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. Here’s a bold plan, Ed Miliband – it worked
challenge Google while we still can
3. Julian Assange speech prompts judges to boycott legal
4. Welcome to Unofficial
5. Philosophy Returns to
the Real World
This is a Nederlog of Friday, April 17,
is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links:
Item 1 is about an interesting article by
Martin Kettle, in part about Roosevelt; item 2 is
about an article that shows how extremely powerful Google is; item 3 is about a crazy
bit of anti-Assange propaganda some (not: all) British judges did; item 4 is about a new part of The Intercept; and item 5 is by an academically employed American
philosopher who claims that - after 37 years in my
experience - "philosophy" these days might be returning to the
real world, with some extras thrown in by me.
a bold plan, Ed Miliband – it worked for Roosevelt
item today is an article by Martin Kettle on The Guardian:
This has the following sub-title:
Our individual economic rights - from jobs,
to homes to health – should be spelled out, as Roosevelt did 70 years
I quote this, rather than the beginning, because that
starts with Hillary Clinton, for no other reason - apparently - than
that she is in the news. But this is also from the beginning, and sets
But we shouldn’t
single out Clinton over this. She is only one prominent example among
many on the centre left who have a difficult time matching the poetry
and aspiration of opposition with the prose and practicality of
governing. The same question, in various permutations, faces all
parties and leadership candidates of the centre left across the
developed capitalist world.
Though the question itself
was there long before 2008, it has sharpened, and certainly been felt
to have sharpened, since the financial crisis.
The basic reasons for this are - I think - the
following four (that are neither treated nor even mentioned by Martin
(1) "The Left" has been radically broken down by Bill
Clinton and Tony Blair in the early nineties by the totally fraudulent,
false and careerist "Third
Way", that was also followed by many other corrupt "Leftish
leaders" (like Kok in Holland), who essentially betrayed their
leftist supporters and sold out to the big banks.
(2) "The Right" has been up and strong since 1979-1980,
when Thatcher and Reagan took over power in Great Britain and the U.S.,
and has been dominant for well over thirty years now, and also
has - from Reagan, Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton onwards, "deregulated" very many of the laws
that protect the poor and limit the powers of banks and big
(3) The bankmanagers and big corporations have been for thirty
years propagandizing their point of view (in fact, as printed by
the papers and mouthed by media anchors on TV, this is indeed almost
and nothing like solid fact based theory) and have been enormously
helped by "The Left" - its leaders, at least - who announced, already
in 1999 (!), that "too big to fail" banks can do whatever they please:
they will not be prosecuted. And "the people" have to pay for
their mistakes, not the banks or their managers who make them:
the profits go them; the losses are for "the people".
(4) Meanwhile, and especiallly since 9/11/2001, "The Right" has
spent far more money than it used to in order to influence parliaments
by lobbyists and to influence the people by propaganda:
they have bought most politicians, most papers, and owe large parts of
the media, and therefore the papers and the big media these days essentially - mostly - say what serves the interests of "The
Right" and the government, much rather than print the truth that serves
the people at large.
There are more reasons (or causes) but these four are quite important,
and also form a considerable part of the reasons why "The Left" these
days is argueing on a mostly rightist or centrist economical program:
Their leaders are corrupt; their old ideology has
been shot down by earlier "leftist" leaders; their new ideology is not
popular with the electorate; and at least their present leaders do not
formulate any new approaches that the people can believe in. 
Now back to Martin Kettle:
Public opinion has often
been broadly sympathetic to the things that Miliband stands for. Yet
today Labour struggles to break the 35% ceiling. For
more than 20 years, through most of the Thatcher-Major-Blair years,
about 60% of the population thought that taxes and public spending
should increase. They don’t think so any more, particularly since the
financial crisis, and they lack confidence in the government to solve
the country’s problems.
This is why Labour’s failure
to combat the narrative that “Labour wrecked the economy” – chorused
again this week by David Cameron and Nick Clegg – remains so damaging.
The reason for this are stated above: The leaders of "The Left" are not
real leaders of a real left; "The Right" has been in power - including
Clinton and Blair - for over thirty years and has deregulated whatever
they could, and bought most of the media and most of the politicians;
and "The Right" controls most of the propaganda that ordinary people
read or see, and believe are "the real facts".
And here is the reason why I did select this article:
Watching the final DVD of
Ken Burns’s US television series on the Roosevelts
the other day, there was a glimpse of why Miliband and many others may
be missing an important trick. In his 1944 state of the union speech,
Franklin Roosevelt told Americans that, when the second world war was
over, it would be time to enact an economic bill of rights, a second
constitutional tablet of stone to set alongside the political rights
that were America’s foundation.
Roosevelt listed the rights he had in mind:
the right to a useful and remunerative job; to earn enough to provide
for one’s needs; to produce and trade products without unfair
competition; to have a decent home; to good health and adequate medical
care; to protection from the fears of old age and unemployment; and to
a good education. It is a simple but compelling list. It is in some
ways of its time and not ours. Yet it speaks across the decades, and if
Roosevelt had lived to govern again in peacetime – he died 70 years ago
this week – more might have come of it.
That is right (and no, I do not see why this
list "is in some ways of
its time and not ours").
And it is a major shame none of these rights have been taken serious by
most politicians (who mostly are careerists out
for money and power
for themselves much rather than who they claim "to serve").
But yes, a society that does not give the
vast majority these factual rights:
- to a useful and
- to earn enough to
provide for one’s needs;
- to produce and trade
products without unfair competition;
- to have a decent home;
- to good health and
adequate medical care;
- to protection from the
fears of old age and unemployment; and
- to a good education.
and also to
is not a real
democracy, but is an authoritarian oligarchy of some kind,
whatever it is propagandized to be by its lying main media.
- the basic freedoms
to speak and write as one thinks, and
- not to be
spied on by the state secret security organizations
- and to have the
rights that were formulated by the original Universal Declaration of Human Rights
2. Let’s challenge Google while we still can
item is an article by James Ball on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
antitrust” into your browser this week yields some very interesting
results – but it’s wholly possible your results will be delivered to
you through Google search, into a browser made by Google, on to a phone or computer running
Google’s very own operating system. Such is the scale of the modern
James Ball also says:
Comfortingly, the company
has made no effort to hide this particular story from its own search
results: currently the first result you will see is that Google
is facing a huge and likely years-long legal battle with the EU competition commission
over how it presents some of its search results.
Google has, by
some measures, almost 90% of the global search engine market– a service
used by billions of people daily – while its nearest rival, Bing, has less than 5%;
Gmail is the second most-used email service, after Hotmail;
its mobile software, Android, has 76% of the smartphone market; and Google-owned
YouTube is the overwhelming leader in online video, dwarfing Netflix.
I observe that of these I only
use YouTube (and don't have a cell phone, use Linux, and Duckduckgo or - rarely - Yahoo as search machines), but that is by the
Now a battle has started between Google and the EU:
Here is the basic problem:
Compared with the scale
of Google’s reach, the EU’s challenge seems almost trivial: it centres
on whether Google’s presentation of e-commerce search results favours its own shopping
service over rivals. A second mooted investigation would be
somewhat wider, focusing on Android.
The spotlight might be on
small parts of Google’s empire, but the fight is a deadly serious one:
EU authorities have the power to levy fines of up to 10% of Google’s
revenues, which topped $45bn in 2014, and to order the search giant to
change its behaviour, including in theory changing how some of its
results are presented.
Google has made clear
that it intends to contest the charges, vigorously. The fight will
likely be long, bloody and entertaining for those who like that sort of
thing. But it also highlights some of the stark realities of the
We are entering an
era of near-stateless global giants, several of which will gain the
power to act as a monopoly. The world’s legal systems are not ready for
such a thing: philosophically, different countries have different
levels of concern.
And individual countries for
the most part do not have the money or the clout or the will or
the ideas or indeed the laws to confont major big corporations.
Assange speech prompts judges to boycott legal
item is an article by Joshua Rozenberg on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
There is more in the
article, with more lies (and I don't blame the journalist), but this is
just sickening propaganda
from these judges, who normally see "fugitives from justice" all the
time, when they are arrested, and convict many of them.
Some of the most senior
judges in Britain withdrew from a legal conference in Glasgow after the
founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, was booked to speak by
Assange, who has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since losing his legal challenge to an extradition
request from Sweden in 2012, spoke at a panel session of the Commonwealth Law Conference
about surveillance and security on Wednesday.
Judges from Scotland, England and Wales and the UK supreme
court had agreed to speak at or chair other sessions but withdrew – in
some cases after arriving at the conference centre– when they found out
about Assange’s appearance.
Among those to boycott
the conference were the most senior judge in Scotland, Lord Gill, and
two judges on the supreme court, Lord Neuberger and Lord Hodge.
Representatives of the
judges said it would have been inappropriate for them to have attended,
because of Assange’s legal status.
And this really was an attempt to blacken Assange's character by
propaganda, for The Guardian has as its last paragraph this:
More than 20
Commonwealth judges attended the session at which Assange spoke and
listened to a discussion about legal professional privilege.
And indeed why should they
not? He gave an opinion, that he is quite qualified to give, and listening
to someone in no way implies any consent, while refusing
to listen to someone with an opinion he is qualified to give
seems both stupid to me, and is a kind of censorship.
4. Welcome to Unofficial Sources
item is an article by Jon Schwarz on The Intercept:
This starts under a
photograph of someone holding a board that says:
else does not want
else is public
Yes, indeed (though I
would be very much relieved if there were no public
relations lies: I hate propaganda of all
kinds, including advertisements).
The text starts as
Here’s where a recent
story in The New York Times got its
information: “American officials said … officials said … several
officials said … American officials acknowledge … Western officials say
… a Western official said …”
And here’s where you’re
getting the news if you read The Washington Post:
“according to senior American and Persian Gulf officials … officials
said … was described by the officials … The officials, however, did not
rule out … Saudi and U.S. officials described … a senior administration
official said …”
Much of the U.S. media
might as well as be named “Official Sources Say.” And by using their
standard method of newsgathering — calling up powerful people and
writing down what they’re told — the media has been a key accomplice to
the invasion of Iraq (cost: $5
trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives), the collapse of the
U.S. economy ($6.5 trillion
in lost output) and numberless smaller catastrophes.
Yes, indeed. This
continues as follows:
created this new blog to do the opposite: to tell the unofficial story,
one that describes the reality of U.S. politics as accurately as
we possibly can. We believe the awful truth is out there, it’s just not
at background briefings by the National Security Council.
Sources will tell you everything about the political and
economic corruption that’s stealing money, power and hope from ordinary
citizens — corruption centered in Washington, D.C. but oozing into
every nook and cranny of the country. We’ll take you on a
backstage tour of the national security/surveillance state. We’ll
make sure hypocrisy and lies are the headline, rather
than the 34th paragraph.
There is more under
the last dotted link, which you can read yourself by clicking the last
Of course, I like the
idea, and in case you do as well, here is the ending:
Two hundred and
forty-one years ago the Continental Congress explained that the whole point of having
freedom of the press was so that “oppressive officers are shamed or
intimidated into more honorable and just modes of conducting affairs.”
5. Philosophy Returns to the Real World
So please bookmark Unofficial
Sources, subscribe to the RSS
feed, follow The Intercept on Twitter, read us and
And of course, if you’d
like to become an unofficial source yourself, we’re very eager for you
to get in touch — overtly or covertly.
item today is an article by Crispin Sarwell on the Opinionator Blogs
(that are attached to the site of The New York Times):
This item is here
because from age 17 - 38 I regarded myself as a philosopher and a
logician, and read extremely much in these fields. I also
studied philosophy (much handicapped by the illness that struck my -
former - wife and myself in the first year of our studies) and expected
to make a living in it (if I could get rid of being ill) because it was
evident - not only to me: to quite a few - that I was brilliant.
All the time I
studied (which I was forced to do off and on, since falling ill) there
were almost only two directions in philosophy in the University
Either one was a marxist (or
pretended to be one, or to be "very sympathetic and much interested" in
as most of the academic staff did, which they did because the whole
University of Amsterdam was marxist, since it was legally given to the
students from 1971 - 1995, and these were nearly all marxists or
communists in the late 1970ies) or one was a postmodernist,
that got started in 1978, by a public lecture for the opening of the
academic year, and was summed up by the following three theses, that
were taught all the time by many of the academic staff,
from ca. 1980 at least till 1995, and in most faculties:
- "everybody knows
that truth does not exist"
- "everybody knows that
everybody is equivalent
(of equal value)"
- "everybody knows
that all morals are wholly relative"
Well... my parents
were both communists; my grandparents were anarchists or communists; my
parents and grandparents belonged to the very small minority of
Dutchmen who went into the resistance against the Nazis; my father and
his father were convicted in 1941 to
the concentration camp because they were communists i.e. "political
terrorists", and my grandfather was murdered; I had given up on
communism and socialism in 1970 because these were to totalitarian;
and I knew these three theses were utterly false bullshit -
total crap no one of any rational intelligence would ever
believe in, at least without being grossly tortured.
But the whole University of Amsterdam, including nearly all
professors and lecturers, who at that time earned between 10
and 25 times what the students got, were or pretended to be very
much for - especially - postmodernism.
Because I am a very good speaker, I was asked in 1988, briefly before
doing my M.A. in philosophy, to make a speech to the faculty and the
students of philosophy, and to say something about postmodernism. I did
so, and the text consisted only of questions and is under
the last link (in English translation).
After I had finished
two things happened I would not have believed:
First, I was screamed
at by at least 16 academically employed "philosophers" and by
at least as many students that I was "a fascist", "a dirty
fascist" and "an idiot" and also "a terrorist" and "a dirty terrorist"
(after which I stopped), and second I was removed from the
faculty of philosophy, and denied the right to take an M.A.
When I appealed to the Board of Directors - who knew me as their
opponent: I had led a student party that was elected in the University
this sadistically agreed I was to be removed (and assured me
that they took my serious disease o so very serious: that is how I know
they were sadists) and ever since then have refused to
answer my letters or mails. 
Here are some
quotations from Crispin Sarwell:
It was in one of Fish’s
seminars that I first read Richard Rorty, another arch-postmodernist
who was later my dissertation adviser. Rorty convincingly defended
himself against the charge of relativism – I know, having spent hours
in his office, trying to make it stick — and yet he maintained that it
was useless to talk about the world, or truth. It was ridiculous or
impossible, he asserted, to try to describe reality outside of our
linguistic practices, to describe it as it would be if it were not
For more about Fish,
you have to click the last dotted link. As to the late Richard Rorty
(<- Wikipedia): I think he was a major fraud, indeed like my
Dutch professors of philosophy, apart from the Englishman Jon Dorling,
whose life also was destroyed by the University of Amsterdam, who were
all minor frauds, that I call whores of reason (for more
see my - translated - Spiegeloog-columns).
My reason to call
them all frauds or whores of reason is that (1) it is very much
easier to explain the many lies they spoke as lies than as somehow
honest if very stupid attempts to understand something and (2) at least
the Dutch frauds got at least 15 times as much as I got, for
which they hardly worked, while none of the 16 that
screamed at me that I was a fascist and a terrorist ever
published anything in the last 27 years (in which they were extremely
well paid, while all were physically healthy).
Here is one of the problems
Crispin Sarwell saw:
Studying with Fish and
Rorty, it was awfully hard not to pick up a sense of the end: the end
of their own disciplines — which Rorty, for one, explicitly declared —
and vaguely the end of many things that they said had expired long ago:
objective truth, determinate meanings, noncontingent values, a material
external world. That certainly presented a quandary for a graduate
student trying to generate a dissertation topic under their tutelage.
It seems Sarwell did
not have the talents or the background to say or at least to believe
that pandered and pampered highly paid academic intellectuals who spout
this manner of nonsense might have simply been lying, as I
insist, and as quite a few others have said so since, of whom Sokal got best
Instead, Sarwell pleads that well... it's all long ago, and by now,
some 35 years later (!!) a few (!!) philosophers are turning back from postmodernism:
It seems as if Sarwell doesn't quite believe it,
even though almost everyone until postmodernism believed "that reality is not the product of
consciousness, or of human perceptual structures or languages or
interpretive communities, but exists independently".
But the ‘80s heyday of
Rorty and Fish is beginning to seem like a long time ago, and a
backlash seems to be in progress. More recent work in philosophy
includes various forms of realism about the world: the idea that
reality is not the product of consciousness, or of human perceptual
structures or languages or interpretive communities, but exists
independently. We don’t make the world, as one might put it; the world
But he has one bit of terminology:
Let’s call this
phase after postmodernism post-postmodernism – “popomo” for short.
There is considerably
more under the last dotted link. It isn't very good, but then
it is by an American academically employed philosopher.
 Incidentally: I am neither a socialist nor a
mostly because these ideologies seem
to me and to concentrate to much power. But real
socialism is at
least as valid an ideology as the bullshit that
the bankers propagate, and has the advantage of having a far
more comprehensive ethics.
Also, I might be in favor of social democracy, if I had seen a credible
social democratic leader the last 45 years, but I have not.
Finally, since I am a philosopher and a psychologist who did a vast
amount of reading, it is very difficult or impossible for me to
believe much of the ideologies - of whatever kind - that are believed
by most people as "the truth".
 This is quite literally so. There were a few
exceptions (most of whom were forced out of the university!!) but in
the faculties of philosophy, psychology, Dutch, sociology,
politicology, anthropology, pedagogy, anthroposophy, and also, but not
completely, law, postmodernism
was THE ideology
most students, most lecturers and most professors publicly had or
pretended to have, and that were often stated by the threesome stated
in the text.
Indeed, I found very few professors of anything who
were prepared to say - in an university!! - that they believed in truth.
 Of course, they were all "social democrats", just
like the three successive mayors who all refused to answer my
letters or mails since I was gassed, also in 1988, by my
landlord, it seems to help his illegal drugsdealers, who had gotten permission
to deal from Amsterdam's mayor (I do not know for what
percentage, but the drugsdealers still function and are very, very
rich), and who threatened to murder me, and also dealt in both soft and
hard drugs. (There are many drugs-related murders in Amsterdam.)
Since then - after 27 years of unanswered letters with
perfectly legitimate legal complaints, about being gassed illegally,
being threatened with murder illegally, by illegal criminals who dealt
in soft and hard drugs, and being removed from the university
illlegally, and having seen a parliamentary report that stated (in
1996) that around 50 billion guilders
(20 billion euros) gets turned over each
year in illegal drugs in Holland - I do not think Holland
is a democracy.
For also in all these 27 years not one Dutch judge said
anything about the illegal drugstrade that turns
over 20 billion euros (25 billion dollars) each year (at least), while
all mayors, all district attorneys, and all aldermen all have
stonewalled, stonewalled, stonewalled and stonewalled me, and taken
care I got no help and minimal dole, while being ill,
which they and their bureaucrats also deny, till this very day.