There is a new law on gender transition going through the final stages in Finland. The new law is to replace the previous one, that is 20 years old. The old law required that the person wanting to transit from one gender to a nother went through psychological evaluation, complex medical process and had to be sterile. The new law requires none of these things. It simply makes the entire thing into a self proclatory event.

The new gender will be changed to all official documents that mention gender and that’s it. Only adults may make the change for themselves.

Rather surprisingly the opposition to this new law from Conservative parliamentary representatives has been pointed at two very specific points in the law:

1. That young men might transition just to avoid mandatory military service.

2. That men might transition just to get to peek at public saunas on the womens side.

As you can see these issues are very Finnish in nature – and extremely stupid (wich is less surprising, considering what values their suggesters hold).

If a youth wishes to avoid military service, all they need to do is either serve in civil service duties, such as in a library, hospital, in the firedepartment, kindergarten, or old folks home, OR they can go total and refuse to serve at all in wich case they have to have a tribunal and carry a locator collar around their ankle for a year and stay at their home community for that period. They could also join Jehowas Wittnesses, who enjoy a special discompensation not to serve. Far easier options, than a change of their gender, with all included implications, I’m sure. Besides, if any person would be willing to use this as an evasion of military training, how effective combatant would they make anyway? This kind of stupidity, that the representatives have showed, reveals the malice in their nature. They do not seem to see military, or civic service as a communal thing done out of responsibility towards the common good, but as some sort of a punishment for having been born an able bodied man.

It is essentially of the same nature, as when some Conservatives demand pregnant women not to have an abortion because they need to be punished for having sex. As a punishment having been born a woman. As if punishment was the driving force of society.

The sauna issue is just as alien to reality. There are separate compartments for men and women in a lot of public saunas, but it is also not uncommon at all, that the Finns go to sauna totally naked together regardless of gender. By far most families do so. Groups of friends do so. Working buddies do so. University fraternies do so and so on and so on. Lots of people learn to know each other in sauna. If anyone missbehaves they are thrown out and are never wellcome again. We can not set laws based on every potential weirdo and imaginable perversion, to limit our lives. If anyone misbehaves in a public sauna, there are employees there to remove and ban them. If the misbehaviour is severe there are the police and judical systems to deal with such individuals. If a person does not want to be seen naked by anyone, or someone that might have sexual desire towards them, they have the option of not attending a public sauna. There are no laws to restrict lesbians attending female only saunas and any such would be impossible to enforce. What people feel inside their heads, what desires they have, are private matters, while how they behave can be restricted and limited.

You may think your particular god disaproves transgenderism and you may even find some confirmation to this from your holy scriptures (though I doubt it), but in a secular society nobody gets to make laws, that restrict your behaviour according to what they think your, or their own god disapproves. If you find it very important to live in a country, where this sort of thing is forbidden and the weather is mostly cold, like in Finland, you might want to consider moving to Russia.

Now, you may point out, as your opinion, that transgenderism is not natural, but we do not evaluate what is moral, or indeed set laws according to what is percieved “natural”, or not, but according to a harm vs. benefit analysis. As a phenomenon in human culture it is as ancient as gender roles are. We have record of stone age cultures, such as some Native American hunter gatherer groups, having had people transitioning from gender related roles. So, airline traffic, or driving a car are far less “natural” human behaviour. Do you want to forbid those?

You might claim transgenderism is harmfull, because it causes emotional trauma and that plastic surgery should not be used to repair mental problems. Be that as it may, I would call you out on hypocricy, if you were not demanding abolition of all plastic surgery, based on the same line of argumentation. In any case, the mental trauma driving some people to transition has already happened and we have no other treatment, than to let them be how they see and feel themselves. It is their private matter and if it affects others, so be it. If others get anxiety from the change in those individuals, then the problem is in the head of the person feeling anxiety and repairable by a change. Nobody is demanding anybody else transitions from their percieved gender. Ultimately this new law diminishes the pressure transitioning people may feel to take the step to have surgery, as it emphasises less of the physical gender and focuses on the emotional perception people have about themselves.

The entire phenomenon seems to stem from strict perceptions of gender roles. Stereotypes of behaviour indoctrinated to us from a very early age onwards. Pre-expectations on an individual based on nothing, but genital organs. As if those ultimately defined us, what and who we can be. In reality by far most differences percieved between the genders are cultural concepts. The differences that do exist are mostly averages. The biggest difference is, that no man can give birth and no woman can impregnate, but not all women give birth and not all men impregnate. In both groups you have plenty of people who could not, even if they would. Our masculinity and femininity are not defined by even these biggest of nominating differences, so in my opinion we should grow up about this issue and stop defining each other by such arbitrary ways of grouping people. These roles and expectations clearly cause harm and anxiety to a lot of people and not much good has come out of them yet. However, because the vast majority of us thinks the roles are important to them and provide a sense of identity to them, as if they had nothing more personal to build their identity on, the least we can do is to release others from superimposed roles they do not feel comfortable in.

In my opinion the gender identification in any official documents is pointless. Here in Finland we could just get rid of it and make military/civic service mandatory to all citizens.

Why has it failed the Russians so miserably?

An educated nation, that has been practicing democratic processes for over a hundred years and now look at them. The Duma of the tzar may not have been the most democratic system of governance, but it was a clear step forward in comparrison to the preceeding Feodalism. The Soviet Union was seen as an opposite to democracy in the West, but at it’s very core was an ideology of democracy. Communism is all about equality, but there can be no equality without equal right to descision making. The word “soviet” in the name of the country gives us a hint about the intention and practice of the revolutionaries, who founded the state. It refers to the local elected councils to whom the political power derived from the will of the people was supposed to come to. In reality though Russia remained a centrally governed empire, with well known results.

When the Soviet Union fell, there was surprizingly little violence. This was because it was dissolved by the people who led it. Not so much an uprising of the people. Sure there were demonstrations and even riots, but those were more about late salaries and general shortages of consumer goods. They were not suppressed with outright violence. Only in some fringe areas, like the Baltic states, was any of it about the indipendence and in that sense democracy. The dictatorial machine of violence had been gradually reduced since the death of Stalin and altough the time of Brezhnev saw little change in any direction, for he was the panultimate Conservative, when the changes finally came with the idealistic Gorbatshov, they merely opened the door for opportunistic populist Yeltsin.

I served in the Finnish military when the attempted coup against Yeltsin dissolved in violence. We were wary of what would follow. Everybody was relieved when a sort of stability was established relatively soon after the “piss-poor insurrection. Yet, what was established then to resolve the crisis was a nother centralization of power to one man.

Only a few years later the Communists were winning the elections. They stood long way a head of any competition according to all gallups. The West saw Yeltsin as representing democracy and decided to dabble in the elections to ensure a continuation of democracy. Yeltsin got massive loans for his campaign. In addition the Russian state supported his campaign with astronomical amounts of money. This money was cumulated by handing shares of state owned companies to private banks against loans. In effect, the banks loaned the funds of the government owned companies to the government and got paid by owning those companies hence forth. Such is the process of “privatization”. That is how the oligarchs of Russia emerged. In the West we call ours more politely just Capitalists. Yeltsin – a seriously ill man, whose condition was kept a secret – won, and increased the presidential powers.

Putin came out of nowhere. He was an opportunist and a populist, like Yeltsin before him. He was also a nationalist. Large number of Russians had risen economically since the fall of the Soviet Union, but even more had fallen. The populist promised to put the rampant oligarchs into order and he did. He made one of them into an example, a warning to the others, while the others were put to his service. This increased his popularity and made it more acceptable to ever increase his personal power. Like any good nationalist populist, Putin has promised to protect the society from corruption of values. He has made a league with the church and insured any rival religious groups are seen almost as enemies of the people, or Western agents – not such an alien role to some of these during the Cold War. At the same time the very real financial corruption, ever present in Russian society, has reached unpresidented heights. As is evident from the state of the Russian military. Capitalistic self interrest has been the top most value for the last thirty years.

Russians have for generations learned to fear a change, as it has brought them mainly insecurity. This insecurity begets Conservatism, with wich comes Authoritarianism, since it is based on the traditional values of Patriarchy, loyalty and obidience. Their democratic choises have brought turmoil, while their authoritarian leaders have offered stability – stability of misery to many, but relative wellbeing to others.

Are there nations, that are simply too immature to decide for themselves, to weild that power and end up giving it to some self centered authoritarian leaders, or is it, that democracy is fragile everywhere and we need to protect it ever from threats of authoritarianism, totalitarianism, oligarchy and ignorance?

Has Democracy failed the Russians, or have they failed it, like they appear very much failed at Socialism and Communism?

I have recently run into several people, who tell me they do not trust the media. By what they mean big media companies, networks and newspapers. It appears many of them have lost faith in these institutions over a course of fairly short time span. One of them expressed, that the young do not believe everything they are fed by the media, but I do not think this is an age related issue, as such.

Many people who come from countries, where authoritarian governments controll the media, by persecuting and even killing journalists not abiding to the official “truth” have a somewhat justified mistrust in the major media. Many such people live in exile in countries where they do not understand the language to follow local or even international news. To some of them the customs and majority values are so alien, that despite of having a safe haven in their adopted country, they find hard to fit in and trust all what the surrounding culture has to offer. For such people news often come from social media, or other rumours in their immideate family, friends and compatriots in exile.

Today, however, there are plenty of people who have grown up in western democracies, where freedom of speech and freedom of press have been long held in high esteem. Why have people in such conditions lost their trust in media houses, that boast long tradition of journalistic integrity? Is it because of the modern digital format of news, that they are so rushed, that the fact checking is at times poor before publishing? Could it be, that in commercial interrests competition has led to a point where some news providers are more interrested in providing people with a perspective to news items a certain major consumer segment would like to hear, as opposed, or at least regardless, of the facts? It is easy to provide people angles to news items, that fulfil their expectations, preconceptions, fears and biases. The world is changing rapidly and nowhere is this more evident, than in the news. Especially to people who hold values simply assumed from parents and never dared, or having had tools to test them, is this constant change a frightenin thing. For as our understanding grows as we learn new things, it affects the facts we know, knew, or thought we knew and thus our values.

Where do the people who have lost their trust to “the mainstream media” get their newsfeed then? Entertainment tangles a lot in everyday news events. It is often produced with commercial interrest, or a value based political interrest and paints a very specific picture of events and public figures. As far as I can tell to many their newsfeed comes from all sorts of politically inclined small time media, whose commitment to factual reporting and resources to actually achieve any are limited, or unknown, but replaced with all the more political fervour. Some of their news appear to come from the social media rumours and as the digital platform offers a chance for any opinionated moron – myself included – to spout out their version of the “truth”, these two sources get mixed up.

Not just the people who identify as an atheist – absolutely everyone is an atheist. You, me, everybody.

The Jew is an atheist about every other god exept the god of Abraham. The Christian is an atheist about Allah and the Muslim about Jesus. Even the most liberal minded polytheist, who accepts as gods gods they have never even heard of and thinks that all the gods in the world are mere manifestations of the same divinity, is an atheist about the versions of monotheistic gods, that demand they are the one and only god there is. Simply because the polytheist does not believe in that sort of god. Most people do not even believe in most versions of the gods they profess to believe in, exept perhaps on the most vague terms. When people get into specifics about the gods they do believe in, that is when the suspension of disbelief starts to crumble in the mind of the other person. Does this make the term atheist irrelevant? It does not.

We use the word atheist to describe a person who does not believe in any gods. However, it should be noticed, that it is our shared disbelief in all sorts of gods, that is the unifying factor between all of us and thus the right to not believe in the other man’s god is important to all of us. As such, it should also remind us that for the same reason laws must not be passed based on the alledged opinion, or authority of any gods, but based on the ethical evaluation of secular reasoning for harm and benefit of action, or inaction. If the gods are reasonable, they agree with such secular morals, if not, then to hell with them.

Especially now with the pandemic of Covid-19 the subject of freedom has surfaced about the liberty of the individual to refuse to take a vaccination. Already in 1830 the tsar of the Russian Empire and grand duke of Finland opposed forced vaccination, when the Finnish administrator of medicine suggested, that the Finns were not taking enough vaccinations to repell the smallpox. In them days, when the tsar said something, then it really was not just some sort of wish, but his high command and it was followed decisevely. The tsar argued, that such a forced action would have been against the law of the land. I guess he was a fairly liberal minded tsar.

The campaign against smallpox did not go well. Only about 60% of the people in Finland had taken the vaccination and further enlightment of the people on the subject, despite the efforts of the state Lutheran church and it’s local priesthood, did not come to fruition. Eventually in 1883 a nother tsar yilded to the demands of medical personnel and a law was set, that that those refusing vaccinations would suffer to pay a fine. In some hundred years from that the smallpox was declared a defeated disease in the world.

Of course it was not simple as that. The fine however, led to the increase of vaccination in this small dukedome – soon to become a nation – to some 80%, wich was enough to form herd immunity. The reasons for people to refuse the vaccination in them days were mainly about the ignorance and fear, but also the difficulties in long distances, when many in the rural areas lived far away from any doctors, let alone vaccinations. The distances and isolated small communities had also protected people and that was one of the reasons why it was at the same time hard to reach the herd immunity, but also the treshold to reach it was fairly low and 80% was enough. The struggle to eradicate the disease alltogether was not fought in one small country, but was a global effort, altough this small country was at the forefront of the struggle at one time. In many ways the Dukedome of Finland was a training ground for many liberal and less than liberal policies, the tsars wanted to first test out before putting them into action among the larger population of the Empire and since many of those new policies were in the end movement towards a better society, Finland benefited from them.

Liberty is a great ideal and we should drive towards it, but when we are talking about it, we should always consider it within context. The most important context being, who gets to do what to whom. It should not be the liberty of anyone to exploit others.

Today some of the most voulnerable people in modern society have been subjected to a campaign of fear against vaccinations. All sorts of vaccinations. There is miss- and dissinformation readily awailable to satisfy the preconceptions of the unscientificly minded – who are (I am sorry to say) prone to believe in their own preconceptions, because they have no method to evaluate reality around them, exept by their own bias and values not based on cause and effect analysis as much as just behaviorial models. The false information on about any subject from the shape of the world to the age of the world and the reliability of vaccinations is to be found from the internet right beside the actual and researched information, but often in much easier format to assume and approach, relying in on and mixed with traditional values and indeed the fears of people.

The negative claims, as I have run into, about vaccinations are based on both obvious lies, such as that they cause the most bizarre side effects, or even are part of some plot to plant surveilance devices on people (as if most of those people did not already carry a smart phone in their pocket) and on precisely the sort of black and white thinking, that makes people voulnerable to propaganda. By making the as such true claim, that the vaccinations are not foolproof, or even not nearly as effective as we would hope for, simple people can be somehow persuaded to flip the scales all the way to think they are not only uneffective, but down right dangerous by the Russian troll set out to cause confusion and polarization in western societies and by the political populist appealing to the most scared part of any population – because that is what they do to gain popularity. The general laziness of people to do anything combined with such fearmongering propaganda is a dangerous mix, even without the quak, who tries to sell his snakeoil. One of the most obvious misunderstandings about vaccinations seems to be based on the selfishness as a motivator of values in general. The limited scope of thinking, that oneself may not directly benefit from being vaccinated. Vaccinations however, are based very much on the protection we give to each other as members of a society, not only to ourselves as individuals, wich is why it is important for young healthy people to get vaccinations to diseases, that are mostly dangerous to the old and frail.

As a result, of political propaganda the number of various vaccinations, such as even the one against measles, has gone down and naturally the number of cases has gone up. A very dangerous development both to health and to democracy. Because the more insane a political movement gets, the more likely the supporters of it are going to become fanatical about it, and the fanaticism of a critical mass may move the goal posts of values and as such societies towards the sort of madness, that will make the world a worse place instead of better.

“They are trying to take our guns!”

In light of years of school shootings, staggering numbers of all sorts of gun related violence, and tragicomic amount of gun related accidental deaths, one might expect the US government and judical system might take a nother look at the regulatory laws on gun ownership. One could expect, that the frequent and needless deaths of children at least would have evoked a nationwide and fairly universal popular demand to set better laws to regulate guns more. Alas no. There are wide swathes of people with enough presence of mind to have done all this and even a few presidents who have tried to address the problem, but they have achieved hardly anything. Why?

“In countries where the government has all the guns, tyranny and dictatorship reign.”

The excuses people give in defence of their “constitutional right to bear arms” are mind numbingly stupid. These seem to be either appeals to personal insecurity due to a society where crime is abundant and every numbskul might be toting a piece, or insecurity about the chance that their own government might turn into tyranny and it needed to be opposed by the citizenry. One would think that the solution to the first source of fear would quite obviously involve attempts to develope a more efficient police force, a more equal society with less desperate people to turn to crime and at very least better regulation of guns, but for some reason there are plenty of people, who do not see any of those as solutions. Instead they would arm the teachers. The second problem stems from the time when the US constitution was written. It was made by revolutionaries wary of a global empire they were braking of from, in a time when the native nations of America were still strong and the firearms mentioned had not seen rapid development from the flintlock musket in over a hundred years. The “founding fathers” had very little reason to expect weaponry to change in the foreseeanble future. Certainly they could not pass laws concerning modern automatic firearms, or what the future may hold for us in that regard. Their concern about armed militias was a question of federal army being too weak to protect the land but powerfull enough to set up a dictatorship. The modern US military is one of the most powerfull and certainly the most expensive armed forces on the planet. It really does not require any help from some random militias and even less from some individual gun owners. None of the reasons it remains unused to set up a dictatorship in the USA is a deterrence of the abundance of gun owners in the country. Any insurrection based on the efforts of random dudes weilding their AR-15 rifles would propably be fairly one sided and short lived.

“Criminals can always get illegal guns.”

Where do illegal guns come from? They were all at some point legal. There are no hidden factories making illegal guns from scrap metal anywhere. Many illegal guns are left over from wars and smuggled across borders. Those are mostly military grade assault weapons professional criminals use, but weapons smuggling is a risky business, though profitable. But hey, why make aquiring guns difficult for the would be criminal? Just sell them what they want at the local supermarket. Many illegal guns come from burglaries. A weapon in the house is not a deterrence, rather an incentive for a burglary, even in places where anybody can just step into a shop and buy one without any backround checks. Just like jewellery is an incentive for burglary in places where they are readily awailable in shops. The guns used at school shootings are however hardly ever illegal. The disturbed individuals who decide to commit a suicide by proxy and go to a school, or some other public place to shoot at some innocent bystanders most often got their assault weapons legally from the shelf of a store, or from some relative or other who had their guns legally even though they were happles enough to keep their automatic guns not in locked steel cabinets (as required in many countries) but at something like their night desk – I guess for children to find and play with it.

“from my dead cold hands…”

From the excuses given to not restrict gun ownership in the USA it becomes obvious, that the underlying reasons come from fear. That makes the discussion difficult, because the people who defend the all extending “right” to bear arms do it from a deeply emotional standpoint. They have abandoned reason to the extent, that they do not want to discuss various options, rather their view is this fierce black and white set up, where the options are reduced to everybody should be able to have a gun, or none at all. Their world seems to not hold the option of restricting guns from people who obviously can not handle the responsibility of carrying kone . This raises the question of how many of them are so dangerous imbecils, that indeed they do have every right to fear the possibility of being the type of people who would and should not be allowed to own a gun, if ever the licence to carry a gun (as in the rest of the western countries) was restricted.

Finland has now applied to join NATO. Honestly I would not have guessed this just few months ago. Not even despite the Russian invasion and annexation of the Crimean peninsular. All my adult life this issue has been discussed as if the decision would only be made after a referendum and joining NATO was never very popular for rather obvious reasons. We are a self reliant nation and keeping good relations to our eastern neighbour has been a political and economic virtue. The last time Finland relied on western help it all went sour fast. When Finland was attacked in the Winter War, western powers promised to help, but what ever help came, it was too little too late. When the fighting stopped Britain had the nerve to ask back the tanks only half of wich (some 30 in total) had been delivered, even though Finland had paid for them. Then Finland found itself in the same camp with Nazi-Germany, all the while the western powers had failed to stand up to their assurances of protection to Poland. Eventually Finns had to drive out the Nazies.

NATO has appeared as belligerent and obsolete alliance of not equal partners. The USA has played the role of leader, simply because it is the biggest spender. Some of her presidents have appeared as not at all reliable partners and indeed it is a country that openly declares wars appealing to its “interrests abroad”. Often those interrests are of economic nature to benefit their super rich capitalists (oligarchs). During the Trump administration the popularity of joining NATO hit the bottom in Finland because he – deliberately, or by sheer ignorance and stupidity – presented himself as an unpredictable type of leader. To any enemies, that may seem dangerous, but to all allies it appears as unreliable. Finland is and has been an ally of both the US and NATO as a peace time partner, but not a member of an alliance. The Finnish military has sought to unify it’s equipment and methods of leadership to those used by other western countries. Partly to be ready, if the desicion to join NATO was ever made, but also just to be able to better work in international joint operations, such as in Afganistan (and what a success that turned out to be). A lot of cheap solid and reliable weaponry has been bought from the Soviet Union, especially before her fall and from Germany after that, when Finland emphasized neutrality as a means of survival policy, but it also allowed us a role as a mediator and a dealer of peace. Finnish soldiers have succesfully acted as UN peacekeepers around the globe, while militaries of major powers have failed to bring peace, or even victories over smaller developing countries. Politically Finland has “kept the doors open for joining” for decades, but because of the unpopularity of it, it has not looked to join into NATO.

Suddenly everything changed. The Russians invaded Ukraine with the most absurd and obscure excuses. Any one of those could have been used to justify an attack on Finland. The general opinion turned totally around and media stopped referring to NATO as a military alliance, rather they now speak of it in terms of defensive alliance.

I guess it is ultimately a good thing, that the Russians finally forced us to make this desicion and in so rapid timespan, because now there seems to be a political and national consensus on an issue, that has divided us for ages and could have turned into an ugly cause for polarization, if a referendum had been organized and people would have joined their identities to one or the other side. Ironically one of the Russian excuses least absurd for their invasion was to stop eastward expansion of NATO. If and when Finland enters the coalition, Finland will become the frontline and battleground for any possible future war between Russia and NATO. A problem most Finns seem to have not thought. Putin has responded minimally only by saying that the joining is a “mistake” on part of Finland and that it is not important, because Finland was already a partner of the NATO. Of course, that is what the Kreml has to say, because otherwise they would appear as total nincompoops for not anticipating this development and especially so as their forces are tied in Ukraine. For the attack there they had to take units of their standing army from Finnish border. In that sense the war in Ukraine has provided Finland a unique opportunity to join NATO.

What remains to be seen, is wether Turkey is going to let Finland join and how will Russia respond. The current Finnish coalition government consisting mainly of socialists and the greens, is not likely to compromise our understanding of human rights and both Finnish and international law by handing Kurds to Turkey just because they are regarded terrorists by the Turks.

The great victory over the Third Reich and end of that Fascist regime in Europe deserves remembering. The Russians still do celebrate, but do they remember what it was, that was overcome all those decades ago?

President Putin has been throwing around accusations of Fascism and demanded for some obscure “de-nazification” of Ukraine. If he really was so posed against Nazies, he could have started at a lot closer to home, like for example from the founder and boss of Putins own private military contractor mr. “Wagner” of Wagner mercenaries (Russian equivalent of Blackwater) who is an unashamed Neo-Nazi and even has tatooed a couple of runic s-letters on his neck. Or perhaps the president could have looked for a fascist even closer, simply by looking into a mirror. For what else is it, if not Fascism, pure and simple, that there hardly is any free press in Russia and that dissidents will be murdered? All the traditional values he has appealed to are at core more or less Fascistic, because they are against plurality and the individual freedom of the person. His vision of family values is an attack against sexual minorities and the equality of women.

The casus belli of the war in Ukraine is bogus and ordinary Russians should be able to see that. Do they? Sometimes it seems, that every time Russians as a nation have to make a choise between two options, they invariably choose the worst one. Authoritarianism over democracy again and again. However encrusted the Russian media is by propaganda, they must see, that their president is engaged in crazy talk that has almost no connection to the real world.

One thing the Russians hate is a perception of a weak leader. They loved their Brezhnev for pumping up their military budget at the cost of everything else, but they hated Gorbatshov for stating out loud the obvious, that they had failed at building the Communist state. The Russians have ousted their rulers before because of lost, or badly going wars. Perhaps they will now. Though l doubt it.

The internet has enabled the fast spreading of all sorts of conspiracy theories, from the moonlandings being staged to evolution theory being a lie set against religious faith and from flat earthers to the Q-onanists starting, from the “Pizza-Gate” that must have originally been a joke, growing into a political movement, that tried to overthrow the US government.

Last few years have seen the spread of anti-vaccination dis- and misinformation. Now the very same social media networks (mostly consisting of happless individuals and not the members of some grand conspiracy) have spread obscure claims about the war in Ukraine. We are looking at fairly obvious Russian propaganda with made up claims about US funded biology laboratories in Ukraine. The idea is to sell supsettible people in the West some vague justification for the Russian agression. While there are such laboratories in Ukraine, they are not designing biological weapons, as claimed by these rumours. If they were, just about the most stupid thing to do, would be to attack them with missiles, like the very same social media rumours claim Russians to have done, because that would risk compromizing the facilities and the alledged bio-weapons to escape and spread among the population. Instead of precision strikes on labs creating WMD, we have seen Russian missiles and artillery hit civillian housing, railway stations and theatres full of people.

The Russian military may be faltering, because their plans of attack have been made on bad intel about the ability of the Russian standing army and on the patriotism of the Ukrainan people. However, their “troll factories” have fared far better in charting out the most voulnerable element in western civilization. They are the disgruntled conservative right-wingers under populist political influence. People who demand their very freedom of speech is threatened if anybody questions their opinions. Opinions based on hearsay, rumours and propaganda of their irrisponsible leaders, who have a tendency to appeal to the worst of human emotions, such as base fear in the issue of immigration. They have rendered the whole question into a non discussable form, because it has given the nationalists and “ethno-nationalists” (racists) somehing to identify to and thus they cannot face it without a volume of emotion.

The nationalist conservatives are perfect victims for this sort of influencing, because their position tells any intelligent individual, that their obviously clumsy use of logic has led them to the dead end of tribal moralism. This means they already have a diminished ability to recognise it when they are fed propaganda, or when they are used to further obscure political agenda, or even personal ambition of a populist leader. They are perfect victims for this sort of propaganda also because they feel disenfranchsed, as if robbed of the wonderful life described in commercials. No expensive car that gives a sesation of liberty (in a real life traffic jam). No beautiful body, or spouse to wich hang all those fashionable clothes on, just to show the neighbours. They are like some silly atavists, or remnants of a bygone era, that promised them priviledges based on accident of birth to a particular nation, or skin colour, that never came to be and who else to blame, but those who oppose priviledges and strive for equality.

There are, of course, other as easy target audiences, like people who have interrest for alternative “medical” treatments. Or even some people on the fringes of the political left, who have become disappointed at western democracies using power & influence to further capitalist interrests.

The alternative “medicine” is a conceptual trap. It often draws people who desire hope when facing a malady, or just the fear of one, that the medical science has no remedy for. This desperation makes them put aside scientific facts and opens the door for all sorts of “alternative facts”. Usually none of wich are facts at all.

To Putin it has been an ongoing campaing to undermine western democracies, because their succes sugsets, that his authoritarian leadership might not be the best option. He has supported the nationalist conservatives (often referred to as the far-right in Europe), as they do share his values, like homophobia, position of both church and women within the society and so forth. Mostly fascistic, anti-humanist stuff. Also because they sport the fading fossil fuel industry, on wich Russia depends. Mainly though because these movements are led by opportunistic populists who court with authoritarianism (because they have no moral compas to tell them why it is wrong) and because, win or lose, such behaviour undermines democracy. If the populists lose elections, they may continue growing by spreading evemore discontent and spreading lies, if they win they have more power to disrupt the society and when they ultimately fail to fullfill their promises, it only works to create more distrust in politics and democracy.

Ultimately democracy and the truth may prove to be more durable than Putin would want them to be. The Russians might get onto the streets and get rid of this authoritarian leader because of a failed war. They have done it before. Let us hope, that if they do, they shall not fall under yet another authoritarian leader.

Recently I wrote about an oncoming trial and about some international reactions to it in my previous post the Religious Rights. Now there is more. A nother international player has made a big entrance to the play. The Citizen Go – an ultra-conservative advocacy group, based originally in Spain – has started bombarding the Finnish Justice Department with letters. In addition they tell us, that they have collected some 200 000 names in defence of the accused. Altough, this has not been confirmed, since the memory stick by wich these names have been sent to the Finnish Justice Department is still being processed for potential viruses. The office of the Finnish National Prosecutor has recieved some 1600 letters, each with approximately 100 signatures, that demand that former minister and Parliamentary Representative Päivi Räsänen would not be condemned to prison for her (rather vile) Christian opinions about homosexuals.

The loathsome and underhanded nature of the right-wing ultra-conservative religious groups is well demonstrated by this, as in real life there is no danger whatsoever, that Päivi Räsänen would serve jail time as a result of the prosecutions she is facing. The most severe punishment – if found guilty – would be for her to pay fines. If the Citizen Go does not know this fact about the trial they dample in, it is extremely poor and soddy work from them. However, it seems much more likelier, that they are just using poor old Päivi (who might well be enjoying her position as a martyr for her cause) for their own ends to make up statistics to show how threatened the Christian conservative world view alledgedly is and how they are supposedly persecuted, when in fact – as in this court case – they are only being limited in their attempts to attack the rights of others. It seems the Citizen Go has simply lied, or deliberately “misinformed” the 200 000 people, if these even exist, into subscribing a petition for much more severe sounding punishment. It might be, that even the supporters of the Christian right might not be interrested in signing a petition for some obscure person in an obscure country to not be fined for speaking their Christian opinions aloud in public. So, I guess lying for Jesus to his supporters (once again) was seen as needed in this case.

This entire affair has not yet enjoyed much public attention, or interrest here in Finland, other than possibly within the Christian conservative minority. I guess, it does not really make good publicity for them here, since the larger Finnish public would not react well to the silly petitions about threatening prison sentence, wich simply does not exist.