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. America’s Electoral Farce
Are Shocked by the Size of the Crowds Bernie
Sanders Is Drawing
3. Gaius Publius: ISDS
Provisions in TPP Violate Article III of
the U.S. Constitution
and the TPP: A Kinder, Gentler Totalitarianism
5. Warning to US Readers: 2nd
TPP Sneak Attack Coming
is a Nederlog of Wednesday June 17, 2015.
is a crisis blog.
There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is
about an article of Chris Hedges that I mostly disagree with; item 2 is about Bernie Sanders, who drew quite a lot
of people; item 3 is an article that makes it
plausible that the TPP violates the U.S. Constitution; item
4 is about the kind
of world the multinational corporations are trying to impose on
item 5 is a warning that there may be another
attempt to fast track the TPP coming Tuesday.
1. America’s Electoral Farce
item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
I intend to devote
no more time to the upcoming presidential elections than walking to my
local polling station on Election Day, voting for a third-party
candidate, most likely the Green Party candidate, and going home. Any
further energy invested in these elections, including championing Bernie
Sanders’ ill-advised decision to validate the Democratic Party by
becoming one of its presidential candidates, is a waste of time.
I say. That seems to me quite
senseless. First, voting for the Green Party will make no difference to
its candidate not being elected. You may not like this - I don't, and
although I don't know how much I would agree with them, I do think
there are considerably fewer political parties in the U.S. than there
should be, for a really living democracy - but those are the facts.
Second, I think it utter nonsense not to vote for Bernie
Sanders because he is running as a Democrat: The issue is not
about validating or not validating the Democratic Party; the issue
is what he proposes to do if he were elected.
Here is part of the next
Well...yes and no. I agree
with Chris Hedges that the corporate state is a great evil.
Every action we take now
must be directed at ripping down the structures of the corporate state.
This means refusing to co-operate. It means joining or building radical
mass movements. (...) It means, in large and small ways, acts of open
rebellion. It means always having as the primary objective the
disrupting and overthrowing of corporate power. It means not playing
But "Every action we take now must etc."? And "acts of open rebellion"?
And "not playing the game"?
The first phrase is an obvious exaggeration; the second phrase
implicitly denies that hidden rebellion, at least now, may be more
productive (especially in "building
radical mass movements"); while
the third phrase does not discuss
that those called on probably have two or three jobs or large debts,
does not discuss the chances that they will be successful, which I
think are prettty small. 
Then there is this about Bernie Sanders:
The voices of
those who matter will not be heard in these elections. (...) We are assured that we live in a
functioning democracy. We are promised that our voice will count. And
even Sanders will tell you no different. If he stepped forward and
spoke the truth, especially about the Democratic Party, he would be
banned from the debates, vilified and crushed by the Democratic
establishment, stripped of his Senate committee chairmanships and
tossed into the political wilderness to which Ralph Nader has been
exiled. Sanders, unfortunately, lacks Nader’s moral fortitude. He will,
when it is all done, push his followers into the vampire-like embrace
of Hillary Clinton. He is a Pied Piper leading a line of children or
rats—take your pick—into political oblivion.
It so happens that I
like both Sanders and Nader.
Clearly, Sanders is much more political than Nader, which means that he
probably is not as honest as Nader is, but then Sanders is a
senator since a long time; is active in American politics on a
high level (as a senator); and is not "exiled" "into the political wilderness". 
Also, while Chris Hedges is free not to vote and free to vote on a
candidate he and I know will never win the presidency, I don't
think it is fair to describe Sanders as "a Pied Piper leading a line of children or
rats—take your pick—into political oblivion":
Sanders believes he makes a chance to become president, and he tries
hard. He very well may loose, and in that case he probably will support
the Democratic candidate who wins, but what else should he do? Support
the Republican candidate?
And no: Bernie Sanders may fail to become the Democratic presidential
candidate, and if he wins that, then he may fail to become the
president, but he is not leading people "into a political
oblivion": Nearly every ordinary voter is in
a political oblivion, quite regardless of Sanders, simply
because he or she is not really heard by nearly all politicians.
I will select some more, but most selections will be texts that Chris
Hedges quotes from others. First, there is this:
Curtis White in
“The Middle Mind” argued that most Americans are on some level aware of
the brutality and injustice used to maintain the grotesque excesses of
their consumer society and the heartlessness of empire. White posited
that most Americans do not care. They do not want to see what is done
in their name. And the systems of mass media cater to this desire for
I agree with White,
although "not caring" is a complicated process made up
of desiring not to see, know or investigate; desiring not to make moral choices (but instead financial one,
where one always looses least or wins most); desiring a carefully
protected ignorance about many questionable things and actions; and
much looking away, while also most voters are neither well educated,
nor have they been trained to think rationally, and besides, very many
simply do not know many things they should have known, and are anyway
not really intelligent.
Next, there is this by Chris Hedges:
The replacement of
history with myth, the use of mass surveillance and the Espionage Act
to shut down any investigation into the centers of power, the collapse
of journalism, the deformation of education into a vocational program
for the corporate state, along with mindless forms of entertainment and
spectacle, create obedient subjects that demand their own enslavement.
Yes indeed - but then you want
these great masses of "obedient
subjects" to rebel in "every" act they do?! That doesn't sound very
Then there is this quotation:
“To be a man of
the modern West,” Pfaff wrote, “is to belong to a culture of
incomparable originality and power; it is also to be implicated in
No, I disagree. I do "belong to a culture of incomparable
originality and power",
though not all originality is good, and much of the power is abused,
but I firmly
reject that I or my family - parents and grandparents
- is "implicated in
incomparable crimes": They
were all born poor; they were all pretty intelligent,
and they all protested against capitalism, exploitation and unfairness,
also were all punished severely (my father survived 3 years and
9 months as a
political prisoner in a German concentration camp, where his father,
also a political prisoner, was murdered).
Finally, there is this quotation from Camus:
“The evil that is
in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as
much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding,”
wrote Albert Camus in “The Plague.” “On the whole, men are more
good than bad; that, however, isn’t the real point. But they are more
or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most
incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows
everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill.”
Hm. There are at least five
other major powers for evil:
indifference (negligence), dishonesty and unfairness.
But then again, while I think Camus was less mistaken than Sartre, I
don't think he is very interesting, and besides: evil - whatever that is, precisely - does
certainly not "always come of ignorance", for
quite a lot of evil is done quite intentionally, for personal
profit or advancement, while evil is also, at least here, not
defined by Camus.
I think the capacity of doing or suffering evil has a
lot to do with the human capacity for being harmed or hurt, and
to suffer pain,
starvation or persecution, but what was and was not considered evil
also has varied a lot (and many define it in political
Anyway... I still like Chris Hedges, but I certainly don't agree with
2. Many Are Shocked by the Size of the
Crowds Bernie Sanders Is Drawing
item is an article by Michael Arria on AlterNet:
This is a brief article,
and it is mainly here because I like Sanders (without agreeing on
everything with him, which is not necessary to like a person)
because of the previous article. It begins thus:
I say - and I do so
because of two major differences between Hillary Clinton and
Bernie Sanders: Clinton is very well known, much more so than
Sanders, who also has been mostly kept out of being admitted to the
mass media, and Clinton has lots of money, while Sanders has
Bernie Sanders has drawn huge crowds recently. He packed Drake
University's auditorium, drew 1,000 people in New Hampshire, and the
attendance was estimated at 5,000 at a stop in Minnesota.
Sanders has indicated
that the numbers have surprised him. He told NPR that
he's, "Stunned. Stunned. I mean I had to fight my way to get into
the room. Standing room only. Minneapolis was literally beyond belief."
And while it is true that Clinton scored 44% in a New Hampshire poll,
which she won, it is also true that Sanders was second and scored 32%.
And there still is
a year to go to the presidential elections.
3. Gaius Publius: ISDS Provisions in TPP
Violate Article III of the U.S. Constitution
item is an article by Gaius Publius that I found on Naked Capitalism,
but that originated on Down With Tyranny:
This starts as
There’s a growing
recognition within the legal community that the ISDS provisions of
treaties like NAFTA, TPP, many trade agreements already signed and
almost all agreements going forward … may well be unconstitutional.
That is, they violate protections offered to citizens by important
articles of the Constitution — for example, Article III, which establishes the judicial branch of
the U.S. government, assigns its powers and establishes the right of trial by
jury (my emphasis, obviously):
The judicial Power
shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this
Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or
which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting
Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of
admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the
United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more
States;—between a State and Citizens of another State;—between Citizens
of different States;—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands
under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the
Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
Trial of all Crimes,
except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such
Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been
committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall
be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
I recommend taking a
moment to read the above. It’s from our founding document, and it’s
In fact, I cut out a
paragraph (indicated by (...)) but I agree with the argument. That
argument is presented in considerable detail in the article, which I
leave to your interests, except for one quote, which is by a rather
lawyer, Alan Morrison (and the bolding is by Gaius Publius):
None of these [previously
discussed court] decisions resolves the constitutionality of the TPP
ISDS arbitration procedures, but their collective reasoning falls
heavily on the side of unconstitutionality, based on four factors that
apply to the TPP tribunals: (1) they deal with questions of law,
that judges normally decide, not questions of fact, that could go to
juries or arbitrators; (2) the arbitrators are not federal officers,
construing and applying federal law, but are private parties, none of
whom has to be an American citizen; (3) the consent of the United
States is general and not case specific and, where the challenge is
to a state or local law, the state or locality never consents at all,
but had the decision to arbitrate mandated by Congress, thereby raising
federalism concerns; and (4) there is no judicial review of the
merits of what the arbitrators decide, especially whether the TPP
had been violated at all.
That seems to me a
valid argument. There is a lot more in the article, which is
4. Capitalism and the TPP: A Kinder, Gentler
item is by Dennis Weiser on Truth-Out:
This is from near the
Yes, I mostly disagree - and I
note that this seems to be the third American who applies the same
definition of "fascism" as Mussolini and I did, already in 2012. One of the
other two is Ray
McGovern, which I liked, but I am also aware that
(...) consider two
1. How can any campaign
finance reform possibly be effective until we dismantle all
multinational corporations, perform the gene-splicing that will
permanently remove the tendency toward monopoly and contamination from
the organizational DNA inherent in all organized commerce?
2. How can we expect to
dismantle all multinational corporations unless we get all electronic
media advertising (especially cable and network television, radio and
print media) money out of political campaigning?
The answer to both
questions is the same: We can't. The Corporate
Advertising-Marketing-&-Lobbying Fog Machine has bamboozled the
American people into misguidedly blaming government alone for our
problems instead of recognizing the complete fusion of corporate power
and government decision- making (this, by the way, is the definition of
fascism according to Benito Mussolini, who presumably knew what fascism
was). Corporate strategy now dominates our government and dictates all
this diagnosis is not very popular, which seems to be mostly
due to some of the
felt properties of the term "fascism", even though there is now
- after 35 years of work by the American conservatives, and incredible
amounts of deregulation - a
(nearly) "complete fusion of
corporate power and government decision-making".
Should one rather use "corporatism"? Simply because "fascism" is
for most people a very negative term? And how about surveillance of
everyone in order that a very few - completely anonymous government
employees, or equally anonymous employees of a few big corporations -
may know absolutely everything about you?
I'll leave those questions to you. The rest of the article is a decent
outline of some of the lies of the multinational corporations that I
will leave to your interests.
But I will quote two more bits of it. The first is a quotation of Mark
Partnership (TPP) is a very special trade agreement. It is so
special that our government officials who are negotiating it want to
keep it completely secret from us. It's like a special Christmas
present so they want it to be a surprise! And to make sure it's a
surprise, they won't even let a single member of Congress see what they
are negotiating. However, hundreds of corporations have been given
access to the draft text.
That is mostly
correct, except that a few members of Congress - less than 10 according
to Robert Reich - have tried to read some of it (but they are not
allowed to take notes, and are not allowed to discuss what they
read with others).
And the article ends as follows:
Clearly, if we want to
change this imbalance between the opulent clout of corporate
advertising and lobbying "dark money" and the sheep-like impotence of
the American people, ordinary citizens will have to organize themselves
in local communities all across the country and mobilize to dismantle
all multinational corporations, which are preying on the people and
rapidly demolishing every trace of public good.
This seems to me
thinking: Given "the
sheep-like impotence of the American people" it seems there will be few "ordinary citizens" who are willing to organize themselves, while
requires something like a major revolution first.
It seems more realistic to say that many more ordinary citizens
and that they should organize to realize some positive ends they agree
on, such as "Money Out Of Politics", "A Higher Minimal Wage", or "Much
Cheaper And Much Better Education".
5. Warning to US Readers: 2nd TPP Sneak
Attack Coming This Tuesday!
item for today is an article by Don Quijones on Raging Bull-Shit:
This starts as follows:
There is more in the
article, that is recommended.
corporatocracy’s final pus(c)h to ram the TPP, TTIP and TiSA into
existence is far from over. It looks like its agents (including
many of your elected representatives) are going to try to pass a
new bill this Tuesday, less than a week after the U.S. Congress refused
to grant the White House fast track authotity, warns U.S.
Senator Jeff Sessions:
It appears there
will be another attempt by Tuesday to force through new executive
powers for President Obama. A vote for TAA next week is a vote to send
fast-track to the President’s desk and to grant him these broad new
executive authorities. If that happens, it will empower the President
to form a Pacific Union encompassing 40 percent of the world’s economy
and 12 nations—each with one equal vote. Once the union is formed,
foreign bureaucrats will be required to meet regularly to write the
Commission’s rules, regulations, and directives—impacting Americans’
jobs, wages, and sovereignty.
Chris Hedges also does not mention nor discuss the eventual punishments
imposed on people who engage in "acts of open rebellion" or "not playing the game".
 Clearly, I trust Sanders (more than
not) and perhaps I should also say that the politics he does is
probably beyond me, for - as I have seen in several videos - he
is forced to listen to lots of fools and liars, and to treat them
I could do that for some time, but probably not year after year after