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Nederlog


  December
6, 2013
Crisis: US Conservatives, Japanese fascism, rational philosophy & science
  "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.











Sections
Introduction
  1. State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on
       education, health and tax

  2. Japan Has Fallen Back Into Fascism After 68 Years
  3. Why rational philosophy & science are important
About ME/CFS

Introduction

This is a crisis item, or at least started out as one, but then Nelson Mandela died yesterday, aged 95, which means that all the papers who were against him, at least until he had become president, need a lot of space to explain why he was such a great man.

Apparently, that cost quite a few crisis items: I found only two, that follow. The third item is in fact from my own journal of 1984, where it also appears in English.

1.  State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax

To start with, an article by Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg in the Guardian:

This starts as follows:

Conservative groups across the US are planning a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers' compensation and the environment, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.

The strategy for the state-level organisations, which describe themselves as "free-market thinktanks", includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

The policy goals are contained in a set of funding proposals obtained by the Guardian. The proposals were co-ordinated by the State Policy Network, an alliance of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy at state level.

There is a lot more in the article.

2. 
Japan Has Fallen Back Into Fascism After 68 Years

Next, an article on Washington's Blog, with a title three lines long, that I shortened to its beginning:

But yes, the title's beginning is adequate, at least from the rest of the article, that starts as follows:

Japan Falls Back Into Fascism

The Empire of Japan surrendered on September 2, 1945.

68 years later, Japan has fallen back into fascism.

And it continues thus:

Xinua reports:

Meanwhile, protests comprising more than 7,000 demonstrators continued around the Diet building, mobilized by civic groups, unions and concerned individuals, following similar scenes Wednesday that saw more than 6,000 anti-secrecy law opponents march around the Diet building hand-in-hand.

And the impassioned pleas of Japanese Senators (via Xinhua):

So outraged was opposition lawmaker Hirokazu Shiba in the committee meeting Thursday, that he rose from his seat and shouted “This is the way the reign of terror begins!” His fervor led to his fellow lawmakers having to physically restrain Shiba, as tensions in the meeting reached fever pitch.

The secrecy bill is headed for passage Friday. Indeed, the bill has likely already passed by the time you read this. (Update: it passed.)

In fact, from the last link there is an explanationm, by Elaine Kurtenbach on ABC News:

Japan's parliament approved on Friday a state secrets law that stiffens penalties for leaks by government officials and for journalists who seek such information, overriding criticism that it could be used to cover up government abuses and suppress civil liberties.

The ruling coalition forced a vote on the bill in an upper house committee on Thursday. Despite stalling tactics by opposition parties, the full upper house approved the bill on Friday by 130 to 82.

The more powerful lower house had approved the bill last week.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is seeking to increase Japan's global security role and create a more authoritarian government at home, says the law is needed to protect national security and assuage U.S. concerns over the risks of sharing strategically sensitive information with Tokyo.

Critics worry the law could be used to hinder public disclosures, punish whistleblowers or muzzle the media since journalists could be jailed for seeking information they do not know is classified as secret.

The bill allows heads of ministries and agencies to classify 23 vaguely worded types of information related to defense, diplomacy, counterintelligence and counterterrorism, almost indefinitely.

So this seems the end of the free press in Japan - which may come next year to the US, as well, and then will find a glowing and proud Obama explaining this is all for "transparency" and for "liberty" and for "democracy" and for "freedom", since he can do that really well, showing first is left ear, and then his right ear.

Meanwhile, back to Washington's Blog, and his title - and the bolding is in the original:

Another Japanese Senator said:

The path that Japan is taking is the recreation of a fascist state. I strongly believe that this secrecy bill represents a planned coup d’état by a group of politicians and bureaucrats,” he warned.

Just like the U.S. Japan is responding to crises of its own making by banning journalism.

Also, there is this:

The Guardian notes:

Whistleblowers and journalists in Japan could soon find themselves facing long spells in prison for divulging and reporting state secrets, possibly including sensitive information about the Fukushima nuclear disaster ….

“It is a threat to democracy,” said Keiichi Kiriyama, an editorial writer for the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper ….

“It can be used to hide whatever the government wishes to keep away from public scrutiny,” said Mizuho Fukushima, an opposition MP. ….

[The] justice minister, Sadakazu Tanigaki, refused to rule out police raids of newspapers suspected of breaking the law.

Indeed, the number 2 government official said last week that protest equals terrorism.

You can follow the last link in case you doubt it.

3. Why rational philosophy & science are important

The last item is something I wrote in a book I gave to friends 29 years ago, and that I copied in my journal. It was already then in English, as indeed are large parts of my journals, since I spoke that language mostly in the 1970ies, and anyway read more English than Dutch in my life:

I believe that the most pressing and the most human need is to have an ideology: An explanation what the world is and should be like, capable of inspiration and restraint; I believe that all sane men are capable of understanding and appreciating rational argument, if not usually capable of producing such themselves, at any great scale; & yet I am forced by the facts to believe that most men choose, manufacture & defend their beliefs by their fancies, needs & desires: By and large people do not believe what they rationally ought to believe, nor do they disbelieve what they know they have no reasons for, or reasons against. In the main people believe what they wish to believe and disbelieve what they desire were not the case. Most men's reasoning powers are enslaved by their passions; most men's beliefs are dictated by their fears & desires, and consequently most men at most times & most places have been mostly deluded most of the time. And let it be noted that most human delusions are self-willed: It is not that people cannot be reasonable & rational; it is that people do not desire to be so. Cromwell's plea "By the bowels of Jesus Christ, Bethinkest Thee that Thou mayst be mistaken" is wasted upon most men: They guide their lives & opinions by their passions; & their passions by their selfish interest, their ignorance,
& the imitation or fear of others' opinions, of whom the same is true. Most societies are made up of men mutilating & demeaning each other, for false ideas & false reasons, & under pretense of doing good & being reasonable.

The book was "Yawning Heights", by A.A. Zinoviev, and I still think so. In fact, I have not much changed my opinions the last 30 years - which is not very strange, since they were and are in favour of rational philosophy and science for over 40 years. And yes, I also know that neither was nor is a popular choice.

---------------------------------
Note

[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 machine) which is a disease that I have since 1.1. 1979:

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
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)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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