The Hollow Men

Another day in the funhouse world that is Romania. First, the European Court of Human Rights has – yet again – ruled against Romania, this time for torturing people. From the ECHR: Romania committed several rights violations due to its complicity in CIA secret detainee programme. In today’s Chamber judgment, in the case the European…

Chilling Effects

Romania has been a quagmire of incompetence, stupidity, and corruption for many decades now, but two recent stories caught my attention because of just how scary they are. First, the Writers Union in Romania did something really weird with Herta Müller: Last week, Müller learned that she had been expelled from the USR [Romanian Writers…

Glorious Traditions

It’s hot as balls in Romania right now, and the current scandal that everyone’s talking about is the recent revelations about Liviu Dragnea, the unofficial emperor of Romania. It’s not so much just that he’s up to his eyeballs in corrupt practices, but that he’s been laundering millions of dollars while on “fishing trips” in…

Dirty and Dirtier

You’ve got to love the variety of English-language news reports during the past 24 hours with titles like New prime minister appointed after ruling party ousted their own government. I mean, only in Romania could something like this be seen as “normal” business. But there are some vitally important facts missing from all the international…

Black Ball

Oh mercy. Yesterday, the Big Vote was held, and the PSD and members of the minority parties “successfully” voted out Prime Minister Grindeanu, the same man they had installed in office just six months ago. You can read about the fallout here in English, but what I wanted to focus on today was how the…

The Mother of All Fail Whales

Oh my. Just when I thought this week couldn’t get any funnier, Liviu Dragnea went and proved me wrong. Dry details in English on the latest hijinks here, but I was clutching my belly with laughter all day Tuesday as I watched Dragnea’s last attempt to save his political power flame out in a blaze…

Rat Fight on the Titanic

I’ve been following politics in Romania since way back in the year 2000 when Traian Basescu cried on television after accepting his party’s nomination for president. Along the way, I’ve seen some truly stupid and greedy shit, so you’d think there’d be nothing left to surprise me. Well, yesterday, I discovered that there is apparently…