A letter writer to the London Times put his finger on it. “Can anybody explain to me,” he asked, “what is the difference between democracy in Zimbabwe and democracy in the European Union?”
In Zimbabwe, back in March, Robert Mugabe called an election which he was sure he would win. But despite widespread intimidation and vote rigging, he lost. His Zanu-PF party lost its majority in parliament, and Mugabe himself was defeated by Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential race.
But Mugabe refused to accept the result and organised a rerun. This time he made sure the result would be the right one.
The point the letter writer was making is that something similar keeps happening in European Union referendums. Whenever voters reject a proposal put forward by Europe’s political elite, they either get ignored, or they are told to vote again until they get it right. It happened to the Danes in 2000 when they rejected the Maastricht Treaty and a second referendum was called. The Irish then rejected the Nice Treaty in 2001 and had to have a rerun. And now it’s happening again after French, Dutch and Irish voters have rejected the Lisbon Treaty.
Note how Sarkozy manages to redefine the word “listen”:
Ireland will have to hold a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Michael Martin said President Sarkozy is coming to Ireland to ‘listen’, and not to impose any solutions.
And don’t you love how ignoring the wishes of the voters is now called “being more transparent and accountable”? Take a look:
The first reason is that the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and its successful implementation will pave the way for a more democratic and more transparent Union. The first reason is that the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and its successful implementation will pave the way for a more democratic and more transparent Union. We will be more accountable and responsive to our citizens. We will be more accountable and responsive to our citizens. And they will be better able to exercise their rights under the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Charter reinforces our Union of law. The Charter reinforces our Union of law.
Past experience suggests the Irish will either be told to vote again, or their government will find a pretext for signing a slightly-amended version of the treaty without calling another referendum.
I wonder if Mugabe is taking notes?
(Oh, and remember, Obama just isn’t funny!)
A man who was found with his head decapitated by a chainsaw was fighting to stay in a block of 70 flats in Hampshire cleared for redevelopment.
David Phyall, 50, was the last tenant at the Atlantic Housing Ltd housing association flats in Eastleigh.
His body was found by police on 5 July, who said his death was not suspicious. Post-mortem tests showed he died of a “complete transection of the neck”.
Not suspicious? Really?
It’s safe to annoy Catholics again.
Family man Gary Crutchley only wanted to take a picture of his children enjoying a day out.
But his innocent snaps of his sons on a slide ended with him being branded on the spot as a ‘pervert’.
The woman running the inflatable slide attempted to stop Mr Crutchley from taking pictures of his two youngest children Cory, aged seven, and Miles, five.
And when he pleaded his innocence, other families waiting in the queue also demanded he stop taking pictures.
Mr Crutchley – who had only photographed his own children – was so enraged that he fetched two policemen to confirm he had done nothing wrong.
He said today: ‘What is the world coming to when anybody seen with a camera is assumed to be doing things that they should not? ‘This parental paranoia is getting completely out of hand.
In a recent immigration court case involving Turkish Islamic Leader, Fetullah Gulen, US prosecutors exposed an illegal, covert, CIA operation involving the intentional Islamization of Central Asia. This operation has been ongoing since the fall of the Soviet Union in an ongoing Cold War to control the vast energy resources of the region – Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – estimated to be worth $3 trillion.
What happens if there’s a class war and only one side bothers to show up and fight it? That’s what happened over the last thirty years. There was a class war, and the rich won. Period. It’s over, they kicked our knees out from under us, put on their steel toed boots and spent the last thirty years telling us that they were going to trickle on us and we’re going to like it and beg for more.
Seems like hyperbole? It’s just the numbers. The top left shows the manufacturing wage earner’s hourly wages. Not “family income” which includes both of you going to work, but hourly wages. The only reason it’s goods producing is they go back longer, but other charts show the same pattern.
So, if you’re an ordinary slob, you haven’t had a raise in over 30 years. In fact, your real wage peaked over 30 years ago and it’s never recovered.
And yet another law enforcement officer proves clueless of the First Amendment.
This time it was a Johnson County Sheriff’s deputy, who said he “feared for his life”, when civilian Scott Conover snapped a photo of him with an IPhone during a traffic stop in Tennessee on June 6th.
A Johnson County sheriff’s deputy arrested Scott Conover for unlawful photography.
“He says you took a picture of me. It’s illegal to take a picture of a law enforcement officer,” said Conover.
From the pool report on Senator McCain’s stop and remarks in Phoenix today, by Adam Aigner-Treworgy of NBC News & National Journal Group:
“John McCain arrived at the Eggery in Central Phoenix with his wife Cindy at around 9 a.m. Decked out in French Country decor, the Eggery is a fairly typical breakfast/lunch restaurant with pitchers of coffee waiting at the table and porcelain animals lining the walls.
“He walked in, greeted some patrons at the bar and in a booth near the entrance and than walked into a back room at the restaurant. He shook some more hands and then sat at a table in the middle of the room with six other guests already awaiting him. One man who McCain greeted was part of group sitting along the back wall, who identified themselves as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. McCain said it was a wonderful organization.”
“I was concerned about a couple of steps that the Russian government took in the last several days. One was reducing the energy supplies to Czechoslovakia. Apparently that is in reaction to the Czech’s agreement with us concerning missile defense, and again some of the Russian now announcement they are now retargeting new targets, something they abandoned at the end of the Cold War, is also a concern. So we see the tensions between Russia and their neighbors, as well as Russia and the United States are somewhat increasing. We need to try to do everything we can to lessen those tensions including the tensions between Russia and the country of Georgia.” …
One small problem: Czechoslovakia is a country that hasn’t existed for the past 15 and a half years.
And none of the journalists noticed it, or bothered to ask for a clarification… great work, guys!
And this isn’t the first time either!
(update: the kind person who sent me the books admitted to adding that text himself… funny!)
Many of these contemporary conflicts involve insurgents, secessionists or even “resource-warriors”, like those in the oil-rich Niger Delta of Nigeria, who clash with governments. Rival politicians can be brought into open conflict by elections, such as in Kenya, or now Zimbabwe.
The new kinds of disputes involve non-traditional parties such as international mining or oil companies pitched against indigenous people, as well as national governments tackling more established terrorist groups. One study has shown that over the past 15 years military victories have resolved only 7.5% of conflicts, while negotiations have prevailed in 92% of cases; “the challenge is thus not being a skilful warrior but a skilful negotiator.”
Texas spent a nation-high $17 million last year for abstinence education programs that continue to stir debate about whether classes promoting virginity before marriage work in public schools.
Federal statistics in June showed that 52.9 percent of Texas students in ninth through 12th grades had sexual intercourse, compared with 47.8 nationally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported that Texas youths are less likely to use condoms.
Public schools in Texas are not required to offer sex education, but those that do must make the lessons abstinence-focused. Instructions about condoms are couched in terms of how often they fail, according to state law.
So how’s that working for you?
Anyway, it’s all about this attitude:
“Can you imagine being a parent and having your child come home and tell you all the ways they learned in school that you can (have sex)?” said Republican state Rep. Rob Eissler, chairman of the House Public Education Committee.
Actually, that would be great – assuming the kid also told me “.. and this is how you prevent disease and pregnancy!”
This process is really out of control now. The bottom line is the comprehensive bankruptcy of the United States. The Republican Party under George Bush will be known as the party that wrecked America (release 2.0). Painful as it is, Americans had better get a new “Dream” and fast. It better be a dream based on the way the universe actually works, which is to say an operating procedure run on earnest effort and truthfulness rather than merely trying to get something for nothing and wishing on stars. We might begin symbolically by evacuating Las Vegas and calling in an air strike on the loathsome place — to register our new reality-based attitude adjustment.
After that, we’ve got to get to work re-tooling all the everyday activities of life, including the way we grow our food, the way we raise and deploy capital, the way we do trade and manufacturing, the way we go from point A to point B, the way we educate children, the way we stay healthy, and the way we occupy the landscape. I know, it sounds like a lot, maybe too much. But grok this: we don’t have any choice if we want a plausible future on this portion of the North American continent.
Of course, none of that is likely to happen. Instead, and under the worst imaginable economic conditions, we’ll probably embark on a campaign to prop up the un-prop-up-able and sustain the unsustainable — that is, defend every status quo habit and behavior that we’re used to, whether it can be salvaged or not. Of course, this would be a fatal squandering of our dwindling resources, but it it tends, historically, to be the last act of the melodrama in any faltering empire.
The result, pretty soon into that process, will be social breakdown and political upheaval. Every tattoo freak out there who has been prepping for his own starring role in some kind of comic book armageddon will finally get his chance to shine. Lots of people will get hurt and starve. Property will change hands in a disorderly way. And at the end of this process an American corn-pone Hitler may be waiting to set everything and everyone straight.
The markets open in about an hour. Good luck everybody.
New Yorker cover The New Yorker maintains that the illustration on the cover of its current issue (above) is meant to satirize, not spread, the smears and rumors about Sen. Barack Obama — that he is an unpatriotic Muslim with terrorist sympathies who hates the American flag..
I take the editors at their word and await the upcoming cover in which they give the same ha-ha-isn’t-it-silly? treatment to the rotten things people say about John McCain: Say a cartoon showing him looking about 150 years old and spouting demented non-sequiturs in the middle of a violent temper tantrum while, in the corner, his wife is passed out next to a bottle of pills.
It’s only satire, right?