This is a Nederlog of Saturday, January 2, 2016.
This is the first crisis blog of 2016. It is not quite normal, because - as may have been expected - all three entries are survey articles: item 1 is about the pros and cons of Obama's presidency (and I am rather more negative than the writer is); item 2 is about some key progressive gains in 2015 (again I am rather more negative than its writer is); and item 3 is about the "Trade Deals" (itself a false
propaganda term) that threaten the whole world that is not mega-rich or a lawyer for the mega-rich (and again I may be more negative than the writer is).
I am sorry to be so negative, but I think there is extremely little in the present political world to be positive about, and there are greater
dangers for the resurrection of a kind of multi-national corporate
fascism than ever before - and this resurrection also is done in secret, for the fascist deals that will surrect such fascistic systems are all so secret that not even parliamentarians have access to these purported new extremely undemocratic "laws".
1. The Obama
Report Card: The Good, the Bad and the Incomplete
The first item
today is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
When Barack Obama ran for
president in 2008 and 2012, he didn’t just run on hope and change. He
made hundreds of promises, everything from changing the way CEOs are
taxed to allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs abroad. Those and
scores more didn’t happen.
And he hasn’t really addressed some of the key issues that will mark
his his legacy, such as his overseas assassination policies involving
drones and special forces.
In brief, Barack Obama operated as a sick cynic: He promised almost anything almost anybody who might vote for him desired him to do, and he wiped his ass with his promises after he was elected: That - he might have said - is modern politics, as he and Clinton and Blair desire it to be.
There is also this, a little lower:
Obviously, he’s been better on most issues
than a Republican would have been, and certainly far better than their
new flock of candidates. But as the GOP has become radicalized and
pulled the political center to the right, some of Obama’s moderate
stances have been wrongly labeled as liberal, which demonstrates how
far right the public debate has become.
That is one way of phrasing it. Another - that seems more correct to me - simply says Obama went with the GOP, and turned right with them, though not as much, not because he had to, but either because he wanted to or because he didn't care.
And here is a statement on the selection of the points the article does treat:
While there are dozens of issues and
policies we could have included, we have chosen five in each of these
categories that are especially important, compelling or decisive.
It's not precisely clear, but OK: one has to
make selections anyway in a journalistic article. I'll accept the
present choice as more or less fair, though indeed other choices could
have been made.
In fact, here they all are, presented as titles, and without the texts that are
given for each number, for which you may
consult the above dotted link. I'll chop them up in three groups, as
happens in the article, with brief comments under each group.
First there are the "Big Successes"
2. Stopping the great recession.
3. Expanding civil rights.
4. Embracing diplomacy.
5. Climate change and science.
I'd say only 4. and 5.
are positives, and neither is large: any president should have embraced
diplomacy, and climate change is simply what 99% of the scientists
agree on (and as I said: if you don't understand the titles, you can
click the above dotted link):
"Obamacare" in fact is Romneycare, which was and is not progressive; Obama "stopped" the great recession - among other things - by refusing to prosecute
the criminals who were bank managers; the "civil rights" he is supposed
to have defended are those of homosexuals and LGBT people, while he
continued the - quite intentional - destruction of most civil rights in the Constitution, and he let all Americans be surveilled by his secret services, which is deeply criminal and totally anti-democratic.
Next there are the "Big Failures"
I agree, although I don't believe Obama thinks of all of these as "failures": He certainly seems to have wanted both 7. and 9.
6. Empowering GOP
7. Expanding the national security
9. Coddling corporate America.
10. Political reform obstructionist.
Finally, there are the "Big Incompletes":
11. Addressing economic inequality.
12. Comprehensive immigration reform.
13. Lessening gun violence in
14. Racist policing and police
15. Getting out of the Middle
I think 4 out of these 5
- all but 13 - are "Big Failures" rather than "Big Incompletes", and
indeed part of my reason is that Obama has had seven years now to implement these points, but mostly just didn't.
Here is AlterNet's judgment on Obama (in part):
It’s common for sympathetic pundits to
say he’s done the best he can given the GOP’s opposition. But for the
most part, Obama’s accomplishments, failures and unfinished business
show he’s been a president with a moderate record—except for the
security state and drones—even if he’s labeled by his critics as
Put otherwise: He was a basically conservative president, who mostly followed Bush Jr.'s policies, except for a few points. His record also is quite conservative,
because he is for illegal surveillance of every American; for secrecy; for all
neo- fascist secret "Trade Deals" that will totally terminate
democracies and national governments; and he excelled only as a liar
to Celebrate: Key Progressive Gains in 2015
The second item
is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
starts as follows:
As the year
draws to a close, it's worth noting a handful of progressive gains that
people-power made possible:
I agree one may also review 2015 as a year in which some (a very few, it seems to me) "progressive gains" were made.
Andrea Germanos lists the following "progressive gains", and again I merely list the titles, and refer you for the text that comes with each title to the last dotted link:
Black Lives Matter
Keystone XL Pipeline
Failure of Global Elite's Austerity
I say. It depends on what you consider "progressive gains".
I am a bit more strict than is Andrea Germanos: While I like Bernie Sanders, agree with Black Lives Matter, and agree with Corbyn (more than not), I'd say these are hardly "progressive gains", and something similar holds for Minimum Wage: At best these are progressive ideals that have not been killed, so far.
But I agree that getting rid of Harper and the Keystone Pipeline were progressive gains, as was Marriage Equality.
with just three really positive outcomes I cannot say I have many
reasons to "celebrate", the more so since Common Dreams has another
article, which is the
last I will consider in this Nederlog:
3. The Corporate-Friendly Trade Deals
Threatening Ordinary People in 2016
The third item is
by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Corporate media failed to cover the dangers of
business-friendly trade deals in 2015, despite growing grassroots
opposition to such pacts—and increasing public awareness about their
Let me start with a definition of "fascism", which I owe to the American Heritage
Here are the deals you need to know to be part of the fight in the
"fascism" is defined as "A system of government that exercises a
dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of
state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."
describes both Mussolini's and Hitler's systems, though indeed more
might have been added. It also described - very well indeed - the
societies that will result from adopting the TPP, TTIP, TiSA and CETA,
each of which are secret, even for parliamentarians, so that no one can read them (for which reason one must turn to Wikileaks, were parts have been published), and that simply because each of them is completely FOR a fascist system as has been just defined: The business leadership will determine all; the people will determine nought.
And Deirdre Fulton is quite right that the main media pretend these
"Trade Deals" do not exist, nor are they worthy of being commented
Although these falsely and misleadingly titled "Trade Deals", which in fact are about the total ending of democracy, and the
introduction of a world- wide neo-fascistic system in which the
multi-national corporations and their managers will have all the powers
that were reserved to national governments and democracies, the corrupted main media almost never even address these "deals", which in fact are also secret, simply because making them not secret and honestly discussing them would fail the adoption of these deals (or would have failed all), simply because they are completely anti-democratic.
Here is a survey of these deals:
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — U.S. and 11
Pacific Rim countries
It was a "great
day for corporate America" when the U.S. Senate passed
Fast Track, or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), in June, effectively
surrendering legislators' ability to fully debate or even amend
trade agreements like the TPP that have been negotiated entirely in
secret. And when the text of the deal was finally
released this fall, it confirmed the worst
fears of environmentalists,
advocates, and digital
rights activists: the TPP, they said, was "worse
than anything we could've imagined."
My own opinion is that any law that has been signed in secrecy, and any law that is introduced without
a good and public discussion of its contents and impli- cations, is a
fundamentally authoritarian anti-democratic "law" that precisely for
that reason cannot be accepted as a law.
I am against each of these Neo-Fascist Deals - and I am sorry, but
"Trade Deals" is such a gross and misleading lie that I will refuse it
to these "deals":
They aim at introducing totally pro-corporate fascism, where anything that threatens to lessens the expected profits of multi-national corporations can be torpedoed by them, while condemning the population that tried to protect itself to enormous financial punishments.
Next, there is this, that threatens to make Europe much like the USA,
without any protection against any of the plans of the multi-national
TransAtlantic Trade and Investment
Partnership (TTIP) —
And push back against the
trade deal, which would have negative implications for everything from human
rights and global
climate goals to democracy
safety, goes much deeper than that. As of October, more than three
million people had signed
a petition demanding an end to the TTIP
negotiations —showing, as Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden said,
"that the EU does not have the public mandate to continue this
I am very glad I am 65 rather than 15, and do not have any children because I fell ill at 28. The TTIP simply outlines a neo-fascist system, that may also last forever with the surveillance of everyone by almost any secret service.
Here is another neo-fascist corporate plan to deny all power to the people, and to give all powers to the managers of fascist multi-national corporations:
Services Agreement (TISA)
— 32 countries
in Europe; 7 in Asia; 5 in North America (including U.S.); 3 in South
America; 2 in Oceania; and 1 in Africa
in 2015 exposed how the pact "favors privatization over public
services, limits governmental action on issues ranging from safety to
the environment using trade as a smokescreen to limit citizen rights,"
Larry Cohen, president of Communications Workers of America, said
Cohen is quite right: It will be the end of Europe as I have known it,
and it will be the start of a neo-fascist Europe where everybody who is
not a manager or a lawyer of a multi-national corporations will be without power and without rights.
Finally, there is this sick neo-fascist system of corporate super-powers:
Economic and Trade
Agreement (CETA) — Canada and Europe
As Common Dreams reported
in October, the Canada-EU deal would create "a parallel legal
system for corporations" that could make "regulations in sensitive
public service sectors such as education, water, health, social
welfare, and pensions prone to all kinds of investor attacks."
"What is at stake in trade
agreements such as TTIP and
CETA is our right to vital services, and more, it is about our ability
to steer services of all kinds to the benefit of society at large," the
Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory declared at the time. "If
left to their own course, trade negotiations will eventually make it
impossible to implement decisions for the common good."
Yes, indeed - and there will be very many "legal decisions" (reached somewhere where no member of the public is even admitted) that deny the rights of anything to even exist that might lessen the expected profits of the multi-national corporations.
That is the type of society I expect, with great horror, also. I am sorry, but while it has not fully arrived yet, I am not so blind that I cannot see it coming.
 Let me say once more that I am probably more interested in fascism than most, because my grandfather was murdered in a concentration camp by the Nazis, and my father survived more than 3 years and 9 months of German concentration camps
as a convicted communist "political terrorist" (according to
collaborating Dutch judges: in fact he was in the resistance against
As to politics: In case you want to know more about politics (which in nearly any case is justified) you might read these texts. (I know it's a lot, but I read all, and
most are rather well written, and more so than your daily paper is.)