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Ghost Dog

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Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 15,319

About Me

Brit gone native. Cooperative member. Ecology. Cartography. Programming. Music production.

Journal Archives

The PP wins the Spanish election, but who will help it into government?

The Popular Party (PP) has achieved a clear victory in the Sunday elections, improving its results even in traditional Socialist strongholds like Andalusia.

But the fact that the conservatives fell short of the 176 seats required for a parliamentary majority, in a highly polarized environment that is not conducive to dealmaking, means that governing coalitions will be hard to come by...

... Against all forecasts, the Socialist Party (PSOE) has managed to hold on to its second spot although it loses five seats (85 against 90), while the leftist alliance of Unidos Podemos has lost a million votes even if it gained two seats from December (71 against 69).

The biggest loser of the night was Ciudadanos, which dropped from 40 to 32 seats after voters heeded the message of fear issued by acting prime minister Mariano Rajoy, who said moderate voters had to band together to stop Podemos from reaching government...

http://elpais.com/elpais/2016/06/27/inenglish/1467012828_937419.html

Also, and crucially, it is the EU Council, consisting of

the democratically- elected leaders of the member states, that tells the EU Commission what to do (and what not). On some issues, the EU Parliament can also give instructions to the Commission. The bureaucracy executes those instructions. If, at the Council level, UK leaders have been relatively politically ineffective, they have only themselves to blame.

Encyclopedia Britannica:

Neoliberalism
Political and social science
Written by Nicola Smith
Last Updated 3-23-2016

neoliberalism, ideology and policy model that emphasizes the value of free market competition.
Although there is considerable debate as to the defining features of neoliberal thought and practice, it is most commonly associated with laissez-faire economics. In particular, neoliberalism is often characterized in terms of its belief in sustained economic growth as the means to achieve human progress, its confidence in free markets as the most-efficient allocation of resources, its emphasis on minimal state intervention in economic and social affairs, and its commitment to the freedom of trade and capital...

http://global.britannica.com/topic/neoliberalism

Laissez-faire
Economics
Written by The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica

laissez-faire, (French: “allow to do”), policy of minimum governmental interference in the economic affairs of individuals and society...

... Laissez-faire was a political as well as an economic doctrine. The pervading theory of the 19th century was that the individual, pursuing his own desired ends, would thereby achieve the best results for the society of which he was a part. The function of the state was to maintain order and security and to avoid interference with the initiative of the individual in pursuit of his own desired goals. But laissez-faire advocates nonetheless argued that government had an essential role in enforcing contracts as well as ensuring civil order.

The philosophy’s popularity reached its peak around 1870. In the late 19th century the acute changes caused by industrial growth and the adoption of mass-production techniques proved the laissez-faire doctrine insufficient as a guiding philosophy...

http://global.britannica.com/topic/laissez-faire

Ah, Belloc. Apposite.



Suggestion: The margin's too slim. Referendum non-binding. Reset. Demand more honesty from Media Corps. Repeat referendum if necessary. General election if necessary. Reform UK; EU also, from within.

Spanish model for new politics UK needs (Owen Jones)

There are three philosophies at play right now. The first blames migrants and people fleeing violence and poverty for the multiple problems afflicting European society, from the lack of secure jobs and houses to stagnating living standards to public services ravaged by cuts. The second seeks to build a Europe with shrivelled social protections, run ever more in the interest of major corporations, as exemplified by the notorious but embattled Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership. These two visions are far from mutually exclusive; they are frequently allied, or feed off each other. The third vision challenges them both: holding the powerful interests responsible for Europe’s crisis to account, and aspiring to a democratised Europe that puts people before the needs of profit.

I left Britain’s poisonous referendum campaign for a few days to travel across northern Spain with Unidos Podemos. It didn’t feel so much like entering another country as passing into a parallel universe. Spain shows there is nothing inevitable about people blaming migrants, rather than the people in charge, for their problems. And when it comes to problems, Spain is not lacking. A fifth of its workforce is unemployed, and nearly half of its young people are without work. Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards have been evicted from their homes. Child poverty has risen. Public services have been slashed. Yet in the working-class town of Torrelavega a crowd roared with approval when told the problems facing Europeans are caused not by foreigners but by bankers, tax-dodgers and poverty-paying bosses.

There is no mass anti-immigration party contesting Spain’s elections. Mainstream parties are not trying to outdo each other with anti-immigration vitriol. It is not as though there is a lack of people entering the country: Spain experienced a sixfold increase in migrants in the 2000s. Immigration is simply not the prism through which people understand their problems...

... Europe has now endured years of cuts, regressive tax hikes and stagnating or falling living standards. The xenophobic right has feasted on the despair and grievances that have resulted. The antidote is movements such as Podemos: those that redirect anger at the correct targets, and propose an alternative Europe that doesn’t breed insecurity...
Our own government has led the attempts to drive the EU ever more down the road of servility to the interests of the market – by vetoing EU action to prevent Chinese steel-dumping, for example, and being the biggest cheerleader for TTIP. That direction of travel makes the work of movements such as Podemos even more vital...

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/22/politics-spain-podemos-radical-europe-uk

Spain Unites to Attack ‘Irresponsible’ Brexit Ballot

Spanish politicians from across the political spectrum condemned David Cameron’s decision to jeopardize Britain’s membership of the European Union with a referendum they said was engineered to address internal problems in the governing Conservative Party...

... Spaniards vote three days after the U.K. referendum with party leaders trying to find a way out of the political impasse that followed December’s inconclusive ballot. The rising force ahead of the election is anti-establishment party Podemos, which is set to displace the Socialists in second place by appealing to voters shut out of the labor market by the economic crisis or angered by an epidemic of corruption.

Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez, who’s filmed a video urging British Labour supporters living in Spain to vote for “Remain,” and Albert Rivera, the head of liberal party Ciudadanos, both joined Guindos in criticizing Cameron.

“The European right, and in particular the British right, is responsible for getting us into this referendum,” Sanchez said in an interview with state-owned radio RNE. “They could have resolved it with an internal debate and a vote, without going to the national level. The consequences of this could be global in scale.”...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-21/spain-unites-to-attack-cameron-s-irresponsible-brexit-ballot

... As Spain’s political class tries to navigate the shift from an old regime that generated mass unemployment and widespread corruption, the 61-year-old premier is increasingly seen as an obstacle. Officials from Ciudadanos have floated a list of alternative candidates from the PP they could support, while party chief Albert Rivera, 36, and his Socialist counterpart Pedro Sanchez both say that Rajoy’s failure to clear up allegations about personal corruption disqualify him from leading the renewal Spain needs...

... The advance of Podemos is the major shift since December and that’s pushing the other three parties together.

Whatever the differences of emphasis between the mainstream parties’ proposals, they are outweighed by their concerns about Podemos’s plans to hike taxes on those earning over 60,000 euros ($68,000), unleash a wave of public investment to put Spaniards back to work and hand Catalans a vote on independence.

The other three parties share similar views on how to clean up the political system, fix the flaws in the economy and hold the line against Catalan separatists. Indeed, the Socialists and Ciudadanos signed a joint policy program in February as they tried to form a majority after the last election...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-21/spain-s-grand-compromise-emerging-with-just-one-sticking-point

Rome elects its first female mayor

... Virginia Raggi, the Five Star Movement’s (M5S) candidate, won 67 per cent of the vote in the run-off ballot with the Democratic party’s Roberto Giachetti...

... The win by the M5S marks a direct challenge to the Democratic prime minister, Matteo Renzi, and reflects the electorate’s seething discontent with mainstream political parties...

... Battling corruption has been one of Raggi’s main campaign promises, tapping into public anger about the “mafia capitale” scandal, in which it emerged that city hall officials were involved in stealing millions from the state. Such criminality has contributed to the dire state of Rome’s public services, including rubbish collection and public transport, which are the top two complaints of residents...

... But the biggest shock came in the traditional centre-left stronghold Turin, where the incumbent Piero Fassino was trailing the M5S candidate Chiara Appendino, who had 50% to 54% of the vote...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/19/rome-likely-to-have-elected-its-first-female-mayor


Italy, with M5S, starting to follow a similar course to Spain, with United Podemos mayors in Madrid, Barcelona, Cadiz... and now with national government within reach.

Thanks. That's one approach. See also

http://www.zinco-greenroof.com/EN/greenroof_systems/index.php

Green Roof build-up systems.

NATO ‘Saber-Rattling’ Maneuvers Unhelpful, Steinmeier Tells Bild

NATO maneuvers in Poland and the Baltic states risk raising tensions with Russia at a time when more talk and cooperation are necessary to avoid fresh confrontations, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Bild newspaper in an interview...

... “What we shouldn’t do now is to add fuel to the fire with loud saber-rattling and war cries,” Steinmeier said, according to the paper. “Whoever thinks it’s helping security to have symbolic tank parades at the Eastern European border is wrong.”...

... “It would be fatal to narrowly focus on military action,” Steinmeier said. “We need to re-engage with our partners on disarmament and arms control for security in Europe.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-18/nato-saber-rattling-maneuvers-unhelpful-steinmeier-tells-bild

Finding ways to limit global warming to 1.5C

... The planet’s primary thermostat is the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Pre-industrial levels were 280 parts per million. We just hit 400 ppm with warming at one degree and some more in the pipeline, due to time lags. The IPCC, in its most recent report, estimated that to stop at 1.5C will mean holding concentrations to around 430 ppm.

Because much of our CO2 emissions stay in the atmosphere for centuries, that means bringing annual emissions to zero. Impossible? Maybe, but the good news is that greenhouse gas emissions actually fell in 2015 despite rising global economic activity, thanks to the growing use of renewable energy. If we could build on that and bring emissions to zero by 2050, then we might limit emissions from here on out to 800bn tons.

If we could somehow find ways to extract 500bn tons from the atmosphere, Rogelj concluded, we would likely be able to have our wish of CO2 concentrations of 430 ppm and warming capped at 1.5C. The fairy godmother would have delivered...

... The trick that puts a glint in the eye of some technologists and climate scientists is known by the acronym BECCS, which stands for “biomass energy, carbon capture, and storage.” The idea is to convert the world’s power stations to burning biomass, such as trees or marine algae. The industrialized production of this biomass on such a scale would accelerate the natural drawdown of CO2 by plants during photosynthesis. If the CO2 created by burning the biomass could then be captured from the stacks and buried in geological strata — the prototype technology known as carbon capture and storage — then the net effect would be a permanent extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere...

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/16/what-would-a-global-warming-increase-of-15c-be-like
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