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."
Dick Cheney Should Be in 'Federal Prison' Not
on 'Meet The Press'
Torture? For the Arab World, That's No Surprise
A Win for the Cuban People
Just in Time for the Holidays, Another Wall Street
On making a weekly crisis report
This is a Nederlog of
Sunday, December 21. It is a crisis log, and it is the first weekly
one, which also means it is a bit experimental. This will be considered
briefly in item 5, for it may be a bit of a problem.
There are 5 items today, with 4 dotted links: Item 1
is about Greenwald
on Cheney; item 2 is about how the CIA's torturing
people is received
in the Arab world; item 3 is about Cuba; item 4 is about yet another
big giveaway by Obama's government to the bankers; and item
5 is about
the present file
and the making of weekly surveys of the crisis (which you do not need
Also today I uploaded the last crisis index,
which now is updated till December 19, and - in case you missed it - it
happens to be the shortest day today in the northern part of the earth:
from now on days will lengthen again until June 21.
1. Greenwald: Dick Cheney Should Be in 'Federal
Prison' Not on 'Meet The Press'
item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Greenwald did not mince words on Thursday when asked to respond to
comments made by former vice president Dick Cheney when he appeared
on NBC's Meet The Press last Sunday.
Yes, indeed. Is there
any chance Cheney will ever be prosecuted while alive? Not
realistically, although there is a great amount he should be asked
"The reason why Dick
Cheney is able to go on 'Meet The Press' instead of being where he
should be—which is in the dock at The Hague or in a federal prison—is
because President Obama and his administration made the decision not to
prosecute any of the people who implemented this torture regime despite
the fact that it was illegal and criminal," Greenwald said in an interview
with HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski.
In Sunday's interview
with host Chuck Todd, Cheney claimed that CIA torture "worked" and
announced he would "do it again in a minute" if given the opportunity.
2. CIA Torture? For the Arab World, That's No
next item is an article by Rachel Shabi on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows (and is
a good article):
Yes, indeed. There is also
The headlines scream of
shock and revulsion. Described in UK newspapers as a "stain on America"
and "the shaming of the West", and in the US as a "grim portrait" and
"litany of brutality", the damning Senate report on CIA torture has,
not surprisingly, evoked horror across the world's media.
It's in the many references,
within the US, to the CIA torture as the antithesis of "national" and
"American" values. And it is in Vox
editor-in-chief Ezra Klein's observation: "We betrayed our values.
We betrayed who we are."
Few cannot be shocked by the nightmarishly grotesque details of how the
CIA tortured, and how often it lied about it. And who knows how much
more is contained in the bulk of the just-released, 6,000-page document
of savage abuse, only some 500 pages of which were declassified.
But woven into some of the media reaction is another theme, too. It's
in the Washington
Post's editorial, which states: "This is not how Americans should
Across the Arab and Muslim
world this kind of response from the West might come over as somewhat
belated and, well, maybe a little bit delusional, too. After all, "who
we are" has been going on since 2001, at the very least (let's not get
into the torture that was such an integral part of colonialism, or even
the torture training that the CIA gifted a variety of brutal regimes
during the 1970s). And "who we are" has for some time been painfully
clear to those at the receiving end of it.
"The use of
torture is an exercise in terror," says Rizwaan Sabir, a
counterterrorism specialist at the UK's Edge Hill University. "So it's
terror in the name of fighting terror - and you can't defeat something
by becoming the very thing you are trying to defeat."
Quite so - and as
I have been writing since 2005: it "justifies" Western state
terrorism against anyone and everyone who is not a
direct servant of the government, all on the pretext that the
population is supposed to get protected from "terrorists", which is
mere baloney: the government only protects itself,
and only can protect itself, with any chance on success.
Anyway: This is a good article that you should read all of.
Win for the Cuban People
The next item is an article by Eugene Robinson on
This starts as follows:
I say. There is considerably
more in the article, that also is not bad and that you might read for
historic opening to Cuba is long overdue—and has a chance of hastening
the Castro dictatorship’s demise. Critics of the accord should explain
why they believe a policy that has failed miserably for half a century
could ever work.
What is it about Cuba
that makes reasonable people take leave of their senses? The United
States maintained full diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union
throughout the Cold War. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, hardly a
couple of peaceniks, opened the door to China. History argues
powerfully for engagement as the best way to deal with repressive,
adversarial regimes. Yet hard-liners insist Cuba must be treated
Visiting the island might
change some minds. I went to Cuba 10 times between 2000 and 2004 while
researching a book, “Last Dance in Havana.” Each trip gave me more
regard for the Cuban people—and less for the Castro regime.
All I have to add here are my own impressions of Cuba plus a
about its future.
First my own impressions of Cuba.
I was quite interested and quite in favor of Cuba in 1968, when I was
17 or 18, and also still a marxist (like my
parents, though not of
their faith, for I did - among quite a few other differences - not
believe anymore since 1964 that "the socialist countries" were really
socialistic, or were not dictatorships), but these were the
times not many felt like me and a few leftists.
Then in 1970 I completely gave up marxism and most
of my interest in politics,
and hardly cared about Cuba anymore - except that somewhere in 1990ies,
or maybe even in the 1980ies, Kooobaa - as it was always called -
became quite suddenly very near to Socialist Heaven in the
opinion of Dutch social democrat politicians (usually second or third
rankers), who generally went there not on their own costs, and
who nearly all returned with very much verbal
enthusiasm about all the miracles of Kooobaa (for they all said Kooobaa: this seemed to
make it more real, more definite, and - of course - a lot more
revolutionary), but never
any details of any kind, and also never with any real actions.
In brief, I was not much impressed by Cuba after 1968, and also did not
get much reliable information about it. What about the
There is no certainty, but I expect that after the Castros will
have died, "socialism" will soon die
as well, when the
Cubans will get their share of the American economical propaganda,
will propagandize the Big Human Ideal of becoming A Consumer with A
Credit Card - which will probably succeed.
I hope I am mistaken, for it would be nice to have a somewhat socialist
republic without repression, if that is possible, but I fear I am not,
if only because Castro's
system, while it was not as bad as that of the Soviet Union, did
of the people, and also kept them quite poor, though that was certainly
not only Castro's fault.
4. Just in Time for the Holidays, Another
Wall Street Giveaway
The next item is an article by Jon Queally on Common
This starts as follows:
Yes, quite so. Here is the
last paragraph of the article, that is well worth reading in full:
In what is being
criticized as yet another capitulation to Wall Street—and just in time
for the holidays—the Federal Reserve on Thursday announced it will give
investment banks a one-year extension to implement a key aspect of the
Dodd/Frank financial reform act, known as the Volcker Rule, enacted in
the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis.
As Bloomberg reports:
Banks added to their
wins in Washington this month by getting a reprieve from the Volcker
Rule that will let them hold onto billions of dollars in private-equity
and hedge-fund investments for at least two more years.
The Federal Reserve
granted the delay yesterday after banks said selling the stakes quickly
might force them to accept discount prices. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
has $11.4 billion in private-equity funds, hedge funds and similar
investments, while Morgan Stanley has $5 billion, securities filings
“This is a great
holiday present by the Fed,” said Ernest Patrikis, a former Federal
Reserve Bank of New York general counsel who is now a partner at White
& Case LLP.
The Volcker Rule, named
after former Fed chair Paul Volcker, was designed to curb some of the
practices which led to the '08 collapse and demands that banks refrain
from using their clients' deposits to engage in risky, speculative
investment activities. Though the rule as written and enacted was full
of loopholes inserted at the behest of Wall Street lobbyists, the banks
have continued to claim they need more time to "unwind" their
investments to conform with the law. Thursday's order by the Fed was a
consent to the banks' demands, but critics worry that the year
extension is not about giving financial firms more time to comply with
the rules, but rather, more time to kill it off entirely.
"The Wall Street
Casino is alive and well," said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who
co-authored the Volcker Rule statute with Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.).
"Last week it was Congress granting the big banks the right to keep
trading on banned risky derivatives with government backing. Today it
is the Fed granting big banks two more years to make big bets through
direct ownership of private equity and hedge funds. It all amounts to
the same thing – spineless accommodation of the big banks’ desire to
run taxpayer-subsidized hedge funds. This is wrong for taxpayers and it
is wrong for the stability of our banking system. We expect more of the
Note the really bad
thing: This - once again - gives enormous freedoms to the banks "to run taxpayer-subsidized hedge
funds" (my bolding, for the profits go to the bankmanagers, but the
losses are for the taxpayers).
5. On making a
weekly crisis report
This is the first weekly crisis report, after I
doing a daily one earlier this week. I gave up mostly because it is
a lot of work; my eyes and general health are now a bit better
were for resp. 2 1/2 years and 20 years; I need some space to do other
things; and because I am a bit
disappointed about the total lack of any response by -
literally (!) - hundreds of thousands of readers, and also about the pro
torture spirit of the majority of the American population, and the lack
of much anger about being universally surveilled by the secret services
and the government (which are the beginnings of fascism).
However, the main reasons are really the first two:
I want to have time available to do some other thing than
writing a daily column on the crisis, and as long as I am ill -
which I am since 1.1.1979 - the only way to make time is to
give up doing the daily column (which took rather a lot).
This may cost me readers, but since these never seem to reach me
anyway, I can't care much, and also, whether it costs readers or not, I
want to write in Nederlog about some other things than the
crisis, and to have some more time for doing other things.
One relevant problem is this: What shall I put in the weekly
series? Here the main point is that I have had on average around 6
items every day, mostly taken from daily publications, while I will not
take more than around 8 items each week, and preferably 6 or less.
Also, the items I will choose need to have more than a merely daily
I don't really know and will have to find out, but it will probably be
like today, though with different subjects.
I think the choice today is adequate.
 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: