1. The Trans-Pacific Trade Scam
2. The 10 Best 2015 Investigative Reports on
3. How Apple Is Hurting the US Taxpayer
4. Michael Moore Just Exploded the Right's
5. Bill Maher - Be More Cynical
This is a Nederlog of
Sunday, December 27, 2015.
This is a crisis blog, with 5 items and 5
dotted links: Item 1 is about the TTP and it quite
correctly points out that "multinational
corporations direct access to secretive tribunals that could roll back
any consumer, labor, or environmental laws that global corporate giants
don’t like": it is the end of democracy, and
Obama knows this very well; item 2 is about the
corruptions in getting political campaign money in the US; item 3
is about how Apple and most other major corporations steal from the US taxes: Apple owes at
least $ 60 billion dollars to the USA, and the other major multi-
national corporations owe more than $ 620 billion dollars (so now you know
why the US infrastructure is collapsing); item 4 is
about the latest film by Michael Moore; and item 5
is a show by Bill Maher from around 15 years ago that I saw yesterday
1. The Trans-Pacific Trade Scam
The first item today is by Jim Hightower on Common
This has a subtitle or summary, that I quote because
it is correct:
Despite what President Obama
says, the TPP does indeed create a corporate end run around our laws.
It starts as follows:
Last spring, President Barack Obama got
downright crabby about people criticizing the mammoth Trans-Pacific
Partnership he’s trying to sell to Congress and the public.
More and more Americans are learning
that the TPP would undermine America’s very sovereignty, giving
multinational corporations direct access to secretive tribunals that
could roll back any consumer, labor, or environmental laws that global
corporate giants don’t like.
Yet an irked Obama denies that this is
true: “They’re making this stuff up,” he
cried. “No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.”
Perhaps he was misinformed. Perhaps he
hasn’t actually read the deal he’s pushing. Or — dare we say it? —
perhaps he’s lying.
he was lying, and he was lying as if it were printed: He is a lawyer;
he knows what he is supporting; he knows the TPP was still completely
secret when he pretended that the TPP is not "going to force
us to change our laws": It is going to change
all laws that would stop multi-nationals from getting
the profits they projected (provided only that the financial bounty is
big enough). And not only in the USA: In every country that signed these illegal "laws". 
It is a deeply criminal schema Obama is fiercely propounding, as if his
future riches and welfare depend on the TPP's success.
Here are the facts (in a brief format):
In unmistakable language, the
indeed create the private, corporate-run mechanism for changing our
laws. Moreover, surely Obama knows that foreign corporations are
already doing this indirectly.
Through little-known provisions in past
trade scams, powerful corporations in other countries have pressured
their governments to challenge our laws in similar tribunals.
Of course he knows: He is a former
professor of law. Of course he knows that the ISDSs the TPP (and the
TTIP and the TISA) create are designed to undermine all political
actions by any government or any group of people in any nation that
signed these deeply criminal "laws", for these ISDSs are a completely
new kind of "court" where anything that threatens the expected profits of
multi-national corporations can be punished by the lawyers of the
multi-national corporations who act as "judges".
It is fascism or neo-fascism in a new form: A criminal court made into
"law" by a secret process, through deeply corrupted parliaments, that
is designed to oppose anything that diminishes the expected profits of
multi-national corporations, including any national law that was
designed to protect the people of that nation.
For here is how it is designed to work (indeed since the NAFTA, as
Obama very well knows, that was signed under Clinton):
Yes, indeed - except that the presidential
credibility is now protected by the main media who just do not run
stories like this.
This TPP flimflam would elevate
profiteering corporations to the legal status of sovereign nations,
empowering them to sue directly in rigged corporate courts “to force us
to change our laws.” Obama knows this—and if he doesn’t, he should.
Either way, it destroys his presidential
credibility and moral authority to keep pushing this giveaway of our
2. The 10 Best 2015 Investigative Reports on Political
The second item is by Robert
Faturechi on ProPublica:
has a subtitle, that I'll quote in order to clarify what the investigations
listed in this article are about:
Our picks for the year’s most
notable in-depth stories on campaign finance, from newsrooms around the
this might be a bit more specific than you expected. But it is
starts as follows:
And here are the stories, with
links, but without explanatory texts, for which you can click
the last link:
The millions of dollars being
spent on the presidential race by super PACs, secretive nonprofits and
the candidates themselves could again make this election cycle the most
expensive to date. Huge sums are also flowing into state and local
races. Here, in chronological order, are ten stories from other
newsrooms that got behind the cash flow to describe the latest uses and
abuses of money in politics.
I could write rather a lot about some of
these items, but I forego the possibility and instead link to yesterday's reprisal on deregulation, and
express the general judgment that leads to:
By now, the USA is so much corrupted by deregulations - that
is: the withdrawal of laws that protected the majority
from the worst schemes that the few rich use to fleece them as much
as they can
- that almost any corruption now goes, including the stealing of very
many billions by the very rich bankers that head "too big to fail"
And the above are just 10 stories about the corruptions related
campaign finances. These are interesting, but there are many
Indeed, here is a major one:
3. How Apple Is
Hurting the US Taxpayer
The third item is by The Thom Hartmann Program on Truthout:
is from near the beginning (after a statement that big corporations all
want everyone to buy their stuff, as much and as plentiful as one's
(..) where's all that money we
spend actually ending up?
multi-nationals are not paying much tax anywhere,
because they can select the countries where they have to pay least
(such as Ireland or Holland or Luxemburg).
It's not going to taxes, and it's not
circulating through the US economy.
No, because companies like Apple,
General Electric, Boeing and Verizon don't pay much in taxes relative
to their earnings, at least not here in the US.
Take a look as "60 Minutes' " Charlie
Rose pressed Apple CEO Tim Cook on the issue.
That last sentence from Cook is really
strange, because it's technically true, but it's beside the point.
The real question isn't whether Apple
"pays what it owes," the real question is whether Apple is hiding
massive amounts of profit offshore so that their CPAs can calculate
that Apple owes less than it really should.
And second, the last statement - supposing it is that according to
Apple's mega-rich CEO, who never-ever told a lie in the world, his
own mega-rich company, in his own estimate "pays what it owes" is relevant: Who is so naive as
to believe the evident lies of the mega-rich owner of a mega-rich
company about what he thinks his company owes?
Incidentally, I do not like Apple and I do not like the
late Jobs. I do like Steve Wozniak,
who is the real
genius behind the early Apple, and I also liked his Apple II, that a
good friend bought in 1980, which had a great design for that time, but
for me that was also the last Apple I used a bit regularly: The
rest was too expensive, and too private, and also not really worth it
after Windows 95 (although that indeed was a wacky system that crashed
almost every day). 
And this also is related to my strong preference for open source
and for Linux: I
think that is the much better way to do computing, compared to
closed source systems, of which both Apple and Microsoft are prime
Anyway... back to the article, that first explains this about how Apple
withholds payments of at least $ 60 billion dollars - 60.000 million dollars - to the American
And they're making a killing by doing
it, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that
Apple avoided paying $9 billion in US taxes.
SEC filings show that Apple holds more
than $181 billion in offshore profits, more than any other US company,
and they would owe roughly a third of that, about $60 billion, if they
tried to bring the money back into the United States.
But it's not just Apple, it's pretty
much all of the biggest corporations on the Fortune 500.
And as the last statement says, it is
surely not just Apple who do not pay taxes: Most of the leading US (!!)
companies do the same, and together they saved at least $ 620 billion:
This is why the USA is
grossly corrupted: It has been corrupted by deregulations
According to research done by Citizens for Tax
Justice and the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund - the
500 largest US companies hold more than $2.1 trillion of accumulated
profits offshore, just to avoid supporting the US by paying the US
taxes they should.
The same research shows that they would
collectively owe more than $620 billion if they decided to bring that
money back home.
and enormous thefts of hundreds of billions of dollars
from the US taxes by the biggest and the richest US
corporations there are.
Moore Just Exploded the Right's Biggest Lie
The fourth item is by Sophia
McClennen on AlterNet, and originally on Salon:
To start with, here is a link to Michael Moore
(<- Wikipedia), who made a new film entitled "Where
to Invade Next”, which is to be released in the beginning of 2016, and
which also had the highest viewer ratings of any of his films:
I say. It seems a good idea. Here is the
central idea of the new film:
"Where to Invade Next” has a wide
release set for Feb. 12, which is also Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and
the week of the New Hampshire primary. Coincidence? Definitely
The date for the release is only part of
the story. The film will be launched in one of the most progressive and
activist formats ever conceived. Early test scores of the film have it
getting the highest viewer ratings of any of Moore’s previous films.
“What it has shown us is the film not only plays well as just a movie,
but the issues raised in the film deeply affect people,” Moore
Moore asked his distributors to get on board with a release plan
designed to rock the nation: “I said …. give me a month or so to
barnstorm the country, me personally, in a big rock ‘n’ roll tour bus,
and we will criss-cross the country showing the film for free, leading
up to the New Hampshire primary — because the issues in the film are
the issues, the real issues, people want being discussed in this
election year.” They may also have music and rallies along the
There is considerably more that I leave to
your interests. It ends as follows:
“Where to Invade Next” begins with the
observation that the United States has not won a war since World War
II. It then comically imagines the Department of Defense calling
on Moore to step in and save our nation. His plan? Invade nations
not to take them over, but to take their good ideas. We then see a
hilariously ironic shot of Moore on a ship draped in the American flag
and heading out on his quest.
Moore then embarks on a tour of a series
of European nations and one in Africa where he finds society getting it
right. From debt-free education to paid leave, women’s rights, prison
reform and delicious school lunches, Moore offers viewers a world where
people simply live better than we do here.
In a brilliant move, Moore has made his
most patriotic film yet without shooting a single frame in the United
On the other side of the fence,
many on the left vote against the right, not for anything.
And that’s where the political potential of Moore’s film lies. It
asks us to imagine, if the invasion this country really needs is not an
invasion of another country, but rather the invasion of the people into
our own political process. Now that would be a real revolution.
Hm. It seems to me that (i) "the invasion of the people into our own political process"
is what democracy is about, while (ii) this has been made very much
more difficult in the USA by gerrymandering districts and by allowing
the very rich to donate virtually as much as they please to help elect
someone who does as they want him or her to act.
But OK: These were just McClennen's opinions.
Bill Maher - Be More
The fifth and last item is merely a
movie I saw
yesterday, of 1 hr 7 m, that is a recording of a show of Bill Maher
that seems to be 14 or 15 years old, but that I liked, and that you
probably will like if you like Bill Maher:
You may not like him, and then this is not recommended. (This is merely for your amusement.)
 Yes, I think these laws are illegal
given a normal reading of the US Constitution, but that is hardly
possible with the present majority of the Supreme Court, and it is also illegal
if your norm is democracy - the people of a nation decide under what
system of laws and what sort of constitution they desire to live -
rather than multi-national dictatorship through a completely new, and
utterly corrupt and anti-democratic system of "laws" geared to giving
the multi-national corporations the highest profits.
Incidentally, I did work some on the Apples the University of Amsterdam
used in the late 1980ies and early 1990ies, which were rectangular
boxes with a rather small black and white screen, that was graphical,
which was better than what Microsoft offered at the same time, that was
not graphical, but text-based, and based on MS-DOS. They were OK, but not worth the money for me.