The Pre-Aftermath

"Results" from the Catalonian referendum are in. Der Spiegel reports: [Nach katalanischen Behörden] beteiligten sich rund 2,26 Millionen Menschen an der Abstimmung, dies entspreche 42,3 Prozent der wahlberechtigten Katalanen. 90 Prozent votierten für eine Abspaltung. ([According to Catalonian authorities] about 2.26 million people participated in the vote, accounting for 42.3% of eligible Catalonian voters. 90%…

Votes by Region

Spiegel Online has a really fun interactive map of election results. It shows a map of Germany broken down by district, and you can filter by party to see how well each party did. Of course, the most dramatic results confirm an old insight: votes for the more extreme parties are concentrated in the East.…

30 Days

Now that the shocking results are in, it’s safe to say that my prediction from yesterday has a pretty good chance of coming true. That was that Germany would get its first ever federal minority government1, and that it would be formed by Union (CDU/CSU) and the FDP. It all depends on inter-party negotiations from…

Puigdemont Has Written An Essay

Carles Puigdemont – premier of the Catalonian Autonomous Region – is currently winning the PR war with the Spanish government. That seems to be the temper of the times: there’s a strong misalignment between the forces that are good at manipulating public opinion and the forces that are for right and the rule of law,…

Election 2017 – Predictions

Since the German election is tomorrow, this is my last chance to post a prediction. I think it will be … A Union-FDP coalition minority government, the first minority government in the history of the Bundesrepublik. Here’s what we know to almost a moral certainty: Merkel will be chancellor again. There’s no way the CDU/CSU…

Et the Internet, Spain?

The budding constitutional crisis in Spain over Catalonia’s secession/independence referendum is a near-perfect example of the hallmark of our times: issues that escalate for no good reason other than the sheer fuck of it. The latest brick in the wall is attempts by Spanish authorities to shut down websites reachable on .cat TLD urls that…

Boring the Audience into a Frenzy

Whenever I watch a (political) lecture or read a (political) book by Noam Chomsky, I’m always struck by how out of place his rhetorical style seems. Normally you think of charismatic figures as having a really forceful speaking style; Chomsky’s is rambling and dull. The question is begged: do people respond to him because of…

Blowback

Matt Palumbo makes an important point about "blowback" as it relates to Islamic terrorism, but in, I think, the wrong way. The thesis: The "blowback" explanation for Islamist terrorism is masochistic nonsense. And the argument: Why is it that no other group of people "Western imperialism" has harmed has responded in the way that jihadists…

Witness for the Prosecution

Another two weeks go by, another islamist attack in Europe. This time, too, nothing changed. There are lots of vigils, lots of expressions of solidarity, and of course lots of reminders that not all muslims are violent extremists. Theresa May did break rank a bit and call out radical Islamism as an ideology, but this…

Manchester – So Little to Answer For

Since there’s been another one of these attacks, some disconnected thoughts. As usual, the vigils and candles and outpourings of public grief and professions of solidarity with muslims are just embarassing. We know this kind of reaction changes nothing. If you really want these kinds of attacks to stop, or even lessen in frequency, you’re…