Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of
2. How Billionaires Use Non-Profits to Bypass
Governments and Force Their
Agendas on Humanity
3. Why the Critics of Bernienomics Are Wrong
4. Stiglitz: Anger Over 'Failed Economy' is Shaping US
5. With TPP 'At Heart' of Obama Agenda, Critics Debunk
Trade Talking Points
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, March 3,
crisis blog. There are 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item
1 is about an article of Chris Hedges that has the merit of naming
fascism, but that doesn't define it (well or at all); item
is about how - especially but not only in the USA - billionaires and
multi-nationals have taken over many non-profits to further their own
profits, dishonestly also; item 3 is about an
article by Robert Reich that argues Bernie Sanders' economic plans are
feasible; item 4
is about economist Joseph Stiglitz, who pointed out that over 90% of
the economic gains since 2008 went to the 1% of the richest (and who
gave some support for Sanders); and item 5 is -
once again - about the TTP, TTIP, TISA and CETA, which are all plans to
give all powers to the multi-national corporations,
while pretending otherwise.
1. The Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of
first item is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
College-educated elites, on
behalf of corporations, carried out the savage neoliberal assault on
the working poor. Now they are being made to pay. Their
duplicity—embodied in politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and
Barack Obama—succeeded for decades. These elites, many from East Coast
Ivy League schools, spoke the language of values—civility, inclusivity,
a condemnation of overt racism and bigotry, a concern for the middle
class—while thrusting a knife into the back of the underclass for their
corporate masters. This game has ended.
I think this is mostly correct except for the
last quoted statement, and I will also put it bit more sharply:
First, much of the actual factual dirty work that effectively
enriched the already very rich corporate owners or CEOs has
been done by "college- educated elites", and second, much of that dirty
work was done by politically correct speaking moral degenerates
from the same class of elites.
For this is simply what happened in fact:
The very rich were much enriched since the 1980ies (!!); the very rich
could not do that alone; they were helped by a large
class of people who belonged to the "college-educated
elite"; these people systematically enriched the very rich while talking
correct talk; and these "college-educated
elites" also systematically confused the left with their own
correct "leftist" verbal drivel (which
many also genuinely believed). 
Then there is this:
There are tens of millions of Americans,
especially lower-class whites, rightfully enraged at what has been done
to them, their families and their communities. They have risen up to
reject the neoliberal policies and political correctness imposed on
them by college-educated elites from both political parties:
Lower-class whites are embracing an American fascism.
I do not think they are (boldness added by
me) "rightfully enraged".
That is: Their enragement has causes, and one important cause is their
poverty, but to be "rightfully enraged"
- as I use these terms - one has to have a moral or ethical right that makes
one's anger rightful, and this they precisely lack, because
they really do not understand they are being deceived by
those they incorrectly trust, like Donald Trump.
But this is a more or less correct description of many of them:
These Americans want a kind of freedom—a
freedom to hate. They want the freedom to use words like “nigger,”
“kike,” “spic,” “chink,” “raghead” and “fag.” They want the freedom to
idealize violence and the gun culture. They want the freedom to have
enemies, to physically assault Muslims, undocumented workers,
African-Americans, homosexuals and anyone who dares criticize their
cryptofascism. They want the freedom to celebrate historical movements
and figures that the college-educated elites condemn, including the Ku
Klux Klan and the Confederacy. They want the freedom to ridicule and
dismiss intellectuals, ideas, science and culture. They want the
freedom to silence those who have been telling them how to behave. And
they want the freedom to revel in hypermasculinity, racism, sexism and
white patriarchy. These are the core sentiments of fascism. These
sentiments are engendered by the collapse of the liberal state.
The stupid and ignorant want the
right to be stupid,
uncivilized, cruel, violent, and morally degenerate. I think
that is more or less true of many of them, and it is also true
this is a kind of "cryptofascism" but I doubt this is "fascism". And I also think they
should not have these "freedoms".
Next, there is in Chris Hedges' text a
long quotation by the - dead - American philosopher Richard Rorty,
which I totally skip because I have read philosophy for over 45
years, and I regard Rorty as an utter fraud. 
Then we arrive at a description of what
"fascism' means in the present USA:
Fascism is aided and advanced by the
apathy of those who are tired of being conned and lied to by a bankrupt
liberal establishment, whose only reason to vote for a politician or
support a political party is to elect the least worst. This, for many
voters, is the best Clinton can offer.
But we have not been given a
definition of the term "fascism", and the above quoted paragraph also
does not define it.
First, here is a definition of
"fascism" that I think is roughly correct. It is by the American
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."
Second, if the choice is between Hillary
Clinton (and I agree with Hedges that I do not like her at all) and
Donald Trump, then the difference is large, and you should vote
for Clinton (in my opinion), also if your only reason to do so
is that she is "the least worse".
There is some more about Hedges' undefined fascism that I skip, not
because it may not be correct, in some sense, but
because Hedges does not give a satisfactory definition of "fascism". (I
Here is the end of Chris Hedges' article:
Again yes and no.
We are fighting for our political life.
Tremendous damage has been done by corporate power and the
college-educated elites to our capitalist democracy. The longer the
elites, who oversaw this disemboweling of the country on behalf of
corporations—who believe, as does CBS Chief Executive Officer Leslie
Moonves, that however bad Trump would be for America he would at least
be good for corporate profit—remain in charge, the worse it is going to
Yes, "[w]e are fighting for our political life", in the sense that if Trump wins the USA will turn very
much more authoritarian, and most of the present left may be removed,
silenced, or disappeared into "night and fog"
with the help of the NSA.
But no, the article remains somewhat misleading from my point of view,
which amounts to the following in terms of the present presidential
Bernie Sanders is much better than Hillary Clinton, who is much better
than Donald Trump (or any other Republican candidate).
I think my point of view is fairly self-evident for many American voters, but Chris
Hedges much dislikes Bernie Sanders, and it also seems that he
considers the difference between Clinton and Trump to be much smaller
than it seems to me (much as I dislike both Clinton and her program).
Then again, while Chris Hedges does not define fascism, at least he
mentions it, which does seem an advantage to me.
And it does so because by the definition I used (which is not
mine, but is adequate) the
seem to be developing into a fascist state, especially if Trump
were to win the presidency - but indeed one should clearly define one's
terms, and it is also quite true that not anything called
"fascist" is fascist.
How Billionaires Use Non-Profits to Bypass Governments and Force Their
Agendas on Humanity
is by Sarah Lazare on AlterNet:
This is from near the beginning:
In the January issue of the New York
Review of Books, veteran journalist Michael Massing noted
that, in the past 15 years alone, “the number of foundations with a
billion dollars or more in assets has doubled, to more than eighty.”
The philanthropic sector in the United States is far more significant
than in Europe, fueled in part by generous tax write-offs, which the
U.S. public subsidizes to the tune of $40 billion a year.
As Massing observes, billionaires are
not just handing over their money, they have ideas about how it should
be used, and their vision often aligns with their own economic
interests. For this reason, the philanthropy industry deserves rigorous
scrutiny, not a free pass because it is in the service of good.
Yes, indeed! This is something I have been
thinking for a long time, in part also as belonging to a
considerably wider schema of deception: It
seems to me that
(1) what is presently called "the left" is to a great extent not
the left, but merely a group of groups that talk in politically
correct ways, but otherwise, in real terms,
are not genuinely leftist anymore, and that
(2) very many once leftish groups and organizations have been
effectively taken over by dishonest smooth politically correct talkers,
who in fact support the very rich.
In case you doubt this, consider Bill
Clinton's and Tony Blair's and Barack Obama's "Third Wave", that
in effect was a similar large fraud, that was started in the 1990ies. 
Here is some more on Massing and American "philantrophy" (between
brackets, because in fact it is not philantrophy):
Massing’s argument followed a study
released in January by the watchdog organization Global Policy Forum,
which found that philanthropic foundations are so powerful they are
allowing wealthy individuals to bypass governments and international
bodies like the United Nations in pursuit of their own agendas. What’s
more, this outsized influence is concentrated in the United States,
where 19 out of the top 27 largest foundations are based. These 27
foundations together possess $360 billion, write authors Jens Martens
and Karolin Seitz.
That is a whole lot of money, and it seems
to be there mostly because those providing it expect that they will
make profits that way, and indeed also insist
that "philantrophists" should use profit-oriented
Such dramatic wealth accumulation has
disturbing implications. "What is the impact of framing the problems
and defining development solutions by applying the business logic of
profit-making institutions to philanthropic activities, for instance by
results-based management or the focus on technological quick-win
solutions in the sectors of health and agriculture?" the report asks.
In brief, much of the present-day American
"philantrophy" is not philantrophy but a deceptive fraud that
makes the very rich richer by deceiving the fools.
That seems obvious to me since a long time, and there
are also others who are not blind:
But some argue that we already have all
the information we need to be concerned. In December, Vandana Shiva, an
ecofeminist and activist, wrote
in response to Zuckerberg’s move in India that a “collective corporate
assault is underway globally. Having lined up all their ducks, veterans
of corporate America such as Bill Gates are being joined by the next
wave of philanthro-corporate Imperialists, including Mark Zuckerberg.”
“It is an enclosure of the commons,” she
continued, “which are ‘commons’ because they guarantee access to the
commoner, whether it be seed, water, information or internet.”
Yes, and its main instrument are the TPP,
TTIP, TISA and CETA, which are all ways to destroy the commons
and give everything to the corporate rich: See item
3. Why the Critics of Bernienomics Are Wrong
third item is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows (with corrections
between "" by me):
Not [a] day goes by, it seems,
without the mainstream media bashing Bern[ie] Sanders’s economic plan –
quoting certain economists as saying his numbers don’t add up. (The New
York Times did it again just yesterday.) They’re wrong. You need to
know the truth, and spread it.
I agree. Reich also gives five arguments that
I skip (click the last dotted link if you want to see them), except for
Again I agree, this time because (i) this
would be a major change, and (ii) the numbers that e.g. Krugman
lampoons are not extreme and do add up. And while this
is in itself not
a proof of their correctness, Krugman's criticism isn't economical (as
he pretends it is) but is political (he likes Clinton, not Sanders).
5. “So you think Bernie’s plan will
generate a permanent improvement in the nation’s economic performance?”
Yes. Given that healthcare expenditures
constitute almost 18 percent of the U.S. economy – and that ours is the
most expensive healthcare system in the world, based on private
for-profit insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies that spend
fortunes on advertising, marketing, administrative costs, high
executive salaries, and payouts to shareholders – it’s not far-fetched
to assume that adoption of a single-payer plan will permanently improve
U.S. economic performance.
4. Stiglitz: Anger Over 'Failed Economy' is Shaping US Election
The fourth item is by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Inequality is shaping the 2016 U.S.
presidential election, as voters disillusioned by the financial crisis
and Wall Street greed increasingly turn to populist candidates like
Bernie Sanders, who has made economic inequality a central platform of
his campaign, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said
"There are a lot of people that are
described as angry and they finally figured out that they’re not doing
very well," Bloomberg reports Stiglitz as saying during an
event at the Resolution Foundation, a London-based research group.
"They’re not doing as well as their parents; some Americans aren’t
doing as well as their grandparents."
That is true, although - as pointed out in
above - many people also turn to Donald Trump. Then again, the reason
this article is here is that Stiglitz correctly identifies who
profited from the recession: The very rich and hardly anyone else:
Yes, although "the
rules of the economy" can be - or perhaps I
should say: could be - easily righted by three broad measures:
"[T]he question is whether the United
States is rich enough to be able to make sure that everyone has a basic
right to healthcare, family leave, parental, you know, sick leave—we
are exceptional—whether we are a society that can tolerate—that should
tolerate the levels of inequality that we have," Stiglitz said at the
time. "I think Bernie Sanders is right about that."
On Wednesday, Stiglitz pointed out that
91 percent of economic gains made since the 2008 recession went to the
top one percent of earners, while the minimum wage has failed to keep
up with the pace of inflation by more than 60 years.
"The American economy is a failed
economy," he said. "We have to once again rewrite the rules of the
economy for the 21st century."
(i) appoint competent and honest people who are not (former)
members of Goldman Sachs etc. to run the American economy; (ii) return
to the kind of capitalist economy that did work quite well from
1945-1980; and (iii) nominate competent and honest keepers of the
and not eager and willing frauds like Eric Holder (who did not
prosecute any of the many rich frauds who ruined the economy for
everybody else, while profiting themselves).
But I am willing to agree with Stiglitz that while these three measures
probably would work, they are quite unrealistic in the present climate
economic fraud and deception,
where the very rich or their eager stooges have
been nominated again and again to profit themselves.
5. With TPP 'At Heart' of Obama Agenda, Critics Debunk Trade
The fifth and last item today is by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
The White House is gearing up for a
full-court press in support of the corporate-friendly Trans Pacific
launching its latest public relations campaign in favor of the deal on
Wednesday with a "flashy"
annual trade agenda.
The TPP is "at the heart of this
agenda," declares the document
(pdf) released by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
The 2016 blueprint also highlights
the administration's efforts to conclude other controversial trade
agreements, including the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment
between the U.S. and Europe and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), currently being
negotiated by the U.S., EU, and 22 other countries that account for
two-thirds of global GDP.
As I have said several times before:
I think the TTP, the TTIP, the TISA and
the CETA are all part of a neo-fascist plan to let the "multinational corporations rig the rules on
everything" by completely undoing any influence national parliaments,
national goverments, national judiciaries have, and to
give all these powers to the multi-national corporations and their
"courts" manned by their very own lawyers.
The main reason this is a neo-fascist plan
is that any multi-national corporations that believes its
"expected profits" in a country are lower than expected, can go
to a special "court" staffed by their own lawyers, that will
decide how many hundreds of millions or billions of dollars the people
of that country have to pay to the multi-national corporations,
for having adopted national laws that upset the "expected profits" - from cigarettes, oil, gas or anything - of
the multi-national corporations.
These neo-fascistic "courts" -
that totally outdo anything any national government, parliament,
judiciary or people want - will not have any appeal, and will exclude
anything that is not a multi-national corporation to plead in
it: No people, no small businesses, no
parliamentarians, no judges and no trade unions are
allowed to plead in it.
Here is an example of the fraudulent
lies the American government engages in to make this exclusively
pro-rich program look attractive:
And that was just Bill Clinton's creation of
the 1990ies, the NAFTA, which also did far less for "free
trade" (anyway a sick and manipulative term) than it did to
increase the profits of the multi-national corporations, by
allowing them to move from the USA to India or China, which
happened to make the very few very rich a lot richer, by
denying jobs to five million Americans, and by giving these
jobs to much less paid Indians, Pakistani or Chinese.
called "the United States' strategic neoliberal 'trade' treaty
Indeed, watchdog group Public Citizen put
out a memo on Wednesday debunking several of the Obama
administration's TPP talking points.
For example, while the USTR claims the
TPP will "cut over 18,000 taxes on Made-in-America exports, support
more high-paying U.S. jobs, and promote both our interests and our
values," Public Citizen points out that the TPP "includes rules that make it cheaper and less risky to
offshore U.S. jobs to low wage nations."
According to the memo:
The administration stopped claiming
the TPP would create jobs after a four Pinocchio rating by the Washington Post fact checker. Since the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), more than 57,000 U.S.
have closed and five million U.S. manufacturing jobs
– one in four – were
lost with more than 875,000 U.S.
workers certified under
just one narrow U.S. Department of Labor program.
But I agree it is true that is what the NAFTA was really for:
increase the profits of the multi-national corporations. Precisely the
same is true of the TTP, the TTIP, the TiSA and the CETA.
Finally, here is Senator Warren, who at least sees what is really
Yes, indeed. And I call that "fascism", because
this is fascism by a reasonable definition. Also see yesterday.
In February, at the end of the
negotiating process, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) urged
her colleagues "to reject the TPP and stop an agreement that would tilt
the playing field even more in favor of big multinational corporations
and against working families."
Noting that "most of the TPP's 30
chapters don't even deal with traditional trade issues," she argued,
"most of TPP is about letting multinational corporations rig the rules
on everything from patent protection to food safety standards—all to
This is also informed by my experiences at the University of Amsterdam,
from which I was removed, while seriously ill, briefly before taking my
M.A. in philosophy, because I was not a marxist, and because I believed
in truth and in science.
I learned in the UvA - of the early 1980ies - where I also created a
student- party, that between 5 and 10% of the students at the time were
interested in science and truth, and that the rest was there only to
get a degree, by any feasible means.
Something similar held for "the scientific staff": Only a few were really
interested in science and truth; most were there only because they were
very well paid for doing extremely little.
And I think that what I learned there, by means of the yearly
from 1971 till 1995, namely that about 1 in 20 is seriously interested
in science and truth, and the rest pretends, deceives and lies, is
correct (and was roughly the same for all the years these elections
You may disagree, but then you did not have my experiences, which also were extremely convincing and quite long:
Most students and most academics simply lie when they claim an interest in science. What they really mean is: We like easy well-paid jobs, and we are willing to lie a lot for that.
 You may disagree, but it is almost certainly true
that you did not read philosophy for over 45 years. I did, and
it is this that informs my judgement on Rorty, that I also will not
defend here, except by saying that I could quote quite a few
academically employed philosophers who think the same.
This is again also informed by my experiences in Holland, where e.g.
the Labour Party turned to "New Labour" i.e. pro rich frauds in the
1990ies (at the latest).