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The leaders who prefer not to lead

Gavin Hewitt | 09:42 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010

zapatero595a.jpg

After a recent visit to see the Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi, the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, said "economic activity is not a national, but a European affair". It sounded like a way of removing responsibility from his shoulders, as if the economy was no longer a matter for him.

I could not imagine the Turkish prime minister telling his voters that economic activity was no longer a Turkish affair. I doubt, too, whether Stephen Harper would so easily suggest that economic activity was no longer a Canadian affair.

The Spanish prime minister, however, has made a habit of allowing others to set his agenda. After weeks of watching Greece head towards bankruptcy, President Obama phoned the Spanish leader and demanded "resolute action" over the Spanish deficit. Sure enough, Mr Zapatero agreed to cut public sector wages by 5% and he announced 15bn euros (£13bn) of austerity measures. The week before he had said the economy did not require any "drastic adjustment".

Many voices pointed out that debt was only one element of the crisis in the euro. There was a lack of growth and a difference in competitiveness between countries like Spain and Germany. So the IMF said Spain "must reform its labour laws". It pointed out what every commentator knew - that the Spanish "labour market was not working". Now, with more than 40% of 16-25 year olds unemployed, it was not difficult to see that Spain needed to make it easier to hire and fire workers. Sure enough, after the IMF intervention, Mr Zapatero moved to reform Spanish labour laws.

For weeks now, rumours have circulated that there are problems in the Spanish banking system. On 17 June the Spanish Central Bank said it would release the results of "stress tests" on Spanish banks. Mr Zapatero has become an enthusiastic stress-tester.

In 2006, Spain started building more homes than the UK, France and Italy combined. That was the Spanish bubble that could have been reined in. Even the finance minister warned of the dangers of free-spending. The government could have turned off the spending tap but it chose not to.

A former Spanish Minister Jordi Sevilla made this observation: "The government made a real mistake in being late in recognising the crisis, and continues to make a mistake in the drip by drip measures to solve it."

Mr Zapatero has taken a stand against "machismo", but he gives the impression of being a pack politician who seeks the safety of the shoal. He likes the international embrace, where he can take cover in the EU or the G20.

There are other politicians who are always talking of global solutions and sometimes that is clearly the case. But as the American politician Thomas (Tip) O'Neill once famously said, "all politics is local".

That is the difficulty for the EU's leaders who are enforcing an age of austerity. The temptation is to say it's a European matter, with more and more decisions being taken at EU level - but the voters may not see it that way. An old instinct may kick in. Leaders are there to lead.

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  • 1. At 10:53am on 21 Jun 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    Marcus is going to love your shoal comparison.

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  • 2. At 11:33am on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Zapatero means 'cobbler' in Spanish.


    No wonder he waits for another shoe to drop before he repairs the first one.


    And as for fighting 'machismo'...

    Anybody, including their half-blind grandmother can see that Zapatero lacks testicular fortitude.

    [In a American portal I'd simply write 'BALLS'.]

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  • 3. At 11:48am on 21 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    I am not sure I have ever seen a leader of a country showing themselves as such a big girl's blouse. oO

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  • 4. At 11:51am on 21 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    Oh god.....

    I am suddenly hit with the mental image of Zapatero crying "Leave Britney alone!"...



    I worry about my mind sometimes.

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  • 5. At 12:02pm on 21 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Gavin - a very good piece.

    Freeman - rofl.

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  • 6. At 12:04pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Gavin, the next stop Jose Manuel Barroso's native land - Portugal? ;)

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  • 7. At 12:11pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #3

    "I wear high heels, suspenders and a bras
    I wish I was so girly just like my dear papa"

    [Monthy Python's Michael Palin]

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  • 8. At 12:26pm on 21 Jun 2010, EuroSider wrote:

    The problem in Spain and the political indecision that this country shows is reflected throughout the European Union.

    No politician wants to show that they are taking the decisions. They want to pass all the blame onto the EU in Brussels, so that when their supporters object, they can say that they had no choice and that it was a decision taken in Brussels.

    You have to understand the European mentality when it comes to politics. European politicians do not see it as their role to introduce measures that will upset their own countrymen and woman. Why should they? They have the European Union to blame for all the problems that their own country is suffering.

    It is not their fault.

    It is always someone elses.

    You have to understand, Gavin, that in European politics no-one strives to be elected thinking that they have to make a decision. That is simply not the European way of doing things.

    The European way is to become elected, and then sit in endless meetings and negotiations hoping that someone else will take the blame for all the mistakes, while you promote 'green' issues and get your photograph taken.

    The Spanish are only following a well trodden path which can be found in any European country.

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  • 9. At 12:40pm on 21 Jun 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    "Economic activity is not a national, but a European affair" could mean the Spanish leader is opting out, disclaiming economic responsibility; OR it could also mean fully buying into the EU financial concept, including tough financial regulation, austerity programs to reduce the deficit, and budgetary pre-review by Brussels.
    I believe it’s the latter, and accordingly, I believe this is a good happening for the EU.
    I can imagine the Turkish prime minister telling his voters that economic activity was no longer a Turkish affair, IF Turkey was part of the EU; I can imagine Stephen Harper suggesting that economic activity was no longer a Canadian affair, IF Canada was part of the EU…or if we Canadians were unlucky enough not to have our own personal financial genius, Mr. Jim Flaherty.
    As for President Obama phoning the Spanish leader and demanding "resolute action" over the Spanish deficit, that should make the world chuckle in that the US deficit is
    - $13,053,284,480,158.01 and growing
    - each American citizen share is $42,298.36 and
    - the National Debt is increasing $4.06B/day.
    I doubt very much that Mr. Zapatero agreed to cut public sector wages by 5% and announce 15bn euros (£13bn) in austerity measures because the US President told him to do so; I mean from what example would the US speak?
    It’s more likely that pressure was coming from Brussels, and possibly the IMF; after all, wasn’t it the IMF that told Spain it "must reform its labour laws".
    The problems in the Spannish banking system are the same problems that exist in the Greek banking systen, the Portuguese banking system, and let’s not forget the British banking system. The difference is that European banks – none wallowing in financial health – are doing something about this situation, namely full stress testing, finding the financial problems and painfully, slowly wiping them out. Mr Zapatero is wise to buy into stress-testing. It will be interesting to see why the rush for stress-testing, why the July deadline, and what the EU believes (and I believe) will be identified and thence-forward dealt with, even legally if warranted.
    Yes, Spain is reeling from the collapse of a housing bubble. At the same time, the financial subsidies that Spain has received since joining the EU in 1986 are ending. During the past 20 years, Spain cashed in on some 100 billion euros (@ 1% of its GDP every year) by way of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds, which have been designed to narrow the gap between the EU's wealthy and poor countries.
    But now that Spain has reached a per capita GDP of 98.5% of the EU average (it was 70% in 1986), the country will begin paying more into the EU than it receives back.
    Also Zapatero "regularization" of one million illegal immigrants in 2005 (justification that they would pay into the financially unstable social security system) has not helped. Many of these regularized persons are now drawing unemployment benefits, so much so that the Socialist government wants to them to leave, will pay them to leave if they promise to disappear for at least three years.
    Also annual consumer inflation jumped to a 13-year high of 4.6 percent in May. According to the Labor Ministry, the number of registered jobless shot upwards to 2.35 million in May, the worst figure since 1979. The National Statistics Institute says the unemployment rate jumped to 9.6 percent in the first three months of 2008 from 8.6 percent in the previous quarter. I belief the UK unemployment rate is 7.9 and the US 9.3. So, one could say that Spain has slightly more unemployed than the US.
    EU's leaders ARE INDEED enforcing an age of austerity; they are also stress tesing their banks (under Brussels instructions), identifying the real causes of economic failure, and preparing if necessary to take the necessary legal action. Yes, the EU matters; more and more decisions being taken at EU level, but that’s where the financial expertise happens to reside, and to tell you the truth, I believe Greece and Spain and any other little piglet that has been entangled in deriviative trading should be going “wee, wee, wee” all the way to Brussels.

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  • 10. At 12:40pm on 21 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Eurosider - quite a chiding but truthful account of modern-day European politics...we can see where it led us -> Greece et al

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  • 11. At 12:41pm on 21 Jun 2010, euormartin wrote:

    If you take the view that closer European Union is an unstoppable juggernaut then Zapatero is anything but a big girl's blouse and is more a shrewd expression of things to come. Another finacial crisis from the markets, and there is no reason to believe it will shy from picking on a weak euro member, then the gang of 16 will close ranks.

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  • 12. At 12:41pm on 21 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Also, this is why the best form of government is the "benevolent dictatorship". I propose myself as holy roman emperor? Any objections?

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  • 13. At 12:57pm on 21 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "If you take the view that closer European Union is an unstoppable juggernaut then Zapatero is anything but a big girl's blouse..."

    The EU is a juggernaut but is certainly not unstoppable...

    unless of course there are too many big girl's blouses like Zapatero to stop the behemoth and turn it back. Then the few left like myself will get rolled over and squashed....but I am still not surrendering.

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  • 14. At 1:13pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #9 "Mr Zapatero is wise to buy into stress-testing."



    Really?

    The most recent tests have shown that Mr. Zapatero does not operate well under stress.

    [Not that many other EUSSR member-states' leaders do.]

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  • 15. At 1:49pm on 21 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    For a good analysis of why stress testing may not be a good idea, take a look at Robert Peston's blog here:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2010/06/will_euro_governments_have_to.html#comments

    There are all sorts of issues arising from this 'baring of souls' which could have unexpected consequences. What I find astonishing is that this stress testing appears to follow on from pressure from Washington.

    You can almost hear it, can't you? 'Gee we are real sorry our banking system collapsed and you caught a cold. Do us a favour and make sure yours don't. We don't want the contagion".

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  • 16. At 1:51pm on 21 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    #12 I was never sure how the Benevolent Dictatorship was supposed to work. Even if someone was a nice person doing their best for as many people as possible, they are going to get on someone's back. Probably lots of someones. Only democracy can make this acceptable if you one of those someones.

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  • 17. At 2:10pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Timeo Danaes..." etc...

    Those euroenthusiasts who wonder whether right rather than wrong countries (e.g. ClubMed members) have been admitted to EU perhaps should perhaps read this recent comment made in London by the current U.S. Defence Secretary (and a former DCI) Bob Gates re key NATO ally Turkey turning away from the West.



    "I personally think that if there is anything to the notion that Turkey is, if you will, moving eastward," said Mr Gates, "it is, in my view, in no small part because it was pushed, and pushed by some in Europe refusing to give Turkey the kind of organic link to the West that Turkey sought."


    Sapienti sat.



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  • 18. At 2:19pm on 21 Jun 2010, Chris wrote:

    Can it be that he is right? i.e. economic policy in the eurozone has to be done in agreement with the other 16 countries?

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  • 19. At 2:21pm on 21 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    Gavin, whatever...

    """"I could not imagine the Turkish prime minister telling his voters that economic activity was no longer a Turkish affair. I doubt, too, whether Stephen Harper would so easily suggest that economic activity was no longer a Canadian affair.""""

    Turkey becomes an example in this? Whatever. Turkey is a country that evaded numerous times - after US intervention (let alone all the free latest tech. military equipment it receives that "others" have to spill blood to get) - total bankrupcy and even its last dealing with the IMF has been quite benigh in comparison to what happened elsewhere and for comparatively more modest debts. In fact none ever learnt how much Turkey owed and what it offers in exchange to get away from total collapse but of course it is just convenient for Turks to think that they do what they all by themselves (quite spectacular for a naiton that 90 years back had 2,5% literacy rates!!! how on earth did it evade the fate of other Middle Eastern and Africal nations really?).
    The comparison including the example of Turkey comes really cheaply, I would say, free of charge...

    Anyway, in the case of Zapatero, I think his sayings are distorted. His country is in the euro. The financial problems of the country (just like the case of Greece and other countries) are longstanding. However, being inside the eurozone Zapatero has no absolute freedom in doing anything about it. We have discussed a zillion times how is the situation for Club Med countries that cannot devalue their currencies and do actions that might redress a bit the situation. Only some years back the Spanish peseta the Italian lira and the Greek drachma were 10s and 100s of times of less value than the euro.

    So how anyone can expect Zapatero to say anything else other than that given the situation, total working solutions have to be sought on a European basis? Anyone who says the opposite (including Gavin with his article above) is welcomed to express his opinion over Russia and China buying up Greek debt (... if Greece was free to act on its own...).

    What has to be taken for granted is the responsibility of the national governments in putting their countries in the current crisis. Whatever the root causes, be it international, regional, European or national, they had to had anticipated long ago the current situation and had reacted accordingly - the EU framework did not hinder totally in doing such.

    What is quite surprising in the article and quite blatant and is the following:

    """"The Spanish prime minister, however, has made a habit of allowing others to set his agenda. After weeks of watching Greece head towards bankruptcy, President Obama phoned the Spanish leader and demanded "resolute action" over the Spanish deficit. Sure enough, Mr Zapatero agreed to cut public sector wages by 5% and he announced 15bn euros (£13bn) of austerity measures. The week before he had said the economy did not require any "drastic adjustment".""""

    Really? Interesting. Obama (heading the most debt-ridden nation to have surfaced ever in known human history) has suggestions to do for Spain and in general Europe. Interesting. Might be because US companies and other US investements are involved in Spain? Who knows? If anything it is really interesting.

    .... whatever the case, I guess Spain won't have its F16s and Amraam missiles for free like the case of Turkey.

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  • 20. At 2:29pm on 21 Jun 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    12. Gheryando

    "Also, this is why the best form of government is the "benevolent dictatorship". I propose myself as holy roman emperor? Any objections?"

    Beware of Visigoths bearing gifts.

    Wunt those guys from Gaul and Germania?

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  • 21. At 2:40pm on 21 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Spain made a mistake getting rid of Jose Maria Anzar.

    Socialism emasculates people.

    Gheryando @12,

    I think it was Edward Gibbon who said that the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.

    As such, you qualify.

    Personally, I'm running for Pope. (Julius II rode to battle in full armour and fathered three children, so it seems like good fun!).

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  • 22. At 2:46pm on 21 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    powermeerkat @17,

    I'm all for Turkey abandoning its new(ish) islamist tendencies and becoming a secular liberal-democracy, but it ain't going to happen any time soon.

    So for the next few decades I'm quite relieved that there is little chance of Turkey and her 75 million muslim citizens gaining EU membership.

    (Of course, once Britain is out of the EU, then the EU can commit suicide by admitting Turkey if it really wishes to).

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  • 23. At 2:49pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #19 " I guess Spain won't have its F16s and Amraam missiles for free like the case of Turkey."




    FYI, Turkey has been manufacturing its F-16s itself for over 20 years.
    (under the licence from General Dynamics).


    [Yes, they do fly. Quite well. :)]

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  • 24. At 2:51pm on 21 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "18. At 2:19pm on 21 Jun 2010, ChrisArta wrote:
    Can it be that he is right? i.e. economic policy in the eurozone has to be done in agreement with the other 16 countries?"

    That is the plan for the future for major decisions. There is no reason that it must be done that way of course. There are always options. Some decisions may be better at a Eurozone level, some at country level and some at region level. Of course doing things at national level worked previously as well. Choose your poison (First word is the biggie).

    Zapatero is just being pathetic and spineless.

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  • 25. At 2:58pm on 21 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #17 - powermeerkat

    I have to say that this is getting too much. Gates is blaming the EU for tensions between Turkey and Israel, less well informed opinion in the States is hinting strongly that the main reason the BP disaster happened is because it is a European business (in fact it is not), Washington is demanding we 'stress test' our banks, something which they signally failed to do.

    Europe bashing generally and British bashing in particular seems to have become an American preoccupation and some this side of the pond may have pause to wonder whether, with friends like this, who need enemies?

    Now obviously there is nothing much we can do about public perceptions or the bias of some of the popular media but the administration could really do with publicly endorsing the relationship with Europe or come right out and admit that it is not worth the candle. The unedifying sight recently of the US ambassador to London having to do a studio interview on UK TV denying general anti-British sentiment and apologising for the presidential gaffe when referring to BP as British Petroleum is neither dignified nor helpful. On a day when British casualties in Afghanistan have reached the 300 mark, one could hardly be surprised if some people started to wonder whether if you would not be better off seeking alliances with people for whom you do have a modicum of respect.

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  • 26. At 3:07pm on 21 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    21. At 2:40pm on 21 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    "Julius II rode to battle in full armour and fathered three children . . "

    I am impressed. I thought the idea of a battle was to fight people, not to . . well, you know what I mean:-)

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  • 27. At 3:18pm on 21 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    threnodio_II @26,

    You forgot the pillage and rapine....

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  • 28. At 3:45pm on 21 Jun 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister, may like the protection from blame provided by swimming with the EU Leaders in a shoal but even shoal fish get caught by the pikes and sharks of public opinion.

    As the Irish and the Canadians have shown, it is possible to rein in excessive public sector expenditure IF you take the Electorate with you in the main.

    One can never satisfy all of the people all of the time but if the Mjority agrree the necessity of cuts and they see the implemetation of cuts is as fair as possible then the Majority will go with the flow.

    Imposing cuts and blaming those cuts on the EU is a lily-livered cop out.

    Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is going to be toast!

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  • 29. At 3:46pm on 21 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Talking of 'leadership':

    Tomorrow a newly elected UK/England Government will be announcing a raft of Economic-Fiscal-Social measures/policies that will impact on 60,000,000 Britons for years to come.
    Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will introduce his Budget for the year>s ahead. He will do so before his fellow 649 MPs in the House of Commons who will be the first Citizens of the UK to hear of these policies. Within seconds each item will have also been dispersed to the 4 corners of the United Kingdom & to those interested across the rest of the World.

    Unlike the retiring & equivocating, tin-pot 'pro-EU' leaders as highlighted by Zapatero: In the UK a real National Government will before an Elected House of Commoners demonstrate a National policy initiative almost entirely unaffected by anything other National/supra-National Leadership may have to say on the matter. Policies stemming from the Ballot box endorsement by a Majority of British Citizens.
    There will undoubtedly be HM Loyal Opposition complaints and widespread disgruntlement among portions of the UK Population (particularly that north of the border for whom the Coalition offers little in the way of representation even by Lib-Dem), nonetheless, a National Government having determined what is in the UK-National interest will embark on National Governance.

    A striking example of the fast declining political entity generally known as, National Democratic Government. The Budget will be UK Government Policy: No oversight or intervention by an unelected bunch of Brussels apparatchiks with absolutely no Constituency or Citizen Mandate.

    Something the supporters of EUropean Union would not understand about and much less give approval to, and therefore to be highly recommended to any of the multi-millions of disenfranchised EU Citizens.

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  • 30. At 4:02pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MaxSceptic wrote:

    powermeerkat @17,

    I'm all for Turkey abandoning its new(ish) islamist tendencies and becoming a secular liberal-democracy, but it ain't going to happen any time soon.






    Forgive me, but it seems you don't no much about Turkish ARMY! :)

    [a staunch defender of Kemal Pasha's secular, pro-Western Republic]



    "So for the next few decades I'm quite relieved that there is little chance of Turkey and her 75 million muslim citizens gaining EU membership."



    In case you haven't noticed, Max, all key pipelines by-passing "new improved democratic Russia" (you know, the one which has just cut off oil/gas supplies to Belarus, and by extention to much of EU) go through Turkey. And so will future ones, including Nabucco.

    I, as an American, couldn't care less ([particularly with new massive oil shale deposites recently discovered in the U.S.), but most of continental EUSSR?



    P.S. Had I been a British subject I would have been much more concerned about your own Pakistani V-th Column than about Turkey.

    And about the current Archbishop of Canterbury who believes that "introducing some Sharia laws into U.K. would improve social harmony".

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  • 31. At 4:05pm on 21 Jun 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Once the governments all declared the sanctity of the banks they placed themselves in a situation that would only compound the problems not solve them. Each nation had its own economy until the big business and banking charlatans created what they have called the global economy...the pursuit of the cheapest labor and abondonment of any economies when higher profits could be made. Very unbelieveable that the countries are loyal to banks that are clearly not loyal to them. Of course the trade in Europe is now interconnected that was the plan. As the bankers continue extorting interest on loans for a crisis they created the problems will only compound until banking is brought under control. When the banks are doing well and no one else is, what does that say about the both the economic realities and the political politices. Eventually the people will dismiss these governments and demand that the banks either accept some responsbilities and punishments for their behaviors or be taken over by governments...no other answers are on the table except the continued extortion by the banks and future taxes on citizens to pay for it.

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  • 32. At 4:12pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 33. At 4:14pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re: "Julius II rode to battle in full armour and fathered three children . . "



    In full armor?

    I'm impressed! :)

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  • 34. At 4:25pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Gates is blaming the EU for tensions between Turkey and Israel"



    Threnodio, Bob Gates has not done such a thing.

    Do you know for how many years Turkey has been applying for a membership in EU?

    And rejected by the "Christian Club" under one phoney pretext or another?

    Oh, hypocrisy! Oh, shortsightedness!

    [That's what Bob was referring to]

    No wonder Ankara has finally given up and is looking up now to forming a confederation with their oil-rich Turkic brethren in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, etc.

    Who do you think is ultimately going to be a loser?

    Turkey?

    I don't think so.

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  • 35. At 4:29pm on 21 Jun 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    And the defence of national interests goes on. This blog has turned into a British attack on the Euro, now perfect with the vulgar language of Americans everybody knows from the tsunami of American films, we have been exposed to in the last fifty years.

    Amazing what one can read in this blog....

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  • 36. At 4:30pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #28 "Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is going to be toast!"




    Yeah, Menedemus, but what 'bout Jose Manuel Barroso?


    He, IMHO, is a real Frankenstein's monster here.

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  • 37. At 4:33pm on 21 Jun 2010, Nanuk wrote:

    #19 Nik:

    No one took Spain, or any other country, by force into the EU. Spain wanted in and got in, agreeing to terms that are now obviously left to anyone's imagination to define. Who's to blame for Spain signing on to something that wasn't fully clear? Seems habitually convenient for European leaders to blame Brussels every time things get tough. I think that was the point.

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  • 38. At 4:44pm on 21 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #29 - cool_brush_work

    "Something the supporters of EUropean Union would not understand about and much less give approval to, and therefore to be highly recommended to any of the multi-millions of disenfranchised EU Citizens".

    Far from not understanding or approving, it is what a growing number of us require and demand. Just because the likes of van Rompuy and Barrosso think they have the right to throw their weight around, it does not follow that they are as widely supported as they would like to think. They hold their respective offices by virtue of horse trading between the various national leaders who, in turn, derive their support from national electorates. Unfortunately, no government is going to stand or fall on the question of who they are a party to appointing or sustaining in office.

    The problem is that you cannot give the public a larger say in these appointments other than through the ballot box and, when and if we get to the point where the President of the Commission, the President of the Council or any other high official is directly elected, you are by definition, going to have to bypass national parliaments. They would have no power of veto and no authority to direct their activities.

    How do you make the EU more accountable without diluting sovereign power? The answer is that you cannot so it is a straight choice between a more democratic EU or a less powerful one - because the present impasse is not sustainable for much longer.

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  • 39. At 5:11pm on 21 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #30/34 - powermeerkat

    You are preaching to the converted. I could not agree more. It also happens to be the British government's permission. It is some of the continental brethren, notably France and Germany, who have set their face against Turkey. That is where your hypocrisy lies because the preliminary negotiations would not have taken place at all without their nod.

    The simple fact is that EU indecision about Turkey has, at the very least, put their application on hold. What Robert Gates appears to be suggesting is that this is having the effect of driving Turkey into the arms of an alternative and less pro-western alliance, which may or may not be correct. More though, he appears to be saying that civilian shipping attempting to break the blockade on Gaza was somehow motivated as a way of making a point to Brussels. Firstly, I understand it was a voluntary group not officially sponsored. Secondly, you will find no shortage of Europeans united in their disapproval of the blockade. Thirdly, there is not one shred of evidence I have seen to connect the Gaza exercise with any wider political agenda. The only changed relationship I can discern is a marked deterioration in the normally friendly bilateral relationship with Israel.

    I agree absolutely with you about the commitment of Turkish forces to the secular state, its strategic importance in energy security and the stabilising influence that having the Turks on board would engender. I absolutely reject the idea that the Gaza adventure has anything to do with their EU ambitions.

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  • 40. At 5:15pm on 21 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #35

    Just to set Your mind at rest.

    I cobble together quotes from Prime Minister Cameron's statement this afternoon to the House of Commons on the most recent EU Summit.

    "..a strong EUro is a good thing for EUrope... and for the UK..", BUT, "..UK is not a member of the EUro-zone... it will not be a member of the EUro-zone..".
    "..the UK understands the need for the EUro-zone to take steps to secure itself..", BUT, "..UK is not and will not be contributing to the EUro-zone..".

    "..the UK welcomes the EU helpful moves towards completion of a Single Market..".

    "..the UK supports EU measures to further protect.. develop.. the EU..", BUT, "..UK position is clear.. only within the EUro-zone.. there will be no further expansion of EU powers at National level..", AND, "..UK will not support Treaty changes.. seek to increase the intervention by the EU.. at National level..".

    ".. UK will provide advice.. and projections.. on its fiscal situation.. to the EU as it already does to the IMF..", BUT, "..UK Budget details will be presented first to the House of Commons.. no oversight.. no extension of EU involvement.. will be acceptable..".

    As I have said a number of times since the emergence of the UK Coalition Brussels plans to increase integration at an Economic-Fiscal level are dead-in-the-water judging by the UK Government stance if they try to go beyond the EUro-zone membership.

    PS: Looking at the most recent exit poll indicators it would seem the Polish Presidency is a far tighter thing than it appeared at first sight this morning - - the 4% projection lead for the 'pro-EU' candidate has shrunk to 1.5% - - hardly a ringing endorsement!
    Still, doubtless President Barroso will hail it as the most complete election victory in the history of EU: Only teasing!

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  • 41. At 5:21pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #21 "Spain made a mistake getting rid of Jose Maria Anzar.

    Socialism emasculates people."






    Much worse than that.


    Capitalism can at least produce capital.

    [withouth which nothing is posssible]

    Socialism - only poverty and untold human misery.

    As the history of the last century has amply demonstrated.

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  • 42. At 5:35pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "This blog has turned into a British attack on the Euro, now perfect with the vulgar language of Americans everybody knows from the tsunami of American films, we have been exposed to in the last fifty years.?"





    One can only imagine what German films (in German) we would have been exposed to in the last sixty years had III Reich prevailed.

    And dr Goebbels had his way.


    [beggars can't be choosers]


    P.S. People disgusted by Hollywood products can still find plenty of Soviet Mosfilm masterpieces from the 50s, 60s and 70s in film institutes' archives - as a counterbalance. :)

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  • 43. At 5:42pm on 21 Jun 2010, Atomic_Mash wrote:

    One thing Gavin didn't mention is that the ONLY reason Zapatero won the last election was because of the Al-Qaeda bombings in Madrid a few days before the election. Soon thereafter, Spanish troops were out of Iraq, but soon after that the Spanish economy, "led" by the weakness and incompetence of Zapatero, went down the drain deeper than most.
    So, it is not only foreign leaders that manipulate the internal Spanish agenda to suit their needs, terrorists have their say too, in a big way.

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  • 44. At 5:50pm on 21 Jun 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To powermeerkat (34):

    Oh please, the reason why Turkey hasn't been able to join the European Union is because it doesn't fill up the membership criteria. While Turkey has made progress in areas of democracy, human rights and general freedom, it still doesn't reach the bar. Actually in case of Turkey, the bar is higher than with smaller eastern European states because Turkey is a major country. If Turkey would be a member of the European Union, any problems there would be major European problems. Thus for to Turkey to join, there can be no questions about its democracy, human rights and respect for freedom.

    For example did you know that Turkey bans Youtube? And recently Turkish officials banned several other Google services.

    "Turkish authorities have continuously blocked access to YouTube since May 2008, after users uploaded videos that insulted the Turkish republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. And the government previously banned the video-sharing site on at least three other occasions.

    Apparently, the first ban, in 2007, was a response to a parody news broadcast in which Greek football fans taunted the Turks by saying: "Today's news; Kemal Atatürk was gay!" Under Turkish law — Law 5651 — the courts can shut down a website of it attacks Atatürk or incites suicide, paedophilia, drug usage, obscenity, or prostitution."

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/08/turkey_bans_google_services/

    And in case of recent Turkish reaction and cooling down of Turkish-Israeli relations, that isn't because Turkey is turning towards east or becoming Islamic, it is because Turkey is a major regional power. Let me just ask you what would be the American response for example if Venezuela or Cuba raided an American ship in international waters and killed 9 unarmed civilians? The reaction would probably include at least cruise missiles. In that sense, the Turkish reaction has been very calm and rational.

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  • 45. At 6:04pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #39


    Threnodio. I don't know how the Gaza issue (which is a non-issue in this discussion) has crept in.

    Ironically, secular European 'useful idiots' who otherwise strongly condemn Turkish occupation of the Northern Cyprus (obviously unaware of ENOSIS) did not mind participating in a provocative exercise launched from that very part of the island with more than a little help of staunchly Islamist Turkish outfits, which would have been banned by any bona fide secular Turkish government.

    [the current bunch: Erdogan, Gul, etc., are de facto cypro-Islamists and IMHO will be removed from power by the Turkish Army, just like a similar Erbakan regime was, sooner rather than later.]

    The real issue, as I see it is, to use colorful LBJ's metaphore:

    Would it be better for EU to have Turkey in its tent pissing out or outside of its tent pissing in?

    Think about it for a moment. Or two. :)

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  • 46. At 6:21pm on 21 Jun 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    35. At 4:29pm on 21 Jun 2010, Mathiasen wrote:


    " ...This blog has turned into a British attack on the Euro ..."


    EUpris: Democracy has been abolished. We have to protest somewhere. Just be grateful that we are non-violent given what arrogant, anti-democratic, megalomaniac "EU"-lovers have done to us.

    " ... now perfect with the vulgar language of Americans..."

    EUpris: "EU"-lovers have had their chance to respond to politeness. They have treated politeness as an indication of weakness and as an invitation to be even more arrogant and dictatorial.

    "...the tsunami of American films, we have been exposed to in the last fifty years. ..."

    EUpris: You don't have to watch them. There is an off-knob on the telly and you don't have to go to the cinema. The 82% of the British electorate who wanted the referendum they were promised were denied that sort of freedom. Unfortunately there is no off-knob for the "EU"-Dictatorship.

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  • 47. At 6:24pm on 21 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #44 - Jukka Rohila

    I don't think anyone is saying that Turkey is ready now. There is a virtual civil war going on in the Kurdish region and there are issues with Turkey confronting and coming to terms with its past.

    What those of us who favour the idea are saying is that it is unproductive for France and Germany to slam the door shut.

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  • 48. At 6:24pm on 21 Jun 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #42. At 5:35pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat
    Yes, why not go into the contrafactual? But at least you guessed that it was your language I was hinting at.

    One day you should consider this non-contrafactual question:
    What impression do you think American television and movies have left about USA outside USA, about the language people are speaking, and the way most Americans think?

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  • 49. At 6:26pm on 21 Jun 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    37. At 4:33pm on 21 Jun 2010, Nanuk wrote:

    " ...

    No one took Spain, or any other country, by force into the EU. ..."

    EUpris: They took the UK into the "EU" by lies and trickery. Given that this anti-democratic monstrosity is backed up by the organs of the mal-functioning British state, including Army and Police, it is basically by force.

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  • 50. At 6:40pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #44 "Under Turkish law — Law 5651 — the courts can shut down a website of it attacks Atatürk or incites suicide, paedophilia, drug usage, obscenity, or prostitution."




    Actually it's not about "attacking" Ataturk, but about insulting him.

    As for the rest - are you suggesting that promoting "paedophilia, drug usage, obscenity or prostitution" is a good thing?

    And should therefore be encouraged by, say, the government of Finland?

    Or supergovernment in Brussels?

    [that would explain why decadent West European EU members are falling apart not only economically, but morally as well]



    P.S. Turkish thugs you're referring to were anything but "unarmed civilians" [watch the video]

    Interestingly, there was no loss of life on any other ship of the flotilla, except for the Hate...errr... Love Boat.

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  • 51. At 6:41pm on 21 Jun 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    159. At 10:50am on 21 Jun 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    " ...
    The word dictatorship has a definition ..."

    EUpris: You are making a classic mistake. There is seldom going to be only one possible definition.

    I am reminded of what I believe is Plato's definition of a man: " A man is a featherless biped."

    So is a lemur, a kangaroo, a gorilla etc.

    Now if you argue that a kangaroo has four legs as opposed to two legs and two arms we move onto the question as to what is an arm and what is not. So a definition will frequently not solve any problems but simply throw up more.

    If you ask "Where is Denise?" I have to answer "De knees is half way up de legs."

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  • 52. At 6:49pm on 21 Jun 2010, Atomic_Mash wrote:

    When I saw the title of this article, I thought it was either about Herman Van Rompuy or Zapatero.

    From their accomplishments and facial expressions, they would've been much more effective as a comedy duo than as presidents.

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  • 53. At 6:50pm on 21 Jun 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Powermeerkat:

    Capitalism has produced a financial meltdown causing a lot of suffering in this world. The "Capital" has been produced by the government printing presses..backed by future taxes....the market stold all the money. Marx was wrong about socialism but right about capitalism. Maybe you think a system that allows the banks to run a scam and diminish individual retirement accounts and investments without any responsbility and then be rewarded by the governments as a good system, but I think many might question that conclusion. Assess the facts not the philosophical concept.

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  • 54. At 6:54pm on 21 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    23. At 2:49pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    """"FYI, Turkey has been manufacturing its F-16s itself for over 20 years.
    (under the licence from General Dynamics).""""

    Greece back in the 1970s had also some military industry and it was much more developed in comparison to the Turkish one. However not only it was denied the co-production of NATOic material (while it was given amply to Turkey - you have to review the contracts to understand), but also the US worked directly to kill every single production unit of any value - the affair of the Leonidas transport tank is quite well known. Greece ended up being directly dependent to US and buying its arms much more expensively than Turkey (which actually so often got material & training for free with the same ease that Israel would be given nuclear warheads basically for free...). But of course this is just a part of the picture, Turkey has been given much more, many much more to be really called up as an example in Gavin's above text.

    """"[Yes, they do fly. Quite well. :)]"""

    Why they would not fly? Turks have a quite competent manufacturing industry and while not top of the top, their quality is satisfying. In the military sector they prize so much, the quality has to be even better. Their F16s they fly indeed as we see them too often above our (very EU) airspace; only problem is that their pilots are not flying them very well so that our own ones dog fight them so easily even with neolithic F4s and F5s (some 15 years back often without radars...) and we so often are fishing the Turkish pilots from our (very EU) waters - one has to provoke me narrate the fist major encounter of Turkish airplanes back in 1974 (involving F5s & F4s...)and what happened between the best 2 Turkish pilots (trainers) and 2 random Greek trainee pilots... to get the full picture though arguably after 40 years full support and training Turks got slightly better. Still their F16s being no match for our French made Mirage 2000 (a plane that beats the F16s in dogfights among equal pilots to a statistically very noticeable %).

    ... so much for EU adhesion of Turkey... how on earth can they be 50 years candidates and at the same time aggressors of EU states... only the Turks and their friends - see Britain - can do such miracles!!! And I am not judging morally the Turks here who are bound from their position to be constantly agressive but Europeans who are incompetent in handling the case properly thus trapping the Greeks in that (as Greeks could as well employ Russia down there giving bases replacing the treacherous US ones and getting finished with the threat once and for all).

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  • 55. At 7:04pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #47 Threnodio
    "What those of us who favour the idea [of admitting Turkey] are saying is that it is unproductive for France and Germany to slam the door shut."




    That squares with an earlier comment by a British poster, that much maligned John Major has not been given a proper credit for his efforts to have EU enlarged to a point where it could no longer be a Franco-German private club.

    [Berlin and Paris are still sore about losing much of their original influence]



    P.S. Re Cyprus... what does an itsy bitsy island off Syria's coast (actually just 2/3s of it) do in EU?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

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  • 56. At 7:16pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#48 "contrafactual"


    One thing is certain: you could not have learnt such a word from an American movie or TV show.


    Although know for a fact that Predator-2 does miracles in Waziristan as far as helping the locals to understand Americans is concerned. :)

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  • 57. At 7:24pm on 21 Jun 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To powermeerkat (50):

    It is called freedom of speech and it is a cornerstone of any civilized society, including the USA. When people have the freedom of speech that freedom also includes freedom to discuss or to voice an opinion or view that the rest of the society may find disturbing or disgusting. The Turkish state actively denies freedom of speech and regulates peoples right to discuss and voice their opinions, this goes beyond the point where the society isn't anymore a free society.

    Let me remind you of the words of Voltaire...
    "I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write."

    Freedom of speech isn't something that is up for an negotiation.

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  • 58. At 7:37pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 59. At 7:41pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Atomic_Mash wrote:
    "When I saw the title of this article, I thought it was either about Herman Van Rompuy or Zapatero.

    From their accomplishments and facial expressions, they would've been much more effective as a comedy duo than as presidents."





    Marx Brothers? [in more than one sense].

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  • 60. At 8:18pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #57



    What does promoting "paedophilia, drug usage, obscenity or prostitution"

    have to do with freedom of speech?

    [much abused term, which orginally referred only to 'political speech'
    And rightly so.]


    Forget "repressive", "oppresive", "restrictive" Turkey, Yukka.


    Try to promote/advocate paedophilia or drug usage right here in this blog. Or use obscenities.

    Or advertise your sexual services.

    Good luck!




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  • 61. At 8:19pm on 21 Jun 2010, generalissimofranco wrote:

    Mr.Hewitt, after the departure of Mark Mardell, I had some hopes that you will shift your attention more often on the home affairs, on the home economy and on its contribution to the welfare of united Europe.
    Following your latest articles covering the parliamentary elections in the UK and the entry on scene of the Tories, I thought that some positive change was going to happen and that more critics and assessments of the present UK commitment to the common European affairs would be present here…
    Now, reading this last, shall I say, quick glance at some of the pressing problems of the Spanish economy (unreformed labor laws and not working labor market, high unemployment, inefficient banking sector, uncontrolled spending in the home building industry, slow and inadequate government decisions for counteracting the consequences of the global recession, etc.), I start thinking that your stance is unlikely to change as if GB has nothing to do with the European economies. To that matter I shall not be surprised if after Spain, you will turn your attention to Portugal, Italy, Ireland, in order to cover all the PIIGS’s team before you go, say to the Baltic countries… The farther, the better…

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  • 62. At 8:23pm on 21 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    powermeerkat @30,

    I would be delighted if Attaturk's secular state would be saved by the Turkish army, but there only seem to be two alternatives:

    1. An authoritarian secular state (preserved by the Turkish army)
    2. A democratic state that will slide into Islamism (because, whether we like it or not, the vast majority of Turks are NOT europeanised, secular liberal democrats).

    I totally agree about the dangers of our own 'home-grown' Vth column. (But, hush, any expression of concern may be 'moderated').

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  • 63. At 8:25pm on 21 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    re #25 (threnodio II)


    I have yet to meet anybody in the U.S. who would confuse BP with UK (Megrahi case notwithstanding).

    Do you honestly think that if a party responsible for the unprecedented oil-spill (Saddam's intentionally caused one aside) would have been, say, Dutch Shell the outrage would be any smaller?

    I, for one, do not recall Exxon getting a nice treatment by both: the American public and American media after Alaska oil spill (caused by a drunken captain of Exxon Valdez tanker).

    A spill is a spill is a spill. Period.

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  • 64. At 8:33pm on 21 Jun 2010, WolfiePeters wrote:

    Perhaps, dear old Zap was just being honest? It's easy to misunderstand, as it's rarely seen, especially in the political classes.

    On the other side of the political spectrum, Berlusconi, the man who rules by decree and whose leadership is never questioned, appears to be as confused. Through the economic crisis, he's insisted that Italy is unaffected, with strong banks and a strong economy. Then, quite suddenly, just when Greece is saved from being flushed away, the crisis hits Italy and it's necessary to cut $ 24 billion per year on a budget that's supposedly not in deficit.

    Who (or what) really calls the shots, the EU, the US, the public, a total absence of readies?

    'Benevolent dictatorship,' is that the man who calls the shots? Seriously, one good thing that we have in the UK (don't be offended in other countries, I'm not claiming that it's exclusive to the UK) is an elected opposition with the job of making the government justify what they do. It's vital to democracy and decency and no dictator (or EU boss) would allow anything like it.

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  • 65. At 8:51pm on 21 Jun 2010, lacerniagigante wrote:

    What's exactly your point Mr Hewitt?

    That Canada or Turkey are not part of the EU? Thanks.

    Or is it that a country like Spain who's part of the EU, the Eurozone and owes a lot of its last 30 years development to the EU, to act "against" Bruxelles.

    Why on earth would a country join the EU, if it didn't want to comply with the EU laws and rules?

    Only a Briton knows the answer to this conondrum.

    But as far as I'm concerned I see Mr Zapatero as someone who thinks through his decisions by consulting with others. His job is to do what's best for the Spanish population that voted him, not to demonstrate manliness.

    Bush, Blair and Aznar were all men of "balls". Thank you very much.

    But as a voter, I want to have leaders that think, not ones who are trying to prove their virility on my expenses.

    PS: Did you note how Santander has bought yet another British failing bank? Maybe Spain is not as bad as you want it to be?

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  • 66. At 10:15pm on 21 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #57 - Jukka Rohila

    At the risk of being tedious, the quotation has never been directly credited to Voltaire and is attributed to him by Tallentyre. There are no issues of translation since he was writing in English and the quote is:

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

    #63 - powermeerkat

    No, of course not. BP are the operators and they deserve all the criticism that falls due to them when all the facts are known. And no, I do not think another operator would have had less of a hard time (though I find in curious that you should strike a comparison with Shell as if to suggest that no American operator could allow such a thing to happen).

    My point is a more general one about what seems to be a growing culture of scapegoating. That's all.

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  • 67. At 10:23pm on 21 Jun 2010, Menedemus wrote:

    lacerniagigante @#65

    If it were me and I was Spanish or resident in Spain then I think I would be very worried about The Bank of Santander buying yet another Bank ... such mergers and acquisitions are the stuff of the the dreams that eventually collapsed the Wall Street and those dreams turned to the stuff of nightmares.

    As a matter of interest do the Spanish have a Banking Regulatory Outfit monitoring The Bank of Santander or are the Spanish just hoping that Santander know what they are doing and not pulling an AIG, HBOS or RBS on the Spanish public who will have to pay for The Bank of Santander when it collapses in on itself?

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  • 68. At 10:35pm on 21 Jun 2010, smroet wrote:

    #55 powermeerkat

    Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, they want to know several things about Turkey, and the cause you defend.

    1) A non-elected EEC commission president, Walter Hallstein, signed the association agreement between the EEC and Turkey in 1963, and, in a speech during the signing ceremony, envisaged Turkey in the EEC in the long term. This is the basis of the 'myth' that Turkey was promised EU membership a long time ago. After 1963, there was a military regime from 1980 - 1983, and a further delimitation of elected government in 1997. Military regimes do not form part of the EU culture. Turkey's application to the EU was deposited in 1987.

    2). There is a well known tension between the current 'Islamic' government and the army. The latter defends the secular regime envisaged by Ataturk, but in an authoritarian manner, while the former is using EU rules to impose the will of the elected government, of whatever persuasion, on the army. This has resulted in weakening the secular forces in Turkey, and encourages (emboldens, some would say) 'moderate Islamic' forces, with the results we see w.r.t. Gaza.

    3). I indeed remarked several times about the British policy to dilute the EU into a mere 'free-trade' zone by promoting enlargement. I think this half-hearted British participation is unpopular in Britain (most of them want out), and unpopular on the continent (most of them want to say to the UK: either fully in, or fully out, either way suits us). Anyway, UK policy about Turkey is tainted by its imperialist past and present (the sovereign base areas on Cyprus).

    4). As argued by Simon Tisdall in the Guardian, Turkey's current policy of 'zero problems with its neighbours' is not going anywhere. It is not only intent which counts when formulating policy, it is the actual execution as well, and the possibility of correcting the policy once negative unintended consequences threaten to overtake the initial benefits. The current stance of Erdogan c.s. is not very promising in this respect.

    5). So yes, you can keep on bashing on EU leaders, as if somehow it gives you a lot of "hidden pleasure" (klammheimliche Freude, in German - a term popular in the 1970s), but inquiring minds want to know whether there is anything behind your assertions, other than "macho" posturing Mr. Zapatero apparently does not like so much.

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  • 69. At 11:45pm on 21 Jun 2010, Chris wrote:

    #61. At 8:19pm on 21 Jun 2010, generalissimofranco,

    Most likely it will start with Estonia as it is the first of the three small Baltic states to join the Euro. The other two no matter what mess they are in will have to wait until the have a mess and the Euro in order to get some attention:))

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  • 70. At 00:25am on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "EUpris: They took the UK into the "EU" by lies and trickery. Given that this anti-democratic monstrosity is backed up by the organs of the mal-functioning British state, including Army and Police, it is basically by force."

    Eupris...that is a pathetic claim. Basically everyone is in favour except you. Thats not what I say, thats what you said.

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  • 71. At 00:51am on 22 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    "After weeks of watching Greece head towards bankruptcy, President Obama phoned the Spanish leader and demanded "resolute action" over the Spanish deficit."

    Just golden... ;)

    Obama needs a reality check for sure

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  • 72. At 02:27am on 22 Jun 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    t2 @ 47.

    "I don't think anyone is saying that Turkey is ready now. There is a virtual civil war going on in the Kurdish region and there are issues with Turkey confronting and coming to terms with its past."

    Heck, every nation is continually having to come to terms with its past.

    Great Britain joined the EU (EC, whatever) in 1973. The previous year saw the events of "Bloody Sunday" and the imposition of direct rule of Northern Ireland. If my memory serves me correctly, "The Troubles" were not eliminated in 1973.

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  • 73. At 02:41am on 22 Jun 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    70. At 00:25am on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:
    "EUpris: They took the UK into the "EU" by lies and trickery. Given that this anti-democratic monstrosity is backed up by the organs of the mal-functioning British state, including Army and Police, it is basically by force."

    Eupris...that is a pathetic claim. Basically everyone is in favour except you. Thats not what I say, thats what you said.

    EUpris: And when did I say that?????????????????????????????

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  • 74. At 03:35am on 22 Jun 2010, opinion wrote:

    There is only one big problem in EU. That is, there is EU and national governments.
    So far none of the governments think of EU economy in general but only on their own national economy. And there is the mistake. If any government wants to think only on their national economy than is better for them to be outside of the EU.
    As long as these two conflicting interests coexists there is not gonna be economic prosperity.
    Lets take Spain example:
    - three years ago Spain economy was booming and there were plenty of jobs.
    Growth in Spain was higher and faster than the Spanish economy could take. Today (three years later):
    -Spain economy stagnates and we see a very high unemployment rate.
    How is possible in less than three years to from spectacular boom to spectacular gloom?
    One of the obvious explanations may be that the boom in Spain was due to a EU wide involvement while the gloom is due to just Spain (that applies to all EU countries). How is that?
    Obvious,there is no labor flexibility and there is are no boom regions in EU at the moment.
    Labor flexibility: I would expect that now that in Spain there is no work, Spanish workers would be able to go anywhere in EU find a job and earn their livings without a problem. While in countries like Australia and USA it is very common for people to do that in EU that does not happen and that is for two reasons: national interest and the lack of growth and jobs anywhere in EU.
    Why is that? Because there are two conflicting things working in the same time: national interest and EU. So, back to my first conclusion:
    -as long as national interest wins is better outside EU than inside for everyone. When in a union (market and monetary) a country from that union puts its interest first cannot do anything else than hurt some or all the others. So again, better outside and on your own than inside and on your own.

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  • 75. At 03:53am on 22 Jun 2010, generalissimofranco wrote:

    @54 Nik
    I agree with most of your comments concerning the Turkish ambitions for a political hegemony over the Eastern Mediterranean, and, why not for a more important role in the Middle East. However, the problem is more complex. Turkey is not yet able, and maybe shall not be able to meet the EU standards for adhesion, at least, for another 20 years. The home problem with the Kurdish minority is just one visible obstruction to the continuous effort of that, predominantly Asian country, for a full EU membership. However, there are other, far more annoying facts that make me believe that Turkey is going to reconsider all those positive achievements of its leadership that successfully transformed, in the early 20s of the last century, what had remained of the Ottoman Empire into a pro-European secular state…And that is not a concern only for neighbor Greece and Bulgaria (both of them being parliamentary democracies and member countries). Logically, that entire dramatic shift in the policy of Turkey is to be an alarm bell for the UK, for France, for Germany and Italy, as well as for the EU itself.

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  • 76. At 04:18am on 22 Jun 2010, generalissimofranco wrote:

    @69 ChrisArta
    “Most likely it will start with Estonia as it is the first of the three small Baltic states to join the Euro. The other two no matter what mess they are in will have to wait until the have a mess and the Euro in order to get some attention.”
    Of course the fiscal crisis concerns above all the euro zone. But, as a whole, all the remaining economies of the EU suffer the consequences.
    What I have allowed to argue is the simple fact that Gavin Hewitt carefully avoids to launch for discussion any sensible issue that would concern directly the UK economy and its impact on the general trend of the affairs of United Europe. I won’t be surprise if he goes, say to Bratislava, in order to draw our attention to that little country and on the “rumours that have circulated that there are problems in the Slovakian banking system”. It’s not a fair play, you know.
    I wonder what our fellow blogger Mr. Threnodio_II thinks about. I appreciate his way of analysing and assessing our mainland affairs.

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  • 77. At 06:15am on 22 Jun 2010, smroet wrote:

    #74 opinion

    Labor flexibility: I would expect that now that in Spain there is no work, Spanish workers would be able to go anywhere in EU find a job and earn their livings without a problem. While in countries like Australia and USA it is very common for people to do that in EU that does not happen and that is for two reasons: national interest and the lack of growth and jobs anywhere in EU.

    Yes, of course. Spanish workers are renowned the world over for their language skills and their capacity to adapt to different cultures. When will it occur to you that Australia and the USA each have a fairly homogeneous culture, with a single language, and a single set of values? Those countries are much more homogeneous than the UK itself. Do you really expect that Spanish workers will learn e.g. German, and then migrate to Germany, just to please some distant bosses at the IMF preaching 'labour flexibility' ? In what kind of world do you live ?

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  • 78. At 07:31am on 22 Jun 2010, generalissimofranco wrote:

    @66 Threnodio_II
    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
    The said sentence of Voltaire along with the theory of the separation of the powers of Montesquieu are believed to be among the strong arguments that prepared the French revolution. At times, we really forget the contribution of France, and in particular, that of the French philosophers of the XVIII s., to the long and painful shaping of the complex and everlasting fundamental principles of the European democracies.

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  • 79. At 07:36am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #62 Max Sceptic...


    I've been to places in Turkey few Turks from its European part would ever venture into (Artvin, Kars, Van, Hakkari, Agri, Batman, Diyarbakir, etc. And more than once.

    It is an exaggeration that overwhelming majority of Turks (let alone Kurds) are Muslim fanatics dreaming of a Sharia-based caliphate.

    First: most of them are moderate Sunni, not Shia.

    Second: for most of them Islam, just like Catholicism for most European or American Catholics is much more a part of their history, tradition and culture than a political model.

    [you mention the word 'jihad' in E. Anatolia and you raise quite a few eyebrows among local Muslims, including mullahs.]

    Third: it's not that Turks en mass are becoming Islamists; it's just that because kemalist opposition has been badly divided and passive for quite a few years that crypto-Islamists on the order of Erdogan, Gul and their disciplined minions have managed to gain power.

    [with more than a little tacit financial help from the Saudis]

    But, IMHO, this too shall pass.

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  • 80. At 07:44am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#65 "I see Mr Zapatero as someone who thinks through his decisions by consulting with others."





    THE CAMEL IS THE HORSE DESIGNED BY A COMMITTEE.

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  • 81. At 07:48am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Maybe Spain is not as bad as you want it to be?"


    Or Portugal?

    After all it won 7:0.

    Against North Korea. ;)

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  • 82. At 07:57am on 22 Jun 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    lacerniagigante wrote:
    "What's exactly your point Mr Hewitt?
    ........
    But as far as I'm concerned I see Mr Zapatero as someone who thinks through his decisions by consulting with others. His job is to do what's best for the Spanish population that voted him, not to demonstrate manliness.

    Bush, Blair and Aznar were all men of "balls". Thank you very much.

    But as a voter, I want to have leaders that think, not ones who are trying to prove their virility on my expenses."

    The first question was a good one, but by the end of this quote I am at a loss to know what is the point of the author.

    I'm not saying "These guys are idiots." or even "These guys are WRONG." Their ramblings have me genuinely confused. What do they want, from their political economy? What are their respective points? Do they even have coherent points of view?

    I'd argue they don't, having thought about it some.

    Hewitt rarely does. This piece, like his others, lacks any real intellectual depth. There is no analysis, no insight, no rare data obtained from unique sources. It is just an opinion piece from a reporter with fairly predictable and safe opinions. Hewitt's point is to sneer at a leader of a foreign country. That sounds a lot worse than I meant it to sound, but that is where we are. Mathiasen and others have noted the point already.

    This isn't objective journalism by any stretch of the imagination. Worse, it isn't very entertaining either. Unless you are proud to be British and you enjoy sneering down your nose at other, lessor cultures, this blog entry is frankly ridiculous. I mean, it is a very good question. What is Hewitt's point? That professional Spanish political party leaders are less sincere than their British counterparts? That the government in Spain does not control the economy, but in the UK it does? That political parties in the UK are focused on "fiscal leadership" whereas in Spain they are not?

    No, clearly none of these points is sensible. And, no doubt because of this, there is no analysis of the underlying issue of government impotence over the economic turmoil of the day. Instead we get a long drawn out sneer at the Spanish nation. That is Hewitt's idea of journalism, and he is far from the worst of the worst. Well, he is not the worst of the worst.

    But what is lacerniagigante's point? Apart from making the point that Hewitt was making no legitimate point by attacking the Spanish party leader for doing what all the european party leaders have done.

    lacerniagigante says it wants the representatives it voted for to think, and not to be "men of balls". A great sentiment, for sure, but what does that mean? To "think", what is that? To think like lacerniagigante?

    To my taste, lacerniagigante and Hewitt are as bad as each other, in terms of missing the overall point of that which they discuss. lacerniagigante wants leaders to tell him what to do, and so does hewitt. lacerniagigante wants to believe that his system of representation delivers leaders who "think", and who are not all balls and testosterone. Hewitt wants to believe that his system of representation delivers leaders who are born into the right class, went to the right schools, and have the proper "breeding", don't you know. Hewitt is the archetypical English sycophant to power, and so he craves "strong leadership", as long as it is delivered in the English language by a wealthy white man. If he sees strong leadership from anyone else, he'll likely scream terrorist attack and faint.

    But both these guys, they share the wish to want others to lead them. That is clear, from both.

    Hewitt's whole piece is a lament at the absence of 'strong leadership'. lacerniagigante then laments that Hewitt's leaders are not the same type as lacerniagigante prefers. lacerniagigante want's his leaders to speak for a long time in soothing, multi-syllable words. He wants "intelligent" leadership, which curiously means expensive school and proper breeding and all the stuff Hewitt wants too. Very strangely, lacerniagigante wants exactly the Blair's and the Bush's of this world. He just doesn't know it. He is not aware that Blair and Bush were in fact the "intelligent" people from their own societies. They went to the good schools, they came from money. If lacerniagigante had met them merely through social channels, he'd likely think they were extremely intelligent people, and vote for them. Hewitt would have a keener nose for their wealth and class status within their parties, and would not bother to vote. He'd just lean backwards and bask in vicarious glory of their wondrous essence.

    I mention this weird behaviour because to a Swiss person, or anyone else who lives under laws they voted for, the idea of voting for a representative to show "strong leadership" is absurd. In fact, it is slightly perverse and a bit unsettling. After all, what sort of person openly goes around saying hey want to have their opinion given to them by a stronger personality?

    Sure, it happens. It is human nature. But who goes around actually saying "My opinion is useless because I'm dim and afraid, I need someone else to think for me."?

    Nobody says that. Not openly, anyway.

    But if you look at both the comments from Hewitt and lacerniagigante on this blog, that is effectively what they are saying. That is "the point" they both share.

    And it is so exquisitely redundant and absurd, if you think about it. Here we have a journalist and a blog commentator both arguing over who has a better plan to give up the right to an opinion and give it to a party politician. I mean, they are arguing over whom to give their right to argue. If they are so keen to give away their opinion, why not just shut up? Hewitt get's paid, which is startling but nevertheless a good reason for him to continue. But what about lacerniagigante? Why does he bother to post anything at all? Why not just defer to the "intelligent" leaders, just like Hewitt wants to with his "strong" leaders?

    The answer, to me, is that neither of these people really wants to live under representation. I don't think anybody does. It is my suspicion that if people were allowed to vote on the laws they live under, they would never go back to weird sycophantic opinions about "strong" or "intelligent" leaders.

    I say that because in the country where I live, we don't worship "strong" or "intelligent" leaders. We don't do representation by the elite. Everyone votes on the laws, and that is the leadership model. Society is not run like a military command unit.

    And the reason I say that people do not really want leaders, and further that would never give up real democracy if they tried it, is because that is the case here.

    If you carry on like Hewitt in Switzerland, everyone just thinks you are an odd person, and inclined to smile at rich folks and dote on them as if they were all made of magic flower essence. Or they guess you are British, of course.

    And if you carry on like lacerniagigante, everyone thinks you are a weird religious or socialist fanatic, because those are the people who generally proclaim the great value of all knowing gurus.

    I think Europe badly needs to evolve the concept of the citizen, and leadership of the state by the citizen.

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  • 83. At 08:13am on 22 Jun 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 84. At 08:23am on 22 Jun 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    powermeerkat wrote:
    "Re#65 "I see Mr Zapatero as someone who thinks through his decisions by consulting with others."
    THE CAMEL IS THE HORSE DESIGNED BY A COMMITTEE."

    Of course, this comment could only have come from a staunch patriot of a nation that is fighting not one but TWO wars in desert nations, both of which are native homes to camels, and where horses expire fairly readily.

    You have to give Americans credit for avoiding social protocol when it comes to gibberish irony. They will come right up and smash you in the face with it everything they have, all at once.

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  • 85. At 08:25am on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    lacerniagigante

    Re #65

    WOW! If we replaced Spain with G.B., France, Poland, Sweden etc. in most of your diatribe it would read like fairly much the average 'nationalistic' view of any EU National! So much for 20+ years of 'ever closer union' among the peoples of EUrope!

    Another of an increasing number of 'pro-EU' contributors on these Blog Articles attempting to shoot the messenger/observer in order to deflect attention from the EUropean Union's spectacular failure to have any protective effect on a Member Nation.

    Thus we 'anti-EU' are left with the simple question: If the EU has so evidently failed in yet another international crisis, just what is the purpose of an EU?

    Your #65 read to me like someone who was mostly angry because their Nation had played by all the rules of the club and still had got hammered! E.g. "..Spain part of the EU.. EUro-zone..owes a lot of its last 30 years development to the EU..".
    Some of it sounded desparate for any sign of a brighter costa horizon, e.g. "..Santander has bought yet another British failing bank.."!

    Of course, the clincher was, "..as a voter I want to have leaders that think, not ones who are trying to prove their virility on my expenses..".
    Thus, You must be delighted with PM Zapatero: As Mr Hewitt's Article and the EU-Summit (lest You conveniently forget it was Spain's dire straits took up a chunk of the agenda), Your PM personally and his Government presided over Economic-Fiscal policies that led to record "...Spanish debt... 40% unemployment among under-25... Spanish Labour market not working.. lack of growth and a difference in competitiveness between countries like Spain and Germany..".

    No wonder You are so happy: The EU and Mr Zapatero's views have brought Spain all that!

    As Mr Zapatero enjoys the "..international embrace" of Brussels and the IMF, You doubtless will bask in the warmth of knowing Your Nation is a member of a club with rules & regulations that did precisely diddly squat even as Mr Zapatero's Finance Minister warned of the '..dangers of free-spending..' and others were sounding alarms about the construction industry over-heating, smaller Spanish Banks lacking liquidity etc.

    But hey, actually it's Mr Hewitt's fault, it's the Credit Rating Agencies fault, it's the fault of foreign leaders trying to show 'balls', it's Germany's fault for being clever enough to balance its books, it's the US-UK's fault for lax financial services oversight, it's.... Well, you get the drift, I'm sure.

    The one thing we can all take from #65 is that (just like Greece before it) none of it is Spain's fault, not a thing...

    Meanwhile today the UK Chancellor will stand up in Parliament and announce that it is entirely the fault of the Nation that it too is in deep economic-fiscal difficulty and that Britons will have to pay for their mistakes. There will be no convenient foreign collective 'bail-out', no appeals to the IMF etc. Britons will do it.

    Now, if You will pardon the expression: Admitting our own & paying for our own mistakes 'takes real balls'.

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  • 86. At 08:27am on 22 Jun 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    More oblivious patriotic irony IN YOUR FACE from the meerkat:

    "After all it won 7:0.
    Against North Korea. ;)"

    Whereas the US vs NK result was...... nil all?

    Do we even say that America lost in Korea? Or do we just say they failed to win?

    Myself, I'd say the troops lost and the suppliers of the US military industry won, but I'm too stupid to understand the great movements of nations.

    One day meerkat will have to sit down and explain it all to me, and doubtless I will soon be wiping the tears of joy from my face with some flag or another.

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  • 87. At 08:30am on 22 Jun 2010, opinion wrote:

    77. At 06:15am on 22 Jun 2010, smroet
    it is not about learning all 23 languages of the EU. I was talking about the possibility to take advantage of a single market to find a job somewhere else when you ca not get one back home. If a worker cannot do that than what is the point of having a EU with a single market when workers (most people) do not have any advantage out of that? Visa free travel can be achieved without having a single market. So, obviously it comes out now that for most people EU means just visa free travel. I cannot see any other advantage so far.

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  • 88. At 08:32am on 22 Jun 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    "Labor flexibility: I would expect that now that in Spain there is no work, Spanish workers would be able to go anywhere in EU find a job and earn their livings without a problem. While in countries like Australia and USA it is very common for people to do that in EU that does not happen and that is for two reasons: national interest and the lack of growth and jobs anywhere in EU."

    Absolute horse feathers, with all due respect. There are indeed two reasons why Europeans from Spain can't travel around Europe and find work, but they have nothing to do with "national interest" or a lack of jobs.

    The two reasons are these:
    1. The spanish kids are very often too lazy and too class obsessed to work jobs they consider lower than themselves.
    2. They can't speak any language well except Spanish, and nobody else speaks spanish in Europe.

    I'm sorry to be blunt, but I just got back from a week in Holland, and I met some unemployed folks. Some from Italy, some from Spain. They were all skinny, physically weak, poorly educated and massively lazy. And they all thought they were smarter than each other and the rest of the world too.

    This is a major issue: western European men are generally physically poor. I worked my way through college by loading and unloading trucks. Not proud work, not easy, but it paid the rent. None of the young people I spoke to this last week would do that. Some said they would, but you could tell they would never make it past the first shift. They are just too weak, too small physically, and the social stigma of manual work is too repulsive.

    And the funny thing was, there was one other lawyer with me, an American. Both of us were talking to all these Euro kids, about 20 years old. Now both the American and myself had done physical labour jobs in college, to pay for it. Not only did we both notice that all the young "men" we spoke to were too small and feeble to be of any use in labouring, we both also noticed that when we explained that we had both done these horrible jobs to pay for college, we received sneering looks down the noses of these drop outs, these no money having, non educated kids sneered at us, and were visibly embarrassed to be in the company of people who would admit to doing such common labouring, even in their remote past.

    And the funny thing was, it was really funny. Neither of us took offense. We both just laughed about it later. It is, to be serious, completely absurd.

    Here we were, established and earning good money anywhere in the world. Being sneered at by a bunch of loser drop outs who can't even protect themselves physically. Because we were not too proud to work. Because we were too common.

    That is Europe's big problem ..... BIG PROBLEM, and Spain is a very acute example of it.

    Sure, western Europe has some physical guys and some hard workers. But they are sneered at by the majority. Most of them are immigrants or eastern europeans.

    Europe has massive problems because it's youth are often too proud, and often too physically weak, to do useful work. For this we may thank not just the leadership by example of the EU, but the entire older generation of Europeans.

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  • 89. At 08:33am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "I would expect that now that in Spain there is no work, Spanish workers would be able to go anywhere in EU find a job and earn their livings without a problem."



    And, pray, in what EU countries?

    Belgium? France? Germany? Italy? Portugal? UK?

    Or perhaps in Bulgaria, Greece or Romania?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

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  • 90. At 08:44am on 22 Jun 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    To make the abolition of the common agriculture policy (CAP) a success criterion equals the idea of inviting everybody to a summit on Mars, a liberal Danish MEP has written to the foreign minister: One third will not appear, one third cannot afford it, and the last third appears only to see the people that have made such a mad proposal.

    The background is that Denmark in 2012 will chair the EU, and the minister plans to propose the abolition. If nothing else, the correspondence shows how important the CAP is in the EU.

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  • 91. At 08:50am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Of course, this comment could only have come from a staunch patriot of a nation that is fighting not one but TWO wars in desert nation"


    And which countries are those?

    Iraq is not a desert country (neither south nor north of it are deserts).

    Neither is Afghanistan which is mostly mountainous.

    [just like Switzerland, and with similarly corrupted banking system)


    And yes, US Special Forces do ride camels when needed.

    Particularly in Waziristan.

    [CIA uses mostly Reapers. :)]

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  • 92. At 08:54am on 22 Jun 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    cool_brush_work wrote:
    "Now, if You will pardon the expression: Admitting our own & paying for our own mistakes 'takes real balls'."

    No, it takes integrity and selflessness.

    Do not make the terrible mistake of thinking that courage alone grants an evil and cruel character redemption. Even the very worst of people are capable of great courage, and certainly the most stupid of acts take immense bravery.

    It is a strange ritual of the martial society to worship bravery (curiously symbolized by the male reproductive genitalia) above other virtues.

    Thus we see young men join the military for the fun of shooting weapons and flying in helicopters and watching things blow up, in fact we encourage and exploit these desires of young people with carefully crafted recruiting advertising.

    And then when these young people are killed, or when they kill and go insane with misery at what they have become, as a society we "forget" that they joined for the excitement and we pretend that these children, these teenagers as many are, were actually all knowing philosopher monks who summarized the global geopolitical environment in an instant and decided, correctly, that the only truth was on our (Surprise!) side of the equation.

    I find this hugely fascinating behaviour. By the tearful survivors, I mean. The grief I have seen at military funerals has been so incredibly public, and yet so deliberately steeped in fantasy, that I have often wondered whom it serves. Sometimes I'm sure the army wives and girlfriends would feel cheated if they were just given a cheque in the mail and not permitted to do their wailing in new hats and dresses.

    I remember one guy who hung himself in his closet when I was at office school. Nice guy, I only met him a few times. He was a good solider and never ad any problems with the army. But word got around pretty fast from his friends. It turns out he had a terrible family life, and something was going on with his dad and sister or something like that. Anyways, he hung himself in his closet in full dress uniform, which was pretty sad.

    And you should have seen the show they out on! So many new hats, so many new dresses, and his family all turned up for the parade. All all the dignitaries made their dignified speeches, and spoke about how sad it was. And yeah, they all dropped the famous lie about the "ultimate sacrifice" this young man had paid "for the rest of society".

    I remember watching.... I was in the second row of goons holding rifles at salute.... his father, this big fat dude, trying to fathom the rumour's I'd heard, and as the priest spoke about "the ultimate sacrifice" by this "clean young man", the father held his eyes and cried. And the mother was also overcome with public grief.

    I didn't like that, I have to say. The truth is, if it were up to me I would have shot the father right then and there, just for crying at that point in proceedings. It seemed like a profanity upon the dead man, all that public and hugely self serving and fantasy based grief. And of course, that was the frame of mind I was in at the time. I'd have shot a lot of folks back then, if it were up to me.

    Anyways, that is a diversion, but it is worth noting that kids are still getting brassed up and the warm glow of nation still tickles the fancies of numerous pensioners in the UK.

    I figure never trust someone who cries at a funeral. Here is some poor person dead, and they are fishing for sympathy. It is enough to break a persons concentration thinking about the angle, for sure.

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  • 93. At 09:01am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    If a threat to democracy has doubts whether North Korea has won or lost, let him visit the Kim Jong-il's GULAG before proceeding to South Korea.


    I doubt that after those visits any explanations from this or any other meerkat will be necessary. :)


    BTW. WWII score: Russia won, Germany lost.

    Have you been to Germany? And to Russia? Lately?

    I rest my case.

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  • 94. At 09:09am on 22 Jun 2010, smroet wrote:

    #87 opinion

    Perhaps you don't seem to get my point: most Spanish workers do not want to move to find jobs elsewhere. It would mean learning foreign languages (not all 23, of course, but English, French and/or German), and to uproot oneself culturally. Most people are not prepared to do this. Part of this is cultural: family ties are very strong in Spain. A part could be historical: the Spanish people who left Spain in the past did so because of the Franco regime, and the ones who staid never learned to move. A lot of young people in Spain get by because their parents help them out. High unemployment amongst young people in Spain has been around for quite some time, anyway.

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  • 95. At 09:13am on 22 Jun 2010, Leo_Naphta wrote:

    Democracythreat,

    Your diabetre there kind of reminded me of that song from Men In Tights, "We're men! Manly men!" You complain about them 'looking down their nose' at you, while cultivating this same feeling. It's quite funny. Also, the idea that you got any insight in the European psyche because you talked to a few college students is ridicilous. The idea that none of them would ever do manual labour cracks me up. All these Euro-kids. You talked to about 20, at most. Where? How did you meet them? How did you actually figure they were at any point representative for Europe as a whole? I met an Australian kid once that thought Berlin was in Asia, and complained that she messed up because Australia is so big and there's so much to learn about it. Do I now have to conclude some sort of stereotype about Australians? Oh, I know, Americans! Of all the talk about labour flexibility, I've met very few Americans that moved to South America that spoke any Spanish. For some reason, they all thought it was the South American populations job to speak English. Stereotypical conclusion ...

    Also, about labour mobility. The idea that no Spanish would ever immigrate is also, wrong. How do I know this? Because I keep falling over Spaniards that immigrated here. The EU makes this easier, possible but it's not going to be the US. The idea that the EU would in labour mobility directly mirror the US shows you have no realistic expectations about the world. The EU is not the US, that doesn't mean it's a failure as such. It's not going to be the perfect system anytime soon, that doesn't make it a failure as such either. It's something that was always going to be very difficult to introduce and get to work under any circumstances. Of course, I see that quitting is always easier. ;)

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  • 96. At 09:19am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Turkey does not qualify [for EU membership] for it has unresolved problem with Kurds".



    I recall UK had an unresolved problems with N. Ireland, and the English still have an unresolved problem with Scotts.

    Just like France and Spain had unresolved problems with Basques (and still do), plus the Spaniards still have an unresolved problem with Catalans.

    Bulgaria - with its Turkish minority.

    Slovakia - with its Hungarian minority.

    Romania - with its Gypsy minority.

    And Belgium had (and still does) an unresolved problem with... itself. :)


    [for a moment I'll skip an unresolved problem German Wessies are having with German Ossies (or vice versa)]

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  • 97. At 09:26am on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    powermeerkat

    Re #93

    Cannot say I agree with You quite a lot of the time, however, on this occasion Your logic simply exposes another's inadequacies.
    Must add, You are wasting Your time if You think anything You write will alter the closed mind of DemocThreat on the 'English-speaking peoples'.

    It is truly remarkable how persistent & consistent is DemocThreat's attack upon all things 'american/english': Even more remarkable such an astute contributor has singularly failed over the years to realise their arguments fall on every occasion precisely because of this xenophobic aversion to the 'english-speaking peoples'.

    Thus, as You so accurately point out the comparison of 'North' & 'South' Koreas defeats every other viewpoint: Nevertheless, this civilised resident of civilising & oh-so-comfortably off Switzerland, a legally trained mind & very knowledgeable person is so blinded by animosity to 'american/english'-ness of any sort he actually raises 'North Korea' as an example against 'anglo-saxon' influence!
    How low can one person get in their basic prejudice: Despite all the cruelty, insanity & uncivilised behaviour of the regime of the 'north' he actually tries to use it against 'american/english' peoples.

    Thus he joins the mad-greek (who argued the Burmese regime was right to protect Burmese peoples from the 'west' by imprisoning Sun Kyi) in the shame of notably outrageous, egregious contribution.

    It just doesn't get any more sad, preposterous & prejudiced than that!

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  • 98. At 09:33am on 22 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    88. At 08:32am on 22 Jun 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    """"... Absolute horse feathers, with all due respect. There are indeed two reasons why Europeans from Spain can't travel around Europe and find work, but they have nothing to do with "national interest" or a lack of jobs.
    The two reasons are these:
    1. The spanish kids are very often too lazy and too class obsessed to work jobs they consider lower than themselves.
    2. They can't speak any language well except Spanish, and nobody else speaks spanish in Europe.""""

    Horse feathers? Donkey feathers mate. I have heard once too often this justification but it simply donkey feathers. The fact that Spanish kids are more diploma oriented does not mean that on the overall Spanish kids will not do the physical jobs, this is simply idiotic. You are blind NOT to see what is going on. I will take the example of Greece: the county with by far the most university graduates in EU. This is thrown upon kids that they won't work they won't do this they won't do that but it is simply lies.

    Until 94-95 when Georgians & Albanians and soon Kurds, Iraqis, Pakistanis etc. started arriving ALL manual jobs were done by Greeks. Greek youth did have the same educational orientation but still they would do the manual jobs. So what happened? Simply: the black hands enterred the market and dropped wages to a point so low which was equalled to slavery.

    You may boast of your manual job experience in your youth but would you boast it if you did it practically for free so that your boss could buy his new Mercedes? I do not think so. Greek kids and Spanish kids were smart enough to know what is the minimum price to do a job.

    But from a point on, what happened was that the immigrants enterring the manual professions, like it happens everywhere they soon develop mini-companies, black companies which employ strictly black hands, foreign people, mostly illegal immigrants. Practically there is no place for locals in these teams. Forget about legality, forget about social security, forget about security standards - put the locals who have a permanent address, families and such to work together with men often of criminal past, who have no permanent addresss and who have nothing to lose and you know the result. As for the US kids who work manually, I am yet to see white rednecks working on the same "black-hand-company" with illegal Latino immigrants. So spare us the social lessons.

    """"I'm sorry to be blunt, but I just got back from a week in Holland, and I met some unemployed folks. Some from Italy, some from Spain. They were all skinny, physically weak, poorly educated and massively lazy. And they all thought they were smarter than each other and the rest of the world too.""""

    Donkey feather again. Are Spanish and Italians so different to Portuguese? Cos in France Portuguese are the most sincere, the most hardworking people ever to have placed their foot in France. "Faire la mour" is a national joke (faire le mur = make the wall, faire l'amour = make love...). Still, though most of their kids go on to study (and have closed the gap with the average middle class French level) many of them even in the second generation are occupied with physical jobs (often in their parents professions etc.). I see a Portuguese, it is a guarantee for me. I cannot imagine Spanish being any different.

    What you say actually recalls mostly the muslims. There is no aversion of manual jobs in the Italian or Spanish mentality. It is in the muslim mentality. Now if Italians and Spanish in Holland are work class people living close to muslim neighbourhoods and seeing how muslims can evade all work living on social welfare there is absolutely nothing to tell to Spanish and Italians avoiding manual jobs if lowly paid jobs. You cannot expect them to be the victims, in fact I do condone their attitude, I would do the same.

    On the contrary you haven't gone to manual jobs which are rightly paid: I am an engineer and I am working in such environments in France, Belgium & Holland and I can tell you I see mainly locals and among foreigners its all about 2nd generation Portuguese, Spanish and Italians and from there on black Africans. The % of muslims in such jobs is simply insignificant to their % in society.

    """""This is a major issue: western European men are generally physically poor. I worked my way through college by loading and unloading trucks. Not proud work, not easy, but it paid the rent. None of the young people I spoke to this last week would do that. Some said they would, but you could tell they would never make it past the first shift. They are just too weak, too small physically, and the social stigma of manual work is too repulsive."""""

    If you studied in Europe and tried to work loading and unloading trucks, you had the risk to work for a black hand company employing illegal slave force thus you risked soon having a jealous co-worker enterring your flat stealing your television and laptop and if he found your girlfriend inside I spare the details... Spare us the moral lessons.

    """"And the funny thing was, there was one other lawyer with me, an American. Both of us were talking to all these Euro kids, about 20 years old. Now both the American and myself had done physical labour jobs in college, to pay for it.""""

    A very large percentage of European youth works throughour their studies too. However, many of them (especially from the club Med contries) have the support of parents (Greek kids are the most "spoiled"), then studying in Europe is cheaper than in US thus the pressure is less - most kids will try to find fewer hours of work and mostly around the university (thus most often in less manual jobs). For example in my Uni years, I worked as a barman of hotel functions (i.e. not in the standard bar but in the bar set for company dinners, parties etc.). It was quite a physical job as it included the setting of the mobile bar, the transfer of tons of alcohol (as the functions were from 200 to 1000 people etc.). But where I worked it was quite "class", 5 star hotel and we were a team of professional servers and undergrad & even post-grad students (well yes! the one brought the other, they tested us and they kept us). No "black hand" in the vicinity.

    """"...Not only did we both notice that all the young "men" we spoke to were too small and feeble to be of any use in labouring,""""

    What you mea nby small and feeble. The fact that Europeans are not FAT like Americans (who are beached whales) does not mean they are feeble. For your info, there is no physical job - at least on paper - that requires workers to manually lift more than 10kg. Any man can do that if he has to. Kids are thin and not trained because they are not into that kind of job. 2-3 months and they will get in form, there is no doubt about that. But it is not the manual that keeps many kids out, it is the horrid social environment around which is incompatible with them. As soon as the social environment becomes compatible you see plenty of them doing the job.

    """"we both also noticed that when we explained that we had both done these horrible jobs to pay for college, we received sneering looks down the noses of these drop outs, these no money having, non educated kids sneered at us, and were visibly embarrassed to be in the company of people who would admit to doing such common labouring, even in their remote past....""""

    """"Sure, western Europe has some physical guys and some hard workers. But they are sneered at by the majority. Most of them are immigrants or eastern europeans.""""

    It is true that Eastern Europeans are often having the manual jobs, exemplified by the Polish plumber (plumber = a very prized profession in western Europe and you might notice that is manned mostly by locals NOT foreign people, thus the fuss about the introduction of the Polish plumber...). But it is also a matter of culture: in eastern Europe till recently, education guaranteed often worse careers than manual or commercial jobs, thus it was often seen as a refuge for women (thus the disproportion between men & women in higher education there). As this changes, this notion changes rapidly.

    But talking about "other" immigrants you are blatantly wrong. Immigrants, espcially the muslim ones, will only work - black hands - in the first few months and as soon as they get social welfare they will jump on to official unemployment and try to gain some extra money here or there. Do a round in the "hoods" and you will notice the massive number of young men sitting around and refusing categorically to get any job that they consider inferior.

    """"Europe has massive problems because it's youth are often too proud, and often too physically weak, to do useful work.""""

    Wrong. What you describe me here is two things:

    1) Aversion of European kids to exploitation, black market and above all to negative social environments...
    2) Muslim immigrant culture which sometimes is spread partially to other groups (locals & european immigrants) residing next to them....

    Are you sure those you met were Italians & Spanish? Cos as a European I have sincere doubts that an American will do the effort to distinguish those Arabs that happen to look a bit more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern from Spanish & Italians. Let me remind you how many Greek tourists (Greeks tend to be unshaved in holidays...) get angry looks in US airports and how Europeans are embarassed when they travel in group, all of them passing and the US airport police retaining the Greek for more searching... let alone how many Greek priests have been attacked in US by wackos (the type of veteran Rambo...) for being "islamic terrorists".

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  • 99. At 09:40am on 22 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #78 - generalissimofranco

    Well yes but we need to remember the importance of these great philosophers in the context of modern thinking and the advent of modern democracy. What we must not do is confuse the philosophy with events on the ground.

    The French Revolution began with discontent amongst the bourgeois classes. The Bastille, when the mob took over, was nothing more than a few rioters releasing a handful of relatively unimportant people in a poorly guarded suburban jail. What it led to was the wholesale mindless massacre of as many people who could have been useful to France - intellectuals, property owners, investors and so on as could be managed. it degenerated into organised chaos and led directly to two major wars, the emergence of a petty dictator then ultimately restoration of the monarchy. Not exactly a model of democratic progress.

    I need hardly remind you where the Russian Revolution led - huge hopes for a new code of living gave way to monstrous blood letting, Leninist revisionism, Stalin and the gulags, the Cold War and ultimately collapse. Bloody revolution tends to open the door to extremists and the abandonment of the very 'reason' that Voltaire and Montesquieu were preaching. The American Revolution is a very rare exception to this rule.

    It is democracies which evolve over time which tend to survive. If you need an example of this, just look at the period when British progress was put on hold during the nonsense which was the English Revolution which eventually took everyone back to square one.

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  • 100. At 09:42am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Let's not beat up on Spanish kids.

    According to a recent poll 50% of young Frenchmen (AND women) intend to study psychology and find jobs as psychologists.

    Sigmund Freud might have been proud.

    Adam Smith? Not so sure.

    Milton Friedman? :-))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

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  • 101. At 09:52am on 22 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    Re88: Sorry democracythreat, somehow I mixed it with powermeerkats and called you American. But now I am even more perplexed as to your view about Spanish and Italian kids. I really cannot imagine where did you find those kids and if you fell to the exception. Because I happen to circulate in technical jobs and in 3 countries (let alone other visits elsewhere) and I see many sorts of people if not all sorts of people.

    Anyway, as I said, of all European kids, you can't find more spoiled kids than in Greece. They are the best raised but also most spoilt kids. Yet, there is absolutely no aversion to manual jobs and many of them will do them. However it is unthinkable for many Greek kids to work next to Albanians or Pakistanis if they have any other alternative, it is not the manual job, it is the social incompatibility. Albanians are no1 thiefs and worse and Pakistanis just like Albanians are equally bands - no local kid can trust. Still, all well paid manual jobs are done by local Greeks. Albanians soon developed an aversion to manual jobs as they started making their little companies employing Kurds and Pakistanis and there you find the workplace nightmares... It is just not any healthy environment for a local ro work. As soon as you find a region where not many foreigners are, all manual jobs are done by Greeks and there is absolutely no stigma for it, quite the opposite, Greeks (who think to know everything of course like I do here haha!) like to boast about their technical skills in doing house work, repairs etc.

    I told you I worked in my uni days (in UK) as a hotel functions barman. I also did other jobs, like working in the post which was less manual of course but then my one before last job was in the furnishment of a new Marriot Hotel. I remember asking the office ANY job, they had few things in my vicinity at the time and were reluctant to tell me about that, I told them I go. I went and the supervisor there was eyeing me (feeling I was not the short of people he usually had), asked me where I am from, told him from Greece, he told me "we have not many Greeks around", I told him that most Greeks in London are students and are coming from the upper middle and not rarely form the really upper social classes thus they have no need actually to do the job, told him also that I had no need to do the job too. He asked me what did I do, I told him I was post-graduate but had finished and had only the project to handle and that was just a matter of time and since it was beginning of summer and few people were around I was bored, I wanted to do whatever quick job to have some extra cash for the holidays, but I was not particularly pressed. He was impressed and he was buying me beers and at the end he noted me some hours more to get paid saying that I had done better job than the rest.

    I have told the story many times and I have never found ANY European laughing in contempt at it. And I did worse. When I came - for personal reasons, the wife, nothing to do with professional carreer - to northern Europe after having worked as an engineer in Greece I remained unemployed. And I ended up working in a kebap shop which is so often considered a kitch job, yet I say the story and people just laugh since they cannot think of me working there but really I haven't found anyone watching me in contempt. On the contrary I get appraising looks not only from the elder but also from the youth.

    Do not know. Down to the basics, you have to take into consideration a very large number of conditions to understand how and why people will react differently. Go and propose to an Italian to work for 600 euros black hand in a manual job next to Kurds and Pakistanis. You must be crazy to think he won't do the job. I would not do the job either myself, I am sorry, this is just modern slavery. But go and tell the unemployed Italian to work for 1500 euros in a respectable manual job, and he will jump on it. Much more fast than any muslim who will still count that his 1000 euros overall social benefit is much more convenient since on the sides he can black-trade an average of another 500 to 1000 euros...

    You have to put the price tag. The rest are details.

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  • 102. At 09:55am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #95 "I've met very few Americans that moved to South America that spoke any Spanish. For some reason, they all thought it was the South American populations job to speak English"




    I don't think it is a language barrier which accounts for very few U.S. citizens seeking gainful employment in South American countries.

    Nor do I see that inability to speak English prevents millions of Latin Americans from finding (illegal) jobs in El Norte. :)

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  • 103. At 10:01am on 22 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    96. At 09:19am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    "Turkey does not qualify [for EU membership] for it has unresolved problem with Kurds".

    I recall UK had an unresolved problems with N. Ireland, and the English still have an unresolved problem with Scotts.
    Just like France and Spain had unresolved problems with Basques (and still do), plus the Spaniards still have an unresolved problem with Catalans.
    Bulgaria - with its Turkish minority.
    Slovakia - with its Hungarian minority.
    Romania - with its Gypsy minority.
    And Belgium had (and still does) an unresolved problem with... itself. :)

    [for a moment I'll skip an unresolved problem German Wessies are having with German Ossies (or vice versa)]
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes. Only that none of that long line of countries ever napalm-bombed its minorities, slaughtered more than 40,000 people, forbade their language in public (not in the last 100 years...) and cleared 1000 villages per year...

    Turks have a huge problem, they have themselves created. Kurds are not 1 not 2 not 2 not 4 not 5 million... they are rising up to almost 20 million people inside Turkey. 20 million. Count how many European countries are far from atteigning this number please? 1 in 4 Turkish citizens is a Kurd and soon it will be 1 in 3. Turks have created the issue and it is long overdue. At some point either Turks will have to radically change (and thus lose to them) or there will be collapse. Why do you think Turks love their re-islamisation? They simply know they cannot sell any more their "turkish fairytale" with impunity. They fear the Kurds and they prefer them becoming islamic than ethnic, just like they were 90 years ago when they used them as soldiers to do the genocide of Armenians (the genocide of Armenians was ordered by Turks but was mostly perpetraded by Kurds, somethign Kurds openly admit and many public figures of them have openly & very sincerely apologised to Armenians - the genocide of Greeks however was perpetrated by Turks themselves).

    So the issue of the huge Kurdish minority... well not minority, it is a majority in Eastern Anatolia cannot be equated to any Ottoman religious remnants in Bulgaria or British remnants in Northern Ireland.

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  • 104. At 10:12am on 22 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    Note on 98: to be more fair and more accurate, muslims too have their differences thus they should not be banded. While there is a general tedency of them to look down upon manual jobs especially when it is under the direction of infidels, it is true that different muslim groups have different working ethics. Kurds and Turks are comparatevely more hard working and are technical jobs oriented. Egptians too have not the relative aversion that Algerians, Moroccans & Tynisians show upon manual jobs. However, even within Algerians for example, there are differences: the Kabyl people (totally different to Algerian Arab majority) have statistically less of a problem working in manual jobs.

    Mind you, I have worked with excellent workers from all those communities. One of the best ever workers I have ever worked were the Bulgarian muslims (these are only a religious community, they are basically slavic people). Very serious people and very hard working.

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  • 105. At 10:13am on 22 Jun 2010, MacTurk wrote:

    Re 22(MaxSceptic) why would Turkey's admission to the EU mean the suicide of the EU? Even if they were admitted tomorrow, the Turkish population is about 76million, which would be about 15% of the new enlarged EU. Whence comes suicide? Or is this part of the septic myth that all Muslims are part of a monolithic plan to Islamisize the world and spend their days planning jihad?

    Most Turks are like anyone else; they want a chance to build a life, they want their kids to have a good education, and hence better lives, and they would like a reasonably predictable life. They like to drink raki(ouzo), the government makes and sells beer in competition with several private sector firms, and some 20% of the population is Alevi, not Muslim at all.

    Given that Turkey will not get in for at least ten years, and it will be a vastly different country then, the best policy is probably "Never say never". In ten years, Europe might well have need of a big dynamic economy with a large well-educated workforce.

    Re smroet's comment(77)"Do you really expect that Spanish workers will learn e.g. German, and then migrate to Germany? In what kind of world do you live?", could I point out that something like 200,000 Spaniards DID learn German and French(in the so-wonderful time of Franco),and lived and worked in those countries? Not "just to please some distant bosses at the IMF preaching 'labour flexibility', but because they had to? People are generally more flexible than smroet understands. In terms of labour movement, I doubt the EU will ever become a carbon copy of the USA, but in my workplace there are people from at least seven EU member states, as well as three from candidate states.

    Would EUprisoner209456731 please use the mind he was given at birth? The comment that "They took the UK into the "EU" by lies and trickery. Given that this anti-democratic monstrosity is backed up by the organs of the mal-functioning British state, including Army and Police, it is basically by force" is specious nonsense, especially given the avowed purpose of the British Democratic system he champions so sturdily. In Britain you elect MP's to take decisions for you, not to hold a plebiscite every five minutes on issues of burning concern to ...well, not many people actually. The EU now, and the EEC then, does not and did not have any input into the command and control of the British Armed Forces, or the various constabularies. To pretend otherwise is, at best,self deceiving silliness. If there were any lies used, they were spoken by British politicians.
    Turkey a member in ten years, please, along with the Ukraine and the Balkans. And could the English please have their debate and referendum, then either in or out.

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  • 106. At 10:18am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #97 cool_brush_work wrote:


    "How low can one person get in their basic prejudice: Despite all the cruelty, insanity & uncivilised behaviour of the regime of the 'north'[N.Korea] he actually tries to use it against 'american/english' peoples."




    Relax. Both here and in HYS debates you'll find plenty of posters who'll support any ruthless dictator and defend any murderous totalitarian regime ( Burma, Cuba, Iran, Libya, N. Korea, PRC, Sudan, etc.) or a terrorist outfit (from al-Aqsa to Quds) for no other reason than because they think or hope they could cause problems for U.S., NATO or both.


    Take it easy. "Dogs bark - caravan proceeds"

    "Those who can - do; those who can't - bark in court." :)

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  • 107. At 10:20am on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ThrenodioII

    Re #99

    The "..nonsense which was the English Revolution.." led to the establishment of the principle of Parliamentary Government and the ending of any prospect of 'monarchial' supremacy.

    That, I would argue, is a fairly important advance in the affairs of Britons and 'west' Europeans/colonising Americans.
    Afterall, it took another 140+ years (post-Napoleonic) for France to catch-up on the idea.

    It is a common misconception & dare I say it a slightly lazy historical perspective to assert the return of King Charles II had everything put back as it was pre-1642.

    Charles Stuart returned in 1660 by the consent & at the invitation of Parliament. Soon after the Anglican Bishops were restored to Parliament and Commons & Lords though somewhat sifted for perceived worst 'anti-Royal'/'pro-Commonwealth' offenders became the back-bone that has for 300+ years been the measure of the 'English Democracy'.

    As such it is the period 1642-1660 is the antecedent of the hugely successful modern 'democratic' method adopted across the World.

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  • 108. At 10:22am on 22 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #101 - Nik

    "Re88: Sorry democracythreat, somehow I mixed it with powermeerkats and called you American".

    He is American but it is so much easier to lambaste the rest of us from the safety of a neutral country.

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  • 109. At 10:34am on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Nik

    Re #101

    Quote, "..Albanians are No1 thieves and worse.. and Pakistanis just like Albanians.."

    Are You for real?

    You come on these Blogs spouting all that utter, drivelling guff about how Greece & Greeks have been done down by every nation on earth and then You write that despicable garbage about other peoples!

    Does it never, ever occur to You there many millions of Albanians, Pakistanis, Turks & every other peoples on earth who just want a decent life for themselves & their families? They try to do their best, make the best of things in adverse circumstances, just as You have described You have had to do on occasion!?

    What is wrong with You? Where do You get the colossal nerve to label everyone else as inadequate compared to You!?

    Yes, there are thieves, yes there are murderers, and yes, I recall You fulminating about 'foreign students' getting beat-up by Brits etc.. What in the name of commonsense makes You think none of those things could be applied to You and Your Greek Citizens if we all just took anecdotal experiences as the deciding factor!?

    E.g. Every Greek is a rascist!
    Well, they must be - - I've read Your stuff, so there couldn't possibly be another version of the Greek people, could there!?

    Oh that's right! There is more to people than meets the eye of the beholder!

    Now, there's a NOT original thought obviously escaped Your attention.

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  • 110. At 10:44am on 22 Jun 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #107 - cool_brush_work

    All of which could have been achieved without 26 years of civil war, the interregnum, 2 commonwealths and many thousands of lost lives had it not been for the folly of a few immoderates. In the minds of most ordinary folk, this was not a war about constitutional niceties. It was a straight forward religious conflict.

    The constitutional niceties were, as I said, put on hold for the duration. The constitutionl arrangements were facilitated by the Declaration of Breda after parliament enabled restoration. Had Charles I remembered that James I ascended the throne by invitation and accepted the supremacy of parliament instead of clinging to his unsustainable 'divine right' obsession, none of it would have been necessary.

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  • 111. At 11:00am on 22 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    " just look at the period when British progress was put on hold during the nonsense which was the English Revolution which eventually took everyone back to square one."

    Not entirely as the Divine Right of Kings was quite rightly sealed away for all eternity with the return of Charles II. Constraints on the power of the monarch after Charles I monumental arrogance was a major step forward and the preceding years of the English Republic paved the way for what we now know as the United States of America.

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  • 112. At 11:09am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #108 "from the safety of a neutral country." [Switzerland]



    Threnodio, please, tell that to Roman Polanski who was invited by the Swiss to Zurich to receive Life Achievement Award and was promptly arrested. ;)

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  • 113. At 11:51am on 22 Jun 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    105. At 10:13am on 22 Jun 2010, MacTurk wrote:


    " .. why would Turkey's admission to the EU mean the suicide of the EU? Even if they were admitted tomorrow, the Turkish population is about 76million "

    EUpris: It is 76 million today. It will be more tomorrow.

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  • 114. At 11:55am on 22 Jun 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    90. At 08:44am on 22 Jun 2010, Mathiasen wrote:


    "To make the abolition of the common agriculture policy (CAP) a success criterion equals the idea of inviting everybody to a summit on Mars, a liberal Danish MEP has written to the foreign minister: One third will not appear, one third cannot afford it, and the last third appears only to see the people that have made such a mad proposal.

    The background is that Denmark in 2012 will chair the EU, and the minister plans to propose the abolition. If nothing else, the correspondence shows how important the CAP is in the EU."

    EUpris: And that is why the UK needs to leave the "EU" NOW! If the UK leaves the "EU" the CAP will be reformed because the rest will have less money with which to support parasite countries.

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  • 115. At 11:58am on 22 Jun 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    89. At 08:33am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    " ...
    Inquiring minds want to know."

    EUpris: You make this assertion repeatedly. How do you know what other enquiring minds want to know?

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  • 116. At 12:00pm on 22 Jun 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    84. At 08:23am on 22 Jun 2010, democracythreat wrote:


    "THE CAMEL IS THE HORSE DESIGNED BY A COMMITTEE"

    EUpris: The "EU" is a committee designed by a camel.

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  • 117. At 12:25pm on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ThrenodioII

    Re #110

    However, as King Charles I did not recall his brother's assent to the Crown of England (or Henry VIII & QEI reliance on Parliament) and as he displayed every intention of following the unrestrained despot monarchy of France and others those '26' years were very much needed.

    From the lessons of Cromwellian dictatorship emerged the understanding of the need of Parliamentary democracy.

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  • 118. At 12:42pm on 22 Jun 2010, generalissimofranco wrote:

    @99 Threnodio_II
    I thank you for the detailed comment. I agree that we should assess the contribution of the French philosophers in the light of the present realities.
    Further to your wording of the consequences of the Russian revolution of 1917, I accepted without any objection, I must add another very, very negative result which is still evident here, in the East: many people of my generation still believe that the state is fully responsible of their fate, of the way they should earn their living, etc. If we add to that the so called ‘auto censorship’ when we should discuss openly some important public issue /which is another heritage of the previous regime/, one can imagine how shy and non productive is the mentality of millions and millions of well educated and disciplined citizens of all those countries, situated east of Germany.
    By the way, I shall be glad to chat with you in English, or in French on the Smolensk forum. I found there interesting bloggers. The main discussion concerns the crash of the Polish president two months ago, though other, shall I say, domestic issues are discussed.
    I have little knowledge in the history of the English revolution, though I somehow admire the contribution of Cromwell to the abolishment of the absolute monarchy in England.
    Regards

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  • 119. At 1:45pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    Dt

    you obviously haven't been to China or India, the factories of the world.

    Otherwise you'd know that the workers there doing manual work are all 6 foot 3 and on a high-protein, low-carb diet.

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  • 120. At 1:53pm on 22 Jun 2010, MacTurk wrote:

    "EUpris: It is 76 million today. It will be more tomorrow". Extrapolating demographic trends into the future cannot be done with any degree of certainty. People used to worry about China's population exploding, now the concern is the large drop in China's population due in the next twenty years, due to the lack of marriageable females.
    Re Nik, I have to agree with cool_brush_work, he really is a tedious little racist, and a very insecure snob also, it would seem. No-one is quite up to his standards, living in his little Slavophile bubble. As the teacher said, "Needs to get out a little more".

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  • 121. At 2:14pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "Extrapolating demographic trends into the future cannot be done with any degree of certainty"

    In this case, thats BS.

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  • 122. At 2:49pm on 22 Jun 2010, smroet wrote:

    #105 MacTurk

    ... something like 200,000 Spaniards DID learn German and French (in the so-wonderful time of Franco)...

    I hope you see the difference between the Franco time (a dictatorship the legacy of which is still present today), and the Zapatero time (just another democratic government). There should be no need for Spaniards to emigrate now, since there is no dictatorship. Voluntary economic migration inside the EU still implies uprooting from the local community, including close family, and this is, IMO, not easy in Spain.

    As for Turkey and Europe, I am now reading Erasmus about the 'war with the Turks', and agree with his assessment. See also my previous post above (#68), and a post here. When Turkey has indeed reached 'zero problems with their neighbours', things may be reconsidered.

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  • 123. At 3:08pm on 22 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    109. At 10:34am on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Nik
    Re #101
    Quote, "..Albanians are No1 thieves and worse.. and Pakistanis just like Albanians.."

    Are You for real?

    Get a life CBW. Welcome to the real world. Albanians themselves accept the fact that are No1 thieves before anyone else saying so. From their introduction in Greece in 1992 up to 1995 and while still back then the 5% of the population in Greece they had managed to increase the theft rates by 4 times (arguably with some aid of Georgians and other Caucasians...). Of course much of it was due to their back then destitute situation and the exploitation of Greek bosses (and back then it was first of all those Greek criminal bosses that employed black-hand Albanians - funnily the worst of the one nation employed the worst of the other, as the first Albanians that arrived in Greece were often escaped Albanian prisoners...). But still the situation has not been levelled and Albanians never really reached the average crime rates of locals. Many Albainans are aware of that and some of them try to avoid speaking of this and a few of them are in several occasions even ashamed of admitting they are from Albania...(and there is no social pressure to do so in Greece, anyway an Albanian physically is very different to a Greek and stands out).

    The fact that in Albanian culture, theft is commoplace, is something widely accepted by Albanians themselves and frankly a lot of them actually boast about it. Ask the Bulgarians who live next to Albanians to tell you, ask the Serbians. It is not any secret.

    So learn a thing or two before pearching me. And next time you erupt in this as-if antifascist hysteria look first from what utterly racist and fascist background you come yourself.

    """"Does it never, ever occur to You there many millions of Albanians, Pakistanis, Turks & every other peoples on earth who just want a decent life for themselves & their families? They try to do their best, make the best of things in adverse circumstances, just as You have described You have had to do on occasion!?""""

    Everyone strive for the best. What he esteems as best about himself. I do the same, you do the same, Albanians do the same. So? What does it have to do with what I say?

    I did not steal. I did not even get social benefits. I was being self-supported from past economies and actually brought really a lot of money in the local economy of the country I installed and consumed much of it so as to avoid living in inappropriate suburbs (personally I never had fear of "suburb people", but I did fear for my woman). I never asked to become a citizen and I do not care, perhaps it is the EU thingie that makes me not needing it, but even so I would never lie either to locals or to myself pretending whatever. Despite all that, locals think I am much more integrated than other people who are 2nd & 3rd generation. Perhaps for the same reasons I myself see Portuguese people more integrated than Algerians & Moroccans. Now go ask yourself why.

    """What is wrong with You? Where do You get the colossal nerve to label everyone else as inadequate compared to You!?"""

    There is nothing wrong with me. There is something wrong with you who refuse to face the reality of the world. The fact that Albanians are No1 thieves does not mean that all Albanians are thieves. It means that in Albanian culture, being a thieve is something more casual than in German or French cultures. Mind you, I neve denied the thief-tedencies of us Greeks who due to our Ottoman past were very versed in theft - for God's shake, our revolution heros were the Kleftes, i.e. Thieves. Ottomans were seeing them as common bandits. Difference among Greek bandits and Albanian bandits is that Greek bandits were born out of a certain social necessity had a certain background - proven by the fact that they combatted Turks & Turkalbanians even when heavily outnumbered. Albanian bandits were traditoinally of the sort of looters attacking armless villages and avoiding all confrontation with armed locals unless heavily outnumbering them. There are 100s of stories to bring to evidence of that , permit me to spare you the details. This looting tradition of Albanians continued well into the 20th century, it was present in WWII - ask the Italians and has of course lived through communism, up to our days and can be verified by EVERY SINGLE NATION that hosted a sizeable Albanian population. For God's shake, ask the US police who know about what they call "Albania mafia", ask the UK police what happened after the influx of the first Kosovars (they didn't tell you, would they?), ask the Italians, ask all other Balcan nations. How on earth is it possible if it is not true statistically?

    """"Yes, there are thieves, yes there are murderers, and yes, I recall You fulminating about 'foreign students' getting beat-up by Brits etc.. What in the name of commonsense makes You think none of those things could be applied to You and Your Greek Citizens if we all just took anecdotal experiences as the deciding factor!?""""

    Greeks are racist too. But they won't loot your house if they despise you. Ask the Germans. Greeks that went to Germany were our working class. They must had been of the Greeks the most prone to steal and kill. In the heyday of Greek emmigration they were up to 350,000 Greeks in Germany. Now go ask the Germans to tell you how much trouble they had with Greeks (they must had some, how much I ignore...).

    """"E.g. Every Greek is a rascist!""""

    Of course, just like anybody else (including Albanians! come to Balkans to meet them, you are invited!!!) I just said it above. But a Greek's racism never meant 20 million Indians starving to death... if you know what I mean. Nor that he would loot your house for not liking you. There are cultures (and Greek is not the only one in this - by no means I say so...) that do not work that way.

    """"Now, there's a NOT original thought obviously escaped Your attention.""""

    Calling yourself logical when you refuse the experience of US police, UK police with Albanians and Kosovars, when you refuse the first hand experience of Italians (who are equally admitting of their tedency to theft - US records for example speak of it), the experience of Greeks (who are equally admitting of their tedency to theft - neutral US records speak of increased criminality on Greeks but mostly very low level theft and "rapes" - only that most such rapes recorded back in 1910 were all about Greek men sleeping with absolutely willing and happy to do so US born women... it is a bad tradition of Greeks to sleep at will with other peoples' wifes...weak point indeed...), the experience of Serbians and Bulgarians... etc.

    So all these people according to you are wrong and you are right.

    Get back to basics: different cultures present differnt reactions to similar situations. None said Albanians are predestined to be always thieves. They can change. But given their recent history, and current status and the way they integrated into what they call "the west", gave them actually more ground to continue that behaviour at a statistically noticeable rate. Again this does not mean that this cannot change. And it does not mean that all Albanians are into it... far from that. It just means that if you take 300,000 Albanians living in Greece and 300,000 Greeks living in Germany there is an extraordinary difference in the crime rate of the two populations despite the similar conditions (and in several terms Albanians in Greece of 1990s had it 10 times better than Greeks in Germany of 1950s).

    That does nto mean that Greeks are anyhow predestined to be better than Albanians. It just means that different cultures react differently. When Greek army enterred Minor Asia Turks, it was said to be there to protect christians from the genocide commited by the Turks which had exterminated already half a million Greeks (of course it was there because the British said so but that is another story). Yet the Greek army had shot dead Greek soldiers that tried to help local Greeks avenge the death of their people killing known muslim families that actively participated in the crimes. That does not mean that Greeks did not do acts of revenge on Turks for their hideous crimes but the killings were minimal (low estimates are 10,000 muslim civilians killed, high estimates are 35,000 but the latter includes mostly the Tsetes' villages in where the guerillas would hide after harassing the Greek army) which are pale figures in front of the 500,000 Greek civilians slaughtered from 1912 to 1917 alone, to reach an overall 1,5 milllion slaugtered by 1923.

    Turks would simply shoot dead their soldiers that refused to kill armless Greek citizens (not to say the worst...). At the same time Greeks did absolutely nothing to the 300,000 remaining muslims of Greece and simply forced them to go to Turkey - many of them even managed to... sell their properties (no matter if at a low price.. imagine.. they were not hurt, they even sold their properties!!!). Turks pongromed Greeks in Istanbul killing scores of them and kicked all the 250,000 strong community, then they ethnically cleansed half the island of Cyprus, yet there is not a single muslim of the initially tiny community of 60,000 muslims that was ever hurt who rose to be today more than 200,000 people.

    Understood?

    That account for a huge difference of perception of treatment of the other in a similar situation.

    Understood?

    As said, different cultures, different reactions to similar problems. If you deny that, you go against common logic.

    Understood?

    Hehe... I think you understood. Now, unless you come back to me with full figures proving to me that all that notion about Albanians being thieves and bandits is exaggerated and that Albanians have the same criminal rates with other populations I will laugh-off (new phrasal verb!) any other such eruption of yours.

    Ehehehe... dear CBW, you have fallen in the wrong person to argue. I almost pity you (in the good sense)!

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  • 124. At 3:14pm on 22 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @104 MacTurk

    "Re 22(MaxSceptic) why would Turkey's admission to the EU mean the suicide of the EU? Even if they were admitted tomorrow, the Turkish population is about 76million, which would be about 15% of the new enlarged EU. Whence comes suicide? Or is this part of the septic myth that all Muslims are part of a monolithic plan to Islamisize the world and spend their days planning jihad?"

    It`s not really about jihad.
    We also need to finally admit that human rights in Turkey are only used as an argument in order to keep Turkey out, while the real reason is much more simple:
    Europe has had enough of muslim immigration.
    We already have enormous problems with our Turks and a majority amongst them which is unwilling to integrate in general.

    Should the EU accept Turkey and open borders, we will see an enormous influx of migrants into the Turkish communities in the more wealthy nations and all efforts to shut off marriage migration (which is also a form of welfare migration) would have been for nothing.


    "Most Turks are like anyone else; they want a chance to build a life, they want their kids to have a good education, and hence better lives, and they would like a reasonably predictable life. They like to drink raki(ouzo), the government makes and sells beer in competition with several private sector firms, and some 20% of the population is Alevi, not Muslim at all."

    While I understand that the migrants are not representative of what most Turkish people are like, their refusal to give their children a good education is evident. Statistics in Germany show that the percentage of young Turks and Arabs who manage to get "Abitur" (qualification to enter university) is less than half of the Germans and 1/3 of the Asian immigrants.
    Another statistic states that of the German welfare recepients between 18-24 y/o, 65% are Turkish or Arab.


    "Given that Turkey will not get in for at least ten years, and it will be a vastly different country then, the best policy is probably "Never say never". In ten years, Europe might well have need of a big dynamic economy with a large well-educated workforce."

    You will not get in unless you take all people within Turkey with you in forming a modern society.
    Europe does not want welfare immigrants who are not willing to integrate anymore. And unless this issue is solved, Turkey will not be allowed into the EU.

    And I`d say that it`s the best for both sides.

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  • 125. At 3:20pm on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    DemocThreat

    Re #92

    For a very long time I tried to see beyond the snide & singularly self-flagellating '..avoid english people like the plague' comments as I had a notion You were trying to get across some points of certain value elsewhere in Your contributions.

    I gave up.

    Let's be clear on this: I don't believe You. IMO You don't personally recall that 'suicide' at all!

    'Officer & a Gentleman' was a good film in its day and that is about as close as You ever got to anything involving a 'uniform'.

    Try to remember You are the one who once wrote about Your experience of the Marshall Plan just post-WW2 when giving me a lecture on 'justicio' etc. And another time You are in your late 30s and then early 40s...

    Let's just get this clear: I don't believe a word of it: And after Your recent disgraceful attacks on the British & Jewish people (& Americans) I am even less inclined to give You the benefit of the doubt on any matter of substance.
    You can keep Your prejudices for those who want to pander to Your psuedo-intellectual style: I'm not falling for it anymore.

    In short: Switzerland's gain IMO is no loss by any means to the rest of us.

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  • 126. At 3:24pm on 22 Jun 2010, Chris wrote:

    I want my referedum I didn't vote for our government to make such a ridiculous budget! and they call it "fair"

    I want Zapatero to govern the UK not just Spain!!

    I demand a referedum on the budget now!

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  • 127. At 3:31pm on 22 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    105. At 10:13am on 22 Jun 2010, MacTurk wrote:
    """"Re 22(MaxSceptic) why would Turkey's admission to the EU mean the suicide of the EU? Even if they were admitted tomorrow, the Turkish population is about 76million, which would be about 15% of the new enlarged EU. Whence comes suicide? Or is this part of the septic myth that all Muslims are part of a monolithic plan to Islamisize the world and spend their days planning jihad?""""

    You are a Turk. In what world you leave mate? helloooooo??? Turkey is the beloved child of US. Why on earth would EU put inside yet another US agent? We have UK and Poland, and that creates already enormous complications. No thanks, we won't take.

    """"Most Turks are like anyone else; they want a chance to build a life, they want their kids to have a good education, and hence better lives, and they would like a reasonably predictable life.""""

    So what? Why would Europeans care about you? Why not care about the Syrians? Why not Indonesians? Why do Turks care about anythign to do with Europeans??????? (tell this to anyone to make him laugh!!!).

    """They like to drink raki(ouzo), the government makes and sells beer in competition with several private sector firms, and some 20% of the population is Alevi, not Muslim at all.""""

    Alevi and Bektashi and the rest.... which are of course are religious communities mostly derived of ancient islamised (usually under force) christian populations and who are still persecuted in many ways in Turkey even today... You can't just go out and tell you are an Alevi just like that. Some months ago, yet another Alevi club was attacked by fanatical sounnis. Police will mostly be half-hearted in their efforts to do anything about it. I guess at least they do not participate in beating these people like they did with christians in the past. Oh... but there are not any christians nowadays in Turkey. Sorry, almost forgot that in 1910 40% of Minor Asian population where christians. Tell us about it please!

    """"Given that Turkey will not get in for at least ten years, and it will be a vastly different country then, the best policy is probably "Never say never". In ten years, Europe might well have need of a big dynamic economy with a large well-educated workforce.""""

    EU has the most educated workforce right now in the world, they would not expect Turks to acquire one!!!!!
    EU is in absolutely no need of any extra workers either, they are looking forward to get rid of some, given the unemployment rates.
    Turkey has nothing particular to provide other than its geographic location. But it would be much simpler to get in the EU Lebanon and Syria than Turkey. Too much hassle for little. It serves Europeans better to treat Turkey as an outside market than being inside.

    """"...In Britain you elect MP's to take decisions for you, not to hold a plebiscite every five minutes on issues of burning concern to ...well, not many people actually.""""

    There are issues of concern to people which are not discussed ever and on which governments take monolithic decisions in dictatorial fashion. That is the problem of almost all modern representative democracies (i.e. Republics).

    """"Turkey a member in ten years, please, along with the Ukraine and the Balkans. And could the English please have their debate and referendum, then either in or out.""""

    Let the British have their referendum (I say pleeease here..). But can I ask you 1 question?

    Why on earth do you want to enter the EU? Why? Are you A Turk born in Germany and it would simplify your travel back and forth between the 2 countries by having 1 currency? What is it exactly? Why?

    After saying whatever, please go on to explain to me why Turkey should be in the EU ahead of Syria.

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  • 128. At 3:58pm on 22 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    Wow! Missed this excellent one by smroet:

    68. At 10:35pm on 21 Jun 2010, smroet wrote:
    """#55 powermeerkat

    """....Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, they want to know several things about Turkey, and the cause you defend.""""

    Ehehehe... indeed! What is the Anglosaxon cause to defend Turkey really? Do not expect them to tell you it is all about containing Russia, controlling the access to the Black sea and having a basis that covers both Middle East and Caucasus? Of course not.

    """1) A non-elected EEC commission president, Walter Hallstein, signed the association agreement between the EEC and Turkey in 1963......Turkey's application to the EU was deposited in 1987."""

    Wow! And what Turks managed to achieve in the mean time eh? Pongroms agains the remaining tiny christian populations, total ethnic cleansing of Turkey, invasion of Cyprus and ethnic cleansing of half the island including the slaughter of 3,000 POWs, then the cleansing of Kurds with Napalm bombs etc. And then they accuse Europeans of being racist for not wanting them inside!

    """"2). There is a well known tension between the current 'Islamic' government and the army....and encourages (emboldens, some would say) 'moderate Islamic' forces, with the results we see w.r.t. Gaza.""""

    First of all if by secular you mean the Kemalists (and the vast majority of secular Turks were Kemalists), these are effectively the youngturks, a fascist movement that perpetrated three parallel genocides totalling 4 million dead and 3 million ethnically cleansed under worst conditions. Those secular Turks know very well what they did, between them they are proud of it, internationally they deny all. Kemalism is all about having legislation to deny everything from the above that taints their image and it punishes people with years of imprisonment. People who kill for someone attacking their flag for any reason (and then given medals by the state) = these are the Kemalists, are NOT secular and NOT moderate. Kemalism = turkish version of Nazism.

    Second, the majority of Turks remained always islamic. What happens today is that they are coming back to surface benefiting from increased demographics in relation to Kemalists. A huge reason for even so called "secular/moderate" Turks, see Kemalists, to accept some form of revival of islamism in Turkey is that islamism is their only hope against the rising Kurdish population: 1 in 4 in Turkey is a Kurd. In future possibly 1 in 3. Hence, they prefer the Kurdish islamic than ethnic.

    3). I indeed remarked several times about the British policy... tainted by its imperialist past and present (the sovereign base areas on Cyprus).

    British common people have no affection for Turks and are against. British politics are traditionally pro-Turkish and that is the same for some centuries now. Why? The word Russia should be a sufficient explanation for you.

    """4). As argued by Simon Tisdall in the Guardian, Turkey's current policy of 'zero problems with its neighbours' is not going anywhere...""""

    Simply because Turkey's 0 problems policy means simply an aggressive attack to pressure all its neighbours accept obediently all its arrogant and expansionist demands (using the US hand of course). It can't work simply because Turkey will find out new demands to ask. It is the opposite of a self-fulfiling prophecy, i.e. Turks will do everything possible NOT to reach it!

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  • 129. At 4:42pm on 22 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    """"Another statistic states that of the German welfare recepients between 18-24 y/o, 65% are Turkish or Arab.""""

    Let me do some analysis on that. As per a quick view at wikipedia (and I hope figures are right), muslims in Germany (mostly Turks, Kurds, Arabs in numerical sequance) are 5,4% of the overall population. For simplicity let them be 5%.

    To be fair, given the double demographics, the 18-24% age group in Germany should contain muslims at 10%.

    So 10% of the age group 18-24% eats the 65% of social welfare? That means that a young muslim is not 2ice, not 3 times, not 4 times, not 5 times but 6,5 times more prone to get linked to social welfare than the rest average of Germans (which includes other non German people too). 6 (and a half!) times! It is enormous! Impressive. Honestly I am impressed.

    What will be the justification? Again the pill of racism? How can anyone claim racism? Nobody told these people to work as university professors. These people are told, based on their obvious lack of education, to be workers & cleaners and do all the respectable maybe yet manual jobs someone who spent his years specialising in something particular won't be so attracted to do.

    So why don't they work? All that in a country with relative lower unemployment rates than other countries.

    I said repeatedly that it is time to cut all social benefits and time to give the equivalent of ticket-restaurant. Time to sort out the riff-raff. Who wants to integrate, let him integrate, who wants to sit down and eat give him food-tickets to eat. But he won't have any money for Nintendos, Nikes, or old BMWs... if he thinks he can steal them rather than working for them, then prison, anyway the cost will be the same (it will be just food...).

    This applies to everyone and targets no-one. If anyone thinks it targets anyone then he is actually crying over lost benefits at the expense of others.

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  • 130. At 4:49pm on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #123

    What ever the life I may get/have it is infinitely more capable of appreciating the basic crude theme in these 2 statements:

    *** "Albanians are No1 thieves and worse.."***
    *** "Albanians themselves accept the fact that are No1 thieves before anyone else saying so."***

    Ignorance: Plain, simple, enedifying ignorance.

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  • 131. At 5:08pm on 22 Jun 2010, Chris wrote:

    I want Zapatero now!

    Macho Klegg/Cameron lied to me before the election about the VAT!

    I want a referendum on the UK budhet now!

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  • 132. At 5:13pm on 22 Jun 2010, MacTurk wrote:

    DurstigerMann has written "We already have enormous problems with our Turks and a majority amongst them which is unwilling to integrate in general". I said nothing about the Turkish population in Germany, for the simple reason that I know nothing about them, beyond the fact that they would have had integration problems moving to any large city in Turkey, never mind Germany. It would also be fair to say that Germany, with its citizenship based on "Jus sanguinis", as opposed to most countries, where "Jus solis" is the norm, did not make integration easy. And yes, I know things have changed a little recently, to make citizenship easier.

    A lot of educated Turks tend to regard the Turks residing in Germany as a bit embarrassing. The German-resident Turks quite often cling to customs from their villages of forty years ago, which very few people in modern Turkey maintain or even remember. In many ways, they are as much foreigners in Turkey as in Germany.

    I should point out that the idea that 76million Turks are going to move en masse to other European countries is laughable. Most of them have a hard time moving more than 10km away from their mothers. Seriously, migration always has a push component(like no work opportunities in country of origin) and a pull factor(history and/or family network). Turkey's economy now is doing very well, and no-one knows how it will be in ten years. If the economy is doing well, they may need to import labour.

    Regarding Mr Nik , I can say that his recent responses have copper-fastened my points about his snobbery and insecurity. Point made, no further response necessary.

    I am not Turkish, but lived there for ten years and speak the language quite well. Hence, I know that Turkey is the country which has the lowest positive view of the USA in the world, and if Mr Nik ever did any research, as opposed to his recyclng of hyper-nationalistic nonsense, he would know that too.

    However, under no circumstances am I a "mate" of the silly little racist called Nik.

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  • 133. At 5:54pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "130. At 4:49pm on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #123

    What ever the life I may get/have it is infinitely more capable of appreciating the basic crude theme in these 2 statements:

    *** "Albanians are No1 thieves and worse.."***
    *** "Albanians themselves accept the fact that are No1 thieves before anyone else saying so."***

    Ignorance: Plain, simple, enedifying ignorance.

    "

    The Italian experience unfortunatly confirms much of what Nik said.

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  • 134. At 5:54pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "131. At 5:08pm on 22 Jun 2010, ChrisArta wrote:

    I want Zapatero now!

    Macho Klegg/Cameron lied to me before the election about the VAT!

    I want a referendum on the UK budhet now!"

    lol

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  • 135. At 6:06pm on 22 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 136. At 6:24pm on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Gheryando

    Re #133

    No, sorry, I disagree entirely: The Italian, Greek, France, British, Timbucktoo... experience confirm only that prejudice is alive and well!

    It is utter nonsense and blatant racism to brand entire peoples for the faults/sins/crimes of some of them.

    From You, I expected better: That You join with the mad-greek illustrates how far & wide prejudice can easily spread on nothing but assumption, innuendo & spurious limited knowledge.
    It is about as accurate as those 'pro-EU' who write on here Britons who are 'anti-EU' are all believers in imperialism - - in other words - - BALONEY!

    That You claim to be a 'pro-EU' person and write in such condemnatory manner about fellow EUropeans also reveals IMO how feeble is the 'ever closer union' mantra at the heart of the Brussels-behemoth.

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  • 137. At 6:32pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 138. At 6:35pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "That You claim to be a 'pro-EU' person and write in such condemnatory manner about fellow EUropeans also reveals IMO how feeble is the 'ever closer union' mantra at the heart of the Brussels-behemoth."

    So if I write badly about non-Europeans what am I? Anti-World? Anti-UN?
    Also, you seem to suggest that being "pro-EU" means accepting anything that comes out of the EU. Now thats - - BALONEY!

    Cmon mate..

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  • 139. At 6:44pm on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Baloney - - Don't 'mate' me, if You're going to align Yourself with the mad-greek's prejudices & xenophobic remarks be prepared to back up Your self.
    Dress it up any way You want, but the greek regularly writes vile racist comments and today has been no exception: You go along with it if that's Your level, but count me out.

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  • 140. At 7:02pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "don't mate me"

    Oh god...you lot remind of certain divas of the France team.

    Its a rhetorical saying, I've never met you, anyway.

    I might as well have said: "cmon dude", but since this is a British forum I adhere to British sayings.

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  • 141. At 7:08pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    cbw - for your level of education, I'd expect more than this "holier-than-thou" approach. Giving qualified support to an argument posted my Nick without resorting to racism is absolutely fair game. You obviously enjoy being offended and play drama-queen.

    I don't know if you've read my now 'referred' (for whatever reason) post but I simply stated that most of immigrants from that (and other) countries have shockingly high percentages of crimes in that country committed by them.

    This is a fact and there is no disputing it or calling it racism. Don't be a simpleton and stand up for something that is not even at stake.

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  • 142. At 7:09pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    "be prepared to back up Your self. "

    Thats what I'm doing. All you're doing is screaming.

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  • 143. At 7:11pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    In my referred post I stated that when I was in High School, a kid I knew got drugged and thrown in the river where he drowned.

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  • 144. At 7:12pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    I don't think I'll have to tell you where they were from?

    Is that enough "backing up" for you dear cbw?

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  • 145. At 7:57pm on 22 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    powermeerkat @79 wrote:

    "But, IMHO, this too shall pass."

    Inshallah!

    But, alas, I don't think it will pass in this century....

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  • 146. At 8:10pm on 22 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    MacTurk @105,

    I have worked and Traveled in Turkey and with Turks - and had, overall, a great time - and do have some appreciation of Turkish history and its peoples.

    I maintain that while many, many millions of Turks favour the move to secular liberal-democracy, many more don't.

    We shall, therefore, have to agree to disagree.

    Meanwhile, until there is no doubt about this matter, most EU nations will directly (i.e. honestly) or indirectly (i.e sneakily) ensure that Turkey does not become a member state.

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  • 147. At 8:16pm on 22 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    MacTurk @120,

    Re Nik: did I not say that I from my personal experiences I like Turkey and the Turks far more than (modern*) Greece and the (modern*) Greeks?

    (* not to be confused with the ancients who gave us western civilisation).

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  • 148. At 8:22pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    I echoe MaxSceptic's account.

    I have lots of good Turkish friends who you couldn't tell from another European youth. However, they themselves claim that they do not represent the majority and are largely a product of the Istanbul elite.

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  • 149. At 9:07pm on 22 Jun 2010, MilwaukeeRay wrote:

    12. At 12:41pm on 21 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:
    "Also, this is why the best form of government is the "benevolent dictatorship". I propose myself as holy roman emperor? Any objections?"

    I have no objections, Your Highness. Will Your Grace deign to grant me the North American Viceroyship?

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  • 150. At 9:32pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    @MilwaukeeRay

    "You gawt it!"

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  • 151. At 9:36pm on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #142, #143 & #144

    So, I'm "screaming" - - yeah right - - whereas You & the mad-greek are just saying it as it is!
    Next time You see an Albanian I hope You'll remember to hold Your wallet close and Your unprincipled opinions even closer!

    Mind, I think You will have to say which country the kids were from: I mean, You will want to inform us all how an incident in Your youth revealed an entire people in Your eyes as not Your equal!

    Okay, enough: I admit to being shocked & saddened by Your lack of reason & compassion/humanity on this issue: You had me fooled with previous content.

    At least from now on we'll both know exactly from which side of the 'ever closer union' we're viewing the World.

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  • 152. At 10:05pm on 22 Jun 2010, lacerniagigante wrote:

    Re 85. At 08:25am on 22 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Thanks for your criticism.

    But I must admit that your post is a bit hard to follow.

    Just for the record. I'm not Spanish, I was just trying to follow Hewitt's argument by putting myself in the shoes of a Spaniard.

    I don't understand what you mean by being nationalistic.

    As far as I'm concerned elected politicians are (in theory) just people who get some kind of majority to do a job.

    They do decide my taxes (and yours, assuming you're a good citizen and pay your share), so in a sense I am told what to do (and you too, by the way).

    PS: If you want to engage in something more than a monologue, try to keep your posts a bit shorter and more to the point.

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  • 153. At 10:32pm on 22 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @132 MacTurk

    "I said nothing about the Turkish population in Germany, for the simple reason that I know nothing about them, beyond the fact that they would have had integration problems moving to any large city in Turkey, never mind Germany. It would also be fair to say that Germany, with its citizenship based on "Jus sanguinis", as opposed to most countries, where "Jus solis" is the norm, did not make integration easy. And yes, I know things have changed a little recently, to make citizenship easier."

    You cannot disconnect the topic of Turkey and the EU with the immigration issues in say Germany.
    Germany is the biggest nation in the EU and has the biggest Turkish community as well.

    No other migrant group produces the problems we see with muslims across Europe. It is sad that I even have to say "the muslims", etc. But the statistics draw a genera picture which is quite clear.
    And thank god we have no citizenship by birth in Germany.


    "A lot of educated Turks tend to regard the Turks residing in Germany as a bit embarrassing. The German-resident Turks quite often cling to customs from their villages of forty years ago, which very few people in modern Turkey maintain or even remember. In many ways, they are as much foreigners in Turkey as in Germany."

    And they come to Europe, because their antiquated way of life finds more acceptance in our goody two-shoes societies.


    "I should point out that the idea that 76million Turks are going to move en masse to other European countries is laughable. Most of them have a hard time moving more than 10km away from their mothers. Seriously, migration always has a push component(like no work opportunities in country of origin) and a pull factor(history and/or family network). Turkey's economy now is doing very well, and no-one knows how it will be in ten years. If the economy is doing well, they may need to import labour."

    I am not talking about 76 million people migrating. Even 5% of that is much more than Europe could handle right now.
    We are at the limit.
    There are areas in Germany (e.g. in Berlin and Frankfurt) where I, as a German, cannot go alone safely anymore).

    Germany already put a halt on immigration in order to stop the influx. Even marriage immigration (a favourite of the Turkish and Arab community in order to marry their kin to traditionally raised people from their home nations which will ensure isolation in their new contries as well as more welfare costs for that country as well) was shut down.

    I didn`t write my first reply to insult Turkey, but the truth needs to be understood.
    Unless Turkey as a whole manages to develop into a modern society, there will be no EU-membership for Turkey.



    Some people might find my views on this extreme.
    Living in Asia and experiencing immigration issues first and second hand there dramatically changed my view on this.
    My Asian friends laugh at how Germany caresses her criminal and/or unemployed foreigners.
    And I better not tell them about Scandinavia or GB or they might die from a shock.

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  • 154. At 10:45pm on 22 Jun 2010, lacerniagigante wrote:

    80. At 07:44am on 22 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "THE CAMEL IS THE HORSE DESIGNED BY A COMMITTEE."

    Ok, we all know you're not a modern day Shakespeare when it comes to your quote repertoire, but this one beats them all.

    Come think about it a camel is much more useful than a horse.

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  • 155. At 10:48pm on 22 Jun 2010, lacerniagigante wrote:

    Re 116. At 12:00pm on 22 Jun 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "84. At 08:23am on 22 Jun 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    "THE CAMEL IS THE HORSE DESIGNED BY A COMMITTEE"

    EUpris: The "EU" is a committee designed by a camel."

    The EU is a committee about to be redesigned by a cameron.

    (Or is that a cameleon that suddenly changed his colours and turned from an election campaigns europhobe into a "practical" europhile... Someone needs support for their faltering economy?)

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  • 156. At 04:37am on 23 Jun 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #2 Powermeerkat

    In " British Schoolboy terms " you mean SPUNK .

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  • 157. At 09:12am on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "EUpris: It is 76 million [Turks] today. It will be more tomorrow."


    It's 1.4 billion Chinese versus 140 million Russians occupying historic Manchuria and E. Turkestan.

    It will be more tomorrow.

    It's close to 1 billion Hindus having territorial claims on PRC.

    It will easily surpass Chinese population in less than 20 years.

    Now, let's talk degenerate, decaying, shrinking EUSSR...

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  • 158. At 09:15am on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    140. At 7:02pm on 22 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:
    "don't mate me"

    Oh god...you lot remind of certain divas of the France team.






    Don't you feel even a little sorry for the Greek team? :)


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  • 159. At 09:27am on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Max Sceptic wrote: "Meanwhile, until there is no doubt about this matter, most EU nations will directly (i.e. honestly) or indirectly (i.e sneakily) ensure that Turkey does not become a member state."





    Turkey will not not be allowed to join EUSSR. Ever.
    Merkel and Sarko will see to it. Period.

    BTW. I've been telling for years anybody in Ankara who cared to listen that Turkey's place is at a helm of Confederation of oil/gas-rich Turkic states [Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, etc.]

    The reaction in the past was polite smiles and some nods.

    Recently, however, the response has been much more enthusiastic.

    What's more important, my view was favourably received in Astana, and Baku, and... ;)

    Please, contact me re the issue in 10 years time. :)

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  • 160. At 09:44am on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 161. At 09:52am on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Will Your Grace deign to grant me the North American Viceroyship?"



    Japanese, particularly older ones, remember with respect and genuine fondness its general governor -Douglas McArthur.


    Summarily fired later by a certain petty haberdasher without a vision, just like another feisty general, McChrystal, is about to get fired by a certain labour lawyer who couldn't tell M-16's barrel from its butt even if it hit him. On his empty skull. :(

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  • 162. At 09:57am on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    eniagigante wrote:

    "Ok, we all know you're not a modern day Shakespeare"




    "IS THIS A DAGGER WHICH I SEE BEFORE ME?"


    Or merely a thuggard, mangey witch?
    [toil and trouble]

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  • 163. At 10:05am on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Durstiger Man opined [re exploited Turkish Gastarbeiters in BRD] :


    "And thank god we have no citizenship by birth in Germany."




    Could you, please, remind us then how certain Adolf Hitler, an Austrian, managed to become a German Chancellor of a worldwide fame?

    Or at least - notoriety?



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  • 164. At 10:06am on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re "There are areas in Germany (e.g. in Berlin and Frankfurt) where I, as a German, cannot go alone safely anymore)."


    OSSIES? :)

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  • 165. At 10:17am on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 166. At 10:27am on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re Nik: did I not say that I from my personal experiences I like Turkey and the Turks far more than (modern*) Greece and the (modern*) Greeks?

    (* not to be confused with the ancients who gave us western civilisation).





    Max, I IS not exactly a chicken but you're entering a very dangerous territory.

    Next thing you'll say nobody knows wha FYROM is, but everybody knows what Macedonia is and Nick the Greek is going to simply pummel ya.
    [DONT' SAY YOU HAVEN'T BEEN DULY WARNED!]


    BTW. Came back from Greece merely couple od days ago: Greeks are gouging prices in Athens (incl. Pireus), and on Mykonos, Santorini, Rodos, etc., as if there were no tomorrow.

    [ and perhaps it isnt't as far as they are concerned]]



    P.S. Orpheus was actually Bulgarian not Greek.

    [He hailed from Rodopy Mountains]

    Now, can any Bulgarian here come to my rescue? Pronto? :)

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  • 167. At 10:40am on 23 Jun 2010, MacTurk wrote:

    DurstigerMann, what I am trying to say is that you cannot judge modern Turkey by the behaviour of Turkish migrants in Germany who are desperately clinging to the customs of villages they left forty or fifty years ago. Turkey now is going through the same process that Ireland went through after joining the EEC. The population is now overwhelmingly urban, where it was mostly rural. The focus of economic activity is now industrial/post-industrial, as opposed to agricultural. It was quite traumatic for Ireland, and is traumatic for Turkey also. Every week, more than 5,000 people move to Istanbul from rural areas, and the same situation applies to Ankara, Izmir, Konya, etc. The Turks in Germany are being very true to a Turkey that does not exist anymore for the majority of Turks.
    As for the comment "We are at the limit", why then are so many cities in the eastern Lander planning to reduce the housing count and allow large tracts of land to revert to nature?
    Re "There are areas in Germany (e.g. in Berlin and Frankfurt) where I, as a German, cannot go alone safely anymore)", then maybe it is time to recruit more German-Turks into your police forces?
    I was in Berlin for a weekend last month, and found it to be a wonderful place. Very clean, mostly, and great public transport. And felt very safe there, which is more than I can say for Boston or London the last time I was there.
    And you are missing the point about migration, which is as follows: If the Turkish economy continues to boom, then there is NO push factor driving people to move to Germany.
    In any case, given that what modern economies need is people with brains, education and a work ethic, and that most current EU member states' birthrates are not at replacment levels, it may become necessary to offer incentives to get Turkish young people to move from their country.
    People only move if they feel it is necessary. To uproot yourself from your language, family, friends and culture is not done on a whim. And if the Turkish economy continues to strengthen, then Germany, France and other countries may have to go begging for qualified labour.
    Again, ten years is a long time. And no sensible politician removes policy options without a good reason. So, I repeat, "Never say Never".

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  • 168. At 11:08am on 23 Jun 2010, generalissimofranco wrote:

    @153 DurstingerMann
    “You cannot disconnect the topic of Turkey and the EU with the immigration issues in say Germany.
    Germany is the biggest nation in the EU and has the biggest Turkish community as well.”
    “We are at the limit.
    There are areas in Germany (e.g. in Berlin and Frankfurt) where I, as a German, cannot go alone safely anymore.”

    When the critical mass goes beyond the limit, there is an explosion. I strongly support the stance of Berlin/Paris about their unwillingness for the adhesion of Turkey to the UE. We have a Muslim minority here, and, we still maintain with continuous effort the balance between the orthodox majority (over 85%) and the Muslim minority (less than 10%) which has always been supported by Ankara. The problem is first of all cultural. Old Europe is still a strongpoint of the Christianity. The migrants who come from the East are much better treated in Germany, in Spain, etc. In the second place, there is a visible shift in Turkey from the secular principles of ruling the country (it inherited from Kemal Ataturk in the early 20s of the last century) to some unacceptable, almost discriminating stance not only against what remained of the non Muslim ethicises there, but also to all those local intellectuals, public servants, military men, etc., who openly disagree with the present “moderate” pro-Islamic Turkish leadership.

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  • 169. At 11:19am on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Every week, more than 5,000 people move to Istanbul from rural areas, and the same situation applies to Ankara..."





    For example certain Mr. Gul has moved to Ankara from Kayseri couple of years ago and he still acts like a peon.

    Just like this Erdo...Erba...,whatchamacallit?


    [At the rate things are going pretty soon Wet Burka Contests may be banned. :(]

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  • 170. At 11:37am on 23 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @163 powermeerkat

    "Could you, please, remind us then how certain Adolf Hitler, an Austrian, managed to become a German Chancellor of a worldwide fame?"

    One mistake doesn`t invalidate a system

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  • 171. At 11:41am on 23 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @164 powermeerkat

    "OSSIES? :)"

    WESSIE ;)

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  • 172. At 12:07pm on 23 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @167 MacTurk

    "DurstigerMann, what I am trying to say is that you cannot judge modern Turkey by the behaviour of Turkish migrants in Germany who are desperately clinging to the customs of villages they left forty or fifty years ago. "

    I am not juding modern day Turkey. That was my point after all.
    I wanted to communicate the real reason why Turkey will never enter the EU as long as there is a significant amount of people who would like to leave Turkey and escape to nations where they can live their antiquated traditions.
    There has been a constant influx of old-fashioned people from the East of Turkey for decades, so it is not a wild guess that where those came frome, there are still more.

    "As for the comment "We are at the limit", why then are so many cities in the eastern Lander planning to reduce the housing count and allow large tracts of land to revert to nature? "

    I talked about the limit of capacity in terms of migration.

    "then maybe it is time to recruit more German-Turks into your police forces? "

    I am not opposed to that idea. More police in general would be good for all our major cities.


    Again: I have nothing against friendly, open-minded Turks who play by the rules. And despite the grim picture I drew, there are quite a few of those folks in Germany and Europe as a whole.
    Education is only secondary to me. It is no secret that terrorist organizations recruit their people from British universities.
    Education is no proof that you ever accepted the values of your new home.

    It will take decades to form a good society out of the immigrants we already have. And that is why I see no Turkey entering the EU within the next 50 years.

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  • 173. At 12:21pm on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re: "I strongly support the stance of Berlin/Paris about their unwillingness for the adhesion of Turkey to the UE."





    Spoken like true Bulgarian.

    A real asset to EUSSR judging by your past.

    Now, about that small Turkish minority in Bulgaria.... :)

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  • 174. At 12:23pm on 23 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    DurstigerMann wrote:
    @163 powermeerkat

    "Could you, please, remind us then how certain Adolf Hitler, an Austrian, managed to become a German Chancellor of a worldwide fame?"

    One mistake doesn`t invalidate a system.







    Right. One small mistake of no consequeces.

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  • 175. At 1:08pm on 23 Jun 2010, MacTurk wrote:

    Powermeercat(163,169 and 170) has unfortunately gone to the "argumentum ad Hitlerum", which would indicate that he has no real arguments.
    There are all sorts of arguments about the positive and negatives of "Jus sanguinis", and the absence of birthright citizenship in Germany, as mentioned by DurstigerMann. Reducing it to Hitler is silly, and means no-one will take you seriously.
    And ad hominem attacks on the President of Turkey show an equal lack of ideas.

    DurstigerMann, neither you nor I can see 50 years into the future. The current situation in Turkey is that the country is generating jobs, and is therefore more attractive to stay in.
    Regarding the "people who would like to leave Turkey and escape to nations where they can live their antiquated traditions", there are not that many left, due the rapid urbanization of the country. Also, they did not leave to "live their antiquated traditions", they left because Germany asked, no begged, them to move, and because the economic pull was strong. They did not create the situation, Germany did. It is basically your responsibility, ab initio.
    How can there be a constant influx, when you stated that the German government has cut off all avenues of immigration?

    Also, What happened to "Kinder, stat Inder"?

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  • 176. At 1:27pm on 23 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @174 powermeerkat

    "Right. One small mistake of no consequeces."

    Yep, that mistake had no real consequences. Other things had:

    You probably know folks like von Schleicher and von Papen or the Empowering Act of 33.

    Failures all along the way ;)

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  • 177. At 2:10pm on 23 Jun 2010, DurstigerMann wrote:

    @175 MacTurk

    "Regarding the "people who would like to leave Turkey and escape to nations where they can live their antiquated traditions", there are not that many left, due the rapid urbanization of the country. Also, they did not leave to "live their antiquated traditions", they left because Germany asked, no begged, them to move, and because the economic pull was strong. They did not create the situation, Germany did. It is basically your responsibility, ab initio.
    How can there be a constant influx, when you stated that the German government has cut off all avenues of immigration? "

    Absolutely true. I never meant to say that European society did a good job in integrating people. The Turks also have a huge disadvantage others don`t have: they are so many that they can form ghettos and shut themselves off.

    Our immigration policy in Germany was a huge failure for the most part of the last 40 years and the way I see it from other nations within Europe, they are no different.
    We imported unqualified industrial workforce and gave them no incentive to integrate or learn the language and culture properly.
    The effect is a more radically islamic and hostile 3rd generation.

    We allowed them to bring along their families, to marry partners from their homeland and bring them here and were willing to grant them social welfare.
    The immigration issue came up a few times as people began to notice a shift in demographics and the building of ghettos, but nothing happened. An overly tolerant Europe set no rules for decades and expected the immigrants to acquire and accept our values on their own.

    But here is where you have to draw a line.
    Only specific groups did not accept our values and missed to use their chances for education. Others used it.
    Of course, this is a generalization. Half of my friends in school were German born Turks or Russians.
    But as I said, one statistic may not be accurate, but a lot of statistics can draw a general picture.

    And this picture tells me that we have been far too tolerant towards intolerance.
    If a non-citizen does not behave, this is not our fault. Our responsibility would be to show them the limit of our tolerance within the possibilities of our rule of law.
    And wellfare as well as other benefits for non-citizens who never worked in the country is just absurd.


    The influx you asked about is through marriage. Muslim families liked (and still do, it just got harder) to pre-arrange marriage of their children with traditionally raised cousins or other relatives as well as people from the same area and transfer those new partners to Germany.
    The German state will pay welfare for these new partners who cannot speak German or even know what`s going on here.
    Experience shows that those new husbands and wifes often share antiquated views and will often either not learn German by own decision or because they are not allowed to.
    It`s a common way to marry daughters raised in Germany - who are statistically much more likely to accept our way of life than their brothers - in order to chain them to the antiquated life they would like to escape from.


    Notably, the immigrants from Iran, who are also muslims, are a completely different story. They are well integrated in general.

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  • 178. At 3:44pm on 23 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    · 146. At 8:10pm on 22 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:
    MacTurk @105,

    “””I have worked and Traveled in Turkey and with Turks - and had, overall, a great time - and do have some appreciation of Turkish history and its peoples.”””

    I had great time in Turkey too including a lovely affair. That will not change my criticism for the country, which I tell them in their face if the issue arrives. Especially to those Turks that try selling cheap se-culo-friendship. You can't imagine how easy you can unmask them. You only need to interrogate them on what happens in their country if a citizen wants to find out what happend to 4 million christians that dissapeared from the face of the world between 1912 and 1923. They answer various things like:
    - What happened? Nothing happened.
    - And thus thus nothing happens now.
    - ...(silence)...

    or the more elaborate:

    - Yeah, yeah, something happened but it was war you know
    - But in 1890 (start of Armenian genocide, 200,000 slaughtered) and 1912 (start of Greek genocide... by 1916, 500,000 slaughtered) there was no such particular war related to the slaughters
    - Yeah, what can I say? I do not know.
    - Evidently you do not know. The question is do you want to learn?
    - ....(silence)
    (to which I you tell them)

    or the more vengeful one (all time favourite)!!!:

    - Yes they happened because christians had rebelled and that is what happens. Christians had rebelled and then Greeks invaded and killed 500,000 Turks.
    - There were never any 500,000 Turks ever claimed even by your most lying sources and there were never found any clues for more Turkish victims than a small rural city. The totality of 300,000 muslims from Greece came intact to Turkey. Do you have any stories of your grandparents to tell the opposite? Obviously not. There was no resistance of christian populations prior to the point when genocides were well underway. The Greek army enterred only 3 years after 500,000 Greeks (350,000 pontians, 150,000 Ionians) were already genocided. The activities of the Greek army were strictly military and provoked the loss of anything between 20,000 and 35,000 civilian Turks a large percentage of whom occured actually during the clearing of Tsetes villages (Turkish irregular soldiers who operated strictly from within civilian areas as it was their standard practice). Muslim populations elsewhere remained intact including inside Smyrna. So how do even the killings of even 40,000 Turkish civilian deaths in the course of battles compare to the death of 4 million civilians whose design and implementation predates all wars and who happened overwhelmingly in peace conditions?
    - It doesn't matter the numbers, christians should not move, it was your fault you earned what you deserved.
    - Really? I guess what you admit now is that your turn might come one day isn't it? And when it comes, you give full justification to us to treat you as you treated us isn't it?
    - ...(silence)... then... Come if you dare, do you?
    - Well, it was not me that called 2 minutes ago for friendship but you, isn't it?
    - ...Eeeeee... (silence)...

    “”””I maintain that while many, many millions of Turks favour the move to secular liberal-democracy, many more don't.””””

    Wrong.
    1) Do you know how many years in prison you will eat if you dare talk about the Greek & Armenian & Assyrochaldean genocides in Turkey?
    2) Do you know what is the possinbility of you remaining in life after speaking in public on such?
    3) Do you know that no1&2 are absolutely fine with the vast majority of Turks?

    Millions of Turks favour a perfectly caste-like society where sunnite kemalist Turks rule with the implicit aid of bektashis & alevis (who better keep it low profile by the way) over re-islamified (thus de-natured) Kurds. Years back they pongromed the last remnants of christian populations as well as they are still proud of the great genocides of the beginning of the 20th century as much as Hitler was proud of his.

    Does that sound secular to you?

    “””We shall, therefore, have to agree to disagree.””””

    I guess so. But it is me defending basic human values. You defend the right of societies to commit genocide and form caste societies.

    “””Meanwhile, until there is no doubt about this matter, most EU nations will directly (i.e. honestly) or indirectly (i.e sneakily) ensure that Turkey does not become a member state.”””

    I guess you would prefer to ignore the massive will of European citizens.

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  • 179. At 4:01pm on 23 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    147. At 8:16pm on 22 Jun 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:
    MacTurk @120,

    Re Nik: did I not say that I from my personal experiences I like Turkey and the Turks far more than (modern*) Greece and the (modern*) Greeks?
    (* not to be confused with the ancients who gave us western civilisation).

    We talk of today and we talk about Greeks. When we talk of ancient times you will talk of ancient Greeks but that is not our issue. Ancient Greeks gave you absolutely nothing for the simple reason that 10th century Germany, France & Britain was basically about the same as barbaric as in the 3rd century B.C. It was Byzantine Greeks that gave your western civilisation but subsequently you preferred to forget these embarassing memories and pretended to have taken everything directly by ancient Romans and ancient Greeks using your timemachine.

    Next time refer to Greeks do it with precise timescales, reference to different tribes, dialects, states, leaderships, please... though I guess your education on these matters is far from being sufficient to go down to that detail. Don't try this at home.

    By the way talking about civilisation and culture, have you ever compared the cultural output of Greece and your country, per population, per income and per genocide and catastrophe occurred in each of the two countries? Perhaps the educational level of populations? Today? 100 years back? Don't do it. Nasty-Nik says you will find evil surprises.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    12. At 12:41pm on 21 Jun 2010, Gheryando wrote:

    “”””So, I'm "screaming" - - yeah right - - whereas You & the mad-greek are just saying it as it is! Next time You see an Albanian I hope You'll remember to hold Your wallet close and Your unprincipled opinions even closer!””””

    Whatever. I talk statistics, you keep talking on 1 on 1 base which is not correct. Have you asked the Greeks, Italians, Serbians, Bulgarians (the people who live next to Albanian populations) to tell you their experience? Perhaps your arbitrary opinion counts more than their first hand experience. And how do you explain the fact that Albanians openly admit that they are more prone to crime than other cultures? What is so bad about saying it? And why does it have to apply to individual cases? Really, your totalitarian absolutism of the either totally black (unacceptable lie) or totally white (ridiculous lie) is quite funny.

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  • 180. At 9:00pm on 23 Jun 2010, generalissimofranco wrote:

    @ 173 Powermeerkat
    Generalissimo:
    “Re: "I strongly support the stance of Berlin/Paris about their unwillingness for the adhesion of Turkey to the UE."
    Powermeerkat:
    “Spoken like true Bulgarian.
    A real asset to EUSSR judging by your past.
    Now, about that small Turkish minority in Bulgaria.... :”
    Generalissimo:
    United Europe is not a public park where every dirty dig can walk through and p….
    One should successfully pass a test before entering that part of the globe, no matter whether he comes from the Eastern or the Western part of the continent. (The US authorities still are building, for the same reasons, a high wall along the border with Mexico, thus preventing the illegal immigration from entering your second motherland).
    The Turkish minority here is OK. It’s omnipresent in the National Parliament, in the European Parliament, in the local authorities in the country, etc.

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  • 181. At 09:09am on 24 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    General, the issue is not even that. I want someone to tell me why on earth does Europe needs to be subject to muslim illegal or marginally legal forced immigration. Then I want someone to explain to me why Europeans would have any particular reason to get Turkey in the EU. Why Turkey and not Egypt? Why not Syria or Iran? And why on earth out of all the EU countries it is just the US-affiliated UK that shouts in favour of that?

    Isn't the above a defacto proof of what I say or not? Of course it is, it is just none of the British wants to admit.

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  • 182. At 10:03am on 24 Jun 2010, Huaimek wrote:


    I cannot understand why successive British PMs favour Turkey joining the EU ; unless it is an indirect way of causing the EU to break up ,or to upset France and Germany .

    However secular the government tries to keep Turkey , once Turks have a free run of The Schengen countries and Britain , they will be claiming their Muslim rites . Just a day or two ago Fundimentalist Muslims were demonstrating in Britain to have Sharia law . Multi multiracialism , multiculturism and religious intolerance , do not work in a kindly Christian , secular , tolerant society .

    The European Union has become Globalism , the global economy , banks , big business and politics . It is not good to have Turkey , bordering Europe turning eastward to Russia , Arab countries , or China ; there is no thought of what social and cultural harm it may do to Christian Europe .

    What has happened to the Union of European peoples , to unite and make a better place for every European to live together in peace and harmony ?
    That has all been ditched for globalist moneterism .

    The only reason for keeping the EU going is for all those overpaid bureaucrats and yesmen euro MPs . Sack the lot and let's start again .

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  • 183. At 11:27am on 24 Jun 2010, Freeman wrote:

    " Just a day or two ago Fundimentalist Muslims were demonstrating in Britain to have Sharia law"

    And we have had groups demonstrating for the right to walk like Dirty Desmond (Oompah noise optional) but it ain't gonna happen. ^^

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  • 184. At 11:35am on 24 Jun 2010, MacTurk wrote:

    "When Turkey has indeed reached 'zero problems with their neighbours', things may be reconsidered", When will Spain have zero problems with its fellow EU member states? Gibraltar comes to mind. As for "There should be no need for Spaniards to emigrate now, since there is no dictatorship. Voluntary economic migration inside the EU still implies uprooting from the local community, including close family, and this is, IMO, not easy in Spain". A lot of Spains's problems arise from a labour market which is far too rigid, and the same goes for France. Like France, the Spanish labour market can be split in two; a minority with very well-paid and secure jobs(basically unsackable), and the vast majority, including the young and migrants, who can only get short-term contracts. I did not say that uprooting yourself is easy, but sitting on your backside waiting for the work to come to you is not a great option either. and I speak as one who had to uproot himself some 20 years ago, and is now on country number seven.

    There is a process of raising the bar higher and higher for Turkish accession. First, they were too poor. When Bulgaria and Romania were admitted, Turkey's per-capita GNP was approximately twice that of either. Now smroet would insist on a veto based on their foriegn policy? The Schengen criteria are the valid criteria for entry.

    Anyone who has watched Turkey for the last 15 years can tell you that it is a society going through traumatic changes. It is also much more open than before, and public opinion matters in a way that would have been inconceivable in 19996. Then, everyone was waiting for the next coup. Now the armed forces have been moved progressively out of politics. Turkey is like most countries, it is dynamic, not static, and the momentum is towards more democracy, and much more sensible economics. One minor thing that really gets up the noses of our bankrupt friends in the Hellenic Republic is the number of international commentators who keep telling them that they really could learn a lot from current Turkish policies. In the last three world economic crises, the Turkish economy and currency collapsed. This time, Turkey has come through the crisis like Poland; strong and growing.

    DurstigerMann(177), I have to agree with you about the general ineptitude shown by most European governments about immigration policy - or lack of any thinking about the need for such policy. I also fully agree that anyone moving to another country should show a commitment to learning the language. Sweden seems to have quite a good policy in place about this. As for paying welfare to someone who has never worked in their new country, and who refuses to learn German, that is insane.

    It seems, from my readings of the German and Turkish media, that the young male German-Turks have developed a culture that regards success in school as being not really "Turkish". This is in total contrast to the vast majority of Turkey's urban population, which is obsessed with education. And most of the population is urban now. I also have to agree with you about Turkish ghettos. Leads to introspection and defining yourself as the polar opposite of "The Others". Have you ever compared the Turkish edition of "Hurriyet" with the German edition? The German edition is incredibly over-the-top nationalistic.

    Re Gheryando(121) ""Extrapolating demographic trends into the future cannot be done with any degree of certainty" In this case, that's BS". No, it is not. Any straight-line extrapolation of demographic trends will nearly always be proved wrong. I referred to the fears about China's boomimg population before. Other examples are;

    a) Estonia experienced two baby boom recently, the first just after independence from the USSR(euphoria is the factor?), the second in the period 2004-06, which may have been related to large increases in child support payments.

    b) Tunisia spent a lot of money on extending education to its girls, and the result is that birth rates there have dropped to 1.71 per reproductive female, or lower. The previous figure was over 4.5.

    c) Ireland in the 1840's had a population of more than 6 million. After the Famine, and with continuous emigration, the population declined. By 1961, the figure was 2.8 million, and the publishing industry was busy churning out titles like "The Irish - A Vanishing Nation". Changes in economic policy, and EU accession reduced net out-migration, and now the population is some 4.5 million.

    So, if you increase female education, you change the demographic future. If you change government policy, as in Estonia or Ireland, you change the demographic future. If you reverse migration flows, you change the demographic future. and that is why it is NOT BS to say that you cannot extrapolate demographic trends into the future with any certainty. First and foremost, because you are talking about human beings, and humans respond to changes in complex and unpredictable ways.

    All we can say about Turkey is that it has probably gone through the second stage of the classical demographic transition experienced by most developing countries, and is possibly into the third stage, where populations stabilise or decline slightly.

    I have an question. Can anyone give me a set of coherent reasons why we should allow Greece, a corrupt and bankrupt state which has lied to every European about its financial situation for the last twenty years, to remain within the EU? Enquiring minds want to know. And I shall ignore any responses from Mr Nik. as some wise man said "When you argue with an idiot, onlookers tend to confuse you with the idiot".

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  • 185. At 3:25pm on 24 Jun 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    CBW, I have a couple of quick questions for you.

    Firstly, why do you capitalize the "y" whenever you type "you" or "your"?

    Secondly, do you suppose that unrequited love can burn ever brighter unto death, fueled only by its own passion?

    Whether you believe what I say is not important to either of us, but this idea you carry around with you like a medal of honour, that your thinly veiled nationalism contains even the slightest trace of intellectual worth, is pure hubris.

    It is precisely the delusion of the fanatic which allows him to mistake the fact of his own stupidity. The delusion and the stupidity travel together: they are different aspects of the same confused mind, but they are not the same thing.

    Look deep within yourself, CBW. Do you think big brother really loves you?

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  • 186. At 9:31pm on 24 Jun 2010, generalissimofranco wrote:

    @181 Nik
    The present Turkish foreign policy which (among other things) is aimed at the establishment of hegemony over the Eastern Mediterranean is going to counteract the US/NATO policy in the Middle East. If things go that way, the present frictions between Ankara and Tel Aviv may gradually develop into an irreversible intergovernmental conflict. Consequently, the chances of the adhesion of Ankara to the EU will diminish even more.

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  • 187. At 10:54am on 28 Jun 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #185

    I've a couple of questions for You, too:

    "..hubris..": Do tell us all DemocThreat when You are in the throes of Your 'arrogant pride' at being snide, jeering, contemptuous of the 'english-speaking peoples' do You get excited - - because You know sometimes it really reads as if that's what gets You off!?

    "..delusion of the fanatic..": Do tell us all DemocThreat when You are bestriding the Blog with Your 'excessive and often misguided enthusiasm' to rid the World of the 'english-speaking peoples' does it never occur to You the "..delusion" and "..stupidity" are all wrapped up in Your own inane, repetetive contributions!?

    'Look deep within Yourself democThreat', do You suppose the discomfort You feel with the World as it is, stems from Your sense of failure to be a recognised part of it?

    Why "Y"? Is no question: 'Yet it shall come for me to do thee good. I had a thing to say -- but let it go.'

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  • 188. At 11:57am on 28 Jun 2010, Nik wrote:

    """I have an question. Can anyone give me a set of coherent reasons why we should allow Greece, a corrupt and bankrupt state which has lied to every European about its financial situation for the last twenty years, to remain within the EU? Enquiring minds want to know. And I shall ignore any responses from Mr Nik. as some wise man said "When you argue with an idiot, onlookers tend to confuse you with the idiot"."""

    MacTurk you called me idiot when you cannot even develop a proper argument - I guess that is the level you acquired by living and socialising in Turkey, no wonder: myself there in my brief stay I stuck only to partying, womanising and the local cuisine, otherwise I would not be able to withstand the environment. You just showed your complete lack of level

    I think you are not pretending but you are really of average understanding but anyway I will give your answer just for the shake of it. Greece is as much corrupt as Britain or France. The difference is that for the Greek foreign installed (and often downright foreign even in origins, like little Jeffrey, son & grandson) political leadership to remain corrupt on top it had to cultivate widespread corruption at a multi-level fashion in the society of the country. The difference of Britain and France and Germany is that corruption there is institutionalised and tolerated, permitted (or wanted I would say) only at a banks & corporations level since the average people are not let to easily perform it unlike Greece. The fact that these EU countries have institutionalised corruption over the Greek widespread does not make them more right or more regulated. Do not even try to counter-argument cos I will drawn you in the pool of Siemens and Vinci scandals and we won't end here... every day we hear of yet one more scandal, this week we have the Betancourt scandal in France so you know how it goes. Take France, Germany & Britain out of the EU and perhaps remain with the duo Sweden and Finland who seem to fare a bit better in these terms why not.

    ... and then you can join this amazing democratic and regulated country that called itself Turkey. Wow!

    Wake up MacTurk. The country you love is the country of genocide. It still slaighters its own citizens. It is a barbaric, violent society that in the recent past has slaughtered 4 million people expulsing violently other 3 million and went on to pongrom all remnants, then start killing its muslim minorities - if anyone can call 20 million Kurds a minority!!!

    Whatever you think of it, however you might sell it to us, your lies do not convince.

    186. At 9:31pm on 24 Jun 2010, generalissimofranco wrote:
    @181 Nik
    """The present Turkish foreign policy which (among other things) is aimed at the establishment of hegemony over the Eastern Mediterranean is going to counteract the US/NATO policy in the Middle East. If things go that way, the present frictions between Ankara and Tel Aviv may gradually develop into an irreversible intergovernmental conflict. Consequently, the chances of the adhesion of Ankara to the EU will diminish even more."""

    It would be great fan to see how Turks perform in a war against Israel missing the US-British support they enjoyed since 90 years now. And they would deserve every single catastrophe inflicted on them for it is them both as a state and as a society that seek trouble, not others.

    But won't see any of that. The current re-islamisation of Turkey is well within the US plan for the greater area. Turkey's anti-Israel stance is just a front, so as that it gains the support of all muslims and re-make Turkey the Ottoman-like leader of muslims. It is well within the US plan cos the US plans to use yet once again Turkey in the greater area. Given the current aggressiveness of Turks, some form of war might be inevitable in the next 20-30 years and the EU better prepare for it by nullifying Turkey forcing it to bend to Russian (quite fair) demands rather than leaving it getting inflated on US free arms and cheap anti-Israel bravado.

    Done genocide, done pongroms, invaded countries, ethnically cleansed, dropped napalms over its citizens, threatens with wars all its neighbours... what else do you want in the list?

    Turkey was and still is one of the most rogue state in the world. End of story.

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