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."
Failure — and Future — of Democracy In Europe
Driven Spin Doctors in the Age of Big Money Elections
Administration Denies Snowden Petition
This is a Nederlog of Thursday
July 30, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 3 items with 3 dotted links: In item 1,
that is on "democracy in Europe" I calculate for you how "democratic"
the US and the EU are; item 2 is about the US
elections (and is in fact a piece of propaganda for Bernie Sanders,
which I like); and item 3 is about Obama vs Snowden.
I told you there will be more crisis files and this is one of them,
though indeed it has not been gathered by my checking out 40
first, which saved me - at the very least - 1 1/2 hour. Also, there
probably will not be another crisis file tomorrow,
there very well may be a Nederlog
And I am still quite weak, for otherwise I might have done more. (But
my health is currently not well.)
Failure — and Future — of Democracy In Europe
article of today
is by Vojko Volk on Common Dreams:
starts as follows:
Well... Vojko Volk is
ambassador of Slovenia to Croatia. I don't think he and I have the same
ideas about what "democracy" means but - regardless of what he thinks
it means - he is right that there is an enormous problem of scale
in the system of government
that is sold to the electorate as "democracy".
There’s at least one
reason we should be grateful to the Greek people for exposing the
European Union’s democratic dysfunction this summer: Their recent
referendum showed that majority rule is impossible in a multinational
Creating the illusion of
democratic decisions within the EU, even when there is no clear will
among the member states, has returned like a boomerang with the recent
Greek vote — the Greek people voted overwhelmingly against more
austerity, but their European neighbors forced it on them anyway. This
is especially relevant for a group of states with a single currency, a
single financial pillar that supports not only a vast
economic-monetary-regulatory platform, but the destiny of multiple
countries and millions of human lives.
To illustrate. Holland is a small nation of 17 million people,
with a territory and a national language, who have been convinced that
"freely electing" a few hundreds of their - mostly - wealthiest liars,
deceivers, frauds, conmen and schemers into two parliaments will give
the 17 million all the fruits and all the rights and all
freedoms of "democracy" (also known as "government by the people,
for the people").
Well... let's see how that works out, numerically. We have a
As it happens, 500 :
17,000,000 = 1 : 34,000, which means, if "the elected
representative" works 40 hour a week and spends 10% of his or her time
"listening to the people" (they all do, if they all speak the
truth), he or
she will listen 4 hours a week - 240 minutes - to 34,000 persons,
spending 0.007 minute per person - which equals one divided by 7
thousand: far less than his minimal attention-span which is
- minute per person he or she is said to "represent". 
Now let's consider Europe. The European Parliament has
currently 751 members, which I will round off to 750, while there are
over 500 million inhabitants. This means that 1 "representative"
"represents" approximately 666,666 European inhabitants. Working 40
hours a week and
spending all of 240 minutes listening to "his or her electorate", means
that he or she is "listening to his electorate" at the rate of less
than 5 per 10,000,000 (0.00000048) minutes per person (who speak 1 of 24
Clearly - I
would say - that is not "a democracy", and in terms of
representation ("government for the people; government by the people")
it is very much less representative than a feudal system, for
"the Lord of the Manor" usually had far less than 34,000
menials, let alone 666 thousand 666 menials (666,666). (And no: I am not
saying that there are not a whole lot more rules and
regulations plus a strong police force plus large secret services that
try to maintain these rules and regulations. )
I am "exaggerating"? No, I am not. I am calculating.
(And you can check me!) The calculations are both quite ridiculous and
quite true. I would say that they show there is no democracy in
Europe (nor in the US) and there will not be any democracy in
Europe (or the US) until very radical changes of the political
economic systems have taken place.
Also, I am not saying these changes will happen, nor am
saying that the situation that exists may not be much
worse than it is. All I am doing is showing a few calculations that
show that there is no "government for the people, by the
people" in any plausible arithmetical sense, and indeed there never
If you believe, as a European or American, that you live "in a
democracy", all this shows is that you have been effectively deluded.
Next, there is this, that I quote mostly because of the Jefferson quote:
was right when he claimed that “banking institutions are more dangerous
to our liberties then standing armies.” With the Greek
government’s reluctant decision to accept a proposed bailout
plan in which nobody believes, Greeks are heading toward
death by installment.
And here is the end of the
article (minus the last paragraph):
That is also like Obama
was elected. And Clinton. And Blair. And as they acted once
they were elected.
The EU is a structure in
which a gigantic monetary building stands on a political pillar that
is a mere toothpick. Hollande is now proposing to
strengthen the toothpick by turning the current consensus
decision-making into a government and a parliament of the 18
countries using the euro. (...)
When Cicero was
campaigning for senator in the year 64 B.C., his immensely cunning
brother Quintus, a precursor of the great Machiavelli, advised him how
to win in that decisive year for Rome and ascend to the levels of
power: “Promise them anything, look them in the eyes and lie, spread
joy and optimism. After the elections you will keep some of the
promises, especially the ones which suit you.”
So no, and once again: As inhabitants of the US or the EU we are not
living in democracies, if democracies are understood as "government by
the people, for the people". We are governed by extremely small
minorities who pretend they are elected in free elections they
themselves influence a lot by propaganda.
And while I am quite willing to agree it may be much worse than
it is (and indeed it probably will be) all I insist on here is that the
systems that rule in the US and the EU simply are not
democracies, never have been democracies, and are also growing
less and less democratic the bigger they are. (See above.)
That is - of course - if by "democracy" you mean something like
"government by the
people, for the people", which includes a fair chance that you are really
being listened to. 
You don't govern, and you are not listened to. (Unless
you owe at least
10 million dollars worth, which may buy you a little time, once in a
2. Poll Driven Spin Doctors in the Age of
Big Money Elections
is by John Atcheson on Common Dreams:
starts as follows:
are not yet at the alternative. First, there is Hillary Clinton:
long, candidates from both parties have been conducting a cynical game
of asking us what we want to hear, then feeding it back to us in
carefully managed sound bites, while they dance to the tune of
corporations and the uber rich.
At its best, this is like using a hood ornament to navigate. In
practice, it results in a shameful mix of mush-mouthed lies of
omission and outright lies of commission.
the first time in ages, we have an alternative.
Yes, I think that is correct,
and John Atcheson also proceeds to explain it. After that, he proceeds
to explain the Republican lies and postures:
Clinton’s campaign has already spent $1
million on polling, focus groups, and assorted other “messaging”
strategies. She’s not doing this so she can tell us the truth –
she’s doing it so she can tell us what she thinks we want to hear.
leaves her free to raise money from Wall Street, big banks and fat
cats, just like her Republican counterparts.
Or more precisely: The
"Freedom! Freedom!" cry was heard only where the "Freedom!
Freedom!" criers expected big advancements for themselves (or
those they were working for) and was not heard at all
where they already had these big advancements for themselves, such as
very low taxes for the super rich.
favor free markets and are against Big Government
Ever since Reagan,
Republicans have been hawking this BS like carnie barkers on speed –
but a quick look at the tax
code, or at corporate
subsidies – most of which was pushed by Republicans -- shows that
all that free market stuff doesn’t apply to fat cats, only consumers,
or small businesses like solar and wind energy manufacturers.
they have no problem inserting Big Brother into your pants, telling you
who you may marry, what sexual practices you may or may not use etc etc
… or having Big Brother conduct warrantless eavesdropping,
extraordinary rendition or any of a host of other assaults on our civil
There is more, and here is the end:
So the article is a blatant
piece of propaganda for Bernie Sanders - which I am glad to
review, because I like Bernie Sanders: He is honest, he is
credible, and most of what he says I agree with. (Not everything, but
this is also not a perfect world, as you - possibly - may have noticed.)
know how much Bernie Sanders has spent on polling in his bid for the
nomination? Nothing. Zero. Zip. When asked about
this, his campaign manager said the reason they’re not spending money
on polling is because it wouldn’t influence anything Sanders was
saying. That’s because he’s telling you what he believes, not
some fractured spin on what he thinks you want to hear, or a bunch of
manager went on to say they might do some polling later on to help them
decide where to run ads, but that’s it. Bernie’s message is based
on looking at the facts and telling us the truth he gleans from
None of that will make him win the elections, either for candidate or
for presi- dent, but at least he is someone who is honest and credible,
which is an enormous difference from all other candidates, the last 40
years or so.
Speaking about dishonest candidates:
Administration Denies Snowden Petition
today is by Donald Kaufman on Truthdig:
starts as follows:
After which the article
quotes the delusions or lies from Obama's lying propagandist Lisa
Monaco, as these were rendered on The Guardian:
On Tuesday, the White
House reiterated its stance that Edward Snowden’s revelations were
harmful and dangerous to U.S. national security. The former contractor
for the National Security Agency faces espionage charges that were
issued after journalist Glenn Greenwald published part of Snowden’s
trove of classified information in The Guardian in 2013.
Despite the passage in
Congress of the USA Freedom Act in June, which curbed the government’s
ability to conduct mass bulk collection of American citizens’ phone
records, many on Capitol Hill stand by their characterization of
Snowden as a traitor.
When I said Monaco is a
lying propagandist, I meant (among other things):
“Mr Snowden’s dangerous
decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe
consequences for the security of our country and the people who work
day in and day out to protect it,” Lisa Monaco, Obama’s adviser on
homeland security and counter-terrorism, said in a statement.
“If he felt his actions
were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those
who have taken issue with their own government do: challenge it, speak
out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and – importantly –
accept the consequences of his actions.”
“He should come home to
the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers – not hide
behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he’s running
away from the consequences of his actions.
But if the speaker for
the president of the U.S. relies on this manner of blatant propaganda,
you ought to know your are blatantly lied to.
- No, he did not
disclose the documents: The Guardian and the Washington Post did that -
as you no doubt know.
- And no, he will not
"be judged by a jury of
his peers" when he is
prosecuted under the Espionage law you abuse.
- And no, neither
does he "hide behind the
cover of an authoritarian regime" nor is he "running away from the consequences of his actions": He is in Russia because you withdrew
his passport; and he is not "running away" but merely avoiding American
judicial mistreatment of the kind meeted out against Manning.
 You will
probably say something like: "But this is ridiculous! Nobody spends
less than 1/7000th part of a minute on anyone!"
I quite agree, but it is not me who says that a few hunderds
can "represent" 17 million persons "democratically". The few
hundreds say so, and I calculate how much time they have available
for each of those in their electorate.
Again I am not saying or recommending anything (and certainly
feudalism): I am merely calculating.
And that is - minimalistically, also - what I want to understand by a
term which means "government by the people". If that is what is
meant, the whole scale problem I briefly sketched must be radically
inverted: Real representatives
can't decently represent more than a thousand persons, at most also.
But yes, real democracy is something there rarely was
in Europe or the United States. Simply arithmetically, there may be
something like "real democracy" in small cities, of 5.000-50.000
inhabitants maximally, provided there also is a good free press, and
very little secrecy, and where most decisions are taken locally.
I think there may still be a few such small cities, but very probably
not with a free press, and with considerable secrecy, and where most
decisions anyway depend mostly on the state, and not on the small