WORD COUNT: 2162
Well kids, the ol’ virtual mailbag is getting full of unanswered messages, so let’s dump out the sack and see what we got inside.
Hey Sam, why do all your recent posts have a word count at the top?
Well, as much as I love WordPress (the people who run the software that makes this blog possible), they don’t have any way to calculate how many words you’ve written total.
I’ve written a lot of articles on here and I was curious what my TOTAL word count was. The problem is that why I know how many articles I’ve written, I don’t know how many words (on average) I’ve written per article, and so no way to calculate the grand total.
Plus, I know some people like to know “ahead of time” just how long an article is so that they can decide whether or not to read it. So now those people can see the word count right at the top and decide whether or not to dive on into the chocolately word goodness that is one of my articles :)
Sam, I heard your cat came back. That’s amazing!
Yes, thank you, it really is amazing. Animals are pretty cool. That’s why I try not to eat them.
Sam, how are things going in the Moldovan parliament?
Excellent question! Exactly as I predicted, PDM and PDLM just signed an agreement with the Communists to form a new ruling bloc, officially called the “European Moldova” coalition.
Yes, that’s right, the EU is now going to officially be partners with the Communist Party. I guess Klaus is going to have a double mega shit fit when he hears about this.
Sam, I’ve got something to say. Should I post the same comment in every thread?
Yes, yes you should. Excellent strategy.
Good! Because you’re wrong. Klaus is our hero.
Well I do admit he looks good in a suit. And he can carry on an intelligent conversation with other European leaders. I’ll give him all that and much more.
My problem with the guy is that he’s flouted a corruption law. I really can’t believe there isn’t a single honest politician out there who could fit the bill equally as well as Klaus. Why do we need a tainted guy in office?
No, damnit Sam, you’re wrong. The court CLEARED Prezident Klaus of all wrongdoing!
Ok fine, some dogs like to chew on a bone.
***rolls up sleeves***
Let’s do this.
In 1999, Adrian Nastase and other political leaders signed Romania’s papers for its bid to join the European Union. The EU accepted, but it had a few conditions. Corruption was rampant and the EU wanted to bring Romania up to modern legal and political standards.
As part of that, Romania was forced to create the DNA, a national agency devoted to investigating and prosecuting serious cases of corruption.
In 2004, it was almost a sure bet that Adrian Nastase would win the presidential elections. But then a fringe candidate (CVT) split the vote in the first round, bumping Nastase into third place and thus out of the running on the second go-round.
Less than a year later, the DNA filed its first case against Nastase:
It was just a short while later that the DNA first opened their case of the “Quality in Construction Trophy” against Nastase, for which he finally was convicted in 2012, a case that concerned fraudulent fundraising to finance Nastase’s 2004 campaign. By 2006, due to the DNA case and other factors, Nastase was ousted as head of the PSD and began his slow decline to end up where he is now, a sick, diabetic, ugly old man serving time behind bars after a pathetic attempt to stir up sympathy by faking a suicide attempt. Pitiful.
But what if Nastase had won in 2004? What if Nastase had become president, able to choose both the Chief Magistrate (top judge) of the ICCJ (highest criminal court) and the chief of the DNA (anti-corruption agency)? Do you think that these three major cases would’ve ever been filed against Nastase when he held the reigns of power and had immunity in his position as president anyway?
Good question. Because when the courts you control rule in your favor despite all logic, common sense and evidence being against you, that’s not exactly all that credible, is it?
A second measure taken by the EU to reduce corruption in Romania was the creation of the CC or Curtea de Conturi (Court of Accounts). Through hard work and diligent analysis of financial records, they’ve caught big name politicians engaged in fraud and embezzlement.
The third measure required by the EU was the creation of ANI, or the National Integrity Agency. The EU has found that when politicians don’t understand that public money isn’t supposed to go to themselves and their friends, this can lead to corruption in governance.
Long before being tapped to run for president, Johannis Klaus, then mayor of Sibiu, repeatedly tangled with the ANI.
His first “conviction” came in January 2010, a ruling that stated he was “incompatible” with the office of mayor of Sibiu. The issue in question was whether or not Klaus had been breaking the law during 2003-2004, his first time in office as mayor.
By law, the mayor was prohibited from being on the board of directors of any commercial enterprise or business. From 2003-2004, Klaus, while mayor, was also on the board of directors of a business called “S.C. Industrial Parks Sibiu-Sura Mica”.
Although ANI’s ruling came late (2012) for an offense committed nearly 10 years earlier (2003-2004), it still made a huge difference. Over in Parliament, the ruling PNL-PD coalition under Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu was in trouble and the parties were casting about for a new candidate for PM. Klaus was initially considered for the post, but then later rejected precisely because of the ANI’s ruling against him.
Boc was ultimately picked to become Prime Minister and Klaus stayed on for a second term as mayor of Sibiu where he got dinged by the ANI for yet another charge.
In 2013, the ANI once more ruled against Klaus, this time for the dual crime of both “incompatibility” as well as a direct “conflict of interest”.
As in the first ruling, the 2013 “incompatibility” charge was because Klaus was both mayor of Sibiu as well as now being on the board of directors of two companies, one the local water utility and the second a firm called “S.C. Piete”.
But now the ANI had another charge against Klaus – “conflict of interest”. Instead of just violating a “technicality” (being on the board of directors of a company), now Klaus was actively using his position to send the city’s business to a company he owned.
This far more serious charge stemmed from the fact that Klaus’s FDGR political party owned a company called S.C. Tipografia Honterus, and the city of Sibiu was signing contracts and spending public money to enrich the company. Klaus, at that time, was not just a member of FDGR (the local ethnic German party) but the active president of the party. The city’s contract with the ruling party’s printing business meant that Klaus was sending public dollars to fill his fellow political party members’ pockets.
All of the incompatibility charges are no-nos but obviously steering public money towards your own private business is blatant corruption. It was precisely because of this second charge (in 2013) that the ANI ruled that Klaus was unfit for any political office for a period of three years.
A person can argue whether or not the ANI’s ruling was “correct” or “right”, but the fact remains that Klaus clearly violated the law. What came next, however, shows exactly what kind of man Klaus really is. Instead of apologizing, he instead defended his actions, saying that the ANI’s rules on corruption and influence peddling were too strict, and that he (Klaus) hadn’t done anything wrong.
Indeed, he also refused to accede to the ANI’s ruling. First, he stayed on as mayor of Sibiu until his term ran out in 2014. Secondly, although he “abandoned” his FDGR party in 2013 (and thus “removed” the conflict of interest), all of his political friends and allies remained in the FDGR, and thus continued to benefit from city contracts with their party-owned publishing house.
And last, but not least, Klaus switched to the PNL party in 2013 precisely because he wanted to climb the slippery slope to national political power. At a time when PNL was still in an official partnership with Ponta’s PSD, Klaus quickly was given the position of president of the PNL party after everyone got sick of Crin Antonescu.
Clearly, the ruling pigs of Romania assumed that Klaus as president of their party would mean the same kind of treatment that FDGR got – plenty of kickbacks, corruption and abuse of public money. Klaus was nearly considered for a ministry position in Ponta’s cabinet and then the whole PSD-PNL alliance fell apart.
Luckily for Klaus, the presidential elections were coming up and he had a good chance to slide his well-fed bottom into Basescu’s old hot seat. The polls showed he had a good chance, so why not? As for that pesky ANI ruling about how Klaus was corrupt and really shouldn’t hold any public office, everyone pretty much ignored it.
On the night of the vote, the higher court hadn’t even ruled of Klaus was eligible to run. But he came in second place, forcing a run-off with Ponta. And then he got swept into office on a tide of fanboy enthusiasm from the Facebook community in Romania, and became president.
What’s a court going to do then? Revoke his eligibility retroactively? Come on, now.
Hey Sam, why are you hating on my man Jamie Oliver? He doesn’t know his sauces are being sold in Moldova
Well if he doesn’t, who does then? I’d like to think if my face was plastered on a jar of factory sauce and cost an honest woman a day’s wages, I’d know about it.
The real issue here is that there are three Jamie Olivers.
Jamie Oliver number one is The Chef, the guy everybody fell in love with years ago. He’s young, he’s affable, he can cook and he makes us all feel jolly and warm inside. He inspires people to cook well and eat well.
Then there is Jamie the Businessman. This is the guy signing deals, contracts, licensing agreements, television production rights, publishing arrangements, opening restaurants and all those other things. It is Jamie the Businessman who is selling processed sauce in tiny jars at enormous prices in Moldova, and you damn well better believe that squeezing profits from poor people in foreign countries is not a bug, but a feature.
The third Jamie is Health Advocate Jamie, the guy who is trying to better your health, and the health of the world, by changing the way food is prepared and eaten. This is the guy teaching kids to identify vegetables and learn how to cook and being enthusiastic about eating well and living healthy.
Let’s compare what we have so far:
Chef Jamie – we love this guy
Businessman Jamie – seems greedy and evil
But what about Health Advocate Jamie? Well, as much as we love Chef Jamie, it turns out that Health Advocate Jamie is a dumbass. Yes, he means well, but he is advocating a lot of staid platitudes that don’t really hold up under scrutiny.
That’s why I wrote not one but two articles about Health Advocate Jamie, because I agree with his intentions, just not his assumptions. Furthermore, Business Jamie is undermining Health Advocate Jamie directly because BJ is making a profit from things that HAJ is warning us not to do in his TED Talks.
We all love CJ, it’s just the other two – BJ and HAJ – that we can’t stand.
Sam, you’re always wrong
I know, right?
No, you’re not. You’re great and you’re awesome.
Now feed me.
Uh, ok. That’s kind of putting it bluntly. Ok, what do you want to eat?
Just fish? How do you want it cooked?
No cooking. Just give it to me raw.
Wait, what? You mean smoked fish?
No, just fish, raw fish with nothing on it.
Oh, hang on a second. Are you my cat?
No. I am not your cat. I am a cat and you are my servant.
One fish dinner coming right up!
Sam, this is a message from a human. You’re great.
Aww, thanks! Well I do try my best to only publish good material. That way people who are looking for quality can feel right at home.
Now feed me. I want pizza.
Dang, again? All right, fine. Do you want ketchup with that, honey?
Hey Sam, do you have any more of those awesome cartoons?
Why, yes I do.