A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘federalism

[LINK] “Catalans Spur the Remaking of Spain With Battle for Independence”

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Esteban Duarte’s Bloomberg report keeps me up to date about the events in Spain. This could be big, bigger than Scotland.

Catalonia’s bid for independence has opened the floodgates: Now all Spain’s major parties are looking to remake the way the state’s power is carved up.

Catalan President Artur Mas plans to use voting for the region’s parliament on Sept. 27 — weeks before national elections are due — as a de-facto referendum on leaving Spain. Just as the Scottish independence movement has prompted a rethink of how the U.K. is governed, Spain’s national parties are responding with plans to prevent the disintegration of a country whose mainland borders are unchanged since the 17th century.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party is seeking to give the regions much more say in the Senate in Madrid. The main opposition Socialists are proposing a looser federal state, while the insurgent Podemos and Ciudadanos parties are floating their own ideas.

“Mas has contributed to reopening the debate about how Spain should be governed and taxes should be distributed,” said Antonio Barroso, a London-based analyst at Teneo Intelligence. “With Mas or without him, that’s going to be an issue that Spaniards will face over the course of the next legislative term.”

Spain’s 1978 constitution set up regional administrations with varying degrees of autonomy. But over the past three years, Mas has moved from seeking more control over taxes to demanding the right for Catalans to break away completely.

He’s already campaigning for September’s regional election. If separatist groups win a majority in the legislature in Barcelona and the central government refuses to negotiate, he says he’ll make a unilateral declaration of independence.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 29, 2015 at 10:28 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • Claus Vistesen of Alpha Sources notes that though the stock market might be peaking, we don’t know when.
  • blogTO warns that Toronto might consider a bid for the 2024 Olympics.
  • James Bow thinks about Ex Machina.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly looks forward to her impending visit to Maine.
  • Centauri Dreams features an essay by Michael A.G. Michaud looking at modern SETI.
  • Crooked Timber finds that even the style of the New York intellectuals of the mid-20th century is lacking.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that a search for superjovians around two nearby brown dwarfs has failed.
  • The Dragon’s Tales considers the flowing nitrogen ice of Pluto.
  • Geocurrents compares Chile’s Aysén region to the Pacific Northwest.
  • Joe. My. God. shares the new Janet Jackson single, “No Sleeep”.
  • Language Log looks at misleading similarities between Chinese and Japanese words as written.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that the low-wage southern economy dates back to slavery.
  • Marginal Revolution is critical of rent control in Stockholm and observes the negative long-term consequences of serfdom in the former Russian Empire.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes how Jamaica is tearing down illegal electrical connections.
  • Savage Minds considers death in the era of Facebook.
  • Towleroad looks at how the Taipei city government is petitioning the Taiwanese high court to institute same-sex marriage.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues restrictive zoning hurts the poor.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at how Tatarstan bargains with Moscow, looks at Crimean deprivation and quiet resistance, considers Kazakh immigration to Kazakhstan, and argues Russian nationalist radicals might undermine Russia itself.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that Toronto won’t get a second NHL team any time soon.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at a design for an ion-drive interplanetary starship.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at Pluto’s moons of Hydra and Nix.
  • Joe. My. God. and Towleroad note that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled Italy should recognize same-sex partnerships.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at the low median wage in many American states.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes an odd haze in a crater on Ceres.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer examines the unusually high crime rate in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
  • Torontoist looks at the National Post‘s mobile news van.
  • Towleroad notes the closure of New York City’s Chelsea STD clinic.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers if the Iran deal is constitutional.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Ukrainians are against the federalization of their country.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • James Bow, in the Kitchener-Waterloo area in southwestern Ontario, reports on what the recession looks like in his part of the world. So far things aren’t too bad.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a study on exoplanets looking for binary star companions.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas bids farewell to his blog for now.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw describes the competitive portrait scene in Australia.
  • pollotenchegg looks to the 1926 Soviet census to see what it has to say on ethnicity in Ukraine’s mixed Donbas region.
  • Torontoist looks at the city’s floating houseboats.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy analyzes to death the false allegations of a positive link between immigration and crime.
  • Window on Eurasia notes nationality policy in Russia’s regions.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • The Big Picture shares photos from post-referendum Greece.
  • blogTO looks at a recent live-tweeting of a bad date.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the recovery of New Horizons.
  • The Dragons’ Gaze notes a new estimate for terrestrial exoplanets suggesting that every Sun-like star should at least have one.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper suggesting that salt in the waters of Uranus and Neptune plays a critical role in determining their internal structure.
  • Geocurrents looks at Dhofar.
  • Language Hat notes that Stalin was quite multilingual.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the way the language used by women is policed.
  • The Map Room’s Jonathan Crowe links to an interview with fantasy map designer Robert Lazzaretti.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on Australia’s experience in the Great Depression, noting that it was a time when states were powerful.
  • pollotenchegg notes post-Second World War fertility in Ukraine.
  • Savage Minds has a roundup of links to various anthropology and social sciences blogs.
  • Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle shares photos from St. Jacob’s Farmers market.
  • Torontoist looks at a BDSM sex dungeon.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that Iceland has repealed its blasphemy law in direct reaction to the Charlie Hebdo murders.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russia’s historical singularity and recent evolution.

[LINK] “Kadyrov and Putin: parallel lives”

Nina Jobe and Karena Avedissian at Open Democracy look at the strange symbiosis between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov.

On 3 June, a group of masked men attacked the offices of the regional branch of the Russian Committee Against Torture in Grozny, Chechnya, destroying computers and documents, and damaging the organisation’s car. The police did not respond to calls by staff about the attack, and the Committee Against Torture reports that the attackers went about their business ‘slowly’, as if they knew the police were not going to be dispatched.

The Russian authorities have remained silent on the case, just as they remain silent on the de facto legalisation of polygamy and forced marriage in Chechnya, and the de facto acquittal of people close to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov who are suspects in the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. But these events prompt questions about the extent to which Chechnya remains a genuine subject of the Russian Federation, and highlight a deeper tension between the federal authorities and Chechnya – now boiling over after years of Kadyrov’s rule.

[. . .]

Chechnya is perhaps the most striking case of this asymmetry [between national and regional governments]. This has been exemplified in large part by Kadyrov’s repeated defiance and disregard of Russia’s federal laws. Kadyrov’s recent conflicts with the FSB – most notably when he threatened to have his men fire on federal troops who operated on Chechen territory without his blessing – and the silence of Vladimir Putin and other members of the Russian elite, have only highlighted this situation further.

For instance, when opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was murdered metres from the Kremlin’s walls in late February, blame quickly fell on men close to Kadyrov. The Chechen leader publicly came to the defence of one of the accused, Zaur Dadayev, and refused to turn over the others. Dadayev was an officer in Kadyrov’s private army, the Sever Battalion, as was Ruslan Geremeyev, another high-ranking member of the battalion, who is alleged to have been involved in organising the murder. Geremeyev has since fled abroad.

With the lack of a pushback or even a statement from the Kremlin for these acts, Moscow’s authority is beginning to lose traction. While this is sometimes mistaken for outright favouritism or even the opening of a ‘soft exit’ for Chechnya from the Russian Federation, this particular free rein of power resembles what Kimberly Marten calls ‘outsourcing sovereignty.’

Written by Randy McDonald

June 29, 2015 at 10:37 pm

[LINK] “Federal Court orders government and RCMP to hand over all Quebec gun registry data for safekeeping”

Wow. Hosted at the National Post, Bruce Cheadle’s Canadian Press article tells a damning tale of the government.

A Federal Court judge has ordered that Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and the RCMP commissioner immediately hand over an external hard drive containing a copy of all Quebec gun registry data.

Judge Luc Martineau gave the government until 10 a.m. Tuesday morning to deliver the hard drive to the court — effectively issuing a vote of non-confidence in government assurances that all the remaining long-gun registry records would be preserved while court challenges continue.

It’s the first decisive legal skirmish in a battle that could last for some time between information commissioner Suzanne Legault and the Harper government over the long-defunct long-gun registry.

[. . .]

Martineau’s order came after a day-long hearing in which Justice department lawyers argued it was unnecessary to produce an actual physical copy of the records because the public safety minister had issued “four separate undertakings” to preserve the data.

Lawyer Richard Dearden, representing Legault, presented affidavits, letters and email evidence showing that previous assurances from the Conservative government in 2012 were ignored as it pushed for the speedy destruction of all gun registry records outside the province of Quebec.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 25, 2015 at 11:02 pm

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