1. R.I.P. TTIP?
2. Beyond Schadenfreude, the Spectacular Pundit Failure
on Trump Is Worth Remembering
3. "Slickest Con Man Out of NYC": Donald Trump Set to Be
Don’t Know What Lies Behind the Door of a Trump
Presidency. Do You?
5. In This Passionate Anti-Fracking Town, Civil
Disobedience Just Became
Protected Civic Duty
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, May 5,
This is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 combines two articles on TTIP with a repeat of an explanation I made (several times also); item 2 is about a nice article by Glenn Greenwald on the very many failures who
predicted Trump would fail; item 3 is in fact about Trump's many mafia connections; item 4 is about a fairly stupid if probably well-intentioned article; while item 5 is about some help to people who want to ban fracking (but it is only by one quite small community).
1. R.I.P. TTIP?
first item is by
Don Quijones on Raging Bull-Shit:
I do not
follow this by my usual "This starts as follows", because I had saved -
typed over, copied mechanically, by hand, because The Guardian does not
want people like me to discuss their daily news  - a
quotation from Trevor Timm
in yesterday's Guardian that is quite clear.
Here it is:
(..) the Independent summed it up
nicely: "The documents show that US corporations will be granted
unprecedented powers over any new public health or safety regulations
to be introduced in the future. If any European government does dare to
bring in laws to raise social or environmental standards, TTIP will
grant US investors the right to sue for loss of profits."
Yes, indeed. And my addition to that,
yesterday, was as follows:
This only misses the following
And that is neofascism. Wished
upon you by many of your current politicians.
You may disbelieve this. Here is part of
argument of April 29 last, where I used it to also style
"neoliberalism", which is mostly the propaganda version of the same, as shown:
Here is a point by point outline of "neoliberalism":
In other words, neoliberalism is the ideology
of the rich careerists, the immoral profiteers, the sadistic
exploiters, and the egoistic and greedy speculators, and indeed a far
better term for it then "neoliberalism" or even "neoconservatism" is
- neoliberalism is against the state and governments:
it objects to their laws, and insists these restrain
personal freedoms (including those of the rich and the powerful
as they please, without any legal restrictions
- neoliberalism sees only one source of
freedom: the freedoms delivered by the markets, which give consumers
the right to choose from 32 different kinds of bagels or 40 kinds of
- neoliberalism insists that taxes are
and should be minimal; that all legal regulations should be minimal;
and that public services should be privatized (so that people can make
a profit from "caring for the poor and the ill and the mad");
- neoliberalism is against trade unions,
labor organizations or collective bargaining: all of these destroy the
liberties of the rich (in their opinion);
- neoliberalism insists that all inequalities
are fair and deserved, and should be furthered, and
promises that the riches given to the few (e.g. by cutting their taxes)
will "trickle down to the many" (which is a lie);
- neoliberalism insist that only
markets and only profits will deliver whatever is fair
for anyone, and
that poverty is a just punishment for laziness, and
that whoever is poor owes it to themselves.
Neoliberalism = Neofascism
Fundamentally it is an ideology of the
rich and of careerists
who would like to be extremely rich, and who disregard or
damn all legal or moral restraints on their desires and their
decisions to make them rich. It is a kind of fascism, because
it explicitly sides with the rich against everybody else, and
because it denies all morality and all moral restraints in the
fights ("the competition") for a greater size of the markets
and for a greater net profits. Besides, it
denies the values of democracy, equality, science and freedom
for all (rather than just the freedom of the rich and their lawyers
to do as they please: these "freedoms" are much admired and
much craved by the "neoliberals").
It is an ideology of the rich for the rich, that pretends to be
"liberty for all" in order to make the rich as free as
damning everybody else as lazy loosers, and taking away as many as possible of their remaining rights.
Next, to start with Don Quijones article, it's start is basically
the same as Trevor Timm's quote that I started with:
Yes and no, in fact, although the article is
TTIP, the once super-secret
transatlantic trade deal that is now broadly despised on both sides of
the Atlantic, may not be alive yet but it could soon be dead. And all
thanks to leaks which confirm a longstanding suspicion in Europe that
the ultimate goal of TTIP is to pry open European markets for big U.S.
corporations, with little offered in the way of reciprocity.
The UK Independent reports
that the 248 pages of documents released by Greenpeace show that the
“hated” deal would grant US corporations “unprecedented powers” over
any new public health or safety regulations to be introduced in the
It is iron-clad confirmation that many of
our biggest fears were well-founded. At long last the treaty that
should not be named is being exposed to the harsh light of day, all its
darkest intentions splashed across the front pages of Europe’s biggest
If any European government does dare
to bring in laws to raise social or environmental standards, TTIP will
grant US investors the right to sue for loss of profits.
Yes, it would do all these things, but no: it is even
worse (as far as I know the TTIP can also undo all the changes that have made Europe different from the
USA, again on the ground that these changes limited the
expected profits from American
multi-national corporations) and it really is an explicit extremely
gross neofascistic bill that tries to impose the supremacy of American
CEOs of American companies over virtually every legal, human,
parliamentary approved decision of the inhabitants of Europe.
It is plain, sick neofascism; it clearly wants to undo all the rules
that limit corporate profit-making; and it clearly wants the European
populations to repay American multi-national corporations anything they might have less than
the expected profits they planned.
It is totally unfair sick and insane degeneracy that will only help the rich 1%.
And no: This is extremely dangerous until it is definitely
flushed down the toilet, and part of the dangers is that one cannot
trust any professional European politician who is pro the EU: They probably
have been bought by rich Americans to defraud their own populations.
Here is some more from the R.I.P. article:
And this is also good (and there is a
considerable amount more):
Here’s a check list of other widely held
fears that appear to have been confirmed in the last two days:
Most importantly, TTIP, together with its
sister deals TPP, CETA and TiSA, would — as I warned in the 2013
article “The Global Corporatocracy is Almost Fully Operational”
— usher in a whole new era of corporate dominance that would put the
current one to shame.
- TTIP would represent a direct threat
to the existence of public health services in Europe — CHECK
- If TTIP is signed, taking proactive
steps to protect the environment would be much harder on both sides of
the Atlantic — CHECK
- TTIP would almost certainly spell the
end of the precautionary principle in Europe, which will be replaced by
weaker, corporate-friendlier standards — CHECK
- It would also represent the final
victory of Monsanto & Friends, which have faced massive public
resistance in Europe and have struggled to overcome many European
lawmakers’ aversion to granting their GMO seeds blanket approval for
European markets — CHECK
- TTIP would accelerate data flows between
the U.S. and Europe, with seemingly little in the way of data
protection. Like TPP, it would also lead to much stricter rules on
encryption and much stiffer enforcement of intellectual property rules,
with serious implications for internet rights and access to medicines —
- The trade deal would almost certainly
sound the death knell of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) “General
Exceptions” rule (which allows nations to regulate trade “to protect
human, animal and plant life or health” or for “the conservation of
exhaustible natural resources). The rule did not even merit a mention
in the leaked text.
Also, as Nick Drearden of Global
Justice Now warns, a system is already in place in Europe for
trade deals to come into effect even without a vote in member
It is for this reason, together with the
Commission’s brazen disdain for democratic process, it’s probably too
early yet to begin writing TTIP’s obituary. TTIP, like CETA and TPP,
have an enormous amount of political — and financial — capital behind
them. For TTIP’s supporters failure is not an option, especially after
so many years of tireless scheming in (to quote The
Independent) “fanatical secrecy.”
Under something known as ‘provisional implementation’,
CETA could take effect in Britain early next year without a
parliamentary vote here. In fact, even if the British parliament voted
CETA down, the corporate court system would still stay in effect for 3
Yes, indeed. And this is a recommended article.
Beyond Schadenfreude, the Spectacular Pundit Failure on Trump Is Worth
The second item is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
I will start this item also a bit
differently, namely by saying that I have been waiting for a
while on an article like this one, precisely because I have seen many
extremely confident pundits (whose extreme confidence was purely
synthetic and founded on very little), repeat and repeat that Donald
Trump would not make it.
Also, I am very sure that I saw only a tiny bit of
confidence men and women on American TV, while Glenn Greenwald at least
saw considerably more than I did (because I am not American, I don't
have a TV since 46 years, and don't like propaganda,
Here is Glenn Greenwald's start:
At this point, you are being served 14 "humiliating examples"
that I will leave all to your interests, and you can see them all by
clicking the above link. No doubt there are hundreds or thousands more.
Trying to predict the future can be fun,
which is why — from office sports pools to stock market speculation
— many do it. Generally, though, people make such
predictions with at least some humility: with the knowledge
that they do not actually know what the future holds.
But not America’s beloved political
pundits. When they pronounce what the future has in store for us, it
comes in the form of definitive decrees, shaped with the tone of
authoritative certainty. With a few exceptions, those who purported to
see the future of the 2016 GOP nomination process spent many
months categorically assuring everyone that, polls notwithstanding,
Donald Trump simply could not, would not, become the GOP nominee; one
could spend all day posting humiliating examples, so a representative
sampling will have to suffice:
Here I will only consider three more general points Glenn Greenwald
gives about these heaps of - I am sorry but it simply is true - blatant
The first one is completely right:
ponder the vast amount of journalistic energies and resources
devoted to trying to predict election outcomes. What value does
that serve anyone? The elections are going to be held and the
outcome will be known once the votes are counted. Why would journalists
decide that it’s important for the public to hear their guesses about
who will win and lose?
Yes, indeed - and here are my answers: There
is no value whatsoever in any journalist's predictions of election
outcomes - but thousands of journalists write them nevertheless,
because it all is so extremely easy, and because all these
confident predictions will tend to disappear from any public knowledge
are wrong, indeed with the exception of Donald Trump's demise, at least
Then there is this:
who issued such definitive, hubristic certainties — that turned
out to be totally, fundamentally wrong — owe some self-accounting and a
serious self-analysis about how and why they went so wrong.
Perhaps. But I tend to believe that most of
them - in the main media, at least - are professional liars anyway, and that is also why they did write
and publish their confident lies about Trump's demise: It was all so
very easy to do, and few if any expected to be taken up on their blatantly false predictions.
Finally, there is this third point:
there are — and we’re far from the first ones to note this — some
serious problems in political journalism reflected by
this insistent, pervasive belief that Trump could not possibly win
(the belief that Clinton
would waltz to the nomination without any serious challenge
reflects a similar problem).
Yes, and both predictions seem false now. I
will not consider the "serious problems in
political journalism" here and now (I did this before, also) but
I do want to register two things that most journalists never
(1) The majority of the American voters is stupid and ignorant (and
of them has an IQ under 100), and also
(2) they are more stupid and more ignorant than the European voters,
in considerable part because of religion and
I am sorry that I have to make these points explicitly, but both are
true, and both are - to the best of my knowledge - only explicitly
stated (among prominent public figures) by Bill Maher.
(<- This is a recent video with him, explaining why most Americans
3. "Slickest Con
Man Out of NYC": Donald Trump Set to Be GOP Nominee
The third item is by Amy Goodman and Juan González:
This starts as follows:
As Donald Trump virtually clinches the
Republican presidential nomination after Senator Ted Cruz suspends his
campaign following a devastating defeat in the Indiana primary, we are
joined by Tom Robbins, investigative journalist in residence at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, who has
reported on Trump’s history of close relationships with organized crime
figures in the United States.
I should note that this article was
written before Kasich also got out of the presidential race, and I
suppose that currently most people, and certainly
Donald Trump, think Trump has won the Republican
Here is one bit by Tom Robbins:
TOM ROBBINS: (..) Who
would have thunk it? Right? I mean, you have the slickest con man out
of New York City, and has just been basically made the Republican
nominee by the Hoosiers of Middle America. It’s an astonishing thing.
And I guess it goes to show that the Republicans have just as little
idea as to who their base is as the Democrats.
There is a lot more in the article, but
(i) it is mostly about Trump's past, and (ii) maybe Tom Robbins is less
explicit than he might have been. But in any case, he does describe
Trump as "the slickest con man out of New York
City", while most of his other material suggests
Trump has many ties with the mafia.
I am not - at all - amazed, but I leave
this to your interests.
4. I Don’t Know What Lies Behind the Door of a Trump
Presidency. Do You?
The fourth item
is by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This starts as follows
O well... I do meanwhile know that Alexander
Reed Kelly is - hm - not among the brightest people I have read, though he probably means well.
But this is quite disingenuous:
Dear Liberal Friends,
Is Donald Trump’s success in the
Republican primary really so surprising? The party has been
constituting itself according to our species’ worst impulses for
decades, and by the light of our culture, Trump is a logical successor
to what came before. Yes, we have to “stop” him. But it is far from
certain that this means we must support Clinton, who through her
policies may have ruined, degraded and destroyed far more lives than he
has, as journalists and scholars have reported for more than a decade.
I’m struck that many of you have succumbed
to the idea of Clinton’s inevitability. Why are you not instead doing
all you can to get Bernie Sanders nominated and elected?
Trump's success was not predicted by many; he also is not "a logical
successor to what came before him", for the simple reason that he is
not a real conservative; and while I agree one must support Bernie
Sanders till the end, there is no explicit consideration of the
following values at all:
For genuine progressives and liberals, this is
Bernie Sanders is much better than Hillary Clinton
All you need is some real information on what they are for or against.
And no, you do not need to like Hillary Clinton at all (I don't,
either) to see that the
who is much better
than Donald Trump.
above valuation is correct (and of course: supposing you are a liberal or a progressive).
Here is some more from Kelly:
The progressive champion Ralph
Nader is often disparaged for having suggested, around the start of
George W. Bush’s stolen presidency, that conditions in our society must
worsen before they can get better. I’m not sure he’s right either.
Really now? The final bit I'll quote is this:
I honestly don’t know what lies
behind the door of a Trump presidency. Do you?
As to the first two statements:
On the other hand, we have two-and-a-half
decades worth of reasons to fear what a new Clinton presidency may
bring: yet more breaks for the powerful and the rich, whose stupid,
persistent habit is to consolidate misery and frustration for their
fellow citizens; another decade of lost earnings and debt for my
generation and the one that comes next; and the likely chronic grimness
of millions of older Americans who will have every reason to suspect
they won’t escape this madhouse in what remains of their lives.
This also was the reasoning behind many average well-behaved
solid-thinking probably rather nice and kind Germans in 1932, who said to
each other "I honestly don’t know what lies
behind the door of a Hitler presidency. Do you?" 
And as to Hillary Clinton: I don't like her; I think she works for the
American big banks, who also made her a millionaire; I think she is far
too hawkish, and there is lots more I can say in criticism, but also -
speaking as a psychologist -
she is not insane, and she knows a lot about American government. In
I think Donald Trump is probably not sane; is totally unpredictable;
has hardly any knowledge of government or foreign policy; and is far too
temperamental and vindictive to be president of the most powerful
nation on earth.
But OK... I am being reasonable and rational, and that is very much a
position. (And see .) Here is my brief diagnosis:
If you don't know now whether Hitler made a good
president of Germany in the 1930ies, vote Trump on the same reasoning, if he is presidential candiate;
otherwise do not.
Many of America's vastly undereducated voters may agree...(and vote Trump: for what do they know about Hitler? And see .)
5. In This Passionate Anti-Fracking Town, Civil
Disobedience Just Became Protected Civic Duty
The fifth item is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
For one community attempting to stop
fracking wastewater injection wells, civil disobedience just became a
sanctioned civic right.
The community is Grant Township, Pa.,
which, in November 2015, had fought off the Pennsylvania General Energy
Company (PGE) and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association
(PIOGA), assertion that fossil fuel companies had a 'right' to inject
wastewater by adopting
the country’s first municipal charter establishing a local bill of
rights codifying environmental and democratic rights.
I agree this is somewhat good
and repeated the second paragraph to have the community identified, and
some abbreviations explicated, but it might have been added
that according to Wikipedia, Grant Township had 696 people in 175
families, spread over 27 square miles (70 km²), in the year 2000. I
don't think the population grew very much since.
Here is what the township did:
But facing ongoing litigation with PGE,
the township has taken another creative approach to protect itself by
passing a new ordinance on Tuesday that protects those taking direct
action to uphold the charter from arrest. According to a press release
from Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), which has
helped the township craft its charter and wage its legal battle:
If a court does not uphold the
people’s right to stop corporate activities threatening the well-being
of the community, the ordinance codifies that, "any natural person may
then enforce the rights and prohibitions of the charter through direct
action." Further, the ordinance states that any nonviolent direct
action to enforce their Charter is protected, "prohibit[ing] any
private or public actor from bringing criminal charges or filing any
civil or other criminal action against those participating in
nonviolent direct action."
I agree, and while I think the last bit
was once covered by the Bill of Rights,
that Bill seems to have diminished much in practical value because it
been undermined by "legislation" like the Patriot Act (and later ones),
addition that nonviolent action is permitted does seem reasonable.
Here is someone who thinks the same:
Yes, perhaps - but again, this concerns
around 700 persons, so far, and
Among those expressing support for the
ordinance is noted climate activist Tim DeChristopher, who said, "I’m
encouraged to see an entire community and its elected officials
asserting their rights to defend their community from the assaults of
the fossil fuel industry."
He took to Twitter to praise the move as
it "one of the boldest moves to stop the natural gas industry's attacks
on our communities, climate and democracy."
27 square miles of territory. It is something, but it is not much.
 Because they made The Guardian impossible to copy. The same happened recently to Slate. I am firmly against it, for these measures make it impossible to discuss the daily news without adding a whole lot of totally unnecessary work.
 While in fact there were many reasons to be firmly against Hitler, but it is true very few ordinary non-political Germans of 1930-1932 did know these reasons.
In this connection, here is a quotation from George Orwell's "London
Letter to Partisan Review" of June 1945 (and there are quite a few
similar statements by Orwell):
A thing that has much struck me
in recent years is that the most enormous crimes and disasters -
purges, deportations, wars, broken treaties - not only fail to excite
the big public, but can actually escape notice altogether, so long as
they do not happen to fit in with the political mood of the moment.
Thus it is possible now to rouse a certain amount of indignation about
Dachau, Buchenwald, etc., and yet before the war it was impossible to
get the average person to take the faintest interest in such things,
although the most horrible facts had had abundant publicity. If you
could have taken a Gallup poll in 1939 I imagine you would have found
that a majority, or at least a very big minority, of adult English
people had not even heard of the existence of German concentration
camps. The whole thing had slid off their consciousness, since it was
not what they then wanted to hear.
The point to quote this is - among other things - that this is true; it is still true; and it explains why so many did not know, what they could have easily known: not because they never heard it, but simply because they were uninterested in knowing it and uinterested in remembering it.
-- Orwell, "The Collected Essays" etc. Vol 3, p. 433