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In story: Catalan scenarios

Re: Scotland Model
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I think that the greater parallel with Scotland is that the ERC has been able to convert frustration with austerity into support for separatism, the logic being that an independent Catalunya would be to the left of Spain as a whole. The factor which distinguishes Spain from Scotland is that you have an insurgent part of the left, in the form of Podemos.

This is key because it provides a direct way to attack the austerity agenda instead of mounting a proxy effort through an independence referendum.  

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
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Thomas:
It's about not even believing in what you advocate.

Straight up: Do you believe renewable can support an industrial society?

Believing would be seeing, and well, the outcome of your wish or mine remains to be seen. No-one can extrapolate the future perfectly.

Renewables can support an industrial society with growth, yes, but not with present levels of wastage.

Florida oranges shipped to California and vice versa, 40% of supermarket food tossed in the dumpster, worst practices that could be asking too much from renewables to muster.

Retooling the uranium mining industry to run on electricity sounds good, but insanely expensive. Better to put that factory time to building PV and wind turbines, electric cars and trains.

Helluva lot friendlier for those starving billions to live downwind from while they wait for grid hookup...

Gonna be digging those underground nuke waste storage facilities with electric tools too, perhaps?

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
( / )
a surplus of edible food out of whole cloth

Oh, come on, we did such a great job!
It's easy...

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
( / )
The question remains: why Rationalism suffers a key political setback exactly when it is most needed, after a glorious persistent rise?
The phenomenon of rationality as a core value of culture must be disentangled from the effects of class structure and how that evolved with respect to governance. Rationality was a core value of the Enlightenment. But the entire Enlightenment Project was a project of the elites. While elites ruled rationality could have a place as the guiding principle of governance. However universalism was another core value of the Enlightenment, and in pushing universalism on the basis of rationality we got an expansion of the voting franchise to include all adults. But the vast majority of these adults have not been educated to the level that was expected for the elites in earlier times and they retained, in great numbers, their attachment to traditional religious beliefs. Then some groups of rivalrous elites saw that they could use these traditional beliefs to their advantage and did so to gain power. Now in power they had to cater to those beliefs, even though this undermined the core value of rationalism. So here we are today in the USA and many other countries. In Matthew Arnold's words:

And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
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And, at the time Spengler was writing, neither European derived industrial civilizations nor that in Japan had collapsed. And the sort of collapse all but the USA experienced after WW II was not what Spengler was considering.

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
( / )
A significant problem with Spengler's analysis is the discontinuity in the collection of sets of civilizations to analyze. At the time of his writing only West European derived civilizations, with the possible exceptions of Japan and the failed, then abandoned industrial revolution in Ming China, had ever experienced anything like the Industrial Revolution. So he was comparing a large number of civilizations that were somewhat alike with one that was fundamentally different. How can one extrapolate anything from that set of data?

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
( / )
Philosophers will laugh at this, but practically speaking, rationalism means accurately modelling and predicting consequences.

The history of modern culture is the history of overridden instincts, so I don't think there's any more need to pander to monkey hierarchy any more than there is to ignore the consequences of poor hygiene, or to see the world entirely in religious or tribal terms.

Rationalism doesn't appear in politics because it has never been tried. The closest thing we have is economics, which pretends to be about 'rational actors' but is really just a pile of nonsense that perpetuates self-serving hierarchies.

There's been no serious attempt that I know of to run governments on a rational - i.e. non-narrative, non-rhetorical, self-questioning and self-aware - basis.

So it's not that it can't be done - it's more that it hasn't been done yet.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
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The feasibility of constructing arable land from the bedrock up, and building a functioning ecosystem supporting a surplus of edible food out of whole cloth are not yet proven.

You may argue that this does not present an insurmountable barrier to extending industrial civilization to the entire world. And you may be right. For what it is worth, that is my estimation as well.

But it is not a trivial constraint that you can just throw electricity at until it goes away.

- Jake

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on
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people who wonder about this conundrum should be involving the Kaya identity, which summarizes the most relevant factors for tweaking anthropogenic CO2. Obviously reducing population is of course one of them, just like reducing GDP is, but that's far from all. It can tell you a lot about a person what factor s/he deems the most relevant factor to tweak.

Anyone can go play here.

by Bjinse (bjinsedankert at gmail dot com) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
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Eh.. Mostly I went off due to the claim that reducing carbon emissions and growing the economy is impossible, because there are several examples of it being done.

Usually, I see those examples getting ignored because of anti-nuke bias, but I suppose on the principle of charity I should have just gone "Check your facts". Sorry. Bad debater.

On the subject of outsourcing emissions: The numbers have been run on this, and the carbon emissions of the nuclear industry are minute, counting everything. Also, there have been people who lied about that. But it is a lie, and if you go and read the actual study, and fact-check the critiques, that is obvious, and even the small remaining emissions could be eliminated easily - all it would take to render the entire supply chain of the nuclear industry carbon negative. All it takes is electric mining equipment - which is usually a good investment anyway - and using a carbon-sink concrete mix for building the reactors. (some concrete variants absorb co2 during curing.)  This also works for wind.

by Thomas on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
( / )
[ET Moderation Technology™]

Just so you get it, that moderation tag means I am not entering into discussion with you but warning you about the excessive ad hominems you are using to bolster up your arguments.

Insinuating the person you are discussing with is vilely racist and amoral, and is likely to create a mountain of skulls, is not an acceptable form of discourse round here.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
( / )
It isn't about the nukes. It's about not even believing in what you advocate.

Straight up: Do you believe renewable can support an industrial society? Then stop going on about the need for zero growth. Because if renewable can support an industrial society, they can support a much richer planet than the current one - There are billions in abject poverty right now, so saying "the world is rich enough, we dont need more growth" is just vilely racist and amoral.

If you don't believe renewables can support a richer planet, you need to abandon your advocacy for them, because you don't mean it - not in your bones. And you are doing the the cause harm, because the arguments that are being constructed from that basis really do just imply a mountain of skulls too large for me to visualize, and I have really good visual imagination.

by Thomas on
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Fortune Magazine
An Occupy Wall Street campaign says it has abolished almost $4 million in student loan debts, in a Tuesday announcement marking the third anniversary of the Occupy protests that brought renewed attention to the issue of income inequality.

The Rolling Jubilee Fund, an initiative of the Occupy movement, has been accepting donations and buying up student loan debt for pennies on the dollar from debt collectors, and then forgiving the loans altogether. The group has spent about $107,000 to purchase$3.9 million in debt, organizers said.

by gk (gk) on
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I heard that he might be President replacing Napolitano.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on
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In story: The Week Starts Here

Re: The Week Starts Here
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Guardian - Owen Jones - Memo to Miliband: Britain's social order is bankrupt

Any criticism of Labour's direction - particularly during a conference kickstarting its general election campaign - is met with the response that it only helps the Tories. Keep stumm, stand behind the only chance of booting out this government. In the aftermath of Scotland, such advice is suicidal. Hundreds of thousands of Scottish Labour voters are so disillusioned that they just voted to set up a new country. It is working-class, traditionally Labour communities who ensured the near-triumph of Scottish independence. Such disillusionment is expressed in different ways south of the border, but it is no less powerful. Labour's support base is becoming ever softer, waiting to be scooped away.

Labour's annual conference is as unreal a place as anywhere in the pantomime of modern British politics. There is no shortage of well-intentioned and principled activists. But the people who Labour was set up to represent are mostly shut out, except perhaps for the catering staff, bartenders and hotel cleaners. Political climbers speak in verbless sentences, stare over shoulders for someone more useful to speak to and - you suspect - wet their fingers to see which way the political winds are blowing. Trade unions and strong local government once trained up those who would have otherwise been voiceless to become rooted politicians, giving them resources, confidence and political know-how. As both pillars of British democracy have been ruthlessly undermined, many of those voices have been extinguished.
[....]
Only a sociopath would design such a society from scratch, and yet our political elite maintains and defends this grotesque order and portrays the dissenters as the real cranks and extremists. And that's why, perhaps, a Labour conference of fringe meetings presided over by chin-stroking pundits (yes, like me) and ambitious shadow ministers warning of "tough decisions" (tough for whom, exactly?) seems rather perverse. The sense that Britain is a fundamentally broken society - where wealth and power is vacuumed up by a shameless rich elite while Victorian-style squalor re-emerges - and needs to be transformed: well, it's just not there.



by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: 22-23 September 2014

Most popular names in Israel
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Ha'aretz:
The most popular boy's names of the Jewish year 5774, which comes to an end this week, were Yosef, Daniel and Ori, while Tamar, Noa and Shira topped the list of girl's names, the Population and Immigration Authority reported Sunday.
Actually, as Ha'aretz subsequently reported, the most popular name was really Mohammed.....

It isn't even a list of popular Jewish names, as they eliminated the Arabs after making the list, and, since Yosef and Yusef differ only in the vowels. they look exactly the same in Hebrew.

by gk (gk) on
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Rumour has it Draghi will be Italy's next PM, after Renzi's eventual inevitable dethroning.

Same tune, different orchestra!

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
( / )
[ET Moderation Technology™]

You should calm down.

You know, we've had people here before who thought they had the right to accuse others of condoning mass murder because they were not in favour of nuclear power.

Apart from the fact that it's a stupid and unconvincing form of argument, it's baselessly arrogant and insulting and is quite the wrong way of going about enlightening discussion.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In the same vein, the SZ reports that of 43 helicopters in the German Marine, only 4 are fit for use.
by gk (gk) on
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In story: The Week Starts Here

Re: The Week Starts Here
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Guardian - Larry Elliot - Three ways Labour can distance itself from coalition economics

Labour has a twin deficit problem. Ed Miliband is seen as less fit to be prime minister than David Cameron. And the Conservatives are a long way ahead on economic competence. Parties sometimes win with unpopular leaders. Jim Callaghan was better liked than Margaret Thatcher in 1979. They can also win when they are behind on the economy, as Tony Blair was in 1997. But there is no recent precedent for victory when voters like neither a party's leader nor its economic policies.
[....]
Even so, Labour's strategy has its problems. Balls did well in his first two years as shadow chancellor by saying repeatedly and correctly that Osborne's austerity plan would arrest economic recovery and make deficit reduction harder. But by accepting the need for austerity - even if it is austerity lite - he has undercut his own argument. Labour thinks it can have the best of all worlds through a mixture of tough spending commitments coupled with a bit more wriggle room for capital spending. It may instead get the worst of all worlds: viewed as not being tough enough on the deficit and not deemed credible to deliver on its promises.

Indeed, a cynical electorate may decide that the only bit of Labour's plan they believe is the commitment for more austerity. A second problem is that only four years have elapsed since Labour was last in power. Voters may share Miliband's view that the economy is not delivering the pay rises, the house-building programmes or the public services they would like but not trust the opposition to deliver them. House building plummeted during Labour's 13 years in power. The squeeze on living standards started before the 2010 election. The failures of City regulation happened on Labour's watch.

This legacy from the recent past has meant Labour's economic strategy is a mixture of the bold and the timid. It has a fundamental critique of the failings of modern global capitalism but only rather modest proposals for dealing with them.



by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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Independent
The 2022 World Cup will not be held in Qatar because of the scorching temperatures in the Middle East country, Fifa Executive Committee member Theo Zwanziger said on Monday.

"I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar," the German told Sport Bild on Monday.

But don't they have air conditioning?
Although wealthy Qatar has insisted that a summer World Cup is viable thanks to cooling technologies it is developing for stadiums, training areas and fan zones, there is still widespread concern over the health of the players and visiting supporters.

"They may be able to cool the stadiums but a World Cup does not take place only there," Zwanziger said.

"Fans from around the world will be coming and travelling in this heat and the first life-threatening case will trigger an investigation by a state prosecutor.

One wonders how normal Qataris survive. So is this global warming in action, or has it always been this hot?
Fifa President Sepp Blatter said in May that awarding the World Cup to Qatar was a 'mistake' and the tournament would probably have to be held in the European winter.

"Of course, it was a mistake. You know, one comes across a lot of mistakes in life," he told Swiss television station RTS in an interview at the time.

by gk (gk) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
( / )
"You are in essence contemplating the deaths of at
least 6 billion people as a preferable alternative to building nuclear reactors"

Wow. Where did that come from.
Let me see, how many times did I object to nuclear reactors in this diary. Ah, yes, none.

And this is now the second time that someone here is aggressive to me for being against nuclear, which probably not yet quite evens out against the times when someone was aggressive to me for not being against nuclear. Projection anyone?

As an aside, please note that climate does not care that part of your industrial supply chain has been outsourced to another country so you can claims your emissions have decreased. What matters is worldwide emissions.

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on
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In story: Swedish election sadness

Re: Swedish election sadness
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But note that if all asylum seekers apply, then even with your figures, the number of asylum seekers must be a lot larger in Germany relative to population than in Sweden. This isn't like Israel, where the  rate of recognition is around 0% and converting to Judaism once in the country has been ruled illegal (the high court just ruled that putting them in camps is illegal, but gave them 3 months to implement find a way around the ruling).

Anybody got figures of non-asylum immigrants whatever that means (for Swedish xenophobes this may include Greeks, but not include Americans, for example, so even EU vs non-EU may not be quite enough)?

by gk (gk) on
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Eurointelligence: Germany rejects idea of ESM as an investment fund (September 22, 2014)
Suddeutsche Zeitung reported on Saturday that Jean-Claude Juncker was actively considering turning the unused capacity of the ESM into a credit facility to help boost EU investments. The idea was to channel the money into an investment fund under the aegis of the EIB, which would then lend-money backed by the fund to certain investment projects. Werner Hoyer, president of the EIB, has set up a task force to study the details, the article said. It also said that work was under way to set up a list of investment projects.

The German reaction to this story was [bordering] on the hysterical. Frankfurter Allgemeine expresses predictable outrage. Wolfgang Schauble immediately dismissed it on the grounds that the use of these funds was not backed by the ESM treaty. He said the fund had been created to help countries in an acute financial crisis and to deter speculators in return for strict conditionality. The fund was not there to be used. It has nothing to do with investment, Schauble said.

The paper quotes a source close to Juncker as saying that the main discussion now was about the legal basis. The paper quoted diplomats as saying that this scheme would require a change in the ESM treaty, which would have to be unanimous. Germany would oppose this.

At the G20 in Cairns, Schauble said the main problem in the eurozone is not lack of finance but demand, on which he is in agreement with Hoyer, who pointed out that only 16% of EU companies complained about shortage in the availability of finance.

FAZ also writes that Juncker had difficulties getting his €300bn together. The biggest part of this sum would come from a reshuffle of existing spending,

In a comment in the paper Werner Mussler writes that it would be potentially dangerous to turn the ESM into an investment vehicle because it would damage its reputation in financial markets, and reduce its capacity to act.

The ECB's preferred way for governments to support investment is guaranteeing asset-backed securities. Reuters has an interview with Peter Praet. He said the ECB was not suggesting that governments insure the entire mezzanine level but to target SME lending. "The amounts are not that important, considering also that existing facilities, which in some cases are not even used, can be tapped."



by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on
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In story: See It? Say It? Do Something About It?

Re: See It? Say It? Do Something About It?
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Draghi has done an ok job so far, he has stretched the ECB to its legal limits. How can I get my fellow Germans to see the light?

There is a somewhat productive debate of in Germany about Lack of investment. But with the rise of the AFD the CDU is cornered and can not show any flexibility.

by rz on
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In story: 22-23 September 2014

Million Erasmus babies
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EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Erasmus Impact Study confirms EU student exchange scheme boosts employability and job mobility
Young people who study or train abroad not only gain knowledge in specific disciplines, but also strengthen key transversal skills which are highly valued by employers. A new study on the impact of the European Union's Erasmus student exchange programme shows that graduates with international experience fare much better on the job market. They are half as likely to experience long-term unemployment compared with those who have not studied or trained abroad and, five years after graduation, their unemployment rate is 23% lower. The study, compiled by independent experts, is the largest of its kind and received feedback from nearly 80 000 respondents including students and businesses.

(...) Erasmus not only improves career prospects, it also offers students broader horizons and social links. 40% have changed their country of residence or work at least once since graduation, almost double the number of those who were not mobile during studies. While 93% of students with international experience can imagine living abroad in the future, this is the case for only 73% of those who stay in the same country during their studies.

(...) Former Erasmus students are also more likely to have transnational relationships: 33% of former Erasmus students have a partner of a different nationality, compared with 13% of those who stay home during their studies; 27% of Erasmus students meet their long-term partner while on Erasmus. On this basis, the Commission estimates that around one million babies are likely to have been born to Erasmus couples since 1987.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
( / )
And before anyone starts blathering about resource constraints. Those do not exist. There is only one star around which industrialization orbits, and that is energy. All else is atoms, and can be recycled until the final heath-death of the universe.
by Thomas on
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In story: Catalan scenarios

Re: Catalan scenarios
( / )
At the General Policy ("State of the Region") debate last week, Artur Mas told the Catalan Parliament that the vote "must be legal" so that its result will be "understood in Madrid and Brussels". ERC has also been toning down their rhetoric. Although ERC leader Oriol Junqueras spoke recently of "civil disobedience", his deputy later said that ERC is not going to advocate civil disobedience because "if may scare people off".

I don't think Rajoy in Madrid is thinking of using "force" to stop a vote. But if an unofficial referendum takes place he won't feel obliged to recognise its result, especially if turnout is limited to pro-independence voters.

The problem is not that Rajoy will use force to stop a referendum, but that if he fails to stop an illegality he may be removed by his own party base and Spanish nationalists will be strengthened in Madrid. I al also worried about the possibility that "uncontrolled" forces may take the defence of Spain's unity into their own hands.

To sum up, I see lots of potential for extremists to do something stupid.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
( / )
Calmer: The standard accusation the right wing hurls at all efforts to reduce CO2 emissions - renewable energy, conservation, soil remediation, is that they are false gambits - stalking horses for an hidden desire to see us all returned to a peasantry scrabbling in the dirt for survival.
I have seen this calumny leveled time and again.

It is the very height of folly to adopt the slanders your enemies level against you as goals. Especially, considering, as I said, the six billion dead people down this path.

If you believe renewable energy can power civilization, make plans and invest accordingly. If you do not. And that is the indisputable implication of the parent post  above, swallow your scrubles and go sign up for a degree in nuclear engineering on the morrow. Because arguing we should abandon civilization will get you nowhere.  

by Thomas on
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In story: The economics of saving the world

Re: The economics of saving the world
( / )
RE: the lack of examples of emissions falling: That is factually wrong.
http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/fra.html

French emissions are currently "Gasoline, in cars and trucks, plus miscellany that could be eliminated easily enough" So add electric cars and a not-very-intense effort, and France has solved this entire issue.

In contrast, you are talking about the need for the embrace of deindustrialization. You know who implemented that? The Khemer Rouge.

You are in essence contemplating the deaths of at
least 6 billion people as a preferable alternative to building nuclear reactors

Because that is what it would take. An everest of skulls.
This is chain of reasoning which you should abandon immediately. Before you tar ecological responsibility with the brush of wanton genocide.

by Thomas on
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News and Views

 22-23 September 2014

by afew - Sep 21, 55 comments

Your take on today's news media

 20-21 September 2014

by DoDo - Sep 19, 57 comments

Your take on today's news media

 The Week Starts Here

by afew - Sep 22, 7 comments

Don't Miss It!

 Weekend Open Thread

by afew - Sep 19, 28 comments

Here beginneth the Weeke ende

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