“A bomb with a long fuse has been lit,”
said Sylvie Guillaume, a French MEP supportive of abortion rights and LGBT rights, who recently stepped down as vice chair of the largest center-left bloc in the European Union’s parliament. “We don’t know what’s going to happen.” [more inside]
The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States
); press coverage
) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change
—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts
of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences
for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
Not sure who to vote for in this month's European Parliament elections? Find the party that best represents you at MyVote2014.eu
. While you're there, play the game
and find out how much you really
know about EU politics.
Tadeusz Mazowiecki has died.
The first prime minister
after the fall of communist regime in Poland was later an UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Bosnia and resigned this post in protest over the failure of international community to prevent the Srebrenica massacre
. [more inside]
"[Peer Steinbrück, the chancellor-candidate] is a good man, with quite a bold programme for ‘social justice’.
Tax increases for the better-off, a proper minimum wage, dual citizenship for immigrants, less elbowing individualism and more solidarity in a society where das Wir entscheidet – ‘it’s the we that counts.’ The German public, surprisingly, mostly agree that increasing taxes is a sound idea. What they resent is that the idea comes from the SPD. In the same way, the Augsburg programme is widely thought to make sense, but the voters don’t fancy Peer Steinbrück. They are pissed off with Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, but reluctant to let go of Mutti’s hand. In short, the public are in one of those sullen, unreasonable moods which make politicians despair." The LRB reports from Germany. [via
After protests by members and MPs of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn and religious groups, the Athens premiere of the play Corpus Christi was cancelled
. A journalist trying to document the protests was reportedly beaten while the police stood by. "A well-known Golden Dawn MP follows me. He punches me twice in the face and knocks me to the ground. While on the ground, I lose my glasses. The Golden Dawn MP kicks me. The police are just two steps away but turn their back"
. Full translation of the tweets
. MP Christos Pappas was later charged
for intervening in officers’ attempts to detain a protester. The incident was captured on video, as well as MP Ilias Panayiotaros
abusing the actors in a homophobic and racist manner (translation NSFW
). [more inside]
Financial Markets, Politics and the New Reality
: "Louis M. Bacon is the head of Moore Capital Management, one of the largest and most influential hedge funds in the world. Last week, he announced that he was returning one quarter of his largest fund, about $2 billion, to his investors, [saying] it is impossible to make money when there is heavy political involvement, because political involvement introduces unpredictability in the market… Adam Smith and David Ricardo, who modern investors so admire, [never] used the term "economics" by itself, but only in conjunction with politics; they called it political economy… The investors' problem is that they mistake the period between 1991 and 2008 as the norm and keep waiting for it to return."
The Big Three of EU Foreign Policy
: Stefan Lehne on the contrasting roles of Germany, France and the UK.
Rethinking the Idea of 'Christian Europe'. Kenan Malik's
essay is awarded 3 Quarks Daily's
Top Quark for politics & social science by judge Stephen M. Walt
: "Soldiers in today’s culture wars believe 'European civilization' rests on a set of unchanging principles that are perennially under siege—from godless communism, secular humanism, and most recently, radical Islam. For many of these zealots, what makes the 'West' unique are its Judeo-Christian roots. In this calm and elegantly-written reflection on the past two millenia, Malik shows that Christianity is only one of the many sources of 'Western' culture, and that many of the ideas we now think of as 'bedrock' values were in fact borrowed from other cultures. This essay is a potent antidote to those who believe a 'clash of civilizations' is inevitable—if not already underway—and the moral in Malik’s account could not be clearer. Openness to outside influences has been the true source of European prominence; erecting ramparts against others will impoverish and endanger us all."
"The political elite have actually no interest in explaining to the people that important decisions are made in Strasbourg; they are only afraid of losing their own power." Jürgen Habermas on the crisis of the European project and how it could be overcome
The show Empire
on Al Jazeera collects experts on various subjects and holds a roundtable discussion. This week was Obama 2.0
, on the President's first two years, with focus on foreign policy. Guests this week are Ralph Nader
, Roger Hodge
, Stefan Halper
, and As'ad Abu Khalil
. Earlier weeks include: [more inside]
French general strike
is going on. It's against a proposal by the French government to raise the normal retirement age for public pensions from 65 to 67 and early reduced pensions from age 60 to 62. All society is concerned. Voilà
the manifestations of high-school students, so damn chic
The European map is outdated and illogical. Here's how it should look.
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year
, NATO may lose in Afghanistan
, the UK gets a regime change
, China needs to chill
, India's factories will overtake its farms
, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum
, the stimulus will need an exit strategy
, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2"
, African football
will unite Korea
, conflict over natural resources will grow
, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled
, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable)
, technology will grow ever more ubiquitous
, we'll all charge our phones via USB
, MBAs will be uncool
, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest
, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world
. And so the Tens
The Economist: The World in 2010
. [more inside]
In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges
, will have to learn to say "No we can't"
, Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield
, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye
, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees
, we will judge our commitment to sustainability
, scientists should research the causes of religion
, we will all be potential online paparazzi
, English will have more words than any other language
(but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops
, Iran will continue its nuclear quest
while diplomacy lies in shambles
, the sea floor is the new frontier
, we should rethink aging
, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project
-- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it
-- though it has some unfinished business to attend to
, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom
.The Economist: The World in 2009
. [more inside]
Bush and Aznar pre-Iraq Invasion--
Transcript of their private conversations in Crawford, Feb 22, 2003: "Quedan dos semanas. En dos semanas estaremos militarmente listos. Estaremos en Bagdad a finales de marzo", le dijo a Aznar.
("2 weeks. In 2 weeks we will be ready militarily. We'll be in Baghdad by the end of March", he told Aznar.) Consider this historical documentation. Full transcript here
, and audio clips in first link. [more inside]
Ukraine is divided on the issue of Russian:
The Russian speaking population from the eastern part of the country has increasingly attempted to make Russian into an official language only, provoking bitter opposition from the Ukranian speaking majority in the western part. [More inside]
When Iranian paper Hamshahri (in Persian) launched a contest for Holocaust cartoons
, an Israeli group responded in turn
with a contest of their own
for cartoons that make fun of Jews
. Too bad it closed yesterday, or the Dutch branch
of the AEL could submit theirs
. (WARNING: some of the linked content may be offensive to readers' ethnicities, cultures, religions, or tastes.)
THE EVOLUTION OF GLOBAL POLITICS
. University of Washington Professor George Modelski is credited with developing the concept of world leadership. There have been five world leaders: Portugal, the Netherlands, Great Britain I, Great Britain II, and currently the USA. Some scholars in political science and history are pointing towards U.S. decline and a takeover by a United States of Europe...
Red State/Blue state France
. Les résultats département par département
. Remarkable that the U.S. isn't the only country that's split down the geographic middle. No translation, but the picture speaks for itself.
CIA Predicts European Union Will Break Up Within 15 Years.
With all the attention focused on Iraq, this new CIA report seems to have slipped under the radar. Europe's dismal economic prospects and the continent's unfavorable demographics could have dire consequences for the EU, result in the dissolution of NATO and generally @#$?! up every post World War II/Cold War alliance that has been formed over the last half-century. Not that the CIA has ever been wrong...
New Power for 'Old Europe'
"Since the fall of the Berlin wall, the European Union has been steadily transforming itself from a facilitator of trade to a sophisticated geopolitical power with the teeth to back up its policies... Over the past decade, EU member states have ceded governing and enforcement authority to Brussels in areas ranging from environmental regulation to food safety, accounting standards, telecommunications policy and oversight of corporate mergers."
The World's Most Dangerous Ideas
: U.S. and European goals on most issues are quite similar. Both want a peaceful world free from terror, with open trade, growing freedom, and civilized codes of conduct. A Europe that charts its own course just to mark its differences from the United States threatens to fracture global efforts—whether on trade, proliferation, or the Middle East. Europe is too disunited to achieve its goals without the United States; it can only ensure that America’s plans don’t succeed. The result will be a world that muddles along, with the constant danger that unattended problems will flare up disastrously. Instead of win-win, it will be lose-lose—for Europe, for the United States, and for the world.
So this is the new European world.
OK basically there is a new superpower in the world and damned if I can find anyone in my county seems to know or care..... but we're all about one mans untimely grisly death. Compare the world to the US
I think this may be a good indicator of the rifts that exist between us and the rest of humanity...
Euro software patent action.
How can software patents
become a boon, rather than a bane?
to have your say!
Act now rather than snarking later!Friday flash bonus: Hey! Hey! 16k
Europe Is Deeply In Love With John Kerry. How Will America React?
He's liberal but not an outright socialist; he has Polish
origins and an Irish surname; he's better connected to the British Royal Family
than that embarrassing proto-prole Bush; he was educated in Switzerland; he speaks French beautifully and, above all, he's married to a spirited Portuguese woman
who watches his every step... [More inside.
Trusting The Redcoats:
How many independent-minded Americans actually rely on the BBC (specially the World Service
) for accurate coverage of American politics? Not to mention The Guardian
. Is it a strictly an elitist, liberal/left-wing phenomenon? What does it mean? What does it say about better-informed liberal newspapers and media of the U.S.? If so, why aren't like-minded Europeans just as cosmopolitan and, say, pay the same attention to news sources like The New York Times, NPR and others, rather than stolidly sticking to their own national staples?
Joshka Fischer Said What? That The U.S. Needs Another Boston Tea Party?
Hidden in the depths of this very interesting article by Timothy Garton-Ash
, on Europe's misplaced anti-Americanism, is a very interesting revelation from Germany's Green Party-carrying Foreign Minister. To what extent are relations between the pro-American and the anti-American Europe and the United States - the so-called "Old and New Europe" - based on misperceptions? Is Europe, like the Middle East and, well, the whole wide world, too complex for the current U.S. administration to understand? Is it really possible for American foreign to swerve round France and Germany? [Fwiw, my two centimes is that it is.
"They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet."
Is it wise for France to make opposition to war against Saddam such a central tenet of their foreign policy? Opposing the war may be politically sound today, but this seems a bit heavy-handed, and perhaps short-sighted. Is "European solidarity" just a code phrase for "France and Germany get to call the shots"?
NeoConservatism in a Nutshell!
Lately I've been researching the NeoConservative movement and stumbled upon this European website which is by far the best overview I have encountered.
Be sure to read the end called The Dangers for Europe. Here is a little tidbit - "What ought to be of concern to Europeans is the fact that Americans are being indoctinated into beliefs which many Europeans (particularly those who are old enough to remember the 1920's and 1930's) would characterise as extremely dangerous.... A country considers itself at war against an ill-defined foreign enemy who threaten its way of life. To protect itself against this enemy, civil liberties are abrogated, arrest and detention without trial are introduced and the state creates a secret police which can spy on citizens and foreigners alike. The state allies itself with big business to protect its way of life and promote national security. Public opinion is manipulated so that dissent from the "national purpose" becomes socially unacceptable.
Those are the conditions which Europeans will recognise as the precursors of fascism. "
Decoding Anti-Europeanism In America:
Although European anti-Americanism focuses on one country, with one government and one foreign policy (the U.S.), growing American (i.e. U.S.) anti-Europeanism seems to conflate dozens of separate and disparate countries, governments and foreign policies into one abstract entity, "Europe", which doesn't really exist as such. Or exists just as much as "America", North and South, Central and Carribean does. So what the hell is up? What terrible confusion of categories is clogging up Western political communications? [More inside.
The EU decides to expand
and I am obviously looking forward to reading about and discussing this event when i log in on metafilter this morning, only to find that this story has not been posted. This is probably one of the most important changes in the European political landscape since the Wall came down more than ten yeas ago and I must say I am a little disappointed with you all that it was not linked and discussed last night. Shape up metafilter!
Have the anti-Euro lobby shot themselves in the foot?
A video promoting opposition to the UK joing the Euro has been critisized for including a spoof of Hitler praising the currency. It's attracted publicity for the campaign, all right, but has it unmasked the "No" campaign as anti-Europe "little Englanders"? (Guardian link)
Australia and Europe incensed over U.S. lies on free trade
Bush: "The final provisions of the farm Bill are also consistent with America's international trade obligations, which will strengthen our ability to open foreign markets for American farm products".
In other words, free trade good when we sell to you, bad when you sell to us.
Norway Briefly Lead By Gay Prime Minister
whilst Egyptian Human Rights Groups Cannot Defend Gays
Compare and contrast: this cannot be seen simply as another East/West culture clash, when we know that there are a variety of views in the 'West' about gay 'rights', and indeed within Egypt itself. However, once achieved for homosexuals in western Europe (note the support of the French President
), is the march to progressive equal rights going to have any effect on friendly countries elsewhere in the world? What's the situation like in your neck of the woods? (hint: we've done Alabama...)
Euro-court outlaws criticism of EU,
and thus demonstrates what inevitably will happen when most European governments have communists(or "former communists") on board. PS: beware that any reply to this tread could be seen upon as additional critisism against the Holy Union...
All across Europe - in Britain,
France, Belgium and the Netherlands
- the people are rising up! Protesting! Blockading! Saying that the people united will never be defeated! Democracy is thriving! Why is this not being celebrated at Indymedia?
Could it be because the people are rising up against left-wing policies?