Lebensraum: In Germany a new anti-euro party, the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has won 10% of the vote in recent elections. The sudden strength of this Germany-first party (to be followed by a Germany for the Germans group and then one with the motto 'Lebensraum') in Angela Merkel's rear-view mirror is bound to affect her efforts keep the eurozone afloat. That the AfD is right only adds to the problem.
Tomb of the Unknowns: Obama reminded the UN General Assembly that “the cause of empire leads to the graveyard”. Actually, several graveyards. First those filled with the conquered, then the conquerors.
A Big Bite: Over 20,000 police across Europe arrested more than 1,000 people from gangs involved in people trafficking, narcotics, gun trafficking and cybercrime. In one raid 30 children destined for the sex trade were rescued. The biggest surprise was the secrecy with which the operation was planned and executed. While more arrests are expected to follow, don't expect much to change.
Can You Hear Me Now? Russia has carefully explained to the EU that if the natural gas Russia ships to Europe keeps ending up in Ukraine, they'll have to stop shipping the gas. And a new law will give Russian courts authority to seize foreign-owned assets in Russia – an economic response to economic sanctions. Not retaliation, no, no, not retaliation. Diplomacy.
Long Division: The US Army is preparing to deploy the 1st Infantry Division's headquarters to Iraq.
Carpe The Diem: Australia is succumbing (with the help of self-serving politicians) to another wave of irrational fear, giving their spy agency, ASIO, the power to monitor every Australian's every use of the internet, with special emphasis on harassing journalists. The goal is to identify and jail whistleblowers. Think of it as the out-of-town tryouts for NSA & the guys from our Heimatsicherheitsamt.
And I Quote: “Man mistaken for squirrel shot dead.”
Fortune Cookie: “Democratic political systems are not supposed to end conflict, [but] given how self-reinforcing the country’s political malaise is, and how unlikely the prospects for constructive incremental reform are, the decay of American politics will probably continue until some external shock comes along to catalyze a true reform coalition and galvanize it into action.”
Correction: The pauperization of the US middle class is not something new. The median household income stalled out way back in 1980. Does know this make you feel better?
Moot Court: In what would seem to be (but isn't) a defense mounted by first year law students, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office claims that a civilian PA prison clerk who was raped by a prisoner after her workplace was relocated to an unlocked office in the penitentiary and who is now suing the state for contributing to the crime had "acted in a manner which in whole or in part contributed” to her rape. The old 'she-asked-for-it' defense.
Is Our Children Learning: Down in Texas the way you get your guys onto the school board is to pay voters either $10 cash or give them a “small bag of cocaine” to encourage them to vote for your candidates. Probably the family values/prayer in the schools/anti-evolution bunch.
Porn O'Graph: Death watch.