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Nederlog


  September
1, 2014
Crisis: NSA, Climate, UK "terrorism", terror & "terror", 7th year of crisis
  "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
















Sections
Introduction

1.
 How the NSA Helped Turkey Kill Kurdish Rebels
2. The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals
3. Michael Fallon hits out at Ashdown's criticism of
     'kneejerk' response

4. To really combat terror, end support for Saudi Arabia
5. The 7th year of the crisis

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Monday, September 1. It is a crisis log.

1. How the NSA Helped Turkey Kill Kurdish Rebels

The first item is an article by Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach, Michael Sontheimer, and Holger Stark on The Intercept:
These are two contiguous paragraphs from the article:
Documents from the archive of U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden that Der Spiegel and The Intercept have seen show just how deeply involved America has become in Turkey’s fight against the Kurds. For a time, the NSA even delivered its Turkish partners with the mobile phone location data of PKK leaders on an hourly basis. The U.S. government also provided the Turks with information about PKK money flows, and the whereabouts of some of its leaders living in exile abroad.

At the same time, the Snowden documents also show that Turkey is one of the United States’ leading targets for spying. Documents show that the political leadership in Washington, D.C., has tasked the NSA with divining Turkey’s “leadership intention,” as well as monitoring its operations in 18 other key areas. This means that Germany’s foreign intelligence service, which drew criticism in recent weeks after it was revealed it had been spying on Turkey, isn’t the only secret service interested in keeping tabs on the government in Ankara.
There is a lot more in the article. It probably will not make the U.S. government happy, but this is modern spying.
2. The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals

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

This starts as follows:

The climate change march in New York on Sept. 21, expected to draw as many as 200,000 people, is one of the last gasps of conventional liberalism’s response to the climate crisis. It will take place two days before the actual gathering of world leaders in New York called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. The marchers will dutifully follow the route laid down by the New York City police. They will leave Columbus Circle, on West 59th Street and Eighth Avenue, at 11:30 a.m. on a Sunday and conclude on 11th Avenue between West 34th and 38th streets. No one will reach the United Nations, which is located on the other side of Manhattan, on the East River beyond First Avenue—at least legally. There will be no speeches. There is no list of demands. It will be a climate-themed street fair. 

The march, because its demands are amorphous, can be joined by anyone. This is intentional. But as activist Anne Petermann has pointed out, this also means some of the groups backing the march are little more than corporate fronts. The Climate Group, for example, which endorses the march, includes among its members and sponsors BP, China Mobile, Dow Chemical Co., Duke Energy, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Greenstone.
Yes, indeed - but this is one of the differences between the U.S. and Europe: In Europe most people, including the governments, do believe in climate change. The U.S. stands apart from the rest of the world, mostly because the GOP in majority still rejects climate change.

In fact, the first file of the crisis, that I wrote precisely 6 years ago, namely on September 1, 2008, in Dutch, was mostly given to a large corporate-funded pure propaganda advertisement that called for "help for the little ice-bears" and urged putting ordinary democratic processes aside "to built more windmills".

The undersigned varied from the biggest trade union, the City of Amsterdam, the University of Delft to Royal Haskoning, Nuon, the Rabobank, the Triodos Bank - in short "everyone who is someone" (and makes enormous profits somehow and is corrupt in Holland).

So in Europe the topic of climate change is mostly a governmental topic (as was the Kyoto Treaty, though that didn't work as planned and meanwhile also has expired).

Back to Chris Hedges. He doesn't expect anything from "the climate change march", and I think he is right. What Hedges wants is considerably more radical:
Our democracy is an elaborate public relations charade. And the longer we accept this charade the longer we will be irrelevant. Only when we understand power can we fight it. This fight must be waged on two fronts. We must disrupt the machinery of corporate capitalism and at the same time build parallel, autonomous structures for self-governance that address basic needs such as food and green energy.  (...) “The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships,” Marx wrote, “the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.” And this makes our struggle a battle for ideas as well as a battle for power. 
I agree with Hedges' diagnosis of current democracy ("an elaborate public relations charade"). But (1) I see very little hope at present for disrupting "the machinery of corporate capitalism" in any major way, and even less for building "parallel, autonomous structures for self-governance" while (2) I do not think Marx meant what Hedges thinks he meant - and if Marx were right, the "battle for ideas" is lost anyway. [2]

Indeed, Hedges also says that "T
his is not a battle I would have picked", but ends the paragraph in which he says so by insisting that he also does not live in a system that works the way he wants it to work.

Hedges' last paragraph is as follows:
Resistance will come from those willing to breach police barricades. Resistance will mean jail time and direct confrontation. Resistance will mean physically disrupting the corporate machinery. Resistance will mean severing ourselves from the dominant culture to build small, self-sustaining communities. This resistance will be effective only when we refuse to do what we are told, when we turn from a liberal agenda of reform to embrace a radical agenda of revolt.
Well...yes and no. I am in principle in favor of resistance, and indeed my parents were in the resistance in World War II, and also afterward, as members of the Communist Party. But few Dutchmen were in the resistance during WW II (fewer than went into the SS, for example: that was quite popular in Holland, until April 1945); my father and his father were locked up as "political terrorists" in German concentration camps, which killed my grandfather; and my father, who died in 1980, never saw anything like a social revolution in his life, although he expected it.

So the first conclusion I draw is that few people will resist, and I mean actively resist. (Very many more will talk endlessly about how one ought to resist, somehow.) My second conclusion is that one needs ideas before resisting, and these ideas need to be good if the resistance is going to have any chance of success. I do not see them in the U.S. (with a few exceptions that do not matter much, for making revolutions, I mean), and indeed there is hardly a real Left since Bill Clinton sold out - "it's the economy, stupid!" - to the banks.

My third and last conclusion is that I first want to see something like a real left, and also something like a collapse in capitalism (which is far more probable to happen than not, in my opinion, if the banks are not regulated), before I counsel people to resist.

On the moment neither condition obtains, so I think it is high time for ideas.


3.  Michael Fallon hits out at Ashdown's criticism of 'kneejerk' response 

The next item is an article by Nicholas Watt, Toby Helm and Jamie Doward on The Guardian:

One honorable gentleman speaks of "kneejerks"; another honorable gentleman in reply "hits out"... and here is the beginning of the article:

Tensions between Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats over how to counter the terrorism threat from extremists has blown into the open after the defence secretary, Michael Fallon, dismissed claims by Paddy Ashdown that Tory ministers are guilty of kneejerk responses.

Speaking in the wake of the accusation by the former Liberal Democrat leader that Tory ministers took to the airwaves on Friday to warn people "how frightened we should be", Fallon warned of "very real threats" from extremists.

The defence secretary told Sky News's Murnaghan programme: "We've had tube trains blown up, London buses, Glasgow airport attacked, a soldier murdered in broad daylight – these are very real threats we are dealing with. This isn't any kind of kneejerk response. The prime minister made clear on Friday we need to be calm and measured about how we do this."

O Lord! More people die in ordinary traffic each day, but Michael Fallon, who also was with Thatcher, tells the public "Trust me! You have much to fear, and therefore I want all the powers the government can get".

He plays the Goering card, as did Cameron, and not "to protect the public" but to get all the powers they can possibly get:


4. To really combat terror, end support for Saudi Arabia

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

Here is most of the first paragraph:

The so-called war on terror is nearly 13 years old, but which rational human being will be cheering its success? We’ve had crackdowns on civil liberties across the world, tabloid-fanned generalisations about Muslims and, of course, military interventions whose consequences have ranged from the disastrous to the catastrophic. And where have we ended up? Wars that Britons believe have made them less safe; jihadists too extreme even for al-Qaida’s tastes running amok in Iraq and Syria; and nations like Libya succumbing to Islamist militias.

And not only that (wars that make the military-industrial complex billions of dollars), but also total surveillance by the secret services of anyone, by stealing everyone's private data because the government refuses to keep up the law (especially in the U.S.), and an incredible increase in the powers of the state, which is again at the cost of the great majority of the population (who anyway are not listened to, and are getting less powerful and less rich by the day).

There is a lot more, all worth reading, and it ends thus:

So much rhetoric about terrorism; so many calls to act. Yet Britain’s foreign policy demonstrates how empty such words are. Our allies are up to their necks in complicity with terrorism, but as long as there is money to be made and weapons to sell, our rulers’ lips will remain stubbornly sealed.

Yes indeed.

5. The 7th year of the crisis

This is the seventh year of the crisis. I date it as starting today, since I started my crisis series on September 1, 2008 (in Dutch), but the precise date is not very important, though it does fall in the summer of 2008, and before September 1.

I will write something about the crisis now, but I start with my writings about the
crisis (<- the last index file), and only then arrive at some things I have learned.

A. My writing about the crisis

Since the
crisis started six years ago, I have written over 600 files about it (or mostly about it: some files that are in the crisis index also have some other materials), and I do not know of anyone else who did so. This doesn't mean no one else did, but it does mean few did the same.

I have to admit that while I have a site of more than 520 MB (which is more than 500 middlesized Penguin Classics, in case you want some comparisons, and yes: by far the most of it is text and is written in html), which I mostly wrote myself since 1996, when it started, I do not reread much of what I wrote, except briefly after first publishing it, and that is mainly for correcting typing mistakes (for I still write without a spelling corrector: I much dislike them).

So I have to admit that while I did read all of the files in the
crisis index at least twice, I haven't read most of the files since briefly after publishing them.

The main reason not to reread them is that they are mine and have been published, and I do know what and how I think, which also hasn't changed very much the last 40+ years, though I did read a very great amount in these years. (I have no TV and am ill.)

Then again, I may have forgotten much of the details, also since I tend to publish something new on the site every day, and indeed have done so since 2009, with few exceptions, and also did so mostly, though less constantly, since 2002.

In any case: there is at least 5 MB of text in the
crisis files alone, and you are welcome to them.

B. Some of what I learned about the crisis

I was
far more hopeful that the crisis would soon be dissolved in 2008 and 2009. This was mostly because I did not understand it then as I do now:
  • The crisis of 2008 is the direct result of the banks' freedom to do as they please, which they mostly got from Bill Clinton ("it's the economy, stupid!").
  • The crisis has not been resolved in any way except in saving the banks with many billions from the taxes, because this would decrease the banks' chances on further profits: In fact, the situation with the banks seems now
    worse than in 2008.
  • The crisis in a broad sense (that covers the economy, education, health care, public debate, politics and law, and the climate) has several roots that go back to the Eighties and the Sixties (notably surveillance of everyone - Brezezinski, 1969; lowering the taxes of the rich - Reagan, 80ies; removing the regulations of the banks and the corporations - Clinton, 90ies; and Lewis Powell's secret program that seems to have mostly united the rich and powerful - 70ies).
  • The crisis is basically a struggle of the few rich and powerful for more riches and more power, at the cost of the poor and the middle class, and in the U.S. the Republicans and the Democrats are just two sides of the same coin, that almost always falls to please the rich and the powerful.
  • The crisis also continues because most of the free press and the media have been broken down or replaced by propagandists for the rich and powerful, and because the U.S. governments spend their billions of tax money much rather on war than on civilization.
These are just five things that emerged the last six years. There is more to be told, but I have to reserve that for another time. 
---------------------------------
P.S. Sep 2, 2014: I corrected some typos.
Notes
[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] The quotation of Marx was meant as one of the foundations of historical materialism, that held that in the end everything in any human society depends on and derives from the economical relations. I disagree, but it would lead too far to explain why.


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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