6, 2014
Crisis: U.S., Media, "Legal" memos, Detroit, Scots, Cameron, Education, Disruption, Money
  "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


The U.S. Government’s Secret Plans to Spy for American

2. Media Should Be Challenging Arguments for War, Not
     Baying for Blood
3. Legal memos released on Bush-era justification for
     warrantless wiretapping

4. The Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Division of America
5. Scottish independence: A yes vote will produce a leaner,
     meaner Scotland

6. The Guardian view on David Cameron’s bedroom tax

7. 12 Theses on Education in the Age of Neoliberalism and

8. 'Disruption': Film Offers Grassroots Global Revolt as Key
     Answer to Climate Crisis

9. In 'Historic Moment,' US Senate Set to Vote on Campaign
     Finance Amendment

About ME/CFS


This is a Nederlog of Saturday, September 6. It is a
crisis log.

It has nine items, that do not seem to me to be quite what they seem, in part at least, and especially item 7, item 8, and perhaps - but for a different kind of reasons - item 9.

Also, this got uploaded some hours before the normal time.

1. The U.S. Government’s Secret Plans to Spy for American Corporations

The first item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

Throughout the last year, the U.S. government has repeatedly insisted that it does not engage in economic and industrial espionage, in an effort to distinguish its own spying from China’s infiltrations of Google, Nortel, and other corporate targets. So critical is this denial to the U.S. government that last August, an NSA spokesperson emailed The Washington Post to say (emphasis in original): “The department does ***not*** engage in economic espionage in any domain, including cyber.”

After that categorical statement to the Post, the NSA was caught spying on plainly financial targets such as the Brazilian oil giant Petrobraseconomic summitsinternational credit card and banking systems; the EU antitrust commissioner investigating Google, Microsoft, and Intel; and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. In response, the U.S. modified its denial to acknowledge that it does engage in economic spying, but unlike China, the spying is never done to benefit American corporations.

I'd say that, clearly, the first statement in the quotation embodies a lie by the U.S. government.

After all, espionage is done, from ages immemorial, to get economic and industrial data, and to get political data, and indeed to get any data that are being kept from those who try to spy.

Second, the last
statement  in the quotation offers another lie by the U.S. government: Of course it will and does benefit American corporations with the data it found.

And indeed Glenn Greenwald has the information that proves the point, and it is from the Snowden revelations. Thus, there is a secret report from 2009 that says this:
The report recommends “a multi-pronged, systematic effort to gather open source and proprietary information through overt means, clandestine penetration (through physical and cyber means), and counterintelligence” (emphasis added).
(..) the report heralds “technology acquisition by all means.”
Anyway - there is a considerable amount of more information under the last dotted link.

And it also seems as if one way of reading Obama's government sayings and get the truth is to deny everything they say, and to consider that result the prima facie best approach to the real truth.

For this certainly is the case with spying (which is nearly completely secretive, in spite of the fact that it targets everything every American does with his or her computer or cellphone, and without the least permission, and as if the government owes everyone's private data).

2. Media Should Be Challenging Arguments for War, Not Baying for Blood

The next item is an article by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

Washington’s elite media, as usual, is doing its job exactly wrong.

They are baying for war.

Pundits and reporters are seemingly competing for who can be more scornful of President Obama for his insufficiently militaristic response to the brutal Sunni militants who call themselves the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

They are  gleefully parsing Obama’s language for weakness, and essentially demanding a major military assault — while failing to ask the tough questions about what if any good it could actually accomplish.

There is a considerable amount of information to build this up.

However, I note two things: (1) Yes, this is true - the media have changed, and quite radically as well, but this is a process with several factors that has been going on some twenty years now (when it started twenty years ago, with the rise of internet and the lack of paper advertisements). And (2): While I agree that "the media" are corrupt, not all are and not all are equally corrupt
either - or simply lousy, or poor informers - though indeed I agree that the non-corrupted parts seem to be fewer than the corrupted parts, at least these days.

3. Legal memos released on Bush-era justification for warrantless wiretapping 

The next item is an article by Ellen Nakashima on The Washington Post:

This starts as follows:

The Justice Department released two decade-old memos Friday night, offering the fullest public airing to date of the Bush administration’s legal justification for the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails — a program that began in secret after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The broad outlines of the argument — that the president has inherent constitutional power to monitor Americans’ communications without a warrant in a time of war — were known, but the sweep of the reasoning becomes even clearer in the memos written by then-Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith, who was head of President George W. Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel.

“We conclude only that when the nation has been thrust into an armed conflict by a foreign attack on the United States and the president determines in his role as commander in chief . . . that it is essential for defense against a further foreign attack to use the [wiretapping] capabilities of the [National Security Agency] within the United States, he has inherent constitutional authority” to order warrantless wiretapping — “an authority that Congress cannot curtail,” Goldsmith wrote in a redacted 108-page memo dated May 6, 2004.

What an incredible and degenerate liar is - or at least: was - Jack Goldsmith!

Indeed, we do not get in this piece "
the sweep of the reasoning", but I would not at all be amazed if there is hardly any reasoning for the conclusion in the third paragraph, for that is plainly and completely anti-democratic: The president has no ""inherent constitutional authority” to order warrantless wiretapping" and evidently he also has no powers or authority "that Congress cannot curtail".

But OK - Goldsmith resigned in 2004, and seems to have changed his opinions at least a little.

There is considerably more in the article, but it seems that the situation of 2003 still mostly prevails, though the legal veneer has changed somewhat: The NSA (together with the GCHQ, perhaps) steals whatever it pleases - 850 billion documents, for example: Over a 100 for every human inhabitant of the earth - simply because it can, and the FISA-court simply rubber stamp this. And then it is all legal, or at least "legal", and still almost no one knows anything.

4. The Bankruptcy of Detroit and the Division of America

The next item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:

This starts as follows:

Detroit is the largest city ever to seek bankruptcy protection, so its bankruptcy is seen as a potential model for other American cities now teetering on the edge.

But Detroit is really a model for how wealthier and whiter Americans escape the costs of public goods they’d otherwise share with poorer and darker Americans.

There is rather a lot more, that shows how the predominantly rich and white inhabitants of Oakland County, that is hardly distinct from Detroit, except for a small sign, refuse to assist the many poor in Detroit itself:
Any hint they should take some responsibility has invited righteous indignation. “Now, all of a sudden, they’re having problems and they want to give part of the responsibility to the suburbs?” scoffs L. Brooks Paterson, the Oakland County executive. “They’re not gonna’ talk me into being the good guy. ‘Pick up your share?’ Ha ha.”

It seems as if this attitude is part of the core of the problem, and indeed this complete lack of solidarity between the rich(er) and the poor(er) parts of the U.S. economy, that also gets twisted by obvious and non-obvious racism, is part of the teachings of the neoliberal Ayn Randians, that have been put into Dutch verse long before Ayn Rand got born:

"Me, me, me, first!
 And the rest can burst!"

(Dutch: "Ikke, ikke, ikke!/En de rest kan stikken!")

5. Scottish independence: A yes vote will produce a leaner, meaner Scotland 

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

I will quote only one paragraph from this, namely the following:

I would vote yes because, though I disbelieve both Darling and Salmond, Salmond’s lies would precipitate a crisis that would have to lead to a leaner, meaner Scotland, one bolstered by the well-known advantages of newborn states and more intimate governments. Scotland’s whingeing and blaming of London would stop. It would be driven towards true self-sufficiency, capable of resembling Denmark, Norway, Ireland or Slovakia as a haven for fleet-footed entrepreneurs.

And I should add that Simon Jenkins also says he would vote no as an English London-based voter, though in fact he cannot vote at all.

What would I vote? I have no vote, but it would be yes, and my main argument would be that I haven't seen any decent English government since Thatcher. And yes, I have lived in England, but not long, and before Thatcher arrived.

6. The Guardian view on David Cameron’s bedroom tax defeat 

The next item is an article by Editorial on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

For the prime minister’s party to be defeated on the floor of the House of Commons is a pretty rare event – happening somewhat less than once a year on average over the last third of a century. For the PM’s party to go down by a hefty Commons majority of 75, as the Conservatives did on the bedroom tax today, is almost unprecedented. True, David Cameron was once hammered on a purely procedural vote after being caught by a Labour ambush, but today’s loss was over real substance: a bill to exempt poor social tenants from paying for spare bedrooms until they’ve actually got the option of somewhere smaller to live.

This is contentious social policy, with direct implications for government spending. It thus touches the government’s authority, making this a very bad first week of term for the new chief whip, Michael Gove.

Note that the bill was defeated with 75 votes. Also, there is talk in the English press that this marks the end of the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition. I don't know, since I distrust nearly all currently active well known political persons in Great Britain, but the article is here mostly because I have very little sympathy with Cameron.

7. 12 Theses on Education in the Age of Neoliberalism and Terrorism

The next item is an article by DiLeo, Giroux, McClennen and Saltman on Truthdig:

In fact, this is an excerpt from the book “Neoliberalism, Education, Terrorism:
Contemporary Dialogues”
by the same authors. I have to say I know none of these except Giroux, who I mostly avoid because he sounds so much like the quasi-marxist, quasi-progressive, quasi-egalitarian professors and lecturers I know so well from the University of Amsterdam (whence I was removed in 1988 briefly before taking my M.A. in philosophy because I dared to ask questions in a public speech).

Actually, almost none of these professors or lecturers were anything like marxists, progressives or egalitarians, but they all pretended to be because they had extremely soft very well-paying bureaucratic jobs they very much wanted to keep (and nearly all did, and for twenty-five years at least: Dutch "scientists" are state bureaucrats), and the climate in the University of Amsterdam was basically marxist or postmodernistic, while the universities were in the hands of the students from 1971-1995. [2]

So I copy the theses, but will not copy the intervening texts - and the theses are bold in the original:
1. Neoliberalism is one of the greatest threats to the future
     of progressive education in the United States.

2. The war on terror and the discourse on terrorism have
     intensified the militarization of education.

3. The humanities are jeopardized by the rise of neoliberal
     educational policies and the discourse on terrorism.

4. Cultural Studies has been a major target of the attacks
     on higher education.

5. Educational innovation is not supported by neoliberal
     approaches to education.

6. The United States public education system will be
     completely privatized if it continues to operate solely
     through market-based values.

7. Education as a public good that prepares citizens for
     collective self-governance is compromised by neoliberal
     educational policies and the war on terror.

8. The rise of neoliberalism and the discourse on terrorism
     brings about a denial of politics.

9. Neoliberal educational policies in consort with the
     discourse of terrorism promote extreme fear among
     students and faculty regarding education’s future.

10. Higher and public education is a public good and not
      simply a private right.

11. Governance structures in higher and public education
      should not mimic managerial models of corporations and
      market-driven organizations.

12. Education requires public investment.
See what I mean? If not, here is part of the blurb under thesis 5:
Experimentation in the classroom is grounded in a critical pedagogy that values an open-ended, dialogical, approach to education. The classroom in this vision of educational praxis is viewed as a potentially transgressive space wherein students and teacher mutually explore knowledge formations in a playful albeit critically engaged manner.
I mean: "grounded in a critical pedagogy" with an "open-ended, dialogical approach", also with an "educational praxis" that is no less than "a potentially transgressive space" where teachers and students "mutually explore knowledge formations", "playful albeit critical" but very "engaged" - that all sounds very much like the awful bureaucratic sick tripe that was served for 25 years in the University of Amsterdam.

And I may be mistaken, but that is what it sounds like.

8.  'Disruption': Film Offers Grassroots Global Revolt as Key Answer to Climate Crisis

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

This starts as follows:

Ahead of a mass demonstration scheduled for New York City on September 21 that will take place alongside a global mobilization aimed at world leaders meeting at the United Nations that week, climate campaigners have been ratcheting up their messaging to make their position as clear as the scientific consensus that informs it: The planet faces an unprecedented crisis due to human-caused global warming and climate change. As governments and business leaders have refused to act, it is ordinary people, pushing radically from below, who must now mobilize.

Actually, I am skeptical. See Chris Hedges' piece on September 1 (about which I am also skeptical, but for different reasons): It is too late to organize "a global mobilization aimed at world leaders", for these are a major part of the problem and indeed have caused considerable parts of the problem (namely by not doing anything effective, for something like 40 years now).

Also, I have watched part of the trailer, and I what I saw there were extremely well-dressed black and white Key Leaders of Opinion mouthing big words, cut with footage from very poor people in crisis zones.

I am sorry: I have seen this before, many times also, and it doesn't convince me at all. (In fact, it sounds like the Dutch fraudulent "leftist" Wim Kok - the friend of Clinton and Blair - who declared in effect (almost) that he would end the presence of atomic weapons in the world, in the year 1980. Well, they're still there, and meanwhile Kok has become prime minister, has pretended the left is dead c.q. replaced by "Third Way Politics", and presently earns a very fat salary as commissioner here and commissioner there. O so very credible! O so noble!)

9. In 'Historic Moment,' US Senate Set to Vote on Campaign Finance Amendment

The next and last item today is an article by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Monday on a constitutional amendment that would effectively overturn the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United. The bill, sponsored by Senator Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), "grants Congress and the states the power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to federal and state elections, respectively."

“This is a historic moment,” said Marge Baker, executive vice president at People For the American Way, which has been one of the leaders of the push for a constitutional amendment. “The Citizens United decision came just four and a half years ago, and now the Senate is about to vote on an amendment to overturn it. Americans are fed up with the staggering amounts of money flooding elections. With this level of public support for taking money out of politics, it’s clear that this is just the beginning of the push for an amendment.”

Because it would amend the U.S. Constitution, the proposal requires a two-thirds majority to pass. It would then have to pass in the House by the same majority and be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures. According to Public Citizen, 50 senators have indicated their support for the amendment.

Well... I am in favor of the amendment, but I also fear that it will not make the requisite two-thirds majority, and will get stopped somewhere along the road it has to take.

But I would be glad to be mistaken.

P.S. Sep 7, 2014: I corrected a few typos.
[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] This is all quite true, quite difficult to imagine, and typically Dutch.

The most amazing thing is that the Dutch universities were for nearly 25 years in hands of the students, but were in fact governed as Soviets, by chairmen from the Dutch Labour Party, and a University Parliament in which the communist (later: postmodern) students always had the absolute majority (which they used only for their own private interests).

At present, and since 1995, everyone in the university, and indeed most everyone in Holland, pretends there was no period from 1971-1995 at all: The profiteers, who also defended and taught the theses that "everyone knows that there is no truth" and that "everyone knows everyone is equal", still live, though most are very well pensioned now.

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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