Oct 17, 2016

Crisis: Trump & Fascism, Clinton's Emails, TISA = Neofascism
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Donald Trump: The Dress Rehearsal for Fascism
2. What We Know So Far About the Hillary Clinton
     Campaign’s Leaked Emails

3. WikiLeaks Reveals Corporate Demands from the
     European Union in the Trade in Services Agreement

This is a Nederlog of Monday, October 17, 2016.

A. This is a crisis log with 3 items and 3 dotted links: Item 1 is about an article by Chris Hedges on Trump; item 2 is about Hillary Clinton's emails; and item 3 is about the TISA, which is - like the TTP, the TTIP and the CETA - a plan to introduce neofascism on a worldwide scale, through legal changes pushed through in secret by some very few elected extremely corrupt politicians.

Also, there was a fourth item, but it disappeared between being listed and being reviewed.

-- Constant part, for the moment --

B. In case you visit my Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need to click/reload twice or more to see any changes I have made. This certainly held for me, but it is possible this was caused by the fact that I am also writing it from my computer.

In any case, I am now (again) updating the opening of my site with the last day it was updated. (And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. [1]

C. In case you visit my Danish site: It now works again (!), but I do not know how long it will keep working. The Dutch site still is a mess (but wasn't on Oct 15).

I am very sorry, and none of it is due to me. I am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that also went well for 20 or for 12 years.

I will keep this introduction until I get three successive days (!!!) in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen that for many months now.


1. Donald Trump: The Dress Rehearsal for Fascism

The first item today is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Americans are not offered major-party candidates who have opposing political ideologies or ideas. We are presented only with manufactured political personalities. We vote for the candidate who makes us “feel” good about him or her. Campaigns are entertainment and commercial vehicles to raise billions in advertising revenue for corporations. The candidate who can provide the best show gets the most coverage. The personal brand is paramount. It takes precedence over ideas, truth, integrity and the common good. This cult of the self, which defines our politics and our culture, contains the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity, self-importance, a need for constant stimulation, a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation, and incapacity for remorse or guilt. Donald Trump has these characteristics. So does Hillary Clinton.
Yes, I mostly agree, and specifically that politicians differ from other people in one thing only: They are far greater liars and deceivers than most others, and thereby are also considerably closer, on average at least, to a psychologist's idea of what Hedges (correctly) calls "the classic traits of psychopaths".

But then again:

(1) I should also add that I did agree with Hedges about this in 1969 and 1970 (when I was 19 and 20, and Hedges 13 and 14, and totally unknown to me), since when indeed I decided not to vote anymore for any Dutch politician, simply because I could not see any who was intelligent, honest and sensible. (And indeed I haven't, not for 46 years.)

(2) And I should add that if I were an American now (I am not: I am Dutch) I would vote, and for Clinton, and not because I like her, I respect her or I admire her (I don't do any of these things) but because her opponent is an insane neofascist in my psychologists' very well-informed view.

So while I mostly agree with Hedges, I do so since 1970, and also I take it that he and I disagree about voting for Clinton in the present election.

There is some more to follow this, but first to inverted totalitarianism, which is a concept and a term designed by the political phillosopher Sheldon Wolin (<- Wikpedia) who died last year:
Our system of inverted totalitarianism has within it the seeds of an overt or classical fascism. The more that political discourse becomes exclusively bombastic and a form of spectacle, the more that emotional euphoria is substituted for political thought and the more that violence is the primary form of social control, the more we move toward a Christianized fascism.
Yes and no. First on inverted totalitarianism. One of the (many) good things Chris Hedges did is to make a series of interviews with Sheldon Wolin in 2014, and one of the things I did was reviewing these.

Here is a bit I wrote on November 11, 2015 (between two lines - and this is a selection: there is considerably more there):

First, here are some links to Sheldon Wolin, who died recently, but who also made a series of interesting interviews with Chris Hedges. The first is here (I link to my Nederlog) and the rest (there were 8) folllow:
I think these all bear (re-)reading: It is an interesting series of interviews with an interesting man.

Next to "inverted totalitarianism". The Wikipedia lemma on
"inverted totalitarianism", which is my main source, starts as follows:
Inverted totalitarianism is a term coined by political philosopher Sheldon Wolin in 2003 to describe the emerging form of government of the United States. Wolin believes that the United States is increasingly turning into an illiberal democracy, and uses the term "inverted totalitarianism" to illustrate similarities and differences between the United States governmental system and totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union.
That is not much help. I know quite well what "totalitarianism" is (here is my own take on it, and this is the Wikipedia's) and indeed it is one of the main reasons I broke with communism (in which I was educated) aged 20 (in 1970), but how that can be "inverted" (and still be "totalitarian") is a bit of a riddle.
Here is some more on the meaning of "inverted totalitarianism":
In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse as the citizenry is lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism.

The problem with this is that the three linked terms in the last quotation are all Marxist or Leftist, and that they tend to be not well explained. I will give here an explanation of commodification.

As I understand it, "commodification" comes down to three theses:
(1) everything of human interest has and should have a price, in money;
(2) everything that has a price, embodies some profit;
(3) for the sellers of priced things, all that matters is the profit they make.

The first means that things like freedom, welfare, tolerance, knowledge, education, truth, love, honesty, fairness, integrity, religion, and science (and many more) all have their prices, like toilet paper, washing powder and bread (which seems a gross and false simplification of most human ends); the second means that all things that are sold realize some profit (which is false, but this may be saved by stipulating that losses are "negative profits" - which is done by banks, for example); and the third makes profits the main end of any economy (which again seems a gross and false simplification, that is mostly of service to the richest people, who profited the most from all the others).

But then nothing like this is given in the "inverted totalitarianism" lemma.
What is the sum-up of this brief investigation of the concept of "inverted totalitarianism"?

I did my best, but I did not fully clarify it. As is (I may change my opinion later) I think Wolin was right in stressing that the United States is growing totalitarian, corporatist, and indeed in some senses fascist - which was also acknowledged by Wolin, for in the same year that he published about inverted totalitarianism, he published about a new kind of fascism that he saw arising in the United States. [4]

I think now that the concept of "inverted totalitarianism" may be right to describe the transition from what I call capitalism-with-a-human-face (that lasted from 1946-1980, roughly) to capitalism-with-an-inhuman-face (that started around 1980 and is still continuing), but I guess it is merely true of the transition, and not of the end, which is simply that the corporations take full power, and tell everybody what to do, or else.

Yes, all of that was quoted from and written in 2015.

And I tend to disagree with Chris Hedges that "Christianized fascism", as he calls it, is brought closer and closer by a "
political discourse [that] becomes exclusively bombastic and a form of spectacle".

My reason is not that I admire bombast or spectacle; my reason is that there is a lot of bombast and spectacle in American politics (since many years, or indeed since many decades) that is not itself for Christianized fascism, or indeed for Christianity or for fascism.

I could say a lot more, but I think I have indicated sufficiently well why I tend  not to believe inverted totalitarianism is the finally correct analysis:

It seems to me more a concept and its associated ideology that correspond to a transitional stage, namely that between Keynesianism (<-Wikipedia), which was fairly humane and ruled from 1946-1980, and what I will call Friedmanian neofascism [2], that became dominant with Reagan. We will return to this below.

First, a bit more on WikiLeaks (more or less as an aside, it seems):

A memo addressed to the Democratic National Committee under the heading “Our Goals & Strategy” was part of the trove of John Podesta emails released this month by WikiLeaks.

“Our hope is that the goal of a potential HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] campaign and the DNC would be one-in-the-same: to make whomever the Republicans nominate unpalatable to the majority of the electorate. We have outlined three strategies to obtain our goal …,” it reads.

The memo names Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Ben Carson as candidates, or what the memo calls “Pied Piper” candidates who could push mainstream candidates closer to the positions embraced by the lunatic right.
I can't much object against that. (I dislike Clinton, and only prefer her to Trump because she is not insane whereas Trump is - which is an important argument, also - but I accept politicians play politicians' games, and this seems one of them.)

Then there is this on fascism:
Fascism, at its core, is an amorphous and incoherent ideology that perpetuates itself by celebrating a grotesque hypermasculinity, elements of which are captured in Trump’s misogyny. It allows disenfranchised people to feel a sense of power and to have their rage sanctified. It takes a politically marginalized and depoliticized population and mobilizes it around a utopian vision of moral renewal and vengeance and an anointed political savior. It is always militaristic, anti-intellectual and contemptuous of democracy and replaces culture with nationalist and patriotic kitsch. It sees those outside the closed circle of the nation-state or the ethnic or religious group as diseased enemies that must be physically purged to restore the health of nation.
No, I don't think so, and especially not that "[f]ascism, at its core, is an amorphous and incoherent ideology".

Then again, I am quite willing to agree that fascism (<- this is a list with 21 different definitions of the term on Wikipedia) is a difficult term to analyze well, while I admit I also still have not published my own definitions of fascism and neofascism so far.

I will do so later, with plenty of context as well, but here is my own definition of fascism (without context):
Fascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with centralized authority and a dictator, that suppresses the opposition through propaganda, censorship and terror, that propounds an ethics founded on discipline, virility, and collectivism, that has a politics that is totalitarian, anti-liberal, anti-individualist, anti-equality, and anti-Marxist, that is also authoritarian, rightwing and nationalistic, and often racist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy, b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.
I think this is better than what Chris Hedges gave (but I agree it is a difficult concept). And now we return to Sheldon Wolin:
I asked Wolin shortly before he died in 2015 that if the two major forms of social control he cited—access to easy and cheap credit and inexpensive, mass-produced consumer products—were no longer available would we see the rise of a more classical form of fascism. He said this would indeed become a possibility.
In fact Wolin said so already by himself in 2003, when he warned that the United States was developing towards fascism. That article was also on
Truthdig, but it disappeared, possibly because Wolin may have retracted it. [3]

But I think he was correct on that (and the "
access to easy and cheap credit" seems to be lost to many, meanwhile, incidentally).

Then there is this on Bill and Hillary Clinton:
Bill Clinton transformed the Democratic Party into the Republican Party. He pushed the Republican Party so far to the right it became insane. Hillary Clinton is Mitt Romney in drag. She and the Democratic Party embrace policies—endless war, the security and surveillance state, neoliberalism, austerity, deregulation, new trade agreements and deindustrialization —that are embraced by the Republican elites. Clinton in office will continue the neoliberal assault on the poor and the working poor, and increasingly the middle class, that has defined the corporate state since the Reagan administration. She will do so while speaking in the cloying and hypocritical rhetoric of compassion that masks the cruelty of corporate capitalism.
I mostly agree - and I add that while this is (more or less) true for both Clintons, it is doubly true for Donald Trump: The Clintons may be classified fairly well as pro-rightists who pose as leftists, but most of Trump's ideas are neofascistic, and he also doesn't pose as a leftist or a progressive.

Indeed, here is my definition of neofascism [5]:
Neofascism is a. A social system that is marked by a government with a centralized powerful authority, where the opposition is propagandized and suppressed or censored, that propounds an ethics which has profit as its main norm, and that has a politics that is rightwing, nationalistic, pro-capitalist, anti-liberal, anti-equality, and anti-leftist, and that has a corporative organization of the economy in which multi-national corporations are stronger than a national government or stateb. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a social system.
And this is part of Chris Hedges' ending:
The Democratic and Republican parties may be able to disappear Trump, but they won’t disappear the phenomena that gave rise to Trump.

I agree, and I myself would add that these "phenomena" are mainly a concerted approach towards neofascism that was started by Thatcher and Reagan, and that has won most of the political, legal and other fights since then.

This is a recommended article, but in case you decide to read it all, it makes sense to keep in mind my definitions of fascism and neofascism, that I will soon publish in full.

2. What We Know So Far About the Hillary Clinton Campaign’s Leaked Emails

The second item is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Truthdig and originally on Democracy Now!:

This starts with the following introduction:

Lee Fang of The Intercept, co-author of the article “Memo Shows What Major Donors Like Goldman Sachs Want From Democratic Party,” reviews what we’ve learned so far from leaks of John Podesta’s emails. Podesta is chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Last week, WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of Podesta’s emails, including excerpts of the Democratic nominee’s paid speeches to Wall Street firms.

Democracy Now! reports:

The emails showed Clinton’s closed-door remarks were starkly at odds with many of her public positions. In one speech to a housing trade group in 2013, Clinton spoke of needing “both a public and a private position” when crafting laws. In other speeches, Clinton largely absolved Wall Street firms for the crash of 2008 and said financial reform “really has to come from the industry itself.” The leaked emails also show Clinton openly boasted about her support of fracking while secretary of state. In a speech to Deutsche Bank in 2013, she said, “I’ve promoted fracking in other places around the world.”

I did not review Fang's article, but I have written about Hillary Clinton's ideas that she needs "“both a public and a private position” when crafting laws" and about her notion that "financial reform “really has to come from the industry itself”": Both are very wrong.

Here is more on Fang and Clinton:

Lee Fang: Amy, thank you so much for having me.

These emails are very interesting. They provide a window into Clinton and her experiences, certainly her speeches. I don’t believe that there are any huge bombshells, that this will change the course of the general election. Maybe if these emails came out earlier in the year, during the Democratic primary, that could have maybe changed history. But this won’t change the course of the general election.

That being said, the emails really show, including the transcripts, that Hillary Clinton is far more conservative, far more business-friendly, when she’s speaking with aides, when she’s giving speeches to these Wall Street banks. Also, the emails show that Clinton’s inner circle is filled with wealthy people, Wall Street types, Washington insiders, that are kind of part of a—what you might call a Washington bubble.
Yes, I agree. But this is not very astouding. And there is this on Clinton and the media:

Amy Goodman: Lee Fang, talk about what the emails show about the Clinton campaign’s relationship with the media and specific reporters.

Lee Fang: Right. So, this is another kind of very revealing memo. For many years, the Clinton campaign, both directly and through its surrogates, has tried to cast the media as, you know, bitterly opposed to Clinton, that a lot of reporters have a chip on their shoulder, that they’ve tried to drag down Hillary Clinton and that there’s this kind of antagonistic relationship. But some of these leaked and hacked memos reveal that there’s actually a very cozy relationship between Hillary Clinton and many of the very powerful players in the media. There were these off-the-record and regular meetings and drinking sessions and dinners. They were regularly planting stories with reporters to shape the way that the campaign was covered.
I agree again, and also note that Hillary Clinton'y story about a massive rightist media attack dates back to the nineties.

In any case, it seems to me that one can infer from the leaked e-mails that Clinton is not honest, is pro bankers, and is "far more conservative,
far more business-friendly" then she admits to her voters.

But I knew that for a long time, and so did many other intelligent people.

3. WikiLeaks Reveals Corporate Demands from the European Union in the Trade in Services Agreement

The third and last item today is by Deborah James on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

Friday, for the first time, WikiLeaks released demands by the EU to lock in a wide list of services sectors to TISA’s privatization and deregulation provisions, including public services in developing countries. In the mid-2000s, when European campaigners leaked similar demands during corporate efforts to expand the General Agreement on Trade in Services, the EU was forced to walk back many of those demands. The European pressure on developing countries was widely condemned by the public, and revealed the corporate, antidevelopment efforts behind the deal, just as they were revealed Friday.

Global union federations, including Public Services International (PSI), the International Union of Food workers (IUF), International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), UNI Global Union, and Education International (EI) as well as European federations including the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) and UNI Europa, for the first time made united call to suspend the talks, available here [PDF].

Note this is about the TISA, which is one of the four "agreements" that seek to impose neofascism virtually anywhere, by legal changes and deregulations. The other three are the TTP, the TTIP and the CETA. (And for neofascism see here.)

Also, I remark that one of the very sick, typically fascist, things that is extremely wrong with these "agreements" is that these now are secret for some 10 years (namely since "mid-2000s").

This is neofascism which is being introduced in a neofascist way: Not even parliamentarians are allowed to share anything they may have read, if they were allowed to read anything, and if they were, they were not even allowed to take notes: That is how neofascistic (see here) these "agree- ments" are, and have been, for 10 years now.

And here is part of my reasons to call the TISA, the TTP, the TTIP and the CETA all neofascistic plans that attempt to do the same: Introduce neofascism in a secret way, and throughout most of the world:

Given that public opposition in Europe to the proposed EU-U.S. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has put its advance on hold, and the given the growing opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), corporations and the governments they represent have been hoping to get the TISA completed before a change in U.S. administration. But this corporate charade must not be hastened to a conclusion before President Obama leaves office, without the global public even hearing of it, let alone debating its pros and cons.

And namely: Because all the democratic, parliamentary and legal interests, rights and powers that "the global public" have, and got during fights with the rich that lasted a 100 years, are going to be completely withdrawn, and are intended to be withdrawn mostly in secret, and behind their backs.

There is this:

The EU’s demands also include access to sanitation, sewage, and other environmental services, which are often administered on a local level; telecommunications (including broadcasting); retail and distribution services; shipping; air and maritime transport; energy and mining services (which are extremely sensitive particularly in Latin America); and others. In addition, the EU is requesting more commitments on financial services in nearly every country.

But that is utter baloney: "The EU’s demands" are mostly a riddle, since the texts of these "agreements" are secrets, and "the EU" (which in fact is a neofascistic organization) should not try to make deals: it should refuse the destruction of the parliamentary, national, democratic and legal rights Europeans have.

Here are some of the neofascist plans that are known (after 10 years of utter secrecy):

According to the analysis provided by University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, under the proposed TISA rules, governments “could not restrict the size of financial institutions;” “no firewalls would be allowed between insurance, investment banking, [and] retail banking to prevent use of depositors’ funds for speculative market trades.” The banning of toxic financial services and products would not be allowed ― including products developed in the future; severe restrictions would be placed on the use of capital controls; financial firms would have the right to intervene in the policy-making processes of other parties’ legislatures, and in many areas, would be allowed to “self-regulate,” even when these firms have been shown unable to do so.

This is complete neofascism: Absolutely everything is designed to maximalize the profits of the very rich, and everything that might hamper or hinder that is radically forbidden  by the neofascistic lawyers that serve the rich.

Here is some proof - that was derived from the leaks to this neofascistic program:

At that time, the Our World is Not For Sale network (OWINFS) argued:

The TISA negotiations largely follow the corporate agenda of using ‘trade’ agreements to bind countries to an agenda of extreme liberalization and deregulation in order to ensure greater corporate profits at the expense of workers, farmers, consumers and the environment. The proposed agreement is the direct result of systematic advocacy by transnational corporations in banking, energy, insurance, telecommuni- cations, transportation, water, and other services sectors, working through lobby groups like the US Coalition of Service Industries (USCSI) and the European Services Forum (ESF).

Friday’s leaks prove the network’s arguments beyond a shadow of a doubt.

They are neofascists (many of whom also are elected politicians) who are going to betray all the rights, all the laws, and all the regulations that were wrested from the rich during more than a 100 years, and they are doing that also in secret, and with the help of many politicians (who are nearly all corrupt liars).

And once again, here is the neofascism of the TISA (and the TTP, the TTIP and the CETA):

The TISA is currently being negotiated among 50 countries (or 23 parties, counting the EU as one) with the aim of extending the coverage of scope of the existing General Agreement on allTrade in Services in the WTO. However, even worse than the opaque talks at the WTO, the TISA negotiations are being conducted in complete secrecy.

It has all been "conducted in complete secrecy" for 10 years now by your very own corrupted politicians, who all are as honest and as fair as is Hillary Clinton.

If you want to remove, as a lying political careerist, all the rights, all the laws, and all the regulations that were wrested from the rich during more than a 100 years, then that is how you do it: In secret, while spinning lie upon lie upon lie how much you care for "people's rights".

[1] Alas, this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for months now. I do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of "xs4all" (really: the KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from 2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because "you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which is the perfect excuse never to do anything whatsoever for anyone).

[2] I am sorry, but I do not consider economy a real science (if it were, far more economists would have predicted the crisis of 2008) and I consider Milton Friedman (<- Wikipedia) a neofascistic fraud who very much supported Augusto Pinochet (<- Wikipedia) in Chili.

[3] Yes, indeed. I have written about this before, but I cannot find the article now, although I have it somewhere.

[5] This is from my "On fascism and neofascism - I" that I have written but still have to publish. It will be published soon.

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