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In story: The Nemesis

Re: The Nemesis
( / )
I have no real disagreement with you on any of your points about land reform here.  However, on this issue of US interests it is important to note the different geopolitical contexts between the 1970's when Allende was elected and the 2000's when the 21st Century Socialism wave occurred in Latin America.

In the 1970's the US was weaker politically, in still in a real contest for power over the world it conquered in WWII, due to certain rebellious Communist powers armed with nuclear weapons. A wave of anti-US, democratically elected governments throughout Latin America of the kind that occurred in the mid-2000's would have been very precarious for a US that was still struggling for supremacy with the USSR at the peak of its power.

By 2005, the US was supreme again in the world by any objective measure, with its own military expenditures being more at the time then those of the entire rest of the world combined, while still being a very low percentage of total US GDP historically and compared to other countries. There was no threat from communism, so if some Latin American countries wanted to experiment with it on their own, so be it, was the US foreign policy at the time.  President Obama would subsequently make statements to that effect when criticized why he wasn't more harsh with people like Hugo Chavez. But this was not the world in 1970 for a US seeing communism on a winning streak everywhere.

 

by santiago on
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In story: 20 - 26 February 2017

NBC "educates" its readers on Italy
( / )
CNBC on the possible upcoming referendum
Erik Jones, professor of European studies and international political economy at Johns Hopkins University, told CNBC via email that putting labor market reform to a referendum is questioning the legacy of Renzi's government.

"A good comparison would be what Donald Trump is planning to do to Obamacare," he said.

I never realized that Trump was going to have a referendum on Obamacare.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on
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In story: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign

Re: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign
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Well he would have been blamed and excoriated if the Irish economy had continued to implode, so I suppose he is entitled to claim some credit when it recovered.  But yes, I agree, the degree to which the Government can actually claim credit for the recovery is generally overrated. They could also have done a lot more harm - such as cut core social welfare rates - which thankfully, largely due to the presence of the Labour party in his prior Government, they didn't do.  

Many on the left will also argue they should have "burned the bondholders" in Irish banking debt, and perhaps they should have. But perhaps the low interest rates which are now enabling the relatively cheap re-financing and reduction of national debt are also, at least partly, because they didn't do so. The debt GDP ration is due to be down to c. 75% this year, down from 120% a few years ago - and NAMA has still to unwind some of the bad assets it accumulated.  That's a pretty major reduction in a short period and puts Ireland in a significantly better position to face the headwinds of Brexit and Trump.

Is there another economy in Europe which can claim a similar recovery?  I suspect the Greeks would be glad of it.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign

Re: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign
( / )
But he will go down in history as one of the more successful Taoisigh, having pulled Ireland back from the brink of bankruptcy into quite a remarkable recovery in a relatively short period of time.

Having been around when the Irish economy was finally allowed recover.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on
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In story: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign

Re: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign
( / )
Kenny is living proof that you don't have to be an intellectual genius to be a moderately competent politician. He has managed to develop a lot of positive relationships, kept his enemies at bay, and played the realities of power as he saw them.  He was helped in this by the incompetence of Fianna Fail, and by the fact that the talent pool in Fine Gael is very small indeed. But he will go down in history as one of the more successful Taoisigh, having pulled Ireland back from the brink of bankruptcy into quite a remarkable recovery in a relatively short period of time.

He also took the lead in outing the shenanigans of the Catholic Church at a political level and presided over, if not actually led some important reforms.. He is the only Fine Gael leader to be re-elected as Taoiseach, despite the fact that a predecessor, Garret Fitzgerald, was much more gifted in may respects. It has always been fashionable to scoff at his limited abilities, but many who fancy themselves as more gifted haven't done half as much.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign

Re: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign
( / )
He was mentioned in speculation as a possible President of the European Council some years ago, but I suspect his time (at 65) is now past. I suspect he will retain his seat as a back bencher until the next election however.  There has been no suggestion that he will retire from politics completely immediately.  

As a complete long shot, he could be a compromise candidate for President of either the Council or Commission next time around, as Juncker is set to retire, and I don't know what Donald Tusk's intentions are.  It could be a nod to the Brits that the EU is prepared to consider an amicable divorce.

As I said in the diary, he has built up good relationships and trust on the EU Council but I don't think he would be seen as an EU heavy weight - more a compromise if no one else can be agreed on.

But, if as I suspect, Germany and France want to drive the Brexit negotiations, they will probably not want an Anglophile at the head of the Council. Kenny would have been a possibility if the Brits had voted to stay in and there was a move to be accommodating to their concerns.

Now, not so much.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign

Re: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign
( / )
What, Gombeen in Chief?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on
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In story: Open Thread 20-26 Feb

Re: Alcohol and solar eclipses
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Well, the legendary Chinese 3rd Millennium BCE astronomers reportedly were drunk and failed to predict the eclipse. So they were executed and subsequently memorialized in the following:

""Here lie the bodies of Ho and Hi
Whose fate though sad was visible,
Being hanged because they could not spy
Th�eclipse which was invisible."
- Author unknown  

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign

Re: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign
( / )
Could Enda Kenny be appointed as a representative, in some capacity, of Ireland to the EU?

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: Open Thread 20-26 Feb

Re: Alcohol and solar eclipses
( / )
First of all, the alignment is referred to as syzygy, a great Scrabble score (How many y's in a single Scrabble set?  Is the person cheating?) Secondly, according to Wiki,
Since looking directly at the Sun can lead to permanent eye damage or blindness, special eye protection or indirect viewing techniques are used when viewing a solar eclipse. It is technically safe to view only the total phase of a total solar eclipse with the unaided eye and without protection; however, this is a dangerous practice, as most people are not trained to recognize the phases of an eclipse, which can span over two hours while the total phase can only last up to 7.5 minutes for any one location.

So, promoting alcohol to the general public during the eclipse process is funded by the folks marketing canes with white tips, seeing eye dogs, and eye doctors.  Like promoting alcohol during National Women are Ovulating Week ... great for the diaper industry.


by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on
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In story: Open Thread 20-26 Feb

Re: Open Thread 20-26 Feb
( / )
Though thankfully only tangentially related to Milo this piece by Richard Seymour is very good:
LENIN'S TOMB: The Age of Consent -

It is, perhaps, easy to cop an attitude when you're talking about someone as demonstratively loathsome and self-loathing, and self-contradictory, as Yiannopoulos. But it is an attitude, and anyone brandishing it flippantly or maliciously in order to shut people up is many things but not, in that instant, any comrade to the survivors of child abuse. It hardly seems worth being on the Left, if you end up sounding like a version of Milo in your rhetorical choices. And insofar as there is an argument lurking behind all this, it depends on a reactionary, class-blind conception of human development - the life-cycle - which, perforce, takes no account of the specificities of experience, of different ways in which we come to desire, and formulate our desires, and become worldly about desire. The very messiness of concrete situations to which Yiannopoulos gestured for his own attention-seeking reasons, is occluded. Since it is assumed that we already know what abuse is, who needs to listen?

The "automatic belief" in survivors of abuse thus has a strange flipside; the automatic disbelief in those who say they aren't survivors of abuse. Both are a way of not taking people and their testimonies seriously. Rather than giving a certain credence to what people say about themselves, with all due awareness of the limitations of memory, knowledge and self-understanding, we gainsay the question by resolving it in an absolutist way. And it is no good to patronisingly vouchsafe the right of abuse survivors to speak about their experiences, while insisting that others must hold their tongues: that is another way of not taking it seriously, of ensuring that this testimony has no effect. Either we can all have these difficult conversations about abuse and adolescent sexuality and consent, seriously and rigorously, or the conversation is essentially ceded to fascists, hatemongers and provocateurs.

The whole text is very much worth reading.

by generic on
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I'm going wildly guess that immigration - don't 1st gen  immigrants from countries that are pre-transition tend to have higher birth rates? - might be having an effect there.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on
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In story: Open Thread 20-26 Feb

Alcohol and solar eclipses
( / )
Does anybody understand the connection between the two.
The City of Carbondale continues to make changes for the more than 50,000 people expected to visit for the 2017 total solar eclipse.

The city intends to alter liquor laws for the downtown region in hopes of accommodating the crowds.

If approved, a new ordinance would allow open containers in the area, exclusively during eclipse weekend, and excluding glass containers.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on
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The Italian situation is a little more complicated, reflecting an increase in the North and a decrease in the South (to the point that I think that the old stereotypes are reversed). Maybe economics explains it?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on
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In story: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign

Re: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign
( / )
Jean-Claude Juncker doesn't want Northern Ireland and Republic to have post-Brexit hard border
The EU does not want a "hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic as a result of Brexit, Jean-Claude Juncker has said.

The European Commission president was speaking after meeting with Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Brussels.

According to RTE, he said: "During the Brexit negotiations, the EU and Ireland must work together to minimise the impact. We don't want hard borders between Northern Ireland and Ireland."

by Bernard on
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In story: Open Thread 20-26 Feb

Re: Open Thread 20-26 Feb
( / )
Uber's evaluation reflects the fact that they have cranked up the hype until they got feedback. Now they are playing the feedback. I'm waiting for the part where the guitar catches fire. M = BxH, where M is Market valuation, B is Book value and H is hype.


by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: The Nemesis

Re: The Nemesis
( / )
4 dead Russian Diplomats in 3 months
Vitaly Churkin was one of the wisest voices in international diplomacy.  His voice will no longer echo in the halls of the United Nations. Articulate, polite yet commanding, wise yet affable, he oversaw some of Russia's and the world's most important events in a position he occupied since 2006 [...]

Each death took place on foreign soil. Mr. Karlov's killing in particular, exposed the weakness of his security contingent. If security was that weak in a comparatively volatile place like Turkey, it goes without saying that security in states considered more politically stable would be even more lax.

by das monde on
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by das monde on
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Mexico foreign minister vents 'irritation' at Rex Tillerson

Mexico's foreign minister has expressed "irritation" to President Donald Trump's envoys about recent US policies towards its southern neighbour.

Luis Videgaray said he had told visiting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Mexico was worried about respect for immigrants' rights.

...snip...

It fell to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to reassure his hosts that there would be "no mass deportations" and no use of the US military in immigration enforcement.

That appeared to directly contradict what President Trump had said earlier in the day when he told a meeting of manufacturing CEOs that his administration had been getting "really bad dudes" out of the United States - before specifically stating that it was a "military operation".

by Zwackus on
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CPAC dismisses Richard Spencer: How conservatives are severing alt-right ties

Richard Spencer, a white nationalist and a leader of the so-called "alt-right" movement, says he has been booted from the Conservative Police Action Committee (CPAC) by organizers who disagree with his views.

CPAC spokesman Ian Walters told NBC that Mr. Spencer's ticket had been refunded, saying that his views were "repugnant."

A controversial figure, Spencer is credited with coining the term alt-right, which refers to a branch of the right-wing that has roots in white supremacy. Spencer has also addressed crowds where his cry of "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!" was met with what looked like Nazi salutes. His presence has spurred outrage and protest at venues around the nation.

by Zwackus on
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Trump adviser hails 'new political order'

The chief strategist to President Donald Trump has said that his election victory has ushered in a "new political order".

Steve Bannon vowed at a conservative conference to bring together those of "wide and sometimes divergent opinions" in support of "economic nationalism".

... snip ...

Those are promises Bannon, perhaps more than anyone else, helped Candidate Trump make.

That includes "deconstructing the administrative state", advancing an "economic nationalist agenda" and essentially reshaping the existing economic and political world order.

by Zwackus on
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I know, was just joking.
by rifek on
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What if social engineering, alignment of biological-industrial forces with the specific target of population growth has been already happening and growing for a while -- since Malthus, say? What if the birthrates and trends are more or less where they are supposed to be? Available statistics, declared objectives could be more a propaganda, like in economics.
by das monde on
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In story: Open Thread 20-26 Feb

Re: Open Thread 20-26 Feb
( / )
The bleaker view is that they're just out in front of continuing deregulation as the middle class continues to decline. Break laws now, have them changed later.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on
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In story: The Nemesis

Re: The Nemesis
( / )
eliminate freedom of the press.
snicker

Because of course having five families own all the local language TV stations and newspapers is the very definition of a free press...

- Jake

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on
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In story: The Nemesis

Re: The Nemesis
( / )
Or maybe Russia just hates Clinton, and would seek to harm her even if she'd been running against a certified paranoia case like McCain. It's not as though they don't have plenty of reasons to have a personal grudge against the Clinton clan.

Or just generally destabilize the US, on the theory that anything that falls out of the chaos is going to be preferable to the previous trajectory. That's usually a stupid theory, but spies seem to like it. It's certainly one that the US mirrorshade brigade has subscribed to often enough.

- Jake

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on
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In story: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign

Re: Long serving EU Prime Minister to resign
( / )
Enda Kenny calls for Brexit deal to include united Ireland provision

`The Good Friday agreement is like a poem, it speaks for itself' - Jean Claude Juncker

Enda Kenny has insisted Ireland's Brexit negotiating position will not be undermined by his looming departure as leader in the coming weeks.

And the Taoiseach said any Brexit deal should include language that would allow Northern Ireland to easily return to the EU in the event of an united Ireland.

Mr Kenny said the provisions that allowed East Germany to join West Germany and the EU "in a seamless fashion" after the fall of the Berlin wall offered a precedent.

The effect of such a provision would be to provide N. Ireland with an escape route from Brexit - should it agree to become part of a united Ireland. This could massively realign the sectarian division of N. Ireland politics on religious/tribal lines.  Many of the N. Ireland Unionist community have strong business and farming interests which will be harmed by Brexit. In general, a hard border would be very disruptive of North south economic integration and the development of the N. Ireland economy.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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Ireland used to have a similar model of social partnership which has unfortunately fallen by the wayside in recent times.  However the re-emergence of widespread industrial unrest may prompt a re-think in due course.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: The Nemesis

Re: The Nemesis
( / )
I agree that it is rational for you and others with similar sized possessions to object, but, surely, it is just as rational for those with nothing to object to the preexisting situation. It is not like it was ever ordained by God, even if there was long great pretense that this was so. So some solution is required.

Land reform is popular in Latin America because it is practical for the people. 80 hectares is not a tiny farm. It is about 200 acres. The problem is that a lot of people, freshly given such a plot of land, would not immediately be able to make productive use of it. That would cause a drop in agricultural productivity in the country which would hurt everyone. And there will always be economies of scale for some types of agricultural endeavors.

The problem with a gradual approach is that it would likely be overturned before it bore fruit by the large land owners who would naturally be opposed. That is a recipe for bloodshed. It would seem that an alternative should be found - one superior to a repeat of the events of '72 except with a different set of victims.

It is quite reasonable to consider land as something that is a public common good and that the right to exclusive use should be a privilege obtained at a cost. That cost, in the form of a tax, could finance a gradual approach that included education and training before being able to undertake running your own farm, which, after all, would then also be paying the same tax, perhaps phased in over five or ten years. And, with good education, many more opportunities should open for young adults in non-agricultural occupations. But such a probaram would also be opposed by the beneficiaries of the existing system.

The great sin in Chile was the slaughter of such a large portion of the intelligentsia of the country in the stadium. The chief US interest served by that action was the protection of profit flows to US corporations and to a tiny number of very wealthy individuals who profited from the existing situation. Those mid-sized land owners should be preserved and/or indemnified.

The types of regimes Allende had and that Equator, Bolivia and Venezuela have do not pose a threat to any US interest other than the economic interests of a few wealthy individuals and the maintenance of the appearance that There Is No Alternative to the current world order. That might be more justifiable were the existing world order functioning a bit more effectively and better serving the interests of all, not just those who can afford to gather in Davos or attend a Bilderberg event. But it manifestly is not.    

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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There are multiple reasons for birth rates, and the reasons are different if you are talking high rates or low rates.  Of the top of my head high birth rates are determined by age of marriage (or sexual coupling) for women, survival to menopause, death rates and re-marriage rates for married men, child spacing through breastfeeding, survival rates for fetuses, health and nutrition of women. I think as population the 16th century french Canadians still has the record with an average of around 10-11.

The shift is dependent on womens control over their pregnancies and survival rates of children.

The exact level of low birth rates I think are mostly dependent on economics. Societies that to a high degree socialises the cost of children has around 2 (but with year-on-year variation), while those that don't has around 1.5 (with year-on-year variation). The variation appears also be dependent on economics where economic shocks has effects, but those effects can both decrease number of children (can't afford) and increase (have time).

I don't think men being sexist jerks is really a factor, more that more equal societies to a larger extent socialises cost of children and socialising the cost of children leads to a more equal society. So there is a connection but not causality between sexist jerks and birth rates around 1.5.

So I don't think a model that can explain the big picture needs to be able to explain why birth rates for example has gone up from 1.2 in Italy in 1999 to 1.5 now. As always, I recommend Gapminder.org if one wants to explore the data.

When it comes to Moslem birth rates, they are going down in the same way as it has in other countries. Saudi Arabia for example has 2.5 and sinking quickly. Wartorn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan also has sinking birth rates but sinking slower then their more prosperous neighbours.

And then there is Africa, last continent to go through the demographic transition.

by fjallstrom on
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News and Views

 20 - 26 February 2017

by Bjinse - Feb 19, 39 comments

Your take on this week's news

 13 - 19 February 2017

by Bjinse - Feb 13, 117 comments

Your take on this week's news

 Open Thread 20-26 Feb

by Bjinse - Feb 19, 23 comments

We need never be ashamed of our threads

 Open Thread 13-19 Feb

by Bjinse - Feb 13, 25 comments

Outside of a dog, a thread is man's best friend.

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