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."
Corbyn won. Handle it better
2. Pope's climate push is 'raving
population control, says top
3. The Volkswagen Fraud
4. A Progressive Pope or
Greenwashing the Vatican?
This is a Nederlog
September 27, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. This has 4 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1
is about an interesting article about Jeremy Corbyn, with an excellent
term for the class of political careerists
that currently make politics: The caste; item 2
is about one part of the pope's message about climate change; item 3 has two dotted items about the enormous
corruption in the top of Volkswagen, which the same - renewed -
top tries to shift a lot lower, quite falsely in my and others'
opinion; and item 4 is about another part of the
pope's message about climate change (and I think both are true: he is a
progressive; he tries to greenwash Catholicism a bit; but he remains a
pope, and is not a real radical, nor a social democrat nor a socialist).
Incidentally: Is this too much on the pope? I think not, for he heads
1,2 billion Catholics, and he is fairly outspoken, with some good
ideas. (But yes, he remains
a pope, and quite a few seem to read more in his messages than there
Also, what about Volkswagen in the crisis series? I think it is quite
apt, in fact: At least 11 million cars have been frauded with, and
Volkswagen may not be the only car company who tried to fraud the tests.
Anyway, here goes:
won. Handle it better
article today is by Ronan Bennett
(<- Wikipedia) on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Once in a lifetime – once
in a very long lifetime – the political stars align. With Jeremy
Corbyn’s election to the Labour leadership, suddenly there is hope.
Hope for the chronically sick whose benefits have been withdrawn. Hope
for the stressed-out commuter contemplating the latest train
cancellation or fare rise. Hope for low-paid workers denied employment
rights or union protection.
There is hope, too, for
the women and children locked up in Yarl’s Wood because they are poor and desperate. Hope for students
and the parents of students who are forced to take on ever more debt.
Hope for those in need of social housing and protection from rapacious
landlords; for those deemed to have a bedroom too many; for exhausted
doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff in hospitals, for overworked
teachers. There is hope for the environment.
Actually, there is more
hope in the article, which is well worth reading in full,
but I leave that to your interests.
But yes, I agree with this
increase in hope, and I also say this is basically due to (1) Jeremy
Corbyn's rather unique outspoken classical leftist position
inside - and also before - the Blatcherist "New Labour" that Blair
created - and before going on to the second point, this is from the
Wikipedia lemma on Blatcherism:
can be defined as an emphasis on free-market policies, support for privatisation or the
private ownership of former public services, a monetarist/neo-classical
economics economic policy, and a retention of anti-trade union
legislation. A convergence of such policies between the Labour and Conservative parties first emerged
when Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party.
Blair was elected Leader of the Labour Party in July 1994 following the
sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith.
Under Blair's leadership the party abandoned many policies it had held
for decades and embraced many of the measures enacted during Thatcher's
tenure a who always lies and
deceibess Prime Minister,
including the Building Societies (deregulation) Act of 1986. Blair, in
conjunction with Peter Mandelson, Gordon
Brown and Alastair Campbell, created the New
Labour ethos by embracing many aspects of Thatcherite beliefs into
Labour as the "Third Way".
That seems to me to be
And here is point (2), for
it is not only Jeremy Corbyn: It was also due to the
Blatcherist "New Labour" created by the mega-millionaire (estimated at
50 million pounds + 30 million), Catholic, Tory-lite careerist
and warmonger, the utterly hypocritical Tony Blair (and his three careerist
friends, mentioned above) .
So taking both points
together, I do believe that the resurgence of hope and the
number of new members of Labour (which is not the same as "New
Labour", which is the Tory-lite careerist
instrument of hypocritical careerists like Tony Blair) are due to
Corbyn's defeat of the Blairites (<-
Wikipedia, and there are many), and the hope that this may lead to a renewed
and really leftist Labour Party.
Next, there is this:
Is this too much? Are
these hopes misplaced? Not to judge from the reaction of what Pablo Iglesias, the Podemos leader, terms “la
casta”, the caste – the political class whose sense of entitlement and
undisguised condescension betrays its conviction that its members – and
its members alone – have the right to pull the levers of power.
As to the hope: Clearly,
Corbyn can't do it alone. I agree there is a lot more hope, but to realize
those hopes, or a considerable part of it, needs a lot of work and
caste: That is an excellent term, and refers to a
phenomenon I first became aware of in 1995, when the Dutch "New
Labourist" "Quim Cock" (pronounced precisely as written, except
for a missing "q") became prime minister in the Dutch Tory+New Labour
cabinet (a feat repeated by the ever lying hypocritical Dutch careerist
In fact, I think most of
the political elite that governs Europe - no more than at most
several thousands of parliamentarians - belong to the caste, and are careerists
pure and simple, and may indeed well be secretly paid for
their specific votes, although I do not know this.
What I do know -
and this is one of the reasons I don't vote - is that I trust only very
few of them, and I can't think of almost anyone who is longer than ten
years or so "a prominent politician" - often switching between special
professorates and high-ranking political jobs, at least in Holland -
whom I believe is not a pure careerist.
But what about Labour?
Specifically, with conference under way, what about the parliamentary
Labour party? Tens of thousands of people have flocked to the party
because of the hopes Corbyn has inspired. Will MPs embrace the wave of
new members and work with Corbyn and McDonnell? It has to be said, the
signs are not encouraging.
I agree - but if I am right
the Blatcherists have succeeded, in 21 years also, to replace most
genuine leftists, genuine socialists and genuine social democrats by
their own type of money-hungry political careerists, who
also nicely performed as instructed from above - and see Blatcherism.
And I think the following
is true of most of the Blatcherists who owe their parliamentary careers
to "New Labour":
Many, I suspect,
are simply hoping that he will implode and that the whole horrible,
regrettable episode will pass and a suitably shiny PR-friendly
replacement will be found from among the caste.
And this still may happen,
though I hope not. Finally, here is Ronan Bennett's reason to vote for
This is about a
mood in the country. It is about a mood across Europe. People have been
up close and personal with free-market capitalism for a long time now.
They know exactly what it is. They know what it does to lives and
communities – to whole countries. And they want it gone. That is why
they voted for Corbyn.
I hope he is right.
2. Pope's climate push is 'raving nonsense' without population
control, says top US scientist
article today is
by Suzanne Goldenberg on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I agree to that, though I have
a few notes on Paul
Ehrlich (<- Wikipedia).
One of America’s leading
scientists has dismissed as “raving nonsense” the pope’s call for
action on climate change – so long as the leader of the world’s 1
billion Catholics rejects the need for population control.
In a commentary in the journal Nature Climate Change,
Paul Ehrlich, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the
Environment, argues that Pope Francis is simply wrong in trying to
fight climate change without also addressing the additional strain on
global resources from population rise. “That’s raving nonsense,”
Ehrlich told the Guardian. “He is right on some things but he is just
dead wrong on that.”
But first a graphic that shows he is right about the human population:
The growth of the human population in 12,000 years.
Clicking leads to the original.
From 10,000 BC until AD 1 there was little growth; from AD1 to 1000 to
around 1950, when there were around 2,5 billion human beings, there was
considerable growth; since then it has exponentially increased in 65
years to over 7 billion (about 3 times as much in a mere 65 years).
Next, about Ehrlich. I read his "The Population Bomb" - I think
the original 1968 edition - around 1973, from which I learned that
(quoted minus a note number from the lemma on Ehrlich):
edition of The Population Bomb began with this statement: "The
battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of
millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs
embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial
increase in the world death rate ..."
This prediction turned out by the end of the 1970s to have been
I was somewhat skeptical then,
but more inclined to believe him then than I am now, or indeed since
the late 1970s. Then there is this, quoted from the same source (and
again quoted minus a note number):
During a 2004
interview, Ehrlich answered questions about the predictions he made in The
Population Bomb. He acknowledged that some of what he had written
had not "come to pass", but reaffirmed his basic view that
over-population is a major problem. He noted that, "Fifty-eight
academies of science said that same thing in 1994, as did the world
scientists' warning to humanity in the same year. My view has become
depressingly mainline!" Ehrlich
also stated that 600 million people were very hungry, billions were
under-nourished, and that his predictions about disease and climate
change were essentially correct.
Retrospectively, Ehrlich believes that The Population Bomb was
"way too optimistic".
As I have tried to indicate, a
considerable number of Ehrlich's early predictions failed, but I do
agree that his basic prediction, based on over-population,
still seems quite sound to me.
Then there is this in the article:
Ehrlich, in his
Nature Climate Change commentary, accuses Francis of a dangerous flaw
in his indictment of consumerism and its effects on the poor and the
environment. The pope had fallen for the usual clerical “obsession”
with contraception and abortion – when he could have instead broken new
ground on the Catholic church’s approaches to women’s reproductive
rights and family planning.
I agree - and see the graphic.
Finally, there is also this:
Those thrilled by the pope’s
intervention on climate change – and Ehrlich counts himself among them
– were troubled by Francis’s refusal to countenance the need to limit
population, the scientist said. “It is crystal clear. No one concerned
with the state of the planet and the state of the global economy can
avoid dealing with population. It is the elephant in the room,” he said.
Indeed, Francis in
the encyclical explicitly rejects the idea of population growth as a
strain on global resources. “Demographic growth is fully compatible
with an integral and shared development,” the pope wrote. “To blame
population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the
part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.”
Then again, he is the pope,
and he can't discard the Catholic teachings. But I do agree with
Ehrlich here, although I know he has been mistaken on quite a few of
his more specific predictions: There simply are too many human beings
to decently feed, dress and warm all, given the present technical and
Ehrlich said that was a
mistake. The global population, now over 7 billion, is projected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050 according to the United
Nations. “There is no competent scientist who would say there is not a
problem with population growth. In other words, the pope is dead wrong.
Here he is following an antique doctrine that it is impossible to
change,” Ehrlich said. “I am sure he knows better, he is not a dope.”
The Volkswagen Fraud
next article today is
by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
This starts as
officials on Friday cast blame for the company's large-scale diesel
emissions-fixing scandal on a small number of unidentified and
relatively low-level engineers and technicians.
statements issued at the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg,
Germany, new CEO Matthias Müller condemned the "unlawful behavior of
engineers and technicians involved in engine development."
Müller, former head of
Porsche, took over after Martin Winterkorn resigned
from the position of CEO earlier this week claiming he is "not aware"
of any wrongdoing on his part.
The company built a
software "defeat device" that allowed cars to cheat on emissions
control tests and spew up to 40 times the level of pollutants legally
permitted. The scandal is now known to have affected 11 million cars
I say?! What
interests did these "engineers and technicians" have for fraud? Did they
profit from the sales of Volkswagens? Clearly not, I'd say: Those who
did were the very top, and therefore it is far more likely that
the very top initiated the major fraud.
Besides, while at
present 11 million Volkswagens are far more polluting than their
fraudulent tests indicated, I see no reason to assume only
Volkswagen frauded with its tests, indeed precisely because it is very
profitable to cheat both customers and states
by selling a car that is reputed to be very soft on the environment,
while in fact it isn't.
But leaving the other
car companies alone for the moment, here is someone else who reacted as
political blogger Kevin Drum wrote
Saturday that he is not buying the company's claims.
"This is ridiculous,"
Drum argued. "What incentive do low-level engineers and technicians
have to do this on their own?"
"Hell, they couldn't even
take on a project like this unless their managers OKed the time to do
it, and their managers wouldn't do it unless they were being pressed by
higher-ups," Drum continued. "Anybody who's ever worked at a big
corporation knows this perfectly well."
Precisely! Here is
And here is another pasage
from that article:
I'll call BS on UBS,
which apparently thinks this scandal "could signal the eventual end of
the combustion engine." Please. There's no difficulty "amassing
accurate data" on engine emissions, as one of their analysts suggests.
VW amassed very precise data. They just chose to hide it by means of a
calculated, premeditated, multi-year fraud.
Yes. As I indicated, there
are many more car companies where the top of the management has a
strong reason to fraud, although they haven't been found so far.
As to Volkswagen: The story
they try to spin is indeed complete - and evil - bullshit, in my
opinion at least, and my guess is that they are going to have a lot
more trouble, and that Matthias Müller soon will follow his fleeing
4. A Progressive Pope or Greenwashing the
The last article today is
by Chris Hedges
and Paul Jay, and
is based on a video interview of the first by the second, on The Real
This starts as
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR,
TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network, and welcome to Reality Asserts
Itself. I’m Paul Jay.
While the earnings of a
minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the
majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance
is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the
marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently they reject the
right of states charged with vigilance for the common good to exercise
any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often
virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and
rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for
countries to realize the potential of their own economies, and keep
citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power.
To all of this, add
widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on
worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possession knows no
limits. And in the system which tends to devour everything which stands
in the way of increased profits whatever is fragile, like the
environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market
which becomes the only rule.
Well, that could have
been written by our next guest. But actually it was written by Pope
Francis in 2013. Now joining us is our next guest in the studio, Chris
Hedges. Thanks for joining us, Chris.
And that is an excellent
introduction, for indeed Chris Hedges might have written much like pope
Francis did, whose prose was quoted. In fact, in a way this
continues item 2, but the criticism is a bit
Here is first some
more by Paul Jay:
JAY: So those are
powerful words. A French reporter recently asked the pope whether he
was really a European social democrat, and the pope kind of laughed,
saying, well, don’t put me in a box. But in fact, this is in the
tradition of actually some of the more, you could say more militant
European social democrat language. But most of today’s European social
democrats wouldn’t even go as far as the pope did.
I guess so, but then
(1) few of the elected social democrats are real social
democrats: Most - in England, in Holland, in Germany, for example - are
Tory-lite political careerists, and
in fact I would assume that (2) most of the elected politicians of most
parties are frauds who belong to the caste - see item 1 - of eager careerist servants of their own
career and incomes, and of whoever best supports that. 
Next, there is this
by Paul Jay, that explains part of the motives of the pope, and also
explains the title of the article:
JAY: Now he’s speaking,
first of all, to his own flock, which is rather big still. Apparently
about 1.2 billion people, half of all Christians on the planet. But is
he playing a role in the sense that it’s good for the Catholic church
to sound this way. The institution itself needs to be revived,
particularly in Latin America, which has a real leftward turn.
And that, in a sense it’s a kind of greenwashing.
In fact, I'd say about the
title of the article that it is a bit of both: The pope is more
progressive than his predecessors, and he is also trying to wash his
church greenish -
but in both he is not a real radical.
Indeed Chris Hedges agrees:
HEDGES: So it is a good
thing, yes, without question that the pope is acknowledging the effects
of climate change, is acknowledging the effects of neoliberal economics
and globalization. But as I said before, acknowledging it at this point
is simply acquiescing to a reality that most of the members of the
Catholic church already know.
Yes, though it is a lot
more effective if the leader of the Catholic church explicitly
agrees with what "most of the members" of his church "already know".
Then there is this on
Obama and his government:
JAY: But the pope lauds
President Obama’s environmental policy, which is–.
HEDGES: Well, which is
horrible. I mean, he has a horrible–he just opened up the Arctic for
summer drilling. He had the whole Atlantic coast, you know, public
lands. He drills like Sarah Palin. He’s proved utterly ineffectual to
address climate change. And has, you know, kind of held off on the
Keystone XL pipeline, but his environmental record is appalling.
I agree (and am no
fan of Obama). And here is Chris Hedges on the pope's message:
HEDGES: So he’s reading
between the lines, he’s asking for a kinder, gentler system for people
to take into account the suffering that global capitalism has
inflicted, lifting up the voices of the poor. But in the end as far as
I can tell, it’s about charity. It’s not about justice. And that’s how
he can stand next to Obama. He’s not–he’s, you know, even in the
passage you read he’s critiquing the excesses of the system, and
nowhere does he critique the system itself.
Actually I differ a
little: The pope may have asserted a critique of the system itself,
e.g. when he wrote:
To all of this,
add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have
taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possession
knows no limits. And in the system which tends to devour everything
which stands in the way of increased profits whatever is fragile, like
the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified
market which becomes the only rule.
Then again, he can't
go all the way as pope, and indeed must more or less stand in
the middle of his congregation, and also inbetween politics
while his function and role are considerably more religious than
There is also this by
Paul Jay, that is perceptive:
JAY: It raises a
question, as well. This language, as I said earlier, is kind of in the
realm of kind of social democracy, which means can we get rid of the
excesses of capitalism but you don’t have to actually challenge who
owns stuff and change who owns stuff, and not really change who has
Yes, and that is one of the
differences between (real) social democrats and (real) socialists,
where the "(real)" is added to indicate that of both political
positions there also is a caste - see item 1
- of political careerists
who only pretend: They talk the language of social democracy and
socialism, but only because it helps them getting elected, and not
because they agree - they are merely careerists, only interested in
their own financial advances.
Here are some facts quoted
by Chris Hedges on the enormous amounts of money the US spends
on making wars:
HEDGES: And if we don’t
confront the disease of empire and an arms industry that is now
swallowing–I mean, the best estimates are about $1.6 or $1.7 trillion a
year. I mean, officially it’s about 54 percent of the budget, about
$600 million. But then they hide all sorts of military expenditures,
the Veterans’ Affairs administration, the nuclear weapons industry and
research. As well as all sorts of black budgets that go into military
activities that we as citizens are not allowed to see.
Yes, indeed. And here is
Hedges' diagnosis of the pope:
I think that is basically
correct, though I am willing to grant him a bit more: For a pope, he is
quite progressive, and for a pope, he is quite radical, but indeed both
are true for a pope.
HEDGES: (..) And you
know, and it allows you to kind of read things into the pope that
probably aren’t there. I mean, what he’s really presenting is very
basic Christian theology against idolatry. I mean, that’s where it
comes from. It’s against idols. And that’s been part of Christian
theology since before Augustine.
And indeed as pointed out in item 2, the pope is
quite mistaken about population growth.
 In case you disagree: I really dislike Tony Blair, from
first seeing and hearing him in 1994 or 1995. (And you can't disagree
me that he made 50 million pounds + 30 million, or more,
according to two of his biographers.)
Incidentally, when I say most belong to the caste, what I am saying is
that most are nothing special, and nothing different from most ordinary
folks: They pretend to do what they do for "the nation", "the
people" or "my party", but in fact they are only sitting where they sit
because it pays well and gives status. I think real
politicians must be considerably more intelligent and more moral than
the people they lead, but in fact the opposite types - hardly more
intelligent and certainly less moral - have become the norm.