"Those who sacrifice liberty for
security deserve neither."
-- Benjamin Franklin
1. Edward Snowden is no
2. Pharmaceutical Industry "'Mobilised' an Army
U.S. Government Is Metamorphosing Into the Borg
Escalating War on Freedom of the Press
5. TRYING TO STAY SANE
IN AN INSANE WORLD – PART
It still is the case
that sleeping remains quite
difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at
Anyway - and no, sleeping did not much improve, so far. (It's mostly
pains of various kinds that keep me awake or wake me up: eyes, arms,
And presently it is 27.5 degrees Celsius where I am, in my house in
which is too hot, for me. But I am still shuffling on...
Snowden is no 'traitor'
To start with, a piece from the Guardian (which is a much
than the Times is, now, and also a much better paper than any Dutch one
One reason to list this is
that it is by Philip Geraldi, who writes as an "American Conservative".
He starts as follows :
Quite so! The rest is also
good, though I have a minor reservation about the ending, which is as
There are a number of
narratives being floated by the usual suspects to attempt to
demonstrate that Edward Snowden
is a traitor who has betrayed secrets vital to the security of the United States.
All the arguments being made are essentially without merit. Snowden has
undeniably violated his agreement to protect classified information,
which is a crime. But in reality, he has revealed only one actual
secret that matters, which is the United States government's serial
violation of the fourth amendment to the constitution through its
collection of personal information on millions of innocent American
citizens without any probable cause or search warrant.
That makes Snowden a
whistleblower, as he is exposing illegal activity on the part of the
federal government. The damage he has inflicted is not against US national
security, but rather on the politicians and senior bureaucrats who
ordered, managed, condoned, and concealed the illegal activity.
My reservation is in fact with
the very last sentence, to which I have two objections. The first is -
I am 63, I have been there - that most of "the hippies and other counter-culture types" could not be taken all that serious, for
various reasons. This does not prove Philip Geraldi wrong, but it
undermines his argument or claim.
The White House's
colossal data-mining operation has now been exposed by Edward Snowden,
and the American people have discovered that they have been scrutinized
by Washington far beyond any level that they would have imagined
possible. Many foreign nations have also now realized that the scope of
US spying exceeds any reasonable standard of behavior (..)
Here in the United
States, it remains to be seen whether anyone actually cares enough to
do something about the illegal activity while being bombarded with the false
claims that the
out-of-control surveillance program "has kept us safe". It is
interesting to observe in passing that the revelations derived from
Snowden's whistleblowing strongly suggest that the hippies and other
counter-culture types who, back in the 1960s, protested that the
government could not be trusted actually had it right all along.
My other reason is more serious: "Everybody" knows, from Plato and
Aristotle downwards - at least if he or she was a half way or better
serious thinker - that you really cannot trust governments, not of any
kind, and especially not with such powers as the U.S. government has.
Note this has nothing to do with one's political tastes or orientation,
and everything with power and corruption, to which all men are
and especially those who come to govern, in any state, for any reasons.
This also does not mean all governments and governors are equally bad,
for clearly they are not - it only means what it says: They cannot and
should not be trusted, nor be given all the powers they want,
allowed to get away with more secrecy than is strictly necessary.
Finally, another reason to draw your attention to this is that it seems
to me that Philip Geraldi did write a good article, and that it would
help a lot if some sort of alliance could be made between conservatives
and progressives, if only about the need to stop the NSA spying
indiscriminately on everyone, which is in absolutely no one's
interests, except those of a very few spies and governors, and -
perhaps - their journalistic lackeys.
2. Pharmaceutical Industry "'Mobilised' an Army
of Patient Groups
This article I found at Health Care, and it
is quite interesting, at least for this patient, but should be
It starts as follows,
and is by Roy M. Poses MD:
I had guessed that
this sort of thing was going on all the time, but being kept very well
hidden. Now we have some more evidence.
Indeed, having been half
a year on Phoenix Rising, a patients' organization for people with
ME/CFS, I am not at all amazed, indeed neither at the utter lowliness and
deviousness of the pharmaceutical industry, nor at the levels to with
patients and "patients" may stoop.
article in yesterdays Guardian showed how the pharmaceutical
industry is using pet patient advocacy groups in a public relations
campaign to defeat calls for for measures against suppression
of clinical research. In summary,
pharmaceutical industry has 'mobilised' an army of patient groups to
lobby against plans to force companies to publish secret documents on
Then again, I also have decided to keep myself far from any patient
organization where the average IQ is less than 130, and am quite
willing to maintain all or nearly all the others (which means in
practice: all) are quite capable of being abused like this.
The U.S. Government Is Metamorphosing Into
Next, another article by Subhanker Banerjee, whom I have - I think -
mentioned twice before. This one I found on Truth Dig, but they credit
In any case, it is this:
In fact, is has three or four
main theses, to which the Borg aka Atlas is the first, though I cannot
take this quite serious:
The DARPA has developed something they call
Atlas, which is a humanoid robot, that looks quite like the Star Trek
Borg, when "fleshed" out a little.
This Borg aka Atlas was
gushingly hailed by its inventor, Gill Pratt, in quite incredible
terms, since the entity has the mobile (!) intelligence of a 1 year old
(not speaking of any other intelligence), for which reason it cannot
possibly be what Pratt gushed it to be or become: A replacement of
human fire fighters.
Then again, I do not think Robo Sapiens is impossible, though I do not
think I myself am a computer, and eventually a good part of
may be replaced by mechanical counterparts, who do the dirty work, and
without any complaints.
Banerjee's second thesis is more relevant:
In 1968, when I
was one year old, if I had told you that the U.S. government would
someday use the Internet to spy on its citizens and people of the
world, you would have said: “That’s a toddler talking.” As it turns
out, that year, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later
renamed DARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense approved a plan to
develop what would become the ARPANET—the
progenitor of what we now call the Internet. The Internet’s gene is
through and through military. So it should come as no surprise to
anyone that the Obama administration has figured out a way to spy on
all forms of global Internet communications.
Yes, indeed - though the
"figuring out" was mostly by secreting, classifying, lying, and
breaking the law, rather than by technical or computational excellence.
Also, another part of the problem is that there are hardly any decent
laws that apply to the internet, and indeed there hardly is much decent
and respected international law.
His third thesis seems to be this - and I agree:
We don’t need
robots. Instead, we need to “move in the opposite direction” that
Schumacher suggested. We need to care for each other and give space to
nonhuman biotic communities to thrive on this Earth.
Then again, as Banerjee also
notes: It may very well be too late, and all
one can do is revolt. (I am
doubtful about this, especially in view of the fact that it is very
easy to destroy, and very hard to built.)
4. Obama’s Escalating War on Freedom of the Press
This is an article by Norman
Solomons on Common Dreams, and it is quite serious:
It starts as follows:
The part of the
First Amendment that prohibits “abridging the freedom … of the press”
is now up against the wall, as the Obama administration continues to
assault the kind of journalism that can expose government secrets.
Indeed. Solomons notes, quite
can be compelled to violate the confidentiality of their sources, or
otherwise go to prison, are reduced to doing little more than providing
stenographic services to pass along the official story. That’s what the
White House wants.
And he ends as follows, again
quite justifiedly so, in my opinion:
administration’s efforts to quash press freedom are in sync with its
unrelenting persecution of whistleblowers. The purpose is to further
choke off the flow of crucial information to the public, making
informed “consent of the governed” impossible while imposing massive
surveillance and other violations of the First, Fourth and Fifth
Amendments. Behind the assault on civil liberties is maintenance of a
warfare state with huge corporate military contracts and endless war.
The whole agenda is repugnant and completely unacceptable.
5. TRYING TO STAY SANE IN AN INSANE WORLD – PART
another article from Washington's Blog, with the following title,
including the capitals:
This is by JimQ, whom I
have mentioned before - a ca. 50 year old U.S. intellectual with
children - and he does have quite a few points I agree with, such as
The world is most
certainly ruled by a small group of extremely wealthy evil men who
desire ever more treasure, supremacy and control, but the vast majority
of Americans have stood idly by mesmerized by their iGadgets and
believing buying shit they don’t need with money they don’t have is the
path to happiness and prosperity, while their wealth, liberty and
self-respect were stolen by the financial elite. Our idiot culture,
that celebrates reality TV morons, low IQ millionaires playing
children’s sports, egomaniacal Hollywood hacks, self-promoting Wall
Street financers, and self-serving corrupt ideologue politicians, has
been degenerating for decades.
I mostly agree with
this, and especially with the thesis that it "has been degenerating for decades", indeed at
least four decades, and since 1970.
But then, if that is true, I rather disagree (more than not) with
something like this:
The multitude of
insane responses to a financial crisis created by a few greedy
psychopathic bankers will be looked upon by historians with contempt
and scorn. Future generations will wonder “What were they thinking?”
Trillions in wealth were vaporized due to the actions of a small
secretive league of highly educated, egocentric psychopaths whose
warped sense of morality led them to pillage the wealth of the nation
through fraudulent financial products, bribing regulatory agencies,
stabbing clients and competitors in the back, and peddling lies,
propaganda and misinformation to the public through their captured
media mouthpieces. Not only haven’t any predator bankers been thrown in
jail, but these villains have grown their parasitic entities to
enormous proportions while paying themselves obscene billion dollar
bonuses. (...) Government spy agencies regularly use the U.S.
Constitution like toilet paper while accumulating electronic dossiers
on every citizen in the country. The rule of law does not exist for the
My problem with it is also not
that the above is false, but that it is over the top:
Too much insanity and psychopathology, too much pillaging, stabbing,
peddling and predators, for one thing, in so short a space.
My main reason is that not only has it been like this, for the most
part, the last four decades, but it has been like this nearly
always nearly everywhere:
Mankind with a humane civilization always was a hazy, vague and
without much chance, and with many causes to believe it would or could
not last, and while I agree that the dangers it will not last have been
growing exponentially with the growths of science and the internet,
there is little cause to be extremely angry about the present
evil men: They are as bad as their kind has been the last 25 centuries,
at least, though I grant they now are more powerful, and are in a
position to do more harm to more people.
Then again, I can understand, and indeed I have written similarly, by
large without being heard or read, except by relatively few, without
much success of being really understood. 
I may pay more attention to it, but the chance I will do is small in
the present heat, and therefore I just have a piece of advice: To
survive as a sane man in an insane world has been the fate of most true
intellectuals, and is - by and large - best done by trying to stay
calm, if only for the reasons that the majority will not understand one
anyway, and because almost never have policies been decided by
 Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, that the governors do not
rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
It is more proper
that law should govern than any one of the
citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the
supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to
be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I
from is quite pertinent.)
 Actually, in my case I maintain I would
not have been heard or understood except by a very
few, who could not help me, whatever I had written, but that is
mostly the nature of my claims and also the country I live in, although
indeed I did not understand this well when I originally wrote what I
wrote: Very few are - really - interested in the fate of higher
education, and perhaps even fewer are - really - interested
in the fate of an ill person who dares to protest against being
abused by drugsdealers and mayors and aldermen who protect the dealers
rather than uphold the law. But thus it is. (The only "satisfaction" I
have is that I was ill and would have been ill anyway, whatever I had
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: