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. Savage capitalism is
back – and it will not tame itself
2. Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden
would not get a fair trial – and
Kerry is wrong
3. Greenwald’s Finale:
Naming Victims Of Surveillance
4. 'The Cause Is Us': World
on Verge of Sixth Extinction
and NSA Go Tête-à-Tête over Internal Emails
This is the Nederlog of May
31. It is an ordinary crisis log.
I think this is a more interesting Nederlog than yesterday's, though
indeed here too several things are reprised. But the first
article is quite interesting and new, and so is the
fourth - and besides, I can only serve what I find.
Tomorrow there may not be
a crisis log but
instead a Nederlog dedicated to another theme, though this again will
depend on what I find.
1. Savage capitalism is back – and it will
not tame itself
item today is an article by David Graeber on The Guardian:
This is an interesting
article. I skip the introduction about Russia and Piketty (you can read
them yourself if you want to) and start here:
not contain an inherent tendency to civilise itself. Left to its own
devices, it can be expected to create rates of return on investment so
much higher than overall rates of economic growth that the only
possible result will be to transfer more and more wealth into the hands
of a hereditary elite of investors, to the comparative impoverishment
of everybody else.
Yes, although the "1917"
seems too early to me: this seems to forget about the 1929 crisis.
In other words, what
happened in western Europe and North America between roughly 1917 and
1975 – when capitalism did indeed create high growth and lower
inequality – was something of a historical anomaly. There is a growing
realisation among economic historians that this was indeed the case.
Also, there is a fairly good explanation why life got better
and better for the middle class between (roughly) 1935 and 1980 - and
perhaps you ought to see my four part series Crisis:
On "American Averages" that I started on April 24 last year, for that shows
quite well what life was like in the US in the 1970ies, and it indeed
is in the crisis series for that reason.
Here is my explanation, that has four main parts, each with its
link to Wikipedia:
There is a lot more I
could say about this, but this is not the place, so I return to Dan
Graeber. He says this:
- The great
depression of the thirties: This almost destroyed capitalism,
indeed through the main mechanism that caused the crisis of 2008:
Unregulated greed of the rich.
Delano Roosevelt: Roosevelt became president because of the crisis,
and was an extremely intelligent man of goodwill, who started to
regulate the greed of the rich:
- John Maynard
Keynes: Keynes was "the most intelligent man" that Bertrand Russell
ever knew, and he had a theory of economics and associated policies
that regulated the greed of the rich from 1945-1975.
- World War II:
This war also almost destroyed capitalism, mostly because it destroyed
much of Europe.
The period when
capitalism seemed capable of providing broad and spreading prosperity
was also, precisely, the period when capitalists felt they were not the
only game in town: when they faced a global rival in the Soviet bloc,
revolutionary anti-capitalist movements from Uruguay to China, and at
least the possibility of workers' uprisings at home. In other words,
rather than high rates of growth allowing greater wealth for
capitalists to spread around, the fact that capitalists felt the need
to buy off at least some portion of the working classes placed more
money in ordinary people's hands, creating increasing consumer demand
that was itself largely responsible for the remarkable rates of
economic growth that marked capitalism's "golden age".
To this I say: Yes and
no. Yes, because it does contain truth, but - more importantly
- no, because it does not mention any of my points, that each
seems more specific than what Graeber says, who just doesn't really
explain why taxes on the rich were much higher in the period in
which almost everybody's life in the West got better: Because of the
depression and WW II, and because of the policies and ideas of
Roosevelt and Keynes - and yes, that also simplifies things,
but it does mention specific causes, persons and theories.
This is how Dan Graeber ends:
The 1% are not
about to expropriate themselves, even if asked nicely. And they have
spent the past 30 years creating a lock on media and politics to ensure
no one will do so through electoral means.
Graeber does mention one
thing here that is quite important:
Since no one in their
right mind would wish to revive anything like the Soviet Union, we are
not going to see anything like the mid-century social democracy created
to combat it either. If we want an alternative to stagnation,
impoverishment and ecological devastation, we're just going to have to
figure out a way to unplug the machine and start again.
The rich "have spent the
past 30 years creating a lock on media and politics", and indeed these
efforts may very well have started with the secret
But Graeber seems to be misleading about "social democracy": This did not
exist because of the Soviet Union, and indeed was there long before the
Soviet Union, indeed well before 1900. (See: Kautsky, Bebel).
And it was destroyed by persons who pretended to be of that
movement, or close to it: Clinton, Blair, the Dutchman
other persons interested in getting rich themselves at the cost of
everybody else, while pretending to be "leftist". (This is called "The Third
Way": extremely dishonest propaganda bullshit. It
worked very well for these now quite rich very ably lying
Also, the leaders were not on their own: At least in Holland
from the 1970ies onward almost everybody who got some local
fame for being "a leftist" was in fact a careerist, who spoke
with the widely shared politicial ideological illusions, because they
all wanted to advance themselves and were capable of almost
anything to do so. 
Finally, as to finding "a way to
unplug the machine and start again":
I agree that is necessary, for I agree thay the 1% will not
make any change that hurt their own incomes or freedoms (from paying
taxes, among other things), and are quite capable of destroying
anything and anyone if only they can stay on top of the power and
But I am considerably less convinced that there is a way within the
system, especially since the system is now served and protected by the
NSA, the GCHQ and other secret services, that operate beyond the pale
of the law but with protections and secrecy from the governments:
The very few who currently head governments, generally for the
big corporations, now know, for the first time in history, everything
about everyone, in principle at least, and are out to deny,
deceive, degrade and destroy anything and anyone who opposes them, by any
So that is why, having learned of the NSA etc. mostly through Snowden
(though I was there myself in 2005 and in 2012, but without the
evidence to back this up, which Snowden provided), I currently am
hoping for another and major economic crisis, which will destroy the
present capitalism, and very probably ill me as well, but which may
give the chances to undo the enormous damages the few rich and
their corporations have done.
Ellsberg: Snowden would not get a fair trial – and
Kerry is wrong
item is an article by Daniel Ellsberg on The Guardian:
I start with quoting the
subtitle or introduction, simply because it seems quite true if not
Edward Snowden is
the greatest patriot whistleblower of our time, and he knows what I
learned more than four decades ago: until the Espionage Act gets
reformed, he can never come home safe and receive justice
In fact, the situation
currently is very much worse in the Obama years than it was around 1970
in the Nixon years.
Ellsberg says, among other things, the following:
Yes, indeed. He also
Snowden would come back
home to a jail cell – and not just an ordinary cell-block but isolation
in solitary confinement, not just for months like Chelsea Manning but
for the rest of his sentence, and probably the rest of his life. His
legal adviser, Ben Wizner, told me that he estimates Snowden's chance
of being allowed out on bail as zero. (I was out on bond, speaking
against the Vietnam war, the whole 23 months I was under indictment).
More importantly, the
current state of whistleblowing prosecutions under the Espionage Act
makes a truly fair trial wholly unavailable to an American who has
exposed classified wrongdoing. Legal scholars have strongly
that the US supreme court – which has never yet addressed the
constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act to leaks to the
American public – should find the use of it overbroad and
unconstitutional in the absence of a public interest defense. The
Espionage Act, as applied to whistleblowers, violates the First
Amendment, is what they're saying.
Without reform to the
Espionage Act that lets a court hear a public interest defense – or a
challenge to the appropriateness of government secrecy in each
particular case – Snowden and future Snowdens can and will only be able
to "make their case" from outside the United States.
As I know from direct
chat-log conversations with him over the past year, Snowden acted in
full knowledge of the constitutionally questionable efforts of the
Obama administration, in particular, to use the Espionage Act in a way
it was never intended by Congress: as the equivalent of a British-type
Official Secrets Act criminalizing any and all unauthorized release of
Quite so. Here is the
John Kerry's challenge to
Snowden to return and face trial is either disingenuous or simply
ignorant that current prosecutions under the Espionage Act allow no
distinction whatever between a patriotic whistleblower and a spy.
Either way, nothing excuses Kerry's slanderous and despicable
characterizations of a young man who, in my opinion, has done more than
anyone in or out of government in this century to demonstrate his
patriotism, moral courage and loyalty to the oath of office the three
of us swore: to support and defend the Constitution of the United
Clearly, Kerry is
disingenuous, to keep it polite, or indeed less polite: He talks like a
sadistic bully, and uses "slanderous
and despicable characterizations" of Snowden, who evidently is a far better man than
Kerry is, or indeed was.
3. Greenwald’s Finale: Naming Victims Of
item is an article by Toby Harnden on Popular Resistance:
The main reason this
article is here is because it is a decent article that does contain the
latest updates about Greenwald.
I will not quote from
it, because that would be repeating myself, from other sources, but if
you know less about Greenwald than I do, and have not read the last 30
or 40 Nederlogs, this may be a decent place to start.
Cause Is Us': World on Verge of Sixth Extinction
item is an article by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
A new study showing that
the human activity has driven current rates of species extinction to
1,000 times faster than the natural rate is "alarming" and "should be a
clarion call" to work towards greater conservation efforts, an
environmental group charges.
published Thursday by the journal Science and led by
conservation expert Stuart Pimm, also warns that without drastic
action, the sixth mass extinction could be imminent.
habitat loss to invasive species to climate change to overfishing,
humans are contributing to the plummet in biodiversity.
"This important study
confirms that species are going extinct at a pace not seen in tens of
millions of years, and unlike past extinction events, the cause is us,"
stated Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological
Diversity, who was not involved in the study.
There is considerably more
in the article, and I suppose the study is correct.
and NSA Go Tête-à-Tête over Internal Emails
item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows
(and Tête-à-Tête = Face to
Face: a strange choice of terms, also because in fact they do not, but
The National Security
Agency and Edward Snowden have entered a public battle over the
30-year-old whistleblower's claims that he repeatedly raised "official"
concerns about surveillance overreach while employed by the government.
reassertion in his Wednesday interview with NBC that he did, in fact,
attempt to voice objections over U.S. surveillance practices using
internal channels with superiors, the NSA responded on Thursday
afternoon by releasing a single—and they say "only"—email exchange they
Though the agency has
previously said that it could find no record of any such emails,
Thursday's disclosure—made through the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein,
who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, came less than twenty-four
hours after the NBC interview in which Snowden boldly repeated his
claim that such documentation did exist.
Here are some of
Snowden's own words on the differences:
Still, the fact is that I
did raise such concerns both verbally and in writing, and on multiple,
continuing occasions - as I have always said, and as NSA has always
denied. Just as when the NSA claimed it followed German laws in Germany
just weeks before it was revealed that they did not, or when NSA said
they did not engage in economic espionage a few short months before it
was revealed they actually did so on a regular and recurring basis, or
even when they claimed they had “no domestic spying program” before we
learned they collected the phone records of every American they could,
so too are today’s claims that “this is only evidence we have of him
reporting concerns” false.
There is considerably
more in the article, and indeed it is extremely likely that the NSA
lies (or indeed that it is a mess on their computers - but I take it
they are lying, as usual).
 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.)
am very certain of that, about Holland:
I know hardly anybody in the country where I have to live and was born
who got any importance in or around politics who has not
turned out to be a glib, egoistic liar about very many
This also is about the only thing I learned at the University
of Amsterdam, that was a quasi-"marxist" university from 1971-1995,
that is, apart from these gems, that were upheld, also in public
lectures, from 1978-1995 by most professors and lecturers:
"everybody knows truth does not exist",
"everybody knows everybody is equal" and
"everybody knows all societies are equally rational
and equally good"
which were taught to everyone, and were mostly gladly received,
namely as politically correct, and which I have heard hundreds
of times, from many mouths, and especially the first two, that were
Add to this that I - the invalid son and grandson of heroes of the Dutch
resistance, who were sent to the concentration camp as "political
terrorists" by collaborating Dutch judges, who were never punished -
was cried out as "a fascist terrorist" by 16 academically employed
"philosophers" after they had heard my questions, which also got me removed briefly
before taking my M.A. in philosophy because, as an invited
speaker, I posed questions
(only questions!) about these sick and sickening,
degenerate, fascist and terrorist lies by these grossly sadistic liars
and scarcely human degenerates and parasites. (Yes, I am angry,
and/because I have 25 years of nearly constant pain.)
(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: