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."
Rebirth of Stakeholder Capitalism?
2. What the Democratic Party Does Well: Doing Itself In
isn't perfect, but as a model it's as good as it
4. Leaked Docs Show Spyware
Used to Snoop on U.S.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
6. The Heinous Crime Behind
This is a Nederlog of Sunday,
August 10. It is a crisis log.
There are six items with a dotted link each. Most items are mostly
regular crisis items, though there are some exceptions.
The first exception here is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, about whom I know a lot
more than by far the most of Americans, where she currently is
continueing her money-making career, namely from her years in Holland,
whence she was in the end, and quite correctly, excreted.
The other two partial exceptions are the Wikipedia and Nixon's crimes.
The Wikipedia article is here because I use the Wikipedia a lot (and
there is no real alternative either), while Nixon's crimes are reviewed
because I was in my late teens and early twenties when they happened,
and I recall them quite well, and it seems to me more people ought to
know about Nixon and his crimes than currently do.
Rebirth of Stakeholder Capitalism?
item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:
This is from the
first third (I skip the beginning) and it poses a quite interesting
question, at least to my mind:
Pantagonia, a large
apparel manufacturer based in Ventura, California, has organized itself
as a “B-corporation.” That’s a for-profit company whose articles of
incorporation require it to take into account the interests of workers,
the community, and the environment, as well as shareholders.
The performance of
B-corporations according to this measure is regularly reviewed and
certified by a nonprofit entity called B Lab.
To date, over 500
companies in sixty industries have been certified as B-corporations,
including the household products firm “Seventh Generation.”
In addition, 27 states
have passed laws allowing companies to incorporate as “benefit
corporations.” This gives directors legal protection to consider the
interests of all stakeholders rather than just the shareholders who
We may be witnessing the
beginning of a return to a form of capitalism that was taken for
granted in America sixty years ago.
The reasons I find
this interesting are the following three, which I had worked out by the
time I was 20, after having been raised by sincerely communist and
intelligent parents :
- I do not believe
in any one comprehensive economic system: they are all ideological and
not based on facts - which is to say that I reject doctrinary marxism
aka communism, doctrinary socialism, and doctrinary capitalism.
- I do believe in
pluriform non-totalitarian social systems, but two problems with
bringing them about are (1) ordinary men
are unintelligent and ignorant and (2) ordinary men - who are the vast majority of any
electorate - are systematically misled by the politicians whom they
trust, who tend to be crooks, deceivers, and immoral bastards, but who do
know how to lie and deceive.
- If mankind can be
emancipated at all, it is best emancipated by science, and not by politics
Both politics and religion are best seen as systems of propaganda
from which very little good can be expected (by intelligent and learned
scientifically realist atheists like me).
I still believe
these points, 44 years later, and will concentrate on the first two,
since they also entail some serious difficulties for me and for others
who think like me:
- I do not expect
much good from "the masses", and indeed I believe "the masses",
although they do most of the fighting and get much of the suffering,
are rarely intelligent and learned enough to see through the deceptions
or to act rationally rather than emotionally.
- In terms of
political or religious propaganda, the pluriform non-totalitarian
approach I further is in serious problems: People like me do not
insist they know the answers; on the contrary, they say (i) they do not
know all or indeed most of the answers and (ii) there probably are no
answers that fit all and (iii) answers have to be formulated carefully
and empirically, and be tested. In contrast political and religious
groups tend to believe or pretend they have all the answers, and all
that is required is faith and persistence. This is false, but much
easier to popularize.
The above quotation
continues as follows - and "Then" = ca. 1954:
Yes - and one of my
points is that this was not an ideal system either, but it was more
realist in trying "to
maintain an equitable and working balance among the claims of the
various directly interested groups … stockholders, employees,
customers, and the public at large".
Then, most CEOs assumed
they were responsible for all their stakeholders.
“The job of management,”
proclaimed Frank Abrams, chairman of Standard Oil of New Jersey, in
1951, “is to maintain an equitable and working balance among the claims
of the various directly interested groups … stockholders, employees,
customers, and the public at large.”
Johnson & Johnson
publicly stated that its “first responsibility” was to patients,
doctors, and nurses, and not to investors.
What changed? In the
1980s, corporate raiders began mounting unfriendly takeovers of
companies that could deliver higher returns to their shareholders – if
they abandoned their other stakeholders.
The reason this was more realist is simply that all these groups are
involved, and indeed without "the public at large" there simply wouldn't be any firm, because
there would be no one to sell its products to.
Then there is this:
shareholder capitalism has replaced stakeholder capitalism. Corporate
raiders have morphed into private equity managers, and unfriendly
takeovers are rare. But it’s now assumed corporations exist only to
maximize shareholder returns.
Yes, indeed - though
actually that "corporations
exist only to maximize shareholder returns" seems to be a bit of an overstatement: Corporations
now exist (1) to maximize the incomes of their managers, rather than of
the shareholders, while (2) the shareholder returns are dependent on
the standing of the corporation on the stock exchange, which are in
turn much dependent, especially in the short run, on the propaganda the
managers have put out.
Part of that schema
is the conviction that shareholders do not anymore own sales because
they trust the managers of a company, whom they together
control; they only hold shares to make a profit, and indeed
rarely control a company.
To end this, here is
the ending of Reich's article:
Only some of us are
corporate shareholders, and shareholders have won big in America over
the last three decades.
But we’re all
stakeholders in the American economy, and many stakeholders have done
Maybe a bit more
stakeholder capitalism is in order.
Yes, except that
shareholders and managers "have won big".
But Reich is quite right everyone is a stakeholder in the
economy he or she lives in, and almost everyone but shareholders and
managers has been screwed financially, indeed collectively out of trillions
of dollars since 1980.
Finally, will there
be a rebirth of stakeholder capitalism? I doubt it, without a crash,
but the ideas are certainly a lot better than those of shareholder
the Democratic Party Does Well: Doing Itself In
item is an article by Ralph Nader that I found on Common Dreams:
I have two quotes
from this, and I agree with the title. Here is the first quote:
The full restoration of
the federal minimum wage to make up for the ravages of inflation since
1968 would take it from the present, stagnant $7.25 per hour and beyond
the proposed $10.10 to $10.90 per hour. Over thirty million American
workers – two thirds of them women and two thirds of them employed by
large low-wage companies like Walmart and McDonald’s – would benefit
from this wage restoration, and in turn would be able to strengthen the
economy by increasing their consumer expenditures. There are a lot of
votes out there if the Democrats go beyond lip service and push for a
major media and grassroots campaign against the Congressional
Republicans who are blocking a vote on this minimum wage bill.
Three of four Americans
favor a restored minimum wage.
Quite so. So why do
the Democrats not try to win these votes? It seems to me because they
are managed by lobbyists, who for the most part serve the interests of
the rich few, who also pay them, rather than the interests of the poor
And this is the end
of the article:
I’ve often said that the
Democratic Party cannot even defend the country against the
demonstrably cruel, anti-worker, anti-consumer, pro-big business/Wall
Street over Main Street Republican Party. The voting evidence in
Congress is fully accessible. The Democrats compiled, but did not
adequately deploy a report on some sixty outrageous Republican Party
House votes during the last Congress that, if really driven home to
voters, would have resulted in a landslide Democratic win against the
GOP. Instead, the Democrats allowed the GOP to cover its truly vicious
tracks with flowery rhetoric that kept their day of reckoning from
seeing sunlight (see
My message to Democrats
is: Dump your corporate consultants. Just campaign for the necessities
of the people. And publicize those Republican votes crisply, widely and
He is right, but it
is unlikely to happen: Most Democrats are tied by promises to their
3. Wikipedia isn't perfect, but as a model it's as good as it
item is an article by John Naughton on The Guardian:
John Naughton starts
with some details about recent complaints about Wikipedia. I'll skip
them, and instead I simply say that I use Wikipedia a lot: There constantly are at least ten files open
(about anything: I am widely curious), and I also often link pages,
simply to provide some background for my readers.
Also, I do not think
Wikipedia is perfect, and I also know of some pages - e.g. about the
disease I have for 36 years now, M.E.,
which has been much subject to psychiatric bullshit - which I just do not
trust, and indeed have seen alter a whole lot, and being altered back,
But by and large it
is the only free, general and widely used encyclopedia there is on the
internet, and I also should say that it has become more of a success
than I expected. 
Here is John
(...) Wikipedia embodies
a new approach to the creation, dissemination and curation of knowledge
in a networked world. The most striking thing about this approach is
that it is completely open: the reason Channel 4 was able to
uncover what it reported is that the history of every single edit to a
Wikipedia is freely available, right back to the first incarnation of
the page. So anyone with the time and inclination can see the evolution
and transformation of the page over its entire lifetime. Equally,
anyone who messes with a page has real difficulty covering their
tracks. Likewise, every Wikipedia page has a discussion page associated
with it, which allows people to explain or justify changes that they
Wikipedia is a typical
product of the open internet, in that it
started with a few simple principles and evolved a fascinating
governance structure to deal with problems as they arose. It
recognised early on that there would be legitimate disagreements about
some subjects and that eventually corporations and other powerful
entities would try to subvert or corrupt it.
Yes. And here is
Naughton's last statement in the article:
Wikipedia may be
imperfect (what isn't?) but at the moment it's the only model we have
for addressing these problems.
Docs Show Spyware Used to Snoop on
item is an article by Jeff Larson and Mike Tegas on Truthdig, and
originally on ProPublica:
This starts as
I say - though I am not
amazed. Here is some more detail:
Software created by the
controversial U.K. based Gamma Group International was used to spy on
computers that appear to be located in the United States, the U.K.,
Germany, Russia, Iran and Bahrain, according to a leaked trove of
documents analyzed by ProPublica.
It’s not clear whether
the surveillance was conducted by governments or private entities.
Customer email addresses in the collection appeared to belong to a
German surveillance company, an independent consultant in Dubai, the
Bosnian and Hungarian Intelligence services, a Dutch law enforcement
officer and the Qatari government.
The leaked files
— which were posted
online by hackers — are the latest in a series of revelations
about how state actors including repressive regimes have used Gamma’s
software to spy on dissidents, journalists and activist groups.
Note that it seems that
Gamma sells its wares to anyone willing to spy on others.
Gamma has not commented
publicly on the authenticity of the documents. A phone number listed on
a Gamma Group website was disconnected. Gamma Group did not respond to
email requests for comment.
The leaked files contain
more 40 gigabytes of confidential technical material including software
code, internal memos, strategy reports and user guides on how to use
Gamma Group software suite called FinFisher. FinFisher enables
customers to monitor secure web traffic, Skype calls, webcams, and
personal files. It is installed as malware on targets’ computers and
list included in the trove lists a license of the software at
almost $4 million.
On Ayaan Hirsi Ali
item is an article by
Janet Allon on AlterNet:
AlterNet has every week
this type of lists, which I do not like, not having a propaganda-fueled
type of mind, so I leave this to mostly to you. The reason it is here
at all is because the first item is about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who this
time is quoted as saying
“I really think
[Netanyahu] should get the Nobel Peace Prize,” she continued,
unperturbed by the hundreds of Palestinian civilians killed in Israel's
recent war on Gaza. “In a fair world he would get it.”
If you really think Ali really
thinks so, you must be very naive, but then many Americans are. In my
opinion - which dates back to 2004,
when she lived in Holland - she is merely a halfly clever personal
intriguer who does and says anything for money and for personal
prominence. This is just another bid to remain (in)famous and thus earn
In case you are interested: Here is an English mail I sent to Ophelia
Benson in November of 2005, outlining my reasons for disliking and
distrusting her - which Ophelia Benson did not like at all, convinced
as she was at that time of having discovered, all the way from the
other side of the globe, an exemplary leftist atheist feminist - in
which she was quite mistaken.
Here is a link to my English article (except for a brief Dutch
introduction) of 2005:
I still think it is
quite good, but it is about 2005, which is relevant in so far as Ms
Ali's position then was different from what is is now, although it
never was rational or honest, as indeed the Dutch
found out, eventually, circa 2008.
The brief of it all is: She is a mere careerist, capable of saying
anything, and when watching her sayings the best guide is to ask
oneself 'how would this serve her own interests?'.
The Heinous Crime
and last item today is an article by Robert Parry on Consortium News:
This has the following
mainstream media’s big takeaway from Richard Nixon’s
Watergate resignation is that “the cover-up is always worse than
the crime.” But that’s because few understand the crime behind
Watergate, Nixon’s frantic search for a file on his 1968 subversion
of Vietnam peace talks, reports Robert Parry.
Yes, indeed - and I
agree this is not a real crisis file, but it is a good article about a
previous crisis, which eventually led to Nixon's impeachment and his
Here is the beginning of the article:
That meant four more
years of fighting in Vietnam and an engineered win for Nixon as
president. Nixon's main problem was that he learned Lyndon B. Johnson
had found out about "what
Johnson called Nixon’s “treason"", indeed already in 1968, before the elections, but
that Johnson had not acted upon his knowledge, while Nixon did not know
what Johnson knew or would or might do.
To fully understand the
Watergate scandal, which led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation
40 years ago, you have to know the back story starting in 1968 when
candidate Nixon took part in a secret maneuver to scuttle the
Vietnam peace talks and salvage a narrow victory over Vice
President Hubert Humphrey.
In essence, what Nixon
and his campaign team did was to contact South Vietnamese leaders
behind President Lyndon Johnson’s back and promise them a better deal
if they stayed away from Johnson’s Paris peace talks, which President
Nguyen van Thieu agreed to do. So, with Johnson’s peace talks stymied
and with Nixon suggesting that he had a secret plan to end the war,
Nixon edged out Humphrey.
After his election, Nixon
learned from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover that President Johnson had
amassed a detailed file on what Johnson called Nixon’s “treason,” but
Nixon couldn’t locate the file once he took office and ordered an
intensive search for the material that explained why the Paris
peace talks had failed. But the material stayed missing.
Also, it is noteworthy these four more years of war cost the lives of 20,000
American soldiers and "possibly a million" Vietnamese men,
women and children.
It is especially this that moved Nixon to try to get or at least
destroy Johnson's files on him, with such niceties as:
So now you probably know
more than you did about Nixon, his heinous crime (that lead i.a. to
over a million unnecessary deaths), and the reasons behind Watergate.
In a series of
tape-recorded meetings beginning on June 17, 1971, Nixon ordered a
break-in (or even a fire-bombing) at the Brookings Institution where
some Nixon insiders believed the missing material might be hidden in
“I want it implemented,”
Nixon fumed to his senior aides, Henry Kissinger and H.R. “Bob”
Haldeman. “Goddamnit, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get
This is a really good article that you should read all of if you are
interested in Nixon or in Watergate.
P.S. 11 aug 2014: Corrected some
 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.)
 My reasons to say that my parents were
sincere and intelligent, and also communists (of some 30 to forty
years, ca. 1975), are that they were, and that I have known very many
more quasi-marxist, quasi-communist, insincere careerists, generally
also more stupid than my parents, who pretended to being
marxists, especially in the University of Amsterdam between 1975 and
1990, because that was locally fashionable and promised them careeers,
which indeed many got and made. They were all phonies. My parents
 Let me also say that I do know of quite
a few semi, quasi and fake intellectuals who claim to be much abhorred
by Wikipedia. I merely observe that I am a real intellectual of 64;
that I do not say Wikipedia is perfect; that I admit it is probably
misleading on some very popular or very rare themes; but that overall
it works for me.
(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: