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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, 12:59 PM
Number of posts: 16,717

About Me

A Brit many years in Spain, Catalunya, Baleares, Canarias. Cooperative member. Geography. Ecology. Cartography. Software. Sound Recording. Music Production. Languages & Literature. History.

Journal Archives

Michael Moore: ‘Trump inspires his side. It’s like Munich in 1932’

...So, do you think we will see President Sanders?
Listen, I think anything can happen in the next two to four months. Seriously. If I’d said to you a year ago, I think there’s a chance Trump could be the next president, I would have sounded like an insane man. But in this election year, I think anything can happen. In every public opinion poll, Bernie beats Trump by many more points than Hillary does. I think the Democrats, by the time of the convention, are going to have to decide – do they want to win or not?

Can you explain Donald Trump to a European? 
I’m thinking how to put this… I’m sure you’ve noticed Americans are very alpha. Like, we’re number one! We’re number one! We’re the best! Trump is that on steroids. And it’s a tune that Americans like to listen to. Not all Americans, not the majority, but this isn’t going to be an election about the majority. It’s about who’s going to vote. We have a country where we try very hard to get 50% of the people to vote. You have to remember, 80% of this country is either female, people of colour or young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. He has offended all three of these groups to such a large degree there’s no way he could win a majority of women, blacks, Hispanics or young people. That’s off the table. But he can win if the other side stays home, and let me tell you something, nobody is going to be excited to get up that morning and vote for Hillary Clinton, even if you like her. She does not inspire that in people. Trump, on the other hand, inspires his side. It’s like Munich in 1932.

Is it? Is it fascism?
It is fascism, of course it is. Absolutely. Yes. He wants to combine the power of capital with the power of the state and to use the “other” to drive a huge amount of fear into people’s hearts. That’s working well with the 19%, that’s all that’s left of white men in America over the age of 35. The country’s changing but they are not going to go quietly and that’s why you see how big and how angry the whole thing is. I have told people to take it very seriously. Look, of course, he’s a clown. He’s a performance artist. He’s a buffoon. He’s all these things...


Italy elections: When in Rome shake up the politics

...Leading the opinion polls is Virginia Raggi, a 37-year-old lawyer who is running on the populist Five Star Movement's anti-politics platform...

... (H)er message strikes a particular chord with many Romans - especially if you look at what is happening at a maximum security, fortified courtroom on the capital's northern outskirts.

There, since November, dozens of former city officials and business leaders have been on trial, accused of corruption and malfeasance that siphoned off millions of euros from the administration - a case known as "Mafia Capitale".

Prosecutors believe that most activities related to running the city - from the management of migrant centres to the handling of rubbish collection - were tainted by a system of influence-peddling, entrenched across all levels of the city's administration...


Merkel supports intentions to set up EU-Russia common economic zone

BERLIN, June 3. /TASS/. Germany’s Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has supported the intentions to set up a common economic zone on a space from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

She said it on Friday in the town of Gustrow, the federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where the territorial branch of the Christian Democratic Union held a congress.

"I’m in favor of a gradual rapprochement between Russia and the European economic area so that we could get a common economic zone from Vladivostok to Lisbon in the final run," she said...

... She pointed out the importance of strict compliance with Minsk accords, the adoption of a Ukrainian law on local elections in Donbass and the provision of access to the borderline for the Ukrainian forces in the places where they do not have it.


Naomi Klein: Reading Edward Said in a warming world.

London Review of Books:

... He was, of course, a giant in the study of ‘othering’ – what is described in Orientalism as ‘disregarding, essentialising, denuding the humanity of another culture, people or geographical region’. And once the other has been firmly established, the ground is softened for any transgression: violent expulsion, land theft, occupation, invasion. Because the whole point of othering is that the other doesn’t have the same rights, the same humanity, as those making the distinction. What does this have to do with climate change? Perhaps everything.

We have dangerously warmed our world already, and our governments still refuse to take the actions necessary to halt the trend. There was a time when many had the right to claim ignorance. But for the past three decades, since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was created and climate negotiations began, this refusal to lower emissions has been accompanied with full awareness of the dangers. And this kind of recklessness would have been functionally impossible without institutional racism, even if only latent. It would have been impossible without Orientalism, without all the potent tools on offer that allow the powerful to discount the lives of the less powerful. These tools – of ranking the relative value of humans – are what allow the writing off of entire nations and ancient cultures. And they are what allowed for the digging up of all that carbon to begin with...


Thought-provoking long essay from Ms. Klein.

I thought, btw, apart from the anti-Trump barrage, that in the meat of Ms. Clinton's San Diego FP speech there were clear examples of 'othering'...

See also: DU Environment and Energy

By Naomi Klein, The London Review of Books 02 June 16


Reading, thanks. Here's the map referenced:

(Nb. Mercator projection: not to scale.)

Blair government's rendition policy led to rift between UK spy agencies

British involvement in controversial and clandestine rendition operations provoked an unprecedented row between the UK’s domestic and foreign intelligence services, MI5 and MI6, at the height of the “war on terror”, the Guardian can reveal.

The head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, was so incensed when she discovered the role played by MI6 in abductions that led to suspected extremists being tortured, she threw out a number of her sister agency’s staff and banned them from working at MI5’s headquarters, Thames House.

According to Whitehall sources, she also wrote to the then prime minister, Tony Blair, to complain about the conduct of MI6 officers, saying their actions had threatened Britain’s intelligence gathering and may have compromised the security and safety of MI5 officers and their informants.

The letter caused a serious and prolonged breakdown of trust between Britain’s domestic and foreign spy agencies provoked by the Blair government’s support for rendition...


The revelations... show, first, at least some of what lay behind the euphemistic references to the “uncomfortable relationship” of MI6 with the government that led to Sir Richard Dearlove’s departure as head of that service in 2004. This, it would appear, was an understatement of the first order: at the height of the Iraq war, the heads of the UK’s two major intelligence agencies were at each other’s throats.

They show, second, that rendition – the clandestine transfer of terrorist suspects from one country to another where they were likely to be subject to methods of interrogation which are outside the law – met opposition at the very top of UK intelligence. At least someone retained her moral compass: a bouquet for Manningham-Buller. Alas, it is not at all clear that her view prevailed.

They show, third, not just the fawning attitude that infests UK intelligence relations with the United States – but also the protectionism exercised by individual services. In the particular case at issue here – the enforced return of exiled Libyan opposition leader Abdul Hakim Belhaj to Tripoli in 2004, where he was detained and as he says repeatedly tortured – MI6 was concerned to take all the “credit”, demonstrating its prowess to the US, but keeping Belhaj to itself.

And, fourth, the revelations show how successful the powers that be have been in keeping the covers on these reprehensible practices to this day. The CPS is still deciding whether there should be prosecutions and Belhaj himself is awaiting a ruling on his case from the supreme court. The Gibson inquiry on rendition was summarily halted, after details of Belhaj’s case emerged, and the questions it raised were left unanswered. Lawsuits brought by those who claim they were subject to rendition have been settled out of court. Individual intelligence agents are thus spared from appearing as witnesses; more important, the agencies themselves are let off the hook...


Greece, Still Paying for Europe’s Spite (Varoufakis)

... Greece’s economic misery seemed set to provoke a new standoff recently — except that, this time, it was between the International Monetary Fund and the European Union’s Brussels-Berlin nexus. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany is reluctant to confess to the Bundestag that Greece’s bailout loans were always unsustainable. To maintain the fantasy that they will be repaid as planned under the terms of last year’s deal, Berlin has insisted on setting a ludicrous target for Greece’s budget surplus. (That target is 3.5 percent of gross domestic product every year starting in 2018 — roughly equivalent, as a percentage of G.D.P., to America’s military budget, but in Greece’s case, purely to service its foreign debt.)

The German condition amounts to imposing permanently escalating austerity on Greece. The I.M.F. protested, correctly, that there was no level of austerity that could achieve this target.

In past weeks, there were indications that the fund was ready to insist on debt relief for Greece, allowing a lower budget surplus target and therefore less austerity. Unfortunately, last week’s meeting of the so-called Eurogroup — an informal body of eurozone finance ministers together with officials from the European Central Bank and the I.M.F. — dashed these hopes. With the I.M.F.’s managing director, Christine Lagarde, notably absent, her stand-in capitulated to the Brussels-Berlin axis, postponing any debt relief until 2018 at the earliest...

... Reason demands an end to this loop of doom. What Greece needs is a realistic restructuring of its debt and a primary surplus target of no more than 1.5 percent of national income. The government should also continue with reforms that target oligopolies in areas of the economy like supermarkets and the energy sector, as well as inefficiency and corruption in public administration.

Instead, the odd principle of imposing the greatest austerity for Europe’s most depressed economy lives on, spreading new misery through Greece and needlessly holding back recovery in Europe’s monetary union.


Also: DU Foreign Affairs
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