July 26, 2013
Crisis: Fantasies, (Non-)Authoritarians?, Snowden, 4th Amendment, NSA
  "Those who sacrifice liberty for
   security deserve neither."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
    "All governments lie and nothing
    they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.

Prev- crisis -Next

1. Shocking 'Extermination' Fantasies
Why Republicans are Disciplined and Democrats Aren't
Senate Moves for Sanctions on Nations 'Helping' Snowden
4. Congress: Obama’s Willing Executioners of the Fourth

They Know Much More Than You Think
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. (It's mostly pains of various kinds that keep me awake or wake me up: eyes, arms, legs. It's not "nerves".)

Presently it is 25 degrees Celsius where I am, in my house in Amsterdam, and the weather seems to be preparing for some sort of thunderstorm, which would be nice, but is not certain.

Today there is another issue of the
crisis series, and I'll forego making a brief introduction.

1. Shocking 'Extermination' Fantasies

This is a report I found on Alternet, about a conference of the U.S. securities:

I can't say I am very shocked, though it is shocking to read that Wolf Blitzer is there as a willing servant of his masters, and that the former Blackwater meanwhile is called, of all things, Academi.

Then again, these are bad people, who also know that they are (though they probably call it otherwise).

2. Why Republicans are Disciplined and Democrats Aren't

This is a Robert Reich piece, that answers the following question:
Before turning to the answer, let me give you a quite revealing and, I fear, very true quote of a quote from it, that's attributed to Frank Luntz:
“There’s a simple rule. You say it again, and you say it again and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and then again and again and again and again, and about the time that you’re absolutely sick of saying it is about the time that your target audience has heard it for the first time."
Indeed! That is the kind of thing Reich wants to explain, and he does it by insisting that the Republicans are authoritarians, and the Democrats are anti-authoritarians.

I am sure this explains some of it - but then the Democrats do not strike me as anti-authoritarians in criticizing Obama (or Feinstein, or Pelosi) for they don't do this, even though they have excellent reasons, for Obama simply betrayed them and those who voted for him, and anybody who is not an utter Democratic fool that sanctions everything "Our President" does or leaves undone can see he did. [2]

So it seems to me that there is another reason, as well, which is probably that the GOP is simply better organized at the level of propaganda - though I grant it probably helps that most Republicans are docile authoritarians (but as I said, I do not see a big difference with most Democrats, in the respect of following leaders not because they are or may be right, but because they are their leaders).

3. Senate Moves for Sanctions on Nations 'Helping' Snowden

This is from Common Dreams and by Sarah Lazarre:
It starts of as follows:
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously Thursday to slam sanctions on any country aiding NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, marking a serious escalation in a global manhunt which has stoked almost as much international outrage as the US spying scandal itself.
Indeed - and to me it sounds mainly stupid. They badly want him, and they are behaving as bullies, which may make them feel a little better, but which (again) makes them (even) less sympathetic.

4. Congress: Obama’s Willing Executioners of the Fourth Amendment

Also on Common Dreams, another good article by Norman Solomons:
This ends as follows:
An ACLU staff attorney, Alexander Abdo, was driving at the same point when he wrote days ago: “Perhaps the most fundamental problem with the NSA’s constitutional theory is that it has no limit. If the constitution is blind to the collection of our data and limits only the NSA’s later uses of it, then the NSA truly can ‘collect it all’ now and ask questions later. Our emails, phone calls and internet activities would all be very simple for the NSA to collect under the NSA’s theory. But it could go much further. It could put video cameras on every street corner, it could install microphones in every home and it could even remotely copy the contents of every computer hard drive.”

All three branches of the U.S. government are now largely under the control of forces with stunning contempt for basic legal processes required by the Bill of Rights. Mere words and mild reforms from members of Congress may mollify the gullible, but only a direct challenge to the Obama administration’s policies can rise to the level of the current historic imperative to restore civil liberties in the United States..
Indeed - and "stunning contempt for basic legal processes required by the Bill of Rights" is putting it mildly, with regards to a president who was a professor of Constitutional Law.

5.  They Know Much More Than You Think

Finally, a good long piece by James Bamford in the New York Review of Books:
Much of this is explanation, and I select a few pieces:
With the arrival of the Obama administration, the NSA’s powers continued to expand at the same time that administration officials and the NSA continued to deceive the American public on the extent of the spying. In addition to the denial I have mentioned by James Clapper, General Keith Alexander, the NSA director, also blatantly denied that his agency was keeping records on millions of Americans.
Yes, indeed, and my reason to pick this out, from rather a lot more, is that in a really functioning Congress both of these gentlemen would be prosecuted, and also convicted, regardless of their motives: You are not allowed to lie when testifying.

Next, here is an important reason why it happens in the U.S. (and less so in other states):
During the past decade, the NSA has secretly worked to gain access to virtually all communications entering, leaving, or going through the country. A key reason, according to the draft of a top secret NSA inspector general’s report leaked by Snowden, is that approximately one third of all international telephone calls in the world enter, leave, or transit the United States. “Most international telephone calls are routed through a small number of switches or ‘chokepoints’ in the international telephone switching system en route to their final destination,” says the report. “The United States is a major crossroads for international switched telephone traffic.” At the same time, according to the 2009 report, virtually all Internet communications in the world pass through the US. For example, the report notes that during 2002, less than one percent of worldwide Internet bandwidth—i.e., the international link between the Internet and computers—“was between two regions that did not include the United States.”
That is: It was all there, in their own country, to start with, and not only national but also international communications.

There is a lot more, and I gave the link, but I want to quote one more quotation, by the late Senator Frank Church - and the following are his very prescient words:
That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such [is] the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology…. I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
That is the danger that people are facing now, and it still does not seem to me that very many have seen and recognized this, though indeed I am also quite willing to agree that the battle is not over.
[1] 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 government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
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 quote from is quite pertinent.)

[2] I still think Obama was the better candidate than Romney, but meanwhile I have my doubt when compared with McCain, who at least has some principles. Then again, I don't vote, because I don't like to vote for what are invariably and for the most part professional liars.

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)

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