Tonight as I was heading to a meeting I saw about 20-30 people chanting in Piata Unirii (here in Cluj). I was too far away to understand what they were chanting or read their signs but I could tell the protesters were all about 40-60 years old with not a young person in sight (I suppose if I were a better blogger I would’ve had my camera with me and gone and filmed some of this but after what I saw yesterday I realize I do more in a week than most bloggers do in a year, and this coming at a time when I was chastising myself for being so lazy and writing short pieces and not doing enough research when it turns out all along I am churning out tsunami waves of material compared to everyone else, which suddenly makes me realize one reader’s message to makes a lot of sense when they told me “I love your stuff but now I’ve got so much to read!”, which all I can say to that is if you feel this way, please take a breath and relax because it took me years to write it and it isn’t going to disappear and there isn’t a test on this or something later so read at your own pace and don’t stress it, which kind of reminds me of the time when I went to the bookstore and I said “Hey you got anything by Mircea Eliade?” and they pointed me to a whole shelf full of his books and began to giggle, and of course now I realize even my “aside” is far too long for most people to read :P).
Back to the subject at hand, I have no idea what they (the protesters) were upset about in particular today but it might be because the new PDL/UDMR Superstar Cabinet of Ministers™ got the necessary votes to form the new government. I had to laugh (a little) because it’s clear the USL, and particularly Crin “Crazy Eyes” Antonescu (PNL), is playing a kind of “Texas Hold ‘Em” political poker and going “all in” on being the opposition. His party completely abstained from interviewing the prospective (and now officially invested) ministers and from voting on the new prime minister. So now he’s banking everything on hoping that in 60 days he can wreck the new PDL/UDMR Superstar Cabinet of Ministers™. Right now that seems like a good choice but who freaking knows what will happen in the next two months, which is how long this government remains bullet proof from a no confidence vote and general elections.
Victor Ponta (PSD), who looks like nobody’s fool, on the other hand is hedging his bets. Right now he’s staying with “Crazy Eyes” Antonescu but I’ve noticed he’s also been extraordinarily nice to Ungureanu (who, after all, attended Ponta’s wedding and is evidently a personal friend) and laying off the inflammatory “CV Tudor style” talk about how Basescu and Ungureanu are pure devils escaped from the 9th circle of Hell and not worth talking to or negotiating with whatsoever.
The reason why I had to laugh a little is because this so-called “democratic” vote on whether to confirm the new Prime Minister (and his PDL/UDMR Superstar Cabinet of Ministers™) was done fraternity house style, with each member of parliament putting a ball into either a white urn (yea) or a black urn (nay). I really don’t see how making votes by elected members of parliament a secret is open and transparent but hey, at least it’s at least fair. Also you can’t have hanging chads or other American style vote tampering with balls in an urn. A ball is pretty hard to fake and you add ‘em up and count ‘em and thar she blows, you got yourself a vote.
But that still doesn’t yet explain why I was laughing and the reason for that was the chyron running on Realitatea was “vot secret, cu bile”. Now in Romanian this literally means “a secret vote, with balls” but my schizophrenic and screwed up bilingual mind was simultaneously “hearing” this in English and the fact that anonymous, cowardly voting without attaching your name to it is anything but a vote “with balls” (cu tupeu). So there you go, three paragraphs to describe why I briefly smiled.
I also did smile a bit more genuinely (with happiness) in that for the first time ever the majority of people in the new cabinet were never members of the Communist party. They might be crooks, thieves, liars and greedy bastards, some of them, but at least AT LEAST Romania has survived long enough that a fresh crop of people who were teenagers during Ceausescu’s last days have risen to power, which means that if nothing else, they never had to sit around and spout Communist dogma and do things the old, stupid way. That, if nothing else, is a blessing.
I almost about fell out of my chair watching Mircea Geoana, once the darling of the PSD and now a total outcast, give a speech wherein he stated that Romania should summon Jeffrey “Pig Man” Franks back to Romania and renegotiate the terms of the colossal IMF loan that is now crushing the backs of the people of Romania (who all now each owe over 4,000 euros to these fucking bankers, and I’ll eat my hat if any of my Romanian readers have that kind of money to spare). I’m hardly a fan of his former political ideology (or his “baron” friends) but at least someone SOMEONE with a smidgen of clout is actually raising what is a terrifically good idea. Of course it will never happen as things stand and all the parliamentarians did what they did best, which was totally ignore the person speaking and instead fiddle on their iPads, but hey, I was still glad to see it.
So far the big winners in all of this are the canny UDMR, who squeezed Ungureanu for a whole slew of concessions, making them look incredibly good for any upcoming challenges by the nutballs in the HCU or anyone else looking to split the Hungarian vote.
The big loser in all of this was Elena Udrea, who was being vilified most of the day on Antena 3, and while she was sitting there in parliament looking as snazzily dressed as ever, she’s clearly lost favor amongst the PDL as well. I got to admire the woman for being ambitious and brash and a go-getter but on a personal level she was about the worst Tourism Minister this country could ever get, as she was far too invested in furthering her political career than actually bringing foreigners (and their much-needed cash) to this country.
Oh yeah, I also had to laugh because I noticed Roberta Anastase (who causes Alison Mutler to foam at the mouth) was wearing a “violet” colored dress and I noticed a whole slew of male PDL members were wearing “violet” colored ties. Since they ended up winning the vote I guess it really is their lucky color, eh? Long live the violet flame!