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Political Prognostications for 2016.

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jan 20th, 2016 at 08:00:53 PM EST

I've long held the somewhat controversial view that political analysis is only as good as its ability to make verifiable or falsifiable predictions about the future course of events and thus have tended to be impatient with those sorts of "on the one hand, and on the other" analyses which can allow the analyst to claim vindication regardless of the outcome.  If nothing else, clear predictions can allow a better understanding of underlying assumptions and a gauging of ones own ignorance.

So here goes, my predictions for 2016, which I am happy to see disputed, and ultimately proved wrong if only to improve my understanding of underlying trends.

  1. Fine Gael will score a resounding victory in the Irish general election compared to current polls which will nevertheless see them some way short of an overall majority and thus requiring Labour or perhaps some independent/small party support to form the next Government. Labour will do badly, Sinn Fein will fail to make a decisive breakthrough, and Fianna Fail will tread water.

  2. David Cameron will succeed in avoiding Brexit despite the increasing unpopularity of the EU and a failure, on his part, to secure dramatic concessions from the EU as part of his renegotiation strategy.  However the result will be close and test his marketing skills to the limit.  Paradoxically, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn will come out of the campaign with his reputation and standing in the polls  enhanced.

  3. A combination of low oil prices, low interest rates, and low Euro valuations will allow the EU economy to slowly recover despite quite a few external shocks in the shape of the refugee crisis, terrorist atrocities, and a slowdown in China and emerging markets.  Even peripheral countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal will recover somewhat off a low base, and Ireland will experience another year of near Celtic Tiger like growth.

  4. Donald Trump will win a resounding victory in the Republican Primary elections and probably nominate someone like Ohio Governor John Kasich as his VP pick in order to re-unify the party ahead of the General Election. Somewhat ironically, given the much lower media profile of the Democratic primary elections, Hillary Clinton will struggle to shake off the Vermont Socialist, Bernie Sanders, in the Democratic primary and struggle, initially, to ignite her campaign against Trump. She will end up winning the Presidency resoundingly, however, with an increasingly popular President Obama's support, and probably lead the Democrats to victory in the Senate (and currently implausibly) in the Congressional elections as well.

  5. Climate change will continue to wreck havoc with extreme weather events causing ever greater economic and social dislocation. Oil and commodity dependent economies in the middle east, Africa and Russia will struggle and political instability will increase world wide with some regional conflicts re-igniting as elites seek to distract their polities from economic hardships. Netanyahu might do something seriously stupid to try and preempt Iran' rise as a regional power and Syria will continue to be an unresolved humanitarian disaster.

Discuss.  Perhaps you can add your own predictions.
 


Display:
I suppose a big wrench in the works would be if the current financial wobbles turn into a full-on asset price collapse.
by Zwackus on Wed Jan 20th, 2016 at 10:41:50 PM EST
Agreed.  I see most current policies exacerbating deflation, and growing nationalism certainly will not help international trade.
by rifek on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 10:39:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I had to make predictions I'd say
  1. Spain will go to new elections on June 5 which will return an equally hung parliament, but with a different Socialist leader
  2. Italy will experience a full-blown banking crisis which will strain its commitment to the euro.


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 03:00:51 AM EST
Italy already seems to be doing the ground work, ramping up the rhetoric and practically daring Berlin and Brussels to do something ugly and stupid.
by rifek on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 10:42:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct about Italy, the first convulsions happening already.
The banksters here have been getting away with you-know-what, regulators semi-comatose, many investors, assured of the safety of their investors, got a letter from the bank informing them their nest eggs were gone.
Renzi is boasting he saved the banks and their employees.
Junker has called him out, and the faecal fan is in overdrive.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 11:45:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Will it lead to new elections?

I notice that the polls has the soc-dems (PD) at around 30%, M5* around 25% and Lega Nord third with 15% and Forza Italia fourth at 11%.

Also:

Next Italian general election - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The electoral system is based on party-lists representation and will be applicable only to the Chamber of Deputies from 1 July 2016.

According to this new system, parties are not allowed to team up or form coalitions. A run-off ballot between the two largest parties decides which party gets a majority bonus, which should make sure the winning party's leader becomes prime minister with a governing majority. The majority bonus is assigned without a run-off only if the largest party reaches 40% in the first round.

So if there was an election this summer it would look like a run-off between Renzi's PD and Grillo's M5* over the bonus seats. That could be interesting.

by fjallstrom on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 05:05:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose one wild card for Italy would be Berlu's health. I have no idea how Forza would fare were B to die or be incapacitated. And, in case of death, succession, just inside his own personal holdings would likely be compelling, if not edifying viewing, let alone what might happen to the political party.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 11:25:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am somewhat late to the discussion, but would you really say that Junker is the good guy here? I have no clear idea about the nature of the problems of the Italian Banking sector, but I think that the whole European Banking system will remain fragile if we keep combining capital mobility with national banking regulation etc. Therefore the push of Renzi for the Banking Union seemed correct.  
by rz on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 02:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Without having a feeling for Spanish politics, my a priori expectation would be for an election re-run to favour the largest (and usually the more conservative) party.  After a few months of gridlock ore people get tired of the bickering and want a government (almost any government) to get into office and start leading the Governance processes again.  Belgium seems to be about the only exception to this rule I an think of: they seem happiest without an actual elected Government...

The corollary is that if the more progressive parties want to have any chance of forming a government in the next ten years, they had better get together and form one soon.  Even if it is subsequently defeated in a vote of confidence, the governing coalition would then start the next election campaign in pole position to gain a majority, particularly if that election came before they had had time to make themselves unpopular...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 04:30:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For my money, we're headed for new elections in which Podemos will come second to the PSOE but the centre-right will be much closer to a majority than it is now. It is entirely possible, though, that new elections will return a hung parliament again.

Some predictions on dates: first failed confidence motion on a new government on February 10, parliament dissolved on April 10 for elections June 5. New government at the end of July.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 1st, 2016 at 03:04:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If this probability is widely understood, then the non-PP parties have a vested interest in getting together to form a government whatever their differences - perhaps agreeing to "park" or allow a free vote on issues on which there can't be agreement at this time. If this new Government is seen to work well together on all other issues, then they are in pole position to increase their vote at the next election.  Otherwise, as you say, it could be PP all over again.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 1st, 2016 at 12:16:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be PP + Ciudadanos. If part of the Ciudadanos vote returns to the PP, because of the way the election system works PP + Ciudadanos get more seats. But Rajoy may insist on running again which may keep the Ciudadanos voters away in disgust...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2016 at 10:59:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Yeah.

  2. Hope so.

  3. Possibly.

  4. Probably, though the lesson the US right take will be that they weren't extremist enough.

  5. Yup. Lots of dead people.

My prediction: it's going to be even more depressing and disillusioning than 2015. And 2015 was bad. Our slip towards xenophobic nationalism is just beginning.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 05:35:53 AM EST
Well most people look to politics to protect their way of life and only become engaged if they feel threatened or disadvantaged in some way.  If they don't like the way the EU is going they will look to their state to protect them.  Right now its mostly poorer/older people afraid of competition for jobs/resources from immigrants.  Ireland hasn't been in the forefront of the immigrant/refugee crisis and the economy/jobs market is improving in any case, so I think our exposure is less than that of Eastern European EU members. So far the general election issues are more about water charges, housing and healthcare bottlenecks which is about par for the course for standard general election politicking, so perhaps I am more optimistic than you.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 06:19:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Home page link for posting bugs links to a diary in archive that can't be posted to. Tribex still not working?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 06:36:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1.Yes. but not resounding FG-FF coalition

  1. Yes, but no advantages for Corbyn

  2. Yes

  3. If Trump wins, then in a close race agianst Cruz or Rubio. No Bush, tha much is sure.

  4. Yrs, everythin as usual
by IM on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 06:15:45 AM EST
Corbyn could gain (off a low base) by being on the winning side of a campaign and by having an issue most of labour can unite around.  It all depends on how well he campaigns and I think he could do well..

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 06:24:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
isn't Corbyn and his crowd Anti-EU?
by IM on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 08:05:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Corbyn will campaign for the UK to stay in the EU regardless of the outcome of Cameron's renegotiation...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 09:41:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Corbyn is actually a terrible leader.

His heart is very much in the right place, and I have no issue with most of his policies. But he seems to have no feel for "optics" or creative political strategy at all - more the traditional left delusion that all you have to do is explain things rationally to everyone and do some fervent marching and rallying, and they'll vote for you.

Meanwhile the Tories - and especially the Tory press - will be assassinating his character, finding links to his Stalinist past, suggesting he eats babies and has sex with terrorists, and discovering that he once failed to pay a gas bill on time, thereby providing yet more dramatic evidence of Labour's economic incompetence.

The best thing that could happen for 2020 would be four years of Corbyn clearing Blairite narcissists out of the PLP, and then a new younger leader taking over to head the campaign.

But we may have to wait until 2025 for that, because even after a clear out the options for the PLP are limited. And sadly, there's a perception that if 2020 doesn't make the left stronger, it will be game over for Labour as a political force.

This is of course appalling. But too many British people seem to think Cameron looks and acts like a prime minister, as opposed to a barely mobile android coated in spam.

The UK generally is becoming increasingly stupid, selfish, bigoted, and violent, and it's going to take an exceptional leader - our very own anti-Thatcher - to change that.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 12:55:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
The UK generally is becoming increasingly stupid, selfish, bigoted, and violent, and it's going to take an exceptional leader - our very own anti-Thatcher - to change that.

Snap for other countries, certainly including France.

And <scans horizon> nothing or no one in sight.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 02:15:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Local hero.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 08:04:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 12:24:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Luigi di Maio, probable candidate for PM if there's ever another election.
Chosen as one of Europe's top 30 talents under-30 by Forbes.
I find it interesting that he and Alessandro di Battista (the other colleague/contender) both came from fascistic homes.
They are the frankest, bravest opposition I have ever seen in politics.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 09:32:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The UK generally is becoming increasingly stupid, selfish, bigoted, and violent, ..."

The US is already there ... none of this "becoming" crap.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 08:02:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The best hope for Corbyn I can see is the media hysterics growing to such an extent that it turns into advertisement.
I call it the ISIS strategy.
by generic on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 05:45:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe there's finally a place for Quixotocism, things being as they are.
ThatBritGuy:
But he seems to have no feel for "optics" or creative political strategy at all

That's why people love him, he's utterly unmediated!

After the oily set - glistening with patent insincerity - have made us all feel overdosed to despair, there's only one road left. Politics without PR, messaging, optics - (all efforts to manipulate people because you know inside that it's all BS. Fake it harder!)

The acme of this was that video that made the rounds a couple of years ago of Ed Millipede trotting out his can of rote for the cameras. Something snapped in me that day, and I'll warrant for countless others.

Jeremy is just... Jeremy, take him or leave him, and it's a cool breeze to a fevered brow. The best thing is the sense that he's not all about Jeremy. He's modest, and understates his personality, one of the  nice traits of Britishness. He's honest, which already makes him a black swan in politics. He's unassuming, un-grandiose, speaking common sense in a way that's easy to understand.

He's there more to offer a sober alternative to the spun mousse of mediated politics, offering integrity instead of blowdried narcissism. Whether Britain is sufficiently on its knees yet to accept such an untraditional approach to leading a party remains to be seen.

People who predict his being the final nail in Labour's coffin are perhaps underestimating peoples' wanting to root for the underdog (and their growing distaste for the same austere bowls of thin gruel coming from the Etonians).

His surprising rise syncs nicely with Sanders, Podemos and the MV5*, giving a strong counterbalance to the rightward drift of many electorates. That creaking, scraping, clattering, screeching sound is the Overton window getting dragged back towards sanity as the media digs in its heels and spatters lies in squalid efforts to slow social evolution...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 08:38:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and don't forget Tsipras is still more or less standing despite the intensity of the attacks nearing coup d'etat levels.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 10:22:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes and his peculiarly British form of idealism, which harks back v. much to the UK left of the 1970's, will have an appeal to even those who don't particularly agree with him, replacing the careerism of the Blairite years.  I don't think he could win the next General Election, but neither do I think he would do half as badly as his detractors like to claim.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 04:36:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of his detractors either failed to get power last time or failed to predict the result of the last election.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 05:05:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You see, we really DID win that revolution, it just took an extra  couple hundred years.
by rifek on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 08:01:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I stand by what I said when he was elected.: I don't agree with his answers, but at least he's asking the right questions and that's a darned sight better than his predecessor or the alternatives standing against him in the election.

He doesn't have to be good at media but he should employ people who are. So far he doesn't appear to have done so, Seamus Milne is his designated media man, but he seems to want to be less a communications manager and more of a power player within the party. But that's not his job, which should be to do the grunt work of shaping what Corbyn wants to say into a managed media-friendly package and, so far, he isn't doing that. With catastrophic results.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jan 23rd, 2016 at 01:20:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know if he has enough articulate lieutenants yet. He seems more of a lone wolf with a big following so far.
Which puts a lot more on his shoulders... I wonder if he could have imagined the strength of the headwind against him, especially from his own party.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 10:47:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That headwind is an issue, we know that there's at least 200 people within the Labour party implacably opposed to Corbyn, and sadly most of them are MPs. which means they have pulpits and access to the media.

Jut today, Michael Dughar, who last week resigned from the cabinet on live television, was interviewed on his thoughts about the autopsy review of Labour campaign at the last election. Why him? Because he can he can be relied upon to have a few cracks at the current leadership.

And that's the problem. There is a noisy minority within the party who used to have access to the levers of power who are now disenfranchised and have the contacts to make their displeasure gratingly public.

But Corbyn has substantial support within the party and a lot of MPs are up for re-selection due to boundary changes before the next General. So, hopefully, Corbyn will have a few more sympathetic people behind him in the next parliament.

So headwinds yea, but the weather's changing

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 11:03:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 01:59:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oh grief, Ganesh is George Osborne's biographer and columnist in the FT.

Whilst I imagine he's a reliable diviner of Tory intents, his understanding of the owrking classes and Labour are bordering on infantile. Every week he parades his condescending ignorance of the Sunday politics tv programme.

He is clever tho', he uses true things to advance untruth. I found I'd agree with the first sentence of every paragraph, but argued after that.

A plague on him

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 02:47:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And then Phil comes along with his forensic wrecking ball

All that is solid.... - Is the Labour Party Middle Class?

he key to "professional" success in the land of comment is to never let the facts get in the way of a good narrative. If hard numbers and social realities are inconvenient, one can safely shove them aside in the assured knowledge they won't come back to haunt the writer. Especially if one is a star columnist in a newspaper with broadly the same politics. On this occasion, it's Janan Ganesh writing in the FT about Jeremy Corbyn, class, and UKIP. And yes, it's rubbish. Here, Janan had given his own spin to the political meme doing the rounds - that the Labour Party has got taken over by the middle class.


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 11:44:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Netanyahu might do something seriously stupid

I suppose after your bolder predictions you thought you'd sneak in a gimme just for safety's sake.

I think having the Dems winning the Senate is dodgy, Congress s well would be amazing. But, just like Obama, Clinton will waste the opportunity and lose it all in the midterms

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 02:42:28 PM EST
When I said seriously stupid, I meant SERIOUSLY, like lobbing nuclear missiles at the hardened underground buildings housing the Iranian nuclear fuel enrichment facilities at Fordow, near the city of Qom, and at Natanz, putting thousands of lives in jeopardy, and potentially leading to a nuclear exchange with Russia...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 03:00:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unlikely, Netanyahu mostly just talks (stupidly). It's the lunatics on his right that you should be concerned about.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 03:21:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My big gripe with Obama in 2008 was that he focused solely on his (already assured) victory in the Presidential election, and not at all on building a big congressional majority and gaining control of statehouses which control constituency gerrymandering and electoral regulations. As a result he only had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate for a very short time, and had little chance of retaining Congress after the mid-terms. Odd for a community organizer and constitutional  scholar to be so careless about ensuring he maintained the ability to enact legislation further into his term.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 03:08:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tbh I am not surprised that he didn't factor that in. Winning a Presidency is such a hard job, there are so many things that require immediate focus and response that you have to expect the party and the down ticket candidates to be doing their job and just hope that your own election helps.

I think you have to look hard t the DNC organisation which is frankly awful. We're a decade past the Dean "50 state strategy" and his effort have gone to waste. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been an absolute disaster as DNC chair and nationally the democratic party is in ruins

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 03:55:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been an absolute disaster as DNC chair and nationally the democratic party is in ruins "

All she cares about is Israel ... her name says it all.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 04:03:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The guy is self-centered. When you're the president of an enormously powerful country, it happens...
by Bernard on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 03:56:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to wonder of his 'presidency only' focus was part of the 'package' he sold to the TBTF CEOs to assure his funding and victory. He and his inner circle seemed genuinely hostile to progressives and I think he feared a 'Hundred Days' driven by Congressional activism. This, if true, may come out from some insider or person close to that insider, either from Wall Street, some of whose denizens likely both supported and despised him, or from his own inner circle. If nominated and elected, I predict that Hillary will do the same - which is why I cannot bring myself to predict her nomination, though it seems more likely.

I can just hear candidate Obama telling Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein each that there will be no 'Hundred Days' if he is elected and that they will keep their jobs and get whatever it takes to keep their businesses afloat. And I can hear him telling them today that Hillary will do the same. Both Obama and Hillary understand the appeal the progressives have inside the Democratic Party, but they both fear it rather than embrace it. Neither want a Progressive dominated Congress to 'make them' sign progressive legislation putting Wall Street back in the box where FDR left them. Neither of them could make the speeches FDR made about the necessity of reforming Wall Street. For them it is not Wall Street or 'America' if Wall Street is not running the show. That would be like sailing off the edge of the world.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 11:58:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She'll lose it before then, the same way Bill and Obama did: failing to keep congressional Dems united.
by rifek on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 09:01:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump is currently "leading in the polls" because the people being polled are the poor white trash males in hick states like Iowa/SC; I don't know whether I think it's good or bad that CA stays out of it ... strange that my state won't have a say before the candidates are chosen but that's the current US Empire.

Anyway, I never bet against the stupidity of the general US public so I see Trump winning outright or stealing the election via a Reichstag event which spooks the herd in October. If a Rep ... even Trump ... gets in the WH, look out! The Reps have everything including the Pentagon and the US is screwed along with the rest of the world. Looking forward to the US having Civil War II and CA going its own way ... but I'm a terrible optimist.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 04:01:45 PM EST
Can you imagine the Cabinet/circle of advisors in a Trump WH?  Ted Nugent as Secretary of State.

And of course Democracy Now! will be declared a terrorist menace and banned. Fox will be beamed into all homes 24/7 ... it's all you get on TV.

Ahhhh ... a glorious future lies ahead. The human species in full flower. Glad I'm old.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 04:28:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The rest of the world has to be looking at this race and paraphrasing Little Bill in Unforgiven: I guess you know, America, if you elect Trump, we'll just have to kill you and say it was self defense.
by rifek on Thu Jan 21st, 2016 at 09:05:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Man, a truer statement there never was!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 12:40:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
National Review just handed Donald Trump the Election
National Review's publication of the collective anti-Donald Trump missives from 22 self-appointed conservative potentates has caused quite a stir in Republican circles [...]

The Gang of 22 have officially become parodies of themselves. One would have to reach back to the days of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew to lift an adequate quote to describe them [..]

So clueless is the Gang of 22 they can't even see how they've stumbled right into the narrative Trump's been communicating so successfully for months. Just like the elected officials from both parties, the Gang of 22 has been GREAT at complaining about stuff, year, after year, after year.

But getting anything accomplished? Not so much.

National Review: Publisher `Broken Hearted' Over Subscription Cancellations
by das monde on Sat Jan 23rd, 2016 at 02:15:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One Single, All-Too Common, Character Trait Unites Trump Supporters -- Alternet.org
In a fascinating recent poll, a single characteristic emerged as the clearest sign that a voter is a Trump supporter. Contrary to what some might expect, it's not race, gender, income, age or education level. It's authoritarianism, clear and simple. Americans with authoritarian personalities (and they are more prevalent than any of us would like them to be) tend to support Trump.

This finding comes courtesy of a poll of 1,800 respondents conducted through the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, by Matthew MacWilliams. "I found that education, income, gender, age, ideology and religiosity had no significant bearing on a Republican voter's preferred candidate," MacWilliams writes in Politico this week. "Only two of the variables I looked at were statistically significant: authoritarianism, followed by fear of terrorism, though the former was far more significant than the latter."

by das monde on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 09:03:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This finding has interesting implications for the kind of campaign the Democrats will have to run to maximise their chances of winning the Presidency (and congress).  First of all, we would need to know what % of the US electorate could be described as authoritarian (by the same criteria as used in this poll) and what their more usual party affiliations and voting patterns are. (Not all authoritarians are on the Right of the political spectrum).

It seems to me that Sanders - as a classic lefty liberal - is poorly positioned to make inroads into this vote.  Some of the characteristics progressives dislike in Hillary, however, might position her better to go toe-to-toe with Trump - her sense of entitlement, aloofness, arrogance even. The USA has always struck me as a very authoritarian society - even libertarians can be very authoritarian about the "rights".

But it is also quite a polite society with some respect for character and accomplishment. Hillary could peel off potential Trump voters who dislike his crassness, shallowness, and lack of respect for anyone or anything other than himself. I am not as pessimistic as some progressives about Dem prospects in the General election, particularly if Hillary is the nominee. Sanders strikes me as a re-run of McGovern Nixon in 1972 except that Trump is no Nixon, and that's saying something.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 04:54:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The linked politico article doesn't give a complete breakdown of Authoritarians by party affiliation, but states that 39% of independents are authoritarians and 19% of Democrats are STRONG authoritarians, giving rise to the thesis that Trump would have significant cross-over appeal in the general election, particularly if a major terrorist event were to push more non-authoritarians into the authoritarian camp as shown in empirical studies. This compares to 49% of likely Republican primary voters who are strong Authoritarians, 43% of whom already support Trump.

A pronounced fear of terrorism is the only other statistically significant predictor that a voter will support Trump.  This perhaps explains why Republicans have worked so hard to undermine Hillary's foreign policy credentials post Benghazi and they they hate, deride and seek to ignore Obama's foreign policy successes so much.  Again, Sanders has no credentials in this area.

Neither has Trump., but that's not the point.  He emotes appropriately for authoritarians, playing to their fears and acting the tough guys.  Words always seem to mean more that actions or experience or expertise in this brand of politics.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 05:31:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
".... particularly if a major terrorist event were to push more non-authoritarians into the authoritarian camp ..."

Trump is following the Hitler play book ... it would be so easy to stage an appropriate event, at the right time, and the American cattle will respond predictably.

Please footnote this comment when it happens ... I love saying "Told ya so!".

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 02:13:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
an October surprise is a standard part of the shock doctrine tactics of far right groups.  No great prescience needed!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 02:24:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With 9/11 under our belt I wonder if there are enough people to trace an event to its source ... 9/11 was so out-of-the-blue that not enough people thought to track it to govt. involvement till years later. Would love to catch Trump with his hand in the cookie jar ... tie that SOB's ankles to the back of a truck and take off.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 02:53:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An interesting interview with Trump from 25 years ago. With presidential questions, admiration for the Tiananmen 1989 crackdown.

Also, must this be coincidental?

Donald Trump got lucky: He's only winning because he's competing against clowns and losers

by das monde on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 01:46:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Donald Trump got lucky: He's only winning because he's competing against clowns and losers"

That, and the people being polled are ignorant, racist idiots ... the flower of the GOP.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:13:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A new gigantic planet will be discovered beyond the Kepler Belt, pulling all politics intensely both left and right.

A polarized planet incapable of discerning vision.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 10:24:09 AM EST
Game over for Merkel. She has promised an assessment of the state of her proposed solutions next month. That indicates the possible beginning of a turn of course in the refugee crisis. Because in all likelihood, the entreaties to Turkey, the search for a pan-European distribution scheme and so on will not work and refugee numbers will rise again.

Even if the state elections in March prove victorious for the CDU (because they get a numerical leg up from the AfD), the subsequent swelling of refugee numbers in the spring/summer will wreak havoc on the German political landscape. By then the mood will have turned positively sour and she will be under maximum pressure to do a 180 and start a concerted action to close European borders beginning with Macedonia or a majority of her own party members will start revolting.

In the best scenario her proposed solutions 'somehow work' and her political end will be postponed to the next general election 2017. Because who is going to vote for her after this? There would be no majority and she knows better than to overstay her welcome (unlike Helmut Kohl). In the other scenario (I'm happy to be proved wrong here) the crisis escalates, more members of parliament rebel, eventually borders are closed, maybe there will be a coup inside the party.

Also, in the medium term:

Wolfgang Münchau - Millions of Migrants: How the refugee crisis is putting the labour market under pressure

By the end of 2017, up to three million working age refugees could come to Germany. Illegal labour beneath the minimum wage would increase. That's the last thing we need in this age of miniscule inflation.

... Germany has 40 million in the workforce. If that many refugees come, the labour market would suddenly expand by 7.5%. Smart economic policy should avoid shocks of this kind of magnitude. We simply don't know what happens if we subject a labour market - even a healthy one - to this kind of pressure.

Most of the newly arrived are not professionally qualified for the German labour market. They'll therefore go into the low-pay sector and contribute to wage deflation there.

The economic effect of Merkel's refugee policy would be wage deflation in Germany. Since inflation in the Eurozone is too low anyway, that is just about the last thing we need. Because the ECB doesn't have any instruments left to reverse that development.

From an economic and monetary standpoint Merkel's policy is highly irrational. We urgently need higher wages in Germany to keep up demand... you can now forget about the low-pay sector... it would also indirectly pull down the other wage categories.

... Germany can cope with hundreds of thousands of refugees for a few years but not millions.

... It's interesting that among social democrats only Gerhard Schröder has the political instincts to see this ...

I don't know which section of the population is supposed to profit from Merkel's policies - or wouldn't be affected. ... It's certainly not the classical clientele of the SPD. And also certainly not that of the CDU/CSU. [She] will be fighting for her political survival ... [and] more or less succeed. I don't believe the story of her 'Götterdämmerung' yet.

But I'm pretty sure that future historians will judge her much more negatively than her German contemporaries. As a politician who was confronted with two great tasks and failed at both. Euro and refugee crisis escalated because she was not able or willing to manage those crises effectively.

Her policies follow high principles but were not thought-out in both cases...

The refugee crisis blew up in her face fast. The Euro crisis has been going on for 6 years and still doesn't have an end. But both have the same deep cause - politics without strategy.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Jan 22nd, 2016 at 07:05:38 PM EST
One option is to shoot people trying to cross borders. That option will no doubt be persued either by Merkel or by her competitors within CDU/CSU.

Another option would be an expansionist economic policy, where people are employed to do work that needs to be done, at normal wages. Even at the cost of increasing state debt. But which parties would persue such a policy? Die Linke?

The third is to stay the course, which has been very popular with the euro.

And which way will SPD go?

by fjallstrom on Sat Jan 23rd, 2016 at 09:45:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Staying the course (whatever that is in this crisis) ain't gonna work. Problems that blow up cannot be hidden. Or as Münchau wrote:
Regarding the Euro those mistakes could be covered for a time with rescue packages and accounting tricks. That's not possible with human beings that escape a regime.
Staying the course in the Euro crisis has been popular as long as it didn't reach these shores. Thus the illusion that it was 'solved' has been maintained. But in the refugee crisis it's very much reaching these shores and it's not letting up. Merkel was able to temporarily pull the illusion trick with her party delegates in December - the suggestion being that the current situation was all part of a plan and wanted. But that illusion has pretty much evaporated.

Trying the impossible feat of maintaining a morally 'clean slate' while getting a grip on the refugee crisis, they will simply opt for Macedonia to do the dirty work for them. This government can then proceed to pat themselves on their shoulders. Quite ironic: Macedonia -not even an EU member- now the Schengen frontier country.

Expansionist policy - it's not coming, due to the obsession with a balanced budget. Interestingly enough, die Linke is surprisingly divided when it comes to refugees. Lots of Pegida/AfD potential within East German Linke voters. And then there are people like Lafontaine who argue for limiting refugee intake so that those whore are taken in can be properly be taken care of.

SPD, who cares what they think or do? They are losers - at most they're good for being junior coalition partners. They have their own internal rumblings regarding the refugees because local SPD officials who actually have to deal with the problems are pushing the national party to do something/anything to limit the flow.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sat Jan 23rd, 2016 at 04:30:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Haven't seen this one in quite a while...



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 04:45:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK needs a LABOUR IS DOOMED!!!!11!!!™

I might put something together when I have a moment. (Or I might not.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 04:51:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about a UK is DOOMED after Brexit - especially if the EU refuses to play ball on a common trade area and Scotland and N. Ireland go their own way.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 04:57:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Political prognoses for 2016:

China: I predict a slower growth(6%) and loss of legitimacy for the communist party as further details of corruption during the boom years come to light, especially regarding finance. There will be a potential for a banking crisis but the party will manage it.

Middle east: I predict a Syrian peace deal decentralising power in the country, guaranteeing a semi-autonomous alawite region near the coast backed by Russia, Iran and Hisbollah and Sunni state backed by the Gulf, Turkey and the West who will be in a drawn out guerilla war with ISIS. The Kurdsih region will get some token recognition but remain with sunni majority region and not take up arms.

Euro economy: Very low growth and continuing high unemployment. No type of investment politics is forthcoming and the effects of neglecting of vital investments in infrastructure in favor of austerity should be kicking in. Increased pressure on goverment budgets from debt, unemployment and refugee crisis will lead to further cuts depressing aggregate demand but no crisis because of ECB guarantees.

Euro politics: Continued growth of nationalist/populist parties. Conservative and liberal-conservative parties will take a "hard line" on immigration to triangulate the far right. On the left social democrats will continue to lose ground to the newer left parties but will not triangulate them for fear of not being good europeans.
No new elections in Sweden despite the government losing ground in polls as the right does not want to deal with the mess they have created.

American politics: Trump wins primary amid vicious infighting in the republican party. This splits the republicans in congress and senate with a number of them backing a consensus budget with democrats. Hillary unconvincingly wins the election against Trump but democrats fail to garner a democratic majority in the houses.

by chumchu on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 07:41:29 AM EST
That's good food for thought.

China. I think the problem for the communist party is that, not only does it not understand unregulated finance markets, but due to nature of the corruption within the party, the very things that it needs to regulate are the things that absolutely will not be regulated.

They are not just following the West in pushing on string with the incorrect mechanisms to fix the symptoms of the problem, but they are relying on the excesses the problems create to bail them out of the problems they think they need to solve

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 08:40:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With or without Mao, the Chinese Communist Party resembles more a stable (so far) imperial dynasty than a Marxist project. The novelty is in institutional emperor rather than a person.

Even Mao did not have absolute power. He lost the state post of PRC president in 1959 after the fiasco of the Great Leap Forward. His agriculture collectivization drive was downscaled (and quickly reversed after his death). The Cultural Revolution only increased elitism of the Party bureaucracy (quite contrary to Mao's intentions). Two other significant leaders died in 1976, one of them with more dramatic sentiment. Within two years, Deng Xiaoping and the reformists took over, rapidly leading to far-reaching market-economy reforms.

So far the Communists Party can demonstrate good performance in improving general welfare. Basically, it is enjoying the authority of the Mandate of Heaven. I would not bet that they do not understand financial markets; setting up AIIB is not a child's game. From the 7-9 imperial cycles of the Chinese history, they may also know inevitability of crises, downsides of success, environmental oveshoots. In a sense, China knew Keynesian economics and backlashes before Christ.

by das monde on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 09:53:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Middle East.
Syria is a mess where I'm not sure anyone yet knows what a resolution looks like. yours is as good as any but I can see Iran and Turkey objecting to it, which is as good as a veto.

Nobody, but nobody out there is gonna recognise the Kurds as anything other than a problem. The problem for everybody right now is that the Iraqi kurds have won contnrol of most of their area in N Iraq, including kirkuk. They are getting a lot of money for the oil they send to Turkey (enjoy that irony while you can) and seem to realise that they will need to defend their separatism in the post-ISIS world.

If you want the next fracture point, Kiruk is it. Iraq, Turkey and Iran will unite to wipe a kurdish state from the map. I'm not convinced they can do it.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 08:50:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually think that Turkey could more or less live with a de facto partition of Syria into an Alawite coastal area and a Sunni hinterland. Iran will object, but Iran can't unilaterally block it.

Where I differ is that the hick heartland isn't going to be a long, drawn-out fight between its backers and Daesh/Nusra. Because the Turks support Daesh and the Gulf support Nusra, and they all hate the Kurds and Alawites (for slightly different reasons, but sadly not different enough to drive a wedge into their coalition).

My prediction would be that the Syrian hinterland is going to turn into the same sort of festering failed state as Kosova, East Ukraine, and Iraq, and this will serve much the same function to the Turks as the Americans, Russians, and Iranians, respectively, gain from the other three examples listed.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 12:36:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yea, syria has no solution in sight. Any idea could come true and so could our bad dreams

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 01:04:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US
Although most seem to think that Hillary has everything sewn up because of her lead in the super delegates I've been reading around and wonder if her support is broad but shallow. It seems that she's sunk a lot of money into Iowa, which she is currently barely winning. But her organisation in the states running into super tuesday is nowhere near as locked down as many imagine.

Nor can she rely on Bill bringing the black vote in, he alienated many with some awful quotes about Obama during the 2008 primary season and many will still question the entitlement the Clintons exude on this issue. that's not to say Sanders can expect it either, but after his initial wobbles over BlackLivesMatter, hes been busy building bridges tht the media have over looked.

Sanders may still not be able to overcome the institutional advantages Hillary has, but I think its gonna be a lot closer than we imagine.

If Sanders wins the nomination, he'll take both houses for the democrats

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 08:59:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We are agreed that the Dem nomination race could be close, but my prediction would be the reverse.  If Sanders wins the nomination, I fear a Republican clean sweep of all the institutions of state and a huge set-back for civil rights and civil liberties in general.  I sincerely hope I m wrong and that you are right.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 09:05:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nationally Clinton still has a commanding 16% lead.   Once out of Iowa and New Hampshire Sander's support drops significantly.  In South Carolina Clinton leads 62% to 38%, Florida 62% to 26%, North Carolina 60% to 25%.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 10:33:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That 26% 'commanding lead' COULD turn out to be largely the consequence of the inability of pollsters to sample with sufficient accuracy the intentions of the under 40 age group, due in large part to so many only being accessible via cell phones. We might well be forced to reevaluate after Iowa and New Hampshire. And Bernie is starting to get passionate support from a significant number of high profile blacks in the south.

If Sanders starts to open a big lead over Clinton AND Trump my concern about assassination attempts would rise. But sponsors of such an action ought to be concerned about extra-legal reprisals and head to their bunkers in the event of a successful attempt. It could become open season on billionaires by lone individuals and small, isolated groups motivated by rage, frustration and despair with the existing system, many of whom might be prepared to sacrifice their lives to accomplish their objectives. I somehow doubt that Fox will run a series based on this scenario.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jan 30th, 2016 at 12:40:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It could but after this many months of polling I think not.  Clinton's lead with women and blacks is too big for Sanders to overcome.  

But notice IF Sander's claim to be starting a political movement isn't bullshit his presidential campaign could be the first major step since the 1910s to creating a mass movement American Left.  Which is more important - at this stage, right now, in 2016 - than electing him President without the political allies in Congress needed to get anything done.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jan 30th, 2016 at 01:44:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even WITH a Democratic majority House Sanders could not likely enact a large number of his proposals, but:
  1. There is a lot he can do administratively, especially wrt prosecuting financial crimes;
  2. He could prevent the most egregious nonsense from becoming law;
  3. He could use the presidency and his election campaign apparatus to agitate for more progressive elected officials at all levels;
  4. He could use the pulpit of the presidency to educate the US electorate about the realities of governmental capture and the realities of the available economic policy options, thereby moving the Overton Window and the whole county left; and, very importantly,
  5. He could help the emerging majorities of people with more modern views realize they are or are becoming the majority and what they have to do to keep that trend continuing and accelerating.

A Sanders Presidency in 2016, even if he got NOTHING through Congress, would be a vast improvement over Hillary, not to mention Trump, Cruz, Rubio or Bush. Plus, we do not know when the next Bernie might come along or if Elizabeth Warren will drink from that cup or let it pass from her.
 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jan 30th, 2016 at 03:08:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If he gets the nomination, whom do you think he might choose as VP?
Great comment, BTW.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2016 at 03:07:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know. Elizabeth Warren would be ideal from my point of view and could offer a strong successor for Bernie who would carry on and expand his efforts. But he could chose a black or latinl candidate or a progressive white southerner or westerner. It would need to be someone who wouldn't back down to Wall Street either.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2016 at 08:33:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the issues Booman has with Sanders is that no one knows what kind of people would populate his administration - unlike Obama in 2008, when people knew who his key advisors and likely appointees where going to be.  By contrast he paints Sanders as something of a lone wolf without many friends/collaborators  in either the Democratic or any establishment. He therefore sees Sanders as incapable of forming the kind of winning coalition that propelled Obama to power. He fears a McGovern style outcome where Democrats are obliterated at all levels of Government, and is therefore prepared to "hold his nose" and support a Hillary candidature without any great enthusiasm.

On the other hand, Republicans have been running a base mobilization strategy since Reagan, and have done quite well even with a shrinking base. If Democrats could achieve a similar level of mobilisation with Sanders/Warren, then they should win.  But would Latinos, African Americans, and the great unwashed outside the North east vote for such a ticket?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Feb 1st, 2016 at 12:31:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Come'on! Booman should look at Sander's record in the US Senate. He has one of the longest lists of legislative accomplishments of any sitting Senator, and most of it has been, of necessity, accomplished with Republican co-sponsors. He even gets character references from conservatives such as James Inohofe. Sanders appeals to the Tea Party base on issues such as corporate accountability and Wall Street overreach. He IS and effective counter to Trump, and, possibly, even Cruz.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2016 at 12:03:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems as though my fingers cant stop from adding a 'd' to an.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2016 at 12:05:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And, glad you liked it.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2016 at 11:54:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did... i don't recommend hardly anymore because I have switched to an android tablet, with no eurotrib ff extension any more.
I saw a recent interview with Liz and Bill Moyers, and she is very different than even a year ago. Much more confident, charismatic, gone is the librarian vibe.
I think she's the perfect VP for him, and would get a lot of voters who would have vote HC for gebder reasons.
Plus she can beef up Bernie's command of macro! ☺

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2016 at 10:30:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"If Sanders wins the nomination, he'll take both houses for the democrats "

If this IF ever happens, I'm back in the normal universe and out of the Bizarro Universe started with Reagan.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 02:23:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am fearful that the Dems will do a lot not to win the presidential election, reminiscent to 2000 and 2004. Hillary would definitely be capable of that.
by das monde on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 12:18:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting set of predictions - probably a little safer than my lot.  Basically you seem to expect the world to tread water with no great economic recovery or political resolution of current conflicts.  I was trying to be a little more optimistic at least on some fronts to counter at least a little of the current gloom amongst progressives, but as always, there is a risk of wishful thinking clouding one's analyses.  On balance, one probably couldn't go far wrong if one predicted a continuation of current stagnant trends with minor eruptions of change in a few places...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 08:59:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Predicting the future is hard =), but I hope I'm not wrong on all counts.

My background is mainly in history. From my point of view a single year is a short period of time where I would expect mostly continuity. I see the exercise as showing your Bayesian priors with the highest probability rather than making unique predictions. I try to make my predictions be worthwhile by being detailed instead.

Regarding the Kurds: what I mean is they will get something that can be spinned as a victory but is so practically worthless that it is acceptable to Turkey. They will grumble but bide their time. I see this as a possible "roadmap to peace"-moment for Obama to attempt to bolster his legacy.

Regarding a failed state: I see Syria becoming a failed state on the level of Iraq but not Somalia, with the Alawites region holding together better (like the Kurds in Iraq) than the sunni. The sunni puppet statelet will neither have enough legitimacy nor provide sufficient security and efficiency to stop the religous fundamentalists from recruiting.

by chumchu on Sun Jan 24th, 2016 at 09:50:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would the Sunni puppet statelet want to stop the fundies from recruiting? As it looks now, it will be run by the fundies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 03:29:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey's behavior towards ISIS is a good guide. They are using it to counter Assad and gain influence in Syria. They allowed them to use their territory and gave them some support but when the push back came they cut their support. I do not think that they are under the illusion that they control it.

If there is a Sunni statelet in the peace deal it will not be led by ISIS or Al-Nusra as that is unacceptable to the West. These groups will not put down their weapons, which means that they will pose a grave danger to the sovereignty and legitimacy of that statelet. I have low expectations for the competence of such a statelet but Al-Nusra and ISIS will probably be even less popular when not in a state of war.

by chumchu on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 05:50:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Daesh or Nusra (or possibly both, by partition) will be in power in East Syria simply because they are the only mobile fighting force. Everything else in the "Free" Syrian Army is street gangs protecting their own turf but unwilling to project power beyond their own neighborhood (or Kurds, who have absolutely zero interest in spending blood and treasure trying to rule Sunni Arab Syria).

I think the US will end up cutting a deal with Nusra, where the US accepts the existence of a Nusra dominated pseudo-state and helps them wipe out Daesh, in exchange for restricting the scope of their jihad to Caliphate In One Country.

Of course, they will not be called Nusra; they will rebrand themselves as the Islamic Republic of Syria, or the Syrian Islamic Republic, or somesuch. And then the US will pretend to believe that they are Totally Not Nusra, the same way the US was willing to believe that the FSA was Totally Not Nusra. In fact, they might even rebrand as the second coming of the FSA.

And then everyone goes home happy, except for Iran and the people living in the new republic of East Syria, and neither group matters to the powers that be.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 02:04:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree with the most of the militias being mainly defenders of their own turf. that is not a walk over for ISISor NUSRA. In terms of fighting capability I would rate them the lowest of the mobile forces, after Hizbollah, the Syrian Army and YPG/J.

You say that a festering Syria might be in the interest of the Erdogan regime but remember that Erdogan has married into the Barzani clan. They are in power in parts of Iraqi Kurdistan. A festering Syria will border them and potentially disrupt the intense trade between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey. A victory in Syria might also boost Erdogans popularity

by chumchu on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 05:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't say it was in Erdogan's interests, I said it was a solution acceptable to Turkey's interests.

I agree with you on where Daesh stands in the pecking order of actual and pretend armies in Syria, but I think you give street gangs too much credit.

Nusra I'm not so sure about, they gave the Syrian Arab Army a run for its money even when it still had partial air cover, which tells me that they are at least half-decent light infantry. Not to Hezbollah or YPG standards, by any stretch of the imagination, but probably a good deal better than Daesh.

And that's the point: They don't need to beat Hezbollah, or YPG, or anybody else who is actually competent. Because none of the competent factions in the region want to go into the Sunni Arab hinterland. They only need to beat Daesh and some street gangs that aren't even to Hamas' level of organization, equipment, and experience.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 01:57:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As an afterthought, Turkey doesn't actually need to control the East Syrian regime. East Syria only shares borders with people who are Turkey's enemies (Kurds, Alawites, Hezbollah), or whom Turkey has no real reason to care about (Israel, Jordan). Having a festering failed state there is a perfectly acceptable halfway house if they cannot have a fully functional client.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 02:09:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Kurdish state of Rojava is interesting.  Not only for local reasons but also for the fact the International community seems determined to ignore it.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 10:37:45 AM EST
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probably ignoring it cos they don't expect it to survive any Syrian peace deal

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 25th, 2016 at 01:34:41 PM EST
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Maybe they don't know which side we should be on.
Several people have been killed in rare clashes between Assyrian Christians and Kurds in Syria's al-Hasakah province, Al Jazeera has learnt.

The province in the northeast of the country is divided and in parts controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Kurds and Assyrians.

Assyrian and Kurdish sources said there were casualties among fighters in the battle between the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and Assyrians in the city of Qamishli on Tuesday.

"The city of Qamishli is controlled by Assyrians, but surrounded by Kurdish fighters. The Assyrians were trying to set up checkpoints and were fired at by the Kurds," Afram Yakoub, the chairman of the Assyrian Federation of Sweden, which monitors news related to Assyrians across the region, told Al Jazeera.

Who should we bomb?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 06:46:41 AM EST
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I imagine that "Kill them all, let God sort out his own" would be the preferred, if unspoken, option of the Great Powers involved

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 09:53:48 AM EST
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chumchu:
Middle east: I predict a Syrian peace deal decentralising power in the country, guaranteeing a semi-autonomous alawite region near the coast backed by Russia, Iran and Hisbollah and Sunni state backed by the Gulf, Turkey and the West who will be in a drawn out guerilla war with ISIS. The Kurdsih region will get some token recognition but remain with sunni majority region and not take up arms.

I don't think there will be a peace deal in 2016. Or rather I think there might be a deal, but there will not be peace. I mainly think so because the US appears (per Seymour Hersh) to have CIA supporting the rebels (including ISIS) while Pentagon both bombs ISIS and supplies intelligence to the Russian and Syrian governments. I think this reflects that since the FSAs collapse in 2013 there is no win option for the US in Syria. Keeping the war going postpones realising the inevitable loss.

Syrias best chance for peace in 2016 is that the ongoing Syrian government advance succeeds with Russian aid. Then there will be the victors peace (with all the cruelty that entails).

The Kurdish parts might get home rule. Right now they are allied with the Syrian government while allowing the construction of Russian and US airbases. They may end up useful to either or both and then get a status similar to the Kurdish areas in northern Iraq. Establishing which areas are Kurdish will probably include running of or killing other gorups that happens to live there.

by fjallstrom on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 11:25:14 AM EST
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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 01:28:05 AM EST
A non-zero chance that some elections may not take place at all...
by das monde on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 01:42:14 AM EST
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