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   PoliticsWorld Affairs Discussion

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To: lorne who wrote (3326)1/15/2004 3:05:43 PM
From: ChinuSFO
   of 3959
Lorne and chuck, let us not make an arse of ourselves anymore. We have to elect Presidents who like past Presidents can lift the image of the US. Yes, the US helped the European nations during WWII. But that is your Dad's and Granddad's efforts. What has been your effort, the effort of our generation. As this article says this is a TV generation. Unable to engage in a good healthy discussion any more because they do not know anything. And to make matters worse, they hallucinate into thinking that this country belongs to them only. Wrong.

When implanting democracy consult Socrates and Survivor


WITH the governments of both the US and its feisty satellite state, Australia, going to the polls this year, the time has come to ask a few tough questions about democracy.

After all, infecting the world with the all-American values of fair and free elections is now at the heart of US foreign policy (eliminating weapons of mass destruction being so March and April 2003).
But, after all these years as a political pin-up model, has democracy let itself go?

And if it's really as contagious as George Bush says it is, should we try to stop that naughty axis of Arabs working on a vaccine?

Democracy was invented in ancient Athens and the expression comes from the Greek words demos meaning people, and krakos meaning power, as well as last minute allegations of sexual impropriety – a cornerstone of all great elections.

Many aspects of the ancient Greeks' approach to government still survive.

Consider the fact that voting was known to have taken place in the amphitheatres used for the gladiatorial slaughter of animals and slaves.

These days, the presentation of human misery for entertainment is only permitted within the safety of reality television, but politicians still find it best to conduct their crusades in an atmosphere of fear and loathing.

Deputy Sheriff John Howard's 2001 campaign, for example, was run almost exclusively on a "we're about to be invaded by desperate boatpeople armed with starving children and unAustralian headgear" platform. With any luck, another leaky boatload of Afghans will show up round October and he can use it as an excuse to excise some of those pesky marginal seats from the election zone.

Viva el leader!

Also interesting was the ancient Greeks' interpretation of who constituted a "person" when it came to voting. In Athens you had to be a man, while, in many of the Greek city-states, you had to be a man who also owned land or a house.

Of course lucky old white women have now been allowed to vote for 110 years out of democracy's 2604-year history, but there's no doubt that being a rich bloke still helps if you're planning to get into the business.

According to the latest figures, only 26.5 per cent of Australian federal politicians are women, with that 0.5 of a chick doing things especially tough.

Not surprisingly, democracy has had its fair share of critics - one of the earliest and most famous being the Athenian philosopher Socrates.

Socrates questioned the value of a political system that held the opinions of all citizens as being of equal value, believing that people had a tendency to latch thoughtlessly on to popular views instead of fleshing out positions for themselves.

As a result of this intellectual laziness, many rendered themselves too stupid to vote.


A couple of years back, American voters accidentally elected a man who believed police officers deserved to be killed and who supported wife abuse.

When asked how he'd made it to the New Hampshire House of Representatives without his extremist views becoming known, the Honorable Tom Alciere said: "Nobody asked."

Perhaps this explains how Arnold Schwarzenegger ended up at the helm of the Californian economy and why the US itself is now led by a man who has gone on the record complaining that "down in Washington they're playing with social security like it's some kind of government program".

Not that the next generation of US voters looks any better qualified to elect its leaders.

According to a recent worldwide survey, only 17 per cent of young Americans are able to find Afghanistan on a map, and only one in seven are able to pinpoint Iraq or Iran on a map of the Middle East and Asia.

Intriguingly enough, a comparatively whopping 34 per cent know that the island used for the fourth instalment of the television show Survivor is located in the South Pacific.

Clearly the most effective democratic model to import to rogue states is one in which elections are incorporated into some sort of lifestyle program, preferably hosted by a large breasted or amply pectoralled American celebrity.

It's enough to drive modern-day Socrates to hemlock.

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To: ChinuSFO who wrote (3327)1/15/2004 3:30:16 PM
From: lorne
   of 3959
Chinu. You said...." Lorne and chuck, let us not make an arse of ourselves anymore."....

And just what exactly did I say that would make you say something so vicious....when you say " let us not " you include yourself? Well I suppose you do qualify as well....LOL

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To: GUSTAVE JAEGER who wrote (3317)1/15/2004 6:26:51 PM
From: Hawkmoon
   of 3959
Gustave... spare me the military history lesson... From what I've seen of your grasp of the topic, I wouldn't expect that you have anything to teach me (at least nothing I could find credible)..

Hitler suffered his greatest military setback of the war in the summer of 1944.

1944 is NOT 1943, Gustave... And you don't need to tutor me about the destruction of Army Group Center, either..

You simply stated that Nazi Germany was facing a Bolshevik revolution in 1943 (not 1944, not 1945).. An internal revolution, and not an external invasion...

And the fact that all throughout 1944 and 1945, while Soviet forces were pressing towards the German border from east and south, and Nazi allies were switching sides (Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary), NO SUCH REVOLUTION EVER OCCURRED.

What you fail to understand Gustave is that the Germans fought the War in Russia giving no quarter, and asking none in return. The German people KNEW what was coming towards them and the inevitable retaliation they faced for their brutality towards the "sub-human slavs"..

Consequently, they fought even harder (when they couldn't manage to flee to the West), and sometimes in a fanatical manner... For they knew they were fighting for the very survival of the German state, the German people, and the German identity.


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To: lorne who wrote (3328)1/15/2004 8:05:34 PM
From: ChinuSFO
   of 3959
Yes, lorne I do qualify as well when we say let us not make and arse of ourselves. I have my differences with Ray Duray but we don't head butt and I do not tell him to leave the country. Neither does he do so to me or hurt any religious feelings. And I have blown my top many times here and on other threads. But not to the extent so as to ban anyone as long as they do not preach the violent overthrow of anyone.

I think, we need to have a nice and hard healthy discussion.

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To: rrufff who wrote (3323)1/15/2004 10:23:44 PM
From: ChinuSFO
   of 3959
...the religious issues probably will have a larger bearing in Europe over the next decade than in the US.

I don't think so judging from the questions being asked of Howard Dean about his religion, talking about religion when he campaigns in the South etc.

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To: Chas. who wrote (3324)1/15/2004 11:12:34 PM
From: ChinuSFO
   of 3959
Subject 54583

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To: ChinuSFO who wrote (3331)1/15/2004 11:29:35 PM
From: rrufff
   of 3959
I disagree. Getting demographic information from reporter's questions is not much better than reading the National Enquirer to learn the news.

Reporters are now more gossip and scandal mongers than seekers of facts. I don't think Dean's religious views will affect more than 1 % of the voters.

So long as one is not extreme in his views, religion is not an issue. Lieberman is on the fringe here as I'm not sure that the US is ready for a Jewish president quite frankly. This is no different than most countries. The US may even be a little closer to totally looking past this point thanks to Al Gore.

I don't think a strict bible toting and touting Christian fundamentalist would win an election.

So - my point - in the US, so long as religion is not dominating in one's public life, it shouldn't make a difference.

The post to which you responded basically was arguing that France and other European nations have a rapidly expanding Muslim community, one that seems to take much of its direction from extreme elements. This will create issues to which Europeans are only beginning to awake.

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To: rrufff who wrote (3333)1/15/2004 11:44:55 PM
From: ChinuSFO
   of 3959
France and other European nations have a rapidly expanding Muslim community, one that seems to take much of its direction from extreme elements.

The expanding Muslim community, whether in Europe or in the US "does not repeat not take much of its direction from extreme elements." I am presuming that the extreme elements you refer to are the Osama types. Now regarding the increasing display of headgear is more of a display of orthodoxy and not extremism.

What the Muslims are doing with respect to clothes etc. is the same that the Jews do in New York with regard to their clothing including the skull cap etc. Or for that matter the Sikhs with their turbans.

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To: ChinuSFO who wrote (3334)1/15/2004 11:55:56 PM
From: rrufff
   of 3959
The numbers and influence of the extreme Jews in NY are miniscule and limited to those neighborhoods. They have no influence on life in general.

It's not the clothes and head covering in France or elsewhere. That's just a symptom. The targeting of Jews, the desecration of cemetaries, the virulent anti-Americansism, all propagated by extreme Muslim fundamentalists. It's only beginning....

It's not the clothes that are the issue, it's the teaching of hatred, the fostering of hatred, the furthering of hatred. That's where the Muslim extremists moving into France are different from the other examples, including the Sikhs, that you mention.

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To: Hawkmoon who wrote (3329)1/16/2004 3:51:41 AM
   of 3959
Re: 1944 is NOT 1943, Gustave...

1943 was indeed a pivotal year, wasn't it? Judge by yourself:

July 25 [1943]- Mussolini meets with King Victor Emmanuelle. The King expresses to Mussolini that Italy no longer wants war and that he is the most hated man in Italy. Caught off guard, Mussolini responds with an offer of resignation which is accepted by the King. The King then offers Mussolini an armed escort which he accepts. Mussolini did not know that this was actually an arrest. Pietro Badoglio is soon proclaimed the new Prime Minister.

After news of Mussolini's arrest, many fellow Fascist leaders flee Rome. Italians and Germans alike remain silent as the new Badoglio government proclaims that the war will continue. Even with this proclamation, many Italians begin to cheer the ousting of Mussolini. Hundreds of people are ordered shot as Badoglio's government attempts to gain order.


Badoglio soon begins to try and find a way out of the war without Germany knowing. He begins secretive talks with the Allies in the Vatican. General Guiseppe Castellano secretly meets with Allies in Spain and Portugal. The new Italian government offers to assist in the war against Germany, but need Allied reinforcements in Rome before the declaration of war against Germany is delivered. The Allies feel uncomfortable with this offer, because the nature of war calls for a unconditional surrender of the enemy before any real negotiations could be accomplished. To show Italy's good faith, Castellano offers the Allies the German troop placements in Italy along with strengths and weaknesses of key areas.

As you can see, the tide of events was turning against the Nazi regime... and the Soviets still had their Red Orchestra spy-network:

Long recognized as one of the most successful (and ruthless) spy networks in history, the Red Orchestra was a group of Soviet cells that operated throughout Germany and occupied Europe until late 1943. The Germans knew of its existence as early as 1941. Yet, it was only after two years of dogged detective work, lucky breaks, interrogation, and betrayals that they were able to silence the Red Orchestra for good. By that time the damage had been done and the Third Reich was facing extinction. Now, The Red Orchestra offers readers a unique opportunity to learn the complete story of Russia's hidden war against Nazi Germany. Vividly recreating a shadowy world of intrigue and espionage in war-torn Europe, The Red Orchestra introduces all the major players and describes spectacular feats of espionage performed right under the Germans' noses.

From Kirkus Reviews

Perhaps the fullest account yet to have appeared of the extraordinary network of Soviet spies in the Second World War known as Die Rote Kapelle--the Red Orchestra. Tarrant, a military advisor and naval historian, clarifies a good deal of the confusion that has existed about the three sectors in which the Orchestra operated: the network in France, Belgium, and Holland; the Berlin network; and the most remarkable of all, the group that operated out of Switzerland, the so-called Lucy Ring, whose sources included Lieut. General Fritz Theile, second- in-command of the German High Command's communications branch, and Baron Colonel Rudolf von Gersdorff, who was eventually to become Chief of Intelligence in one of the army groups on the Eastern front. The first two networks reported extraordinarily sensitive information from key areas of the German bureaucracy, but nothing compared to the work of the Lucy Ring, which gave Stalin the very date of the German attack on Russia, its objectives, and its strength. For reasons that still puzzle historians, Stalin refused to believe this information, but the Russians did not make this mistake a second time. The information that came from the headquarters of the German High Command enabled the Russians to surround the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad and to predict precisely the direction and strength of the German attack in the great tank battle of Kursk. Lucy's sources, writes Tarrant, ``were to cost the Germans the war on the Eastern Front.''

Most of the German officers were executed for their involvement in the 1944 Bomb Plot against Hitler, and the Swiss closed down the Lucy Ring, but by that time the fate of the Nazis was sealed. Using mostly secondary sources, but economically and vividly, Tarrant traces the rise and achievements of one of the most successful spy rings in history and the grim fate (imprisonment, torture, and execution) of some of its operatives. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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