Saturday, September 29, 2012

Portuguese, Polish, and Paraguayan Protests (Link Round-Up 9/29/12)

[photo credit: Jimmy Krok]

Spain, Portugal hit with anti-austerity protests
Rajoy’s administration presented a 2013 draft budget on Friday that will cut overall spending by 40 billion euros ($51.7 billion), freezing the salaries of public workers, cutting spending for unemployment benefits and even reducing spending for Spain’s royal family next year by 4 percent.
Pablo Rodriguez, a 24-year-old student doing a master’s in agricultural development in Denmark, said the austerity measures and bad economy mean most of his friends in Spain are unemployed or doing work they didn’t train for.
Polish opposition groups protest over retirement age (and digital cable packaging?)
 Supporters of Radio Maryja — part of the media empire of controversial priest Father Tadeusz Rydzyk — are angry that its television arm Trwam was not one of the channels included in a nationwide digital broadcast package, claiming the decision is political.

“We demand the right to freedom. That’s why we want Trwam,” said Kaczynski, who has long claimed that the mainstream media backs Tusk.

Poland’s Audiovisual Council opposed Trwam’s inclusion in the digital package, citing concerns over its source of financing, and the channel continues to broadcast on satellite and cable.

Marchers from Solidarity — the iconic union which helped bring down Poland’s communist regime in the 1980s and now has close ties to Law and Justice — turned out to oppose to the government’s decision to raise the retirement age to 67.
  Are there really statistical correlations between beer and voter behavior?
These nuggets contributed to one of the persistent mythologies that emerged from the Bush re-election campaign: that Republicans had won because Karl Rove discovered that his base drank Coors and bourbon. It was a notion floated in post-election interviews by some of the consultants who were looking to market this new “microtargeting” to other political clients, and argued extensively in the 2006 book Applebee’s America, by Bush adviser Matthew Dowd, who is a partner of Shannon’s in the firm Vianovo, and Ron Fournier, who now edits National Journal. (The third co-author was former Clinton aide Doug Sosnik.) The book ratified what might be considered the consumer fallacy of 21st-century of politics: that buying and lifestyle habits are the best predictor of political belief and behavior.
In fact, this has rarely been the case. The best predictors of political attitudes tend to be political attachments, and one doesn’t need to mine deeply into marketing research to find characteristics that separate Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans, for instance, tend to register to vote as Republicans, or in the places where that’s not possible—or it’s in greater vogue to call oneself an “independent”—vote in Republican primaries. The best predictor of one likelihood of voting is frequency in having done it before. Furthermore, even those consumer categories that might help to locate voters often don’t cover enough of the population to be terribly useful. After all, what share of voters have been identified as bourbon drinkers by a consumer-research firm?
Paraguayan rebels call themselves the “armed wing” of the country’s poor
The EPP “is a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla organization ... It is the army of the poor, which defends the interests of the poor in our country. The rich control and manage everything to their liking,” the purported commander said in one of the the videos, filmed in August according to a voiceover.
“In our country, the problem is the poor distribution of wealth. That’s why we have to do away with the private property of the wealthy and we have to give the land to the poor,” the young guerrilla added.
But the affluent will not give up control voluntarily, and therefore “we need support and we have to make our Army of the Paraguayan People strong,” he said.
Netanyahu and Romney share the same American donors
But the similarities don't end with ideology: The two also have many donors in common. In fact, a Haaretz investigation found that 19 of Netanyahu's wealthiest American donors, each of whom gave thousands of dollars to his campaign to defeat Moshe Feiglin in January's Likud party leadership primary, have also given to Romney, the Republican Party, and/or other Republican candidates.

Surprisingly, Netanyahu's donor list doesn't include a single Democrat - a fact that indicates just how far removed he is from those American Jews who lean Democratic.

Altogether, Netanyahu received NIS 1,249,022 from 46 people for his primary campaign, an average of NIS 26,574 per person. By law, each donor's name and address must be reported to the state comptroller, and it turns out that 37 of these donors were American.
Russia told Syria to shoot down Turkish plane
According to the files, Assad’s government officially requested that the two men be investigated concerning Ankara’s purported support for the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the main force of anti-Assad rebels. In the documents, Assad warned that Turkey would face grave repercussions if it were to act aggressively against Damascus — not least by utilizing the Kurdistan’s Workers Party (PKK), mobilized with Syrian help.
A plan to transfer the two pilots to Lebanon, where they would be placed in the custody of Hezbollah, was reportedly also considered; however, the documents indicate that their fate was quickly sealed — with Russia’s helping hand.
According to Al-Arabiya: “A subsequently leaked file, also sent from the presidential palace and addressed to all heads of units of the Syrian foreign intelligence, reads: ‘Based on information and guidance from the Russian leadership comes a need to eliminate the two Turkish pilots detained by the Special Operations Unit in a natural way and their bodies need to be returned to the crash site in international waters.’”

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