1. What is Neoliberalism?
2. Metadata Comes Home With New 'Threat Score'
3. Companies, Scientists, and Activists
Worldwide Call On
Global Leaders to Protect
4. “The Big Short” and Bernie’s Plan to Bust Up Wall Street
5. The Real Terrorists: The .01%
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, January 12, 2016.
This is a
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: item 1 is a fine article on the real meaning of the neoliberal lie: it is extreme neoconservatism; item 2 is about the new threats of a US police state; item 3 is about the need for strong encryption; item 4 is about an article of Robert Reich, who prefers Sanders over Clinton; and item 5 is about real terrorists who also are very rich with a solution of mine - that probably will not be followed, even though it is quite fair and will only improve the lives of the 99%.
1. What is
Also, I added a statistic to the Nederlog of January 9 simply because it is a lot better than the one I used (from 1980).
by Elizabeth Martinez and Arnoldo Garcia on CorpWatch:
This is a very good question,
with a fine answer that I will quote, but I will first outline why the
question is really good.
There are two reasons:
question is logically quite correct, and should be asked and decently
answered much more often than happens in fact:
Extremely many terms, especially
in discourses about politics, are not
clearly defined, have often somewhat or radically different meanings
depending on the political values of the speaker or writer, but they
are used as if they are quite clear - which is often
unjustified and leads to much more confusions than is, logically
Second, this is especially
the case with "neo-liberalism" or "neoliberalism" - and I know, because
I am a European, and one with excellent academic degrees and a lot of
It is not because of my lack of
knowledge that I was confused, it is because the very name
"neoliberal" was a propaganda
lie, an intentional
from the very start, that jhas little or nothing to do with (real) liberalism.
It was framed by strong conservatives, in part to make their
extremely con- servative rightist plans seem "liberal", in part to
confuse the real liberals, and in part because the neo-conservatives
who posed as if they were liberals, in fact wanted to serve
their own neoconservatism pro-rich agenda by making it appear
as if they were "for freedom", whereas in fact they were for the
freedom of the rich to fleece, repress, and steal from everybody
who did not belong to the very rich. Also, they aimed at destroying
most of the legal, political, trade union and other defenses of the
"Neoliberalism" was and is a complete propaganda
lie, an intentional
deception, and was so from the very start. It was meant to deceive,
and it deceived many, especially by
unqualified insistence that "the neoliberals" all were for "freedom!", "freedom!",
"freedom!" (rather like Obama was (until he was elected)
for "Change!", "Change!", "Change!"):
The only freedoms the "neoliberals" were interested in were (i)
the freedom from any legal constraint to make maximal
profits, which meant the freedom from any governmental legal
regulations, and (ii) the freedom of the rich to fleece, defraud,
deceive, manipulate and abuse the non-rich for more profits for
Here are the real ends of "the neoliberals" (=
neoconservatives), as explained by
Elizabeth Martinez and
The main points of
Quite so! Here is the ending of the article:
THE RULE OF THE MARKET.
Liberating "free" enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds
imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage
this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as
in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating
workers' rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more
price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital,
goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say "an
unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which
will ultimately benefit everyone." It's like Reagan's "supply-side" and
"trickle-down" economics -- but somehow the wealth didn't trickle down
CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR
SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE
SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water
supply -- again in the name of reducing government's role. Of course,
they don't oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.
government regulation of everything that could diminsh profits,
including protecting the environmentand safety on the job.
state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This
includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity,
schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the
name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has
mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands
and making the public pay even more for its needs.
ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF
"THE PUBLIC GOOD" or "COMMUNITY" and replacing it with
"individual responsibility." Pressuring the poorest people in a society
to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social
security all by themselves -- then blaming them, if they fail, as
Tĥis is a very good article (in spite of some
disagreements) and it is highly recommended you read it and save it, so
that you can compare the "neoliberal" lies and deceptions with the
cruel egoistic truths they are working for.
In the United States neo-liberalism is
destroying welfare programs;
attacking the rights of labor (including all immigrant workers); and
cutbacking social programs. The Republican "Contract" on America is
neo-liberalism. Its supporters are working hard to deny protection to
children, youth, women, the planet itself -- and trying to trick us
acceptance by saying this will "get government off my back." The
beneficiaries of neo-liberalism are a minority of the world's people.
the vast majority it brings even more suffering than before: suffering
without the small, hard-won gains of the last 60 years, suffering
Finally, I have an additional point that was not covered by the
article: The TTP, the TTIP, the TiSA and the CETA are all "neoliberal"
i.e. neoconservative plans to
deceive humanity into corporate fascism - corpo-fascism, to
brand a neologism - by promising "freedom" while delivering repressions
and deregulations of the rights of the many.
2. Metadata Comes Home With New 'Threat Score' Policing Tools
The second item
is by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed. There is more in the article,
including that no one knows the source of Intrado (except Intrado), and
that many of the "datapoints" that are gathered may be biased or false.
Police in the U.S. are rolling out new
technology that gives them "unprecedented" power to spy on citizens and
determine their "threat score" based on metadata, the Washington
Fresno, California's police department
was one of the first to adopt the software, known as "Beware," which
allows officers to analyze "billions of data points, including arrest
reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches
and...social-media postings" to calculate an individual's alleged
potential for violence, the Post explained.
Officers say the tool, made by a company
called Intrado, can help them thwart mass shootings and other attacks
like the ones that took place in Paris and San
Bernardino last year. But critics say it's just another weapon in the
mass surveillance arsenal, one that further threatens privacy and civil
liberties and fuels police overreach.
Then again, I have been expecting developments like this as soon as I
had heard about the NSA's collecting everything, for that clearly aimed
and aims at an authoritarian police state.
Well... this is one further branch of the now blossoming development of an
American authoritarian police state.
Scientists, and Activists Worldwide Call On Global Leaders to Protect
This starts as follows:
The third item is
by Jenna McLaughlin on The Intercept:
The article deserves full reading, and the "experts, companies, and activists in 42 countries"
are clearly right.
Nearly 200 experts, companies, and
activists in 42 countries have signed a letter demanding
that world leaders take a stand in support of encryption
technology, which protects nearly every internet transaction from
banking and health records to emails and web browsing.
The letter, organized by Access Now,
comes in response to the challenges being mounted
against strong encryption by administrations — in the
U.S. and worldwide — concerned that the technology gives
criminals and terrorists a “safe space” to communicate and commit
crimes with impunity.
“We’re seeing threats come up all over
the world,” said Amie Stepanovich, U.S. policy manager for Access
Now, to The Intercept. “This is a response to that — to draw
clear lines in the sand between what is and isn’t acceptable when it
comes to the government acting on encryption.”
“We urge you to protect the security of
your citizens, your economy, and your government by supporting the
development and use of secure communications tools and technologies,
rejecting policies that would prevent or undermine the use of strong
encryption, and urging other leaders to do the same,” reads the letter.
Whether this will convince the big internet corporations, many of which exist because they steal private information
from their normally very naive users, and sell what they stole to advertisement
agencies, remains to be seen - and I am not very hopeful.
4. “The Big Short”
and Bernie’s Plan to Bust Up Wall Street
fourth item is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
I haven't seen the movie (and usually am too
ill to go to the movies) but I am willing to believe Robert Reich.
If you haven’t yet seen “The Big
Short” – directed and
co-written by Adam McKay, based on the non-fiction prize-winning book
Michael Lewis about the housing and credit bubble that triggered the
Recession — I recommend you do so.
Not only is the movie an enjoyable (if
that’s the right word)
way to understand how the big banks screwed millions of Americans out
homes, savings, and jobs – and then got bailed out by taxpayers. It’s
also a lesson in why they’re on the way to doing all this
again – and how their political power continues to erode laws designed
prevent another crisis and to shield their executives from any
Most importantly, the movie shows why
Bernie Sanders’s plan to
break up the biggest banks and reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act
investment from commercial banking) is necessary – and why Hillary
more modest plan is inadequate.
More importantly, it seems as if this article marks some kind of break
between Reich and the Clintons, since these three are personally well
acquainted, and it is rumored Reich went out with Hillary Rodham
before she married Bill Clinton.
To be sure, I am guessing here. Also, here is some more on why "The Big
Short" had it right:
The movie gets the story essentially
right: Traders on the
Street pushed highly-risky mortgage loans, bundled them together into
investments that hid the risks, got the major
credit-rating agencies to give the bundles Triple-A ratings, and
then sold them to
unwary investors. It was a fraudulent Ponzi scheme that had to end
badly – and
Yet since then, Wall Street and its
hired guns (including most current
Republican candidates for president) have tried to rewrite this history.
For more - and Reich is correct - see the
article. Here is the ending:
The only way to contain the Street’s
excesses is by taking on its economic and political power directly
– with reforms so
big, bold, and public they can’t be watered down. Starting with busting
biggest banks, as Bernie Sanders proposes.
More than a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt
broke up the Standard
Oil Trust because it posed a danger to the U.S. economy. Today, Wall
biggest banks pose an even greater danger. They’re far larger than they
before the crash of 2008.
Unless they’re broken up and
Glass-Steagall resurrected, we face
substantial risk of another near-meltdown – once again threatening the
incomes, jobs, savings, and homes of millions of Americans.
To paraphrase philosopher George
Santayana, those who cannot
remember they were screwed by Wall Street are condemned to be screwed
5. The Real Terrorists: The .01%
fifth and last item today is by Paul Buchheit on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
They consist of 16,000
individuals, about the size of a crowd at a professional basketball
game. The inequality horror they've fomented is reaching far beyond the
of America that is in or near poverty, for it now impacts those of us
well above the median, those of us in the second highest of four wealth
Yes, and the reference to You
Deserve Facts is a good one. But what is Paul Buchheit's evidence
that the .01%  are terrorists?
1. The .01% Have as Much Wealth as
80% of America
The combined net worth of the 16,000
richest Americans is approximately the same as the total wealth of
256,000,000 people. Details for this statistic and other facts to
follow are at You
2. Americans with up to a
Quarter-Million Dollars are Part of the Nearly 80% of Americans with
Less Wealth Than the .01%
The 80% includes all Americans with a net
worth up to about $277,000.
3. The .01% Own about as Much as
75% of the Entire World
The world's poorest 75% own roughly 4
percent of total global wealth, approximately the same percentage of
wealth owned by the .01% in the United States. Again, calculations are
4. The .01% - Who Are They?
It starts with the billionaires,
the Forbes 400 and 136 more, for a total of 536 individuals with a
total net worth of $2.6 trillion at the end of 2015.
It is this - and the "2,500,000 Children" only refers to the USA:
5. The Unique Brand of
.01% Terror: Making a Game of Tax Avoidance While 2,500,000 Children
I more or less agree, though I have several
comments, that I will reduce to one:
I agree that the - very massive - tax evasions the US very rich indulge
in are quite shameless and quite immoral, but it is not as if
the very rich were moral
if only they paid the taxes they are due to pay. Not so!
In any case, I have a radical and simple solution (see
my On Socialism) that ought
to satisfy everyone who does not belong to the 1% ,
that is, it satisfies the 99% (who all earn less) and yet is not
- Keep capitalism and keep most of the
laws but make one single change:
Nobody (other than actors, artists and scientists)
is allowed to earn more
than 300.000 dollars each year.
This accords with what about 99% of
the American population does not make in a year: More than 300.000
dollars. It will - if done well - stop all profiteering of the very
rich, and it will end their dominance. It will preserve capitalism, and
nearly all of its institutions. It will bridle the greed of the super
rich, simply by forbidding anyone to become super rich.
Also, anybody with any decent talent (other than screwing up the many poor to profit the few rich) can still excel, and indeed a lot better than they can in unrestricted capitalism-without-a-human face.
Will this simple plan be adopted or even considered? Here is my diagnosis from On Socialism:
Not as long as the media
are in the hands of the few who get a lot more than 300,000 euros or
dollars a year. But at any rate it is a system were only the
very rich loose money; everyone else retains what he or she had or
receives more; where things can be arranged much more fairly; and that
differs little from the existing system, except that there is a cap on
incomes and on ownership.
 Actually, while I like the distinction between the 99% and the 1% I am not strongly in favor of distinguishing the .01%, although these clearly do exist and profited a lot since Reagan took power.
My reason is that the 99% all earn below $300,000 a year, which I think should be the top income (except
for people with a real artistic or scientific talent), while the very
rich (the 1% which indeed may be further subdivided in terms of income)
do need more than 1% to support and defend themselves, and in fact it is my guess that 5% or 10% (and possibly more) of the 99% will support the very rich, more or less regardless, simply because these are very rich and the 5% or 10% (or possibly more) hope to get some of those riches.
In terms of a combination of income and social policies the division
between the 1% and the 99% is more or less fair, but the further
division into the .01% only looks at incomes and makes little
social/sociological sense (except for those who really want to study
the richest of the richest, perhaps).