Meanwhile, My Nephew

While a few months ago I may have changed the title of this blog to Citizen Reporter, that does not mean the personal side of things will suddenly disappear. It doesn’t mean I will pack up my opinion, my thoughts, my concerns, and things that happen to me.

That said, I will still focus on things happening in the world, especially that which goes under discussed, under reported, un-addressed. But in between, naturally the blog is still a personal creation at its core, and I still carry my internet moniker with pride.

The other thing I’d like to share with great pride is a recent photo of my nephew, now 3 years of age. My readership research indicates that more than 30% of you adore photos of my nephew (especially my readers in France), and who am I to deny you of such joy?

A-Ren

Tomorrow it is back to the reporter side of citizen reporter. See you then.

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85% Voter Turnout

Greetings from an almost secret location in Belgium where I’ll be stationed for a few days. Coincidentally, just close enough to France so that everyone is this area is clinging to the French election results, and for the most part, pulling their hairs out in disappointment and frustration.

While it is hardly under-reported news, it is interesting, watching these elections in the global context. An old friend of mine in France once said, as much as his fellow citizens would never admit it, the French are very similar to Americans in many things. Every now and then, like in these elections, I think she was right.

He plays on fear. He threatens to be tough on immigrants and to cut taxes and benefits and whatever else he can cut. He goes on and on about national pride and what a great country it is. He could basically be a president candidate in the USA, but in fact, he is the new president of France, Nicholas Sarkozy. (or as I heard him referred to today, mini-bush)

As people learn the result of today’s election, you’ll hear lots of disgusted responses. “So embarrassing” people will say. Sounds familiar.

But unlike the US, where even if you bus people to the polls you can’t get a 50 percent turnout, reports from today say that turnout was at 85%! 85%! Now at first glance, that’s impressive. People can say, and they are, that it is a healthy sign for democracy because people are participating.

Then again, 85% voting for, with more than 50% of them choosing a pretty hardline conservative candidate also makes it hard for a country to deny who they are. At least in the US you can say “hey.. thats only half of the 40+% that vote who chose that bum, we’re not really like that”. In France, you can’t say that anymore. So if Sarko ends up rounding up all the immigrants and putting them in labor camps. Or joining the US military in its latest adventure to invade and bring democracy somewhere. It won’t be just a small percentage of crazies that took over the government. Nope… it’s a majority of the country that actually shares (at least some of) these values.

Once again, I don’t have a better idea yet, but western democracy is still overrated.

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bm199 What these Elections Will Do To France

Media coverage of the French elections has spiraled into the typical who looks tougher who will lose reporting, as is the norm for mainstream media today. But there are real policies that will harm or help real people throughout and France, depending on the outcome. In this podcast, with the help of Chris of Americablog and Jessica in London, we will identify what changes will come and what it means for French, as well as the effect on Europe.

I recommend Chris’s latest post on round 1 election results
Also Mentioned: Opendemocracy.net

We Discuss:
-The top issues that will HAVE to change regardless of who’s elected
-The economy and jobs
-The 35 hour work week
-The green movement, or lack there of
-The Health system
-Transport
-Selling “American Style” to the French
-Racism as an election tool
-Europe Union issues

 

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bm189 2 EU Parliaments Too Many

The European Union has a parliament which has two homes, Brussels and Strasbourg. When weighing all the resources required and practical costs for maintaining this tradition, many have called into question why there isn’t one European Parliament. My guest today is Anders Ekberg, a key player in the OneSeat.eu campaign and part of the Liberal Party of Sweden, he explains the history of the campaign and we discuss the details.

We Discuss:
– How the Parliament juggles the two places
– The history of the situation
– Luxembourg, the third seat.
– Who pays for what
– The process
– France
– What to do with Strasbourg
– The campaign and its future

 

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