who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
| "All governments lie and
say should be believed."
tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
Internet Needs a New Economy
2. Idiocracy Arrives Five Centuries Early
3. Who’s Afraid of the
4. Trans-Pacific Partnership
Text Released - a Look at
5. Uruguay Does Unthinkable,
This is a Nederlog
of Thursday, November 12, 2015.
This is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about the internet and a supposed new
economy, but it seems nonsense to me; item 2 is
about a movie an (mostly) about present day politics (which is neither
nice nor honest, and the very many lies are directed to the large group
uninform- ed); item 3 is about the torture report
that the American (In)Justice Department now forbids most people to
read (!); item 4 is a fine article about the TPP;
and item 5 is another fine article about TiSA
and Uruguay (that did very wisely by
stepping out of TiSA).
1. The Internet Needs a New Economy
The first item today is by
Nathan Schreiber and Trebor Scholz on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Just a year or so ago,
Bitcoin was weird. The digital “crypto-currency” had become fairly
notorious as a preferred medium of exchange for hackers, outlaws, and
the most strenuous libertarians. The underlying blockchain technology –
a secure, distributed database requiring no central server or
owner – was earning the curiosity of radicals and visionaries who
saw in it the means of re-engineering the whole social order, of
replacing banks and governments with distributed systems that ordinary
people could manage together. Nowadays, however, the weirdness seems to
be waning, along with the utopian promises.
I say. I do not
like this style: I get a whole lot of social prejudices
phrased as facts,
and I see no need for this at all - unless the writers are
professional academics trying to make a buck, of course. (Full
Disclosure: I think they are,
for they are "professors of media studies", and one also claims he is a
We go on to this:
A different online
economy is possible. Especially since the onset of the Great Recession,
we’re living through a renaissance of solidarity economies in the
United States and around the world. The flourishing of farmer’s
markets, benefit corporations, credit unions, and fair trade
demonstrates the longing for enterprise that serves the common good,
rather than merely rolling in profits for the few. A bedrock of any
solidarity economy is the old idea of cooperativism—sharing ownership
among those affected by an enterprise and governing it democratically.
I have a computer
since 28 years; a website since 19; I have excellent degrees in
philosophy and psychology, but I must say - and I see and saw a lot
- that I have not seen anything fairly describable as a
"renaissance of solidarity
Then again, a bit
later we are told:
But this movement,
perhaps because it prioritizes offline essentials like sustainable
agriculture, local communities, and alternative energy, has yet
to infiltrate the Internet as it should.
OK - so there is not
much of "sustainable agriculture, local communities, and alternative
energy" on line, it seems.
Here is the proposal
of the writers:
This November, we are convening a two-day event at The New
School in New York City about what we call “platform
cooperativism.” We’re operating on the hunch that many of the
economic challenges we face – wealth inequality, job security, health
coverage, pensions – can’t be addressed adequately without the
reorganization of how online platforms are owned and governed.
Platforms are already reorganizing our economy; let’s reorganize them
first, putting solidarity at the center.
I am sorry, but what do you
mean by "a platform"? Windows, Apple or Linux? Facebook or Google+?
Something else, like Redditt or programmers' communities? How do you
"reorganize them"? Without billions in the case of Windows, Apple,
Facebook or Google+?
It is not clear to
me, not at all.
But I do understand
that the two young professors of media studies (?) want some fame and
some money, though these are about the only things I am fairly
certain of, in this article. (I am a bit sorry, but I did select it on
its title. And now and then I do not mind reviewing bits of apparent
nonsense. And if you disagree with me, I recommend item
5. Or item 4.)
2. Idiocracy Arrives Five Centuries Early
The second item today is by John Atcheson on Common Dreams:
This is from the beginning
(and there's a reason for writing about the film Idiocracy,
which I did
For those who
aren’t familiar with Idiocracy, the movie depicts a society
five centuries from now in which the average IQ has plummeted due to
the breeding habits of the bright (very few kids, late in life), and
the not-so-bright (many kids starting in their teens). Combined
with rampant commercialism, a dysfunctional government, and extreme
anti-intellectualism, the world is crumpling, and people are facing
starvation because one of the major corporations – Brawndo, the thirst
annihilator – has convinced people to use it instead of water to
In fact, this is the
sort of future feared by some intelligent eugenetists, like Keynes, for
the sound reason stated here: The bright have on average far
fewer children than the non-bright.
Here is the reason Idiocracy was mentioned - and "this
phenomena" ("phenomena" is plural, but OK) is "present day
mind-boggling things about this phenomena.
First, the policies
Republicans have been advocating for the last 30 years have almost
universally had the opposite effect their proponents claim. They
haven’t ever worked. Ever. They are economic and scientific
Second, the people who
are most harmed by this counterfactual, anti-science, empirically
disproven, corporate claptrap are the very ones who support the
corporate-owned candidates who spew it. They repeat the sound
bites with the same knuckle-dragging conviction as those 26th Century idiots defending Brawndo.
Third, the press simply
reports this steaming pile of BS like an idiot stenographer, incapable
of exposing the plain truth – this Party has been bought -- lock, stock
and barrel -- by corporations and its policy prescriptions are
literally killing the patient so the corporations might profit.
Of course, the press has also been bought and paid for. Welcome
I like this, but would like
to point out that the Republican propaganda started 35 years ago, and
was quite intentionally designed to flimflam the large
group of the stupid or undereducated, and has mostly succeeded
all these years - as indeed the second point says.
And the third point is also
true and important: Most of the once more or less free press has been
bought by a few extremely rich men, who could do so in part because
they have the money and in part because the papers lost most of their
advertisements from ca. 2000 onwards, and this meant a very
great weakening of democracy (which indeed presupposes a free
There is quite a bit more
in the article, including an enthusiastic recommendation of Bernie
Sanders, that I will leave to your interests, but here is one bit on
Hillary Clinton, who has taken lessons from Obama:
Hillary Clinton has a
long record of supporting center right policies such as trade
agreements in general and the TPP in particular; the XL pipeline,
fracking, off-shore drilling and an all-of-the-above energy policy; and
hard right, hawkish wars including support for the Iraq invasion.
Bottom line, Ms. Clinton has a record that puts her squarely in the
corner of the Brawndo bunch, Wall Street, Corporatists and Plutocrats.
But within the last
several months she’s taken such a hard left turn on these issues, she
should be suffering from severe whiplash. Democratic voters
But they’re not. She’s
calling herself a progressive, shedding long held positions as if they
were nothing more than an overcoat, and for the most part, folks
don’t raise a peep. Not the voters, not the press, not the Party.
One of the lessons
Clinton learned from Obama is that you can say virtually anything
that your voters want to hear and - hey presto: wishful
thinking - they will believe you. ("Change!", "Change!", "Yes, we
The other lesson she may have learned from Obama is that when you break
most of the promises that helped elect you, then still the
average voter will admire and support you (though you are doing
precisely what you said you would not) simply because "he is
I agree with the
writer that this gives very little reason to trust "present day
3. Who’s Afraid of
the Torture Report?
The third item today is by
Ashley Gorski and Noah Yachot:
This starts as follows:
government agencies are doing their best to ignore a 6,900-page
elephant in the room: a mammoth report, authored by the Senate
Intelligence Committee, detailing the horrors of the CIA’s post-9/11
I have written about this
before, and quite a few times as well, so I will presume that my
readers know some of the background. (You can find more in the crisis
indexes, mostly under "Torture".)
What interests me in this article is especially this:
intent at the time, the Justice Department has prohibited government
agencies from even opening the full torture report. Yes, the
agency responsible for federal law enforcement is forbidding officials
across the Obama administration from reading the most detailed account
in existence of the CIA’s past torture program as well as the agency’s
related evasions and misrepresentations to Congress, the White House,
the courts, the media, and the American public .
If that is true - that
the Justice Department is prohbiting "government
agencies from even opening the full torture report" - all I can say is that, if so, the
American Justice Department is indulging in fascistic methods.
I'm sorry, but that is the only correct term to describe these vastly illegal
methods (illegal in a democracy, I should perhaps add).
There is also this:
The stakes are
high. In the
words of the Times’ report, the Justice Department is “effectively
keeping the people in charge of America’s counterterrorism future from
reading about its past.” Under the Bush administration, the Justice
Department played an integral role in the CIA program, beginning with
its authorization of most of the torture methods the agency would use
And besides, the Justice
Department absolutely refused to prosecute any of the major
bankers who stole billions or trillions from the American taxpayers, on
the - quite insane - ground that "banks who are too big to fail" may do
absolutely anything to make profits.
4. Trans-Pacific Partnership Text Released - a Look at
The fourth item today is by
Shannon Long on Truth-out:
This starts as follows, and
sets the scene and gives some background:
The New Zealand
government released the final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
agreement, the White House followed suit hours later. The massive trade
deal, which includes 12 countries and 40% of the world's economy, has
been shrouded in secrecy until now. Parts of the deal have been leaked
along the way, but it's the first time the public has had a chance to
read what may become the the most broad reaching trade deal in history
if all the interested countries ratify the treaty. The agreement has
enormous implications for global labor, food and product safety, access
to affordable medications, the environment and much more.
This is all very true -
and as I've said before, I am completely opposed to any "partnership"
that is based on secret "laws", also if these
laws stop being secret briefly before parliaments have to say "yes or
no", with hardly any
room for discussions and no possibility for amendments.
That is the way fascistic laws are promulgated, and indeed that is what
the TPP is: Plain corporate large scale fascism.
The rest is an interview with Evan Greer, who is the campaign director
of Fight for the Future, that advocates an open and neutral
internet. What follows are all quotations of Evan Greer:
I'd say, upon reading the text this morning, I was shocked by not
surprised. We've been concerned about the TPP for years and now that we
can actually read the text, it's clear why it was kept in secret for so
long. Particularly the intellectual property chapter reads like a
laundry list of demands from unpopular industries, where they're
pushing for policies that they know they could never get through if
they were done through traditional political means or in the light of
day. So from our perspective, the TPP poses a grave threat to people's
online freedom of speech, access to information, and basic things like
access to medicine and affordable healthcare. And we're very concerned,
not only about the outcome, but about the process.
This is quite
correct: These are "policies
that they know they could never get through if
they were done through traditional political means or in the light of
Here is part of what is happening to copyrights (that under the
TPP will forbid you to quote an author until he (or she) is dead for
100 years, thereby sacrificing great amounts of culture and
civilization for the profits of the few:
what it does
is it forces the United States' broken copyright system on the rest of
the world without expanding protections for freedom of speech and
so-called 'fair use,' which are basically provisions that prevent
copyright from being used to censor or take down legitimate content or
criticism or political dissidence from the internet.
There is more in the
original, which is recommended. Next, there is this:
Back to the
undermines our anonymous ability to express ourselves online by
requiring governments to keep a public database of real names and
addresses associated with top level domains, such as .us or .ca if
you're in Canada. This is really dangerous, particularly for the
ability of opposition groups to speak out without fear of violent
Yes, I agree. Then there
is this fascist idiocy:
Another one I
quickly point out is that it criminalizes, or further criminalizes
rather, whistleblowers, like Edward Snowden
and Chelsea Manning. And potentially could even make it illegal for
journalists to report on documents that whistleblowers expose. So,
really, through and through, the TPP is threatening not only to the
internet and our online free speech, but to democracy as a whole.
Yes, indeed: Full
power to the few hundreds that form the government and the
completely anonymous top of the secret services, combined with no
privacy of any kind for the 99.99% of the rest, who are
each and all fit to be Denied / Distracted / Degraded / Deceived by the
supermen and superwomen of the secret services.
Then there is this on the fascist illegal ISDSs (I am sorry: my
grandfather was murdered in a concentration camp; my father survived
more than 3 years and 9 months of German concentration camps; and I call
these atrocities as I fully believe they should be called):
Settlement is one of the most terrifying components of the TPP. It
essentially allows corporations to sue governments in order to strike down laws
that they feel threaten their profits or potential future profits.
Yes - when the TPP, TTIP and
TiSA have been accepted as "laws" by the degenerates who are presently
the majority of politicians, it will be the end of any
democracy, any political fairness and any political decency, and also
it will be the end of real national governments and national
laws: All must pass to be replaced by the "judgments" of the
corporate lawyers of the ISDS, whose only criterion is to
see to it that multi-national corporations get as much profit
as they can.
So imagine a country
passes a law that prevents copyright holders from taking down
information without a court order. A company could then sue that
country in an international tribunal and force them to take down that
law, even though it benefits the public interest. You can imagine this
in a number of other scenarios, like companies suing a country over
environmental or worker protections, for example.
But it basically, what
the ISDS does - that's the Investor-State Dispute Settlement chapter -
is it gives companies more power than governments to set local
regulations that should be decided upon in a democratic way. And these
tribunals are incredibly non-transparent; the people who will be making
the decisions often come from the industries that they're supposed to
be regulating. It's going to be a blatant revolving door that benefits
only multinational corporations, and not anyone else.
Here is the last I will quote from Evan Greer:
I would be hard
finding something in this deal that is in the public interest. You
know, I think most of the things that are being lauded as benefits are
really just disguising the broader concerns, which is that, again,
policy of this type should never be made in this type of secrecy.
5. Uruguay Does Unthinkable, Rejects Global Corporatocracy
The fifth and last item today is
by Don Quijones on Raging Bull-Shit:
This is from near the beginning::
Uruguay has done
that no other semi-aligned nation on this planet has dared to do: it
has rejected the advances of the global corporatocracy.
Here are some specifics:
Earlier this month
Uruguay’s government decided to end its participation in the secret
negotiations of the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). After months of
intense pressure led by unions and other grassroots movements that
culminated in a national general strike on the issue – the first of its
kind around the globe – the Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez bowed to
public opinion and left the US-led trade agreement.
Despite – or more likely
because of – its symbolic importance, Uruguay’s historic decision has
been met by a wall of silence. Beyond the country’s borders, mainstream
media has refused to cover the story.
This is indeed the first
time I hear of it - and I have been reading around 40 websites every
day since 2013 looking for articles about the crisis. This is the enormous
scope of this fascist, secret, immoral and degenerate "treaty" (between
the few hundreds that govern each country, and the
several hundreds of owners and lawyers of the big
than TTIP and TPP combined: The United States and all 28 members of the
European Union, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong
Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand,
Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland,
Taiwan and Turkey.
Here are parts of its
All regulated behind
your back, behind your government's back, behind parliaments, behind
national laws, and behind your tastes, values, desires or ideas: It
is all secret; it will - very probably - not be open to
amendments; the parliaments will have hardly any time to
discuss it - and there went your rights, your freedoms and your future.
Forever (or the next major economic collapse).
would “lock in” the privatization of services – even in
cases where private service delivery has failed – meaning governments
can never return water, energy, health, education or other services to
would restrict signatory governments’ right to regulate stronger
standards in the public’s interest. For example, it will
affect environmental regulations, licensing of health facilities and
laboratories, waste disposal centres, power plants, school and
university accreditation and broadcast licenses.
limit the ability of governments to regulate the financial services
industry, at a time when the global economy is still
struggling to recover from a crisis caused primarily by financial
Also, complete spying on everything anyone does will be
institutionalized (behind your backs, without your say):
would ban any restrictions on cross-border information flows and
localization requirements for ICT service providers. A
provision proposed by US negotiators would rule out any conditions for
the transfer of personal data to third countries that are currently in
place in EU data protection law. In other words, multinational
corporations will have carte blanche to pry into just about every facet
of the working and personal lives of the inhabitants of roughly a
quarter of the world’s 200-or-so nations.
Here is the last item I'll
all national laws; goodbye to all national governments: The future
belongs exclusively to the very few mega-rich and their
- also very rich - corporate lawyers.
TiSA, together with its sister treaties TPP and TTIP, would establish a
new global enclosure system, one that seeks to impose on
all 52 signatory governments a rigid framework of international
corporate law designed to exclusively protect the interests of
corporations, relieving them of financial risk and social and
environmental responsibility. In short, it would hammer the final nail
in the already bedraggled coffin of national sovereignty.
This is a very good article, and I recommend everyone to read all of
it. It will not make you happier (unless you are very rich,
very greedy, and very immoral) but it will explain the enormous
dangers that most people
in these 52 (!) countries run, because of this secret, anti-democratic,
neo-fascistic plan to give everything to the very few (and
their lawyers, and their secret service people).
14, 2015: Reformatted.