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Nederlog

July 2, 2015
Why no uploads (2) + Crisis Materials + Jay&Scheer 6 + Conclusion
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
 
   -- Benjamin Franklin
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
"
   -- I.F. Stone
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton















Prev- crisis -Next

 Sections

            Introduction
1. Why there are no uploads on my site since June 29
2. Crisis materials (links, mostly without reviews)
3. Review of Jay&Scheer 6
4. Conclusion


This is a Nederlog of Thursday July 2, 2015. It is mostly like yesterday's NL, and (also) cannot be uploaded today:

This is not a normal crisis file or Nederlog because while I can write it, I can't upload it, and this also may take some days to sort out.

I explain this in a little more detail in item 1.

Indeed I also plan to continue the present schema until after I can upload again, that is - since I do read the about 40 sites I read every day for NL - I will keep
selecting articles from sites, and upload the links, as in item 2 below, but I will not review them, or only a small selection, simply because this saves time and saves health, and for the moment I have little of either.

Here are the items for today: item 1 is a brief statement on why there are no uploads to my site; item 2 consists of 8 articles (with links and authors etc. but with very little comments) plus 4 links to videos I found interesting; item 3 is my excerpt + comments of the sixth part of the interview that Paul Jay, from The Real News Network, made with Robert Scheer; and item 4 is a brief conclusion
that - again - explains why I cannot upload at present.
1. Why there are no uploads on my site since June 29, 2015

The first item today is an explanation of its title: Why there are no uploads on my site since June 29, 2015.

The basic reason is this: The programs I use for uploading the sites, which happens with FTP (<-Wikipedia) stopped suddenly and unaccountably on June
29, and since then I have not been able to start them again.

I don't think it is a fault with the computer; it may be a fault in Ubuntu though this is less likely; and all I do know on the moment is that the two programs I
use on Ubuntu to get FTP-uploading to my sites done, that worked quite well for over three years, stopped working and refuse to start.

I will have to sort this out, and eventually I will, but I do not know how long this will last (passwords, extremely slow help from providers, bad health, tropical temperatures, other work I must do etc. etc.)

There is some more text explaining this yesterday. Here is the summary:
  • I can't upload on the moment, and will try to sort this out the coming days or week, which will - eventually, I am afraid - succeed.
  • Until then I will continue Nederlog (without uploading, until I can, again) but while I will keep listing crisis-related articles I will only review a few of them, because this is easier and I have to do other things as well.
  • I will also try to write out some of my general conclusions about the crisis.

2. Crisis materials (links, mostly without reviews)

The next item today is a list of articles with links. As I said in the previous item,
I will keep looking every morning at around 40 sites and collect interesting articles, but for the moment I will not review most of them: I merely list them.

This has two advantages: Less work for me, but possibly more articles for my readers. Indeed today is another such a day, for I found eight articles, and also found four videos, that are all a bit older to rather old, but that I think are particularly clear or interesting.

Here are the articles: Titles + links + author(s) + site:

  • History Interupted: Welcome to the 1970s

    This is by David Michael Green (a professor of sociology) and is interesting because it tells the story of what has happened, with
    what most American progressives of 1970 expected to happen
    (which was quite different).

And here are the videos, with some brief comments:

3. Review of Jay&Scheer 6

The next item today is an article by Jenna Berbeo on Truthdig:
I will review this and start with saying why: I like Robert Scheer; he is one of the most important journalists in the U.S.A.; and I have reviewed the first five parts of this series. Part 5 was done yesterday and is here.

Also, two other reasons to review this are that I think this series of interviews is
a bit more important than merely daily news, in part because Scheer also is invited to think and speak about general themes, and gets a fair amount of space
to do so, and in part because he is 79 (although he looks a lot younger), and he knows a whole lot.

I will jump in without more introductions. This is from the beginning and I start with Paul Jay, who makes an interesting point:
JAY: It would be in the interest of global capitalism to have more rational banking regulations as they introduced in the 1930s. It would be in the interest of global capitalism to deal with the threat of catastrophic climate change. It would be in the interest of any rationality not to let fossil fuel and the arms industry so dominate U.S. foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East (...)
Yes, indeed. But this serves as a reminder of the following points: (1) on the level of public rational pro-capitalist policies, there hardly are any, as Jay explains; (2) there may be some on the level of secret Bilderberg conferences and such, but it doesn't seem to be very effective, and it isn't published; so (3) it seems most economic activities - that are essentially decisions to invest (or withhold) capital - are done by the chairmen (mostly males) of big corpo- rations, and are made to increase their own profits, without any rational coordinated plan, other than (4) he continued propaganda in the main media, that do not amount to any rational plan to try to save or indeed regulate corporate capitalism.

Also, (5) this is
really serious, because while the corporate capitalists have won and won a whole lot since 1979-1980, their own main tool of deregulation also seems to have deregulated their own capacities to do the controls that might help
continue their own rule (which is serious, not because I like them, but because
they risk ruining the whole economy and the natural environment).

Robert Scheer agrees:
SCHEER: No, I think even in those circles there’s an awareness that we’re not doing very well, and there are reminders that we’re not doing well. You know, our economy is stagnant. We’re up against some real problems in terms of our future. Income inequality is one. You don’t have to be some wild lefty liberal to see that. I mean, the whole foundation of our country was always on a stable middle class and an expanding middle class, opportunity, equal playing field. I’m not saying that was the reality, but that was always the expectation. (...) And we have been forced over the last couple of decades to recognize that no, it’s going alarmingly in a different direction.
But - again - relatively few are doing much to stop the direction the U.S.A. is going, which is - in the none too far future - that of a poor country, with little industry, because there are other countries where labor costs are a lot lower, and since the laws have all been deregulated, capital is flowing out of the country, and gets invested in the third world and China, much rather than in the U.S.A.: it is more profitable to the rich owners of capital.

Here are Jay and Scheer on one cause of this:
JAY: I would probably think most of the elite know it’s in trouble. They’re just going to cash in on it, and it’s going to be someone else’s problem to do something about it.

SCHEER: Okay. You’re putting your finger on something that I feel is very critical.
(...)
And if I were to try to explain, the big shift that I’ve seen is long-term as opposed to short-term, that most of the people I had interviewed in the first stage of my career, say somewhere up until 1970, were people that at least were concerned what their grandchildren might think.
(...)
I think what happened is we went into this madcap period of short-term greed.
I also note that Scheer has interviewed and travelled with the presidents of the U.S.A. since Nixon, and knows them personally. And I agree, although I add that
there are two reasons for this: (i) there doesn't seem to be any overall pro-
capitalist agenda, while (ii) the main media have put it out - and propagandized this for many years now - that greed is good, and that those who don't make it economically get what they deserve, and they deserve no help from those who did better.
SCHEER: Yeah, that’s really what my book is about, because you had sensible rules of the road that came out of the New Deal, and there was a recognition, because of the Great Depression, that you just can’t have this madcap, crazy, Gilded Age society. Again I overuse this concept of adults watching the store (...) And you lost that. You got people coming out of the law schools and the business schools that were shysters. You know, they just wanted some hustle, some scam. That’s how you got into credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations.
Yes, I think that is correct: (1) there are no more overarching pro-capitalist rules or principles (as there were in the 1950ies and 1960ies), while (2) there is a whole lot of propaganda that greed is good, and somebody who isn't rich is a fool and a sponger [1], which succeeded in (3) getting greedy, immoral people in both political power and economic power, and indeed (4) because these types are only moved by their own profits, it is like delivering the whole machinery of economics and politics in the hands of a greedy bunch of fools who only are interested in maximizing their own profits.

And here is more on how this enormous schema of theft and corruption got legalized, and who legalized it:
SCHEER: You know. I mean, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which Bill Clinton signed off as a lame duck president in 2000, after it was already—you know, the election was over, he was now a lame duck, and he signed this bill. What was the purpose of it? It was to make all of this garbage legal. It said—I think it was Section 3 of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act—a Republican-Democratic bipartisan bill—said no existing law or regulatory agency will have jurisdiction over credit default swaps or collateralized debt obligations or any of these new financial mechanisms. Why? Because they said this is modern. (...)
Right? Legal certainty meant no one’s going to look at it, no one’s going to challenge it, no one’s going to set any standards, no existing regulatory agency or law will apply. So it was a license to steal.
Quite so. And it was all done very intentionally by Bill Clinton: These were the real "Third Way" policies he was pushing, witn enthusiastic help by Tony Blair:

It was the "legal" license to steal for the greediest types; and it also was the license for them - Clinton and Blair - to get to be multi-millionaires; and fuck the remaining 99% (for they are too stupid to see through the propaganda anyway).

Here is another sum-up by Robert Scheer:

SCHEER: And it’s nothing more than the mafia doing a scam, only you have passed laws that say that’s all legal, that’s all legal. Now, you’re absolutely right. You wouldn’t do that if you were worried about how even you would appear to your grandchildren. Okay? People looking back now know these people were crooks, whether they went to—they didn’t go to jail, ‘cause they they get the law passed to make it that it’s not a crime to defraud people. It’s legal.
Well... yes and no: Yes, I agree, it all was and is a scam that was legalized by Clinton (and later by others, for this has been going on all these 15 years since Clinton signed these scamming bills), but no, I think it is worse.

For it seems to me that the few who do and did get exceedingly rich - Dick Fuld, for one example: a psychopath still worth 500 million dollars - know very well that what most of the population looks at are the winners, while their methods soon will be mostly forgotten past history, and anyway are hardly discussed, precisely because they have been made (nominally) "legal".

Also, I should say here, for the benefit of my readers, that I have known since a very long time that, in a phrase: "Legal" is not "Moral". That is, what gets to be a law, that will be defended by the government, the bureaucracies, the police, the military, and the secret services, may very well be a deeply immoral set of rules, that have been explicitly designed to scam and to plunder the many, much rather than "to serve and protect" the majority of the people.

Besides, there is also this complication:

JAY: But it’s not, like, that it’s just a bad group of people happened to get into power. And I’m not suggesting you’re suggesting that.

SCHEER: No, it’s the best and the brightest that Halberstam wrote about in Vietnam. These are very well educated people who know what they’re doing and, I believe, have to know it’s going to destroy the lives of millions of people, and they go ahead and do it. It’s just like—.

JAY: Yeah, ‘cause they say if it ain’t me doing it, it’s going to be him doing it, or her.

SCHEER: Whatever their rationalizations, they surround themselves with lawyers and PR people who tell them this is all wonderful, and they get away with it.

Yes indeed. And there are two additional relevant considerations.

First, while I agree with Robert Scheer that on one level the economic elite knows very well they are massively enriching themselves by means that should be - and have been for a long time - illegal, but now are "legal", and that will destroy the lives of many millions of people, I also think that for the most part these consequences are "put on the back-burner", so to speak, for a later day:

At present, the rich are profiting enormously, and are mostly interested in their
short term profits (which also are enormous) and disregard most of the rest.

Second, Paul Jay is quite right that this is the excuse: "
if it ain’t me doing it, it’s going to be him doing it, or her". One point - that has been clear to me for more
than 45 years - is that this is THE excuse of the weapons dealer or the drugs dealer, and in fact it amounts to this: "if others are to be prevented from making large profits, I will do so before they get the chance", regardless of any morality. It is greed, and greed only, as the ultimate standard for what is right and what is wrong.

Next, there is this, on the power of money:

SCHEER: Well, but also the question you should ask is why aren’t they being observed in doing this. And the reason is because they can buy off everyone.

JAY: Especially the media.

SCHEER: The media, but the universities, the grants of—you know, build buildings at universities. Come on.

True. And what is especially demoralizing is that it doesn't take much to fundamentally corrupt the great majority. Most men value money more than morals, for once you have money you can buy most men.

Then there is this, and this is the last bit I quote from this part:

But it’s not just the media. I mean, I don’t want to exonerate the media, but you—you know, in the day of the internet, you should have more critical voices (...)
Now, most of this stuff is not all that difficult to figure out. So then you have to ask yourself the question, why didn’t you figure it out? I mean, why didn’t the media—in my book I describe how The New York Times was a cheerleader for this radical deregulation. They used words like modernization. They said long overdue. Now, why? You know, because they were living in a culture and benefiting from a culture that was benefiting from the ripoff. These are the people who advertise. These are the people who invest in your venture, in your media. These are the people who buy chairs at the schools where you’re teaching. These are people who support the charities or political causes that you happen to agree with. There is a culture of corruption (...).
Yes, indeed. I have two remarks.

First, I agree that "
n the day of the internet, you should have more critical voices". And I have been quite closely following the news on the crisis and on universal spying on everyone, and the general conclusion I draw is that there are few persons like my own direct family (for my grandfather was murdered in a German concentration camp as a political prisoner, my father survived more than 3 years and 9 months of German concentration camp as a political prisoner; while I myself was thrown out of the University of Amsterdam and was denied the right to take my M.A. in philosophy because I was not a communist, and said - completely correctly, and rather politely - as an invited speaker that my teachers were lazy incompetents. In thanks, I was removed as a "fascist terrorist". To my knowledge no other student has been removed for saying his honest opinion, that also was completely true, from any Dutch university, since WW II. None. [2])

Second, I also agree with Robert Scheer on the more general consequence:

He and I live in a time of gigantic personal corruption, where most are either rich and corrupt and are dishonestly enriching themselves further or else are not rich but are willing to collaborate with the rich, while saying nothing in criticism of the rich.

And this enormous personal corruption has been manufactured intentionally by the rich and by the leading politicians; it has been picked up and spread with great plaudits by the main media; it is basically very simple: "The Rich Are Good; The Poor Are Scum; Everybody Who Works Will Get Rich", which are all total lies, but which also are widely believed and propagandized; and in the end few protest, and indeed few dare to protest, for the government knows everything anyone does.

Finally, to end this item: I think this was again quite interesting, and there are four more parts in this series to come.

4. Conclusion

Since I can't upload this today, and I don't yet know how long that will last, there is also this: I will try to keep up writing Nederlogs for later publication, that depends on my being able to upload them, but they probably will be briefer.

For as I said, while the main reason that you cannot read this since June 30, 2015, is that I can't upload, it is also a fact that I need to do quite a few other things than computing, while my health is currently - and since 2 months - worse than it was since 2012, and also there has started a period with tropical temperatures in Amsterdam, which I tend not to cope well with.

-----------------------------------------------------------
Notes

[1] I have been hearing this now, also in Holland, also by leading politicians, for something ike 15 years now. Lately, there was an asshole who is minister who claimed, in public, that people like me are "slimy bits of shit" ("labbekakken") because we are not leading politicians or local rich folks. The man is an utter moral degenerate - but he was covered by his ministerial mates.

[2] You may disagree, but you should remember that (i) there were only 3000 persons in Holland who went into the real resistance, and that both of my parents and my father's father belonged to that - properly considered - tiny group, and (ii) there were some 10,000(s) more who risked their lives hiding Jews or making and spreading resistance papers, but also that (iii) 25,000 Dutchmen volunteered for the Waffen-SS (and were mostly killed in Russia), and (iv) the whole Dutch Supreme Court and nearly all judges, and nearly all policemen collaborated with the Nazis, while (v) in Holland more than 100,000 Jews were rounded up and gassed, mostly because they were poor, for (vi) so many could be so easily picked up because Abraham Asscher and David Cohen, who presided over the Jewish Council had asked them - on instigation of the SS - to register as Jews, which wasn't done before the war, but which most did, when asked by "their own Jewish Leaders", while (vii) both Asscher and Cohen survived the war, and did not even have to appear in court.

Incidentally (vi) is the reason why so many Dutch Jews were murdered (much more than elsewhere in Nazi-occupied countries), but these things are rarely discussed in Holland, in part because the straight descendants of Asscher and Cohen are again very prominent in the present Dutch politics. They also pose as "social democrats" (of the Clinton-variety, but that they don't say) and are still extremely rich. And most Dutchmen know very little history, and also are quite
prepared "to forgive" their corrupt leaders, and "to forget" the many crimes they committed.


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