1. Revolution Is in the Air
2. Does the Hillary, Bernie Battle Matter That Much?
3. In Vatican City,
Bernie Sanders Speaks Out on Economic
4. Cenk Uygur and His Team at The Young Turks
5. European Parliament’s
vote turns health into a trade
This is a Nederlog of Sunday, April 17,
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is a fine article by Chris Hedges about revolution (and I explain some differences between his and my positions); item 2 is another fine article by Les Leopold, who explains the differences between Hillary and Bernie quite well; item 3 is yet another fine article about, and in part by, Bernie Sanders (who went to the Vatican: I think it is quite interesting); item 4 is about Cenk Uygur and TYT (and I explain that I still like them, but less than in 2009, which is in part because they are a lot bigger now, and in part because they deradicalized some); and item 5 is an interesting and very
frightening article about health in Europe: The European Parliament has
decided to make Europe like Texas and give pharmaceutical corporations
rights and powers they should not have. (You may not realize how dangerous this is, but then it is extremely unlikely that you are ill as I am: over 37 years now.)
1. Revolution Is in the Air
This also is a long Nederlog, that appears a bit later (though still in the Dutch afternoon).
first item is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
The sustained, daily civil disobedience
at the Capitol by demonstrators denouncing the capture of our political
system by corporate money is part of one of the largest and most
important movements for social justice since the Occupy uprising. Join
Six hundred of the protesters have been
arrested, and I was among 100
The protesters, organized by Democracy Spring, have
converged on Washington from across the country. Young. Old. Black.
White. Brown. Native American. Asian. Christian. Jew. Muslim. Buddhist.
Atheist. From the left. From the right. Some marched for 10 days along
a 160-mile route from Philadelphia to Washington.
I did not know this, and I agree with
Chris Hedges that this may be the beginning of something big, although
I am also a bit careful: most politics I engaged in or followed
with positive interests the last 45 years failed. 
There are quite a number of reasons for the failures I saw, but many
to two things (beside others):
First, there was a great and
well-organized opposition from the rich, the corporates, and many
professional politicians - left, right and center - who supported the
rich, often for pay or for power.
For the rich got organized since the
1970ies, and did that a whole lot better and also a whole lot
more synchronized than the left. 
And second, much of "the left" (also ever more increasing with time,
especially among the "professional politicians") are no longer part
of the left that I know, quite intimately also, for both of my
parents were for over 40 years
of their lives members of the Dutch CP (from the middle thirties and
early forties onwards), and they were both intelligent although not
well educated, and they were also quite classical leftists. 
Then there is this:
The hundreds of arrests this past week
have been largely ignored by a corporate media whose lobbyists, along
with those of other corporations, are a familiar presence on Capitol
Hill. The mass media’s blackout of the largest number of arrests at the
Capitol in decades is one of innumerable examples of our corporate coup
d’état. And until corporate power is overthrown—and it will be
overthrown only from the streets in sustained acts of civil
disobedience—the nation will continue to devolve into an authoritarian
police state. Corporations will continue to strip us of our remaining
rights, carry out the deadly assault on the ecosystem, impoverish
workers, make a mockery of our democracy and cannibalize what is left
of the country. The system of corporate power is incapable of reform.
It must be destroyed.
I think this is mostly quite true, and I
think so because it went that way mostly since 1980/1, when Reagan got
to be president of the USA, and from then on the governors of the USA,
including Clinton and Obama (both of whom got a whole lot of money from
the big banks), were on the side of the big corporations (with the
Republicans mostly in oil, and the Democrats mostly in banks, though
both kinds of corporations invest in both parties).
What I am a bit doubtful about is Hedges'
statement that "The system of corporate power is
incapable of reform":
I agree the corporates don't want any reform they don't support, and I
also agree they have an enormous amount of both power and money, but
capitalism in the 20th Century has been moved both rightwards (e.g. by
Reagan and Friedman) and leftwards (e.g. by Roosevelt and
Keynes), and the changes were considerable, though the system was "capitalistic" in both forms. I don't see much reason why
this could not happen again. 
Then there is this:
Democracy cannot be sustained if it
cannot be seen. Those in power must be made to fear movements that are
willing to disrupt the machinery of state. The elites must be kept in
The question, as the philosopher Karl
Popper pointed out, is not how to get good people to rule. Most people
attracted to power, Popper wrote, are at best mediocre and usually
venal. The question is how to build movements to stop the powerful from
doing sustained damage to the citizenry, the nation and the
environment. It is not our job to take power. It is our job to keep
power constantly off balance and fearful of overstepping its reach to
pillage on behalf of the elites.
Mostly yes, though with a few remarks.
First, I think Popper was correct that professional politicians are
rarely really good intellects, and indeed are usually venal. But - I
would say - if you are for "a revolution" your job is to take
power. (You almost certainly will not get it,
even if your group succeeds, but that is what you should aim for - if
Also, you may not be much for "a
revolution", while being a leftist, in considerable part (as holds e.g.
for me) because you know very well that nearly all
attempted revolutions have failed, while those that "succeeded"
almost always produced systems (like Soviet or Chinese
"communism"/"socialism") that have little if anything to do with
the ideals of the original revolutionists.
But this mostly touches upon an ambiguity, that is also realistic, for
no one can confidently predict the course of history.
Then there is this:
It was the pressure of radical movements
and independent parties such as the Progressive Party and the Communist
Party that saw Franklin Delano Roosevelt create the New Deal, which
delivered a series of social and economic reforms that only the Nixon
presidency would rival. Roosevelt warned
his fellow oligarchs that they had better part with some of their
money to create public works projects, Social Security and some 12
million jobs during the Depression or face the prospect of a revolution
in which they would lose everything. Roosevelt later said that one of
his greatest achievements was saving capitalism.
I think that is mostly correct. The same
holds for the following bit:
The corrupt institutions of power have,
for decades, successfully used empty political theater to create the
fiction of democracy. In our managed democracy, usually only
corporate-approved candidates—including Barack Obama, who was anointed
by the Chicago political machine—are able to get elected to state or
national office. It is nearly impossible in our system of inverted
totalitarianism to vote against the interests of ExxonMobil, Bank
of America, Raytheon or Goldman Sachs. On all of the major structural
issues, from the failure to regulate Wall Street to imperial wars and
the evisceration of our civil liberties, there has been complete
continuity between the Bush and Obama administrations.
As there has been a continuity between
Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton, and as there was a continuity between Reagan
and Bush Sr. And the continuity consisted in
always being kind and helpful to the corporate interests - which were
therefore extended, and extended and extended, and currently seem to rule most in
government, through the device of "the revolving door": Extremely rich
bankers who cease banking for a few years to do politics, that will then give
them even more money, after which they return again to their extremely well paying
banking jobs. (Etc. ad inf.)
But in any case, this is a good and
2. Does the Hillary, Bernie Battle Matter That Much?
is by Les Leopold on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows, expanding on the
But is the fighting really that
warranted? Is there something at stake that runs deeper than
personality differences, the first woman president, Clinton fatigue, or
pie-in-the-sky Bernie? Since both candidates are so much better than
the Republican crazies, does it really matter all that much whether
Hillary or Bernie gets the nod?
Yes, it matters.
We are witnessing the first campaign
since 1933 that directly challenges the essential features of our
economy. We are now living through a 40-year neoliberal dystopia.
Finally it is under assault. Any objective observer would note that
Hillary operates within that neoliberal order while Bernie is its
Quite so, and I mostly agree with the last
paragraph, though I would also say that Bernie Sanders (as others also
have said) is less of "a socialist" (judged by his program) than he is of a Rooseveltian proponent of capitalism-with-a- human-face, that
is of a style of capitalism that is bound by the laws and by public morality
to be more or less fair and just to the many, and not just for the rich few.
(Also, the possibilities for capitalism-with-a-human-face
have been more or less systematically deregulated, disrupted and destroyed over the last 40
years, so even returning to that will be quite difficult.)
Neoliberalism refers to the set of
theories and practices that swept through our political system (and
many others) in the late 1970s. Put in its most simplified terms, it
argues that prosperity for all will occur only if we 1) cut taxes
(especially on the higher income brackets); 2) cut government
regulations on the private sector, and; 3) cut/privatize government
social programs. This combination of policies, it is argued, maximizes
economic efficiency and increases economic incentives which together
continually improve and expand our economy.
By the time Reagan came into office,
both political parties had adopted this model. In short, order
trucking, airlines, telecommunications and finance were deregulated.
Taxes on the highest income earners were slashed. Cuts in welfare
became the order of the day. Both parties tripped over themselves to
“unleash” the private sector.
Again quite so, but with an addition: The
whole program of cutting taxes for the rich, cutting regulations
(laws), and cutting social programs was an obvious ideological fraud
that really meant to make the rich a lot richer; to make the powerful a
lot more powerful; and to make the weak and the poor a lot weaker and a
And it spectacularly succeeded,
indeed since Reagan: The few rich got a lot richer and a lot more
powerful, and the many poor got a lot poorer and a lot weaker.
Here is a short summary of what was reached for the few rich:
Both parties also oversaw cuts in
government employment and the privatization of government services.
Corporate taxes as a percent of state and local revenues fell by half.
Both parties acted as if any and all jobs in the private sector, by
definition, were more wholesome than those in the public sector. And
both parties competed strenuously for Wall Street campaign funds by
eviscerating New Deal controls on speculative activity and the size of
financial institutions. Goodbye Glass Steagall — Hello too-big-to-fail
Precisely. And that was combined with this:
That set in motion a generation of
runaway inequality as the incomes of the wealthy skyrocketed while the
wages of the average worker stagnated. In 1970 the gap between the top
100 CEOs and the average worker was $45 to $1. Today it is an
incomprehensible $844 to $1. (All data for this article comes from Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s
Guide to Economic Justice.)
Note that the gap between the rich CEOs
and the average worker increased 19 or 20 times since 1970 (and
compare note ).
Here is the first of the two last parts I'll quote, that is about the
incredible power of a few managers (all multi-millionaires) from Wall
I do like to point out here that I am writing
about the crisis since September
Not only did runaway inequality crash
the financial system in 2007-08, but by then Wall Street was so large
and so powerful that it could extract trillions of dollars in bailouts.
Today the biggest banks are even bigger than before the crash. And
during the current seven year recovery, 95 percent of all the new
income created in the entire economy has gone to the top 1 percent.
Runaway inequality is the new normal.
1, 2008, and wrote nearly 1200 articles on it since then, and also that
I find it
difficult or impossible to speak of "a recovery" when this means that "95 percent of all the new income created in the entire
economy has gone to the top 1 percent": For me -
and I am poor and always have been - the crisis started in 2008, and continues ever since,
and this seems to be the case for most poor.
Finally, there is this on the ever more crumbling American
infrastructures, and on the very widespread tendency of the rich to
park their money where the taxes can't get them (which is plain theft, but
the rich are allowed many things that are denied to the poor):
Meanwhile, we live in a perpetual fiscal
crisis as large corporations and the wealthy shift their money
off-shore. The richest country in the history of the world faces a
crumbling infrastructure, barely potable water, decaying schools and a
deteriorating environment. We lead the world in prisoners, but are
second to last among developed nations in childhood poverty and labor
rights, last in paid family leave and holidays, and nearly last in
upward mobility. And we’ve mortgaged the future by placing our children
under $1 trillion in student debt.
In brief, this is a very good
article that is strongly recommended (and there is more in it
that I did not deal with, that is also good).
In Vatican City, Bernie
Sanders Speaks Out on Economic Injustice
The third item is by
Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
Before meeting with Pope Francis on
Saturday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told
delegates assembled at the Vatican for a conference on the social costs
of unregulated capitalism that Francis “has given the most powerful
name to the predicament of modern society: the globalization of
“Almost without being aware of it,”
Sanders said, reciting the pontiff’s words, “we end up being incapable
of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other
people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were
someone else’s responsibility and not our own.”
Yes, indeed - although I should add that
(i) "the globalization of indifference",
although correct in a way, has two words of 5 or more syllables, while
(ii) it seems to me to come down mostly to a global immorality (lack of
morals, lack of care for others), which came about mostly through the
propaganda of advertisements:
Many more people than before have grown very egoistic and greedy, and
simply reject anything that would demand any sacrifice or any payment
from them to someone they don't know and personally care for, and many
more also look upon themselves as consumers, who are also quite happy
to be consumers. 
There is this, which comes from a larger
part attributed to AP:
(...) Sanders said he had the chance to
tell the pope that “I was incredibly appreciative of the incredible
role that he is playing in this planet in discussing issues about the
need for an economy based on morality, not greed.”
Yes, indeed - and to put this point in
related but other terms:
The economy must be based on the law; the law must regulate
the behaviors of people by forbidding and allowing things; and that
is the main way in which public morality is served in society.
In contrast, to pretend to base an economy on egoism and greed; to deregulate
the laws that are fair; and to admire and protect almost any greed from
the rich, is to undermine both society and economy, and to make it into
a society in which only the few are very rich and the many have
nothing, while they must work all day to merely eat and sleep.
Here is what a deregulated economy based on egoism, greed and lies
produces - within a few decades also (and all of the rest that gets
quoted in this item is from the text of the speech Bernie Sanders made
in the Vatican):
In the year 2016, the top one percent of
the people on this planet own more wealth than the bottom 99 percent,
while the wealthiest 60 people – 60 people – own more than the bottom
half – 3 1/2 billion people. At a time when so few have so much, and so
many have so little, we must reject the foundations of this
contemporary economy as immoral and unsustainable.
I agree that "this
contemporary economy" is both "immoral and unsustainable".
Whether you agree that it is immoral is up to your values and tastes,
but it ought to be quite clear it is unsustainable: There simply are
too many people who want so much that the earth is being destroyed to
satisfy their wants.
Next, here are two bits from Pope John Paul II's encyclical "Centesimus Annus", in part in
summary, in part quoted:
Furthermore, society and the State must
ensure wage levels adequate for the maintenance of the worker and his
family, including a certain amount for savings. This requires a
continuous effort to improve workers’ training and capability so that
their work will be more skilled and productive, as well as careful
controls and adequate legislative measures to block shameful forms of
exploitation, especially to the disadvantage of the most vulnerable
workers, of immigrants and of those on the margins of society. The role
of trade unions in negotiating minimum salaries and working conditions
is decisive in this area. (Para15)
The essential wisdom of Centesimus Annus
is this: A market economy is beneficial for productivity and economic
freedom. But if we let the quest for profits dominate society; if
workers become disposable cogs of the financial system; if vast
inequalities of power and wealth lead to marginalization of the poor
and the powerless; then the common good is squandered and the market
economy fails us. Pope John Paul II puts it this way: profit that is
the result of “illicit exploitation, speculation, or the breaking of
solidarity among working people . . . has not justification, and
represents an abuse in the sight of God and man.” (Para43).
I agree, apart from the bits about God,
but then (i) I don't think He is essential to the argument, and (ii)
these are words of the pope (who has the right to speak
of his faith, and to defend it - in my opinion - though I don't agree with
Then there is this, which is quite important and fundamental:
We need a political analysis as well as
a moral and anthropological analysis to understand what has happened
since 1991. We can say that with unregulated globalization, a world
market economy built on speculative finance burst through the legal,
political, and moral constraints that had once served to protect the
common good. In my country, home of the world’s largest financial
markets, globalization was used as a pretext to deregulate the banks,
ending decades of legal protections for working people and small
businesses. Politicians joined hands with the leading bankers to allow
the banks to become “too big to fail.”
Again, this is quite correct and a
good political analysis. I agree with everything said, except that I
incline to say that it started happening in 1971, with Lewis
Powell Jr.'s secret memo, that exhorted the rich to look better
after the interests of the rich, and that had huge successes (for the rich)
ever since the 1970ies.
There is this on "the economy":
Rather than an economy aimed at the
common good, we have been left with an economy operated for the top 1
percent, who get richer and richer as the working class, the young and
the poor fall further and further behind. And the billionaires and
banks have reaped the returns of their campaign investments, in the
form of special tax privileges, imbalanced trade agreements that favor
investors over workers, and that even give multinational companies
extra-judicial power over governments that are trying to regulate them.
Again I agree, and add that the last bit
refers to the TTP, the TTIP, the TiSA and CETA, that are all plans,
hidden in quite obscure, often secret "treaties" abbreviated by the
above acronyms, to give fascistic powers to the multinational
companies, and to undermine and destroy most of national governments,
most of national parliaments, and most of national laws and
All will be made subject to the decisions
of "courts" manned by lawyers of the rich, who have one and only one
criterion to convict whole nations to pay hundreds of millions or
several billions to multinational companies: That their governments,
their parliaments, or their laws or judges took some decision that
diminished the expected profits of the multinational corporations.
This ends as follows:
The challenges facing our planet are not
mainly technological or even financial, because as a world we are rich
enough to increase our investments in skills, infrastructure, and
technological know-how to meet our needs and to protect the planet. Our
challenge is mostly a moral one, to redirect our efforts and vision to
the common good.
I agree. And again, this is a very
good and highly recommended article.
Cenk Uygur and His Team at The
The fourth item is by Alexander Reed
Kelly on Truthdig:
starts as follows - and is in the context of awarding a "Truthdigger Of
The Week" award, which is less important to me, but I did view quite
a lot of The Young Turks, at least in 2009 and 2010:
Cenk Uygur (pronounced “Jenk YOU-Grrr”),
CEO of the media network The Young Turks and energetic host of the
increasingly popular progressive Internet news show of the same name,
was one of hundreds arrested Monday during the Democracy Spring protests on
I got fast internet in the summer of 2009.
Before that I had a veryslow
telephone modem (since 1996), and had to pay every tick. This was
quite expensive, even with little surfing, that as a rule also did not
produce much, because of the slowness of the modem (maximally 28 Kb per
sec, and that maximum wasn't often reached).
Very soon after getting fast internet I
discovered The Young Turks, which I really enjoyed, and watched quite a
lot of. I am still daily watching their main outlet on Youtube, but I
am also watching far fewer of their shows, for reasons that I
will explain below, at the end of this item.
The above quoted bit continues as follows:
“I’m risking arrest today at our
nation’s capital because our representatives don’t represent us
anymore,” Uygur had said in a written statement. “We have asked them to
take action countless times to get money out of politics. We want
something very simple: Restore free and fair elections. Because of
their inaction, we take action today. It is obvious that Congress is
awash in corruption. Today we begin civil disobedience against that
With his arrest, Uygur, whom The
Guardian recently called
“one of the sharpest and most thoughtful political commentators in the
United States,” breaks a cardinal rule of modern journalism: pretending
to be neutral about whatever one is reporting. I say “pretending”
because only someone who has undergone indoctrination by birth into the
ruling class, higher education or the mind-blunting combination of
ambition and time in the professions can acquire the spiritual numbness
that would enable him or her to report the slaughter of children, the
impoverishment of a continent or the extinction of the future without
feeling compelled to do something about it.
I mostly agree and will not explain what I
disagree with (which may be a matter of wording). But I do agree with
Alexander Reed Kelly on neutralism, which he explains as
It’s not that we wish to distort facts
or omit those inconvenient to our purpose. It’s that we know so-called
neutrality is not neutrality at all. Power has a direction, and what is
regarded as neutral or objective is almost always a perspective and a
manner of presentation that does not upset stockholders of both media
conglomerates and say, firearm companies. “Neutrality” is really just a
strategy for the maintenance of power and property.
Put otherwise: Neutralism pretends to be
neither for nor against almost anyone or anything, because this allows
the journalists to skirt around any painful or contentious subject, and
do his or her "job" without risking anything or hurting anyone, and
especially not those with power or money.
Finally, there is this on Cenk Uygur and TYT:
For a profile of him and his network,
Uygur recently told The Guardian: “As Bernie
Sanders is the political revolution, we are the media revolution. … We
didn’t get to be this popular [2.8 million viewers subscribe to the
network’s flagship show on YouTube] because I’m such a great host.
That’s not how something this big arises. We got this big because we
believe the same thing that the majority of the American people
believe, and we’re almost alone in the media believing it.” (“Almost
alone” is right.)
This is fair enough. And I said I would
explain why I look a whole lot less at what they put up for viewing
than I did in 2009 and 2010:
There are several reasons. First, while I like Cenk Uygur and Ana
Kasparian (the other main host of TYT), TYT has expanded quite a lot
since 2009, and I don't much like most of "the new talent" they hired.
(This may be - in part - a question of age. I don't feel like it, but I
am 65.) Second, it seems to me part of the reason TYT expanded is that
it deradicalized somewhat, and that it produces a lot
more videos about stuff that either does not interest me or
that I much
rather read about than view as video. Third, most of the additional
programming they have (apart from their main video outlet) doesn't
interest me, for it tends to be addressed to people who are both a
whole lot younger than I am, and who also know a whole lot less.
Then again, most of the points in the
previous paragraph are due to me, and
TYT still is a lot better than ordinary TV.
5. European Parliament’s vote turns health into a trade
The fifth and last item is by
or from 1 boring old man, who is a partially pensioned psychiatrist in
his mid-seventies, who is one of the few of his brotherhood (of
psychiatrists) I can still take seriously.
But he didn't write it: He put the following up (and the EPHA is the
European Public Health Alliance, which exists since 1993):
Trade Secrets Directive opens the way for shady TTIP
Brussels, 14 April 2016.
The European Parliament approved today a new Directive on Trade
Secrets, a position that would signal that trade secrets outweigh the
public interest. The impact will be negative for health, by declaring
information on safety of medicines commercially confidential and to be
kept secret from patients, regulators and the public. The Trade Secrets
Law would gag journalists and whistle-blowers, undermining freedom of
expression and preventing vital information reaching the media and
public. With regard to public health, the new rules would erect a
barrier to public access to data on the safety and efficacy of
I say! I wonder how much
money the corrupt degenerates of the "European Parliament" got for
their eagerly willing services to the rich. In any case: Whoever protects the sickeningly
corrupt and degenerate pharmaceutical corporations must be a moral
degenerate. And it seems the "European Parliamentarians either were
paid enough to help the pharmaceutical corporations or were born as the
lying and deceiving shits they anyway seem to be.
For consider: What these
parliamentarians want, desire, and made possible is this - and I quote:
declaring information on safety
of medicines commercially confidential and to be kept secret from
patients, regulators and the public
That is: the
pharmaceutical corporations may poison you with their
drugs, because you are not allowed to know what is in
them, and neither is your doctor and nor is any
regulatory body, because - TTIP! TTIP! - 'this might lessen their
And rest assured that your
doctor will not know either (or if he knows, will not
to tell you by the pharmaceutical corporations), for I have been
following medicine somewhat, and 1 boring old man in particular, because
there are still some medical people who worry about these things, and
the pharmaceutical corporations have been playing this game since
This is what it will do for Europe: it will make it into Texas:
And as soon as the TTIP is accepted in Europe, there will be demands of
the pharmaceutical corporations for all manner of advertisements for
all their wares (which now also are beyond control, for even medical doctors may not know what the pills they are supposed to prescribe (!!) really contain:
As a result, Europe
could soon be stripped of its hard-won global
leader position on clinical trials transparency. The proposals for
the Trade Secrets Directive are clearly intended to increase commercial
confidentiality in the interest of drug makers who seek to keep
clinical trials results secret, and would weaken patient safety
protection and halt further research and independent analyses. The
worrying lack of legal guarantees preventing companies from abusing the
concept of trade secrets opens the way for unethical repetition of
clinical trials on people, and the injection of public resources
spent on therapies that are no better than existing treatments, do not
work, or do
more harm than good.
Here is Nina Renshaw, who heads the EPHA:
“This vote weakens recent
efforts by European Institutions to increase sharing and transparency
of essential health data. Clinical trials data transparency is key for patient safety,
for access to affordable medicines, for public health research and
innovation.” stated Nina Renshaw, Secretary General of the
European Public Health Alliance. “Today’s vote is clearly designed
to undermine the Clinical Trials Regulation, on which the ink is barely
dry, which was huge progress for patient safety and access to
medicines, but has always been opposed by the pharmaceutical industry
which prefers to conduct trials in secrecy. It also seems to be aiming
at smoothing the way for the pharmaceutical industry in the EU-US TTIP
negotiations, and would lower transparency requirements in the EU to be
closer in line with much weaker rules in the US.”
Precisely. Exit patient safety: It is less
important than pharmaceutical profits.
Exit affordable medicines: It is less important
than pharmaceutical profits. Exit public health research: It is less important than
pharmaceutical profits. Exit innovations (unless approved by a
pharmaceutical CEO): It is less important than pharmaceutical profits.
Europe must be destroyed and made like Texas, and the European
parliament- arians work proudly to do so. I suspect they get paid in
secret, but I don't know that (for if it happens, it will be again ... a
pharmaceutical secret). I do know they are an overpaid, sick, and morally degenerate lot.
 This needs at least two explanatory
First, I mostly withdrew from politics in 1970. Until 1970 - when I was
20, which was then a year before legal adulthood at 21 - I had been a
communist or - as I preferred it since I was 17 - a neo-marxist.
I gave that up at 20 because I had diagnosed serious problems in
Marxism, in which (it turned out) I was quite right. This was also a
radical change in values, but I did remain a leftist, at least in part
because, while I rejected my parents' intellectual constructions, I
still admired - and admire - their personal morals: they were very much
for honesty, decency, equality and justice, and much more so than nearly all other
adults I knew, and indeed they had been so since their twenties.
Second, while I spent much more time in science, philosophy and
mathematics than in (leftist) politics, I remained interested, and
indeed played a somewhat important political role in the University of
Amsterdam in the early 1980ies.
What I saw (included what happened to me as "a student leader") was this:
removed from the right of taking an M.A. in philosophy, simply because
I truly said - in an invited public speech - what I honestly
about the teachings in philosophy); and almost everything else the
university offered was almost as disappointing, in all these 45 years
since 1970: The real left simply collapsed, and it was replaced by the
politically correct "left", whose "politics" consisted of politically
correct speech, and hardly anything else.
 This seems to have a lot to do with a
secret memo by Lewis
Powell Jr. from the early 1970ies, who exhorted his fellow
rightists to combine forces and oppose the dangers of the left. And
they did combine forces, and gained a great number of
successes ever since Reagan.
Also, one of their main successes were Clinton and Obama: Both
were not leftists and perhaps also not rightists
(though like Blair they are or soon will be multi-millionairs): They
were personal careerists
out for power and money, and it was especially Bill Clinton who changed
the left into "the left" (which he headed), namely by taking out all
socialism, all trade unionism, and almost all pleas for justice, and
replacing them by capitalism, individualism, inequalities of incomes,
powers and rights, and of "justice" according to the corporations.
Clinton's, Blair's and Kok's - utterly fraudulent, false and
intentionally falsified - "Third Way". And incidentally: Margaret
Thatcher said that Tony Blair was her greatest gift to England, because
he was no longer a revolutionary, nor a socialist, nor a leftist.)
 I should also say that my experiences
with "the left" that pretended to be the left probably occurred quite a bit earlierthan
for most others with the same experience: It started in 1977 in the
University of Amsterdam, where I was immediately declared to be "a
dirty fascist" only because I said, quite politely also, that I had
read Marx but liked Peirce better, as a philosopher, and again in 1978, when the man who made the official opening of the academic year insisted on saying that - in a university, as a professor! - "everybody knows that truth does not exist", that since was repeated many times by other professors, in quite a few different studies also.
And I will not further explain why I distinguish between "the left" and the left, but I do. It will be explained later.
seems to me also to be one of the differences between Chris
Hedges and myself:
Chris Hedges wants - it seems to me, and I do not hold this
against him, for it is quite similar to what my parents wanted, and
worked 40 years for, mostly without any payments - a real socialist
My position is a bit more complicated: I am quite
doubtful about socialism,
if only because "the socialism" I have seen (in the GDR, personally,
and in the whole Soviet system, that also comprises China) was/is not
socialism at all, by my lights (and that of many other
leftists); I am quite doubtful about revolutions, if only
because I know almost all revolutions have failed, often quite
bitterly as well; and I am rather certain (from having lived
under both systems) that there are at least two styles or kinds
Capitalism-with-a-human-face, because it is
bound by laws and publicly and legally maintained justice and
decencies, and capitalism-without-a-human- face that is not
bound by laws nor by justice nor decencies.
The differences are quite
deep and fargoing, and may - for example - be seen quite clearly
when comparing England or Germany of the 1970ies with the same countries in the
1920ies (or indeed in the 1890ies or before): the differences are quite
striking, yet both were capitalist systems.
 Already in 1971/2 (after reading "The Population Bomb" and "The Limits to Growth")
I realized that there were then about 3 1/2 billion persons who almost
all wanted (at least) the same riches that middleclass Americans had,
and realized that really was impossible (and there were
then about 220 million Americans). A mere 45 years later, there are
twice as many persons as in 1970, and nearly all persons still want to be (at least) as rich as Americans... (So no: consumption is not a solution: it is a very major problem.)