Slavoj Žižek on Greece: This is a chance for Europe to awaken

I was informed that a new version of this joke is now circulating in Athens. A young Greek man visits the Australian consulate in Athens and asks for a work visa. “Why do you want to leave Greece?” asks the official.

“For two reasons,” replies the Greek. “First, I am worried that Greece will leave the EU, which will lead to new poverty and chaos in the country . . .”

“But,” interrupts the official, “this is pure nonsense: Greece will remain in the EU and submit to financial discipline!”

“Well,” responds the Greek calmly, “this is my second reason.”

Are then both choices worse, to paraphrase Stalin?

The moment has come to move beyond the irrelevant debates about the possible mistakes and misjudgements of the Greek government. The stakes are now much too high.

That a compromise formula always eludes at the last moment in the ongoing negotiations between Greece and the EU administrators is in itself deeply symptomatic, since it doesn’t really concern actual financial issues – at this level, the difference is minimal. The EU usually accuses Greeks of talking only in general terms, making vague promises without specific details, while Greeks accuse the EU of trying to control even the tiniest details and imposing on Greece conditions that are harsher than those imposed on the previous government. But what lurks behind these reproaches is another, much deeper conflict. The Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, recently remarked that if he were to meet alone with Angela Merkel for dinner, they would find a formula in two hours. His point was that he and Merkel, the two politicians, would treat the disagreement as a political one, in contrast to technocratic administrators such as the Eurogroup president, Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

via Slavoj Žižek on Greece: This is a chance for Europe to awaken.

Japan’s Lower House Passes Bills to Give Military Limited Combat Powers – The New York Times

“The Fourth Reich grabbing Greece and now Japan embracing militarism again!”

The vote was the culmination of months of contentious debate in a society that has long embraced pacifism to atone for wartime aggression. It was a significant victory for Mr. Abe, a conservative politician who has devoted his career to moving Japan beyond guilt over its militarist past and toward his vision of a “normal country” with a larger role in global affairs.

via Japan’s Lower House Passes Bills to Give Military Limited Combat Powers – The New York Times.

How did Sandra Bland die?

The Texas police, on the other hand, is 100 percent hoping we believe this young woman with no apparent mental health problems, who had just started a new job, who was outspoken in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and whose brutal arrest had just been caught on video, committed suicide. Sorta like how they wanted us to believe Walter Scott had gained control of the cop’s taser before he was shot? Or that Freddie Gray was “intentionally trying to injure himself” in the back of that van?

A believer in the power of social media to make change, Bland can be heard thanking the bystander recording her arrest as she’s taken into police custody — custody from which she was never released alive. May Bland’s friends and family get the truth and justice for her.

via How did Sandra Bland die?.