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Offline knarf

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What I Saw Inside the Messy, Desperate Chaos of the UN Climate Summit
« Reply #14145 on: September 24, 2019, 06:38:34 PM »
Under rapidly approaching deadlines to keep global warming to a tolerable level, too many world leaders seem unable or unwilling to act.

The dozens of world leaders and business executives who delivered speeches about global warming on Monday at the United Nations made a big show of acknowledging how seriously they take the climate emergency without actually naming or confronting the biggest barriers preventing us from fixing it.

Instead, global power brokers like French President Emmanuel Macron, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel strode out one-by-one on to the stage of the U.N. General Assembly in New York and for the most part riffed on the same blandly inoffensive principles: Climate change is definitely happening. The time for empty words is over. We need global action that is sustainable and ambitious. That action must accelerate over time. If it does not accelerate then our children and grandchildren will suffer. Oh and by the way, isn't it so great that they're out in the streets protesting?

What wasn't shared was any serious plan to neutralize the vast political weight of the fossil fuel industry; hold oil, gas and coal executives accountable for creating a climate science denial movement that continues to delay progress; deal with climate reactionaries like Donald Trump and Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro; or question the capitalist growth machine that helped get us into this clusterfuck in the first place.

"We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth," 16-year-old Swedish climate icon Greta Thunberg told the room, her voice on the brink of tears. "How dare you?... If you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this." Later in the day she and 15 other children formalized these criticisms in an official complaint to the U.N.

Hers was a lonely voice at the Climate Action Summit, however, which was convened by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to build momentum for solutions that can halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. That's the scale and speed of reduction that scientists calculate is necessary for us to have any chance of maintaining the climate that currently sustains our civilization.

The Summit provided a useful backdrop for activists to organize what is likely the biggest climate protest in history, as well as an opportunity for over 250 media outlets, including VICE, to coordinate and amplify stories about the destabilization of every natural system on the planet with Covering Climate Now. But outlets like Climate Home report that expectations for the actual U.N. event were low.

There was an edge of desperation that just wasn't present in the same way when I covered the 2015 climate negotiations in Paris. Our situation was arguably just as dire four years ago, but it was easier to forget that as nearly every country in the world signed onto a treaty agreeing to limit global emissions rise at 2 degrees Celsius, while striving for the much safer 1.5 degrees.

At the signing of the treaty, delegates cheered and burst into tears. "History is here," said then-French President François Hollande. But activists I hung out with at a demonstration near the Arc de Triomphe were much more guarded. There was no language in the treaty calling for shrinking the fossil fuel industry, and voluntary pledges, assuming they were all met perfectly, would only stop warming at 2.6 degrees—far from the safety zone for planet Earth.

Four years later emissions are still rising. And of course we all know how "history" turned out in the 2016 U.S. election.

During the lead-up to this week's Summit, Guterres seemed sincere in his desire to transform the global economy away from climate-destroying industries. The U.N. reportedly rejected more than 50 world leaders from speaking because their countries aren't doing enough to meet or exceed the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement. Guterres offered solidarity and an international platform to leaders from the millions-strong youth climate striker movement.

In the General Assembly, he described a litany of climate horrors that provide potentially "apocalyptic" views of the future: "Seas are rising… glaciers are melting and corals are bleaching, droughts are spreading and wildfires are burning, deserts are expanding… heat waves are scorching and weather disasters are multiplying." Guterres urged world leaders to eliminate subsidies for a "dying fossil fuel industry" and cut off support for new coal plants.

But world leaders only loosely followed his script. So many delegates were taking selfies or chatting on the floor of the General Assembly that organizers had to run two separate countdowns urging them to return to their seats. "World leaders and they don't even know how to sit down," said an Italian journalist sitting next to me. "Jesus, this is a shit show."

Many leaders blew way past the three-minute time limit for their speeches, throwing off the entire Summit's schedule. There was also a cringe-worthy moment when the video of Pope Francis addressing the Summit froze and then went dark. "My apologies," said the moderator. "We're having technical difficulties with His Holiness' message."

There were also more substantive deviations from script. Guterres had demanded leaders show up with serious commitments for unscrewing our planet. There's a reason for that: global emissions are at their highest ever level and the impacts—including accelerating Arctic sea ice loss and life-destroying acidity in our oceans—show no signs of calming.

But though on the face of it the Summit pledges seemed impressive—a new Climate Ambition Alliance of 65 nations, corporations worth $2.3 trillion promising to drastically reduce emissions—nobody, as far as I could tell, proposed plans for reducing the vast carbon and political footprint of corporations such as Exxon, Chevron, and Shell, which since 2018 alone have invested $50 billion in new fossil fuel expansion projects.

"There's two realities," Mark Campanale, founder and executive director of the think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative, explained to me over the phone during a break in the Summit. "We've got the climate dialogue that society is having. And then you've got the oil and gas industry that's living in a cocoon. What's missing is a commitment by the U.N. and world leaders to take on the fossil fuel incumbency."

There was also little willingness—beyond a couple polite diplomatic jabs—to publicly take on world leaders who are actively sabotaging global progress. Immediately after Merkel gave a speech in which she talked about the need to convince climate doubters about the need for action, the U.N. broadcast a close-up of Trump on the General Assembly screens, who had made an unannounced visit along with Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump then stood up silently and left the floor along with his entourage. Not long after, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg sardonically thanked the U.S. president for showing up. "Hopefully our discussions here will be useful when you decide to formulate climate policy," he said to laughter and applause. That was the most pointed criticism of Trump, who publicly dismisses the science, dismantles climate policy, abdicates U.S. leadership by withdrawing from Paris, and gives generous White House access to his friends in the fossil fuel industry.

And despite all the attention world leaders gave to young climate strikers around the globe who came out in the millions on Friday—it seemed like no speech went by without some mention of "the youth"—nobody seemed at all interested in engaging with the strikers' main message: that at least part of the blame for our climate emergency can be heaped on the doorstep of capitalism itself.

Macron said he was struck by the urgency of young climate activists and then spent a good part of his speech regurgitating neoliberal talking points about the value of markets and free trade. A U.N. video that played of the protests largely blunted the day's radical edge, featuring photogenic youth chanting and marching and urging world leaders to listen harder to scientists while holding signs reading "There is no Planet B."

What was striking about those images was that there was no footage of the hundreds of teens shouting "shut down Wall Street," the grassroots climate leaders vowing to bring "our economy to a standstill" nor of the young girl that I saw carrying a sign that said "What if we held billionaires accountable for the massive amount of pollution they cause."

At one point in the day I asked a veteran of the U.N. talks, a French journalist who's covered 10 General Assembly meetings, for his assistance in navigating all these contradictions. "So what is the point of meetings of like this?" I inquired sincerely. "What does having all these world leaders get up and give speeches achieve?" The journalist chuckled. "Good question," he said, and darted up a flight of stairs.

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/qvgz4v/what-i-saw-inside-the-messy-desperate-chaos-of-the-un-climate-summit
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Offline Surly1

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Re: In Letter to UN, Scientists Say There Is No Climate Emergency
« Reply #14146 on: September 25, 2019, 02:16:08 AM »
A group of scientists and professionals in climate and related fields sent a letter to the United Nations on Sept. 23 declaring that “there is no climate emergency.”

https://www.theepochtimes.com/in-letter-to-un-scientists-say-there-is-no-climate-emergency_3093580.html

The Epoch Times is a Chinese founded arch conservative outlet wholly in the tank for Pud. It should be handled with protective garments and gloves. In no way to be trusted.

Find a different story here:
https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/09/1046972

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline knarf

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Re: In Letter to UN, Scientists Say There Is No Climate Emergency
« Reply #14147 on: September 25, 2019, 07:29:23 AM »
A group of scientists and professionals in climate and related fields sent a letter to the United Nations on Sept. 23 declaring that “there is no climate emergency.”

https://www.theepochtimes.com/in-letter-to-un-scientists-say-there-is-no-climate-emergency_3093580.html

The Epoch Times is a Chinese founded arch conservative outlet wholly in the tank for Pud. It should be handled with protective garments and gloves. In no way to be trusted.

Find a different story here:
https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/09/1046972

Great way of setting that deception straight! It seems like deception and lies are the last weapons the sheep herders have to make their sheep follow them. They sheep are purposely ignorant about world affairs, the herders are the ones to replace by any means. NOW!
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The World’s Oceans Are in Danger, Major Climate Change Report Warns
« Reply #14148 on: September 25, 2019, 07:44:11 AM »
WASHINGTON — Earth’s oceans are under severe strain from climate change, a major new United Nations report warns, threatening everything from the ability to harvest seafood to the well-being of hundreds of millions of people living along the coasts.

Rising temperatures are contributing to a drop in fish populations in many regions, and oxygen levels in the ocean are declining while acidity levels are on the rise, posing risks to important marine ecosystems, according to the report issued Wednesday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders in policymaking.

In addition, warmer ocean waters, when combined with rising sea levels, threaten to fuel ever more powerful tropical cyclones and floods, the report said, further imperiling coastal regions and worsening a phenomenon that is already contributing to storms like Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston two years ago.

“The oceans are sending us so many warning signals that we need to get emissions under control,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, a marine biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany and a lead author of the report. “Ecosystems are changing, food webs are changing, fish stocks are changing, and this turmoil is affecting humans.”

For decades, the oceans have served as a crucial buffer against global warming, soaking up roughly a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans emit from power plants, factories and cars, and absorbing more than 90 percent of the excess heat trapped on Earth by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Without that protection, the land would be heating much more rapidly.

But the oceans themselves are becoming hotter and less oxygen-rich as a result, according to the report. If humans keep pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at an increasing rate, the risks to human food security and coastal communities will increase sharply, particularly since marine ecosystems are already facing threats from plastic pollution, unsustainable fishing practices and other man-made stresses.

“We are an ocean world, run and regulated by a single ocean, and we are pushing that life support system to its very limits through heating, deoxygenation and acidification,” said Dan Laffoley of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a leading environmental group that tracks the status of plant and animal species, in response to the report.

The report, which was written by more than 100 international experts and is based on more than 7,000 studies, represents the most extensive look to date at the effects of climate change on oceans, ice sheets, mountain snowpack and permafrost.

Changes deep in the ocean or high in the mountains are not always as noticeable as some of the other hallmarks of global warming, such as heat waves on land, or wildfires and droughts. But the report makes clear that what happens in these remote regions will have ripple effects across the globe.

For instance, as ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica melt and push up ocean levels, the report said, extreme flooding that was once historically rare could start occurring once a year or more, on average, in many coastal regions this century. How quickly this happens depends largely on the ability of humanity to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that are heating the planet.

Around the world, glaciers in the mountains are receding quickly, affecting the availability of water for millions of people who depend on meltwater downstream to supply drinking water, irrigate agricultural land and produce electricity through dams and hydropower.

But some of the report’s starkest warnings concern the ocean, where major shifts are already underway.

The frequency of marine heat waves — which can kill fish, seabirds, coral reefs and seagrasses — have doubled since the 1980s. Many fish populations are migrating far from their usual locations to find cooler waters, throwing local fishing industries into disarray. Floating sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is declining at rates that are “likely unprecedented for at least 1,000 years,” the report said.

There have even been unwelcome surprises. The report notes that some pathogens are proliferating in warmer waters, including vibrio, a bacteria that can infect oysters and other shellfish, and that already sickens some 80,000 Americans who eat raw or undercooked seafood each year. “That’s a good example of how changes in the ocean can affect even people who live far from the coasts,” said Sherilee Harper, a public health expert at the University of Alberta and an author on the report.

The report warns that more dramatic changes could be in store. If fossil-fuel emissions continue to rise rapidly, for instance, the maximum amount of fish in the ocean that can be sustainably caught could decrease by as much as a quarter by century’s end. That would have sweeping implications for global food security: Fish and seafood provide about 17 percent of the world’s animal protein, and millions of people worldwide depend on fishing economies for their livelihoods.

And heat waves in the ocean are expected to become 20 to 50 times more frequent this century, depending on how much greenhouse-gas emissions increase.

The potential for these heat waves to wreak havoc in coastal communities is already becoming noticeable in areas like the North Pacific Ocean, where what became known as a “blob” of unusually hot water in 2013 and 2014, partly fueled by global warming, killed thousands of seabirds and helped spawn toxic algae blooms that forced fisheries to close down from California to British Columbia.

Last year, officials in the Gulf of Alaska had to reduce permitted cod catches by 80 percent to allow stocks to rebuild in the wake of the heat wave, roiling the local fishing industry.

“When that happens, it’s like a punch in the gut,” said Brett Veerhusen, 33, a fisheries consultant and commercial fisherman based in Seattle and Homer, Alaska. “And it’s not just fishermen who are affected, it’s an entire supply chain, from processing plants to shipping to grocery stores and restaurants.”

Changes in the ocean also threaten to disrupt the complex and often delicate ecosystems that underpin marine environments. The report notes that the upper layers of the open ocean have lost between 0.5 percent and 3.3 percent of their oxygen since 1970 as temperatures have risen. And, as the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide, it is becoming more acidic, which could make it harder for corals, oysters, mussels and other organisms to build their hard shells.

Acidification and declining oxygen levels are already affecting the California Current, a nutrient-rich pattern of water currents in the Pacific Ocean that supports one of the world’s most lucrative fisheries, the report notes. While scientists are still trying to understand the full effects of these changes, one risk is that shifts in the food chain could cause fish to migrate away.

“If the fish leave, that affects the small fishing fleets we have up and down the California coast,” said Gretchen Hofmann, a professor of marine biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara who was not involved in the report. “So there’s the risk of real economic and social problems.”

While the report recommends that the world’s nations sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions to lessen the severity of most of these threats, it also points out that countries will need to adapt to many changes that have now become unavoidable.

Even if, for instance, nations rapidly phase out their greenhouse gas emissions in the decades ahead and limit global warming to well below an increase of 2 degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels — a goal enshrined in the Paris Agreement, a pact among nations to fight warming — the world’s oceans and frozen landscapes would still look very different by the end of the century than they do today. Warm-water coral reefs would still face devastation. Global sea levels could still rise another 1 to 2 feet this century as ice sheets and glaciers melted. Fish populations would still migrate, creating winners and losers among fishing nations and potentially leading to increased conflicts, the report noted.

To cope with these problems, coastal cities will need to build costly sea walls and many people will likely need to move away from low-lying areas, the report said. Fishery managers will need to crack down on unsustainable fishing practices to prevent seafood stocks from collapsing. Nations could also expand protected areas of the ocean to help marine ecosystems stay resilient against shifting conditions.

But the report also makes clear that if greenhouse gas emissions keep rising, many of these adaptation measures could lose their effectiveness. In the report’s worst-case emissions scenario, where greenhouse gases continue piling up unchecked in the atmosphere throughout the century, sea levels could keep rising at a relentless pace for hundreds of years, potentially reaching 17 feet or higher by 2300, the report said.

“Our fate is probably somewhere in between” the best- and worst-case emissions scenarios laid out in the report, said Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton University and a lead author of the report’s chapter on sea levels. “But if you think about the possibility of indefinite or even accelerating sea level rise for centuries to come, that bodes very poorly for coastal civilization.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/25/climate/climate-change-oceans-united-nations.html
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Offline knarf

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Yes, capitalism is broken. To recover, liberals must eat humble pie
« Reply #14149 on: September 25, 2019, 07:56:25 AM »
For liberal democracy to recover, we will have to recast prevailing liberal philosophy, politics and economic policy

Capitalism reigns. But capitalism is in trouble. Therein lies the paradox of our age. For the first time in human history, a single economic system spans the globe. Of course there are differences between capitalism Chinese-style, American-style and Swedish-style. Close up, these differences can seem significant. But viewed through a wider lens, the distinctions blur. As the economist Branco Milanovic writes in his new book, Capitalism Alone, “the entire globe now operates according to the same economic principles – production organized for profit using legally free wage labor and mostly privately owned capital, with decentralized coordination”.

After the fall of Soviet communism in 1989, and China’s embrace of the market, crowned by the nation’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, it seemed, for a brief flicker of human history, that the world was converging on a political economy of free markets in liberal democracies. As it turned out, markets spread, but without necessarily bringing more democracy or liberalism along with them.

Capitalism without democracy was assumed to be at most a passing phase. Eventually, so western liberal thinking went, China and other Asian nations adopting what Milanovic calls “political capitalism” – free markets, but authoritarian politics – would have to adopt liberal political institutions, too. But, so far, the liberalization thesis remains unproven. China has successfully adopted a market system – and, even more importantly, a market culture – without liberal democratic institutions.

Meanwhile, western democracies are in various states of crisis, struggling to contain a resurgent populism. To a large extent, they are reaping what they have sown. After the Berlin Wall fell, the western technocratic and political elite became complacent, hubristic, and arrogant. Over dinner in cosmopolitan cities, they discussed Fukuyama’s The End of History, pushed further and faster towards freer trade and more porous borders, and insisted that inequality was being sanitized by meritocracy. The elite reformed our leftwing parties into Third Way parties, who swept to power: this was the era of Clinton, Blair and Schroeder. Yes, there were problems, but nothing beyond the reach of centrist technocratic solutions; a little retraining here, some social liberalization there.

“Looking back, the era since the fall of the Berlin Wall seems like one of complacency, or opportunities lost,” said the novelist Kazuo Ishiguro in his 2017 Nobel lecture. “Enormous inequalities – of wealth and opportunity – have been allowed to grow ... and the long years of austerity policies imposed on ordinary people following the scandalous economic crash of 2008 have brought us to a present in which far right ideologies and tribal nationalisms proliferate. Racism is once again on the rise, stirring beneath our civilised streets like a buried monster awakening.”

Western liberals thought they had won, because they looked around the world at burgeoning markets. But they missed the fact that they were losing, slowly but steadily, in their own backyards. As soon as working class voters were given outlets for their anger – Donald Trump, Brexit – it poured out of them. The populist stew is of course a complex concoction, mixing misanthropy and nativism with genuine concerns about economic prospects.

    Western liberals thought they had won, because they looked around the world at burgeoning markets. But they missed the fact that they were losing in their own backyards

Political leaders, disoriented by the backlash, are tempted by cultural explanations, as Hillary Clinton’s unfortunate description of some of Trump’s supporters as “deplorables”. The phrase was taken out of context before being bounced around every social media echo chamber. But today Trump’s most ardent followers wear “deplorable” as a badge of honor. A decade ago, Barack Obama worried about folks who “cling to guns or religion”. When voters feel that they are being looked down on, they are sure to become angry.

Ishiguro’s accusation (a self-accusation, too, I should add) of complacency is exactly right. We made the economic arguments for free trade, automation and immigration on the grounds that on net, and in the long run, these are good for the economy. True, as a matter of economic fact. But what we paid insufficient attention to was the necessary implication that right now, some real people will lose out.

Policies to offer really substantial help to those most affected by change rarely made it to the top of the political agenda. Bill Clinton did too little to invest in workers even as he pursued free trade and sound money. Tony Blair did too little to manage immigration from other EU countries. And to be clear, at the time, I was emphatically on their side. But we were wrong. Here is just one example of the misdirection of resources. Before the passage of Trump’s 2017 tax law, for every $1 the US government was spending on trade adjustment assistance for workers, it was spending almost $25 on tax subsidies to the endowments of elite colleges. Against a backdrop of rising inequality, this was unconscionable.

The question now, as posed by Bill Galston and others in this series, is whether the political leadership can be found to reform the political economy of nations like the US and UK, in the same spirit as during the 1930s and the postwar years. Right now is a bad time to answer that question, of course. The bilateral buffoonery of Trump and Boris Johnson suggests that things are going to get much worse before there is much chance they will get better.

For liberal democracy to recover, we will have to recast prevailing liberal philosophy, politics and economic policy. Philosophically, liberals will have to start by eating many slices of humble pie. It turned out to be a terrible mistake to assume that capitalism and democracy naturally go hand in hand. Perhaps an understandable one, given a certain historical view. Liberal democracy and liberal capitalism were, after all, twins, born of the European Enlightenment. But as history has shown repeatedly, they can be separated. It is simply wishful thinking to believe that some deep natural processes drive liberal causes. They have to be fought for, over and over and over again. Plato’s line about democracy being “a wonderfully pleasant way of carrying on in the short run” used to be a modernists’ laugh-line. But we’re not laughing now.

    For liberal democracy to recover, we will have to recast prevailing liberal philosophy, politics and economic policy

Politically, the challenge is to reassert the authority of government over the market, not in order to cramp competition but in order to see it flourish. The corruption of government by powerful businesses is not a weird anomaly. It is precisely where market incentives lead; the currency of political economy is not money but power.

“The fundamental concept in social science is Power,” wrote the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, “in the same sense in which Energy is the fundamental concept in physics”. Writing in the pre-dawn of the second world war (his essay was published in 1938), Russell delineated various kinds of power: economic power, priestly power, hereditary power, power over opinion, naked power, and so on.

A free society, Russell insisted, requires institutions and cultures that keep each one of these forms of power in check, and stop them being converted easily one to the other. If economic power or priestly power can be readily turned into political power, for instance, we should be wary of the likely result. Democracies have to be constantly patrolling the borders between different sources of power. Separation of powers is a political principle, not just a constitutional one. Russell was concerned about power because he was a liberal. In fact, he was John Stuart Mill’s secular godson. (Both of them spent time in jail for their beliefs, but that’s another story.)

The concatenation of political and economic power, especially in the US, is intrinsically damaging, as Matt Stoller showed in this series. The airline industry is a case in point. As Thomas Phillipon in The Great Reversal and Binyamin Applebaum in The Economists’ Hour both point out, it was under-regulated in the 1930s, over-regulated in the 1970s, and under-regulated again since. One of the most used measures of economic concentration, the snappily named “Herfindahl-Hirschman Index”, rose and fell in line with the extent to which the government enforced competition.

Muscular regulation is often required to ensure genuine competition – but all too often, the political right has a knee-jerk reaction against regulation, and the political left has a knee-jerk reaction against competition. A competitive free market is a good thing. But like tabby cats, it does not exist in the wild.

Once again, what matters here is power. Democratic political systems and capitalist economic systems share an important and attractive feature, of diffusing power. When every vote counts equally, politicians are obliged to serve the people. When every dollar counts equally, companies are obliged to serve the people, too.

    Capitalism works best when it acts in a centrifugal manner to disperse power, less well when it tends towards concentration

This diffusive feature is actually what puts the “liberal” in liberal democracy and liberal capitalism. At heart, both are massive power-sharing agreements. Capitalism works best when it acts in a centrifugal manner to disperse power, less well when it tends towards concentration. Right now, capitalism in many nations, including the US, is tending more towards centripetal than centrifugal capitalism – as many of the essays in this series have shown, including from Ganesh Sitaranam.

Economic power is being concentrated geographically. Today 25 cities, most of them on the coasts, account for more than half of the US economy. Between 1960 and 1980, economic activity was dispersing across regions, reducing spatial inequality. Since 1980, the trend has been the other way, with activity becoming more concentrated in the coastal cities.

Neighborhoods are becoming more economically distinct, too: if you are rich, your neighbors are more likely to be rich than in the past – likewise, if you are poor. Poorer neighborhoods are increasingly cut off, socially and geographically, from the sources of economic prosperity. Almost all (90%) of the poorest counties in 1980 were still at the bottom in 2016, according to research from the Hamilton Project at Brookings.

In terms of policy, the liberal consensus that growth would automatically spread and be shared has been shattered. New measures of distributional growth, as proposed by Heather Boushey, are badly needed. More broadly, both social and economic policy will have to shift resources aggressively to provide more support for children in middle and lower-income families, especially in terms of skills and education, as part of what Melissa Kearny dubs “a new social contract”.

The potential for well-structured, centrifugal capitalism to bring prosperity and choice continues to be demonstrated on a global scale. But this potential is not being realized within many of the countries that currently dominate the international economic scene.

Capitalism in its liberal variant is under serious pressure. But an inwards turn, away from markets, away from trade, away from competition, away from dynamism, would spell dark times indeed, not least for the very people currently most attentive to the bugle call of retreat from the populist movements of left and right. Capitalism may be broken, at least in places. But it is not beyond repair.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/25/broken-capitalism-liberals-economy-politics
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The 77,000 vape cartridges seized in Coon Rapids held 185 lbs. of THC
« Reply #14150 on: September 25, 2019, 05:55:33 PM »
The 22-year-old man charged in the bust was arrested while on probation for an earlier drug conviction.


These vaping cartridges were seized from a home in Anoka County this week. Credit: Provided by the state Department of Public Safety

A 22-year-old Champlin man was charged Wednesday with possessing nearly 77,000 vape cartridges loaded with highly concentrated THC that were confiscated from a Coon Rapids home in what authorities are calling the largest seizure of its kind in state history.

Valentin V. Andonii was charged in Anoka County District Court with two first-degree drug counts, one for trafficking and another for possession.

Bail was set at $1 million for Andonii with conditions that he remain in Minnesota and surrender his passport. In setting bail, Judge Kristin Larson said Andonii’s alleged activities present “extremely serious public safety consequences.”

Larson also pointed out that Andonii is on probation for a felony drug conviction and has a pending felony case involving him allegedly fleeing a state trooper who had stopped him in November on suspicion of drunken driving.

In the meantime, Andonii remains jailed as of Wednesday afternoon. A message was left with his attorney seeking a response to the allegations.

The 76,972 cartridges collectively held more than 185 pounds of the active ingredient in marijuana and were seized Monday from a condominium in the 3600 block of Coon Rapids Boulevard with packaging illustrated with younger users in mind. Some sported famous cartoon characters or themes of sweet flavors.

Unlike legally purchased medical marijuana products that are tested by state regulators, health experts say the ingredients inside illicit vape cartridges aren’t always clear.

The bust came amid a nationwide health scare triggered by nine vaping-related deaths, including one in Minnesota of a patient older than 65 who died in August after a prolonged hospitalization. Overall in Minnesota, state epidemiologists have counted 43 confirmed and probable cases of vaping-related illness and another 24 are under review. All 43 individuals reported smoking THC e-cigarette products, but many also used nicotine.

Nearly 29,000 of the cartridges seized Monday were found in a Cadillac Escalade and 30,000 more in the attached garage next to the luxury SUV, according to the criminal complaint, which said authorities also gathered up nearly $145,000 from the residence and another $23,800 in counterfeit currency.

Authorities first got wind of the Minnesota trafficking operation in July from a confidential informant, who told law enforcement that the suspect “sells large quantities of THC cartridges, commonly in the thousands,” according to a search warrant affidavit.

An undercover officer from the Northwest Metro Drug Task Force purchased vape cartridges from Andonii while under surveillance by other team members, who then followed the man to the home, the charges read.

A search of the residence and nearby vehicles Monday yielded many of the cartridges in the garage but also in each bedroom and near the living room, according to a search warrant inventory filed in District Court. Also seized from the property were THC gummies, prerolled marijuana cigarettes and marijuana vials.

Court records show that Andonii has three convictions for drug-related crimes, two of them felonies. His most recent drug conviction has him on probation until March 2021.

Next-door neighbors were unaware of the arrest or the bust and described Andonii and his 20-year-old girlfriend as model residents who rarely, if ever, got deliveries. Neighbors say they had not noticed any suspicious behavior at the condo complex.

http://www.startribune.com/22-year-old-charged-in-seizure-of-75-000-thc-loaded-vape-cartridges-from-coon-rapids-home/561351132/
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UK court rules transgender man who gave birth must be registered as child’s mother
« Reply #14151 on: September 25, 2019, 06:01:41 PM »


The UK’s High Court ruled Wednesday that a transgender man who had given birth to a child must be legally registered as the mother of the child.

The issue arose when a transgender man gave birth to a child and wished to be legally registered as the father or, alternatively, the parent of the child. The High Court ultimately concluded that “there is a material difference between a person’s gender and their status as a parent.”

The High Court described the term “mother” as “the status afforded to a person who undergoes the physical and biological process of carrying a pregnancy and giving birth.” The High Court reasoned that parental status is no longer gender specific as it was in the past, and that now a mother could legally be male.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2019/09/uk-court-rules-transgender-man-who-gave-birth-must-be-registered-as-childs-mother/
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Is the United States on the brink of a revolution?
« Reply #14152 on: September 25, 2019, 06:24:53 PM »
Political scientists have historically been bad at foreseeing the most important developments. Few of us guessed the end of the Cold War; almost no one saw the Arab Spring coming.

In defence of my discipline, there is a reason for that.

Before a momentous event occurs, there are numerous possibilities and different ways events can unfold. After it happens, however, it will appear inevitable. And after it happens, we will be very good at explaining why it had to happen.

Very few of us are now predicting the socio-political situation in the United States, which now features an impeachment probe into President Donald Trump, will lead to an uprising.

But after years of teaching on protests, uprisings and revolutions, it seems to me the U.S. is currently showing all the signs political scientists and historians would identify in retrospect as conducive to a revolutionary uprising.
What brings about a revolution?

Of course, every revolution is unique and comparisons between them do not always yield useful insights. But there are a few criteria we identify in hindsight that are usually present in revolutionary explosions.

First, there’s tremendous economic inequality.

Second, there’s a deep conviction that the ruling classes serve only themselves at the expense of everyone else, undermining the belief that these inequalities will ever be addressed by the political elite.

Third, and somewhat in response to these, there is the rise of political alternatives that were barely acceptable in the margins of society before.

Combined, these factors create a deeply felt and widely shared sense of injustice, an almost palpable conviction that the system is not working for the majority and only for the very few who abuse their positions of privilege. These qualities weaken any regime’s claim to legitimacy.

But they’re not solely sufficient. The indispensable ingredient of a political revolution is the mental revolution that happens before: personal convictions that the system is no longer working and needs to be replaced.
The coming of a revolution

Before most major revolutions, there’s a substantial increase in the number of protests. Populations display their displeasure and voice their grievances via marches, petitions and protests.

If their concerns remain unaddressed, these protests become more extreme: petitions become strikes, marches become violent uprisings. Resistance becomes a daily fact of life and political organization commonplace.

Once the population is convinced that the system is not working, and their grievances will remain unheard, then almost anything can set off a political explosion.

It could be a historic development like the Lutheran Reformation that triggered the great Peasant Uprising of 1525, or the Great War that fuelled the 1917 Russian revolution.

But it could also be a relatively mundane, common event like the taxation conflict that led to the English Civil War in 1640s, or a famine in France in 1788. In the Arab Spring, it was a fishmonger’s anger with the corrupt police.
Really? A revolution in the U.S.?

The United States is displaying all of the above characteristics. The country is experiencing tremendous levels of economic inequality that’s worsening according to every meaningful measurement.

The New York Times writes about the “broken economy,” The Atlantic notes the “toxic class divide” that is “fast becoming unbridgeable,” and the Intelligencer calls recent data released by the Federal Reserve “a damning indictment of capitalism.”

Compared to the previous decade, Americans are working much more for much less pay, and they’re paying substantially more for their basic necessities. Even Fox News is having a hard time spinning the fact the more Americans than ever need to hold multiple jobs, a full-time job and part-time employment on top of that, just to make ends meet.

While the devastation visited upon the working class by the 2008 recession is far from remedied, economists are already forecasting a new recession.

These would be troubling signs in a country where trust in political authority is strong. In the U.S., that’s not the case.

There has been a substantial loss of faith in the political authority. Trust in the political system is at an all-time low, and Americans also seem to have lost faith in politicians, even the rare few they believe mean well.
Biggest protests

Meanwhile, the last few years have seen the largest protests in the country’s history. And few of the issues that have spurred the protests, from Occupy Wall Street to the Women’s March and March For Our Lives, have been addressed. In fact, the situations that gave rise to them have either continued or worsened.

Law enforcement, for decades plagued with justified accusations of systemic racism, is for the first time experiencing difficulties hiring and retaining new officers.

And the gap between law enforcement and the people goes beyond just a lack of trust — there is now a diminishing faith in the ability and neutrality of law enforcement agencies.

When that happens, people start arming themselves explicitly against the state. All the while, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is building facilities to train its officers for urban warfare.

In response to the crises, political movements that would have been unimaginable a decade ago are rapidly, and rather visibly, rising.
Fascism on display

Though the U.S. system was never free of its racist and colonial roots, the last time fascism has been this prominent in the country was the brief period before the Second World War.

But this time, it’s the government condoning fascist marches and openly deliberating whether anti-fascism is terrorism.

It’s accompanied by a general sense of alienation from and revulsion with capitalism by Americans.

Indeed, two of the leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have built their campaigns on the failures of capitalism, the servitude of Washington to the rich and the powerful and the promise of structural change.

Could a U.S. revolution be a good thing?

No. Revolutions are never good things to live through; they bring conflict and war, pain, suffering and hunger, and plunge the country into political instability for decades.

But also: Yes.

Almost all political rights citizens enjoy and all the protections they have from the arbitrary use of political authority are results of past revolutions.

And sometimes political systems remain so far behind political consciousness that revolutions become the only way to catch up.

In places with longstanding political culture and institutions, where organized political movements engage in politics without using weapons, revolutions can be relatively better-controlled without spiralling into total chaos.

Tunisia, for example, emerged from the Arab Spring and its political revolution unscathed. It was also the only Arab Spring country with longstanding political institutions that took charge of the process. Those four institutions later received the Nobel Peace Prize for protecting the country from absolute chaos.

In the U.S., it’s clear the system is not working for the good of all. There are still numerous possibilities and different ways events can unfold. But unless these systemic failures are addressed soon, political scientists of the future will be explaining how a societal explosion in the U.S. became inevitable.

http://theconversation.com/is-the-united-states-on-the-brink-of-a-revolution-123244
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Elizabeth Warren is rising everywhere
« Reply #14153 on: September 25, 2019, 06:28:54 PM »

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16: 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a rally in Washington Square Park on September 16, 2019 in New York City. Warren unveiled a sweeping anti-corruption plan earlier on Monday.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign is, to quote NBA Jam, "on fire". The latest Quinnipiac University national poll out today has Warren at 27% to former Vice President Joe Biden's 25%.
Now, one poll doesn't mean much, and Quinnipiac's result is well within the margin of error, so there's no clear leader. But when you put Quinnipiac's latest into the context of other recent polls, it's pretty clear that Warren is gaining everywhere.
Warren's national numbers are up since the September primary debate. She comes in with an average of 23% in debate qualifying polls taken after the debate. That's still behind Biden's 28%, but not by much. The trendline is what is important here. Warren was at 18% in an average of qualifying national polls taken in September before the debates.
The 5-point climb for Warren post-debate seems to be a continuation of a trend we've seen for months.

In an average of debate qualifying polls taken before the first set of debates in June, Warren was 12%. That rose to 16% in July. In other words, Warren's increasing numbers are the result not of one moment but of many.
What makes Warren's movement so much more powerful is that it's not just national. It's happening in the early caucus and primary states as well.
Warren jumped to 22% in our latest CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers. Biden was right nearby at 20%, which is within Warren's margin of error. Again, though, it's not about whether Warren is leading or not. It's the long-term trend. In our previous polls, she's up from 9% in March and 15% in June. For comparison, Biden's gone in the other direction: 27% in March to 23% in June to 20% now. These trends are backed up by the average of polls.
We're seeing the same thing in New Hampshire. A Monmouth University poll out Tuesday put Warren at 27% and Biden at 25%, another within-the-margin-of-error result. The trend line, like in Iowa and nationally, is Warren's friend. She jumped from 8% in May to 27% now. Biden, on the other hand, is down from 36% in May. Other polls in the state show similar movement.
What's notable in these polls is you see Warren showing signs of life in groups that Biden should be dominating.
Nationally, you can make the argument that Warren is rising with black voters. She reached her highest level of 19% in the Quinnipiac poll. She's still well behind Biden (who is at 40%), though it's a far cry from the 10% she was at in Quinnipiac's August poll. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll had her up 5 points among black voters from their previous poll. If Warren has any sort of breakthrough with black voters, it could break Biden's supposed South Carolina firewall.
And in New Hampshire, you see Warren at 31% and Biden at 28% among likely primary voters 65 years and older. This was a group that favored Biden 53% to Warren's 9% in May.
This crosstab gets at something pivotal about Warren: Unlike Biden or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, she doesn't have an age gap in her support. That may make it easier for her to unite the Democratic Party.
Now, does any of this mean Warren's the odds-on-favorite to win the nomination? No. If you were to look at either the Iowa or national polls, her chance of winning either in Iowa or nationally is about 30%. There's a 70% chance of her not being the nominee, which isn't surprising, given how many candidates are running.

Further, most caucusgoers and primary voters say they haven't made up their mind. This is especially true of Warren backers. When you look at only those who say their mind is made up, Biden holds a double-digit advantage over Warren both in Iowa and nationally.
Still, the bottom line is that Warren is in her best position so far to win the nomination -- though there is plenty of time to go.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/25/politics/elizabeth-warren-polls/
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Israel's president chooses Netanyahu to form government
« Reply #14154 on: September 25, 2019, 06:32:22 PM »
Reuven Rivlin frustrated after talks between ruling party and opposition stall

Israel’s president has tasked Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a coalition government, throwing a lifeline to the incumbent prime minister after an inconclusive election threatened to end his political career.

Reuven Rivlin’s offer does not guarantee Netanyahu will lead Israel’s next administration. Before that can happen, Netanyahu has up to six weeks to forge a majority coalition in Israel’s parliament.

“The responsibility for forming the government will be handed to prime minister and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu,” the president’s office said in a statement.

With a divided Knesset, the 69-year-old leader now faces an uphill battle to secure support from at least 61 of 120 lawmakers. If his attempts fail, Rivlin could assign the task to someone else, most likely Benny Gantz, the leader of the opposition.

That scenario almost played out in May after Netanyahu failed to cobble together a coalition following a similar election result. But rather than give the opposition a chance to forge a government, he instead pushed to dissolve the Knesset, triggering repeat elections and giving himself another chance.

Many fear a third election will be called if the stalemate holds.

The president had been pushing the two main parties to put aside their differences and form a unity government as together they would have more than enough seats for a majority. Talks appeared to have stalled.

Domestic media speculated the Rivlin may have picked Netanyahu as a way of pushing the two to reach an agreement. The president could have waited up to a week to decide but his announcement adds pressure on Netanyahu to make political deals on a deadline or risk losing grip on power.

The prime minister has several potential routes to form a government, but many would require lawmakers from rival parties to defect. The clearest path would be to get support from Avigdor Lieberman, whose eight seats afford him a kingmaker status. However, Lieberman, a secular ultranationalist, has refused to sit in a government with religious parties, whose support Netanyahu also depends on.

Netayahu’s freedom is also potentially on the line. Next week, pre-trial hearings for three corruption cases against him are set to begin. If he retains the role of prime minister, he will not be required to step down, even if indicted. Netanyahu has denied all allegations.

The central election committee released an official vote tally on Wednesday from last week’s poll that confirmed an inconclusive, razor-thin margin between the two main parties, the ruling Likud and Blue and White.

Blue and White was one seat ahead, but neither party had enough support from lawmakers to form a majority coalition. Netanyahu, however, came out narrowly ahead of Gantz when Rivlin asked this week for all parliamentarians to endorse a candidate.

There is a precedent in Israel for political rivals to serve together after Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon Peres rotated the role of prime minister in the mid-1980s, each agreeing to serve two years.

Yet there was little optimism Gantz and Netanyahu could forge a unity government, as both men have demanded the top seat. Gantz, whose election campaign focused on toppling Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, has also repeatedly pledged not to ally with Netanyahu while he faces potential indictments.

Further complicating talks, Netanyahu also struck an agreement with rightwing and religious parties that back him to make sure they are part of any future government, something Gantz has sought to avoid.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/25/israels-president-chooses-netanyahu-to-form-government
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After Greta Thunberg’s UN address, an ethicist weighs in on our moral failure...
« Reply #14155 on: September 25, 2019, 06:36:59 PM »
to act on climate change.

n her address to the United Nations, Greta Thunberg charged adults with unforgivable moral failure. By failing to enact real change that will reverse global warming trends, grown-ups, she said, have “stolen my dreams and childhood.”

With this accusation still ringing in our ears, many of us, and maybe parents especially, are asking: who is actually morally responsible for averting catastrophic climate change?

The message from the striking school children is: we all do. In ethical terms, theirs is a forward-looking account of moral responsibility, not a backward-looking one. What matters most, they say, is not that leaders communicate their concern about global warming or apologize for past and present fossil-fuel-intensive policies.

Instead, what matters is that concerted actions be taken now to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels and to chart the path forward to a net zero-emission future. It is our shared political responsibility, they say, to urgently demand the policy changes needed to slow the rate of global warming and protect the planet’s ecosystems.
A moral responsibility

This call to collective moral and political responsibility is exactly right. As individuals, we can all be held accountable for helping to stop the undeniable environmental harms around us and the catastrophic threat posed by rising levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Those of us with a degree of privilege and influence have an even greater responsibility to assist and advocate on behalf of those most vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

This group includes children everywhere whose futures are uncertain at best, terrifying at worst. It also includes those who are already suffering from severe weather events and rising water levels caused by global warming, and communities dispossessed by fossil fuel extraction. Indigenous peoples around the globe whose lands and water systems are being confiscated and polluted in the search for ever more sources of oil, gas and coal are owed our support and assistance. So are marginalized communities displaced by mountaintop removal and destructive dam energy projects, climate refugees and many others.

The message of climate activists is that we can’t fulfil our responsibilities simply by making green choices as consumers or expressing support for their cause. The late American political philosopher Iris Young thought that we could only discharge our “political responsibility for injustice,” as she put it, through collective political action.

The interests of the powerful, she warned, conflict with the political responsibility to take actions that challenge the status quo — but which are necessary to reverse injustices.

As the striking school children and older climate activists everywhere have repeatedly pointed out, political leaders have so far failed to enact the carbon emissions reduction policies that are so desperately needed. Despite UN Secretary General António Guterres’ sombre words of warning at the Climate Action Summit, the UN is largely powerless in the face of governments that refuse to enact meaningful carbon-reducing policies, such as China and the U.S.

Like social movements before them, the striking school children recognize that our leaders cannot be relied upon to change unsustainable policies in the key sectors of energy, transportation and housing. Only massive public pressure can cause them to do so — and this requires collective political action of the kind we’ve seen during the week of global protests.
Too little, too late?

The oil, gas and coal lobbies are powerful opponents that have the ear of politicians in the top polluting countries. Canada, which ranks as the world’s sixth largest energy consumer, is no exception. While the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act passed in 2018 follows the fee-and-dividend approach that climate change scientists and economists have called for, its future is precarious — especially in this election year.

And it may be too little too late. Canada’s emissions in 2018 were seven per cent higher than in 1997, the year in which we signed the Kyoto Protocol. It will take aggressive action to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest — the goal that climate change scientists say we must achieve.

The massive turnout for climate action demonstrations around the world may not be in vain. The federal Liberals have announced they will commit to the 2050 net zero-emissions target if they are re-elected.

But meeting this target will require a dramatic reduction in our reliance on fossil fuels and accelerated investment in alternative, clean energy sources and infrastructure. This would most certainly require reversing plans for a Trans Mountain Pipeline, for starters. Given the formidable opponents — the oil, gas and coal industries — the kids are right that we all need to step up to our collective political responsibility if we are to achieve what’s needed to stop climate change.

https://theconversation.com/after-greta-thunbergs-un-address-an-ethicist-weighs-in-on-our-moral-failure-to-act-on-climate-change-124153
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Offline knarf

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Chart of the day: CO2 emissions around the world
« Reply #14156 on: September 25, 2019, 06:43:29 PM »
With all the conversation around climate change, emissions must be starting to fall, right? Well, no actually.

Last year, global greenhouse gas emissions actually rose by 2.1%. That’s despite well-publicised commitments, such as the 2016 Paris Agreement, to keep global temperature rises to a minimum.

And, as the following chart shows, they’ve risen dramatically since the turn of the last century.


The world saw 36.831 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2018.



Consider China. Despite world-leading investments in renewable energy, its greenhouse gas emissions are still on the rise.

Last year, the superpower was responsible for almost one-third of all the CO2 emitted. China has also recently invested in new coal-fired power stations and, with its current policies, GHG emissions are projected to rise until at least 2030.

The second most-polluting nation, in terms of CO2 emissions, is the United States. Responsible for 15% of global emissions, it’s a long way behind China’s 27%.

But the US has the world’s highest per capita CO2 emissions – 16.6 tonnes per person, way ahead of the global average of 4.8 tonnes and China’s 7 tonnes per person.

t has been gradually reducing those emissions over the last few decades, but the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement may undo some of that progress.

EU countries

Together, the 28 member states of the European Union are the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide - responsible for a combined 9% of global emissions.

By 2020 it has pledged:

    20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared with 1990
    20% of total energy consumption from renewable energy
    20% increase in energy efficiency


A brighter future for EU emissions levels.



By 2050, the EU aims to have slashed its emissions by 80-95% compared to 1990 levels.

The region’s dominant economy, Germany, is a prolific coal user. In 2016, more than 42% of its domestic electricity production came from coal.



A hot topic?

With emissions still on the rise, there’s significant work still needed.

Speaking at the recent UN climate summit in New York, António Guterres, UN secretary-general, urged countries to take urgent, joined-up and decisive action to limit the effects of climate change, saying, “Nature is striking back with fury.”

Greta Thunberg also gave an impassioned speech to world leaders, accusing them of ‘betraying’ young people.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/09/global-carbon-dioxide-emissions-chart-of-day/




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Re: Is the United States on the brink of a revolution?
« Reply #14157 on: September 25, 2019, 06:47:03 PM »
It's on the brink of a COLLAPSE.

Then comes the Revolution.

RE
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Re: Israel's president chooses Netanyahu to form government
« Reply #14158 on: September 25, 2019, 07:15:08 PM »
Reuven Rivlin frustrated after talks between ruling party and opposition stall

Israel’s president has tasked Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a coalition government, throwing a lifeline to the incumbent prime minister after an inconclusive election threatened to end his political career.

Reuven Rivlin’s offer does not guarantee Netanyahu will lead Israel’s next administration. Before that can happen, Netanyahu has up to six weeks to forge a majority coalition in Israel’s parliament.

“The responsibility for forming the government will be handed to prime minister and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu,” the president’s office said in a statement.

With a divided Knesset, the 69-year-old leader now faces an uphill battle to secure support from at least 61 of 120 lawmakers. If his attempts fail, Rivlin could assign the task to someone else, most likely Benny Gantz, the leader of the opposition.

//
Further complicating talks, Netanyahu also struck an agreement with rightwing and religious parties that back him to make sure they are part of any future government, something Gantz has sought to avoid.


For the life of me, I don't understand what Gantz is doing. From what I can tell he could have formed a government but refused to have truck with the Arab parties, so punted the ball to Netanyahu. WTF? Anybody who gets this let me know.
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Re: Israel's president chooses Netanyahu to form government
« Reply #14159 on: September 26, 2019, 12:12:30 AM »
Reuven Rivlin frustrated after talks between ruling party and opposition stall

Israel’s president has tasked Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a coalition government, throwing a lifeline to the incumbent prime minister after an inconclusive election threatened to end his political career.

Reuven Rivlin’s offer does not guarantee Netanyahu will lead Israel’s next administration. Before that can happen, Netanyahu has up to six weeks to forge a majority coalition in Israel’s parliament.

“The responsibility for forming the government will be handed to prime minister and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu,” the president’s office said in a statement.

With a divided Knesset, the 69-year-old leader now faces an uphill battle to secure support from at least 61 of 120 lawmakers. If his attempts fail, Rivlin could assign the task to someone else, most likely Benny Gantz, the leader of the opposition.

//
Further complicating talks, Netanyahu also struck an agreement with rightwing and religious parties that back him to make sure they are part of any future government, something Gantz has sought to avoid.


For the life of me, I don't understand what Gantz is doing. From what I can tell he could have formed a government but refused to have truck with the Arab parties, so punted the ball to Netanyahu. WTF? Anybody who gets this let me know.

Here's one take on it... ::)

RE

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/09/25/benjamin-netanyahu-israel-government-001830

Netanyahu given chance to form Israel’s new government


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Israeli President Reuven RIvlin. | Sebastian Scheiner/AP Photo

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

09/25/2019 10:53 PM EDT



JERUSALEM — Israel’s president on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government, giving the longtime leader the difficult task of breaking a post-election deadlock that has paralyzed the country’s political system.

After a divisive campaign, Netanyahu called for a “broad unity government” with his chief rival former military chief Benny Gantz. But he faces an uphill struggle, with his future clouded by a likely corruption indictment and his opponents opposed to sitting with him.

Story Continued Below

President Reuven Rivlin announced his decision late Wednesday after a second meeting aimed at brokering a unity deal between Netanyahu and Gantz ended without an agreement.

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Standing alongside Rivlin, Netanyahu said it was clear that neither his Likud party nor Gantz’s Blue and White could put together a coalition on its own, and that the only option was to band together.

“The two of us cannot form a government unless we are together,” he said. “The order of the moment is a unity government, a broad national unity government that is formed quickly.”

    “The order of the moment is a unity government, a broad national unity government that is formed quickly.”

    - Benjamin Netanyahu

He said the country faced great security challenges, highlighted by Iran, economic challenges and the “great opportunity” of settling its borders when President Donald Trump presents an expected Mideast peace plan.

In a statement, Gantz appeared to rebuff Netanyahu, citing the Israeli leader’s legal problems.

“Blue and White, led by me, does not agree to sit in a government whose leader is facing a severe indictment,” he said. “This issue, among a number of other critical factors, is more important to us than any delegation of ministerial posts or rotation.”

Rivlin said his decision was not a solution and that both candidates were responsible for resolving the political impasse.

Story Continued Below
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“The Israeli people need to know that a government can be established,” he said. “It is true that everyone will have to compromise. But if a government is not formed, it is the citizens of Israel who will pay the greatest price.”

Rivlin said his decision was not a solution, and that both candidates were responsible for resolving the political impasse.

Although Rivlin’s duties are mostly ceremonial, he is responsible for choosing the candidate he believes has the best chance of forming a coalition government.

That is usually a straightforward task. But in last week’s election, neither Netanyahu’s Likud party nor Gantz’s centrist Blue and White secured the required parliamentary majority needed to form a government.
Benny Gantz

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz rebuffed Benjamin Netanyahu’s notion of a unity government. | Sebastian Scheiner/AP Photo

According to final official results announced Wednesday, Blue and White finished first with 33 seats in the 120-seat parliament, just ahead of Likud’s 32 seats. Even with the support of smaller allies, both parties are short of the required 61-seat majority.

A total of 55 lawmakers have recommended that Netanyahu lead the next government, while 54 have lined up behind Gantz. Rivlin said that after exploring all options, he concluded Netanyahu had the better chance of forming a government.

Netanyahu now has a preliminary 28-day period to try to broker a deal. But his odds of success appear to be slim.

Both sides agree a unity deal is the only way out of the deadlock, but they have disagreed over who should head it.

Gantz has repeatedly said he will not sit with Likud as long as Netanyahu is at the helm. Facing a likely corruption indictment in the coming months, Netanyahu is desperate to remain as prime minister.

Israel’s attorney general has recommended charging Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in a series of scandals.

Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing, is to appear at a hearing with the attorney general next week, after which a final decision on charges is expected. Legal experts say the likelihood of an indictment is high. Although Netanyahu would not be required to step down if charged, he will face heavy pressure to do so.
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Another key player throughout the process will be Avigdor Lieberman, whose Yisrael Beitenu party controls eight seats. Lieberman refused to endorse either candidate and is pushing for a unity government.

Without a unity deal, Netanyahu will have a tough time putting together a coalition. The secular Lieberman says he will not be part of a government that includes Netanyahu’s ultra-religious allies.

Netanyahu now has 28 days to form a coalition, and Rivlin having discretion to give him an additional 14 days to do so.

If Netanyahu fails, Gantz would likely be given an opportunity. And if that fails, a majority of parliament members could offer a third name to be prime minister. And if that fails, Israel would be forced into holding its third election in less than a year.

Last week’s election was triggered after Lieberman refused to join Netanyahu’s coalition following April elections, citing what he said was excessive influence of religious parties. Instead of giving Gantz a chance to form a government, Netanyahu dissolved parliament and ordered a new election.

Netanyahu said that if he fails this time, he will allow Rivlin to choose another candidate.

“The nation does not want another election,” Rivlin said.
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