.S. (health care, continuous education, welfare, pension plans, etc.) because they can pay it from higher income tax. In the U.S. if you get seriously sick while you are young and without a settled corporate job - you are FUCKED. But you hope and pray that would not happen (because it is statistically rare). Then people take this for normal - because they are brought up to believe that their cherished freedom will come with some inconveniences - I don't know if this will be the same in countries where people are used to be watched over from their craddle to their grave. Finally, in the immensely greedy form of American corporate capitalism, the boosting employment (more than 40% of employees younger than 35 work PART-TIME with no benefits or job-security) and reduced labour costs often cut beyond the fat: the non-union blue collar work is AFTER-TAXES paid LESS than anywhere in the industrialized, civilised world.

Crime problem? US? Not really. No more than any other country. It is just that media make spectacle of it here. America, compared to the Western-European capitalist democracies, looks a bit dishoveled, which is a direct consequence of the lax state control, and more people own guns than anywhere in Europe, but the levels of crime are statistically not much different than anywhere else. Still, we have largest per capita prisoner population of any developed country in the world and many states implement dead penalty, Texas executes more people in a year than all European states combined and has more people on the death row than all countries of former Soviet Union combined. In a way the state of human rights in the U.S. is comparable to Croatia, so therefore the remark of the Croatia's government member (Ljerka Mintas-Hodak) although ridiculed by the embassy was taken quite seriously by the State Department and by the human-rights watching no-governmental organizations, and State Department will have to make a human rights report on the U.S. state of human rights this year for the first time. And if you are rich you might not even go to prison, but be just held liable for civil penalty even for killing - like O.J. who is charged $12.5 millions for killing his wife and her lover. I, on the other hand, am going to prison for 4 days because I can't pay $80 for a speeding ticket. Each $20 equals a day in prison, the court clerk explained to me (Allamuchy county in New jersey). By that count O.J. would spend 1712 years and 120 days in prison if he could not pay the fine. Equal justice for all?

More than a third of the U.S. budget is spent to satisfy past military debt incured by the cold war stupidity. The so-called detente was actually a war of exhaustion. Soviet Union got their economy exhausted first and they lost the war. The U.S. won - but at a very high price. The U.S.(mostly through IMF), also, gave away money, plenty of money, and now the Uncle Sam goes around with the "you owe me" story from one country to the another - and all of those countries are corrupted little dictatorships where a lot of that money leaked to the pockets of officials (and stayed there). Indonesia is the most corrupt country in the world (according to Financial Times). They got the money and technology from GM to build American cars and then they built a factory in which they decided to build their own national brand car under the Korean license. GM was furious. First the Korean factory was bancrupted and divided (torn apart) between Japanese and European creditors. Then Indonesian car factory was left to die without parts, and then they were asked to pay back on their loans. They couldn't. I feel sorry for the people not for the government. Yugoslavia was not that corrupt like Indonesia, but it was heading there. Actually Yugoslavia did something interesting in the last ten years of Tito's rule: it cashed on its unique geopolitical strategic position in the cold war framework by taking more and more money from the West. Then, Tito died without a clear successor (Suharto has none, either). By the end of eighties republics were having a cold war between them in a struggle between their political leaders for the ultimate power. Yugoslavia became a weak, divided, easy prey. On top of that Berlin Wall was torn down, Soviet Union dissipated and Russia became a U.S. dependent from an enemy. There was no more cold war logic. Yugoslavia lost its strategic position which was oblivious to its politicians near-sightedly concentrated on their court battles. Milosevic perhaps believed that he actually will start the WW III with his nasty little dirty war. But he hasn't. The prized Tito's heartland of Yugoslavia - Bosnia (in the old Yugoslav military doctrine Bosnia was the place from which the rest of Yugoslavia would be defended in the case of either NATO or Warszaw pact attack, and 60% of military forces were stationed there) is now virtually a NATO protectorate, Serbs are cleansed from Croatian Krajina, Kosovo is for all practical purposes ruled by the KLA and Serbia is set back 50 years by NATO aerial bombing. The U.S. did the same under Reagan: they cashed in on their obvious invincibility by taking money from the rest of the world. Now, when it is the time to pay, they, instead of paying, try to prove the rest of the world their ultimate usefulness to the rest of the world, so that the other industrial nations would not force them to go belly up: therefore we have a continuous presence of Saddam Hussein and his anthrax spores as a threat that can be dealt away ONLY by use of American cruise missiles and stealth fighters armed with smart fire-and-forget gps guided bombs. And we have Slobodan Milosevic to keep Europe grateful for American military might. How long this story will you think hold up? When Iran was "bad" they armed Saddam - now when Iraq is "bad" they encourage opening relations with mullahs. That's ok. Scare tactics and diplomacy are far better than open warfare and I commend Clinton on that, but HOW LONG WILL THIS ALL HOLD UP? All of this falls appart when guys with names like Mike get nuts, load their shotgun, sit in their pick-up trucks and take a long ride inside the beltway.

I don't have heroes. I am taking him merely as an example. Existence is futile. We all die sometimes anyway. Actually, we start dying at the moment of our birth. It is just a question of pace and a question of do we have a good time dying or not. I am just saying that life is one big suprise. And I say that I HATE surprises. But if, like, the death catches you under an avalanche, that's not so bad, isn't it?