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. The Road From Abu Ghraib
2. Guardian wins three Webby awards
3. Demanding 'Just and Sustainable' Economy For All,
Thousands March on Congress
4. To Save the Internet We
Need to Own the Means of
5. Supreme Court Won’t Hear
Chris Hedges’ Indefinite
This is the Nederlog of April
29. It is a crisis issue, with a short bit on me+ME
O, and there is nothing about Piketty today, which gives me the
opportunity to say that I generally follow "the news" (as relayed by
the best parts of the press and media), and that Piketty is an
economist who got quite famous, with an argument that also seems mostly
And no: I do not have favorite subjects, at least not in the crisis
series, which I also write mostly because almost no one else does it,
at least in the sense I construe crisis: See Crisis + DSM-5: It's the
deregulation, stupid! and Crisis:
Hypotheses about the causes of the crisis.
Since I am writing now in
general terms, here are three related somewhat general considerations.
First, up till yesterday and since September 1, 2008, when the crisis
series started, I wrote over 480 Nederlogs wholly or mostly on the crisis,
of which the first 81 are in Dutch, and the rest is in English.
In terms of the subjects of the crisis - for me: the economy, health
care, education, politics & civil law, public debate and the
climate - I do not know what I wrote most about, except that the
Snowden revelations and what is related to that, which I would place
under politics & civil law, have been the last three quarter years
definitely the most frequent.
Second, for those who think the crisis is a favorite subject: No.
It is a frightening subject, especially seeing the apathy of so
many (but 70% of the Americans are on prescription drugs,
anti-depressives, which certainly dispose to apathy, indifference and
not caring), which is one reason to write about it, but I myself would much
rather write about logic, philosophy, or (classic) literature, even
though that draws fewer readers.
Third, I really know of very few who do anything much like I
do. In part that is due to me being only one person, who also is ill,
which means that, although I have fast internet since 2009, I certainly
have seen (and can see) only a small fraction of what is available. On
the other hand, I have looked rather carefully and have seen rather a
lot the last nearly five years, and about the only ones I more often
than not (!) agree with are Noam Chomsky (but
I am probably not an anarchist ), Cenk Uygur (but I
am more scientific), Abby
Martin (but I am a lot older, and more philosophical), and the late
Anyway... there is a little more in notes  and .
Now to today's
The Road From Abu Ghraib
The first item is
article by Karen J. Greenberg on Truthdig, but original on Tomdispatch:
This is a fairly long - four
pages - survey of torture as practised by the United States. It starts
Yes indeed, and you may
do so by reading all of this article, which is quite good, and by the
director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law.
Torture is still up for grabs in America. No one questions anymore
whether the CIA waterboarded one individual 83 times or another 186
times. The basic facts are no longer in dispute either by those who
champion torture or those who, like myself, despise the very idea of
it. No one questions whether some individuals died being tortured in
American custody. (They
did.) No one questions that it was a national policy devised by
those at the very highest levels of government. (It
was.) But many, it seems, still believe that the torture
policy, politely renamed in its heyday “the enhanced interrogation
program,” was a
good thing for the country.
Now, the nation awaits
the newest chapter in the torture debate without having any idea
whether it will close the book on American torture or open a path of
pain and shame into the distant future. No one yet knows whether we
will be allowed to awake from the nightmarish and unacceptable world of
illegality and obfuscation into which torture and the network of
offshore prisons, or “black sites,” plunged us all.
April 28th marks the tenth
anniversary of the moment that the horrors of Abu Ghraib were made
public in this country. On that day a decade ago, the TV news
magazine “60 Minutes II” broadcast
the first photographs from that American-run prison in “liberated”
Iraq. They showed U.S. military personnel humiliating, hurting, and
abusing Iraqi prisoners in a myriad of perverse ways. While
American servicemen and women smiled and gave a thumbs up, naked men
were threatened by dogs, or were hooded, forced into sexual positions,
placed standing with wires attached to their bodies, or left bleeding
on prison floors.
Thus began America’s
public odyssey with torture, a story in many chapters and still missing
an ending. As the Abu Ghraib anniversary nears and the White House, the
CIA, and various senators still
battle over the release of a summary of a 6,300-page report by the
Senate Intelligence Committee on Bush-era torture policies, it’s worth
considering the strange journey we’ve taken and wondering just where we
as a nation mired in the legacy of torture might be headed.
2. Guardian wins three Webby awards
The next item is an
article by Mark Sweney on The Guardian:
This starts as
The Guardian has
picked up three Webby awards for work including interactive coverage of
the NSA files and a video report on the exploitation of migrant workers
Guardian News &
Media, the publisher of the Guardian and Observer and theguardian.com
network, collected three of 22 Webbys awarded to UK companies.
The Guardian's NSA Files: Decoded, which gave web users a
chance to learn what Edward Snowden's revelations about mass government
surveillance might mean for them, won the Webby in the best practices
GNM also won two Webbys
for online video in the news and drama categories.
The main reasons this
is here are that I like the Guardian (much more than any Dutch daily,
also) and that I think the awards are deserved.
There is more under
Demanding 'Just and Sustainable' Economy For All,
Thousands March on Congress
The next item is an
article by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as
In an expression
of a "new populist" energy, thousands of demonstrators shut down
Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC on Monday as they demanded a
livable wage and an end to the corporate domination of the national
economy and politics.
It is something - but
"thousands" is not much in a nation of over 300 million. Even so, I
agree with the end of a just and sustainable economy for all.
Under the banner "Battle
for the Capitol," marchers carried puppets of corporate lobbyists
swarming a 10-foot high replica of the Capitol Building as they blasted
rising inequality in America and the outsized influence of big money
during elections and in the halls of Congress.
The protesters chanted: "Whose
streets? Our streets!"
"This is what the New
Populist Movement looks like," tweeted
James Mumm of the group National People's
Action, which along with the Restaraunt
Opportunities Center and the National Domestic Workers
Association, organized the protest.
To Save the Internet We Need to Own the Means of
The next item is an
article by David Morris on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
announcement by the FCC that cable and telephone companies will be
allowed to prioritize access to their customers only one option remains
that can guarantee an open internet: owning the means of distribution.
From the rest of the
article, it follows that indeed this may still be possible in quite a
few of the US communities. Whether it will work? (I like the idea, with
some provisos, but since the Dutch Blairite careerist posturer Wim Kok
reformed Dutch Labour in the nineties, he also gave most of the
publicly owned institutions into private hands "because that is good
for the economy". So in Holland this is probably not possible anymore,
at least not without
Thankfully an agency
exists for this. Local government. Owning the means of distribution is
a traditional function of local government. We call our roads and
bridges and water and sewer pipe networks public infrastructure for a
In the 19th century local
and state governments concluded that the transportation of people and
goods was so essential to a modern economy that the key distribution
system must be publicly owned. In the 21st century the transportation
of information is equally essential.
When communities own their
roads they can and have established the rules of the road. The most
fundamental and ubiquitous is what might be called road neutrality.
Everyone has equal access regardless whether they drive a Ford or a
Chevy, a jeep or a moped.
5. Supreme Court Won’t Hear Chris Hedges’
Finally, a report on the
outcome of the appeal of Chris Hedges and others:
This starts as follows:
Note that Hedges
co-plaintiffs included Ellsberg, Chomsky and West, while what they
complained about, which seems to me much like a Nazi-law (that also
killed my grandfather and imprisoned my father for more than 3 years
and 9 months in German concentration camps), was utterly illegal,
and more years ago.
On Monday, the U.S.
Supreme Court denied Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges and other
plaintiffs the right to challenge a law that allows the U.S. military
to indefinitely detain people alleged or suspected to have helped
al-Qaida or the Taliban.
A milestone in the
so-called war on terror, the decision leaves the indefinite detention
provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) intact. The
provision was ruled unconstitutional in 2012 by a federal court in New
York after Hedges v. Obama was filed in January of that year, but that
decision was overturned by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the
summer of 2013.
There's also this:
The first paragraph is
complete nonsense: it does bear on the government's authority
to detain U.S. citizens, and besides, who objects to public
intellectuals taking up the rights of non-US citizens? The appeals
court of the U.S., showing that the law protects the state much
rather than the citizens (whose interests the state once was
supposed to serve).
The appeals court said
the challengers had no standing because they could not show the
provision has any bearing on the government’s authority to detain U.S.
The court said the
plaintiffs who were not U.S. citizens lacked standing to sue because
they did not show “a sufficient threat that the government will detain
them” under the provision.
The second paragraph is complete nonsense, even if true: If the
government would detain them - indefinitely, on some hidden place,
without benefit of a lawyer - they could not protest either, and be
I have said that I went down from 4 metafolate a day -
together 3200 mcg - to 3, but in fact it very soon became 2, which is
1600 mcg. The reason is that I have had some nights of considerable
in my legs, especially, which were probably due to some disproportion
the supplements I take, and especially too little potassium.
It is quite a bit better now, and there will be a fuller report on
Thursday or Friday.
 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.)
 My writing that "I am probably not an
anarchist" is due to the fact
that I know there are a lot of anarchisms, and I do not know all of
them. But I am not a socialist, and many anarchists seem to be a lot
more optimistic about the average of mankind than I am, who likes to
see them have 50 more IQ points, at least, than they have, though I
know that is an irrealistic desire. (And no: my background is a poor
proletarian one, albeit also a communist one, which is one reason I
have few illusions to loose about the underprivileged.)
 By and large most of my differences
with most people about politics
have to do with my communist and proletarian background, which gives me
a different background from almost anybody else, especially
gave up on communism when many of my generation pretended to be
but did not give up on the morals of my parents, which most of
generation never even understood, and next with my very strong
grounding in philosophy of science, logic and mathematics, which again
gives me a quite different perspective than almost all who are
"politically active" (who rarely are interested in science, alas).
As to the four persons I mentioned: They are all four considerably more
intelligent than the vast majority, which is one reason to like them,
for me, for I think that intelligence is quite important, and that most
simply are not intelligent. I have written some about the men on the
list (though probably not
enough, and certainly not about Chomsky) so here is only a bit about
Abby Martin: I know of her only because she spoke out about the Ukraine
on RT, where she has a daily program called "Breaking the set",
so I do not know much about her, but she is intelligent and I do like
her choices, without agreeing with all of them. (Also she looks like a
girlfriend I lived with for 5 years, when I was around the age she is
now, before she was born, but that is hardly relevant, though a bit odd
(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: