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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: 15,433

About Me

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

Journal Archives

I wouldn't feel so sure.

I read in some TPP Environmental Chapter text (via New Zealand) this defining clause:

3. The Parties further recognise that it is inappropriate to establish or use their environmental laws or other measures in a manner which would constitute a disguised restriction on trade or investment between the Parties.

... and wonder who and how it would be decided what constitutes a disguised restriction on trade or investment?

I also read an analysis from the Center for International Environmental Law which is gloomy:

On October 5, 2015, the White House issued a statement by the President on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement claiming that the TPP “includes the strongest commitments on labor and the environment of any trade agreement in history, and those commitments are enforceable, unlike in past agreements.” This claim itself is unremarkable since proponents of almost every U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) formed in the past two decades have similarly promised meaningful and enforceable labor and environmental safeguards. Yet the reality of past U.S. FTA enforcement and the provisions included in the TPP suggest that this agreement, like those before it, will not guarantee environmental protection...

... So I have my doubts... To put it mildly.

The EU, btw, for similar reasons, will not pass the TTIP because France, as any EU country can, will veto it, M. Hollande has said. The mad in power in the UK might go for it, though.

Only around 30% voted to leave the EU:

UK Office for National Statistics mid-year population estimate 2015, released 23/6/2016 is 65,110,000

Of these, 7,053,719 are under 18, so of the estimated UK resident population (2015), 58,056,281 are estimated to be of voting age.

The UK Electoral Commission reports that the electorate for the referendum was 46,500,001 registered deemed-eligible voters, of whom 72.2% voted. There were 25,359 rejected votes, 16,141,241 votes to remain in the EU and 17,410,742 to leave.

I have not yet compiled figures on the estimated number of UK residents who are not currently EU citizens, nor on the number of non-UK residents who formed part of the electorate, but in broad terms perhaps all can agree that those voting to leave the EU were approximately 30% of the eligible voting-age EU citizen residents in UK (includes, of course, UK citizens) and 27% of the total estimated population including those under 18 whose future is here so much at stake. I think it is reasonable to assume that those eligible who did not vote or did not register to vote did not feel strongly that the UK should leave the EU (and very probably break up the UK and possibly the EU too).

These are not enough votes here to justify such radical UK Constitutional and International Treaty change.

The global order is dying. But Britain cannot survive without the EU (Paul Mason)

... Today, the event we are living through is just as momentous – but with more tabloid lying and internet memes, and bleaker economic prospects. Brexit, looked at through the lens of history, signals the high-water mark of neoliberalism – the system of free-market economics and global trade that began in the early 1990s. It was triggered, ultimately, because enough people associated their own poor prospects and economic hardship with a treaty coordinating the economic policies of different countries.

The impact has been immediate. Almost unnoticed amid the post-Brexit hysteria, French president François Hollande announced his intention to veto TTIP, the free-trade treaty between the EU and the US. For clarity, that means it is dead...

... The Tory right – unlike Stanley Baldwin andRamsay MacDonald in the 1930s – has noJohn Maynard Keynes to call on. It has only the promise it has made itself: that lots of countries in the world will do swift bilateral trade deals and that – somehow – Britain will end up more global, more outward-facing, than when it had a mere 500 million people to sell to.

This is an illusion. It will not happen. And in their hearts, many of those who voted for Brexit do not want it to happen. Talk to them: they want less free markets, less migration and less open trade. And, unlike in the 1930s, they have newspapers that represent them and talk radio stations to wind them up to fury. So the real nightmare scenario is not Brexit – it is what happens, socially and economically, when Brexit does not work...

More... https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/27/global-order-britain-survive-eu-alternative-economic-model

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...


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:

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...


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...


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...


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.”...


... 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...


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...


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.
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