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."
1. Australia’s Prime Minister
Gives a Master Class in
Exploiting Terrorism Fears to
Seize New Powers
3. Dozens arrested as police
face off with Flood Wall Street
4. The shocking true story
of academia in 2014
Apple Still Has Plenty of Your Data for the Feds
6. Banned Books Week: A
'Celebration of the Freedom to
7. Doctor Munchausen: Hear no,
See no – What?
Record-Setting Climate March Proves People Care & The
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday,
September 23. It is a crisis log.
1. Australia’s Prime Minister Gives a Master
Class in Exploiting Terrorism Fears to Seize New Powers
item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Yes. I have shown it
several times, but it will serve once again: Here
is the inspiration of Tony Abbott, whether he knows it or not:
If you’re an Australian
citizen, you have a greater chance of being killed by the following
causes than you do by a terrorist attack: slipping in the bathtub and
hitting your head; contracting a lethal intestinal illness from the
next dinner you eat at a restaurant; being struck by lightning. In the
post-9/11 era, there has been no terrorist attack carried out on
Australian soil: not one. The attack that most affected
Australians was the 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali which killed 88
of its citizens; that was 12 years ago.
Despite all that,
Australia’s political class is in the midst of an increasingly unhinged
fear-mongering orgy over terrorism. The campaign has two prongs: ISIS
(needless to say: it’s now an all-purpose, global source of
fear-manufacturing), and the weekend
arrest of 15 people on charges that they planned to behead an
unknown, random individual based on exhortations from an Australian
member of ISIS.
I do not know what a Tony Abbott knows, and I don't know whether he
knows who was Goering. (He probably does, since he has a Philosophy,
Politics and Economics M.A. from Oxford. ) What
I am saying is that he knows how to exploit fear and stupidity:
have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the
pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It
works the same in every country."
Having retrieved that,
here is some more Glenn Greenwald:
government wasted no time at all exploiting
this event to demand “broad new security powers to combat what it
says is a rising threat from militant Islamists.” Even by the warped
standards of the West’s 9/11 era liberty abridgments, these powers are
extreme, including making it “a crime for an Australian citizen to
travel to any area overseas once the government has declared it off
limits.” Already pending in that country is a proposal by the attorney
general to make
it a criminal offense ”punishable by five years in jail for
‘any person who disclosed information relating to ‘special intelligence
operations’”; the bill is clearly intended to outright criminalize
WikiLeaks-and-Snowden-type reporting, and the government thus expressly
refuses to exempt journalists.
Yes. Perhaps I should add that Tony Abbott is a
Catholic who was trained by the Jesuits. Here is a final quotation from
The ease with
which terrorism is exploited by western governments—a full 13 years
after 9/11—is stunning. Americans now
overwhelmingly favor military action against a group which, three
months ago, almost none of them even knew existed, notwithstanding clear
government admissions that the group poses no threat to the
“homeland.” When I was in New Zealand last week for a national
debate over mass surveillance, the frequency with which the
government and its supporters invoked the scary specter of the Muslim
Terrorist to justify all of that was remarkable: It’s New
Zealand. And now the Liberal Party’s prime minister in
Australia barely bats an eye as he overtly squeezes every drop of fear
he can to justify a wide array of new powers and spending splurges in
the name of a risk that, mathematically speaking, is trivial to the
I do not think I
consider this "stunning", but then I am older than Greenwald;
I come from a truly radical family; and I have never been
impressed by average intelligence, courage, individualism, knowledge,
or wisdom (which of course is very bad of me: most are much
impressed by these characteristics in most people, or at least tend to
pretend as if they are).
But if you
can make a population "overwhelmingly favor military action against a
group which, three months ago, almost none of them even knew existed"
while also they know they run no personal risk, the
only conclusion that seems valid to me is that the majority must be
quite stupid. (I am sorry - and yes, I really am.)
Then again, I must be one of the few - together with Bill Maher (<-
Wikipedia) - who draws an obvious consequence: Much of what is
happening now in politics is based on the carefully cultivated stupidity
of the masses, that allows their political
leaders to do as they please.
The Coming Climate Revolt
item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows
(and is from the day before the march in New York):
Yes indeed - I quite
agree. Here is Chris Hedges on one of the masters of manipulation:
We have undergone a
transformation during the last few decades—what John Ralston
Saul calls a corporate coup d’état in slow motion. We are no longer
a capitalist democracy endowed with a functioning liberal class that
once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible. Liberals in the
old Democratic Party such as the senators Gaylord Nelson, Birch Bayh
and George McGovern—who worked with Ralph Nader to make the Clean Air
Act, the Clean Water Act, the Mine Safety and Health Act, the Freedom
of Information Act and the OSHA law, who made common cause with labor
unions to protect workers, who stood up to the arms industry and a
bloated military—no longer exist within the Democratic Party, as Nader
has been lamenting for several years. They were pushed out as corporate
donors began to transform the political landscape with the election of
Ronald Reagan. And this is why the Democrats have not, as Bill
points out, enacted any
major social or economic reforms since the historic environmental laws
of the early ’70s.
We are governed, rather,
by a species of corporate totalitarianism, or what the political
philosopher Sheldon Wolin describes as “inverted
totalitarianism.” By this Wolin means a system where corporate
power, while it purports to pay fealty to electoral politics, the
Constitution, the three branches of government and a free press, along
with the iconography and language of American patriotism, has in fact
seized all the important levers of power to render the citizen impotent.
Bill Clinton found
that by doing corporate bidding he could get corporate money—thus
NAFTA, the destruction of our welfare system, the explosion of mass
incarceration under the  omnibus bill, the deregulation of the
FCC, turning the airwaves over to a half dozen corporations, and the
revoking of FDR’s 1933 Glass-Steagall
reform that had protected our banking system from speculators.
Clinton, in exchange for corporate money, transformed the Democratic
Party into the Republican Party. This was diabolically brilliant.
For Chris Hedges, this
means that the time to turn to "self-identified liberals in the
establishment" is past, basically because nearly all of them are deceivers. He wants something
considerably more radical:
If Wolin is right,
and I believe he is, then when we begin to build mass movements that
carry out repeated acts of civil disobedience, as I think everyone on
this panel believes we must do, the corporate state, including the
Democratic Party, will react the way all calcified states react.
It will use the security and surveillance apparatus, militarized police
forces—and, under Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization
Act, the military itself—to shut down all dissent with force. The legal
and organizational mechanisms are now in place to, with the flip of a
switch, put the nation effectively under martial law.
I agree something must
be done, but I doubt it is time for a revolution. Yet that is what
Hedges seems to favor:
We will have to
cease our appealing to the system. We will have to view the state,
including the Democratic Party, as antagonistic to genuine reform. We
will have to speak in the language of ... revolution.
No, I don't think so.
More precisely, while I agree with the first two-thirds, I disagree
with the last third: The American population is not ready for
it (I think) - which means that, in effect, some hundreds, thousands,
or tenthousands will get arrested, and will have to go to jail, and
that will be the end of it.
Also, I don't think "the climate" is the right topic to revolt
over: You need more concrete topics, such as ever rising income
inequalities, which also are the outcome of the last 30 years of
fundamentally dishonest politicking, and which hit 90% of the
people, all quite unfairly, and which also may be righted quite soon
with sufficient pressure, although this means the current House and
Supreme Court need to go.
arrested as police face off with Flood Wall Street
item is an article by Amanda Holpuch on The Guardian:
This starts as follows
(with one redundant "to denounce" removed by me):
There is considerably
more in the article, but I will quote just one more bit to show that
today it was not quite as Chris Hedges envisaged (though indeed this
was merely the first day after the big march):
More than 100 protesters
were arrested after hundreds of people gathered in New York City’s
financial district on Monday to denounce what organisers say is Wall
Street’s contribution to climate change.
Flood Wall Street
demonstrators, primarily dressed in blue to represent climate
change-induced flooding, marched to New York City’s financial centre to
“highlight the role of Wall Street in fuelling the climate crisis,”
according to organisers.
So no, this does not
prove anything either way.
many protesters set out with the aim of getting arrested, the
crowd’s relations with police were considerably less adversarial
compared to those
of Occupy Wall Street, which happened in the same part of the city.
Legal observers in bright
green caps dotted the protests and people were collecting the names and
birthdays of those who were willing to be arrested.
4. The shocking true story of academia in
item is an article by Matt Sacaro on Salon:
This starts as follows:
There is a lot more in
the article, but no statistics. But I do think the general picture is
You’ve probably heard the
old stereotypes about professors in their ivory tower lecturing about
Kafka while clad in a tweed jacket. But for many professors today, the
reality is quite different: being so poorly paid and treated, that
they’re more likely to be found bargain-hunting at day-old bread
stores. This is academia in 2014.
“The most shocking thing
is that many of us don’t even earn the federal minimum wage,” said
Miranda Merklein, an adjunct professor from Santa Fe who started
teaching in 2008. “Our students didn’t know that professors with PhDs
aren’t even earning as much as an entry-level fast food worker. We’re
not calling for the $15 minimum wage. We don’t even make minimum wage.
And we have no benefits and no job security.”
three quarters of college professors are adjunct. Legally, adjunct
positions are part-time, at-will employment. Universities pay adjunct professors by the course, anywhere
between $1,000 to $5,000. So if a professor teaches three courses
in both the fall and spring semesters at a rate of $3000 per course,
they’ll make $18,000 dollars. The average full-time barista makes
the same yearly wage. However, a full-time adjunct works more than
40 hours a week. They’re not paid for most of those hours.
Pay for many professors in many American universities is minimal since 30
years, and comes in third or fourth place (after student
dormitories, gymnasiums etc.), and the same has been happening in the
universities as elsewhere: A few tenured professors got a whole lot
richer, and most other professors, especially adjuncts, earn minimal
5. Apple Still Has Plenty of Your Data for
next item is an article by Micah Lee on The Intercept:
This starts as
In a much-publicized open letter last week, Apple
CEO Tim Cook pledged to protect user privacy with improved encryption
on iPhones and iPads and a hard line toward government agents. It was a
huge and welcome step toward thwarting the surveillance state, but it
also seriously oversold Apple’s commitment to privacy.
Yes, Apple launched a tough-talking new
privacy site and detailed
a big improvement to encryption in its mobile operating system iOS 8:
Text messages, photos, contacts, and call history are now encrypted
with the user’s passcode, whereas previously they were not. This
improvements by Apple’s competitors Google and Yahoo.
But despite these nods to
privacy-conscious consumers, Apple still strongly encourages all its
users to sign up for and use iCloud, the internet syncing and storage
service where Apple has the capability to unlock key data like backups,
documents, contacts, and calendar information in response to a
OK - I will come to
iCloud in a moment. I first want to say that I do consider this a
genuine improvement, even though I trust Apple as much as I trust the
U.S. government: This is "a huge and welcome step toward thwarting the surveillance
Now the iCloud. I
should start with saying that I've never used a cloud: I have
always considered it pretty crazy to put your private data outside
the privacy of your own home or your own computer, especially as
storage space is these days quite cheap.
And indeed, here is
the weakness of Apple's iCloud schema:
The improved encryption
in iOS 8 is a great move towards protecting consumer privacy and
security. But users should be aware that in most cases it doesn’t
protect your iOS device from government snoops.
While Apple does not have
the crypto keys that can unlock the data on iOS 8 devices, they do have
access to your iCloud backup data. Apple encrypts your iCloud data in
storage, but they encrypt it with their own
key, not with your passcode key, which means that they are able to
decrypt it to comply with government requests.
In order to fully enjoy the
benefits of keeping your crypto key private, you should also turn off
iCloud syncing for any data that you consider private.
Yes, indeed. (And I
may also say that, since I am myself using Linux/Ubuntu, Ubuntu
stopped its cloud service on June 1, 2014. I have not read any reasons,
but I've also never used it, again because I value my privacy.)
But OK: Apple has
done something to help its users keep their private data private, and
that is A Good Thing. But you can't trust them, and even if you could,
the U.S. government may be crazy enough to forbid all encryption, or at
least all encryption that cannot be easily undone by the government, as
indeed the NSA and the CIA seem to desire.
Books Week: A 'Celebration of the Freedom to Read'
next item is an article by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
Actually, this is not
a crisis issue. But I like to read (for which reason my home still does
not have a TV, now for 44 years) and indeed I owe quite a number of
books that were at some time forbidden to be read.
This starts as
Want to celebrate freedom
from censorship and open access to information this week?
You might want to pick up
a copy of Captain Underpants, The Absolutely True Diary
of a Part-Time Indian, or The Hunger Games. That's
because they're on the list of 2013's most challenged books, and this
is Banned Books Week, an
annual "celebration of the freedom to read."
"Our most basic freedom
in a democratic society is our first amendment right of the freedom to
read," a statement from American Library Association (ALA) President
Courtney Young reads. "Banned Books Week is an opportunity for all of
us—community residents, librarians, authors and educators—to stand
together protecting this fundamental right for everyone and for future
generations. We can never take this precious right for granted."
Quite so. Andrea
Germanos also quotes from the "Banned Books Week Handbook", but that I
found a bit disappointing. First the quote:
Censorship is about more
than a single book. It is about the intellectual, cultural and
political life of the community and the people in it.
Each time a book is
removed, it reinforces the idea that books and ideas are off-limits if
someone doesn’t like them. It contributes to a culture where it’s
better to hide from controversial or difficult topics, than to
acknowledge or discuss them. Restricting or banning a book hurts kids
and education, because teachers and librarians may decide not to teach
or buy another similar book, even if they feel it would be educational
While that seems all
quite true, it is not the criticism of censorship I would like to read,
which is this:
Censorship of books,
among adult persons, is evil because it gives to a few the
means to censor everybody else from reading the thoughts of a
third. It may be quite true, though it does not need to be, that the
thoughts of the author are bad and reprehensible, or mad and cruel, or
pornographic and ugly, or difficult and anti-government, but none
of this justifies any censoring - that is: the explicit denial of the
right to be informed about what this author wrote - by any one.
The reason censorship of books, among adult persons, is evil is that (1) it gives a few
the authority to deny everyone else any knowledge that the few did have
while (2) information as such - if not personal - does not harm anyone.
Anyway, this is a
good idea (and my remarks on censorship apply to adults only).
Munchausen: Hear no, See no – What?
next item is an article by Dr. David Healy on his site:
This is the last
article in a series - and no, this is mostly for the medically
interested, and less so for others.
I like Dr. Healy
because he is one of the few psychiatrists and medical doctors who acts
sensibly, and who has acted sensibly for a long time - for indeed most
don't, although the degrees of guilt or corruption differ a lot: It
varies from accepting the influence of pharmaceutical companies, or
accepting the present non-publishing of many medical data, to being a
willing partner in corruption by the pharmaceutical companies, and
prescribing strong psychotropic drugs to small children.
Also, it is clear to
me that dr. Healy cannot say all he wants to say and keep his
job, which he does well, and which I also hope he keeps. Here is just
the last part of his last piece in this series:
In terms of
responsibility, we don’t hold the train driver responsible for
Auschwitz. Are doctors little more than drivers operating the train to
Back in the 1950s or
1960s doctors were little gods. It would have been inconceivable
to cast them in the role of train drivers. The men responsible for the
medicating of orphans and giving them vaccines were closer to Doctor
Munchausen figures or perhaps even had something in common with Dr
Mengele – although this is a judgement made easier by the benefit
But today even Professors
from Brown, Harvard or Oxford have so little real say that it is
in some respects difficult to see them as any more than glorified train
We live in an era
when AllTrials, the BMJ, and GSK can all appear part of a cosy
It’s also an era when
children in orphanages, foster care and in care generally, are getting
vastly more psychotropic drugs given to them than ever before.
Thirty years from now if
doctors escape judgement because it is deemed they were just
train-drivers, it is as likely they will be a vanishing breed as
priests are now, as much use as salt that has lost its bite.
Here are some remarks
As to Auschwitz and concentration camps: My father and grandfather were locked up
as "political terrorists" in German concentration camps in 1941,
basically because they were in the communist resistance to Nazism,
which my grandfather did not survive, and I have read a considerable
amount about WW II and about concentration camps.
Given that, I
don't know whether I would "hold the train driver responsible for Auschwitz": Not if he really did not
know what he was doing, but what if, on the other extreme, he knew and
agreed with it? Or in the middle: He didn't agree but he knew some? 
Next, as to the
doctors of the 1950s or
1960s: These covered sadists like Ewen Cameron,
who also became head of the American Psychiatric Association, and
the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and the World Psychiatric
Association, while he worked in secret for the CIA, and he much
abused very many persons in ways that can only be described as
Then again, while Cameron was one of the worst, there were quite a few
other medical doctors who also misbehaved, and I am not aware that any
of them was ever punished.
Next, I do not
professors from Harvard or Oxford are like train drivers: Even if they
have little to say (which I tend to doubt), certainly they act
as figures of authority to their patients, whom they tend to seriously
mislead if they are psychiatrists.
And yes, it is true that "children in orphanages, foster care and in
care generally, are getting vastly more psychotropic drugs" - and these psychotropic drugs also tend to
harm them, and tend to be prescribed on very little or no good evidence.
So no: I hold the doctors
responsible, as indeed they would hold me responsible if I were
willingly harming them. Then again, in "thirty years" most things will
be mostly forgotten.
Even so, one of the most
frightening things for me is that so very many people live lifes of
in which they pretend to be adult responsible members of society, but
where most are simply absent as soon as it comes to defending any
position without, at least, a considerable group of similar minded.
That was so during WW II,
and it was the same during the time in which I lived, though that was a
relatively easy time for most in the West, with many freedoms.
Climate March Proves People Care & The Media Doesn't
next and last item is not an article but a video by The Young Turks of
They start with
saying 400,000 attended the march in New York, which I tend to doubt,
but even so, over 300,000 also is a quite good figure.
The main reason this
item is here is to show something about the march, because it does not
seem to be reported at all on Fox News.
 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.)
 In case you question this: In Holland, at least,
history is no longer taught in schools, except as a free subject, and
there are quite a few persons in their teens and twenties who hardly
know there was a second world war. I know this may be hard to believe,
but this is what you get by not teaching history: A generation
that is quite ready to repeat the mistakes of the past, and also to do so quite blindly and enthusiastically.
 Note this is about information, not
application: one may be informed about many things one
may not or would not apply, for many reasons, that vary between
disagreement (one doesn't like it) and ethics or the law (it is
forbidden to do such things, or one would consider it unethical to do
such things). Also, the inserted "if not personal" is meant to refer to
the only kind of information that may be genuinely painful: information
about oneself or one's family or friends.
(It does seem to me that tends to be more painful than - say - reading
about concentration camps, and while I grant the last may be painful in
some sense, it is merely information, and one may stop reading it.
Also, while I am against censorship, I am also against forced readings.)
 It is difficult to say, and most people who
lived as adults during WW II are dead. But I do know one thing: My father and grandfather behaved as
responsible persons, and most Dutchman either did not at all, or did
less so, which is - among other things - expressed by the fact that more
than 1% of the total Dutch population - over 100,000
persons - was murdered for being "of an inferior race". (These numbers
are not often mentioned in Holland, where everyone is, at least
by most, considered to be the equivalent of my father and grandfather,
but they are true, as it is also true that not very
many were arrested for opposing Nazism, among the very heroic Dutch.)
(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: