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June 13, 2013
Crisis: On Franklin, Clapper, totalitarianism, Nader, Paul and Washington's blog


   "Those who sacrifice liberty for  
     security deserve neither."
     -- Benjamin Franklin







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Sections

Introduction
1. More Benjamin Franklin
2. James Clapper lied to Congress
3. Inverted totalitarianism
4. A bit more by Ralph Nader
5. Rand Paul says he wants to go to court
6. Washington's blog
About ME/CFS

Introduction:

I believe I have paid back most of the harm my walk of over six weeks ago, but  sleeping remains quite difficult for me.

This also makes my life rather difficult, at the moment.

Anyway. Today there is another set of six points, like yesterday. It's mostly about "The Snowden Revelations", because I think these are very important. Also, it's limited to six because I have my own health to take care of.


But I do want to say something about my comprehensive title
"The Snowden Revelations":

I chose that title because it names the man who had the great courage to make them, and I call them "revelations" - 
"the act of revealing or disclosing; disclosure" - not because I did not suspect this to be true, but because I did not know this to be true, as indeed is the case for almost everyone.

1. More Benjamin Franklin

I've retained Franklin's quotation today, because it is very apt. Also, I said yesterday that
most Americans don't really know their Constitution or its Amendments, nor are they regular readers of Franklin, nor do they really understand most of the dangers involved.
This seems to me to be quite true and quite unfortunate. And it so happens that, while I am not a regular reader of Benjamin Franklin, I have read him, and I owe several of his books, and I looked him up yesterday, and found the following quotation, that in fact seems to be the source of Gore Vidal, that I quoted last August.

My own textual source is Benjamin Franklin's "Autobiography and Other Writings", edited by Russell B. Nye, 1958, where it appears as "Speech in Convention", written September 17, 1787:
Most men, indeed, as well as most sects in religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that wherever others differ from them, it is so far in error. Steele, a Protestant, in a dedication, tells the Pope that the only difference between our two churches in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrine is the Romish Church is infallible and the Church of England is never in the wrong. But, though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their Sect, few express it so naturally as a certain French Lady who, in a little dispute with her sister, said, "But I meet with nobody but myself that is always in the right." "Je ne trouve que moi qui aie toujours raison."

In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its faults - if there are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people, if well administered; and I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.
(..) It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does (..) Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution, because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best. (p. 196-7)
Note this will soon be 226 years old, and it may well be asked whether Franklin would have expected the US Constitution to last so long, before it would "end in despotism", because "the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government".

Then again, he died in 1790, and 225 years is a long time.

2
. James Clapper lied to Congress

James Clapper is the director of US national intelligence, who lied to Congress. Here is David Sirota in Salon:
As Sirota explains, he really did lie, and very consciously so, because he knew the question was coming 24 hours before it was posed, for the man who asked it had sent it to him.

You are not supposed to lie to Congress, but he did. Whether he will go - I agree he must - is an open question, and in fact, even though some attempts are being made, it is quite unlikely.

3. Inverted totalitarianism

The concept of inverted totalitarianism is by Sheldon Wolin. I wrote about it earlier, in March, namely here: Crisis: Sheldon Wolin on inverted totalitarianism, and also the days after. There is a fair amount there, including links, and I recommend it to you if you want to know more.

Someome who also knows the concept is Subhankar Banerjee, who is a photopgrapher, writer and activist, who writes for Common Dreams:
This starts as follows

“[H]istory has come to a stage when the moral man, the complete man, is more and more giving way, almost without knowing it, to make room for the…commercial man, the man of limited purpose. This process, aided by wonderful progress in science, is assuming gigantic proportion and power, causing the upset of man’s moral balance, obscuring his human side under the shadow of soul-less organization.”

—Rabindranath Tagore, 1917

We are being asked to choose: “Is Edward J. Snowden a hero or a criminal?” asks a Los Angeles Times poll; the Slate magazine asks, “Is Edward Snowden A Traitor?”; the U.S. News and World Report asks if he is a: “Traitor or Hero?”; and the Yahoo! News asks, “Is Edward Snowden a hero or traitor?” In The New Yorker one writer opines Snowden is a “Hero” while another charges he is a “No Hero.” Blowing whistle against the United States government is not a spectacle.

Quite so! And the whole choice is bullshit, that tries to blow up a man because he, very courageously, opposed something that is extremely dangerous, quite illegal, and that has been going on in the utmost secrecy since 2007.

Most of the rest is about a film maker whom I do not know, but
Subhankar Banerjee clearly understands what is going on.

4. A bit more by Ralph Nader

I wrote yesterday about Ralph Nader, and do so today, because he seems to me to be mostly right
. There is a piece in yesterday's Huffington Post called
This is mostly to plug his latest book "Told You So", but that is quite allowed, and he gives an excellent example:
1.) Many are shocked by the recent reports of the National Security Agency (NSA) secretly collecting records of millions of phone calls, emails, internet searches, and more, all without any clear oversight and accountability. Many mainstream media outlets are now questioning the scope of this monumental level of government snooping. But while this news of Big Brother-esque overreach might be surprising to some, consider those of us who predicted it back when the Patriot Act was signed into law in the post-9/11 fervor. Benjamin Franklin once wrote: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
There's more on this issue, that you can find out yourself - and you also got the probable real source of my contracted opening quotation.

5.
Rand Paul says he wants to go to court

There are many reasons why the US are in radical decline but one dominant one is that they have, effectively, only two political parties.

I said "effectively" because I am aware there are some more - Communists, Greens, Nader's - but these generally pull very few votes, and are hardly represented.

This does not mean they are wrong, or more wrong than the Democrats or the Republicans, but it means they get no real chances to make a real difference.

Next, as I have complained several times before, most things in the US political landscape are determined by people following the (purported) beliefs of their leaders - which can get to be very stark, as is the case with Obama, who simply continued many policies of Bush Jr., after having been elected on a program of "Change! Yes, we can!", and who now is applauded by many Democrats for doing what they wildly decried in Bush Jr.

Here is one article that I offer to support what I am saying
This is in Mother Jones, by David Corn. I think David Corn is judging this as a Democratic follower - and I think so because I am not a libertarian, not a Democrat and not a Republican, and indeed also not an American, and also have no strong interests in politics.

In fact, I probably disagree with most Rand Paul says, but I also believe he is mostly sincere about the Constitution.
Also, I do not think the very major problems the US is in can be solved by the political parties there are.

But OK... I am an outsider.

6.
Washington's blog

Finally, here is a link to a very interesting piece on something that's called "Washington's blog":
I think this makes all valid points - and it does so in the words of Richard Clarke, the "top counter terrorism czar under Clinton and Bush"; of Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner; of William Binney, the former head of the NSA's global digital data gathering; and of three more, including Thomas Drake, who also got into great trouble about his disclosing NSA's secrets, and who also gives the right epitheton for what Edward Snowden did: Civil disobedience.

So... if you want to be really informed, this last item is the best. [1]
---------------------------------
Note

[1] Interestingly, this blog - "Washington's Blog" - has a statement on National Security, as a general aside to its pieces, that starts thus:

National Security Notice

We are NOT calling for the overthrow of the government. In fact, we are calling for the reinstatement of our government.

We are not calling for lawlessness. We are calling for an end to lawlessness and lack of accountability and a return to the rule of law.

Rather than trying to subvert the constitution, we are calling for its enforcement.

We are patriotic Americans born and raised in this country. We love the U.S. We don't seek to destroy or attack America ... we seek to restore her to strength, prosperity, liberty and respect.

We don't support or like Al Qaeda, the Taliban or any supporting groups. We think they are all disgusting.

I like that, and there is some more.


About ME/CFS (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:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)


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