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. Where Is Our Jeremy Corbyn?
2. Two Short Paragraphs that
Summarize the US Approach
to Human Rights Advocacy
3. David Davis attacks
'Franco-style' sections of Tories'
trade union bill
5. Bernie Sanders Is
Surging. What Happens Next?
6. China's Political
Elite Take the Money and Run - Abroad
This is a Nederlog
September 14, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1
is about Chris Hedges who in fact claims (without mentioning him once)
that Bernie Sanders is
not the USA's Corbyn: presumably one has to wait on a
100% pure leftist, who also is not Jewish (I disagree); item
2 is about an article by Glenn Greenwald that argues that "it was an almost seamless transition from
Bush to Obama" (I agree); item 3 is about a somewhat interesting attack by an
English leading conservative who argues Cameron's Trade Union Bill
reminds him of Franco rather than Elizabeth II; item 4
is about an article about how the USA is garrisoning the globe; item 5 is about Bernie Sanders' surging in the USA
(and may be compared
with item 1, though it is less well written); and item 6 is about China's political elite, which is said
to be quite corrupt, and is compared to the current US elite, which is
1. Where Is Our Jeremy Corbyn?
The first article today is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
The politics of
elected by a landslide Saturday to lead Britain’s Labour Party
after its defeat at the polls last May, are part of the global revolt
against corporate tyranny. He had spent his long career as a pariah
within his country’s political establishment. But because he held fast
to the socialist ideals that defined the old Labour Party, he has risen
untarnished out of the ash heap of neoliberalism.
His integrity, as well as his fearlessness, offers a lesson to
America’s self-identified left, which is long on rhetoric, preoccupied
with accommodating the power elites—especially those in the Democratic
Party—and very short on courage.
I suppose I agree with
most of that, although I have no reason to say Jeremy Corbyn is
especially "fearless", simply because he spent the last 32 years as a
Member of Parliament. I don't think that is a proof of special courage.
And I'm sorry: I mostly like Jeremy Corbyn (given what I know
of him) but his career does not convince me he is
fearless. In contrast, I might say my
father and grandfather were fearless, because they went into
resistance against the Nazis, knowing full well what they
and were both arrested in July 1941, and convicted as "political
terrorists" to German concentration camps, where my grandfather was
murdered. (I don't say so, because my father did
fear the SS and the Gestapo, and rightly so. Nevertheless, he did
resist, knewing what he risked, and that makes him a very courageous
Next, there is this, which I take it refers predominantly to Bernie
Sanders (who is Jewish though (in his words) "not especially
I will not support
a politician who sells out the Palestinians and panders to the Israel
lobby any more than I will support a politician who refuses to confront
the bloated military and arms industry or white supremacy and racial
injustice. The Palestinian issue is not a tangential issue. It is an
integral part of Americans’ efforts to dismantle our war machine, the
neoliberal policies that see austerity and violence as the primary
language for speaking to the rest of the world, and the corroding
influence of money in the U.S. political system. Stand up to the
masters of war and the Israel lobby and you will probably stand up to
every other corporate and neoliberal force that is cannibalizing the
United States. This is what leadership is about. It is about having a
vision. And it is about fighting for that vision.
I disagree, and mainly
for two reasons.
The first is that Bernie Sanders is rather a lot like Jeremy
Corbyn: He is a long time real leftist, who also is recognized by many
as a real leftist. I don't agree with either Sanders or Corbyn
issues, but I agree both are real leftists, and these
are very necessary when quasi-leftists like Clinton and Blair dominated
the debate for such a long time.
The second is that I dislike political puritanism. I probably disagree
with Sanders over Israel, but I disagree with every politician
I know of about some issues: if I had to wait for someone I
agree with 100% I very probably never will agree with anyone.
The rest of the article consists of praise of Corbyn and quite a few
quotations, all of which are justified, but I will leave that to your
interests, after mentioning that the name "Sanders" does not
The article ends as follows:
We have yet to
mount this battle effectively in the United States. But we, especially
because we live in the heart of empire, have a special responsibility
to defy the machine, held in place by the Democratic Party
establishment, the war industry, Wall Street and groups such as the
Israel lobby. We too must work to build a socialist nation. We may not
win, but this fight is the only hope left to save ourselves from the
predatory forces bent on the destruction of democracy and the ecosystem
on which we depend for life. If the forces that oppose us triumph, we
will have no future left.
No, I'm sorry: There is
battle going on in the United States, and it is led by Bernie Sanders.
He may very well loose, and I don't agree with everything he says, but
he is a real leftist, and he also is the first real leftist who
for the presidency in a long time.
Paragraphs that Summarize the US Approach to Human Rights Advocacy
next article is
by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
The italiced quote seems to
sum up the real American policy (which is quite unlike the propagandized
policy) well. Indeed, Glenn Greenwald continues
In his excellent article
on the unique guilt-by-association standard being imposed on newly
elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, my colleague Jon
Schwarz references a passage from a
2013 Washington Post article that I want to highlight
because of how illuminating it is. That Post article
describes the Obama administration’s growing alliance with
human-rights-abusing regimes in Africa, which allow the U.S. to
expand its drone operations there, and contains this unusually blunt
admission from a “senior U.S. official” (emphasis added):
have also accused the U.S. government of holding its tongue about
political repression in Ethiopia, another key security partner in East
“The countries that
cooperate with us get at least a free pass,” acknowledged a senior
U.S. official who specializes in Africa but spoke on condition of
anonymity to avoid retribution. “Whereas other countries that don’t
cooperate, we ream them as best we can.”
The Post article
went on to note that the Bush administration “took the same
approach” and that while “many U.S. diplomats and human-rights groups
had hoped Obama would shift his emphasis in Africa from security to
democracy . . . that has not happened.” In fact, “‘there’s
pretty much been no change at all,’ the official said. ‘In the end, it
was an almost seamless transition from Bush to Obama.'”
Yes, and that - "'an almost seamless transition from Bush to
Obama'" - seems to have been the real
policy of Obama in most things, although indeed what Obama publicly said
was often quite different from what he did and signed.
attacks 'Franco-style' sections of Tories'
trade union bill
This starts as follows:
next article is
by Rowena Mason on The Guardian:
The Conservative MP David
Davis has attacked parts of the government’s trade union bill,
suggesting proposed restrictions on pickets were like something out of
Franco’s dictatorship in Spain.
The MP, who ran against
David Cameron for the Tory leadership in 2005, said he agreed with most
of the bill.
However, he said some
measures were draconian, including the requirement for picketers to
give their names to the police.
The main point of the
bill is to introduce a 50% turnout requirement for industrial action
ballots, and a minimum positive vote by at least 40% of all those
eligible to do so if the strike involves “important public services”.
Well, that is
and will make the trade unionists and picketeers feel as if they are
sub-humans, compared to the British police.
Indeed, there is this:
This is being fiercely
opposed by trade unionists, who say it threatens their right to strike,
but there are a number of subsidiary measures that are also causing
alarm. These include the suggestion that unions will have to give two
weeks’ notice to the police if they plan to campaign via social media.
A consultation document
also suggests that approved picket supervisors would have to take
“reasonable steps” to tell police the name, contact details and
location of those on the picket line. Workers would also have to wear
an armband or badge to identify themselves.
And kneel and kow-tow to
any police-officer, although they don't require that, at least not yet.
Speaking on Sky News’s
Murnaghan programme on Sunday, Davis said: “I agree with most of the
trade union bill. I think it’s very sensible … but there are bits of it
which look OTT, like requiring pickets to give their names to the
police force. What is this? This isn’t Franco’s Britain, this is Queen
Elizabeth II’s Britain.”
Well... yes and no:
It is "Queen Elizabeth
II’s Britain" that is as
rapidly as possible transformed by David Cameron to "Franco's Britain",
but I am glad a prominent conservative parliamentarian at least
4. Garrisoning the Globe
next article is
by David Vine on TomDispatch:
This starts as
With the U.S. military
having withdrawn many of its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, most
Americans would be forgiven for being unaware that hundreds of U.S.
bases and hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops still encircle the
globe. Although few know it, the United States garrisons the planet
unlike any country in history, and the evidence is on view from
Honduras to Oman, Japan to Germany, Singapore to Djibouti.
Like most Americans, for
most of my life, I rarely thought about military bases. Scholar and
former CIA consultant Chalmers Johnson described me well when he wrote
in 2004, “As distinct from other peoples, most Americans do not
recognize -- or do not want to recognize -- that the United States
dominates the world through its military power. Due to government
secrecy, our citizens are often ignorant of the fact that our garrisons
encircle the planet.”
To the extent that
Americans think about these bases at all, we generally assume they’re
essential to national security and global peace. Our leaders have
claimed as much since most of them were established during World War II
and the early days of the Cold War. As a result, we consider the
situation normal and accept that U.S. military installations exist in
staggering numbers in other countries, on other peoples’ land. On the
other hand, the idea that there would be foreign bases on U.S. soil is unthinkable.
While there are no
freestanding foreign bases permanently located in the United States,
there are now around 800
U.S. bases in foreign countries. Seventy years after World War II
and 62 years after the Korean War, there are still 174 U.S. “base
sites” in Germany, 113 in Japan, and 83 in South Korea, according
to the Pentagon. Hundreds more dot the planet in around
80 countries, including Aruba and Australia, Bahrain and Bulgaria,
Colombia, Kenya, and Qatar, among many other places. Although few
Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in
foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history.
There is a lot more,
and this is a good article, but I will leave it to your interests.
5. Bernie Sanders Is Surging. What Happens Next?
next article is
by Marina Fang on the Huffington Post:
When he entered the race in May, political
observers largely wrote off Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as a
“fringe candidate” for the Democratic presidential nomination. Few
thought he would present a serious challenge to front-runner Hillary
But Sanders has now surged ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire by an average
of more than 10 points. In recent weeks, several polls in Iowa also show him leading Clinton in the
While early caucus and primary polls are not always a reliable indicator of the state of the race, it is safe to say
that Sanders’ platform of fighting economic inequality is resonating
among more and more Democrats and the party’s enthusiasm for Clinton is
waning, giving Sanders ample opportunity to paint himself as a foil.
Sanders’ campaign has invested
in a sophisticated ground game in both states, organizing volunteers
and spreading his message on social media. He has also raked in
impressive amounts of cash, almost entirely from small donations. In
the first two months of his campaign, he raised $15 million.
I say - but yes, this seems
to me correct (and compare item 1). There is more
6. China's Political Elite Take the Money and
Run - Abroad
in the article that I leave to your interests.
The last article today is
by Bill Blunden on Truth-out:
starts as follows:
The Chinese government is
keen to speak with a man named Ling Wancheng who's hiding
out somewhere in the United States under an assumed name - and not
without good reason. Mr. Ling is the brother of Ling Jihua, a former
high-ranking apparatchik of the Chinese government who was recently expelled from the Communist Party after
being investigated for taking bribes and obtaining state secrets. The
latter charge is particularly interesting because it suggests why Ling
Wancheng is keeping a low profile. But it's not the only reason.
During the past few
years, members of China's economically privileged elite have been
buying up luxury real estate in places like Manhattan and London under the pretext of financial investment.
The case of Ling Wancheng helps to highlight other factors driving the
stealthy exodus of China's power elite.
I say. I did not know that,
and it is one fact about one individual, but - according to Bill
- the real situation in the Chinese Communist Party amounts to
something like this:
Such is the unpleasant
truth of politics in China. Over a long enough time span, the
likelihood of survival for leaders is inclined to diminish. In a system
defined by widespread corruption, rule of law is largely a myth. For example, Bo Xilai, another casualty of President Xi Jinping's purge, showed
absolutely no compunction about illegally spying on his rivals. At the top, it's everyone
for themselves, with the devil taking the hindmost. Being prosecuted
only means that those targeted don't possess the organizational clout
necessary to stymie an investigation.
Note that - according to
Bill Blunden - this is "a system
defined by widespread corruption",
though it is also the top of the Chinese Communist Party. He
Hence the unspoken,
long-term plan for most Chinese elites is to accumulate as much money
as they can and then escape the country before they end up being a
bull's-eye. In a manner similar to Ling Wancheng, many of the elite
preemptively migrate wealth and family members abroad to prepare for
their own exfiltration.
Unfortunately, Bill Blunden
gives no evidence. He makes the transition to the USA by saying
staggering corruption in China mirrors similar maladies in the United
And then he continues:
In these parts, we call
it a "shadow primary." It's not a battle of ideas; it's an unalloyed battle of resources as candidates on both sides of the aisle line up to audition for
different factions of donors. The billions of dollars that get thrown
around dwarf amounts spent in other countries. The
corporate media, which receive the bulk of this money, play along and focus attention
on those candidates who've been sanctioned by the donors. And don't
expect the Federal Election Commission to do anything about it; the
committee's leadership has already explicitly admitted that it's hamstrung. It's called state capture, and Adam
Smith's "masters of mankind" are calling the shots.
Former President Jimmy
Carter spells it out:
Now it's just an
oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of
getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And
the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and Congress
members. So now we've just seen a complete subversion of our political
system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and
sometimes get favors for themselves after the election's over.
I say. I
don't know how convincing this is (I really don't, and I don't
Chinese) but I am willing to believe that the rich and the corrupt rule
China and the USA, were it only because that is one of the lessons
and the corrupt rule nearly everywhere nearly all the time, and rule by
means of various degrees of propaganda, deception, and secret police.