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."
Myths of Big Corporate Capitalism
2. Merkel doubts whether US
will stop spying on Germany
3. Facebook Is Studying Your Mom,
Your Makeout Buddy,
and Your 9/11 Conspiracy
Rebecca Gordon, A Nation of Cowards?
5. Dutch writings
This is the second Nederlog of
13. It is an ordinary crisis log. (The previous
file of today is mostly in Dutch and is a part of my autobiography.
It treats the year 1980, for my ex and myself.)
I found only four items today and also three of these are - let's say -
more theoretical or more speculative than is the usual fare here. I do
not mind, and do not suppose it was planned that way.
1. The Myths of Big Corporate Capitalism
item is an article by Ralph Nader (<-
Wikipedia) on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows -
and I inserted ", promote" because such a word seems intended and
capitalism is a breed apart from smaller scale capitalism. The former
can often avoid marketplace verdicts through corporate welfare, strip
owner-shareholders of power[, promote] over the top company bosses and
offload the cost of their pollution, tax escapes and other
“externalities” onto the backs of innocent people.
Yes indeed, and there are
several reasons why this "is
a breed apart":
Very often, the large corporations are monopolies or oligopolies, which
means that they do not compete in anything like a free market,
but can set their own prices; very often they have very great amounts
of cash money, with which they can do as they please; very often they
are not controlled by their nominal owners, the shareholders, but are
controlled by their own top managers; and often these managers have the
ears of leading politicians.
Indeed, one may ask whether "capitalism" is the right term for
multi-national oligopolies controlled by an few top managers, who earn
millions or tens of millions a year. Of course, they use capital, but
Nader is quite correct they are quite different from ordinary
capitalist firms, which have to compete, cannot set their own prices,
do not have much free money, are not spread over several or many
countries, while their leaders do not have easy access to leading
These are good questions, and my reply is that I prefer, when speaking
about large multi-national oligopolies, to speak about "corporatism"
rather than of "capitalism", also because I agree with Nader they
are really different from smaller capitalist firms.
And indeed Nader's next paragraph is:
Always evolving to
evade the theoretically touted disciplines of market competition,
efficiency and productivity, corporate capitalism has been an
innovative machine for oppression.
Yes indeed - and note the
differences: This is possible especially because of great power, lots
of money, and multi-nationalism, which escapes much of the control by
Here is how Apple does it:
Apple Inc. is
spending $130 billion of its retained profits on a capital return
program, $90 billion of which it will use to repurchase its own stock
That is: Apple's managers
own Apple, and employs Chinese at near minimum wage to produce its
iPhones which it sells to Westerners.
Apple’s recent iPhone is
produced by 300,000 low-paid Chinese workers employed by the Foxconn
Technology Group. They are lucky to be paid $2 per hour for their long
work weeks. It would take $5.2 billion a year to pay these Chinese
iPhone workers about $10 per hour. If the $130 billion from Apple’s
capital return program was put into a foundation, it could pay out, at
4% interest, $5.2 billion year after year.
There is rather a lot more, but the main lesson has been learned, which
Ralph Nader summarizes at the end as follows:
should not be allowed the myths of competitive, productive, efficient
capitalism – unless they can prove it.
But they cannot, which is
also why I proposed corporatism versus capitalism.
doubts whether US will stop spying on Germany
item is an article by Martin Pengelly on The Guardian:
This starts as
follows (and I presume you know some about Merkel's phone being tapped
for a long time by the Americans):
There is more there, but
none of it is conclusive, not about the question whether Merkel is
willing to admit that the Americans are spying on all Germans, and also
not whether she thinks spying is OK or at least cannot be stopped, that
is, as long as her own phone is not tapped.
Amid a continuing scandal
over the arrests of two
German government workers for allegedly spying for the US, the
country's chancellor, Angela Merkel, said on Saturday she was doubtful
the US would ever stop spying on Germany.
So this is not much, but there probably will be more later.
3. Facebook Is Studying Your Mom, Your Makeout
Buddy, and Your 9/11 Conspiracy Theories
item is an article
by Dana Liebelson on The Guardian:
This starts as
Facebook users and
privacy advocates erupted in anger recently after New Scientist
drew attention to a 2012
study in which Facebook researchers had attempted to manipulate
users' moods. "The company purposefully messed with people's minds,"
one privacy group complained to the Federal
But the mood study is far
from the only example of Facebook scrutinizing its users—the company
has been doing that for years, examining users' ethnicities, political
views, romantic partners, and even how they talk to their children.
(Unlike the mood study, the Facebook studies listed below are
observational; they don't attempt to change users' behavior.) Although
it's unlikely Facebook users have heard about most of these studies,
they've consented to them; the social network's Data
Use Policy states: "We
may use the information we receive about you…for internal operations,
including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service
Here are the five
subjects Dana Liebelson reports - and I just give the subjects, not
the texts that belong to each:
significant others (and whether the relationship will
your mom talks to you
4. How you respond
to conspiracy theories
you're deleting posts before you publish them
You can check these
out yourself, if you want to. Incidentally: I do know how to
write html and run my own sites, and I much dislike Facebook. See my On the sham
called "Facebook". (But there
are many not too intelligent or lazy people, is also true: almost 3.5
billion people have an IQ of maximally 100. O, what a market!)
Rebecca Gordon, A Nation of Cowards?
item is an article
by Rebecca Gordon on Tomdispatch:
with a survey of the torture - sometimes called: "enhanced
interrogation" - that was started under George Bush after 9/11, that
ends as follows:
As part of a new
American creed, we learned that torture was the price of security.
That at least was the
message of Bush Jr. who also offered a sort of rationale - in his
exquisite English: “they
hate our freedoms”.
Then Rebecca Gordon says:
But didn’t that
sorry phase of our national life end when Bush and his vice president
Dick Cheney departed? Wasn’t it over once Barack Obama entered the Oval
Office and issued
an executive order closing the CIA black sites that the Bush
administration had set up across the planet, forbidding what had
euphemistically come to be called “enhanced interrogation techniques?”
As it happens, no. Though it’s seldom commented upon, the
infrastructure for, the capacity for, and the personnel to staff a
system of institutionalized state torture remain in place, ready to
bloom like a desert plant in a rain shower the next time fear shakes
the United States.
These three reasons are
then commented upon and explained in the rest of the text.
There are several
important reasons why the resurgence of torture remains a possibility
in post-Bush America:
* Torture did not
necessarily end when Obama took office.
* We have never had a
full accounting of all the torture programs in the “war on terror.”
* Not one of the senior
government officials responsible for activities that amounted to
war crimes has been held accountable, nor were any of the actual
torturers ever brought to court.
It ends as follows (and all of it is well worth reading, although it
will not make you happier):
Actually, I think the
main problem of Americans is not that they are cowards:
In these years, “safety”
and “security” have become primary national concerns. It’s almost as if
we believe that if enough data is collected, enough “really bad guys”
are tortured into giving up “actionable intelligence,” we ourselves
will never die. There is a word for people whose first concern is
always for their own safety and who will therefore permit anything to
be done in their name as long as it keeps them secure. Such people are
sometimes called cowards.
If this terrified new
worldview holds, and if the structure for a torture system remains in
place and unpunished, the next time fear rises, the torture will begin
I think the main problem is that many are stupid and ignorant, and can
be convinced of almost anything.
Finally, a few words on the Dutch writings I was and am preparing.
You got one of these pieces earlier today,
both in Nederlog and in my
autobio-section. That last item probably will be changed a bit, but
that is for later.
In the last autobiographical item I did quote rather a lot from a
journal I kept in 1980, mostly because I could, although I probably
will not do this for 1983-1985, for which I have extensive journals:
Too long, and in part too personal. (And incidentally: I do not know
whether the quoting I do works, for I am too close to the subject.)
As to 1981 and 1982, which are next in line to be written, I have the
problems that I do not have much journal, and I also did not yet
sufficiently sort out papers to have an adequate chronology. I probably
will do this part from memory, which is still quite OK, but I may make
mistakes in chronology.
The other thing I am preparing is "On
mental health and disturbance"
This mostly is a matter of typing (for the Canon flatbed copier I
bought seems to have been a fraudulent buy: it doesn't work without
payments to Adobe, which I think is plain theft, though I have no doubt
this is "regulated" in the small print), which again is a matter of
As to further writings in Dutch: There is a possibility that I may
extend ME in Amsterdam,
which now ends in 2007, but that always was almost completely neglected
by almost every Dutchman - who seem to love it that in their "state of
law" the mayors can personally nominate illegal
dealers of soft drugs, and help turn over 10 billion Euros of
soft drugs a year, for 26 years now since I first protested,
and indeed probably at least twice as much if all illegal drugs are
considered - I may decide to write a possible update in English as well.
But this I don't know yet.
P.S. July 14, 2014: I corrected
some typos and added a link.
 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.)
(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: