"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."
American President and Vice President: NSA
Destroying the Constitution
2. NSA leaks: UK's enemies are
glee', says MI6
3. NSA files – reaction to
spy chiefs grilling – live
4. Key questions the chief
spooks were asked, and those
they did not hear
5. Questioning of spy agency
chiefs 'wouldn't have scared
6. Philip Pilkington: What
Happened to Science and
7. If William Hazlitt were
alive today, he'd be eating 39p
8. What we should take from
the second volume of Mark
Twain’s cantankerous autobiography
There are eight
sections today, and most are about the crisis.
In fact, I'd say all
of the first seven are crisis related, but I admit item 7 got in especially
because it mentions and quotes William
Hazlitt, who is
favorite English essayist since I first discovered him ca. 1983, and of
whom I have read more than most, indeed of any nationality. But the
essay also is about the poverty of modern writers, and that is crisis related.
And even the last
item might be considered crisis-related, especially because of Twain's
combination of honesty and intelligence - he was not a
stupid average nobody who insisted everybody is "equivalent" to a
stupid average nobody - but on
this I will not insist. It is here because I really like Mark Twain,
is another great writer, next to William Hazlitt.
1. Former American President and Vice
President: NSA Spying Is Destroying the Constitution
To start with, I quote all
of a Washington's Blog, which also is not large, simply because he
speaks the truth, by my lights at least, and that truth is very
Here is the whole file -
and the bolding, coloring and italics are in it:
Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Supreme Court Justices and Other Top
U.S. Officials Warn that America Is Losing Its Democracy
Former President Jimmy
in July that NSA spying on Americans meant that “America has no
Former Vice President Al
other high-level U.S. officials – including Supreme Court justices
– have also warned that the U.S. is no longer a functioning democracy.
analysis shows that
they are correct.
I say that as someone
who was a member of the National Security Council working in the White
House and getting daily briefings from the CIA.
“[Snowden] has revealed
evidence of what appears to be crimes against the Constitution
of the United States“….
Yes, quite so: They stole
the most private and most personal data of hundreds
of millions totally innocent persons.
And the only reason
I can think of why they wanted to do that is because they want another
type of state, in which the government has far more control
over its population - for one thing, because they wanted this
before 9/11, as William Binney testified, and indeed wanted it already in 1968, according to Brezezinsky.
Also, I do not know whether
meanwhile there are secret or non-secret laws that sanction this, but I
have nothing to do with such laws and totally reject them.
NSA leaks: UK's enemies are 'rubbing their hands with glee', says MI6
Next, we have the first
report on the public
relations exercise that the heads of MI6 and the GCHQ were allowed
to do yesterday. This report is by Patrick Wintour in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
There is also this, on one of
Britain's three senior
spy chiefs came into the public glare for the first time to claim that
leaks by the former NSA analyst Edward Snowden
were being "lapped up" by the country's adversaries, but also to
concede that the disclosures had prompted discussion with the
government over how to be more transparent about their methods.
Despite an often gentle
first public cross-examination of the heads of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, some members of the
intelligence and security committee, including the former head of the
civil service Lord Butler, expressed their concern at the legal
oversight of the intelligence agencies.
Butler said it was hardly
credible that the legislation governing the agencies was "still fit for
purpose for the modern world". After the session, Sir Menzies Campbell,
a Liberal Democrat member of the ISC, also called for a review of the
law, "not least to provide the public with a sense of reassurance and
confidence that there is a substantial legal framework".
Of course! "Al-Qaida"!
Meanwhile, this British piece of spying shit has pooled hundreds of
millions of the private data that are the private
possessions of totally innocent civilians, but he pretends
he can get away with this.
The 90-minute session
came most alive when the spy chiefs expressed their cold fury at the
Edward Snowden disclosures in the Guardian and other papers, claiming
that they would lead for years to an "inexorable darkening" of their
knowledge of those threatening the country.
Sir John Sawers, head of
MI6, said: "The leaks from Snowden have been very damaging. They have
put our operations at risk. It is clear our adversaries are rubbing
their hands with glee. Al-Qaida is lapping it up."
There's also this complete and utter despicable rot:
You do not need the
hayfield to find the needles: you want the hayfields so as to be a
threat to the total population - and what is "innocence" and who is
"innocent" is not for you and your despicable lot of terrorists
subsidized and protected by the British state to decide, but should
depend on actual judges, simply because otherwise it may depend
on the day and the weather as far as you are concerned.
[Lobban - MM] hotly
denied that GCHQ delved into "innocent emails and calls", but said the
agencies needed to have access to "the enormous hayfield" if they were
to find the needles.
Lobban promised: "We do
not spend our time listening to the telephone calls or reading the
emails of the majority, the vast majority – that would not be
proportionate, it would not be legal. We do not do it. We can only look
at the content of communications where there are very specific legal
thresholds and requirements which have been met. So that's the reality.
We don't want to delve into innocent emails and phonecalls."
Also, the reason you do not delve into hundreds of millions of stolen
data is your lack of personnel and of money, and not your lack
of desire, e.g. to find out about your former boy- or girlfriend.
Finally, there is this (of what I quote: there is a lot more in the
rejected allegations that intelligence agencies had been complicit in
torture or have mistreated individuals. Parker added: "We do not
participate in, incite, encourage or condone mistreatment or torture,
and that is absolute."
Of course not! Who could
ever think a British spy master could possibly lie?!
But anyway, they had their little propaganda and
– reaction to spy chiefs
grilling – live
this is the live-report in the Guardian by Paul Owen:
In fact, this has some
more recent appraisals of the little propaganda and publicity show I treated in the previous
item, such as
His comments follow, but
I leave them to you, and the same for the next bit:
The committee's big
failure was not to probe the witnesses at all on the allegations of
mass, giant-computer-driven, surveillance operations of GCHQ and NSA, writes
She also has her own text,
that I do not quote, but I agree.
It was disappointing the
treatment of the spy chiefs was so "gentle", Natalie Bennett, the
leader of the Green party in the UK and former Guardian journalist,
In fact, this item is here because it prints a letter by Allen
Rusbridger, who edits the Guardian, namely at 10.01 GMT, under today's
date, of wich I will quote one paragraph only:
On the issue of
staff names, you will be aware that over 850,000 people worldwide have
access to not only the Snowden documents but to a whole range of
information on GCHQ. Neither we nor any of our journalistic partners
have published the identities of any personnel from the intelligence
community, a point accepted and welcomed by the relevant agencies.
Quite so - and I'd like to add
that these 850,000 people are the only
ones who know a lot, and so far almost all have them have been
also about who they are and what makes them so very, very, very
they may rob every one's personal data, while the persons
not know anything, and should accept the robbery of all the
data of hundreds of
millions of innocent persons "because of Al Qaeda".
4. Key questions the chief spooks were
asked, and those they
did not hear
Next, an article
by Matthew Weaver in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I did mention these
questions yesterday, though I didn't give
them, and here they are repeated, and it is shown most were not
asked, and those that were asked were toned down, usually also very
Ahead of Thursday's
appearance of Britain's three chief spooks before the Commons
intelligence and security committee, the Guardian set out 10 questions that they should be asked.
Only three of the key
questions were directly asked by the committee. Some of the questions
were broadly alluded to, but the MPs favoured general soft questions
rather than forensic probing.
In any case, the article repeats the questions, and provides such
answers, indeed mostly "answers", as were given by the British spy
of whom was ever elected, and all of whom were exceedingly private
persons until recently.
of spy agency chiefs 'wouldn't have scared a
Next, here is another reaction in the Guardian to the interview with
the three British leading spooks and spies, by Peter Walker in the
This starts as follows:
Civil liberties groups
have described the first public questioning of Britain's spy agency chiefs
as disappointing and far from illuminating, saying the committee of MPs
who quizzed the heads of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ failed to ask
During the 90-minute
intelligence and security committee hearing, MI5's Andrew Parker, the
MI6 chief, Sir John Sawers, and Sir Iain Lobban, the director of GCHQ,
were questioned on subjects including whether the agencies'
interception of electronic communication was excessive, if there was a
need for greater oversight of their work, and the effects of stories by
the Guardian and others based on the revelations of Edward Snowden.
And that is just the first of
several more responses of other spokesmen of other organizations. These
I leave to you - I merely observe it was a pure propaganda and
show for three liars, who appropriated and stole far more than they
should be allowed to, and who are - I am firmly convinced - trying to
lay the foundations for a police state.
Shami Chakrabarti, the
director of Liberty, said the promised inquisition had proved extremely
tame. "These public servants presided over blanket surveillance of the
entire population without public, parliamentary or democratic mandate.
Yet they faced a grilling that wouldn't have scared a puppy," she said.
questions were easily batted away and little was said that isn't
already on public record. A real inquiry into this grand breach of
trust must now begin."
Pilkington: What Happened to Science and Research
Next, we go
to another subject: the radical decline of the universities, that have
been getting ever more expensive to attend; the courses of which have
much simplified; and which have very much changed for the worse,
especially over the last 45 years.
The article is by
Pilkington on Naked Capitalism:
I will not quote from it and
leave it to you, though I will say there is considerably more that is
wrong with the universities than Pilkington writes about, and that I
cannot take them serious as educational institutions, except in a few
places or subjects.
7. If William Hazlitt were alive today, he'd be eating 39p
article by Nicholas Lezard in the New Statesman:
This starts as follows:
I have been quite often in a
similar situation, and indeed have never earned more than a
dole income, in all my 63 years. The reason I am a bit better off than
is Lezard (it seems) is that the Dutch dole is still a bit better than
the English dole, whose recipients are plundered shamelessly, it seems,
namely to increase the incomes of the Tory ministers and their mates,
the banking managers, and also because indeed I am and have also been a
man of little financial needs, who had to learn to live on little, and
You may have heard the
news last week about gas and electricity prices going up at roughly
three times the rate of inflation, and wages falling in real terms for
the past decade. Nor were they that great to begin with. Tell me about
it, I thought to myself, as I lay in ambush by the mousehole behind the
cooker, saucepan in hand, waiting for my dinner to emerge.
“It is hard to be without
money. To get on without it is like travelling in a foreign country
without a passport – you are stopped, suspected, and made ridiculous at
every turn, besides being subjected to the most serious
inconveniences.” That’s William Hazlitt in 1827. It could have been me,
six days ago. Before that, I had checked my bank balance and been
interested to note that I had £1.27 in my current account to last me
until the next payday, which was then 16 days away.
In any case, the problem Lezard writes about, indeed with a nice
picture of Hazlitt, and some more quotes from "On the want of money",
is a serious one: There is very little money, especially not in
printed papers, weeklies and monthlies, and it may effectively terminate
most written criticism, also because fewer and fewer can buy these.
I leave his essay to you, and merely reveal Lezard did get a partial
payment, that he invested in a curry place.
8. What we should take from the second volume of Mark Twain’s
Finally, a bit by
David Grills in the New Statesman:
This is mainly here because I
regard Mark Twain as a great writer, for various reasons, one of which
is that he was a good satirist, e.g. of religion and of
“any and every god
among the two or three millions of gods that our race has been
manufacturing since it nearly ceased to be monkeys”
and who also, quite
“In the Old
Testament His acts expose His vindictive, unjust, ungenerous, pitiless
and vengeful nature constantly . . . It is perhaps the most damnatory
biography that exists in print anywhere.”
Yes, indeed - I agree, and got
the same ideas upon reading it.
Also, Mark Twain did happily not
share the belief of most of the average idiots, many who had academic
titles, that I have met or read in Holland, namely that absolutely no
allowed to be in any way any better than they are (except
sports' heroes, of course: these are the true halfgods, for the average
mind), for that is what "everyone is equivalent", which for
some 40 years was THE moral law that the Dutch pretended to,
lays down and maintains, and does so totally falsely.
For while it is true average people are stupid, liars and conformists
much more often than anything else, perhaps also because they live in a
harsh and unforgiving society, and never got a good education, while
almost all did get plenty of bad examples, it is not true
are average, even if the democratic majority is.
Hence I am myself quite pleased to see Mark Twain's disdain
Among names filed
under just one letter of the alphabet, you can find memorable
strictures on Charles H Webb (“a poor sort of creature, and by nature
and training a fraud”), Charles L Webster (“one of the most assful
persons I have ever met”) and Daniel Whitford (“endowed with a
stupidity which by the least little stretch would go around the globe
Yes indeed! And while I do not
know any of them, that is precisely reason why I do not think much of
the editors of this edition, for they found it necessary, over 100
after Twain died, to protect and warn their readers:
In the 200 pages
of notes to this volume, the scrupulous editors include warnings
(“one-sided and in many instances erroneous”, and so on) not to take
Twain’s charges on trust.
I am sorry but that is great
nonsense: First, those Mark Twain called stupid, very probably were so,
if not compared with others, than with him; second, they all are dead a
very long time, and their names do not need any
special protection; third, precisely the same holds for the feuds Mark
Twain had with them; and fourth, to return to a point I made: Mark
Twain was a very intelligent man, and it is no more than natural he
considered quite a large number of people fools, cheats, frauds etc. He
certainly was not always right, but that does not matter after more
than a hundred years, especially since he was right that many people
are both stupid and dishonest.
Then again, I agree it is quite possible only a minority can see this,
and a far smaller part will admit it.
P.S. November 9, 2013: Removed a
number of writing mistakes.
 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.