Fri Jul 13th, 2007 at 05:47:07 AM EST
What is the basis of world order?
What are the fundamentals of the international system?
Are relations between states controlled primarily by a system of universal morality that exists outside of the power system imposed by the Anglo-America hegemony?
Or is morality relative so that the rules of the game result from the imposition of order by hegemons?
And is the current system of American hegemony such a grave danger to human life, that anarchy is preferable to order?
I stirred up some indignation this morning by declaring America world leader.
American world leadership is reality, like it or not.
The simple fact is that the moral understandings of the Anglo-American world are the basis of the current system of international power....
I guess the point that I'd make is that the existence of international "systems" is due either to brute power whether military or through constraining economic relationships. If there is no hegemon, there is no system.
Brought across by afew
Thu Jun 7th, 2007 at 05:12:56 AM EST
In the Southern Iraqi city of Basra, a standoff is developing between striking Iraqi oil workers and the Iraqi military. Iraq PM Nouri Al-Maliki has issued arrest warrants for leaders of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) currently on strike in Southern Iraq to stop the Oil Law that would privatize much of Iraq's oil industry, opening the door to foreign ownership. Prior to issuing warrants for the union leaders arrest, the Iraqi military surrounding the striking workers as they stopped the flow of oil to Baghdad. At this time oil exports have not been affected.
According to a statement released by numerous international solidarity groups working with the oil workers in and around Basra, in southern Iraq, the workers were charged with "sabotaging the economy" and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Tuesday he'd meet "with an iron fist" those who threaten Iraq's oil production.
From the diaries - afew
Fri May 18th, 2007 at 01:59:46 PM EST
Reuters has an article up today about an important research breakthrough by researchers at Purdue University in Indiana that could lead to the widespread replacement of gasoine by aluminium as the fuel of choice for American motorists. Through a process mixing aluminium with gallium in water, researchers were able to yield hydrogen through a process that costs about $3/gallon.
In the experiment conducted at Purdue University in Indiana, "The hydrogen is generated on demand, so you only produce as much as you need when you need it," said Jerry Woodall, an engineering professor at Purdue who invented the system.
Woodall said in a statement the hydrogen would not have to be stored or transported, taking care of two stumbling blocks to generating hydrogen.
For now, the Purdue scientists think the system could be used for smaller engines like lawn mowers and chain saws. But they think it would work for cars and trucks as well, either as a replacement for gasoline or as a means of powering hydrogen fuel cells.
Mon May 14th, 2007 at 11:39:54 AM EST
Sean Connery never seems to lack for honesty.
SEAN Connery has given his most incendiary ever interview on politics, branding Tony Blair an "a***hole" making his legacy from graves in Iraq and suggesting that First Minister Jack McConnell is frustrating democracy in Scotland.
In his first interview since the Holyrood election, Connery also calls on Scottish Secretary Douglas Alexander to resign over the voting fiasco, which saw almost 150,000 ballot papers spoiled.
The actor reveals he has been giving post-election advice to SNP leader and likely new First Minister Alex Salmond and suggests he has already become a roving ambassador for Scotland. But on the issue of a return to the land of his birth, Connery remains as enigmatic as ever.
Speaking from his home in the Bahamas, Connery described the conduct of the election as an "embarrassment".
Fri May 4th, 2007 at 04:30:33 AM EST
With early results coming in from Scotland, it appears that Alex Salmond will be the next First Minister. Early this morning he announced to supporters that the winds of change are sweeping Scotland. And while SNP gains make it highly likely that Salmond will be able to emerge as First Minister with LibDem support, electoral irregularities have created some contreversy.
The Guardian is reported that some irregularities might change the outcome of races.
You couldn't make it up. The big story of the Scottish elections isn't the success of the SNP but the chaos of the count.
The Fife count has "ground to a halt" due to data overload. Ballot papers in East Kilbride are being rescanned and there is an indefinite delay.
There have been calls for an inquiry by the electoral commission into the high number of spoiled ballot papers. In Anniesland, 7.2% were rejected. In Glasgow Kelvin, the number of spoiled papers was larger than the Labour majority, and it was the same story in Airdrie and Shotts. On average 5% of ballot papers have been spoiled.
Update: The Guardian now reports the Tories are questioning the credibility of the election on word that the number of spoilt ballots exceeds the vote margin in several key seats. In Glasgow one constituency returned with more than 10% of the ballots invalidated.
From the diaries ~ whataboutbob
Fri Apr 6th, 2007 at 10:41:32 AM EST
This is a story that has sadly been missed by the media. We all know that corporations and capital are increasingly beyond the control of any one nation. Because corporations are allowed to move operations out of one country and to another if they think that playing by the rules of the game in a country are too onerous (and still export back to that country. So thought they are unwilling to play by the rules, they are still allowed to play the game.) Because of this, labor as a force in the global economy is on the wane.
One of the principal reasons for labor's decline has been the inability to organize globally encompassing unions that are able to simultaneously strike in order to disrupt corporations global operations. This may be changing. Workers of the world are uniting.
Boeing Co. workers around the world now have a new and stronger voice to deal with the multinational aerospace giant with the formation last week of the Global Union Alliance.
The new alliance is made up of the Machinists (IAM)--which represent about 40,000 Boeing workers in the United States and Canada--and unions from five other nations where Boeing has major production facilities.
Fri Mar 23rd, 2007 at 09:56:58 AM EST
This is something I wrote for my political economy class. It was when I was writing this, that I realized that I enjoy writing and talking about political economy far more than nationalism. Ceterus paribus this is where I see my academic career headed. Earlier I tried to distill this further into seperate diaries. Like cognac, at some point further distillation deprives the thing of its essence.
At the heart of the matter is the recognition that the social order is antecedent to the economic order, and that the preferences of formal rationality , of which utility maximizing economic behavior is a deriative, only have meaning understood in the context of the substantive rationality, the social order which is internalized as right and wrong, in which they are embedded. Capitalism and Communism both fail because they seek to disembedd formal rationality from its substantive context. The backyard furnaces of the Great Leap Forward and climate change denial derive from the same madness, the disembbeding of formal rationality from its substantive context. I'll let you read the rest, and judge for yourself.
Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 01:37:17 PM EST
Jerome asked that I turn this comment into a diary.
I've been doing research lately on my father's family, and I've come into something very bizarre. I'm as white as the driven snow, and although we know that my paternal grandmother's family came from Scotland to the United States, we never knew when or how. Going through records that my father has, we came across a possible answer, but I'm not sure it's even plausible. Apparently, my distant ancestor Tormut Rose was deported to America by Cromwell and sold as a slave.
Thu Feb 1st, 2007 at 08:44:54 AM EST
It's been a while since I did my last Pulse of the Nations poll review. I've decided I want to try something new. Because many of the polls tracked elections, I recognized that they're a lot more interesting together than apart. So what I've done is create charts. This is my first effort.
Because the only European election looming on the horizon in a "big" country is in France, I've decided to do my first diary on the French Presidential Election. I'm only using polls run in 2007. I want to create a running database on series data like this.
Thu Nov 30th, 2006 at 04:41:28 AM EST
I've been thinking about the possible impact of Scottish independence for a while now, and I've come to the conclusion that a Europe of the nations would have consinderably more flags than the current set. Very few member states of the EU are not suspectible to fracture by active European automonous movements. So I started to map out what a Europe where stateless nations were given independence would look like. The Europe of the 25 ballons to 75+. Here's what it looks like.
From the diaries - whataboutbob
Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 at 10:35:51 AM EST
I'm posting this as a response to Jerome's call for discussion of gas tax. I believe casting government management of energy consumption as a tax is a mistake. I believe that it is far better to cast this managment in terms of generating stability than generating revenue, thus I propose a guaranteed gas price (GGP) to restrain consumption, and further to avoid the counterproductive tendency for present conservation to create future consumption. I've reworked all this from a comment on an earlier diary.
Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 03:57:30 AM EST
The Spanish region of Cataluna held regional elections yesterday in which the leading party of the ruling tripartite, the regional section of the Socialist Party (PSC), lost 5 seats. The opposition centre nationalist CiU gained 2 seats while the real story of the evening were the 3 seat gain by the ICV, a Left(as in Linkes Partei)-Green coalition, and the entrance of Ciutadans, a reformist left grouping famous for the appearance of its leader, Alberto Rivera, nude but for his cupped hand in a campaign poster, with 3 seats in the Generalitat, the regional parliament. I will post this on the other side. (Nudity warning!)
Party Ideology 2006% '06 Seats '03 Seats Change
CiU Nationalist 31.52 48 46 +2
PSC Socialist 31.16 37 42 -5
ERC Nationalist 14.06 21 23 -2
PP Conservative 10.64 14 15 -1
ICV Left/Green 9.56 12 9 +3
Ciuta Left/Reform 3.04 3 0 +3
From the diaries ~ whataboutbob
Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 08:33:36 AM EST
I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they're never the ones to fight or to die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire
Jackson Browne, Lives in the Balance
Last Pulse of the Nations
See all the polls in the comments below. From the diaries. -- Jérôme
Sat Oct 14th, 2006 at 04:20:38 PM EST
I must have been in high school the first time I signed up for Portside, an American Left Internet reading list, an act that I'm certain has placed me on other lists as a consequence. And those of you who've been here for a while are aware that I'm a big fan of irony, when wealth and power fail in spite of the advantages they have, I'm even more entertained.
There was a convergence of sorts in my mailbox this morning when I got this Portside article about a new labour law being proposed in China that would grant local branches of the government trade union, All China Trade Union Federation (ACTUF), collective bargaining power, and create offer workers greater employment protection by making it more difficult to fire workers. The irony involved in corporations moving production from nominally capitalist regions like the US and EU to nominally communist China, and then complaining when the country actually stands up for workers strikes me as extremely ironic.
Some of the world's big companies have expressed concern that the new rules would revive some aspects of socialism and borrow too heavily from labor laws in union-friendly countries like France and Germany.
Mon Oct 9th, 2006 at 06:37:19 AM EST
Know that you can, want that you might
leave you fears outside
paint your face the color of hope
touch the the future with you heart
It's better to get yourself lost than never go
better to go ahead than leave it to chance
although you see now that it's not so easy to start.
Know that the impossible can pass
that the sadness will some day go away
and so life changes and will change.
Feel your soul soar
to sing it one more time.
Color Esperenza, Diego Torres
Last Pulse of the Nations.
Mon Oct 2nd, 2006 at 04:53:56 AM EST
File this under bizarre.
3 Spanish bloggers have faked (or maybe it's real?) a video in which they appear to steal the seat of PM Zapatero in the Congress of Deputies. Click on the pic below for the full video it's quite a production.
Sun Oct 1st, 2006 at 03:02:06 AM EST
Close to a year ago now, I started a series called Pulse of the Nations that tracked European and world opinion polls. I originally had plans to turn it into an educational effort, but that died quickly when Migeru set me straight on the complexities of educating the masses about confidence levels and the like. Such grand plans will be set aside for the resurrection of the Pulse of the Nations.
I'm going to use the same format as Fran does for European Breakfast, there will European and International sections. And every week (asssuming that I keep it up, which isn't a guarantee, we'll see) I'll post a demographic question, and while I'm ressurecting things, I'd like to see if we can get people to sign up for the Eurotrib Frapper page that put in little pins for everybody on a map. That would allow us to see where every one is from.
Wed Aug 9th, 2006 at 04:20:58 AM EST
I've reworked this from a piece I posted on Daily Kos today. I've extracted the US specific content. The most important thing that you need to understand is that in the US, almost without exception employers can fire workers without reason, and no severance payment is made.
The most striking aspect of US labor law is how little protection it offers employee when compared to laws in other OECD countries. The lack of protection for workers in the relationship with employers places American workers at a grave disadvantage when compared to workers in the other industrialized countries of the OECD.
Among OECD countries only the US and Japan subscribe to a strict "at-will" employment relationship, while Austria, Swizterland, and Belgium limit the requirment that employers justify dismissal to specific categories.
From the front page ~ whataboutbob
Sat Jul 29th, 2006 at 06:42:28 AM EST
On Sunday, July 30, 2006, the greatest demonstration in moder Mexican history is scheduled to occur. Between 2 and 3 millions highly pissed off peasants and workers aligned with the candidacy of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) will take part in the third of a series of informative meetings in Mexico City's main square, the Zocalo.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
More that a million and a half Mexicans came to the Zocalo to demonstrate their support for AMLO.
From the front page & bumped - whataboutbob
Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 at 07:46:41 AM EST
I've been watching the development of Compass a left pressure group within the UK's Labour party.
Compass has been working to build a new left manifesto a la Energize America using the power of the internet to allow citizens input in the new manifesto which will have three goals.
* Conceptions of the good life and good society - a vision of the kind of world we want to live in. Thatcherism had a powerful vision of this, and the democratic left needs an equally powerful vision.
* Democracy and a new collectivism - we are not just a set of individuals, and not all things can be chosen as individuals. What democratic structures do we need to be able to give people real influence over their day to day lives? Where should we take action collectively and what are the best structures and mechanisms to allow us to do it in this new decentralised and less deferential world?
* A left political economy - How can markets be made to serve people and planet, rather than the other way around? Not since the 1970s can the left be said to have a distinct sense of political economy (in the form of the Alternative Economic Strategy).
From the front page - whataboutbob