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Priscilla
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PostSubject: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySun 22 Mar 2020, 16:31

Time to reflect on this I guess. I have experienced a place where expedient control quickly changed to oppression. 

Circumstances may vary and quick action the only way..... yet it does not sit easily. Thoughts on this will be interesting. I guess  what it may fall into knocking here but that aside. what of Historical instances - and current mores?
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySun 22 Mar 2020, 16:54

Yes indeed, whilst decisive even draconian measures to curtail people's physical liberty seems to be an effective way to delay the spread of the current virus, the suspension of citizens' basic rights is a worry, and not to be done lightly. I don't want to sound like a broken record stuck repeating the same thing, but at least in France, a carefully written constitution, which defines the essential contract between the sovereign people and the various branches of government, and how the rights and responsibilites of all sides are legally defined and constrained, does give me some confidence, that we're not going to slide into autocratic rule by decree ... at least for the moment.

As to historical instances ... hmm I'll need to think on that one.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySun 22 Mar 2020, 17:08

Oh Gawd, the dreaded C word popped up early, MM - apart from that !!!!!!!!! Nord will now come in and say that's the nub but I have seen constitutions cut like an opening ribbon.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySun 22 Mar 2020, 17:27

Sorry about the c word. Yes constitutions can be cut through as you say, but it is usually fairly obvious to all when this is being done. The current emergency actions being taken by the French government, for example, are time limited and extent limited by the constitution, and are open to legal challenge via the constitutional court. Should the current government try to enforce additional measures; overstep the defined constaints; bypass the courts; or not follow due process, it will be clearly be seen to be illegal. Should they have sufficient support (say from a massive vocal majority of the people or from the armed forces) there's admittedly not much can be done, but it would be clear for what is: a coup. The British system is rather more opaque and a British government could quietly extend its powers with little legal scrutiny: hasn't Cummings via Johnson already said he would like to end the independence of the judiciary, and should he get parliamentary backing to do so there's no fundamental citizen's constitutional right that could stop him. So apologies for the c word but to my mind that is the nub of the matter, at least while we're not yet in a military dictatorship.


Last edited by Meles meles on Sun 22 Mar 2020, 17:33; edited 1 time in total
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySun 22 Mar 2020, 17:33

Of course the C word is is but it is the concept of seting  aside democracy in a crisis which interests.... well me, anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyMon 23 Mar 2020, 10:18

@Priscilla wrote:
Time to reflect on this I guess. I have experienced a place where expedient control quickly changed to oppression. 

Circumstances may vary and quick action the only way..... yet it does not sit easily. Thoughts on this will be interesting. I guess  what it may fall into knocking here but that aside. what of Historical instances - and current mores?

Priscilla,

I think we haven't to worry about it for the moment at least. As you said quick action is necessary and that needs a kind of constraint and police control. But as the public is convinced of the necessity and acting along that way, it is perhaps an easy cooperation without friction.

This cooperation has perhaps also something to do with the nature of a particular population. I had never thought that the undisciplined Belgians that closed their borders, Flemings and Walloons alike, would be bothered about "Ollanders" (Dutch citizens), who over the border, still gathering in some crowds of 20-30 people in an undisciplined way and ask to be forbidden to enter the Belgian territory. And even this "Corona" tinghy was able to unify the existing government of current affairs, because there is still after nearly a year no new government yet, because of the antagonism between the Flemish and the French language region. And see now the one third minority government receives now special powers for some fields of competence to coop with the virus crisis, backed by all the parties, nearing a two third majority (except the far right party and the far left one).

And even a certain Trump, perhaps for electoral reasons, is proposing help to North Korea in its fight against the virus...

Priscilla, I think that once the pandemic is overcome in some months, there will be a prolongation of the usual quarrels, even in the UK, for what democracies, lucky, are know for.

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyWed 25 Mar 2020, 15:11

@Priscilla wrote:
Of course the C word is is but it is the concept of seting  aside democracy in a crisis which interests.... well me, anyway.


Me too - especially after the irresponsible flouting of government guidelines this past week. But perhaps - if the remarks about herd immunity (allegedly) made by chief adviser Dominic Cummings (and others) are true - the British government is actually not too bothered about the masses - the "herd". Not cannon fodder now, but virus fodder.

Odd this thread hasn't taken off, but I suppose we are all wary of another argument - last thing we want is a huffy row about anything political. I might dig up Richard III - always safe to argue about him.

Classic Dom?
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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyWed 25 Mar 2020, 16:02

@Temperance wrote:
I might dig up Richard III - always safe to argue about him.
But if you do that won't it mean exhuming Sister Whatsit again?
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyWed 25 Mar 2020, 18:19

But Priscilla, perhaps it already starts, the slow way, despite my earlier comments;

https://www.bbc.com/news/52012243

As US states ramp up restrictions to contain the coronavirus, Texas has joined Ohio in deeming nearly all abortions as non-essential procedures that must be delayed.

Of course, as dogmatics are overthere well known and the present is perhaps not that different from the past....

I think, I read also on BBC world today about an American pastor licking the ground of his church before the gathering of his fauthfuls...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyFri 27 Mar 2020, 15:15

From the press it seems police have been given more power to act. In recent years they have been neutered to the point of not being respected. Hopefully they will not be over weaning and this is to be reviewed every few days to prevent it I suppose.

There has been a gradual shifting here to people power saying they  know their rights with less and less discipline and confronting police whenever possible - but it  is chilling to imagine what could go wrong. Having lived through Martial law elsewhere - and more than once,  what starts as a benign calming  action then becomes fear of a hammering on the door in the night.
For all of that, I hope a few cocky  yobs might get sorted for a bit.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyFri 27 Mar 2020, 15:32

Priscilla,

I had to look for "cocky yobs".

Only 23 entrances on the mighty internet for: "cocky yobs" meaning

Found this:
https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/cocky
and this:
http://www.roberttwigger.com/journal/2011/10/19/snobs-and-yobs.html

But still I can only approximatively! guess what it are...

Kind regards from Paul.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyFri 27 Mar 2020, 15:40

Cocky yobs are youths out of control and resist authority, spit and cough at police and the elderly, puncture the tyres of 8 ambulances and set fire to food delivery vans, to mention this weeks reported acts of self expression.

They always say no comment when charged..... in TV progs anyway.... and so on …. louts in another word. for them 
I expect Res Historians can find historical names for the genre through the age - there must be many..
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyFri 27 Mar 2020, 16:19

Thank you Priscilla for the immediate respons.

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 28 Mar 2020, 08:02

People phoning the police if a neighbour goes out for a second exercise.

1984 arriving shortly
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 28 Mar 2020, 08:34

To which the police respond by saying - "what do you want us to do about it?". Hardly what Orwell envisaged.

Orwell, in his book, envisaged a future in which community could be usurped by a dictatorship exploiting the natural bonds and sociability the word "community" implies, and he had some very real and horrendous recent examples to draw from. 1984 never took into account that community itself could dissolve from within, so that individuals might ring Big Brother when a neighbour goes jogging, or even when the local KFC has run out of chicken.

This is beyond Orwell, and it seems the police have a better grasp of this fact than those ringing them.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 28 Mar 2020, 09:25

Orwell was of course really writing about his own time: '1984' was first published in 1948, when centralised state control, rationing and petty bureaucracy, were all still very much in force in Britain, although no longer with a wartime enemy to fully justify it.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 28 Mar 2020, 09:52

Identity Cards were a case of "administrative creep". Originally a wartime measure (see hhttps://www.objectlessons.org/conflict-and-protest-20th-century-to-present/identity-cards-world-war-ii-original-/s74/a922/ere) but by the time Harry Willcock was prosecuted (he refused to produce his) it was being used, without lawful justification, for over 40 purposes.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 28 Mar 2020, 10:46

Many appear to think that current dictates do not apply to them. Although told at the entrance to a smallish supermarket that the rule was one shopper at a time and not in pairs, one couple muscled in. A friend working there saw them down an aisle and asked that one leave the shop and wait because that was the rule.  Not aforementioned yobs but  a middle aged and well spoken pair then swore at my friend and then the man threw his filled basket at her. 
Another customer balled them out as they left the store. My friend has been going into the shop at 4am to stock shelves and thoroughly clean the entire place.

They will have to go some way to redo their shop and they have been banned for life from this one..
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 28 Mar 2020, 11:24

@Green George wrote:
Identity Cards were a case of "administrative creep". Originally a wartime measure (see hhttps://www.objectlessons.org/conflict-and-protest-20th-century-to-present/identity-cards-world-war-ii-original-/s74/a922/ere) but by the time Harry Willcock was prosecuted (he refused to produce his) it was being used, without lawful justification, for over 40 purposes.

Gil, there is an "h" too much in the link

https://www.objectlessons.org/conflict-and-protest-20th-century-to-present/identity-cards-world-war-ii-original-/s74/a922/
 
Gil and how can people then know, who you are as no identity card is obliged in the UK (btw as in nord's Ireland and Norway)...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_identity_cards_in_the_European_Economic_Area#Overview_of_national_identity_cards

We here in Belgium had it already from 1909 on
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258763996_The_emergence_of_the_identity_card_in_Belgium_and_its_colonies
And yes the first appliances of "big brother" perhaps in Ruanda-Urundi with the Tutsis...
Although with "cambridge analitica" one is not safe anywhere anymore even without "identiy card"

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 28 Mar 2020, 11:36

Paul
It's not so much the ID card per se, it's the way justifiable measures get subverted and used in areas where there is no justification.
Yes, unless you have at least a photo driving licence, or preferably a passport, some things get difficult in the UK. I was recently asked to verify the id of a Belgian living in the UK (now a British citizen) for a British passport*. I don't have a passport myself, so I can't do it.

*Don't quite see the need unless the thought of a Blue passport made in France really turns you on, but hey!
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyWed 01 Apr 2020, 13:47

Priscilla, is it already that far that we will have the first "dictatorship " in Europe thanks to Corona virus?

https://www.euractiv.com/section/elections/news/coronavirus-to-father-eus-first-dicatatorship/

Viktor Orban and Hungary...
From the article:

After declaring a state of emergency on 11 March, Orbán expects parliament to vote on Tuesday (30 March) to allow him to extend it indefinitely and rule by decree in order to better fight COVID-19 and its impacts.
If parliament, dominated by his right-wing Fidesz party, approves the “coronavirus law” with the necessary two-thirds majority, Orbán’s cabinet could in theory enjoy effectively unchecked power.
 
Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyThu 02 Apr 2020, 11:01

Priscilla, one can perhaps say "international crisis and democracy"

I read today on BBC world an example from China I already mentioned in a threead about China or was it about Confucianism, namely the tight government control of all citizens of China.
Now that control seemed to have been effectif in their struggle against Corona virus and brings perhaps far right and far left leaning countries that far to introduce also this "big brother" methods in their countries? Perhaps moderate "democratic" countries, who have already some kind of similar systems to improve their systems in the light of Corona and once it is there to prolong it? And will these socalled democratic countries will be able to keep these "big brother" methods in check?

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-52104798/coronavirus-how-china-s-using-surveillance-to-tackle-outbreak

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyWed 15 Apr 2020, 15:50

@Meles meles wrote:
Sorry about the c word. Yes constitutions can be cut through as you say, but it is usually fairly obvious to all when this is being done. The current emergency actions being taken by the French government, for example, are time limited and extent limited by the constitution, and are open to legal challenge via the constitutional court. Should the current government try to enforce additional measures; overstep the defined constaints; bypass the courts; or not follow due process, it will be clearly be seen to be illegal. Should they have sufficient support (say from a massive vocal majority of the people or from the armed forces) there's admittedly not much can be done, but it would be clear for what is: a coup. The British system is rather more opaque and a British government could quietly extend its powers with little legal scrutiny: hasn't Cummings via Johnson already said he would like to end the independence of the judiciary, and should he get parliamentary backing to do so there's no fundamental citizen's constitutional right that could stop him. So apologies for the c word but to my mind that is the nub of the matter, at least while we're not yet in a military dictatorship.

I rather agree with MM - but perhaps what is happening here in the UK is nothing compared to the terrifying developments this week in the US. Surely Trump, with his assumption of absolute authority, is openly challenging the much-lauded American Constitution? Or have I got that wrong? I do not pretend to understand American politics, but I seem to remember saying on the Constitution thread that things always get rewritten when a Napoleon (pig, not French Emperor) takes over. Only hope is that Napoleon (pig) was very clever, whereas Trump is monumentally stupid - isn't he?

The Corona Squad is out in full force here these days, even in a sleepy Devon village. Not the police, but the local Neighbourhood Watch spies who are timing people's walks. I had better watch my step(s). If I disappear you will know I've been sent to the Gulag somewhere. They've got one over the border in Cornwall - definitely don't want to end up there...
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyWed 15 Apr 2020, 16:08

PS

This would make a good Cold War Steve picture:

National Crisis and Democracy 1117px-Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States-1-704x454

Now who could he put where?

This is from last week: is this an Edward Hopper scene CWS has adapted?

National Crisis and Democracy EVMVOdXXsAMheWM?format=jpg&name=small
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyWed 15 Apr 2020, 17:08

Thanks Temperance for another thought-provoking message.

I had to enlarge the picture to see that it was Trump's friend from North Korea...

http://floresypalabras.blogspot.com/2009/10/edward-hopper-drug-store.html

The museum of fine arts Boston Edward Hopper

National Crisis and Democracy 3+Drug+Store+1927+The+Museum+of+Fine+Arts,+Boston

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyWed 15 Apr 2020, 17:10

OOPS Temperance, forgot...what is CWS?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CWS
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyWed 15 Apr 2020, 17:48

"Cold War Steve" - she said it in the same post, Paul.

Temp wrote:
Surely Trump, with his assumption of absolute authority, is openly challenging the much-lauded American Constitution? Or have I got that wrong?

No, you've got it right. However this is Trump you're talking about, who has been known to contradict himself, and then counter-contradict himself, all within one tweet. So when he states a so-called policy intention that would in all certitude be unconstitutional should he actually go ahead and act on it you have to bear in mind that the fool probably isn't even aware of what he has just said, and that's even as he is saying it, without even so much as finishing any particular sentence in which this verbal amnesia afflicts him.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyThu 16 Apr 2020, 13:40

@nordmann wrote:


Temp wrote:
Surely Trump, with his assumption of absolute authority, is openly challenging the much-lauded American Constitution? Or have I got that wrong?

No, you've got it right. However this is Trump you're talking about, who has been known to contradict himself, and then counter-contradict himself, all within one tweet. So when he states a so-called policy intention that would in all certitude be unconstitutional should he actually go ahead and act on it you have to bear in mind that the fool probably isn't even aware of what he has just said, and that's even as he is saying it, without even so much as finishing any particular sentence in which this verbal amnesia afflicts him.

But surely, however nonsensical his public pronouncements seem, he still has the support - and presumably acts on the advice - of people who are, terrifyingly, not stupid? Or at least not obviously so? Do we therefore have to accept that there are many Republicans - educated ones, not the mob - who are blatantly, unashamedly, anti-Constitution? Are there any checks on them? They are the guardians - at the moment - of the American state. Who is guarding these guardians? Anyone?  

The regime of which this man is the nominal head, baffles me. I hesitate to ask something which may be utterly daft, but is it possible to be a Republican today and not be anti-constitutional?
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyThu 16 Apr 2020, 14:22

Like a scene from Dawn of the Dead, protestors demanding Ohio Governor Mike DeWine lift Coronavirus restrictions:

National Crisis and Democracy EVqsqy5XYAEM_Gq
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyThu 16 Apr 2020, 14:35

If there's a weakness in the American constitution then it is the lack of definition of what constitutes "executive" power as invested in one individual, the president. Many well-meaning and often very intelligent men have, as president, only found out after the event that they have strayed beyond their remit, and even then this has exposed a second weakness in that the correction has come often from the legislative assembly rather than the Supreme Court. However in the long term this weakness has often been its strength, in that it traditionally has meant that the inbuilt "checks and balances" have largely worked without the need for excessive definition of the powers each possess, something that itself carries a risk that an artificial limitation on one branch of government simply opens the door to another branch abusing power.

As long as Trump, whose ignorance of his own role's limitations is rooted primarily in a megalomania so extreme that it borders on pathological mental illness, simply talks about potential abuses then the constitution, as such, isn't actually threatened. However you are correct to assume there are several rather shrewder individuals who will welcome these outbursts, and even encourage them, in order to test the resolve of the individuals whose own roles include enforcement of that constitution. For these people the knowledge that at some future point a policy or law is deemed unconstitutional doesn't trouble them unduly - their motives are rooted in the anticipation of substantial financial reward in the short term and, as the UK is also proving at the moment, it is almost impossible for any system of governance to stymie such ruthless opportunism when engaged in by those with a grip on the reigns of power.

Trump, and a few of his fellow travellers, have come dangerously close during his term as president to not only being unconstitutional in their policies but actually breaking the law in prosecuting them. And this is an important distinction between constitutionality and legality that British people, for historical reasons, often fail to appreciate. However in the US it is of the utmost importance at the moment - the trump administration's strategy of enacting laws and "executive orders" with a speed and vigour that evaded constitutional scrutiny in the short term had already led them before this crisis hit the country to a point where they had simply postponed a constitutional backlash, not avoided it. This they were content to do as they had no ambition to still be in positions of executive power when that backlash came, and the laws were largely federal with huge leeway for individual states to constitutionally avoid, amend or agree with them as each saw fit. However the health crisis has already seen this strategy begin to fail as these federally imposed laws and orders are now visibly and immediately breaking not only US constitutional terms but also those of individual states (if you live in a state within the USA you are very likely subject to two constitutions governing the laws by which you live). We have already seen a predictable reaction by individual governors and mayors, but this caucus is already quickly expanding to include quite a few others involved in federal and state administration, and it is from this quarter that I anticipate the constitutional backlash against Trump's abuses will now come (and one which includes not a few Republicans, it must be said). The question is not that it will come, in fact, but only if it comes in time. Trump's administration seems also to realise that it is now on borrowed time and is racing to expedite abuses before such a reckoning, which they had always assumed to be comfortably far in the future. In this race we can expect to see even more desperate abuses of office along the way, and though it is of little comfort now for those affected by this behaviour, the fact that we know them to be abuses - ironically enough - is proof that a constitution robust enough to at least define them as such exists. We'll see if it's robust enough to protect the laws that protect the victims of this abuse. History would suggest it is, though often too late for many in terms of personal justice. And under Trump the "many" are many indeed.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyThu 16 Apr 2020, 14:45

@Temperance wrote:

... acts on the advice - of people who are, terrifyingly, not stupid? Or at least not obviously so? Do we therefore have to accept that there are many Republicans - educated ones, not the mob - who are blatantly, unashamedly, anti-Constitution?  

Temperance,

there were in Hitler's Germany, many collaborators, who were obviously not stupid, but for all kind of reasons they nevertheless worked with and supported Hitler...
But yes even an Hitler needed with all kind of tricks the two thirds of the assembly for his "Ermächtigungsgesetz"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enabling_Act_of_1933

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyThu 16 Apr 2020, 16:21

@nordmann wrote:
However you are correct to assume there are several rather shrewder individuals who will welcome these outbursts, and even encourage them, in order to test the resolve of the individuals whose own roles include enforcement of that constitution. For these people the knowledge that at some future point a policy or law is deemed unconstitutional doesn't trouble them unduly - their motives are rooted in the anticipation of substantial financial reward in the short term and, as the UK is also proving at the moment, it is almost impossible for any system of governance to stymie such ruthless opportunism when engaged in by those with a grip on the reigns of power.

Simple, short-term greed in leaders is usually exposed and condemned by the people, is it not? What worries me is when the motives of those whom you charitably call "the shrewd" go beyond short-term financial gain, and when their political and ideological ambitions are pursued with an almost religious (or indeed, in the USA, with an actual religious) fervour. Cummings here has a secular vision - a horrifying one - of a brave new world. Such men are dangerous - as dangerous as the "shrewd", religiously-righteous, right-wing of Trump's world. Where there is no vision the people perish, the compiler of the Proverbs in the Jewish Testament wisely tells us: he should have added that where there is the wrong vision, they are also likely to perish. And when wrong visions take a hold on people's imaginations, a constitution - written or unwritten - is of no earthly use - as history has shown us, time after time? I wonder if the Bible-thumping supporters of the Trump regime have ever read or understood the Book of Proverbs - written long before the American Constitution? It is just as wise - and sometimes just as futile - as the later document.


Proverbs 29:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyThu 16 Apr 2020, 17:13

Temperance,
I saw yesterday this documentary from the French/German channel Arte in the series "reportage".
It is in French or German and for the time being you can still watch it (at least overhere).
The "le monde d'après" (the time after?) about China, here Peking after the Corona crisis...
As I already mentioned in a thread, big brother is watching (already from before the crisis)
Everywhere cameras and bodyscanning...
On 1 min 58 seconds: everywhere "comités de quartier" (quarter commitees?) 1 guard for 140 persons (and dedicated to the party) at least as mentioned in Peking...
From the site: synopsis: and with google translate: in English: pretty well I have to say...
CHINE : LE MONDE D’APRÈS
Après des semaines de confinement destiné à protéger la capitale chinoise d’une vague meurtrière de Covid 19, les premiers signes d’un timide retour à la vie normale apparaissent à Pékin. Symbole de ce renouveau, les touristes chinois peuvent à nouveau se promener sur la grande muraille. Mais, si l’étau sanitaire se desserre, le dispositif de surveillance et de contrôle de la population, est lui, toujours bien en place. Chaque faits et gestes des citoyens est désormais scruté par les autorités et dans ce domaine, comme dans bien d’autres, le monde d’après ne ressemblera plus jamais à celui d’avant.

After weeks of confinement to protect the Chinese capital from a murderous wave of Covid 19, the first signs of a timid return to normal life appear in Beijing. Symbol of this renewal, Chinese tourists can once again walk on the great wall. But, if the sanitary vice loosens, the system of surveillance and control of the population is still in place. Every citizen’s action is now scrutinized by the authorities and in this area, as in many others, the next world will never look like the one before.

Kind regards, Paul.

PS: And in the documentary some Chinese make already a comparison between "their!" authoritarian regime acting better than the "capitalistic" or was it "democratic" US...

PPS: Temperance, glad to see you more on the board...
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 18 Apr 2020, 12:01

I found this to be an interesting article, given all the protests, hysteria and demands for "constitutional freedom" going on in the USA at the moment. Clearly constitutions are not inviolate. The piece is from the Atlantic whose contributors seem reasonable and sane - as far, that is, as one can tell  in these strange times.



Red and Blue America Agree That Now Is the Time to Violate the Constitution


Countries are taking extraordinary measures to slow the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these measures limit individual freedom and may also violate rights guaranteed by national constitutions. Italy’s complete lockdown, enforced by criminal penalties, probably violates its constitution. Norwegian lawmakers have proposed an emergency law that temporarily gives the government unprecedented power to override the constitution and national laws to thwart the virus. Meanwhile, without consulting the Israeli Parliament, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enacted emergency regulations allowing for stunning surveillance power to combat the virus. Never one to waste a good crisis, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán will likely be able to rule by decree for the foreseeable future.

How dull we are in the UK. We have nothing written down to violate - and they had better not try. Actually, the most British thing I have read this morning is not reports of rabid, flag-waving protest, hysterical tweets or demands from right-wing groups that their "constitutional freedoms" be protected, but was a comment from a senior clinician, Professor James Calder, an ex-British Army guy, who is working at the Nightingale Hospital in London. He noted how staff, volunteers and other workers are coping in this crisis. We may not have a constitution here; we just have tea. It has always worked.

If you have eyes with each other when you first go on a shift, you introduce yourselves, and speak to each other after the shift. If they get upset, have a difficult time with a patient or a death, they sit down and have a cup of tea. It worked very well in the past in the military and it's working very well here.

But no doubt I am living in a fools' paradise (UK). But at the moment I am glad I am. Sorry, but there you have it.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 18 Apr 2020, 12:49

Temp wrote:
Norwegian lawmakers have proposed an emergency law that temporarily gives the government unprecedented power to override the constitution and national laws to thwart the virus.

This is not correct. Here is the current emergency legislation in detail. Can you please read it even more thoroughly than I did and see where it "overrides" the constitution?

Nasjonale Tiltak (National Measures)

I looked at The Atlantic online edition essay you quoted to see how they might have arrived at such a stupid conclusion. In the article they actually embed a link in that exact sentence to another publication, a right wing European online tabloid and an uncredited article published there in which Anders Breivik's (remember him?) defence lawyer Lippestad calls the above emergency legislation "madness". I looked around further to see why Lippestad, of all people (he is a well respected lawyer in Norway), would have made a pronouncement of this nature and found that he hadn't. What he actually said, in the only public pronouncement I could find associated with him, was that he was worried that this emergency legislation and the consequent restructuring of the health facilities nationally could have a hugely detrimental impact on he and his wife Signe's two handicapped children:

"The Virus Could Destroy My Son" - Dagbladet March 26th 2020

You can see that the article contains interviews with several parents of handicapped children, all of whom were fearful, when the emergency legislation was first announced, that vital treatment their children needed on a daily basis might now be unavailable, and Lippestad speaks in that capacity, with no mention of the law or the constitution whatsoever.

You will also see within the same article (Dagbladet is a reasonably good journalistic organ) two replies from the Health Department addressing the two primary concerns raised in the article (access to hospitals and healthcare workers in a time of limited mobility, and availability of medicines and treatment in a time when healthcare workers are concentrating on the pandemic). Both concerns are not only acknowledged in these replies but the procedures in place to address them are outlined. And as far as I can tell in the meantime these assurances were not empty - in fact a huge amount of extra funding has been allocated to extending clinical treatments from purely within hospital premises to people's homes across the country.

You may or may not therefore appreciate the danger of cutting and pasting the quote you chose to reproduce here. You may however wish to review your last sentence. Personally, if I had to choose between living in a "fool's paradise" and a community in which a constitutional requirement for the provision of adequate healthcare has not (despite what your article claims) been in any way "violated", let alone "challenged" by any member of the legal profession, then unlike you, I would opt for the latter.


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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 18 Apr 2020, 12:50

National Crisis and Democracy Img443
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 18 Apr 2020, 13:56

I cannot translate the link to which you have so kindly directed me.

Your reply has concentrated, rather unfairly I think, on one small part of my post; and in so doing has made it sound as though I have quoted from some right-wing rag. The Atlantic is hardly that? Please see below. In so rubbishing my source, you have deflected from what I - foolishly, no doubt - am attempting to suggest: that constitutions can, in times of great crisis, be overridden, and overridden with great speed and ease. Having a constitution nicely written down is no protection in dangerous times against an unscrupulous, ambitious leader who neither respects nor values the law. As Thomas Jefferson probably didn't say, the price of Liberty is indeed eternal vigilance. We British, with our cups of tea, are more vigilant than you give us credit for.

As for my living in a fools' paradise, well, the whole tenor of your post would suggest I am where I belong. I am teetering dangerously on the edge of a huff: my daily constitutional hopefully will restore my good humour. Shouting at the sheep always works wonders.




Throughout its history, The Atlantic has been reluctant to endorse political candidates in elections. In 1860, three years into publication, The Atlantic's then-editor James Russell Lowell endorsed Republican Abraham Lincoln for his first run for president and also endorsed the abolition of slavery.[31]

In 1964, Edward Weeks wrote on behalf of the editorial board in endorsing Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson and rebuking Republican Barry Goldwater's candidacy.[32]

In 2016, the editorial board endorsed a presidential candidate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, for the third time since the magazine's founding, in a rebuke of Republican Donald Trump's candidacy.[33] Since the election, the magazine has become a strong critic of President Trump. The March 2019 cover article by editor Yoni Appelbaum formally called for the impeachment of Donald Trump: "It's time for Congress to judge the president's fitness to serve..."


This is from Wiki, so is perhaps once again utter nonsense that I am quoting.


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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 18 Apr 2020, 14:06

Trike - Hancock (of Hancock's Half Hour Daily Briefing) - not Raab - was given a thorough grilling yesterday at the "virtual" parliamentary committee meeting. I think he will resign soon: he's seriously out of his depth, and is getting more and more tetchy by the day. Course he has only just got over the bug himself; he probably would welcome being back in self-isolation to recuperate properly. Lucky Boris - he'll return triumphant when restrictions are lifted in three weeks or so, and be hailed as the Saviour of the Nation. He'll stand on the steps of Number 10, possibly carrying new little Baby Boris, and everyone will cheer and clap for joy.

Raab, whose picture, plus comments, you have posted above, has also, like the hapless Hancock, been promoted above his capabilities.

We are not all completely unaware, you know!
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 18 Apr 2020, 14:56

Not sure what The Atlantic's editorial policy is any longer, at least not since it was bought by Steve Jobs' widow Laurene. I imagine it's quite "libertarian" as they say in the US. However its cited source for its comment on Norway was a right-wing publication, and that's all I pointed out.

Sorry you couldn't read the Norwegian legislation - I right-clicked and translated using my own browser and it did a very good job of it. Sorry to hear that didn't work for you.

I didn't intend to ignore your point regarding some politicians riding rough-shod over their countries' constitutions. The extent to which they can do this and/or get away with it of course depends on the country, the politician, the method they employ, the times in which they do it, and - crucially - the constitution itself. They're not all identical, you know.

Remember, wear a face mask if you're going to shout at sheep at close quarters. They even sell masks just for this occasion these days ...

National Crisis and Democracy Lisang-cute-sheep-portrait-full-face-masks-uv-balaclava-hood-D_NQ_NP_628489-MCO30862631358_052019-F
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySat 18 Apr 2020, 20:28

I have now translated - with Google's help - the link. I note the emergency powers in Norway will be "automatically repealed" after one month; also that the independence of the Norwegian judges remains fully protected by the constitution in your adopted country.

The law will automatically be repealed after one month. One third of the Storting can stop any decision the government makes. Nor does the bill go beyond the court's independence. The independence of the courts and judges is protected by the Constitution.

Fair enough - point taken. I am glad you appear to have taken mine.


PS The local sheep were unimpressed by the mask you suggested.

National Crisis and Democracy 1795463433001_4034274402001_SHOW-4
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptySun 17 May 2020, 13:48

Did anybody see the news item yesterday of some bright sparks protesting somewhere beside the Thames in London against the lockdown?  They didn't believe the pandemic was real.  I've heard of 'Freemen on the Land' (British version of 'sovereign citizens') before but it was the first time I'd seen any on mainstream media.

I guess we have to balance a right to peaceful protest against wilfully putting other peoples' lives in danger.  I don't like being in lockdown but I'd rather be safe.

I guess we won't know whether there will be an attempt to impose restrictions by stealth because of the pandemic until we see how matters lie when (hopefully) things improve.  I seem to remember that income tax was introduced as a 'temporary' measure by Pitt the Younger (I'm sure I'll be corrected if I have the wrong Prime Minister).
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PostSubject: Re: National Crisis and Democracy   National Crisis and Democracy EmptyTue 19 May 2020, 18:37

@Priscilla wrote:
Circumstances may vary and quick action the only way..... yet it does not sit easily.

The different responses of the various English-speaking countries to the world wars is worth looking at. America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all held elections during both world wars.

During the First World War Australia and New Zealand held elections in 1914, Australia held another in 1917 as did Canada while America held midterm elections in 1918. During the Second World War, Canada and Australia held federal elections in 1940, America held midterm elections in 1942, Australia held another federal election and New Zealand a general election in 1943 and America held a presidential election in 1944. Southern Ireland, which was neutral during the Second World War but nevertheless referred to it as 'the Emergency', held a general election in 1943 and another in 1944. Australia’s 1943 election even took place while fierce fighting was ongoing in neighbouring New Guinea.

The UK by contrast had general elections scheduled for 1915 (during the First World War) and 1940 (during the Second World War). Both were cancelled. Canada’s 1917 federal election is also noteworthy because the country had had an election in 1911, and with a 5-year parliamentary term, then the next election should have been in 1916. The election, however, took place a year late. The incumbent government used the war as a reason for the delay but even then it had required an act of the UK parliament to legalise that extension. The British North America Amendment Act (1916) stated:

'Nothwithstanding anything in the British North America Act, 1867, or in any Act amending the same, or in any Order in Council, or terms or conditions of Union, made or approved under the said Act, or under any Act of the Canadian Parliament, the term of the Twelfth Parliament of Canada is hereby extended until the seventh day of October, nineteen hundred and seventeen.'

The UK parliament had brought in a similar bill with regard to itself the previous year and this was re-issued in 1916 and again in 1917. The Elections & Registrations Act (1915) also postponed local elections. During the Second World War, it’s understandable that 1940 was perhaps not an ideal time for a general election with the Norway campaign, the fall of France, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz all happening that year. And the Prolongation of Parliament Act was duly passed. One might have thought, however, that in 1941 following the German invasion of the Soviet Union and with the pressure off, then a general election could have been held later that year. Or certainly after America’s entry into the war in December 1941, then there doesn’t seem to be any reason why a general election in 1942 could not have taken place. Yet the Prolongation of Parliament Act was re-issued in 1941 and 1942 and 1943 and 1944.

National Crisis and Democracy 3945426

(Australian servicemen in New Guinea casting their votes during the election of August 1943)
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