Press freedom is deteriorating rapidly in South America. Two politicians — one from Venezuela, one from Ecuador — attack a Dutch reporter for asking critical questions:
Ha, ha, whoops. That didn’t happen in South America. It happened in Europe — Brussels, to be exact. The politicians were not from Venezuela and Ecuador, but from the Czech Republic and Italy. And here’s what went down, according to a German business news site:
EU delegates are paid strictly according to their achievements. If they are present for a sitting, they get “day money”. This is to cover their accommodations and expenses for one day. For every day that the delegates are physically present in the EU Parliament, in either Brussels or Strasbourg. In order to confirm that they were in Parliament — perchance, to work there — the delegates have to show up on the spot and sign in.
In practice, the politicians have found a very efficient form of presence: Many EU delegates only go into Parliament for a short time, formally announce themselves, and then disappear again. For this, they collect 300 euros “day money”. That works out to 1800 euros an hour, when you take into account that the whole process takes just ten minutes, elevator trips up and down included.
The taxpayer has to carry these costs. Any colleague in private business would say it was betrayal.
A Dutch journalist, Tom Staal from GeenStijl, went to Brussels not so long ago, in order to see if this method, criticized for years, was still in effect.
He got lucky fast.
The Czech delegate, Miroslav Ransdorf, of the European leftist party GUE, and the Italian delegate, Raffaele Baldassare, of the European People’s Party, are two such fine examples — of those who shamelessly cash in on taxpayers’ money without working for it.
First the Dutch journalist met up with Miroslav Ransdorf. He had just come in to Brussels from the Czech Republic, shown up in Parliament, and left a few minutes later. His apartment is just a few hundred metres from the parliament building. When Staal confronted him with it, Ransdorf walked away. “But you just pocketed 300 euros, without having done anything, and now you’re going again. You only just arrived, you signed in, and then you go,” Staal added. Ransdorf hit the microphone, trying to fend off the journalist like a pesky insect, and played dumb: “I have no idea what you’re here for” — and kept going. “I work here,” said Ransdorf a little later. “Is it normal for someone who works to show up at six o’clock in the evening and then leave again at five after six?” the Dutch reporter persisted. “Isn’t that unfair to the other EU citizens?” He got no reply; the Czech delegate vanished behind the door of a house.
Staal got no explanation at all from the Italian delegate, Raffaele Baldassare. “We saw how you just signed in, and it’s 6:30 p.m. Isn’t that a little late to show up for work?” Staal asked. Baldassare went into the Parliament with his suitcase at 6:30, and left a little later. “I don’t understand,” Baldassare replied, in English. Because he understood full well that he’d been caught, he later replied only in Italian. As Staal repeated himself several times, the same answer came. Three times Staal asked the question, then tried to follow Baldassare into the elevator. That’s when Baldassare went off on him, trying to throw him out by force, hitting at him and not letting go.
Can you just imagine what the media would say if this happened in Venezuela or Ecuador, though? The IAPOA would be on it like a duck on a junebug. They’d be jumping down the throat of Nicolás Maduro — or Rafael Correa — and calling them commie-fascist strongmen and thugs, and accusing them of censorship, interfering with the freedom of the press, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
But since this was just a couple of crummy Europarliament deputies, one a nominally leftist Czech and the other a conservative Italian, well…it’s kind of hard to blame Bolivarian socialism for that. So the whole thing gets no mention in the anglo-whore media at all.
I’m really trying to muster up the energy to yawn at this, but somehow I just can’t even do that anymore.