who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. No Evidence Justice Department
Will Prosecute U.S.
Banks Responsible for
Twain's Fascinating Letter To Walt Whitman
3. Meet The Man Obama Hired To Kill Net
4. No Freedoms in Post 9/11
America? | Big Brother Watch
5. War on Terror Killed
Liberty | Think Tank
6. On Philosophy
This is the Nederlog of May 8.
It is a crisis issue, but not quite.
It is, because it will be saved in that index, because some files are
relevant to the crisis; it isn't, because I couldn't find much while I
also have three videos that are relevant to the crisis, but two
are not very recent; and it isn't also because the last item
about philosophy, indeed in two parts: one about a book I am writing
that is on line, and the other about what I think are important
philosophers and writers.
And as I explain below in more detail: There are some considerable
changes on my site: The sections Autobio
that were attached to log/2013 have been deleted, and better
versions have been uploaded to philosophy/maartens. (The links
in this paragraph are to the new beginnings at the new places.)
1. No Evidence Justice Department Will
Prosecute U.S. Banks Responsible for Financial Crisis
The first item is
article by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism:
This starts as
There also is a video in
the article, with Bill Black, that I liked.
Bill Black is in
particularly fine form in this Real News Network video. Black recounts
the various excuses for not prosecuting the parties that blew up the
global economy, and gives a new one from the Justice Department: that
regulators told them that yanking bank charters would blow up the
global economy. Of course that’s a straw man; Black and others who’ve
been serious about prosecution have
stressed the importance of targeting individuals.
And we continue to get far
too many apologies for the lack of prosecutions. Jesse Eisenger, for
last week that the Justice Department had been too bold and
successful in going after Andersen as part of the Enron bankruptcy; it
led to a “counteroffensive” by the corporate bar. But this again was
the prosecution of companies; Eisenger fails to offer convincing
explanations as to the failure to go after individuals successfully.
Hint: despite his explicitly saying the reverse, it really was lack of
Incidentally: I do not think it "was lack of nerve": I think Holder and Obama
do not want to prosecute bankmanagers, indeed whatever they say
to the public (and Holder has hidden behind "too big to fail"):
the best that may be expected is prosecution of some corporations, that
will end in a deal in which the corporations hand over part of
the profits, and get complete legal exoneration otherwise.
See Nederlog of May 6, 2014 - and I like
to be mistaken, but do not think I am.
2. Mark Twain's Fascinating Letter To Walt
The next item is an
article by Shaun Usher on Huffington Post:
This is the start of Twain's letter to Whitman, of 125 years ago:
Hartford, May 24/89
To Walt Whitman:
You have lived just the seventy years which are greatest in the world’s
history & richest in benefit & advancement to its peoples.
These seventy years have done much more to widen the interval between
man & the other animals than was accomplished by any five centuries
which preceded them.
What great births you
have witnessed! The steam press, the steamship, the steel ship, the
railroad, the perfected cotton-gin, the telegraph, the telephone, the
phonograph, the photograph, photo-gravure, the electrotype, the
gaslight, the electric light, the sewing machine, & the amazing,
infinitely varied & innumerable products of coal tar, those latest
& strangest marvels of a marvelous age. And you have seen even
greater births than these; for you have seen the application of
anesthesia to surgery-practice, whereby the ancient dominion of pain,
which began with the first created life, came to an end in this earth
forever; you have seen the slave set free, you have seen the monarchy
banished from France, & reduced in England to a machine which makes
an imposing show of diligence & attention to business, but isn’t
connected with the works.
Yes indeed: The 19th
Century had many great inventions and changed more than any previous
century, and indeed also invented the computer, although Babbage did
not get it working - but it was shown in 1991 he might have, for then a
perfectly working machine according to his schemes was
What does the above
have to do with the crisis? Well... here is a later bit from the same
Wait thirty years, &
then look out over the earth! You shall see marvels upon marvels added
to these whose nativity you have witnessed; & conspicuous above
them you shall see their formidable Result—Man at almost his full
stature at last!—& still growing, visibly growing while you look.
In that day, who that hath a throne, or a gilded privilege not
attainable by his neighbor, let him procure his slippers & get
ready to dance, for there is going to be music.
That - "Wait thirty years" - would have been circa 1920, when my mother got born. I
conclude we have not yet seen "Man at almost his full stature", in Twain's sense, at least, and I am afraid that the
average man of today may well be less smart and less healthy than
average healthy men of Twain and Whitman's
The Man Obama Hired To Kill Net Neutrality
next item is a video by The Young Turks:
This is about net
neutrality, and it is good.
Freedoms in Post 9/11 America? | Big Brother Watch
The next item is
a video by Abby Martin on Breaking the set:
This is about the radical
declines of liberties in the U.S.:
Act is probably on of the most unpatriotic pieces of legislation ever
passed since it overrode so many of our rights, namely the First,
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments and members of
Congress only had seven hours to read the 345 paged bill before voting
There is also material on General
Michael Hayden who denies - repeatedly, also - thay the
Fourth Amendment speaks of "probable cause". Well, here it is - and it
shows a man like Hayden will use any and every lie, without any shame:
right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,
supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place
to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
5. War on Terror Killed Liberty | Think Tank
Amendment to the US Constitution
The next item is another video by Abby Martin on Breaking
This is another piece
about the radical decline of liberties in the U.S.:
first time in American history, the rights of citizens have been
systematically eroded under a blanket war against "terror", that has no
clear goals, enemy or end."
Note that this lasts since
9/11/2001, and there has been no clear threat ever since.
Also, Abby Martin does list a number of the previous erosions of
liberties in the U.S. - but then the threats were stronger and the
periods considerably less.
6. On Philosophy
Finally for today, two items on philosophy, which is the subject I read most about in
my life, in which I read more than anyone I met, and in which I do not
have an M.A. in philosophy only because the quasi-marxist
who ruled the University of Amsterdam kicked me out of its faculty of
philosophy briefly before I could take the degree. My crime? I
publicly asked questions
and these were not liked.
And no: I also do not think there is any other living Dutchman
who knows as much
about philosophy as I do, and I also do not know of almost any
Dutchman whom I can take serious about philosophy. (There are one or
two academics - notably Henk Barendregt
- who did some good mathematical stuff (lambda calculus).)
Anyway... the first is an item about my
This was originally started in
June 2003, but then I did almost nothing with it except line up the items in the left pane.
This was mostly for lack of
health and this lasted until September 2013, when I provided
content for most items from my Philosophical
I have done a little more now and mean to extend it some, but as is it is
a good introduction to more than 50 terms and concepts from philosophy,
and is also at present 1 MB. And it is clearly written.
Also, I should say the last dotted link is the right
introduction: it was attached to log/2013, but it is now part
of my own
in philosophy, and that is
were it will stay.
So here is what is deleted from log/2013: The sections Autobio
and Problems. Both are now in philosophy/maartens.
The second is an item about a list that I found in my journal of 1978.
This is the list with five additions since - which is a
bit amazing: nearly all of the writers and thinkers that really
influenced me I had found and read between 1968 and 1978, when indeed I
mostly read, and worked in order to read:
Film/music: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Strawinsky, Satie, Welles, Kubrick, Shapiro, Zappa, Pink Floyd
Writers: Thucydides, Lucian, Juvenal, Montaigne, Boetie,
Goethe, Hazlitt, Multatuli, Whitman, Burckhardt, Ionesco, Huxley, Miller, Orwell, Agee, Sturgeon, Mumford, Heller, Mills, Bjorneboe,
Kesey, Zinovyev, Chang, Gardner
Thinkers: Buddha, Lao Tzu, Aristotle, Chuang Tzu, Epicurus, Lucretius, Ockham, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Leibniz, Hume, Chamfort, Thoreau, Proudhon, Mill, Schopenhauer,
Note I often have read
several books of these authors, and in quite a few cases many or indeed
Also note that I have added the Wikipedia-links; that it is sorted
roughly in time; that the distinction "writers" and "thinkers" is a bit
arbitrary; and that there are in fact not many 20th Century writers and
thinkers, though indeed most are either from that century or from the
Anyway... if you want to know what I read and think best, you
have to read the above - but I never met anyone who
did, or indeed even read a good part of them.
This again was probably a reason to kick me from the university before
I could get an M.A. as no one who taught there in philosophy had the
slightest real interest in it, and in fact almost everybody who worked
there has published ... nothing whatsoever (but got more than seven
times my income).
In any case, I really liked everyone on the above list (which
does not mean I approve) and I think there is very little a truly
intelligent person can do better
than read these men.
 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.)
Why? Because there are many more men than there were in the 19th
Century, and they are probably on average less healthy because of the
advances in medicine, that keep alive many that would otherwise have
died, while there are far more unhealthy substances in the environment.
Something siimilar goes for intelligence - and it seems to me that the
high literature of the 19th Century is both more demanding and more
interesting than that of the 20th.
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: