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    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vincevincevince: "As it is all that comes out of the EU are silly restrictions, long documents and tax bills."
    I strongly disagree. There are a lot of restrictions and you might call some of them silly. But what about being able to travel freely (Shengen-agreement)? (I know Britain goes it's own way but most countries agreed fully on Shengen) What about having the opportunity to live, work and study in other EU-countries? About intereuropean transfer of goods without taxes?
    Just a few examples for good things.
    And because of the culture: I think you got me wrong. I don't want to give money to some artist but to intercultural exchange. Getting to know other nation's cultures. These kinds of things. For me, that includes education, too.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Gerbera:
    [quote]But what about being able to travel freely (Shengen-agreement)?[/quote]
    I have no problem with passports or VISAs. I don't travel very frequently, and even if I did, I'd still not have a problem with them. I've spent some time in South East Asia and travelled just as as freely.

    The business of moving goods within Europe without taxes is just plain selfish protectionalism. If you said the movement of goods in and out of Europe without any taxes then I'd be on your side as that would be a truly charitable act to the rest of the world.

    [quote]I don't want to give money to some artist but to intercultural exchange. [/quote]
    Sorry, I did misunderstand you. Although, rereading what you just wrote... intercultural exchange sounds a bit like tax payers paying for other tax payers to go on foreign holidays...
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vincevincevince:

    I think everyone agrees that EU economy is going pretty well, despite some low periods; you have peace between countries that were on war, just 60 years ago; you have common legislation that benefits EU as a whole (competition legislation, economic regulation, anti-dumping, etc); a common currency - Euro - that mantains inflation at low levels, and permits good interest rates (besides controlling each member's budget at sustainable levels); you have cohesion funds and instruments that allow the development of poorer countries, that will benefit richer countries in a long term (common market); you have a common political strategy (unfortunately, not in every issue...) that makes EU a respected member at global level; and you still have national diversity, different cultures, life styles, etc.

    Maybe, if everything wasn't that good (and I repeat: despite some problems...) probably you weren't complaining about EU identity. Because your country would be so busy with so many other internal problems, you wouldn't have economic and political stability through out europe, that you wouldn't even think about these...
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    jm.iglesias, I think one of the problems, and I think you are alluding to it as well with your last paragraph, is that we take the benefits of the EU for granted. To me, if conditions in Europe were much worse then they would be unacceptable... the question is just whether I am to attribute the difference to the EU, to a changing political climate, to social changes which been progressing for hundreds of years, or just to bloody good luck.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Peace is clearly a worthy goal. How to go about acheiving a lasting peace in Europe, however, is not terribly clear to me, as are the reasons for the relative calm of the last 62 years.

    The causes of war are usually economic. For instance, the first world war had a lot to do with access to oilfields in the Persian Gulf and to other natural resources such as copper in the Congo. The Germans made friends with the Turks and the Persians because of their control over much of the region; one of the first deployments of British troops was to Iraq, which Britain then occupied until after the second world war.It is a pity we do not learn about this at school. Why is this? Clearly we need to understand the causes of war before we can work towards preventing them.

    I suspect that the peace over the last decades has more to do with people's memories of the horrors of the last war than with the EU. But memories do fade with time. One thing which the EU can and does do to make a war less likely is encourage friendship with and understanding of other countries, by encouraging people to spend time abroad, to learn foreign languages, etc. The freedom of movement we have now is very important, although there are sadly still many beaurocratic difficulties for people wishing to live in another country, for instance pensions. But in general, I think that the more interaction we have between different countries, the less likely is a war in the future.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Shengen is all very well in theory, but if you go from Italy to Germany by train you will have your ID/passport checked by the German police soon after crossing the border. [Strictly speaking the German police have the right to ask you for ID anywhere in Germany, but elsewhere this only applies in practice to the Turks and other non-whites. But that is another issue.] The problem is that countries still don't trust each other, and overcoming this should be one of the main goals of the EU.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    jonb,

    "The problem is that countries still don't trust each other", countries don't trust, they are just lines on maps. People trust. People only trust "others" if they don't see them as "others". Which gets us back to the education and common values strands.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Your six are crying out for a seventh - competitiveness. If the EU is to continue to succeed, as an institution, as a single market, as individual nations, it has to sharpen its edge.

    There is a pudding-like complacency among many Europeans about their economies' ability to continue to pay for the life they are used to. Too many Europeans are so busy arguing internally about expensive enhancements, that they overlook economic developemtns in the wider world. This complacency could well be the slow, lingering death of the EU. It fosters, for example, support for anti-competitive minimum tax rates. It allows governments to meddle by introducing unnecessary and expensive regulation. It pushes the EU towards the lowest common denominator.

    Your six threads are like six virtues. No-one can argue against them; everyone wants to achieve them. The EU must so embed competitiveness in the European psyche, that no-one argues against it, that everyone should want to enhance it. Competitiveness must be the new motherhood.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    taipei charlie, I understand why many might think of competitiveness as a key role for a society. On the other hand, I feel it is somewhat short-sighted and parochial. Competitiveness, in simplified terms, means to be able to provide more value for a lower fee than other surrounding providers of the same service. Given any particular product and a free market, the more competitive providers will increase their market share and their volume of foreign exports. Unfortunately, for many sectors, competitiveness realistically requires investment and technology, things which an increased market share and a more affluent country can provide. This means that the more competitive locations can become yet more competitive.

    This is a severe restraint upon other countries who wish to develop the same sector. To match the price-point, a new entrant in the market must either compromise on the quality of the goods, or the pay and conditions of the labour-force. It is rarely possible for a new entrant to be able to achieve the same profit per item, given the same level of expenditure on labour and social welfare, as they are necessarily less competitive at the outset.

    The net result of this pressure is that developing countries who are massively dependant upon being able to develop new industries are unable to raise social support taxation to the extent that developed countries are, are forced to restrict the activities of unions and are extremely reluctant to pass legislation covering employee conditions and job security.

    In summary, encouraging competitiveness by the EU will lead to a reduced social welfare provision and poor employee rights and job security legislation within foreign markets. By being less competitive and more collaborative, the EU can allow new entrants to raise the income their country sorely requires for investment in the provision of pensions, healthcare, disease control and education. It is surely better to be a friend to the world and build up the common good than to dominate the market for our own selfish economic ambitions at the expense of the economies of our neighbours.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vince - Competitiveness is a win win situation, it does not come at the expense of other countries. By becoming more competitive in one area, a country becomes richer and provides demand for the products of other countries.

    With devastated environment, climate change, swelling world population and epidemies of lethal diseases, the world cannot afford to go about things inefficiently. Therefore, I see competitiveness not only as an economic necessity but also a moral value.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    oulematu,

    Efficiency and competitiveness are not the same thing. Competition MUST result in a loser (at least one), by definition.

    Efficiency is an interesting one because it sometime depends where you measure it. A car plant may produce cars in an inefficient way but making it efficient (by replacing the people with robots) would reduce demands of the unemployed and could result in the greater economy being less efficient (as people are sat around doing nothing). Personally I've always been in favour of global maxima over local maxima.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Vince and Gary, We are not just talking about societies, we are also talking about the economies that feed and support those socieities. The EU should certainly be a friend to the world and help build the common good. But that needn't come at the expense of its own competitiveness. Indeed if the EU forsakes competitiveness becuase it believes that only by doing so can it be collaborative, it will soon find itself at the bottom of the heap and unable to contribute anything to the common good. Competitiveness is certainly not zero-sum; competition does not necessarily result in a loser, by any definition. There are limitless examples of where added competition benefits all participants.

    And in any case, we're not talking solely (or even mostly) about competition with developing countries. The EU is promarily in competition with other developed economies - to sell its manufactured products, its technologies, its services, to attract investment, students to its universtities etc. Success in this area depends on many things, but the EU could sharpen its performance dramatically if everyone invlved (from politicians through bureaucrats to manufacturers and service providers) focused on the need for the EU to be competitive.

    Competitiveness as a theme in the narrative applies across so much of the EU's doings. It is about sharpening the EU's edge through greater investment in its schools and universitites; encouraging R&D; minimising regulation; making it simpler to set up new companies and dismantle them if they don't work. The list goes on. But the key point is that if everyone involved has competitevenenss at the front of their minds, the EU will develop into a stronger entity - one more capable of collaborating in teh common good.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Charlie,

    "There are limitless examples of where added competition benefits all participants. " Can you tell me about one please? Pareto efficient competition, interesting.

    I think if you replaced "competitiveness" in most of the above with "efficiency" then I probably agree with you.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Is any of this website's visitors going to EUROPEAN WEEK IN EINDHOVEN Mar 25-30? I am.....and I'd love to hear from any of Europeanstory's contributors who are.....
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Rather than 'What story should Europe tell?' perhaps it is better to ask:

    'Should Europe tell a story?' or, 'Is Europe capable of telling a coherent story?'
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I support Timothy Garton Ash’s proposal. Denis Huisman concludes his book “Sokrates on the Internet” with the observation: “If you hadn’t found me, you couldn’t have looked for me.” For me, Europe too, will find what it looks for in EU candidate countries and in the rest of the world. Do you remember the pictures of the muscle bound Polish plummer? This humorous poster summarizes the situation.
    The French President foresaw a period of assimilation prior to Turkey’s Eu candidatecy, while in Turkey it is perceived as a period of integration.
    I completely agree with Ash’s advice, that European identity cannot be built on the comparison with the “others” (suc as Muslim countries or US). In recent days, intellectuals from Turkey and Egypt came together in Cairo and discussed about these issues. What Muslim intellectuals were underscoring the ayets from the Koran, that “East and west belongs to God.”, and “If God had so wanted, he would have created only one race.” For Muslims, the only “other” is Evil which is embedded in our souls and emerges as extreme wants or needs.
    In short, the strands of thouht proposed by Ash, namely Peace, Freedom, Law, Prosperity, Diversity, Solidarity, if these strands make the new narrative of Europe, then these values will diffuse through all countries which have relations with Europe. Thanks for this debate.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    The EU: It looks really nice, it costs a pretty penny, but doesn't really do anything.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Vincevincevince, Is this your debate name because you often hear people saying it, as in "Vince, Vince, Vince, come on now be reasonable!"? You make three assertions, with each of which I couldn't disagree more.

    "The EU looks really nice": No it doesn't. It looks clunky, as though it has been cobbled together piece-meal. It lacks the sort of grace that comes with being designed as a single project. There is so much the EU could do to improve its looks. A "Constitutional Treaty II" might be a good start, but this is not such a priority.

    "It costs a pretty penny": well, for a British citizen about fifty quid a year. Not insignificant, but the value (especially in recent years) has been staggering - see below. Don't get side-tracked by all that stuff about armies of bureaucrats on the EU gravy train. We all know Brussels is not an efficient civil service but the EU machinery is far smaller than people allege and the costs really are not that big.

    It "doesn't really do anythinig": this covnersation could run and run, the list of achievenements is so long. Just one - huge - example is the benefit which only the EU could have brought us, of development in Central Europe since the end of the Cold War and in the Balkans since the end of teh Yugoslav wars. We can argue (as is going on elsewhere in these pages) about the relative contribution of the EEC and NATO et al to post-WW2 peace. But it is incontrovertible that the prospect of EU membership was, for the newly free nations of Central and Eastern Europe, the single largest factor in keeping them on target for social, democratic and economic reform. Without that carrot, no-one's sticks would have worked and the cost to the EU of a few more failed states on its doorstep plus a bunch of states bumping along the bottom, would have been astronomical. Compare the relative costs to the EU of handling a) Slovenia and b) Croatia.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    S'Mae/Hello (the first greeting is in Ancient British/Contemporary Cymraeg/Welsh.
    Apologies - I haven't had the time to read all the comments on this thread yet.
    I am posting in response to Timothy Garston Ash's article in the Guardian today Thur 22nd March.
    He makes 3 basic points that my experience as a freelance journalist covering the EU institutions in Brussels and covering some of the EU Summits clearly contradicts.

    1. There is no shared theatre of European Politics.
    2. There is a lack of a European Public Sphere.
    3 The only publications all (Europeans) may have read are American ones. (Meaning from the USA).

    On the first point - The theatre of the European Parliament with it's Plenaries and Committees and all-European Political Groups is clearly such a(multilingual)theatre.
    www.europarl.europa.eu

    Second - there is a large European Public Sphere in the all-European Civil Society groupings that are consulted by the European Commission and the European Parliament.
    In my experience as a 'Civil Society Activist' the most dynamic grouping since 2002 is the European Social Forum: www.fse-esf.org with all it's all European networks
    from Anti-War, Health, Education, Trade Union, etc, to Feminist networks.
    (see the list on the ESF website).

    Thirdly - ok people do read the International Hearald Tribune (Europe), and the Financial Times (Europe).Many millions however look at the European Parliament's
    live audiovisual broadcasts from their website and the European Commissions' Broadcasts.
    Millions watch Euronews TV, Arte TV etc.
    Many thousands if not millions are involved in the European Social Forum E-List, network websites/E-lists etc. There are weekly or monthly all-European Magazine collaborations. (Red Pepper in England is involved in one).
    There is also a move afoot to set up an all-European Audivisual, Audio, text Newsline based on the ESF itself.
    Hope I have'nt repeated anything other people have mentioned.
    Ciao/Hwyl/Cheers
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Perhaps rather than abandoning a ‘myopic’ European history ‘from Charlemagne to the Euro’ and focusing instead on abstract nouns, ready to be traced back into the immediate past in a fit of Euro-Whiggery, it would be more profitable if a new European story could be conceived of in the terms which historians such as Peter Mandler and Robert Tombs have approached the issue of national identity, focusing on perceptions of identities throughout time and not directly linking this to a desired or more 'true' current and politically charged view.

    Such a story would enrich current debates about European identity and solidarity, giving them context and meaning, bringing Europe closer to those, especially in Britain, who prefer to see themselves as being as detached as they ‘always have been’. Of course it is important to avoid any attempt at forging a European nation state, but this doesn’t mean that views of a common European identity should not be placed in their proper historical context, which is what would result from a goal orientated, a-historical myopia. Historicism is essential, but should also be engaging and relevant. It cannot provide the kind of answers which politicians seek, but it would help to blast away the suspicion behind the current debate about European identity as it would lack a political motivations, and that, I would argue, is what leads to suspicion of the whole European project.

    Future goals and aspirations are essential, and those proposed by Timothy Garton Ash are laudable, but they should be no replacement for an understanding of the broader historical context. I fear his proposed story would reject public engagement with Europe’s past if historical Truth is so highly valued, as such a path would burden academics and detach them from public debate.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Interesting test of European solidarity. Will EU leaders demand that Iran returns British troops and equipment captured in the Gulf? Can the non-Brits here let us know what their leaders say about this if anything?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    GaryLondon - a perceptive application of the issue to current events. Personally, I suspect that the British troops were in the wrong place or doing the wrong thing. Should the EU or even the UK be involved in putting this kind of pressure on the administrative and legal processes of another country? Would it be right for Iran to put pressure on Britain to quickly release Iranians we have arrested, before giving our standard legal processes of investigation and court proceedings time to run their course?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    vince,

    As I understand it both the UK and US military have stated that the troops were in Iraqi waters, doing work at the request of an Iraqi government which has been democratically elected and sanctioned by the UN. If there was some doubt about their location on the part of the UK military then you could well be right. If the British troops were on a covert operation inside Iran, then you would definitely be correct.

    Arresting an Iranian on a London street for shoplifting is a bit different than detaining a bunch of troops on patrol in Iraqi territorial waters.

    If the troops were in the wrong place it should be the British government that should apologise to the Iranian government. The troops and their equipment do not need to be detained.

    The EU leaders should make a statement. If the statement is a demand for immediate release that would be good. If the statement was a request that the Iranian authorities perform due process as quickly as possible that would be a start. But EU solidarity requires that they say something, preferably supportive.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    A quick scan of some Europe newspapers gives:

    Le Monde (http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3214,36-887173@51-845190,0.html) - No French comment
    Suddeutsche Zeitung (http://www.sueddeutsche.de/) - No reference
    Frankfurter Allegeine (http://www.faz.net/s/RubDDBDABB9457A437BAA85A49C26FB23A0/Doc~EE7C1ED00D2624CC1B90460C0BB926ACE~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html) - No German comment
    El Pais (http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/Trasladados/Teheran/marinos/britanicos/capturados/Golfo/Persico/elpepuint/20070324elpepuint_6/Tes) - Has this comment:

    "La UE exige la liberación de los marineros
    La presidencia de turno alemana de la Unión Europea ha exigido hoy a Teherán la inmediata liberación de los 15 soldados británicos. La exigencia se plasmará a lo largo del día en una declaración común de la UE, según ha informado el ministro alemán de Asuntos Exteriores, Franz-Walter Steinmeier, en Berlín"

    Which BabelFish tells me, translates in English as:
    "The EU demands the liberation of the sailors
    The German presidency of turn of the European Union has demanded today to Tehran the immediate liberation of the 15 British soldiers. The exigency will be shaped throughout the day in a common declaration of the EU, according to has informed the German minister into Foreign Affairs, Franz-Walter Steinmeier, in Berlin"

    So solidarity appears to be alive and well, if not very well reported. I was getting worried for a while :-)

    If you are aware of other newspaper reports can you post them here please?
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I am just watching an interview with Peter Mandelson, EU Trade Minister, and he has just said "we should look forwards not back", "the EU role in the future is to manage globalisation".

    He has just published a pamphlet called "The European Union in the Global Age" (http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2007/march/tradoc_133798.pdf) which may help to inform this debate.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I also came across this discussion forum on the EU portal. If you think there are some strange views in this forum you will be shocked by some in EU forum.

    http://ec.europa.eu/comm/coreservices/forum/index.cfm?forum=debateeurope&lang=en
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    From the BBC website today (2007-03-28):

    "Earlier, Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying his diplomats may be allowed to meet the group, taken in the Gulf."

    Good to see the Turks showing solidarity with an EU member state and using its influence in the Muslim world.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I found this interesting site, which can probably bring fresh ideas to the discussion:

    http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/changingeurope.html
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    A bit more solidarity:
    "EU foreign ministers have demanded the immediate release of 15 British navy personnel seized by Iran a week ago.
    The 27 ministers voiced "unconditional support" for Britain in the dispute, in a statement agreed at a meeting in the north German port city of Bremen."
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6509217.stm
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Guys,i have read all your post and i realized that to being a europian citizen might give to you very proud and honour.We as a Turkish people has been always tought that Turkey`s future should have been under the E.U and we should have taken europian people as a pattern in the terms of mentality and fairness.But unfortunately now my mind has changes as the another Turks did.Before Turkey gained to be a candidate membership of E.U ,80% of Turkish population were supporting and showing big desire for E.U.After fairless and illogical implications aganist Turkey,now Turkish people are more nationalist then before and 75% of turkish people dont want turkey to join in E.U.All this happened by the courtesy of you who have very strong links to christianity and past.Good luck to you ,all respectful europian citizens who are proud of to be europian citizen and christian.

    The founder of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk said;Our political direction had to be towards to europe.I have believed it all my life.But disappointly,i am not anymore agree with this term when i heard some of your comments and some countries`s unfairly implications aganist turkey`s join.Anyway,Turkey will find its own path as a real secular and democratic state.This is not the europe what i wanted.It is still ruled by the religional mentality as in middle age.And finally dont worry precious europian citizens,we will not tend to bring your religion and culture,now you might fell better i think...
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Dear Borabora,

    you will find in this forum that the majority of people here support Turkey's acession to EU.

    Also, beyond this discussion, you will find that most europeans don't care about religion, and don't care if we have a christian or muslim heritage (as portuguese I feel proud to have both).

    Everyone just wants a more prosper Europe. A peaceful region, where values like freedom, democracy and solidarity make our day.

    Turkey is welcome to EU, that's what I say. And I believe the majority of portuguese people welcome you as well. Please don't give up of joining EU.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Dear Jm. Iglesias. As much as I envy your faith in Europeans, I doubt your statement is right.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Dear All,

    A correction for TGA's fine essay: The sentence "In 1942, there were only four perilously free countries in Europe: Britain, Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland." misses that Finland, in peril too, was a free parliamentary democracy all through World War 2.
    br, JPT
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I am from America and I believe Europe's story should be written as the U.S.'s has been: Predjudice, political scandals, lobbying, and everything revolves around money....not a very nice story.

    Roughly 95% of all the wealth is owned by 5% of the people here....I know nothing of Europe, other than ancient history and little culture (of course who could forget the "Euro"...money money money), but I know if your union isn't already dominated by the few, it will be soon. I remember reading history stories when I was a kid; stories about how America was giving away land to it's people over a hundred years ago.....they only "gave" it away cause they knew they could get it back (i.e. death tax, interest on property loans, etc.). In time....the wealth will go to the wealthy in a capitalist economy. The wealthy avoid death tax and other death estate taxes by moving all their money to another country before they die, but such would be impossible for me because by the time I pay lawyer fees for doing all the paper work, I have no money left. Sure, there are a few working class citizens that become wealthy, but purely by luck. A lot of times, corporations reverse engineer and individual's product to steal the concept and re-market the product as their own, thereby, keeping their market share. Othertimes, corporations offer an individual what would seem like a good sum of money for an idea, but then the corporation makes 1000 or 10000 times that amount . Most of the time, whether it be lunacy or not, I feel like "predjudice" is often used as propaganda to keep the poeple from uniting......keep that in mind next time you feel unwarranted distrust for someone from another country within your union. It seems politicians work predjudice to there advantage.....why not work both sides against the middle. Ironic as it may seem, however, you would think republicans and democrats would do that for the people, but no, they work for themselves. I don't know how it is in your Union, but you should see the political campaigns here. One says this, and the other says that, and I'm thinking, "Who's lying and why isn't some agency arresting them?" Then I realize....canidates get "soft money" donations from wealthy individuals, and usually soft money is used by the wealthy individual to smear the canidate that doesn't help line their pockets. All the money is allocated through corporations and "not for profit organizations".....how do you arrest or charge a company/organization with a crime? Oh, and remember this, Adolph Hitler is not the worst human out there......the worst type in my opinion, is the one or one's that do what Hitler did without anyone ever knowing.....just by manipulating certain situations politically, or with money, to achieve the similar goals as Hitler. Tell me the difference between Genocide and Africa? The U.S. allows company's to sell weapons to these people who obviously don't deserve them. At least Hitler believed in what he was doing and made his vision clear....the people I'm talking about, KNOW they shouldn't be selling people in Africa guns, but can't resist the money. Our politicians allow our company's to sell Africa guns because they can't resist the campaign donations, people need jobs from the gun makers too and heaven forbid the U.S. economy slow down just to spare a few African lives. I literally just came to this conclusion, but I think I just started respecting Hilter more than my own leaders (strictly for the basis he BELIEVED in what he was doing). Then scientists can't figure out why people are getting more and more depressed.....here's why: People are working more, driving in traffic more, having less personal time, spending less time with family, watch tv shows about cars, boats and homes only 5% of the population ever get to own, and then when they come up with a great idea at work, their best friend gets laid off because their idea cuts their friend out. Which brings me to my next point.....Someone seriously needs to stop letting all these people take anti-depressants. They are MIND CONTROL drugs and to me the drugs are either (a.) slowing down evolution or (b.) weakening one's brain (like tylenol and the study done 20 years after the fact or eye glasses making people eyes weaker).

    There, I just wrote the European Story for you. If anyone thinks ANYTHING I've written is opinion, (besides the theory about propaganda predjudice and anti-depressants) and unwarranted, my email is joseph.counts@gmail.com. I'll provide multipe examples that lead to my conclusions. I probably won't return to this site because I only found my way here by researching Timothy Garton Ash. Oh and keep in mind.....American college level textbooks are finally (after 250 years) admitting that maybe our forefathers (John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, etc.) were breaking away from England for their own personal reasons (money). Maybe soon you'll have something similar.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    I just read unlehaol's comments, and I, as an American, personaly feel he is part of the "capitalistic jungle". Overly manipulated by pro-american propaganda and obvisouly oblivious to how some people relish in the greed capitalism inspires. Or maybe he's forgotten that men are still men, and greed is still greed, meaning, if any history is repeating itself, it would be the fact that the poor are combatting the rich. It's not too apparent yet because the rich have gotten a lot better at keeping the poor in the dark, and from uniting, but in my 25 years of life I've noticed a pattern I can't describe with words, and I know we (the poor) are being taken advantage of. The pattern I've seen though is so slight and I even believed in Karl Marx before I ever knew what he wrote.....it's just taking hundreds of years. Personally I think we're about half way to the revolution Karl Marx wrote about......maybe another 250 years. We (the poor) now have an allie though....the internet.......the information age started giving the power to the rich, but soon that will change. With advancements in Socio-Econimics in combination with data crawling software (software that goes into the internet, to websites you want and pulls back the data you ask for) I bet I'll even be able to prove my theory on America's internal predjudice propaganda (even if not a conspiracy, by coincidence then). Then I think about President Bush protecting our oil interests for economical purposes.....I think politics, to Bush, is like Chess....maybe he let Osama take our piece (the twin towers) in order to gain support to manuever for another piece (arab oil). I pray capitalism hasn't inspired that much greed, but I know potiential wealth always has brought out the worst in men. To me, that's the worst evil....worse than Hitler....At least with Hitler we weren't playing chess in the dark, everyone knew what he was doing. Thinking about this has kept me up all night many times and makes me think I'm crazy sometimes, but I guess until man proves himself different then I have every right to be paranoid crazy. Then I think maybe that's it too, maybe the wealthy conspirators want me to think I'm crazy so I won't make such accusations. I read somewhere, and apparently it's a common practice, people tend to make-up bogus rebuttals to arguments as to distract the opposing party from their opposing argument....maybe unclehaol is smarter than he speaks and then rebuttal of calling someone "crazy" would be a tactic....
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    Yet another thought, and sleepless night: I believe that politicians often refuse to confirm or deny certain things so the people come up with a variety of spectulations and, therefore, keeping the people divided. If the people are divided, then we can never win cause we have no collective power. Get ready.... the European story is grim.
    • CommentAuthoradmin
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2008
     
    And now here's the paradox: Maybe the governments are protecting us from ourselves. With China and India over populating, they need jobs for their people....that's why the government is quick to give corporations what they want when they lobby. Maybe I should quit complaining about our political and economic systems. Could be a lot worse here, and I doubt anyone in India or China would care if it was......just like we do Africa. I know many Americans are dissatisfied with the fact that the distribution of wealth is so uneven, but if we're willing to pay what we pay for products then company's will continue to make money that way. I still think, however, civilization should operate without money or socoial classes. Sounds like the way things currently are, sooner or later everyone loses.....one part of the eqauation (political, economic, and social) will eventually become too great and unbalance the delicate nature of things.