Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Racism loses in Switzerland

by IdiotSavant Mon Sep 28th, 2020 at 03:29:44 AM EST

Over in Switzerland, the racist "People's Party" tried to have a Brexit-style referendum on ending freedom of movement with the EU, so they could stop the "flood" of foreigners. But the Swiss people said No:

Swiss voters have resoundingly rejected an attempt to tear up the country's agreement with the EU on the free movement of people, in a referendum that echoed the Brexit vote.

The largest party in the Swiss parliament, the rightwing, anti-immigration Swiss People's party (SVP), called the referendum, arguing that the country must be allowed to set its own limit on the number of foreigners coming in to work.

However, the initiative - opposed by government, parliament, unions, employer organisations and all other political parties because it would put Switzerland's overall relations with the EU in jeopardy - was rejected by 61.7% of voters, final results showed.

The EU had made it clear that freedom of movement was indivisible from the rest of their relationship, and that ending it would also mean ending trade, research and transport treaties, just as for the UK. Swiss voters clearly value those. And hopefully, it'll mean a fall in the fortunes of the People's Party as well.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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The reality of Brexit strikes home

by Frank Schnittger Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 12:07:00 AM EST

Newton Emerson, a unionist commentator, has an article up in the Irish Times echoing Boris Johnson's complaint that the EU is threatening to blockade N. Ireland's food supplies. This is part of Johnson's justification for breaking international law even though discussions at the joint implementation body on the N. Ireland Protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement had been, by all accounts, making good progress in resolving outstanding issues.

Read more... (63 comments, 561 words in story)

Breaking the Law: is this the Brexit end game?

by Luis de Sousa Sun Sep 13th, 2020 at 05:16:58 PM EST

Another extraordinary week in the Brexit saga has come to pass. This time around a complete surprise, as another showdown was only expected in October, when time runs out for a timely approval of a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the UK, ahead of the end of the transition period on the 31st of December.

The UK government has dropped a legal bombshell on Brexit process, sending shrapnel in all directions. Time to pick up the pieces and make some sense out of it.


Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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UK to break international law

by Frank Schnittger Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 03:10:05 PM EST

The UK is to unveil internal market legislation tomorrow (9/9/20) which will break international law albeit in what they describe as a limited way. Specifically it will abrogate sections of the Withdrawal Agreement which require the UK to implement customs controls at the N. Ireland Great Britain sea border thus providing back-door access to the Single Market for British goods - whatever any trade agreement might say.

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The US Election as of Labor Day

by ARGeezer Mon Sep 7th, 2020 at 02:45:44 AM EST

As of Sept. 7, Sunday of the Labor Day Weekend some things have clarified a bit. The Trump campaign has pulled its TV adverts in Arizona and Biden is up on Trump there by 9 points. Three solid polls in Wisconsin show Biden up by 7+ points. Minnesota seems likely to hold for the Democrats. Pennsylvania is  the biggest weakness for Biden in the 'Blue Wall', with Michigan next. Democrats hold the west coast, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado and Hawaii by reasonable margins. And Democrats hold the east coast north of Virginia up to Maine.

Frontpaged with minor edit - Frank Schnittger

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Mairead McGuinness to be next Commissioner

by Frank Schnittger Fri Sep 4th, 2020 at 03:48:42 PM EST

Andrew McDowell and Mairead McGuinness candidates for European Commission role

The Cabinet has proposed Mairead McGuinness and Andrew McDowell as candidates to replace Phil Hogan at the European Commission.


Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney will not be one of the Government's nominees for the role of European Commissioner.

Andrew McDowell is a former Fine Gael advisor and until recently vice-president of the European Investment Bank .


Andrew McDowell is a former backroom Fine Gael Economic advisor and a political non-entity. No one seriously believes he will get the job. But Commission President Ursula Van Der Leyen had made it clear she wanted "both a women and a man, not a man and a women nominees," in the words of Leo Varadkar. Basically no man need apply, and in the end no one of substance did. Why put your present job at risk by applying for another, when you know you won't get the job?

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Who will replace Commissioner Hogan?

by Frank Schnittger Sun Aug 30th, 2020 at 09:36:51 PM EST

Commission President, Ursula Van Der Leyen has asked the Irish government to submit both male and female candidates to replace Phil Hogan as European Commissioner while EU sources are stating that any replacement is unlikely to retain the important Trade portfolio.

This creates a number of problems for the Irish Government. Firstly, it could be argued that asking the government to submit a shortlist from which she will make the final selection is an impertinence, as it is for the Irish government, and the Irish government alone, to determine who the next Commissioner from Ireland should be (subject to EU Council and Parliament approval).

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EU Trade Commissioner Hogan resigns following 'Golfgate'

by Bernard Thu Aug 27th, 2020 at 07:03:14 PM EST

Phil Hogan, in charge of the Trade portfolio in the EU Commission, announced his resignation yesterday night (August 26), following a week long political storm dubbed 'Golfgate'.
Hogan traveled to his native Ireland a couple of weeks ago for a short summer break, but he also attended a dinner in a golfing resort near Galway, on the western coast of Ireland, on Wednesday 19, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the parliamentary golf society, along with 80 other Irish politicians. The problem? Ireland's coronavirus safety rules were just being strengthened to limit all gathering to just six people.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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Toward Net Zero Energy: Tiny Houses on Up

by gmoke Thu Aug 27th, 2020 at 04:02:50 AM EST

The Laney College Carpentry Department in Oakland, California built a net zero tiny house, the Wedge, in 2016 for the SMUD Net Zero Tiny House Competition
https:/youtu.be/PyxJQynaC_c

That tiny house is for sale for
$55,000
https:
tinyhouselistings.com/listings/oakland-ca-12-matthew-wolpe

Laney College carpenters are currently building two other prototypes tiny houses, the Pocket House, for the unhoused and homeless in Oakland
https:
laney.edu/carpentry/tiny-houses/pocket-house

The Northern Nomad is another net zero tiny home designed and built by a group of students from Carleton University in Canada as this video from 2019 shows:
Northern Nomad Tiny House
https:/youtu.be/gbz35FLg9L4
http://www.thenorthernnomad.ca/

Reading Design Guidelines for a Net Zero Tiny House (https:tinyhousedesign.com/design-guidelines-for-a-net-zero-tiny-house) and Guide to Off-Grid Tiny Houses (https://gosun.co/blogs/news/guide-to-an-off-grid-tiny-house), the core idea seems to be energy efficiency first, last, and always:  the less energy you use the easier it becomes to supply it with renewables onsite.

That core idea of energy efficiency applies to all houses, not just tiny houses.

Trump's re-election prospects

by Frank Schnittger Mon Aug 17th, 2020 at 12:35:54 PM EST

Irish Times Columnist Jennifer O'Connell has an article up basically saying that Trump, like all bullies, is afraid of all those who are not afraid of him, and seeks to patronise strong women because he is afraid of them. He is afraid of Kamala Harris because he knows she can beat him. This has provoked two letters to the editor in response from Jim O'Sullivan and myself:

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The political effects of electoral voting systems

by Frank Schnittger Thu Aug 13th, 2020 at 05:18:05 PM EST

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Zero Net Energy - August 11, 2020

by gmoke Tue Aug 11th, 2020 at 08:30:28 PM EST

Santa Monica civic building will produce net positive energy and going for full Living Building challenge certification
https:/fisherpartners.net/projects/city-of-santa-monica-city-services-building
https:/inhabitat.com/new-santa-monica-city-services-building-will-produce-more-energy-than-it-uses

An affordable Passive House development that's "aggressively green"
https:/www.technologyreview.com/2020/04/15/999376/the-passive-house-thats-aggressively-green

A ski chalet in Utah which will be a net-positive energy building, generating 364% more power than it needs
https:/tomwiscombe.com/THE-DARK-CHALET
https:
archpaper.com/2020/04/tom-wiscombe-architecture-dark-chalet-utah#gallery-0-slide-0
https:/inhabitat.com/dark-chalet-in-utah-will-generate-over-350-more-energy-than-it-needs

Link City - proposed self-sustainable city-forest, using an urban operating system with an AI (Artificial Intelligence)
https:/www.lucacurci.com/portfolio/the-link-city.html
https:
inhabitat.com/luca-curci-architects-designs-a-zero-energy-smart-city-of-the-future

Park Avenue Green - affordable passive house apartment building in the South Bronx, the largest passive house development in North America
http://www.cplusga.com/works/park-avenue-green-2/
https:/inhabitat.com/passive-house-certified-development-offers-affordable-housing-in-south-bronx

Wellesley College Global Flora greenhouse "exceeds the Net Zero Water & Energy requirements of the Living Building Challenge, the world's most rigorous certification of sustainable construction."
http://www.kvarch.net/projects/133
https:/inhabitat.com/wellesleys-global-flora-greenhouse-can-generate-all-of-its-own-energy

Energy neutral school in Utrecht
https:/inhabitat.com/energy-neutral-school-in-utrecht-enhances-biodiversity
http://e-v-a.net/?fluxus_portfolio=so-fier

AI to identify energy wasting homes
https:/venturebeat.com/2020/07/07/wattscale-is-an-open-source-ai-tool-that-identifies-energy-wastin g-homes
WattScale https:/arxiv.org/pdf/2007.01382.pdf
Watthome, an earlier version:  http://www.ecs.umass.edu/~irwin/watthome.pdf

Arctic Nordic Alpine  - Exhibation on Snøhetta's work including Hotel Svart in Svartisen, the Arctic World Archive Visitor Center in Svalbard Island, and the Museum Quarter in Bolzano
https:
www.aedes-arc.de/cms/aedes/de/programm?id=19520291
https:
www.fastcompany.com/90524716/how-the-worlds-most-remote-buildings-can-help-us-adapt-to-clima te-change
hat tip to Heath Row's Media Diet: http://tinyurl.com/joinmediadiet

Orford Mews - energy-positive, carbon positive, zero construction waste nine-unit development planned for London
https:
studioanyo.com/work/orford-mews
https:/inhabitat.com/zero-waste-orford-mews-to-bring-energy-positive-homes-to-east-london

Moonstone House - test bed for energy efficiency started in 2002 is still evolving
https:/themoonstoneproject.co.uk
https:
cleantechnica.com/2020/07/30/fully-charged-tours-the-net-zero-energy-moonstone-house

Self-sufficient skyscraper proposed for NYC
https:/www.lissoniandpartners.com/en/architecture/competitions/americas/completed/skylines-new-york /1289
https:
inhabitat.com/self-sufficient-garden-city-skyscraper-proposed-for-nyc

France Municipal Elections: The Aftermath - Part 2

by Bernard Sat Aug 8th, 2020 at 06:53:44 PM EST

Recap from Part 1 and eurogreen's diary: Municipal elections were held in France last spring to elect the municipal council (and the mayor) in the 35,000-odd municipalities throughout the country, ranging from small villages with 10 inhabitants to major cities like Lyon, Marseille or Paris, and as far away as Papetee, French Polynesia.

In about 30,000 cities, the municipal council was elected after the first round held on March 15, by getting over 50% of the vote. For the remaining 4,600 cities, including most big cities, the second round, initially due for March 22, eventually took place on June 28, after the country-wide lockdown from March 18 to May 11.

These were local elections and not necessarily an indication of national political trends for the next presidential elections in 2022, when E.Macron is expected to run for re-election.

Still, do these unusual elections give us any indication as to the mood of the French electorate? Are they showing any significant evolution? Do we see similar trends in other European countries?

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

Read more... (8 comments, 1503 words in story)

Lebanon, the Pearl of the Middle East

by Oui Wed Aug 5th, 2020 at 09:15:43 AM EST

Divide and Conquer ... how de-colonialization and faction infighting destroyed a beautiful nation. Democracy never took hold and foreign interference led to total corruption.

The economic crisis, corona pandemic, lack of political leadership and now an apocalyptic explosion and obliteration of the port and neighbourhoods has put Lebanon on its knees.

More below the fold ...

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20 Years (at least) Without Election Integrity

by gmoke Wed Aug 5th, 2020 at 03:20:14 AM EST

After the 2000 election of hanging chads and Bush v Gore and a totally non-precedential Presidential decision by the Supremes, I discovered that the Caltech/MIT Electronic Voting Project (https:/www.vote.caltech.edu) met sometime at MIT in Cambridge, MA where I live.  So I went to a few of the open meetings.  

It was an interesting process.  Here were all these technical people not only computer people but also sociologists and user-interface psychologists and such looking at the very complicated way the USA registers people to vote, votes, and counts the votes.  What I gathered then was that optical scanners with paper ballots are probably the most nearly accurate way to make sure that the votes are counted accurately and accountably.  From what I gather now, it still is.
Millions of tax dollars have been spent on voting since 2000 but I tend to think it's at least as bad and probably worse all these 20 years later.

The Brennan Center Defend Our Elections Program (https:www.brennancenter.org/issues/defend-our-elections) is working on election defense and you can find out much more about the issues around election protection at the Fair Elections Center (https:www.fairelectionscenter.org)

In these days of COVID19, poll workers will be needed. Power the Polls (http://powerthepolls.org) and Work Elections (https:www.workelections.com) will point you in the right direction if you want to help out with the nuts and bolts of democracy.

In my neighborhood, Swing Left Boston is organizing voter protection in swing states (https:swingleftboston.org/sign-up-for-voter-protection-2) if you want to become a partisan poll watcher instead of a poll worker.

Vote, yes vote but make sure your vote is counted accurately, honestly, and verifiably.  As the saying goes, "It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes."

Comments >> (5 comments)

How Trump Will Be Remembered

by Oui Tue Aug 4th, 2020 at 11:02:42 AM EST

A petulant Baby ...

More below the fold ...

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A Peacemaker Remembered

by Oui Mon Aug 3rd, 2020 at 01:18:39 PM EST

John Hume: Origin of a Derry Icon 1960-1974

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

More below the fold ...

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Under Joe Biden the Same Old ME Policy

by Oui Sat Aug 1st, 2020 at 07:40:19 AM EST

Was never in doubt with Clinton voices more prevalent amongst delegates than Sanders'.

Palestinian-Americans sidelined during DNC platform debate | Mondoweiss |

According to a document shared with Mondoweiss, DNC delegates expressed their outrage at the exclusion of Palestinian-American voices from the platform drafting process while pro-Israel lobbyists openly bragged about their efforts to strip out language critical of Israel.

More below the fold ...

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A Dictator: Trump Calls to Delay 2020 Election

by Oui Thu Jul 30th, 2020 at 02:05:46 PM EST

More below the fold ...

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Trump's GDP Makes Record Plunge

by Oui Thu Jul 30th, 2020 at 12:48:47 PM EST

Only prior double digit GDP plunge was in 1958 when Chevy introduced the Impala ... memories as our family had arrived in America one year earlier.

America puts the economy first ... Europe puts the health of its people first... look at the strength of the Euro vs. the US dollar ...

More below the fold ...

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