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. Tory wreckers out to
destroy their own human rights
2. A New Nuclear Arms Race: Why
Peace Activists Must
Wage an Open Battle Against
the Democratic Party
3. Vince Cable slams excessive Conservative cuts
4. 'In 1976 I discovered
Ebola, now I fear an unimaginable
5. Huge majority thinks 'war
on drugs' has failed, new poll
6. Germany Makes College
Education Free as American
Students Drown in Debt
7. Sick Sadists Patrol the
8. A Letter to an Unknown
Whistleblower in the Age of
This is a Nederlog of Sunday, October 5. It is a crisis log.
There are eight items with eight links. Though it is a Sunday, quite a
few of the links are interesting, though I admit item 7
is not part of the crisis, but it is here because it confirms my -
psychologist's - assessment of the powers of sadism and anonymity.
1. Tory wreckers out to destroy their own
item is an article by Nick Cohen on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Yes, quite so - and the
rest of this item is about Great Britain.
The Conservative party is
a dangerous party. Driven by the raging cultural warriors of the right,
half out of its mind with fear of Nigel Farage, it no longer conserves
but destroys with as little thought for the consequences as a brattish
public schoolboy trashing a restaurant.
Its threat to repeal the Human Rights Act and pull out of the European
convention on human rights reveals how it has become its own negation.
Conservatives flatter themselves that they defend the individual
against the over-mighty state. Yet they propose to tamper with rights
hundreds of millions of people recognise as their last defence against
Also, one should - though I agree it complicates matters - distinguish
three strands of Toryism (which seems to me a better name than
"Conservatives", for the Tories do not conserve any more): (1) the public
relations David Cameron and others indulge in to flimflam that half
of the electorate whose IQs are under 100 (though it is quite possible
Cameron and others believe half or more of it); (2) the real
ideology of the current Tories, which is more or less undiluted
Thatcherism (which most Tories seem to believe); and (3) whatever remains
of real Conservatism
(of which there are still some, but Cameron takes their jobs away,
because they are neither (1) nor (2)).
Next, there is an optimistic note by Nick Cohen:
I doubt that the
British right will allow Cameron to carry on as if nothing has changed.
Those among you who don’t read the rightwing press won’t realise how
irrational the hatred of human rights has become; how the right can no
longer see that the European convention is about as conservative as any
reputable protection of liberty can be.
I am less optimistic
(though I would much like to be mistaken), and the main reason is that
most of the Tories believe in the public
relations the Tories spout or else in some variant of Thatcherism,
and both are nearly only ideology, that
has hardly any realistic connection to the real facts. (And please
note this is not true of real Conservatism:
I don't agree with it, but real conservatives may be fairly straight on
the facts, unlike Cameron and his rightwing ideologist government.)
Nick Cohen next explains that the European Human Rights were much
influenced by (real) British conservatives, who indeed did what one
would expect real conservatives to do - and Maxwell Fyfe was one of
Maxwell Fyfe (...)
and other European conservatives disposed of early drafts that
mentioned the rights of workers. Other rights that the left regards as
basic have no place in its provisions. The European convention does not
mention shelter or free education and healthcare for good reasons.
Maxwell Fyfe and his sponsor Winston Churchill saw the convention as a
protection against the “socialism” of Clement Attlee’s 1945 Labour
government as much as against the communism of Joseph Stalin’s Soviet
Union, and it shows.
Yes, indeed. Also, it
may be mentioned that at the time the conservatives were more or less
forced to be a bit more realistic than they are now: Stalin's Soviet
Union was a very great power, while that danger is currently mostly
In a celebrated
speech in 2009, the late and much missed Lord Bingham listed the liberties the European convention protects. The right not
to be tortured or enslaved. The right to liberty and security of the
person. The right to marry. The right to a fair trial. Freedom of
thought, conscience and religion. Freedom of expression. Freedom of
assembly and association.
Indeed - and none of
these rights is "British" or "English", while all of them are human
rights - which David Cameron and his ideologist rightwing government
want to deny to the British, who instead will be given - it may be
fairly supposed - a Thatcherite bill of "rights".
rights for themselves. However, they cannot abide seeing the courts
give them to groups they despise: prisoners, immigrants, Gypsies and
gay people. At the root of the rage on the right is a rejection of the
honourable belief in equality before the law.
In fact, I have read
quite a few Randian neoliberals who argue that they are against rights.
That is indeed a crazy notion, but then most political ideologies do
not have much to do with the facts. So Nick Cohen may again be a bit
more optimistic than I am, but the rest of the paragraph is all right,
though the Tories also seem to despise the ill, the poor, and
the out of work - or in brief: anyone who is not a rich Tory like
themselves or may be expected to be one soon.
The following is also quite correct:
In truth, [Cameron
- MM] is not proposing a British bill of rights but an English bill of
rights, and a Tory English bill at that.
Yes, indeed: A Tory
English bill. Here is Nick Cohen's concluding paragraph:
The case of the
Human Rights Act belies the stories Conservatives tell themselves. They
call themselves individualists but want more power for the state. They
call themselves unionists but threaten the union. They call themselves
democrats but land more blows on the enfeebled liberal world. They
boast of their common sense and call themselves pragmatists but destroy
with reckless insouciance. They are a danger to themselves and everyone
who votes for them.
I agree, and the main reason I
agree is that the Tories are no real conservatives
anymore: they are Thatcherite ideologists who
sell their baloney by public
And this is a fine article you should read for yourself.
2. A New Nuclear Arms Race: Why
Peace Activists Must Wage an Open Battle Against the Democratic Party
item is an article by Scott Tucker on Truthdig!:
I give a quotation from
near the beginning, by journalists Broad and Sanger. This registers a very
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—A
sprawling new plant here in a former soybean field makes the mechanical
guts of America’s atomic warheads. Bigger than the Pentagon, full of
futuristic gear and thousands of workers, the plant, dedicated last
month, modernizes the weapons that the United States can fire from
missiles, bombers and submarines.
Quite so. As to that
president, Scott Tucker continues:
It is part of a nationwide
wave of atomic revitalization that includes plans for a new generation
of weapon carriers. A recent federal study put the collective price
tag, over the next three decades, at up to a trillion dollars.
This expansion comes
under a president who campaigned for ‘a nuclear-free world’ and made
disarmament a main goal of American defense policy.
Again, quite so. In case
you think this may be too sharp:
Barack Obama never had a
truly independent policy for peace. If we say that Obama was
constrained by a renewed collision of imperial spheres of interest, we
are telling only the convenient half of a half-truth. A crucial piece
of information must be added to the geopolitical puzzle: namely, that
Obama does not just adapt to circumstances, but he is a commander in
chief who is an agent of war and empire.
Under our system of
“representative democracy,” he does not need to wave his arms and shout
from balconies like a dictator from the previous century. This huckster
of hope and change keeps his cool and serves the corporate state with
conviction. Whether giving a commencement address at the U.S. Naval
Academy or accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama is the kind of
“progressive” who gives progress a bad name.
Obama is probably the first U.S. president who was completely
the possibilities of the opposition between talking politics
and doing politics, and how little this matters for most of the
electorate: his talk is ever progressive, while most of his deeds are
quite conservative. Yet he is measured by most progressives and
conservatives in terms of his talk (which means that he gets a lousy
treatment of the conservatives, even while he does most of the things
As to atomic weapons, there is this:
During a period
of punishing recession and job losses, at least Obama and his
Republican colleagues can claim they are creating more jobs in the
industries of war and armaments. As the Times article notes, “The
administration has told the Pentagon to plan for 12 new missile
submarines, up to 100 new bombers and 400 land-based missiles.”
I do not think the jobs
created will be much of a help. But the redevelopment of atomic weapons
is a very dangerous policy.
The rest of the article is not about atomic weapons (and I don't quite
Cable slams excessive Conservative cuts on working poor
item is an article by Toby Helm and Andrew Rawnsley on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
That is all true (to the
best of my knowledge) and it also is important, but I also think this
is mainly propaganda
by the Liberal Democrat minister in Cameron's government.
Business secretary Vince Cable says the
Tories are planning punitive and unnecessary cuts to the incomes of the
working poor that go "far beyond" what is needed to cut the deficit.
In an interview with the Observer, the Liberal
Democrat cabinet minister says proposals announced last week by
chancellor George Osborne to
freeze benefits for those in
work after the next election, while also introducing big tax cuts for
middle earners, would be completely unacceptable to his party in any
future coalition. "There's absolutely no way that making deep cuts in
provision for the working poor is acceptable and that we can possibly
go along with it," he says. "What he is suggesting goes far beyond what
you need in order to achieve financial discipline."
Cable's intervention will
stoke mounting tension between the coalition parties, which until now
have agreed on broad strategy to bring the public finances under
The rest of the article accords with that estimate, and so I will not
quote any of it. Instead, I say that the Liberal Democrats will
say almost anything to get votes - and they will forget all
they said and promised if they are made part of the next government
(whether with the Tories or with Labour).
This is also how it went the last time. The only thing one can say in
defense of the Liberal Democrats is that the whole English political
system is rotten, and that the one thing the Liberal Democrats are consistent and credible about is
the urgent need for the reformation of the English system, for that is
not even properly democratic in the way most other European nations
'In 1976 I discovered Ebola, now I fear an unimaginable
item is an article by Rafaela von Bredow and Veronika Hackenbroch on
The Guardian (originally in Der Spiegel):
In fact, it is an
interview with professor Peter Piot, who discovered and named the Ebola
virus. Here are some quotations from a much longer interview.
First about the virus:
The virus that we
had spent so much time searching for was very big, very long and
worm-like. It had no similarities with yellow fever. Rather, it looked
like the extremely dangerous Marburg virus which, like ebola, causes a
haemorrhagic fever. In the 1960s the virus killed several laboratory
workers in Marburg, Germany.
Next about its spreading
- and keep in mind that since the virus was discovered in 1976, there
has been found no cure the last 38 years:
In large cities –
particularly in chaotic slums – it is virtually impossible to find
those who had contact with patients, no matter how great the effort.
That is why I am so worried about Nigeria as well. The
country is home to mega-cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt, and if the
Ebola virus lodges there and begins to spread, it would be an
Finally about the
And it should be
clear to all of us: This isn't just an epidemic any more. This is a
humanitarian catastrophe. We don't just need care personnel, but also
logistics experts, trucks, jeeps and foodstuffs. Such an epidemic can
destabilise entire regions. I can only hope that we will be able to get
it under control. I really never thought that it could get this bad.
There is a lot more in the article, but it seems as if the
current situation in Africa is nearly explosive, precisely because
there is no cure, the virus is very infective,
and presently it seems some inhabitants of large cities are infected by
5. Huge majority thinks 'war on drugs' has
failed, new poll
item is an article by Mark Townsend on The Guardian (or in fact: The
This starts as
An increasing proportion
of Britons favours a more liberal approach to drugs and would support
decriminalisation strategies, according to a comprehensive survey
commissioned by the Observer.
An overwhelming majority
also believes that the so-called "war on drugs" is futile, with 84%
saying that the decades-long campaign by law enforcement agencies
against the global narcotics trade can never be won.
The poll provides welcome
reading for those campaigning for illegal drugs to be decriminalised,
with 27% saying that Britain's drug laws are not liberal enough. A
previous Observer survey into the nation's drug-taking
habits, in 2008, recorded a figure of 18%, suggesting a society that is
steadily moving towards greater tolerance of drug use.
The proportion of Britons
who believe certain drugs should be decriminalised has risen from 27%
to 39% since 2008.
As my regular readers
may know, I am in favor of decriminalizing drugs since 1969, when I
attended a conference on drugs, at that time especially marijuana,
which the British Parliamentary Wootton Report
(<- Wikipedia) had advocated the year before should be
decriminalized, as it was not dangerous.
Since then, there
have been 45 years of intensive use of marijuana in Amsterdam
and the Netherlands, in which I have not heard of any death caused by
In fact, I am also a
proponent of decriminalizing stronger drugs, like heroine, cocaine and
opium. My reason is not that I am in favor of their use (I am definitely
not, but I have lost friends due to cocaine and to heroine) but
because supplying these through medical persons while trying to help
those hooked to them is far preferable for anyone except the
But I doubt I will
see any decrimininalizing drugs in Holland: They could have done so the
last thirty years, but they did not because - I am convinced - some of
the local politicians earn a whole lot extra by helping the dealers in
soft drugs (at least), for these can get mayoral privileges that allow
these illegal dealers to deal what still are illegal
drugs for thirty years now as if they are not.
This set-up serves
the dealers, the politicians, the police and the public, and so the
Dutch may keep drugs illegal as long as possible: it is financially
6. Germany Makes College Education Free as
American Students Drown in Debt
item is an article by Natasha Hakimi Zapata on Truthdig!:
This is not a long
article, and the reason to quote it here is mostly as a contrast to the
situation in the United States.
It starts as follows:
tuition fees were banned in Germany earlier this week for anyone
pursuing a degree in the country.
Which - although quite
liberal - does not give Americans any money to live from, nor does it
teach them German. But yes, unlike the United States the Germans now
are free to develop their intellect if they have any.
Yes, that includes
The following is quoted from Think Progress:
This gets quoted because
these are the right reasons not to ask tuition fees for
higher education, which indeed I profited from as well, for I am the
child of poor parents, and could not have studied - in spite of
my very high IQ and obvious brilliance  - if I
would have to pay what the Dutch have to pay now. (For the
political Dutch are always eager to follow the bad example of the U.S.,
and they have done so once again with regards to studying.)
German universities only
began charging for tuition in 2006, when the German Constitutional
Court ruled that limited fees, combined with loans, were not in
conflict the country’s commitment to universal education. The measure
proved unpopular, however, and German states that had instituted fees
began dropping them one by one…Higher education is now free throughout
the country, even for international students. [Tuesday], Lower Saxony
became the last of seven German states to abolish tuition fees, which
were already extremely low compared to those paid in the United States.
“We got rid of tuition
fees because we do not want higher education which depends on the
wealth of the parents,” Gabrielle Heinen-Kjajic, the minister for
science and culture in Lower Saxony, said in a statement. Her words
were echoed by many in the German government. “Tuition fees are
unjust,” said Hamburg’s senator for science Dorothee Stapelfeldt. “They
discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family
background from taking up study. It is a core task of politics to
ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard
free of charge in Germany.”
7. Sick Sadists Patrol the Web Anonymously
This is not part of the
crisis series, but is here because I have been hit the same way, by
sadists and degenerates, who could be as sadistic and degenerate as
they wanted because they were anonymous and therefore I could
not name and shame them on my site.
next item is an article by Joanna Rothkopf on AlterNet:
The article starts as follows:
Precisely! Also, in case
you might think that being anonymous is not what most people really
want, since they would want to be personally known and appreciated:
That is - unfortunately - not true.
As an Internet writer, I
have seen no end to the cruelty that stems from the promise of
anonymity. For seemingly benign articles, I have attracted the foulest
vitriol from hundreds of commenters, calling me ignorant, stupid,
unqualified and more profane nicknames than I care to recall. Message
boards like Reddit and 4chan attract the truly evil, where entire
message threads exist to belittle and berate, or to raise opinions that
are intentionally unpopular for their bigotry and violence (such as the
subreddit that seriously addresses the benefits of rape).
Many internet users have no degrees, few brains, little education, and
quite a few of them also seem to have strong tastes for taking
anonymous revenge for this on anyone who is evidently more intelligent,
special or interesting than they are themselves.
I have learned this on Phoenix Rising in 2010, where not only I was
persecuted, but anyone was persecuted who seemed more intelligent than
the average user, since when I have almost totally avoided any
list for the ill. I do not want to be criticized by anonynous sadists
and trolls, and I much rather do things myself than with a horde of
people that I am not even allowed to know who they are, so that
they can spin all manner of bullshit about
their sweet selfs, about whom they always refuse to answer any personal
details such as age and degrees. (Even the gender is uncertain in many
But now there are some scientific data, as Joanna Rothkopf tells us,
and indeed they are just what I - a psychologist - expected them to be:
Why do trolls
behave the way they do? Two studies published in the September 2014
issue of Personality and Individual Differences seek to answer that
question. The studies examined personality traits and commenting styles
of 1,215 people and found that the trolls had personality traits that
exactly lined up with what is known as the “Dark Tetrad” of personality
traits: sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism, a psychological term
used to describe those who manipulate and trick others for personal
Here is a quotation from
the second study:
personality measures,” the study reads, “sadism showed the most robust
associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was
specific to trolling behavior. Enjoyment of other online activities,
such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism.”
Finally, the article is also realistic in not expecting much from any
measures - though I, for one, refuse to read comments these days:
Far too many sadists for my taste, next to idiots who have nothing to
say, but take a lot of space saying it nevertheless, nearly always in
very bad prose as well.
But yes, the title is quite right: Sick Sadists Patrol the Web Anonymously: as long as people may be anonymous,
most people will want to be anonymous, for this makes it possible to
pose as whoever
they wish to be, and it also gives the best of
opportunities for sadism and for sadists (though I agree that most are
8. A Letter to an Unknown Whistleblower in
the Age of Blowback
next item is an article by Tom Engelhardt on Common Dreams:
is here because the article is an excerpt from "Shadow
Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a
Single-Superpower World" which is Tom Engelhardt's new
This has the following third paragraph, that explains why Tom
Engelhardt expects there will be more whistleblowers like Edward
Snowden and Chelsea Manning:
our striking inability to predict the future, it’s a no-brainer that
the national security state is already building you into its
labyrinthine systems. In the urge of its officials to control all of us
and every situation, in their mania for all-encompassing secrecy, in
their classification not just of the millions of documents they
generate, but essentially all of their operations as “secret” or “top
secret,” in their all-encompassing urge to shut off the most essential
workings of the government from the eyes of its citizenry, in their
escalating urge to punish anyone who would bring their secret
activities to light, in their urge to see or read or listen in on or
peer into the lives of you (every “you” on the planet), in their urge
to build a global surveillance state and a military that will dominate
everything in or out of its path, in their urge to drop bombs on
Pakistan and fire missiles at Syria, in their urge to be able to
assassinate just about anyone just about anywhere robotically, they are
is a lot more under the last dotted link, which I think you should read
all of, though I have to admit that I am more pessimistic than
is Tom Engelhardt, which I will now briefly explain.
The main reasons are my famliy background and my personal experiences.
I am the son and the grandson of two heroes of the Dutch resistance
against Nazism: Both my father and his father were arrested in July of
1941 by the SS and were convicted as "political terrorists" to German
concentration camps, which my grandfather did not survive, and my
father barely (he weighed at one point 37.5 kilos, which is less than
half of his normal weight).
The fact is that I have seen very few people like them .
Put otherwise, by far the most common
reaction to injustice, discrimination, cruelty, sadism and violence in
one's own society is to conform to
whatever the majority does, and to try to survive oneself.
And that is precisely what I have seen in my whole
life, which means that I do not expect much from any opposition, were
it only because most of "the opposition" I have seen was not by
real opponents but by - what turned out to be - eager collaborators:
Those who "opposed" the system (in Holland, at least) "opposed" for the
most part in order to collaborate with the system - and they also succeeded,
that is, they made, for themselves, fine and well-paying careers. 
There were a few that were not like that, but again
they were a small minority amidst a large majority - and so I ask: What
is the point of being a registered opponent of a sick system if the
majority simply ignores you?
My answer is this: while I much admire Edward Snowden, I do not
believe whistleblowers like him can overturn the system. This is itself
no argument of any kind against whistleblowers, who
are quite important: it is an argument not to expect too much
of anyone, until the system collapses on itself, as it nearly did in
2008, and as it probably will do again, for the right can control much,
but not their own greed.
 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
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
from is quite pertinent.)
 Mmm...yes. I know almost all Dutchmen still
insist that they know that "everyone" (with four parents with
Dutch names, as I have (*)) "is equivalent" but that always was a
cowardly lie, and also did not prevent any Dutchmen from trying to get
as rich as possible, have the best doctors and lawyers, and the most
attractive partner. (And all I am saying is that not everybody
is precisely the same as everyone else. It is true that I have many
times been called "brilliant" because of my conversational abilities,
and have brilliant degrees, while it is also true that I never could
use these gifts well because I fell ill at age 28, and never got
Inserted because some 20 to 35% of the noble Dutch these days are
racists, who very much dislike "hatebeards", as they call Muslims.
my mother, who also was in the resistance, but who never got arrested.
 In fact, this is the history of
"the left" in Holland, at least in so far as these were intellectuals:
They conformed and got well-paying jobs, and that was also as they
wanted it to be.
(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: