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Nederlog

July 26, 2015
Crisis: Greece, Corbyn, Sanders, Cannabis, Hume, me+M.E.
"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.
Greek bailout talks expected to go ahead on Monday
     after delay

2. ‘This is like Stop the War with bells on’: Jeremy Corbyn
     team shocked at momentum

3. Sanders' National Favorability Doubles as Clinton Lead
     Slides

4. Cannabis petition forces MPs to consider debating
     legalisation

5. Book I of Hume's "Treatise" + extensive notes uploaded
6.
me+ME: Update about supplements & condition - July
     2015



This is a Nederlog of Sunday July 26, 2015.

This is a crisis blog. There are 6 items with 8 dotted links, but not all are crisis items: item 1 is about the Greek bailout; item 2 is about the only credible British Labour candidate I know, namely Jeremy Corbyn; item 3 is about the only credible potential U.S. presidential candidate I know, Bernie Sanders; item 4 is about a recent cannabis petition that sounds a lot like the British Wootton report of 1969 (!); item 5 is not a crisis item but is about yesterday's upload of around 2 MB of Hume's Book I of his "Treatise of Human Nature", plus my nearly equally long comments on that (which is my first major upload in the philosophy section since 2012 or before); and item 6 also is not a crisis item, but outlines the supplements I took the last month (that again was not good: I very probably did too much in the beginning of May, and I am still not over it).

Speaking for myself, the main item is item 5, but I realize few are really interested in philosophy. (Also, it was a considerable amount of work.)

1. Greek bailout talks expected to go ahead on Monday after delay

The first article today is by Staff and agencies on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Talks between Greece and its international creditors over a new bailout package should go ahead after logistical issues that delayed meetings this week are resolved, a Greek official has said.

The meetings with officials from the European commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund had been expected to start on Friday but were delayed by organisational issues including the location of talks and security.

The finance ministry official said on Saturday that talks were now expected to get formally underway on Monday after the logistical issues had been resolved. The official denied that the government was trying to keep the lenders’ team away from government departments. “We don’t have any problem with them visiting the general accounting office,” the official said.

Greeks have viewed inspection visits by lenders in Athens as a violation of the country’s sovereignty and six months of acrimonious negotiations with EU partners took place in Brussels at the government’s request.

I say - and I agree this is not Big News, but the Greeks also do not yet have the money they need.

Also, here is something I did not know:

According to a poll by Metron Analysis for Parapolitika newspaper on Saturday, 61% of Greeks had a positive view of Tsipras, compared with 36% who disapproved. An overwhelming majority – 78% – still wanted Greece to stay in the eurozone against 19% in favour of going back to the drachma.

Tsipras insists there is no viable alternative to the bailout but has been wary of striking out against his party opponents in a bid to keep it together, at least while talks proceed.

Flambouraris called on Syriza rebels to drop their opposition. “They are still my comrades and I urge them to get back to their senses even at the last moment,” he said. “They should realise that the left movement is now in power. It’s not an opposition party. Now we have to discuss the new landscape.”

Of course, I am taking this as (approximately) true, but then I have to rely on the information I can find on the internet, indeed like nearly everybody else.

In any case, it is somewhat interesting that 4 out of 5 Greeks "
wanted Greece to stay in the eurozone" and that 3 out of 5 Greeks "had a positive view of Tsipras",
both of which are higher than I expected.


2. ‘This is like Stop the War with bells on’: Jeremy Corbyn team shocked at momentum

The next article today is by Toby Helm on The Guardian:
The main reason this article is reviewed here is that I think that Jeremy Corbyn is the only candidate for the Labour leadership that I can take serious, and that it seems I am not the only one:

Just as the MP for Islington North’s appeal in the contest for the Labour leadership has surprised and shocked much of his own party, it has stunned the Corbyn campaign itself. It is struggling to keep up, and to deploy the many resources it now has at its disposal to maximum effect. Kat Fletcher, who is running a team of volunteers (more than 4,800 have signed up online in the past few weeks) says the momentum is unstoppable. A series of polls have put Corbyn within striking distance of victory against Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, and a sense that something that seemed unthinkable a few weeks ago might be about to happen is feeding the frenzy.

“It is completely overwhelming. When I first joined a few weeks ago, it was extraordinary and it is not slowing down. Every morning I open my inbox and go ‘Wow!’. The phone never stops ringing, and the emails never stop coming in.”

To be sure: I do not know how true this is, but Corbyn is an oldfashioned leftist who certainly is more sincere than the Blairite Tory-likes he is competing with, who indeed all seem to me replacements of Blair, who was Margaret Thatcher's "biggest contribution to English politics" (as I think she said herself, though I can't find the quote right now).

And while I very probably disagree with Corbyn on quite a few issues, I also see that he is a sincere leftist with a leftist program, while his competitors seem all variants of Blair, who was a variant of Thatcher, and who sold out almost everything that was left in Labour (and who got to "earn" at least 20 million pounds for himself: the financial fruits of corruption are always quite
sweet).

There is also this (one of quite a few more that are quoted in the article):

Lynn Hemming, a housing support worker from Lancashire who has volunteered for the campaign, says Corbyn has always been consistent and can be trusted. It doesn’t matter that the policies are from a bygone era. “I believe you can trust in what he says. I wasn’t tempted to support any of the other candidates, although my second choice would be Yvette Cooper. I don’t understand why Liz Kendall is even in the Labour party. Jeremy Corbyn is saying things that haven’t been said for a long time – policies you can get your teeth into. He’s thinking practically about people and jobs.”

I don't understand why any of the Blairite candidates are in Labour. And from
my point of view, Labour can either return to a leftist position under Corbyn - which I probably will not agree to, but which would be understandable and sensible opposition to the Tories - or else deserves to totally fail as a party
for lying careerists.

3.
Sanders' National Favorability Doubles as Clinton Lead Slides

The next article today is by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

Under the headline, 'Sanders Surges, Clinton Sags,' Gallup on Friday released new survey data showing that the two-leading Democratic nominees are currently heading in opposite directions when it comes to favorability ratings among likely U.S. voters with the grassroots populism of the Sanders' campaign outshining the strong name recognition and more centrist policies of Clinton.

According to the latest polling, Sanders' favorability rating has doubled since March (from 12% to 24%), while people's positive perception of Clinton has fallen five percentage points since the questions were asked about her candidacy in April.

While Sander's unfavorability rating has also risen slightly, Clinton experienced her worst performance yet on that score since 2007, with 47% of respondents who were able to make a judgement saying they think of her negatively. Overall, Clinton's negativity rating of 46% percent is now higher than her favorability rating of 43%.

Trends aside, overall favorability rating for Clinton is twice that of Sanders. However, Gallup notes that as name recognition for Sanders has grown nationwide, people are gravitating towards his message of combatting economic inequality, climate change, and the outsized influence of money in politics. "Sanders is still an unknown to a majority of Americans," notes Gallup, "with just 44% able to rate him compared with Clinton's 89%."

Let me start with saying that I completely fail to understand the last statement (by Gallup), though it probably is correct: Americans are these days watching 5 hours of TV every day (yes, they are, according to a recent poll) and still only 44% know who Bernie Sanders is?! How is that even possible?!

That really is the main problem: Most Americans - 56% - appear to be so phenomenally stupid that even while watching five hours of TV a day, they still don't even know who Bernie Sanders is. (I am sorry: I do have a lot of American
readers, and I know there also are quite a lot of intelligent Americans. But it is not the majority, alas.)

4. Cannabis petition forces MPs to consider debating legalisation  

The next article today is by Damien Gayle on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

A petition calling for the total legalisation of cannabis in the UK has been signed by more than 125,000 people in just four days.

The response to an appeal hosted on the government’s official e-petitions website means MPs must now consider debating the issue in parliament. All petitions that reach 100,000 signatures are given such consideration.

The petition’s success comes after a persistent campaign on social media, with activist-linked Twitter accounts around the world calling on UK-resident marijuana smokers to sign up.

The drive comes in the same week that three police commissioners said that, in light of budget constraints, they would not expect their officers to prioritise the pursuit of people growing cannabis plants for personal use.

The petition was posted to the parliament website on Tuesday. By 6.30pm on Saturday it had reached 125,000 signatures, well exceeding the 100,000 needed for the government to consider debating the issue in the Commons.

It calls for parliament to “make the production, sale and use of cannabis legal”.

According to its accompanying text: “Legalising cannabis could bring in £900m in taxes every year, save £400m on policing cannabis and create over 10,000 new jobs.”

The text describes the drug as “a substance that is safer than alcohol, and has many uses. It is believed to have been used by humans for over 4,000 years, being made illegal in the UK in 1925”.

Quite so, and let me for a moment move back to the autum of 1969 - over 45 years ago! - when I attended a conference in Amsterdam's Paradiso (that still exists) that had precisely the same end, that at that time was supported by a British parliamentarian report - the Wootton Report, published in January 1969 - that (and I quote the Wikipedia on that Report):
"seemed to give cannabis something resembling a clean bill of health".
Indeed, that Report also said (in 1969!):
"The long term consumption of cannabis in moderate doses has no harmful effects (…) Cannabis is less dangerous than the opiates, amphetamines and barbiturates, and also less dangerous than alcohol. (…) An increasing number of people, mainly young, in all classes of society are experimenting with this drug, and substantial numbers use it regularly for social pleasure. There is no evidence that this activity is causing violent crime, or is producing in otherwise normal people conditions of dependence or psychosis requiring medical treatment (…) there are indications that (cannabis) may become a functional equivalent of alcohol."
Yes, quite so - except that alcohol is far more dangerous to one's own health and that of others, as has been amply shown in - for example - Holland the last 45 years.

So I am in favor of legalizing it, and have been the last 45 years. Will it be legalized? Probably not, for it isn't even legalized in Holland, where its sales
are protected by mayors, for an unknown amount, but it still is illegal, I presume
because that gives by far the greatest profits. [1]

5. Book I of Hume's "Treatise" + extensive notes uploaded

The next item today is not at all about the crisis nor about politics:

I uploaded yesterday Book I of David Hume's "A Treatise of Human Nature" to my site, with my extensive notes that are (including quotations) nearly as long as the text they comment on.

And while I
doubt this will interest many it is something which interests me, and indeed this also is the first major upload - 2 MB in all, which is rather a lot of text - to the philosophy section, and indeed to any section outside Nederlog, that happened to my site since 2012 or before. [2]

First, here are some links:
Second, here are a few comments and clarifications.

The reason why I did it is mainly that David Hume is one of the most important philosophers there ever was, while his "A Treatise on Human Nature" is rather widely supposed to be his most important book.

I agree with the first estimate, but I am a bit doubtful about the second, and indeed have Hume on my site, since he rejected his "Treatise" and later in life preferred to be known for his two Enquiries (resp. about Understanding and about Morals), which also have been on my site, with my long notes, for about ten years now. (You can find them by way of
David Hume.)

Then again, it is also true that the Enquiries may be regarded as simplified versions of the books of the "Treatise", in which there are considerably more considerations and problems than are treated in the Enquiries, while indeed the
basic point of view of the Enquiries is the same as that of the Treatise.

In any case, I now have 5.4 MB of Hume in the philosophy-section, that consist of the full texts of both of his Enquires, both with my full notes (in each case nearly
as long as the texts they comment on, though this also includes quotations of the
parts I commented on), and the full text of Book I (from three books) of his Treatise, again with my full notes.

Finally: What about the other two books of the Treatise?

I don't know yet, for several reasons. I would like to edit and comment these as well, but it is rather a lot of work, and I did comment very similar ideas in my comments on the Enquiries. Also, I am not healthy, and meanhile am 65 (within a month I will be older than Hume was when he died), and while I neither look it nor feel it, I am ill (and without help, indeed for very many years).

So all I can say is that I will try, and probably also will succeed if I live another three to five years, supposing these to be not worse than the last three to five years.

But this I can't say, and so I must leave this issue undecided for the moment.


6.  me+ME: Update about supplements & condition - July 2015

The final item today is also not at all about the crisis nor about politics: It is an update about my health and the supplements I use. The previous update is here.

The brief update is that I am not well and not as good as the last year, though also not as bad as I was between 2005 and 2010, and that I very probably was set back by having to do too much starting the end of April of this year.

I have been trying several alternative courses of supplements, which did not help me. The last few days I have been taking the following supplements:

vitamin C: 6 grams:
This increased the dose I have been taking by 2 grams a day.
Calcium+vitamin D+vitamin K:
I still take 2 pills a day, which gives a little less than the daily recommended dose
Potassium: 6 pills a day
This gives 1200 mg a day.
Metafolin: 2 pills a day
This gives 2000 mcg a day.
Magnesium: 2 pills a day.
This gives  375 mg a day (100% of the daily dosage).

Vit mB12 infusion: 1 pill a day
This gives 1 mg methylcobalamin a day OR
Vit mB12 5000 mcg: 1/2 pill a day.
The last two are alternated every day.
Vit aB12: 1 pill every other day
This gives 3000 mcg of dibencozide

That's it. My condition got a bit bettter while using the above, so I will continue this for the time being.

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

[1] I have reported before on drugs in Holland, and here wish to add only that everything I have read in Dutch papers since the Van Traa Report (which you'll find under the link, with my extensive notes, but all in Dutch) I have not seen any honest reporting in any paper. (And the Dutch NRC, which I read daily from 1970-2010, seems to have divided all amounts for turn-over, money, profits and marijuana by 10, as compared with the same information in the Van Traa Report, which was a parliamentary report, and which was the most thorough of the reports on Dutch drugs-consumption that I've seen. In any case: only the drugs-dealers and their friends, the Dutch mayors and district attorneys, really know how much is turned over in Holland, and they will not say, and will also claim not to know how much is turned over money-wise, inside and outside Holland. The 1995 estimate for only marijuana was 19 billion guilders a year, of which a considerable amount was exported, with the additional note, also in the Van Traa Report, that for all illegal drugs, the amount was quite a lot higher. Here is a translated part of Noot 60:
"Boekhoorn and others (1995) estimate the current yearly turnover of cannabis for Dutch consumption as  0.8 billion, the yield of the export as 1.8 billion, that of the import/export trading at  3.9 billion and that of the international  trade that does not take place inside the Netherlands at 12.5 billion guilders. The total yearly turnover of cannabis for all of  The Nederlands is therefore 19 billion guilders. If the yield of the trade in all other kinds of [illegal] drugs were added to this the sum of money becomes yet again much larger. The trade in [illegal] drugs is one of the most important and fastest growing sectors of the Dutch econonomy. Amsterdam takes part in this trade to a much larger extent than would appear  (..)"
[2] In 2012 my eyes suddenly got a lot worse. They have considerably improved meanwhile, but they still need daily repeated dripping.


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