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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: Weekend Open Thread
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Sturgeon doesn't seem to get the message.
THE SNP could team up with parties such as Plaid Cymru and the Greens at Westminster to build a new alliance in a bid to bring an end to the "austerity economics" pursued by the major parties there, Scotland's new First Minister said.

[...]

She stated: "My aim is that the SNP wins the general election in Scotland, and there is every prospect of a hung parliament at Westminster.

"The SNP would never act to put the Tories in power. In these circumstances, our constructive approach is that the SNP will seek common cause in a balanced parliament with progressive forces across the regions of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to rebalance the UK in political and economic terms.

by gk (gk) on
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Why should US politicians be the only ones being rented at a good rate by ALEC? And isn't the right to rent foreign politicians covered somewhere in the Trans-Atlantic Trade Pact?

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: Weekend Open Thread
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So they voted for the toher guy, except it was actually the same guy?

That is some combination of low-information voters and cynical politicians. Material fit for Blackadder.

by A swedish kind of death on
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The wacky economics of Germany's parallel universe - FT.com - Wolfgang Münchau
German economists roughly fall into two groups: those that have not read Keynes, and those that have not understood Keynes. To describe the economic mainstream in Germany as conservative misses the point. There are some overlaps with the various neoclassical or neoconservative schools in the US and elsewhere. But as compelling as a comparison between the German mainstream and the Tea Party may appear, it does not survive scrutiny. German orthodoxy straddles the centre-left and the centre-right. The only party with some Keynesian leanings are the former communists.

A good example of orthodox dogma was last week's annual report of the Council of Economic Experts, an official body that advises the government. They did not criticise a lack of investment, excessive current account surpluses or overzealous fiscal rectitude. Instead they criticised the minimum wage and some minor relaxation to the retirement age. In other words: they want the government of Angela Merkel, chancellor, to be even tougher.

by Bernard on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: Weekend Open Thread
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Went looking for SeriousPeople© analysis and found this:

Since a continuation of the current coalition is almost impossible because of Tory commitment to an EU referendum, which the Liberals oppose, Cameron may only be able to lead the next government if his party wins an outright majority or forms an alliance with the Scottish Nationalists, UK Independent Party and other fringe parties.

:blink:

by ATinNM on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: The Long Good Friday
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I think it was a slightly different take: the gangster saw politics as a corrupt business which can be bought or threatened like any other business, and refused to listen to subordinates who warned him that the IRA are fanatics and thus in a different league. (In that, the film was again prophetic: the IRA did prove to be a greater menace in London, too, than the gangsters of the 1960s ever were.)

I read the film failed to find a distributor for one year due to the IRA angle.

by DoDo on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: The Long Good Friday
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Brosnan was only one member of a hitman team sent in revenge for IRA deaths. At the start of the film, a subordinate of the gangster boss takes some "revolutionary tax" to Northern Ireland, steals from it before handing it over, and then someone kills the IRA men just when they counted the money and noticed the missing amount; later on, it is told that the IRA concluded that the gangster boss was behind the killings. Later on the gangster boss thinks he dealt with the IRA problem by murdering the two men who ran the IRA's London representation.

by DoDo on
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In story: 22-23 November 2014

Re: Living on the Planet
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The most shocking thing I find here is that public party support is coupled to revenue.

by generic on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: The Long Good Friday
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It's many years since I saw the film but my memory suggests that Brosnan was making a power play and was using the sourcing of weapons from the IRA as a way to remove the leader.

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: Weekend Open Thread
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Guardian - Owen Jones - Rochester byelection: beliefs of Ukip voters are soaked in leftwing populism

If the seemingly irresistible rise of Ukip teaches us anything, it is that sentiment all too often trumps reality and mere detail in politics. The party is a self-described "People's Army", now emboldened by a victory in Rochester and Strood it hopes will bring renewed momentum. Its voters are disproportionately working class.

Polls suggest they support renationalising rail and energy and want higher taxes for the rich and an increased minimum wage. According to research by the academic Matthew Goodwin, 81% of Ukip supporters believe "big business takes advantage of ordinary people"; a slim majority want the government to redistribute income; and they overwhelmingly agree "there is one law for the rich and one for the poor".

These are beliefs soaked in leftwing populism; and yet those who subscribe to them have flocked in droves to a party of the hard right. Ukip's leaders now defiantly, unapologetically present themselves as a people's insurgency against a contemptuous establishment.
[....]
Ukip are not associated with this baggage: perversely, given their leaders are really unabashed ultra-Thatcherites. But, again, it's all about sentiments: Ukip present an entirely fabricated chasm between them and the Tories. In both Clacton and Rochester, voters were frequently reported to be voting for Ukip because the incumbent Tory had done nothing for them.

To explain that last bit; in both cases, voters re-elected the incumbent, who had switched from Tory to ukip.

If only there was a popular party that could energise the sentiments in the early paragraphs.

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: Weekend Open Thread
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Someone is taking the piss at the expense of the voters.

The idea that a braying clown like Farage could be taken seriously as an alternative protest vote party leader, instead of being laughed out of town while tied to the wrong end of a lame donkey with an unfortunate illness, is evidence of the contempt with which the fixers hold the electorate.

And - sadly - rightly so. If the voters had a braincell between them they'd see Farage for the ass he is, and the other tedious posturers for the Punch and Judy show that democracy has become.

Cameron even looks like Mr Punch. He beats up widows on benefits and throws babies out of prams.

Miliband looks like Gromit. Boris looks like his own idea of a Marvel superhero.

God only knows what Clegg looks like - except maybe the human embodiment of Cthulhu's PR manager.

How much more of a clue do we need that it's all for show?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on
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Oh, many undoubtedly are oblivious, but I suspect that many MSM members are aware of both the economy and how it has been presented. They just know that, if they report on the subject that will likely be their last report. For example, Rachael Maddow is far too smart and well educated not to know about how economics and the economy is being misrepresented, but she never touches the subject.

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: The Long Good Friday
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I, too, thought that was a fabulous film. Oddly enough, Hoskin's gangster's attitude of dismissal toward the issues posed by Brosnan's people reminded me strongly of the saying "you may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you."  His expression while riding in the car, when he realized how wrong he had been to ignore them, was perfect.

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: Weekend Open Thread
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Yes, that's a great article.

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: Weekend Open Thread
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ukip have been having a lot of free and rather uncritical coverage, Farage comes cross s good bloke to have a laugh with in a pub. People have been convinced by the media that immigrants are the problem in areas where employment is under pressure (ie everywhere). So they vote ukip.

It requires a party willing to challenge that narrative. The greens are doing so. Labour could but aren't. Tories used to but aren't that sort of party anymore

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: Weekend Open Thread
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what do you mean? It was never gonna be any other way. Seriously.

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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The Ecologist: UKIP uncut - acoloytes of America's far-right corporate gunslingers

Would UKIP be riding so high if voters knew of the party's links with powerful right-wing US corporate interests promoting fossil fuels, denying climate change, opposing gun control, and supporting big tobacco, teaching creationism in schools, healthcare privatisation and the lifting of nuclear power regulation? An Ecologist investigation exposes the real UKIP....

ALEC and Heartland may well be willing to assist UKIP's cause - and with Helmer's long-standing links with the American 'charity', they have already established a bridgehead across the Atlantic.

The involvement of Atkinson and Etheridge provides evidence that UKIP's links with ALEC - and by extension with American corporate, fossil fuel and right-wing evangelical and 'Tea Party' interests - are only deepening as the party's influence increases.

But there is something a little illogical about this. UKIP's big-picture goal is a bid to achieve independence from the European Union - but in backing the agenda of ALEC and Heartland it appears only too keen to turn us into vassals of unaccountable American corporations.



by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: Weekend Open Thread
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Frances Coppola lives there.

(That is not a reason for UKIP to win, needless to add).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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They must have had divorce at the back of their minds...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: Weekend Open Thread
( / )
What's up with the Rochester and Strood by-election?  Tories put an immense amount of effort, only to lose.

by ATinNM on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

Re: Weekend Open Thread
( / )
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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I add that not long after the space research discussion, the three guests got into a twenty-minute discussion of divorce law, during which I wondered: who cares that deeply about such a boring subject!? (None of them were divorced and all of them were engineers, not lawyers.)

by DoDo on
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Yep, it's in the Newsroom.

by DoDo on
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In story: Weekend Open Thread

The Long Good Friday
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Speaking of films: at long last I watched the 1979 English gangster epic The Long Good Friday, which I wanted to see ever since ChrisCook posted a YouTube video with its ending.

This is the film in which Bob Hoskins (whom I only knew for his later, mostly comedic roles) shows the acting of his life as a gangster boss trying to become a legal businessman, and in which young Pierce Brosman left enough impression in a role with a single "Hi" as the only spoken word to establish his career in film, but Helen Mirren as the brain behind the brawn was just as impressive.

I read in advance that the film was prophetic in capturing the spirit of the coming Thatcher era. This included the very project Hoskins's gangster wanted to start to become a 'legal businessman': re-developing London's Docklands district (which happened in reality, on an even grander scale than imagined in the film). And here it got personal for me: as a child I visited London in 1980 (on a grand trip of Western Europe with my family) and we also took a walk across the Docklands, and I recognised where on the grand camera pan early in the film (shot just a year before we were there); now all of this is history.

by DoDo on
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DoDo:
an eventual further rise of the Eurosceptic AfD party in Germany would be a big concern for them because a re-introduction of the D-mark would kill the export industry

Interesting. At least one German citizen perceives that the euro serves a German-export purpose.

I expect you've put this in the Newsroom, but:

AfD supporters lean towards xenophobia and fascism, research says | EurActiv

Germany's middle-class is shifting rightwards, according to a study by the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, finding Eurosceptic AfD's followers in particular supporting right-wing extremist and chauvinist ways of thinking. EurActiv Germany reports.

Right-wing, extremist attitudes have lost considerable ground in Germany compared to previous years. But a study released on Thursday (20 November) by the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation (FES), reveals a troubling new trend.

Moderates in German society are increasingly likely to choose more subtle forms of misanthropic and racist thinking; right-wing ideas that are hiding in the mainstream and are suitable for casual dinner conversation.

Researchers are concerned about the shift. Isolated right-wing extremist and racist ideas are met with significant support.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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The space research discussion came after a passing mention of Christopher Nolan's new movie Interstellar, which I have now seen.

I found both the acting and the visuals spectacular, but for a film proud of having had a scientific adviser, by the end the tired old pseudo-scientific munbo-jumbo was too much for me: the talk of gravity 'being the only thing transcending time and space' and thus useful for information time travel, of love as a distinct force of Nature in a 5D world, stuff like that.

Still, the film is to be praised for the first half-way correct portrayal of a black hole (on its edges you should see what's behind it) and at least the entrance of a wormhole (no 2D surface but a sphere that's a looking glass on the other side) on the big screen. Interstellar is a return to 2001: Space Odyssey after Star Wars-inspired portrayals of space (and there are plenty of homages to Kubrick's classic).

by DoDo on
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No, it's not that simple. "The economy" is not "economic issues". There are no economic issues. There is something called "the economy" that is supposed to be what decides if you live reasonably hopefully or not, and that has eliminated politics as what is supposed to decide whether you live hopefully or not.

What I mean is that it's not even radioactive. The media people are not even aware of any "issues". Total ideological domination.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: 21 November 2014

Re: Living Off the Planet
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Exactly: the reality is that GM crops are in the hands of Monsanto and several "lesser" chemicals/seeds corporations which have done nothing in thirty years to further the aim you suggest, that it might be possible to produce more on less land with a less negative impact on the environment. On the contrary, they market varieties that yield less than conventional hybrids, and necessitate yet more and more synthetic chemical inputs (now, 2,4-D in addition to glyphosate).

Given that these corporations dominate the field, and that they do so with a clear legal determination to bind the world's farmers into stringent contracts and enforce their intellectual property, the EU would seem even pusillanimous in not totally rejecting their GM products.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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I'm past a very exhausting and stressful three weeks at the job, most of it out of the office. Towards the end of it, I spent half a day and attended a dinner with three German-speakers involved in the project.

Some of the discussion touched on themes popular on ET. One guy, representing a private company, told that an eventual further rise of the Eurosceptic AfD party in Germany would be a big concern for them because a re-introduction of the D-mark would kill the export industry. Another of them, who resides in France, then told that the Greeks would have been better off had they re-introduced the drachma when the crisis hit, and explained the other two how continuous devaluation worked for Italy before the Euro.

I could barely contain a laughter when the third guy told of his opinion that everyone should speak English as business language and learn no other secondary language, essentially re-capping Oettinger's infamous speech from before he became a Commissioner.

I was less humoured when, on the occasion of the space probe that landed on a comet, the first guy opined that space research is a waste of money to know stuff no one cares about, but I contained my fury and didn't show the amateur astronomer monthly in my bag. Fortunately the second guy came to my help and told that for a real waste of money, one should look at military hardware.

by DoDo on
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Lionel Messi may leave Spain over tax jail threat | Football | The Guardian

Messi had his first run-in over tax last year when he was accused of concealing €4.1m earned from image rights in shell companies in Belize and Uruguay.

Under Spanish law, anyone who has more than €120,000 in undeclared income automatically faces a jail sentence, but this is generally waived if the offender agrees to pay. Messi paid an agreed €5m in settlement but the authorities have decided to force the Argentinian-born player to stand trial, with the possibility of going to prison.

Sources close to Messi told the newspaper El Confidencial: "... there are other elite sportspeople who have tax problems and they've all been settled administratively, as was the case with Real Madrid players Xabi Alonso and Iker Casillas and tennis star Rafa Nadal. Messi is the only one who faces legal proceedings that could end with him going to jail. He's fed up with Spain and that's why he wants to leave."

The sources said that in a single year Messi had paid €52m in income tax and fines "and that should be that". They said Messi appeared to be a victim of double standards. "They started with his image rights, then his signing fee - who knows where it will end."

...In the current atmosphere of hostility between Catalonia and the Spanish government, the fact that the Real Madrid players settled out of court while Barcelona's star faces criminal proceedings is seen as further evidence of an anti-Catalan conspiracy.



by DoDo on
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News and Views

 22-23 November 2014

by DoDo - Nov 21, 33 comments

Your take on today's news media

 21 November 2014

by In Wales - Nov 20, 67 comments

Your take on today's news media

 Weekend Open Thread

by Helen - Nov 21, 24 comments

One fine day I'm gonna be the one

 Midweek Mutterings OT

by afew - Nov 19, 8 comments

Or meditations. Or manifestos.

Occasional Series
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