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[P]
The ongoing collapse of democracy in Europe.

By Anya in Op-Ed
Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:20:55 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The EU is heading away from the comity of democratic nations. It already has a single currency, unaccountable and unelected leaders and, more symbolically, a flag and anthem. Before long it will have Europol, the European police force, a European Army, a single benefits and taxation system and, not least, the institutionalised racism of the Schengen Agreement. This process of 'harmonisation' has been occurring for 50 years or more - one of the main arguments in favour of the EU used in the UK is that it is 'inevitable'. And yet there is a big problem here - the EU is not democratic, is not accountable, is not transparent and is doubtless authoritarian in nature. It is closer to Singapore than to the western ideal of democracy.


The three main groups which run the EU are the Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament. The Commission is not elected by anyone, as its members are appointed by the national governments of each nation. The Council of Ministers meets in secret and the European Parliament has little power, and is a byword for junketing and corruption in any case.

The EU is composed of democratic states, yes, but at a European level there is little to no democratic accountibility. The problem in the EU is the fatalism that surrounds it. The people of Europe are well aware of the lack of democracy at its heart, and yet are powerless to do anything about it. No country has voted to enter the Euro - all those countries that are in the single currency zone went in without consulting their people. In Germany, opposition to the Euro runs at some 70% of the populace, and the figure is the same in France and many other central european countries. However, the political establishment is overwhelmingly pro-European, and as there is not much of a tradition of democracy in central Europe they have felt free to roadrun their respective countries into EMU.

This is beginning to have some unfortunate effects. The Austrian populace is vehemently anti-European, and yet has had a political establishment resoundingly Europhilic since the end of WWII. The result has been increasing fatalism, and finally they resorted to the fascistic 'Freedom Party' - the first time fascism has reared its head in that part of Europe in a very long time. There is a real danger that frustration with the political process in France, Germany and other countries will lead to more of the same. Le Pen's Front National has garnered 20% or more of the popular vote in France, Germany has always had similar problems with extreme parties, and in Italy Forza Italia has actually shared government with Alleanza Nationale, a party in the fascist tradition of Benito Mussolini.

So, due to discontentment with the lack of accountability shown by the EU in many European countries we can see the rise of far right parties.

Meanwhile, the EU itself is quite obviously headed for disaster of one sort or another. As it is not democratic (with the exception of the European Parliament, which is just a veneer), it has no motivation to look after the interests of its subjects.

The Single Currency has been driven by politics from the beginning, with no reference to the considerations of the people or their best interests. It is theprerequisite of having a European State. The future of the Single Currency is likely to be bleak unless the EU can centralise important taxation and spending powers. A Single Currency without the backing of a powerful, centralised state is likely to have a short history. This is why there are plans in Europe to centralise tax and spending powers in Brussels. The EU is unlikely to be a successful single currency area because it lacks several prerequisites. It has no common language or standard of living. If unemployment is large in Italy, the Italians are unlikely to move to Germany to find work - contrast to the USA, say, where mass migration between different areas is common in times of economic stress. And of course the European Central Bank has a leadership that is unelected and far from the concerns of ordinary people.

So what is the future of the EU? In my opinion, fraught with danger. On the one hand are increasingly weak national governments, democratic yes, on paper at least, but with no tradition of democracy - most of Europe has only been democratic for 50 years or less which means that there is no institutionalised tradition of democracy, and the people of these countries are used to the 'we know what's best' attitude common in their governments.

The EU itself is aggregating power all the time, and will fiercely resist democracy and transparency. The Franco-German axis that powers it is virulently opposed to the US, and although the EU is economically stagnant, it is still the world's largest economic area, with considerable muscle to be flexed should it centralise militarily and economically, as it is presently doing.

The US has reacted by seeking to expand NAFTA, renaming it the FTA and making it clear that no political centralisation is required for membership. In many ways, the FTA is what the people in Europe, Britain especially, always expected the EU to be - a free association of sovereign nations, with a pooled free market and no compromise of independence. It is quite clear that Europe and the USA are becoming more and more competitive, and the EU would dearly like to leave NATO and set up its own shop. In twenty years time we could see a europe that is in the tradition of the Far Eastern, authoritarian, non-democratic style of governance, somewhat like Singapore. This is extremely dangerous, and yet it appears inevitable.

It is also surprising. At a national level the European states are of the traditional left - socially liberal, and fond of wealth redistribution and a more planned and controlled economy. But in the EU itself these elements have been replaced by increased authoritarianism and economic protectionism by the EU. Economically, they are very pro-multinational and indeed the central bank and the officials around it consider the variables as set by businesses, and not by the people. The free market means that local economies are exposed to competition from across Europe, wrecking traditional ways of life and resulting in economies increasingly dominated by multinationals. In France there have been many strikes by farmers, trades unions of various stripes, and so on because of this issue. On the authoritarian side, An example might be the Schengen agreement, which seeks to limit immigration and restrict and control the movement of immigrants within the EU. Europol will be linked to the Schengen Information System (SIS) which will monitor and control the movements of third world peoples within the EU. Of course no such strictures are planned for Americans, Canadians and Japanese.

It is sad to say that in the continent that birthed democracy, a new authoritarian and unaccountable regime is gaining power all the time. This is dangerous for all of us, not just the 350 million inhabitants of the EU. The FTA quite clearly trammels over the rights of the peoples of South America, and has grave democratic problems of its own. Washington is clearly extending its power economically, without democratic mandate, to deal with the threat of the EU. We seem to be seeing the beginning of Orwell's vision - vast regional states creating economic spheres of influence, using authoritarian models of government, strange newspeak and controlling every little detail of the media and economy.

Make no mistake, I consider the European Union to be one of the most scary developments in the modern world. Some think China is to be feared, or even India, but the difference is that the EU already has the largest economy, and dangerous ambitions. The question is, what can be done to make the EU democratic? To stem its tide? As the europhiles are fond of saying, I think there is little that can be done. It seems inevitable.

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Poll
What will happen to the EU?
o More centralisation, followed by democratisation and the creation of another peaceful superpower. 37%
o More centralisation, but no democratisation at all resulting in the death of democracy in Europe. 15%
o Collapse due to economic unviability 6%
o Increase of nationalism in European countries, followed by breakup 9%
o Due to widening EU, centralisation will slow, the single currency will be broken up and the EU will revert to being a free trade area 4%
o Something else? :) 27%

Votes: 132
Results | Other Polls

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o Also by Anya


Display: Sort:
The ongoing collapse of democracy in Europe. | 369 comments (345 topical, 24 editorial, 2 hidden)
hmm.. (2.28 / 7) (#1)
by rebelcool on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 09:52:12 PM EST

then vote. Or protest. Or both. Governments are made of people. People ultimately hold the power.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Indeed. (3.42 / 7) (#2)
by Anya on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 10:04:13 PM EST

However, voting is useless in many european countries, for a variety of reasons.

1)The political sysytem. Many European countries have PR systems - proportional representation. This means that their governments are composed of large coalitions, which rarely, if ever in some cases, get voted out. In America this would be like the Republicans and the Democrats forming a coalition, and the elections becoming a platform to see which will wield the most power in the next coalition government. In most European countries, all political parties are very Europhilic - this leads to a sense of fatalism. How can your vote possibly change anything?

2)Culturally, most European countries do not have a strong tradition of democracy. Many have only been democratic since the WWII, some for less (like Spain and Greece). This means that the very attitudes of the people and the establishment are not ingrained with the democratic spirit as America or even Britain is. This is why Germany, France and so on can all decide 'Hey! Lets go into the euro!' without even consulting their people. Can you imagine the reaction in America if the government decided to get rid of the dollar and its own economic self determination without consulting anyone? No such reaction in Europe, because that's what the people are used to and have come to expect.

Finally, protesting will be effective, but only up to a point. And, unfortunately, noone has been doing any really noticable protesting :(

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Voting (3.75 / 4) (#5)
by slakhead on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 10:26:30 PM EST

I have witnessed some of the same fatalism you mention regarding voting here in the U.S. My own father often questions the value of voting because what can one vote really do?

Of course the extreme of that is when everyone says that and no one votes. No one votes, you have a couple people who do decide to vote running the whole country. What can be done to get people's minds around the importance of each vote?

Rock the vote? I don't really know...

[ Parent ]

exactly that (2.50 / 4) (#7)
by xriso on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 10:41:06 PM EST

If people find out that only a thousand people ended up deciding the next 4/5 years of a country, that is enticement to vote.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
It seems to be a problem everywhere (4.12 / 8) (#8)
by Anya on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 10:41:24 PM EST

In the age of spin doctors and mass media, every party tries to take 'the centre ground'. It is believed that the party that is closest to the centre, at least in two party systems, will be the victor - and this seems to be borne out by election results around the world. The problem here, obviously, is that it leads to parties becoming more and more alike. So the labour party and the conservative party in the UK, and the Democrats and Republicans in the USA, are in a death struggle to see who can claim the centre.

It is bad enough in two party systems such as those, which at least have the concept of an opposition. However, in many European countries the PR system employed means that you have big coalition governments, meaning that nomatter who you vote for, you are always voting for the same party, in effect. In Austria, for example, they had the same coalition government, without change, from 1945 till 1999. The danger is that eventually an extremist party comes along and presents a 'third way' and runs away with victory.

Voting is important, certainly. But the problem seems to me to be, how do you ensure that the electorate will always have clearly different choices, and be able to choose from a variety of different political platforms? This is where the modern political process is failing, and is why, in my opinion, they are failing to ignite the enthusiasm of the electorate.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Not a problem with the EU (none / 0) (#145)
by pavlos on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:37:32 PM EST

You point out an alleged problem, that PR makes countries undemocratic by yielding coalition governments. This is a very strange assertion, the prevailing opinion being that it makes countries undecisive. Your reasoning is flawed: You state that it leads to coalition governments (correct) but then assume that these act independently of the wishes of the contituent parties (unfounded).

In any case, centrist politics (that are actually conservative) and ineffective parties are a problem, but they are not a problem with the EU. Britain is perfectly capable of having ineffective politics by itself..

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

Precisely what happened in Ireland! (none / 0) (#99)
by frp001 on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:44:51 PM EST

Just the point!

[ Parent ]
Culture (3.40 / 5) (#24)
by speek on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 11:28:42 PM EST

Culturally, most European countries do not have a strong tradition of democracy

I think I've seen some of what you mean by this in Switzerland. I'm not sure if this is what you meant exactly, but in the US, people have no trouble talking openly about cheating the government, hating the police, getting away with stuff and generally being very critical of government. In general, if you talked about wanting to lie on your tax form in Switzerland, you wouldn't get the friendly, comrade-in-arms response you would get in the US. Not at all. I don't know if the Swiss are an extreme example (I suspect they are), but I get the impression many Europeans have a much different attitude toward government than Americans do.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

different conceptions (3.33 / 3) (#37)
by John Milton on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:40:48 AM EST

European come from a history of the divine right right of kings. Government is more of an ethnic institution. The common good means more to them. We americans on the other hand are pretty selfish. That's actually good in a way. Our individual selfishness leads us to question everything. Unfortunately, it prevents us from working together sometimes.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
I agree (4.33 / 3) (#67)
by speek on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:13:09 AM EST

I would mostly agree with that way of putting it. But, I think one of the reasons the US, as a large, centralized government, has worked out reasonably well is because of that inherent selfishness and scepticism. If you combine a large, powerful, centralized authority, with the overpowering desire to better the common good - well, that strikes me as ripe ground for the development of fascist policies.

IMO, there is more to fear from absolutism and it's outgrowths than from relativism and pragmatism. Absolutism, or universalism (of the type that a conception of the "common good" must entail) can become an unchecked feedback loop that drives you very quickly straight to hell.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

yep (3.00 / 1) (#223)
by dleal on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:39:18 PM EST

I would mostly agree with that way of putting it. But, I think one of the reasons the US, as a large, centralized government, has worked out reasonably well is because of that inherent selfishness and scepticism. If you combine a large, powerful, centralized authority, with the overpowering desire to better the common good - well, that strikes me as ripe ground for the development of fascist policies.

What, such as UCITA? DMCA?

Yep, much better.



[ Parent ]
Is that the worst you have? (none / 0) (#242)
by speek on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 09:24:25 PM EST

C'mon, you can do better than that, surely. A government as large and as powerful as the US, and you think DMCA is bad? It could be, and is, much worse than that. But give it time - it will only get worse in the future. As will the EU, sorry to say.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

well (1.00 / 1) (#255)
by dleal on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 07:48:41 AM EST

Those two strike me as particularly offensive to the freedom of individuals. Also, as I'm not an american, and not much informed about US laws and such, there's not much room for me to expand on that. The original poster was talking about how good a dose of selfishness is, and I hope not much of you americans agree, because it seems to me americans are now beginning to experience that dose of selfishness taken to extremes.

I don't think selfishness is good at all. Selfishness always looks for the benefit of oneself (is this a word?) in detriment of others. I really find it strange how people can be so small, so centered on themselves, that they don't think one itsy teensy bit about other people. It's all about money, money, money, and power -- that's what matters. And it strikes me as really odd. Life has so much better things than those: love, friendship, peace, just to name a few.

Oh, well. I guess people make their choices. I don't think they should be allowed to step on others to further their own advancement, though.



[ Parent ]
Democracy, scepticism and goverment (4.33 / 3) (#101)
by Ulf Pettersson on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:07:51 PM EST

So a strong tradition of democracy would be upheld by cheating/hating the government? From my northern european eyes that is a very, very strange view.

I think you are right that europeans have a different attitude about their goverment, but for completely different reasons than you think. In general in NorthWest Europe, government is still (although it is rapidly getting worse) much closer to the people than in the US. Mostly this is because of proportional representation in parliaments, less influence by business and by policies that encourage diversity and equality. The political discussion is much wider and more issue-focused, the press is a little less one-sided and there are many more practical political alternatives - ranging from socialists and greens to cristian democrats and conservatives and nationalists. Peoples influence over politics and their social situation is thus still greater than in the US (the EU may be threatening this, however).

Politics in Europe suck too - for sure - but it seems to suck slightly less. Popular support for many government measures, welfare states, is very high. Of course many don't like their government, but hating the government is definately not a good measure of democracy. It is not the same thing as beeing sceptical of power in general - power is wielded not only by a visible government. Hate and cheating are hardly a constuctive way towards democracy. Your Swiss friends were maybe appalled by you talking about wanting to commit a crime - evading tax.

[ Parent ]

sources of democracy (3.66 / 3) (#106)
by speek on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:35:12 PM EST

In the US, a large source of our democracy is distrust. Central authority was blamed and hence, distrusted. It's become part of the culture to distrust those in charge, and, thus, to want to limit their powers.

In Europe, I get the impression a lot of democracies grew up out of more idealistic notions. I think you're post bears this out - you find the concept of democracy emerging from hatred and distrust and selfishness disturbing. I find it natural. However, the European belief in ideals could lead down some scary roads given enough concentrated power. I fear the principled leader with much power more than the selfish individual trying to screw me over for their own gains.

Democracy is not something you set up once and then you're done. It needs constant protection and renewal. An omnipresent attitude of distrust does help in the fight, I think.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Uhh? (2.33 / 3) (#135)
by frp001 on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:00:50 PM EST

Democracy is not something you set up once and then you're done. It needs constant protection and renewal. An omnipresent attitude of distrust does help in the fight, I think.
Oh thank you for the lesson, as I hadn't understood it yet from Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Plato, Kant, Marx etc...(some of which were quite a bunch of European dreamers, but still good food for thought.)
I know you don't mean it in that way but this neo-paternalism is quite disturbing....

[ Parent ]
so you agree? (3.00 / 1) (#192)
by speek on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 08:17:27 AM EST

That distrust is helpful for maintaining a democracy? The person I was responding to did not seem to agree with that idea, thus my continuation of the "lesson".

Neo-paternalism??? Are you throwing words around to confuse the issue?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Yes and No and sorry. (3.00 / 1) (#231)
by frp001 on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:32:16 PM EST

Yes, I agree: on the fact that if you trust too much, you get done for it. No, I disagree: that is not a main difference between US and EU.
Which leads me to the next point... Sorry for throwing words arounds: was tired => couldn't find appropriate words => made up my own!
Still I shall try and explain my point.

However, the European belief in ideals could lead down some scary roads given enough concentrated power.
You expose theories as if it was a real American-brewed invention. And start dealing advice as if America was Europe's dad!
I can only recommend reading Rousseau's "Contrat Social", Montesquieu's "Esprit des Lois"(sorry: do not know the proper translations in English), and all those previously named earlier... to find out that Europe does have a long culture of distrust in power. And this well before Eric the Red first saw the coasts of America.
Finally I would say that distrust is a sound basis to start with, but at some point you have to let go a bit if you want some work to get done.



[ Parent ]
As your dad, I'm telling you to go to bed! (5.00 / 1) (#241)
by speek on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 09:16:28 PM EST

You expose theories as if it was a real American-brewed invention. And start dealing advice as if America was Europe's dad!

I described an experience of mine regarding my interaction with some Swiss people that exemplified my perception of a difference in attitude between Americans I know, and those same Swiss folks. Then, based on my broader knowledge of Americans and Europeans (the sources of which are too numerous to list), I generalized this basic experience into a description of basic differences in the average American attitude toward their government and the average European attitude toward their government.

Then, a poster responded (a European, I presume), questioning my implication that distrust was a good basis for democracy. I took this as a small validation of my generalization about Europeans.

Now, any time someone makes generalizations, they are subject to critique for doing so. I and everyone else here knows that generalizations based on such tiny evidence as I've showed are bound to be faulty and insulting.. However, attempting generalizations is necessary to improve our understanding, IMO.

It was not my intention to insult, but rather to describe my perceptions. It was not my intention to imply that America invented democracy (I don't think I did either, I suspect you are being somewhat over-sensitive and that you have "issues" with your perception of Americans). and it was not my intention to suggest that Europe has no tradition of the philosophy of classical liberalism and democracy (being a student of philosophy, I'm well acquainted with the folks you mentioned). The culture of Europe has important differences from the culture of America (try arguing with that statement!), and I think that the level of distrust of our respective governments is one of those differences. I make no value claims about each culture. The only value statement I would make in this context is that the centralization of power is fraught with danger, and the potential for inefficiency, and as Europe moves in that direction, I foresee problems. Economic problems, and loss of individual freedom.

Finally I would say that distrust is a sound basis to start with, but at some point you have to let go a bit if you want some work to get done.

No argument there. :-)

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

dude! (3.00 / 1) (#220)
by Razorius on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:20:20 PM EST

By cheating on your tax declaration you cheat yourself, your children and your parents.
Unless you are in some lame-ass 3rd world country where all the tax money goes to local drug-lord (or Italy:-). In most of EU we have this thing called wellfare state. And I like the fact that I dont have to pay for going to hospital, even if I preemtively pay for it myself.

As for speaking bad things of government it's a common practice all over EU. Switzerland must be an exception, but maybe they just have a good government?



[ Parent ]
I'm a liberal (none / 0) (#243)
by speek on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 09:33:31 PM EST

I voted for Ralph Nader. I prefer the way Europeans think, generally. I don't cheat on my taxes, and I don't begrudge the government taking the money. However, the inefficiencies and potential for abuse of centralized control is clear to me (as is the destruction of human spirit and society from the over-emphasis of individualism). If one or the other of these two forces were to win out completely, it'd be bad.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

I distrust my government, you should too (none / 0) (#268)
by sopwath on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 01:59:12 PM EST

Cheating on your taxes is morally wrong, for all the reasons you listed.

You don't make enough money to realize how much of it is going to someone else... Why would you want to give up 36% of your wages directly and then even more of it through various taxes? It's not that hard to make enough to get into that top tax bracket.

You assume that in America all your money goes to something useful, like welfare.(I don't like US welfare policies, but I understand it's usefullness) You assume the same thing for European countries. The problem is that money doesn't always go where you think it does. Massive government programs waste money in administration and bad record keeping, let alone people finding ways to cheat 'the system'.

You also assume that elected officials will do what we ask them to (by voting them into office) For the most part the magority get's what it wants, but politicians have a tendancy to look out for number one. At least in America we can vote them out if they are doing a real bad job.


sopwath


Graduation, Sleep, Life: Pick Two
[ Parent ]
Hehehe... (2.00 / 5) (#32)
by ti dave on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:14:33 AM EST

"In most European countries, all political parties are very Europhilic..."

ROTFL...
One would sure hope so!

Cheers,

ti_dave

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
europhiles vs. eurosceptics (2.00 / 2) (#139)
by Delirium on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:09:14 PM EST

Heh it's not meant in that way, as in "we hate Europeans," but as in position towards the EU and greater integration with the rest of Europe. "Europhilic" people are those who support the EU and greater political and economic integration between member countries, while "Eurosceptic" people are those who oppose such tighter integration.

[ Parent ]
How come (1.00 / 1) (#173)
by ZanThrax on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:37:32 AM EST

the opposite of Europhillic isn't Europhobic? Is it the same reason that both sides of the abortion debate are pro-something?


There is no them. There is only us. We are them.


[ Parent ]
-phobic? (1.00 / 1) (#174)
by Delirium on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:23:09 AM EST

That may partly be reason, but I'm not sure why you see -phobic as the natural antonym to -philic. Those who are opposed to the Europhilics are opposed to greater integration with Europe, and hence are no friends of Europe, but are not necessarily afraid of it. They are merely skeptical of its benefits (or "sceptical" in British English). Perhaps this sort of confusion is due to the rampant misuse of the term "homophobic" (most anti-homosexual bigots are not actually afraid of them).

[ Parent ]
PR vs Anglo-Saxon Semi Democracy (4.66 / 3) (#88)
by Ulf Pettersson on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 11:47:55 AM EST

1) This is just plain wrong. PR is nothing like Republicans and the Democrats together, but quite the opposite. In states with PR there are typically many political parties to chose from. PR strengthens voter influence enourmously compared to Anglo-Saxon Semi Democracy - US/UK style - because all voters know that their view will (most likely) be represented. And because of PR eurosceptic smaller parties have gained not just votes but also influence.

Democracy is not about electing someone to rule over you (a common view powerful people will try to sell you). It is about electing someone to represent your view and vote in your place. This is best done with a diversity of ideas and people to chose from. PR is much better at this than winner-takes-it-all. Compare for instance the percentage of women in parliament in Sweden and in the UK. Compare how different the political programmes of parties may be in France and in the US. Compare how elections are presented in PR countries vs Anglo-Saxon Semi Democracy-countries - where is focus more on the person/looks/sexscandals/underwear and where is it more on political issues? Just representation is important - people/politicians care most about the issues they are close to. The very different views serve to check each other and the shifting powers keep politicians from becoming a political class of its own. Anglo-Saxon Semi Democracy gives focus and power to one person, not to a set of views or values. That is an opportunity for representatives to pursue programs they like themselves. PR is a better ensurance against corruption and for the rights and needs of everyone.

To me, having effectively only two parties to chose from (which are both always very similar - Anglo-Saxon Semi Democracy drive the parties towards the middle-right because they must win the majority) is not democratic at all. If somebody starts a new party with great ideas they stand no chance from the beginning with Anglo-Saxon Semi Democracy. Everyone knows they will not gain the majority anyway - it becomes impossible to gain voters. The two existing parties do everything they can to stop the new party from gaining influence inspite of sometimes great popular support (witness the last US elections - Nader was not even allowed to debate, Perot got lots of votes but all those voters were screwed in the end). Look at the recent (80's) rise of Green parties as the complimantary example - in almost every WestEuropean country there are green parties in parliament, but not in the UK and not in the US.

The best measure of confidence in the democratic system is voter turnout. Voter turnout is much higher in countries with PR than with Anglo-Saxon Semi Democracy. In the scandinavian countries (very strongly PR) turnout in parliament elections is typically over 80%, sometimes closer to 90 (although slightly lower the last few years). Compare this to the US turnout of 36% (congress recently) or 51% (last presidential election). Can it really be called a democracy when 75% of the people that have the right to vote have not voted for the sitting president?

The problems of some PR systems are often because they are more like non-PR systems: in Austria there has basically only been two parties to chose from, however it is true that Haider would not have gained access to government had Austria used Anglo-Saxon Semi Democracy. Also PR does not work well in weak states with high levels of corruption such as italy - there are too many small parties (the parliamentory % allowed to gain seats is too low) - the government becomes very weak. But I'd rather have a weak corrupt fascist than an almighty one Anglo-Saxon style.

2) You are right about weak democratic traditions in many european countries - but this does not apply to all of them. Many european countries pioneered democratic institutions - Greece (very limited democracy), France (republic), Britain (strong parliament), Sweden (freedom of press, freedom of information).

You are also right that noone has done any real protesting, but given time this will change - people will only take so much.

[ Parent ]

I cannot believe this. (3.00 / 1) (#95)
by frp001 on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:28:31 PM EST

My Anglo-Franco-German turns cold in front of such rubbish! I live in France : watch closely the RPF, MDC and National Front score in the oncoming elections next year (all anti-European as you can guess). This will give you a good idea of how the French are against the EU.

[ Parent ]
um.. (3.81 / 11) (#9)
by enterfornone on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 10:44:04 PM EST

The Commission is not elected by anyone, as its members are appointed by the national governments of each nation.
So is being appointed by a democratically elected governement somehow undemocratic? In most democracies decisions are made by people other than those directly elected, advisers and the like. This isn't really that different, ultimately the governments of the individial countries are in charge.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
US Judicial & Executive System undemocratic (3.00 / 5) (#15)
by slaytanic killer on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 10:57:55 PM EST

The US is very, very undemocratic. People are assigned and not elected to very powerful positions left and right, such as the entire executive branch (except for pres and vice pres), director of CIA, military, legislative aides, etc.

While people can often vote for lower-ranking judges (depending on the state, I believe), the Supreme Court is definitely not voted on by the public. Each judge is nominated by the President, and the choice goes through Senate trial-by-fire.

The US is a republic, not a democracy. Important, because the two don't even look alike.

[ Parent ]
hmm.. (4.00 / 2) (#18)
by enterfornone on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 11:09:23 PM EST

I'm not going to drag out the dictionary this time, but it should be pointed out that republic and democracy are not mutually exclusive.

I don't think judges should be elected. Judges are supposed to be politically neutral.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Sensible, but not correct (3.00 / 2) (#25)
by slaytanic killer on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 11:31:12 PM EST

I don't think judges should be elected. Judges are supposed to be politically neutral.
They are absolutely not politically neutral, since they are nominated by the president and displayed in front of Senate. Requires 2/3 majority IIRC for the Senate to nix the judge. Just think of Justice Scalia. I had to read many, many of his opinions, and he is very much a part of the party which elected him.
I'm not going to drag out the dictionary this time, but it should be pointed out that republic and democracy are not mutually exclusive.
I said "they look totally different." While the definitions are similar, the theory and emergent properties are completely different. For example, the US form of republic is made to be conservative in terms of change. It was a system designed to actually promote deadlock, so it takes a strong group effort to change things. I'd cite, but I'd better really go off.

[ Parent ]
Appointed for life (3.00 / 1) (#81)
by golek on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:25:53 AM EST

They [the justices] are absolutely not politically neutral, since they are nominated by the president and displayed in front of Senate. Requires 2/3 majority IIRC for the Senate to nix the judge. Just think of Justice Scalia. I had to read many, many of his opinions, and he is very much a part of the party which elected him

They are politically neutral in that they are appointed for life, not subject to facing re-election or re-confirmation. Their job is to ensure that the Legislature does not enact laws that are unconstitutional. They must stay above the fray. If they were vulnerable to political vendetta it would be easier for politics to affect their decision-making.

You accuse Scalia of being political; I guess since you disagree with his opinions. The same could be said of the left-leaning activist judges sitting on the court.

[ Parent ]

I see (3.00 / 1) (#90)
by slaytanic killer on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:04:32 PM EST

They are politically neutral in that they are appointed for life, not subject to facing re-election or re-confirmation.
I agree that is the theory. But we are arguing something that is purely practical. If you don't believe that presidents nominate predictable people who follow the party line out of desire, then we have nothing in common to argue about.
You accuse Scalia of being political; I guess since you disagree with his opinions. The same could be said of the left-leaning activist judges sitting on the court.
I have no judgement on Scalia's opinions, or the merits of one party over another. But I see you put words in my mouth. Reply again when you can stop doing that.

[ Parent ]
BTW (none / 0) (#93)
by slaytanic killer on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:19:20 PM EST

You accuse Scalia of being political; I guess since you disagree with his opinions. The same could be said of the left-leaning activist judges sitting on the court.
I'm going to have to concede the issue to you as well, since I gave more time than I had at 5AM and I don't have any now at work. So you can win.

[ Parent ]
Funny thing (none / 0) (#354)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 04:40:31 PM EST

The political party that appoints the judges often has no real idea how they will vote. In judgespeak there are two parties: constitutionalist and progressive. Constitutionalists tend to be appointed by Republicans and provide some of the most liberal decisions, as in abortion. Progressives tend to be appointed by Democrats and tend to provide the bulk of the revisionistic decisions, which often as not enables Republican agendas, as well.
That being said, I liked what the Libertarian candidate, Harry Browne, had to say about judgeships: "I'd ask them, 'Can you read?'." Of course, he would have appointed strict constitutionalists...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Checks and balances (none / 0) (#355)
by marx on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 06:30:39 PM EST

Their job is to ensure that the Legislature does not enact laws that are unconstitutional. They must stay above the fray.

Ok, so you have one body which has been democratically elected, i.e. the legislature, and then you have another body which has not been democratically elected (at least not anytime recently, and not directly), i.e. the supreme court. Now you are saying that the supreme court should have power over the legislature in case the legislature makes crazy decisions? What about if the supreme court makes crazy decisions? Why is a non-democratically elected body trusted more than a democratically elected body? I don't care if you claim it is more "effective" or "stable" or whatever, but this is definitely opposed to the idea of democracy. Iran has a non-democratically elected religious council which checks the power of the president. I can see no real difference between these two power structures. What is the difference, aside from the religious council being a bit more fundamentalistic?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Idiotic statement (2.00 / 1) (#235)
by marx on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:12:52 PM EST

I don't think judges should be elected. Judges are supposed to be politically neutral.

This is a completely idiotic statement. The judicial system is just as much part of politics as the executive or the legislative. It doesn't matter what laws are passed if the judicial system keeps interpreting them in totally different ways than were intended. In this way, the judicial system is just as much part of passing laws as the legislative. Thus, a judge is just as much a politician as a legislator. This is why I find it very strange that the judges in the Supreme Court in the US essentially are appointed for life.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Federal judge (none / 0) (#353)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 04:34:25 PM EST

Here in the US, state judges are often elected while federal judges are appointed for life. A Supreme Court justice generally has to have been a federal judge for a while.
Why is this a good idea? State judges feel political pressure to 'be tough on crime' or hurt some other political personage. Hence the writ of habeus corpus, which is essentially an appeal to a federal judge for a review of the court case. Many is the time a corrupt local judge has been over-ruled by a federal judge. The US federal judge is one of the most informed, fair, and respected personages in the US.
That being said, should one behave egregiously, he can be removed either by the order of a higher court or by impeachment in the house and subsequent guilty verdict in the senate. This also applies to the Supreme Court. It actually *prevents* the sort of political mucking with laws you describe...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
nominations and confirmations vs. appointments (3.50 / 4) (#20)
by Delirium on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 11:11:54 PM EST

While you are technically correct, it's really more of a mix of the two. People aren't strictly appointed to positions in the way that kings appointed people to lesser positions. They're nominated for appointment, and then this appointment must be confirmed by the Senate (as a representative of the people). So in theory, only individuals who have the people's assent can be "appointed" to positions, as otherwise the Senate should fail to confirm their nominations.

In practice, it's more of a "President gets to appoint people, subject to limitations." The President is given the benefit of the doubt (usually) and the ability to appoint people to lesser positions, but they are subject to review by the Senate, and as such he must make reasonable choices. The people (through the Senate) do reserve the right to veto any choice though.

[ Parent ]

What do you mean by "technically"? (3.66 / 3) (#27)
by slaytanic killer on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 11:44:08 PM EST

I believe it requires 2/3 majority to overrule the President's nomination. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

The negatives of failing to confirm the pres' nomination is bad press, by appearing to gum up the works, as well as less concessions from the other party in other negotiations.

[ Parent ]
confirmations (4.66 / 3) (#29)
by Delirium on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 11:59:57 PM EST

I believe it requires 2/3 majority to overrule the President's nomination. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

Unless I really misunderstand how the process works, I don't think an actual vote is even needed to "overrule" his nomination - the Senate actually has to vote to confirm the nomination, by a majority vote, before it'll go through. So it only requires a majority to reject the nomination, and less than that to block one if you're the majority party by holding it up in committee and refusing to let it come to a vote.

As for the political issues, you're right, refusing to confirm a President's nominee is a pretty risky thing politically. That's why often the side in control of the Senate will just hold up nominees they disagree with in committee, to avoid having to actually vote against them (Jesse Helms did this with most of Clinton's judicial appointments).

[ Parent ]

Please back that up. (3.00 / 1) (#83)
by golek on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:38:33 AM EST

Jesse Helms did this with most of Clinton's judicial appointments

How about some numbers to back that charge up? I have heard confilcting spin on this including that Clinton had more of his judicial nominees confirmed than any President in US history except Reagan. How did this happen if Jesse Helms blocked most of his appointments?

[ Parent ]

Helms and Clinton (none / 0) (#129)
by Delirium on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:36:02 PM EST

Well, I don't follow these things very closely, but if I recall correctly it was only for the last two years of Clinton's presidency, due to some dispute between Helms and Clinton around 1997 or so over a North Carolina liberal-leaning judge Clinton wanted to appoint to the federal circuit over the objections of Helms (customarily Senators are given deference if they object to a nominee from their home state). I don't think this is really an issue of spin, though again I don't follow it extremely closely, as I believe Helms himself stated that this is what he was doing.

[ Parent ]
Senate Judicial Confirmations in a Nutshell (5.00 / 4) (#54)
by PresJPolk on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:50:40 AM EST

1) Presidential nominee goes to Senate Judiciary Committee

2) Committee (whose makeup is usually 2/3 majority party, 1/3 minority, but who knows what will happen this term) approves or does not.

a) Former Chairman Sen. Helms instituted a "blue slip" policy, where a senator from the home state of a nominee could "veto" the nominee, and the vote would never be scheduled. This policy may or may not continue.

b) Committee Chairs have the power to delay because they feel like it, if they have the support of their committee members, even without a formal policy.

3) If passed by committee, the nominee goes to a floor vote. A read of Article II Section 2 Clause 2 of the Constitution shows that while a 2/3 majority is required for Treaties, no supermajority is required for other appointments, so technically only a majority of the floor vote will approve or disapprove the nomination.

a) The Senate works on the principle of comity, though. You're not supposed to just push things through, even if you have the power. So, Senate rules allow for endless debate, which can only be closed with the support of 60% of the Senate. This can lead to a "filibuster", where a Senator or Senators opposed to a bill or nominee can talk endlessly, not letting debate end, if a nominee or bill lacks 60 votes. The mere threat of a filibuster ensures that the Senate rarely does anything without 60 votes known in advance.

[ Parent ]
filibuster... [OT] (3.50 / 2) (#158)
by beergut on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 07:26:36 PM EST

One of the most stylish and poetic filibusters in the history of that chamber came when a young senator, Strom Thurman, read the bible on the floor of the Senate.

I don't remember the issue, nor the year, only the act.

Cool, eh?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

being elected by elected officials (4.40 / 5) (#16)
by Delirium on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 11:06:09 PM EST

It depends. If you keep piling elected bodies electing other bodies and so on, eventually it becomes so obfuscated and indirect that the voters have little control over the final process, as the 4th level of elected officials only really have to keep the 3rd level happy, and so on, so the will of the voters doesn't get passed on very well, and beaurocratic dealings rapidly become more significant than actual voting.

Now whether the current European system is quite that bad, I'm not sure. The United States decided that even such a 2-tier system of elections is not a good idea: it used to have a system similar to that for election of the Senate (Senators were elected by each state's legislature, who were in turn elected by the people) but this was reformed to allow for more direct democracy, so Senators are now elected directly by each state's populace.

[ Parent ]

This smells like some sort of Libertarian rant (2.85 / 14) (#12)
by MrMikey on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 10:48:46 PM EST

that presumes having a single currency and a single police force ==> the end of democracy. The sort of world view that sees free market capitalism as the One, True Only Way For Free People To Live, and everything else is for devil-worshippers / child-molesters / communists / socialists. I was particularly annoyed/amused by "The people of Europe are well aware of the lack of democracy at its heart, and yet are powerless to do anything about it." Substitute "United States" for "Europe", and you'd find many who agree with that too.

I am not a libertarian, Dear Lord no (4.50 / 6) (#14)
by Anya on Sun Jun 10, 2001 at 10:55:47 PM EST

that presumes having a single currency and a single police force

No it doesn't. It assumes that having a these things controlled by an unelected commission and council of ministers and beaurocracy is undemocratic. I am against these things, but for quite different reasons.

The sort of world view that sees free market capitalism as the One, True Only Way For Free People To Live, and everything else is for devil-worshippers / child-molesters / communists / socialists.

No, I am not a fan of free market capitalism. The EU is though :) That is what the single currency is all about - the creation of a free market, single currency and centralised taxation and government system, with no accountability.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

I am a Libertarian and no... (3.00 / 1) (#105)
by weirdling on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:34:02 PM EST

The piece was clearly in favor of social-democrat ruling style. While Libertarians probably wouldn't like the EU's authoritarian nature, they certainly wouldn't like your average social-democrat government, either...
Now, a single, central government isn't a bad thing so long as it is accountable and limited. The US is so strong precisely because of this single, centralised government. That our government has overstepped its bounds is clear to a Libertarian, but that's beside the point: if Europe intends to compete with the US, China, or Japan, they're going to have to lower their trade barriers. Unfortunately, the way they're going about it isn't really scaring a lot of us here in the US...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
History (3.71 / 7) (#34)
by Nyarlathotep on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:25:27 AM EST

I agree there are things about the UE which look quite nasty, but we really should start looking at histry to predict the course of the EU. The U.S.'s federal government, the United Nations, and the World Bank / IMF are all simillar orginisations. I'm not going to hasard a prediction since I do not really know much about the EU.

BTW> I do feal obligated to point out that it took the U.S. government took 100-200 years (and a variety of national emergencies) to totally usurp the power of the states, so "following course the U.S. took" could really work out very well for a long time. Actually, the collapse of vertical seperation of powers within the U.S. dose not necisssarily mean that the same thing will happen to the UK even if it dose stick closer to the U.S.'s route.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
Now that you mention it (3.71 / 7) (#39)
by John Milton on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:45:48 AM EST

The EU that anya describes above sounds a lot like the early U.S argument about the national bank and the role of government. The house of representatives was the only body actually elected by the people at the time. The people never voted on the constitution. We don't know how many people really supported it. The state legislators made the descision for them. I hadn't noticed the similarity until you mentioned it.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
US Constitution Ratified by Conventions (4.60 / 5) (#87)
by Merk00 on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 11:38:32 AM EST

The US Constitution was not ratified by the state governments. Instead, it was ratified by State Conventions. I believe that the members to the conventions were elected directly by the people. That is why the Federalist papers were directed to the people of the state of New York which was the crucial nineth state needed to ratify the Constitution for it to take effect.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

EU and early US (4.00 / 3) (#169)
by Nyarlathotep on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:31:14 PM EST

Yes, I had considered the inditect representation factor of the early US (the state legislatures were still appointing state senators for a long time), but we have also seen the World Bank and IMF do absolutly horrible things with their indirect representation.

The first question here for the EU is "Will European nations loose soverenty just like U.S. states did?" Personally, I think the Europeans have a much better chance of pulling off the vertical seperation of powers thing then we Americans, but that might just mena it takes 300 years instead of 150.. no one can say.

Actually, opne of the biggest reasons that forming a union *may* work for the europeans where it failed for the states is that European nations do MUCH more then the states did 200 years ago. The big government has an oppertunity to usurp power every time the people want something done, but the EU countries already have healthcare, social programs, etc. and they are not likely to give away these jobs to the EU, i.e. who would trust the English with their health care? :)

OTOH, There is a very real threat of World Bank syndrom from the following direction: orginisations only really think about what they are asked to work on. This means that an orginisations which is only asked to consider economics will be run by libertarians and/or profitears (like the World Bank). Unfortunatly, the EU is allowing eastern Europe to join too which means lots of potential profitearing and lots of potential social programs to distract the orginisation from profitearing, but to expand it's power and usurp power from the countries.

Anyway, my point is that the EU is a really complex political development with many opertunities for proof of sucessful vertical seperation of powers and many opertunities for disaster.

Personally, I think that the EU will work out reasonably well if they can keep from
(1) proactive economics (helping buisnesses -> World Bank-ness)
(2) cross country wealth redistribution (aid and development assistance are fine)
(3) governmental and cultural homoginisation (keep those social programs diffrent and incompatible)


Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
And you think that US does well ? (1.00 / 5) (#64)
by Highlander on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:58:13 AM EST

You are an arrogant yankee if you assume that all goes well for Europe because they are following the US.

In fact, that statement should scare the sh*t out of most europeans :-)

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.
[ Parent ]

Nope (2.00 / 2) (#170)
by Nyarlathotep on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:41:39 PM EST

I'm not assuming that all will go well for Europe if they follow the U.S. I just listed three possible models. Where do you get off assuming that one out of list must be an inherently good thing?

I did menation that the U.S. model stood a chance of being fixed to maintain vertical seperation of powers.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
A Rebuttal (4.44 / 27) (#42)
by treetops on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:58:51 AM EST

The three main groups which run the EU are the Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament. The Commission is not elected by anyone, as its members are appointed by the national governments of each nation. The Council of

Then they are accountable. People -> National Government -> Council. If the People don't like the Coucil, they vote out those who put them in power, much like the way appointed positions (Judges, Ambassadors) work in the US.

Ministers meets in secret and the European Parliament has little power, and is a byword for junketing and corruption in any case.

It may sound non-PC, but from my studies of European politics, both those traits (secrecy and corruption) are sort of de rigeur for any European political agency.

The EU is composed of democratic states, yes, but at a European level there is little to no democratic accountibility. The problem in the EU is the fatalism that surrounds it. The people of Europe are well aware of the lack of democracy at its heart, and yet are powerless to do anything about it. No country has voted to

Didn't the UK just hold an election? By your own admission, Europe is mainly "democratic states". Couldn't the people vote down the pro-EU leaders? Considering how poorly the UK Independence Party did in the elections, it seems that the majority of Britons (formerly considered rabidly anti-Europe) actually prefer union.

enter the Euro - all those countries that are in the single currency zone went in without consulting their people. In Germany, opposition to the Euro runs at some 70% of the populace, and the figure is the same in France and many other central european countries. However, the political establishment is overwhelmingly pro-European, and as there is not much of a tradition of democracy in central Europe they have felt free to roadrun their respective countries into EMU.

See above. If people don't like it, they can vote out their leaders and leave the EU for good. Until they have, its obvious that the overwhelming majority of Europeans support the EU.

This is beginning to have some unfortunate effects. The Austrian populace is vehemently anti-European, and yet has had a political establishment resoundingly Europhilic since the end of WWII. The result has been increasing fatalism, and finally they resorted to the fascistic 'Freedom Party' - the first time fascism has reared its head in that part of Europe in a very long time.

Austria is the birthplace of modern European fascism: it's no surprise that a largely isolated, homogenous people would reject the advantages that Unionization would bring. I think that the election of a far-right wing government in the homeland of Hitler should not be taken as a condemnation of the EU, however, so much as a symptom of a greater sickness of the Austrian people.

There is a real danger that frustration with the political process in France, Germany and other countries will lead to more of the same. Le Pen's Front National has garnered 20% or more of the popular vote in France, Germany has always had similar problems with extreme parties, and in Italy Forza Italia has actually shared government with Alleanza Nationale, a party in the fascist tradition of Benito Mussolini. So, due to discontentment with the lack of accountability shown by the EU in many European countries we can see the rise of far right parties.

Let me get this right: a "lack of accountability" is going to lead to complete authoritarianism? Isn't what you describe (a trend toward fascism) an even greater lack of accountability? A dictator answers to no one. I have enough faith in basic human nature to be positive that the European people will make the right choices, and I don't think electing the next Franco is what they will choose.

Meanwhile, the EU itself is quite obviously headed for disaster of one sort or another. As it is not democratic (with the exception of the European Parliament, which is just a veneer), it has no motivation to look after the interests of its subjects.

Again, see this is just a rehash of what you already said: a weak argument gains nothing through repetition. A republic like the EU is every bit as accountable as any other democracy.

The Single Currency has been driven by politics from the beginning, with no reference to the considerations of the people or their best interests. It is theprerequisite of having a European State. The future of the Single Currency is likely to be bleak unless the EU can centralise important taxation and spending powers. A Single Currency without the backing of a powerful, centralised state is likely to have a short history. This is why there are plans in Europe to centralise tax and spending powers in

You seem to be saying that it is going to succeed? ("The future of the Single Currency is likely to be bleak unless the EU can centralise ... there are plans in Europe to centralise tax and spending powers")

Brussels. The EU is unlikely to be a successful single currency area because it lacks several prerequisites. It has no common language or

Why is this neccesary? Besides, the Euro will be available in national varieties (so that, eg, the UK Euro could have a picture of the Queen, but would be no different than a Dutch Euro).

standard of living. If unemployment is large in Italy, the Italians are unlikely to move to Germany to find work - contrast to the USA, say, where mass migration between different areas is common in times of economic stress.

They didn't until now because of the hassles that it entailed. With centralization, all barriers will be removed. Problem solved.

And of course the European Central Bank has a leadership that is unelected and far from the concerns of ordinary people. So what is the future of the EU? In my opinion, fraught with danger. On the one hand are increasingly weak national governments, democratic yes, on paper at least, but with no tradition of democracy - most of Europe has only been democratic for 50 years or less which means that there is no institutionalised tradition of democracy, and the people of these countries are used to the 'we know what's best' attitude common in their governments.

Many European countries have had strong democracies for hundreds of years. Those that haven't (mostly former Soviet nations) are largely small, nimble nations which can change easily, especially given the oppertunities and mentoring which the EU will make available. If anything, European democracy will become stronger.

The EU itself is aggregating power all the time, and will fiercely resist democracy and transparency. The Franco-German axis that powers it is virulently opposed to the US, and although the EU is economically stagnant, it is still the world's largest economic area, with considerable muscle to be flexed should it centralise militarily and economically, as it is presently doing.

You seem to be imnplying that the European nations should be cooperating with the US rather than their neighbors? A Frenchman has many more economic and political interests in common with a German than an American. Europe was fractured for hundreds of years. You might recall that's why we call that period the Dark Ages.

The US has reacted by seeking to expand NAFTA, renaming it the FTA and making it clear that no political centralisation is required for membership. In many ways, the FTA is what the people in Europe, Britain especially, always expected the EU to be - a free association of sovereign nations, with a pooled free market and no compromise of independence. It is quite clear that Europe and the USA are becoming more and more competitive, and the EU would dearly like to leave NATO

So Europe wants to compete with the US? This is nothing new nor is it bad. I fail to see why Europeans would rather simply surrender to the US (economically anyway) rather than work together.

and set up its own shop. In twenty years time we could see a europe that is in the tradition of the Far Eastern, authoritarian, non-democratic style of governance, somewhat like Singapore. This is extremely dangerous, and yet it appears inevitable.

So the strong democracies of Europe, like the UK, Germany, or Sweden, are just going to renounce their freedom and take up the yoke of totalitarianism? Will this be spontaneous or should we give it a week or so?

It is also surprising. At a national level the European states are of the traditional left - socially liberal, and fond of wealth redistribution and a more planned and controlled economy. But in the EU itself these elements have been replaced by increased authoritarianism and economic protectionism by the EU. Economically, they are very pro-multinational and indeed the central bank and the officials around it consider the variables as set by businesses, and not by the people. The free market means that

Compare the standards of living of free market countries (Canada, Sweden, US, etc) to those of command economies (Cuba, Indonesia, N. Korea). While I'm not especially right-wing, it's pretty obvious which one most people want.

local economies are exposed to competition from across Europe, wrecking traditional ways of life and resulting in economies increasingly dominated by multinationals. In France there have been many strikes by farmers, trades unions of various stripes, and so on because of this issue. On

For the past 50 years, the "traditional way of life" in Europe has been multinatationals. Ever hear of DaimlerChrysler? Roche? Bertelmanns? (sp) Europe is not exactly the third-world, farming-with-oxen backwater it once was.

the authoritarian side, An example might be the Schengen agreement, which seeks to limit immigration and restrict and control the movement of immigrants within the EU. Europol will be linked to the Schengen Information System (SIS) which will monitor and control the movements of third world peoples within the EU. Of course no such strictures are planned for Americans, Canadians and Japanese.

This has been in practice by national governments for years, but once the EU does it, and sets reasonalbe standards, it's wrong?

It is sad to say that in the continent that birthed democracy, a new authoritarian and unaccountable regime is gaining power all the time. This is dangerous for all of us, not just the 350 million inhabitants of the EU.

The only "danger" is increased economic power, unified defence, and an international spirit of cooperation.

The FTA quite clearly trammels over the rights of the peoples of South America, and has grave democratic problems of its own.

Have you seen the FTA? I didn't think so.

We seem to be seeing the beginning of Orwell's vision - vast regional states creating economic spheres of influence, using authoritarian models of government, strange newspeak and controlling every little detail of the media and economy.

And I suppose you fancy yourself an Emmanuel Goldstein? The same analogy has been made to the US, to modern corporations, to the UN, to NAFTA, and to countless other groups. The Internet was supposed to engender a complete breakdown of human social skills, according to certain old media pundits with a large stake in the status quo. Why should we believe that your horror-story Europe will come true?

Make no mistake, I consider the European Union to be one of the most scary developments in the modern world. Some think China is to be feared, or even India, but the difference is that the EU already has the largest economy, and dangerous ambitions. The question is, what can be done to make the EU democratic? To stem its tide? As the europhiles are fond of saying, I think there is little that can be done. It seems inevitable.

Your basic premise seems to be that an association of democracies cannot be democrartic. That is absurd. The EU is hardly a new idea, and the leaders that support it were elected, by the citizens, into office. The EU carries on its duties with the clear and overwhelming mandate of the European people. To suggest that a weak and divided Europe, the same mother which birthed the bloodiest wars known to man, is the future is dangerously shortsighted. And to attribute the quote-unquote rise of the far-right in traditionally right-wing countries to a reaction to the EU borders on perdition. The EU brings together Europe, while retaining national sovreignty in a way that is beneficial to all, opening oppertunity, and shinging freedom where it was once forbidden.
--tt

Re: Rebuttal (3.45 / 11) (#44)
by Anya on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:48:44 AM EST

Then they are accountable. People -> National Government -> Council. If the People don't like the Coucil, they vote out those who put them in power, much like the way appointed positions (Judges, Ambassadors) work in the US.

Unfortunately, I don't agree. At no point have the people of Europe been given a choice. If all the main political parties support the EU, and you are more concerned with day to day things (like health, education, crime), and in any case the EU seems distant (you didn't directly elect it after all) in what sense does the EU have a mandate? It doesn't at all. Mandates clearly get diluted with each appointment, but in a situation where no choice is given to the electorate, there cannot be said to be any mandate at all.

Didn't the UK just hold an election? By your own admission, Europe is mainly "democratic states". Couldn't the people vote down the pro-EU leaders? Considering how poorly the UK Independence Party did in the elections, it seems that the majority of Britons (formerly considered rabidly anti-Europe) actually prefer union.

The UK is actually fairly unique - they have a party that tends towards euroscepticism. However, this is a fairly recent development, and furthermorethis country will have a referendum on the Euro. Don't you think it strange that no country has had a referendum on the Euro and went in? For such a fundamental issue, I would say that a referendum is very important. As I am sure you are aware, political parties are very rarely voted in and out of office on single issues. What we have here is the soveriegnty of the European nations being impinged by the EU, without the people of Europe being consuted at any stage in a clear manner.

They didn't until now because of the hassles that it entailed. With centralization, all barriers will be removed. Problem solved.

No, 'fraid not. Most Italians don't speak German, you see. This is a greater barrier than any other.

Many European countries have had strong democracies for hundreds of years.

Hundreds of years! Such as...?

Your basic premise seems to be that an association of democracies cannot be democrartic.

No, my basic premise is that this particular association of democracies is not democratic, and nor is it likely to become so in the near future.

The EU brings together Europe, while retaining national sovreignty in a way that is beneficial to all, opening oppertunity, and shinging freedom where it was once forbidden.

Retaining national soveriegnty? So this is why the UK can't vary VAT rates within the EU, but Alabama can withing the USA? It is perfectly obvious that a single currency is a severe erosion of national sovereignty, for it entails the loss of sovereignty of a nation over something very fundamental indeed - its own cash! Coupled with centralised taxation, police force, army, CAP, fisheries policy, EU law (Is the House of Lords supreme? No, it is the European Court of course) and so on and so forth, aggregating more and more powers every single year, it is perfectly clear the sovereignties of nations are being curtailed, and without the people of Europe being asked at any stage.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

No choice? (3.40 / 5) (#56)
by Teaflax on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:19:04 AM EST

At no point have the people of Europe been given a choice.

Except, of course, those countries which put EU membership to a national referendum, which I think is a majority of the latter-day member nations.

Don't get me wrong, I'm highly skeptical of the EU (and I'm a member, being Swedish), primarily because the more you centralize decision-making, the harder it is for people to affect their local day-to-day living, which is a bad thing in my book.

[ Parent ]
Re-re-rebuttal (3.00 / 6) (#58)
by StrontiumDog on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:33:06 AM EST

So this is why the UK can't vary VAT rates within the EU, but Alabama can withing the USA?

WTF? VAT rates within the EU vary between 15 and 25%. The UK is free to set its own VAT rates. As far as I know there is no VAT in the US.

It is perfectly obvious that a single currency is a severe erosion of national sovereignty, for it entails the loss of sovereignty of a nation over something very fundamental indeed - its own cash

This is not "perfectly obvious". There are very good reasons for decoupling political power from currency control. Central Banks should not be subordinate to politicians. The greatest practical problem with the ECB is the interest rate harmonization over the Eurozone. This is much more of a problem for the Eurozone than the US, because EU markets are not as tightly intercoupled as the US market. The "sovereignty" issue is a no-brainer.

[ Parent ]

vat (2.66 / 3) (#134)
by Delirium on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:57:44 PM EST

WTF? VAT rates within the EU vary between 15 and 25%. The UK is free to set its own VAT rates. As far as I know there is no VAT in the US.

I was under the impression that while this may currently be the case, it is planned to fix all VAT rates to each other once the Euro is fully deployed. But you are correct, there is no VAT in the US; there is only a sales tax.

[ Parent ]

Rebutal (me too!) (3.33 / 6) (#61)
by Betcour on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:11:41 AM EST

At no point have the people of Europe been given a choice.

As a French, I remember distincly voting at a referedum on the Maastricht treaty. I also remember voting for the European parliement deputees.

Most Italians don't speak German, you see.

Well either they can use English as a business language, or they can learn. You are not doomed to only know one language all your life you know. If Mexicans can immigrate to the USA, Italians can move to Germany.

Hundreds of years! Such as...?

France : Revolution and end of monarchy in 1789. Greece : first (somewhat) democracy in 682 BC. While there has been some hickups here and there. Many monarchies have slowly transitionned to democracy in the 19th century.

EU integration is a non-reversible process. We are building the world's largest superpower. It's the way history goes. You can be an activist fighting to raise European awareness of your fellow citizen, get them more interested in the laws that are voted, in the European parliement elections, and generally work toward make it more democratic. Or you can fight against EU. But you'll loose and you know it.

As Everett Dirkson said : "There is no force so powerful as an idea whose time has come."

[ Parent ]
Stop the nonsense about the language. (2.83 / 6) (#65)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 07:51:58 AM EST

You keep insisting about Italians not speaking German as a problem. Obviously you have not been in Berlin recently. Many construction workers come from Italy and don't seem to have any problem.

Also there are many companies in which English is spoken anyway, and the idylic countries that speak only one language are non existent, since in most European countries exist regional languages (most Europeans speak their national language and English, many more speak a regional language, and add German or French for good measure. There is one country, traditionaly antieuropean, that speaks only one language, admitedely with many regional accents, and even there one or two regional languages are found. NO wonder people in that country fear so much language differences....).

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
Language (3.50 / 4) (#97)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:36:01 PM EST

Few Americans speak Spanish, but that doesn't stop the trade flow between the US and Mexico from being absolutely massive.

(Even not counting the ostensibly illegal labor traffic.)
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

indirect democracy (4.00 / 5) (#48)
by Delirium on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 03:28:13 AM EST

Didn't the UK just hold an election? By your own admission, Europe is mainly "democratic states". Couldn't the people vote down the pro-EU leaders? Considering how poorly the UK Independence Party did in the elections, it seems that the majority of Britons (formerly considered rabidly anti-Europe) actually prefer union.

I think this is actually a good example of the opposite. Recent polls suggest that at least 70% of Britons oppose the single Euro currency and an even greater percentage oppose a European armed forces. Yet the Europhilic Labour party won convincingly, while the Conservative party and other Eurosceptic parties showed poorly in the recent elections. Why? The Labour party is much more popular on the other non-EU-related issues.

[ Parent ]

We'll see, soon enough. (3.50 / 2) (#59)
by pwhysall on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:54:53 AM EST

The number of UK citizens who oppose the single currency will soon(ish) be a matter of public record, as there will be a referendum on the matter.

A vote for Labour was only ever a vote for a party that would hand the decision (on whether to enter the single currency) back to the people anyway.
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

ObGodwin (2.22 / 9) (#50)
by moshez on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 03:42:13 AM EST

you mentioned Hitler. You lose.

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]
silly remark (3.16 / 6) (#55)
by streetlawyer on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:52:25 AM EST

Compare the standards of living of free market countries (Canada, Sweden, US, etc) to those of command economies (Cuba, Indonesia, N. Korea).

First up, I have no *idea* why you are suggesting that Indonesia is a command economy. It quite simply isn't. I mean, that's not as in "it has features of one, but it's more complicated than that ...". Indonesia just purely is not a command economy.

Second, comparing Cuba to Canada is silly. Cuba ought to be compared to other Latin American states, in which case it looks rather good.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Cuba (4.00 / 2) (#92)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:18:45 PM EST

Besides, it is pretty dumb to compare Cuba to any economy given that the central most important economic fact about it is that it is barred from doing business with the economic superpower that is only 60-odd miles away from it.

Close the US-Canadian border, and Canada's economy wouldn't look so hot, either.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Cuba (3.00 / 1) (#94)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:20:49 PM EST

Besides, it is pretty dumb to compare Cuba to any economy given that the central most important economic fact about it is that it is barred from doing business with the economic superpower that is only 60-odd miles away from it. Even comparing it to other Latin American states doesn't make a whole lot of sense because most of them can trade with the US.

Close the US-Canadian border, and Canada's economy wouldn't look so hot, either.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Dark Ages (2.33 / 3) (#159)
by leonbrooks on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:09:50 PM EST

Europe was fractured for hundreds of years. You might recall that's why we call that period the Dark Ages.

Flinched at a lot of your replies, but this is just too historically revisionist to let pass. It was called the Dark Ages because Europe was in a way united and basically being run in the far-right wing fashion which you evidently deplore. Don't look at kings and emperors, look at who's bossing them all around.

I think that the election of a far-right wing government in the homeland of Hitler should not be taken as a condemnation of the EU, however, so much as a symptom of a greater sickness of the Austrian people.

The same religious force which started both World Wars, the American Civil War, and numerous other devastating conflicts manages to get a radical puppet government into power, looks like doing the same in Germany soon, and elsewhere, and you say, ``no, this is just the sickness of one country''? Revielle! Time to stop emoting and start thinking!
-- If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee
[ Parent ]

best joke ever category (1.66 / 9) (#43)
by mami on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:06:15 AM EST

The EU is heading away from the commity of democratic nations .

And my European mind is now heading to bed to indulge in sweet dreams about this lovely piece of writing. Good night.

Democracy in Europe, still alive! (3.42 / 14) (#45)
by infraoctarine on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 03:03:51 AM EST

EU is not democratic, you repeat that too many times. This is one of the favourite arguments of its opponents; and the proposed solution is never to improve EU democracy, always to abandon the whole project. Why is that?

The EU Parliament has legislative powers since 1998, and has seen an increase in power every year since its inception. It might have started out as "a veneer" but is not going to end up one. The Council of Ministers are more secretive than I would like, but not democratic? The ministers are elected. Are they acting democratic when they handle domestic issues, but not when they meet with their colleagues to resolve the same issues on the european level?

You also write:
So, due to discontentment with the lack of accountability shown by the EU in many European countries we can see the rise of far right parties.

But you have in no way shown that the rise of far right parties are related to the EU. For instance, Norway also has a strong far right party on the move, and they are not in the EU. In fact, I would argue that this has to do with unemployment, social problems and uneven wealth distribution, rather that the democracy, or lack thereof, in the EU.

Finally, you claim the european citizens are not used to democracy and accept the "we know what's best" attitude from those in power. If that were true, how come there are so many vocal protests? If you were right, there would be no protests, only acceptance. Make no mistake, if people finally find the EU going too much in the wrong direction, people in power will be thrown out. With force, if necessary.

It might be op-ed (2.37 / 8) (#51)
by derek_m on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:27:20 AM EST

but you still cant get away with factual errors in the introduction.

Given that Im not even bothering to read the rest of it: -1

interesting (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by Delirium on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:29:03 AM EST

One might be excused for wondering why, when the choice was presented to you, you insisted on choosing the item in the drop-down box labeled "topical" under which to post this editorial comment.

[ Parent ]
Good article actually, (4.78 / 28) (#53)
by StrontiumDog on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:48:24 AM EST

and I dig the style, which always evokes more reactions on k5 than dry scholarly impartiality.

For non-EU readers, here is The European Union: A Guide For Americans, an eminently readable site. Facts, figures, etc.

However I have a rebuttal of a couple of points:

The three main groups which run the EU are the Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament. The Commission is not elected by anyone, as its members are appointed by the national governments of each nation. The Council of Ministers meets in secret and the European Parliament has little power, and is a byword for junketing and corruption in any case.

The Commission is made up of commissioners who are appointed by consensus among the individual governments that make up the EU. The European Commission is, roughly speaking, the European civil service. Civil servants in most member nations, including the UK, are not elected directly, but are appointed. Whether this is good or bad is open to debate, but it does not represent a loss or gain in freedom.

The European Council consists of ministers put forward by their respective countries. It is up to the member countries to decide whether theirrepresentatives are elected or appointed. The Council does not meet in secret. Here for instance is a link to the Council's timetable of meetings, agendas of meetings, access to documents, summary of Council Acts, and a guide to the codecision procedure. There is certainly much room for improvement, but a lot of resentment concerning the Council's transparency is unfounded.

The Parliament is directly elected. It is not the most efficient parliament in the world, and there is much room for improvement. Among the measures that would improve it are: a halt to the constant and wasteful relocation of the Parliament between its current three seats of work, more accountability to the respective member governments, and more active interest from the citizens, media, and non-governmental institutions of the EU.

This is beginning to have some unfortunate effects. The Austrian populace is vehemently anti-European, and yet has had a political establishment resoundingly Europhilic since the end of WWII. The result has been increasing fatalism, and finally they resorted to the fascistic 'Freedom Party' - the first time fascism has reared its head in that part of Europe in a very long time. There is a real danger that frustration with the political process in France, Germany and other countries will lead to more of the same.

In contrast with the UK, mainland European fascism actually has very little to do with the EU itself. They are not based, as is the UKIP for instance, on a platform based on Euroscepticism, but on racism and anti-immigrant sentiments. If anti-EU sentiments were truly an important element of the mainland European psyche, it would be incorporated into the agendas of the mainstream parties, similar to the agenda of the Tories in the UK.

The Franco-German axis that powers it is virulently opposed to the US

Bull. For two reasons.

First, since the departure of Kohl and Mitterand, there is no Franco-German axis any more. Second, despite the mutual quibbling, the EU is the best friend the US has got in the world right now. Period. "Virulently opposed" they are not.

An example might be the Schengen agreement, which seeks to limit immigration and restrict and control the movement of immigrants within the EU.

This is a blatant misrepresentation of the Schengen agreement. The Schengen agreement was instituted to abolish the need for internal border controls within the EU. Far from limiting the movement of immigrants within the EU, it actually increases their freedom to do so. This is one of the reasons right wing parties are so strongly opposed to the Schengen agreement.

Europol will be linked to the Schengen Information System (SIS) which will monitor and control the movements of third world peoples within the EU. Of course no such strictures are planned for Americans, Canadians and Japanese.

And this differs from the current state of affairs in exactly what way? I have news for you. Before Schengen, third world citizend needed visas to enter the UK. Americans, Canadians, and Japanese did not. Schengen does not alter that. It does make that visa valid throughout all other countries signatory to the Schengen Agreement.

The question is, what can be done to make the EU democratic?

EU citizens have to show less apathy and more interest. Be pro-active, not a passive whiner. Above all, when pointing out the flaws in the EU be honest. There is no point in starting off a massive partisan rant, because that won't get you anywhere, won't do your credibility any good, and doesn't serve any constructive purpose.

Best friend (2.50 / 2) (#166)
by leonbrooks on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:13:21 PM EST

the EU is the best friend the US has got in the world right now.

If by ``best'' you mean ``most powerful,'' I think you've grossly underestimated Russia and the bits of the USSR still sticking to it, and also China; but both of these are historically pretty fickle allies anyway. The USA and US businesses have almost funded the USSR, their supposed worst enemy, for about a century - overt hostilities notwithstanding.

If you mean ``most willing to bend over for them'' then that would have to be Australia.
-- If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee
[ Parent ]

Buddy (3.00 / 1) (#198)
by StrontiumDog on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 10:12:49 AM EST

No, by best friend I mean "Most likely to support the US in its ventures". The Chinese and Russians veto the US wherever, and whenever, they get the chance. In general, the US can rely on the support of the EU. There may be grumbling, there may be quibbling, but the bottom line is, the EU is the one powerful entity that nearly always sides with the US.

[ Parent ]
Wow! (3.00 / 2) (#213)
by Nyarlathotep on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:23:03 PM EST

Did you say that the European Parlament and European ministers have no control over who gets appointed as commissioners to carry out their laws? And that there is no "head civil servant" (ala U.S. president)? Also, I assume that the EU must collect taxes from the member nations and may not directly tax people, i.e. the member nation can always pull the financial plug.

If that's how it works then I have *high* hopes for the EU. The lack of a president, lack of direct taxation, and depending on the member nations for civil service appointments will do a great deal to protect the vertical seperation of powers.

Hell, the EU might end up being the worlds first successful "unionish government," the U.S. is a failure as a union since it's vertical speration of powers has totally collapsed.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
Well, (3.00 / 1) (#226)
by StrontiumDog on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:02:05 PM EST

at this time direct election is anathema among the constituent countries of the EU. The main problem is the disparity in sizes: Germany alone has one third of the entire EU population and would dominate elections completely, while little Luxembourg with 700,000 people would have absolutely no influence.

So at this time the EU usually works out complicated procedures when they need to agree on various issues. Some weighting system is used, with X votes given to each member country, whereby the small countries get disproportionately more, and the big countries less. Every few years the countries get together and haggle about the value of X. This mutual haggling underpins the workings of much of the EU. It is not particularly fast and not particularly efficient. It does keep the member countries reasonable happy, but some people look wistfully at the comparatively streamlined decision process in the US and dream of the day the EU can do the same. As it is, except for deliberate political stonewalling and the like, the US decision making processes are simply much faster than in the EU.

Think of the EU as a confederation, rather than a federation. They get along pretty well, but each member is still very reluctant to let go of its own sovereignty.

[ Parent ]

my belief (if anyone cares) (none / 0) (#367)
by emmons on Thu Jun 21, 2001 at 02:12:43 PM EST

I suppose you could say that I am the fourth type of creationist... however I haven't found many others like me. I'm suprised that there aren't.

I believe that God created the universe and everything in it roughly 6000 years ago. It took him 6 days to do it, then he took a rest.

However, this is key: God created things that already had age. On the 7th day there were grown fish in the sea, trees on the ground and Adam and Eve playing hide and seek in the garden. It is my belief that although God created the universe roughly 6k years ago, he created an already old and mature universe, with all the characteristics of being billions of years old.

Of course there is no way to prove this, one must accept it as true entirely by faith alone.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]
kuro5hin bug? (none / 0) (#368)
by emmons on Thu Jun 21, 2001 at 02:15:52 PM EST

This was supposed to be in reply to a post on the thread discussing creationism... not here where it's clearly off-topic. :/

Please excuse the post's being misplaced.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]
Very biased article, infos outdated (4.40 / 27) (#57)
by Betcour on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:29:29 AM EST

In Germany, opposition to the Euro runs at some 70% of the populace

That was several years ago, now it is about 50-50.

and the figure is the same in France and many other central european countries.

That's a total lie - French used to be 70% pro Euro and now are 50-50 too.

The Austrian populace is vehemently anti-European

Not as much as the UK, whose hatred (and I use this strong word for a reason) of Europe have been fueled by the local trash-press. Those newspaper are very xenophobic and lied all they could about the Europe and manipulated an already quite conservatist public opinion.

Le Pen's Front National has garnered 20% or more of the popular vote in France

Again check your facts, they are totally outdated. Le Pen party is now at 5% in France thanks to a healthy economy and internal fights. And his ideas had nothing to do about Europe but about xenophobia, which is quite different.

Germany has always had similar problems with extreme parties

They didn't waited for the EU to have some...

and in Italy Forza Italia has actually shared government with Alleanza Nationale, a party in the fascist tradition of Benito Mussolini.

What does the EU has to do with it ? Berlusconi just bought his election with his huge personnal fortune. That's about it.

So, due to discontentment with the lack of accountability shown by the EU in many European countries we can see the rise of far right parties.

That's your conclusion - but you failled to show any relationships between the two, and even the real existence of a fiscism rebirth. You show a lot of bias here.

Meanwhile, the EU itself is quite obviously headed for disaster of one sort or another.

Oh really ? Is that your conclusion or some kind of prejudice you read in The Sun ?

it has no motivation to look after the interests of its subjects.

What a load of crap. All the people in the EU are elected or nominated by elected people. All texts debated are available online for review by anyone. Most laws passed todays by EU make lot of sense (although one cannot agree on all of them of course).

The Single Currency has been driven by politics from the beginning, with no reference to the considerations of the people or their best interests.

There's not 34667 different way of doing a single currency. You do it or don't do it, that's about it. So far paying with one currency everywhere, getting rid of change charges and currency fluctuation, that's definitely a good think.

It has no common language or standard of living. It does have a standard of living - the way of life are quite similar (not like Mexico & USA, so close and so far away). The regilion is common (christians), the ideology are common (demoract-socialism). The history is common - we all waged war with each other at some time. That's all we need for unity now.

If unemployment is large in Italy, the Italians are unlikely to move to Germany to find work

The Germans would think this is a good thing ;). Seriously, have you seen all the European foreigners who work in UK or Ireland ? Seems to work fine to me.

And of course the European Central Bank has a leadership that is unelected and far from the concerns of ordinary people.

Most national banks governors are not elected either. I don't know of any country where the bank governor is elected (someone will prove me wrong here but anyway...).

but with no tradition of democracy - most of Europe has only been democratic for 50 years or less which means that there is no institutionalised tradition of democracy

Wow and you can say that with a straight face ? Greece invented democracy !! France has been (more or less at times) a democracy for over 200 years. UK had a parliement for a long long time too. Most European countries have been democracies since the 19th century at least. European countries are the oldest democracies around along with the USA.

The EU itself is aggregating power all the time, and will fiercely resist democracy and transparency.

That's baseless accusations. You don't provide any argument to back this up.

The Franco-German axis that powers it is virulently opposed to the US

Hell yes ! At least we don't bent over for the US like UK does everytime the US does this or that. Why should we be always in the US shadow ? Or are the US the ultimate source of wisdom ??? I don't think so. To say the least.

and although the EU is economically stagnant

Huge lie again. Growth is 2.7% for this year, more than US or UK. Go back to school. Then try to think for yourself.

the FTA is what the people in Europe, Britain especially, always expected the EU to be

That was only UK expectation, because UK never liked the idea of Europe and only got in because it couldn't stay out. UK has always put as much roadblock to the developpement of the EU, abusing it's veto power. UK always side with the US two when a dispute arrise. In a different situation, UK would be considered a traitor a shot down...


All in all you wrote a huge piece of propaganda, and, like all propaganda, it's full of distortions, biased one-sided opinions and, in your situation, outright lies. All your numbers are wrong, and you don't support most of your points. In other words, not a good article.

I disagree vehemently (4.50 / 8) (#84)
by Anya on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:45:49 AM EST

In Germany, opposition to the Euro runs at some 70% of the populace

That was several years ago, now it is about 50-50.

Well, we could talk all night about different poll results. This would seem to suggest that opposition in Germany has risen as high as 85%. It is true that before the Euro, 70% of germans opposed the Euro, and then immediately after its introduction this fell to 50%, probably due to resignation. However, due to the euro's abysmal performance on the currency market (which shows that investors, cold headed and with no agenda other than to make cash, do not consider it economically viable), this support has unsuprisingly fallen. What I don't undersand is how you can possibly claim that the EU is democratic, whilst here the people have clearly not been consulted at all, and it is perfectly obvious that there is considerable doubt over the national intention.

Not as much as the UK, whose hatred (and I use this strong word for a reason) of Europe have been fueled by the local trash-press. Those newspaper are very xenophobic and lied all they could about the Europe and manipulated an already quite conservatist public opinion.

The media in the UK may have many faults and agendas, but it is not a one sided affair. Many newspapers support the euro - the Guardian, the Independant, tabloids I am not so familiar with but I would imagine that there are a few (such as the daily express perhaps, or the mail, or the mirror). The point is that Europhiles can't seem to handle a vigourous and independant press willing to criticise them - they probably prefer the docile, 'on message' media to be found on the streets of Berlin and Paris. Don't like a critical press? Tough, thats democracy, and it is a form of scrutiny and opposition.

So, due to discontentment with the lack of accountability shown by the EU in many European countries we can see the rise of far right parties.

That's your conclusion - but you failled to show any relationships between the two, and even the real existence of a fiscism rebirth. You show a lot of bias here.

As I said somewhere else, have a good look at the words of Haider, Le Pen and so on. In Austria the Freedom Party was gained popular support because of the national identity being challenged by Europe, and because of a corrupt and nepotistic Civil Service. Certainly the causes of fascism are varied and complex, but I will bet that the EU plays a part along with the usual suspects of immigration and race hatred and so on.

What a load of crap. All the people in the EU are elected or nominated by elected people.

I'm terribly sorry, but that isn't democracy. If all the major political parties and the establishment elite are in support of the EU, what choice do I have in this election? If I don't like a commissioner or member of the Council of Ministers, how exactly do I exercise my democratic right and vote him out? What? I can't vote out the people in charge of this nascent superstate? Thats not democratic.

If unemployment is large in Italy, the Italians are unlikely to move to Germany to find work The Germans would think this is a good thing ;). Seriously, have you seen all the European foreigners who work in UK or Ireland ? Seems to work fine to me.

Of course - English is the international language of business and leasure. Of course people have no problem moving to the UK to work from many european countries. But what about the others? From Spain to Greece? Portugal to Austria? The simple fact is that cultural and linguistic barriers make economic migration within the EU fraught with difficulties and barriers.

Wow and you can say that with a straight face ? Greece invented democracy !! France has been (more or less at times) a democracy for over 200 years. UK had a parliement for a long long time too. Most European countries have been democracies since the 19th century at least. European countries are the oldest democracies around along with the USA.

Firstly, France has not been a democracy for over 200 years. There was a brief period of liberty in 1789, and then they had another dictator. The french method of democracy appears to be wholescale revolution. This is not necessarily bad, in fact I think it is admirable, but there has been no stable build up and entrenchment of democracy in France - though they do hold the ideals of liberty and equality dearly, it is no substitute for democracy and its processes being wrapped in the fabric of the nation. Other European countries, such as greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, have not been democratic for very long at all. Countries like Spain and Greece are really still emergent democracies. This is why the attitude towards public accountibility and democratic mandate displayed in the EU seems so strange from British eyes.

Hell yes ! At least we don't bent over for the US like UK does everytime the US does this or that. Why should we be always in the US shadow ? Or are the US the ultimate source of wisdom ??? I don't think so. To say the least.

Where does this mania for attacking the US come from? Europe should be concerned with the welfare of its citizens, not in global powergames with our allies.

Huge lie again. Growth is 2.7% for this year, more than US or UK. Go back to school. Then try to think for yourself.

Nope, not a lie. 2.7% isn't very much - not when the US has been topping 4.5% for 10 years whilst the EU has been stuck at 1% average. And of course the reason for the recent pick up in the EU economy is the enormous devaluation of the euro - exports are cheaper for other countries to by, and so increase. The EU has an unemployment level 2.5x that of the UK and 3x that of the US. This is not a sign of a vigourous economy - 12% unemployment rates are always a sign of a stagnant economy.

That was only UK expectation, because UK never liked the idea of Europe and only got in because it couldn't stay out. UK has always put as much roadblock to the developpement of the EU, abusing it's veto power. UK always side with the US two when a dispute arrise. In a different situation, UK would be considered a traitor a shot down...

Well, the reasons for entry are varied. Put simply entry to the EU was sold to the people of the UK as being an entree to the free market. Noone was told about 'pooling' (read: Giving away) sovereignty and powers to Brussels. It just all happened, and now things are coming to a head. Britain now has a choice between becoming part of a stagnant superstate with no democractic institutions or tradition, and a protectionist, inward looking Fortress Europe approach to international policy, or becoming a truly global, outward looking and sovereign nation, with dignity. To me, the choice is clear.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

I object (3.50 / 4) (#98)
by Betcour on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:40:18 PM EST

opposition in Germany has risen as high as 85%

This is wrong - if it was truly 85% there would a revolution etc.. politicians can only fight so much a consensus before they loose their job (or change their stands for those who are hyprocrits)

However, due to the euro's abysmal performance on the currency market

Please define what can be an abysmal performance on the currency market ? As long as a currency doesn't fluctuate too much, it is a good performance. Having a currency go up is as good as having it go down. When it goes up, imports cost decrease and inflations go down, but economy suffer. If it goes down the opposite happens. There's no good and bad performance, only different results. You are falling into the same trap as many people who think a currency is like a company stock on the market, but it is totally different, going up is not always good, and going down can be a great thing.

If I don't like a commissioner or member of the Council of Ministers, how exactly do I exercise my democratic right and vote him out ?

There are 99.9% of the British gov. that nobody elected. Some of them takes decision that affect the whole country. That doesn't make UK a dictatorship. That's the same thing with EU, some people are elected (especially in the parliement) and some are choosen by people you voted for. They are bureaucrats, they are changed quite often as there's always an election taking place somewhere in Europe.

(which shows that investors, cold headed and with no agenda other than to make cash, do not consider it economically viable)

Again - a currency is not a MSFT stock. You don't buy it because it is doing great profits and sell it when it doesn't. It depends of interest rates, inflation, and globaly how much on investor value something paid in Euro with the same thing paid in Dollar. They don't sell the Euro because of a profit warning !!!

this support has unsuprisingly fallen.

It has not fallen - if you were in a Euro-zone country (such as France) you'd know no one talks about doing it or not but about how the coins will look, how to pay with cards, how to display prices etc... the time where the debate existed was several years ago. The consensus is that it's a necessary thing anyway and everyone is busy doing it.

here the people have clearly not been consulted at all

I dunno about UK but here people have been consulted, there was the Maastricht referendum. It was accepted. If there's no referendum for you, complain to YOUR governement, it's HIS responsibility to do it and not the EU.

Many newspapers support the euro

Yep. Too bad it's not those the average British reads. BTW "The Mirror" is also strongly anti-Europe (although tabloids tend to switch completely their opinions depending of the politician they decided to get elected).

Europhiles can't seem to handle a vigourous and independant press willing to criticise them

Humm... is that the same press that made such titles as "The EU wants to ban the pint of beer" and other fabricated tales ? This can really only happen in UK because only there are the law on libel and publishing false information are so lax. Those tabloids are used to deform information to make big xenophobic titles. Calling them "an independant press" is like calling GW Bush "the greatest philosopher of all times". Beside, any newspaper whose main interest is naked pictures of the royal familly has 0 credibility for me.

Don't like a critical press?

I've no problem with that. But when a newspaper lies and makes fabricated tales, then I've a problem. There's a fine line between criticizing and making up things to scare people.

As I said somewhere else, have a good look at the words of Haider, Le Pen and so on.

Has far as Le Pen is concerned, he was making people scared of the "African invasion" and so on. As soon as people started getting a job again they stopped voting for him. Whenever things get taugh someone will come and put the blame on "the others" (black, Asians, jews, etc..). This has nothing to do with EU.

Of course people have no problem moving to the UK to work from many european countries. But what about the others?

I know French people who work (or worked) in Spain, Greece, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Italy. Because British are language deficient (they have very low foreign language teaching) doesn't mean the rest of Europe is as bad. Again you are generalizing the UK situation to the rest of the European countries.

Firstly, France has not been a democracy for over 200 years. There was a brief period of liberty in 1789, and then they had another dictator.

Napoleon wasn't totally a dictator. He created many of the roots of what is now the 5th French republic.

but there has been no stable build up and entrenchment of democracy in France

I'm glad there's no historian reading - he would choke to death reading that !! I'm sorry to say that, but frankly, you obviously have very little knowledge about French history. I'm not going to do a full rebutal here (my post is long enough), but get an history book, read it, and then you'll be red faced about when thinking about what you wrote.

South-European countries (Portgal, Spain and Greece) don't have very old democracies but you'll find nowhere else on earth (I dare you to find unquestionnable counter examples) more stable and democratic countries as in Europe.

This is why the attitude towards public accountibility and democratic mandate displayed in the EU seems so strange from British eyes.

Please no patronizing here - the UK has no lesson of democracy to give to anyone. You still are a monarchy :) Where does this mania for attacking the US come from? Europe should be concerned with the welfare of its citizens, not in global powergames with our allies.

Our "allies", the US, doesn't care about us if that doesn't, in the end, serve their interest. They spy on us (with the help of UK), they fight for the same markets and political influence. The cold war is over and we don't have any allies anymore. The UK lives in the fallacy that they are allies with the US on an equal ground. Well if you like being used and abused that way, fine for you, but some people don't buy the US spin-doctors propaganda. There's no alliance, we are in a permanent state of economic war, the USA will do every trick in the book to win and we need to fight this using the same tricks. If you really buy the "our friends, our allies" the US sell, then you are really truly naive. And besides, there's no good allying with the USA as we are competing caparable entities, not complementary. Allying with Japan makes so much more sense.

not when the US has been topping 4.5% for 10 years whilst the EU has been stuck at 1% average

The US has a hugely negative trade balance, and more debts than it will ever be able to pay for. Don't even get me started on the dot-com bubble... this growth comes at a price and somedays the US will receive the bill. It will be ugly.

And of course the reason for the recent pick up in the EU economy is the enormous devaluation of the euro

Yeah. The UK did that too in the 90s. So ?

The EU has an unemployment level 2.5x that of the UK and 3x that of the US. This is not a sign of a vigourous economy

As always - it depends. That can also means that the productivity is very high. The UK and US have lot of "fast food jobs". Those where you work part time, get a shitty salary and don't stay. That's no how, for example, the German employement market is made.

Britain now has a choice between becoming part of a stagnant superstate with no democractic institutions or tradition, and a protectionist, inward looking Fortress Europe approach to international policy, or becoming a truly global, outward looking and sovereign nation, with dignity.

Wow - talk about bias and one sided sentence ! And how will the UK become that on its own ? By going back to colonizing India ? If so many UK politicians are Europhiles (although many won't admit it publicly), it's because they know that there's no future away from Europe. It's hard to tell it to the masses - but it's true. Union makes force. UK alone can't compete between the USA, the EU, China and Japan. Heck, Georges Soros managed to manipulate the Pound to his own interests and you couldn't stop him. But he can't fight against such larger currencies as the USD or the Euro.

[ Parent ]
Oh, the humanity! (4.00 / 3) (#118)
by TuRRIcaNEd on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:47:50 PM EST

Well, we could talk all night about different poll results. This would seem to suggest that opposition in Germany has risen as high as 85%.

You're not suggesting that we take seriously a figure from keepthepound.org.uk, are you? Take a look at who you're siding with. Keep The Pound and Business for Sterling are organisations run by businessmen and company directors who would find their tax payments would increase under the (socially fairer) EU tax regulations.

The press situation is exacerbated by the fact that the two major media moguls in the UK are one US citizen (Conrad Black), and one Australian (Rupert Murdoch), who not only have vast personal fortunes currently subject to much more lenient tax laws than those of the EU, and on top of that, EU legislation would prevent Murdoch in particular from purchasing a terrestrial channel, thus extending his current monopoly on news and current affairs in the UK. These people care not a jot about anything other than their personal fortunes, and I think that should be blindingly obvious. To have them dictate policy as far as the UK populace are concerned would be even more disastrous and insidious than letting the big energy companies dictate US policy.

Look deep within, Anya. What *really* frightens you about the EU? If it is truly the concern for your fellow human beings, think about who has done the more damage, between EU law and the gutter press, for race relations, immigration laws, and the well-being of people in general. If (and I detect a conservative mindset within you) it is because you fear you have something to lose, then please argue that case, as the evidence behind your current argument is so biased as to be completely untenable.

Tc.

Tc.

"We're all f**ked. You're f**ked. I'm f**ked. The whole department's f**ked. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we're all completely f**ked. - Sir Richard Mottram expounds the limits of spin
[ Parent ]

irrelevant nitpick (3.00 / 1) (#200)
by ajf on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 10:17:39 AM EST

Murdoch is a US citizen.



"I have no idea if it is true or not, but given what you read on the Web, it seems to be a valid concern." -jjayson
[ Parent ]
Yeah.... (3.00 / 1) (#215)
by TuRRIcaNEd on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 03:21:41 PM EST

Thought he held dual citizenship though....

Having said that, he's got enough money to buy himself Moon citizenship if it was to his advantage....

Tc.

"We're all f**ked. You're f**ked. I'm f**ked. The whole department's f**ked. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we're all completely f**ked. - Sir Richard Mottram expounds the limits of spin
[ Parent ]

another nitpick (none / 0) (#369)
by kjb on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 05:48:12 PM EST

and Conrad Black is Canadian.

--
Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

Statistics (4.50 / 4) (#131)
by Eloquence on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:50:33 PM EST

This would seem to suggest that opposition in Germany has risen as high as 85%.

Actually, this is a biased quotation. The actual survey had the following results (N=2000) [1]:

75% of the population showed "little or no trust" in the currency. 60% said that the introduction of the Euro was a "bad decision", 40% in the west and 30% in the east supported it.

These results are confirmed by another recent iPos survey (here) where 60% said they believed in a "long-term success" of the Euro, but only 38% approved the introduction of the Euro (56% against, 6% uncertain; N=1226).

In summary, the real number is 60 against/40 for, whereas the majority will accept the Euro in the long term. However, the approval is highly likely to change dramatically when the first coins are released.

Personally, I'm not a great friend of referendums and such. Representative democracy is representative because the public opinion is very volatile, and a decisive part of it can be easily manipulated with the right amount of media control. Give them a case of a sex offender who kills a little girl and you'll get 60% approval for capital punishment. Give them the case of someone who was innocently executed, and you get 60% against the DP. Same with the Euro: If it goes up, you have a majority, if it goes down, you lose it. This should not be the basis for important decisions. In the long term, a more participatory model is to be preferred, but that only works in a world without media monopolies and with high education.

[1] Source: epd, March 23.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Anti-european media (4.00 / 2) (#179)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:24:32 AM EST

At the risk of being a pain, can I point out that the majority of the anti-European media in the UK is owned by Johnny Foreigner, to wit:
* Times, Sunday Times, Sun, News Of The World owned by Rupert Murdoch - US citizen (ex-aussie)
* Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph owned by Conrad Black - Canadian

[ Parent ]
Intre-European Migration (3.00 / 1) (#190)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 07:46:50 AM EST

Intra-European integration is on the up and up: * Parts of the Balearic Islands in Spain have German speaking majorities.
* There are a quarter of a million French people in London, up from 20,000 French people in the whole of the UK in 1970
* There are several hundred thousand Britons in Spain
* there has been an explosion of English residents or Northern France along the Channel Tunnel route
etc, etc, etc

In my work in Edinburgh we have Spanish, Swedish, German, Dutch, South African, Australian, Irish, Chilean, Mexican, American and Chinese staff...

[ Parent ]
Europe (2.71 / 7) (#60)
by PeterV831195 on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:11:38 AM EST

So the rest of the world outside the EU is all sweetness and light, is it?

"... Schengen Treaty... controls on movement of immigrants..." in australia refugees are put in concentration camps in the middle of the desert to cool off for a couple of years.

"... unemployment..." The official, heavily spin doctored figures for australia are 23% for 18-24 year olds, 6% overall. My guesstimate is 3 million 'people without a job to go to' [but obviously not officially unemployed] out of a total of 19 million.

But can you really expect anything better anyway where sleazoids [politicians, any brand, any level of govt] are involved.

I'm only here to look at the pictures.

Europe (3.20 / 10) (#62)
by PeterV831195 on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:13:21 AM EST

So the rest of the world outside the EU is all sweetness and light, is it?

"... Schengen Treaty... controls on movement of immigrants..." in australia refugees are put in concentration camps in the middle of the desert to cool off for a couple of years.

"... unemployment..." The official, heavily spin doctored figures for australia are 23% for 18-24 year olds, 6% overall. My guesstimate is 3 million 'people without a job to go to' [but obviously not officially unemployed] out of a total of 19 million.

But can you really expect anything better anyway where sleazoids [politicians, any brand, any level of govt] are involved.

I'm only here to look at the pictures.

An elite project, not a popular one (4.21 / 14) (#63)
by imperium on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:20:21 AM EST

The most telling evidence against the project of centralisation is that when the people are allowed a vote (which is rare), they do not support it. The Danish people voted against the single currency (while polls show the Swedish are against it by three to one.)

Likewise, the Irish just rejected the Nice Treaty (that's Nice the town in France), which planned an end to national vetos on military projects, an end to Ireland's neutrality, the addition of various Eastern European states and other matters.

The alarming thing in Britain is that, although we've been promised a referendum, and 70%+ say they oppose monetary union, the same poll also says most believe we will join in the next ten years. How's that for faith in democracy?

Finally, the attempt by the doomed Tory party to make our most recent General Election into a referendum on the Euro has been a disaster for the mainstream non-Tory opposition to it. The sooner they remove themselves from this debate, the better.

x.
imperium

About the Schengen agreement (3.70 / 10) (#66)
by magullo on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:04:06 AM EST

Other readers have picked up plenty of false information, non-sustained conclusions and other jewels from this trashy and alarmist article. Let me contribute: Saying that the Schengen agreement seeks to control the movement of foreigners *inside* the EU is not only false, but also misleading (or ignorant). The Schengen agreement *allows* free movement of foreigners between the countries that have signed it. I don't know when was the last time the writer was in Western Europe, but there are no internal borders anymore. Yes, there are restrictions on inmigration, just like anywhere else (and not any worse than those of the US or Japan).

it depends... (2.00 / 1) (#68)
by silpol on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:13:50 AM EST

... on what is one's citizenship. Being travelling in EU inside just few weeks ago, and being citizen of non-EU country, I was asked for passport and other "relevant documents" _all_the_time_. And my colour of skin is just white - I can imagine what happen to those, who are not white (poor guys and girls).

[ Parent ]
Where, exactly (none / 0) (#69)
by mindstrm on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:30:57 AM EST

were you travelling?
I know my trip to Portugal a month ago, there *was* no border. Just a bridge, and a 'welcome to Portugal' sign.


[ Parent ]
a list... (3.00 / 1) (#70)
by silpol on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:39:08 AM EST

it was air trip Finland-Germany-France-Italy-Finland ... everywhere, except Finland, the scenario was almost same - at first moment there were nobody, then uniformed guy come from my back, and asked to go some room. then documents check, call somewhere (perhaps - to my employer security), and then "sorry, we missed". in France they did quit detail look for my luggage.

[ Parent ]
Humm (3.00 / 1) (#72)
by Betcour on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:13:57 AM EST

It sounds like you had something suspect - they don't usually all go to such trouble on the same individual. Not unless he is wearing a "Viva Osmar Ben Laden" or "make pot legal !" tshirt ;)

[ Parent ]
funny, but... (none / 0) (#78)
by silpol on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:01:47 AM EST

... I'm not keen of wearing "attractive" tshirts, as well anything else eye-catching. Ok, let's give up this half-private discussion.

[ Parent ]
Profiling (3.33 / 3) (#116)
by golek on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:31:10 PM EST

It doesn't surprise me that visitors from Russia would get extra scrutiny by Police. Whether it is fair to the average Russian or not, the Russian mafia is active throughout Europe. I've noticed that especially scrutinised are CIS nationals who fit the "mafia-type" profile, whether accurate or not (crew-cut haircuts, leather jackets, etc.). People who fit this description are likely to have their bags searched and papers examined.

[ Parent ]
Weird (3.00 / 1) (#75)
by magullo on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:40:51 AM EST

I think we are talking about 2 different issues here. One is common inmigration policy for the EU, another is practical police inmigration work.

Where did this happen? At an airport? Where in the airport? There are no passport checkpoints on flights within Schengen - although the airlines will frequently check your documents.

A very different thing is biased police persons - they have little to do with the letter of the law and exist everywhere. I personally do not envy their job.

However, my wife is Thai (as in darker skin color and Asian eyes). She has lived and travelled within Europe for the last 2 years (without much knowledge of the lingos) and has never been carded once. Also, for the record, France has unusually strict drug laws - getting cought at an entry point with just a single joint could land you in jail for 25 years. They are very very strict with this. This might be the cause for the extensive search. In the meantime, 3rd generation Korean inmigrants cannot get citizenship in Japan and the US inmigration authorities regularly strip-searches travellers.

[ Parent ]

you weren't impressive... (none / 0) (#80)
by silpol on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:09:27 AM EST

... merely because _now_ I know why I was stopped and questionned - it was due to my citizenship. I know, it sounds weird either, but it is that way. Anyway, thanks for productive comments on France - next time my boss will be looking for another guy traveling to France: I don't want to be jailed because of one's bad attitude.

[ Parent ]
Schengen Agreement is Racist (4.80 / 5) (#74)
by Anya on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:30:53 AM EST

It is a system designed to keep track of immigrants & refugees across the EU. It provides for concentration camps on borders where people will be kept as they are processed. The EU depends on getting cheap labour from the poorer parts of Europe migrating to the wealthier parts of Europe in order to keep labour costs down and keep european business competitive. The Schengen agreement is designed to curb non-EU immigration. Thanks to Schengen employers are now obliged to check the legal status of those they employ. If you harbour an illegal immigrant, under schengen style laws you will be prosecuted - this is the case in France, Germany and most European countries. The 'Debre Law' in France makes it an illegal offense to harbour someone who does not have leave to remain in France. Over 100,000 people demonstrated against the Debre Law in Paris - to no avail.

In addition there is the SIS - the Schengen Information service. Are you an immigrant? You have to tell them your religious affiliation, race, Education, and so on and so forth. They are an international body that tracks the movements of non-native EU immigrants across Europe.

Prior to Schengen European governments turned a blind eye to 'irregular' immigration - it was a source of cheap labour and people who would do jobs the Europeans would not undertake. Now this has been replaced by Fortress Europe.

Investment capital shoots around the world, ensuring that Colombian coal miners are paid 10 times less than any European, whilst the wealthy state blocks of the world shut up shop and internalise, orchestrating the oppression from across the seas.

Schengen is disastrous for civilised Europe, as it trample over the rights of ;irregular' immigrants, affording them no privacy, freedom of movement and harassing them with laws designed to make them feel unwelcome.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Yes, but what if........... (4.66 / 3) (#104)
by TuRRIcaNEd on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:22:44 PM EST

....just maybe, the laws can *protect* immigrants from having to sign up for sweatshop-like work just to keep themselves and their families fed? You're trying to make an issue out of how bad the EU is, and hold up this law as an example. Presumably, you've been to the US. Have you seen the forms you have to fill in before you even get to passport control? It ain't pretty, and some of the questioning can be downright offensive.

For the record, I'm a pro-European left-wing UK citizen. I much prefer the way the more enthusiastic EU countries spend their tax money, i.e. on services for the people who live within them, rather than building vast white elephant shows of strength for corporations and consumerism in general (You have to agree that the various Millennium projects were, by and large, absolutely ghastly).

OK, enough waffle, time for a quick rebuttal of some points here :

The 'Debre Law' in France makes it an illegal offense to harbour someone who does not have leave to remain in France. Over 100,000 people demonstrated against the Debre Law in Paris - to no avail.

OK, so that is quite a pointed racist law, probably goaded through by Le Pen and his cronies. But what, exactly, does it have to do with Schengen? Answer: Not much, really.

Prior to Schengen European governments turned a blind eye to 'irregular' immigration - it was a source of cheap labour and people who would do jobs the Europeans would not undertake.

So you're saying that immigrants *should* be exploited as cheap labour, doing the kind of jobs "Europeans" wouldn't stoop to? What kind of lefty are you?

Investment capital shoots around the world, ensuring that Colombian coal miners are paid 10 times less than any European, whilst the wealthy state blocks of the world shut up shop and internalise, orchestrating the oppression from across the seas.

Bollocks. I'm sorry, but it is. Nation states have very little power in the world these days, except in Stalinist states, or some third-world countries, where the atrocious behaviour of some governments was inspired by, and sometimes instituted during colonial times by European nations. I think you'll find that, in Western society at least, corporations dictate policy to governments rather than the other way round. Personally I'd be over the moon if a few multinationals lost a source of cheap labour. I don't hold out much hope, but maybe it'll spur them to start paying decent wages.

Schengen is disastrous for civilised Europe, as it trample over the rights of ;irregular' immigrants, affording them no privacy, freedom of movement and harassing them with laws designed to make them feel unwelcome.

It is a shame that a tracking system is in place, and it is a shame that the EU feels the need to implement one. But frequently those who fled their countries of origin, for whatever reason are 'disappeared', either by those of their home country who wanted them dead, or those who aided their escape via the 'black market', who feel that they are not paying enough, among other situations. On top of that, irregular immigration gives multinationals a source of dirt-cheap labour, which they can control by threat of 'exposure' at any given time.

If Schengen was aimed at keeping track of immigrants for racist reasons, then I would condemn it just as swiftly as you do. But maybe, just *maybe* it can help do more good than harm.

As for your remarks on the EU, I'd much rather have a situation where the higher authority is elected by the governments of the member states (not unlike our own House of Lords, remember), than the alternative, which is to join FTA and side with a country where the election of the highest authority in the country can be bought for less than the quarterly turnover of a large multinational corporation.

I think I've said my peace here,
Tc.

"We're all f**ked. You're f**ked. I'm f**ked. The whole department's f**ked. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we're all completely f**ked. - Sir Richard Mottram expounds the limits of spin
[ Parent ]

Here's how you analyze things like this... (2.66 / 6) (#140)
by beergut on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:11:08 PM EST

First, sit down and see if, and how such laws could be abused. Think up the wildest, craziest, stupidest situations that might ever occur, and apply the law. Does the application of said law, when done zealously, become abusive?

Then, the law should not be passed.

Recent history shows us that if there is a way to enforce a law in an abusive manner, it shall be done.

Europe, never known as a bastion of freedom, is becoming even more Orwellian than the good old U.S. of A. It will oppress its (largely unarmed) people, eventually.

I don't know whether to sit and laugh, or sit and cry.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Europe, never known as a bastion of freedom (3.00 / 1) (#207)
by magullo on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:45:39 PM EST

This comment makes me laugh all the way from Amsterdam. Quite frankly, and answering your question, if I were you I would cry at being so ignorant. Democracy was invented in Europe, and so were human rights. Those two are the highest achievements in the history of civil liberties. I don't know where you are, but can you walk down the street smoking a joint and holding the hand of a topless woman and not get harrased by the police? If your answer is no, then I guess I have freedoms that you don't.

[ Parent ]
Ah, Amsterdam... (none / 0) (#270)
by beergut on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 04:41:26 PM EST

I guess I should have qualified my remark.

From what I've heard, The Netherlands actually does have a tradition of protecting, not stomping, the rights of its citizens. I will probably research this further, as I had forgotten about that one bright corner (the other being Ireland, in some ways) of that otherwise fetid dungheap called Europe.

Hmm... maybe I should move there when the sh*t hits the fan here. That is, of course, if they don't demand 60+% of my income to fund some goofy-assed social programs.

How's the weather there?

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Pathetic (none / 0) (#281)
by magullo on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 06:58:34 AM EST

Don't bother ... we don't like people with your kind of anti-European attitude. Incidentally, you can smoke joints without too much hassle everywhere in Europe (except France and some parts of Scandinavia). In Brussels it recently became legal (although not selling), in other countries it is at different stages of liberalization (I believe Spain, Italy and Portugal have classified it as a civil offense punishable with a fine, not jail). As far as topless women, you'll get that in every beach in this continent. We could also talk about drinking age, obscenity laws, etc. that just plain don't exist in many European countries.

Let me ask you something, have you ever been outside the U.S.? (quick trip to Mexico / Cancun / Jamaica doesn't count).

Bye (hint)

[ Parent ]

Marijuana (none / 0) (#351)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 04:23:57 PM EST

In the US, the movement to legalize it is gaining ground, with many states already having it legal. However, a solid decision from the SCOTUS based on an act of Congress will be required in the final analysis. Here in Colorado, we just approved it for medical use...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Depends on which freedoms (none / 0) (#350)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 04:21:43 PM EST

I don't pay as much in taxes as you do; hence my economic freedom is higher. Unlike just about every European state, I have the right to defend myself. Due process of law is a lot more strictly adhered to in the US. I have a Bill of Rights that guarantee substantive rights such as the right to an attorney, fair and speedy trial, be secure in persons and effects, free speach, keep and bear arms, and avoid being trampled by the national army. Perhaps no modern state would abrogate those rights, but the fact is that any European nation *could*, as they're not written down.
So, you can smoke a joint with a topless woman, but I think I'm getting a better deal.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Not written down? (none / 0) (#357)
by amanset on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 06:51:34 PM EST

I suggest this site where you might find out that a lot of countries do in fact have written constitutions. This includes a lot of European countries.

You may also like this site which explains the European Convention on Human Rights which many European countries have written into law (for example it entered British law last year).

[ Parent ]

It's funny (none / 0) (#362)
by weirdling on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 01:28:57 PM EST

The European Convention on Human Rights I would actually view as limiting my freedoms. While many of the freedoms are the same, there are subtle differences. First of all, there is no analog to the second amendment in there at all. Second, the 'right to life' clause specifically exempts police quelling a riot. That worries me. A suspect's right to legal advice is limited to 'when the interests of justice so require', which is certainly open to interpretation. 'Everyone has the right to respect for his property and family life' doesn't actually mean anything. And, to add insult to injury, it is escaped for anything that might be injurious to morals, justice, crime prevention, or the carrying on of Democratic government, making it essentially worthless, even though it doesn't mean anything. Ditto conscience, expression, and assembly. The marriage clause isn't even all that strong, once again being limited to pursuant laws. The anti-discriminatory clause only applies to the rights enumerated in the treaty text. I don't doubt that most of Europe already has legal protection that is stronger than this. Sweden, for instance, does. The main problem is in the escaping clauses, which allow the right to be subsumed for prevailing *morals*, even in the case of *religion*, for fighting *crime*, and for the carrying on of Democratic *government*. Essentially, this language does nothing to limit *government*. That's a loophole you could drive a fascist state through, as long as it was Democratic. There isn't any real limit there. I'd much rather just keep what we've got...
And, I'd like to know how come so many people think this thing limits capital punishment. The relevant clause, the 'right to life' clause, specifically exempts the situation where a person has been tried, found guilty, and lawfully sentenced.
I think that the reason Americans feel superior about the Bill of Rights is largely due to the fact that it guarantees rights Americans hold dear. The European Convention does the same for Europe, as does the various constitutions, laws, and legal traditions, or there'd be rioting in the streets. However, in the final analysis, the Bill of Rights certainly uses stronger language, and, with the exception of marriage, guarantees the same rights as the European Convention does, with the exception of the right to keep and bear arms, which I sincerely doubt we'd see written into law anytime soon by any convention composed of Europeans, or even the UN, for that matter. Also, the Bill of Rights was constructed before the government got under way, so has modified the government for the entire lifespan of the government, becoming, as it were, the cornerstone of American legal tradition. Modern European states incorporating this new legislation will not be so impacted; hence the omission of clauses stating that the legislation does not limit rights, but merely enumerates those most important; other rights exist. In order to do this sort of thing, the rights have to be incorporated early in a government's growth.

Now, compare to the Bill of Rights:

Article I:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Note: Article XIV, the fourteenth amendment, incorporates this right, meaning that it no longer applies merely to Congress.
Nowhere does this say that there is a limit based on morals, the need to fight crime, or normal Democratic process. Accepted exceptions are National Security secrets, but only by those who have signed non-disclosure agreements or those who sell this information to foreign governments. Libel and perjury are two other exceptions. Another exception is the sale of morally offensive material to minors, however, the internet decency act failed largely due to this amendment and the fact that it imposed an 'undue burden' on the people running the sites. Essentially, where convenient, the sale to minors can be limited, but it cannot limit the sale to those legally allowed to receive such. Now, the religion clause is interpreted to mean that the government cannot be involved in religion. The primary doctrine is 'agent of change'. If a soldier, for instance, changes his religion and can no longer perform the functions of a soldier, he will likely receive a discharge. If, however, the soldier signed up under the agreement that he was a member of a particular religion, and, after a time, the government changes his duties, he cannot be discharged, as the government was the agent of change.

Article II:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

What this means has never really been settled by the Supreme Court. There have been around three times as many cases that allude to it as a personal right as those that view it as a state right. However, it has never really been challenged, either. Prima Facie, it guarantees a personal right to own a weapon and to defend oneself. This analysis is based on the writings of Thomas Jefferson and comparison between the first and the second, to wit: 'the people' in the first is widely recognized and widely interpreted in court to be individuals, so one can assume the same of the second.

Article III:
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

This bans the practice the British had of quartering troops in American homes. However, with the exception of the Civil War, during which both sides enacted the appropriate laws, it has never been used.

Article IV:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This specifically limits governmental powers of search and seizure. Currently, property forfeiture laws are being fought on this amendment. Recently, the Supreme Court has ruled that random traffic searches do not constitute 'probable cause' and are hence illegal, while a district court has ruled that speeding doesn't constitute 'probable cause', so no peace officer can search your car for speeding. It is not a perfect defense, but, in the very least, once violated, one can sue in federal court, as this amendment and all others were incorporated by the fourteenth.

Article V:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

This limits the ability of the government to prosecute citizens. Essentially, a case cannot proceed but on the recomendation of a grand jury and no capital case can be retried as such. No person can be compelled to be a witness against himself. Normally, a criminal can retract a confession on this basis, and the jury should be instructed to ignore the confession. The appended clause forces the government to often pay way above market rates for houses and land in the way of freeways...

Article VI:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Notice that there is no limiting clause: 'In all criminal prosecutions'. In reality, traffic tickets are excluded unless a bond is posted, but all other criminal prosecutions and any prosecution involving an arrest is included. In any prosecution, the defendant has a right to an attorney. Further, wherever the offense is committed, it must be tried in accordance to the law *at the time it was committed*. In other words, the government can't change the law on the defendant after the crime. All data that the prosecution have compiled must be available to the defense before the trial or at the very least, sufficiently in advance for the defense to acquire witnesses and formulate a response.

Article VII:
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Essentially, no civil trial can be tried exclusively by a judge and no judge or act of Congress can overturn a civil trial once tried.

Article VIII:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

This was created to stop the use of stocks, flogging, etc. I think modern 'get tough' schemes could be tried on this basis.

Article IX:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The Bill of Rights is not a limiting clause; it specifically grants these rights, but any rights not included here but not granted to the government elsewhere, revert to the people. Nothing like that in the European Convention.

Article X:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

This modifies the above, to state that these rights that are not enumerated may be usurped by the states. This clause was intended to limit the power of the federal government. Many a federal law has broken its back on this amendment.

Article XIV:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The rest concerns modifications to the government after the civil war. This amendment was used by the civil rights movement heavily and has also been used in defence of 'habeus corpus', or the right of appeal to federal court for redress of grievance with a lower court. This amendment essentially incorporates the entire Bill of Rights, which had been incorporated rather spottily before, as only the third through eighth were considered to apply to states.

Now, in the final analysis, the US government has definately moved away from what the Bill of Rights envisioned. Partly, this is due to changing circumstances, and partly to progressive societal meddling. However, the language remains, and much progressive societal meddling that would otherwise have been enacted, including McCarthyism, has been defeated on the basis of the Bill of Rights. It will be interesting to see how the various European courts interpret this new treaty, as the execution is really in the interpretation, but there are adequate escape clauses to ensure that no serious injury to the likes of the British government will happen. My favorite one is the one about how any right can be subsumed on account of prevailing morals. I guess it won't make any difference to the domestic Australian porn industry...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Get over it (3.00 / 1) (#202)
by magullo on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 10:27:13 AM EST

It is a system designed to keep track of immigrants & refugees across the EU

It is not.It is a gatekeeper system to deal with inmigration matters in the borderless EU.

"Thanks to Schengen employers are now obliged to check the legal status of those they employ"

What is racist about this?

If you harbour an illegal immigrant, under schengen style laws you will be prosecuted

This is an unfortunate consequence of having to deal with "people" mafias that bring in illegal inmigrants. It is actualy designed to protect the inmigrants from exploiters.

Prior to Schengen European governments turned a blind eye to 'irregular' immigration

Yeah, right. I know Western European people who have been turned down when trying to enter another Western European country because they didn't show means to support themselves.

Schengen is disastrous for civilised Europe, as it trample over the rights of ;irregular' immigrants, affording them no privacy, freedom of movement and harassing them with laws designed to make them feel unwelcome.

Irregular inmigrants does mean illegal inmigrants. Yes it is unfortunate that these people have to flee, yes it is unfortunate that we cannot bring everybody in, yes it is unfortunate that abuses are comitted. But people who break the law will have their rights trampled with, specficially privacy and freedom. It's called law enforcement.

[ Parent ]

Schengen tramples legal immigrants too (none / 0) (#288)
by Quietti on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 10:05:03 AM EST

3 years ago, when I arrived in Finland, everyone and their mother - even government officials - were saying how glad they were that I relocated here from Canada - a country Finns love, they added - and hinted that as soon as I would marry or achieve the required number of residence years, they would gladly grant me citizenship since I already speak the language fluently.

Recently, everyone changed their tune: they're sorry, but Schengen states they can no longer grant a prefered status to anyone; they must protect locals, EU citizens and citizens of upcoming EU member countries, in that order. Everyone else is considered an alien (in the nasty and repulsive meaning of the definition). The press release gave the example of two job candidates, one Latvian and one Swiss, being considered for a work permit application. Precedence would be given to the Latvian, because Latvia will soon join EU, while Switzerland is not even remotely interrested.

The perverse consequence of this is, I've recently lost 3 opportunities to land myself a dreamjob, simply because the ammount of paperwork an employer must fill to justify hiring a non-Finn, non-EU citizen and non-upcoming-EU citizen was about 10 times more complicated than previous pre-Schengen regulations. Red tape overkill at its worst.

Also, among upcoming member countries, the 3 Baltic states each require a visa even for a short touristic visit. Canada is one of only 3 western economic powers (an other one being Israel - I forgot the third) that requires tourist visas.

Who would have thought that the "second best country in the world" (yeah, rrrrrrrright... like I moved out of there just for the heck of it) would make me a second-rate citizen, prisonner of a citizenship from the wrong country?



--
The whole point of civilization is to reduce how much the average person has to think. - Stef Murky
[ Parent ]
Lovely poll option. (3.50 / 8) (#71)
by mikael_j on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:58:53 AM EST

More centralisation, followed by democratisation and the creation of another peaceful superpower
I hope you weren't referring to the USA, because if you were I can only hope that noone takes anything you are saying seriously...

/Mikael Jacobson
We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
Rubbish (4.54 / 24) (#73)
by Shiftless-Jungle-Bum on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:21:59 AM EST

This piece is very sensationalistic, euro-phobic, and Tory-British. The author would make a good trash-writer at a London tabloid.

The Tories just lost a general election in Great Britain by a landslide. Now the Tory hardliners are scared that Blair is going sign Britain on to the Euro and perhaps even more ambitious EU projects like a Euro Army.

The disinformation in this article is rampant. For example, the author would like to equate democracy with referendums. Every decision cannot be bound by a referendum, then nothing would get done. That is why we have representative democracy not direct democracy.

Here are several other nuggets of ignorance picked at random:

The Schengen Agreement. AKA, Europe without borders.
This means that there are no borders between fellow EU countries. Thank goodness. Imagine if traveling from New York to Boston, one needed to go through a border check at Connecticut and Massachusetts. Milwaukee to Ann Arbor on the other side of Lake Michigan: 3 border checks. I could go on. The point is, it is about time.

So, due to discontentment with the lack of accountability shown by the EU in many European countries we can see the rise of far right parties.
I submit that discontent with the EU is not the reason for far-right parties but rather that ignorant people dislike it when foreigners make a better living than themselves. It is a problem that all G7 countries (and many more) have. Witness the UK's own National Front and the racially-charged riots against Indians and Pakistanis in Oldham, England just 10 days ago.

And of course the European Central Bank has a leadership that is unelected and far from the concerns of ordinary people.
Strong central banks have a great degree of independence, weak central banks do not. Alan Greenspan is not elected either.

The Franco-German axis that powers it is virulently opposed to the US.
Good. At least someone has the courage to stand up and disagree with the US. On the other hand, Great Britain has positioned itself as Uncle Sam's lapdog, the yes-man, flying by our side no matter who we may be bombing. By the way, Washington needs the political support because suddenly these military operations are international and not unilateral, but make no mistake, the modest additional military muscle that Great Britain offers is not necessary.

The EU is a good idea if for no other reason than my own country, the USA, needs a counterbalance. The United States concentrates the power of 270m+ people from coast-to-coast in Washington DC - why should Europe not do the same in Brussels?



Not Rubbish (4.20 / 10) (#76)
by Anya on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:53:12 AM EST

This piece is very sensationalistic, euro-phobic, and Tory-British. The author would make a good trash-writer at a London tabloid.

The Tories just lost a general election in Great Britain by a landslide. Now the Tory hardliners are scared that Blair is going sign Britain on to the Euro and perhaps even more ambitious EU projects like a Euro Army.

Well, I am not a tory, just to make that clear. I am of the traditional left. The difference between the tory party and 'new labour' is that the latter have an insane degree of control over their party. However, the left is traditionally just as opposed to the EU as is the Tory right. However, New Labour, with its lurch towards authoritarianism and the right, finds the EU a natural bedfellow. This does not mean that the parliamentary labour party or the party as a whole is europhilic, however - merely that they have a huge majority and little disent, for the meantime anyway.

The disinformation in this article is rampant. For example, the author would like to equate democracy with referendums. Every decision cannot be bound by a referendum, then nothing would get done.

Very insightful. However, when it comes to major decisions, like, I don't know, abandoning the national currency for all time, I think a referendum is justified, don't you?

That is why we have representative democracy not direct democracy.

This is also my point. The EU is severely lacking in representative democracy.

This means that there are no borders between fellow EU countries. Thank goodness. Imagine if traveling from New York to Boston, one needed to go through a border check at Connecticut and Massachusetts. Milwaukee to Ann Arbor on the other side of Lake Michigan: 3 border checks. I could go on. The point is, it is about time.

Except if you are an immigrant, or a visitor from the wrong country. It is the fortress europe attitude and unequal and racist treatment of immigrants that I protest. Please see another post I made on this a few moments ago.

I submit that discontent with the EU is not the reason for far-right parties but rather that ignorant people dislike it when foreigners make a better living than themselves. It is a problem that all G7 countries (and many more) have. Witness the UK's own National Front and the racially-charged riots against Indians and Pakistanis in Oldham, England just 10 days ago.

Indeed the causes of fascism are varied and complex. However, fascism is all about nationalism and the glorification of one's people. In a Europe in which the countries are being attacked by the encroachments of the EU, you don't think this is a factor? You should read some of the rhetoric of Le Pen and Haider with regard to the EU.

Strong central banks have a great degree of independence, weak central banks do not. Alan Greenspan is not elected either.

This sounds almost fascistic. I'd rather have weakness but democracy and accountability than 'strength'. However, your attitude on this is typical of pro-europeans - strength and money before values, democracy and accountability.

Good. At least someone has the courage to stand up and disagree with the US. On the other hand, Great Britain has positioned itself as Uncle Sam's lapdog, the yes-man, flying by our side no matter who we may be bombing. By the way, Washington needs the political support because suddenly these military operations are international and not unilateral, but make no mistake, the modest additional military muscle that Great Britain offers is not necessary.

Indeed, it is good to have someone stand up to the US. However, they are doing it for all the wrong reasons. I see no reason to respect the EU over the US when they both want the same things - mostly they squabble over international trade agreements and try and influence each others respective multinationals. Whats so admirable about this?

The EU is a good idea if for no other reason than my own country, the USA, needs a counterbalance.

Counterbalances are better when there is a difference. Also, can you really be saying that people should give up the right to vote in and out their rulers for the sake of improved performance in global economic indices and the right to exist in a superstate that - woohoo! - has global muscle? I suppose this means that the inhabitants of Iceland or the Finland must have a terrible time, because their countries are so puny. Whatever happened to democracy in Europe? Why is everyone obsessed with this kind of global powerplay? Whats wrong with considering what the people want first, and giving them a voice?

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

You said it first... (1.75 / 8) (#82)
by Betcour on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:33:41 AM EST

However, fascism is all about nationalism and the glorification of one's people.

Yeah... like those anti-Euro British who hang up to the Pound like their life depends on it ??? Does that remind

mostly they squabble over international trade agreements and try and influence each others respective multinationals

You show your violent anti-Euro bias again. Europe for example fight for the application of the Kyoto protocol, the suppression of death-penalty. Europe also support (albeit in a disorderly fashion) the Palestinians vs the opprossion of Israel (which is backed up by the US). Accusing EU of only doing diplomacy for greed and money is totally wrong.

I suppose this means that the inhabitants of Iceland or the Finland must have a terrible time, because their countries are so puny

Finland will get in the EU sooner or later, we all know it. As for Island... when was the last time they ever did something significant ? They have about as much international influence as the Cook islands...

Whatever happened to democracy in Europe?

It's alive and kicking, thank you (save for Italia, but their republic has always been as instable as it is now).

Why is everyone obsessed with this kind of global powerplay?

Because if you don't play the game of "I'm more powerfull than you are", sooner or later your country ends up as the bitch of a larger one. There's no other solution as to grow in power and size, unless you don't mind being annexed by China the way it happened to poor Tibet. That's why the UK adhered to the EU although it profoundly hate the continent.

Whats wrong with considering what the people want first, and giving them a voice?

There's nothing wrong with that - and you can be a superpower AND do that at the same time. Actually I think you mistake what YOU want (and some majority of British people) with what the rest of Europe wants. I'm affraid few people in France and Germany don't share the Europhobia that has contaminated UK (but then, we don't have those trashy tabloids telling us all those lies about the EU wanting to kill the queen and whatnot).

[ Parent ]
Finland and the EU? (4.28 / 7) (#91)
by Ulf Pettersson on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:09:24 PM EST

Finland will get in the EU sooner or later, we all know it.

What a well-informed comment. Hint: Which three countries joined the EU in 1995? Sweden, Austria and...

[ Parent ]

Sorry (3.00 / 1) (#138)
by Betcour on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:06:23 PM EST

Well guess it was sooner than later then. Sorry, I always mix up Finland, Norway and Sweden and never manages to figure out who is in what.

[ Parent ]
Where is that "French far right"? (3.00 / 1) (#191)
by Amadawn on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 08:08:30 AM EST

The author says that the French far right (Le Front National) got 20% of the votes. That is right, but he does not say when! That was 2 elections ago. Now they're almost gone. I really don't see how can you say that the far right is raising in France. When was the last time you came to France? Angel

[ Parent ]
Yucky Goo and Central Banks (4.00 / 2) (#222)
by Shiftless-Jungle-Bum on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:29:33 PM EST

This sounds almost fascistic. I'd rather have weakness but democracy and accountability than 'strength'. However, your attitude on this is typical of pro-europeans - strength and money before values, democracy and accountability.
You're just talking nonsense here. Stong economies have independent central banks. This is by design. Central banks need to make tough decisions about what the interest rate will be. This often creates short-term pain but with the benefit of, hopefully, long-term price stability. Central bankers that are somehow accountable to voters have a difficult time taming inflation. This concept is taught in every introductory university-level economic class.



[ Parent ]
Democracy? Ever seen it anywhere? (4.00 / 6) (#77)
by bond on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:57:40 AM EST

The ongoing centralization of amministration in Europe is the effort of European economic powers to build a "force" (call it a superpower or whatever) to counter the excessive amount of (economic and - then - military) power that the USA are gathering.

It is the birth of something that could be called the United States of Europe (USE :).

Democracy, like in any other place in the world, is but a sticker the economic powers place on government forms.
As someone said before, Silvio Berlusconi here in Italy bought his own election.

He did it by buying popular consensus, so - technically - his election is fully "democratic".

There is no point in representative democracy if the groups that detain power can decide what the voters (well, not all of them, but many enough to change the results of elections) think.

After all, not having direct election of EU "government" at least guarantees that the choice of the EU "govt" is somewhat mediated from the remote-controllable hysteria of (most) the voters.

Therefore the EU "government" will be chosen on a mere balance of power basis by the economic powers, which means we will have a "technical" "government". Instead of a bunch of dorks like in Italy or in the US.

blah.

The difference is... (3.50 / 2) (#108)
by eean on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:47:26 PM EST

I do not believe he could have bought the consenus of the Italian people if his ideas were totally againist their prinicpals.

And anyways, why is it having the EU controlled by those who were picked by those who bought their way into power (under your thinking) any better then having elections?

And having closed sessions is just anti-democratic. I think it can have a purpose. For instance, the US Consititution was drafted in a closed session. The representatives got to voice their mind, so comprimise was easier.

But then the consititution was released for all the state assemblies to vote on - the consitituiontal congress didn't actually make any binding decesions in the closed session. However, that is the case with the WTO and apparently the EU as well. With the latter the decesions are released, it is a little late for anything remotly democratic to go on.

[ Parent ]
US military might declining (none / 0) (#349)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 04:11:45 PM EST

The US military is in a bad state. A few more years of severe underfunding and over-extension, as was the Clinton plan, and we wouldn't have been able to fight a one-theater war on the scale of the Gulf War. We simply would not have had the equipment, let alone the troops. Hopefully, under Bush, we'll have less demoralizing, troop-wasting police actions and more short, decisive wars, which do so much for morale. Also, hopefully we'll see the US quit comitting itself to the defense of countries that should be able to defend themselves...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Centralization (4.00 / 5) (#79)
by Beorn on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:05:12 AM EST

This is beginning to have some unfortunate effects. The Austrian populace is vehemently anti-European, and yet has had a political establishment resoundingly Europhilic since the end of WWII. The result has been increasing fatalism, and finally they resorted to the fascistic 'Freedom Party' - the first time fascism has reared its head in that part of Europe in a very long time.

The far right trend in Europe does not only happen in EU countries. The norwegian populist Progress Party was at one point our largest last year. It's not as extreme as Front National or the Freedom Party, but I think it belongs in the same class.

I hesitate to call this fascism, though. If we abuse that word to attack all right-wing nationalism, anti-immigration and protectionism, it loses its meaning.

Make no mistake, I consider the European Union to be one of the most scary developments in the modern world.

I live in a country that voted not to join in 1994 and 1972, so we'll propably stay out at least 5-10 more years. To me, the problem with EU is the pointless centralization, and the increased distance between people, rulers and bureaucrats.

The question to ask is: Why? Free trade and open borders is a good thing, but doesn't require centralized governments. You may ask why not, and I'll tell you why not: the higher up you get the pyramid of power, (even if it is democratic, which EU is not), the less likely you'll listen to or actually care about the people on the bottom.

Political decisions should be made on the lowest possible level. The EU is doing the opposite of this, gradually giving itself powers it has absolutely no need for, only because the nature of power is to want more power.

I can't stop what's happening in EU, but I will do anything I can to stop Norway from joining as long as possible. At least until we see what it's actually becoming.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]

But what about foreign policy? (4.50 / 10) (#85)
by Ticino on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:50:11 AM EST

As an American living in the UK, let me tell you why the Europe needs an EU.

Europe needs an EU to check a single global view that is dominated from Washington. Europe needs an EU so that they can powerfully and collectively deliver a single voice on various issues that the US or other countries neglect. Look to the most recent headlines to understand where I am coming from. The debate for National Missile Defense (NMD) is in place, not because of internal struggles in the US between Democrats and Republicans. This debate is in place because EU member states are balking at having to share the logistical, financial and political burden for something they do not inherently support. Look at the current debate about the Kyoto treaty. The debate is in place because the EU has balked at the US reneging on the Kyoto accords. Look at the current Echelon debate, look at the current continuation of talks between the two Koreas. These are all the fruits of a unified EU policy.

Are you suggesting that we dismantle the EU and go back to each and every state having a separate foreign, economic, immigration and social policy? If that is the case, then Washington would love to kiss you hand. As flawed as you may think the EU is, it is a lot better than the alternatives. Somebody has got to step up to the plate for dialogue in world issues. While you may or may not have merits on your arguments of items like Schengen and nationalism, at least view the advantages and successes that the EU has brought to date.

But (2.80 / 5) (#112)
by trhurler on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:09:03 PM EST

First off, the US never supported Kyoto. The Senate rejected it without a single vote in favor. Bill Clinton is not and was not the US government. He alone did not have the authority to do what he said he was going to do, which is to bind us to Kyoto. A damned good thing, too, because while Kyoto wouldn't create a measurable difference in greenhouse gas emissions, it would measurably degrade the US economy. Notice that for all the European countries that are so much in favor of Kyoto, not one has actually implemented it, or even come close.

Secondly, the only question on NMD is whether Congress will approve it; talking to Europeans is all well and good if it prevents strife, but if NMD passes Congress, the opinion of anyone outside the US will matter as much as piss in the wind. If it doesn't pass Congress, then it won't happen, and again, nothing else will matter. This isn't some US egotism speaking; I'm just saying what is going to happen, and you know it as well as I do.

Third, you can safely bet that Echelon, to the extent that it still exists, is a duplicated effort by now; whatever the Europeans may gain by exposing it, they lose in the more adversarial approach they'll create between our respective security agencies. Whether this is good or bad is a matter of perspective, but in the end, nothing will change; governments will still be spying on people, both foriegn and domestic, and the EU will be no exception, nor will its people be exempt.

Fourth, what the hell are you thinking? Do you really believe yourself when you say that the EU is better than nothing at all, so even if it is horrible, we should keep it? And if so, have you thought about other times in history when this argument was used? I imagine that there are more than a few Germans who might find it strangely familiar. (You're welcome, Godwin man!)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Oh really ? (2.50 / 4) (#137)
by Betcour on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:03:21 PM EST

if NMD passes Congress, the opinion of anyone outside the US will matter as much as piss in the wind.

You think the congress can do anything without international consequences. OK the congress doesn't vote the Kyoto protocol. But then Europe can decide to not retify the free trade agreements US loves so much. US can't always take and never give back anything. You can't abuse other people indefinetely, especially when you need them (their capitals and their consummers) for your economy to exists. Saying "fuck you" to the world (which is what the US did with Kyoto) is going to get you some backslash sooner or later.

[ Parent ]
Relax (2.00 / 3) (#141)
by trhurler on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:15:24 PM EST

I didn't say NMD should be deployed regardless of anyone else's opinion. I said it would if it passes Congress, and I'm right. This is a matter of fact.

In any case, so far, the "backlash" we've seen is a bunch of Europeans scheming with the likes of China and Cuba to kick us off of panels that don't matter which discuss subjects that are only of real interest to people outside the US anyway. Big deal. Are you seriously suggesting that Europe would do anything to harm their economic relations with the US? You can look that option up under the heading "suicidal notions" if you like; it is as likely that the US would do the same to Europe, which is to say, it will never happen.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Ahem (3.00 / 1) (#175)
by Betcour on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 03:46:45 AM EST

Are you seriously suggesting that Europe would do anything to harm their economic relations with the US?

Considering the permanent state of economic war both superpower are at, I'd say we've already gone past this. The WTO is spending its time handling complains from both of them. Nobody wants to break the relationships, but nobody wants to be screwed either. And European economy is less world-dependant than US (relies less on oil and exportation), so the US has more to loose at the protectionism game, and knows it (and that's why they are always the one asking to open markets).

[ Parent ]
Nah (3.00 / 1) (#204)
by trhurler on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:06:45 PM EST

If you call that an "economic war," you obviously haven't looked at the history of real economic war. Look at what the Allies did to Japan prior to the US entering WWII for an example, or at what we've been doing to Iraq for ten years. These piddly little arguments over the price of a pound of bananas are nigh on irrelevant.

As for the protectionism game, Europe may not be export dependent, but think for a little while on its import dependencies. There are some pretty serious ones, and these days, those places you're importing from aren't colonies; you can't just dictate terms to them.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Not really .... (3.00 / 1) (#228)
by StrontiumDog on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:14:17 PM EST

As for the protectionism game, Europe may not be export dependent, but think for a little while on its import dependencies

Europe is very heavily export dependent, and much less import dependent. Sounds strange, but it is true: Europe is one of the few regions in the world that is relatively self-sufficient in most of the ingredients that fuel an industrial society. It's no coincidence that the industrial revolution started there. Now it is true that many of these raw materials can be obtained more cheaply elsewhere nowadays.

Still, the EU is a net exporter of goods and capital. That's why the WTO is so important to the EU: we want the US trade barriers down (while maintaining ours, of course =)

[ Parent ]

Oil and such (none / 0) (#348)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 04:07:43 PM EST

The US has adequate stores of coal to fire its industry with no external involvement; ditto uranium. Recent oil discoveries in Canada suggest that Canadian oil may become the cheapest in the world, and they're right on our doorstep and have much more in common with the US than the EU.
Upshot: the EU may be very resource-independant, but so is the US. The EU, however, needs to compete at the moment for the dollar and the yen, or it will have trouble being able to import anything. While the US isn't a net exporter, the reasons have more to do with economics than anything: services don't count to the bottom line but investments do. Much of the world invests in US financial markets, and that is considered imported, oddly enough, increasing the cost of our imports. However, services rendered, which is an increasingly large part of the economy, do not count as income for us, so the large trade deficit that politicians so like to misconstrue exists.
Now, while it is true that Europe can do without the goods, at the moment, they'd have trouble doing without the services, while the US is large enough and self-sufficient enough to easily separate itself from the world. Truth is that the amount of exports/imports in the US isn't as large as the amount produced for use here in the US. Actually, China, South Africa, and the Asian rim provide far more of the US importation bulk than Europe, which is why China never really does anything to piss the US off...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
However ;) (2.66 / 3) (#147)
by Ticino on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:01:01 PM EST

Okay, I'll grant you that since Kyoto was not ratified that it was well within the current US administrations perrogative to abandon it. However, it really causes us to look like idiots in the global stage because we said we would present this treaty for ratification is modifications were made, and now we are not going to even bother. But then again, it appears that the the US is happy to renege on it's word lately (such as abrograting the ABM Treaty)

As for your points on NMD and Echelon, as I understand it, NMD doesn't require any decision from congress outside of budgetary oversight. The decision to pursue NMD has been the decision of the Executive branch since Clinton was in, and Clinton gambled on the election to whether NMD would succdeed or fail. If you think for a second that congress is not going to budget for NMD given the chance, then you must have forgotten about all the lucrative defense contracts in the 80's and early 90's. Also Europe's co-operation within NMD is essential since the tracking and telemetry (plus intelligence gathering) for such a system is going to have to be deployed foward to protect ourselves against those "rouge states" (or what was the term Albright had coined for them?)

The fact that the EU has been able to say that we will not accept more US Bases and more US force structure by default under the auspices of NATO is what I think is a big deal. Before the EU began to start thinking about shared security and the likes, the US could just as easily bully Germany or Italy like it does the UK today for military force structure. Hell, the only country that has stood up against such bullying is France. Not that I agree with the French either, but at least the EU is starting to think for itself in what it's security interests are. And as long as hawks like Rumsfeld keep on harping about sending US troops "over there" the EU better start thinking about their security structure is outside of the US.

As for Echelon, I have no problem with spying, it's the price of doing business. However what my hope is with the current debacle with Echelon is that it will produce a EU Intel structure to combat that of the US. Call me a stooge, however I'm quite sick of the US calling the shots in the INFOSEC and espionage game. It's about time that the EU produce some structure so that they don't have the director of their security sending encryption algorithims to the NSA for security testing.

All in all, my point is this, (which is adressing your fourth point). The EU may be flawed, but that does not call for it's dismantaling. In effect what I was demostrating was how the EU has been successful in certain endeavours, of which foreign policy I tend to keep the closest tabs on. I'm sure the European Court of Human Rights had done some grand stuff, and I'm sure that the legistlative arms have done some productive stuff as well (I plead ignorant in being able to cite details). I say yes keep it, and instead of griping about it being flawed and taking away democracy, attempt to change it. Ireland just recently threw out the Nice treaty, recently Denmark voted against the common currency accords, what did this accomplish, a rethinking of how these ideas and policies would be implemented in the EU zone.

Finally as an American that is living here, let's be honest and face facts. The US is starting to go through it's cylical period of isolationism. Unfortunately, that is the last thing that the US needs to be doing now, but none the less, that is what is happening. Somebody has got to step up to the plate and entice debate on issues like NMD, Kyoto, Korea and the like, and so far, as I can see the EU has been doing a pretty decent job about it.

[ Parent ]

Hmm... (1.66 / 3) (#153)
by trhurler on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:15:48 PM EST

Well, the best legal opinions I can find(that is, those with the most actual research and consideration and the least political spin,) suggest that all those treaties, such as ABM, that Russia claims to have "inherited" from the USSR are in fact null and void unless we specifically agree otherwise in writing. There are a lot of people who are doing a lot of hand wringing about what this would mean for other treaties such as the START series, but negative consequences do not change the truth. If we want those treaties, we should be resigning them with the Russians. In addition, even if ABM applied, there is a six month warning escape clause that Bush can easily use to get us out of it "legally" with no impropriety whatsoever.

Congress has been very skeptical of NMD, not so much for political reasons as because it has yet to be shown to work. If they can show that, yes, Congress would fund it; otherwise, we'll just see the current neverending R&D budget with no real product. The forward bases required could be in Europe, but they could also be elsewhere; there have been proposals for a system mounted on naval vessels that adjusts all the time for their exact current position, there have been suggestions of satellite based launch detection, and so on. In addition, we can use existing bases and locations more favorable to US military presence. Europe's cooperation would be very nice, which I'm sure is why Bush is talking to Europe, but it is hardly necessary.

I would agree that Europe should develop more intelligence capability, but I doubt it can assemble anything resembling the sophistication of the NSA; the Europeans who understand encryption at that level tend to be diehard academics who don't want anything to do with the military.

And hey, I'd love to see the EU become what it should be - I just don't believe it can be done, due to the way the EU works(secrecy, lack of accountability, etc,) and I'd rather see it scrapped than see Europe turn into another China or USSR.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Oh come on now (none / 0) (#251)
by spiralx on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 05:40:56 AM EST

I would agree that Europe should develop more intelligence capability, but I doubt it can assemble anything resembling the sophistication of the NSA; the Europeans who understand encryption at that level tend to be diehard academics who don't want anything to do with the military.

Even for you, that's an awfully large blanket statement now isn't it? Are you honestly trying to claim that within an area that has three times the population of the US there aren't any people who understand encryption and would work for intelligence services?

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Minor point (none / 0) (#347)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 03:59:44 PM EST

The US may be king of elint, but England is the reigning power for gum-shoe intelligence. Russia used to be, back before the end of the cold war, but they've got too much on their hands now.
And, with the advent of ever more fiber cabling, US elint operations will have to undergo a serious metamorphosis that has much of the US intelligence establishment extremely worried. There are downsides to relying on elint...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
The answer is simple... (1.00 / 4) (#121)
by beergut on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:49:57 PM EST

The debate for National Missile Defense (NMD) is in place, not because of internal struggles in the US between Democrats and Republicans. This debate is in place because EU member states are balking at having to share the logistical, financial and political burden for something they do not inherently support.

Fine. We should simply not provide any coverage at all to the nations of Europe. Let them do it themselves.

<rant>
An argument can be made that without the assistance of France and a few other European nations, the United States would not exist. This is probably true. We repaid our "debt" to those nations in the major wars in the last century. We should repay it yet again by staying involved militarily in Europe for only as long as it takes those nations to form a united military. Then, we should shake hands and leave them to stew in their own juices.

Chances are, there will be land wars in Europe in this century that make the last century look like a peaceful walk through the park. But, since our debt will have been paid, we should not involve ourselves. Let the people of Europe determine their own fates.

If we do get involved militarily in Europe again, it should be for all the marbles. We're talking empire here, baby, and no bones about it. If we go there again, we should simply rule the place.

But, we need to get our own shit straight first. The government of the U.S. should detach itself from nearly every foreign entanglement, starting with the U.N. Then, it should undergo a humongous size reduction to those functions allowed by the Constitution.

Only when we've weaned ourselves off the tit of nanny-government, and taken our tendrils out of happenings in the rest of the world, will we be able to stand and give advice to the rest of the world. Or to simply raise our middle fingers in salute.

Europe will be a living Hell inside a quarter-century, if the E.U. is successful in centralizing power on that continent. To Hell with them.
</rant>

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Great (3.66 / 3) (#143)
by Happy Monkey on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:25:12 PM EST

This sounds like the viewpoint that some local council members in the Washington DC area have - that it is better to have a big voice than one that represents your views. How could an organization such as the EU hope to represent the views of Europe? Even if there are some issues that European countries can commonly agree on, the EU will of necessity have the authority to speak for Europe on other issues as well.

What's the benefit of having someone powerful speak on your behalf, if they don't say what you want to say?
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]

Really simple question (3.33 / 3) (#149)
by ubu on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:03:45 PM EST

Which Euro states have ratified the Kyoto Treaty on global warming? Can you name them? Please do.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
no need (3.00 / 2) (#162)
by camadas on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:22:30 PM EST

some contries do not need to ratify this kind of treaties, that's what governments are elected there for. what's your point ?

[ Parent ]
Point is (none / 0) (#346)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 03:53:42 PM EST

Many countries do need to ratify these treaties. Most of the whinging European nations have not done so. Kind of two-faced, isn't it?

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
And now, kids, (3.55 / 18) (#86)
by trhurler on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 11:38:25 AM EST

We learn that "words mean things." I've known for some time that eventually people would be writing pieces like this, and I also knew we'd see the results you see in the comments - angry backlash from people who think the EU is going to be their savior.

The whole problem is summed up in these two sentences:
At a national level the European states are of the traditional left - socially liberal, and fond of wealth redistribution and a more planned and controlled economy. But in the EU itself these elements have been replaced by increased authoritarianism and economic protectionism by the EU.
What is the difference between "planned and controlled" and "authoritarianism"? Simple. The difference is, you want to believe that the former is benevolent and the latter is not. There is no other difference. They are the same thing, outside your head. Words mean things. "Control" does not happen without authority, and authority over economic matters is authority over people directly.

Remember the 80s and early 90s, when EU talk was all about independent nations and a free trade zone and so on? Now they've got plans for a military, a single taxation system, and so on. The reason is simple: your "traditional left" national leaders are no better than the fascists you're so terrified of. They want power and control all the same - they just label it differently. Now, how do the leftists here on k5 react?

Well, we're told that the Schengen agreement, which requires monitoring the whereabouts of certain people based on their ethnicity, is about "letting people travel freely." Would they say that if the US started requiring third world people to register their movements inside its borders? Of course not.

We're told that a government that meets in secret is "democratically accountable" because it is chosen by elected leaders. Notice that the leftists have no such argument in favor of the US-sponsored FTA.

We're told that a government which has spurred the rise of right wing groups has not in fact done so, and are given as evidence the claim "but in other countries, there are right wingers too!" Nevermind that there were not successful right wingers in most EU countries since WWII until the rise of the EU; facts might screw up the EU faith, so ignore them.

Nobody challenges the numbers - vast popular opposition to the EU. They just claim that "something could be done about it" if the people "really wanted to." Nevermind political reality; we've got a religion. Sorry, but if 70% of the people in a country oppose something and it is done anyway, that is not "democratic," no matter how the people who chose it were themselves chosen. It should tell you something about political reality - what you have to say to be elected, and so on - that these people keep getting elected. It should also tell you something about your ideals. You believe socialism is about fairness and equality; your leaders know that it is about power and control. You do not have fairness and equality, and are not getting it - but they are getting power and control - more and more every day.

What you have here, plain and simple, is people who hate the US more than they love their own claimed ideals. The EU is anti-US, both overtly and otherwise, so they support it. Europeans will get what they asked for, and they will spend at least a generation's lives paying for it. They'll say it wasn't what they meant, but it WAS what they said. Words mean things.

At any rate, do not fear for the US - it can take care of itself. It is Europe you should fear for, because Europeans are the ones who will suffer.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

so, uh, (1.00 / 2) (#89)
by goosedaemon on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 11:55:52 AM EST

what do you suggest?

[ Parent ]
Suggestions (3.60 / 5) (#123)
by ubu on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:08:03 PM EST

Personally, I suggest that the European nations do the following:

  • Cut their tax rates, following Ireland's example with supply-side cuts to the top rates to speed growth.
  • Reverse the trend toward centralization and realize an immediate reduction in EU oversight of local policy.
  • Put a stop to redistribution of wealth and punishment of entrepreneurism. The recent emigration of France's "Marianne", Laetitia Casta, brought to light the drain on capital and talent in France resulting from oppressive tax-and-distribute policy.

The EU bureaucrats in Brussels are fighting tooth-and-nail to punish what they call "tax inequities": in plain English, any country that does not keep up with the furious tax increases mandated by EU socialism.

By contrast, Ireland's last 15 years of economic miracles bear witness to the success of its tax-cutting policy. The real collapse in Europe has been a collapse of freedom and growth. Frankly, democracy has very little to do with it.

The only words I can find to characterize everything the EU has done are "punishment". The EU seeks to punish the rich, the successful, the productive, the enterprising, and the motivated. The red herrings the EU keeps throwing out about "fascism" from far-right parties are truly laughable; "fascism" derives from the Roman "fasces", the symbol of central, naked power. Nothing has embodied fascism like the EU exhibits since the dark days of the USSR.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
The fasces and the facists (4.00 / 2) (#253)
by kirghiz on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 07:08:11 AM EST

By contrast, Ireland's last 15 years of economic miracles bear witness to the success of its tax-cutting policy.

If only it were so... Ireland's economic success (not so much a miracle as catching up) is largely due to EU funding in infrastructure and business. Although our leaders (Irish, that is) would like to take credit for the 'miracle' and attribute it to their economic policies (the same destructive supply-side nonsense that left Britain a smoking wreck with excellent numbers in the 80s), any drive along a half-decent road will yield plenty of signs with legends like 'This road 80% funded by EU cohesion funds'.

"fascism" derives from the Roman "fasces", the symbol of central, naked power

Wrong. The fasces were the symbol of Roman jurisprudence. Laws, that is, the antithesis of central, naked power. That's only symbolism anyway, more to do with Mussolini's ridiculous posturing as a Roman Emperor than facism. Fascism as a political system involves a great deal of cooperation between an authoritarian government and private industry. Pump-priming and large government requisitions of military material to keep civilian industries ticking over is another salient characteristic (Krupps...Boeing?). Trumpeting nationalism is employed to keep the citizenry in its place, flag-waving, anthems, razmatazz and constant propagandistic extolling of the virtues of the society serves to keep the public distracted from their own lamentable condition. I don't wish to enter into the US vs EU debate, but these characteristics are far closer to present-day US than to the EU, which is, by intent and design, an anti-nationalist organisation.

It's debatable (in that others would, no doubt, debate it) whether the concept of nationhood has any bearing in the US, other than as some kind of unifying motif. In Europe, nationalism has a long and poisonous history, and many of us want to see the back of it. It was, perhaps, after World War I, the US's most destructive legacy to Europe. Wilson believed that national self-determination should replace the internationalist Austro-Hungarian Empire (the irony is magnificent). Hence the emergence of freedom-loving nations like Serbia and Croatia.

[ Parent ]

nice try, but you're full of it (none / 0) (#365)
by ubu on Tue Jun 19, 2001 at 07:20:12 PM EST

If only it were so... Ireland's economic success (not so much a miracle as catching up) is largely due to EU funding in infrastructure and business.

Bullshit. No sustainable economic growth is driven by massive government spending. All the same, I feel confident it will be impossible to point to any tax-cutting country's economic success without a Keynesian jumping up and down claiming the boom for tax-and-spend Statism.

Wrong. The fasces were the symbol of Roman jurisprudence. Laws, that is, the antithesis of central, naked power. That's only symbolism anyway, more to do with Mussolini's ridiculous posturing as a Roman Emperor than facism.

Wrong. From this site: "A bundle of rods (often accompanied by an axe, which symbolized power over life-and-death) carried by Roman officials as a symbol of authority. Under the Republic, the consul or praetor when starting on an expedition took his vows on the Capitoline Hill; if acclaimed imperator by his troops he decked his fasces with laurel, and on his return deposited the wreath upon the Capitoline Hill in the place where he had made the vows as a symbol of his successful fulfillment of them."

Not enough? Fine, from the Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition: "ancient Roman symbol of the regal and later the magisterial authority. The fasces were cylindrical bundles of wooden rods, tied tightly together, from which an axe projected; they were borne by guards, called lictors, before praetors, consuls, proconsuls, dictators, and emperors. The fasces, which symbolize unity as well as power, have often been used as emblems, e.g., on the arms of the French republic and on American coins. Italian Fascism derived its name and its emblem from the fasces."

More, from the Merriam-Webster dictionary: "a bundle of rods and among them an ax with projecting blade borne before ancient Roman magistrates as a badge of authority."

In summary, you are full of shit. Good try.

Fascism as a political system involves a great deal of cooperation between an authoritarian government and private industry. Pump-priming and large government requisitions of military material to keep civilian industries ticking over is another salient characteristic (Krupps...Boeing?).

Striking similarities, here, between what you call Fascism and what you claim the EU did for Ireland. It's no accident, obviously, and what you claim for Fascism doesn't damage my previous claim in the least.

Trumpeting nationalism is employed to keep the citizenry in its place, flag-waving, anthems, razmatazz and constant propagandistic extolling of the virtues of the society serves to keep the public distracted from their own lamentable condition.

Nationalism and government propaganda are the exclusive domain of Fascism? They are symbols are the political system in effect? In that case all governments are Fascist. Are we getting it, yet? No, of course not; "Ireland was resuscitated by 'pump-priming'..."

don't wish to enter into the US vs EU debate, but these characteristics are far closer to present-day US than to the EU, which is, by intent and design, an anti-nationalist organisation.

How clever... the EU will replace the dangerous ambitions of national governments by supplanting them with a single ambitious government. How well that worked historically, in the case of the Holy Roman Empire!

How can you be so foolish? You say the United States is a jingoistic, centralized, ambitious, nationalistic danger to the rest of the world. That, in itself, is enough to make me smile, and cheer in agreement. But you seem to think that the solution is to re-create the exact same Frankenstein in Europe. The same idiotic tax policies, the same Statist ambitions, the same bureaucracy uber-alles.

In Europe, nationalism has a long and poisonous history, and many of us want to see the back of it.

How like the Europeans, to blame the problem on the symptoms! The 19th century was bloodier than ever because the public sector had grown larger than ever. Dangerous governments caused all that slaughter in the Great Wars, or did you happen to miss that? The average European citizen hadn't the slightest idea what was going on, yet all the re-education of the following 50 years focused on brainwashing the common man, now reduced to little more than a public servant.

Now you have a Europe consisting of people who not only still don't know what they want... whatever it is, they want it NOW! The protests will only become more and more frequent, a lamentable situation that we moronic Americans will share right along with you.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
trhurler (1.23 / 13) (#114)
by core10k on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:12:27 PM EST

Hi, my name is TRHurler, and I am an addict.

I offer neither statistics nor personal insight, and yet am ever in search of that posting flame fix.

I fear the day when posting boards get their acts together and initiate kill files, just as much as you anticipate it.



[ Parent ]
And now, trhurler (3.00 / 2) (#119)
by infraoctarine on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:48:29 PM EST

We learn that "words mean things." If so many people here speak up in defence of the EU, it is for a reason. The EU actually has its advantages.

In response to some of your ranting:

They want power and control all the same - they just label it differently

Power is not always something bad, it all depends on how and why it is used. If others (other nations, large corporations) have power, and you do not, you are in a bad situation and should try to do something about it, hence the EU.

Nevermind that there were not successful right wingers in most EU countries since WWII until the rise of the EU; facts might screw up the EU faith, so ignore them.

So you claim that even though the right wingers top priority is being opposed to non-western european immigrants, they still exist because of the EU. Who is ignoring the facts? There are many reasons why the fascists are on the rise, the EU might be a factor, but hardly a primary one.

Sorry, but if 70% of the people in a country oppose something and it is done anyway, that is not "democratic," no matter how the people who chose it were themselves chosen.

These numbers are opinion polls. Democracies are ruled by the vote, not by the opinion poll. Most of these countries decided to join the EU with popular vote, and ratified the Maastricht treaty with popular vote. This is democracy. Recently, Denmark voted against the Euro and won't be implementing it, but are still in the EU. The UK and Sweden will also be voting about the Euro within the next couple of years. This is also democracy. Do you have a problem with that?

You believe socialism is about fairness and equality

Oh, but it is ;)

[ Parent ]

insert witticism here (3.25 / 4) (#130)
by ubu on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:48:52 PM EST

If others (other nations, large corporations) have power, and you do not, you are in a bad situation and should try to do something about it, hence the EU.

Two comments: one, the nature of "power". As Franz Oppenheimer wrote, there is a stark difference between the "power" wielded by the State and the "power" wielded by businesses.

I mean by [the State] that summation of privileges and dominating positions which are brought into being by extra-economic power....I mean by Society, the totality of concepts of all purely natural relations and institutions between man and man..." (Franz Oppenheimer, xxxiii)
Corporations may wield the "power" afforded by natural societal relations... what might otherwise be called "influence" or even "network effects". But the "power" inherent in the State is the power that derives from the tip of a sword or from the end of a loaded gun. It is the power to coerce behavior unwillingly, without consent, without the volition of those coerced.

Second point: the EU does not magically grant power of any kind to its subjects. It merely usurps whatever Societal influence its subjects have and directs it in the form of State coercion to its own interests. When individuals in Society desire to increase their influence they often organize into corporations and other private entities; no less than Adam Smith described the power of cooperative action in Society. But when individuals say, Let us create a State to rule us and to fight our enemies, they have not increased their own power but have only surrendered it to another master in the hopes that It will do them more good than harm. It is a Faustian bargain.

There are many reasons why the fascists are on the rise, the EU might be a factor, but hardly a primary one.

Fascists are on the rise wherever naked power is to be commanded. I submit that the EU bureaucrats and demagogues fit the label far better than any nativist wanker with a single axe to grind.

This is also democracy. Do you have a problem with that?

No offense intended, you're either naive or neck deep in your own BS. There is nothing democratic, republican, or representative about the EU, except that the EU leaders represent their own interests. The EU is in the process of categorically stripping away the basic human rights of those under its shadow -- and punishing those who refuse to submit (see Ireland, Austria, Italy).

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
You troll (1.66 / 3) (#132)
by Betcour on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:53:14 PM EST

I would have been surprised if some die-hard rightish wouldn't have used this topic to start a "you socialist scums are all slave of big brother balblablabla". Well we European like socialism. You don't like it ? Go away. Leave us do as we please. We like socialism because it gives as a nice way of life, decent safety and lots of freedom to enjoy (despite your claim).

Nobody challenges the numbers - vast popular opposition to the EU

You are a troll - everybody in this topics challenge the numbers as they are either frivolous or outdated.

there were not successful right wingers in most EU countries since WWII

Yeah - and Margaret Tatcher was a communist (LOL). She was the biggest right-winger after Pinochet (which she is a fan and a good friend of BTW). For your information France was controlled by the right wing from WWII to 1981 - so it kinds of goes straight against your theory.

You believe socialism is about fairness and equality; your leaders know that it is about power and control.

Damn - yet another wacky conspirationist. Show me a politician who doesn't like power. I'll show you a dead politician. His ideology doesn't change anything, you can't work so hard and so long to be elected and get power if you are not at least vaguely interested in it. Or else you don't do this job. Period.

[ Parent ]
Rightish? (2.33 / 3) (#142)
by trhurler on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:25:04 PM EST

Even correcting for "rightist," you've got me wrong. I make right wingers sick. You see, I'm not religious, and I have feelings. In addition, I believe in peoples' right to whatever consensual goofy-ass sexual shenanigans they want to engage in, I think abortion should be legal, and I believe in a government that treats everyone the same.
Well we European like socialism. You don't like it ? Go away. Leave us do as we please.
If Europeans didn't spend so much time trying to tell the US what to do and how, I might find this idea less ridiculous. I could as well say "leave us alone to be capitalists," and you'd respond the same way I am responding.
You are a troll - everybody in this topics challenge the numbers as they are either frivolous or outdated.
I am not a troll; first off, I believe what I say, and secondly, when I wrote my previous post, nobody HAD challenged the numbers yet - they just yammered about why they thought the numbers were irrelevant and how a secret government is still accountable in some as-yet-unspecified manner.
For your information France was controlled by the right wing
If by "right wing" you mean "not in favor of the government owning and operating everything under the sun," then yes. The French right wing sits somewhere between the US Democrats and Greens, which is to say, they're hardly "right wing" by any sane standard.
His ideology doesn't change anything, you can't work so hard and so long to be elected and get power if you are not at least vaguely interested in it.
Ron Paul. You lose.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
sane standard? (none / 0) (#172)
by ZanThrax on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:09:21 AM EST

If by "right wing" you mean "not in favor of the government owning and operating everything under the sun," then yes. The French right wing sits somewhere between the US Democrats and Greens, which is to say, they're hardly "right wing" by any sane standard.

trhurler, did you just say that the US idea of what consitutes left and right wing politics are the sane standard? That seems like an odd supposition since the Democrats would be considered right wing in most of the western world, and Republicans, well, Republicans wouldn't be considered at all... I'll accept that Greens are left, but to a country like France, someone slightly left of the US Democratic party is still pretty much right wing.

Of course, I'm probably just over-analyzing what may well have been a simple french-bash; still though, if the french are not sane for their ideas on what consitutes left vs. right politics, then neither is much of the rest of the western world outside the US.


There is no them. There is only us. We are them.


[ Parent ]
Yes, rightist (3.00 / 1) (#176)
by Betcour on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:11:20 AM EST

That's ok - English is not my native language so I think I'm allowed some minor mistakes. Write in French and I won't go after you for your own mispellings...

If Europeans didn't spend so much time trying to tell the US what to do and how, I might find this idea less ridiculous. I could as well say "leave us alone to be capitalists," and you'd respond the same way I am responding.

I would like that but it is not possible because
  1. USA tries to impose it's society model over the rest of the world, using international bodies (think WTO for example), economic and military imperialism (think south-america or middle-east) or plain cultural warfare (think "Hollywood" and Disney).
  2. free-markets has serious environmental problems, and destroying your planet would be fine if it wasn't also our planet. Do as much free market as you want, as long as you don't kill us all. Now you can make USA a wasteland if you want, but you can't realease all your CO² into OUR atmosphere.
when I wrote my previous post, nobody HAD challenged the numbers yet

Read back the posts - many peoples had written long informed post challenging the numbers and the facts the article exposed BEFORE your own post.

The French right wing sits somewhere between the US Democrats and Greens

That's because the USA is a country very much on the right (that's to be expected from a country founded by conservatist biggots). US Democrats are liberal right-wing, while Republicans are conservatist right-wing. It's not French rightwing which is on the left, it's US leftwing which is on the right. A matter of perspective I guess.

Ron Paul

So ? Who told you he is not interested in power ?

[ Parent ]
EU is hypocrital on the US. (3.25 / 4) (#195)
by Anya on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 09:59:20 AM EST

USA tries to impose it's society model over the rest of the world, using international bodies (think WTO for example), economic and military imperialism (think south-america or middle-east) or plain cultural warfare (think "Hollywood" and Disney).

The WTO exists to foster free trade between nations. Why is free trade good in the EU, but bad in the rest of the world? If the US is exploiting South America through free trade and the WTO, isn't it just as true that the EU is doing the same to Eastern and Mediterranean Europe (ie the poor parts of Europe, like spain, portugal, greece and eastern europe too)? I don't understand your doublethink here.

Cultural warfare?!?!? Hollywood isn't warfare, it is mindless trash (mostly - some of it is excellent). However, here much the same point can be made. Why is it okay for culture to be 'exchanged' in the EU but not ok between America and other nations? The EU seems to do many of the abhorrent things the USA does, but instead has the gall to turn round and criticise the USA for things that it itself does.

free-markets has serious environmental problems, and destroying your planet would be fine if it wasn't also our planet. Do as much free market as you want, as long as you don't kill us all. Now you can make USA a wasteland if you want, but you can't realease all your CO² into OUR atmosphere.

Er, this sounds a little extreme.Certainly unregulated free markets can have terrible economic problems - however, the free market in the US is regulated for environmental damage. Perhaps not as much as the EU would like, but there you go. As far as I am concerned, most environmental arguments are hot air and merely cover up an agenda - in this case world powerplay, as usual. Therereally isn't much evidence at all that global warming actually exists, and if so, that it is caused by us. But it has become a modern shibboleth. In the 1970's people were arguing that there was a huge ice age coming - global cooling was the problem then. Now it is global warming. Well, as far as I am concerned people's and societites matter more, until such time as people come up with actual proof for global warming and they stop using it for their political agendas.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Rebutal (4.33 / 3) (#217)
by Betcour on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:02:05 PM EST

isn't it just as true that the EU is doing the same to Eastern and Mediterranean Europe

No - because the EU is dumping huge amount of cash to speed up south Europe developpment. Go visit Greece and look at all the signs "this building/project is financed by the EU". As far as I know USA doesn't do that with South-America. They ask for free trade but don't give back anything in return.

Hollywood isn't warfare, it is mindless trash

After seeing ID4 and Airforce One, I think this is cultural warfare and vast American propaganda. It might be voluntary or not - but in effect it is cultural warfare. Destroying a building in Russia to build a McDonald is the same as when Chinese install Chinese buisnesses in Tibet.

Why is it okay for culture to be 'exchanged' in the EU but not ok between America and other nations

You know nothing about the movie/TV market don't you ? This is so because in USA a movie pay for itself - hence you can then release it abroad and spend the money on marketing instead of paying yourself back. This is same for US sitcoms. On the other hand a movie made in, say, Greece, can't pay for itself with the local market and can't afford much marketing either. You think culture is something that should be sold on an open free market. I think culture is part of my identity, and as such shouldn't be subjected to the free market rules (offer and demand and open competition) but should be protected from the massive financial power Hollywood has. Health and culture are things that can't be bought.

As far as I am concerned, most environmental arguments are hot air and merely cover up an agenda

I don't think so. If Europe insist on the environement, it's because most of its population is in favor of environment protection. Germany and France have Green ministers at important positions. This just reflect in their diplomacy. Now this is democracy at work.

Therereally isn't much evidence at all that global warming actually exists

There are plenty and more and more everyday. The only people who challenge it are oil lobbies and GW Bush (same thing). Serious articles on the subject have been published in all the major scientific publications (think Nature). For every climatolist that says global warming is a lie, there's a 1000 saying the opposite. There are also scientist claiming AIDS is not a disease, but are you dropping safe sex anyway ? Even if there is a 1% chance that global warming is wrong, I'm not willing to bet my life on it just so that Texaco can keep it's profit high. The only proof of global warming you'll ever get is when your house will be 4 meters below sea level. It will be too late of course, but I won't be able to laugh at your stupidity.

[ Parent ]
So (2.66 / 3) (#205)
by trhurler on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:13:50 PM EST

You expect the US to "leave you alone" but you want to tell the US what to do. I think maybe you need to think through this a bit further; the hypocrisy is rather blatant.

I'm just going to ignore you insulting the US, because I don't feel like a mindless flamefest right now. Suffice it to say that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones; I don't know what they teach you in your schools, but your own history is less than admirable, so insulting that of the US might not be your best move.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Not really (2.50 / 2) (#218)
by Betcour on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:07:26 PM EST

You expect the US to "leave you alone" but you want to tell the US what to do.

No I don't - except on issue that affect everybody. It's like a roomate - you don't care about what he does in his bedroom, but you want him to keep the bathroom clean. Well USA can do whatever they please on their soil, but please keep the planet clean. Not an unreasonable request.

to ignore you insulting the US

Where did I insult US ? I didn't.

[ Parent ]
Ok, fine (none / 0) (#344)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 03:07:05 PM EST

In things that *matter*, where things have been *proven*, with levels of proof that are at least higher than your average glossy magazine/social democrat think tank, the US already complies.
How about Europe wiping out the black forest in the seventies and eighties? How about the fact that the US has much more land under timber than any Western European country? There have been studies to suggest that, despite how much CO2 it produces, the US is a net CO2 *sink*, meaning we pull more out of the air than we put into the air.
Now, to put the shoe on the other foot, when are you people going to quit using animal feed? Spongiform (mad cow disease) sucks, and we don't want to get it from your animals...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Fascists in Europe (3.00 / 1) (#189)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 07:36:38 AM EST

There were 3 fascists countries in post-war Europe, all of whom used the European Community to ease their way to democracy:
* Spain
* Portugal
* Greece

[ Parent ]
Some troll feeding. (none / 0) (#261)
by Thomas Miconi on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 10:58:48 AM EST

You are sorely misinformed, or you are just another fud-mongering troll. This is not an exclusive-or. Idem for the person who posted the original story.

Basically, anything in your comment that even remotely looks like a fact is plain wrong.

The members of the European Council do not meet in secret. They meet in open summits, and everybody knows about it when it happens. The last major summit was at Nice, and led to the eponymous treaty that was recently rejected by (about 15% of) the Irish electorate.

The EU building process is not taken away from the people. Contrarily to what you say, a significant number of referendums have taken place on just about any Europe-related decision. Contrarily to what you say, this includes the single currency, (in favour of which we French have voted). So far, of all the pro-or-against-Europe referendums that have been organised, only two yielded major negative results: one in Denmark in the 90's (about the Maestricht treaty), and the recent one in Ireland.

As for your fantasy that it is the EU that has "spurred the rise of right-wingers"... *sigh* I won't even try to mention the likes of Robert Poujade or anything, because I assume that you are perfectly aware of the stupidity of that comment, and that your only goal is to spread falsehood in the minds of less-informed people. I will simply encourage interested readers to seek information about EU and non-EU contries. Any press release about the latest elections in Romania would probably be enough.

The rest of your comment is to be rated at the same level. The best way to describe it is : "You live in a fantasy world". Conspiracy theories are the only refuge of your flawed logic: "My premise is that EU citizens are widely opposed to the EU process. However, elected governments happen to be pro-EU. Therefore, it means that EU governments are non-democratic."

Hey, guess what, we happen to have anti-EU parties in our little nations. Interstingly enough,they don't net enough votes to get elected. Strange, isn't it ? Oh, no problem, blame it on the [insert your favorite conspiracy here] conspiracy. In your case, it seems to be some anti-american, socialist conspiracy. For other people on this side of the pond, it is freemasons, liberals, Jews, whatever. What do we do ? We vote, and we vote for EU propositions when we like them, and we vote against them when we don't. Period. "The dogs bark, but the caravan goes its way".

Thomas Miconi

[ Parent ]
This may be flamebait, but... (4.00 / 5) (#96)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:30:56 PM EST

It is true:

Geography and demographics make it clear that if Europe wants a place on the world stage over the next couple hundred years, it has to be united. A country like England, for example, simple has not the resources nor the population to stand toe-to-toe with a country like the US (or China, or India, or Russia (if it ever gets its act together)). Because of that, Europeans have a choice. They can stay independent and face a future of being second-tier powers. (Perhaps not a bad thing, being on top is overrated). Or they can join together and truly challenge the US (and future powers like China, India, Russia or even Brazil) on a level field. No European country can do this alone. Hell, only a couple European countries even match the economic strength of single US states like California or Texas.

This isn't US ego speaking. I personally think the world would be a better place with a strong challenge to the US. It isn't a matter of anything particularly special about the US. It just a matter of lots and lots of square miles and a large educated population. Europe can have both just by uniting. No European country can have either alone.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

accidental flamebait? (2.00 / 1) (#102)
by zahgurin on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:15:16 PM EST

> It just a matter of lots and lots of square miles and a large educated population. Europe can have both just by uniting. No European country can have either alone.

I assume you mean "No European country can have *both* alone.

Otherwise, you're wrong.

Si

[ Parent ]
Meant what I said... (3.00 / 1) (#107)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:40:09 PM EST

Unless you count Russia as European, no European country has all that much in the way of land, comparatively speaking. In terms of population, no European country has even a quarter of the population of the US. In terms of the world, all European countries are "small" both in terms of population and territory. No European country makes it into the top ten in either land/natural resources or population.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
doesn't matter (2.00 / 1) (#109)
by uweber on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:47:56 PM EST

Well that does not matter, because 3 European countries make it in the top ten economicly which is IMHO a lot better than big stretches of dessert or permafrost land.

[ Parent ]
The trends (3.00 / 1) (#110)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:55:16 PM EST

Compare individual European country economic strength in 1900 and 2000.

Also realize that American economic strength is more twice the size of the nearest competitor. Because of those "stretches of desert and permafrost".

There's only one way for Europe to compete with that. That is to be "Europe" and not a bunch of little countries. Europe as a whole has a greater economic strength than the US. Individually, well these days, only one European country manages to exceed California in economic strength, much less the US as a whole.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Huh (2.00 / 1) (#155)
by delmoi on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:37:29 PM EST

You're statement ". No European country can have either alone" would mean that they cannot have a lot of land AND that they cannot have an educated populous unless they form a union. that's what "either" means. Your last post doesn't mention anything about education at all.

Also, Russia's population is very well educated already, much more so then the US.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
The key word is "large" (none / 0) (#157)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 07:16:11 PM EST

Lots of European countries have a small, educated populous.

I just threw the word "educated" in to differentiate between the potential European union and countries like China and India, which have a large, uneducated populous. Perhaps it was a mistake.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

population and territory (1.00 / 1) (#161)
by camadas on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:16:13 PM EST

No European country makes it into the top ten in either land/natural resources or population
Yes, you're right, not after all "empires" were dissolved, with the US help. But this to say that Russia is Europe. What else would it be ? Asia ?

[ Parent ]
The majority of Russia's area (none / 0) (#171)
by ZanThrax on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 11:49:35 PM EST

is in Asia. Look here; everything west of the Urals is considered Europe, and everything east is Asia. (Personally, I think the Urals are pretty far east to be used as a deliniation point, but that's where it is.)


There is no them. There is only us. We are them.


[ Parent ]
I know where russia is (none / 0) (#244)
by camadas on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 11:23:56 PM EST

because i'm from europe and actually studied geography.Maybe you misunderstood me, Russia feels more like europe than asia to me.

Maybe because Moscow is on "our" side rather than on "the yellow" side of the world, maybe because russians look perfectly european too me, maybe because the language sounds eurpean, maybe because they are allways in conflict with asians, who knows...

I believe in this idea of a giant Europe, from Azores to China.


[ Parent ]
well... (3.00 / 1) (#103)
by Shren on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:17:51 PM EST

What do you mean by world stage, and what are the advantages of getting there? Is there some big song and dance number I'm missing, on the world stage?

[ Parent ]
a pedant writes... (4.00 / 2) (#178)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:19:33 AM EST

There is a state in Europe called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland which comprises 4 jurisdictions:
* Scotland
* England
* Wales
* Northern Ireland

[ Parent ]
a real pedant writes... (4.00 / 2) (#182)
by ambrosen on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:54:29 AM EST

There is a state in Europe called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland which comprises 3 jurisdictions:
* Scotland
* England and Wales
* Northern Ireland


--
Procrastination does not make you cool. Being cool makes you procrastinate. DesiredUsername.
[ Parent ]
pedant escalation... (3.00 / 1) (#187)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:49:51 AM EST

I would have agreed with you prior to the Wales Act and the creation of the Welsh Assembly, although with the lack of 'formal' legislative powers for the Assembly it is probably true that Wales is not a formal jurisdiction as such, but... what the hell, never let facts get in the way of a good barney...

[ Parent ]
Two things I think we may be overlooking... (3.40 / 5) (#100)
by Mr Obsidian on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 12:45:23 PM EST

I think there are two major things we may be overlooking in this discussion. The power of the nation-state and the power of the corporation.

If one looks at history from a political science view, democracy (besides a brief encounter with the Greeks, BC) is a very new thing. I would agree with the statement the author of the original article made that we haven't seen real democracy in most western European countries until 50-75 years ago. Systems have claimed democracy much longer than this, but I would argue that even today there is still gross injustice in even the most "democratic" systems.

Getting back to the subject, I think another historical look will reveal that even the nation-state is a relatively new occurrence in the global order. I would even argue that it will probably be short lived. Why? I believe that stagnation and misrepresentation are apparent in almost all modern democracies. The author has made numerous examples of anti-EU polls and demonstrations that provide ample majorities, yet the EU steams ahead. In the US, we have a two party system, and it has been reduced to Republicans and NOT-Republicans (democrats). I feel that 90% of the time in the US we are offered the choice between candidate A and candidate A.034... I think you can understand my point. Now, I would argue that more than the people, corporations are beginning to have power. I in no way subscribe to Orwellian beliefs of Big Brother. I believe corporate "Little Brothers" are what have really created our Panopticons. The economic Panopticon we live in is truly scary because it is almost completely transparent. It is a participatory Panopticon. We are given the choice to participate or not, but many would argue that in many cases the choice is either forced (paying taxes) or it isn't really even a choice anyway (anyone ever been in a US department store and tried to find a t-shirt without a logo on it?). But, I digress. My main point is that I believe the nation-state will remain around, but only as a husk for the truly powerful: multinational corporations. I am probably impolite for providing so many US examples, but I believe it is a global problem. If I can get past thinking the US is the world, please get past thinking all Americans think that way :-).

In closing, I agree with the author that the EU looks to be decreasing the ammount of influence the governed have over their governance. I don't know if I would carry it to the conclusion of the facist superstate, but I wouldn't rule that out. I would also submit a corporate feudalism senario, but I don't think that is completely accurate either, since it doesn't consider the Third World.

Mr O
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. " Martin Luther King, Jr.
What's this? A troll? Or plain misinformation? (4.16 / 24) (#111)
by Fred_A on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 01:57:05 PM EST

This is just terrible, it has to be written either by someone from the US, or from one of those few but vocal Britons that believe the UK should be the 51st US state.

There is such a deep misunderstanding of the issues at hand that it's hard to decide where to begin.

The EU is composed of democratic states, yes, but at a European level there is little to no democratic accountibility. The problem in the EU is the fatalism that surrounds it. The people of Europe are well aware of the lack of democracy at its heart, and yet are powerless to do anything about it. No country has voted to enter the Euro - all those countries that are in the single currency zone went in without consulting their people.

Any data to back this up ? People in most of Europe have voted for the Euro and the building of Europe. The few who have voted against it aren't part of the process. And regarding the people "well aware of lack of democracy", care to cite sources, show us who those people are ? As a European, I'm the first to agree that the Euro government isn't perfect but then what is. I'm confident that it will get better. Is the US government any better ? Obviously not, the president isn't even elected by the majority (see how easy it is to make up facts ?).

In Germany, opposition to the Euro runs at some 70% of the populace, and the figure is the same in France and many other central european countries.

*BEEEP!*. 1. Neither France, nor Germany are in central Europe. 2. Neither France nor Germany has a 70% anti-euro proportion of its population. Made up facts, wishful thinking... crap. Since you obviously don't know Europe, haven't researched your subject, and make stuff up as you go along, why did you even *bother* to write this piece ?

There is a real danger that frustration with the political process in France, Germany and other countries will lead to more of the same. Le Pen's Front National has garnered 20% or more of the popular vote in France, Germany has always had similar problems with extreme parties
*BEEEP!* Wrong again. It's a bit under 5% in France (an I happen to be French and take great interest in both the far right problems and the making of Europe. *I* have actually looked into this). Germany has similar problems, 5% of its population is made up of a mixture of abused people and maniacs.

The moral : do not make up facts and figures. Unless you address a purely US crowd which only has a very vague idea where France and Germany are to begin with.

The US has reacted by seeking to expand NAFTA, renaming it the FTA and making it clear that no political centralisation is required for membership. In many ways, the FTA is what the people in Europe, Britain especially, always expected the EU to be - a free association of sovereign nations, with a pooled free market and no compromise of independence.

Ah yes, an association of free nations where one dictates the rules and the others obey. Great. Very democratic. Wanna look at the mass movement of polluting US industries into Mexico since NAFTA ? Independence indeed. Thanks but no thanks. We'll build Europe without the example of the US if it's the same to you.

It is quite clear that Europe and the USA are becoming more and more competitive, and the EU would dearly like to leave NATO and set up its own shop. In twenty years time we could see a europe that is in the tradition of the Far Eastern, authoritarian, non-democratic style of governance, somewhat like Singapore. This is extremely dangerous, and yet it appears inevitable.
Ah, so we're gettinng to the heart of the matter. Is this what your problem is ? Europe not agreeing with the US ? Fearing that the US might loose its arrogant leverage on the rest of the world ? You mean we should murder underage children, any convict that isn't white and retarded people, all based on quick and dirty trials, on the electric chair as you do ? Or that we should let dangerous cults like Scientology pressure the government to do their bidding ? Or that we should fuck up the entire ecosystem by wasting five times as much resources as the rest of the planet ? Or discriminate against non-christians ? You mean we should do as you do ? Do you even realize what you're wishing for ? Once Europe is united, it will be a bigger power than the US. And you want us to be as arrogant and wasteful as the US is ? You really do ?

On the authoritarian side, An example might be the Schengen agreement, which seeks to limit immigration and restrict and control the movement of immigrants within the EU.

Your point being ? You mean that those freedom loving, non authoritarian US-ians are having their border patrols run all over the US-Mexico border just so that they can exercise ? *Every* wealthy country has some level of protection of its borders. What's your point exactly ? That the whole "western world" is authoritarian ? Have you tried immigrating in *any* country lately ?

Frankly this whole thing is so full of disinformation, raw propaganda and plain bullshit that there should be a "troll" category on k5 made up just for it. And as for US-ians (which is what I suspect the author to be, although I might be mistaken) giving lessons on democracy, don't make me laugh. The US might be better than China but that's about it.

Ok, so I've wasted 10 minutes on an obvious troll. Shit happens.


Fred in Paris

You are very extreme, and wrong (3.09 / 11) (#120)
by Anya on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:49:25 PM EST

This is just terrible, it has to be written either by someone from the US, or from one of those few but vocal Britons that believe the UK should be the 51st US state.

Wrong on both counts.

People in most of Europe have voted for the Euro and the building of Europe. The few who have voted against it aren't part of the process. And regarding the people "well aware of lack of democracy", care to cite sources, show us who those people are ? As a European, I'm the first to agree that the Euro government isn't perfect but then what is. I'm confident that it will get better. Is the US government any better ? Obviously not, the president isn't even elected by the majority (see how easy it is to make up facts ?).

When has there been a referendum on the euro in france? In Germany? In Italy? In Spain? In Austria? Belgium? I could go on and on - the simple fact is you don't have a leg to stand on here. As for your arguments regarding america, what the hell has that got to do with anything? You have assumed I am american and that I am saying america is better, when I am not. However, one thing is clear - it is certainly more democratic than the EU. At least American leaders are elected, nomatter how corrupt the process may be.

*BEEEP!* Wrong again. It's a bit under 5% in France (an I happen to be French and take great interest in both the far right problems and the making of Europe. *I* have actually looked into this). Germany has similar problems, 5% of its population is made up of a mixture of abused people and maniacs.

Well, why then is the far right in key positions in many regional parties? It has gained 15% of the vote in elections in the past - as support is variable, it would not surprise me if it varies up and down from there. It is not the small problem you make it out to be. And as for saying france is part of central europe, well, guess what? It was a simple mistake.

Ah yes, an association of free nations where one dictates the rules and the others obey. Great. Very democratic. Wanna look at the mass movement of polluting US industries into Mexico since NAFTA ? Independence indeed. Thanks but no thanks. We'll build Europe without the example of the US if it's the same to you.

Well, I am not a fan of the FTA at all, for these very reasons. However, when all is said and done, at least the FTA does not require its member to lose sovereignty to un andemocratic, unelected superstate. Now that is what I call dangerous.

Ah, so we're gettinng to the heart of the matter. Is this what your problem is ? Europe not agreeing with the US ? Fearing that the US might loose its arrogant leverage on the rest of the world ? You mean we should murder underage children, any convict that isn't white and retarded people, all based on quick and dirty trials, on the electric chair as you do ? Or that we should let dangerous cults like Scientology pressure the government to do their bidding ? Or that we should fuck up the entire ecosystem by wasting five times as much resources as the rest of the planet ? Or discriminate against non-christians ? You mean we should do as you do ? Do you even realize what you're wishing for ? Once Europe is united, it will be a bigger power than the US. And you want us to be as arrogant and wasteful as the US is ? You really do ?

How can I make this plain to you.

I am not American. I don't care about America especially when it comes to this issue.

Now you seem to be the one spreading propaganda and sensationalism. What an absurd paragraph. You seem to have pulled this out of nowhere; astonishing.

Your point being ? You mean that those freedom loving, non authoritarian US-ians are having their border patrols run all over the US-Mexico border just so that they can exercise ? *Every* wealthy country has some level of protection of its borders. What's your point exactly ? That the whole "western world" is authoritarian ? Have you tried immigrating in *any* country lately ?

*sigh*

I am not american. America is irrelevant.

Yes, every wealthy country has protection of its borders. However, not every wealthy country has supranational monitoring systems, concentration camps and all these paraphernalia operating on immigrants once they have entered the country (well, if you are the wrong sort of immigrant, that is).

Frankly this whole thing is so full of disinformation, raw propaganda and plain bullshit that there should be a "troll" category on k5 made up just for it. And as for US-ians (which is what I suspect the author to be, although I might be mistaken) giving lessons on democracy, don't make me laugh

I know, it must be shocking. The EU, paragon among undemocratic nations, criticised! You seem barely able to handle this blasphemy against your beliefs (precious little in the way of relevant arguments, unfortunately).

The US might be better than China but that's about it.

Where do you get this obsession from? Why do Europeans have such a chip on their shoulder about the USA? Its insane. The USA may be many things, but it is not evil incarnate. Your emotions and arguments on this really are absurd and extremeist, and clearly motivated by some rather outdated french nationalism, mutated into misguided Euronationalism. And this is what seems to motivate many of the continental Europhiles. Scary.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Extremism and wrongness oh my (3.00 / 9) (#125)
by Fred_A on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:21:17 PM EST

When has there been a referendum on the euro in france? In Germany? In Italy? In Spain? In Austria? Belgium? I could go on and on - the simple fact is you don't have a leg to stand on here.

There have been referendums on the Maastricht treaty all over the place. Everybody knew that a common currency would come out of it, there was no government conspiracy involved there, sorry. And there have been many referendums specifically on the Euro issue in several countries as well. Some decided to refuse it which is their right.

As for your arguments regarding america, what the hell has that got to do with anything? You have assumed I am american and that I am saying america is better, when I am not.

Basically because a number of your references point to it and because your arguments are fairly typical of what kind be find in some of the US press.

This is just terrible, it has to be written either by someone from the US, or from one of those few but vocal Britons that believe the UK should be the 51st US state. Wrong on both counts. People in most of Europe have voted for the Euro and the building of Europe. The few who have voted against it aren't part of the process. And regarding the people "well aware of lack of democracy", care to cite sources, show us who those people are ? As a European, I'm the first to agree that the Euro government isn't perfect but then what is. I'm confident that it will get better. Is the US government any better ? Obviously not, the president isn't even elected by the majority (see how easy it is to make up facts ?). When has there been a referendum on the euro in france? In Germany? In Italy? In Spain? In Austria? Belgium? I could go on and on - the simple fact is you don't have a leg to stand on here. As for your arguments regarding america, what the hell has that got to do with anything? You have assumed I am american and that I am saying america is better, when I am not. However, one thing is clear - it is certainly more democratic than the EU. At least American leaders are elected, nomatter how corrupt the process may be. *BEEEP!* Wrong again. It's a bit under 5% in France (an I happen to be French and take great interest in both the far right problems and the making of Europe. *I* have actually looked into this). Germany has similar problems, 5% of its population is made up of a mixture of abused people and maniacs.

Well, why then is the far right in key positions in many regional parties?

Austria is the only example at the moment and the trend of that party in the polls is decidedly down. Hardly representative of Europe.

Well, I am not a fan of the FTA at all, for these very reasons. However, when all is said and done, at least the FTA does not require its member to lose sovereignty to un andemocratic, unelected superstate. Now that is what I call dangerous.

It does not require its members to do so because it has nothing in common with what Europe is becoming. Europe was a free trade zone which was roughly comparable to the one defined by FTA and is on its way to becoming something else. And when it was a free trade are, most of the participants at least dealt as equals.
And you still haven't explained what's so dangerous about the whole business.

So ok, you're not from the US and don't care about the US. Fine. However you still haven't explained what is so bad about the building of Europe, why the evolving Euro government is so evil compared to all others. Your whole argument still can be summed up as "whine whine, propaganda, Europe bad, whine whine". Still not good enough.


Fred in Paris
[ Parent ]

The Euro vote (4.42 / 7) (#126)
by infraoctarine on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:25:57 PM EST

When has there been a referendum on the euro in france? In Germany? In Italy? In Spain? In Austria? Belgium?

France held the referendum on September 20th 1992 (it was on the Maastricht treaty, of which the monetary union is part). I believe the others you mention ratified the treaty by parliamentary vote. This might be considered a lack of democracy (I certainly think so), but it would be an example of lack of democracy in those member nations. Were we not discussing the lack of democracy in the EU itself?

(France, Ireland and Denmark held referendums on this treaty in 1992 (Denmark first voted no and later yes after they got an exception from the monetary union). Sweden, Austria and Finland held referendums on membership, which included the Maastricht treaty, in 1995. Sweden is, despite this, going to hold a new, separate referendum on the Euro due to public demand.)

[ Parent ]

Concentration Camps?! (2.75 / 8) (#128)
by golek on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:33:59 PM EST

Yes, every wealthy country has protection of its borders. However, not every wealthy country has supranational monitoring systems, concentration camps and all these paraphernalia operating on immigrants once they have entered the country (well, if you are the wrong sort of immigrant, that is).

Please enlighten me on the existence of Concentration Camps for illegal immigrants in the US. I have never seen or read of such a thing. If your idea of a concentration camp is a facility for processing and deportation of illegal Mexican migrants, your definition is a very broad one. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that there are quite a few such facilities spread around Europe. The US isn't alone in its efforts to stem the flow of illegals:

Flow of migrants causes strain between Italy and its neighbors
EU seeks to curb illegal immigration

[ Parent ]

todays lesson: Reading comprehension (3.00 / 2) (#154)
by delmoi on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:28:04 PM EST

Please enlighten me on the existence of Concentration Camps for illegal immigrants in the US. I have never seen or read of such a thing .... I'd be willing to bet that there are quite a few such facilities spread around Europe

She was talking about europe.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
my mistake (4.00 / 2) (#156)
by golek on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 07:11:04 PM EST

After rereading the thread, I see I was mistaken. However, I am still interested in what Anya means by "concentration camps", a term which carries a lot of historical baggage with it and in my opinion shouldn't be tossed around loosely.

[ Parent ]
funny (1.00 / 2) (#199)
by philippe_carlo on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 10:17:10 AM EST

Funny, I thought of you (Anya) being the extremist ... Anyway, you should build up a career in media manipulation. And since you seem to be Anglofile, why not going to the USA and sell it over there ? I'm sure they 'll like it !

[ Parent ]
referendum about EURO in France (4.66 / 3) (#201)
by Peureux et anonyme on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 10:25:11 AM EST

When has there been a referendum on the euro in france?

20th of September, 1992
see http://www.france.diplomatie.fr/france/gb/politiq/02_1.html

[ Parent ]
I agree - misinformed (4.66 / 3) (#177)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:15:24 AM EST

Why did the European Union come about? - because of 2 world wars in Europe that led to the deaths of 100 million odd people.

The French and the Germans (with the 3 Benelux countries and Italy) decided to set up an Iron and Steel community so that neither France nor Germany could secretly re-arm and to prevent a re-occurrence of the arms races that led up to the Great War and the Second War.

The emerging communities have been an enormous success at preventing revanchism and attempts at border re-alignment.

Remember people that most European borders have been underdispute, or subject to change in living memory -eg:
* Franco-German border settled 1955 (Saarland plebiscite) having changed 3 times in the previous 80 years
* Franco-Italian border last changed 1945
* Republic of Ireland claim on part of the UK dropped 1996 as part of the peace process.
* (West) German-Polish border settled 1973 (ie the Bundesrepublic whilst claiming all of East Germany recognised that if it absorbed the GDR it's eastern border would be that of the GDR
* (West) German-Russian border (ie Memeland) 1973 (I think - ditto above)
etc, etc, etc

And also:
* The existance of the EU directly created the circumstances whereby the Four Powers (UK, France, US and the Soviet Union) could allow the re-unification of Germany. Our then Prime Minister darling Maggie Thatcher was minded to prevent it but the rest of the world just laughed at her. Yes, fact fans, the constitutional construction of the West German state was in the hands of the former war time allies until 12 years ago...
* The EU was a key organisation for the bringing of the fascists states of Spain, Portugal and Greece into democracy in the 1970s.
* The EU has enabled us to manage and survive the Balkan wars (individual states that seceeded the former Yugoslavia are now apply to join the EU as equals.

The UK's perennial maneouver against the EU has been the chimera of a free trade area and now (once again) we get the hoary old nonsense about why isn't the EU more like Nafta. Sorry to disappoint you, but the UK suggested a European Free Trade Area as an alertnative to the European Economic Community as long ago as the 1956 Messina meeting, and the proposal was accepted. All the EU countries are in Efta, as well as a lot of countries of former Soviet Europe. Efta is doing nicely as the anteroom of the EU. Any pro-Efta/Nafta proposals are simply a cowards way of saying lets abolish the EU.

I do think the EU is undemocratic and I do think the next big political struggle in Europe is to build a European constitution, but the EU has stood us well against war for 56 years - probably the longest period since the ice age.

[ Parent ]
German-Russian border? (4.50 / 2) (#181)
by qba on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:46:53 AM EST

* (West) German-Polish border settled 1973 (ie the Bundesrepublic whilst claiming all of East Germany recognised that if it absorbed the GDR it's eastern border would be that of the GDR

* (West) German-Russian border (ie Memeland) 1973 (I think - ditto above)

Last time I checked, there was no German-Russian border. In fact, being a Pole, I hope there will never be.

Also, the indisputability of the German-Polish border was confirmed in 1970 (and reconfirmed in 1990 in the wake of the reunification).

[ Parent ]

German Russian border (3.00 / 1) (#183)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:33:27 AM EST

The old German Reich included the East Prussian pocket, part of which was incorporated into the former Soviet Union as the Memeland in 1945 with the German population expelled. That now constitutes the Kalingrad pocket a part of the Russian republic seperated from the rest of Russia by Lithuania as shown here.

The point is that the old GDR agreed its eastern borders with Poland/the USSR and Lithuania soon after the war but the Bundesrepublik didn't until 1973

(*apologies* I was confusing the Kalingrad/Konigsberg issue - current- with the Memel issue - 1930s - Memel being next to Kalingrad/Konigsberg and currently in Lithuania)



[ Parent ]
Correct myself (3.00 / 1) (#185)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:36:57 AM EST

I meant to say that the old East Prussia is incorporated into Russia as the Kalingrad pocket not the Memelland.

[ Parent ]
Way better. (2.00 / 1) (#186)
by i on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:44:09 AM EST

Now, if you have nothing else to do, try to memoize the name. It's Kal-in-in-grad. Yep, twice "in". If it's too hard, call it Königsberg, everybody will understand.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
1973 vs 1970 (3.00 / 1) (#184)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:34:55 AM EST

I was under the impression the FDR-Polish stuff happened in 1973 but I could easily be wrong, so I defer to you on 1970...

[ Parent ]
Speaking of Austria (4.18 / 11) (#113)
by FloWo on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:09:33 PM EST

And being an Austrian citizen, I can say that Austria is not vehemently anti-european. There was a general vote whether or not to join the EU. 2/3 voted pro joining the EU. There never has been a big anti-european movement in Austria, because Austria understands herself as _the_ european nation, having spreaded over a great part of Europe back when it was an empire (second largest nation of europe, capital Vienna fourth largest city of the world, back in 1910). The Austrian tradition of breaking down boarders always included a vision of Europe that is now being met with the EU enlargement.
Calling the Freedom Party a fascist movement is a gross misconception of Fascism. Fascism is more than being a populist movement and using resentments of the population for winning elections.
The Front National, thanks to united action from all the other political parties has been banned from the political scene, has splitted and is now insignificant for politics in France.
The same applies to Germany. Extreme right-wing parties there have no access to the media or are in power.
One of the many things that seem to be neglected is the fact that european governments and the EU itself is powerful enough to withstand the pression from multinational corporations, whereas the US government is famous for giving in and letting Microsoft have a monopoly where it is most dangerous.
Speaking of transparence: The EU has various watchdogs, human rights groups, a fully independent finance control institution, human rights courts, civil rights courts, administration courts, ...
I have to admit I like the EU, I consider myself to be a European. There are problems, the lacking power of the Parliament was mentioned, but these can be overcome. Democracy in Europe has existed for a long time, although Madeline Albright said otherwise, there have been Parliaments in most european states for centuries, democratic revolutions, law states, ...
That a EU that is gaining power and relevance in the world and is beginning to question the dominance of the USA and its companies, is a threat to the USA, is clear.

EU keeps demagogs in check (1.00 / 8) (#127)
by MSBob on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:30:48 PM EST

It's only thanks to the EU that the likes of Heider cannot do as they please and put all Austrian immigrants in gas chambers.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
Typical French reaction... (1.80 / 15) (#152)
by beergut on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:13:36 PM EST

The Front National, thanks to united action from all the other political parties has been banned from the political scene, has splitted and is now insignificant for politics in France.

Typically French. Don't agree? Use the guns of government to ban the dissenting opinion.

Gutless fucking frogs,
Really lacking testicles,
Grow some nuts you guys.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

I know, free speach is a big issue for Americans (none / 0) (#292)
by FloWo on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 11:18:18 AM EST

But in Europe the situation is that we had one very big war that was ignited by a fascist dictator that came to power legally because the democratic powers could not find a way to protect the system from Propaganda, Dictatorship and Plebiscites.

In Europe there are laws against certain opinions. That may not be fully compliant with free speach, but it has prevented Dictators from coming to power.

[ Parent ]
Are you serious? (4.50 / 2) (#297)
by MrMikey on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:12:15 PM EST

Wars are not prevented by censorship and thought control - wars are started by crap like that. You prevent Dictators from coming into power by having an open society, where very point of view is brought into the harsh light of day and questioned. You prevent Dictators by having a well-educated populace that thinks for itself and refuses to be mindlessly led. You prevent Dictators by having a government with checks and balances, such that power is divided and not concentrated in any one person or institution. When you have "laws against certain opinions", you create an ideal breeding ground for the very "Propaganda, Dictatorship and Plebiscites" you seem to deplore.

[ Parent ]
I agree (4.00 / 1) (#298)
by Anya on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:16:47 PM EST

This attitude you question is a common one in Europe, and is one of the reasons why the EU is so dangerous in this regard. They don't like to have the status quo questioned, and will do anything to remove choice from the political process because they are scared to trust democracy, bearing in mind what happened in the Germany of the 1920's.

This is one of the reasons why it is so dangerous as it now stands, IMHO.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

No (5.00 / 1) (#343)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 02:52:01 PM EST

Hitler and Mussolini came to power not because of the fact that their propaganda was widespread but because both of their countries were in serious trouble. Fascism is merely conservatism taken to its extreme. Nations tend to get conservative in times of trial and liberal in times of plenty; the US certainly does. In Germany, at least, the Weimar republic was facing certain ruin, something the Germans could not accept; hence the Hitler youth, who firmly believed that Hitler could solve all of Germany's problems. Without those problems, I doubt he'd have succeeded.
Despite all attempts to the contrary over US history, the Communist Party is alive and well here, if marginal. Why? We don't have starving peasants, the grist of communist uprisings.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Are you perhaps American? (3.20 / 5) (#117)
by SIGFPE on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:36:20 PM EST

controlling every little detail of the media
Would you like to post some more details about government control of the media in Europe or retract that statement? One of the two please.
SIGFPE
media control (3.40 / 5) (#136)
by Delirium on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:01:36 PM EST

Well, Anya is not American.

As for media control in Europe, I am American so perhaps am not well-qualified to answer that, but Italy at least has a very high degree of state control over the media (and the few media outlets that are not owned by the state proper are owned by the Prime Minister, giving the government de facto control over nearly 100% of the media in the country). Perhaps other countries are not nearly as bad, but in Britain the government does control a very large percentage of the country's media through the various BBC television channel and radio stations.

[ Parent ]

Not quite (4.50 / 6) (#146)
by TuRRIcaNEd on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:37:49 PM EST

but in Britain the government does control a very large percentage of the country's media through the various BBC television channel and radio stations.

Ooh no no no no no.......

The BBC is, by and large, an independent organisation. The only stipulation is that if you watch terrestrial BBC channels in the UK you must have a valid TV licence, as this is the way the BBC is funded. True, the BBC could be said to be in concord with the current government, but it has been guardedly critical of the UK government before, particularly when Thatcher really began to lose her mind in the late 80s and early 90s. The only threat the government can make is to revoke the BBC's broadcast licence, but that right is held over *any* media outlet in the UK, and no government would do it for fear of the public backlash.

Tc.

"We're all f**ked. You're f**ked. I'm f**ked. The whole department's f**ked. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we're all completely f**ked. - Sir Richard Mottram expounds the limits of spin
[ Parent ]

Laws (4.25 / 4) (#160)
by dazk on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:16:10 PM EST

Hiho, in Germany radio and television is devided. There are truly private stations and partly government funded ones. The government funded ones are like the BBC funded by TV licenses. There are laws for the government funded media that if you read them really only limit the way they can agree to the current government. Those laws do not permit any kind of government control over the media. It is really hard to change those laws and it would certainly become public if any attempt was made. That way they are even more free than the private ones wich have to try to deliver their news the way people like to hear them since they are only funded by commercials wich pay most if a lot of people see them. I don't know. It might be a strange thought for Americans to have media that is funded by the government. Don't know at all the funding models of american media. What I know from personal experience (I lived 11 Months in Canada) is that north american media is very north america centered. It's even worse from my point of view in America as it is in Canada. The percentage of north american coverage is way to high compared to world matters. I don't really know why the death of a cow on Farmer Jack's farm gets five minutes on the news when some conflict somewhere in the world only gets half a minute. I know, I exaggerate but I hope you get my point. Also in Europe you can watch quite a few channels of different countries. Even though Europe is growing together, which is good in my oppinion, oppinions vary from country to country on nearly all topics. Watching news from other countries helps to determine if the coverage in your own country is independant or not. To releave american's of their fears, we even get the some american point of view on topics on CNN (if CNN cares to cover European topics at all) or other american stations. Believe me, you usually get better and I mean better, not biased information from european media. I really think, there is a lot of misconception about Europe especially in the US. Could this be because the media is not covering other parts of the world enough? I really had the impression when I stayed in Canada 1992-1993. And don't say Canadian media are bad. I think they are a lot more open for other concerns than US stations. Well, as I said before in a rather blunt way (but the comment obviously got deleted), I think the author of the article shows a lot of misunderstanding regarding europe. And besides, criticising Democracy from a country where elections are won in court not in the vote booth is kind of like throwing with stones in a glass house. (Don't know wether you can translate that saying right away but I believe, you get my point.) I understood the author was american. If I am wrong, please disregard my criticism about american media but my points about european media are still valid IMHO. Cheers, Richard
----- Copy kills music! Naaah! Greedyness kills Brain! Counter: Bought 17CDs this year because I found tracks of an album on fileshare and wanted it all.
[ Parent ]
Telly licence (4.00 / 3) (#194)
by Yer Mom on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 09:34:28 AM EST

You mean, of course, if you watch any channel - terrestrial, cable, satellite, digital or analogue, whether it's the BBC or not...

Actually, according to my reading of the small print, they can clobber you just for having a telly even if you don't use it - if you're just using it for your old BBC B, you have to prove that.
--
The liver is evil and must be punished.
[ Parent ]

Well... (3.00 / 6) (#150)
by SIGFPE on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:04:25 PM EST

Italy's Prime Minister has significant control over the Italian media but what does that have to do with the EU?

As for the BBC...you completely misunderstand the situation. The fact that the BBC is government funded is what makes it just about the most independent media company in the world.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]

BBC (3.50 / 2) (#164)
by Delirium on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:48:44 PM EST

I'm not saying the BBC is a bad thing, and in fact would like it if the US had such a commercials-free network (we have PBS, but it's being rapidly privatized due to the fact that many Americans oppose the government paying for media). However, it is a government-funded media organization, and as such is subject, theoretically at least, to government control. Sure, it's set up independently, but that independence was set up by the government, so could be revoked; the only thing stopping that is public opinion.

[ Parent ]
And? (none / 0) (#168)
by SIGFPE on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 10:17:21 PM EST

the only thing stopping that is public opinion
And your point is? Some people say the BBC isn't under government control. You then give a reason why not. Yet your point seems to be poised to counter the opinion that the BBC isn't government controlled. I'm confused.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
BBC independant please. (none / 0) (#311)
by Grey42 on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 06:29:58 PM EST

As for the BBC...you completely misunderstand the situation. The fact that the BBC is government funded is what makes it just about the most independent media company in the world.
An indepedant goverment media. Please. Canada also has a large goverment media(CBC). It is increadable Bias, way beyond tolleration. During the '93 election it said that the refrom party was going to abolish Unempolyment insurance, Welfair, helthcare, education, and Canada pension. Which was an out right lie of the Liberal party. The reform party was promessing not to touch those things and to axe _everything_ else like the CBC. Most of the CBC heads seam to be members of the Libral party (The Goverment for 80% of our history) odd that. Oh BTW the Liberal party in that term trashed all those thinks and increased the CBCs bugget.
-- Grey 42(Chris Lusena)
[ Parent ]
Is the BBC goverment funded? (none / 0) (#322)
by amanset on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 06:54:48 AM EST

It is the opinion of many that the BBC is not government funded. If it was, why would they bother with the licence and just introduce a tax? The fact is, the licence is not paid to the government (traditionally it is paid at a post office and the money is not routed through government coffers) but to the corporation. Anyone who has watched the BBC and seen how savage they can be to the Government woudl realise this.

[ Parent ]
But there's still just one (none / 0) (#342)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 02:46:24 PM EST

We have six major networks in the US, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, UPN, and one I can't remember. However, even with all that, to hear a conservative or Libertarian position, one almost always has to resort to, of all things, AM radio...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Only one? (4.00 / 1) (#356)
by amanset on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 06:32:44 PM EST

I'm sorry but we have more than one major network. Only one is funded by the licence fee, but there are others. The UK has five national terrestrial channels. BBC1, BBC2, ITV, C4 and C5. ITV (Independent Television) is actually made up of lots of smaller companies working together. Each one (slightly simplified there :o) controls ITV for a certain area. For example, I come from the Midlands where Central used to be the controlling station (I believe this has now changed due to a buyout or merger). Where my Father comes from, Yorkshire, has YTV (Yorkshire Television).

Thus there is far more than just the BBC. Of the five terrestrial channels, the BBC has control over two of them.

You can read more about ITV and www.itv.co.uk

[ Parent ]

American point of view (2.12 / 8) (#122)
by svampa on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 02:55:51 PM EST

So, this is EU from an American point of view.

Quite interesting.



Not exactly (1.33 / 3) (#124)
by Betcour on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:16:51 PM EST

This is obviously a the point of view of a British. You can very well see the classical Europhobic rethoric so typical of english tabloids, assorted with various false information for good measure.

[ Parent ]
Anya is not European (none / 0) (#234)
by marx on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:57:19 PM EST

This is dangerous for all of us, not just the 350 million inhabitants of the EU.

For what it's worth...


Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Actually (3.00 / 1) (#238)
by Anya on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:25:53 PM EST

I am an inhabitant of the EU. However, I was writing the article for everyone, hence the style of that sentence.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Sorry (none / 0) (#273)
by marx on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 06:44:39 PM EST

Ah, sorry. I also made the fatal mistake of writing "European" instead of "inhabitant of the EU". I apologize to all non-EU Europeans.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

EU perseptions in the US? (1.33 / 3) (#151)
by delmoi on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:09:13 PM EST

Most of us really couldn't give a damn... Other then hoping the Dollar stays above the -- Euro for purely emotional reasons -- that is :P
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Why EU? (3.28 / 7) (#133)
by exotherm on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 04:56:24 PM EST

Economics, my friend. And I quote the 5th edition of _The_World_Economy_, by Beth V. Yarbrough and Robert M. Yarbrough, on pg. 198:

a large country constitutes a share of the world market sufficient to enable it to affect its terms of trade. When this condition is satisfied, the country may be able to use an import tariff to improve its terms of trade. Therefore, a large country can in some cases improve its welfare by imposing a tariff, an outcoume impossible for a small country.

The various European countries, whilst independent, didn't have much of a negotiating leverage when dealing with the US, but with the formation of the EU, can now go toe-to-toe with us. As for those problems you pointed out, it's been hoped that they'll be solved once the EU gains enough marketshare in the world economy. We don't know for sure if they will, and yes I do take those problems seriously, but all I can do right now is to take a "wait and see" approach.
Those who can are driven mad by those who can't.

Hmm... (1.92 / 13) (#144)
by dazk on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 05:34:11 PM EST

This is one hell of a trashy article, sorry Anya! Richard, (a pro European) from Germany
----- Copy kills music! Naaah! Greedyness kills Brain! Counter: Bought 17CDs this year because I found tracks of an album on fileshare and wanted it all.
No comments, actually (2.00 / 10) (#148)
by Gutza on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 06:03:14 PM EST

While reading your article I wanted to write a negative answer. There are a lot of points you're wrong/mistaken in. But then I read the other comments and I really don't need to bother anymore. Just wrote this because wanted you to be able to count another negative opinion on your article.

Who's your vendor, who's your vendor? — Scott Adams
time is K5
Non-EU, non-US point of view (4.50 / 8) (#163)
by Gutza on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:29:20 PM EST

I live in Romania.

We're not in EU - and from what it looks like, we won't be for the next 50 years. But I can tell you you're wrong on judging EU like this. I'll give you an parallel with what's it like over here on the "they aren't able to vote" thing, although you have already been proven wrong. We don't have great leaders over here. So what we do is choose among those available. And after the winner wins, he starts making mistakes upon mistakes. He doesn't ask us to vote for each and every mistake he does - he just does them.

Now, in the EU, they only have good (or at least so-so) leaders. So they have to elect one of those. And after they elect him, even if the system was not based on voting regarding joining the EU, he, as a wise leader, decides on joining the EU. And it's absolutely normal! I'd do the same if I were to decide on this. And if the people didn't want in EU and they knew they won't vote on this one, they'd elect someone who doesn't lead to this course of action. It's the simple democratic system of delegating the decisions on the government you choose.

You're then talking about the flag and the anthem. That's true, but no country member of EU is asked to give up on their old anthem or flag.

You're talking about the common curreny: how on Earth can you consider this to be a bad thing?! This is one of the things that made the US what they are now. We'd also need a common language all over Europe and we'd be a lot closer to US in all respects due to a lot of current problems I'm not going to cover here. I know a common language is something not even remotely acceptable at the moment, but the point still stands at an abstract level.

And I also subscribe to the immigration control principle. You people don't know how frustrating and humiliating it is for us East-Europeans who want to travel in the Western Europe or the US, you don't know how they treat us like cattle in your country's embassy located in my city - which is most offensive. Nevertheless, I completely understand the policy because if I were to run your country I'd make the same decisions (except for the embassies' staff manners).

The conclusion is almost all of your opinions in this article should be negated to result in my personal view of what EU is and will become. Plus I consider your poll as extremely biased - that's why so many people voted "Something else" instead of their real opinions you could have included in the poll as an entry saying "Or I'm completely wrong".

Who's your vendor, who's your vendor? — Scott Adams
time is K5
Embassies (none / 0) (#341)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 02:41:40 PM EST

If it's any consolation, I'm a US citizen, and they treat me like cattle at my own embassy. That's just a US way of dealing with problems. If you think the embassy is bad, you should try the local department of motor vehicles...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Being from the UK, you should have nothing to fear (4.53 / 15) (#165)
by pavlos on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 08:52:41 PM EST

I live here, and I find it hard to imagine what the EU could do to make the UK worse than it already is.

Britain already has two unelected branches of the executive: the Lords and the Queen. They are far less democratic than the European Comission. As for the actual parliament, it has been dominated by a two-party system for at least thirty years (maybe more, I don't know). This is maintained by a first-past-the-post electoral system whereas other EU countries have more proportional electoral systems.

Britain is already a police state. We have no right to free speech, free assembly, privacy, or indeed any charter of rights such as a constitution. Police cameras are on every other lamp post. There is no tradition of using the supreme court. Anti-fun laws (alcohol hours, obscenity, gay/lesbian, soft drugs) are very tight. There is no fredom of information in general, as the media is very narrowly controlled, while libel law is very strong.

Britain is already exremely militaristic. Its government has several times participated in outright war over the past 20 years, often with very dubious "support" from the population. It's hard to imagine that any unified European army could be anywhere near as adventurous. Britain already has a famously active secret service, more so than other EU countries, and it is cooperating with the US!

The UK has a fair amount of racism too, and it's not directed at Germans or Italians. The UK also has a host of other social problems such as alcoholism, poverty, random violence, poor education. I believe these are caused mainly by policies that favor businesses over people, but Britain is more guilty of this than most EU counries.

Britain is already completely dominated by businesses. Every shopping street in every British city has exactly the same collection of retail chains, with the same limited range and mediocre quality of goods. It is not so in the streets of French, German, or Spanish cities, though there are signs of it and they don't like it. Britain is the only place outside the US where people willingly go to franchise bars!

So I am honestly baffled as to why euroskepticism is so strong here. If the effect of the EU is to tend towards some sort of average in democratic and social terms, then this can only make the UK a better place. The Irish, Greeks, Portuguese, and generally the economically weaker states may have a lot more reason to doubt the EU, with its free markets, powerfull corporations (of which they have few), possibility of marginalization, etc. But Britain? Why?

I find the euroskeptic arguments extremely suspect, especially because they are mainly put forward by the conservative party. If the EU was more like the NAFTA or FTA, The conservatives ought to be pro Europe, since this would be undoubtedly good for business. But they are against. I wonder why! They also could put forward some clear economic arguments rather than emotional ones such as "keep the pound" or "don't lose sovereignty".

I believe the current Tory-driven anti-European propaganda is due to the fact that the British socio-economic system is almost as pro-business and anti-social as the American one, only without the wealth, and joining Europe fully would only make things more socially balanced.

Pavlos

And how did Britain end up like this? (1.00 / 3) (#227)
by LilDebbie on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:07:10 PM EST

One answer: you let them take your guns away. This is a good illustration of what happens to personal freedom when the individual doesn't have the firepower to protect it. Even though k5 has an international audience, I'm sure you all know what I mean by the importance of 2nd amendment rights [annie, get your GUN].

LilDebbie

Never, NEVER let go of your life preserver.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
I haven't read anything this funny in a long time (4.50 / 4) (#239)
by MrMikey on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:52:22 PM EST

Thanks, LilDebbie. You made my day. Your delightfully crafted post using a mindless gun-fetishist caricature as a subtle focus for satire was a work of genius. Have you considered becoming a professional satirist? You definitely have a gift. Thanks again.

[ Parent ]
ahh...kuro5hin (none / 0) (#307)
by LilDebbie on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 05:04:25 PM EST

It's been quite some time since I was mocked with such a skilled and silver tongue. Touche to you sir, your subtly sarcastic tone is a kindness to me, even if it is used to jest.

LilDebbie

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
The second amendment is failiure (1.00 / 1) (#282)
by voxol on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 07:04:43 AM EST

The second amendment is to preserve free govenment by giving the population the ultimate mandate of force in the event of misrepresentation.

Timothy McVeigh saw such a need arise after the Waco incident.

"he so strongly believed that the federal government through the FBI and the ATF had committed murder there, had declared war on the American citizens, as he put it, that he was driven to react to that." - http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/june97/mcveigh_6-11.html

And so the Second ammendment is useless for the one thing it was preserved for.

[ Parent ]
So ... (5.00 / 1) (#358)
by vrai on Sat Jun 16, 2001 at 03:20:33 PM EST

... instead of relying on such nonsense as democracy and working for the greater good I should instead buy a gun, grow a beard, and retreat to a remote farm telling everyone who'll listen about the "goddam fascist government secret service" who are out to take away my right to kill other people. Fucking fantastic.

But, on second thoughts I'll stay in UK, and live in a vibrant, prosperous, multi-cultural country where I can walk the street without risk of being shot. I think not needing a beard swung it.

[ Parent ]

Sticking up for the UK (4.33 / 6) (#237)
by Mental Blank on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:20:29 PM EST

Britain is clearly not perfect, and I sympathise with many of your concerns. But I nevertheless have to criticise almost every point, as follows :) Warning: long, and slightly offtopic, response!

Britain already has two unelected branches of the executive: the Lords and the Queen. They are far less democratic than the European Comission.
It is true that the Queen is unelected. However, she actually holds no real power whatsoever, so that's not a problem. As for the House of Lords, I would agree that the system for selection is undemocratic, but the Lords has no power to introduce new legislation - it can merely veto the laws introduced by the (elected) House of Commons, which can push them through with the Parliament Act anyway.
As for the actual parliament, it has been dominated by a two-party system for at least thirty years (maybe more, I don't know). This is maintained by a first-past-the-post electoral system whereas other EU countries have more proportional electoral systems.
Many people disagree with our electoral system. Its advantage is that it tends to lead to strong governments which have the ability to actually enact legislation, rather than squabbling coalitions. Or even worse, hung parliaments which require the co-operation of minor far-right (or far-left) parties. And realignments in the major political parties do occur (rarely).
We have no right to free speech, free assembly, privacy, or indeed any charter of rights such as a constitution.
You mean a charter like the European Convention on Human Rights?
Police cameras are on every other lamp post.
A policy which is supported by most people. Cameras are only used in public places, do not invade your privacy, and vastly increase your personal safety. If you are doing something where anyone can see you, what's the problem with a camera seeing you too?
There is no tradition of using the supreme court.
Why would that be such a great thing in itself? I don't see a problem with the legal system as it stands.
Anti-fun laws (alcohol hours, obscenity, gay/lesbian, soft drugs) are very tight.
Alcohol: not so bad everywhere, and being changed. Obscenity: maybe, but liberal compared to the US. Gay/lesbian: hardly. The gay age of consent has recently been reduced to 16, and gay sex is not technically illegal as in some European countries. If you are referring to Section 28, this is set to change soon. Soft drugs: harsh compared to Amsterdam, but much the same as everywhere else.

I broadly agree with your comments about our military exploits, but I would note that they have been scaled down immensely in recent years. And our "famously active" secret service seems to be mostly made up of incompetents at the moment.

The UK has a fair amount of racism too, and it's not directed at Germans or Italians.
I am not saying that the UK is perfect in this regard. But I challenge you to name another country with an equally varied ethnic mix that is less racist. Consider France and Germany, for example...
Every shopping street in every British city has exactly the same collection of retail chains, with the same limited range and mediocre quality of goods.
Rubbish! You make it sound as if Britain is run by one vast corporation (Marks and Spencer, perhaps?) who control every High Street shop. Large retail chains are present everywhere in the world. Also, Britain has less huge "hypermarkets" than other countries (America, France).
Britain is the only place outside the US where people willingly go to franchise bars!
But it also has a long and successful tradition of independent, local pubs. Market forces are at work: if a franchise bar is cheaper, nicer etc. than an independent one, it will be more popular.

Many of your criticisms appear to be railing against the Thatcher years in the 80s. The mood in the country has changed drastically since then and government policy is now people-friendly, not business-friendly. And as an example of how policies aimed at business can sometimes benefit people too, consider current European unemployment rates. (Hint: the UK's is low)

[ Parent ]

Gay age of consent (none / 0) (#252)
by amanset on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 06:33:41 AM EST

The gay age of consent is now 16? I thought it only got reduced to 18 from 21. Have I missed something?

[ Parent ]
Yep (5.00 / 2) (#254)
by Mental Blank on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 07:42:39 AM EST

To quote a (gay) friend of mine:

It is indeed 16, and that finally happened last year. The government made three attempts during the last parliament to equalise it, all of which gained overwhelming majorities in the commons, but were returned by the lords. Eventually, the government invoked the parliament act, which forces the legislation through without the consent of the house of lords.

For more information, see here.

[ Parent ]

Excellent (none / 0) (#278)
by amanset on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 04:50:59 AM EST

Excellent news. Persoanlly I was pro them both being 18, but whatever the age, homo and hetro sexual sex should be the same.

[ Parent ]
Franchise bars? (1.00 / 1) (#272)
by treetops on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 06:17:11 PM EST

Britain is the only place outside the US where people willingly go to franchise bars!

I'm American, and I've never heard of franchise bars. Live in the big city (New York), too.

Though don't think I'm ignoring your implied insult.
--tt
[ Parent ]

Apologies (offtopic discussion on British pubs) (none / 0) (#275)
by pavlos on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 10:59:53 PM EST

To be honest, now that you mention it I don't remember seeing any franchise bars as such in the US either. There are some mid-market franchise restaurants that have bars, and people seem to mix eating and drinking out more than they do in Britain, but no franchise bars as such.

As for Britain, it is true, they have franchise bars. In my city of 0.5M there are three branches of a beer-drinking pub, two of a white-collar wine bar type place, and several branches of a chain that imitates traditional pubs (their name varies but follows a theme). These are all UK-wide. There are also two branches of a chrome-and-neon cafe bar, and at least four branches of a ghosts-and-skeletons themed franchise.

The UK actually has a tradition of dependent pubs. Usually pubs have been either owned by breweries outright or at least bound by some agreement to sell one particular manufacturer's line of beverages. Pubs that were not in this predicament traditionally advertised a "Free House" sign. I don't know if all this has been changing recently.

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

NY,NY != US (none / 0) (#310)
by Grey42 on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 06:19:36 PM EST

There are a lot of Franchise bars, and resterants in the US, it just that they are all outside of New York city. BW-3s, Hops!, TGIF, applebe's, ...

New York is one of the few cities without frachises everywhere. (One of the major advantages of living there.)
-- Grey 42(Chris Lusena)
[ Parent ]

Don't be fooled by the puppets, follow the strings (1.60 / 5) (#167)
by leonbrooks on Mon Jun 11, 2001 at 09:28:00 PM EST

Dubya legislating his little butt off in the US, the Christian Right parties gaining acendency in various Euro countries, didn't the world learn anything from two world wars? Africa? South America?

The world's longest-lasting (so, in some ways, most successful) political organisation is all set to hit center stage again (the acronym ``EEC'' has a more accurate interpretation), and everyone discusses small details as if planning to rearrange the deckchairs for the saving of the Titanic!

History shows that this organisation is all for the very things to which the bulk of k5ers most strongly object: strong identification (modern examples: tax-file and similar universal numbering systems, anyone remember the Australia Card?), rules for everything, the extinguishment of free will and free thought, secret trials with secret witnesses and weird rules of evidence, extensive powers of confiscation, state wins over induviduals - as long as state is on ``our'' side, yadda yadda...
-- If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee

No strings attached (4.33 / 3) (#180)
by StrontiumDog on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:42:26 AM EST

the Christian Right parties gaining acendency in various Euro countries

The Christian Right is declining in most European countries. In the 80s most European countries had Christian Democrats in power. Germany's CDU, the Netherland's CDA, the UK's Conservatives, etc. Now Social Democrats hold power in these same countries.

History shows that this organisation is all for the very things to which the bulk of k5ers most strongly object: strong identification (modern examples: tax-file and similar universal numbering systems, anyone remember the Australia Card?), rules for everything, the extinguishment of free will and free thought, secret trials with secret witnesses and weird rules of evidence, extensive powers of confiscation, state wins over induviduals - as long as state is on ``our'' side, yadda yadda...

Dude, the EU definitely has some problems, but where you get your impressions from, I really don't know. My personal impression is that, on the whole, the EU has increased the personal freedoms of her citizens, freedoms which they in general, did not have outside the EU:

  • Freedom of movement between (almost all) member countries without border checks. The UK and Ireland are among the notable non-signatories.
  • Freedom to seek employment without hindrance anywhere in the EU.
  • Freedom to live and settle anywhere in the EU without special permission.
  • Freedom to own property anywhere within the EU.
  • Freedom for individuals to seek redress from their governments by going to the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Abolition of internal tariffs and barriers to trade.
  • Price transparency throughout the Eurozone.
In addition, EU citizens now have recourse to a number of EU organisations, which make sure that EU citizens in all member countries enjoy the same basic rights:
  • EU-wide minimum standards for health and safety at work (carried out by the OSHA)
  • EU-wide minimum standards for the evaluation of medicinal products (EMEA)
  • A transnational environmental protection agency (EEA)
  • A monitoring centre on racism and xenophobia (EUMC)
I've given you a number of hard, concrete points on which the EU has undeniably improved the freedoms of its citizens, even by k5 standards. If you have evidence for secret executions and confiscations by the EU gestapo, feel free to present it.

[ Parent ]
Can you put your hands in your head? (2.00 / 3) (#188)
by leonbrooks on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 07:15:23 AM EST

Welcome to bait and switch country. The time will come when Eurocitizens wonder why their national governments are unable to protect them from the abuse and depradations of a power-drunk EU beauracracy from whom there is no real appeal. The whoopie-doo freedoms that have been granted are insignificant compared with the freedoms that are being surrendered for them. So what if an Italian had to wade through paperwork to work and settle in France?
-- If at first you don't succeed, try a shorter bungee
[ Parent ]
Well, I'm trying (3.50 / 2) (#197)
by StrontiumDog on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 10:02:52 AM EST

The whoopie-doo freedoms that have been granted are insignificant compared with the freedoms that are being surrendered for them.

So what freedoms am now I surrendering, then? And what abuse and depradations are the power-drunk bureaucrats in Brussels carrying out?

Concrete examples, please. And please explain why they are unique to the EU, and would not have occurred under national governments. (The examples I gave you of increased freedoms are specifically EU freedoms, which national governments in general cannot provide).

[ Parent ]

You are wrong (3.00 / 1) (#206)
by Betcour on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:23:39 PM EST

Before the EU, an Italian couldn't move and settle to France, plain and simple. He had either to go there illegaly or use one of the special programs that allow him to move (either through special recruitement or because he marry a local etc...). Now any Italian is free to move everywhere in the EU he fancy without even needing a passport.

[ Parent ]
Dubya legislating his butt off? (none / 0) (#340)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 02:35:13 PM EST

Ok, Civics 101: The president of the US has no power to legislate. That is delegated to the Congress.
Oh, well, just a simple nit, I guess.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
ECHR (3.33 / 6) (#193)
by SmileyBen on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 09:11:28 AM EST

You missed the biggest anti-democratic part of the EU - namely the European Convention on Human Rights. This legislation isn't democratic, it's about fundamental rights - saying that no government may legislate to remove certain fundamentals. This is no more a tool of democracy than the American Consititution, because, luckily, people have realised that simple consensus doesn't automatically bring about what is actually right. I strongly believe that there are certain things that the Demos (which actually translates roughly as 'rabble') shouldn't get to decide. If they did we'd all have capital punishment and ritual stonings of asians. Thank god the power of the demos is being restricted!

extremist point of view (3.66 / 3) (#196)
by philippe_carlo on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 10:01:05 AM EST

Some of your points make sense, others don't. Your story about the European Commission is right. It is corrupt, should be controlled better and, above all, it should be turned into a democratically elected organization. However, I think, as the European Union gets a more solid outline, these things will evolve positively.

On the other hand, I think that your point of view looks like that of many European nationalists. They keep on argueing that a European union is bad for its people. This makes no sense! What is the point of a fragmented bunch of countries, all with their own laws, currencies, ... This complicates things, and slows down economy. If Europe wants to cope with the US and Asia, then EU countries have to put their forces together, we have no choice.

All that is left to be said: the European parliament is chosen democratically, like all of its governements. If people choose their leaders by national election, and they rely on those leaders for their representation inside the EU. I cannot think of this as undemocratic (can you?).

Sweden (3.57 / 7) (#203)
by caine on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 10:34:19 AM EST

On the one hand are increasingly weak national governments, democratic yes, on paper at least, but with no tradition of democracy - most of Europe has only been democratic for 50 years or less which means that there is no institutionalised tradition of democracy

NO TRADITION??? Seriously! *sigh*. As far as more than thousand year back, when a swedish King came to power, he had to ride through the country getting the approval of the people. And if he didn't, well, let's just say he didn't have a fun time. We've had laws for as long as we can remember. We've had written laws for amongst (perhaps the longest, but I'm not 100% so I won't say) the longest time in history. When rest of Europe only hade 3 groups governing; nobles, priest and merchants, we had the farmers, i.e the people, that were just as strong in Sweden. We've had rather fair laws, for alot longer time than the dear old U.S.A, and we actually manage to apply them in a sensible fashion, which is more than some other countries do. Even before the year 1000, when Sweden was full of vikings, whom some people would consider rather rude, they had laws governing how things would be done, and they DID protect the normal people, not nobles (the nobles weren't much different than the rest, not like for example feudal France). We've never had "livägda", which is basically farmers, who were in effect slaves that were abundant in the rest of Europe during feudal times. There were "trälar", abducted workers, before that, which the vikings had, but after that, every man and woman in Sweden has been Free.

This became quite a ramble, hope someone can understand at least some of it.

--

Reread what you pasted... (4.00 / 2) (#212)
by Mr Obsidian on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 02:08:57 PM EST

Please reread what you cut and pasted; it specifically says "most" countries in Europe. It is a very accurate statement in my opinion. Sweeden may be an exception, and that exception is allowed for in the statement.

Mr O


"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. " Martin Luther King, Jr.
[ Parent ]
Point taken BUT (2.00 / 1) (#245)
by Carnyboy on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 12:20:59 AM EST

Sweden may have been all that but..... When I first started my current job, one of my coworkers would always tell me how he once ran a BBS, how he did all this programming, how he ran his own business multiple times... So on and so forth. But you no what that was almost 9 years ago (the last). He hasn't done squat since then. And you know what it shows. Just because he did all these things in the past it doesn't neccesarily apply to the present. I have never lived in Sweden. I don't anyone from Sweden, (but I do think I may have so Swede blodd in me?). But don't base your arguement against what Dilrod said, as what Sweden has done in the past thousand years. Maybe the last 100 years would be more applicable, better yet the last 10. Or just tell me to goto Hell in handbasket and I'll just be cool wit dat.

[ Parent ]
For the record (1.84 / 13) (#208)
by mami on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:49:02 PM EST

Your article and comments, Anya, are the worst attempt to confuse and incite hate among the readership I have seen so far on K5.

Your article is nothing but "sophisticated (arghh what a waste to use that word in this context) politcal smear tactics of the worst sort. You want to <b> recruit</b> among the geek szene younger loners from the trenches into your grey zone of supremacist FUD policies and thrive on your attempt to get Europeans blow their anti-American suspicions out of proportions. You are an evil writer.

You hide behind your nickname. K5 clearly allows and promotes the spread of hate group's methodologies on their site. Just to put it clearly in the record. I have no respect for that whatsoever.

Stop telling the audience who you are and who you are not. It has no relevance here at all. You can be anybody, and to me you are a nobody, which belongs into /dev/null. What counts is what you broadcast and you broadcast dumb lies in the attempt to incite hate. I resent that. For the record.

I notice (for the record) that VALinux as a sponsor of this site is not distancing itself from subversive attempts to clutter this community with poster's brainwashing attempts to attract geek loners to the techno-christian supremacist, anti-government anarchist movements.

You post under a female name. One more reason (for the record) that I (a female) resent your piece of dirty writing even with more passion.

It's time that serious people in the Open Source community stand up and take sides. This is pure, evil, simple trash and true professionals don't have to put up to get their names drawn into your dirty world. It's an experience worth having made here on K5 that it needs a non professional to post this comment.




Ms Professional, Please don't smear me. (3.80 / 5) (#211)
by Anya on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:44:17 PM EST

Your article and comments, Anya, are the worst attempt to confuse and incite hate among the readership I have seen so far on K5.

You probably disagree with my position, which is why you label me confusing. But inciting hate? How the hell do you come up with this? Where have I incited hate? I may be passionate about this subject and have a different opinion than you, but please don't label me as someone who incites hatred without very good evidence indeed.

You want to recruit among the geek szene younger loners from the trenches into your grey zone of supremacist FUD policies and thrive on your attempt to get Europeans blow their anti-American suspicions out of proportions.

Now you appear to be losing it entirely. I don't wish to 'recruit' anyone. Where have I said I want to recruit people? Where do you get this?

Stop telling the audience who you are and who you are not. It has no relevance here at all. You can be anybody, and to me you are a nobody, which belongs into /dev/null. What counts is what you broadcast and you broadcast dumb lies in the attempt to incite hate. I resent that. For the record.

The only comments in which I have mentioned who I am are in response to people trying to tell me who I am when they have no idea (ie 'Obviously written by an American' etc etc). Otherwise I have not mentioned anything personal at all. In fact the only personal things I have mentioned are the fact that I am not American and my views on this issue.

I find your comment amazing. You think someone who is sceptical of the EU and its benefits is 'evil'? That I am a brainwasher because I decline to accept the idea of the EU as the saviour of Europe? Now that's what I call an attempt to confuse and mislead. As for facts and arguments, you have none; you have only insults. I don't even no why I am responding to such a hypocritical, intolerant and hateful (you are the first person to bring this word up) comment.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

A correction and clarification (2.50 / 6) (#216)
by mami on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 03:58:20 PM EST

I wrote in my previous comment:

It's an experience worth having made here on K5 that it needs a non professional to post this comment.

With the non-professionalism I referred to myself and to my own post. I am the non-professional, who posted my true opinion about your article, which is designed to bring about more political division between U.S. and Europe as there already starts to creep up everywhere. I consider this a dangerous in context with the many tensions already creeping up everywhere between U.S. and Europe.

I didn't mean to say that you are the one which is a non-professional. Obviously bad grammar from my part in my formulation. This is a correction just for the record.

I would have expected that more professionals would have by now either ignored your article or judged it as what it is.

And if you think my formulation of marking your comments and article as "hate inciting political discussion" is overblown, you are naive. The way you go about denouncing Democracy in Europe with a demagoguery rarely seen here, can have devastating consequences, which you obviously have never experienced. Otherwise you would have downgraded your rethoric.

As for facts and arguments, you have none; you have only insults.

That's right. On purpose. I will not honor your article with arguments and I will not honor your article by ignoring it. I waited and read around 180 responses to your article to see where it was going. I decided that your article is in its intention bad enough to be judged clearly.

[ Parent ]

My views aren't demagoguery. (3.33 / 6) (#221)
by Anya on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:22:13 PM EST

I am the non-professional, who posted my true opinion about your article, which is designed to bring about more political division between U.S. and Europe as there already starts to creep up everywhere. I consider this a dangerous in context with the many tensions already creeping up everywhere between U.S. and Europe.

How? I barely mentioned America in my article. America has little to do with the substance of my arguments; the people bringing it up are those defending the EU, for they think that the EU is needed to defend against America.

And if you think my formulation of marking your comments and article as "hate inciting political discussion" is overblown, you are naive. The way you go about denouncing Democracy in Europe with a demagoguery rarely seen here, can have devastating consequences, which you obviously have never experienced. Otherwise you would have downgraded your rethoric.

Yes, I do have strong opinions on this subject. But surely the EU can handle a little free speech on a weblog?

In any case, do you think that arguing against an authoritarian-centralist-undemocratic government is somehow inciting hatred? How? I am merely presenting a valid argument. Choosing to censor those who disagree, as it would seem you wish to, is not the right way to avert problems; it exarcerbates them.

That's right. On purpose. I will not honor your article with arguments and I will not honor your article by ignoring it. I waited and read around 180 responses to your article to see where it was going. I decided that your article is in its intention bad enough to be judged clearly.

This is bad; these arguments won't go away. You can't wish that everyone enters the garden of EUden, without expecting people to be sceptical of the benefits.

Fundamentally, I am arguing for democracy in the EU, where it is lacking. I also don't like many of the policies of the EU, and I am against the very idea of an EU superstate, democratic or not.

This is not an extreme point of view, and it is not hate filled or beyond the pale. In fact, it is the majority view of the citizens of Europe, not that they have been consulted, for the most part. If anyone here is being extreme, it's you.

Don't paint me as the Antichrist just because I am a eurosceptic, please.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

fake and phony (2.40 / 5) (#233)
by mami on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:41:53 PM EST

Yes, I do have strong opinions on this subject. But surely the EU can handle a little free speech on a weblog?

Oh, yes, we can, that's why we can object to rethorical diatribes from some libertarian "ueberbrain". Of course you are entitled to your views and I am entitled to say that they are phony and offending.

In any case, do you think that arguing against an authoritarian-centralist-undemocratic government is somehow inciting hatred?

Yes, very, if you talk about countries which have democratic constitutions, free elections with votes who actually mean something.

How? I am merely presenting a valid argument.

No. You are presenting lies.

Choosing to censor those who disagree, as it would seem you wish to, is not the right way to avert problems; it exarcerbates them.

Can you tell me another joke ? I don't get this one.

[ Parent ]

You seem to misunderstand (2.33 / 3) (#236)
by Anya on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 06:14:33 PM EST

Oh, yes, we can, that's why we can object to rethorical diatribes from some libertarian "ueberbrain". Of course you are entitled to your views and I am entitled to say that they are phony and offending.

Er, I amn't libertarian - my views are really cross-political. Whether you are eurosceptic or europhilic doesn't really depend on your party-political views on other matters.

FYI, I am actually quite left wing.

Yes, very, if you talk about countries which have democratic constitutions, free elections with votes who actually mean something.

I am not denying that most of the countries that comprise the EU are democratic, on paper and much of the time in practise. I am mainly criticising the democracy as practised by the EU, and the attitudes to democracy that many European countries have. This is quite different.

No. You are presenting lies.

Prove it.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

I'll do it for her (4.50 / 2) (#250)
by Betcour on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 04:43:28 AM EST

No. You are presenting lies.

Prove it.


Many people have challenged your numbers here already let me get some links to proove you how much you lied. I'll quote your article to do so :

In Germany, opposition to the Euro runs at some 70% of the populace, and the figure is the same in France and many other central european countries.

This article from the BBC says 50% of France still support it (so less than 50% oppose it since there are "no opinion/don't care" people in the remaining 50%). That's a long way toward your "70% against"... as for Germany it says 33% are happy with the Euro, so once you remove the "no opinion/don't care" answers you are still at least 10% of your 70% figure, probably more. So you lied on those two numbers.

Le Pen's Front National has garnered 20% or more of the popular vote in France

For one they never went above 20% at their peak hours. Now they are at about 5%. I couldn't find a link to show you the numbers but being French, I know them firsthand. The Front National (FN) split up in 2 entities because of an internal fight. Nobody talks about them anymore, they don't have any deputees, etc... this is another one of your lies.

That's it for your numbers - the other point have been vastly debated here. You can't deny you lied (or to be more fair, you just wrote hearsay and didn't do your research as you should have).

[ Parent ]
Brave (none / 0) (#258)
by mami on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 09:54:55 AM EST

If you are posting your comments "for her", and meant me, then I will say, you are brave, but you don't need to do that. Do it for yourself.

If you want to refute the statements Anya and others made, you have to do quite some research and dig out sources. To do this properly, it would take me a lot of time. As I live for a long time outside of the EU, my daily exposure about what the recent developments in the nineteen membership countries with regards to the Euro etc are, is limited.

It's just important to recognize obvious derogatory rethoric and lies. Don't let yourself draw into a wasteful discussion. Just search and read your sources and think for yourself.

Thanks for your intentions and offer of protection, though. :-)



[ Parent ]
Sorry (none / 0) (#280)
by Betcour on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 05:30:57 AM EST

Sorry - didn't meant to "interrupt" you :). Just couldn't let Anya go by without answering about the lies thing. I didn't had time to do a full blown research on facts (just as I don't have time to try to convert every Jehovah witness that knocks on my door ;) but if a few quick links can counter some points, then I thought it was good to go ahead (breaching a hole in a wall is often good enough to invade the castle, no need to get it down stone by stone).

[ Parent ]
Sure (none / 0) (#300)
by mami on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:53:23 PM EST

you didn't interrupt me. :-)

[ Parent ]
Actually, it was refreshing (none / 0) (#339)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 02:31:53 PM EST

I was able to find some actual facts in that post. If you are not an authority on this subject, why do you post as if you are and the thing is settled? From reading this weblog, it seems to me that Anya has done way more research, yet you are somehow right and she is wrong?

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Ok... (none / 0) (#260)
by Anya on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 10:16:35 AM EST

This article from the BBC says 50% of France still support it (so less than 50% oppose it since there are "no opinion/don't care" people in the remaining 50%). That's a long way toward your "70% against"... as for Germany it says 33% are happy with the Euro, so once you remove the "no opinion/don't care" answers you are still at least 10% of your 70% figure, probably more. So you lied on those two numbers.

firstly, opinions vary through time - I'm sure we could each dig up links from various polls till the cows come home. Unless there is a clear cut referendum on the subject, then it is mute. Germany had no such referendum, for example, and nor did many other european countries. I have grave reservations about the democratic foundations of the EU. An example of this might be a gallup poll showing that 75% of germans want a referendum. Of course, they didn't get one. Southern European states tend to be more pro-EU, because they are in favour of becoming subsidy junkies and are not as attached to their short lived national currencies anyway (countries such as Italy and Spain have no real national identity anyway; especially Italy. This is also true of Germany to some extent). However, In many countries of the EU the democratic foundations of EU membership and euro membership are unsound, to say the least.

For one they never went above 20% at their peak hours.

Well, they came extremely close to this figure. And in southern France, Marseille and the like, they exceeded this.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

OK, we'll play it your way.. (3.00 / 1) (#284)
by TuRRIcaNEd on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 09:47:57 AM EST

"I have grave reservations about the democratic foundations of the EU. An example of this might be a gallup poll showing that 75% of germans want a referendum."

OK, so now you're saying that a poll indicating a desire for a referendum supports your theory that the EU is autocratic. The very fact that these polls exist shows a certain level of democracy, don't you think?

And another thing... since when has desiring a referendum on the Euro automatically meant you're opposed to it? The attitude of most of the Germans I know seems to be a guarded hope that the Euro (and, by extension, the EU) will be a success, however they would like to be asked first. I have no problem with this.

This is either rather uninformed opinion on your part, or one of the best trolls I've ever seen. I wonder which it is....

Tc.

"We're all f**ked. You're f**ked. I'm f**ked. The whole department's f**ked. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we're all completely f**ked. - Sir Richard Mottram expounds the limits of spin
[ Parent ]

I'll object on some of your points (4.50 / 2) (#249)
by Betcour on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 04:08:40 AM EST

While I don't think your article is hatred oriented - mami isn't totally wrong on some points.

I am arguing for democracy in the EU

No you are not. You are blatantly lying to us all here, and maybe even lying to yourself. You are arguing against the EU as a whole. You are not interested to make it more democratic, you want to get it killed plain and simple. If you were interested to make it more democratic, you'd offer ideas on how to improve the internal working, the procedures, etc... but you only want it to be destroyed.

and I am against the very idea of an EU superstate, democratic or not.

There you go - you even admit it ! So stop whining about the EU being undemocratic, this is just a fake arguments that you use to attack the EU itself.

Overall you article drew so much fire because :
  • It mostly states your blind hatred of EU
  • It doesn't show any counterpoint to yours. You could have at least included, for comprehensiveness, the point of view of Pro European and their argument
  • It is excremely thin on facts - and worst of all, the facts you use are wrong or outdated. This is really the weakest point here. No research, no sources, plain lies. If you lie to people, expect to be flamed.
Overall your article is exactly the same propaganda material you find in some xenophobic anti-Europe British organisation. We find here the exact same arguments, gathered from hearsay and old sources and compiled as to only keep those who support your ideas and discarded everything that didn't. There is about as much objectivity in your article as something about abortion written by the Pope. Some people hate Jews, some hate blacks or homosexual. You hate the EU with the same violence and ignorance as those racists hate minorities. You are very biased and full of prejudice and hatred. You aren't interested by the truth, you don't want to research facts by yourself (if you had, you wouldn't have those wrong numbers you quote).

[ Parent ]
Yet another Rebuttal :) (none / 0) (#263)
by Anya on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 11:39:42 AM EST

No you are not. You are blatantly lying to us all here, and maybe even lying to yourself. You are arguing against the EU as a whole. You are not interested to make it more democratic, you want to get it killed plain and simple. If you were interested to make it more democratic, you'd offer ideas on how to improve the internal working, the procedures, etc... but you only want it to be destroyed.

Please don't accuse me of agendas. Certainly I am against the EU, but it would rest a lot easier in my mind if it wasn't undemocratic and motivated by anti-americanism. Furthermore, it is entirely up to Europeans what they do with their countries, as long as Britain doesn't get dragged in to this disaster as well, that's fine by me.

It mostly states your blind hatred of EU

I don't hate the EU - hatred is a very strong word, and it has been bandied around in this thread too much already. I am merely concerned and passionate about this subject.

I believe the EU is undemocratic as it stands, its origins are also undemocratic on the whole, and furthermore it is economically unsound.

The first I have made a very good case for I think - I have seen little convincing argument against that point, for the simple fact is that the leadership of the EU, this nascent superstate, is not directly elected or responsible to the electorate.

The second is more mixed. In some countries it has been democratically ratified, in others not. In any case there is significant room for doubt.

On the third I can only say that the euroblock was shoehorned together for political reasons when the countries had clearly not converged economically. Italy several other countries openly fiddled the books and desperately changed budgets and interest rates and so on in the last two years of being independent in order to qualify.

The question is, what will happen when there is a recession? Look at Ireland now - it has a booming economy whilst that of Europe is stagnant. The sane thing to do in Ireland would be to raise interest rates in order to avoid hyperinflation and bust. But they can't - and this is the situation Britain would be in if it had joined.

The EU adjusts interest rates, and doubtless before long taxation levels too, in order to benefit the largest and most important economies (Germany/France). Because the different EU countries are not economically in sync we will have a situation where different countries are variously booming, busting, and doing all manner of things whilst the EU stands helplessly by. As EU countries will have lost self determination and the ability to adjust variables for themselves, this is not good.

The argument for the EU seems to be that 'we have to compete with the US'. Why give up sovereignty and self determination for this? Is Switzerland likely to collapse soon because it can't compete with the US? What about Canada? We should look after the rights of our people's first, and fundamental rights such as democracy along with principles such as sovereignty and the self determination of Nation States before shooting off to compete with the US.

It seems that the most anti-US countries are the most europhile in many ways - look at France and the disgraceful disobedience of the rule of law displayed by Jose Bove, but because it was McDonalds he gets away with it and is lauded as a national hero. This is very odd indeed.

I beleive that the EU is fundamentally flawed both in practice and in concept. Mostly I have argued the former, but those who believe in the EU as the saviour of Europe and those who dislike the US and want to see it dealt a blow are labeling me a 'hater' and using extreme language in order to dismiss me. This I find shocking.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Variable Recessions (none / 0) (#265)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 12:06:37 PM EST

The question is, what will happen when there is a recession? Look at Ireland now - it has a booming economy whilst that of Europe is stagnant.The sane thing to do in Ireland would be to raise interest rates in order to avoid hyperinflation and bust. But they can't - and this is the situation Britain would be in if it had joined.

The EU adjusts interest rates, and doubtless before long taxation levels too, in order to benefit the largest and most important economies (Germany/France).


Any currency is merely a daily aggregate of the economic area in which the currency pertains. In the last 20 years Scotland and the North of England have experienced strong recessions whilst the South-East of England has been in a boom.

Substitute Westminster for the EU, London/South East for Germany/France and Yorkshire for Ireland in your scenario...

What makes the status quo ante so good?

And as for ... as long as Britain doesn't get dragged in to this disaster... can I refer you to my earlier post which deal with the enormous historical success of the EU?

[ Parent ]
Yes, but... (none / 0) (#266)
by Anya on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 12:28:05 PM EST

Any currency is merely a daily aggregate of the economic area in which the currency pertains. In the last 20 years Scotland and the North of England have experienced strong recessions whilst the South-East of England has been in a boom.

Sure this is bad, and this explains why the populations f scotland, northern england and northern ireland have been decreasin over this historical period. People within the UK can easily migrate to where times are better. However, there will never be significant immigration to Germany from the UK or to other European countries. Only the well off and educated can speak the language or learn it before they go - and it takes years to reach a proficiency in a language such that you can get a job in a foreign country better than manual labour.

For cultural and linguistic reasons, europe will never be a single economic area which can offsetr economic differences by migration of its peoples.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Poopulation differentials (none / 0) (#277)
by the trinidad kid on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 03:14:44 AM EST

The notion that a country (or collection of countries) cannot structure themselves such that there is population drain from most their areas to the metropolis is just nonsense. Countries have different internal structures and the political construction of the country is a key to local regional dynamism.

As a dedicated supporter of devolution (and being lucky enough to have been a Labour candidate for the Scottish Parliament) I would like to point out the economic effects of devolution, with Edinburgh and the surrounding regions benefiting from a strong and continuing boom with effectively negative unemployment for a year, year and a half now.

As to internal migration within the EU I refer to my previous post on the subject.

[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, you're just being ridiculous now...... (5.00 / 1) (#283)
by TuRRIcaNEd on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 08:35:47 AM EST

"Only the well off and educated can speak the language or learn it before they go"

<RANT> OK, I shall try to reply with some form of dignity, but can I first say that is complete and utter bullshit. I'm a reasonably fluent German speaker (a little out of practice atm tho). I am most certainly *NOT* well off. Before you ask, no member of my family is German. When I was going through secondary education, my mum was an auxiliary nurse. Do you know how little they get paid? She was putting herself through teacher training at the same time. Although she and I disgree on many things, I have to respect her for doing as much as she did. And this isn't some working-class crap like "We lived in't' box, in't' middle o' lake!". The real reason some of those from working class families don't pay much attention in language class is the xenophobic BS they are constantly fed through the media. They don't feel they'll ever get out of their country, maybe never even their home town, so why bother trying to learn a language? When are they, and you going to realise that these limitations are all in your head? As much as one-nation conservatism talks of a 'classless' society, they're not counting those who aren't above a certain pay bracket, or living in a certain area. They're treated as dead code from the moment they're born. It's no wonder there's no hope there. Conservatives everywhere are pushing this fear of change and xenophobia because they're afraid that those who they currently consider out of the loop may one day have a strong enough voice to challenge them. It won't be a revolution in Marxist terms, but it will be a helluva day if and when it comes. You see, the conservative mindset reveres social position. It practically obsesses about its standing, and it fears change beyond measure because of the terrible fear that *it may be worse off if change occurs*.

Fucking cowards. </RANT>

"and it takes years to reach a proficiency in a language such that you can get a job in a foreign country better than manual labour."

Again, you are wrong. I was offered a fairly decent Java programming position over there, and I've already said that my German isn't that great. But the difference is that they would be *tolerant* of mistakes I made, and would speak English with me as long as it was necessary. I'd like to see that happen over here (in the UK).

Tc.

"We're all f**ked. You're f**ked. I'm f**ked. The whole department's f**ked. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we're all completely f**ked. - Sir Richard Mottram expounds the limits of spin
[ Parent ]

Ok great (1.00 / 1) (#291)
by Anya on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 11:08:51 AM EST

However I am not a Conservative, I do believe in Radical change but that is all totally off-topic.

My point isn't about the ways things could be or the way things should be, it is about the way things are, and with regard to this topic it is also the way things have always been.

The real reason some of those from working class families don't pay much attention in language class is the xenophobic BS they are constantly fed through the media. They don't feel they'll ever get out of their country, maybe never even their home town, so why bother trying to learn a language? When are they, and you going to realise that these limitations are all in your head? As much as one-nation conservatism talks of a 'classless' society, they're not counting those who aren't above a certain pay bracket, or living in a certain area.

Right, great. However, that is not the way things are now, however wonderful it would be to have a hopeful working class that was multilingual and mobile across nations, it just isn't going to happen. We should govern on political realities when it comes to this issue in the short to medium term, and govern to rectify it in the long term.

You really think that if there is a recession or depression in Britain, and we are powerless to do anything about it, that people will move en masse to Germany or somewhere where times are booming? Wonderful though this idea may be, it is more hope than fact - it just won't happen. Certainly, we can urge that people learn foreign languages, as we have been for the last 20 years or so, but people won't and don't. And that is the final, and very sad, fact about this.

Economic migration within Europe is not natural or likely.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Look around and see the migration (none / 0) (#293)
by the trinidad kid on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 11:23:59 AM EST

There are already millions of people in Europe and more flooding in who do not speak the language of where they are heading.

I lived for many years in a predominantly Pakistani area of Glasgow, my neighbours in my close included Urdu speakers who we used to communicate with via their children and an old Chinese couple who we communicated with by letter via a translation service.

There are what, 4 million Turks in Germany, one tenth of the population of Luxembourg speaks Portuguese, Ireland is jumping with Germans and Dutch people now - particularly young IT workers. We now have a German in the British government as a junior minister, come on!

If you think people can't or won't live and work in a country where they don't speak the language natively then try visiting the United States.

Wake up and smell the coffee...

[ Parent ]
Sure, (none / 0) (#294)
by Anya on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 11:44:48 AM EST

..and most of them are being used as vheap labour. Certainly there are lots of people in the UK from abroad, but that is because English is the international language.

Otherwise all the turks and eastern europeans flooding into france and germany are being exploited for cheap labour. Same in America with spanish speaking immigrants. These are the only jobs available if you don't speak the lingo.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Economic levelling (none / 0) (#296)
by the trinidad kid on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:03:39 PM EST

My point is that people can move and do move to countries where they don't speak the language. And they can learn it. I work at a Bank in Edinburgh and amongst the workforce are Bulgarians, Irish, Dutch, Spaniards, Swedes, Germans, Mexicans, Chileans and on and on. (Apologies if you have seen this in another post). We gave up counting nationalities in IT when we hit 15.

How many articles have I read about Silicon Valley being full of Russians and Indians, hardly low paid cheap labour...

There is a common misconception that Brits can't speak foreign languages and will never speak foreign languages - the reality is that most Brits don't have to - and quite rationally don't bother. When they do have to, as tens of thousands do, when they go to Spain or Greece to work as tour reps, then suddenly lots of 18-25 year old Brits, with or without 'A' levels, with or without degrees, suddenly find that after 3 months they can speak Greek or Spanish or Catalan or French or whatever.

People can and do speak 2, 3 or 4 languages, as they do in Holland, as Asian kids do in Glasgow. I'm going to France on my holiers this weekend and I will be chatting in my bloody awful French...

What is it about Johnny Foreigner that freaks you out so much?

[ Parent ]
This is my point (1.00 / 1) (#299)
by Anya on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 12:32:21 PM EST

There is a solid middle class demographic of people who are pro-EU because they are the ones who can take advantage of the new multinational driven economic system that it brings.

So I am sure there are plenty of people in the IT sector and the financial sector who can afford to take advantage of it in this way.

But you say you live in Edinburgh, so what about the people living in the poor quarters, like Leith? Or the people living in the slums of glasgow, stuck in decaying housing estates and high rise council flats? These are the ones who can't take advantage, and they are the ones who will suffer from the multinational driven economy of the EU, which will throw them on the scrapheap along with the 12% unemployed in Europe.

What is it about Johnny Foreigner that freaks you out so much?

I don't have anything against 'Johnny Foreigner' as you so charmingly put it. I do worry about democracy, accountability and the direction in which Europe is heading, towards a massive Economic Area in which multinationals will be encouraged and gain power, the poor will be forgotten in the new free labour, free market system and the rise of geopolitical economic competition with the USA for no good reason other than the jealousy of mainland Europe over the successful (in monetary terms, if not social) Anglo Saxon economic system will entrap and destroy the freedoms we have fought for.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

On the one hand, but on the other... (5.00 / 1) (#319)
by the trinidad kid on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 04:47:13 AM EST

Let us re-iterate your point(s). In this post you say that there is can be no economic mobility in Europe because of language issues and then in this post you say people can move, but only as cheap labour and then in this post you say that on the other hand better jobs are available for higher social classes as well. Which is it?

To pick up on the specific points of the post I am replying to:

Europe already redistributes wealth through Objective 1 areas and the like - look at the transformative effect Europe has had on the Republic of Ireland, or Greece or Portugal.

Is this multi-national lovin' Europe the same Europe that I know about - the Europe of the Social Charter? These freedoms that we have fought for - would that be the European Charter Of Human Rights - more rights against our government than we have ever had in the UK. As for this bizarre postulated envy of the US that we are all supposed to be feeling - we're in Europe because we're Europeans, and because we are doing what's right for us. What the Yanks think and feel about it is just another ungiven fuck.

Can I again re-iterate that of all the freedoms we have fought for the freedom from war is the greatest and the best achievement of the European project.

[ Parent ]
And another one (5.00 / 1) (#279)
by Betcour on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 04:58:35 AM EST

, as long as Britain doesn't get dragged in to this disaster as well, that's fine by me

OK - I've nothing against those kinds of ideas. But then PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, manage this issue within the UK and stop bashing the EU. If you think UK shouldn't be in the EU, then this is an internal UK politic matter. Remember, it's UK who decided to go in, not EU who forced UK to come. Bashing the EU to achieve it is an dishonest unfair evil strategy. Your ideas should be expressed in a Tory vs Labour debate (or whatever other party).

hatred is a very strong word

I know - and I used it consciously because I sincerely believe your rethoric is the same as other hate-motivated group. There's no other way to call such a violent attack on a human organisation or group, based on prejudice and hearsay. UK is not safe from racist and rightwing extremist, just like other European country. In France or Germany they go after immigrants or gay people. In UK they go after the EU. But the hate is the same - it's the hate of difference, change and of a future they can't predict. Well the EU is different - it's a huge change and you can't predict what it will really be. But going back to the Europe of 1900, with fragmented and antagnist countries fighting for their borders is not the solution.

I have seen little convincing argument against that point, for the simple fact is that the leadership of the EU, this nascent superstate, is not directly elected or responsible to the electorate.

And I agree with that - but I disagree that it is a problem. Most democracies are made from a legislative and executive body. Usually one is elected directly and the other is elected indirectly (ie nominated by elected people). In France the legislative body is elected (deputees) but the real executive (ministers) are nominated. In US the president is not elected directly either. I don't think you voted in UK for any of your ministers except the prime one. There are many reasons for mixing the direct and undirect election - the point merely being to balance the mood-swings of the population while keeping it's general orientation.
So - tell me why is a problem with the EU and not with other nations ?

the different EU countries are not economically in sync

This is a biased exageration. EU countries don't have the exact same economic situation. The situation is roughly the same still, you don't have a country with -3% of growth and another one with 3%. And the whole point of the EU is precisely to get everyone in sync instead of having UK devaluate alone the pound to be more competitive against other countries (as it did in the 90s...). So in this regard the solution is to have MORE EU, not less.

Why give up sovereignty and self determination for this?

Because I'd rather give up sovereignty to a federation where I have some control rather than to a foreign country (the US) where I don't have a voice at all ? UK is already the 51st states of USA. Do you want Tony Blair to get its orders from Bush next ? I don't think so. You live in the grand illusion of the past where countries the size of UK could be perfectly independant. This ain't so nowadays. Your voice can only be heard if you are loud enough that others notice it. And if you want the world to notice what Europeans have to say, then they need to be united and strong.

Is Switzerland likely to collapse soon because it can't compete with the US?

It won't collapse - but they realised too there was no future being alone while everybody else is joining forces and the world gets smaller everyday. That's why they regularly organise referendums on EU adhesion.

because it was McDonalds he gets away with it and is lauded as a national hero

He didn't get away with it - he already did several months of prison and is still being sued. The fact that he is still considered a hero is that he is ready to go to jail to fight a corporation that obviously nobody has sympathy for.

are labeling me a 'hater' and using extreme language in order to dismiss me. This I find shocking

When you express such a strong opinion based on so much ignorance (there's a consensus here that your article was very uninformed) - it's not a formed logical opinion anymore but a feeling. And that feeling is called hate. Your violent opposition and bias are so strong that it can't be considered just an opinion anymore, no more than throwing stones at gays and calling them "fags" can be considered an "opinion" anymore.

[ Parent ]
Continuuing enjoyable argy-bargy... (none / 0) (#289)
by Anya on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 10:52:24 AM EST

OK - I've nothing against those kinds of ideas. But then PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, manage this issue within the UK and stop bashing the EU. If you think UK shouldn't be in the EU, then this is an internal UK politic matter. Remember, it's UK who decided to go in, not EU who forced UK to come. Bashing the EU to achieve it is an dishonest unfair evil strategy. Your ideas should be expressed in a Tory vs Labour debate (or whatever other party).

I have legitimate concerns about the EU and think that it is perfectly fine to communicate them and have a healthy and enjoyable debate on the topic. Why should the EU never be criticised? Is it beyond and above criticism? Why so scared?

UK is not safe from racist and rightwing extremist, just like other European country. In France or Germany they go after immigrants or gay people. In UK they go after the EU. But the hate is the same - it's the hate of difference, change and of a future they can't predict.

What the hell? This is just an absurd attempt at demonisation. Firstly, I personally don't hate the EU, and I doubt that many other eurosceptics do either. I am sceptical, however. But please don't try and equate euroscepticism with far right extremists, homophobes and all the rest. That just sullies any argument and also suggests that you yourself are guilty of the supposed behaviour you are criticising.

Well the EU is different - it's a huge change and you can't predict what it will really be. But going back to the Europe of 1900, with fragmented and antagnist countries fighting for their borders is not the solution.

This is just it - the EU is based on outdated and backward fears. Do you really think that were it not for the EU Europe would be teetering on the edge of war all the time? First of all, the EU is not responsible for the peace of Europe over the last 50 years - NATO is the body that holds that honour. And furthermore, war is no longer economically or militarily rational - modern weapons of mass destruction, the global economy, all these things make war economic suicide. Without the EU war won't happen - it just isn't likely or rational, especially with NATO.

There are many reasons for mixing the direct and undirect election - the point merely being to balance the mood-swings of the population while keeping it's general orientation. So - tell me why is a problem with the EU and not with other nations ?

Because there is no recourse for the people of Europe to sack these rulers, except indirectly, unlikely considering the overwhelmingly pro european line taken by most parties. People don't vote on a single issue, europe, and they don't especially so when the EU is considered far away and unaccountable anyway.

This is a biased exageration. EU countries don't have the exact same economic situation. The situation is roughly the same still, you don't have a country with -3% of growth and another one with 3%. And the whole point of the EU is precisely to get everyone in sync instead of having UK devaluate alone the pound to be more competitive against other countries (as it did in the 90s...). So in this regard the solution is to have MORE EU, not less.

Great. So the UK would have been unable to devalue the pound an unemployment would have doubled to European levels doubtless whilst the economy slowed. Control over your economy is a good thing, why throw it away?

Because I'd rather give up sovereignty to a federation where I have some control rather than to a foreign country (the US) where I don't have a voice at all ?

Huge exaggeration. How does the US have control over you exactly? In what sense exactly? How could this happen? The US is unlikely to exert military control over Europe, and that just leaves trade - but free trade is good right?

UK is already the 51st states of USA. Do you want Tony Blair to get its orders from Bush next ?

How is this going to happen? Fear mongering is what this is. The US is not evil, it is not like Nazi germany, and Bush != Adolf Hitler.

And furthermore, why should I want the Palace of Westminster to recieve orders from Brussels?

Your voice can only be heard if you are loud enough that others notice it. And if you want the world to notice what Europeans have to say, then they need to be united and strong.

Why should I want this? You speak as though there is a European consciousness, and everyone here across our disparate nations have the same ideals and ideas. Well, that isn't the case. I'd rather that the UK had a voice, however quiet, than no voice at all.

It won't collapse - but they realised too there was no future being alone while everybody else is joining forces and the world gets smaller everyday. That's why they regularly organise referendums on EU adhesion.

It still doesn't answer my point. Switzerland is extremely unlikely to join the EU, and it isn't going to collapse. Small nations can do very well for themselves, much better than huge behemoths with leaders far from the people and who are more concerned with globopolitical wrangling anyway.

The EU just isn't needed by anyone except by those who lust to give the USA a bloody nose. That is its reason for existence, that and the fear WWII and WWI cast over central Europe.

Your violent opposition and bias are so strong that it can't be considered just an opinion anymore, no more than throwing stones at gays and calling them "fags" can be considered an "opinion" anymore.

More stupid FUD.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Arguing goes on (2.00 / 1) (#306)
by Betcour on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 04:21:52 PM EST

I have legitimate concerns about the EU

That's ok - we all have and it's healthy.

have a healthy and enjoyable debate on the topic

... but I object here because, while I enjoy the debate (but I'm a debate freak anyway) I don't think it is healty. I think your article wasn't a good debate opener because it was very one sided. Articles on Kuro5hin usually at least show two opposing points and then open the debate (either by telling "I side with this point, what about you ?" or something along that line). You article red more like a propaganda leeflet that I could get on a market. I also whish you would have opened the debate on "how to make the EU more democratic" (as you state at the end of your article), but the remaining of the article itself only goes on bashing and doesn't give any starting point on how to achieve democracy aside from totally destroying it - which you'll admit is an odd way of improving something.

Why should the EU never be criticised?

Usually a good critic is based on commonly admited facts. If you start with biased facts that everyone contest, then your critic will sound more like a rant (with all the bias) than a logical, well thought out critic. I agree on most of your critics (really) - but not on your rants.

Firstly, I personally don't hate the EU

Well if this is not hate this is at least the opposite of love - whatever the name you put on the feeling :)

I am sceptical, however.

According to the Webster, skepticism is "an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object". You stand on a very firm opinions, to say the least, so I don't think "doubt" or "incredulity" can apply to you. You are neither skeptical nor a moderated critics either.

But please don't try and equate euroscepticism with far right extremists

Actually right extremists can be considered a subset of (and a majority of) euroskeptics. I've never met any right extremist that was pro-EU. So while I won't claim you are a right extremists, you are certainly siding with them on this issue.

Do you really think that were it not for the EU Europe would be teetering on the edge of war all the time?

Maybe, maybe not. As far as we know Europe has always been at war till the EU started to exists. No one can affirm there's correlation or not, but if anything the EU can only have helped strengthen peace, which is a Good Thing (TM).

First of all, the EU is not responsible for the peace of Europe over the last 50 years - NATO is the body that holds that honour.

You are really pro-USA... I've never seen you critize them accross all your post, only praises. Europe has been at war since the fall of the Berlin wall. Remember about all those nukes and tanks posted accross Europe ? East Germany even had prepared street signs for West Berlin so that they could be ready to reorganise the city once they would have taken it. Cold war is still war.

modern weapons of mass destruction, the global economy, all these things make war economic suicide

It seems everyday people disagree with you on this. Iraq invaded Kuweit, Croatia and Serbia share Bosnia in a bloodbath, etc... in 1938 too, people thought war would never happen... we all like to think everything is fine and will always be, but it ain't so.

NATO

So you say "the EU is based on outdated and backward fears". But you think NATO is good. Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but NATO is exactly something based on outdated and backward fears. As you remember, NATO was created as a counter to the Warsaw pact. You are probably aware that the cold war is over now, so NATO has become useless. It's a warrior without a war. Let's just dump it and build something new - a European defense initiative for example. Yes I know, you want to being the US ally and everything, but most Europeans don't support the US viewpoint on how the world should work (Cuba, Iraq, North Korea, Israel etc...) and if we don't share the same point of view, and there's no common enemy anymore, why be military allies ?

Because there is no recourse for the people of Europe to sack these rulers, except indirectly, unlikely considering the overwhelmingly pro european line taken by most parties.

Again that's an internal UK policy issue. Not being from the UK - I won't comment on that. I think the Tories are against EU, so vote for them if that's how you feel about it. I'm affraid we all have the same problem - we don't agree with ANY party and any candidate, so when voting we have to pick between the lesser evil.

People don't vote on a single issue, europe

Well again they did in many countries thru referendum, at least on the Maastricht treaty which included the Euro currency. If UK didn't do anything, then that's another one of internal UK problem and not the EU business - nor other Europeans business either.

Control over your economy is a good thing, why throw it away?

You don't throw it away. You just do it on a larger scale. Most European countries had politically indpendant banks - and now the Euro bank is also independant, so nothing's changing. Except that policies are made on a continental scale instead country scale - which means all economies are slowly going to get more and more in sync.

How does the US have control over you exactly?

In many ways. They got our countries involved in a very suspicious war, the Gulf War. They are trying to sell as their hormone-enhanced beef or their genetically modified crops. They refuse to cut on their pollution level (and we all breath the same air). They always ask for more deregulations, etc... remember, things are getting global.

The US is unlikely to exert military control over Europe

Except it has military bases in many European countries (Germany, Spain to name a few), has nukes in Europe, has a spying system in Europe targetted at us. Still not an occupation army either, but none of their business too ! You said it yourself : war is unlikely in Europe. So what are they still doing here if there's no threat ? Or maybe we are the new threat...

but free trade is good right?

Nope. That's the opinion of the rightists. Leftist think it is somewhat evil as free trades usually goes with more corporate power and less citizen power (democracy). This is an entirely different subject, so I won't go into it, but it's very controversial and Europeans nations, save for UK, are skeptics about the free trade the US is championning.

The US is not evil

Another controversial topics. USA is a country very much on the right. Many people find this evil (me included). Your point of view "US are friends" is very British but not shared by the majority in Europe (which is quite leftist). Be sure that if they could backstab us in the back to make some quick bucks they'd do it, just as well as EU or China would do to them if it was in their interests. There's no such thing in diplomacy as "love", everything is about trying to use the other while not being used. Relationship between countries is a permanent fight of influences, and in this game the bigger, the better.

it is not like Nazi germany

True.

and Bush != Adolf Hitler.

True also - Hitler was much smarter than Bush ;-)

And furthermore, why should I want the Palace of Westminster to recieve orders from Brussels?

Well if UK has a saying in other countries affairs thru the EU, then it's fair that the opposite hold right too. That's democracy.

You speak as though there is a European consciousness

But there is !! I've traveled accross several Europeans countries, and there's definitely a sharing of ideologies and point of views accross all of them, as well as the acknowledgment that we are all part of a big country called Europe. There are regular polls that ask "do you feel more (French|German|British|whatever) or European" and more and more people answer European every year.

I'd rather that the UK had a voice, however quiet, than no voice at all.

That would be true if EU was a dictatorship - but it ain't. UK has a fair number of deputees at the European parliements, directly elected by UK citizen. You can perfectly be heard. Think about it at the next European elections...

Switzerland is extremely unlikely to join the EU

It will because it has no other choice. I'll bet a fair amount of money on this one. They are surrounded by the EU. All they import comes from the EU or thru the EU. All they export goes thru the same way. If not by convictions, they'll be in the EU by survival necessities.

Small nations can do very well for themselves

Not really - they have to live as the subordinate of a larger nation. If you are a small country, you have a small or no army, are very dependant on import and export, have no internationnal influence, etc... hence you are very vulnerable and need the umbrella of a larger nation. Taïwan might be independant, it has to seek the US protection or else it would be crushed by China. Many central African countries rely on France for their currency (Francs CFA). Take any small nation on the map - they are all under the protection (and hence, dependance) of a more powerfull larger one.

much better than huge behemoths

USA is the biggest behemoths of all, and it still doing fine I think.

to give the USA a bloody nose. That is its reason for existence

No, it's needed so that the opinion of every European citizen counts MORE into this world than it counted when all countries were doing their little business on their own in a disorderly fashion. Before, Bush could have implented his Star Wars system without asking anyone but the US. Now with the EU he has to come over here and try to talk us into it (good luck :-). I'm a concerned citizen of the world. What goes on in Israel, USA or North Korea bothers me, and with the EU at least my opinion of the subject has a chance to be heard. When 15 respectable countries speak of one voice, the world listens.

[ Parent ]
And onwards... (none / 0) (#309)
by Anya on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 06:02:02 PM EST

but I object here because, while I enjoy the debate (but I'm a debate freak anyway) I don't think it is healty. I think your article wasn't a good debate opener because it was very one sided.

Yes it was very one sided and I should perhaps have included different views and so forth, but I think that overall the debate has been fun and healthy. Everything has been criticised, the article and the comments, which is excellent.

Well if this is not hate this is at least the opposite of love - whatever the name you put on the feeling :)

I was very forceful in my criticisms, and I am passionate about the subject, but I don't think that the EU is evil, etc etc. You are right that I am very biased and that I doubt that the EU even needs to exist, but still I am not sitting in a coalbunker foaming at the mouth over the insidious influence of the europeans invading God's Own Nation, the United Kingdom :) Maybe the EU will be a success and be a good thing in the long run, and really I don't have a problem so much with cross national governments, it is just that here in the UK at least noone is honest about the EU's destination and it seems to be slipping in with no real criticism or even awareness among people of what is happening.

You stand on a very firm opinions, to say the least, so I don't think "doubt" or "incredulity" can apply to you. You are neither skeptical nor a moderated critics either.

I might not be a moderated critic, but I am a critic nonetheless. I will concede that the EU could of course be the salvation of Mankind - who knows? - but it is true to say that I doubt this will happen.

Actually right extremists can be considered a subset of (and a majority of) euroskeptics. I've never met any right extremist that was pro-EU. So while I won't claim you are a right extremists, you are certainly siding with them on this issue.

That may be. Actually, I lean very much towards the left politically, but because euroscepticism is associated with the right wing I have been associated with right wingery. However, right wingers must be considered for the totality of their beliefs - I am sure most of them think that 2+2=4 too, and this is shared by almost everyone, but it doesn't really mean that it is a right wing belief. I think that euroscepticism transcends political affiliation very much, though the reason for that euroscepticism will vary. Right wingers will be eurosceptic because they believe in the supremacy of their nation, tend towards patriotism and so forth, and left wingers will be doubtful for other reasons, such as the association of the EU with capitalism and multinationals, economic and social reasons for example.

Maybe, maybe not. As far as we know Europe has always been at war till the EU started to exists. No one can affirm there's correlation or not, but if anything the EU can only have helped strengthen peace, which is a Good Thing (TM).

I agree here actually that the EU probably has helped strengthen peace in Europe. I still think that war in Europe, with its present makeup and a military alliance, is rather unlikely with our without the EU. And the thing is that the EU just globalises potential problems - instead of countries in europe competing with each other you have europe as a whole competing with the rest of the world. But I still think you are right here, in the end.

You are really pro-USA... I've never seen you critize them accross all your post, only praises.

Well I'm not really pro-USA at all. However, the USA isn't really the scope of this article - I do have grave criticisms of the USA though, in fact I think I did obliquely mention one in the article regarding the FTA.

Europe has been at war since the fall of the Berlin wall. Remember about all those nukes and tanks posted accross Europe ? East Germany even had prepared street signs for West Berlin so that they could be ready to reorganise the city once they would have taken it. Cold war is still war.

Well, its not technically war when shots aren't being fired, but this difference is just semantic. The point is people weren't being bombed/gassed/massacred during this time period, and that NATO, though still an extremely faulty organisation, was the thing that kept the Soviet Union at bay. NATO is a military alliance after all - nothing more to it. Providing for the defence of Europe should any member nation be attacked.

It seems everyday people disagree with you on this. Iraq invaded Kuweit, Croatia and Serbia share Bosnia in a bloodbath, etc... in 1938 too, people thought war would never happen... we all like to think everything is fine and will always be, but it ain't so.

Sure, but these conflicts are qualitively different. Just now in the world, there are no conflicts occuring anywhere between nation states. The conflicts we get nowadays tend to be internal, civil conflicts and genocides, like Bosnia, Serbia, Rwanda, Afghanistan, and so on. Conflicts wrapped up in history and in the common prejudice of people againt their neighbours in those states. This is sorted out by strong military intervetion, as in Bosnia and Serbia. Iraq was bad though.

So you say "the EU is based on outdated and backward fears". But you think NATO is good. Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but NATO is exactly something based on outdated and backward fears. As you remember, NATO was created as a counter to the Warsaw pact. You are probably aware that the cold war is over now, so NATO has become useless. It's a warrior without a war. Let's just dump it and build something new - a European defense initiative for example. Yes I know, you want to being the US ally and everything, but most Europeans don't support the US viewpoint on how the world should work (Cuba, Iraq, North Korea, Israel etc...) and if we don't share the same point of view, and there's no common enemy anymore, why be military allies ?

I agree that NATO probably isn't needed anthing like as much as it was, because the threat that it counters doesn't exist at this time. However my problem with the European defence idea isn't so much the principle (well perhaps slightly, as I do tend towards pacifism but I do realise that this isn't possible due to political realities oftentimes) but the question of who exactly said soldiers would be loyal to, who they would be controlled by and the democratic mandate. I think that calling for a European Defence Force at this time at least is very premature. Perhaps if Europe was more democratic I would be more inclined to accept the concept, but this doesn't seem to be happening. A small force that was capable of stamping down problems such as the Yugoslavian fiasco (which needed US intervention because Europe couldn't get its act together) might be a good idea. However, it depends on the issues of what it is used for by whom, which seems at best unclear at this time.

You don't throw it away. You just do it on a larger scale. Most European countries had politically indpendant banks - and now the Euro bank is also independant, so nothing's changing. Except that policies are made on a continental scale instead country scale - which means all economies are slowly going to get more and more in sync.

Which means economies of scale, more multinationalism and a more american style economy of huge corporate interests swaying a powerful central government with no real democratic mandate at this time. I don't find this at all appealing - becoming more like America in order to counter it :)

In many ways. They got our countries involved in a very suspicious war, the Gulf War. They are trying to sell as their hormone-enhanced beef or their genetically modified crops. They refuse to cut on their pollution level (and we all breath the same air). They always ask for more deregulations, etc... remember, things are getting global.

They try to do these things, but there is no reason to agree if you don't want to. No force. Hormone grown beef should be rejected I agree, and any country can do so - even tiny little countries - without fear of retribution. And regarding the Gulf War, I think the motivations behind it were not pure by any means, but still the bottom line is that one state invaded its neighbour and that this was wrong. Of course the US wasn't acting for moral reasons only when it went in, but I still think that it was the right thing to do, in the end. And no European country had to get involved.

Except it has military bases in many European countries (Germany, Spain to name a few), has nukes in Europe, has a spying system in Europe targetted at us. Still not an occupation army either, but none of their business too ! You said it yourself : war is unlikely in Europe. So what are they still doing here if there's no threat ? Or maybe we are the new threat...

Well, international spying is normal, deplorable as it may be. For all the fuss over Echelon, you can bet that European countries are spying like crazy the other way too. I don't think spying like this is good or moral, and I would like to see it stopped too, but I don't think that Europe can be on its moral high horse over this. And the US army seems to be often used in European conflicts where we won't do anything but wring hands, such as Bosnia. And lest you forget, Russia is extremely unstable, has lots and lots of Nuclear weapons and is not very far away at all.

Nope. That's the opinion of the rightists. Leftist think it is somewhat evil as free trades usually goes with more corporate power and less citizen power (democracy). This is an entirely different subject, so I won't go into it, but it's very controversial and Europeans nations, save for UK, are skeptics about the free trade the US is championning.

I agree that free trade can be very bad - I said that because I assumed that was your position and that you were being hypocritical. But free trade in Europe, as it exists, and the single currency will increase corporate power hugely too! This is one reason why I am sceptical of the EU :)

Another controversial topics. USA is a country very much on the right. Many people find this evil (me included). Your point of view "US are friends" is very British but not shared by the majority in Europe (which is quite leftist). Be sure that if they could backstab us in the back to make some quick bucks they'd do it, just as well as EU or China would do to them if it was in their interests. There's no such thing in diplomacy as "love", everything is about trying to use the other while not being used. Relationship between countries is a permanent fight of influences, and in this game the bigger, the better.

I do realise that the US has many problems and there are a great many things I dislike about it too, I haven't mentioned them so much because it has not been pertinant. However, I see no reason as yet why I should think the EU is better when it stands for many of the same things as the US but perhaps has a more moderate position. Nonetheless there are big problems and effects with free trade between European nations and the increase in power of multinationals here. The UK, for example, gets about 40% of the investment that goes into EU countries from abroad (ie America, Far East etc). This has meant that large parts of the country and economy are wastelands where huge manufacturing depots from foreign multinationals set up shop and export to the rest of Europe. And European multinationals are going global too, and taking over huge sections of the EU economy facilitated by the single market and single currency. I do deplore this very much.

Well if UK has a saying in other countries affairs thru the EU, then it's fair that the opposite hold right too. That's democracy.

Yes true, but then why bother at all? I don't see how individual european countries gain from handing over power in order to gain power. As well as the other issues I have mentioned :)

But there is !! I've traveled accross several Europeans countries, and there's definitely a sharing of ideologies and point of views accross all of them, as well as the acknowledgment that we are all part of a big country called Europe. There are regular polls that ask "do you feel more (French|German|British|whatever) or European" and more and more people answer European every year.

Yes this is true and perhaps it is a good thing for people to become citizens of the world and for nationalism to be put aside. I think identity is very important though, and perhaps dangerous. I can't say I have noticed this so much but that might just be my island mentality :)

That would be true if EU was a dictatorship - but it ain't. UK has a fair number of deputees at the European parliements, directly elected by UK citizen. You can perfectly be heard. Think about it at the next European elections...

I would be much happier about this if the parliament was given real teeth as compared to the other bodies which govern the EU, and also if the corruption and junketing found there could be stamped out completly. As it is the Parliament always seems to be on the sidelines, and seems inneffective.

It will because it has no other choice. I'll bet a fair amount of money on this one. They are surrounded by the EU. All they import comes from the EU or thru the EU. All they export goes thru the same way. If not by convictions, they'll be in the EU by survival necessities.

Perhaps, but I doubt it, the swiss have such a history of independance. But still, they may join one day and if the EU carries on as it does there is no doubt that it will become dependant.

No, it's needed so that the opinion of every European citizen counts MORE into this world than it counted when all countries were doing their little business on their own in a disorderly fashion. Before, Bush could have implented his Star Wars system without asking anyone but the US. Now with the EU he has to come over here and try to talk us into it (good luck :-). I'm a concerned citizen of the world. What goes on in Israel, USA or North Korea bothers me, and with the EU at least my opinion of the subject has a chance to be heard. When 15 respectable countries speak of one voice, the world listens.

Unfortunately I think that Bush will go ahead with it nomatter what the EU has to say about it, and I think it is a very stupid idea, but that is OT. You do have a good point here but I think the problem is that your opinion won't be heard as is due to lack of democracy as far as I can see.

Anyway, I am towards the left wing and I do have grave doubts about the EU, especially as is. However, I really amn't massively against it, if it could really prove itself and allay my fears then I would probably support it :)

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Phew :) (3.66 / 3) (#334)
by Betcour on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:21:26 AM EST

I doubt that the EU even needs to exist

Well it would be an interesting point of view and debate - but in the 70s. Now in 2001 the EU is here to stay, whether we like it or not. It won't go away, and it has lots of good sides too - so you can fight it (won't work), ignore it (dangerous) or support it and work toward making it better (and more democratic). The EU went from a coal agreement to an almost full blown governement in charge of 300 Million citizen speaking over 12 languages. It did so in less than 40 years, which is no amazing feat. Of course some things are not perfect and democracy could be improved. But destroying it because it is not perfect ? That's both a very harsh and impossible solution.

it is just that here in the UK at least noone is honest about the EU's destination

That's definitely true from what I have heard in the UK when I was there and from press coverage. It seems the UK has a serious problem with EU. It obviously don't like it a bit, but it also realize it's necessary. At the same time the average citizen would rather not ever hear of it - yet is very happy to cross the channel so quickly and spend his holidays in rural France :-) . There definitely needs to be a European debate in UK like there was one in France in the early 90s, maybe the Euro will spart one. Right now every UK politician would rather admit to being gay and into sm rather than admit being pro-EU, your politicians have acted as coward in the sense that they never prepared the British opinion to Europe, and now the opinion is strongly against it. To get a new idea accepted one has to work over decades, not 2 months before a referendum...

I still think that war in Europe, with its present makeup and a military alliance, is rather unlikely with our without the EU.

Maybe - but that would suppose the EU would be destroyed first, and if it ever was possible, it would be thru a war or a huge pan-European clash, hence making the situation less stable as it is now. And having been born and raised within the EU who predates me - I can't really imagine a Europe without the EU. It's like asking an American to think about USA made of 50 totally independant countries and absolutely no unification of any kind.

my problem with the European defence idea isn't so much the principle (...) but the question of who exactly said soldiers would be loyal to

They'd be loyal to Europe, of which their country is an active member of. If we ever get in war with China, USA etc... (unlikely but just for the sake of the debate), they'll have no problem being loyal to the EU. I just don't see the problem here. who they would be controlled by

This is still open to debate as it has not been really implemented yet. Probably somewhat like NATO, one single multinationnal commandment making the planning and getting the orders from the EU parliement or defense-ministers council. If NATO could get so many countries do one thing together, it should be even easier for the EU to do the same.

European Defence Force at this time at least is very premature.

Not really - first it is highly needed (as events in former-Yougoslavia showed) and secondly, it has already been partially implemented and experimented thru NATO and France-Germany common operations.

the Yugoslavian fiasco (which needed US intervention because Europe couldn't get its act together)

This fiasco exists partly because UK refused to do anything without the US (as it always does...), and it blocked everything. Germany wasn't too keen to on going there (they have a bad memory of those times they were sending troops in other countries). France was ready to go, but not alone. Classic problem that the EU would have solved, had it more sovereinty. I think Yougoslavia showed that we needed more of the EU and we needed it to work like a democracy where one country cannot veto a decision.

Which means economies of scale, more multinationalism and a more american style economy of huge corporate interests swaying a powerful central government with no real democratic mandate at this time.

Well the EU is what we do of it. If citizen don't feel concerned by it, then corporations will be alone in using it to their advantage. So far the EU has walked on a socialist-capitalist path, sometimes passing stict laws to protect consummers and workers (like the minimum wage and maximum work week, two things UK has valiently fought). Sometimes deregulating markets (something I often disagree with). Overall it's still quite balanced, unperfect yes, but not extremist.

They try to do these things, but there is no reason to agree if you don't want to. No force.

Depends if you consider "trade threats" as not the use of force... I wish we could shove the GATT and WTO up GW Bush ass - but unfortunately we signed and now are bound by it. Those treaties are much more dangerous than the EU, because they surrenders our democracies to businesses intrests (and most of them are Americans). If you think the EU is a threat to democracy, you've seen nothing yet.

but still the bottom line is that one state invaded its neighbour and that this was wrong.

Yep - but the USA manipulated Saddam into thinking they'd do nothing to stop him. In Rwanda half a million people died, in Afganistan terror reigns, etc.. but the USA only act when their precious interests is threatened, not when there's a honest cause to fight for. Not that EU would do any better, but if USA fights for their interests, they should fight alone. Iraq war was a war to save Texaco profits and the loosers where the Iraquis people who still die nowadays from lack of medical treatement or healthy food. It's a shame the European nations got draggued into this. They are now trying to make things better but the USA always veto any decision that might ease life in Iraq. But I disgress :-)

Well, international spying is normal, deplorable as it may be.

True. I'd even call it necessary. You really do want to know what China intents are regarding Taïwan after all.

For all the fuss over Echelon, you can bet that European countries are spying like crazy the other way too.

True - but we didn't build a huge spying station in Washington DC. I think UK has to come clean on why they help the US to spy on European countries.

And the US army seems to be often used in European conflicts where we won't do anything but wring hands, such as Bosnia. And lest you forget, Russia is extremely unstable, has lots and lots of Nuclear weapons and is not very far away at all.

But the US has carriers and don't need permanently stationned soldiers in Spain ! As for nukes, for one no GI will be able to stop them, and for two we have some also, so we can retaliate by ourself. Obviously there is not reason for US troops presence on EU ground anymore.

But free trade in Europe, as it exists, and the single currency will increase corporate power hugely too!

A single currency is a double edged sword for business : it makes their life much easier, but it also makes the life of the average consommer much easier - at least now wyou can easely compare prices of cars in Europe and buy one wherever you want. Business should be controlled thru regulations, not some historical barrieres like several currencies (of course in removing one, we should not forget to strenghten the other).

I agree on your complains about growing corporate power, but frankly the EU is no more responsible for as the local politicians, which, in every countries, dropped their pants in front of World Company (TM). It's a whole different issue.

Yes true, but then why bother at all? I don't see how individual european countries gain from handing over power in order to gain power. As well as the other issues I have mentioned :)

Humm lets see. For example the UK workers are slowly starting to get the benefits of German workers thru EU laws. French get to protect their cheese trademarks in other countries, etc... the exchange of some local power against some global power can have nice side effects as their are issues that you might want to tackle globaly (protect French cheese in Danemark for example), or some issues that your own governement is blind too but another is not.

I think identity is very important though, and perhaps dangerous. I can't say I have noticed this so much but that might just be my island mentality :)

You are right that identity is important - but it's always a matter of balancing the preservation of our identity while at the same time remaining open to other's identity. Right now the EU isn't doing to bad in this regard - they don't have done much against local identities. I know UK feel strongly about the pound and the imperial units, but frankly weighting things in kg and paying in Euro won't kill the pubs, the fish & chips or the Queen (and of course the everlasting British rain and fog ;-). I would be much happier about this if the parliament was given real teeth as compared to the other bodies which govern the EU

I absolutely totally agree on that - the EU parliament should have more power. But then again, killing the EU isn't the good solution to achieve this.

Perhaps, but I doubt it, the swiss have such a history of independance.

Yep but it isn't always to their honor. Being neutral is fine but when someone like Hitler comes around and kills millions, remaining neutral is passive agreement. Sometimes a country gotta do what a country gotta do, even if this is bad for banks business.

Unfortunately I think that Bush will go ahead with it nomatter what the EU has to say about it

I agree on that, but he will have at least to adapt his plans so that Europeans bitch a little less about it. If Bush wants to give billions of US taxpayers money to the corporate aerospace sector, while cutting fundings for healthcare, then that's USA problems. Chances are, the star wars project will miserably fail as technology is far from mature (it's now the 4th Star-wars project proposed in the US, so there's serious hope it will fail).

I wish you would be more enthousiastic about the EU like most people here are. To sum things up (it's a long thread with long post), EU is one of those big projects that span over generations, much like building Cathedrals or Pyramids were in their times. During all history, groups have united to form larger, more powerful groups. This goes from small tribes up to superpowers. The time were the world was big, nations were small and independant is gone. The Japanese economy can put ours into jeopardy overnite. Huge superpowers are rising (China, India), they get bigger and more powerful. The 21st century will be the century were those titans awake - and in a world of titans one has better not a puny tiny country, for fear of being trampled on.
Sure, the EU is full of imperfections and not the most democratic thing on earth, but it's good enough that it is worth being improved and not discarded. Sure, it has done mistakes and will do in the future - but it has achieved great things too (like growing healthy democracies in south-Europa). I don't think the EU will ban British beer, force you to drive on the right (although I wish :-) or burning the Union-Jack, so you shouldn't fear so much for your identity. Like most thing, the EU is a mixed bag, but it will be what we will do of it and I'm seriously looking forward making it bigger, stronger, more leftist and yes - more democratic too.

[ Parent ]
kudos (1.00 / 1) (#345)
by mami on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 03:13:01 PM EST

SSIA

[ Parent ]
How is this about EU vs. US? (4.00 / 5) (#224)
by infraoctarine on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:42:45 PM EST

You write: I am the non-professional, who posted my true opinion about your article, which is designed to bring about more political division between U.S. and Europe as there already starts to creep up everywhere.

Even though I wholehartedly disagree with Anya, I can't see how you can possible blame her for provoking political division between the EU and US. The article is about the EU, period. There is no reason why this should provoke an EU vs. US flamewar.

True, there has been EU vs. US posts in the discussion, but that is, sadly, true of countless K5 discussions recently, and that regardless of what the story is actually about.

[ Parent ]

A request for correction and clarification ... (2.50 / 2) (#240)
by knight23 on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 07:33:54 PM EST

It is a shame you decided that, now all that is left is just the other side of the argument, unbalanced, unchecked. I as someone that knows little of the EU only has this one view to base my opinions on ... You might want to reconciler ...


A mighty oak is the result of a nut that held its ground.
[ Parent ]
No (2.60 / 5) (#246)
by mami on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 01:45:11 AM EST

I reread all comments. Some have struggled to correct the most blatant misrepresentations from the author. If you want, you can search the sources and read up and search unbiased and authoritative information about the EU yourself.

That's something I can expect from a geek. I won't spend hours to search each and every source to prove the author's points wrong, especially not if an author has the outrageousness to accuse European nations to have "concentration camps" on their borders for immigrants.

You can use your brain and get your information elsewhere. If you are so dependent from your K5 community that you only read the propaganda on this site, that's your decision, but it is a big mistake to do so.

[ Parent ]
That is a shame ... (5.00 / 2) (#314)
by knight23 on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 07:32:23 PM EST

As I am oft to hear in my family, the only defense of the indefensible is rhetoric, back up what you say with facts. The reason I say this now is that you have not backed any of your statements up with fact (in the form of print, online articles or other references.) You tell me to do my own research, fair enough, but if someone is new to the discussion they may not know where to begin looking. So as someone that wishes me to see your side of the debate it is your responsibility to state you argument and back it with fact, it is my responsibility to check your facts and see if they are valid.

As to using Kuro5hin, Slashdot or even CNN as my only source of information, I do not do this, as no one source of information provides a clear picture, everything is filtered through the prejudice of the writer, the editor and any others involved in its creation. Using multiple sources for information is a must in all cases ... even when it is something that I agree with. A note on personal attacks such as "That's something I can expect from a geek" do little to add any credence to your argument, they only tend to show that you have no facts to back you point of view with. You are correct in that some of the things brought up in the original article we refuted or partially refuted in following posts, but saying "I won't spend hours to search each and every source to prove the author's points wrong" is a poor form of debate. I was always taught that the correct way to respond to something so egregiously incorrect was to point out a few of the worst points, back yourself up with facts and then let the other person try and defend their point. Anything less is the debate equivalent of walking into to a room and declaring yourself a 'smartie' and everyone else a 'dumb-bunny' and walking out.

You mention unbiased and authoritative information about the E.U., where would I begin to look for this, the UN homepage, the NATO homepage, CNN, MSNBC? As a non-European I doubt I would know the difference between a anti-EU page that is made to look neutral and one that truly was. I doubt that doing a search on google.com for 'unbiased EU facts' will turn up anything useful.




A mighty oak is the result of a nut that held its ground.
[ Parent ]
I agree with you, but not in this case (none / 0) (#335)
by mami on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 11:59:28 AM EST

Of course your family is right and one should back up a rebuttal with facts. No problem here, I agree.

My phrase "That's something I can expect from geeks" was not directed to you personally, but a general expectation I thought I could have towards writers and commentators on a forum which discuss "culture and technology from the trenches".

In the case of the EU story, the article posted was about a subject so complex and broad, that it is almost impossible for one person alone to formulate a well researched rebuttal. All the author could expect to get were emotional reactions from various readers out of EU countries, which reflected their individual experience or knowledge about the current situation of their own countries vis a vis the EU.

The author clearly tried to play out the emotions of one EU country against the other and used phrases, which in my opinion overstepped the limits of good taste (unless the author doesn't know the meaning of a concentration camp).

I am not going to discuss this story as a troll, but it is certainly not unreasonable to complain about a story's broad rethorical attacks and decide to say something about it without getting drawn into research for rebuttal arguments.

If I were to try to do all the research necessary to make rebuttals based on facts and balanced, reasonable judgement, I could spend the rest of my life doing research to respond to some provocative, rethorical, political authors on the web.

For most of the stories here on K5 you need to be a lawyer, philosopher, software engineer or programmer to comment on something with more substance than just making jokes or posting a well meant human advice.

I happen to belong to none of the above mentioned cream of professionals and intellectuals, but am looking for places to read comments of people who might have much more insight than I do.

I get disappointed if writers loose the opportunity to attract those people with stories of political nature clearly designed to incite comments of highly divisive, emotional and (useless) political nature.

An author, who is that careless in thinking about the consequences his words might trigger, has then IMHO lost the moral authority to demand from its readership to come up with "researched" rebuttals.







[ Parent ]
Are you trolling? (3.16 / 6) (#219)
by sanity on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 04:11:11 PM EST

If you disagree with the article, then provide counter-arguments, don't start randomly insulting the author. You are the one who is trying to incite hatred, hatred against the author, the author is just expressing her opinion and she has tried to support it with evidence.

I personally don't agree with her, the EU is imperfect, but so are all governments, and European states cannot protect their interests alone. Note however, that I don't feel the need to insult her personally.

[ Parent ]

there is no personal insult here (2.40 / 5) (#225)
by mami on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:01:26 PM EST

There is a judgement about what I consider irresponsible rethoric of an article written by a phantom author of whom nobody knows anything on a subject that is politically inciting emotions which can result in hate. Her introductory paragraph is an insult in its content not in its form to any European who has at least one screw left tight in his brain.

Your question if I am trolling doesn't make sense. Anybody can troll everywhere on the net, why would it still be logic to try to find out if someone is trolling or not ? I troll for what ? I have never trolled, I am too dumb to troll, and I said I am committed to not trolling.

Apparently noone can believe that one can feel offended by her evaluation of Europe and her arguments based on wrong facts. I won't go into discussion of that. Others have tried to correct her, that's enough.

[ Parent ]

What I want to know at this point... (2.66 / 3) (#247)
by Shren on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 02:29:22 AM EST

Are you going to refute anything in the article or are you going to get all Ad Hominum on us?

[ Parent ]

I agree with sanity... (3.60 / 5) (#232)
by Mr Obsidian on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:36:08 PM EST

Did you care to read the rest of the posts? I can see agreement and disagreement surrounding Anya's article, but the article is well stated and very factual (although the accuracy has been questioned). I see a healthy debate going on (for the most part), and to me, that says people are interested and educated in this subject. I believe it is a very important issue and can make no sense of your response to it.

Mr.O



[ Parent ]
MEEPT!!!!! (2.41 / 12) (#209)
by MEEPT on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 12:55:58 PM EST

MEEPT!!!!!

MEEPT!!!!! has broken free of the EUIA (Europian Union Intelligence Agency) thugs holding him/her/it hostage for the past two years, and after squeezing an avocado between his/her/its toes for the first time since he/she/it was taken hostage, shall now enlighten you with things learned during the evil avocado-less time in captivity.

The EU wants to bring about the rise of the anti-christ. Just ask the Book of Revelations, which has NEVER been wrong yet. MEEPT!!!!! wishes his/her/its students to take careful note of that fact as they prepare for the upcoming rapture...

Revelations plainly states that the anti-christ will rise from the old lands (Europe). He will bring peace to the world (big bad EU treaties), and take away all the avocados (MEEPT!!!!! insight). The Euro will only be usable with a mark on the hand or forehead (or horn). MEEPT!!!!! urges all to fight the EU with Holy Water and garlic, and keep all avocados safe for squeezeing gently between the toes.

MEEPT!!!!!
MEEPT!!!!!

Actually.. (none / 0) (#262)
by Sheepdot on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 11:11:54 AM EST

While your statement hold a slice of Revelations relevance, I believe the actual statement was the 10 horns on the crown of the anti-christ, representing the 10 major nations of the European Union.

I'm kind of rusty on my Revelations work, and I don't care to find my Bible to figure it out. Somehow it was deduced several years back that the anti-christ would rise out of the EU.

But before any of that happens they have to make great strides in creating the world religion. So we won't see the anti-christ in our lifetimes.

[ Parent ]
Somehow... (none / 0) (#264)
by MrMikey on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 11:42:13 AM EST

I think it much, much more likely that an android from the future is going to come back to the past in an attempt to kill the future mother of a resistance leader than I am of some mythical "10 horns on the crown" or the 'faithful' rising up into the sky, or any other such... fiction.

[ Parent ]
Please save your bible-bashing.. (none / 0) (#313)
by Sheepdot on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 07:08:28 PM EST

I'm just stating what I know about Revelations, I'm not about to attempt to convince anyone that it is true. Please read a post and try not to look too far into it and respond in err.

If I wanted to preach, the comment would have been much, much, different.


[ Parent ]
Ok, what I remember (none / 0) (#338)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 02:21:46 PM EST

Of course, there's hundreds of interpretations, but that's too much to go into now. What the Seventh-day Adventists tend to believe is that the pope is the Anti-christ, who will one day be given his power to rule the earth back by, of all countries, the US. Shortly after that, the US will enact a Sunday law (already on the books in almost every state, just not federal), and use its massive political pull to get all nations aligned. The last country to be aligned? France.
Anyhow, much of that is actually from the SDA prophet, Ellen White, whose maiden name, Ellen Gould Harmon, also adds up to 666, iirc, as does William Henry(?) Gates III, but Adventists tend to believe that the pope is it because of whatever is on his mitre, which, if you add up the letters that constitute Roman numerals, equals 666.
Now, as to the horns, there were ten, but then three were swept away by a new one which spoke blasphemous things. This new horn with a mouth is believed by Adventists to be the Catholic church in the guise of the Holy Roman Empire, who allegedly destroyed three of the original ten European countries creating the Holy Roman Empire. Now, the <insert euphemism for antichrist> suffered a serious wound, which was Napolean imprisoning the pope, after which the pope had little, if no influence over Europe politically. Then, the ram raises up elsewhere, talking peace but bringing war (US has always claimed peaceful neutrality but faught in just about every war it could get into, anyway), who would butt its way to prominence and eventual domination, at which point, it heals the wound of the anti-christ, who subsequently takes over. Then the seven last plagues, the sealing of the believers, the second coming, the resurrection, the millenium, where satan is bound for a thousand years on earth and wicked are dead in their graves while the righteous live in the Holy City (somewhere beyond the Nebula of Orion), and then the third coming, at which point the evil are killed, the Holy City sets down on the Mount of Olives, which splits into a huge plain, from whence flows the river of life under the tree of life, whose roots are on both sides of the river of life and which produces a different fruit each month. The righteous go out to repopulate the earth.
Adventists are very fond of prophecy, and have a large and mostly workable interpretation system for it. At least it's as good as any other, as I never was able to swallow the whole thing because Revelation reads too much like a drug-induced dream for me. It never agrees with itself, types in one part that appear to correlate to others often have important disagreements. Daniel isn't much better, being very good right up until the Roman Empire, at which point (chapter 11), it gets muddy. Many skeptics claim that Daniel was finished *after* Revelation, for this point, and any corroboration that Daniel provides to Revelation is intended, rather than a result of divine intervention. These skeptics also believe Revelation to be what it appears to be: a drug-induced dream that convinced a lot of people to become Christian, so the Jews needed their own prophecy, and so finished Daniel...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Well, it looks like Ireland got a vote on the EU.. (4.33 / 3) (#210)
by Shren on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 01:18:21 PM EST

Guess what they voted:

Second Nice poll seems certain

What do we learn about democracy from this? Simple! If you don't like the way the vote turned out, you call for another vote! At least they're not rambling about recounts like us USA fools.

But it means: Negotiating exeptions (none / 0) (#267)
by drquick on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 01:01:06 PM EST

I think it's not quite as you say. There will probably be a second vote, but not on the same issue. The Irish will get the opportunity to vote over exeptions to the Nice treaty negotiated for Ireland.

Compare that to the exeptions Denmark and UK got for the Mastricht treaty. The situation in Denmark was exactly the same. The first referendum was against and the second (with renegotiated exeptions) was for the Mastricht treaty. Danes got changes to the treaty because of the referendum. Still the same argument was heard about "only" a repeated referendum.

[ Parent ]

I don't get it, though. (none / 0) (#364)
by Shren on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 05:01:37 PM EST

If the different governments demand different exceptions for the rules, then why are they trying to pull all of Europe under the same rules? And doesn't it smell a little like they're trying to get the EU's foot in the door, by any means possible?

[ Parent ]

Another American spews mindlessly (2.00 / 8) (#214)
by Scrutinizer on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 03:12:09 PM EST

"The EU is composed of democratic states, yes, but at a European level there is little to no democratic accountibility."

Forget democracy.

I prefer a Republic...

Seriously, though, what choice *is* there for the european tribes but to congeal into a lumpy mess under the table? You sure can't get 'em to agree to anything above board, with the possible exception of their dislike for America.

The French and the Germans have gone at each other twice in the last century, dragging most of their allies in after them willy-nilly. The Italians have had so many governments that even *they* can't keep track. The UK is wheezing and staggering, a befuddled old wino dreaming of their glory days oppressing the wogs.

And the so-called "mid-european" states have had their faces stomped on by the Russian boot for so long thay wouldn't recognize a democratic goverment anyway.

To hell with 'em all...


The EU is simply American ideological imperialism (2.25 / 4) (#229)
by LilDebbie on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:22:42 PM EST

Note: I am an American, demmit, just so you know.

America's main foreign policy goal since WW2 is to essentially convert the world into one, big America. Examples abound: NATO, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, "Making the world safe for democracy," the WTO, the UN, the collapse of the Berlin Wall (and the Iron Curtain), the fact that you can get McDonald's pretty much anywhere in the world, etc. The EU is simply the fruition of these efforts. What do you call a collection of semi-soveriegn states with a central ruling body for interstate relations and a single currency? If your last name is Jefferson or Madison, you call it Federalism. The EU is set up on the United States' model; they've seen how successful it's been and want to implement it. Granted, we've only really succeeded in convincing the politicians (hence why many Europeans despise Americans and the EU). Anyway, so what's my point? My guess is that the EU will turn out much like the US of A. Whether or not this is a good thing is another discussion.

LilDebbie

P.S. One thing I will give to America over some European countries *ahem* France is that we don't have armed soldiers walking the streets of our majority cities *cough* Paris.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

A defense (none / 0) (#269)
by svampa on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 03:08:58 PM EST

I feel it more like a defense against American imperialism. Specially in economic matters.

"Get strong to avoid being pressed by strong ones"

That's nowadays, will see 50 years latter



[ Parent ]
Wait... (none / 0) (#304)
by Lai Lai Boy on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 03:55:49 PM EST

Last time I checked, McDonald's was a private company, not a goverment program to conquer foreign lands. It's hardly an example of the Americanization of other nations.

[Posted from Mozilla Firebird]
[ Parent ]

Whoops (none / 0) (#305)
by Lai Lai Boy on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 03:59:55 PM EST

Or rather, goverment sponsored Americanization; it doesn't fit in with NAFTA or the WTO.

[Posted from Mozilla Firebird]
[ Parent ]

companies americanize us (none / 0) (#352)
by drquick on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 04:25:31 PM EST

And why can't private companies Americanize Europe. They do, and that's what it's about. Americanizaton is money being the leading star of our fates. Rather than the much advertised democracy.

[ Parent ]
Armed soldiers walking the streets (none / 0) (#325)
by Bernie Fsckinner on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 08:13:14 AM EST

What do _you_ call men&women with pistols and blue uniforms? NYPD is larger than most nations' armies.

[ Parent ]
Peg Pound to Euro (Again) (3.00 / 2) (#230)
by Shiftless-Jungle-Bum on Tue Jun 12, 2001 at 05:28:45 PM EST

The prospect of surrendering the British Pound for the Euro is what fuels much of the anti-EU sentiment seen in this article. Many Britons (or apparently Americans that have recently visited London) are sceptical of the Euro and not just because, at present time, the Euro is so weak and the Pound so strong but because somehow Britons equate their national soverignity with their currency.

There is a compromise solution that would eliminate business concerns with exchange rate fluctuations and yet keep the Pound for Britain. Instead of dumping the Pound for the Euro why not keep the Pound but just peg it to the Euro. This involves voluntarily aligning interest rates with ECB and thereafter matching any interest rate changes that the ECB makes. If this does not work then the Bank of England would decide the interest rate independent of the ECB. If it does work then fully adopting the Euro could proceed if so desired.

Indeed if Britain were to adopt the Euro interest rates would have to be tied for at least two years before full adoption could occur anyhow. This is in fact what the current Euro-land countries did since at least the early 90s. Britain was in the ERM but had to pull out in 1992 because they could not keep the Pound from fluctuating outside of its exchange rate band.

This is a relativly simple solution and not without precedent. Many countries peg their currencies to other currencies. Argentina, and many others, pegs their Peso to the USD at a one-to-one parity. Bosnia, Bulgaria, and Estonia peg their currencies to the Deutsch Mark (Euro).

Britain is such a strong player it's a shame they don't want to play ball. Participation in the EU is frought with risks but it must be better than maintaining the ago-old European nation-state status quo.

Two Problems (5.00 / 1) (#256)
by moscow on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 08:42:03 AM EST

There are two main issues with this argument - one practical, the other philosophical.

Firstly, the reason that Britain left the Exchange Rate Mechanism in the first place: Currency traders knew what the acceptable exchange rate was for the pound, and as it approached a limit of that band, they tried to push it out. The reason for doing this was that they knew the government had to stay within bounds, and therefore the Bank of England intervened in the "free trade" in currency to push the pound's value back into the right bracket. On top of this, the Treasury pushed interest rates through the roof to attempt a longer term re-evaluation of sterling. Do you remember the rate going up three times in one day and ending up at 15%? This meant the whole British economy was being screwed by currency speculation and the ERM. The Chancellor dumped the ERM, allowing the pound to float free and dropping interest rates back to a more sensible level for the economy as a whole.

Perhaps we could get around this by pegging the Pound to the Euro? This has the same practical effect as scrapping it altogether - in fact one thing you seem to be suggesting is that once people get used to a fixed rate of exchange it could be quietly dumped in any case. This leads to the more philosophical problem. The anti-Euro argument is that handing over control of currency reduces the nation's sovereignty. What controls the value of the pound (or any other currency)?

  • Cutting interest tends to devalue the currency, increase economic activity and subsequently increase inflation. The ability to push a country's economy around in this gross manner is important, but will be reduced or removed by a single European currency.
  • The amount of money a government has is dependent on the amount of taxable activity in the country. Raising and lowering taxes has an obvious effect on economy (as anyone who has played SimCity will know :-), but this also affects the value of currency. What happens when currency is cut away from national taxes?
  • The value of imports and exports can be adjusted. In a day-to-day sense, this makes little difference - currency fluctuations affect the price of a book bought at fatbrain anyway - but there is an eternal argument over whether imports should be cheap (strong pound) or exports (weak pound). As a trading bloc, a fixed-price rate across Europe would appear to offer greater stability and transparency, but unless greater harmonisation occurs across Europe, local prices will continue to differ.
And, of course, the question of harmonisation is at the bottom of all this. Eurosceptics believe that a single, harmonised Europe is the final aim, and given the trends of the last 40 years it is hard to disagree. Is this a good thing? How is this actually better than the "nation-state status quo"?

[ Parent ]
A thought experiment (3.00 / 1) (#259)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 09:56:15 AM EST

After the Conservative election victory in 1979 UK election, the Adam Smith Institute (a think-tank) produced The Omega Report on possible policy for Scotland.

Historically 3 Scottish banks have rights to issue their own bank notes (as well as 4 Northern Irish banks). These notes are pegged to the Bank Of England notes one to one as they are (in effect, if not quite in law) the same currency. (Effectively a Bank Of Scotland £5 note is cheque for 5 Bank of England pounds.)

The Omega Report suggested floating the 3 different Scottish pounds against each other and the Bank of England pound, on the grounds that good money would drive out bad - competition is a great thing, blah-blah...

Now it is pretty obvious to me that this is rubbish idea - but the arguements also acts as a 'photographic negative' to the issue of currency merger...

[ Parent ]
Yes.. (4.00 / 2) (#257)
by ajduk on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 08:52:56 AM EST

Last time, the pount was maintained at far too high an exchange rate. This has been one of the main problems for the last few years; a strong pound has been damaging for british industry.

Pegging the pound to the euro at a lower rate than at present would be great for manifacturing industry.

Personally, I want to see a United states of Europe, either with or without Russia (With would be best in the long run, although I'm not sure how they'd take it..). This would give the world a second power block instead of the current domination by the USA.

However, I would like to see stronger, more acountable democratic structures being set up. This must be a condition of the UK joining the Euro.



[ Parent ]
Without merging currency (none / 0) (#337)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 02:01:40 PM EST

It's going to be very difficult to maintain a certain valuation. What happens if the Euro takes off while England is in a recession? The only way to keep the pound up in such a case is to reduce the money supply, causing the strong pound to complicate the recession by reducing exports.
I realise this will be a problem if the currencies are merged, as well, but with merged markets and currencies, the problem will be minimized, as a reduced sector tends to affect other sectors in the same country. However, not merging them means England has to commit Hari-Kari every time the Euro takes flight, something I'm certain plenty of people will take advantage of. At the very least, the opposition gets to paint the current government as against the little man...
I guess it's mainly a political distinction...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Finally, Germany Takes Over (1.40 / 10) (#271)
by jazman_777 on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 06:09:01 PM EST

Can anyone doubt that Germany will dominate the EU? They finally get their dream of European Domination. And it was all very painless (if you don't count the two failed attempts, which were _very_ painful).

Germanophopia (2.50 / 2) (#287)
by drquick on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 10:04:39 AM EST

Yet again someone who bashes Germany for no apparent reason. Don't be fooled by 50 years of Hollywood blaar.
I can't imagine why Germany would dream about "European domination". Why not France, Sweden or the UK? This is all just phobia!

[ Parent ]
No, it's a calculated move (4.00 / 1) (#301)
by mami on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 01:04:56 PM EST

by the author.

What it comes down to (reading carefully all comments from Anya) is an attempt to incite feelings of division among European nations ( the couple of readers who happen to read her/his stuff) thriving on the fact, that painting Germany as the evil demon who wants to dominate Europe, always works. Having the history we had, Germans can only be bad intentioned. The author uses this to incite negative reactions from German readers to prove his arguments right.


[ Parent ]
Eh? (none / 0) (#302)
by Anya on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 01:21:26 PM EST

Where have I done this? Please make specific quotes from me showing that I am painting countries as 'evil'.

FYI, I like European countries and enjoy holidaying there. I am not a xenophobe. Eurosceptic != baby eating xenophobic nutcase, however much you try and paint me as one.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

well, may be you are right :-) (none / 0) (#303)
by mami on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 02:38:54 PM EST

All the quotes I can offer are in between your lines. You shine in the comments you generate in your readership. Of course you are not responsible for those, you didn't say them, but you helped generate them.



[ Parent ]
Okay (none / 0) (#312)
by Anya on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 06:39:03 PM EST

That wasn't my intention. I should have been rounder with my article and included different opinions I agree. And I certainly didn't intend to cause such comments or incite people in that way. I am sorry if you were distressed.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.
[ Parent ]

Oh, I am feeling much better, now (5.00 / 1) (#315)
by mami on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 07:59:09 PM EST

that I know you are sorry. Just be good til next time you can't help but writing.

[ Parent ]
Ignorance exemplified (3.25 / 4) (#274)
by kenny42 on Wed Jun 13, 2001 at 09:08:22 PM EST

This had to be the worst posting to date on kuro5hin
--
The European Union is not democratic?
Yeah well, same problem as every other country on this planet with a population over 2. Democracy is basically perceived and everywhere sacrificed for compromise, but in no other democratic country nearly as blatant as in the US.

The EU Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament are elected in a similar fashion as is the Congress in the US, representatives elected by representatives. Of course the whole concept is rather bogus, but fear not, the EU is just way to diverse to become a real unique power with all the Orwellian threats that are painted all over this piece.

Compared to the US the EU will even in 10 years from now be much more federal and its parts more diverse than the US has ever been.

The EU is _not_ economically stagnant, just because they don't ride every wave of New Economy in the same blind Evil Knievel fashion as the US. Growth is also slowed down by a much stronger social net, supporting poorer countries as well as poorer individuals. Social net, that's that weird concept that never really took off in the US.

To consider "the European Union to be one of the most scary developments in the modern world" is just prove of not understanding how Europe and all the different countries there work. And there is a good chance that the next big earthquake strikes down the world-economy via California before a unified European police force and a European Army ever exist.
Again, democracy is only perception, so get over it.
*no sarcasm in this posting*

You misread this article (4.33 / 3) (#286)
by slaytanic killer on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 10:00:22 AM EST

It was communicating one basic feeling in quite a few words: The UK's inherent dislike of being chained to Europe. The rest is verbiage.

If you were American (which perhaps you are) could you want to be in a position where you could be dominated by the likes of a Germany, one that was inflated to be larger than the US? Could you stand having to quibble about every heavy-handed policy conceived by them? (Especially considering France isn't so light on her toes either?) When people complain about lack of democracy, they really complain about reduced freedoms. Germany and France are highly stifling countries because they've lived with dangerously unprotectable borders and evolved into the worldview that this position implies.

This article is a great place for people-watching, who act as the outspoken stereotype of the countries they come from. Very educational.

[ Parent ]
People watching (3.60 / 5) (#290)
by the trinidad kid on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 11:02:37 AM EST

One of the key 'people-watching things' that I have picked up on has been the number of UK kuro5hin readers who think this article is paranoid europhobia and who actually love the EU and see no contradiction between being simultaneously (Scottish | English | Welsh | etc), British and European (people like me in fact).

The idea that the EU bosses anyone around is quite astonishing. Any EU decision on anything takes epic quantities of negotiation, horse trading, appropriate consultation and mediation in view of national sentiment, etc, etc. In many respects the EU resembles the mediaeval Polish parliament which could only pass laws unanimously and mandated low-level warfare between the legislators' feudal possessions as the outcome of a non-unanimous vote.

Some of us want more democracy and less national vetoes in order that the EU can go about its business 'imposing' its will by recourse of having more legitimacy.

Contrary to the opinions expressed all over this article and the comments the people of the UK do not care very much about the EU's powers. Consistently the opinion polls show 70% against going into the Euro, but when the voters were asked daily during the election campaign to list 10 issues in order of importance to them education and health came first and Europe came tenth every time.

An opinion poll might tell you that 90% of the population dislike the colour ecru on a car but that doesn't indicate that anybody really gives a damn.

It was the failure of the Tory party to realise that the popular opinion on the Euro is a `weak' opinion (however big a majority believe it) that was an instrumental factor in them getting tanked at the election.

The reality is that the next major step in the UK's long dance with the EU can only happen if the population approve it in a democratic referendum, and if anyone seriously believes that this referendum will be like the German plebiscite on re-arming the Rhineland under the Nazis then they are damn fools.

[ Parent ]
Please read my post again (2.00 / 1) (#320)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 06:21:37 AM EST

You're not talking to me. You're talking at me. I want you to talk to me, with no preconceptions of what my post says.

I wrote:
Could you stand having to quibble about every heavy-handed policy conceived by them?
That is the nature of negotiation, and being chained to another body. If the US ever differed from my hypothetical larger-than-life Germany, there would be endless bouts of negotiation. And here you violently agree with me. The US (here my metaphor for the UK) would feel that for every little thing they wanted, they'd have to drag it out of big Germany and concede in other areas of disagreement.

In reality, the two countries may agree far more than they disagree, but all people ever notice are the little disagreements.

[ Parent ]
Maybe I should have quoted you more... (4.00 / 1) (#326)
by the trinidad kid on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 08:34:31 AM EST

You said:

...the UK's inherent dislike of being chained to Europe.

This article is a great place for people-watching, who act as the outspoken stereotype of the countries they come from...

My post was about how:
* most people in the UK don't disklike being chained to Europe
* lots most of the UK based postings I have read on this subject are anti-Europhobe
* whilst most people in the UK don't particularly fancy going into the Euro that opinion is demonstrably weak

[ Parent ]
Exactly! (none / 0) (#331)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 09:55:13 AM EST

You have precisely hit upon what I was saying. You wrote:
Consistently the opinion polls show 70% against going into the Euro, but when the voters were asked daily during the election campaign to list 10 issues in order of importance to them education and health came first and Europe came tenth every time.
And you were responding to a post where I wrote:
the outspoken stereotype of the countries they come from
I wrote "stereotype." The outspoken stereotype. That does not mean reality, and if you believe I meant that instead, perhaps I have been working with computers too much, in that computers interpret each word as carefully as everything else, whereas humans get the general sense of a post.

Now, you said that "the opinion polls show 70% against going into the Euro." So we can see some sort of dislike against the Euro. Then you clarified by saying, "the popular opinion on the Euro is a `weak' opinion (however big a majority believe it)." Is it not possible to look at the majority opinion, no matter how "weak" it happens to be by some metric, and extrapolate the stereotype from that? And perhaps it is not unreasonable go give credence to the opinion that there will need to be some sort of push for the UK people to change their voting stance?

I am not arguing that Germany is a Nazi country. I know a lot of Germans, and they are further away from Nazi ideals than the average American, and I am a US citizen. I once mentioned the word "Nazi" publicly in old Deutschland, and seen people shudder because of what their earlier generations have done.

But I am arguing that negotiations with even a benign country like Germany would take its toll on Americans. Look right now at the fun Bush is having, with international scorn for his positions on the Kyoto treaty, and Congress' position against paying its UN dues, despite the pleading of some former presidents. The US would not volutarily stand for such negotiations and delays without a struggle, if it were ever to be forced upon them by necessity or by need. The wheel of government turns slowly by design in the US, but that does not mean the US public has infinite patience.

If the UK can find the patience for this, then in some ways they are a better country than the one I was born in.

[ Parent ]
Context is all (none / 0) (#332)
by the trinidad kid on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:07:35 AM EST

We've just come out of an election where the Tories have spent weeks trying to project this mad europhobic, little Englander stereotype and we're pretty sick of it here - particularly in Scotland - and perhaps a touch oversensitive. I am glad that we both agree that that stereotype is unfounded...

[ Parent ]
Chained to Europe or chained to Germany? (3.00 / 3) (#295)
by Shiftless-Jungle-Bum on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 11:57:15 AM EST

It was communicating one basic feeling in quite a few words: The UK's inherent dislike of being chained to Europe ... Could you want to be in a position where you could be dominated by the likes of a Germany?

One thing I've noticed is a lot of baseless British Germanophobia. How exactly will Britain or the rest of the EU be dominated by Germany? Please elaborate instead of just spewing more groundless phobia.

California is influential within the United States but I wouldn't say that it dominates American politics. California could be a sucessful independent country - its economy just became larger than that of France and is within a hair's breadth of surpassing that of Great Britain (Source: Wall Street Journal - 14 JUN 2001). But I'm fairly certain that California is better off in the union with the other 49 and the other 49 are happy California is with them. Perhaps that is how the British should view Germany.

Germany and France are highly stifling countries because they've lived with dangerously unprotectable borders and evolved into the worldview that this position implies.
Actually you have it backwards here. Most countries have unprotectable borders with other countries - Britain is an exception as it is an island. And Britain has "evolved into the worldview that this position implies."



[ Parent ]
"Spewing more groundless phobia"..? (2.00 / 1) (#321)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 06:28:14 AM EST

How exactly will Britain or the rest of the EU be dominated by Germany? Please elaborate instead of just spewing more groundless phobia.
You seem to have set off my moron-meter.

Was I not talking about perception? I was even agreeing with you, interestingly enough. I have no interest in debating with you until you calm down, because I would just be saying what I said before in a different form. So please instead read my response to the trinidad kid, who managed to be a lot more mannered than you.

[ Parent ]
A little testy, are we? (4.00 / 1) (#323)
by Shiftless-Jungle-Bum on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 07:29:27 AM EST

You seem to be somewhat defensive. I too have no desire in debating you until you calm down. In the meantime I will re-read the post you assigned me as homework and try to glean from it tips on improving my manners.

[ Parent ]
Hey friend... (none / 0) (#324)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 08:11:36 AM EST

You were the one with the first insult. But I don't particularly care, nor should you... Feel free to debate as you wish.
Please elaborate instead of just spewing more groundless phobia.


[ Parent ]
Insult? (none / 0) (#328)
by Shiftless-Jungle-Bum on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 08:56:45 AM EST

Please elaborate instead of just spewing more groundless phobia.

What you deem an insult I regard as calling a spade a spade. Lest we get off track too much what exactly is it about big, bad Germany that frightens you?



[ Parent ]
Didn't mean to cut you there... (none / 0) (#329)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 09:08:36 AM EST

Lest we get off track too much what exactly is it about big, bad Germany that frightens you?
I didn't mean to get under your skin. I'm sorry if you couldn't handle my words, especially since I am ATM in Germany, having a wonderful time.

[ Parent ]
Not cut (3.00 / 2) (#330)
by Shiftless-Jungle-Bum on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 09:45:53 AM EST

I'm not cut, I enjoy the debate. I just wish you would answer my question.

As for your being in Germany - maybe I'll see you around. :-)

[ Parent ]
Ok... (3.33 / 3) (#333)
by slaytanic killer on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 10:16:48 AM EST

One thing I've noticed is a lot of baseless British Germanophobia. How exactly will Britain or the rest of the EU be dominated by Germany? Please elaborate instead of just spewing more groundless phobia.
When I read this, I sort of agreed with you here -- the feeling is baseless, but it has its roots in reality. The US wouldn't really be dominated by the hypothetical big bad Germany, but it would sometimes feel that way. And that's what I mean by public sentiment. The two cultures do not match perfectly; there is a language barrier. This leads to all sorts of baseless but measurable fears and differences.

Even now, the split between the US' Bible Belt contrasts strongly with the more liberal areas. The US has a history of having trouble uniting without significant negotiation and compromise -- which people find tiresome and even freedom-removing, when they have to give up something cherished in order to gain goodwill or a concession.

This article is a microcosm -- it is definitely an extreme opinion, but extreme opinions have a tendency to be loud in comparison to the moderate ones. Therefore the illusion is that the extreme is stronger than it really is. Something like this will definitely take place in the future, as Britain starts interacting more deeply with the EU. Unavoidable. But it is useful to recognize this, instead of trying to counter Anya's extreme claims with an overly rosy picture of the EU. Human psychology is to counter extreme claims with other exaggerations. And so the truth lies in the middle.

The parent post called the article "the worst posting to date on kuro5hin." It was unkind to Anya, and I felt he did not see the good parts of it. Anya neglected to tailor her article to avoid bile-filled responses, but even those are educational. In the future, people who write articles on this subject (and there will be more) will make sure to honestly take opposing views into consideration. Otherwise, people will just wisely vote down another flamebait article.

[ Parent ]
The UK's border was only secured in 1998 (4.00 / 1) (#327)
by the trinidad kid on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 08:42:21 AM EST

The British-Irish border dispute was only settled in the Good Friday referendum of May 1998 after which the irredentist claim of Ireland to the North (Articles 2 and 3) were dropped.

The existance of cross-border European institutions was certainly an important factor in bringing this about.

[ Parent ]
reevaluating my POV (1.50 / 6) (#276)
by kenny42 on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 01:49:45 AM EST

after fighting through nearly all 273 comments on this topic before mine and reading even more blind-sighted blabber by Anya I have decided not to read any of her/his past and future postings. This is the web equivalent to a *plonk*.
It's just not worth arguing with you, I'd rather convert some Jehovah's witnesses...
rather frustrated - kenny42

Autocratic, evil asian states? (4.57 / 7) (#285)
by paperd on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 09:58:54 AM EST

I don't live in Europe, so I don't think I have the right to comment on what is right or wrong about the EU system.

I am a Singaporean.

In reading the article and some of the comments I am highly amused to find Singapore being caricatured as an utterly controlling autocratic state (and with it the implication that it is heinously evil).

True. And false. It is true that we may have "lesser" freedom than some countries, but it is also counterbalanced by the fact that Singapore has remained politcally and economically stable thoughout our young history, no mean feat. We are, after all, a small island state, in a region beset by some major challenges (Indonesia, Phillipines). I would like to think, that even though I am a product of a totally controlled nepotistic state, I am relatively happy to live here in safe Singapore.

To all K5-ers: Even though I may find flaws with my government (who doesn't?) I would like to implore readers not to judge others at face value. To each his own.

Maybe it's because you're /more/ free... (none / 0) (#308)
by magney on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 05:46:27 PM EST

I know almost nothing about Southeast Asia, of course, but my vague understanding of Southeast Asian politics is that Singapore is hardly leading the pack amongst violators of personal freedoms that North Americans take for granted. Perhaps we hear so much about these things in Singapore precisely because people are free to tell us. :)

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Singapore (3.00 / 1) (#336)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 01:53:01 PM EST

Singapore works precisely because it's Asian. The form of government would never work in the US. That being said, it is very effective. Singapore has extremely low crime, a good economy, low corruption, and long-term stability.
However, like Swedish-Danish-Swiss socialism, which also works rather well, or Israeli communism, those solutions are tailored to the makeup of society and only work there. The US tends to value freedom above all else; hence, even if just and meticulously executed, Singapore-style government won't work here.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Kill your leaders (3.33 / 3) (#316)
by NatePuri on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 11:05:43 PM EST

If you know who they are.

We no longer have true democracies. In the US, administrative agencies dominate governance. Corporations pay the decisionmakers, and they pay homage in return. La di da...

We now live in a coalition government. We elect leaders to put on a good TV show. They don't put the good stuff on, though. See http://www.narconews.com to see how they are really spending the big bucks. The coalition comes in where the "behind-the-scenes" types who are more hardworking than our flashy TV hosts get together to decide the day to day things. For example, how to make sure subversive words never enter people's minds. Unless, of course, it's 'subversive-cool' in which case you will see little children espousing "we eat what we want, see" on Apple Jacks commercials.

It's hilarious how they make it all stick, what with the erosion of the fabric of society and all. They created a truly 'democratic system' where any idiot can make a buck. Tax the idiot, give him or her or shim a TV, TV dinners, radio, transportation and drugs and she/he/she-he would actually fight to the death to defend that life (most likely by committing suicide or the equivalent). Of course, there are some really hardworking types in this group too. You will find them at 24/hr Workout solving tough problems related to abdominal muscles and sexual stamina.

Someone with the aforementioned tax money in hand can now buy any accoutrement for killing with no accountability. At most, people with really smart brains will post a gripe on a cool web site so long as the power stays on. Secret meetings never get a complaint because they're not on TV. People would be really pissed if there was an interruption in the normal television schedule to broadcast some irrelevant political bullshit that they couldn't do anything about anyway.

Then there are the truly rebellious. They go on tour to the most beautiful cities on earth wearing early '90's Seattle styles and moan to the beat of rubber pellets. The cops get to practice riot control techniques in case some really mean spirited group comes out to fight one day. Most of those guys got wise and can be found in Colombia running the dope game from the source.

The bottom line. I don't know, call up your local politician screaming non-sense just to piss him/her off. In fact, everyone should do it at the same time. Just don't let it be a time when I'm high, scheming for paper, and on a run to Taco Bell. Then I'll be pissed.

Keyword search. fatalistic, nihlistic, sarcasm, glib, quip, irony, hopeless, inanity, insanity, immoral, distasteful, meandering, pointless, idiocy, hateful, mean, silly, funny, sick, uncaring, cold-hearted, banal, tired, superficial, superfluous, sycophant, frustrated, suicidal, self-emolation, oblivious, retarded, destroyed, inhuman, automaton, ruin, baleful, gut-wrench, Californian, American ...


re: kill your leaders (2.00 / 2) (#317)
by NatePuri on Thu Jun 14, 2001 at 11:14:14 PM EST

dopamine, amphetamine, opiate, ecstacy, thrills, pumping, powerful, breath-taking, amazing, seratonin, touching, exciting, think, you, live, free, you, live, to, feel, what, you, feel, can't, last, stop, or, die, fight, against, the, ones, who, sell, you, peace, they, sell, you, pieces, of, the, screaming, realists

[ Parent ]
Not a clue (3.80 / 5) (#318)
by atomico on Fri Jun 15, 2001 at 03:47:05 AM EST

When reading this post I was really amazed at its cluelessness; thanks God other people has already made good points so I do not have to write 700 pages to explain what I find wrong in the article. The European Commission is not chosen in an election, but its members are chosen by national goverments, which are directly elected. It is quite less corrupt than some of these democratic national goverments. Maybe if all national politicians stopped blaming the EU for everything, people would see its good points better. As an European citizen (born in Spain) I have been able to study and work in several countries with no visa, work permit or whatever problem, and soon I won't even need to change money. I think this is worth a lot. Perhaps Anya would like to return to the 'good old times', when you needed to stop at a border every few hundred kilometres, was really difficult to work outside your small homeland, and the US had it really easy to dictate internal politics in any state (say Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy, West Germany).

Anya........Hmm, sounds familiar. (2.83 / 6) (#359)
by TheParnetSkimpernel on Sun Jun 17, 2001 at 03:34:12 AM EST

Good show on the trolling. You have successfully made most of the European K5ers either fight you or each other... However, I feel it is time that this charade be ended, as I quite like to see genuine articles and Op-Ed pieces, rather than genuine trolls elevated to front-page status

Oh, and by the way, I feel sure I've met you before.... I think somewhere around here.

For the good of humanity, I must ask that you lose your virginity soon.... it may give you some perspective.

Over to you, shoeboy :)

Who knows where he may be, This ParNet Skimpernel?

told you so (none / 0) (#360)
by mami on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 02:41:16 AM EST

GPL - the technology of trust(ing trolls).

[ Parent ]
Nice Try (4.50 / 2) (#366)
by typo on Wed Jun 20, 2001 at 12:33:56 PM EST

This is a well written article that should have been submitted to Segfault and not Kuro5hin.

I read a few comments and didn't see anything about the lies regarding the Schengen agreements, so I'll post my opinion on the matter.

The objective of Schengen is to abolish geographical borders from within the EU. That means I can catch a flight to Paris as if it was an internal flight without ever having to show identification.

That being said, it's fairly obvious that imigrants from outside the EU must be controlled, *exactly* the same way as imigrants are controled in the US.

And all these agreements were made by governments fairly elected in countries where more that 2 parties have a say and where minorities do count. Compare that with the US, where Oil Companies elect the president.

Anyway, it's nice to see some FUD about something other than the Windows vs. Linux matters.

The ongoing collapse of democracy in Europe. | 369 comments (345 topical, 24 editorial, 2 hidden)
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