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. Don't be fooled by clichés:
Obama will shape the future of
2. How Propaganda Conquers
Supreme Court’s Billion-Dollar Mistake
Davos oligarchs are right to fear the world they’ve
This is a Nederlog of
January 22, 2015.
This is a crisis log. It has 4 items and 4 dotted links: Item
1 is a good and realistic warning about Obama's plans for the
internet (which will help the rich, while pretending to be for the
poor); item 2 is a good article on the very
influence of propaganda - "public relations", advertisements:
deceptions, falsifications - on politics (and economics); item 3 is a decent article about the Supreme Court's
Citizens United decision (but is too friendly about the
majority of the Supreme Court: they made no mistake, they wanted
to be for the rich); and item 4 is another good
article on billionaires, their greed and their power.
Also, earlier today there was a brief update
on the supplements I take to fight my M.E., that I have now for the
37th year, while still I am not even regarded as ill
by the moral and intellectual utter degenerates of Amsterdam dole, who
do not want to even consider that with one of the most
brilliant M.A.s in psychology ever awarded, and with an excellent B.A.
in philosophy, both taken while I was ill, I would neither live in
Holland nor be poor. 
1. Don't be fooled by clichés: Obama will shape
the future of
The first item today is
article by Trevor Timm on Tĥe Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Yes. I must say I am quite
Perhaps more than any
other, the internet was
the backdrop for much of President Obama’s State of the Union on
Tuesday night – from healthcare to hackers, and from infrastructure to
education. By and large, however, Obama stuck to empty platitudes that
no one could disagree with (“we need to ... protect our children’s
information” and “I intend to protect a free and open internet”) rather
than offering concrete new proposals.
But don’t let the
president’s standard State of the Union clichés fool you: in 2015, the
Obama administration will almost certainly re-shape the law around net
neutrality, cybersecurity and the NSA. In doing so, the president will
carve out the rules of the internetconsider for the coming decade, and his choices over
the next few months will significantly affect hundreds of millions of
Internet users, along with his lasting legacy.
What I expect is that net neutrality will be killed; the NSA will be
much strengthened; the Patriot Act will be renewed; and indeed even
encryption may be outlawed, simply to give the secret services of the
government full control of absolutely everyone.
I strongly hope I am mistaken on all points, but Obama is - in
my eyes - merely a clever liar, who is and has been consistently for
the rich, and Congress is Republican in majority,
so together they can do as they please (though Obama no doubt will get
his bits of propaganda in: "He means well", and "He wants to protect
'our kids'" etc. etc.).
Here is one more bit of Timm, on cybersecurity and encryption:
The White House,
for its part, has issued
several dangerous proposals
which will criminalize
all sorts of mundane internet behavior, deter
security research, and would do nothing to stop the hacks like the
Sony debacle that every politician in the US seems so eager to exploit.
Yes, indeed. This is a good article.
But worse, Congress –
absent almost any technical knowledge whatsoever – wants
to hand even more power to US intelligence agencies to collect
Americans’ private data, and the FBI director (along
with his allies in the UK) bizarrely
wants to outlaw encryption – the one tool we know can mitigate so
much risk and protect the data every in Congress claims to hold dear.
2. How Propaganda Conquers Democracy
The next item is an article by
Nicholas J.S. Davies on Consortiumnews:
This has the following
In recent decades,
the U.S. propaganda system has grown more and more sophisticated in the
art of “perception management,”
now enlisting not only government PR specialists but careerist
journalists and aspiring bloggers to push deceptions on the public, a
crisis in democracy that Nicolas J S Davies explores.
It starts as follows:
Well... clearly "our political leaders deliberately plant a
false view of events and issues in the mind of the public that
complicit media then broadcast and amplify to generate public consent
for government policy", and the major media also deliberately exclude
many points of view and many speakers, simply because they don't like
the views or the speakers.
Do we live in a country
where citizens are critically informed on the issues of the day by
media that operate independently of the government? Or do our
political leaders deliberately plant a false view of events and issues
in the mind of the public that complicit media then broadcast and
amplify to generate public consent for government policy?
This is a basic test of
democracy for the citizens of any country. But the very nature of
modern propaganda systems is that they masquerade as independent while
functioning as the opposite, so the question is not as straightforward
as it seems.
Next, there is this:
In Democracy Incorporated; Managed
Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism,
political scientist Sheldon Wolin examined
how America’s “managed democracy” has devolved into “inverted
totalitarianism,” concentrating power and wealth in the hands of a
small ruling class more efficiently and sustainably than 20th Century
“classical totalitarianism” ever succeeded in doing.
Yes, I think that is
true, but I also think this may be a transitional stage:
Instead of sweeping away
the structures of constitutional government like the Fascists, Nazis or
Soviets, this “political coming-of-age of corporate power” has more
cleverly preserved and co-opted nominally democratic institutions and
adapted them to its own purposes.
Governments and governors love their own power, and if all
possible effective opposition has been killed or locked up - as will
happen, with the continuously growing powers of the governent and the
NSA - why pretend there is any democracy left?
But I am not certain (except that I hold it very probable that if
the NSA keeps having the powers they have, which seems likely, these
powers will be much abused, and will lock up or kill many opponents of
the NSA and/or the government).
Next, there is this:
I quite agree. There is
considerably more, and it is good and should be read.
and parties compete for funding in election campaigns run by the
advertising industry, to give political investors the most corrupt
President, administration and Congress that money can buy, while courts
uphold new corporate and plutocratic political rights to ward off
challenges to the closed circle of wealth and political power.
control of the media is a critical element in this dystopian
system. Under the genius of inverted totalitarianism, a confluence
of corrupt interests has built a more effective and durable propaganda
system than direct government control has ever achieved.
3. The Supreme Court’s Billion-Dollar Mistake
next item is an article by David Cole on The New York Review of Books:
This starts as follows:
Five years ago this week,
United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme
Court decided to allow unlimited amounts of corporate spending in
political campaigns. How important was that decision? At the time, some
said criticism of the decision was overblown, and that fears that it
would give outsize influence to powerful interests were unfounded. Now,
the evidence is in, and the results are devastating.
To coincide with the
decision’s fifth anniversary, eight public interest organizations—the
Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, Public Citizen, Demos, US
PIRG, Public Campaign, Justice at Stake, and the Center for Media and
issued reports that demonstrate the steadily growing influence of
money on elections since the Court’s decision. Their findings show that
the case opened the spigot to well more than a billion dollars in
unrestricted outside spending on political campaigns, by corporations
and individuals alike. It has done so at a time when wealth and income
disparities in the United States are at their highest
levels since 1928. Increasingly, it’s not clear that your vote
matters unless you’re also willing to spend tens of thousands of
dollars to support your preferences.
Yes, indeed -
would have written a different last statement: "It is now quite clear
that neither your vote nor your person have any importance, if you are
neither rich nor known from TV, unless you
are one of the very few on whose votes the outcomes of some key state
depends." (And in that case, you will be repeatedly asked, and your
desires will be
mouthed by presidential candidates as if they really believe it. And
once they've won, all they will be interested in is "looking forward",
and forget all about any promises they made.)
There is also this:
And there is a
considerable amount more, that I recommend you read all of.
According to the Brennan
Center report, over the five years since these decisions, super PACs
have spent more than one
billion dollars on federal election campaigns. And because these
organizations are free of any limits, they have proved to be magnets
for those who have the resources to spend lavishly to further their
interests. About 60 percent of that billion dollars has come from just
But there is one thing I disagree with, that is also in the title: I do
not think that the majority of the Supreme Court who
ratified the Citizens United decision made a "mistake".
More precisely, I think they were mistaken, but I also think
that the majority wanted to take the decision that was taken,
and considered they did the right thing: the majority wanted
a much bigger influence of very rich people on politics. To
think otherwise is to deny they are quite intelligent people, which I
think everybody in the Supreme Court is.
Davos oligarchs are right to fear the world they’ve
next and last item today is an article by Seumas Milne on The Guardian:
This starts as
The billionaires and corporate
oligarchs meeting in Davos this week are getting worried about
inequality. It might be hard to stomach that the overlords of a system
that has delivered the widest global economic gulf in human history
should be handwringing about the consequences of their own actions.
But even the architects
of the crisis-ridden international economic order are starting to see
the dangers. It’s not just the maverick hedge-funder George Soros, who
likes to describe himself as a class traitor. Paul Polman, Unilever
chief executive, frets about the “capitalist threat to capitalism”. Christine Lagarde, the
IMF managing director, fears capitalism might indeed carry Marx’s “seeds of its own destruction” and warns that something
needs to be done.
The scale of the crisis
has been laid out for them by the charity Oxfam. Just 80 individuals now have the
same net wealth as 3.5 billion people – half the entire global
population. Last year, the best-off 1% owned 48% of the world’s wealth,
up from 44% five years ago. On current trends, the richest 1% will have
pocketed more than the other 99% put together next year.
Here is a bit more,
that shows the sickeningly obscene wealth of the billionaires is
taken from everyone, also from the poorest of the poor:
This is a wealth
grab on a grotesque scale. For 30 years, under the rule of what Mark
Carney, the Bank of England governor, calls “market fundamentalism”, inequality in income and wealth has ballooned, both
between and within the large majority of countries. In Africa, the absolute number living on less than $2 a day has doubled
since 1981 as the rollcall of billionaires has swelled.
Is this necessary? Not
at all: In Latin America things go relatively well for the poor,
but then they succeed in voting in (real) leftist parties.
Anyway...this is a good article you should read all of.
Since that ought to be extremely obvious, I take it the
real reason for the thirty years of discrimination by
the Amsterdam dole is - especially - that I objected strongly to the illegal
drugsdealing organized, protected and helped
by mayor Van Thijn, from the bottom
floor of the house where I lived, instead of from his
own house, and that was kept in force by alderman Oudkerk, mayor
Patijn, mayor Cohen, and mayor Van der Laan, who all are "social
democrats" (if you believe them, but indeed social democracy is
completely dead in Holland, and was killed by Wim Kok, who imitated
Blair and Clinton). Tell me, honest "social democrats": How many
millions did you make?! (For no: I cannot believe that with the power
to assign places from which illegal drugs could be dealt
objection for 30 years now, none of you profited any
penny, but indeed
I have no proof, nor can such a proof be expected or demanded of me.
But yes: I do believe you are all very rich.)