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. Europe’s Stark Choice: Resignation or
parliament approves next phase in bailout reforms
3. Bernie Sanders’ Moment Of
Truth: These Are the Political
Fights He Could Win Right Now
4. Why Progressives Must
5. Cries of Betrayal, Calls to
Organize as Obama Approves
is a Nederlog of Thursday July 23, 2015.
This is a
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: item
1 is about an article by Don Quijones about Greece, that I thought
too radical, but that I recommend reading; item 2
is also about Greece, on The Guardiand, and that is
a whole lot less radical (but correct in saying three quarters of the
Greek parlia- mentarians supported the government); item
3 is about an article about Bernie
Sanders that I did not like much; item 4 is about
Robert Reich, who is right in
principle (but unclear how this is going to be done); and item 5 is about Obama's
decision to allow Royal Dutch Shell to drill in the arctic.
I must say that I wasn't much impressed by what I found today about the
but then I did do the usual searches, and I can review only
what I found.
Also, there is today an earlier Nederlog file
that is quite long (over a 100 kb) that will probably interest few,
since it is another in the series of my
Incidentally, I don't mind the lack of interest in my autobiography,
since it is written mostly in Dutch, and also is written for myself,
in the first place: "The unexamined life is not worth living", as
Socrates said, and that is what I've been doing: examining myself. (And
there are a few who are interested.)
Choice: Resignation or
The first article
today is by Don Quijones on Raging Bull-Shit:
This starts as follows
(bolding in the original):
latest televised interview former Greek finance minister Yanis
Varoufakis conceded that the Greek PM Alexis Tsipras “was faced
with an incredibly hard choice when he went to the eurogroup summit:
commit suicide or be executed, effectively.” Put another way,
his choice was between resignation (i.e. suicide) or
revolution (i.e. be executed). As I warned in Spring 2013, this is to
all intents and purposes the only choice we have left in Europe.
Well... yes and no: I
think the situation is bleak, but not quite as bleak as coming
down to a choice between two extremes: resignation or revolution.
(Personal note: I am ill since 1.I.1979, but my illness was never
admitted by the Dutch authorities, indeed just as for the others with
my disease; I have never made even a minimum income; I have
been thrown out of the university briefly before taking my - brilliant
- M.A. in philosophy; in the same year I have been - literally! -
gassed, which again was denied for four years... and I am still alive,
and poor, and ill, and protesting. And I did make a brilliant M.A. in
psychology, but could never use that: it is not as if I
couldn't have earned well if I had been healthy. This is
relevant, for if I had chosen from extremes as are offered here to the
Greeks, I would have been dead a long time.)
and Varoufakis thought they could reform Europe’s institutions. They
were wrong: as is now clear even to them, the EU is beyond reform. The
people of Greece voted for change but when their chosen envoy was
given the choice between resignation or revolution, he chose
But I don't really think
that "the people of Greece" really understood the situation (and that
was also difficult). And again, the choice is not between resignation
There is also this, that seems mostly correct to me:
For if there is
one thing of which you can be sure about present-day Europe, it is that
its political and economic systems are not meant to serve or protect
the interests of the youth; on the contrary, they have been designed to
gradually erode their last-remaining freedoms and rights and, by
leaving them the tab for the transgressions and greed of the global
banking sector, deprive them of all hope of ever attaining the
standards of living once taken for granted by their parents or
The last bit I will quote is a
sum-up of conclusions of Don Quijones (without the intervening text:
you can find that under the last dotted link):
In case you hadn’t noticed, we are already owned,
lock, stock and smoking barrel, by the international cartel of
I agree with some
theses, not with others. For example, I think the solid democratic
majority of Dutchmen and Germans still support their
governments, indeed in part because they don't understand much about
the situation they are in, and in part because the majority still have
a decent income.
much all our political representatives and institutions, whether at the
national or EU level, have also been bought off by the same banks
Said banks are, to all intents and purposes,
bankrupt, both financially and morally.
has absolutely no role, beyond a figurative one, in the European
the real economy (i.e. everything that is not the stock exchange)
continues its descent into the abyss, businesses will continue to close
down, jobs will continue to vanish at an alarming rate and taxes
will continue to rise.
importantly of all, the global financial system’s days are already
But this is an interesting piece by an informed writer, and I recommend
you read all of it, even though for the moment there are not - not
by far - sufficiently many people who want a revolution. (Also,
this does not mean that "therefore"
all are "resigned".)
2. Greek parliament approves next phase in
The next article
today is by Helena Smith and Graeme Warden on The Guardian:
This starts as
There is considerably more in
the article, that is a lot less radical than the previous
Greece’s prime minister
easily won a crucial vote on a third bailout programme for the
debt-stricken nation early on Thursday, hours after the European Central Bank infused cash-starved
Greek banks with further emergency liquidity.
A total of 230 MPs backed
the economic reforms programme demanded by Greece’s creditors, while 63
voted against the plan at the late-night vote.
Alexis Tsipras again
faced down rebels within his own party who oppose a third bailout.
Thirty-six Syriza MPs either voted no or abstained, three
fewer than at a similar vote last week.
Yanis Varoufakis, the
high-profile former finance minister, supported the measures. Last week
he had voted against the first set of bailout conditions, including VAT
rises and pension cuts, after resigning his post. But in this case,
Varoufakis said, the specific measures being voted on included reforms
he had previously put forward himself.
The vote clears the way
for Greece to begin formal talks with its lenders
on a three-year package of loans that could be worth €86bn.
3. Bernie Sanders’ Moment Of Truth: These Are
the Political Fights He Could Win Right Now
The next article
today is by David Dayen on AlterNet:
This starts as
Bernie Sanders explicitly
wants to start a political revolution in America. Judging from the
crowd of 11,000 supporters in Phoenix on Saturday night, that has
already taken place. Within a short period, Sanders has become the most
electrifying presence on the 2016 campaign trail, attracting bigger
crowds than any presidential candidate of either party. He has the
grassroots army that he says is the critical component to progressive
change. Now the question becomes what he will do with it, immediately,
before any primary vote is cast.
Really? I don't think Sanders should worry about minor
practical points. He should worry about how to get his general
message out, and has been doing this quite successfully so
far, though he still is behind Clinton in votes and in money.
There is also this:
millennials in their formative political years, Sanders offers
truth-to-power rhetoric that speaks to the disappointments of the Obama
years, on issues like Wall Street’s power, the takeover of government
by the wealthy and the need for single-payer universal health care.
Sanders’ path for sustaining real change is entirely based upon
bottom-up organizing. “The key mistake of the Obama Administration,”
Sanders said last
year to Bloomberg, “was to more or less disband the grassroots network
that he had put together to get elected.”
Actually, I think
Sanders is too friendly about Obama: I don't think that "disbanding the
grassroots network" was - from Obama's point of view -
"a mistake": He had used them to win the presidency by pretending to be
a progressive or a radical, which he never was, and therefore he was
right - from his point of view - to disband the support as soon
as he was elected.
There is more in the article, but I wasn't impressed by it.
4. Why Progressives Must Stay United
today is by Robert Reich, on his site:
This starts as follows:
Which is a lot (between
1/5th and 1/4th of all children in the USA). But actually this is not
the article's main point, which is this:
A new report finds
more U.S. children living in poverty than
before the Great Recession. According to the report, released Tuesday
Annie E. Casey Foundation, 22 percent of American children are living
poverty (as of 2013, the latest data available) compared with 18
Poverty rates are nearly
African-Americans and American Indians. Problems are most severe in
Southwest. Particularly troubling is a large increase in the share of
living in poor communities marked by poor schools and a lack of a safe
Black lives matter.
But it would be a
mistake for the progressive movement to split into a “Black lives
and an “economic justice” movement.
This would only play into
hands of the right.
For decades Republicans
exploited the economic frustrations of the white working and middle
drive a wedge between races, channeling those frustrations into bigotry
The Republican strategy
to divide-and-conquer. They want to prevent the majority of Americans –
working class, and middle-class, blacks, Latinos, and whites – from
common cause against the moneyed interests.
We must not let them.
Betrayal, Calls to Organize as Obama Approves Arctic Drilling
This starts as follows:
I cannot say I am
amazed, since I concluded in 2009 that Obama was not at all the progressive or the radical he pretended to be, and that he
very often said one thing, and did the opposite thing. This is another
President Barack Obama on
Wednesday afternoon gave the final go-ahead for Royal Dutch Shell PLC
to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea near Alaska, flouting fierce public
opposition to the extraction over the severe danger it poses to the
ocean ecosystem, climate, and coastal communities.
"The president has made a
big mistake allowing Shell back into the Arctic," declared Center for
Biological Diversity Alaska director Rebecca Noblin in a press
statement released Wednesday. "The risks of a devastating oil spill
in this harsh environment are just too great, particularly for a
company with such poor performance record. This is a reckless move by a
country that is still struggling to reduce its impact on global
The permits granted
Wednesday mean that the oil giant can commence with drilling
exploratory wells as soon as its vessels and equipment reach the sea.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced
it has included some conditions, limiting Shell to "drilling only the
top sections of wells and prohibit Shell from drilling into oil-bearing
But campaigners say that
the restrictions are weak, and the fact that Shell will now be
permitted to drill in the Arctic constitutes a deep betrayal of Obama's
to make tackling climate change one of his top three priorities during
his second term.
There is more in the article.