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Showing posts tagged global affairs

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Posted at 12:03pm • Permalink  • Tags: syria war global affairs media

 


Constantly celebrating the people we kill — dancing over their corpses — is now one of the most significant and common American rituals shaping our political culture.

Glenn Greenwald

The new piece at Salon.com is powerful, lines up with a great deal of what I’ve written about Osama bin LadenAnwar al-Awlaki, and the American death penalty, and should be required reading.

(via kohenari)

Hillary Clinton: ‘We came, we saw, he died’.

And on a not unrelated note:

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Posted at 7:36pm • Permalink  • Tags: politics global affairs libya tabloids human rights
Reblogged (Quote reblogged from kohenari)

 


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Posted at 7:31pm • Permalink  • Tags: global affairs politics tunisia

 


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Posted at 11:33pm • Permalink  • Tags: global affairs politics saudi arabia religion

 




theeconomist:

saving the euro will require urgent action on a huge scale. Unless Germany rises to the challenge, disaster looms.

A similar theme to an article from Paul Krugman a few days ago. He said:

What Mr. Trichet and his colleagues should be doing right now is buying up Spanish and Italian debt — that is, doing what these countries would be doing for themselves if they still had their own currencies. In fact, the E.C.B. started doing just that a few weeks ago, and produced a temporary respite for those nations. But the E.C.B. immediately found itself under severe pressure from the moralizers, who hate the idea of letting countries off the hook for their alleged fiscal sins. And the perception that the moralizers will block any further rescue actions has set off a renewed market panic.Adding to the problem is the E.C.B.’s obsession with maintaining its “impeccable” record on price stability: at a time when Europe desperately needs a strong recovery, and modest inflation would actually be helpful, the bank has instead been tightening money, trying to head off inflation risks that exist only in its imagination.And now it’s all coming to a head. We’re not talking about a crisis that will unfold over a year or two; this thing could come apart in a matter of days. And if it does, the whole world will suffer.So will the E.C.B. do what needs to be done — lend freely and cut rates? Or will European leaders remain too focused on punishing debtors to save themselves? The whole world is watching.

theeconomist:

saving the euro will require urgent action on a huge scale. Unless Germany rises to the challenge, disaster looms.

A similar theme to an article from Paul Krugman a few days ago. He said:

What Mr. Trichet and his colleagues should be doing right now is buying up Spanish and Italian debt — that is, doing what these countries would be doing for themselves if they still had their own currencies. In fact, the E.C.B. started doing just that a few weeks ago, and produced a temporary respite for those nations. But the E.C.B. immediately found itself under severe pressure from the moralizers, who hate the idea of letting countries off the hook for their alleged fiscal sins. And the perception that the moralizers will block any further rescue actions has set off a renewed market panic.

Adding to the problem is the E.C.B.’s obsession with maintaining its “impeccable” record on price stability: at a time when Europe desperately needs a strong recovery, and modest inflation would actually be helpful, the bank has instead been tightening money, trying to head off inflation risks that exist only in its imagination.

And now it’s all coming to a head. We’re not talking about a crisis that will unfold over a year or two; this thing could come apart in a matter of days. And if it does, the whole world will suffer.

So will the E.C.B. do what needs to be done — lend freely and cut rates? Or will European leaders remain too focused on punishing debtors to save themselves? The whole world is watching.

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Posted at 9:13pm • Permalink  • Tags: economics politics global affairs euro europe krugman
Reblogged (Photo reblogged from theeconomist)

 


UK politics in chaos

The independent Boundary Commission for England has made its proposals for boundaries that fit the reduction in number of MPs and lower tolerances for the number of people per constituency. And it’s got MPs worried. “Musical chairs with machetes” is the best description I’ve heard!

Many have said that the changes are more radical than expected, and the problem is that the Commons needs to vote through these yet-to-be-finalised boundaries - or not - in 2013. This is a consultation for now, and in some areas all three parties might submit their own proposals, but in most cases I doubt there’s much leeway. Here are some unsettling points:

  • Which party comes out best? From what I’ve seen, the news for the Lib Dems isn’t terrible (or is it?, but I think the analysis is too simplistic so far) but more on that below. More marginals, particularly Labour/Conservative, is a likely outcome. The new rules are designed to benefit the Tories but no one’s saying at the moment that the proposed seats would give them a scandalously large boost. Certainly many Tory MPs will want to vote down the changes. But if Conservative HQ see lower-than-expected gains, might they conclude that bringing their MPs into line for the vote isn’t worth the effort?
  • And if the Tory party isn’t so keen, then the importance of the Lib Dem’s [thus-far] largely-unspoken threat of voting against the change, and therefore part of their coalition bargaining power, is reduced.
  • The BBC picks out these senior figures as being particularly under threat: George Osborne, Ken Clarke, Hugh Robertson (Tories); Ed Balls, Hilary Benn, Tessa Jowell, Chuka Umunna (Labour); Chris Huhne, Vince Cable, Tim Farron (Lib Dems); Caroline Lucas (Green Party).
  • But the Lib Dems really don’t have (m)any safe seats. Unlike George Osborne, their leadership can’t just be moved to safer pastures. I’m sure they can win most of them, but it’ll take a lot of work. Will the Lib Dem party have to choose its leader for the next election (Nick Clegg? Tim Farron?) without being sure if they’re going to win their seat? Might that skew the party election?
  • Party President Tim Farron’s large majority would merge with a Tory seat with its own large majority. Cumbria’s seat reduction will hit one of the coalition partners, but my money’s on Farron winning. The party might be more worried about Chris Huhne’s seat, into which a lot of work has been put, I believe.
  • Will some Labour MPs back the changes for their own good?
  • Political expert Mike Smithson says "PaddyPower is laying bets at 6/4 that the changes won’t happen. I think it’s only a 50-50 chance."
  • Under such conditions, are local parties to start putting in the legwork in new areas before 2013 without knowing if the changes will happen or not? 
  • The boundary review (Tory demand) was legislatively packaged together with the AV referendum (LD demand). Would there be something poetic or just about neither the Tories nor Lib Dems getting what they wanted? It might be better than the Tories winning on both counts!
  • These reviews are meant to take place every 5 years. Will future changes be anywhere near as disruptive?
  • Does the reduction in the number of MPs impact other political decisions? Will in-fighting affect Parliament’s work? And do elected Police Commissioners and an unelected House of Lords provide comfy places to send pacified MPs?
 
 




Liberal Democrats want inquiry into decriminalising drug possession

Front page of The Independent today: Lib Dems to vote to decriminalise all drug use

Guardian: Liberal Democrats want inquiry into decriminalising drug possession

More on the Indy website:

Leading article: The case against criminalisation

Nigel Morris: Commonsense policy leads into a political minefield

The Daily Mail doesn’t deserve to be linked to but here it is anyway: Lib Dems move to decriminalise ALL personal drug use and to allow controlled use of cannabis

Senior Liberal Democrats believe Cameron and the home secretary, Theresa May, could be persuaded to hold an open-minded inquiry into a controversy which divides public, political and medical opinion.

The conference motion also suggests the expert panel prepares alternative proposals for the creation of a “strictly controlled and regulated cannabis market”.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, who has previously supported drug decriminalisation, is understood to be relaxed about his party committing itself to such a contentious policy proposal.

Senior Liberal Democrat sources predicted last night that the motion would be overwhelmingly passed, automatically making it party policy.

"This is not a proposal from a lunatic fringe," said one. "It is a recognition of the general failure of drugs policies both in Britain and across the world."

A spokesman for Mr Clegg said he would “watch the debate with interest” on what was a “perfectly valid and legitimate debate for a party”.

The vote in favour of the moves would not guarantee their inclusion in their next election manifesto, but the party leadership made clear it was sympathetic to the calls. The Liberal Democrats have consistently argued that drug laws should be based on scientific advice, but have never committed themselves in a manifesto to decriminalisation.

Next month’s move by Liberal Democrat activists is a significant moment: it will be the first time decriminalisation has been considered by a party in government. Equally significant is Nick Clegg’s relaxed response. The odds are that a political party will fight the next election on a platform of widespread reform of drugs legislation.

 
 


A fascinating poll via Political Betting. Just 12% of Labour voters and 10% of Tory voters reckon they’ll be on the losing side at the next election.

This may be perfectly usual, but I think the current economic circumstances play a large role. Labour voters, I reckon, have a very different expectation to Tory ones of what’s going to happen over the next few years. They believe the economy is doomed, and that the cuts will make so many unemployed, and hurt everyone but the rich so hard, that the Tories have no chance of winning again.

Although there’s some truth in those things, and Labour are ahead in the polls, I think they’re deluded to think they’re going to win even a small majority. Reasons include: economic recovery, a tendency to give a government more than one term, the leaders themselves, the redrawn boundaries (assuming they pass…), the failure of AV in the referendum, Labour’s economic reputation vs George balancing the budget, the promise of tax cuts, the rise of the SNP in Scotland, the spending advantage the Tories always have…

I’d like another ‘hung parliament’ of course, but although that’s achievable, and failing complete economic collapse, I think we’re on track for a Tory majority (eurgh!!!) on 7th May 2015.

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Posted at 9:22am • Permalink  • Tags: politics global affairs labour lib dems tories