This is a Nederlog
of Monday, December 7, 2015.
This is a crisis file. There are four items: item 1
is about an article by Chris Hedges; item
2 is about a Finnish plan to give every Finnish adult 800 euros a month in basic income; item 3
is about the real dangers of terrorism; and item 4 is about "The
News", that you cannot trust anymore at all if it is
supplied by the main media: you are systematically lied to and deceived.
As to my computer: It seems to work OK for 95% at present. I do not
know for certain this will persist (see yesterday and the
day before yesterday if you want to know why), but I will suppose
it does, and as long as it does I will continue with Nederlogs, both
crisis logs and non-crisis logs, at least till January 6 2016 (when I
hope to be reasonably sure that the system persists, which I am now
with something like x between 1/2 < x < 1).
1. Apocalyptic Capitalism
item today is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
The charade of the 21st
United Nations climate summit will end, as past climate summits
have ended, with lofty rhetoric and ineffectual cosmetic reforms. Since
the first summit more than 20 years ago, carbon dioxide emissions have
soared. Placing faith in our political and economic elites, who have
mastered the arts of duplicity and propaganda on behalf of corporate
power, is the triumph of hope over experience.
Quite so. And this does not mean you should
not care about the climate, but this does mean (as I also see
it, and for longer than 20 years) that (1) you should stop
believing and following governments, main media and ordinary
politicians: they all lie and deceive for the rich, and have been
bought to do so, and that (2)
you should do the things you personally can do.
Here is part of Chris Hedges justification for his point of view (with
which I agree):
The global elites have no
intention of interfering with the profits, or ending government
subsidies, for the fossil fuel industry and the extraction industries.
They will not curtail extraction or impose hefty carbon taxes to keep
fossil fuels in the ground. They will not limit the overconsumption
that is the engine of global capitalism. They act as if the greatest
contributor of greenhouse gases—the animal agriculture industry—does
not exist. They siphon off trillions of dollars and employ scientific
and technical expertise —expertise that should be directed toward
preparing for environmental catastrophe and investing in renewable
energy—to wage endless wars in the Middle East. What they airily hold
out as a distant solution to the crisis—wind turbines and solar
panels—is, as the scientist James Lovelock says,
the equivalent of 18th-century doctors attempting to cure serious
diseases with leeches and mercury.
I think that is all correct in so far as the
motives and the lies of the governments, main media journalists, and
ordinary politicians (by far the greatest number) are concerned.
As to wind turbines and solar panels: They help some, but they will
hardly save anyone without a major political and economical
shift, and major political and economical shifts are impossible
as long as the governments, main media journalists and ordinary
politicians are believed by the majority, which is the case.
Here is some more:
fuel-efficient vehicles or genetically modified food—is not about
curbing overconsumption or conserving resources. It is about ensuring
that consumption continues at unsustainable levels. (...)
Yes, I agree, but this also opens two
quite major problems: (1) If the technocrats - with university
educations etc. - cannot be believed, who can
be? And (2) if original, intelligent, independent individuals are -
say: I have to estimate - 1 in 20 or so, what can one rationally
These technocrats are part of the massive,
unthinking hive that makes any system work, even a system of death.
They lack the intellectual and moral capacity to question the doomsday
machine spawned by global capitalism. And they are in control.
I register these major problems here, and will take them up later, on
But I have a brief answer here to both problems: There never
was a majority of original, intelligent and independent individuals;
these men and women have always been in a small
minority, which also differed a lot as regards opinions, values and
ends; this will not change without major changes in mankind;
and the only more or less hopeful point I have to offer is that
original, intelligent and independent
individuals do have influences that are much larger (on
average, not always) than the influences of unoriginal, unintelligent
or dependent individuals.
Then again, this seems to be one expectation of Chris Hedges for the
future of humankind:
“Only the strong survive; the
weak are victimized, robbed, and killed,” the anthropologist Joseph
Tainter writes in “The Collapse of Complex Societies.” “There is
fighting for food and fuel. Whatever central authority remains lacks
the resources to reimpose order. Bands of pitiful, maimed survivors
scavenge among the ruins of grandeur. Grass grows in the streets. There
is no higher goal than survival.”
It doesn't have to be that way, but
this is a probable outcome, somewhere between now and the rest
of the century.
Here is some more, a bit more speculatively:
The breakdown of the planet, many
predict, will be nonlinear, meaning that various systems that sustain
life—as Tainter chronicles in his study of collapsed civilizations—will
disintegrate simultaneously. The infrastructures that distribute food,
supply our energy, ensure our security, produce and transport our
baffling array of products, and maintain law and order will crumble at
once. It won’t be much fun: Soaring temperatures. Submerged island
states and coastal cities. Mass migrations. Species extinction. Monster
storms. Droughts. Famines. Declining crop yields. And a security and
surveillance apparatus, along with militarized police, that will employ
harsher and harsher methods to cope with the chaos.
These are all things that are happening now
or may happen soon, but the last quoted paragraph mixes processes with very
different time scales. My own guess is that societies will fall apart
as soon as half or more of the population cannot be properly fed
anymore, but this is a guess.
This is from the ending:
We have little time left. Those
who are despoiling the earth do so for personal gain, believing they
can use their privilege to escape the fate that will befall the human
species. We may not be able to stop the assault. But we can refuse to
abet it. The idols of power and greed, as the biblical prophets warned
us, threaten to doom the human race.
Yes - and one of the interesting and
frightening things is that those who lead the pack of greedy, rich
egoistic capitalists are in a very small minority, though they
extremely much power and money, and that those oppose them are also in
a quite small minority of intelligent, independent and original
individuals, whereas the mass of mankind at present, at least, blindly
and stupidly follow the false and deceptive leads of the main media.
Then again, it was so forever in human history, though indeed
the threats are now far greater than they ever were. And this is a recommended article.
Quality of Life and Economy, Finland Champions Universal Basic
item is by Jon Queally on Truthdig (originally on Common Dreams):
This starts as follows,
and outlines an idea I have always been in favor of:
As a way to improve
living standards and boosts its economy, the nation of Finland is moving closer towards offering all of its
adult citizens a basic permanent income of approximately 800 euros per
The monthly allotment
would replace other existing social benefits, but is an idea long advocated for by progressive-minded social
scientists and economists as a solution—counter-intuitive as it may
first appear at first—that actually decreases government expenditures
and unemployment while boosting both productivity and quality of life.
“For me, a basic income
means simplifying the social security system,” Finland’s Prime Minister
Juha Sipilä said last week.
Though it would not be
implemented until later in 2016, recent polling shows that nearly 70
percent of the Finnish people support the idea.
I say! For I certainly
would not have expected that "nearly 70 percent of the Finnish people support the idea"!
Also, I am much in favor of it, though I should say that $800
euros a month is less than I got in the dole and less
than I get in (minimal) pension, and it would not be sufficient
to keep me alive as I have been the last 37 years of illness. 
But that is also mostly
misleading, for until well after 1995 - twenty years ago -
I lived better
on what is now $400 euros or less: This was before the arrival of the
euro (which almost immediately doubled all prices, with the differences
going almost exclusively to the few rich) and before the coming
together of the European Union
For note that I was kept well alive (better than I am now!) in
the beginning of the 1980ies, on 800 guilders a month, which
was something like 365 euros,
and that situation mostly persisted (with some price increases, but
none radical) until 2002 (when the euro was introduced, and the
undemocratic - European Union became a main political force in Holland).
Anyway - here is a quotation from Anne Ryan who explains the benefits
of a basic income:
I think that is all
true, and one reason why giving everyone a basic income may be
cheaper than the present system is that the basic income holds for
anyone without any bureaucracy, whereas the dole etc. not only
pay dole, but also needs to maintain a network of bureaucrats,
all of whom earn considerably more than dole, to see to it that
things are done "honestly".
Basic income is a regular
and unconditional distribution of money by the state to every member of
society, whether they engage in paid work or not. Basic income is
always tax-free and it replaces social welfare payments, child benefit
and the state pension as we currently know them. It also extends to all
those who currently receive no income from the state. Ideally, a basic
income would be sufficient for each person to have a frugal but decent
lifestyle without supplementary income from paid work.
Basic income would bring
into the security net all those not served by the current system:
casual and short-contract workers who get no or limited sick pay,
holiday pay or pension rights; self-employed people and business
owners; those doing valuable unpaid work, including care, which adds
value to society and economy. Basic income would increase everybody’s
capacity to cope with financial shocks and uncertainties and would
improve general quality of life, while supporting many different kinds
of work, with or without pay.
receiving welfare are badly served by the system: if they take paid
work, especially low-paid or temporary, they often lose out
financially, in a ‘benefits trap’. With basic income, there would
always be a financial incentive for people to earn a taxable income,
should a job be available. Employers would also welcome the ending of
the benefits trap.
But I do not know any research on this topic. This is a recommended article.
How Dangerous Is Terrorism, Really?
item is by Washington's Blog on his site:
This is a fine and thorough article on "the
dangers of terrorism". It starts as follows (colors in the original):
You’re Much More Likely to Be Killed By Deer, Cows, Dogs,
Brain-Eating Parasites, Toddlers, Lightning, Falling Out of Bed,
Alcoholism, Food Poisoning, Choking On Your Meal, a Financial Crash,
Obesity, Medical Errors or “Autoerotic Asphyxiation” than by Terrorists
Preface: The terror threat is
greatly exaggerated. After all, the type of counter-terror experts who frequently appear on the
mainstream news are motivated to hype the terror threat,
because it drums up business for them.
The same is true for government
In case you do not believe this, here are
Etcetera. And there is a lot
more in the article, which is recommended.
Comparing the CDC numbers to terrorism
– You are 35,079 times more likely to die
from heart disease than from a terrorist attack
– You are 33,842 times more likely to die
from cancer than from a terrorist attack
– You are 4,311
times more likely to die from diabetes than from a terrorist attack
– You are 3,157
times more likely to die from flu or pneumonia than from a terrorist
– You are 2,091
times more likely to die from blood
poisoning than from a terrorist attack
– You are 1,064
times more likely to die as your lungs swell
up after your food or beverage goes
down the wrong pipe
(Keep in mind when reading this entire
piece that we are consistently and substantially understating
the risk of other causes of death as compared to terrorism, because we
are comparing deaths from various causes within the United States
against deaths from terrorism worldwide.)
Wikipedia notes that obesity is a a
contributing factor in 100,000–400,000 deaths in the
United States per year. That makes obesity 5,882 to 23,528 times more likely to kill
you than a terrorist.
The annual number of deaths in the U.S. due
to avoidable medical errors is as high as 100,000.
Really Know What’s
item is by Paul Rosenberg on Free-Man's Perspective:
This has the following:
And that is correct, I
think. Also, it has been so all the time, with two recent
additions: The stupid, the ignorant and the talentless now also have
internet in the West, which enormously increased the amount of
ignorant stupidity, and the levels of deception of the main media are
stronger than ever.
The truth about public
reporting comes out from time to time, but usually well after the fact.
So, here’s one piece of truth that’s worth remembering:
For those who don’t
recall the 1970s, Daniel Ellsberg was a man who worked as an analyst at
the RAND Corp., moved from there to the Pentagon, spent two years in
Vietnam working for the State Department, and then went back to RAND.
He is the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971. These were the documents
that revealed that three US presidential administrations had been
plainly, knowingly, and openly lying to the public.
Here’s what Ellsberg
thought the New York Times was good for:
to see what the rubes and the yokels are thinking about and what they
think is going on and what they think the policy is….
Later, in 1998, he said
this in an interview:
public is lied to every day by the president, by his spokespeople, by
his officers. If you can’t handle the thought that the president lies
to the public for all kinds of reasons, you couldn’t stay in the
government at that level….
And here’s what Michael
Deaver, a top aide to President Ronald Reagan, said about the press:
media I’ve had a lot to do with is lazy. We fed them and they ate it
That’s the truth about
news, my friends. The newspapers are where the yokels get informed,
presidents flatly lie, and legislatures are massively corrupt. The TV
stations recycle opinions from the leading newspapers. And Internet
news sites primarily recycle TV and newspaper stories.
Yes, some truth does
slide through, but it looks almost the same as the other stuff. The
only places we get anything close to refined truth is on a few Internet
sites… and many of them have a particular axe to grind.
This is again a recommended article.
 I am ill now for 37 years (while my illness is not
admitted all these 37 years, because that was much cheaper...) and like
to remark that I made an M.A. in psychology while ill and a B.A. in
philosophy while ill, both with straight A's only (which is
hardly ever done by healthy people), so that if I had not been
- ill I could have left Holland long ago, and would have made a fine
academic income somewhere else (for I much dislike Holland, while my
academic marks were more than good enough to find an academic job