February 1, 2016

Crisis: Criminals, Political Correctness, War, Jefferson Airplane
Sections                                                                     crisis index    

Pity the Children
2. The “Bernie Bros” Narrative
Manna From Hell
4. Jefferson Airplane

This is a Nederlog of Monday, February 1, 2016.

This is a crisis blog. There are 4 items today: item 1 is on an article by Chris Hedges on what makes criminals: poverty and bad parents; item 2 is on an article by Glenn Greenwald on political correctness (or that is how I read it, having many "significant experiences" in that field); item 3 is about a brief item on war, which I put up mainly because I had the luck not to be involved in any war in the 65 years I've lived so far (quite unlike my parents and grandparents); and item 4 is a video by Jefferson Airplane, whom I liked a lot in the 1960ies, which I put up mostly because the founding member Paul Kantner died January 28 (and because there wasn't much else to select).

As I said, there were not many interesting crisis items today, and the shortness of this Nederlog is due to that fact.

1. Pity the Children 

The first article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:
Larry—not his real name—is 38. He is serving a 30-year sentence for murder in a New Jersey prison. He will not be eligible for parole until 2032, when he will be 55. His impoverished and nightmarish childhood mirrors that of nearly all prisoners I have worked with who were convicted of violent crimes. And as governmental austerity and chronic poverty consume the American landscape, as little is done to blunt poverty’s disintegration of families, as mass incarceration and indiscriminate police violence continue to have a catastrophic impact on communities, Larry’s childhood is becoming the norm for millions of boys and girls.
Here is some more, but this time from a statistical perspective:

Violent criminals are socialized into violence. And a society that permits this to take place is culpable. Over 15 million of our children go to bed hungry. Every fifth child (16.1 million) in America is poor. Every 10th child (7.1 million) is extremely poor. We have 25 percent of the world’s prison population. We have scaled back or cut social services, including welfare. Our infrastructures—including our inner-city schools, little more than warehouses—are crumbling. Police regularly gun down unarmed people in the streets. The poor spend years, sometimes lifetimes, without meaningful work or nurturing environments. And these forms of state violence fuel acts of personal violence. 

Violent criminals, like all of us, begin as vulnerable, fragile children. They are made. They are repeatedly violated and traumatized as children, often to the point of numbness.
I don't think you can blame "society": This is too general. There always are more specific reasons, policies, people that are - more or less, to some extent, that varies - responsibile for whatever is good and bad in "a society".

But the rest is quite correct, including the last quoted paragraph, as indeed you can see from statistics in the article that I did not quote.

The following also seems true to me:
No night class in marital counseling—David Brooks’ and the capitalist elites’ ridiculous response to social and economic disintegration—is going to help. These crimes are the crimes of neoliberalism, which, in the name of profit, has abandoned poor children in cities like Flint, Mich., where it forced them to drink poisoned water, and Baltimore and St. Louis. The idea that the elites are going to teach virtue to those they have oppressed is another example of how woefully out of touch our ruling classes—consumed by greed, hedonism and corruption—have become. Give the poor a chance economically by providing jobs, integrate them into the social order, provide vigorous protection and quality education for children, make possible a life of dignity for families, secure neighborhoods, end mass incarceration. If those things are done, violent crime and drug addiction will dissipate. If we continue down the road of neoliberalism and austerity, violent crime and drug addiction—the way many of the broken cope with the stress, humiliation and despair of poverty—will grow.
For more, click the last dotted link. This is a recommended item.

2. The “Bernie Bros” Narrative

The second item is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:

This starts as follows (and see: political correctness on Wikipedia):

The concoction of the “Bernie Bro” narrative by pro-Clinton journalists has been a potent political tactic — and a journalistic disgrace. It’s intended to imply two equally false claims: (1) a refusal to march enthusiastically behind the Wall Street- enriched, multiple-war-advocating, despot-embracing Hillary Clinton is explainable not by ideology or political conviction, but largely if not exclusively by sexism: demonstrated by the fact that men, not women, support Sanders (his supporters are “bros”); and (2) Sanders supporters are uniquely abusive and misogynistic in their online behavior. Needless to say, a crucial tactical prong of this innuendo is that any attempt to refute it is itself proof of insensitivity to sexism if not sexism itself (as the accusatory reactions to this article will instantly illustrate).

As I started saying, this tactic is part of political correctness, though the present case is more complicated.

As to political correctness, which is what considerable parts of "the left", have come down to after a decade or more of postmodernism: it is "politics" reduced
to etiquette (<-Wikipedia), and would be merely silly and stupid if it wasn't so widespread.

It’s become such an all-purpose, handy pro-Clinton smear that even consummate, actual “bros” for whom the term was originally coined — straight guys who act with entitlement and aggression, such as Paul Krugman — are now reflexively (and unironically) applying it to anyone who speaks ill of Hillary Clinton, even when they know nothing else about the people they’re smearing, including their gender, age, or sexual orientation.

In fact, this is also how I was made into "a fascist" by the ASVA, when I studied in the University of Amsterdam, even before I had started a student-party that opposed the student-party ASVA.

The reason I was called "a fascist" - as the leftist son of two communist heroes from the resistance, with a father who was knighted in 1980, as one of only two communists to which this ever happened in Holland - was this (and it happened several times, and that's how I know):

I had answered some of these quasi-marxist folklorists [2], who asked what I thought of Marx, that I knew Marx (in fact a whole lot better than they did) but liked Charles Sanders Peirce more as a philosopher - after which I got the reply that I was "a fascist" (or "a dirty fascist" or "something like a fascist") because ... Peirce was an American; the Americans were imperialists; and imperialists were fascists.

That was (and is) poltical correctness - totally false, totally ignorant, but also totally fanatic, and in the majority among students of the University of Amsterdam at that time (between 1977 and 1984). And see the next item.

Here is the last bit I will quote from the article, and the diagnosis is quite correct in my long experiences of political correctness:

But truth doesn’t matter here — at all. Instead, the goal is to inherently delegitimize all critics of Hillary Clinton by accusing them of, or at least associating them with, sexism, thus  distracting attention away from Clinton’s policy views, funding, and political history and directing it toward the online behavior of anonymous, random, isolated people on the internet claiming to be Sanders supporters.

There is a lot more in the article, which is recommended.

Also (and independent from the article) here is my diagnosis of
political correctness: Those who engage in it are not leftists (real leftists) but they
simply are frauds playing evil and sadistic games, or else they are too stupid
to even converse with.

That is what I learned in the University of Amsterdam.

3. Manna From Hell

The third item is by Jim Hightower on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

War is hell.

Unless, of course, you happen to be a global corporate peddler of rockets, drones, bombs, and all the other hellish weaponry of military conflict. In that case, war is manna from hell. So bring it on.

Indeed, it seems as if Beelzebub himself is in charge these days, with U.S. military forces enmeshed in at least 135 countries in 2015 alone. Plus, such chicken hawks as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are maniacally beating their flabby chests and screeching for even more military adventurism.

This is from a brief article, but I agree with the above, and one reason for selecting is that I had the personal good luck not to have experienced war
in the 65 years I've lived so far.

Another reason, also personal, is that my direct family was heavily hit by war:

My father's father was murdered in a German concentration camp, because he
was a communist; my father survived more than 3 years and 9 months as a
political prisoner of German concentration camps; and my mother was in the communist resistance during the war and was never arrested but hungered for half a year.

But then in the University of Amsterdam I was widely known as "a (dirty) fascist" because I liked Peirce better than Marx as a philosopher....

4. Jefferson Airplane

I admit there wasn't much today in the ca. 40 items I check every morning, and
I also admit part of the reason was that I skipped a lot on the presidential candidates.

Anyway, it was not on purpose: Had there been more interesting items I would have reviewed them. Since there wasn't much today, and since Paul Kantner, who started Jefferson Airplane in 1965, died on January 28, aged 74, here is over half an hour of Jefferson Airplane from 1970:

I liked Jefferson Airplane since 1967 because of their music, which I first heard on Radio Luxemburg, I think, and I chose the above because it is from 1970 and is a better video (or film) than much that was produced in the late Sixties, and also because of the first two numbers - "We Should Be Together", and "Volunteers" - which were more or less "revolutionary songs" (and not as good as their earlier hits, I think), that I thought in 1970 (!) they were about three years too late with.

But the music was fine.


[1] I am quite serious about this, and talk from very long experience - and see for my own real revolutionary family the end of item 3: There was no one in the University of Amsterdam with a more communist background than I had. Everybody who attacked me there as "a fascist" was a fool and a liar, and none were credible, either philosophically or politically, and indeed none knew anything about me, other than that I believed in truth, in science, and in far better education than the utter shit I (and most other students) were offered.

[2] Again see the end of item 3: My parents were communists for more than 40 years, and survived as members of the communist resistance in WWII; the many assholes who diagnosed me as "a fascist" in the University of Amsterdam were generally children of rich parents who merely pretended to be marxists, and who often did so because the University of Amsterdam, like all other Dutch universities, had been given to the students in 1971 (a unique event in world history!!), with everyone who worked or studied in the university - students, doormen, cleaners, professors - having 1 vote each, to elect the parliaments (both of the universities and of the faculties) that formally and legally ruled the universities. Thus the students always had the absolute majority.

This situation persisted until 1995, when what was done in 1971 again was undone in the Dutch parliament.

And again, almost no one ever speaks of the the years 1971-1995 in the Dutch universities, precisely as almost no one ever speaks about the incredible drugs corruption in Holland, where every year - since 30 years, or so! - 10 billion euros (10.000 million euros) are turned over merely in the sale of soft drugs, inside and outside Holland, where drugs like marijuana still are as illegal as they were in 1970.

This is another example of
political correctness: To refuse to speak about important events or else indeed to lie about them.

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