This is a crisis blog.
There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is
about an article that
shows that the Democrats have been telling the people (prior to
elections) that they want to get money out of politics for 40 years
now; item 2 notes that the "Freedom Act" is not
much good, although it is slightly less bad than the "Patriot Act"; item 3 is an interview with Chris Hedges about the
revolution he sees coming soon (without saying it will be a leftist
one); item 4 is by Robert Reich on the strong need
to tax the very rich a lot more than they are taxed now; and item 5 is an article by Norman Salomon that says there
much to celebrate with the "Freedom Act".
Finally, a repeat from yesterday. Here is a remark on my
summaries: I know that since circa June
11, 2013the titles
of my Nederlogs are pretty unclear, basically because most days I
reviewed at least five articles (which I did not do
and I can only use the titles of the articles if I publish each
separately, which is simply too much trouble.
However, I did all of this year start my Nederlogs with a summary,
while I have collected all of these summaries in English News (aka: summaries). This will help
you to find out what the Nederlogs are about.
40 Years of Democrats Talking About How Much They Want to Get Money Out
item is an article by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept:
On April 14 at an Iowa
community college, Hillary Clinton declared
that campaign finance reform will be one of the “four big
fights” of her presidential campaign:
I want to be the
champion who goes to bat for Americans …
We need to fix our
dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it
once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment.
And maybe she means it!
Of course, if she may
mean it she may also not mean it, and the rest of the article
that, yes: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter all told the same
story prior to their elections.
And see how much the rich and powerful have been tied by law! Well...
USA Freedom Act: Where Do
We Go From Here?
item is an article by Roisin Davies on Truthdig:
The passage of the USA
Freedom Act marks the first time in over three decades that a bill
restricting the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers has been
approved by both houses of Congress.
But, as Internet watchdog
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) makes clear, there is still a long
way to go. “The USA Freedom Act shows that the digital rights community
has leveled up.” Despite this small victory, they state, “we’re going
to need those skills as we turn to our larger mission: ending overbroad
surveillance of our digital lives.”
Indeed: "there is still a long way to go." The EFF also said, among other things, the
We fought hard to
get to this moment in history. Our long-term goals are ambitious—the
end of overbroad surveillance of all digital communications, a
recognition of the privacy rights of people outside the United States,
and strong accountability and oversight for surveillance practices.
Today’s Senate vote did not accomplish these things, but it did move us
a bit closer.
In recent years, there’s
been a small genre of left-of-center journalism that, following President Obama’s lead, endeavors to prove that
things on Planet Earth are not just going well, but have, in fact, never
been better. This is an inherently subjective claim, of course; it
requires that one buy into the idea
of human progress, for one thing. But no matter how it was framed,
there’s at least one celebrated leftist activist, author and journalist
who’d disagree: Chris Hedges.
In fact, in his
latest book, “Wages
of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt,” Hedges argues that
the world is currently at a crisis point the likes of which we’ve never
really seen. There are similarities between our time and the era of the
1848 revolutions throughout Europe — or the French Revolutionary era
that preceded them — he says. But in many ways, climate change least
among them, the stakes this time are much higher. According to Hedges,
a revolution is coming; we just don’t yet know when, where, how — or on
- or at least: That is what Chris Hedges is saying, and the present
article is an interview with Hedges, from which I will lift the bits in
which Hedges argues for the thesis in he title of this article.
think we are in a revolutionary era now? Or is it more something on the
It’s with us
already, but with this caveat: it is what Gramsci calls
interregnum, this period where the ideas that buttress the old ruling
elite no longer hold sway, but we haven’t articulated something to take
this says: I believe we are, but there is on the moment not much
evidence. My own reply is twofold: I am neither American nor have I
to America, but my guess is that it is less revolutionary than Hedges
thinks it is.
Then there is this:
there a revolutionary consciousness building in America?
Well, it is definitely
building. But until there is an ideological framework that large
numbers of people embrace to challenge the old ideological framework,
nothing is going to happen.
Chris Hedges is aware of Ferguson and Baltimore, but I agree with this.
We have, to
Ralston Saul, “undergone a corporate coup d’état in slow motion”
and it’s over. The normal mechanisms by which we carry out incremental
and piecemeal reform through liberal institutions no longer function.
They have been seized by corporate power — including the press. That
sets the stage for inevitable blowback, because these corporations have
no internal constraints, and now they have no external constraints.
and it was quite literally a "coup d’état" and
it did move slowly, for it has been building and developing since the
Hedges is aware that there may also be a right wing revolution rather
than a left wing one, and that "the left" is badly organized:
If things unravel
[in the U.S.], our backlash may very well be a rightwing backlash — a
very frightening rightwing backlash. We who care about populist
movements [on the left] are very weak, because in the name of
movements have been destroyed; we are almost trying to rebuild them
from scratch. We don’t even have the language to describe the class
warfare that is being unleashed upon us by this tiny, rapacious,
oligarchic elite. But we on the left are very disorganized, unfocused,
and without resources.
with most, but I don't agree with "the class warfare",
and that not because I cannot see there are a few rich and many poor,
and their real economic interests are generally opposed, but mostly
because (i) "class" is too abstract a concept, and (ii) also comes with
a considerable metaphysics (of which I got quite
a lot in the first twenty years of my life, since my parents were real Marxists).
Chris Hedges also says:
there’s nothing within human nature to argue that we won’t go down the
ways other civilizations have gone down. The difference is now, of
course, that when we go down, the whole planet is going to go with us.
bombs will be avoided, I think it is unlikely the planet will be
destroyed, but I agree that there is no reason whatsoever to believe
that the United States will last forever, and in fact most ruling
civilizations ruled for 100 - 250 years, and
the United States are at present around 240 years old.
4.MAKING THE ECONOMY WORK FOR
THE MANY, NOT THE FEW: #8 RAISE THE ESTATE TAX ON THE VERY RICH.
item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:
The morning after final
passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance
were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The new law, he
told me, is “a new spy program.” It restarts some of the worst aspects
of the Patriot Act and further codifies systematic violations of Fourth
Later on Wednesday, here
in Oslo as part of a “Stand Up For Truth” tour, Drake warned at a
public forum that “national security” has become “the new state
religion.” Meanwhile, his Twitter messages were calling the USA Freedom
Act an “itty-bitty step” — and a “stop/restart kabuki shell game” that
“starts w/ restarting bulk collection of phone records.”
Yes, indeed - as I
put it: It is too little, too late - and besides, since the NSA is
still secret and has been acting illegally for 14 years, it doesn't
seem smart to assume it will stick to the law this time. Besides, they
are aiming to get all the
information on anyone, and for total and absolute power.