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  December
13, 2013
Crisis: Twice Snowden, Moyers, personal
  "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. Snowden: 'Surveillance of the Public Must Be Debated by
       the Public'

  2. The Great American Class War - Plutocracy Versus
       Democracy

  3. European Parliament: Snowden Will Make Video
       Appearance

  4. Personal

About ME/CFS

Introduction

This is another crisis item, but there wasn't much crisis in the news. So there are today just three crisis items. plus a very brief personal one.

1.  Snowden: 'Surveillance of the Public Must Be Debated by the Public'

To start with, an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

In a new statement available to the public, Edward Snowden says that one of the clearest lessons to be taken from what the world has come to know about the reach of the national security state is that "surveillance of the public must be debated by the public."

Though snubbed for TIME magazine 'person-of-the-year' honors this week, the NSA whistleblower remains the single individual who many regard as the hands-down most important individual when it comes to disrupting the national security state since it converged with the digital revolution in the aftermath of 9/11 and the onset of the so-called 'global war on terror.'

At a Wednesday evening reception in Washington, DC, the thirty-year-old former surveillance contractor was honored by Foreign Policy magazine by being placed at the #1 spot on its annual list of 100 Leading Global Thinkers (interactive).

I say. I agree with the first paragraph and also with the second, but I am rather doubtful about the third one. Then again, I have very little idea of what a "Leading Global Thinker" must be like, or how such lists, with at least a hundred names, are composed, and the link in the text did not give the information either.

However, there is a paragraph in Jon Queally's text that explains some:

According to Foreign Policy, Snowden was chosen for special note not just because he has become "the public face of an international debate over surveillance," but because his actions have had enormous and verifiable international impact, including compelling "foreign governments targeted by U.S. spying to seek a U.N. resolution about the rights of individuals to retain their privacy on the Internet."

Again I consulted the link, that doesn't give any further information, but I suppose what is quoted is mostly correct. There also is a statement by Snowden, of which I quote two paragraphs.

It's an honor to address you tonight. I apologize for being unable to attend in person, but I’ve been having a bit of passport trouble. Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras also regrettably could not accept their invitations. As it turns out, revealing matters of "legitimate concern" nowadays puts you on the list for more than "Global Thinker" awards.

Yes, indeed. And although it is presented somewhat mock-seriously, it is a real and serious problem that journalists who behave as real journalists cannot travel safely anymore, precisely because they are journalists who behave as real journalists.

There's also this paragraph:

Today we stand at the crossroads of policy, where parliaments and presidents on every continent are grappling with how to bring meaningful oversight to the darkest corners of our national security bureaucracies. The stakes are high. James Madison warned that our freedoms are most likely to be abridged by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power. I bet my life on the idea that together, in the light of day, we can find a better balance.

I agree that the stakes are high and that Madison's warning is correct, but I have my doubts about "parliaments and presidents", although that is not Snowden's fault, who indeed "bet [his] life", quite literally, so as to be able to live in a better world than he found himself in.

You'll find more in the article, including all of Snowden's text.

2. The Great American Class War - Plutocracy Versus Democracy

Next, an article by Bill Moyers (<- Wikipedia) on Common Dreams:

This is an interesting piece that contains this bit

The historian Plutarch warned us long ago of what happens when there is no brake on the power of great wealth to subvert the electorate.  “The abuse of buying and selling votes,” he wrote of Rome, “crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections.  Later on, this process of corruption spread in the law courts and to the army, and finally, when even the sword became enslaved by the power of gold, the republic was subjected to the rule of emperors.”

We don’t have emperors yet, but we do have the Roberts Court that consistently privileges the donor class. 

This is followed by three further paragraphs that all start with "We don’t have emperors yet" (note the "yet"); quotes Monbiot as I did, a month ago, indeed the very same passage; and then arrives at this passage:

Why are record numbers of Americans on food stamps? Because record numbers of Americans are in poverty. Why are people falling through the cracks? Because there are cracks to fall through. It is simply astonishing that in this rich nation more than 21 million Americans are still in need of full-time work, many of them running out of jobless benefits, while our financial class pockets record profits, spends lavishly on campaigns to secure a political order that serves its own interests, and demands that our political class push for further austerity. Meanwhile, roughly 46 million Americans live at or below the poverty line and, with the exception of Romania, no developed country has a higher percent of kids in poverty than we do.  Yet a study by scholars at Northwestern University and Vanderbilt finds little support among the wealthiest Americans for policy reforms to reduce income inequality.

Yes, indeed. In fact, here is a bit from the article on Moyers on Wikipedia, that makes the same point (quoted minus a note number):

In a 2003 interview with BuzzFlash.com Moyers said, "The corporate right and the political right declared class warfare on working people a quarter of a century ago and they've won." He noted, "The rich are getting richer, which arguably wouldn't matter if the rising tide lifted all boats." Instead, however, "[t]he inequality gap is the widest it's been since 1929; the middle class is besieged and the working poor are barely keeping their heads above water." He added that as "the corporate and governing elites are helping themselves to the spoils of victory," access to political power has become "who gets what and who pays for it."

Meanwhile, the public has failed to react because it is, in his words, "distracted by the media circus and news has been neutered or politicized for partisan purposes."

And that is from ten years ago, and from before the crisis. But I think he was right then, and is right now, at least on the greed of the rich, and on the major dangers this greed has for democracy, freedom and an open society, and also on the manipulation of the public, and the fact that the present situation was started in the 1970ies (see Lewis F. Powell Jr., though this Wikipedia item is not very informative).

3. European Parliament: Snowden Will Make Video Appearance

Next, an article by Gregor Peter Schmitz in Der Spiegel (on line):

This starts as follows:

Parliamentary leaders of the European Parliament voted Thursday to allow the planned video appearance of the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to take place despite an attempt by conservative members of the European People's Party (EPP) to block it.

The American former intelligence contractor will answer questions that had been submitted by members of the parliament in a pre-recorded video message that will be shown at a sitting of the interior and justice committees.

"We now have a clear mandate to send written questions to Snowden, and I hope that he can answer this with a video message by mid-January," said Jan Philipp Albrecht, who, as a representative of the German Green Party in the European Parliament, is coordinating the body's NSA investigation. Snowden's video message was originally planned for Dec. 18, but the dispute over his questioning necessitated a postponement.

Snowden is expected to answer the questions on pre-recorded video because he would risk arrest by US authorities if he were to leave Russia, where he is living under temporary asylum. A live video feed could also enable the Americans to pinpoint his whereabouts.

Well... I am glad the European Parliament will hear Snowden's evidence, and also glad that it will be given on a pre-recorded video.

4. Personal

I am glad that there wasn't more today, and the reason is that I had little energy today and yesterday, which may be because I changed my vitamines. I'll change it back tomorrow, and see what the results are. And there will be another crisis item tomorrow.
---------------------------------
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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