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."
the Brutalized Become Brutal
2. It Is Time To Get Very
Afraid: Extremists, Authoritarians
Now Run the GOP and No One Can
3. WHY WE MUST END UPWARD
PRE-DISTRIBUTIONS TO THE
4. There Are No Brains Left in
5. me and M.E. - September 2015
This is a Nederlog
September 28, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are five items with five dotted links: Item
1 is by Chris Hedges and is in fact a repeat from 2014 (with my
repeat of my review); item 2 is an interesting
article that explains the force of the Movement Conservatism in the
present Republican Party; item 3 is a good review
by Robert Reich of the many pro-rich changes in the American economy
the last 35 years; item 4 is an article by Paul
Roberts about the decline in infrastructure and the increases in wealth
of the very rich (but I disagree about brains); and item
5 is the monthly
issue on me and M.E., which this time has a quite interesting
medical paper on
the benefits of (especially) mB12 for a considerable group of people
or F.M. (but it contains a mistake in the dosages of folic acid).
the Brutalized Become Brutal
item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
Here is its second
Our terror is
delivered to the wretched of the earth with industrial weapons. It is,
to us, invisible. We do not stand over the decapitated and eviscerated
bodies left behind on city and village streets by our missiles, drones
and fighter jets. We do not listen to the wails and shrieks of parents
embracing the shattered bodies of their children. We do not see the
survivors of air attacks bury their mothers, fathers, brothers and
sisters. We are not conscious of the long night of collective
humiliation, repression and powerlessness that characterizes existence
in Israel’s occupied territories, Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not see
the boiling anger that war and injustice turn into a caldron of hate
over time. We are not aware of the very natural lust for revenge
against those who carry out or symbolize this oppression. We see only
the final pyrotechnics of terror, the shocking moment when the rage
erupts into an inchoate fury and the murder of innocents. And,
willfully ignorant, we do not understand our own complicity. We
self-righteously condemn the killers as subhuman savages who deserve
more of the violence that created them. This is a recipe for endless
Yes, indeed - but thus
it has been always, the last 5000 years of civilization, in
which there were very many major wars and hundreds of millions
needlessly and often cruelly killed.
Also, one difference between Chris Hedges and most men is that Hedges
has been a war reporter for a long time: He certainly knows what he is
writing about, but indeed most people do not.
This is from the start of the second page:
Browning in his book “Ordinary Men” tells of a German reserve
police battalion that was recruited to carry out mass executions of
Jews in World War II. Browning’s book echoed the findings of the
Milgram, who concluded that “men are led to kill with little
difficulty.” Browning, like Milgram, illustrates how easily we become
killers. This is a painful truth. It is difficult to accept.
Yes, indeed - and you should
read Browning and Milgram. Especially Browning makes it quite clear
that ordinary human beings can be easily changed into mass murderers:
men" he studied, who definitely were ordinary men for the
most part, and were also not strongly committed Nazis, killed on
average over 160 civilians, who had done them absolutely nothing.
(Also, Browning makes it clear that the one person who protested doing
this was let off without punish-
ment, though this may have been mostly accidental.)
Hedges article ends with a consideration of how this might stop:
To break this
cycle we have to examine ourselves and halt the indiscriminant violence
that sustains our occupations.
Unfortunately, that never
happened, nowhere - and I mean on a massive scale, for
it certainly happened with some individuals, but these were always in a
minority and were usually not listened to.
Actually, both Hedges' article and my review are from August
2014, and are here because Truthdig chose to reprint it, while
promising a new article by Chris Hedges today.
I repeated the review because I think it is OK; because I myself had
forgotten I wrote it (which is not so odd, because since then I
reviewed over 1500 articles); and mostly because it mentions Christopher
Browning's “Ordinary Men”, which is a very important book
in my opinion, for it explains rather a lot about the real roots of
Nazism, which are - according to Browning, and I agree - rather common
and rather ordinary.
2. It Is Time To Get Very Afraid: Extremists, Authoritarians
Now Run the GOP and No One Can Stop Them
article today is
by Heather Cox Richardson on AlterNet, but originally on Salon:
This starts as follows - and
in case you don't know, here is a link to the lemma Movement
Conservatism on Wikipedia:
Conservatives just claimed the head of House Speaker John Boehner.
death was the price of preventing a catastrophic government shutdown after
Movement Conservatives in Congress tied the very survival of the United
States government to their determination to defund Planned
Parenthood. Movement Conservatives are gunning
for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell next. We should be
Here is some more about
the Movement Conservatives:
McConnell are not wild-eyed lefties. They are on the very far right of
the American political spectrum: fervently pro-business, antiabortion,
opposed to social welfare legislation. But they are old-school
politicians who still have faith in the idea of American democracy.
And this explains the
F. Buckley's role:
Movement Conservatives do
not. They want to blow up the government and remake America according
to their own radical ideology.
In 1951, a young
William F. Buckley, Jr., came up with a blueprint for destroying the
American consensus. Rational argument was a losing strategy, Buckley
wrote in “God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of ‘Academic
Freedom.’” If voters were presented with facts, said Buckley, they
would choose government regulation. So a new breed of Movement
Conservative leaders must start from the premise that what Buckley
called “individualism”—that is, an economy in which individual action
was untouched by the state—was as sacrosanct as the Ten Commandments.
Buckley gave this same untouchable status to Christianity, another
fundamental that could not be questioned.
Put otherwise, the basis
of Movement Conservatives are a combination of libertarianism
And here is the relation between Roosevelt's New Deal (<-
McCarthy began the
process of creating an enemy that Movement Conservative followers could
hate. His outrageous accusations divided American citizens into good
and evil. Buckley and his brother-in-law, L. Brent Bozell, expanded
this theme, dividing Americans into “Conservatives” like McCarthy and
themselves, who were trying to save the nation, and “Liberals” who
wanted to destroy it. Their Liberals were all those who endorsed the
New Deal consensus. Although New Deal supporters made up the vast
majority of Americans, Buckley and Bozell announced that these traitors
must be purged from the country. Instead, the nation must return to its
glory days with a new “orthodoxy” of strict individualism and
Next is the relation
between Bush Jr.'s administration and the Movement:
By the time of the
George W. Bush administration, Movement Conservatives controlled the
Republican Party, and they abandoned reality in favor of their simple
story line. A member of the Bush administration famously noted to
journalist Ron Suskind that “the reality-based” view of the world was
obsolete. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” this
senior adviser to the president told Suskind. “When we act, we create
our own reality.”
Which means - to my mind, who is i.a. a psychologist -
that Mr Suskind is not sane: No one can "create" their
That is a total delusion. But
it may be quite popular with leading politicians and bureaucrats, who
own power and
risk neither their own lives nor the lives of their
Finally, there is the present field of Republican presidential
Trump is not an
says that black people vote for Democrats to get “free stuff.” Mike
that the United States is criminalizing Christianity. Bobby
to “fire” Congress. Ted Cruz hints
that President Obama is a Muslim and warns that no Muslim
should be president. All of the candidates demonize undocumented
Scientifically speaking, all
these ideas are not sane - but then I am rather sure
And Carly Fiorina makes
the outrageous claim, on national television, that political opponents
murder babies to harvest and sell their brains. Think about that.
these people know that they are not speaking science, but are
which in their cases is extreme right wing ideology. I think that is
done mostly consciously, and quite probably on the same footing
Buckley proposed: No more facts, but merely ideological constructs (for
that misleads the best).
And the reason for speaking only in terms of their own ideological
constructs, which have very little to do with reality, is that
they are all quite radical, and want to destroy most of the - still
existing - regulations, and most of the government.
I liked the article,
because it did clarify several things for me: Recommended reading.
3. WHY WE MUST END
UPWARD PRE-DISTRIBUTIONS TO THE RICH
next article today is
by Robert Reich on his site (and the capitals are his):
This is from the beginning:
trademarks, and copyrights—have been enlarged and extended, for
creating windfalls for pharmaceutical companies.
Americans now pay the
pharmaceutical costs of any advanced nation.
At the same time,
antitrust laws have
been relaxed for corporations with significant market power, such as
companies, cable companies facing little or no broadband competition,
airlines, and the largest Wall Street banks.
As a result, Americans
pay more for
broadband Internet, food, airline tickets, and banking services than
citizens of any other advanced nation.
Yes, indeed - and
while the relaxation of the antitrust laws are a clear application of deregulation, the extended
intellectual property rights show that libertarians
and pro-rich activists know how to regulate if it is in
their own interests.
Here is another
example of the same mechanism:
Bankruptcy laws have been
for large corporations—airlines, automobile manufacturers, even casino
like Donald Trump—allowing them to leave workers and communities
But bankruptcy has not
to homeowners burdened by mortgage debt or to graduates laden with
debt. Their debts won’t be forgiven.
That is: bankruptcy
laws have been deregulated for
the rich, but not for the non-rich (home owners or people with
Then there is this:
The largest banks and
manufacturers were bailed out in 2008, shifting the risks of economic
onto the backs of average working people and taxpayers.
Contract laws have been
require mandatory arbitration before private judges selected by big
corporations. Securities laws have been relaxed to allow insider
And that went in
conjunction with this:
agreements, such as the pending Trans Pacific Partnership, give
protection to intellectual property and financial assets but less
the labor of average working Americans.
As to the pensions of
workers or their trade unions, there is this:
Here is the main
consequence, which also was much desired by those who profit from them:
And employment benefits
shriveled. The portion of workers with any pension connected to their
fallen from just over half in 1979 to under 35 percent today.
Labor unions have been
All of these changes have
higher corporate profits, higher returns for shareholders, and higher
top corporate executives and Wall Street bankers – and lower pay and
prices for most other Americans.
They amount to a giant pre-distribution
upward to the rich. But we’re not aware of them
because they’re hidden inside the market.
I think the following
is not so much "a more basic problem" as the other side of the same
The more basic problem is
market itself has become tilted ever more in the direction of moneyed
that have exerted disproportionate influence over it, while average
have steadily lost bargaining power—both economic and political—to
large a portion of the economy’s gains as they commanded in the first
decades after World War II.
So far I agreed.
Also, I add something:
All of these
developments are the product of some 35 years of conscious
right-wing policies that were started under Reagan and Thatcher
(though prepared before), and as the above list of outcomes show these
policies were quite successful: The few rich have become a whole
lot richer, and the many non-rich have become poorer or - at best -
remained where they were 35 years ago.
But I disagree with
Firstly, I think the
important political competition is - still, and since many years -
between the right (pro-rich) and the left (pro-fairness), though I
agree there are several rights and several lefts.
The most important
competition over the next decades will not be between the right and
between Republicans and Democrats. It will be between a majority of
who have been losing ground, and an economic elite that refuses to
respond to its growing distress.
And second, while I think the political parties of the U.S. are both
unwieldy and irrealistic, I believe it is much more likely that
will remain mostly between the - currently rather extreme - rightist
Republicans, and the - currently very vaguely - leftist Democrats.
But otherwise, this is a good article that lists many of the major
changes that have taken place over the last 35 years in a brief and
clear format: Recommended reading.
4. There Are No Brains Left in Washington
The last article today is
Craig Roberts (<- Wikipedia) on his site:
This starts as
follows the Fed’s interest rate – it is negative. Washington is a black
hole into which all sanity is sucked out of government deliberations.
I disagree, for one may be
both quite insane and quite clever, and indeed that seems to be
the case in Washington D.C.: Rather - though not: very - clever people
who decide policies on a quite irrealistic basis, that are accepted on ideological
grounds that have very little to do with reality. That
also seems true of both the Republicans and the Democrats, though I
would agree - see item 2 and item 3
- that the Republicans are considerably worse than the Democrats.
But the following bit is correct (and see the Wolfowitz
Doctrine on Wikipedia):
One has to assume
that Putin and Xi Jinping are aware of the Wolfowitz Doctrine, the
basis of US foreign and military policies, but perhaps they cannot
believe that anything so audaciously absurd can be real. In brief, the
Wolfowitz Doctrine states that Washington’s principal objective is to
prevent the rise of countries that could be sufficiently powerful to
resist American hegemony.
There is more in the article,
but I want to select two points about the decline of the United States.
The first is about its infrastructure - the public roads, bridges,
libraries, public schools, public transport systems:
The second is about the main
cause of the decline:
In 2004 I predicted in a
nationally televised conference in Washington, DC, that the US would be
a Third World country in 20 years. Noam Chomsky says we are already
there now in 2015. Here is a recent quote from Chomsky:
“Look around the
country. This country is falling apart. Even when you come back from
Argentina to the United States it looks like a third world country, and
when you come back from Europe even more so. The infrastructure is
collapsing. Nothing works. The transportation system doesn’t work. The
health system is a total scandal–twice the per capita cost of other
countries and not very good outcomes. Point by point. The schools are
declining . . .”
I agree with both points,
which may indeed be summarized thus:
The concentration of US
income and wealth in the hands of the very rich is a new development in
my lifetime. I ascribe it to two things.
One is the offshoring of
American jobs. Offshoring moved high productivity, high-value-added
American jobs to countries where the excess supply of labor results in
wages well below labor’s contribution to the value of output. The lower
labor costs abroad transform what had been higher American wages and
salaries and, thereby, US household incomes, into corporate profits,
bonuses for corporate executives, and capital gains for shareholders,
and in the dismantling of the ladders of upward mobility that had made
the US an “opportunity society.”
The other cause of the
extreme inequality that now prevails in the US is what Michael Hudson
calls the financialization of the economy that permits banks to
redirect income away from driving the economy to the payment of
interest in service of debt issued by the banks.
Both of these
developments maximize income and wealth for the One Percent at the
expense of the population and economy.
The US is collapsing because the few rich have, mostly through
some 35 years of successive deregulations,
that also made offshoring possible, appropriated nearly all of the
income and riches (and while doing so also destroyed an
of the American market: The non-rich have too little money).
me and M.E. -
item today is the monthly update on my M.E. The previous file in this
M.E.-series is from August 25 last.
There I wrote that I am still more ill than I was in 2014, especially
after doing too much in the end of April.
That is still the case, but I have been a little bit better the last
month, in which I took this:
vitamin C: 3
This differs little from what
I started taking on August 22, after 3 weeks with hardly any vitamins,
that were worse. (I take 1 gram more C, added adenosyn- cobalamin, and
added 1 Multi Total.)
This increased the dose I
have been taking by 1 gram a day.
I take 1
pill a day of each, which together with the Multi Total gives the daily
pills a day
This gives 800 mg a day.
pill a day
This gives 1000 mcg a day.
pill a day.
This gives the daily
required amount, together with Multi Total.
Vit mB12 5000 mcg:
1 pill a day.
Vit aB12 3000 mcg:
1 pill every 2 days.
Multi Total: 2
pills a day.
This gives the daily
recommend dosage (which is much too low
in vitamins, but is
sufficient in minerals).
I also found a quite interesting medical article, that was
published in April of this year in PLOS:
This is by Björn
Regland and 6 others, and - at long last -
checked out the theory that vitamin B12 and folic acid do help
with M.E./F.M., which I have now for 37 years.
I became aware of vitamin B12 in 2010, but could then not find a
sufficiently strong oral dosage of B12, indeed in part because I was
more ill than now, and I only succeeded in finding a high dosage of
hydroxycobalamin ("hB12") by the end of 2011, with which I experimented
some and that seemed to help some, but not much.
Then I found a good oral supplement with a sufficiently high dosis of
methyl- cobalamin ("mB12") and that helped me considerably,
but this also collapsed me several times, mostly - it seems -
because of not getting the proportion of potassium right.
But this did improve the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 as regards M.E., as
compared with all the years from 1993-2011, that were pretty
miserable, although I also have had painful dry eyes since May 2012,
that still persist, though it has grown
So this seems fairly strong medical support for my taking mB12 + folic
acid + potassium in high dosages.
Note please that there is one thing that seems to be mistaken
in the article: The dosage for folic acid is given in mg but
this should be in mcg (which is a 1/1000th of a mg).