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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: 15,429

About Me

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

Journal Archives

What is Boris Johnson up to now?

... Johnson’s task in the Commons debate, it should probably be conceded, was not as easy as he might have made it look. He had essentially to hold the government line against a barrage of highly emotive appeals for action – action that was rejected by MPs three years ago in a decision that arguably opened the way for the desperate situation in which eastern Aleppo finds itself today.

Essentially rejecting the proposal for a no-fly zone as too risky, given the Nato-Russia air clashes it could precipitate, he was left with the threat to take Russia to the international criminal court (ICC) for war crimes. That was a threat made earlier by US diplomats including the secretary of state, John Kerry, at the UN, and by the French President, François Hollande, in a move that led President Putin to cancel a planned visit to Paris.

Here again, though, the UK faces difficulties. The actual crime Johnson cited was the attack on the aid convoy that effectively ended the latest US/Russia-brokered ceasefire, and it is still not at all clear where the blame for this lies.

Talk of the ICC and war crimes also places the UK on somewhat insecure terrain. At a time when the prime minister has undertaken to exempt UK military personnel from the provisions of European convention on human rights as it applies to the battlefield, the foreign secretary’s threats suggested a government speaking with forked tongue, and a minister overcompensating with rhetoric for an inability, or unwillingness, to act.


How will the Paris Agreement be implemented across the world?

... The imminent ratification of the Paris Agreement – a global deal to keep global temperature rise below 2°C – is a huge achievement and a real triumph for multilateralism. It also focuses the mind on the next step: how the Agreement will be implemented across the world?

Here, we get our first inkling as to why the finance ministers, central bankers and regulators meeting in Washington DC are so relevant to our story. Right now, progress is being made towards mobilizing $100 billion in annual financing flows from rich countries to developing economies by 2020. Practical implementation is also taking place on the ground. Funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is helping to build resilience into coastal and urban infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, while in Tanzania over 100,000 homes now have electricity through Off-Grid Electric, a clean energy company backed by debt financing from the Million Solar Homes Fund.

Yet overall, the cost of making the transition to a low-carbon future is measured in trillions. This quickly takes us far beyond the realm of public funds since no government – no matter how rich – can finance climate action through taxation and borrowing alone. One estimate suggests that around US $90 trillion will need to be invested by 2030 in infrastructure, agriculture and energy systems, to accomplish the Paris Agreement.

This won’t happen without private capital and underlines why aligning the world’s financial system with the needs of climate action and sustainable development is every bit as important as emission reduction pathways and removing fossil fuel subsidies. Moreover, set against the US$300 trillion of assets – held by banks, the capital markets and institutional investors – we’re faced with a problem of allocation rather than outright scarcity...


On Neoclassical Imperialism (re. Hudson's "Killing The Host")

... The basic view of neoclassical thought is that we must allow for the most markets possible in the world. To this extent, we see neoclassical politicians support privatizing infrastructure, busting unions, and monetizing all aspects of human relations possible. Perhaps it bears mentioning here that the basis of the neoclassical economic thought are John Nash’s game theory equations, a set of mathematical formulas that fail to take into account the basic elements of economics (value, profits, supply and demand, competition, regulatory oversight, et cetera) and therefore are premised on a utopian notion of post-capitalist society. This integration of the game theory equations into the underlying structure of political economy forever altered the nature of capitalism, making it different than the Gilded Age and Victorian systems that Marx and Lenin wrote about. Prior to this integration of game theory, the study of economics did include math but in a way that was typical of social sciences like sociology or anthropology. The inclusion of game theory in the economics discipline forever changed its orientation towards a paradigm that would be akin to any mathematical discipline, failing to account for the humanitarian elements that would be normally be required of such analysis. As a result, neoclassical economics is an imperial project where the search for markets becomes internationalized and is done on the behalf of the 1%.

However, due to the intentions of the 1%, this post-capitalist society would not be a socialist or pure communist one, it would be a neo-feudal rentier economy. As such, we find ourselves in a situation where class warfare is not a fight for traditional leftist goals of socialism as much as preventing a step backwards into feudalism, at which point we see as potential allies the Libertarian movement’s center and left wings. Hudson is very clear about this in his book, making it all the more vital to read.

However, because neoclassical politicians in the Democratic Party (neoliberals) and the Republican Party (neoconservatives) do not believe in truly free markets and instead create these markets only to benefits a select group of financiers on Wall Street, we are discussing an imperial project with a new form of aristocracy, made up of 1% of the human population. Neocons believe that the way to build the most markets possible is by attacking the Levant directly, beginning with Palestine and culminating with conquest of Iran. Neoliberals prefer a northern approach, attacking Russia through sanctions and military encirclement before going south into China and the Levant...

... Americans specifically must destroy this 1% by nationalizing the banking system and removing the income cap on Social Security that allows for such accumulations of wealth while instituting a progressive tax on all corporations like Apple and individuals like Mitt Romney that utilize foreign tax shelters and offshore bank accounts. This is the nature of genuine solidarity with any resistance movement in the postcolonial world today and not a delusional imitation of the paradigm created in the Spanish Civil War. We must, as Marx and Engels said, expropriate the expropriators, yet we must recognize that the expropriators are just the select 1% of the population and not anyone else. If we mean to create solidarity, we must do so through the generation of a source of capital that is autonomous from Wall Street...


Merkel’s Party Slumps in Berlin Election Amid Populist Surge

Berlin’s Social Democrats, who have ruled the capital city for 15 years, including the last five in coalition with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, took the most votes on Sunday with 23 percent, according to separate exit polls by broadcasters ARD and ZDF. The CDU came in second with 18 percent, while Alternative for Germany, or AfD, won seats in the city-state’s parliament for the first time.

The CDU’s defeat is the second straight electoral setback for Merkel’s party after finishing third behind the AfD for the first time in another state election two weeks ago. The AfD has siphoned voters from established parties with its call to halt migration and deport rejected asylum seekers more quickly. In Berlin, both the CDU and SPD -- which govern together at the national level -- lost about 5 percentage points of support on Sunday.

The Greens and the anti-capitalist Left Party each took 16.5 percent, while the pro-business Free Democrats were poised to return to the Berlin city assembly with 6.5 percent, according to the exit polls.

The latest defeat means Merkel’s party may exit the government in Germany’s largest city. Berlin’s Social Democratic mayor, Michael Mueller, has said he’d prefer a coalition with the Greens, for which he’d also lack a majority if the results are confirmed. That raises the prospect of a three-way coalition between the SPD, Greens and Left Party...


Maldives: massive corruption at the top of the Maldives government exposed

... A new documentary, Stealing Paradise, provides an unprecedented insight into how international corruption is carried out. The story is told through data obtained from three of former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb's smartphones and dozens of confidential documents. It also features secretly recorded confessions of three men who embezzled millions and delivered the stolen cash on the orders of the president and his deputy.

The programme finds that the president's ministers and aides have plotted to launder up to $1.5bn through the South Asian nation's central bank, with the help of secretive businessmen from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. They planned to fly in cash at up to $100m at a time, pass it through the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) and transfer it back out...

... The former vice president's phone messages expose serious abuses of power. Ahmed Adeeb ordered the police commissioner to "blast" a TV station that had already been burned down in 2013. He also conspired with police to "light up" a government office housing 200 members of staff. The target of the attack was Niyaz Ibrahim, then auditor-general investigating the vice president's corruption...

... The testimony also suggests the length of former President Mohamed Nasheed's 13-year terrorism sentence was determined directly by the president... Sources and text message conversations reveal the Maldives judiciary is far from independent. Senior judges have received money and luxury flats and meet regularly with the president and his deputy, who meddle in high-profile cases and judicial appointments...


The documentary:
Follow at Maldives Independent:

The police have raided the Maldives Independent office in Malé with a court warrant over an alleged coup plot, hours after an explosive Al Jazeera corruption exposé was released on YouTube.

The highly-anticipated documentary Stealing Paradise features an interview with Zaheena Rasheed, the editor of this publication, along with leading figures from the opposition and former members of watchdog bodies...

... Shahinda Ismail, whose Maldives Democracy Network shares the floor with the offices of MI, called the incident an intimidation tactic by the government. “Compared to the seriousness of the allegations, the search was very superficial and was over within minutes. It seems to me that it was directed at the people, not the place they shared,” she said, referring to the editor of Maldives Independent, who is currently out of the country.

Over last week, this publication has been repeatedly targeted by certain sections of the local media “for its involvement” in the making of the documentary. Will Jordan, the Al Jazeera producer, was previously the editor of Minivan News in 2007 before it was rebranded to Maldives Independent in 2015...


Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley voted joint leaders of Green party

... Lucas, who led the party from 2008-12, used her section of a joint acceptance speech to lambast the legacy of Brexit, describing a political landscape where “trust has been shattered and the truth lies buried”.

“At what point did it become OK to produce posters so dehumanising, so degrading and so despicable that they are compared to 1930s propaganda – even by a Conservative chancellor of the exchequer? ... Our political class – so gravely out of touch that they are surprised when years of scapegoating migrants for our social and economic ills come home to roost...”

... Bartley noted Jeremy Corbyn’s recent idea of a universal basic income, saying the policy “offers genuine social security and opportunity to all – even a Labour party looking for more of our policies to adopt.”

In a direct appeal to Labour voters he said: “Our message to others who share a belief in a progressive modern Britain is this – old tribal loyalties are dying and voters can no longer be taken for granted. The era of two-party politics is over. It’s the voting system that is still stuck in the past...”


With a solitary MP and a flimsy activist base,

it still played a huge role in embedding the connection between most of Britain’s ills and the EU, and thereby carrying its cause from the margins of politics to its very centre. Here is an example of postmodern politics from which people on the left would do well to learn...


High quality analysis, as usual, from John Harris.

The example of postmodern politics shows us the effectiveness of vocal, theatrical, even, opposition, even when personified in only one leading actor (but a harmonious chorus is surely better), in bringing about fundamental change.

Ultra-rich man’s letter: “To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming”

Hard to take, but a worthy read...

... Dear 1%ers, many of our fellow citizens are starting to believe that capitalism itself is the problem. I disagree, and I’m sure you do too. Capitalism, when well managed, is the greatest social technology ever invented to create prosperity in human societies. But capitalism left unchecked tends toward concentration and collapse. It can be managed either to benefit the few in the near term or the many in the long term. The work of democracies is to bend it to the latter. That is why investments in the middle class work. And tax breaks for rich people like us don’t. Balancing the power of workers and billionaires by raising the minimum wage isn’t bad for capitalism. It’s an indispensable tool smart capitalists use to make capitalism stable and sustainable. And no one has a bigger stake in that than zillionaires like us.

The oldest and most important conflict in human societies is the battle over the concentration of wealth and power. The folks like us at the top have always told those at the bottom that our respective positions are righteous and good for all. Historically, we called that divine right. Today we have trickle-down economics.

What nonsense this is. Am I really such a superior person? Do I belong at the center of the moral as well as economic universe? Do you?...


Nobody can buy the silence of a climate spinning out of control: Caroline Lucas

The government’s reckless pursuit of fracking has reached new lows with the announcement that ministers will attempt to buy off widespread community opposition to the controversial new fossil fuel source through the introduction of a £1bn Shale Wealth Fund. At a time when we need to be making the transition to a jobs-rich zero-carbon future, this would be a gross violation of the commitments made in Paris last year. Already 2016 is set to be the hottest year on record and without a global step-change we will blow the 1.5C goal within years. Nobody can buy the silence of a climate that is spinning into chaos and turmoil...

... Later this year, the government must publish a new carbon plan that will outline the path to a 57% reduction in emissions by 2030 to meet its commitments under the Climate Change Act. Alongside the decision to embark upon a new industrial strategy, this plan, if taken seriously, could be a real opportunity to put climate change at the heart of government decision-making.

Rather than betting on shale gas, which takes us further in the wrong direction, England should follow Wales and Scotland and announce a moratorium on fracking. Then it should do the only thing that makes sense – economically, environmentally and socially: invest in the shared wealth that can be generated by renewable energy and energy efficiency. In other words, invest in the future.


... Does anyone with any influence in the Westminster establishment attend to what Caroline Lucas has to say, or is she generally dismissed (together with the Paris Agreement) as just another unrealistically utopian Green?

Arming Ukraine: Breedlove's leaked emails... (Spiegel)

... The newly leaked emails reveal a clandestine network of Western agitators around the NATO military chief, whose presence fueled the conflict in Ukraine. Many allies found in Breedlove's alarmist public statements about alleged large Russian troop movements cause for concern early on. Earlier this year, the general was assuring the world that US European Command was "deterring Russia now and preparing to fight and win if necessary."

The emails document for the first time the questionable sources from whom Breedlove was getting his information. He had exaggerated Russian activities in eastern Ukraine with the overt goal of delivering weapons to Kiev...

... Breedlove's leaked email correspondences were read in Berlin with great interest. A year ago, word of the NATO commander's "dangerous propaganda" was circulating around Merkel's Chancellery. In light of the new information, officials felt vindicated in their assessment. Germany's Federal Foreign Office has expressed similar sentiment, saying that fortunately "influential voices had continuously advocated against the delivery of 'lethal weapons.'"...

... General Breedlove's departure from his NATO post in May has done little to placate anyone in the German government. After all, the man Breedlove regarded as an obstacle, President Obama, is nearing the end of his second term. His possible successor, the Democrat Hillary Clinton, is considered a hardliner vis-a-vis Russia. What's more: Nuland, a diplomat who shares many of the same views as Breedlove, could move into an even more important role after the November election -- she's considered a potential candidate for secretary of state.


... Clark relayed specific requests for the types of military aid desired by Ukrainian officials. In addition to radar systems and other forms of military equipment, Clark recommended that Breedlove “encourage Ukraine to hire some first rate pr firms and crisis communications firms in U.S. and Europe.” He added, “They need the right tools to engage in information warfare.”

Ukraine did hire several D.C. lobbying and communication firms to influence policymakers. In June 2015, the government signed a deal with APCO Worldwide, an influential firm with ties to senior Democratic and Republican officials...

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