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Unbelievable

by Jerome a Paris Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 05:28:49 AM EST

Freedom, not climate, is at risk by Vaclav Klaus

As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

Mr Klaus will answer questions in an online Q&A (in a section of the FT website called "ask the expert" - irony is dead). Post a question now. Time for action...

I am posting more extracts below. That article is useful, because it concentrates in one place all the usual arguments and techniques of the climate change negationists, and because it underlines an imortant political point: the extremist hard right sees no need to triangulate. They push for their ideas unashamedly, consistently, loudly, from the very top (this is the President of a EU country writing) to the lower rungs of the think tank machinery, and are successful in slowly impregnating the discourse with their insane ideas and thus in no longer appearing like the extremist hard righters they've always been.

If the left does not make an effort to stand by its ideas loudly and proudly, the debate will keep on moving to the right, as the pundit "centrists" keep on looking at the halfway position as the "reasonable" one. The middle needs to be brought back leftwards, which means making lefty discourse heard louder.


The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.

As a witness to today’s worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:

  • Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures;

  • Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided;

  • Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants;

  • Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term “scientific consensus”, which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority;

  • Instead of speaking about “the environment”, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour;

  • Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction;

  • Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.

Display:
I'm feeling an all-caps moment coming on....

You know what would really impede our freedoms? BEING UNDER FUCKING WATER! How's that for an intervention in human lives?

Although at that point I suppose Klaus would argue we have the freedom to develop gills...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:08:35 AM EST
Hey, the Czech Republic is landlocked, so Klaus doesn't need to worry about rising sea levels. Those recurring floods on the Vltava, though...

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:31:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Artificial barriers are now purchased for all of Prague, holes for installing them are drilled, and regular maneuvers are held. So, this problem is taken care of.

On the other hand, currently 68% percent of the Czech territory are officially classified as suffering from dry conditions, and river flows are very low. So, do not expect politicians to think about floods right now.

by Sargon on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 07:51:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that one of those "worst droughts in living memory"?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:17:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Radio Praha: Areas of Czech Republic threatened by drought (23-04-2007)
In recent years it seems we've seen more and more "extreme" conditions: floods one spring followed by dry spells. Do Czechs, as other central Europeans, have to get used to more extreme weather in the future?

"I think that's true. That is the reason why we as climatologists speak so often about climate change. In Central Europe we can speak about extremes: it's not important whether the average mean temperature will be two or six degrees above normal. What is important are the extremes."

If you're interested please look up details at the institute's website where you can find out about areas threatened by the danger of forest fires or view a map of areas with low moisture levels in the soil. The website to visit is www.chmi.cz where you'll find information in both English and Czech.

Lies and propaganda, all of it, I suppose Klaus would say.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:23:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to worry. If we are to believe Mr Klaus, economic growth will take care of it in no time. I'm not quite sure how the process economic growth -> end of drought works, but I suspect both ends involve some sort of rain dance.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:53:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is the classic three-phase business plan:

  1. Stimulate growth.
  2. ????
  3. End Drought.

Any self-respecting Gnome will be able to explain it to you.
by det on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:04:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:09:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hurrah!

I've been looking for a copy of that cartoon for ages!

Thanks.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Jun 15th, 2007 at 12:22:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All I did was to type "then a miracle happens" into google images.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 15th, 2007 at 01:48:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Done that about 50 times over the last several years.

(The Internets hate me.)


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Jun 15th, 2007 at 09:16:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did he bump his head?
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:13:33 AM EST
No, this is totally in-character for Klaus.

Unfortunately it looks like he'll get easily reelected President.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:30:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He was part of the "environmental atheist" club at least in March this year, where it was first noted in the Salon: Czech leader Klaus fights global warming 'religion'. FT is just giving him the soapbox. You start wishing he'd have been kept busy even longer with forming his government...

Whew. Took some time to find it.

by Nomad on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:32:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unbelievable is an excellent title.

Unbelievable ... like a South African president rejecting basic science related to HIV/AIDS transmission.

Now, I am not sure that this is "all" arguments (see, for example,

Grist's excellent How to talk to a skeptic section.

I did too long a question/comment:

Mr Klaus,

You write: ""scientific consensus", which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority".

What evidence do you have of some form of "silent majority" of experts on climate issues who disagree with the base points in the IPCC reports and believe that they are too pessimistic?

Who should I believe about the scientific communities viewpoints?  The heads of the world's National Academies of Science or a politician who choices to prominently cite a science fiction novelist?

RE: The heads of National Academies of Science, see, for example, the statement prior to G8 summit: "It is unequivocal that the climate is changing, and it is very likely that this is predominantly caused by the increasing human interference with the atmosphere. These changes will transform the environmental conditions on Earth unless counter-measures are taken." http://www.nationalacademies.org/includes/G8Statement_Energy_07_May.pdf

Sir, with all due respect, your editorial flies in face of scientific evidence. And, your editorial flies in the face of your responsibilities to your nation and people to prepare for a better future.

Should we -- the world -- believe a scientist like Lindzen, who compares himself to Galileo, or the 1000s of scientists who have contributed to IPCC reports and studies over the past several decades?  Should we believe people paid by oil companies or our own lying eyes seeing changes all around us?

We have an obligation to act responsibly in the face of threats.  Acting to seek greater energy efficiency and develop more renewable/less polluting power sources are responsible actions that reduce / mitigate the potential future impact from Global Warming. They will also improve economies.  Hmmm ... Win-Win-Win solutions. You don't get those too often. Why not embrace this rather than fight facts?

Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart. NOW!!!

by a siegel (siegeadATgmailIGNORETHISdotPLEASEcom) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:25:38 AM EST
PS: You will be posting at Daily Kos, no?

Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart. NOW!!!
by a siegel (siegeadATgmailIGNORETHISdotPLEASEcom) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:26:20 AM EST
I'll certainly point to your excellent reply.

PS - will you crosspost your CTL diary over here?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:51:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's an accurate, sane and thoughtful response, which - unfortunately - makes it politically useless.

At this we have to deal with the fact that there are now two kinds of people on this planet - those who believe in physical reality, and those who don't.

Rational arguments about evidence won't reach the latter sort, because they don't believe in evidence. Instead they see anything that might impinge on their right to be total fuckwits as a personal provocation - and that includes any limits set by physical reality.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 07:47:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term "scientific consensus", which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority;

Jesus!

I am speechless.

There is no silent majority in science, it's all in the open. Unless he's saying that the loud minirity are the scientists and we need to stop listening to them.

These people are dangerous.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:33:23 AM EST
Actually, there was a footnote in the original text that seems to have gone missing.

The passage was originally:

Let us resist the politicisation of science[1] and oppose the term "scientific consensus"...

And the footnote:

[1] Except when I do it.


"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They push for their ideas unashamedly, consistently, loudly, from the very top (this is the President of a EU country writing) to the lower rungs of the think tank machinery, and are successful in slowly impregnating the discourse with their insane ideas and thus in no longer appearing like the extremist hard righters they've always been.

And when the Anctartic Ice Cap melts, they'll somehow avoid getting tarred and feathered because "one couldn't possibly have known".

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:36:38 AM EST
They'll be dead since a long time and don't care if the monuments in their memory are destroyed by the mob.

Pierre
by Pierre on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 09:00:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You think it won't happen in our lifetime?

New Scientist: Antarctic ice sheet is an 'awakened giant' (02 February 2005)

The massive west Antarctic ice sheet, previously assumed to be stable, is starting to collapse, scientists warned on Tuesday.

...

In March 2002, a huge floating ice shelf known as Larsen B shattered into icebergs. This turned out to have an effect akin to pulling a cork from a bottle. With Larsen B no longer impeding movement, the ice floes that fed the shelf began moving faster towards the sea and started to thin. The finding took scientists by surprise when revealed in September 2004 and now modellers are now working to include such mechanisms in their predictions.

...

Whether the loss of mass by the glaciers is due to natural variation or is caused by human-influenced warming of the oceans is not known for sure. Scientists are now making more field measurements to assess the causes, but warming is a likely culprit, said Rapley: "The fact that three of them are simultaneously accelerating suggests that is the case." The melting of these three glaciers alone is contributing an estimated 0.24 millimetres per year to sea level.



Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 09:12:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may have visible consequences in the Netherlands towards the end of our (you and I) lifetimes, if we are "lucky" to top the most optimistic life expectancy estimates. Probably earlier in Bengladesh of course.

I believe M. prime minister is 20 years older than us at least, and he doesn't give a damn, rightly so, from his point of view.

Pierre

by Pierre on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 09:58:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Après moi le Déluge, literally.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 10:11:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like I said elsewhere, the Czech Republic is a landlocked country, so he doesn't need to give a damn either, with good reason.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 10:12:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

This, in a nutshell, is why this debate is not rational. On one side are the Malthusians and on the other side the cornucopians. Because the difference is at the level of basic assumptions, there's little that can be done to argue rationally.

Also, although "past performance is no guarantee of future performance", etc, Capitalism has seen 6 centuries of uninterrupted growth and progress, so "fundamental" arguments based on carrying capacity, etc, are too theoretical.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:40:27 AM EST
# Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants;
Good idea! Maybe we should also be more sensitive to the rights and needs of, say, child molesters as well? After all, shouldn't each one make up their own mind about whether or not to abuse their children? Any 'suppression of freedom' is after all bad...

# Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term "scientific consensus", which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority;
Yeah, let's also be wary of such 'freedom restricting' scientific theories like thermodynamics. If people would like to create or destroy energy, that should be their choice, not restricted by some freedom hating physicists with a totalitarian agenda. Remember, science is amusing theories about the world, there to delight and amaze us. They can however never be allowed to indicate there might be some limit to what we can and cannot do.

# Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction;
Grraghghh! How do you think anything ever gets done? What the fuck is 'spontaneous evolution of human society'? Doesn't someone make some kind of decision about how to proceed at some point? How are unregulated decisions based on personal whim by those who can back it up financially not 'undemocratic'? And who selects these 'deciders'? Oh, wait, it happens 'spontaneously'...

# Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.
This applies to terrorism fears as well, I presume? Thinking about it, with that first blockquote above, maybe we should not restrict the ability of those called 'terrorists' in their pursuit of blown up buildings, infrastructure, and people? Is saving a few lives really worth the infringement on their 'freedom' to kill and maim?
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:41:00 AM EST
do you mind if I use (big) parts of it when I corsspost this stroy to dKos?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:50:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would be honored and delighted.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:03:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that Klaus can actually disappoint me, but in terms of Czech politics this ranks high up there with the disappointment of seeing Vaclav Havel (who, unlike Klaus, was a dissident under Communism) call Bush "a man of peace".

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:47:46 AM EST
Well, I wrote an extraordinarily subtle comment with an undetectably light touch of sarcasm (keywords: conservatism, responsibility). Let's see...
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:50:59 AM EST
We should collect our replies here. And I plan to point to them in my upcoming dKos diary on the topic.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:52:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, so this is more or less it (from memory):

All that environmentalists demand is responsibility. The responsibility to pay for the damage we cause, and to do our utmost to stop causing damage. I thought that responsibility was supposed to be a conservative virtue and a necessary complement to the great freedom we have in our open market democracies. But more and more I see the supporters of capitalism demand that they be free to dump their waste on their neighbours' lawns without consequence. What happened?

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:58:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mr. Klaus seems to have forgotten that with all rights come responsibilities.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 07:06:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He's not the only one.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 07:07:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This was precisely the argument given by a prominent Roma tango singer in a discussion on TV last night concerning the furore our comedy TV series has created.

He said Finnish Roma have been very vocal about demanding their rights, but said very little about their responsibilities. He noted that a high percentage of Roma kids never even complete basic education.

Rights are always balanced by responsibilities.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 02:20:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What happened is that "liberty" has been hijacked by the powerful to erode responsibility. It's been going on since the industrial revolution. It is a concept that now seems to be at the service of selfishness, and this is actually a cause of any authoritarian appeal in the environmental movement. Authoritarian "solutions", on that one can agree, wouldn't work. But the rhetorical fallacy in Klaus' argument is to say that anything that is not unfettered market liberalism is authoritarian. As usual, you're with them or against them, and everything is either black or white.

This is, by the way, very Christian:

So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. — Revelation 3:16


Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 07:06:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a bit on the snarky side:
Mr Klaus,
You write that "scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions." Would it not be prudent to let the scientists deal with science, and the politicians deal with politics? After all, no less a dignitary than yourself call upon us to "resist the politicisation of science."

It is unfathomable to me that, in spite of the overwhelming amount of evidence for global warming caused by human activity (presented, for example, in the IPCC assessment reports), an intelligent and rational human being such as yourself would continue to dismiss said evidence as if it was just another second-rate Michael Crichton thriller.

As a rational and freedom-loving person, I would like to have the opportunity to continue enjoying my freedoms and reveling in my own rationality above sea-level.



"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 07:49:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting, because Michael Crichton is a Climate Change denier.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:00:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Klaus quotes Crichton in his editorial, seemingly unaware of the irony:
the greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda


"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:10:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To distinguish reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda, listen to the politicians and not to the scientists.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:13:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or, to paraphrase Ayn Rand, "A is B."

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:19:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
War is Peace.
Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strenght.
Havel took care of number one, and Klaus is giving us number three.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:26:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The man does seem to have a black belt in doublethink.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:37:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the FT article:
The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions.

From the same FT article:

Let us resist the politicisation of science

My head hurts.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:57:46 AM EST
How about asking the scientists to help figure out the effects of political opinions?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 06:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So does mine, though I think that's from banging it off the table.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 07:00:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's only bad 'political' science if the FT disagrees with the conclusions for ideological reasons.

There's not actually a contradiction there once you break the code.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:37:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The elites are getting so disconnected from reality that Science is about to become again [here's me being optimistic for a change], as it was in the 18th century, and instrument of liberation from obscurantist opression.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. — John 8:32


Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 07:13:50 AM EST

Mr. Kraus,

It strikes me as puzzling that you place your weight behind the projection of a long-term positive impact of the economy, compared to your rejection of Stern's projection of long-term negative impact on the economy. Favouring one truth above another is, as you might say, a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem.

Your bet that positive economic impact will renounce us of any possible climatic change is as singularly unconvincing as the stock-broker who is whistling on his way to Wall Street on the morning of October 29, 1929.

Version 1.0

Comments and additions are highly welcomed.

by Nomad on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 07:15:58 AM EST
Klaus not Kraus :-)
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 07:58:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And posted.

Thanks.

by Nomad on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:30:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Klaus is a strange guy. Avowed reader of Mises and Hayek, he managed to run a very corrupt and invasive government. He pushed CEU from Prague (by refusing Soros to honor a deal on a symbolic rent for the premises, because "markets should price everything correctly"), which was one of the stupidest things one could possibly do - to refuse a gift of a world-class university? But he also delayed privatization of banks, and kept a lot of economy controlled by funds owned by these banks (and so indirectly by the government). In other words, he refused government responsibility for education, but accepted it for commercial banks. I'd guess any "Austrian" economist would have it just the opposite.

So, he's one of the "do as I say, not as I do" guys.

His book is everywhere in Prague. But there seems to be very little debate of it in the media.

His popularity consistently hovers in the Putin range, though...

by Sargon on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:03:59 AM EST
Strange? Sounds like prime World Leader™ material. I'd love to be wrong [and I don't know a lot about it] but there doesn't seem to be anyone to contest his position at the top of Czech politics.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:07:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is some jockeying by CSSD to find a figure to which Greens and Christian Democrats could agree. Again, former Charles U. rector is being proposed. but given Klaus's popularity, I think it's predetermined.
by Sargon on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 09:10:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean Ivan Wilhelm?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 09:20:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bio

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 09:21:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, him.
by Sargon on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 09:31:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/6/14/81319/1719

using the input from many of you. Thanks - and do join the debate over there.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 08:57:43 AM EST
My question:

Mr Klaus: Please compare and contrast the two threats of terrorism and global warming. In particular, replacing 'global warming' by 'terrorism' and 'scientists' by 'intelligence personnel' in an excerpt form your article, how would you justify the need for a foreign military installation in your country, considering these same issues of 'propaganda', 'hysteria', 'established truth', and 'arrogance'? How do you justify that the one is urgently in need of action (terrorism) and the other not (global warming), when the latter has the potential to cause injury and death on a scale that far exceeds that of the former in any realistic view of the two threats? How do you propose we view the challenge of Michael Crichton in the two cases, the one where data is publicly available and peer reviewed, and the other where evidence is kept secret?

The author Michael Crichton stated it clearly: "the greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda". I feel the same way, because [terrorism] hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem. It requires courage to oppose the 'established' truth, although a lot of people -- including top-class [intelligence personnel] -- see the issue of [terrorism] entirely differently. They protest against the arrogance of those who advocate the [global terror] hypothesis...
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 09:05:31 AM EST
...that the FT is buying into the frame not all too subtle?

From FT Q&A page:


Mr Klaus writes that "global warming hysteria has become a prime example of the truth versus propaganda problem" and the issue "is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature."

Do you agree? Or do small climate changes demand far-reaching restrictive measures? Mr Klaus will answer your questions in an online Q&A. Post a question now to ask@ft.com or use the online submissions form below - his answers will appear on Thursday June 21 from 1pm BST.

Emphasis mine, to stress how the subject gets neatly framed, the Bush way. You either agree with Klaus, or you belong to the group that thinks that "far-reaching restrictive measures" are needed for "small climate changes". Never mind what one should expect for -large- climate changes.

Or this is just a clever trick of the editor to get frothing responses - which Klaus & co then can mock as a rabid collection of environmental fundamentalists.

by Nomad on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 09:21:40 AM EST
that section of the website is called "Ask the Expert", thus promoting Klaus to climate change "expert". It's pathetic.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 10:07:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dear sir,

How would you differentiate your position from that of Lyssenko regarding the Theory of Evolution? He, just like you, rejected a scientific theory on the basis that it didn't fit his political opinions, not on its scientific merits.

The only difference I can see is that he merely managed to set Russian biology back a decade compared to the rest of the world. If your opinion prevails over science and reason, however, the sake of humanity is at stake.

So would you care to elaborate? Thank you.

A 'centrist' is someone who's neither on the left, nor on the left.

by nicta (nico&#65312;altiva&#8228;fr) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 10:04:17 AM EST
This is the point I would have wanted to make, but it would have been stronger if instead of speaking only of Lysenko and "Russian" biology, you'd attacked his communism comparison directly.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 15th, 2007 at 06:26:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Klaus gets it. He keeps the terms of debate simple, provides a coherent narrative, doesn't bore us with the details, gives the citizen hope in the future, believes in progress of a sort. All the while the mostly bourgeois left talks about details, gets into scientific or economic (or both) minutiae, insists that progress is "finite," belabor the term "responsibility," talk about demographic time bombs, environmental catastrophe, sustainable economic growth which leaves whole swathes of folks who want to participate inactive.

What movie would you want to see?

And then we wonder why the overton window shifts inexorably rightward.

Most people, including the working class and the poor the left used to represent, don't want to hear about that bullshit, they want their lives to be relatively fulfilling, secure with occasional diversions. They want their three "b's". They don't want to be told why nuclear is better than coal, they just want their television to be working, and relatively cheaply so, when their team is playing in the Rugby World Cup.

The problem with the so-called "serious" and ever-educated left? They never took communications 101. You can't get a point accross to most people if it has more than five to seven relatively simply, easily understandable and digestible points.

The other side gets it. They invoke "freedom," "democracy," "liberty," "opportunity."

We play fun with numbers exercises to fool ourselves that there's no problem for the working class, there's no unemployment, opportunity abounds for all, it's all how you play with statistics. And this interests very few outside of our lefty circle jerk, and convinces less still. So the other side, beyond their hackneyed phrases "freedom" and "liberty" and the rest get to add, increasingly with conviction, "respect," a word Sarko used to great effect, coupled with "work". The left doesn't respect you, they don't care if you've a gainful occupation.

The left used to understand this, back when the left was led not by over-educated enarques who may or may not have risen from the ranks, but by working class heroes who chose to rise with the ranks. The lyrical left.

Our power words? "Class," "struggle," "equality," "peace," "security," "solidarity" to name a few. All of which have been de-emphasized by our more "serious," well-educated representatives on the left.

It's not a question of nuance versus black and white. It's a question of taking man as he is, rather than as one would like for him to be. Man as he is doesn't give a shit for all your policy nuance any more than you give a shit which sort of friction grease he uses before facing a bottom bracket. He wants you to deliver equality, peace, security and solidarity, and that's that, just as all you want is your bike to be built well.

Small wonder the PS got its clock cleaned. The left is losing the ideas war, and it is because the left has forgotten how to talk to its core constituencies: the poor and the working class. Royal was a good candidate, but once she was no longer the face of the party for legislatives, the old faces, Fabius, Strauss Kahn, came back to remind many of the PS no one liked anymore.

Unsurprisingly, they stayed home. And no amount of belly-aching about how the other side communicates better than we do will change this.


The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 11:23:37 AM EST
That is not off-topic, that is exactly the point.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Small wonder the PS got its clock cleaned. The left is losing the ideas war, and it is because the left has forgotten how to talk to its core constituencies: the poor and the working class. Royal was a good candidate, but once she was no longer the face of the party for legislatives, the old faces, Fabius, Strauss Kahn, came back to remind many of the PS no one liked anymore.

I would say the European Socialist and Labour parties are no longer "left", but they are morphing into social-liberal parties. There is a huge ideological space to the left of them, and a huge unrepresented working class.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:07:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly right.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:41:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are social-liberal when they don't morph into outright authoritarian parties like New Labour.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 15th, 2007 at 04:40:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The right also have the advantage of being unfettered by ethical objections to lying through their teeth.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:31:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why not us?

I have no problems with that.

It is true that the lily-livered do tend to congregate on the left side of the spectrum.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:41:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah. The lily-livered. I see.

Oh great redstar, do lead us into the future, by whatever means are necessary. Out of curiousity, how far down their road do you intend leading us? A few lies for their own good? The politics of fear? Maybe a bit of necessary detention without trial? Maybe we can invent some enemies to help herd the sheep. Islamofascists perhaps? Has that been done already? Well, there must be some brown or yellow people that haven't been used? Some external enemies to help unite the nation? Maybe a little war or two?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:56:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is clearly not what I meant. You are transfering right-wing frames to what I said, which is not appropriate.

It doesn't take much imagination to see alternative frames, ones which explicitly use class for instance.

Not all bankers are pot-bellied thiefs, for instance, just as not all Muslims are terrorists. Not all wealthy people are rapacious exploiters, just as not all brown or yellow people are at the gates waiting in their hordes to take our public housing.

But we can continue to use the social democracy frames, such as they are, if you like. It's just that...well....they're not working very well, are they?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 01:01:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, while only a small minority of Muslims have terrorist inclinations, and most folks from the developing world would rather stay put than come to our countries (they do so mostly of necessity), a majority of wealthy people are rapacious exploiters, and most bankers are thiefs, and many are pot-bellied in America as well.

You see, our less-than-perfectly-honest frames even have the advantage of hewing closer to reality than theirs.

Of course, theirs have greater currency, for the simple fact of the matter is that they are willing to give voice to them.

We're not, and that's the entire point.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 01:09:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, assuming that you include almost everyone in the first world among rapacious exploiters and thieves, I suppose that is closer to the truth than the other. I'm not sure it's much use for convincing people though.

What? You don't think you're as much a rapacious exploiter and a thief as most other rich people?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 01:13:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I don't. I see very well the consequences of what I do professionally, and when another score of people are unemployed because of it, it disgusts me to be honest with you. I'd like to do something else, in fact, and am looking at this.

I also do not think all in the 1st world are as you describe; the world is at it is because of the elites in that 1st world, and the economic system they seek to perpetuate for their increasing gain, at the expense of workers in both developed and developing countries. Most of us are just along for the ride, and many of us do not want to be.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 01:38:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]

a majority of wealthy people are rapacious exploiters, and most bankers are thiefs

And most people in the business world are shameless exploiters, too?

Sigh.

That's where we split up. The problem is not the top 50% or even the top 10%, it's the top 0.1%. As you may remember, the 10-50% income range (fro mthe top) is not doing that mch better than the 50-90% income range. It's worth trying to target them too if you want a majority.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 01:14:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I don't disagree a bit, might quibble with the 0.1% versus 1.9% or whatever, but I don't disagree.

It is a fact though that those who have accumulated great wealth have much different ideas on their responsibility to their fellow men than those who have not, and yes, this translates into feelings of superiority, deserved or not, which naturally tends to lead them to have no qualms about ruthlessly exploiting, either in home markets or further afield, the misery and toil of others. This is simply a fact. It is as it ever was, and what makes capitalism "work". Not for nothing that Keynes said

Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.

Similarly, it's a fact that those doing the transacting for them of the deals via which they accumulate ever greater sums of wealth tend to be far greedier than the average. Your average equity analyst does not tend to the altruistic side, shall we say, nor does your average CFO or investor relations professional. At least not over here in America, where I am one.

Problem is, the so-called "serious" left parties ignore the 50-90% group but are very keen on keeping folks like you and I on side. And that's why they get their asses increasingly kicked.

Why not target them too? Because their interests are not ours.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 01:34:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Why not us?"

Ah, redstar.
What a shame.
Fine comment originally, but totally eclipsed by the one above.

Eclipsed- as in putting out the lights.

It is not necessary to dish up the lies in order to create an important narrative that is convincing to a wide swath of people, from all walks and all levels.  You just have to be good at it.

Al Gore comes to mind.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Jun 15th, 2007 at 12:54:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the most powerful narrative that Klaus uses is the general metaphor of "enviormentalism is like communism".. He uses a very standard technique (101 of communication and narratives) where with selected quotes and analogies tries to get a comparison).

he is very good, the important thing of a history is not its realityabut its internal coherence..

His article is inrternally coherent except for the part of not politcising science.. here you can attack mhim mercilles and discredit.

Other htan that.. well you cna opnly fight back with another narrative...s oemthing you cna hardly do just posing question.

Given the situation... he is basically the winner.. unless you can explain a history with a couple of questions because I somehow doubt tha tthe Ft will let us put soemthing which is different narrative...basically you need another article to counterattack..

And I can not think of anything right now..

So I will attack him on his mistake on science politization..

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:00:16 PM EST
Proposal:

My question would be  the following: how can I convince my fellow scientists (yeah I am one of those nasty hippie-communist scientists posed to destroy your freedoms.. or whatever) that people who think that the Earth was created 6000 years ago, the second law of thermodynamics should not exist, HIV has no virus origin and global warming is either a hoax ot, at most, would produce minor problems are not just fringe lunatics but also very powerful people interested in a pre-enlightenment world?

It is very difficult to convince them that some people in your group are not lunatic but a have a clear agenda to discredit science and enlightenment values. A world where facts do not exist (it is just "scientific consensus"), evidence is irrelevant (because oh my Lord. scientific ideas depend on a "minority who speaks louder") and where words like "freedom" and "liberty" are twisted to favour one's particular religion (in the case of the author a particular deluded version of economic and human reality) in front of any bothersome fact, are the common talk points behind people pushing the narrative you present in the article.

But somehow my fellow scientists refuse to believe that you are anything more than a scientific handicapped person. What can I do to convince them that you are really serious about what you are saying? How can I convince them that you really mean it, that you really want to explain to the world that those pesky facts are nothing to worry about, that taking preventing action to prevent highly likely catastrophes is dangerous enviromentalism, that scientists should be aware of the political implications of what they say but at the same time we should not politicize science ?

By the way, next time you should also check the internal coherence of the whole article, it really looks like "Science I do not like=politicized science"; "science I like=not politicized science"

Any input?

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:34:49 PM EST
Lovely. Go with it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:58:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know what? You should make this a diary because scientists need to be shaken out of their complacent belief that people who don't seem to get science are simply "scientifically handicapped" and not wilfully opposing the scientific method.

Maybe then scientists would understand the political implications of locking themselves up in ivory towers.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 01:02:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok I will do it..

A short diary.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 01:12:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Done

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 01:24:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Prague Post: President & future: Václav Klaus' reign shows the immaturity of Czech society (Martin Jan Stránský, April 11th, 2007)
Leaders have a greater potential to determine the future of the nation, its identity and the outlook of its citizenry in young democracies as opposed to democracies that are more securely established. Conversely, those leaders can also create a great deal of harm, especially if they brake the process of fostering a democratic mindset.

Such braking can be intentional, or it can simply come about as an act of omission. Either way, the result is the same. Simply put, leaders become great because they identify and fulfill the "requirements of the moment" that are the most important in moving the country forward.

It follows that, for the Czech people, the person who is best poised to make such a difference is their president. As opposed to Václav Havel, who in many ways fell into the job and never fully embraced it from a political point of view, the current president, Václav Klaus, could not be more different. For the Czech people, the results have been devastating.



Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:58:35 PM EST
What incentives exist in a free market system to resolve long-term problems that cannot be expected produce profit?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 12:59:59 PM EST
That's what's wrong with economics: a focus on incentives and expected profit.

Even minimizing a loss is not good enough. If you're going to lose money anyway, presumably you just liquidate the venture.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 01:04:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was, for instance, thinking of the lack of incentives to development builders to produce energy efficient homes. They're not going to pay the energy bills, so what do they care?

Or moving jobs out of the country. The companies don't pay the social costs, so what do they care?

Or the loss of animal or plant species. What do they care?

Or the sale of cluster bombs or mines that will kill for years to come.

Or, or, or. There are a million examples - or rather 6 billion examples.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 02:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why capitalism is ultimately destructive.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 15th, 2007 at 04:39:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru suggested this entry to me with words "read this and weep". I have to admit that I am so far removed from Czech politics that I don't find myself affected by it any more. I don't like to learn about what's going on at home because in 99% of cases it's always a disaster... whether it's radars or Klaus' denial of global warming, or the prime minister buying villas with taxpayers' hard-earned money. There is simply nobody at the moment that I know of that is in any way inspiring (and if there is, his or her voice is not strong enough). I do agree our society is very immature. They just want STUFF. And they want it all, and fast, no matter what the cost is. Klaus is, even after all these years, riding on the wave of the Velvet Revolution; he was a key actor there and established himself strongly as one of the strongest leaders, which gave him the credibility to be elected later as a president. The Czechs are desperate to shift the pendulum radically to the other side: the more "right-winged" someone is, the better. If you dare to say you're more to the left, you're pitied and ridiculed, and viewed as hopelessly backwards. I have considerable trepidations about returning back home, (although I have thought about it), and our shitty political scene and the opinions and actions of those in power are a sizeable factor in my hesitation.

Today I got the movie The Czech dream from a friend... watch it if you ever get hold of it. It takes a close look at the Czechs and their greed and short-sightedness. I hope we will grow out of it some day. But it may be too late already.

"If you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it." Lord Brabazon

by Barbara on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 01:38:07 PM EST
Mind-blowing


Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 05:02:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Czech Republic is still, according to all the statistics we've seen, one of the most egalitarian societies around.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 05:46:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not for much longer.

European Commission: Social cohesion in the Czech Republic: a blessing or a trap? by Marek Mora (Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs) in September 2006

When using indicators of inequality of income distribution and the at-risk-of-poverty rate, the Czech Republic has one of the highest levels of social cohesion in the EU, comparable to that of the Nordic countries. Though social transfers play a significant role in reducing the Czech poverty rate, it is the country's relatively equal distribution of primary income that contributes most to the level of social cohesion overall. This can be explained by several factors, in particular by the quality of education, the homogeneity of society, regulation of rental housing, the gradual nature of the transition process and other historical reasons. Economic theory and empirical evidence are not clear-cut on what the impact of social cohesion is on economic efficiency and growth. Though social cohesion can have a positive economic impact on growth, the tax-transfer system, if badly designed, may have harmful consequences for labour supply and for the sustainability of public finances as seems to be the Czech case.


Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 05:49:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know who is responsible for his bio in Wikipedia but at least Havel's reference to his policies as "Gangster Capitalism" is there.  His chair in economics is like many chairs in Czech Institutions of Higher Education which have little reformed over the last twenty years.

He was the architect of Coupon Privatisation which lead to massive corruption, and the near destruction of the counrty's reputation as a place to do business, in the mid 1990's.  The Zelezny, Ron Lauder, CME, fiasco provides an illustrative case, in which the Klaus's government failed to protect foreign investors.  Czech tax payers are still paying Lauder for damages won in international courts.

As PM and head of the ODS party the neo-lib capitalist bachanalia was thrown into full throttle.  A friend from Strakonice once described the time as "Prague threw a Party, and all the villages paid."  Then came the autumn of 1997 when secret Swiss bank accounts were uncovered and it was further revealed that ODS contributors included long dead Austrians, clueless residents of Trinidad and Tobago, and shady figures in the US.  More from the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University - Prague

Of course many Czechs have to be the best at whatever they buy into, whether its Communism, Nazism, Conspicuous Consumerism or Gangster Capitalism, and so the ODS held on dearly to this Thatcherite wilfully unquestioning about how he obtained a post at the State Bank during the horrid period of Brezhnevite normalisation (the 1970's).  Curiously, for someone supposedly publishing reformist articles during the Prague Spring, Klaus ended up with a choice position for a Czech of his background, when lawyers, journalists and engineers where reduced to cleaning windows, sweeping streets and stoking boilers.  

As head of the ODS, which was formed when practical politicians (many former communists among them) pushed aside the dissidents of the Civic Forum in early 1990, he made a deal with Meciar in a park in Brno in the middle of the night to destroy the Slavic federation once dreamt of by Massaryk.

Corruption, having divided the country without a referendum, the ousting of the Charta 77 dissidents (look for his name among the signatures...  look again real hard... between Mojimír Klánský and Oldřich Klein - post '79... maybe not), he was considered too divisive a figure to follow in Havel's footsteps as President.  As in Germany the president is chosen by Parliament.  The Social Democrats and minority parties searched long and hard for anyone, anyone but Klaus in 2003, but the ODS would not play ball.  However they couldn't get enough votes to put him into office, until all other options were exhausted and he made a deal with the Communists.

It speaks poorly of the Czech political environment, (Děkujeme, Odjedte! Konečné Vole!) that four years on there is still no one who could take the job.  Oh yes, and their "Green" party is now in coalition with Klaus's ODS.  Martin Bursík, please speak up.

by kagaka (karel.k.rehor [zav] email [tecka] cz) on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 03:21:10 PM EST
I don't know who is responsible for his bio in Wikipedia

Whoever it is, you can still go in and add to it. It's a wiki. However, see Wikipedia: Neutral Point of View.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 15th, 2007 at 01:50:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I simply asked the following question (paraphrase): What is the expertise of Mr Klaus in the science of ecology and climate change in particular?
by Fete des fous on Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 03:23:59 PM EST


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