who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. Abby Martin Breaks the
Set One Last Time
2. Clapper Calls for Arming
Ukrainian Forces: Who Would
That Actually Empower?
Ali: The Time Is Right for a Palace Revolution
Kills: Economic Distress Seen as Culprit in Sharp
Rise in Suicide Rate Among Middle
Ten Commandments for a Better American World
6. Why the Rise of Fascism
Is Again the Issue
This is a Nederlog of Monday,
March 2, 2015.
This is a crisis blog. There are 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1 is on Abby Martin, who stopped Breaking the
Set; item 2 is on Glenn Greenwald who tries to
clarify the Ukraine; item 3 is on Chris Hedges on
Tariq Ali (and I like it); item 4 is about the
considerably increased number of suicides in the crisis; item 5 is on ten commandments for
a better world; and item 6 is another person
who speaks of fascism (and I - more or less - halfly agree).
Martin Breaks the Set One Last Time
article but a video by Abby Martin
(<- Wikipedia) + team:
In case you don't
know who Abby Martin
is: See the Wikipedia link. This is from Wikipedia on Breaking the
Set (minus note numbers):
In fact, that was the
time - the beginning of March 2014 - that I first got to know about her
existence and about Breaking the Set. (I am one of the very
few Westerners who never even
owned a TV since 1970, and I don't because it taught me very
little, takes a lot of time, and is full of propaganda and
which I detest - but this is an aside.)
Martin began hosting her
own show, Breaking the Set, on RT
America in September 2012 from Washington, D.C. The show mixes
media criticism with investigative journalism.
It describes itself as "a show that cuts through the pre-written
narrative that tries to tell you what to think, and what to care about",
and as a show that "cuts through the false Left/Right paradigm set by
the establishment & reports the hard facts".
The original opening credits depict Martin applying a sledgehammer to a
television tuned to CNN.
The current opening depicts Martin traveling in a helicopter over
Manhattan's Central Park. According to Rolling Stone magazine, past shows have
investigated "Monsanto, Nestle, the U.S. federal electoral system, the
drone program, the NSA, Israel, Obama, and water fluoridation".
Martin drew widespread media
attention when she closed her show on 3 March 2014 with a minute-long
statement condemning the Russian military intervention in Ukraine.
Since I found her, I did watch Breaking the Set regularly, and
occasionally reported on it, perhaps indeed not enough, but then I can
do only so much.
Now the program got finished, and the above link is to the last of the
I think it is a pity, for I really liked it, which indeed was mostly
because of Martin: she is one of the very few of her age - 30 -
who I can take seriously,
intellectually speaking. (Which doesn't mean I always agree, for I
don't. And incidentally, the same holds for people of all ages - but
for this reason it was
nice to see and hear a sensible young person, in considerable detail
To be sure, I didn't like everything (especially not the music, but
then I was in my teens and twenties in the 60ies and 70ies), but I
liked it a lot, and I also do
So... in case you never saw anything by her, there still are most of
the 532 programs she made the last 2 1/2 years on Youtube. Probably the
best way to view her is to select items that interest you, many of
which are presented separately.
Clapper Calls for Arming
Ukrainian Forces: Who Would That Actually Empower?
item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
It’s easy to forget that
just two years ago, President Obama was determined to bomb Syria and
remove the Assad regime, and U.S. establishment institutions were
working to lay the groundwork for that campaign. NPR began dutifully
publishing reports from anonymous U.S. officials that Syria had
stockpiled large amounts of chemical weapons; the NYT was
that Obama was “increasing aid to the rebels and redoubling efforts to
rally a coalition of like-minded countries to forcibly bring down”
Assad; Secretary of State John Kerry pronounced
that forced removal of Assad was “a matter of national
security” and “a matter of the credibility of the United States of
The U.S. is now
bombing Syria, of course, but rather than fighting against
Assad, the Syrian dictator is (once
ally and partner. The rationale for the U.S. bombing campaign is
the same one Assad long invoked: that those fighting against
him are worse than he is because they are aligned with Al Qeada
and ISIS (even though the U.S. funded
and armed those factions for years and their closest allies in the
to do so).
A similar dynamic is at
play in Russia and Ukraine.
And that dynamic gets
explained in the rest of the article, part of which is the following:
Vladimir Putin has long
said that the Ukrainian coup of last year, and the subsequent
regime in Kiev, is driven by ultra-nationalists, fascists,
and even neo-Nazi factions. The Russian TV outlet RT also frequently
refers to “the active role far-right groups have played on the
pro-government side in Ukraine since the violent coup of the last year.”
But just as was true in
Syria: while some involved in the Ukrainian coup were ordinary
Ukrainians fighting against a corrupt and oppressive regime, these
claims about the fascist thugs leading the fight for the Kiev
government are actually true.
I say. There is
considerably more under the last dotted link.
3. Tariq Ali: The Time Is Right for a
item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows
(and I added a Wikipedia link):
Tariq Ali is part
of the royalty of the left. His more than 20 books on politics and
history, his seven novels, his screenplays and plays and his journalism
in the Black Dwarf newspaper, the New Left Review and other
publications have made him one of the most trenchant critics of
corporate capitalism. He hurls rhetorical thunderbolts and searing
critiques at the oily speculators and corporate oligarchs who
manipulate global finance and the useful idiots in the press, the
political system and the academy who support them. The history of the
late part of the 20th century and the early part of the 21st century
has proved Ali, an Oxford-educated intellectual and longtime gadfly who
once stood as a Trotskyist candidate for Parliament in Britain, to be
Yes, indeed: I was in
London in August of 1968 and there met a Pakistani student of economics
who was called Jamil, who was a few years older than I was, and who was
- as I was, at the time - a Marxist of his
own invention, and an atheist,
The Pakistani-born Ali, who
holds Pakistani and British citizenships, was already an icon of the
left during the convulsions of the 1960s.
and quite intelligent, and Tariq Ali was one of the then prominent leftists
I do not know anymore what we thought about him, except that he seemed
likable, and I also do not know what happened to Jamil, for we soon
lost contact, while Tariq Ali currently is 71, whitehaired, and still a
Marxist (of sorts) or at least a leftist.
And this is Chris Hedges' interview with him, of which I will quote and
comment a few bits, on the presumption that Tariq Ali is one of the few
leftists of roughly my age who did not sell out (for nearly all
of roughly my age did, long ago, also).
He lamented the
loss of the radicalism that was nurtured by the 1960s counterculture,
saying it was “unprecedented in imperial history” and produced the
“most hopeful period” in the United States, “intellectually, culturally
Perhaps - but Tariq Ali
(whose parents also were communists, like mine) should know that most
of the radicalized were from conventional backgrounds, and many had
impracticable ideals - and I don't mean "impracticable ideals" as conservatives would use the phrase.
The devolution of
the political system through the infusion of corporate money, the
rewriting of laws and regulations to remove checks on corporate power,
the seizure of the press, especially the electronic press, by a handful
of corporations to silence dissent, and the rise of the wholesale
security and surveillance state have led to “the death of the party
system” and the emergence of what Ali called “an extreme center.”
Working people are being ruthlessly sacrificed on the altar of
corporate profit—a scenario dramatically on display in Greece.
Yes, I agree. There is also this on Greece:
The clash between
the Greeks and the corporate elites that dominate Europe, Ali said, is
The European Union is “prepared to pour billions into fighting Russians
in the Ukraine,” he said. “It’s not a question of the money. They can
throw away the bloody money, as they are preparing to do and are doing
in the Ukraine. With the Greeks they pretend it is economic, but it’s
political. They are fearful that if the Greeks pull it off, the disease
This also seems correct, in
part also because the Greeks really suffered more
than other Europeans (as can be seen from relevant statistics).
Then there is this:
Ali said he fears
that should Americans become politically conscious and resist, the
corporate state will impose naked forms of militarized repression.
Government’s reaction to the 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon
Yes, although I was
mostly stunned by the extent of the militarization of the
ordinary American police, and less by the "government’s reaction".
Then there is this on leftist parties and the radical blacks:
“Just as the
traditional left parties have been wiped out all over the world, so has
the radical segment of the African-American population and their
organizations,” he said.
Yes, but at least the leftist
parties I knew have been destroyed with the active help of their
political leaders, who were bought: They may not have been corrupt,
but surely most really wanted the money they could get as professors or
parliamentarians. (This was clear to me already in the early seventies.)
Then there is this on the lack of knowledge in would-be revolutionaries
and/or social critics:
He worries that
Americans lack an understanding of their own history and that very few
are literate in basic revolutionary theory, from Karl Marx to Rosa
Luxemburg. This illiteracy, he said, means that opposition movements
are often unable to effectively analyze the structures and mechanisms
of capitalist power and cannot formulate a sophisticated political
Well... I surely
am "literate in basic
revolutionary theory" - but
it didn't teach me much I could agree on (and I come from
parents and grandparents who were - real! - communists and anarchists).
Also, it is a fact that this "basic revolutionary theory" is much more accessible on the internet than
it was in the 60ies and 70ies - but then it also wasn't taken
seriously, at least not in my eyes. (There was a lot more at
the time than there is now, but most of it was quasi-religious rather
sensible, I'd say. )
My own view of the matter is that in any case only a small
minority is seriously interested in theory
(revolutionary or otherwise), and also these small groups rarely get
much to say: What moves people - if at all - are rhetorics and
personalities, much rather than theories, and if large groups are moved
by theories, it is mostly because these have articulated an end the
majority can emotionally agree on without having to read the
There is this on the Occupy movement:
“I was sympathetic
to the Occupy movement, but not to the business of not having any
demands,” he said.
Yes, I agree: you need a
program and you need leaders, and to say you don't only means that you
are not really serious, and are in fact playing.
Finally, there is this prediction:
Ali predicted that
the current global speculation would result in another catastrophic
financial crash. This new crash will give birth to “movements and
people who will say, ‘Enough.’ ”
I agree there probably
will be "another
catastrophic financial crash".
I hope people will then turn against politicians of all
accepted kinds and creeds, for these have seriously and since 1980
deluded and deceived and betrayed the people who elected them.
But I don't know - though this article of Chris Hedges again
was good and deserves your full reading.
4. Austerity Kills: Economic Distress
Seen as Culprit in Sharp Rise in Suicide Rate Among Middle Aged
item is an article by Yves Smith on Nakedcapitalism:
This starts as follows:
I say, but not really.
Here are some details (quoted from Science):
I’m surprised, but
perhaps I shouldn’t be, that a recent study hasn’t gotten the attention
it warrants. It points to a direct connection between the impact of the
crisis and a marked increase in suicide rates among the middle aged.
This link seems entirely logical, given how many citizens found
themselves whacked by a one-two punch of job loss or hours cutbacks
combined with the sudden plunge in home prices. Normally, a last ditch
course of action for most middle and upper middle class income members
in the pre-crisis days, when things got desperate, was to sell you
house and cut costs radically by moving into a much more modest rental.
But that option vanished in all but the most stable markets (as in some
flyover states that the subprime merchants ignored) due to home price
declines trashing equity for all but those with small or no mortgages.
And you have the further
psychological toll of the difficulty of re-inventing yourself if you
are over 35.
All I can say is that I
am probably the poorest Dutchman (having never had
Suicide rates for adults
between 40 and 64 years of age in the U.S. have risen about 40% since
1999, with a sharp rise since 2007. One possible explanation could be
the detrimental effects of the economic downturn of 2007-2009, leading
to disproportionate effects on house values, household finances, and
retirement savings for that age group. In a study published in the
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers found that
external economic factors were present in 37.5% of all completed
suicides in 2010, rising from 32.9% in 2005.
In addition, suffocation,
a method more likely to be used in suicides related to job, economic,
or legal factors, increased disproportionately among the middle-aged.
The number of suicides using suffocation increased 59.5% among those
aged 40-64 years between 2005 and 2010, compared with 18.0% for those
aged 15-39 years and 27.2% for aged >65 years.
a yearly income "as high" as the lowest legal income since
1967), although I am one of the best educated (in terms of both
knowledge and of academic marks), but a good part of that is due to my
now 37 years
of - officially unacknowledged! - illness.
And no, I am not suicidal and haven't been since 1991: I can manage,
for I've learned to live on very little.
There is considerably more under the last dotted link, also about
Greece (where suicides doubled, compared to before the crisis).
Ten Commandments for a Better American World
item is an article by Tom Engelhardt on tomdispatch:
This also has an
alternative title: "My War on Terror". In any case, it starts as
My War on Terror
OK - I can understand that
feeling, if only because "what the country does" tends to be done from
the tax money you have to pay as an American citizen. 
Letter to an Unknown American
Dear American Patriot,
I wish I knew your name.
I’ve been thinking about you, about all of us actually and our country,
and meaning to write for a while to explain myself. Let me start
this way: you should feel free to call me an American
nationalist. It may sound ugly as hell, but it’s one way I do
think of myself. True, we Americans usually reserve the more kindly
word “patriot” for ourselves and use “nationalist” to diss other people
who exhibit special feeling for their country. In the extreme,
it’s “superpatriot” for us and “ultranationalist” for them.
In any case, here’s how my
particular form of nationalism manifests itself. I feel a
responsibility for the acts of this country that I don’t feel for those
of other states or groups.
Then there is this:
And this is part
of the reason I’m writing you. I keep wondering how, in these years,
it’s been possible to hold onto such fictions so successfully. I wonder
why, at least some of the time, you aren’t jumping out of your skin
over what we do, rather than what they’ve done or might prospectively
do to us.
I don't have
that feeling, but indeed I admit that I regard most people as - not
very intelligent nor very knowledgeable, to keep it to more or less
Put otherwise, I do not know how to argue or talk with someone
with an IQ of around 90 and succeed in convincing him or her
they are politically or ethically mistaken.
Anyway, there is a lot more there, including a list of Ten
Commandments, that is introduced as follows:
(...) my suspicion
is that what's right and moral is also what's practical and
realistic. In that light, let me offer, with commentary, my
version of the Ten Commandments for a better American world (and a
better world generally). Admittedly, in this day and age, it could
easily be the Twenty or Thirty Commandments, but being classically
minded, let me just stick with 10.
Here they are, but without
the intervening texts:
shalt not torture
I agree - and I also
note how much has changed, that these principles now should be
Thou shalt not send drones to assassinate anyone,
American or not
Thou shalt not invade another country
Thou shalt not occupy another country
Thou shalt not upgrade thy nuclear arsenal
Thou shalt not intercept the communications of thy
citizens or others all over the world or
elaboration of a global surveillance state
Thou shalt not be free of punishment for crimes of state
Thou shalt not use a massive system of secret
classification to deprive Americans of all
of acts of state
Thou shalt not act punitively toward those who want to
let Americans in on what the national security
doing in their name
Thou shalt not infringe on the rights of the citizenry to
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
There is a lot more under the last dotted link, and I advice you to
read all of it.
(I don't agree with all, but it is interesting. And I am not an
American, which also makes a difference.)
6. Why the Rise of Fascism Is Again the
item for today is an article by John Pilger
(<- Wikipedia) on truth-out :
This starts as follows:
The recent 70th
anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great
crime of fascism. Its Nazi iconography is embedded in our
consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage
of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear.
Yet in the same liberal societies, with war-making elites urging us
never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is
suppressed; for it is their fascism.
I say. There is a lot more on
the very many wars the U.S. conducted since 1946 that I will leave to
your interests, and there also is more on the current conflict in the
Ukraine, that I also leave to your interests.
"To initiate a war of
aggression," said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, "is not only
an international crime, it is the supreme international crime,
differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself
the accumulated evil of the whole."
Had the Nazis not invaded
Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the
United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression
in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today, and
Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery.
They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths
and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.
What I am mostly interested in here and now is fascism. Here is
Since 1945, more
than a third of the membership of the UN - 69 countries - have suffered
some or all of the following at the hands of the United States' modern
fascism. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their
popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted, their people
bombed, their economies stripped of all protection, and their societies
subjected to a crippling siege known as "sanctions." The British
historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. In
every case, a big lie was deployed.
I mostly agree, although
I would not call America's international policies, many of
which did start wars, "fascism" till well into the 80ies, at
the very least.
Here are my reasons:
I do agree many of the wars the U.S. fought were dominated by
U.S. economic interests, and were mostly conservative in
inspiration, but at that time the United States were not fascistic; nor
was the government secretly collecting everything it
could secretly find about anyone, by stealing
everything they could find on anyone's computer of cellphone; nor was
the U.S. police militarized; nor were the incomes of the 90% falling
all the time, all in order to pay the 1% many millions a year;
nor were the big
criminals who are bankmanagers protected for six years to do as
they please, because prosecuting them "might bring down the economy";
nor were secret treaties like the TPP and the TPIP, that threaten to
take away many of the rights of governments and give them to big
multi-national corporations, prepared without anybody's
knowledge, in secret, and ready to be steamrolled through
Congress without almost anyone there having the time to even read
These are factors in my diagnosis of "fascism". John Pilger
looks more at the aggression, the greed, the egoism, the lack of
reason, the many cruelties, and the very many killed - which also are
Mar 3, 2015: I added a "University of Amsterdam" to note 3.
 You may disagree, but I still have parts
of the Marxist
mimeographs that were spread in the early 1970ies in the University of
Amsterdam on a large scale - for then the University of Amsterdam was in the hands of the
students, which it would formally be until 1995 (!!),
though nearly all the time it was as corrupt as the Soviet Union. I do not
think they were taken very seriously, and indeed much of it was in fact
infighting between two or three very radical, very small groups.
 I know you can escape paying this, but
I also know this will make your life quite difficult (when you continue
to live in the U.S.).
 I can't
forbear saying that I was told in August of 1978 in a public lecture,
supported by the Board of Directors, that was meant to open the
academic year 1978-1979, the horrible lie that "everybody knows
that truth does not exist" - which then was taught for more
than ten years in the University of Amsterdam, and was accepted,
by most students and by most lecturers and professors that I heard in
three studies (studying philosophy, psychology and Norwegian) ....
This is really one of the events that taught me there are larger
differences between those with an IQ over 140 and those with
considerably lesser IQs, like nearly all of the students and nearly all
of the lecturers and professors at the University of Amsterdam, than
the ordinary student or professor
are inclined to think.
(And please note that this also, in a way at least, serves as the excuse
for many: They didn't do any better, because
they could not.)