Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Posts Tagged ‘France’

Elections In Greece, India, The UK, France: Why Are US Media Relatively Quiet About Them?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 10, 2015

It’s a funny thing, American media coverage of the politics of other nations. The US press (and especially its TV networks) will always let you know when right-wing parties and politicians do well, but almost never when lefties do well – unless it’s to, as in the case of Greece and the Syriza victory, sternly lecture the winners on the alleged dangers of “going too far”.

That’s why I’m willing to bet that, if you get most of your news from network TV or drive-time radio, you likely don’t know that India’s much-vaunted turn to the economic right just got 180ed yesterday, with bellwether elections in New Delhi (h/t chandu):

NEW DELHI: Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party has swept the Delhi assembly polls, winning 67 wins out of the 70 assembly seats, about two and a half times the number they won in the last election. The AAP chief won the New Delhi seat, defeating BJP’s Nupur Sharma by more than double the number of votes.

This is the highest share of seats won in the history of Delhi elections.

[…]

For the AAP, a young party born in 2012, this is a dream win. It has proved that an alternate politics can be viable. And its victory in Delhi, because of the city’s prominence as India’s capital and its nursery of ideas, will resound across the country.

For the Congress, this adds to the string of its recent failures. If the inability to win a single seat in Delhi, a city it ruled for 15 years till 2013, doesn’t prompt change in the party organisation, it’s unclear what will.

You may also not know that the Tories are in big electoral trouble in the UK, with Cameron likely to lose his PM job before the year is out.

Or that French president Francois Hollande, a Socialist, has seen his popularity, as low as 12% in November, rise to 40% last month (a huge amount for a country that doesn’t use a first-past-the-post electoral system), though it’s leveled off to the mid-thirties since then. The Charlie Hebdo attacks were credited for this, though his numbers had already started to rise in December, before the attacks. (Regardless, both he and the Socialists are now popular enough to beat back the far-right National Front in a recent by-election.)

Fascinating.

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Espionage Envy: Germany, Other Nations Covet US’ Spying Powers

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 3, 2013

One of the saddest things about the whole Snowden affair is that we in the US lost the chance to have a discussion about the Surveillance State once the US’s surveillance of other countries was mentioned. Especially since the very countries complaining the most have been doing lots of spying themselves:

The truth is that the Germans would love to be able to engage in more online espionage. Until now, the only thing missing has been the means to do so. Consequently, an outraged reaction from Berlin would have seemed fairly hypocritical.

Roughly half a dozen countries maintain intelligence agencies like the NSA that operate on a global scale. In addition to the Americans, this includes the Russians, Chinese, British, French and — to a lesser extent — Israelis and Germans. They have all placed the Internet at the heart of their surveillance operations. The vision of a wildly proliferating, grassroots, democratic Internet with totally secluded niches has long since become a thing of the past. Tomorrow’s world is a digital habitat where even the most far-flung corners are exposed to outside eyes, and where everything can be stored for posterity — and actually is stored, as with Prism.

What is surprising about the NSA’s program is its size and professionalism. The objective here is also shared by agencies in other countries, above all the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, which is currently significantly extending its capabilities. Last year, BND head Gerhard Schindler told the Confidential Committee of the German parliament, the Bundestag, about a secret program that, in his opinion, would make his agency a major international player. Schindler said the BND wanted to invest €100 million ($133 million) over the coming five years. The money is to finance up to 100 new jobs in the technical surveillance department, along with enhanced computing capacities. This may sound like a pauper’s version of the Prism program, but it represents one of the most ambitious modernization projects in the BND’s history, and has been given the ambitious German name Technikaufwuchsprogramm (literally “Technological Coming-of-Age Program”).

Espionage envy, in other words. Which is why making the overseas spying revelations actually hurt Snowden’s cause where it mattered most: In America, with Americans.

As I said in the comments of Charles’ NSA piece yesterday, Snowden may have talked all the time about how he didn’t fear his impending martyrdom, but that’s because he really didn’t expect to be a martyr. His entire strategy was based on Ecuador’s giving him asylum after he got to Russia. That’s why he said and did things that would doom him in any US court of law — things like boasting that he took the Booz contract job with the intent to collect data and then leak it. (See also: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/snowden-took-job-to-get-evidence-of-surveillance-062413 ) He never expected to face a US court of law.

Except, with Ecuador saying “no” to his asylum request, suddenly his plan fell apart, and with the conditions Putin has set for him, it looks very much like Snowden will be stuck in the airport no-man’s-land until either he or Putin tire of the situation and arrange for the US to come fetch him. My guess is that he will be handed over to the US Embassy in Moscow before the end of July, at which point he will be flown back to the US to await trial.

And the great national conversation about domestic snooping, a conversation which two weeks ago it looks like he could have started, won’t happen after all.

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German Insistence On ‘Punishing’ Europe Is Slowly Killing German Economy

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 25, 2011

Angela Merkel wants to punish the rest of Europe for not treating its people like dirt:

Angela Merkel was unmoved by another roller-coaster day that saw Portuguese debt being downgraded to junk status, Italian bond yields pushed into the bail-out zone, and doubts cast over France’s AAA rating: the German Chancellor refused to allow the ECB to become Europe’s lender of last resort.

Ms Merkel instead used a three-way summit with France and Italy in Strasbourg to insist that new treaty powers to intervene and punish sinner states remained the key focus of Europe’s rescue efforts. She said: “The countries who don’t keep to the stability pact have to be punished – those who contravene it need to be penalised. We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

That’s right, Angela! Punish those Frenchies and Italians and Greeks! Payback for being made a pariah state after World War II! Hoo-rah!

Except, of course, that it’s slowly strangling the German economy (h/t David Dayen): “Germany’s central bank on Monday cut its forecast for German economic growth in 2012, projecting gross domestic product to expand by 0.5% to 1% versus an earlier prediction of 1.8%, Dow Jones Newswires reported.”

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