Just Something I Sing To Pye Now And Then

The Romanian government, in its never-ending grub for money, first decided to tax the nation’s witches, fortune-tellers, and astrologers. Now it is contemplating fining them, too, whenever it is determined that their spells failed, or their prognostications did not move into the Real.

Romania is broke: the economy contracted by 7% in 2009, when the nation went into hock to the vampires of the International Monetary Fund for more than $27 billion. As I noted here, last autumn thousands of Romanians took to the streets to demand that the government rescind a 25 percent cut in all state employees’ salaries, and restore the “wage incentives” that constitute up to 60 percent of state workers’ incomes. In an attempt to placate these people, the government has vowed to funnel money collected from “tax evaders” into the depleted wage-incentive pool; creating more taxpayers—like witches, fortune-tellers, and astrologers—creates more tax-evaders.

The government’s “tax the spirit-finders” crusade followed new taxes earlier levied on fast food, the pittance old people receive in pensions, and even the allowances of children.

The Romanian witch tax, decreed in January, resulted in Outrage: multiple witches rained down curses on various and sundry government officials, employing such implements of destruction as dead dogs, the feces of cats, mandrake root, yeast, and black pepper. Jeebus knows what new assaults will besiege government toads if they actually follow through on this fining business.

Here’s the news outta AP:

A month after Romanian authorities began taxing them for their trade, the country’s soothsayers and fortune tellers are cursing a new bill that threatens fines or even prison if their predictions don’t come true.

The latest bill was passed in the Senate last week, but must still be approved by a financial and labor committee and by the Chamber of Deputies, the other house of Romania’s parliament.

The new bill would also require witches to have a permit, to provide their customers with receipts and bar them from practicing near schools and churches.

The AP piece more or less portrays the Romanian government, on all levels, as a collection of bumbling goofballs.

European Union and Romanian officials say local authorities are hampered by political bickering and bureaucracy. The centrist government is unpopular, the opposition is weak, the press thrives on conspiracy and personal attacks, and EU officials say the justice system needs to be reformed. Romanians are jaded and mistrustful.

Meanwhile, the claim out of India is that Romanian government officials were heretofore hesitant to move against the nation’s oo-ee-oo people for fear that bleeding string-warts might suddenly sprout all over their bodies, but now are less afraid of that than of having no money:

Last year, as Romania struggled to emerge from a deep recession, members of the ruling liberal party tried to tighten rules on witches. But the Senate voted down the bill, prompting accusations that opponents were scared of being cursed.

Romanian political commentator Stelian Tanase observes that “[t]he government doesn’t have real solutions, so it invents problems.” He suggests the nation’s witches place spells on the country’s president and prime minister, directing them to fashion real solutions for real problems.

Romanian witch Bratuara Buzea denounced the Fining Solution as balderdash:

[She said] that the government should blame the tools of her profession, the Tarot, the crystals, the dirty palms, not the witches themselves if their predictions don’t pan out. Sometimes, she argued, people don’t provide their real identities, dates of birth or other personal details, which could skew a seer’s predictions. “What about when the client gives false details about themselves?” Buzea said. “We can’t be blamed for that.”

Too, and as my daughter, the award-winning deviant, pointed out in the comments to my first piece here on the Romanian government’s decision to rummage around in the pocketbooks of witches, fortune-tellers, astrologers, and other assorted seers:

It frustrates me that psychic work is the only field on earth in which a perfect outcome is expected every time, and if it doesn’t, the practitioner is declared a fraud. Just like an athlete who loses a game or there must be a fraud. Or a lawyer who loses a case. Or a fisherman who comes home empty-handed some evenings. Why do I get the feeling that far more witches will be sued for failed spells than doctors will be sued for lost patients?

That’s a good point there, about the doctors. Here in the US of A, some 98,000 people per year die from “preventable medical errors,” while another 99,000 are massacred by hospital-acquired infections. The numbers probably aren’t that high in Romania—simply because Romania has fewer people, and fewer malpracticioners—but that reads to me like a lot of coin the alms-seeking Romanian government could rake in from its leeches, butchers, and wielders of saws.

Then there are economists. This is a peculiar form of soothsayer invented by white people; to my knowledge no economist anywhere has ever been right on any prediction. Surely some of these charlatans roam free in Romania, and can be beaten like gongs with huge fines each time their predictions explode in their faces like a big clown cigar. Not to mention government officials themselves, who are incessantly promising and predicting shit that never comes anywhere near true. All of these people need to have their pockets turned out before internal-revenuers are dispatched to snatch the purses of ball-gazers, card-readers, and mojo-ministers.

Also, sometimes the magic does work, but the beneficiary bungs it up in some fashion. This should hardly be blamed on the deliverer. Then there are dueling desires: if three women contract with three different magic-workers for the love of the same woman, odds are not everybody every time will emerge shiny and happy. Also, what if a neutrino horns in? These things are barely matter, they’re flowing through our bodies all the time, and sometimes, when zooming through a brain, they inadvertently trip a synapse, and cause a person to start doing things For No Known Reason. Not even freaking jeebus can account for that kind of weirdness.

Fining seers because Things Don’t Work Out sounds to me like an invitation for the creation of a mammoth new sub-field in the practice of the law. Though maybe that’s the government’s intention. Maybe those people are shrewder than they seem. Fixing things so that each seer needs to retain an attorney would certainly generate revenue, as lawyers are known to have a dollar or two, and known even more to fail to properly report those dollars . . . thus creating a whole new swamp of “tax evaders,” whose monies may be drained into the “wage-incentive” pool, thereby keeping those unruly government workers from swarming again into the streets.

Geniuses, maybe, these people are.

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21 Responses to “Just Something I Sing To Pye Now And Then”


  1. 1 Julia Rain (the daughter) February 27, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Thanks for quoting me. I think the AP is right to describe the Romanian government as bumbling goofballs, although that quote:

    “European Union and Romanian officials say local authorities are
    hampered by political bickering and bureaucracy. The centrist government is unpopular, the opposition is weak, the press thrives on conspiracy and personal attacks, and EU officials say the justice system needs to be reformed. Romanians are jaded and mistrustful.”

    – could just as easily be applied to the U.S.

    I’m fine with taxing fast food. The allowances of children is going rather far. And it really needs to be universally decreed that pensions are off-limits. You can’t just tell someone they’re going to get a certain amount when they retire, and then default on it after the person works for you for 20+ years. Some Republican dunderhead the other day said, in regards to pensions “Everyone is going to need to cut back, and that includes pensions.” Luckily Anthony Wiener replied quickly with “Wall Street is still giving out $100 million dollar bonuses and you want to dig into retirees’ $50,000 a year pensions?” It’s rather the same issue as Romania. Trying to fix the problem by taking money from people who didn’t cause it.

    I’m uncomfortable with the idea that the ruling party in Romania is described as Liberal, but that they want to prohibit witches from practicing near schools or churches. That has nothing to do with finance, that’s just plain discrimination. And stupidity. Especially considering that your last post described how magical practice is completely intertwined with the culture, and that Romanians consider white magic to be a beneficial addition to religious happenings.

    I agree it would be good if the Romanian witches cast spells on Romanian leaders to get them to find real solutions for actual problems.

    This quote:

    “A month after Romanian authorities began taxing them for their trade, the country’s soothsayers and fortune tellers are cursing a new bill that threatens fines or even prison if their predictions don’t come true.”

    really made me roll my eyes. “cursing” a new bill? Seriously?

    I like your depiction of economists as soothsayers invented by white people. I wouldn’t really call Jim Cramer an economist, but if anyone should be fined for false prognostications, he makes a worthy candidate.

    “Neutrino” sounds like it should be a soft drink invented in the 80s. Who gave them permission to rifle around in my brain and direct its activities?

    • 2 bluenred February 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm

      I have been fascinated with neutrinos ever since I first read about them, 30 years or so ago. I encountered them both in Real science books, and in oo-ee-oo science books. I’m pretty sure it was in a Real science book that I read about their ability to trip synapses, though I can’t be sure, because all my neutrino books are locked away in The Book Castle, awaiting the awakening of Sleeping Beauty. : /

      Neutrinos come flying out of the sun, and travel pretty much at the speed of light, so they’re not sure whether they want to be matter or not. They’re not really there, but there’s enough of them there to trip a synapse every now and again. Billions of them travel through the earth every second. Once upon a time Science Men, in order to detect them, had to go to places like deep salt mines, but now I think they look at them in labs. The last photo in this diary, the one that precedes the spell on Jimmy Stewart, is of a “neutrino event”; I think it’s pretty cool that it’s kind of in the shape of a heart.

      Someday when we have a really hopeless case I am going to convince the lawyers to mount a Neutrino Defense: our client didn’t intend to do it, your honor, but a rogue neutrino tripped a synapse, and sent him helplessly hurtling into Crime. We will call wild-haired scientists to the stand to testify as Experts.

      • 3 Julia Rain (the daughter) February 27, 2011 at 11:40 pm

        So the sun makes them? I like that they don’t know whether they want to be matter or not. Things that defy the laws of science are fun.

        It is neat that it looks like a heart. Are they too tiny to detect, or is it a light spectrum thing?

        I think that would be, if nothing else, a very entertaining trial.

        • 4 bluenred February 28, 2011 at 10:48 am

          I believe that Science Men now Think that neutrinos are born of nuclear reactions, and thus they come out of the sun & other stars, as well as nuclear reactors. So you personally are probably really getting bombarded with the things, living downstream of Three Mile Meltdown and all.

          They are extremely tiny—sub-atomic—plus they travel at close to the speed of light, winking in and out: that’s what makes them so hard to See.

  2. 8 clau2002 February 28, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Good old American ignorance at work.Give them a shitty article written by an equally ignorant American or British(same level of ignorance mixed with arrogance) reporter and they are all horrified by the government of whatever country they previously had no idea it existed.Crooks are to be held accountable in any civilised country.There is no such thing as…”Romanian witches”(they are Gypsy crooks)”Romanian vampires”(they are delusions of a drunken Irish dude called Bram Stoker)etc.They exist only in the fantasy of ignorant idiots who think that if they have a fancy printed college degree(released by a”prestigious institution” they are somehow less ignorant.As long as the purpose of the American educational system is to give you an education(educate you to be good&reliable customers) and get you prepared for prom night instead of actually giving you knowledge and teach you how to quest for knowledge,you all will have trouble making the difference between reality and fantasy land and you will keep being easy prey for religious freaks as well as for more dangerous scam dealers and crooks….Wall Street,FDA,IRS,Big Pharma,etc….rings any bell?

    • 9 bluenred February 28, 2011 at 9:47 am

      Jeez, you’re cranky. : /

      But yes, ignorance is a terrible thing. For instance, I do not have an American or a British college degree, and have never been to a prom. I first became aware of Romania as a country more than 40 years ago, and was first paid to write about it more than 30 years ago. If you click on the links embedded in the first piece I wrote about this subject, you will find that most of the information I used came from Romanians. The belief in vampires predates Stoker by millennia. You have produced no proof that the Romanians subjected to these laws are “crooks”; it is false that all Romanian witches are gypsies; the preferred term is Roma, not gypsy; and “gypsy crooks” is a stereotypical racist formulation. Finally, I fear that your closing ritual incantation of “Wall Street, FDA, IRS, Big Pharma,” may mark you as a member of the very ignoranti you so deplore, perhaps a blind-faith “populist,” “progressive” communicant in the church of The Shriek Shack or The Veal Pen.

      • 10 clau2002 March 1, 2011 at 5:43 am

        bluendred:Have you actually ever been to Romania?Have you studied the Romanian ethnography and folklore?History?Have you at least red the works of Mircea Eliade(Chicago university) on myths and religious beliefs of the Romanian people before stating that”the belief in vampires”has anything to do with Romanian mythology?It might predate Stoker by millenia,but it is an Anglo Saxon(Irish?) myth,not a Romanian one.Here in Europe we don”t buy into all that PC bull…t!All witches,palm reader,tarot readers etc.are crooks taking advantage of naive ignorant and primarily religiously brainwashed people.It only happens that in Romania they are all Gypsies.Nothing racist about that.Organised begging and pickpocketing is also one trade performed by them and controlled by their leaders(bulibasha).Anything racist about pointing that out also?The fact you are paid for writing sensationalist tabloid articles about fictional things based on information provided by Romanian?(Roma gypsies) witches and crooks whose trade is endangered by this legislation only proves my point.Unlike you,unfortunately I had the opportunity to spend eight long years “immersed” in the US society and “culture?” so I know what I am talking about.Uncle Sam made sure he had the legal frame to keep these crooks accountable for a long time now,but,again…you weren”t aware of this since you are used to take at face value whatever you are told(by whoever bothers to pay you to write) without any research of your own.As for proof?Does your priest provide any kind of proof for his fairy tales?Does you tarot reader does?By the way,in the previous comment I forgot to mention the “Lobby system”!Now rings any larger bells?

        • 11 bluenred March 1, 2011 at 7:46 am

          You remain cranky. : /

          Yes, I have studied Romanian ethnography, folklore, and history. Yes, I have read Mircea Eliade, the well-known fascist and anti-semite. Have you read Norman Manea? Agnes Murgoci? You didn’t actually click on the links I pointed to, else you would not state I am “paid for writing sensationalist tabloid articles about fictional things based on information provided by Romanian(Roma gypsies) witches and crooks whose trade is endangered by this legislation.” Your assertion that all Romanian witches are Roma remains false. Your sweeping statement that “all witches, palm reader, tarot readers etc. are crooks taking advantage of naive ignorant and primarily religiously brainwashed people” is likewise false. I am sorry that “unfortunately I had the opportunity to spend eight long years ‘immersed’ in the US society and ‘culture.'” I’ve been immersed in it for 54 years, but I try not to let it get to me. And yes, musn’t forget “the ‘Lobby system.'” Gotta make sure we name all the bogeys.

          • 12 clau2002 March 3, 2011 at 7:23 am

            What does one”s political views have to do with one”s study&work on history and mythology?Was Werner Von Braun a less brilliant engineer because he was antisemite?Maybe his accomplishments are to be dismissed for coming from an antisemite?Are Ford cars antisemitic?Ford was.Arguing with someone who buys into all that antisemitism crap used to dismiss any kind of criticism is futile.Socrates used to say that”the day when an ignorant idiot starts to doubt his/her superior knowledge is the day when the said ignorant idiot starts to become intelligent”.No more time left for me to waste around here!Regards from Romania!

            • 13 bluenred March 3, 2011 at 7:41 am

              Eliade’s fondness for fascism and disdain for Jews did color his scholarship, yes, and that’s been demonstrated. As for your Socrates quote, it smells very badly phony. In any event, we don’t know what Socrates said, only what Plato, and to a lesser extent Xenophon and Aristophanes, claim he said. Try Heller’s Picture This. Regards from the universe. And from “gypsies.”

  3. 14 possum February 28, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Ahhhhh, the joy of it all. A discussion of particle physics arises just when one least has any reason to expect any such. “Also, what if a neutrino horns in? These things are barely matter, they’re flowing through our bodies all the time, and sometimes, when zooming through a brain, they inadvertently trip a synapse, and cause a person to start doing things For No Known Reason. Not even freaking jeebus can account for that kind of weirdness.”

    What is not to love about a subatomic particle that barely interacts with matter? Detection is tough. Proof of their existence took a long time. With the little that is known today how could anyone say they are not the root cause of aberrant behavior on any level? Why, even now I can feel the little devils moving through what remains of gray and white matter between the ears. Who knows what those sneaky little creatures will cause me to say or do next?

  4. 20 soothsayer February 28, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I hope the Romanian witches prevail here..

    But I suppose it could be worse..

    I was recently reading about those left behind in the Orleans Parish Prison during Hurricane Katrina.

    Among others, there were some jailed there for “reading tarot cards without a license”

    Just lock ‘em up — sadly, that’s the American Way

    And, for the record, I am no economist : ) but I am certainly in favor of those rogue neutrinos


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