Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* THE WAR ON THE PLANET
By Kirkpatrick Sale
Some recent evidence in the contest between capitalism and the earth:
In October, the U.S. officially edged past Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, an achievement largely due to the great increase in natural gas production through hydraulic fracturing of shale (fracking). Inasmuch as the process puts into the ground (and groundwater) 40 gallons of up to 600 chemicals in every well, no one doubts that it is one of the dirtiest and most polluting industries ever created.
Capitalism 1, Earth 0.
In December, the New England shrimp fishery was officially shut down for at least a year, maybe three, to allow a restoration of vastly depleted shrimp stocks, now at historic lows due to overfishing and warmer waters. Shrimpers made $10 million two years ago, just $1.2 million this year, and it is uncertain if or when the stocks will come back.
Capitalism 2, Earth 0.
According to a UN report in December , climate-change gasses in the atmospthere set a record high in 2012. The U.N. World Meteorological Organization said warming gasses increased 32 per cent 1990 to 2012, with Co2, industrialization’s chief byproduct, accounting for 80 per cent of that. […]
* TRUTH BEHIND FREEDOM INDUSTRIES BANKRUPTCY
* FIFTY STATES OF FEAR
By Peter Ludlow, NYTimes
The British philosopher Bertrand Russell, writing as World War II was drawing to a close in Europe, observed that “neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.” Russell’s point was that irrational fear can propel us into counterproductive activities, ranging from unjust wars and the inhumane treatment of others to more mundane cases like our failure to seize opportunities to improve our everyday lives.
It is hard to dispute Russell’s claim. We all know that fear can impair our judgment. We have passed up opportunities in our personal lives and we have also seen groups and nations do great harm and unravel because of their irrational fears. The 20th century was littered with wars and ethnic cleansings that were propelled in large measure by fear of a neighboring state or political or ethnic group. Given this obvious truth, one might suppose that modern democratic states, with the lessons of history at hand, would seek to minimize fear — or at least minimize its effect on deliberative decision-making in both foreign and domestic policy.
But today the opposite is frequently true. Even democracies founded in the principles of liberty and the common good often take the path of more authoritarian states. They don’t work to minimize fear, but use it to exert control over the populace and serve the government’s principal aim: consolidating power. […]
* THE WORLD OF SURVEILLANCE, PRIVATE AND PUBLIC
By Phil Ebersole
But the fact is that we all provide information to private businesses that, when shared, enables them to know all about us. Short of never using a store discount card, never buying anything over the Internet and never using a credit card, there is no realistic way to get around it.
What I worry about is not so much what people in these companies know, or think they know, as what they do with the information. If the information is used by marketing companies to guess what products I might buy, this may be annoying, but it does me no great harm.
If it is turned over to lenders or employers and affects my chances of getting credit or a job, this would be a serious problem. If it is turned over to government agencies to determine whether I am a potential terrorist or even a troublemaker, this would be an even more serious problem.
Knowledge is power, and there is a lack of balance of power. These people know, or think they know, a lot about me. I ought to be able to know who they are and what they know, or think they know, about me. If my life is an open book to them, I ought to be able to read that book. […]
* VICE MEETS GLENN GREENWALD
* THE BIGGEST THREAT TO DEMOCRACY SINCE WORLD WAR II – AND THEY TRIED TO KEEP IT SECRET
By Mike Sivier, Vox Political
|Editorial comment: TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), is the latest one of the heinous trade agreements that are already destroying the lives of people to enrich the corporations. George Monbiot in the Guardian is speaking freely about this new attempt to make the multinational corporations even more powerful and to take away any possibilities for the people to make themselves heard that might still exist. But where are the other media? Silenced by a down and out publication ban or by self-censorship? Is George Monbiot the only one who manages to speak out in the mass media? We need to hear masses of loud voices fighting tooth and nail against this horrible threat, the last straw in the killing of democracy, the killing of the people. If this latest trade agreement becomes a reality which is currently being negotiated and which is destined exclusively to enrich the corporations that are already rolling in money, then governments will officially be nothing but the puppets of Big Business. – SON
|The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is bitter pill for anyone to swallow, if they have spent any time defending Britain’s membership of the European Union.
The partnership between the EU and the United States would open America to the kind of free trade deals that have been going on in Europe ever since the original Economic Community was formed – but there is a problem.
It isn’t a problem for businesses; they are in line to get a deal better than anything ever experienced in the world of trade. Citizens and national governments, on the other hand – you, me, and the people who represent us – will be railroaded.
This is because the agreement includes a device called ‘investor-state dispute settlement’, which allows corporate entities to sue governments, overruling domestic courts and the will of Parliaments.
In other words, this could be the biggest threat to democracy since World War II. […]