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March of the right

Mark Mardell | 11:31 UK time, Monday, 8 June 2009

wilders595afpb.jpgThe British National Party (BNP) will not feel too lonely in the European Parliament. Similar parties with a strong nationalist message and opposition to immigration have been elected in the Netherlands, Hungary and Romania.

The leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), Geert Wilders, denies he is a racist, saying his problem is with Islam as an ideology, not the colour of people's skin. The leader of the BNP and new MEP, Nick Griffin, says his all-white party is no more racist that the National Black Police Association. Hungary's Jobbik says the real racists are the liberal establishment who do not put Hungarians first. They have attacked the Sunday Telegraph for its report on their party. It is time someone put this hotbed of liberal do-gooders in their place.

jobbikap226b.jpgThe rise of the right is patchy, and looking at where those patches are absent is important. As far as I can see from the results in front of me, anti-immigration parties in Italy and France did not do well. In the run-up to the election, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi repeatedly compared Italian cities to "Africa", whether because of graffiti or "non-Italian" faces. In the final days, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's stepped up his plan to crack down on knife crime and flood Paris's suburban ghettos with police. He didn't mention immigration. He didn't have to do so.

Long before I came to Brussels, certain Labour MPs were telling me how worried they were about the BNP. These were the same people who, as ministers, came up with the toughest rhetoric on the perils of too much immigration and too little integration.

The hard right may try to form a new group in the European Parliament - until all the results are in it is not easy to say if they will do so. I somehow doubt it. But even if they did, they would have little influence on legislation or even debate. Their real importance is that their election gives politicians from bigger parties a huge scare, and pushes the mainstream towards are tougher line.

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  • 1. At 11:57am on 08 Jun 2009, Stuart1957 wrote:

    A quick look at the BNP's 2009 constitution, accessible on its website under the front page heading 'Resouces', reveals the following (Section 1: Political objectives, 2b): "The British National Party stands for the preservation of the national and ethnic
    character of the British people character of the British people and is wholly opposed to any form of racial
    integration between British and non-European peoples. It is therefore committed
    to stemming and reversing the tide of non-white immigration and to restoring, by legal changes, negotiation and consent, the overwhelmingly white makeup of the British population that existed in Britain prior to 1948."

    It also wants to repeal the Human Rights Act... no doubt that would aid its task of "restoring, by legal changes, negotiation and consent, the overwhelmingly white makeup of the British population that existed in Britain prior to 1948".

    One question that should always be asked of the BNP is what would happen to those of a different ethnic background who were born in the UK after 1948 who didn't want to leave?

    What sort of protection would they be afforded to continue to work and enjoy family life?

    Journalists have been letting them off the hook too lightly.

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  • 2. At 12:23pm on 08 Jun 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    The current situation of free movement only within the EU creates the impression that free movement of workers is a one-way trip into the UK, without having significant benefits for British workers. It does not make sense in the globalised ecomony that we have a right to work in Bulgaria but not in the major economic centers of the world. The smart move now for politicians would be for the UK to negotiate free movement of worker treaties with our major non-European partners (e.g. US, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand , etc.). This would demonstrate to Britons that immigration is something that can also be of advantage to them.

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  • 3. At 12:27pm on 08 Jun 2009, U9388581 wrote:

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

  • 4. At 12:49pm on 08 Jun 2009, U9388581 wrote:

    #2 FREEBORN-JOHN

    The problem is that you then create a straight line to the US, Canada etc for the Rumanians, Bulgarians etc and those countries are not going to allow that. If we have freedom of movement within the EU, they can't allow onward free movement unless they restricted it to only the Nationals they preferred and the politicians would never get away with that.

    I thought at one time that sufficiently tough entrance exams were the answer and still think they might be. The only problem with that is that given the appaling spelling, grammar and lack of logic displayed on the BBC blogs (Not least by the BBC professionals!) very few of our own people would qualify to reside here never mind move on.

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  • 5. At 12:49pm on 08 Jun 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    The BNP are natural bedfellows of all the Euro-nationalists who make anti-American comments here. They do not stand for anything positive being fixated only by the perceived bogeyman from abroad.

    EU-skeptics need to argue for maximizing control over our own lives outside the undemocratic straight-jacket of a one-size-fits-all European political union, and not for restrictions that would prevent others in the world from improving their lot.

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  • 6. At 12:53pm on 08 Jun 2009, swissoff wrote:

    Shame on the people who voted for these individuals, shame on them
    These elections have displayed an alarming shift towards groups promising to ease economic hardships by advocating hatred and intolerance. This is a lamentable mirror of events throughout Europe in the 1920's and 30's when like minded fascists played on societies fears following the great depression. We cannot allow the narrow minded harbingers of hatred to gain a foothold in Europe again.
    Britain; German immigrants gave you your language and your Crown, Irish immigrants gave you back Christianity and built your countries navigable roads, railways and canals, French Immigrants gave you your laws, African, Caribbean & Asian immigrants gave your world famous diverse music and culture.
    The sum of the parts makes up the whole. Being English is no longer about being white, or Protestant no more than being Irish is about being white and Catholic.
    There is no bright future or quick solution through intolerance and hatred; there is only misery, strife and ill feeling towards your own kind.
    A fairly clued-in Englishman, himself the offspring of Irish immigrant, once offered the following advice to anyone who cared to listen; "You say you want a revolution, Well you know, We all want to change the world.
    You tell me that it's evolution, Well you know, We all want to change the world, But when you talk about destruction, Don't you know you can count me out.
    You say you got a real solution, Well you know, We'd all love to see the plan. You ask me for a contribution, Well you know, We're doing what we can, But when you want money for people with minds that hate
    All I can tell you is brother you have to wait.
    You say you'll change the constitution, Well you know, We all want to change your head. You tell me it's the institution, Well you know, You better free your mind instead, But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow, Don't you know it's gonna be alright.

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  • 7. At 12:55pm on 08 Jun 2009, jayfurneaux wrote:

    Nick Griffin appears delighted that he will now be spending more time in the company of foreigners. Anyone else notice the irony in that?

    As for comment 3 and the fears of a New Order. Naah, there'd be a civil war first, they'd lose.

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  • 8. At 1:16pm on 08 Jun 2009, blue_who_22 wrote:

    It is obvious why the far right have won votes (in Britain): Labour has ignored the British people. If they had stated in their pre-Blair election campaign that they would allow thousands of people into Britain each year with little or no background checks or control, they would never have won that election. Labour should ask themselves why more and more people are coming to Britain than ever before? What makes Britain so attractive (instead of France for example)? They should also state why they are keeping certain population statistics 'secret' until after the next election.

    Sadly I don't think this is an isolated protest vote. Unless one of the major parties gets a grip on immigration the far right are going to get more and more votes.

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  • 9. At 1:20pm on 08 Jun 2009, SurfandTurf wrote:

    3. At 12:27pm on 08 Jun 2009, Moncursalion-Occamist wrote:
    If you add the blatantly racist parties votes together and assume as I do that at least 25% of the Tory vote are indistinguishable in their racism from these parties the racist vote is VERY comparable to the position of the Nazi party in the very early 30's.


    Quite an assumption there. All evidence suggests that BNP voters are shifting from Labour rather than centre right parties. Also what are the 'blatantly racist parties'? UKIP? I think you should look up the word racist that you so freely throw around.

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  • 10. At 1:21pm on 08 Jun 2009, james_2002uk wrote:

    Moncursalion-Occamist

    "I have always believed that it would have taken very little in the 30's to have brought a UK-Nazi Germany alliance into being with the same Tories and Far right groupings as we see today, there would certainly have been no shortage of Concentration camp guards or Gestapo in Britain."

    Please retake your history GCSE. Neville Chamberlain may be most famous for wanting to appease Hitler, but it was the Labour party that continued to oppose the war with Nazi Germany, when the Conservatives with Winston Churchill were in little doubt it was the only course of action.

    It's fair to profess your disdain for the BNP and far right, but try not to include everyone who doesn't share the same views as you. The mainstream political parties really need to engage with the people who felt that the BNP were the only party that represented them in order to remove their odious presence from the landscape of British politics. Maybe that means talking like grownups about immigration and Britain's future rather than the kind of mudslinging you seem to advocate, lumping everyone who doesn't vote Labour as a racist bigot.

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  • 11. At 1:24pm on 08 Jun 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Moncursalion-Occamist (4): Any bilateral treaties creating freedom of movement for workers between the UK and major non-European states could obviously only apply to citizens of the states that sign those bilateral treaties and not to citizen of other states such as the EU26 or Schengan countries. Anybody taking up residence in the UK (whether they be citizens of states that are members of the EU or not) is NOT eligible for UK citizenship until they have lived here for at least 7 years so your concerns are unfounded.

    Bilateral freedom of movement treaties between the UK and non European states would not only create a more positive impression of migration as something that can benefit Britons, but it would also increase the attractiveness of the UK as a business location relative to anywhere else on Earth, thus providing a much needed boost to the UK economy.

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  • 12. At 1:41pm on 08 Jun 2009, brownandout wrote:

    I despise the BNP, but I think the mainstream parties have themselves to blame for failing to address real concerns about immigration and culture change in the UK. When sensible politicians such as Frank Fields and Nicholas Soames have attempted to raise these issues for debate the main parties are too scared to talk about it for fear of being said to be racist which plays directly into the BNP's hands. It is time for proper, non racist debate on the subject to prevent further extremists gaining power

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  • 13. At 1:42pm on 08 Jun 2009, SCL wrote:

    The idea that the BNP was used as a "protest vote" is insane.

    Find me one person who voted BNP without knowing exactly what they stand for!

    Its a shot against Labour's immigration/EU policy and the concerns need to be addressed immediately to prevent the BNP building any sort of momentum whatsoever. Its bad enough now that the BNP will receive taxpayer's money now that they are in the European Parliament.

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  • 14. At 2:22pm on 08 Jun 2009, tacrepus wrote:

    Whether people like it or not immigration is a major issue with a large section of the British people. As long a mainstream politician continue to avoid the subject and ignore the concerns of the electorate they will be feeding the votes of those people towards the BNP. Ten years ago the BNP had no elected officials, now they have officials elected to local councils, county councils and the European Parliament. It doesn't take a genius to see where this will end up if the major political parties don't begin to address the issues that the electorate see as important.

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  • 15. At 2:28pm on 08 Jun 2009, KAS1865 wrote:

    The last two "Great Politicians" who wanted a Federal State of Europe were Napoleon and Hitler, that says it all for me.

    There are those that claim that Churchill was also in favour of such a Union, but that is untrue. Churchill supported the idea of a "Mutual Aid" Programme aimed, solely, at countering the Communist threat.

    I voted for for the BNP, in Yorkshire, dispite the propaganda peddled by the Media and the Left, because I actually trust them more than Brown and the Crooks he has surrounded himself with and because I believe my voice will be heard.

    The Tories, and Labour have ignored the concerns of the odinary working man for years and have arrogantly continued on their path towards a Federal Europe and all that brings, including things like over regulation, unchecked Immigration and an undermining of everything this Country SHOULD stand for.

    I served this Country for 23 years but looking at the mess we are in I sometimes wonder if that sacrifice was worth it. Likewise my Father fought in WW2 and Aden, while my eldest Son currently serves in Afganisitan must also wonder why he and his friends put their lives on the line everyday, only to return home to abuse from many of those we have allowed the priviledge of living here.

    If nothing else, the election of two BNP MEPs make give the "so called" main parties the kick up the rear needed to get them back in tune with the Electorate and represent the interests of the Country and not just their inflated egos.

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  • 16. At 2:34pm on 08 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The disaffection of Europeans on a large scale with the EU, the result of its unfulfilled promises strikes me as much too little, much too late. Most Europeans have already joined hands and jumped over the cliff having ceded their sovereignty to control their borders and their currency, two hallmarks of independent nations. They have also ceded major legislative perogatives and are subject to punitive actions by the EU if they do not comply with its directives. No amount of veering left, right, turning green, blue, or purple, black or white will change that. The inherent contradictions, inconsistencies, ambiguities, and downright lies Europeans were told, told each other, wanted to believe, and insisted were true are now having consequences that are manifest over a broad range of areas that affect everyday lives of all Europeans. The current economic crisis that was precipitated by defective investment instruments and strategies created in the US and the UK have merely accelerated what was inevitable anyway, they are not the root cause of the problems. To assert otherwise would just be one more lie that would fog the real issues of the EU.

    The EU looks like a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces were made to fit together by taking pieces of many jigsaw puzzles, a pair of scizzors, and forcing them to join whether they formed a coherent picture or not. The EU constitution in whatever guise it takes compared to the American model resembles a committee having seen a 747 jumbo jet from a distance and not understanding how it worked, carved a similar image from stone and then expecting it to fly. It is absurd beyond belief.

    All of the lies and delusions about Europe are now coming out, the layers of illusions created by smoke and mirrors falling away. Europe cannot sustain its luxurious unaffordable social safety net, cannot compete in any economic arena with the larger world due to its high labor costs, disincentives for investment, impossibly restrictive laws and codes, ancient racial and ethnic hatreds, vast disparities of wealth, income, development, social temperment between its constituent elements, and overriding all, its penchant for centralized despotic tyranny that imposes one uniform code on everyone with nothing anyone can do about it. It was born to die and now its end is coming.

    It cannot compete with the major economic, military, cultural, and political powers in the world, especially the United States of America no matter how their leaders try to fudge the numbers. It just doesn't have what it takes. Nor should Europe look to the US for sympathy or assistance. If anything, America will place increasing demands on Europe to start pulling its fair share of the weight in places like Afghanistan and Iran in the war on terror and state sponsored terrorism, a war that has just begun and has many decades to go before it's over. The US does not have the power even if it had the inclination (it no longer does) to protect Europeans from themselves or from each other. Needlessly alienating the American people for no rational reason but out of pure jealousy was a very big mistake that can't be brushed aside or quickly or easily fixed. As I have observed, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the support of Isreal, the refusal to sign Kyoto did not create new enemies for America in Europe, it merely revealed the true feelings of old ones Americans didn't recognize. France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium being at the top of the list but hardly alone.

    As an observer of Europe, I am not surprised that this is happening, only that it hasn't happened sooner. Note, none of the parties which won in the elections has a comprehensive alternate plan to rescue the EU, the vote was merely a rejection of the failed plans and policies already in place. And for those still in power, I have yet to hear even one major European leader admit that they don't know what they are doing, where they are heading, and that it's time to step back and rethink the entire EU process. Instead, it's damned the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Glad I'm not on that runaway train along for the ride.

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  • 17. At 2:39pm on 08 Jun 2009, TheElector wrote:

    Already I am tired of the hand-wringing and the self-indulgent mutterings of the main political parties regarding the BNP. However loathsome Mr Griffin and his racist cohorts on the far right are, they have been successful because they appear to be addressing the fears and resentments of a sizeable (although not that sizeable, thankfully) proportion of the British electorate.

    I come from South Yorkshire and know some of these areas where the BNP got in. I am sure that there are a number of people who are truly racist, but no more than elsewhere in the UK. What there are instead are real social problems, and in particular, a great deal of immigration and the sense of rapid change and instability that brings. The estates and backstreets of Yorkshire aren't trendy, metropolitan areas where anyone would choose to live. They are run-down, boarded up, beleaguered spots where unemployment and deprivation are high, education is poor, opportunities are few. I was born in the region, yet after ten years in the south-east, I am shocked when I go back. Many of these places feel like they have hardly progressed since the 1970s. I would not want to bring up my dog there, let alone my children. What I see when I go back is that people feel impotent, invisible and scared. They perceive that their way of life, such as it is, is under threat and that no one is listening or cares enough to listen, let alone do anything about it. Those that are different - whether in class, religion, colour or language - are easy targets for fear and resentment in such a climate. A 'them and us' culture inevitably results.

    Our politicians and journalists, based in London, would do better to stop telling these voters that they are uncivilised and wrong; that they ought to know better. Instead, they should make an effort to listen and not merely give lip-service to the fears and resentments behind the apparent intolerance. People want their politicians to genuinely represent them, to make an effort to change things, not merely be told by them how they should think, live and vote. Come election time, there will be empty promises and patronising speeches, but in between times, there will be little attention or action to address their needs. In fact, they have frequently found themselves having to live with the consequences of some disgraceful social engineering: Hull, in particular, has been the recipient for years of difficult council tenants and some of London's most troublesome over-spill. Do you think the locals got a choice in that?

    When people feel impotent to shape their own destiny, they become desperate. And when they feel unimportant to the smug metropolitan political classes who dare to preach to them from the comfort of their leafy suburbs, and engineer society to suit their theoretical, political ends, they protest their presence by voting for the extremes. At least it prompts the media and political classes to remember that they exist.


    3. You assert, offering no evidence, that 25% of Tories are somehow proto-Nazi's. I think you need to look at your own ignorant prejudices before commenting on those you perceive in others.

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  • 18. At 2:49pm on 08 Jun 2009, RGruenebaum wrote:

    It's certainly worth some deeper investigation why the UK and the Netherlands, two rather tolerant societies, are sending fascists to Brussels while those characters performed dismally in France, Belgium or Germany. But I doubt that the BNP will make any impact in Brussels (they are more likely to end up with the Belgian police I guess) and they certainly will not find friends. How do make friends with guys who think that they are racially superior to you when they are so obviously not?.

    Let's face it: The British result is the odd one out in this respect, and it is more a reflection of the unreformed English class society. Otherwise it's pretty much in line with the European trend: Conservatives up, Greens up, Liberals stable, socialist down.

    If press coverage about the EU would be halfway fair in the UK it would probably all be rather similar to the rest of Europe.

    Having said that I must praise the BBC for the coverage of the elections and the election night. This is the best political journalism in the world and no other country came close yesterday. Very professional, indeed.

    P.S. With Mrs Andreasen now a UKIP MEP, I hope journalists are finding out more about this shady character.

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  • 19. At 3:18pm on 08 Jun 2009, SnorriGodhi wrote:

    Do I detect a suggestion in this article that a tougher line on immigration is the most effective way to contain the "far-right"? the problem with that is that many political parties, especially but not only in Britain, have painted themselves into a corner: they identify any opposition to immigration (and/or the EU) with the "far-right", so they cannot take a tough line on immigration without becoming "far-right" by their own definition. The main parties have effectively destroyed their own freedom of speech in a futile attempt to undermine the BNP.

    It is important to keep in mind that British culture has been derided and despised by the British elite for much of the last century; one unintended and unpleasant consequence is that opposition to immigration is centered on race, not culture. The situation is different in (most of) continental Europe.

    Speaking of British culture: Moncursalion-Occamist (#3) talks of a natural alliance between the Tories (some of them, anyway) and the Nazis. Apparently, he is unaware that the champions of antisemitism and eugenics in Britain before ww2 were the Fabians, and that Oswald Mosley quit the Labour Party because it was not socialist enough.

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  • 20. At 3:25pm on 08 Jun 2009, Beavervalley wrote:

    16. by MAII

    Well done MAII - with your last paragraph you've helped me to identify the most appropriate song to use as the EU theme music!

    "Ode to Joy" or whatever is just doesn't cut it for me, "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne will be much more pertinent!

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  • 21. At 3:44pm on 08 Jun 2009, fallingbrummie wrote:

    Labour's core vote has always been the Welsh, English and Scots working class. Do they fail to vote because they feel betrayed by Labour? Taken for granted? Because their concerns over access to housing, jobs (since de-industrialisation), health care are not being acted upon? Because they think they should come first before immigrants? Because they don't feel at home in their own country? Because when they speak out they are told they are racist? Which fools in the Labour party failed to deal with this?

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  • 22. At 3:52pm on 08 Jun 2009, sleepingtemplar wrote:

    Mainstream politicians turning their backs on elected BNP members has the same value as an ostrich sticking its head in the sand.
    The BNP is not going to go away as long as countless numbers of illegal immigrants and bogus asylum seekers are allowed to remain in Britain playing the system. As long as limitless numbers of immigrants are allowed to settle in Britain with their families and then allowed to continue living and behaving as though they were still in their countries of origin the resentment of the ordinary, hardworking British people will continue to grow as will their support of the BNP.
    Politicians must have the courage to make it absolutly clear to immigrants, choosing to live in Britain, that part of that choice is becoming British in every way, by adopting and adapting to the British way of life.
    Only by immigrants making the effort to intergrate into British soceity and becoming a part of the country they have chosen to live in can the rise of the BNP be stopped.

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  • 23. At 4:00pm on 08 Jun 2009, Smeashy wrote:

    @KAS1865

    Noble concerns considering the personal sacrifices your family and yourself have made. I quite agree that reconciling popular grassroots concerns with the agenda of political actors is a challenge democracy is eternally faced with.

    European Union membership however has only ever been a pragmatic move. After the 2nd world war the desire to find a working peace based on integration and mutual interdependence was a desirable and equally more sound means of sustaining peace and prosperity. And prosperity in particular. The late 60's was a crushing era for the British economy in contrast with the booming European Communities. Politically, Britain was becoming a fading light in international politics with Franco American relations become more prominent and a gradual realisation that unless Britain was a part of the European integration, then it faced incremental sidelining. Heath was most enthusiastic about joining at the quickest opportunity, and on our 3rd attempt to join at that. These are factors that are still salient. I simply think it is worth persevering with its pitfalls and improving it, rather than taking steps to withdraw from.

    Europe's problems have always been Britain's problems, integrated or otherwise. Churchill knew this when he advocated a form of European union in the Zurich address(albeit with a lesser role for the UK within it). We mustn't hail Churchil as this Abraham like figure of British foreign policy. A great hero of British history he may be, but of a historical context alien from the society we live in today. That said, it is of course crucial that the lessons of the second world war are as clear and remembered today as they were in the post war period. With the same sentiment, we joined in a different political and economic climate, and again today have a different climate to work with.

    What infuriates me is the abuse of history shamelessly plastered in the BNP's election broadcast; with spitfires in the background and a rather selective (if seemingly needless) appraisal of Britain's sacrifice in second world war, to justify its rampant parochialism. Don't be fooled by the gratuitous display of British heroism 65 years ago to attract a vote for division and intolerance. In my mind its a greater insult to these sacrifices made by our parents and grandparents. Thank goodness we don't have to fight and die for peace in Europe anymore, we can vote and campaign for reforms to secure it instead.

    So nevermind where it all started with Britain's part in European integration, the important thing to consider is where we should be taking it to guarantee the fundamental values taken from European politics and history: Peace, prosperity, tolerance, cooperation.

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  • 24. At 4:16pm on 08 Jun 2009, U9388581 wrote:

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

  • 25. At 4:22pm on 08 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The fact that voters are turning to radical parites to protest the way their goveernments are being run is proof that they are not democracies. These parties do not listen to their constituents, do not address their concerns, have their own agendas separate and apart from what the body politic wants, and do not form governments of the people, by the people, or for the people whether it is their own national governments or the supranational one in Brussels. We in America pay lip service to Europe pretending European nations are democracies but this dangerous protest is proof that there is a clear disconnect between those in power in all the major parties and their constituents. Nor have the media whether in print or broadcast on TV, Radio, or over the internet insisted on an open debate on the issues of concern among the politicians involving the public as well. Clearly immigration is one of those concerns but there are many others. Instead, the political parties represent small vested interests that have nothing to do with their populations at large. This is where violent revolution and the rise of dangerous demagogues begins. These are the seeds of World Wars. This is one of Europe's fatal and eternal flaws.

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  • 26. At 4:52pm on 08 Jun 2009, swissoff wrote:

    "The last two "Great Politicians" who wanted a Federal State of Europe were Napoleon and Hitler, that says it all for me."



    I'm going to leave out the Hitler comparisons, for obvious reasons, but if you look at it objectively and honestly, there are a great many similarities between Churchill and Napoleon, both in their ambitions and their methods. Both were willing to use military force and coercion to maintain an empire that enveloped peoples and nations that made it clear by force, by reason and by democratic voice that they sought self determination. Britain, sometimes with an influential Churchill at the helm, used military force to maintain this grip on India, Ireland, South Africa and dozens more. So I dont accept that nonsense about liking the EU to 'Hitler and Napoleon', especially when Britain has its own dark skeletons in the closet on the Imperialistic front.


    Secondly, I think its cheap and out of touch to attempt to excuse a vote for dangerous fanatics like the BNP by rolling out military service for ones 'country'. What does that even mean anyway?

    I serve my country every day, and I've never been in the military. Jean Jacque Rousseau maintained that the people are the soveirgnty in a nation, the people themselves. If you pay your taxes, and vote (arguable in this case) then you are serving your country. And you certainly do not have some exceptional excuse to be extra disillusioned with the status quo, because you volunteered for the armed forces and headed off to partake in some war. I'm sorry, I mean no disrespect, but if you sign up to the armed forces and head off to Iraq or Afghanistan, then you are putting your life on the line for your career decision and months pay, not your country.

    Lastly, I fully understand that immigration, or lack of proper control on immigration is an issue, and that working class areas are breeding grounds for right wing vampires to feed on, I am from one myself. But being from a deprived area is also no excuse for cheaply giving your democratic vote to a party that advocates the increased availability of weapons into society, that stands on a podium with like minded European fascist parties who openly defend anti-semitism as a duty rather than a right, who call for the return of corporal and capital punishment, who exclude members of their parties based on the colour of their skin, or the colour of their partners skin, and whose only real intention is to drive a wedge in society.

    A vote for the BNP, is not progress, its a step back. Giving your vote to intolerance and hatred as a protest is a dangerous dangerous game of pass the bomb. One that exploded in Europe with dire consequences not so long ago.

    Those D Day celebrations on Saturday are tainted somewhat by this result. We remember the deaths of men who fell removing from power in Europe, those who would tell us what we can do, what we should like, how we should act, and 2 days later send more of the same lot back to power in Europe

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  • 27. At 5:30pm on 08 Jun 2009, WhiteEnglishProud wrote:

    Smeashy@23

    Good post

    i particuarly liked

    [b]Don't be fooled by the gratuitous display of British heroism 65 years ago to attract a vote for division and intolerance.In my mind its a greater insult to these sacrifices made by our parents and grandparents. [/b]

    The growth in support for the BNP is largely out of frustration and a creditable alternative.

    As for [b] Peace, prosperity, tolerance, cooperation.[/b]

    Peace and co-operation have been a success. I always considered tolerance to be a distructive path to follow as things that are tolerated for a long time eventually become intolerable. Unrestricted immigation is an issue which demonstrates this situation perfectly.
    And prospertity has been achieved only by those who were already rich but i guess 2 out of 4 aint bad.

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  • 28. At 5:41pm on 08 Jun 2009, blefuscu wrote:

    #16 MarcusAurelius11

    Hm..which is why the Republicans and Democrats (American) want Turkey, Georgia and the Ukraine to join the EU.

    Well what am I to believe? Musht have mishunderstood somethink, then.

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  • 29. At 5:58pm on 08 Jun 2009, CarlosSanchezGuerra wrote:

    Great comments MAII but our US democracy can also be described with some of the same words as you described Europe's.

    Certainly democracy in its various guises is not perfect but at its core it makes the masses feel good that they are asked to participate in governing themselves. Democracies, like all political systems, are run by flawed humans - not philospher kings - and the real bottom line (as we all know) of all political systems is power, prestige, patronage, etc.

    The key to keeping the masses at bay, I think, is to create a sufficient facade that convinces them of their importance yet keeps them subjugated. Perhaps the US system is a bit more advanced than Europe's and so we see our own slavery less than we see the Europeans.

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  • 30. At 6:16pm on 08 Jun 2009, planting_seeds wrote:

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

  • 31. At 6:37pm on 08 Jun 2009, Scotch Get wrote:

    #20 LOL

    Good one! An alternative could be

    'Locomotive Breath' - Jethro Tull

    >8-D

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  • 32. At 6:48pm on 08 Jun 2009, ParliamentHack wrote:

    The shame should be on mainstream politicians who won't address the issue of imigration and allow such right wing parties to gain credence. The BNP have ridden into town with a range of policies designed to appeal to what they see as their natural supporters in the working classes who now have little work and blame imigrants for it. The Labour party in particular have let them down, nearly twelve years of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Labour seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis, at least that's how it appears from here. The old 'hard left' has been pretty well discredited and in order to gain power Blair had to invent 'new left', meaning the abandonment of some of the wilder and woolier party ideals and pretty much doing what ever it took to gain office. Once in of course, the lure of easy personal gain seemed to capture the less-idiological of the bunch as it always does with any brand of politicos. The result is a mish-mash of half-baked theories and public relations campaigns, lightly veneered with a bit of a socialist slant. Gordon has been left holding the baby by Tony who has ridden off into the sunset with some filhty lucre

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  • 33. At 6:51pm on 08 Jun 2009, frenchderek wrote:

    The economic crisis has hit many hard. Brown was one of the culprits - he slavishly followed Greenspan's loosening of financial market controls and allowed business and personal credit to get overblown. The UK electorate are not fools: I had hoped they knew who to blame.

    Extremist groups know how to tap into people's fears. For Al Qaida it's easy to lay blame on the West for their "congregation's" ills. For the BNP it's easy to blame immigration for the UK's ills.

    I'm an emigrant from the UK. Here in France the anti-immigration brigade got short shrift, as Mark notes. The French blame the US and the UK for leading us all into the economic crisis.

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  • 34. At 6:53pm on 08 Jun 2009, swissoff wrote:

    "Politicians must have the courage to make it absolutely clear to immigrants, choosing to live in Britain, that part of that choice is becoming British in every way, by adopting and adapting to the British way of life.
    Only by immigrants making the effort to integrate into British society and becoming a part of the country they have chosen to live in can the rise of the BNP be stopped."

    This is the sort of talk that gets us into these problems in the first place. Becoming British in every way?? What does that mean?
    I dont want to get into a major debate here about identity and national sentiment, because identity is a major paradox on the islands of Britain and Ireland. You cannot tell people how they should feel about their identity and you most certainly cannot force people to conform to a cultural template. Most importantly why would you?
    Some men and women born on the island of Ireland (so geographically Irish) class themselves as British, without ever living in/on Britain. Likewise, many more living in the UK class themselves as Irish. In the US, there are some 30-40 million that are born and raised as a Americans, but who for some or another, feel Irish. This is the essence of migration (something we humans have been doing for tens of thousands of years, and will most likely do for tens of more). It takes generations before immigrants 'fully' integrate into an adopted environment, and even then they deposit some portion of their own culture positively in their new home. The US prides itself on its diverse ethnic backgrounds, and is the better for it. Likewise, the UK enjoys a wonderfully cosmopolitan range of dining possibilities. Caribbean immigrants, post 1948 have transformed the musical landscape entirely with a rich blend of ska and reggae influences, and no less than 3 of the Beatles; John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, were Liverpool Irish, and were influenced by Irish traditional music and its hybrid offspring in their early days. In summary, ethnic diversity and the influence of foreign cultures is good, and you get a lot more good than bad out of it. Without it you end up with a Spartan society.
    You simply cannot straightjacket people arriving in your country into a 'Britishness' that you feel is somehow classically British, simply because that essence of Britishness is different for every individual and changes with the seasons. Furthermore, to do so is itself Nazi behaviour. Nazis, believed in German culture, German music, German genes, and look where that bright and intelligent outlook got them.

    I say, If the BNP and its supporters are so set on becoming a modern Amish with a 1948 cultural cut-off, then lobby your govt to grant them an island somewhere, (the Falklands would be an ideal choice for them, they could practice all the empty, nauseating rhetorical jingoism they wish) and leave them there. Give them a good supply of 40's war songs, fish and chips, St Georges flags and replica Spitfires, and let them breed themselves dumb, and obsolete.

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  • 35. At 7:36pm on 08 Jun 2009, james_2002uk wrote:

    @Moncursalion-Occamist:

    [Churchill] was an Uber-patriot who despised any who were not British, backed to the utmost the nazi fellow traveller Edward VIII, and opposed Hitler purely as a competitor to Britains pre-eminent place in the world... [Labour] were utterly appalled by the Nazi's.

    I'm only going to labour this point, not because I believe that any of the mainstream political parties were in favour of Nazism but just because I really do find your revisionist version of history appalling.

    Your assertion that Churchill opposed Hitler purely as a competitor is unsubstantiated. I would like to post a few Churchill quotes to try and prove the opposite:

    "If I had to choose between communism and Nazism, I would choose communism."

    "If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons." (On becoming allies with the Soviet Union)

    "If we fail [to win the war], then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science." (From the finest hour speech)

    Its clear that Churchill hated everything the Nazis stood for and not just as a competitor as you have stated. In contrast to this, the influential Fabian Society, of which a number of prominent people in the Labour party have been members, was in favour of some of the Nazi policies. As well as being against laissez faire capitalism they were in favour of Eugenics and stopping the weak (including Jews and the Irish) from procreating.

    Please just accept that you are wrong about this. Right and Left are just words and just because the Conservative party can be described as being right wing does not mean that their supporters are the same as those of fascist parties. Incidentally, I don't believe that members of the Labour party generally support those kind of views any more either.

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  • 36. At 8:22pm on 08 Jun 2009, antimythguy wrote:

    So, if UKIP were ever to land in Parliament as a majority and carried out their threat to pull UK out of the EU, would Mrs Andreasen, an Argentinian born Spanish national, then be forced to apply for a work permit as well as be disqualified from standing as a candidate for local Government? Obviously it would be impossible for her to be appointed a member of the Government, unless UKIP slipped her an old fashioned large blue British passport that is.

    Anybody see the irony in engaging/employing an EU citizen who is able freely to work, live and stand in local and European elections in the UK precisely because of the articles on free movement in the Treaties of the EU, which UKIP despises and wants to be out of so much?

    Nigel Farage has made it clear that his party would reimpose restrictions on free movement of workers from the Continent/EU, but still expect to be able to trade freely with it. Real free trade can only work effectively when the principles of the 4 freedoms are applied; namely the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital. Even EEA members and Switzerland concede as such and are signatories to these articles.

    NAFTA is a suppose to be a 'free trade' agreement, but because it fails to apply these uniquely European and extremely successful economic and political instruments it fails the poorer countries such as Mexico miserably.

    The ANDINO community and other Latin American trading groups are beginning to apply the European model and we are seeing a clear indication of economic recovery and progress in that region.

    The UK, before it joined the EEC in 1973, was known as the 'sick man of Europe'. It is precisely because of the European Model with its central pillar of the 4 freedoms at the heart of its foundation that the UK has prospered being a member of the EU. Don't be confused by the current 'global' economic crises, the EU alone didn't cause it and in any case, it's a flunked tea party compared to the early 70s in the UK.

    Also, with regard to immigration, and I presume the first profile that pops up in people's heads when it's mentioned is Polish or East European, then perhaps in second place, illegal clandestine immigrants, then perhaps all the others, no one, whether media or politician et al has actually put this into perspective. When the EU enlarged in 2004, all but a handful of States opted to impose temporary restrictions on free movement of labour from all but one of the accession States. The UK was one of only three States that did not. Is it surprisging then that a disproportionate number of migrant workers from the new member States came to the UK, reaching in excess of 600k? Since then however, it is the opposite. Only 3 States have continued to use the option until its expiry in 2013 of imposing such restrictions. Together with 3 pertinent facts, 1) The fact the the EU labour market has opened up almost completely to these persons 2) The weak performance of the pound vis-a-vis the euro 3) the economic recovery and development of these States has meant that thousands of these migrants are either leaving for other EU States or returning home to reap the improved economic conditions in their own countries. Employers in the UK in which the majority of these workers were engaged are beginning to despair.

    Perhaps Nigel would then have to rely on good negotiating skills in trade agreements and certainly more on agricultural imports following the collapse of our own than envisaged after all, since it seems our own unemployed would rather cash that dole cheque then bend down to pick carrots for £7-9 per hour.

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  • 37. At 10:10pm on 08 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    CarlosSanchezGuerra

    Do you feel like you are a slave in America? The door is always unlocked...from the inside. If you have a freer place in the world where you feel you could do better, nobody will try to stop you from leaving. If you feel you were cheated because you weren't born with a silver or a gold spoon in your mouth while others were, then I suggest you spend your efforts working to get your own spoon and stop crying about others having gotten theirs the easy way. Life is not fair. Grow up and deal with it. Others have.

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  • 38. At 10:18pm on 08 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The explanation that the EU is the one necessary force to prevent another war in Europe some EU advocates argue does not speak well of Europeans. It says in effect that short of having a direct financial self interest in peace, they'd be perfectly willing to go back to killing each other over every little bit of turf just as they did for over a thousand years until the Pax Americana starting in 1945. Personally, I'd be only too willing for America to walk away and let them have at one another if that's what they have a mind to do. Doesn't surprise me in the least that it would be discussed this way. If it's true, it reveals Europeans to still be barbarians. If it isn't, it's a cynical lie to rationalize the despotic central government with its corrupting absolute power it assumes.

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  • 39. At 10:34pm on 08 Jun 2009, swissoff wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII

    I think your tired, your should sleep.

    Goodnight

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  • 40. At 10:35pm on 08 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    Mark,you have said that among others,parties with oposition to immigration have made gains in Hungary and Romania aswell.
    May i remind you that there is no issue of immigration in Romania and Hungary,since immigration in those countries is almost zero.
    There are though nationalistic-ethnic parties,specially against the Roma people.
    So could you please explain yourself about this untruth to the british public when you report for the BBC in news at ten or via this blog?Because as you very well know the Roma people are not immigrants.

    As for those who use Churchill to advocate racist and anti-european policies,i would like tell them it would have been the same if they used Hitler image to create Israel in Europe.

    Churchill was half-American and even part Indian,who was a strong suporter of European Union,and perhaps even Federalism.

    Europe,the whole of Europe is heding towards ruin by lowering the standarts of politics and academic debate so low.

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  • 41. At 11:21pm on 08 Jun 2009, Markasol wrote:

    To those Americans feeling smug and making patronising comments about the superiority of their system, I would point out that if they had a PR electoral system for elections to their House of Representatives and one national constituency then I suspect there would be more parties representated than just Democrat and Republican and there would be a fair chance of the odd extremist or two being in there as well-resentment of the political elite is quite as high in the backwaters of the USA-normally rural-as it is in the run-down estates of big city Europe.

    And can people please stop referring to the BNP as the far-right.They are textbook fascists who believe in a state-controlled economy,central planning and are sceptical of capitalism and big business. Fascism comes from the political left as a competitor with communism for the working class vote in the post world war one period. Even today, BNP voters are people who would never consider voting Conservative. Mussolini, fascism's founder, was an ex-Socialist; Hitler's party was the national socialists. Tacking theories of home-grown racial superiority to standard socialist policies in all other fields does not suddenly make these parties extreme right wing. This BIG LIE, smearing such parties as belonging to the right, is a tactic the left have used with great success since the second world war but if we are truly to understand the motivation of people who vote for them and thereby successfully fight against them we must understand that the point of departure is left-wing rather than right wing thinking.

    In this election extremists of the right voted for UKIP. The BNP picked up the votes of the extremists on the left.

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  • 42. At 11:39pm on 08 Jun 2009, planting_seeds wrote:

    I am unclear as to why my reference to the noble stand taken against fascism at Cable Street should need to be referred to the moderators.

    However, picking up on the last paragraph of Mark's column: "Their real importance is that their election gives politicians from bigger parties a huge scare, and pushes the mainstream towards are tougher line."

    Perhaps the real danger lays not in the existence of anti democrats like the BNP and their European counter-parts, but in the reactionary instincts of mainstream political parties who manipulate fear to their own ends when it suits and seem terminally unable to conduct debate within a mature and responsible framework?

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  • 43. At 11:48pm on 08 Jun 2009, antimythguy wrote:

    At 12:23pm on 08 Jun 2009, Freeborn-John wrote:

    "It does not make sense in the globalised ecomony that we have a right to work in Bulgaria but not in the major economic centers of the world"

    This is rather disingenuous and a good example of populist rhetoric we hear from anti-EU advocates. Bulgaria is just one of 26 other EU member Sates, 3 EEA States and Switzerland. All of which give British workers, business persons or whomever a choice of any one or more of 30 countries from which to choose to go to live, work, start a business, provide services to if already in business and much more without any barriers whatsoever. And, to be able to do this under the equal conditions as nationals of those States.

    Indeed, John, a lot of people may not be endeared to move abroad to work, but many are and many already do. It is estimated that more than 3 million UK nationals live and work across the EU/EEA/Switzerland simply because they can. This is made possible by the fundamental right to free moment of labour. So it certainly isn't a one way ride. More and more UK nationals are moving to other States to live and work every day.

    The only real barriers for many British people to exploit these opportunities are languages, skills and education. Proportionally, continental Europeans from across the continent have far more linguistic skills than do British people. It isn't uncommon or surprising to come across persons who know 3 or more languages, one of these invariably includes English.

    Educated hard working people are attractive to employers at all levels. It's as simple as that. It's a tough call, but an employer is going to hire someone who can do a job, better, faster and with the right attitude. It's just plain economic truth. A closed labour market leads to protectionism and anti-competitiveness; excellent ingredients for a basket case economy.

    By saying that it makes more sense to make access to labour markets in your so-called "major economic centres of the world", which I read as the "Anglo-Saxon/Anglophone economic centres around the globe" is missing the point. Even in such a scenario, what makes you think that British workers would be any more attractive to prospective employers in these 'major economic centres'? It certainly wouldn't have anything to do with linguistic advantage. Why would it?

    Only by investing in better training, job skills, education and dare I say, language training to boot, will British workers become more competitive and attractive to employers. Until then, British workers in many fields will continue to be disadvantaged in this Global economy. It is a waste of time hoping that all would be saved by closing the doors to the EU. It would make little difference. Employers would simply take their businesses out and move elsewhere; since out of the EU, in the end the UK just wouldn't be as competitive which would just cost many many businesses too much no matter how hard they tried.

    The EU is good for jobs and growth and we stand a better chance by sticking together in the face of global challenges from other large trading blocks. But to make this work the real challenge lies in developing better opportunities for people through better training to rise to the challenge; not just in the UK, but right across Europe.

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  • 44. At 11:58pm on 08 Jun 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    42. At 11:39pm on 08 Jun 2009, planting_seeds wrote:

    "...

    Perhaps the real danger lays not in the existence of anti democrats like the BNP and their European counter-parts ..."

    You call the BNP "anti democrats".

    Have you aver called the people who want to force the Lisbon Treaty upon the British people or other unwilling peoples in Europe "anti democrats."

    If you have not yet done so, are you willing to do so?

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  • 45. At 00:00am on 09 Jun 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    43. At 11:48pm on 08 Jun 2009, antimythguy wrote:


    " ...

    The EU is good for jobs and growth ..."

    That is your opinion.

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  • 46. At 00:20am on 09 Jun 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    36. At 8:22pm on 08 Jun 2009, antimythguy wrote:

    "So, if UKIP were ever to land in Parliament as a majority and carried out their threat to pull UK out of the EU, would Mrs Andreasen, an Argentinian born Spanish national, then be forced to apply for a work permit as well as be disqualified from standing as a candidate for local Government? Obviously it would be impossible for her to be appointed a member of the Government, unless UKIP slipped her an old fashioned large blue British passport that is.

    Anybody see the irony in engaging/employing an EU citizen who is able freely to work, live and stand in local and European elections in the UK precisely because of the articles on free movement in the Treaties of the EU, which UKIP despises and wants to be out of so much?"

    SB2: I don't. I lived and worked in Germany before there was an "EU" We have loads of Indians living and working around here. India is not in the "EU".

    Further: "Nigel Farage has made it clear that his party would reimpose restrictions on free movement of workers from the Continent/EU, but still expect to be able to trade freely with it. Real free trade can only work effectively when the principles of the 4 freedoms are applied; namely the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital. Even EEA members and Switzerland concede as such and are signatories to these articles."

    SB2 That is your opinion presented as fact. I believe we could have r3elatively free trade without the same freedom to invade the UK that we have now.



    Further: "NAFTA is a suppose to be a 'free trade' agreement, but because it fails to apply these uniquely European and extremely successful economic and political instruments it fails the poorer countries such as Mexico miserably."

    SB2: Again, that is your opinion presented as fact. I suggest that Mexico and the Mexicans fail Mexico e.g. in not fighting corruption successfully. It would be absurd for the USA to allow all those millions of Mexicans in just as it would be absurd to allow all those Turks in and it has been absurd to allow too many immigrants in.



    Further: "The UK, before it joined the EEC in 1973, was known as the 'sick man of Europe'. It is precisely because of the European Model with its central pillar of the 4 freedoms at the heart of its foundation that the UK has prospered being a member of the EU."

    SB2: Same again. The UK joined the Common Market in 1973 and not the EEC. There was and is plenty wrong with the UK. The Germans were better organised than the Brits and with better labour relations. The UK needed to learn from the Germans it did not need to be in the Common Market to do so.

    Further: "Perhaps Nigel would then have to rely on good negotiating skills in trade agreements ..."

    SB2: I believe that the UK-hand is stronger than "EU"-lovers like to suppose.

    SB2: I voted for UKIP but am not a member and do not, of course, in any way claim to represent UKIP.

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  • 47. At 00:26am on 09 Jun 2009, treetop91 wrote:

    The BNP could strike an appeal with the UK electorate merely by speaking plain truths. These have been in short supply in recent years and nothing angers the public more than weasel words from smooth politicians that patently avoid answering the question.If the BNP do this one thing to bring honesty back into our politics they will have achieved more than many might wish for.

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  • 48. At 00:27am on 09 Jun 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    20. At 3:25pm on 08 Jun 2009, Beavervalley wrote:

    '...most appropriate song to use as the EU theme music!

    "Ode to Joy" or whatever is just doesn't cut it for me, "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne will be much more pertinent! '

    I believe you might like Ode to Joy if sung to my new words. Unfortunately the moderator would definitely not allow them.

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  • 49. At 07:51am on 09 Jun 2009, charmingFelix wrote:

    When moderates cannot solve real problems(especially when they pretend the problems do not exist), people turn to extremists. The problems posed by Islam in particular are plain to see. A number of EU capitals(Paris, Madrid, London) have experienced terrorist attacks -and mind you these were not by people harmed in any way by our governments-, and our freedoms have been sacrificed(e.g. privacy), so that the police has to monitor EVERYBODY's communications in the hope to find terrorist activities by islamic terrorists. There is already an attack on our liberties, such as the danish cartoons, or assasinations in Holland by those holding anti-islamic views.
    The long-term threat is that islamists gain a majority, perhaps locally, perhaps in a country and push for Saria law, taking away all our liberties. Kossovo is a nice example because a predominanty islamic province can stirr up problems, by attacking non-islamists, police etc in order to provoke a response to claim oppression and justify independence(whether this is the case in Kossovo or not is irrelevant; the point is that it is a precedent). Moderates thus far have been talking about tolerance, integration etc, but these are steps backwards-appeasement at the expense of liberty has always been a bad idea.
    So, I view the rise of extremists as inevitable and hopefully the more moderates will respond by doing something about the problem

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  • 50. At 07:55am on 09 Jun 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    I saw the acceptance speech of one of the BNP MEP's, Andrew Brons. It could be more or less summarised along the lines of "The EU is an unelected dictatorship. Thank you for voting for us to become part of it."

    I wonder if the BNP understands irony.

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  • 51. At 08:05am on 09 Jun 2009, U9388581 wrote:

    #10 James-_2002uk A Re-posting slightly amended of my moderated one.

    During the interwar years, Churchill who only re-joined the conservatives in the 20's was an irrelevant backbencher with little respect due to his clamour for war with just about anyone, from the Bolsheviks to Turkey. He was an Uber-patriot disdaining any who were not British, backing to the utmost the alleged nazi sympathizer Edward VIII, and opposed Hitler as a competitor to Britains pre-eminent place in the world, though undoubtedly considering him the antithesis of an English gentleman. His skills in oratory made him a compelling War Leader but for every successful executive decision of his career there is a matching faux-pas.

    A great man who at the time I was talking of, was not in the Conservative cabinet and was detested as a hysterical sloganeer by the Tory leadership.

    Labour's opposition to War was based on being the representatives of the "Lions led by donkeys" slaughtered in their 100's of thousands in WW1, they were of course mistaken in not seeking confrontation with the Nazi threat, but were in the main appalled by the Nazi's, though some were of course fooled by the Socialism and getting the Volk back to work at a time when unemployment was destroying Britain.

    Churchill's famous hypothetical choosing of Communism over Nazism was made at a time when the extent of Stalins terrors and genocides were not known or if suspected were underestimated, which is why so many fools backed Soviet Russia up to the 1970's.

    No party will ever be free of crackpots and Theorists.

    Their (30s Labour) inaction is represented today by New Labour trying to be theoretical "Good Guys" opposed to war, positively discriminating in favour of immigrants, very pro gay, super feminists and green to the core. They have therefore completely disconnected with the mass of the population and do not deserve their support, but I believe for the first time in my life that the disconnection between the population and any of the mainstream parties could lead to a viable New Order of extremists.

    #17 TheElector

    My 50 odd years of life, 37 years of working across a VERY broad spectrum of industries, my long involvement in local and national politics have exposed me to many Tories. There is no way that I can prove my assumption that 25% would be at home in an avowedly racist party, but as these blogs are essentially a matter of opinion and I restricted my guestimate to 25% whereas my actual experience is "Scratch any Tory and find a potential Nazi." As I have obviously not met all Tories I cautiously posited 25%, but consider that a gross understatement.

    My point is that this country has more than enough people with the mindset necessary to recreate the whistles and flutes and the "Its not our fault it must be THEM" attitude that enabled Hitler to pervert one of the worlds greatest nations into its most shameful. Stalin had it much easier creating his monsterous regime in that Russia had little in the way of an educated middle class due to the steeply pyramidal nature of what had been a feudal society with low levels of urbanisation and even less general educational access. I loathe stupid dictators, of either bent but history seems to pop them up monotonously.

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  • 52. At 08:35am on 09 Jun 2009, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:

    1) Why is this post titled "March of the right"? Shouldn't it be something like "March of the far-right"? I somehow suspect that the BNP isn't all that focused on smaller government (at least locally) and lower taxes, and that if pressed on their economic--and even many social--views they would be on the left of the political spectrum. I think this title says something about the political leanings of the blogger...

    2) My favorite comment here was #17 by 'the elector'. I wish these blogs had a way to recommend (or, even better, recommend and 'disapprove of') comments, the way some blogs operate.

    3) Marcus Aurelius II: this doesn't have diddly-squat to do with the United States; why did you have to bring up how things are done in the United States, the way you do on practically every Euroblog posting? You're like the American equivalent of that European on "Justin Webb's America" who has to post some extremely and irrationally anti-American comment while trumpeting the splendors of Europe on every single post! That isn't constructive, and neither is your persistent putting-down of Europe and aggrandizing the United States. This is just the opinion of one American, but I think what you're doing is sort of debasing our country and people. Most Americans know our country's strengths and don't feel any need to constantly shove them into the faces of others; Europe has its strengths, too.

    4) While we're on the topic of the United States, I'm all for a fuller integration of NAFTA (I'd just go all the way with Canada and Mexico finally requesting to join the United States), but I don't think that NAFTA has been bad for Mexico at all. The country's GDP growth hasn't been spectacular and the case could be made that farmers have been put out of business from American (and Canadian) competition. However, I would say that Mexico's restrictions on American and Canadian (and foreign) ownership of Mexican land and restrictions on foreign investment are more detrimental to Mexico than the United States not letting Mexicans in at whim. That's right: the United States isn't the only one restricting 'freedoms' in the American-Mexican NAFTA relationship.

    5) swissoff: I agree with much of what you've written, but would just point out that if you're Swiss, Switzerland is far from 'clean' in regards to its immigrants/non-whites. Being from a country where it is taken for granted that a child born here is automatically a native citizen, I find much of Swiss law regarding those who are not 'racially' Swiss to be abhorrent (I consider ethnicity to be based on culture, so there could be blacks [for instance] who are ethnically Swiss in my view, which is why I used 'racially').

    6)swissoff and KAS1865: I noted that KAS1865 did not specifically say that he "served his Country" by serving in the military. I figured that he was trying to give the impression that he had served in the British military when in fact he did not? To go off on a tangent, racists in the United States have an annoying (besides their racism) tendency to use excessive capitalization. I thought this was because they were the descendants of German immigrants, and hadn't learned proper American English syntax because the immigrants settled in heavily German communities in the 'middle of nowhere' (sort of how many descendants of immigrants from Mexico today use improper syntax for similar reasons, incidentally). But if British racists also have a capitalization problem, what's with that?! Unless KAS1865 is American (is 1865 lamentation over the end of the Civil War and the freeing of the slaves?), in which case his gripes about immigrants to the UK would be really ironic and hypocritical!

    7) I notice in the picture accompanying this post there is at least one 'black' supporter (maybe two, if the guy on the right isn't a bodyguard). I have a hunch that there are many leftists out there sort of ruefully shaking their heads and thinking 'what fools' or some such. After all, in their minds, all of these groups are "fascists" who hate every single non-white out there. Might I suggest that maybe, to these people, they are being a little guilty of racism here? For not trusting these non-whites to know the facts and make rational choices for themselves. Non-whites who support the PVV, etc. are not necessarily idiots, and non-whites who vote Conservative (or Republican in the United States) definitely are not. The BNP is apparently racist (per comment 1); so I would agree that it would be foolish for non-whites to support them. However, immigration--and opposition to it, qualified or not--does not have to be racist. There is validity in the argument that too much immigration in too little time is bad. Multi- means many; by implication, division. Entities, including polities and nations, are stronger when they are unified, not when they are divided. I am a strong support of multi-racialism because I consider 'race' to be an artificial social construct. In theory, the myriad 'races' living in the United States (or EU) can eventually be persuaded that they are one American (or European) race. I am a strong opponent of multiculturalism because by its very nature 'many cultures' deliberately turns its back on the unification of peoples into one people. A nation that is multicultural is by definition no longer a nation. Immigrant cultures can and should influence and enrich a culture positively, but they should not live side-by-side in a single nation as equals with the host culture. So I have little camaraderie with those lambasting others for calling for immigrants to assimilate to British culture--so long as this is not a cover for espousing racism. You may not be able to pin British (or American) culture down to specifics. That doesn't mean that it doesn't exist at all, nor that immigrants--and in some cases their descendants--shouldn't be encouraged to adopt the culture of their new home and let go of their original culture, at least partially. If you voluntarily chose to emigrate to a country, even if it is just to make more money, you have an obligation to respect and 'fit into' the new culture.

    8) Finally, I don't really see how the 'right' has won the European Parliamentary election. Looking at the seating graphic, the left (which I would consider being the MEPs from the liberals to the left) have more people than the right (since I would discount 'No Group' from the right). Economically, the left is still the winner by a long shot. They have the Liberals, Socialists, and Greens. The only sort of clear-cut conservatives are the EPP, and if France's UMP is part of that grouping (I don't know), some of their policies aren't all that conservative. So while the EPP might be the single biggest grouping, I'd say leftists outnumber rightists be a large margin.

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  • 53. At 08:46am on 09 Jun 2009, Tehidyman wrote:


    In #4 Moncursalion-Occamist wrote:
    "The only problem with that is that given the appaling spelling, grammar and lack of logic displayed on the BBC blogs"

    Pot calling kettle black? Appalling

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  • 54. At 08:53am on 09 Jun 2009, oulematu wrote:

    Quote: "far as I can see from the results in front of me, anti-immigration parties in Italy and France did not do well."

    According to the media, Berlusconi's grouping includes the Northern League, a racist anti-immigration party which gained about 11% of the vote, and two self-proclaimed neo-fascist parties (including one led by the Mussolini family). Therefore, as far as I can tell, these parties did very well in Italy (along with many other states).

    As a general comment, it will be interesting to see what will happen if these types of parties get a strong voice or even a majority of votes in the future. Are there any constitutional guarantees in the EU that would protect individuals from arbitrary infringements of human rights by the majority representation? I think they are either absent or very weak, and it is time to beef them up, by creating an EU Supreme Constitutional Court (the ECJ does not perform this function, it would willingly serve EU law even if the Nazis were in the majority) or by returning more powers to the states.

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  • 55. At 09:11am on 09 Jun 2009, SnorriGodhi wrote:

    Anonymous Californian: please note that the EU Liberals have nothing to do with American "liberals": some of the Liberal parties in the EU are more market-liberal (or is that market-libertarian?) than the EPP; e.g. the Estonian Reform party makes the US Republicans look like socialists.

    Personally, I think that the words "liberal" and "right" (including "far-right") should be banned from politics altogether, because they are arbitrary groupings of people with nothing in common, and the use of these words indicates sloppy thinking. I could do without the word "left", too.

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  • 56. At 09:24am on 09 Jun 2009, Leo_Naphta wrote:

    #52, AnonymousCalifornian, you write:

    "8) Finally, I don't really see how the 'right' has won the European Parliamentary election. Looking at the seating graphic, the left (which I would consider being the MEPs from the liberals to the left) have more people than the right (since I would discount 'No Group' from the right). Economically, the left is still the winner by a long shot. They have the Liberals, Socialists, and Greens. The only sort of clear-cut conservatives are the EPP, and if France's UMP is part of that grouping (I don't know), some of their policies aren't all that conservative. So while the EPP might be the single biggest grouping, I'd say leftists outnumber rightists be a large margin."

    You actually seem to be at loss as to how European political parties are grouped, first of all, you need to remember that 'liberal' in Europe refers not to 'leftwing' as it seems to do in the US, but to the original meaning of the word, which is on a left-right scale, actually on the right side economically. Sarkozy for example, is a liberal and the UMP is a 'liberal' party. That doesn't mean they're not 'right wing'. In fact, what you are looking at as the 'conservatives' are the Christian-Democratic parties, who are not synonymous with the Conservative Party in the USA. Economically, the liberal parties would probably be closer to the policies of the Conservatives. Free-market, small government ... etc. Furthermore, most of the 'extreme-right' groupings are actually displayed in the 'No Group' category, so don't write it off that fast. The Left in Europe right now seems to have whittled down to the GUE/NGL, the PES and the Greens, with a few extra voices surely in the 'No Group' category.

    As for your post about black supporters of the PVV, Geert Wilders has always said he's anti-Islam, not against people of colour. The BNP is quite a different matter on that aspect.

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  • 57. At 09:57am on 09 Jun 2009, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:

    Leo-Naphta (comment 56):

    Thank you for elucidating me on how the parties are set up. You're right, there is much I don't know or understand about either the system or the individual groups. I based my comment on the BBC's 'guide' on the the groups, though I now see that the Liberals do seem to be a fairly close match to what I would consider 'right'.

    I still wouldn't consider the far-right groups--at least all of them--to be on the conservative end, though. As I mentioned, I don't think they espouse many right-wing ideals. It's just that somehow racism is considered to be part of the right-end of the political spectrum, and racists seem to consider themselves as rightist.

    As for black supporters of the PVV, my comment was about what others (leftists) probably think. While Wilders has said that he is not in opposition to people based on race, you can tell from both the media and several of the comments here that many people aren't buying that. That was what and who I was addressing.

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  • 58. At 10:38am on 09 Jun 2009, swissoff wrote:

    Hi AnonymousCalifornian

    Nope, I'm not Swiss, the nickname is an old reference to rhyming slang, (swissroll). I'm Irish actually, I thought my references to Irish emigration and the question of identity on the island of Ireland would be a giveaway. However, your reference to Switzerland is a good case in point for one of my statements; that without the influence of other cultures upon your own indigenous one, you will eventually be left with a Spartan, flat cultural environment. Its the socio-cultural equivalent of Royal family breeding, when you dont mix up the genes you mostly end up with horse faced, buck toothed morons, who begin balding at puberty and think its ok to drop racial slurs and faux pas like hot stones.

    My assumption regarding KAS's British military service was based on his statements of familiarity with impoverished areas of Northern England.

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  • 59. At 12:10pm on 09 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    charmingFelix @49 among other great arguments that he puts foward says:

    :Kossovo is a nice example because a predominanty islamic province can stirr up problems, by attacking non-islamists, police etc in order to provoke a response to claim oppression and justify independence(whether this is the case in Kossovo or not is irrelevant; the point is that it is a precedent):

    How can it be a precedent when in fact is not the case? Kosovo's Albanians are not immigrants who have come into Europe from India Pakistan or whatever but have been having their kingdoms and civilisations in that part of Europe long before many European christian countries left their barbarian existence and came into being.Kosovo was one of the main Sanjacs of the Ottoman empire in Europe and it was not populated then,or even during the Roman empire and before that by former barbarian slavic tribes,later the very late christian Serbs but by Kosovar Albanians mainly,who before were all christian,thats before most of Europe had not heard yet of christianity,and later of mixed religions,as they are today.And they are not a predominantly islamic province who attacek a christian state,but an historically predominantly Albanian province ,of mixed religions,who were attacked and anexed by Serbia with the insistance of Russia during the fall of the Ottoman empire and again after the world wars.So keep your imaginative theories for yourselve great hitorian!!!!

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  • 60. At 12:13pm on 09 Jun 2009, swissoff wrote:

    Im going to bow out of this debate on a revisionist note, because I think weve strayed somewhat from the real issue.
    The BNP do not have the answer to the immigration issues of today, in fact, they tend to be the source OF the immigration issues. They believe in the short and easy blame and point finger process, the mob mentality. Harrumph harrumph harrumph, its their fault, lets get them, thats what they believe because they cant fathom otherwise, and its what they want you to believe.
    Clearly, in British society, particularly in working class areas, of which there are many, there exists a tangible divide, and there is a palpable us versus them attitude, which is of course ripe for the intolerance peddlers to harvest.
    National immigration policies are clearly seen as an issue and many feel they need to be tightened. Speaking from my own national perspective, when the Irish Republic was blazing its Celtic Tiger many Irish turned their backs on what they considered to be menial jobs, which were gladly occupied by foreign immigrants. The point is that even in that environment, and with jobs available in all sectors, the typical Irish response, was still; our jobs are being stolen by foreigners. What was even more frustrating was that many of these enlightened individuals, with that days solution to the countries problems were either in long term gainful employment, or were long term/career social welfare spongers. What makes the situation harder to swallow is my own nations recent history of forced emigration, and the awful prejudice most of those Irish walked into off the boats in the UK, Australia, and the US and beyond. They had to fight tooth and nail over generations to be accepted into, and climb the ranks of their adopted societies.
    Now of course, a revolving door policy of immigration is absolutely unworkable in any country, but heres the thing, we certainly dont have one in Ireland, and Im willing to bet you dont have one in Britain either. Its a myth the mob brigade propagates to get you hooked, harrumph, lets get them.
    The fact is that the recent gains by the BNP have been facilitated by a combination of a global economic downturn, and the publics perception of how their governments have been able to deal with it, coupled with scandals, and a complete about-turn in the faith of current leadership.
    But these economic woes are NOT the result of flawed immigration policies, and certainly not the fault of the established British families of different ethnic backgrounds, that have arrived and settled in Britain since the Second World War.
    Fact; Britains modern economy and its former enviable industrial prowess were facilitated and led by an Empire that enveloped many cultures and peoples directly and indirectly. This inclusion of these people in the British Empire offered them the opportunity to settle and prosper in the mother metropole, just as that metropole had prospered by the economic development and, in most cases, exploitation of those colonies. You cannot turn back the clock, you cannot simply say, thank you, we extracted your use, now sling your hook.
    You can certainly, work through the democratic process to close those windows and doors by changing and tightening immigration laws, but you cannot reverse the past and take back (your ball) granted citizenship. You can and should lobby the government to release details and numbers regarding immigration statistics, and debate the effect of these. But you absolutely must work with established career politicians, those with the experience of running office and government fairly, and who understand the complexity and difficulty of governing a society, free of crazy easy solutions. Because society IS complex. The England that existed before 1948 is dead and gone, just as the England of today will be unrecognisable in 10 years. A resurrected alliance of Churchill, Cromwell, and Kitchener cannot bring it back. Nick Griffin and his goons likewise cannot magically return England to the days of Ealing comedies and Marlborough cigarette adverts, and you should not allow them to drag you back, because the simple truth is that despite the local pub clichés of the good old days, the fact is that pre EEC/politically incorrect/pro death penalty/mono cultural England was not better off than it is today. Dont let them fool you otherwise. Because like the Nazis, they wont stop there. Today its Islam, tomorrow the Catholics or Jews, French or the Irish.
    Dont waste your precious democratic votes on football hooligans in suits.

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  • 61. At 12:40pm on 09 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Named-Erion,
    I'm not an expert on Serbia in Albania or Albania in Serbia, but one would think there can be found some artefacts there? churches or basements, that would show up "who arrived first"?
    You say that Serbs were second on Ottoman empire lands. Very well.

    By this logic should Turks get on the wing and flee from Turkey, cleaning the place for Greeks?
    All you see in Turkey is Greek ruins. What is Ottoman empire doing there LOL! And BTW - where to? What is the "original place" of the Ottoman empire? Of the Turkish muslims? Turkey - every ruin proves - isn't their native place, then where is "home"? Serbia-Albania then, as they were there first.

    In this case I'd recommend a swap, to go back to origins.
    Serbs - to modern Germany, old slav nest, where Sorbs and wends used to live.
    Greece and Cyprus pick up Turkey.
    Turkey goes to Serbia into the EU where they rightly belong and hopelessly strive to be! :o)
    I think Europe'd feel kind of pressed rather soon but then all becomes fair and by the right of the first settlement.
    Egyptians are clearly mis-placed as well. Artefacts (the Pyramids) aren't Arabian.

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  • 62. At 12:42pm on 09 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I mean, interesting you brush off 900 years of history as non-existant, only "who was first" matters.
    Anyway Russia is all for, thank God we haven't moved once.

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  • 63. At 1:12pm on 09 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The debate demonstrates the clear inferiority of nation states based on a shared history and culture to one based on shared values. That is the superiority of the United States of America over all other countries. Where anyone can become an American and be as American as any other American and all of their successive generations for all time be indistinguishable from other Americans, European nations like all other nations are on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand it wants to compete with a nation that can draw from all of the human resources on earth promising them an equal opportunity and fullfilling that promise. President Obama is only one of countless examples of that truth. But on the other hand, if Europe draws immigrants form other cultures, other nations, they can never truly become a completely embedded and integrated part of their new society, they will always be seen as outsiders. What's more, Euorpe's irrational construct gives little hope that they will have equal opportunities as people of the native cultures because what jobs are available will be disproportionately reserved for those who are ingigenous even if their skills are inferior. France is a prime example of this phenomenon. For this reason, they will always be viewed as outsiders, not only by the indigenous population but by themselves, their human potential will therefore be limited and they will be in their own minds inferior and rebelious.

    As the inigenous populations of many European countries declines, the question becomes more than hypothetical; who will replace them and will they be replaced at all? On the one hand, if they are are replaced by outsiders, then the shared culture and history that forms the basis of defining that society becomes diluted and its identity changes. And if they are not, not only will jobs new immigrants gravitate to in order to climb onto the first lowest economic rung of the ladder go unfilled and undone but the capacity to produce wealth to support the expensive welfare states Europeans consider a birthright will decline as well. This is why President Obama said early on in his campaign that Europe has a ticking demographic time bomb. When it comes to immigraton, it's damned if it does, and damned if it doesn't. Europe compete with America on an equal footing? It's like America is competing with stone age tribes, that is the mentality of how European society exists.

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  • 64. At 2:10pm on 09 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    Webaliceinwonderland.
    I did not say Serbs were second on ottoman empire lands,but that Albanians were there before Serbs were there,Albanians were there before Serbs,before Ottoman Empire,before Roman empire,and in fact are the initiators of civilisation in that part of the world.In Albania proper this can be proved,as it one of the richest countries in the world with archeological sites,and has some of the oldest,if not the oldest continuesly inhabited cities in the European continent.As well as culture and traditions unique to others who have survived the milleniums.And there are churchees in the Albanian world that are some of the oldest in history of christianity,and there are also temples of cult that predates christianity by a long time.Christianity in Albanian lands was preached by st.Paul himself,and the Roman emperor who made christianity legal religion in the empire was Illyrian (ancestors of todays Albanians).
    And what are you talking about greeks and turkish?They are in general (if we exlude the Albanians of Greece wich historicaly make up a big part of the population,and the slavs) the same people.
    Ancient greece if i may remind you was not an civilisition made up of a big population in a unified greek kingdom,but seperate cities controlled by hundredss and in some cases thousends of an elite of scholars and military man,and the masses with were the slaves,wich were not greeks,but slaves from all over,the decendant of wich are the todays greeks and in part Turks.

    On the other hand the Illyrian kingdoms were characterised by an ethnic element,of population unified by culture and tradition that have come to survive to our days.

    If you want to be taken seriously when you talk about this things then you should come back to the real world and check some sources before you put foward an argument.

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  • 65. At 3:43pm on 09 Jun 2009, swissoff wrote:

    MarcusAreliusII, I'm beginning to get the impression you are not worth answering, that you're a wind up merchant, or maybe you're just under 13, I suspect the latter, but I'll answer you for the mental exercise of correcting the nonsense you've posted.



    "The debate demonstrates the clear inferiority of nation states based on a shared history and culture to one based on shared values. That is the superiority of the United States of America over all other countries."

    This is quintessential racist ideology, so, for starters, good luck to you with that.



    "Where anyone can become an American and be as American as any other American and all of their successive generations for all time be indistinguishable from other Americans [...]"

    Ok, firstly, I presume you are from the U.S, and if so you are a U.S. citizen. Canadians, Mexicans, Costa Ricans, Argentineans and Brazilians, among countless others are also Americans. This is were people of your limited reasoning and thought process get mixed up with the question of Identity. America is the continent you are from. Now, if you are referring to the incorrect but common practice of calling yourself American and meaning it to refer to U.S. citizens, then your statements are again flawed. You cannot define what it is to be American, anymore than you can what it means to be British because quite simply it means different things to different people and changes from region to region. 'American' values and national sentiment vary differently state by state, some are chasms of difference, and this can easily be summed up by pointing out that the death penalty is available in various states and not in others. And to state that Americans are indistinguishable from other Americans as they migrate and settle is ludicrously silly, see above.



    "European nations like all other nations are on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand it wants to compete with a nation that can draw from all of the human resources on earth"

    What?? I dont know what that means, never mind how to go about answering it. So I'll skip it and save me the headache.



    "[...] promising them an equal opportunity and fulfilling that promise. President Obama is only one of countless examples of that truth."

    Eh....you are aware that the first black US president was sworn in in 2009 right? This year like. Is your history of the US starting from January 2009? The US was and is like many western democracies, flawed. It's primary constitution guaranteed equality while the men who drafted the document guaranteeing that very equality owned slaves.

    You tore yourself in 2 enforcing emancipation, and came close to a second civil war trying to de-segregate that same South 100 years later.

    You have cities that are the equal of any racial tension to be found in Manchester, Belfast, Paris, or Rome. So give me a break dude.



    "But on the other hand, if Europe draws immigrants form other cultures, other nations, they can never truly become a completely embedded and integrated part of their new society, they will always be seen as outsiders."

    Nonsensical statement. Europeans from all cultures successfully integrate in other European countries and at the same time are seen as outsiders, just as US citizens migrating to other states are able to integrate and also been seen as outsiders. That argument is just pointless and cannot be backed up with empirical evidence.

    "What's more, Euorpe's irrational construct gives little hope that they will have equal opportunities as people of the native cultures because what jobs are available will be disproportionately reserved for those who are ingigenous even if their skills are inferior. France is a prime example of this phenomenon."

    Total rubbish, absolute rubbish statement. Clearly you've never lived in or travelled around Europe.

    I am Irish, and I lived in France for 4 years where I secured work as an engineer. I secured and held my job over French candidates because of my qualifications and experience. The Maastricht treaty of 1992 guarantees an EU member the right to work and live in any other EU member state without prejudice, just as your US citizenship does likewise for you within the US.

    I'm curious, do you have any more opinionated statements you cant back up?



    Of course you do...



    "[...] because of this reason, they will always be viewed as outsiders, not only by the indigenous population but by themselves, their human potential will therefore be limited and they will be in their own minds inferior and rebelious."

    Thanks Karl Marx



    "It's like America is competing with Stone Age tribes, that is the mentality of how European society exists."



    So modern European society is stone age? Thanks for that.

    Arent you lucky then that before we plunge into oblivion here in Europe, we managed to pass on to you the fruits of our evolution and civilisation for the past 5,000 years for safe keeping. What will your evolution be like over the next 5,000 years? I tell you, from where I'm standing it doesnt look bright. You havent exactly sparkled in the last 40 years on the domestic or foreign fronts.

    Still, enjoy our European gifts of architecture, democracy, mathematics, philosophy, reasoning, sports, cinema, language, literature, and most of all our greatest European gift to you...your population.



    PS, I find it interesting that you chose the name of a very highly regarded European leader and pioneer in philosophy for your title under which you peddle your moronic anti-European pap.

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  • 66. At 4:05pm on 09 Jun 2009, neil wrote:

    The main political parties have all condemned the BNP and come up with various opinions as to how their recent election success has come about. The one thing they don't seem to have done is to ask the people of Lancashire and Yorkshire why they voted BNP.

    This has to be the next step, followed by listening to what they have to say. It's not (just) about racism. It's about people living in ethnically mixed areas that have fears and questions about what integration means for them. Sometimes it seems as if the major parties (especially the centre/left parties)think that integration will just happen if people are piled together and left to it. This weeks results shows this is not the case. The government (and the press) need to get together and address the threat of the far right before any more gains are made in our constitutions.

    Otherwise, I'm sure Nick Griffin and co. will happily sit back and take the criticisms of racism and fascism as long as they keep picking up the seats.

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  • 67. At 4:38pm on 09 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Swiss Chard

    You're funny when you're angry. Of course you are dead wrong on every point. I'll just pick a few.

    The term American is generally accepted around the world to mean a citizen of the United States of American. While it is true that people from Canada to Argentina and Chile are also technically Americans because they are from North or South America, if you ask them their nationality, they'll tell you they're Canadians, Chileans, Argentines or whatever. This silly semantic argument of yours is hardly worth discussing.

    Despite different laws in each state and variations in some regional customs, Americans overwhelmingly share certain large numbers of basic core values they have in common. This is an undeniable fact. I've been a "citizen" of five different states and always felt completely at home in every one of them. I've been in around twenty or more states, many recently on business and even I'm surprised at how homogenious the American culture has become, needless to say its core values as well. On the phone, one American really can't tell anything about another American born in the US except that he is American. Neither accent, manerisms of speech or points of view give away any one of us as having ancestry from another nation or culture based on values alien to our own. That does not mean we don't have disagreements, often sharp ones but they are not of a nature that reflects different core values. People from other countries including many foreign immigrants among whom are naturalized American citizens do display such differences.

    Inequalities and inequities of the past America inherited from Europeans are in the past. America has made great strides perfecting itself and growing closer to its ideals. Remarkably, much of this happened during my lifetime. The dilemma of slavery America inherited from its European roots has taken a long time to resolve but I think we are finally close to where we need to be. It is simplistic for Europeans who don't know the history of the United States to point to slavery, the civil war, and it's aftermath but like most things about America, Europeans have no knowledge of much of it. Therefore it is easy for them to point a finger. Now all they can point to is the past.

    Actually I lived in Bordeaux France for nearly two years. I got to see European racism up close and it is truly ugly. Do Spanish soccer fans still make animal noises when African teams play in their stadiums? Ask a Turk who lives in Germany and whose family has lived there for five generations if they feel equal to all other Germans. Ask a college educated North African named Mohammed in France who is out of work what his job prospects are. Ask Roma living in the Czech Republic if he feels he's treated like a full citizen. Don't tell me there are equal opportunities for all Europeans in Europe. That's as big a lie as there is. And anti-semitism is still rife. I saw that with my own eyes first hand. It disgusted me to think that America spends its money and men defending Europe when Europeans clearly aren't worth it.

    So if immigrants are welcome into the EU, how do you explain the overwhelming victories of candidates for MEP whose common agenda that cuts across many countries is exclusion of immigrants? It was interesting living in France in the early 1970s to see how much lingering hatred there was among the French for Germans. I wonder if it still exists.

    Legal guarantees in Europe as in many places in the world are merely scraps of paper. In the real world, things are often very different. Being an engineer myself, I can understand why you would be welcome in France. Being a better engineer than one trained in France is hardly something to crow about. Much of what they make is clear evidence that engineering is not their strong point. Rube Goldberg had nothing on them.

    By your reasoning, you should be grateful to Neanderthals who probably discovered fire and invented the wheel. Besides, Europeans are a lot closer to them than Americans are :-) Are you grateful to the Chinese for gunpowder and spaghetti? Europe's consumed a lot of both.

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  • 68. At 4:57pm on 09 Jun 2009, swissoff wrote:

    Thanks for confirming what I suspected, that you are actually a 13 year old, or at least have the mentality of one.

    I'm leaving racist la la land now, hope you enjoy it and dont get too lonely

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  • 69. At 5:43pm on 09 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Nevermind Marcus, swissoff. He is deeply unhappy with the way america has developed recently, and he takes his anger out on other, lessor nations and their inhabitants.

    But he is actually alright. If you ignore the feverish nationalism, he sometimes makes useful observations.

    And anyway, it is pointless criticizing an American for being hyper-nationalistic. There is nothing they can do about it, their education system is designed to build an hysterical loyalty to the flag. So you just have to look past the hyper nationalism, and the ignorance of, and brazen contempt for, the outside world. Dislking an american for being a hyper nationalist is about as useful as disliking a russian for drinking vodka.

    But Marcus does present a point of view that shows some deficiencies in the Euro-centric worldview that is otherwise dominant on this blog.

    For example, Marcus honestly believes that the US occupied Germany in order to spread peace on earth. He rejects the idea that the US corporations made money from the exercise. That is un-american, so he rejects it completely. It is unpossible, in their parlance.

    But just as foolish is this European idea that peace in Europe was brought about by the institutions of the EU. A lot of europeans are willfully blind to the fact that germany and france have been forced to follow US lead NATO foreign policy, regardless of their domestic lip service to democracy.

    I suspect that this dichotomous delusion is the real reason behind the acceptance of the EU in Germany, and why the socialists AND the conservatives have joined together across france, italy, spain and germany, in order to create a power that is able to rid itself of the dominance of the anglo model of sham representative democracy.

    Nobody I know in Germany, left or right, believes in the anglo model of democracy. They look at the Queen of england and the house of lords, and they laugh themselves silly at the suggestion that the UK has democracy. And just so, they have contempt for the representative model that was established in germany and france after the second world war.

    Continental europe will move towards the un-democratic EU because at least that is viable way to rid themselves of the un-democratic westminster system that was forced upon them by a foreign power.

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  • 70. At 5:47pm on 09 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    MarcusAurelius is right.

    While racism exists in both America and Europe,perhaps americans are even more racists then europeans,but there is a fondamental difference between the two,which is that in Europe racism is institutionalised,in America is not.This is a simple fact.Even in this blog I have argued with English people who refused to call a person who is black English,but only british.
    Just look at the way an BBC corenspondent reports about the parties in Romania and Hungary when he calls them anti-immigration parties,while we all know that there is no immigration issues in this countries,and that this parties are in fact anti-Roma and not anti-immigration.And the Roma are not immigrants but people that have been living in Europe for as long as they can remember.They are no less european then the white europeans and their culture no less european then the white christian european culture.Europe is diverse and we should accept that.

    Being roma in eastern europe means being iliterate and discriminated against in all institutions.Being black in France means not able to have a proper life unless you know how to play football.And to start counting this facts I wont be finished untill tomorow.


    Tell me one reason,only one reason,ecxept that of racism,for wich the right and far right get the vote in western Europe.
    And you might start talking to MarcusAurelius and objecting to this,but I live in Europe and I have lived in many European countries,and I know how it is.

    The political spectrum and status quo is allowing far right to come back only for one reason,and only one reason.
    Thats a reason that reporters like Mark etc know very well,but dont bother reporting,which is that far right parties make people go out and vote,and without peoples vote there is no status quo.The more people vote ,the biger the excuse of the polititians to act in their name.There is apathy in europe and one very good way to increase the % of voters is to make the far right a credible political force,this would increase political debate and take people out of their homes to vote.

    In my opinion this is a dangerous way of aproching the issue of apathy.When the standarts are lowered so much then people tend to suport thugs of the BNP type.

    A party such as the BNP who stands for an exlusively white christian country would not even be legal in America and rightly so.

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  • 71. At 6:54pm on 09 Jun 2009, frenchderek wrote:

    For info: NAFTA is a "free-trade" area (under heavy US influence). The EU is a single market, not a free-trade area; and it is under no single nation's influence. A single market implies freedom of movement for people as well as trade. It seems the BNP has a steep learning curve ahead of them.

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  • 72. At 7:10pm on 09 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Named-Erion, @64

    I think I started from "I am not an expert on", who was first there.

    Even if you find this un-excusable for Russians, our low knowledge of Albania is, as minimum, explainable. In the foreseeable past (20th century), even though Communistic, Albania said Good-buy to Russia the moment Russian relations with Jugoslavia slightly began to be slightly improving. 1950-s.
    From 1961 on Albania simply cut diplomatic relations with the USSR, clled off ambassador, we called off our, and full cut. At ab the same time Albania exited both USSR-led blocks: Warsaw military and SEV - common market.

    Seems to me Serbia and Albania felt strongly antagonistic to each other for a long time historically, thus during the time Russia and Jugoslavia were friends - Albania immediately slammed the door.
    To the opp., when Russia and Jugoslavia quarreled, Albania and Russia were on good terms.

    As you advised I looked things up and can only say I don't see where I was so much way off the right way? Some writers define Albanians as Illirians unequivocally, others don't. OK, let's stop at the point that Albanians are direct Illirians' off-spring.

    The Illirian home place, still, is described as "North-West of the Balkan peninsula". (Whether this address includes Kosovo in particular ???? in the 6th century BC??)
    Illirian nations I counted up in the available sources 15 plus. That civilisation artefacts are now spread btw Albania, Italy, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, horvatia and Montenegro and Hungary and Austria.

    Illiry himself is, at that, a Greek mythological character, but as nobody proposes any better ideas of those old times I would also agree he lived and was. But then (the texts in Rus. say) kelts broke over the Illirian places, then Romans (still B.C.) and in effect the illirians were subjected to a strong and rapid romanisation. The very Illirian language died by 7th century B.C. And anyway, Russian linguists classify Illirian as substrate language for Albanian, that is, as far as I understand, either Albanians had to pick it up from invading Illirians, or Illirians had to pick it up from ancient Albanians, but it's not the same.

    Anyway what that very old times, kind of, help to sort in modern days?
    Serbs as slavs overall had to show up in the lands far later on. But they definitely were there long time back enough for any reasonable person. I mean, Serbs arrived to Kosovo back in 1180. Albania itself declared itself a country only in 1190. I wouldn't cling at this "strategic 10 yrs difference" as clearly nobody knows for sure and it can be turned around any way. But Serbs fought in Kosovo field already long long time ago, fought as for own land.
    Their main historical battle of the whole nation, still is with the Ottoman empire in the Kosovo field; 1389.
    That's long enough for me for people to consider smth their own.

    On the "Greeks and Turks, generally, the same people." May be you mean by genom? Haven't seen the comparison of the genes' frequency between these two, may be will come across later. Saw many others but not this pair. May be, genetically, I don't know. But the Turks only appeared in Europe in 1354 for the first time. Came over from Asia, from our Turkmenistan, and led very aggressive politics, I'd say. 1371 took Bulgaria, 1389 Serbia, 1453 Konstantinopol, 1458 Athens, by 1500 smth whole modern Greece.
    I'd think in what became Konstantinopol but was previously Byzantium city lived Greeks. Not? Byzantium city was a Greek colony, so who would have lived there if not Greeks?

    Byzantium city becoming Konstantinopol must have been a change, but Konstantinopol becoming Turkish was definitely a far greater change.
    I can't consider "Turks and Greeks the same people." Don't know how genetically, but it was a big influx of new culture (and new genes) to the existing Greeks. I'd say these Greeks in Konstantinopol had to become brand new people, mixing up with the invaders, and picking up the new culture. Anyway, don't know how many of them stayed over under the new masters.

    Can't explain you scientifically why I think the people in Byzantium city later Konstantinopol were Greeks. We always thought them "Greek".
    The was a known trade route passing via Russian North, from North down to the Black Sea and then along Bulgarian coast to Konstantinopol. Stop-overs, where ships were changed on islands, very well trampled down road - at times by small ships, at times dragging goods by land. Worked like a clock 8 -13 century, busy trade route. As far back as 11th century it's scribbled down as "route from Varyag /Viking to Greek."

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  • 73. At 7:28pm on 09 Jun 2009, swissoff wrote:

    Named-Erion
    Freedom of speech in the US and Britain as else where is a very delicate and cherished thing. The US prides itself on its careful protection of this guaranteed right.
    The BNP, so far have been careful not to break any laws. The UK has already attempted to try them on incitement of racial hatred, and they have failed. They are currently investigating if their party is illegal and anti democratic, but they must prove this, and that they are in breach of establised laws. Then and only then can they ban or imprison them. To do so based on their opinion (no matter how much you loath them)is itself discriminatory and racism of sorts.
    Racism is everywhere. There are shades or racism, forms of racism, blatant racism and out and out racism. Governments need to combat it and sporting bodeis need to combat it. Most important of all, WE ALL need to combat it. It begins at home, it begins in the pub, it begins sometimes with innocent opinions of intolerance.
    Marcus Aurelius has demonstrated his own brainless racists views on this blog.

    By the way, some of the worst racism in western democracy in the past 100 years has come out of the US, and to attemp to say that it was/is not an institution in the US is naive and incorrect. Are you aware of the plight of Martin Luther Kings civil rights movement in the 1960's??
    Racism and segregation was so institutionalised the federal govt had to send in the army to enforce the law and allow blacks into schools. The local governor and the local poilce refused to support desegregation, that is institutionalism at a municipal level.

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  • 74. At 8:04pm on 09 Jun 2009, trenator wrote:

    Mark,

    There is a massive scandal brewing up in Spain regarding the election results.

    At this moment, it is not yet clear whether these are a series of genuine "technical" attribution errors or something more sinister.

    However, many people are saying their votes do not appear in the results lists that are published in small villages.

    It looks very scary. As far as I can see, the distribution and nature of the errors is not random and the beneficiaries are small Spanish far-right parties, to the detriment of far-left parties, in particular pro-independence parties in the Basque Country and Catalonia.

    So far, only Catalan and Basque newspapers are covering this story in any meaningful way. Spanish daily Público still has an article up on it.
    This could be a scandal of massive proportions.

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  • 75. At 9:06pm on 09 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    Webaliceinwonderland

    The fact that you find your lack of knowledge explainable,should give me the right to dispute your ill founded argument.
    Yes Albania said goodbye to Russia the moment it tried to improve relations with Yougoslavia at Albania's expense,and with that Albanian goodbye ,Russia said goodbye to its Adriatic bases and its exit in mediterranian at the time.Ah ,and also to some of its submarines,wich the Albanians thought it was best for you to live behind :-)


    Do those writers who dont define Albanians as Illyrians explain how come that the Albanian population has its own unique language and culture differenet from slavs and greeks but are not Illiryans? So what are they then?
    Yes the main Illyrian homeland was northwest of the Balkans but all the way to the southwest and southern Italy,with the Epirotan and Messapian tribes.
    Yes the artefact of the Illyrian civilisation are spread now between all countries that inhabit that area,but then of course it would,the point is that Serb are slavic late comers in the Balkans,so are the Slovenes,and so are the others,and the Austrians are Germans,therefore none of them is Illyrian,while Albanians who have their language simmilar to Illyrians and unique traditions and culture,as well as highland inhabitance,and national counsiousness are.
    The Illyrians were defeted by the Romans and Romanised to an extent,but the language did not die,it developed into the modern day Albanian language.Otherwise those Russian-Serbian historians who say otherwise better find where the Albanian language and traditions come from.
    Albania did not declare itself a country in 1190.Where did you pick that up?Albania was declared a country for the first time in 1912.
    Your historical sources are as valid as USSR.

    On the battle of Kosovo it was not Serbs who fought the invading Turks but the whole of the Balkan people,including Serbs,but you are right that it was Serbs who hijacked this historical event and made it part of their folklore only.Because others,like the Albanians did not see what the point of celebrating an defeat was.

    On the Greek-Turk issue i can confidently tell you ,that you know close to nothing.Those Turks who came over from Turkmenistan or asia were only a few thousends warriors who took control of what is today modern Turkey,but there was people living there before ,was not there????Was that not part of the ancient greece with population and cities?Acording to you Turks apeared sudenly in that land and others who were there before disapeared???

    And no.Byzantium was an empire ruling on many different peoples,not greeks as you say.And it was not a greek colony.As i told you ancient greece as a concept is not a population of a country,or a nationhood,but of a scholar and military elite.

    As for the Greek-Turk question,again i'd like to point out to you that when the two modern countries were founded,Greece and Turkey separated populations only based on religious affiliation ,not ethnic one,millions of christians were transfered from turkey to greece to become people of the new greek orthodox christian country,and milions of muslims were transfered to turkey (not considering ethnic element,only religious one) to become people of the new modern Turkey.

    The fact that you always thought of them as Greeks is well known to me,but is well known to all historians a different,more complicated truth.









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  • 76. At 9:18pm on 09 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Swiss Chard

    You will have to keep looking to the past, and now a distant and receding past to find the kind of evidence of racism in the US you like to use to bash America. One major difference between America and Europe is that America recognized it had a racial problem and dealt with it painful as it was while Europe won't even recognize that it has a problem so it will never get solved. Had Barack Obama had the misfortune to have grown up in Europe instead of the US, what would his life trajectory have been instead? What about Thrugood Marshal, Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, Condilezza Rice just to name a few? Society would have been denied the benefits of their extraordinary talents. It works both ways, not only would their lives have been worse off but so would everyone elses for denial of what they had to give. While I am no great fan of President Obama's political views (I didn't think McCain was any better qualified and I naturally wish President Obama every success in being a great president) I wouldn't dream of trading him for any one of the imbeciles who are his counterparts in Europe. Sarkozy, Merkel, Brown, Berlisconi are not remotely in his league, they aren't fit to shine his shoes. They are not nearly as smart or skillful. In fact they all look completely lost most of the time. None of them has the personal power and skills to exercise the enormous responsibility of being President of the United States.

    It is a mistake to compare the USA and the UK in most, probably all areas. Freedom of speech is an entirely different matter in the two countries. There are real limits to freedom of speech in the US but there are a lot of things you could say openly and freely in the US that would be illegal to say in the UK. Freedom of speech is tested by what people say that we hate most, not when people agree with us. In that regard, what would be called criminal incitement in the UK is perfectly legal in the US. To be a crime, it would have to be proven in court that something someone said led directly to a specific crime, a very difficult burden of proof for a prosecutor.

    Threat to Democracy;

    The only thing I am unhappy about insofar as recent political developments in the US are concerned is the damage that was done to the economy and the failure to deal effectively with eliminating the threats to America's security. For this I blame members of both major political parties, there's more than enough legitimate blame to go around to a lot of people from many different corners of the American body politic. In other regards, I'm satisfied. I'm certain America will recover from its economic problems, not so sure about whether it will survive its security problem though. That is the one area of vulnerability that could have a major impact on America's future. Having watched how Europe has reacted to threats to America, I've been convinced many Europeans want to see America attacked again and again out of hatred and jealousy for its vastly superior civilization. What they fail to recognize in their hatred is the impact such occurrances would have on themselves. As with all other matters, they just don't get it.

    "For example, Marcus honestly believes that the US occupied Germany in order to spread peace on earth. He rejects the idea that the US corporations made money from the exercise. That is un-american, so he rejects it completely. It is unpossible, in their parlance."

    The US occupied West Germany after WWII (along with Britain and France) to feed it, to protect it from Soviet invasion, to prevent a resurgance of Nazism, and to build it as a peaceful prosperous democratic society thus preventing repetition of the disasterous mistakes Britain and France made in the way it was treated after WWI. In that treatment born out of hatred and the desire for revenge, Britain and France virtually invented WWII in Europe. American corporations did earn a lot of money in Europe...but at a cost to American taxpayers and American workers who lost tax revenues on products that could have been produced in the US, taxes on repatriated profits reduced to give an incentive to invest in Europe, and jobs that were exported to rebuild not only Germany but all of Wesern Europe."

    "But just as foolish is this European idea that peace in Europe was brought about by the institutions of the EU. A lot of europeans are willfully blind to the fact that germany and france have been forced to follow US lead NATO foreign policy, regardless of their domestic lip service to democracy."

    Oh you mean like NATO's attack on Serbia in 1999? I remind you that many Americans opposed that and the US did virtually all of the heavy lifting (as usual) after Europe begged it to get the job done because they couldn't handle it themselves. And in Afghanistan where Europe has largely failed to live up to anything like its responsibilities in what is a mutual defense pact, refusing to send large numbers of troops to fight those who attacked America finding every excuse not to send troops and then refusing to let those they do sent fight the battles with the Taleban and al Qaeda in any real measure. I don't know why the US even stays in NATO or what value it has anymore now that the cold war is over. Hard to believe the US taxpayer footed the bill for defending Europe for 46 years and not even gratitude to show for it. Besides being inferior to the US as an economic and social force, Europe is just plain no damned good.

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  • 77. At 9:21pm on 09 Jun 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Named-Erion (#70), while you seem to be well-informed about European culture and politics, you are wrong about this:

    "A party such as the BNP who stands for an exlusively white christian country would not even be legal in America and rightly so."

    No political party is illegal in the United States for its ideas. We still have a Communist Party here, and any number of parties with various views, some objectionable.

    In the United States, actions are proscribed, not words (with a few very limited exceptions).

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  • 78. At 9:24pm on 09 Jun 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Named-Erion, Oh, and you are also wrong about "MarcusAurelius," who can't bring himself to write anything without making some offensive remark.

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  • 79. At 9:50pm on 09 Jun 2009, swissoff wrote:

    Hi Marcus Aurelius

    Just a quick note to let you know that I spotted your response to me, but did not read it

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  • 80. At 9:52pm on 09 Jun 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Named-Erion (#75), I don't know if I buy your assertion that the Greeks and Turks are essentially the same ethnicity, but it certainly seems true that the Greeks have an extremely complicated history, according to this article:

    http://www.historyofmacedonia.org/AncientMacedonia/greekmyth.html

    What I find most interesting as an American, however, is the importance that Europeans seem to attach to such a question. In the United States, an Albanian, a Macedonian, a Greek, and a Turk could live in the same neighborhood and most Americans would not know (or care) which was which. We are Americans first here.

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  • 81. At 11:11pm on 09 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Over the hill;

    What's in a name? To people who are remarkably stupid, more than you'd ever dream. The former province of Yuogoslavia, Macedonia nearly had to fight a war with Greece over their right to call themselves Macedonia. I'm glad we still call sparkling wines made in California Champagne right on the label. Stick the French noses in it. Best of all, even producers of French Champagne who also produce product from grapes grown in California are forced to do it to meet market expectations in the US. If they don't call their California products Champagne, the US market may not recognize what it is and pass it up. Then there is famous case of a biscuit called Cornu made in the town of Champagne Switzerland being forbidden by a French court to use that name even though the town has had that name for many hundreds of years.

    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/front/Swiss_claim_biscuit_victory_in_champagne_wars.html?siteSect=109&sid=9297360&ty=st

    Makes me want to go out and market a brand called Champagne toilet paper in the US just for the fun of it. Maybe I could start a whole industry, Champagne brand shoe polish, Champagne brand chewing gum, Champagne brand frozen pizza. I wonder what ever became of the Champagne beer concoction called Champale.

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  • 82. At 11:47pm on 09 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Named-Erion @75, yes I think better late than never to find out smth interesting so it's OK please correct me (if you can) ( :o) ) And the main thing - if Mathiasen allows.
    ________________

    Mathiasen don't worry I take elections close to my heart; placed a query with 7 English friends at once to explain me who they voted for and why (and the main thing what are these LOL. Need to bring up the number to 10, then I can see proportions! By region! Chiswick, Twickenham and simply London, Waldron, Lincoln, York and Brough, North Queensferry and Oxford and if I add Edinbourg, Holland-on-Sea and Glasgow - they will all think I got ill.

    Running own research, you know. We Russians don't trust media, only word of the mouth. As min I'd know which of the British parties can stand Russians!
    ________________

    Sorry, Named-Erion. So many points you've mentioned I will answer only one now, where from I "picked up year 1190". Russian encyclopaedia on-line simple; it says:

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  • 83. At 11:52pm on 09 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #77 - Gary_A_Hill

    "In the United States, actions are proscribed, not words (with a few very limited exceptions)".

    This is also the case in the UK which is why the BNP is not illegal but has to be very careful how it's people act on the street for fear of falling foul of the law in respect of 'incitement to racial hatred'.

    On the general question of the rise of the hard right, it is important to remember Mark's point that it is by no means widespread. Those pockets of western Europe where it has been particularly evident are those in which there have been powerful local tensions - for instance the UK with a spate of terror attempts and the Netherlands with two assassinations.

    What I do find very worrying, however, is that this has been successfully misrepresented by those parties as an immigration issue when in fact it is not. The disaffected and radicalised elements in the Islamic populations of wstern Europe have, more often than not, been found amongst second and third generations. In other words, it is 'home grown'. I do not say that the EU should not address the problems arising from immigration but the politicians delude themselves if they believe that clamping down on immigration will impact on disatisfaction within the existing communities. It will not.

    Perhaps more worrying is the emergence of popular support for the far right in eastern Europe. Here in Hungary, as someone has already posted, there is no significant pressure of immigration from outside the EU. Jobbik has tapped into a rich vein of anti Roma sentiment and phrases like 'Roma crime' have been used frequently. In fact, underlying this sentiment is a deeper xenophobic streak which includes an element of anti-Semitism. It is particularly sinister in a society in which they only managed to break free of the last lot of ideological fruit cakes 20 years ago. As a Brit, while I am saddened that the BNP have won seats, I am not especially worried. This is clearly mainly a reaction aganst the political establishment and I will only be concerned if the phenomenon is repeated in the general election. I am not so relaxed about the trend in the east.

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  • 84. At 00:10am on 10 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    sorry, clicked a wrong button; by the beg of the 9th cent. sea-side territory of Albania with the port Dirrahij and part of mountain regions (Dardania, Epir and Prevalitania) were still mastered by Byzantium that united these territories as a Dirrahij region.
    But Albania, placed at the edge of the empire was hard to protect, and Bulgarians grabbed its central parts by the 10th cent. Then by 1019 Bulgaria itself was grabbed by Byzantium that got cheered up again and Dirrahij region was instituted again.
    Then Serbs took central parts of Albania in 1050. Then Normanns took the Dirrahij port in 1081. Then Byzantian folk took Dirrahij back in 1083. (busy place) Then Normanns returned in 1107 and 1185 but were always kicked out shortly.

    Using the weakness of the Byzantium empire, Albanians, headed by count/knight Progon, in 1190 founded the first independent state called Arberia principality with the capital in Krue. The base of Arberia was Arvaron region located in the ups of Shkumbini-river, South of Kosovo, not far from Okhrid lake.
    Southern slavs also used the weakness of Byzantium empire and in 1180 Serbs took Shkoder and in 1200 plus-minus Bulgarians conquered Eastern Albania.
    Next 2 centuries, Albania with its exits to sea, became an intense fighting arena for many nations, until the Osmann empire didn't settle its mastership.
    Though one would think - how more "intense" it's possible? :o)
    ________
    Garry_A_Hill might like to save this extraordinary enlighting piece to show to friends at his dull hours LOL!!!! "what importance (crazy) Europeans attach to :o)))

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  • 85. At 03:01am on 10 Jun 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    If some get labelled as racist for wanting to reduce the flow of immigrants into the UK, why do other countries not get labelled as racist for trying to stop the flow of immigrants into the "EU". The "EU" spent hundreds of millions on fences to surround the "Spanish" enclaves in North Africa. Why is that not racism?

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  • 86. At 03:33am on 10 Jun 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    74. At 8:04pm on 09 Jun 2009, Rab wrote:

    "...

    There is a massive scandal brewing up in Spain regarding the election results. ..."

    Rab! Please keep us up to date!!


    You could also post it here:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/daniel_hannan/

    Dan Hannan speaks Spanish.

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  • 87. At 07:03am on 10 Jun 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Parties to the right-of-Centre are known for promoting both racism and sexism (as well as all the other forms of bias: I am not omitting any deliberately, just tying to be brief).

    Prejudices can be addressed effectively, and must be, through education and public discourse. The media are a powerful and effective resources for this cause.

    But where there are legitimate issues to address: crime, the decline in quality of education, banking fraud, barriers to liberty, injustices arising out of political correctness taken to extremes (e.g., recent fondness of EU liberals for Kosovo Albanians or Chechen criminals; a fondness that rapidly began to fade as closer familiarity opened the eyes of many Europeans to the pervasiveness of violent criminality in these communities) -- the well-being of your fellow citizens and your own families requires setting aside rigid party stereotyping to work together for what obviously makes sense for everyone.

    The liberal community of Europe cannot close its eyes to problems with fundamentalist Islam.

    The rights of women and children, access to education and employment opportunities, as well as support for gay rights, have long been sacrosanct to left-of-Centre parties.

    Economic crimes have hit not only the affluent conservative household but crucially the left-leaning labour movements as well.

    In other words, there is plenty that people can agree on, if only you are all willing to listen to each other. Why not commit to a period of not trying to score points against each other (American-style) in the EU Parliament, or denouncing "personalities" (such as Wilders), but rather -- until the next election -- working together in an atmosphere of collegiality, especially in critical areas of agreement?

    The media have a role to play in this too. I note with interest that as soon as you see "the march of the right" gathering strength, and a Conservative government likely next for the UK, you have Richard Galpin writing alarmist reports about the need for Europeans to resist "being at the mercy of Russia" in pipeline projects.

    Mr Galpin invokes as the only cited authority "Marshall Goldman, professor of Harvard University."

    I laugh. Marshall Goldman was professor at Harvard when I was a student there -- at the height of the Cold War, in 1978, 1979... You could not find a more Russophobic "authority on Russia" to quote today, unless you resorted to Zbigniew Brzezinski -- whose lack of objectivity has been by now been revealed to every single soul on earth -- or perhaps that mentor of Marshall Goldman's, another relic of the Cold War, Richard Pipes.

    While I can readily understand why the EU would much rather be "at the mercy of" (Goldman's turn of phrase) Georgia (Saakashvili) and Turkey, and Central Asia, with the Nabucco project that Goldman ringingly endorses, I do not understand why there is such a rapid veering "right" in your reporting, dear BBC that I rely on?

    Complete with the invocation of "the Great Game" in the headline?

    It is 2009: can't we end the ridiculous Great Game yet, boys? (Says "Mother" here.) Need I remind you the Great Game gave us the Crimean War, and probably contributed to Bismarck's extreme interest in advancing German imperialism as well? Leading eventually to well-known 20th century catastrophes?

    If you want to be secure from renewed Russian-Ukrainian disputes, stop supporting the criminal regime in Kiev and allow a reasonable election outcome to usher in an era of NORMAL Russian-Ukrainian interaction. Meaning one in which Ukraine gets along with Russia at least to the level Wales or Scotland get along with England within the UK context. And that will end the craziness caused by Yushchenko and his corrupt coterie.

    If the Eu had not been so determined to ram through the Orange Revolution to please Bush & Cheney all those years back, you would have had a completely different situation -- and 50 million Ukrainians would be enjoying a considerably more functional society and an acceptable standard of living. Their society would not be riven with fault lines along linguistic, religious, ethnic, ancestral, economic and ideological differences. There would be less Communism and less neo-Nazism spreading amongst the members of the new generation...

    When Europeans get serious about the future, they will stop engaging in "Great Game" or 18th&19th-century political chess and begin to address, pragmatically, the practical matter of living and thriving in Today's World. Surely, that is a big enough challenge.

    The way to reduce the "problem" of Russian gas is not by escalating tensions, but by focusing on energy science to develop the next generation of energy-sources that free all of us (Russians included) from costly, complicated fossil fuel.

    Then again, so much of the world is still coal-dependent, it would probably take more years than humankind has to extricate us from reliance on the death-spiral fuels; to get us out of our ideological obsessions -- and away from the "Great Game" OCD -- and focused exclusively on Practical Matters of Survival.

    Which include, at the forefront: getting more women their rights so they stop being destitute, rights-denied baby-factories delivering unhappy new souls with no prospects onto the planet.

    And that means, like it or not, confronting, in no uncertain terms, the one religion most responsible for that unfortunate point of view: Islam.

    Obviously, Europeans cannot do much to end infringements on basic human rights of women and children in Islamic countries. But then it becomes all the more imperative, therefore, that you do counteract Islamic brainwashing about women & children within your own borders and jurisdictions.

    Please tell Richard Galpin the "Great Game" and the Cold War are over. But the problems of overpopulation and unemployment (which leads to slavery, breeds extremism and crime, increases narcotics trafficking as well as human trafficking) are very real, and a direct threat to the European way of life.

    Wake up. Europe's biggest problem is NOT Russia, whatever the frail & elderly Marshall Goldman might imagine. He is a man of an earlier age, and he does not live in Europe, where you live.

    If BBC in Moscow is searching for story material have them cover the environmental movement more. There are a lot of fascinating people and groups in Russia, and a whole new "back to the village" & "pro-Mother Earth" movement that are totally fascinating. There are the forest fires, too; the rise of modern agribusiness; the growing interest in wine and horses; the anti-alcohol campaign; the challenges of education reforms; the melting permafrost...

    The Cold War-mongering is really so old, so tired. Please stop trying to dust it off and resell it to a disinclined modern audience!

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  • 88. At 08:55am on 10 Jun 2009, trenator wrote:

    I don't know if external links are allowed but this story is getting very odd.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    Vilaweb has a lot of details (in Catalan).
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    The results published by the Home Office in Spain do NOT match the results available in polling stations and local council halls.

    Whether these are genuine mistakes or electoral fraud is not yet clear, but some parties seem to be more often than not "on the wrong side" of this mess.

    This should be a huge story but the mainstream Spanish media is keeping it very quiet.

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  • 89. At 09:23am on 10 Jun 2009, RCalvo wrote:

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

  • 90. At 09:35am on 10 Jun 2009, planting_seeds wrote:

    44: SuffolkBoy2 - in reply, the Lisbon Treaty is not yet in force since Ireland have not yet ratified it. Our inclusion in the EU is open to debate and certainly in need of being put to the vote - long promised but not yet delivered. Certainly not very democratic.

    None of which detracts from the BNP similarly being un-democratic, given what they would wish to foister on British people who are rightly unwilling to be treated like cattle just because this little group of bigots has decided they are not white enough.

    Racism is not just wrong - it is un democratic and anti-british.

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  • 91. At 09:41am on 10 Jun 2009, RCalvo wrote:

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

  • 92. At 09:53am on 10 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    maria-ashot is right; these "pro Mother-Earth" and "Back to Village" is reaaly all the rage now because, interestingly our oligarchs and theatre rejisseurs and famous (locally) actors began "populariz-ing" the trend, and then it was caught up by normal people! I lost the best vet in St. Pete this way! She defected from all of us to the wilderness, lives by some monastery improvised village built from scratch by enthusiasts; letters type "o what to do my cat has got .." travel round for two months. And in no way you can get her back to work and city; instead they've built a second village where they collect homeless children, or, rather, children run away from orphanages or various sorts of parents deprived of parent rights (as alchoholics or narcotics' users or simply living most time in prizons for var. on-going crimes) gather there themselves and don't run away. Simple life, I get nice photos, all seem to be healthy and content.

    Oligarchs also down-shift a plenty, owner of the first Russian Stock Exchange, etc. simply sad I had it all. but what I really want is not a tropical island because a Russian gets bored by palm trees and heat after 2 weeks and feels mis-placed from normal habitat but a normal wooden house, a pile of snow, a horse a cow chickens, apple garden and lots of lilac bushes in the yeard - what else a man with 4 kids need?

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  • 93. At 09:56am on 10 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    But then it's of course easy here, lots of nobody's land go whenever. only don't annoy authorities for gas, water pipes but manage as you please.

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  • 94. At 10:14am on 10 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    threnodio,
    Echo of Moscow says it is not so scary that ultra-rights, who have never had a "sector" in the Euro parliament before, now seem able to form coalition. Because it only seems LOL that they can "form a coalition".

    The nature of fascism being such that a fascist considers all others defective and untermensh, so a fascist from one country will never even much as sit nearby a fascist from another country. Because luckily both find each other "untermensh". :o)

    That's the hopes, anyway.

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  • 95. At 11:16am on 10 Jun 2009, trenator wrote:

    RCalvo:

    The scandal is growing bigger by the minute but the mainstream media are afraid of reporting it. What are you afraid of?

    The results published by the Home Office in Spain DO NOT TIE UP with the results available at the polling stations and local council halls.


    The results in small villages in the Basque country beggar belief, with votes for II gone missing in favour of Falange and MSR, Spanish fascist parties which have never had any support in these areas.

    Your slur about II is just a reflection of your own prejudices: II does not advocate the use of violence. And II did not get walloped but will probably be the third party in Euskal Herria if/when the missing votes are attributed correctly.

    As for UyPD, their results in Catalonia speak for themselves: is it lower than 5% or 3%? Hardly a success.

    Unless the Spanish Home Office clarifies what is going on, there is something very very suspicious about the results.

    I encourage the BBC to contact media outfits Vilaweb and Avui and Publico to find out whats going on. But anybody with basic knowledge of Spanish can check for themselves the results published by the local authorities and the Ministerio del Interior: they are different.

    This is amazing.

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  • 96. At 11:39am on 10 Jun 2009, GBC wrote:

    Mark - a future item for your blog, maybe

    How do European MEPs view the expenses crisis?
    Do they see it happening to them?
    Do you know how "people" in other countries view it?

    Regards

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  • 97. At 11:54am on 10 Jun 2009, RCalvo wrote:

    Rab@95 : I've looked at the official election results, and between all the far-right parties (AES, FE, FN, DN, MSR) they hardly reach 50000 votes or 0.3% of the vote. So even if you believed that *all* their votes were "stolen" from II (quite improbable, considering that their scores pretty much correspond to previous performances), II wouldn't have been even close to getting a single MEP.

    It may help the egos of II activists to believe that they got 225000 rather than 175000 votes, but:

    a) It clearly isn't true,
    b) It wouldn't have changed a single thing, anyway.

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  • 98. At 12:00pm on 10 Jun 2009, RCalvo wrote:

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

  • 99. At 12:31pm on 10 Jun 2009, trenator wrote:

    RCalvo:

    I did not vote II and I am not an II supporter.
    I am not even Basque and I find your comment #98 highly insulting and defamatory.
    The Moderators will remove it soon I hope.

    The High Court in Spain decided that II were not an electoral vehicle for ETA so thats good enough for me. I will keep referring your comments to the Moderators as long as you keep writing libelious comments about a political party.
    When some comments are written about the PP, stating the fact that they were founded by a former Franco minister (something anybody can check in the Wikipedia), they are quickly removed for no reason other than it upsets PP supporters.

    If you support the banning of political parties because of their ideology, then lets ban all the far-right parties in Spain too. But they are not banned. Only pro-independence parties when threatened with illegalisation.

    Back to the electoral results mess-up:

    At this stage, it is not clear whether this is due to negligence or fraud but until every vote is counted and recounted again, the transparency and integrity of the election process is in question.

    Anybody looking at the results objectively has to admit that the sudden increase in Blank and Null votes in the big cities where anti-system parties (like II) always collect a few votes is odd. Like the sudden collapse of the vote of pro-independence parties in small towns in Catalonia.

    In a town where they have an ERC (pro-independence) major, Falange is the biggest party? Give me a break!

    If this had happened in South America or anywhere else, it would be headline news.

    I have not made my mind up yet whether this is negligence (erroneous attribution due to a technical error with the tables) or fraud, but it looks very very bad.

    But what compounds my suspicions is how the matter is being treated by the mainstream Spanish media. And how a lot of Spaniards like you are very edgy about it.

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  • 100. At 12:52pm on 10 Jun 2009, trenator wrote:

    RCalvo: you comment #98 is disgusting.
    I am not Basque and have no sympathy for ETA.

    I request an apology or the immediate removal of the comment by the Moderators.

    Is that what you do normally? Unable to offer convincing arguments you just insult people?

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  • 101. At 1:07pm on 10 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Rab wrote:
    "Is that what you do normally? Unable to offer convincing arguments you just insult people? "

    Welcome to the blogosphere, rab. Don't take it personally. And rest easy knowing that you cannot be defamed on this blog because your true identity is not known.

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  • 102. At 1:26pm on 10 Jun 2009, RCalvo wrote:

    I repost one of my previous, removed posts, in a slightly expurgated version:

    Also, by their own admission, "Internationalist Initiative" knew that it was going to be "very hard" to get enough votes to get a single MEP. What they are (amended)angry(/amended) about is that they've been even below their very modest target of 200000 votes (FYI, the smallest party to get a single MEP in Spain, also an alliance of leftist Catalan and Basque nationalist minnows - but who do condemn violence - , scored twice as many votes). "Internationalist Initiative" got just 175000, that's 1.12% of the vote. A huge scandal? Only in the minds of those (amendment)"left-wing" ultranationalists who refuse to condemn violence as a political means.(/amendment)

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  • 103. At 1:49pm on 10 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    maria ashot, you have provided more evidence for my belief that Harvard University, the institution that turned away Albert Einstein because he couldn't get Nazi Germany to send copies of his "credentials" isn't all it's cracked up to be. Somehow, I think if they had, Harvard would still have found a reason to exclude him. But let me ask you this, if the cold war is over, why won't the Russians acknowledge it and that they lost so they can move on? Putin and the KGB still seem to think they can rebuild the evil empire. Given all of Russia's problems and that all of its threats are internal, why would they want to? Who in his right mind would want to invade Russia? China? The Islamic terrorists are already there. All they are waiting for to strike is a nuclear weapon Iran will thoughtfully provide thanks in part to...Russia itself.

    Web Alice, Question; what do you call a man who has a lot of little mouths to feed and one big mouth to listen to? Answer; married. That was told to me by a guy who escaped Castro's Cuba. Castro proved that through the miracle of communism, paradise could be turned into hell. I know, all of the Cubans are literate now. They can read about why it's America's fault they are starving to death. They also have a lot of doctors...who could treat a lot of illnesses if their economcy could only afford equipment and medicine. And that's all America's fault too for not sending the fruits of capitalism to support them. 10 million dollars a day is what the USSR sent to prop them up. Your money so that the USSR could have a military outpost 90 miles from the US to invade the Western hemisphere. Think of all the coconuts and pinapples they would have been able to import cheaply if they had been successful at it. Russians might have learned to like Pina Coladas. Where would the vodka producers be if that had happened?

    I think it's interesting that a Russian would prefer to be bored sitting in a log cabin in the middle of a forest in the snows of Russia drunk on vodka to being bored in a villa on a tropical island with beautiful beaches in the Carribean or the South Pacific drunk on rum. Who wants to play chess when you can go spend the day at the beach? Hmmm, you could take the chess set with you.

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  • 104. At 1:53pm on 10 Jun 2009, RCalvo wrote:

    Also, Rab, you've been the first to accuse the Spanish authorities of ballot fraud without a single shred of evidence. To me, that's highly libellous, but for the interest of open debate I haven't referred a single one of your posts to the moderators. You don't seem interested in free speech or an open debate. I'm simply not surprised, considering whose side you are taking. I don't care whether you are Basque, Catalan or Inuit, what I disagree with are your views and the party you are defending.
    I also disagree with your maths, too: officially, II has got all of 137000 votes in "Euskal Herria" (or at least in the Spanish Basque Country and Navarra, I don't know whether they contested the election in the French Basque Country, but I seriously doubt they are much more popular there). In the same area, far right parties are officially credited with less than 5000 votes in total. Even if you were to consider all those votes as "stolen" (very unlikely, as the far right has always had *some* minimal support in the area, in particular in Navarra), you still don't reach more than 150000 votes. For the record, in that same area (Spanish Basque Country + Navarra) the PSOE got a total of over 260000 votes, the PNV 220000 votes (of which very few in Navarra) and the PP 190000 votes. II is very, very far behind the third largest party no matter what.
    And yes, I'm angry: I dislike disinformation.

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  • 105. At 2:47pm on 10 Jun 2009, RCalvo wrote:

    Rab@99: "In a town where they have an ERC (pro-independence) major, Falange is the biggest party? Give me a break!"

    Excuse me, but which town? I can't find absolutely anything in Google News.

    You appear to be an ERC voter. I respect ERC in that it explicitly condemns violence and give it credit for the disbandment of "Terra Lliure". I nevertheless can't respect its ultranationalist views (as any nationalism, BTW, including the Jiménez-Losantos variety), and must cringe when I see ERC activists expressing some degree of sympathy for the likes of II, presumably on the basis that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

    I understand that you are angry because Catalan (and Basque) nationalist parties, as a whole, have been doing extremely badly in recent elections (not just the European elections). But maybe you should consider that the voters presumably just don't like you so much anymore (which, in the case of ERC, given its dismal record in the Catalan government coalition, is hardly surprising).

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  • 106. At 2:52pm on 10 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    marcus the mad writes:

    "I think it's interesting that a Russian would prefer to be bored sitting in a log cabin in the middle of a forest in the snows of Russia drunk on vodka to being bored in a villa on a tropical island with beautiful beaches in the Carribean or the South Pacific drunk on rum. Who wants to play chess when you can go spend the day at the beach? Hmmm, you could take the chess set with you."

    The answer to riddle of boredom, Marcus, is that the russian would be reading a book.

    In america, we know that everybody smokes crack cocaine and watches porn on tv.

    This is basically what the cold war has evolved into, for the modern man. Do you want to drink vodka in the snow and read poetry about Russian women being difficult, or do you want to smoke crack and watch porn on cable, which is all about American women being expensive?

    Nobody can win that war, Marcus. Not even you.

    You know, and I know, and you know that I know.... that you are eventually going to give up the struggle you have with the modern American dream, and move to Canada.

    Eh.

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  • 107. At 3:14pm on 10 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Mark Mardell is AWOL. My guess is that he is getting measured for his US wardrobe. He doesn't really care about Europe. He was just casually reporting on it to pass the time until he got the gig cross the pond.

    Anyways, the big news from Europe just now is the assassination of a female judge in Russia, by Islamic terrorists/freedom fighters.

    She was apparently shot in front of her children, at a kindergarten, and children were injured.

    Just how badly can these islamic folks run their public relations campaign? First Belsan, now this.

    I should be very surprised if there is a muslim preacher still alive in the caucasus within three weeks. The ruskis are going to open up a huge can of nasty on those folks. This could very well spell the end of Muslim russia.

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  • 108. At 3:16pm on 10 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #85 - SuffolkBoy2

    "If some get labelled as racist for wanting to reduce the flow of immigrants into the UK, why do other countries not get labelled as racist for trying to stop the flow of immigrants into the "EU".

    Firstly because addressing the issue of immigration is not necessarily racist. It only becomes racist if you are happy to allow an influx of white caucasians but suddenly begin to object to people of colour or different religious persuasion to enter. Even then, the accusation is questionable since these people are more likely to have no means of support and of illegal status.

    Much more important from the British perspective, is how they arrive. Flying straight in from outside the EU should be easy to check. Those who arrive from continental Europe can theoretically be repatriated to their last known country of departure. This is where the problem arises, of course. Illegal immigrants travelling via the European mainland should not be able to make the onward journey in the first place. This is why a coordinated European policy is necessary. If immigrants are intercepted in transit, it is a whole lot easier to let them go on their way rejoicing. But it is also why the UK apparently has a bigger problem than most. Many EU countries are simply not taking their role seriously. You will not address this by turning in on yourselves.

    I am facinated by the allegations about Spanish voting but do not find any reference in the media. Is this a scare story or can someone pont me in the direction of some authoritative coverage?

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  • 109. At 6:44pm on 10 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threat to democracy;

    Jimmy crack porn and I don't care.

    Only dull witted people get bored with life. Those with intelligence always find something interesting to occupy their minds.

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  • 110. At 7:12pm on 10 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    democracythreat:
    How could a killing in Russia be the bigest news in Europe now,when Russia is not even part of Europe,never has been,and pray god,never will be.
    But lets for a moment consider it.
    There is no point reporting from a country run by oligarchs,organised crime,and megallomaniacs,where the life of a human is worth less then that of a botle of vodka.

    On the other hand the USA showed the world what the respect for human life really is,and what individual freedom means,wether uou are white,black,muslim or christian,when you are in the USA you are given the same oportunities to prosper and your individual choices in life are guarantied by law and respected by the institutions no matter who you are.
    In fact is the only country in the world who gets attacked,is forced into a war and takes responsibility for the civilians of the enemy,even if they are used as civilian shields by their own government.


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  • 111. At 8:11pm on 10 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #110 - Named-Erion

    "There is no point reporting from a country run by oligarchs,organised crime,and megallomaniacs,where the life of a human is worth less then that of a botle of vodka.

    On the other hand the USA showed the world what the respect for human life really is,and what individual freedom means . . . "

    That is arguably one of the most offensive comments I have encountered on this blog. I can live with the arrogant assumptions you make about your own adopted society but the way in which you simply dismiss out of hand another is comtemptable especially since, as I recall, you were once part of it.

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  • 112. At 8:45pm on 10 Jun 2009, trenator wrote:

    RCalvo #105:

    The problem is that you first try to guess from which viewpoint I write, and then make a series of assumptions that result in your posts being biased or incorrect.

    First you assumed I was Basque or an II supporter, then an ERC voter, then a "nationalist".
    What next?

    You pontificate as if you were in possesion of the truth, and define, according to your own subjective values, people and parties.

    ERC an ultranationalist party? They made President of Catalonia an Andalusian immigrant with a shaky command of Catalan. No other nationalist party in Europe will do that.

    I am not angry and you dont understand anything I am afraid.

    PNV still won the elections in Euskadi a few months ago, and the only reason there is a Unionist coalition in power is that about 10-20% of the electorate, depending on the province, were unable to vote for their party of choice on the basis of a highly controversial law that allows the State to illegalise political parties.

    If you knew anything about politics in Catalonia, you would know that the decrease in ERC vote is not due to dismal record in the Catalan government coalition, which in any case is a subjective opinion.

    The reason is that there has been a split in ERC resulting in the formation of another pro-independence party because many activists felt that the presence of ERC in the coalition government was not being reflected in policy action in respect of the key issues that matter most to that section of the party that has walked away: official status of the language in Europe and in the Madrid parliament, fiscal autonomy and redress of the fiscal deficit, investment in infrastructures, policy routemap towards self-determination, official international sport teams like Scotland and Wales, and more policy initiatives on the theme of independence from Spain. ERC is not "hard-line" enough and people are desserting the party because of that reason.

    If anything, the sense of frustration is palpable and surveys and polls show that the percentages in favour of independence or the status quo have not changed much if anything polls suggest that more immigrants are warming to the idea.

    What is happening in elections is that a lot of people are fed up of being let down by professional politicians who (according to some) have chosen the gravy train over their principles.

    But back to the main topic: fraud of negligence.

    I am not too fussed about the results for II, ERC or PNV, or any other Spanish party.

    But what I find amazing is that when I look at the website of the Ministerio del Interior, and compare it to the results published by the local authorities, they DO NOT match.
    That my friend is all the evidence I need to provide to argue that something odd has happened that merits a full investigation.

    This is exactly what I wrote in my post, not what you claimed I have written:

    I have not made my mind up yet whether this is negligence (erroneous attribution due to a technical error with the tables) or fraud, but it looks very very bad. ()until every vote is counted and recounted again, the transparency and integrity of the election process is in question.

    But what compounds my suspicions is how the matter is being treated by the mainstream Spanish media. And how a lot of Spaniards like you are very edgy about it.

    Until everything is clarified I maintain that paragraph.

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  • 113. At 8:50pm on 10 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    If you dissagree with my comment then you are welcome to bring foward an argument to counter it.
    Second is I did not make comments about my adopted society,and I ceirtanly never have been part of the other.
    But I tell you that in terms of values I respect what the USA stands for,and I never ever see myself respecting the values of an society that shines with extremety whichever way you look at it.

    My comment is an answer to that particular argument that democracythreat put foward,which was full of inacuracies,racism,and typical ultra-nationalist-orthodox russian mentality which ceirtanly I found ofensive.

    And that russia is a country where human life is cheeper then a bottle of vodka is aparent to me,and is an correct argument.If you dont like it,then that is a different matter.

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  • 114. At 8:52pm on 10 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #111
    Hi Threnodio
    Did you see the article here on BBC yesterday on the gas pipelines? There is pretty much politics in it, and I guarantee it will be a subject for the EU also in the future. It was cold in Bulgaria this winter, and I am surprised we have not heard more from East Europeans in this matter.

    It is completely irrelevant to find out if we can agree on this blog or we cannot agree on Russia as a European country.
    It is security against energy in the EU with at least one of the global counterparts involved.

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  • 115. At 9:35pm on 10 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #113 - Named-Erion

    I share your respect for American standards and values, even if I think they were seriously damaged during the Bush years. I should also apologise for the 'adopted society' comment as I was clearly thinking of someone else. I am sorry. Curiously, I also agree about the absurdity of democracythreat's analysis that this will result in a full scale confrontation in Russia. What I do find terribly offensive is the idea that roughly 100 million Russians have no say in the way their society is run and that the whole thing is in the hands of a few crooked oligarchss who control life or death for the price of a bottle of booze. To make such a sweepingly judgmental statement then claim it is in response to a 'racist and ultra-nationalist' post seems like the pot calling the kettle black.

    #114 - Mathiasen

    Hi Mathiasen.

    No. I have had technical problems and have been out of touch for a couple of days. Developments here have been interesting though. While Hungary has gone along with the Nabucco project, she is also supporting the South Stream project. It seems to me that they are determined to ensure energy security by backing both horses in the race. But essentially, you are quite right. Nobody will get anywhere by dismissing Russia as a distant and primitive land somewhere in the east. Whether we like it or not, they are a global player and we need to cooperate with them. If we do not, the costs both in terms of Europe's energy security and the vast Russian market will be awful.

    I am also struck by the contrast between attitudes to our western relationship with the Islamic population and that of Russia. We all have an interest in coexiting with the Muslim world and neither Russia nor the EU have anything to gain from confrontataion. We should be working together to face down the extremists and embrace the moderates, not laughing gleefully at the other's problems.

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  • 116. At 10:05pm on 10 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio (115):

    I agree on you that we can't just write off Russia, but then again we can't pretend that Russia is a modern country with democracy and market economy in place, where human rights are respected and where nobody is above the law, that just isn't the case. Neither can we pretend that there isn't anything to worry about it, Kremlin is a very serious threat against the democratic development of neighbouring countries of Russia and neither should we forget the rampant xenophobia and outright fascism openly displayed in the Russian society: do remember that the Nasi youth organization in any other country would be classified as an fascist organization nor should we forget the National Bolsheviks.

    The thing is, you can either point at the oligarchs and the FSB agents or then you have to make a hard question and ask why the 100 million Russians are allowing this all to go on. Why there is no democracy, no market economy, no human rights, no law and order, etc.. So how is, is the blame on the Russian culture or is the blame on the higher ups in the current society? How would you put it...

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  • 117. At 10:25pm on 10 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mathiasen, oh, forgot to ask you for the permission to post? As my self-appointed censor? Verboten, not?

    It is indeed irrelevant whether "we can agree in this blog" if Russia is a part of Europe, or, as Named-Erion puts it more straight forward: "has never been is was and God willing will never be!"

    As I am in Europe, how do you write it? "Mathiasen, a ? Danish? in Germany?" So, RSVP
    Alice in Wonderland, in Russia, in Europe - At Home.
    :o)))

    (this smile is to those who saw such invitation cards)

    We here are proper Europe, Mathiasen, and what have you got there - curious LOL of course, the patchwork blanket appendix... To the main land.
    I am not sure this my statement is correct from all the points of view, but as Named-Erion had explained "it is apparent to me and if you don't like it it's another matter." LOL.
    But then of course it depends what you feel is "Europe". To me it's, say, any place that has high demand for serial editions of smth like ?
    "Library of antique literature", "Life in art", "Philosophical heritage", "Milestones of the writings of the East", "Memoirs from the literature world" and subscribers to these books. One issued this year, the next - 4 years later, then all worry when is the next volume due, what are they thinking of? A European city ought to have a couple of citizens able to read handwriting papers of 200 yrs ago, and teach handrwriting- er? decipherers - for an array of languages, specialising in one or the other author.
    As one of the parameters , that I'd place. On a European city.

    But of course LOL there is here an alternative understanding of "Europe", a simplified version so to say - that is "the other Europe -is any place with 10 cm wide streets, where cars and buses are miraculously able to turn around on one spot, and everything closes at 5 pm and gets dead. So dead that the proper European (I mean a St. Petersburger) is about to get scared like in a thriller on having found oneself in a city without inhabitants, and is about to start howling to the Moon, like a wolf.

    Which reminds me need to walk the dog. Mavrelius, I am sure you are pleased with Named-Erion compliments :o) Enjoy. No, thank you, no, all yours. I am not jealous, or, LOL, how to say, "jealous in a good way ! :o))))))). No, I am absolutely sure, keep them.

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  • 118. At 10:59pm on 10 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #116 - Jukka_Rohila

    I am not qualified to answer that. I have not been in Russia since the changes. In any case, I notice that Alice has joined in so it would be better to wait until she tells us. She is in a better position to know.

    I do, however, know that we are in no position to be smug or complacent. As Mark pointed out, only this week we have seen that the so called western democracies are capable of returning quasi-facists to power in no fewer than five countries. Before we start being over-critical of Russia1s democratic credentials, we would do well to examine the state of our own. As regards the market, granted it is not as highly developed as ours yet but there is nevertheless an enormous demand there, much of it for goods made in the west. A potential market of that size should not be ignored simply because we are less than comfortable with some of their social systems. If we were that fussy, we would not be doing business with half the world.

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  • 119. At 00:22am on 11 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    threnodio, I thought you mixed up Named-Erion with Jukka-Rohila, replying to Named-Erion and suddenly calling him NR.
    But no, now I see real Jukks is back. Two Russia's admirers! meet in one thread.
    Named-Erion, "cheaper than bottle of vodka" and other scientific observations. Are you buying or selling? By whole or by parts?

    JR is a known case, a young Finn brought up in hey-hop Nokia Finland times, which represent to him his country state for a thousand years back and for a thousand years onwards. Temporary hallucination of success' state, a kind of a new Russian. Looking at the world down from the "Nokia heights".
    "We, Nicolas the 2nd, by God's Will Emperor of Russia..." "we, FINLAND, can not "write off" Russia... Or can we? Will think again on Tuesday now my sauna time."
    A victim of the past 50-in his case max 20 US-led propaganda in Europe, that takes all is written for a true coin. (US itself - doesn't. Nothing personal, LOL, a business matter. But poor Jukks - does.)

    Oh well.

    As they say, God save us all that life would be really as they write in newspapers.

    But, Named-Erion, what is the matter with you? Are you an Albanian and even if you are - so what? Albania, as far as I remember, tries to distant itself from the Kosovo conflict. That's Albania's state line. Of a neutral body that has no interest in the conflict, does not support either party involved and is absolutely indifferent. So it is un-wise, LOL, as minimum, at the moment, to knock anti-Russian and? "ultra-nationalist-Russian-orthodox" sentiments so openly on the front gates.

    Unless of course you aren't Albanian; simply spent long hours in a library, studied the subject and by means of long and painful thinking arrived to the "cheaper than bottle of vodka run by organised crime megalomanniacs society" scientific conclusion.
    I understand Kosovo-not Kosovo, irrelevant, Albania had cut ties with Kremlin long time ago; for Albania Chinese communism was a role model instead, how can you compare Khrushev with Mao Tse Dun.
    Khrushev called Stalinism criminal, closed Gulags opened doors of all prizons, while Mao - a far better organised personality, consistent and all. Worthy for best friends. These ? since 1961 - nearly 50 years we aren't an "authority" for Albania. First role model China - then - the USA. No doubt both nations quiet peaceful people, miniscule and un-ambitious you can't compare with Russian maniacy magallomania.

    Seriously, on the subject that JR raised, "should we pretend" - no, Jukks, you should not pretend. Nobody should "pretend" but deal with defects and problems as we say, "in the order of appearance".
    So far things that worry you Jukka are more on the hallucination part, a handful of "Nashi" (do you scare your niece with "Nashi"? If she won't be a good girl, "Nashi" will come a big bad wolf?) if you dig hard in any country - you'll find some freeze-off idiots. In some places like, er well, OK. I am a St. Petersburger, after all self-reminder) you don't need to look for extremists very much. Some "National Bolsheviks" worry you. ? Which I can't even place on the map/time. Either you mean Trotsky? Or the first name of the "Citizens Resistance" anti-Kremlin group, lead by Edward Limonov? The charming writer, who spent most of his time in the USA as a dissident. And on return began to "fight Kremlin" who prohibited his party in 10 minutes (you'll be happy to know "for extremism") and put him to prizon, the poor writer. Hard to tell which Bolsheviks are your imagination play, but anyway - I told you several times before - get a sense of proportion, some place. Buy it! For any money! You're in bad want of it.

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  • 120. At 00:43am on 11 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mathiasen, "security or energy" (of Europe). Very un-ambitious, why not both.
    Fact is political relations the EU-Russia are way below the already existent economic ties. While politicians bubble "big scare! huge question! Oh them!" business quietly crawled over from both sides onto, without much pomp, and got fixed.
    Politics should either now adapt to reality or deny it.

    IMO 1 tube or 3 tubes changes only speed with which gas will be spent up. Anyway the German forecast is will be over by 2040; in 3 tubes LOL I think will be spent quicker but that's all the diff.

    Here it's also contraversial question, country's dependence on this source of lazy income known, 33% of yearly budget sales of raw materials, oil and gas combined. Many here say let's stop until not too late figure out other ways of income; but the other experts say - if we stop now - in 15 yrs we won't be able to come back to it and open up shafts again, as with the way science development goes, cars now run on what only not and will run even better within 2-3 years, in short - oil might be not needed at all when we decide to sell it "again". USA have already come up with the electric car battery of a new type that can be charged at a station in TWO MINUTES. Which is a serious hop up, as is first time equal to the normal car fuel-up stop over.
    Pity BBC didn't cover up recent forum in St. Pete; 3,500 participants - CEO-s of world corporations or simply big businesses with various news and ideas on economy of the world. Lots of clever people spoke. Of the EU was a komissar on trade? I think, speaking. Mrs Kathryn ? Said the EU okeys Russia's WTO; USA also said finally it's settled.
    Mathiasen, you mentioned Bulgaria; it also signed up to both tubes - Soth Stream and Nabucco.

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  • 121. At 01:04am on 11 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavrelius, still scared by Cuban crisis, "evil empire" restoration, and all. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute for you, SIPRI.
    One of the most authoritative world sources on the market of arms; they've published their report days ago, for the year 2008.
    Don't even know should I disappoint you. :o) Or make happy?
    Publicly available data, and there was a BBC article on it a couple of days ago, giving total record numbers for 2008, un-heard of before. The world got mad in the arms' race overall. 2008 is 45% higher than it was in 1998. China took 2nd place for the first time. USA grew up 67% since 1998.

    top ten/ bln dollars

    You know who. Spent 607 bln on armament in 2008.
    (what are you preparing for?)

    No 2. China, 84.9 bln
    No 3. France, 65.7 bln
    No 4. UK, 65.3 bln
    No 5. Russia, 58.6 bln
    No 6. Germany, 46,8 bln
    No 7. Japan, 46.3 bln
    No 8. Italy, 40.6 bln
    No 9. Saudi Arabia, 38.2 bln
    N0 10. India, 30.0

    I would say our "evil empire" is quite mainstream in the middle (in the top 10). Which is a good reasonable place that I am happy with. Would be better of course to cut a couple of zero-s with all, LOL, and still be someplace in the middle.

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  • 122. At 02:51am on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Contrary to popular belief, not all Americans are completely ignorant of geography. As I learned it, Europe and Asia are arbitrarily divided at the Ural Mountains which the last time I looked was smack dab in the middle of Russia. Therefore part of Russia is in Europe, part in Asia. Same for Turkey although only a small part of Turkey is in Europe. What that has to do with anything important I don't know.

    I do not see Russia as constituting any serious threat to the United States nor to any of America's major interests. The threat the USSR posed to take control of the entire world through the lure of Communism doesn't exist anymore. Russia is just one more despotic, criminal society with regional ambitions. Within its borders, it seems no worse to me than other nations of that type such as China, Burma, Zimbabwe, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Sudan, Iran, and a whole host of others. That doesn't mean it isn't a threat to Europe. Energy wise, it has its boot on Europe's throat. This and other levers of power Russia can pull in Europe should be of no concern to America as Europe is not a threat to fall under Russian domination, merely to be economically hurt by it, possibly very badly. As Europe has clearly demonstrated in both Afghanistan and Iraq that it is no friend of America's and only calls on America when it wants something, now would be a good time to pull out and leave Europe and Russia to solve their differences between them by themselves. I for one don't care which way it comes out, that is who gets the bloodier nose. In fact I'll root for Russia to kick Europe's derriere. We'll see just how enamored the French are with Russia next time it cuts Europe's gas and oil supply and shuts down the EU economy for a few months.

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  • 123. At 03:58am on 11 Jun 2009, U9388581 wrote:

    I am a refugee from Peston's blog, and have just encountered the MARCUS!

    I defer to few in my admiration of much that the youngsters in America of all breeds have achieved and individually often find them pleasant people.

    However in his case I may make an exception.

    The American financing and effort in Europe was always so that the European continent would be the "ground Zero" in WWIII, a killing zone to enable the American defence positions and strategies to have time to deploy. We would have been obliterated but the U.S of A , Freedom and DEEMOCKRACY would prevail.

    It was a fair deal and understood by all sides.

    The concept of Appellation Controlee is unlikely ever to gain creedance with a country that generically for many years called any white muck "Chablis".

    I am in total agreement with him, as I am with many Americans on Freedom of Speech and Association and believe that our treatment of the BNP is abhorrent, I would happily die fighting the BNP if they ever looked likely to gain power, but would also fight to the death to prevent them being banned or their arguments proscribed.

    Nationalism in the form of "you are worse than I am because you are a different nationality, and I may therefore harm you and discriminate against you", I loathe. Nationalism of the " I am a Northumbrian and believe I am therefore the pinnacle of Human Evolution, but respect your right to disagree with that statement, even though you are wrong" type involving no detrimental acts towards non-Northumbrians, other than smug looks and sneers, is permissible.

    I dislike bad people of any race, creed or nationality including my own.

    It is up to each individual to decide who is bad and be judged according to their judgement in that respect.

    I will be interested in the adolescence of America, particularly when the Hispanic population achieve majority in more large urban areas for while the size and disgraceful strength of racism in America brought about the civil rights movement that forced the currently encouraging progress, demographics often write their own histories.

    Anyway, as you will appreciate if you look under my name at past postings on other blogs, I consider these pages to be an entertaining pastime and feel free to be less than rigorous in my veracity and supposed intent.

    To Marcus, there is a very American tradition that all we Europeans believe is almost mandatory over there; its called Therapy. May I suggest some.

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  • 124. At 04:33am on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    MononucleOsis:

    "The concept of Appellation Controlee is unlikely ever to gain creedance with a country that generically for many years called any white muck "Chablis".

    From the results of the MEP elections the other day, it seems to me any white muck where you come from is called "British."

    "The American financing and effort in Europe was always so that the European continent would be the "ground Zero" in WWIII, a killing zone to enable the American defence positions and strategies to have time to deploy. We would have been obliterated but the U.S of A , Freedom and DEEMOCKRACY would prevail."

    You mean none of those twenty thousand hydrogen bombs the Soviets had was targeted at the US? Gee had we only known. And to think we could have won so easily just by sacrificing Europe. That's what I would have called killing two birds with one stone. A lost opportunity for sure. Maybe next time around.




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  • 125. At 05:45am on 11 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #120. WebAliceinwonderland
    I have not found out yet how I can transport quotation marks from my computer to BBC's, but I know when to use them.
    You have used quotation marks around something I have not written. How difficult can we make it? Please go to my message no 114 and see that I wrote: security against energy, which is evident if you have followed the relation Russia EU in the last couple of years.

    I started 2008 with the reading of War and Peace. Even if I don't agree I found it amusing to read Tolstoy's remarks on Germans, Poles and Frenchmen. This year I have read a most interesting documentation about the relation between Peter Tjajkowskij (each language has its own transcription of Russian names) and Mrs. Von Meck.
    Only empty heads believe Russia is a non-European country.

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  • 126. At 06:45am on 11 Jun 2009, Jan_Keeskop wrote:

    Mathiasen: If your computer has a Danish keyboard, the single quotation mark is usually to the right of the 'OE' key, unshifted. If it has a German keyboard, it is usually to the right of the 'AE' key, shifted. The double quotation mark on either of these keyboards is usually on the 2 key, shifted.

    The 'acute accent' to the left of the backspace key on these keyboards should not be used as a quotation mark, and in any case won't be displayed properly in these comments.

    If you write your comments in a word processor before copying them into the 'Your comment' box, then the word processor might be automatically changing the 'straight' quotation marks into their 'curly' equivalents as you type them. Unfortunately the 'curly' quotation marks also aren't displayed properly here. (The pound sterling sign, the euro sign, and non-English letters such as Danish 'oe' and German 'ae' also suffer from the same treatment.)

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  • 127. At 09:23am on 11 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #126. Jan_Keeskop
    Your assumptions are correct, and there are problems with the diacritics (vocal changing characters). You see them on the screen as æ, ø, å no matter if they are German, French, Danish or whatever.
    There are also problems with a number of special characters, as you mention
    The following is a test, which should show if it helps to import the characters from the Windows character table: ", '.

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  • 128. At 10:33am on 11 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #127 - Mathiasen
    #126 - Jan_Keeskop

    You are both familiar with the use of html mark up because you use it when typing bold, bold italic, and italic characters. We also use it for inserting hyperlinks and you will find Ed Inglehart's guide very useful. You will find it HERE.

    Since Ed provided the guide, the BBC has changed the format of the blog and I think there are more limitations but I will try a test at the bottom of this post. There is, however, a useful tip which is still true. If you like to write your posts in a word processor first then copy and paste it here, do not use MS Word or similar programs. The software will lose the commands when you post it (which is why some posters think they are posting quotation marks and end up with question marks instead). If you use Notepad instead, this does not happen.

    Test:-

    £, ¥, ©, ¡, Ã, ¤, § - and so on.

    (Now this test works in the preview but I cannot tell if it will work live until I post it).

    One other thing - copying direct from Character Map does not work.

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  • 129. At 10:38am on 11 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    I notice Ed has updated the page to take account of the new BBC format. It will be interesting to try this one. This is the method for indented block quotes.

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  • 130. At 10:53am on 11 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    Interesting - none of it works properly.

    What about this: £, ¥Ã, ¡­ . . .

    No - there is clearly a problem - nothing that could not be solved by the BBC taking a few minutes to install an extended character set but who needs accents on a Euroblog ??? Ed? HELP

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  • 131. At 10:57am on 11 Jun 2009, theagnosticone wrote:

    Geert Wilders MEP is a Dutch atheist. He is a good friend of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali ex muslim (now atheist) who's rhetoric about Islam is very similar to his own.
    Earlier this decade Wilders and Hirsi Ali were both Members of Parliament for the Dutch Liberal party (the VVD).

    I strongly doubt Geert Wilders MEP would want anything to do with the racial views of Nick Griffin MEP.

    It is unfair to describe Geert Wilders as a member of the far right.
    Islam is not a race, its a religion, anyone from any racial background can join it. Wilders is many things, but he is not a racist.

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  • 132. At 11:24am on 11 Jun 2009, stephentyler1 wrote:

    Those who effectively challenge orthodoxies are always vilified. Thus was it when Solidarnosc challenged Communism in the early 80s, thus is it now as the BNP challenges the infinitely more deadly (because, beyond a certain point, irreversible) doctrine of Multi-culturalism.

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  • 133. At 11:25am on 11 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    To our technical exchange:
    The combination of Windows character map and the MS-editor on my system have apparently hit something BBC's system also understands, but I have experienced that systems are not always comparable and solutions not always interchangeable so I would in general also recommend Notepad as tool or the html mark up for those not having English as keyboard language.

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  • 134. At 11:30am on 11 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #131 - theagnosticone

    Agreed. I certainly would not compare his ideas with those of the BNP or Jobbik for that matter, but you must concede that his wish to have the Koran banned is procriptive in the extreme and points to a less than inclusive agenda. Thankfully, his party is unlikely to find common cause with the out and out facists and this may - hopefully - prevent them becoming an EP block.

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  • 135. At 11:47am on 11 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    I continue to be astonished at the tabloid assumptions about Russia, and the progress it's making, but not surprised at the tired old resurrection of Soviet, KGB, Cold War, blah blah blah...
    As a Briton living in Russia, i'd rather be here, than in the country of my birth. I can walk the streets of Moscow at night in safety, something that was altogether a less certain proposition, when i lived in London.

    1. The recent killing by Islamic terrorists has been questioned yet again in the press here. Who was actually behind it? CIA, and MI5, still trying to destabilise Russia? Just one of the theories that abound, given their wholesale support for the sponsored Georgian president's murderous activities last year.

    2. Russia full of drunks? In 2008, the number of drink related fatalities and crimes dropped 23%, as a direct result of new government related programmes aimed at tackling this problem, which incidentally is not confined to Russia alone. (But we won't let the facts get in the way of a good old Russia Bashing will we?) Interesting that over half of the drunks were from neighbouring republics, a figure that does more to highlight the failings of those 'sponsored' governments, than an endemic failure in Russian society.

    3. Marcus, just because you'd rather spend your time on a beach, doing nothing, and toasting your skin cancer sponsored hide to a rich and wrinkly brown color, doesn't mean we're all that way inclined, or as apt to relax in the same way. Going to a snowbound log cabin in the middle of a mighty taiga, perched near the top of a mountain, and armed with a supply of decent reading material certainly appeals to me.

    4. Cold War. The Cold War is over, and was acknowledged by Russian leaders some time ago. Perhaps you missed it? Russians are intelligently pragmatic like thyat, unlike their counterparts in the West, who seem genuinely lost without someone else to blame, or point the finger at. They're still trying with Russia, but it's old and tired rhetoric, that has little to do with modern reality, and everything to do with some sort of western "arms for profit" nostalgia trip. Like the British Empire, the Cold War, with Russia at least, is consigned to the ashes of history.

    5. Extremists in Russia. Like any nation, Russia has them too. I find it singularly ironic that somehow Russia's "Fascists" are worse than others, when for example, the KKK, and numerous "Whites Only" groups roam the wide plains of the US, or the National Party in the UK, or the various extreme factions in the Knesset in Israel, or, well, keep counting.......... Hypocrisy at it's most clumsy on your part methinks.

    6. Gas Wars. Hehe, this one's not even subtle. Ukraine's western sponsored president has done everything he can to traincrash the gas supply to Europe for his own ends, and through his corrupt family and associates, backed by, you guessed it, the US and UK, and EU governments. So many of you bang on about Russia and Corruption, but very few acknowledge the hypocrisy of your own government's behaviour, in the eternal quest to control as much natural resource, oil and gas in particular, as possible. Ukraine wants the gas for cheap so they can sell it on to EU countries for full price, as they have been doing since the arrangement was first setup. A fairly cursory browse of independent media sources will reveal all, and the empirical aspirations of the current Ukraininan government.

    6. Oligarchs. Russia's oligarchs are hurting at the moment, and for some of them, no tears will be shed. However, the growing middle class in Russia is in good shape, and relatively untouched by the allegedly accidental global economic crisis? Why? Because Russians haven't been borrowing way beyond their means, the government were smart enough to put aside the world's third largest reserves for a rainy day, and frankly, Russian's are smart enough to stick within their means, not collect a an encyclopedia's worth of credit cards just to satisfy their consumer addiction.

    7. And despite the constant rhetoric, over 3,500 CEO's, business representatives, and interested government officials turned up in Saint. Petersburg to attend the economic forum. So if Russia's on the ropes, according to the US and UK governments and media, they've got a funny way of showing it.

    8. The rise of the far right in the EU, and US, won't change anything. In 5 years time, people will vote the other way anyway, being tired of the same old thing, and enthusiatic for something different. (Like a new sofa or television) Perhaps some of you can read a little modern history, and find out for yourselves.

    9. Webaliceinwonderland.

    I don't have 4 kids, but as a classical music composer, the idea of a retreat in the woods, near a river, backed by mountains, sounds like an ideal environment to sit and peacefully write music, unhindered by the fast pace of a city, or the constant whining of foreign press and govs, desperate to find something wrong with this country.

    10. Russia has more than enough customers clamouring for its natural resources. Like any country that gets constantly, and usually unjustifiably attacked or undermined, eventually patience will wear thin.
    The President and Prime Minister of Russia have more patience than i do, because if i'd been in their position, i would have been selling the resources to equal partners in a mutually respectful relationship a long time ago.

    Be careful what you wish for......

    Regards,

    Alex.

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  • 136. At 1:25pm on 11 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #135 - alex1658

    Amen to all that. In fairness, the western media - tabloids aside - have reported very even handedly. What you are dealing with here is the prejudice of those who only see what they want to see. They would never let the truth get in the way of their preconceptions now, would they?

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  • 137. At 1:39pm on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Alex;

    Your nostalgia for the last ice age is touching. In the world I know it's a rare human being who'd rather freeze in cold snowed in for the winter than bask in the warm sunshine, but hey, to each his own. The tropics are crowded enough as it is.

    "Going to a snowbound log cabin in the middle of a mighty taiga, perched near the top of a mountain, and armed with a supply of decent reading material certainly appeals to me."

    You should see a horror movie called "The Shining." I'd guess Jack Nickelson's character had you pegged "spot on."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shining_(film)

    "I don't have 4 kids, but as a classical music composer, the idea of a retreat in the woods, near a river, backed by mountains, sounds like an ideal environment to sit and peacefully write music"

    You're 200 years too late. Beethoven already wrote the Pastoral Symphony. After that, everything since in that vein has been an "also ran."

    "As a Briton living in Russia, i'd rather be here, than in the country of my birth."

    Doesn't say much for Britain, does it? Doesn't surprise me either.

    "Russia has more than enough customers clamouring for its natural resources."

    And that's most of what it sells to the outside world...except weapons to those America won't sell them to like Venezuela. It's the mark of a banana republic. The good news for Russia is that the price of oil is giong back up again. Over $70 a barrel a couple of days ago. The bad news is also that most of the money made will likely be spent on more weapons rather than things Russia actually needs like better medical care, education, housing, jobs, roads, and a higher standard of living for the overwhelming majority of its people.

    " A fairly cursory browse of independent media sources will reveal all, and the empirical aspirations of the current Ukraininan government."

    Yeah, they want to control over all of their own country. Outrageous. Don't they know Mother Russia knows better...especially considering half their population are the descendants of Russian occupiers? If I were Ukraine, the fee for transporting Russain gas to its customers in Western Europe over my land would exactly equal the cost of supplying all the natural gas my country needed and if it wasn't paid, I'd shut the gas off myself. Any attempt at a Russian invasion to turn it bacl on and I'd blow the gas lines to smithereens.

    "...the constant whining of foreign press and govs, desperate to find something wrong with this country."

    A blind man in the dark couldn't help tripping over a dozen of them in his first thirty seconds on the ground there. Who are you kidding? Even by Eastern European standards, Russia is mostly still backwards and primitive. That's why so many Russian women are suckered into being trafficked as sex slaves in the West. They're desperate to get out of Russia any way they can, even illegally.

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  • 138. At 2:17pm on 11 Jun 2009, gduwright wrote:

    alex

    You refer to the rise of the far right in US. Explain please. What have you been reading lately? Might want to check publish date.........

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  • 139. At 2:37pm on 11 Jun 2009, swissoff wrote:

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

  • 140. At 3:14pm on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Every nation's government has its favorite method of assassination. For the US, it's the drone plane armed with HARM missiles. For Russia it's poison. It's ancient but can be quite effective. It's because of poisoning that the custom of toasting started. I don't know if it was because the Russians got bored with ricin or because they were afraid Western doctors had discovered quick tests and effective antidotes for it (I'm not aware of any) but the KGB evidently decided to try some new methods. (I've always thought ricin administered by a suitably equipped umbrella and injected to the calf of the victim in rainy London was quite ingenious and effective.) However, they tried dioxin on the opposition leader of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko probably at Putin's dinner table and although it made him very sick and scarred his face, it didn't work, he survived. Radioactive polonium was far more effective at killing Alexander Litvinenko in London. It took the British doctors forever to figure it out and by then it was too late. It's not certain anything could have been done to save him even if it had been discovered at the first symptoms. The problem is that it left a trail a mile wide anyone could follow. It's unmistakable traces led through Germany, all over London, and back to Russia. The assassin Andrei Lugovoy is naturally being protected by the Russian government and it's no surprise since they sent him on the mission in the first place. Nobody ever disclosed publically if the French figured out what kind of poison they used on Arafat.

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  • 141. At 3:17pm on 11 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mathiasen, @ 125
    Sorry for not copying your words. I did realise it's not a "xerox copy" but instead what I understood it means.

    (Technically, can't copy and paste here. When I try to copy - the whole thread of 150 messages gets highlighted blue, LOL. So every time I quote someone's words I look up and down and re-write word by word.)

    Still, ? about the meaning. "It is security against energy in the EU with at least one of the global counterparts inmvolved". Must be I mis-understood you then? Wrote "security or energy", thoughts it's the same as "against".

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  • 142. At 4:16pm on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Alex, have you ever thought of getting your inspiration at the top of Mount Everest? There already is an Antarctica symphony and the northern polar ice cap is melting. So are the snows of Kilimanjaro and Fuji. So what book would you read sitting in a chair in a tent at the peak of Mount Everest? How about, "How to Prepare Your Last Will and Testament?"

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  • 143. At 4:18pm on 11 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #137 -MarcusAureliusII

    "You're 200 years too late. Beethoven already wrote the Pastoral Symphony. After that, everything since in that vein has been an "also ran." - "

    "You should see a horror movie called "The Shining." I'd guess Jack Nickelson's character had you pegged "spot on."

    The Symphony No.6 in F major, Op.68 was completed in 1808 so it is, in fact, 202 years old. As a colonial spiv, you may be forgiven for failing to grasp the facts by a couple of years but your spelling of Nickelson (it is actually spelt Nicholson) indicates an ignorance of your own culture which verges on the sublime.

    Marcus, if you have nothing of value to contribute to European cultural discussion, I suggest you retreat to the cosy shopping mall culture of New Jersey and stop boring us under the identity of a Roman when clearly your roots are more Philistine.

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  • 144. At 4:28pm on 11 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavrelius, "even by Eastern European standards, Russia is mostly still backwards and primitive, that's why so many Russian women are suckered into being trafficked as sex slaves in the West."

    "Backwards and primitive" I am sure seem to these "sex slaves" many a Western theoretically "advanced" men, that they, poor victims, get hold of. LOL. One way or another. Russian expectations of "the West" were extremely high, and when we saw the reality - simply, how to say, one's hands drop.
    Mavrelius it's a pity you haven't seen the movie "Intergirl", that epitomised the discovery. About a St.Pete er, well, oh well, a young prostitute, hunting men for hard currency in Pribaltijskaya hotel in Leningrad (as the city still was). Perestroyka soon to be times, 1989-1990. An array of constant "customers", same Japanese man coming on business, an American, forgot which nationalities else. Constant fights with hotel security, occasional arrests by KGB, life full of troubles and adventure. The girl anyway was quite cheerful and all. At one point robbed a Swedish "customer" while he was sleeping, pulled out his wallet, and then reasonably tried to avoid him as plague in his next trips to Russia. What was her surprise when he finally cornered her, and she mentally, like "good bye everything he'll report me to the police now with theft, which is prizon (unlike prostitution)" but instead he proposed a marriage and exporting her to Sweden. She tried to explain him that marriage is against her life-style tastes and she is not what he'd like to see in a wife, bad bad idea and future for both. But then the situation hopped with a sudden twist, she had to run out of the country because of other "work aggravations", KGB troubles, and remembered his offer of a foreign citizenship and escape option.
    In short they married and the next film's part is total tears, a disastrous Russian girl life in Sweden. The chap behaved extraordinary well, but they couldn't speak of anything. He didn't know anything. Very, how to say, functionally narrow education and up-bringing, short horizons. Boring to death. And awful economical, all wild suggestions to turn off the taps while brushing teeth so that water won't be running, squeesing the shave lotions to the last bit, counting up past week's expenses in a special family book, clipping the checques, and planning all that will be done a year ahead in a special yearly planner! Knew what they'll be doing , by day, for a year ahead! She wanted to hang up. Tried to get interested in the housekeeping, but the house concerns and improvements didn't keep her mind occupied for longer than a year. Tried to make friends with neighbours, but womanly sit downs over housekeeping and family business were also quite a trial, though she honestly tried to get interested in all that. In short, all ended very bad.
    (Or, may be, Russian rejisseur simply wanted to have her killed up at the end, to give a message to watching the film girls that being a prostitute ends only one way - sure death! LOL.)

    But that's not fantasy world. Hundreds and thousands Russian girls married to foreigners return back home. Money and confort is not a quarantee you can live with the person. The current Russia's problem is not "sex slaves" but 50-50 Russian-foreign kids, that women try to export back home on divorce and very few succeed. Hundreds of cases, one per week in a newspaper. I would say, "the West" seems to be interested in half-Russian kids far more, than in any "sex slaves", LOL! Nobody return without a fight, our off-spring in high demand.

    As to Eastern Europe, living better than Russians - what's new? They always were. All those countries we so "criminally" occupied and "treated as slaves", "under Russian boot" - three ha ha. Who ever saw "a slave" living 10 times better than "the master"? Both in money and in freedoms.
    That's why, Mavrelius, you'll never be able to prove to an ordinary Russian that we "occupied" Eastern Europe. Theoretically - yes, by mind, objectively - we understand. But practically - no way, dead end. When an occupied population lives far better than "the masters", at that, "the masters" honestly open-heartily believe them friends, even Eastern Germany was believed "our good Germans".(bad Germans, the ones that killed us - all crowded by some trick on the Western side, LOL. Eastern Germans - they'd never! :o)))

    When you count "backwardsness" by comfort - surely we are backwards. And no even hope we'll ever be. But small-mindedness, discovered in many a "Western", theoretically "paradise" society - was a total Wow! with Russians. We thought all are there fair and educated.

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  • 145. At 4:38pm on 11 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Marcus writes:
    "That's why so many Russian women are suckered into being trafficked as sex slaves in the West."

    Marcus, you keep banging on about Russian sex slaves. So to speak. You are aware that this is a habit of yours?

    I find it fascinating. I mean, America is hardly destitute of prostitutes, according to my limited understanding of such matters. But somehow American working girls are at liberty to do as they please (who knows, perhaps they even prey upon men?), whereas the poor Russian women are slaves to the evil russian men.

    How does this dichotomy exist peaceably in your mind, Marcus? Now I know you merely provoke a response with this sort of casual observation, but you're intelligent enough to know that many a true word is spoken in jest.

    So what is the basis of your angel/whore dichotomy? Why are American women in control of their actions, whereas the little angels in Russia are exploited by evil men?

    This truly astounding duality of moral values and judgement exists throughout western society. The UK is famous for incredibly strong and independent women lamenting the enslavement of their poor, weak eastern sisters.

    Obviously this is family blog, so I would understand if no further comment on this topic is welcome, but nevertheless I think it is fascinating to witness the hard core confusion that results when the cold war is projected onto the sexual behaviour of otherwise identical societies.

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  • 146. At 4:47pm on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    You never know who is actually posting on the internet, not really. I find it not credible that an Brit named "Alex" would go off to spend part of his life in a remote mountain retreat in Russia snowed in with just books to entertain himself to get inspiration for writing music. For one thing, few British people name their sons Alexander. They don't even name them typical British names anymore like Reginold or Nigel but instead names more familiar to American ears like Charles, James, Robert, and threnodious :-) It also seems to me that there is plenty of pastoral land in Britain short of going to Russia. Even within England itself there is the reportedly beautiful Lake District. Famous English composers of pastoral music such as Delius and Walton had no problem finding inspiration in Britain but there are many areas closer and more comfortable than a mountain in Russia such as the Black Forest of Germany or for mountainous areas, say the Swiss Alps. No, I just don't think Alex is who he'd have us believe he is. I think he is Russian through and through probably stuck in some remote godforsaken outpost in Siberia somewhere trying to paint a happy face on himself. Anyone for Tahiti? How about Barbados?

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  • 147. At 4:48pm on 11 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    "The assassin Andrei Lugovoy is naturally being protected by the Russian government and it's no surprise since they sent him on the mission in the first place. "

    Government assassins are referred to as "secret agents", Marcus. At least, this is the case in polite company.

    I feel very sorry for the Russians with regards the Lugovoy debacle. After all, this was at the very same time as the billboards in London were screaming the praises of James Bond, 007. In fact, the quality of UK society were dressing up and walking down red carpets to celebrate the great man.

    So all the Russians were doing was trying to belong. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, after all.

    It must be very difficult for the Russian people to understand why there is such a double standard applied to their government. We have phoney elections for and by the dominant parties, and that is called democracy. If they do it, it is called authoritarian dictatorship. We have hired killers going about torturing and assassinating people our Lords don't like, and that is called "rendition". When the Russians do it, it is called pure evil.

    Russia is like the dog in that story, the one with the broken tail. He was a friendly dog who just wanted to get on and make friends, but he couldn't wag his tail, so all the other dogs would pick on him and so he always had to fight. Even though he was a friendly enough dog.

    It is a dreadfully sad story, the sort you find very often in Russian literature.

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  • 148. At 4:56pm on 11 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #141 WebAlice
    You apparently press ctrl-a, which highlights everything.

    To cut a quotation:
    1) Place the cursor at the quotation begin.
    2) Hold shift and press to arrow forward to quotation end. The text should now be highlighted in blue.
    3) Press ctrl-c to copy the text highlighted in blue.
    4) Press ctrl-v to paste in the text editor.
    Hope it works on your system.

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  • 149. At 5:15pm on 11 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #145 - democracythreat

    I am not sure whether this is the place to discuss the moral virtues of the oldest profession but it is only fair to point out that there are people who regard it as a perfectly respectable profession. The question relating to 'sex slaves' is nothing to do with the work but everything to do with whether it is done under duress. This,of course, brings us neatly back to the immigration issue - which is relevant.

    #140 - MarcusAureliusII

    "The assassin (?) Andrei Lugovoy is naturally being protected by the Russian government and it's no surprise since they sent him on the mission in the first place".

    I think you mean that it is alleged etc. . . . or is the concept of the presumption of innocence meaningless in your parts?

    "There already is an Antarctica symphony . . .". I thought the 'Pastoral' was the be all and end all. Oh well, let us know when you come up with something which is not European.

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  • 150. At 5:33pm on 11 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Place the cursor at the quotation begin.
    Mathiasen! It works!
    3) Press ctrl-c to copy the text highlighted in blue.
    3) Press ctrl-c to copy the text highlighted in blue.
    3) Press ctrl-c to copy the text highlighted in blue.

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  • 151. At 5:34pm on 11 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #147 - democracythreat

    You are absolutely right. While the police continue their fruitless attempt to seek extradition, the Crown Prosecution Service has acknowledged they would not secure a conviction. In any case, as a member of the Duma, he is immune from extradition. The whole thing is an exercise in futility and better forgotten.

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  • 152. At 5:35pm on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Seems to me you all live in Wonderland. It's a wonder you know which way is up when you get out of bed in the morning.

    "Oh those Eastern Europeans weren't slaves. Imagine slaves living better than their masters." Tell it to the victims of the German Stasi who had a million spies in East Germany betraying their neighbors and family. Straight out of Orwell's book "1984." Same for all the other Eastern European slave nations the USSR occupied. And when they didn't comply, the Soviet tanks rolled in the way they did in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 to take matters in hand and to give anyone else with the same thoughts of rebellion from the iron grip of the USSR an example to think about. Keeping the East Europeans well fed and housed by Soviet standards was necessary to keep them all from open revolt. When they compared themselves to Western Europe with whom they felt greater kinship, they knew they were getting a raw deal. That's why the Berlin wall went up and why the borders of all of Eastern Europe were manned with armed guards ordered to shoot to kill anyone who tried to escape. Still, knowing they risked death at the orders of the Kremlin, they tried anyway. Many made it, many were shot dead. It wasn't called an iron curtain for nothing Web Alice.

    Threat to democracy, your comments are so removed from reality that they are not worth replying to. Russia a friendly dog with a broken tail it can't wag? No! More like a rabid wolf. BTW, what makes you think most Russian sex slaves trafficked wind up in the US? I'll bet there are lots of them in lots of places in Europe and in particular in Italy along with many from all over the former USSR like Moldova and Ukraine.

    Thernodious, the timespan between 1808 and 2009 is not 202 years as you said but 201 years. That would only matter in a discussion like this to a nitpicker like you. Too bad you can't find something substantive to say. If you have nothing of value to contribute to European cultural discussion, I suggest you retreat to the cozy goulash house of Budapest or Upper Slobovia or wherever it is you've found a niche they'll put up with you. BTW, cozy is the correct preferred spelling, not cosy...except maybe in uneducated Britain where anything is possible and they've only recently started to use the word billion instead of thousand million. Better get used to the American language including its spellings threnodious, it's going to be the worldwide language of the 21st century. China is already ahead of Britain in that regard and France is catching up.

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  • 153. At 5:55pm on 11 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    146#

    Who said anything about Pastoral music? You did. and if that's the limit of your musical imagination, then i do feel some pity for you, as you seem to be resoundingly culturally deaf.

    Why not a mountain in Russia? Any more than the Lake District, the Highlands, Everest, the Black Forest, or indeed where i used to live in the Yorkshire Dales?

    Dvorak wrote a nice chunk of his music in an isolated shack next to a fjord, and that didn't turn out badly at all.

    The name thing is just plain ludicrous, so i won't bother feeding the troll any further.....


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  • 154. At 6:00pm on 11 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Thank you, Mathiasen, I mean. It doesn't work as you wrote, nothing gets highlighted when I place the cursor at the beg. of the quotation-to-be and hold shift by left hand and move by the mouse it all ahead to the quotation desired to the end of the line.

    But when I "blue-light" a piece normally (by left button of the mouse) and then press ctrl and letter "c" and then just press ctrl and letter "v" - the highlighted piece re-appears again! O how many great discoveries, the Spirit of Enlightment holds in store for us!
    incl. Experience - son of troublesome past mistakes,
    incl. Genius - of paradox-es' friend."

    Now I'll be a good girl and in a fit of thankfullness will write a bit on European elections.
    Echo of Moscow (radio station and site) Russian media presented their results to us in an absolutely different key. Namely - "the parties who won in Europe - who are they? You think, "conservative"? No. You think - mainstream right? No. You think ultra-right? It all seems to you!

    The main thing, characterising the majority of winners - they are for capitalism! As opposed to governmentalism, over-protection, limiting of market, state intervention into corporations' business, and social payments to the population at the expense of free market forces LOL in play.
    How clever the Europeans are! In the crisisy conditions they intuitively reached out for the solution that will fix them - "doctor Capitalism". One would think - crisis, stress on family economies, all should moan and ask for the social payments, state support and vote for the parties who are on the side of the state interfering to limit the market. No way! Clever, clever Europeans know that nothing would save them but old doc capitalism.
    And the names of the parties - irrelevant. The main thing all who ganed and won - are against state interfering into the market. "

    How about this classification? Does it hold water?
    I don't know winning parties pan-Europe well enough to tell if it's, may be, indeed, true?

    Of own sucpicions why the elections' results are classified so in Russia, I've got only suspicions of course. The thing is we are traditionally jealous with Scandinavian socialism, when, when you get ill, old, pregnant or weakened for any other reason - the state helps you. (Luckily the Russians know nil of the UK national health system, covered costs of medications and other unimaginative wonders). But Scandinavia here is a known reason to be jealous with, to which Kremlin LOL constantly replies: No! Don't even hope! Socialism - it's wrong! Right - it's American capitalism Wild West. What's wrong with you, citizens? You wanted American capitalism! Here you are, help yourself. "In no way (as Medvedev said recently) will Russia turn away from the road of democracy, progress and free market!"

    Like, "don't even hope, dear population. As you were buying asthma inhalers yourselves - so you will! As you had a pension of 100 dollars a month - so it will be! What Scandinavia? Forget about it. 10 dollars a month for a single un-working mum and baby state subsidy - take it and be thankful we don't charge her money! but add!"

    "Free capitalism and no nagging, as the doc had prescribed. See how clever the Europe is? They sure know a good way out of crisis. All hats off and follow their advice."

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  • 155. At 6:07pm on 11 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #144 Webaliceinwonderland

    Intergirl was a well made, and very sad movie, interlaced with moments of wry humour.

    And now she's doing police serials. Whatever is the world coming to....

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  • 156. At 6:08pm on 11 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Marcus writes:

    "For one thing, few British people name their sons Alexander. "

    It is actually the fifth most common name of all. Google "baby name guesser" and see if I am wrong.

    Marcus, you write some outrageous rubbish, but this accusation that Alexander is not a common English name is surely the most deranged claim I have witnessed.

    You are going to have to tone it down when you move to Canada, you know.

    Isn't he, Sasha?

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  • 157. At 6:20pm on 11 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #147 democracythreat.

    "It must be very difficult for the Russian people to understand why there is such a double standard applied to their government. We have phoney elections for and by the dominant parties, and that is called democracy. If they do it, it is called authoritarian dictatorship. We have hired killers going about torturing and assassinating people our Lords don't like, and that is called "rendition". When the Russians do it, it is called pure evil.

    Russia is like the dog in that story, the one with the broken tail. He was a friendly dog who just wanted to get on and make friends, but he couldn't wag his tail, so all the other dogs would pick on him and so he always had to fight. Even though he was a friendly enough dog.

    It is a dreadfully sad story, the sort you find very often in Russian literature."


    This is a fairly astute observation, but i will add things have moved on from there. Russians have read enough of the nonsense to get bored with it, and get on with their lives.
    Now, at most, it's a source of humour, or a yardstick of the criteria they must descend to in order to be on level terms for communication's sake.

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  • 158. At 6:21pm on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threnodious;

    "I thought the 'Pastoral' was the be all and end all."

    What constitutes greatness in music is a matter of opinion. IMO the Beethoven 6th symphony is the pinnacle of pastorally inspired music. However, among all music the 5th symphony is a far greater work, possibly the greatest musical composition of all time. The 3rd symphony, the Eroica is also among the best ever written. Beethoven was the greatest composer of music in history because his music is about pure power...except for songs which is where Schubert was the king.

    "Oh well, let us know when you come up with something which is not European."

    In thinking about it, I have to concede that most of the best music ever written was written by Europeans. Unfortunately all of them died a long time ago. Not much music of interest to me has been written in about the last 50 or 60 years or so. I think the writing of music as an art has died. You can hardly even find a pop music writer who can compose even a single memorable catchy song anymore. Music is dead...and Britain has no talent. That includes Susan Boyle...unless you take into account her outburst to the people in the press who hounded her. Now that was her real talent :-)

    Would you consider Rachmaninoff a Russian composer or an American composer since he wrote much of his music in the US after he fled Russia around the Revolution? If he was Russian, was he a European? What about other Russian composers, were they European? Is Russia part of Europe? Look at Named-Erion's posting #110 and my reply #122. From his posting, you'd think it meant something of value to be European.

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  • 159. At 6:29pm on 11 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #152 -MarcusAureliusII

    "Too bad you can't find something substantive to say".

    For once, you are right. Time to revert to responding to people with something interesting to say and stop rising to your tedious provocation.

    Goodbye Mrcus - my regards to Phyllis.

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  • 160. At 6:30pm on 11 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio (118):

    You wrote: "As Mark pointed out, only this week we have seen that the so called western democracies are capable of returning quasi-facists to power in no fewer than five countries. Before we start being over-critical of Russia1s democratic credentials, we would do well to examine the state of our own."

    Dude, get real. Your essential argument is that because in few countries in fully democratic elections few ultra nationalist and quasi-fascists were voted into the EU parliament, that makes having it a-okey to have full blown fascist in power in Kremlin.

    Dude, get real. Russia isn't just a flawed democracy, it is a hybrid regime, a new politically correct term for countries that at least bother from time to time pretend that they are democratic. If you look at the Democracy Index, created by the The Economist, you can note Russia being position with countries like Pakistan and Iraq.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index


    To WebAliceinwonderland:

    Alice, have you ever wondered why a corporation like Nokia was able to become an international telecommunication giant from a small Nordic country? Or why besides Nokia there are many other major international corporations that have sprung from Finland? Or why our GDP per capita is one of the highest in the world? It is because we have been doing rights things at the right time for a long while.

    http://www.historicalstatistics.org/

    Click on the World in the left selection, from there find a link named
    World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1-2003 AD (Angus Maddison)

    Long story shot, in 1900 our GDP per capita was higher than Russia's (understandable because land slavery had just been stopped approx. 50 years ago in Russia, and industrialization was just starting), but more importantly look at what happened in the next 100 years, a continual and steady growth of our GDP faster than our western European neighbours. That is quite good for a country situated in periferia in a cold and harsh climate.

    Besides, regardless of our economic growth, I think we have been doing right things for way longer than that. What other else nation can boast on not having words he and she, but having only genderless term for all the people in their language? That's doing things right from the beginning.

    ---

    Now you asked do I frighten my god-daughter (a different thing than a niece by the way) with Nasi? Of course not, but when in future her future boyfriend goes to army for 6 or 12 months and she complains how unfair it is that she can't see him so often, I will then tell her that it is for a reason why A) we have an army and B) why we have a conscription army and then I will note her about Nasi and people in Kremlin.

    To continue with Nasi, the reason they are so worrisome is that they have been created, organized and directed by the people in Kremlin and they already have showed their true colour on attacking Estonia via DDoS attack, which by the way is cyber terrorism and also very much against Russian laws, but surprise surprise Nasi leadership hasn't been sent to the court of law to answer on their crimes.

    Also, you do know what the National Bolsheviks are, in case you don't, lets post a link again..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Bolshevik_Party

    Remember that if it looks like a Nazi, acts like a Nazi and talks like a Nazi, it is a Nazi.

    ---

    In question of military expenditure, when you want to address total power of an state or military block you compare absolute values. When you want to address ambitions and wants of a state, you look at the GDP % that the country in question spends to its military expenditure.

    United States spends 4.06% of their GDP
    Russian Federation spends 3.9%

    Now the western European countries spend way less than that...

    France 2.6%
    UK 2.4%
    Germany 1.5%

    In my opinion when a country spends more than 3% of its GDP to military its either preparing to use force against another country or it is scared of an attack against it. Either way you end into an unfortunate place as additional military spending is away from the rest of the economy thus making it grow slower. In case of Russia, it really doesn't afford that level of military spending, it just ludicrous and it is robbing the future Russians from higher standards of living.

    PS. Democracythreat, I'm not buying "think of the children" line, this is a blog for adults, the whole Internet is for adults, and children at overall shouldn't never use it without a supervision. Besides human trafficking is a serious issue that has to be handled and stopped with any means possible. It is a real issue that has to be talked about.

    PS2. Lilja 4 Ever, a Swedish film, is quite recommended for a warning story and for an wake up call to take action against human trafficking.

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  • 161. At 6:35pm on 11 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #151 Threnodio.

    Also worth adding here that when the CPS, and the police, were asked to come up with evidence, they declined.

    Interesting that Bherezovsky has been interviewed more than once, and the question raised in the local press of the murder possibly being an alleged conflict of interests between former business partners engaged in criminal activity, was swiftly quashed by the home office.

    One can but wonder.......

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  • 162. At 6:42pm on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threat to democracy; Oh, you mean like King Alexander and the Knights of the Round Table? Sir Alexander Chruchill? Alexander Blair? Sir Alexander Raleigh? King Alexander the Lion Hearted? Bonnie Prince Alexander? Then there was BBC's correspondent Alexander Cooke. How many other famous Englishmen named Alexander can you think of? There was Alexander the Great...only he was Greek.

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  • 163. At 6:47pm on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Alex;

    "Who said anything about Pastoral music? You did."

    Understandable. My mistake. Makes perfect sense for a Brit to find a secluded mountain cabin in Russia and hole himself up barricaded by snow all winter with nothing but books to read to find inspiration to write music evocative of the sea. I forgot for a moment how the European mind works.

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  • 164. At 7:05pm on 11 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    alex.

    How can you posibly say that Russia is a safe country?
    Do you deny that coruption is everywhere,in every aspect of life,from the most basic daily things up to trafic of dangerous armaments.
    Do you deny that is a country that has historicaly not given a damn about human rights,and that its own people have meant nothing to the ruling elites? And still dont?And is evident when in a small town full of poor people who live in extreeme poverty you find millioneres and multimillioneres who rather spend their "hard earned money" with luxury in Europe and America,and not give a damn about creating jobs about this people.

    You live in Moscow,but Moscow is not Russia.No artist,no art,no natural beauty can be used as a curtain to hide the sufferings of the main part of the population.
    I have realised that when people talk about Russians they tend to talk about only white ethnic Russians,ignoring the fact that Russia is a multi-racial state,that even the people living in southern Russia are russians,citezins of the republic,wether be they muslims,white,brown,black whatever.

    Imagine talking about American standarts and having in mind only white americans,ignoring blacks,hispanics,muslims,jews etc?

    Russia is like i said an ultra-nationalist-orthodox society full of extremism.

    All countries have extremists,but nothing hapens in Europe or America like happens in Russia where only in a matter of years hundreds or even more people are killed for not being white enough (i say that because they are not black,but dark skined,and some of them even white).
    What about the two guys who killed tens of people for not being white enough? Bizarely some of them where actually white ethnic Russians (who just happen not to look white enough for this sick-heads).

    Thats why i called Russia a non-european country.I am sorry but i just cant see that country as european in my mind.In my own definition of European.

    Russia is Russia,I dont deny its achivements and its great influence on art and all aspects of civilisation,but also I have to point out its negatives,which in my opinion outwheight the positives.

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  • 165. At 7:15pm on 11 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #158 - MarcusAureliusII

    I promised myself I would not rise to any more provocation but factual inaccuracies of this sort cannot go unanswered. Rachmaninov left Russia for Scandanavia in 1917. He bought a house in the States in 1921 because of his lucrative touring commitments there but moved to Switzerland in 1932 as soon as money permitted. Throughout the period of exile, he composed only eight works of which the three major ones (the Third Symphony, the Paganini Rhapsody and the Symphonic Dances) were written in Switzerland. He had a home in Beverley Hills, which is where he died because it was not practical to return to Switzerland in 1943 when he became ill. For the same reason, his final wish to buried there could not be respected. Whatever Rachmaninov may have been, he sure as hell was not American.

    One other thing, Marcus. Just because the music of the past 60 years does not appeal to you does not mean it is 'dead'. That you do not 'get it' is your loss, not ours. Think about it Marcus. What are the mathematical odds of you being tone deaf or brain dead as a opposed to an entire civilisation evaporating into thin air? No contest.

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  • 166. At 7:24pm on 11 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #161 - alex1658

    The bottom line is that the Brits are not going to hand over Bherezovsky and the Russians are never going to hand over Lugovoy. Time to forget the whole damned thing.

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  • 167. At 8:05pm on 11 Jun 2009, nyelvmark wrote:

    This may have been mentioned, but I'm somewhat amused by all of these people who, basically, don't like foreigners being elected to the EU parliament, where their job will be to talk to foreigners all day long.
    And the Hungarians and Romanians are unlikely to form a faction, I think, since the Hungarian right wing typically claims large portions of Romania are in fact Hungarian.

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  • 168. At 8:05pm on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threnodious, what are th mathematical odds of you being brain dead? I've sent your input to three university data centers with monster number crunching computers and they all came back. Two computed 100%, the third computed 99.99997%. There's a small glimmer of hope for you but it is small. Still and all.... The bottom line is.....

    Named Erion, I belive your story but to me that proves all the more that Russia is very European. I've read numerous reports that many Turks are beaten up and even killed by skinheads in Germany and the incidents are not only not investigated or punished, they aren't even listed in the police records. In Italy, not only is sex slave trafficking ignored by the police even when they know about it, they are in collusion by taking bribes from the brothel operators. Italy is as bad or worse than Russia in that regard.

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  • 169. At 8:21pm on 11 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    JR, I know the diff btw God-daughter and niece. What's in Limonov's group answer your definition of "nazi"? (look like, acts like, etc.)

    They are the most terrorised officially and shoved deep into the corner poor little group of all, if anything - calling for sympathy and consolation. Banned ten times and re-registered 10 times, and any time Limonov re-registers the block they get banned under the new name again. I think they ran out of naming options, so we simply know them as "the lemons", after Limonov.
    When there is any demonstration or street protest in St. Petersburg, you see them walking in the tail, with hammer and sickle, never more than 15-20 youngsters, and Limonov never walks. He is always "preventively arrested" LOL by police en route home - protest, train station - protest, they kind of decapitate the lemons before every event.

    And Limonov itself suffers not only from Kremlin but from mothers of the youngsters his un-official party holds, as they in all TV debates are about to sctratch out his eyes right in direct broadcast. With the motto - "he is out of his mind fantasy writer, charms our kids to his weird ideas, himself is always simply preventively arrested for hours, while our children go to prizons for "attempt to over-turn state power" for 8 years. Hides behind the kids' backs, a coward."
    Because it's true, the sentences to the group members after every time they break into some governmental offices are 6 to 8 years, "attempt to over-turn power." Later on they always soften them to "2 years symbolically" (suspended sentence, depending on behaviour in freedom), but start from "8 in prizon" and send 15 year olds straight to prizon.

    Limonov replies he'd gladly be termed and sentenced and arrested like all the rest, but it's not his fault Kremlin never once lets him reach a protest destination. (Which is also a sad fact).

    I sympathise with their whole hopeless enterprise. He's a good writer, at least not boring, a liberal, and seems a nice man.

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  • 170. At 8:42pm on 11 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And, JR, leave the hope that there will ever be in Russia an "ideal" (from your point of view) opposition party under the banners, one would think you wish "Finland uber alles" or at least something like "Scandinavia is best and Russian dream" or even "Democracy is our banner". LOL.
    Groupings emerge as they can, and it's awful hard for all of them, without exception. Wood-pecking additionally from outside, as you do, shows only you aren't interested in our development but only in rack and ruin. I wouldn't be so demanding to any grass-root formations in Russia, in the flat political landscape as it is.

    I know Limonov's connections with Eurasia group at a time are a plague to you ("Russia again wants to be bigger aaahhh) but in fact, LOL, I am afraid I like the Eurasia group as well. Sea nothing wrong in their attempts to unite with Kazakhstan, esp. that it is Kazakhstan-led initiative, or, as min., a double mutual trend.

    There is hardly a newspaper without Kazakh president sitting in high grass steppe on the ground and addressing Russians with his ideas how lovely it'll be to be one common "Eurasia". He looks very picturesque in those pictures. Charms us with his glorifying of Lev Gumilev St. Pete Uni prof. writings (who wrote heaps of kilos on Asian quarters and went to many expeditions there), put him a huge monument in Kazakhstan, type - "see - there was a decent Russian once upon a time, an expert on Asian things and turks who loved our Southern quarters, and rightly understood our historical priority in the district and importance of tatars and mongols and turks for the Russia very formation."

    In Tatarstan I think there is a brand new bronze Gumulev statue as well. For both these places he symbolises a decent Russian in his right mind, understanding that Russians are half Asians.
    Fresh flowers to monuments, happy crowds and all, LOL.

    I am charmed by this Eurasia trend, if anything - from respect to Lev Gumilev's father, poet Nicolas Gumilev. It is indeed a powerful intrigueing, by means of the good old Russian poet, "in his name".

    But as Jukks, you are a desperate pragmatic, you'll never understand how can Kazakhstan and Russia unite in 2009, based on the poetry of 1909 as the justification enough. LOL!

    I love Gumilev-prof., to say nothing of

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  • 171. At 8:55pm on 11 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #154 WebAlice
    Well, I'm glad you are progression with the text processing. If you use the mouse to mark text you do not need the shift key.

    The centre-right parties in European politics have in various degrees adopted things from the Social Democrats, so that they now accept the tax funded well-fare state. It enables these parties to draw voters that would otherwise have voted Labour. The Social Democrats have also adopted quite a few centre-right ideas, and so there has been converging understandings of how to deal with the market and the state, in the way European understand both, even if the parties behave as if there are considerable discrepancies.

    The state has been very active in France, and here in Germany we have one of the most Social Democratic conservative you can find namely chancellor Merkel (who grew up in East Germany). Her notion of where to draw the line between market and state makes it very difficult for Labour, and internationally her government is a great force in the effort to get more control with the banking system just to mention another example. You can see more on this issue in the article today here on BBC.

    If you don't understand the convergence in European politics it becomes difficult to understand anything of it, and when you look at each European country you should focus on where and how the line between state and market is drawn. Should I mention a couple of the most important areas it would be education, labour market and health care.

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  • 172. At 9:31pm on 11 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #171 - Mathiasen

    Curious, is it not, that as the philosphical concept becomes less fashionable, the reality is that there is not a mainstream party in Europe which is not socialist in practice. Is there a single party of the broad centre which does not believe in universal healtch care, free education or some element of social housing? It would be ironic indeed if, having embraced these liberal social concepts, it's down fall came not as a result of a change of political philosophy but the fact that it is no longer affordable.

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  • 173. At 9:33pm on 11 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mathiasen, in Germany education and health care are definitely on the "state side" of the "line" as I understand.
    But what means "the labour market"? How can it be "on the state side", in any country, what can state do about it?

    So, there is smth, of what was explained to us, the state/market division matters something. Or, as they said "capitalism" versus "limiting it by state".
    But then you say the parties in each European country converged so much they share the understanding of proportion, within each country, so there aren't "more to the state"/"more to the market" divisions between parties. If I understood correct.
    Then the parties differ by what they exactly preach, like, focus of attention, for each one?

    (For understandable reasons I am afraid Russians share a disgust to dis-trust towards all parties, as a notion. That there can be any "good one" is a comparativey new idea, that we aren't accustomed to.)
    ______________

    Mavrelius, for the "rabid wolf", I prescribe you Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony. To be taken for the night. You might want to get equipped with a choc, for the first rial. I am no so heartless.

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  • 174. At 9:59pm on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Web Alice, I am very familiar with the Pathetique Symphony and that Tchaikowsky died about a week after the premiere. Was it suicide? I consider it one of his greatest works along with the fifth symphony, The first piano concerto, the violin concerto, and of course Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker. But it was the string quartet that made him world famous. When they played the andante cantabile, audiences all over the world demanded that they play it again and again and again. That one movement is what won him his fame. IMO he was the greatest of all Russian composers although not one of the big five.

    Interesting that Russian composers were inspired by warm climates. Tchaikowsky wrote the Capricio Italien and Rimsky-Korsakov wrote the Capricio Espagnol. Alexander the not so great would like to write about the ice age. That idea leaves me cold.

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  • 175. At 10:04pm on 11 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    JR, thank you of course for the links; I'll teach you how to read them.
    Example; we have this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8094583.stm

    ("Latvians see hope amid the gloom")

    Now, why is that, suddenly? :o)))))
    Easy; in their local elections has just won "United Latvia", whose electorate are traditionally pro-Russian. So they would, hopefully, stop finally say, dis-liking each other, have come to terms with the fact that a high proportion of Latvians are not worse for being ethnic Russians, will stop quarreling and will unitely do smth as a nation.

    Latvian-Russian nation.

    Naturally, smiles, high hopes, light at the end of the idiotic tunnel, I absolutely agree with the BBC. And 2 MEPs to the Euro parliament. Good beginning is half the battle :o))) and all.

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  • 176. At 10:39pm on 11 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Web Alice

    The light at the end of the tunnel....is the headlamp of an oncoming train.

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  • 177. At 00:37am on 12 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavrelius, instead of picking at Alex1658 you should be happy there is a real live composer in the blog, especially with your adoration of classical music. As far as I remember previously only threnodio and yourself were able to exchange symphonie numbers in any meaningful way.
    Sure I know you've only know two ways to "express yourself". Oh well at least one of them is symphonie numbers.
    (aren't we Russians way too allowing and kind indeed as was noted :o)

    LOL. on "ways to express yourself"
    "At school boys constantly bump on the head with heavy school suitcases full of text-books the most beautiful blond girls.

    And then, when they grow up, they strangely wonder... :o))))) (why these blond girls are so ... :o))))))

    No, no suicide, as far as I remember it was the famous so-called "glass of raw water" during tiphus? tiph? rash typhoid? times, drank by composer by mistake and break-neckingly here in St. Pete. Next street to where I was born, in a house in Tchaikovsky (naturally, since that) street. Composers are simply supposed to feel the death hour in advance and all, like all sensitive personalities.
    Infection! Brought from your favourite South! From Europe below 50-s latitude! And anything lying below the 50th is a very, very questionable habitat area for a northerner. No immune system response to those viruses and bacteria from those quaters - and you, Mavrelius - criminally advocate to the composers tropical islands and Swarzwald!

    If alex1658 is fit to Yorkshire - that's one to one climate to St. Pete (more or less). And if anything in Moscow - he can at least quickly retreat to usual habitat wide spaces and distances, winds and sea, lowlands and views and all. Sea view in Hull - one to one to St. Pete over Gulf, the same sky colours' play and same sky height. I wouldn't know the difference in the taste of the wind with the closed eyes.

    Apart from getting relaxed, lazy and melted out - what can you compose at a tropical island? And, with all respect, all those forests you've mentioned other are woods. Which forests in the other Europe? Used to be, but not much left. Mozart Fairy-tales of Vienna wood, :o) at max.

    Another thing is Russian inspirational forests; just a week ago we lost two 8-year olds on the edge of one minor forest, and since that 600 locals walk it, TV updates every hour that no success, a train goes through and trumpets to give the children a sense of direction, and the whole Ministry of Extraordinary Happenings is there with dogs, helicopters and all. Their school-teacher took 15 kids out for a walk, and on the edge of the forest at a meadow they decided to play "cossaks-high road robbers". Kind of "hide and seek".

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  • 178. At 00:49am on 12 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I've been once in the Carribean. Got the angle 2 steps down that ladder, from the airplane door. The whole crew tried to push me out then, onto the island. Then the whole airport tried to convince me to venture out and still stay there for week "since you've travelled that far". It ended up by airport authorities convoying me to the hotel in someone's car with the air conditioner, 3 hours after the airport became empty and was about to close. I put my head into the air-conditioner under the window, some rattling old metal thing, and crouched on the floor thinking "Mama! Where are you! Take me home!"
    Excellent place, LOL! Hardly survived.

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  • 179. At 01:18am on 12 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "...they decided to play "cossaks-high road robbers"."

    If I typed what we called it when I was a kid, my post would be deleted by the moderator for sure...if he knew what it meant :o)

    Some speculate that the last movement of the 6th symphony was Tchaikowsky's way of saying good-bye to the world.

    Don't know of any contemporary composer named Alex. Never heard of anything written by such a person. I only believe what I hear.

    There are other composers who were off in the forest. Dvorak was one. What about Richard Straus's Alpine Rhapsody? Grieg must have gotten some inspiration from the forests of Norway. There's lots more. I can't imagine anyone in his right mind running off to Russia to live like a hermit in a snowbound cottage on a mountain. It doesn't add up. I don't buy it.

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  • 180. At 02:04am on 12 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    threnodio wrote:
    #171 - Mathiasen
    "Curious, is it not, that as the philosphical concept becomes less fashionable, the reality is that there is not a mainstream party in Europe which is not socialist in practice."

    Curious indeed. Or to put the matter another way, there is no major political party in favour of small government. Nor in favour of strong local government, at the expense of large central government.

    Another curiosity is that there is no socialist party that advocates upon behalf of small business, rather than in favour of large corporations.

    I think this curious convergence of political agendum can be explained by looking closely at the evolution of the party itself, as an institution removed from ideology. If it can be said that institutions evolve as entities seeking to increase their power and longevity, this is perhaps not surprising.

    After all, a political party that advocates small government inevitably leaves itself with not much to offer those who seek large government contracts. Therefore, it is sensible to predict that a political party advocating small government, and for the rights of small family business, will find itself starved of campaign funds, relative to parties which seek to increase taxation and which therefore have huge revenues available to grant towards large business which sponsor them.

    My suspicion is that this evolution of the party system is inevitable unless constitutional safeguards are set in place to protect local governments from the overwhelming power of large central governments, and the large parties which end up controlling large central governments.

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  • 181. At 06:01am on 12 Jun 2009, PLANETLONDON wrote:

    The March of the right is based on winners and loosers in the migration game. The haves do not want to share with the have-nots. If this is what the EU has succeeded in creating, God alone knows what happens when there is more forced integration imposed by one super-state. Better to firewall ourselved from the eventual meltdown of this new USSR.

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  • 182. At 07:06am on 12 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #173 WebAlice
    I have much to do, so I shall keep it short: Generally the state is organising the health care systems in the European societies, but if you take a closer look at it, you will see that these systems are very complicated and difficult to compare. For instance the Danes and Germans (again) have the same goal with their systems and a comparable overall structure but none the less very different organised systems.

    Analogous with the health care the European state is much involved in supplying the society with manpower (the labour market). However once again it gets complicated if we make border-crossing comparisons, since the systems also here are different, sometimes very different. The same goes for education. You can consider what this means for a cooperation like the EU.
    The borders between the nation states within the EU are more than a line and a control post, and emigration politics is another aspect of this complex. It explains why the Polish plumber contributed crucially in France and Holland to the refusal of the proposed EU constitution.


    #172 Threnodio
    To me it is important that we can contemplate the convergence from both sides, and therefore I add to your observation that all mainstream parties are in practice also liberal (in the European sense of the word, of course).
    Obviously social technicians like economists and graduates of the various branches of political science, that is the architects of the systems I mentioned above, are much in demand in the European society. I indeed regret the extend of their influence, but can do nothing about it.
    Although I am happy I didn't end up in that branch, I from the perspective of relevance none the less regret that the journalism in this blog as well as in Dymonds articles clearly avoids these experts. I would prefer another balance. Less vox pop. More insight.

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  • 183. At 08:37am on 12 Jun 2009, Enuf_Zed wrote:

    Please don't lump all BNP and UKIP voters as 'un-educated white racists' - people vote Labour or Conservative because that is what they have always done, what their fathers did and they rarely look closely at their policies (or the results of them). People who have voted BNP or UKIP have looked at their policies and decided they like some of them.

    I normally vote conservative, but voted BNP this time in the Euro-elections because I am fed up with un-controlled immigration and the abuse of our hospitality by asylum seekers and economic migrants. I am horrified by the complete submersion of whole areas of the UK under alien cultures, the inability for anyone to be able to talk about it, the fact that anyone that does is immediately shouted down and called racist. I am sorry about the way that nationalism (love of ones country and its people) has now been turned into racsim by the loony left.

    The political pendulum has swung way too far to the left in the UK, we need to put some balance back into the system and the only way to do that is to have a balance and some 'democracy' back in our system, not an elected dictatorship which is all we have at the moment.

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  • 184. At 09:47am on 12 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #180 - democracythreat

    I agree with all of that. Having said it though, you do have the adavantage of living in a federal system which focuses much more on local considerations. Nothing focuses the minds of politicians more accutely than the possibility of being called to account at any time through direct democracy. Interesting also how easily the corporate mentality adapts to local pressure when forced to pay more than lip service. Yours system serves you well. At a time when the UK's constitutional arrangements are under the spotlight, they would do well to look at the Swiss model.

    By way of an aside, one of the key policies of Jobbik, the far right party here has been to confront head on the power of multinational retailers to dictate farm prices. One has to assume that the mainstream are so far up the back ends of these corporations that they fear to do so. It makes for very fertile political ground for parties we really ought not to be electing.

    #182 - Mathiasen

    ". . . therefore I add to your observation that all mainstream parties are in practice also liberal . . ."

    Yes, but post 7/7, the British government proposed some draconian new powers some of which have made it onto the statute books. The EU has chosen to follow them down the road of telephone and internet monitoring without judicial oversight. This is illiberal control freakery. I suspect you will see more of it in the future unless the broad mass of the population stands up to them. Governemts tend to take as much power as they are allowed to do and this is usually possible because of the complacency of the wider electorate. It does not receive enough attention. You should also consider democracythreat's well made point.

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  • 185. At 09:59am on 12 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #183 Enuf_Zed

    It's debatable whether a protest vote for ukip and the bnp will ever amount to anything, but if either group ever got any sort of serious influence in british politics, those 3,000 plus 'people control' laws that labour have passed since they got voted in would be a drop in the ocean, compared to what the bnp would do.

    We had a debate here not that long ago about population control for certain racial and ethnic 'groups', and those who postured that view got jumped on hard by others, being branded as racist, and worse. Bnp seems quite happy with the idea of culling.....

    Trying to stay objective, i can almost understand your perspective of dissatisfaction, giving the shocking decay in political and moral intelligence Labour have gleefully embraced since they got back in, but i'd venture here that the bnp, and to a lesser extent, ukip, would oversee a fairly rapid breakdown in british society, and welcome in a frightening period of complete anarchy.

    You'll remember no doubt a former president of the US proudly declaring "you're either with us, or against us", and with the bnp or ukip in charge, it's my view it would be even worse, if that's possible, with anyone daring to question the racist policies and ethnic cleansing being quietly dragged out of sight, never to be heard from again.
    (Read their manifesto. It more or less says no one will be allowed to get in the way of their "right" solutions for Britain. Black Bags, Finger Men, etc..... Anyone for a curfew or two?)

    "Remember, Remember, the 5th of November" may be a more productive public expression of dissatisfaction......

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  • 186. At 10:09am on 12 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #172 Threnodio

    #180 democracythreat

    Well said gentlemen.

    #184 Threnodio. Yes, the new statues are an even more dangerous precedent than those that went before. The UK seems to be ever closer to that point of no return, where the citizen is removed completely from the political process, and parties simply take it turn about to keep the whole insidious system running.

    I could probably find an old soviet manual for 'proper citzenship' somewhere here if they haven't all been destroyed, in case anyone in Britain needs a guide on how one should behave under such a system........

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  • 187. At 11:01am on 12 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    By the way, Marcus.

    I really can't be bothered to waste time scouring the internet but, from my own collection:

    Borodin, Aleksandr Porfirevich
    Glazunov, Aleksandr Konstantinovich
    Kanchelli, Giya Alexandrovich
    Skriabin, Aleksandr Nikolayevich
    Tcherpnin, Aleksandr
    Zemlinsky, Alexander von

    Now can we please forget it?

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  • 188. At 12:25pm on 12 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #184. threnodio
    I suppose I have been through more referenda on EU than any other nationalities within the EU. It is probably true to say that the Danes have discussed EU treaties more than other nationalities, and the enlightened approach speaks for more referenda.
    On the other hand the Danes have made the same experience as other nationalities: A number of voters are not answering the question they are asked, instead they make their own questions. It speaks for fewer referenda.

    Among the examples known in all Europe the most sharp scepticism if not distrust in decisions through a plebiscite can be found by Henrik Ibsen and Friedrich Nietzsche, but they are not alone. Already in 1848 some realised what this could lead to. The scepticism is the reason why the Danish constitution only one year later protected members of the parliament by the statement that they are only bound by their conscience. The German constitution repeated this 100 years later, and the German constitution does not allow for a referendum, as far as I can see from the quick search I have made. At least it is not mentioned as such.

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  • 189. At 12:33pm on 12 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

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

  • 190. At 12:39pm on 12 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    I just had a submission removed by the moderators because I quoted the full latin version of the "vox populi" source.

    Given that we are discussing the "insight" provided by experts, I find the irony acute.

    SPEAK ENGRISH!!!

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  • 191. At 12:54pm on 12 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #188 - Mathiasen

    I assume the reference to Ibsen relates to 'An Enemy of the People'. To be honest, I have not seen it for many years and the philosophical arguments elude me. Nietzsche is a problem for me. His notion of the uebermensch is very appealing in narrow cultural terms (even if his opponents would substitute 'elitist' for 'high' art). However, as a politicl thinker, his ideas are dangerous if only because they can easily be hijacked as they were by the National Socialists to justify something entirely different. While I am interested in the academic pursuit of philosophy, I question it's relevance to politics 'on the ground'. It is too easily subverted to corrupt ends.

    On the more general question of referenda, there is a danger that if you dislike them on the basis that governments are elected to make these decisions on our behalf, you run the risk of straying into the area of government being 'too important to be left to the people'. This too has its dangers. I notice that democracythreat is in the process of posting. He will be far more familiar with the effectiveness of direct democracy than I since he lives with it but I cannot fault it in principle.

    I am not sufficiently familiar with the German constitution to know whether there is any specific provision for referenda but I do know that it clearly defines sovereignty as being vested in the people so it would not be difficult to implement. Where it becomes a real problem is in systems which practice parliamentary sovereignty such as the UK. There are serious questions about implementation given that any outcome would presumably not be binding on parliament. In this case, one is tempted to ask what is the point?

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  • 192. At 12:59pm on 12 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #190 - democracythreat

    The virtues of a classical education are entirely lost on the 'red brick mob'. So, judging by the charcter sets used in this blog, is the existence of other living languages. Perhaps, after all, Nietzsche was right. Let's hear it for Superman!

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  • 193. At 2:50pm on 12 Jun 2009, krishnamurthi ramachandran wrote:

    These election results shows that, only born nationals and citizens of their country are welcome.
    I knew the reasons.
    From Historical and Economical point ov views,these short anger,frustration brings some gains to local leaders and rightists.
    But in the longer run, these national-local thoughts will not bring fruitful outcome.
    World is one. All are equal.
    Preference to their citizens,locals.

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  • 194. At 2:53pm on 12 Jun 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    Alice @178,

    Wow, I have been away for a while and have missed everybody's favourite Russia-bashing fest! And yet again you seem to be one against many. On one hand there is JR, who has a very neat theory about 'offensive and defensive military spending'- Russia's 58bln (3.9% of GPD) is offensive spending, whereas USA's 607bln (4.06%) is defensive (and here I do not count the other biggies in NATO-UK,Fr and GR, with whom the 'defensive' NATO budget gets to the staggering sum of 785bln). However, I must admit that in JR's shoes I also will feel threatened by Russia- it is not easy living close to and feeling superior towards a'backward'country, which with a mere 58bln succeeds to be the 'GREAT THREAT' requiring at least 4 other developed countries (plus the Finish army) with a military budget of 785bln to contain it.

    On the other, we have Named-erion, who by virtue of being Albanian, is understandbly against Russia and pro-US. Understandably, because the USA helped the Albanians to substitute the Serbian ethnic cleansing with one of their own in Kossovo, whereas Russia was the only country who dared oppose it. Luckily for him, the then POTUS WJ Clinton needed a convenient war to draw attention away from the famous blue dress, otherwise Erion and his fellow countrymen might still be waiting for their own countryin Kosovo, toghter with the Kurdish people in Turkey. However, we had better leave him alone, otherwise he might again start going on about the Great Albania, a country where only about 10 years ago the people stormed the army barracks, took away the guns and started a month-long shooting in the air. After that the guns found their way to the freedom-fighters in Kosovo. The Italians, who were at the brunt of the Albanian exodus and the crime-wave it brought were obliged to step in and restore order, but not before the Albanian gangs took over the drug and women-trafficking to Europe. Nevertheles, NATO judged Albania to be worthy of accession in the pact, however the EU has predictably been less forthcomming.

    Both JR and N-E seem only too ready to appear when there is some Russia-bashing to be done, but do not despair, Alice, you still have got friends. I am sure that even MAII is starting to feel really positively about Russia now, Russia having the same unenviable possition in the world's opinion as the USA currently has. As long as Russia 'kicks the cowardly Europeans on the backside', you could always rely on MAII to appreciate it :-)

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  • 195. At 3:37pm on 12 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #194 - Isenhorn

    Probably not the best time to remind MAII that the Russians are European then? :-)))

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  • 196. At 3:43pm on 12 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Isenhorn (194):

    Russia bashing?

    No. Making a note on what the reality is not bashing. If there is a problem then you have to notice it and then fix it. It is that simple. Making a note that Russia is an undemocratic country, with no respect for human rights, with no working market economy, with unstable system and society that are creating extremist groups and fast, that isn't bashing a country, that is describing what the reality is.

    In regards of my note about % of GDP put into the military expenditure I never said US military spending was defensive, it was your own mind putting those words into my mouth. If you look again at the paragraph, I said that those countries that put 3% of more of their GDP are either waging or preparing to wage, or are scared on being waged war against. Now where does the 3% magical line come from? Well simply because basic defensive capabilities eat certain amount of money and when you spend more than that, you are either spending too much of defence or are spending on offensive capabilities. Regardless of that, putting 4% of your GDP to armaments is just lunacy, the USA can barely pull it off because its position as hegemonic power and because being in control of oil and raw material resource trade via US dollar as the main reserve currency.

    In regards of Finland, no, noting that we have been in this country been doing things right quite a long time, doesn't make us superior, it makes as successful. If I would be saying that Russia or Russians can't never ever achieve working democracy, guaranteed human rights for everybody and fully working market economy, then I would be making a declaration of superiority, but I haven't done. Russia and Russians can form a successful state, but the current recipe isn't going to lead into that on the contrary it will lead into an even worse situation for Russia.

    PS. I entered the discussion in my message 116 to post to threnodio on on-going discussion about Russia and reminded him about the reality in the ground in Russia.

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  • 197. At 3:51pm on 12 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    In An Enemy of the People Ibsen confronts what we can call social medicine with money, interests, journalism and power in the democracy.

    1) In a city with a bath sanatorium a doctor carries out a survey. It shows that a tannery in the town is polluting the water and is making his patients sick.
    2) Politicians, journalists and citizens of the city agree that the state of things is unsatisfying. It must be changed.
    3) Gradually politicians, journalists and citizens then realise that it will cost positions, money, and jobs if the tannery is closed and taxes will be raised if people outside the town realise it is unhealthy to use the bath sanatorium. They start to oppose the doctor and his survey.
    4) He knows he says the truth but also that he is up against interests. He therefore declares himself an Enemy of the People and concludes that the solid majority is an opponent of truth and freedom.

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  • 198. At 3:54pm on 12 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #196 - Jukka_Rohila

    "No. Making a note on what the reality is not bashing. If there is a problem then you have to notice it and then fix it. It is that simple".

    So what exactly are you proposing to do about it? Invade them and impose your own enlightened system?

    Get real J_R. Russia is a global player, a massive potential market and a major energy source. Perhaps if we stopped giving them a hard time and started to treat them as one of us, they might see the vitues of our system.

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  • 199. At 3:56pm on 12 Jun 2009, garryastles wrote:

    I find it very odd that the BNP are grouped-in with the 'right'.Are they not 'National Socialists'?Would it not be fairer that the BBC make the distinction between such obvious statists and those on the 'right' that
    have a more libertarian perspective?

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  • 200. At 4:01pm on 12 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Isenhorn, thank you. No, I never feel alone here, in time or a little bit later :o)))) help always arrives in this gentlemanly club. We only need to "hold a day and a night to survive!".
    After all we are both so charming (Russia and me) :o))))))))))))))))))
    that there will never be lack of admirers.
    Russia has to be; LOL; to counter-balance er, some living, how to put it, minor life-threatening living in Russia aggravations! otherwise no one in his right mind :o)) you know

    I don't know how long will it last, but right at this moment I love Named-Erion and JR included. I love all! Since last 5 hours I was looking for the cat. starting from the trajectory down from the open window. 9th floor. to under all cars, crawling like a Red Indian in high grass, looking under bushes and lilack bushes, in rotten cellars of nearby houses, and resounding the near? abouts with the blood-curdling sounds... After which the desired object was located at 2 metres distance from where it was lost

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  • 201. At 4:21pm on 12 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio (198):

    No. What you are suggesting is only going to give Kremlin more confidence to play the same games over and over again that they have been doing to this date. No. What I suggest is that as long as there won't real democracy and real respect for human rights at minimum then Kremlin will be dealt as any other place in earth, no extra benefits, no special trade deals, no collective security arrangements, countermeasures applied when needed, in essence just being treated as any other state.

    You are also again playing up the age old mantra of Russia having huge potential markets, being an energy power, being a global power, etc... No.

    China and India have huge real and potential markets, Russia at whole represents same market size and market potential as 100 million Eastern-Central European in the EU.

    Energy, especially oil and also gas are fungible commodities. It doesn't matter who sells them to you, you are always going to pay the market price for them, i.e. if Russia would only sell oil and gas to China put not to Europe, the market price would remain the same as other sources would replace the Russian output. Russia as energy provider can only play up with Europe in regards of energy to a point that equals transfer costs of changing energy provider or replacing one energy source with another. In essence, energy isn't that big deal as it has been understood to be.

    Global power... no... Regional power.

    In essence, if Russia wants to be a partner for European countries and not just another country it has to do work for that, work that by the way does benefit it too: democracy, human rights and market economy belong to all people.

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  • 202. At 4:36pm on 12 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #201 - Jukka_Rohila

    So, just to be clear, you are prepared to ignore China's human rights record because you can't afford not to but you want to make an example of Russia. Yes?

    You see, you might think that is sensible but, where I come from, we call it dual standards.

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  • 203. At 4:51pm on 12 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Oh. Back to business.
    JR, you remind me of my Jolly Roger, when I try to explain him the concept of importance to stay under the trees, when we walk in rain.

    I show him the "tree", like, "see? alright?". He agrees.
    Then I explain him, pointing out, that above is the "sky" (impossible to explain), from where pours "rain" (total no-go)...
    In short, whole Jolly Ro reaction to my explanations is that he happily smiles, lifts his head up, and looks for a cat up in the tree branches. Further than "a cat, you mean, Alice, is up in there?" - we never proceed.

    I am sorry, Jukks, well in fact I am not.

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  • 204. At 4:59pm on 12 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio (202):

    Democracy and human rights shouldn't be forgotten when dealing with China either, but one billion people and counting is one billion people and counting. Now is it having double standards, yes of course, but we live in the real world and in real world we have to concentrate on being practical as that is all that we can afford. If you want to use the same standard on anything and everybody, either you end up having no standards at all or having no impact at all.

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  • 205. At 5:03pm on 12 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    isenhorn.

    May I remind you that in the 60-s Albania had no NATO or USA to protect it
    (as a matter of fact was in a state of war with both),yet managed to pull out of the Warsaw pact as it wished and pleased and kick the mighty USSR out of their mediteranian bases,in the process taking some of their sub-marines for themselves just so that they could scare the ... out of Serbia,Italy and others alike.
    Yes isenhorn,is like that,and dont be so sure that NATO intervened to help the Albanians,more then to help themselves,for they could not aford an armed conflict right in the heart of Europe.

    As for many Russians who went to fight Nato in Kosovo,I can sent you some links wich explain very well the fate that awaited them at the hands of the KLA.An fate wich they subsequently met.
    So as far as Russia-Albania thing is concerned,so far it has been a win win for the Albanians.

    And yes,now we are pro-American country (always been,it was the comunists that changed that for a period of time) and we are proud of that.Also we proudly proclaim to be one of the most pro-American countries in the world.Thats also to upset Europeans who dont like that fact,the ones that tried so hard in their media to discredit Bush's vissit in the country,where he came to a hero's welcome in Albania,while he was welcomed with protests all over Europe.

    And yes Albania is now a NATO member.So if russia or serbia think they can stirr up conflict in the balkans again,so that russia can mantain influence where it does not belong, they better think twice.

    And yes,Albania is probably the only country in Europe who does not depend even 1% on russian gas or petrol.Is has had problems with the energy sector but it has met all needs already and is planing hundreds of hydrocentrals,and some nuclear power plants to turn the country into a regional power on energy.

    And is also a democracy,and a country with some of the lowest statistics on criminality in Europe.

    Ciao

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  • 206. At 5:07pm on 12 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To WebAliceinwonderland (203):

    Jolly Rogers nor I haven't been made of sugar, little rain has never hurt nobody. However standing under a tree when it rains has cost many lives, usually rain is followed by thunder and thunder likes to strike on trees.

    And now my time is up as I have arrived to my destination, replies will be given in Sunday, if there is time.

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  • 207. At 5:31pm on 12 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #204 - Jukka_Rohila

    My point exactly. Golden rule of the playground - only bully the kid who won't hit you back, if you can't bully someone on your own form a gang and on no account pick a fight with the really big guy.

    Finland can do nothing about Russia on it's own so we will get the EU to do it with us. France and Britain don't worry Russia but NATO? Ah, that's different. So what do we do? We bicker about silly things that don't really matter. Bherezovsky, Lugovoy - anything in fact which gives us an excuse not to simply sit down and talk. It is up to the Russian people how they organise their society and it is their right to work out their own internal affairs.

    If Russia was using threatening behaviour towards us, causing major international upheaval, subverting western governments or whatever, that would be another matter. But to tell them they are bad people and they have to do things our way in neither just nor reasonable. Here in eastern Europe, we are marking 20 years of the restoration of democracy. Russia has had less than 18 years. Cut them some slack, will you?

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  • 208. At 5:42pm on 12 Jun 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    Yes, yes, named-erion, we know about the treatment of POW by the albanians in Kosovo. We know their fate, and the rest of the world knows it. Thank you for confirming that, otherwise somebody might have said that this is just propagandaaimed at discrediting the 'freedom-fighters' from the KLA.
    We also know about the crime rates in albania, the Italians were the first to experinece it first hand, now it is the turn of France, Germany, UK and Spain. We also know what happens to non-muslims in Kosovo and the fate of christian churches. The rest of Europe knows it as well, I can send you links with the accounts of EU troops, disgusted that they have been sent to protect a population adept at such barbaric acts. So please spare me your albanian propaganda. Keep your 'friedship' with the USA. It might keep you for a bit longer.

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  • 209. At 5:47pm on 12 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    So, Jukka_Rohila, you have confirmed your have elastic principles and find it practical to apply double standards. One standard you've got to measure "democracy" for Estonia, and "rights of the people", another - for China, third one - for Finland, fourth - for Russia, and further on along the 228 countries' list.

    BTW how about this?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8096925.stm

    Can it be that it's not only Russia cherishes ideas ab some ex-territories that are still "dependant"? It is.

    But for Britain you've got another measure. Those "territories", we will no doubt hear from you, were acquired by Queen Victoria in a democratic way unlike evil Russian "pan-slavism and pan-Orthodoxy" during Russian Empire times.

    Such approach may be "practical" for a Finn - namely to focus on the "defects" of the country that does not view you as worthy a kick back, or a country, from which the current block you are in is able/willing to protect you, and not touch those beyond your means of criticism and where it becomes too risky for you, or on who you are directly dependent.

    You don't focus on criticising:
    - your sponsors (the USA)
    - the ones with who you cast your lot together (whole EU)
    - don't get fixed on critisising the ones you are scared of (China)

    But find a strange pleasure in focusing on Russia's defects.
    And this is "bashing", make no mistake. Nothing "objective" has, how to say, ever spent a night in one bed with your "justifications".

    Un-democratic.
    No respect for human rights.
    No working market economy.
    Un-stable system.
    Society that is able to create extremists' groups.

    Oh really. In one sphere - democratic. In 10 others - democratic. In 2-3 - un-democratic. Total (Jukka's conclusion) : "Un-democratic country".

    And like that - with any of your "accusation".

    To say nothing, that in 5 minutes anyone in this blog will give you a list of well-known places where you can find defects in the systems fitting the same parameters.
    Whose society isn't able "to create extremist group"?
    No "working market system" - simply funny.

    But other names don't come up in your mind. Only "Russia, Russia, always Russia".

    I would be pleased that you can't take off your eyes from us. If these were friendly eyes. But it looks to me more like jealousy, jealous watching of every step, like an ex-spouse watching old partner and his "new love" , as it (rarely. we hope. ) happens.

    This "convenience/safety" approach of different measure-sticks has nothing to do with "principles". You are un-principled.

    What annoys me in your posts about Russia are not "lists of Russia's defects". I can live with that as I live with that LOL! and can come up myself any day with far more horrible awful aaah! type lists.
    At that, mine will be on the essence of the problems, while yours are,
    I am sorry, always look to me artificial and "sucked up from an empty bottle".

    What annoys me is your assumed stand on "I am highly moral and principled and can be a judge". The moment you corner you on morals you retreat to the corner like a snail withdraws its horns. It's ten times you've explained me already "I am no altruist", "this won't be to our benefit", "we had to make a choice to be practical".

    Whenever an issue of "Finnish interests" emerges - you are ready to send "morals and principles" straight down into the dust-bin.

    "Human rights" and "democracy" - you'll send marching to the dust-bin in exactly the same manner, if at one moment these will contradict your interests.

    "We have always been doing things right" means no "principles" and "morals". It is simply translated as "We have always been doing things right for us."
    vanish and go stra

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  • 210. At 5:54pm on 12 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #205 Named-Erion

    "And is also a democracy,and a country with some of the lowest statistics on criminality in Europe."

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1281816.stm


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  • 211. At 5:58pm on 12 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Mathiasen wrote:
    "In An Enemy of the People Ibsen confronts what we can call social medicine with money, interests, journalism and power in the democracy."

    I love Ibsen's work. He and Chekov both seem to me to represent the best of 19th century drama.

    But Ibsen was writing about the political structure within which he lived. He was not writing about all possible political structures. I would therefore caution about reading to much profound wisdom into his political commentary. I don't think even Ibsen was intending to say anything about the inherent limitations of the human condition.

    So often on this blog, we end up in a discussion about the political process that governs people, and whether this is an expression of the capabilities of the people themselves. Rarely do we entertain the notion that a political structure can beget a certain kind of citizen. Put more rudely, we tend to claim that people get the government they deserve, rather than claiming that liberty elevates the quality of the human spirit, just as surely as material wealth elevates the human corpus.

    So I do not dispute Ibsen's observations regarding the way his society reacted to concern for the general well being of the common people. But I dispute whether we can say that the political condition of his society was the limit of human social evolution.

    Indeed, the study of history, and literature, is largely the study of people struggling to improve the political conditions under which they live. Chekov and Ibsen were men who were moved to distraction by the way the accepted economy of their state degraded women and the poor. It was for this concern that they were so well loved in their own time.

    And so, if it was the fruit of Ibsen's life that the political system in Europe was improved by greater dialogue about women's rights and social welfare for the poor, it would be a great travesty to use Ibsen's writing as some kind of argument against the improvement of our own political system. We cannot point to Ibsen and say "This shows us why it is pointless to seek a more equitable society." That is to prove far too much with literature, and it is also a betrayal of the man Ibsen was, and the things he cared about.

    On this thread we see Jukka continue his crusade against the evil russians, and we also have an albanian speaking loudly about the worthlessness of Russian culture and political life. Both these individuals seek to demonize something remote, rather than to celebrate anything profound.

    We ought not do the same with Ibsen, Mathiasen. It is foolish, and pointless.

    I advocate for the process of direct democracy because I believe that people living under that political structure are elevated towards a greater degree of caring and respect for the fellows. If the process of direct democracy make theoretical sense, well that is wonderful news for the theorist. If it makes practical sense, based upon the actual experience of those who practice the art, then there seems to be a compelling case for further adoption of the process by enlightened folks.

    I do not see the point in debate that serves to glorify the "democracy" we enjoy in the west, least of all if that debate means demonizing other cultures and systems. As Europe slides into a form of central party rule that is alienating the common people and enriching the class divisions in society, i do not think we can afford to point at our "success" and sneer at the failure of the Russians.

    I agree that any advocate for a new system of political rule must go against the interests of the people, insofar as the people accept their current status quo. Sure, Ibsen has that issue by the throat.

    But insofar as the people of tomorrow might enjoy a higher level of intellectual life and material well being, the concerns of the people of today are not much more than dust on yesterdays wind. So if we accept change, and the possibility of a better tomorrow, then Ibsen is talking about the enemy of yesterday's people.

    And we can see that, when we look at the Jukka's of this world. Jukka speaks of Russia being un-democratic, when compared to Finland. He is convinced of this status quo, because he is looking backwards in time to the height of the cold war propaganda. That is dead thinking, based on a world that has already passed. Jukka is clutching at old understandings, and trying to justify what is imperfect in his own world by referencing his own past perceptions of evil.

    It is surely the height of delusion to imagine that we can make our present perfect by referencing our own fears.

    You may recall what Ibsen is said to have said on his death bed, when his nurse told a visitor that he was a little better. "On the contrary!", and then he died.

    Ibsen would have understood why the current EU is so rotten, and so useless for the people of Europe. It offers nothing new, nothing contrary to the accepted perfection of our political life. The EU is a celebration of the party, in an age of information where the party is now an obstacle to the direct rule of the people.

    It is time to let the party go the way of theocracy and the divine right of kings, to let it fade into history as a stepping stone on the path to a higher place.

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  • 212. At 6:02pm on 12 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Jukka-Rohila, while you walk around with a flexible "yard-stick" in hands, you fool yourself re the reality.

    Reality, LOL, (as a reminder) - is how things are. Whether you like the country or not.
    Nature resists lies. Nature can not, technically, lie (unlike the humans). A hot iron is hot, and when you heat iron it gets hot. You can stand over it and mumble for hours that "let me see? here on this thermometer... it's allright, but with that thermometer - wow, it's a difference."

    While you mumble over, the hot iron still is hot. By its own temperature, which has nothing to do with the amount of human words over.
    Fresh water will freeze at C zero. You can try talking it into not to.

    "Flexible yard-sticks" - that you play up with for different entities, in relation of how benefitial for you it might turn out - is exactly that "lunacy". A lunatic - can't ask that his words are taken seriously.

    Pity you haven't read "Master and Margaret", there is a phrase on this condition (it happens) as well. Namely, a group of , say, LOL, "tourists" stops over at a Moscow cafe in 1932, and asks for the menu and a trolley-table with dishes. The head of the group stares at a fish dish and asks what's that. The waitress tells him "That's sturgeon-flesh, 2nd freshness".

    The chap then says an immemorial phrase, "Sweetheart, there can't be a second freshness with a sturgeon. Remember forever - sturgeon has only one freshness - first and the last."

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  • 213. At 6:11pm on 12 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Named-Erion, your goodwill and generosity of spirit confirm what many of us have long suspected about the Grand nation of Albania.

    Despite the loss of such a crown jewel, I have no doubt that, somehow, the Ruskis will console themselves with Albania making its way in the world as america's best friend.

    The Serbs, however, might not be so easily reconciled with the loss of Kosovo.

    I had numerous episodes of very dark laughter when the BBC was reporting the creation of "INDEPENDENT KOSOVO". The stories were always combined with crowds waving the Albanian flag.

    Make no mistake, a backwards muslim country that overpopulates, spreads out into neighbouring regions and then allies with the USA to make war to seize territory from a Christian european state ...... this example resonates throughout Europe. Everybody can understand the situation.

    If you think Albanians are loved in America, you are a very simple man. Americans don;t even know what or where Albania is. They think it is a mis-spelling of Alabama. And if they knew that Albania was a muslim country that took territory from a christian country, they would probably call you a terrorist.

    Albania was the pawn of US foreign policy, and the friend of George Bush.

    I can think of more attractive resumes for states that want to take part in the future of Europe.

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  • 214. At 6:18pm on 12 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Juka Boxa #201;

    "Energy, especially oil and also gas are fungible commodities. It doesn't matter who sells them to you, you are always going to pay the market price for them, i.e. if Russia would only sell oil and gas to China put not to Europe, the market price would remain the same as other sources would replace the Russian output."

    This is true up to a point. The problem for Europe is that alternate sources which means delivery from sea going oil tankers and LNG ships cannot come close to making up for the shortfall cutoff of Russian supplies would have for Europe because they don't have the port, storage, or distribution facilities. This would take a great deal of money and time to build. So the theory is correct but in practical terms it isn't true. Russia has its boot on Europe's throat and both Europe and Russia know it.

    I saw Charlie Rose interview one of my all time favorite Soviet era liars who is now working just as hard for the Russian government and doing a brilliant job of misinformation, deception, and the same old "we want to be your friend" line going back many decades and that is Vitaly Churkin. Now white haired and a lot heavier than his early appearances around 30 years ago on American TV and even testifying before Congressional committees, he's one of their best. On everything from the middle east, Iran, nuclear weapons negotiations, he lied through his teeth and Rose seemed to just let him spew on. This is why Rose is the best interviewer, he doesn't debate his guests, he merely elicits from them what they have to offer, the story they want to tell the world to portray themselves. It's up to the viewer to be informed and make up his own mind. Far superior BTW to BBC's method. If I ever shook hands with Churkin, I'd immediately count my fingers to be certain that they were all still there. He could knife you in the back and you'd never feel the blade going in. My other favorites were Vladimir Posner and Yuri Arbitov who is undoubtedly dead by now. Arbitov was the perfect cure for insomnia. I wonder how those politburo members managed to stay awake through his speeches. If they fell asleep, were they taken out and shot? What if you fell asleep during one of Stalin's speeches? Those guys were famous for speeches that could go on for hours and hours and hours.

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  • 215. At 6:24pm on 12 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    Isenhorn
    May i remind you that there is a sizeble christian albanian community in Kosovo and nothing has ever happened to them,unless they where near Serbs.
    Also most Albs dont have religious identity but national and ethnic one,be they muslims or christians.Albanians see this only as ethnic conflict and dont give a damn how serbia sees it,or russia.

    Alex
    AN bbc aticle from 2001 is hardly credible for the current situation ,dont you think?

    More credible are statistics,find them and bring them.

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  • 216. At 6:51pm on 12 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #215 Named-Erion

    "AN bbc aticle from 2001 is hardly credible for the current situation ,dont you think?"

    http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2008/105387.htm

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  • 217. At 7:08pm on 12 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #205 Named-Erion

    "And is also a democracy,and a country with some of the lowest statistics on criminality in Europe."

    http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=12754

    http://www.eparhija-prizren.com/defaultE.asp?s=vesti&idvestep=3656

    The last one from your own diocese.....

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  • 218. At 7:19pm on 12 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Named-Erion, you are really lifting the tone of the debate by educating everybody for make benefit glorious nation of Albania.

    We understand that everything associated with the albanian flag is pure and righteous, and that everything the serbs ever did was wicked and evil.

    Do you have anything to add towards anything else?

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  • 219. At 9:06pm on 12 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    democracythreat.
    Yes I have already done.I have participated in the topic that has been put foward,is not me who went out of topic,and is not me who invited you or your other compatriots who sudenly apeared as soon as mother russia was mentioned into the debate.


    alex

    Albania has problems with organised crime,and I am not gona suport the people involved in it,I hope they are all cought and imprisoned,whoever is involved in crime.
    But this crime is mostly concentrated out of Albania not in Albania.I said that Albania is a democracy and it has very low criminality,if it was not true I would not say it,because I really dont give a damn.
    It has problems with prostitution and traficking from the poor areas but it has very low number of roberies and theft,and quite a low murder rate.

    That does not change anything about what we said about russia.
    You have not given answer to what I questioned you about life in russia.
    And I dont want your answer now since I can see we never gona have a constructive debate together anyway.
    Better stick to the topic,I am not gona agree with you and you not gona agree with me.

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  • 220. At 9:28pm on 12 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    again! "referred to the moderators" (democracythreat and Mavrelius)

    unless it's an offence of the 1st degree type we haven't yet seen in these blogs (and I can't think of a single thing we haven't... :o)

    it is very un-fair and un-elegant to refer to moderators' help when you dis-like what is said, especially that such a deed is anonimous.

    Even in the depth of the Georgian-Russian "war" back last autumn as far as I remember, neither the Georgian girl nor myself referred each other to the mods.
    (Though hair stands up remembering what we've said to each other).
    ______________

    alex1658, do not worry though I am sure you don't that Mavrelius can't come to terms with your name existence, and the very fact of yur existence in Russia. This will simply take time :o))))))
    As far as I remember, from the last Sep approx. on Mavrelius flat refused to believe I can be anything close to an Alice and insisted instead that I am "Nanochka". And see, just half a year later (though I don't rule out possibility of recurring outbreaks)... :o))))

    MA, it is a little bit ,how to say, not correct, to say that alex1658 had opted for a log cabin in wilderness. Opinions differ about Moscow, and I am always ready to add a couple of words (as a Petersburger)...
    but still :o))))

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  • 221. At 9:42pm on 12 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #219 Named-Erion

    "But this crime is mostly concentrated out of Albania not in Albania.I said that Albania is a democracy and it has very low criminality,if it was not true I would not say it,because I really dont give a damn.
    It has problems with prostitution and traficking from the poor areas but it has very low number of roberies and theft,and quite a low murder rate."

    After what i've just read in the links i posted, and the masses more like it, i'm not surprised you might have a slightly lower crime rate in Albania itself. Crime seems to be the country's biggest export, and given the nature of the information i've read, Albanian criminals make the Russian and Italian mafia look like.....kindergarden teachers.

    So yes, probably best to stick to the topic. Interesting to note, and directly related to far right political parties, including those involved in fascism, Albania has a murky history here too, with, just for one example, the Skenderbeg.

    It's certainly opened my eyes to what's actually going on, and who's involved.

    I don't think you should mention human rights anymore either....

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  • 222. At 9:48pm on 12 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #220 WebAliceinwonderland

    I'm not worried at all. My post clearly stated i was living in Moscow, so what else can one do, when dealing with such clumsy assumptions ?

    I look forward to visiting Saint Pete's some time later in the year, and enjoying the sights, including concerts, and suchlike.
    And i promise i won't bring a Muscovite's perception with me :)

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  • 223. At 10:02pm on 12 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Web Alice, Alex wouldn't be the first Russian who didn't exactly represent himself (or herself) accurately here. I recall someone bragging about a dacha and as I recall, I even offered jokingly that if I were in the area, I'd bring the Champagne if this someone brought the caviar. I made it clear that I am strictly a Beluga man and would not waste my taste buds on Servuga or Ossetia. Then I learn that this so called dacha is nothing more than a broken down shack that would cost more to repair than it's worth and that the owner really lives on the 9th floor in a small apartment in Stalingrad. So much for Nanotchkas. BTW, it should have been Ninotchka. As I told you, it was a little joke about the movie of the same name in which Fred Astaire played the lead male role. Anyway, your chariot has turned back into a pumpkin, your gown back into an ordinary frock, and everything is as it was. So when a guy named Alex tells me he's from Britain, loves walking the "safe" streets of Moscow (not what the Western press would have us believe) and he wants to live in some remote snowed in house on a mountain top in Russia for inspiration to write music, I figure he's probably just an ordinary Russian living a few doors down from your apartment or some place just like it daydreaming on line. Sorry if I burst too many bubbles. That's me, the little old bubble burster.

    BTW, it's not my fault if the KGBBC deletes my postings. If they don't want me to share the benefits of my observations and views based on a lifetime of experience, that's your loss, not mine. If you don't like it, you can complain to them. Me, I'm perfectly happy if other people read my posts that get published or pass them by. This is no more than an amusement for all of us.

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  • 224. At 11:25pm on 12 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavrelius, hopeless. The very concept of dacha is you don't live in it. Well, 9 months of the year. I try to delay the happy encounter to the last moment. So far the short list LOL that separates me and it is:
    18 m2 of linoleum to the veranda
    new fridge
    1 new divan
    1 more electric radiator
    When it's bought and delivered I don't think I'll be able to invent anything else :o( I've bought lots of extraordinary useful objects already in the past 2 weeks. Oh one new latch to the gates.
    So far I cruise back and forward, trim grass and paint the same very wall (3 layers already).
    But then of course neither me nor dacha don't even exist in your exisential world so what am I, really

    BTW, on the "safe streets of Moscow in which you don't believe either". Yest I went to the shopping mall, let me see, at 3:15. Now it's 2:24, temperatures became human, +19 C, so I think I'll have a walk as I need one more mop to the dacha. And a tin of dog food.
    As to the "safe" streets of Moscow

    _______________

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  • 225. At 11:39pm on 12 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    BTW, how is it, with the dacha in your New Jersey, where you have to live? :o))) Not being able to run away to civilisation?
    Mine is performing well. I took already the first crop of narcissus, a whole field behind the house, the next crop in lilac I skipped, as there is more than enough (white, normal and Persian if you know what it is :o))))) around my 9th floor, St. Petersburg used to be the green-est capital of the world's big cities. Now all my vases are full of dacha crop of lilly of the valley. Apple trees look definitely like they are about to bloom, both around the city apartment and in the dacha, and the cherry is in full bloom in the dacha since last week.

    I hope you've got, some er? feather grass , may be :o))) in your how to put it, New Jersey

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  • 226. At 11:49pm on 12 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    With regards to Serbia.

    I think I saw an interesting curve, on the Gazprom map. Along the normally straight Gazprom lines; this one going to Italy.

    Now, so far Gazprom has not been noticed in guarding its tubes...
    Even the tube to and most importantly, through Georgia was neglected before, during and after the war. Even that something always strangely happens to that leg of the tube, leaving Armenia without gas.
    Never Georgia itself, not for ah nour. All "technical troubles" suddenly arise post the Georgia-feeding station.
    Say, a sort of a system of checks applied on the firmness of Armenian-Russian friendship.

    But something tells me that very interesting additional curve will become the first and the last very very protected kind of equipment.

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  • 227. At 01:04am on 13 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Alice;
    I've got three acres of grass. And did I ever have a problem. My landscape contractor came too often to cut it so we had a disagreement and it didn't get cut for 3 weeks until I hired a new one. These were the worst 3 weeks of the year for not cutting grass. Between the sun and the rain it grew 2 feet tall (about 65 cm.) Both dogs got lost in it, you couldn't see them and they are quite large, 100 lbs (45 kg) and 161 lbs (73 kg). Not feather grass, but some Kentucky blue, wheat grass and a few others. It's all cut down now. You can have the hay for free if you want it. Just come and get it :o) We are not permitted on this property to own a horse.

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  • 228. At 02:20am on 13 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I knew you are a Mongolian; grass and horses primary concern. Chinghiz-Mavrelius sitting in the steppe.
    Nightingales here, white nights, and a suspicious white fog lay on the grass. Must be tomorrow will be awfull hot again.

    Do you still feel well, having read the links alex1658 had posted, on the way you provided for peace and safety in the region? On-going peace and on-going safety; 11 years is it? Because make no mistake the USA rudely interfered and are accountable directly, from the moment NATO bombed Belgrade, till this very day. In Russia the expression is "to roof", "to provide the roof".
    If the USA (and the EU) were more interested in the European history, someone could have leafed some books, may be, on the length of the Kosovo being the hot spot, disputed land, btw Albania and Serbia.

    I understand 900 years of shifting the piece of land back and forward is a long read; well someone then could have checked the name of the last predecessor, who awarded Kosovo to Albania. Whose foot-prints, so to say, this NATO expedition was to fill in.

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  • 229. At 06:43am on 13 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Web Alice

    I don't care about Serbia or Kosovo. I don't think most Brits would either. I don't care what happend 900 years ago. Russians on the other hand seem to care a lot. (If I were Russian, I'd be far more interested in what is happeing in Russia today that affected me.) I don't know why Russians care about Serbia but they do. They feel some kind of kinship. I don't feel any kinship to Brits or people in any other foreign country. I did not look at Alex's links. America would not have gotten involved in Kosovo except the Western Europeans begged Clinton to make the killing of the Kosovars stop any way he could. It was hotly debated in Congress. The Republicans opposed getting involved but the Democrats had a majority in 1999. The Europeans were the ones who told the US to use military force. You'll notice France and Germany weren't worried about UN resolutions then. They never would have gotten one and they knew it. Russia and China would have vetoed any resolution authorizing military force in the Security Council if one had been proposed. The only advantage from the US perspective was to prevent Europe from re-fighting WWI. That would have been interesting. IMO WWI only ended because the participants were exhausted. The issues were never resolved and WWII and the cold war just bottled them up for another day. Greece and Turkey were on the verge of going to war. Europe was sickened by seeing the evidence of Serbian genocide on their TVs every night. They were sickened by their impotence in their paralysis in Srebrenica. I've said time and again Europeans are no damned good and that just proved it in a way even they couldn't deny. What hypocrites. No UN resolution needed to attack Serbia but all hell broke lose after 17 resolutions conemning Iraq for violating the cease fire because the US didn't get an 18th.

    It's been around 80 degrees F (27 C) during the days, about 60 F (16 C) at night. Kind of cloudy most days, some rain, at times heavy. I wouldn't mind this kind of weather all summer long. It would cut down on my electric bill.

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  • 230. At 09:16am on 13 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    You know, Marcus, it makes me sad to learn that others are cutting your grass. It is even worse that the state does not permit you to have a horse. I thought you guys lived in the land of the free? How can you shoot the bad guys in the black hats if you ain't got yer horse?

    And one more thing.... I was brought up to never trust a man who knew the weight of his dog to the pound. But in your case, on account of your established good character, I will make an exception.

    I understand a person is permitted to own horses in Canada. Eh.

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  • 231. At 09:43am on 13 Jun 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    Alex1658 @221,

    Welcome to the world of n-e. He has those funny little ideas of his about the Great Albania, that even the EU shared at some point. Now, faced with the glorious exploits of the albanian 'refugees' in Europe, the fate of everything not-albanian in Kosovo and the need for ever-incresing EU funding to support the new country Kosovo, (with its biggest exports being scrap metals and crime) the public opinion is bound to change. It must tell you something if the POTUS GWBush was only received with ovations in Pristina and nowhere else. However, as we can seen President Obama and the EU heads of states have not exactly been flocking to congratulate the albanians for their 'hard-fought victory'.

    So lets leave him in his fairy-tale world where Albania is great and with low crime rates. At least that will keep him from his other favourite topic- the greatness of the Otoman empire, which 'cared for its citizens'. That was something he was propagating in a different post not so-long ago.

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  • 232. At 11:35am on 13 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    isenhorn.

    You should know that lies wont bring you glory.
    Most of European countries suport the indipendence of Kosovo,and the most powerfull of them do so aswell.President Obama has expressed his suport for the indipendence,and has not moved an inch from Bush's policy with regards to that.

    Lets say that Albania is small insignificant,which to an extent is true to many,including you,and that is full of crime.
    Two things though stand,that with regard to Russia is much much better,and that it does not have problems with nationalists and racists,because it does not even have a nationalist party,or a racist party,like the ones you find all over europe.

    And whoever spoke about the greattness of the Ottoman empire which cared for its citizins?
    Ottoman empire is my favorite topic?? Man,whats wrong with you?Have you had a bottle of vodka just to start your day with?
    Where did you pick that up?

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  • 233. At 12:19pm on 13 Jun 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

    Lets see how this murder rates compare between the countries,while Russia is 5-th in the world.

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita

    Lets see this rape rates and where russia stands .

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap-crime-rapes

    Now the most corupt in 2008.Russia is 147-th country in the list of less corupt countries acording to transparency int.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/crimes/28-05-2007/92265-russian_skinhead-0

    Thats your russia,one of the most corupt,highest levels of crime,highest levels of racism in the world,one of the most unsafe countries to live in.

    I could go on if you want,there is no end to the lists that put russia in the worst categories just about everything.

    I really dont wish to continue with you,since I dont have so much time to spend in this blog,so lets leave it at that.

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  • 234. At 12:29pm on 13 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #232 Named-Erion

    "Two things though stand,that with regard to Russia is much much better,and that it does not have problems with nationalists and racists,because it does not even have a nationalist party,or a racist party,like the ones you find all over europe."

    I doubt the BBC will let me post the myriad of links i found researching this, as some are blunt in their descriptions, but as a summary, nationalism is at the very heart of Albania, and the constant pursuit to eject hundreds of thousands of people in the pursuit of a "Greater Albania". Quite a few sites point out that the KLA, itself borne out of the ashes of the Albanian Nazi movement, is hand in glove with not only the Albanian mafia, but the Albanian government as well. Worse than that, The then US secretary of State, Madeleine Allbright issued a stark warning in the US congress, and to the leaders in Albania at the time, that the criminal activity, and nationalist pursuit, torture, murder, and expulsion of non-Albanian human beings was being carried out at an unacceptable rate in Kosovo, under NATO and KFOR's nose, by Albanian Nationalists imported from Albania itself.

    A quick browse by those interested in this will reveal much.

    So it's quite unacceptable and an exercise in blind hyprocrisy to clumsily point the finger at Russia, in regards to Nationalism, when your entire country, history, and current brutal, and fascist, criminal organisation throughout Europe and beyond is geared towards that precise purpose.

    After what i've just read, I'm even more enthusiastic about Russia's bright future, and it's current democratic credentials. At just 18 years, it's doing really well! :)

    Like human rights n-r, perhaps you should leave this one alone too.........

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  • 235. At 12:39pm on 13 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #231 Isenhorn

    Yep, i got the picture. Not wasting anymore time on this albanian nonsense.

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  • 236. At 1:48pm on 13 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    alex1658, 18 year-old Russia is a new angle for me, looking from the inside :o))) but , as a matter of fact, it can be kind of inspiring

    Russia is a "mother", we definietly view the country as "she", and with the female endings in the language. Now, as any female, it might be tempted to "start again", forget the age, be seen as an 18-year old is a great selling point!!! Pity nobody made the stress on that interesting proposal to Russians earlier, I mean, may be you view us as "they began anew" - but we didn't know. (I always thought Western propaganda is weak and working on wrong issues :o)))

    What was Voice of America thinking about broadcasting here - hell only knows. BTW I think they stopped, couple of years ago. Either decided it's hopeless or that they won, you never know with Americans, one or the other :o))))))))

    As a matter of fact. Yeltsin must have had similar ideas, he instituted Russia's birthday, "Independence Day" a la American's 4th of July. Planned it to be a holiday, added a day off in the calendar, 12 June (yesterday) and we have it since that.
    Must say that for the first about 10 years nobody got the angle. Which independence? From who? Does the president mean to celebrate that all ran away from us? Another Kremlin madness and all. But as time passed we slowly began to see the advantages in keeping money to ourselves instead of spreading them at a vast sandwich, besids, some places (not all) seen as "losses" LOL definitely began to be sometimes viewed (on even days - viewed. on odd days - still not) - not as "losses" but as "good riddance" :o))))))

    Yesterday I saw for the first time the Russia's flag perched up on the TV tower in Moscow, nobody even thought before of flag-waving on the "birthday day", and surprise surprise some crowds gathered below cheered something. So may be Yeltsin wasn't so mad when eager to stamp "new beginnings" (against the population resistence) we will see.

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  • 237. At 2:32pm on 13 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Albania is a hard nut. I looked up "The Great Soviet Encycolopaedia", and "Brokhaus and Ewfron" (Tsar time Russian encycopaedia), both.
    Throughout 900 yrs, if anything they don't like - they climb up into native mountains, hedgehog out in needles against all influence and you can't take them. And they know it. Chechnya kind of case in terms of terrain difficulties and a very isolationist mind-set, as practiced and had always worked for them. This transportation hub, both as narcotics and people's trade, is not to the level that various "peaceful monitors" can handle. At max - they'd be able to do something on the ground, I mean, flat ground. But I don't know if their orderd are such, I think that may be not. Simply - to prevent open day-time violence.

    The only thing that can be of help and comes to my mind is the borderline dogs' school at nearby Moscow. Which "graduates" go to work at Russia's borderlines in mountains in interesting places. One dog works 8 years and nothing has been invented so far to replace a dog's nose.
    And mountain horses' school "graduates".
    But then, last months of study each is trained for a personal master, as they'd depend on each other in life and service, so I am afraid both kinds of "equipment" come with Russians. Unless of course Russian-EU co-operation reaches new heights and the EU monitors would go to the training schools at nearby Moscow.

    :o) a great incentive - you can keep your dog when you retire from service, but it will cost you a round sum of purchase the same breed of a pup and covering the cost of his/her education.

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  • 238. At 4:07pm on 13 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Alex;

    "So it's quite unacceptable and an exercise in blind hyprocrisy to clumsily point the finger at Russia, in regards to Nationalism, when your entire country, history, and current brutal, and fascist, criminal organisation throughout Europe and beyond is geared towards that precise purpose."

    Fee, fie, foe, fum, I don't smell the blood of an Englishman here. Nope, smells more like the blood of ......a RUSSIAN! Dummmm....ta ta, ta ta, ta ta tah, ta ta ta dummmm....Peter...and the Wolf. Alex....are you a wolf? By the way, in your statement above...I fully agree with you. Just try getting them to admit it though. It's just one reason I detest them.

    Speaking of wolves, threat to democracy, the first thing a vet does around here when you bring it in for an exam is to weigh it on a digital scale. Since my dogs recently got their periodic rabies shots, I know exactly how much they weigh. No I don't weight them myself. Ever try weighing a 161 pound dog or even a 100 pound dog on a home bathroom scale? It's IMP----ossible.

    Web Alice #236;

    "Russia is a "mother""

    I'll agree with that. Perhaps one day you'll know what that means in American vernacular slang. It's unprintable here.

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  • 239. At 4:50pm on 13 Jun 2009, WHUamI wrote:

    #80,

    Just had a quick look at your post claiming that you are Americans "first" - so, are you an Italian-American, Irish-American, African-American or what other kind of '____- American, haha?!

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  • 240. At 4:50pm on 13 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #238 MA

    Hehe, i've had the pleasure of studying dear Sergei's scores and notes in Lenin's library for the last couple of years, so the joke's appropriate, and well timed.

    "Since my dogs recently got their periodic rabies shots, I know exactly how much they weigh."

    I gather this is so they don't foam at the mouth if you bite them.

    Bada-boom. :)

    "Web Alice #236;

    "Russia is a "mother""

    I'll agree with that. Perhaps one day you'll know what that means in American vernacular slang. It's unprintable here."

    I'm NOT translating that for dear Alice under any circumstance.

    She's a lady, and i'm rather old fashioned.

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  • 241. At 4:55pm on 13 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #238 - MarcusAureliusII

    Oh you still have rabies over there? How quaint!

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  • 242. At 5:49pm on 13 Jun 2009, WHUamI wrote:

    #205,

    You go on about how pro-American you are in Albania & then mention that yu have some of the lowest crime figures around - funny how the ex-president Bush had his watch stolen from a crowd on a trip to Albania (if I'm not mistaken) - how's that for gratitude!

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  • 243. At 7:11pm on 13 Jun 2009, Mike K wrote:

    There are three votes in out household, as we gave one to Greens, Lib Dems and UKIP.

    The last surprised myself, but UKIP do examine law from a citizens perpsective. Specifically they voted down the Telecoms package on May 6th which we hope will get a third reading to remove the net discrimination clauses - more detail here http://broadbandbritain.spaces.live.com/blog/.

    It is really up to us voters to get the BNP out next time. There are also very pro-industry tories who need to be voted out, even if by single issues parties such as that which gave rise to the Pirate Party in Sweeden..

    I would encourage the BBC to report more the antics of the MEPs at the committee stage. There is little or not scrutiny of their behaviour.

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  • 244. At 7:26pm on 13 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Alex

    I think it was interesting that Prokofiev scored the French horns to portray the wolf. Usually it's used to sound the call to the hunt. The minor key makes them sound sinister. Beethoven wrote fantastic hunting calls for French horns in several of his symphonies.

    My dogs salivate at the ring of the dinner bell and at the scent of musical composers, especially those with the odor of vodka and caviar on their breath. Between the two of them, they could easily polish one off for lunch and have room left over for desert.

    Threnodious, it is manditory that dogs in all jurisdictions in the US be registered, get their rabies shots and other required innoculations such as for distemper. The US is not entirely paved over like some other countries and there are wild animals in some places that can carry rabies. It's rare that domestic animals or humans get infected with rabies but it could happen so we don't take chances. Raccoons and skunks are probably the most common risks near human habitats. We do not require foreigners who visit our shores to show proof that they have been innoculated against rabies even though it was Noel Coward who said that "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun." Perhaps we are taking too great a risk after all.

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  • 245. At 7:37pm on 13 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Marcus, are you familiar with the concept of language envy?

    I have a grand theory about it, as I do with most things. Ergo, the English and the Ruskis are insufferable cultural snobs, because so many folks have published great works in languages which bear their names.

    The French are consumed by language envy TYPE 1, in which the afflicted share the outrage of neglect. So with type 1 language envy, the folks who speak the language are outraged that their grand culture has not made its mark on the world, in linguistic terms. This is usually because they lost wars at crucial times, and more specifically neglected their maritime policy.

    So type 1 language envy is found in the french, the germans, and a minor extent with the spanish. The Spanish are consoled by south and central america.

    Now type 2 language envy is where a very small nation loses its language completely due to colonization, and therefore has to make one up, in order to continue the fires of nationalistic patriotism in their culture. So here you have the recent fabrications of hebrew, lithuanian in the roman script, Latvian, Welsh and so on.

    Type 3 language envy is where a culture inherits the language of another culture, but then exceeds that culture in power and world influence, or at least grows to a size whereby it competes with the original culture. The envy here is based upon a lack of real identity, a lack of long term heritage. In this category you find the USA. You can also see the same envy in Ukraine, and various arab states such as Iraq.

    Of the three types of language envy, I think type 1 is the most shameful, type 2 is the most ridiculous, and type 3 is the most painful.

    With type 1 language envy, folks can sit around and get drunk, whilst telling stories about what might have been, if god had turned up for work. Type 2 language envy is basically a fight for survival in the cultural world. It is a private affair, because by definition, nobody else cares.

    But type 3 language envy is the saddest and most painful condition. It drives folks to distraction, because it is a constant reminder that history is long, and glory is short.

    See, no matter how much Americans achieve or how hard they thump their breasts and wave their flags, the Russians will always look at you as the recent by-products of a rouge robber barony. Americans will always be naughty englishmen, lost children seeking a cultural home in the world.

    Even the french can agree that a culture is nothing, nothing at all, until you have a King deposed by a bloodthirsty revolution. Ask the chinese, the germans, the ruskis, the english or any other legitimate nation.

    Until you have a king who get his head chopped off by revolutionaries, you are but a toy culture, an infant on the world stage.

    This, I believe is the source of America's pain and outrage at the rest of the world. This is why you are the way you are.

    Schade.

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  • 246. At 7:57pm on 13 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threat to democracy, eating all that Swiss cheese has left some holes in your brain.

    "Type 3 language envy is where a culture inherits the language of another culture, but then exceeds that culture in power and world influence, or at least grows to a size whereby it competes with the original culture. The envy here is based upon a lack of real identity, a lack of long term heritage. In this category you find the USA."

    Europeans value "heritage" because that's all they've got. As I've posted elsewhere, the difference between America and the rest of the world is that all other countries depend for their identiy on a shared cultural heritage, a shared history. Only America depends exclusively on shared values. Yes we find the beginnings of the United States from its earliest pre European colonial times interesting and we also are interested by artifacts left from earlier generations but don't kid yourself, we don't place the kind of value on them Europeans place on theirs. What's more, our American language variant of English is far richer than yours having borrowed words from every other culture and language in the world. This was the result of migrations of large numbers of people from every corner of the globe plus our own inventiveness with words just as were are the most inventive nation in every other regard. If you can get a copy of Alistair Cooke's series on the evolution and variants of the English language in its various forms, I think you'll find it interesting. I enjoyed it when it was aired on BBC probably about 10 or 15 years or so ago.

    BTW, all homo sapiens share the roots of their origin back to the same point of evolution. You might consider that when you think about heritage. While my ancestors may not have stayed in one place for hundreds or thousands of years, and while I don't know their names, who they were or what their lives were about, ultimately they branch from the same place and people yours and everyone elses does.

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  • 247. At 9:46pm on 13 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "While my ancestors may not have stayed in one place for hundreds or thousands of years, and while I don't know their names, who they were or what their lives were about, ultimately they branch from the same place and people yours and everyone elses does."

    Absolutely.

    And hence, you know, my disgust when you wrap yourself in a flag and call it doodle dandy.

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  • 248. At 9:58pm on 13 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavrelius, I glanced through the notes. 1. Don't know anything you wanted to say and don't want to know. We in St. Petersburg Nicolas the 2nd , and all, don't understand the slang of the black staircase.
    BTW just thought I don't know how old is America? Older than St. Petersburg or same age, do you mark birthdays' amount on July 4th?
    I think I've got somewhere old pile of "Niva" literature magazine binded, Niva means a field of wheat growing, but is usually used in the other meaning, education growth, field of knowledge growing.
    Ex teachers are "working in education Niva", growing knowledge.

    Anyway I think in that "Niva" old family bundle it's news about various wars, Crimea, Boeren war, pictures, Christmas stories of good children, and I think I saw somewhere an announcement for St. Petersburg home reading that America was formed. But I am lost when was that.

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  • 249. At 11:09pm on 13 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Still have to enlighten Jukka on Russia's "regional power" was it...
    Don't know if to start boasting now? or save the sermon pleasure for a rainy day :o)))))

    Anyway this is all irrelevant far more interesting I think, re the "global powers", is that are all aware there is some er, un-lovely stuff in the oceans deep under, for a long time going?
    That during the Cold war times USSR was sure it's nasty Americans have invented some new incomprehensible stuff, the USA navy were sure it's nasty russkies are sneaking about, and Sweden thought it's Russian subs being extra jolly. And only after we er, well, collapsed and various sides had a chance to meet and talk some things over (a little bit, and for a short time. we don't discuss it anymore again. simply keep adding up in own separate files I think) it became known for sure that neither side had subs able to woosh by at 280-300 km/hr, especially in the depths where a decent normal sub can crawl at max 5 km/hr, paedestrian speed.
    Second the "quaker-s" things? That say "quack quack", and annoy you with the sound. Hundreds of reports of sub's commanders of encountering what here is called "the quaks". It strongly appears that, speaking of "global powers", LOL, there is the third force.
    Common knowledge (as far as we had a chance to share and discuss) and then the USA closed up the talks. Swedish parliamrnt held special hearings in 1995, on the subject, and finally ruled out the option of a dozen of "tiny" Russian subs saying LOL "quack quack" at deep depth by Swedish shores, as well as the idea that it's some secret Soviet vessel, flying by at depth at 280 km/hr. Having analysed 2. thousand. cases. of what they used to call in Soviet times "subs-ghosts".
    US Senate closed up data sharing with Russia after they understood it's not us.
    As the stuff moves, and oh so quickly it moves, we have also cast off the old idea that it's some mysterious American stable sub-hunting points or specially planted ? devices? to keep records of traffic, as the damn things migrate constantly, flock around vessels, disperse when you try to go through the quak quack "congregation", and close up again behind the vessel.
    USA said that once their sub went through headway and, well. Bumped at something, at that both "somethings" drowned unequivocally. In lifting up they just lifted an interesting metal piece of half a metre max, of the alien thing. Then there started a merry go round around the resque operation, 10 subs at once (or what they locators "said" is 10 subs) appeared from nowhere and circled the both wrecks to be lifted up, and had quite a jolly and intense merry-go-round. After which both the US sub and the alien thing simply vanished, as easy as that, LOL, in 2 hrs. Metal - gone. Not a single centimetre was lifted of either. Indonesia.
    This sad occasion is a public knowledge, but after having discussed the old and Cold war times, the countries kind of parted again in their files' summarising and discussion. So all keep own records, and I don't know how about others, ours definitely keep growing.

    Speaking of "global powers".

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  • 250. At 11:13pm on 13 Jun 2009, Ed wrote:

    "The debate demonstrates the clear inferiority of nation states based on a shared history and culture to one based on shared values. That is the superiority of the United States of America over all other countries."

    The trouble is that view of the USA is rather a myth in my opinion. Before 1965 (ie for the great majority of the USA's history) there was very little 'Third World' immigration to the USA and most immigrants came from Europe. 'Third World' immigrantion was very heavily restricted. Therefore these immigrants brought cultures and values that were in many ways shared.

    So this view is revisionist in my view because it disregards or falsifies the history of immigration to the USA and pretends that immigrants from say Italy, Ireland and Poland in the past were exactly the same as those from Somalia, Haiti and Mexico today.

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  • 251. At 11:53pm on 13 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #247 - democracythreat

    The problem the US has is that it believes it invented democracy - which it didn't, believes it have a duty to re-export it (often to unwilling recipients) which they don't and then whinge like hell if other people use their democratic rights to express disapproval of the States. It really is time they grew up.

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  • 252. At 02:57am on 14 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Time for the weekly summary?
    :o)

    Julia Timoshenko has visited Muammar Kaddafi and suddenly gave him a sabre as a present. By tradition, on such sabres is engraved an inscription. And now all are torn apart by the questions:
    Head of Muaffar's security: Why the security system didn't work on metal?
    Putin: What's written there?
    Joushenko: In what language?

    At the world's economic forum in St. Petersburg spoke President and promised to fortify rouble. After him spoke our Minister of Finance and said that if it will work out - even two.

    Juan may become the new world's reserve currency - after all, each will be ensured by one live Chinese.

    As was published by the Times New Roman the responsibility for the crisis lies with Fidel Castro who refused to finance American banks.

    So far is known only one American who has no claims to our dear Soviet motherland - that is Colorado beetle.

    Latvia has stopped the work of the commission that was counting the loss incurred by the Russian occuptation, for the lack of means to finance the work of the commission.
    Instead, they have now instituted a Commission to count the loss incurred by the work of the Commission counting the loss due to the Russian occuptation.

    Do you remember the hunger years? Internet by (telephone) ration cards...
    o:)))

    A small Ukrainian is asked: Who do you love best - Mummy Julie or Daddy Victor?
    - Neighbour Volodya!

    Morgage is of no sense to me. I chose freedom.
    :o)))

    One has a feeling that this crisis is blind. First, it mows down all without care, second - as of late constantly gropes for the bottom.

    Japanese Parliament has issued a statement confirming Japanese sovereignity over Kuril islands, and Japanese samurajs said they won't be scared by Russia and her nuclear rockets.
    "That's right", confirmed the Commander of Russian Rocket Forces, "They
    won't have time to" :o))))

    "Western values" - that's grabatised Eastern. :o))))))))

    Estonia had instituted a commission to calculate the cost of the Soviet occuptation. The money in reimbursement is planned to be used for plugging the holes in Eastonian economy, that become bigger and bigger since the end of that occuptation. :o))))

    Director of the Moscow's Zoo had arrived to the capital many years ago, with one field squirrel in his pocket. :o)))

    Many people think that dreams exist in order to make them true. That's not exactly correct. In fact, dreams exit in order to dream them.
    :o)))

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  • 253. At 03:02am on 14 Jun 2009, Jan_Keeskop wrote:

    Named-Erion: It is legal in the USA to have political parties that stand for having an exclusively white Christian country; see this Wikipedia page and search for terms such as Nazi or National Socialist. Mercifully such parties appear to have received few votes.

    MarcusAureliusII: Associating a dacha only with summer houses of the powerful or the wealthy would be similar to associating a cottage only with the Gilded Age examples in Newport in Rhode Island.

    If the USA depend exclusively upon shared values, with no shared cultural heritage at all, why would there be organisations devoted to making English the official language of the USA ? Certainly language is a cultural heritage rather than a value.

    WebAliceinwonderland: Was the 'interesting curve' an extension of the planned route of the South Stream pipeline (perhaps across the Adriatic) ? St Petersburg is certainly older than the USA.

    democracythreat: It is an interesting grand theory. Regarding Type 2, I appreciate that Hebrew is a 'resurrected' language, but could the same truly be said for Lithuanian, Latvian, and Welsh ? Has any of these three completely died out, only to be 'made up' again ? (Was Lithuanian first written in another script before the Latin script ? My guess would have been that Latin was its first script, at least the first in post-pagan times, given the role of Catholicism there.) Perhaps Type 2 languages are in that position because their cultures also lost wars at crucial times; which in turn might lead to Type 1 'what could have been' alcohol-fuelled musings by Type 2 speakers, if only the Battle of Qygkozvuj had gone their way. Thus I view the Type 2 envy as saddest and most painful, and Type 3 as most ridiculous.

    Do you see British English v American English - or Iberian Portuguese v Brazilian Portugese, or Arabian Arabic v Iraqi Arabic - as two separate languages, with the younger branch having no claim to any linguistic heritage before the linguistic divergence ?

    By the criterion of revolutionary regicide, should the Japanese be considered to have a 'toy culture', a culture that is 'nothing at all' ?

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  • 254. At 04:19am on 14 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    bathead #250

    First of all, you are fogetting all those Africans Europeans brought over to work the southern cotton plantations...and their descendants. That added a great deal of non European value to our culture. For example, jazz music along with its offshoots was probably the dominant musical influence of the 20th century, invented by African Americans. Although the native American population dwindled compared to pre-Columbian times, those cultures also had a major impact on American society and culture. Large numbers of Latin Americans who were a racial mix of Spaniards, Africans, and natives of Meso-America populated the Southwest. There were also a large number of Chinese immigrants who came to build the railroads and their descendants with concentrations in New York City and San Francisco but also found throughout the US. Other non Europeans populated the US before 1965 such as Japanese. Even among European immigrants, there was enormous diversity of cultures, easily far more than you'd find in any single European country of the time. For example, waves of immigrants from all over Eastern and Southern Europe came during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to mix with the cultures of northern and Western Europe that were already here. The process of assimilation begins as soon as you get off the boat. Even the pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock began to change as soon as they made landfall. America is not and never really was Europe.

    Jan Keeps shop

    Why is there a push to make English the official language of the United States? I can think of a number of very good reasons why. First of all and most important, with one language all American can communicate directly with each other in the most nuanced terms without ambuiguity. This makes society more cohesive. Another reason is that since most opportunities in America depend on a working knowledge of English, it makes it clear to anyone who does not speak English that they will not be able to take full advantage of the opportunities life here has to offer here unless they learn it. It also would make it impossible for children of non English speaking immigrants to avoid having their children assimilated. It also costs a great deal of money to print ballots, all types of other official communications and educate children in multiple languages. For example, due to the mandate of the courts that all children receive a free public education in their own language, Florida taxpayers had to go to the expense of hiring teachers who spoke two sub dialects of Hatian Creole. While this kind of situation would not be eliminated completly, it would be reduced. Look at countries that do not have one exclusive language and the problems that creates. Belgium is an example. Canada is another. We don't want multiple subcultures cut off from the mainstream by language emerging. We don't want to allow these enclaves to be protected from the larger mainstream culture by virtue of lingual insularity. That would be dangerous.



    therenodious, we've been over this tired ground before. It is an indesputable fact that the United States of America invented modern democratic society, is still in the process of perfecting it, is the world's oldest existing democracy, and may be the only truly democratic society in the world to this very day. It is also true that American made it possible to create the modern world and invented much of the elements that constitute it. Too bad if you don't like it.

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  • 255. At 07:36am on 14 Jun 2009, Jan_Keeskop wrote:

    <RICHPOST>[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator][Unsuitable/Broken UR <L removed by Moderator]<B>MarcusAureliusII</B>: To communicate in the most nuanced terms without ambiguity -A HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/21/newsid_2525000/2525339.stm">as this American did</A> ? ;*)<BR /><BR />In your reply, one could substitute 'United States' and 'America' with 'Australia' and the reasoning would be equally applicable (apart from the bit about Florida), as Australia also has no official language. In either case, the common language would be depended upon to produce a more cohesive society, to assimilate immigrants' children, and to reduce costs of government. The first of these could be a shared value, an end; the other two are rather means to such ends, not shared values themselves. As English is a shared cultural heritage in the USA, the USA is therefore not exclusively dependent upon shared values.<BR /><BR />To steal a page from democracythreat's book, Switzerland seems to work well with multiple languages, maintaining a cohesive society. Finland and Luxembourg also seem to muddle through somehow; perhaps Belarus does too.<BR /> </RICHPOST>

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  • 256. At 09:27am on 14 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #254 MA

    "It is an indesputable fact that the United States of America invented modern democratic society, is still in the process of perfecting it, is the world's oldest existing democracy, and may be the only truly democratic society in the world to this very day. It is also true that American made it possible to create the modern world and invented much of the elements that constitute it. Too bad if you don't like it."

    Aaah, so contrary to popular opinion, you DO have a sense of humour after all.........

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  • 257. At 09:41am on 14 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #252 WebAlice

    A highly amusing collection of anecdotes. That's given me a good start to the day. :)

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  • 258. At 10:02am on 14 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #251 Threnodio

    "The problem the US has is that it believes it invented democracy - which it didn't, believes it have a duty to re-export it (often to unwilling recipients) which they don't and then whinge like hell if other people use their democratic rights to express disapproval of the States. It really is time they grew up."

    The challenge here of course is the very perception of what constitutes democracy.
    And it's my view that capitalism isn't democracy at all, but a regression to a mutation of feudal society, where the lords and ladies of the manor are represented as corporations, and extremely powerful self interest groups. At grass roots level, the freedom to eat whatever hamburger you wish, and own whichever model of gas guzzler you desire might SEEM like democracy, but look at the wider structure of the american societal model, and the framework is decidedly less democratic and weighted heavily in the favour of a powerful few. The modern day serfs are still working their socks off to keep the 'lords and ladies' in the lifestyle they expect to be kept in.

    Exporting capitalism would be a more correct assessment i think.


    I think the Swiss have it about right, if one were to consider a generic perspective of what is "democracy". I for one would welcome regular referenda, as it is a constant 'update' of how the people of a country feel about important decisions affecting them, and a neccessary balance in the relationship between government and the people. (imho) It's not perfect, anymore than any societal framework, but it has a high percentage of citizen/government related interaction. It's also fair (imho) to say that the Swiss are more politically intelligent than most, as they've had more practise over time at getting directly involved in their own political system and understand it better, at grass roots level.

    Alex.

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  • 259. At 10:37am on 14 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio (207):

    Bullying? Because Russia is treated as any other country in the world and not as an special case, so you say it is being bullied? That is quite weird. Actually it is not, you are demanding special treatment for Russia because, in your words it is giant market, global player and an major energy provider, and you get disappointed when noted that isn't true. You yourself are demanding unequal treatment of countries.

    The thing is that Russia has all the same opportunities to work with the EU and the world as any other state. WTO is open to all, and just recently European Union made the statement that it isn't objecting on Russia's membership in WTO, however few days after that Kremlin by declaring to negotiate of WTO membership together with Belarus and Kazakhstan returned the situation back to point zero. The story of Russia and the WTO is really strange, China easily joined it in 2001 without dramatics.

    There are also EU programs including the European Neighbourhood Policy that are designed to facilitate co-operation and integration with the countries neighbouring the EU. Almost all other countries participate on it except Russia that insisted on having an EU-Russia Common Spaces that was created to it. However were as the ENP has went further, the EU-Russia Common Spaces haven't.

    My main point is that Russia should be treated like any other country. If it works via international and European frameworks of co-operation and integration, succeeds to meet the goals set to it, then it should be given better agreements. Now if it doesn't, if it plays its own games, doesn't become democratic country with working market economy and human rights for everybody, then it shouldn't be given any special deals or treatment.

    You should also note that in the EU, 50 million people share the border with Russia, 100 million people either share border or past with it, there is real care and interest on how Russia develops. Western EU countries like France or Britain may not understand or even be interested on what happens in the East and North, but don't make the mistake on thinking that would be the end of it.

    In regards of Russia and its foreign relations, you don't seem to take a note on the recent war in Georgia, on Ukraine-Russia gas dispute, on constant interfering of ex-USSR countries including poisoning of opposition politician, or the current dispute with the EU and Russia on Russia's plan to deny bringing containers into Russia only via Russian harbours or via rail, a plan that is just unbelievably stupid from the part of Kremlin but even worry some will hamper and make great damage to economy and especially to distributed and networked production networks. I would say that there is enough of these accidents to justify on putting hard against hard.

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  • 260. At 11:32am on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #258 - alex1658

    I agree with that. Note I was careful to say that they 'believe they invented democracy'. Whether it is in fact any such thing is another matter. I think though that they should be given credit where it is due. I am fond on baiting MAII by posting provocative remarks but actually I admire the American system. My point is merely that because it works quite well for them, it does not follow that their particular model suits everyone and it naive to assume that it is exportable. This where the 'growing up' comes in. I agree with you - and democracythreat - about Switzerland and direct democracy. However, in a country of 60 million like the UK or a vast transcontinental nation like Russia, you would need a significant process of devolution before you could even consider implementing something similiar.

    #259 - Jukka_Rohila

    You are right. Russia should be treated like any other country. Do we lecture our Arab customers about freedom of the press before signing lucrative arms or oil deals? We do not. Do we refuse to trade with China until they grant autonomy to Tibet? We do not. Do we tell the Japanese to abolish the death penalty before buying their technology? Again we do not. What gives us the right to bicker about insubstantial issues - especially those which are entirely domestic in nature - when engaging with Russia?

    By the way, I most certainly have taken note of the recent war in Georgia. In particular I note that those of us who cautioned against over reaction at the time on the basis that it may well have been the Georgians who provoked the whole thing in the first place by committing human rights violations have now been vindicated. I do not fail to take note of the gas dispute. Don't forget that I live in Hungary. Ukraine is right next door. We know where the gas was going and we know where it was not arriving. This is exactly why Hungary has put aside historic animosities and engaged with Russia over South Stream as well as towing the EU line on Nabucco. Poisoning Yushenko? More likely to be a project of loose cannons in the Russian system than any officially sanctioned action - as indeed is the Litvenenko poisoning. And as for container traffic, if they want to damage their own economy in this way, that is entirely up to them. Companies shipping to Russia will form thir own judgment about the merits of living with the rules or seeking alternative markets. It is none of our business.

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  • 261. At 11:58am on 14 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The comparison of capitalism in the United States with Feudalism is a contrived and contorted padody created out of ignorance and jealousy. Millions of privately owned small businesses are proof. Some die through mismanagement, some struggle on for years, many flourish providing excellent incomes for the owner, his family and employees, and some are so successful, they are either bought out by large corporations for vast sums or grow into megacorporations themselves. Bill Gates' Microsoft and Steve Jobs' Apple Computer are two examples.

    Alexander the not so great;

    "At grass roots level, the freedom to eat whatever hamburger you wish..."

    How ironic you chose this particular subject. MacDonalds was started as a single hamburger stand in Kansas City and has grown into one of the largest fast food restaurants in the world having made a huge fortune for its creator and thriving businesses for countless franchisees and their families. Whether you like the taste of MacDonalds food or not, you can count on it for a fast meal of high consistent quality anywhere it is served in the world and a clean palce to eat it or convenient takeout at a low price. Its products must appeal to a lot of people to have been so successful and ubiquitous. Russia more resembles a feudal society with its privileged oligarchs and the KGB who keeps a lid on any dissent with bullets.

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  • 262. At 12:48pm on 14 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio (260):

    You forget that when a country is being treated like any other country its status is in the mode of "so how do we profit from this?", when country gets a special treatment, some things are being put under the table in order to achieve future goals, i.e. Ukraine has special relationship with the EU and the USA, in order advance its democratization process and in order to make it EU member someday.

    Now lets continue from your examples...

    Japan is a WTO member, with WTO members there are no questions asked with items handled by WTO trade agreements. An issue could be raised concerning usage of death penalty, but then again Japan is allied with the USA to which many or most European countries are allied with too.

    China is a WTO member too, but with China human rights issues are constantly been raised to be discussed and more importantly there is an arms embargo to China started after the Tienanmen massacre and continued due both human rights issues and with the question of Tibet.

    Arab countries are getting either normal or special treatment because of various reasons. Oil actually is not again a reason as it is fungible commodity. Some Arab countries like Saudi-Arabia are traded with latest weapons technology (Eurofighter) to counter the power of Iran, some like the UAE are aligned with France (opening an military base to UAE, UAE buying Rafale fighters) to counter Saudi-Arabia and Iran. Some Arab countries like the Maghreb countries get special treatment via EU's ENP program and Mediterranean Union in order to assist their stabilization and democratization efforts, in other words, these countries have a carrot and a stick, more or less trade and closer relations with the EU to help them to make the right choices.

    In case of Russia, as it doesn't have a special status, as it isn't even a WTO member, cases are dealt by the stick of "so how do we profit from this?". Now in cases were internal politics of Russia cause external costs, then there is enough reason for counter measures. If Russia wants to ban road transportation of containers, then the EU should make an counter measure against that, maybe banning containers coming from Russia sea or by rail transit thus causing Kremlin to think again as the counter measure would produce costs to Kremlin too. Same thing actually with de-democratisation of Russia and its re-arming (3.9% of GDP to armaments) that cause external costs, decrease of security in its neighbouring countries that force them to spend more on security, thus carrot and stick should be used for re-democratization efforts.

    In last, there are in the end no internal matters, there are only matters you can pull off and some things you can't.

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  • 263. At 1:03pm on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #261 - MarcusAureliusII

    "McDonald's now operates 103 restaurants in Moscow, Moscow Region, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl, Samara, and Kazan. Not only does McDonald's in Russia serve more than 200,000 customers every day, but, since opening on January 31, 1990, McDonald's has served more than 300 million customers and more than 66 million Big Mac sandwiches".

    Khamzat Khasbulatov
    President, McDonald's in Russia

    No scruples about doing business with "a feudal society with its privileged oligarchs and the KGB who keeps a lid on any dissent with bullets" then?

    You see Jukka - just as well to keep quiet and take the money. There is after all, only one God - the Almighty Dollar.

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  • 264. At 1:14pm on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #262 - Jukka_Rohila

    I wish you would stop telling me 'I forget' things. I don't forget them, I view them differently. Of course we have complex and different trading relationships with different countries. So what? That does not mean we have to impose onerous preconditions on doing business with Russia. I repeat that re-democratisation is an internal matter for the Russian Federation. None of our business. And if Russia is not in the WTO, whose fault is that? Read all about it.

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  • 265. At 1:38pm on 14 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Threnodious;

    "I am fond on baiting MAII by posting provocative remarks"

    Do you like getting clobbered every time you do? What are you some kind of a maschochist?

    "Not only does McDonald's in Russia serve more than 200,000 customers every day, but, since opening on January 31, 1990, McDonald's has served more than 300 million customers and more than 66 million Big Mac sandwiches."

    That ain't spit. When I was in my teens, MacDonalds used to advertise right on its neon signs "over 8 billion sold" "over 20 billion sold" "over ???? billion sold." Who knows how many hamburgers they've sold to date. For all I know it's over a trillion. They themselves may have lost count decades ago. I think in Russia for the average salary, A Big Mac, fries, and a coke is a fairly expensive meal. Back when I was young, they used to advertise "you get change back from your dollar." That's how old I am. So some Russians prefer a MacMeal to cold borscht and potatoes or cabbage soup even as a change of diet. Do you know when the first MacDonalds started in Russia, MacDonalds had to show Russians how to grow potatoes to make the fries. I think they got the specific variety from Holland.

    My neighbor two doors down was the President of the Hispanic MacDonald owners of America. He and his wife fled Cuba with their two small children and ten cents to their name shortly after the revolution. They were extremely wealthy by the time I met them in the mid 1980s. Needless to say their businesses had flourished, they owned several homes and would run around the world on spending sprees or to see soccer matches at the drop of a hat. Others of course managed their restaurants sinc they were "retired." Some feudalism that is. More like bourgeois capitalism at its best.

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  • 266. At 1:51pm on 14 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio (263, 264):

    It is almighty Euro, not the US dollar, get up with the program.

    In regards of the WTO, China started its negotiations in 1987 with GATT and became WTO member in 2001, that is 14 years. Russia has already negotiated over 16 years without an end in sight. In relation Estonia joined WTO in 1999 and Ukraine in 2008. In case of WTO ascension, the fault on not getting lies in the Kremlin as other countries have done the ascension in much faster pace.

    In regards of doing business with Russia, no, onerous preconditions aren't needed for normal trade, but if Russia would want more, for example free trade agreement then they do have to offer more as there isn't commercial carrot that they can offer, what is needed from them is re-democratization as the current path that Kremlin is taking causing cost to EU countries. Re-democratization is of course internal matter of Russia, they have to do it themselves, but doesn't mean that there couldn't be external rewards for doing it. It is in the general interest of Europe, the west and the human kind in general to advance democratization across the globe, I don't see any fault on using soft power to pursue that goal.

    PS. In Finland alone there are 82 McDonald's restaurants, which is a small number as the competing Hesburger chain has 204 restaurants. So my question to the president of the Russian McDonald's would be why only 103 restaurants, that sounds like an failure more than anything else.

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  • 267. At 2:52pm on 14 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Jan_Keeskop wrote:
    "Was Lithuanian first written in another script before the Latin script ? My guess would have been that Latin was its first script, at least the first in post-pagan times, given the role of Catholicism there."

    Well, your guess would be dead wrong. The history of the Lithuanian language is extremely useful for understanding the interaction between the Catholic and orthodox churches in Europe, and indeed the history of the baltic region generally.

    I warn you, however, that WIKI is not your friend when researching Lithuanian language or history. Like Israel, Lithuania is very much a country that pays people to create a history that fits with recent political myth. Accordingly, public sources like WIKI are not much better than propaganda platforms for 13 year olds hired by the CIA or the church.

    If you wish to understand Lithuanian history, you must read widely, and deeply, and you must take into account the complex timeline that stretches from 1300 until the current day. If you rely on WIKI and other web sources alone, you'll end up believing that Lithuania was an independent friend of Germany and the SUA since 1200, and that Stalin came along in 1900 and killed all the jews, then burned the country down, until it was set free by Steven Segal in 1991.

    Anyway, this is my take on the Lithuanian language:

    The Lithuanian kingdom, or Empire, in the 1300's, was a pagan land that occupied the territory between the Rus and the German celts. This land was encroached by both sides as the power of the christian churches grew.

    The curious thing about this age, from our modern perspective, was the absence of the nation state. Rather than loyalties to nation states, fiefdoms and kingdoms operated to divide territory along family lines, and the alliances between the families were overseen by the church. So, europe was divided by clear geographical borders, but rather by family trees and alliances to competing churches. In the west, the catholic church oversaw the family inheritance law that gave rise to the rule of divine kings, and in the east the orthodox church did the same. In the middle, the Lithuanian empire remained an association of pagan tribes that were united by a system that resembled a confederation of independent mini states.

    Now when the catholic crusaders conquered lithuania, they DID NOT translate the language into roman script. Indeed, the deliberately outlawed the language, and set out to eradicate the culture from the face of the earth. This was the policy of genocide that was adopted by the Teutonic order and by Rome, and it was very deliberate and focused. There was in fact one prayer book written in latin script at this time, but tellingly this was banned, and no further attempt was made to incubate the local language.

    Now when the teutons lost influence in the region, the polish moved in. The polish still believe they should be the rightful owners of lithuania, and lithuanians still hate the poles far more than they hate the russians. In fact it is arguable whether lithuanians really hate russians. But they certainly hate the poles, and the poles certainly have contempt for lithuania. But I don;t think you will get very far going through lithuania and spouting rubbish about Russia, and how evil russians are. That seems to be a privilege of lithuanians only. Foreigners who rubbish russians are not well liked. It is extremely odd.

    Anyway, the poles had a policy of eradication, like their catholic brethren, the teutons. Polish was the language that was blessed by the church, and lithuanian was proscribed.

    Now when the Russian armies took control, circa 1794, the orthodox church moved in. Catholicism lost its grip. However, due to the huge size of the russian empire at that stage, and due to the advanced political arguments being made inside that empire, it was deemed sensible policy to govern the Lithuanian region as a province, with its own language and its own "people". In a sense, the Russian empire sought to federate different peoples, rather than eradicate different cultures as the catholics had done.

    Consequently, Russian scholars began to create a crylic script and to publish texts in Lithuanian. Lithuanian became a language to be studied, and it existed in books for the first time.

    Now you will have to read deeply into the history to verify that this occurred. The catholic church gets wildly angry about this point, and maintains that it was the first to write the lithuanian script. The official religious history (!) is that the Russians banned the language. However, if you research you will discover that this is not the case.

    Curiously, the period of Russian rule between 1794 and 1918 was characterized by the catholic church, for the FIRST TIME, publishing books in lithuanian. During the period of russian rule, the catholic church devoted a vast amount of money to printing lithuanian in roman script, and sending the religious books into the russian province. Now think about that, for a moment. Think carefully about the timeline of history.

    For hundreds of years, the catholic church COULD have published books in the lithuanian language, but did not. Instead, they allowed the polish priests to eradicate the language and culture, and to call lithuania polish in every way.

    THEN... they lose the territory to the russian empire.

    THEN... they start a battle for the language, spending huge money to print the lithuanian language in roman script, and sending these books into the region with priests, to destabilize russian rule and the orthodox church.

    So think about that series of events. Why? Why would the catholic church WAIT until they had lost the province before they decided to publish in the language?

    The answer, when you read deeply, is because they realized why the Russian empire was expanding so swiftly. The russians, you see, were allowing the people to speak and write in their own language. Indeed, this is why the church gets so angry, and why the church writes false histories about the russians banning the lithuanian language. They get angry, because they missed the crucial point. The orthodox empire was expanding because it was converting people in their own language, rather than practicing genocide, and eradicating languages they didn't know, which was the catholic style.

    So lithuania is a curious point in history, because it was the point where the catholic church finally realized that cultural genocide was not the answer to growth, and that the church would need to publish in foreign languages if it wanted to thrive.

    Ever since then, the catholic church has been fighting a war for the lithuanian language, and it seems to have prevailed at the current time.

    But the thing to remember is that it did not start this war for independent lithuania until the russians allowed the lithuanian culture to exist in its own right, separate from poland and separate from russia. In other words, Lithuania today only exists because of the russians. Had the russians not granted their culture legitimacy, the catholics never would have. We know, because for two hundred years they had the chance and choose not to do so.

    History repeated this lesson for Lithuanians in the twentieth century. After the Germans conquered the russian province in 1918, but then lost the war on the western front, they tried to keep it from the polish by creating a farcical "independent parliament". This was farcical because it was composed of germans, and because it prohibited a lithuanian army, and used german troops in german uniforms to protect itself. This is what we now celebrate as "independent lithuania", by the way.

    But the real history lesson would come later. Britain and the USA decided to repeat the mistake of the catholic church, and they crushed this new "independent lithuania". How? Same way the catholic church did. the gave it to the polish. So the polish move in, and they eradicated lithuanian from Vilnius once again.

    Now to get around this awkward bit of history, our scholars in the west teach that lithuania STILL EXISTED after it was given to the polish. Apparently about 5 people with donkeys were still speaking lithuanian somewhere in the countryside outside Vilnius, and so now we point to that and say "We didn't give independent Lithuania to the polish!"

    But we did.

    And so history repeated itself. When the red army liberated Vilnius from the polish and created the independent state of Lithuania once again, Russia gave life to the culture of lithuania, and once again restored the lithuanian language to the world.

    So this is a fascinating piece of european history, and of course I expect that it will be contersted for quite some time. But the evidence is there, and it is compelling. Not once, but TWICE, history shows us the same thing. Western Europe conquered the baltic region of lithuania, and twice they gave it to the polish. And twice, the russian gave it back to the Lithuanians.

    Of course, I have terrible arguments about this when I visit my in laws in Lithuania. But they still drink vodka with me, and they still say I know more of their history than they do.

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  • 268. At 3:03pm on 14 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Jukka, let me lay some reality on your troubled soul.

    The only reason Finns like you are able to make such aggressive gestures towards russia, and to dictate to that culture how to live, is because Europe and the USA are allies.

    But the truth is that Europe and the USA are only allies because the USA forcibly invaded France and Germany sixty years ago, and built huge military bases there. The truth is, the dominant powers in the EU do not WANT to be allies with the USA, and would prefer to be independent of the USA. The truth is that the EU wants to have the Euro as world reserve currency. The truth is the the EU would like nothing more than to have sufficient energy security to dismiss the hated regiments of the USA from its borders.

    But it doesn't, so it is an ally of the USA.

    But you, who support the EU so wholeheartedly, and who judge Russia so harshly, you should be very careful that what you wish for are not two mutually exclusive things. Consider that if the EU were to get energy security and independence from the USA, the price the Russians might ask for and get would be Finland and the baltic states to be given back into their sphere of influence. And consider that if the EU does not get energy security and independence, the price the USA might pay Russia might be Finland and the baltic states back into the russian sphere of influence.

    Such is the humour of god, and the way of the great game.

    My point is that Finland and the baltics are pawns upon the board, and the players who are making moves may or may not include Russia. But they certainly include the USA and the dominant forces within the EU.

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  • 269. At 3:23pm on 14 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Jukks-entsia-Sentencia,
    I'm on the run but we will always find time for Finland :o)))

    Which special relationship with Russia, who's got it? No trading preferences and no discounts are given politically either. We are not treated as "an ordinary country", we'd love it to be so.

    No "preferencies", economic or political from "the West" side - to the opposite - we are used as a tool, to point a finger at and say "See? How awful it is there? Quckly quckly join us. The main thing LOL - do not think, now or never!"

    From this business interest plain and simple follows all the Western media er, special interest in Russia. To play on the contrasts and attract as much of ex-Russian er, whereabouts into the EU and for the US platforms for acting on Europe. The grabatising of Russia's property is not yet over, haven't you noticed? Having done with the USSR now it moved to the loose Russia's connections, "sphere of influence".

    "Preferencies"! Only various mops, I mean "Venik"-s (in Russian a venik is a mop) LOL that American Mr Venik's famous correction that we can't be traded with fully because we don't let Jewish out to the Israel, and Russian steel is strictly limited for sale in the USA and what not.

    As to the EU - whenever a Russian company buys a piece of shares in whatever EU country in another business there starts a shout up to the skies , I mean it becomes a matter of some always special Parliament commission scrutiny and research and what not. Whereas companies buy companies non-stop only Russian companies's purchases are always described as Aaah! russkies are coming!

    "Preferences". Three ha ha.

    Overall Jukks behave yourself. Be a normal healthy appendix, scientists say that even ill glands in the throat and appendix in a body are needed for something. If God has created these pieces in a man - may be they are of some (unknown yet LOL) function.
    Russian patience is famous but as Alex noted even that expires at a point. No, we don't react direct to offence, we LOL, save them, on record, for a rainy day :o)))))
    Simply keep in mind this Russian delayed reaction. We are slow.
    And then when we finally blast out all wonder! "So he stood in his shoes, and he wondered, he wondered..."
    When an appendix becomes inflamed and rotten we won't walk around with temperature, but LOL tend to operate. In case you haven't noticed when you got impregnated with nazism.
    Be healthy normal and all will be alright.

    What do you understand in multi-vector politics, anyway? Finnish concern has always been, max, 2-vector. And even, 1 - either one or the other. To be able to deal with either Russia or Sweden, and no worries either, for 900 years.
    In between these two you are skilled, but as to accounting for more parties than 2, excuse me, Finland has got no experience.

    "We have always been doing things right, from the very beginning". Aha.
    Must be that's why nobody heard of you ever after for a thousand years.
    Sitting behind wide Russia's back; no mongol-tatars, no Napoleon, anything happening outside of your corner - Russia will shield.
    "It won't come to Finland". Granted it won't multi-layered Russian filter in between you and the world.
    Instead of being thankful you are being critical.
    Your only concern has always been to be able to deal with Russia. And now you pretend you are suddenly a great specialist in int'l relations!
    Stay in your field of expertise and don't deviate to unknown waters.
    And, by looking at you in particular, you're about to send to the waste-basket the only expertise field you've ever got!

    Honestly, after we have kept this quiet hot-house, LOL, for so many centuries, I'd personally offended if you won't come at least with one Nokia, to account for a 900 years of existence!

    What have you "done right", apart from Nokia, remind me?
    Sibelius and Mannerheim. And even these two, LOL. Sibelius sounds to me a slightly Swedish talent, but OK, nevermind. Mannerheim owned his position, education, career and skill to 30 years career service in the Russian army. And the following fame, LOL, by the way - he owns to Russia as well! To who he owns his name - Sweden or Germany - we won't even touch upon :o)))

    Nokia! Connecting people! Like hell you'd connect any body if not Soviet Alferov's academician and Nobel laureate invention. Nope, we can't do anything useful of what we invent. Not for money born. Brains don't work in that direction. But still someone has to disclose some physics' processes or whatever it is technical first, to be able to build a business on it.



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  • 270. At 3:55pm on 14 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #260 Threnodio
    Yep, I admire some parts of the US system too including the constitution, which i think is a great document, in its original form. Remove any religious references, and it's a pretty good benchmark for any society asipring to fairness and equality. (Recent changes to the Russian Constitution indeed reflect some aspects of the US constitution, adapted for Russian Culture)

    #261 MA

    I expected more than the usual ignorance and jealousy routine. We might differ on our views of the political structure, but i can assure you ignorance and any degree of jealousy whatsoever, do not enter into my view at all. It's your country, and you're welcome to it.

    Interesting that you went straight for McDonalds. I was referring to the hamburger lifestyle more than a particular vendor.

    But let's continue. You chose Microsoft and Apple as successful businesses, given they, along with Intel, have between them, received record fines in the EU for questionable business practises. Ironically, i'm a linux user, so i won't offer more here, as no doubt anything else i added in more detail would immediately get nailed down as "OS envy".

    Yes, there was, and maybe still is, some degree of privilege for oligarchs in Russia. We've just mentioned two of yours, Bill and Steve, yes? So Russia's not exactly alone in that regard.

    No more KGB though. Now we have a "standard" intelligence service, just like the CIA, MI5, and Mossad. Seems fairly balanced to me.

    Oh, we have hot home cooked meals here as well. Truly democratic...

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  • 271. At 4:11pm on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #265 - MarcusAureliusII

    " "I am fond on baiting MAII by posting provocative remarks"

    Do you like getting clobbered every time you do?"

    I promise you, if it ever happens, you will be the first to know.

    #266 - Jukka_Rohila

    I am afraid that what you are trying to do again is impose your particular vision of Europe and - by extention - the rest of the planet on people who do not necessarily want it. It is very important, in my view, to make a distiction between matters which are entirely internal and therefore none of our business and matters of international import where we are entitled to take a view.

    You should, I think, have a care about telling other people what is wrong with their democracies when our own is manifestly not functioning as it should.

    While I might take issue with some of the finer detail in democracythreat's latest two posts, he make a very valid point. Those nations which, in any period in time, happen to hold a pivotal or dominant role role in the structure of Europe, have a fondness to rewrite history to suit their own agenda. This is not history at all - it is pure propaganda.

    While I have no reason to feel animosity towards Finland, neither do I feel any against Russia. I think you are in danger of confusing systems with people. The vast majority of people want nothing more than to have a roof over their head, education for their kids, healthcare when they are sick and an income to sustain it. In this respect, the Russians are no different from the rest of us. Importantly, but secondary to that comes the matter of national pride and identity. The vast majority of Russians who died in the last war probably did do because they had no choice but for those who did, there were plenty who were prepared to make the sacrifice for Mother Russia. I have never met one who was willing to do it for the glory of Uncle Joe.

    Systems either fade and die or are overthrown from within. Peoples are entirely different. I am still sufficiently niave to believe that the vast majority of people are fundamentally decent and putting systems ahead of people achieves nothing. Indeed, it is the fundamental paradox of what you appear to want. By seeking to impose your democratic values from outside, you risk setting back the cause of those who would benefit most from it.

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  • 272. At 4:17pm on 14 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #262

    The only reason China got in the WTO so quick was because they already owned a large chunk of US debt, they were a market opening up, ripe for corporate picking, and the US gov were desperate to try and increase the value of the Yaun, from inside the WTO framework.

    Likewise Estonia and Ukraine got fasttracked, because they were "good buddies" and willing to sell their souls quickly, for a low price.

    And what you've implied in your Japan example is, they don't get questioned about their human rights, because they're "in the club."

    You also implky with it seems a fair degree of arrogance, that Russia has to somehow match up to your standard, when you decide. Imagine the situation in reverse. Would you be quite so willing to bend over and get royally humiliated becuase someone else wants to get their mitts on your natural resources, but doesn't want to pay for it, as was the case the case during the foreign 'investment' saga called perestroika, when check jacketed snakeoil salesmen sold poor quality stuff, and raided the resources, then as quickly bailed out, when the rules became more equal?
    You said previously that Russians are poor. (Another russia bashing escapade you engaged in) You, and the others who piled in to pillage and plunder the country after perestroika have a share of the responsibility, as your failure to pay local taxes, or indeed wages, precipated much pain and misery for a people trying to adjust to a new system quickly. where is your acclaimed human rights now?

    Surrounding countries got a lot of help when they declared their independence, and good luck to them. Russia got nothing, and has been successful in spite of that. When the economic crisis hit here, it left a lot of people with nothing, and the IMF and the Paris club attempted to saddle Russia with a neverending debt, as a means of control. And when Putin paid the debt early, they were incensed, not only for the interest they were going to lose, but the fact that Russia was standing on its own two feet.


    You might consider the fact that Russia was willing to join the WTO on equal terms, and a few countries didn't like that idea, so they just kept stalling. Your arab states "exception" is laughable, as we all know they get in for the oiand their willingness to bend over, and, well, etc.....

    You also forgot to mention in your tirade that the reason Russia has so few McDonald restaurants, is because there are so many other options for Russians, and any food chain here has to work hard for any market share.

    That's a market economy, and democracy at work.

    It seems to be more the case that your country either lacks some culinary imagination, or an endless diet of fast food is ok for you.
    That's your choice.

    We both li

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  • 273. At 4:48pm on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #270 - alex1658

    Alex,

    Your recent comment about Sergei did not pass me unnoticed. I know this is not the place to do this and I am not sure how else we might go about it, but I would be interested to hear your views about the effect of 'Soviet realism', the union of composers, slavish adherence to Stalin's notorious conservatism on 20th century Russian music. Of course, the break up of the Soviet Union meant that composers such as Part, Vasks, Kancheli and many others could be reinvented as non-Russian. But what of the Russians? Why did Prokofiev return to face the degree of persecution he appeared to tolerate? Why did those who did toe the party line - Kabalevsky, Myaskovsky, Sviridov, etc - fall from favour because of a 'politically correct' readjustment or a reaction against tonality? Why was the genius of Ustvolskya to revealed only 40 years after Shostakovitch drew our attention to it?

    Irrelevant? I don't think so. While Jukka and others are beating on us about the need to impose democratic values, nearly a century of cultural values have been skewed. And surely this is what being European is all about - stewardship of the last western civilisation to have continued uninterupted for nearly 2,000 years.

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  • 274. At 4:54pm on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, how the hell was Estonia supposed to join the EU without being fast tracked into the WTO?

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  • 275. At 5:01pm on 14 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Alexander the not so great;

    There is a big difference between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates on the one hand and the Russian oligarchs on the other. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs built their companies and wealth from nothing using their own enterprise and ingenuity. The Russian oligarchs stole there. One day the entire Soviet Union was theoretically owned by all of the people and suddenly over night as if by magic, most of the wealth was concentrated in a few hands while the rest of the country had nothing. Russia was and remains as corrupt as it gets.

    The EU had better be careful playing games with Bill Gates. He's much stronger than they are and can literally put them out of business anytime he wants to. All he has to do is issue a new version of Windows and his other products that are incompatible with prior versions and refuse to sell it in Europe. That would effectively cut them off from the rest of the world overnight and bankrupt them...as if they aren't on the verge of bankruptcy already.

    The fact is, like it or not, despite a few spotlight projects, technologically the EU is nothing and neither is Russia. The big players are the US and Japan and to a lesser extent Israel. In the area of software, it's the US and India. As time progresses, Europe falls farther and farther behind. It was interesting to see a recent report that the EU's electrical power grid is in no better shape than America's. I was surprised at that myself knowing how much neglect America's has suffered over the last four or five decades. America needs a major upgrade. The 11 billion the Obama administration has allotted in the stimulus package for the grid is hardly a drop in the bucket. At least 200 to 300 billion are needed and maybe a lot more. America also desperately needs lots of additional generating capacity. Where will it get it? BBC called America the Saudi Arabia of coal saying it has enough supply for 250 years. It also has at least 420 tillion cubic feet of proven off shore reserves of natural gas. Fossil fuel is definitely in America's future. It's that or President Obama can explain to the American people why they will have to start shutting down their industries, offices, government buildings, farms, stop driving their cars, and stop heating and air conditioning their homes comfortably. The answer to global warming is fewer people in the world short of a major surprising breakthrough in alternative techologies that actually work. The highly publicized science fair projects of solar, wind, tidal power are a hoax because they can't produce even a few percent of America's power needs. T-Boone Pickens has more wind power than all of the wind turbines he will build combined.

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  • 276. At 5:02pm on 14 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To democracythreat (268):

    Oh please, come back from the 30s to this day.

    First of all, the secret to get energy security is simple, nuclear power. Nuclear power is cheap, reliable and secure source of energy. With hydrocarbons you never ever will obtain energy security, only nuclear power will give it to you. The French and the Japanese have already made this discovery long time ago and many others are following.

    Secondly there is already energy security in Europe. The real question isn't about having energy, but how much does it cost and what are the associated political risks. For example you can swap oil and gas to coal, but that comes with a cost, both financial and environmental.

    Thirdly as I noted before, there exists 50 million people in states that share border with Russia, at total there exists 100 million in the EU that share either border or recent past history with it. You can't sideline that. You also can't forget that the EU is a collective, it works with the same logic that NATO, all have to pull from the same string as if one doesn't pull it or one is left off then the whole collective brakes down.

    In all essence, your tales of horror are only tales of horror. The EU works only as an collective, no EU country, neither big or small can get anywhere without it.


    To WebAliceinwonderland (269):

    Making right things materializes on having a working society that guarantees decent lives to all its people. That is what making right things is all about and that is all what matters, in another words optimizing the individual and the common good.

    Now you, democracythreat and threnodio all jump the gun when it comes to making critic or noting about defects of a country, in this case Russia. To me it seems to me that you think that just even thinking or remembering that there are down-sides is ill-willed act. It isn't. Up here in the North the attitude is quite different, in here we haven't had the luxury to sideline down-sides or defects as doing so has usually costed lives. In here instead critical thinking, some would say pessimistic thinking and in too in many cases depressive thinking alongside with direct talk have been things that made the country and the society work.

    Now of course I could just be silent about defects and down-sides I see, maybe concentrate on the up-sides, maybe concentrate on to some other areas, culture, arts or science, but that isn't my area of expertise nor that interesting. Besides the defects and down-sides are just too grave to be not noted. The upside to all these defects and down-sides is that if and when you fix them, things will get much better.

    Now you may see my critique as an ill minded, that is of course your freedom to do so, but that doesn't make the down-sides nor defects go away, they stay and are there still.


    To alex1658 (272):

    Bah, please, USSR was poor because it didn't invest into its infrastructure, because it was inefficient in all what it did. That is why USSR was poor and that is why Russia was poor before oil and gas prices went up again and with the help of western companies production of oil and gas resumed into levels that allowed the state again to function and some level of living standards resumed.

    You also accuse that the west is somehow responsible for the doom of the USSR. No it is not. Ask yourself if things were so great in the USSR, then were is the nation wide motorway network? Were are all the civil infrastructure from telecommunication and electricity to water works? The thing is that USSR never had resources to build them, what was laid 100 years ago was used instead because there were no funds to replace them. No, the truth is that USSR was poor country. Actually in the 70s and 80s when Intourist organized trips from USSR to capitalist Finland, many Soviets went crazy as what they thought to see was a poor and unwell country and instead saw living standards many times greater that they ever had seen.

    Now the reason why Russia has fallen behind many of its ex-Republics and its Eastern European satellites is because there is no democracy but more importantly western companies from finance to manufacturing haven't been allowed to set up their shops there. Estonia got its GDP up and running because it got banking and financing organizations from its neighbouring countries, it got foreign investments and got quickly involved into global production networks that allowed its citizens and its companies to create global contacts and start creating mind share that would allow build up of domestic companies.

    Again, if you don't believe, take a road trip into western Europe or Nordic countries and see what the difference in infrastructure there is and then start to remember how economies work, how production networks function and then you start to understand all the problems of Russia better.


    To threnodio (271):

    And what do you suggest our policy with Russia should be?

    "Oh Mr. Putin, you just organized coup'd'etat in your neighbouring country, oh, of course we understand, rise of gas price, of course we understand, by the way do you want that free trade agreement now or tommorrow? It is just fine with us."

    I'm sorry, but I thought the British had learned something from the 30s, namely that appeasing doesn't work.

    Also I have to make a question, are you a culture relativist? Aren't democracy and human rights something that belong to all people?

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  • 277. At 5:13pm on 14 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    Jukka

    I also know that other Finns aren't as narrow minded, either. I have Finnish linux colleagues, (and Finland has a high percentage of gifted linux programmers), who are altogether considerably more openminded than you are about the relationship between Russia, and not only your country, but the EU. Quite a few of us, including several Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Slovak, Slovene, Lithuanian, Latvian, German and Bulgarian programmers regularly chat, and discuss this stuff, and none of them on any side are as narrow minded as you, or use some sort of default cold war rhetoric to engage in discussion with each other. (I think we have one Hungarian chap too, so an even wider net of openminded thinkers.) Many of them visit Russia on a regular basis to attend conferences, and vice versa, Russians visit them, and they all seem to have a good time.


    As for the border controls on Containers, it was the governments of the countries surrounding Russia that complained about the huge cost of transport, road repairs, and queues at the border. They wanted the companies shipping goods into and out of Russia to pay a bigger levy on road maintenance, which was subsequently refused by the companies involved, and many big foreign companies have asked Russia for alternatives, hence the Sea And Rail proposal, saving road maintenance costs on all sides.

    So despite your rhetoric, and those who enjoy a bit of Russia Bashing, there's a queue of foreign companies trying to get their goods into the Russian Market Economy. (Yes, it exists, despite, it seems, your best efforts to portray the contrary.) It's vibrant, busy, and a huge source of income for foreigners and locals alike who are prepared to compete on level terms, pay their local taxes (which are 30% standard for foreigners, business or personal, and 15% personal tax for locals.), and work hard to make themselves business attractive for the discerning Russian consumer.


    Our 18 year old democratic lady, disguised as a blushing Russian princess, is doing just fine, without needing to impose your 'vision' for what you think she should be doing.

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  • 278. At 5:30pm on 14 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #273 Threnodio

    If you're up for it, i guess we could ask the mods to quietly trade our email addresses, and give them permission to do so.

    As a side note, It was Dmitri Shostakovich who insisted that Sergei Prokofiev be given the state's highest honour before he got it, contrary to the sometimes erroneous perception that Dmitri was a willing and compliant servant of the party mechanism. Dimitri also wrote over 40 fine scores for film, many of which i've seen and heard. A maestro indeed, depending of course on your particular musical perspective.

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  • 279. At 5:32pm on 14 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio (274):

    Estonia joined WTO in 1999 and EU in 2004.

    The reason for why Estonia and other countries joined more quicker to WTO than Russia or China was their own attitude. They wanted to become WTO members as quickly as possible as membership in it opened new markets and made them more lucrative place for foreign companies to locate, in essence countries like Estonia gave more in negotiations and fast tracked changes in their own legislations as the end results would be worth of any give up.

    In comparison Russia and China have had problems in their own attitudes. They have usually been places that have been embraced by others, not places that have embraced rest of the world. Embracing the outside world and can-do attitude make a big difference.

    The choice is up to you, you can be MexiCAN or MexiCAN'T as the Americans say.

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  • 280. At 5:48pm on 14 Jun 2009, Tigerchen85 wrote:

    I am almost sorry to disturb MA2. 100th-ish fall of the EU into pieces poll celebration party. So the right wing parties won in some countries namely 4. 2 of those are reöatively new to the EU and due to their size they don't send THAT many MEPs in the first place. Then the netherlands sends some populist to the EP - that is in my oppinion very sad but populists happened to catch some votes in elections before as well - so I wouldn't say the netherlands count for the entire EU. Oh and of course the UK dissatisfied with their ruling labour party (which I won't blame them for even) also decided to send MR. Brown a clue that they even prefer extremists over him. Since the entire scandal happened just weeks or days before the election I don't really know how representative it is for future elections.
    However even if the next elections have the same outcomes as this in the UK you are still overestimating the imporetance of what happens in the UK a lot. Especially as right winged parties lost in many other countries voters such as France, Germany, Poland and Sweden. Together those 4 alone are "a bit" more imortant than the UK.

    But I want to congratulate to the British voters for even reducing the influence of their own empire even further as in the past months and maybe years Paris and Berlin were having the strongest influence in the decisionmaking process in Europe - with Britain sending EU-sceptic MEPs Mr Sarkozy and Mrs Merkel will only pursue this policy even harder.

    The true winners of this election are pro-EU parties (especially the green parties) so I am quite positive with the results.

    I however fear that the idea of a unified Europe might fail for the same reason as communism used to - human sefishness. There is far too much "I'll agree on that only if I get this" going on. But as I mentioned communism failed for the same reason and even the oh so glorious idea of free market will fail sooner or later for the same reason - it will once China gets bored with all the trillions of US-Dollars they have gathered over the past years. Once they release those summs of money into the free market again there is very likely to be one hyperinflation in the US followed by an economic crisis which exceeds the one we are in now by far.

    Thinking about it it is almost ironical that though having nuclear weapons and technologies to start even a war in the space mutually killing satellites former communist China is now able to hurt the US a lot without pulling a single trigger but in a capitalistic way...

    About the discussion you seem to have about Hamburgers... I learned from a finish girl that Finnland has it's own chain of Hamburger restaurants and that therefore many finns prefer it over McDonalds any day (forgot the name though :-/) But to be honest it doesn't take much effort to beat McDonalds served meals quality-wise or even cost-wise - and this is not my Anti-Americanism speaking as I love Subway - but also figueres for customer satisfaction for major fast food chains of which McDonalds got the lowest scores for more than a decade and counting...

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  • 281. At 6:03pm on 14 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Alexander the not so great;

    The reason foreign companies came to Russia to "exploit" natural resources is because Russia didn't have the technology or management skills to develop these resources and exploit them itself. These companies came with the expectation that either through partnership or taxes, they'd keep some of the profits while the Russian government would get some. It takes many years to recoup large capital investments like those necessary to develop oil and gas fields and then there is an expectation of profits later on or money would be invested and put to work elsewhere. What did the Russian government do? It stupidly effectively seized huge investments by British Petroleum and Shell even before those investments could pay a return on the initial outlay. Russia may have won that battle but in the war to attract global investment that brings jobs, technology, management skills, and a lot more, it lost the war totally. There's a big sign on Russia's door that says "Foreign investors, keep out." It will be a long time even after Russia's attitude changes before private capital takes another chance. Bolivia and Venezuela are making the same mistake. As a result, Russia will remain a primitive backward society for a long time to come. It's xenophobia and unwillingness to reward foreign investment will keep it in the nineteenth century while much of the rest of the world continues to advance into the twenty-first.

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  • 282. At 6:06pm on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #275 - MarcusAureliusII

    There are times, Marcus, when your degree of naivite defies belief. Do you seriously believe that Sun Microsystems and IBM have been pumping money remorsely into open source and Linux for all these years so that Microsoft could get away with a stunt like that? Do you think the German government migrated most of their systems to Linux a few years back for the fun of it? You are living in cloud cuckoo land. Compared with the largely saturated American market, the European market is vast and still has huge potential. Microsoft know this and they will play ball - just as Intell will whinge about the latest judgment of the European court but will ultimately cave in. There is nothing . absolutely nothing that Microsoft makes in terms of software or Intell in terms of chips which cannot be substituted by another providor if necessary. Dream on buddy. You might know which side your bread is buttered on but Microsoft does. Oh and since when have Gates and Jobs been such good buddies? Don't you think Apple Mac would jump on Microsoft's grave and laugh all the way to the bank if MS did mess it all up? Why have they invested so much in creating an i386 build?

    Fortunately, Microsoft and Apple are run by realists, not dreamers. They will do what suits their commercial interests best and if that includes eating humble pie, they will do it.

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  • 283. At 6:15pm on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #276 - Jukka_Rohila

    "I'm sorry, but I thought the British had learned something from the 30s, namely that appeasing doesn't work.

    Also I have to make a question, are you a culture relativist? Aren't democracy and human rights something that belong to all people?"

    On the conrary, they learned that appeasment in the short term buys you enough time to stand a fighting chance of winning a war - which is why you are free to wax lyrical about freedom and democracy now. And yes, democracy and human rights do belong to all people and they should be able to reach out for them.. They are not, however, in your gift or anyone else's.

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  • 284. At 6:23pm on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #278 - alex1658

    If you go here, I am sure you will no problem figuring the rest out.

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  • 285. At 6:31pm on 14 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To alex1658 (277):

    Narrow minded? Oh, please, does it make you narrow minded when you make note of deficits and make few suggestions on how to sort them out and make the situation better? Cold war rhetoric? Bah, please, where?

    In regards to your talks with your Linux developer buddies, have you ever thought that maybe you don't have enough background in economics to understand what is happening and why? Usually technical people aren't so into the economics and especially into production economics that is needed to make an argument. Of course being technical or knowing how to program doesn't make you unequipped to talk about economics at least if you are Java developer or work with ERP systems as I do, but seriously, technical knowledge doesn't help you to understand how a distributed networked production system works and why, for that you do need education from economics and business administration.

    In case containers and transportation, Russia itself has applied heavy levies into foreign companies transporting into Russia. Actually foreign transportation companies have more or less exited the transportation business and let the Russian transport firms handle much of the freight. In case of containers the real reason why Kremlin wants to ban road transports of containers is to help centralize logistical flows into its own harbours that are from Kremlin viewed as a strategic issue.

    Another reason is that the Russian state collects sizeable portion of its budget from tolls and customs and it seems to calculate that by centralizing container flows into its harbours and train terminals it can save in its own costs.

    This all of course is quite stupid thinking as there just isn't capacity needed to take all container transports into harbours and rail terminals, the second is that logistical flows will come slower and increase capital costs associated in transporting goods. This move by the Kremlin will not only hurt industries but it will hurt Russian consumers. It is quite ludicrous that before the devaluation of Russian ruble many Russians made shopping trips into Finland as many goods and items were cheaper than they were in Russia, that tells that something is deeply wrong in the functioning of the Russian markets.

    You also seem to understand wrongly what I said. Saying that Russian markets aren't giant or huge doesn't mean that there aren't markets or that markets aren't sizeable, what it means that Russian markets aren't giant, just that, nothing else. If you want an example of a market that is giant then look at China, that giant potential market, if you want an example of huge markets then look at the EU (the biggest economy in the world) and to the USA (the biggest national market in the world).

    In case of democracy, you had democracy under Yeltsin, you had free press and real parties that competed on with each other. Under Putin the freedoms that you had were lost quickly, there are only remnants of free press as almost all media is centralized under Kremlin or parties associated close with Kremlin. It isn't for nothing that Putin called the Russian system Sovereign Democracy as it wasn't even close to being democratic. Haven't you ever thought what Russia could be with out Putin and his FSB friends in power? What a government lead by for example Yabloka could have brought?

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  • 286. At 6:33pm on 14 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Tiger Tiger burning bright;

    "China gets bored with all the trillions of US-Dollars they have gathered over the past years. Once they release those summs of money into the free market again there is very likely to be one hyperinflation in the US followed by an economic crisis which exceeds the one we are in now by far."

    That is my assessment as well. I believe the only option that will be open to the US government once the huge already existing debt that the Obama administration is just compounding will be to print money to pay for it. This will devalue the magnitude of the debt in real terms as the currency is radically cheapened. I think there will be about 400% to 500% inflation wiping out all existing debt that are at fixed values. Lenders will get about 20 to 25 cents on the dollar back when adjusted for inflation.

    It isn't China that can hurt the US by refusing to buy more US government bonds, it was the US that hurt itself by spending far more than it took in for many years. Argentina did the same. The alternative to inflation is a perpetual depression. This combined with the huge trade deficit, lack of saving by Americans, and a return to the laissez faire capitalism policies of the 1920s starting in the 1980s and 1990s has bankrupted not only the US government but the entire world. The world has become globally interdependent. The 2 trillion dollars the US government owes China is peanuts compared to the vast profits American based firms made on investments in China over the years. Collapse of the US economy will have great impact on the rest of the world as well including China. It's happening already. Hold on to your hats, this bumpy ride is far from over. All we have seen so far may just be the opening rounds.

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  • 287. At 6:55pm on 14 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threnodious, for all practical intents and purposes the entire world runs on Windows. That's a fact of life. It's also a fact that as a private company Microsoft is free to do what it likes as long as it is legal in the US. And as the Justice Department found out 10 years ago, if they don't like the way Microsoft runs its operations, Gates can pick up his marbles and move 100 miles north to Canada beyond their reach where he'd be welcome with open arms. In a war between the EU and Bill Gates, take my word for it, the EU wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in hell. Gate's personal fortune alone is probably more than the net worth of most European software companies combined. His Company has the technical resources to make any such war so one sided that Europe would be put out of business before they knew what hit them. Gates will not open up the box with Microsoft's secrets in it, not for the EU or anyone else.

    ""I'm sorry, but I thought the British had learned something from the 30s, namely that appeasing doesn't work.

    Also I have to make a question, are you a culture relativist? Aren't democracy and human rights something that belong to all people?"

    On the conrary, they learned that appeasment in the short term buys you enough time to stand a fighting chance of winning a war - "

    Yes threnodious, time enough to persuade the US to come to its rescue to fight and win its wars for it just the way it did in WWI, WWII, and the cold war. If the US becomes an appeaser, there won't be anyone to turn to. So far that's how it looks to be from the perspective of Iran, North Korea, and now since Obama's speech in Cairo to the Islamists.

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  • 288. At 7:38pm on 14 Jun 2009, Tigerchen85 wrote:

    Maybe I should make a red cross in my calendar for agreeing with you MA2 :P

    Yet we agree on one more thing as even before WW2 appeasement didn't win you the war, actually if Britain and France had decided to stop Hitler in 1935 or 1936 they could just have walked in as the Germans had not much but stones to throw at them. The majority of the weaponary used in WW2 by Nazi Germany was built the months before the war or even in the war (which is one of the reasons why some of them were amazingly far superior to what they were faced to - Bismarck vs. Hood). The point I try to make however is that without appeasement the probably wouldn't have been WW2. If a world today would be better or worse without it is impossible to say for everyone...

    The problem though is to say when it is valid to declare war on one nation. Though there is hardly any doubt about Nazi-Germany, if we look at recent events such as the Iraq war then there would be dozens of other countries that would justify wars far more than Iraq did in aspects of humanity. However most of those countries don't posses any or at least not as much oil and that war is a very costly business.. (yet I don't think this is in any way related to the topic here)

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  • 289. At 7:45pm on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #287 - MarcusAureliusII

    You are so obsessed with the oncept of 'my country right or wrong' that you simply will not face up to realities that are staring you in the face. The enire world does not run on Windows and never has done. I am not going to bore everyone with tedious details but there is not a damned thing Windows does that I cannot do under Mac or Linux.

    As to your remarks about rescuing Europe from itself, that is nothing short of pathetic. You took me to task the other day about a one year error about a Beethoven symphony then simply ignore the two year gap between 1939 when the war began and 1941 when you eventually turned up. I very much doubt you would have bothered at all had the Japanese not forced your hand.

    (Apologies to American friends out there but MAII's chauvanism has just become too tedious).

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  • 290. At 7:55pm on 14 Jun 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    threnodio (#289), No need to apologize. We don't necessarily claim him as one of "US" anyway.

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  • 291. At 7:58pm on 14 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Marcus Windus writes:

    "The fact is, like it or not, despite a few spotlight projects, technologically the EU is nothing and neither is Russia. The big players are the US and Japan and to a lesser extent Israel."

    If there is one thing I have learned from the BBC, it is to set my coffee at rest before reading a marcus the mad post. This is not the first time I have spilt the brown nectar on myself for fright at his ideas.

    Israel is a technological powerhouse?????? ISRAEL??????

    Yeah. And Jesus invented electricity.

    Marcus, please be reasonable. Israel isn't even a state. It is a weapons depot. It is an offshore military hardware superstore. It has NO ECONOMY beyond selling US weapons to places the US cannot openly sell them.

    Israel also has religious councils handing out history degrees. No joke, that is a true story. Grand rabis, or whatever they call themselves, decide whether history graduates can become doctors or professors. As a result, every serious university in the western world has been forced into the most appalling social situations. They can't come out and say "Israel is a theocratic can of nutbags, academically." because that would make them hitlers' evil auntie. But at the same time, they can't let Israeli endorsed history professors teach at their universities, or there would be riots and the alumni would ask for their money back.

    And it was a jew who told me this, too. Before you call me hitlers evil auntie. He told me that everyone in Israel who is serious about academia LEAVES. To get away from the Mullahs, and to protect their reputations.

    "Israel is a technological power." My god! Their god, even. It is a military base! A RELIGIOUS military base.

    As for the japanese, what have they ever invented?

    Sure, they can reverse engineer and make stuff smaller, but you name ONE THING the japanese ever invented. Huh?

    It is the same with India and China. They clam to be on par with the western world, and ask that we in the west ignore their archaic social organization and miniscule vocabularies, and the feudal centralised control over official ruling doctrine. Then they manage to keep a factory open for a few years, and claim to have mastered the reason of the world.

    Meanwhile, the russians were the first to put a man in space, launched the first satellite, and have produced men like Lev Artsimovich, the creator of the tokamak fusion reactor.

    You don't even know who he is, do you Marcus?

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  • 292. At 8:01pm on 14 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    I have a question for all those who understand this thing called western democracy. This is a perfectly serious question, and therefore suited for everyone except marcus.

    So:

    In which year did the English political system establish western democracy, and what characteristics defined this system at that point in time, such that it ought to be a model for other states?

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  • 293. At 8:18pm on 14 Jun 2009, Leo_Naphta wrote:

    I must say, I'm quite amused at the overestimation of 'Windows' by MAII on this blog. I'd love to see Bill Gates commit economical suicide by 'refusing to sell Windows to Europe'. It would be highly amusing, especially since open source LINUX based systems like UBUNTU are actually becoming so user friendly that they're probably a better alternative to Windows ... and to top it off, it's free. Not to mention the fact that no company that does international business would upgrade to a system which in this hypothetical fantasy land is incapable of making contact with one of the biggest markets. I wonder why MAII thinks that Bill Gates would want to ruin his company for his 'nationalistic fervour'.

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  • 294. At 8:46pm on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #292 - democracythreat

    It never has. It has made half hearted stabs at it on a number of occasions, most notably, I suppose, the Great Reform Act of 1832 but it has never built what one might sensibly call a modern functioning democracy. Of course those who champion the cause of parliamentary democracy will argue that it is the cumulative effect of all this legislation which has done the trick but, as you have noted often yourself, sovereinty needs to be vested in the people before you can even talk sensibly about democracy.

    Let me bounce the question back. Care to name one so called western democracy worthy of the title? Yes, maybe Switzerland.

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  • 295. At 8:57pm on 14 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To democracythreat (292):

    What? Japanese very well can be inventive, it is an old stereotype that the Japanese culture only copies. Just look at Hello Kitty, Gundam, Hard Gay and Morning Musume and tell me again that Japanese can't invent. Besides what is wrong on copying what works or innovating and putting two things together and calling it a new thing, other nations and cultures do it too, in Europe too.

    In regards of China and India.. China is growing with neck braking speed, they invest into everything from industries to giant infrastructure projects like the new high speed rail line from Shanghai to Peking. They have a can-do attitude and they will be on par with the western world, it is only a matter of time and when they turn their system into a full blown democracy, they will be the leading power house of the world.. India then again is the worlds largest democracy, when they get the same can-do attitude with the same level of organization that the Chinese, they will take their place in the world too.

    PS. If you would make a street gallup from the youths in Helsinki and asked on what is cool country, or where does the cool stuff come from, the answer would be USA and Japan. In my honest opinion most of the cool stuff in art and in culture really come from Japan.


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  • 296. At 8:59pm on 14 Jun 2009, David wrote:

    All I can say ...

    is an advance for the "Right" would be an advance for repressive ...

    parties everywhere, for instance, in Eastern Europe, Communism might start sounding very nostalgic a memory :)

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  • 297. At 9:00pm on 14 Jun 2009, David wrote:

    Also, this IS my favorite forum online. Hi everyone (web alice, marcus aurelius, threnodio...etc.)

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  • 298. At 9:08pm on 14 Jun 2009, David wrote:

    And oh yes, isn't it true that inflation is only now being felt in America?

    The first indication (sorry, peoples above) is that American 10 year treasury bonds have risen to a 4 % return (a 100 % rise from 2 % return 2 months ago).

    Inflation is to me a relief though very worrying, but a relief from the thought of a depression.

    Though, how the response to that inflation could lead to worse conditions is also scary...


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  • 299. At 9:24pm on 14 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To democracythreat(292)

    Well, lets define the requirements for a modern democracy...

    1. Freedom of speech
    Includes freedom to speak and publish what ever you want. It also includes freedom to assembly and to demonstrate.

    2. Freedom to organize
    Includes freedom to set up a political party, but also freedom to set up other kinds of societies too.

    These are actually essential requirements, if a country slips too much and starts to restrict there two freedoms then it isn't a democracy any more as competing interests and ideologies can't be put on to the markets to be decided in elections.

    3. Separation of law and order from the political system.
    The police and the justice system must be neutral and free from political corruption.

    4. Universal vote where every citizen has a one vote.

    There can't be any restriction regarding gender, race, sexual preference or wealth. If large parts of the population are restricted from citizenship without a way to obtain it via their own work, then the system isn't democratic.

    When you have these four essential requirements full filled you have a democracy.

    Now UK does full fill these criteria more or less, however in my mind because the upper house and because of the First Past the Post method it has never been in an shining example of democracy. Actually I would give the price of shining example of democracy to the USA or Germany. USA has had crazy amounts of freedom however political corruption and corruption of the system itself via gerrymandering makes its light shine less. Germany could be another example, but Germany has too many restrictions to make it a shining light of democracy. Maybe France? Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite!

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  • 300. At 9:48pm on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #299 - Jukka_Rohila

    In the sense that the UK meets all those criteria, yes it certainly is a functioning democracy but a model democracy is another question. To qualify in that sense you would, as I think democracythreat is getting at, to have a key document in which as these rights are defined. With no written constitution. Britain cannot do this. In that sense, there is no key date or act.

    The American model is good if you can live with an executive presidency, which I personally struggle with. I have the same reservation about France and it does remain highly centralised. Of the major powers, I go with Germany because I instinctively like federal systems. You still have to look a long way beyond Europe to find anything quite like Switzerland - unless you count the oldest surviving democracy anywhere - San Marino. Now that's what I call government.

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  • 301. At 10:36pm on 14 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Jukka writes:
    "1. Freedom of speech
    Includes freedom to speak and publish what ever you want. It also includes freedom to assembly and to demonstrate.

    2. Freedom to organize
    Includes freedom to set up a political party, but also freedom to set up other kinds of societies too.

    These are actually essential requirements, if a country slips too much and starts to restrict there two freedoms then it isn't a democracy any more as competing interests and ideologies can't be put on to the markets to be decided in elections.

    3. Separation of law and order from the political system.
    The police and the justice system must be neutral and free from political corruption.

    4. Universal vote where every citizen has a one vote. "

    Well, you dodged the question of when the UK became a model of democracy. But so did Threnodio.

    Now my point is this:

    The soviet union is a model democracy under these criteria.

    1. There was freedom of speech. Nobody was ever jailed for exercising the right to free speech. They were jailed and sometimes shot for saying the wrong thing, BUT... and here's the rub... their crime was always defined as threatening the state. They were always declared to be spies for the evil foreigners. The soviet union was a great source of free speech.

    In the USA, Germany and in the UK you can be sent to prison, or executed, for saying the wrong thing. Of course, you have to be threatening the state. You have to be a "terrorist". The UK has the law of sedition, which is a common law crime that means "To cause unrest among her majesties subjects." In Germany you can go to jail for arguing the wrong historical case, among other scenarios. In the USA you can be executed for saying the wrong thing to foreign governments, or agents of those governments. You can also be dismissed from your job for belonging to the communist party, as we saw with the McCarthy witch hunts.

    So either the soviet union did not have free speech, or the USA, UK and Germany do not have free speech, or the term doesn't mean very much. Take your pick.

    2. Freedom to organize.

    See point 1. Now the point will be made that we in the glorious west only ever proscribe organizations that are threatening state security. We say the enemies of the state serve foreign interests, and are therefore SPIES. But the soviet union said precisely the same thing. And before you talk about how many lies they told, how many lies did our security forces tell?

    After all, it is true that people in the soviet union DID act for themselves, to create more liberty and to gain power and that sort of thing. We helped them, but that was because we love freedom so much. But just so, the people THEY helped to fight for more freedom and so on and so forth in our countries, these people also saw themselves as fighting for themselves in their own country.

    So this freedom of speech, freedom to organize thing ...... it only works if we declare our own "security forces" to be doing the work of god, and the security forces of the soviet union to be doing the work of the devil. It is the whole white cowboy hats and black cowboy hats argument, which I leave to Marcus to take to its depths of intellectual seriousness and complexity.

    In the end, you can only have free speech and freedom to organize insofar as you do not plot to overthrow the establish order. Ergo, the parties who control the economy and the central banks. That rule applies for the soviet union just as much as the "free west".

    3. Separation of judiciary and state.

    A curious point, given that this long held bastion of political wisdom has largely evaporated in the free west over the past fifty years.

    Now in the USA, the government shamelessly appoint and fire the judges they like, and in the UK the "law lords" have become overtly political in both their judgements and in the public speeches in the press.

    It is a curious fact that this doctrine that judges must be independent from the government presupposes the validity of the separation of powers doctrine. If this doctrine holds, then it follows that direct democracy must be superior to the party based system of representation, because the party based system (both in the soviet union and the free west) has conspicuously evolved to concentrate power within the party, at the expense of the judiciary.

    4. Universal suffrage. One vote per person.

    Again, a curious benchmark. In the soviet union, everybody voted. They had to. In the USA, however, barely 25% of the population generally vote. Blacks and other minorities have traditionally not voted. Now you may argue that one person one vote means the RIGHT to vote, but numerous civil rights cases in the USA demonstrated that blacks in the southern states were effectively proscribed from being eligible to vote for many, many years. Certainly for all the 20's and 30's and 40's, when the glorious free USA was fighting the evil, unfree soviet union, where everybody voted.

    And, yes, voting in the soviet union was a bit of a farce. It didn't change anything profound, the same political party always got into power, and the people in the party government the economy for their own benefit.

    So.... in summary, your criteria for a free democracy confuses me. You cite a bunch of grand phrases that only work if the argument to support them is based on a circularity of the white and black hats. We have freedom because we wear white hats, THEY have evil oppression because they have black hats. How do we know we are free and they are evil? Easy. We are wearing white hats, and they are wearing black hats.

    Everyone is free who speaks well of the ruler.

    So speak less to me of freedom, and more to me of the right to vote on law, and the rights of people to challenge the rules made for them by those who claim to represent their best interests.

    Otherwise you are just another party member or party stooge, proclaiming the evil to be found over there, and singing the praises of the rulers over here. If you like doing that, the soviet union would have been the perfect place for you, so be consistent and don't criticize that regime.

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  • 302. At 10:54pm on 14 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Stella I'm glad you are back last time you wrote "I know I will manage this piggy flu" (approx.) and got lost! Now, we can't lose any comrades :o))) in this, say, er, OK.
    "The BBC House". :o) (approx. :o)))

    Jukka and I thought my verbs had (symbolically) burned through to your heart ...:o)))
    "USSR was poor", standards of living appaling compared to Finland (and who not) "because it was not able to do a single thing efficiently."

    I disagree. Will explain why. I am not an economist, remember. But I think if you had cards on hands that USSR had (symbolically) you wouldn't do better, in the areas in which the USSR chose to excel. At which it got focused, how to say.

    Other people's combination plus other ideology, another parti/other parties would have opted for other "focus" areas, no doubt. In the same land.

    But (excluding the measures taken to achieve success in selected list of areas, like labour for wildreness projects obtained by grabatising millions into forces Gulag system labour) - where USSR focused on - there it was successful.

    90% of population in 1917 were illiterate. Focus on education was reasonable. We don't complain ab our educ. results.

    There was basically no electricity but Moscow and St. Pete. Focus on country's electrification was reasonable. We don't complain ab our modern electricity grids and systems, all embracing, and up-dated within the past 10 years.

    Grand infrustructural projects were just that - great. No one has such experience in rivers' dam close up for hydroelctric stations as Russia has.

    With the sad exception of Chernobyl, I think we've got more nuclear power stations than anyone else, and they are working. Done internally, by those 90% population made literate and taught post 1917, all home-made components. USSR old stations still work and largely save many a new country, Lithuania for example :o)

    In other words USSR did very well on heavy big pieces, and lots of "heavy metal". From tanks to aviation to Kamaz trucks. Do you build civil airplanes? Russia still does. Again, all home-made, fleet and ice-breakers and airplanes. Behind the Iron curtain, no info exchange (except for sketches once stolen to expediate nuclear bomb put together.)

    But honestly, we didn't start with the nuclear bomb, not our proposal. Simply had to catch up on quickly, and even without stealing - would have it, urgency and extravagansy only becaus time was ticking. All was here just some things didn't match up nicely :o)) The degeree of readiness was this: in 14 days after USSR got the sketches our first bomb was ready. Make a note, I insist. Because 40 years earlier no amount of stolen sketches would have helped us. To many, LOL, I think you can give full documentation even in 2009 - they still won't be able to see where is up where is down. :o))))
    (and the next, first hydrogen bomb, nothing to boast of, rather I regret
    to note was made by Russia).

    On the "rocket science" I don't think I should at all.
    Space entry I think we can skip as well, Russian leadership is was and will stay, we have began and see it our field.

    Care to note all this "heavy machinery" home-cooked, no exchange or access to the rest of the world, like normal scientists could communicate, ours had to invent own bicycles LOL. And some of these bicycles are still the best :o))))

    Whereas on things that make up living for an ordinary person on the ground - total neglect. I will not see the day when a plastic kitchen cutting board will be made in Russia, granted. What to do, Kremlin never focused on making life of population OK. Simply - LOL, out of the question, not even considered as a priority. Slowly slowly starts a bit now, but not more than that. Rather - we buy all foreign instead. Two stages - nothing available - all Western available.
    In the both parts nobody had and has a reason to make anything own.

    I've got a trolley in the dacha. Low, metal, 4 wheels. I had it fixed 5 years ago. It's grandfather's, someone an acquainted smith made it for him.
    I can buy German these days, but German are waist-high. Heavy to lift up for me things to trolley to the garbage lot, or sand from the shore for the garden paths or water from the well in containers.
    Germans don't know what Russians use trolleys for, and make them high.
    Whereas every Russian dacha needs a 30 cm high from the ground trolley.
    USSR didn't make me one; Russia didn't, and no body will ever - LOL!
    Some things just never chnage, how to say.

    While Kamaz trucks for heavy-weight, I think still win the Dakar-Paris year after year. 8 years it is? Heavy metal, you know. No shortage of orders.
    And a can opener I will never see Russian-made.

    BTW, the orders for C-300 are taken now for 2014 :o))) A cueue of half the world. And a dog collar this country cannot make. I got one, local. A rottweiler would fall under the weight. 5-6 kilos of heavy metal in strange places. Roger refused to stand up in one, and when I lifted him, he clattered as a German knight of year 1200 in full gear. The Alaska cart-driving dog outfit - the only local option.

    There are things we are doing just fine. :o) Recent tank trade-show has shown. can you imagine a tank trade-fair? An open-air with after party?
    :o))) Only here. 2 days for buyers and an extra day for the Siberian city to cheer and have fun. Looked like a horse-? hippodrome? where you out stakes. Only here the audiences with ladies in hats under coloured shade with fringes, how to call those stripy protection cloth, for the audience in tiered up chairs, LOL were putting stakes on favourite tanks! No, Jukks, the day when you'll buy a Russian-made mobile phone are far. But T-90 I recommend, if you'll find a place for it in your housekeeping arrangement. It's a froggy tank, jumps, hops and jumps, latests tanks' fashion. And shoots up in the jump. The next version, no doubt, will be seen in Bolshoy theatre, :o))) as a prima ballerina. (Climbs a wall of nearly 90 degrees as well).

    I'd say where USSR focused, and where Russia focuses, it's alright.
    Another thing is our foucus is un-appliccable to normal life and house-keeping.

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  • 303. At 11:10pm on 14 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #301 - democracythreat

    With respect, I did not dodge your question. You asked 'when the UK became a model of democracy'. The answer is never.

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  • 304. At 00:58am on 15 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavrenty wondered how come all was common in Soviet times, and then suddenly all Russia's property got concentrated in a hundred of hands, while 99.9999 per cent got zero.

    It was an elegant operation called voucher-isation. Every citizen received 1 voucher, representing a share of Russia's wealth. What they were representing was not explained, LOL, vaguely - all there is. Airplanes in aerodromes, trains on the rails, rails and roads, oil and gas undeground, gold in the central Bank reserves, tables and hair in university buildings and the buildings themselves, ships at seas and industrial enterprises. Given such an expanded list of values, the nominal price of a voucher was strangely 2 roubles I think. May be 4. Smth like a Snicker chocolate only the choc was more expensive. Most Russians, accordingly, took that piece of paper as a joke. Some used it as a toilet paper :o)), others threw it out, a lot of people glued them on the wallpaper as decoration memorial of country lost, and some still shoved them away to safe-keep in case of anything. Theoretically we were all supposed to "invest them". Into the new enterprises. Only nobody knew which will be these new enetrprises, that is, which of the old, state-owned ones will survive as a new "private ones". And how "to invest". In short rules were either non-existant or not explained much only scraps of paper given and, like - got your share of Russia's wealth? Be happy. That's it, it was socialism yesterday, capitalism today, you've got your share of future capitalism? now go get lost don't annoy busy people.
    BTW there are rare examples of ordinary folk who saved the papaers and in fact really managed "to invest them" somehow later, about 10 yrs later. But 99 per cent sold them later on at voucher-buying enterprises.
    Those who didn't throw them away because many did thought it's a jeering of powers at people.
    (Mine and mum's were simply stolen which relieved me of the burden to worry how to manage my share of Russia's wealth. Our apartment was robbed and by mistake the thieves took vouchers as well. Then the police caught the thieves and returned us all the things. But stole the vouchers. I noticed, because when they first showed me an array of things and asked to confirm that's all ours, grabatised stuff, I saw vouchers there. But when we actually we given it back the slips were gone. Mum tried to convince the police to return the vouchers as well but they said we should be happy they caught the thieves and with all the things in bags which we couldn't deny was a lucky thing so Mum didn't complain more).

    Anyway I think some vouchers, of people working in industrial enterprises were named, like shares of that very enterprise. Not sure, because as I said nobody understood the rules exactly, till now. So the future-to-become oligarchs were buying vouchers from personnel of those companies they wanted, for 10 roubles instead of 4 or something. At places - even for 100 roubles. Or at least they claimed they did.
    I think it was enough to buy a hunderd and xerox-copy the extra thousand needed, who would check.

    Those were the raging nineties, stormy nineties. Lots of criminal activity exactly because the whole country was split and fought for. A future oligarch would have , say, 15 % of vouchers of a particular enterprise purchased. And announced himself the new owner. Did a stuff meeting, promised all who would stay to work to pay them salary and that the company will continue to work, only now it's not a stat eneterprise but - "welcome me, a new owner." Then would come a competitor, who aslo bought (or xerox-copied) 15 %. Or - 25. One would raid the office of the other with armed chaps and throw him out, put own security at the doors, and again collect the personnel and say "I am the new company owner, welcome me." Often the company would change hands several times. The personnel was getting mad re who actually "owns" them, but then very often they were fired anyway as the factory was wanted as a good place to build a living block of houses or whatever.

    Such grabatising raids still in Russian language as "maski-show", a bang-woosh-grab-gone show in masks on the face. There is an expression, "We'll arrange you a maski-show, kind of, beware."

    Many stories very sad, like someone honest would collect a lot of shares, from inside the company, who knws the business, then comes someone else with mafia and throws him out and takes the company stamp. The first owner of the company goes to police and says "robbery in the day-light, first degree".
    Police says - not our concern, a property issue - go to court and prove who of you is the real owner.
    The judge says "With all my pleasure. Only regret to say this democracy happened all of a sudden, how am I supposed to judge you? See these volumes on my shelves? That's USSR laws. Not a single one mentions the very notion "private property". To say nothing of how to handle disputes btw various "owners". But I've got good news for you - the Supreme court promised to hold a meeting on that, and come up with some laws. Pop in again in 5 years' time I am sure there'll be some laws by that time made. If you have a friend in the State Duma you may ask him to come up with the new laws quicker. Somehow they aren't in a hurry. Cheers."

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  • 305. At 01:17am on 15 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threnodious;

    "You took me to task the other day about a one year error about a Beethoven symphony"

    You really do like to bend the truth beyond recognitions threnodious. I said it was 200 years. Then you gave the exact dates and said 202 years. Then I pointed out that you can't even subtract since by your own numbers it was 201. Don't tell me about nit picking. Between the two of us, you're the nit.

    "then simply ignore the two year gap between 1939 when the war began and 1941 when you eventually turned up. I very much doubt you would have bothered at all had the Japanese not forced your hand.

    Why should America have come to Britain's and France's defense again? Britain and France invented World War II starting with Versailles and their insane punitive reparations they demanded of Germany. They virtually guaranteed that Germans would be desperate to the point of supporting the rise of an aggressive dictatorship...which they allowed to grow into a monster unopposed until it devoured them. The same is happening right now with Iran and North Korea. Looks like the US forgot the same lesson Europe never learned just as it forgot the lesson of the great depression. Doesn't say much for human intelligence, does it? Why does the US sit by and wait for Iran and North Korea to finally figure out how to build nuclear weapons and put them in the nose cones of ICBMs? Why does it allow this to happen under the farsical pretense of some inane abstraction called "international law" the Europeans are slaves to when in reality no such thing exists.

    threat to democracy;

    Among its many technological achievements, Japan is about on a par with or ahead of America and clearly ahead of everyone else in the important area of robotics. Japanese are also expert at miniaturization.

    naptha;
    You just didn't get what I said. I said that Bill Gates could create a version of Windows he'd automatically download to all users around the world except Europe that would make it incompatible with linux and Mac OS. This would effectively cut off his competitors and Europe from Windows machines. Europeans would only be able to talk to each other within their own territory, they wouldn't even be able to talk to their own computers in other countries. By the time it went through the courts, European industry would be long dead. It's almost dead as it is already with its myriad regulations, taxes, high wages, and other restrictive practices compared to advanced countries. It's being blown away by the US, China, Japan, and South Korea among others.

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  • 306. At 05:13am on 15 Jun 2009, Jan_Keeskop wrote:

    democracythreat: Fair enough, my guess about Lithuanian first being written in Latin script being dead wrong; I am not well read in Lithuanian history. In which script was it first written - Cyrillic ? Glagolitic ? Arabic ?

    Yes, in the 13th century pagans were literally considered 'fair game' by the Catholic monastic orders; annual campaigns against the pagan Balts attracted 'warrior tourists' from western Christendom, perhaps as practice for Mediterranean crusades. My understanding was that the Teutonic Order controlled only 'Lithuania Minor' (roughly modern Kaliningrad oblast' of Russia) rather than 'Lithuania Major' (roughly modern Lithuania), and that German/Danish colonisation of Baltic lands beyond Klaipeda was concentrated in Hanse cities and towns.

    The article at this link notes in its second paragraph that there was a Jesuit press in Vilnius that started printing religious works in Lithuanian in the late 16th century - well before 1794. I wonder if this press was originally based in Koenigsberg in Lithuania Minor in the mid-16th century, but moved as a result of the Reformation ?

    The same article also notes the increased printing of Lithuanian language books over time: 34 in the 16th century, 58 in the 17th, 304 in the 18th, and 926 in the 19th up to 1864, thus the large majority of books were printed during Russian rule. It notes that there was a 40 year span, from 1864 to 1904, when Russian law required most Lithuanian language books to be printed in the Cyrillic script - perhaps as a result of the January Uprising ? Could the aftermath to the uprising be the source of the 'Russians banning the language' - maybe referring to education in the Lithuanian language ?

    There is a Russian site named Demoscope that has statistics from the Russian census of 1897. (Because it is a Russian language page, the BBC House Rules won't allow its link to be here; your favourite search engine should find it easily.) Among its lists is the population of Vilnius by (ethnic) nationality. To summarise by percentages, in 1897 Vilnius was:

    • 43,05 % Jewish;
    • 26,66 % Polish;
    • 18,27 % Russian;
    • 7,60 % Belarusian;
    • 1,81 % Lithuanian;
    • 1,14 % German;
    • 0,62 % Tatar;
    • 0,85 % other.


    Could the numbers in the Russian census be wildly inaccurate ? Were Poles responsible for eradicating Lithuanian from Vilnius during Tsarist times ? Or perhaps a different reason would provide the best explanation.

    Regarding Japanese inventions, how about karaoke ? Or bullet trains ?

    My prejudiced understanding of western democracy would date its establishment within the English political system to 1694, with the founding of the Bank of England. The main characteristic that defined it then is denying government the ability to create money, and giving that ability to people who are neither responsible for, nor culpable to, the populace. In my view it should not be a model for other states; but of course I am neither economist nor philosopher, so take my view with a grain of salt - please !

    threnodio: Can a Mac or Linux PC generate a Blue Screen of Death like Windows can ? ;*)

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  • 307. At 07:44am on 15 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    <RICHPOST>#305 - MarcusAureliusII<BR /><BR />I really can't be bothered any more Marcus. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]Read a summary here</A> and repent.<BR /><BR />#306 - Jan_Keeskop<BR /><BR />"threnodio: Can a Mac or Linux PC generate a Blue Screen of Death like Windows can ? ;*)"<BR /><BR />Oh yes. It is quite easy. The hard bit is persuading the user it isn't a practical joke - which, of course, it is. But, if you want to be really cluel, it's great fun watching a Linux greenhorn reinstall when there is nothing wrong with the original install :-))) </RICHPOST>

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  • 308. At 08:43am on 15 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    In theoory viruses could be witten for linux and Mac OS but relatively so few computers use those systems, the people who write viruses don't bother wasting their time.

    Interesting interview on TV with a pilot about the difference in design philosophy of the control systems between Airbus and Boeing related to the recent A330 air crash near Brazil. Airbus designs put computers in charge of the plane. It's nearly impossible for the pilot to override the computer if it fails or if sensors or control devices fail. The system does not trust the pilot. The crash of the A330 is believed may be similar to a near crash of a Quantas A330 plane due to this malfunction about 8 months ago. There's evidently a lawsuit pending in London over it. One cause of concern is malfunction of the pitot tubes and false reading of air speed. The planes were not grounded for inspection and replacement of defective pitot tubes by Air France. The Quantas flight seems to have had a malfunction where the computer thought the plane was flying in a nose up attitude when it was in fact flying level. This caused the computer to send the plane into a dive. The pilot had great difficulty regaining control over the aircraft because he couldn't override the computer. It's possible the same thing happened on the Air France flight. The plane is suspected of having broken up in mid air because bodies were recovered 80 km apart. By contrast, Boeing designs use computers to assist the pilot but put the ultimate responsibility for flying the plane with the pilot. The pilot in the interview called the Airbus philosophy "arrogant." One more reason for me to never fly on an Airbus again. The last one I was on many years ago, an A340 had its wings flapping up and down in mid flight like a bird. I was scared one of them was going to shear off. How can the FAA allow such defective aircraft to land and take off from American airports and fly over American airspace? Must be political.

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  • 309. At 08:44am on 15 Jun 2009, Leo_Naphta wrote:

    MAII, apparently you don't really know all that much about software? Now, I'm no expert, but I'm running my computer with ubuntu and every program I have was made by volunteers who do upgrade this system without asking for monetary compensation of any kind - I have in fact , nothing by Windows running -. Given the amount of people that work on this, you can be sure they'd make it Windows compatible in no time, meaning Microsoft would lose a big marketshare. Not to mention everybody that would abandon them if they found out that there are more reliable alternatives than Windows.

    Obviously, you also seem to be forgetting that such an upgrade won't happen automatically in the first place, like you seem to be suggesting. If only for the fact that Windows will ask permission to upgrade in the first place. Even if it would result in 'short term' losses for the EU , it would in the long term kill Microsoft, I'm just at loss as to why you think Bill Gates would suddenly become retarded?

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  • 310. At 09:35am on 15 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    See what I mean? Who else but Microsoft could come up with software which misreads simple html? Let's try again

    #305 - MarcusAureliusII

    I really can't be bothered any more Marcus. Read a summary here and repent.

    #306 - Jan_Keeskop

    "threnodio: Can a Mac or Linux PC generate a Blue Screen of Death like Windows can ? ;*)"

    Oh yes. It is quite easy. The hard bit is persuading the user it isn't a practical joke - which, of course, it is. But, if you want to be really cluel, it's great fun watching a Linux greenhorn reinstall when there is nothing wrong with the original install :-)))

    #308 - MarcusAureliusII

    Now your arrogance even extends to rubbishing an aircraft which has a reputation for reliability. Why don't you do some research on all the incidents involving Boeing for the past 40 years and especially check what proportion involved Pratt and Whitney engines rather than Rolls Royce? The figures are amazing and this time I am not going to help you find it. Not that you will like the answers.

    #309 - Leo_Naphta

    'I'm just at loss as to why you think Bill Gates would suddenly become retarded?' Apparantly it happens with some Americans - doesn't it Marcus.

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  • 311. At 10:00am on 15 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    And although it's still a bit off topic, one only has to do a cursory browse to realise the win koolaid is no longer the only option available, or first choice by any means. I did a quick browse when MA made his win

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  • 312. At 10:08am on 15 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    following on from 311, i did a quick browse of Russian government plans for opensource instead of win, and noted with enthusiasm that they've allocated a considerable sum (3.5 billion euros is touted in one article) to replacing the IT infrastucture in schools, hospitals, administration, and government departments with opensource software, removing the formidable corporate licensing costs, and getting a framework that works, and for a specific task, whatever that may be. The schools project alone is huge, and will spill over into the homes, for continuity.

    The RG hasn't been backward at all in hiring developers to get this done as quickly as possible, so it's my guess we'll see it all in place in the next 2 to 3 years.

    Much like the Germans did, and other governments are doing throughout the EU and beyond. Also interesting to note that many HW manufacturers are actively developing linux drivers and plugins, having finally said enough to the "persuasion" and threats of litigation if they dare to build for opensource as well.

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  • 313. At 10:14am on 15 Jun 2009, Tigerchen85 wrote:

    Hmm interesting things I've missed tonight...

    First some of the truely minor things europeans have invented namely:
    - the automobile (Germany)
    - explosives such as TNT (Sweden)
    - the first ever modern rocket (ok the Chinese invented fireworks though) (Germany)
    - steam turbine without which no industrialization would have been possible (UK)
    - trains (UK)
    - I even think the first ever cloned sheep was bristish but not sure
    - jet engines (Germany)

    ... just think of a world without those things before you name Israel being more technologically important as Europe again - I don't ANY invention Israel ever made...

    The US invented.... hmm ok Microsoft and the conveyor belt (again the first computer was invented in Germany and Americans only minimized it it a lot...)

    and some of the other inventions that helped the US to become what it is today had not been possible if German scientists had not escaped from Hitler (Einstein) or were taken over after the war was over (von Braun). So I don't know if the US should really claim the credit for those things...

    And about windows - I don't know any company that has upgraded from XP to Vista yet and if Windows 7 is a glorious as Vista I don't think it will matter if Mr. Gates decides to sell it over here as nobody buys it anyway...

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  • 314. At 10:17am on 15 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    alex1658

    If you follow the link posted at #284, a comment has been added under the latest thread which will make life easier :-)

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  • 315. At 10:23am on 15 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MAII, and how about thunderstorm? Still, the last thing the pilot himself had said, by computer comms, that they enter the thunderstorm area. As minimum, this is how he saw it, and I think by turbulence and all he was able to see where the plane is heading to. When you look at the BBC map of the event, that says it's an aerial view of the area, 2 am in the morn. tht night, you'd see there is, like, a double cloud formation, and the plane's route was put through the narrow corridor, reasonably, with thunderstorm/cloudy area to its left and to its right.
    But it's from sputnik it looks like a "corridor", of comparatively OK sky, nothing "prohibits" a wind squall to strike from left or right, or a lightning...

    I've been looking at all of this with very heavy feelings, like everybody, poor people, poor people.

    We had a case in Russia of a plane lost to storm. This was storm plus they say a plane defect or a pilots training defect, I still didn't figure out. As always, all was blamed on the pilot, or rather, on the pilot training system, that they were not taught how that particulat TU model behaves at high height, that there is a limit after which it becomes un-controllable.

    A pilot entered the thunderstorm area and decided to avoid it by climbing up above it. Not circumventing the zone on a left or the right side, but attempted to "over-hop" the zone. He knew the plane height limits, thought he has a narrow margin, based on the meteo forecast, but didn't account for mighty up-stream air currents that often arise within the thunderstorm zones. One such picked up the plane like a toy and hopped it way too up above, crossing the plane control limit. And the pilot took the route on the edge of his narrow margin, as it were.
    The black box last crew talks, first pilot, second pilot, the navigator, three men, were published in the Russian newspaper in full, only .... marked in places where they swore un-printably. I keep it saved some place.
    In total was a combination. Instead of staying on the ground, pilot took decision to fly, it's with pilots' resting here, the responsibility. Commercial flight, now company owners press to fly in all conditions. And that was Ukrainian airport, they'd charge for the plane staying over in their airport.
    In USSR, BTW, the most regular picture in airports was all sitting and waiting, "un-fly-able weather". Since routes became commercial - all weather in Russia became "fly-able", all of a sudden. Greatly improved! Only when airports do not accept it is "un-fly-able". Before, troubles along the route were a reason enough for planes to wait over, as there were no money compensations for the passangers for delayed flights, so why to take trouble. Eventually all in the airports will be transported, they've got tickets, so can sit and wait for a couple of days, why not?

    Plus the shortage of schooling in pilots's school. Somehow nobody explained them what happens when TU that model crosses the height limit. Or explained very vaguely. While experienced pilots, who've been in that shoes, told in newspapers a dozen complains from own experience, how they hardly managed to level the plane, being on top of a thunderstorm zones, only seems it's not in the plane description manuals, the maker didn't write it in big print in big letters in the technical documentation. Circulated in the pilots' community on a rumour, person to person basis, how the plane behaves in that height and what to do. Many did, but not that man. Apparently, didn't happen to meet colleagues who knew and could have explained him what is to be done to make the plane level again.

    And, surely, all was manual control, the ones who managed that height, and this one who tried to - they all switched off automatic. Only old pilots switched it off at once, and the un-lucky man was waiting too long, extra seconds! rather!

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  • 316. At 10:33am on 15 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #313 - Tigerchen85

    Kruschev is reported to have said to Kennedy that the only reason the US was more tecnically advanced than the USSR was that their German scientists were better than the Russian German scientists.

    On operating systems, have you noticed a pattern. Win'95 was OK, '98 was rubbish, '98 SE was OK, 2000 was rubbish, 2000 SP2 was OK, Millenium was rubbish, XP was (eventually) OK, Vista is rubbish. Do we see a pattern here. Is there hope for 7?

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  • 317. At 10:39am on 15 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    Marcus.

    The black box has not been recovered but you are engineer. You know very well there would have been no oil slick if there had been a mid-air explosion, wreckage has been found over quite a wide area, which rules out the intact aircraft impacting with the ocean. That only leaves mid-air disintegration, doesn't it.

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  • 318. At 10:57am on 15 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Plus the damn shortage of aviation benzine in that Donetsk (Ukraine) - Russia flight. Greedy company, takes off some pilot's bonuses, or salary, when they decide to stay over the bad weather in foreign airports (airport charge for plane on their ground) plus they are told to buy fuel in Ukraine the minimum amount, to go home directly, they say the crashed plane pilot simply hadn't had bought enough, to allow him to circumvent the storm zone on a side. Therefore decided to "over-hop" it.
    Weather-forecast Donetsk airport meteo nobody blamed, they told the pilot straight - awful thunderstorm right the first thing you'll face if you decide to take off.

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  • 319. At 12:44pm on 15 Jun 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    named-erion @232,
    So you are wondering where I picked-up the notion about the Ottoman empire being your favourite topic? You seem to have a surprisingly short memory? Maybe it is you who have had too much vodka.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/01/s_12.html#comments

    The enlightened commets can be read under topic 158.
    158. At 11:07am on 15 Jan 2009, Named-Erion wrote:

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  • 320. At 1:15pm on 15 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

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

  • 321. At 1:25pm on 15 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Jan_Keeskop, @206
    I'll explain you the weird statistics un-scientifically :o))

    If you ask any Russian who the Polish are - he'll tell you "All Jewish".
    If you tell this to any Polish, he'll kick you on the head with something heavy. :o)))

    Similarly, we watch with extreme amusement the emergence of anti-Roma sentiments and parties in Romania, LOL, because again, I'm afraid if you'll ask any Russian "Who the Romanians are?" you'll get an answer: "All Roma".

    Now, is the Russian opinion on the ground correct? No, because both countries how to say, LOL, always historically kind of tried to get rid of their majority LOL, for the sake of becoming their monolitic minority. They were focused at keeping the "title nation" as much as they could.
    But as for an un-scientific Russian what you notice is the majority, not the minority, even if it gave the name to the country, leads it and all, we still I am afraid get oriented by the the majority rule, LOL!

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  • 322. At 2:02pm on 15 Jun 2009, Iapetus wrote:

    Re #146, "For one thing, few British people name their sons Alexander. They don't even name them typical British names anymore like Reginold or Nigel but instead names more familiar to American ears like Charles, James, Robert,"

    Marcus, Britain (or to be more precies, England and Scotland) had kings names Charles, James, Robert, and indeed Alexander, before the USA even existed.

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  • 323. At 4:02pm on 15 Jun 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    Tigerchen85 @288,

    I want to make a slight correction to there- HMS Hood was a battlecruiser, a completely different class of warship compared to the heavy battleship Bismark. As it is, with her lighter armor she had not much chance against the battleship.
    Hood was launched in 1918, a WWI design and pitting her as an example of the superiority of the German military production 20 or so years later is incorrect. The battlecruiser concept was discredited at the battle of Jutland in 1916 and Hood was kept only because she was alredy under construction at the time, and due to the fact that her huge size and main calliber was a source of lasting pride in the Royal Navy.

    That said, I rather agree to your point that the appeasement served its purpose to delay the outbrake of the war as to give the Allies a fighting chance.

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  • 324. At 4:24pm on 15 Jun 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    Alice @302,

    on the topic of KamAz trucks and can-openers- I have seen a can-opener, USSR made. It was half the size of a KamAz. :-)
    My uncle had a Varshava (GAZ M-20), must have been made from WW2 tank metal. Was still running in the late 1990's. He decided to sell it for scrap, to cut it with a power-tool. It took two cutting discs just to get out the wings, doors, the bonnet and the carboot. Then he just gave up and sold it whole. Such a strong car I have never seen, you thought you b a normal car- what you got was an armoured limmo!

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  • 325. At 5:01pm on 15 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Anyone who thinks those who invent computer viruses couldn't crack linux or Mac OS if they wanted to is daydreaming. They focus on Windows because that is the standard most of the world uses.

    Forced to choose between complying with the EU court's demand to open up its magic box and tell the world exactly how Windows works on one hand and giving up the European market on the other, Microsoft will give up Europe. If it tells what's in Windows, it might as well close up shop. Its intellectual property which are its only assets would be free to anyone for the taking. That's what those who hate Bill Gates and Microsoft like the EU does wants and it is exactly what it won't get.

    Microsoft can automatically download patches and updates to its operating systems to any registered Microsoft user and to unregistered pirated copies. Anyone who visits the Microsoft website will now be scanned for pirated copies of their products and increasingly intrusive measures are being used to defeat pirated copies. So far, the systems have not been disabled by Microsoft but it could. Microsoft has far more control over its products when they are in the field than most people realize.

    Threnodious, I never said the Airbus exploded, I said it appears to many experts that it broke up in midair before it hit the water. Had it exploded, the remains would not have been so widely scattered into two distinct areas and they would likely have been charred. Stress on the airframe caused by a computer malfunction could have been responsible. I think the analysis of the Quantus incident showed the plane had experienced 1.67 Gs of force. It was said that any more and that plane might have broken up too.

    Ilietis, can you name one King of England that was crowned in the last five hundred years? I couldn't find one going back to 1042. The last king of Scotland named Alexander was Alexander III who ruled from 1249 to 1286.

    "Marcus, Britain (or to be more precies, England and Scotland) had kings names...indeed Alexander, before the USA even existed."

    Evidently long before it existed but not since.


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  • 326. At 5:50pm on 15 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To democracythreat (301):

    So basically you more or less said...

    "...ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!

    Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending Soviet Union, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests."

    PS. If you didn't get it, it means you are not free. Watch South Park episode 27, Chef Aid. Here is a clip of it...

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/103454

    To moderators, the website belongs to the makers of South Park who have released clips and episodes to be viewed from their web sites. Linking it to is perfectly legal.

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  • 327. At 6:30pm on 15 Jun 2009, Tigerchen85 wrote:

    @ threnodio:

    I think I've heard that once before (at least sounds familiar), so thank you for confirming it.

    One thing about shiny and not so shiny democracies... I personally wouldn't call any democracy even one if it is possible that someone with less many votes than someone else becomes president. The system might have made sense in the days of the pilgrims and after the the won war for independance, because there was nothing but telegraphs and horses, but from what I've heard you are not using horses or telegraphs anymore for your daily business in the US do you? (at least I wouldn't understand how you are able to produce twice as much carbon dioxides per capita as most other industrialized countries)

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  • 328. At 9:11pm on 15 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    I wasn't defending the soviet union, Jukka. I was commenting on the system I have lived under. I was speaking of what I know, not is "over there".

    It is your own world view that demands a contest between US and THEM. You project that onto me.

    Make no mistake, I do not claim the soviet system was a fair and meaningful democracy. Firstly, I wouldn't know because I wasn't there. Secondly, I can see reasons why it could not be described as a meaningful democracy.

    But my point is that our own western system is far from perfect, and in fact it seems to fail a huge number of people, a lot of the time. I believe it could be better.

    The thing about talking about your own system, and criticizing its faults, is that you have a small chance of making things better. The thing about talking about the faults of "them" over there is that you just make yourself feel better by establishing yourself as the member of a superior tribe.

    That is all you do, jukka. You are as predictable as a broken record, going around and around and always saying the same thing. Your message is as follows:

    "Finland is glorious because finalnd is glorious because russia is evil because russians are evil and THEREFORE people from finland are wonderful. Oh! Look! How about that! I am a person from Finland. I leave you draw your own conclusions. By the way, people from finland are glorious because finland is glorious because we live next door to the evil russians who are evil because they are evil and finland in glorious and full of wonderful people. Oh! Look at that! I am a person from finland. I leave you to draw you own conclusions...."

    Ad infinitum, ad nu... Hang on, I better not write that or the moderators will earn their wages.

    And the worst thing about your self serving nationalism is that it is all pervasive. You are incapable of ever saying anything profound because everything you think and write is based upon this addiction you have to self serving nationalistic fantasy.

    I refuse to listen to criticisms of russia from people who do not live there, and who wouldn't know. I am more than willing to listen to criticisms of russia from russians.

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  • 329. At 9:19pm on 15 Jun 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    threnodia (#317), the reports of wreckage being spread over many miles of ocean were retracted when it was discovered that items retrieved were not from the aircraft. I think it is best to wait for the experts to draw conclusions about things like oil slicks and such. I doubt if anyone here will reach better conclusions sooner.

    MAII is correct that Airbus and Boeing have different design philosophies regarding pilot override of controls. Discussions of this can be found on the web. He is wrong in thinking there is anything sinister about it, however. There are two philosophies in use because there are honest differences of opinion about which system is preferable. Perhaps over time the industry will come to a conclusion that one is definitely superior to the other, but that is not the case today.

    I would not presume to say whether this difference is related to the loss of the Air France plane. No one can say so with any authority without the flight data recorder, and then only experts could draw that conclusion.

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  • 330. At 9:48pm on 15 Jun 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Claiming priority for one country for scientific invention (as in post #313) is meaningless, because science is so interconnected and dependent on what came before. One can always choose what to emphasize so as to give one's own country credit.

    In rocketry, for example, credit France for the idea (Verne), Russia (Tsiolkovsky) for the theory, Germany and the United States (Oberth and Goddard) for the development. The German engineers of WWII stated that their rocketry was based on the work of Robert Goddard.

    As for computers, the American pioneer John Atanasoff said:

    "I have always taken the position that there is enough credit for everyone in the invention and development of the electronic computer" - John Atanasoff to reporters

    That generous attitude could fairly be applied to many scientific and technological achievements.

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  • 331. At 9:56pm on 15 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    democracythreat, "from the Russians". If you are not correct sometimes in your estimation of Russia, being an outsider, - I assure you that you get mistaken in only one way: Russia is even better than you think!

    (Hello JR :o)))

    Like, for examples, those muslims that you've mentioned earlier, after the two murders in Dagestan, that Kremlin might have get angry and fed up there might come a sure end to preachers - no (alas?) but no it won't. One thing Named_Erion noted correctly, it only seems to outsiders that Russia is "white Russians" three ha ha. I've heard we've got nearly 30 per cent of muslims, simple, how to say, Russian muslims :o)))
    Sounds funny but it's true. It's because in English there is only one word for us, while in Russian language - two. A Russky (incl. all the fun associated and nationality, ethnic thing) and a Rossianin (citizen of Rossija, which I have to inform means "Russia" in Russian.

    Now I don't know how the poor English speakers will ever handle two things instead of one rather think it's a no-go, but Russky and Rossijsky as adjective mean different things. It's like English and British, if you wish. No, worse. You can be English and not be English English.

    I suggest Russian and Russian Russian. As an easy option.
    (Scary to think what is treble Russian LOL!)
    So Russians are Chechens and Dagestan folk, Tatars and Udmurts and who only not. If you see any of these Rusians you wouldn't so easily think "Ah, a sample". But they are because who elseare they? Marsians?

    So, as you can guess, with 30 per cent or about so only muslims in Russia, no, nobody is going to press them in particular.

    If you could only see out TV, main news channel. :o))) Not a single Russian Russian in view, as correspondents, programme presenters, even weather forecast. Extraordinary wonderful names.

    The only exception is funny and I think is done on purpose.
    It's when they come to the news at the stock markets, to tell how awful everything is. There immediately appear two blond girls chirrupping to each other. Must be someone has there in the main Kremlin TV channel a wry sense of humour. Because both girls are not only blond girls but they look like "blond" girls by all means. Even if one happens to be dark at times. They speak to each other - kind of "Katya?! hello? And now Katya will tell us how the rouble is doing wide happy smile." "Oh? Rouble? Him? Well, chirrup chirrup chirrup :o))))

    But otherwise you won't see a Russian Russian face the rest 23 hrs of the day.

    BTW now all want here to be muslims suddenly LOL because at the world economic forum there was an Arab World day and thir chaps said they are going to open those mysterious muslim banks in Russia that charge no percentage for lending money. The TV asked them - for who, as customers? "For Russian muslims, we understamd there are more than enough, and they ought to have access to the other banking morale".

    ??? So far all wonder, but kind of why not, I mean, at least someone here will have access to decent banks LOL.

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  • 332. At 9:58pm on 15 Jun 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To democracythreat (328):

    Bah, please, competition, contest and conflicts are part of the circle of life, you can't avoid them, avoiding them is impossible.

    Anyway, self serving nationalism, I disagree strongly. What you don't seem to understand is that to function in this world you have to review yourself, you have to review others, you have to note the differences, you have review the differences and make judgements based on them. You do this to benchmark yourself, to find out where you are doing good and where you are doing badly and more essentially what you can and can't do in this world.

    Is noting that Russia isn't a democracy but an authoritarian regime under the banner of Sovereign democracy self serving nationalism? Is noting flaws in the Russian economy and production economics and infrastructure self serving nationalism? Is noting the serious demographic trends in the Russian population self serving nationalism?

    No they are not. They describe how the things are and give us help to determine what we have to do.

    For example Russia going from democracy to sovereign democracy means that we have to keep conscription army, we have to arm and invest into new armaments in case the sovereign democracy turns into aggressive dictatorship.

    On the other hand making notes about the flaws in economy, in infrastructure and in demographic trends, comparing them to the European Union means that we have more freedom to act and be, meaning that we don't have to jump into the air any time there comes a letter from Moscow to Helsinki.

    In essence, how we see them, dictates quite much how we conduct are own business be it directly, indirectly or not at all related to them.


    You: "I refuse to listen to criticisms of russia from people who do not live there, and who wouldn't know. I am more than willing to listen to criticisms of russia from russians."

    How many times I have heard that before...

    "I refuse to listen to criticisms of Enron from people who do not work there, and who wouldn't know. I am more than willing to listen to criticism of Enron from Enron employees."

    Or...

    "I refuse to listen to criticisms of Jeesus Christ from people who do not believe in him, and who wouldn't know. I am more than willing to listen to criticism of Christianity from other believers of Christ."

    And so on...

    But hey, maybe you are right, maybe viewing statistical information, reading magazine articles and books about the subject for years, reading about the history, applying common frameworks from politics to industrial economics just don't give anything comparable to speaking with a native. Who cares about a holistic approach when you can speak with a native.

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  • 333. At 10:15pm on 15 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Seriously, "from Russians", I think if we suddenly got decent pensions so that people would stop wrecking their brains how to run away from here at the decline of the years (before no one is willing to anymore), and decent health support - I think the place would be quite liveable and nothing else to desire for.

    Now, this means internal money re-distribution. To channel them from one destination, LOL, to another. Because we aren't Africa. It's there there is no money or wealth and all the world wonders how to fix them. Russia is an easier case - there is wealth and there is money. Nothing technically wrong, only gets routed to very very wrong places.

    So, if you start pulling from that end, from the receiving end, I mean re-directing money flows - mind it, when you add one place you minus from the other. That other, being less financed, will mean hell of a lot of democracy and good things things appearing at once as a result.

    Unfortunately it is very hard to pull a bit of a budget and un-budget likewise, let's say, wealth generated in total, from many many snappy sets of teeth. My approach is un-scientific and practical, I think pulling the financial blanket to another side is the way forward. Every rouble gained on the "good side", is a rouble lost for the "bad side". Every increase of pension and another medication article becoming financed - means many a mafia, many a hard control, many a silly media spend, many an int'l "sponsorship" of other countries, many a piece of armament becomes under-financed. And voila :o))))

    Because Russia is awfully rich place (so many people stealing everything for so many years and still there is no end in view, hell of a lot of is left). Awfully rich, but still, limited. You can't finance good and bad things at once.

    Jukka-Rohila, "to channel you energy for peaceful aims", as we say.
    Next time you meet a high flown Russian official - simply demand more financing of pensions or take any social line that comes to your mind, and enquire about. Make it the aim of your life for the near time and may be then somthing will move towards positive things a bit.

    Because while the West demands from Russian officials abstract democracy it's same as speaking Hindi nobody understands you LOL. Or answers with a nice smile "we've got heaps of that - and prove otherwise if you can."

    Simply keep checking type "We have heard your pensions are still 150 dollars a month Oh really? Babushka-s begging for money for bread at subway entrances, why would they do so? What have you said, you suggest an investment proposal, you are so rich, indeed? Sorry we don't believe it, we take your pensions for orientation as the best indicator."
    Something like that.

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  • 334. At 10:16pm on 15 Jun 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    Web.. (#331) "Now I don't know how the poor English speakers will ever handle two things instead of one rather think it's a no-go, ... "

    There is no need to be condescending. Many English speakers are interested in Russia and quite capable of dealing with nuance such as you have provided here.

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  • 335. At 10:25pm on 15 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Only don't get fooled by the "pension of an ordinary policeman", "of an ordinary borderline Customs' officer", "of an ordinary municipal worker", "of an ordinary army sergeant" - these are those 15% of Russian population who don't get normal pension, for who there is no "ceiling" in pension, like for all ther rest. For the state workers, goverenment at all levels - from Duma Kremlin places down to the last municipal worker, for the so-called "power ministries" - ordinary rules do not exist. For them there are special laws as they make the bone of the country, guarantee that there is no change of power, each at their place of work. These are bought.
    Ordinary person is the one who has no rank and epaulettes and is not employed to govern by the state that is, LOL, by the people, at any level. Who does not provide for the vertical of pwer or its horizontal branches but is an office worker, a teacher, a doctor, an engineer, any technical chap, a plumber, a peasant, a professor, an actor, a TV man - BTW, a musician, a railway worker an airplane pilot a sailor in the non-Naby fleet, fishermen or any indistry/factory worker or any scientist. That is not "power".

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  • 336. At 11:16pm on 15 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #327 - Tigerchen85

    It is always a pleasure to be of assistance but I am not sure whre the idea that I am American comes from. I am a Brit living in Hungary.

    #329 - Gary_A_Hill

    You are, of course, entirely right. I was again rising to the bait offered by our mutual friend. To simply dismiss Airbus out of hand because of what may or may not have been a design fault is the triumph of prejudice over common sense - but that seems to be his way so who am I to argue?

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  • 337. At 00:47am on 16 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Gary_A_Hill, @334 Sorry, no intent to offend. Rather, an intent to put through the moderation a word or two in Russian and cushioning this by a joke nearby usually helps. :o)))) For the lack of means of influence other I put my stakes on the moderator's sense of humour. :o))))
    __________

    JR, "statistical reports". :o)))
    ? Has just seen a BBC article that apparently we quarrel in the UN whether Abkhasia should be written as Georgia or as Abkhasia. Because if it will be written as Georgia Russia promised to veto further UN monitors stay in Abkhasia.
    Now, what do "statistical reports" tell you? And other "study in the library"? (Remember everyone is busy now working on a compromise.)
    While an ordinary live so far Russian (me) will give you a hint that everyone can relax with the monitors, are they there or not, until ab 15th of October. When the monitors again may be of some use monitoring the rights of ethnic Georgians in Abkhasia, are the people alright or sad otherwise.
    Why is so? Jukka? Study in the library? Newspaper articles?

    In October normally shows up jelly fish, ugh. And the sea chills out. Now is the peak of the tourist season in Abkhasia. Abkhasians and Georgians are making money alike, letting rooms in their houses to Russians on holidays. No time to quarrel, all work, in cafes on the beach, in shops, in the fruit and vegetable markets, in the several remaining hotels, it's the only time in the year to fix monetary position. Tourists are best monitors, if anything, they'll run away.
    Abkhasia consists of a wall of mountains (where I hope no Georgians live) and the narrow long stripe of the beach at the mountain wall foot. All is seen there.

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  • 338. At 01:15am on 16 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WebAlice;

    Three people who post on the internet, JR, DT, and WA (no relation to anyone who posts here) met for the first time and somehow the subject of what the greatest invention in history was, came up for discussion.

    JR said it was fire because with fire man could keep warm in the cold, cook his food, and frighten off wild animals.

    DT said he disagreed. He said that it was the computer because the computer allowed the power of the human mind to be multiplied a million fold.

    WA said she disagreed with both of them. She said the greatest invention of all time was the thermos bottle. The other to looked at each other, looked at her, shrugged their shoulders and asked "The thermos bottle?" WA said yes, because if you put something hot in it, it stays hot, if you put something cold in it, it stays cold. The other two said "So what?" And WA said triumphantly "Aha! but how does it know?"

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  • 339. At 01:41am on 16 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MA, sometimes even, well. How did you know Abkhasia is a thermos? Gagra resort is famous for that, keeping even temperature, +24 on days and nights. :o)

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  • 340. At 03:24am on 16 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WebAlice

    My posting had nothing to do with....Never mind.

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  • 341. At 07:01am on 16 Jun 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    @2 Freeborn-John
    Your wording: *The smart move now for politicians would be for the UK to negotiate free movement of worker treaties with our major non-European partners (e.g. US, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand , etc.).*
    What one could understand from your post is approximately like this: the UK seems to be upset by the free movement of the labour force within the EU. May I remind you that the mere existence of the EU is based on the principle of the free movement of capital, commodities, services and labour force? The Britons knew it when they entered the union in 1975.
    To that matter, I make a clear distinction between the illegal immigration /which is present even in Bulgaria/ and the free movement of workers within the EU. If the majority of the Britons confound these two quite different matters, I should not be surprised that the Euro sceptics in the UK will be even more popular and convincing.

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  • 342. At 07:16am on 16 Jun 2009, Tigerchen85 wrote:

    threnodio:

    The second part of that post was not addressed to you though I didn't exactly know where you were from before I figuered it would be somewhere in Europe ;-)

    I think I should made a more clear cut between those two parts to avoid misunderstandings.

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  • 343. At 10:07am on 16 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MA @340, you mean it was about kitchen stoves :o( ? I promise to think about it today. : o )

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  • 344. At 11:20am on 16 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    So, the UN mission is gone, or, rather, has 3 months to pack. Pity, after ab 10 yrs there or was it 15. Now only the EU monitors stay on the Georgia side and Russian army let's put it straight on the SO/Abkhasia side.
    Russia vetoed the UN decision to continue the mission, as was unable to squeeze into the document on the mission prolongation a single sentence re the last August war, or any may be changes in the layout on the ground LOL, and of course was unable to have Abkhasia written as Abkhasia. 14 other countries insisted "prolongation of the mission in Georgia", full stop. Pity of course, that we are responsible for SO and A single-handedely now, when we'll be criticised for something you can't even refer now to some neutral observations on the ground :o).
    And come to think ab it, sometimes the UN mission can be handy, in SO last August they took off from Tskhinvali a day before the attack and ran out through the tunnel to North Ossetia, which was a good indication to the locals that it's also time to run away.

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  • 345. At 12:15pm on 16 Jun 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Ironfranco (341): It is not my impression that Britons are against the free movement of workers. However the current situation is that we have free movement of workers only with EU26 countries that a Briton would have to be rather eccentric to move to because he will in all likelihood earn less, and face linguistic and cultural barriers in his/her everyday life. What we currently lack is freedom of movement to those countries in the English-speaking world which all the evidence indicates to be the preferred destination of Britons.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/in_depth/brits_abroad/html/default.stm

    We do need to continue to attract the best and the brightest from the EU26, but we could and should ensure that Britons see that freedom of movement is a two-way street that can be to the advantage of British workers as not just British employers. This could best be achieved by negotiating new treaties with those states that are the preferred destinations of Britons (e.g. Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, etc.) that would give the citizens of these states an EU-like reciprocal right to work in one another's states. This would undermine parties like the BNP who currently take advantage of the feeling that the EU-only freedom of movement is in truth a one-way flow of low-cost labour into the UK that competes with the working class voter from which the BNP traditionally gathers support.

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  • 346. At 12:33pm on 16 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Web Alcie

    We have a saying that if you have to explain a joke, it wasn't very funny. I think because of differences in culture, language, and the connotations as well as denotations of words, things that are funny in one language or culture aren't necessarily funny in others. I used to enjoy some of the wry wit of Soviet era jokes that reflected on the insanity of life in the USSR. The later Russian jokes don't do much for me. One of my favorites to listen to was Voice of Russia World Service's Joe Adamov's "Moscow Mailbag." I found his jokes were so funny because they were so stupid. We'd call them "corny" here. Reminded me of the 1960s TV show here "Hee-Haw," a country and western (you'd say peasant) parody on Rowan and Martin's "Laugh In." Very sorry he died, he was very entertaining. They say the English have a "dry" sense humor. To me it's so dry it shriveled up and turned to dust. The French sense of humor is about on a par with a ten year old's here, what we call slapstick. Their god of humor is or at least was Jerry Lewis. I wonder how they ever overlooked The Three Stooges. Perhaps the only sense of humor in Europe comparable to America's strangely enough is German. The Irish can be pretty funny at times too. Also wry.

    I don't know if this link still works or not. I haven't listened to it in a long time.

    http://www.vor.ru/Moscow_Mailbag/Adamov.html

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  • 347. At 10:42pm on 16 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavritanius, and what did you expect me to do? I don't even know how in English is ha-ha (laughing), is it ho-ho or heh heh? I only know "LOL".
    Will look up Adamov.

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  • 348. At 06:30am on 17 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WebAlice

    "what did you expect me to do?"

    Do what I do when I read one of your jokes which I NEVER understand. Shrug your shoulders and move on. ha-ha, ho-ho, heh heh. :o)

    Here's some Marx even you might laugh at;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCvz8y_DUSY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1-WEvM9spA

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  • 349. At 06:40am on 17 Jun 2009, David wrote:

    Tigerchen.....

    please (since ur excellent writing skills are impressive)..

    be informed that America and Europe are two distinct geographical locations and two distinct peoples----yes, adding up to almost one billion peoples together----BUT

    You would NOT believe the feeling of offense that would be felt by my (and Europe's) bigoted majority of peoples...

    But thank you anyway for perhaps thinking..---by this logic---that I'm European.

    I admire them greatly yet...sigh...I'm American....and ...happy...

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  • 350. At 06:55am on 17 Jun 2009, David wrote:

    And no offense to you, tigerchen,

    my reading skills may not be ...that amazing...

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  • 351. At 08:01am on 17 Jun 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    @345 Freeborn-John
    The arguments you advanced seem to be very convincing. The living standards, the linguistic features /the Britons are not polyglots like us, Bulgarians/, and last but not least, the mentalities of the Britons are indeed a barrier which makes the labor market of the EU less attractive than, say, the market of the English speaking countries you mentioned. What is a real surprise to me is your choice of Japan as a preferred destination of your workers /of course, being in the business I use the term *worker* in its general meaning /even a highly qualified top executive is by all standards a worker/.
    As to your saying about the ways your BNP gathers votes and wins the sympathy of many Britons /may you excuse me if I am mistaken over your nationality/, I completely share you concern because even in little Bulgaria the same phenomenon is present exactly in the same way like in the UK. What I mean is the existence of very extremist ultra nationalistic party named *Ataka* which has just won two seats /out of 17 reserved for Bulgaria/ in the EU Parliament. They gather momentum and I apprehend the same and even better results for the said party in the coming elections for the local Parliament.
    Shall we go back to the times of Hitler and Mussolini? They certainly must be stopped.

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  • 352. At 09:13am on 17 Jun 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    @348 MarcusAurelius

    Your wording to Alice: *Do what I do when I read one of your jokes which I NEVER understand*.

    You should be Slav orthodox, who has married a Russian girl /like Alice/, and, you should be well acquainted with the all masterpieces of the Russian culture and, in particular, with those of the Russian verse, in order to decipher what seems to you like nonsense in Alices posts.

    This privilege is reserved to other bloggers man. You certainly will not do it with your Yankee standards.

    Generalissimo Franco

    Sofia, June 17th 2009-06-17

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  • 353. At 10:22am on 17 Jun 2009, iwontdrinkthewater wrote:

    As a newcomer to this site, I have read with much interest the entries posted. I found myself very much inclined to add a few of my own - but MAII kept looming large in my mind as an almost insurmountable lump of irrelevant matter to the flow of coherent and fluid discussion. Someone please tell me, is MAII a regular?

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  • 354. At 10:41am on 17 Jun 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    iwontdrinkthewater,

    Yes, MAII is a regular. He and Alice have about 1/3 of all posts here :-)
    But do not be too harsh with him- he has his own views which even his own countrymen not always share, however somethimes he can be fun.
    I have recently started thinking that he does not really believe what he writes, but is laughing his head off at home seeing how other people get winded-up by his provocative comments.

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  • 355. At 10:54am on 17 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #353
    Let's put it this way: Digressions are not censured here and there are quite a few. I would suggest selective reading.

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  • 356. At 11:23am on 17 Jun 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Ironfranco (351): I would actually like to see free movement of workers on a worldwide basis but recognise that the current economic differentials between various parts of the world are so great now that this would result in migration pressures on some countries (of which the UK is certainly one) that would be politically impossible to bear. Therefore only free movement of workers between countries that are approximately equivalent in terms of economic development is realistic, which would be the case between the countries I mentioned, including Japan (with the possible exception of South Africa). Japan is also one of the main trade and investment partners for the UK so free movement of workers would assist the British and Japanese economies.

    Free movement between other countries could be possible in the long-term if the current wide economic differentials between different parts of the world are evened out. This is happening already because of globalisation but could be accelerated by moving from limited regional markets like the EU single market to a global common market (without the EU-like aspiration to become a super-state of course).

    Personally i think parties like the BNP, Ataka, Gert Wilders party etc, are best countered by pointing out the weaknesses in their arguments. I don't have much sympathy for those who think we should shout at them, or spit on them or rig the political system against them. The EU is anyway a much greater danger to democracy than these parties and indeed draws its support using similar arguments about the need for collective power to counter the USA, or some other perceived bogeyman from overseas.

    ---------------------
    "Fascism is dead. Now we must build Europe" Oswald Mosley

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  • 357. At 11:39am on 17 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mathiasen, what a progress :o), I am pleasantly surprised.

    MAvrelius, first of all I thought you had an introduction training course having read Alice in Wonderland. May be it was long time ago and you fell out of tune, try to remember the feeling. Re-tune your brains to another ? music. and all that jazz. and you'll be doing just fine. :o)))
    Anyway, see what Generalissimo recommends you? 2-3 marriages to Russian girls (in your case), and you'll be fit for ...? ! approximately everything :o)))

    Everybody, and what if it's only a smile left of Mark Mardell on the tree branch I mean that upper right corner, while he is himself already in the airplane over Atlantic and we are deserted ?

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  • 358. At 11:47am on 17 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Jesus Christ! From the lack of news found a new button in the screen, "Preview" !!! ??

    That's why nobody has "tails", separate words, left over from composing posts in the bottom of the post, only me!
    Scary to think. May be some even re-read first what they have written, and only then post?
    The big world we live in. Full of dangers and surprises and preview buttons. :o((( :o))))))

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  • 359. At 12:01pm on 17 Jun 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    @355 Mathiasen
    Lets put it this way: This blog certainly wont be so much attractive without MAII provocative, sometimes unsupportable comments, just like old Europe wont be so well secured without Uncle Sam industrial & military might.
    As to Alice, I would suggest that many of us certainly need her constant, sometimes very sensitive and poetic presence, just like we need the Russian cultural heritage and the Russian gas.
    Am I mistaken?

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  • 360. At 12:31pm on 17 Jun 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    @345 Freeborn-John:
    I thank you for your comments. It seems you have come to the core of the problems of the EU. However, I have several questions to you concerning this topic. Shall be back ASAP.
    Duty first.

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  • 361. At 12:36pm on 17 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    # 359. ironfranco
    Well, if our Russian correspondent would stay at the subject or the thread...

    In the meantime I can tell that the ministers of foreign affairs are preparing a binding declaration on matters like social affairs, defence and a ban against abortion supposed to go in advance of a Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty. I supposed it will be confirmed this week.

    Apparently Ireland would like to have these changes written into the Lisbon treaty, but it will be difficult for the Irish government to achieve this. Changes in the treaty can easilt lead to new negotiations, which might never end, and many ministers are fearing that it will be impossible for certain heads of governments, notably Gordon Brown, to sign the treaty a second time.

    I actually think we have plenty of important things to consider.

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  • 362. At 12:50pm on 17 Jun 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Ironfranco (359): I think we can agree on that. I for one certainly appreciate Alice's posts with their zest and insights from the Russian perspective.

    Alice (357): I would not worry about Mark Mardell not posting. It is only a sign that there are important decisions being taken in Brussels that were delayed until after the election, that the BBC prefers us not to know about, e.g. on the date of 2nd Irish referendum, the choice of Commission president, or on control of the financial industry being taken over by those in Europe most hostile to the dominance of London as a financial center.

    Much better he leaves the old posts up about the election results to sustain the illusion that votes can influence Brussels. After all, since Mark blogged so much about the election being able to influence the choice of Commission president it would be a bit embarrassing for him to have to report that the center-right parties of Sarkozy and Merkel are the ones holding up the re-appointment of Barroso as Commission president!

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  • 363. At 1:10pm on 17 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Freeborn-John wrote:
    "Ironfranco (351): I would actually like to see free movement of workers on a worldwide basis but recognise that the current economic differentials between various parts of the world are so great now that this would result in migration pressures on some countries (of which the UK is certainly one) that would be politically impossible to bear."

    That is an interesting comment. We live in a world where capital has no passport, but labour is constrained. We all understand that the free movement of labour is indeed a threat to high standards of living.

    Now why is that?

    My own view is that you can't eat rocks. Or, you can, but they are not very nutritious. You can buy rocks, and sell them, and you can even make pieces of paper that are derived from rocks. But in the end, you can't eat them.

    Freeborn john, have you considered that "current economic differentials between various parts of YOUR OWN SOCIETY are so great now..."?

    What you are saying, in the end, is that social security systems cannot bear migration of labour. The law certainly can survive mass migration. The wealthy can bear the migration of labour. Insofar as supply and demand economics makes sense, more labour means cheaper labour, and greater profits for those who trade in the product of labour.

    It is only the social security systems of the western world that face doom if labour is allowed to migrate. And that is a function of overpopulation in the third world, pure and simple.

    So what causes overpopulation and desperate social poverty in the world?

    I was reading the book of Leviticus today, and once more I was struck by the vicious brutality of religion.

    If there is anybody here who has not read the old testament, I urge you to do so. Go to the book of leviticus, and read the moral code. If you are left in any doubt as to why the world resembles a farm that is hideously overgrazed and over stocked with mindless cattle, you have not read the texts of the worlds "great religions".

    In fact, as a lawyer, I am absolutely perplexed with regard religious doctrine. How can it be that the bible is acceptable literature? It not only encourages race hate, slavery, rape and intolerance, it demands it.

    I have said before that our "war" with terrorism is really a war with distilled Islam, and that we cannot fight that battle whilst our own societies are governed by precisely the same fantasies as are found in Islamic doctrine. As I am re-reading the old testament, it becomes clear to me that religion is the greatest threat to mankind, and the only real obstacle to peace and prosperity for all humanity.

    I think that is the real confusion about Geert Wilders. He is looking into the abyss of Islam, and it is looking right back at him.

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  • 364. At 1:11pm on 17 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #351 - ironfranco

    ". . . the Britons are not polyglots like us, Bulgarians/, and last but not least, the mentalities of the Britons are indeed a barrier which makes the labor market of the EU less attractive . . ."

    I do not have the latest figures but it was believed a few years ago that a higher proportion of British are multi or bi-lingaul than in any other EU country. Of course, many of the languages spoken will not be European but the generalistaion that they are not polyglots does not stand up to examination.

    As to the British mentality, you would do well to remember that it was Britain along with Ireland and Sweden which did not impose quotas on immigration from the accession countries of 2004. The limit on Romanian and Bulgarian immigration was only entered into very reluctantly and under domestic political pressure, some of it from the very people we now see creeping into the right side of the Europen parliament.

    Since 1997, 1.5 million Britons have left the UK on a permanent or long term basis. Even if you allow for people retiring to the sun or going outside the EU, that still leaves a lot of us living and working in continental Europe. I appreciate and enjoy your posts but you need to deal in realities rather than reputations. The image of the British as monolingual, protective and isolationist is simply false.

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  • 365. At 1:54pm on 17 Jun 2009, iwontdrinkthewater wrote:

    Well, thank you folk for your assurances...had to go run some errands...back now for awhile.
    I rather got the idea that MAII was winding folk up (at least I hope that's what he is doing - do you think he votes that way?).
    Anyway, just to add to the who's who - I am a Brit who lived in Ghana for many years, then the US(on and off)for 28 years, but am currently living and working in Germany (believe it MAII! Some of us actually own and operate passports!) I could bore everyone to death with the other details of living and working in a few other (EU and non-EU countries), but suffice it to say there are always many angles to be posited - just might have to keep mine close until I read more...

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  • 366. At 1:58pm on 17 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    The most illiterate are going to be us.
    School graduation exams statistics' today published, of 4,600 (total! for Russia!) kids who opted to do German, 10.4% failed.
    Of 78,000 who opted for an "easy ride", English - 5.3% failed.
    French desired to pass as language school graduation exams only 2,050 kids. And 2.3% failed.
    And Spanish everyone passed, but those desirous to know Spanish were only 156 for the whole country!
    Practically it means, let me see, only 84,806 people of this new generation same year birth, are counting on using any foreign language to communicate or whatever at all. While the rest know languages so badly that opted for other graduation exams, physics or biology or whatever.

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  • 367. At 2:02pm on 17 Jun 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    #365 iwontdrinkthewater.

    I made the comment previously that I didn't think that MAII actually existed, and that he was actually the satirical creation of a Guardian cartoonist, but I guess you need to be at least an occasional reader of 'The Guardian' to understand what I mean.

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  • 368. At 2:27pm on 17 Jun 2009, Alexandereski wrote:

    #366 Alice.

    I'm not sure that's a fair comparison, Alice. For nearly all of the EU, latin alphabetical structure is common, in contrast to Russia. The 'distance' between Russian and English, or Russian and French, is a lot further than, say, French and German, or English and French.
    As i battle my way through the delightful but challenging maze that is the Russian language, i am reminded on a daily basis just how far i have to go, and how great that distance is.

    Threnodio,
    Thanks for the link. I'll get to it soon, just a little busy here at the moment. Suffice to say you've been well and truly bookmarked.

    Alex.

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  • 369. At 2:29pm on 17 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    waterwatereverywherebutnotathoughttothink;

    Since despite being new here you have chosen to single me out for an insult on your first posting, I'll make an observation about you. However you profited financially and despite whatever friendships you may have made during your visits to the United States, you have made no intellectual gains from your experience here. You are as biggoted and intolerent of people who don't think the way you do as any European I've ever met. It is my observation that those who are born and grow up in Europe, raised in their culture whichever one it may be, are invariably that way, often no matter what their experiences are later in life. You are no exception to the rule. I for one am not the least bit surprised after a lifetime of meeting and observing Europeans including living on their turf for a couple of years to see it up close with my own eyes. That and the responded to America bashing I heard and read for so long are among the reaons for my post. It is a fact that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I for one am only to happy to pick up some of the rocks I found have been thrown at me and hurl them back to the other side of the pond.

    I happen to be a minority...and individual and minority of one. My views are my own. Nobody has to tell me how to think or can tell me what to think. I am fully capable of doing that for myself, observing and drawing my own conclusions from experience and logic. That is what a good education is really all about WebAlice, its primary objective. Failing to achieve that, it has failed.

    I agree with you on one point. I wouldn't drink the water either...if I ever visited the UK. And I do have a valid passport gathering dust. Having traveled to about 40 countries, I am perfectly happy to stay here in the US from now on. This is where I belong, the only place I feel part of. From the relentless flood of immigrants over the last 400 years, evidently a lot of others feel that way too.

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  • 370. At 2:37pm on 17 Jun 2009, Durendal30 wrote:

    Since there is a giant picture of Geert Wilders on this article I can´t help but respond as a PVV voter from the Netherlands.
    First of all how on earth do you manage to put the PVV in the far right?
    This to me I just cannot understand has the left now become the far right?
    Is being for freedom of speech,womans rights,gay rights now part of the far right agenda?
    Yes he´s against Islam because Islam is against these things.
    So how can he be far right?
    It´s insulting because as the PVV is the second largest party in the Netherlands that makes 1/4th of the Dutch population racist!

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  • 371. At 2:42pm on 17 Jun 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    democracythreat (363): It is true that there are economic differentials within each country, but they are far less than the economic differentials that currently exist between countries in different parts of the world.

    I don't agree that free movement of workers is a threat to high standards of living in general. Indeed i think the opposite is true because if labour is free to move where it can be employed at the highest price we will see the most productive allocation of resources.
    However this is the general case, and there will certainly be many individual cases of relatively unskilled workers in 'rich' countries experiencing their wage levels being undercut by migrants. Indeed i would say that this is the most plausible explanation for the phenomena, noted in all referendums on EU issues in multiple countries over the last decade, of the young and working class being more opposed to the EU than highly-skilled workers or those in management.EU supporters like to say that university educated and executive workers support the EU because they are more intelligent, but it seems to me that unskilled workers are voting with their wallets when faced with wage pressure from migrant workers (which university educated / high-skilled workers are less likely to experience) and that management is also voting in its self-interest for a pool of low-cost migrant labour.

    Given the reality of the world as it is today, the best route to prosperity for less developed nations is through attracting international capital, largely on the back of lower wage costs. Once international labour rates have become more equal then it becomes possible to consider free movement of workers. I think we are at this stage with all developed countries of the West and parts of Asia now but the politics have yet to catch up with free movement of workers only existing in Europe.

    If we can extract the best features of the old EEC and reproduce them at a global level, then it will leave the undemocratic European political union to stand-alone for judgement on its own dubious merits. There is no reason why the UK could not take the lead in this outside Schengan by signing free movement of worker treaties with the most developed non-EU states. This would immediately make the UK more attractive than the EU26 as an international location for business.

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  • 372. At 2:43pm on 17 Jun 2009, iwontdrinkthewater wrote:

    #367 Iantownhill

    Please bear with me whilst I figure how all this works - still not a computer savvy kind of person...

    Yes, I guess I would need to be an occasional reader of the Guardian, and many other written materials for that matter, but by the time I get an address actually viable, I find myself on the move again. (Remember, I'm still getting to know where (and which) button to push to make my earth move!

    I take it that you are the guy sitting on a beach somewhere warm, reading a book that has no meaning because it was written after some undefined date, and/or writing the next greatest piece of literature(which has already been written), Guardian in your lap, tropical cocktail in hand and saying hooya - what an incredible ride? No?

    OK, so you're the one sitting in some "Dacha", over-seeing the serfs and forest, composing the next best piece of music (which you could not possibly do), vodka in hand and saying welcome to bend-over acres? No?

    P.S. You know what they call a Jamaican proctologist?
    Pokemon

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  • 373. At 2:47pm on 17 Jun 2009, iwontdrinkthewater wrote:

    Aha! I just knew He couldn't resist...had to go ahead and make himself known! Wow, I had no idea he was so easy to rile up! Guardian material he surely is!

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  • 374. At 2:52pm on 17 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    FrancoAmericanChickenNoodleSoup;

    WebAlice, Winston Churchill did not impress me with anything he ever did but he said some memorable quips. I think he had Russians in general and you in particular pretty well pegged when he said of Russia that it is "A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma"

    WebAlice;

    "Anyway, see what Generalissimo recommends you? 2-3 marriages to Russian girls (in your case), and you'll be fit for ...?"

    For a coffin WebAlice. From what I can tell, I wouldn't survive even one.

    WebAlice;

    "The most illiterate are going to be us."

    Who says Russia isn't part of Europe?

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  • 375. At 2:59pm on 17 Jun 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    iwontdrinkthewater #372.

    are all your "jokes" in such poor taste?

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  • 376. At 3:10pm on 17 Jun 2009, iwontdrinkthewater wrote:

    #375 jr4412
    No, and I do apologise for the aforementioned. I am just trying to imagine an un-named person being the progenesis for a satirical cartoon for any news-paper

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  • 377. At 3:11pm on 17 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    iwontdrink...I'monthetenstepprogram;

    "...but by the time I get an address actually viable, I find myself on the move again."

    Take the advice of the great African American baseball pitcher Satchel Paige who said; "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

    You are evidently running from something. That doesn't surprise me either. The one thing you can't escape from no matter how fast you run, no matter how well you hide...is yourself.

    iwontdrink...

    "I could bore everyone to death"

    In just a few posts, you've made a good start at it.

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  • 378. At 3:30pm on 17 Jun 2009, iwontdrinkthewater wrote:

    Just trying to get some folk off themselves and their fixation with being insulting/condescending/dismissive. Some postings on the other hand are really quite informative and/or entertaining - kudos to those folk.
    What happened to the original topic, anyway? Anybody?

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  • 379. At 3:41pm on 17 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Freeborn-John wrote:

    "I don't agree that free movement of workers is a threat to high standards of living in general. Indeed i think the opposite is true because if labour is free to move where it can be employed at the highest price we will see the most productive allocation of resources."

    This is why i said you can't eat rocks. Economics says that everyone will be happy as long as they can buy and sell rocks. It doesn't take into account that people are biological machines that need clean air and clean water, and food. That is why economics is worthless as an holistic philosophy; it is only useful for analyzing trade itself. As soon as you employ economic theory to analyze such things as the quality of life, you end up trying to eat rocks.

    And that is why religion, which is the farming of human beings for profit, is so destructive to human peace and happiness.

    Think about the biggest "dangers to the world". Global warming, child poverty, disease. These are all just separate facets of the same problem of overpopulation. If the world had sufficient room for humans to live decent lives, it wouldn't matter a jot that sea levels will rise, or that climate conditions will change. But because humanity is pressing against the very capacity of the earth to provide space and sustenance, any change will cause disaster.

    Now economics cannot provide a solution for this problem, because economics doesn't care. As long as someone is making a profit out of misery and disaster, misery and disaster are good things. Peace and tranquility, by contrast, are economic failures. Nothing grows, nobody is making a killing, so to speak.

    The UK, and Europe generally, is going to come face to face with a choice: People can either allow themselves to be farmed by religious and political parties, or they can demand a decent quality of life. But they cannot have both.

    Politicians are going to preach economics as the answer, but people are going to watch their water get dirtier, and the air becoming less fit to breath. They are being crammed into their ever smaller homes, and these homes being crammed on top of each other in cities that are beginning to merge into one another.

    Fifty years ago a working family having a fish meal in the UK meant a nice piece of cod for each person. Now it means a nice tin of tuna. In ten years, there will be no tuna left in the sea, or at least none for the working people at the bottom of the social pile. A some politician will be lecturing about the higher wages and the improved quality of life, and proving their case with numerics.

    But it isn't real. The numbers don't mean anything. Clean water, clean air, high protein foods: these are real things. They keep the teeth in your mouth and the parasites from your bowels. They quite literally give you the gift of life itself.

    Forget your economic theory, and pay attention to the basic mathematics of biological systems. Do you know the riddle of the bottle of yoghurt?

    It goes like this: You have a microscopic bacteria that doubles in size every 24 hours, if it can eat yoghurt. You have a ten liter bottle of yoghurt. You put the bacteria in the yoghurt.

    How much yoghurt do you have left the day before you have no yoghurt, and all the bacteria die?

    That is the mathematics of the quality of life on earth. Economic theory is merely a game for bacteria.

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  • 380. At 4:10pm on 17 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threattodemocracy;

    "because if labour is free to move where it can be employed at the highest price we will see the most productive allocation of resources.

    This is why i said you can't eat rocks".

    And here I always thought it was because they are indigestable. Live and learn. Everyday you learn something new...even here.

    "Economic theory is merely a game for bacteria."

    Another of my misconceptions straightened out. Having met countless MBAs, I concluded it is a game for insects.

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  • 381. At 4:33pm on 17 Jun 2009, Ticape wrote:

    @264 Threnodio
    You were saying?

    I also believe the EU is lacking English interpreters due to this fact.

    @370.
    1/4? More like 6% of the entire Dutch electorate and 4% of the Dutch population. Doesn't sound impressive does it?

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  • 382. At 4:34pm on 17 Jun 2009, David wrote:

    They say English, French and Spanish are easiest to learn, Web Alice. You all do seem....well educated to me,though.:)

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  • 383. At 4:36pm on 17 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    Before the EU summit later this week the British PM has apparently dragged the negotiations with Ireland out, but the EU is interested in keeping Brown in power, a replacement by a conservative government in the UK would mean increased problems for the cooperation, and is therefore the rest of the summit is prepared to make concessions to the British government leader.

    It shall be interesting to see if British media will serve Brown and sell this as a British victory.

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  • 384. At 4:42pm on 17 Jun 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    democracythreat #379.

    good post, really like the "religion...farming of human beings for profit.." image.

    but then you say "..facets of the same problem of overpopulation. ... But because humanity is pressing against the very capacity of the earth to provide space and sustenance, any change will cause disaster."

    no, Earth could sustain many more people. the problem is mis-management of resources. we have one planet but 200+ "nations" competing against each other; there's no "humanity", there are only loads of tribes, led, apparently, by the mean and narrow-minded.

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  • 385. At 4:44pm on 17 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    369. At 2:29pm on 17 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII

    "That and the responded to America bashing I heard . . .".

    This - of course - has nothing to do with the monothematic Eurobashing garbage we have to put up with from you. But hey - do please carry on. I need a good laugh from time to time.

    You may be interested to know that you came up in conversation recently - yes, here in Budapest. You are famous. I will not offend you with some of your compatriots' opinions.

    #370 - Durendal30

    I am very pleased to read your post. May we confidently expect that PVV will have nothing to do with the BNP and Jobbik at Strasbourg? I very much hope so.

    #378 - iwontdrinkthewater

    "Just trying to get some folk off themselves and their fixation with being insulting/condescending/dismissive."

    Unfortunately, there are some who can't resist it. I have been known to sink to the same level myself. Once a thread is a few days old, we go off at a tangent. Sometimes it is useful, sometimes not.

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  • 386. At 5:08pm on 17 Jun 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Democracythreat (379): It may be the case that the Maltuhsian world you describe has been the human lot for most of history, but that changed with the Industrial Revolution. Since then we have experienced not only a constant stream of innovations that have raised living standards but also changes in human behaviour so that we do not aspire to multiply like bacteria until the food runs out. Populations are steady or even declining throughout the developed world with most parents aspiring (even required in China) to bring up small families of well-educated children equipped with the skills needed to prosper in the modern world.

    Now it may be the case that some parts of the world still live in the Mathusian trap, such that any increase in productivity results in population growth, and the extra mouths eat up all the extra surplus until everyone is on the edge of starvation once again. But i think there are less and less such places in the world. Anyway, i am only proposing free movement of workers between developed countries worldwide (which all have relatively stable populations), together with capital investment by developed countries in poorer countries until they have developed too. I don't see why these currently poor countries would not follow the same trend seen everywhere else in the world since industrialization, of initially rising population which eventually levels off. So i cannot share your fear of a Malthusian 3rd world, able to multiply like bacteria and move freely to the West to eat up all our 'yoghurt' and reduce us to starvation too.

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  • 387. At 5:09pm on 17 Jun 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    I know it is a big off-topic, but has anybody noticed how long it takes to moderate a comment on James Reynolds' China blog and the rejection rates? I tried to comment on that a few times in there, however my posts were found to have broken the house rules. I am now wondering if the posts are not sent first to the Chinese Ministry of information for their approval, thus the long moderation time :-)

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  • 388. At 5:14pm on 17 Jun 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Jukka: I was just reading about the perfect political party for you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Movement

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  • 389. At 5:34pm on 17 Jun 2009, Tigerchen85 wrote:

    "I for one am only to happy to pick up some of the rocks I found have been thrown at me and hurl them back to the other side of the pond."

    This doesn't quite fit with the fact that in almost every topic I've read so far the america-bashing only starts AFTER someone from the US (mostly you MAII) decides to start some euro-bashing. You even start with it in your first post. How could anyone possibly have thrown any stones at you before that to just "throw them back"?

    @ iwontdrinkthewater:

    I had the same thoughts before myself that some accounts here (not exclusively MAII) might be faked just to put some oil into burning fires. But since it is hardly ever possible for us to find out and unlikely that if anyone really is "fake" that he will admit it, I stoped to bother about such thoughts. ;-)

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  • 390. At 5:40pm on 17 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    jr4412 wrote:

    "but then you say "..facets of the same problem of overpopulation. ... But because humanity is pressing against the very capacity of the earth to provide space and sustenance, any change will cause disaster."

    no, Earth could sustain many more people. the problem is mis-management of resources."

    Ah, well, perhaps it could. But I didn't say it couldn't. I said humanity IS pressing against the capacity. As in, now. At the present time.

    But I do think it is an interesting question, how much humanity the earth can support. It is the question of questions, really. You cannot answer it without betraying your beliefs and values.

    Consider, to the person who believes in fairies at the bottom of the garden, who believes that life is an illusion to test us before we die and enter Utopia...... does this person really care what happens to the earth? Or how much suffering happens to the inhabitants who are crammed into the available, festering space?

    Of course, they do not. If you really believe in an afterlife, this life loses meaning and value. If you are taught that suffering is for a divine purpose, suffering becomes acceptable. And if you are taught that every soul on earth is an expression of the glory of god, then it makes a load of good sense to cram those babies into the world. You want many, many souls, all running around in the dirt and eating rats and dying young from hideous diseases because.... because that is an expression of the glory of the creator, and anyways everyone is going to rise up onto clouds in the afterlife, so WHO CARES??

    However, if you doubt the existence of fairies at the bottom of the garden... well life has a different meaning, and QUALITY of life has a totally different allure. If death holds no redemption for suffering, life is not cheap. If suffering is failure in a material world, systematic suffering is insanity.

    Most of all, if you believe that your own time on the mortal coil is precious, you may respect the lives of others, and you may wish to construct a moral and legal code that protects the quality of life.

    So how many people can happily exist on the earth is very much a function of what those people believe. When i was in India as a child, I saw people living and eating in their own filth. And praying. I never met so many folks who wanted to talk so much about god this and god that. God was everywhere in that filth, as I suppose he needed to be.

    But that experience taught me the danger of the karma myth: it allows those who exploit others with cruelty to dismiss their own guilt by saying "It is karma, it is the work of god." And worse, it tricked those who were exploited into doing nothing, and not fighting for a better life. "It is my karma to suffer, I will have peace in the next life."

    And the net result was, of course, that the exploitation continued, for the profit of those who sold the karma myth.

    When I talk of religion "farming" people, I am being quite precise with the terminology. Religions literally farm people. I consider it one of the most acute and bitter ironies of human history that religions use the fundamental science of biology to support themselves. Here you have the great houses of the elusive spirit, the hand maidens of all that is mystical.... yet they employ raw science to breed their flock.

    Consider, all the great religions have rules concerning sexual practice. All proscribe homosexuality, all allow rape in marriage, all prohibit abortion. Some even ban masturbation. Most promote monogamy.

    Are these rules not calculated to generate the fastest possible population growth in a given population of any mammal?

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  • 391. At 6:06pm on 17 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Freeborn-John wrote:
    "Democracythreat (379): It may be the case that the Maltuhsian world you describe has been the human lot for most of history, but that changed with the Industrial Revolution. "

    Did it? My reading of history after the industrial revolution was that Europe exported the utter destruction of the natural world to what are called "the colonies". IE, the rest of the world that had so far escaped the complete degradation of massive overpopulation.

    And during the last century, the catholic and orthodox breeding programs created such massive overpopulation within europe that the entire continent exploded into genocide and barbaric war.

    The only places on earth that do not suffer massive population growth in a rapidly decreasing environment are those which have re-established female sexual rights, and banned the religious institutions practice of breeding human beings.

    Freeborn John, your children are not going to eat wild fish. It doesn't matter how many gadgets your robots produce, or whether science can keep pace with our growing demands. Overpopulation has already happened. There are already far too many people on this little earth.

    That is why you have to answer the riddle about the bottle of yoghurt, to fully understand the nature of geometric growth in biological systems. The answer is, of course, that half the yoghurt is left in the bottle the day before none is left.

    This is one reason i have become such an advocate for the Swiss system of government, and the real sovereignty of the people. The Swiss understand the fragile nature of their environment. They understand the very real dangers of overpopulation. Most of all, they refuse to be farmed like cattle belonging to some religious order. They have had centuries of it, for hundreds of years the business of Switzerland was the sale of mercenaries.

    And political parties are no better than religions, when it comes to seeing increased populations as a source of increased revenue. Hence, I believe, we simply have to change the way we think about the world. We simply cannot afford to use the philosophy of economics to solve our problems, because that philosophy only solves the economic problems for the people who own the political system, and who grow ever richer from taxes and overall consumption.

    That is why I believe that only direct democracy is a feasible political system, if we wish to preserve the environment and establish the human right to a decent quality of life.

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  • 392. At 6:16pm on 17 Jun 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    jr4412 (#384) "no, Earth could sustain many more people. the problem is mis-management of resources. we have one planet but 200+ "nations" competing against each other; there's no "humanity", there are only loads of tribes, led, apparently, by the mean and narrow-minded."

    This is a rather academic way of looking at the problem. The practical way of looking at it is to look at humanity worldwide and ask "how are we actually doing?". Answer: not very well in many respects, largely because of the great demand on earthly resources due to a large population. To argue that the problem is not real because one can imagine some ideal world in which humankind can do a much better job managing resources for a population of nearly 7000 million is equivalent to ignoring the problem altogether.

    To wait for humankind to evolve into a species capable of living in harmony with the Earth and with each other is to court disaster. Better to deal with the world we live in, not the world as we wish it to be.

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  • 393. At 6:39pm on 17 Jun 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    democracythreat (#391), I do not see how you get from your analysis of humankind's problem to your conclusion:

    "That is why I believe that only direct democracy is a feasible political system, if we wish to preserve the environment and establish the human right to a decent quality of life."

    The Economist ran an article awhile back with an amusing look at California (where I live) as the "ungovernable state":

    http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13649050

    California is direct democracy gone wild, and it has put the state near bankruptcy.

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  • 394. At 6:45pm on 17 Jun 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    Each member state has a commissioner in Bruxelles. That is the final element in the agreement with Ireland expected to be made in the coming EU summit. Not least for the small countries in the Union the member state appointed commissioner has been important.

    The whole process is quite similar to the procedure the predecessor of the EU made in 1993 after the Danish no to the Maastricht treaty. Ireland will not block the Lisbon treaty signed by most of the other countries, which on their side are interested in a compromise. In both cases the UK has had it own national interests in a compromise.

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  • 395. At 7:50pm on 17 Jun 2009, jr4412 wrote:

    Gary_A_Hill #392.

    "..a rather academic way of looking at the problem. ... To wait for humankind to evolve into a species capable of living in harmony with the Earth and with each other is to court disaster."

    dreamer, yes. I do think that cultures unaffected by belief in the Abrahamic god (and other organised religions) were living sustainably, in harmony with their environment(s) - what we label "pagan" and "animist" these days.

    as to living with each other: no doubt, we're an aggressive species but there are ways of dealing with this, for example, duels and ritualised warfare (football, etc) are IMO better than, say, dropping 1000lb bombs from aircraft; is doable, though not profitable.


    democracythreat #390.

    "When I talk of religion "farming" people, I am being quite precise with the terminology. ... Consider, all the great religions have rules concerning sexual practice. ... Are these rules not calculated to generate the fastest possible population growth in a given population of any mammal?"

    until I read your arguments I had thought of organised religions simply as a way of subverting our innate spirituality as a means of control and execise of power, and in terms of historically high infant mortality, support system for elders, etc. I will need some time to ponder the "farming" aspect, thank you for that.

    the way we go about misusing the Earth and her resources is unsurprising and follows "naturally" from those religious beliefs, ie. karma, afterlife, etc.

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  • 396. At 8:21pm on 17 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    CrouchingTiger

    The America bashing in Europe didn't begin with my postings. It started about...hmmm, 233 years ago and it has hardly let up since except when they want something from us. A few years ago it seemed that was all you heard coming from that direction but now few Americans pay much attention to what has become a faint din from a small far away planet receding into the void. They can sure dish it out but the losers can't take it. It kills them because they know every word of what I say is true, even if the details are wrong sometimes, the essence of it is right on target.

    threnodious, I have a few choice words for some of my compatriots as well. Like George Soros who was born in Hungary and America picked him up out of the dirt after the holocaust (yes I know he went to Britain first but he isn't British is he?) Now he's selling America out. Typical for Europeans and the American lunatic fringe left. It just so happens part of my ancestry is Hungarian. I've got a few choice words for Hungarians that are unprintable here too. I have no interest in Hungary or any desire to ever go there. What a sucker Brits are subsidizing them taking up right where the USSR left off. I'll bet there's a viaduct, bridge, highway or something else you ride on over there that your British tax dollars paid for. Your tax dollars at work...for the benefit of Hungarians and others and you have nothing to say about it because the tyrannical EU dictatorship is beyond your power to influence. Isn't that so typical of Europe. Kafkaland.

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  • 397. At 9:13pm on 17 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    "California is direct democracy gone wild, and it has put the state near bankruptcy."

    Yes. I wish I knew more about California. Unfortunately I only know what little I have read about it, and can't say I understand how the direct democracy there operates. But it does appear to be a bit of a conundrum.

    I did ask marcus to write something sensible about it, but he has been busy cleaning his navel on folks instead of applying himself to the task at hand. He disappoints me, does marcus. He is a good writer, but he wastes it with nationalistic drivel.

    You disappoint me, Marcus. Do you know that? If I had a son like you, I would sit in front of a fire and stare deeply into the flames for long periods, thinking about how things might have been.

    But on the subject of direct democracy, and California... I guess I just don't know. But California is also a thumping great economy. If it were a nation in its own right, it would be a world player. I think it is the fifth largest economy in the world, or something? So they have to be doing something right. I mean, California is not a social backwater full of jesus freaks and hillbillies. They just have money problems with their government.

    I have also been thinking recently that a large part of the reason the Swiss government works so well is because of the taxation structure. Here the federal, cantonal and local governments each take a direct share of tax revenue. It is not shared out by the federal government, with lots of party strings attached. The money goes directly to cantons and local governments. And each canton and local village can raise its own taxes, and decide how to spend them.

    I think, but am not sure, that this structure of taxation and spending enhances the financial responsibility of government. It also creates competition between regional and local governments. And not just for lower taxes, although competition always creates better service at a better price, which is a good thing. The Swiss towns also compete, as a matter of pride, in activities such as infrastructure and education. I think it has a lot to do with not being able to pass the buck, and blame someone else. If the roads are bad in that village, that is because the people there are cretins who can't manage their road budget. If the schools in that canton are poor, it is because the people in that region haven't sorted out their schools (the fools).

    From what I gather of California, the taxation structure is not the same. And so control of the state media and political process is sort of a winner takes all contest.

    But yeah, you make a good point. Why is California such a financial mess when Switzerland is such a financial success? I wish I knew.

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  • 398. At 9:31pm on 17 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Freeborn John, so you were right, there are interestng important things taking place right now in the Commission; Mathiasen has also mentioned "a lot to discuss".
    Mark Mardell seems to have began answering the call, with the new thread?

    I know it's a silly question, but I was reading now how the Euro Parliament is elected. Who elects the Commission? From what Russian media writes it seems that mysterious Commission is far more powerful than the Euro Parliament, of which they only say that poor politicians go there and no one, no one, ever returned back. Like, "Leave your hope anyone entering" sign, they don't emerege out back from the Euro Parliament into the big politics. Can this change now; seeing so many bright eneregetic LOL personalities as new MEPs one would think this crop is better able to stand up for itself? :o)

    BTW I think Russia also has something to do with the Euro Parliament, either hanging around in an observer status, or something? I was even kind of offended LOL that we have a rep in the Euro Parliament and nobody asks me to elect him! became plain jealous, but then the Russian media consoled me that the Euro Parliament doesn't matter much anyway, only that mysterious Commision does. Or at least that such was they case before.
    Must be that's why they wrote it's a one way traffic to a? disabled men institution, because you can't be simultaneously telling stories to Russians for a week how all daily elect somebody and not to give any consolation LOL!

    As they say, Americans were electing for a long time btw Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola, Russians never had to worry but to chose btw 120 kinds of vodka and ? about Europe the joke has no continuation. Stops at Russians.
    ______________

    Mavriusha, I wanted to write fit for a coffin" LOL! The word was plain asking to come to the tip of the tongue. But I thought it will be un-fair to so many people, you know, who actually survived (to tell the story) and are very well taken care of by their Russian wives. Must be, there are two kinds, free spirit, and traditional, caring. But then, where there are no "kinds"? any country.
    My father had encountered two very character-ed :o) cases, and flat refused to try his luck the third time, though I was basically pleading him to collect courage and all. Type he must have got used to being married after so many decades, even in the worst case - what's new? Thought it's an extraordinary traditional and caring the third-could be encounter, that he'll be happy with. Constant flow of home-cooked pies and looking at him as the treasure of the world. But poor dad kept saying smth like "Bolivar won't carry the three" , something about horses.

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  • 399. At 9:50pm on 17 Jun 2009, Tigerchen85 wrote:

    So are you then in some kind masochistic MAII?

    Or is there another reasonable explanation for you to start this Europe vs. America bashing in so many topics over and over again while we simply wouldn't care that much at all?

    Especially since this blog is usually eurocentric or bristishcentric, I ve reason to believe that without you starting these arguements over and over there would hardly be any.

    Actually those facts don't go along that well with your perception of us always wanting something from you over a period of at least (if not far more than) 2 centuries. Well to give you some hint what conclusion you could draw from this: not everything is US-centric. Sometimes people just don't care about the other side of the big pond. And if in such a situation someone like you has nothing better to do than to interrupt an ongoing discussion about european or bristish issues I can assure you of one thing for certain that you won't reach with it: Reducing all forms of Anti-americanism among those who feel bothered by your "HAIL AMERICA GOD BLESS THE US OF A THE BESTEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD" comments. (And yes despite my sometimes flawfull english - thank you for pointing it out stellarbeloved as I wouldn't have guessed - I know that BESTEST mustn't be used unless you describe the US)

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  • 400. At 10:00pm on 17 Jun 2009, iwontdrinkthewater wrote:

    Dear Marcus...Not vous? Wrong with some of the details? But, but , sayeth Sophia, surely you must be mistaken, (regarding her son ["god"] when speaking to her maker ["God"]), for the devil is the detail!

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  • 401. At 10:03pm on 17 Jun 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    democracythreat (#397) "Yes. I wish I knew more about California. Unfortunately I only know what little I have read about it, and can't say I understand how the direct democracy there operates. But it does appear to be a bit of a conundrum."

    Did you read the article from The Economist? California, like all US states, has a Republican form of government with an elected legislature. Thus, it is a Representative Democracy. However, in California and many other states (not all), the people have the power of Initiative. By this power, private citizens may write proposed laws and (with sufficient signatures on a petition) place them on the ballot for voter approval. This is a form of Direct Democracy.

    The problem with Initiatives of the People is that they are always written by special interests, whereas laws originating in the legislature tend to be a product of compromise between competing interests. So initiatives tend to cause more problems for people who are not part of the special interest.

    Another problem is that, whatever people may say about opposing bigger government and more taxes, initiatives tend to do things like create commissions and earmark expenditures, which is the way that the special interests ensure that they will get what they want.

    So why do they pass, if they are bad legislation? Sometimes they don't, but often there is some emotional hook that attracts votes, even when there are some details to the proposal that are not desirable. Voters go for the main idea, not the fine print.

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  • 402. At 10:13pm on 17 Jun 2009, Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    democracythreat (#397) "I did ask marcus to write something sensible about it, ... "

    This is a waste of time. Marcus seems to be here only for the demented sport of Eurobashing. He is not to be taken seriously, in my opinion.

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  • 403. At 10:39pm on 17 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    "As they say, Americans were electing for a long time btw Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola, Russians never had to worry but to chose btw 120 kinds of vodka and ? about Europe the joke has no continuation. Stops at Russians."

    In Europe we get to watch the aristocracy drink a wide variety of beverages. If you watch closely, the germans spit in the french wine, the french spit in the german beer, and the Polish are selling bootleg vodka to the italians and calling it Russian Export quality. The latvians are drinking water.

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  • 404. At 10:43pm on 17 Jun 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Gary_A_Hill wrote:

    "Did you read the article from The Economist?"

    Yes, cheers for the link. The economist is intellectual porn, gary. And yes, I read it fairly often. But, you know, I am not proud.

    But I don't think a person can really talk about how a system of government works until they have lived under it. I'm told lawyers get paid bucket loads in the states, so when California sorts out the pollution thing I might come over and do a bit of suited pillaging.

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  • 405. At 10:46pm on 17 Jun 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threat to democracy;

    "You disappoint me, Marcus. Do you know that? If I had a son like you, I would sit in front of a fire and stare deeply into the flames for long periods, thinking about how things might have been."

    If I had a father like you....I'd wait to find him in just such a spot in front of the fire......I'd sneak up behind him.......and with one almighty push......he'd at least create a little bit of heat for an all too brief moment even if he couldn't shed any light. Hahahahahahaha.

    You don't disappoint me. Upon reading your first posting I had no hopes or expectations of you whatsoever. And I must say you have lived up to my first impression with every new posting of yours.

    I'm not here to explain California to you. Having lived there in the heart of Silicon Valley for five years, like most places it is complex. If you really want to understand it, research it yourself...or go live there like I did. It was a lot more fun than living in Europe as far as I was concerned. Not much stability there though. Nothing seems to stay the same for very long. Life is as unstable as the land with its constant earthquakes. People seem to live without a care in the world, never worrying about what tomorrow would bring. That's one thing I never got used to.

    Crouching Tiger, don't worry about me. Since no other Americans were willing to take on our European enemies, I figured I'd do it single handedly. And I'm not surprised I'm winning with such ease. I'm more than a match for their entire continent. With their long grim history and hypocritical falied cultures, they are defenselessly vulnerable from every angle :-) By their own admission, they need the tyranny of the EU to assure themselves that they won't go to war with each other again.

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  • 406. At 11:05pm on 17 Jun 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #401 - Gary_A_Hill

    This is surely the problem with 'over-government'.

    The point made earlier on by democracythreat about the role of religion in population issues has much wider ramifications. If I happen to be gay, what right does anyone else have to prevent me entering a marriage? If I am terminally ill, who has the right to tell me when and how to die? Government should be about empowering, liberating and - where necessary - protecting the citizen, not be about dictating to them. Regulation costs money and this comes from the very people who are being regulated. In terms of both taxation and individual liberty, it is of questionable value and is the greatest problem with single issue politics.

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  • 407. At 01:13am on 18 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    threnodio, that's a break-through idea, that a government is there to help. I think many have forgotten the idea so it's very refreshing. Or may be never knew :o)
    ________

    on the gov. interferance into non-their own issues; there was a famous phrase in USSR long time ago, someone exclaimed in despair : (what a) damn state! where a person can't ? run? manage? direct about? his own a!

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  • 408. At 01:33am on 18 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    It was really bleak with gay "rights" in USSR before. I remember one case, in the children's amateur theatre where I spent years. There were like, internal theatre departments, sewing and make-up, or fake ? objects from papier-mache making, radio (sound) and Lights, well in charge of the "Lights" dpt. there was an excellent man, who taught children (mostly boys, because quite a technical theatre work) how to set the lights on the stage, above, and on the sides, various colours, normal theatre work. All grown-ups in charge of sections were enthusiastic there, working days and nights and summers and weekends, no holidays, for funny salaries, spending time with kids age 8-17. On 17 you'd leave the theatre, to the "big life". Well the chap in charge of the Lights' dpt. was reported as gay eventually. (after ab 20 yrs he spent in the theatre). And nobody saw him everafter, I think it was 10 yrs of prizon. Except I must say that the boy who reported on him got quite cold showers from the rest of the theatre "population" and had to leave himself, how to say, general contempt. Not because he was suspected to be "gay" but because the kids of the senior ages which he was himself, ab 15, viewed it exactly as "reporting" for idiotic reasons, after all, he got an "offer", turned down, so kind of, shut up or at max tell internally to the theatre director, but not outside to the police, because everyone knew you ruin a man's life this way. Sad story, the Lights' chap was a very good man. And very professional; the theatre had big stage, full normal theatre size, hard to run technically, the plays. Lavishly sponsored technically (Sov. times, LOL), about 600 people, big company. All "teachers" or section heads there were great. I was in the "radio" unit, LOL. Life consisted of crawling with the microphone after some "morning birds" chirrup in the suburb expeditions, or "leaving train good bye whistle" sitting on a platform, pouring metal chips onto a ? some metal tray, forgot what sound it makes, and other extraordinary fun. Our plays were full of "hoofs' sounds", thunderstorms, and other fun.

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  • 409. At 06:01am on 18 Jun 2009, David wrote:

    Hi Web Alice..

    finally to answer your questions on my "where-abouts,"...

    all he#$ broke loose in my life, but I have recovered..somewhat and am back to reading European comments, again ..it's nice to read them, but when reality

    intervenes, I do like fiction..and fortunately have ...

    reread ALL the George RR Martin and Steven Donaldson books..again and am waiting for other wonderful authors to appear.

    Thank you for asking and everyone, please keep writing these very detailed and informative comments:)

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  • 410. At 1:30pm on 18 Jun 2009, Tigerchen85 wrote:

    @ Gary_A_Hill:

    Thank you for the advice in post 402 as I should follow it as well I guess.

    MAII just is not a good choice for a battle of wits due to obviously being unarmed.

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  • 411. At 8:18pm on 18 Jun 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    @356 Freeborn John

    I thank you for your comments. However I have at least two questions that logically come from your assessment of the restrictions the EU has for the remaining part of the world economies.
    1. If *the free movement of workers between countries that are approximately equivalent in terms of economic development is realistic*, and, if we take into consideration that at least nine out of twelve new member states have living standards that are between 50 and 70 per cent lower than those of the remaining 16-17 countries, that means that not only the British workers are the loosing party of our union. How does it happen that the Britons /I mean only the British Euro sceptics of course/ seem to be the only one and the most consistent and organized group who consider seriously the perspective for the UK to leave the EU?
    2. If *the EU is ..a much greater danger to democracy than /the ultra nationalist parties/*, and, if the EU *indeed draws its support using similar arguments about the need for collective power to counter the USA*,
    a) how can we explain the evident truth that each one of the member states is by all standards a real democracy /some of them of more than 200 old/, and, how can we accept that all these democracies have established a non democratic union? Who is the looser? Who is to blame?
    b) how can all these democracies rely just on the extreme right (or left) parties arguments in order to win their nations support for the needs of a collective counter action against the US? All those extremist parties, groups and movements have insufficient political influence within the EU.

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  • 412. At 8:56pm on 18 Jun 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    @364 threnodio
    I thank you for your comments.
    I certainly can be mistaken about the real figures of the Britons living and working in continental Europe. I can confirm that even in Bulgaria there are many British retired people who came to live here and who enjoy eight months of sunny weather a year between Christian folks.
    What I can assure you of, when traveling on business /in the former communist countries of central Europe/, is the simple fact that the English has won definitely the language battle in all those new democracies /including the republics of former Yugoslavia/. The young people of all these countries do not speak at all and do not understand Russian /as it was the case of the previous generations/.
    How can you imagine a British tourist or a couple of retired people to start studing Czech or Romanian? However, I agree, that some highly qualified British workers or engineers who live and work, say in Germany, France or Holland, may improve their knowledge in German, French or Dutch, but it is more logical to accept that their colleagues shall prefer to communicate with them in English.
    As to the controversial question of the mentalities, I would rather read again the novel The adventures of Major Thomson.

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  • 413. At 10:25pm on 19 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MAII you were right ab sex traffic fr Russia still existing and I was stupid with stupid jokes that "Katya M. was appalled when on arrival they really made her to do dish-washing." We have horrible case on hands; a uni student replied a newspaper ad "interpretors wanted, English/Russian/German/French/Greek". I would have applied to such an ad myself! To a , say, a European country. (I won't tell which, moderation, and the Strasbourg court of Human Rights has accepted the case.) The FIRST case accepted in the line of sex trafficing and trade in people. Absolutely the first not tuirned down.

    Well in 7 days abroad she was dead; sent over to her father in a metal forged coffin with papers from foreign police telling "suicide", "jumped off from the balcony", pathalogo-anatomist doctor certificate of the reason of death. And that'll be the end of the story. Except her father had her born late by Russian standards, when he was 40 +, brought her up without a mother, alone, and kind of valued her very much! And was a colonel of the Russian army who as we say, "passed through the whole Afghan" (campaign). Instead of burying her he had the coffin cut and the second doctor examining had. Which showed nobody looked at her abroad in the first place, and there was much to look, all bruised and beaten to death.
    The next 8 years he spent looking for the killer. Sold his flat to get money to travel abroad, because he is a poor pensioner by now, to be able to look at the documents in the case abroad hired a lawyer who charged him 300 dollars per hour. Found locals to give evidence in the court, who saw how she was twice thropwn out of the window, only she didn't dye the first time, so they threw her out again. Found killers.
    Managed to get to the General Prosecutor of the country, asking to open a criminal investigation. Cried and pleaded, and was turned down. He himself speaks nil foreign languages, so hired all, interpretors, lawyers. Had 3 strokes and 2 infarctions during these 8 years. May not live up to the hearing.
    Could not start the case. Now Strasbourg court accepted, took results of exgumation, names of evidence, the case is that chap - versus that country.
    But this is one such colonel, Russian father. Not all display such persistence.

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  • 414. At 05:38am on 20 Jun 2009, David wrote:

    Your humor, Web Alice, is humanistic, perhaps..and usually fun, so if someone ...gripes,

    well, consider the (non..humane) source(s))...(the gripers)

    and have a nice day:)

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  • 415. At 1:46pm on 20 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Stellar, humour becomes possible, I think, when there appears a glimpse of hope, that the situation is not a total doom and gloom any more. But in cases like the above, what humour. Why the poor man is fighting his lonely battle, where is Russia standing up for him? No lawyers here to him, from the state, no diplomatic pressure possible, from Russia to other country, on his behalf, so that the police open their ears to him, over there?
    When Russia sent him to Afghan mountains - there is Russia for him. When his innocent daughetr is murdered and a falsified papers arrive together with the coffin, a jeering "picture of the house, from where she jumped off the balcony", to the daddy. The first thing the poor man noticed - LOL! that there are no balconies in the house! Then the certificate, that she was sorry to say cut open, to investigate "the reason of the death". Only she is altogether, she wasn't. Then he flies over there, speaks to the people who gave evidence, of a naked girl, all beaten, thrown out twice of the window, and then sees the police documents, the whole file - and the evidence of these people is gone from the file!
    Live people tell him - "we've been to the police, told all." In the file - not a word of any "evidence". That'll wake up suspicion with any body, that the case has been falsified. He knocked all doors, contacted all European experts on people's trade, spoke to the local shelters! yes! there are shelters! for victims of sex abuse, at the church! They told him on their records there are 11 thousand (eleven thousand) women a year, arriving to that country from the ex-USSR quarters, 60% as "cabare dancers", whose documents, mobiles, all, get snatched right at the meeting in the airport, and then they do what the owners tell them to do. Many know what they are there for, but many also don't, like that girl. Very few actively resist, try to run away, reach the Russian embassy, reach the police. But reaching the police seems to be no use, like that girl - did ran away! was recorded all bruised up in the police - 2 days after arrival, 3 days before her death. She demanded to be put in contact with the Russian embassy, asked to use a telephone, to call home, to call an ambassador. (In 4 languages, one would presume!) They turned her down, and same nice people picked her up from that police station into a car on exit.
    That's outrageous, this means it's a system, in which all are bought.
    I don't think even in our over corrupted Russia any foreigner who makes it to the police, from whatever circumstances, and identifies himself as a foreigner who needs a telephone and his ambassador will be turned down. Nobody would even dare to fool around with foreigners, that's intra-country case, beyond police competence, rich in aggravations.
    So much expensive a telephone call, that the police can't "afford" on their expense? If they let her use the phone, she'd be alive. To say nothing decent police ought to get personally interested in bruised and beaten foreigners who show up and say they are stolen and ran away. Decent police - yes, but even un-decent police - could have let her use the phone , and get her off their shoulders, after all - wants the ambassador - the embassy will take her away, from their responsibility, what are they to worry?
    Outrageous, and outrageous that Russia means nil and Russian citizens mean nil to that country. They are not scared of Russia standing up for them, that's the thing. Because it clearly doesn't.
    I've been to that country 3 times, like many Russians. If I knew that something happens to me - and I can't even address the local police with any chance of help - Jesus Christ. I'd never go. And I won't in future.

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  • 416. At 6:20pm on 21 Jun 2009, qprfc85 wrote:

    Why is the BNP labeled 'right wing' by impartial bbc bloggers? Just as the National Socialist Party in Germany led by Adolf Hitler in the 1930s had socialist roots, the BNP's policies seem to the left of the labour party as far as I can make out, if you look at their social and economic policy.

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  • 417. At 11:18am on 11 Jul 2009, snowyb1 wrote:

    It's fantastic to see the frightened embrace the past lunacies; especially amusing was BBC's piece on the Hollanders embracing Calvin in the name of moral rectitude! May I suggest reading Balzac's "Catherine de Medici" for descriptions of his Genevan crimes? Yes, ideological tyrannies need deflection; however dredging up folks like Luther and Calvin as an example is laughable. Multi-culturism will surely trump fanaticism (if we can only manage to spread the modern world's wealth of cultural resources without killing the golden goose)?

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