"Those who sacrifice liberty for
security deserve neither."
-- Benjamin Franklin 
| "All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
Honor and Pardon Edward Snowden
2. David Graeber: ‘There Has
Been a War on
3. Who Benefits from the Various ‘Wars’?
4. Why the Anger?
5. What NSA Reforms?
6. The Surveillance Speech: A
Low Point in Barack Obama's
7. Obama Appoints Fox to
Investigate Spying In the
As I said yesterday: The plan to translate "About terrorism" is still on hold, for
lack of energy, but I did find today a reasonable amount on the crisis (the list of which still has to be brought up till
Here it is.
and Pardon Edward Snowden
The ending of this article is
Absurd as it
sounds in this era of fear mongering, a presidential pardon for Snowden
would bring honor to our country.
and so the title is known to
sound nonsensical, but the article is sensible and by Robert Scheer,
for Truth Dig:
It starts as follows:
How do you justify
criminally charging a government contractor for revealing an alarming
truth that the public has every right to know? That is the
contradiction raised by President Obama now that he has, in effect,
acknowledged that Edward Snowden was an indispensable whistle-blower
who significantly raised public awareness about a government threat to
president didn’t have the grace and courage to concede that precise
point and remains committed to imprisoning Snowden instead of thanking
him for serving the public interest. But Julian Assange, no stranger to
unrequited integrity, nailed it. “Today, the president of the United
States validated Edward Snowden’s role as a whistleblower by announcing
plans to reform America’s global surveillance program,” the WikiLeaks
founder said in a statement posted Saturday, the day after Obama’s
And Scheer also rightly
What about Feinstein
betraying her oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and its
Fourth Amendment prohibiting “unreasonable searches and seizures”? If
she judged the NSA program to be constitutional, why didn’t she reveal
the scope of the operation to the spied-upon American public to let the
Quite so. There is more
below on the "changes" Obama is planning, and I write "changes" because
this is another word the meaning of which changed (as you will find out
2. David Graeber: ‘There Has Been a War on the Human
Next, also from Truth Dig, a brief article:
This I listed to quote the
following part, which I think is right:
Graeber gives one
concrete example of how this has been done: “Student loans are
destroying the imagination of youth. If there’s a way of a society
committing mass suicide, what better way than to take all the youngest,
most energetic, creative, joyous people in your society and saddle them
with, like $50,000 of debt so they have to be slaves? There goes your
music. There goes your culture. There goes everything new that would
pop out. And in a way, this is what’s happened to our society. We’re a
society that has lost any ability to incorporate the interesting,
creative and eccentric people.”
This seems to be what has
happened: You cannot study in the U.S. unless your parents are rich -
though indeed it also is the case that you probably won't learn much
anymore in an ordinary university anyway. (The link is to 25 year
old pieces by me about the Dutch universities, but they deal
with a problem that, in various forms, cropped up everywhere in the
West: the radical levelling of education.)
from the Various ‘Wars’?
Next, an article by
a Dutchman that I found on Consortium News:
There is this:
discussions on the nature of the surveillance policies we live under
need to start from the understanding of the true nature of these
systems and policies. It’s not a mistake or polite difference of
opinion on how to address “security” questions. Effectively resisting
these policies cannot be done from the quasi-polite and na´ve
standpoint of acceptance of the official goals.
which amounts to: (1) you
cannot believe the official story (see I.F. Stone, above),
so (2) follow the money.
Well, here is the result about "the war on terrorism" - which I think
myself also was the original end, from the very beginning:
But this does not
mean that these systems have no use. They are of use and are being used
for what they are good at: suppressing dissent in democratic societies.
And here is the result about
"the war on drugs":
This is done by
infiltrating and breaking up activist networks and thus pre-empting
effective protest. By labeling non-violent and legitimate political
activity “extremism” or “terrorism,” the entire suite of anti-terror
laws erected over the last decade can be brought to bear against
citizens using their democratic rights to protest various wrongs that
they perceive in society (human rights, environmental problems,
governmental corruption, abuse of power by corporations, etc.).
policy of prohibition is not working, for all the reasons alcohol
prohibition did not work in the U.S. in the early 20th Century. So why
keep it going? What are the upsides and who is benefiting? Obviously
many people working in law-enforcement are benefiting (job security),
privatized prison systems are benefiting (more business), governments
looking for excuses to arbitrarily arrest people are benefiting. Banks
where the billions are laundered are benefiting.
Yes, indeed. There is
more, but this seems the essence, at least from my point of view.
Now you may well ask, having read - for example - the
So did Robert Reich, and he
Why is the nation
more bitterly divided today than it’s been in eighty years? Why is
there more anger, vituperation, and political polarization now than
even during Joe McCarthy’s anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, the
tempestuous struggle for civil rights in the 1960s, the divisive
Vietnam war, or the Watergate scandal?
Here is his main answer:
I think the deeper
explanation for what has happened has economic roots. From the end of
World War II through the late 1970s, the economy doubled in size — as
did almost everyone’s income. Almost all Americans grew together. In
fact, those in the bottom fifth of the income ladder saw their incomes
more than double. Americans experienced upward mobility on a grand
I think he is right, and
indeed also about this being
Yet for the last three and a half decades, the middle class has been
losing ground. The median wage of male workers is now lower than it was
in 1980, adjusted for inflation.
What NSA Reforms?
Now we come to the reforms president Obama promised, that
are discussed by Eugene Robinson on Truth Dig:
It starts thus:
President Obama’s message
about the government’s massive electronic surveillance programs came
through loud and clear: Get over it.
The president used more
soothing words in his pre-vacation news conference Friday, but that was
the gist. With perhaps the application of a fig leaf here and a sheen
of legalistic mumbo jumbo there, the snooping will continue.
Indeed. There is more there,
but that is the gist.
6. The Surveillance Speech: A Low Point in Barack Obama's
However, you may want to know more than the gist. Here is
an analysis of president Obama's speech by Conor Friedersdorf in the
The second and third paragraph
are as follows:
Next, he selects 12 passages
from the speech, and submits these to analysis, and indeed there is very
little left, except condescension and lies by the president.
President Obama spoke to us about surveillance as though we were
precocious children. He proceeded as if widespread objections to his
policies can be dispatched like a parent answers an eight-year-old who
has formally protested her bedtime. He is so proud that we've
matured enough to take an interest in our civil liberties! Why, he used
to think just like us when he was younger, and promises to
consider our arguments. But some decisions just have to be made by the
grownups. Do we know how much he loves us? Can we even imagine how
awful he would feel if anything bad ever happened while it was still
his job to ensure our safety? *
By observing Obama's
condescension, I don't mean to suggest tone was the most objectionable
part of the speech. The disinformation should bother the American
people most. The weasel words. The impossible-to-believe protestations.
The factually inaccurate assertions.
You can find this out by reading the article, which ends as follows:
Quite so - and he also will not
do any better in the future. As illustrated by the next item:
surveillance debate is arguably the most important of our era.
Yet throughout the
surveillance debate, the executive branch, including Obama, has lied,
obfuscated, and misled the American people in a variety of ways. Before
Edward Snowden's leaks, they could at least tell themselves that the
disinformation was serving the purpose of keeping al-Qaeda operates
from learning the general contours of our surveillance capabilities.
But today, when that excuse has long since expired, Obama is still
lying, obfuscating, and misleading the American people. In doing so, he
is preventing representative democracy from functioning as well as it
might. With the stakes so high, and his performance so dubious in so
many places, Friday's speech has got to be one of the low points of his
7. Obama Appoints Fox to Investigate Spying In the Henhouse
Finally, there is this on the reforms president Obama
promised and made. on Washington's Blog:
The gist is as follows:
I rest my case.
Friday, Obama promised an
group or experts would investigate spying:
We’re forming a
high-level group of outside experts to review our
entire intelligence and communications technologies. We need new
thinking for a new era. We now have to unravel terrorist plots by
finding a needle in the haystack of global telecommunications. And
meanwhile, technology has given governments — including our own —
unprecedented capability to monitor communications.
So I am tasking this independent
group to step back and review our capabilities — particularly
our surveillance technologies. And they’ll consider how we can maintain
the trust of the people, how we can make sure that there absolutely is
no abuse in terms of how these surveillance technologies are used, ask
how surveillance impacts our foreign policy — particularly in an age
when more and more information is becoming public. And they will
provide an interim report in 60 days and a final report by the end of
this year, so that we can move forward with a better understanding of
how these programs impact our security, our privacy, and our foreign
Today, Obama appointed
James Clapper to head the “independent group” of “outside experts”.
Clapper is the same guy who
lied to Congress about spying … falsely claiming that the
government wasn’t spying on the American people. He subsequently apologized
to Congress for lying.
And – as the Director of
National Intelligence – Clapper is the U.S. spy-in-chief.
 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: