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Nederlog


  March
5, 2014
Crisis: Alexander, Obama * 2, Women, 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.
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton
















Prev- crisis -Next
Sections
Introduction

1. Is NSA Chief Trying to Silence Media Reporting on
     Surveillance Leaks?

2. Silencing Whistleblowers Obama-Style Supreme Court
     Edition?

3. 
Death without Due Process
4. Report reveals 'extensive' violence against women in EU
5. Personal
About ME/CFS

Introduction:

This is the crisis issue of Nederlog of March 5, 2014. I did not find very much, which is also much like General Alexander likes it - see item 1. In any case, yesterday I started with three items from the Guardian, and today with three items from another favorite, Common Dreams. All I can say is that I do not do it on purpose: it just happens to be so - and if others would report more on the crisis and that made sense, I would review it here, if I found it.

1. Is NSA Chief Trying to Silence Media Reporting on Surveillance Leaks?

The first article is by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Indicating that the United States government is taking legislative steps to deter media reporting of national security leaks—such as the information disclosed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden—outgoing NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander said at a cybersecurity event Tuesday that he was "optimistic" about proposed "media leaks legislation."

Alexander told the Georgetown University audience that he was in the midst of seeking congressional backing for a cybersecurity bill. However, he intoned that the legislation was being held up by another potential bill regarding "media leaks."

“I think we are going to make headway over the next few weeks on media leaks. I am an optimist. I think if we make the right steps on the media leaks legislation, then cyber legislation will be a lot easier,” Alexander said.

Let me first answer the question posed in the title: Clearly, the leading state terrorist of the US wants to collect his hundreds of thousands or tens of millions of naked pictures all by himself, so that he can leave through them in his own Star Trek Office, paid for by tax money, so as to remind him of his great human excellence, and his totally unmatched power. And clearly, he also desires that no one has any idea of what he is doing, except those in the government who always agree with him anyway.

So the answer is: Yes. In case you doubt  this:
“Recently, what came out with the justices in the United Kingdom … they looked at what happened on Miranda and other things, and they said it’s interesting: journalists have no standing when it comes to national security issues. They don’t know how to weigh the fact of what they’re giving out and saying, is it in the nation’s interest to divulge this,” Alexander said.
You see: Only general Alexander and general Clapper are capable of really judging these things, so if they want to gather all data of everyone, including their nude pictures and their personal e-mails, and anything else they can get, everyone should lick their feet and fondly cry "Thank you, thank you, thank you,  o cybernetic heroes, for protecting us from Al Qaeda and from evil and loony hacktivists!!".

That is the new democracy Obama's trusted men are instituting; that was The ChangeTM people hoped for when voting for Obama; that is The New America that is being built, in total secrecy, because that is what the founding fathers wanted.

O, and general Alexander also prohibited journalists from posing any questions to him, again acting in the spirit of The New America he is introducing (that seems rather remarkably much like the Soviet Union, except that it has vastly more information on anyone's behavior and opinions, which means it can vastly better control them).


2.  Silencing Whistleblowers Obama-Style Supreme Court Edition?

The next article is by Peter Van Buren on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:
The Obama administration has just opened a new front in its ongoing war on whistleblowers. It’s taking its case against one man, former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Air Marshal Robert MacLean, all the way to the Supreme Court. So hold on, because we’re going back down the rabbit hole with the Most Transparent Administration ever.

Despite all the talk by Washington insiders about how whistleblowers like Edward Snowden should work through the system rather than bring their concerns directly into the public sphere, MacLean is living proof of the hell of trying to do so. Through the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice (DOJ) wants to use MacLean’s case to further limit what kinds of information can qualify for statutory whistleblowing protections. If the DOJ gets its way, only information that the government thinks is appropriate -- a contradiction in terms when it comes to whistleblowing -- could be revealed. Such a restriction would gut the legal protections of the Whistleblower Protection Act and have a chilling effect on future acts of conscience.

Having lost its case against MacLean in the lower courts, the DOJ is seeking to win in front of the Supreme Court. If heard by the Supremes -- and there’s no guarantee of that -- this would represent that body’s first federal whistleblower case of the post-9/11 era. And if it were to rule for the government, even more information about an out-of-control executive branch will disappear under the dark umbrella of “national security.”

On the other hand, should the court rule against the government, or simply turn down the case, whistleblowers like MacLean will secure a little more protection than they’ve had so far in the Obama years.
There is a lot more, mostly about MacLean's case. Then again, it ends like this:

That our current government has been willing to fight for more than seven years -- maybe all the way to the Supreme Court -- to weaken legal whistleblowing protections tells a tale of our times. That it seeks to silence whistleblowers at a moment when their disclosures are just beginning to reveal the scope of our unconstitutional national security state is cause for great concern. That the government demands whistleblowers work within the system and then seeks to modify that same system to thwart them goes beyond hypocrisy.

This is the very definition of post-Constitutional America where legality and illegality blur -- and always in the government’s favor; where the founding principles of our nation only apply when, as, and if the executive sees fit. The devil is indeed in the details.

Indeed - and see item 1.

3.  Death without Due Process 

The next article is by Hina Shamsi, who leads the ACLU's National Security Project, and is on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:
The White House is once again weighing whether to kill an American citizen overseas as part of its "targeted killing" program.

This extrajudicial killing program should make every American queasy. Based on largely secret legal standards and entirely secret evidence, our government has killed thousands of people. At least several hundred were killed far from any battlefield. Four of the dead are Americans. Astonishingly, President Obama's Justice Department has said the courts have no role in deciding whether the killing of U.S. citizens far from any battlefield is lawful.

The president, it seems, can be judge, jury, and executioner.

Yes, indeed: he can, and he also seems to like it, either because one credits reports about him, or more simply because he does these things, also knowing full well that the orders he signs, that will kill ten or twenty people in a country that is far away from the U.S. and not at all at war with it, are in fact only certain of one thing: where a certain targeted phone is, which then will be blown up by a drone, together with the people in its vicinity, whoever these may be (and usually the killers who operate from the U.S. have little or no idea who the people they have been killing are, for the most part, at least).

In case you were in doubt about the legality of this:
This is not the law. Our Constitution and international law strictly limit extrajudicial killing, for good reason. In areas of actual armed conflict, killing can be lawful because of battlefield requirements. Outside that context, an extrajudicial killing is legal only as a last resort, and only in response to a truly imminent threat. This makes sense: If a threat is imminent, there is no time for judicial review. In every other context, the Constitution requires the government to prove its case to a court before it kills.
Except that with the present American Department of Justice and the present president all of this has been shoved aside, I must suppose on presidential orders. I mean: Trust The President For He Means Well, which is also why you and I will never see most of what he does.

There is considerably more in the article.

4.  Report reveals 'extensive' violence against women in EU

Next, and last for today, an article by Jane Martinson in the Guardian, that I will include in the crisis, because I think it is pretty horrible, and also belongs to the time:
This starts as follows:

Violence against women is "an extensive human rights abuse" across Europe with one in three women reporting some form of physical or sexual abuse since the age of 15 and 8% suffering abuse in the last 12 months, according to the largest survey of its kind on the issue, published on Wednesday.

The survey, based on interviews with 42,000 women across 28 EU member states, found extensive abuse across the continent, which typically goes unreported and undetected by the authorities.

However, that does not really well represent the findings:

Among the findings, to be unveiled in Brussels on Wednesday, are:

• One in 10 women have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 15, while one in 20 has been raped.

• One in 10 women have been stalked by a previous partner.

• Most violence is carried out by a current or former partner, with 22% of women in relationships reporting partner abuse.

• About one third (31%) who report being raped by a partner have been repeatedly raped, which the report defines as six or more times.

• Violence against women is one of the least reported crimes. Only 14% of women reported their most serious incident of partner violence to the police, while a similar percentage (13%) reported their most serious incident of non-partner violence.

• Just over one in 10 women experienced some form of sexual violence by an adult before they were 15.

And that is pretty awful and also a bit amazing, at least to me. It's a bit amazing, because there is rather a lot more sex-related cruelty - for that is what it is - than I had thought.

What can be done about it? I fear not much - which does not mean that one should do nothing - since about the only thing that would really help is increasing the average IQ by at least 30 points, and there is no way of doing that, and if there were such a way (apart from killing 49 out of 50 persons), it still takes two generations at least.

Also, part of the reason I am quite pessimistic is that feminism arose (again) in the late 1960ies, which means that it has been around for some 45 years - and then comes this report.

As I said: it seems pretty awful to me, though indeed this is not due to women nor to feminism.

5. Personal

I am sorry that the above is all rather negative, but then that is all there was and indeed: I am reporting on the crisis.

Otherwise, I haven't made much progress, though I did a little, at least on Chamfort. I will inform you in Nederlog if anything important gets uploaded.
And in fact I have uploaded today the current index file for the
crisis.
So that is something.
---------------------------------
Notes
[1] 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 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 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 quote from is quite pertinent.)

About ME/CFS (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:
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[2]
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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