NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

landwehr.flag24th June, 1915 : Fortunes change rapidly in the great campaign of the Eastern Front and the Austrians have retaken Lemberg, the capital of Galicia, which they lost to Russians last year. According to a communique issued in Vienna, General Boehm-Ermolli entered the town with the troops of the Second Army. The Russian retreat was accomplished by men of the Vienna Landwehr who, in some bloody fighting, captured the town of Rzezna and rendered Lemberg untenable. While the Russians are playing down the significance of this debacle, there can be no doubt that it will boost the morale of the Austro-Hungarians.

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NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

22nd June, 1916 : In the name of all Arabs, Hussein, Grand Sherif of Mecca and descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, has proclaimed a revolt against the Ottoman Empire. Supported by the tribes of Arabia this powerful leader declared war on Turkey with the aim of realising Arab independence. Already the Sherif’s forces in Arabia scored notable victories. Mecca is firmly in his hands and so is Jeddah, the Red Sea port and gateway for Moslem pilgrims. There the Arab forces took 1,400 Turkish soldiers and 45 officers prisoner.

These victories have been achieved with British help, both military and financial, and when Hussein declared Arab independence he made clear that this was what he had been promised. A military mission which is led by a brilliant 28-years old Arabist, Captain T E Lawrence, is in Arabia advising Feistal, who is the third son of the Sherif.

[ One hundred years later T E Lawrence, or British diplomacy does not have much to be proud of. ]

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Orlando horror

…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger

From Mark Steyn:

As we’ve had cause to note with previous bloodbaths, whoever the actual dead are, the real victims are always Muslims. This New York Times headline is an especially choice example:

Orlando Killings Rob Young New York Muslims of a Cherished Holiday Respite”

In Australia, the Islam apologist-in-chief, Valeed Aly has not yet organised a candlelight vigil for those poor Muslim victims. Is he leaving that to their ABC?

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NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

20th June, 1936 : Four RAF planes went into action machine gunning a group of 70 Palestinian Arabs who had ambushed British troops. They made sorties at low level against the marauders. Three were hit by Arab ground fire but returned safely to base. Last week RAF were also used to ward off an Arab attack on a Jewish colony on Mount Gilead.

In today’s fighting, first serious clash between the Arabs and the British Army in the Palestine troubles, an army convoy was attacked near Tulkarm, north-west of Nablus. The planes intervened after a call for reinforcements brought troops with tanks and armoured cars racing to the spot. In an engagement lasting seven hours the marauders lost ten dead. Two British soldiers were killed.

[ And eighty years later? Do you see any progress? ]

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Quicksand Years

…from the quills of the dead white poets

Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892)

 

Quicksand years that whirl me I know not whither,

Your schemes, politics, fail, lines give way, substances mock and elude me,

Only the scheme I sing, the great and strong-posses’d soul, eludes not,

One’s-self must never give way – that is the final substance -

that out of all is sure,

Out of politics, triumphs, battles, life, what at last finally remains?

When shows break up what but One’s-Self is sure?

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NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

18th June, 1935 : The Nationalist Government of China today caved in to a Japanese ultimatum, following Japan’s bloodless victory in Manchuria, now Manchukuo. It agreed to the removal of a division of their troops from the north and the replacement of Government officials by ones chosen by the Japanese. Furthermore General Sung Chehyuan, Governor of Chahar and one of the few Chinese commanders who successfully resisted Japanese in 1933, is to be dismissed.

The ultimatum was provoked by the arrest of three Japanese secret service agents, described by Tokyo as “civilian officials”. Japan used this incident as a pretext to install “friendly” administrators in Peking and Tientsin, claiming that native Chinese civil servants were hostile. The changes demanded in the north use the same technique, which was successful in establishing the puppet empire of Manchukuo.

[ Chinese have learned and now are using the same technique to establish a puppet government in Australia, and the media, already suborned, are silent.]

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They shoot gorillas, don’t they?

…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger

When I first heard of that incident in some American zoo, the immediate flash through my mind was – let’s hope it was an albino gorilla and a black child. And the shooter at least Hispanic, if not full size LGBTII. Then we would not heard another word, except from the plaintiffs lawyers’ cabal.

Of course, that was not the case. The manipulators and their simple followers use every opportunity to foment racial hatred, inventing, in the passing, yet another reason not to vote Trump.

While America is a good, shining example of more and more stupid society, the rest of the West is not much better. Imagine, in Australia, a crocodile shot to protect a white, not aboriginal, child. The reaction of the Twits and main stream media would be same.

On the subject of human stupidity and mass hysteria – while observing a semi-feral cat recently I recalled an old saying: If you build a better mouse trap the world will beat a path to your door. It goes back in 19th century and is apparently a misquotation of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s statement:

If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.”

cat.mouseMany took it seriously and US Patent Office had issued about 4,400 patents for “better” mouse traps. But who would bother today? Only an naïve optimist, not realising we live in “progressive” times. A patent may be obtained, but marketing? Firstly the Animal Rights groups and vegetarians would object just for the sake of it. The so-called anti-racists would insist that the device traps and kills only the white mice. The feminists, additionally would demand that only male white mice be targeted. The pro-choice abortionists would prefer that traps kill mice in utero and that the surviving “mother” mice be given official recognition for their morality and heroism.

Thus the trap would have to work exclusively on white, heterosexual male mice, which are probably endangered anyway – no profit there. And if the white, heterosexual male mice behave like the white, heterosexual humans they will blindly walk into any trap whatsoever.

quill.1

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NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

'29 Bentley 4.5 litre16th June, 1929 : The British successes at the Le Mans 24-hour sports car endurance race, which have blossomed so dramatically since the Great War, reached triumphant climax this year with giant Bentleys taking the first four places. The Grand Prix d’Endurance was won by a 6-cylinder Bentley, driven by Captain Woolf Barnato and H R S Birkin, covering a record 1,765 miles in the 24 hours, some 70 miles more than the second Bentley and a full 200 miles more than the first non-British car to finish, a French-entered Stutz.

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NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

14th June, 1914 : The original story of Noah and the Flood was written down on early Babylonian tablets, according to an Oxford University professor. Like the Book of Genesis the tablets name a gardener, “Nuhu”, as the one who saved animal and human life. They also blame Noah for the loss of eternal life. It was Noah, not Adam, who ate from the tree of life in the Garden of Eden in the Babylonian story.

The professor has studied more than50 of the tablets, which were unearthed at Nippur and are housed now in the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

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The Hyaenas

 

…from the quills of the dead white poets

Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)

After the burial-parties leave
  And the baffled kites have fled;
The wise hyaenas come out at eve
  To take account of our dead.

How he died and why he died
  Troubles them not a whit.
They snout the bushes and stones aside
  And dig till they come to it.

They are only resolute they shall eat
  That they and their mates may thrive,
And they know that the dead are safer meat
  Than the weakest thing alive.

(For a goat may butt, and a worm may sting,
  And a child will sometimes stand;
But a poor dead soldier of the King
  Can never lift a hand.)

They whoop and halloo and scatter the dirt
  Until their tushes white
Take good hold of the army shirt,
  And tug the corpse to light,

And the pitiful face is shewn again
  For an instant ere they close;
But it is not discovered to living men --
  Only to God and to those

Who, being soulless, are free from shame,
  Whatever meat they may find.
Nor do they defile the dead man's name --
  That is reserved for his kind.

 

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NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

king.Alexander11th June, 1903 : Queen Draga of Serbia (aged 38) and King Alexander (aged 26) were murdered in their bedroom early this morning. A group of disaffected army officers, led by Colonel Misches and Colonel Mashin, a brother of the Queen’s first husband, forced their way into the Royal Palace in Belgrade, shooting down the King’s bodyguards. They burst into the royal bedroom where they discovered the royal couple hiding in a cupboard.

One reason for assassination is the King’s plan to move the War School from Belgrade. Another is that, three years ago, there was much scandal when the King married Draga Mashin, who had a shady past.

[ Now the free, independent and so democratic Americans are poised to elect Hilary Clinton as their Queen, the shadier past the better. ]

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The deaf called the deaf

...from the quills of the dead white poets

Aleksandr Pushkin (1799 – 1837)

The deaf once called the deaf to the deaf judge – right now;
The first deaf cried: “He’s spoiled my own cow!” –For goodness’ sake,” to that another blared,This plot belonged still to my late granddad!” To stop a sin,” decided the judge witty,The pal’s to marry her, though the wench is guilty.”
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Lost souls

…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger

I am not aware of too many photography jokes, but I recall the classic one of a lens cover. It even featured, I believe, in one of the Crocodile Dundee movies, and given the creative impotency of the Hollywood film factories, it will undoubtedly appear again.

Primitive people, primitive in the eye of the beholder, supposedly believe that photographing people take their soul away. One would not be surprised if that was one of the many fabrications and fantasies by archetypal anthropologist Margaret Mead, embraced and embellished by the desk and computer bound academics. It is certain however, that many cultures had, and some still have, the prohibition against “graven” and other images. The Taliban boys, those diligent students of peaceful Islam, spring to mind.

The enlightened West seemingly never had such scruples; perhaps we never had any soul to lose though Goethe’s Faust worries “Two souls, alas! within my bossom throne;”. But that was a long time ago. A few people, mostly theologians, wrote about that. Today they sound quaint. Even the current socialist Pope ignores the basic tenets of the religion he is supposed to lead.

No wonder then that our “culture” is the plague of “selfies” and that the whores (of all sexes) of the Cathedral are flaunting their vacuousness and amorality at the Oscar and Cannes circuses of silver screen emptiness. The uneducated masses emulate the even less educated, and the speed of the down spiral increases.

quill.1

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Fata Morgana

…from the quills of the dead white poets

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882)

st.liberty

O sweet illusions of Song,
  That tempt me everywhere,
In the lonely fields, and the throng
  Of the crowded thoroughfare!

I approach, and ye vanish away,
  I grasp you, and ye are gone;
But ever by nigh an day,
  The melody soundeth on.

As the weary traveler sees
  In desert or prairie vast,
Blue lakes, overhung with trees,
  That a pleasant shadow cast;

Fair towns with turrets high,
  And shining roofs of gold,
That vanish as he draws nigh,
  Like mists together rolled,--

So I wander and wander along,
  And forever before me gleams
The shining city of song,
  In the beautiful land of dreams.

But when I would enter the gate
  Of that golden atmosphere,
It is gone, and I wander and wait
  For the vision to reappear.
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QUOTE XXV

Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881 ) – “Battles, in these ages, are transacted by mechanism; with the slightest possible development of human individuality or spontaneity: men now die, and kill another, in an artificial manner. Battles ever since Homer’s time, when they were Fighting Mobs, have mostly ceased to be worth looking at, worth reading or remembering.”

The French Revolution

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I can’t sleep

…from the quills of the dead white poets

Osip Mandelshtam 1891 -1938

osip-mandelstam

I can’t sleep. Homer, and the taut white sails.
I could the list of ships read only to a half:
The long-long breed, the train of flying cranes
Had lifted once the ancient Greece above.

The wedge of cranes to alien far frontier --
On heads of kings, as foam, crowns shine --
Where do you sail? If Helen were not here,
What Troy then means for you, Achaeia’s people fine?

And Homer and the sea are moved by only love.
Whom must I listen to? Homer is silent yet,
And blackened sea with roar comes above,
Sunk in triumphant noise, head of my sleepless bed.
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Paper money and slavery

…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger

A week or so ago I recalled a camp-fire discussion long time ago, when a few of us, unhappy slaves, considered our fellow ignorant, but happy slaves and what, if anything, should or could be done about them. I do not remember any profound conclusion; the best we could agree on was that as there is no point in leading a horse to water just have her to spurn you, you, if you are so interested in her welfare, point the way to the water and leave it there. After all, that particular horse may not be thirsty; and the animals smell the water at distances you can’t anyway. Simply, let the horses, and slaves, to their own devices. After all, it is the Left “intelligentsia” which knows what is the best for others.

All this went through my mind after reading about the latest brainwave of the US Treasury apparatchiks to save the United States’, and thus the world’s economy, as we know it and admire. There will be new faces on newly printed dollar bills. Obama’s ? Al Sharpton’s ? Al Gore’s ? Not yet.

Abolitionist Harriet Tubman will become both the first African-American to grace U.S. paper money and the first woman featured on currency in 100 years, the Department of the Treasury announced Wednesday. Joining her among the redesigned $20, $10 and $5 bills are Marian Anderson, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr., Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth.

Sounds like a joke, and probably it is. A joke on the Americans who hoped, and voted, for a change (twice) and now they got it. Obama and his commissars must be enjoying themselves deciding whether legally enshrining unlimited access by pederasts to the toilets, glorifying US Army deserters or redecorating paper money is bigger fun, secure in the knowledge that however idiotic their action, the media will lap it and the so called peoples’ representatives will manage barely a whimper, if at all.

I admit I never heard of Harriet Tubman until now. I dislike slavery and it seems she was one of the few Americans who actually did something about it, notwithstanding the postbellum myth that the Civil War was about slavery.

But, being huge Harriet Tubman fans, here at The Dollar Vigilante, we have mixed feelings about her being the new face of the $20.  We’d certainly much rather look at her face than any of the other dead criminals printed on the other bills.  In fact, she is the only one who wasn’t a criminal.

Harriet was something we don’t have anymore… male or female.  An incredibly brave person who helped free slaves against a tyrannical system.  She absolutely was a hero.  We hope this is the image they use… but we doubt it.

She is best known for her wise statement, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”

That statement has never been more true than today.  In fact, slavery never ended in the US.  Instead of ending black slavery they just ended up making everyone a slave.  After all, if slavery is having 100% of your productivity stolen from you against your will, at what percent is it not slavery?  The answer, of course, is 0%.  But it seems around 50% is enough to make people feel free in the land of the free nowadays.

And so people will cheer a black woman being on the $20 (and not even know why she was famous) but not realize that she lost the battle and they are the ones who now don’t even realize they are slaves.” Read more at http://www.maxkeiser.com/2016/04/us-to-paint-new-pictures-on-its-dying-barbarous-relic-of-a-currency/#qpr4eWRB6cAFBqZ0.99

By the way – zero hedge is on our sidebar; and their writings started to get more interesting recently. After all – if Bloomberg doesn’t like them, they can’t be that bad.

So, she “.. could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”  They did not know and they were, presumably, happy.

Somebody could quote Julius Evola : “You have no liberation to seek from bonds, because you have never been bound.” Now American Negroes are free, but free to do what? Making excuses for history, five generations later? No easy answers and the post-Civil War carpetbaggers, now the salesmen of politically correct snake oil, are still at it. The people, not only the blacks, do not want to know. Should somebody tell them?

quill.1

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The EU games

Ludwig von Gress

The EU games

Our astute and non-dementia-challenged readers may have noticed that we have suspended publishing Stratfor articles. The reason is a perception on my part that the organisation has turned increasing pro-Putin, and worse, pro-Obama. Making excuses for Obama’s muddled foreign policy, if that is not too benign word, is one thing; apologies and approval of his anti-West campaign is another. I could be wrong in suspecting that the Stratfor experts are salivating at the prospect of lucrative consultancy in the new US Administration; and adjust their wise pronouncements to suit Sanders, Trump, Hilary or, after one or two executive orders, Obama.

As we know there were previous attempts to create the European union. Napoleon tried, Hitler tried, both with dismal, dismal for the people, results. Now their successors are trying again, history lessons notwithstanding. In the French corner we have a man with Mussolini’s ego, though not his intelligence – that is not needed in French politics. In the Prussian corner hovers Frau Merklel. The combination is likely to lead to a total collapse, political, moral and economical, of the countries of Europe; collapse during which April 1945 would seem to be the apex of good old times. I must add that in April 1945 there was hope for survivors; and almost unprecedented opportunity, unprecedented since the Peace of Westphalia, for Big Money. This time only the Big Money will benefit.

Now to the experts.

Stratfor: How referenda threaten EU

Britons will vote in a referendum June 23 on whether the country should remain in the European Union. Groups from both side of the debate are campaigning in the months leading up to the vote.

Forecast

  • In the coming years, national governments, opposition groups and civil society organizations will increasingly turn to popular votes to decide a broad range of EU-related debates.
  • National governments will probably use referenda (or, more likely, the threat of them) to demand concessions from the European Union, to justify domestic decisions or to increase their own popularity.
  • Votes will take place against a backdrop of growing nationalism and fear of globalization, and the results will likely freeze or reverse the process of EU integration.

Analysis

Europe seems to be in a referendum frenzy these days. In early May, the Hungarian government confirmed its decision to hold a referendum on the European Commission’s plan to distribute asylum seekers among member states. In April, Dutch citizens voted against the European Union Association Agreement with Ukraine in a referendum organized by a Euroskeptic organization. In June, the United Kingdom will hold a crucial vote on whether to leave the European Union altogether. The three votes have a common denominator: EU citizens are essentially being asked to decide on issues connected to the process of Continental integration.

Considering the European Union’s political and economic predicament, referenda are a very attractive tool to win the loyalty of voters. The democratic legitimacy of the European Union is being questioned, and moderate governments and their Euroskeptic opposition alike are turning to the voters for their own political gain. In the coming years, referenda will be proposed by three main sources — national governments, opposition groups and civil society organizations — and they will touch upon a broad range of EU-related questions.

An Interesting Paradox

The European Union has a tempestuous history with referenda. European governments have made many crucial decisions affecting national sovereignty without consulting the populace. The founding members of the European Economic Community (the European Union’s predecessor) did not hold referenda when the supranational organization was created in 1957. Four decades later, the initial members of the eurozone did not ask voters their opinion before creating the currency union. Only Denmark and Sweden held referenda on whether to enter the eurozone, and people voted not to join it. The United Kingdom, in turn, negotiated an opt-out with its EU peers.

When nations have consulted their citizens, the results have many times tended against European integration. The Irish initially voted against the treaties of Nice (2001) and Lisbon (2008), which transferred more power from the national government to EU institutions. In both cases, Dublin negotiated concessions from the European Union before holding second referenda, which resulted in favorable votes for the treaties. In Denmark the treaty of Maastricht, which created the European Union, required a second referendum to pass in 1993 after people voted against it a year earlier. Perhaps the most notorious EU referenda were held in France and the Netherlands in 2005, when people voted against a plan to establish an EU constitution. Such strong popular rejection in two founding EU members caused the bloc to abort the project.

eu-referendum-timeline

Whether the European Union is democratically legitimate has been a matter of debate for decades. Aware that transferring national sovereignty to unelected technocrats in Brussels could alienate voters, national governments decided to enhance the role of the EU Parliament, the only international organization whose members are elected by universal suffrage. The idea was that, by giving the European Parliament a greater participation in the Continent’s decision-making process, the European Union would become more democratic.

But Europe’s economic and political crises have exacerbated the debate over the bloc’s democratic legitimacy, and governments are becoming increasingly nationalistic in response. With its impending referendum on whether to stay in the union, the United Kingdom is the most extreme example of this trend. But other countries are likely to make similar demands in the future. The referendum issue poses an interesting paradox: Asking voters to weigh in on European issues seems to be the most democratic way to reform the European Union — an arguably undemocratic institution. But as is usually the case, things are not as simple as they initially seem, and the practice could in fact weaken the bloc beyond repair.

Layers of Complexity

On the surface, referenda are the most formidable tool of democracy, giving voters a direct say on political, economic and social issues. They allow people to re-engage with the political process and give governments a popular mandate for major decisions that require a broad consensus. This explains why referenda are often used to reform constitutions or to make decisions on socially and politically sensitive issues (such as abortion or the death penalty).

But critics of referenda argue that they force voters to make decisions on complex issues about which they may not have complete knowledge. Referenda tend to create the illusion that complex issues can be presented in simple terms; the vote is often reduced to a binary “yes” or “no” answer. Referenda are also intimately linked to domestic political situations. Many citizens and political parties tend to see referenda as a vote on the government rather than on the issue under discussion, and the outcome is often determined by the economic situation or the popularity of the government at the time.

The European supranational government creates an additional layer of complexity. EU-related issues tend to be harder for voters to understand than national issues, and voters tend to more closely identify with and care about national rather than supranational issues. This means that voters often decide on EU referenda according to domestic political and economic conditions. Many of the French votes against the European Constitution, for example, were actually a vote against former President Jacques Chirac. The same happens with elections for the EU parliament; most political parties tend to campaign on domestic issues rather than on European issues. Thus, European Parliament election results are widely perceived as a barometer of the popularity of national governments.

EU-related referenda are also complex because of their impact on decision-making in Europe. Treaties need to be ratified by all member states before they become take effect, which means that in those countries where referenda are needed to ratify a treaty (such as in Ireland and Denmark), the entire process could be stalled because of the decision of voters in a single country. This creates enormous uncertainty about the feasibility of passing treaties, but it also gives countries temporary albeit notable leverage to negotiate concessions when voters vote no. Denmark, for example, received several exemptions from EU requirements after people initially voted against the Maastricht Treaty.

A Powerful Negotiating Tool

To a large extent, the current spate of referenda in Europe is a result of the upcoming British vote. London proved that referenda can be used to extract concessions from Brussels, but it also that the process of Continental integration can be frozen or even reversed with a popular vote. In the coming years, governments will probably use referenda (or, more likely, the threat of referenda) to demand concessions from the European Union, to justify domestic decisions, or to increase their own popularity. The net result of this situation will be to further distance EU member states from the centralized core in Brussels.

Naturally, not every country is in the same position to make demands. In 2015 the Greek government used a referendum against austerity to pressure its lenders to soften the terms of its bailout agreement with little success. In Hungary’s case, the government will use popular opposition to the relocation scheme to justify its rejection of the plan in Brussels and to improve its popularity at home. But Hungary’s position will be stronger if it coordinates its actions with other like-minded countries in the region. Larger EU members may feel more tempted than their smaller peers to threaten referenda, since they can inflict more damage on the European Union.

Euroskeptic political parties will also use referenda as a part of their electoral campaigns. The leader of the nationalist Freedom Party of Austria recently said Austria should be “governed via referenda” as Switzerland is. France’s National Front has promised to hold a vote on the country’s EU membership if it wins the presidential election in 2017. Italy’s Five Star Movement has said it would hold a referendum on the country’s membership in the eurozone if elected. Considering that France and Italy are the second- and third-largest economies in the eurozone, respectively, such referenda could finally doom the European Union. Promising to put EU-related issues to a vote helps these parties to soften their image, because a referendum looks less threatening (and more democratic) than the promise of unilateral action. Finally, interest groups or nongovernmental organizations may try to push their agendas in a similar way. But their options are more limited; only a handful of EU members have mechanisms that allow for citizens to organize referenda.

In Italy, referenda organized by citizens are binding, but only if voter turnout is above 50 percent. Most of the citizen-backed referenda in the past two decades were declared void because of low voter turnout. In the Netherlands, the threshold for voter turnout is much lower (30 percent), but the referenda organized by the public are not binding. However, even non-binding votes can put governments in awkward situations. The Dutch government is currently looking for ways to honor its promise to respect the result of a referendum in which people asked The Hague not to sign an association agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. Countries such as Croatia, Lithuania and Hungary also have mechanisms that enable citizens to propose a referendum.

Some countries have other mechanisms of direct democracy. In Austria and Finland, for example, people can force their parliaments to discuss a certain topic if they collect enough signatures. In late April, the Finnish parliament held a debate on the country’s membership in the eurozone after a group of citizens collected signatures to force the topic. While the debate was not binding, citizens sent their government a clear signal that they are worried about the effect of the common currency on the Finnish economy. These discussions can be particularly awkward when, like in Finland, a Euroskeptic party is actually a member of the government and has to find a balance between its political manifesto and its coalition commitments.

The Upcoming Votes

There are plenty of issues in Europe that could be decided by a referendum in the coming years. Though a new EU treaty is very unlikely in the current political environment, any attempts to modify the bloc’s legal framework would trigger an avalanche of referenda across the Continent. Euroskeptic political parties and organizations in Southern Europe, as well as more moderate governments, could threaten to put their membership in the European Union or the eurozone to a vote so as to demand concessions from Brussels on varied topics, including fiscal targets and debt restructuring. Euroskeptic forces in Northern Europe could push for referenda to resist measures that undermine their national wealth.

Separatist movements in places such as Catalonia, Scotland and Flanders will continue to push for referenda for more autonomy or for outright independence. Regional or municipal governments can resist EU plans to allocate asylum seekers in their territories by putting the issue to a vote. Cyprus’ Greek south and its Turkish north are once again negotiating to reunify the island, but any agreement will have to be ratified by both sides in a referendum. (In 2004, Greek Cypriots rejected a U.N.-backed plan in a referendum.)

Referenda can also affect international affairs beyond the European Union. Popular pressure could force governments in several EU nations to hold a referendum on trade agreements such as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Countries like Finland and Sweden are unlikely to join NATO without a referendum, and Austria and Ireland are not planning to join the military alliance any time soon, but if they did, a referendum would be difficult to avoid.

These votes will probably be held against the backdrop of growing nationalism and fear of globalization. They will almost certainly be influenced by the political and economic situation at the time of the vote and will be subject to populist manipulation from both the organizers and their opponents (something true of most elections). The alleged attempts to solve the European Union’s crisis of representation could therefore contribute to the bloc’s weakening.” / Republished with the kind permission of Stratfor/

Thus far the Stratfor experts. Non-experts may wonder – would the Brussels apparatchiks allow any diminishing of their power? Only experts would answer yes. The games go on.

Posted in History, The EU | 4 Comments

The Quest

…from the quills of the dead white poets

Robert William Service (1874 – 1958)

I sought Him on the purple seas;
I sought Him on the peaks aflame;
Amid the gloom of giant trees
And canyons lone I called His name;
The wasted ways of earth I trod:
In vain! In vain! I found not God.

I sought him in the hives of men,
The cities grand, the hamlets grey,
The temples old beyond my ken,
The tabernacles of to-day;
All life that is, from cloud to clod
I sought ... Alas! I found not God.

Then after roaming far and wide,
In streets and seas and deserts wild,
I came to stand at last beside
The death-bed of my little child.
Lo! as I bent beneath the rod
I raised my eyes … and there was God.
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No election commentary

…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger

I turned my back on the rulers when I saw what they called ruling: bartering and haggling with the rubble … Among all the hypocrisies, this seem to me the worst: that even those who commanded feigned the virtues of the serfs.” Not my words, but those of Nietzsche in Thus spake Zarathustra.

Using the words of wiser men: “Like the true state, the hierarchical, organic state has ceased to exist. No comparable party or movement exists, offering itself as a defender of higher ideas, to which one can unconditionally adhere and support with absolute fidelity. The present world of party politics consists only of the regime of petty politicians, who, whatever their party affiliations, are often figureheads at the service of financial, industrial, or corporate interests. The situation has gone so far that even if parties or movements of a different type existed, they would have almost no following among the rootless masses who respond only to those who promise material advantages and “social conquests”. When striking these chords does not suffice, the only influence over the masses today – and now even more than ever – is on the plane of impassioned and sub intellectual forces, which by their nature lack any stability. These are the forces that demagogues, popular leaders, manipulators of myths, and fabricators of “public opinion” count on. In this regard we can learn from yesterday’s regimes in Germany and Italy that positioned themselves against democracy and Marxism: that potential enthusiasm and faith that animated masses of people, even to the point of fanaticism, has completely vanished in the face of crisis, or else been transferred to new, opposing myths, replacing the preceding ones by the sole force of circumstances. One must expects this from every collective current that lacks a dimension of depth, inasmuch as it depends on forces I have mentioned, corresponding to the pure ‘demos’ and its sovereignty – which is as much to say, literally, “democracy”. Julius Evola – Ride the Tiger – a survival manual for the Aristocrats of the Soul (1961).

Despite my best intentions, it actually ended up like a commentary on elections both in Australia and America. Who would have thought?

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