12, 2014
Crisis: Greenwald *2, the state, imagination, Obama, M.E.-day
   "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. Glenn Greenwald: the explosive day we revealed Edward
     Snowden's identity to the world

2. Glenn Greenwald: 'I don't trust the UK not to arrest me.
     Their behaviour has been extreme'
3. Who really wants to roll back the state? Not the right
4. The Power of Imagination
5.  Factsheet Obama
6.  International M.E.-day

About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of May 12. It is a crisis issue.

It also starts with two items with or about Glenn Greenwald. The reasons for that are that tomorrow is the date his new book, "No Place To Hide", will get published; he is meanwhile quite famous (or infamous for Fox News afficionados); and I like him, mostly because he is smart and honest. There will be more on him tomorrow, I do not doubt, but that is the way things are. (I don't complain, but some may.)

The next item is mostly about Great Britain, and shows neither the left nor the right (in Britain) is "against the state". I agree with much of it, but not with the claim that "the left", as is, must undo the harms the right has done, for I don't think they will, though I am willing to believe they will budget differently. The item after that is an article by Chris Hedges I disagree with, in the end because I am a radical of the Russellian kind, much rather than a religious rebel.

Finally, the fifth item is a factsheet about Obama that Obama-supporters should consider, while the last item is about today being the international M.E. day.

1.  Glenn Greenwald: the explosive day we revealed Edward Snowden's identity to the world

The first item is an article by Glenn Greenwald and it is in The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
On Thursday 6 June 2013, our fifth day in Hong Kong, I went to Edward Snowden's hotel room and he immediately said he had news that was "a bit alarming". An internet-connected security device at the home he shared with his longtime girlfriend in Hawaii had detected that two people from the NSA – a human-resources person and an NSA "police officer" – had come to their house searching for him.
There is a lot more under the link, that I found quite interesting though mostly known, and clearly this has lot to do with the fact that his new book "No Place To Hide" will be published tomorrow.

2. Glenn Greenwald: 'I don't trust the UK not to arrest me. Their behaviour has been extreme'

The next item is an article by Ed Pilkington on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

The dogs can smell Glenn Greenwald long before they see him. As we drive up the hill to his house, a cacophony of barking greets us. The chorus is so overwhelming it makes me think of the National Security Agency (NSA) chiefs who Greenwald has tormented over the past year."They don't bite," Greenwald says as we are engulfed by the pack of strays that he and his partner, David Miranda, have rescued. After a beat, he adds: "… as long as you don't show any fear." I'm not certain he's joking, which is awkward, given that there are 12 of them, ranging from an 80lb Burmese mountain dog to a rat-sized miniature pinscher.

Well... I am not a dog lover myself, but it is good to know Greenwald's house is difficult to approach for NSA, FBI, CIA or other men, without being warned.

Again, there is a whole lot more, for Ed Pilkington went to Rio de Janeiro to interview Greenwald, and again I will mostly leave this to you, but I will give two quotations of things I did not know.

First, about Greenwald and Great Britain:

"I don't trust them not to detain me, interrogate me and even arrest me. Their behaviour has been so extreme and offensive, and the political and media class was so supportive of it, that I feel uncomfortable with the entire atmosphere," says Greenwald.

He insists he has never had animosity towards Britain. "But the more I've learned, the more troubling it has become."

For me, who also has followed the story closely since June 10, 2013 or indeed since June 6 and June 7 of that year (while I am writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008) that sounds quite reasonable.

Next, there is this about the NSA's own values in private:

Greenwald reprints in the book an NSA slide from Snowden's documents that, when he first saw it, almost made him laugh because it is so surreal. Titled "New Collection Posture", it sets out the scale of the NSA's ambitions in astonishingly frank terms: "Sniff it all, Know it all, Collect it all, Process it all, Exploit it all, Partner it all."

"The NSA wrote that slide because they believed they were doing this in total secrecy – that nobody was watching them," Greenwald says, his face lighting up with excitement. "They were speaking in ways that no public official would ever speak if they thought they were being overheard. It's precisely why privacy is so important."

Yes, indeed: "Sniff it all, Know it all, Collect it all, Process it all, Exploit it all, Partner it all."

There is a lot more, and considerably more that I did not know than there is in the previous item (under the dotted link).

3. Who really wants to roll back the state? Not the right

The next item is an article by Owen Jones on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

Behold, the onward march of the state. Describing the current occupants of No 10 as statists might sound provocatively counterintuitive. Ever since the neoliberals began reshaping Britain in their own image, from the 1970s onwards, state-bashing has become a kind of national religion. Critics of austerity – such as myself – have slammed today's Tories for rolling back the state in ways Margaret Thatcher would have dismissed as too radical. The Lib Dems are fellow travellers: when Nick Clegg became their leader, he promised to "define a liberal alternative to the discredited politics of big government". Projections by the Office for Budget Responsibility suggest day-to-day spending on public services will drop to levels unseen in Britain for decades.

And yet, in so many ways, this government has promoted the growth of the state through its policies.

Yes, indeed: The policies of the Tory government are simply to make the rich even richer, at the costs of the poor. Their "Freedom!" is freedom to exploit, not freedom from being exploited; their "Equal Rights!" are more rights for the rich, and far fewer for the poor.

The article gives some good examples of this, that I recommend to your interest, and it ends as follows:

For the right, rolling back the state means allowing the wealthy to behave as they wish, while coming down hard on the poor. They hand public assets to profiteers at knockdown prices, robbing the taxpayer and leaving individuals at the mercy of private companies who have no interest in their wellbeing. Taxpayers spend far more on subsidies for privately owned railways than they did in the era of British Rail: "rolling back the state" in this case means "socialism for the rich". "Individualism" for the right means leaving the rich to prosper at the expense of society while those at the bottom must sink or swim.

The authoritarian statists in No 10 have got away with dressing themselves up as freedom-loving champions of the individual for too long. The fight for personal freedom and liberty is a great historic cause, but it now falls to the left to take it up.

Yes, indeed - except that the left as is, at least, is as corrupt as the right, in Great Britain, ever since Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. So I would have formulated the last sentence e.g. as follows:

The fight for personal freedom and liberty is a great historic cause, but it now falls to the left to take it up, after it has cleansed itself from Blairites, Brownites, corrupt parliamentarians, and would be millionaires, and from all their ideas and values.

Also, that will be far from easy, since these fine folks are in power in "the left" for some 20 years now, and also made a lot of money for themselves.

4. The Power of Imagination

The next item is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

Those in the premodern world who hoarded possessions and refused to redistribute supplies and food, who turned their backs on the weak and the sick, who lived exclusively for hedonism and their own power, were despised. Those in modern society who are shunned as odd, neurotic or eccentric, who are disconnected from the prosaic world of objective phenomena and fact, would have been valued in premodern cultures for their ability to see what others could not see. Dreams and visions—considered ways to connect with the wisdom of ancestors—were integral to existence in distant times. Property was communal then. Status was conferred by personal heroism and providing for the weak and the indigent. And economic exchanges carried the potential for malice, hatred and evil: When wampum was exchanged by Native Americans the transaction had to include “medicine” that protected each party against “spiritual infection.”

Only this premodern ethic can save us as we enter a future of economic uncertainty and endure the catastrophe of climate change. Social and economic life will again have to be communal. The lusts of capitalism will have to be tamed or destroyed. And there will have to be a recovery of reverence for the sacred, the bedrock of premodern society, so we can see each other and the earth not as objects to exploit but as living beings to be revered and protected. This means inculcating a very different vision of human society.

There is rather a lot more, and it all praises the power of the imagination, but I disagree with it, and indeed I am, unlike Chris Hedges, an atheist, and indeed always was. Also, I much distrust the power of the imagination when it is in the hands of the stupid or the corrupt.

I also much distrust a "
premodern ethic": I am pro science, pro humanism, pro enlightenment, and very much more of a Russellian than of a hippie type, and have been so since 1970 at the latest - while I also completely reject the society I am forced to be part of, as did Bertrand Russell, but not because it has lost its power of imagination, but because the images, ideals and myths it is based on are mostly ridiculous, immoral, sad or uninspiring.

Anyway - I take it this is the sort of piece a religious believer would write, and I just am not one of them.

5. Factsheet Obama

The next item is an article by the makers of St Pete for Peace:
I have listed this before, but I am doing it again, for those who still support Obama: it should give them a lot to think. (And no, I do not believe that the Republicans are any better.)

6. International M.E. day

Today - you may not know - is International M.E. day. (See below, also.)

I know because I have the disease for 36 years now, which I spent almost completely without any help and in the ordinary dole, because the Amsterdam bureaucracy has for 30 years refused to admit that I am ill - even though my illness started in the first full year of my university studies, and even though I got a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in psychology, all with straight As, indeed while being ill in the dole.

Then again, I should also say that I have given up on M.E.

That is, I will report on my experiments to do something against its effects, but I will not write any more about it, or do things related to it - at least not till there is established a medical cause - because then I must play second fiddle to thousands of anonymous ignoramuses whose IQs are 50 or more points lower than mine, but who all believe they can write anything against anyone, and especially if this is an intelligent or academically qualified person, and who also do so, nearly always moved by a mixture of envy, sadism and the desire to see and read no one who may be cleverer than they are. [2]

Well, I am, and not because anything I did for it: I had very intelligent parents, and I do not want to figure as a butt for the below-average that dictates the tune and the contents virtually anywhere, and also in M.E.-land.

I take it I will remain ill as long as there is neither established a diagnosis nor a cure, for I am ill for 36 years now, and there are
for me definitely many more useful things to do and to write about than for or about people with M.E. - for whom I anyway cannot do much, for I am really ill, and I am really not a medical man.
[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.)

[2] Before I am misunderstood: I am not only and not even mostly choosing this way because of what happened to me (for I - and my direct family - have been discriminated a great lot, also before my having M.E.): I have seen - since the end of 2009 - everyone whom I considered to be of considerably more than average intelligence and who also defended rational points of view, seen hunted down, attacked, and discriminated by vast majorities of the ignorant, the dumb and the irrational, often explicitly for reason of their being more intelligent than most. Also, I am certain this sick bullshit will continue as long as people can write anonymously, and I just do not want to be part of any outfit where anonymous dumboes have the power, simply because they are dumb and with many - no way, and for nothing.

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
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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