10, 2014
Crisis: Hedges, CIA vs Senate, Assange, Sanders, Snowden
   "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

1. Welcome to Satan’s Ball
2. CIA Torturers Hide Report, But That's Not The Worst Part
Julian Assange tells SXSW audience: ‘NSA has grown to
     be a rogue agency’

4. Are Progressives Ready for 'Political Revolution' with

Call For Snowden 'Immunity' Rises Ahead of Unique
     Appearance in US
About ME/CFS


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.

1. Welcome to Satan’s Ball

The first article is by Chris Hedges on Truth Dig:
In fact, this is a reflection on Bulgakov's "The 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.

2. CIA 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.

3.  Julian Assange tells SXSW audience: ‘NSA has grown to be a rogue agency’ 

Next, an article by Stuart Dredge in the Guardian:

This article starts as follows:

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.

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.

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 surveillance complex.”
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 matter.”
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.

4.  Are Progressives Ready for 'Political Revolution' with Bernie? 

Next, an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
The article starts as follows:
Vermont's 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 of Unique 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.

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."

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 granted immunity.
[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)

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)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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