"Those who sacrifice liberty for
security deserve neither."
-- Benjamin Franklin 
| "All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange: our new heroes
2. The College Degree Is
Becoming the New High School Diploma
3. Before the Battles
Resume in Washington: A Reminder about What’s Really at Stake
4. Arrest US ‘leaders’ as
ONLY legal response to ongoing War Crimes
5. Tomgram: Engelhardt,
Alone and Delusional on Planet Earth
is a mixed bag, though all links are related to the crisis, in various
ways. It is a mixed bag mostly because it is varied and because I
disagree with various items, and especially with 1 and 4.
1. Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and
Julian Assange: our
To start with, a link to an article by the
Slovene philosopher, "communist, in a qualified sense" and "radical
Zizek (written without diacritical marks), that I found in the
It starts as follows:
In the fourth paragraph, we
meet Karl Marx, who in 1843 "exactly"
described "our situation today"
and in the fifth paragraph Immanuel Kant appears. I'll save you these
and related paragraphs, and merely quote the ending:
We all remember President
Obama's smiling face, full of hope and trust, in his first campaign: "Yes, we can!" – we can get rid of the cynicism of the
Bush era and bring justice and welfare to the American people. Now that
the US continues its covert operations and expands its intelligence
network, spying even on its allies, we can imagine protesters shouting
at Obama: "How can you use drones for killing? How can you spy even on
our allies?" Obama murmurs with a mockingly evil smile: "Yes, we can."
personalisation misses the point: the threat to freedom disclosed by
whistleblowers has deeper, systemic roots. Edward
Snowden should be
defended not only because his acts annoyed and embarrassed US secret
services; what he revealed is something that not only the US but also
all great (and not so great) powers – from China to Russia, Germany to
Israel – are doing (to the extent they are technologically able to do
(..) we need a new
international network to organise the protection of whistleblowers and
the dissemination of their message. Whistleblowers are our heroes
because they prove that if those in power can do it, we can also do it.
I don't like Zizek, but I will
not explain why: you can consult Wikipedia
on him. But I will explain why his conclusion is nonsense: "a new
international network" is a vague piece of bombastic grandiosity,
especially as the network is there: the international laws and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - the
problem is that it isn't used; and I do not want to do
what "those in power can do": I want them to stop doing it.
2. The College Degree Is Becoming the New High
Next, a piece on the decline of education - or that is how I take it.
This is by David Sirota, and I found it on Alternet:
The first two paragraphs are
I do not believe this is
Sirota's point, but my own reading of this is as part of the forty+ years of
educational declines I have been witnessing. This is certainly not
the only factor, but it does enter.
Whether or not President
Obama's recent education-themed speeches are in direct response to Matt
Rolling Stone magazine article on the college loan crisis, it is
great news that the White House is now taking the crisis more
seriously. The credit bubble in college loans has ballooned into a
systemic threat to the nation's economy. Additionally, as Taibbi
documents, economic and political trends are now forcing an entire
generation into a truly no-win situation: Either don't get a
post-secondary education and harm your job prospects, or get a
post-secondary education and condemn yourself to a lifetime of debt.
The economic trend
fueling this perfect storm is about job credentials. Peruse employment
data and you'll see that the New York Times was right when it declared
that "the college degree is becoming the new high school diploma: the
new minimum requirement, albeit an expensive one, for getting even the
lowest-level job." Though the Times notes that the weak
economy means the job outlook for college grads "is rather bleak," it
is even more bleak if you don't have a post-secondary degree.
Battles Resume in Washington: A Reminder about What’s Really at Stake
Next, an article by
Robert Reich, from his site:
Here are his third and
For much of the
past century, the basic bargain at the heart of America was that
employers paid their workers enough to buy what American employers were
selling. Government’s role was to encourage and enforce this bargain.
We thereby created a virtuous cycle of higher living standards, more
jobs, and better wages. And a democracy that worked reasonably well.
But the bargain has been
broken. And until it’s remade, the economy can’t mend and our democracy
won’t be responsive to the majority.
And here are most of his
concluding two paragraphs:
The only way back
to a buoyant economy is through a productive system whose gains are
more widely shared. The only way back to a responsive democracy is
through a political system whose monied interests are more effectively
We must remake the basic
bargain at the heart of America.
I agree, but I do not see
4. Arrest US ‘leaders’ as ONLY legal
response to ongoing War
Next, a piece from
Washington's Blog, by Carl Herman:
This centers on the following
proposition, that is bold in the original:
In fact, Carl Herman does give
considerable support to his thesis. My problem with it is that it is wholly
impractical: It really is wishful
only legal response available to anyone
serious about upholding the US Constitution is to
arrest US government leaders as obvious criminal suspects for obvious
Engelhardt, Alone and Delusional on Planet Earth
Finally, a link to
an interesting piece by Tom Engelhardt, on his own site:
This is a fairly long but
interesting piece, that well explains why Orwell was mistaken in one of
his main projections. I will not quote it, except for its conclusion:
What, after all,
are we to make of a planet with a single superpower that lacks genuine
enemies of any significance and that, to all appearances, has
nonetheless been fighting a permanent global war with... well, itself
-- and appears to be losing?
That surely is part of the
problem: A single superpower that lacks major enemies and nevertheless
is in a state of continuous global war.
 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: