25, 2013
Crisis: Obama * 2, Brazil, Surveillance State, Rich as rich, alternative
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.

Prev- crisis -Next

1. Obama Tells World: US Is 'Exceptional' But (Don't Worry)
     Not 'Imperial'

2. Top 45 Lies in Obama’s Speech at UN
In Stinging Rebuke at UN, Brazilian President Rails
     Against NSA Spying

4. We Live Under a Total Surveillance State in America ..
5. They're Back! …And Rich as They Ever Were
6. The Perfect Alternative to Wall Street Banks
About ME/CFS


Today I have 6 items. There could have been more, but this has to remain readable. Also, I should say that I have replaced the files of my father by copies that take less space, and I may do this once again.

1. Obama Tells World: US Is 'Exceptional' But (Don't Worry) Not 'Imperial'

To start with, here is a report on president Obama's speech to the UN, which was 3 times longer than scheduled, presumably because he wanted his message to be clear: YES, he is an exceptionalist. This is from Common Dreams, and by Jon Queally:

Here is the beginning:
In a display of what critics were quick to interpret as the rhetorical equivalent of U.S. military imperialism and its hubris in foreign policy matters, President Obama defended the idea of "American exceptionalism" and its outsized role in international affairs during his address at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

Dismissing the notion of "an American empire" as mere "propaganda" by some, Obama defended the dominance of U.S. military power as a necessary good in the world. He argued that despite more than a decade of war, which included the illegal invasion and subsequent occupation and destruction of Iraq, the U.S. should continue to use its military strength to defend its interests around the globe.

In his speech, Obama said:

The danger for the world is not an America that is too eager to immerse itself in the affairs of other countries, or to take on every problem in the region as its own. The danger for the world is, that the United States after a decade of war, rightly concerned about issues aback home, aware of the hostility that our engagement in the region has engendered throughout the Muslim world, may disengage creating a vacuum of leadership that no other nation is ready to fill.

I believe such disengagement would be a mistake. I believe America must remain engaged for our own security, but I also believe the world is better for it. Some may disagree. But I believe America is exceptional. In part because we have shown a willingness through the sacrifice of blood and treasure to stand up not only for our own narrow self interest, but for the interest of all.

This must be what president Obama meant by "Yes, we can!" and "Change!".
Aahh well... the next item considers the speech in detail:

2. Top 45 Lies in Obama’s Speech at UN

This is from Washington's Blog, and it is an analysis of the speech that was mentioned in section 1. Note that the title is supported:
Here is one point of the 45:
4. “Together, we have also worked to end a decade of war,” Obama said. In reality, Obama pushed Iraq hard to allow that occupation to continue, and was rejected just as Congress rejected his missiles-for-Syria proposal. Obama expanded the war on Afghanistan. Obama expanded, after essentially creating, drone wars. Obama has increased global U.S. troop presence, global U.S. weapons sales, and the size of the world’s largest military. He’s put “special” forces into many countries, waged a war on Libya, and pushed for an attack on Syria. How does all of this “end a decade of war”? And how did his predecessor get a decade in office anyway?
And here is another:
20. “Nor do I believe that America or any nation should determine who will lead Syria … Nevertheless, a leader who slaughtered his citizens and gassed children to death cannot regain the legitimacy to lead a badly fractured country.” The Syrians should decide their own fate as long as they decide it the way I tell them to.
And another, in part:
24. “But when it’s necessary to defend the United States against terrorist attacks, we will take direct action.” In Libya? Syria? Where does this make any sense, as U.S. actions generate rather than eliminate terrorism?
And another:
25. “Just as we consider the use of chemical weapons in Syria to be a threat to our own national security …” We who? How? Congress just rejected this ludicrous claim. Ninety percent of this country laughed at it.
And another:
32. “We are not seeking regime change.” That’s not what Kerry told Congress, in between telling Congress just the opposite. Also, see above in this same speech: “a leader who slaughtered his citizens and gassed children to death cannot regain the legitimacy….”
And the last:
45. [S]overeignty cannot be a shield for tyrants to commit wanton murder.”  Says a man who reads through a list of potential murder victims on Tuesdays and ticks off the ones he wants murdered.
And that was just a choice of six.

3. In Stinging Rebuke at UN, Brazilian President Rails Against NSA Spying

Next, here is Sarah Lazare, writing on Common Dreams:

Here is its beginning:

In a furious critique that opened the UN's General Assembly meeting Tuesday immediately before President Obama took the podium, Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff blasted U.S. secret surveillance programs for violating her country's national sovereignty, attacking its democracy, and infringing on the human rights of its citizens.

"In the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion, and therefore no effective democracy," she declared in her strongest statements yet in the fallout following revelations that the NSA had directly spied on Rousseff. "In the absence of the respect for sovereignty, there is no basis for the relationship among nations."

"Tampering in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and, as such, it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations," she charged.

"The right to safety of citizens of one country can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of citizens of another country," Rousseff continued.

Quite so. For more, see the source.

4. We Live Under a Total Surveillance State in America -- Can We Prevent It from Evolving into a Full-Blown Police State?

Next, a long piece that concludes four long other pieces by the same author on AlterNet. The author is Fred Branfman, and his pieces are good:
Here is the first paragraph (after the mottos):
For those alarmed by the steady growth of lawless, violent and authoritarian U.S. Executive power for the last 50 years, the events of the past few months have been exciting. The emergence of a de facto coalition of progressives and conservatives opposing the  National Defense Authorization Act law giving the Executive the right to unilaterally detain or execute American citizens without a trial, and  NSA mass surveillance of phone and Internet data, has been unprecedented, and offers the first hope in 70 years that Executive power can be curbed .
I agree more than not, but I may be less enthusiastic. And my reason for less enthusiasm is that I see few people move in the streets, while they have plenty of reasons to demonstrate and organize. Then again, I am not an American.

Next, there is this (and my saying "Next" does not mean that I did not skip):

The fundamental issue involved amidst the ongoing cascade of revelations about NSA wrongdoing is this: what must be done to roll back the Executive Branch's creation of a surveillance state, which is just one more major economic crisis or 9/11—as even centrists like Bob Woodward and Tom Friedman warn—from becoming a police-state.

Yes - and I would not be at all amazed if "one more major economic crisis or 9/11" get engineered so as to bring in a police-state. (And I would not be amazed, precisely because I have read a lot that is quite amazing, the last two years or so, and especially since June, thanks to Edward Snowden.)

Branfman correctly points out:

How does Congress write and pass laws to prevent Executive Agencies from undertaking surveillance and population control measures when, to paraphrase Congressman Keith Ellison, "Congress doesn't know what it doesn't know"? How can Congress control Executive wrongdoing when Executive officials invoke the mantra of national security to avoid providing it with information?

Had Edward Snowden not risked life imprisonment or worse to reveal that the U.S. Executive Branch has created a surveillance state, we would still know virtually nothing about it.

And in my opinion he also correctly says:

It is the height of naiveté to have any confidence whatsoever in the current system. It is clear that the heart of any serious attempt to create democracy in this nation must involve not only stopping such obvious assaults on democracy as the mass collection of phone and Internet records of innocent Americans, but a fundamental restructuring of the relationship between our three branches of government.

The problem is: How? Branfman has thought about this, and unfolds a series of steps, of which this is the first or the general orientation:

The Bottom Line: No Bulk Collection Of Americans' Phone And Internet Metadata, Destroy Files That Exist

I agree. The other ones are as follows - and I only copied the bold points, and not the considerable amount of text joining and explaining them:

Institute Genuine Congressional Oversight

A. Elect Committees Who Oversee Not Promote Executive Wrongdoing, Beginning By Replacing Senator Dianne Feinstein And Rep. Mike Rogers.

B. Indict Executive Branch Officials When They Commit Perjury

C. Give Congress the Right to Declassify Data Indicating Waste, Fraud, Abuse and Crimes By the Executive

D.  Congress Must Have The Capacity To Genuinely Oversee Executive Agencies

Give the Judiciary the Capacity to Genuinely Oversee Executive Agencies Like the NSA

Provide Strong Whistleblower Protection

Restructure the Present System of Classification

Conclusion: A Non-Violent Call to Arms
At any rate, these seem sensible and important ideas, and in case you are interested, my advice is to read all of it.

5. They're Back! … And Rich as They Ever Were

Next, here is some news about the richest Americans, by Brian Miller, on Common  Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Two weeks ago, Forbes released its 2013 list of the richest 400 Americans. And the not-so-surprising news: The fortunes of those at the top continue to rise while Americans across the country continue to suffer. What is surprising though is that they have now regained "all" of the losses from the economic collapse.
Indeed, that is a little surprising. What's not very surprising, but interesting to know in case you start from almost nothing: You have no money, but you have a really good brain and a good education (though the last will these days be rarely given to you), and you want to prove to the world that you too can be mega-rich:
  • At least 40% of those on the 2011 Forbes 400 list inherited a medium-sized business or substantial wealth from a spouse or family member.
  • Over 20% – including many Walton family members – inherited enough to place them on the Forbes 400 list with their inheritance alone. It's like they were born on home plate.
  • Only a small number can be said to truly come from modest means, and even they had help.
Which means that you - whatever the qualities of your brain, if you have not a lot of money - just as well may forget it. In fact: this is as it has always been, also in the 20th and 19th Century: Great wealth tends to be inherited (and in the end usually is based on some form of theft in uncommon circumstances, like wars or colonies), and is not earned by those who have it (except by reinvesting what they inherited).

Anyway... there's more in the article.

The Perfect Alternative to Wall Street Banks

Next and last a piece by Ellen Brown that I found on AlterNet:
This starts with the following information, that sounds extremely odd - until you realize most U.S. Senators and Congressmen are bought:
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is the nation’s second largest civilian employer after WalMart. Although successfully self-funded throughout its long history, it is currently struggling to stay afloat. This is not, as sometimes asserted, because it has been made obsolete by the Internet. In fact the post office has gotten more business from Internet orders than it has lost to electronic email. What has pushed the USPS into insolvency is an oppressive 2006 congressional mandate that it prefund healthcare for its workers 75 years into the future. No other entity, public or private, has the burden of funding multiple generations of employees who have not yet even been born.
That is thoroughly insane - but easily explicable as a way to get rid of the opposition to the banks.

Next, here are the outlines for the case Ellen Brown is making:

The Carper-Coburn bill (S. 1486) is the subject of congressional hearings this week. It threatens to make the situation worse, by eliminating Saturday mail service and door-to-door delivery and laying off more than 100,000 workers over several years.

The Postal Service Modernization Bills brought by Peter DeFazio and Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, would allow the post office to recapitalize itself by diversifying its range of services to meet unmet public needs.

Needs that the post office might diversify into include (1) funding the rebuilding of our crumbling national infrastructure; (2) servicing the massive market of the “unbanked” and “underbanked” who lack access to basic banking services; and (3) providing a safe place to save our money, in the face of Wall Street’s new “bail in” policies for confiscating depositor funds. All these needs could be met at a stroke by some simple legislation authorizing the post office to revive the banking services it efficiently performed in the past.

I quite agree with this, as I do with the last paragraph:
The post office has been made to look inefficient and obsolete, as if public enterprises are incapable of generating public revenues; yet the postal service has been both self-funding and profitable for over two centuries. If we refuse to allow our government to make money through public enterprises, we will be destined to bear the burden of supporting government with our taxes, while we watch countries such as China, Korea and Japan, which do allow public industries, enjoy the fruits of that profitable and efficient arrangement.
But I should remark that I have for about 50 years made use of this - but in the beginning of this century, the Dutch parliamentarians - many of whom seem to get and take directives from the GOP, as can also be seen from their techniques and talking points - destroyed the postgiro, and handed it to the ING-bank (which then went broke in 2009, had to be saved by me and all other Dutchmen, and now pays no interest anymore to anyone "banking" with them, and gives very lousy "service").

So while these plans are both true and tested, at least in Holland they have been stopped because they are true and tested, for a long time also, while the Dutch parliamentarians are in great majority sick or corrupt. (This again was a plan that was pushed through on the basis of the utterly false
mere promise: "The Freedom Of The Market".)



[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, thay 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 of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servant of laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

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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