Sunday, December 30, 2018

Say again


Matt Taibbi puts Yellow Vests in context. It's the times we are in and most people are tired of being bled and thought-manipulated by the rich master class.
Their evangelical insistence on pushing centrism — which is just a nicer word for “trickle-down economics” — is what got us into this mess in the first place.
We don’t need a new front to make centrism cool. We need to move on from centrism, to something a little less elitist. Which is different from being elite, as most of the world seems to have realized by now.

Yellow Vest protesters show up at Macron's Mediterranean castle and are repelled by security forces. Nice looking place!

BOOM! Here's the ticket...
Legislating for de-growth is the right government policy, but the wrong approach. If the nation state is the wrong climate change actor, then the national economy is also the wrong perpetrator. Yet this is what every plan to combat climate change focuses on: national emissions. But this focus hides massive inequities within national populations and, more importantly, obscures both who is responsible for carbon emissions and who has the power to arrest them.
It is really important that we – that is, the vast majority of humanity who will or already are suffering the effects of dangerous climate change – move past “national action plans” and start to take action immediately against two groups largely responsible for climate change. They are the 100 or so corporations responsible for 71% of global carbon emissions​ ​and the wealthiest 10% of the global population responsible for 50% of consumption emissions. To put the latter in perspective, if this 10% reduced their consumption to the level of the average European that would produce a 30% cut in global emissions.
Focusing on the wealthy and their corporations would enable us to bring about an immediate cut in carbon emissions. But it would also form part of a just transition, ensuring that the majority of the world’s population do not have to pay for climate policy, a conflict we have already seen on the streets of Paris in recent weeks in the yellow vests movement.

​"China's War On Pollution Will Change The World" Moving massive manufacturing, based on burning coal for power, and the pollution involved, to China had a big effect, didn't it? Chinese are dying in droves from pollution. China is taking steps to burn less coal. Natural gas is the main part of this transition, which is not for lack of making solar panels. (I contest the portrayal of hydrogen as an "energy source". It is a lossy energy transfer medium, like batteries.)

Residential batteries in people's houses almost always lead to increased CO2 emissions, as typically used. It costs people a lot of money to use them in ways which slightly reduce CO2 emissions. Nobody is that stupid. Using less is the thing to do, not buying expensive stuff with environment-trashing impact.
​When Will Russia Stop Behaving Like An Enemy Of Western Europe? ​
Dima Vorobiev, I worked for Soviet propaganda
Russia is not the enemy of the Western Europe. The disruptive policy of President Putin is aimed at (1) weakening the political and military dominance of the US in Europe and/or (2) full or partial acceptance by the West of the following list of Russia’s political objectives:
Recognition of Crimea as Russian territory
Total freeze on expansion of NATO. No membership for Sweden, Finland, Ukraine or Georgia.
No NATO bases in the Baltics, Poland, Czech republic and Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. Removal of the American anti-ballistic bases in Central Europe.
Finlandization of Georgia, Ukraine and guarantees of such arrangement for Belarus, in case it gets a pro-Western government in the future.
Guarantees of unhindered land connection through Lithuania between the Russian heartland and the exclave of Kaliningrad. The unhindered transit through the Suwalki gap would be very useful for Russia as a gauge of the level of determination on the part of NATO in the case of a swift escalation in tensions.
Recognition of Russia’s right to permanent military presence in the Mediterranean (through bases in Syria and possibly in Libya or other places)
Repeal of all sanctions against Russian oligarchs, their companies and sectoral interests.

In the latest attempt by Russia to offer an olive branch to the US, on Sunday Russian President Vladimir Putin told his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in a New Year letter that Moscow was ready for dialogue on "the most extensive agenda”, the Kremlin said following a series of failed attempts to hold a new summit, most recently in November, when Trump abruptly canceled a planned meeting with Putin on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Argentina, citing tensions about Russian forces opening fire on Ukrainian navy boats and then seizing them.
Trump and Putin also failed to hold a full-fledged meeting in Paris on the sidelines of the centenary commemoration of the Armistice. The two leaders held their one and only summit in Helsinki in July.
An official statement by the Kremlin said that "Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia-US relations are the most important factor behind ensuring strategic stability and international security, and reaffirmed that Russia is open to dialogue with the United States on the most extensive agenda."

​The US military may leave Iraq this coming year, too. There is a lot to suggest it as safer, easier and cheaper in blood and money.
There is no doubt that Iraq is a close ally of Iran and not a fanatic supporter of the US. The Iraqi parliament can exert pressure over the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi to ask President Trump to pull out US troops before the end of his mandate in 2020. The US establishment and the “Axis of the Resistance” can both connive and plan, but the last word will belong to the people of Iraq and to those who reject US hegemony in the Middle East, those who can accept losses and nurse their wounds in hopes of a better future.

The European Union has roundly condemned new Israeli plans to build more than 2,000 homes in the West Bank. Israel's settlements in the occupied territory are a major obstacle to peace efforts in the region.  

This Christian scholar says the slant placed on the writings of the New Testament authors is not what they were saying, and does not describe the world they lived in, nor their views of it. (Seems like my own conclusions.) Thanks Charles.


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