Ghost Dog's Journal
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Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 14,838
Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 14,838
Brit gone native. Cooperative member. Ecology. Cartography. Programming. Music production.
- 2016 (56)
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- 2014 (27)
- 2013 (57)
- 2012 (23)
- 2011 (6)
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... When postwar growth ended in the late 1960s, the functional needs of capital accumulation began gradually to push aside the social needs whose institutionalized recognition had been the condition for workers being prepared to live with capitalism. More and more “capital controls,” in a broad sense, were removed while one promise after the other that had been made to buy labor in after 1945 was withdrawn. Such promises included a steady increase in living standards, progressive de-commodification of labor through an expanding welfare state, politically guaranteed full employment, “industrial democracy,” an encompassing regime of collective bargaining and trade union rights, a broad public sector providing citizens with social services as well as with stable employment, equal access to education and social advancement, a moderate and certainly not growing level of social and economic inequality, and the like. All of these disappeared or were “reformed,” often beyond recognition. The almost four decades since the end of postwar prosperity were a long series of defeats for labor, and of successful attempts on the part of capital gradually to re-establish its hegemony, with market justice pushing social justice to the sidelines of the political economy. It was not the logic of democratic claim-making or social citizenship or even democratic political opportunism that undercut the postwar social compact, but the historical reassertion of the logic of capital accumulation that had for a limited period been contained and overruled by democratic politics – just as the fiscal crisis of today was not caused by ordinary people demanding more than they were entitled to, but by the winners of the market first refusing to pay for their social license to enrich themselves, and later blackmailing governments to save them from the fallout of their own recklessness.
Right now it is democracy itself that is about to be rescinded – at the national level, which is where it came to be located under democratic capitalism, without replacement at the supranational level, where it should today move but nobody knows how. Increasingly democracy is turning into an empty shell, a formal ritual, not just in the United States but also in Europe. In the camp of the Indignados at the Puerta del Sol in July 2011, I saw a hand-painted sign asking: ¿Como se puede hablar de democracia si no se puede cambiar el sistema económico en las urnas? (How can one speak of democracy if one cannot change the economic system at the ballot box?)...
From January 2012 but apposite today: interview with Professor Wolfgang Streeck of the Max Planck Institue for the Study of Societies, Cologne... .".. I am looking for signs of an impending cultural break with possessive individualism, competitive greed, hedonistic consumerism. This is a tall order indeed, but I feel nothing less would do. Beyond “protest” or calls for “reform,” what would be interesting to see are actual changes in people’s ways of life, some kind of separatism and recapturing of local autonomy, with people cutting themselves loose from the capitalist mainstream and becoming less dependent on it, materially and mentally: a way of life where time matters more than money, ideal goods more than material ones, and social bonds more than individual property. That may not be available without a measure of neo-romanticism or even insurrectionism. What one might hope for is a sort of cultural change that, unlike 1968 and its aftermath, would not lend itself to being transformed into a “new spirit of capitalism,” as described by Chiapello and Boltanski. At the intellectual level, I find the growing literature on low-growth, no-growth and de-growth capitalism (or perhaps post-capitalism?) intriguing and I wish one could find good reasons for believing that working for this politically would not necessarily be futile..."
Posted by Ghost Dog | Sun Oct 26, 2014, 04:02 AM (1 replies)
... Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history from the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River and served as a pivotal cultural and religious site for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, and Confucianism. Shandong's Mount Tai is the most revered mountain of Taoism and one of the world's sites with the longest history of continuous religious worship. The Buddhist temples in the mountains to the south of the provincial capital of Jinan were once among the foremost Buddhist sites in China. The city of Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius, and was later established as the center of Confucianism. Shandong's location at the intersection of ancient as well as modern north-south and east-west trading routes have helped to establish it as an economic center. After a period of political instability and economic hardship that began in the late 19th century, Shandong has emerged as one of the most populous (95,793,065 inhabitants at the 2010 Census) and most affluent provinces in the People's Republic of China (GDP of CN¥5.468 trillion in 2013, or USD892 billion, China's third wealthiest province)...
... Shandong ranks first among the provinces in the production of a variety of products, including cotton and wheat as well as precious metals such as gold and diamonds. It also has one of the biggest sapphire deposits in the world. Other important crops include sorghum and maize. Shandong has extensive petroleum deposits as well, especially in the Dongying area in the Yellow River delta, where the Shengli Oilfield (lit. Victory Oilfield) is one of the major oilfields of China. Shandong also produces bromine from underground wells and salt from sea water. It is the largest agricultural exporter in China.
Shandong is one of the richer provinces of China, and its economic development focuses on large enterprises with well-known brand names. Shandong is the biggest industrial producer and one of the top manufacturing provinces in China. Shandong has also benefited from South Korean and Japanese investment and tourism, due to its geographical proximity to those countries. The richest part of the province is the Shandong Peninsula, where the city of Qingdao is home to three of the most well-known brand names of China: Tsingtao Beer, Haier and Hisense. In addition, Dongying's oil fields and petroleum industries form an important component of Shandong's economy. Despite the primacy of Shandong's energy sector, the province has also been plagued with problems of inefficiency and ranks as the largest consumer of fossil fuels in all of China.
In 2011, the nominal GDP for Shandong was ¥4.50 trillion (US$711 billion), ranking third in the country (behind Guangdong and Jiangsu). Its GDP per capita was ¥42,014 (US$6,365), ranking eighth... - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shandong
Posted by Ghost Dog | Fri Sep 12, 2014, 12:56 PM (0 replies)
One of two British explorer ships that vanished in the Arctic more than 160 years ago has been found, Canada's prime minister says...
... Sir John Franklin led the two ships and 129 men in 1845 to chart the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. The expedition's disappearance shortly after became one of the great mysteries of the age of Victorian exploration.
The Canadian government began searching for Franklin's ships in 2008 as part of a strategy to assert Canada's sovereignty over the Northwest Passage, which has recently become accessible to shipping because of melting Arctic ice...
... The find has been described as "the biggest archaeological discovery the world has seen since the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb almost 100 years ago" by a British archeologist, William Battersby, who has written extensively about the Franklin expedition...
(Edit: See also: http://www.democraticunderground.com/122832162 ; http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-14847091 )
Posted by Ghost Dog | Tue Sep 9, 2014, 08:32 PM (3 replies)
... To believe that Putin was indeed the mastermind of the crisis, you would have to think that he somehow arranged to have the EU offer the association agreement last year, then got the International Monetary Fund to attach such draconian “reforms” that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from the deal.
Then, Putin had to organize mass demonstrations at Kiev’s Maidan square against Yanukovych while readying neo-Nazi militias to act as the muscle to finally overthrow the elected president and replace him with a regime dominated by far-right Ukrainian nationalists and U.S.-favored technocrats. Next, Putin had to get the new government to take provocative actions against ethnic Russians in the east, including threatening to outlaw Russian as an official language.
And throw into this storyline that Putin – all the while – was acting like he was trying to help Yanukovych defuse the crisis and even acquiesced to Yanukovych agreeing on Feb. 21 to accept an agreement brokered by three European countries calling for early Ukrainian elections that could vote him out of office. Instead, Putin was supposedly ordering neo-Nazi militias to oust Yanukovych in a Feb. 22 putsch, all the better to create the current crisis...
... This founding false narrative was then embroidered by a consistent pattern of distorted U.S. reporting as the crisis unfolded. Indeed, for the past eight months, we have seen arguably the most one-sided coverage of a major international crisis in memory, although there were other crazed MSM stampedes, such as Iraq’s non-existent WMD in 2002-03, Iran’s supposed nuclear bomb project for most of the past decade, Libya’s “humanitarian crisis” of 2011, and Syria’s sarin gas attack in 2013. But the hysteria over Ukraine – with U.S. officials and editorialists now trying to rally a NATO military response to Russia’s alleged “invasion” of Ukraine – raises the prospect of a nuclear confrontation that could end all life on the planet...
... U.S. mainstream news media’s distortion of the Ukraine crisis is something that a real totalitarian could only dream about. Virtually absent from major U.S. news outlets – across the political spectrum – has been any significant effort to tell the other side of the story or to point out the many times when the West’s “fair and factual version of events” has been false or deceptive, starting with the issue of who started this crisis...
Posted by Ghost Dog | Tue Sep 9, 2014, 04:51 AM (13 replies)
With reference to the following influential blog article: - http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com.es/2014/08/you-wanna-be-uncle-sams-bitch-pay-price.html
From main article (proofread & edited by GD):
... Russia used these sanctions to do something vital for the Russian economy. Let me explain: after the collapse of the USSR Russian agriculture was in disarray, and (Boris) Yeltsin only made matters worse. Russian farmers simply could not compete against advanced Western agro-industrial businesses which benefited from huge economies of scale, from expensive and high-tech chemical and biological research, which had a full chain of production (often through large holdings), and top quality marketing capabilities. The Russian agricultural sector badly, desperately, needed barriers and tariffs in order to be protected from the Western capitalist giants but, instead, Russia voluntarily abided by the terms of the WTO and then eventually became a member. Now Russia is using this total embargo to provide crucially needed time for Russian agriculture to invest and take a much larger share of the Russian market. Also, keep in mind that Russian products are GMO-free, and that they have far fewer preservatives, antibiotics, artficial coloring, taste enhancers, and pesticides. And since they are locally produced, they don't need to be brought in using the kind of refrigeration/preservation techniques which typically make products taste like cardboard. In other words, Russian agricultural products taste much better; but that is not enough to complete. This embargo now gives them a powerful boost to invest, develop and conquer market share...
From comments (proofread & edited by GD):
... This is bad news for suppliers in the EU and great news for suppliers in Argentina, Brazil and South Africa. Russia will be playing the Great Equalizer by selling oil and gas to the EU, China and India and redistributing the proceeds to developing countries that are able to produce food. The miles and miles of plastic covered green houses and the income they produce in Holland and Spain will simply relocate to the developing world where they can be operated more cheaply. Once cargo is loaded on board a ship the transport cost to anywhere in the world is incidental.
As US NATO sanctions take hold, redirection of markets for manufactured goods will follow. Russia will be seeking sources for manufactured goods like airliners and automobiles from Brazil and China to the detriment of suppliers in the US and EU.
Once the flow of commerce is established between Russia and the other BRICs nations it will be next to impossible for the EU to regain their lost markets.
As the world economy shifts to the newer emerging markets world trade will likewise shift from transactions in dollars to other world currencies. As the World watches what could happen to them if they do not follow what the US dictates, the US-led sanctions against Russia will encourage trade to move away from the dollar. The US will find itself out of the loop and the dollar will lose its status as world reserve currency and the US will lose its hegemony...
Let's hope Russians (and Chinese, Brazillians, ...) will be intelligent and enlightened enough to develop localised, socially responsible and environmentally respectful and sustainable agricultural systems, and to encourage the same in the rest of the world wherever this makes environmental and social sense, sensibly regulating and limiting intercontinental trade in agricultural produce that could more sustainably be produced and consumed more locally.
Note that a similar analysis applies in the area of industrial production.
Posted by Ghost Dog | Sat Aug 9, 2014, 06:53 AM (1 replies)
Zoroastrianism /ˌzɒroʊˈæstriənɪzəm/, also called Zarathustraism, Mazdaism and Magianism, is an ancient Iranian religion and a religious philosophy. It was once the state religion of the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires. Estimates of the current number of Zoroastrians worldwide vary between 145,000 and 2.6 million.
Zoroastrianism arose in the eastern region of the ancient Persian Empire, when the religious philosopher Zoroaster simplified the pantheon of early Iranian gods into two opposing forces: Spenta Mainyu (Progressive mentality) and Angra Mainyu (Destructive Mentality) under the one God, Ahura Mazda (Illuminating Wisdom).
Zoroaster's ideas led to a formal religion bearing his name by about the 6th century BCE and have influenced other later religions including Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity and Islam...
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thus_Spoke_Zarathustra
Posted by Ghost Dog | Wed Jul 2, 2014, 03:57 PM (0 replies)
... As products of their social and cultural environments, humans raised in the West have been victims of a massive global brainwash forced into a world of duplicitous dualism to “choose” sides, of course choosing the political side of their own nation, culture, ethnicity and/or religion, conned into automatically accepting that their nation/culture/religion is far more righteous and superior in comparison to others on the opposing side...
... Fortunately over time this oversimplified, black and white rerun version of the world has been challenged and exposed as jingoistic bias and distortion of how our complicated world actually is. Many of us have intuitively known all along that as members of the same human species, the striking similarities of our common human nature that bind us together far outweigh whatever differences in culture, skin color, nationality, political ideology, global region or religion. What many of us are increasingly realizing both here in America as well as in other nations around the globe is that we have been purposely and methodically lied to and manipulated for a very long time. The education system in America is more about socializing, programming and brainwashing young people into becoming obedient, mindless, robotic adults than learning any real truth or learning to cultivate and use their critical faculties to seek the truth amidst the world of illusion.
This “us versus them,” “you’re either with us or against us” dichotomy has been forever used as an artificial manmade device to separate humans into an in-group versus out-group duality. Unfortunately it has been operating nonstop ever since cavemen first emerged from their caves and encountered other human tribes. Through human migration and modern technology of air travel and most recently internet travel, now more than at any time prior in man’s relative short history on earth, Canadian communications philosopher Marshall McLuhan’s concept of the world seen as a “global village” has shrunk the earth into a here and now everyday accepted reality.
As a result, in recent years the world view of nations and continents has become somewhat more homogenized, made more accessible by mass media technology that transcends both geography and culture. Learning and communicating with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds have brought the world closer. That said, conversely the earth today is geopolitically moving rapidly toward more fragmented polarization, driven by a single globalization economy owned, controlled and operated by a global oligarchy. Its perverse vision of a New World Order currently has much of the global population brainwashed to fear, mistrust, hate and kill each other with unparalleled potential. But not all of us are being fooled by such divisively spun projections from a shadowy elite madly pulling their deceptive spin levers cloaked behind their gold curtain. An honest look at what is actually happening now around the world exposes the oligarch agenda to purposely increase worldwide tension, division and conflict...
... By carefully orchestrated design, the US-EU-NATO alliance is obediently carrying out the oligarch high command to destabilize, polarize and militarize every continent on earth, pitting regional adversaries against each other in a global offensive with the West jabbing and baiting the East into military conflict from the Arctic to every corner of the globe...
Posted by Ghost Dog | Mon Jun 30, 2014, 06:48 AM (0 replies)
Source: New Europe
... The PP were the most voted for political party taking 26.04 percent of the vote and seeing their representation in the EP drop from 24 to 16 seats, while their share of the votes was 18 percent down from their win in the 2011 General Election which they garnered 44 percent of the votes...
... The PSOE polled just 23.02 percent, three percent less than the PP and around 6 percent down from their 2011 General election showing. The PSOE have won 14 seats in the EP, nine fewer than the 23 they won in 2009...
... Perhaps the standout factor for Sunday's results is that Spain's two major parties polled less than 50 percent of the total vote on a day when minority parties saw their share of the vote increase dramatically. This led some commentators to speculate as to whether this could be the end of the two-party dominance in the country.
The United Left claimed 9.99 percent of the vote and now have six seats in Brussels, four more than in 2009, while the newly formed "Podemos" (We Can) party, a left wing coalition, claimed 7.93 percent of the vote and won five seats. The center-right Union Progress and Democracy went from winning one to four seats.
Read more: http://www.neurope.eu/article/spains-popular-party-leads-ep-election-small-parties-real-winners
My preferred Title: Left,, Green and 'Indignados' parties gain most in Spanish EU election
The United Left is in coalition with Greens in Spain. This is the traditional real left. The new party 'Podemos says it will now, Indignados and Occupy-style (and indeed Chiapas-style), form open discussion circles in every locality on the basis of which to form policy. This is reminiscent of Kropotkin-style political ideas. The UPD's discourse mostly involves criticising the corruption in the two main parties (as do all). There are zero far-right parties with any weight at all in Spanish politics, except of course the PP, or significant sectors of the PP, heir to Franco's Catholic elitist authoritarians, itself.
In Catalonia the Catallan nationalist (seeking independence) ERC-led Left coalition trounced the also nationalist right wing and 'business' party CiU currently governing the Generalitat.
In the Canary Islands a majority voted Left for the first time in a long time, and the United Left and especially Podemos strongly surged.
Similar patterns will doubtless be found throughout the Iberian Peninsula and Islands...
Posted by Ghost Dog | Mon May 26, 2014, 05:32 AM (4 replies)
So, on reflection extrapolating from your earlier communication, the Danish crown, dominating the whole of Scandinavia at the time, finding itself all-but bankrupt (because largely of warring, I guess), looks around a little further out but still in fact well within the local Scandinavian-influenced world at that time, sees an opportunity to make a deal with the Scottish crown: the loan in cash or whatever easily-negotiable goods in exchange for the Orkneys and the Shetlands (but not eg. the Faröes) on lien.
The deal is struck; Denmark gets paid as agreed and Scotand gets the islands.
The Danish crown does not repay the loan so Scotland keeps the islands.
Fair deal, right? Yeah. Cool.
But hang on a minute.
From a Norwegian point of view, the Danish crown was occupying Norway at the time and sold Norwegian islands to Scotland (Norwegians, doubtless, not being consulted).
Denmarks's domination of Scandinavia did not persist.
Today, the situation established then persists..Regardless of whether the Danish crown had the right or not to sell the islands, obviously for Norwegians there is sentiment there.
As there is obviously sentiment in Scotland.
What in the future, it occurs to me, would be beautiful to see, would be an independent Scottish Republic in perhaps or perhaps not a Union but certainly a Special Relationship with Norway, inside and/or outside the EU.
Posted by Ghost Dog | Mon May 19, 2014, 11:20 PM (1 replies)
HAVANA (AP) — Revelations of a secret U.S. government program to set up a cellphone-based social network in Cuba are being trumpeted in the island's official media as proof of Havana's repeated allegations that Washington is waging a "cyber-war" to try to stir up unrest...
... State news agency Prensa Latina recalled a Jan. 1 speech in which President Raul Castro warned of "attempts to subtly introduce platforms for neoliberal thought and for the restoration of neocolonial capitalism."
"Castro's denunciations of the U.S. government's destabilizing attempts against Cuba were corroborated by today's revelation of a plan to push Cuban youth toward the counterrevolution, with the participation of a U.S. agency," Prensa Latina said...
... On the streets of Havana, some echoed their government's complaints about U.S. interference and ZunZuneo.
"Coming from them (the United States), nothing can surprise us anymore," said 25-year-old Claudia Garcia...
Posted by Ghost Dog | Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:52 PM (0 replies)