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Ghost Dog

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 15,114

About Me

Brit gone native. Cooperative member. Ecology. Cartography. Programming. Music production.

Journal Archives

Arms trade: West's military advantage is being eroded, IISS warns

...Britain is trying to stay ahead of the curve by developing the Zephyr high-altitude “pseudo-satellite”, a solar-powered surveillance drone operating at the edge of space, while the US is developing “swarming UAVs” combining cheap structures with sophisticated electronics, the survey notes.

The Pentagon is looking to the private sector for help, setting up a “Defence Information Unit-Experimental” to help it “leverage best lessons from Silicon Valley on issues like big data, analytics, autonomy and robotics”, says the IISS.

These technologies are seen as having uses “across the full spectrum of conflict, able as much … to trawl social media posts by a terrorist group … or produce systems to better enable concepts like prompt global strike”.

Prompt global strike, or PGS, would deliver a precision-guided conventional weapon anywhere in the world within an hour. It has been condemned by Russia and criticised by some independent analysts because of the potential danger of mistaking the missile for a nuclear weapon...

/... http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/feb/09/wests-military-advantage-is-being-eroded-survey-warns

Doubts raised over UK government’s refusal to permit return to Chagos

For more than half a century the displaced people of the Chagos Islands have sought to return to their home, a collection of coral reefs in the Indian Ocean that constitutes one of the more far-flung outposts of the British empire. But, despite interminable legal proceedings, their efforts have so far come to nothing, partly because studies commissioned by the UK government have concluded that a resettlement programme on what is officially known as the British Indian Ocean Territory was just not feasible.

As a result, today the only people who inhabit the 60 or so islands that lie halfway between Tanzania and Indonesia are the thousands of US military personnel based on its largest atoll, Diego Garcia, which, under an agreement with Britain, has been transformed into a huge landing strip used by B-52 bombers and anonymous jets moving high value terrorist detainees to CIA black sites around the world. But now the officially sanctioned arguments made against allowing the Chagossians to return to the islands from which they were removed in the late 1960s have been thrown into question.

A former British high commissioner has questioned whether the Foreign Office tried to “massage” the drafting of a key study that put paid to any hope of returning by concluding that resettlement was financially “prohibitive” and too “precarious”...

...The UK must decide by 29 December as to whether the US-UK agreement over the use of Diego Garcia as a military base should be extended for 20 years...


“Doggone right we’re angry,” Palin said

“Doggone right we’re angry,” Palin said she said to the conservative base of supporters in Iowa, as 24/7 cable networks broadcast more than an hour-long campaign event live on TV nationwide, for free. “We are mad, and we’ve been had.”

But for Democrats, a Trump-Palin alliance represents a kind of two-headed monster on the campaign trail, the likes of which world politics may have never seen. Whether liberals see the duo as a true nightmare or a stage act to be laughed off, well: that depends on how seriously they take the Trump reality – and the staying power of the Palin Show...


Maldives demands 'hostage' before ex-president can have surgery in UK

... “It is an ethical issue. That is why President Nasheed has not agreed to the demand of a guarantor,” he added

The sudden development came hours after the country’s prisons chief, Mohamed Husham, announced that Nasheed had been granted 30 days leave from prison for spinal cord surgery and was expected to leave later Sunday...

...Media reports have said the Maldives government reluctantly softened its stand on Nasheed following diplomatic pressure from neighbouring India and Sri Lanka as well as the former colonial power Britain.

The 48-year-old former president was sentenced on terrorism charges relating to the arrest of an allegedly corrupt judge in 2012, when he was still in power. The UN said his trial was seriously flawed and he should be released and compensated for wrongful detention.

Hardliner Abdulla Yameen, the current president, has refused to accept the UN ruling and is resisting international pressure to release Nasheed...



Now financial system "rewiring"...

Europe set for a fundamental clash of ideas (BBC Chief Correspondent)

... With anti-austerity parties having done well in Spain and Portugal there will be fresh pressure on Brussels to police the deficit targets. - (Oh yeah. Succinctly put. Pressure from whom, may one humbly inquire, m'luds? It certainly won't be pressure from a democratic majority.)

The big question for Europe's policymakers is whether it can escape so-called "secular stagnation" - a condition of negligible growth. - (Please re-think and re-define 'growth'. Current economic systems need re-wiring to take greater social and environmental realities into account.)

In 2016 watch sentiment incline further towards launching major investment projects. .. - (Indeed. Directed from above, or attending to the ideas of those below? What kind of projects, with what overall goals - propping up current neo-liberal lightly-regulated systems or starting to make necessary changes in preparation for the foreseeable future?)


... 2016 will see a further clash of ideas: a struggle between nationalists and globalists; a struggle between those who want to revive the power of the nation states and those who believe the answers lie in international bodies like the EU; a struggle between those who believe they are defending Europe's Judeo-Christian traditions (like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban) and those wedded to multiculturalism (Angela Merkel)... -(It does matter and it is essential to discern the differences between varieties of 'nationalism' and 'globalism'. But most MSM makes little effort in this direction, preferring black/white either/or dichotomies easier to dramatize.)

/(Much More)... http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35160080

Have a happy year

Masters of the universe strike back as dealmaking tops record $5 trillion

The masters of the investment banking universe have pushed the global corporate spending spree to $5.02 trillion (£3.37 trillion) in 2015 making it a record year.

That is bigger than the previous record of $4.81 trillion in 2007, immediately before the financial crisis struck.

The increase was driven by mega-mergers – there were 67 deals worth $10bn or more each, totalling $1.9 trillion, more than double the value seen in 2014.

The boom in large deals also helped make 2015 a record year for investment bankers. Goldman Sachs earned $2.6bn in revenues from mergers and acquisitions, taking 11.7pc of the all investment bank income from the deals. JP Morgan was next with $1.9bn, and Morgan Stanley placed third with $1.6bn of revenues...

/... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/12071700/Masters-of-the-universe-strike-back-as-dealmaking-tops-record-5-trillion.html

What good, and what harm does such corporate consolidation do to the real economy?

Spain edging towards Socialist-led coalition as negotiations begin

A Socialist-led coalition is shaping up to be the most likely to rule Spain as rival politicians laid down ground rules on Monday ahead of what are expected to be marathon political negotiations needed to form the country’s next government... (W)ith leftwing parties holding the balance of power in Spain’s parliament, the result is likely to mirror recent political events in Portugal, where the conservatives won the October election but fell to a socialist government backed by leftist parties just days later...

... In the coming days and weeks, King Felipe VI, who took over from his embattled father last year, will reach out to all parties to hear their positions and name the party that will have the chance to try and form a government. If the candidate fails to obtain an absolute majority, followed by a simple majority in a vote of confidence, the king must put forward a new candidate. If no government is formed within two months, new elections must be held.

On Monday morning, as many in Spain waded through the potential scenarios, the Socialist party ruled out any possibility of backing the PP. “The Socialists will vote no to Rajoy. We’re going to vote no to the PP,” said César Luena, one of the party’s senior officials. ..

... Anti-austerity party Podemos, which won 69 seats and 21% of the vote, said it would also block any attempt by Rajoy to form a government. “On no account will Podemos allow the PP to govern,” the leader, Pablo Iglesias, told reporters on Monday, ruling out the possibility of even abstaining during the vote of confidence. “The PP cannot form part of the future government of this country,” said Iglesias...

/... http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/21/spain-edging-towards-socialist-led-coalition-negotiations-begin

Spanish election: national newcomers end era of two-party dominance

Spanish politicians are gearing up for what could be weeks of complicated negotiations after Sunday’s general election yielded a deeply fragmented parliament, with the conservative People’s party losing ground to national newcomers Podemos and Ciudadanos.

The PP won 123 seats in the election, with 29% of the vote, leaving them far from a majority in the 350-seat legislature. Led by Mariano Rajoy, the current prime minister, the party has limited possibilities when it comes to the alliances it now needs to form a stable government majority.

The Socialists, who asserted their place as the traditional rival of the conservatives throughout the campaign, came second, with 90 seats and 22% of the vote. With many in Spain still suffering the lingering effects of an economic crisis that sent unemployment rates soaring and triggered painful austerity measures, millions of voters turned away from the PP and Socialists, who have alternated in power for decades, and instead looked to emerging parties.

Anti-austerity Podemos, which was formed in the aftermath of protests following Spain’s financial crisis, finished in third place with 69 seats and 21% of the vote, while the centre-right Ciudadanos won 40 seats and 14% of the vote. “Spain is not going to be the same anymore and we are very happy,” Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said on Sunday. The PP and Socialists won a combined vote share of about 50%, compared with the 70-80% of past general elections.

Podemos did remarkably well across the country, placing first in Catalonia – where it ran in a coalition with Barcelona en Comú – and the Basque country, a result that suggested widespread support for its campaign promise to hold a referendum on Catalan independence. “Today is a historical day for Spain,” Iglesias told supporters on Sunday night. “Every time there is an election, the forces of change advance.” ...

/... http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/20/peoples-party-wins-spanish-election-absolute-majority

/... http://www.lavanguardia.com/

So, coalition politics, inevitably, with a PP-PSOE 'stability pact' possible, also a coalition of the left not impossible, including regional 'nationalist' independently-minded parties of the left. A coalition on the right with an overall majority appears to be impossible. Spanish politics has become "Italianised", it is being said, a not entirely welcome prospect for many... (Spain tolerates but mostly ignores any comparison betweeen itself & Italy). New elections soon are also a possibility. Also, note the very fast manual count of paper ballots...

PODEMOS did very well, better than polls anticipated, and are the true big winners here.



/... http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/dec/21/spanish-poll-uncertainty-unsettles-markets-as-oil-hits-11-year-low-live

The big comeback of dark Europe – GEAB/LEAP

... Fear is now the dominant feeling in Europe: fear of China, of Russia, of competition from emerging powers, fear to fail in adapting, fear of Muslims, immigration, climate warming, tax, deregulation, internet, disrespectful youth, costly aged people, food killing us, polluted water, toxic medicine, cancer lurking on us all…

This fear has solid grounds, for sure… that’s the problem with it. Modern world challenges are piling on our heads, growing vast and vital, while citizens fearfully watch the not only powerless, but also counter intuitive posturing of their leaders. When citizens start knowing more about what should be done than their decision makers, panic settles in.

Thus, political alternative solutions spring up all over our continent, as a result of the absolute requirement of change felt by the Europeans:

. creation of radical leftist parties in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia…, control of recovery of traditional left wing parties in Italy and the UK…, the emergence of a new left rooted in the peoples’ will terrifies the financial and military elites relying on media and power parties;

. strengthening of radical rightist parties in France (FN), Austria (FPÖ), the Netherlands (Geert Wilders), Germany (AfD)… mechanically benefitting from the migration and terrorist panic. These parties too are rooted in peoples’ problematic reactions, but their idea of order makes them very accessible to an alliance with the « establishment », which in the end will have no difficulty adopting their views (Cameron’s and Theresa May’s UK, supposedly « ganged up » against UKIP, but in fact they were clinging like mussels to their privileges of the reigning cast, provides a vivid example of this);

. emerging of communitarian, xenophobic, racist, homophobic… radical movements (Pegida in Germany, Poland, Denmark…) which organize protests and counterprotests degenerating into violence…

In this context, real threats are beginning to be directed toward the general public in the hypothesis of electoral successes granted to these parties: a general of the British army promises mutiny in the event Corbyn takes power in England, the City warns against Ed Miliband’s election, Blair predicts the end of the Labour party if Corbyn is elected as its head, French « bosses’ boss » announces that electing the FN will be a catastrophe for the French economy, French Prime Minister talks about « civil war » in case of a victory of the FN, the Portuguese government begs the Lefts Alliance to not question pro-NATO and pro-Euro policies conducted by the country until now… after having been close to succumbing to the temptation of barring this Lefts Alliance from taking over the Parliament as they were entitled to do considering electoral results.

A real danger is to see the European « establishment » put an end to ongoing political developments, interrupting democratic processes. Cases of patent attacks on our democracies have probably already occurred: the latest election in Poland which « unexpectedly » put into power a dinosaur of the « world-before », Duda, was labeled a « coup » by someone as respectable as the head of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.

Temptations to cut public wi-fi in France, experiments of bank account closings conducted by Barclays in Cyprus, rapprochement between internet giants and member states in the name of terrorism, etc… Some sort of a collusion between private and public sectors is taking place, threatening civil liberties… with the consent of increasingly terrorized populations. State of emergency declarations make things easier.

As regards the European level, it is mostly its greater inertia that gives the feeling it resists better, as suggested by Martin Schulz’s recent remarks, “is there any chance the European Parliament saves us?”. In fact, while six months ago the EU was still proposing projects of political union, fiscal union, infrastructure plans, some real Euro zone governance, etc…, it has now also started surfing the wave of fear to consolidate its might: Fortress-Europe is now its main project, one moreover conducted manu militari, with threats of exclusion sent to the states which would waver in abandoning these last remnants of sovereignty.

But at the same time, what else can be done? The fact is that these measures coincide with a demand of the European public. The problem lies in the fact that it is now too late to do anything else than react. Future generations will judge and condemn us, but the ongoing great derailment of democracy in Europe is the result of twenty-five years of negligence/powerlessness by the European leadership.

EU democratization could have taken place like leaders in the 80s had planned. The migration wave could have been avoided if Europe had resisted this last folly of US Middle-Eastern policy, consisting of getting rid of one more dictator in Syria, at the price of additional chaos, moreover this time without giving ourselves the means for it. IS, this frustrated dream of regional integration turned into a nightmare, could also have been avoided, or at least limited, had Europe resisted regarding the previous point.

The turning point in both cases is in 2013, the last year of the Barroso 10-year mandate… also the year from which the Ukrainian crisis sprang. Two years later, in 2015, the harm is done on all fronts. Windows of opportunity for Europe to take the right paths at the right moment have closed. There is no good solution any more, nor even good players around.

On this last aspect, our team is increasingly struck by the evolution of partner countries such as Russia or Turkey. Russia in particular, this Russia which Europe can no longer do anything with other than pinch its nose and follow, is very different from the Russia we snubbed in 2013. At the time, Putin was conducting a charming offensive directed at Europe, displaying a desire for Europeanization: Olympics, human rights, potential Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the Syrian crisis… the Putin of that time was playing by European rules, with the request of being recognized as a peer. The way he and his country were treated in 2014 compelled him to tilt toward China, relegate his efforts in the field of human rights to a lower priority, develop the greatest contempt for Europeans… and now that we have come to his views, Europe has to play by his rules. Wonderful success!

Somehow, the Turkey of Erdogan followed a similar path. The first Erdogan, eager to represent a modern and democratically moderate Islam, couldn’t resist the dramatic crises that hit his country and which are partly due to Europe’s failings. He too has developed the greatest contempt for this pusillanimous and irresolute Europe, and he proved it by not even caring to join the EU-Turkey Summit organized last month, sending instead his Prime Minister, Davutoglu.

In one year, the year 2014, Europe lost all prestige on the international scene. Its former allies (US, Israel, Saudi Arabia…) appear more and more clearly as sources of the many difficulties endangering the planet, and it is now compelled to move closer to other partners (Russia, Turkey…), formerly neglected and treated as inferiors, today harvesting scorn and disdain from countries who couldn’t care less about making any effort of democratic compatibility with Europe.

This crisis has happened, changes took place… but Europe lost the handle. It is left with fear, the reason why our team has become extremely pessimistic that Europe will manage to escape a new period of retrenchment which will be implemented by the « establishment » itself, in association with its accomplices, in order « to avoid chaos » to the European continent...

/More (scroll down)... http://geab.eu/en/the-big-comeback-of-dark-europe-the-geab-is-celebrating-its-10-year-anniversary-in-the-dark-2/
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