The fact that Norbert Hofer of the Austrian Freedom Party came within a whisker of winning the country’s presidency speaks volumes. Indeed, it is a sign of times that a Neo-Nazi candidate winning “only” forty-six percent of the vote is considered a success for the democratic order. The sad reality is that the election of Alexander van der Bellen for Austrian president is merely a respite from the onslaught of forces of destruction and division that have engulfed much of Europe and the Western world in general. A welcome respite, to be sure, but a respite nevertheless. The shit has not yet stopped hitting the fan.
The Most Interesting van der Bellen In The World (source)
That van der Bellen defeated Hofer twice and with a larger margin on the second go is a silver lining and perhaps strengthens the rationale for a second Brexit referendum. But one should not count on the far-right tide ebbing across Europe. Not with the Dutch, French and German elections still in play and with their own Neo-Nazis well positioned to make substantial gains and sow further discord and hatred. This, of course, was made possible (not solely but in substantial part) by several critical failures of both the European project as well as of the underlying concept of post-war liberal democratic order.
Continue reading Respite Van Der Bellen
For a few long moments on Thursday it seemed as if the government of Miro Cerar drew its last breath. The issue at hand was an agreement between the minister of health Milojka Kolar Celarc and the FIDES, the medical doctors’ trade union (not to be confused with Victor Orban’s Fidesz) which ostensibly put an end to the MDs’ week-long strike. The thing is that at the same time the other public sector unions were negotiating with the government on rolling back austerity measures and getting what they see is their due. On top of that the doctors, unusually, weren’t getting a pass by the public opinion which normally forgave their antics regardless of how baseless they may have been (because doctors and shit). All of this while the government was about to unveil a much-anticipated draft of health-sector reform, a move which by definition makes a lot of players with plenty of vested interest, mighty nervous. But in the end, it all amounted to nothing.
The Three Amigos (source, source and source)
Namely, while Karl Erjavec of DeSUS and Dejan Židan of SD were raising hell in the last couple of days on account of minister Kolar Celarc supposedly agreeing to exempt the doctors from a mechanism that regulates wages across the entire public sector, the true reasons for the entire circus were purely political and aimed at obscuring the fact that both junior coalition parties can ill afford parliamentary elections right now, for reasons both political and financial. And this, more or less goes for all political parties with the possible exception of the SMC.
Continue reading Storm In A Populist Teacup
Dear Mr. Pie. I realise that in writing this I’m addressing a fictional character or at the very least an on-stage persona, but since this is the post-truth era, what difference does it make, right?
Angry Jonathan Pie is Angry (source)
In your post-US elections video (below) you want the audience (in this case, me) to engage you. So I am. And while I enjoyed your delivery I should probably start by calling it what – in my opinion at least – it is. A very clickable load of bullshit. Well, not all of it, you make some very good points but on the whole it’s not unlike the Hillary Clinton campaign. Well-produced, highly compressed hot air. Not unlike this blog, which is why I’d like to think I can relate. Swear words included. So here goes.
First of all – Bernie Sanders? Why wasn’t he on the ticket? Because he lost the fucking primary, that’s why. I mean for all the fire of the Sandernistas and all the talk of the revolution the guy lost the vote by every measure. And if Hillary is such a shit candidate (and you’re right, she should have done better) and can still get more votes than Bernie…. well, you do the math.
Continue reading Safespacing AF (thoughts on Jonathan Pie)
The Donald. Who would have thought. Well, the alt-right did, apparently, which makes them the next Nate Silver, I guess. Good luck with that. The next few days and weeks will be fun as the entire media and political bubble simultaneously tries to come to terms with a Trump presidency and their own misjudgements and miscalculations.
The First Couple-elect (source)
For what it’s worth, pengovsky did maintain that in politics a week is a long time and that the race will be close but yes, I did expect Clinton to ultimately prevail. So maybe it’s best that initial analyses are left to others. Football bloggers seem like a good option.
Having said that, there are a few upsides to the entire connundrum
Continue reading 9 Upsides Of A Trump Victory
As the voting in the US presidential elections is coming to an end so is – one hopes – one of the ugliest campaigns in recent memory. OK, it’s true that the past eighteen months have brought us a couple of valuable lessons. Pengovsky wrote on those recently for domestic consumption but suffice it to say it boils down to infosec for seniors and learning the difference between a cunt and a pussy. But on the whole there’s this uneasy feeling that this could turn ugly yet.
270 to win. (source)
On the whole, the arsenal deployed in US elections is by far more diverse than anything we’re used to this side of the pond, let alone this sorry excuse for a country. Take this legal challenge of The Donald‘s campaign in Nevada where voting was extended on account of long lines. Sure, the judge threw out the suit post-haste, but that wasn’t really the goal. What the campaign aimed to do is to force his opponent’s campaign into making a stupid move of their own and possibly profiting on it one way or another. Of course the Clinton campaign is much too good a machine to fall for that, but the general rules of political engagement state that the enemy must be buzzed at all times. So, nothing wrong with that.
What is wrong with this Trump move however is the same thing that was wrong with his entire campaign from the very beginning: that it employs barely disguised dog-whistle politics, overt racism and wants to win by complaining about the rules rather than finding a way to use the rules to his advantage. In doing this he probably changed US politics forever but not for better.
Continue reading Dear Lord, Please Let It Be A Landslide