Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


rpannier's Journal
rpannier's Journal
December 3, 2023

Paraguayan official sacked after signing deal with fictional country

A high-ranking political official in Paraguay has been forced out of office for dealings with an imaginary country made up by a man on the run from sexual assault charges.

Armando Chamorro was required to resign from his post as chief of staff of Paraguay’s agriculture minister on Wednesday after signing a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with representatives of the United States of Kailasa.

The fictional country had been presented to Mr Chamorro as a real South American island by Swami Nithyananda, a self-declared Hindu mystic on the lamb from rape and sexual assault charges in India going back to 2019.


November 7, 2023

'Cheaper than beer': Laos meth prices plummet as Myanmar chaos fuels trade

Front-line workers say methamphetamine pills are now being sold for as little as $0.25 each as traffickers flood the country with unprecedented amounts of drugs.

Vientiane, Laos – Keo remembers the day he consumed so much yaba that he “lost his mind.”

The 37-year-old from Laos took more of the drug – a potent combination of methamphetamine and caffeine – than he had ever done before.


In Laos, the poorly-resourced police are facing a deluge of narcotics as the country has become a vital trafficking corridor in Asia’s drug trade. The surge has pushed prices down to record lows, with front-line workers saying pills are now being sold for as little as $0.24 cents each –cheaper than most basic necessities like food and water and making the drug affordable to all in one of Asia’s poorest countries.


November 3, 2023

So good of the Sharks to start the season as a total disaster

Now we don't have to worry about them pulling a late-season or post season collapse

10-1 to Vancouver.
God are the Sharks terrible

October 24, 2023

From Dickens to the 21st Century. We have the boy and it is named MAGA

“They are Man's and they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance and this girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

The Republicans helped to create them both, and continue to nurture both Want and Ignorance. One only need to look at Iowa and Indiana to see Want grow more desperate. And through their promotion of charters and home schools, and Hillsdale College programs in places like TN and FL, and their right-wing networks Ignorance becomes more so.

October 22, 2023

They really need to stop blaming Matt Gaetz

Though Matt Gaetz is obnoxious and annoying, and he may have the most punchable face in the House, they (Republicans and Media) need to stop blaming Matt Gaetz for what is happening in the House. To listen to Republicans, and many in the media Mc Carthy was a beloved figure around space and time, and had it not been for the evil machinations of this one guy from Florida, Mc Carthy would still be Speaker.
The majority of the blame rests on Mc Carthy and the Republican Party. They (Republicans) embraced (Trump) a nihilistic, self-centered, vain, incompetent anarchist who appealed to people's demons, instead of their angels, because he brought them tax cuts, and unqualified judges who would outlaw abortion, all the while he played his petty anarchistic terrorist card every chance he got.

It was Mc Carthy, not Gaetz, who was so desperate to get that gavel that he made the bargain, where the 21st century version of Newt Gingrich's more evil, odious and obnoxious twin was able to wield the Sword of Damocles like an eight year old, swinging it around the room without any adult telling the little boy to stop -- because there are no adults in their room, thus providing him the opportunity to bring SINO Kevin down. SINO Kevin (Speaker In Name Only) made that deal thinking (though I doubt he thought that long, and certainly not hard, about it) that he could control the dragon. Instead of recognizing that caving to a terrorist just emboldens them to be demand more. In fairness to Gaetz, that's what Republicans have been doing since the 90s; threatening to tear everything down if they don't get what they want.
So see? Gaetz is a Republican
And even with Gaetz's call to vacate, there were other Republicans who voted to unseat SINO as well. So Gaetz could have called to vacate the Chair, sat in the corner holding his breath, his face turning a deep purple, and it wouldn't have mattered had the rest of the caucus held firm. That the leadership was surprised that Rep Mace voted against Mc Carthy shows how little their leadership really understands their membership, or what a horrible crank Mace is -- or both.
That their second choice, Scalise, was a guy who compared himself favorably to David Duke is not Gaetz's doing. Scalise is a well- thought of, well-respected member of the Republican House caucus. Their leadership proudly claims a member of the most secret of House caucuses, the Klan Caucus, as a leader of their Party. Gaetz didn't put him there. I don't know if Gaetz wants him there, or not. But even if he did, he's still just one member with one vote.
That their next choice, Jordan, was an individual so vile that about half of his own caucus loathed him, again is not because of Gaetz's brilliant Dr No-like genius. They did this to themselves. It was painfully laughable to hear the only person who is less of a team player than Gaetz cajoling his colleagues to pull together to for the good of the country. That from a man who wouldn't have voted with his members if it meant saving his best friend's life without demanding tax cuts, or kicking the poor down the stairs. Jordan's new found emphasis on team is laughable and pathetic coming from a guy who was a coach of a university sport.
Jordan's other biggest failing; you know other than he is a loud-mouthed, self-centered, non-team playing, incompetent jerk who has collected a paycheck for the last dozen years without actually having accomplished anything close to passing a single piece of legislation (not even a post office in someone's name), is that he's a poor fundraiser. Because... well... people hate him. SINO Kevin may have sucked, but he does know how to raise a lot of cash.
Gaetz just gets the attention because the Republicans and the media (you know, the liberal media) will not acknowledge the mess that is the Party disembowelling the House -- though, in fairness, Gaetz does seem to like the attention.
But we can all take heart that some guy in his first term in the House has announced that he's running for Speaker.
Oh... and Trump doesn't want the guy from Minnesota to have the Speaker's Chair because he said early on that Biden won.
So there we are
And none of that is because of Matt Gaetz.
And yes Matt Gaetz does suck and is horrible and is responsible for a lot of ignorant and stupid things. Just not this

October 21, 2023

Five Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

5. Armenian President Ratifies Country's ICC Membership Despite Russian Warnings

President Vahagn Khachaturian has signed into law a decision by the Armenian parliament to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), putting the Caucasus nation in the jurisdiction of the Hague-based institution despite warnings from its longtime ally Russia.


"On October 13, the President of the Republic of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturian signed a statement on the ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court signed on July 17, 1998 and on the adoption of a statement 'On the retroactive recognition of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court by the Republic of Armenia' based on Article 12, Part 3 of the Statute," the statement said.

On October 3, 60 Armenian lawmakers, mostly representing the ruling Civil Contract party, voted for the ratification of the treaty while 22 lawmakers voted against.

The Kremlin, which last month warned that Armenia’s move would worsen a growing rift with Moscow, called the parliament's ratification an “extremely hostile” move toward Russia and "an incorrect decision."


4. Bulgaria Defends Decision To Impose Tax On Russian Gas Transit As Hungary, Serbia Vow To Respond

Bulgaria's government has defended its decision to impose a new tax on Russian gas transiting through the country as Hungary and Serbia -- which rely on supplies from Moscow -- vowed to respond to the move, which they called a “hostile” step.

Bulgaria imposed a tax on Russian gas transit in the amount of 20 leva ($10.80) per megawatt-hour last week, prompting reactions in Budapest and Belgrade, which receive Russian gas through Bulgaria.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov on October 18 defended the move, saying that “there is a good chance that this [tax] would create real competition” on the gas market “from which the whole of Europe would benefit.”

“We protect Bulgarian interests. These are revenues that can enter the state budget,” Denkov added.


3. Italy ordered to compensate 3 migrants for ‘inhumane and degrading treatment’

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Italy to compensate three Tunisian migrants for the “inhuman and degrading” treatment they were given when they stayed on the island of Lampedusa between 2017 and 2019.

The three arrived in Italy illegally and were then brought to a reception centre in Lampedusa. They stayed there for several weeks, during which the ECHR ruled they were “subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment”.

The ruling mentioned that there were only two toilets for 40 people, and some people were forced to sleep on mattresses outside because there was not enough space for everyone inside the centre.


2. Chechnya Forms Male-Dominated Group To Advance Women's 'Interests.' Critics Say It's Just For Show.

The government of Kremlin-backed Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, who has said women should "know their place," has set up an official council to advocate for women's concerns. The initial appointees were seven men and one woman: Kadyrov's daughter, Deputy Prime Minister Aishat Kadyrova.

Chechen human rights activists say it's not a step toward greater gender equality in the North Caucasus region, long accused of trampling on the rights of women and minorities including the LGBT community. Instead, they assert, it's only for show.

The council was formed on October 1 to implement Russia's 2023-2030 National Strategy of Actions in Women's Interest, which, according to the state news agency TASS, aims to bolster women's health and social welfare and expand their role in the country's "socioeconomic development" and public affairs.

With little or no publicity, how the Chechen council plans to go about meeting that mission is unclear.


1. New video shows Greek Coast Guard pushing back migrants in the Aegean Sea

A video shared by a Norwegian nonprofit shows new evidence of the Greek Coast Guard pushing migrants back in the Aegean Sea toward Turkish waters on the morning of 6 October.

According to the group, Aegean Boat Report (ABR), a boat carrying 47 Afghans was sailing outside the island of Lesvos when the Greek Coast Guard stopped.

“The people in the small rubber boat tried the best they could to avoid being stopped, but a rubber boat was no match for a Greek coastal patrol vessel, and the Lambro 57, ID marking ??-602, stationed on Lesvos, eventually stopped the boat,” the group wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.


The group then reports that all 47 migrants were taken aboard the Greek Coast Guard vessel and transported back close to Turkish waters, where they were “forced into two life rafts and left helplessly drifting, in direct violation of international laws and human rights.”

October 18, 2023

Would a BRICS Common Currency Work?

A really good presentation.
Why BRICs likely will not work at supplanting the US Dollar partially because of China's tight controls over its markets
October 18, 2023

This is the description of an actual novel: Justice for Mary Beth

Mary Beth Halloran, real estate developer and Trump volunteer, is on the verge of making her dreams come true: a meeting with President Trump and, crossed fingers, a career with the Trump organization. The meeting and the job are hers if she can just snag the last voter on her list and get him to answer four little questions. Alone in his mountain lair, Justice K. Journey has no patience for the trespassing female who pesters him about his land and his politics. He won't answer her questions and, most of all, Journey Hollow isn't for sale. His great-grandaddy, Justice, swung from a rope trying to defend the Journey land from interlopers. Justice won't give up his heritage, or the rights to the water that gushes from the spring above his house.


The whole premise doesn't make any sense.
If he answers her questions she could get a job with the Trump Organization? Why?
He won't answer her questions because he isn't for sale? Huh?


Description of author

Liberty Adams lives in the wide, open spaces west of the Rockies. She writes wholesome, lighthearted romance about patriots who love America, love our president, and, best of all, fall in love at the end of each story. Liberty is the pen name of an author who wears the hats of mom, wife, and community volunteer. She proudly owns and wears several assorted MAGA hats of her own.

October 14, 2023

Five Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

5. The EU's Chief Rabble-Rouser, Viktor Orban, Is Now Georgia's Strongest Ally

As a critical decision on Georgia's EU candidacy looms, the country's No. 1 European ally visited Tbilisi in a show of last-minute support.

What's unclear is whether the support of that ally, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, is going to help bolster Georgia's EU chances or sabotage them.

The Hungarian leader's two-day visit to Georgia on October 11 and 12 was the latest step in the rapidly developing partnership between the two countries, and in particular between Orban and his Georgian counterpart, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.

The two have bonded as Garibashvili and the ruling Georgian Dream party have taken a sharp turn toward social conservatism in recent years, promoting an identity for Georgia that Orban had already championed for Hungary: a Europeanness that foregrounds not liberalism and democracy but Christianity and "traditional values."


4. Lithuanian police respond to hundreds of 'co-ordinated' bomb threats against schools

Police in Lithuania say the country's schools have been inundated with bomb threats since Friday morning, following a pattern of similar incidents in neighbouring countries.

Lithuania’s police chief, Renatas Pozela, said “the coordinated mass attack” that began late on Thursday involved hundreds of emails that were sent from a server within the European Union. The majority of messages were in Russian and some had a political content, Pozela said.

In Estonia, a wave of threatening spam emails started late Wednesday. As a result, most schools in Tartu, the country’s second-largest city, were closed on Thursday.


3. Poland election race too close to call as voters prepare to go to polls

Poland is gearing up for a parliamentary election on Sunday, the result of which is likely to have a major impact on the country’s direction, and polls suggest the race is too close to call.

The incumbent Law and Justice (PiS) government is seeking a third consecutive term in office, fighting a challenge from the main opposition coalition led by the former prime minister and European Council president Donald Tusk.

In a vicious and largely negative campaign, PiS has portrayed Tusk’s coalition as traitors to Poland, while Tusk has said the vote is the last chance to save democracy in Poland after eight years of PiS rolling back democratic freedoms.

Tusk has promised to relax strict anti-abortion laws and improve rights for LGBTQ+ people, and has also promised to restore relations with Brussels, which have been damaged over concerns that the PiS government has undermined the rule of law in Poland.


2. Hungary Must Reform Judiciary, Protect Rights To Unblock European Funding, Senior EU Official Says

The European Commission’s vice president for values and transparency, Vera Jourova, says Hungary must meet conditions on reforming its judiciary and ensuring the protection of fundamental rights to unblock EU funding.

Speaking to RFE/RL at its headquarters in Prague on October 13, Jourova said that the government in Budapest is now working on the reforms and taking measures to convince the European Commission “that they corrected things which we wanted them to correct.”

In December 2022, the commission said it would hold back 22 billion euros ($23 billion) of EU funds earmarked for Hungary for the period 2021-2027 until Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government meets conditions related to judicial independence, academic freedoms, LGBTQI rights and the asylum system.

The money was frozen under a recently adopted conditionality mechanism that permits the bloc to take measures to protect its budget.


1. Amid Talk Of Ukraine Fatigue, Zelenskiy Seemingly Snubbed By Romanian Parliament


So, while his launch of a "strategic partnership" alongside Romanian President Klaus Iohannis this week was good news for Kyiv, it might have been overshadowed by what didn't happen in Bucharest.

Faced with threats from nationalist, pro-Russian lawmakers of something "bad" happening if they "caught" Zelenskiy in the Romanian Parliament, official plans were abandoned for the Ukrainian head of state to give a speech to lawmakers.

Iohannis and other Romanian officials were tight-lipped about the climbdown, except to cite time constraints and a "busy" schedule.

At a press conference at the presidential residence, Zelenskiy -- a popular TV comic before becoming a wartime president -- joked diplomatically that while "you understand that I don't have a problem with speeches, in any country…I haven't prepared any speech, with all due respect."


Profile Information

Gender: Male
Current location: Boseong
Member since: Fri Jan 30, 2004, 05:44 AM
Number of posts: 24,432
Latest Discussions»rpannier's Journal