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Thread: Iceland government falls

  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Lemkin View Post
    Aha, it was Agrigculture/Fisheries - that makes a big difference [fishing is BIG business in Iceland].
    Ah, yes, the cod wars...
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  2. #52

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    Panama Papers Scandal Could Launch Iceland’s Pirate Party to Power

    by Jed Oelbaum



    Image by fdecomite via Wikimedia Commons

    The Panama Papers, a massive leak of 11.5 million documents released over the weekend, exposed the secret offshore financial holdings of the global elite, including a number of world leaders, celebrities, and business people. The 2.6 terabyte data cache also revealed information about several sitting and former heads of state, including Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson. Gunnlaugsson resigned on Tuesday in the wake of public scrutiny over his wife’s offshore accounts—the first politician implicated in the scandal to fall.
    Gunnlaugsson—incidentally, a third-place winner in a 2004 “sexiest man in Iceland” competition—came into power under promises of financial reform, making his shady holdings especially egregious. Though Gunnlaugsson was forced to walk the plank, it appears that Iceland is preparing to sail onward under the proudly billowing black flag of Iceland’s anti-establishment Pirate Party, part of an international movement championing democratic values and digital-age freedom of expression.

    Birgitta Jónsdóttir. Image by Pirátská strana via Flickr

    Birgitta Jónsdóttir, parliamentary chair of the organization, published an opinion piece in Newsweek Tuesday, calling for a new constitution for the Nordic country. Despite its offbeat name, it seems her cries for reform have legs: the Pirate Party surprised everyone last year when polls revealed it to be Iceland’s political frontrunner.
    In her Newsweek piece, Jónsdóttir—also a poet, Wikileaks alumna, and current member of Iceland’s parliament—ripped into Gunnlaugsson, suggesting that her party was ready to take the reigns of power in the wake of the Panama Papers:
    “The news report in Iceland on Sunday evening that detailed the scandal rocked Icelandic society in a similar way to how it was shaken in the wake of the financial crisis in 2008. At the time, Gunnlaugsson called the creditors of the failed banks ‘vultures,’ but as it turns out he could also have been talking about himself and his wife.”
    Burn! Take that, Gunnlaugsson. Jónsdóttir went on to say:
    “You can sense the anger among Icelanders. Thousands of people took part in protests outside the nation’s parliament last night … I joined these protests and I have announced that I will be standing for elections for the Pirate Party for a short term, where we will implement a new constitution and legalize it.”
    As Jónsdóttir describes, as many as 10,000 of Iceland’s roughly 323,000 residents indeed took to the streets earlier this week, pelting Parliament with yogurt and eggs and demanding Gunnlaugsson’s resignation. (Apparently, the use of local dairy products in protest is a proud Icelandic tradition.)

    Though the Prime Minister’s family’s offshore holdings weren’t in and of themselves illegal, the shell company that held those assets—called Wintris—held stakes in Icelandic banks that have been hurting since the 2008 financial crisis, which hit Iceland particularly hard. This means that actions Gunnlaugsson took in an official capacity regarding the nation’s banks posed a clear conflict of interest, although it’s not yet clear if he or his wife actually benefitted financially from decisions he made while in power.

    This kind of financial chicanery in the country’s highest office is why Jónsdóttir and her party are calling for constitutional reforms. She writes:
    The constitution [the Pirate Party] would implement was written by and for the people of Iceland in 2011 in response to the financial meltdown. It would include the separation of powers to prevent another economic collapse, while also reforming the way MPs are elected and judges are appointed. It is completely unacceptable that despite a referendum in 2012 that saw 67 percent of the electorate voting to put this new crowd-sourced constitution into law, it still hasn’t been.
    The post-Panama Papers confusion—and ensuing power vacuum—may mean the Pirate Party is poised to take over. In January, The Independent reported that the party was polling as high as 37.8 percent—the highest of any political party in the nation. While it’s not totally clear whether those numbers will translate into parliamentary victories, the Pirate Party’s platform of direct democracy, transparency, humane drug policy, and equality might be exactly what the people of Iceland need in the face of scandal and Gunnlaugsson’s now-public impropriety. As for Jónsdóttir herself, it seems she might very turn out to be the world’s very first Pirate Prime Minister.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  3. #53

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    Iceland’s Pirate party sets sail for power

    Mure Dickie in Reykjavik









    ©AFPBirgitta Jonsdottir, leader of the Pirate’s parliamentary group

    Iceland’s three Pirate party members of parliament won their first legislative victory last year: the repeal of blasphemy laws that threatened jail for anyone insulting religion on this once-pious island of 330,000 souls.
    That now looks like just the start. From a minor offshoot of the international anti-copyright Pirate movement, the Icelandic Pirates have, in less than four years, become by far its most successful standard-bearers.




    Polls sh owing voter support for the Pirates at more than 40 per cent, making them easy favourites to lead the nation after elections promised for autumn by a ruling coalition battered by Panama Papers revelations of ministers’ ties to offshore finance.
    And with proposals including granting citizenship to US spy agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and drug decriminalisation, a Pirate party-led government would be likely to send political tremors far beyond the seismically unstable island.
    Even Birgitta Jonsdottir, leader of the Pirate’s parliamentary group, says she finds the prospect of national power a little frightening.
    In an interview in Iceland’s Althingi parliament as pot-bashing protesters rallied outside, Ms Jonsdottir recalled having a dream in 2003 in which she was Iceland’s prime minister.
    “It was a nightmare . . . It was really scary,” she said. “My biggest fear, and it is a big fear of many of the Pirates, is that we don’t want to become one with the power.”
    Yet while Ms Jonsdottir insists she does not want to be premier, she clearly relishes the prospect of being able to turn Pirate policies into parliamentary priorities.
    It is an extraordinary achievement for a party that proudly hangs a skull and cross bones flag in its parliamentary office and says its goals have widened far beyond copyright reform to include transformation of the entire political system.
    Core Pirate policy principles include belief in citizens “unlimited right” to involvement in political decisions that affect them, and the rejection of “any limits” on their rights to express themselves or share information except where doing so would violate the rights of other individuals.
    The Pirates defy convention by having no individual leader, with chairmanship of the party’s parliamentary group alternating between MPs annually. Their policymaking institution is a decentralised online platform in which all members can take part in developing proposals.
    My biggest fear, and it is a big fear of many of the Pirates, is that we don’t want to become one with the power - Birgitta Jonsdottir, Pirate party MP

    Even rival opposition parties readily admit to the Pirate party’s appeal, particularly at a time when the Panama Papers have reopened the scars from the 2008 financial crisis and deepened the suspicion among many that Iceland’s two ruling parties are in thrall to wealthy interests.
    “The Pirates really have the hearts and minds of the people at the moment,” says Eva Bjarnadottir of the Social Democratic Alliance.
    Katrin Jakobsdottir, leader of the Left-Green Movement, says she welcomes the Pirate’s rise, even though it has largely overshadowed her own party, which won seven seats in the 2013 election to Iceland’s 63-seat parliament.
    The Pirates’ focus on transparency and direct democracy contrasts well with policies of the nationalist rightwing groups that, in other European nations, are gaining from discontent with traditional politics, Ms Jakobsdottir says.
    “The pirates are essentially a positive force,” she says. “I think it’s a good thing that they are the party that is gaining from political dissatisfaction, not a different sort of party.”
    Yet with little party structure and only meagre funds, some say the Pirates are ill-prepared to run the country.
    “It’s not like people learn how to run a government in university . . . but that’s also partly the reason why people want us, because they want us to rewrite the rules of what it means to be a political party in power,” says Asta Helgadottir, a Pirate MP.
    “We don’t know if this is going to work, but at least we are trying,” says Ms Helgadottir, 26.
    Many voters, exasperated with what they say is Iceland’s endemic cronyism, are clearly willing to consider a punt on the Pirates.
    “Most parties are part of this corruption so I guess I would support the new Pirate party,” says Omar Hafsteinsson, 62, an electrical contractor. “They don’t seem to have ties to money.”
    “I’ll probably vote for them,” said unemployed 20-year-old Magnus Jensen, as he took a pause from throwing old slices of Domino’s pizza on parliament building windowsills as a symbol of his contempt for the ruling parties.
    “The [Pirate] members that I know seem generally like good people who are in politics to make the world better — not just to make things better for the elite,” Mr Jensen said.


    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  4. #54

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    Can you imagine that the people of Iceland are so pissed off with the political parties and politics as usual that they would vote for the Pirate Party to run the government? Amazing. If they do it should send a warning to the rest of Europe.
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Guyatt View Post
    Can you imagine that the people of Iceland are so pissed off with the political parties and politics as usual that they would vote for the Pirate Party to run the government? Amazing. If they do it should send a warning to the rest of Europe.
    Despite their 'shiver their timbers' name, they are nothing like 'pirates'...but sensible, democratic, freedom-loving and free-thinking people who never had been in politics before.

    Yes, I agree it would send a warning to the rest of the developed [sic] World. American must be in a total panic. Their CIA/Deep Political Government-chosen minions to run Iceland and its banks and corporations et al. are all now at threat. Can you imagine them in D.C. thinking of Birgitta or any in her party reading classified NATO documents or getting intelligence on what the CIA office at the Icelandic US Embassy was up to?!?!?!?!
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  6. #56

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    They booted the FBI when they arrived in Iceland to 'investigate' I know there was some strangeness with one of the computers in the Althing a few years back. I think I have documented it here some where.

    I keep thinking of this:
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  7. #57

    Default Pirate Party poised to win BIG in coming Icelandic Elections!

    By Stine Jacobsen | REYKJAVIK
    A party that hangs a skull-and-crossbones flag at its HQ, and promises to clean up corruption, grant asylum to Edward Snowden and accept the bitcoin virtual currency, could be on course to form the next Icelandic government.
    The Pirate Party has found a formula that has eluded many anti-establishment groups across Europe. It has tempered polarising policies like looser copyright enforcement rules and drug decriminalisation with pledges of economic stability that have won confidence among voters.
    This has allowed it to ride a wave of public anger at perceived corruption among the political elite - the biggest election issue in a country where a 2008 banking collapse hit thousands of savers and government figures have been mired in an offshore tax furore following the Panama Papers leaks.
    If the Pirates emerge as the biggest party in an Oct. 29 parliamentary election - as opinion polls suggest - they will deliver another defeat to Europe's mainstream politicians.
    The rise to power of a party which started out less than four years ago as a protest movement against global copyright laws, and whose election campaign is partly crowdfunded, would create shockwaves felt far beyond this island of 336,000 people on the edge of the Arctic Circle.
    "Across Europe ... increasingly many people think that the system that is supposed to look after them is not doing it anymore," Pirate leader Birgitta Jonsdottir, who is also a published poet, told Reuters.
    "We know that we are new to this and it is important that we are extra careful and extra critical on ourselves to not take too much on. I really don't think that we are going to make a lot of ripples in the economy in the first term."
    "That is one of the things where you have to trust in the experts," the 49-year-old added, referring to the ongoing lifting of capital control instituted by the central after the bank crisis.
    'NO DRAMATIC THINGS'
    The Pirates are benefiting from Iceland's fragmented political landscape where coalition government is the norm. Opinion polls show support for the party running at over 20 percent, slightly ahead of the Independence Party, which shares power with the Progressive Party.
    The left-leaning party is part of a global anti-establishment typified by Britain's vote to leave the European Union. But their platform is far removed from the anti-immigration policies of the UK Independence Party, France's National Front and Germany's AfD, or the anti-austerity of Greece's Syriza.
    Iceland's gross income per capita was almost $50,000 (£38,452) in 2015, according to the World Bank, well above the $34,435 EU average - though still 20 percent below a 2007 peak. Immigration levels are low compared with many other European countries.
    Helped by a tourism boom, economic growth this year is expected to hit 4.3 percent and the latest data shows a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.1 percent.
    There appears little appetite among the public or any party leader for economic radicalism. The Pirate Party has not set out detailed plans, but has made clear that it would not deviate far from current policies in the next government term.
    "We will not be doing any dramatic things in this regard, we will carry on with the lifting of capital control. We are not going to make any dramatic changes in the financial sector," said Jonsdottir.
    There is little sign of business or investor panic.
    "Regarding the economic stability, looking at the long term, they can't do any worse than what has been done so far," said Jon Sigurdsson, chief executive of prosthetics maker Ossur, one of Iceland's biggest companies, referring to the banking crisis
    "I think changes in politics is always good. The only thing I'm worried about is if you make changes too fast and reckless."
    The krona currency is up around 12 percent against the dollar this year, seemingly unaffected by the rise of the Pirates. Moody's upgraded Iceland's government bond rating this month and also said it did not see a threat to prudent management of public finances should the Pirate Party be part of the next government.
    'WE NEED CHANGE'
    The party stands by longstanding policies such as granting citizenship to former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden and legalising trade and collection of bitcoins. It says it does not have a stance on Iceland's application for EU membership but says it would call a referendum on whether to continue with it.
    But such issues have been eclipsed in the public consciousness by the party's anti-corruption campaign, which it has increasingly focused on its election drive.
    Icelanders' faith in the political and financial elite was shaken after the financial crisis revealed that banks' debt had been allowed to surge to levels ten time the gross national product. Thousands of Icelanders fell into default.
    Simmering anger over the crisis was further inflamed this year when several senior government politicians were named in the Panama Papers as having links to offshore tax havens - though there was no suggestion they did anything illegal.
    The biggest protests in the country's history ultimately led to the resignation of Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson of the centre-right Progressive Party and the early elections coming up now.
    Saethor Asgeirsson, who runs green power technology startup IceWind, said the political class had not woken up to the depth of public anger at perceived corruption.

    "The old guys don't understand what's going on. I think the Pirate Party understands much better," said Asgeirsson, dressed in work pants and a sweatshirt at his office in Reykjavik.
    Those sentiments were echoed by student Valgerdur Bjarnadottir, who is in her 40s. "I'm fed up with all of the other politicians," she said at a café in the city centre.
    But she said she still had doubts about the ability of inexperienced Pirate Party lawmakers to make a difference on corruption: "They just might not be tough enough."
    PIRATE POET
    Pirate Party support has spiked since the 2013 election when the party got 5 percent and three seats, peaking at around 40 percent after the publication of the Panama Papers in April.
    As with its economic policies, the Pirate Party has not provided much detail on how it will clean up corruption, though it says it will allow fisheries quotas to be dictated by the market rather than the government, to prevent any cronyism.
    The mainstream parties have pointed to their own success in rescuing the economy, and latched on to the Pirates' lack of policy detail.
    "The Pirate Party are getting a lot of people not for what they are, but more for what they aren't, because they aren't established," said 25-year-old Aslaug Sigurbjoernsdottir, who is set to become the Independence Party's youngest female lawmaker.
    If the Pirate Party - Piratar in Icelandic - become the biggest party, it would have the job of building a governing coalition. But leader Jonsdottir, who published her first book of verse when she was 22, would not become the next prime minister.
    "Instead of accepting that powerful position, I would like to take that power inside parliament and offer to be the speaker of the house," she said.
    (Additional reporting by Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir; Editing by Pravin Char)
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  8. #58

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    REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Iceland’s prime minister announced on Sunday that he would resign, as the insurgent, anti-establishment Pirate Party capitalized on a wave of anger over corruption to come in second place in the country’s general election.
    The prime minister, Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, announced his departure on national television after his center-right Progressive Party’s share of seats in the 63-seat Parliament collapsed to eight from 19 in the previous election, in 2013.
    Mr. Johannsson’s predecessor as prime minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, was forced from office in April amid accusations of conflicts of interest after revelations in leaked documents, known as the Panama Papers, of the hidden wealth of the country’s elite.
    The conservative Independence Party, which has been in a governing coalition with the Progressives, came in first with 21 seats, up from 19 in the last election.
    But the big winner in the election on Saturday was the four-year-old Pirate Party, which took 10 seats, more than tripling its showing of three seats in the last general election. The Left-Green Party also won 10 seats. The left-leaning parties — the Left-Greens, the Pirates and two allies — won 27 seats over all, just short of a majority.
    The liberal Regeneration Party, which is expected to play the role of kingmaker, has ruled out joining a coalition with the current governing establishment parties. This means that left-leaning parties could potentially form a governing coalition.
    Photo

    Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson’s Progressive Party saw its share of seats in Parliament collapse. Credit Geirix/Reuters While the conservative Independence Party made gains, “it is not a return to the status quo,” said Andres Jonsson, a political consultant. To form a government, the party will have to extend its hand to smaller, more rebellious groups, he said.
    “The traditional party system has been disrupted,” Mr. Jonsson said. “We are not seeing big movements of people who feel that they are able to relate with the messages of the big coalition parties. Changes are going to come from the outside, not from inside the old parties.”
    The election for Iceland’s Parliament, the world’s oldest, highlighted the fragmentation of the political landscape. A dozen parties fought for power over an electorate of about 260,000, barely enough to fill three American football stadiums.
    Birgitta Jonsdottir, the anarchist leader of the Pirate Party, said she was satisfied with the result. “Whatever happens, we have created a wave of change in the Icelandic society,” she told a cheering crowd here early Sunday.
    About 40 percent of Pirate supporters are under the age of 30. They had pinned their hopes on a party that has promised to install a more inclusive and transparent government.
    The Pirates have pledged to enhance direct democracy by passing the world’s first “crowd-sourced constitution,” drafted by Icelandic civilians rather than politicians. Parliament blocked the document in 2013.The party also wants to redistribute wealth and increase the government’s anticorruption powers. (The country is already the 13th least corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International, a watchdog group, ahead of the United States.)
    “We want to see trickle-down ethics rather than make-believe trickle-down economics,” Ms. Jonsdottir, 49, who is also a former WikiLeaks activist, said in an interview on the eve of the election.
    Strong anti-establishment feeling has swept through Iceland since the financial crisis, and has been aggravated by the Panama Papers scandal in April, which sent thousands of protesters into the streets. The Pirate Party has benefited from a wave of dissent that has swept through Europe and the United States, upending traditional politics and fracturing mainstream parties.
    In 2008, Iceland’s economy collapsed after its banking sector, fresh from deregulation, grew exponentially. In the years before that, Icelanders binged on credit, some becoming billionaires overnight. By 2006, the average Icelander was 300 percent wealthier than three years earlier. Cronyism became rampant.
    When the crisis hit, Icelanders were plunged into debt and banks racked up losses of billions of dollars, many times more than the size of Iceland’s economy.
    Today, the economy has recovered, partly thanks to booming tourism. But public anger still runs deep.
    “We are a platform for young people, for progressive people who shape and reshape our society,” Ms. Jonsdottir told Agence France-Presse. “Like Robin Hood, because Robin Hood was a pirate, we want to take the power from the powerful to give it to the people.”
    Last edited by Peter Lemkin; 10-31-2016 at 06:15 AM.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  9. #59

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    Iceland's anti-establishment Pirate Party has been asked by the president to try to form a new government, following October's snap elections.
    President Gudni Johannesson made the announcement after talks with Pirates head Birgitta Jonsdottir.
    The Pirates, who vowed radical reforms, came third in the elections in which no party won an outright majority.
    Two earlier rounds of coalition talks involving first the Independence Party and then the Left-Greens failed.
    "Earlier today, I met the leaders of all parties and asked their opinion on who should lead those talks. After that I summoned Birgitta Jonsdottir and handed her the mandate," President Johannesson said on Friday.
    Ms Jonsdottir said afterwards she was "optimistic that we will find a way to work together".
    In the elections, the Pirate Party - which was founded in 2012 - more than tripled its seats to 10 in the 63-member parliament.
    The election was called after Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson quit in April in the wake of the leaked Panama Papers, which revealed the offshore assets of high-profile figures.
    The Pirates want more political transparency and accountability, free health care, closing tax loopholes and more protection of citizens' data.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

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