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."
| "Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
Senator Wants to Know: Is the NSA Spying on
Reminds Us That the Banks’ Quiet Coup is
Still Very Much in Place
3. Three DSM-5 retrospectives
4. Most Americans Think
Life Will Suck In 2050
This is another crisis file. It is from the first Saturday of 2014, and
it is a bit different from most in having 8 links spread over 4 items.
However, this is mostly because the links are related. In any case, I
think the most important item today is item 1, which reports on a
letter of senator Sanders to the NSA, that asks them whether the NSA
spies - defined in the letter - on the Senate.
Senator Wants to Know: Is the NSA Spying on Congress?
The first item is
a letter by Senator Bernard (Bernie) Sanders to the NSA, that is quite
polite and quite relevant: He asks them whether the NSA spies on the
I have two links on it, and here is the first, an article by
Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Perhaps if the
spoken by General Keith Alexander, director of the National
Security Agency, had not been so flagrant or if the public remained in
the dark about how the spy agency has spied on the elected leaders of
our own foreign allies, the idea of a U.S. Senator demanding to know if
the NSA has used its surveillance powers to spy on U.S. lawmakers would
be met with some degree of shock.
Note that Senator Sanders has
also defined "spying" in his letter so that it conforms to the NSA's
practices. Also note that the question is a good one, not
because the answer is unknown (given the ends of the NSA, which are to
get everything everyone does, including the phone-calls from Chancellor
Merkel, the obvious answer must be: Yes, it does), but because it will
to answer for the NSA, especially in view of the fact that there may be
a lot of data gathered by Snowden that will refute or strongly qualify
whatever answer they will give.
However, given what is now
known about the NSA's clandestine programs and the habit of Gen.
Alexander, as well as Director of
National Intelligence James Clapper, to skirt the truth when it
comes to Congress, a letter from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday
seems down right logical, as opposed to out of place.
"I am writing today to ask
you one very simple question," wrote Sanders in the letter addressed to
Gen. Alexander. "Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on
members of Congress or other American elected officials?"
As to Sanders's  own convictions, there
That seems all very desirable
to me, though I also would like a prohibition on the NSA's tracking
foreigners by the millions or hundreds of millions, all without any
suspicion of any wrongdoing.
Sanders himself has
introduced legislation designed to curtail the ability of the NSA to
spy on U.S. citizens both domestically and those traveling or
communicating abroad, including putting stricter limits on powers now
used by the NSA and FBI to secretly track telephone calls by millions
of innocent Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
Sanders’ bill also would
put an end to open-ended court orders, like the kind that were renewed
today, that have resulted in wholesale data mining by the NSA and FBI.
Instead, the government would be required to provide reasonable
suspicion to justify searches for each record or document that it wants
There is more in the article, including a copy of Sanders's 
complete letter, but there is also a link in it to the following
article, by Spencer Ackerman in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
That is a fair summary,
although "socialist" is a bit questionable, for two reasons. The first
is that it tends to be a term of abuse in the US, and the second is
that it seems to me that Senator Sanders is, at least in European
terms, much rather a "social democrat" than a "socialist".
A US senator has bluntly
asked the National Security Agency if it spies on Congress, raising the
stakes for the surveillance agency’s legislative fight to preserve its
broad surveillance powers.
Bernie Sanders, a Vermont
independent and socialist, asked army general Keith Alexander, the
NSA’s outgoing director, if the NSA “has spied, or is the NSA currently
spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials”.
a letter dated 3 January, defined “spying” as “gathering metadata
on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites
visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party
not made available to the general public in the regular course of
The NSA collects the
records of every phone call made and received inside the United States
on an ongoing, daily basis, a
revelation first published in the Guardian in June based on leaks
Edward Snowden. Until 2011, the NSA
collected the email and internet records of all Americans as well.
Also, I am saying this to keep the record clear, and like to add that I
am myself neither a socialist nor a social democrat: I am a proponent
of a mixed system, that indeed is mostly like social democracy - except
that all leading social democrats I know of are corrupt.
There is also this clarification:
is a political minefield for the NSA, and one laid as Congress is about
to reconvene for the new year. Among its agenda items is a
bipartisan, bicameral bill that seeks to abolish the NSA’s ability to
collect data in bulk on Americans or inside the United States
without suspicion of a crime or a threat to national security.
Acknowledgement that it has collected the communications records of
American lawmakers and other officials is likely to make it harder for
the NSA to argue that it needs such broad collection powers to defend
There is considerably more in
the long article, that you can check out yourself, but here is the
ending, that is another quote from Sanders:
“We must be
vigilant and aggressive in protecting the American people from the very
real danger of terrorist attacks,” Sanders wrote to Alexander on
Friday. “I believe, however, that we can do that effectively without
undermining the constitutional rights that make us a free country.”
Yes - though I think the
dangers of terrorist attacks have been systematically abused and
exaggerated by at least four successive American governments now,
for the purpose of gathering all the data of everyone.
2. Simon Johnson Reminds Us That the Banks’
Quiet Coup is Still
Very Much in Place
Next, an article by Simon
Johnson on Naked Capitalism:
This is from the introduction:
Simon Johnson wrote a
remarkably blunt article for the Atlantic in May 2009 titled The
Quiet Coup. In case you managed to miss it, it remains critically
important reading. He provided an
update of sorts in a New York Times column today.
Johnson, a former chief
economist to the IMF, described how the financial services industry had
effectively engaged in a banana-republic-style takeover of government.
is a bit of Johnson himself:
interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in
creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit
backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More
alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the
sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of
its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act
The financial industry
has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25
years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom
began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the
deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush
administrations. Several other factors helped fuel the financial
industry’s ascent. Paul Volcker’s monetary policy in the 1980s, and the
increased volatility in interest rates that accompanied it, made bond
trading much more lucrative. The invention of securitization,
interest-rate swaps, and credit-default swaps greatly increased the
volume of transactions that bankers could make money on. And an aging
and increasingly wealthy population invested more and more money in
securities, helped by the invention of the IRA and the 401(k) plan.
Together, these developments vastly increased the profit opportunities
in financial services.
Not surprisingly, Wall
Street ran with these opportunities. From 1973 to 1985, the financial
sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits.
In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated
between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the
postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent. Pay rose just as
dramatically. From 1948 to 1982, average compensation in the financial
sector ranged between 99 percent and 108 percent of the average for all
domestic private industries. From 1983, it shot upward, reaching 181
percent in 2007.
it very probably is higher now. In any case: This potted history shows
about the causes of the crisis - and see my: Crisis +
DSM-5: It's deregulation, stupid!
any case, there is considerably more in the article. Also, I should say
that I cannot see a way to stop them, except by another collapse and
another president - and while there will be another president in 2016,
it is quite uncertain who this will be, and I do not look forward to
another major collapse, even though this seems to be necessary to make
major changes, which are very necessary.
3. Three DSM-5 retrospectives
Next, three files by 1
boring old man on the DSM-5:
This may not be to everyone's
liking, but the files are OK, and the subject is an important part of
The corruption of all of medicine and all of psychiatry, both
especially in the United States, through the agencies of deception,
bullshit, lying, fraud and plain corruption, on a massive scale also,
that became the standard with the DSM-III in psychiatry, and then was
rapidly extended through all of medicine, mostly by a combination of
deregulation and corruption, where the former enabled and furthered the
latter - for still not one of the corrupt doctors or corrupt CEOs has
been prosecuted: all that was prosecuted were corporations (people,
according to the Supreme Court), who only had to cede a part of their
profits to the state, to have their executives be washed clean from all
wrongdoing, which enabled them to continue it, again, and again, and
again, and that includes ghostwriting of the "scientific"
KOLs and falsifying, repressing and manipulating
data in very many
"scientific" articles, for the data are now made part of the property
of the pharmaceutical corporations that pay for the research.
At least, that is how I see it, and I have a whole lot of evidence for
it, that indeed was not gathered by myself, but by some doctors who
disagree with the corruption of their science by other doctors - often
KOLs - who got very rich by payments from the pharmaceutical
And a main problem here is that so many people, that is here: so many
doctors of medicine, remain
apathetically silent, even while their science is being destroyed
as it is being redefined as a tool for profit for
pharmaceutical companies and their willing menials, that usually are
doctors of medicine, from being a tool for helping patients.
agree that the profits are enormous: Billions and billions of
dollars, even for single drugs, which may explain some.)
As to the DSMs: I consider
all of them as evidence of the insanity of the psychiatrists who made
them - without any theory (as if that is possible in a real
science: No, it isn't), without any good evidence for nearly
with ever more "disorders" all of which merit the prescription of
expensive drugs, but not one of them with any medical scientific
definition based on good evidence.
Modern psychiatrists are
legal pushers for pharmaceutical companies. They should be kicked out
of science and quite a few should be prosecuted. And this is not
because I am an opponent of
psychiatry, if this is defined as the helping of the mental problems of
patients, of whom there are millions, but because modern psychiatry has
been effectively redefined by the APA as the helping of some
tenthousands psychiatrists to get rich, by prescribing mostly useless
but very expensive drugs to millions of mostly misdiagnosed persons who
do not know anything of pscyhiatry or psychology, and who can be and
are being grossly deceived in all
manner of ways.
Finally, about being
deceived: Philosophers and psychologists widely agree that so
far there is no understanding what consciousness is, what
self-conscious is, how and why it arises in humans, what human thinking
is, how human thinking should be analyzed, or what meaning is, and
being a philosopher and a psychologist myself I agree: At best, there
are some partial theories that may be partially correct, but for the
most part these things are and remain riddles.
But the public, that for
the greatest part does not consist of scientists, has for the
accepted the propaganda,
lies and deception of a
couple of tenthousands
of psychiatrists who pretend that there are over 400
only they can "diagnose" and "cure", nearly always by the
administration of very
Well, the public is deceived, and is deceived for the same
reasons as they
are deceived by the priests
or clergy of
the many religions: By lies, by
pretenses, by falsehoods, and by exaggerations - except that these
lies, preteneses, falsehoods and exaggerations are explicitly directed
at the most defenseless, and are perpetrated as if they are medicine
- which they are not. There is not even any accepted rational
definition of madness!
Then again, these things
will continue until they are much better regulated by laws, that are
also actively maintained, for there is one thing clear and
about psychiatry and psychiatrists: You can become quite rich by being
a willing tool of the pharmaceutical companies, that until now also are
hardly regulated, while the laws that do apply are hardly prosecuted.
(And money trumps all, for most.)
4. Most Americans Think Life Will Suck In
Next and as the last items,
two videos by The Young Turks, that I partially disagree with, although
this may be blamed on my pessimism or my age or my education.
Here is the first item - and both are videos:
It so happens that I'lll reach
the age of 100 in 2050, which means that very probably I will not make
it. But for what I can see, I agree with "most Americans", and my
reasons are that there are far too many people now, for the resources
there are, and there are very many very serious problems of many kinds
that urgently needs solved, but that generally are either not addressed
at all, or only bureaucratically, varying from the many problems of the
economy and the
radical declines of education to global warming and pollution, with
many more in between.
The TYT-team that discusses this is considerably younger than I am and
seem to look at it mostly as if this is a conservative opinion or as "a
I'm sorry, but I am not a conservative, though I think the prospects are
bleak, and will remain bleak until something radical and unforeseeable
happens, e.g. as regards cheap and safe energy. This may happen, but
I've seen no evidence.
Besides, I think it is a mistake to see this in political terms, and I
also do not believe pessimism about the future is "a self-fulfilling prophecy", though I agree
it is a problem many people are
Next, there is this:
The introduction of this by
Ana Kasparian is quite OK, but then Ben Mankiewicz enters with the
nonsense that he has "no issue" with the NSA developing a quantum
computer. I do: the NSA is a corrupt and dangerous and very
secretive organization, and it would be quite unfortunate if they
develop it, precisely because they will keep it secret. I'd much
see it developed in a university, by people who have nothinh to do with
a corrupt and dangerous organization like the NSA.
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
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.)
 I know this is not grammatical
according to most of the current rules for English, but I like
to add "
's " to indicate a genitive, as indeed was the rule for a fairly long
time. The same goes for some of my other "mistakes" - and I can pass
an Englishman for a long time in spoken English, that indeed I spoke a
lot and for years, while I also am not strongly committed to
definite grammar (for English: Dutch is another matter entirely). And I
read more English - both American and English English -
in my life than I read Dutch, and generally write a mixture of English
and American in Nederlog.
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: