On the Border of the Future

Ukraine must reform fast, UN team says,” by Ian Traynor, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1389073,00.html?gusrc=rss, 12 January 2005 (from Democratic Underground).

The Orange Revolution has prevailed. Now the real work begins.

President-elect Viktor Yushchenko needs to embark swiftly on a root-and-branch reform of Ukrainian politics, government, and economy if he is to steer the country away from Soviet-style backwardness and corruption and towards integration with mainstream Europe, a panel of experts appointed by the UN says.

He should promptly overhaul the machinery of government, purge the judiciary and the overweening bureaucracy, rush through new tax laws, complete privatisation, and reshape the health and education systems.

“The fundamental problem with the government … is that its activities are based on the old Soviet concept of paternalism,” their 96-page report says.

It describes a decrepit system run on corruption, cronyism and bureaucratic whim.

EU membership is a realistic prospect only in the long term, it adds.

None the less, “the time has come to actively engage the EU in negotiations, demanding something concrete for each concession”.

Ukraine is amazing. It is a huge country, almost fifty million souls, with a language almost indistinguishable from Russian and a population that’s plurality Catholic. Ukraine was the last, best hope of a Russian bloc. Now its on the path to modernlism and liberalism.

It took 13 years for the freed nations of eastern Europe to join the European Union. Hopefully Ukraine will be a full EU member by 2018.

Nazi Frogs

Le Pen irks French government with Nazi remarks,” Netscape News with CNN, http://cnn.netscape.cnn.com/ns/news/story.jsp?id=2005011213480002132325&dt=20050112134800&w=RTR&coview=, 12 January 2005.

I must become better at recognizing French perfidy. I don’t particularly trust that dying nation, and I realize that they were the most pro-Nazi or any “occupied” state, but I wish I saw this one coming.

PARIS, Jan 12 (Reuters) – France threatened on Wednesday to take legal action against far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen for saying the Nazi occupation of France during World War Two had not been “particularly inhumane.”

The government, anti-racism organisations and Jewish groups sharply condemned Le Pen’s latest controversial comments, made in an interview with right-wing weekly magazine Rivarol.

“It’s not only the European Union and globalisation we have to free our country of. It’s also the lies about its history, lies that are protected by exceptional measures,” Le Pen said in comments published in Rivarol’s Jan. 7 edition.

“In France, at least, the German occupation was not particularly inhumane, although there were some blunders, inevitable in a country of 550,000 sq km.”

*sigh*

Dayton-Shrum 2006

Dayton shakes up campaign advisers (Send in the losers!),” by “Dickie Flatt,” Democratic Underground, http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102×1145889, 12 January 2005.

Italics and emphasis all from DU

Dayton, a Minnesota Democrat, has brought in Kim Kauffman, who was a top fund-raiser for last year’s failed Senate campaign of North Carolina Democrat Erskine Bowles, to replace Yost. He has not yet hired a replacement for Dale. …

Dayton also said he was hiring Shrum, Devine & Donilon as his media adviser, the same firm he used in 2000. Dayton is a longtime friend of Bob Shrum, who was a chief strategist to John Kerry’s presidential campaign. But the firm said Wednesday that Shrum was leaving to become a senior fellow at New York University.

In 2006, Senator Dayton will fight against Representative Kennedy in what will be a close election. Kennedy easily survived a reelection against the most sympathetic challenger imaginable (a national spokeswoman for victims whose son was murdered) last year, and so will put up a good fight.

And so, in preperation, Dayton hires two-time loser Erskin Bowles’s campaign manager and Bob Shrum, whose 0-8 record is unimaginable.

I do not believe Dayton is trying to lose. I really don’t.

Anti-Speech

Tell Congress and the FCC to Stop Payola Pundits,” Michael Forbush,” Dr. Forbush Thinks, http://drforbush.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/01/13/tell_congress_and_the_fcc_to_stop_payola_pundits.html, 12 January 2005.

Dr. Forbush jumps on a dangerous bandwagon.

Just a short blog to encourage congress to investigate the Bush administration’s use of your tax dollars to help his campaign. Click on the link below to sign the petition.

“Congress and the Federal Communications Commission must immediately launch an official investigation and introduce legislation to outlaw payola punditry.

“Send a letter now to the Congressional Leadership and FCC Chairman Michael Powell.”

Was the Department of Education improper in the way it enlisted Armstrong Williams? Maybe.

Is censorship a way to solve the problem? Almost certainly not.

Unable to win the war of ideas, this may be a sign that Democrats are trying to muzzle free expression with the government. They have lost every branch of government. They are a minority party. Typically, minorities seek protection from an overzealous government, and don’t try to ferment government anti-freedom campaigns.

In a previous statement, Dr. Forbrush warned of revenge if the Democrats regain control. At least we don’t need to guess about their plans.