Greenwald's reader Q&A
2. Bill Maher's new season of "Real Time" has begun
"They said it was safe"
I am still not well, which is why there was yesterday no Nederlog. It's
mostly problems with my eyes, that cause me to sleep to little. (It's
improving. Some. Slowly.)
This Nederlog is about Glenn Greenwald and a recent Q&A session he
did; about the start of Bill Maher's "Real Time", about gun laws,
torture, and disappearing rights; and about Prozac (aka fluoxetine).
And in section 2 I mention a possible explanation
of the many mass
murders in the US, where guns are easily available and the usage
of anti-depressants is very common.
1. Glenn Greenwald's reader
If you ask me
- but why would you? - there is a great lack of intelligent and
informed journalists and readers of journalism everywhere, and there
also is some sort of correlation between the two, in that I believe
there would be more of the one kind if there would be more of the other.
One of the few journalists I know who is consistently intelligent,
informed and also courageous is Glenn Greenwald,
who currently writes for The Guardian (these days the best
English daily, by far), in a series called "On
security and liberty".
In case you're interested: The latest in his series is
where he answers
questions by readers about issues like torture, US politics, gun
control, drones and more, so anyone can find out whether he is a man
I think he is.
Here are two consecutive wise paragraphs by him, explicitly offered as
too brief answers to imporant questions:
Put otherwise - and I am
not saying Greenwald would agree, I give my own take, as I always do
when speaking for myself: If you don't fight for your rights, chances
are you loose them. And: Political leaders and their professional
servants aka "civil servants" tend much more probably to come from the
rather than the best, in any society, at any time, not only because
power corrupts, but because the corrupt seek power.
I would say this: one
indisputable lesson that history teaches is that any structures built
by human beings - no matter how formidable or invulnerable they may
seem - can be radically altered, or even torn down and replaced, by
other human beings who tap into passions and find the right strategy.
So resignation - defeatism - is always irrational and baseless, even
when it's tempting.
I think the power of ideas
is often underrated. Convincing fellow citizens to see and care about
the problems you see and finding ways to persuade them to act is
crucial. So is a willingness to sacrifice. And to create new ways of
activism, even ones that people look askance at, rather than being
wedded to the approved conventional means of political change (the
2. Bill Maher's new season of "Real Time" has
As I have repeatedly said since acquiring fast internet in the summer
of 2009, I like Bill
Maher: He is smart, sensible, courageous and funny.
This is nearly a quarter
of an hour, on gun control (roughly 300 hundred million people and
roughly 300 hundred million guns in the US), and on torture.
As to gun ownership: I am very probaby in the European minority who is in favour
of civilians being able to own guns: You can't trust the state or
its servants, and if the civil population is almost wholly without
means of defense, any dictatorial state is much easier to surrect. But
this does not mean I sympathize with the NRA, nor that there is not
to be said for better gun control in the US.
The debate in the show is sensible, but did not include a point that I
think bears serious investigation: Most of the mass murderers were
white males from middle class background in their late teens or early
twenties who are, after the fact, accused of having had a history of
Two questions that bear serious investigation, in my
opinion, having lately consumed a lot of literature on scarcely
properly investigated "side effects" of anti-depressants, so much
overprescribed these days because prescribing them is so very
If you are in doubt
about the rationality or the evidential basis of my question, see section 3 below.
- How many of these
five were on anti-depressants, and if so which ones?
- If the majority
was, could this not have been a factor in their insane behavior?
As to torture: The very sensible point gets repeatedly made that if one
party in a war think it justified to torture the enemy, the other
party will tend to feel justified to be just as beastly. Even in war,
some sort of restraint is wise, even in "just wars" (which are rare).
Also, in case you were in doubt, here is part of the United Nations
Convention Against Torture, quoted from the Wikipedia article on torture:
And don't miss this
part on the human rights people until recently enjoyed:
1. For the purposes of this
Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or
suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a
person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person
information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third
person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or
intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based
on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted
by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a
public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or
incidental to lawful sanctions.
2. This article is without
prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which
does or may contain provisions of wider application.
1. Each State Party shall
take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures
to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
2. No exceptional
circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war,
internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be
invoked as a justification of torture.
3. An order from a superior
officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of
1. No State Party shall
expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where
there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger
of being subjected to torture.
2. For the purpose of
determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities
shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where
applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent
pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.
3. "They said it was safe"
mentioned above there is some ground to believe that anti-depressants
not only may help against depressions, but also may cause murder and
suicide. Here is a link to an interesting if gruesome article in The
Guardian from ... October 1999, that mentions Prozac and professor
Healy - see my: "The marketing of medicines"
for more on these - among other things:
It wasn't, and what is
much worse: The evidence it wasn't, sometimes, was falsified.
Jan 26, 2013: Corrected some typos and inserted some
links. (The typos tend to be the effects of the combination of my being
human, having ME/CFS, having bad eyes, and using bad html-editors, the
last as a consequence of liking Linux much better than MS Windows: It
is much better, but not in all respects.)
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: