Author Topic: The unimportant news thread  (Read 175414 times)

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Offline Ken B

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2460 on: October 04, 2017, 03:57:00 PM »
Texas separatists have been noticeably quiet in the wake of the massive federal assistance following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  The pitiful pleas of Texas politicians for more help from Washington is... revealing.

P.S.  I'm originally from Texas.

They were pretty quiet before too.
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2461 on: October 04, 2017, 11:23:27 PM »
At least, some people are working. Pakistan has planted 1 billion trees in just 2 years, biodiversity being one of the objectives.
https://www.voanews.com/a/one-billion-trees-planted-in-pakistan-nw-province/3983609.html

Where does one get 1,000,000,000 trees?
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Offline Turner

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2462 on: October 04, 2017, 11:38:33 PM »
Where does one get 1,000,000,000 trees?

Well, I just checked a bit. A typical birch tree produces 30 million seeds per year, for example. A lot of them are no doubt miniature trees so far, but the growth rate for some species can be surprising. And some further details about nurseries here, saying also that the programme isn´t fully completed yet https://www.dawn.com/news/1258918
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 11:46:23 PM by Turner »

Offline Todd

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2463 on: October 06, 2017, 06:04:31 AM »
Rhetorical question of the day: Can an 11-Year-Old Girl Consent to Sex?  (And here I thought Yurpeans were all sophisticated and such.)
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline ritter

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2464 on: October 07, 2017, 08:16:16 AM »
...I'm sure our esteemed Spanish colleague ritter can add more illuminating information.
...I would be interested in hearing what Ritter has to say on this topic.
Gentlemen, I apologize for the delay in responding, but I've been abroad on business all week.

As a firm believer in the unity of Spain, in the notion that sovereignty is held by the Spanish people as a whole, and in a constitution that appears to to me a perfectly reasonable and functioning one (even if, like most constiuions, it is far from perfect and can be subject to amendments) , my comments may come through as biased, but well...

I tend to agree with the notion that what has happened in Catalonia over the past several days (but that's been under gestation for much, much longer than that) is nothing other than a coup d'état. The melancholic strife for independence (melancholic in the sense of being nostalgic for something that Catalonia has never had) has its origins a long way back, but has as of late been promoted by the right-wing (mainly petty bourgeois) regionalist party PDCat (which had a hegemonic position in Catalan politics for several decades) and the left-wing ERC party ("Catalan Republican Left", which we must remember was behind similar secessionist movements before the Spanish civil war in the early 1930s, which ended blodily and catastrophically).

The big national parties (on either side of the political spectrum, the centre-left PSOE and the centre-right PP) have been all too willing to make concessions to the regionalist or separtist parties (the forerunner of the PDCat was certainly not secessionist until quite recently) in order to garner their support when necessary to form a majority in the national (that was done by both the PP and PSOE) or the regional (in the case of PSOE with the ERC) parliaments. So, while Spain was enjoying (the result of the restitution of democracy, the 1978 constitution and the adhesion to the EU) the longest period of proseperity and stability in living history (even taking into account the deep economic crisis of 2007-2016), the romantic idea that Catalans were better off on their own, and that all their woes were the fault of the rest of Spain was insidiously being fed to the population, even at schools. Meanwhile Catalonia--and most of Spain's regions--were enjoying a degree of self-government which exceeds even that of the German Länder.

It turns out that one of the main points the PDCat criticized about Spain, the rampant corruption in the public administration, was happening at an even higher degree in their own ranks (with their former leader and long-running president of the regional government, Jordi Pujol, at the helm). Public support for the party quickly eroded, and in order to retain power, they became the leaders of the pro-independence movement, entering into an unholy alliance with their sworn enemies: the traditional republican left (the aforementioned ERC) and a new player on far left, a party called CUP which can only be described as unruly, rebellious, anti-system and with anarchistic tendencies. In doing so, the PDCat betrayed its traditional voters, but seduced many with the romantic notion that "Catalonia will be the master of its own destiny" (even if that destiny will be one of disarray and restricted civil and economic liberties if ever the radical left comes to power).

One of the arguments used by the secessionists is that they are being ripped off--tax-wise--by the rest of Spain (which has been proven untrue, and which e.g. the residents of Spain's other richer regions--e.g. Madrid--could easily be tempted to say as well). What appears humorous (if it weren't tragic) is that even the radically leftist CUP party, turning its back on the left's traditional internationalism and adherence to solidarity principles, shares this way of thinking.

In a forward flight, the current regional government (that unholy alliance of PDCat and ERC, with parliamentary support of the radical CUP--without which the government would fall) accelerated the passing of legislation that would permit the referendum last Sunday (and the subsequent declaration of independence), with blatant disregard for due parliamentary process and, what is the most dangerous thing IMO, only one goal in mind: to take advantage of the recent, perverse notion that "democracy is not played out in the institutions, but on the streets". So, when the Spanish courts (which emanate from a system which--despite its flaws--is fully democratic and representative of all the people of Spain) issued interdictions against the regional parliament's unconstitutional decisions and against the holding of the referendum, the police had to be sent in to keep the rule of law. But, lo and behold, the police was met by throngs of not-so-passively resisting secessionists, and the regional government got exactly what it wanted: pictures of an "oppressed" people being "attacked" by the mean Spanish police. And, surprise surprise, the regional police did almost nothing to prevent these confrontations. I'm sure there may have been excesses by the police, but I also know that the police themselves were attacked in many places by the rebellious, and it seems that the real figure of injured civilians does not even reach 5% of the 800+ the regional government claims.

So, the events last Sunday led to what the left-wing radicals sought (and pushed the regional goverment--in its shortsightedness and ineptitude--to help create): an atmosphere of civil confrontation that seeks to subvert the established order (and one that has even been applauded by the national radical left-- the Podemos party--and some sectors of the PSOE--whose leader's political idée fixe as of late is to rid Spain of its right-wing PP government). And with this, suddenly, many seem to be realizing the mess and the dead end Catalonia has got itself into. This week, the big Catalan banks and other large corporations have decided to move their business headquarters elsewhere, and a bleak economic outlook for the near future in a hypothetically independent Catalonia--which would be out of the EU--is becoming clear.

Some people have criticized the (unusually) harsh speach of King Felipe VI on national televison last Tuesday. I'm afraid he had no choice but to assert the constitution, the sovereignty of all Spaniards and the rule of law, and that any overtures to the secessionists would have not helped in any way.

I do not know how this will all end. I doubt independence will happen, but the rift that has been criminally and unnecessarily created among the Catalan population by the gang of opportunists and incompotents that run the regional institutions will be difficult to heal. Only new regional elections (which appear inevitable in the near term) may clarify the picture and restore some rationalty into the situation.

Regards,

« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 11:51:41 PM by ritter »
Ritter
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   Luxe, calme et volupté ».

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2465 on: October 07, 2017, 09:34:36 AM »
Gracias!

The information I get here is either superficial news accounts, or filtered through heavily politicized eyes. So to say your clarification was helpful would be an understatement of how useful it is.

Offline Florestan

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2466 on: October 09, 2017, 03:35:01 AM »
A big thank you from me as well, Rafael. A most illuminating and informative post.

One thing is sure: a hypotethically independent Catalonia will never join the EU (France's Minister of European Affairs has clearly stated today that France will never recognize an independent Catalonia --- and Romania will have the same firm position, although probably less vocal) and the negotiations with Spain will made Brexit look like a picnic in the park. They will end up far, far worse than they are now.

I hope that in the end sanity and reasonableness will prevail.
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.Victor Hugo

Offline Turner

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2467 on: October 10, 2017, 09:08:25 AM »
In the last minute, Puigdemont postpones his speech about independence, due to internal negotiations ...

Let´s hope a non-violent outcome will be the result of all this.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 09:11:18 AM by Turner »

Offline Spineur

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2468 on: October 10, 2017, 10:11:08 AM »
In the last minute, Puigdemont postpones his speech about independence, due to internal negotiations ...

Let´s hope a non-violent outcome will be the result of all this.
He actually made a declaration of independence, then immediately suspended it to leave room for negotiation with spanish government.
In the past weeks, I wondered whether I should worry about this Catalonia affair.  Now, I know I dont.  It is a vaporous thing which will dissolve in nothingness.

Catalonia is a Schroedinger cat: dead and alive at the same time.  Can politics be compatible with quantum mechanics ?? How big is Puigdemont compared to Planck constant ?  Some 10^23 times bigger I would say.  You draw the obvious conclusion...
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 10:41:13 AM by Spineur »
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Offline Turner

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2469 on: October 11, 2017, 11:08:50 PM »
He actually made a declaration of independence, then immediately suspended it to leave room for negotiation with spanish government.
In the past weeks, I wondered whether I should worry about this Catalonia affair.  Now, I know I dont.  It is a vaporous thing which will dissolve in nothingness.

Catalonia is a Schroedinger cat: dead and alive at the same time.  Can politics be compatible with quantum mechanics ?? How big is Puigdemont compared to Planck constant ?  Some 10^23 times bigger I would say.  You draw the obvious conclusion...
Yes, my post was made before the declaration of independence was known.
One shouldn´t totally underestimate the tempers of Spanish politics though, given the somewhat violent background history.


These countries have the most positive influence on the world:
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/07/these-countries-have-the-most-positive-influence-on-the-world/?utm_content=bufferb4ad3&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Includes exact percentages.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 11:11:28 PM by Turner »

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2470 on: October 11, 2017, 11:23:41 PM »
"I write to discover what I know."
 ― Flannery O'Connor

Offline Turner

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2471 on: October 11, 2017, 11:37:41 PM »
I agree, the content is too loosely founded and un-specific, so the percentage remark was ironical.
However there´s no doubt that parts of Western public tend to be ignorant of views in other countries. After all, it is still a slight surprise to me that Russia gets a - relatively - good placement.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 11:45:53 PM by Turner »

Offline Turner

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2472 on: October 13, 2017, 07:43:54 AM »
The Kremlin has announced a 'very important statement' next week.

Presidential elections are to take place in 5 months.

Offline Todd

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2473 on: October 16, 2017, 01:46:53 PM »
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Turner

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2474 on: October 17, 2017, 01:54:46 AM »
A different extreme of weapon control:

In China´s Xinjiang province, all domestic knives above 10 cm must be registered and marked
https://chinadigitaltimes.net/2017/10/xinjiang-household-knives-must-ided/

and extreme surveillance means:

Moscow implementing a facial recognition street camera system:
https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/28/16378164/moscow-facial-recognition-cctv-arrests-crime-surveillance

China Xinjiang ditto:
https://www.buzzfeed.com/meghara/the-police-state-of-the-future-is-already-here?utm_term=.ulOxDa3yK#.pm1eDojqr
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 10:35:07 AM by Turner »

Offline Todd

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2475 on: October 18, 2017, 10:11:01 AM »
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2476 on: October 19, 2017, 10:56:37 AM »
All 45 Peanuts Specials, Ranked From Worst to Best

(From Christmas Eve 2015, so not news, really.)
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Offline Turner

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Re: The unimportant news thread
« Reply #2477 on: October 19, 2017, 11:19:06 PM »
What Russians think of Sobtchak´s presidential campaign

https://meduza.io/en/feature/2017/10/19/when-against-all-isn-t-necessarily-against-putin

The answers certainly illustrate a very varied range of approach ( ;D ), and her lack of an identifiable policy so far.

Also https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/20/putin-rival-ksenia-sobchak-insists-she-is-not-part-of-kremlin-plot?CMP=share_btn_tw

(“I have no political weight, and I haven’t earned the right to launch some kind of political programme or stand as a candidate,” said Ksenia Sobchak, in what might be the most tepid sentiment ever used to launch a presidential campaign.)

« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 11:25:32 PM by Turner »

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