This starts as follows:
"Worse than anything we
"An act of climate
"Giveaway to big
"A death warrant for the
As expert analysis of the
publicized TransPacific Partnership (TPP) final text
continued to roll out on Thursday, consensus formed around one
fundamental assessment of the 12-nation pact: It's worse than we
I say. But I must add that
I am not very amazed myself.
Clearly, the TPP - kept secret
by that fine, outstanding, progressive, democratic president Obama -
was going to be very bad, very anti-democratic, very
pro corporate riches, and indeed also would commit climate dcenial,
destroy the open internet, and give billions to agribusiness.
Also clearly, the TTIP,
that will bring Europe under the fine leadership of the multi-national
corporations, and that will quickly destroy most or all of the advances
Europe made on the USA as regards workers rights, incomes, and
benefits, and also will quickly destroy democratic government,
will be even worse.
But both may well be
"de-mo-cra-tic-al-ly" adopted by the various parliaments that are
involved, for most of the politicians who are parliamentarians
walk on the leash of secret and non-secret subsidies from the rich. And
this is THE chance in the last 100 years to kill
democracy, and to impose the rule of the few very rich on everyone,
for the benefit of the few.
There is also this:
As I said, I am less amazed.
Then again, I have been reading about and around politics for over
50 years now, and also, in part because my parents were real and
intelligent communists for 45 years, which I gave up in 1970, I have never
voted since 1971, because I had decided that almost everyone I could
vote for was, to the best of my understanding, a careerist liar, while the few
others were mostly blind idealists. (And
I still think so, in Holland.)
"From leaks, we knew
quite a bit about the agreement, but
in chapter after chapter the final text is worse than we expected with
the demands of the 500 official U.S. trade advisers representing
corporate interests satisfied to the detriment of the public interest,"
Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.
On issues ranging from climate change to food safety, from open
Internet to access to medicines, the TPP "is a disaster," declared
Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now.
"Now that we’ve seen the
full text, it turns out the
job-killing TPP is worse than anything we could’ve imagined," added
Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America. "This
agreement would push down wages, flood our nation with unsafe imported
food, raise the price of life-saving medicine, all the while trading
with countries where gays and single mothers can be stoned to death."
Next, there is this:
Major climate action
groups, including 350.org and the
Sierra Club, were quick to point out that the text was notable as
much for what it didn't say as what for what it did. "The TPP
is an act of climate denial," said
350 policy director Jason Kowalski on Thursday. "While the text is full
of handouts to the fossil fuel industry, it doesn’t mention the words
climate change once."
What it does do, however,
is give "fossil fuel companies
the extraordinary ability to sue local governments that try and keep
fossil fuels in the ground," Kowalski continued. "If a province puts a
moratorium on fracking, corporations can sue; if a community tries to
stop a coal mine, corporations can overrule them. In short, these rules
undermine countries’ ability to do what scientists say is the single
most important thing we can do to combat the climate crisis: keep
fossil fuels in the ground."
That is, according to
the rich lawyers, who work for the mega-rich multi-
national corporations, and who were totally free to write the
TTP to destroy democratic government, there is no "climate
change", and it doesn't even deserve to be mentioned - but all
democratic policies that do involve climate change will be broken down
because they upset the - estimated, projected, or
real - profits of the very rich.
Indeed, according to Food
& Water Watch, the final
text released Thursday indicates that under a TPP regime, "agribusiness
and biotech seed companies can now more easily use trade rules to
challenge countries that ban GMO imports, test for GMO contamination,
do not promptly approve new GMO crops or even require GMO labeling."
be forced to no labeling of GMO foods, so that nobody
the - very profitable - shit he or she eats.
There is also this:
"If U.S. Congress signs
this agreement despite its blatant
corruption, they'll be signing a death warrant for the open Internet
and putting the future of free speech in peril," stated Evan Greer,
Fight for the Future (FFTF) campaign director.
Well... to the best
of my knowledge the TTP has been approved, and if it hasn't the
Republican Congress will approve it: It spells heaven for the
rich multi-national corporations, and it will destroy
democratic government, and that
is what the present-day Republicans are fanatically for (and see item 5).
Here is the last quotation, on Canada:
Note that Obama has already
phoned with Trudeau, and no doubt has explained how the Canadians must
approve this mortal death-blow to their democratic government.
about how the deal would impact
human rights, health, employment, environment, and democracy, the
Council of Canadians on Thursday demanded
full public consultation—including an independent human rights,
economic, and environmental review of the document—before Trudeau goes
any further. The group expressed particular concern over investor-state
dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions, which allow corporations to sue
states for lost profits, asking that they be excised from the deal.
We will find out what the Canadians will do. Meanwhile, this is a fine
article (considered as journalism, not for what it reports) and it
deserves full reading.
Before Deadly Bombing, U.S. Official Asked if Any Taliban Were “Holed
Up” At MSF Hospital
next item is by Murtaza Hussain on The Intercept:
starts as follows, and it continues the earlier news about the bombing
American military forces of MSF hospitals in Afghanistan and Yemen
(also reported here and here in Nederlog):
released today by the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders
(Médicins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) alleges that a U.S.
gunship killed doctors and medical staff as they fled from a
burning hospital targeted in a deadly October 3 aerial bombardment in
Kunduz, Afghanistan. In addition to documenting the havoc
wreaked by the attack, the report also claims that just a day
before the bombing, an unnamed U.S. government official in Washington,
D.C. had contacted the organization asking whether any Taliban
fighters were “holed up” at the Kunduz hospital facility.
In a speech given in
Kabul announcing the release of the
report, Christopher Stokes, general director of MSF, said that the
organization has yet to receive any explanation for the
attack from the U.S. military. In light of the evidence that has
now been compiled by the organization, “a mistake is quite hard to
understand and believe at this stage,” Stokes added.
The main reason it is
"quite hard" to believe that the American bombardment of the MSF's
hospital was "a mistake" is simply that the American army was very
well and for a long time informed about the precise
location and function of the hospital.
In fact, there is
I conclude from the
evidence given that the MSF hospital was attacked on purpose by
the American army because it took care of non-American wounded.
As documented in the
report, on September 29, less than a
week before the deadly bombing, MSF staff reaffirmed their GPS
coordinates in communications with the U.S. Army, Department of Defense
and Afghan government officials, all of whom provided either written or
verbal acknowledgement of the location information. As fighting in
Kunduz intensified around that time, culminating in a humiliating
temporary takeover of the city by Taliban forces, a U.S.
government official in Washington, D.C. contacted MSF on October 2
inquiring about the safety of its staff and asking whether
there were any Taliban “holed up” at the Kunduz hospital or
at any of their other facilities.
The next day, at roughly 2
a.m. local time, “MSF international staff
members sleeping in the administrative building were woken up by
the sound of the first explosions,” as an AC-130 gunship opened fire on
the hospital compound. Over the next hour at least 30 MSF staff and
patients were killed.
And while that conclusion might be undermined by a decent and objective
investigation of how and why 30 or more staff and patients of the
hospital were killed, the American army refuses any such
investigation (and 76 countries agreed they are right (?!)).
3. Seven Major Takeaways From the U.K.’s Proposed Surveillance
next article is by Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
The British government on
Wednesday published a proposed
new law to reform and dramatically expand surveillance powers in
the United Kingdom. The 190-page Investigatory Powers Bill is thick
with detail and it will probably take weeks and months of analysis
until its full ramifications are understood. In the meantime, I’ve read
through the bill and noted down a few key aspects of the proposed
powers that stood out to me — including unprecedented new data
retention measures, a loophole that allows spies to monitor journalists
and their sources, powers enabling the government to conduct
large-scale hacking operations, and more.
As I have said yesterday,
in my opinion this is a fascist law, that seeks to make Great Britain a
Toryist fascist state, where the government knows everything
about anyone, and can arrest anyone it doesn't like,
also with "legal assurances" that those arrests will remain unknown
to anyone (just as under the Gestapo's "Nacht und Nebel" disappearances
under Nazism) an also will not be discussed by anyone.
There is this on the
honesty of Theresa May:
In the days prior to the
publication of the Investigatory
Powers Bill, the British government’s Home Secretary Theresa May claimed that the law
would not be “giving new powers to go through people’s browsing
history.” However, the text of the bill makes clear that this is
precisely what the government is trying to do.
She lied, and lied,
and lied, but indeed her end is an enormous increase in
And there is this:
Well, one possible reason is
that no "democracy" is a democracy if a few thousand
governmental or private individuals can - in secret also - request the complete
browsing history of everyone. Sorry: that is only
possible in a mock "democracy" where the government has
all the powers, and the population has no choice but doing what
they are told, while being plundered of all their private
data, plans, ideas and values by a few - totally anonymous - supermen
and superwomen from the government.
As far as I am aware, no
other Western democracy has
implemented a nationwide data retention regime that encompasses all
citizens’ annual web browsing habits. The British government says the
data will only be looked at to determine, for example, “whether someone
[has] accessed a communications website [or] an illegal website.” But
there are only limited safeguards in place to ensure these conditions
are not breached by overzealous authorities. Police will be able to
access the records without any judicial approval; a person’s website
browsing records can be obtained after a “designated senior officer”
grants an authorization.
And there is this:
The bill includes a clause
that seeks to criminalize any “unauthorized disclosure” by
telecommunications employees of any details about government
surveillance. The clause appears designed to stifle leaks and deter
whistleblowers. A breach of this section of the proposed law would
result in a 12-month jail term and a fine.
So the government declares
it can spy into anything any of their inhabitants may think, say or
write, basically because it is unencrypted - and it says anyone
reveals anything about government surveillance (theft of private
data of anyone and everyone) goes to jail for at least
I am sorry, but as I said
After precisely 800
years the Magna
Charta (<- Wikipedia) that was first reached in England, was completely
destroyed (if these horrors become "laws") by the English
government, led by Theresa May and David Cameron, because that is out
for far bigger powers than any English government ever
had, and than are compatible with any genuinely democratic
Families Who Own Our Politicians
next article is by Jim Hightower on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
Supreme Court decreed in its 2010 Citizens United ruling that money is
a form of "free speech." Thus, declared the learned justices, people
and corporations are henceforth allowed to spend unlimited sums of
their money to "speak" in election campaigns. But wait -- if political
speech is measured by money then by definition speech is not free. It
can be bought, thereby giving the most speech to the few with the most
money. That's plutocracy, not democracy.
Yes indeed, although I do not
think that the Supreme Court acted "bizarrely": They acted
(in majority) as I would expect any corrupt court would act,
that wanted to hand power to the few rich rather than to the
And indeed the easily foreseeable also happened:
Sure enough, in the first
six months of this presidential election cycle, more than half of the
record-setting $300 million given to the various candidates came from
only 358 mega-rich families and the corporations they control. The top
158 of them totaled $176 million in political spending, meaning that,
on average, each one of them bought more than a million dollars' worth
of "free" speech.
Nearly all of their money
is backing Republican presidential hopefuls who promise: (1) to cut
taxes on the rich; (2) cut regulations that protect us from corporate
pollution and other abuses of the common good; and (3) to cut Social
Security, food stamps and other safety-net programs that we un-rich
people need. The great majority of Americans adamantly oppose all of
those cuts -- but none of us has a million bucks to buy an equivalent
amount of political "free" speech.
As I just said: Simply
because all of that was very easy to foresee, I conclude that
this is also what the majority of the Supreme Court wanted to
see happen. And indeed they got it: A mere 358
billionaires and millionaires now control
political spending in the USA, indeed on the explicit ground that their
As Jim Hightower says:
Yes, of course - and let us
not forget that the Democrats play the same game, and that, while I
suppose it is true that the billionaires in majority supported the
The Supreme Court's
malevolent Citizens United decision has produced an insidious platinum
class of mega-donors and corporate super PACs, each pumping $500,000,
$5 million, $50 million -- or even more -- into campaigns. These elites
are not silent donors, but boisterous, very special interests who are
playing in the new, Court-created political money game for their own
gain. Having paid to play, they feel entitled to tell candidates what
to say and do, what to support and oppose. A Jeb Bush insider confirms
that mega-donors have this attitude: "Donors consider a contribution
like, 'Well, wait, I just invested in you. Now I need to have my say;
you need to answer to me.'"
Republicans, they also in the past, and probably now, invested in the
Democrats in order to phone them in case they are elected.
5. Reality Check
article today is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
The other night I phoned
a former Republican member of Congress with whom I’d worked in the
1990s on various pieces of legislation. I consider him a friend. I
wanted his take on the Republican candidates because I felt I needed a
reality check. Was I becoming excessively crotchety and partisan, or
are these people really as weird as they seem? We got right into it:
Me: “So what do really
you think of these candidates?”
Him: “You want my
Me: "Please. That’s why I
Him: “They’re all nuts.”
Me: “Seriously. What do
you really think of them?”
Him: “I just told you.
They’re bonkers. Bizarre. They’re like a Star Wars bar room.”
There is more in the
article, which is recommended, but this is sufficient, and
indeed is Reich's opinion, and having seen some more of the
Republican presidential candidates I agree.
More specifically, I agree
on three points:
The only good thing about the
Republican candidates is that it seems very unlikely anyone of
them will be elected - though I agree that if any of them would
be elected, it also will be a disaster.
- all of the
Republican candidates lie, and do so very well, and nearly
always, on nearly everything;
- none of the
Republican candidates has a serious program, and none
can be taken seriously to vote for (as one could - a long time ago, but
it is true - once honestly vote from conservative
principles for Eisenhower);
- I agree that at least
two Republican candidates - Trump and Carson - do not seem
mentally healthy: Trump seems constantly angry and almost
completely bereft of reason, and Carson just seems plain mad (including
the total crap he talks about pyramids and the climate: that is not