8, 2014
Crisis+philosophy: DoJ, Twain, Wheeler, Liberties * 2, Philosophy
   "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton

Prev- crisis -Next

1. No Evidence Justice Department Will Prosecute U.S.
     Banks Responsible for Financial Crisis

2. Mark Twain's Fascinating Letter To Walt Whitman
3. Meet The Man Obama Hired To Kill Net Neutrality
4. No Freedoms in Post 9/11 America? | Big Brother Watch
5. War on Terror Killed Liberty | Think Tank
6. On Philosophy
About ME/CFS


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 is definitely 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 and Problems 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 an article by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism:
This starts as follows:

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 instance, argued 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 nerve.
There also is a video in the article, with Bill Black, that I liked.

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 Whitman

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 built.

What does the above have to do with the crisis? Well... here is a later bit from the same letter:

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
time. [2]

3. Meet The Man Obama Hired To Kill Net Neutrality

The next item is a video by The Young Turks:

This is about net neutrality, and it is good.

4. No 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.:
"The Patriot 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 on it."
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:
The 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.
-- Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution
5. War on Terror Killed Liberty | Think Tank

The next item is another video by
Abby Martin on Breaking the set:

This is another piece about the radical decline of liberties in the U.S.:

"For the 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 careerists 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 other 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 Dictionary.

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 section 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:

Note I often have read several books of these authors, and in quite a few cases many or indeed all.

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 18th century.

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.
[1] 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 government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
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 quote from is quite pertinent.)

[2] 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.

About ME/CFS (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:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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