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. Release of Six Detainees
After Twelve Years Highlights
the Historic Evil of Guantánamo
2. A Society of Captives
3. CEO Pay Rose at Twice
the Rate of Workers
Long to Wait Till Released CO2 Turns Up Temperature
5. Democracy Crisis: We Are
Enslaving Ourselves to
6. Propaganda’s Triumph over Journalism
Attorneys General, Energy Companies Formed Secret
Alliance to Kill Regulations:
8. The Silence of the
This is a Nederlog of
Monday, December 8. It is a crisis log.
There are 8 items with 8 dotted links: Item 1 is
about American justice; item 2 is Hedges on our
Western societies; item 3 is a brief item on the
obscene incomes the rich award themselves; item 4
is an item that says it takes a decade (more or
less) to see measurable changes of the warming up of the earth; item 5 is a good article on the large declines in
democracy; item 6 is a fine article on the triumph
of propaganda over journalism; item 7 is a brief
article about evident gross corruption in the U.S.; and item
8 is a fine article on the silence of most lawyers
in the U.S.
So there are today at least five articles that are good. And here goes:
1. Release of Six Detainees After Twelve
Years Highlights the Historic Evil of Guantánamo
item today is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I say - most of this I
did not know. There is a considerable amount more under the last dotted
link, including the news that president Obama may have been shamed into
doing these releases by president Mujica of Uruguay (who himself had
been locked up for 14 years), but I will leave that to your interests.
The U.S. military
six Guantánamo detainees to
Uruguay. All of them had been imprisoned since 2002 – more than 12
years. None has ever been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of
any wrongdoing. They had all been cleared for release years ago by the
Pentagon itself, but nonetheless remained in cages until today.
Among the released
detainees is Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Lebanese-born Syrian national and
father of four who was seized by the Pakistani police and turned over
to the U.S. in 2002 for what was reportedly a large bounty. He was
cleared for release in 2009 – five years ago – and has repeatedly gone
on hunger strikes inside the camp to protest his treatment. At the age
of 43, he has become physically debilitated. As the human rights
group Reprieve detailed:
As a result of the
conditions inside the prison and the callous treatment he has received,
Mr Dhiab’s health has now deteriorated to such an extent that he is
confined to a wheelchair. Recent revelations revealed that Mr. Dhiab is
being denied access to his wheelchair, meaning he is brutally dragged
from his cell and force-fed against his will every day.
I merely quote two bits on two - I think - very bad men: Here is the
claims that Obama is largely blameless are false
in the extreme,
as are claims that no country will
accept detainees (...)
And this is the second:
(...) just as Tony Blair’s lucrative subservience
to dictators doesn’t prevent him from lecturing
the world on the need for democracy
You can check the claims
by pressing the links in the last two quotes. For more, you have to
click the last dotted link.
Society of Captives
item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s
plans to launch a
pilot program in New York City to place body cameras on police
officers and conduct training seminars to help them reduce their
adrenaline rushes and abusive language, along with the establishment of
a less stringent marijuana policy, are merely cosmetic reforms. The
killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island was, after all, captured
on video. These proposed reforms, like those out of Washington,
D.C., fail to address the underlying cause of poverty, state-sponsored
murder and the obscene explosion of mass incarceration—the rise of the
corporate state and the death of our democracy. Mass acts of civil
disobedience, now being carried out across the country, are the only mechanism left that offers hope for
systematic legal and judicial reform. We must defy the corporate state,
not work with it.
Yes, I mostly agree, though
I think there are more means than "mass acts", and one of these is getting
money out of politics (though I agree that also
hard, especially now that money has taken over most politics in
And here are the next
two paragraphs, with which I also agree :
The legal system no
longer functions to protect ordinary Americans. It serves our
oligarchic, corporate elites. These elites have committed $26
billion in financial fraud. They loot the U.S. Treasury, escape
taxation, drive down wages, break unions, pillage pension funds, gut
regulation and oversight, destroy public institutions including public
schools and social assistance programs, wage endless and illegal wars
to swell the profits of arms merchants, and—yes—authorize police to
murder unarmed black men.
Police and national
intelligence and security agencies, which carry out wholesale
surveillance against the population and serve as the corporate elite’s
brutal enforcers, are omnipotent by intention. They are designed to
impart fear, even terror, to keep the population under control. And
until the courts and the legislative bodies give us back our
rights—which they have no intention of doing—things will only get worse
for the poor and the rest of us. We live in a post-constitutional era.
And there is this, which
continues the last quotation:
captured every major institution, including the judicial, legislative
and executive branches of government, and deformed them to exclusively
serve the demands of the market. They have, in the process, demolished
civil society. Karl Polanyi in
“The Great Transformation” warned that without heavy government
regulation and oversight, unfettered and unregulated capitalism
degenerates into a Mafia capitalism and a Mafia political system (..)
There is a lot more
under the last dotted link, which you should read all of, and it ends
state and its organs of internal security are illegitimate. We are a
society of captives.
Yes, indeed. The one
qualification I have is that, though I agree, most will not, which
shows - in my opinion - that most are simply deceived, and lack the necessary
knowledge to reach rational judgments, which again is the case because
the free press also largely disappeared, and few have the brains or the
do proper research themselves.
3. CEO Pay Rose at Twice the Rate of Workers
item is an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This starts as
Experts suggest there’s
no better time to be a top-level corporate executive as the median
income of CEOs of S&P 500 companies reached $10.1 million at the
end of 2013.
The amount reflects a 9.5
percent increase year after year and an enormous 43 percent jump from
There is some more
there, including a link to a more comprehensive article on The
Guardian, but here I just want to make the point that none of
them is worth it: These are not geniuses of art or science;
these very probably only are geniuses in greed and egoism; and the only
reason they - the very few - profit so extra-ordinarly much is that
they live at a time where the very few rich have effectively taken over
the economy and run it with the aim of enriching themselves, at
the cost of everybody else.
4. Not Long to Wait Till Released CO2 Turns
item is an article by Tim Radford, that originated on Climate News
Network, but that I found on Truthdig:
This is from the beginning:
Scientists at the Carnegie
Institution for Science in the US have calculated for the first
time a precision figure for the average lag between a carbon emission
and its effect on the planetary thermometer.
That there is a lag, no
one ever doubted: thermal inertia is something everybody observes every
time they put the kettle on. The heat goes up, but the water stays
cold, for a while.
But the presumption has
always been that—given that the world is a huge cauldron and every unit
of fossil fuel burned represents a tiny increment—the time lag between
cause and effect might be decades.That is, the warming experienced now
was triggered by fossil fuel burning in the 1980s or 1990s.
But the two Carnegie
scientists, Katharine Ricke and Ken Caldeira, report in the journal Environmental Research Letters that they have done
the sums and arrived at a conclusion. People who light a gas cooker
today are quite likely to feel the atmospheric heat from that blue
flame in a decade.
I say. To be sure,
that "decade" is an average between 6.6 and 30.7 years, while also
there are quite a lot of assumptions necessary to derive the figure,
but it has been done (and I am at least a bit amazed no one
seems to have done this before).
Crisis: We Are Enslaving Ourselves to
item is an article by Andrew O'Hehir that originally appeared on Salon
but that I found on AlterNet:
This is a fairly long piece, from which I
select two quotations. The first is this, and explains the title:
On a larger scale,
the crisis is about the corruption and perversion of democracy, and in
many cases the willing surrender of democracy by those who live in fear
of terrorists from distant lands and criminals from the inner city. To
borrow an explosive concept from Nietzsche and turn it to new purposes,
it’s about the “slave morality” that characterizes so much
of American life, meaning the desire to be dominated and ruled, to give
up control over one’s own life and allow others to make the decisions.
I agree with the first
paragraph, though I would not have used "slave morality" but
rather "stupidity", indeed mostly because "stupidity" seems the real
source of "the desire to
be dominated and ruled, to give up control over one’s own life and
allow others to make the decisions", which I agree seems widely spread in the
U.S. and elsewhere.
Since the word “slave”
carries special meaning in American history, let me be clear that I’m
not talking here about the legacy of 19th-century human slavery
(although that too is still a factor in our national life). I’m talking
about the plurality or majority of contemporary Americans who have
enslaved themselves – in moral and psychological terms — to the rule of
a tiny economic oligarchy, and to a state that serves its interests, in
exchange for the promise of order, safety and comfort. That order,
safety and comfort then become the absolute values, the only values;
they become coterminous with “freedom,” which must be defended by the
most exaggerated means. If the leaders hint that those values are under
attack from sinister forces, or might someday be, the timorous,
self-enslaved majority consents to whatever is said to be necessary,
whether that means NSA data sweeps, indefinite detention camps, mass
murder by remote control or yet another ground war in the Middle East.
Something similar holds for the second paragraph: I agree mostly with
its contents, but think "stupidity" or "ignorance" may be a better term
than "slave" or "slavery", in part also because the former two terms
suggest, quite correctly,
that one may be easily deceived
into making false choices, much rather than being forced by one's owner.
Here is the second quotation:
As we have seen
in Ferguson and elsewhere, the military-industrial complex is now
heavily invested in American policing, and local law enforcements now
resemble poorly trained regional armies. Furthermore, both invoke the
well-established principle that the state holds a monopoly on
legitimate violence, and then extend it in insidious fashion: All state
violence is now deemed legitimate by definition, and the state itself
is the sole judge and guarantor of that legitimacy.
I think that too is
mostly correct, especially as regards to "the state itself is the sole judge", which
seems both effectively true and
a clear case of non-democratic
As to the rest: I like the article, but I don't quite agree to it. You
can check it out by clicking the last dotted link.
Triumph over Journalism
item is an article by John Pilger
(<-Wikipedia) on ConsortiumNews:
This starts as follows (and is by a long-time
The initial questions are - in
my opinion - all quite good and quite justified. I do have answers to
each of them, but will only answer the first: "Why has so much journalism succumbed to
propaganda?", and I will do that
only in a general and schematized format.
Why has so much
journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion
standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious
power? Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their
Why are young journalists
not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims
and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that
the essence of so much of what’s called the mainstream media is not
information, but power?
The information age is
actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media;
demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a
surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions. This
power to create a new “reality” has been building for a long time.
The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public
perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it,
an “invisible government.” It is the government. It rules directly
without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of
us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.
My answer to the first question is along the following lines: Assuming
that it is true that much journalism these days is little else than
propaganda, which I do,
the two only possible reasons I can see is that either ordinary
people and ordinary journalists are not as intelligent and courageous
as they themselves
think they are  or ordinary
people and ordinary journalists are much more prone to corruption than
they themselves think they are.
Note that I have excluded a third possible answer: "because they are
afraid they are being spied upon by the state's secret services" not
because I think that is false now, but because this possibility -
universal control of everyone through the
secret services using one's computer - is new, and the corruption of
journalism started at least thirty years ago.
Also, there is this:
Again, the questions at the
beginning and the end are quite good and quite justified questions. I
will answer some, again in a schematic format:
Why are millions of
people in Britain persuaded that a collective punishment called
“austerity” is necessary? Following the economic crash in 2008, a
rotten system was exposed. For a split second the banks were lined up
as crooks with obligations to the public they had betrayed.
But within a few months –
apart from a few stones lobbed over excessive corporate “bonuses” – the
message changed. The mug shots of guilty bankers vanished from the
tabloids and something called “austerity” became the burden of millions
of ordinary people. Was there ever a sleight of hand as brazen?
Today, many of the
premises of civilized life in Britain are being dismantled in order to
pay back a fraudulent debt – the debt of crooks. The “austerity” cuts
are said to be £83 billion. That’s almost exactly the amount of tax
avoided by the same banks and by corporations like Amazon and Murdoch’s
News UK. Moreover, the crooked banks are given an annual subsidy of
£100 billion in free insurance and guarantees – a figure that would
fund the entire National Health Service.
The economic crisis is
pure propaganda. Extreme policies now rule Britain, the United States,
much of Europe, Canada and Australia. Who is standing up for the
majority? Who is telling their story? Who’s keeping the record
straight? Isn’t that what journalists are meant to do?
As to: "Why are
millions of people in Britain persuaded that a collective punishment
called “austerity” is necessary?" my answer must be: Because they are
stupid or ignorant and are being massively misled by their
media and also by nearly all of their politicians.
As to: "Who is standing
up for the majority? Who is telling their story?": Very few are,
because - it seems - most journalists these days rather do safe and
well-paying jobs (of not telling the truth, but then their audience
mostly don't know and so don't criticize).
Anyway - this is a good piece you are recommended to read all of.
General, Energy Companies Formed Secret Alliance to Kill
item is an article by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
There is some more under
the last dotted link but this - obvious corruption - is the main point.
Attorneys general in at
least a dozen states have formed secretive alliances with "energy
companies and other corporate interests" to fight Obama administration
regulations, a new investigation by the New
York Times has found.
The Times notes
that though individual attorneys general have before pushed for changes
following lobbyists' interventions, "never before have attorneys
general joined on this scale with corporate interests to challenge
Washington and file lawsuits in federal court."
8. The Silence of the Lawyers
and last item is an article by Bruce Hay, who is a professor at Harvard
This starts as follows:
It is a quite good
article, that ends as follows:
As another grand jury has
let a cop walk away for gratuitously killing an unarmed black man, a
loud silence reverberates through the country, just at it has for many
years. It is the silence of the nation’s lawyers.
The fact is, we operate
two criminal justice systems in the United States. One is for affluent
white people, who when accused of crime are treated as citizens, as
people with rights. They get the benefit of the constitutional
protections we boast about in textbooks and television shows,
protections like due process and trial by jury and proof beyond
reasonable doubt. And they are often shown great leniency for very
serious crimes, including homicide.
The other system is for
poor people and racial minorities, who are treated more like trash to
be removed from the streets. They are policed as if they enemy
combatants; churned through overcrowded, underfunded courts that
traffic in guilty pleas and long prison sentences for minor offenses;
and harassed or killed by cops whose brutality would never be tolerated
against those whose wealth and skin color entitles them to the
privileges and protections of the first system.
Another fact is, the vast
majority of the American legal profession maintains steadfast silence
about this two-tiered regime.
all, are the guardians of the legal process, and we profess allegiance
to the ideal of equal justice under law. As we play the part of
helpless bystander to America’s two-track system, we do more than
expose our fellow citizens to discrimination and mistreatment and gasps
of “I can’t breathe.” We expose ourselves to charges of fraud.
Quite so - though I
should add that I have seen tens of lawyers, already 25 years ago,
while I had excellent cases, but only one of these
really helped me, and the rest tried to profit from me, and lied and
deceived a great amount, all without any need except for their
own moral rottenness.
So again: There are good lawyers, like there are good
people and there are intelligent people and there are
courageous people: Yes, all quite true... but in small minorities.
9, 2014: Linked two notes and added one "m".
 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 note I lately lost around 100 daily readers. Since I do not
get any mail
from my readers (except once a year on Wittgenstein), which may be
explained in many ways - I have over 1.6 million hits this year in
Denmark, and very probably at least twice that in Holland, but nobody
mails me (other than once a year or less on Wittgenstein, as if there
is nothing else in the nearly 500 MB that is on my site to comment on),
and I also hardly get any spam (!!) - I must suppose the main reason is
I used the word "fascism" with a prefixed "neo-", as I did on December 25, 2012, and very recently again.
I take it that most of the readers I have lost believe they
know better what fascism is than I do. Well... no, you do not,
your father and your grandfather were sent to German
concentration-camps because they were members of the Resistance (which
was very small in Holland, where most
in fact collaborated, which is one reason more than 1% of the total
population could be murdered for being of the wrong race and being
poor), and unless your IQ is over 150 and you spent reading the
years, and have excellent degrees in psychology and philosophy.
So... the two main reasons why I spoke of "corporate neo-fascism" as
the system I see arising especially in the U.S. and England are that
(1) this corresponds to a classical definition of "fascism" (on
which Wikipedia is very bad): fascism is the system
of authoritarian and totalitarian government that arises when the
corporations run the state, while (2) I see very many
things - extensive racism, a militarized police, a mostly totalitarian
press, surveillance of everyone as if they are criminals by secret
services - that I can only explain as facets of (neo-)fascism,
as defined, which I repeat is a classical definition.
I am very sorry that is so, but I will not shut up,
only because I have no children because I am ill since 1.1.1979.: I
cannot be blackmailed that way into
shutting up and pretending not to see what the more stupid and
learned do not seem to see.
 The Dutch have really thought -
as far as I can tell - that each of them is the equivalent of Einstein
and Da Vinci, and that the only reason no one saw this was that they
all chose to dedicate their incredible talents to other things,
or pop music or skating, and certainly not and never that they might
just be a little less clever and talented: "Everybody knows everybody
was THE teaching everyone received from 1970 till 2000,
in all Dutch schools, all Dutch colleges, all
Dutch universities (in so far as these were state-sponsored, as most
were and are), and it was one that almost everyone seems to have believed,
precisely because it made them the equals of
the very best.
(Two other extremely widely taught principles, also embraced by nearly
all Dutchmen I know of, are "Everybody knows that truth does not exist" (so you
never can be validly argued to be less than anyone) and "Everybody knows all morals are
relative" (so the Chinese society is just as good as the Dutch one).
I merely note that these totally insane, completely false, very
propagandistic teachings were the core of what everyone
Holland got as moral education, and that these
principles seem to have been sincerely embraced by the vast majority,
to the best of my knowledge. (I was one of
the very few to
and for that reason was thrown, while ill, from the faculty of
philosophy as "a fascist terrorist" briefly before doing my M.A. there.
This happened to no one else since the defeat of the Nazis.)
(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: