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Nederlog

October 22, 2015
Crisis: Germany, Rebellions, Managerialism, CISA, USA Not Democratic
"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
















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Sections
Introduction

1.
Germany refuses to accept Netanyahu’s claim Palestinian
     inspired Holocaust

2. Phone in sick: it's a small act of rebellion against wage
     slavery

3.
"The Scourge of Managerialism"
4.
Tech Giants Drop CISA Support as Controversial Spy Bill
     Heads for Vote

5.
This is not a democracy: Behind the Deep State that
     Obama, Hillary or Trump couldn’t control

Introduction

This is a Nederlog of Thursday, October 22, 2015.

This is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about a German reaction to the crazy claim by Netanyahu that Hitler did not want to kill the Jews: some Palestinian did, and spoke to Hitler (said Netanyahu); item 2 is about an article by Suzanne Moore on work and its ethic: At least 50% of the people think their work isn't worth doing and dislike it; item 3 is about an insight on how corporate managerialism has changed much of medicine, and indeed much of the economy; item 4 is about the news that some tech giants - Apple, Google, Amazon - are opposing the - very bad - CISA bill; and item 5 is about "the deep state" (mostly: the Pentagon, the military, the NSA, and the companies that make weapons, drill oil, or manage banks) and politics: it seems as if the deep state is running most of politics, in the present USA.

1. Germany refuses to accept Netanyahu’s claim Palestinian inspired Holocaust 

The first item today is by Kate Conolly on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

Germany has said it has no reason to change its view of history after Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said Adolf Hitler had been persuaded to carry out the Holocaust by a Palestinian leader.

Before a trip to Berlin, Netanyahu provoked incredulity and anger among many when he claimed in a speech that Hitler had only wanted to expel Europe’s Jews and that the idea to exterminate them had come from the then mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

But at a joint press conference with Netanyahu on Wednesday, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, made it clear she saw no need for a shift in interpreting history, saying: “We abide by our responsibility for the Shoah.”

I say - which I say because of the quite crazy propaganda of Netanyahu: The murder of 6 million Jews did not happen on Hitler, Himmler's and Goebbel's initiative, for these did not want to kill the Jews; killing the Jews was the idea
- the not very sane Netanyahu claimed - of an evil Palestinian.

Netanyahu did not explain how he got this insight that was missed by the tens of thousands of historians who studied Nazism, but he said so, no doubt because he
thinks this bit of crazy propaganda will serve his ends.

And of course Merkel's reply was quite sane, and indeed quite consistent with very many of the serious students of Nazism, none of whom - to my knowledge, but that is fairly good - ever said something like it.

There is also this, by Merkel's spokesman:

Earlier, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said the Holocaust was “very much” a German crime. “Speaking on behalf of the German government, I can say that all of us Germans know very precisely the history of the murderous racial fanaticism of the National Socialists that led to the break with civilisation that was the Shoah,” Seibert told journalists in Berlin.

“This is taught in German schools for good reason. It must never be forgotten. And I don’t see any reason that we should change our view of history in any way whatsoever. We know that responsibility for this crime against humanity is German and very much our own,” he said.

Actually - as the son and grandson of two men who were convicted to the German concentration camps because they were "political terrorists" (i.e. resisting the Nazis) - I think that is a little extreme:

First, it simply is not quite true that "all of us Germans know very precisely the history of the murderous racial fanaticism": Some Germans disagree, for various reasons; some are - still or again - Nazis; and quite a few do not know the history of the camps or of Nazism "very precisely". So this is a little exaggerated,
at least.

Second, while the Germans massively supported Hitler and Nazism, and Hitler and Nazism were violently anti-semitic, which means that "the Germans" indeed were responsible for the Holocaust (as it is now known), it is also true that not all of "the Germans" were Nazis [1], and that "the Germans" were to some extent driven to extreme political positions by the very bad terms they got at the end of WW I. (And see John Maynard Keynes, who strongly deplored the terms.)

Finally, it is also true that anti-semitism was fairly widely spread in the rest of Europe as well (and indeed seems to have been more active in Holland in the 1950ies, after the mass murder of the Jews got known, than in the 1930ies, when anti-semitism was widely practised in Germany).

Finally, here is the position of Alan Posener:

Writing in the conservative daily newspaper Die Welt, the prominent commentator Alan Posener said Germans were used to despots reinterpreting German history, but it was a shock to hear a Jewish leader apparently trying to belittle Hitler’s role in the Holocaust.

“His interpretation of history has all the marks of the opportunism that defines his whole behaviour. By exculpating the Germans and incriminating a Muslim, he is hoping to win friends among European Islamophobes. His motivation is understandable, but wrong,” wrote Posener.
Yes, indeed.

2. Phone in sick: it's a small act of rebellion against wage slavery  

The next item is by Suzanne Moore on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
“Phoning in sick is a revolutionary act.” I loved that slogan. It came to me, as so many good things did, from Housmans, the radical bookshop in King’s Cross. There you could rummage through all sorts of anarchist pamphlets and there I discovered, in the early 80s, the wondrous little magazine Processed World. It told you basically how to screw up your workplace. It was smart and full of small acts of random subversion. In many ways it was ahead of its time as it was coming out of San Francisco and prefiguring Silicon Valley. It saw the machines coming. Jobs were increasingly boring and innately meaningless. Workers were “data slaves” working for IBM (“Intensely Boring Machines”).
I think Suzanne Moore is about fiteen to twenty years younger than I am, which is one reason I can tell her that the same was the case in the second half of the Sixties, and something similar (I had communist parents and grandparents) before, for a long time also, though indeed not mixed up with the typical Sixties'
tie-in with alternative living, alternatice clothing, alternative drugs, alternative
music, and alternative culture.

I could say a lot more, but a good part of the motivation, both in the Eighties, the Sixties, and before, was the fundamental meaninglessness of much work:
What Processed World was doing was trying to disrupt the identification so many office workers were meant to feel with their management, not through old-style union organising, but through small acts of subversion. The modern office, it stressed, has nothing to do with human need. Its rebellion was about working as little as possible, disinformation and sabotage. It was making alienation fun. In 1981, it could not have known that a self-service till cannot ever phone in sick.
In fact - and I worked in a rather large amount of jobs between 1967 and 1975, most of which were quite senseless to me, and also nearly always ill organized -
most of what I saw were not so much "
small acts of subversion" (apart from phoning in one was ill) - but quite widespread, certainly among the young - unease, unhappiness, dislike with the kinds of work, the kinds of hours, and the whole office climate. [2]

I do not know how much of this was left in the early 1980ies (which in Holland was surprisingly like the late 60ies, though the then 20 year olds were aware alternativeness was going out of style), but it certainly moved myself and my
generation: I did not mind working, but I could hardly find rationally sensible work until I worked on a farm in Norway in 1975, which I liked a whole lot better even while the work was much heavier than sitting in an office, writing silly French letters to order some useless product from France or Africa.

Here is some more on "working in an office"
:

This model of working – long hours, very few holidays, few breaks, two incomes needed to raise kids, crazed loyalty demanded by huge corporations, the American way – is where we’re heading. Except now the model is even more punishing. It is China. We are expected to compete with an economy whose workers are often closer to indentured slaves than anything else.

This is what striving is, then: dangerous, demoralising, often dirty work. Buckle down. It’s the only way forward, apparently, which is why our glorious leaders are sucking up to China, which is immoral, never mind ridiculously short-term thinking.

This is about now, and it certainly is quite different from the 1980ies or the 1960ies, when work also was mostly uninteresting, dehumanizing or a solid bore, but when capitalism still had a human face (in the West, to be sure) and the few managers did not go home with half a million or a million in dollars or euros, as if such salaries are sane or deserved.

We now live in the time where the very rich add to their enormous riches at the cost of the poor; where the 1-10% got enormously much richer, while the 90-99% have not had a real wage increase since the 1980ies.

This leads to the following, according to Suzanne Moore:

Instead we need to talk about the dehumanising nature of work. Bertrand Russell and Keynes thought our goal should be less work, that technology would mean fewer hours.

Far from work giving meaning to life, in some surveys 40% of us say that our jobs are meaningless. Nonetheless, the art of skiving is verboten as we cram our children with ever longer hours of school and homework. All this striving is for what exactly? A soul-destroying job?
(...)
The parts of our lives that are not work – the places we dream or play or care, the space we may find creative – all these are deemed outside the economy. All this time is unproductive. But who decides that?

I have never thought work is creative or important or satisfying or good for anything but to make money to do as I pleased when I did not have to work.
But then I had intelligent communist parents, and a very high intelligence, and
I was one of the very few in both respects.

And indeed my judgement on work is still very similar to what it was 45 years ago: Anyone who seeks satisfaction of his needs in an ordinary office-job (the great majority of all jobs) cannot be other than an eager and stupid willing slave.

And if the future of the mass of mankind is like that of the ordinary Chinese now, - as may well be the case - the most important reason is that the mass of mankind is too stupid for anything else, although it is true a considerable part of the stupidity has been intentionally produced by the very rich (by very bad schools and enormous amounts of "economic propaganda" aka advertisements).

3. "The Scourge of Managerialism"  

The next article is by Roy M. Poses MD on Health Care Renewal:

This starts as follows:

I just found an important article that in the June, 2015 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia(1) that sums up many of ways the leadership of medical (and most other organizations) have gone wrong.  It provides a clear, organized summary of "managerialism" in health care, which roughly rolls up what we have called generic management, the manager's coup d'etat, and aspects of mission-hostile management into a very troubling but coherent package.  I will summarize the main points, giving relevant quotes.

Health Care Renewal is one of the sites I visit regularly because I am ill since 1.1.1979, without (with some very few medical exceptions) getting any help or any diagnosis that is acceptable to the sick and degenerate Dutch official bureaucracy, who all act as the crazy psychiatrists tell them to act:

A disease that was not in the medical books by 1960 is not a real disease (for medicine knows everything) and is a proof the patient is insane. (They really argue thus, in millions of cases, and psychiatry - I say this as a psychologist with one of the best M.A.'s ever - is sick and fraudulent, but also very willing to tear anyone with its brush, for they get very well paid for their nonsense.)

The present article is reviewed here because it sketches a development in medicine (not just in psychiatry) that has been very widely spread since the 1980ies, but indeed mostly in the last 15 years, and not just in medicine, but almost everywhere:

Recent Developments in Business Management Dogma
    Have Gravely Affected Health Care
These Changes Have Been Largely Anechoic
Businesses are Now Run by Professional Managers, Not
     Owners
These Changes Were Enabled by Neoliberalism (or Market

     Fundamentalism, or Economism)
Managerialism Provides a One-Size Fits All Approach to the
     Management of All Organizations, in Which Money
     Becomes the Central Consideration

In fact, these are section headings in the article, each of which contains quite a bit of text. I leave this to your interests, but quote the summary:

My Summary

I now believe that the most important cause of US health care dysfunction, and likely of global health care dysfunction, are the problems in leadership and governance we have often summarized (leadership that is ill-informed, ignorant or hostile to the health care mission and professional values, incompetent, self-interested, conflicted or outright criminal or corrupt, and governance that lacks accountability, transparency, honesty, and ethics.)  In turn, it appears that these problems have been generated by the twin plagues of managerialism (generic management, the manager's coup d'etat) and neoliberalism (market fundamentalism, economism) as applied to health care.  It may be th[at] many of the larger problems in US and global society also can be traced back to these sources.

We now see our problems in health care as part of a much larger whole, which partly explains why efforts to address specific health care problems country by country have been near futile.  We are up against something much larger than what we thought when we started Health Care Renewal in 2005.  But at least we should now be able join our efforts to those in other countries and in other sectors.
I quite agree, and I insist the above development is not just in health care but is everywhere: the rich managers have taken over - and have taken over with just two norms and two principles: greed is good and profit must rule supreme, and who doesn't owe several millions can be neglected, while managers don't need to know anything specific: profit guides all and is supreme.

That is all crazy, and will eventually destroy both the economy and the society, but it is a quite popular ideology.

4. Tech Giants Drop CISA Support as Controversial Spy Bill Heads for Vote

The next article is by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

Following a number of dedicated grassroots campaigns by consumer rights advocates, technology companies are coming out against the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) as the controversial surveillance bill barrels toward a vote in the U.S. Senate.

Some of the industry titans now publicly opposing CISA are Google, Apple, and Twitter, among other well-known companies, while those who support the bill include Verizon, AT&T, and Cisco.

CISA would allow tech companies to share user data with the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence offices in cases of "cybersecurity threats." Critics say the bill only expands government surveillance powers and guts consumer protections.

Apple publicly came out against CISA on Tuesday as the Senate began gearing up for the vote, citing concerns over privacy and users' rights.

"We don't support the current CISA proposal," Apple said in a statement. "The trust of our customers means everything to us and we don't believe security should come at the expense of their privacy."

I say - and as to the last comment: See Benjamin Franklin. So this is again a bit of Good News (that is rare in this crisis series).

Here is some more by consumer rights advocates:

"People trust these companies with a staggering amount of personal information, and we need ways to hold them accountable to ensure they keep our data safe from both attackers and the government," said Evan Greer, Fight for the Future's campaign director. "It's not enough for companies to employ basic security practices, they need to be actively fighting for their users' basic rights when key policy questions come up. Politicians constantly claim the support of the tech industry when attempting to undermine our privacy, so these companies have a responsibility to fight back."

As Freedom of the Press Foundation co-founder Trevor Timm wrote in an op-ed for the Guardian on Tuesday, CISA is nothing more than "a surveillance bill in disguise." That opposition is coming from the likes of Google and Amazon—no strangers to privacy scandals—shows how bad the bill really is, Timm wrote.

Yes indeed - and Greer is right that you cannot trust your own government, if you are rational, whichever that is: State terrorism has killed many millions more than any other kind of terrorism, and state terrorism is terrorism by the government - which always is a very small group of very powerful persons.

And there is this:

"It's outrageous that Congress is even considering passing a law that would further erode Internet users' privacy and security at a time when both are already so fragile," Greer said. "CISA's supporters have repeatedly claimed that the tech industry needs this legislation, but now nearly every major tech company has come out opposing it, not only because they know it won't stop cyber attacks, but also because it's supremely unpopular with their users."

Yes, although I much like to see many more users' protests: It really is extremely dangerous for everyone if the government gets the right to spy on everyone as if he or she is a criminal, and even more dangerous if the government keeps this spying all as secret as it can.

And this holds for each and every government, regardless of its real or plauded excellencies. (And see Frank Church.)

5. This is not a democracy: Behind the Deep State that Obama, Hillary or Trump couldn’t control

The last article is by Patrick L. Smith on Salon:

This is from near the beginning:

Time and again, Obama has allowed State, Defense and the intelligence apparatus to proceed with programs and strategies not remotely in keeping with his evident tilt toward a less militarized, interventionist and confrontational foreign policy.

I put this down to two realities. One is Obama’s ambivalent thinking. Many, many people misread what this man stood for and against when he was elected seven autumns ago, and we are now able to separate the one from the other. More on this in a minute.

Two is the “power elite” C. Wright Mills told us about in the book of this name he published many decades ago. “They are in command of the major hierarchies and organizations of modern society,” Mills wrote. “They run the machinery of the state and claim its prerogatives.” They are, in short, the deep state.

Mills’ book came out in 1956, when the phenomenon he described was newly emergent. Having ignored this elite’s accumulating influence in the 59 years since, we get the questions Obama’s experience raises: Does it matter who we put in the White House? Is there any prospect at all of changing this nation’s conduct and direction? Are our policy-setting institutions any longer capable of self-correction?

I do not know about Obama's "ambivalent thinking", and indeed do not know about his thinking except as he explains it to the press, and these are - not only in my opinion - mostly in the nature of - cleverly crafted, very well served - lies.

But I agree on C. Wright Mills, and indeed bought "The Power Elite" in the late 60ies. And as to the three questions the paragraph ends with: According to Patrick Smith the answers are no, no and no. I mostly but not wholly agree, in that I
think it does matter who gets into the White House: Trump, Carson, Clinton or Sanders would make considerable differences, whoever does get elected.

Then again, I agree there is a "deep state" - the Pentagon, the military, the NSA, the 16 other secret companies doing secret intelligence work, and the managers of the companies that make weapons, drill oil, or manage banks, specifically - and its influence and power have only increased since 1956.

Next (and I have been looking for passages in a fairly long article) on the Republican Party and also on the news media:

One, the Republicans’ argument for militarized, often-perilous assertions of American prerogative abroad are perfectly congruent with the ideology that sustains the deep state. In effect, the G.O.P. is the agency through which the exceptionalist consciousness that drives the deep state remains a political imperative for anyone seeking high office.
(...)
This is partly the fault of our “political-media ecosystem,” as Paul Krugman put it very cogently in a recent New York Times column. “The modern Republican Party is a post-policy enterprise, which doesn’t do real solutions to real problems,” he wrote. “And the news media really, really don’t want to face up to that awkward reality.”

I agree, but when much of the news media act as if they are the government's
speakers, or are - even - to the right of that, what is one to do, as an ordinary citizen? (See below.)

This is from the ending:

What is the topic here? Fair enough to say it is the ability among our political and policy-setting institutions to self-correct, to advance toward rational, life-enhancing outcomes. They have lost it. The urgent task is to face this.
Hm. I agree I see little rationality and little capacity for self-correction in the American government, but I think one main reason is the very sorry state of the news media.

And there is something one can do, although this is not much: Support the alternative media that still serve real news.

---------------------------------------------
Note


[1] In fact my father, who had survived 3 years, 9 months and 15 days of German concentration camps as a communist, told me in the 1950ies, when most Dutchmen spoke of the Germans as "(dirty) Krauts" ("(vuile) moffen" in Dutch)
that I should not do that, because not all Germans were bad, and he had survived the camps in part "because of the help I got from my German comrades".


[2]
And this was, certainly in the late 60ies and early 70ies, quite wellspread among those in their 20ies then - in fact I do not recall anyone I met who was interested in working or in the work he or she did, though I should add that those I met worked in ordinary office jobs in ordinary offices, and not in high jobs or a university.

But among those I met - which were quite a few, since I had many different jobs, most of whom did not have my political or scientific beliefs - the vast majority did not care much or at all for the work they had to do to make money to live.

Most looked upon it as a rather painful bore at best.

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