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Nederlog

May 3, 2015
Crisis: Reich on TPP, Sanders, Nader, TPP's ending democracy, I CAN LIVE
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
 
   -- Benjamin Franklin
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
"
   -- I.F. Stone
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton
















Sections
Introduction
1. Trans Pacific Trickle-Down Economics
2. 
What Ails this Country? Bernie Sanders Will Ask You 
3.
Obama: Debate Senator Warren on Global Economic Pact
4. Fast Track/TPP: The Death of National Sovereignty, 
    State Sovereignty, Separation of Powers, and Democracy

5. I CAN LIVE!


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Sunday, May 3, 2015.

This is a
crisis blog.

It is also a quite special day for me, as will be explained in the last item, for I was awarded a - minimal - pension, that is 55 euros more than the minimal dole I've received for years, which means that I CAN live and can continue to write,
and can continue to live where I live (which is quite OK since 1993), all of which up to yesterday I did not know.

Also, I am rid of the sadistic moral degenerates of the Amsterdam dole, who abused me from 1984 - 2011, which is an enormous relief, that also will allow me to skin them verbally. But OK... here is the summary of today's Nederlog:

There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about a good article by Reich on the TPP; item 2 is about Sanders' campaign; item 3 is a fine letter by Ralph Nader who invites Obama to debate Elizabeth Warren (which he will never do,
but the letter is fine); item 4 is a very fine article by Joe Firestone on the TPP: it will kill national and state sovereignty and kill democracy; and item 5 is about
something I achieved that I doubted I would reach or get for a long time: I will get a Dutch minimal pension (that is slightly more than the dole, but without any oversight by bureaucratic sadists). This changes my position considerably, and for the better, and also assures that my site will continue as is (or considerably more critical: I don't need to fear financial sanctions anymore).

I will need to think about the chances my pension gives, and will write about this later. But this is a major improvement for me.

1. Trans Pacific Trickle-Down Economics

The first item today is an article by Robert Reich on his site:

This starts as follows:

Have we learned nothing from thirty years of failed trickle-down economics?

By now we should know that when big corporations, Wall Street, and the wealthy get special goodies, the rest of us get shafted.

The Reagan and George W. Bush tax cuts of 1981, 2001, and 2003, respectively, were sold to America as ways to boost the economy and create jobs.

They ended up boosting the take-home pay of those at the top. Most Americans saw no gains.

In fact, the long stagnation of American wages began with Reaganomics. Wages rose a bit under Bill Clinton, and then started plummeting again under George W. Bush.

Trickle-down economics proved a cruel hoax. The new jobs created under Reagan and George W. Bush paid lousy wages, the old jobs paid even less, and we ended up with whopping federal budget deficits.

Then came the bailout of Wall Street in 2008. It was sold as the means of preserving the economy.

It ended up preserving the jobs and exorbitant pay of bankers, but millions of Americans lost their shirts. Small savers were wiped out, and homeowners never got the refinancing they were promised.  

No conditions were put on the Wall Street banks for what they were supposed to do for the rest of us in return for our bailing them out. None of their top executives even went to jail for causing the crash in the first place.  

Here again, nothing trickled down.

Now comes the Trans Pacific Partnership.

That is the beginning. Apart from the "we" in the title, which I don't like because I rarely belong to "we", as indeed is the case here, once more, I like the article.
It is fairly brief, and you should - if you are interested in your income, and are not a rich banker - read all of it.

I only will quote the last two paragraphs, that sums it up:

What we should have learned by now about trickle-down economics is that nothing trickles down.

If the Trans Pacific Partnership is enacted, big corporations, Wall Street, and their top executives and shareholders will make out like bandits. Who will the bandits be stealing from? The rest of us.

This again is about a "we" I never belonged to (I never believed a word of "trickle-down economics" and always considered this a sick and degenerate fraud) but OK: The rest is true, and the days of dominant financial fascism are at hand - for yes, that is how I see it. (And I am very glad that I have reached a minimal but sufficient pension. There is more about this in item 5, but those with M.E.
who are 5 or 10 or more years younger than me, especially if they live in the United States or England, will find it extremely difficult to survive, I am very much afraid.)

2. What Ails this Country? Bernie Sanders Will Ask You

The next item is an article by Elizabeth Oriel on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

“What is government if not a relationship with the people?”–resident of Concord, Massachusetts

“I think the amount of influence I have, or anyone has, as a member of the public basically comes from free discourse.” –resident of Concord, Massachusetts

Bernie Sanders’ 2012 campaign in Vermont for US Senate was not the celebrity affair of many campaigns that present a glossy image with short vacuous slogans. His campaign through rural Vermont was an exercise in democracy. What an anomaly in this cynical time. His approach is so rare and so respectful, I am not sure we will know what to do with it if he conducts the same kind of campaign for the presidency.

He would show up in a town of 6000 residents in northern Vermont, step into a high school meeting room and fully engage the community. Not through mesmerizing residents with modulated speech patterns, but through discussion. He would ask the group of 100 people or more, “Why can’t people get jobs? What is going on with the economy? How do we lower unemployment?” One woman answers, “Wall Street is the problem”, another says, “taxes hurt small business” and then others give their opinions. After listening and responding briefly to people’s comments, Bernie shares his opinions. Mixed into his answers are statistics, analyses, and his own take on the issue.

He offers not only an avenue for democratic activity through open discussion, but an education on what ails this country. He is an educator in the best sense. Education that empowers with information and opportunities to critically approach a problem.

There is more in the article, that is by a marine biologist. The article is good and it is here because so far Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate who talks sense.

3. Obama: Debate Senator Warren on Global Economic Pact

The next item is an article and also a letter addressed to president Obama, by Ralph Nader:
This starts as follows:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

You have taken a strong across-the-board position favoring the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) nearing completion and scheduled for a fast track clearance vote in the Congress. Indeed, you have descended admirably from your presidential perch to take on the most informed critics of this agreement with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

You have accused critics of spreading misinformation, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, who is known for her meticulous research and who was at Harvard Law School during your time there.

With the barrage of commentary on an agreement, labelled singularly as trade promotion by unknowing newspaper columnists and reporters, and the less reported rebuttals that the TPP is far more than a trade agreement (aka treaty) and places serious environmental, health, consumer and labor conditions within its grip, isn’t it time for you to engage with concerned citizens and their representatives rather than assert unilaterally that “Elizabeth Warren is wrong on the facts”? It is time to clarify the issues before a skeptical public and others who are downright confused. Why not debate Senator Elizabeth Warren before a national TV audience?

There are many reasons for you to use this format to engage the American people. They will be the ones paying the price in many dire ways if the mega-corporate promoters of TPP turn out to be as wrong as they have been with prior trade deals, most recently the Korean Trade Agreement (2012) which you espoused and which has worsened the trade deficit with South Korea and caused job loss in the United States.

Vice President Albert Gore debated NAFTA on nationwide television with Ross Perot.

You and Senator Warren have been teachers of the law and share a common law school background—Harvard. A debate would be deliberative and, assuming you and she have read the 29 chapters of the TPP (only a handful of chapters dealing with trade), would be revelatory far beyond the narrow prisms reflected in the mass media.

Like NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, the TPP is a transnational system of autocratic governance that subordinates and bypasses our access to our own judiciary in favor of secret tribunals whose procedures contravene our country’s system of due process, openness and independent appeals. These agreements, as you know, have enforceable provisions regarding the rights and privileges of corporations. The rhetorical assurances regarding labor, environment and consumer rights have no such enforcement mechanisms.

This is a very good letter by Ralph Nader (who should have become president in 2000, and would have if the average IQ in the U.S. had been 30 or more points higher).

Like many of his other letters to the president, it will not be answered nor even acknowledged. But his point is very clear:

Some may wonder why you don’t call this agreement a “treaty”, like other countries. Could it be that an agreement only requires a 51 percent vote, rather than a two-thirds vote in the Congress for treaty ratification?

You are quoted in the Washington Post decrying “misinformation” circulating on the TPP and pledging that you are “going to be pushing back very hard if I keep on hearing that.” Fine. Push back before tens of millions of people with Senator Elizabeth Warren as your debating counterpart. If you agree, be sure that interested Americans have a copy of the TPP deal first so that they can be an informed audience.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Nader (signature)

Unfortunately, the president of the U.S. is a servant of the banks' managers and
will pretend he did neither receive nor read this.

4. Fast Track/TPP: The Death of National Sovereignty, State Sovereignty, Separation of Powers, and Democracy

The next item is an article by Joe Firestone on Naked Capitalism:
This starts as follows.

Most of the critical attention given to the Fast Track Trade Agreement legislation and to the associated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Congressional – Executive Agreement on mainstream corporate media and by politicians and establishment interest groups interacting with them in the beltway echo chamber, has focused on the likely or possible economic impacts of these. But relatively little attention has focused on sovereignty, constitutional separation of powers, or democracy impacts, which however are being covered increasingly well in alternative social media. See here, here, here, and here.

In hopes of breaking through this fragmentation by type of media of the debate over the TPP, I’ll focus this post only on governance impacts and try to make the case, that this so-called trade agreement, if passed and implemented would create profound governance changes in the United States without benefit of the constitutional amendments that would normally be required to accomplish such changes. I’ll also make the case that the governance impacts destroy national sovereignty, state sovereignty, separation of powers, and democracy.

I reviewed a previous article by Joe Firestone on April 29, last. This is another very good article on the TPP. I strongly recommend that you read it.

Here is is conclusion:

The likely impact of the TPP on the economy, working people, wages, economic inequality, US manufacturing, and unemployment is likely to be severe and to exacerbate the trends toward inquality we see all around us. Anyone who thinks that the TPP will create jobs here in the face of all previous experience with much more limited “trade” deals is highly credulous or blinded by the money flowing from those interests who are licking their chops over the opportunities for excessive profits they believe the deal will bring them.

Signing the TPP would be terrible if these awful impacts were the only ones. However, the governance impacts I’ve described in these posts will create more fundamental damages than these for signators, including the United States.

Ellen Brown has called the TPP “the death of the Republic.” It certainly is that. But, I think I’ve shown that it is the death of National Sovereignty, State Sovereignty, Separation of Powers, and Democracy, as well. These impacts on governance and politics are even more important, I believe, than its economic ones, since it from these that our benefits, both economic and non-economic flow.

The elevation of the principle of “expectation of profits” above all other principles including the principles of “public purpose,” “consent of the governed,” “the general welfare,” and “separation of powers,” is tantamount to the overthrow of democracy, preserving its form in national level elections, but emptying its elections of meaningful content in mandating change and in conferring legitimacy on national authorities. I’ve said previously that the rule of the TPP, even if passed over the mushrooming opposition from all segments of American society except the uncritical globalists, will never be viewed as legitimate in the United States and will also always be viewed as tyranny for as long as we live under it. This problem will become increasingly severe the larger, more frequent, and more outrageous ISDS awards defending the “expectations of profits” of multinational become.

That makes those who want to pass the TPP guilty of conspiracy to create tyrannical rule of the international few over the people of the United States and other TPP member nations. Eventually, I believe that a vote for the TPP will be viewed as vote to betray the Constitution and a violation of the oath of office of any who vote that way.

How can there be any other outcome when an action taken in office destroys National Sovereignty, State Sovereignty, Separation of Powers, and Democracy with a single vote.

Quite so: The TPP (and the TTIP) are the formal start of multinational financial fascism on a world scale. And we owe it to Obama: "Change! Yes, we can!".

5. I CAN LIVE!

The final item today is not an article by someone else, but a link to the start of my section on having ME and living in Amsterdam. On my hard disk this is slightly over 100 MB, but it will be a bit less on the site. Also, I should warn you that most is in Dutch (but this isn't, and was published in 1988-89):
The reason to link this is that it is the best description of what my life was like, since I fell ill on 1.I.1979, aged 28, and since the woman I lived with fell ill on 10.I.1979, aged 24.

I am still ill, and so was she around 2000, which was the last time I saw her (and we had separated by the end of 1983), indeed also in spite of the fact that both of us, in spite of being ill, got excellent M.A.'s in psychology (which again is due to our being uncommonly intelligent - her IQ was 142, mine considerably higher - which I shouldn't even say because everyone who is non-prominent in Holland is "equal" and "of equal value" to anyone else, however stupid and ignorant and prejudiced a person that may be [1], but it happens to be a fact, even though "facts" and "truth" did not exist in the University of Amsterdam from 1971-1995 according to nearly everyone who studied or taught there...).

Anyway - the title of this section is due to the fact that I got yesterday a letter that informed me that I get a pension, starting in August, of euros 1015,34 each month, after taxes.

That is 55 euro more each month than I receive in the dole, and about 40 euros less than I would have gotten if I hadn't lived for 2 years in Norway, during which time I did not build up any pension.

And this means that, for the first time in 31 years of dole, I get what I am legally entitled to [2]. Also, while this is a minimal income, I have no debts of any kind, and know I can live on this amount, and do not need to move or anything else: I simply can continue to live as I have been since I arrived at the place where I still live in the beginning of 1993, which also is the only decent place I've lived in, in Holland. (I was nearly 43 when I got that ....)

The title of this item - "I CAN LIVE" - is precisely correct, for I would not have been abled to live on if I had received rather less than the dole, which is something I have feared for quite a few years, because I have been mistreated so very much in Amsterdam in all manner of gross illegal ways, that indeed were possible because I was genuinely ill while this was never even acknowledged by the Amsterdam bureaucrats and the Amsterdam politicians for 37 years:

I was horribly abused, while being ill and unable to escape, and did not get enough sleep for seven years, and in two places; I was thrown out of the University of Amsterdam briefly before taking my M.A. in philosophy by a bunch of sadistic incompetents as "a fascist" and "a terrorist"; I was gassed - literally: I was unconscious on the floor for several hours - because I dared to protest against the illegal dealers of illegal drugs that Amsterdam's mayor Van Thijn had given his personal permission to deal in illegal drugs from the bottom floor of the house where I lived; and none of the very many very well-written letters I wrote was ever answered by anyone.

But I have survived 37 years of continued illegal discrimination, and from August 2015 onward will receive, for the first time also since 1984, what I am legally entitled to....

There will be a lot more, and indeed I will attempt to get more money from the University and from the City, that both grossly mistreated me for many years, but now I need not fear any sanctions anymore from the Amsterdam dole, which is a great and wholly positive change.

For the moment I am quite happy that I reached this, which - although it is minimal - I have doubted for a long time I would ever reach, while if I would have reached it and the decision would have been up to the Amsterdam authorities, I would not have gotten anything I could have lived on, if this would have been possible for them to organize. But no, it wasn't up to them, happily.

So this is one of the first good things that happened to me in 37 years of unacknowledged real invalidity... [3]

More later, for this is a real improvement for me, especially in getting rid of the dole and getting enough to survive as I have done now since 1993.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Note
[1] This is really true, and also something most Dutchmen - say they - think. Prominent Dutchmen, especially if they are politicians, writers or sports' heroes are all geniuses, or very little removed from that status, however stupid, ignorant and prejudiced.

[2] Because I should have received money for the ill since I fell ill on 1.i.1979, but never did: No bureaucrat ever agreed that I was ill, in spite of medical doctors who signed perfectly fair and correct letters that said I was, while also
I lived from August 1978-May 1984 on study-loans, that were less than the dole but sufficient for me. (And I do not need to pay back the loans since 2004.)

[3] Incidentally, this is not to say that I horribly suffered for 37 years. But almost every bureaucratic decision that was taken by the Amsterdam authorities, especially since I was gassed by Van Thijn's personal friends the illegal drugs dealers, was against me and denied the very real - and rather painful - illness and invalidity I suffer from. Also, in all these 37 years of unacknowledged real physical illness, I can recall only one good other decision, and that was mostly the work of my excellent G.P. Helen van Proosdij-Fertigova (who unfortunately stopped being a G.P. in 1999): The fact that I did get the quite decent and very nicely quiet house where I have lived since 1993. (Again, it is most unlikely I would have gotten any decent place to live if it were up to Amsterdam's sick and degenerate bureaucracy. Also, if I hadn't found this G.P. in 1986, it is likely I would have died long ago, simply from being too ill and from not getting minimally sufficient money.)
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