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."
3. Glenn Greenwald
4. Charlie Hebdo
This is a Nederlog of
January 8, 2015.
It is a brief crisis item (I slept well, but am not back where
I was in early December of last year) with 4 items and 3 dotted links: Item 1 is about the deregulated economy; item 2 is about Adam Curtis (an English maker of
documentaries); item 3 is about Glenn Greenwald on
monitoring especially Muslims; and item 4 is about
the murder of 12 persons in Paris yesterday.
1. Deregulated Economy
The present item - quite
briefly - continues yesterday's Nederlog and stresses the view I articulated in It's
the deregulation, stupid!:
The basis of the things that went
wrong (for the non-rich) in the
in health care, in education, in politics & civil law, in public
with the climate is the general deregulation that was
introduced around 1980 by Thatcher and Reagan, and that also spread
around the western world.
This deregulation was first and foremost a legal change: To
deregulate = to strike out regulations, and the regulations that bound
businesses were mostly formal and legal.
Also, while most regulations were discarded in the names of "freedom"
or "liberty" or "libertarianism", the freedoms that resulted were
mostly the increased freedoms of the rich few to make more
money, plus the freedom of the rich few from high taxes (sold
to the public as "trickle down economy", which was a lie). I see very
few or no increases in "freedom" for the non-rich, and many losses of
rights by the non-rich.
And in fact my title - It's
the deregulation, stupid! -
was quite justified:
Deregulation is what made the crisis of 2008
possible, as it made als the enormous rise of welfare for the
rich possible, and the corresponding growth of poverty for the
poor, and many more things, and it all started systematically in
1979-1980, when Thatcher came to power in England, and Reagan in the
But indeed, the real story is more complicated than that, and leads to
the following item, that is about a prominent English documentary-maker:
2. Adam Curtis
I have repeatedly written about Adam Curtis
(<- Wikipedia) e.g. here
(in July 2013), and meanwhile I have seen quite a few of his videos, of
which I can recommend especially (in the order of production) Modern
Times: The Way of All Flesh of 1997; The Mayfair Set of
1999; The Century of Self, of 2002; and The Power of
Nightmares of 2006.
These are all series with several parts, that last for several hours. I
thought all of them quite interesting and worth viewing, and recommend
especially The Mayfair Set and The
Century of Self (together nearly eight hours). The first is
basically about some of the consequences of deregulation in England and
the U.S. while the second is about the rise of propaganda
relations" in the U.S.
I would have liked to give links, but the links I posted have
disappeared several times, it seems because the BBC objected (though I
do not know this), so now I merely say that you'll have to find
them yourselves, using Youtube's "Adam
Curtis" or some search machine.
The last link works (today) as does the following:
This is nearly 55 minutes of a
Corbett Report (of which there are many more), that is dedicated to
I know little about Corbett or the Corbett Report, but this seemed a
reasonable video, that both praises Curtis for original insights and
good videos, and criticizes him for furthering typical establishment's
tenets, such as that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy, or uncritically
following mainstream reporting on 9/11.
The praise is deserved. The criticism may be deserved as well, though
indeed you cannot criticize everything and remain a very
prominent maker of documentaries for the BBC, it would seem to me,
which is what Adam Curtis is. (Also, no single man can comprehend
everything, while both Kennedy's murder and 9/11 are surrounded by many
In any case, the aim of
this section is only to point out that Adam Curtis has made quite a few
quite interesting documentaries that I found all very well worth
seeing, also in spite of the fact that many of his documentaries take
three or four hours when seen in full (as I agree they best are), and
that especially The Mayfair Set
(<- link to part 1) made clear quite a lot of the things that
happened in the British and American economies in the 1980ies and
1990ies (especially about Michael Milken,
Rowland and Jim
Slater, each of whom got extremely rich by (ab-)using the freedoms
that deregulations had brought them).
3. Glenn Greenwald
This is a link to a recent article by Glenn Greenwald on
This starts as follows:
On March 6,
2012, six British soldiers were killed in Afghanistan
by a roadside explosive device, and a national ritual of
mourning and rage ensued. Prime Minister David Cameron called it a
“desperately sad day for our country.” A British teenager, Azhar
Ahmed, observed the reaction for two days and then went to
Facebook to angrily object that the innocent Afghans killed by British
soldiers receive almost no attention from British media.
He opined that the UK’s soldiers in Afghanistan are guilty,
their deaths deserved, and are therefore going to hell:
At this point the British
teenager is quoted (from Facebook, which is one reason I don't copy it,
while also Greenwald's rendering is adequate), which I leave to your
interests, but no: I do not think Azhar Ahmed's opinions were
serious or criminal, even though they are a bit unrestrained, after
which Glenn Greenwald continues:
The following day,
arrested and “charged with a racially aggravated public order
offense.” The police spokesman explained that “he didn’t make his point
very well and that is why he has landed himself in bother.” The state
proceeded to prosecute him, and in October of that year, he was
convicted “of sending a grossly offensive communication,” fined
and sentenced to
240 hours of community service.
I agree with Greenwald this
was over the top. Here is one of Greenwald's sum ups:
Yes. There is a lot more
in Greenwald's article, that you can find under the last dotted link.
cases for online political speech are now commonplace in
the UK, notorious for its hostility to basic
free speech and press
rights. As The Independent‘s James Bloodworth reported
last week, “around 20,000 people in Britain have been investigated in
the past three years for comments made online.”
But the persecution is by
no means viewpoint-neutral. It instead is overwhelmingly directed at
the country’s Muslims for expressing political opinions
critical of the state’s actions.
4. Charlie Hebdo
Finally today, an article by Suzanne Moore on The
This is just one
reaction to the murder of 12 persons in Paris, yesterday, that I assume
everyone who reads this has heard about already.
My main reasons to link to this reaction are mainly that I agree with
the title and with the following quotation from the article:
This is partly why
I don’t like the fashionable terms Islamophobia or Islamofascism. It
should be perfectly possible to criticise any culture that limits women
without being accused of hating every Muslim. All fundamentalist
religions (including those rooted in Judaism or Christianity) seek to
control female sexuality. It should be possible to ask what these
different versions of Islam are about, and how they relate to each
other, without suggesting all Muslims are fascists.
Yes, though it is not -
by far - only "female sexuality" that "fundamentalist religions (including those
rooted in Judaism or Christianity)" seek to control.
Jan 8, 2015: Corrected "then" to "than".