Notes about a day of protest

Cube of tyrants goes up in flame [Photo source: ABS-CBN News

By Joe America

  1. The number of rallies across the nation, and the size of the Luneta rally in particular, showed that there is a core of objection to martial law and killings that will not be put down by propaganda.
  2. The Luneta rally was pretty much ‘non-denominational’. It was not radical commies as I think many in the ‘yellow’ (predominantly LP) gathering had feared.
  3. It was unfortunate that the unveiling of the Jose Diokno statue at the CHR was given little or no mainstream news coverage. It would have been better done on a separate day to add another punctuation mark to the message. Likewise, the gathering of dignitaries there was not covered, as far as I know.
  4. The pro-Duterte rally successfully commandeered mainstream television coverage, being shared equally with Luneta on the screens. The TV reporting did not make the distinction between the difference in tenor: subdued, bused in purchased rallyists for Duterte, an angry, impassioned crowd of volunteers objecting at Luneta and elsewhere.
  5. Follow-up thought: Mainstream media, especially television, are so star bound that they follow the President around like little puppies. They are not capable of intellectual discernment.
  6. Social media was a storm of protest with more discerning comments. Clearly the rallyists won in that field.
  7. There was no violence, and no cause for national martial law. Congratulations rallyists on the dignity of the expression.
  8. The youth of the nation formed the large center of the protest. I tweeted that “It seems like the nation is waking up” because of the passionate engagement of people whose future is being shaped by the current President’s violent and uncivil behaviors. Engagement by young people is downright inspirational. It is a load off the shoulders of the seniors who have been anchoring the objections to this point (because they remember what Marcos rule was really like).
  9. Strong new voices of objection are emerging. I particularly am impressed by the ‘conceptual’ leadership of Florin Hilbay, Marvic Leonen, and Miguel Syjuco because they dominate my Twitter wisdom. There are many others, giving the protest quality as well as quantity.
  10. The President’s troll brigade suffered a major hit with Mocha Uson embarrassing the nation by appearing at the UN in New York and striking a fist pose. Also, social media stormed about the “return of Imelda” represented in a video showing the President’s common law wife Honeylett emerging from a Broadway show, being evasive, and ducking into a limousine.
  11. The President seems to be losing control of the debate. Drugs and his son and Trillanes remain in the headlines on both social and mainstream media.
  12. Fighting the social media storm are the worst attack dogs of the Administration, all scoring a 10 on the scale of moral indecency and scurrilous leadership: Aguirre, Gordon, Alvarez, and Uson. Panelo and Cayetano are 9’s. Pimentel seems to have ducked for cover. They give the President a horrible reputation among people with half a brain or more.
Comments
96 Responses to “Notes about a day of protest”
  1. Gemino H. Abad says:

    YES!! People Power now rising! Our present blood-drugged government is doomed!

    • The door of objection was thrown off, the chains of restraint removed. Indeed, it was a meaningful day. The President was in Marawi trying to sidle up and capture the hearts and minds of the generals, his wife was in New York spending somebody’s money, and Uson was at the UN staining the reputation of Filipinos around the world. Back home, the people were standing up.

      • methersgate says:

        It was not clever of Uson to be in New York when her budget was under discussion in the Senate. Nancy Binay scored a direct hit on her. The Binays seem to sense the way the wind is blowing.

        As Marites Vitug pointed out, trolls can’t fight real people.

        • “Trolls can’t fight real people.” Love that.

          It’s like the President is a boxer taking body blows and fists to the chin these days. Trillanes, protest, Honeylett, Uson, tattoo, and the economic impacts may soon raise unrest across the nation. Prices matter, taxes matter.

        • karlgarcia says:

          People get fired for posting or even just liking a post that a boss sees as going against the company or a boss.
          Andanar’s excuse that Uson’s FB page is personal is hog wash.

          • It is hogwash and horrible ethics.

            Totally off topic and a jab at LCX, whom I miss. He was FOR Trump and AGAINST drone strikes. I guess he has some rationalizations to make:

            On topic, Senator Trillanes is filing charges against Esther Uson at the Ombudsman today. But maybe you already know that.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Slow internet prevented me from replying. My comment earlier was that I missed LCX too and if he wished to comment about the removal of limits to drone strikes, I wish he would, but not as a devil’s advocate, like asking us “what is wrong with that?”

              I can only find a report by cnnphilippines fb version on the case filed by Trillanes, maybe as I type this,it has been reported by other mainstream media.

              • I would be surprised if that did not get a splash. Maybe they are still sleeping off yesterday’s overtime work.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Now I am watching a report on it. (ANC)

              • Thank you both for missing me. But i’ve not left, just been reading, though not commenting (strapped on time).

                As to this drone strike stuff. Nothing new really.

                Theres two ways to look at this: 1) How each administration prosecutes Counter-terrorism via drones and 2) Drones themselves, as in the tech (and its evolution, ie. AI, meta-data, etc. etc.)

                When Bush W. used drones it was two fold CIA and DoD, but very few ; then Obama came along up’ed the number of drone strikes, but more on the CIA side of things (because he, Obama, thought it better directly under him, as opposed to under the commanders in the field) … this is where Joe and I left off per our discussion awhile back . 😉

                With Trump now in the WH, I think what’s going on is simply Trump (because he loves his generals) expanding the drone program but instead of bureaucrats in DC calling the shots (under Obama), actual soldiers on the ground will be using these drones (which if you remember Joe, i have no problem with , on the ground use means it’s direct and there are after actions, and will be more transparent than all this meta-data use to kill terrorists, or not).

                from the article linked … “The move would also grant a C.I.A. push for permission to expand its program of covert drone strikes, which has included occasional attacks in Yemen and Syria but has largely centered on the tribal region of Pakistan, to Afghanistan — until now the exclusive purview of the military.” I’m reading this more as the CIA will answer directly to DoD , and not back to DC anymore (ie. bureaucrats running the show).

                I could be wrong of course 😉 , but i think it is simply shifting to DoD, that drones will play more roll is already a given. Nothing new there, Joe (you can’t stick the toothpaste back in the tube). Transparency was all I was concerned of, now with drones under DoD (or DoD taking lead) i’m more at eased, Trump or no Trump in the WH.

              • the over-arching issue here is bureaucrats in the guise of senior intel officers playing soldiers. with that said i’m perfectly fine with them doing assassinations, close and personal, or even close and personal drone strikes; but using drones like attack helicopters or fighter jets , that should be all under the purview of DoD to begin with.

              • So there is a difference between Obama’s drone program and Trump’s? Obama inserted himself and Trump let’s his military pull the trigger? And that makes collateral damage okay? Is there a tactical difference in how they are being used? I understand that Trump intends to increase the use of drones. The same ones that you opposed vehemently under Obama. Color me confused.

              • “And that makes collateral damage okay?”

                Joe,

                the assumption here is that because it’s the military doing all the big killings again, that there will be “less” collateral damage—- of course that’s the ideal. But i’m counting on boots on the ground (as opposed to over reliance of 3rd parties or local “friendlies”), plus after action/damage reports that military tend to favor, hence institutionalized check and balances, that’ll prevent or at least keep massacres at a minimum,

                as opposed to the too covert nature of the past programs under Obama. remember too covert, ie. no check and balances, no boots on the ground, just DC bureaucrats making decisions in nice comfy air-conditioned rooms, that’s just bad recipe all around , Joe. and Obama himself course corrected after too many bombing by drone happened in weddings, funerals, etc. etc.

                “Is there a tactical difference in how they are being used? I understand that Trump intends to increase the use of drones. The same ones that you opposed vehemently under Obama. Color me confused.”

                under Obama there was less check and balances, more reliance on bureaucrats making decisions and this meta-data crap—- “We kill people base on meta-data!”.

                https://joeam.com/2015/11/22/the-islamic-renaissance-in-the-philippines/#comment-150985 (read more here, for those who missed this fine discussion)

                “Proportionately, kill only those who need to be killed.” How? By prioritizing mitigation of collateral damage, ie. if it’s in a home full of civilians or cars full of families, elect not too shoot, pretty please. The decision-making process for use of lethal force is broken down piece by piece for the police, so too the military with rules of engagement,

                if imminence isn’t defined for drone strikes, then you’ll always have problems applying proportionality, Joe. How? Oversight will enforce proportionality. by letting DoD handle the bulk of drone wars, you’re essentially moving more of it under oversight.

                That the drone wars will be here to stay I have no qualms with, and have not based my arguments on this, Joe. re-visit our discussion. Though from a personal point-of-view, a Luddite when it comes to this sort a stuff, I’m with Robert Baer here:

                “Assassination is a fine and subtle craft. Or to steal from Flaubert, the aesthetics of it are the highest form of justice. And in that sense it’s an educative act: The assassin show himself to be unsparing and hard in his clarity. He demonstrates how he’s meticulously and correctly calculated the true value of the person he’s about to murder, what his murder will accomplish, and what it will cost. He doesn’t miss or unnecessarily take innocent lives. It’s a leverage of force like no other.” ———— on political assassinations, from “The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins” by Robert Baer

                for covert stuff make it quiet and small; for big and messy stuff make sure the DoD’s handling it, so there’s more oversight.

              • “by letting DoD handle the bulk of drone wars, you’re essentially moving more of it under oversight.

                That the drone wars will be here to stay I have no qualms with, and have not based my arguments on this, Joe. re-visit our discussion. Though from a personal point-of-view, a Luddite when it comes to this sort a stuff, I’m with Robert Baer here:”

                (that part shouldn’t have been italicized, sorry failed to close it )

              • I have a clear recollection of our discussions. You were hostile toward the Obama drone program. Now you are not. The only things that have changed are who is president and your argument.

              • NHerrera says:

                Hey, hey, hey. Lance is alive. Nice to read your post again.

              • I’m still hostile towards the Obama drone program, Joe (’til now, because it happened). And I still stand-by what i said in the former thread (discussion), no change. Remember you also said this,

                My argument has not changed (it’s a solid argument), the need for oversight, is still key. If Trump’s drone program is more of the same , then I’ll be hostile towards it as well—- but highly unlikely now since Trump’s not calling the shots but folks like Mattis, whose decisions i’ll take any day of the week (and twice on sundays), than D.C. bureaucrats, relying on 3rd world “friendlies” and meta-data.

                But remember , Joe, Trump’s drone program remains to be seen. I can’t be hostile against something not yet apparent, Joe. 😉 Obama’s i can talk about at length, Trump’s I can only say based on similar articles you’ve linked to, is simply transferring to the DoD from the covert world (which means oversight).

                And oversight makes me all warm & fuzzy, not on edge any more. 😉

                NH, thanks for the warm welcome! My favorite octogenarian online!!! 🙂

              • Okay, you are doing the shifting sands thing again, and I have more important battles to wage. We can wait to see how Trump wages his wars.

  2. Edgar Lores says:

    *******
    The tribes have spoken.

    Finally. Convincingly.
    *****

  3. I agree with your comments and observations. May yesterday’s events lead to more of us Filipinos waking up from this nightmare titled “Dudirty” and march into the dawn of re-awakening. So that we don’t get into another era of autocratic madness.

  4. Sup says:

    i noticed that Dela Rosa still using the bulletproof car yesterday when he did arrive at the protest scene……..Almost one year now …

    ”Aside from being surrounded by an entourage of highly trained security personnel as well as a police convoy, Dela Rosa is currently using an SUV lent to him by a concerned friend.”

    http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/10/28/1638045/dela-rosa-now-moving-bulletproof-car

    Must be a very nice friend……

  5. andrewlim8 says:

    I love that message on a church tarpaulin: BAWAL MAGNAKAW NG BUHAY.

    That summarized two violations of the commandments in one sentence- thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill.

    The Duterte regime is violating one other commandment, though: thou shalt not bear false witness.

  6. The Plaza Miranda rally was a parody of the pre-election Luneta rally of Duterte’s supporters. Instead of a fully energized crowd and Mocha girls, bored hakot crowd and Viva Hotbabes. Strangely, Duterte did not fist-bump with the soldiers in Marawi – also a sign of waning energy?

    Luneta – more than Mendiola which was classic left, more than CHR which was classic liberal – might have let loose enormous kinetic energy as a cross-section of Filipinos was present. Might be that this is white billard ball hitting the many colors on the table. Result = chaos theory + physics..

    UP Church (very familiar ground to me) may have also been a place of kinetic energy yesterday. Leni Robredo, who used to be a spare tire for Grace Poe, very much grown into leadership now. The same theme song was sung at UP and Luneta, possibly a sign of things to come – let us see.

    • Yes, one of the blogs I scrapped was a laborious moralizing about the power that would come if the individual tribes put a single goal they all agreed on as first priority, and put all the historical and policy ‘provincialism’ into second priority. Yesterday, the provincial thinking caused the genuinely important revealing of the statue to Jose Diokno to pass by unnoticed. What a loss. What a statement it would have been if it had had its own day and rally so the media could be there. Media were already using split screen to give the Duterte rally more attention than it really deserved.

      But I think the groups will eventually come to grips with that, and I expect the next rally to be HUGE, and unified.

  7. andrewlim8 says:

    It just occurred to me: what kind of people would put gyrating has-been sexy dancers in front of Quiapo church for entertainment?

    • It is altogether comical. Government opposing protesters who want human rights and civility, spending tax money to bus people in and feed them and pay them (allegedly), and . . . having no real message to communicate . . . substitute sexy dancers. So absurd that Kafka couldn’t make up anything so ridiculous.

    • madlanglupa says:

      It’s about the same style that happened at the last SONA. A tongue-in-cheek chap told me about the “Twerkers of the Republic”, asides that it was indeed and literally bread-and-circuses.

  8. NHerrera says:

    From mostly silent … to tiptoeing … to admirable awakening. Nice anecdotal listings of events in the blog and comments.

    Come join the Filipino Train traveling the right side of history!

    • NHerrera says:

      About history. Here is a macabre narrative. After waiting hours for Stalin’s usual noontime call which did not come, the guards fearful of the consequence of disturbing the Dictator, finally had an elderly maid go into his office-bedroom, finding Stalin on the floor, wet with his urine on an apparent stroke. After the guards advised the other masters — Beria, Malenkov, Bulganin and Khrushchev — it took them a day or two more to have doctors take a look, advising the guards to let Stalin sleep; history suggesting that the four would rather have Stalin die than live. He died 4 days later, age 74, after being found on the floor. It seems that no amount of absolute dictatorship can save Stalin from his “friends.”

  9. Nate packer says:

    CNN Philippines streaming had a decent coverage of the Diokno unveiling and the LP gathering with interviews of Noynoy and other party leaders.

  10. Zen says:

    How nice to wake up the day after and find the news positive and encouraging. The Day of Protest, yesterday was a success if not for the number but the mix of people rallying. Thanks God we have arrived at this stage of this disastrous tragic comedy.

  11. karlgarcia says:

    Offtopic.

    Kim calls Trump a Dotard.
    Kim thinks Trump is a DDS?

    Now we are in trouble.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      aha ha ha ha

      North Korea may be monitoring Philippine internet chatter.. Dotard could be short for “Donald Retard”

      But political correctness in the US won’t encourage them to laugh at this…

    • pelang says:

      It seems Kim learned it from the filipinos calling fans of Duterte as Dutertards.I was.watching the MSNBC latest news via youtube and they mentioned about Kim calling Trump Dotard.. It means, an old person who have become weak, senile, exhibiting a decline in mental faculties or foolish. This fits better someone else we know, don’t you think?

    • NHerrera says:

      Off topic

      With Trump’s UN statement about virtually wiping out North Korea if the US or its allies are harmed, KJU, aka Rocket Man, comes out with its verbal missile: the idea of testing a nuclear bomb over the pacific — whether through a missile or through another way is unclear.

      The ratcheting of rhetorics has now come to a point fraught with danger, when one considers that KJU follows through with action from his statement. I am not here talking of nuclear war, but atmospheric test of a nuclear bomb over the Pacific, with the world having no idea of when, where and how such test is going to be done. I am talking of the environmental effects through radiation — when the world’s population and travel traffic has increased exponentially from the early days of such atmospheric testing.

      Will the US and allies shoot down the next missile when it overflies Japan again — the only way the missile can go far out into the Pacific, as suggested by some, whether or not the missile is carrying a nuclear warhead for testing? Will this action against action lead to further physical ratcheting (not just words against words)?

      INDEED MADMEN ABOUND.

  12. andrewlim8 says:

    There’s this guy who joined a DDS Facebook group and posted, ” Type YES or Like mga ka DDS kung credulous tayo kay President Duterte.”

    Guess what? 715 Yes and 2,900 likes.

    (credulous: gullible, uto-uto)

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  13. gerverg1885 says:

    andrewlim8,

    It just goes to show that credulity has no limits…even in a country that is so proud of its high literacy rate!!!

  14. gerverg1885 says:

    joe,

    The rally yesterday is a sign of more and bigger rallies to come.

    Thanks for the notes and keen observation of the event that, thankfully, was peaceful.

  15. Sabtang Basco says:

    Aung San Suu Kyi defends Rohingya Muslim Ethnic cleansing.

    Aung San Suu Kyi has abandoned her responsibility to protect human rights. Hundreds of thousands of people from the Rohingya ethnic minority are being expelled by the military from lands in western Myanmar

    She has now become a monster like THESE protesters with their KKK clenched-fist Nazi salute … never in the history of the Philippines their Filipino leaders became true to their words just like Aung San Suu Kyi. I supported her. I protested for her release. Now I have released a monster.

    At least in Duterte he was honest he is a monster and the Filipinos voted a monster. The majority won.

    • 16 million plurality elected him, but your point is right. A new poll out today says three-fourths approve of the drug war. So they like what they see, all the killings.

    • madlanglupa says:

      God knows why for so long she never said about the Rohingya until now, although for a long time ethnic conflict is a well-known problem in Myanmar (should call it Burma again). Either way as a leader she has full responsibility, and unsurprisingly events has caused fundamentalists to pay attention to Myanmar and thus prepare for another “holy war”.

  16. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    A THRILLA IN MANILA: TRILLANES VERSUS USON

    http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/626863/trillanes-mocha-uson-s-posts-motivated-by-malice-hatred/story/

    Frankly, I am not confident this will go in Trillanes’ favor, but it may serve to diminish the shine of Uson on the non-rabid supporters. But we’ll see, as Trump says from among many in his bag of tricks.

  17. Ah, PH topping the 2017 Global Impunity Index is a cake walk with PRD and his capers. His latest display of impunity is about ordering drug suspect’s wiretapping. May the Lord have mercy on us all!

    Take note, Aguirre. Your president just gave you a precedent for your Hontiveros’ case. 🙂

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/932733/duterte-admits-wiretapping-drug-suspects

  18. madlanglupa says:

    Sidenote: some scam artist walked away from Los Baños with a nice bundle of cash, after making some thousands of people pay for a Php30 booklet, and promising 10k per month for those who wanted to join. https://twitter.com/DZMMTeleRadyo/status/911510305485725697

  19. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    By early Monday Manila Time, due to time difference, we will know if Angela Merkel gets to be a four-term Chancellor of Germany.

    Germans will be voting to fill seats in the Bundestag on September 24, the country’s 598-seat parliament. Whichever party wins the most seats will try to form a coalition government, and the leader of that party will then become chancellor.

    The election will go on like a well-oiled German machine. The German election is not as popular a news item as other international news — such as Trump’s and KJU’s threats and counter-threats — but it is important to Europe and thus to the world.

  20. It is very probable that she will win. The question is with what margin and what coalition. Polls so far indicate trends, the final result will be out around waking time in Manila – trends and protagonists just to give an idea of what is at stake:

    Around 35% of parliamentary seats: CDU/CSU – Christian Democratic Union, Merkel’s party; and the Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union. The CDU was founded by Konrad Adenauer after the war, its core was the Catholic Zentrum party – I think “Union” means open to all Christians. One could say the conservative crowd that goes (or used to go) to Church on Sundays is its clientele. SME entepreneurs, farmers, managers, old middle class, artisans and such. Color: Black. Foundations close to CDU and CSU respectively are Konrad-Adenauer- and Hanss-Seidel foundations.

    Around 25% of parliamentary seats: SPD – Social Democrats. The oldest political party in Germany, but it was banned several times, forced to merge with the Communists in the East. Close to the trade unions. It’s candidate Martin Schulz was EU parliament President – a high-school non-graduate who knows how to talk to normal people, but somehow did not manage to come up against Merkel. The clientele of the SPD will be workers, trade union functionaries, left-wing intellectuals and professionals especially in the big cities. Color: Red. The Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation is close to the SPD.

    Around 10% of parliamentary seats: FDP – Free Democrats or Liberals. Seems to have the highest number of noble names (von) among its members, large stockholders, ambitious enterpreneurs etc. Color: yellow. Foundation: Friedrich-Naumann – the one which invited VP Leni to South Africa. While black is more towards social stability and red is more towards distribution of wealth, yellow will tend to be for progress, especially that which brings economic innovation and new opportunities. They were out of parliament in 2013 when they failed the 5% minimum number of votes required to enter.

    Maybe less than 10% of seats: Grüne/Greens. Born out of the “alternative” or 1968er crowd which used to be hippie-like protesters, especially against old Nazis in the West. Ecological and multi-cultural, similar to today’s mainstream liberal cultural in many places. Foundation: Heinrich-Böll.

    Maybe less than 10% of seats: Linke/Left. A merger of classic left-wing Social Democrats who left the SPD when it ruled early in the century under Schröder, becoming more centrist and close to yellow; and the old PDS (Democratic Socialist Party) which are the renamed East German Communists.

    Around 10% of parliamentary seats: AfD – Alternative for Germany. A merger of national conservatives (including professors etc.) who left the CDU of Merkel when it became too centrist and too close to the SPD for them during the years of the “Grand Coalition” (black-red) AND the forces of PEGIDA, the anti-refugee groups that got loud after Merkel let in a lot of refugees in summer of 2015. Strongest in former East Germany. Both Left and AfD show that former East Germany has changed the political landscape. 57 years of authoritarian rule (1933-1990) could have left their mark.

    ——————————

    Possible coalitions: (over 50% needed to elect the Chancellor)

    Black-Red: business as usual. 60% majority is comfortable, even with internal dissenters. However this may mean that AfD gets opposition status. A Red opposition might be easier to deal with..

    Jamaica: Black-Yellow-Green: never existed. Green ecological forces may not get along well with the Yellow neoliberal forces, even as Green libertarians and Yellow political liberals may like each other. The coalition agreement would take longer to forge, 55% majority is thinner, potentially rocky times..

    ——————————-

    The Merkel forces have mobilized all potential voters. There is a certain nervousness that polls may be wrong. Some even fear up to 15% for the AfD. Even with 9% or 10% AfD to contend with, Merkel is up to a rocky fourth term. Will global populism be held back in Germany, for good? I hope so.

    • That was intended as an answer to NHerrera re Merkel.

      one addition: East Germany did not become as “Westernized” or “Americanized” as West Germany ever did, even if first names like “Mandy” or “Cindy” often indicated Eastern birth. Skeptical attitudes towards the USA and the Western alliance are still very common there. Russians did not really endear themselves to East Germans either, and often the latter remained aloof towards their Slavic neighbors. Even if some still sing Czech songs up to now.

      and also: East Germany did not have as many foreign workers as West Germany. In fact, West German labor import was directly related to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the others were imported when East Germany “cut supply short”. Generations of getting used to foreigners as opposed to East Germany, where Vietnamese (and Cuban) “socialist brother workers” were isolated from the rest of the population in compounds of their own.

      finally: West German political parties sent it a lot of the wrong people to form their locales in East Germany from 1990 onwards. This increased the brooding resentment in the East. Kohl’s infrastructure programs did not necessarily lead to progress everywhere in the East, in some places just to better Autobahns to bring East Germans to work in Berlin, Hannover or Munich. Not fly-over states like in the USA, but “drive-past” areas like Magdeburg or Brandenburg.

      Merkel is a rare exception that proves the rule: someone from the East who made it to the top. Some Easterners hate her all the more for not being able to instantly improve their lives.

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks for the notes. I am particularly glad about your notes on the East and West German sentiments.

        • http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/german-elections-2017-live-updates-latest-news-angela-merkel-cdu-polls-votes-martin-schultz-close-a7963876.html – seems that the big cities turned out in force to counter the mainly left-behind small-town far-right vote..

          BTW I know someone from the East who returned after years in the West building his career – he now has an elementary school kid and bought his own house (relatively cheap) close to his Eastern hometown. Telecommuting is probably OK there, Hannover airport is not far so he can get to any customer site or just go in remotely which is a trend nowadays. What is crucial for a town to be OK is broadband – unfortunately some areas were left behind while the big cities have luxury – Munich has fiberglass to every doorstep, for example.

          Then you have different parts of the East recovering: the Northeast is about Baltic sea vacations and call centers, Berlin is finally moving up with its own IT startup scene – the attractivity for the young and wild crowd has paid off, the donut around Berlin, everything covered by the prewar Autobahnring is now Berlin suburbs way into Brandenburg, Saxony has industries that are recovering in some parts. Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt as well as isolated parts of Saxony, or Brandenburg between Berlin and Hamburg are the laggards.

          Rust belt parts of Northrhine Westfalia may even be poorer than the East now, with similar trends of going for AfD or the Leftist party, somewhat like Trump and Sanders in the USA. Small town blues in many parts of Germany also while big cities are growing and expensive.

          A mixed bag of local issues to deal with, plus negotiating Brexit properly, keeping the EU together, keeping Erdogan calm, managing Trump as far as it is possible. Some say Merkel was urged to run again, 12 years at the helm is LONG.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      *******
      Hope she makes it. We need her to roll her eyes at Trump.
      *****

      • First exit poll estimates are out already, more accurate estimates will be possible when the first precincts have counted, they started counting manually just after closing 40 mins. ago:

        CDU/CSU: 32.7%
        SPD: 20.2%
        AfD: 13.4%
        FDP: 10.5%
        Green: 9.4%
        Left: 8.9%

        It seems the SPD does not want a Grand Coalition, so Black-Green-Yellow is likely, even if it will be hard to put such an alliance together. It often takes weeks, lots of night meetings – including discussions on who gets what ministries, to put a working coalition together.

        • As for SPD and refusing the Grand Coalition, a lot of the stuff thrown at Schulz by Merkel’s party was similar to the anti-Poe stuff by the LP. Why do such mistakes repeat themselves?

          The looming greater danger was I think addressed too little, too late. BUT AfD are not in power, and the SPD as opposition (with rights similar to the Philippine Congress minority group) is better than AfD having opposition rights. The fight against AfD nonsense lies ahead.

        • NHerrera says:

          Thanks for the additional notes, Irineo. With SPD and AfD out, the coalition is then among CDU-CSU, FDP and The Greens to make the 50 percent threshold — as you said. It is rather a thin coalition number of 52+ percent. I suppose political logic (?) excludes a coalition with The Left, making a total of 61+ percent. BTW the “grand” coalition with SPD makes a coalition number of 53+ percent equally thin. The worldwide populist-nationalist trend is then confirmed in a manner of speaking — with AfD not-surprising surge highlighting this.

          It seems Merkel will age fast with a lot of issues to tackle. (I have not read of Trump’s twit on Merkel yet. 🙂 )

          • NHerrera says:

            A co-founder of Alternative for Germany (AfD) the first far-right party to win seats in Germany’s parliament in almost 60 years has warned that it is ready to “take back our country and our people.” Wow — this sounds very much like a Trump statement.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Thanks Irineo,
      I have read about the Afd earlier today, they willl the first right wing party to enter Bundestag since World war 2?
      The National Democratic party tried and failed many times.

      • Right wing extremist. NPD was probably too extremist and old-school to ever succeed. AfD is a mix of Trumpish stuff (PEGIDA) and Tea Party types who left the Christian Democrats, also called “National Conservatives” who used to be more dominant in that political party.

        The Bavarian CSU is center-right to right (but not extremist) so the clashes between them and the AfD might be interesting. When it comes to crime-fighting (major drug shipments intercepted recently in Munich for example) or border security (checkpoints near the borders with spot checks on Autobahns and in train stations, something I think the CSU was instrumental in getting through before Schengen) they know what they are doing. AfD doesn’t.

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