July 24, 2015
Crisis: Eric Holder, Food Labelling, Beppe Grillo, Responsibility of Intellectuals
"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


Shame on Eric Holder, Wall Street's Attorney General
2. 'Corporate Influence Has Won': House Passes Anti-GMO   
     Labeling Bill
3. Beppe Grillo calls for nationalisation of Italian banks and
    exit from euro

4. The Responsibility of Intellectuals

This is a Nederlog of Friday July 24, 2015.

There are 4 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about Eric Holder, who was a corrupt fraud as attorney general, and who now is growing rich; item 2 is about
a law that blocks U.S. states from requiring labelling genetically modified foods (which is a big advantage for the big corporations); item 3 is about Beppe Grillo
who calls for nationalising Italian banks in response to Greece; and item 4 is about Noam Chomsky, in part about a recent video and in part about an article he published in 1966, "The Responsibility of Intellectuals".

1. Shame on Eric Holder, Wall Street's Attorney General

The first article today is by Clara Herzberg on Truthout:

This starts as follows:

Well, well, well. Eric Holder is returning to his cushy job at Covington & Burling where he reportedly pulled in $2.5 million the last year he was there. Holder didn't think it was strange he was returning to one of Wall Street's most highly regarded defense firms after all the bankers he let breezily carry on with fraud, bribery, money laundering, tax evasion and plenty of other very prosecutable offenses during his tenure as US attorney general.

Holder explained simply: "The firm's emphasis on pro bono work and being engaged in the civic life of this country is consistent with my worldview that lawyers need to be socially active." Yeah, and what about the $2.5 million, Mr. Holder? That's got nothing to do with it surely.

Holder had just spent six years in Washington handing out slaps on the wrist to financial institutions that claimed they were "too big to fail" while secretly receiving government assistance. His help almost certainly amounted to billions of dollars of aid to Wall Street. Now he's trotting back on his high horse to go collect millions for his top position in the firm.

Yes, indeed. He was a corrupt fraud, in simple factually adequate terms. The above continues:
There should be a massive public outcry, an uproar reverberating across social media, demanding this issue be scrutinized by the federal government in an inquiry with a fine-toothed comb. But what is the actual response? A few articles in various magazines and newspapers, and that's about it, ladies and gentlemen! Even those articles refused to point the finger at President Obama for tolerating in his administration someone who consistently toed Wall Street's line.
Quite so. The rest of the article explains why he was "Wall Street's attorney general" and is very well worth reading. Recommended!

2. 'Corporate Influence Has Won': House Passes Anti-GMO Labeling Bill

The next article today is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation that would block states from requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods, or GMOs—a move that consumer rights groups decried as corporate power defeating Americans' right to know what's in their food.

The bill, H.R. 1599—dubbed the “DARK Act” (Deny Americans the Right to Know) by its critics—passed 275-150.

It was backed by the food industry, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Monsanto Company, which have poured money into defeating GMO labeling initiatives.

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, a group that opposed the bill, explains: "The bill that passed includes provisions that would preempt states from labeling GMOs or enforce already passed GMO labeling provisions (like Vermont’s Act 120), and would prohibit states from having any oversight of GMO crops, for example, a county-wide ban on growing GMOs or GMO-free zones in certain organic seed-producing areas. Instead, this bill would create a voluntary federal GMO labeling standard for companies, weakening already deficient regulations."

Why is this here? We need food, and in order to have some idea about what we eat we need reliable information. But not according to Monsanto and the House of Representatives: The less consumers know, the less they will protest.

Also, on a personal note: I am ill since January 1, 1979. In the beginning - until Wessely, is a fair qualification: he is one of the (English) professional liars who are psychiatrists [1] - it was admitted my ex (who also fell ill, and also didn't get better) were genuinely ill, if only because there are unexplained diseases, and we, who were quite bright first year students studying on student loans, had no reason whatsoever to be ill.

In 1989 I found out, by accident (via a BBC program) that I probably had M.E. At that time, Wessely had started his campaign to declare all patients with M.E. insane, but I hadn't heard of him. He (and others, also psychiatrists or clinical psychologists) achieved that persons with M.E. are treated as frauds and scams,
and that their disease is no disease because it is not in the medical handbooks.

It's all fraudulent bullshit (and I have qualified as an M.A. psychology with only straight A's) but try telling that to a bureaucrat (without any degree, or indeed normally without any intelligence and anyway without any knowledge of real science).

So I did not get helped for 35 years...

What does this have to do with GMO?

Probably nothing, since my disease started 37 years ago, but since the cause is still unknown, I may very well be a victim of something that industrial corporations have added to the air, the water or the food I must consume to stay alive, and the only way to be able to know and test that, is to know what has been added to the air, the water or the food since the 1950ies (which is an enormous amount, the interactions of which are mostly unknown and not studied).

Here is one more bit from the above article:

Environmental Working Group (EWG) was also opposed to the bill, and cited widespread public support for labeling GMOs. 

"It’s outrageous that some House lawmakers voted to ignore the wishes of nine out of 10 Americans," said Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs for EWG.

The outcome of the vote was a "foregone conclusion," he continued, because "this House was bought and paid for by corporate interests."

Yes, I agree.

Beppe Grillo calls for nationalisation of Italian banks and exit from euro

The next article today is by Stephanie Kirchgaessner on The Guardian:
This has a subtitle or summary:
Five Star Movement’s populist leader compares Greek bailout talks to ‘explicit nazism’ and says Italy must use its €2tn debt as leverage against Germany
And in case you do not know who is Beppe Grillo (<- Wikipedia), that is a link. (I do not know how good it is: I know who is Beppe Grillo, but I do not know much about Italian politics.)

Here is the beginning of the article:

The populist leader of Italy’s second largest political party has called for the nationalisation of Italian banks and exit from the euro, and said the country should prepare to use its “enormous debt” as a weapon against Germany.

Former comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo, who transformed Italian politics when he launched his anti-establishment Five Star Movement in 2009, has long been a bombastic critic of the euro.

But his stance hardened significantly in a blogpost on Thursday in which he compared the Greek bailout negotiations to “explicit nazism”.

Grillo constructed what he called a “Plan B” for Italy, which he said needed to heed the lessons of Greece so that it was ready “when the debtors come round”.

His plan called for Italy to adopt a clear anti-euro stance and to shake off its belief that – if forced to accept tough austerity – other “peripheral” countries would come to its aid.

There is also this:

Setting aside Grillo’s colourful language and analogies, analyst Vincenzo Scarpetta of Open Europe said there was some merit to his arguments.

“That blogpost does have some elements of truth,” Scarpetta said. “The lesson from Greece was that if you want to be in the eurozone you have to agree to rules of austerity.”

And it is also mentioned that

(...) about 40% of Italians are at least sympathetic to anti-euro sentiments.

There is considerably more in the article (that doesn't seem very objective to me,
but as I said: I do not know much about Italian politics).

4. The Responsibility of Intellectuals

The final article today is by Noam Chomsky (<- Wikipedia) and is in fact from 1966, but I didn't know it till yesterday, and therefore I guess few do. I'll link it first, and then explain why I think it is important, and also give an additional link:
In fact, I found the above article thanks to a video I watched yesterday, which I found quite interesting (and is from this year):
I did watch all of it, but the part I am going to quote starts at 58.40. Here is the quote, which started with a reference to "The Responsibility of Intellectuals":

It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies. Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyse actions according to their causes and motives, and often hidden intentions. In the Western world, at least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access to information and freedom of expression. For a priviliged minority Western democracy provides the leisure, the facilities and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the veils of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class-interest through which the events of current history are presented to us.

This was read as quotation. I liked it, but I did not find it in the above linked essay (it probably is composed from bits and pieces), which starts thus (and this is the first paragraph, that is not quoted fully):
IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies. This, at least, may seem enough of a truism to pass over without comment. Not so, however. For the modern intellectual, it is not at all obvious. Thus we have Martin Heidegger writing, in a pro-Hitler declaration of 1933, that "truth is the revelation of that which makes a people certain, clear, and strong in its action and knowledge"; it is only this kind of "truth" that one has a responsibility to speak. 

The facts are known to all who care to know. The press, foreign and domestic, has presented documentation to refute each falsehood as it appears. But the power of the government's propaganda apparatus is such that the citizen who does not undertake a research project on the subject can hardly hope to confront government pronouncements with fact.
To start with the second statement of this: I was educated at the University of Amsterdam on the basis of this explicit total and self-contradictory lie:
"Everybody knows that truth does not exist."
This was said in a special public speech opening the academic year of 1978-79;
it was accepted and applauded by everyone who heard the speech, except by myself and my ex, who also were there, and it turned up again, and again, and again, and again (and again for hundreds or thousands of times) and always was accepted (!) always as if it were a self-evident truism (!!) by almost everyone I spoke with in the University of Amsterdam between 1978 and 1988.

By 1988 (I had not studied part of the intervening years, because of illness and troubles) I was so sick of it that I decided to ask 39 questions when I was invited as a public speaker in the faculty of philosophy, when I was briefly before taking my M.A. there.

What happened then was that I was scolded publicly by at least 16 academically employed "philosophers" as a "fascist" (the favorite swear word at the time in the UvA: this had happened many times before, because I also had been in student politics) and also by some (after the "academic philosophers" lost their discussions with me) as a "terrorist" - and I was removed from the faculty and denied the right to take an M.A. there, which decisions were also upheld by the Board of Directors of the UvA.

So... my grandfather had been murdered in a Nazi concentration camp for being "a political terrorist" (he was in the communist resistance against Nazism) in WW II; my father had survived 3 years, 9 months and 15 days i
n four Nazi concentration camps for being "a political terrorist" (he was in the communist resistance against Nazism), and I was removed as "a fascist terrorist" briefly before taking an philosophy, because I had questioned the thesis that "everybody knows truth does not exist" in an invited public speech....

Also, many of the "academic philosophers" - all total incompetents - were followers of Martin Heidegger, who since has been shown to be an out and out Nazi. (And see the fine 
Heil Heidegger! by Carlin Romano, from 2009.)

That was not yet the case in 1966 (when Chomsky wrote about him) nor in 1988, but has been established since. What was clear in 1988 was that the utterly incompetent whores of reason who were supposed to be my teachers did have a Heideggerian conception of "truth": it does not exist or it amounts to Nazi- propaganda:
"the revelation of that which makes a people certain, clear, and
 strong in its action and knowledge"

which indeed was in Heidegger's time the propaganda of Goebbels supporting Hitler and preparing the murder of 6 million Jews.

But Heidegger was (and probably still is) "the philosophical genius" who was widely admired by the incompetent liars, the sick moral degenerates,  who removed me from the right of at least taking an M.A. in philosophy (which made me in fact an M.A. in psychology, mostly because I had a B.A. in that as well, though that is also a pseudo-science (apart from statistics and some metho- dology: my degree was taken on mathematics, logic and physics).

I agree - after the fact - that is was a great mistake of me to address the fascist terrorists who were supposed to teach me philosophy. Indeed, I was not sufficiently aware that, as Chomsky says in the above video:

Take almost any society you like and you'll find there is a fringe of critical dissidents and they are usually subjected to some form of punishment. There's harsh repression of people who are critical of established power. And that goes back as far as you like.

I was punished - quite cruelly and quite sadistically also - because I believe in truth and publicly said so.    

[1] Psychiatry is not a real science. It is a massive system of fraudulence and deception. You may disagree but (i) probably you are not medically or psychologically qualified (I am) and (ii) very probably you know a whole lot less about psychiatry and psychology and philosophy (of science) and statistics than I do. Anyway: In case you want to know about psychiatry, try this - it is long, but
I think it is quite good:
DSM-5: Question 1 of "The six most essential questions in psychiatric diagnosis" (And no, I am also not by far the only one who says psychiatry is not a real science. But I am one of the extremely few with an - excellent - M.A. in psychology and an excellent degree in philosophy who says so...)

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