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."
police body-cam peep show: are you ready to give up
your privacy, too?
poverty in the UK, but we are better off calling it
3. Shock new poll says Scots set
to vote yes to
4. Obama and Cameron Find Little
Enthusiasm at NATO for
New Iraq War
Nato Summit Is Glaring Proof (If Ever Needed) Of Demise
Of Representative Government
This is a Nederlog of
September 7. It is a crisis log.
There is an earlier Nederlog today, but
it is not a crisis log.
Instead, it is about me and my M.E. This is probably not interesting
for persons who are not much interested in either subject.
The present crisis log has five items. (I don't think this is very
interesting - more tomorrow - but if you want to read the silliest
crap I have read so far in The Guardian, try item 2:
There is no poverty in the UK because no one earns as little as the
poorest Burmese. Yes, really!)
1. The police body-cam peep show: are you ready
to give up your privacy, too?
item is an article by Trevor Timm on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
In fact, there are
figures like these:
Despite long-time opposition
from some police forces, it now seems the mini-cameras, which can
be attached to police officers’ lapel or glasses to record interactions
with citizens, cannot be implemented fast enough. A company donated
body-cams to Ferguson’s police force, which, under nationwide scrutiny,
started using them this week. Soon, cops in Washington
Chicago, Los Angeles and New
York will all be experimenting with body cameras – if they’re not
If used right, this simple
technology could represent a huge win for both citizens and the police
well-known study of the practice backs up this theory about body-cams:
they stop bad cops. In Rialto, California, the police force wore the
cameras for one year starting in February 2012, and as the
Guardian reported, “public complaints against officers plunged 88%
compared with the previous 12 months. Officers’ use of force fell by
But then again, the
cameras often malfunction or are switched off, especially when
policemen make arrests, and also no one seems to have thoroughly
thought through all the implications.
Timm and the ACLU are for it "as long as there are strict requirements around their use", but neither expects this will solve
all or most problems, and I believe they are right.
2. There's poverty in the UK, but we are better
off calling it inequality
item is an article by John Lanchester on The Guardian:
I thought this would be a
thoroughly crazy or utterly silly piece, simply because of the
extremely euphemistic title, and I was right. It starts as
We all think we
know what we're talking about when we discuss poverty. We have a clear
mental image for the poverty of the developing nations. One of the
targets for the millennium
development goals, announced by the UN in 2000, was to halve the
global proportion of absolutely poor people by 2015. At the time the
target was announced, the definition of an absolutely poor person was
anyone living on an income of less than $1 a day. That criterion has
been nudged upwards, in response to new data about prices and
purchasing power, to $1.25. There has and continues to be astonishing
progress towards and beyond this target, which was achieved in 2010,
five years ahead of its deadline – a fact that went eerily uncelebrated.
I do not know whether the
numbers quoted are factually correct, but I will suppose they are.
The craziness or total silliness of Lanchester is that he thinks that he
knows (a recently pensioned food journalist, it seems) what "poverty"
means, but that a man like me, who never in 64 years has
attained the minimal legal income, does not know what "poverty"
means. Oh no!
What "poverty" means, in the eyes of Lanchester, is (maximally) $ 1.25
a day. Those people are poor. But people who earn more, like everyone
in Europe and the U.S. are not "poor". Therefore! Oh no! They
are not even starving!
In fact, after a long argument in which he shows he probably does not
know the meaning of "propaganda"
either, he arrives at this:
This is why I
would ban the word "poverty". ("Relative poverty" is too much of a
mouthful.) Let's call it what it is – inequality.
Namely (1) because these
"inequal" people do earn more than $ 1.25 a day (those who earn less than $ 1.25 may live in
Burma or India, but who cares) and (2) "No one actually starves". Oh
yes, and because (3) more and more Brits have been
propagandized into believing that they too are in favor of austerity
(for others, like "welfare queens", "shirkers", and "ill"
people, or so
Clearly, if there are no "poor" there are no "rich" either (though the
word "rich" is not mentioned in the article at all): The
"rich" also are not rich, just as the "poor" are not poor -
they are both "inequals" (and one class has just a bit more
than the other class, or so I must suppose, and things are relatively
I, who has to do everything, after paying the rents and the
energy and the health-insurance bills, from at most $ 10 a day, in a
city where one decent bread costs $ 3.50, without any margerine or any
topping, am not "poor", according to Lanchester (compared with
poor Burmese): I just am a bit more "inequal" (since I do not
starve) than my mates with degrees (all worse degrees than I have) who
earn a mere $200.000 or $300.000 or $400.000 or more a year, and who
also are not "rich" (compared to some of the Romans in the year
100): Again they are merely a bit more "inequal" than I am, just like I
am a bit more "inequal" than they are (in the other direction).
See? Here is the end of the article:
So let's get on
with it. Let's start to make them hear what we're saying: it's about
the inequality, stupid.
There are no "poor"!
There are no "rich"! Everybody is "inequal"! Who doesn't see this is
"stupid"! (Jesus, what utter crap.)
new poll says Scots set to vote yes to independence
item is an article by Toby Helm and Daniel Boffey on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
There is rather a lot
more in the article, but I only mention that
The people of Scotland are to be
offered a historic opportunity to devise a federal future for their
country before next year's general election, it emerged on Saturday
night, as a shock new poll gave the campaign for independence a narrow
lead for the first time.
Amid signs of panic and
recrimination among unionist ranks about the prospects of a yes vote on
18 September, the Observer has learned that a devolution
announcement designed to halt the nationalist bandwagon is due to be
made within days by the anti-independence camp.
Anyway - as I've said, I
would vote "Yes", but this is mostly because I neither like nor trust
the British government, and because this gives the Scots at least a chance
to do things a bit less bad than the British government has done.
- there is another
poll that stll favors "No" rather than "Yes", and
- the Conservatives
are now ready to promise most everything to the Scots, if only they
vote "No" (and then they will not get it).
4. Obama and Cameron Find Little Enthusiasm at
NATO for New Iraq War
item is an article by Juan Cole on Truthdig (and originally on Cole's
This starts as
The NATO summit
in Wales was supposed to be all about getting out of
Afghanistan. Instead, two new issues dominated it– the Ukraine
and ISIL in Iraq and Syria.
prime minister David Cameron joined Barack Obama in castigating
NATO members for paying ransoms to ISIL and for not stepping up to deal
with it. Cameron is said to be canvassing his backbenchers in
parliament about whether they would accept a Royal Air Force role in
bombing ISIL positions in Iraq. He has to do this because last
year this time the British parliament shot down any British role in
bombing Syria in response to the Bashar al-Assad regime’s use of poison
gas. Parliament’s reluctance played a role in forestalling an
Obama intervention in Syria.
According to Cole,
one reason why the Europeans are not much willing to fight in Iraq or
Syria is that European Union states have incorporated much
international law into EU legal codes, and this might get leaders who
infringe the law into court. That seems correct.
And one reason why Obama has to do something (or at least: has to
appear as if he does something) are "the Washington war hawks and fear
of losing the midterm" elections, and that seems also probably correct.
Summit Is Glaring Proof (If Ever Needed) Of Demise Of Representative
item is an article by Don Quijones on Raging Bull-Shit:
This starts as
When the inhabitants
of the Welsh cities of Cardiff and Newport rolled out the red carpet
for the attendees of this week’s Nato Summit, their normally calm city
centers underwent a disturbing makeover. A “ring of steel” some 12
miles long and costing over 110 million dollars was erected to protect
the political representatives of some of the world’s freest and most
democratic nations as they freely exchanged ideas and thoughts on how
to preserve the West’s global domination at the barrel of a gun.
In time-honored fashion,
the UK government and mainstream press wheeled out the all too familiar
terrorist bogeyman as the prime reason for such extravagent security
arrangements. However, the real target of the ring of steel was an
entirely different group altogether, a group of people much closer to
home — that is, the disenfrancised general public itself.
The reason why Western
political leaders feel the need for such heavy-duty protection from the
people they’re charged with representing is quite simple: they no
longer even pretend to represent them. Instead they have become little
more than a protection racket for the world’s largest corporations and
richest individuals. As the full scale of the betrayal slowly dawns on
the people of the West, public rage is inevitably rising.
I mostly agree,
although I also must say I have seen very little of "public rage": That
seems to be more wishful
thinking than real fact. Then again, the argument that follows the
quotation does give good reasons why "the public" should
P.S. Sep 8, 2014: I corrected
some typos and inserted a link.
 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: