October 19, 2005


Lothar_bisky Deutsche Welle reports today that the German Bundestag (parliament) has blocked the chairman of the new Left Party (Linkspartei), Lothar Bisky (left), from one of the 6 Deputy Speaker posts to which the party is entitled by statute -- even though the Left Party won 54 seats in the Bundestag in the recent parliamentary elections, making it the fourth largest political formation in Germany.

"On Tuesday, despite repeated rounds of voting, Lothar Bisky, party chief of the Left Party, failed to garner enough votes from his fellow parliamentarians to be elected to one of six deputy speakers' posts. Initially, the success of the vote was seen as a Linkspartei_3 foregone conclusion as these posts are traditionally distributed evenly among the parliamentary parties.  But Bisky failed to secure an absolute majority of at least 308 votes in three rounds, leaving the Left Party in dismay and lending the first day of parliament some unexpected drama. The Left Party has expressed outrage, with parliamentary leader Dagmar Enkelmann calling the incident 'nasty and unparliamentarian,'" Deutsche Welle reported.

Gregor Gysi (right), one of the Left Party's two charismatifc leaders (the other being the Gregor_gysi_3 former chairman of the Social Democrats, Oskar Lafontaine) declared, "We're not going to drop Mr. Bisky now, and we'll have all the patience we need to see him through. We'll let parliament vote as long as it takes to elect Bisky as one of the deputies." The Left Party's exclusion from Otto_solms the Deputy Speakership was equally criticized by some on the right. "Deputy parliamentary speaker Hermann Otto Solms (left), from the free-market liberal Free Democrats, admits that he feels uneasy about the outcome of Tuesday's vote. He stressed that the Left Party is entitled to have a deputy speaker of its own, and the general suspicion surrounding this party should not play a role in the voting 'Our statute clearly defines that all political forces represented in parliament have the right to be represented in the presidium made up of the speakers,' he said.  'There are no two ways about it. At the same time the people elected into this presidium need to enjoy majority backing from the MPs.'"

For more details, read the whole Deutsche Welle report by clicking here. And for a scorecard explaining the players on the German political scene, see the prescient Der_spiegel_cover pre-election report by DIRELAND contributor Norman Birnbaum, the distinguished expert on European politics, on Germany's political crisis by clicking here......Also, the latest issue of Der Spiegel, the German equivalent of TIME magazine, has an interview with the new conservative Chancellor, Angela Merkel, which you can read -- in English -- by clicking here.

DID BUSH KNOW OF THE LEAK COVERUP IN THE PLAME CASE? My David_corn_1 friend David Corn (left), The Nation's D.C. correspondent, has an interesting item about this on his blog today: "In Wednesday's New York Daily News, Washington bureau chief Thomas DeFrank has an important story--but much of it is between the lines. DeFrank writes: An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News. 'He made his displeasure known to Karl,' a presidential counselor told The News. 'He made his life miserable about this.'....

"Waitaminute! Two years ago, the White House--via McClellan--Karl_rove_4 definitively declared that Rove (right) was not "involved" in the CIA leak. But if Bush at some point upbraided his guru about the leak that means (a) Bush knew that Rove was involved and (b) Bush countenanced McClellan's dissemination of a false cover story. This is evidence that Bush was a party to the attempted White House cover-up and that Bush might have directly lied about the issue....

"If DeFrank got this right, he has a bigger scoop than the paper seems to have realized. His article does not note that these accounts from White House aides indicate that Bush knew the White House had lied in its public statements about the leak scandal...." To read David's entire item, click here.....

IN A RELATED DEVELOPMENT, the good folks at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) today issued a statement denouncing the Society of Professional Fair_logo_1 Journalists for giving its coveted "First Amendment Award" to the New York Times' Judith Miller. Said FAIR: "By rewarding a reporter who was apparently collaborating with and protecting a powerful official in an effort to punish the free speech of a government critic, the SPJ is undermining, not advancing, the principles of the First Amendment....Miller is a reporter who violated the standards of professional journalism to work with a top White House official to get revenge on a government critic--and then declined to testify to protect him from the criminal consequences of his lies. This context has an obvious bearing on Miller’s qualifications for an award celebrating freedom of expression." FAIR's statement includes detailed documentation, including from the Times itself, for its charges, and you can -- and should -- read it all by clicking here.

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hello. I found this url through your article about Pasolini on LA weekly online version (I read the printed one while ago...)
I just wanted to say that I was happy to see someone is writing about Pasolini... I have seen many Visconti's but never had a chance to see Pasolini's... hopefully @ theaters (maybe impossible in LA though...)

Posted by: zoe m. | Oct 20, 2005 11:53:14 PM

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