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."
Ripley's Believe It or Not National
the NSA’s Role
At last, a law to stop almost anyone from doing almost
4. Outrageous HSBC
Settlement Proves the
Drug War is a
Death By A Thousand Cuts: The Silent Assassination Of
isn’t one word…
7. Phoenix Rising 2013
This is again another crisis file, although the last item is about ME/CFS, and not about the crisis, at least not
Ripley's Believe It or Not National Security State
To start with, an article by Tom Engelhardt, on his site (and
This is a good article I
recommend you read all of. Here is a bit from its beginning:
childhood, in fact, that tripartite government has grown a fourth part,
a national security state that is remarkably unchecked and
unbalanced. In recent times, that labyrinthine structure of
intelligence agencies morphing into war-fighting outfits, the U.S.
military (with its own secret military, the special
operations forces, gestating inside it), and the Department of
Homeland Security, a monster conglomeration of agencies that is an
actual “defense department,” as well as a vast contingent of weapons
makers, contractors, and profiteers bolstered by an army of lobbyists,
has never stopped growing. It has won the undying fealty of
Congress, embraced the power of the presidency, made itself into a jobs
program for the American people, and been largely free to do as it
pleased with almost unlimited taxpayer dollars.
I should say that Tom Engelhardt
(<-Wikipedia) is a few years older than I am, but not many, but that
he is quite correct. Also, it seems to me that the main reason this
"fourth branch of government" rules is because it has big money behind
it. (And "money rules the world".)
There is also this, also from the beginning, and I should say the "NSS"
is the "National Security State":
After all, the
focus of the NSS, which has like an incubus grown to monumental
proportions inside the body of the political system, would seem
distinctly monomaniacal, if only we could step outside our normal way
of thinking for a moment. At a cost of nearly a trillion
dollars a year, its main global enemy consists of thousands of
lightly armed jihadis and wannabe jihadis scattered
mainly across the backlands of the planet. They are capable of
causing genuine damage -- though far less to the United States than
countries -- but not of shaking our way of life. And yet for
the leaders, bureaucrats, corporate cronies, rank and file, and acolytes
of the NSS, it’s a focus that can never be intense enough on behalf of
a system that can never grow large enough or be well funded enough.
Yes indeed - and I
think, as I argued in 2005 (in Dutch),
that this - the non-existence of anything like the Soviet
Union, with an enormous well-trained army and atomic weapons - is very
strong evidence that almost everyone is being had, and is
being had by Goering's Principle, so to speak - if they were not
explicitly bought, that is:
Goering's Principle, that so well served Bush and Obama:
"Voice or no
voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.
This is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being
attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and
exposing the country to danger.
It worked and works very
well in the United States.
It works the same in
Anyway - there is a lot more in the article, and it is all quite good.
(Though again I came so similar conclusions in 2005, but that was also
without knowing anything about the NSA, and merely because of the
obvious lies and propaganda about "terrorism" that I did read, almost
2. Defining the NSA’s Role
Next, an article by Eugene
Robinson on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
There is considerably more,
and it is good advice, but it seems to me very unlikely it will
be heeded by president Obama.
anticipated reform of the National Security Agency’s practices needs to
go beyond ending the mass surveillance of innocent Americans’ phone
calls. He should force the agency to think less about the quantity of
information it gathers and more about the quality.
Obama should ignore the
choir of apologists singing in lamentation over the beastly way the NSA
is being treated. I refer to voices such as that of Rep. Peter King,
R-N.Y., who on Monday accused Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.—and, by extension,
all the agency’s critics—of “trying to create this paranoia among
Americans that the NSA is spying on everyone.”
In fact, the NSA is
spying on everyone by keeping a detailed log of our private phone
calls. This practice was sanctioned by secret court rulings that
stretched the words of the Constitution and the Patriot Act beyond
recognition. We couldn’t challenge these rulings because we weren’t
allowed to know about them. When asked last March whether any such
blanket domestic surveillance was taking place, Director of National
Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress and said no. In what
universe is it “paranoia” to be angry about all of this?
3. At last, a law to stop almost anyone from
doing almost anything
Next, an article by George
Monbiot in the Guardian, who is speaking about Cameron's Great Britain,
that is rapidly transformed into a sort of neo-fascist state:
This is from the middle
of the article, and describes the currently existing situation in Great
Britain (thanks to Tony Blair):
If you think that is bad, as I
do, here is the new thing that is being prepared:
The existing rules are
bad enough. Introduced by the 1998
Crime and Disorder Act, antisocial behaviour orders (asbos) have
criminalised an apparently endless range of activities, subjecting
thousands – mostly young and poor – to bespoke laws. They have been
used to enforce a kind of caste prohibition: personalised rules which
prevent the untouchables from intruding into the lives of others.
You get an asbo for
behaving in a manner deemed by a magistrate as likely to cause
harassment, alarm or distress to other people. Under this injunction,
the proscribed behaviour becomes a criminal offence. Asbos have been
granted which forbid the carrying of condoms by a prostitute, homeless
alcoholics from possessing alcohol in a public place, a soup kitchen
from giving food to the poor, a young man from walking down any road
other than his own, children from playing football in the street. They
were used to ban peaceful protests against the Olympic clearances.
To me, this prohibition
of "conduct capable of
causing nuisance or annoyance to any person" is a neo-fascist law, because it does not have any
legal bases other than "nuisance
or annoyance", which may be
All this is about to get
much worse. On Wednesday the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill reaches its
report stage (close to the end of the process) in the House of
Lords. It is remarkable how little fuss has been made about it, and how
little we know of what is about to hit us.
The bill would permit
injunctions against anyone of 10 or older who "has engaged or threatens
to engage in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any
person". It would replace asbos with ipnas (injunctions to prevent nuisance and annoyance), which
would not only forbid certain forms of behaviour, but also force the
recipient to discharge positive obligations. In other words, they can
impose a kind of community service order on people who have committed
no crime, which could, the law proposes, remain in force for the rest
of their lives.
Anyway, here are Monbiot's concluding words:
And they also may be
used to shut up Monbiot or the Guardian, simply because they are "causing nuisance or annoyance to any person", such as Cameron.
These laws will be used
to stamp out plurality and difference, to douse the exuberance of
youth, to pursue children for the crime of being young and together in
a public place, to help turn this nation into a money-making
monoculture, controlled, homogenised, lifeless, strifeless and bland.
For a government which represents the old and the rich, that must sound
4. Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug
War is a Joke
Next, an article by Matt
Taibbi in Rolling Stone:
This starts as follows:
Actually, I am not
amazed, for I think Frank
Zappa - who said so in the 1980ies - was right in his belief that
(especially) soft drugs are since long time a way for the authorities
of quite a few countries, including Holland and the United States, to
generate considerable extra - untaxed, illegal, undeclared - income.
If you've ever been
arrested on a drug charge, if you've ever spent even a day in jail for
having a stem of marijuana in your pocket or "drug paraphernalia" in
your gym bag, Assistant Attorney General and longtime Bill Clinton pal
Lanny Breuer has a message for you: Bite me.
Breuer this week signed
off on a settlement
deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate
insult to every ordinary person who's ever had his life altered by a
narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering
billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among
others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank
Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice
Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank,
opting instead for a "record"
financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is
weeks of income for the bank.
My strong conviction goes back 25 years or more, when I have been
caught up in nearly four years of protesting against illegal
drugssellers, who had been given personal permission by the
then mayor of Amsterdam, Ed van Thijn, to deal illegal drugs
from the bottom floor of the house in which I lived, and who tried to
gas me and threatened me five times with murder because I dared to
protest their presence, their activities, and the sounds they made till
2 o'clock in the night.
The whole mistreatment I got then and since, that included a total
refusal to even answer any of my letters and any of my phone
calls, convinced me that the only good explanation for this is
that the authorities took and take a percentage - of at least 25
billion dollars (25,000,000,000 dollars) a year that is turned
over in Holland, given the Van
Traa-report (Just 1% of this equals 250,000,000 dollars.)
But no one cares, certainly not in Holland.
5. Death By A Thousand Cuts: The Silent
Assassination Of European Democracy
Next, an article by
Don Quijones that I found on Naked Capitalism:
There is a lot more in
the article that is quite interesting, but here is a single fact from
it that I guess most of my readers don't know:
Staggering as it
may seem, in the last 20 years the Union has not passed a single audit.
Indeed, so opaque is the state of its finances that in 2002 Marta
Andreasen, the first ever professional accountant to serve as the
Commission’s Chief Accountant, refused to sign off the organization’s
2001 accounts, citing concerns that the EU’s accounting system was
“open to fraud”. After taking her concerns public, Andreasen was
suspended and then later sacked by the Commission.
And that was 12
massively fraudulent years ago...
isn’t one word…
medicine, with an article by 1 boring old man, who seems to be starting
to see the light as regards "evidence based medicine", so very dear to
professors Wessely, Creed, and Sharp:
This starts as follows:
Evidence Based Medicine [often
pronounced evidencebasedmedicine] has evolved into one of my
least favorite terms, even beating out chemicalimbalance. The
reason it tops the list is that it’s even used by people who are not
tricksters like the chemicalimbalance set. They often mean
well. They’re saying that you shouldn’t confuse opinion or preference
with fact, that too many people in this world render expert medical
opinions or advice that aren’t backed up by anything factual – and
that’s an excellent point.
Well... yes and no. Yes,
it is an excellent point. But much more strongly No, because it should
be self-evident that medicine, and physics, and chemistry and
any other present-day empirical science is based on evidence,
for it is totally obvious that it would not be an
empirical science it if wasn't.
So I have always distrusted anyone who spoke or wrote
in favour of "evidence based medicine": It is a pleonasm, that also
strongly suggests that those who use it, in fact use it to deceive those they address.
Here is some more from 1 boring old man (who in fact is a pensioned
But that’s not why
it’s my least favorite term. It’s because it has been turned into a
trick, a surrogate for the scientific method. And it has become an
agent of harm.
I quite agree - except
that I have immediately objected to the term, not because I had then
any evidence that it is in fact "a surrogate for the scientific method", which I agree it is, but because it is a stupid
pleonasm anyway, that also is not used for any other real
Here is some of the evidence 1 boring old man gives in his piece: This
is part of a longer quotation from an article by Des Spence, called
"Evidence based medicine is broken", that appeared in the British
And note - again - that
in "evidence based medicine", as it is propelled by "evidence based" medical doctors, in
actual fact "the drug
industry controls and funds most research", and is very corrupt, with
the cited evidence as a consequence: a 2/3rd increase of prescriptions,
no doubt nearly all of expensive drugs, in a mere 10 years.
without so called “evidence” there is no seat at the guideline table.
This is the fundamental “commissioning bias,” the elephant in the room,
because the drug industry controls and funds most research. So the drug
industry and EBM have set about legitimising illegitimate diagnoses and
then widening drug indications, and now doctors can prescribe a pill
for every ill. The billion prescriptions a year in England in 2012, up
66% in one decade, do not reflect a true increased burden of illness
nor an ageing population, just polypharmacy supposedly based on
evidence. The drug industry’s corporate mission is to make us all sick
however well we feel. As for EBM screening programmes, these are the
combine harvester of wellbeing, producing bails of overdiagnosis and
Corruption in clinical
research is sponsored by billion dollar marketing razzmatazz and
promotion passed off as postgraduate education.
Trust your doctor?! (You may -
but he or she can't trust
himself, given that much of his or her science has been poisoned by the
pharmaceutical companies's riches).
2013 Annual Report
another - more or less - medical theme, that I include because I am
still being read by patients with ME:
This is written by Mark
Berry, identified as the "Acting CEO of Phoenix Rising" and starts as
board of directors and volunteers were faced with a daunting set of
challenges at the start of 2013, following the departure of our founder
Cort Johnson. With only a skeleton staff of volunteers, the tasks that
lay ahead of us were to stabilize the organization’s finances and
administration; to recruit a new team of writers, editors and
publishers to provide content for the website; to continue running the
world’s largest ME/CFS forums; and to preserve Phoenix Rising’s
reputation as a reliable source of information and a well-moderated
meeting point for the worldwide ME/CFS community.
I think most of that is
more false or misleading than true - but I do not follow Phoenix Rising
as I did in 2010, when I even made the mistake of being a member of it,
for four months. Here is why I think so.
First, "the departure of
our founder Cort Johnson"
was not so much a "departure" as an ousting, although I do not know any
details, for both parties considered it much better to
be secretive than transparent.
Actually, I think they did not miss much, and by removing him they made
way for a better approach. (I am willing to agree that Cort Johnson is
a fair and fairly productive writer, but also that he served as a bad
Second, the "skeleton
staff of volunteers" has
been there all the time, in 2009, in 2010, in 2011 and in 2012,
and the only thing I can say is that all the time I have been following
Phoenix Rising it seemed to me that all the people I regarded as
intelligent, as writing well, or as informed, seemed to be discriminated,
both by the far greater group of ignorant persons, and also by such
staff as Cort Johnson protected.
I do not know enough of the current Phoenix Rising to pronounce
on its staff, except that the present moderator seems better than the
ones I had, while I deplore the presence of so many Jody Smith
articles. (But OK: she may be wildly admired by the lesser gifted.)
Third, I would guess that "to
stabilize the organization’s finances and administration" was an inheritance of Cort Johnson's
behavior, but as long as the reasons to get rid of him are not
clarified, this must remain a guess.
Fourth, "to recruit a new
team of writers, editors and publishers" also seems to me a bit of a misstatement: I would
guess that the content of Phoenix Rising is mostly supplied by the
Also, this is as it should be, even though I have not much of a taste
for most that I've read there. Then again, some of it was useful, also
continue running the world’s largest ME/CFS forums" can't have been
that much of a problem, since indeed it is the world largest ME/CFS
forum, and it is mostly written by its members.
Sixth, "to preserve Phoenix
Rising’s reputation as a reliable source of information" seems to me to be a bit of a misstatement,
given the huge amounts of uninformed nonsense I read on it, although I
agree there is little to be done about that, given that the members do
most of the writing, and few of the members have good qualifications
(and those who do tend to be pushed out by the majority).
And this was just the first paragraph. I also should mention that
Phoenix Rising, which has over 8500 members only has a 6 times larger
pageview than my Danish site alone (which is the least visited of my 2
sites), even while my sites are the work of precisely 1 ill person, and
are mostly about themes that interest only few (philosophy, logic,
computing and ME).
But OK... enough criticism. I wish them well - but they are mostly not
for me, and I do follow only one section on the site, and even there I
mostly read the titles only.
And one of my reasons to wish them well is that I expect the coming
year to be very difficult for patients with ME, especially in
the United States and Great Britain.
Indeed, two reasons to pay considerably less attention to ME than I
have done in 2010 and 2011 are that (1) the XMRV story turned out to be
false (and possibly falsified, though I guess that never will be
known), and that (2) I will be 65 next year, and anyway cannot be
forced to work since 2011 - which is a risk many younger patients
probably will face, very unfair though this nearly
I am also afraid this may cause quite a few deaths, though I would be much
relieved to be mistaken.
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.)
(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: