"Those who sacrifice liberty for
security deserve neither."
-- Benjamin Franklin 
| "All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
1. U.S. Government Also
Spying On Corporations?
2. Obama Remembers He’s Not George W. Bush
3. How the
White House and the CIA Are Marketing a War in the YouTube Era
4. Happy Anniversary Lehman
Brothers, And What We Haven’t Learned about Wall Street Over the Past
Spinoza Was Excommunicated
Today there is more on the
crisis: How the spying on the corporations may eventually tame the
spying on everyone; how Obama had a non-Bush moment; how the White
House is marketing war; how neither Congress nor the government did
anything to tame the banks, for five years now; and finally why
Spinoza was excommunicated, though that last bit is thrown in mainly
for my pleasure, and has nothing to do with the crisis.
U.S. Government Also Spying On Corporations?
To start with, 5 1/2
minutes of video by The Young Turks. It is worth looking at because it
Besides, Cenk Uygur mentions
one of the things that may - eventually - save ordinary people's
privacy, which is this:
The NSA - or better, the secret services of The Five Eyes the U.S.,
Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, by now are almost
everywhere and are able to read everything, encrypted or not (with a
few exceptions, that don't matter).
This means that Edward Snowden's many ex-colleagues, who lack Snowden's
courage and honest, are in a position to read very many - encrypted -
trade secrets of multinational companies - which they may try to sell
to the multinational competition.
All of this is certainly true, except for the so far unproven
possibility that such sales have been going on. But once that has
happened or is probable, the shit will hit the fan.
And indeed, I agree that is a very interesting possibility.
Remembers He’s Not George W. Bush
Next, an article by Robert Scheer on Truth Dig:
This is - once again -
about the war with Syria that the White House
has been plotting. Here are the first 1 1/2 paragraphs:
Note Obama's moment of sanity
occurred in response to a Russian proposal. Maybe it helps avert the
war, but I am not certain, in part because I am currently rereading
Thucydides' "The Pelopponesian War", that is full of warnings like these
It may come to
naught—calls for peace so rarely still the drums of war—but there was a
moment Monday when the odds for sanity seemed to finally stand a chance
of prevailing. It came when President Obama acknowledged the Russian
proposal for Syria to avert war by agreeing to destroy its chemical
weapons stock as “a potentially positive development.” It was
quintessentially an un-Bush moment when suddenly this presidential
“decider” seemed possessed of a brain capable of reversing his
It helped that a majority of
the public, and even many of its representatives in Congress, had
expressed strong opposition to entering into a civil war without a
plausibly positive outcome. According to The New York Times/CBS News
poll conducted over the weekend, “nearly 9 in 10 Americans are
concerned that United States military action in Syria will become a
long and costly mission” and would lead to “a more widespread war in
the Middle East.”
There is much that
is unpredictable in war, and attacks are usually made as the result of
a sudden impulse. (p. 130) 
And also (something neither
Kerry nor Obama really seems to consider when droning):
People grow angry
when they suffer things that they are quite unused to suffer and when
these things go on actually in front of their own eyes. They do not
wait to think, but plunge into action on the spur of their impulse.
How the White
House and the CIA Are Marketing a War in the YouTube Era
Next, a piece on Common
Dreams by former US Congressman Denis Kucinich:
It starts as follows:
Governments have always
used fear and manipulation of emotion to get the public to support
wars. The Bush administration did it in 2002 in Iraq and it is
happening again in Obama's push for war in Syria.
In possibly the biggest
development yet in the story, we learned this weekend that the CIA has
now been enlisted to sell this new war with unproven
evidence. On Saturday, U.S. intelligence officials claimed
they "authenticated" 13 videos that show the horrific aftermath of a
chemical attack in Syria in August. What exactly did they
And a little further on:
The release of these
graphic videos is a cynical maneuver by the White House because the
rest of the case for war remains unproven, with open questions about
transcripts, satellite imagery and signal intelligence under the shield
of classified information. What does it mean when the government's case
for war relies more on emotion than on evidence? Welcome to war
marketing in the YouTube era.
It also has a list of
points to prevent this, which you can find under the last dotted link.
Anniversary Lehman Brothers, And What We Haven’t Learned about Wall
Street Over the Past Five Years
a piece by Robert Reich on another aspect of the crisis:
Here is most of the
initial two paragraphs:
And here is some more:
attention is focused on Syria, the gambling addiction of Wall Street’s
biggest banks is more dangerous than ever.
years ago this September, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, and the Street
hurtled toward the worst financial crisis in eighty years. Yet the
biggest Wall Street banks are far larger now than they were then. And
the Dodd-Frank rules designed to stop them from betting with the
insured deposits of ordinary savers are
still on the drawing boards — courtesy of the banks’ lobbying prowess..
least of all a giant Wall Street bank, will eschew a chance to make a
tidy profit unless the probability of getting caught and prosecuted,
multiplied times the amount of any potential penalty, is greater than
the expected profits.
Also, all of
this could have been stopped, for the existing antitrust laws
are quite sufficient to do it ... if Congress and the government wanted
it. But they do not want it.
Have we learned nothing since September,
2008? Five years ago this month Wall Street almost went under. We
bailed it out. Millions of Americans are still suffering the
consequences of the Street’s excesses. Yet the Street’s top guns and
fat cats are still treating the economy as their own private casino,
and raking in even more than before.
5. Why Spinoza Was Excommunicated
Now we are going for something quite different, namely an article by
Steven Nadler in "Humanities", which I reproduce here mostly for my own
satisfaction, and to show what idiots Dutchmen often are - and since I
am a philosopher, who wrote over 20 books I cannot publish , now and then I will write about philosophy:
In fact, you do not need
read the article (though you may), for the main point is the following
curse that was proclaimed in Amsterdam in 1656, against Baruch Spinoza,
who later found fame as a philosopher:
After all of this has been investigated
in the presence of the honorable hakhamim [“wise
men,” or rabbis], they have decided, with the [rabbis’] consent, that
the said Espinoza should be excommunicated and expelled from the people
of Israel. By decree of the angels and by the command of the holy men,
we excommunicate, expel, curse and damn Baruch de Espinoza, with the
consent of God, Blessed be He, and with the consent of the entire holy
congregation, and in front of these holy scrolls with the 613 precepts
which are written therein; cursing him with the excommunication with
which Joshua banned Jericho and with the curse which Elisha cursed the
boys and with all the castigations which are written in the Book of the
Law. Cursed be he by day and cursed be he by night; cursed be he when
he lies down and cursed be he when he rises up. Cursed be he when he
goes out and cursed be he when he comes in.
The article is quite
learned, though I knew of most of the things it says, but the above
proclaimed curse is new for me. I also quote only part of it: For all,
you have to follow the last dotted link.
My reasons to list this item are exposed in Dutch, in Nederlog articles
The first is my rather
amazed reaction to three Dutch intellectuals - who I have learned are
all equivalents of Einstein and Von Neumann, for the Dutch for over
thirty years educated all Dutchmen to the tune of
"Everybody knows that everybody is equivalent to everyone" -
because Spinoza got presented by these three Dutch geniuses (dr.
Bloksma, dr. De Kok and drs. Van Reijen) as a "kaltgestellte Jew" -
"kaltgestellt" is German slang for "murdered" - while he was neither
the one nor the other, since 1656:
the said Espinoza should be excommunicated
and expelled from the people of Israel.
And besides, it explains
why I am myself not much impressed by Spinoza: I have read
the Ethics, when I was 20, because it was supposed to have been
composed "more geometrico" - but especially from the beginning I
could hardly make head nor tail, and the rest also was not very logical
Now, you may say: That is just me - but I found out,
much later, that George Boole had had quite the same reaction, ca. the
1840ies, and indeed had written about it:
"The Ethics of Benedict Spinoza is a
treatise, the object of which is to prove the identity of God and the
universe, and to establish, upon this doctrine, a system of morals and
philosophy. The analysis of its main argument is extremely difficult,
owing not to the complexity of the separate propositions which, through
a (..) defect of clearness, it is perplexing whether we ought to accept
or reject. While the reasoning of Dr. Samuel Clarke is in part verbal,
that of Spinoza is so in a much greater degree; and perhaps this is the
reason why, to some minds, it has appeared to posses a formal cogency,
to which in reality it possesses no just claim." (From George Boole, "An
investigation of The Laws of Thought on which are
founded the mathematical theories of logic and probability", p.187)
The three Dutch
philosophical geniuses had no idea of this - or if they had, they
violently disagreed with Boole, but remained silent.
The other article I wrote is from half a year later, and treats more
modern Spinoza-followers, each and all the equivalents of the first
three. (That is: They must be all universal geniuses, according to what
I learned in the University of Amsterdam: "Everybody knows that
everyone is the equivalent of everyone".)
It is quite amusing, but all in Dutch, so I just translate its
the Dutch interest in Spinoza seems to me to be mostly disposed by
Had Spinoza been British, Laplander or Italian, then there would have
been no Dutchman (except for a very few, for not everybody is stupid or
a phony, even if most are, alas) who would have the least interest in
And thus it is.
 Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, that the governors do not
rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
It is more proper
that law should govern than any one of the
citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the
supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to
be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I
from is quite pertinent.)
 I am quoting from Thucydides. "The Pelopponesian War",
translated by Rex Warner, first published in 1954, the edition I am
using in Penguin Classics, of 1982.
 Because I am a member of those who get
paid dole in Holland, and such persons are not allowed to sell books
they wrote - which probably will not sell much, though the materials on
Hume, Mill and Multatuli,
to name only some, are quite good.
But I am one of the most inferior Dutchmen, who even claims to be ill, so to hell with me and my civil
and human rights:
I have been told by many of the equivalents of the above - professors,
doctors or civil servants - that I am "a fascist" and "a terrorist";
that my mother is "a dirty whore" and that my father is "a mad strikeleader". My
complaints have never even been answered, and in the City of Amsterdam,
since I protested, at least 250 Billions of euros in illegal
soft drugs have been illegally turned over, while no
Dutch judge or district attorney ever paid any notice...
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: