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. Bailouts, bail-ins and the
banks: why we can’t afford
another financial crisis
numbers of working families in poverty due to
3. Why We Need Professional
4. Campaign Seeks to Dry Out the National
the Blanks in Snowden’s ‘Citizenfour’
6. promises, promises…
This is a Nederlog of Monday, November 24. It is a crisis log.
There are 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1 is
about the lack of money to use in case of a further crisis (I mostly
agree); item 2 shows the situation is worse than
item 1 sketches: there are many more British poor; item
3 is on Chris Hedges call for professional revolutionists (I
disagree, and this is today's main item); item 4
is about an attempt to stop the NSA I don't believe will succeed; item 5 is a good
review of "Citizenfour"; and item 6 is about the enormous
corruptions - worth tens of billions of dollars every year - in modern
bail-ins and the banks: why we can’t afford another financial crisis
item today is an article by Larry Elliott on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
There is a considerable
amount more, but it seems as if Larry Elliott is concluding that there
is no way to prevent the next global slump, if it arrives.
A look into the future:
David Cameron’s nightmare has come true; the slowdown in the global
economy has turned into a second major recession within a decade.
In those circumstances,
there would be two massive policy challenges. The first would be how to
prevent the recession turning into a global slump. The second would be
how to prevent the financial system from imploding.
These are the same
challenges as in 2008, but this time they would be magnified. Zero
interest rates and quantitative easing have already been used
extensively to support activity, which would leave policymakers with a
And I think that is wholly correct, though I have two additions:
(1) a considerable part of the reason is that the last global slump,
that of 2008, has not been properly resolved, ever, but instead
has turned into a way for the big banks to shift their losses to the
taxpayers, and continue their crazy and risky policies, which
they also have done, and
(2) it seems rather misleading to me to speak of "another global
crisis": The present one, that started in 2008, is
going on and on and on for everybody who does not
belong to the 1% or the 10% of the richest persons.
To see this, one way is to consider the next item, also from The
numbers of working families in poverty due to
item is an article by Gwyn Topham on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
There is also this:
Insecure, low-paid jobs
are leaving record numbers of working families in poverty, with
two-thirds of people who found work in the past year taking jobs for
less than the living wage, according to the latest annual report from
the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
The research shows that
over the last decade, increasing numbers of pensioners have become
comfortable, but at the same time incomes among the worst-off have
dropped almost 10% in real terms.
Painting a picture of
huge numbers trapped on low wages, the foundation said during the
decade only a fifth of low-paid workers managed to move to better paid
I conclude that the
crisis is going on and on and on - but yes: "only" for the 90% and not
for the 10%, who shifted their burden to the 90%. And there is more in
the article, that also ends with a blatantly false govermental
statement, but the above is the gist: If you are poor, you are fucked
in Cameron's Great Britain.
Nearly 1.4 million people
are on the controversial contracts that do not guarantee minimum hours,
most of them in catering, accommodation, retail and administrative
jobs. Meanwhile, the self-employed earn on average 13% less than they
did five years ago, the foundation said.
Average wages for men
working full time have dropped from £13.90 to £12.90 an hour in real
terms between 2008 and 2013 and for women from £10.80 to £10.30.
Poverty wages have been
exacerbated by the number of people reliant on private rented
accommodation and unable to get social housing, the report said. Evictions
of tenants by private landlords outstrip mortgage repossessions and
are the most common cause of homelessness.
The report noted that price
rises for food, energy and transport have far outstripped the accepted
CPI inflation of 30% in the last decade.
3. Why We Need Professional Revolutionists
item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
No revolt can
succeed without professional revolutionists. These revolutionists live
outside the formal structures of society. They are financially
insecure—Vladimir Lenin spent considerable time in exile appealing for
money from disenchanted aristocrats he would later dispossess. They
dedicate their lives to fomenting radical change. They do not invest
energy in appealing to power to reform. They are prepared to break the
law. They, more than others, recognize the fragility of the structures
of authority. They are embraced by a vision that makes compromise
impossible. Revolution is their full-time occupation. And no revolution
is possible without them.
Well... I disagree, and
I think I have very good reasons to disagree: My parents were
professional marxist revolutionaries for some forty years.
They also were sincere, intelligent, hard working and meant really
well. But they failed to make anything like a revolution, as the Dutch
Communist Party also completely failed, and indeed it was also
completely shut down in 1989.
Now I realize that this argument is both partial and personal, and it
also might have been otherwise outside Holland, but I did
spend considerable time reading and thinking about revolutions,
socialism, communism, and anarchism, and it seems that my conclusions
hold beyond Holland and beyond my own experiences.
But I cannot possibly lay out my own thinking in this brief review, so
I will take up only a few points, and that partially.
First then: "No revolt can
succeed without professional revolutionists."
Well, no: Not in my experience. I have been in one revolt, in
May and June of 1968 in France, that could have easily succeeded, but
failed mostly because the French CP did not want a revolt, and that
revolt by the students was certainly not made by "professional
revolutionists", but by students who had been radicalized in the
previous months. 
Next, here is some more by Chris Hedges:
For me, that sounds very
radical, but it does not ask the right questions: Why should
you believe the revolutionists? And note that the problem is not
so much about "the need for a radical revolution of some kind", that
many people may agree to in some sense (though the senses tend to vary
with the people): the problem is about the actual analyses of
the revolutionists, and about the personal integrity of their
The revolutionists call
on us to ignore the political charades and spectacles orchestrated by
our oligarchic masters around electoral politics. They tell us to
dismiss the liberals who look to a political system that is dead. They
expose the press as an echo chamber for the elites.
The revolutionist is a
curious hybrid of the practical and the impractical. He or she is aware
of facing nearly impossible odds. The revolutionist has at once a lucid
understanding of power, along with the vagaries of human nature, and a
commitment to overthrowing power.
And I have never read an actual analysis by revolutionists that
made much sense to me, on any intellectual, theoretical or plannings
stage (but yes: I do know a lot about science and methodology
since I was 19, and few do): instead it was usually a selection from
the writings of revolutionaries who had died long ago, whose ideas were
supposed to support a number of recent demands. 
Also, I have seen most revolutions that "succeeded" the previous
century, that brought about the Soviet Union and Communist China, among
other things, fail horribly and very soon turn into absolute
dictatorships, led by "professional revolutionists" - which then
repressed more than a billion people for forty or more years.
Chris Hedges is aware there are major problems:
the revolutionary body compete for power, fight over arcane bits of
doctrine, dispute tactics, form counterproductive schisms, misread
power, overreach and collapse or fall victim to the insidious black
propaganda that despotic authority excels in producing.
Yes, indeed - and yes I
have seen an enormous amount of fights "for power, fight over arcane bits of
doctrine, dispute tactics, form counterproductive schisms, misread power": in fact, it often appeared to me as
if the radical students (whose radicalism I have seen from 1967 till
the middle 1980ies) were mostly dedicated to that - infighting about
who is to be The Leader - rather than "the revolution", which indeed never
arrived, after 1968, when it failed.
But Chris Hedges is a romantic:
There is nothing
rational about rebellion. To rebel against insurmountable odds is an
act of faith. And without this faith the rebel is doomed. This faith is
intrinsic to the rebel the way caution and prudence are intrinsic to
those who seek to fit into existing power structures. The rebel,
possessed by inner demons and angels, is driven by visions familiar to
religious mystics. And it is the rebel alone who can save us from
corporate tyranny. I do not know if these rebels will succeed. But I do
know that a world without them is hopeless.
To which I say: No, no,
First, there is a lot that may be quite rational about rebellion: The
present schema of economics is a sick schema of exploitation of the
many poor by the few rich; the sales of most commodities is based on
enormous amounts of propaganda and lies; the sort of work the majority
of men and women are doing is sickening, poorly paid, and prevents
their development in nearly all respects; very much of nature is
being wilfully destroyed forever for the sake of present profits of a
few rich owners of petrol companies and such; very many of the ideals
of this society are either plainly false or for the most part corrupted
- and there is a lot more that I could mention.
Second, faith is blind, misleading and not necessary, if only because
there is a great amount of rationality and justice that underlies calls
for radical change: You don't need billionaires, CEOs who earn tens of
millions, or exploitative wages and long hours of work merely to
survive for the workers, nor do you need to destroy
nature, to name only two fairly self-evident things.
Third, the social rebels of any kind I know a lot about - marxists,
socialists, anarchists - are not "mystics" and were not
"driven by visions
familiar to religious mystics".
In fact, most were not religious but were atheists or agnostics.
Fourth, it is not "the
rebel alone who can save us from corporate tyranny" just as it was not "the rebel alone" who could save us from capitalism - and in
fact here I agree with Marx, who wrote "Capital" to prove - not
validly, I think, but he might have - that (1) capitalism will
necessarily come to grieve over its own contradictions, and that (2)
real revolutionaries wait until capitalism is in crisis.
I'd suggest the same holds for corporate tyranny, which indeed does
seem the most likely future for the U.S. and the West at present, but
which must come to grieve over what it does to nature and the planet we
live on, though indeed this
may also kill mankind (especially through an atomic war) or throw it
back for hundreds of years.
In fact, I have
quoted only from Chris Hedges' first page. There is a second one, much
of which consists of quotations from Sheldon Wolin, that I agree more
For the moment I have said enough: I am no believer in professional
revolutionists; I believe social systems will fail out of their own
accord (though I agree this may last a long time and kill many); I am
not a romantic; I insist that
the abstract need for some kind of revolution can be quite clearly
explained - but one problem is that the average is neither intelligent
nor well educated; and I not only lack any faith, I am against
But I like Chris Hedges, although I believe he is mistaken about the
revolution and about revolutionaries.
Seeks to Dry Out the National Security Agency
item is an article by Alexander Reed Kelly
This starts as follows:
I have read about this
before, and reported it also, somewhere in Nederlog, I think indeed in
surveillance state has an Achilles Heel,” organizers of the OffNow
campaign say. “We can thwart mass surveillance without relying on
Congress or [the] Supreme Court” by passing legislation that stops “the
flow of state supplied water and electricity to federal agencies
conducting mass, warrantless surveillance.”
The campaign began in
2013. “These spy-programs cannot continue to expand without
participation and assistance from the state and local level,” the
There is more in the article, but I think this will not work:
Evidently, "the federal agencies" will decide on - say - "the human
rights" of those who spy on everyone to have water and heath.
the Blanks in Snowden’s ‘Citizenfour’
item is an article by James DiEugenio on Consortium News:
This is a fairly long
and decent review of Poitras' film "Citizenfour" (that I still
have not seen: maybe this week). It is well worth reading, but I quote
only one bit of it, namely Senator Frank Church's words from 1975,
because he really saw deeply and accurately:
And yes: Thanks to
generals Haydon and Alexander, and presidents Bush Jr. and Obama, the
Americans have entered that abyss, and indeed as yet there is no
return from it.
“If a dictator ever took
over, the NSA could enable it to impose a total tyranny, and there
would be no way to fight back. That capability could at any time be
turned around on the American people, and no American would have any
privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone
conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no
place to hide.
“I don’t want to see this
country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to
make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency
and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law
and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss.
That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
and final item for today is an article by 1 boring old man (in fact an
American psychiatrist with a good mind and some individual courage):
This is about the crisis
in health, especially - though certainly not only - in the U.S. I will
quote only one paragraph, because this describes how so called "medical
research" these days, and the previous three or four decades, is
Clinical Trials are often called "research," but a better term is
"product testing" since lucrative profits are on the line depending on
the outcome. In theory. the Clinical Trial is heavily structured. A
Protocol defines how it will be conducted and what endpoint parameters
will be analyzed to reach the final conclusions. The Subjects and
Investigators are blinded to the medications until the blind is broken
at the end of the actual trial and the results are analyzed by the
Authors according to the a priori Protocol specifications. We
all know, that’s not what happens. The results are turned over to the
corporate sponsor who analyze the results and use medical writers to
produce the article. In many cases, the physicians and other scientists
on the Author By-Line are primarily a ticket into a peer-reviewed
journal, and have little if any input into the actual production of the
article. And since the reader of the article can’t see any of the
process that goes into the creation of what they’re reading, the data
can be subtly manipulated to accentuate the positive and eliminate the
negative. It not only can happen, it has happened in epidemic
proportions – yielding enormous profits and more importantly has
resulted in doctors prescribing many ineffective or sometimes harmful
medications. The time for simply decrying this state of affairs has
long passed. It’s time to put a stop to it, but that’s proving to be a
very thorny task.
This is also why I,
since I learned about this, since 2010, have completely lost my faith
in "medical science", and also want to have as little to do with it as
I can , for I do not even know that drugs that
are prescribed to me are not manipulated, lied about, or misreported,
though indeed I know why this is and has been done "in epidemic proportions": it very
much improves the earnings of the doctors, the "corporate sponsors" and
their "medical writers".
Unfortunately, it leaves the patient alone: He cannot even know whether
the drugs he gets prescribed will help, will not have side-effects, and
is better than alternatives, and there also is no one who, even if he
wanted to, as most medical
doctors do not, can say so, with any rational confidence.
It's a very sick major medical scam, but since the
doctors and the corporations profit, and profit for tens of
billions of dollars also, each year, that the patient has
to pay, remain ignorant, and gets treated to endless series of lies,
nonsense, bullshit and propaganda.
 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.)
 I have spent part of the months of May and June in
France, and it seems to me - still - that my analysis of it is correct:
There very well might have been a revolution in France, if only the
French CP and its trade unions would have supported the students. But
they did not, and thus De Gaulle won.
Again, would France have turned into a marxist, socialist, anarchist or
communist state had the French CP supported the students? It's
speculative, but very probably not, though it would have introduced a
leftist state instead of a rightist one, mostly because the rest of
Europe was not ready for a real socialist revolution, and the French
were internally much divided and not really clear.
 I do not say there are no good analyses by
revolutionaries, but they are rare. Also, I have read a good amount of
Lenin, of Guevara, of Mao, of Dutschke and of others, and I was never
much impressed, and was regularly offended, mostly by what these
supposed smart leaders clearly did not know though they should have.
Finally, as to the revolutionary prose of the late 1960ies: This was
nearly all trash, I am sorry to say - wishful thinking, often composed
of quotations of Marx and Lenin, that were supposed to be deep analyses
but were not, combined with demands by students, that were not
supported by the analyses.
 I realize that is difficult, but I am serious.
Also, I realize few people will believe me or 1 boring old man, and the
reason is basically that the great majority of people do not have my
health problems since 36 years, and also
do not know anything relevant about medicine. Well, now I do know the
and for me the lesson is: Avoid it as best as you can, for your
if they are good and mean well, also are in no position to say
anything decently rational about recently developed medicines.
(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: