Friday, March 6, 2009
This really is the Last Post on the BrugesGroupBlog as far as I am concerned. As of now I shall cease to post here and concentrate on EUReferendum and whatever other blog I may decide to start. It is possible that this blog will be continued by somebody else at some later stage but I cannot tell who or when. Not all experiments work out.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Everything seems to be coming up roses between the UN and the month-old Obama Presidency - as opposed to the people of the United States and the self-same Administration. SecGen Ban Ki-moon has moved fast, no doubt worried about future problems, to ask for more support and, above all, more money.
Ban said during a wide-ranging interview this week with The Associated Press that he was encouraged by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's response to his request for additional cash for peacekeepers and other badly stretched U.N. priorities.Words, as the SecGen knows, are cheap and there is still Congress to contend with on the subject of finances. Given the sorry record of those peace-keeping troops - useless at best and a bunch of rapists and exploiters at worst - more money is unlikely to solve the problems. In fact, nothing will solve the basic problem of the UN, its complete unaccountability that allows all sorts of bloodthirsty, kleptocratic dictators to call the tune.
They spoke on the sidelines of an international conference in Egypt on Monday that raised $5.2 billion in pledges for rebuilding Gaza, at the conclusion of the U.N. secretary-general's nine-day, six-nation African tour.
"She is quite supportive, and she told me that she will, her administration, the Obama administration is committed to working very closely politically and also (with) these financial contributions," Ban told the AP.
The thawing relations between the United Nations and President Barack Obama's month-old administration represents a remarkable turnabout from just three years ago, when the Bush administration's U.N. ambassador, John Bolton, thrived on exposing U.N. corruption and failures but also furthered U.S.isolation.Yes, indeed. Those UN corruptions and failures are still with us and the new Administration will do exactly what the other ones did - try to explain them away as long as they can and then turn against the organization. If it lasts that long. Three years ago was a year into Bush's second term. So far, Obama has had one month of his first term.
Senator Edward Kennedy, the man who never saw a wrong cause without supporting it, is to receive an honorary knighthood. This is for his "work" before, during and after the noxious Belfast Agreement (I refuse to refer to it as the Good Friday Agreement). That would be the work he did in support of IRA/Sinn Fein.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
This is being reported in various outlets but Hot Air is particularly succinct, though they get the information from the Daily Telegraph.
A Dutch poll taken February 7 showed his party in third place behind the Christian Democrats and Labour. Three days later, the Brits banned him from the UK. The latest Dutch poll, taken February 28: Wilders’s party 27, Christian Democrats 26, Labour 21.The chances are Geert Wilders's party would have gained in popularity anyway but the Home Office deciding that an elected politician from a free and democratic country should not be allowed into Britain because the people he is accusing of violent attacks on all opposition might .... turn violent undoubtedly brought the man a good deal of support.
What is a little odd is the phrasing of the article, the first I saw this morning on the subject. It starts off by saying without quotation marks:
The ruling party in Russia has won handily in regional elections, the Central Election Commission said Monday, the first electoral test for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin since the economy began to turn dire.Electoral test, eh? Just how difficult were those conditions? Harder or easier than those on University Challenge?
The party, United Russia, won the majority of seats in all nine regions where local parliamentary elections were held Sunday, and nearly swept smaller municipal elections.
Further down we are told:
But many independent analysts said that elections have become little more than technical exercises since Putin came to power as president in 2000, and offer only a haphazard indication of voter preference.Unexplained murders of critics, lack of legal prosecution and other attempts to bully may have something to do with that lack of public interest.
Television and many other media outlets are largely tilted in favor of United Russia, and, out of four parties present in the federal Parliament, only one, the Communist Party, offers real, if pliable, opposition to Putin's party.
"This was just a small, uninteresting show," said Anton Orekh, a political commentator on Echo Moskvy radio. Public interest in elections, he said during an interview, had become "slightly less than low."
The IHT holds firmly to the view that Putin remains the most popular politician in Russia, a view that has little to say for it, given the overwhelming publicity he gets and the complete lack of information about anyone else. Being more popular that supposed President Medvedev is hardly a great achievement. Mind you, there are rumours that the latter may be trying to form links with the dissatisfied military but we have to wait and see how true those are.
Given that there are already discontents across the country, particularly the Far East, and given that these discontents cannot be expressed through electoral means, we can but wonder what the spring, the traditional time for trouble in Russia will bring. And if there are serious disorders, will those journalists who think
Monday, March 2, 2009
I used to love University Challenge back in the Bamber Gascoigne days (yes, I know, dates me a bit) and, as a school girl (take those dates off) would dream of participating. Didn't happen, of course, and I have not seen the programme for many years - the penalties of not having a TV set. But having a winning team with a participant who is no longer a student does make one sigh with despair. Which bit of "this is University Challenge" didn't these ultra-bright people understand?