06 September 2008

The Populist Firing Squad

This week, exploiting public outrage at the brutal murder of a girl by her father, Gaidis Bērziņš and Mareks Segliņš, Latvia's Minister of Justice and Interior Minister, mused publically about restoring the death penalty in Latvia, Segliņš suggesting that we could possibly hold a referendum on the matter.

Arguments on whether or not there should be a death penalty are one thing (as you might guess, I am strongly opposed). The core of the sly imbecility here, however, is another matter entirely—capital punishment is outlawed in Europe (except in Belarus, which is “the last outpost of tyranny,” and Kazakhstan, which is mostly in Central Asia). Abolitionism is not just fundamental to the EU, it is also a basic principle and a principal priority of the Council of Europe, to which we’ve belonged for over thirteen years. The CoE is a much larger and broader structure than the EU is, with 47 members. Even Russia, that beacon of brutality, has instituted a moratorium on capital punishment. The European Convention on Human Rights requires its complete abolition, even for crimes committed in wartime.

The idea of reinstating the death penalty is thus completely out of the question. These politicians (one a law professor!), speaking as cabinet ministers and not as private individuals, have deliberately chosen to inflame Latvians’ baser instincts and disregard reality. The world-view of Jānis Šmits, the proudly intolerant human rights guru quoted in the Deutsche Presse-Agentur article—that tolerance is “a new secular paradigm” artificially forced upon us by Europe—is part and parcel of this. Trawling the scuzzy bottoms of Latvian Internet fora, what’s striking is how unutterably uneducated in civics Letts are (one study showed that we are about as enlightened as Bulgarians in this regard). The typical reactions often include the mantra “Brussels is telling us what to do.” For most, Europe is still elsewhere… and that is, of course, a self-fulfilling belief. Many people don’t see Latvia as part of this legal system and a contributor to it— which Latvia is, legal scholars like Ziemele, Levits and Ušacka being significant at a European level—but instead think and act like boorish, brain-dead dwarfs in some dispossessed chukhnya.

And the wardens of this chukhnya, our ever so sparkling political elite, continue to lead us off into a politics that recalls the title of Ferlinghetti’s book of verse, Unfair Arguments with Existence. Let’s all indulge in a national debate about something that’s totally impossible! But why not? It works in everything else in our politics—instead of working constructively to integrate Russophones, we get the "nationalist" tirades of the bigots Dobelis and Tabūns. In place of badly needed education reform, we prefer to traipse about mouthing piffle about our imminent “knowledge-based society.” Nary an opportunity goes by in which we don’t tell the world about our “shared democratic values”—our lack thereof nearly fully externalized by now (we’d be Scandinavia if it wasn’t for them Russkies!).

Messrs. Segliņš and Bērziņš choose to pander to tumsonība ("obscurantism," benighted ignorance). Since there’s not an election coming up, this desire must run really deep. What’s especially revolting to me is the waste of time. We’ll soon have had two decades of independence, but it seems that we’ve become “more European” mainly by replacing our Žiguļi with BMWs—second-hand for the pilchard-eaters, nice and shiny for the elite. We haven’t even learned to drive, what with the fewest cars and most road accidents per capita in Europe.

The photograph of a 1913 execution in Mexico is from the Library of Congress.

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13 Comments:

Anonymous Robert, The Bruce said...

Now now, Peter, what is so horrible about re-visiting a social issue, in order to take the pulse of a nation? Who says Latvia "can't" re-instate the death penalty? What are "they" going to do about it -- kick Latvia out of the EU? You almost make that sound like a bad thing.

It would be nice to also re-visit the question on abortion. According to your high moral standards, this method of state-sanctioned murder should be illegal too, no?

You almost "get" it that the garden-variety Latvian is much closer in morality and sensibility to the Eastern peoples. Honestly, my friend, you have a front-row seat to Muttsyism. You should know by now that without those activist carpet-baggers (Calitis, Streips, Terauda, Freimane, Andris Gobins,) a.k.a. The Usual Suspects there would scarcely be any pushers of indulgent Western decadences in Latvia.

Take a long, hard look at the people of Latvia, Peter. Consider for a moment that it is your Liberal Western prejudices that spoils your view of Latvians as they are. You may not like them very much, but they never were and (Thank God) they are never going to be like the typical middle-america limousine liberal you left behind.

Better you should accept that Latvians and "New Europeans" are not "cookie-cutter" homogenized by-products of the EU. Perhaps this will aid them to resist the negative tendencies that are at the heart of the decay of "Old Europe."

All the best,

/R

07 September, 2008 06:27  
Blogger Redwine said...

How true. I couldn't agree more. We have to stop Western decadence. I suggest televized public executions (stoning: is cheap, effective and the population can participate) in the shopping centers. (Cheap and very effective.)

I believe in traditional values. " Commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ. Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man. Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man. For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. But if anyone is disposed to be contentious— we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God. (1 Corinthians 11:2-16)
I hope St Paul is a reliable source on traditional values. Let's fight decadence!
(I covered my head when posting this.) I know women should shut the f*** up in the presence of men, but if I do, how am I going to fight decadence?

07 September, 2008 14:28  
Blogger Pēteris Cedriņš said...

Thank you for your comments. Robert, I see no reason to look at this matter through the prism of US politics, especially not when laced with the rhetorical flourishes of right-wing blogs. Latvia is in Europe, not North America. As I pointed out here and elsewhere, the death penalty is not only out of the question in the EU -- it is banned in the CoE, which includes every country with so much as a toehold in Europe, except two brutal dictatorships (Belarus and Kazakhstan) and some oddities that anyway have no capital punishment (the Vatican, for example).

Further remarks of mine, including a reference to your comment above, can be found here. Though I sometimes enjoy mud wrestling, my blog is a venue I try to reserve for more serious discussion.

08 September, 2008 10:48  
Anonymous Robert, The Bruce said...

According to P: "Though I sometimes enjoy mud wrestling, my blog is a venue I try to reserve for more serious discussion."

I can see the mud-wrestling here, but there is a lack of "serious discussion" here, Peter. The suggestion that Capital punishment come up for open debate seems to have set you off, but outside of referring to a pair of ministers as "imbeciles" that "disregard reality" and that Latvians are "proudly intolerant," "scuzzy," "unuterably uneducated" we seem to get little of the motivations behind those views of yours.

You did state that Latvians are "about as enlightened as Bulgarians" (at least you didn't liken us to Lithuanians!) and that not only are Latvians "boorish brain-dead dwarfs," "bigots" mouthing "piffle," and we are also "revolting" folks who "pander to tumsonība."

Pray tell, o enlightened one, why does this get your panties in a twist. Yes, it is clear that Capital punishment is something you are against. But can you let us peons and pin-heads and other assorted lesser Lett beings in on why you are right, and what is wrong with your garden-variety Latvian person even discussing the issue?

What do you have against the Death Penalty, Peter? What form of punishment do you suppose might be appropriate for the slime-bucket that offed his own daughter? Do you think that the enlightened criminal justice system in Latvia is going to rehabilitate this man so that he can be let out into the Schengen zone in a few short months and become a fine upstanding member of European society?

While I appreciate that you linked to that cesspool of a forum and gave me a shout-out (though by a derogatory nick) I am loathe to reply on that platform as the niknā ķēve has a propensity for censoring things right-thinking folks post over there.

A little context is what I'm asking. Why has talk of discussing Capital punishment irked you so. Also, don't you think abortion ought to be made a crime? After all, if state-sponsored executions of the scum of society is morally repugnant, should not state-sponsored murder of the innocent unborn also be as distasteful?

visu labu,
/R

13 September, 2008 05:17  
Blogger Pēteris Cedriņš said...

Robert, it's a pleasantly autumnal Saturday morning, so I shall take the time to answer you in full. First, kindly refrain from the types of distortions prevalent in the current US election campaign, even if you are under its influence; save them for encomia to Mrs. Palin, with due outrage at deliberately misinterpreted references to "putting lipstick on a pig." I did not call "Latvians" a, b or c. I called Šmits, who has a penchant for quoting Leviticus in Parliament, "proudly intolerant," and I identified Dobelis and Tabūns -- right-wingers who can be relied upon for incendiary, ethnocentric speeches -- as bigots. "[W]e are also "revolting" folks who "pander to tumsonība"? No, I wrote that Messrs. Segliņš and Bērziņš were pandering to tumsonība. I did not even call them imbeciles; I referred to the sly imbecility of their proposals. Nor did I call anybody revolting; I said I find the waste of time especially revolting.

As to the boorish, brain-dead dwarfs -- I was quite clearly referring to the scuzzy bottoms of Latvian Internet fora. Delfi, by far the most popular portal, and other popular sites are saturated with hate speech. How saturated? See this study; it includes charming pie charts depicting the percentages of users urging murder, mass murder, castration, etc. (of those promoting violence, 52,63% are moderate, though, confining themselves to beating people up). The study had a specific focus on LGBT, by far the most hated, but other groups targeted, in order of venom received, include Jews, Latvians, Russians, Europeans [!], Muslims, dark-skinned people, Americans, Roma, prisoners, intellectuals, heterosexuals, Latvians from abroad, etc. ...on down to people with tuberculosis, prostitutes and the Chinese. So, yes, I think my description of the bottom of the Lettish Internet as scuzzy is accurate, if not overly kind. Of 11 022 comments monitored in the course of the study, 1325 were found to contain hate speech (the criteria are ennumerated at the link given).

As I suggested in my post and reiterated more than once at Latvians Online, I do not intend to debate the supposed merits of capital punishment. The focus of my post -- what has my knickers in a twist -- is the sly imbecility of cabinet ministers suggesting a national debate, even unto a referendum, on the death penalty, the abolition of which is not only central to the EU, of which we are a Member State, but also to the CoE, which includes the entire continent minus a few oddities and the neighboring tyranny. Latvia's Foreign Minister has since issued a statement that is in complete agreement with my position: "Riekstiņš: vairs nav iespējamas debates par nāvessoda atjaunošanu" ("Riekstiņš: Debates on the restoration of the death penalty are no longer possible"). Riekstiņš notes that the debates already took place.

Latvia ratified Protocol 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights, abolishing the death penalty except in wartime, nearly a decade ago. All 47 CoE countries have done so, with the exception of Russia (which signed it but has not yet ratified it). Your attempt to tie the abolition to the Diktat of Brussels or whatever other trigger phrase you wish to choose for the European norms you detest is lame -- Latvia abolished capital punishment long before EU accession, in the context of its accession to the Council of Europe. If you are genuinely interested in why the death penalty is outlawed throughout Europe, this page at the CoE site has copious info and links.

But you've already given your position: "What are 'they' going to do about it -- kick Latvia out of the EU? You almost make that sound like a bad thing." I repeat -- this is not only an EU matter; it is a CoE matter. Yes, "they" would indeed throw us out, and rightly so. But you are missing a major part of the thrust of my argument: that the moral dwarfs (and yes, I meant their moral stature, of course; no offense to the physically height challenged) continue to paint pictures of "us" vs. "them." As I suggested at LOL, perhaps Britain can afford its Little Englanders. Latvia cannot. In your rabid Europhobia, you have repeatedly focused on the Satversme, our Constitution, in the manner of certain American "constitutionalists" aghast at the supposed attack of secular humanists upon your vaunted way of life, etc. You have also incessantly emphasized Latvia's "sovereignty" in the manner of a kindergartner in a sandbox. The Satversme clearly states, VIII:89: "The State shall recognise and protect fundamental human rights in accordance with this Constitution, laws and international agreements binding upon Latvia." I've italicized that last part for you.

I don't in the least regret referring to the unutterably uneducated. The fault lies with the education system. Can one really ask the narod for any insight into the law when Gaidis Bērziņš is the Minister of Justice and teaches law, but panders to tumsonība?

Again -- it's not Europe telling us what to do; Latvia is part of Europe, whether there are still "buses to Europe" at the autoosta or not. You might consider enlightenment elitist -- I do not. Education was central to the very idea of Latvia at its inception, as that old standard of the Song Festival (available here in this year's version) indicates. The national awakenings were about taking our rightful place at the table of nations, not about obtaining the right to stew in our own juices or claim that our jackbooted skinheads come in their own special sauce. Our bigotry is not at all unique -- it differs little from the bigotry down the road.

Human rights law in Europe is European, period. Anybody with a human rights complaint who goes through our court system and considers him- or herself wronged can take the case to Strasbourg, as not rarely happens. It's not Strasbourg telling us what to do -- we are a part of this supranational system. Fundamentally, our laws must reflect European law.

I repeat -- what's revolting is the waste of time. As I suggested elsewhere -- if you want to reinstate the death penalty, save us some time and vote to leave the CoE and the EU and join Belarus in its well-deserved isolation. What Bērziņš and Segliņš could and should be doing is seriously addressing real problems to seek real solutions -- if Grantiņš is found guilty, ensure that he gets life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Don't appeal to ignorance and baser instincts.

But the terms of this discussion, Robert, are skewed -- as you hint in your little ironical comment, you don't think isolating ourselves is a bad thing. You opposed EU and even NATO membership for Latvia. You now note that "the garden-variety Latvian is much closer in morality and sensibility to the Eastern peoples." Like Šmits, you cheer this on -- it's in accord with your detestation of Europe, your hatred for gay rights, your disdain for social liberalism, and your disgust with the many European Latvians who turned out to support the Umbrella Revolution. You're essentially opposed to building a civil society here.

As to abortion, I think it's yucky. I think it is yuckier still to force a woman to allow an unwanted baby to grow in her body. If you cannot see the difference between the state legitimizing murder and murdering a person, however inhuman he or she might be, and the state permitting a woman to abort a fetus, I can't help you. Mrs. Palin, in her ideal world, would even force a girl raped by her father to carry the offspring to term.

13 September, 2008 09:05  
Anonymous Robert, the Bruce said...

Peter, if you supposedly see no reason to look at this matter through the prism of US politics, what gives with the pair of shout-outs to Governor Palin? You planning on voting for her and the Manchurian Candidate over Barry Hussein and the Plagiarist? There are other alternatives out there, you know.

Outside of the above paragraph, I have communicated nary a word to you about U.S. politics. You seem to be very off-base on this here.

Getting back to the topic -- again, what is so horrible about the Latvian people re-visiting the social issue of capital punishment? Yes, maybe the people you cannot stand are sly imbeciles, but what is so distasteful about a national discourse? You are obviously upset that people dare to hold views that differ from yours. You point to some study that describes a few internet comments as "hate speech," but aren't your own comments re: Bērziņš and Segliņš et al. a form of "hate speech" as well?

Latvia used to have the death penalty. It worked quite well. After all, erasing him from the planet ensured that Mr. Kaupēns' body count was thus brought to an end. The example of him swinging from the limb of a tree, hung from the neck 'till he was dead, proved to be a most effective deterrent. There weren't any "Kaupēns copycats" to follow. Flash forward to the "grand bastion of Human Rights" known as the EU -- Latvia is producing serial killers like it is going out of style. The response? You coddle them. You set them up with three hots and a cot, and every now and then some EU inspector comes around to see if the House of Detention is treating poor misunderstood strangler just fine. And all of this on the grasis of the poor Latvian taxpayer.

I like having a civil society just fine. What I do not like is that a small group of noise-making carpet-baggers come into Latvia and start lecturing the populace that they know better. That their Western-influenced prātiņi are so superior and that the mores and customs of the indigenous peoples are so "backwards" as to be something out of the dark ages. Sorry, Peter, but I oppose such revolutionary approaches. I believe that your haughty and supercilious domubiedri ought to have a little more respect for the indigenous Latvian nation. Your gay friends should try and change the negative perception Latvian folk have of them by other means. Inciting confrontation, thumbing their noses at long-standing institutions, offending religous and community leaders and generally behaving like idiots is not going to win them any new supporters. They want revolution where they should be advocating evolution. They should not be looking to enact moronic laws that shove their world-view down people's throats. They want the common Lett to accept homosexuality -- why not present some decent role models. What they end up doing is propping up some blithering ninny like Streips as their poster-child. I may not be particularly opposed to legislation giving the queers some special protections, but it is inherent that the population at large have its say. Let the people vote, up or down. For your gay friends to impose their will upon the people is wrong, Peter.

But we digress. The dichotomy between your disdain of capital punishment and your elation that the Republic considers abortion to be legal is, in a word, queer. State sponsored death sentences are state sponsored death sentences. It is alarming that you would let scum-of-the-Earth killers walk around and be coddled while glibly permitting the mass murder of helpless human beings in utero. Amazing.

/R

You cannot see the difference

14 September, 2008 05:47  
Blogger Pēteris Cedriņš said...

Outside of the above paragraph, I have communicated nary a word to you about U.S. politics.

Your very first comment invoked "limousine liberals," "old Europe," and "carpetbaggers," all of which are very American terms. You continue to use the term "liberal" in the American sense, something we've discussed many a time. Your conception of national sovereignty seems essentially American, and your political views appear to be a bouquet of right-wing "value voters'" positions. But I brought up McCain/Palin because of the rather Goebbelsian tenor of their campaign of late.

You point to some study that describes a few internet comments as "hate speech," but aren't your own comments re: Bērziņš and Segliņš et al. a form of "hate speech" as well?

Describing the pandering of politicians to boors is not hate speech, no. Re the study re "a few" Internet comments (actually hundreds) -- you can't be serious. Any casual visit to a portal like Delfi, especially to topics that attract bigots, would give the casual reader insight into the (post?)-sovok.

Getting back to the topic -- again, what is so horrible about the Latvian people re-visiting the social issue of capital punishment? Yes, maybe the people you cannot stand are sly imbeciles, but what is so distasteful about a national discourse? You are obviously upset that people dare to hold views that differ from yours.

Actually, I referred to sly imbecility -- I did not call the gentlemen imbeciles. They're too sly to be imbeciles.

I answered your question repeatedly. My views -- anyone's views -- are secondary to the topic of my post. I am focusing on the law, not views. Human rights law in Europe is European. In Europe the death penalty is out of the question, period. What is the use of kindling a national discourse about an impossibility? Such posturing merely serves to distract from serious issues.

Granted, Latvia has a large minority that shares your Europhobia, especially among the poor and uneducated. Most of those advocating reconsideration of capital punishment quite obviously don't know anything about European law, as a perusal of the scuzzy bottoms of Internet fora will show you. Then there are those brighter folk who are quite simply anti-European, the so-called Eurosceptics. Their party received 0,37% of the vote in the last parliamentary elections. They are so "bright" that they shared a list with the Red dinosaurs and Rodina I mean Dzimtene in the Rīga municipal elections.

Latvia is in Europe. No major political party advocates leaving the EU, much less the CoE. If you want to stake out that position, go join Grostiņa kungs at www.nato.lv or contribute to the hate-free heights at the Delfi fora.

Reasonable people want Latvia to make good use of the possibilities and structures the EU offers, something Latvia does not do so well. Cheap populism and the pretense that being a member of the Union is all about a diktāts does nothing but throw up obstacles to our development, and senselessly so.

15 September, 2008 08:36  
Anonymous Robert, the Bruce said...

Honestly, Pēter, in all the years that you have lived in Latvia, you have never *ever* heard the term Vakareiropa?! I find that hard to believe. This description of Old Europe has been around for quite some time. I am surprised that you have never run across it before. As for Streips, Gobiņš, Freimane, et al. -- perhaps Ķoniņi or Kangari might have been better terms, however carpet-bagger seemed to fit and got the point across. Sorry for invoking an American political term from the 19th century.

As for the "Goebbelsian tenor of the McCain/Palin campaign... that's hilarious! You seem to be as sadly misinformed about this Presidential race as you were the last one. You obviously have not been paying much attention to what Barack Hussein Obama has been up to. His ads mocking John Sidney McCain's disability are truly so low that one would offend worms by comparison. Also, you probably have not gotten word of frothing-at-the-mouth attacks by Keith Olberman of the Peacock network nor the attempted hatchet-jobs on Governor Palin by Jann Wenner and Charlie Gibson, which have spectacularly backfired. Check here: http://tinyurl.com/5auafb and here: http://tinyurl.com/2u693r. Methinks that lētticigie eiropieši such as yourself are the only ones who bought that nonsense. Of course, it was lētticigie eiropieši that gave rise to Hitler, now that you mention it. Come to think of it, before seeking higher office Adolf Hitler was something of a "community organizer." FDR was the governor of a state before he became his nation's chief executive.

But alas, again we digress.

Describing the pandering of politicians to boors is not hate speech, in and of itself. The vitriol you employ in doing so could be. As for the laws -- again, what is the harm in having a public discourse? If the laws are bad, they must be overturned. The alleged "human rights" laws in Europe are flawed, and really ought to be changed. They can't possibly be chiseled in stone, can they? There must be some leeway, some mechanism for succeeding generations to change the laws, to expunge bad law from the books and replace it with rules and guidelines that are more in tune with the values of the individual societies that compose this Gross-Europa you are so eminently fond of.

In Europe the death penalty is out of the question, period. How stubbornly Stalinist! Thinking like that will only hasten a decline and breakdown of a society, as long as it is mired in such a swamp of statist stagnation.

Again you tar me with the moniker of Europhobia. Sorry to burst your bubble, my friend, by I do not fear Europe. I dislike parts of it. I might even dislike parts of it with great intensity, but I fear them not. Ergo, I am no Europhobe. I am glad that you grant that there is a "large minority" that shares my views. Should not a civil society be attuned to the wants and needs of significant minority groups? Nonetheless, perhaps a national dialog may bring enlightenment to others, and turn a passionate minority into an informed majority. Perhaps this is what frightens you. Perhaps this is why you are so steadfastly opposed to having a national discourse, as this could upset the cart that our mule of a nation is shackled to.

You again deride the people whose views differ from yours. You call them "poor and uneducated." Don't you ever for a moment consider yourself something of a bourgeois snob with that attitude? Can anyone in your world-view be anti-EU without being "broke and stupid," or "so bright as to be the intellectual puppet of Red Dinosaurs?"

You do get it right with this: "Reasonable people want Latvia to make good use of the possibilities and structures the EU offers, After all, it is only human nature to want to take advantage of economic opportunities. But there is a terrible cost, that Pied Piper of Vakareiropa needs to be paid, and the price is the very soul of Latvija. These stupid laws set down by the CoE are an affront to the dignity of the Latvian nation. You talk all nice about diktāts and obstacles to our development, but for God's sake, Pēter, look around you! How long has Latvija been in this exalted EU?! What has gone down in Latgale since? Where is this development you speak of? What are the latest unemployment stats? How many people are able to buy a new home over there? How many of the provinces best and brightest have gone to pick Paddy's potatoes, never to return? What level of education is now needed for our tautas zeltenītes to wipe the arse of every baby in Berlin?

It is not easy for the common Lett. It is pretty damn easy for EUrowhores to regurgitate false promises. It is too damn easy for the political fat-cats in Brussels to make arbitrary rules. But it is the Latvian people that have to live with every minute of the consequences. You yourself said it: they are a poor and stupid lot. They have so very little, and these new rules force them to give margin to marginal people, who give them next to nothing in return. Along the way, the dictates and the padomi of the new savienība erode the Letts not only numerically, but more importantly in their ideals and their mores and values. According to you, when Brussels speaks, the Latvian people should blindly obey. No point in talking about the new rules or (God forbid) anyone should ever consider changing them, is there? The EvroSoviet hath spoken, the commandments are thus carved in stone.

/R

15 September, 2008 21:56  
Anonymous Robert, the Bruce said...

p.s. Sorry, the Gibson link is here:

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/p-j-gladnick/2008/09/13/abc-news-edited-out-key-parts-sarah-palin-interview

15 September, 2008 22:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here:

http://tinyurl.com/3nolj7

dang it!

15 September, 2008 22:12  
Blogger Pēteris Cedriņš said...

Honestly, Pēter, in all the years that you have lived in Latvia, you have never *ever* heard the term Vakareiropa?! I find that hard to believe. This description of Old Europe has been around for quite some time.

"Vakareiropa" translates to "Western Europe," not "old Europe." The term "old Europe" as you use it is an echo of Donald Rumsfeld's 2003 remarks; the Latvian translation thereof is "vecā Eiropa."

Your comment is too thickly coated with the sort of cliché sludge admirers of Rush Limbaugh leave behind them to bother responding to, sorry. Hitler was a community organizer? Oliver Burkeman took an amusing peek at your corner of the blogosphere on Friday.

This is not that corner of the blogosphere. Ardievu!

16 September, 2008 16:21  
Anonymous Robert, the Bruce said...

I somehow knew you would go running to the cover of your domu biedri (accent on the biedri part) at the barikāda that is the (Red) Guardian sooner or later.

cheers,

/R

16 September, 2008 22:16  
Blogger jams o donnell said...

"In Europe the death penalty is out of the question, period. How stubbornly Stalinist!"

How strange to see abolition of the death penalty and Stalinist so close together!

20 September, 2008 13:22  

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