S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Upheaval within and among nations is common these days --

An atmosphere of change within the past few weeks is pervading the family of nations, according to Reuters.  Leaders are forced to change, often by forms of protest or transformation of legislative bodies.  At times, however, change seems impossible.  

Elections almost always mean change, though it can be very slow.  Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have gone on -- and stopped -- for decades because of what happened in their elections. 
The election of a hardliner in Israel made negotiations between them and the Palestinians more difficult.  Now Israel's parliament is going to have to decide whether to halt settlement activity as a way of perhaps renewing stalled peace talks with the Palestinians. Iraq may finally be forming a working government, after almost a year of wrangling following its parliamentary elections.  Recently the United States elected enough members of Congress to change its balance of power from Democratic to Republican, necessitating accommodation by President Obama.  This election turned, in the opinion of many, on voter upset over the handling of the financial crisis by Congress and the Obama administration. 

The 2008 worldwide financial crisis meant huge change that persists to this day.  Member nations within the European Union are also in upheaval directly related to the financial crisis.  To again quote Reuters News Service (headlines):
  • Italy - "Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, fighting for the survival of his government, said on Saturday he would seek a confidence vote in parliament after the 2011 budget has been approved."  Should Berlusconi lose the vote in either chamber of Parliament he would be forced to resign, and a new government would have to be formed.  He faces challenges from both the center right and the center left.
  • France - "France's government resigned on Saturday in a procedural move designed to allow President Nicolas Sarkozy to inject some fresh blood into his cabinet and boost his re-election chances in 2012. . . Sarkozy emerged victorious from a drawn out battle with unions over pension reform but remains deeply unpopular with approval ratings below 30 percent."
  • Germany - "Tens of thousands of people marched in cities across Germany on Saturday to protest against government policies and social inequality, a day before a key meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU). . . Merkel's center-right coalition with the Free Democrats (FDP) has been dogged by infighting and made little progress on its campaign promises in its first year in power, leading to a slide in its popularity."  Big trade unions are protesting the "offloading the costs of the financial crisis."
  • Ireland - "Ireland can manage on its own, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Saturday, a day after euro zone sources told Reuters the former "Celtic Tiger" was in talks about a possible EU rescue."  However, "Ireland does not rule out rescue" from the European Union's Emergency fund, it later said.
Worldwide finances and democracy -- The United States has been far better off with Democrats in charge during the financial crisis , than we were under Republicans where it all began.  Voters threw out incumbent members of Congress willy-nilly, however, in 2010.  They voted in a number of fiscal/social conservatives as a form of protest against Democrats.  Voters in the European Union are also in various levels of protest meaning that their parliamentary forms of government come and go easier than in the U.S.  Finally, Iraqi voters' patience has been sorely tried as their infant democracy tries to find its way towards settlement of sectarian and oil money divisions.  We must hope that the democratic process is resilient enough to overcome the horrendous mistakes responsible for all this upheaval, that were made both by government and the private sector.

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