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Nederlog

July 6, 2015
Why no uploads (6) + Crisis Materials + "Corporate Capitalism"
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
 
   -- Benjamin Franklin
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
"
   -- I.F. Stone
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton















Prev- crisis -Next

 Sections

            Introduction
1. Why there are no uploads on my site since June 29
2. Crisis materials (links, mostly without reviews or with
     short ones)
3. C
orporate Capitalism Is the Foundation of Police Brutality
     and the Prison State

4.
Conclusion


This is a Nederlog of Monday July 6, 2015.

This is not a normal crisis file or Nederlog because while I can write it, I can't upload it, and this also may take some days to sort out.

I explain this in a little more detail in item 1 (which you can skip if you read it before, though it is a bit new today).

Here are the items for today: item 1 is a brief statement on why there are no uploads to my site; item 2 consists of 6 articles (with links and authors etc. and today also with a few comments); item 3 is a review of Chris Hedges' " Corporate Capitalism Is the Foundation of Police Brutality and the Prison State" (I agree and disagree); and item 4 is  a brief conclusion that - again - explains why I cannot upload at present. (I hope this will be undone - made OK again - between July 6 and July 13. And it is cooler today, and this will help.)
1. Why there are no uploads on my site since June 29, 2015

The basic reason is this: The programs I use for uploading the sites, which happens with FTP (<-Wikipedia) stopped suddenly and unaccountably on June
29, and since then I have not been able to start them again.

There is more here (but I am shortening this section, since it repeats).

Also, in part this also has to do with the tropical temperatures that struck Amsterdam last week, for that is very bad for me: it lames nearly everything, for I really have very little energy then. I don't know whether this is related to M.E., for the simple reason that I also had this before I had M.E.: I deal very badly with temperatures that remain consistently above 25 C for more than a few days, and always did.

Anyway, now that the heat is gone, I will probably be able to link up again some time during the coming week.

2. Crisis materials (links, mostly without reviews or with short ones)

The next item today is a list of articles with links. I will keep looking every morning at around 40 sites and collect interesting articles, but for the moment I will not review most of them: I merely list them.

This has two advantages: Less work for me, but possibly more articles for my readers. Today is a Sunday, and I found six articles that I will review briefly and that are in this section, and one that I will review a bit more extensively, in the next section.

Here they are: Titles + links + author(s) + site:

This is a long article by Florence Hartmann (who wrote a book about Srebrenica that will be published on Tuesday July 7, 2015) and by Ed Vulliamy. Here is the summary:

New research reveals that Britain and the US knew six weeks before massacre that enclave would fall – but they decided to sacrifice it in their efforts for peace

And they did not tell this to anyone, while also no leading politician was ever persecuted or forced to step down. Here is a bit from the beginning:

Blame among the “international community”charged with protecting Srebrenica has piled, not without reason, on the head of UN forces in the area, General Bernard Janvier, for opposing intervention – notably air strikes – that might have repelled the Serb advance, and Dutch soldiers who not only failed in their duty to protect Srebrenica but evicted terrified civilians seeking shelter in their headquarters, and watched the Serbs separate women and young children from their male quarry.

Now a survey of the mass of evidence reveals that the fall of Srebrenica formed part of a policy by the three “great powers” – Britain, France and the US – and by the UN leadership, in pursuit of peace at any price; peace at the terrible expense of Srebrenica, which gathered critical mass from 1994 onwards, and reached its bloody denouement in July 1995.

In brief: You have all been had by the propaganda of Britain, France, the US and by the UN leadership. And here is a quotation of Dutch troop leader Thom Karremans, in 1995, who was supposed to be there to guarantgee a safe haven for muslims:

There are no good guys. There are no bad guys.
Mladic is my colleague. Don't shoot the piano player!
Next, Greece.

As I write this, it is Monday morning, July 6. Yesterday there was a Greek referendum, in which the Greek population voted rather overwhelmingly - 61%, winning in nearly all districts - "No", which supports the leftist leader Tsiprias.

I have three articles on Greece, all from The Guardian.

The first is this:

This is by Jill Treanor on The Guardian. It is from yesterday, and missed the resignment of Yanis Varoufakis, but it is here because it does list the basic questions.

There are several possible answers to what has to be done now, and here are two different ones. First:

This is by Nils Pratley on The Guardian. It starts as follows:

How far will financial markets fall on Monday morning? Expect to see the leading European share index plunge 10% initially in the event of a no vote, Goldman Sachs predicted at the end of last week.

A 10% decline would be enormous, but almost any prediction is credible in the current climate. We’re back to the wild markets seen at the height of the banking crisis in 2008. Many fund managers, even last week, were expecting a strong yes vote in Greece. It’s hard to know how severely they will be shocked by the scale of the no victory.

I don't know either, and as I said, I am writing this in the morning of July 6.
So far, the decline was 2% (but the financial markets are still open).

There is also this article:

This is by John Quiggin on The Guardian. This is a rational analysis:

In view of the No vote, Syriza can’t accept a deal that doesn’t include an explicit debt write-off, or one that obviously crosses its stated red lines. Within those parameters, it’s clearly eager for a face-saving compromise.

For the other side (effectively the Troika and the German government), since Syriza’s move has already been made, the problem has now been reduced to one of decision under uncertainty, which is something I am comfortable with.

More precisely, it’s a choice between a “safe” option, with an outcome that is fairly predictable, and a “risky” option where the outcome is uncertain.

The safe option for the European institutions is to back down, write off lots of debt and lose a lot of face.

The risky option is to foreclose and force Greece out of the eurozone, leading to a repudiation of debt.

There is more, including this:

Even if the least-bad case is regarded as slightly better than a backdown, any reasonable calculation of expected payoffs for the institutions concerned would indicate that backing down is the rational choice, in every possible case.

That doesn’t mean such a choice will be made. People aren’t generally rational, after all. Moreover, individual rationality may not be the same as institutional rationality.

The reason for this last difference - between individual rationality and institutional rationality - is that "institutional rationality" tends to be made up of non-decisions of careerists who are most interested in maintaining their jobs and looking away from individual responsibilities, but this is an aside.

Next, another subject: Privacy and spying on everyone. There is this:

This is by Robert Scheer on Truthdig, and is in fact a selection from his latest book. This is the introduction:

In an excerpt from his new book, “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy,” Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer traces the Fourth Amendment’s enshrinement of privacy rights from English common law to Facebook and a defense by Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.

Indeed it is, and it is a good article.

The last article of the present section is by David Swanson on Washington's Blog:

This is here mainly because of the following quotation from it, that does sum up what Obama's TPP (and TTIP and TiAS) are really for:

Obamatrade, which is the name not given to a potential treaty, a.k.a. the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which says that . . .

You must let foreign corporations overturn national laws.

You must throw millions of people out of work.

You must pay more for medicine.

You must allow banks to gamble on and crash the economy.

You must not know what’s in your food.

You must be censored online.

You must destroy family farming.

You must wreck the environment.

You must get paid less.

ALL OF THIS doesn’t bother anybody?

I don't agree with everything in the article, but the above seems to me a fair summary of what the TPP, TTIP and TiAS are supposed to do. Also, all of this
is meant to be kept deeply secret, is introduced through a secret process, where even members of Congress are not allowed to take notes on what they read of these "partnerships" and also are not allowed to discuss what they have read with anybody else
(for they also risk serious legal punishment if they don't follow these rules), and all of it will also remain secret the first four or five years after they are signed into "laws", all of which spells "tyranny" in my dictionary .

But this is the future Obama deeply desires, and likes to impose, in secret, on nearly everybody.

3. Corporate Capitalism Is the Foundation of Police Brutality and the
Prison State


This is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:
Our national conversation on race and crime is based on a fiction. It is the fiction that the organs of internal security, especially the judiciary and the police, can be adjusted, modernized or professionalized to make possible a post-racial America. We discuss issues of race while ignoring the economic, bureaucratic and political systems of exploitation—all of it legal and built into the ruling apparatus—that are the true engines of racism and white supremacy. No discussion of race is possible without a discussion of capitalism and class. And until that discussion takes place, despite all the proposed reforms to the criminal justice system, the state will continue to murder and imprison poor people of color with impunity.

Well...yes and no. I agree with the title, and I agree with the first sentence:

Our national conversation on race and crime is based on a fiction.

But I disagree that:

No discussion of race is possible without a discussion of capitalism and class.

For clearly "discussions of race" are possible "without a discussion of capitalism and class", and indeed racism and slavery existed for thousands of years without capitalism and without anyone being aware of "classes". [1]

And I do not say most of these discussions are or were rational (most are not, indeed) - I merely say they were and are quite possible, and existed, and indeed also they are, sometimes, probably in a minority of cases, somewhat rational. [2]

There are three pages is this article, that seem mostly based on a book by Naomi Murakawa,
The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America. I will leave them to your interest, except for two bits, that both stress how serious this is.

First, the extent:

(...) there was from 1968 to 2010 a septupling of people locked in the prison system. “Counting probation and parole with jails and prisons is even more astonishing still,” she writes. “This population grew from 780,000 in 1965 to seven million in 2010.”

In any case, there were 7 to 10 times as many prisoners in the United States in 2010 as in 1965 (and 5 times more, procentually, than in most other Western countries).

Second, the means:

A municipality in Missouri is billing people for the Tasers used against them—$26 per Taser discharge. Roughly half of all states are now charging people for the services of indigent criminal defense. A 2013 Supreme Court decision said that extended families could be held responsible for the debts of those incarcerated.

As I have said since 2005 (at the latest): I fear state terrorism very much more than private terrorism, so to speak, simply because there has been far more state terrorism than private terrorism, and it has been - for example: the KGB and the Gestapo - far more dangerous and far more murderous than any private terrorism.

Well... the last quoted paragraph is an example of state terrorism. It may be considerably worse (concentration camps, simply shooting offenders without trial, or after a summary trial by their executioners) but you should not be punished for police actions; you should have the right to good lawyers also if you cannot pay them; and your family should not be made responsible for the debts you made.

4. Conclusion

Since I can't upload this today, and I don't yet know how long that will last, there is also this: I will try to keep up writing Nederlogs for later publication, that depends on my being able to upload them, but they probably will be briefer.

For as I said, while the main reason that you cannot read this since June 30, 2015, is that I can't upload, it is also a fact that I need to do quite a few other things than computing, while my health is currently - and since 2 months - worse than it was since 2012, and also there has started a period with tropical temperatures in Amsterdam, which I tend not to cope well with.

These temperatures ceased today, which will help me (for the last days simply were too hot for me).

-----------------------------------------------------------
Notes

[1] In case you have read considerably more of this - quite large - site, you will know that my parents were - honest, sincere and brave - communists, which is a political faith I gave up when I was 20. One of the things I heard a whole lot about in my first 20 years was "class struggle".

Well... I suppose I must be sorry, but I don't really believe in classes, or perhaps rather: I think they are nearly always the wrong abstraction. People live in face groups (of which they know most members, and in which they also are born), and these they know. The term "class" is vastly more general than "(face) group"; it is quite abstract; and it also is usually not defined and presumed as-if-obvious.

I don't think the existence of "classes" is obvious, though I clearly agree that there are a few rich people amidst a majority of poor people. Then again, if that
is what you mean, you should call them thus: The rich and the poor. This also is at least a bit clearer than "capitalist class" and "proletarian class" (and "middle class").

[2] For one example, from the Wikipedia:
Granville Sharp (10 November 1735 – 6 July 1813) was one of the first English campaigners for the abolition of the slave trade. He also involved himself in trying to correct other social injustices. (...) He was also a biblical scholar and classicist, and a talented musician.
This was before the days of capitalism, and before the social concept of "class" was introduced.

Here is some more, also from the Wikipedia:
Sharp is best known for his untiring efforts for the abolition of slavery, although he was involved in many other causes, fired by a dislike of any social or legal injustice.
(..)
In 1769 Sharp published A Representation of the Injustice and Dangerous Tendency of Tolerating Slavery ..., the first tract in England attacking slavery.
(..)
When Sharp heard that the Act of Abolition had at last been passed by both Houses of Parliament and given Royal Assent on 25 March 1807, he fell to his knees and offered a prayer of thanksgiving. He was now 71, and had outlived almost all of the allies and opponents of his early campaigns. He was regarded as the grand old man of the abolition struggle, and although a driving force in its early days, his place had later been taken by others such as Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect. Sharp however did not see the final abolition as he died on 6 July 1813.
Indeed, slavery was abolished in England in 1833 (and in Holland in 1865).

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