January 15, 2016

Crisis: Big Oil, Sanders, Oil Prices, Cameron, Banks,  American Elections
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Docs Suggest All Major Oil Giants Have Lied Since 1970s
2. The Nation Magazine Endorses Bernie Sanders for

3. There Will Be Chaos: Big Oil's Collapse and the Birth of a
     New World Order

4. On David Cameron
5. Ellen Brown – Did You Know Banks Can Take Your Money
     in A Crisis?
Days of Revolt - The Death of Electoral Politics

This is a Nederlog of Friday, January 15, 2016.

This is a crisis blog. There are 6 items with 7 dotted links. Item 1 is about an article on Democracy Now! that makes it clear the big oil corporations knew that they were poisoning the earth and the environment in the 1970ies; item 2 is about The Nations' endorsement of Bernie Sanders; item 3 is about the collapsing oil prices; item 4 is about David Cameron, with a nice video (I think); item 5 is about Ellen Brown, who warns the big banks will take the money from ordinary people the next time they are threatened; and item 6 is about an interview of Hedges with Nader of a few months ago that I put up because both are more anti-Sanders than I am (who also doesn't quite agree with everything Sanders does or says, but who also thinks he is the only credible candidate).

1. Docs Suggest All Major Oil Giants Have Lied Since 1970s

The first article is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This starts as follows:
2015, the hottest on record, was also the year ExxonMobil was caught in a more than three-decade lie. Internal documents revealed Exxon knew that fossil fuels cause global warming in the 1970s, but hid that information from the public. Now it turns out that Exxon isn’t alone. A new exposé from InsideClimate News reveals nearly every major U.S. and multinational oil and gas company was likely aware of the impact of fossil fuels on climate change at the same time as Exxon. We are joined by Neela Banerjee, the InsideClimate News reporter who broke this story.
I reviewed a report on Exxon before, on December 23, 2015, and indeed that also said other oil companoes knew what Exxon knew. In fact, there are at least two good reasons why the oil companies are very unlikely to have missed what they were doing by the late 1950ies or the early 1970ies. See below.

First some more by Amy Goodman:

Exxon knew about climate change as early as 1977. But instead of taking action, the oil giant lied to the public and funded bogus climate denial—paid for by the billions it made from practices it knew were harming the planet. Now a new investigation reveals that in the oil industry, Exxon was not the only one with something to hide. InsideClimate News reports nearly every major U.S. and multinational oil and gas company was likely aware of the impact of fossil fuels on climate change as early as the late '70s. From ’79 to ’83, the oil and gas industry trade group American Petroleum Institute ran a task force to monitor and share climate research. The group's members included senior scientists and engineers from not only Exxon, but also Amoco, Phillips, Mobil, Texaco, Shell, Sunoco, Sohio and Standard Oil of California, as well as Gulf Oil, the predecessor to Chevron. Internal documents show that as early as 1979 the task force knew carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was rising steadily.
In fact, I am rather certain most or all oil companies knew it (or strongly suspected it) quite a bit sooner than 1979.

There are quite a few bits of evidence, and two are these: First, there was "The Limits to Growth" (<- Wikipedia) Report of 1972 and - among quite a few more warnings from the Fifties and Sixties, that are in part documented by the last link, at the end - and second there was the Aldous Huxley (<- Wikipedia) interview of 1958, that is linked here:

Aldous Huxley considers quite a few more things than the environment and the ecology, but he did warn about them in 1958.

2. The Nation Magazine Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

The second item is by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

The Nation magazine—a publication that has served as a conscience of American liberals for much of its 150-year existence—announced its endorsement Thursday of Democratic Party candidate Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential race.

I say. Actually, I am not very amazed, but The Nation's reasons are quite good:

Galvanized by his demands for economic and social justice, hundreds of thousands of Americans have packed his rallies, and over 1 million small donors have helped his campaign shatter fund-raising records while breaking the stranglehold of corporate money. Sanders’s clarion call for fundamental reform—single-payer healthcare, tuition-free college, a $15-an-hour minimum wage, the breaking up of the big banks, ensuring that the rich pay their fair share of taxes—have inspired working people across the country. His bold response to the climate crisis has attracted legions of young voters, and his foreign policy, which emphasizes diplomacy over regime change, speaks powerfully to war-weary citizens. Most important, Sanders has used his insurgent campaign to tell Americans the truth about the challenges that confront us. He has summoned the people to a “political revolution,” arguing that the changes our country so desperately needs can only happen when we wrest our democracy from the corrupt grip of Wall Street bankers and billionaires.

Yes, indeed. Also, while I do not agree with Sanders about everything, I also do not think any other presidential candidate is remotely as good and as credible as he is, and indeed he may win the presidential candidacy. (For more on Sanders, see item 6.)

Here are some more of The Nation's reasons to support Bernie Sanders:

We believe such a revolution is not only possible but necessary—and that’s why we’re endorsing Bernie Sanders for president. This magazine rarely makes endorsements in the Democratic primary (we’ve done so only twice: for Jesse Jackson in 1988, and for Barack Obama in 2008). We do so now impelled by the awareness that our rigged system works for the few and not for the many. Americans are waking up to this reality, and they are demanding change. This understanding animates both the Republican and Democratic primaries, though it has taken those two contests in fundamentally different directions.

At the core of this crisis is inequality, both economic and political. The United States has become a plutocracy—one in which, as Sanders puts it, “we not only have massive wealth and income inequality, but a power structure which protects that inequality.” America’s middle class has melted away, while the gap between rich and poor has reached Gilded Age extremes.
There is more under the last link, and here is the whole article: Bernie Sanders for President in The Nation.

3. There Will Be Chaos: Big Oil's Collapse and the Birth of a New World Order

The third item is by Michael Klare on AlterNet and originally on TomDispatch:

This starts as follows:

As 2015 drew to a close, many in the global energy industry were praying that the price of oil would bounce back from the abyss, restoring the petroleum-centric world of the past half-century.  All evidence, however, points to a continuing depression in oil prices in 2016 -- one that may, in fact, stretch into the 2020s and beyond.  Given the centrality of oil (and oil revenues) in the global power equation, this is bound to translate into a profound shakeup in the political order, with petroleum-producing states from Saudi Arabia to Russia losing both prominence and geopolitical clout.

OK - these are the facts today, though I am not betting the 2020s will continue to show the same pattern. Here are some more facts:

To put things in perspective, it was not so long ago -- in June 2014, to be exact -- that Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil, was selling at $115 per barrel.  Energy analysts then generally assumed that the price of oil would remain well over $100 deep into the future, and might gradually rise to even more stratospheric levels.  Such predictions inspired the giant energy companies to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in what were then termed “unconventional” reserves: Arctic oil, Canadian tar sands, deep offshore reserves, and dense shale formations. It seemed obvious then that whatever the problems with, and the cost of extracting, such energy reserves, sooner or later handsome profits would be made. It mattered little that the cost of exploiting such reserves might reach $50 or more a barrel.

As of this moment, however, Brent crude is selling at $33 per barrel, one-third of its price 18 months ago and way below the break-even price for most unconventional “tough oil” endeavors.
There is rather a lot more in the article, with which I also do not quite agree. But it is a fact that the oil prices are a lot lower than they were for quite a while, and it is also a fact that I do not know of any good reason why. (And it might be a way of the big oil oligopolists to get rid of the smaller oligopolists. Or it might be a way of attacking Russia. But as I said: I do not know.)

4. On David Cameron

This fourth item is by Carl Herman on Washington's Blog:

This starts as follows and is here mostly because of the video, which I like because I am strongly in favor of free speech (<- Wikipedia), and I dislike David Cameron. Then again, I am not a strong pro-Scotland person (I just don't know enough, for one thing), but as I said, I am strongly in favor of free speech:

There is also this on Washington's Blog, in the article with the above video:

The facts that the brilliantly sharp video point to are Emperor’s New Clothes obvious crimes of:

These crimes annually cost millions killed, billions harmed, and trillions looted, with recent history continuing literal centuries of US lie-began Wars of Aggression that involved nearly all families in two horrific global wars for colonial empire.

All links are to various articles on Washington's Blog, but this doesn't mean they are factually false (and I like Washington's Blog, though I also like some posters
considerably better than others).

5. Ellen Brown – Did You Know Banks Can Take Your Money in A Crisis?  
The fifth item is by Don Quijones on Raging Bull-Shit:

This starts as follows:

When the next stage of the global financial crisis hits, which could be beginning to happen right now, the big banks could — indeed, probably will — save themselves by stealing right out of your checking account. Banking expert Ellen Brown explains how in the following conversation with Thom Hartmann.

This is the video which takes 12 m 52 s:

I like Ellen Brown, and think she is usually right, also about this case (which on the moment is more threatening to ordinary Americans than to ordinary Europeans, but that may change, for the European bank directors are no better
than their greedy, egoistic and obscenely rich American counterparts).

6. Days of Revolt - The Death of Electoral Politics

The last item today is by Chris Hedges who interviewed Ralph Nader late last year in his series Days of Revolt. This is a video link that lasts 25 m 10 s:

I put this up mostly because I like both Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader, and because I was a little curious to see their reasons not to support Bernie Sanders.

The video is OK and well worth watching, but I cannot say that I know a lot more, except that (1) Ralph Nader is a bit less anti-Sanders than Chris Hedges; that (2) both agree that Sanders' foreign policies are not very good (at least, and I agree with them); and that (3) I still do not quite understand why Chris Hedges will vote for the certainly loosing Green Party candidate.

To clarify the last remark:

First, in the end it is Chris Hedges' right to vote or not vote as he pleases. So I don't disagree about that. Second, in case Hillary Clinton wins the presidential candidacy, I don't much care whom he votes for, if he votes.
So again I don't disagree about that. But I do not see why one would vote for a certainly not winning Green presidential candidate, when one can vote - as is not certain
now - for the presidential candidate Sanders.

Indeed, this last choice seems less rational than Emma Goldman's positions on elections: One should not take part in them. (And in fact I am one of the very few Dutchmen who never voted since 1971, though my reasons antedate my knowledge of Emma Goldman, and basically reduce to: (i) I like science better than politics, if it is about changing people's valued and attitudes (which makes me differ from most politically active people: I am considerably more interested in knowing the truth than in agreeing politically) and (ii) I strongly dislike voting for liars and for propaganda, and these are the only things that were and are on offer in Holland.)

But OK - I take it the differences between me and Chris Hedges probably have a lot to do with the fact that I am neither American nor a political activist (other than writing my Nederlogs, that is).

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