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."
resisted Julian Assange’s offer to be questioned in
London, emails reveal
2. Justin Trudeau: who is Canada's new prime minister?
3. New 2015 Wealth Data
Inequality at Its
4. Paul Krugman Stands Up for Sanders, Dismantles Right-
Wing Lies About Denmark's
Economic Success Story
Tony Blair Supported Bush's Iraq War Long
Before Vote or Invasion
6. Bill Maher on Donald
Trump on Bernie Sanders
This is a Nederlog
of Tuesday, October 20, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. The title is mostly sorted by name (but I agree titles are difficult
to do when one has 5 or 6 items): Item 1 is about
how Assange got - I think illegally - abused by the British Crown
Prosecution Service; item 2 is about Justin
Trudeau's winning Canada's elections (which is Good News, which is rare
the crisis series); item 3 is about the enormous
increases in inequality in the United States ever since Reagan
was elected in 1980; item 4 is about Krugman's
explication of Denmark, that I restate as the difference between the
U.S.'s capitalism-without-a-human face and Denmark's capitalism-with-a-human-face;
item 5 is about a very recent show of how
incredibly much Tony Blair lied about
and before the Iraq war; and item 6 is an amusing
item by Bill Maher, that also
includes some inanities by Trump.
resisted Julian Assange’s offer to be questioned in London, emails
The first item today is by
Press Association on The Guardian:
This starts as
Julian Assange has expressed shock after new
documents revealed fresh details about the involvement of UK
authorities in the long-running saga that has seen the WikiLeaks
founder live inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past three
He was granted political
asylum after fighting extradition to Sweden where he faced sex
allegations, which he has always denied. Assange fears that if he goes
to Sweden he will be taken to the US for questioning over the
activities of WikiLeaks.
He has offered to be
interviewed inside the embassy in London but attempts to set up a
meeting have foundered.
Emails obtained by
Italian news magazine L’Espresso under the Freedom of Information Act
showed that Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service wrote to the Swedish
authorities in 2011, saying it would “not be prudent” for them to
interview Assange in the UK.
I say. In fact, I do not
know whether I am shocked (I would be if I were Assange, but I am not
in his position), for I have few illusions to loose about "British
democracy" and "British law", as these have developed the last 20 years
or so under Blair, Brown and Cameron.
And I will try to describe
a considerable part of the executives of "British law" after quoting
some more from the article:
“Any attempt to
interview him under strict Swedish law would invariably be fraught with
problems,” said one email, dated 25 January 2011. Another email dated
13 January 2011 said: “Please do not think that the case is being dealt
with as just another extradition request.”
First notice that the
quoted mails are not from Cameron, but from the British Crown Prosecution Service. As a legal
institution, that is supposed to be honest and objective.
This does not mean that it may not be partial (England
- where I have lived in 1970ies - was then and is now far more
of a class society than Holland, with far deeper rifts between the poor
and the rich, and this will be somehow mirrored in its legal practices,
which gets e.g. expressed by higher punishments for the poor than for
the rich for the same crimes) but it does mean that the public
pronouncement of legal executives should be honest and objective,
and that simply because there is no honest law without it.
Well... this shows that in the case of Julian Assange the British Crown Prosecution Service acted -
deliberately, consciously, in secret - as if they were the very eager
choir boys of Cameron, the GCHQ, Obama, and the NSA.
And rather than shocked I am sickened.
2. Justin Trudeau: who is Canada's new prime minister?
next item is by Claire Phipps on The Guardian:
This starts as follows - and
is a piece of Good News (from my perspetive), for Trudeau was yesterday
elected to become the next Canadian prime minister, after the rather
horrible neoconservative Harper:
Just a few months
ago, Justin Trudeau was an unlikely contender to be Canada’s next prime
minister. Running third in the polls, behind incumbent
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives and the resurgent leftwing New
Democratic party, Trudeau – son of legendary prime minister Pierre
Trudeau – was slated as too young (he is 43) and too inexperienced to
haul his beleaguered Liberal party out of the electoral mess of the
2011 general election.
I don't know who is
Ms Phipps, but I don't think one is "too young" at 43 to be prime
minister. That's just nonsense - one may quite plausibly argue one is
too young at 25 and too old at 80, but apart from that there is no
perfect age for prime ministers.
Next, there is this:
Trudeau, for all his
dynastic connections, aimed to be that alternative. Almost literally
born to the role of prime minister – he was born in 1971, during his
father’s first term – he took a circuitous route into political life,
trying his hand at teaching, engineering, bungee-jumping coaching,
environmental geography, charity boxing and acting, before ousting Bloc
Québécois MP Vivian Barbot to become MP for Papineau in the 2008
In 2000, at his father’s
state funeral, Trudeau delivered a eulogy that stoked whispers of a
dynasty that has now secured its place in Canadian history: “More than
anything, to me, he was dad. And what a dad. He loved us with the
passion and the devotion that encompassed his life. He taught us to
believe in ourselves, to stand up for ourselves, to know ourselves and
to accept responsibility for ourselves."
Again I don't know who is
Ms. Phipps (probably: young, naive, full of good intentions, and not
too well informed) but I don't like this anti-democratic
repeated concern about Trudeau's "dynastic connections" and his "dynasty that
has now secured its place in Canadian history".
It is not
democratic; there is no Canadian nobility of any kind;
and also the whole development that leads to political dynasties
(with e.g. the Bushes and the Clintons in the USA) is pretty sick - and
I say this while granting Pierre Trudeau
(<- Wikipedia) was a good PM (so far as I know), and Justin Trudeau
is not responsible that he is his father, and was a much better
candidate for being a PM than Harper.
But OK... I like it that he
got elected and that Harper got ousted, and I put up a list of his
promises to have a check in the future:
I agree with all that  but it is much easier to promise and be
Trudeau on climate change
He has promised a climate
change policy agreed with the provinces within 90 days of the UN
climate change summit in Paris in November.
On indigenous rights
“We will build a renewed
relationship with indigenous peoples on a nation-to-nation basis,” he
has said. “That will include, for example, a national public inquiry
into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. It will include
$2.6bn over four years for First Nations education.”
He is pro-choice: “It is
not for any government to legislate what a woman chooses to do with her
body. And that is the bottom line.”
His first move will be to
raise taxes on the richest 1% to fund cuts for the middle classes.
Trudeau has said he would
start moves to legalise it “right away”, based on the Colorado model.
I am a feminist. I’m proud to be a feminist. #upfordebate
to do what one promised, as Barack Obama showed so
New 2015 Wealth Data Reveal U.S. Inequality at Its
next article is by Paul Buchheit on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
showed his outrage about inequality at the Democratic Debate, and more
and more Americans are understanding his message. Indignation is likely
to grow with new data from the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook, which
reveals the wealthy elite’s continuing disdain for the poor, for the
middle class, and for people all around the world.
I do not know about
"indignation", in part because the following facts tend to be kept away
from most Americans, but I agree that the levels of inequality that the
Americans reached under Bush and Obama are quite frighening
(and Credit Suisse is a big Swiss bank, in case you don't know: it is not
a leftist propaganda club):
This means 50 million
very poor Americans, which does look convincing to me.
1. At the Bottom: Of
the Half-Billion Poorest Adults in the World, One out of Ten is an
That seems impossible, with
so many extremely poor countries, and it requires a second look at the
data, and then a third look. But it’s true.
This must be in part due
to Obama and his verbal progressiveness that rarely gets
translated into action. And incidentally, this suggests that
the real opposition is between the 10% at the top, who profit
from the pro-rich policies, and the 90% of the rest (more than
99 vs 1 and much more so than 99.9 and 0.1 etc.) And indeed the
very top also needs quite a few well-paid executives to implement their
kind of policies, while buying their cooperation with excellent
2. At the Top: The
Richest 1/10 of American Adults Have Averaged Over $1 Million Each in
New Wealth Since the Recession
Housing rebound? Mostly for
the rich, along with their taking of almost all the financial wealth.
Total U.S. wealth increased by a stunning 60 percent since 2009, from
$54 trillion to $86 trillion, but 3/4 of that massive increase went to
the richest 10% of Americans
3. In the Middle: The
U.S. is the Only Region Where the Middle-Class Does Not Own Its
Equivalent Share of Wealth
The North American middle
class, as defined by Credit Suisse, and of which the U.S. is by far the
largest part, has 39% of the people but only 21 percent of national
wealth. Every other region of the world shows the
reverse phenomenon, with the middle class owning an oversized portion
of national wealth.
I do not know the
definition of the Credit Suisse, but they are at least rather
convincing in finding that the nominal middle class in the US owns much
of the wealth the US produces than any other middle class in the world.
("Trickle down" does not work, if you ever believed in it.)
This similar as for the
4. In the
Upper-Middle: For a Full 70% of Americans, Percentage Ownership of
National Wealth is One of the Lowest in the World
That’s 70%. Not just
the most impoverished, or the poorest half, but a full 70% of us are
near the bottom of the world in percentage of wealth ownership. Just
6.9 percent of the wealth is owned by 70% of us.
5. The Big
Picture: Only Kazakhstan, Libya, Russia, and Ukraine Have Worse Wealth
Inequality than the United States
I say. And this has
nearly all been done since Reagan became president...
But these are quite sad figures, which do show how well the majority of
the American electorate has been deceived. In case you doubt this, here
an image I showed several times:
This is divided into the top 10% in red, and the bottom 10%
in blue (which are far more numerous than the relatively few
rich). Also, the enormous increases of the few rich started under
Reagan, and continued ever since.
Paul Krugman Stands Up for Sanders, Dismantles Right-Wing Lies About
Denmark's Economic Success Story
next article is
by Janet Allon on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
Krugman takes on
the hoary right-wing myth that Denmark, the country touted by the
Sanders campaign as getting a lot of things right, is somehow a
dangerous example of runaway socialism in Monday's
Actually, the right-wing
myth is total crap: Denmark is just as capitalist as
the USA, but the big differences are that (1) it doesn't have a very
powerful, very rich extremely right wing set of Republican liars, and
(2) it therefore shows capitalism-
with-a-human-face, which is mostly based on high taxes for high
incomes, which is quite justified according to the Supreme
Court judge Oliver
Wendell Holmes Jr: (and myself): "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society"
(which is a direct quote from Holmes).
Here is Krugman (and I know a bit more about Denmark, because my
brother lives there the last 30 years, and also know considerably more
about Norway, which is similar, because I lived there for nearly 3
years in the 1970ies, but was - alas, alas -
mad enough to return to Amsterdam to study ):
That is, once again:
Denmark is as capitalist as the United States, but it
cares about everyone and not just the 10% of the richest
people who live there. And that also is most of the whole
difference between the two countries, which get mostly effected by
higher taxes on the rich, which is fair because the rich profit
the most anyway.
maintains a welfare state — a set of government programs designed to
provide economic security — that is beyond the wildest dreams of
American liberals. Denmark provides universal health care; college education is free, and
students receive a stipend; day care is heavily
subsidized. Overall, working-age families receive more than three times as much aid, as a share of G.D.P.,
as their U.S. counterparts.
To pay for these
programs, Denmark collects a lot of taxes. The top income tax rate
is 60.3 percent; there’s also a 25 percent
national sales tax. Overall, Denmark’s tax take is almost half of national income, compared
with 25 percent in the United States.
And no: Denmark is not socialist, and never was. It
only shows what is possible under capitalism-with-a-human-face:
Yes, indeed - but this
also was the lying
from the richest 1% who advertise, with lies and deceptions,
that their capitalism-without-a-human-face
debunks the myth that Danes are melancholy (on accoiunt of all that
vacation, prosperity and free stuff). Denmark ranks at or near the
top on international comparisons of “life satisfaction."
"It’s hard to imagine a
better refutation of anti-tax, anti-government economic doctrine, which
insists that a system like Denmark’s would be completely unworkable,"
is better than the Danish capitalism-with-a-human-face. Well, it is
wicked intentional lie: It is only better for the very rich,
and much poorer for
5. 'Duped': Tony Blair Supported Bush's Iraq War
Long Before Vote or Invasion
next article is
by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
I say. Am I amazed? Not
really, for I thought myself, ever since having seen Blair on TV in
1994, in front of a huge blue blackground, set off as a very
special person, speaking from high on down to his Labour voters below,
that he was a hypocrite,
a liar and a deceiver if I ever
One year before the
United States-led coalition invaded Iraq, then-UK Prime Minister Tony
Blair told the administration of President George W. Bush that he would
support military action in that country, according to a memo publicized
Sunday by the Daily Mail.
The revelation "flies in
the face of the Prime Minister’s public claims at the time that he was
seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis," the Mail
points out. "He told voters: 'We're not proposing military action'—in
direct contrast to what the secret email now reveals."
written in March 2002 by ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell to Bush,
was contained in a batch of secret emails held on the private server of
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
"On Iraq, Blair will be
with us should military operations be necessary," Powell wrote in a
memo penned one week before Blair met Bush at the former president's
ranch in Crawford, Texas.
So in that sense I am not amazed, and also not by his turning Catholic
and possessing 50 million pounds, plus-minus 30 million pounds: That
also seemed to have been his real end since 1994 (especially
the tens of millions of pounds).
But he is a bloody impertinent major fraud:
According to the Mail,
"A second explosive memo from the same cache also reveals how Bush used
'spies' in the Labour Party to help him to manipulate British public
opinion in favour of the war."
The revelations drew outrage from current
and former MPs, at least one of whom said he felt "duped."
Former Labour MP Andrew
MacKinlay, who sat on the foreign affairs select committee in the
run-up to the war, told
LBC Radio that he is "ashamed" to have trusted
Blair about the Iraq War. "Looking at this these documents this morning
and everything else that has gone before we know that this was a
complete and utter deceit to me and to others," he said.
"Obviously I feel both
deeply ashamed and very stupid having trusted a British prime minister,
but it was a British prime minister," MacKinlay added. "One assumed
that even allowing for exaggeration or inaccuracies in intelligence, I
never thought it would be one hundred percent untrue, but it was—and
myself and the British people, all of us, were duped."
But Tony Blair lied "hundred percent", simply because he wanted to kill people, it
seems, and thus acquire great riches for himself.
Here is some more:
And former Tory Shadow
Home Secretary David Davis told the Mail that "[t]he
memos prove in explicit terms what many of us have believed all along:
Tony Blair effectively agreed to act as a frontman for American foreign
policy in advance of any decision by the House of Commons or the
went on: "He was happy to launder George Bush’s policy on Iraq and
sub-contract British foreign policy to another country without having
the remotest ability to have any real influence over it. And in return
"For George Bush
pretending Blair was a player on the world stage to impress voters in
the UK when the Americans didn’t even believe it themselves," he
And it worked. And thus
there were by 2006, according to a Lancet
survey (<- Wikipdia) a mere 601,207 Iraqis killed, while
Tony Blair massed up his millions.
Bill Maher on Donald Trump on Bernie Sanders
last item is not an article but is a video by Bill Maher on what the
Republicans hear when Bernie Sanders speaks:
It is here because I like it, and also because it shows the
lies of Donald Trump. It will not take more than 3 m 12 s, and it is
P.S. Oct 21, 2015: I inserted the link
to item 6 (Bill Maher) that for some reason fell out.
 With feminism as a partial exception, I should add,
but that is mostly because it is a very slippery term that changes
meaning every 10 years or so.
Also, in the 1980ies and 1990ies feminism was far
too tied up with postmodernism
for me to be able to take it seriously.
But yes, apart from that I am for equal rights, for abortion, and for
equal pay for women.
 That really was the biggest
mistake I made in my life, that would have been very different
without it (for I could have studied in Norway). It really was a big
mistake, and the only "excuse" I have for it is that I knew much
less about Holland and the Dutch universities (which then were -
formally - in the hands of the students, as nowhere else
in the world) than I soon learned when arrived there.
Indeed, that would have moved me back to Norway by 1980, at the latest,
if I had not fallen ill in Holland on 1.1.1979, which I still