This is a Nederlog
of Friday, December 3, 2015.
is a crisis file. It also is a crisis file "new style"
that will rely less
on following the news and more on explaining the backgrounds of the
This file consists of 4 items with 4 dotted links: item
1 is about an aricle on the TiSA; item 2 is
about how the state of emergency in France gets used; item
3 is about how the Republicans are shredding the American Republic;
and item 4 is part 2 from 7 of an interview Paul
Jay had in 2013 with Chris Hedges.
1. How the Toxic Trade Deal You've Never Heard
Of Could Kill the Climate
This first item is by Deirdre Fulton on
This starts as follows on the TiSA (and the
other toxic trade deals Obama is such an enthousiast for are the TTP
and the TTIP):
leaders attempt to hammer out a global climate deal in
Paris this week, trade officials are meeting in Geneva to continue
negotiations on the mammoth Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)—and according to
secret documents published
Thursday, "the objectives of each could not be more diametrically
publication by WikiLeaks exposes new threats from TISA, the least
well-known of the so-called Big Three "strategic neoliberal trade deals
being advanced by the Obama administration."
Note all three
toxic trade deals are so stinking, so rotten, so unfair, so degenerate
that none of the texts is
("officially")known, as all of
the texts are deep secrets
are not even readable by any parliamentarian. (!!)
of the very few who dare to publish these secrets that will, if
adopted, destroy democracy in the US and Europe, and also destroy most
of the powers of government, which will be taken over by private firms
and the ISDS. And note please that they can only publish what they
somehow got, which very well may not be all nor the most recent.
The TiSA deals
corporatist fascistic "deals" trying to make the world safe for the
richest, and make everybody else
into an exploitable object of maximum
profit for the richest, without almost any legal or political
Here is what the
secret TiSA is about:
being negotiated by the U.S., EU and 22 other countries that
account for two-thirds of global GDP, would be the largest trade treaty
of its kind in history and takes
aim at the world's massive service industries.
World Bank figures, "services"—an umbrella term that covers everything
from package delivery to telecommunications to finance to energy
production—comprise 75 percent of the EU economy, 80 percent of the
U.S. economy, and the majority of the global economy.
Please note that "services" are (apart
from energy production) not
productive of real goods.
Also, here are two background remarks:
First, when I heard Holland was going to be "a service economy" around
2002 (the same time the euro was introduced, that promptly made
everything twice as expensive) I thought: "But how do they guarantee
wages will remain at the levels they were the ladt 30 years or so?".
That was a good question, and it turns out there was no guarantee whatsoever.
Second, John Maynard Keynes thought, back
in the 1930ies, that it would be about now - the first half or quarter
of the 21st Century - that people in general (in the West, at least)
would be able to work much less, and still
enjoy the same income, since much could be left to machines and
technology. I think he was quite right,
but he hadn't counted with the enormous greed and egoism of the rich,
and with the corruptibility of elected politicians and non-elected
three "trade deals" are much
less about trade than about giving nearly full control to the
multi-national corporations and their specially created "legal
representatives", the ISDS, at the cost of control by national
governments, national institutions of law, and national elected
the public goods these tried
to establish will be replaced
by just one criterion:
Does the measure these propose - governmental, legal, political - give
multi-national corporations the profits they counted with? If yes, the measure may pass; if no, the measure very well may be
attacked in front of a "legal" ISDS that replaces national courts, and cannot
Here is the assessment of the International Transport Workers Federation's (ITF) about the
International Transport Workers Federation's (ITF) assessment of the Annex
on Road Freight Transport and Related Logistical Services is no
less damning, observing
that this chapter joins other draft
texts published by WikiLeaks "to form an overarching trade
liberalization agenda, fragmenting the trucking industry, opening up
sensitive areas of the transport sector to international competition,
and contributing to the ongoing privatization of public services,
undercutting workers' rights, public health and safety, and the ability
of national governments to plan and direct their own industrial and
almost all of that will be done by private corporations who will run
these public goods for the private profits of their owners and
shareholders, who often live completely elsewhere.
There is also this, and this does not just apply to fracking but to everything:
as the "Free Fracking Agreement," Menotti says that
under the deal, "popular policies like requiring public input for big
projects, approving building in sensitive areas, or hiring local labor,
are all stealthily made vulnerable to being attacked."
And there is this on the climate:
the outcomes of the Paris climate talks, if TISA was passed it would
massively reduce the ability of national governments to make the sort
of rational choices about energy production that would move us further
towards a low carbon economy," Dearden continued.
"TISA seeks to
place corporate handcuffs on our governments at a time when they need
as much flexibility as possible to steer us away from fossil fuel
dependency," he said. "If we want to fight climate change, we must also
stop TISA and the other toxic trade deals that are being cooked up
behind closed doors."
In brief: You can forget about trying to
undo the climate changes when there is a TiSA. (It will not be profitable to the
multi-national corporations, and therefore
trying stop or undo the climate changes will be ditched.)
2. State of Emergency in
France: 2,200 Police
Raids, 3 Closed Mosques, Hundreds of Muslims Detained
The second item is Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:
This starts as follows:
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced Wednesday that
authorities had carried out more than 2,200 raids since a state of
emergency was declared following the November 13 attacks that killed
130 people. Under the state of emergency, French police can raid any
home without judicial oversight. In addition, police have held 263
people for questioning – nearly all have been detained. Another 330
people are under house arrest, and three mosques have also been shut
down. The vast majority of those targeted in the raids have been Muslim.
Note the "without judicial oversight". And here is how the "state of
emergency" is applied these days: People get arrested - NB: "without
judicial oversight" - because they are suspected of behaving
suspicuously, which is free enough to lock up any Frenchman. (You need
not to have behaved suspicuously in any way ever in your life: what
matters is that someone suspects you may have. And bang, you are arrested, all "without judicial oversight".):
First, the background of this law
is, in 1955, during the Algerian war they declared a state of
emergency. But, it was against dangerous activities. Now they raid
people and put them under house arrest under the suspicion of, what can
we say — no, the suspicion of suspicious behavior. So now they are
trying to criminalize even the intention of people and that’s why most
of the raids did not bring anything tangible because now the local
governor can decide which home can be raided, which restaurant and they
barely have — they don’t have to even explain themselves. And now we
see a blatant case of an authoritarian regime being implemented upon us.
There is considerably more in the article.
3. How Republicans Shred the
The third item is by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship on Consortiumnews:
This has a summary:
ideology that drives today’s Republican Party claims to support the
U.S. Constitution but is actually its antithesis. Rather than “We the
People” providing for the “general Welfare,” the goal is to starve
government and cede all power to the rich and ruthless, as Bill Moyers
and Michael Winship explain.
I agree - and I note that this neoconservative movement started in the
1970ies with the Powell Memorandum, and that this has been extremely
successive, especially in the USA and Great Britain, where it got much
support by first Thatcher and Reagan, and then by Clinton and Blair
(who pretended to be "social democrats" but in fact worked for "the rich and ruthless".
There is this:
hard to fathom, the Republicans seem to have made up their minds: they
will divide, degrade and secede from the Union.
so with bullying, lies and manipulation, a willingness to say
anything, no matter how daft or wrong. They will do so by spending
unheard of sums to buy elections with the happy assistance of big
business and wealthy patrons for whom the joys of gross income
inequality are a comfortable fact of life. By gerrymandering and
denying the vote to as many of the poor, the elderly, struggling
low-paid workers, and people of color as they can. And by
appealing to the basest impulses of human nature: anger, fear and
I disagree with the first paragraph:
Firstly, I do not think greed and egoism are "hard to fathom", and
secondly I also do not think the Republicans want to "secede the
Union". I think they want to take it over and design it according to
their own illusions.
But the second paragraph is quite correct
- and easier to understand with the previous paragraph.
Then there is this:
Turn on your TV
or computer, pick up a paper or magazine and you can see and hear them
baying at the moon. Donald Trump is just the most outrageous and
bigmouthed of the frothing wolf pack of deniers and truth benders. As
our friend and colleague Tom
Engelhardt of TomDispatch writes, “There’s nothing,
no matter how jingoistic or xenophobic, extreme or warlike that
can’t be expressed in public and with pride by a Republican
pronouncement of the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s 1984,
ignorance is strength, whether it’s casting paranoid fantasies about
thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheering 9/11, or warning about
terrorists in refugees’ ragged clothing and Mexican rapists slithering
across the border.
Yes, indeed. And the parallel to Orwell's 1984 is there and indeed the
foundations for it were laid in the
late 1970ies and early 1980ies, with the rise of postmodernism,
that explicitly insisted that "everybody knows that truth does not exist"
(as I was informed by the lying professor M. Brandt at the opening of
the academic year 1978/1979, in his speech opening the academic year:
this utter rpt has been going on for 35 years now ).
There is also this on the values of the
Republicans have vowed to free Wall Street from oversight and
accountability and to prevent children fleeing the Syrian inferno from
coming ashore on U.S. soil. And yes, they will once again be in
full throat against gun control (despite the latest tragedy in San
constant attack against the science of climate change, with the latest
salvo two House bills passed Dec. 1 that undermine Environmental
Protection Agency rules (President Barack Obama will veto them). And
believe it or not, once again they’ll try to scuttle Obamacare, as in
Kentucky where the self-financed, wealthy Republican governor-elect has
vowed to cut loose hundreds of thousands of people from health
Take a look at
some of their other plans, including the riders congressional
Republicans are contemplating for inclusion in the omnibus spending
bill that must be passed by Dec. 11. The whole mess is a Bad Santa’s
list of loopholes benefiting High Finance, tax cuts for the rich,
and budget cuts for everyone else, even as they drive the nation deeper
into debt and disrepair.
All of these
sad examples are but symptoms of a deeper disease – the corruption and
debasement of society, government and politics. It is a disease that
eats away at the root and heart of what democracy is all about.
is more in the article, which is recommended. I also agree with the
last part of the last quotation: American society, and Western
societyin general, is corrupted and debased, and was corrupted and
debased, quite intentionally so, also, by the rich and by the elected
politicians who were corrupted (or perhaps in a few cases misled) by
the spokespersons for the rich.
Should Be About Truth, Not Career
fourth and last item is the text of a video made by Paul Jay for the
Real News based on a video interview that I can't find anymore that Jay
made with Chris Hedges in 2013:
This is part 2 from 7. Part 1 is here.
As the title says, most of this
text is about journalism, and
especially journalism made or
published in the USA.
First, here is some background on limitations under which American
HEDGES: So if
you're reporting from Latin America or Gaza or the Middle East as I
was, or the Balkans, you have a kind of range that is denied to you
once you come back into New York and into Washington. So, for instance,
I could go on National Public Radio and offer a very frank critique
about Slobodan Milosevic and what he was doing in Bosnia, what the
Serbs were doing in Bosnia. But to come back to the United States and
be that candid about George W. Bush was to get me in deep trouble.
And yet, having spent seven years in the Middle East, having been the
Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, an Arabic
speaker, months of my life in Iraq, I understood, like most Arabists,
that the invasion of Iraq was based on a fantasy, the idea that we
would be greeted as liberators, that democracy would be implanted in
Baghdad and emanate outwards across the Middle East, that the oil
revenues would pay for reconstruction. All of this was absurd, and all
the Arabists knew it.
I do not know whether similar rules hold for
European journalism, though I suspect something similar applies: One is
more or less free to criticize known opponents of one's own government,
but one is not free to
criticize and get printed when
one criticizes one's own
government, indeed almost regardless of the facts.
Hedges was asked to do the opening speech for Rockford College in 2003,
which gave him a lot of trouble when he said the things he thought
rather than the popular trash he was expected to say:
what goes through your mind as you decide to make this speech? You must
have had some sense in that postinvasion period that this was going to
be controversial and The Times may not like this.
I'd been booed, and--well, because my career was never the point. I
mean, you don't volunteer to go to Sarajevo if you're a careerist. I
mean, you can get killed. I mean, I was never trying to build a career.
That isn't why I was a journalist [incompr.] again sort of makes you an
anathema at a place like The New York Times, where for most
people it's all about the career. So I didn't care about my career.
This means also (and I think that is correct)
that Hedges does not think most of the present journalists, including
most of The New York Times, are honest and true journalists, precisely
because most care about their career, insurances and pensions before
caring about telling their readers (what they think is) the truth.
Here is how The New York Times got rid of Chris Hedges:
so the way The Times responded was to call me in and give me a
formal written reprimand for impugning the impartiality of The New
York Times and that I was guild, your union. So the process is you
give the employee the reprimand in written form, and then the next time
they violate, under guild rules you can fire them. So it was clear that
we were headed for a collision. Either I muzzled myself to pay fealty
to my career, which on a personal sense would be to betray my father,
or I spoke out and realized that my relationship with my employer was
terminal. And so at that point I left before they got rid of me. But I
knew that, you know, I wasn't going to be able to stay.
In fact, Chris Hedges wasn't fired:
Did you actually get fired by The Times? Or you decide to leave
HEDGES: No, I left to go to the Nation Institute
because I didn't stop speaking out against the war.
Here is a line of argument real journalists
these days often face, with Chris Hedges reply:
So what do you make of--I guess, The New York Times charge
against you would have been that you've crossed the line from
journalism to activism. They're accusing Glenn Greenwald of that with
his coverage of Snowden. And, of course, at The Real News we get that
often enough. What do you make of that whole line of argument?
Well, let's--I mean, let's look at what I was being reprimanded for. I
was being reprimanded for challenging a non-reality-based belief system
perpetuated by the Bush administration, and in particular figures like
Dick Cheney and Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz who don't know
anything about the instrument of war, which I happen to know very well,
or about the Middle East. I was speaking out of a body of experience. I
was speaking out of a cultural understanding, a political
understanding, a religious understanding that they didn't have. And
this wasn't a political opinion. This was based on years of experience
in the region, and in particular in Iraq. But it was a
counter-narrative that challenged a narrative that was complete
fiction. And so what I was being reprimanded for, if you really want to
boil it down to its simplest element, was for speaking a truth that was
at that moment unpalatable.
Clearly, Hedges reply is quite correct: He
was punished for speaking unpalatable truths, which he also was in a
position to know much better than those who reprimanded him.
Here is Chris Hedges on the crisis within the media:
Yeah, but they've also caved on Bradley Manning and Snowden and Julian
Assange and WikiLeaks. I mean, and I think the media, the American
media at its best, which is, you know, institutions like The New
York Times had become anemic, and at its worst, which is the
commercial airwaves, have just become tools of corporate propaganda.
And there's a crisis within the media establishment that is very, very
profound and very frightening.
I think he is quite right, and this includes
his being very frightened: So am I, for without a true free press,
democracy is doomed.
Here is how the New York Times worked around the start of the war in
(..)And I think that The New York Times--to illustrate the
point that you've made, of course you have to go back and look at The
New York Times coverage in the leadup to the war in Iraq, where
they were fed bogus material by the Bush administration and printed it
as fact. And then the administration would cite New York Times
stories to bolster their case for war in Iraq in this kind of
mendacity that was taking place between Washington and the part power
In brief, the war in Iraq was furthered by a "kind
mendacity" that was started by the lies of the Bush administration,
which the New York Times published as if they were true.
Here is another way of being corrupted by a corrupt government:
And just to get back to The Times, The Times has the
credibility to do this kind of stuff up to the war in Iraq because they
do allow a fair amount of fact-based reporting that actually is
legitimate. So you kind of believe what The Times says.
HEDGES: Right. Well, every article they wrote
which was a lie about
weapons of mass destruction, you know, being part of Saddam Hussein's
Iraq was technically fact-based. It was sourced, you know, senior
intelligence officials say. I mean, it was double-checked with other
intelligence officials. It was all within the rubric of American
journalism, legitimate journalism. It just happened to be a lie.
In other words: checks and double-checks make no difference if those
one relies on for fact-checking do not
have facts but lies
as their referents.
 One of the awful
things that I learned between 1980 and 1982, when I had started a
student party that cared for truth, science, honesty and fairness, was
that very few students and
very few staff members (such as professors and lecturers) of the UvA
were in favor of truth or
science or honesty or fairness.
are several explanations for this fact, and two that are certainly true are that (1) it was not in the interest of most students to really learn
something, but simply to get a degree by any means, and (2) in Holland
there existed the unique
situation that the universities
between 1971 and 1995 were in fact in the possession of the students -
and most of the active
students, certainly in the 70ies and early 80ies were members of the
communist party, and only were interested in politics and morals, both
of the extreme "leftist" kind.