Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Potpourri

Desertpeace has a highly disturbing article on HR347, which was approved in the House by a vote of 388-3, and quietly passed through the Senate by unanimous consent. Not one Democrat politician voted against this draconian expansion of existing law, existing law was originally enacted in 1971 to quash the protest against the Vietnam war.

So, what's so horrible about HR347? Oh, just the little fact that it kills your First Amendment right "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances".

The article is here. Fair warning- the top part is silly bullshit; I'm not afraid of Communists. Just skip down to the title "US Congress expands authoritarian anti-protest law", and read from there.

When I first read about HR347, the first thing that occurred to me was the similarity, in intent if not in language, to the Sedition Act, which was passed by the British Government of the 13 colonies immediately prior to the American Revolution.

Next up on our Friday review of sunshine, rainbows, and happy news, A Russian economist named Sergei Karaganov has an interesting piece on authoritarian democracy posted at AJE.

As one would expect from any Russian academic, (remembering that I'm a child of the Cold War era, and anything I say about Russians is to be taken with a grain of salt), some of the article is pedantically obscure, but the one paragraph that leaped out and grabbed me was this -

First, social inequality has grown unabated in the West over the last quarter-century, owing in part to the disappearance of the Soviet Union and, with it, the threat of expansionist communism. The spectre of revolution had forced Western elites to use the power of the state to redistribute wealth and nurture the growth of loyal middle classes. But, when communism collapsed in its Eurasian heartland, the West's rich, believing that they had nothing more to fear, pressed to roll back the welfare state, causing inequality to rise rapidly. This was tolerable as long as the overall pie was expanding, but the global financial crisis in 2008 ended that.

Wow, talk about hitting the nail on the head. This is a good example of why it is so vitally important for we Americans to read political commentary by foreign sources; because they bring to the issues a perspective which we do not otherwise have. Yes, Virginia, it is about class warfare, and so far the casualties have all been on our side.

Ok, not to end on a down note, (cue the dancing unicorns!), here is some genuinely happy news.

It would appear that Sarkozy is doomed, as far as chances of re-election, with his Socialist rival ahead in the polls by 58%-42%. Then again, French elections are complex affairs, as the article explains. His so-called "Socialist" rival isn't really much of a Socialist, being barely left of centre. And Sarkozy may yet pick up a measure of support from the Right if he continues to succeed in his attempts to keep Marine Le Pen off the ballot through the usual political dirty tricks. We shall see what we shall see.

And that, dear reader, is all your favorite beady-eyed varmint has for you today.

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