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. The Pathology of the
Rich White Family
2. Robert Scheer: On Civil Liberties, the NSA Is a Latter-Day
3. Citing Soaring Student Debt,
Sanders to Pitch
Tuition-Free Higher Education
4. If 'Too-Big-to-Fail'
'Too-Big-To-Jail,' It Should
5. The Debt To GDP Ratio
For The Entire World: 286 Percent
This is a Nederlog of Monday, May 18,
This is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 6 dotted links: item 1 is about an article by Chris Hedges that I
found quite good, and have a rather big number
of remarks about; item 2 is about an interesting
interview with Robert Scheer;
item 3 is about student debts in the U.S.
with some remarks by me about the Dutch system I studied with (now
slaughtered); item 4 is about the - correct - idea
that banks that are too big to fail are too big to exist; and item 5 explains that the global debt doubled since
2007 and "austerity" (but I have troubles with
the site: too many blinking ads).
Pathology of the Rich White Family
item today is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
The pathology of
the rich white family is the most dangerous pathology in America. The
rich white family is cursed with too much money and privilege. It is
devoid of empathy, the result of lifetimes of entitlement. It has
little sense of loyalty and lacks the capacity for self-sacrifice. Its
definition of friendship is reduced to “What can you do for me?” It is
possessed by an insatiable lust to increase its fortunes and power. It
believes that wealth and privilege confer to it a superior intelligence
and virtue. It is infused with an unchecked hedonism and narcissism.
And because of all this, it interprets reality through a lens of
self-adulation and greed that renders it delusional. The rich white
family is a menace. The pathologies of the poor, when set against the
pathologies of rich white people, are like a candle set beside the sun.
I think this is mostly
correct. I also have (at least) three qualifications, but one is about
my own lack of American experience and lack of racism; the second is
about a suspected biological foundation; and the third is about my own
background, which is quite different from Chris Hedges (and
makes me considerably less optimistic about the poor than he
Here they are, written out a little bit.
First, I am not American but Dutch; I have never been to the
U.S.A. (though I lived with an American woman in Amsterdam) and expect
I will never go there since I am ill and poor since 37 years; and I
have also not grown up in a racist culture, and in fact grew up
in a remarkably anti-fascist and anti-racist family.
I do believe these make a difference, especially the last ones.
Second, this is not to say the Dutch are anti-racist. But they have
less reason for it (there are fewer blacks and other races), and
besides there also seems to be behind racism and discrimination a biological
foundation, that makes us like people the more they are like us. This
makes us most sympathetic (in principle: there may be many reasons why
this doesn't work in many cases) to our own family; then to the groups
we grew up between; then to their backgrounds and social status; then
to loyalties to the town and the nation we live in, etc. 
This makes quite a few Dutch "racist" in some sense, but (i)
this is mostly done by the more stupid (although these are the
majority everywhere, also in Holland) and (ii) is less racist - in the
literal sense: much of it the last 15 years is directed against white
Muslims, because they differ too much from the real Dutch -
and is mostly concerned with insisting Our Kind Is Best. 
There is a lot of this feeling - "Our
Kind Is Best", which in Holland tend to be white Dutchmen of low income
and low intelligence, all with Dutch family names, and with
parents and grandparents with Dutch family names - but as I've
indicated: This kind of feeling seems mostly biological, and tends to
find its widest and crudest expression by folks with little
intelligence and/or education. (Of which there are very many.) 
Third, my own background is quite different from that of Chris
Hedges, and also from that of nearly all Dutchmen:
My parents and grandparents were political radicals, in part
radicalized by the crisis of the Thirties, and then by the second World
War, and my father's father was murdered in a Nazi concentration camp
because he was in the resistance, my father
survived 3 years, 9 months and 15 days of concentration camp as a
communist "political terrorist", whereas my mothers parents were
anarchists since the very early 1900s or before. My parents also were quite
poor, especially during the time I was growing up (till I was 17).
I note this because this background is also quite abnormal in
Holland: In fact, there were few communists, few
anarchists, and few who went into the resistance in WW II in
Holland, and my family was one of the very few who were
involved in all of these movements. In fact, I do not know anyone
who lives in Holland with this background. 
Then there is this (skipping to page 2 of the article):
Incidentally, everything that I quoted is valid
according to the vast majority of whites if only a few moral
terms are substituted for: "crime" -> "acquiring riches"; "defraud"
riches"; "toxic" -> "complicated";
The rich white family has
an unrivaled aptitude for crime. Members of rich white families run
corporations into the ground (think Lehman Brothers), defraud
stockholders and investors, sell toxic mortgages as gold-plated
investments to pension funds, communities and schools, and then loot
the U.S. Treasury when the whole thing implodes. They steal hundreds of
millions of dollars on Wall Street through fraud and theft, pay little
or no taxes, almost never go to jail, write laws and regulations that
legalize their crimes and then are asked to become trustees at elite
universities and sit on corporate boards. They set up foundations and
are admired as philanthropists. And if they get into legal trouble,
they have high-priced lawyers and connections among the political
elites to get them out.
You have to hand it to rich
"loot" -> "acquire riches from"; "steal" -> "acquire"; "fraud and
theft" -> "legal smartness"; "crimes" -> "acquisitions".
There is also this:
families are also the most efficient killers on the planet. This has
been true for five centuries, starting with the conquest of the
Americas and the genocide against Native Americans, and continuing
through today’s wars in the Middle East. Rich white families themselves
don’t actually kill. They are not about to risk their necks on city
streets or in Iraq. They hire people, often poor, to kill for them.
Rich white families wanted the petroleum of Iraq and, by waving the
flag and spewing patriotic slogans, got a lot of poor kids to join the
military and take the oil fields for them. Rich white people wanted
endless war for the benefit of their arms industry and got it by
calling for a war on terror. Rich white people wanted police to use
lethal force against the poor with impunity and to arrest them,
swelling U.S. prisons with 25 percent of the world’s prison population,
so they set up a system of drug laws and militarized police departments
to make it happen.
Again I have some
qualifications - there are quite a few other social mechanisms
and traditions at work, and also Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were
black - but mostly this again seems correct, although I am quite
willing to agree that
The beauty of making others
kill on your behalf is you get to appear “reasonable” and “nice.”
the rich white profiteers see it in quite other terms.
As to these rich
white profiteers, there is this:
C. Wright Mills wrote, “is their sole basis of authority.” They
meld into the world of celebrity. And the organs of mass media, which
they control, turn them into idols to be worshiped solely because they
are rich. Public-relations specialists manufacture their public
personas. Teams of lawyers harass and silence their critics. Acolytes
affirm their sagacity. They soon believe their own fiction.
Yes, indeed - and no:
the rich are only very rarely gifted, and indeed the most
common gift they seem to have is a lack of morals rather than a
surfeit of intelligence or knowledge.
But then again, the rich are not the only ones responsible for their
to semi-divine status and privileges merely because they are
very rich: "the world of
celebrity" and the "mass
media" (which I agree the rich control) exist mostly because there is a
large and quite stupid demand for them. 
And there is this on page 3 of Hedges' article:
The pathologies of
the rich will soon drive us over an economic and ecological cliff. And
as we go down, the rich, lacking empathy and understanding, determined
to maintain their privilege and their wealth, will use their Praetorian
Guard, their mass media, their corporate power, their political puppets
and their security and surveillance apparatus to keep us submissive.
I think this is also
true. You may disagree, but see - for one example - item
And finally there is this, from the last paragraph of the article:
The rich executed
a coup d’état that transformed the three branches of the U.S.
government and nearly all institutions, including the mass media, into
wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporate state. This coup gives the
rich the license and the power to amass unimaginable wealth at our
expense. It permits the rich to inflict grinding poverty on growing
circles of the population. Poverty is the worst of crimes—as George
Bernard Shaw wrote, “all the other crimes are virtues beside it.”
Yes - and it was
a coup d'état that took over 40 years, and that passed
through the following stages:
memorandum of Lewis Powell
I am merely listing some
important moments and junctures here without any pretension this is
The elections of
Thatcher and Reagan.
The elections of
Clinton and Blair.
The destruction of the
real left, and its replacement by "Third
Way" complete bullshit.
The coup d'état of
Bush Jr. in 2000. (He wasn't properly elected.)
The war on Iran and
the war on terrorism after 9/11.
The gigantic Wall Street fraud of 2008.
The election of the
fraudulent (half black) Obama as president.
And incidentally, here is a link to another radical, the late George
The title is a bit
misleading, for Carlin criticized and exposed much more than
the American government, but this is a good collection that I strongly
recommend you to see.
Robert Scheer: On Civil
Liberties, the NSA Is a Latter-Day King George
item today is an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
There is also this:
In an appearance on “The
Campaign With Ernie Powell,” a radio show that deals with the question
of how progressives can win political campaigns, Truthdig
Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer says the NSA is engaged in the same invasive behavior
“that sparked the American Revolution.”
Scheer was on Powell’s
show to discuss the themes at the center of his new book, “They
Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and
Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy.”
Yes, quite so. There is
more there, and also a link to an audio of the interview.
“I know there are a lot
of folks who don’t like to celebrate the framers,” Scheer tells Powell
early in the interview. “They were a bunch of white guys, they had
limitations and we had slavery. There’s a lot of Howard Zinn wisdom in
critiquing them. But there were two big ideas they had that actually go
to the heart of what my book is all about and what our current crisis
is all about. One is, you can’t be a representative republic and an
empire in the same moment. If you’re gonna be meddling all over the
world, if you’re gonna be going after the resources of the whole world,
if you’re gonna be exploiting people all around the world in the name
of saving them—if you’re gonna go the route of Rome—you’re gonna crush
the republic, which is what Rome was at its finest moment. And this was
true of every society that they had seen. …
“The other big idea they
had was that government had to be viewed with suspicion, no matter the
claim of government, whether it was to divine right to rule or the
great French civilization or the great Roman values, and the
Constitution that they gave us contained a really subversive notion. It
said, ‘Beware of power—not as an abstraction—beware of the power that
us folks—Jefferson, Madison, Washington—are about to assume.’ This was
the whole idea of the separation of powers, of limited government, of
checks and balances. And the incorporation of the Bill of Rights.”
Powell interjects: “And the
3. Citing Soaring Student Debt, Sanders to Pitch
Tuition-Free Higher Education The
item is an article by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as
With student debt figures
continuing to climb, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to unveil
legislation this week to provide tuition-free higher education for
students at 4-year colleges and universities in the United States.
The proposal, which Sanders plans to
introduce on Tuesday, would eliminate undergraduate tuition at public
colleges and universities and expand work-study programs.
like Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and many more are providing free or
inexpensive higher education for their young people," Sanders, who is
running for president as a Democrat, said
in a news release. "They understand how important it is to be investing
in their youth. We should be doing the same."
this year, in a speech at Johnson State College in Vermont, Sanders called
for a "revolution" in the way higher education is funded in the U.S.
There is also this:
The average class
of 2015 borrower will graduate college with just over $35,000 in debt,
according to an analysis by Edvisors, a publisher of free websites
about planning and paying for college. What's more, a full 71 percent
of this year’s college graduates borrowed money to pay for their
undergraduate education. As the Boston Globe put
it, the class of 2015 is "the most indebted class in history,
graduating with a whopping $56 billion in student loan debt."
An important part of
the reason these debts are pressing is that they are abused.
Here is the
difference with Holland, that had a better system, that is now totally
destroyed, probably because it allowed far too many of a
poor background - like myself - to study at a university:
Because I fell ill three months after starting my studying I got
something like 7 years of study loans, amounting to Euros
42,000. I very probably could have studied most of that time in the
dole as well (which paid better), which would have made the amount of
money I owed a lot less, but I did not make the necessary
arrangements (and lacked the health to do so, and also I was living
nearly all of the time with a Dutch woman who also studied on study
were kept separate, unlike the dole, so we probably had more
money from the
two study loans than we would have had, living together, from the dole).
Next, in 1984 I got dole, and the first 14 years I did not have to pay
back anything, because I was ill and had a minimal income, and these
rules (quite unlike in the U.S.A.)
Around 1998, when I was paying back a lot of money from the dole I had,
and was quite ill, I forgot to fill in an application and was then
prosecuted for repayment of all the money I owed, in spite of
being ill and in minimal dole, but because the assholes who did so also
asked this back in four tranches of three months (which would have totally
ruined me, and would have turned me into the streets), the judge
opposed this (quite correctly) and in the end I did not have to
pay back a cent, and was freed from paying back anything, under the
rules of the system, by 2004.
Indeed, this was a humane
form of study loans, that since has been completely
slaughtered in Holland.
As to Sanders' proposal: I quite agree, but I do not see it accepted.
(But this is no reason not to propose it.)
4. If 'Too-Big-to-Fail' Means
'Too-Big-To-Jail,' It Should
The next item
is an article by Dave Lindorff on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed. This is a
good article, of which the main point is the following:
In a couple of days, the
so-called US Justice Department will be announcing an “agreement”
reached with five large banks, including two of the largest in the
US—JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup, the holding companies for Chase and
Citibank—under which these banks or bank holding companies will plead
guilty to felonies involving the manipulation of international currency
This is not really a plea
deal, or what in the lingo of criminals is called “copping a plea.”
It’s a negotiation in which the nation’s top law-enforcement
organization—the one that just sentenced a teenager to death in Boston
in the Marathon bombing case, and that routinely sends ordinary people
“up the river” for minor drug offenses or even tax fraud—is taking
seriously these banks’ concerns that if they plead guilty to felonies
they might be barred by SEC rules from engaging in many profitable
practices. So—get this—the Justice Department is seeking assurances
from the commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission that
they will not enforce those rules against these particular felonious
There will be fines, of
course, though nothing that will even dent the profits of these
megabanks, which also include two British-based institutions, Barclays
and the Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as the Swiss-based bank UBS.
But under these deals, not one bank executive will even be forced to
quit his post, much less face jail time or even a fine. As the New
York Times put it in an article last Thursday, “In reality, those
accommodations render the plea deals, at least in part, an exercise in
Here’s the thing.
If the government really believes that banks like JP Morgan Chase,
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citibank and Wells Fargo are “too big to
fail” because prosecuting their chief executives—or even forcing their
chief executives to quit their posts!—could lead to a new financial
crisis (a claim that seems totally absurd), then those institutions are
simply too big to allow to exist.
I agree, and indeed banking
needs massive changes in the United States (and elsewhere),
though I do not see these happening without another big crisis.
5. The Debt To GDP Ratio For The Entire
World: 286 Percent
item today is an article by Michael Snyder on The Economic Collapse
This starts as follows:
Did you know that
there is more than $28,000 of debt for every man, woman and child on
the entire planet? And since close to 3 billion of those people
survive on less than 2 dollars a day, your share of that debt is going
to be much larger than that. If we took everything
that the global economy produced this year and everything
that the global economy produced next year and used it to pay all of
this debt, it still would not be enough. According to a recent
report put out by the McKinsey Global Institute entitled “Debt
and (not much) deleveraging“, the total amount of debt on our
planet has grown from 142 trillion dollars at the end of 2007 to 199
trillion dollars today. This is the largest mountain of debt in
the history of the world, and those numbers mean that we are in substantially
worse condition than we were just prior to the last financial
Note that the debt doubled
since 2007, even though all Western governments insisted everyone who
was not rich already had to live lives of austerity,
to pay of
the debts... which, after 8 years and a doubling of the debts
can be classified
When it comes to debt, a lot
of fingers get pointed at the United States, and rightly so. Just
prior to the last recession, the U.S. national debt was sitting at
about 9 trillion dollars. Today, it has crossed the
18 trillion dollar mark. But of course the U.S. is not the
only one that is guilty. In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute
says that debt levels have grown in all major economies since 2007.
as gross lies: it wasn't to pay off the debts, but to make the
rich even richer.
And this ends as follows:
Quite possibly so,
though I should also say that the website this comes from is difficult
to read for me because row upon row upon row of ads, that also blink at
me (so this will probably be the last time I refer anything
from this site: I'm sorry but my eyes are not good enough to be
pestered by blinking ads for nonsensical ideas).
What we are experiencing
right now is the greatest financial bubble of all time.
What comes after that is
going to be the greatest financial crash of all time.
dollars of debt is about to come crashing down, and the pain of this
disaster will be felt by every man, woman and child on the entire
 I am quite convinced this is mostly biological, in
the end because everyone has these attitudes, that are also
largely inescapable. Also, as such, they are not bad: they get
bad only if the sympathy we naturally have for the families in
which we are born and the people we grew up with are combined with antipathies
or hatred for those who differ from us.
 Again, "Our Kind Is Best" probably is
natural and biological, although at this level, especially if the
sentiment is articulated by large groups of the most stupid and the
least educated, it starts to be or is openly discriminatory as well.
 I believe the discrimination of those
who do not belong to "Our Kind" by those who do belong to "Our Kind"
(whatever "Our Kind" is) is in part biological,
and in part mediated by stupidity and ignorance. (And see Note 5.)
 There may be more, but it seems quite
unlikely to me, for at 65 I do not know and have not
heard of anyone who lives in Holland who has my
background - and here is how they need to qualify: They must have
communist parents; communist or anarchist grandparents; a grandfather
who was murdered in a German concentration camp for being in the
communist resistance, and a father who survived 3 years, 9 months and
15 days of German concentration camp for being in the communist
I really do not know of any other Dutchman with this
background (and only my brother qualifies, but he lives now since 30
years outside Holland, which indeed is a lot healthier for intelligent
 Having myself an IQ high above 130, I say again
that all of world history
would have been considerably different if the average IQ had
been 130 instead of 100. (If only because far fewer would have
been deceived as easily as they were and are.)
I know you probably need a very high IQ to believe this, though indeed
most persons whose texts I have read who did have a very high IQs -
Russell, Keynes and others - agreed, if they were honest. I also know
this is a mere false hypothetical, but it is a hypothetical that might
have been true, though alas it isn't.