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. There’s no reason to accept austerity. It can be defeated
2. Hayden Mocks Extent of
Post-Snowden Reform: “And
This Is It After Two Years?
3. Awesome Power Is On the Verge
of Being Handed Over
to Private Banks If TPP Passes
Reich: Elites Are Waging a War on Public
5. the business of doing
is a Nederlog of Thursday June 18, 2015.
is a crisis blog.
There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: item 1 is
about an article by Seumas Milne that I liked: austerity can be
defeated (in principle);
item 2 is about general Hayden's
appreciation of how much the NSA has been
hurt the last two years: hardly (and I agree); item
3 is about a good article by Ellen Brown, who explains the TiSA
(and the TPP and the TTIP) will destroy democratic government; item 4 is about an interview with Robert Reich, who
has some fine proposals for American education that I know worked,
because I did
study under them, in Holland (where they since have been destroyed);
5 is about an article about the - new - business of doing business,
that is purely
1. There’s no reason to accept austerity. It can
item is an article by Seumas Milne on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
It would hardly be
surprising if the large majority of British people who didn’t vote for
the Conservatives were daunted at the prospect of
what’s now in store for us. David Cameron and George Osborne can hardly
contain their enthusiasm for the torrent of cuts and privatisations
they are about to unleash.
Seumas Milne is quite
correct that (bolding added) "the large
majority of British people (..) didn’t vote for the Conservatives".
This is to be austerity on
steroids. The full gory details of the £12bn benefit cuts the Tories refused to identify in the election will have
to wait for next month’s “emergency” budget. But Osborne has already
rushed through £4.5bn of new cuts and asset sales to get us all in the
mood. And he and Cameron are counting on a punch-drunk Labour
frontbench to smooth the imposition of a punitive fiscal regime. To
wrongfoot the opposition still further, the chancellor now plans to
enforce permanent budget surpluses in law. It is, as 77 leading economists warned, a dangerous
political gimmick that could help trigger another 2008-style debt crisis.
In case you wonder why or wonder why Great Britain is called "a
That a "large majority" did not vote Tory is due to the combination of (i) non-voters
with (ii) the first-past-the-post or the
winner-takes-all district system, that (iii) also are regularly
redivided by the government so as to help their candidates win.
And no, I would not call this a real democracy, simply because
the large majority of the British people did not vote
for the government they do have.
Here is more about British "democracy":
Incidentally, a "Dutch
auction" refers to the following schema (and I quote Wikipedia, in part
because I am Dutch and did not know this):
The Conservatives have
never won a parliamentary majority on a lower share of the vote in
their history. Most of the public oppose the extreme austerity the
Tories are preparing to mete out, just as they reject the
privatisations. Like the new union political levy “opt-in”, they didn’t
feature in the Tory manifesto. The Conservatives have no mandate for
these measures. And as for ramping up strike-ballot thresholds while
denying trade unionists the chance to vote online, that is a
straightforward attack on democratic rights – which should, and will
But the response of Labour’s
leadership candidates has been to run a Dutch auction of progressive
policies, “swallow the Tory manifesto” and compete to be the most “pro-business”.
A Dutch auction
is a type of auction in which the auctioneer begins with a high
asking price which is
lowered until some participant is willing to accept the auctioneer's
price, or a predetermined reserve price (the seller's minimum
acceptable price) is reached. The winning participant pays the last
And here is the last bit on
"British "democracy"" that I quote:
Dutch auctions are a
competitive alternative to a traditional auction, in which bids of
increasing value are made until a final selling price is reached,
because due to ever-decreasing bids buyers must act decisively to name
their price or risk losing to a higher offer.
I agree - although I should
say that the British political system has been preserved for a long
time, it seems mostly because the governing party (Tory or Labour, for
about 90 years now) finds it convenient for
furthering its own purposes.
One way or another, the
political establishment cartels have to be broken open if the majority
are going to get a look-in. In Britain, last month’s election has been
portrayed as a Conservative landslide. It was nothing of the kind.
Cameron has a majority of 12 in the Commons – which has already shown
itself vulnerable to pressure, despite Labour prevarication – and none in the Lords.
The Tories are far from
having the wind in their sails. Regardless of the election result,
they’re still widely regarded as the creatures of a discredited elite,
with no answer to the now almost universally acknowledged crisis of
inequality – except to deepen it. They are slashing support for an
economy yet fully to recover and which is in no state to withstand
Mocks Extent of Post-Snowden Reform: “And This Is It After Two Years?
item is an article by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I say - and I agree
with Hayden: Very little has been achieved to rule in the NSA
and its spying on everyone. (Which - unlike him - I see as
Former National Security
Agency director Michael Hayden on Monday marveled at the puny nature of
the surveillance reforms put in place two years after NSA whistleblower
Edward Snowden revealed a vast expansion of intrusive U.S. government
surveillance at home and abroad.
Hayden mocked the loss of
the one program that was reined in — the NSA’s bulk collection of
metadata information about domestic phone calls — calling it “that
little 215 program.”
And he said if someone
had told him two years ago that the only effect of the Snowden
revelations would be losing it, his reaction would have been: “Cool!”
Here is the video
and the full text of his remarks:
If somebody would come
up to me and say “Look, Hayden, here’s the thing: This Snowden thing is
going to be a nightmare for you guys for about two years. And when we
get all done with it, what you’re going to be required to do is that
little 215 program about American telephony metadata — and by the way,
you can still have access to it, but you got to go to the court and get
access to it from the companies, rather than keep it to yourself” — I
go: “And this is it after two years? Cool!”
as a preparation for a very authoritarian and very
manipulative American state.)
Awesome Power Is On the
Verge of Being Handed Over to Private Banks If TPP Passes
item is an article by Ellen Brown
(<- Wikipedia) on Alternet (and originally on the Web Of Debt blog):
This starts as
In March 2014, the
Bank of England let the cat out of the bag: money is just an IOU, and
the banks are rolling in it. So
wrote David Graeber in The Guardian the same month,
referring to a BOE paper called "Money
Creation in the Modern Economy." The paper stated outright that
most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong. The
result, said Graeber, was to throw the entire theoretical basis for
austerity out of the window.
Yes, indeed (though more
is involved in these "Partnerships" and "Agreement").
The revelation may have done
more than that. The entire basis for maintaining our private extractive
banking monopoly may have been thrown out the window. And that could
help explain the desperate rush to "fast track" not only the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and
Investment Partnership (TTIP), but the Trade in Services Agreement
(TiSA). TiSA would nip attempts to implement public banking and other
monetary reforms in the bud.
Next, Ellen Brown asks:
If money is just
an IOU, why are we delivering the exclusive power to create it to an
unelected, unaccountable, non-transparent private banking monopoly? Why
are we buying into the notion that the government is broke – that it
must sell off public assets and slash public services in order to pay
off its debts? The government could pay its debts in the same way
private banks pay them, simply with accounting entries on its books.
What will happen when a critical mass of the populace realizes that
we've been vassals of a parasitic banking system based on a fraud –
that we the people could be creating money as credit ourselves, through
publicly-owned banks that returned the profits to the people?
I suppose in the end the
answer is the same as explains Hayden's glee in the previous item: The
majority lacks the brains, the knowledge or the time to
understand computers, banking or the economy, and also does not
most of the propaganda
they are fed. (And I am very sorry, but this simply
seems the truth.)
Here is some more on the secret TiSA, which may be described as an
attempt to stop democracy, and to give full and extremely large "legal"
powers to the multi-national corporations and their lawyers:
On June 3, 2015, WikiLeaks
released 17 key documents related to TiSA, which is considered
perhaps the most important of the three deals being negotiated for
"fast track" trade authority. The documents were supposed to remain
classified for five years after being signed, displaying a level of
secrecy that outstrips even the TPP's four-year classification.
TiSA involves 51
countries, including every advanced economy except the BRICS (Brazil,
Russia, India, China, and South Africa). The deal would liberalize
global trade in services covering close to 80% of the US economy,
including financial services, healthcare, education, engineering,
telecommunications, and many more. It would restrict how governments
can manage their public laws, and it could dismantle and privatize
state-owned enterprises, turning those services over to the private
There is considerably
more in the article, that I recommend you read all of.
4. Robert Reich: Elites Are Waging a War on
item is by Danny Feingold on Alternet:
This is from an
interview with Robert Reich:
C&M: Many of the
recommendations you make in the MoveOn video seem relatively
non-controversial: increasing federal funding, limiting class size,
boosting pay of teachers, offering high school students technical
training. Who’s opposing ideas like these?
Reich: Well unfortunately
many do not want to increase federal funding at all. They are afraid of
the federal government, they hate the federal government.
These are the same state officials who don’t want to accept federal
funding to expand Medicaid. In terms of limiting class size, some
education officials pay lip service to this but if you actually look at
class sizes, they are getting larger.
Yes. Here is what
Robert Reich proposes:
C&M: You call in the
MoveOn video for making public higher education completely free. How do
you propose paying for that?
Reich: Raising taxes on
the wealthiest members of our society who have never been as rich as
they are now. Whose effective tax rates are extraordinarily low
relative to what they were 10 years ago, 30 years ago, 50 years ago.
And who have a social responsibility to invest in the education of
everybody else’s kids.
Yes, of course! For
as Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr put it: "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society".
And there is this:
C&M: Millions of
Americans are drowning in student debt. Even as they struggle to find a
decent job. Do you believe that we should have universal student debt
Reich: I think that we
need to allow all students to declare bankruptcy, to use bankruptcy
laws. We also should forgive debts of students who have essentially
have been hoodwinked — either by for-profit colleges and universities
that promised them a quality of education that they never got, or by
financial intermediaries who are charging them double-digit interest.
Third, we ought to allow students to refinance their loans at today’s
low interest rates. Fourth, we need to allow our students who are in
debt to roll over their debts into a kind of income-contingent debt
system whereby they can agree to pay a certain amount of their yearly
full-time salary over a certain amount of time.
Yes, indeed - and I should
add that I have been abled to study precisely because
the Dutch did have a system that was precisely as Reich
and that was fair and decent (and indeed in the end this also freed me
from having to pay back anything).
Of course, the majority of
degenerate Dutch politicians since then totally destroyed it,
but it did work and is was rather fair.  It also
was the only
reason I could study: If I were 45 years younger, I could not
if my parents would be as poor as they were 45 years ago.
5. the business of doing business….
item for today is an article by 1 boring old man, who is one of the few
intelligent psychiatrists I know of:
This starts as follows:
In looking at the
history of psychiatry, 1980
marks a radical change with the introduction of the DSM-III. But that
was hardly the only thing happening in 1980, not by a long shot.
Probably the most remarkable event was the election of Ronald Reagan
which marked a dramatic change in our way of doing capitalism – the
unregulated free-market way. 1980
is where a lot of graphs begin – like the rise of wealth
inequity or our separating from the rest of the world with medical costs [in spite of no gain].
Reagan’s deregulation was sustained and defended by his Federal Reserve
Chairman, Alan Greenspan,
who artfully controlled our free economy by
manipulating interest rates from 1987 until retiring in
2005, just as the housing market began its free-fall,
ushering in the Great Recession
in 2008 (...)
Yes, indeed. Here is an
explanation of the title (that starts with a quotation from
Ed Silverman (colors in the original):
That is: They do not try
to make good products anymore, in order to make a decent living
by selling these; they try to make great profits, by virtually
any means, fair or foul.
Rather than use their resources to build every
medicine from scratch, the biggest drug makers increasingly look
outside their own labs to buy a company or license a compound and then
use their financial, regulatory and marketing muscle in hopes of
creating a hit.
Ed tells it in a softer way
than I would. These are companies whose main
business is the business of doing business.
Like Enron, AIG, Countrywide, and countless others, they’re in their
corporate offices and not in their laboratories or manufacturing
plants. They’re disconnected from the essence of their purpose.
This is much wider than medicine, but it holds for medicine
too, and in my opinion has destroyed most of medicine, for it radically
changed the purpose of medicine: It used to be helping
patients to get better; it is making the highest
possible profits from ill people by selling them expensive patented
And this is certainly the case in a
pseudoscience like psychiatry. (The last link is long, but good.)
These three things - non-voting, district system, redivisions - also
are rather strongly interconnected.
 I say it was "rather fair" mostly because I got less
money than was given to people in the dole, of which there were
a great lot in the time I studied, and they did not have to do
anything (I had to study) and also did not have to pay back anything.
Indeed, I proposed to give every student a dole payment rather than a
study loan, simply because that would have been fair, especially if
this was combined with a higher tax on the people with degrees because
they earned considerably more, which I
(Personal remark: But this was all in the late seventies and
early eighties, when living was a lot easier and a lot more fair than
it is now. Also, because it was accepted that I was ill in the
late seventies, I could have gone in the dole, and this would have
given me considerably more money, and a lot less
hassle. But I didn't, mostly because I did not assume I would stay
ill ever since.)