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Ghost Dog

Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 15,336

About Me

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

Journal Archives

NATO ‘Saber-Rattling’ Maneuvers Unhelpful, Steinmeier Tells Bild

NATO maneuvers in Poland and the Baltic states risk raising tensions with Russia at a time when more talk and cooperation are necessary to avoid fresh confrontations, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Bild newspaper in an interview...

... “What we shouldn’t do now is to add fuel to the fire with loud saber-rattling and war cries,” Steinmeier said, according to the paper. “Whoever thinks it’s helping security to have symbolic tank parades at the Eastern European border is wrong.”...

... “It would be fatal to narrowly focus on military action,” Steinmeier said. “We need to re-engage with our partners on disarmament and arms control for security in Europe.”


Finding ways to limit global warming to 1.5C

... The planet’s primary thermostat is the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Pre-industrial levels were 280 parts per million. We just hit 400 ppm with warming at one degree and some more in the pipeline, due to time lags. The IPCC, in its most recent report, estimated that to stop at 1.5C will mean holding concentrations to around 430 ppm.

Because much of our CO2 emissions stay in the atmosphere for centuries, that means bringing annual emissions to zero. Impossible? Maybe, but the good news is that greenhouse gas emissions actually fell in 2015 despite rising global economic activity, thanks to the growing use of renewable energy. If we could build on that and bring emissions to zero by 2050, then we might limit emissions from here on out to 800bn tons.

If we could somehow find ways to extract 500bn tons from the atmosphere, Rogelj concluded, we would likely be able to have our wish of CO2 concentrations of 430 ppm and warming capped at 1.5C. The fairy godmother would have delivered...

... The trick that puts a glint in the eye of some technologists and climate scientists is known by the acronym BECCS, which stands for “biomass energy, carbon capture, and storage.” The idea is to convert the world’s power stations to burning biomass, such as trees or marine algae. The industrialized production of this biomass on such a scale would accelerate the natural drawdown of CO2 by plants during photosynthesis. If the CO2 created by burning the biomass could then be captured from the stacks and buried in geological strata — the prototype technology known as carbon capture and storage — then the net effect would be a permanent extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere...


Unidos Podemos: Spain’s leftwing alliance hoping to end political impasse

... Reflecting on the collapse of Spain’s two main parties in the general election in December, Bustinduy said: “What happened was nothing short of revolutionary. Because even with an electoral system that promotes bipartisanship, we have this completely new landscape.”

After six months of stalemate and failed coalition talks following the election, Spain finds itself at a historic juncture before the rerun on 26 June. Having come a close third last year with 20% of the vote, Podemos announced an alliance last month with United Left (IU), a leftwing coalition including the PCE, the Communist party of Spain.

They will run on a joint ticket, containing the various Podemos regional franchises, as Unidos Podemos (United We Can). In polls reflecting this new formation, the radical leftwing bloc leapfrogs the formerly dominant centre-left party PSOE into second place, giving it a realistic chance of forming a government.

As was the case in December, the election will probably produce a four-way split, with no party winning a majority. But current polling suggests that a leftwing coalition government of Podemos and PSOE could just beat Mariano Rajoy’s conservative PP – despite it finishing first – and fourth-placed Ciudadanos, with Pablo Iglesias, the secretary general of Podemos, as prime minister...


Note this alliance also includes Greens...

Fine comment at source:

... Maybe it's not a case of us leaving Europe but of us not being worthy enough anymore to be part of their club. No one here shares a European outlook of strength through unity. No one here thinks we are just as much the descendants of Plato, Charlemagne, Goethe and Voltaire as we are Boudicca and Brunel. We have bleated and whined and demanded a whole raft of exceptions while sending a cohort of racist harrumphers to institutions they don't believe should exist. We then lament that with such luminaries, things don't work well or that the adults take charge.

And now, we are all happy to let people call Turks as a menace. We let people rail against Poles and Romanians and no one bats an eyelid. The right clap along and the left tells us it's not bigotry it's just the expression of marginalization and a felling of abandonment. No one stands up and calls it out for the vicious prejudice it is. We all saw what happened tho Brown when he called Gillian Duffy a bigot just for making a bigoted comment.

The tragicomic thing of this situation is that, like all supporters of populist demagogues, the people who support them have the most to lose. If we leave they will wave the Union Jack, get pissed and sing football chants. They will celebrate trapping themselves on an island with a bunch of ruthless toffs who will start wholesale asset stripping and disenfranchising free of any constraint. And when they realise that leaving a free trade area does not miraculously make us the "great trading nation" we were when we controlled a quarter of the world by force of arms, then it will be too late.

As for the much derided middle class: Whether Hampstead socialist or Bury St-Edmunds reactionaries it won't be too bad for us. We will find loopholes. Some have second homes abroad that they can make permanent residence. Others have good friends from Erasmus years, gap years, internships or other middle class rites of passage that might be willing to accept a fake civil union so that all parties can get 2 passports.

We will be able to move abroad. Remainers will gloat and Brexiters will wail at what has become of Britain. We will all pretend to be surprised that a lethal mix of xenophobia and self inflicted economic seppuku creates a toxic political environment when only the charlatans survive. We will all say we don't understand what happened when these charlatans keep pushing that hatred button for more support. We will all feign dismay when the first episodes of violence happen...

Working-class Britons feel Brexity and betrayed

In DU Foreign Affairs...

Working-class Britons feel Brexity and betrayed

If Britain crashes out of the European Union in two weeks, it will be off the back of votes cast by discontented working-class people. When Andy Burnham warns that the remain campaign has “been far too much Hampstead and not enough Hull”, he has a point. Even Labour MPs who nervously predict remain will scrape it nationally report their own constituencies will vote for exit. Polling consistently illustrates that the lower down the social ladder you are, the more likely you are to opt for leave. Of those voters YouGov deems middle-class, 52% are voting for remain, and just 32% for leave. Among those classified as working-class, the figures are almost the reverse: 36% for remain, 50% for leave. The people Labour were founded to represent are the most likely to want Britain to abandon the European Union.

When presented with a vote on the status quo, it is no surprise that those with the least stake in it vote to abandon it. The same happened in Scotland’s independence referendum. Threats of economic Armageddon resonate little with people living in communities that feel ignored, marginalised and belittled. “Economic insecurity beckons!” people who live in perpetual economic insecurity are told. A Conservative prime minister lines up with pillars of Britain’s establishment with a message of doom – and it makes millions of people even more determined to stick their fingers up at it.

The leave campaign knows all this. It is Trumpism in full pomp: powerful vested interests whose policies would only concentrate wealth and power even further in the hands of the few, masquerading as the praetorian guard of an anti-establishment insurgency dripping in anti-immigration sentiment. It is political trickery long honed by Ukip, a party led by a privately educated ex-City broker that claims to be the voice of the little guy against a self-interested powerful clique. If Donald Trump succeeds across the Atlantic, the terrible cost of leaving millions of working-class people feeling both abandoned and slighted will be nightmarishly clear. The same goes for this referendum...


Racist nutter's "Global Britain vision" (Farage)

In DU Foreign Affairs...

Racist nutter's "Global Britain vision" (Farage)

10 JUNE 2016 • 4:53PM

... Central to my vision of Britain after June 23 is that our Parliament is sovereign, empowered and able to make all of the big decisions, rather than leaving it to those unelected old men in Brussels...

... The vision for Brexit Britain is a global one... After leaving the EU we would be able to treat all who wanted to come here on an equal basis, strengthening our proud ties to our kith and kin in the Commonwealth... We would no longer be acting as Little Europeans, but a Global Britain.

... My vision is a Britain engaging in global trade, forging ahead with new relationships and deals that would make Britain an engine room for job creation, rather than being constrained by the EU’s outdated customs union.

So there you go: that’s my vision. A strong Britain, controlling our borders, looking after the well-being of our own citizens first and leading on the world stage, rather than being dragged along and told what to do by Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker...


No single market access for UK after Brexit, Wolfgang Schäuble says

In DU Foreign Affairs...

No single market access for UK after Brexit, Wolfgang Schäuble says

... Commentators in Germany point out that Germany has more to lose from a Brexit than a segment of its export market and that the government was able to sideline economic interest to diplomacy in its relationship with Russia.

Until recently, the assumption in Berlin’s political circles had been that Schäuble’s finance ministry was more open than others to the idea of keeping open a back door for renegotiating some form of associate membership for Britain after an out vote.

But the interview in Der Spiegel, which will be published on Saturday but has been seen by the Guardian, indicates a less flexible stance. “Europe will also work without Britain if necessary,” Schäuble said. “At some point, the British will realise they have taken the wrong decision. And then we will accept them back one day, if that’s what they want.”...

... While warning that it would be a “miracle” if there were no economic drawbacks for Britain following a withdrawal, Schäuble also admitted that a Brexit could have dramatic consequences for the rest of the European Union...


SPIEGEL: Why is it better for the EU if the British remain? They have repeatedly distanced themselves from the EU in recent years.

Schäuble: Britain is one of the strongest economies in the EU, and London is Europe's largest financial centre. Britain plays a leading role in all matters of foreign and security policy. That is why Europe is stronger with Britain than without it. Besides, the UK consistently advocates market-based solutions in Brussels, which frequently makes it an ally of the German government. And, in my view, one cannot have enough British pragmatic rationality in Europe.

SPIEGEL: And why is it better for the British to remain in the EU?

Schäuble: Britain is economically very closely integrated with its European partner countries. Were these ties to be cut, it would be a huge step backwards for the country and would weaken it considerably. In the era of globalisation, "splendid isolation" is not a smart option...


My take: Germany will make sure UK suffers economically for Brexit, even at some economic cost to itself, because the future of the whole EU project is at stake, and because, for all concerned, it is better to have UK in EU than out.
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