July 18, 2013
Crisis: The Snowden Effects 7 + more
  "Those who sacrifice liberty for
   security deserve neither."
   -- Benjamin Franklin

Prev- crisis -Next

1. Elizabeth Warren
2. Chris Hedges
3. Robert Reich
4. Edward Snowden
5. Alexei Navalny
6. Capitalism, socialism or fascism

About ME/CFS


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 I am, back at the
crisis with various bits of news that center around the above persons, concluded by a three year old post, that is interesting, and is about what the present U.S. system should be called, since it has aspects of each of the named social systems.

I have again called it "The Snowden Effects 7" but added an "and more", because it's not all due to Snowden.

1. Elizabeth Warren

First, here is Elizabeth Warren holding off three CBC "interviewers", who are all inane lackeys of government - and yes, I am sorry I can't truly describe it otherwise:


Elizabeth Warren is documented, smart and polite. Also, she is tenacious. Of those mentioned as candidates for the 2016 presidency, so far she is the best, and certainly much better than Hilary Clinton.

2. Chris Hedges

I have mentioned before that Chris Hedges, together with Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky and some others has protested and started a court case against the indefinite detention of American citizens.

Well... they have lost: According to American judges indefinite detention is good for you. If you want the outcome of the court case, it is here in pdf, and it makes for very depressing reading.

Hedges himself had this to say on it, which I quote from Truth Dig
This is quite distressing. It means there is no recourse now either within the Executive, Legislative or Judicial branches of government to halt the steady assault on our civil liberties and most basic Constitutional rights. It means that the state can use the military, overturning over two centuries of domestic law, to use troops on the streets to seize U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers. States that accrue to themselves this kind of power, history has shown, will use it. We will appeal, but the Supreme Court is not required to hear our appeal. It is a black day for those who care about liberty.
Indeed it is, and one of the other black things is that so few protest.

Robert Reich

Next, there is another column by Robert Reich, who makes a point that has been made many times in my
crisis series:
This starts as follows - and the New York Times article, that gets linked in the quote, is quite interesting:

Almost everyone knows CEO pay is out of control. It surged 16 percent at big companies last year, and the typical CEO raked in $15.1 million, according to the New York Times

Meanwhile, the median wage continued to drop, adjusted for inflation. 

What’s less well-known is that you and I and other taxpayers are subsidizing this sky-high executive compensation. That’s because corporations deduct it from their income taxes, causing the rest of us to pay more in taxes to make up the difference.

This tax subsidy to corporate executives from the rest of us ought to be one of the first tax expenditures to go, when and if congress turns to reforming the tax code.   

Yes indeed. Reich proposes capping it at 1 million dollars (Larry Elison, of Oracle, gets a cool $ 96.2 million a  year, but yes, he is the highest ranking CEO: Nearly a million every two weeks, against my 12.000 dollars a year, on the Dutch dole - that is better than most, but does force me to live on a little over 10 dollars a day: Mr Elison must be worth 8000 times more than I am, intellectually, morally, personally, financially etc.)

The reason is perhaps not very clearly outlined, so I'll do it: It is lootery by the very few of the very many; it's grossly indecent; and no one is worth that much.

4. Edward Snowden

I found the following a nice bit of news, although he probably will not make it:

It opens thus:
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden has been nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize by Swedish professor Stefan Svallfors. In nominating Snowden, Svallfors wrote a letter in which he explained that rewarding Snowden for his “heroic effort at great personal cost” would start to make up for the blunder the Nobel Committee committed when it gave the prize to President Barack Obama.
This also got fairly widely reported, and it shoould be noted that professor Svallfors is one of the people who has the right to propose candidates.

5. Alexei Navalny

Next, I have mentioned the trial that was conducted against Alexei Navalny before, who is (or was) a candidate against Vladimir Putin. Well, he lost, and here is the Guardian's article on it:
It starts thus:
A Russian court has found Alexei Navalny guilty of embezzlement in a trial widely seen as a means of silencing the popular Russian opposition leader.
The punishment may be 6 or 10 years, and still has to be decided. The reason is given by the Guardian in these words:
The trial is widely seen as a means of discrediting an opposition leader who has gained increasing support since Vladimir Putin returned to the Russian presidency against a backdrop of unprecedented protests last year.
It seems so to me.

6. Capitalism, socialism or fascism

Lastly, here is a link to a nearly 4 years old article (!) on Washington's Blog (which I like: Good arguments, including good and diverse support) that considers this question:

Or more precisely, in terms of the first sentence of the text:
What is the current American economy: capitalism, socialism or fascism?
This is not a strange question, because it shows clear marks of each system - and does so now, nearly four years later, to a larger extent.

As to fascism, Washington Blog cites Robert Scheer, Truth Dig's main editor, from 2008, who in turn may have been primed by Sheldon Wolin:
What is proposed is not the nationalization of private corporations but rather a corporate takeover of government. The marriage of highly concentrated corporate power with an authoritarian state that services the politico-economic elite at the expense of the people is more accurately referred to as “financial fascism” [than socialism]. After all, even Hitler never nationalized the Mercedes-Benz company but rather entered into a very profitable partnership with the current car company’s corporate ancestor, which made out quite well until Hitler’s bubble burst.
Next, there is a third concept that may apply: Looting. Here is a quote from the Times:

The paper’s message is that the promise of government bailouts isn’t merely one aspect of the problem. It is the core problem.

Promised bailouts mean that anyone lending money to Wall Street — ranging from small-time savers like you and me to the Chinese government — doesn’t have to worry about losing that money. The United States Treasury (which, in the end, is also you and me) will cover the losses. In fact, it has to cover the losses, to prevent a cascade of worldwide losses and panic that would make today’s crisis look tame.

But the knowledge among lenders that their money will ultimately be returned, no matter what, clearly brings a terrible downside. It keeps the lenders from asking tough questions about how their money is being used. Looters — savings and loans and Texas developers in the 1980s; the American International Group, Citigroup, Fannie Mae and the rest in this decade — can then act as if their future losses are indeed somebody else’s problem.

The concept gets more discussion, but you probably get the idea, including the fact that since the above was written, some four more years of the same happened.

In any case, Washington's Blog ends thus:

So what do we really have: socialism-for-the-giants, fascism or an economy which calls itself “capitalism” but which allows looting?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. They are just different brand names for the same basic type of economy. All three systems allow giant businesses which are friendly to the government to keep enormous private profits but to pass the losses on to the government and ultimately the citizens.

Whether we use the terminology regarding socialism-for-the-giants (“socialized losses”), of fascism (“public and social losses”), or of looting (“left the government holding the bag for their eventual and predictable losses”), it amounts to the exact same thing.

Whatever we have, it isn’t free market capitalism.

Yes, I agree, and the reason it isn't free market capitalism is that it is based on the repeals of laws (by Clinton) that kept the system - of free market capitalism! - safely working for some fifty years, notably the Glass-Steagall Act (<- Wikipedia), and on the wide loopholes that are in the U.S. laws, that allow the great corporations enormous subsidies, little taxes, great salaries, and nearly totally unregulated policies.

Also, it happens on purpose, and has been systematized the last 10-15 years.

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)

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)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

       home - index - summaries - mail