Monday, 20 June 2016

Lusitanium - a new country and a new dawn

Just imagine the following

You live in a country with its own laws, constitution and regulations, an independent country with its own elected parliament and a long democratic tradition.

One evening you go out celebrating your recent promotion with friends, get a little more than normally tipsy – and wake up late the next day.

As you wake up and turn on the TV news, you discover, that your government during the last 24 hours has agreed a new constitution, which totally changes – or even violates - the one you and your ancestors have been living with for 100s of years.
It happened during a meeting between 28 European heads of state, including yours, in Lisbon without the knowledge of the respective populations. And now it has been declared law with no chance of modification.

Alarmed you scan through some of the most important clauses of the 800 pages legal document, fortunately highlighted into a comprehensible overview for the ordinary person in the street and find this:
  • As of today all laws and regulations in society – demographic, trade, legal or otherwise, will be signed in Lisbon and distributed for implementation without further ado in each member state.

  •  The new Constitution, aptly named the Lisbon Treaty, can NOT be changed by the member states. It is self amalgamating and eliminates all local constitutions.
  • A new currency will replace the national currencies with immediate effect. It is called the LIBRA and printing of bills has already been started in secret several months ago.

  • A new National Hymn has been composed. It will tie all previous national states together, It is called “From 1984 to 2016”.

  • A new flag has been designed in the monochrome colour white, representing the mix of all previous flag colours: white. This is the well-known colour of a flag, when a party gives in to another party, thus representing agreement to the new order.

  • The cost of all changes will be borne by the member states proportional to their present GDP. All additional and future costs will be covered by the membership fees, administrated by the new state, who will retain the sole right to design and issue tax demands.
  • The new state will carry the name LUSITANIUM and its rights and obligations will take power immediately. All passports from previous national states are hereby declared null and void and will be replaced by new Lusitanium passports.

  •  All previously autonomous states and their constitutions are hereby eliminated. The required administrative replacement will be carried out by LOCAL COUNCILS in each ex-country. In The previously named UK this means 10 new legal administration areas.

  • Lusitanium will be governed by appointed – not elected – representatives from the previous national states and consist of

o   a PRAESIDIUM consisting of previous Prime Ministers
o   An appointed COUNCIL whose responsibility it is to issue laws and regulations for Lusitanium, supported by 250 commissions and 1050 consulting groups
o   An OFFICE OF REPRESENTATIVES from the previous states, whose sole responsibility it is to countersign, catalougue and distribute all new laws and regulations.
o   LOCAL COUNCILS, with no legal say about implementation of these laws, but held responsible for their implementation.
  •           Lusitanium’s officers at all levels cannot be changed  or sacked by the population.

  •          Lusitaniums officers will be remunerated commensurable with their responsibility, i.e. Salary= $150,00 p.a.; a daily expense budget of $350; a travel budget of $5000 per month or more for special purposes; $60,000 per annum to be used for admin support as seen necessary by the individual Councillor or Representative; other expenses as required. No receipts need be presented in order to minimise administration costs.

  •           Internal accounts and auditing will not be made public.

  •           Lusitanium officers at all levels will be immune to court prosecution during and after their tenure, unless every colleague signs a declaration to the opposite.

  •          A new Lusitania Court of Justice has been created. It has priority over all previously national courts and no appeal is possible.

  •           The fight against international criminality and terror will in future be carried out by a Common Lusitanium Police Force, CLPF. This force is superior to all local police forces and will be able to pick up any suspected citizen in Lusitanium according to the new Lusitanium Arrest Warrant, LAW, and extradite the suspected criminal to a local court in the area, where a crime has taken place.

  •           The suspect will be declared guilty till proven innocent and only one appeal is possible. The citizen does not need to be present at the sentence or the appeal and does not need to be further informed.

  •           All internal borders have hereby been eliminated and external Lusitanium borders softened, so as to provide support to a hungry world and be able to share Lusitanium’s riches.

  •           A Comrade Napoleon system will rule. A previous country, Portugal, will possess more power and decision ability than all other members due to its monopoly of producing the much coveted green Happiness Pill and the consequent rich status of the country. Its president, Angelina Ferkel, retains superior decision power above everyone else.

  •            National Defence organisations have with immediate effect been eliminated in the membership areas’ and replaced with the Lusitanium Operative League, LOL.

  •           A Lusitanium Foreign Affairs Office has been established, with embassies world-wide, replacing all national embassies with immediate effect.

  •           The LCJ will prosecute and sentence anyone who in future refer to an asset as a nationally owned entity. It is a prerogative to use terminology such as our fields, our seas, our policy, our rights, our forests. This is necessary in order to emphasise all member-states’ right to fishing and agriculture wherever they find it useful for their purposes.

  •           Lusitanium territory will expand to include Turkey, Afghanistan, Syria and the North African countries  - in the first place. To this end immigration will be open and free with the purpose of sharing riches, ultimately on a world basis with a world government. This will be funded by the existing declining European populations, who have long enough enjoyed a privileged life paid through colonisation and use of the world’s resources.

  •          All religions will be accepted. However, Christianity and Judaism will be forced to give in to declared peaceful religions such as Islam.

  •            Criticism of Lusitanium’s laws and regulations as well as of Islam in particular will be declared Fascist and Racists and receive the new nation’s hardest punishments.

  •           Social media will be cleaned of criticism, fascist and anti islamic comments and Facebook’s CEO will be named CEO of a new subsection of the CLPF ensuring compliance.

  •           Lusitanium’s energy supply will become 100% windmill and solar driven. It is prohibited to discuss the possibility, that Climate Change is anything but man-made.

  •          A new free trade agreement with the world will help Lusitanium become a rich, democratic, free power, where any company will have power over the previous national states’ law systems for optimum free trade and happiness for all.

To your surprise, your PM, Donald Mackaron, has given you the option of voting for this new constitution despite a clear threatening tone in his words.
Many of your country folks have done so earlier in the morning via their on-line Android TV connection and you can see, that the vote is 50-50 for accept or decline.
This surprises you, but a cynical consideration tells you that Turkeys would vote for Christmas anyway. However, you still have a brain, so what do you do?

Will you vote IN or OUT?

What would your children vote if they could?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


Debunking the myths about Norway
We constantly hear two things from the Remains: 1. That we want to be like Norway, and 2. That Norway has all the costs and disadvantages of EU membership, without the 'say'.
Well first, we don't want to be 'like Norway' – except insofar as they are a rich and successful independent nation in their own right. We want to have a British deal with the EU, based on our being their biggest customer and the 5th largest economy in the world, not a Norwegian, Canadian or Swiss one.
And second, most of what is said about Norway's relationship with the EU is false. These five factsheets from the Norwegian No To EU campaign contain the truth about the matter. Don't circulate them to the public, but use the information to help you make your arguments in your own words.

Factsheet 1: What is the difference between EU membership and the EEA Agreement? (Download)
Factsheet 2: Norway’s financial contribution to the EU & EEA (Download)
Factsheet 3: Is Norway 9 or 75 per cent in the EU? (Download)

Factsheet 4: Do we need the EEA Agreement in order to sell our products to the EU? (Download)

Factsheet 5: Northern delight – Norway delighted to have left the EU behind (Download)

Factsheet 6: Britain, do not listen to the Scaremongering! (Download)

Rules on EFDD materials

If you haven't already done so, can you please download and read these crucially important rules on EFDD materials at this sensitive time.

Cameron backs wealth
In the Commons yesterday, the Prime Minister made an heroic effort to get back on the front foot by defending wealth – and the right of parents to pass their wealth on to their children... more>
Cameron’s EU “deal” under threat from the European Parliament

Cameron’s much-vaunted “renegotiation” of the UK’s EU membership terms (in fact the changes he’s claiming are trivial) has come under attack from a leading German Liberal MEP Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, who is also a Vice President of the parliament... more>
That leaflet
In a furious debate in the Commons yesterday, Europe Minister David Lidington had the unenviable task of trying to defend the indefensible – the government’s £9 million pro-EU leaflet. But in a withering speech John Redwood said that public anger over the plan will persuade more voters to vote for Brexit... more>

'Brexit would save the NHS'
The ding-dong over the impact of Brexit on the NHS goes on, but the Remainians are not having it all their own way.  The Times reports that fifty medical professionals have called for Brexit in order to free up more funds for the NHS. A choice – would you rather send £10 billion to Brussels?  Or to the health service?

John Longworth on Brexit

John Longworth is the  former head of British Chambers of Commerce.  He resigned recently following enormous pressure on him after he expressed a personal view that the UK should leave the EU. Writing in the Guardian recently, he said that he had resigned “in order to tell the truth about Brexit”... more>
And David Miliband (remember him?) on Brexit
Fresh from the sound-bite factory, David Miliband says “Now is not the time for unilateral political disarmament”. Good line, David, but you’re out of touch with reality.  Give the man a banana.
Collapse of waste treatment plants
The Mail reports the closure of two of the UK’s largest recycling plants, in Lancashire.  This will cause extensive redundancies, and industry experts warn that such closures could be repeated elsewhere – such are the economics of recycling.  The plants were opened nine years ago based on a £2 billion Private Finance Initiative... more>
'Hydrogen city'
Another story about grandiose and extravagant schemes to meet EU climate and emission objectives: there is a plan to convert Leeds into a “hydrogen city“, at a cost of £2 billion. This would involve a massive programme to convert all gas appliances in the city from natural gas to hydrogen – and while hydrogen emits no CO2 when burned, natural gas is already relatively low-emission compared to other fossil fuels... more>
Stop the travelling circus!
As I write in Strasbourg, I reflect that I spend three nights a week, twelve weeks a year in a Strasbourg hotel (admittedly a fairly modest one).  That means that for seventeen years I’ve spent roughly ten percent of all my nights in a Strasbourg hotel, at the taxpayers’ expense  – as have 750 other MEPs, give or take.  There’s only one way to stop this nonsense – the only way is Brexit.
You can read more of Roger Helmer's blog here.

1830-1900: Spotlight on BBC One (South West) - Steve Crowther

Dear Sir,
The latest scaremongering from "Project Fear" is that if we leave the EU women will lose many of their rights, health and safety will vanish from factories and paid leave to workers as a right will disappear. They cite the EU's paid holiday directive 75/457/EEC, which came into force in 1975, as their justification for the claim.
If we look into the facts however we discover that Britain had a Factory Act as early as 1802 covering the health and safety of the workers, limits on working hours came into force as early as 1850, many workers had paid holidays from 1871 and in 1939 it became law that all employees were allowed paid leave, initially one week then two in the 1950s. This later became up to four weeks per year.
So far as I am aware all of this was achieved without the intervention of the EU!
Other things they say we only got because of the EU, such as 'maternity leave' and so on, would have followed without the requirements of directive 75/457/EEC as our society became more 'enlightened' just as these earlier improvements in the 'lot' of workers had come about. They have been driven by public demand and so long as we remain a free society will continue to be.
Talk of this being 'due to the EU' or 'disappearing if we leave' is nothing more than desperation by the 'in side Little Englanders' who seem to think our country is too small to succeed or run its own affairs outside the EU. In that, as in so much else, history proves them wrong.
Yours faithfully,
Please share UKIP Referendum Campaign News with fellow-members who don’t have email or don’t receive it. If you know anyone with email who is not getting the bulletins, please ask them to check with Lexdrum House (01626 830630) that we have their correct email address.


Steve Crowther
Party Chairman
Referendum Campaign

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Thatcher's Bruges Speech

Prime Minister, Rector, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:
First, may I thank you for giving me the opportunity to return to Bruges and in very different circumstances from my last visit shortly after the Zeebrugge Ferry disaster, when Belgian courage and the devotion of your doctors and nurses saved so many British lives.
And second, may I say what a pleasure it is to speak at the College of Europe under the distinguished leadership of its [Professor Lukaszewski ] Rector.
The College plays a vital and increasingly important part in the life of the European Community.
And third, may I also thank you for inviting me to deliver my address in this magnificent hall.
What better place to speak of Europe's future than a building which so gloriously recalls the greatness that Europe had already achieved over 600 years ago.
Your city of Bruges has many other historical associations for us in Britain. Geoffrey Chaucer was a frequent visitor here.
And the first book to be printed in the English language was produced here in Bruges by William Caxton .

Britain and Europe

Mr. Chairman, you have invited me to speak on the subject of Britain and Europe. Perhaps I should congratulate you on your courage.
If you believe some of the things said and written about my views on Europe, it must seem rather like inviting Genghis Khan to speak on the virtues of peaceful coexistence!
I want to start by disposing of some myths about my country, Britain, and its relationship with Europe and to do that, I must say something about the identity of Europe itself.
Europe is not the creation of the Treaty of Rome.
Nor is the European idea the property of any group or institution.
We British are as much heirs to the legacy of European culture as any other nation. Our links to the rest of Europe, the continent of Europe, have been the dominant factor in our history.
For three hundred years, we were part of the Roman Empire and our maps still trace the straight lines of the roads the Romans built.
Our ancestors—Celts, Saxons, Danes—came from the Continent.[fo 1]
Our nation was—in that favourite Community word—"restructured" under the Norman and Angevin rule in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
This year, we celebrate the three hundredth anniversary of the glorious revolution in which the British crown passed to Prince William of Orange and Queen Mary .
Visit the great churches and cathedrals of Britain, read our literature and listen to our language: all bear witness to the cultural riches which we have drawn from Europe and other Europeans from us.
We in Britain are rightly proud of the way in which, since Magna Carta in the year 1215, we have pioneered and developed representative institutions to stand as bastions of freedom.
And proud too of the way in which for centuries Britain was a home for people from the rest of Europe who sought sanctuary from tyranny.
But we know that without the European legacy of political ideas we could not have achieved as much as we did.
From classical and mediaeval thought we have borrowed that concept of the rule of law which marks out a civilised society from barbarism.
And on that idea of Christendom, to which the Rector referred—Christendom for long synonymous with Europe—with its recognition of the unique and spiritual nature of the individual, on that idea, we still base our belief in personal liberty and other human rights.
Too often, the history of Europe is described as a series of interminable wars and quarrels.
Yet from our perspective today surely what strikes us most is our common experience. For instance, the story of how Europeans explored and colonised—and yes, without apology—civilised much of the world is an extraordinary tale of talent, skill and courage.
But we British have in a very special way contributed to Europe.
Over the centuries we have fought to prevent Europe from falling under the dominance of a single power.
We have fought and we have died for her freedom.
Only miles from here, in Belgium, lie the bodies of 120,000 British soldiers who died in the First World War.
Had it not been for that willingness to fight and to die, Europe would have been united long before now—but not in liberty, not in justice.
It was British support to resistance movements throughout the last War that helped to keep alive the flame of liberty in so many countries until the day of liberation.
Tomorrow, King Baudouin will attend a service in Brussels to commemorate the many brave Belgians who gave their lives in service with the Royal Air Force—a sacrifice which we shall never forget.
And it was from our island fortress that the liberation of Europe itself was mounted.
And still, today, we stand together.
Nearly 70,000 British servicemen are stationed on the mainland of Europe.
All these things alone are proof of our commitment to Europe's future.[fo 2]
The European Community is one manifestation of that European identity, but it is not the only one.
We must never forget that east of the Iron Curtain, people who once enjoyed a full share of European culture, freedom and identity have been cut off from their roots.
We shall always look on Warsaw, Prague and Budapest as great European cities.
Nor should we forget that European values have helped to make the United States of America into the valiant defender of freedom which she has become.

Europe's Future

This is no arid chronicle of obscure facts from the dust-filled libraries of history.
It is the record of nearly two thousand years of British involvement in Europe, cooperation with Europe and contribution to Europe, contribution which today is as valid and as strong as ever [sic].
Yes, we have looked also to wider horizons—as have others—and thank goodness for that, because Europe never would have prospered and never will prosper as a narrow-minded, inward-looking club.
The European Community belongs to all its members.
It must reflect the traditions and aspirations of all its members.
And let me be quite clear.
Britain does not dream of some cosy, isolated existence on the fringes of the European Community. Our destiny is in Europe, as part of the Community.
That is not to say that our future lies only in Europe, but nor does that of France or Spain or, indeed, of any other member.
The Community is not an end in itself.
Nor is it an institutional device to be constantly modified according to the dictates of some abstract intellectual concept.
Nor must it be ossified by endless regulation.
The European Community is a practical means by which Europe can ensure the future prosperity and security of its people in a world in which there are many other powerful nations and groups of nations.
We Europeans cannot afford to waste our energies on internal disputes or arcane institutional debates.
They are no substitute for effective action.
Europe has to be ready both to contribute in full measure to its own security and to compete commercially and industrially in a world in which success goes to the countries which encourage individual initiative and enterprise, rather than those which attempt to diminish them.
This evening I want to set out some guiding principles for the future which I believe will ensure that Europe does succeed, not just in economic and defence terms but also in the quality of life and the influence of its peoples.[fo 3]

Willing Cooperation Between Sovereign States

My first guiding principle is this: willing and active cooperation between independent sovereign states is the best way to build a successful European Community.
To try to suppress nationhood and concentrate power at the centre of a European conglomerate would be highly damaging and would jeopardise the objectives we seek to achieve.
Europe will be stronger precisely because it has France as France, Spain as Spain, Britain as Britain, each with its own customs, traditions and identity. It would be folly to try to fit them into some sort of identikit European personality.
Some of the founding fathers of the Community thought that the United States of America might be its model.
But the whole history of America is quite different from Europe.
People went there to get away from the intolerance and constraints of life in Europe.
They sought liberty and opportunity; and their strong sense of purpose has, over two centuries, helped to create a new unity and pride in being American, just as our pride lies in being British or Belgian or Dutch or German.
I am the first to say that on many great issues the countries of Europe should try to speak with a single voice.
I want to see us work more closely on the things we can do better together than alone.
Europe is stronger when we do so, whether it be in trade, in defence or in our relations with the rest of the world.
But working more closely together does not require power to be centralised in Brussels or decisions to be taken by an appointed bureaucracy.
Indeed, it is ironic that just when those countries such as the Soviet Union, which have tried to run everything from the centre, are learning that success depends on dispersing power and decisions away from the centre, there are some in the Community who seem to want to move in the opposite direction.
We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.
Certainly we want to see Europe more united and with a greater sense of common purpose.
But it must be in a way which preserves the different traditions, parliamentary powers and sense of national pride in one's own country; for these have been the source of Europe's vitality through the centuries.

Encouraging change

My second guiding principle is this: Community policies must tackle present problems in a practical way, however difficult that may be.
If we cannot reform those Community policies which are patently wrong or ineffective and which are rightly causing public disquiet, then we shall not get the public support for the Community's future development.
And that is why the achievements of the European Council in Brussels last February are so important.[fo 4]
It was not right that half the total Community budget was being spent on storing and disposing of surplus food.
Now those stocks are being sharply reduced.
It was absolutely right to decide that agriculture's share of the budget should be cut in order to free resources for other policies, such as helping the less well-off regions and helping training for jobs.
It was right too to introduce tighter budgetary discipline to enforce these decisions and to bring the Community spending under better control.
And those who complained that the Community was spending so much time on financial detail missed the point. You cannot build on unsound foundations, financial or otherwise, and it was the fundamental reforms agreed last winter which paved the way for the remarkable progress which we have made since on the Single Market.
But we cannot rest on what we have achieved to date.
For example, the task of reforming the Common Agricultural Policy is far from complete.
Certainly, Europe needs a stable and efficient farming industry.
But the CAP has become unwieldy, inefficient and grossly expensive. Production of unwanted surpluses safeguards neither the income nor the future of farmers themselves.
We must continue to pursue policies which relate supply more closely to market requirements, and which will reduce over-production and limit costs.
Of course, we must protect the villages and rural areas which are such an important part of our national life, but not by the instrument of agricultural prices.
Tackling these problems requires political courage.
The Community will only damage itself in the eyes of its own people and the outside world if that courage is lacking.

Europe Open to Enterprise

My third guiding principle is the need for Community policies which encourage enterprise.
If Europe is to flourish and create the jobs of the future, enterprise is the key.
The basic framework is there: the Treaty of Rome itself was intended as a Charter for Economic Liberty.
But that it is not how it has always been read, still less applied.
The lesson of the economic history of Europe in the 70's and 80's is that central planning and detailed control do not work and that personal endeavour and initiative do.
That a State-controlled economy is a recipe for low growth and that free enterprise within a framework of law brings better results.
The aim of a Europe open to enterprise is the moving force behind the creation of the Single European Market in 1992. By getting rid of barriers, by making it possible for companies to operate on a European scale, we can best compete with the United States, Japan and other new economic powers emerging in Asia and elsewhere.[fo 5]
And that means action to free markets, action to widen choice, action to reduce government intervention.
Our aim should not be more and more detailed regulation from the centre: it should be to deregulate and to remove the constraints on trade.
Britain has been in the lead in opening its markets to others.
The City of London has long welcomed financial institutions from all over the world, which is why it is the biggest and most successful financial centre in Europe.
We have opened our market for telecommunications equipment, introduced competition into the market services and even into the network itself—steps which others in Europe are only now beginning to face.
In air transport, we have taken the lead in liberalisation and seen the benefits in cheaper fares and wider choice.
Our coastal shipping trade is open to the merchant navies of Europe.
We wish we could say the same of many other Community members.
Regarding monetary matters, let me say this. The key issue is not whether there should be a European Central Bank.
The immediate and practical requirements are:
� to implement the Community's commitment to free movement of capital—in Britain, we have it;
� and to the abolition through the Community of exchange controls—in Britain, we abolished them in 1979;
� to establish a genuinely free market in financial services in banking, insurance, investment;
� and to make greater use of the ecu.
This autumn, Britain is issuing ecu-denominated Treasury bills and hopes to see other Community governments increasingly do the same.
These are the real requirements because they are what the Community business and industry need if they are to compete effectively in the wider world.
And they are what the European consumer wants, for they will widen his choice and lower his costs.
It is to such basic practical steps that the Community's attention should be devoted.
When those have been achieved and sustained over a period of time, we shall be in a better position to judge the next move.
It is the same with frontiers between our countries.
Of course, we want to make it easier for goods to pass through frontiers.
Of course, we must make it easier for people to travel throughout the Community.
But it is a matter of plain common sense that we cannot totally abolish frontier controls if we are also to protect our citizens from crime and stop the movement of drugs, of terrorists and of illegal immigrants.[fo 6]
That was underlined graphically only three weeks ago when one brave German customs officer, doing his duty on the frontier between Holland and Germany, struck a major blow against the terrorists of the IRA.
And before I leave the subject of a single market, may I say that we certainly do not need new regulations which raise the cost of employment and make Europe's labour market less flexible and less competitive with overseas suppliers.
If we are to have a European Company Statute, it should contain the minimum regulations.
And certainly we in Britain would fight attempts to introduce collectivism and corporatism at the European level—although what people wish to do in their own countries is a matter for them.

Europe Open to the World

My fourth guiding principle is that Europe should not be protectionist.
The expansion of the world economy requires us to continue the process of removing barriers to trade, and to do so in the multilateral negotiations in the GATT.
It would be a betrayal if, while breaking down constraints on trade within Europe, the Community were to erect greater external protection.
We must ensure that our approach to world trade is consistent with the liberalisation we preach at home.
We have a responsibility to give a lead on this, a responsibility which is particularly directed towards the less developed countries.
They need not only aid; more than anything, they need improved trading opportunities if they are to gain the dignity of growing economic strength and independence.

Europe and Defence

My last guiding principle concerns the most fundamental issue—the European countries' role in defence.
Europe must continue to maintain a sure defence through NATO.
There can be no question of relaxing our efforts, even though it means taking difficult decisions and meeting heavy costs.
It is to NATO that we owe the peace that has been maintained over 40 years.
The fact is things are going our way: the democratic model of a free enterprise society has proved itself superior; freedom is on the offensive, a peaceful offensive the world over, for the first time in my life-time.
We must strive to maintain the United States' commitment to Europe's defence. And that means recognising the burden on their resources of the world role they undertake and their point that their allies should bear the full part of the defence of freedom, particularly as Europe grows wealthier.
Increasingly, they will look to Europe to play a part in out-of-area defence, as we have recently done in the Gulf.
NATO and the Western European Union have long recognised where the problems of Europe's defence lie, and have pointed out the solutions. And the time has come when we must give substance to our declarations about a strong defence effort with better value for money.[fo 7]
It is not an institutional problem.
It is not a problem of drafting. It is something at once simpler and more profound: it is a question of political will and political courage, of convincing people in all our countries that we cannot rely for ever on others for our defence, but that each member of the Alliance must shoulder a fair share of the burden.
We must keep up public support for nuclear deterrence, remembering that obsolete weapons do not deter, hence the need for modernisation.
We must meet the requirements for effective conventional defence in Europe against Soviet forces which are constantly being modernised.
We should develop the WEU, not as an alternative to NATO, but as a means of strengthening Europe's contribution to the common defence of the West.
Above all, at a time of change and uncertainly in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, we must preserve Europe's unity and resolve so that whatever may happen, our defence is sure.
At the same time, we must negotiate on arms control and keep the door wide open to cooperation on all the other issues covered by the Helsinki Accords.
But let us never forget that our way of life, our vision and all we hope to achieve, is secured not by the rightness of our cause but by the strength of our defence.
On this, we must never falter, never fail.

The British Approach

Mr. Chairman, I believe it is not enough just to talk in general terms about a European vision or ideal.
If we believe in it, we must chart the way ahead and identify the next steps.
And that is what I have tried to do this evening.
This approach does not require new documents: they are all there, the North Atlantic Treaty, the Revised Brussels Treaty and the Treaty of Rome, texts written by far-sighted men, a remarkable Belgian— Paul Henri Spaak —among them.
However far we may want to go, the truth is that we can only get there one step at a time.
And what we need now is to take decisions on the next steps forward, rather than let ourselves be distracted by Utopian goals.
Utopia never comes, because we know we should not like it if it did.
Let Europe be a family of nations, understanding each other better, appreciating each other more, doing more together but relishing our national identity no less than our common European endeavour.
Let us have a Europe which plays its full part in the wider world, which looks outward not inward, and which preserves that Atlantic community—that Europe on both sides of the Atlantic—which is our noblest inheritance and our greatest strength.
May I thank you for the privilege of delivering this lecture in this great hall to this great college (applause).

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Freedom of Speech - Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

In Flanders Field

John McCrae's poem


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Ukraine's Dilemma - a proper debate

Let's start a real Ukrainian debate

English Pages, 22. 4. 2014

The difficult heritage of the past

The state of Ukraine today is a sad outcome of Stalin's attempts to mix up nations and boundaries, disrupt natural historical ties and create a new Soviet man by turning original nations into mere ethnic residua and historical leftovers. Taking it into consideration is the starting point of our thinking, something that is sadly missing in the political debates today.

The cacophony of commentaries and statements to recent Ukrainian developments misses the point that the first and foremost contribution to the current dramatic situation there is the obvious political, economic and social failure of Ukraine as an independent state. This failure, in our view, has been caused by the following factors:

1. Ukraine as we know it today, has no historical tradition of statehood, and in over twenty years of its existence the country failed to create a state that would be accepted by the bulk of its population. The state was not born out of its people's efforts to gain self-determination and sovereignty, it came into being through the dissolution of the Soviet Union by its political leadership, and emancipation of the artificial Soviet republics, created by Moscow in their then valid borders.

2. The largely passive population's anti-Moscow sentiment was exacerbated by Gorbachev's
perestroika and its catastrophic results. The local Soviet party nomenklatura also feared Yeltsin's policies aimed to crush the old system.

3. At the beginning of its independence, Ukraine functioned under the leadership of the Russian-speaking Soviet elite from the eastern part of the land as a sort of a Russian B-state, a part of the vast post Soviet space with enormous potential. At least on paper: 52 million people (second to Russia), its industrial base in the Donbas, the biggest agricultural potential on the European continent, the key ports of the Black Sea, Crimea, a relatively well educated elite and central Europe next to its door.

4. The new state emerged from an essentially artificial administrative portion of the Soviet totalitarian Union
that wanted to show the world how the national issue can be resolved once and for all by replacing individual nations with the „Soviet people“. The Russian and russified areas of the east and south of Ukraine (with three hundred years of Russian history behind them) were artificially linked to the originally Polish Galicia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia acquired by Stalin after World War II, lands that had never belonged to any of the old Slav states in the East.

5. The independent Ukrainian state did not exist before 1991, unless we consider as such the brief period of civil war after the 1917 October revolution, when unsuccessful attempts at Ukrainian independence featured such controversial figures as general Skoropadsky, atamans Machno and Petljura, or Stepan Bandera in World War II. Their legacy (anti-semitism, affinity to German Nazis), is considered very controversial outside the nationalistic western Ukraine.

6. Older historical traditions speak in favor of strong ties to Russia – the Kievan Rus period, the acceptance of orthodox Christianity, or the tradition of the Zaporozhian cossacs who fought the Turks and the Poles and brought Ukraine of the time into tsarist Russia. The common Russo-Ukrainian experience of the Soviet times as well as World War II created strong human, social, economic and political bonds that cannot be easily replaced.

7. More than twenty years of Ukrainian independence that followed, were not enough to create a common Ukrainian identity and convince the people of this very heterogenous land that independent Ukraine is the right social formation, fulfilling their national aspirations. Such ambition is seen in especially among ethnic Ukrainians living in the west (Galicia, Volhynia) who accentuate the tragic experience of the Soviet era (deportations, gulags, famine), harbor anti-Russian feelings and wish to build Ukraine as a Ukrainian nation state. The position of a „second“ Russian state as sought by Presidents Kravchuk and Kuchma is unacceptable to them. It is no coincidence that this backward and weak western part of Ukraine was the moving force behind the 2004 Orange Revolution as well as the Maidan protests in 2014. By overthrowing Yanukovych, the nationalist western part of the land assumed exclusive power attempting to disrupt the long, traditional Ukrainian ties to Russia, and replace it with exclusive orientation on the West, the EU and the United States. However, experience shows that western Ukraine is not strong enough to fulfill these plans – the economic weight of its eastern part so far prevailed every time.

Ukraine's Russians do not and cannot share the nationalist ambitions of western Ukrainians. The disruption of close ties with Russia, generally wealthier, more successful and orderly today, is unthinkable to them. They do not see the Soviet era as an occupation by a foreign power, they consider themselves as victors of World War II, not victims. Bandera's sympathizers are traitors and fascists in their eyes, a state built on such legacy is unacceptable. Like Russians, they mistrust the West and do not want to be part of blocks aimed against Russia. Militant anti-russism of western-Ukrainian nationalists is insulting and threatening to them. Due to the Soviet tradition, this part of the population has long been indifferent to national issues. However, present developments make this group more aware of national feelings and the mood among them is more and more antagonistic in that respect.

After twenty years of independence, Ukraine is a divided country on the threshold of economic bankruptcy. It is home to two nations with different and probably antagonistic visions of the future, two nations growing apart every day. Both these nations look up to the world outside with unrealistic expectations – one to the West, the other to Russia.

Ukraine in its current shape could have been saved by several decades of peaceful development with a modest and sophisticated foreign policy, respecting the geopolitical position of the country and gradually improving its economy and standard of living. None of that was in the cards for Ukraine. Attempts at radical change represent a fundamental threat in such a fragile, heterogenous and politically sensitive country. Unfortunately that is what is happening in Ukraine today, with all the risks it entails for Europe and the world.

Part II: Ukraine's failed transformation

As argued above, Ukraine was born after the downfall of Communism as an essentially non-historical state, cursed with a fundamental identity problem from day one. That has always been a serious hindrance in the country's development, and it remains so still today.

Western Europe and The United States, or rather the politicians in that part of the world, think it is okay, all it takes is to „introduce democracy and the state of law“. Till this day they have not learned anything from the fact the repeated attempts to „export democracy“ have failed and that even two decades of massive western support to Bosnia and Herzegovina, artificially created after the disintegration of Yugoslavia bore no fruit. Not to mention the Arab Spring.

Ukraine has not implemented a consistent post-Communist transformation, the way it was carried out in other post-Communist countries. There was no political transformation. No standard system of political parties was introduced, and the Ukrainian parliament is still not a standard parliament. Repeated TV footage of fist-fighting deputies gives a good example. The „Orange Revolution“ (inspired abroad, again) took place twenty years after our „velvet“ counterpart, but even this delay did not bring about the necessary change.

There was no consistent economic transformation, although the communist system was forsaken. The outcome of that was the seizure of the economy by oligarch clans, stagnation, industrial decay, high unemployment, continued dependence on Russia, etc. The comparison with Belarus is revealing, whether we like Mr. Lukashenko or not. After the fall of communism, both countries started out with comparable results, and today the per capita GDP in Belarus is 50 percent higher. This comparison is almost a „controlled experiment“. It is also plain to see that over 5 million people or 10 percent of Ukraine's population had left the country over the last twenty years.

The inexorable duels between Yushchenko, Tymoshenko and Yanukovych (leaving the minor players aside) led to no good. The enormous wealth of politicians and oligarchs as presented in the media is something unimaginable in Eastern Europe, much less in the Czech Republic.

The amount of frustration is high enough to see even for those who are not experts on Ukraine. At any rate, this is a fragile, unstable country easily vulnerable by outside interference. It does not have to be a military intervention, political interference is enough. All it takes is incitement of unrest, riots, plotting groups of population against one another, populist games against all local authorities, incitement of envy, mutual charges of corruption and theft, and last but not least the unleashing of nationalist conflicts or downright hatred.

We think all of the above has been going on in Ukraine. And still is.

Part III: What happened in Ukraine and around it

The Ukrainian dispute can be interpreted in a more simple and obvious way if we turn it into a model albeit schematic, where details disappear and the bare skeleton of the issue remains.

Model A: an authentic popular uprising seeking democracy, independence and association with Europe has taken place

This model is based on a probably correct thesis that Ukrainians are deeply and justifiably dissatisfied with the situation in their country. They see the reason for that in the actions of their incompetent and corrupt political representation (which they repeatedly choose in elections that have basic democratic characteristics despite all the existing problems), a government that refuses the EU association agreement instead of focusing on “bringing the country to Europe” and tough bargaining with Russia on gas prices and other things.

People stage authentic mass demonstrations in the streets. They do not mind weeks or months of freezing temperatures. When peaceful protests are not enough, the demonstrations get more intense spontaneously (although the government makes all kinds of concessions and takes no repressive action against them). The demonstrators are joined by trained and highly armed individuals as well as domestic and foreign organized groups, while Russian support to the movement is absent. There is general assumption that Russia is happy about this process of destabilization in this important neighboring country, if not directly supportive of it.

After the demonstrators score victory in the streets of Kiev, after the democratically elected president flees the country an allegedly truly popular government is created, Russia's army intervenes and occupies Crimea, just like Hitler occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939 (its western part) or Brezhnev did in 1968 (this time entire Czechoslovakia). In 1939 and 1968 the democrats of the world did not protest strongly enough, therefore it has to be done properly now. Till the day democracy wins. The Hitler-Brezhnev-Putin line is plain to see and those who do not see it, did not see it then, either.

Model B: Dissatisfaction in Ukraine was used for a new confrontation of the West with Russia

Model B starts the same way as Model A. The Ukrainians are deeply and justifiably dissatisfied with the situation in their country and show it in various forms. However we are talking about a country that:

- is not authentic Europe (however difficult it is to define Europe's boundaries)

- is bordering Russia (though the actual borderline is not authentic)

- has been part of Russia or Russian dominated territory for decades

- has millions of Russians living in it (more than one third of its population) and has to find some sort of a modus vivendi with Russia and confirm it again and again.

This repeatedly surfacing crisis has been chosen as a pretext to bring about a new confrontation between the West and Russia, by all those who have a reason to despise Russia. These people have known full well that destabilization of an important (largest and most populous) neighbour is something that Russia cannot accept easily.

- that is why they have steered the existing dissatisfaction more and more towards Russia

- that is why they have backed the arguments coming from western Ukraine

- that is why they have fostered the conflict between western and eastern Ukraine, something that to a large extent amounts to a conflict between Ukrainians and Russians

- that is why they have misinterpreted real economic relations between Ukraine and Russia

- that is why they have painted the picture of Russia as an expanding superpower that is anxiously waiting for an opportunity to occupy Ukraine.

We are no passionate advocates of Russia and its leader and we know it would be na├»ve and absurd to be idealistic about long-term Russian interests, but we agree with the recent words of Henry Kissinger who said that “demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one”. This is exactly what is happening in the United States and Western Europe.

After the Kiev putsch was carried out (unconstitutionally for legalistic purists), after all those who dared have a different opinion faced brutal violence, after the de facto expulsion of the democratically elected president who did not dare act against violent demonstrators, and after the concerns of the Russian part of Ukrainian population started increasing steadily, the most specific and geographically limited, formally autonomous part of Ukraine – the Crimea – became subject to a referendum (clearly with consent and silent joy on the Russian part), in which an overwhelming part of the population took part, and resolutely expressed the wish of the population of Crimea to cease their association with Ukraine (where they never belonged before Khrushchev's intervention in 1954). It is obvious that these people did not feel like remaining in a vacuum and wished to return to Russia. It is equally obvious Russia can be happy about it (despite substantial short-term problems), but the sequence of events was different from what we find in mainstream media purporting that Russia annexed Crimea on its own will.

In line with its interests, the West interprets the fact that Crimea became part of Russia as an example of renewed Russian imperialism. In a recent conversation, a good friend of ours who has lived in Germany since the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968, refused to listen to our arguments, but conceded one important fact: ever since the occupation of his homeland, his hatred towards Russia (although it should be hatred towards communism and the Soviet Union), has been so intense, that it prevents him from even reading traditional 19th century Russian literature. We consider this to be irrational, but our fear is that this is the mainstream interpretation of the Ukrainian situation and Russia's intentions in the Czech Republic, Europe and probably America, too. That is why our polemic is not in defense of Russia and its president, but an attempt to avert risky steps towards a new cold war of which we and our freedoms would be the inevitable victims.

This “model” description of two different views of the Ukrainian crisis can be further developed, supplemented or enriched, but we are convinced that it is good for basic orientation. Let us add that it is not surprising to us, that the majority of the Crimean population (consisting largely of Russians) does not wish to remain part of a state that is facing bankruptcy, and is being controlled more and more by people and groups from the western, i.e. non-Russian part of Ukraine, people whose dominant policy is to oppose Russia and the Russians. It is no surprise that the people of Crimea want to be part of the wealthier and more successful Russia.

It is equally important to see that the Ukrainian army in the Crimea hardly put up any resistance, allowed itself to be disarmed and largely crossed over to the other side – the Russian army. That is another illustration of the Ukrainian state's disintegration.

Part IV. Legalistic fundamentalism and “real life”

In connection with the continued disintegration of Ukraine – the separation of Crimea and its incorporation into Russia, the ongoing declarations of all kinds of separatist Russian “republics” and further demands for referenda aimed at separating other parts of eastern Ukraine – western commentators present various legal arguments asserting that such steps are in contradiction with the legal and constitutional framework of Ukraine today, and therefore illegal and unacceptable. This, too, has to be put in the appropriate context, without trying to look like experts on Ukrainian law. Because that is not the point.

These largely academic arguments may be correct when analysing the illegality of some of the separatist moves, but that is only one half of the truth. Real life is always ahead of the law and the law adjusts to it only retroactively. The changed reality induces new laws and these are by definition only temporary, too. Real life and real needs usually find their ways, and very seldom the legislative changes that come with them manage to keep up.

In recent history, there was only one case of a truly constitutional and legally implemented division of a state, namely that of the Czechoslovak federation. The disintegration of Yugoslavia, and later Serbia as well as the Soviet Union, was chaotic by nature, often taking place in confrontation and violence with many cases of fait accompli. There is no point in analysing that. The majority of modern countries in Europe and around the world have gained their independence as a result of a violent struggle, ignoring the law of the time. To deny the people this right by pointing out the illegality of separatism is impossible. Failing to accept that, we would have to deny the legality of the United States or indeed our own state, that was born in contradiction with the constitution of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, too.

International acceptance of the changing borders is not a legal issue first and foremost, it depends more on the actual balance of power in the country, region or the world. In that respect, modern times differ from ancient history only ever so slightly. Should we insist on international and legal assessment of this kind of changes, we would find ourselves in a fatal trap of double standards and contradictions.

It is clear that chaos, anarchy and economic crisis make it easy for the West as well as Russia to interfere in Ukrainian affairs. It is also not surprising that most ethnic Russians, dissatisfied with the unfavourable conditions in Ukraine and fearing the future, look up to the relatively wealthy, stable and powerful Russia. The fact that most of them have no reason for loyalty towards Ukraine, and massively speak out in favour of joining Russia in a referendum, can surprise only the most biased observer. There is therefore no reason to cast doubt over such stance by rejecting individual conditions of the respective referendum.

There is no way to maintain Ukraine's unity through legal arguments, laws and the constitution. It is equally impossible to do so through the very democratic procedures such as the elections, whether parliamentary or presidential. Should the west overpower the east in an election or vice versa, it will not be a solution even if the winner has a democratic majority and is therefore legitimate. Ukraine's future can only lie in the victory of a broad Ukraine-wide project satisfying both sides and that is increasingly improbable, given the escalating tensions and increasing outside pressures.

Part V. The abuse of Ukrainian developments for the acceleration of European unification (and weakening of democracy in Europe)

The Ukrainian developments will have a number of direct or indirect consequences in the short and long term, from the political as well as economic point of view.

Short-term consequences of the economic kind are obvious for the Czech Republic – a decreasing number of tourists from Russia and Ukraine, less business in spas of western Bohemia, the slowing down of certain economic and investment activities, possible complications in energy supplies from the East. That is certainly unpleasant for certain concrete Czech businesses, but probably not fatal for the country as a whole. Sooner or later activities of this kind will go back to the old levels. Again, we know it is difficult for those affected businesses who do business with Russia and Ukraine to take this relaxed position. They have to be worried and we do not expect the state to offer any compensation.

The non-economic consequences are worse and much more dangerous. International politics will be radicalized, there will be a new level of confrontation between the West and the East and the conflict between western Europe (that we will side with) and Putin's increasingly self-confident Russia will be ever sharper. This increased international tension is a definite disadvantage for the Czech Republic, a small country in the vicinity of the symbolic borderline between the East and the West, and we will pay for it.

The European political mainstream, represented by the elites in Brussels makes a calculation that the Ukrainian crisis can be used to strengthen European centralization and unification, especially the direction of a joint foreign policy (designed to silence the still differing foreign policies of individual EU states) and the creation of a joint European army, an idea resisted by most member states so far. This further toughening of European unification and centralization, which many of us consider unacceptable even today, goes against the real interests of the Czech Republic regardless of the fact that President Zeman thinks otherwise. We fear the limitation of civil rights, especially freedom of speech, and the freedom of dissent from official opinion.

A large part of the European political mainstream (although much less in Germany and even less in the south of the EU) tries, together with the United States, to turn Russia into a “bogey man” in the East, something that is in the American strategic interest. Ukraine is only a tool in that respect. That, too, is not in our interest and there are no benefits in it for us. Maybe there are some benefits there for a small group of the little Czech “neocons” who keep propping up their careers in the belated battles against communism and Russian imperialism, careers that are only made possible by the fact that parts of our population still lend their ears to such propaganda. It is clearly a surrogate activity, manifesting an obvious absence of a positive political agenda.
Whatever Putin's agenda might have been, conquest or disruption, it must have surprised him a great deal, that the massive Russian military incursion onto Ukrainian soil in the east has welded the Ukrainian national unity to an extent that no internal political agenda could have done.

Monday, 21 July 2014

MH17 - A Few Facts

A person by the name of Varun Vista composed an overview of arguments on internet, some of which I have copied here - worth (at this point in time, 21 July 2014) to copy, as the Russian claims are so ridiculous that one cringes.

Well here are some facts:

Russia claims a Ukrainian Su-25 shot down MH17.
1) MH17 was traveling at 33,000 feet.
2) The Su-25's is a ground attack jet with an altitude ceiling is 23,000 feet.
3) The Su-25 carries a single tiny AA missile incapable of air-to-air attacks.
4) The speed of a 777 at that altitude would outrun a SU-25
5) There was no comms from MH317 saying it was being trailed. (Black box will prove)
6) Someone from a Kremlin IP has been editing Wikipedia to increase the Su-25 ceiling. (They really are incredible these guys)

So ..... by the laws of physics, gravity and basic science the Russian theory is so impossible it's laughable.

Now let's layer on some additional facts.

1) There was a Buk SA-11 launcher pictured at Schizne, right by the shooting (deep inside rebel territory).
2) BUK SA-11s have complicated fire control systems - it's not one button, but tens of buttons you need to sequence to paint and intercept a target - not exactly the capability of an untrained peasant mad at Kiev, not even peasants who apparently have Grad launchers, T-72 tanks and MANPADS in their tool sheds.
3) Three BUK SA-11 launchers were pictured returning to Russia 24-48 hours after the incident.
4) A BUK SA-11 shot down an AN-26 just a few days earlier (which makes particular sense because AN-26s in this case are civilian registered, so if there was an IFF you'd have to turn it off ... and then paint a 777 without realizing it was civilian)
5) Pro-Russian separatists control the crash site and within an hour of the MH17 shoot down, they were boasting about shooting down a Ukrainian jet.
6) Pro-Russian separatists have denied OSCE monitors access and obstructed their efforts.
7) The black box was stripped off the wreckage and said to be going to Moscow before now apparently reaching Donetsk..
8) The behaviour of both terrorist rebels and Putin oozes "guilt" - truly uncivilized and despicable.
9) Putin could have stopped the circus at a snap of the fingers, but didn't. At worst he could have closed the border and
recalled FSB and arms; the result would be a total collapse of the rebel circus.

Oh and as for the theory it was Putin's jet they were aiming at... there must be something really powerful in the Donetsk milk that helps them see paint markings on planes flying 10km up in the sky.

Are you getting the picture? Russia's rebels shot the plane down and to date has blustered, obfuscated and done everything to hide its role and "useful idiots" (yes that's Putin's term for his foreign apologists!!!!) have swallowed the most ludicrous stories.

With a unanimous Security Council ruling and the black boxes in Malaysian hands, we are at the level we should have been on Friday, a day after the plane was ruthlessly shot down.

No, it was not a disaster or a terrible accident - it was a terrorist, criminal act; bloody murder.
That's what these East Ukrainians stand for - and let's not forget the disappearance of wallets, credit cards and vital clues from the crash site or the fact that a guy by the name Yanukovych and his 2 corrupt sons still sit in the background and pull their criminal strings using the robbed $$$Billions from the Ukrainian people.


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Tolerance of Intolerance: Islamists, Global "Warming", Leftists - WAKE UP

This is a text written by the famous Bill Cosby "I'm 83 and Tired".
I have entered it unchanged, letting the famous man talk - but he speaks my words.

This should be required reading for every man, woman, and child in Jamaica,
the UK, United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and
to all the world...

"I'm 83 and I'm Tired"

I'm 83. Except for brief period in the 50's when I was doing my National
Service, I've worked hard since I was 17. Except for some serious
health challenges, I put in 50-hour weeks, and didn't call in sick in nearly
40 years. I made a reasonable salary; but I didn't inherit my job or my
income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, it looks as
though retirement was a bad idea; and I'm tired. Very tired.

I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who
don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take
the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy
to earn it.

I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every month I
can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and
daughters for their family "honour"; of Muslims rioting over some slight
offense; of Muslims murdering Christians and Jews because they aren't
"believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning
teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the
genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and
Sharia law tells them to.

I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let
Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries use our oil money to fund mosques
and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in Australia, New Zealand,
UK, America and Canada, while no one from these countries is allowed to
fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia or in any other
Arab country, to teach love and tolerance..

I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global
warming, which no one is allowed to debate.

I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help
support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ
rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses
or stick a needle in their arm while they tried to fight it off?

I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of all
parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful
mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting
caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

I'm really tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and
actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination
or big-whatever for their problems.

I'm also tired and fed up with seeing young men and women in their teens and
early 20's be-deck themselves in tattoos and face studs, thereby making
themselves un-employable while they are claiming money from the Government.

Yes, I'm damn tired. But I'm also glad to be 83.. Because, mostly, I'm not
going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for
my granddaughter and their children. Thank God I'm on the way out, and not
on the way in.

There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us speaks up - NOW!

This is your chance to make a difference.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Russia and Ukraine for dummies

Russia's Propaganda War Will Backfire
By Mark Lawrence Schrad May. 28 2014 (see ref. below)

I have copied prof. Schrad's article as I thought it is the easiest read, completely uncomplicated article about Russia's major national and international blunder in the battle for the Ukrainian minds.

You may even call it "Russia and Ukraine for dummies"

President Vladimir Putin's recent turn from confrontation toward accommodation with Ukraine has put not only pro-Russian separatists in Donbass in an unenviable position, but Russia's lapdog media, too.

Ideally, the return of electoral legitimacy to Kiev with the May 25 elections should wind down Russia's anti-Ukrainian hysteria and vitriol, but the damage has already been done.

May gradually be replaced by homages to the eternal kinship of Russians and Ukrainians, the memory of this vitriol will endure, writes historian Mark Lawrence Schrad.

For the past few months Russian state-run media and the pro-Kremlin blogosphere that takes cues from it has intentionally and systematically misrepresented developments in Ukraine as part of the Kremlin's information war to foment discontent and instability there. Over that time, a number of discernible themes have emerged.

First, the interim government in Kiev was portrayed as illegitimate, having toppled the corrupt President Viktor Yanukovych illegally. Inconvenient details such as Yanukovych being formally removed from power by a supermajority of 328 on the 450-seat Ukrainian parliament — including a majority of Yanukovych's own Party of Regions — are conveniently omitted.

As an extension, the Ukrainian government has been portrayed in the media as either lacking broad public support or simply not legally existing. An illegitimate or absent Ukrainian government became a useful pretext for the Kremlin's illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea in the interest of protecting ethnic Russians there.

Second, to sharpen the good-versus-evil, us-versus-them distinction, purported Kremlin benevolence was contrasted with the malevolence of the protesters on Kiev's Maidan Square, which state-controlled media said consisted of Right Sector fascists, Banderites and neo-Nazis, intent on subordinating or exterminating ethnic Russians in Ukraine and beyond.

The subtle manipulations and outright lies have whipped their audiences in Russia and eastern Ukraine into a frenzy for an all-out battle for survival.

Sunday's Ukrainian election presented a formidable challenge to both of these propagandistic narratives. For one, a free and fair election endows the new government in Kiev with a domestic and international legitimacy that has been sorely lacking since government forces fired on Maidan protesters back in February.

Regardless of who would have come to power, it will be difficult for the Russian state-controlled media to continue the illegitimacy narrative, without concocting an even more elaborate and far-fetched conspiracy about the impact of low voter turnout in Donbass, or widespread electoral fraud even in the presence of international observers.

The "fascist" narrative will be even more difficult to sustain after May 25. Largely conforming to Ukrainian and international polls, as well as election-day exit polls, Ukraine's far-right candidates did not fare well: Dmytro Yarosh, leader of Right Sector, received only 0.9 percent of the vote. Oleh Tyahnybok of the Svoboda Party captured all of 1.3 percent.

With all of the Ukrainian candidates that could conceivably be labeled fascist receiving less than 3 percent of the vote, dramatically less than far-right parties elsewhere in Europe, Russia's "Nazi Ukraine" narrative will be difficult to sustain.

What is more, billionaire and political independent Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine's new president with 55 percent of the vote, is hardly a right-wing fascist.

Indeed, Poroshenko was one of the founders of the Party of Regions, the pro-Russian political party that brought Yanukovych to power in the first place. Having served in both the Yanukovych government and the pro-Western Orange Revolution government of Viktor Yushchenko, the milquetoast Poroshenko is the exact opposite of the divisive nationalist required by Russia's media narrative. 

While President Vladimir Putin has pulled back the Russian military forces looming on the border and struck a more accommodating stance to recognize and work with the new government, it will be far more difficult to bring his media attack dogs to heel.

Continuing to create outlandish yarns and farcical conspiracies will sacrifice whatever credibility Russian state-run media has left in the West; while recanting would be an implicit acknowledgement of the role Russian media played in intentionally fomenting international discord for the sake of Kremlin hubris.

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, even before the results were tabulated, Russia's Channel One presented a screenshot of an official-looking website suggesting that the "fascist" Yarosh was — incomprehensibly — leading with 37 percent of the vote.

Whatever its genesis, the effect, along with baseless reports of low voter turnout and exaggeration of voting irregularities, is to continue to sow the seeds of doubt among its viewers about the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian government.

Even a complete renunciation of this narrative by Russian state-run media would do little to dissuade the heavily armed, pro-Russian separatists in Donbass who have now long been primed for an all-out battle for survival with the alleged Nazis from Kiev.

Indeed, as research in social psychology tells us, when peoples' misconceptions are challenged by factual evidence, they do not just see the light and change their beliefs, but rather they double-down and believe even more in their misconceptions even more strongly.

This "backfire effect" does not bode well for a quick resolution to the instability in Donetsk. 
Of course, even if the Ukrainian situation stabilizes after the election, recent events will lead to many long-term political ramifications. Yet the Kremlin's instrumental use of state-run media to whip-up a militant furor for its own ends — both at home and in Ukraine — may be one of the longest-lasting implications precisely because it has cut the deepest.

Even though the labels of "Nazis," "fascists" and "Banderites" may gradually be replaced by more traditional homages to the eternal kinship of Russians and Ukrainians, the memory of this Russian vitriol will endure, especially when Ukrainians can easily revisit these narratives, enshrined in the eternal media archive that is the internet.

Future historians may one day write about how in 2014 Russia gained Crimea but lost Ukraine. The Kremlin's media war will play a large part in that story.

Mark Lawrence Schrad
is the author of "Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State", and
director of Russian studies and assistant professor of political science at
Villanova University.