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. Welcome to Satan’s Ball
2. CIA Torturers Hide Report, But That's Not
The Worst Part
Assange tells SXSW audience: ‘NSA has grown to
be a rogue agency’
Are Progressives Ready for 'Political Revolution' with
For Snowden 'Immunity' Rises Ahead of Unique
Appearance in US
This the Nederlog of March 10,
and it is again about the crisis. It seems a fairly average crisis item to me
(who meanwhile has written over 425 crisis items, since 2008, and over 2600 Nederlogs,
since 2004), with items that may interest many. I liked item
2 the best. Also, this is a bit upbeat, although I'm certain that
is a coincidence.
And today I cycled another hour, which was quite a joy, also given the
fine weather, while the present file is uploaded a bit sooner than is
usual for me.
to Satan’s Ball
The first article is by Chris
Hedges on Truth Dig:
In fact, this is a
reflection on Bulgakov's
master and Margarita", also with Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain"
and Joseph Roth's "Hotel Savoy" treated, but considerably more briefly.
As it happens, I read the first two books. I liked "The master and Margarita" a lot, and
didn't care much for "The
Magic Mountain", so my advice to you is that if you did not read "The
master and Margarita", then you should: It's a really fine book, and you
will almost certainly like it.
However, I do not think I quite agree with Hedges, who writes:
Bulgakov, Mann and
Roth understood that here is no real political ideology among decayed
ruling elites. They knew that political debate and ideological
constructs for these elites is absurdist theater, a species of
entertainment for the masses. They warned that once societies enter
terminal decay, in the end it is the blunt forces of censorship,
relentless propaganda, coercion, fear and finally terror that keep a
subdued population in check. Those who hold power in such systems are
thieves who run a vast kleptocracy.
That is: I agree with
the "vast kleptocracy" and with "the
blunt forces of censorship, relentless propaganda, coercion, fear and
finally terror", but I think Hedges is too complimentary on the present
days' ruling elites: they are as ideological as
were Stalin and his men, for one example.
This doesn't mean they are not dishonest, nor deceiving, nor falsifying
things; it does mean that they are, by and large, doing these things
while being guided by ideological systems of delusion that justify
their actions, and that paint these as (far) better, informed and just
than they really are.
My reasons for this are that every human group is guided by an ideology; that
mostly this also is known and mostly desired, even though it is also
known the ideology is - very probably - at least partially false and
anyway quite incomplete; and also that I do not know of any
human being whose information about the world, the people in it, and
him or herself, is provably even halfway adequate, informed or
true: Most that most people think is based on faith, though this
term is meant in a far wider sense than merely religious faith.
Also, this does not have much to do with intelligence,
but with there being few good theories, and with
the enormous complications involved in knowing even a
small part of the real loyalties, thoughts, ideals and
capacities of the members of the groups one knows best, and has had
many interactions with.
Besides, I do not think that the vast majority of men knows fifty men
and women passably well, and that
same majority can't have really
met more than a few thousands of men and women each, at most,
although almost everyone presumes this is quite sufficient to judge
billions of men.
Torturers Hide Report, But That's Not The Worst Part
The following item is a video by The Young Turks that takes 5 minutes
and 23 seconds, and is a very clear explanation of the issues between
the Senate and the CIA, where the latter is supposed to be controlled
by the former (but not according to the CIA):
Actually, it does not
seem as if the Senate controls the CIA, but it seems that the CIA,
helped by Obama, controls the Senate, spies on them, and prevents that
the report on their misdeeds - that they agreed was correct, at least
in part - reaches the public (that paid 40 million dollars for it).
As Cenk Uygur says:
The CIA spied on
the Senators. How is it there is not a national outrage? When do we get outrage?
I do not know.
Julian Assange tells SXSW audience: ‘NSA has grown to be a
Next, an article by
Stuart Dredge in the Guardian:
This article starts as
Well, perhaps "people
power" is part of the solution, and certainly something needs to be
done, but so far most of the people are silent. I do not know why, and
I find it a bit strange, but such is the fact.
The Wikileaks founder
Julian Assange on Saturday told an audience in Texas that people power
is the key to rolling back the power of the National Security Agency
and other surveillance agencies.
“We have to do something
about it. All of us have to do something about it,” he said, in an
interview at the SXSW conference in Austin. “How can individuals do
something about it? Well, we’ve got no choice.”
Assange was speaking in a
“virtual” conversation conducted by video from the Ecuadorian embassy
in London, where he has been confined since
June 2012. The NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden
and former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald will appear in similar
sessions over the coming days.
Then again, Assange is quite right in this:
“The NSA has
grown to be a rogue agency. It has grown to be unfettered … the ability
to surveil everyone on the planet is almost there, and arguably will be
there within a few years. And that’s led to a huge transfer of power
from the people who are surveilled upon, to those who control the
He also asks:
“How had it come
to this? How is it that the internet that everyone looked upon as
perhaps the greatest tool of human emancipation there had ever been,
had been co-opted and was now involved in the most aggressive form of
state surveillance ever seen?”
The answers to these questions
are fairly easy:
It came to this thanks to Bush and Obama, who both could have stopped
it, and the fundamental three reasons it happened are that (1) almost
nothing on the internet is encrypted (2) there are no effective
regulations for the internet as a whole (as can be seen, for example,
by the GCHQ doing what the NSA cannot do), and (3) because it all was
kept very secret by the states' governors, up to and including secret
judgments by secret courts, even though these tend to be only
used by dictatorships, until the NSA was outed by Edward Snowden.
There are more reasons, but these seem the main ones. Assange also said:
“Now that the
internet has merged with human society … the laws that apply to the
internet apply to human society. This penetration of the internet by
the NSA and [British spy agency] GCHQ is the penetration of our human
society. It means there has been a militarisation of our civilian
space. A military occupation of our civilian space … is a very serious
This is less clear.
First, "the internet" and "human society" are ambiguous terms, and
there is not one sense of "the laws" that would apply - and also it
would have been better to insist on or refer to the United Nations' Declaration of Human
Rights, that were accepted by many countries, and indeed forbid
what the NSA and the GCHQ do.
Second, the point is less that there is a "military occupation of our civilian space" as that those who occupy it are unelected
and secret, and are appropriating data that they should not,
though I agree that these unelected secret guys and gals are - it seems
- often also military persons.
There is considerably more under the last link.
Are Progressives Ready for 'Political Revolution' with
Next, an article
by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
The article starts as
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders has now said he is 'prepared to run
for President of the United States' in 2016, but that he wants to hear
from progressives across the country about what such a run should look
like if and when he makes it official.
There is rather a lot
more in the article, and the reason I don't quote any of it is that it
is all speculative. But I like Sanders' candidacy.
5. Call For Snowden 'Immunity' Rises Ahead
Appearance in US
As it happens, this is another
article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Ahead of an
appearance via teleconference at a popular tech conference in the U.S.
on Monday, exiled NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is receiving support
from tens of thousands of his fellow Americans who think he should be
granted immunity by President Obama.
That is nice to know. I think
it is very unlikely to succeed, but I like it that (almost)
fifty-thousand Americans signed the petition that Snowden should be
Scheduled to talk with
attendees at the SXSW tech and culture conference in Austin, Texas via
videostream, the ACLU is championing the 30-year-old former contractor
for the National Security Agency with an online petition that has
nearly garnered its forty-five-thousand signature goal. As of Sunday
afternoon, 44,183 people had signed it.
"Edward Snowden is a
great American who deserves full immunity for his patriotic acts,"
reads the statement attached to the petition
by the well-known rights group. "When Snowden blew the whistle on the
NSA, he single-handedly reignited a global debate about government
surveillance and our most fundamental rights as individuals."
 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: