who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. Germany refuses to accept Netanyahu’s claim Palestinian
2. Phone in sick: it's a small act of
rebellion against wage
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
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.
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
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,
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 , 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
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.
2. Phone in sick: it's a small act of
rebellion against wage slavery
next item is by Suzanne Moore on The Guardian:
This starts as
“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
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:
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. 
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
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:
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.
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
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?
But then I had intelligent communist parents, and a very high
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"
3. "The Scourge of Managerialism"
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
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
These Changes Were Enabled by Neoliberalism
Managerialism Provides a One-Size Fits All Approach
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:
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
And there is this:
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.
"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."
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
by Patrick L. Smith on Salon:
This is from near the
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
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
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
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
- 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.
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".
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.