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. Angry right’s secret
playbook: How it uses a good story
to peddle an agenda America
2. The Paris Mystery: Were the
Shooters Part of a Global
3. Surprising New Findings Point to Perfect
4. Striking Populist Tone, Mainstream Dems Push
Hood Tax Plan
5. Dianne Feinstein, Strong
Advocate of Leak Prosecutions,
Demands Immunity For David
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday,
January 13, 2015.
This is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1 is a criticism of a former rightist about the
tactics the liberals use; item 2 is about the
motives of the murderers of the staff of Charlie Hebdo and others; item 3 is about economy (that turns out hardly to have
studied credit, it seems); item 4 is about a plan
of the Democrats to get more votes; and item 5 is
about Dianne Feinstein's opinions.
Also, I should say I uploaded an improved version of Tour - Directories,
that gives the main opening directories of the site (that comprises
nearly 500 MB).
And I am continuing the summaries
section with brief daily summaries like the previous paragraph, so that
my readers at least can use the summaries to find out what is in Nederlog.
Angry right’s secret
playbook: How it uses a good story to peddle an agenda America hates
The first item today is an
article by Edwin Lyngar on Salon:
This starts as follows -
and I should explain that Edwin Lyngar used to be right wing and now is
midterm election was my first real setback since I became a committed
liberal (after years on the other side), and what I don’t understand is
why so many well-meaning liberals refuse to fight dirty. Sure,
some Democratic politicians “sling mud,” but the “professional left”
(as they are often derisively called) spend too much time debating the
exactitude of certain issues and not enough time shutting down the bad
ideas of the opposition. It might speak well to one’s character, but
it’s an ineffective way to do battle. There is a place for
self-examination, but it’s not on the battlefield. Sometimes the proper
reaction to cruelty or stupid ideas is disgust or even a well-timed
And it ends as follows:
I call on my
fellow liberals to embrace the rough stuff. Engage in battle with
people who hate you and feel free to throw crazy right back, even if
you only half believe it. Let it out and taste it on the way by. See if
it flies. If it doesn’t, screw it — just fix it up next time. Refer to
your political opponent as “the honorable shithead from New Jersey.”
Use the words, images and for god’s sake, the passion of the
street. People who hate and fear you will always hate you unless they
die out, change their minds or we can beat them in a heated contest of
ideas. You’re not playing checkers — and they’re winning by giving zero
shits about reality, so cut the crap and fight like you mean it.
Well... I don't
know, for several reasons. First, the average liberal is
considerably better educated than the average rightist. Second, if
somewhat widely adopted it will bring down the debate to an exchange of
insults. But third,
it is true that the Democrats in Congress are too polite - and will
pronbably remain so (and/as many are on the leash of their well-paying
There are more reasons, but I do agree (up to a point) that I do not
really see why the Democrats - if they were really serious - should not
give as they get. And also I recalled an item of Bill Maher, of over
three years ago:
This is funny.
2. The Paris Mystery: Were the Shooters Part of a Global
Conspiracy? The next item is an article by Jeremy Scahill
on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Well... that is just the
problem - I mean:
In the days since the
siege at the Paris magazine Charlie Hebdo, the press and
social media sites have been consumed with the possible answers to one
question: Beyond the two shooters, Said and Cherif Kouachi, who is
responsible for the attack that killed 12 people at the magazine’s
On Friday, shortly after
the gunmen were killed by French forces in a raid on a printing plant
outside of Paris, a source from within al Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula (AQAP) provided
The Intercept with a series of messages and
statements taking responsibility for the attacks, asserting that AQAP’s
leadership “directed” the raid on the magazine to avenge the honor of
the Prophet Mohammed.
Moments after The
Intercept published these statements, an AQAP official, Bakhsaruf
in Arabic, the exact paragraphs the AQAP source provided us. Within
an hour of that, AQAP’s senior cleric, Sheikh Harith bin Ghazi
al-Nadhari, released an audio
statement through AQAP’s
official media wing, praising the attack. “Some of the sons of France
showed a lack of manners with Allah’s messengers, so a band of Allah’s
believing army rose against them, and they taught them the proper
manners, and the limits of freedom of speech,” Nadhari declared. “How
can we not fight the ones that attacked the Prophet and attacked the
religion and fought the believers?”
“Some of the sons
of France showed a lack of manners with Allah’s messengers, so a band
of Allah’s believing army rose against them, and they taught them
the proper manners, and the limits of freedom of speech,” Nadhari
declared. “How can we not fight the ones that attacked the Prophet and
attacked the religion and fought the believers?”
You should not
murder your religious opponents. Clearly, if you have sufficiently many
fanatics you can murder quite a few of your opponents, but it
is both immoral and illegal to do so. You can criticize; you can
offend; but when you start murdering your opponents because they are
your opponents, simply because they criticized and offended you,
verbally and in drawings, it shows you have ceased being civilized and
have turned into a dangerous fanatic who admits no other views but his
There is more I could say, but since that is all fairly obvious to
anyone who is civilized, I will not, though I will point out that the
Sheik's opinions contradict those of Chris Hedges, that I reviewed yesterday.
There is considerably
more, for which you can use the last dotted link.
New Findings Point to Perfect Storm Brewing in Your Financial Future
next item is an article by Lynn Stuart Parramore on Alternet:
This is basically an
interview with economist Alan Taylor. It starts - after an introduction
- as follows, with Taylor speaking (and "GDP" = "Gross Domestic
Product" - what a country produces):
compiled, for the first time, comprehensive aggregate credit data in
the form of bank lending in 17 advanced countries since 1870, in
addition to some important categories of lending like mortgages.
And there is this:
What we found was quite
striking. Up until the 1970s, the ratio of credit to GDP in the
advanced economies had been stable over the quite long run. There had
been upswings and downswings, to be sure: from 1870 to 1900, some
countries were still in early stages of financial sector development,
an up trend that tapered off in the early 20th century; then in the
1930s most countries saw credit to GDP fall after the financial crises
of the Great Depression, and this continued in WWII. The postwar era
began with a return to previously normal levels by the 1960s, but after
that credit to GDP ratios continued an unstoppable rise to new heights
not seen before, reaching a peak at almost double their pre-WWII levels
The first time we
plotted credit levels, well, we were almost shocked by our own data. It
was a bit like finding the banking sector equivalent of the "hockey
stick” chart (a plot of historic temperature that shows the emergence
of dramatic uptrend in modern times). It tells us that we live in a
different financial world than any of our ancestors.
This basic aggregate measure
of gearing or leverage is telling us that today’s advanced economies'
operating systems are more heavily dependent on private sector credit
than anything we have ever seen before. Furthermore, this pattern is
seen across all the advanced economies, and isn’t just a feature of
some special subset (e.g. the Anglo-Saxons).
And the reason that "today’s advanced economies' operating systems
are more heavily dependent on private sector credit than anything we
have ever seen before" is
the deregulation, that started in
1980, and has progressed further and further, and allowed banks to
swallow up much of the private sector (including money reserved for
But there is also
something that somewhat amazes me: First, there is Taylor saying
(...) most economic
textbooks have had little to say about the role of credit, at least
outside the traditional money and banking courses.
I find that pretty
amazing for a supposed science, though indeed in my view economics
is not much of a real science (like physics), if only because nearly
all economists consistently failed to predict crises, and much of
economy is strongly ideologically loaded.
And second, Pikkety's name
and book are not mentioned at all. But OK..."most economic textbooks have had little to say about the
role of credit".
4. Striking Populist Tone, Mainstream Dems
Push Robin Hood
next item is an article by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Taking a cue from
the progressive playbook in what observers are interpreting as more
populist tack, mainstream Democrats on Monday
unveiled a new economic "action plan" to redistribute wealth from
top earners to lower and middle classes.
Then again, this is a mere
plan that will not make in
the GOP-led House.
Among the components
included in the proposal, introduced by Rep. Chris Van Hollen
(D-Maryland) with backing from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of
California, is a Financial Transaction Tax, also known as a Robin Hood
Tax, which for years has been a staple of progressive budgetary plans.
The tax places a 0.1
percent fee on financial transactions that, under the action plan, will
be rolled in with new reductions in tax breaks for the top 1 percent of
earners and placed in the pockets of low- and middle-income households.
The new taxes will
reportedly add up to roughly $1.2 trillion over the next decade, which
would in turn fund a 'paycheck bonus credit' of $2,000 a year for
couples earning less than $200,000.
The article ends as follows:
Perhaps. That is: I agree the
rising and rising inequalities in incomes and power is the strongest
theme to give the Democrats a lead in Congress in 2016, but I would not
be amazed if they chose another theme, such as global warming, because
that would not show how many Democrats have furthered the rise
Though observers note
that the plan is not likely to make any traction in the new GOP-led
House, many say that it is an indication that progressive views are now
being more openly considered by centrist Democrats.
The Hill reports
that the new plan "suggest[s] that Democrats want to
offer a sharper contrast on income inequality and paycheck issues to
voters now that Republicans do run both sides of the Capitol."
Along a similar line, Rob
Garver at The Fiscal Times writes:
With no chance
of passage, the proposals are meant not to become law—but to tell
voters where the party stands. Democrats, the evidence suggests, have
decided that the economic populist route, as popularized by
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, might be the one that takes them
back to partial control of Congress in 2016.
Dianne Feinstein, Strong Advocate of Leak Prosecutions, Demands
Immunity For David Petraeus
The last item is an
article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts with a
number of quotes from Dianne Feinstein that I will quote in part. The
first is from 2010 (and al boldings seem to be Greenwald's):
founder Julian Assange released his latest document trove—more than
250,000 secret State Department cables—he intentionally harmed the U.S.
government. The release of these documents damages our national
interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be
vigorously prosecuted for espionage.
Note that Julian Assange is
not an American (but an Australian).
And there is this on Snowden, from 2013:
And now there is this from
January 11, 2015:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday said the
29-year-old man who leaked information about two national security
programs is guilty of treason. . . . “I don’t look at this as being a
whistleblower. I think it’s an act of treason,” the chairwoman of the
Senate Intelligence Committee told reporters.
The California lawmaker
went on to say that Snowden had violated his oath to defend the
Constitution. “He violated the oath, he violated the law. It’s
Here is Glenn Greenwald's
comment on the last quote:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein
(D-Calif.) urged the Department of Justice not to bring
criminal charges against former CIA Director David Petraeus over
his handling of classified information.
“This man has
suffered enough in my view,” Feinstein said on CNN’s “State of
the Union” on Sunday, explaining why she doesn’t think Attorney General
Eric Holder should seek an indictment.
the person who Feinstein said has “suffered enough,” was hired
last year by the $73 billion investment fund KKR to be
Chairman of its newly created KKR Global Institute, on top of the $220,000/year
pension he receives from the U.S. Army and the teaching position he
at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Let us all pause for
a moment to lament the deep suffering of this man, and the grave
injustice of inflicting any further deprivation upon him.
Yes indeed. And here is
mentality of mercy, forgiveness and understanding - like Obama’s
decree that we Look Forward, Not Backward to justify immunity for
American torturers - is reserved only for political officials,
oligarchs who reside above and beyond the rule of law.
Quite so - it
really is the new American aristocracy. For more, use the last