Thursday, November 30, 2017

Crisis: Poor Students, Trump´s Insanity, Bankers, Surveillance, Totalitarianism, Extras

Sections                                                     crisis index

1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from November 30, 2017
3. Extras: Two interesting older articles

This is a Nederlog of Thursday
, November 30, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a
crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will continue with it.

On the moment and since nearly two years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and will continue.

Section 2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are all well worth reading:

A. Selections from November 30, 2017
1. Graduate Students Plan Nationwide Walkouts Against GOP
    “Assault” On Post-Secondary Education

2. 'Art of the Deal' Ghostwriter Expresses Grave Concern for
     Trump's Mental Stability

3. Mulvaney’s In, Bankers Win, and Trump Shafts Americans Again
4. Lawsuit Aims To Uncover How Government Surveils Journalists
5. The Revolt Against Reason: Jonathan Freedland’s latest polemic
     broken down
The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at every morning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. Graduate Students Plan Nationwide Walkouts Against GOP “Assault” On Post-Secondary Education

This article is by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now! It starts with the following introduction:
More than 40 graduate student walkouts are planned across the country today to protest a measure tucked into the budget bill that passed the House earlier this month that amounts to a pay cut of thousands of dollars for graduate students by reclassifying their tuition waivers as taxable income. Opponents say the move could diminish the number of students who will even consider graduate school and hurt the chances of finishing for current students. We speak with Jenna Freudenburg, a fourth-year graduate student in astronomy at Ohio State University and an organizer with the Save Graduate Education movement.
Here is Jenna Freudenburg:
JENNA FREUDENBURG: (...) Under these new provisions, the waivers and the reductions that we receive in tuition would be taxed, and this would result in tax increases of hundreds and hundreds of percent, even for public university students. The situation is even more dire for students at private universities where the tuition is higher.

This is the particular provision we are most concerned about. However, this is just one of a number of troubling provisions in both the House and Senate versions of the bill that target higher education. For example, under one of the versions of the bill, we would no longer be able to deduct our student loan interest payments from our taxes. The Lifetime Learning Credit is going to be eliminated. And as you were discussing earlier, the state and local tax deductions are going to be eliminated, which are a major way that states are incentivized to provide funding for their public higher education systems. So this really is an assault on higher education, and it’s something that graduate students in particular are finding very concerning.
I completely agree, and indeed saw similar developments in Holland: In the 1970ies, when I started to study, I had an interest free study loan that allowed me to live on it (that since totally disappeared) and I had to pay yearly tuition of 50 euros.

By now, in the 2010s (and also before that) tuition in medicine is 20,000 euros for a basic degree, and student loans have mostly disappeared, which means that people who are not rich and want to study must accept very great debts to study and also have to live with their parents.

Here is some more by Heather McGhee:

HEATHER MCGHEE: We have seen over the past decade, really, an increasing campaign by the right-wing media to demonize higher education. And if you think about what are the sources of progressive values and power, they are labor unions, they are the government itself—the idea of a public good itself—and they are education. Republicans know that as you get more educated, you are more likely to hold progressive values and vote for a Democrat.

I think this is very clearly part of a campaign to make college the enemy, to make higher education no longer the route to upward mobility that it has been.

I agree. And it seems as if in the USA (at least), the rich have decided that only the rich deserve a good university education, because otherwise I cannot explain their making an academic education extremely expensive for anybody who is not rich.

2. 'Art of the Deal' Ghostwriter Expresses Grave Concern for Trump's Mental Stability

This article is by Chris Sosa on AlterNet. It starts as follows:
During an appearance on MSNBC, The Art of the Deal ghostwriter Tony Schwartz told host Ari Melber that President Donald Trump is showing symptoms of untreated mental illness.
I think Tony Schwarz is quite right, and I also think that the fact that I think so is considerably more relevant (for those interested in truth) than the opinions of others, simply because I am a psychologist (who thinks Trump is not sane for nearly two years now - and no, I am Dutch and not American, and wasn't interested in Trump before).

Then again, I have learned that truth doesn't exist, which is an opinion I first heard expressed in the "University" of Amsterdam in the form of this fascistic or neofascistic lie (according to Hannah Arendt, and I agree) in August of 1978:
"Everybody knows that truth does NOT exist"
And this was the basic ideology of the quasi-marxist "University" of Amsterdam at least till 1995, and it probably still is, albeit with quite a few changes, for the "University" of Amsterdam was changed back in 1995 (by a parliamentary withdrawal from a parliamentary decision of 1971) from a university mostly owned by the students to a university firmly owned by the authorities, who now demand e.g. 20,000 euros to get a basic degree in medicine etc. etc. etc.

And these ideas - there is no truth: we can think and say what we please, all anonymously - are now copied or else also imagined by about a billion of anonymous members of Facebook...

Anyway. Back to the article:

The author told Melber he has observed deterioration of the president's mental health.

“There is a pretty dramatic change. He is more limited in his vocabulary, he is further from, as I said, this connection to what is factual and real. He is more impulsive, he is more reactive,” Schwartz said. “This is a guy in deep trouble.”

"We need to be really bringing in psychiatrists because this is a man who is deeply mentally ill and literally, I know that two different people from the White House — or at least saying they were from the White House and it turned out to be a White House number — who have called somebody I know in the last several weeks to say we are deeply concerned about his mental health,” he continued.

I completely agree and it doesn't amaze me at all: See this by professors of psychology and psychiatry from 2016.

And I should add that unlike Tony Schwarz I do not know Trump at all, and I am not following him closely, so I don't have the evidence Schwarz quotes. But I believe him because I am a psychologist, and this was predicted by psychologists and psychiatrists back in 2016.

This is a recommended article.

3. Mulvaney’s In, Bankers Win, and Trump Shafts Americans Again

This article is by Richard Eskow on Common Dreams. It starts as follows:
A Trump-appointed judge has issued his ruling. Mick Mulvaney – the Tea Party Congressman turned Trump apparatchik – will run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The political extremist who once said the CFPB was “extremely frightening,” who called it “a joke… in a sick, sad kind of way”  and said he would “like to get rid of it,” is now its Acting Director.
Yes indeed. Then again, I should also point out that similar things - perhaps not quite so bad as Trump, but guided by the same ideas - were practised by Ronald Reagan.

Here is more:

The Bad Banker’s Friend

Donald Trump was hostile to the CFPB from the start, and he said this as he shoehorned Mulvaney into the director’s chair (in a tweet, naturally):

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, has been a total disaster as run by the previous Administrations pick. Financial Institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public. We will bring it back to life!”

Devastated? Wrong as usual, Mr. President. The CFPB began operations on July 21, 2011. Over the last five years, Bank of America stock has risen more than 180 percent. JPMorgan Chase’s stock has risen more than 145 percent. Citigroup’s has gone up more than 109 percent. Wells Fargo’s is up more than 67 percent. None of these too-big-to-fail banks has suffered financially, despite committing the largest corporate crime wave in human history.

And now, Trump and Mulvaney plan to lift another burden from their shoulders.  It’s good to be kings … of fraud.
Quite so (and see the utter impertinence of Trump´s total lie that ¨[f]inancial Institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public¨.)

Here is Richard Eskow´s explanation:

Now that Team Trump has succeeded in overriding the independence of this regulator, it’s undoubtedly preparing to target others. The underlying problem is the role of money in politics. As long as big campaign contributors call the shots, reform is always going to be endangered by people like Trump,  McConnell, and Mulvaney. This is one battle in the struggle to regain democratic control of the country’s democratic institutions.

Yes indeed. And this is a recommended article.

4. Lawsuit Aims To Uncover How Government Surveils Journalists

This article is by Trevor Timm on Common Dreams and originally on Columbia Journalism Review. It starts as follows:

What, if anything, is constraining the Trump Justice Department in its dangerous war on leakers, whistleblowers, and journalists? The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and Freedom of the Press Foundation, where I’m executive director, are teaming up to find out.

On Wednesday, we filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Justice Department and several intelligence agencies, demanding records revealing how the government collects information on journalists and targets them with surveillance.

This is quite good and very necessary, although I must add that I do not know whether this lawsuit will succeed.

Here is more on the lawsuit:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said criminal investigations into the sources of journalists are up 800 percent. He’s vowed to “revisit” the Justice Department’s media guidelines that restrict how the US government can conduct surveillance on reporters. President Trump reportedly told ex-FBI director James Comey to “jail” journalists. And so far, Sessions has refused to rule out imprisoning reporters for doing their jobs.

Given these developments, “it is urgent that the government disclose records clarifying the precise limitations placed on its surveillance powers to protect the freedoms of speech, association, and the press,” our lawsuit states. “The public has a right to know those limitations and to know whether the government is in fact complying with them.”

Quite so. Then there is this, which seems to me typical Obama:

In 2013, after a significant public backlash against the Obama Justice Department’s surveillance of journalists, the Justice Department unveiled new “media guidelines” that supposedly restrict the government from surveilling reporters in all but extreme cases.

It was seemingly a win for press freedom, but quietly, Obama’s Justice Department exempted its use of National Security Letters—secret surveillance demands from the FBI for information like call records that do not require a judge’s sign off—from its media guidelines, essentially allowing the government to avoid the media guidelines altogether if it conducted investigations under the guise of “national security” (which, in practice, would encapsulate virtually all leak investigations anyways).

Precisely. Here is the last bit that I quote from this fine article:

National Security Letters and similar tools are now available to the Trump administration as it ramps up Obama’s already historic level of leak prosecutions. Perhaps worse, the Trump administration has also
hinted it wants to change the media guidelines themselves. We still have no information about what it plans on doing—or even if it is following the current rules.

Quite so. And this is a strongly recommended article.

5. The Revolt Against Reason: Jonathan Freedland’s latest polemic broken down

This article is by Frank Lee on the OffGuardian. It starts as follows:
Notes on Nationalism [see HERE] was a short essay written by George Orwell in 1945. The title might have been a little misleading since the term ‘nationalism’ as it is commonly understood, was not the object of his investigation. His purpose was to explain and analyse a type of mindset which has migrated to and colonized other areas of mental and social life.

He explains:

‘’By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’… But secondly – and this is much more important – I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit placing it beyond good or evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. I am only using the word ‘nationalism’ for lack of a better. Nationalism in the extended sense in which I am using the word, includes inter alia such movements and tendencies as Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, anti-Semitism, Trotskyism and pacifism.’’

Incidentally, the reference to HERE is a reference to a very good Russian site with many of Orwell´s writings (that in England are copyrighted until God knows when).

As to ¨nationalism¨: I think myself that what Orwell wrote about is more properly called totalitarianism. That also applies to the following bit:

Suffice to say that in recent times we have been subject to a prime example of ‘nationalism’ viz., a media tsunami of what can only be called religious fundamentalism – a trend which seemed triggered by Brexit-Gate and Russia-Gate. Pick up any newspaper, tune in to any news channel, and it’s an even bet that one or both these topics will come up. But these items are not news as such, they are political constructions, or party lines, based upon a fabricated narrative, which in turn is predicated on a specific world-view, a view which I would define as liberal utopianism, with heavy neo-totalitarian overtones.
Yes indeed (and Lee ends with ¨neo-totalitarian overtones¨). Then there is:

It is indeed very impressive to see this double-think and double-standards at work. One is humbled by its grandeur. Orwell describes this as follows:

All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage – torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its moral colour, when it is committed by ‘our’ side.

In fact, this comprises one of my favorite quotes from Orwell, that I also use in my ¨On ¨The Logic of Moral Discourse¨¨:
Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage – torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its moral colour, when it is committed by ‘our’ side.
I quote it again (i) because I think it is very good and (ii) because there is a fairly full explanation of my own views about this quote here.

This is from the ending of the article:

Indeed –

Some nationalists are not far from clinical schizophrenia, living quite happily amid dreams of power and conquest which have no connexion with the physical world. Orwell, op.cit

We no longer have a media worthy of the name; we have a propaganda machine. A Ministry of Truth stretching from the ‘’soundly conservative to utterly reactionary’’ to use Ralph Miliband’s apt description. A daily scripted fog-horn ramping up the population for war against Russia; and we have been brought to this impasse by a cabal of fanatics ensconced in an ideological bubble – the neo-conservatives – who are frankly deranged.
La Trahison des Clercs? You bet!
I mostly agree, although I think that (i) Orwell´s use of ¨clinical schizophrenia¨ may well be too strong, while what he meant by it - back in the 1940ies - is probably not what present psychologists understand by ¨schizophrenia¨ and that (ii) not all neo-conservatives are ¨deranged¨: They are selfish, greedy, egoistic and dishonest, but none of these means the same as ¨deranged¨.

But I agree with the rest, and I also point out that ¨La Trahison des Clercs¨ (= The Treason of the Intellectuals) is a reference to an important book by Julien Benda.

Section 3. Extras:

I have explained before why I mostly limit the number of articles I review to five a day: It is mostly because I am ill for almost 39 years now with ME/CFS. Then again, I do not know of any other site that has reviewed over 1700 articles about the crisis.

And I should add two things.

The first is that I am a real intellectual (one with several academic degrees) who does have quite explicit left and liberal values but whose ideas on politics are constrained by factual truth: I am more of a scientist than of a politician, at the very least (unlike many journalists).

The second is that while I have reviewed mostly the good articles I found, which I judge to be good on the basis of both my values and my concern for the truth, and while I (more or less) admire most of the journalists who wrote them, few of these articles go very deep or are very long. Besides, almost all articles I have reviewed on date X were from the last few days before X.

Here are two articles that are from 13 or 14 years ago that I found recently, and that are quite good. Indeed, the first article is a real essay of over 200 Kb, with footnotes and references:

This is by John Walker, who is a quite interesting man, as shown by the last link with an interesting and large site that you probably will hear more about in later Nederlogs.

This text is from the end of 2003 and I wish I had read it then (in part also because this is by a real programmer who made his fortune that way). It has the following subtitle:

How big brother and big media can put the Internet genie back in the bottle.

imprimatur 1. The formula (=‘let it be printed’), signed by an official licenser of the press, authorizing the printing of a book; hence as sb. an official license to print.

The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd. ed.)

It starts as follows:

Over the last two years I have become deeply and increasingly pessimistic about the future of liberty and freedom of speech, particularly in regard to the Internet. This is a complete reversal of the almost unbounded optimism I felt during the 1994–1999 period when public access to the Internet burgeoned and innovative new forms of communication appeared in rapid succession. In that epoch I was firmly convinced that universal access to the Internet would provide a countervailing force against the centralisation and concentration in government and the mass media which act to constrain freedom of expression and unrestricted access to information. Further, the Internet, properly used, could actually roll back government and corporate encroachment on individual freedom by allowing information to flow past the barriers erected by totalitarian or authoritarian governments and around the gatekeepers of the mainstream media.

So convinced was I of the potential of the Internet as a means of global unregulated person-to-person communication that I spent the better part of three years developing Speak Freely for Unix and Windows, a free (public domain) Internet telephone with military-grade encryption. Why did I do it? Because I believed that a world in which anybody with Internet access could talk to anybody else so equipped in total privacy and at a fraction of the cost of a telephone call would be a better place to live than a world without such communication.

Computers and the Internet, like all technologies, are a double-edged sword: whether they improve or degrade the human condition depends on who controls them and how they're used.
Quite so, although I should explain why I did not feel any ¨unbound optimism¨ as I joined the internet in 1996, and indeed also not much optimism:

My reasons are mostly personal and mostly involve the facts that (i) I had learned since 1977 that almost anything I read in the press about the Dutch universities were mostly massively uninformed or misinformed lies; that (ii) I had been illegally removed from
the ¨University¨ of Amsterdam very briefly before taking my M.A. in philosophy because I had criticized my totally incompetent and parasitical ¨teachers¨ of philosophy; while (iii) I had also been forced to live above dealers in soft drugs who were protected by the mayor, the police and all bureaucrats of Amsterdam, although they kept me from sleeping and repeatedly (and credibly) had threatened to murder me if I did ¨anything we don´t like¨ - since when I have only read lies about soft drugs, dealings in soft drugs, the laws, and the gains from soft drugs in every Dutch paper I read: It seemed and seems as if everybody who writes about these things in the Dutch press is a liar.

And I saw no reason why the internet would differ in principle from the many lies I read in the Dutch papers.

Then again, I do not know anybody else who has these reasons. And when I joined the internet I also decided that I would try to remain anonymous, not because I like to be but because of the quite credible murder threats by drugsdealers who were also allowed to deal in hard drugs by Amsterdam´s - utterly corrupted - police.

I also had some doubts about privacy in 1996, but at that time I did not yet believe that
all e-mails anybody sends were lapped up by many secret services and by many rich corporations as if they had every right to break all privacy of anyone.

Next, I should explain why I cannot give a good or a full review of this fine article: It is over 200 Kb of fairly intricate but quite good text. I may return to this essay later, and certainly will return to John Walker´s site, but for the purpose of this review I concentrate on just one item: Anonymity.
Many of the problems of the present-day Internet, which engender numerous, mostly ill-considered, proposals for legal remedies, are due to the fundamental lack of accountability on the Internet. The Internet, as presently implemented, affords its users a rather high degree of anonymity which permits them, if so inclined, to engage in various kinds of mischief with relative impunity. Providing, or rather restoring, accountability to the Internet is the key technological foundation for fixing a large majority of its current problems. The present-day anonymity of the Internet wasn't designed in—it is largely an accident of how the Internet evolved in the 1990's; see Appendix 1 for details.
Quite so! I was faced with this problem during the 4 months I was a member of Phoenix Rising, which is a site for people with ME/CFS, where almost everyone is totally anonymous.

What I learned there was that almost everybody that I saw as intelligent and informed (not many) were hunted from that site by hordes of anonymous idiots who could say almost anything they pleased and who seemed to be moved by a burning hate of anyone who was more intelligent than they were (who must have had an average IQ not higher than 95 at most) or who did not share their usually utterly unscientific prejudices.

I saw sadists there (I am a psychologist). I saw psychopaths there
(I am a psychologist). I saw many utterly anonymous idiots (I have a very high IQ). And this fundamentally changed my attitudes about anonymity and that for two reasons:

One: I could not hang out these sadists and these psychopaths as sadists and psychopaths, simply because it would not hurt them personally at all. And

Two: I think it is utterly ridiculous to communicate with people you do not know anything about - not their sex (¨gender¨ seems to be preferred these days); not their education; not their age: Nothing whatsoever.

Indeed, I also do not read the ¨Comments¨ that appear under most publications these days: I have far more interesting things to read by people whose real names I know and whose education I know.

Indeed there is this on anonymity by John Walker:
You have no right, constitutional or otherwise, to anonymity! As a citizen of a civil society, you are responsible for your actions. Society mandates accountability in numerous domains. You cannot drive on the highways without displaying a number plate, nor without carrying a driver's license and vehicle registration which you must present to law enforcement on demand. You cannot block telephone caller ID when calling emergency services numbers, and law enforcement can obtain a list of numbers you've called and trace those calling you pursuant to a court order. You cannot transmit on the amateur radio bands without giving your government-assigned call sign. You cannot open a bank account, obtain a credit card, or buy or sell stock without providing your tax identification number. Records of all of your financial transactions may be subpoenaed or disclosed for law enforcement purposes. None of these are recent innovations—all have been true for decades, and none have occasioned public outcry or serious challenges on constitutional grounds.
I agree. And this is a very strongly recommended (long) essay.

And finally there is this article, which is a review of a book:
This article is by Ron Kaufman. It is from the beginning of 2004. It has a subtitle:

"Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely . . . Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen."

-- from 1984 by George Orwell

I think I should start this review by saying that I do not have a TV since 1970 (for 47 years now); that I never will have one; and that I have watched very little TV since 1970. In fact, most of what I saw in the 2000s dates back to 2001, when I did watch some of the events around 9/11 in the house of a friend. (And that is probably the last time I saw TV!)

There are two fundamental reasons for this:

I hate and despise all propaganda and all advertisements ever since 1960 [2], while the programs on TV comprehend enormous amounts of propaganda and advertisements, and I also found out, in the middle of the 1960ies, that I learned virtually nothing from TV.

So when I started to live by myself in 1970 I refused to buy a TV, and since then my reasons have only grown stronger: I despise TV.

This article starts as follows - and goes back to 1977:

Television is advertising. It is a medium whose purpose is to sell, to promote capitalism. In 1977, Jerry Mander, a former advertising executive in San Francisco, published Four Arguments For The Elimination Of Television. In the book, Mander reveals how the television networks and advertisers use this pervasive video medium for sales.

Four Arguments talks about a lot more than just advertising. Mander attacks not only the contents of the television images, but the effects television has on the human mind and body. His discussion includes: The induction of alpha waves, a hypnotizing effect that a motionless mind enters. How viewers often regard what they see on television as real even though the programs are filled with quick camera switches, rapid image movement, computer generated objects, computer generated morphing and other technical events. The placement of artificial images into our mind's eye. And the effects that large amounts of television viewing have on children and the onset of attention deficit disorder.

However, at the heart of Mander's arguments, lies advertising. In the words of writer Charles Bukowski: "[America is] not a free country -- everything is bought and sold and owned."

Sales, by definition, is the process of convincing someone to purchase what they don't need. Advertising tries to convince someone that the solution to a problem or the fulfillment of a desire can only be achieved through the purchase of a product.

"If we take the word need to mean something basic to human survival -- food, shelter, clothing; or basic to human contentment -- peace, love, safety, companionship, intimacy, a sense of fulfillment; these will be sought and found by people whether or not there is advertising," Mander writes.
I fundamentally agree with most of that (although I don't know about alpha waves), and I think it is a great pity that I missed Mander's book in 1977.

Here is some more:
While watching television, the viewer is not seeing the world as it is. He or she is looking at a world created by advertising. Television programs are put together with the conscious attitude of promoting a consumer society.

"If forty million people see a commercial for a car, then forty million people have a car commercial in their heads, all at the same time," Mander says. "This is bound to have more beneficial effect on the commodity system than if, at that moment, all those people were thinking separate thoughts which, in some cases, might not be about commodities at all."
I think that is all mostly correct, though Dutch TV does differ in some respects from American TV, notably as regards advertising. It is also possible that in Holland the makers of TV may (sometimes) lack "the conscious attitude of promoting a consumer society", but then even so TV is promoting a consumer society (if only because you passively sit and consume).

And some more:

However, when you watch television, the only way to escape the images is to turn the machine off. The medium of television is controlled by the sender, not the viewer. Images just flow, one after the next.

"If you decide to watch television, then there's no choice but to accept the stream of electronic images as it comes," Mander says. "Since there is no way to stop the images, one merely gives over to them. More than this, one has to clear all channels of reception to allow them in more cleanly. Thinking only gets in the way."
Some thinking has to be done to understand TV, but I agree with Mander that nearly all TV seems to be directed at an audience with an IQ of around 95 and very little or no real knowledge of science, politics, education, reality or anything else that is real and is not TV.

The article - that reviews a book that was published 26 years before the review was written (!), in 2004 - ends thus:

"Television offers neither rest nor stimulation," Mander says. "Television inhibits your ability to think, but it does not lead to freedom of mind, relaxation or renewal. It leads to a more exhausted mind. You may have time out from prior obsessive thought patterns, but that's as far as television goes.

"The mind is never empty, the mind is filled. What's worse, it is filled with someone else's obsessive thoughts and images."

Why do you think they call it programming?

Mander goes into great detail discussing the physical effects television viewing has on the human body. His analysis is excellent.

I quite agree with Manders that "[t]elevision inhibits your ability to think" although my reasons may not be quite the same as his. My reasons I have stated above:

I learned virtually nothing worthwile during the years I did watch some TV (from 1963-1970), and the reason is that almost all programs are
directed at an audience with an IQ of around 95 and very little or no real knowledge of science, politics, education, reality or anything else.

It is a great pity I missed Mander´s book in 1977, but this seems a good review and is strongly recommended: Stop watching TV (if your IQ is considerably above 100)!!!!


[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 1 1/2 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).

[2] Yes indeed, and in 1960 I was 10. This came about as follows:

My parents were quite poor and I lived in a poor neighborhood where one could see on Fridays (pay day then) quite a few drunk men in the street who had drunk part of their pay. I did not like or approve of this, and I noticed then also a fairly large advertisement for Bols Gin that hung at a crossing, and started discussing this with a friend of mine (also 10), from which we concluded that advertisements for alcoholics should be forbidden.

I think this was quite rational, although indeed we both were 10 then, and I quickly generalised this to most advertising, also when I was 10, for the simple reason that most advertisements I saw were obvious lies or manipulations.
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