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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 03:46 PM
Number of posts: 24,691

Journal Archives

New book, ‘For Europe!’, makes the case for a federal Europe; written by Green and Liberal party


‘For Europe!’ is a new book, written by two staunch pro-Europeans – Daniel Cohn-Bendit of the Group of Greens-European Free Alliance and Guy Verhofstadt, leader of Liberals in the European Parliament. Released in six languages, the book aims to be a manifesto, spelling out the benefits of a united Europe.

“Actually this is a book which has been written in anger, in fury against the national elites who, according to Daniel and I, are incapable of dealing with the crisis we are in today. “We very clearly state that the only way, the only realistic solution, is to create a federal union, a federal Europe,” said Verhofstadt, who is also a former Belgian Prime Minister.

Both men attempt to make the case that a unified Europe has a better chance in the face of global competition. However, closer political integration would be vital, according to Cohn-Bendit, who spoke to euronews at the book launch in Brussels.

“We do think that the European model has to be ‘parliamenterized’! “We suggest that the Commission has to become the real government of Europe. And we think that there should be two chambers, the Parliament and a Senate. The Senate could, for instance, be formed for by the governments of the member-states or by representatives of the national parliaments. This would be a democratic model,” he said.


This won't go over well with the Eurosceptics on the right and far-right. They all want a weaker or non-existent EU to return the continent to a collection of competing nation-states that existed in the first half of the 20th century.

UK Labour Party to endorse referendum on EU membership

Britain should eventually stage an in-or-out referendum on membership of the European Union, one of Labour's shadow cabinet has said.

He added that "almost everyone" in the Labour Party would campaign for the UK to remain in the EU.

The 17 members of the eurozone, of which the UK is not a part, are expected to back further fiscal and political integration in an effort to prevent a repeat of the debt crisis. This has led to fears of a "two-tier" Europe developing, with many arguing it could result in the UK leaving the organisation altogether.

"My preference would be an in-or-out referendum when the time comes. Whenever the referendum comes, almost everyone in the Labour Party, along with the Liberal Democrats, will be arguing we should stay part of the EU, because it is good for our economy and good for Britain."


"Almost everyone" in the Labor Party and Liberal Democrats may vote for full membership in the EU if this referendum ever happens, but that is not true with Cameron's Conservative Party.

Majority Of Conservative Party Members Want Britain To Leave The EU

Meanwhile in the rest of the EU, attitudes towards the UK's membership or departure are mixed.

Some would like Britain to stay in the EU, others consider that the country's eventual departure is all but inevitable, and a third group would positively welcome such a development.

Please stay! - This block is strongest in Germany. They want the UK in the EU.

Exit is inevitable! - "Some French-language commentators, in particular, regard Britain's eventual departure from the EU as a foregone conclusion."

Good-bye and good riddance! - There is in fact a body of opinion according to which Britain's departure would be a boon to a European Union which is being held back by London's constant objections.


Pew Poll: Democrats have a more favorable view of Russia and China than republicans have

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of Russia?

Overall: Unfavorable - 39%; Favorable - 37%
Republicans: Unfavorable - 50%; Favorable - 33% (By a net 17% - a very unfavorable view of Russia)
Democrats: Unfavorable - 39%; Favorable - 38% (A almost even split between favorable and unfavorable views of Russia)

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of China?

Overall: Favorable - 41%; Unfavorable - 40%
Republicans: Favorable - 35%; Unfavorable - 51% (By a net 16% - a very unfavorable view of China)
Democrats: Favorable - 47%; Unfavorable - 37% (By a net 10% - a favorable view of China)


I wonder if republicans have a favorable view of ANY other country. They seem predisposed to be suspicious of 'others' whether that is other races, nationalities, genders or sexual orientations. Maybe they like Israel (because they dislike Arab countries more) but I can't think of any others. They are suspicious of 'socialist' Europe and Canada. I can't think of any other countries they might like.

Just because Democrats have a more favorable (or in cases like Russia a less unfavorable view ) view of other countries does not mean that we agree with everything that those countries do. (We don't agree with everything our own country does for that matter.) It is just our nature to be less suspicious of 'others' than republicans are.

How we (in Europe) can beat the far right

A fascinating new report by Counterpoint, the London-based research and advisory group, provides an unhysterical analysis of rightwing populism in Europe today. Merging recent data on voting in France, Finland and the Netherlands with previous surveys from around Europe, Counterpoint identifies who is voting for these parties and why. A first insight from the report: Europe’s far right hasn’t risen en masse during the crisis. Since 2008, these parties have surged in some countries, notably Finland, France and Hungary, but they have declined in Denmark, Italy and Switzerland, and gained no traction in Britain. Geert Wilders’ PVV party slumped in last week’s Dutch elections.

Winning back the reluctant radicals is very doable, says Counterpoint. The first thing is to understand who they are. Most of Europe’s far-right voters share one particular characteristic: low education. ... No wonder that very few Dutch far-right voters attended university, or that the British National Party polls best among semi-skilled and unskilled manual labourers.

For a start, the political elite must punish any corruption within its ranks. For the far right, elite-bashing is as essential as immigrant-bashing. Marine Le Pen in France exploited the Sarkozy government’s blatant proximity to money, and the Socialist Party’s shielding of Dominique Strauss-Kahn when party leaders presumably knew of his sexual controversies. If mainstream parties can avoid scandals, they can then sit back and watch far-right parties suffer thuggery-related scandals: for instance, one Dutch far-right MP turned out to have terrorised neighbours with physical threats and cries of: “I’ll piss in your letter box.”

Lastly, our best long-term strategy against the far right is to educate more people. For reasons we don’t quite understand, higher education – and even the high-school baccalauréat in France – seems to inoculate voters against rightwing populism.


"...higher education ... seems to inoculate voters against rightwing populism." So true - in Europe as in the US.

College students from China now in Taiwan: Is Taiwanese democracy changing Chinese students?

But by allowing impressionable minds to come here, Beijing may be getting more than it bargained for.

For the first time, its citizens can stay here for an extended period of time - up to four years - and experience for themselves how a democracy in a Chinese-speaking society functions.

With everything they are exposed to, many are left wondering why things are a certain way in Taiwan and another way in China, even though in their minds: "We're all Chinese".

"Taiwan can help the mainland go on the path of democracy," Michael says. "When students come over, even if they don't know how the mainland will become a democracy, at least they know this is what Chinese democracy is like. Watching elections in the US and France is not the same. This is Chinese. Many people will ask can this be possible in China."


This is the first I have heard about the recent agreement between China and Taiwan to allow students to attend college in each others country. Experiencing democracy in Taiwan might be more meaningful than doing so in a Western country because "This is Chinese".

Just saw this Pew poll from back in July: Most Muslims Want Democracy, Personal Freedoms ...

More than a year after the first stirrings of the Arab Spring, there continues to be a strong desire for democracy in Arab and other predominantly Muslim nations. Solid majorities in Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan believe democracy is the best form of government, as do a plurality of Pakistanis.

Indeed, these publics do not just support the general notion of democracy – they also embrace specific features of a democratic system, such as competitive elections and free speech.

Support for Gender Equality

Limited Support for Extremist Groups

Few believe the United States wants democracy in the Middle East


Syrian army shells northern cities; helicopter stike in northwest.

Government troops have pounded the rebel-held Shaar district of Aleppo, killing 11 people, a rights group said, while 11 others including seven rebels were killed elsewhere in Syria's northern city. "Eleven civilians were killed, three of whose names have been documented, when the army shelled the district of Shaar," the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement on Sunday.

A helicopter strike on Sunday on the town of Kafr Aweid in the northwest Syrian province of Idlib killed at least five children and one woman.

Meanwhile, the top commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard has said that the elite unit has high-level advisers in Lebanon and Syria but remains undecided on whether to send military reinforcements to help save Assad's regime.

Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari's comments mark the clearest indication of Iran's direct assistance to its main Arab allies, Assad and Lebanon's Hezbollah. Jafari told reporters that Quds force members have been in Syria and Lebanon as advisers for a long time, but was not more specific.


Love this part of Obama's statement yesterday on the arrival of the bodies from Libya

That’s the message these four patriots sent. That’s the message that each of you sends every day -- civilians, military -- to people in every corner of the world, that America is a friend, and that we care not just about our own country, not just about our own interests, but about theirs; that even as voices of suspicion and mistrust seek to divide countries and cultures from one another, the United States of America will never retreat from the world. We will never stop working for the dignity and freedom that every person deserves, whatever their creed, whatever their faith.

That’s the essence of American leadership. That’s the spirit that sets us apart from other nations. This was their work in Benghazi, and this is the work we will carry on.


Making the sentiments expressed by the president happen is a difficult and complicated. Giving up on the effort is not something on the president's agenda it would seem.

Hey, if you 'want to take our country back', you have to be taking it back from "THEM".

Excellent pie chart, btw!

Great chart. Food stamps provide most stimulus followed by unemployment benefits, infrastructure

spending and aid to state governments.

The most effective tax cut in terms of its stimulus impact was temporary payroll tax cuts. Also all of the permanent tax cuts listed were terribly ineffective at providing any stimulus effect.

Thanks for posting this, reflection.
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