Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

Open Thread 10-23 April

by Bjinse Mon Apr 10th, 2017 at 04:44:09 PM EST

If you donít thread, nothing ever happens at all

. Lord of the Flies 0%
. Great Expectations 0%
. Sybil 0%
. Paper Towns 0%
. Three Men in a Boat 100%
. The Thirty-Nine Steps 0%
. The Quiet American 0%
. Dude. You really have got to start reading better books. 0%

Votes: 2
Results | Other Polls

by generic on Tue Apr 11th, 2017 at 07:36:39 AM EST
United Airlines shares plummet after passenger dragged from plane - Guardian
Shares in United Airlines' parent company plummeted on Tuesday, wiping close to $1bn off of the company's value, a day after a viral video showing police forcibly dragging a passenger off one of its plane became a global news sensation.

Which leads to (file this under: I-can't-believe-this-is-a-headline):

`Nice' is more than a destination: what Ryanair can teach United Airlines- Guardian

Still, in 2017, it's not Ryanair that has a terrible public image. It's not Ryanair that provoked an outcry by refusing two young girls wearing leggings to board a flight. And it's not Ryanair that booted off a legitimate passenger from an overbooked flight. "Unlike other airlines," head of communications Robin Kiely tells me, "Ryanair does not overbook flights." Ryanair, then, is no longer at war with its flyers. Just don't expect O'Leary to get the Nobel peace prize any time soon.
by Bernard on Tue Apr 11th, 2017 at 08:18:09 PM EST
Come See the Violence Inherent in the System - MattBruenig | Politics -

The video of the event, which showed the man being beaten and bloodied by the police, went viral and attracted nearly universal condemnation. But the condemnation that I've seen so far is very unclear about what the problem is. The video is violent and repulsive, but only insofar as all property and contract enforcement is. The forceful removal of the passenger is not an extraordinary aberration from our civilized capitalist order. Rather, it is an example of the everyday violence (and threatened violence) that keeps that capitalist order running.

by generic on Wed Apr 12th, 2017 at 02:31:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Deeper Scandal of That Brutal United Video -- The Atlantic
Companies in concentrated industries, like the airlines, have legal cover to break the most basic promise to consumers without legally breaking their contracts. The video is a scandal. But so is the law.
by das monde on Wed Apr 12th, 2017 at 01:10:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Wed Apr 12th, 2017 at 07:17:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I still wouldn't fly with them, I had a belly full of RyanAir.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 12th, 2017 at 07:39:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They even lost his luggage.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Apr 16th, 2017 at 05:32:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jezebel - Elle Shechet - Sean Spicer: Hitler 'Was Not Using Gas on His Own People the Way that Ashad [sic] Is Doing'

Everybody has been talking about it, Maddow spent 5 minutes highlighting spicer's inability to say words or write them in a coherent manner. I could have highlighted any of a dozen media outlets discussing it.

It's no longer a question of how spicer keeps his job, his incompetence seems to be the point. People are so busy trying to work out what his word salad even means that the press corps can't even ask basic questions of US Govt policy. Spicer is the perfect tool (sic) for a Presidency that doesn't know what it's doing and disinclined to explain anything it does

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 12th, 2017 at 09:38:14 PM EST
Facebook - Frankie Boyle - Trump and Syria

Nothing more perfectly embodies White America than a 70 year old golfer firing missiles at the Middle East from his country club. Some sticks in the mud probably expect a host of formalities to be gone through before attacking another country: a UN investigation, or congressional approval perhaps, but personally I'm just glad to see a guy with the temperament of a mistreated circus animal launching ballistic missiles on a hunch. It seems statesmanlike and decisive. It's difficult to tell what Syria's moderate rebels are really like, as journalists can't really be embedded with them, because they'd be beheaded. But I refuse to be cynical: there's every chance that Assad's end will see a peaceful, pastoral period for Syria once groups like Allah's Flamethrower and Infidel Abattoir get round the table and good-naturedly sort out their deep seated differences on the finer points of Islamic Law. Perhaps this is a period which Syrians will one day look back on and laugh, if laughter is still allowed.

Not only will Democrats support any war Trump chooses to start, they'll be outraged by any voters who hold it against them at the next election. Hillary Clinton called for the airstrikes immediately before they happened. We'd do well to listen to the woman who is the architect of modern Libya, where her neoliberal intervention introduced the principals of the free market with such clarity that the country now has several different governments competing for the right to kill everybody. Clinton was criticised for running a tone-deaf, aloof campaign but Democrats have rallied, pointing out that many people didn't vote for Hilary because Trump is a Russian spy, and people who didn't vote for Hillary are Russian stooges, and people who voted for Hillary but not very enthusiastically are also Russian stooges, and slowly but surely the goodwill has begun to return.

Personally, I think it would be great if Putin was controlling Trump. I'd love to think there was a rational, malevolent actor directing him rather than just a combination of his own blood sugar levels and the concept of vengeance. I honestly think we'd be in less trouble if he was being controlled by the dark wizard Thoth Amon, or if his body had been taken over by a sentient bacterial civilisation that was using him as a kind of Lifeship. I'm not saying it's impossible that Trump was moved by the plight of Syria's children, perhaps in the same way that Tony Soprano got really upset when that guy killed his horse, it's just that the balance of probabilities is that he doesn't care about them, even enough not to ban them from entering his country.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 12th, 2017 at 09:42:51 PM EST
Olivier Blanchard and Charles Wyplosz - French economists and Macron supporters - imagine how a Mélenchon Presidency would go pear-shaped as soon as he presents his demands for Eurozone reform to Merkel. Mélenchon à l'Elysée : à quoi ressembleraient ses 100 premiers jours? (Nouvel Observateur, 12 April 2017)
Le duel Mélenchon-Le Pen a tourné à l'avantage du leader de La France insoumise, le voilà donc à l'Elysée pour un début de présidence un peu agité...

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 Apr 13th, 2017 at 06:14:51 PM EST
Well, they would say that, wouldn't they?

Might as well expect the Economist to say anything good about Corbyn

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 13th, 2017 at 09:10:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They may have a valid point that Mélenchon may be unprepared for the market and public reaction to a threat of Euro exit. If you're going to talk about challenging the Euro governance you have to have a Plan B or you will end up like Varoufakis.

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 Apr 13th, 2017 at 09:16:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least he is rhetorically ready for a break. Syrizia always maintained that Euro membership was not at risk and some accommodation would be found. That has to be worth something?
by generic on Fri Apr 14th, 2017 at 02:17:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not until you're really decided to fight, if it comes to that. And from Varoufakis experience with Dijsselbloem and co, you'd better be.
by Bernard on Fri Apr 14th, 2017 at 08:34:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A threat from France could hardly be blown off as was Varafoukis. Dijsselbloem and co. would likely have to negotiate. And then M could have a well publicized meeting with V. At the very least it would be a test of the thesis that France and Germany are the two indispensable members of the E-Z.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 14th, 2017 at 02:44:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... so you're unaware that he does indeed have a plan b?  Agreed with various european partners (unfortunately none of them are in government presently)

That's the issue which seems to be stalling his progression in the polls, the existence of the Plan B being enough for him to be portrayed as flat-out anti-EU, like Le Pen.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sat Apr 15th, 2017 at 09:10:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So he understand that there was an EU before there was a Euro, and he values the EU and what it stood more than the Euro and what it has turned the EU into? Can't have that.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Apr 16th, 2017 at 09:38:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not the kind of Plan B I'm talking about. I'm referring to a quickly deployable plan to return to the Franc in a crisis. Emphasis on deployable. Which is what Varoufakis didn't have after six months.

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 Wed Apr 19th, 2017 at 04:29:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps Varoufakis could come up with such a plan today? But it is difficult to impossible to get a plan ready for implementation unless you are in control of the government. You have to get various level of  ministries on the same action list. Can't do that if you are not in power. When you are in power you have to break the TINA mentality to get things moving. Wouldn't have to exit the euro immediately. And could the EC and ECB put France in the same fix that they put Greece? IOW, how vulnerable is France vs. how vulnerable is the rest of the EU and Eurozone?  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 21st, 2017 at 04:10:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not really sure if Varoufakis would be the best man for the practical application of such a plan. For one the last time he had the chance Tsipras told him no and that was that. His political and economic analysis was on point but neither tactics nor strategy were up to par. Without a plan B you lose the ability to stand up from the negotiation table. Also I emember his concrete plan being a bit strange with explicit Euro conversion options.
by generic on Fri Apr 21st, 2017 at 08:17:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find it hard to blame Varoufakis for Tsipras' lack of courage and confidence. I believe a plan can be devised that can be made to work. Will there be a cost? Yes! It may even be as high as Greece is paying today, or higher - in the short term. But, given the current situation, Greece has no control over the situation and there is no end in sight.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 21st, 2017 at 06:10:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A clue that even the authors don't intend their political fiction to be taken seriously :
Le secrétaire général adjoint de l'Elysée, Philippe Poutou

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Apr 15th, 2017 at 09:31:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greg Fallis - seriously, the guy has a point

got metaphorically spanked a couple of days ago. Folks have been talking about the Fearless Girl statue ever since it was dropped in Manhattan's Financial District some five weeks ago. I have occasionally added a comment or two to some of the online discussions about the statue.

Recently most of the Fearless Girl discussions have focused on the complaints by Arturo Di Modica, the sculptor who created Charging Bull. He wants Fearless Girl removed, and that boy is taking a metric ton of shit for saying that. Here's what I said that got me spanked:

The guy has a point.

This happened in maybe three different discussions over the last week or so. In each case I explained briefly why I believe Di Modica has a point (and I'll explain it again in a bit), and for the most part folks either accepted my comments or ignored them. Which is pretty common for online discussions. But in one discussion my comment sparked this:

  Men who don't like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl.

Yes and no. He is making the point that the original bull was actual guerilla art (I did not know that) and the girl in opposition is merely the result of a marketing campaign. And those are points well made.

BUT, the truth is that both statues have been become a larger piece of art. Much larger than the (rather nundane) intention of either.

Together they have become great art, art which provokes and inspires. If it were not great art, but two dull statues in proximity to each other, we would not be having this debate. That is how we know this is Art.

And I know nothing about art.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Apr 16th, 2017 at 04:52:37 PM EST
At last there are faint stirrings of intellectual response to Corbyn within Labour

All that is Solid - Chuka and Dan: Jeremy Corbyn's Heirs?

Jeremy Corbyn has saved the Labour Party. A seemingly counter-intuitive claim considering the awful polling and the depressing personal ratings he's attracted, but nevertheless it is true. The first and most obvious sign are the huge numbers that have joined up. After years of decline followed by years of stagnation, the activist pool has swelled and the party has a broader range to draw from when it comes to electing lay officials, choosing council candidates, and selecting future Labour MPs. As I've said many times already, there are future ministers and perhaps even a Prime Minister who joined our party because of Jeremy Corbyn. The second is the policy legacy that he's managed to bed down in just 18 months. Without even a year under his belt, Owen Smith (remember him?) felt moved to challenge him on a Corbynism-without-Corbyn platform. And now, despite the usual malcontents having a moan and getting their name in the papers, would-be leaders have moved onto this terrain as well. That's if the big pitches recently made in the New Statesman by Chuka Umunna and Dan Jarvis are anything to go by.

Readers will recall Chuka's aborted leadership campaign in 2015 before he went on to back Liz Kendall for the job. And Dan, well, no one properly knew where he stood until recently. Not that it mattered for some media and PLP folks who think Dan's "compelling backstory" would alone be enough to capture the party leadership and take Labour back into Number 10. Thankfully, there are good reasons to believe he's not succumbed to the hype others have trailed about his person.

Both essays aren't too dissimilar in terms of what a Chuka-led or Dan-led Labour Party might look. If you're someone who, like me, believes the route to Labour's long-term success involves it being self-ware of its place in society, that it is the condensation of a range of varied but broadly common interests flowing from that position, and the party should stand up for and prosecute those interests, then there are things to commend their pitches for.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 17th, 2017 at 07:17:33 PM EST
Chuka? No. He oozes the kind of London-centric elitism Labour needs to move on from. He practically trails smarm and career calculation in that endearing Blairite way.

Dan - maybe. I remember Dan being the only potential candidate the Tories were genuinely scared of, because his background would play well with the working class racists and fascists who left Labour and the Tories for UKIP.

Not that Dan is either UKIP or a fascist. But he's white, male, young-ish, not Oxbridge, not London, and ex-army, all of which gives him a serious edge in the forgotten Labour heartlands.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Apr 18th, 2017 at 02:03:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tbh I'm not a fan of either of them. As you say, Chuka is far too smoothly ambitious to be The People's Champion, a bit too self-regarding.

Nevertheless, I agree with the writer that this from Chuka sounds like a very acknowledgement not just that NuLab lost tis way, but how;-

Labour's historic role is to be the party of the national labour interest. Our purpose is to represent working people and to redress the imbalance of power between capital and labour. And we provide protection for those who cannot work or support themselves. We have lost this role. Reciprocity was once at the heart of the relationship between the Labour Party and working people. In return for their support, our obligation was to use the power of government to protect and further their interests. This mutual sense of obligation has broken down.

Dan Jarvis is a nice bloke, but he strikes me as the guy who will follow Tristram Hunt into a nice well paid head of a charity  or similar as some point in the near future.

As the author of that blog wrote of Tristram Hunt, I think the same largely applies to Jarvis;-

For someone heralded as an ideas man, there were no ideas. For someone who was and remains passionate about education, I never understood where that sprang from. There was no patrician concern for the poor, which some might have expected. Nor a desire to get into power and reform our way to the New Jerusalem. Absent too was the obsession with power for its own sake - he never struck me as someone who had a personal hunger for government. On a number of occasions when asked about Tristram, I often likened him to the gentlemanly Victorian who was passing through Parliament on his way to other things.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 18th, 2017 at 11:00:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When the smarmy careerists are embracing the language of the left, it does say something of what smarmy careerists thinks they need to sound like to succeed. So that is something.
by fjallstrom on Tue Apr 18th, 2017 at 03:14:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - Kate Raworth - Old economics is based on false `laws of physics' - new economics can save us

Things are not going well in the world's richest economies. Most OECD countries are facing their highest levels of income inequality in 30 years, while generating ecological footprints of a size that would require four, five or six planet Earths if every country were to follow suit. These economies have, in essence, become divisive and degenerative by default. Mainstream economic theory long promised that the solution starts with growth - but why does that theory seem so ill-equipped to deal with the social and ecological fallout of its own prescriptions? The answer can be traced back to a severe case of physics envy.

In the 1870s, a handful of aspiring economists hoped to make economics a science as reputable as physics. Awed by Newton's insights on the physical laws of motion - laws that so elegantly describe the trajectory of falling apples and orbiting moons - they sought to create an economic theory that matched his legacy. And so pioneering economists such as William Stanley Jevons and Léon Walras drew their diagrams in clear imitation of Newton's style and, inspired by the way that gravity pulls a falling object to rest, wrote enthusiastically of the role played by market forces and mechanisms in pulling an economy into equilibrium.

Their mechanical metaphor sounds authoritative, but it was ill-chosen from the start - a fact that has been widely acknowledged since the astonishing fragility and contagion of global financial markets was exposed by the 2008 crash.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 17th, 2017 at 07:22:24 PM EST
What a terrible headline. I thought we were going to hear yet again about how economics is based on false laws of physics, suggesting that if they had used correct laws of physics all would have be fine. In fact, the article says that economics is falsely based on laws of physics. I suppose the author didn't write the headline...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Apr 18th, 2017 at 07:17:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Thu Apr 20th, 2017 at 03:03:36 PM EST
so that's a couple of sacks of favourite birdseed to.....

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 20th, 2017 at 03:13:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Thu Apr 20th, 2017 at 03:25:54 PM EST
by generic on Thu Apr 20th, 2017 at 03:38:34 PM EST
by generic on Fri Apr 21st, 2017 at 05:42:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Clermont Ferrant 15 - 3 Leinster, in the semi final of the European Cup, playing in Lyon (I missed out on tickets, snapped up by the Clermont supporters, only a couple of hours' drive from home)

A disappointing score given how poor the Irish have been. I exoect they'll e more sprightly in the second half...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Apr 23rd, 2017 at 03:15:56 PM EST

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]