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."
1. Journalists who broke NSA
story in Guardian receive
George Polk Awards
Sinister Dual State
3. NSA Spying Caught Law Firm Activities
4. The Divine Right of
5. TV viewing figures show
Brits prefer traditional sets over
6. Shocker! Online Trolls Are Sadistic
This is again an ordinary crisis
file with six items, although the last two items are less about the
crisis than about two of its underlying strong forces: human stupidity
and human cruelty.
Journalists who broke NSA story in Guardian receive George
The first article today
is by Martin Pengelly in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
This is good news, which is very rare
in this crisis series. There is more in the article, but I only notice
here something that is not in the article: I seem to recall that Glenn Greenwald has
announced he would go to the U.S. if he did get this price. Well... I
do not know whether that is sensible, but I may be too pessimistic.
The three journalists who
broke the National Security Agency revelations from Edward Snowden in
the Guardian are among the recipients of the prestigious 2013 George
Polk Awards in Journalism.
Glenn Greenwald, Ewen
MacAskill and Laura Poitras will receive the award for national
security reporting, along with Barton Gellman of the Washington Post.not
Janine Gibson, Guardian
US editor-in-chief, said: “We’re honoured by the recognition from the
Polk awards and delighted for Ewen, Glenn, Laura, Barton and their
colleagues that their work has been recognised.
“It has been an
extraordinary and occasionally menacing eight months of reporting for
the Guardian and the support of our peers through this distinguished
award is very much appreciated.”
2. Our Sinister Dual State
article is by Chris Hedges on Truth Dig:
It starts as follows:
On Thursday the
former National Security Agency official and whistle-blower William
E. Binney and I will debate Stewart
A. Baker, a former general counsel for the NSA, P.J. Crowley, a former State
Department spokesman, and the media pundit
Jeffrey Toobin. The debate, at Oxford University, will center on
whether Edward Snowden’s leaks helped or harmed the public good. The
proposition asks: “Is Edward Snowden a Hero?” But, on a deeper level,
the debate will revolve around our nation’s loss of liberty.
That is interesting news. Next, there is
officials who, along with their courtiers in the press, castigate
Snowden insist that congressional and judicial oversight, the right to
privacy, the rule of law, freedom of the press and the right to express
dissent remain inviolate. They use the old words and the old phrases,
old laws and old constitutional guarantees to give our corporate
totalitarianism a democratic veneer. They insist that the system works.
Yes, although they do
and they don't, as illustrated by Obama's policies: In front of the
cameras, he is all smiles, and full of kindnesses, and shows his left
ear, and his right ear, and then again his left ear, and tells how
incredibly transparent he and his government are; but in fact, he
issued 90 million secret memos, bills and what not, and uses secret
courts to help his secret services to compile everything they
can get on anyone, and thus he is founding a totalitarian
state, that he also knows will be given to his successor, who then can
do with it as he or she pleases (if indeed the elected presidents of
the U.S. do rule, which seems an open question: I do not know
There is also this, concerning the backgrounds:
We live in what
the German political scientist Ernst
Fraenkel called “the dual state.” Totalitarian states are always
dual states. In the dual state civil liberties are abolished in the
name of national security. The political sphere becomes a vacuum “as
far as the law is concerned,” Fraenkel wrote. There is no legal check
on power. Official bodies operate with impunity outside the law. In the
dual state the government can convict citizens on secret evidence in
secret courts. It can strip citizens of due process and detain, torture
or assassinate them, serving as judge, jury and executioner. It rules
according to its own arbitrary whims and prerogatives. The outward
forms of democratic participation—voting, competing political parties,
judicial oversight and legislation—are hollow, political stagecraft.
Fraenkel called those who wield this unchecked power over the citizenry
“the prerogative state.”
Indeed. And on page 2
there is this, on the present situation:
once had democratic traditions, or periods when openness was possible,
are often seduced into totalitarian systems because those who rule
continue to pay outward fealty to the ideals, practices and forms of
the old systems. This was true when the Emperor Augustus dismantled the
Roman Republic. It was true when Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized
control of the autonomous soviets and ruthlessly centralized power. It
was true following the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise of
Nazi fascism. Thomas Paine described despotic government as a fungus
growing out of a corrupt civil society. And this is what has happened
And I say yes again -
and add that there is a lot more in the original article, that I
recommend you read all of.
NSA Spying Caught Law
Next, an article by
James Risen and Laura Poitras in the New York Times:
This starts as follows:
Note this confirms to
the previous item. There is a lot more in the article.
The list of those caught
up in the global surveillance net cast by the National Security Agency
and its overseas partners, from social media users to foreign heads of
state, now includes another entry: American lawyers.
A top-secret document,
obtained by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, shows that
an American law firm was monitored while representing a foreign
government in trade disputes with the United States. The disclosure
offers a rare glimpse of a specific instance in which Americans were
ensnared by the eavesdroppers, and is of particular interest because
lawyers in the United States with clients overseas have expressed
growing concern that their confidential communications could be
compromised by such surveillance.
The government of
Indonesia had retained the law firm for help in trade talks, according
to the February 2013 document. It reports that the N.S.A.’s Australian
counterpart, the Australian Signals Directorate, notified the agency
that it was conducting surveillance of the talks, including
communications between Indonesian officials and the American law firm,
and offered to share the information.
The Divine Right of President Obama?
Next an article by Peter Van Buren on tomdispatch:
Actually, this is from
Tom's introduction to the piece:
Still, in those
days, something dark and distasteful clung to the idea and presidents
preferred to maintain what was called “plausible deniability” when it
came to such efforts. (In 1981, by Executive
Order, President Ronald Reagan actually banned assassination by the
Yes, indeed. There is
considerably more in the introduction, which is quite good, as is the
piece it introduces.
Now, top officials
connected to the White House proudly
leak details about their ongoing efforts to use drones to
assassinate obscure suspected terrorists in the backlands of the
planet. They take pride in comparing their activities to a
religious calling. They want the public to know that they and the
president spend significant time and effort on such “targeted
killings.” The most recent case to see the light of day is the prospective
assassination of an American citizen and suspected “al-Qaeda
facilitator,” evidently in the tribal borderlands of Pakistan.
When it comes to this possible future assassination, they seem eager to
leaks the care they are taking in preparing the way.
In the process, they have
produced legalistic documents so secret that they can’t
be shown to the public, though their existence and import can
indeed be publicized. These justify to their satisfaction the
killing of Americans without what once would have been considered “due
process” or any role whatsoever for the actual legal system.
5. TV viewing figures show Brits prefer traditional sets
an article that is here mainly because it offers some basic statistics,
and not because of the other things it says. The article is by Mark
Sweney in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Which is to say, if we average
the TV-viewing time on 4 hours a day: The average Brit sleeps, washes,
eats, works and watches TV, and lives primarily in order to watch TV.
It appears it will be
some time before the explosion in smartphones and tablet
computers revolutionises TV viewing, with the average Briton
watching little more than three minutes a day on mobile devices last
year, according to industry figures.
The average UK viewer
watched a total of three hours and 55 minutes of TV a day last year.
This was a nine minute
year-on-year drop, due in part to a comparison with the hugely popular
London 2012 Olympics the previous year.
To me, that is hugely depressing, though I agree that the BBC
is a lot better than Dutch TV:
The masses of mankind, in the West at least, dreams their free
time away in front of a TV, a box full of other men's
fantasies, presumably because they have no ideas of their own, while
also telling themselves that they are as good as anyone else (at least,
and apart from sports' heroes and film stars: these are very widely
recognized semi-divinities), while in fact behaving as if they are
Also, the article ends with these statistics:
O Lord! 2.800.000.000
adverts a day are seen in Great Britain! Willingly!
The share of viewing
accounted for by commercial broadcasters such as ITV, Sky and Channel 4
– as opposed to the BBC – rose from 66% to 68%.
This meant the number of
TV adverts seen by viewers rose 1.6% year on year, an average of 47 a
day, with the UK collectively watching 2.8bn adverts a day.
Online Trolls Are Sadistic Psychopaths
Finally, a video by The
Since I am a
psychologist, this does not come as a surprise. Here is Ana
"It is not
unfair to speculate that on line trolls are sadistic psychopaths. It is
something that we probably already knew. However, now we have some
science to back it up. Canadian researches did a survey of a
representative sample and they found out that, hey you know what: these
people are pretty sadistic."
Here are three
Yes, quite so - and I've seen and read a great
lot of this on Phoenix Rising and the MECFSforum, and this has also
totally killed my good will towards the vast majority of stupid ordinary men
and women writing on these forums, who always watch the other
way, and always hear no evil and see no evil, while evident
anonymous sadists and psychopaths gang up and slaughter anyone
intelligent under their very noses.
Thus, I have seen a whole gang of these sadistic terrorists, led by
Awol, a sick degenerate who seems to have found another field to enjoy
herself, jump on Suzy Chapman in
August of 2010, and insist that she should not be
on their forum because... she was not ill and she had no cognitive
problems, and because she dared to write about things that were too
complicated for their stupid and brainfogged minds.
Now that was out and out plain and obvious psychopathic
sadism; it was utterly and completely morally degenerate and despicable
- but a 1000 ordinary men and women, all anonymous, all supposedly ill,
"saw no evil and heard no evil", or indeed supported these sadistic
psychopaths, namely by complaining that they, too, thought
Suzy's materials "too complicated".
Well... she did never even ask them to read it, but no
matter: they did not want a very bright advocate, who also took care of
someone with ME, to write about their problems, and they hunted
her from their forums, fundamentally because she was much more
intelligent and much more competent than they were, and therefore she
could achieve and do things that they could not.
In consequence, I gave up on persons with ME then, apart from a very
few I personally know and like, and know to be intelligent - and
not because of the psychopathic sadists but because of the thousand
or so members who saw it, read it, and either approved it or did do
absolutely nothing to stop it, and whom one also cannot address
because they are all anonymous and never talk about themselves, and
they nearly all seem to feel no personal responsibility whatsoever, and
anyway nearly all seem to have no mind worth noticing.
 Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, that the governors do not
rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
It is more proper
that law should govern than any one of the
citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the
supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to
be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I
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: