Here They Come Again
Is it over? Can it be true? If so, it’s a victory for a campaign that once looked hopeless, pitched against a fortress of political, corporate and bureaucratic power.
TTIP – the transatlantic trade and investment partnership – appears to be dead. The German economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, says that “the talks with the US have de facto failed.” The French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, has announced “a clear halt”. Belgian and Austrian ministers have said the same thing. People power wins. For now.
But the lobbyists who demanded this charter for corporate rights never give up. TTIP has been booed off the stage but another treaty, whose likely impacts are almost identical, is waiting in the wings. And this one is more advanced, wanting only final approval. If this happens before Britain leaves the EU, we are likely to be stuck with it for the next 20 years.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is ostensibly a deal between the EU and Canada. You might ask what harm Canada could do us. But it allows any corporation which operates there, wherever its headquarters might be, to sue governments before an international tribunal. It threatens to tear down laws protecting us from exploitation and prevent parliaments on both sides of the Atlantic from legislating.
To say that there is no mandate for such agreements is an understatement: they have received an unequivocal counter-mandate. The consultation the EU grudgingly launched on TTIP’s proposal to grant new legal rights to corporations received 150,000 responses, 97% of which were hostile. But while choice is permitted when you shop for butter, on the big decisions there is no alternative.
It’s not clear whether national parliaments will be allowed to veto this treaty. The European trade commissioner has argued that there is no need: it can be put before the European Parliament alone. But even if national parliaments are allowed to debate it, they will be permitted only to take it or leave it: the contents are deemed to have been settled already.
Only once the negotiations between European and Canadian officials had been completed, and the text of the agreement leaked, did the European Commission publish it. It is 1600 pages long. It has neither a contents list nor explanatory text. As far as transparency, parity and comprehensibility are concerned, it’s the equivalent of the land treaties illiterate African chiefs were induced to sign in the 19th Century. It is hard to see how parliamentarians could make a properly-informed decision.
Super typhoons becoming more powerful and more frequent
Those hitting south-east Asia with a category 4 or 5 strength have more than doubled in number, with the increase even more for China and Taiwan and regions north. The increase in sea-surface temperature is key to providing extra energy to tropical storms, with the outcome for the megacities of the region looking grimmer. "With global warming of the oceans and atmosphere, we can expect tropical cyclones to increase in frequency and intensity in all the basins,"
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Climate Change Has Doubled the Number of Category 4 and 5 Storms
The destructive power of typhoons in East and Southeast Asia has increased by nearly 50 percent since 1977. Meanwhile, the number of category 4 and 5 storms striking land has doubled. Standing alone, any one of these findings would be significant. Taken together, they paint a picture of significantly rising risk of storm damage and related loss of life due to climate change in one of the world’s most highly populated regions.
Fabricated Claims About Russian “Covert Plot” to Disrupt US Elections
Clinton is so irreparably tainted and unfit to serve, her key strategy is diverting attention from her wrongdoing two ways – bashing Trump beyond customary campaign jousting and spreading misinformation and Big Lies about Russia, using the media as press agents to do her dirty work.
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The Kremlin Really Believes That Hillary Wants to Start a War With Russia
Moscow perceives the former secretary of state as an existential threat. The Russian foreign-policy experts I consulted did not harbor even grudging respect for Clinton. The most damaging chapter of her tenure was the NATO intervention in Libya, which Russia could have prevented with its veto in the U.N. Security Council. Moscow allowed the mission to go forward only because Clinton had promised that a no-fly zone would not be used as cover for regime change. Russia’s leaders were understandably furious when, not only was former Libyan President Muammar al-Qaddafi ousted, but a cellphone recording of his last moments showed U.S.-backed rebels sodomizing him with a bayonet. They were even more enraged by Clinton’s videotaped response to the same news: “We came, we saw, he died,” the secretary of state quipped before bursting into laughter, cementing her reputation in Moscow as a duplicitous warmonger.