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Politics, The Final Frontier (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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On the other hand Argentina is, or should be, an advanced society. It's currently expierencing terrible inflation and a slumping economy. Even though it is a major producer of wheat and oil -- all those things the world is short of and which is causing the inflation. It is just about to embark on another cycle of why it isn't an advanced society. Spot the error

In Argentina, where half the population is in poverty... Al-Jazeera

How can a homogenous country like Argentina have half the population in poverty? All this means is you've defined poverty wrongly. But the half believe it and are demanding everyone be given a minimum income from the government so they won't be. And being half the population in a democracy they'll probably succeed.

That'll fix the problem in a jiffy. Very soon 100% of Argentinians will be in poverty and they really will have to move the poverty goalposts.
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Mick Harper
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According to preliminary results announced by the Tunisian Independent Higher Election Authority (ISIE) on Tuesday evening, 94.6 percent of voters approved the constitution.

This received a very predictable welcome from the western media. "Only 30% voted so only a small minority of Tunisians have approved the president taking on dictatorial powers." Well, yes, but the other seventy per cent of Tunisians didn't seem to hate the idea enough to go to the polls. Though the best bit was the Al-Jazeera trusty saying in outraged tones, "The streets were full of cheering crowds even when it was only the exit polls pointing to a ninety per cent approval. When they didn't even know the result."

Not that the democratically-elected president-dictator will do any better. Tunisian governments have no magic wands. But we should at least give them a fair wind to be marginally better than the last lot. Even when the last lot looked more like our lot than the present lot.

Nobody listens to me when I say they should go back temporarily to neo-colonialism and invite the French to provide a top layer of government while the basics get hammered into shape. I can assure the Tunisians that not only would the French jump at the chance they will provide squillions of euros to make sure they do a good job. Ten years should do it in my estimation. Check back with me in ten years to see how far they've got under their own steam.
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Mick Harper
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As per usual we are getting drawn into the wrong war and on the wrong side. First, and always, the facts

1. 'Kosovo' is in origin an administrative unit attached to the Serbian Republic, part of the Yugoslavia created by Tito after World War II.
2. It is overwhelmingly Albanian.
3. It broke away from Serbia, thanks to NATO, and is now a successful democratic state recognised by everyone except Serbia and Russia.
4. There is a northern enclave overwhelmingly Serbian and only part of Kosovo because of Tito's administrative arrangements.
5. Instead of just handing over this enclave to Serbia, Kosovo decided to keep it.
6. All was just about OK until Kosovo embarked on a futile programme of 'Albanianising' the Serbs.
7. This is now subject to push-back by Kosovo Serbs, Serbia and Russia.
8. Because westerners always react like Pavlovian dogs to the same set of stimuli, the west is backing Kosovo to the hilt.
9. I think that's all you need to know.
10. Despite AEL proposals always requiring a ten-point plan which slightly messes up the layout. How Pavlovian is that?
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Mick Harper
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On balance, I approve of Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. China uses an unvarying approach to all unpopular policies. They shout and scream so loudly at -- and if they can, apply measures to -- any country protesting that everyone eventually gives up.

This is relatively unimportant (or futile) in cases like Hong Kong, Taiwan or the Uighars, but when it comes to their total incorporation of the South China Sea we should at the very least send in Nancy Pelosi.
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Mick Harper
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Talking of the South China Sea, I was intrigued to hear that half? a third? some impressive proportion of oil tankers pass through the Taiwan Straits at some point in their lives. China has just closed the Straits to shipping for five days in order to carry out live fire exercises to get Taiwan's attention. Imagine the world's reaction if we closed the English Channel to shipping for five days to get asylum-seekers' attention. When it's China nobody even squeaks.
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Mick Harper
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Talking of asylum-seekers, eight hundred and odd made the crossing yesterday. It was not so much the calm sea conditions and sunny weather that boosted the numbers as word getting out that (a) the Brits were running out of hotel space and late-comers would have to be put up in converted army camps and (b) the Rwanda flights might start up in September.

Those foreign governments had better up the persecution rate or the European Court of Human Rights will be on their case.
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Mick Harper
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Talking of persecutory governments, what are to make of the Russkies handing out a nine year sentence to the basketball player? Or as one legal eagle put it, "We knew the offence carried a five to ten year tariff but we were hoping the Russian court would show leniency given the circumstances and go for the lower end."

It is interesting to speculate what a normal country would have done. Most would have been content to confiscate the offending cannabis vapes as being illegal. Maybe even refused entry as well. If a signal had to be sent and the offender prosecuted, a fine or a suspended sentence. If a custodial was felt absolutely necessary, maybe six months. If they're complete bastards, nearer five years than ten.
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Mick Harper
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What we should do is send a mule from a country not currently on Russia's naughty step primed with identical vapes. Get them to act nervously so their baggage is searched, the vapes found and observe what happens next. Ideally, to ensure it is a fair trial (sic) the mule would have to be black, female and a world sporting icon but, let's get practical here, any volunteer would do.
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Mick Harper
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When Venezuela went hard left the inevitable consequences meant that millions of Venezuelans surged into Colombia. Eventually Columbia had to close the borders. A hard left president has just been elected in Columbia and one of his first pronouncements is that the Venezuelan borders will be re-opened. Ready for when millions of Columbians start surging into Venezuela.
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Wile E. Coyote


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In an interesting move the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has started bussing migrants who arrived in Texas to those self-proclaiming "refugees welcome cities" of Washington and New York.

To everyone's surprise the welcome wasn't as warm as expected, as there was not the resources to deal with the new "humanitarian crisis".
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Mick Harper
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Only in America. The proposal to move our recently crossed-Channel newcomers out of hotels in decaying seaside towns and relocate them to wealthier parts of the Home Counties where there is more space has been received with unalloyed joy.

"We're taking a couple of families, Mrs Gladstone-Smythe. We've got oodles of room now that Jocelyn and Rupert are away at university."
"I've applied for some young unattached males now the FO has moved Gladstone-Smythe to Rwanda."
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Mick Harper
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Countryfile ran a piece on Caledonian MacBrayne, the Scottish nationalised ferry service responsible for dozens of routes connecting the highlands and islands. It pointed the way to what will happen when Scotland becomes independent.

1. 'CalMac' has been a standing joke for twenty years (literally, the ships are so old they're always at the menders).
2. The service is absolutely vital for a whole bunch of (non-Scot Nats-voting) Scots.
3. The service is the shop window for foreigners visiting Scotland.
4. Despite all this, the service is crap is because the Scottish government won't spend enough money on it.
5. The money it is spending is on building two (count 'em!) expensive state-of-the-art ships that are four times over budget, two years behind schedule and still not finished. (Just like the tram system in Edinburgh.)
6. Why? Because they have to be built in Scotland to support the totally obsolete, hopelessly inefficient but romantically remembered Scottish shipbuilding industry.
7. When cheap off-the-shelf ferry ships are available new or second-hand everywhere in the world.

I'm looking forward to the day when England is independent of the great homunculus o' the north.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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There have been reports, denied by both sides, that the Russia’s Air Force 43rd Regiment airfield close to the city of Saki in Crimea has been attacked (both sides claiming the explosions are down to Russian soldiers smoking around a live ammunition dump...right!) The real significance is that the US have said that whilst their missiles were not used for this, they would be OK if they had been. So you can be sure that if the Ukrainian counterattack on Kherson is successful, then Crimea will be next. Many Russians in Crimea are new arrivals post 2014 so will they stay in a war zone, I somehow doubt it.
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Mick Harper
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It has always puzzled me that Hamas (or whoever) rains missiles on Israel willy-nilly which do no damage (a dog was badly frightened once) when what they should do is fire everything at Ben Gurion airport. It doesn't matter if only one in a hundred hits, it doesn't matter that the one that hits only badly frightens a dog peeing on the perimeter fence, no airline in the world will fly into Ben Gurion. Except El Al and nobody will fly El Al except the seventeen sky marshals. Without an international airport the Israelis will quickly surrender.
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Wile E. Coyote


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One of the problem for the Empire is that in effect it is using folks in the war zones to do the fighting, whether they like it or not, folks in the Crimea will know this. Unless they get out early, the Crimean menfolk could be heading for the "new" frontline. I reckon after a few more "smoking accidents in military bases " you will soon see queues along the Kerch bridge. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_Bridge

If the much hated, that is by the Ukranians, bridge were then to be attacked (you would need partisans as it is outside of missile range) then there will be real panic. It's a real problem.... because of the way the Empire recruits and treats their own people, they simply can't afford to admit they are being attacked in Crimea.
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