politician of the week

“[Alexandre Bissonnette] didn't wake up in the morning and say, 'Hey guys, instead of going to have a picnic or watching the Canadiens, I will go kill some people in the mosque.' It doesn't happen that way. Day after day, week after week, month after month, certain politicians unfortunately, and certain reporters unfortunately, and certain media were poisoning our atmosphere.”

- Quebec City Imam Hassan Guillet extends empathy to mosque shooter in moving eulogy


It’s cold outside… but the hearts of Romanian politicians are even colder. Just a few weeks in power, the new government intends to introduce an amnesty law. That’s damn handy, because a lot of the (PSD) politicians have been convicted of corruption, including the new boss Liviu Dragnea and the old one Victor Ponta. With this law, they will be free men. Again they show absolutely no respect for the Romanian people.

But we are no sheep, not anymore. Politicians: you have to represent our country, not yourself and your bloody bank accounts. So here we are, thousands of us. It’s cold outside, but we keep each other warm, we who really love Romania. You should listen to us, we did it before

Corruption kills!

Hai Romania!

Classical Political Figure of the Week


A powerful Athenian politician in the 5th century BCE, Ephialtes is perhaps best remembered for his influential reforms to the Athenian government, which helped further its radical democracy, though not quite as much as Cleisthenes’ reforms, admittedly.

These reforms included the following:

  • A general lessening of the power of the Areopagus (the aristocratic council not open to common citizens, but only to former archons)
  • An increase in power/importance of the Boule (council of  select citizens/Senate)
  • A substantial increase in the power of the Ekklesia (people’s courts)

This was accomplished by means of a redistribution of power from the Areopagus alone to the more open courts.

In fact, most of the Areopagus’ jurisdictions were transferred, leaving only the overseeing of courts on homicide and certain religious offenses.

Other reforms worked on the capabilities of all political groups to be corrupted. Understanding that corruption was a major problem which increased the powers of wealthy individuals over the masses, Ephialtes instituted certain checks against these.

These included:

  • Dokimasia - Power of the Boule to scrutinize archons and Boule members up for office
  • Euthyna - A compulsory check of the accounts of officials before they are allowed to leave office to ensure money has not been “misplaced.”

There were other important parts to these reforms as well, but those mentioned above are the most important. 

After the institution of these reforms, Ephialtes was understandably out of favor with many of the aristocratic citizens whose power he had greatly decreased. This led to his eventual assassination in 461 BCE. Although his actual assassin is not known, it can be inferred that it came from one of those leaning toward a more oligarchic government.

Ephialtes was succeeded by Pericles after his death.

(Note: by “succeeded” I do not mean to say that they were in charge of Athens in any monarchical way, but that they were the leaders of the radical democratic faction in Athens at that time, whose power was on the rise.)

Political Figure of the Week

The Roman Kings

Although most of what we know of the ancient Roman monarchy comes from Livy and it is likely that most (if not all) of them were fictional, studying the stories about these kings can give an insight into what the Romans themselves thought their Republic/Empire was founded upon.

These kings included:

  • Romulus – son of Mars, founder of Rome, and brother-killer

  • Numa – a peaceful king; established cults and priesthoods, reformed calendar

  • Tullius Hostilius – warlike, absorbed adjoining populations, expanded Rome

  • Ancus Marcius - improved Roman infrastructure, built first bridge, gained control of salt flats below Tiber

  • Tarquinius Priscus – first Etruscan king; instituted public games, drainage system

  • Servius Tullius – (possibly historical) created timocratic state (those with higher status have greater control in political hierarchy); built city wall; established shared cult

  • Tarquinius Superbus – employed many in building temples, extended Roman influence in Latium, last and most hated king of Rome 

More detailed bios following:

Keep reading

Women of Star Wars Appreciation Week: Breha Organa & Padmé Amidala

Day 2You know, you two have more in common than you think. It’s no wonder you get along so well.

Ever since reading that Padmé had a trusting friendship the Organa couple, I have always wished to know about her interactions with Breha. I like to think that these two royal ladies shared the same political beliefs, compassion and certain amount of cheek…
So that Breha later took care to nurture some of Padmé’s spirit into her adopted daughter, Leia Organa.

Top Filmmakers Call for Korean Government to Come Clean on Blacklist
Filmmaker Kim Kim-duk (“The Net”) this week called for the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) to reveal whether it is providing or denying funding according to a government blacklist. Last week politician…
By Sonia Kil

Filmmaker Kim Kim-duk (“The Net”) this week called for the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) to reveal whether it is providing or denying funding according to a government blacklist.

Last week politicians clashed with government over allegations that some 9,473 artists were on a blacklist, being operated by the right-wing government of President Park Geun-hye.

Among those understood to be on the list are leading filmmakers Park Chan-wook, whose “The Handmaiden” opens this week in the U.S, Lee Chang-dong (“Poetry”) and Ryoo Seung-wan (“Veteran”) and actors Song Kang-ho (“The Age of Shadows”), Moon So-ri (“Handmaiden”) and Jung Woo-sung (“Asura: The City of Madness”).

They may have offended the Park regime by protesting against the government’s handling of the Sewol ferry sinking supported the opposition Minjoo Party’s Moon Jae-in in the presidential bid in 2012; or supported Park Won-soon for Seoul Mayor in 2014. Local government intervention to silence discussion of the Sewol ferry was also at the root of the two year dispute that wracked the Busan festival.

Korean newspapers recently published a transcript of conversations which appear to show the at the Arts Council of Korea chairman saying “There is a list [of artists] that should be denied support.” The president’s office is also known to have sent the list to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Kim Ki-duk said that KOFIC should reveal the shortlisted nominees for the agency’s funding round and the jury members behind the selection. His latest application was rejected in August.

“At this time when the alleged ‘blacklist of dissenting artists’ is at the center of controversy, KOFIC should disclose the lists in order to prevent misunderstandings,” he said via email.

The pope played us for fools, trying to have it both ways. As I noted last week, he’s an artful politician, telling different audiences what they want to hear on homosexuality.

Michelangelo Signorile, Gay Voices Editor-at-Large, The Huffington Post

How Pope Francis Undermined the Goodwill of His Trip and Proved to Be a Coward

Europe headed for "religion wars" despite Wilders' stumble, Turkish minister says

(Adds Erdogan on Rutte losing Turkey’s friendship)
ANKARA, March 16 (Reuters) - Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders may have fallen short in this week’s election in the Netherlands, but his views were shared by all the Dutch parties and are pushing Europe towards “wars of religion”, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Thursday.
Centre-right Prime Minister Mark Rutte fended off the Wilders challenge in a victory hailed across Europe by governments facing a rising wave of nationalism.
The reaction in Ankara was less sanguine. Turkey has been locked in a deepening row with the Netherlands after the Dutch barred Turkish ministers from holding rallies among overseas Turks.
“Many parties have received a similar share of votes. Seventeen percent, 20 percent, there are lots of parties like this, but they are all the same,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a rally in the southern city of Antalya.
“There is no difference between the mindsets of Geert Wilders and social democrats in the Netherlands. They all have the same mindset … That mindset is taking Europe to the cliff. Soon wars of religion may and will start in Europe.”
Turkey on Monday suspended high-level relations with the Netherlands after the Dutch cited public safety in banning its ministers from addressing expatriate Turks. Their votes are being sought in a campaign for a referendum that would give President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers.
Erdogan, who is counting on the overseas Turks in the April 16 vote, has accused the Dutch government of acting like “Nazi remnants”. On Thursday, he said the diplomatic row had cost Rutte Ankara’s friendship.
“Hey Rutte, you may have won the election as first party, but you have lost a friend like Turkey,” Erdogan told flag-waving crowds at a pro-referendum rally in the northwestern province of Sakarya.
He also slammed the European Union for a ruling allowing companies to ban staff from wearing Islamic headscarves under certain conditions.
“Shame on the EU,” Erdogan said. “Down with your European principles, values and justice … They started a clash between the cross and the crescent, there is no other explanation.”
Although a majority Muslim country, Turkey is officially secular and headscarves were banned for decades in the civil service and universities. Erdogan and the Islamist-rooted AK Party he founded fought to overturn those bans, which they see as discriminatory, and to bring religion into public life. (Editing by David Dolan and Ralph Boulton, Larry King)

Sadiq Khan shows off comedy skills with rude joke about Jeremy Hunt
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been reminiscing about his days as a fledgling political comedian this week in an interview with Time Out.

So London’s mayor used to be a stand-up political comedian. And recently he shared the following joke with the magazine Time Out London. It goes as follows:

I went to visit St George’s, my local hospital, and I asked: “Who are the easiest people to operate on?”

One of the surgeons said: “It’s librarians, because when you cut them open all the bits are in alphabetical order.”

Another one of them goes: “No, you’re wrong. Actually, the easiest people to operate on are accountants because when you open them up, all their parts are numbered.”

But then the chief surgeon disagreed. She goes: “You’re both wrong. The easiest are politicians.”

So I said to her: “Politicians? Why’s that?”And she said: “Well, last week I had Jeremy Hunt in here for surgery. When we sliced him open he was gutless, spineless and heartless.“Also his head and his a*** were interchangeable.”

I’m liking our new mayor already.


Kenyan police Monday tear-gassed schoolchildren demonstrating against the removal of their school’s playground, which has been allegedly grabbed by a powerful politician, said a Kenyan human rights activist.

The students from Langata Road Primary School were in the front line of people pulling down a wall erected around the playground which has been acquired by a private developer said to be a powerful politician, said Boniface Mwangi. Primary school children in Kenya are usually between six and 13 years of age.

“The governor, the senator and other government officials are all scared of the politician, they cannot do anything to stop the playground from the being taken,” Mwangi said. Television footage showed children, some being carried away, writhing in pain, screaming and choking because of the tear-gas. Police officers later brought dogs to the playground.

Police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi was not available for comment. Elijah Mwangi, who was in charge of the police officers at the school, said he was following orders. Opposition politician Eliud Owalo said last week that the playground had been grabbed to construct a parking lot for the politician’s hotel adjacent to the school.

“This is brutality beyond words and greed beyond description. It is difficult to believe that police can actually deploy against primary school children and lob tear gas at them to defend a land grabber. This image of a nation determined to steal forcefully from its own children cannot be what we aspire to. It cannot be the legacy we want to bequeath the children,” said opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Allegations of land seizures by Kenyan officials has become a controversial issue in the country.

However, it is important to remember that not everything that happened in Pericles’ Golden Age was all so golden. 

His use of Delian League funds and conversion of Athens into the seat of an empire was, although good for the city, also devious and underhanded. Masquerading behind the veil of a League of allies, the Delian League was now a kind of mobster-like group, headed by a merciless Athens with complete control over its allies.

Furthermore, cleruchies were introduced during Pericles’ reign. These offices, which were meant to be ways for poorer Athenian citizens to gain wealth and power in areas controlled by Athens, was done by taking away the land of a quarreling ally, giving it to an Athenian citizen, and using that citizen (who now owes their power and wealth to the state) to spy on allies capable of revolting.

Nevertheless, Pericles did promote a great deal of the arts and gave power to many of the common people of Athens who might never have had the ability to take part in politics or partake of the arts without his radical democratic laws. (And the Parthenon is really cool.)

You win some, you lose some.

Here’s What “Legitimate Health Care” Looks Like

Yesterday’s Senate vote against defunding Planned Parenthood was a victory for women’s health and rights thanks to all those who #StandWithPP — but the fight is far from over. Anti-women’s health politicians have made it clear defunding Planned Parenthood health centers will be a top priority for the House when Congress returns from recess. The politicians behind it keep saying what Republican Whip John Cornyn said last week: that if Congress defunds Planned Parenthood, other providers “can absorb the legitimate health care needs of women.” LET’S GET A FEW THINGS STRAIGHT. Three things, in fact.

FIRST OF ALL: The leaders of the defunding efforts have a long history of restricting women’s health.  

Politicians like Sen. Cornyn do NOT get to decide what is legitimate when it comes to women’s health. Sen. Cornyn is the same guy who inserted an extreme anti-abortion restriction in a bill intended to give justice to the people forced into modern-day slavery. And the records of fellow politicians pushing for a Planned Parenthood defund? They’re just as bad if not worse.

Take, for instance, Sen. Joni Ernst. She’s the one who proposed the bill that would have defunded Planned Parenthood. She’s ALSO the same person who:

  • Voted to defund Planned Parenthood in Iowa
  • Co-sponsored a “personhood” amendment
  • Applauded the Hobby Lobby ruling, and
  • Walked away mid-question when asked what Iowa women would do if Planned Parenthood got defunded

So, let’s all agree that they are not the authority on women’s health care.

SECONDLY: Sens. Ernst and Cornyn are consistently conflating abortion services with federal funding.

Yes, abortion represents three percent of the services Planned Parenthood health centers provide. But federal tax dollars don’t fund abortion, except under very rare circumstances. The vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding comes from reimbursement for visits to get preventive health care — like birth control, well-woman exams, and lifesaving STI and cancer screenings. Here’s just a snapshot of what Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses do with the help of government funding:

The bill Congress is voting on today would block patients who rely on public programs from this type of care, and have a devastating effect on ALL types of Planned Parenthood services.

THE THIRD THING YOU NEED TO KNOW: Other providers cannot “absorb” Planned Parenthood’s 2.7 million yearly patients like these politicians claim.

It’s a myth that other providers can fill the gap that defunding Planned Parenthood would leave. It’s simply not feasible to hand off the 2.7 million patients Planned Parenthood sees annually. No wonder American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin called the defunding “ludicrous.”

Why is it so difficult to transfer millions patients and government dollars? Because Planned Parenthood health centers serve an outsized role in meeting the family planning needs for those who rely on federally funded health programs. Planned Parenthood is the only source of family planning services in some areas — more than half of Planned Parenthood’s health centers are in rural or medically underserved areas. From ending up in the emergency room to going without care altogether, people would seriously struggle to access quality reproductive health care without Planned Parenthood. So while Planned Parenthood health centers represent 10 percent of all publicly funded family planning centers, they serve 36 percent of all clients who obtain care from that network. And while Planned Parenthood comprises 13 percent of Title X clinics, they serve 37 percent of clients. 

What’s more, America has a reproductive health care provider shortage: Planned Parenthood provides high-quality reproductive health care to Medicaid patients at a time when a majority of Medicaid programs don’t have enough providers, including specialty providers like ob/gyns. Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid patients can’t simply see someone else because in many places there likely isn’t someone else.

Sen. Cornyn, of all people should know better… Here’s what happened when states prevented Planned Parenthood health centers from serving those who rely on publicly funded health programs:

  • In Texas, after the state cut Planned Parenthood health centers out of its family planning program for low-income women, the program served far fewer women. In fact, 54 percent fewer patients received care.
  • In Indiana, blocking Planned Parenthood from providing health care led to an unprecedented HIV outbreak.
  • In Tennessee, similar legislation passed affecting the distribution of funding for Title X, the nation’s family planning program. That move resulted in decreasing the number of Title X patients seen from 700-800 at Planned Parenthood to about 50 per month at a faith-based provider.


I don’t know if you already know but we have a horrible situation on South Korea.

A south korean woman,called Lee Jung Hee, was being raped and violated by her husband and a whole lot of people during 20 years, her sons, during 10 years. Her older son is in a mental hospital right now suffering from ptsd due to his father’s abuse. The younger is only 13 years old and dreams with a normal life.

The police wasn’t investigating but apparently they are now, but it’s difficult when those criminals are important people (politicians are involved). Brazilians are spreading the word on twitter all week but we don’t have enough people. One of the girls on twitter made contact with some people there and they said most of the korean population doesn’t even know about the case. Posts with lots of comments and shares are vanishing from media.



The only reason nothing has been done is because Korea won’t let the USA know about any of this. SPREAD THE WORD. PLEASE.


Following these reforms, Solon left his post as archon (not wishing to become a tyrant and hoping to let his laws take root without him), leaving Athens and going into voluntary exile. Tales from this exile abound, mostly from Herodotus and Plutarch, praising Solon for his wisdom. These stories, as well as the accreditation of these reforms to him, are likely an excuse to explain how Athens acquired its civic institutions and overcame this dark period in the 6th century. However, Solon’s (attribution to these actions) was likely (although not definitely) purely mythical. But since poetry from him still survives, the man himself was not.


(Thank you, demonbloodsausagedog, for pointing that last part out! [also, terrific username])