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Nederlog

July 4, 2015
Why no uploads (4) + Crisis Materials + Jay&Scheer 7 + 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 7
4. Conclusion


This is a Nederlog of Saturday July 4, 2015.

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.

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 7 articles (with links and authors etc. but with very little comments); item 3 is a link to Part 7 of the interview of Robert Scheer by Paul Jay and is being reviewed by me (I like Scheer and The Real News); and item 4 is  a brief conclusion that - again - explains why I cannot upload at present. (I hope this will be undone - made OK again - between July
6 and July 13.)
1. 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. It probably will be done in the week starting July 6, but I am granting my providers the ability to work, and indeed it should get a bit less hot as well.)

There is some more text explaining this from July 1. 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. 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.

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

This is by Helena Smith, John Hooper, John Henley and Larry Elliott on The Guardian.

This is by Giles Fraser on The Guardian.

This is by Robert Reich on his site.

This is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams.

This is by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams.

This is by Deborah James on Common Dreams.

This is by Peter Müller and René Pfister on Spiegel On Line.

3. Review of Jay&Scheer 7

There is one article that I will review. This is
by Jenna Berbeo on Truthdig:
I have stated several times why I do comment on this series. In case you are interested, look here.

Having said that, I jump straight into Part 7, and start right at the beginning, with the following summary:
In part seven of The Real News Network’s show “Reality Asserts Itself,” Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer and TRNN’s Senior Editor Paul Jay discuss the minute differences between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, the demonization of Republicans and what will happen to Social Security.
This not only gives a summary of this part, but it also states who are the interviewer and the interviewee (Jay and Scheer) and who produced it
(The Real News Network).

This is right from the beginning:
JAY: We’re just going to pick up where we were. Certainly Ronald Reagan’s presidency ushered in this new phase of what people call neoliberalism and such, but it was Bill Clinton—and you just mentioned—really helped regulate or deregulate and create much of the bubble. And you can see it all happening again. When Bill was elected, it was very Obama-esque. You know, it was a change that people could believe in. Now the whole same kind of sections of the elite are now all ready to inaugurate Hillary.
I agree - but this also means that for at least 25 years now the majority of the American people (or at least: of those who voted in presidential elections) have been quite successfully deceived by the public relations their eager leaders-to-be spread over their television screens to seek their own elections.

And indeed I think that is true. But Robert Scheer somewhat disagrees, it seems, for he says:
SCHEER: Yeah. Well, one of the problems that I find with my friends, people I like to have dinner with and have known, is that it’s very easy for them to demonize what they consider to be the far greater evil of the other side. And I’m sure it comes back the same way. If you’re a fairly reasonable Republican, you think, wow, these Democrats, they’re going to bring about communism and they’re going to destroy individual freedom, and they’re just horrible, which is not, of course, true. It had never been true and it’s garbage. They’re just like you, and they’ve gone to the same schools, and they have very similar thoughts, and they can be bought off in the same way. And so Democrats do the same thing about the Republicans. We’re getting that a lot now.
Well...yes and no. Yes, both parties do this. But no, what Scheer seems to miss is that anybody who does this, whether a Democrat or a Republican, has lost the distinction between ideology and science or philosophy; has lost the perception that what he or she gets fed is almost only propaganda; and does not see that he or she himself is speaking and thinking like the propagandists for his or her party wants him or her to speak and think [1].

Also, this style of speaking - tearing down the leaders of the other party as evil idiots - is the dominant mode in either party: Ideology and propaganda are the normal modes of speech in American politics. (This was always the case, but is a whole lot worse since propaganda + public relations took over politics, and since cleverly placed advertisements can decide an election, indeed very possibly  regardless of its truth and decency.)

Then there is this by Robert Scheer:
SCHEER: (...) It’s a game, OK? Because fact is, no one’s going to destroy Social Security. Social Security is a very good way of keeping the lid on mass discontent. Before we had solid Medicare, Social Security, people getting older were a burden on all these families. They were—it’s a crisis. We’ve now institutionalized that concern, OK? That frees up younger people. Everybody knows that. You try to move against that, you’re moving against the most successful social program we’ve had. And same thing is going to happen with Obamacare. It’s being accepted. It’s institutionalized. The Republicans get in, they’ll try to make someliterally noise about it, but basically most of it works. It’s not radical.
I don't know. I agree it is all a game, and I agree the game is done with lots of propaganda, lies, exaggerations, deceptions, falsified information etc. but I have seen so much that I consider plain horrible or plain gross immoralities pushed through by the Obama government (often also in secret), that also insists on surveilling everyone's privacy on the off chance (the pretext) "that he or she may be a terrorist", that I really see no reason to believe Social Security and Medicare may not get scrapped, even though I agree this would be very stupid.

Robert Scheer also makes a sort of confession:
SCHEER: (...) And if you want to ever ask me what I did wrong in life, one of the stupid things I did was have a debate with Ralph Nader on a Nation magazine cruise in which I was celebrating Obama and this new progress. I drank the Kool-Aid. And Ralph Nader was saying, nonsense; they’re going to give you the same old crap is the other guys do, ‘cause they own both parties. And he was right and I was wrong. You know, here, you have it.
OK, that's fair enough. Here is some more:
SCHEER: You know, I don’t know where to begin, OK, because I understand how seductive that argument is and I have accepted that argument much of my life. I’m not going to be a hypocrite here.  (...)  And all my life I’ve voted for—I voted for Dianne Feinstein. I think she’s been a horror. You know, I voted for Clinton. I went to a White House dinner at Bill Clinton’s invitation, and Hillary Clinton said I was her favorite correspondent—or favorite columnist in the world. You know, I wrote nice things about the Clintons, as well as critical things.
I'd say that this at least suggests either that Robert Scheer thinks he has been
tricked by the propaganda from both parties "much of [his] life" or else that
something new has been happening, the last 15 to 35 years, or both. My guess is both are true, but mostly indeed something new has been happening
the last 15 to 35 years (as indeed is also true, I think).

There is also this, which I agree a lot less on:
SCHEER: Let me just say, if we look at what happened during the last 50 years, these crazy Republicans, the ones that were described as crazy and extreme—Richard Nixon—actually ended up having a foreign policy that was no worse than the Democrats and in certain ways better. Richard Nixon did not start the war in Vietnam and did not provide the main escalation, which was the bombing of North Vietnam and carpet bombing, Agent Orange, killing all these people. It’s true, he expanded it to Cambodia.
Yes, but he also committed treason by upsetting the peace talks in Paris, leading to years of more war, and indeed to his election. And besides: while I agree he
signed some good laws, these were not only nor predominantly his work or initiative.

Next, I excerpt this from a much longer discussion:
SCHEER: (..) And Nixon, being a politician above everything else—that’s what we forget, being a careerist, which is what all of these people really are. (..)
Yes, but what is "careerism"? This is from my Philosophical Dictionary:
Careerism: The subordination of personal values, personality, honesty, integrity and human decency for the personal benefits and profits of rising high and earning much in any bureaucratic institution as a reliable conformist in that group.

Although it is widely denied by careerists, the above is both the norm and the common practice in virtually every human institution:

All ordinary men seem quite capable, as it were by empathizing with their role (and its future expected benefits if played up to standard), to replace themselves in a socially contrived reality, that in fact is mostly fictional, but which is shared by others who play roles in the same group, and who all together keep up the pretense that their game is reality itself (from 9 to 5, or whatever the office hours may be), and who thereby succeed, also as in ordinary children's games, to really have - or to mock-"really" have: it depends - the kind of feelings, desires and beliefs that are appropriate to the bureaucratic specifications of their role in the institution.

The better on is able to do this, the better one's chances on a successful social career, and the higher one's income.

That is what I think, and this is also why I do not (and never did) trust politicians nor bureaucrats: They seem fundamentally flawed human beings to me - but yes, alas it is also true that the present Western societies are being led and being run by people who are careerists, like being careerists, are proud of being careerists - and have no norm, no moral principle, other than their own advantage. (And incidentally: one reason is that this is also the easiest option.)

Indeed, I don't know whether Robert Scheer agrees with me, for he also says:

SCHEER: What I’m talking about is: what is the core ideology of any of these people? The core ideology of any of them is opportunism. It’s their career, their advancement, their short-term gain, their sense of how they can move ahead. We do not have statesmen or stateswomen in the old-fashioned sense of people with a longer-run view.
I agree with both points: There are no "statesmen or stateswomen in the old-fashioned sense of people with a longer-run view", with a very few exceptions like Sanders, Warren and Grayson, and the main reason is that for almost everyone in either politics or the bureaucracy, it is both the simplest and the
mostly accepted option that all that is required of one to be a success is that one lies ("For Our Great Party!") to further one's own income, status and power.

Here is the last bit I will quote:
SCHEER: (...) The American people have got to rise to the responsibility of citizenship and ask themselves, do I want to really build another carrier or do I want to engage in drone warfare, do I want to have cyber war that’s going to drive—do I want to do this surveillance state and spy on everybody in the world and make that a way of life? There are a lot of big questions about how we use our resources and how we are governed and elite and so forth. And that requires a movement that’s based on skepticism of those in power no matter which party. That’s the assumption of the American experiment. That’s the whole reason we have freedom of press, freedom of assembly, that they can’t invade our houses. That’s why we have the Bill of Rights, that’s why we have separation of powers, that’s why we have checks and balances, because we assume people are corrupted by power. It’s not something I invented. It’s something that our founders talked about, right? (...)
Well...yes and no:

First the yes: I agree that what is much needed is an "American people" that intelligently discusses big questions and that is also very skeptical about "t
hose in power no matter which party".

Unfortnately, I see little evidence that more than a small part of the
"American people" (60% of whom are so intelligent and so well informed that they support the litertal truth of Noah's Ark story, I'm told) is capable of doing this.

The large majority, educated or not, intelligent or not, informed or not, will mostly side with propaganda, also in part because this is by far the easiest and
safest thing one can do, and they mostly don't see the propaganda of their own party as propaganda: they think it is true and reasonable and factual.

Then my no. I agree with Robert Scheer that all the advantages he sketches that are in the American Constitution are there in part because one cannot trust those in power, whoever they are, however excellent their moral character, if only because the powers successful politicians acquite are enormous, and far greater than almost anyone else has.

But I really fundamentally disagree that not trusting those in power - very important as this is - is (and bolding was added)
"the whole reason we have freedom of press, freedom of assembly, that they can’t invade our houses."

O no! It is also because freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, privacy and freedom in one's own house, the freedom to speak one's thoughts without sanction, and the freedoms and rights given by the Bill of Rights are in themselves good things that any thinking human being wants and should want for himself and for others.

Also, this is not something relative: Freedoms and rights, and laws and legal procedures that guarantee these are kept, for everyone and not just for the rich,
or the politicians, or their bureaucrats, are extremely important, for once these
start disappearing, or start being qualified by "rights of governments" (e.g. to
spy on everyone), the dangers of dictatorship loom large, for most governments
are dictatorships by very few that are checked and balanced by the powers of the people and the courts, and without being thus balanced will soon be in fact, if not in name, dictatorships by the very few in government.

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.

-----------------------------------------------------------
Note

[1] As an aside: This is also why there is a whole lot less quotation in Nederlog of The Young Turks, which I liked rather a lot as a set of progressives presenting their own news from 2009-2013. But since then they have developed into a progressive propaganda machine, with great lots of stuff on how bad this one is, and how crazy that one is, how insane those are and so on and so forth. I find that thoroughly uninteresting, even if it were all literally true (which it isn't): In a country of over 300 million people there are bound to be a lot of idiots, and I do not need ten reminders on what they did and said each and every day. (But: The Young Turks still are popular. It's mostly that I don't like propa-
ganda or sensation, while most do.)

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