"Those who sacrifice liberty for
security deserve neither."
-- Benjamin Franklin 
| "All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
1. We Should Thank Edward
2. NSA surveillance critics to
testify before Congress
3. Big Banks Manipulated
Energy Markets In California
and the Midwest
4. On Thomas Szasz
It still is the case
that sleeping remains quite
difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at
Sleeping did improve, some, lately, but I still do not know whether it
Presently it is 23.5 degrees Celsius where I am, in my house in
Amsterdam, which is about the upper limit of what I can bear without
slowly feeling worse. But it will be hot again from Thursday onwards,
the radio said yesterday.
The present file deals with thanking Snowden, NSA surveillance critics,
what big banks do (enrich their managers without regulations), and with
the late Thomas Szasz.
Should Thank Edward Snowden
This is on Truth Dig and is by Eugene Robinson, who seems to write for
the Washington Post:
This starts as follows:
Well, yes indeed ... but while
I agree with the point of the story and the message, it seems to me a
bit half hearted, as also can be seen from its ending (and I skip all
that's in between):
Edward Snowden’s renegade
decision to reveal the jaw-dropping scope of the National Security
Agency’s electronic surveillance is being vindicated—even as Snowden
himself is being vilified.
Intelligence officials in
the Obama administration and their allies on Capitol Hill paint the
fugitive analyst as nothing but a traitor who wants to harm the United
States. Many of those same officials grudgingly acknowledge, however,
that public debate about the NSA’s domestic snooping is now unavoidable.
But I think I understand: Mr
Robinson in fact is argueing against some of his colleagues -
or "colleagues", rather - who thoroughly tried to blacken
Snowden and who cannot be regarded as real or decent journalists
themselves (regardless of their opinions).
Equally antithetical to
the idea of a free society, in my view, is the government’s position
that we are not even permitted to know how the secret intelligence
court interprets our laws and the Constitution. The order that Snowden
leaked—compelling a Verizon unit to cough up data on the phone calls it
handled—was one of only a few to come to light in the court’s three
decades of existence. Now there are voices calling for all the court’s
rulings to be released.
We’re talking about these
issues. You can wish Edward Snowden well or wish him a lifetime in
prison. Either way, you should thank him.
In any case... you don't need to love the man to understand that he
took a great personal risk and that his materials seem to have
been able to - at least - start the debate on the illegal
practices of the NSA and the U.S. government.
In evidence of which there is the next item:
2. NSA surveillance critics to testify before
This is from the
Guardian, but it is not by Glenn Greenwald, but by Paul Lewis:
It starts as follows, and this
seems to me good and interesting news:
Also, according to Grayson:
Congress will hear
testimony from critics of the National Security Agency's surveillance
practices for the first time since the whistleblower Edward Snowden's
explosive leaks were made public.
Alan Grayson, who is leading a bipartisan group of congressman
organising the hearing, told the Guardian it would serve to counter the
"constant misleading information" from the intelligence community.
This also seems good,
for I do not think that, on this issue, there needs to be opposition
between the left and the right, or between honest Democrats and honest
"We have put together an
ad hoc, bipartisan hearing on domestic surveillance in on the Capitol.
We plan to have critics of the program come in and give their view –
from the left and the right."
Grayson said the hearing
had bipartisan support, and was backed by the Republican congressman
Justin Amash, whose draft the amendment that was narrowly defeated.
Indeed, Grayson gives my sort of reasons for that proposition:
"They are both
going to come in and make it clear that this programme is not
authorised by existing law - and if it were authorised by existing law,
that law would be unconstitutional," Grayson said.
Quite so. Then there is
another piece of good news:
The congressman added
that Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who first revealed
details of the surveillance programmes leaked by Snowden, had also been
invited to testify via video-link from his base in Rio.
The reasons this is
good news are that Greenwald knows a whole lot about the issues; that
he is a lawyer; and that he can speak well.
Finally, back to Grayson - who did
explain it really well to Congress - who has another insight that
seems quite correct to me:
"Even today, most people
in America are unaware of the fact the government is receiving a record
of every call that they make, even to the local pizzeria," Grayson said.
"I think that most people
simply don't understand that, despite the news coverage, which [in] my
view has been extremely unfocused. There has been far too much
discussion of the leaker, and not enough discussion of the leak."
3. Big Banks Manipulated Energy Markets In
California and the
Now to another theme, which is at Washington's Blog, and which
has the following full title:
I do not really know how
many of my viewers like this sort of posting, because it mainly argues
that all manner of things in the current economy are manipulated and
rigged, and it does so by giving a lot of links.
I will suppose this is not very enthusiastically received. My reason to
include it is mostly that I tend to agree with it, and especially that
I see it as reasons that the crisis will continue, until it is radically stopped.
Stopping it will be very difficult, precisely because
most things have been deregulated, and those in favor of this
deregulation are in power, but then this is what you get then: Very big
loads of money for very few, combined with misery and poverty for
4. On Thomas Szasz
Finally, an item I picked up by way of Arts & Literature, which is
by Holly Cass, and which appeared in Aeon Magazine:
Holly Cass is an associate
professor of history at Cornell University, which is the probable
reason this is less about psychiatry than it is about Szasz's politics,
that seem to have been - mostly, not only - right wing libertarian.
As I have outlined, in
considerable detail also, I more agree with Szasz than not on
psychiatry, but I do believe there are genuinely mad people,
though far fewer than postmodern psychiatry claims there are, who do
need help of some kind, if perhaps better not from postmodern
psychiatrists, while I more disagree than I agree with Szasz's "right
wing libertarianism" - which I put here in quotes, not because I want
to be offensive or took offense, but because these terms mean
something else in the U.S. than in Europe, and I am still not quite
clear about what is involved in it (and may never be: it is neither
easy nor self-evident nor consistent, and I never visited the U.S.).
In any case: The article is fairly long, but it may be interesting to
some, and indeed was to me, if only to recall that Szasz was one of the
very few to do and think as he did, even though
psychiatry is an obvious intellectual disgrace and a clear pseudoscience,
and that he also was not an anti-psychiatrist,
indeed in part because he was not a leftist.
 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.)
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: