"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."
to Destroy America -- and
What We Can Do to
2. Scared Silent: NSA
'Chilling Effect' on
3. Mistaking Omniscience
4. US, EU Citizens Reject
5. House Pushing Back on Trade
is again a crisis issue, with a brief personal note at the end, about
Henry Miller's books.
Plot to Destroy America -- and What We Can Do to Stop It
To start with an extract of
a book by Thom
Hartmann, that is called "The crash of 2016", with the subtitle
In case you don't know who Thom Hartmann is
(I didn't), I provided a link to Wikipedia, and here say only that he
is an American radio host.
He starts by reminding that there are very few left who heard Franklin
Delano Roosevelt in 1933; gives some information about the Great
Depression, and then says:
Well... I don't know. Hartmann
may be right, or he may be wrong, but in any case the text I linked,
that I have all read, consists mostly of quotes of Obama's and
Roosevelt's first inaugural addresses, and these prove absolutely
America during the last Great Crash, a crash that within a decade led
to a world war killing more than 60 million people.
later, we are well into the next Great Crash, which future generations
will call the Crash of 2016. And this one could be even worse than the
Silent: NSA Surveillance has 'Chilling Effect' on American Writers
Next, an article by
Lauren McCauly on Commom Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Recent disclosures of the
NSA's widespread dragnet program coupled with its frequent targeting of
journalists are having a 'chilling effect' on American writers,
stifling their freedom of expression at great detriment to society,
says a new report Chilling
Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives U.S. Writers to Self Censor.
Published Tuesday by the
group PEN America—an organization of writers dedicated to advancing
literature and promoting free speech for writers around the
world—surveyed 520 American writers and found they are "not only
overwhelmingly worried about government surveillance, but are engaging
in self-censorship as a result."
Note the PEN is, since a
long time also, a serious institution, that also exists in many
countries. So this sort of news, although it could be expected, seems
rather serious, especially because it shows that writers who do engage
in self-censorship do not trust their government anymore (in
which I think they are quite right).
The report notes,
"writers reported self-censoring on subjects including military
affairs, the Middle East North Africa region, mass incarceration, drug
policies, pornography, the Occupy movement, the study of certain
languages, and criticism of the U.S. government."
Further, many writers
said they "assume that their communications are being monitored," and
have thus changed their behavior in many ways which, according to the
authors, "curtail their freedom of expression and restrict the free
flow of information."
Yes. There is more in the
article, but the lesson is that America is stifling, curling up, and
becoming very average and opinionless, because that's the safest. It's
a great shame, and one should thank the Obama government for it: "Yes
3. Mistaking Omniscience for Omnipotence
Next, a piece by
Tom Engelhardt, that I found on several places. I link the one on
This begins as follows:
Given how similar
they sound and how easy it is to imagine one leading to the other,
confusing omniscience (having total knowledge) with omnipotence (having
total power) is easy enough. It’s a reasonable supposition that,
before the Snowden revelations hit, America’s spymasters had
made just that mistake. If the drip-drip-drip of Snowden’s mother
of all leaks -- which began in May and clearly won’t stop for months to
come -- has taught us anything, however, it should be this: omniscience
is not omnipotence.
In fact, this is also
his ending message, but I don't know, also having read the previous
item. That is, more precisely: While clearly "omniscience" is not
"omnipotence", and while also clearly the NSA is not, as yet,
omnipotent (or so it would seem, from the bits and pieces one can
gather), it is far to potent for my taste, and it does seem already
to influence the writing of books and articles in the U.S. and indeed
also the laying of contacts.
For, as Engelhardt writes himself:
The NSA, we now
know, is everywhere, gobbling up emails, phone calls, texts, tweets,
Facebook posts, credit card sales, communications and transactions
of every conceivable sort. The NSA and British intelligence are feeding off the fiber optic cables that carry Internet
and phone activity. The agency stores records (“metadata”) of
every phone call made in the United
States. In various ways, legal and otherwise, its operatives long
ago slipped through the conveniently ajar backdoors of media giants
like Yahoo, Verizon, and Google -- and also in
conjunction with British intelligence they have been secretly collecting “records” from the “clouds” or
private networks of Yahoo and Google to the tune of 181 million communications
in a single month, or more than two billion a year.
Also, the point is not
whether there will be any more Snowdens, nor whether the NSA may get
more known by some of those it steals the data from (for that
is what it does), nor indeed whether the U.S. will transform itself
into a full fascist police-state, but that as is far
too much power has been amassed in far too uncontrolled hands.
In any case, the article is readable, though I think it a bit
optimistic, as indeed is shown by the preceding item.
EU Citizens Reject Unchecked Spying
article by Jacob Chamberlain on Common Dreams, that perhaps may hearten
This starts as follows:
A majority of
Europeans and Americans are strongly opposed to their governments'
covert surveillance of their own residents and those of allied
to a recent poll that comes as spying revelations brought to light
by Edward Snowden continue to shock the world.
According to a survey,
conducted by the U.S.-based think-tank the German Marshall Fund of the
United States, far more citizens disapprove of the dragnet spying
techniques of their governments than those that approve—with the most
overwhelming figures coming from Germany.
In response to the
question “Do you think the [own country] government is justified in
collecting the telephone and internet data of its citizens as part of
the effort to protect national security, or do you think this activity
goes too far in violating citizens’ privacy and is therefore not
justified?” 70 percent of Germans said their government is not
justified. Only twenty-five percent disagreed.
Indeed, that is a
bit heartening, I think, though I also think "the opinions of the
people" are not often very relevant to their governments. But it is better
than I thought, and that is something. Also, to quote from the poll
generally very high: there was not a majority in any country
that approved of government surveillance, and pluralities or
majorities said it was not justified in every country polled.
Good! And you'll find more data and numbers in the article, and it
is nice to know that the general population seems to be from roughly 2
to 1 at the lowest, in the US, to 7 to 2 1/2 at its highest, in
Germany, to be against spying, as the NSA does it, which indeed
is nothing else than stealing private data without their
being any specific reason, other than that the data can be
5. House Pushing Back on Trade Deal (..)
somewhat technical article by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism:
This starts as follows:
Wow, this is
amazing. Word has apparently gotten out even to Congressmen who can
normally be lulled to sleep with the invocation of the magic phrase
“free trade” that the pending Trans Pacific Partnership is toxic. This
proposed deal among 13 Pacific Rim countries (essentially, an
“everybody but China” pact), is only peripherally about trade, since
trade is already substantially liberalized. Its main aim is to
strengthen the rights of intellectual property holders and investors,
undermining US sovereignity, allowing drug companies to raise drug
prices, interfering with basic operation of the Internet, and gutting
labor, banking, and environmental regulations.
And to remind you of
what is involved: It is essentially the dethroning of states and of
local judicial systems in favor of largely secret courts that
can assign millions or billions of punishments to states for not being
nice enough to big corporations, even if this is quite according to
what their populations want:
Let’s give more
detail on how heinous this deal and its ugly sister, the Transatlantic
Trade and Investment Partnership, aka the Trans Atlantic Free Trade
Agreement, are. They would extend the authority of secret arbitration
panels to hear cases against governments and issue awards.
There is a lot more in
the article, and again it is this that Obama and Kerry want, indeed as
if they are lackeys of the multinational corporations.
Finally, a very brief personal
bit: As I said, I have lost all my Henry Milller books, of which I had
between 5 and 10, including all the important ones. I do not know what
happened to them, but this afternoon I went cycling into the city - which is a joy I could not
do since the last millenium - and bought his "Tropic of Cancer" and
"Quiet Days in Clichy", in what seem to be decent recent editions. So
when I have reread these, I may write a bit more about Henry Miller.
 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.