Copenhagen, Danish Hospitality and The Elements

It took some time, almost a whole week, but Danish riot police have finally been given the chance to greet the thousands of climate justice activists visiting Copenhagen with some traditional elements of Scandinavian hospitality – a mass pre-emptive arrest of almost 1,000 people and the ‘kettling’ of hundreds of others, forcing some to “urinate themselves while detained on the ground.” The churnalists who have converged upon Copenhagen seem satisfied too, eagerly engaging in the media ritual of filling the headlines with the standard litany of cliches about “anarchists running street battles with the police. Sadly, it seems beyond their intellectual capacity to use the occasion to even mention the existence of a parallel People’s Climate Summit – the Klimaforum 09 – taking place in Copanhagen at the moment. But if the arguments and policy alternatives presented by the likes of Naomi Klein (see video below the fold) are too rational for the mainstream press to digest, perhaps they’ll find this wonderful bit of creative subversivness produced by artists at the Klimaforum more palatable.  Here’s episode 5 of The Elements, where our hereos take on the The Paramount Public Opinion Distortion and Confusion Data Processor:

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Blue Gold

Sunday, March 22 was World Water Day. The environment editor of the Sunday Herald Rob Edwards did a decent report on the growing water crisis around the world which includes interviews with my friends Tommy Kane and Kyle Mitchell, two of the world’s leading experts on water. However, the article did not emphasize how privatization is exacerbating the crisis. Here I produce in full warnings from both Tommy and Kyle, who later today will also be introducing the Scottish premiere of the award-winning film Blue Gold: World Water Wars at 7pm in Strathclyde University’s McCance Building, Lecture Theatre 1. (There will be a wine reception to follow.) The event is open to all, so if you are in the vicinity do drop by.

Tommy writes:

In Scotland despite – or possibly because of – the overwhelming rejection of water privatisation at the now famous Strathclyde referendum there has been a concerted, clever and tacit campaign by legislators, regulators, think tanks and businesses to turn Scottish Water into a private company in all but name. By changing its corporate structure, outsourcing contracts to private companies and tapping into the Private Finance Initiative a public sector body has been almost overwhelmingly commercialised. Worryingly, these changes are conducive to a future private ownership structure.

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Flat N All That

Matt Taibbi takes on porn-stached New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s greenish ways. Taibbi goes positively Gonzo on NYT’s resident clown in this hilarious piece. Not to be missed. (Below I’ve also added Taibbi’s take on Friedman’s last bestseller).

When some time ago a friend of mine told me that Thomas Friedman’s new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, was going to be a kind of environmentalist clarion call against American consumerism, I almost died laughing.

Beautiful, I thought. Just when you begin to lose faith in America’s ability to fall for absolutely anything—just when you begin to think we Americans as a race might finally outgrow the lovable credulousness that leads us to fork over our credit card numbers to every half-baked TV pitchman hawking a magic dick-enlarging pill, or a way to make millions on the Internet while sitting at home and pounding doughnuts— along comes Thomas Friedman, porn-stached resident of a positively obscene 11,400 square foot suburban Maryland mega-monstro-mansion and husband to the heir of one of the largest shopping-mall chains in the world, reinventing himself as an oracle of anti-consumerist conservationism.

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