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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: 13,665

About Me

(Brit gone native).

Journal Archives

Excellent.



... You’d have to be crazy to think that Russia was going to allow the Ukraine, including Crimea, to become part of NATO, and yes, that was the West’s (or rather, America’s) endgame. (The Europeans think the Americans are crazy to be baiting the bear like this. But the Europeans need Russian natural gas.) Russia is no longer the USSR. It is not an existential threat to the West, or even to Europe. It is a corrupt resource state with a big army and nukes which controls a lot of territory, but the idea that it would win a full-on conventional war with America is deranged. All the US is accomplishing here is driving Russia into the country which is actually a danger to American dominance: China...

... Putin thinks the US and the West are Russia’s enemies. He is not wrong...

... Now, Putin is only the most competent Russian leader since perhaps Peter the Great, enjoys greater popularity among his own people than Bush and Obama ever did put together, and is a respected statesman around the world, which, by the way, sees the US as the greatest threat to world peace. Putin's first great initiative, dictatorship of the law, transformed a once lawless Russia into a generally law-abiding state, though slightly too conservative and restrictive for some people's taste. His second great idea, sovereign democracy, made Russia almost completely impervious to Western attempts at political manipulation. Add to that his economic successes (Russians' incomes have doubled repeatedly while US incomes have stagnated) and his foreign policy successes (his government recently prevented a major conflict in Syria, then engineered a rapprochement between the West and Iran) and you can begin to see why he makes US State Department apparatchiks and assorted US neocons absolutely livid with rage. That kind of anger tends to be catchy, and so we find journalists and commentators in the US so wrapped up in their negative feelings towards Putin that they are neglecting to do their job, which is to inform people...

Far out.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?



Download the original GCHQ .pdf from here: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1021430/the-art-of-deception-training-for-a-new.pdf

"Should the English have a say on Scottish independence?" (Asks Roger Scruton).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26173128

In all the complex changes leading to the Scottish bid for independence the English have never been consulted. The process has been conducted as though we had no right to an opinion in the matter. It was all about Scotland, and how to respond to Scottish nationalism. ... When the Czechs and the Slovaks achieved their amicable divorce it was by mutual agreement between elected politicians. What is so different about Scotland, that it decides everything for itself? ...

<long snip>

... The effect of the Scottish Parliament ... was not only to ensure that the Scots would govern themselves, but also to make it more likely that they would continue to govern the English. The Labour Party did not want to lose those Scottish MPs, since it was thanks to them, and to the Scottish vote, that the Labour Party had achieved such a large majority in Westminster. Scots were disproportionately represented in the cabinets of both Blair and Brown. Tony Blair was born and partly educated in Scotland, and owed his position in the Labour hierarchy in part to the networks that had grown in that country.

Elections to the Scottish Parliament show that the Scots have shifted their allegiance from Labour to the SNP. But they still want the English to be governed by the Labour Party. Hence they vote to place Labour politicians, whom they don't particularly want at home, in Westminster.

As a result of this the English, who have voted Conservative more often than Labour in post-war elections, have to accept a block vote of Labour members of parliament sent to Westminster by the Scots. The process that brought this about was one in which the Scots themselves were given the final say, in a referendum from which the English were excluded. In other words the process of devolution can be seen as a piece of gerrymandering, the effect of which has been to secure a Labour bias in the Westminster Parliament, while allowing the Scots to govern themselves in whatever way they choose.

And the process continues. In response to Alex Salmond's bid for independence the people of Scotland have been granted another referendum. But again the people of England have been deprived of a say. Why is this? Are we part of the union or not? Or are the politicians afraid that we would vote the wrong way? And what is the wrong way? What way should we English vote, given that the present arrangement gives two votes to the Scots for every vote given to the English? Should we not vote for our independence, given that we risk being governed from a country that already regulates its own affairs, and has no clear commitment to ours? ...

<snip>

/Much More + many comments... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26173128

Meanwhile, at Asia's arms bazaar...

... Many of the uniformed officers from Asia's militaries who are visiting the biennial Singapore Airshow make a beeline for the aircraft.

For the most part, the Poseidon is a Boeing 737, the world's most commonly seen passenger jet. But first looks can be deceiving - this plane can be fitted with torpedoes, depth charges and anti-ship missiles. Inside are packed some of the world's most advanced avionics, radars and sensors, making it the only long-range marine patrol aircraft that can hunt and destroy submarines.

"When you want the best long-range anti-submarine warfare aircraft in that class, we have the product that's most developed," said Chris Raymond, an executive vice president in Boeing's defence, space and security division.

Defence analysts say maritime surveillance is the most pressing security need in East and Southeast Asia, made up of predominantly littoral states. Rival maritime claims that have pitted China, which has one of the world's fastest growing militaries, against Japan and other Asian nations have made the South and East China Seas dangerous flashpoints.

Piracy and smuggling are also rife in the region. And natural disasters strike with depressing regularity, leading to a need for search and rescue aircraft.

"Maritime patrol is the buzzword at the moment, especially in Singapore," said Gareth Jennings, an aviation expert at IHS Jane's...

/... http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/02/12/uk-airshow-singapore-defence-surveillanc-idUKBREA1B04F20140212

... and "capitalism’s inherent dynamic ... threatens democratic societies":

Nothing new about these propositions for what I'd call the 'anarchist' left.

... Now define more clearly what a 'democratic society' should or could look like...

So Hagel specifies Iran, huh. More general phrasing here:

http://www.stripes.com/news/uss-donald-cook-heads-to-rota-as-part-of-missile-shield-1.264891
Published: January 31, 2014

The first of four U.S. Navy destroyers to form the centerpiece of Europe’s missile defense shield departed the U.S. East Coast on Friday for its new home port in southern Spain.

Plans call for the USS Donald Cook to be joined by three more Arleigh Burke-class missile-guided destroyers, which carry the Aegis weapon system, in the coming two years. All are to be stationed at the U.S. Navy base in Rota, Spain, on the Atlantic coast north of Gibraltar.

Other pieces of the missile defense shield, known as the European Phased Adaptive Approach, include land-based Aegis interceptor batteries in Romania and Poland, radar in Turkey and a command center at the U.S. Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany.

The plan has caused a major rift with Russia, which says the shield is aimed against its own nuclear missile arsenal. The U.S. and its NATO allies insist the defense system is to meant to protect Europe from potentially hostile countries in the region, such as Iran.

The destroyer detachment expands the Navy presence in Europe at a time when other services are drawing down across the continent. It follows the Navy’s current emphasis on forward deployment, or having ships stationed closer to areas of interest...

/... http://www.stripes.com/news/uss-donald-cook-heads-to-rota-as-part-of-missile-shield-1.264891


... I wonder how much Spain gets paid for the use of Rota, air and naval...¿?

Mmmm...



Err...



Huh.



Ujjfff.



Oh, fuck.



Vale.

Let the UN have teeth. Let it tax and spend,

conjoin and coerce, reward and punish.

But make it respond to bottom-up, directly participatory democratic social forces.

Would you go for a French-style Republic?

ie. with an all-but plenipotentiary President?

Or for more of an Italian, say, model, where the President merely attempts to maintain some kind of order?

A note on (the world's non-existent) nuclear waste repositories

The most long-lived radioactive wastes, including spent nuclear fuel, must be contained and isolated from humans and the environment for a very long time. Disposal of these wastes in engineered facilities, or repositories, located deep underground in suitable geologic formations is seen as the reference solution. The International Panel on Fissile Materials has said:

It is widely accepted that spent nuclear fuel and high-level reprocessing and plutonium wastes require well-designed storage for periods ranging from tens of thousands to a million years, to minimize releases of the contained radioactivity into the environment. Safeguards are also required to ensure that neither plutonium nor highly enriched uranium is diverted to weapon use. There is general agreement that placing spent nuclear fuel in repositories hundreds of meters below the surface would be safer than indefinite storage of spent fuel on the surface.

Common elements of repositories include the radioactive waste, the containers enclosing the waste, other engineered barriers or seals around the containers, the tunnels housing the containers, and the geologic makeup of the surrounding area.

The ability of natural geologic barriers to isolate radioactive waste is demonstrated by the natural nuclear fission reactors at Oklo, Africa. During their long reaction period about 5.4 tonnes of fission products as well as 1.5 tonnes of plutonium together with other transuranic elements were generated in the uranium ore body. This plutonium and the other transuranics remained immobile until the present day, a span of almost 2 billion years. This is quite remarkable in view of the fact that ground water had ready access to the deposits and they were not in a chemically inert form, such as glass.

Despite a long-standing agreement among many experts that geological disposal can be safe, technologically feasible and environmentally sound, a large part of the general public in many countries remains skeptical. One of the challenges facing the supporters of these efforts is to demonstrate confidently that a repository will contain wastes for so long that any releases that might take place in the future will pose no significant health or environmental risk.

Nuclear reprocessing does not eliminate the need for a repository, but reduces the volume, reduces the long term radiation hazard, and long term heat dissipation capacity needed.

/... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_geological_repository

In 1982, Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act directing the Department of Energy to build and operate a repository for used nuclear fuel and other high-level radioactive waste. The act set a deadline of 1998 for the Energy Department to begin moving used fuel from nuclear energy facilities.

To fund the federal program, the act established a Nuclear Waste Fund. Since 1983, electricity consumers have paid into the fund one-tenth of a cent for every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced at nuclear power plants. These fees continue to accumulate at a rate of $750 million a year, and the fund accrues more than $1 billion in interest each year. The fund’s balance, as of May 2013, is more than $29 billion. Without a high-level radioactive waste management program and annual congressional appropriations, these funds are not available for their intended purpose.

In 1987, Congress amended the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, directing the Energy Department to exclusively study Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, a remote desert location, as the site for a potential repository for geologic disposal of used nuclear fuel. After two decades of site studies, the federal government filed a construction license application in 2008 for a repository at Yucca Mountain.

However, President Obama in 2010 stopped the Yucca Mountain license review and empaneled a study commission to recommend a new policy for the long-term management of used fuel and high-level radioactive waste. In January 2012, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future published its final recommendations, most of which are supported by the industry. The Energy Department’s used fuel management strategy to implement the commission’s recommendations was issued in January 2013.

/... http://www.nei.org/Issues-Policy/Nuclear-Waste-Management/Disposal

The Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste is a framework for moving toward a sustainable program to deploy an integrated system capable of transporting, storing, and disposing of used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste from civilian nuclear power generation, defense, national security and other activities.

The Strategy addresses several important needs. First, it serves as a statement of Administration policy regarding the importance of addressing the disposition of used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste; it lays out the overall design of a system to address that issue; and it outlines the reforms needed to implement such a system. Second, it presents the Administration’s response to the final report and recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (“BRC”). It also responds to direction in the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, to develop a strategy for the management of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste in response to the BRC’s recommendations. Third, this strategy represents an initial basis for discussions among the Administration, Congress and other stakeholders on a sustainable path forward for disposal of nuclear waste.

/ and blah blah blah... http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/Strategy%20for%20the%20Management%20and%20Disposal%20of%20Used%20Nuclear%20Fuel%20and%20High%20Level%20Radioactive%20Waste.pdf
(18-page .pdf) The essence of the Obama Plan? Back to the drawing-board on square one, basically. And lots of political opportunities...


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