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What would it take for Russia to be #1?


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#781 woj1@cyberonic.

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 10:41 AM

donquijote;
//Not that the Swiss aren't ready to defend
themselves. The men are required by law to serve in the
militia and to keep firearms in their homes. But when
they say "defense," they mean defense//
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#782 cpwill

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 11:22 AM

good ole silent cal.
one time a woman told him that she had a bet she could get him to say a minimum of three words.
he replied: "You lose."

(the rest of this conversation quickly got beyond me, but i know my american history;))
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#783 donquijote

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 06:52 PM

Hey, guys, nobody claims Switzerland is a sheep;) but the little animals certainly have a greater say in that thing called "democracy." What we propose though is to expand the concept into the economics, and that would be quite revolutionary...;)

> In any case, decentralization isn't very urgent for Portugal
> since it isn't much bigger itself than some European regions. But there's
> a point in administering some things at a level lower than the national
> one, just as there's a point in administering some other things at a
> higher level.

I think decentralisation in the form of building strong regions is quite
urgent for any territory so geographically big that you can't
comfortably make an occasional day trip to any given geographical point
within it. Then the community between the citizens is naturally weak
since they don't meet in reality, only in nationalist minds.

> Do you know how it works? Do you know what I'm speaking about? In Germany
> you get two votes: one "constituency" vote and one "national" vote. In the
> first one you vote for a local candidate, in the second you vote for a
> party. Basically, how many seats each party gets in the Bundestag is
> decided by the second vote, but the first vote decides which candidates of
> each party go to the Bundestag. To me this seems to solve the old debate
> between the Proportional Representation and the First-Past-The-Post
> systems that is raging in Britain now.

The way of the future, I think, is Single Transferable Vote. Then you
can rank _all_ your candidates as you wish and you can even mix
reasonable people from different parties. Power to the voter!

> Switzerland is a confederation, which is a degree less than a federation
> such as Germany.

That's only a name tradition from the Middle Ages when the first
sovereign cantons joined together to found an early Swiss polity, a
defensive alliance. In 1848, after the Sonderbund civil war, a federal
constitution was adopted, but the name with a reference to the
confederation was kept. In every book I read, also by Swiss authors like
Kris W. Kobach (he's Swiss, right?), Switzerland is today characterised
as a federal state. Eg., Hague, Harrop and Breslin summarises in
_Comparative Government and Politics_, 1992 p 272): "European federalism
is found in Austria, Germany and Switzerland [...]". The central power
is too strong as to typify the system 'confederal'.

> Still, there isn't such a big difference between both
> constitutions. As far as I know, they've also quite analogue institutions,
> only with the cantons holding more power than the L?nder do and with the
> chancellor instead of the collegiate confederal presidency. The "popular
> initiative" thing the Swiss have is much more restricted in Germany, due
> (guess!) to its abuse during the Weimar republic.

There weren't really any problems nationally, other than a system that
only accepted outcomes with a participation of more than 50 %. A quote
from an essay that I wrote (http://www.df.lth.se/~cml/wir-volk.txt):

"Germany between the wars, the Weimar republic, was in theory a direct
democracy. For example, 10% of the electorate could impose a referendum
on an issue even nationally (Fisk, 1924, pp 162-163). But since for the
bill to become law, it was required that 50% of the electorate voted,
not one single national referendum initiated by the people in the Weimar
republic actually made it all the way (Hernekamp, 1979, s 376f).(6) At
the Land level though, there were a lot of referenda successfully
carried all the way, and a situation arised that was more chaotic, with
lots of re-elections forced upon popular demand (the recall) (Hernekamp,
1979, pp 378-383)."

"(6) Eight initiatives were launched. Two reached referendum. None met
the condition of 50% electoral participation (Hernekamp, 1979, p 376)."

> But the Swiss themselves are increasingly tired of it...

I've never seen anything suggesting this. In 1991 there was a Swiss
opinion poll asking if the interviewed wanted to reduce direct democracy
in favour of more parlamentarianism. 14 % answered 'yes'...

The author of the same book from where I got the above information
travelled around Switzerland asking national, cantonal and local
politicians, representatives of industrial organisations, of interest
groups and people on the street what they think of their democracy. Not
_one_ wants to reduce their participatory system to become similar to
the rest of Western Europe.

Yes, several people interviewed were of course critical of certain
features of the Swiss system. Some people think that it has become to
easy to force a new issue to a referendum (and others think that nothing
has to change in this regard). 100 000 signatures are required for the
initiative. 50 000 signatures are required for the popular veto of a
law. The Minister of Justice Arnold Koller has suggested that these
numbers are raised to 150 000 and 50 000 respectively. But at the same
time direct democracy would be extended so that the people may vote on
more issues than today. But the proposal from Koller about raising the
requirements for initiative and referendum proved very controversial in
parliament.

source...

http://www.google.co...nt.lu.se&rnum=1
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#784 GIJOE

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 09:08 PM

Originally posted by donquijote
Interesting analysis of freedom in Russia. Notice the take that "antidemocratic developments" represent a threat to "democracy." Anyways the Russian people--just like any other people--deserve democracy, real democracy...;)

Source: NYT

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev took control of the Communist Party. The developments that followed surpassed all optimistic prognoses. In 1987, the first independent polling firm ? the All-Soviet Center for Public Opinion Studies ? was created. It was a miracle. One year later the center began asking questions that made my head swim. "Is the people's loss of belief in the ideals of socialism and the one-party system the cause of our problems?" "Should we legalize private property in order to improve our life?"

The center, which is directed by Mr. Levada, is justifiably proud of its success. The firm has a reputation ? both inside the country and abroad ? for being the most reliable source of information on public opinion in Russia.

Soon after Mr. Putin came to power, the second golden era came to an end. The government announced this month that it plans to place its own representatives on the polling center's board of directors. The All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies, which is state-owned but receives no state money ? and, until now, had no state interference ? will no longer be independent.

Government officials say the change is part of a routine assessment of state-owned enterprises. But there is reason to believe the center's research irritated authorities. In its May survey, only 24 percent of Russians were satisfied with "what is happening in the country as a whole." Those who believe there has been more "theft and corruption in the top echelon of power" since Mr. Putin became president has risen by six percentage points since his election, to 17 percent.

Even more unpleasant for the current administration are the data that show that most Russians want an end to the Chechen war; 62 percent favor peace negotiations. No less troublesome are the May data that reveal the people's lack of support for the presidential party. Only 9 percent said that they sympathized with Mr. Putin's party, while 22 percent said the same about the Communist Party.

These figures are worrisome not only to the Kremlin, of course. If in the mid-1980's the change in the official attitude toward social science was a powerful sign of Russia's liberalization, 20 years later, it is an indication that *antidemocratic developments*? in Russia have reached a new stage. As in Brezhnev's time, the authorities have decided to replace respected sociologists with those they can control.

http://webspawner.com/users/donquijote



THE BUTTERFLY MUST SHED MANY LAYERS, BEFORE IT IS
BEAUTIFUL. and so with mother Russia.





G I Joe
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#785 GIJOE

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 09:46 PM

The answer reminds me of a statment made one sunday morning,
by the all time great professional golfer, Lee Trevino.
A sportscaster asked Lee, what did he think he had to shoot today to win this tournament? Lee went into his golf bag and took out a gun and said, the rest of the players with this gun.

G I Joe
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#786 donquijote

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 12:54 AM

<THE BUTTERFLY MUST SHED MANY LAYERS, BEFORE IT IS
BEAUTIFUL. and so with mother Russia.>

Latin American butterfly is over 100 years old, and it ain't got any wings. Actually it's only shedding resources and immigrants...:confused:
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#787 donquijote

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 12:58 AM

<The answer reminds me of a statment made one sunday morning,
by the all time great professional golfer, Lee Trevino.
A sportscaster asked Lee, what did he think he had to shoot today to win this tournament? Lee went into his golf bag and took out a gun and said, the rest of the players with this gun.>

But Russia is indeed a real pro, to name a few shots: literature, aerospace, athlethics, and her scientists are homegrown...;)
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#788 donquijote

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 01:44 AM

Lion eats Little Animals, Lion helps Lion...;)

"If you kill one person, you go to jail; if you kill 20, you go to an institution for the insane; if you kill 20,000, you get political asylum."

The Obscenely Easy Exile of Idi Amin
By ETHAN BRONNER

On a reporting trip to Saudi Arabia seven years ago, I went to Idi Amin's house. I had heard that Mr. Amin, the former Ugandan dictator who died last weekend at the age of 78, was living in Jidda, the Red Sea port, and I wanted to see for myself. Was it possible that a man who, in the 1970's, had ordered the deaths of 300,000 of his countrymen, raped and robbed his nation into endless misery and admitted to having eaten human flesh was whiling away his time as a guest of the Saudi government?

It was. There, in a spacious villa behind a white gate, Mr. Amin made his home with a half-dozen of his 30 or so children. He was not there the day I rang (a son said he was out of town), but locals said he could often be seen pushing his cart along the frozen food section of the supermarket, being massaged at the health club, praying at the mosque. He had long ago abandoned his British-style military uniform for the white robe of the Saudi man, but as an African measuring 6-foot-3 and nearly 300 pounds, he did not exactly blend in.

A former Sudanese colonel who worked as a manager at the local supermarket said, "People greet him and say, `Hello, Mr. President.' "

Why? Wasn't he a savage dictator?

"Oh yes
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#789 Buttersideup

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 01:57 AM

A quote to take note of


"If you kill one person, you go to jail; if you kill 20, you go to an institution for the insane; if you kill 20,000, you get political asylum."
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#790 donquijote

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 02:01 AM

Guys, we can also switch occasionally to bright ideas that "somehow" escape the attention of the hungry lion...;)

"We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,

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#791 woj1@cyberonic.

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 10:02 AM

Bader; I miss your answer re;
// wood-fired steam engine pulling a train of numerous carriages. After a while they noticed a modern fast train coming up from their rear//
What is your // a modern fast train coming up from their rear//--- Nice symbol but of what?

What is it that other countries have, but Russia hasn
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#792 woj1@cyberonic.

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 10:18 AM

Donquijote; //Anyways the Russian people--just like any other people--deserve democracy, real democracy... //
Not so quick;
Do you think that Plato is stupid when says;

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#793 cpwill

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 10:38 AM

indeed, perhaps instead they deserve a republic (which,i think, is more in the spirit of DonQuijote's post)
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#794 woj1@cyberonic.

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 11:30 AM

Republic might be; democratic and despotic, autocratic, authoritarian, , communist, socialist and capitalist.
In Athens, Roman Republic and in US societies kept slaves.
Do you have any particular republic in your mind?
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#795 donquijote

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 04:28 PM

<Bader; I miss your answer re;
// wood-fired steam engine pulling a train of numerous carriages. After a while they noticed a modern fast train coming up from their rear//
What is your // a modern fast train coming up from their rear//--->

Nice symbol but of what?

Of capitalism?

What is it that other countries have, but Russia hasn-t?

<Slavs Unity is an essential requirement of Slavs countries and Slavs Diaspora for future continuation and existence.>

How about this: Russia does it right, the rest of the Slavs want to partake?

Donquijote;
//I give it the following ratings:
Thirld World Countries: 0 to 1
USA: 3
Europe: 5
Scandinavia and the Switzerland: 7
What we can aim for: 10//

//Scandinavia and the Switzerland: 7//

<I think that is very carelessly to put in one line such a country like Sweden with her own production of string of perfect Volvo or Gruppen fighters with American carrier- Dania; butter and cookie manufacturer. Dania was even unable to refuse American offer to send Danish to Iraq-.. This way Danish became first ?foreign
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#796 donquijote

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 04:39 PM

Donquijote; //Anyways the Russian people--just like any other people--deserve democracy, real democracy... //

<Not so quick;
Do you think that Plato is stupid when says;

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#797 donquijote

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 05:16 PM

<Getting back to the thread...Speaking of the extinction of species... I suppose we wiped out the dinosaurs too?
It happens. Get over it!!>

Actually you *saved* the dinosaurs. You gave them wheels and called them SUVs...;)

<I am not saying there isn't cause for concern regarding the environment. We need more data. There is too much of a vested interest in crying wolf at this point in time. We need unbiased research. Is the environment our next God to bow down to? >

To be honest, this suffering God, who hasn't got us out of trouble, doesn't turn turn me on that much...:confused:

Give us a religion that will help us to live; we can die without assistance.

-Elbert Hubbard (1856v1915)

This does turn me on though...;)

[In the old religion of the Indians in New Mexico] the whole life-effort of man was to get his life into direct contact with the elemental life of the cosmos.... To come into immediate felt contact, and so derive energy, power, and a dark sort of joy. This effort into sheer naked contact, without an intermediary or mediator, is the root meaning of religion.

-D.H. (David Herbert) Lawrence (1885v1930)

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#798 donquijote

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 05:42 PM

OK, guys, *we got a problem*, actually *many problems*, so what are the solutions?

Book Review: What in the world can we do?

Immense global problems, says J.F. Rischard, need radical new solutions.

By Doug Wyatt
Savannah Morning News

While the world's burning, says J.F. Rischard, we're fiddling away our time.

In "High Noon," he ponders humanity's problems in the new, daunting century. Many we can recite with him -- appalling poverty, the scourge of AIDS, illicit drug trafficking and, yes, Virginia, global warming. Others among the 20 quandaries he considers -- the inequities of taxation in the new trans-national economy; the need for rules governing breakthroughs in bio-technology; the digital divide between rich and poor nations -- may not be so apparent. He plausibly argues for the urgency of each.

(snip)

Another potential stress point, Rischard remarks, is today's pervasive trust in the market. "What these free-market fundamentalists fail to see," he snipes, "is that while central planners were either cretins or fools, the market is a moron. An effective moron, but a moron nonetheless, left to its own devices, it will churn away mindlessly if we trust the market to solve all our problems, we'll end up with scores of unnecessary social stresses over the next twenty years -- and a lot of protesters in the streets."

What, then, should be done?

Rischard says the old ways -- bureaucratic institutions, nation-states, international organizations -- simply won't do. "It's not that they aren't doing useful things," he remarks. "It's more that they weren't designed for the kind of urgent global problem solving needed for the next twenty years of intense change." Both the population explosion and the new world economy, he notes, are exponential; the former, at a spectacular rate, devouring forests, fouling air, and wiping out creatures great and small; the latter offering the potential for stunning growth and (almost literally) overnight change. In bureaucracies, though, far slower clocks tick -- "something one should be perfectly able to change in one year's time," the author says, "takes seven years to change hierarchies are just too slow, too rigid, too self-obsessed, too mired in a sort of perpetual bad mood. And most of the time, their leaders are in over their heads."

Serious global issues, in short, loom even as most politicians can't see beyond their territorial allegiances and electoral cycles. Not enough, clearly, is being done about worldwide poverty, trade issues, assaults on the environment, and the horrendous spread of diseases. In the 20 years ahead, a host of problems -- global warming, regional water shortages, China's coal-based power plants dumping acid rain on Japan -- will transcend national boundaries. Multinational corporations, meanwhile, have already spread their operations around the globe, severely challenging concepts of sovereignty.

The future belongs, Rischard says, to "flatter, faster, more network-like organizations." He proposes a series of "global issues networks," extra-governmental bodies devoted to particular problems. Each network -- devoted to, say, AIDS or the depletion of the world's fisheries -- would consist of officials from governments involved, international civil organizations and firms with knowledge of the issue. A potentially vast "electronic town meeting," as an adjunct, would lead to a rough consensus, enough agreement on fundamentals to get down to policy work. The network would produce standards (not legislation), then single out nations or organizations that weren't cooperating. "For the most part," says the author, "their realization would hinge on countries freely deciding -- on their own or under the pressure of reputational effects -- to enact conforming legislation." A broader definition of "rogue state," with considerable international pressure brought to bear, could have some punitive effect.

(snip)

Any new system of global governance, of course, invites skepticism about its plausibility -- not to mention resistance from entrenched powers. At the least, though, "High Noon" moves beyond traditional thinking, persuasively arguing that our means of solving tomorrow's problems are stuck in yesterday.

full article...

http://www.savannahn...ookReview.shtml

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#799 donquijote

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 05:59 PM

Howdy Bader
Once in while I forward some of the most enlightening posts to other groups, so to bring people into this discussion. Here someone responds to your post, and perhaps you want to respond... I'd say to him, "If capitalism is preaches competition, why don't you welcome it in the form of cooperatives?" Or is it, as you said, that the Lion is worried about losing control over the dirty waterhole?...;)

http://www.google.co...ting.google.com
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#800 donquijote

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 06:34 PM

Another interesting take on the Law of the Jungle...;)

The Law of the Jungle
Dave Matson

Once upon a time, in the bad old days, ancestor Mitchell became annoyed with ancestor Till. Since there were no moral laws then, ancestor Mitchell decided to act on his anger. Thus, one fine morning, he gathered together his hunting buddies and savaged ancestor Till's household. Many of ancestor Till's relatives were killed and ancestor Till was staked out for the vultures. Since there were no laws then, life went on as before. Then, one fine morning, when many of ancestor Mitchell's friends were out hunting mammoths, ancestor Mitchell's household was ravaged. Many of his family were killed and ancestor Mitchell was staked out for the vultures.

In the months that followed, there were raids and counterraids and the violence spread throughout the campsites and caves. Every man kept one eye on his neighbors and one hand on his war club, which made it hard to sleep or have any fun. Worse, a neighboring tribe, sensing their internal disorder, moved in on their favorite mammoth hunting grounds! There were no happy campers in that neck of the woods. Nobody was benefiting from this arrangement except the vultures!

One hot day the grumbling got so bad that some surviving sons of ancestor Till and ancestor Mitchell got together and declared a truce. The importance of upholding the truce was so great that each side threatened to exile any of its own members who broke it. It was better to lose one man than to endanger everyone. Thus, the first moral law was made: Thou shall not kill a fellow tribesman. Soon, another law was made to prevent theft, a situation that often led to killing. Still other laws were made to allow for cooperation on the hunt and for mutual defense. Thus, there was less fighting over mammoths and other goods. Soon the old hunting grounds had been won back, and everyone in that group had the same sense of right and wrong in large and small matters. Without having to watch their backs constantly, and with laws and conventions to minimize friction and handle incidents, the Till people and the Mitchell people worked together efficiently on complex projects and prospered. Their moral laws were not perfect, but they were good enough to get the job done.

The point of our little story, which is not intended as a scientific reconstruction, is that morality is the grease that allows a group to function. People simply cannot live together and do as they please any more than city drivers can ignore all the traffic rules. Chaos would set in, and the tribe would soon fall apart or be conquered by its neighbors.

Morality was born in efficient communal living, and that is where we must initially seek its meaning. It's no accident that the very qualities of moral behavior relate to life within a group. Kindness, sympathy, honesty, generosity, mercy, loyalty, justice, and courage are qualities that strengthen the group. Even courage, which may apply to a hermit, takes its highest moral form in a group. Morality is, therefore, concerned with minimizing disruption within the group and, equally important, promoting cooperation. Efficient cooperation, in turn, requires justice. Nobody's going to cooperate on the next mammoth hunt if he is constantly cheated of his fair share! Thus, we see the origins of morality and justice.

full text...

http://www.infidels....3/3jungl94.html
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