who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. The Whoredom of the Left
2. If the Tories hate ‘hate
preachers’ why do they keep
3. Will Liberals and
Conservatives Unite to Defeat Fast
Track and the TPP?
Have a Bunch of Debauched Intellectuals Managing
the American Empire
Conundrum of Corporation and Nation
This is a Nederlog of Monday,
March 9, 2015.
This is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is by Chris Hedges and is about prostitution; item 2 is an article by Anonymous 
on The Guardian I found too facetious, though I agree in part; item 3 is about the TPP and the TPIP, that Obama wants
to push through Congress mostly in secret and with very little
discussion; item 4 is another piece I found a bit
too facetious; and item 5 is by Robert Reich, who
is mostly right but is definitely wrong about European health
Whoredom of the Left
today is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
I do not think
that "Prostitution is the
quintessential expression of global capitalism", for the simple reason that there has been a whole
lot of prostitution before capitalism. But I - more or less -
agree with part of the rest: For one thing, I don't think women who
sell heir bodies do so because they like to. Also,
Prostitution is the
quintessential expression of global capitalism. Our corporate masters
are pimps. We are all being debased and degraded, rendered impoverished
and powerless, to service the cruel and lascivious demands of the
corporate elite. And when they tire of us, or when we are no longer of
use, we are discarded as human refuse. If we accept prostitution as
legal, as Germany has done, as permissible in a civil society, we will
take one more collective step toward the global plantation being built
by the powerful. The fight against prostitution is the fight against a
dehumanizing neoliberalism that begins, but will not end, with the
subjugation of impoverished girls and women.
Poverty is not an
aphrodisiac. Those who sell their bodies for sex do so out of
desperation. They often end up physically injured, with a variety of
diseases and medical conditions, and suffering from severe emotional
trauma. The left is made morally bankrupt by its failure to grasp that
legal prostitution is another face of neoliberalism. Selling your body
for sex is not a choice. It is not about freedom. It is an act of
I am a male of nearly 65 who never visited any
prostitute, simply because I don't like the idea of sex for money at
all: it seems very phony to me.
Then again, I don't know whether the following is true:
"If we accept prostitution as legal, as
Germany has done, as permissible in a civil society, we will take one
more collective step toward the global plantation being built by the
The problem is that
when prostitution is illegal, there is a great
amount of abuse. But I will turn to this below. First, here are some
Forced labor in
the global private economy generates illegal profits of $150 billion,
according to a report by the International
Labour Organization. The ILO estimated that almost two-thirds of
the profits, $99 billion, came from commercial sexual exploitation.
More than half of the 21 million people the ILO estimates as having
been coerced into forced labor and modern-day slavery are girls and
women trafficked for sex.
I am quoting this
without having much of an idea whether this is correct, except for
three things that I accept: (1) sex may be sold, and selling sex makes
a whole lot of money; (2) the money does not go, for
the largest part, to the women who prostitute themselves for money; and
(3) prostitutes are exploited.
There are three pages in the article, and a considerable amount of its
text is given to a comparison between the German and Dutch models for
dealing with prostitution, which was to legalize it, and the
Scandinavian one which criminalized the purchasing of sex.
Here is a summary (and Lakeman is a spokesperson for Hedges):
of prostitution in Germany and the Netherlands has expanded trafficking
and led to an explosion in child prostitution in those two countries.
I am Dutch, and I have not
read much about either that legalization "expanded trafficking" or that legalization "led to an explosion in child prostitution". Also, while I am willing to believe
the former statement, I don't see much reason to believe the latter
Lakeman called what has
happened in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands “the
industrialization of prostitution.”
What I have read some about is that, in Holland at least, the
legalization did not work out as it was planned to be, it seems
in part because the pimps are nearly impossible to get rid of, and in
part because prostitutes still get discriminated as a matter of
There is also this:
Sweden in 1999
criminalized the purchasing of sex. Norway and Iceland have done the
same. The two responses—the German model and the so-called Nordic
model—have had dramatically different effects. The German and Dutch
approach normalizes and expands human trafficking and prostitution. The
Nordic approach contains it.
purchasing of sex" will not
exclude the purchasing of sex, but will make it more expensive and more
again, prostitution in Holland did not get normal or accepted
when it was legalized, while indeed it may have increased the
trafficking of women.
2. If the Tories hate ‘hate preachers’ why
do they keep
item is an article by Anonymous  on The Guardian:
I have only selected
three bits from this that show the writer's responses to the Tory
A fortnight ago, I
was really shocked and depressed, not by a slasher film set in a
hospice, but by the prime minister. As I wrote here, he seemed to be
announcing policies that made life harder for the weak (the fat, poor,
young or drug-addicted) in an odd spirit of righteous joy.
Yes, indeed: Everybody who
does not talk or look like an English Tory
may be persecuted (or prosecuted) by the next Tory government - and the
author forgot to name the ill, for they too are Not According
It’s getting worse. In
the past few days, the Tories have been gleefully frothing with
horrible new plans. On immigration, charities, universities and free
speech, they’re proudly making clear that their vision of government is
about shutting people up, cutting people off and keeping people out.
And there is this:
receive public funding, Eric Pickles has announced, will lose it if
they use it to campaign against the government. That’s potentially
hugely restrictive as, in many cases, a charity only exists because of
a failure of government. You could argue that the very existence of,
say, a food bank is an implied criticism of the state.
Yes, indeed. And there
Worst of all, the
Home Office is planning to force universities to ban “hate preachers” from campuses – even
“hate preachers” who don’t advocate violence and who have committed no
crime. The government absolutely hates hate preachers. It hates what
they say but certainly won’t defend to the death their right to say it.
On the contrary, they are to be silenced. Preferably before they say
To put it without
affectation: The Tory government only wants to allow the expression of
those opinions it agrees with, and wants to forbid all others.
And this intolerant
approach seems to be popular with the British
Liberals and Conservatives Unite to Defeat Fast Track and the TPP?
item is an article by Alison Rose Levy on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
That is, president Obama
effectively wants to give the power to multi-national corporations, and
take that power from the people and the courts - and he also wants to
do that in deep secret, and force it through Congress with hardly any
discussions or knowledge of what they agree to.
In Ralph Nader’s recent
The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State,”
the longtime labor- and consumer-rights activist predicts that shared
agendas will forge new alliances between liberals and conservatives
that could defeat crony corporatism.
An upcoming congressional
vote on whether to give President Obama the power to secretly negotiate
controversial international trade deals may have the potential to prove
Obama has asked Congress
to grant him trade promotion authority—also called “fast track”—over
two deals. One of them, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP,
would be with a group of 11 other nations; the other, called the
Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, would be with
the European Union. The authority would allow him to negotiate and
finalize the pacts without giving congressional lawmakers any input.
In fact, the specific
provisions will not be revealed until after lawmakers have
already voted on fast track. In addition, if the authority is granted,
debate would be very limited, and members of Congress would not be able
to amend the agreements; they could only vote yes or no on them.
Here is Elizabeth Warren:
Agreeing to ISDS
in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United
States further in favor of big multinational corporations. Worse, it
would undermine U.S. sovereignty.
ISDS would allow foreign
companies to challenge U.S. laws—and potentially to pick up huge
payouts from taxpayers—without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court. …
Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical … because of its
health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes
the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge
it in a U.S. court. But with the ISDS, the company could skip the U.S.
courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the
company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the
arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up
millions—and even billions—of dollars in damages.
We Have a
Bunch of Debauched Intellectuals Managing the American Empire
item is an article by Andrew Bacevich that I found on Alternet, but
that originally was published on tomdispatch:
This is mostly a treatment of
the "defense intellectuals" who got popular in the 1960ies, and
notably: Rostow, Kahn, Wohlstetter, Huntington and the RAND
corporation, in spite (or indeed: because) of the fact that these "defense intellectuals" got very well
paid for producing loads of - essentially - bullshit and
And this gets extended to Obama's admininstration, though in less
detail. It ends as follows - which shows (in my opinion) it wasn't very
But this will never
happen (until after a major revolution).
Do we really need that
chatter? Does it enhance the quality of U.S. policy? If
policy/defense/action intellectuals fell silent would America be less
Let me propose an
experiment. Put them on furlough. Not permanently -- just until the
last of the winter snow finally melts in New England. Send them back to
Yale for reeducation. Let’s see if we are able to make do without them
even for a month or two.
In the meantime, invite
Iraq and Afghanistan War vets to consider how best to deal with
ISIS. Turn the op-ed pages of major newspapers over to high
school social studies teachers. Book English majors from the Big Ten on
the Sunday talk shows. Who knows what tidbits of wisdom might turn up?
5. The Conundrum of Corporation and Nation
The last item today is an article by Robert
Reich on his site:
This starts as
The U.S. economy is
picking up steam but
most Americans aren’t feeling it. By contrast, most European economies
in bad shape, but most Europeans are doing relatively well.
What’s behind this? Two
far more political influence in the United States than their
in their own countries.
The second fact is most big American
corporations have no particular allegiance to America. They don’t want
Americans to have better wages. Their only allegiance and
responsibility to their
shareholders — which often requires lower wages to fuel larger
profits and higher share prices.
Yes, indeed. Then
again, Robert Reich also says:
I’m not blaming
They’re in business to make profits and maximize their share prices,
not to serve
That seems to me
corporations are headed by Americans (and they usually are), then you
would expect that Americans do both: making profits and
And my reasons for
that are (1) they are Americans, and every American may be expected
to serve America in some ways, and (2) they make their profits
not only by their own activities, but by the contributions of
the American tax-payers in general, who funded roads, railroads,
infra-structures, etc. etc. that are all used by any company
that operates in the U.S.
He also says:
And because of the
overwhelming clout of American firms on U.S. politics, Americans don’t
get nearly as
good a deal from their governments as do Canadians and Europeans.
Governments there impose
on the wealthy and redistribute more of it to middle and lower income
households. Most of their citizens receive essentially free health care
more generous unemployment benefits than do Americans.
No, that last
statement simply is not true:
First, I do not
believe that most Europeans "receive essentially free health care" at all, and I know this is certainly not
the case for the Dutch: I have now to pay euros 157,80 each
month to be insured, which I can't escape because I am legally forced
to; this is around 8 times as much as it was until the 1990ies
(when healthcare was at least as good and a whole lot
cheaper than it is now); and I also have to pay the first
350 euros of healthcare myself. 
Also, I owe this
state of affairs mostly through European ministers and health insurers
copying parts of the - indeed quite sick and quite sickening - American
system. ("The blessings of The Free Market!")
But this is correct:
The U.S. middle class is
no longer the world’s richest. After considering taxes and transfer
payments, middle-class incomes in
Canada and much of Western Europe are higher
than in U.S. The poor in Western Europe earn more than do
Finally, when at global
tables – such as the secretive process devising the “Trans Pacific
trade deal — American corporations don’t represent the interests of
They represent the interests of their executives and shareholders, who
only wealthier than most Americans but also reside all over the
Which is why the pending
the intellectual property of American corporations — but not American
health, safety, or wages, and not the environment.
Then again, here are Robert
Reich's concluding paragraphs:
What’s the answer to this
basic conundrum? Either
we lessen the dominance of big American corporations over American
we increase their allegiance and responsibility to America.
It has to be one or the
other. Americans can’t thrive
within a political system run largely by big American corporations —
organized to boost
their share prices but not boost America.
Well... perhaps. But
I see no evidence that either will happen.
And that mostly for two reasons: There is considerably less tolerance
of sex with children than there used to be in Holland (which is OK with
me, since I've always considered sex with children as a perversion that
seems a lot like sadism, simply because children are far less
strong than adults, and do not judge many things - including
sex - in the same ways as adults
can and do), and it also seems to me that the interest in sex with
children is limited to a rather small minority
(but I am less certain of that, in this age where 'everything is
 The writer is a male and says he is 40.
Apart from that, there is no information in the article, which is, I
take it, the Blau-policy that has destroyed
most of the usefulness of The Guardian's website. (I suppose I could
find the writer's name, but no: I am not going to do the basic
Guardian should have done.)
 Who profits? The health insurers and the medical
doctors, but especially the health insurers. Who looses? The people.