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."
Stand for Free Press, Pulitzer Journalists Declare
Support for James Risen
2. The Man Who Got It Right
3. Quiz: Who Said This? Hillary
Clinton or Benjamin
4. Blue Gold: World Water
Suspends Medical License of Leading Prescriber of
6. If Corporations Are
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday,
August 12. It is a crisis log. There are six items, with eight
This is a crisis log but it is slightly different from other ones in
listing three videos (I think that is a first time in a crisis log, but
I may be mistaken) and in having a piece on Simon Leys, which is the
of a Belgian sinologist I have read since 1972. I grant this is not a
real crisis item. It is here because I like Leys, and also because it
gives me a reason to say something about my turning away from the
marxism of my - intelligent, sincere, honest, just, working class -
parents in 1970.
Otherwise, and in general, in a crisis log - as most of my Nederlogs have been
since June 10, 2013, when I first
got aware of Edward Snowden and his revelations - I simply relay what I
have found on the crisis, as I understand that term, for which
understanding (broader than normal) see here
Finally, since I am speaking about generalities: I am in terms of
academic degrees a philosopher and a psychologist (all with straight
A's, while I was ill, which I still am) and I differ from most other
leftists in insisting that the main problem of mankind is the average human
which is a position I share with George Carlin, Bill Maher, and Frank
Zappa, but which, for some reason, most leftists, including
intellectuals, do not agree with or do not see .
Anyway... on to today's articles.
1. In Stand for Free Press, Pulitzer Journalists Declare
Support for James Risen
item is an article by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams (who seem to
have finished the redesign of their site: I like it):
This starts as
Prize-winning journalists on Monday issued statements declaring their
support for New York Times reporter James Risen, who has
vowed to go to jail rather than reveal a confidential source despite
the U.S. Justice Department's dogged insistence on his testimony.
Risen has been ordered by
the Justice Department (DOJ) to testify in the prosecution of a CIA
officer accused of leaking classified information about U.S. efforts to
undermine Iran's nuclear program, information that Risen revealed in
his 2006 book State of War.
According to fellow
reporters, Risen's case has in many ways already done "substantial and
lasting damage" to the state of journalism in the United States and
threatens the very notion of our First Amendment right to Freedom of
the Press. The statements were released ahead of a Thursday press
conference at the National Press Club during which many of the
major U.S. press freedom organizations will deliver a petition
with over 100,000 signatures calling on the DOJ to drop their subpoena.
In early June, the U.S.
refused to intervene on Risen's behalf, despite his claim that his
First Amendment rights were violated.
Yes, indeed - and as
to the Supreme Court: That is in majority - it seems to me - currently
a mere willing tool of the big corporations. (And I am not
There is considerably
more in the article. And in case you need reminding: Without a free
press, there is no democracy.
Man Who Got It Right
item is an article by Ian Buruma on The New York Review of Books:
This is about Simon
Leys - real name: Pierre
Ryckmans - who turned out to have died yesterday. It is by a Dutch
writer, who lives outside Holland, Ian Buruma. If you do not know who
Leys was (as I shall call him, since I did not know his
real name until
much later), you
should read the last Wikipedia link.
First, a quotation
from the beginning of Buruma's essay:
The most interesting
thing, to me, was the anecdote related by Leys at the end of his
account, about sitting in an Australian café minding his own business
while a radio is blaring musical and spoken pap in the background. By
chance, the program switched to a Mozart clarinet quintet, for a moment
turning the café “into an antechamber of Paradise.” People fell silent,
there were looks of bafflement, and then, “to the huge relief of all,”
one customer “stood up, walked straight to the radio,” turned the knob
to another station, and “restored at once the more congenial noises,
which everyone could again comfortably ignore.”
Leys describes this event
as a kind of epiphany. He is sure that philistinism does not result
from the lack of knowledge. The customer who could not abide hearing
Mozart’s music recognized its beauty. Indeed, he did what he did
precisely for that reason. The desire to destroy beauty, according to
Leys, applies not just to aesthetics but as much, if not more, to
ethics: “The need to bring down to our own wretched level, to deface,
to deride and debunk any splendour that is towering above us, is
probably the saddest urge of human nature.”
Yes, indeed - and in
my opinion this strong tendency of the stupid majority (half of mankind
has an IQ under 100): "The
need to bring down to our own wretched level, to deface, to deride and
debunk any splendour that is towering above us" is one of the saddest and most problematic features
of mankind, and may well do it in, because nobody except for a
few intellectuals and a few writers sees it or is opposed to it - and
indeed opposing it is risky everywhere, as I found in Holland.
As to Holland, here
is Buruma, who is 1 1/2 years younger than I am:
In one of his essays,
Leys refers to the first Communist decades in China as “thirty years of
illiterates’ rule,” which might be construed as snobbish; but the
relative lack of education among the top Communist cadres is not
actually the main issue for Leys. His targets are never uneducated
barbarians, people too ignorant or stupid to know what they are doing.
The objects of his devastating and bitterly funny barbs are fellow
intellectuals, often fellow academics, most often fellow experts on
China, people who faithfully followed every twist and turn of the
Chinese Communist Party line, even though they knew better. (...)
I recognize the type,
since they were to be found among the Dutch professors who taught me
Chinese literature and history at Leyden University in the early 1970s,
when the Cultural Revolution was still raging. None of them was a
Maoist, in the sense that they would have advocated Mao’s politics in
their own country. But China, whose unique culture my professors spent
their lives studying, was different.
I did not study
Chinese, but I am Dutch and I recall especially professor Wertheim
of the University of Amsterdam, who knew - also for many years
afterward: he died in 1998 - how to explain everything Mao did in
glowing terms. (And indeed I see now, in the brief article on him in
the Dutch Wikipedia, that he started as a Stalinist and ended as a
Maoist, which was not clear to me while he lived.)
And it was not just
Wertheim: Most Dutch leftists were pro-Mao in the 1970ies, while the
whole pro-Stalinist attitude in the Dutch CP (that my parents were
members of since 1935 and 1940) gravely upset my trust in
communism, already when I was 14, when I was only not kicked out from
the communist German Democratic Republic because I fell ill and had to
be hospitalized there, for I am very much an individualist who is
of any kind.
The problem is that
relatively few are: Most men are not individualists, and indeed
are also not much of individuals (with their own non-standard
interests, readings, knowledge, tastes, and preferences, that they
acquired by their individual efforts) - most men take pride in
"like everyone else", and the whole nation of Dutchmen said with proud
consent, millionfold repated from 1970-2000, that "everybody knows that
everybody is equal", and many tried to bring down anybody who stood out
as more gifted in anything other than sports or singing (in Dutch). 
Back to Buruma on
Unlike in the 1970s, few
people now dispute that Leys was right about the horrors of Mao’s
regime. Even the Chinese government admits that more than fifteen
million people died of starvation as the direct result of Mao’s
deranged experiments in the late 1950s. Recent scholarship shows that
the real figure might be as high as forty-five million deaths between
1958 and 1962 (see Frank Dikötter’s Mao’s Great Famine, 2010).
The Cultural Revolution, although Mao’s own leading role in it can
still not be discussed openly, is commonly referred to as the “great
disaster.” One of the questions raised by Leys is why most people got
it so wrong when Maoism was at its most murderous. Was it a matter of
excusable ignorance about what was then a very closed society?
This is a very good
question, which you may consider for a moment, while I recall that I
got Leys's first book in 1972, and was reading it in my little room in
an attic above the Amsterdam Vondelpark, and enjoyed the style, the
clarity, the civilization, and also the courage, for indeed Leys at
that time was mostly an outcast, precisely because of his ideas. In
Holland, everyone swore by Joris Ivens, who was a personal friend of
Mao, and had shot a 763-minute (!!) propaganda documentary about the
Cultural Revolution, that also was shown on TV: "How Yukon Moved the
Mountains": Ivens knew, the Dutch thought! The Cultural Revolution
was A Great Leap Forward For Humanity!
Now to answer Leys's question:
Yes, quite so - unless they
have a scientific outlook, that may be native, since I met even in
Holland, that has been very free during most of my years, very few who
have it - and indeed judging simply by one's values is much
more easy than
trying to judge by the best factual information, which takes a lot more
trouble, and is less subjectively certain. (See: wishful
So why were the “China
experts” (we might as well leave other famous dupes, such as Shirley
MacLaine, aside) so obtuse? As in the case of the man who couldn’t
tolerate Mozart, Leys dismisses ignorance as an explanation. His
answer: “What people believe is essentially what they wish to
believe. They cultivate illusions out of idealism—and also out of
Finally, as regards propaganda, "public
and other forms of lying
ordinary people, that have grown gigantically the last 35 years:
When Confucius was asked
by one of his disciples what he would do if he were given his own
territory to govern, the Master replied that he would “rectify the
names,” that is, make words correspond to reality. He explained (in
If the names are
not correct, if they do not match realities, language has no object. If
language is without an object, action becomes impossible—and therefore,
all human affairs disintegrate and their management becomes pointless.
Quite so - or it gets
taken over by the liars and deceivers who produce the propaganda, which
I agree will not work in the long run, but which will create enormous
havoc and destruction in the short run, and riches for few, and poverty
or death for many.
Anyway - the article
is a lot longer, and if you are interested in China or in clear
thinking, you should read all of it.
3. Quiz: Who Said This? Hillary Clinton or Benjamin Netanyahu?
item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This is just what the title
says it is. It consists of 16 quotations, that the reader should assign
the right speaker to, Clinton or Netanyahu.
I take it the main lesson will be that there really is no way to tell
who said what (which I agree is a bit odd, to say the least).
Blue Gold: World Water Wars
item is an article by Don Quijones on Rage Against The Bullshit:
In fact, it is
a brief introduction to a film. Here is his introduction:
There is perhaps
no greater example of collective human insanity than what we are
currently doing to the one element — or more accurately put, compound —
that we as a species need the most to survive on this beautiful
blue planet: water. As the following documentary, Blue Gold:
World Water Wars, lays out in the clearest possible terms, if
we don’t change course soon, it will already be too late.
You can see the film on
his site - and again I must say I am glad I was born in 1950, and not
Suspends Medical License of Leading Prescriber of Antipsychotic Drugs
item is an article by
Charles Ornstein on ProPublica:
This is here mostly
because I wrote about this before. Here is the beginning of the article:
regulators have indefinitely
suspended the medical license of psychiatrist Michael Reinstein, who prescribed more
of the most powerful and riskiest antipsychotic drug clozapine than any
other doctor in the country.
This speaks for itself,
but there is considerably more in the article, including the fact that
this psychiatrist averaged 20,000 prescriptions a year
Clozapine from 2007 - 2009, which works out as 55 a day, presuming he
worked 365 days a year.
The decision by Illinois'
Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, signed Friday,
suspends Reinstein's license for a minimum of three years, at which
time he can apply to have it reinstated.
The state's medical
disciplinary board recommended the sanction in May after determining
that Reinstein, 71, received "illegal direct and indirect remuneration"
from the maker of generic clozapine; did not consider alternative
treatments for his patients; and disregarded patients' well-being
because of potentially life-threatening side effects of the drug.
Reinstein's motion for a rehearing was denied Friday, making the matter
Clozapine is approved to
treat patients who don't respond to other medications. But it can have
dangerous side effects, including seizures, inflammation of the heart
muscle, and a drop in white blood cells. The drug is considered
particularly dangerous for elderly patients.
Then again, I'd say American psychiatry anyway is dead as a science or
indeed as medicine: Most American psychiatrists mostly prescribe drugs
for one of over 400 "disorders" most of which simply do not exist,
as they were invented since 1980, and made up from thin air, bullshit,
and nonsense, without any real discussion, and on the basis of no real
It's a great shame, but Reinstein is one of many, though he probably
transgressed more than most. Besides, it seems to me he was hardly
punished at all: Three years of non-"doctoring", at 71, seems hardly a
punishment at all.
If Corporations Are
The last items of today
are in fact two videos from The Young Turks (TYT), that are related,
and that I thought quite good. First, there is this:
This takes 5 m 47 s.
Here is a part of TYT's written comment under the video:
"If companies are
claiming the rights and privileges of people, maybe people should start
claiming the rights and privileges of corporations. Rights
harmonization, in other words, should flow in both directions, since
we’re now all indistinguishable, equally protected “persons” — in the
court’s eyes, anyway."
Their source is
Catherine Rampell, who wrote an excellent story on this theme in The
Washington Post, which is
here (it may load slowly, by the way - it did for me):
Note that in fact
corporations are more than people now, since the US Supreme
Court decided they are people: They have far more rights than
man, as is made clear in the video.
Next, and it seems in continuation of the previous video, there is:
This explains how
corporations have all of our human rights, plus a lot more, that
enables them to do what no man may do, such as giving a million dollars
to Mitt Romney. All you need to do is make a corporation, and the
corporation can do it for you:
This is a quote
from the Huffington Post. And "LLC" = "Limited Liability Corporation" -
with all the rights human beings have, plus some further rights, and
also the right to give unlimited amounts of money to anyone they like.
As Cenk Uygur asks: Do you really think the United States is a
P.S. Aug 13, 2014: I made a few small
corrections and added a few words in clarification.
 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.)
 Actually, I think I know the
reason: Most simply are more stupid than Carlin, Maher or Zappa. There
are some other reasons, but this really is the main one. As to the
other reasons, here are two: Most intellectuals who are interested in
politics are political persons, rather than scientific
persons - they either lost or never really had a sound grasp of real
science. And besides, most politically interested intellectuals like to
pretend that non-intellectuals are like them, if only because they need
non-intellectuals to realize most of the things they want to see
I think both reasons also are illusions, but I grant that the first may
be more a matter of character (I am a scientific person much rather
than a political one, but in fact I met only very few persons I can say
the same about) than it is of conscious choice. (And note that a
scientific person is interested in the truth; a political person is
interested in what works, and tends to care for the truth only in so
far as it supports his or her political beliefs.)
 I am not exaggerating, and also I am not
willing - here and now - to consider what all these millions meant by
"equality", though I am quite capable of contrasting "equality of all"
and "equality in law". The reason I am not willing to consider this, is
mostly that hardly any Dutchman ever considered it, to my knowledge:
they were being intentionally vague (in so far as they saw the
difference), but in practice "equality" in Holland meant that anyone
who did not share in the values and assumptions of a group was cast out
as a member.
Also, this attitude that "everyone knows everyone is equal" was not
so for sports' heroes and "singers" (in Dutch, especially): These were
revered by millions of
Dutchmen as "geniuses", and no one else ever was, to my knowledge.
(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: