Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


Baobab's Journal
Baobab's Journal
June 6, 2016

A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas

http://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/sce/connecticut-chapter/Howarth 2014

In April 2011, we published the first peer-reviewed analysis of the greenhouse
gas footprint (GHG) of shale gas, concluding that the climate impact of shale
gas may be worse than that of other fossil fuels such as coal and oil because of
methane emissions. We noted the poor quality of publicly available data to sup-
port our analysis and called for further research. Our paper spurred a large
increase in research and analysis, including several new studies that have better
measured methane emissions from natural gas systems. Here, I review this new
research in the context of our 2011 paper and the fifth assessment from the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released in 2013. The best data
available now indicate that our estimates of methane emission from both shale
gas and conventional natural gas were relatively robust. Using these new, best
available data and a 20-year time period for comparing the warming potential
of methane to carbon dioxide, the conclusion stands that both shale gas and
conventional natural gas have a larger GHG than do coal or oil, for any possi-
ble use of natural gas and particularly for the primary uses of residential and
commercial heating. The 20-year time period is appropriate because of the
urgent need to reduce methane emissions over the coming 15–35 years
June 4, 2016

Should Social Security benefits be portable between Countries? This issue could be a stealth attack

As part of the ongoing services negotiations it appears that the issue of social security benefits portability has raised its head. In the future a great many workers are likely to be here working for their employing corporations- foreign firms. We've already agreed to let corporatios move their employees around at will- 20 years ago, but for various reasons the talks have stalled and started up a number of times, and the numbers still are small.

Currently people in this situation pay Social Security tax but never get any Social Security benefits since they by definition are temporary- here for no more than five or seven years in the case of managers. India has estimated that currently, despite the numbers of workers being fairly small, relative to Americans working here, India has estimated that its workers are currently losing around 1.6 billion dollars a year.

The tendency is towards globalization but under almost any way of looking at the issues, Americans are likely to lose in the short term. However, as this works both ways, ultimately it may be important to Americans to have benefits portability if Americans are forced to go elsewhere for work. (because of the high cost of living here) Its complicated because the practice under Social Security of giving beneficiaries more money than whatever interest is earned if they make less would be barred. So people could end up losing all their savings in a non-government Social Security scheme and in fact its likely that would happen, IMO, given the demographics.

June 3, 2016

Hillary has NO right to brag about her 'foreign policy', its been truly horrible. And its a "known"


Hillary Clinton’s Attack on Trump’s Foreign Policy Is…Hillary Clinton: Yes, Trump has a record of odious, irresponsible pronouncements. But Clinton has a lousy record.

By James Carden

In San Diego on Thursday, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sharply rebuked her Republican rival, Donald J. Trump, for his lack of qualifications and foreign policy smarts. Departing from her standard and often dull stump speech, Clinton issued a brutal and, at times, clever critique of her Republican opponent. Yet, as she drew out the differences between herself and Trump, it became depressingly clear that she is offering nothing new.

Mrs. Clinton told an adoring crowd that Trump simply “cannot do the job.” Trump’s ideas, according to Clinton, “aren’t just different – they are dangerously incoherent. They’re not even really ideas – just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies.” In sense, Clinton — of Illinois, Arkansas, New York and Washington, DC — was on home turf in San Diego, which plays host to some of the biggest players within the military-industrial complex. Defense contractors like BAE Systems, General Atomics, Cubic Defense and Northrop Grumman contributed, according to one San Diego-based trade group, an estimated $24.8 billion to the local economy last year.

Clinton’s bill of indictment against Trump was not, however, totally unconvincing: Trump has made a series of reckless pronouncements in which he has indicated he would be fine with a nuclear-armed Saudi Arabia. He has proposed a ban on Muslim immigrants. He has said he will bring back torture and “go after” the families of suspected terrorists. Clinton sarcastically mocked Trump for seeming to believe that holding a Miss Universe pageant in Moscow counts as some kind of foreign policy credential. “This,” Clinton scolded, “isn’t reality television, it’s reality.”

All in all, devastating and formidable. Yet problems arise when Clinton rolls out the charge that Trump is “temperamentally unfit” for office. Perhaps he is. But her record also raises serious questions of judgment. And here a consideration of Secretary Clinton’s record in office is in order. New York Times reporter Mark Landler recounts in his recently released book Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power that on nearly every major foreign policy decision that Clinton weighed in on during her time as the nation’s chief diplomat, she found herself to the right of the Pentagon.

A former aide recounts that Clinton “contributed to the overmilitarizing of the analysis” with regard to the president’s options in Afghanistan. Clinton initially backed Gen. Stanley McCrystal’s request to send 40,000 troops there and was among on coterie of advisers who forced President Obama’s hand in sending 30,000. Doing so resulted in, among other things, a wave of “green-on-blue” attacks on American service personnel by our alleged Afghan “allies.” Not surprisingly, twice as many US servicemen were killed in Afghanistan under Obama than under George W. Bush.....
June 2, 2016

Vast Majority of Democrats Want Sanders to Stay in Race: Poll

Source: Common Dreams

Despite pressure from party establishment on Sanders to drop out of the race, most Democratic voters want the senator to keep running - A new poll released Wednesday found that a majority of registered Democrats want presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders to stay in the race. The national survey of 2,001 voters by Morning Consult found that 57 percent of all Democrats polled want Sanders to keep running, while 33 percent want him to drop out. Ten percent have no opinion.

The findings contradict the pressure from prominent Democratic politicians and centrist pundits on Sanders to drop out of the presidential race—some of whom even argue that he's already lost—despite the fact that several states (including delegate-rich California) and U.S. territories have yet to hold their primaries. (Polls also show Sanders and Clinton in a dead heat in California, which votes on June 7.)

The survey also found that a greater share of women registered as Democrats want Sanders to stay in the race than do Democratic men, directly contradicting another popular media narrative that posits that Sanders' support comes largely from men, while rival Hillary Clinton supposedly wins more support from women.

Fifty-seven percent of voters of all political stripes also told the pollsters that they want Sanders to stay in the race, while 28 percent think he should drop out. A whopping 64 percent of respondents under 25 believe Sanders should keep running, in keeping with Sanders' popularity with young people.

Read more: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/06/01/vast-majority-democrats-want-sanders-stay-race-poll

June 1, 2016

Panama FTA Would Undermine U.S. Efforts to Stop Offshore Tax-Haven Abuse and Regulate Risky Financia

Panama FTA Would Undermine U.S. Efforts to Stop Offshore Tax-Haven Abuse and Regulate Risky Financial Conduct (2009)


April 29 - New Report: Panama FTA Would Undermine U.S. Efforts to Stop Offshore Tax-Haven Abuse and Regulate Risky Financial Conduct
Trade Deal Would Leave Tax Shelters for AIG and Narcotraffickers Intact While Removing Existing U.S. Tools to Combat Tax Evasion and Other Financial Crimes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama's ability to deliver on his campaign commitments to close tax loopholes that promote offshoring and re-regulate the financial sector would be dealt a sharp blow if the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is passed, according to a Public Citizen report released today (PDF).

The new report details how Panama explicitly created an industrial policy designed to create a "comparative advantage" in tax-evasion and money-laundering services for entities such as the bailed-out American International Group (AIG) and Mexican and Colombian narcotraffickers. The report also examines how specific FTA rules would remove key policy tools – such as limitations on transfers from tax-haven countries that are used to combat financial crimes – and would also conflict with U.S. government efforts to combat the global economic crisis by re-regulating finance. "Members of Congress wouldn't vote to let AIG not pay its taxes or to give Mexican drug lords a safe place to hide their proceeds from selling drugs to our kids, but that's in essence what the Panama FTA does," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division. "The Obama administration has discarded or altered many leftover Bush initiatives, so why would it push a Bush trade pact that directly conflicts with its priority campaign goals of closing tax loopholes and regulating finance?"

The Panama deal, negotiated by the Bush administration, is modeled on the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) template. It includes the controversial private "investor-state" enforcement system, which would give new powers to hundreds of thousands of private investors from around the world that are registered and have operations in Panama. This includes the right to challenge U.S. anti-tax haven policies and financial service regulations in foreign tribunals to demand taxpayer-funded compensation.

Among the key findings:

Some of the largest recipients of U.S. federal procurement contracts and money under the Troubled Asset Relief Program – including Citigroup and AIG – have a combined dozens of subsidiaries in Panama that would be empowered with expansive new rights if the FTA is implemented. These firms have been among the top advocates for the Panama FTA;
Panama is one of only 13 countries – and the only current or prospective FTA partner – that is listed on all of the major tax-haven watchdog lists that also does not have U.S. tax transparency treaties.
In the face of recent pressure to reform related to the G-20 Financial Crisis summit process, Panama wrote to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) defiantly outlining its refusal to adopt key reforms, such as lifting the veil of secrecy on beneficial ownership of bank accounts and automatic exchange of tax information;
The April 2009 OECD tax-haven watch-list includes Panama among 30 countries that agreed to conform to international tax norms but failed to do so. Indeed, the OECD report notes that Panama made its commitment in 2002 and since has completed not a single agreement to implement its promise. In contrast, other countries on the list have completed as many as eight compliance agreements – which is still not adequate to be taken off this list.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice and other entities, Panama is also a major financial conduit for Mexican and Colombian narcotraffickers' money laundering activities;
According to the U.S. State Department, Panama has more than 350,000 foreign-registered companies, all of which face low to no taxes and regulation. This high rate of foreign incorporation – Panama is reportedly second only to Hong Kong – makes the country a magnet for tax evasion. According to a Panamanian law firm's advertisement touting Panama's lax standards: "Even Switzerland cooperates on income tax cases if the return is filed falsely like all income was not declared, things were omitted or so the complaining government says. Belize has tax treaties, as do most of the so-called 'tax havens.' There is no better jurisdiction than Panama today!!!!!!!"

See also:





June 1, 2016

Exchange between Bill Clinton and New Mexico Resident Illustrates Deceptive Framing of Key Issues


This is really well put.

"AMY GOODMAN: So, continue with the issues that you raised and his responses.

JOSH BRODY: Well, so, one of the reasons I wasn’t satisfied with his answers is because he rooted a lot of them in economic data. He would talk about how the African-American unemployment rate reached its lowest point under his administration and how median household wages peaked in 1999. But there’s two problems with that. First is, both of the statistics are misleading. Wages peaked in part because people were working more hours. In fact, the average median hourly wage has been basically flat since the '70s. And then, in terms of another often-cited statistic that both he and Hillary Clinton have used on the campaign trail is that African-American unemployment was at record lows. But as authors such as Michelle Alexander show, that's because African Americans were being arrested in record high numbers. And if you look at the unemployment rate including the prison population, it actually wasn’t all that low.

The other thing I found shocking, though, if I may, about this was, what I had asked him about originally was Aid to Families with Dependent Children, which was our welfare legislation at the federal level, that he basically gutted. And when I asked him about it—and I shouldn’t have been so surprised, because the bill was called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, "personal responsibility" being the operative phrase. He kept invoking a "culture of dependency" argument, similar to what you will hear anyone from Ronald Reagan talk about, when he discusses the mythical welfare queen, to Paul Ryan, when he talks about dependency in our inner cities. It’s a racially coded argument, and he was blowing into that dog whistle very hard.

And his essential argument—and I was really surprised to hear this; I would have thought he’d change the rhetoric over the last 20 years—but his essential argument was that poor people are lazy, and if you give them welfare, they’ll be dependent on the government, and that he was told this by people on welfare, and therefore it needed to be cut and turned into block grants for the states. There used to be 68 out of every person below the poverty line—out of every hundred people below the poverty line on welfare. We’re now at 26. And I had responded that maybe the reason people don’t have jobs isn’t because they’re lazy, but because there simply aren’t jobs, and his administration had moved away from the notions of the government interfering in the economy to improve the lives of the people, such as the federal jobs programs that came under FDR. Bill Clinton essentially ripped the heart out of the Democratic Party and abandoned that notion that the government can make the lives of its people better and should invest in a robust social safety net. So that’s how the discussion started. It went many other places.

AMY GOODMAN: Josh Brody, as we wrap up right now, you were talking to President Clinton about his policies. How do you feel about Hillary Clinton?

JOSH BRODY: I mean, she’s in many ways responsible. I think it’s a little hypocritical for people to say that it was his administration and not hers, given that she was known for the transformative role of the first lady, where she was more involved than any other first lady. So, I do not deny her agency. I think she’s culpable for all of the policies we discussed, whether it’s shrinking the government, getting rid of welfare, allowing corporations to have more power to offshore jobs through NAFTA, the deregulation of Wall Street, which, by the way, deregulating derivatives occurred just a few months before her Senate campaign. She then received a lot of Wall Street donations. And then I also object to her record in the Senate, where she again would deregulate Wall Street and was actually more hawkish in her votes in terms of foreign policy than the Clinton administration, although I would disagree with his foreign policy, as well.

So, overall, I’m very disappointed. And if—and I plan to vote for Jill Stein, because I believe New Mexico will win by double digits; however, if the race does seem close, unfortunately, I will have to vote for her, which is not something I’m happy about."

Profile Information

Member since: Thu Feb 25, 2016, 10:12 AM
Number of posts: 4,667
Latest Discussions»Baobab's Journal