Archive for October, 2004

Net curtain shields Bush site from nosy foreigners

28 October 2004

Non-American net surfers dying to visit the official George W Bush re-election website will be disappointed to hear this is no longer possible. Overseas visitors get a message saying they are “not authorized” to view the site’s contents. A spokesman of the Bush-Cheney campaign says this is for “security reasons”.

Barroso: Exit without a strategy?

27 October 2004

It looks more and more likely that the European Parliament will reject the Barroso Commission today. Last night, members of the Liberal group in the European Parliament announced that about two-thirds of them would vote against the new Commission because of the views of Mr Buttiglione, the Commissioner designate for Justice, Freedom and Security. With the support of the socialists, greens and communists this would probably constitute a majority against the Commission.

Culture gap?

24 October 2004

New fuel for those (like me) who see little point in pleas for one common language in Europe, to replace the current 20 which institutions like the European Parliament now have to work with. Having a common language does not seem to do much for mutual understanding if the cultures are notably different. Take this column in the Guardian:

Kant and Catholics (Buttiglione Blues II)

21 October 2004

“I don’t know if I would have the faith to have my head cut off for my beliefs, but I have enough faith to renounce a job in the Commission if need be,” Mr Buttiglione told the BBC last Thursday in what appears to be a pre-emptive face-saving operation. Faith, of course, is what it is all about – and discrimination: “If I should be discriminated against because I am a Catholic, I prefer to remain a Catholic.” Although in the meantime Italian government comments on the affair have, wisely, been delegated to the diplomatic Mr Frattini, others have used even stronger words to describe what is happening: “Poor Europe: the arse-fuckers (culattoni) are in the majority” (Mr Tremaglia, Minister for “italians abroad”) , “Maybe we are being faced by a sort of ‘Berufsverbot’ against Christians” (Mr Buttiglione himself), and: “It looks like a new inquisition” (Cardinal Renato Martino, giving his expert opinion).

But could they have a case? Could it be that the politically correct thought police (not my words!) is judging Mr Buttiglione, who is definitely one of the most interesting of the new Commissioners, unfairly? I, for one, would not a priori exclude that possibility, so let us try to find out.

Buttiglione blues

15 October 2004

Another columnist to miss the point. George Parker of the Financial Times ends his column on the Buttiglione question as follows:

After all, even if his views are antiquated and insulting to many Europeans, is the parliament really saying that any practising Roman Catholic with traditional views should be debarred from senior EU posts? / Columnists / George Parker – Rocco affair tests MEPs' nerves