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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, 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

UK will cyber-attack countries its government doesn't like.

... Britain's new cyber attack forces will be run jointly between GCHQ and the Defence Ministry and will target individual hackers, criminal gangs, militant groups and hostile powers, using a "full spectrum" of actions, Osborne said...


Flannary interviewed here:



... Flannery: It’s still at an early stage, but all indications are that the plastic industry is set to be transformed by these technologies as we move away from fossil fuels. And the carbon fiber possibilities are just astonishing. If you want a very light, very strong material, carbon fiber is what you use. At the moment it is very expensive to manufacture. But just a month ago a major breakthrough was announced by a company that devised a way of manufacturing carbon nanofibers directly out of C02 in the atmosphere at one tenth of the production cost of other methods. As carbon nanofibers become cheaper to manufacture, they will start competing directly with steel and aluminum, both of which are very energy intensive and produce lots of emissions.

e360: There are already ways to take C02 directly out of the atmosphere or out of the exhaust stream from power plants. But the problem is where to safely store the captured greenhouse gas.

Flannery: Previously, carbon capture and storage was conceived of as something that you would apply to the end of a coal powered power plant, capture the C02, and store it in bedrock somewhere near that plant. But if you put C02 under the ground, the C02 remains buoyant, the stuff is always trying to escape, to go upwards because it is a gas. In the oceans, however, things are quite different. Water pressure at two or three kilometers depth is sufficient that C02 remains stable. And if you try to bury it even in shallow marine sediments it becomes a solid on its own.

When you think about it, the ocean floor is where most of that excess C02 is destined to reside, or most of it anyway over geological time. The C02 is absorbed into the oceans, it is turned into a carbonate on the bottom of the sea as limestone or whatever. So the idea that we should pump C02 into deep ocean sediments at 2 or 3 kilometers is really mimicking what happens over the longer term anyway and it provides a stable environment for carbon to be stored...

Turks could pay high price for stability promised by Erdoğan

... It was a stunning personal triumph for a man whose authoritarianism has provoked deep concern over the future of Turkey’s democracy. Hailed by supporters as the new Ataturk, mocked by enemies as a wannabe Ottoman sultan, Erdoğan now has the chance to shape modern Turkey to his liking and stamp his character, vision and conservative, neo-Islamist views on the country for generations to come.

Roundly condemned for a crackdown on opposition newspapers, social media and independent journalism and reviled for his violent crushing of the 2013 Gezi park protests in Istanbul, Erdoğan has nevertheless come out on top again. His latest triumph is a feat to match or even surpass his three consecutive AKP general election victories since 2002; this time was all the more remarkable because he himself was not on the ballot. The election should have been about picking a new parliament. But in truth, it was all about him.

The scale of the AKP’s surge, in which it apparently took votes from the nationalist MHP, whose share fell to around 12% from 16% last time, means it will hold at least 315 seats in the 550-member parliament (276 are required for a majority). If the party can attract enough votes from the nationalist MHP, it will be within tantalising reach of the 330 votes needed to allow it to amend or rewrite the constitution.

This in turn means Erdoğan is potentially now within sight of realising his most controversial and cherished ambition: to create a Putin-esque executive presidency and in effect change Turkey from a parliamentary democracy, under cabinet government, to a land of one-man presidential diktat. This has been his aim since he was forced under party rules to relinquish the prime ministership last year. Now he finally looks like getting his way...

/... http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/01/turks-could-pay-high-price-for-stability-promised-erdogan

Apocalypse now: has the next giant financial crash already begun?

... A better exercise is to image what archetypes a dramatist might use if they tried to write a farce describing the state of society on the eve of yet another disaster. There would be a character obsessed with property: London is fizzing with young professionals trying to clinch property deals right now. The riverbanks of the Thames are forested with cranes, show apartments and half-occupied speculative developments that will, after the crash, make great social housing.

Then there would have to be a hapless central banker, optimistically “looking through” the figures for low growth, stagnant prices and collapsing trade in order to justify doing nothing.

But the protagonist would have to be a politician. The Kingston University economist Steve Keen points out that, in the run up to 2008, the flawed ideology of neoliberal economics made a dangerous situation worse. Economists put their professional imprimatur on the idea that risky investments were safe. Today, the stable door of economics is firmly shut. Even mainstream bank economists are calling for radical measures to revive growth: Nick Kounis, ABN Amro’s macro-economics chief, called on central banks to raise their inflation targets to 4% and flood the world with money in a coordinated survival strategy.

Instead, it is in the world of geopolitics that the danger of elite groupthink is clearest. The economic danger becomes clear if you understand that printing $12tn incentivises every country to dump the final cost of anti-crisis measures on someone else. But there is now also clear geopolitical risk...

/Read More: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/01/financial-armageddon-crash-warning-signs

I'd like to say that it is important to redefine 'productivity' in economics. More than a mere accountancy measure of the value of goods and services and a limited set of associated costs, 'productivity' should take into account a much wider array of social and environmental costs and benefits. Thus, the above discourse would more strongly emphasise the social suffering produced under the present economic paradigm and would recognise the environmental consequences. It would acknowledge that the present and forthcoming economic, um, 'slowdowns', while increasing social ills, actually decrease environmental harm. It might speculate that a future 'recovery' might well require paradigm change and a resurgent economy investing in socially progressive and environmentally sustainable infrastructure, production and consumption.

They'll take him out...

Nicely put, Diclotican.

In UK politics, I would like to see Bliar and the whole "New Labour" ideology he helped spawn expelled from the true Labour Party. The Corbyn leadership covers it... Given that the Tory party is also likely to split along EU in/out lines &/or be leached by UKIP and other nutters, UK politics could become more 'interesting', like right now here in Spain, again.

What's worrying is that the president, because 'international finance' would react negatively,

has publicly suggested that such an anti-austerity government would be a threat to the 'national security' of the republic and so the democratically-expressed will of the people should be overridden. At the least he can resist with the pro-austerity minority while mandating a fresh election. At most, I suppose, he can suspend parliament and mobilise armed forces. But perhaps the president himself should be impeached...

"...Almost two thirds of the electorate (62%) – the combined votes of the Socialists, Left Bloc and Communists – voted against rightwing austerity policies, Costa has pointed out. But the president, a former leader of Passos Coelho’s Social Democratic party (PSD), has made it clear he has grave reservations about any Portuguese government propped up by what he described last week as an anti-European, hard-left faction...

...Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, last week described the prospect of a radical anti-austerity coalition in Portugal as “very negative” and Portuguese bond yields rose on Monday, signalling investor fears of a prolonged period of political instability that could damage Portugal’s still-fragile recovery... op. cit."

IMO, were Portugal to leave the eurozone (put perhaps preferably not the EU), switching to a national currency with favorable exchange and interest rates, and apply anti-austerity measures to invest to improve immediate and long-term social & environmental welfare, create employment and stimulate the domestic economy as well as exports, they would probably do well.

World Bank: Rapid acceleration in support for & adoption of carbon pricing policies.

... The World Bank’s annual review of carbon markets shows that schemes designed to ensure polluters either pay for or reduce their emissions were at play in 39 nations and 23 subnational jurisdictions, as of April 2015. “There has been a rapid acceleration in both the support for carbon pricing and the adoption of carbon pricing policies in countries and regions around the world”, said Noah Kaufman, a Climate Economist for the World Resources Institute. “It is now far more difficult for countries to delay climate change action by pointing at the inaction of others.”

Looking only at the financial value of carbon pricing, the progress is significant, and, as of April 2015, the market was worth an estimated $50bn. The increase is made to seem even more significant considering that Australia last year repealed its carbon pricing mechanism and made a quite sizeable dent in the market. Buoyed by South Korea’s newly introduced emissions trading system (ETS) and Portugal’s $5 per tonne of CO2 tax, the market enjoyed a modest pick-me-up last year; compounded further by the expansion of schemes such as those in California and Quebec.

Impressive as the numbers are, the coverage extends to only 12 percent of global emissions, and progress on the issue has been wildly inconsistent. Sure, there is cause for optimism insofar as carbon pricing is finding its way onto the frontlines of global policy discussion, but participants are yet to arrive at a workable solution. Introduced or expanded on the basis that carbon pricing raises revenue and reduces budget deficits, while curbing emissions, the system is seen by many as a costly and sometimes-oppressive policy stance...

... “Politics is the biggest challenge for any climate change policy because, the benefits are distributed throughout the current and future populations of the world, whereas the costs are concentrated on the regions and countries that must pass legislation”, said Kaufman. “While many governments not only see carbon pricing as a way to combat climate change, but also to improve public finances, the worry of short-term increases in energy prices and goods persists. Businesses are worried about their competitiveness and consumers about their energy bill”, said Long Lam, Consultant on Climate Strategies and Policies at Ecofys. “Many carbon pricing schemes therefore have measures in place to compensate businesses and low-income households for the additional costs they face. It will remain a challenge to strike a balance between the incentive to reduce GHG emissions and mitigating these worries to gain public acceptance.”

As it stands, carbon pricing takes one of two forms, either a carbon tax, as in the case of Australia, or an ETS, popularised by the EU. Speaking on the challenges, Kaufman said: “Carbon taxes and emissions trading systems are the best way to overcome this political hurdle, because they generate government revenues that can accomplish important and popular policy objectives, such as lowering taxes, reducing deficits, and investing in infrastructure and education.” However, the promise of broad-based and sustainable gains has eluded the majority, and the priority for participating nations in the here-and-now has fallen on learning from the mistakes made in days past and on reaching a political consensus...


Bubbles Always Burst: the Education of an Economist - Michael Hudson

...(Long, Good Read)...

... I quickly discovered that of all the subdisciplines of economics, international trade theory was the silliest. Gunboats and military spending make no appearance in this theorizing, nor do the all-important “errors and omissions,” capital flight, smuggling, or fictitious transfer pricing for tax avoidance. These elisions are needed to steer trade theory toward the perverse and destructive conclusion that any country can pay any amount of debt, simply by lowering wages enough to pay creditors. All that seems to be needed is sufficient devaluation (what mainly is devalued is the cost of local labor), or lowering wages by labor market “reforms” and austerity programs. This theory has been proved false everywhere it has been applied, but it remains the essence of IMF orthodoxy.

Academic monetary theory is even worse. Milton Friedman’s “Chicago School” relates the money supply only to commodity prices and wages, not to asset prices for real estate, stocks and bonds. It pretends that money and credit are lent to business for investment in capital goods and new hiring, not to buy real estate, stocks and bonds. There is little attempt to take into account the debt service that must be paid on this credit, diverting spending away from consumer goods and tangible capital goods. So I found academic theory to be the reverse of how the world actually works. None of my professors had enough real-world experience in banking or Wall Street to notice.

I spent three years at the New School developing an analysis of why the global economy is polarizing rather than converging. I found that “mercantilist” economic theories already in the 18th century were ahead of today’s mainstream in many ways. I also saw how much more clearly early economists recognized the problems of governments (or others) relying on creditors for policy advice. As Adam Smith explained, a creditor of the public, considered merely as such, has no interest in the good condition of any particular portion of land, or in the good management of any particular portion of capital stock. … He has no inspection of it. He can have no care about it. Its ruin may in some cases be unknown to him, and cannot directly affect him.

The bondholders’ interest is solely to extricate as much as they can as quickly as possible with little concern for the social devastation they cause. Yet they have managed to sell the idea that sovereign nations as well as individuals have a moral obligation to pay debts, even to act on behalf of creditors instead of their domestic populations...

... The disabling force of debt was recognized more clearly in the 18th and 19th centuries (not to mention four thousand years ago in the Bronze Age). This has led pro-creditor economists to exclude the history of economic thought from the curriculum. Mainstream economics has become blindly pro-creditor, pro-austerity (that is, anti-labor) and anti-government (except for insisting on the need for taxpayer bailouts of the largest banks and savers). Yet it has captured Congressional policy, universities and the mass media to broadcast a false map of how economies work. So most people see reality as written by the One Percent, and it is a travesty of reality.

Spouting ostensible free market ideology, the pro-creditor mainstream rejects what the classical economic reformers actually wrote. One is left to choose between central planning by a public bureaucracy, or even more centralized planning by Wall Street’s financial bureaucracy. The middle ground of a mixed public/private economy has been all but forgotten, denounced as “socialism.” Yet every successful economy in history has been a mixed economy.

/... http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/28/bubbles-always-burst-the-education-of-an-economist/

"Syriza does not want a new Greece..." Fighting corruption, tax evasion etc. is a Syriza priority.

It was decided that negotiations with Eurozone EU had to absorb most of the new government's energies at first, though.

Type "Syriza corruption" into google. Please do your own research rather than blindly repeating corrupt MSM propaganda / frames / memes. Eg:

The same applies to Podemos and allies / potential allies in Spain, where I live, btw. Look it up.
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