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Nederlog

November 29, 2015
Crisis: Nader & Hedges, TTIP, Authoritarian France, Warming, "Free Internet"
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Introduction


Introduction

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, November 29, 2015.

This is a crisis file. I said I would continue, though not daily, and this is a crisis file. There are two differences: The mottos at the top have disappeared, because they involve too much trouble to display well, and
this file is based on fewer readings of background materials and is also a bit more reflective. (Also, the
crisis index, which does appear at the top, still has to be updated after October 28, 2015.)

There are 5 items with 4 dotted links: Item 1 is about a recent video interview of Ralph Nader by Chris Hedges, that is about the corporate coup d'état (that was quite successful); item 2 is about how the TTIP is a project of the big multinational corporations and excludes almost anyone else; item 3 is about how France is getting more and more authoritarian: no demonstrations at all, and climate activists (!) given house arrest; item 4 is about a recent report that - on the basis of many different data - the climate has changed, already in the late 1980ies; and item 5 is about my experiences of a "free internet": it is rapidly and quite dishonestly disappearing.

1. Days of Revolt - The Corporate Coup d'etat with Ralph Nader

This first item is an interview by Chris Hedges, in his series Days of Revolt, with Ralph Nader:
This is from the beginning of November of 2015. It lasts 25 minutes and is an interesting exposition of the corporate coup d'état that Hedges and Nader date back mostly (as I do, and did before seeing this) as beginning in 1971 with the Powell-memorandum.

Note please (as may be less clear) that

(1) the corporate coup d'état was and is almost completely successful
(2) it was mostly completed under Bill Clinton
(3) it was much helped by the rise of the personal computer and the
     fall of the free press (which is also mostly dead: see 5 below)
(4) it was much helped by the great majority of people working as
     politicians - left, right and center - for money
(5) it was much helped by the "War on Terror", and by Bush Jr.,
     Cheney, and Rumsfeld.

2. Exposed: 'Full Range of Collusion' Between Big Oil and TTIP Trade Reps

The next item is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

Amid warnings that the proposed TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could undermine global attempts to rein in runaway climate change, new documents reveal that EU trade officials gave U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil access to confidential negotiating strategies considered too sensitive to be released to the European public.

The documents, obtained by the Guardian, offer "an extraordinary glimpse into the full degree of collusion between the European commission and multinational corporations seeking to use TTIP to increase U.S. exports of fossil fuels," said John Hilary, the director of the UK organization War on Want. "The commission is allowing the oil majors to write the proposed energy chapter of TTIP in their favor."

According to the Guardian: "Officials also asked one oil refinery association for 'concrete input' on the text of an energy chapter for the negotiations, as part of the EU’s bid to write unfettered imports of U.S. crude oil and gas into the trade deal."

What's more, the documents show that at a September 2013 meeting, EU trade officials gave a briefing on the state of TTIP talks to two trade groups and 11 oil and gas companies—including fossil fuel behemoths Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil. The latter company is currently the target of an escalating public awareness campaign in the U.S. over its decades-long cover-up of its role in global warming.

I regard the TTIP (and the TTP and the TiSA) as plans to introduce fascism. You may disagree. The article ends as follows, with a quotation of Mark Dearn from War on Want:

"Far from being a simple case of European interests versus U.S. interests," Dearn wrote, "the lines of demarcation in TTIP are between the mutually exclusive interests of transnational big business and people and the planet; if the deal passes, the former wins and the latter lose."

Yes - and that is an alternative way of saying what I said (I think, though Dearn and others may not agree).

3. France Puts 24 Climate Activists Under House Arrest Ahead of COP21

The next item is by Common Dreams Staff on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

French police have placed 24 activists under 'house arrest' ahead of the major UN climate warming COP21 talks starting near Paris next week.

The French interior ministry said Friday the government was trying to prevent the activists from demonstrating ahead of the COP21 conference, but their lawyers and Amnesty International accused the government of abusing the 'state of emergency' put into effect after the Paris attacks.

Three of those arrested are accused of belonging to the "radical opposition movement", according to Agence France Presse.

"They are banned from leaving their home town in western France without special police permission, they must report to a local police station three times a day and remain at their homes between 8:00 pm and 6:00 am until December 12, the day after the talks are due to end."

The interior ministry says the three individuals have caused "serious disturbances to public order" in the past.

Author and climate change activist, Naomi Klein, accused the French authorities of “a gross abuse of power that risks turning the summit into a farce”.

Of course the French government is "abusing the 'state of emergency' put into effect after the Paris attacks", and it also forbade all demonstrations in Paris.

As to Naomi Klein: I think the climate summit is going to be a farce anyway (rather like Kyoto, I'm afraid). The climate is not going to be saved by a political summit even if the summit were much more powerful than it is, for to save the climate (which I think anyway is impossible and too late - see 4 below) you need to be able to deal with deregulated multi-national giants like Shell and Exxon.

There is more in the article, and we will see what will happen.

4. Records Reveal Warming’s First Warning

The next item is by Tim Radford on Truthdig, and originally on Climate News Network:

This starts as follows:

Climate change may have begun more than 25 years ago. At around the time that global warming and the spectre of climate change first emerged as a geopolitical challenge for future generations, it had already commenced, according to new research.

As world leaders gather in Paris for COP21, the UN summit seeking to get a global agreement on responses to climate change, British oceanographers and colleagues from around the world have identified a “major change in the Earth’s biophysical systems” in the late 1980s.

They looked back into recent climate history, and now say that the change can be attributed to “rapid global warming from anthropogenic plus natural forcing.”

Of course, this is not (yet) definite, but it is quite interesting (i) because
it is based on a wide variety of data and (ii) because it suggests that
the climate has changed, indeed more than 25 years ago.

Here is more:

The scientists report in Global Change Biology journal that they have identified a worldwide pattern of change, centred around 1987, that was seemingly associated with the eruption of Mexico’s El Chichón volcano in 1982.

Analyses such as these are complex. No single weather event can be taken as significant, while cause and effect also are not easily linked.

But the researchers are sure they have found a significant pattern emerging from a huge range of records—from cherry blossom times in Japan, Washington DC and Switzerland to grape ripening dates in Germany, and from the arrival of the migrant sand martins in the UK to the duration of wildfires in the western US.

“We demonstrate, based on 72 long time series, that a major change took place in the world centred on 1987 that involved a step change and move on to a new regime in a wide range of Earth systems,” says the study’s lead author, Philip “Chris” Reid, professor of oceanography at Plymouth University’s Marine Institute in the UK.

And there is this:

They found that the annual timing of the regime shift moved around the world from west to east, starting with South America in 1984, North America a year later, the north Atlantic in 1986, Europe in 1987, and Asia in 1988.

Data from the time series embraces a huge range of systematically-measured events, such as the temperature of rivers in Switzerland, the mass of phytoplankton in the North Sea, and the Japan Sea tuna catch.

During this period, the winter river flow into the Baltic increased by 60%, and the average duration of wildfires in the western US increased fourfold. The scientists estimate that the shift in the 1980s was the largest in a thousand years.

The researchers conclude that the shift they perceive will affect how the seas, forests and wetlands soak up carbon from the atmosphere, a key factor in continuing climate change.

“The wide range of changes associated with the 1980s regime shift supports a threshold thesis that moved the whole global system into a new, rapidly warming state, with compounding consequences,” they say.

I have believed in climate change since 1970/71. What this study seems to add is that there has been a major shift in the climate starting around 1986 (nearly 30 years ago).

And again: I don't believe this can be stopped without very major changes in the human economy, and the only chance for such changes - so far as I can see - is a major political revolution, that I do not see happening at all.

It may happen, eventually, but one of the things I disagree about with Chris Hedges (whom I like) is that "The Days Of Revolt" are not here yet, although I am quite willing to agree with him that this is a great pity.

5. The rapidly disappearing "Free Internet"

The mostly free internet is rapidly disappearing. It may be you disagree, but here and now I merely note 5 changes that took place in the last 6 years and they all deal with my capacity to know the news:

  • The radio - from the air - has disappeared in Holland, except for 1 sender (that is incredibly awful: only for IQs lower than 100).
  • The BBC World Service has disappeared from the air.
  • The NRC Handelsblad (Dutch paper that I read from 1970-2010) grew very much worse, and now has only advertisements for itself: To read articles you have to pay.
  • The Parool now has only advertisements for itself: To read articles you have to pay.
  • The Guardian cannot be copied anymore and limits what it makes accessible.

Effectively, I do not know most of the Dutch news anymore, although I am living in Holland. (I could pay for a paper, but I do not know any Dutch paper I wish to pay for: It is all such sick trash! And there simply are no good daily papers anymore in Holland that I am willing to pay for.)

I can follow the world news, but it seems to me that The Guardian will probably also soon be blocked for anyone but paying readers (and no, I am not going to pay for The Guardian).

Also, the truly sick thing is (and I can understand the desire of newspapers to make money, and I know they have far fewer advertisements) that all of these major changes were introduced
without any discussion, and silently, at least for the last three items,  while there is major chatter about the slightest points of interpretation of the news.

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