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. My Teacher
Human Resources Manipulates and Spies on You,
Even While You’re Not at Work
3. SPIEGEL Interview with
Julian Assange: 'We Are
Drowning in Material'
4. Wesley Clark Calls for
Internment Camps for
is a Nederlog of Tuesday July 21, 2015.
This is a
crisis blog. There are 4 items with 5 dotted links: Item
1 is about an article of Chris Hedges on his teacher (with a
disagreement about my sincerity); item 2 is a good
article about how "human resources" in many corporations spy
on their employees; item 3 is about a good
interview with Julian Assange; and item 4 is about
general Clark's desire to lock up dissenters from the US government in
The first article
today is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This is indeed about a
teacher of Chris Hedges: The late Rev. Coleman Brown, who was a
Christian minister who taught religion at Colgate University, and who
much inspired Chris Hedges, and who also taught him a lot, including
being an effective preacher.
As regular readers of Nederlog probably know, I like Chris Hedges: He
is a fine writer, with great courage, and - what I regard as - good
principles, but I certainly do not always agree with him, and religion
is one topic of considerable disagree- ments, for Chris Hedges is a
Christian, who recently also became a minister, and who has said and
written repeatedly that he doesn't believe in atheists.
It so happens that I am an atheist and a
philosopher; that my parents
were atheists; that three of my four grandparents were atheists; and
that my mother's family were atheists since the 1850ies, which they
became after the Catholic church had swindled them out of their farm,
then at the border of Amsterdam.
So I will have something to say about atheism and religion, but
will quote and comment three bits of this article, and I will do this
(unlike most of my quotations, that generally follow the order in which
they were written) in reverse order.
First then (but last in the article), there is this about Coleman Brown:
A descendant of
John Brown, he placed at the center of his critique of American
society the poison of white supremacy and the nightmare of racism that
had been and remains part of our body politic. Being educated meant
understanding how racism and white supremacy were ingrained in the
beliefs, institutions, laws and systems of power—especially
capitalism—that ruled America.
I say. I like John
Brown, as you can see here (which
was preceded by a considerably longer Nederlog on On
Thoreau (on John Brown)).
I do not know how much this says about Coleman Brown, but if he was
of his ancestor, he had a right to be, for while John Brown was hanged
for violently opposing slavery, his action also was an important
trigger (though not the only one) for starting the American Civil
that ended slavery.
Next, here is one bit on Coleman Brown's opinions that I personally
like, because I was exposed to "New Criticism" in high school, which I
found utter trash, and especially because it pretended to be
"scientific" (in a never clearly explained sense):
Coleman had open
disdain for New
the evisceration of texts into sterile pieces of pedantry that fled
from the mysterious, sacred forces that great writers struggle to
articulate. You had to love great writing before you attempted to
analyze it. You had to be moved and inspired by it. You had to be
captured by the human imagination.
Yes, indeed - and few persons are capable of
recognizing great writing by themselves, alas. (This is why I am such a
fan of William
Hazlitt: He was a
very great writer - but still is recognized by few, and hardly read.)
As the last quotation, there is this eloquent bit on education:
Education is not
only about knowledge. It is about inspiration. It is about passion. It
is about the belief that what we do in life matters. It is about moral
choice. It is about taking nothing for granted. It is about challenging
assumptions and suppositions. It is about truth and justice. It is
about learning how to think. It is about, as James
Baldwin wrote, the ability to drive “to the heart of every matter
and expose the question the answer hides.” And, as Baldwin further
noted, it is about making the world “a more human dwelling place.”
Yes, indeed - but the
least this approach to education requires is truly intelligent
students, with initiative and courage, and again such students are
fairly to very rare. 
Finally, about religion and atheism.
I will not give my reasons for being an atheist, although these are
quite logical: If interested, you can find them in my Philosophical
Dictionary, e.g. under religion, God, Faith and atheism.
In fact, I only want to make one point: There are thousands of
religions, and there have been many intelligent men and women who could
not believe the religion they were educated in, all through history
also, and quite a few of
these (though certainly not all) ended up as atheists, skeptics or agnostics.
And while I think - as a philosopher also, and that is a subject in
which I am more learned than Chris Hedges - that Chris Hedges is
mistaken, I see no reason to doubt his belief and his
sincerity and his considerable knowledge of theology (of which he knows
a lot more than I do).
For these and other reasons I object that Chris Hedges doubts my
sincerity and my beliefs and those of millions of others who
also are sincere and intelligent atheists: it just isn't fair
to deny them the sincerity of their beliefs, while insisting
that those who believe in some God (out of the thousands there
have been, in the imaginations of millions: surely nearly all of them
must be wrong that their God -Mohammedam, Hinduistic, Catholic,
you name it - is the true God) must - somehow - be sincere.
It just isn't polite and I know that in my case and quite
a few others (all of whom gave up the hope of a blissful infinity in
God's heaven, at His side - and Bertrand Russell
is a good example) it simply is false. 
Resources Manipulates and Spies on You, Even While You’re Not at Work
The next article today is by Glynis Sweeny on AlterNet:
This is a very good
article that starts as follows:
It comes to no
surprise to most people that corporate Human Resources departments work
in conjunction with IT to monitor employee activities at the workplace.
They monitor your movements with keycards and video cameras; they register when you
log in and out of your work computer; and they even track your
keystrokes, your email (including your personal account) and web
browsing on their workstations. It can be argued that they have the
right, as it is their equipment and you are on company time. However,
more and more workers are being spied on and manipulated by Human
Resources in more insidious ways, and they probably don’t even know it.
Here are five.
I'd say that it is evident
an employer does not have the right they have assigned to
themselves, in many cases, to spy on their employees, but undoubtedly
they do, it seems because they can, just like the NSA.
The rest of the article discusses these things that many employers do:
monitor your personal electronics.
These are just the
section headings: there is a fair amount of text in the article under
They track and manipulate your social
3. They demand
access to your private online accounts.
They engage in social engineering.
creating prison environments.
I do recommend that you read the article, though I grant that it may
make you quite depressed. I think an employer has none of "the rights"
they assign to themselves, but without good laws (that are not in
sight) many employers will
spy on their employees all they can: it is worth money to them, and
their employees are merely their wage-slaves about whom they know
everything and to whom they only owe a salary, and no decency or
Interview with Julian Assange: 'We Are Drowning in Material'
The next article
by Michael Sontheimer on Spiegel On Line:
This is a good and
fairly long interview, for which Michael Sontheimer also travelled to
the Ecuadorian Embassy, where Assange has been locked up for
three years now.
I will quote three bits from a lot more.
First, there is this about new Wikileaks publications and
SPIEGEL: So we can
expect new publications?
Assange: We are
drowning in material now. Economically, the challenge for WikiLeaks is
whether we can scale up our income in proportion to the amount of
material we have to process.
ago, when WikiLeaks was founded, you could read on its website: "The
goal is justice. The method is transparency." This is the old idea of
Enlightenment born in the 18th century. But if you look at brutal
political regimes and ruthless big corporations, isn't that slogan too
idealistic? Is transparency enough?
Assange: To be
I don't like the word transparency; cold dead glass is transparent. I
prefer education or understanding, which are more human.
That Wikileaks is
"drowning in material" is good to know, not because of the drowning but
because of its eventual publication, and Assange is quite right about
"transparency": it tends to be a bullshit term.
And indeed I favor "The
goal is justice. The method is education."
Next, there is this about
SPIEGEL: The work
WikiLeaks seems to have changed. In the beginning it just published
secret documents. More recently, you have also been providing context
for the documents.
Assange: We have
done this. I have personally written thousands of pages of analysis.
WikiLeaks is a giant library of the world's most persecuted documents.
We give asylum to these documents, analyze them, promote them and
obtain more. WikiLeaks has more than 10 million documents and
associated analyses now.
I say. I didn't know
there are as many, and it is good to know they are and have been
analysed and contextualized.
Finally, there is
this bit about censorship:
SPIEGEL: Are the
personnel of the US government and the US Army still technically
blocked from using your library?
still a taboo object for some parts of the government. Firewalls were
set up. Every federal government employee and every contractor received
an e-mail stating that if they read something from WikiLeaks including
through the New York Times website, they have to
remove this from their computer immediately and self-report. They had
to cleanse and confess. That's a new McCarthy hysteria.
Yes, indeed: it is
much like McCarthy, except that these days it is the US government that
does it, and it has very much more power over and knowledge
of the people it spies upon.
There is a whole lot
more in the interview, and I recommend tyou to read all of it: it is
done and informative.
4. Wesley Clark Calls for Internment Camps for
The final article
by Murtaza Hussain on The Intercept, and is rather amazing:
This starts as follows:
Retired general and
Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark on Friday called for
World War II-style internment camps to be revived for “disloyal
Americans.” In an interview
with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts in the wake of the mass shooting in
Chatanooga, Tennessee, Clark said that during World War II, “if
someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we
didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were
prisoners of war.”
He called for a revival
internment camps to help combat Muslim extremism, saying, “If
these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States
and they are disloyal to the United States as a matter of principle,
fine. It’s their right and it’s our right and obligation to segregate
them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.”
The link (to the interview) works, and it is well worth seeing and not long.
First, about these so-called "internment camps". This reminded me of
the following bit by George Carlin:
you do have rights, one last assignment for you. Next time you're at
the computer, get on the Internet, go to Wikipedia. When you get to
Wikipedia, in the search field for Wikipedia, I want you to type in
"Japanese Americans 1942" and you'll find out all about your precious
fucking rights, Okay? All right. You know about it. In 1942, there were
110,000 Japanese American citizens in good standing, law-abiding people
who were thrown into internment camps simply because their parents were
born in the wrong country. That's all they did wrong. They had no right
to a lawyer, no right to a fair trial, no right to a jury of their
peers no right to due process of any kind. The only right they had:
"Right this way" into the internment camps! Just when these American
citizens needed their rights the most, their government took them away!
And rights aren't rights if someone can take them away. They're
privileges. That's all we've ever had in this country, is a bill of
temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know
that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. You see all, sooner
or later. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize
the government does not give a fuck about them! The government doesn't
care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or
your safety. It simply does not give a fuck about you! It's interested
in its own power. That's the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it
Next, about these so-called "internment camps". The link
George Carlin spoke about is this one:
And this starts as follows
(quoted minus note numbers):
Quite possibly, this was
a bit more serious than what Wesley Clark may have in mind, for the
schema was: "if your parents are Japanese, then you can't be trusted,
and because it is war, we lock you up before we know you did or even
intended to do anything the government doesn't like", whereas Clark's
schema seems to be: "if you disagree with our heroic government, you
should be locked
The internment of
Japanese Americans in the United States was the forced relocation and
incarceration during World
War II of between 110,000 and 120,000
people of Japanese ancestry who lived on the
Pacific coast in camps in the interior of the country. Sixty-two
percent of the internees were United States citizens.
The U.S. government ordered the removal of Japanese Americans in 1942,
shortly after Imperial Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.
Such incarceration was
unequally due to differing population concentrations and, more
importantly, state and regional politics: more than 110,000 Japanese
Americans, nearly all who lived on the West Coast, were forced into
interior camps, but in Hawaii, where the 150,000-plus
Japanese Americans comprised over one-third of the population, only
1,200 to 1,800 were interned.
The forced relocation and incarceration has been determined to have
resulted more from racism and discrimination among whites on the West
Coast, rather than any military danger posed by the Japanese Americans.
up (especially if you are a Muslim)", which at least seems to
those fit for "internment camps" must have done something, for - it
seems - they
must have dissented from the most heroic government there is in
the world, but then I do recall history, for it went quite similarly in
Within two weeks of Hitler's coming to power, he had created his first concentration
camp in Dachau, and started to fill it with people who dissented
from his heroic plans, especially communists, socialists and
Especially the Jews were very badly treated, and this also
became rapidly known,
which was part of their function: to install fear in the population. My
father - who survived four German concentration camps - told me that
one of his main reasons for becoming a communist was that he knew about
these camps from 1934 onwards and was abhorred by them, as indeed were many others.
That is, unless they were the Dutch government or Dutch
These pretended to be neutral, and also saw little fundamentally wrong
with Hitler or Nazism (a passing German political fashion), and
therefore they returned many Jews, communists and socialists,
who had fled to Holland, to the Gestapo, from 1933 till 1940, and
especially if they had no or little money.
It appears to me this is rather similar, though I am willing to
believe that general Clark (ret.) doesn't quite want a Guantánomo, at
least yet, although that is a concentration camp maintained by
his own former colleagues.
In any case, it seems that general Clark (ret.) doesn't believe in rights, for he
wants to take them away from people who dared to dissent - "radically",
which he doesn't define - from his
Jul 22, 2015: Corrected the day (it was Tuesday yesterday) and a
 I know I have been educated in the University of
Amsterdam that "everybody knows all human beings are equal" and also
that "everybody knows that truth does not exist", but I am sorry: That
was utter crap. All people are different, physically,
intellectually and morally, and there are both extremely intelligent
and extremely stupid people. I agree that it is very good to give
everybody equal rights, in part because that is the fairest way
to deal with individual differences, but that I was not told at
the University of Amsterdam, where I was told - very many times
also - that, by direct logical implication, Hitler and Einstein
Also, I have met but few truly intelligent students, with initiative and courage,
I am very sorry to say, though I have seen and talked with many.
 Incidentally: I am also quite willing to agree with
Hedges that it is not true that all atheists are
sincere, just as it is not true that all people who
profess a religion are sincere. But I definitely disbelieve in Hedges'
disbelief in the sincerity of atheists, for I have known quite a few
quite sincere atheists, and was also raised by them, which very
probably helped my own atheism.