| "They who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- 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
1. Compare and Contrast: Obama’s Reaction to the Deaths
of King Abdullah and Hugo Chávez
2. If you don’t understand how people fall into poverty,
you’re probably a sociopath
3. Is Davos just an excuse for the 1% to have a bonding
4. Do you want people bullied off benefits? Because that’s
5. Distrust But Verify
This is a Nederlog of Saturday, January 23, 2015.
This is a crisis log. There are 5 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1 compares Abdullah and Chavez: Obama loves Abdullah and much disliked Chavez; item 2
is about British politicians; item 3 is about the very rich who gathered in Davos to praise themselves and make new deals; item 4 is - again - about British politicians; and item 5 is about what these days is openly possible in the U.S.
1. Compare and Contrast: Obama’s Reaction to the Deaths of King Abdullah and Hugo Chávez
The first item today is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
- Compare and Contrast: Obama’s Reaction to the Deaths of King Abdullah and Hugo Chávez
In fact, here is a bit from the very last link (the article of Murtaza Hussain):
Hugo Chávez was elected President of Venezuela four times from 1998 through 2012 and was admired and supported by a large majority of that country’s citizens, largely due to his policies that helped the poor. King Abdullah was the dictator and tyrant who ran one of the most repressive regimes on the planet.The effusive praise being heaped on the brutal Saudi despot by western media and political figures has been nothing short of nauseating; the UK Government, which arouses itself on a daily basis by issuing self-consciously eloquent lectures to the world about democracy, actually ordered flags flown all day at half-mast to honor this repulsive monarch. My Intercept colleague Murtaza Hussain has an excellent article about this whole spectacle, along with a real obituary, here.
In a statement last night Senator John McCain eulogized Abdullah as “a vocal advocate for peace, speaking out against violence in the Middle East”. John Kerry described the late monarch as “a brave partner in fighting violent extremism” and “a proponent of peace”. Not to be outdone, Vice President Joe Biden released a statement mourning Abdullah and announced that he would be personally leading a presidential delegation to offer condolences on his passing.
It’s not often that the unelected leader of a country which publicly flogs dissidents and beheads people for sorcery wins such glowing praise from American officials. Even more perplexing, perhaps, have been the fawning obituaries in the mainstream press which have faithfully echoed this characterization of Abdullah as a benign and well-intentioned man of peace.
Actually, I do not see this as "Even more perplexing" (but I did notice the "perhaps"): The free press is really dead in the United States.
And I do not mean that it is - as yet (!) - totally dead or is all prescribed by the government, for there still are some good media in the U.S., from which I regularly quote things in Nederlog, but the main media, especially on TV, all lie, manipulate or exclude "the news" they bring, and do so as a matter of course.
Also, it is the main media which are the main source of "the news" for the great
majority of the American people, who are - alas - mostly deceived.
Glenn Greenwald's article is well worth reading, and contains the full quotes of the - supposedly "Democratic" - president Obama on the deaths of Chavez and Abdullah, that indeed are quite revealing, for they clearly show president Obama must be very much in favor of a flogging, torturing and beheading unelected despot, than of a non-flogging, non-torturing, elected non-despot like Chavez, but - it should be admitted - at least Obama was honest, this time, and America's main media and most political persons also all agree with him: Abdullah's death is a loss for democracy; Chavez's death was a loss for tyranny and terror. It is all
completely false, but it gets sold and is widely believed as if it were the truth.
This is also why I do not quite agree with his last paragraph:
That’s why there is nobody outside of American cable news, DC think tanks, and the self-loving Oxbridge clique in London which does anything but scoff with scorn and dark amusement when the US and UK prance around as defenders of freedom and democracy. Only in those circles of tribalism, jingoism and propaganda is such tripe taken at all seriously.
I am afraid there are many more people than just those inside "American cable news, DC think tanks, and the self-loving Oxbridge clique" who believe - and I mean: genuinely believe - that the news they've read or seen is real news, and who follow the main media and the press in their judgements, even if these days the informed few know the main media and much of the press that used to be free are now, proudly also, trumpetting propaganda lies about a cruel despot.
But the great majority believes the propaganda, relies on the media, and doesn't know much better - or indeed maybe thinks the few remaining leftist media are propagandists for "terrorists".
And indeed the great majority is not known for intelligence and knowledge, but they may vote, and especially their votes will determine, in full democratic majority and splendor, who is to be the next president of the U.S.A.2. If you don’t understand how people fall into poverty, you’re probably a sociopath
The next item is an article by Lucy Mangan on The Guardian:
The following two bits are quoted from the article, that is in fact about the same things as is item 4 below. Here is the first bit:
- If you don’t understand how people fall into poverty, you’re probably a sociopath
So, let’s concentrate instead on the lack of imagination, the lack of empathy inherent in that question. Because it shapes a lot of questions, and particularly those that animate government policy and the political discourse that will start filling the airwaves more and more as we move towards the election.
Politicians, for example, are apparently completely baffled by Poor People’s propensity to do harmful things, often expensively, to themselves. (That’s politicians of all stripes – it’s just that the left wing wrings its hands and feels helplessly sorry for Them, while Tories are pretty sure They are just animals in need of better training.) The underclass eats fast food, drinks and smokes, and some of its more unruly members even take drugs. Why? Why?
Let me first say something about my own experiences:
I am ill now for the 37th year; my IQ is over 150, which allowed me to get an M.A. in psychology with an average of 9.3 (far higher than nearly anyone) and a B.A. in philosophy with an 8+ (again a lot higher than nearly anyone), both while ill also; I was removed, while ill, from the University of Amsterdam's faculty of philosophy briefly before taking my M.A. there, not because I said my teachers were fascists terrorists, but because I said they were lazy and incompetent, while they returned at least 16-fold that I was a fascist terrorist, while none of those I criticized seems to have published anything whatsoever since 1988 (and also none or hardly anything before: utter incompetents); because I was ill I needed help and went to the Amsterdam dole, where I was told - after criticizing two sadistic and fascistic doormen with at most half my IQ for sadistically discriminating Muslims and black people (and no, I did not use the words I use now, and I was quite polite) - that my mother was "a sick cunt-whore", that I was "a stinking homosexual" who deserved to be "invited outside so we can murder you and drown you in the canal"; any complaint I wished to make (my mother was a very intelligent woman and a member of the resistance; I had lived with 5 women; my father was knighted and survived over 3 years and 9 months of German concentration camps as a political prisoner; his father was murdered as a political prisoner im such a camp) was refused, by City Hall, by the police, and by both the local and the National Ombudsmen, while I was told, by a sado-fascist of the Amsterdam dole that "since I was not a homosexual, I had nothing to complain about"); since then I am a doctorandus - an official title - for nearly 25 years, but no one in the City of Amsterdam ever addressed me by that title, or wants to admit I am ill...
... and this is just the beginning of the beginning of the extremely many sadistic taunts, intentional mistreatments and moral degeneracies I have had to suffer in Holland (but yes, yes, yes: they sure taught me why it was in Holland that more than 1% of the complete population was murdered for being "from the wrong race": that was because most men (and women) didn't care for anything that happened to anyone, except to themselves and some of their family members and friends. If it were otherwise, there also would not have been more members of the Dutch SS than in the Dutch Resistance, yet that was the fact...).
So... having 37 years worth of Dutch discriminations, scoldings, denials, lies, and sadistic degeneracies, many also to help the Amsterdam mayors to continue their now over 30 years policy of helping the rich drugsdealers very much sooner and more than any poor Dutchman like me, I know that - in Holland - sadism and fascistic treatments for the poor and the ill are completely de rigueur since 35 years, and are never publicly discussed. 
Here is the next bit by Lucy Mangan:
I don’t understand how the people in charge of us all don’t understand. If you are genuinely unable to apply your imagination and extend your empathy far enough – and you don’t have to do it all at once; little by little will suffice, but you must get there – then you are a sociopath, and we should all be protected from your actions. If you are in fact able and choose not to, then you’re something quite a lot worse.Rest assured: They do understand. They just don't care, for it is neither their - usually rich - family nor their - usually rich - friends to whom this happens.
Also "the people in charge of us" are not special people at all, though I agree
they are far more likely to be psychopaths (or "sociopaths", which I think is an inappropriate name) than ordinary people - which is an important reason why they, rather than considerably more intelligent or more caring people, are "in charge of us": It tend to be the bastards who rise to the top, in any profession, like politics, where there is no question of real intelligence, real courage, real knowledge, or real talents (other than for deception and sadism).
Finally, I am sure most like to sadistically tease and deny things to the very poor and the very ill, and I am quite sure because this happened for 37 years to me (and I would have been less sure, if it were not for 37 years of consistent denials of almost all my rights: as an ill person, as an intelligent person, as a civil person, as an - almost always - polite person nearly all the legal rights I have under Dutch law except that for minimal dole - and that also not right: I was and am ill, and should have been treated like that, but not even that was possible during over 30 years of minimal dole in Amsterdam, the Mecca of illegal drugstrading for profit - were time and again denied, not answered, denied, not answered, not answered, and not answered again, and again, and again, and again ad nauseam).
3. Is Davos just an excuse for the 1% to have a bonding session?
The next item is an article by Larry Elliott on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
- Is Davos just an excuse for the 1% to have a bonding session?
Well... put like that the answers are pretty clear: Of course it is "a big bonding session" in which the richest very few convince themselves - between skiing, drinking and parties - that they "are all in it together", and of course it will do hardly any good except for the very rich very few who are allowed to attend this party of very rich friends (and utter moral degenerates, if I know anything about morals - which I insist I do, and indeed I am not a millionaire).
Committed to improving the state of the world. That’s the motto of the World Economic Forum, which wraps up in Davos tomorrow with the rich and powerful pondering whether to listen to Mark Carney’s views about the global economy or head for the ski slopes.
Many will opt for the latter, not because they have anything against the governor of the Bank of England. On the contrary, the former Goldman Sachs banker picked by George Osborne to run Threadneedle Street is very much part of the Davos family. It is simply that one of the reasons the WEF is held in Davos and not in Atlantic City or Blackpool is that it has plenty of black runs available for those who, after four days, have had enough of hearing Christine Lagarde warn about the risks of rising inequality.
All of which raises a couple of obvious questions: is Davos simply an excuse for the 1% to have a big bonding session in which they convince themselves that we are all in it together? And does it actually do any good?
As to the "state of the world": the world they pretend they are "committed to improving" is just the state of the world that made them incredibly rich, at the costs of billions of poor folks, who were frauded, deceived and lied to - but yes:
They are improving and improving - so as to have more of the corrupt political liars who do their kind of thing; to have even less of a free press, for a free press might torpedo a few of their lies and deceptions; and to have even more tax-cuts, loopholes, and means of evading the taxes like Google and Apple.
It is - in my view - a coming together of some of the sickest, most egoistic, most greedy people there ever have been, with more power, fewer responsibilities, and more money than anyone ever had, in the hope of continueing the political and tax set-ups that made them part of the very few billionaires, at the personal costs of the very many poor, and ever poorer.
Finally, I want to correct one point, namely where Larry Elliott talks about the people visiting Davos as if they are (and I quote)
some of the richest and cleverest people in the worldNo. They certainly are the richest people, but I deny they are - for the most part, at least - the cleverest people, that is, if cleverness has anything to do with great talents for science, literature or art. They lack these talents, nearly all of them.
None of them are even conceivably the equals of Shakespeare, Newton, Leibniz, Mill or Einstein - but all of them have millions of times more money than these evident human luminaries and have correspondingly more power.
If they are clever, they are clever by lacking a conscience, by lacking any social responsibility, by lacking almost any accountability (while tax loopholing so as to get even more billions), and by being insanely egoistic and greedy, and having had the luck to be able to use these talents on the right moments, for themselves, and against everyone else's interests.
They are not intellectually clever for the most part (though most also are not stupid) - they are rich beyond anyone's dreams because they were in a position to profit, that mostly had not been made by them, but by the corrupt politicians who slashed nearly all regulations the last 35 years, so that the very few could profit, at the costs of the very many. And most whose billions were made recently were lucky gamblers rather than anything else.
Finally, if these supposedly "cleverest" people are clever, nearly all of them are clever in one way only: in making money (generally dishonestly).
And it seems to me quite false to reduce all talents, all gifts, all interests to the talents for making money or getting power, even though these last - very minor - gifts will bring one a lot more renown than great talents for literature or mathematics or science, that simply are not understood by the vast majority.
4. Do you want people bullied off benefits? Because that’s what’s happening
The next item is an article by John Harris on The Guardian:
This contains the following (and may be seen as being on the same - or a similar - theme as item 2):
- Do you want people bullied off benefits? Because that’s what’s happening
When the state makes it clear that the poor and unfortunate are not to have spare bedrooms, and embraces the idea of stopping them buying booze and fags and shredding their entitlements if they have more than two kids, is it really such a leap to deny them non-public transport too? For all its inanity, there is a sadism at the heart of the Yates idea  that is not a million miles away from the cruelties increasingly built into the benefits system: cruelties most of us would not put up with for a minute, but which are visited on thousands of people every week.When the state "embraces" these ideas, it is clear that the state that does this is turning fascistic: They deny that poor people have rights; they treat them as if they are idiots or sub-humans; and now they also slander them in their tax-paid propaganda, and do so also - with pride, also - from the government.
Which brings us to some of this week’s most sobering revelations, in material just published by the House of Commons work and pensions committee relating to the government’s use of so-called sanctions: the punishments that take the form of a sudden withdrawal of benefits for at least four weeks. Echoing Iain Duncan Smith, the Tory employment minister Esther McVey explains the practice in terms of “ending the something-for- nothing culture”.
As to Esther McVey: She is a typical know-nothing who never did anything special and who totally and completely lies: Yes, there is a "something-for-nothing culture" and it is very big in Great Britain - but it is exclusively that of the lying and deceiving British politicians who steal or allow stealing like mad from the poor to give it to the rich, and this is part of the manner of sick lies they do it with: Slandering the poor and the ill, sadistically, cruelly and falsely.
5. Distrust But Verify
The next item today is an article by David Swanson on Washington's Blog:
This contains the following paragraph:
Our government openly subsidizes the destruction of our planet’s climate, openly allows corporations to pay negative taxes, openly redistributes wealth upward, openly funds a military as costly as the rest of the globe’s nations’ combined, openly serves as the marketing firm for the U.S. weapons that make up much of that other half of the globe’s armed forces, openly enacts corporate trade policies that ruin economies and the environment, openly denies us basic human services, openly prosecutes whistleblowers, openly restricts our civil liberties, openly murders large numbers of people with drone strikes. We can watch a police officer in New York choke a man to death on video and walk away without being prosecuted for any crime.
I quoted this because I agree to it - and I stress the repeated "openly" (which for me strongly suggests the free press has been successfully muzzled), simply because it is true, and would have been quite odd before 9/11.
 Yates is a Ukip politician you can read more about by clicking the last dotted link.
 I agree though that they were worse against me than against most others. The main reason for that was that (1) I opposed the illegal drugsdealing that was furthered and protected by all of Amsterdam's mayors and all of Amsterdam's aldermen since 1988 at the latest and (2) I was verbally very competent (but that doesn't help one whit if all or almost all of the journalists collaborate with the politicians, as is the case in Holland, since a long time also, for the illegal drugsdealing went on since 1988 and made - altogether, with marijuana, hashish, cocain, heroin, speed etc. all thrown in - at least 50 billion dollars a year, since then... - and see the Van Traa report if you doubt my numbers, supposing you read Dutch).