"They who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin 
| "All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
1. The Sparks of Rebellion
2. The Reason Republicans Were Willing to Shut
3. The Government Leakers Who
Truly Endanger America
Will Never Face Prosecution
4. NSA Holds Internet
Records Longer Than Obama Said
5. Target or Not, the NSA
is Storing the Metadata of Millions
6. Dear Secretary Sibelius:
don’t make us wait another 3
This also is a bit earlier
than otherwise, and again the reason is mostly that I could. The first
five items are about the crisis, and the sixth and last is about a letter by
an American M.D. who addresses the head of the CDC. (I think the letter
is OK, but it will probably not succeed, though I would be glad to be
Sparks of Rebellion
I start today with Chris
Hedges on Truth Dig, who tries to find the basis for a non-violent
Here are his opening
It so happens that I have read
(and sometimes reread) all of them - also Lenin and Marx - and had done
so by the age
of 20, which was in 1970. The main reasons for doing so were that my
parents were sincere communists all or nearly all their lives, and I
was interested in theories.
I am reading and
rereading the debates among some of the great radical thinkers of the
19th and 20th centuries about the mechanisms of social change. These
debates were not academic. They were frantic searches for the triggers
Vladimir Lenin placed his
faith in a violent uprising, a professional, disciplined revolutionary
vanguard freed from moral constraints and, like Karl Marx, in the
inevitable emergence of the worker’s state. Pierre-Joseph
Proudhon insisted that gradual change would be accomplished as
enlightened workers took over production and educated and converted the
rest of the proletariat. Mikhail
Bakunin predicted the catastrophic breakdown of the capitalist
order, something we are likely to witness in our lifetimes, and new
autonomous worker federations rising up out of the chaos. Pyotr
Kropotkin, like Proudhon, believed in an evolutionary process that
would hammer out the new society. Emma Goldman, along
with Kropotkin, came to be very wary of both the efficacy of violence
and the revolutionary potential of the masses. “The mass,” Goldman
wrote bitterly toward the end of her life in echoing Marx, “clings to
its masters, loves the whip, and is the first to cry Crucify!”
I should say first that most of them are not very relevant
today, as they also were not in 1970 (though nearly all students
thought differently, and many called anyone who disagreed "a fascist").
There are two main reasons for this (and a lot of of lesser reasons):
First, most were mistaken in at least some of their general
assumptions; and second, they wrote for men of their own times - and
when they wrote they expected a revolution during their own days, for
the most part.
Then again, I mostly like Kropotkin and Goldman, and indeed agree with
the quoted sentiments of the latter, which I explain, for the most
part, by a lack of intelligence.
Also, Chris Hedges is aware of most of this, or so it seems:
We must develop a
revolutionary theory that is not reliant on the industrial or agrarian
muscle of workers. Most manufacturing jobs have disappeared, and, of
those that remain, few are unionized. Our family farms have been
destroyed by agro-businesses. Monsanto and its Faustian counterparts on
Wall Street rule. They are steadily poisoning our lives and rendering
us powerless. The corporate leviathan, which is global, is freed from
the constraints of a single nation-state or government. Corporations
are beyond regulation or control. Politicians are too anemic, or more
often too corrupt, to stand in the way of the accelerating corporate
destruction. This makes our struggle different from revolutionary
struggles in industrial societies in the past.
Indeed - but then I am not
one of those who believes in developing "a revolutionary theory", for
at least three different reasons, that are all quite good:
First, there simply is not the knowledge available of society
and of social processes to found a rationally credible "revolutionary theory".
Second, if it were to be found, it would only be read by few, and would
be understood by far fewer (for it would be mostly mathematical).
Third, it neither matters nor is needed: One can always cry for
"Revolution!", that mostly will not work, but very rarely may work,
akthough then usually not for the reasons or for the ends of those who
demanded it, and besides one wants to avoid mythologies about
"reborn new men" or of "places of plenty for all where everything is
made and works for the best interests of everyone".
Then again, Hedges is mostly right about the following:
The most important
dilemma facing us is not ideological. It is logistical. The security
and surveillance state has made its highest priority the breaking of
any infrastructure that might spark widespread revolt. The state knows
the tinder is there. It knows that the continued unraveling of the
economy and the effects of climate change make popular unrest
inevitable. It knows that as underemployment and unemployment doom at
least a quarter of the U.S. population, perhaps more, to perpetual
poverty, and as unemployment benefits are scaled back, as schools
close, as the middle class withers away, as pension funds are looted by
hedge fund thieves, and as the government continues to let the fossil
fuel industry ravage the planet, the future will increasingly be one of
open conflict. This battle against the corporate state, right now, is
primarily about infrastructure. We need an infrastructure to build
revolt. The corporate state is determined to deny us one.
But there also need to be some
shared values, that posit ends to strive for, and to that extent it is
about ideology - and indeed that is also one of the main problems of
this time: That there are, so far, no realistic shared values about the
ends one is willing to strive for, especially not of such ends as
contradict the present society or societies.
Next, I also think Hedges is mostly right in the following:
The state, in its
internal projections, has a vision of the future that is as dystopian
as mine. But the state, to protect itself, lies. Politicians,
corporations, the public relations industry, the entertainment industry
and our ridiculous television pundits speak as if we can continue to
build a society based on limitless growth, profligate consumption and
fossil fuel. They feed the collective mania for hope at the expense of
truth. Their public vision is self-delusional, a form of collective
psychosis. The corporate state, meanwhile, is preparing privately for
the world it knows is actually coming. It is cementing into place a
police state, one that includes the complete evisceration of our most
basic civil liberties and the militarization of the internal security
apparatus, as well as wholesale surveillance of the citizenry.
But the problem here is that
most people do not see it that way - either they still believe
what their politicians tell them or else believe they, at least, will
And here is Hedges' end, that shows fairly clearly what I think is
wrong with his position:
If we are to face
what lies ahead, we will not only have to organize and feed ourselves,
we will have to begin to feel deeply, to face unpleasant truths, to
recover empathy and to live passionately. Then we can fight.
What's wrong here is - in my
opinion - either that it requires too much (most people do not
"feel deeply" about most things; most do not like "to face unpleasant
truths", and few can "recover
empathy and to live passionately")
or else that the times are not yet bad enough for
sufficiently many people to do some new thinking, and to stand up and
live for themselves.
But I do like Chris
Hedges, who sees more clearly
2. The Reason Republicans Were Willing to Shut It Down
So it has happened:
The U.S. government has been shut down, at least in most of its paid
efforts, and the reasons are that the Republicans, or the Tea Party
part of them, wants to undo "Obamacare" by hook or by crook.
Here is a piece by Bill Boyarsky on Truth Dig that may clarify some
It starts as follows:
And while I am not convinced
this is right, it does explain part of their reasoning. There is
considerably more that I skip, but here is most of Boyarsky's
Don’t write the
Republicans off as totally crazy. They know that if Obamacare works, it
will wreck chances for attaining their real goal—lowering taxes on the
rich, wiping out regulations and widening even more the gap between the
very rich and everyone else.
That is why they and
their business allies are fighting so hard against the Affordable Care
Act and threatening to bring the federal government to a halt. If the
Republicans lose on Obamacare, it will be nearly impossible for them to
shrink government the way they’ve been dreaming.
Again I think this is probably
too simple-minded, but he does have a point.
If the Affordable Care
Act works, its success will tilt the balance in favor of
government-aided health care—and clear the way for eventual approval of
the best solution: a single payer system, Medicare for all.
But if the Republicans
win, succeeding in dismantling Obamacare or even forcing a year’s
delay, the cause of an activist government will be dealt a blow that
will be felt for generations. That will strengthen the GOP for the 2014
congressional elections and 2016 presidential race.
3. The Government Leakers Who Truly Endanger America Will Never
Now I relay my
attention, though I stay on Truth Dig, namely by turning to Robert
Scheer, who explains that there is done an enormous amount of leaking
by government people, to journalists and "journalists" (those who go by
the name, but either are bought or are without guts), some of which
maybe much more dangerous than anything disclosed by Edward Snowden.
The only difference is that the leakers who are not facing
prosecution leak materials that support the government:
Here is the beginning:
There is considerably
more under the last dotted link.
Secrecy is for the
convenience of the state. To support military adventures and budgets,
vast troves of U.S. government secrets are routinely released not by
lone dissident whistle-blowers but rather skilled teams of government
officials. They engage in coordinated propaganda campaigns designed to
influence public opinion. They leak secrets compulsively to advance
careers or justify wars and weapons programs, even when the material is
far more threatening to national security than any revealed by Edward
Remember the hoary
accounts in the first week of August trumpeting a great intelligence
coup warranting the closing of nearly two dozen U.S. embassies in
anticipation of an al-Qaida attack? Advocates for the surveillance
state jumped all over that one to support claims that NSA electronic
interceptions revealed by Snowden were necessary, and that his
whistle-blowing had weakened the nation’s security. Actually, the
opposite is true.
4. NSA Holds Internet Records Longer Than Obama Said
Next, a bit about the NSA and Obama's audacious honesty.
This is by Alexander Reed Kelly, who - again - writes for Truth Dig:
Here it is, without the
quotation from the Guardian:
Quite so - and one just cannot
The NSA stores the online
metadata of millions of Internet users for up to a year, whether they
are targets of investigations or not, The Guardian reports Monday that
top secret documents reveal.
Metadata is the record of
almost everything a person does online, from browsing history to email
account activity and details, as well as some passwords. It can be used
to build a detailed picture of a person’s life both off- and online.
Obama and his officials
have repeatedly said that the NSA keeps the contents and communications
of only people it intentionally targets. These internal documents
5. Target or Not, the NSA is Storing the Metadata of
Finally as regards the crisis
for today, the same report done by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
Here is the beginning:
The NSA is
recording the online metadata of millions of people—whether or not they
are on the NSA target list—and dumping it into a repository where it is
stored and searchable for up to a year, the Guardian revealed Monday citing documents provided by
whistleblower Edward Snowden.
This new revelation
directly contradicts claims by President Obama that the NSA only stores
information from people who are specifically targeted.
And this is a part of the
advocates slammed the findings that the NSA is not only spying on
millions of people without justification but is also holding onto the
information it obtains. “This report confirms what whistleblowers have
been saying for years: the NSA has been monitoring virtually every
aspect of Americans' lives – their communications, their associations,
even their locations," ACLU
Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer told Common
Dreams in an email.
Also, all of this - the government's actions
and its lies - are quite illegal.
6. Dear Secretary Sibelius: don’t make us
wait another 3
This last piece and link is
again motivated by my having M.E. for 35
years, all without help, except for basic and minimal dole.
I wrote about the letter signed by 35 of the most qualified medical
researchers into M.E., who now have decided to support the CCC
definition, that also are regarded by most patients and myself as good,
on September 26.
Here is a follow up by an American MD:
Here is one paragraph from it,
with bolding by the author - and I must presuppose "This history":
And here is my answer (which
is not in criticism of the author, who means well):
history is largely why I and other patients, now joined by expert
clinicians and researchers, experience a collective shudder of fear and
horror when they hear DHHS plans to a) construct a clinical case
definition employing professionals unfamiliar with ME/CFS, b) separate
from a research case definition, c) at several separate meetings no
less. ME/CFS’s past is filled with examples of ineffective and
harmful ideas and treatments visited upon patients without listening to
their stories nor to those of the clinicians taking care of them. Confusion
and harm has already been incurred by applying research based on one
definition (e.g. Oxford-based PACE trials) to patients diagnosed with
another definition (Fukuda) and by employing a research case definition
(Fukuda), without a solid clinical grounding, that focuses on the wrong
symptom. Why make that same mistake again?
Because it serves the interests of many psychiatrists and many medical
people not to think, and to simply prescribe GBT and SSRI's to
people they like to consider to be mad, because doing so does
satisfy their interests.
But we will see.
 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
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 machine) which is a disease that I have since 1.1.