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."
Can’t Taper a Ponzi Scheme: Time to Reboot
2. First world war: how state and
press kept truth off the
3. N.Y. Times Editorial
Board Goes to Pot
4. My party has lost its soul: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and
the victory of Wall Street
This is the Nederlog of
July 28. It is a crisis log.
It is a brief Nederlog because I didn't find much and also because I am
quite tired, for a reason I don't know, because I slept fairly well.
Anyway, here are the four items I found.
You Can’t Taper a Ponzi Scheme: Time to Reboot
item is an article by Ellen Brown on Truthdig (and originally on Web of
I like Ellen Brown (<- her site) and I
like her schema of public banking: This seems a feasible solution to
the banking crisis, although it will be hard to implement without a
deeper crisis, because most of the current bankmanagers are getting
rich from the current corrupt and deregulated
Here are several quotes. First, a view of the present state of banking:
All the king’s
horses and all the king’s men could not rein in the growth of the
shadow banking system, despite the 828-page Dodd-Frank Act. Instead,
the derivatives pyramid has continued to explode under its watch, to a
notional value now estimated to be as high as $2 quadrillion. At
one time, manipulating interest rates was the Fed’s stock in trade for
managing the money supply; but that tool too has lost its cutting edge.
Rates are now at zero, as low as they can go – unless they go negative,
meaning the bank charges the depositor interest rather than the
reverse. That desperate idea is actually being discussed.
I don't think banks will
charge their customers for giving them money, simply
because most will empty their accounts except for the amounts necessary
to do business, and I also think an interest rate of 0 is ridiculous,
but indeed my bank pays me no interest, since quite some time
now, while of course charging large interests on loans. (Happily, I am
debt free: I owe no one anything. But this took considerable time and a
lot of trouble.)
Next, a reply to the question what will happen, and whether there will
be a global economic collapse:
This is all true, but
even so in 2008 we narrowly escaped a total collapse. Also, at present
enormous amounts of money are invested in banking, and this is
effectively a Ponzi-schema, in the sense that only a very small
fraction of the debts and loans are recoverable in case of a collapse
or a run on the banks.
Not likely, argues John
Michael Greer in a March 2014 article called “American
Delusionalism, or Why History Matters.” If history is any
indication, governments will simply, once again, change the rules.
In fact, the rules of
money and banking have changed every 20 or 30 years for the past three
centuries, in an ongoing trial-and-error experiment in evolving a
financial system, and an ongoing battle over whose interests it will
serve. To present that timeline in full will take another article, but
in a nutshell we have gone from precious metal coins, to
government-issued paper scrip, to privately-issued banknotes, to
checkbook money, to gold-backed Federal Reserve Notes, to unbacked
Federal Reserve Notes, to the “near money” created by the shadow
banking system. Money has evolved from being “stored” in the form of a
physical commodity, to paper representations of value, to computer bits
storing information about credits and debits.
Finally, here are some ideas to reform the banks:
But I must honestly say I do not see any of these measures practised so
long as the present banking system is still working (though I agree it
is crazy) and the present bank managers are enormously profiting from
How to kill the
derivatives cancer without killing the patient? Without presuming to
have more insight into that question than the head of the Fed or the
IMF, I will just list some promising suggestions from a variety of
experts in the field (explored in more depth in my earlier article here):
• Eliminate the
superpriority granted to derivatives in the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act,
the highly favorable protective legislation that has allowed the
derivatives bubble to mushroom.
These alternatives are all
• Restore the Glass-Steagall Act separating depository banking from
• Break up the giant derivatives banks.
• Alternatively, nationalize the too-big-to-fail banks.
• Make derivatives illegal and unwind them by netting them out,
declaring them null and void.
• Impose a financial transactions tax on Wall Street trading.
• To protect the deposits of citizens and local governments, establish
postal savings banks and state-owned banks on the model of the Bank of
North Dakota, the only state to completely escape the 2008 banking
This is worth reading in full, which you can do by clicking the last
world war: how state and press kept truth off the front page
item is an article by Roy Greenslade on The Guardian:
It was yesterday a
hundred years ago that World War I started. This is an article about WW
I, that I review because it contains some information that I did not
know, and that shows that there was much more censorship then.
This starts as follows:
On this, the 100th
anniversary of the day the first world war began [This was published
yesterday - MM], it is sobering to look back at the way that conflict
was so badly reported. The catalogue of journalistic misdeeds is a
matter of record: the willingness to publish propaganda as fact, the
apparently tame acceptance of censorship and the failure to hold power
to account. But a sweeping condemnation of the press coverage is unjust
because journalists, as ever, were prevented from informing the public
by three powerful forces – the government, the military and their own
Indeed, at the beginning of
the war, censorship was instituted thus:
At the war’s
outbreak, Kitchener banned reporters from the front. But two determined
correspondents, the Daily Chronicle’s Philip Gibbs (pictured)and the
Daily Mail’s Basil Clarke, risked his wrath by defying the ban and
acting as “journalistic outlaws” to report from the front line. Gibbs
was arrested, warned that if he was caught again he would be shot, and
sent back to England. Clarke, after reporting on the devastation in
Ypres following the German bombardment, returned home after a similar
This had the following
(...) censorship ensured
that all sorts of facts were hidden from the readers of British
newspapers. British blunders went unreported, as did German
the bloodiest defeat in British history, at the Somme in 1916, in which
600,000 Allied troops were killed, went largely unreported. The
battle’s disastrous first day was reported as a victory.
(..) Lloyd George
confided to Scott in December 1917: “If people really knew [the truth],
the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don’t know, and
So in fact the truth
- the horrors of trench warfare, 37 million persons killed (a rough
estimate: no one knows the precise numbers) - only became known,
and that only partially, after WW I.
The main reason for
me to list this is that, while I did read a fair amount about
WW I, I was not made aware of the extent and general success of
censorship, which itself is a sign of its success.
3. N.Y. Times Editorial Board Goes to Pot
item is by Kasia Anderson on Truthdig:
This article starts
The editorial board of
The New York Times has weighed in with its collective take on
decriminalizing marijuana use, and it can be summed up with two
familiar words: Legalize it.
Of course, the Gray Lady’s
writerly brain trust put it more eloquently, but the gist is that it’s,
well, high time that the national ban Congress imposed, more than four
decades ago, on lighting up is lifted, and that it’s up to the
individual states to figure out how they want to handle the issue for
I say. It is high
For one thing, there
was a report by a British parliamentary committee, the Wootton Report,
that proposed legalizing it in 1968 or 1969, for one
example, all on perfectly rational grounds, or so I thought in 1969
when I attended a large meeting in Amsterdam dedicated to it.
Indeed, I expected it
to be legalized then quite soon, in 1969, but no: All of this was
mostly undone and denied by loads of blatantly false propaganda,
that few Dutchmen believed, but which was presented as Gospel Truth by
the Dutch politicians, even while most of them simultaneously furthered
the dealing of soft drugs in Holland, which still is illegal,
but which also is extremely profitable, and which is freely available
at very many public places generally known as "coffee shops", indeed
without causing any known harm to users. The drugs are dealt in the
shops quite publicly by dealers who got personal permission of
their mayors to deal.
Yet again, even in
the years between 2000 and 2010 Dutch policemen were sent to the U.S.
to learn about "the great dangers of marijuana" and the excellencies of
the "War on Drugs", while the mayors and aldermen of Amsterdam and
other places, like all the Dutch judges, all the Dutch policemen, and
the whole Dutch bureaucracy simply protected the dealers, who
turned over at least 10 billions of dollars of soft
drugs (including large exports) each year.
I think this
happened for a percentage for the mayors, aldermen and
policemen, but this is based on my extensive experience of Dutch greed,
dishonesty and duplicity, and not on specific knowledge: In the last 25
years at least 10 billion dollars a year have been turned over -
according to a Parliamentary
Report: here is a
Dutch note on the amounts - merely in soft drugs in
Holland, and who believes that Dutch mayors who have to give their
personal permission to deal do not get a percentage, somehow,
has more trust in people than I have, and less relevant knowledge. (See
ME in Amsterdam
if you read Dutch, and especially my Notes to the
But I welcome
legalization, though I would not be amazed if the Dutch legalize it
last: Too many politicians have profited from it and profit from it, in
Also, this is one of
the things which the last 25 years have never been discussed
seriously in any Dutch political organ or any Dutch paper, except for a
brief bit in 1996-1997, when an extensive Parliamentary
link) was published, but ever since its main author came to die in what
the police claimed was "an accident" there has been mostly silence in
Holland, and a lot of dealing, all permitted by the mayors and aldermen
and judges and politicians, and not because they were enlightened, but
because they profited, or so I think. (But it is impossible to get the
truth on the dealing in illegal drugs on the table in Holland: I tried
4. My party has lost its soul: Bill
Clinton, Barack Obama and the victory of Wall Street Democrats
item is an article by Bill Curry on Salon:
This is a long
essay by a former counselor to Bill Clinton. I think it is too
political for my tastes, but it is against Obama and Clinton, pro
Nader, and also pro populism (in some sense: I am not sure about the
meanings of "populism" in the United States, where many political terms
have different meanings from those they have in Europe).
I quote three things from it. First, a sketch of what caused the crisis:
In the late ’70s,
deregulation fever swept the nation. Carter deregulated trucks and
airlines; Reagan broke up Ma Bell, ending real oversight of phone
companies. But those forays paled next to the assaults of the late
’90s. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 had solid Democratic backing as
did the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. The
communications bill authorized a massive giveaway of public airwaves to
big business and ended the ban on cross ownership of media. The
resultant concentration of ownership hastened the rise of hate radio
and demise of local news and public affairs programming across America.
As for the “modernization” of financial services, suffice to say its
effect proved even more devastating. Clinton signed and still defends
both bills with seeming enthusiasm.
I think that is mostly
correct, also in identifying deregulation
as the main idea and the main policy that did the most harm, and this
really started under Reagan and Clinton.
The Telecommunications Act
subverted anti-trust principles traceable to Wilson. The financial
services bill gutted Glass-Steagall, FDR’s historic banking reform.
You’d think such reversals would spark intra-party debate but Democrats
made barely a peep.
Second, what the deregulations led to:
We’re in crisis
because of all our broken systems; because we still let big banks prey
on homeowners, students, consumers and retailers; because our
infrastructure is decrepit; because our tax code breeds inefficiency
and inequality; because foreign interventions bled us dry. We’re in
peril because our democracy is dying. Reviving it will take more than
deficit spending and easy money. It will take reform, and before that,
a whole new political debate.
This also seems mostly
correct to me, and maybe Curry believes he or Ralph Nader started "a whole new political debate": Perhaps they did, but I don't know.
Third, another factor is Obama, who turned out to be a Republican Lite,
with a large talent for lying charmingly:
Republicans ignores a glaring truth: Obama’s record is worst where they
had little or no role to play. It wasn’t Republicans who prosecuted all
those whistle-blowers and hired all those lobbyists; who authorized
drone strikes or kept the NSA chugging along; who reneged on the public
option, the minimum wage and aid to homeowners. It wasn’t even
Republicans who turned a blind eye to Wall Street corruption and
excessive executive compensation. It was Obama.
Again mostly correct, in
my vision. There is a lot more, that I have all read, but it is, as I
said, too political for my tastes - but then those are just my
tastes, and this also is a fairly rare Democratic voice that
starts talking some sense.
 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: