Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Protests in Bucharest

 

Around 30,000 Romanians have taken to the streets in peaceful protests Sunday night, including your irenic correspondent on the scene, in Bucharest, the capital, & the other large cities. The scandal this time: The new Socialist government is attempting to change the criminal code by government decree (emergency order), bypassing the Parliament where it holds the majority. Why are the Socialists not willing to debate the changes publicly? Because they aim to get some of the most successfully corrupt people now in jail out–that is, to reduce terms for various forms of corruption that are estimated to add up to less than 200,000 RON (close to $50,000), which of course is more than the majority of Romanians make in a life time.

The government attempted this week to pass the order to that effect in secrecy. Some journalists made a scandal of the underhanded attempt & asked for publicity: They asked publicly that the president attend the government meeting where this underhanded business was supposed to be done, which he has a constitutional right to do. He did attend, & the government reacted by taking the measure off the order of business for the day. The laws stands unchanged yet, but we do not know what the next underhanded attempt will be. We took to the streets, therefore. This is the most blatant attack against the hard core of democratic justice in Romania in recent years. It comes a mere month after the installation of the new Socialist government, which won a remarkable legislative victory in December, as the opposition electorate mostly collapsed.

In Romania, the magistrates are alike to the Roman tribunes of the plebs. Their job, understood in terms of the regime, is to put corrupt rich people in jail in the name of the poor majority. The Bureau authorized to prosecute corruption is the major source of justice in Romanian society & the only anti-oligarchic power the democracy now wields. Political corruption is a major issue in Romania & several former high-ranking officials, including a recent Socialist PM, have been accused, tried, convicted, & imprisoned for various forms of corruption. A large number of the men elected to the new Parliament find themselves in various of these four stages of the justice system. To be blunt, the balance between democracy & oligarchy depends on the institutions of anti-corruption prosecution. Those institutions are not themselves threatened right now, but the result of their work is–changes to the criminal code would of course make justice worthless.

One man alone runs the government right now, although he is not a part of it. He runs it from the Parliament. This man is the leader of the Socialist party, Mr. Liviu Dragnea. He has been definitively convicted of abuse of power of some kind, after all recourse to courts of appeal–but the sentence was suspended, as if the country needed another show of the way the powerful escape justice. (Other sources, like this Reuters report, apparently cannot even get the basic facts right about the trial, & only mention accusations…) Nevertheless, the condemnation was enough to keep him from ascending to the position of PM after his party, under his astute leadership, won the legislative elections of December 2016.

His reaction was to propose someone else for the position of PM–a puppet–a Muslim woman–I have no idea what her name is, nor does anyone else in Romania. The NYT of course jumped for joy at such a multicultural appointment-in-the-making. The president refused to appoint her on the grounds that her husband is too close to the tyrant conducting the slaughters in Syria & had other dubious relationships in the Islamic world. So it was perfect caricature of pro-Muslim multiculturalism. The NYT failed to mention that the woman is an utter non-entity in Romanian society & politics & the press & what have you. This would have been the first anonymous PM, but as luck would have it, it did not come to pass.

The Socialist leader reacted to that false step with hysterical accusations against the president & then proposed another non-entity, who was duly appointed, & who formed a cabinet of non-entities. Romania is now run, effectively, without public accountability, without the public even knowing who is running things, but in accordance with the laws & Constitution. This also is unheard of, the country having previously been run by a President or a PM…

An important part of the agenda of the new government seems to be to destroy the institutions of justice in Romania. One wonders about the effects of the attempt of the oligarchy to defend itself from the rule of law. One wonders, especially, whether it would affect Romania’s relationship to NATO. It seems obvious that Mr. Trump will have problems in Eastern Europe because of Russia. Only two countries are large enough to matter in the region–both rather loyal American allies–the bigger one is Poland, the other Romania. Poland seems politically in trouble because the EU seems to want to destroy the duly-elected government, because it is right-wing. Romania is a different case–it is politically stable, without foreign troubles, but it is undergoing another phase of the political lukewarm war conducted in the institutions of the state, in the media, & in public between democracy & oligarchy.

It is of some importance to America to have serious allies in Eastern Europe. Helping Poland against the EU seems like sensible policy. Mr. Trump should be advised to pursue it with his trademark loquacity & confidence. It is not difficult to do, but it does create a serious NATO-EU tension. In Romania, it is not clear what American public diplomacy & high-level diplomacy can achieve. Conservatives should ask themselves whether they’re ok with oligarchy running the country through the Socialist party, which has non-negligible ties to Russia.

I speak here without partisanship & must round out my advice with the following qualifications: I am not convinced democracy would be a better American ally than oligarchy; I am reasonably confident, but not completely convinced that democracy would favor America over Russia, but I cannot say it would do so competently or efficiently; I am not convinced that the oligarchy would prefer Russia to America, either, although I am reasonably confident. In the Romanian case, the EU makes certain demands relating to justice & rule of law that are helpful to the democracy. If America & NATO want a harmonious relationship with the EU’s policy in Eastern Europe on issues of justice, it is worth the incoming Secretary of State’s time to use the State Department to push for a more legal order in Romania. I will say without any reservations, however, that I do no believe Romania can move towards a more legal order without EU-NATO-American support. It would be very cheap for America to do & would be useful if NATO-Eastern Europe is important for the Trump administration.

There are 48 comments.

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  1. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVeyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Titus is too modest to come out and say so outright, but Romania’s a big deal, geographically and culturally. Please keep telling us what’s really going on.

    • #1
    • January 22, 2017, at 1:54 PM PST
    • Like
  2. Trink Coolidge
    TrinkJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Titus Techera:

     . . . .Mr. Trump should be advised to pursue it with his trademark loquacity . . .

    Well and delicately put ^, Titus.

    Titus Techera: n Romania, it is not clear what American public diplomacy & high-level diplomacy can achieve.

    Having read your interesting account . . it is to be deeply wished that it may do some helpful nudging.

    Titus Techera: 30,000 Romanians have taken to the streets in peaceful protests Sunday night, including your irenic correspondent on the scene,

    It makes the Trump haters lining the inaugural parade seem so petty.

    • #2
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:10 PM PST
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  3. The Reticulator Member

    Thanks for that report. It sounds as though we would have been a long time figuring all of that out through the mainstream media.

    I was going to ask if the term “socialist” had any ideological significance, or if it was just a label. Even after reading your second-to-last paragraph, I’m not sure, but it would be interesting to hear more about the “non-negligible ties” to Russia.

    • #3
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:14 PM PST
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  4. Trink Coolidge
    TrinkJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    it would be interesting to hear more about the “non-negligible ties” to Russia.

    My thoughts, too.

    • #4
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:16 PM PST
    • Like
  5. The Reticulator Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Thanks for that report. It sounds as though we would have been a long time figuring all of that out through the mainstream media.

    I was going to ask if the term “socialist” had any ideological significance, or if it was just a label. Even after reading your second-to-last paragraph, I’m not sure, but it would be interesting to hear more about the “non-negligible ties” to Russia.

    Is there any reason to think the Russians hacked the last election? (And if so, what does “hack” mean?)

    • #5
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:17 PM PST
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  6. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Thanks for that report. It sounds as though we would have been a long time figuring all of that out through the mainstream media.

    I was going to ask if the term “socialist” had any ideological significance, or if it was just a label. Even after reading your second-to-last paragraph, I’m not sure, but it would be interesting to hear more about the “non-negligible ties” to Russia.

    Romania is a weird place, because there are lots of secrets. The Communist archives–morally & politically dangerous in themselves, being Communist archives, not God’s own truth!–have never been rendered unto the authority constituted by law to study them: The Romanian equivalent of the CIA has them & kinda trickles’em down

    Romania is full of conspiracies about the intelligence services & one cannot tell wisdom from paranoia. I can tell you for sure that if you limited the electoral franchise to people who do not deeply believe & spontaneously espouse conspiracy theories, you might as well bring back the hereditary monarchy…

    All this by way of suggestions, how to think about Romania. Now, the Socialists. The guy who founded their party, the origin of political parties in post-89 Romania, was a Communist higher-up who was not that high up who took power very soon after the Communist tyrant was abducted & murdered–no one knows how or why. The murderers never bragged about liberating the country. So, less revolution, more party coup with Socialism winning…

    • #6
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:20 PM PST
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  7. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The various articles estimate the protesters at only 15,000, but that’s probably progressive mathematics, and as the smartest progressive in the history of the world admitted to becoming lost in 9th grade math I’ll trust your numbers over theirs.

    God bless Romania.

    • #7
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:21 PM PST
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  8. Front Seat Cat Member

    Titus – why did such a government get in – I’m guessing it’s not wholly a legit election? What would you like to see? Did you ever consider running for anything? I would think that aligning with Russia on anything, even non-negligible is equivalent to a journalist sipping a cup of tea in Russia – you never know…..

    It seems it’s hard to break through the old guard, but what just happened here proves it is not impossible.

    • #8
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:27 PM PST
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  9. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Percival (View Comment):
    The various articles estimate the protesters at only 15,000, but that’s probably progressive mathematics, and as the smartest progressive in the history of the world admitted to becoming lost in 9th grade math I’ll trust your numbers over theirs.

    God bless Romania.

    I’ll say upfront, I’m an eyewitness, so I’m totally unqualified to talk about the large numbers. Not a tall guy, let’s say. I can’t estimate massive numbers spread over large areas, either. I’ve read estimates in places that are trustworthy. In Romania, as elsewhere, whenever a protest starts, people are already talking about the chatter about how the government or the media or both are over- or under-stating the numbers to control the narrative. I don’t know how to settle things. Of course, I also suspect the government is low-balling it…

    • #9
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:29 PM PST
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  10. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Thanks for that report. It sounds as though we would have been a long time figuring all of that out through the mainstream media.

    I was going to ask if the term “socialist” had any ideological significance, or if it was just a label. Even after reading your second-to-last paragraph, I’m not sure, but it would be interesting to hear more about the “non-negligible ties” to Russia.

    Is there any reason to think the Russians hacked the last election? (And if so, what does “hack” mean?)

    No. The non-Socialists are crazy & have also been stupid. The big non-Socialist party committed a kind of tactical suicide. One part of the organization killed the other, so to speak, & the party as a whole lost a massive chunk of its electorate because of organizational problems–a corrupt get out the vote operation much favored in Romania & other such countries…

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):What would you like to see? Did you ever consider running for anything? I would think that aligning with Russia on anything, even non-negligible is equivalent to a journalist sipping a cup of tea in Russia – you never know

    See above. The election was legit. The opposition was harrowingly incompetent. The opposition parties are a shame & a shambles.

    As for me: I’m more successful writing for Americans than Romanians, if you can believe it. All I can do is weak for my native land-

    • #10
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:32 PM PST
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  11. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    That crazy new ruler rushed to get a treaty with the USSR even as it was crumbling. No other former Communist country did that. Happily, the USSR crumbled, rendering the whole matter moot.

    He also supervised what he called original democracy–massive corruption in privazation, hyper-inflation, all sorts of political controls on the press that he didn’t like (it was illegal to import printers; paper was rendered very expensive to stop the press from publishing…). He also created, apparently, with the help of the secret services, an ad-hoc paramilitary to attack the capital, beat up massive numbers of protesters & get rid of his own PM.

    Weird times.

    In the new millennium, a new generation of Socialists came to power–also a guy with deep communist ties, who had married high into the party. He’s now in jail for corruption. With this guy, corruption got smart. Socialists to a large extent dropped the socialism, but they’ve retained a few things: They’re the party of the welfare state &, more importantly, of the public sector, which, I believe, outnumbers the private. Socialism turned to oligarchic corruption, which was not all that bad for the economy, but made justice impossible.

    In this decade, the Socialists turned to a younger generation, a guy who married high into the post-89 Socialists, & who recently committed career suicide as Socialists do in Romania, trying to win & failing to win the presidency. Also, he’s facing corruption charges, & the family, too.

    • #11
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:34 PM PST
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  12. Publius Inactive

    Someone explain to me why @titustechera isn’t a Ricochet contributor yet?

    • #12
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:36 PM PST
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  13. TheRightNurse Member

    Publius (View Comment):
    Someone explain to me why @titustechera isn’t a Ricochet contributor yet?

    Very much agreed. I do not know. Why is that do you suppose?

    • #13
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:40 PM PST
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  14. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Now, the Socialists are looking at a fourth leader. A new kind of guy. Far more intelligent about organization, party discipline, electoral tactics & buying electioneering expertise from abroad. Got rid of the previous guy, the one who lost the presidential election. Romanians do that: They keep the presidency out of Socialist hands in moments of hysteria, but don’t care enough to prevent them from running every other office.

    So the new Socialists are far savvier in every way including parliamentary procedure & policy. In a sense, the party has finally gone beyond its original Socialism: In ’89, it literally took over every HQ, every part of the Communist Party infrastructure. It said it would temporarily run the country, organize the elections, then decided to run in them, & won! That was 1990. Now, all that’s unimportant or gone. A new party is working its will on Parliament & the government.

    But it is newly socialist. It basically won on a kind of welfare campaign: It promised to cut taxes on small pensions & to increase massively health benefits. Also, they’re still the party of the public sector…

    Also, the party changes names every couple of years, the only word that’s almost always there in the title–has been the last twenty years–is Socialist.

    Finally, the Russia thing. This is hard to get a grip on or prove, but this is the word that even the reputable people always come back to–the Socialist leaders are secretly close to Putin.

    • #14
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:41 PM PST
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  15. Publius Inactive

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Publius (View Comment):
    Someone explain to me why @titustechera isn’t a Ricochet contributor yet?

    Very much agreed. I do not know. Why is that do you suppose?

    Dear Ricochet TPTB, to paraphrase General Mattis, I’m begging you with tears in my eyes to make @titustechera an official Ricochet contributor.

    • #15
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:43 PM PST
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  16. The Reticulator Member

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Publius (View Comment):
    Someone explain to me why @titustechera isn’t a Ricochet contributor yet?

    Very much agreed. I do not know. Why is that do you suppose?

    I don’t know, but a less substantive, less informative article with only two likes was just promoted to the main feed, while this one isn’t there yet.

    • #16
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:44 PM PST
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  17. TheRightNurse Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    It said it would temporarily run the country, organize the elections, then decided to run in them, & won! That was 1990. Now, all that’s unimportant or gone.

    Really? It seems to me that it is one of the most important things. It’s a different name to the same organization. Mostly the same people come in, ascend, fall…and someone else in the same organization takes on a new name. Repeat, lather, rinse, repeat…

    • #17
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:45 PM PST
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  18. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Publius (View Comment):
    Someone explain to me why @titustechera isn’t a Ricochet contributor yet?

    Very much agreed. I do not know. Why is that do you suppose?

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, guys, it’s much appreciated, especially now. It is hard to say how dispiriting it is to notice that the American news gets such basic things wrong about Romania. (I think the crash course for Americans who care about NATO East Europe on Romania is 15-30 minutes reading. The basic facts don’t take ten minutes to lay out.) I have an existential interest of course in NATO working out, but probably it’s also good for America…

    I wrote a really good essay on the recent Romanian elections in December–happened about when I returned from my American tour. I shopped it around to various magazines, but nobody cared. I asked some people to help me try to get it published, I got very little help & none of it helped. It’s really dispiriting. Now that the protests have started, I hoped to get at least this published–do what I can aside from some polite shouting in the crowd.

    I’ll see if this one works. If it does, I’ll publish the essay on the elections. My American friends have told me, politely, no doubt, that they enjoyed my analysis & my prose, so I’m not feeling guilty about inflicting it on my Ricochet friends, too…

    • #18
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:47 PM PST
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  19. TheRightNurse Member

    Publius (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Publius (View Comment):
    Someone explain to me why @titustechera isn’t a Ricochet contributor yet?

    Very much agreed. I do not know. Why is that do you suppose?

    Dear Ricochet TPTB, to paraphrase General Mattis, I’m begging you with tears in my eyes to make @titustechera an official Ricochet contributor.

    Agreed. He should be. At the very least so that Ricochet can have a larger international perspective. We give lipservice to enjoying a Reagan-like Conservativism, but then eschew the values that he held dear: fighting Communism and Socialism. We have someone there in the thick of it with experience writing, someone who is actively studying political movements and yet… we are silent? Why on earth would we do that when we can actually point to something and someone concrete who experiences the corruption on a daily basis?

    • #19
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:47 PM PST
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  20. Publius Inactive

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    It is hard to say how dispiriting it is to notice that the American news gets such basic things wrong about Romania

    Titus, you were here for awhile visiting America. You know darn well that American news gets basic things wrong about America. What chance do we have that they’ll get things right about Romania?

    That’s why we dig having you and @claire around. We get to learn things about Europe and Asia that we’d never get to learn through traditional media sources.

    • #20
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:52 PM PST
    • Like
  21. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Publius (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Publius (View Comment):
    Someone explain to me why @titustechera isn’t a Ricochet contributor yet?

    Very much agreed. I do not know. Why is that do you suppose?

    Dear Ricochet TPTB, to paraphrase General Mattis, I’m begging you with tears in my eyes to make @titustechera an official Ricochet contributor.

    Agreed. He should be. At the very least so that Ricochet can have a larger international perspective. We give lipservice to enjoying a Reagan-like Conservativism, but then eschew the values that he held dear: fighting Communism and Socialism. We have someone there in the thick of it with experience writing, someone who is actively studying political movements and yet… we are silent? Why on earth would we do that when we can actually point to something and someone concrete who experiences the corruption on a daily basis?

    I’ll pass this argument along to TPTB.

    • #21
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:53 PM PST
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  22. Jason Rudert Member

    I take it back. This was pretty tightly written. It must be difficult getting yanked back and forth like this.

    • #22
    • January 22, 2017, at 2:59 PM PST
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  23. RightAngles Member

    Very fine writing, interesting too as always, Titus. I often wonder if the reason Europe keeps electing socialist governments (if the elections are actually legit, that is) is because they don’t have individual liberty bred in the bone as we have here. They went from feudalism to monarchies to socialism. I wonder if the mindset of having higher-ups take care of them is just too ingrained.

    I agree Titus should be a contributor.

    • #23
    • January 22, 2017, at 3:27 PM PST
    • Like
  24. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    Very fine writing, interesting too as always, Titus. I often wonder if the reason Europe keeps electing socialist governments (if the elections are actually legit, that is) is because they don’t have individual liberty bred in the bone as we have here. They went from feudalism to monarchies to socialism. I wonder if the mindset of having higher-ups take care of them is just too ingrained.

    I think there’s something like this. The way Tocqueville put it, Americans woke up one day in America, & they were free. Europeans had to fight for it in really ugly ways. America separated from Britain, but it didn’t have to kill a king or destroy an aristocracy in a civil war. In Europe, wherever the regimes based on inequality were ousted, it involved countrymen killing one another & civil wars & assassinations & the classes could never quite trust each other.

    Persuading people that what’s good for the few is also good for the many is very difficult–individual freedoms, after all, are the condition for the rise of new classes of influential & very wealthy people…

    It also is to a large extent true that the classes above the lower classes either do not much care or do not really know how to act to make a plausible case for community of all the people in the nation, across class boundaries…

    I agree Titus should be a contributor.

    Thanks, to you, too, for the kind support!

    • #24
    • January 22, 2017, at 3:31 PM PST
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  25. Doug Watt Moderator

    Poland’s problem with the EU also come from their strong ties to the Catholic Church. The Polish government’s restrictions on abortion, and although it is not mentioned very often euthanasia as well are practices that the EU does not discourage. The Polish government is also concerned with the problems Ukraine is having with Russia. The ties between the western Ukraine and Poland are complicated. The western Ukraine saw Hitler as a liberator after the Holdomor, the Soviet genocide of Ukrainians in the 1930’s. There are some religious ties between the two countries. For example The Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church is Catholic, and The Ukrainian Orthodox Church while not Catholic does not recognize the authority or primacy of the Russian Orthodox Church.

    The Polish trust level with Germany and Russia for obvious historical reasons have them looking to the US for military aid.

    Romania does not have the same ties for example that Bulgaria has with Russia. Bulgaria was complicit with the Soviet Union and responsible in cooperating willingly and taking active intelligence measures with the KGB.

    This is my general view of the current situation, I’m not an expert.

    • #25
    • January 22, 2017, at 3:31 PM PST
    • Like
  26. RightAngles Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    Very fine writing, interesting too as always, Titus. I often wonder if the reason Europe keeps electing socialist governments (if the elections are actually legit, that is) is because they don’t have individual liberty bred in the bone as we have here. They went from feudalism to monarchies to socialism. I wonder if the mindset of having higher-ups take care of them is just too ingrained.

    I think there’s something like this. The way Tocqueville put it, Americans woke up one day in America, & they were free. Europeans had to fight for it in really ugly ways. America separated from Britain, but it didn’t have to kill a king or destroy an aristocracy in a civil war. In Europe, wherever the regimes based on inequality were ousted, it involved countrymen killing one another & civil wars & assassinations & the classes could never quite trust each other.

    Persuading people that what’s good for the few is also good for the many is very difficult–individual freedoms, after all, are the condition for the rise of new classes of influential & very wealthy people…

    Yes, and the upside is that rising to the level of the rich and influential is possible for anyone and everyone in America, despite what the Left would have us believe. It’s not a zero-sum game. I really think other countries just never get the hang of capitalism. They often just descend into crony capitalism.

    • #26
    • January 22, 2017, at 3:40 PM PST
    • Like
  27. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera

    Yeah, this is pretty much what I’d know. I would insist even more than you do on what’s going on in Poland, where the EU is in various ways trying to bring down a government it dislikes, whatever the Polish people actually doing the voting & living with that government might think. American conservatives would like it ok except for the fact that Europeans ain’t Americans. (No established churches in America for almost two centuries, for one example–there are lots left in Europe…)

    But the EU really dislikes it & has made its displeasure obvious in various ways that have previously been effective in other countries, where it has managed to collapse governments.

    I hope the Poles stick up for themselves & that the new government does well by the country, which has both real problems socially & an opportunity to build a future for itself. Part of that future would be a continuation of their strong attachment to NATO as far as I can tell. The Polish government, indeed, would want an even closer cooperation.

    If Americans want to keep Russia at bay without getting into too much hassle, they’re going to need to help arm & do a bit of work to stabilize both Poland & Romania. The other countries are just too small & exposed. This way you can both get lots of benefits from NATO & avoid Russian-border troubles…

    • #27
    • January 22, 2017, at 3:41 PM PST
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  28. EHerring Coolidge

    Stay safe, our friend.

    Our media is too concerned with crowd counts.

    • #28
    • January 22, 2017, at 3:46 PM PST
    • Like
  29. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EHerring (View Comment):
    Stay safe, our friend.

    Our media is too concerned with crowd counts.

    • #29
    • January 22, 2017, at 4:32 PM PST
    • Like
  30. Front Seat Cat Member

    Titus Techera (View Comment):
    So the new Socialists are far savvier in every way including parliamentary procedure & policy. In a sense, the party has finally gone beyond its original Socialism: In ’89, it literally took over every HQ, every part of the Communist Party infrastructure. It said it would temporarily run the country, organize the elections, then decided to run in them, & won! That was 1990. Now, all that’s unimportant or gone. A new party is working its will on Parliament & the government.

    But it is newly socialist. It basically won on a kind of welfare campaign: It promised to cut taxes on small pensions & to increase massively health benefits. Also, they’re still the party of the public sector…

    Also, the party changes names every couple of years, the only word that’s almost always there in the title–has been the last twenty years–is Socialist.

    Finally, the Russia thing. This is hard to get a grip on or prove, but this is the word that even the reputable people always come back to–the Socialist leaders are secretly close to Putin.

    I heard Bernie Sanders is on his way to vacation …..in paradise – Titus – what would you like to see?

    • #30
    • January 22, 2017, at 5:00 PM PST
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