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. Iranians Are Much Talked About
on Sunday Morning TV,
But Never Heard From
2. Why mentally ill people
are an easy target for the Tories
Asylum: Attacks on Refugee Hostels a Growing
5. Scapegoat Economics 2015
This is a Nederlog of Sunday, April 12,
is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links:
Item 1 is about an article by Glenn
shows how the Americans are propagandized
these days rather than informed by their media; item
is a fine article by Nick Cohen who explains how the mentally ill are
made responsible for the frauds
and thefts of the rich, also helped by postmodernistic lying and
3 is a not so good review of a probably good book; item
4 is about an article on
Spiegel Online about the rising amount of attacks on refugee hostels in
and item 5 is a good article on "scapegoat
economics", that also gets explained
Are Much Talked About on Sunday
Morning TV, But Never Heard From
item today is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
news television is where Washington sets its media agenda for the week
and, more importantly, defines its narrow range of conventional,
acceptable viewpoints. It’s where the Serious People go to spout their
orthodoxies and, through the illusion of “tough questioning,”
disseminate DC-approved bipartisan narratives. Other than the New
York Times front page, Sunday morning TV was the
favorite tool of choice for Bush officials and neocon media stars
to propagandize the public about Iraq; Dick Cheney’s media aide,
Catherine Martin, noted
in a memo that the Tim-Russert-hosted Meet the Press
lets Cheney “control message,” and she testified at the Lewis
Libby trial that, as a result, “I suggested we put the vice president
on Meet the Press, which was a tactic we often
used. It’s our best format.”
I say - which I do
because I am living now 45 years by myself (not always alone: I have
lived with 5 women, all in all) and never had a TV, and I did
not know about the role of Sunday morning in the U.S., though it
amaze me that these days the American press seems to consist
And Glenn Greenwald is no doubt right that what "the American people"
get served on Sunday morning (and all other weekdays) is mostly right
and not because it has to but because the present day
mass media want to convey the U.S.governments' point of view, or the
point of view, but almost completely avoids giving any Iranian
Indeed, as Greenwald says:
Except that they are not
interviewed, not on Sunday morning, and also not - with a few rare
exceptions - during the rest of the week.
But as these shows
“cover” the Iran deal, one thing is glaringly missing: Iranian
voices. There has not been a single Iranian official recently
interviewed by any of these Sunday morning shows. When I raised
this issue on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, a Meet the Press
Senior Editor, Shawna Thomas, said the show had “put in a request”
with Iran for an interview, while MSNBC’s Chris Hayes also suggested
that it can be difficult to secure interviews with Iranian government
That may be, but even if it
is difficult to obtain interviews with Iranian government officials, it
is extremely easy to interview Iranian experts, scholars, journalists
and other authoritative voices from Tehran.
And Glenn Greenwald gives several reasons why that is rather strange
(at least: in a real democracy), which I leave to your
ends as follows:
telling that the only voices heard on Sunday morning TV shows are those
who spout the U.S. Government line about Iran, including officials from
the repressive regimes most closely allied with the U.S.
Obviously, one can find the arguments of Iranians unpersuasive or even
harbor hostility to that nation’s government, but what possible
justification is there for the leading Sunday morning news shows in the
U.S. to simply suppress those views altogether?
There are several
possible answers to the last question, but they all seem to spell "pro-pa-gan-da".
2. Why mentally ill people are an easy target
for the Tories
item is an article by Nick Cohen on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
If there were ever
a good time to have a nervous breakdown, now would appear to be it.
Thanks to the Liberal Democrats, the treatment of mental
illness is an election issue for the first time in British or, as far
as I can see, world history. Say what you will about the Liberals, and
I have said much, but this is an achievement.
I am willing to believe
it, although it also seems to me that this interest will rapidly
disappear after the elections. But what I am considerably more
interested in is the following:
Yes indeed - and so do
I (without bristling), for this is an extremely dishonest,
falsification of what is really happening - and I note that I am ill
since 1.I.1979 (for the 37th year), but that my illness is still
not recognized by the Amsterdam
dole, even though I got an M.A. in psychology that must be the best or
one of the
best ever awarded, and that could have earned me a lot of money
also: outside Holland).
Meanwhile, the health
service, the bureaucracy and the “serious” media show their respect for
mental illness by enforcing speech codes that would make a Victorian clergyman
blink. You should never use words that have become insults even if
they were not originally insults or are not always used as insults now
– “cretin”, “simple”, “cripple”, for instance. You should never say
that someone is “suffering” from autism or schizophrenia – even if they
are. On no account should you describe someone as “mentally ill”. You
must refer to “people with mental health problems” instead. By
extension, mental health patients are no longer “patients”,
but the “users” or “consumers” of health services.
I bristle when anyone tries
to tell me what to write and find “inoffensive” language to be so
deceitful and clunking that it is an offence in itself.
And as to postmodernism: I thought it was turning oldfashioned, but Zoe
Williams drew my attention yesterday
to the fact that everyone who did
get a full postmodernistic university education (in the
1990ies) now is in their
forties, and many are journalists, and few seem to have forgotten or
given up the bullshit
they were drilled in.
In any case: I am suffering from a serious physical disease,
that has caused me 37 years of pain; I am not mentally
ill; I have one of the best M.A.'s ever awarded (made when ill), but I am
poor - though wholly without debts - because I got for most of these 37
years no help of any kind in the supposedly "civilized"
country I live in, except for minimal dole (for a healthy adult
- even though I can walk at most 300 meters without problems).
Also, I don't quite "bristle": I refuse to speak or write the
relativistic, degenerate, falsifying, intentionally lying bullshit lingo
that postmodernists, bureaucrats and psychiatrists glorify in: They are
lying and they are also demeaning, and usually
they know both (but will never admit it).
I do not know whether Nick Cohen thinks so - but then he is not a
not a philosopher, and he has neither been ill in the dole for 30 years
nor been ill for 37 years:
Yes,indeed - but in case
they are "good", they must be also quite dumb, for indeed one of their
big mistakes (next to not believing in truth, not
believing in morals,
and not believing in any inequality of any kind) is that they
believe/pretend that you can cure the world and the ill by
your language, which is plain crazy. (And which no one believes
if it concerns himself or herself, rather
Many good people do not
agree that a fraud is being committed. For them, driving “stigmatising”
language out of respectable conversation has been one of the great
mental health achievements of the past decade.
If they were right, if it
were anything other than an easy lie that you can change the world by
changing language, then the condition of the mentally ill would have
And as Nick Cohen says (which is in part why I think it is intentional
dishonesty very much rather than goodness):
In Britain, the
powerful can get away with any inhumane act as long as they cover
themselves with the cloak of “appropriate” language. Mind has
emphasised how Iain Duncan Smith’s supposed attack on “scroungers” has
turned into an attack on the mentally ill. His staff were sanctioning and removing their
benefits at a rate of 100 a day.
Precisely - and this
should explain why I am rather happy I will be pensioned soon: I have
suffered 30 years of extreme discrimination by the
Amsterdam dole, and will at long last be relieved from this - explicit,
intentional, degenerate - sadism when I am pensioned (minimally, of
The prejudice of
Conservative officialdom is that they are lazy rather than sick. They
punish them and then they fail them. Almost 150,000 people with mental health problems
have been placed on the work programme – only 5% have been helped into
Nick Cohen also says and asks:
The covering of
real suffering with euphemism suits an age of austerity well. For if
people are not suffering, if patients are empowered “consumers”, why do
they need public money spent on their treatment?
The question is fair,
but euphemisms and lies are from long before austerity: They started in
the late 1970ies with the rise of postmodernism,
according to which everything is linguistic or textual,
and there is no truth, no
non-relative value of any kind, and we also all are equal (so
if you are sick you must be a
scrounger and a liar, since you claim not to be equal to all).
Anyway - there is considerably more in the article, which is good and
deserves full reading.
item is an article by Emily Parker on Truthdig:
This is a review of two books,
of which I shall consider only one, namely “Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your
Data and Control Your World” by Bruce Schneier.
This starts as follows:
Hm. I have several
“Even the East Germans
couldn’t follow everybody all the time,” Bruce Schneier writes. “Now
This may sound
hyperbolic, but Schneier’s lucid and compelling “Data and Goliath” is
free of the hysteria that often accompanies discussions about
surveillance. Yes, our current location, purchases, reading history,
driving speed and Internet use are being tracked and recorded. But
Schneier’s book, which focuses mainly on the United States, is not a
rant against the usual bad guys such as the U.S. government or
Facebook. Schneier describes how our data is tracked by both corporate
and government entities, often working together. And in many cases, the
American people allow them to do it.
First, I very probably followed surveillance a lot better than Emily
Parker, and while I have met some "hysteria", most of the hysteria -
and lies and deceptions - I read were by the NSA or the
Second, if it is true what Schneier says - “Even the East Germans couldn’t follow
everybody all the time,” Bruce Schneier writes. “Now it’s easy.” - why
should one not get hysteric? It doesn't seem very rational,
the threats are enormous.
Third, what is so very bad about "a
rant against the usual bad guys such as the U.S. government or Facebook"? They are lying, they are
deceiving, they are stealing, while very few of those they
about either computers, totalitarianism, or programming.
There is more in the article and in the review, but I will quote just
one more bit, and that because this is one of the first times I've read
this (in nearly two years
of daily checking of some 40 sites looking for crisis materials),
outside my own Nederlog:
Data about us is
being stored and held, subject to the whims of future political
figures. Schneier asks, “Is someone’s reading of Occupy, Tea Party,
animal rights, or gun rights websites going to become evidence of
subversion in five to ten years?”
This is a good and
important question - but as I said, I see it rarely discussed, and
indeed this article only mentions it.
4. German Asylum: Attacks on Refugee
Hostels a Growing Problem
Anyway - there is more in the article, but I did not like it much.
item is an article by Spiegel Staff on Spiegel Online International:
This has the following
subtitle, that also is the reason to list it here (and it is bold in
arson attack against a refugee hostel in Tröglitz has made headlines
around the world. But it is far from the exception in Germany. Even as
most asylum-seekers in the country are left in peace, there has been a
disturbing rise in anti-refugee violence.
Here are the second and
third paragraph of the article:
these days could be focused on Vorra instead of Tröglitz, where a similar arson
attack made international headlines this week. Or on Escheburg,
near Hamburg. Or Germering, located next to Munich. Or Sanitz, in the
eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Or on Berlin,
the allegedly cosmopolitan capital of Germany. All of these places have
seen arson attacks perpetrated recently against refugee facilities; all
of these places have seen animosity escalate dangerously. There are
such places in the western part of the country and in the eastern part;
they include villages and cities; and they are both well-off and poor.
There is a considerable
amount more in the article.
It would, of course, be
inaccurate to say that Germany is in flames. And, contrary to what some
have been saying, Tröglitz is not "everywhere." Most asylum-seekers in
Germany live in peace and are left largely alone, aside from the
thousands of volunteers who ensure that the newcomers have all they
need. Normality is the standard in Germany's refugee homes. And yet,
Tröglitz is far from being an exception either. Last year, in fact,
there were almost three times as many attacks on refugee hostels in
Germany as there were in 2013.
item is an article by Richard D. Wolff
(<- Wikipedia) on Truth-out:
This starts as follows:
As economic crises,
declines and dislocations increasingly hurt or threaten people around
the globe, they provoke questions. How are we to understand the forces
that produced the 2008 crisis, the crisis itself, with its quick
bailouts and stimulus programs, and now the debts, austerity policies
and deepening economic inequalities that do not go away? Economies this
troubled force people to think and react. Some resign themselves to
"hard times" as if they were natural events. Some pursue individual
strategies trying to escape the troubles. Some mobilize to fight
whoever they blame for it all. Many are drawn to scapegoating, usually
encouraged by politicians and parties seeking electoral advantages.
Yes, indeed - and
especially of the last kind, which also is the subject of the article:
The scapegoating that governments and media these day engage in, that
blame ill and poor people for the problems in the economy that are
really due to
the rich owners, who have been deregulated,
and can mostly do as they please.
There is a good
treatment of Germany and its relation to Greece, that I leave to your
interests, and there is this on the U.S.:
Governors in the US now
increasingly attack state employees, their unions and pensions as if
they, rather than the crisis, had suddenly become the
economic problem. Mayors across the country do the same to municipal
workers. Of course, both state and municipal budget problems since 2007
are primarily the results of high unemployment and reduced consumer
spending. In short, it was and remains the crisis since 2007 that
played and plays the key role in cutting governments' tax revenues and
hurting government budgets. Growing and more effective tax-evasion
strategies of business and the rich have had the same effect.
Responding to lowered tax collections, politicians fearful of damage to
their careers refuse to raise tax rates. Instead they embrace spending
cuts that they justify by means of scapegoat economics.
Thus they demonize public
employees as lazy, greedy, overpaid, underworked, over-pensioned, etc.
- all remarkably similar to German depictions of Greeks.
This is a good
article, and the idea of "scapegoat economics" - "it's the poor
welfare queens, the foreign scroungers, the "ill", and "the people with
mental problems that cause our economic problems, and never the owners"
- is useful.
There is considerably more under the last dotted link.