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Nederlog


  December
11, 2013
Crisis: Hedges, Uruguay, Mandela, Obama, Snowden, NSA
  "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. Chris Hedges on Invisible Revolutions and the Collapse
       of Ruling Institutions

  2. Uruguay legalises production and sale of cannabis
  3. The Mandela coverage and the banality of goodness
  4. How History Will Remember Obama (Hint: Not Well)
  5.
Snowden Doc: Canada Set Up Spy Posts for NSA
  6. Is the NSA Blackmailing Its Overseers In Washington?
About ME/CFS

Introduction

This is another crisis item, and yes I noticed today is 11/12/13. Anyway, apart from the date (not very special, although this is the latest of that pattern - n/n+1/n+2 - this century), this is a fairly normal crisis item.

1. Chris Hedges on Invisible Revolutions and the Collapse of Ruling Institutions

To start with, an item by Kasia Anderson on Truth Dig:

This starts as follows:
What do Edward Snowden, the former Yugoslavia, Alexander Berkman and the logistical and legislative mess known as Obamacare have to do with one another? Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges connects these figures and concepts in conversation with The Real News Network’s Paul Jay about how “organic” and “invisible” revolutions take hold as the credibility and solidity of powerful institutions and ideas start to erode.

But the actual content is the following video, of 14 min 13 sec, that follows below.

Mind that I do not know whether Hedges is right, and that I do disagree with him on various points. Then again, he writes well and has his heart in the right place, and he knows a lot, so he is a man I take serious.

In fact, something similar holds for the Real News, whose video this is: They do need support, since they are one of the few organizations that attempt to bring the real news, rather than keep you amused.

2. Uruguay legalises production and sale of cannabis

Next, an article by Jonathan Watts on the Guardian:

This starts as follows:

The world's most far-reaching cannabis law has been passed by the Uruguayan parliament, opening the way for the state to regulate the production, distribution, sale and consumption of the planet's favourite illegal drug.

The law, effective from next year, will: allow registered users to buy up to 40g of marijuana a month from a chemist's; registered growers to keep up to six plants; and cannabis clubs to have up to 45 members and cultivate as many as 99 plants.

A government-run cannabis institute will set the price – initially likely to be close to the current black market rate of $1 a gramme – and monitor the impact of the programme, which aims to bring the industry under state control and push illegal traffickers out of business.

I think this is good news, that could have been realized by 1969 in Holland, if the Dutch politicians had not been corrupt. Indeed, that is the kind of corruption the present Uruguayan government seeks to destroy:

Before the passage of the bill, president Josť Mujica called on the international community to assist in what he admitted was an experiment aimed at finding an alternative to the deadly and unsuccessful war on drugs.

"We are asking the world to help us with this experience, which will allow the adoption of a social and political experiment to face a serious problem – drug trafficking," he said earlier this month. "The effects of drug trafficking are worse than those of the drugs themselves."

Yes indeed - except if you are a Dutch politician, of course. And there are others who have such views, all wholly objective, if you believe it:

Drug rehab workers have mixed views about the likely risks and benefits. Nancy Alonso, a psychologists who runs an addiction treatment centre, believes the law will create social and health problems.

"Marijuana is highly addictive. It's 15 times more carcinogenic than tobacco. It produces psychological disorders like depression, anxiety and – for big consumers – schizophrenia," she said. "As a healthcare agent, I think the social harm will be huge."

This is all baloney by a person who profits from the present schema: Marihuana is not addictive; it is not carcinogenic; it does not produce "psychological disorders" and it also does not produce schizophrenia - these are all stinking lies.

In fact, I've seen the more or less free usage - not: free selling, which is illegal in Holland, but also is quite well protected by many corrupt Dutch politicians, and I must suspect for a percentage (that can easily turn into lots of money) - of marihuana and hashish in Amsterdam for something like 45 years now, and I do not know of any death from that, and not even of any serious accident.

There are bound to have been some accidents, and there also have been some murders, but these were generally of big dealers in all manner of drugs, and not in just marihuana and hashish.

Also, I know of many accidents, including mortal ones, with many other kinds of drugs: heroin, speed, cocaine, amphetamine and alcohol all are a lot more dangerous than are marihuana and hashish, it simply emerges from 45 years of Dutch experiences.

So yes, I quite welcome this: In my extensive experience, marihuana is the least dangerous of all drugs, and far less dangerous than alcohol, and anybody who says otherwise either does not know what he is talking about or is lying.

3. The Mandela coverage and the banality of goodness

Next, an article by Simon Jenkins in the Guardian:

This starts as follows - and please note I have no TV since 1970, for which reason I am safe from all this rot:

Enough is enough. The publicity for the death and funeral of Nelson Mandela has become absurd. Mandela was an African political leader with qualities that were apt at a crucial juncture in his nation's affairs. That was all and that was enough. Yet his reputation has fallen among thieves and cynics. Hijacked by politicians and celebrities from Barack Obama to Naomi Campbell and Sepp Blatter, he has had to be deified so as to dust others with his glory. In the process he has become dehumanised. We hear much of the banality of evil. Sometimes we should note the banality of goodness.

Yes, indeed - and "banality" = "ordinaryness". Then again, I do not think Mandela was an ordinary man, but he has been made into a sort of divinity by grossly corrupt and indeed quite evil media:

All media have gone mad. Last week I caught a BBC presenter, groaning with tedium, asking a guest to compare Mandela with Jesus.

Anyway... "this too shall pass", and it may help you to get rid of your TV.

4. How History Will Remember Obama (Hint: Not Well)

Next, an article by William Pfaff on Truth Dig:
I guess Pfaff is right, and indeed at the very best Obama was a weak and secretive president, who got to be president by lying about very many things he would change, whereas he mostly continued the policies of his also weak predecessor.

Here is one paragraph:
Mr. Obama endorsed his and his predecessor’s (George W. Bush) achievements, which he enumerated as (I paraphrase): strengthened alliances, new partnerships forged, defense of universal rights and human dignity, defense of the nation, the fight taken to America’s enemies, the number of Americans in harm’s way reduced and America’s global leadership restored. Seconded by (then) Defense Secretary Robert Gates, he promised a larger military budget and, instead of a downsized force, a more capable one. He said that after the Second World War and Vietnam, American forces had been left ill-prepared for the future, but that would not happen “on his watch.”
And this is another:
Barack Obama decided to run for president in 2007 and won, as the man who would end George Bush’s Iraq war. He did so up to a point (see above) but enlarged the one in Afghanistan, following the generals’ advice about which he had little choice, having been, in civilian life, a community organizer and teacher. Since then, he has followed the beat of the drum in the Middle East and South Asia, bombing Libya and enthusiastically offering to bomb Syria. He has inaugurated drone assassinations (not something endorsed in international law) and perpetuated Guantanamo imprisonment (ditto). He has opened a new era in America of governmental secrecy and persecution of dissidents, matters in which the United States was, in the past, considered to have an edifying record.
But what is also true is that he is a very good salesman.

5. Snowden Doc: Canada Set Up Spy Posts for NSA

Next, an article by Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

At the behest of the U.S. National Security Agency, Canada engaged in global spying operations, including setting up spy posts, CBC News reports.

The collaborative efforts of the two nations' spy agencies covered surveillance in "approximately 20 high-priority countries."

The NSA's Canadian counterpart, the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), "offers resources for advanced collection, processing and analysis, and has opened covert sites at the request of NSA," CBC reports the NSA document as stating.

The newest surveillance revelation made possible by Edward Snowden shows "co-operative efforts" between the CSEC and NSA that go beyond those of the "Five Eyes" (Canada, the U.S,, the UK, Australia and New Zealnd) partnership.

I note especially that they "covered surveillance in "approximately 20 high-priority countries"" though indeed it does not state who they "surveyed" - and actually, "surveilance" in contexts like these is a euphemism for "spying and stealing".

6. Is the NSA Blackmailing Its Overseers In Washington?

Finally, an article on Washington's Blog:

This starts as follows - and the coloring and boldings are in the original:

Are the Intelligence Committees Being Blackmailed?

During the Vietnam war, the NSA spied on two prominent politicians – Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker – as well as critics of government policy Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King, and a Washington Post humorist.

A recently declassified history written by the NSA itself called the effort “disreputable if not outright illegal.”

The main whistleblower who revealed the Vietnam-era spying was Christopher H. Pyle. Pyle told Rob Kall of OpEdNews:

They targeted Sen. Frank Church and Sen. Howard Baker. It could mean they were trying to get information or dirt on senators involved in the Church committee and Watergate committee investigations respectively — either to learn something about their investigations or to discredit them.

***

We still need more information about what happened then. But more critically, we need more information about what’s happening now. These revelations raise the obvious question: If the NSA was targeting people like Sen. Frank Church, who were in a position to oversee the NSA — is that happening now? That is, are people like intelligence committee chairs Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and other congressional leaders — who are supposed to be providing oversight themselves — compromised in some way by the NSA? If so, as seems quite certain from the recent Edward Snowden revelations, then how can they conduct genuine oversight of the NSA with their committees?”

I have raised the question myself earlier, and my answer is this:

I would be very amazed if the NSA does not keep extensive documents on all US senators and congressmen, and also knows a lot more about the things many of them would not want to be publicly known than they probably do know themselves. And indeed I also would be amazed if the NSA will not try to use its knowledge to target senators and congressmen, if they think this will make them win the vote.

Then again, as the rest of the article also argues, it may not be necessary to blackmail them: They also may be bought.

So this is why I am not certain that the Senate or Congress will stop the NSA.

---------------------------------
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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