February 5, 2016

Crisis: Clinton, Fraud, Julian Assange, Trump, TPP signed, Freedom
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Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Brawl Over His
     “Insinuation” That She’s Corrupt

2. An Idiot’s Guide to Prosecuting Corporate Fraud
Will Julian Assange of WikiLeaks Go Free After U.N.
     Finds He Is Being Arbitrarily Detained?

4. Trump’s Neofascism Isn’t Going Away, Even if Trump

US, Japan, Canada, Australia and 8 Other Countries Sign
     Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

6. There Is No Freedom Without Truth

This is a Nederlog of Friday, February 5, 2016.

This is a crisis blog. There are 6 items and 6 dotted links: Item 1 is about Hillary Clinton's evident corruption (which she denies); item 2 is about corporate fraud and Bill Black and others; item 3 is about Julian Assange; item 4 is about Donald Trump; item 5 is about the signing of the TPP; and item 6 is about a fine article by Paul Craig Roberts.

And I will try to extend the crisis index today to 2016, but I need to do this while mostly avoiding KompoZer, which is too bugged to do this decently. More about this tomorrow.

1. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Brawl Over His “Insinuation” That She’s Corrupt 

The first article is by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:

This starts as follows (and is somewhat interesting if you care for truth):

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton had a series of momentous exchanges Thursday night over what Clinton called Sanders’s “artful smear” – the suggestion that taking massive amounts of money from corporate special interests had corrupted her.

Clinton told Sanders during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate that he would not find a single example of money changing her mind or her vote, and she attacked him for his criticism “by innuendo, by insinuation” that “anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought.”

This is Hillary Clinton: She shows all the signs of major corruption (see below, in case you don't know), as does her husband (who collected a cool $125 million after his presidency that deregulated the banks and redefined "socia- lism", "the left" and many other political terms to what is in fact political correctness) - but she attacks Sanders who did not even say she is corrupt, and that basically because Sanders is a decent man who vowed he would do a decent campaign.

There is a fine listing of quotes by both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton after this introduction, which I will leave to my readers' interests, but here is a little of the evidence that Hillary Clinton is corrupt:

But as the Washington Post reported on  Thursday, “donors at hedge funds, banks, insurance companies and other financial services firms had given at least $21.4 million to support Clinton’s 2016 presidential run — more than 10 percent of the $157.8 million contributed to back her bid.” In fact, the Post even noted that Hillary Clinton has now “brought in more money from the financial sector during her four federal campaigns than her ­husband did during his ­quarter-century political career.”

Sanders hasn’t directly accused Clinton of being corrupted, but his argument is essentially that no one is incorruptible – that no one could take millions of dollars in contributions and speaking fees from Wall Street and not be influenced by that.

Yes, indeed. And please note that corruption - the giving of money to attain
advances one does not have a right to - is extremely widespread in politics
and in economics, also completely apart from anything the Clintons did.

Why the Clintons - of all people! - would not be corrupt with their extremely
widespread funding by banks and corporations, totally escapes my logical mind.

There is - for example - this:

By giving just 12 speeches to Wall Street banks, private equity firms, and other financial corporations, Clinton made $2,935,000 from 2013 to 2015 – more than many people earn in a lifetime.

In all, she and her husband have collected over $125 million in speaking fees since 2001. They’ve also raised $2 billion for the Clinton Foundation.

She made more by 12 speeches than I made in the last 31 years. And how else to rationally explain their receiving $125 million for giving a few speeches to very rich people, if this was not in reward for the massive services they did for the same rich people when in office?! How else would one call evident corruption other than evident corruption?!

But no, she will not stop, and she will never admit any corruption, and indeed she will be saying whatever she thinks gives her the best chance of getting the candidacy, in spite of the fact that most she says is false: It worked for Obama (about whom a whole lot less was known in 2008) and it might work for her as well, indeed.

This is a recommended article, and contains quite a lot more that is interesting.

2. An Idiot’s Guide to Prosecuting Corporate Fraud

The second item is by David Dayen on The Intercept:

This starts as follows, and is an article on the initiative of Bill Black and four others to start a group of financial specialists to attack the mega-corrupt American banks that I reported on January 31:

Say you’re the newly elected president of the United States, and you want to make prosecuting corporate crime a top priority.

Where do you start? Here would be good.

A new group called Bank Whistleblowers United have just pushed out a comprehensive plan they think would put the executive branch back in the business of enthusiastically identifying, indicting, and convicting financial fraudsters — restoring accountability while protecting the public.

The cumulative credibility of the group’s four founders is extremely strong. Richard Bowen is the Citigroup whistleblower who unsuccessfully warned top management about the rotten condition of loans inside mortgage-backed securities. Michael Winston spoke out about similarly corrupt practices at non-bank mortgage originator Countrywide. Gary Aguirre, a Securities and Exchange Commission attorney, was fired for refusing to let a Wall Street banker out of an insider trading investigation.

And their ringleader is William Black, an outspoken fraud-fighter and longtime white-collar criminologist who was a two-fisted bank regulator during the savings and loan crisis and now teaches at the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC).

There is considerably more under the last dotted link. This is a recommended article.

3. Will Julian Assange of WikiLeaks Go Free After U.N. Finds He Is Being Arbitrarily Detained?

The third item is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows:

The BBC reports the United Nations panel investigating the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has ruled he has been "arbitrarily detained.” The U.N. says it will not confirm the report until Friday at 11 a.m. Geneva time. Assange first complained to the U.N. in 2014 that he was being arbitrarily detained since he could not leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London without being arrested. Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012. Assange wants to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex assault claims, which he has repeatedly denied. He says he fears Sweden will extradite him to the United States, where he could face trial for publishing classified information. Police say a warrant for Assange’s arrest remains in place. Assange has called for his arrest warrant to be dropped if the panel ruled in his favor. The BBC reports the panel’s ruling will not have any formal influence over the British and Swedish authorities.

There is more under the last dotted link, including an interview with Julian Assange's lawyer, but this is what it comes down to.

But there is one more point I should address, which is rendered
as follows in the article by Amy Goodman, who noted a recent tweet by Assange:
"I shall exit the embassy at noon on Friday to accept arrest by British police as there is no meaningful prospect of further appeal. However, should I prevail and the state parties be found to have acted unlawfully, I expect immediate return of my passport and the termination of further attempts to arrest me."
I say. I do not know about his conditions in the Ecuadorian embassy, nor do I know about his relations with the people working there, but this does seem to me to be a mistake.

He has been in the embassy for over 3 1/2 years now, and these must have been very heavy and difficult years for him. But neither of the two tweeted  alternatives seems realistic to me, and I should also say that if my communist father could survive over 3 years and 9 months of German concentration camps
- and he did, and was a revolutionary communist the next 35 years, till he died - then Assange should be able to keep resisting the British and the Swedes.

But I know I do not know all the relevant evidence.

4. Trump’s Neofascism Isn’t Going Away, Even if Trump Does

The fourth item is by a former resident of Bloomberg's New York on Naked Capitalism:

This starts as follows:

This is a chaotic time for American politics, as the old establishment system falls away globally and newer structures emerge into that power vacuum. At such a moment, the culture and political institutions intersect in unpredictable ways. Videos of unprovoked police violence, for instance, allow for protests and civic argument about authoritarian tactics, dissidence, and racism. But those videos also allow authoritarians to make their case that such open combination of expressed violence and state authority just isn’t a big deal, or is even a good thing.

With this background, we come to Donald Trump and his influence on the Republican primary, which is an unusually vivid and important example of an unorthodox institutional evolution. Trump lost in Iowa, dealing a blow to his credibility. But he is still a scary politician, and not because he’s crazy. He’s not. He’s a flashy racist real estate promoter who sells overpriced gaudy products.
I agree that Trump is not "crazy", and one of the reasons I do is that the Spiegel (German edition) recently had an issue with a picture of Trump on the frontpage, together with the title "Madness" (German: "Wahnsinn"). [1] And I also do not think - to react to another term I have repeatedly heard about him - that he is a "genius": He really is too stupid and too ignorant in his talks for that.

But I agree he is very rich, very impertinent, and quite dishonest, and that he may be very dangerous if he wins the Republican candidacy, and especially if he were to win the presidency.

The essay quickly jumps to Michal Kalecki (<- Wikipedia) who was a very interesting economist, who had many of Keynes' economical ideas of the 1930ies before Keynes (and Keynes - unlike Trump, unlike Friedman, unlike nearly all other economists - was a real genius [2]):

Kalecki’s insight in this essay is that for big business, unemployment is first and foremost a mechanism for disciplining workers. Under full employment “the ‘sack’ would cease to play its role as a ‘disciplinary measure,'” and “the social position of the boss would be undermined.” Discipline and political stability, he argued, “are more appreciated than profits by business leaders.”

He notes, however, that there is one full employment model of economic order that big business will accept: fascism. Fascism replaces the discipline of unemployment with the discipline of policing, concentration camps, and the threat of violence. Therefore, he concluded, “one of the most important functions of fascism… was to remove capitalist objections to full employment.” He then points out that fascist full employment tends towards using people to build weapons, and that carries its own seed for endless war. Kalecki’s work is worth reading in full, but that’s the gist of it.

Unfortunately, "fascism" does not get defined, and while the reference to Kalecki's original thesis of the 1930ies is interesting (it is here), it is at least slightly misleading.

I'll explain myself. First, here is a definition of "fascism", which I owe to the
American Heritage Dictionary (and have given before in Nederlog, quite a few times also):
"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."
And what we currently have in the USA are (1) a more or less completed merger "of state and business leadership", indeed especially for the banks, for
military industries and in oil, the representatives of which did and do get very high positions in American governments before returning to their extremely well-paying commercial posts, while also (2) there is a strong "
belligerent nationalism" in the USA.

These simply are facts, and these facts have been slowly but surely created since Reagan took power, and included a lot of help and deregulations under
Bill Clinton.

Whether these facts are sufficient to speak of "fascism" or "neo-fascism" in
the current USA is a moot question, indeed in considerable part because of the
pretense that the USA still is a democracy (with very little effective power for everybody who is not rich) and still is not a dictatorship are also actively maintained by the government.

I'll leave the question unanswered for the moment. Next, why Kalecki's essay
(from the 1930ies) is slightly misleading:

The situation was rather similar in the "socialist" countries, such as the Soviet Union and (from 1948 onwards) China: There too one generally had to work
or risk serious punishments.

Now we get back to Trump:
What is worrisome about Trump is two things. First, what should be clear about politics is that the public desperately wants a full employment economy. Trump is promising that. And second, Trump is building institutional links with at least one natural conservative force that hasn’t until recently been considered particularly political: the police.

I see the dangers, especially if Trump wins the presidential candidacy (after which he could decide to risk a few billions in advertisements from his own money to make him president, to the best of my knowledge), but I must add that it still seems unlikely to me that Trump will win the candidacy.

Then again, I may be refuted.

5. US, Japan, Canada, Australia and 8 Other Countries Sign Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

The fifth item is by Washington's Blog on his site:

This starts as follows:

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be horrible for Americans and the people of the world.

But most politicians are thoroughly corruptNeither the Democratic or Republican parties represent the interests of the American people. Both parties ignore the desires of their own bases.

So today, 12 countries – Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, United States and Vietnam – signed the TPP.

It is also all I will quote from this brief note. But I have a question:

Where in the mainstream media did you see any discussion of the TTP (or the TTIP or the TiSA or the CETA)?

I have seen very little, and everything I saw in the mainstream media was much hindered by the fact - and this was a fact, indeed - that the treaties were supposed to be secret and were mostly kept secret.

But yesterday was a very black day, because of this signing.

6. There Is No Freedom Without Truth

The sixth and last item for today is by Paul Craig Roberts (<- Wikipedia) [4] on his site:

The title indicates why I got so very angry when the University of Amsterdam was officially opened in 1978 with the sick, degenerate, immoral, political, and  politically correct lie [3] that
"Everybody knows that truth does NOT exist"
-- Professor Brandt, August 1978, opening the academic year
And the beginning is a quote, that ought to be far more famous than it is:
“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
— President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Since that was written "the huge industrial and military machinery of defense" has taken over a considerable part of the institutional powers in the United States, indeed especially by hugely extending the investments in "defense" (which financed many wars).

The article itself starts like this:
Conspiracies are real. There are many more of them than people are aware. Many government conspiracies are heavily documented by governments themselves with the official records demonstrating the conspiracies openly available to the public. Just google, for example, Operation Gladio or the Northwoods Project. These conspiracies alone are sufficient to chastise those uninformed Western peoples who go around saying, “our government would never kill its own people.”
Yes - and see my False Flag Attacks of two days ago. Indeed there is this about false flag attacks in the present article:

False flag attacks are used by governments in order to pursue secret agendas that they cannot publicly acknowledge. If President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had said: “We are going to attack Iraq and a half dozen other countries in order to exercise hegemony over the Middle East, steal their oil, and clear the path for Israel to steal the entirety of the West Bank of Palestine, diverting taxpayers’ resources from serving the American people into the pockets of the armaments industries and spilling the blood of your parents, spouses, children, and siblings, even the American sheeple would have resisted.

Instead, following the famous advice of Hitler’s chief propagandist, they said: “Our country has been attacked!”

Yes, indeed. I also stated my reasons in False Flag Attacks why I believe it probably was a false flag attack, and these reasons are in fact mostly the reasons of architects and physicists who investigated 9/11. (As to conspiracy
theories, see note [5].)

The neoconservatives, who conrolled the George W. Bush regime, called for a “New Pearl Harbor” so that they could begin their wars of conquest in the Middle East. A “New Pearl Harbor”
is what 9/11 gave them. Was this a coincidence or a Gulf of Tonkin or a Reichstag fire or a Tzarist secret police or Operation Gladio bomb?

The charge, “conspiracy theory,” is used to prevent investigation.

9/11 was not investigated.
Or alternatively: it was, by the 9/11 Commission - except that they never met the arguments by the physicists and architects that the three buildings that collapsed on 9/11 could not collapse in the ways they did, also not if the buildings were hit by a plane (and the third building wasn't). I have seen these
arguments, and they convinced me.

It ends like this:
Dear Western Peoples, if you wish to be able to walk down the streets of your cities without being accosted by police, demanded to present identity papers, searched, detained indefinitely or assassinated without due process of law, if you wish to be able to express your opinion about “your” government and its use of your tax payments, if you wish to be able to discuss current affairs or your personal affairs without being recorded by the NSA or the equivalent in your own country or by both, if you wish to be able to act on your moral conscience and to protest the violence the West applies to Muslims and others unfavored by powerful Western interests, such as Palestinians, if you wish to live in the freedom that was achieved in the West after centuries of struggle, wake up, find time from less meaningful pursuits to become aware of what is being stolen from you. It is late in the game. If you do not stand up for truth, you will have no freedom as there is no freedom without truth.

I wholly agree, and indeed especially with the last point, that "there is no freedom without truth". Also, in fact I have been saying much of the above
since October 29, 2005 (!).

So I am not optimistic, indeed in considerable part because I know that
a good part of all Americans is not intelligent and not informed.

And clearly this article is recommended.


[1] Incidentally, I do get the point of the Spiegel, because I agree Trump's "political speeches" to his fans are pretty mad. Then again, I also think that Trump is mostly acting in his speeches: He is not like that when doing regular business.

[2] According to Bertrand Russell Keynes (and not Moore, Whitehead, James, Wittgenstein or any of the many extremely intelligent men Russell did know personally) "was the cleverest man" Russell had ever met in his life.

[3] And I note that the same lie was the basis of very much that did happen in the University of Amsterdam from 1978 till 1995 (at least), which also were the years that I did study there (most of the years, not all of them, for I was too sick part of the same time):

I did not study for four years (at least) between 1981 and 1993, and not at all since 1993). Also, I was ill all the time; my illness was not admitted nearly all the time; I did not attend any lectures all the time, and I completed an excellent B.A. in philosophy (with an 8+ i.e. an A) and an excellent M.A. in philosophy (with an 9,3, another A); and I was kicked from the university's philosophy faculty briefly before doing my M.A. there in philosophy, so yes:

I did not fail in my studies (like the majority of healthy students) and I did get very high marks. (But it was a total loss of time, and the only reason I did it was that I was and am too ill to leave Holland. Also, I never made a single cent from any of my degrees. And they took a lot of time, and cost me a lot of money and health.)

[4] He is an interesting man, indeed in part because he - like quite a few former CIA-men, like Ray McGovern (<- Wikipedia) - started as a Republican, and worked for Reagan's government.

[5] There is a considerable difference between the theses that (1) 9/11 was a false flag attack and (2) 9/11 was caused by a conspiracy.

First about the conspiracy theory: In fact, the 9/11 Commission and the U.S. government also believed (or at least said they believed) in a conspiracy theory, namely by Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.

Next about the difference between (1) and (2): For (1) there is a whole lot of evidence, indeed considerably more than about other false flag attacks (as e.g. the Gulf of Tonkin incident (<- Wikipedia) that effectively started the U.S. war in Vietnam). I think the evidence for (1) is convincing: There was an attack; the attack was different from what it was said to be; ergo the attack was a false flag attack.

For (2) there are quite a few possible conspiracies, varying from Al Qaeda to parts of the American government and/or military. Also, this is logically a further hypothesis than the statement that the attack was different from what it was reported to be. And as I said two days ago:

The problem with conspiracy theories is mostly that if indeed there was a conspiracy, it tends to be very difficult to prove, precisely because it was a conspiracy (and if there wasn't there simply can't be any valid proof).

So my position is this: I think it is very probable 9/11 was a false flag attack, simply because there was a lot of good evidence for that thesis; I think it is uncertain who orchestrated the false flag attack, because there is not much good evidence.
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