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."
“Humanitarian” Bombing of Iraq: A Redundant
2. The Unhappy Lives of Whistleblowers and the Anechoic
Targeted for Mid-Air Assassination?
4. Naomi Klein: 'Our Economic
Model Is at War with Life on
6. Access Journalism,
Agnotology, and Breeding for Elite
7. New York Times Now Using
This is a Nederlog of
August 9. It is a crisis log.
There are seven items and eight dotted links.
“Humanitarian” Bombing of Iraq: A Redundant Presidential Ritual
item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts with
quotations, in pictures, of 10 headlines that appeared the last 24
years. I will quote some of their titles, sometimes partially since
they are evidently
propaganda, and prefix the year of publication:
Saddam Worse Than Hitler
2003: Blair likens Saddam to Hitler
2014: ISIS 'Worse Than Al Qaeda,'
There are seven more,
but you get the idea: Make it sound more horrific than any previous
horror, and you may get your wishes for more weapons and more military
Glenn Greenwald then
makes 7 numbered points. Here is
the first, in part:
those who ask “what should be done?,” has the hideous
aftermath of the NATO intervention in Libya – hailed as a grand
success for “humanitarian interventions” – not taught the crucial
lessons that (a) bombing for ostensibly “humanitarian” ends virtually
never fulfills the claimed goals but rather almost always makes the
situation worse; (b) the U.S. military is not designed, and is not
deployed, for “humanitarian” purposes?; and (c) the U.S. military is
not always capable of “doing something” positive about every
humanitarian crisis even if that were really the goal of U.S. officials?
Here are the
beginnings of the second and third points:
is simply mystifying how anyone can look at U.S. actions in the
Middle East and still believe that the goal of its military deployments
is the pretty packaging in which all wars – even the
most blatantly aggressive ones – are wrapped, but it is almost
never the actual purpose.
And this is the
ending (part of (7)):
Targeted strikes against
ISIS is obviously not remotely the same as a full-scale invasion of
Iraq, but whatever else is true, and whatever one’s opinions are on
this latest bombing, it is self-evidently significant that, as the NYT’s
Peter Baker wrote today, “Mr. Obama became the fourth
president in a row to order military action in that graveyard
of American ambition” known as Iraq.
In brief, this is a
good piece you should read by yourself.
2. The Unhappy Lives of Whistleblowers and the
item is an article by Roy M. Poses MD on Health Care Renewal - and the
actual title is longer:
The actual title
starts with "Retrospective on the Bluhmsohn - Procter and Gamble
- Sheffield University Affair:" after which the rest of the title
You can read it, and you can also read part of the source of this
paper, which is John Morgan's article in the Times Higher Education:
I may return to the
last article in a later Nederlog. What concerns me here is just the
following quotation in the first from the second article:
universities can hit the national headlines for shining light on issues
of public interest, only for their careers to end up in very dark
Some of higher education’s
most prominent whistleblowers paint a bleak picture about the impact on
their subsequent careers. They talk about being persecuted by
colleagues after coming forward. But even after leaving their jobs,
some believe they still suffer a legacy. One talks about being 'effectively
blackballed' from ever working again in higher education.
For other whistleblowers,
exile is self-enforced.
In fact, I am a double
I tried to blow the
whistle on the gigantic corruption and degeneration in the Dutch
universities - and was (with a father
and a grandfather in
concentration camps during WW II, because of their resistance)
extensively called "a fascist" and "a terrorist" (the last because
academic philosophers lost their public discussions with me) and I was
simply removed as a student
from the faculty of philosophy, briefly before taking my M.A., because
I had dared to ask questions.
Also, absolutely nothing
except finishing an M.A. in psychology, with one of the best M.A.'s
ever awarded, was possible after that, and I owe the M.A. to the
special help I got. But I even was refused 10 dollars a week in
early 2000s by another narko-nazi mayor of Amsterdam in order to clean
so that I could take the Ph.D.: Not allowed in Amsterdam,
especially not if your father and grandfather went to the concentration
camp for resisting the Nazis.
I also tried to
blow the whistle on the enormous corruption in Holland as
drugs, that most Americans and other foreigners seem to believe are
legal in Holland, because they are sold freely in coffeeshops all over
Holland. They are not: Soft drugs and hard drugs are still
a combination of corrupt politicians, corrupt lawyers and corrupt
judges have arranged a scene in which the corrupt mayors may give their
personal permission to dealers to deal, worth literally tens of
billions of dollars each year.
Now, I would guess
myself that these political gentlemen did this
for a mere 5 or 10% of the turnover, since this can be easily
the clients, but I have no proof . But
because this dealing happens
systematically since the middle 1980ies, and all through Holland, the
Dutch illegal/legal drugs sales were at least 260 billion
dollars worth, in 26 years, and probably at least double of
the hard drugs are counted. Also, all of this information is from the
only Parliamentary Report
that was published in 1996: It is not reasonable to doubt it or qualify
Again I tried
to make my voice heard via the press, and was completely
stonewalled (and ill-treated), as happened also in the case of the
University of Amsterdam.
I tend to forget
I am a double whistleblower because I also am ill since 1.1.1979, and
that is the only reason why I am in Holland, since I am Dutch, and the
illness is much more important to me than the whistleblowing, but I did
- see M.E. in Amsterdam
for both: since 2002 on line, and never a single word of disagreement -
though I failed to interest nearly everyone inside and outside
Holland, because no journalist ever was interested.
Here are two reasons
why I failed, which I did not see at all, or did not see as well before
the turn of the century:
- Dutch journalism
is completely corrupt: The journalists serve the political
masters, and keep out of the papers what threatens to disservice their
interests. This has grown worse recently, but in fact existed at least
since the early 1980ies. Reason: Each of the two cases I tried to
report are of major importance, and should have been widely
discussed - but I was systematically ignored, not
answered and effectively discriminated by everyone, save a very few.
- Dutch politicians
are completely corrupt: They, the judges, the policemen and the
district attorneys have been playing the game of the mafia since the
middle 1980ies. Nobody ever discusses them - since the Van Traa Report - in a
rational fashion and based on relevant knowledge, nor does anybody
discuss the gigantic
judicial treason involved in allowing this "legally illegal" schema of
enrichment, that is worth at least 260 billion dollars
since 1985, all illegally earned, all untaxed, and for the most part
reinvested in housing and building. (In part this also happened
Dutchmen profit from it: drugs are cheap and very easy to get
There is much more I
could say, but I merely repeat that the two cases I tried to blow the
whistle on were very important (the radical decline of all
education since the middle 1960ies, and the incredible increase in tolerated
illegal drugsdealing for profit) and that I totally
failed because absolutely no journalist decided to take these cases up,
while all mayors, aldermen, politicians, and all bureaucrats
refused to answer any of my mails or articles (that were about being
gassed and threatened with murder by the drugsdealers they had
permitted to deal from the house where I lived, to name just one bit).
To end this theme: I
did make no career of any kind, but this is probably much less
due to my whistleblowing than to my illness:
If I had not been
given the quality of my diplomas and my mind, I could easily have left
found good employment elsewhere, and indeed I would have left Holland
anyway at the latest in 1980 if I had been healthy: I live in a sick,
immoral, degenerate, corrupt, lazy and highly levelled country, where I
very much rather would not live.
Putin Targeted for Mid-Air Assassination?
item is an article by Robert Parry on Consortium News:
This is quite
interesting, and starts with a brief introduction:
Official Washington’s conventional wisdom on the Malaysia Airlines
shoot-down blames Russian President Putin, but some U.S.
intelligence analysts think Putin, whose plane was flying nearby,
may have been the target of Ukrainian hardliners who hit the wrong
plane, writes Robert Parry.
I think this is quite
interesting, because it explains why the - wrong - airplane was
shut down, which I found difficult to explain without the present
hypothesis (that I did not think of), simply because no one on
the airplane had any known connection to the Ukraine or Russia.
It starts as follows:
analysts are weighing the possibility that the shoot-down of Malaysia
Airlines Flight 17 was a botched attempt by extremists in the Ukrainian
government to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin whose
aircraft was returning from South America the same day, according to a
source briefed on the U.S. investigation.
If true, the direction of
the investigation into the July 17 crash has veered dramatically from
initial U.S. government allegations that eastern Ukrainian rebels,
using a Russian-supplied anti-aircraft battery, were responsible for
bringing down the plane killing 298 people onboard.
There is a lot more,
all interesting, but indeed the matter is not settled: It is a
hypothesis. But it is a good one, that explains the shooting down of an
airplane whose passengers and crew had nothing to do with the Ukrainian
Klein: 'Our Economic Model Is at War
with Life on Earth'
item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as
The book's title is not
elusive: 'This Changes
Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate'
There is considerably
more in the article.
Due for release in
September, the anticipated new work by Canadian journalist, activist
and public intellectual Naomi Klein has now been previewed in a video
trailer that appears to lay out its main themes and central argument.
"In December of 2012, a
complex systems scientists walked up to the podium at the American
Geophysics Union to present a paper," the narrator of the video—Klein
herself—says as footage begins of urban high rise developments and
burnt out croplands.
And the voice-over
The paper was titled,
"Is the Earth Fucked?" His answer was: "Yeah. Pretty much."
That's where the road
we're on is taking us, but that has less to do with carbon than with
Our economic model is
at war with life on Earth.
We can't change the
laws of nature, but we can change our broken economy.
And that's why climate
change isn't just a disaster. It's also our best chance to demand—and
build—a better world.
Change or be changed.
But make no mistake... this
The quotations are from a trailer, that is also contained in the above
article. And I also haven't read the book yet, as it is to be published
in September, but I want to make two critical points, a minor and a
The minor one is that the above is a piece of propaganda, which I do
not mind very much - but to claim that "this changes everything" seems
an exaggeration to me, if only because it involves answering a whole
lot of questions, most of which have no clear and definite answer -
they depend on both a whole lot of facts (that most do not know well or
at all) and also on personal appraisals about values and ends.
The major one is that "we" cannot change our broken economy, if
"we" are neither billionaires nor powerful political players - and
these billionaires and political players, who have the power, will not
change it, or only make it worse (e.g. by the TTP).
Furthermore, it seems to me it is not so much "our economic model" or
"capitalism" that is "at war with life on Earth": It is the
combination of 7 billion people to feed, with a technology that is
incapable of producing enough to feed, house and educate them properly,
and satisfies their wants, and that so far is not capable of producing
a source of renewable cheap
But OK - I just stated two or three objections that may be summarized
"We" cannot change the economy, and it very probably will
not be changed in major ways until it collapses; and if it
collapses in a major way many people will die first, and then
everything changes (and probably also not for the better, but at least
it will be quite different).
Also see the next item:
Are the Authoritarians
item is an article by
Michael Ignatieff on The New York Review of Books:
Since this is from July
10, it seems I missed this. I chose it because of its title. Nominally,
it is a review of three books and a paper, and it is written in the
NYRB style I am not an admirer of. But here is one quotation from it
that is more or less clear and accurate:
The liberal state
is in crisis, basically, because its regulatory, legal, and political
institutions have either been captured, or have been laid siege to, by
the economic interests they were created to control. While the liberal
state was never intended to enforce distributive equality, it was
always supposed to keep the power of big money from suffocating
competition and corrupting the political system. This is the task it
struggles to perform today and must recover fully if it is to regain
the confidence and support of the broad mass of its citizens.
That seems correct to
me, and indeed I would also argue, mostly forgetting about the years
until 1965 or 1970, when things started to change, and the long slide
towards authoritarianism was started, that it is a fair statement to
say that the authoritarians have won:
There is only a remnant of a free press; the media mostly follow the
government's instructions as regards what it has to print; the
parliaments are in the hands of lobbyists; the governments are
authoritarian under a veneer of false democratic paternalism; the
governments' secret services secretly spy on everyone and steal one's
privacy, mails, websites, and phone-conversations; and the
people mostly are undereducated, ignorant, and for the most part
willing followers of the governments or the politicians that
successsfully have deceived them.
That, at least, is how it seems to me, though I admit I am sketching
things from a high level and in broad strokes.
again, the article has the considerable merit of dealing at the end -
after three books - with a recent paper of Joseph Stiglitz, that can be
gotten in pdf here,
which it summarizes as follows:
A polemical but
persuasive analysis of this problem is to be found in the Nobel
Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz’s new white paper for the
Roosevelt Institute. Stiglitz argues that the fiscal crisis of the
liberal state is to be attributed squarely to three interrelated
phenomena: rising income inequality, money power in politics, and
systemic tax avoidance by the superrich and globalized corporations.
I have downloaded
Stiglitz's paper though I have not yet read it, but I do like the above
summary: He correctly diagnoses the problem ("rising income inequality, money power in
politics, and systemic tax avoidance by the superrich and globalized
corporations") and I agree
with the sort of solution he proposes.
As inequality rises,
Stiglitz argues, it suppresses effective demand. Unequal societies
hoard wealth at the upper end instead of spreading consumption and
investment through a broad middle class. When inequality holds back
demand, corporations sit on large cash hoards, unwilling to invest or
consume. As the rich become ever more ingenious in avoiding taxes, the
cost of carrying the liberal state falls on a middle class forced to
shoulder the burden alone. It is hyperinequality that is choking off
demand and starving the liberal state.
Stiglitz’s solution is
comprehensive. He proposes a 40 percent income tax rate for those who
control the top 25 percent of national income; followed by a 20 percent
rate on those who hold the next 25 percent, with tax reductions for
everyone in the bottom 50 percent. That tax structure would take care
of the national debt problem. He also proposes “a combination of tax
rates and investment incentives” that would impose a tax of 15 percent
on corporate incomes, and a value-added tax on consumption of 5
percent. Finally, an unspecified carbon tax would move American society
toward clean energy innovation and lower-carbon lifestyles.
Then again, I have no adequate ideas on its chances of success or
indeed of its being widely discussed. But it does seem a reasonable and
also - in principle: there are many rich forces opposed, and they have
the power at present - a feasible approach.
Journalism, Agnotology, and Breeding for Elite Incompetence
item is an article by
Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism:
To start with, I had to
look up "agnotology" (as well). Here is Wikipedia:
(formerly agnatology) is the study of culturally induced
ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or
misleading scientific data.
OK - a useful concept,
by any name also: Thee is an enormous amount of "induced
doubt" (though not only by "inaccurate
misleading scientific data":
the whole schema of education is not directed anymore at the production
of intellectually competent persons, but at docile followers).
Next, Yves Smith's article starts as follows:
Yes, indeed, though I
have one addition or refinement: It may not be so much that the very
rich or their political spokespersons come to believe "their own PR",
although undoubtedly some do, as it may be the case that they feel
quite free to intentionally bullshit
people. (E.g. the compaint by billionaires that billionaires these days
are treated as Jews were by the Nazis: That is just utter bullshit.)
There’s nothing quite
like watching systems deliberately made worse, all in the name of
One rapidly escalating
trend among officials and government agencies is making more and more
information, including decades-old material, either impossible to
obtain or accessible only to journalists who are “trusted,” meaning
they are deferential to authority and will put the best possible spin
on what they are fed.
This is deeply disturbing
in a society that tries to maintain the veneer of being a democracy,
since it keeps important information from the public and is clearly
intended to preserve the image of particular organizations and shield
them from what is likely to be well-deserved criticism.
Anti-transparency policies are tantamount to anti-accountability.
But at least as bad is
the destructive effects on the sponsors of this dissimulation by
omission. Yes, they may do better in the short term, but over time,
they fall prey to the pathology of believing their own PR. They become
convinced that their airbrushed photos and the adoring crowds that are
carefully screened for their public appearances accurately reflect
their performance and popularity. In more extreme versions, you wind up
with Versailles behavior, for instance, when wealthy financiers lash
out when anyone dares criticize them, because they’ve come to believe
deeply in their own myth-making, that their success is the result of
merit, as opposed to luck and conniving.
That is, they do not speak the truth, nor do they seek to establish a
lie: They merely insist on getting their own point of view across, that
serves their own interests, all without caring for truth or falsity at
all, but only caring for success in being heard or seen. This is also
the point of view and aim of all propaganda.
Here is a quotation of David Sirota that gives some backgrounds:
That is: "4 in 10 public
information officers" or 40% effectively censor journalism
exclude journalists because they do not like their reporting. Also, 80%
of journalists say that "“their
interviews must be approved” by government information officers" - and that is just from two paragraphs.
As states move to hide details of government deals
with Wall Street and as politicians come up with new arguments to
defend secrecy, it was revealed this week that many government
information officers block specific journalists they don’t like from
accessing information. The news comes as 47 federal inspectors general
sent a letter to lawmakers criticizing
“serious limitations on access to records” that they say have “impeded”
their oversight work.
The data about public
information officers was compiled over the past few years by Kennesaw
State University professor Carolyn Carlson. Her surveys found that 4 in
10 public information officers say “there are specific reporters they
will not allow their staff to talk to due to problems with their
stories in the past.”…..
Carlson has conducted
surveys of journalists and public information officers since 2012. In her most recent survey of 445 working journalists, four out
of five reported that “their interviews must be approved” by government
information officers, and “more than half of the reporters said they
had actually been prohibited from interviewing [government] employees
at least some of the time by public information officers.”
In recent years, there
have been signs that the federal government is reducing the flow of
public information. Reason Magazine has reported a 114 percent increase in Freedom
of Information Act (FOIA) rejections by the Drug Enforcement Agency
since President Obama took office. The National Security Agency has
also issued blanket rejectionsAssociated Press reported earlier
this year that in 2013 “the government cited national security to
withhold information a record 8,496 times — a 57 percent increase over
a year earlier and more than double Obama’s first year.” of FOIA requests about its metadata program. And the
There is a lot more under the last dotted link, and the article ends as
We seem to be well
on our way to having Ministries of Truth fixing history to fit current
policy. After all, it isn’t a big step to go from excising unwelcome
facts to inserting more flattering ones.
New York Times Now Using
Finally, not an article
but a video from The Young Turks (whom I like, but less than I did
previously: There are too many bits of "odd", "shocking", "strange" and
"astounding" "news" these days, indeed just as in the Huffington Post ):
This takes 9 m 40 s. There is
a written summary under it, which I partially quote:
from reporters and editors, the New York Times’ leadership has decided
to use the word “torture” with regard to the CIA’s treatment of
prisoners in the years following September 11.
Actually, the situation is
worse, as the video also makes clear: The New York Times - "All The
News Our Government Thinks Fit To Print" - seems to have restyled their
terminology only because the president did it first. Until then, and
since 9/11/2001, the NYT again followed the president, and spoke only
"enhanced interrogation", even though the facts were very clear: the same
techniques were called "torture" by the U.S. military if used against
their men, and indeed justifiedly so, as the NYT knew all the time.
Executive editor Dean Baquet
published a statement on Thursday announcing the change in style,
explaining that since we now know many more details of the CIA’s
methods over the past decade – including waterboarding, sleep
deprivation and caging prisoners in a box – the “plain-English” meaning
of “torture” now outweighs the “specialized legal meaning” of the word.“
 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.)
 I do not need proof (because of
the evidence of four years of terror and neglect, engineered for me by
mayor Van Thihn,
his aldermen and the Amsterdam police) and cannot give it without
endangering my life if
I had it, but I do know that it is completely
to me that grandsons and great-grandsons of two of the
most horrible nazi-collaborators, who managed to help murder more than
100.000 Dutchmen, and who
were in the position of personally permitting dealing in drugs
that is forbidden and illegal, do not not somehow take a
percentage of the billions a year that they allow to be dealt,
illegally. After all, this is Holland, where the only maintained moral
value is money.
 Since TYT also has many more viewers, this is
a personal complaint:
I do not like to view or know most of the sensationalistic kinds of
news they currently produce but it does seem to attract quite a few.
(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: