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."
Journalists and Lawyers: NSA Surveillance Threatens
Press Freedom and Right to
2. The Absurdity of
Celebrating ‘Successes’ of Bailed-Out
3. The Increasing
Irrelevance of Corporate Nationality
much architecture is monstrous – that’s why we like
to see it demolished
faces monopoly investigation in China
6. John Oliver: America Is a
Useless Nuclear Weapon
‘Hoarder’ and Nobody Cares
7. All of the Countries which
the U.S. “Regime Changed”
Have Descended into Brutal
8. Doctor Munchausen: Dear
This is the Nederlog of
July 29. It is a crisis log.
Today I found 9 articles sorted in 8 sections about some aspect of the
crisis - which I do understand in a somewhat special, though
perfectly rational way, I think: See Crisis: Hypotheses about the
causes of the crisis and especially Crisis + DSM-5: It's the
That is, I include several aspects in the crisis:
The economy, the health care, the education system, politics and civil
law, the public debate and the climate are all in crisis, and
indeed all but the first have been in crisis or decline since 1980,
at the latest, even though this is not clear to many, while the economy
has been tottering since the 1980ies and went into crisis mode in 2008,
largely due to deregulations, as are the other parts of the
Also note that my perspective is - at least - a little different from
most: I am a radical who is the last of a family of radicals , but I am far less political than my family and
than most who write about politics, and my basic motivation differs: I
am an intellectual and a scientist, and also a human individual, before
I am a political person, which in fact does happen more but is quite
Finally, the key aspect of all the crises is either deregulation or -
systematic - lack of real and effective rational regulation (as with
the climate), and I am not saying this because I am a socialist or
marxist, for I am not: I think a real civilization requires extensive
regulations to keep civilized  - "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society": Supreme Court judge Oliver
Wendell Holmes, Jr - but this is all quite possible in many
different ways, and the main thing that keep things civilized
is that all parties debate freely and informedly, and come to decisions
that do some justice to most parties.
Anyway - more of this later. Now to the news.
1. Top Journalists and Lawyers: NSA Surveillance
Threatens Press Freedom and Right to Counsel
item is an article by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed - and "impaired if not eliminated" seems rather optimistic, because one
does not know (1) whether one is surveilled nor (2) how much one is
surveilled nor (3) how much is known of one, e.g. including one's
secret passwords that one uses for encryption, if one uses that (as
seems the only feasible way to make surveilling less easy).
To do their jobs
properly, journalists and lawyers sometimes need to be able to keep
information private from the government.
And because what
journalists and lawyers do is so integral to safeguarding democracy and
basic rights, the United States has traditionally recognized their need
for privileged communications.
But the virtually
inescapable government surveillance exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward
Snowden has impaired if not eliminated the ability of news-gatherers
and attorneys to communicate confidentially with their sources and
their clients, according to a new report by two rights advocacy groups.
The report by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil
Liberties Union is based on an exhaustive new survey of journalists
and lawyers working in the areas of national security and intelligence.
Both groups of professionals describe a substantial erosion in their
ability to do their constitutionally-protected jobs.
Here I also notice that Windows 8, and possibly also all earlier
Windows, are supposed to have secret spy gates.
There is a lot more in the article, that I recommend you read all of,
and it also gets well reported here, by Lauren McCauley on Common
I also quote one bit from this
Again there is more in
the article, that I recommend you read (and it does overlap with the
"Secrecy works against
all of us," said Dana Priest, a reporter for the Washington Post.
"What makes government better is our work exposing information. It's
not just that it's harder for me to do my job, though it is. It [also]
makes the country less safe."
Similarly, lawyers say
that government surveillance has crippled their ability to maintain
confidential correspondence with their clients, threatening the trust,
free exchange of information, and potentially the security of those
Jason Wright, a member of
the U.S. Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps who does work before the
Guantanamo commissions, told the researchers that he and his colleagues
are "fearful" that their communications with witnesses abroad are being
monitored and consequently, attempts to build their case "might put
people in harm's way."
The authors charge that
this amounts to the "erosion of the right to counsel," which they say
is a "pillar of procedural justice under human rights law and the US
Absurdity of Celebrating ‘Successes’ of Bailed-Out
item is an article by Don Quijones on Wolf Street:
I will quote just one
bit from a lot more:
The Mother of All TBTF Monstrosities
The financial markets and
press broke out the bollinger on Thursday to celebrate the Royal Bank
of Scotland’s return to profits, followed by a 10% surge in its shares.
The fact that the bank, despite having received a public bailout worth
some 45 billion pounds (all of which has by now been squandered), is
still, at best, semi-solvent no longer seems to matter. Nor does it
seem to matter that the bank’s profits are alleged to be largely the
result of systemic fraud, highly creative accounting, and wholesale
abuse of its own business customers.
Note that part of the
"systemic fraud" is explained in the next few paragraphs.
What I want to
comment on here is that I agree this happens, and this happens a lot,
and one of the main reasons seems to be that those gambling on stocks
and shares have lost all morality: the only thing that matters to them
is the profits their own gambles make, and it doesn't matter whether
the underlying mechanism is deeply corrupt and rests on abuse. If one
makes a profit oneself, all is well.
In fact, I think that
has always been the case, although there now is a
difference: "Greed is good", also in public self-advertisements. That
always has been the sentiment of most gamblers on stocks and shares,
but one of the effects of the libertarian "philosophy" is that this and
"Selfishness is Good" now also hold publicly, and serve as
self-evident justifications everyone is supposed to swallow.
Anyway, there is a
lot more under the last dotted link.
3. The Increasing Irrelevance of Corporate
item is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as
“You shouldn’t get to
call yourself an American company only when you want a handout from the
American taxpayers,” President Obama said
He was referring to
American corporations now busily acquiring foreign companies in order
to become non-American, thereby reducing their U.S. tax bill.
But the President might
as well have been talking about all large American multinationals.
Yes, indeed - though
Obama tends to say A and do not-A: one wonders why?
There is a lot more
and it seems in fact many large companies now have most of their money
in foreign countries, while remaining formerly American, and paying
very little American taxes. (Incidentally, Holland is one notable
example of a country were big corporations like to live formally,
because it has very convenient laws for such companies: it takes a lot
less in taxes than the original countries.)
We are also told
(after I skip several examples):
corporate nationality is whatever a corporation decides it is.
Yes, and two main
reasons are that (1) that many corporations are multi-nationals, in
producing and managing their products in several countries, while (2)
their only moral norm is their own profits, which means that American
companies let their products be made in 3rd world countries, taxed
in Holland or the Cayman Islands, and sold to Americans and
Europeans: Less wages, less taxes, more profits.
Finally, here is
another of Obama's sayings:
Which brings us back to
American companies that are morphing into foreign companies in order to
lower their U.S. tax bill.
“I don’t care if it’s
legal,” said the President. “It’s wrong.”
Again, after six
years of Obama's "Change! Yes, we scan!" I suppose he means the
opposite of what he says: he does care it's legal, and it's right,
because he doesn't do much to prevent it, but apart from that, the
literal quote is something he does not say about Edward
Snowden, who may have broken some laws, because he knew about many extremely
wrong things his government did, and
kept secret and keeps secret.
There is considerably
more in the article, that you get by clicking the last dotted link.
much architecture is monstrous – that’s why we like to see it demolished
item is an article by Jonathan Jones on The Guardian:
I must admit
this is part of the crisis only in a somewhat extended sense, and it is
here because I hate modern architecture, that is, most anything
built since the 1930ies, and especially the horrors built in England
and other places in the 1960ies and later.
Why do I hate it? Basically, because it is very ugly and hardly human -
but I agree few see it as I do, which is with a considerable liking for
good architecture, and also - like my father - with a considerable
architectural talent, although neither he nor I did anything with it:
We both can draw fairly well; we both are good at mathematics; and we
both are or were esthetically sensitive.
Anyway, here is Jonathan Jones:
Personally I am
with the enthusiasts who turned out in Didcot to see their local
landmark demolished. In fact I can’t get enough of buildings being
destroyed. I’ve recently become fascinated by the Action
Movie app, which allows you to film special effects sequences. I
find it a valuable critical release to virtually demolish buildings I
I haven't gone so far,
but I do sympathize. Here is some more:
The fact is that a
lot of modern architecture is monstrous, and seeing it blow up is an
ecstatic release. 1960s tower blocks that were built in an ugly spirit
of authoritarian design, combined with corrupt penny-pinching, deserve
to be destroyed. As for cooling towers that dominate a town or, much
worse, an entire rural landscape, the fewer of them there are, the
Yes, indeed. For those
who want to see the three cooling towers - each higher than Holland's
highest church: 114 meters of concrete horror blocking the sky
- go down: There is a nice movie at the start of the piece, and I
enjoyed it and it made me laugh to see these architectural
monstrosities go down. Nice!
Microsoft faces monopoly
investigation in China
item is an article by Agence-France Press on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
investigation into Microsoft is probably
targeting its "monopoly" of the country's operating systems market,
state media have said, after the US software company became the latest
foreign firm to go under Beijing's scrutiny.
Nice, again! I had
missed it that China forbade Windows 8 (which may open an enormous
market for Linux, which is what I use, quite happily also), which is excellent
Microsoft confirmed in a
statement late on Monday that it was under investigation in China, without disclosing
"We aim to build products
that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect,
and we will address any concerns the government may have," it said.
The inquiry comes after
China in May banned the use of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating
system on all new government computers, amid reports alleging security
As to Microsoft: They lie like Obama, who lies like a public
relations office: You need to get the real meaning - what he does,
what they mean - by denying their statements: Thus, Microsoft does not
"build products that
deliver the features, security and reliability" I expect and demand,
and it will evade "any
concerns the government may have".
And it does help, now
and then, to write out these translations to see what policians &
corporations really mean with their glib phrases.
But this is good news, for the Chinese market is large and Linux is
to install, and better than Windows.
Oliver: America Is a Useless Nuclear Weapon ‘Hoarder’ and Nobody Cares
item is an article by Natasha Hakimi Zapata on Truthdig:
This starts as
follows, and introduces a video of 15 m 22 s with John Oliver (who does
discuss interesting themes, and does it well):
The video is
interesting, and shows it is mainly a mess - but yes: the nukes
are still there. And this item is here because I wrote three days ago that
indifference to the fact that the United States has in its (extremely
haphazard) control enough warheads to destroy humanity is the reason
we’ll spend $355 billion over the next decade to maintain our nukes.
And if you’re thinking, “Oh well, at least they’re in good hands,” the
“Last Week Tonight” host will make you think again by providing recent
examples of the inept hands watching over these missiles.
most of the
atomic weapons are still in place, to the best of my knowledge,
the West and in Russia.
Yes, they are, though it
seems they are not in good hands.
of the Countries which the U.S. “Regime Changed” –
Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya – Have Descended into Brutal Chaos
item is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:
This starts as
follows (colors in the original)
Yes, indeed - and this
is next shown in detail. (Also, Washington's Blog has a next article, Our
Totalitarian Future - Part One, that I probably take up tomorrow: I
had planned something similar, but he was there first.)
Quantifying the Effects of Regime Change
2001, the U.S. has undertaken regime change in Iraq, Afghanistan and
countries are now in chaos … and extremists are more in
control than ever.
Doctor Munchausen: Dear Luise
item is an article by Dr. David Healy, and concerns the - enormous -
corruptions in psychiatry and medicine that have unfoldened, also in an
ever increasing tempo, since 1980:
This starts with the
following summary (colors in the original):
Dear Luise by
Dorrit Cato Christensen is one of
most extraordinary books about healthcare ever written.
Medical books are usually about great discoveries, great
endurance, or triumph in one way or another. Dear Luise is about
the dark side of medicine – the side that offers doctors the
opportunities to kill without detection. It is set in mental
health settings but the story of power and powerlessness can be found
everywhere from the offices of primary care doctors through to
arthritis or cardiovascular clinics.
Yes, indeed - so I
have learned the last 4 years in some detail, by reading a lot of
psychiatry and some medicine, and by interpreting being left to starve
by myself for 36 genuinely ill years without any
help except minimal dole (that still insists I am healthy, not
because they know anything but because this is cheaper for them
and more painful for me, and also refuses to address me by my
titles, and refuses to even consider the argument that had I been
healthy I would not be in Holland but work at some university
elsewhere, with my very excellent degrees).
This starts as
follows - and let me congratulate you if you are healthy and
therefore, very probably, do not know these things, for healthy
people generally do not think about health and healthcare, and indeed I
did not either, until I fell ill and did never get better - and this is
by Dr. David Healy, while the rest, that is not reproduced here but
that you can get by the above dotted link, is by Dorrit Cato
forever it seems, psychiatry has been “arriving”. For decades,
its apologists have been saying now we are a branch of medicine.
But nobody outside the field buys this claim. The
extraordinary thing is that psychiatry was the first branch of medicine
to have specialist hospitals, the first to have specialist journals,
the first to adopt an evidence based approach, the first to eliminate
some of the major illnesses it was called upon to cure. Maybe it needs
to think again about what real medicine is all about.
Elsewhere in medicine,
fifty years ago if a mother was concerned there was something wrong
with her child but the doctors could find nothing it was common to give
her a tranquilizer and dismiss her as neurotic. I had a younger
brother whom my mother insisted had problems but the doctors decided
she was neurotic and perhaps wrecked her marriage by persuading her
husband to get her to take a tranquilizer. My brother died.
By the time I got into
medicine, the pediatricians were telling us that even if all tests
looked normal we should never dismiss a mother’s instinct. That’s what
happened in real medicine.
In psychiatry to this
day, if a mother voices concerns that things are not right with her
child she will be regarded as toxic and the system will seek to blame
her for all problems and to exclude her. They will bizarrely label her
as a Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy mother. Things are probably getting
worse rather than better. Internet forums are full of children removed
from parents and then medicated even more forcibly if the parents
complain. There seems to be almost nowhere to go with these complaints
– no way to save a child. This is especially common in America but
happens in North Wales also.
There is a lot more
that I do recommend you to read, simply because it is true, and because
you and anyone who gets ill runs the serious risk of being
maltreated in the same way, especially though not only by psychiatrists
- who are not scientists but pseudoscientists,
whatever they claim: This describes them quite precisely
in the sense that everything is literally true if "Pseudoscience" is
replaced by "Psychiatry", that indeed also has a consciously adopted "general absence of systematic processes to
rationally develop theories":
Pseudoscience is a
claim, belief or practice which is presented as scientific,
but does not adhere to a valid
scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise
lacks scientific status.
Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague,
contradictory, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of
openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of
systematic processes to rationally develop theories.
A field, practice, or
body of knowledge can reasonably be called pseudoscientific when it is
presented as consistent with the norms of scientific
research, but it demonstrably fails to meet these norms.
(Start of "Pseudoscience" on Wikipedia, minus 1 note.)
It is not a happy
story at all, and Luise died, and effectively was killed by years of
misdiagnosis and maltreatment. But it should serve as a warning to some
what doctors and psychiatrists have become, and how much power they
have, and that it certainly pays to find a good G.P. before you
fall ill - and I say that also because that is also not easy
these days. (And I did, after discarding two.)
 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.)
Because my brother and I are the last line of our direct family: We
have no children.
As to my being a radical: My father, mother and one grandfather were
marxists; my father and his father were in the resistance, arrested and
convicted to the concentration camp, that my grandfather did not
survive; my father was
knighted as one of the only two communists to which this happened
(because "communists are traitors", you see); my mother was in the
communist resistance, but not arrested; her parents were anarchists,
and her family were atheists since the 1850ies. (And while I disagree
with them, I think they were fine and intelligent persons, certainly
those I have known, and they were what they were because they were more
intelligent and more moral than the average.)
Also, I am the first and only one in four generations who studied at a
university and made his - excellent - degree, and while I definitely am
a radical I am much less political - I never found any
party I could as much as half agree with, and I much dislike the totalitarianism
that characterizes all political parties and most of their
members - and I also am considerably more scientific than my family. I also never met anybody who
is more like me than not (except perhaps for Stephanie Faulkner, who
died long ago, while the relation we had broke in 1972).
This insight is at least 2500 and quite possibly 10.000 years old, and
has taken many different forms, certainly not all equal
or well-founded, but civilzed in principle because they all
agreed civilization is based on some combination of regulation,
consent, and personal freedom. What is quite new and totally wrong and
mistaken is the utter idiocy of Ayn Rand, the Tea Party, and the
Libertarians who reduce everything to fanatical cries of "Freedom!
Freedom! Freedom!" - which means in effect that all regulations and the
state must either go or be minimized for the benefit of the rich and
the powerful. This they also never honestly say while it is
what their kind of freedom means in practice: the
unregulated freedom of the few rich and powerful to exploit and subject
the many poor, and do away with civilization for all; and the freedom
of the bankmanagers to pay themselves tens of millions a year, because
they are free to fraud and steal, again because corrupted politicians
claim "they are too big to fail".
(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: