Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Poor Captain's Almanac

by Captain Future Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:34:24 AM EST

There are all kinds of financial experts on this site, and I am not one of them.  I am not only not an expert, I am by many financial standards, poor.

But this is what I understand about what's going on. As I write this, European and Asian stock markets are either following the American markets down, or they're leading Friday's U.S. downward plunge, or both. This fall is explained by "experts" as "loss of confidence" or fear. What it seems to me to amount to is this: rich people are cashing out. They've made as much as they're going to make for the time being from this financial house of cards, and they're taking their cards out while they still can.


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Obama in Berlin: A President of Peace

by Captain Future Thu Jul 24th, 2008 at 06:18:11 PM EST

Covering his speech in Berlin today, the wire services will probably emphasize Obama's call for a united front against terrorism, especially in Afghanistan. But that was only part of Barack Obama's speech today before a quarter of a million Europeans--some who came from Poland and the Netherlands and across Europe to Berlin to hear him.  It was structually and as a whole a call for a greater unity, for a world united to foster equality, freedom and peace.

He used the Berlin airlift of 1948 as his central metaphor--the moment, so soon after the horrific bombings that turned many cities in Europe and Japan into literal holocausts--that wave upon wave of American airplanes dropped not bombs but food, to sustain the people of West Berlin.

And from across the Atlantic, we could hear the chants in Berlin: Yes, we can.

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A Very Unlikely Hero

by Captain Future Fri Jul 18th, 2008 at 06:27:33 AM EST

Those of you in Europe may not know that thanks to a sudden onslaught of ubiquitous television spots, there's a new major voice on energy in America--and he could be a very unlikely hero of a transformative future for clean energy.  And in the end, his contribution to this transformation may come down to just one sentence.

The man is T. Boone Pickens--that same billionaire oilman and hedge fund investor, who bankrolled the despicable Swift Boat Veterans ads that libeled John Kerry's Vietnam War combat heroism and helped give us four more disastrous years of Bush.


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Climate Crisis Future: Dangers for Democrats

by Captain Future Tue Dec 11th, 2007 at 06:20:42 PM EST

In a previous Kos post, I speculated on the emerging Republican plan for the Climate Crisis. Basically it is to mix denial with assertions of doing something, in order to essentially do nothing (or not enough) to stop greenhouse gas pollution, while waiting to use the opportunity of a climate-related disaster in the U.S. to shift attention to their version of crisis management, which is disaster capitalism.

The Democrats are much different, and Europeans likely see them as the only hope of the U.S. joining the world in coming to grips with the Climate Crisis. Yet there are also two sets of problems I foresee for them--one of which has pretty much the same result for the future as the Republican plan, and the other involves a lack of preparation for near-term crisis, and how the Republicans are likely to try to take advantage of that.

Crucial to this analysis is my insistence that the Climate Crisis has two very different parts: the threat of truly catastrophic changes in the future if we don't stop greenhouse pollution now (the "Stop It" component) and the need to address serious problems and disasters that are going to happen in the relatively near future because of climate change--problems it is too late to stop (the "Fix It" component.) The analysis follows.

Diary rescue by Migeru

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Why Iraq is a Success

by Captain Future Sun Dec 2nd, 2007 at 07:19:10 PM EST

With the deal last week between the Bushites and the current Iraqi government to formalize the intention to keep U.S. troops in those huge permanent bases in Iraq, and to "encourage" foreign investment (i.e. U.S. oil companies and related Bushite corporations), two prominent theories--not mutually exclusive by any means--got additional evidence for their answers as to why the Bushites began and prosecuted the war and occupation of Iraq.

One theory is Naomi Klein's in her book, The Shock Doctrine. Basically she outlines a strategy used in various parts of the world to further the goal of enriching large corporations--almost always run by or with strong ties to the folks now identified as Bushites, but who have pulled strings, or assisted their mentors in doing so, in previous Republican administrations.

On Thursday she got the opportunity--the first I know of--to explain what she means on U.S. television: on a very well done segment of Countdown with Keith Olbermann. (Her theory aside, Klein should be regularly analyzing geopolitics and the news on U.S. television.) Here's what she said about Iraq:

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It's Here (Almost)

by Captain Future Wed Nov 21st, 2007 at 03:30:23 AM EST

Reuters Reports:

Oil soared to record highs on Wednesday, drawing within a hair's breadth of the $100 milestone as the U.S. dollar plumbed new lows and the onset of cold U.S. weather stirred anxiety over winter supplies.

(The above link is a Yahoo page so it may change.)

A bit more...

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Youth Stepping It Up on Climate Action Day

by Captain Future Sun Nov 4th, 2007 at 06:40:39 AM EST

The National Day of Climate Action in the U.S. Saturday was the definition of a grassroots event. With practically no media coverage, or mention on even climate-related internet sites, thousands of people gathered in places large and small across the U.S., in large groups and small, for events associated with the Step It Up campaign for action on the Climate Crisis.

Though seniors were conspicuously present at many events, this is basically a youth movement, and though officeholders like Senator John Kerry attended events, the main speaker at one was eleven years old. These are young people addressing their future.

There are photos from everywhere at the Step It Up site, and I have a bunch on my blog, Captain Future's Dreaming Up Daily. Some people look kind of cold-- despite storms along the East Coast generated by Hurricane Noel, they turned out earlier today. More info and links follow the jump.

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The Hollow Men: A Hollow-een Story

by Captain Future Mon Oct 29th, 2007 at 06:48:13 PM EST

Here's a spooky story that tells you why Iraq is related to Christmas toys.  It takes us to Baghdad and China, Washington and Wal-Mart, and ends (or begins?) under the Christmas tree.  It's our 2007 version of the 1925 poem by T.S. Eliot:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpieces filled with straw

It starts with the scary mercenaries of Blackwater and the evil sorceror Rumsfeld...

Episode 1: The Hollow Military (Read on if you dare...)

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The Wrong Anniversary? Sputnik and the Space Treaty

by Captain Future Fri Oct 5th, 2007 at 04:27:01 AM EST

Are we looking at the wrong anniversary--the one that's just passed, the 50th year since Sputnik, and not the one to come next week, a related 40th anniversary?

In any case, the answer begins on October 4, 1957. My childhood recollections suggest the dual nature that was inherent in the major event of that day.

By 8 pm it was dark outside, on that early October night. At the end of a long, multi-jointed arm, a green-shaded lamp focused light on the surface of the heavy, dark-grained wood desk, a hand-me-down undoubtedly older than I was. The rest of my room was in shadow.

I often had my radio on while I did my homework--a supposed shortwave set with a slate gray face and exposed, glowing tubes in the back, that sat on the bookshelf above and to the right of my desk, next to the globe. My father had put the radio together from a kit, and despite its impressive dials it seldom pulled in more than the local AM station. But for some reason the radio was off. I was absorbed in my homework, and I didn't even notice the hum and murmur of the television set on the other side of the far wall, in the living room, where my parents were watching.

So when my bedroom door flew open I was startled. My father leaned in, and asked me if I'd been listening to the radio. I said "no" defensively, but he wasn't checking on my homework diligence. He said the Russians had launched a satellite into space. It was orbiting the earth right now. They'd just announced it on television, and broadcast the actual sounds coming from the satellite. It was called Sputnik.

Promoted by Colman

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Quiet Please! You're Killing Me!

by Captain Future Fri Aug 24th, 2007 at 05:34:17 AM EST

Of all the forms of damaging pollution, the one that gets the least attention is noise. People don't listen, they don't want to hear about it. It just seems like an inconvenience, like complaining. It's not like having your nerves frayed and your hearing fried is worth crying about.

Well, YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE! According to a new study, says the Guardian:

"Thousands of people around the world are dying prematurely from heart disease triggered by long-term exposure to excessive noise, according to research by the World Health Organisation."

Based on WHO figures, the Guardian estimates that of some 100,000 annual deaths from heart disease in the UK, more than 3,000 are from chronic noise exposure, to ordinary urban/suburban and maybe rural noise.

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

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Answering the Call: Live Earth and Emotional Consensus

by Captain Future Fri Jul 13th, 2007 at 07:29:28 PM EST

The Live Earth concerts on Saturday were watched by more people--in person, online and on TV--than any previous entertainment event in history.  But what good did they do?

Proponents point to the online participation and the many thousands people who took the pledge to act personally and politically to address the Climate Crisis.  This event (the concerts, the television inserts, online participation and outreach) helped reach global citizens who aren't necessarily reached by political and environmental organization efforts.

As I suggest in this diary, Live Earth opens new ways forward.  But perhaps the most important effect ultimately is what this event contributed to the "emotional consensus" necessary for the kind of change necessary to head off the worst of the Climate Crisis before it's too late.    

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What the Future Needs

by Captain Future Sat May 19th, 2007 at 02:55:59 AM EST

The climate crisis is not a single issue. It is the crisis that encompasses much of what we need to pay attention to, what we must remedy and attain if we are to continue. It is for example about all our relationships to our planet, and our relationships to each other. In our separated and pinched political parlance, it's about environment, energy, economics, geopolitics, poverty, public and private health; governance, community, culture; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's the key to the future, because if we address this crisis successfully, it will require positive change in all areas, and if we do not address it successfully, it will end this show, and define it as tragedy.

What does the future need right now to address the climate crisis? We've come a long way in awareness. In parts of the world, obvious signs of global heating have led to strong consensus on its reality. In the UK, according to the Economist, "85% of the public are now convinced that global warming is actually taking place and almost as many think that without prompt action it will accelerate." In otherwise backward US, quoting TIME magazine: "In a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, an overwhelming majority of those surveyed--90% of Democrats, 80% of independents, 60% of Republicans--said they favor 'immediate action' to confront the crisis."

I believe that in addition to even more awareness, creativity, and the kind of thinking that sees the climate crisis for what it is, what the future needs now is leadership and focus.

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Apollo Summit and Blue-Green Alliance as Hope for the Future

by Captain Future Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 03:54:46 AM EST

There isn't much good news these days.  But when there is, it's important to highlight it.

 There was some very good news in Washington last week at the Apollo Summit for Clean Energy and Good Jobs, a meeting of the Apollo Alliance.  A billion people saw Al Gore and others at the Oscars call for leadership to confront the Climate Crisis, and the Republican/Dirty Energy noise machine has been in high gear ever since, demonizing them and engaging in even more ferocious Climate Crisis denying.  But if there is any hope in America for the global Climate Crisis future, it will depend on what Apollo and that summit represents: the blue-green alliance of blue collar and environmentalists, and the mayors and governors who make things happen as well as national legislators who keep at it regardless of where the headlines are.

Follow after the fold for some highlights and why they are important to any hope we might have for the future.

From the diaries. Here's the link to the Conference Programme, which was sent to me by a kossack who was speaking in one of the panels. In other somewhat hopeful notes, see the two most recent Energize America diaries over at Dailykos: First Energize America draft Act brought to Congress and ENERGIZE AMERICA: Neighborhood Power Act -- Draft Questions and Answers -- plus a request for help by A Siegel. "Hopeful" because Energize America is getting the attention of Congress; "somewhat" because these diaries went nowhere on DailyKos. -- Jérôme

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Clean Energy Future Was Part of Democrats U.S. Victory

by Captain Future Mon Nov 13th, 2006 at 11:41:29 PM EST

Iraq, corruption, even immigration got the headlines, but that doesn't mean the environment wasn't a factor in the recent U.S. election, and therefore isn't a priority with voters. According to these environmentalists, not only was the environment a major issue in key campaigns, but environment and energy issues helped elect Democrats. Said the president of the League of Conservation Voters:

"This is the first election I can remember in U.S. history that has put such a specific focus on a top-priority environmental issue, which this year has been a clean-energy future."

This was especially true in races that featured anti-environment incumbents, such as Representative Richard Pombo in California and Senator Conrad Burns in Montana. Senator-elect Jon Tester in Montana was a shining case--a former organic farmer, he ran strongly on promoting Montana as a leader in a new clean energy economy.

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Democrats Victorious: The U.S. Rejoins the World

by Captain Future Wed Nov 8th, 2006 at 10:30:41 PM EST

As of Wednesday evening in the U.S., Associated Press and TV networks have projected victories for Democrats in the Senate races in Montana and Virginia, which would give the Democrats control of the Senate as well as the House.

There are apparently some ballots still to be counted in Montana, and Republican Senator Allen of Virginia is waiting for the canvas results (checking tallies where votes were counted locally)--if Democrat Webb's margin doesn't appreciably diminish, Allen is expected to concede, possibly on Thursday.

Beyond partisan politics and beyond these shores, what this means is that the United States will slowly but surely rejoin the rest of the world.    

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It's Virtue, Not Values That Wins U.S. Elections

by Captain Future Tue Oct 24th, 2006 at 04:53:50 AM EST

Consider this a window into U.S. politics. I post it because I value the thoughtful readers here, but perhaps it has application or relevance on your side of the Atlantic.  

As U.S. politicians sharpen their message for the stretch run, but also as we think about creating political support around progressive issues in whatever circumstances result from these elections, and looking forward to 08, I'd like to suggest the beginning of a different way to approach those issues, and the electorate.

I suggest we look behind "issues" and particularly turn away from focusing on "values," which we can only talk about as ambiguous abstractions.  I suggest we look to what motivates people to vote on values issues, and on other issues as well.

I believe that people vote on the basis of what makes them feel virtuous.  And the candidates that convince voters that voting for them is the expression of virtue will win.  The "virtue" over "values" also explains why many people who voted Republican in recent elections are turning against the party this year.  But it also could be a way to reorient and reposition progressive efforts in the future.

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Bill Clinton on Clean Energy Independence

by Captain Future Fri Oct 20th, 2006 at 04:46:59 AM EST

After his speech the other day opening a conference on Securing the Common Good, sponsored by the Center for American Progress, President Bill Clinton answered some questions from his audience--students at Georgetown University, where he spoke 15 years ago about his priorities in his upcoming campaign for the presidency.

I've put these remarks in the U.S. election context at my Dreaming Up Daily, but since what I say is mostly a repetition of what Jerome has said here and at Daily Kos, I thought I would simply share with you the relevant quotes, after the jump.  

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Mr. Truth Decay and American Decadence

by Captain Future Thu Aug 31st, 2006 at 02:37:06 AM EST

The imagery of decadence may suggest Roman orgies or American idols, but those are the more florrid and less important signs. What decadence means is decay, and we've got lots of that in the USA.

Decay may be a natural process of organisms but civilization is built on the ability to repair, renew and replace infrastructure, institutions and even ideas--including continually renewing a commitment to such ultimately crucial operating principles like fidelity to the truth.

But the signs of decadence are all around us, and Mr. Truth Decay is fiddling in Texas while the country falls apart.    

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After Hiroshima Terror is What Bombing Is For

by Captain Future Mon Aug 7th, 2006 at 04:57:41 AM EST

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atomic bomb used in warfare. Three days later, President Truman began a pattern of lies that characterized the nuclear age.

But another lie also emerged from World War II, when the kind of bombing we see today--from the air, on urban centers and civilian populations--was first done regularly, on a large scale. The lie is that bombing is an effective, reasonable and legitimate method of waging war, whereas there are other despicable and illegitimate acts committed by uncivilized and ruthless enemies, called terrorism.

The truth is that bombing is terrorism, no matter who does it, and it always has been.

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Two Climate Crises: Fix It and Stop It

by Captain Future Sun Jul 16th, 2006 at 09:21:16 AM EST

Most of the US is broiling. Even before the ongoing heat wave, this year so far was the hottest on record, and it's not even August. Almost half the country is in a drought.

Now that Al Gore's movie and resulting media analyses are bringing the moral imperative of the Climate Crisis into wider public awareness, it's time to get clear on what we need to do about it.

Because there are two crises within the Climate Crisis, requiring two sets of actions. Right now people are talking about the evidence of the first crisis--the extreme weather, melting glaciers and other visible and measurable effects--but they are talking about solutions for the second crisis.

We need to do two things: fix it and stop it.  Here's what I mean:

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