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. Swedish officials weigh up
option to question Assange
ahead of court ruling
Snowden Taught Me To Smuggle Secrets Past
Incredible Danger. Now I Teach
3. Amazing: Pope Believes in
Evolution and Says God Is Not
4. The Coming Revolution:
Evolutionary Leap or Descent
Into Chaos and Violence?
5. How the Washington Press
6. Chris Hedges and Sheldon Wolin
Totalitarianism as a Threat to
7. 15 Signs That We Live
During A Time Of Rampant
This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, October 29. It is a crisis log.
This has 7 items and 8 dotted links: Item 1 is on
Assange's plight; item 2 a bit on Snowden with an
extra link on how to communicate with your privacy in tact; item 3 about the pope, who believes in evolution and
the big bang; item 4 is about the coming revolution
(which is presented more strongly than I would have); item
5 is on the radical decline of the free press, and dates it's
start plausibly as around 1980; item 6 is
about part 4 of the interview Hedges had with Wolin (and is the most
interesing in this Nederlog, I think); and item 7
is a list of 15 signs that are supposed to support that the U.S.
government is paranoid, while
I take it they are not so much paranoid as implementing a program,
from democracy, and implemented for and by the rich.
Swedish officials weigh up option to question Assange
ahead of court ruling
item is an article by David Crouch on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I say. It probably is some
progress, but bureaucracy is slooooow and likes
to be as secretive
as possible, also in Sweden. The rest of the article makes clear that
it is a some progress, but that one should not be overly optimistic.
Sweden’s chief prosecutor
said on Tuesday she was seriously considering an invitation by the
British government to question Julian Assange in London, before a court
ruling in Sweden on whether to lift the warrant for his arrest.
The Foreign Office said
on Tuesday it would welcome a request by the Swedish prosecutor
Marianne Ny to question Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy and would
be happy to facilitate such a move, which is seen by Assange’s lawyers
as an important step towards breaking the deadlock surrounding the case.
The appeal court in
Sweden is due to rule as soon as next week on a request by Assange’s
lawyers that the warrant against him be rescinded, but the timing of
the Foreign Office’s remarks appeared to be accidental.
2. Ed Snowden Taught Me To Smuggle Secrets
Past Incredible Danger. Now I Teach You.
item is an article by Micah Lee on The Intercept:
This starts as
And a little later (skipping
some) there is this on the intention of the article:
Late on the evening
of January 11, 2013, someone sent me an interesting email. It was
encrypted, and sent from the sort of anonymous email service that
smart people use when they want to hide their identity. Sitting at the
kitchen table in the small cottage where I lived in Berkeley with my
wife and two cats, I decrypted it.
The anonymous emailer
wanted to know if I could help him communicate securely with Laura
Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who had repeatedly cast a critical
eye on American foreign policy.
Until now, I
haven’t written about my modest role in the Snowden leak, but with the
release of Poitras’ documentary on him, “Citizenfour,” I feel
comfortable connecting the dots. I think it’s helpful to show how
privacy technologists can work with sources and journalists to make it
possible for leaks to happen in a secure way. Securing those types of
interactions is part of my job now that I work with Greenwald and
Poitras at The Intercept, but there are common techniques and
general principles from my interactions with Snowden that could serve
as lessons to people outside this organization.
It's a decent story,
that you can read for yourself. In case you are interested in
encryption, Micah Lee also wrote this (as he tells us in the article):
This is a good guide,
though it is now nearly 1 1/2 years old (and yes, I found myself - as
Greenwald - that "Unfortunately, PGP is
notoriously hard to use", though it probably will be a bit easier with this
Pope Believes in Evolution and Says God Is Not a Magician
item is an article by Sarah Gray on AlterNet:
This starts as
follows, and is here mainly because the Catholic Church still has over
a billion followers:
In an exciting
Francis I stated that God should not seen as a “magician
with a magic wand,” while unveiling a statue of his predecessor Pope
Benedict XVI at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Pope Francis also
stated that evolution and the Big Bang theory are both true and not
incompatible with the church’s views on the origins of the universe and
“When we read about
Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician,
with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis
said, according to the Independent. Francis continued by
stating that God “created human beings and let them develop
according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would
reach their fulfillment.”
“The Big Bang, which today
we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the
intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it,” Francis
explained. ”Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the
notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings
I say. While I am not
as excited as Sarah Gray appears to be (and also I am not a former
Catholic: I come from a family of atheists, and like that), it is nice
present pope supports evolution and physics (and he even seems surer of
Big Bang theory than I am).
Coming Revolution: Evolutionary Leap or Descent Into
Chaos and Violence?
item is an article by David DeGraw on AlterNet:
This starts as follows
(and is part 3 of a series, that in turn got selected from the book
"The Economics of Revolution"):
As to the first
paragraph: Yes and no. Yes, because I agree there are feasible
solutions to many social problems; no, because while they are
theoretically feasible (which is quite something, to be realistic) they
are not practically feasible for the most part, simply because
have bought most they needed to buy to get nearly all of the power, and
they do not want it to happen: it is not profitable for them.
A new paradigm is
organically evolving: new economic systems, sustainable communities,
solar energy, organic farming, liquid democracy, worker co-ops and new
media. For all the problems we are confronted by, there are existing
viable solutions. There is much to feel positive about. A decentralized
global uprising is undermining systems of centralized and consolidated
power. A new world is being born.
However, as exciting as
the evolution presently occurring is, after extensive research I am
forced to confront the fact that I do not see how emerging solutions
will reach a critical mass and create the needed change before the
affects of inequality, poverty and the overall deterioration of society
will lead to widespread chaos and violence. As much as I wish this
wasn’t the case, as much as I want to just disengage from the status
quo and focus on the implementation of local solutions, we cannot
ignore the urgent need for significant systemic change on a mass
Indeed, the second paragraph - sort of - concedes this. There are quite
a number of statistics and numbers that are quite interesting, and
there is this:
There is considerably
more under the last dotted link. I do not know how much I agree or
disagree, though I do not really think there is such a thing as "The
Economics of Revolution", for a quite simple reason: A period of
The government’s policies
and actions in dealing with the growing epidemic of poverty are the
very definition of tyranny. It couldn’t be more blatant. Just when the
economy has reached a point where there are not enough jobs that
generate an adequate income to sustain the cost of living for the majority
of the population, the government is cutting billions of dollars
from assistance programs and pouring billions of dollars into the
military and prison industry.
An out of control private
military complex is fueling violent conflicts abroad. A perpetual state
of never-ending war is exhausting public wealth, with
trillions of dollars diverted from social programs into the pockets of
war profiteers. Here at home, the police force is being militarized and
the private prison industry is growing at a . We
already have the largest prison population in the world. The current
per capita rate is worse than the darkest days of the Soviet Gulags. On
top of that, many cities are now . As ominous
as it may sound, a tyrannical assembly line of incarceration
is now in place.
one of social chaos.
Washington Press Turned Bad
item is an article by Robert Parry on Consortium News:
This starts with the following
There was a time
when the Washington press corps prided itself on holding the powerful
accountable – Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Vietnam War – but
those days are long gone, replaced by a malleable media that
puts its cozy relations with insiders ahead of the public
interest, writes Robert Parry.
There is rather a lot on
Ben Bradlee and Gary Webb that I skip, but the following is quite
I say. This means - and
I believe Parry - that the corruption of the free press in the United
States started already with Reagan. And there is this on the stealing
of the presidency from Al Gore, who did win in 2001, except for
How this transformation
of Washington journalism occurred – from the more aggressive press
corps of the 1970s into the patsy press corps of the 1980s and beyond –
is an important lost chapter of modern American history.
Much of this change
emerged from the political wreckage that followed the Vietnam War, the
Pentagon Papers, the Watergate scandal and the exposure of CIA abuses
in the 1970s. The American power structure, particularly the Right,
struck back, labeling the U.S. news media as “liberal” and questioning
the patriotism of individual journalists and editors.
But it didn’t require
much arm-twisting to get the mainstream news media to bend into line
and fall on its knees. Many of the news executives that I worked under
shared the view of the power structure that the Vietnam protests were
disloyal, that the U.S. government needed to hit back against
humiliations like the Iran-hostage crisis, and that the rebellious
public needed to be brought back into line behind more traditional
This pattern of
bias continued into last decade, even when the issue was whether the
votes of Americans should be counted. After the 2000 election, when
George W. Bush got five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court to halt
the counting of votes in the key state of Florida, major news
executives were more concerned about protecting the fragile
“legitimacy” of Bush’s tainted victory than ensuring that the actual
winner of the U.S. presidential election became president.
There is considerably
more under the last dotted link. And I do take it Robert Parry is
mostly right on the press in the U.S.
6. Chris Hedges and Sheldon Wolin on Inverted
as a Threat to Democracy
item is an article by Yves Smith who reports on part 4 of the 6 part
interview that Chris Hedges had with Sheldon Wolin:
To start with, my own
take on parts 1 - 3 is here: it helps
if you read this, if you didn't already. I will quote one bit of it,
which is a dotted summary I made of the points made by Hedges and Wolin
(mostly in their words):
As I said then:
- Democratic rituals and
institutions are these days largely a facade for unchecked global
- Academics, intellectuals
and journalists these days function as echo chambers for elites,
courtiers and corporate systems managers.
- The corporations have
succeeded in seizing nearly all forms of political and social power.
- All the institutions
that make democracy possible have been hollowed out and rendered
impotent and ineffectual.
- What is especially
missing as regards ideas is a crucial, continuous opposition
- What is especially
missing as regards facts is any effective
organized opposition: The "left"
has become "Third Way",
i.e. right wing lite, and helped destroy the
trade unions and helped installing austerity for the poor.
- Capitalism, or at least
its ideologists, wants an autonomous economy. It wants a political
order subservient to the needs of the economy, and has reduced economy
the question "what is most profitable for the rich".
- The vast majority of the
academics have sold out, already in the 80-ies,
and have destroyed the universities and remade them into colleges were
almost anyone with an IQ higher than 100 can get some sort of diploma,
if only in "multimedia studies", provided he or she has the money to
pay for it.
I think that is
- and it means that I see little grounds for hope, apart from
major economic collapse. In fact, that is almost the only hope I have,
for I think a major economic collapse is likely, though this also will
Now to part 4, about
which Yves Smith says as introduction:
much harm, much repression and much poverty for very many.
Yves here. We’ve
been featuring what we consider to be standout segments in an important
Real News Network series, an extended discussion between Chris Hedges
and Sheldon Wolin on capitalism and democracy. This offering focuses on
what Wolin calls “inverted totalirianism,” or how corporations and
government are working together to keep the general public in thrall.
Wolin discusses how propaganda and the suppression of critical thinking
serve to a promote pro-growth, pro-business ideology which sees
democracy as dispensable, and potentially an obstacle to what they
consider to be progress. They also discuss how America is governed by
two pro-corproate parties and how nay “popular” as in populist,
candidate gets stomped on.
Also, you can see the
video on the last dotted link, though I didn't, simply because I read a
lot faster than people talk.
This is from the beginning of part 4, and addresses the meaning of
"inverted totalitarianism", which is a concept originated by Wolin:
As I see it (which may not
be as Wolin or Hedges sees it) the main reasons
development is the realization that (1) propaganda -
lying - works, for the vast
majory can be deceived (2) this propaganda is mostly quite irrational
and simpleminded, and (3) most propaganda
works by treating people and politics as if they are family, as
are one's own kind - which is a lie in several
respects: It is not only
simply false, it also very much simplifies things. And in fact, this
development mostly goes back to Edward Bernays
is on my site.
HEDGES: (...) I wanted
just to go through and I’ve taken notes from both of your books,
Politics and Vision and Democracy Incorporated, of the characteristics
of what you call inverted totalitarianism, which you use to describe
the political system that we currently live under. You said it’s only
in part a state-centered phenomenon. What do you mean by that?
SHELDON WOLIN, PROF.
EMERITUS POLITICS, PRINCETON: Well, I mean by that that one of the
striking characteristics of our age is the extent to which so-called
private institutions, like the media, for example, are able to work
towards the same end of control, pacification, that the government is
interested in, that the idea of genuine opposition is usually viewed as
subversion, and so that criticism now is a category that we should
really look at and examine, and to see whether it really amounts to
anything more than a kind of mild rebuke at best, and at worst a way of
sort of confirming the present system by showing its open-mindedness
HEDGES: And you said that
there’s a kind of fusion now of–and you talk a lot about the internal
dynamics of corporations themselves, the way they’re completely
hierarchical, even the extent to which people within corporate
structures are made to identify with a corporation on a kind of
personal level. Even–I mean, I speak as a former reporter for The New
York Times–even we would get memos about the New York Times family,
which is, of course, absurd. And you talk about how that value system
or that structure of power, coupled with that type of propaganda, has
just been transferred to the state, that the state now functions in
exactly the same way, the same hierarchical way, that it uses the same
forms of propaganda to get people at once to surrender their political
rights and yet to identify themselves through nationalism, patriotism,
and the lust for superpower itself, which we see now across the
Also, Hedges is quite right that the corporations use the same
of lies to try to make the people who work for them feel as if they are
family through working for the same corporations. And note this really
is an enormous, completely false propagandistic simplification of
politics, economics, and religion to a personalized
family-scheme of values that even the most stupid
TV-viewer can understand.
Then there is this:
I am not certain I
understand this, but I would say, given what I wrote above on the
propagandistic treatment of everyone as family (or else as terrorist:
you are loyal or disloyal, and the loyal have nothing to fear), the
reason this never chrystallized as a public policy is simply that it is
far too irrational: it needs to be able to support the boss and the
party in many inconsistent ways, and it does this in the end by false
loyalties, that are rarely explicated but all the time used in
advertisements and propaganda.
HEDGES: You also talk
about inverted totalitarianism as not only signaling the political
demobilization of the citizenry, but how it’s never expressed
conceptually as an ideology or objectified in public policy. What do
you mean by that?
WOLIN: Well, I mean by that
that it hasn’t been crystallized in just those terms, that it’s
operational. Its operation is really a combination of elements whose
interlocking and coherence together have never been either properly
appreciated or publicly debated in any sustained way.
Then there is this on the power holders:
Well...yes and no. Yes,
in the sense that I agree with Wolin that most politicians and CEOs I
have heard talking indeed cannot be suspected of understanding much or
anything of politics or economics in any high rational way. But no, in
the sense that they all do know who to serve: the interests of
own rich kind. Thus,
HEDGES: You said that in
inverted totalitarianism, it is furthered by power holders and citizens
who often seem unaware of the deeper consequences of their actions or
inactions. What I find interesting about that statement is you say even
the power holders don’t understand their actions.
WOLIN: Yeah, I don’t think
they do. I think that’s most–I think that’s apparent not only in
so-called conservative political officeholders, but liberal ones as
well. And I think the reason for it isn’t far to see. The demands of
contemporary political decision-making, that is, actually having to
decide things in legislation or executive action in a complex political
society and economic society such as ours, in a complex political,
economic society such as the world is, make reflection very difficult.
They make it extremely difficult. And everybody’s caught up in the
demands of the moment, and understandably so.
politicians and CEOs are against higher taxes for the rich, simply
because this would loose them some money, and they do not want
for civilizing anyone else than their own - rich - family. ("Taxes are what we pay for civilized society",
Wendell Holmes, Jr.)
Next, there is this - which is rather important for me because I have
for 12 years tried to stop and undo the politication of the Dutch
universities (in which I totally failed, simply because most
and most staff found it much easier, and much more
pleasant to teach
or learn left-wing politics rather than real science, until 1995 in
since when most
students and most staff found it much easier, and much
to teach right-wing politics rather than real science):
HEDGES: We’d spoke
earlier about how because corporate forces have essentially taken over
not only systems of media but systems of education, they’ve effectively
destroyed the capacity within these institutions for critical thinking.
And what they’ve done is educate generation–now probably a couple of
generations of systems managers, people whose expertise, technical
expertise, revolves around keeping the system, as it’s constructed,
viable and afloat, so that when there’s a–in 2008, the global financial
crisis, they immediately loot the U.S. Treasury to infuse a staggering
$17 trillion worth of money back into the system.
Yes - and I objected
against this from 1977 onwards, but I was one of the very few,
in fact because I was one of the very few who was really
interested in real
Hedges is quite right that (1) the decline of the universities and
schools also started in the late Sixties and Seventies and (2) it
consisted in considerable part in replacing science by
while pretending the propaganda - like Diederik
Stapel's utter and
complete bullshit - was "real science".
Then there is this on the Republican Party:
WOLIN: (..) I
think the beautiful example we have today, I just think, fraught with
implications, is the Koch brothers’ purchase of the Republican Party.
They literally bought it. Literally. And they had a specific amount
they paid, and now they’ve got it. There hasn’t been anything like that
in American history. To be sure, powerful economic interests have
influenced political parties, especially the Republicans, but this kind
of gross takeover, in which the party is put in the pocket of two
individuals, is without precedent. And that means something serious. It
means that, among other things, you no longer have a viable opposition
This is a direct
consequence of the Supreme Court's decisions that corporations are
people, and that money is free speech, both of which are completely
conservative articles of faith, that only help the very rich.
Finally, there is this on the Democratic Party:
HEDGES: Well, didn’t
Clinton just turn the Democratic Party into the Republican Party and
force the Republican Party to come become insane?
WOLIN: Yeah, it’s true.
Yeah, I mean, it’s true that beginning with the Clinton administration,
the Democratic Party has kind of lost its way too.
Precisely - and Clinton did
so by insisting that his propaganda was the Third Way, which was
an utterly false amount of pure bullshit (also
quite unreadable for
anyone with a decent logical mind) that only served to obscure that
what he really
did was destroying the left, as did Tony Blair in England.
7. 15 Signs That We Live During A Time Of
There is a considerable lot more under the last dotted link.
The next and
item of today is an article by Michael Snyder:
This starts as follows
(with boldings in the original):
it feel to live under a government that is getting even more paranoid
with each passing day? Yes, we live in a world that is
becoming increasingly unstable, but that is no excuse for how
ultra-paranoid the federal government has become. Today, every
single one of us is viewed as a “potential threat” by the
government. As a result, the government feels the need to
intercept our emails, record our phone calls and track our
expenditures. But they aren’t just spying on individuals.
The government keeps tabs on thousands of organizations all over the
planet, it spies on our enemies and our allies, and it even spies on
itself. The American people are told that the emerging
Big Brother police state is for our safety, but the truth is that it
isn’t there to protect us. It is there to protect them. Our
government has become kind of like a crazy rich uncle that is
constantly spying on everyone else in the family because he believes
that they are “out to get him”. The following are 15 signs that
we live during a time of rampant government paranoia…
Actually - being a
psychologist - I don't think that the American government is paranoid:
I think they are implementing a program that favors the rich and the
goverment at the expense of everybody else, and they also know quite
well what they are doing, at least on the level of who favors whom, if
indeed not on the level of rational economics or rational politics.
In any case, the fifteen signs are interesting, though regular readers
know quite a few. Here is part of the last sign:
Last, but certainly not least, there is the matter of the NSA
constantly spying on all of us. The NSA is monitoring and
of our phone calls and emails, and most Americans don’t seem to
care. But they should care. I like how an article in the New York Post described what is happening to
combination of fear, cowardice, political opportunism and bureaucratic
metastasis, the erstwhile land of the free has been transformed into a
nation of closely watched subjects — a country of 300 million potential
criminals, whose daily activities need constant monitoring.
 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.)
(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: