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Nederlog


  July
4, 2014
Crisis: Orwell, Propaganda, Shocking?, NSA, Independence Day, Videos
   "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. Orwell’s Dystopian Future Is Almost Here: A
     Conversation With Glenn Greenwald

2. Stealth bombs? Killer plagues? Don't panic, just follow
     the money

3. Shocking but true: students prefer jolt of pain than being
     made to sit and think

4. Revealed: 'Collect It All' NSA Targets Those Seeking Web
     Privacy

5. Independence Day: What the He!! HAPPENED to America?
6. Videos

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of July 4. It is an ordinary crisis log.

This got uploaded a bit earlier than normal, for I have to go out, and it contains mostly quite interesting items, I think (in fact all, except 3, which is explained there).

1. Orwell’s Dystopian Future Is Almost Here: A Conversation With Glenn Greenwald

The first item is an article by Sonali Kolhatkar on Truthdig:
This starts with a quote I will also start with:

There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate, they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.
—“1984,” George Orwell

Actually, that sounds rather a lot less serious than what the NSA is doing now: They can collect all; they want to collect all; they do collect all. It is quite
conceivable that they watch(ed) everybody all the time
They say so themselves. It is true they do not read it themselves, but then they have programs which read it for them, and that can select everything from everyone who interests them at that moment, for whatever reason (which may vary very widely), and then they may compile a dossier, also on the contacts and the contacts of the contacts, that then may being handed over to the FBI or the CIA for further dealing (including destroying the evidence about where this evidence of the FBI or CIA came from), which may very well end up in a secret court at a secret place, or never end up in court at all: you or your friends may just silently disappear, for thinking wrong thoughts, or desiring wrong desires, or having (possibly) done something you should not have done, even if  you have the formal right - and almost nobody will care, for if they do, the same may happen to them. But it is all very good for security, and Obama loves it, so it must be Good! You Must Trust Him!

So that may very well be the future, since everything for it is in place, and the government wants to do it, all in your interests and for your security, or so they say, and almost no one defends you, and those who do are declared mad and immoral by the government... so I am very glad I am 64 and have no children.

I will select two bits. First there is this (and most I know from other sources):

In fact, Greenwald is a former constitutional law and civil rights litigator. During the interview, he rattled off to me the difference between a source and a journalist like it was second nature: “Sources are people in the government who have a specific legal obligation not to disclose things, whereas journalists have been recognized as having a First Amendment privilege.”

But the exercise of that privilege has brought with it criticism from both right-wing and mainstream analysts, including fellow journalists, who see Greenwald’s craft as tainted by too strong a bias. A lengthy exchange between Greenwald and former New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller in the paper’s op-ed section last year revealed the establishment conviction that good journalism can remain objective. Keller’s position that journalists should “keep their opinions to themselves unless they relocate (as I have done) to the pages clearly identified as the home of opinion” is reflective of a status quo that tends to identify anti-government opinions as bias while blindly accepting nationalistic tendencies as objective. Greenwald’s answer: “Ultimately, the only real metric of journalism that should matter is accuracy and reliability.”

Yes. Bill Keller sports "the objectivity" of a sports' journalist; not the objectivity of an investigative journalist, who generally has to find the truth from a whole lot of deceptions and falsehoods, and who does so because he or she is convinced that the truth sought is an important truth for many of his or her readers. Bill Keller sports a type of "objectivity" that only exists in a small subset of "the news that is fit to print": where most people will agree both sides are equivalent, as the two sides in a soccer tournament (that is, if neither of whom is one's own country).

Then there is this:

In Orwell’s “1984,” traitors to the regime were “thought criminals” who were disgraced by their betrayal of Big Brother. After bring singled out as such a criminal, Orwell’s protagonist, Winston, is instructed by his interrogator to believe he is “mentally deranged.” Although the novel is an extreme depiction of a fascist future, many of the tactics adopted by today’s so-called objective journalists to keep dissenters such as Greenwald and Snowden in line are consistent with Orwell’s dark fantasy. By discrediting those who speak out, it is possible to dismiss the substance of their criticisms. But, as Orwell famously wrote, “in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
Yes - and Snowden and Greenwald have been accused of the most idiotic things, and have been called mad and dangerous , while most of their news is not reported by the standard media or gets misreported - while all they did was revealing to the public that the American state organs spy on everyone, which is completely against human rights and the Bill of Rights of the Constitution.

So no: I am not optimistic. I agree that
“in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" but it is quite conceivable to me that "revolutionary acts", like telling the truth and not believing the govenment, will grow less and less and less, until everybody - who has not disappeared - is very happy indeed, all thanks to the Brave New World that was effectively started by Cheney, Bush and Obama, from 2001 onwards.

2. Stealth bombs? Killer plagues? Don't panic, just follow the money 

The next item is an article by Simon Jenkins on The Guardian:

This has a subtitle that I reproduce because it is relevant and I agree (apart from "the one superbug there is no known antidote for": there are more, such as Ebola):

Politicians and scientists have a vested interest in propagating panic: it's the one superbug there's no known antidote for

But apart from the qualification, this is quite true: Politicians these days live on fear rather on what they have done or can do, and they cultivate a climate of fear, or at least many of them do.

This starts as follows:

Now it is planes falling from the sky. On Tuesday it was "superbugs threaten return to dark ages". At the weekend it was internet thought-control menace. Last week we had killer fruit juice. The edifice of fear knows no limits, its apparatchiks know no shame.

Had the Guardian leaked yesterday's story from the US about a "stealth bomb alert" at world airports, it would have been accused of traitorously warning terrorists that the authorities were on to their new weapons. Unnamed officials were asserting "a global threat environment" related to plastic explosives hidden in body cavities and tested in Syria. Details of the cells responsible were traced by the BBC to the rightwing American Cato Institute and David Cameron's office confirmed "there are terror organisations that seek to do the UK, its citizens and its allies harm". I am sure – but why tell us now?

To answer the last question: Because "we" love to hear sensation, and do not know too many facts, and certainly not scientifically tested facts, from the hard sciences. In fact, the average "we" is pretty stupid and is so at least in part because he or she has been consistently misinformed, not only by the media but also at schools and universities.

How to respond to this daily output from the fear factory? At the drop of a headline, prime ministers disappear into "Cobra bunkers", to return telling of blood-curdling threats. These are always backed by "hard evidence" from the government's two most trusty allies, the security-industrial complex and big science and/or big pharma.

Yes indeed, and this needs three explicatory remarks.

First, the "hard evidence" the news offers is almost always what is called such by its makers and sellers, which often are the public relations firms of those putting out the "news". That is, it is slanted from the very start, even if it contains a few grains of truth. And it never is "hard", although it is often called "hard" quite shamelessly: By far the most people don't even know the scientific or legal rules by which "evidence" is to be judged.

Second, the "security-industrial complex" (and see: the military-industrial complex") is real and powerful, and is one of the most trusty allies of the government - which must always be suspected of lying: "All governments lie and nothing they say should be believed." I.F. Stone, and so must these "most trusted allies": You can safely trust that the "news" you get from them is partial, one-sided, and slanted.

Third, Jenkins is also right "big science and/or big pharma" are these days quite different from what they were a long time: Nowadays these to belong to the "most trusty allies" of the always lying or slanting i.e. propagandizing government: science and pharma are sick, and have been made sick by the profit-motive (which indeed pays a whole lot, it is fair to add).

Again, Simon Jenkins is quite correct about how to judge "the news" one is offered - and also about its main shortcoming:

There is no better maxim in politics than that of Watergate's Deep Throat, offered in the dark of a Washington car park. "Follow the money: just follow the money." Whenever I see a scare story, read a letter to the press or hear an interview, I crave to know where is the money. I am rarely told.

Yes, behind big stories, at least, there is always big money. And no, the reader is almost never told about it: The average reader's task is to believe and support, not to think and find out.

Jenkins also says, again quite correctly (and after parts I leave to your attention):

Yet what is the risk? Who knows, when they use emotive words such as threat, danger, menace, thousands dead. These are used in conjunction with what is virtually a new grammatical tense, the "future conditional horrific". Unless the subject is given a large sum of money then global warming or a storm, a bomb or a pandemic "may … might … could kill perhaps, possibly millions".

No one deploys this construction to its own gain so freely as big science, be it through professional bodies, research institutes, quangos or pharmaceutical companies. They profess to be models of intellectual rectitude, but we all have to make a living.

Yes, indeed! Very much of medical science, all of psychiatry and a lot of science I have read or tried to read the past 30 years or so consists of extremely vague language, that pretends to be very precise, and precisely is not, and that is composed a new grammatical tense, the "future conditional horrific".

It works as follows: First select what you want to propagandize. Then select a few facts that possibly are relevant. Next select a threat. Then combine these by "might" and "may": Very few will realize that "might" is almost exchangeable in logical force with "might not", and precisely the same holds for "may". Finally, lob off all qualifications like "all", "some" and "most": use only unqualified nouns: "Scientists have found evidence about a dangerous disease that may kill millions" ("and Tamiflu may save these millions! Buy it!").

Nearly all psychiatry I have read the last four years (quite a stinking lot) is composed by these rules. Much of medical science - these days more an adjunct of the propaganda-departments of the mega-rich big pharma, whose salesmen are medical doctors - turns on "may" and "might", next to enormous advertising campaigns joined with a refusal to publish any negative facts that might inhibit the sales of very expensive patented medicines.

Anyway... this is a good article, and it also lists a lot of facts that you may read for yourself. It ends like so:

The truth is that the one disease to which there is no known antidote is panic. It is a disease that politicians and professionals (including journalists) have a vested interest in propagating.

My qualification: Neither politicians nor journalists know science (for the most part); most of their audience doesn't know science; and most scientists doing a science where there is big money (medicine, psychiatry) have been corrupted by big money, and compose their sayings by means of the"future conditional horrific" (glued together by the wordlets "may" and "might": if you see these, you can safely infer it is propaganda/"public relations" much rather than real science).

3. Shocking but true: students prefer jolt of pain than being made to sit and think

The next item is an article by Ian Sample, who is the science editor of The Guardian:

There are at least two qualifications here: First, you should have read item 2. Second, I am a psychologist who had decided by 1980 that psychology is, for the most part, not a real science. (I did get an M.A. in it with straight A's, so it is not that I could not get a degree, in case you doubted that. But yes, I was quite right - see Lutus, if you want to know more.)

Here are the first four paragraphs:

It was not so much how hard people found the challenge, but how far they would go to avoid it that left researchers gobsmacked. The task? To sit in a chair and do nothing but think.

So unbearable did some find it that they took up the safe but alarming opportunity to give themselves mild electric shocks in an attempt to break the tedium.

Two-thirds of men pressed a button to deliver a painful jolt during a 15-minute spell of solitude. One man – an outlier – found thinking so disagreeable he opted for a shock 190 times.

Under the same conditions, a quarter of women pressed the shock button. The difference, scientists suspect, is that men tend to be more sensation-seeking than women.

I am a psychologist. My reaction is this: Either mankind (and womankind) totally changed the last 25 years or so or else this is sensationalist baloney from these "scientists" (who probably studied the same "science" as I and Diederik Stapel did).

And now you can read item 2 (again).

4. Revealed: 'Collect It All' NSA Targets Those Seeking Web Privacy

The next item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:

This article starts as follows:
Internet users who use online privacy tools or read certain websites may themselves become targets of NSA surveillance, according to a new investigation by public broadcasting outlets in Germany published on Thursday.

Citing documents that refer to "deep packet inspection" rules used by the NSA for its so-called "XKeyscore" program to determine what targets are selected for surveillance and how, the investigation (versions: German | English) reveals that people who seek out or use online privacy tools—including things like TOR, a network tool that provides digital anonymity and minimizes exposure to possible surveillance—may be targeted simply for making those efforts.

Other platforms targeted by the program include the LINUX open source operating system as well as privacy and encryption services such as HotSpotShield, FreeNet, Centurian, FreeProxies.org, MegaProxy, privacy.li and an anonymous email service called MixMinion. According to the reporting, the NSA characterized those who would use such services as "extremists," which sparked spirited outrage on social media as the story broke.

Clearly, you are an "extremist", yes, very little different from a "terrorist" if you do not want all your private data and e-mails being scoped up by the state fascists of the NSA, that make the US into a police-state, where everybody is fully known to the anonymous and secret spies of the government.

And my saying these are "fascist practices" - though Wolin and Wolf agree - only shows I come from a fascist terrorist family: My father was "a political terrorist" and was years locked up; my grandfather was "a political terrorist" and died locked up; I myself am "a dirty fascist" and "a terrorist" according to sixteen philosophers from the University of Amsterdam, so there! [2]


There also this:

Cory Doctorow, writing for Boing Boing in a piece aptly titled, 'If you read Boing Boing, the NSA considers you a target for deep surveillance,' says the reporting contains several key revelations. He writes:

I have known that this story was coming for some time now, having learned about its broad contours under embargo from a trusted source. Since then, I've discussed it in confidence with some of the technical experts who have worked on the full set of Snowden docs, and they were as shocked as I was.

One expert suggested that the NSA's intention here was to separate the sheep from the goats -- to split the entire population of the Internet into "people who have the technical know-how to be private" and "people who don't" and then capture all the communications from the first group.

That last suggestion seems good, if only because at present at most 1 in a 100 does have "the technical know-how to be private".

This is another article you probably should read all of - that is, if you are concerned about your privacy.

5. Independence Day: What the He!! HAPPENED to America?

The next item is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:
For non-Americans: Yes, it is the fourth of July today, and that is American independence day.

Here is the whole article (colors and links in the original):

“We Have Become Such Grumbling Drones — Powerless, Passive, And Frankly A Bit Pathetic. Our Government Is Openly Trying To Strip Away Core Privacy Protections and Increase Police Powers At Every Level. Yet, We Have Fallen Victim” to Stupid Divide-And-Conquer Tactics

Call me old fashion …

I love America …

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights …

The vision of the Founding Fathers …

The “can do” American spirit …

Americans’ ingenuity and creativity.

WHAT the h@!! HAPPENED to us???

As one of the nation’s leading Constitutions experts  – George Washington University law school professor Jonathan Turley – notes:

I am still amazed that we have come to this point of rapidly declining feelings of freedom and widespread dissociation with our political system. It is not the failure of our constitutional system and only partially the failure of our leaders.  It is largely a failure in ourselves that we have become such grumbling drones — powerless, passive, and frankly a bit pathetic. Our government is openly trying to strip away core privacy protections and increase police powers at every level. Yet, we have fallen victim to the “blue state” and “red state” mentality — allowing politicians to constantly deflect criticism by referring to the other side as the greater evil. The result is predictable and … incredibly depressing.

Background here and here.

The brief explanation of "what happened to America" consists of three points:

(1) Most Americans are stupid (I am very sorry, but this is a fact), and
(2)
Most Americans are taken in by propaganda, and
(3) Most things most Americans read nowadays is propaganda (advertisements or political or religious propaganda).

And the American state nowadays is effectively run by men and women who go in and out the revolving doors that connect big corporations and top governmental jobs, and who never do anything else (and who tend to get very rich that way: it does pay).

So it is relatively easy to explain, but the explanation, though true, is bound to be rejected, for it doesn't flatter the self-image of the majority that has been deceived quite successfully...

6.  Videos

Finally for today
I have an inspirational video that I found on Don Quijones website Raging Bull-Shit that also shows - possibly - why I do not like the pop music of the present decade (2010-2020) much: I was between 10 and 20 between 1960 and 1970, and bought the Stones, and Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin and such:
Here it is, and this is a very good version because the sound track is great, and the many photos do provide good pictures:
  Incidentally... I still like Abby Martin a lot, and you can find a lot of interesting videos here:
This is the main link, but there are a lot of categories there, and it probably is best to start in one of the categories, like this one (one choice from quite a few):
But I have to admit that the one thing I generally switch off on her site is music...but I explained that, and I am 34 years older than she is.

Enjoy!

---------------------------------

Note
[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] It is all true, but it also needs some context: My father and grandfather were arrested on August 1, 1941 and were convicted, by Dutch judges, as "political terrorists" - but the judges were collaborators with the Nazis; Holland was occupied by the Nazis; and my father and grandfather were in the resistance.
Again, it is true I was scolded as "a fascist" and "a terrorist" by 16 academic
philosophers who were very well employed and well paid, but the University of Amsterdam was between 1971 and 1995 a marxist university, it was run as a Soviet al those years, and was led by communist students and collaborators from Dutch Labour, and I had indeed protested against the very bad and politicized "education" I got in the name of "science". This was my text (as an invited speaker) and then I was removed for speaking the truth. Also, nobody did anything for me: I was a non-person (and still am: the Dutch are a most noble and honest race, and indeed most of the fathers or grandfathers of those who discriminated me were very probably Nazi-collaborators during WW II, for then very few went into the resistance, and very many collaborated, and got through the war quite safely, and meanwhile helped murder more than 1% of the Dutch population, because "these were of inferior race").


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



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