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the cost of the cowardice of old europe’s politicians

55% + non!!! The web and the people heavily defeat the fossil media and the political establishment.

Schroeder on the way out....
Chirac on the way out...
Bliar re-elected....
Bush re-elected....
Howard re-elected....

emu under ever increasing pressure...
euroeconomy stagnant....
euro unemployment continues to grow...

UK/US economy still moving ahead...

such is the inevitable wage of cowardice....
such is the wage of foolishness...
such is the wage of hubris.....

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#no_290505


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as france votes on their eu referendum.....

Posters in France for the European Constitution referendum

  • mis-named constitution not socialist enough

    There is only one solution to failing socialists’ policies ever proposed by the cultists - more socialism!

    “Government sources are braced for the French president to round on the Prime Minister and blame him for making the constitution too "Anglo-Saxon" on economic issues and for plunging Europe into crisis as a result.

    “The French people go to the polls on Sunday They also expect Mr Chirac to launch a fresh assault on Britain's £3 billion rebate from the EU budget.

    “British diplomats believe that Mr Chirac will call for France, Germany and other nations to form a "core Europe" in which they can push ahead with integration without being held back by laggards such as Britain.”

  • ever more isolated old europe calls for a neverendum

    “The latest French opinion poll, published last night in La Tribune de
    Geneve, showed 52 per cent will vote No, down from 55 per cent on
    Thursday.

    “But the French "godfather" of the treaty said that such a result would not be allowed to stand.

    “ "Those who did not vote for the constitution, we will ask them to re-vote," said Valery Giscard d'Estaing, the former French president who led the Constitutional Convention that wrote the treaty.

    “The European Commission said the treaty must live on because of those countries that have already ratified it. So far, nine of the EU's 25 members have done so, although only Spain has held a referendum.

    “Other nations have ratified the text in parliamentary votes. Germany yesterday become the latest to do so.

    “ "We now have nine member states, representing 220 million citizens, which have approved the constitution," said Margot Wallstrom, the Commission's vice-president. "The voice of nearly 50 per cent of the EU can't be ignored." ”

    The dishonest notion that a few politicians can force the end of sovereign countries, without reference to the populations of those countries, moves the governments of those countries another dangerous step towards the illegitimacy typical of socialist dictatorships.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#referendum2_290505

views of guantanamo

“ I am talking about the war-on-terrorism P.O.W. camp at Guantanamo Bay. Just shut it down and then plow it under. It has become worse than an embarrassment. I am convinced that more Americans are dying and will die if we keep the Gitmo prison open than if we shut it down. So, please, Mr. President, just shut it down.” [Quoted from nytimes.com]

marker at abelard.org

“Among 167 detainees freed from Guantanamo, the Pentagon has identified "about 12" who have resumed terrorist operations. Last October, two Chinese engineers were kidnapped in Pakistan. "Former detainee Abdullah Mahsud, their reputed leader, ordered the kidnapping," the report states.

“ "Another released detainee assassinated an Afghan judge," the document continues. "Several former GTMO detainees have been killed in combat with U.S. soldiers and Coalition forces." ” [Quoted from nationalreview.com]

marker at abelard.org

amnesty idiocy and laws of war

“In light of this record, suggestions, like those made by Amnesty International and its U.S. executive director, that American officials should be prosecuted for war crimes are gratuitous, and show the left at its very worst - at its most willing to criminalize political and policy differences. This is especially true with respect to Amnesty's claims that the "US administration had sanctioned interrogation techniques that violated the U.N. Convention against Torture." In fact, the administration has "sanctioned" only the use of stressful interrogation methods, such as standing, hooding, and sleep deprivation, at a level which does not constitute "torture," under either the U.N. Convention or U.S. law.

“As Amnesty International knows, the U.N. Convention defines "torture" as "severe pain or suffering." That means that there is some level of pain and suffering, which is not severe, that does not constitute torture [...].”

[abelard’s emphasis]

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#guantanamo_290505

on the growing panic in the eussr nunnery

The ‘European Constitution’ is no constitution. It is another step towards a EUSSR, a single country ruled from a socialist centre.

Great consternation as the opinion polls show that the French may even dare to vote against their political masters. Suddenly, ‘them’ are in a tizz, throwing everything they can at conning the sheep (the electors) back into line.

Official posters for the French referendum on the EU 'constoitution'.

It may interest some to realise that the referendum on the Maastrict treaty was lost in France. There, it was only passed by virtue of an alleged massive positive vote in outre-mer, that is the French colonies and dependencies outside mainland France. These areas have 1,400,000 voters and now the pols are beating the drum, trying to tell them and any who will listen that it is not French to vote against the treaty.

A useful read from weeklystandard.com:

“NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV ONCE COMMENTED WRYLY that the only trouble with free elections is that you never know who's going to win. The old shoe-banger's words have been echoing around Europe these last few weeks, as the continent prepares for a democratic exercise that could alter the entire political construct and direction of Europe. Nobody has a clue what is going to happen. And European leaders are as terrified of voters as the ever-smiling Khrushchev was.

“The occasion is not strictly an election, but a referendum, or a whole series of them, beginning Sunday, May 29, in France, on whether or not to approve the E.U.'s first-ever constitution, created last year by an inter-governmental treaty signed by the union's heads of government. The constitution, a prolix, rambling document at least ten times the length of the U.S. Constitution (with amendments) and infinitely less inspiring, is an attempt to set out in detail the relations between European governments and the people they govern.”

Some indication of the growing EU political panic - vote, vote and vote again:

“France and the Netherlands should re-run their referendums to obtain the "right answer" if their voters reject Europe's constitutional treaty in imminent national ballots, Jean-Claude Juncker, the holder of the EU presidency, said on Wednesday.

“The Luxembourg prime minister said all 25 EU member countries should continue their attempts to ratify the treaty whatever the outcome of the French and Dutch votes.”

related material
elections - French style

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#referendum_250505

diplomacy and change in backward states - uzbek

“Let me re-phrase: moral posturing may be good for one's soul, but it doesn't make a dictator change his tune; engagement produces results.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#diplomacy_240505

socialism continues to rot france and germany

“Looking back at the 1960s and 1970s, when I grew up in Germany, one of the most striking things was that everyone talked about work and money. The country was infuriatingly materialistic. The old West Germany felt more like an economy than a country. It used to have a proper currency, the Deutschmark, but it lacked a proper political capital. At a time when the British believed in incomes policies, capital controls and state ownership, Germany was as laissez-faire an economy as you could find anywhere in Europe. The Germans were the Americans of Europe, as a friend remarked at the time. Everyone was brimming with confidence and the superiority that comes with the belief that you are running the world's most superior economy. The 1970s were the heyday of Germany's social market economy, the economic equivalent of having your cake and eating it.

“Unification was supposed to make Germany even stronger. The opposite happened. The country's political leadership mismanaged unification through forcing monetary union too early, at the wrong exchange rate, and on the basis of West Germany's high social costs and bureaucratic rules. When I returned to Germany in the 1990s, what surprised me most was not the poor performance of the economy - this I expected. I was most shocked by the extraordinary loss of self-confidence among the political and business elites, combined with a poisonous cocktail of the three big As: anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and anti-capitalism.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#france_germany_200505

on prison

"[...] More than half of those entering prison have been using Class A drugs. In some inner- city local prisons as many as eight out of ten men are found, on arrival, to have Class A drugs in their system. Most of these have never received any treatment. Most of the crimes they have committed are connected with the need for money to buy drugs. Each afternoon as the vans arrive from the courts the prison service is confronted, immediately and dangerously, with the failure of society to deal effectively with drugs.”

“What is it all for? The slogan 'prison works' is often used as if locking up offenders provides the answer to crime. Yet there is something odd here. The number of prisoners has hugely increased. In 1986, when I was home secretary, there were 44,000 in England and Wales; when Labour came in 1997 the figure was about 60,000; it has just reached a record total of 75,550. If 'prison works' in reducing crime, then obviously a sensational increase in the number of prisoners should produce a sensational reduction in crime. But it hasn't. It is precisely those who argue most fiercely that prison works who go on to argue that crime has increased - at a time when magistrates and judges have been slamming offenders into prison as never before.”

“ [...] Three out of five prisoners are reconvicted within two years of being released. The reconviction rate for young male adults under 21 over two years is 73 per cent. Three quarters of imprisoned burglars reoffend and are reconvicted. These figures are not surprising when you consider the kind of people we are talking about. By their own stupidity or worse they find themselves in a hopeless position even before they enter prison. Their levels of literacy and numeracy are awful [...].”

“You may judge a civilisation by the way it treats its prisoners.”
Winston Churchill as home secretary, about 1913 (from memory)

Just perhaps David Davis [UK Shadow Home Secretary/Interior Minister] is beginning to catch on:

“And, at the same time, only an unshakable commitment to the rule of law buttressed by traditional institutions - jury trials, habeas corpus, presumption of innocence - can make the citizen both free and secure.”

Will he dare talk of conditions in British prisons, or will he also run in fear from civilised standards in order to appease the daft old fogies?

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#prison_180505

fossil media screws up again - 16 killed so far

An apposite cartoon and independent reporting at the provided link.

Of course, the primitive mobs and murderers are those primarily responsible, which does not remove responsibility from the fossil media.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#koran_170505

kasparov on putin and russian politics

“Khodorkhovsky is in prison for doing things that other oligarchs are still doing in Russia, it's quite amazing. It's still being practiced by those who are loyal to the Kremlin. He's not being punished for not paying taxes, but for wanting to pay taxes. He wanted transparency and wanted to pay taxes to the treasury while Putin and his cronies wanted the money to be delivered to the Kremlin in suitcases. Khodorkhovsky's plan to make Yukos transparent was a deadly threat to Putin's entire corrupt regime.” [Quoted from chessbase.com]

“A noisy rally by supporters of Mikhail Khodorkovsky outside the court ended in a brawl Monday, with police detaining 28 people, including Yabloko deputy head Sergei Mitrokhin, and beat former chess champion Garry Kasparov with batons.” [Quoted from times.spb.ru]

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#kasparov_putin_160505

la pentecôte [whitsun] - are the french working, striking or on holiday? or how to create chaos without thinking

During August 2003, 15,000 people above normal - yes, that’s right 15,000 - died in France during the heatwave [le canicule]. For the most part, the victims were old people, in nursing homes, alone in their homes, in hospitals - many abandoned by families during the summer holiday.

At first, holidaying ministers did not believe there was a problem. Then, a fortnight after the deaths started, the Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, impulsively made a “manly resolution”. All working French would work on one public holiday out of solidarity with the old. The day’s wages would contribute to improving the old people’s lot and their care. A law was passed in June 2004. The holiday chosen was Whit Monday - Pentecôte in France, to start in 2005.

“Two years later, what is the result? A considerable mess and a social uprising. [...] Jean-Pierre Raffarin is accustomed to the great certainty that the French do not work enough and that it is time to remedy that. Simple detail, he forgot to consider a paradoxical situation: by asking workers to work on a national holiday he is also removing the work from those who service all those on holiday, on a day which provides them good income. And thus, in one swoop, he has upset two parts of society and set off an unanimous civil protest, while giving citizens every reason for scorning government decisions.”

“The situation is Kafkaesque, absurd and creating great confusion. The Council of State has confirmed that the 16 May is a national holiday, but has said people can work. Thus court bailiffs will open their offices, but may not serve documents. A national holiday has special tarifs for certain services, such as taxis and doctors. Family doctors have been strongly advised to join in this day of solidarity, like the rest of the nation, as a normal work day. Not what the doctors’ union thinks. They have ordered that the doctors charge holiday rates.” [Loosely translated from Sud-Ouest Dimanche]

Already, hotels, which were full last year, have but one guest; while the huge regional festival in Nîmes is down by 10,000 visitors, as are the accompanying receipts. Of course, all this disruption will lower tax receipts for the French exchequer.

And on Monday, the 16 May.....

  • Government-run services should function more-or-less efficiently despite strikes - the military are being made available for the railways
  • government-run offices may or may not open, depending on the local political whim
  • Schools will open but most teachers are striking, so there will be no one to supervise the children while parents are at work (school canteens will also be disrupted)
  • It is not clear whether the first of the school examinations due to take place on Monday the 16th will or will not go ahead - the Minister of Education has not clarified
  • Family doctors may or may not work.

And how are the working French, the 16 non-governmental workers and 5.2 million government-paid workers, going to handle this day of solidarity and “manly resolution”?

  • Many independent professionals are taking the day off for no pay - but also nothing for Raffarin’s fund of solidarity
  • Many better-off people have taken a foreign holiday to avoid being in France and so being obliged to work.
  • Other workers are often going on strike. And here French law makes its contribution:
    • If a worker strikes on the 16 May, they will receive their strike pay from their employer - it will not go to the old people
    • but if instead the worker takes a day off sick, the employer will not have to pay their portion of the sick pay
  • Some companies are digging into their pockets to pay this new tax, or have included the day as part of the 5 weeks of paid holiday already received by French workers
  • The seven hours of solidarity owed by railway staff is being spread over the year by working an extra 1 minute 52 seconds a day

Have a jolly Whitsun Monday!

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#pentecote_150505

effects of the modern world on the middle east Three GoldenYak (tm) award

A useful read.

“It was at that time that the ideological foundations of what later became the Baath Party were laid, with the adaptation of Nazi ideas and methods to the Middle Eastern situation. The nascent party's ideology emphasized pan-Arabism, nationalism, and a form of socialism. The party was not officially founded until April 1947, but memoirs of the time and other sources show that the Nazi interlude is where it began. From Syria, the Germans and the proto-Baathists also set up a pro-Nazi regime in Iraq, led by the famous, and notorious, Rashid Ali al-Gailani.

“The Rashid Ali regime in Iraq was overthrown by the British after a brief military campaign in May-June 1941. Rashid Ali went to Berlin, where he spent the rest of the war as Hitler's guest with his friend the mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. British and Free French forces then moved into Syria, transferring it to Gaullist control. In the years that followed the end of World War II, the British and the French departed, and after a brief interval the Soviets moved in.

“The leaders of the Baath Party easily switched from the Nazi model to the communist model, needing only minor adjustments. This was a party not in the Western sense of an organization built to win elections and votes. It was a party in the Nazi and Communist sense, part of the government apparatus particularly concerned with indoctrination, surveillance, and repression. The Baath Party in Syria and the separate Baath Party in Iraq continued to function along these lines.

“Since 1940 and again after the arrival of the Soviets, the Middle East has basically imported European models of rule: fascist, Nazi, and communist. But to speak of dictatorship as being the immemorial way of doing things in that part of the world is simply untrue. It shows ignorance of the Arab past, contempt for the Arab present, and unconcern for the Arab future. The type of regime that was maintained by Saddam Hussein -- and that continues to be maintained by some other rulers in the Muslim world -- is modern, indeed recent, and very alien to the foundations of Islamic civilization. There are older rules and traditions on which the peoples of the Middle East can build.

“There are, of course, several obvious hindrances to the development of democratic institutions in the Middle East. The first and most obvious is the pattern of autocratic and despotic rule currently embedded there. Such rule is alien, with no roots in either the classical Arab or the Islamic past, but it is by now a couple of centuries old and is well entrenched, constituting a serious obstacle.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#modern_world_110505

uk election is a massive endorsement of the police action in iraq

... despite a misnamed Liberal Democrat Party commitment to appeasement in the Middle East. They ended up gaining about 2% in the election.

Tony Bliar, who utterly refused to back away from his commitment to Iraq, and Michael H*****, who firmly nailed his flag to the same mast days before the election, ended with nearly 70% of the vote against the would-be appeaseniks’ 20+%.

Bush in the USA, Howard in Australia and the main parties of Britain have all much more than survived their backing for democracy and freedom in the Middle East.

In each case, the appeaseniks and vacillators have been heavily rejected.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#uk_election_080505

the core of a new replacement un is gathering:
“ the community of democracies”

“"To advance our democratic consensus, all free nations must insist that upholding democratic principles is the surest path to greater international status. The Community of Democracies is one of a growing number of international organizations that make democracy an actual condition for membership. In the Western Hemisphere, the Organization of American States has adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter. And here in the Southern Cone, Mercosur is helping to bolster democracy. In Europe, only democracies can belong to the European Community. And democratic principles have always been the cornerstone of NATO.

“ The democratic character of states must become the cornerstone of a new, principled multilateralism. The real division in our world is between those states that are committed to freedom and those who are not. International organizations like the Community of Democracies can help to create a balance of power that favors freedom.” [Quoted from speech by Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice.]

The UN treats unrepresentative international criminals as the voice of nations when, in fact, the masses of those nations’ people are held hostage imprisoned by such dictators. The illegitimacy and corruption of the UN has been made obvious by recent refusal to remove the mad socialist dictator of Iraq. It has been made obvious by the corrupt oil for bribes regime.

For such a gathering to be vaunted as a source of international ‘law’ is far worse than comedy. Little wonder the USA rightly refuses to be party to such pretence.

Under any sane international law, no criminal may consider themselves above the law merely by virtue of capturing the levers of some entrapped state. Only a world court that will post such people as international outlaws and declare open season upon them can gain any serious credibility from civilised communities and nations.

Lead from the auroran sunset.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#community_of_democracies_030505

even the socialist bbc start to tell the real story of iraqi freedom

“Then the moment of salvation came. Perhaps I shouldn't use the phrase "moment of salvation", for to do so implies we were expecting such a moment when in truth we were feeling hopeless.

“Call it what you will, it happened and it was a magnificent thing.

“Iraqis are feeling better. They are breathing the air of freedom. They read, watch and say what they want.

“They travel, work and receive a living wage. They use mobile phones, satellite dishes and the internet, which they did not even know before.

“The negative side, which is transient, is that some here are trying to force others to accept their way and even using force to achieve that.

“As for terrorism, we are now beginning to unite against it and to defeat it.

“I say to you: Wait two or three years and you will be pleasantly surprised.”

Unfortunately, all but one of the respondents are reported as living in Baghdad.

For much better, more comprehensive and regularly updated reportingon Iraq, look to
Arthur Chrenkoff’s blog.
Here is his latest resumé.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#bbc_iraq_020505

vatican elects night-watchman to delay difficult decision

This is probably a foolish choice, but is obviously intended as stand-in, by people who are not practiced in independent decisions.

“Cardinal Ratzinger, who suffers from ill-health, has said in recent interviews that he was looking forward to retiring in order to write more books. [Quoted from ft.com.]

“Ratzinger was the oldest cardinal to be named pope since Clement XII, who was also 78 when he became pope in 1730. He is the first German pope since Victor II (1055-1057).” [Quoted from reuters.co.uk.]

However, the cardinals also did this with John XXIII, and he gave them the fright of their lives by telling catholics they were allowed to think. The old fools have been trying to slam the door shut again ever since. Ratzinger was one of only two cardinals in the conclave not appointed by the last pope, the ultimate system of patronage.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#ratzinger_200405

for those who believe democracy can be purchased - or how to run a real country

“Despite a stable economy and campaign spending 10 times higher than any of its rivals, the MPRP suffered a shock loss in the poll, two weeks ago. The British-educated prime minister, Nambariin Enkhbayar, saw his party's presence in the 76-member parliament slip from 72 to 36.”

“So far, despite frequent street protests by both sides, the political drama has been largely peaceful and has not interfered with people's lives.

“Most Ulan Bator residents are now far more concerned with preparations for Naadam, the country's biggest festival. Modern democratic values may be cherished, but they still take second place to the four-day celebration of horse racing, wrestling, archery and the traditional nomadic life.”

So much for the Chumpsky tendency whining about rigged elections, as lately in Afghan and Iraq.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#mongolia_190405

on the near insuperable strategic difficulties facing china

Quoted from belmontclub, complete with linked maps showing the vulnerability of china's sea lanes:

“But even if the United States could be persuaded not to intervene in any dispute with Taiwan, China's peculiar geographic vulnerability to maritime disruption means that even Taiwan's small submarine force could pose a major threat. This map from Global Security underscores how vital the South China Sea is to China's economy. Virtually all VLCC traffic to China, Japan and South Korea pass through the Lombok and Malacca Straits. Traffic bound for the cluster of ports (run your mouse along the Chinese coast and the ports will pop up as circles around Guangdong - Hongkong and related ports) can stop 600 km west-southwest of Taiwan, but traffic bound for the port clusters around Shanghai must pass east of Taiwan, through the Luzon straits before berthing 600 km due north of Taipei -- right past the Bonins -- including Okinawa. Should Taiwan respond to a Chinese threat by deploying its Zwaardvis class diesel electrics along the Bonin littoral, the northern Chinese ports would be blockadaded. Both the Guangdong and Shanghai ports themselves are well within range of the 9,000 nautical mile ranged Taiwanese diesel-electrics.”

And a follow up from belmontclub.

Obviously China would be wise to seek cooperation with the West rather than contention. Moving towards democratic government would be far more effective than constant prickliness and sabre rattling.

There are increasing amounts of news now leaking out of China, including various reports of unrest:

“According to government statistics, protests increased by 15% last year to 58,000, with more than 3 million people taking part. In many provincial capitals, roadblocks occur more than once a week. Last weekend, anti-Japanese demonstrators rallied in three cities, including Beijing." [Quoted from guardian.co.uk.]

“Though it is experiencing one of the most spectacular economic expansions in history, China is having more trouble maintaining social order than at any time since the Tiananmen Square democracy movement in 1989.” [Quoted from International Herald Tribune.]

This last article includes a comment that, in China

“[...] it's better to be rich than poor, but that being an official is even better than being rich.”

Links from various correspondents, with thanx.

More articles by Watts on the Far East beat giving ‘on the ground’ sketches.

related material
china and india

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#china_strategic_difficulties_180405

china and india

The current yearly per capita GDP in

  • India is approximately $3000
  • China approximately $5000

“We are using too many raw materials to sustain this growth," said Pan Yue, China's environment minister, in a recent interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel. "To produce goods worth $10,000, for example, we need seven times more resources than Japan, nearly six times more than the United States and, perhaps most embarrassing, nearly three times more than India.”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#china_india_110405

new report by arabs on arab problems

Summaries from link.

The report bows to its audience, but the increasing admissions and discussion of the real problems in the area is advancing, even if the hiding behind victimhood remains unseemly.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#arab_report_100405

ukraine invited to prepare to enter nato

Excellent news.

“The United States supports expanding NATO to include Ukraine, a former Soviet republic now trying to loosen historic ties to Russia, but membership in the Western alliance is not guaranteed, President Bush said Monday. ”

“NATO membership is by invitation of the member states, and requires guarantees of political, military and economic openness. For Ukraine, joining NATO would mean taking more decisive steps away from Russian influence and cleaning up systemic corruption [...].”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#ukraine_nato_070405

1983 - false alarm

“The warning system was by now showing five missile launches in the U.S., headed toward the Soviet Union. The "START" command Petrov was expected to give would have started an irreversible chain reaction in a system geared to launch a counter-strike without human interference.

“The main computer wouldn't ask me [what to do] - it was made so that it wouldn't even ask. It was specially constructed in such a way that no one could affect the system's operations." All that was up to Petrov was analyzing the available information and either saying the alarm was false or giving the computer the go-ahead, as per the directive he himself wrote.”

Note the similarity to Dr Strangelove’s doomsday machine.

Link from braden

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#1983_050405

“democracy is not a potato” - kyrgyz report

“In the broad geopolitical game being played out across the former Soviet Union, Washington is cast as the propagator of "freedom" - free markets, cheap trainers, no terrorism - and Moscow as the defender of "order" - state-dominated markets, import duties on trainers, no terrorism. The choice between these two camps often revolves around voters' view of the 90s. Did that decade bring chaos to an orderly society or, instead, a glimpse of self-determination that the country's old leaders quickly extinguished?”

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#potato_040405

five successive french polls now put the nons ahead - panic in the nunnery

The French government is stepping up its campaign in support of the proposed EU constitution after five consecutive opinion polls suggested voters might reject it in a referendum in May.”

“ One French Socialist MP is threatening legal action against the British Minister for Europe, [oldnewoldlabour] Denis MacShane, for calling French opponents of the EU constitution "neo-cretins".”

Note: in French, the word‘con’, used by anglo-saxons in the phrase ‘neo-con’, means something like “bloody idiot” or “stupid jerk”.

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#eu_referendum_010405

a more sane line of attack on bush

“We need a gasoline tax that would keep pump prices fixed at $4 a gallon, even if crude oil prices go down. [...]

“We need to start building nuclear power plants again. The new nuclear technology is safer and cleaner than ever. [...]

“And we need some kind of carbon tax that would move more industries from coal to wind, hydro and solar power, or other, cleaner fuels. [...]

“It's smart geopolitics. It's smart fiscal policy. It is smart climate policy. Most of all - it's smart politics! [...]

“Imagine if George Bush declared that he was getting rid of his limousine for an armor-plated Ford Escape hybrid, adopting a geo-green strategy and building an alliance of neocons, evangelicals and greens to sustain it. His popularity at home - and abroad - would soar. The country is dying to be led on this. Instead, he prefers to squander his personal energy trying to take apart the New Deal and throwing red meat to right-to-life fanatics. What a waste of a presidency. How will future historians explain it?”

[quoted from Geo-Greening by Example By Thomas L. Friedman]

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/politics0504.php#freidman_010405


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