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. Labour isn’t working.
It’s spamming us instead
What Happens When You Ask a Bunch of Hippie
Kids to Act Like Correctional
3. Elizabeth Warren Challenges
Presidential Candidates to
Stop Revolving Door
4. Why Is the NY Times Basically
Doing a Blackout on Bernie
Days Are Here Again!
is a Nederlog of Sunday July 19, 2015.
This is a
crisis blog. There are 5 items with 6 dotted links: Item
1 is about an article on The Guardian that says - correctly, I
presume - that the British Labour Party is defunct and merely spamming;
item 2 is (in fact) about a recent film
that is about the Stanford Prison Experiment, which was interesting; item 3 is about senator Warren's support for a legal
challenge against revolving doors (which I think will fail, but OK); item 4 is about a good article about the fundamental
dishonesty of the NYT as regards Bernie Sanders; and item
5 is about Bill Clinton who now adds to the $ 104 million he has
received since 2001 for his speeches, by speeching about his apologies
for his presidential mistakes.
This last item has two dotted links.
1. Labour isn’t working. It’s spamming us
The first article
today is by Sophie Heawood on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
There is considerably
more in the article, but it is mostly limited to a criticism on the
amount and the stupidity of Labour Party spam.
If you felt so upset
about the Conservatives’ election victory that you resolved to do
something about it, and joined the Labour party the very next day, you
will know that the past month has been hard. I don’t mean watching George Osborne make cuts in places you didn’t
think there were cuts left to be made, like a barber who has run
out of hair and made a start on his customer’s neck. I don’t even mean
having to look at David Cameron’s face of smug bunting while he talks
about bringing back fox hunting, while food banks make appeals on
behalf of schoolchildren who go hungry during the holidays.
No, I mean the fact that,
every time you so much as glance at your phone or computer, there is
yet another email or text message from the sodding Labour party. Less a political party and more
a call centre now, they are spending all their valuable opposition time
stalking you. I’m now being contacted several times a week by every
leadership candidate, and every candidate for the deputy role, and my
local party, some MEPs, plus all the mayoral candidates, if you live in
London, and somebody who once met someone down the pub who owned the
same breed as a backbencher’s dog and has something to say about it.
I believe her (I don't get any Labour spam, but then I am not even
English and also not a jourbalist), but the real reasons for the spam
and the near total lack of any critical ideas is that Labour has been
betrayed and destroyed by Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and the Third Way - and
yes, you should read the last link if you
are interested in the Labour Party. (And no, I am not a socialist, but
socialism is a real alternative, whereas present-day Labour
just is spam, spam, spam.)
And I should add that I also think that the Tories and the Liberal
Democrats are no better, and just as propagandistic,
though indeed I also do not receive mail
Happens When You Ask a Bunch of Hippie Kids to Act Like Correctional
The next article today is by Michael Mechanic on Mother Jones:
I must start with a
clarification and a correction. The clarification is that this
indirectly, about the rather (in)famous Stanford
Prison Experiment that was set up and conducted by Philip Zimbardo
in the early 1970ies.
Here is the initial bit from the Wikipedia on it,
for I thought this quite interesting, and have written about it
repeatedly in Nederlog (see e.g. here),
and know about it since 1971, and also from my study of psychology.
is quoted minus the note numbers:
My reason to write
"indirectly" is that Michael Mechanic's article is in fact about a film,
also called "The Stanford Prison Experiment", that was released two
The Stanford prison
experiment (SPE) was a study of the psychological
effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The experiment was conducted at Stanford University on August 14–20,
1971, by a team of researchers led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo.
It was funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research
and was of interest to both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps as an
investigation into the causes of conflict between military guards and
prisoners. The experiment is a classic study on the psychology of
and is a topic covered in most introductory psychology textbooks.
Twenty-four male students
were selected, from an initial pool of seventy-five, to adopt randomly
assigned roles of prisoner and guard, in a mock prison, situated in the
basement of the Stanford Psychology Department building, for a period
of between seven and fourteen days. The participants adapted to their
roles well beyond Zimbardo's expectations, as the guards enforced authoritarian measures
and ultimately subjected some of the prisoners to psychological torture. Many of the
prisoners passively accepted psychological abuse and, at the request of
the guards, readily harassed other prisoners who attempted to prevent
it. The experiment even affected Zimbardo himself, who, in his role as
the superintendent, permitted the abuse
Two of the prisoners quit the experiment early, and the entire
experiment was abruptly stopped after only six days, to an extent
because of the objections of Christina Maslach. Certain portions of
the experiment were filmed, and excerpts of footage are publicly
is that "Hippy Kids" don't have anything to do with it: I suppose that
falls under "journalistic freedoms" when reporting about things that
happened 44 years ago.
It has taken Hollywood
more than four decades to turn the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment
into a feature film, but not for lack of trying. There have been
numerous attempts, retired psychology professor Philip Zimbardo told
me. One involved Leonardo DiCaprio, whose father, George, was one of
his students. But they kept falling through, either due to the whims of
Hollywood or because Zimbardo found the treatments "too grandiose."
To use the university's name
in The Stanford Prison Experiment movie, which hits theaters
on July 17, producer Brent Emery had to agree that he would portray the
events of 1971 largely as they actually happened.
What was the Stanford
test the ideas of Milgram and
Experiment, that predicted similar things as Zimbardo found: The solid
majority of ordinary
men, also if these are - fairly intelligent - students at Stanford,
- what they perceive as - authorities, also
in doing things they privately disagree with. (See also Christopher
Browning's "Ordinary Men", about how ordinary men acted under
There is a lot to say about this, but I did so already several
times in Nederlog and also in my Philosophical
Dictionary, so for the moment I refer those who are interested to
the last linked item. See e.g. Role, Group,
3. Elizabeth Warren Challenges Presidential
Candidates to Stop Revolving Door
The next article
by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet:
This starts as
Elizabeth Warren has
drawn a line in 2016’s presidential election sands.
Speaking at the Netroots
Nation conference in Phoenix on Friday, she challenged the presidential
candidates to stand behind legislation introduced this week that would
vastly slow down the revolving door between Wall Street’s financial
firms and working for the government—where high-level private sector
employees end up making government decisions that favor their past
employers over the public.
“We have a presidential
election coming up. I think anyone running for that job—anyone who
wants the power to make every key economic appointment and nomination
across the federal government—should say loud and clear that they
agree: we don’t run this country for Wall Street and mega corporations.
We run it for people,” Warren said, according to a draft of her speech.
Well... I agree with
Warren, but I also think it is far too late to be successful. That
doesn't mean that I think it shouldn't be tried, but I would be very
amazed if the present Congress would support this proposed new
4. Why Is the NY Times Basically Doing a
Blackout on Bernie Sanders?
The next article
by William Beardman on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed and this is
a good and rather long article. It is pro Bernie Sanders,
The front page story is
about such issues as “work force anxieties,” “shrinking middle class,”
“stagnant wages,” and a growing income gap at pre-Depression levels.
The candidate who has been raising these issues longer and louder than
any others is Bernie Sanders. Yet the New York Times story about these
issues does not even mention Bernie Sanders, although it mentions
others with less credibility.
That is the level of
intellectual dishonesty actually achieved by the Times in its July 13
page one story headlined “Growth in the ‘Gig Economy’ Fuels Work Force Anxieties.”
Two of the most relevant words excluded from the 1700-word story are
“Bernie Sanders,” even though it includes two Republican and Hillary
dishonest to write about these issues without mentioning the
Independent senator from Vermont now running for the Democratic
nomination for president as a Democratic Socialist. It is also
deceitful and would be journalistic malpractice for anyone purporting
to practice actual journalism.
but is so on the basis of facts.
Days Are Here Again!
first of the two final articles
today is by David
Swanson on Washington's Blog:
This has the following from
near the start:
Here are things Bill
Clinton is now
apologizing for: mass incarceration, Wall Street deregulation, the
drug war, and corporate trade agreements. Here are a few of the things
he should also be apologizing for: destroying welfare, creating media
monopolies, expanding NATO toward Russia, creating a precedent for
illegal NATO wars without Congressional or UN authorizations, and
500,000 children killed by sanctions in Iraq.
Here are a few
little-known facts about President Barack Obama: the war on Afghanistan
is more his than Bush’s by any measure, he had regularly voted to fund
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a senator, he broke his promised
schedule for ending the war on Iraq and never fully ended it and soon
revived it, he’s supported coups in Honduras and Egypt and Ukraine,
he’s claimed the power to murder anyone anywhere by drone, he’s
expanded the military into numerous nations laying the groundwork for
future hostilities, and his war on Libya followed the Clinton model of
blatant illegality rather than the Bush Jr. approach of at least
bothering to lie to Congress and the United Nations.
I think that is mostly
fair. And indeed David Swanson is right that Bill Clinton is now
apologizing for quite a few things he did as a president, and the link
he provides is quite interesting:
The final article is by
Marina Fang and Amber
Ferguson on the Huffington Post:
This starts as
As president, Bill
Clinton was wrong about Wall Street deregulation and various elements
of his foreign policy, pushed trade policies that painfully drove up
drug prices around the world, sowed chaos in Mexico through his
prosecution of the drug war and exacerbated the problem of mass
incarceration through an overly punitive approach to sentencing.
It may be a harsh
judgment, but it's one that carries weight considering the source:
former President Bill Clinton.
This is a fairly long
article, that discusses the following apologies by Clinton, of
merely list the titles: If you are interested, you can get the text by
way of the last link:
The drug war
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Haitian rice tariffs
HIV/AIDS & drug prices
I have added the last link
because the link given in the article is empty. The quoted apology is
Finally, what do I think about Bill Clinton?
This is from the Wikipedia
article on him:
Clinton earned more than
$104 million from paid speeches between 2001 and 2012.
In brief: He will say
almost anything that makes him popular; he does that very well because
he has an IQ over 150; and I neither like nor trust him, even though I
think he is less bad than most Republicans.
But basically, he is
a clever liar and deceiver, and his only excuse is that he is