"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. Committee to Protect
Journalists issues scathing report
on Obama administration
2. The secret state is just itching to gag
3. Worse than Nixon?
4. France's highest legal
body upholds ban on fracking
5. Why Giving Republican
Bullies a Bloody Nose Isn’t Enough
6. Video Released: Edward
Snowden at Sam Adams Award
7. A bit
more on Henry Miller and Erica Jong
There's more on the crisis today, namely in six items, while the last item is
mostly about Henry Miller, and continues yesterday's
1. Committee to Protect
scathing report on Obama administration
To start with, another item
by Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian:
It starts as follows:
It's hardly news that the
Obama administration is intensely and, in many respects,
unprecedentedly hostile toward the news-gathering process. Even the
most Obama-friendly journals have
warned of what they callrecently
observed that "President Obama wants to criminalize the reporting
of national security information" and added: "President Obama will
surely pass President Richard Nixon as the worst president ever on
issues of national security and press freedom." "Obama's war on whistleblowers". James Goodale, the former
general counsel of the New York Times during its epic fights with the
new report released today by the highly respected Committee to
Protect Journalists - its first-ever
on press freedoms in the US - powerfully underscores just how
extreme is the threat to press freedom posed by this administration.
Written by former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie, Jr.,
the report offers a comprehensive survey of the multiple ways that the
Obama presidency has ushered in a paralyzing climate of fear for
journalists and sources alike, one that severely threatens the
I quite agree, and leave
the rest of it mostly to you, except for this bit:
(..) Downie [the writer
of the report - MM] himself concludes:
war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most
aggressive I've seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of
the editors involved in The Washington Post's investigation of
Watergate. The 30 experienced Washington journalists at a variety of
news organizations whom I interviewed for this report could not
remember any precedent."
And for this bit, that also
is the last bit from it:
I agree, and the deafening
silence is quite worrisome.
Now, as this new report
documents, we have moved well beyond the realm of mere threats into
undeniable reality, and the silence is as deafening as the danger is
2. The secret state is just itching to gag
Next, an article by Jonathan Freedland, in the Guardian:
Actually, I found this a bit
hard to read, but it is about the following model for journalism, as propounded by the Daily Mail:
Its editorial was
clear. The Guardian had acted with "lethal irresponsibility". If
the head of MI5 says something should not be published, then it should
not be published. When it comes to reporting on such matters, an editor
cannot possibly be allowed to decide for himself what to print. After
all, as the Mail put it, "He's a journalist, not an expert on
security." Put another way, in an ideal world a newspaper editor could
face the threat of jail simply for doing what journalists are meant to
do, probing into those corners of public life the powerful would prefer
Also, it is about the
And it ends as follows:
After this week, we don't
have to imagine how such a system would work. The head of MI5 would no
longer be confined to speechifying against the Guardian. It would need
only a word in the right ear and, with the privy council and the
charter as its weapons, the state could decide the Guardian had crossed
the line and had to be silenced, leaving the public where it was
before: in the dark.
There is not much time.
Late on Friday the three main Westminster parties announced they had
agreed a new regulatory set-up, centred once again on a royal charter,
albeit one that cannot be altered by secret ministerial whim, but would
require two-thirds majorities in both houses of parliament. That
provides little reassurance: the requirement itself could be overturned
by a simple Commons majority.
Ministers hope to have their
new charter "sealed" by 30 October. Between now and then editors need
to agree on an alternative.
As I started saying: This is
not a good article, but its author may be right that by the end of this
month there is no free journalism left in the UK, other than on sites
maintained by private individuals.
Whatever the solution, it
must not involve a royal charter and the privy council. Otherwise it
will hand a gag to the most secretive elements of the British state.
And, as we saw this week, they are itching to use it.
3. Worse than Nixon?
Next, we turn again to Obama and his character, and do so by means of
This is an interview with
Leonard Downie Jr, who wrote the report. Here is just a small part of
LEONARD DOWNIE JR.:
I found that these leaks investigations and a program called the
Insider Threat Program, instituted since the Bradley Manning leaks,
that requires government employees to monitor each other to make sure
that they’re not leaking information to anyone, including journalists,
to have really frightened government officials. Many, many reporters
that I interviewed here in Washington say that government officials are
afraid to talk to them. They’re afraid that their telephone
conversations and their email exchanges would be monitored. That is to
say that investigators could come in later, as they did in several
leaks investigations, and use their telephone and email records in
order to find the contacts between government officials and reporters.
So they’re simply scared to talk to reporters.
There is a lot more under the last dotted link. And it may
well be the end of press freedom, that is, except if one reports what
the government wants to hear.
legal body upholds ban on fracking
Next, an item on fracking, that I take from france24.com:
This starts as follows:
legal body, the Constitutional Council, on Friday approved a 2011 ban
on fracking passed by the parliament over environmental concerns. US
firm Schuepbach Energy challenged the ban after its exploration permits
And that is all you get
from me. Actually, I am not quite sure what fracking all involves (but
the last link is to Wikipedia), though I am rather sure that, at least
with the existing corporations, it will be quite bad for many.
Then again, there are some 7 billion people in the world, who all want
Republican Bullies a Bloody Nose Isn’t Enough
Next, a piece by Robert Reich:
This starts as follows:
I do not say "No!", but as
Reich himself explains, Obama has built up a great tradition of caving,
which suggests to me that he will do so again.
Now is the time to lance
the boil of Republican extremism once and for all.
Since Barack Obama became
president, the extremists who have taken over the Republican Party have
escalated their demands every time he’s caved, using the entire
government of the United States as their bargaining chit.
But we will see...
6. Video Released: Edward Snowden at Sam
Adams Award Ceremony
Finally, at least for today
and as regards the crisis, here is an overview of some - quite brief -
videos that were made at the Sam Adams Award Ceremony, that was given
to Edward Snowden. This is on Common Dreams, by the staff:
This is from the beginning
of the text:
The videos from October
9, 2013 show Snowden receiving the
Integrity Award from the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in
Intelligence, presented by a group of fellow U.S. government
whistleblowers in Moscow.
"If we can't understand
the policies and programs of our government we can't grant our consent
in regulating them," Snowden said at the ceremony in regards to the
NSA's dragnet surveillance policies.
"It's a sort of dragnet
mass surveillance that puts entire populations under a sort of eye that
sees everything, even when it's not needed," he said.
"People all over the
world are realizing that these programs don't make us more safe, they
hurt our economy, they hurt our country, they limit our ability to
speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships, to
To see the videos, you'll
have to go by way of the last dotted link.
And by the way: While I
agree with Snowden, I also want to say about his in itself quite correctly put "If
understand the policies and programs of our government we can't grant
our consent in regulating them", that it happens to be a fact, in
that most people do not "understand
the policies and programs of"
That is part of the problem
of being a democracy - but indeed what is done now, using that
namely the surveillance of whole populations, is a great betrayal
of any democratic idea, and will put an end to any
democracy and almost any freedom people have, if it is not
stopped, and is stopped quite radically.
A bit more on Henry
Miller and Erica Jong
This last item of today is
not about the crisis, but is about Henry Miller and Erica Jong,
and continues the brief item I had
I have now read all of
1993 book about Miller, that I bought yesterday, and I still like
it: Erica Jong can write, although not at all as well nor as naturally
as Miller could; she has something to say, and says some of it well;
and she speaks about quite a few
things I either did not know or did not know as well.
Then again, she also is -
or was, at least - one of those feminists that I do not like, since
I was being picked out by them, in 1977, as "a fascist", on absolutely no
knowledge of me, except that I'd said I did not believe in Marx (being
educated by two Marxists, who were honest, gifted, and real resistance
people, something those who disqualified me were not at all,
and that I
also did not feel like telling them, for I despised them, and besides,
have made no difference at all, at least for me), while Jong also -
sort of - discusses
Miller with them, which I am willing to grant she had to, as she was
the early nineties.
So what is the book Jong
It is mostly another
biography of Miller, this time told by a woman, who is some 50 years
younger; it also is an attempt to make out why Miller is special, as an
author; it tries to make him read by others; and it discusses him, to
an extent, from a postmodern feminist perspective.
I think she mostly
succeeds, though I do not care much myself for postmodernism
although even that gets a bit palatable, since
postmodernistic feminism by now clearly was almost all over the top and
was done by people - nearly all women - who were mostly deluded,
and quite mistaken, as is indeed the case for any political movement,
and who were mostly mistaken, deluded and confused, as is again the case for the vast majority in
any political movement, simply
because they were not really intelligent. (And no, I am not
against feminism: I am against stupidity.
And postmodernistic feminism, quite unlike earlier feminisms,
was intellectually stupid and also was mostly a middle and upper class
would be academics, and little else. )
Here are a few brief
comments on the above points, except for the last that I have treated:
Another biography of
Miller, by a woman: I think that is mostly interesting, and it also
is the first - sort of - biography of Miller by a woman that I read. (I
did read several others, and also read Miller.)
Then again, I do not look upon the differences between men and women as
do most who were born in my age, and I already knew Miller could be
read by women, and with pleasure.
An attempt to make
out why Miller is special: The reason he is special is that he
mostly wrote to liberate himself - from his background, from
American ideals, from making money, from bourgeois ideals, from
ordinary ideas and ideals, and from
being some kind of conformistic
success, and that he was and is one of the very
few authors who write for that reason, and who also did so honestly.
(This indeed is my own interest in him.)
It tries to make him
read by others: I doubt Jong has succeeded in finding many new
readers for Miller, who himself has fallen victim to at least two
forces for obscurity: First, he was discriminated and mostly not
printed for about thirty years, namely until 1964; and second,
that, when he could have become inspirational to many men and
was painted as "the enemy" by people like Kate Millett, from 1970
onwards, and set apart as "a pornographer", and a "male sexist". Then
again also, the present time, and indeed this extends backwards to the
nineties, is not a
book reading age anymore, either. (And Miller, Jong and myself are part
of an ever dwindling small to very small minority of cultivated men and
women, that soon will have died out.)
Anyway - I have now read all of Erica Jong on Henry Miller, and
I liked it more than not, even though at times she does have the sort
of lit.crit, style that seems to come with the sort of degree she took
(an English MA), and that makes it rather difficult to understand her,
or to take her serious. I mean paragraphs like these:
Despite the decade
of backlash we experienced during the eighties, despite the success of
the divide-and-conquer technique used against feminist progress, I
think we are on the verge of a brave new world of equality between the
sexes. This is because I see the next generation of daughters - the
young women born in the seventies and eighties - and I see that they
take for granted a new level of freedom, a new level of choice and
self-determination. They will not sit quietly while an authority figure
tells them what to write.
Etc. and all as written ca.
1993. Now look twenty years later at all the millions upon billions of
progressive feminists with their "new
level of freedom, a new level of choice and self-determination"! But OK - this style of fallacious wishful
thinking is not very common in her book, although indeed
she also was past 50 when she wrote it (which I find at least a bit
I will return to this, though I may first need to refind some vintage
Miller, to properly reread him after more than 30 years, though indeed
Jong quotes him quite liberally, and usually well.
 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.)
 As I've said several times in Nederlog:
I come from a rather extra-ordinary Marxist family, and I am one of the
very few Dutchmen who is mostly honest. Having given up Marxism in
1970, I was for some 15-20 years discriminated as "a fascist" and
removed as "a terrorist" by the University of Amsterdam, where people
got M.A.s for partaking in leftist demonstations. This has taught me a
lot, such as that there is no hope nor reason to be expected from the
vast majority of the stupid. As to postmodernistic feminism:
The problem with the feminism that raised it head in 1970 was that it
was almost all a lit.crit. movement that was mostly carried by
a few women who were interested in personal fame and in
academic careers, and who already had a middleclass or an upper
middleclass background. These few women mostly did succeed in
getting a career, but also much contributed a lot to postmodernism,
and nothing to real knowledge: "Everybody knows truth does not exist",
"everybody knows there are no facts" etc. (And I am here not adequate
to the postmodernistic feminist movement, but do not have the time nor
the taste to try to be adequate. I'll put it as follows: There was no
Mary Wollstonecraft or Emma Goldman amongst the postmodern feminists -
not a single one.)
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.