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California Secession Diary #8 How will this impact our economy ?

by THE Twank Fri Nov 18th, 2016 at 12:38:44 PM EST

Below the fold find a page from the Calexit Manifesto pdf. followed by three articles from today's Sacramento Bee.

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California Secession Diary #7 What type of government will we have?

by THE Twank Thu Nov 17th, 2016 at 12:39:29 PM EST

Below the fold you'll find a page from the Calexit manifesto pdf., followed by three articles from today's Sacramento Bee.

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California Secession Diary #6 What are the Overlying Principles?

by THE Twank Wed Nov 16th, 2016 at 06:05:59 PM EST

Below the fold are the "Overlying Principles" from the Calexit Manifesto pdf.  This is followed by two relevant articles published in today's Sacramento Bee.

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California Secession Diary #5 Is an independence referendum even legal ?

by THE Twank Tue Nov 15th, 2016 at 04:08:00 PM EST

Below the fold you will find a copy of Page 9 of the Calexit Manifesto pdf., as promised to fjallstrom in California Secession Diary #3: What is the Calexit referendum?, comment section. Following 2 of my pithy notes I've included an excerpt from an Associated Press article, authored by Janir Har, titled "Defiant San Francisco vows to remain sanctuary city", not directly applicable to today's Diary but still relevant to the entire Calexit effort.

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California Secession Diary #4 The Case for Independence

by THE Twank Mon Nov 14th, 2016 at 06:04:06 PM EST

Being a U.S. state is no longer serving California's best interests. On issues ranging from peace and security to natural resources and the environment, it has become increasingly true that California would be better off as an independent country.

How many times have I said just that over the years here at ET ?!

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California Secession Diary #3 What is the Calexit referendum?

by THE Twank Sun Nov 13th, 2016 at 08:17:29 PM EST

In the Spring of 2019, Californians will go to the polls in a historic vote to decide by referendum if California should exit the Union, a #Calexit vote.

You will have this historic opportunity because the Yes California Independence Campaign will qualify a citizen's initiative for the 2018 ballot that if passed would call for a special election for Californians to vote for or against the independence of California from the United States.

That's the guts of pages 3 - 5. of the Calexit Manifesto. I'll eventually contact the authors of the Calexit website ...  I suspect this document was generated without the ascendancy of Emperor President Trump being considered. I have a sick feeling that the US will be unrecognizable by 2018 once the Trump cabal and the Republicans have taken full command of the levers of power.

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California Secession Diary #2 Calexit Manifesto pdf.

by THE Twank Sat Nov 12th, 2016 at 06:59:38 PM EST

At the California Secession website you're presented with an extensive pdf titled YES CALIFORNIA'S CALEXIT BLUE BOOK: ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT INDEPENDENCE

The Table of Contents is copied below the fold. Obviously the authors didn't wait until after Trump won to formulate their plans; these cookies looked ahead and thought    "Fuck this shit. We're out of here". My kind of folks. I'll review each item in future diaries ... let me know if any peak your interest. I'm looking forward to; "What about our water and agriculture?"  I've always said I wanted to get out of here before the food and water run out.  Exciting times ... I felt the energy in this morning's walk.
Theme music!

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California Secession Diary #1 11/11/16

by THE Twank Fri Nov 11th, 2016 at 06:22:31 PM EST

The game is on. California needs to get its act together before Trump et al institute their Police State, and believe me, that's what's coming. Here's an editorial titled "Forget #Calexit. Just defend California against Trump" in today's Sacramento Bee. Total horse-shit! California needs to have at least a two prong attack/defense. Prong 1. Yes, do all you can by ordinary means to defend California; but 2. Do everything necessary to prepare to leave. Once a police state is fully implemented, we're screwed. Here are some of the folks getting the secession movement rolling ... will comment on their website after I study it.


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Some Patterns of American Political Demographics

by gmoke Fri Nov 11th, 2016 at 02:34:16 AM EST

I like to watch/listen to CSPAN while I write and search the Web, especially the weekend Book TV.  Around midnight, as September 17 slid into 18 this year (2016),  Alan Taylor was talking about his book, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804.  He referenced John Adams' 1815 letter which introduced the rule of thirds for the American Revolution "I should say that full one third were averse to the revolution.... An opposite third... gave themselves up to an enthusiastic gratitude to France.  The middle third,... always averse to war, were rather lukewarm both to England and France;...." (although he was writing about American views on the French Revolution instead of our own Revolutionary War).

Alan Taylor, based on his research, believes that the Colonists were one fifth loyalists, two fifth Revolutionaries, and two fifths in the middle.  At the time, Colonist population was 2.5 million, a fifth of whom, 500,000, or 20%, were slaves.

The day before, Bill Clinton on the September 15, 2016 The Daily show mentioned a 40% Democrats, 40% Republicans, 20% independent breakdown, at least historically.  "...For most of my life, each political party has a 40% base and then there were 20% that were genuinely were up for grabs.  By the time the 2000 race came along, Between Al Gore and President George W Bush, it was probably down to 10%.  It may be down to less now because we're getting siloed."
Some other numbers which may be revealing.

"According to polls on February 27, 2006, two weeks after the accident [shooting Harry Whittington], Dick Cheney's approval rating had dropped 5 percentage points to 18%.

To the end of the Watergate scandal, 24% of Americans supported Nixon.

In the 2016 election about 117 million eligible voters didn't vote. Of the 241 million people eligible to vote only 200 million registered. 51 to 52%, a bare majority of voters voted this time.  By Thursday, Clinton had 59,938,290 votes nationally to Trump's 59,704,886, or 233,404 more, the fifth time a candidate won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College.  Neither candidate got 50%: around 47.7% for Clinton and 47.5% for Trump.

Half of the eligible voters didn't vote and those that did vote are split about equally just shy of a majority.  Less than a quarter of the electorate are for Trump, less than a quarter are for Clinton, and half didn't vote.

These are some of the patterns of American political demographics I see.

Comments >> (1 comment)

Apartheid USA: Will Trump do a reverse Mandela?

by Frank Schnittger Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 01:45:57 PM EST

I completed my Masters Thesis on Apartheid some months before Nelson Mandela was released from prison by FW De Klerk in 1989. In it I predicted the imminent demise of apartheid based on changes in the South African economy which were happening at the time. I did so despite the fact that the relatively newly installed South African President, FW De Klerk, was widely regarded as a hard liner from within the ranks of the most reactionary parts of the South African Nationalist party at the time.  Sometimes past policies and positions are a poor predictor of how someone will act once in power. For me, economic circumstances could sometimes trump the personal characteristics of those in power.

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The decline of the USA

by Frank Schnittger Mon Nov 7th, 2016 at 06:45:01 PM EST

For all the hype and noise, this election has seen a remarkably consistent trend. If you average all the polls, Clinton has always been ahead, whether by 8 points or 2. Right now she is 4 to 5 points ahead, and it would take a massive polling failure for that not to be reflected in the actual vote. She is also ahead in all the swing states bar Iowa and possibly Ohio, North Carolina and Florida. What we are arguing about is the margin of victory, and who controls the Senate.

Without control of the Senate (55% probability per 538), she won't be able to make key appointments or ratify Treaties, and without control of the House, she won't be able to pass a budget or keep the government open. So either way we may be facing gridlock and an effective coup d'etat. The New American Century is no more. The USA's influence in the world will probably decline whoever wins the Presidential poll.

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Rugby Test in Chicago final score: Ireland 40 All Blacks 29

by Frank Schnittger Sat Nov 5th, 2016 at 09:06:01 PM EST

The Irish team form a figure of 8 in memory of former Irish international and no.8, Anthony Foley, who died a couple of weeks ago, as the All Blacks perform the Haka.

Live Blog...
The Chicago Cubs aren't the only team on the cusp of history, winning their first title in 108 years. Ireland have never beaten the All Blacks in 111 years of trying. But somehow this first ever match between the two teams in Soldier Field stadium in Chicago might just be different.

The current all blacks team are double world champions and have just completed a record 18 tests unbeaten winning the southern hemisphere's rugby championship by a record margin in the past few weeks. Meanwhile, Ireland haven't played a test since June.

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One Charger to Rule them All - 322-Kilometer EV (Pt 2)

by joelado Fri Nov 4th, 2016 at 04:40:28 PM EST

 photo supercharger_zpsw7rw30wj.jpeg
Tesla Supercharger

In my previous blog "The 322-kilometer Electric Vehicle Paradigm," I discussed how the 322-kilometer range electric vehicle revises the charging infrastructure needs significantly downward where only around 7300 well placed quick charging sites can meet nearly all of the charging needs for the entirety of Europe. This was important because with nearly all automakers coming out with base model electric vehicles with 322-kilometer range most charging would take place at home and the only need for charging away from home would be traveling long distances or traveling to places where either the round trip or the destination was over the vehicle's 322-kilometer range. Having slow level 2 charging stations all over the place, as would be needed with the current low range EV model, wasn't necessary since 322 kilometers of range would be more than the daily average for nearly all drivers. With AAA's finding that on average Americans only drive about 51 kilometers a day, the European Commission found that Europeans drive on average a little less but about the same, the 322-kilometer base range of the new EVs would be over six times that average.

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Brexit: A new political dynamic is unleashed

by Frank Schnittger Thu Nov 3rd, 2016 at 01:30:55 PM EST

The High Court has found that the UK Government cannot trigger Article 50 "by Royal Prerogative" but must seek the approval of Parliament first:

The government had argued that it could invoke article 50 without parliamentary approval, using royal prerogative, a set of executive powers. The court found, however, that because article 50 triggers an irreversible process leading to Brexit after two years, it overturns the 1972 European Communities Act, which brought the UK into the Common Market.

"The most fundamental rule of the UK's constitution is that Parliament is sovereign and can make and unmake any law it chooses. As an aspect of the sovereignty of Parliament, it has been established for hundreds of years that the Crown -i.e. the Government of the day - cannot by exercise of prerogative powers override legislation enacted by Parliament," the court said.

The government argued that MPs who passed the 1972 act intended that the Crown should retain its prerogative powers to withdraw from the EU treaties. But the court rejected the argument, saying there was nothing in the 1972 act which supported it. And the judges accepted the main argument against the government, that EU membership conferred rights on UK citizens which the government could not remove without parliamentary approval.

The government has said it will appeal the decision, but presuming that decision is upheld by the Supreme Court, a whole new political dynamic will be unleashed. A clear majority of MPs voted remain in the referendum, and while many, including Jeremy Corbyn, have said that the will of the people must be respected, a vote on the matter ensures they will have to "own" the consequences of invoking A50. The Government's lack of a clear negotiating strategy will be laid bare, and the opposition have the opportunity to re-open the question should they decide to do so.

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The new politics, American Style

by Frank Schnittger Mon Oct 31st, 2016 at 07:17:35 PM EST

In common with many political junkies here, I suspect, I've been following the US elections very closely.  And yet, despite having written about 60 stories on US politics in previous years, I've written hardly a word this time around. Where to start? The subject is almost too horrible to contemplate: a reductio ad absurdum that keeps on plummeting into new unfathomed depths.  Could anyone have imagined a candidate so ridiculous as Donald J. Trump winning the Republican nomination, never mind the Presidency itself?

A narcissistic, racist, misogynist. A self-confessed serial sexual abuser of women and allegedly a child rapist as well. An admirer of Vladimir Putin, Saddam Hussein and assorted dictators around the world. A businessman who has stiffed many suppliers, contractors and customers throughout his career. A candidate who has encouraged his supporters to commit violence, and who has said he will imprison his opponent if elected. A rich kid who claims to speak on behalf of the dispossessed, and yet proposes policies which will dramatically further increase the gap between rich and poor in the United States.

And yet he is polling within a few percentage points of the front runner, Hillary Clinton, who, for all her faults, is none of the above. Yes, you can fault her for using a private email address for official business, possibly to avoid congressional scrutiny.  But she did so on the advice of a previous (Republican) Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and it was apparently a practice widespread amongst top officials, partly because of the cumbersome nature of the official email system, not to mention the risks of leaks emanating from that system due to cyberattacks and bureaucratic infighting.

So what is happening to the USA, and is it a harbinger of things to come in Europe and elsewhere in the world?

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A more nuanced solution to Brexit

by Frank Schnittger Thu Oct 27th, 2016 at 11:43:42 AM EST

Discussion of Brexit has been almost exclusively based on the proposition that the UK will exit en bloc, and that the only possible exceptions to this are if Scotland were to vote for Independence, or N. Ireland were to vote to join a united Ireland.  But there are some precedents for more nuanced solutions to the fact that both Scotland and N. Ireland voted Remain.  For instance, Greenland and the Faroe Islands remain part of the Kingdom of Denmark but with substantially independent political institutions, and neither are part of the EU.

The Faroe Islands secured an opt-out when Denmark joined the EU in 1973 (the same time as the UK and Ireland) and Greenland voted to leave the EU in 1985. In both cases the decision was based on their desire to retain independent control of fish stocks in their territorial waters.  The UK already issues distinctive passports for residents of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, and Jersey is neither a Member State nor an Associate Member of the European Union.
Jersey and the EU

Jersey is part of the European Union Customs Union of the European Community. The common customs tariff, levies and other agricultural import measures apply to trade between the island and non-Member States. There is free movement of goods and trade between the island and Member States. EU rules on freedom of movement for workers do not apply in Jersey.

So what if England and Wales exited the EU, but Scotland and N. Ireland remained? Both are substantially self-governing and have economic interests distinct from the rest of the UK. Their First Ministers have demanded a central role in the negotiation process and even Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones departed from Theresa May's "hard Brexit" position by insisting Wales wanted to retain full access to the European single market. Remaining part of both the UK and the EU would go some way towards appeasing both the Independence and Unionist voters in Scotland, whilst allaying Spanish fears of setting a precedent for Catalonian independence.

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The 322-kilometer Electric Vehicle Paradigm

by joelado Thu Oct 20th, 2016 at 04:32:09 PM EST

 photo Red20and20Silver20Tesla20Model203s_zpsc03gszbj.jpg

Tesla Model 3s

For those of you who have not been tuning into what has been going on in the automotive industry with respect to electric vehicles (EVs) lately, when Tesla introduced the first viable electric vehicle to the market back in 2008 to now there have been over 1.5 million electric vehicles sold world wide, and sales will probably reach over 2 million by the end of this year. Most electric vehicles sold by the major automakers to this point have had the distances that they can travel on a single charge run from 105 to around 160 kilometers. Tesla Motors, on the other hand, has had its vehicle's ranges typically set at 322 kilometers or above.

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Alan Dukes responds to my LTE

by Frank Schnittger Wed Oct 19th, 2016 at 01:30:27 AM EST

Alan Dukes, former Leader of Fine Gael, Leader of the opposition and Minister for Agriculture, Finance and Justice has responded to my letter to the editor criticising his original Irish Times article purporting to advise Theresa May on Brexit:
Preparing for realities of Brexit

Sir, - Frank Schnittger(October 17th) raised some objections to my "tongue-in-cheek" advice to Theresa May about Brexit ("Whitehall's Brexit advice to Theresa May", Opinion & Analysis, October 14th).

He is, of course, right to point out that the EU regards the four freedoms as indivisible. I agree with that, but the EU cannot demand that a state which is no longer a member should continue to take the same view. The EU trades with many states that do not attach the same value to the combination of these freedoms. The purpose of the UK's proposed "Great Repeal Bill" is clearly to lay the groundwork for an agreement with the EU on mutual recognition of standards post-Brexit unless and until the UK makes any specific change. It would be extremely difficult for the EU to argue that standards which it accepted up to the point of Brexit would no longer be recognised on the day after. Such recognition would not require the conclusion of a new trade agreement; all it needs is a bit of common sense.

Mr Schnittger casts doubt on the possibility of the UK simply taking over the terms of existing EU agreements with other trading partners. He does not explain why any other country would decide to treat the UK differently in trade matters simply because it had exited the EU. True, the situation in regard to new trade agreements with the UK would be more complex, but consider the CETA agreement with Canada. Conclusion of that agreement between the EU and Canada has (so far) been stymied as a result of its rejection by the regional parliament in Wallonia - EU ratification requires unanimity among the member states, and Belgium cannot now ratify because of the decision in Wallonia.

My guess is that the UK would signal its agreement to CETA post-Brexit. I hardly think that Canada would not welcome such a decision. Australia has signalled that a UK-Australia trade deal would happen post-Brexit. The UK is leading a group of northern European member states in an attempt to moderate the commission's proposals for tough anti-dumping measures against China. That could facilitate a UK-China understanding post-Brexit.

Mr Schnittger correctly points out that I made no mention of passporting rights in the EU and euro zone for UK financial service providers. I did, however, suggest that the City of London might not be without leverage in a negotiation.

The purpose of my "tongue-in-cheek" piece was to point out that there are viable options for the UK, for which we should be prepared. - Yours, etc,


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LTE: Alan Duke's "advice" to Theresa May on Brexit

by Frank Schnittger Sun Oct 16th, 2016 at 05:25:24 PM EST

Alan Dukes is a former chief of staff to Ireland's EU commissioner who subsequently held the three key cabinet ministries of Agriculture, Finance, and Justice, and then became leader of Fine Gael (the current Irish Governing Party) but who never won a general election to become Taoiseach. As such he is a member of a small band of people in Ireland who are regarded as knowledgeable and authoritative on EU affairs. (Peter Sutherland, former Irish Attorney general, EU Commissioner for Competition Policy, founding Director General of the WTO, Chair of Goldman Sacks International and currently Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for International Migration would be another).

Alan Dukes has just written an article for the Irish Times which I have a hard time taking seriously. In it he purports to articulate the advice Whitehall is or should be giving to Theresa May on Brexit.  I can't make up my mind whether he was just taking the piss, but if so, many people may not have seen the joke.  So I was moved to write the following letter to the Editor:

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The difference a welfare state makes

by Frank Schnittger Fri Oct 14th, 2016 at 06:15:35 PM EST

Guest post by Prof. James Wickham. Professor Wickham was my Sociology Professor in Trinity College Dublin and is now Director at TASC (Think-tank for Action on Social Change - Ireland's independent progressive think tank);First posted: 13 Oct 2016 01:57 PM PDT


Two charts that tell very different stories about inequality in Ireland today...

Both charts show the Gini coefficient of income distribution: the lower the Gini coefficient the more equal the society.  The first (Figure 1a) shows Ireland as the most unequal society within the EU: the Gini is higher than for any other member state.

Gini: Market incomes 2013
Figure 1a Gini, market incomes 2013

By contrast, in the second (Figure 1b) shows Ireland to be boringly normal: Ireland's Gini is in the middle of the range.

Figure 1b Gini, disposable incomes 2013
[Source for both charts:  OECD Income Distribution Database (EU countries for which data available)]

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Your take on this week's news

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