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Nederlog


 
July 17, 2013
Crisis: The Snowden Effects - 6
  "Those who sacrifice liberty for
   security deserve neither."
   -- Benjamin Franklin




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Sections
Introduction
1. Email exchange
2.
It's Time for Americans to Admit That We've Had a
     Coup d’etat
3.
NSA Sued Over 'Blatantly Unconstitutional Attack on Civil
     Liberties'
4.
Is Democracy – or Demarchy – the Solution?
5. How to Be a Rogue Superpower
6. On the above sections
About ME/CFS

Introduction:

It still is the case that sleeping remains quite difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at the moment.

Anyway - and no, sleeping did not much improve, so far. Today there is a first file, dedicated to the question what I am and to a good lecture about methylfolate, that are probably neither popular.

There are also more Snowden Effects, as I keep calling them, simply because it is mostly true, and they are in the present file: A conversation with Edward Snowden, that got reported by Glenn Greenwald; a radical piece that claims the U.S. has been subject to a coup; news about several organizations sueing the NSA, mostly on Amendments grounds; a quite theoretical question, about possible solutions; and a piece on the superpower that the U.S. has lately become - it seems in fact mostly because power corrupts, and absolute power coorrupts absolutely, and not for any other real reason, including "terrorism"

1. Email exchange

First, a Glenn Greenwald article, that is not a great shake, but is interesting, namely a report on an email exchange between former GOP Senator Gordon Humphrey and Edward Snowden.

It is here:

The former Senator starts his mail as follows:

Mr. Snowden,

Provided you have not leaked information that would put in harms way any intelligence agent, I believe you have done the right thing in exposing what I regard as a massive violation of the United States Constitution.

And that seems to me to be correct, and it is nice that a former Republican Senator says so.

For more, see the latest dotted link, where you will also see Snowden's good reply.

2. It's Time for Americans to Admit That We've Had a Coup d’etat

The title of the present section is not mine, but is the title of an article by Paul Craig Roberts that I found on Alternet:
With the information I have this is fairly original, though indeed Gore Vidal said similar things, for quite a while also. It starts as follows:

The American people have suffered a coup d’etat, but they are hesitant to acknowledge it. The regime ruling in Washington today lacks constitutional and legal legitimacy. Americans are ruled by usurpers who claim that the executive branch is above the law and that the US Constitution is a mere “scrap of paper.”

An unconstitutional government is an illegitimate government. The oath of allegiance requires defense of the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” As the Founding Fathers made clear, the main enemy of the Constitution is the government itself. Power does not like to be bound and tied down and constantly works to free itself from constraints.

 And it ends like this:
The criminals who have seized illegitimate power in Washington cannot survive unless truth can be suppressed or redefined as treason.

If Americans acquiesce to the coup d’etat, they will have placed themselves firmly in the grip of tyranny.

It's also strong stuff in between, as you find out yourself by following the last dotted link.

What do I think about it? I agree more than not, but there is little hope for a big and orderly change without millions seeing the need, and I do not see those millions, neither at present nor in the near future.

3.
NSA Sued Over 'Blatantly Unconstitutional Attack on Civil Liberties'

The following is more feasible than the last article, at least now, and is by Andrea Germano on Common Dreams
This starts as follows

A diverse coalition of groups represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed suit against the NSA on Tuesday for its bulk, unconstitutional collection of Americans' phone records.

Among the 19 organizations making up the broad coalition represented in the case, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA, are Unitarian church groups, gun rights groups, Greenpeace, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, People for the American Way (PFAW) and TechFreedom.
It also is quite rightly, in my opinion, about these fundamental rights:
The complaint asserts that the plaintiffs' First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights have been violated.
This is interesting, for it should have a chance of being heard, and it may loosen up discussion, which indeed is sorely needed.

4. Is Democracy – or Demarchy – the Solution?

The following article I found on Washingpon's Blog:
The question is both good and highly theoretical. It is posed by a reader, and I list it to give you a chance to make up your own mind - while knowing this probably will not change much or anything.

I can give you my take: I am not for either - and demarchy is the selection of the rulers by a lottery, by the way - and my own reasons (and I have not voted since 1971, so it is a fairly strong conviction) to not much believe in either are mostly but not only the stupidity of the average folks.

But then one cannot change this: They mean well, mostly, but they are mostly deceived and taken in, and often get victimized, and that's that.

So let me say this: It would be nice if, for once, a real democracy could be tried, but it mostly does not exist, and hardly ever existed, except perhaps very formalistically (by the mere stipulation that if only all adults can vote, all the harm will be undone, by the enlightened elected).

For more of my own ideas, which would make some sense, see my
But once again: These are all mostly fruitless ideas, and the main reasons they are almost bound to bear no fruit are that there just are not enough intelligence and good will (and you need both, to make a positive difference) - which indeed also is a problem for any kind of government.

5.
How to Be a Rogue Superpower

Finally, there is this, from Tom's Dispatch, which is about the fourth sign in this Nederlog that some things may be changing in the U.S., though I personally do not know in which direction:
This is by Tom Engelhardt and starts as follows:

It’s hard even to know how to take it in.  I mean, what’s really happening?  An employee of a private contractor working for the National Security Agency makes off with unknown numbers of files about America’s developing global security state on a thumb drive and four laptop computers, and jumps the nearest plane to Hong Kong.  His goal: to expose a vast surveillance structure built in the shadows in the post-9/11 years and significantly aimed at Americans.  He leaks some of the documents to a columnist at the British Guardian and to the Washington Post.  The response is unprecedented: an “international manhunt” (or more politely but less accurately, “a diplomatic full court press”) conducted not by Interpol or the United Nations but by the planet’s sole superpower, the very government whose practices the leaker was so intent on exposing.

And that’s just for starters.
This is an interesting and well considered piece, and one of its points is how little is really known, about the present U.S., which is mostly due to the collaboration of the vast majority of "journalists".

Thus, here is a part on a report in the New York Times - that did not at all spark anything, which it clearly would have, 15 or more years ago:
“The 11-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, was once mostly focused on approving case-by-case wiretapping orders. But since major changes in legislation and greater judicial oversight of intelligence operations were instituted six years ago, it has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court, serving as the ultimate arbiter on surveillance issues and delivering opinions that will most likely shape intelligence practices for years to come, the officials said.”

At most moments in American history, the revelation that such a secret court, which never turns down government requests, is making law “almost” at the level of the Supreme Court would surely have caused an outcry in Congress and elsewhere.  However, there was none, a sign either of how powerful and intimidating the secret world has become or of how much Congress and the rest of Washington have already been absorbed into it.

Quite so. And again, I have no solutions, but this is a really good piece about some very major problems, that only can be undone, it seems to me, by having another government based on other principles, than - at least - the present and the previous U.S. governments, who mostly created the problems, although the roots are diverse, deep, and some go back to the early 1970ies.

But then: How to change this? I do not know.

6. On the above sections

I have only quoted small parts of the files I link, but I'd like to make one remark:

The radicalism in most of the articles is not my doing. I found it, and I selected it, and it does seem new to me, or at least somewhat new.

It's not unprecedented - Gore Vidal comes to mind, who has said similar things for quite a while (see also here and here) - but it seems to me rather new to see the same or similar things from various and different sources.

Also, I do not know what to think about it, and that is at least in part because I have been a radical all my life, and do not have much faith in most movements. And I have no idea what the future will bring, although I fear it will not be much good.

Then again, this is only to indicate my own view, that will not make any material difference, as indeed is the case for nearly everyone's views.

---------------------------------

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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