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. Obama's legal rationale for
Isis strikes: shoot first, ask
Claims All 'Authority Needed' to Further Expand
3. Why More Americans
Should See the Beheading Videos
4. Tech firms begin
'go-slow' protest in battle for the web
How the Chinese regime uses web censorship to
strengthen the state
6. Dr Munchausen:
This is a Nederlog of Thursday,
September 11. It is a crisis log.
There are six items
with seven dotted links, and I'd say at least the items about Obama and
about China are interesting. And the last item is about the crisis in
medicine and psychiatry (which may be of less concern to some, but yes:
these too are in crisis).
Obama's legal rationale for Isis strikes: shoot first, ask Congress
item is an article by Spencer Ackerman on The Guardian:
This presupposes (to an
extent) that you know president Obama has announced that he,
with his friends and allies, will degrade and destroy ISIS (which he
In case you want to read
his speech, here it is:
It is basically propaganda,
but then that is to be expected. Here are some bits from the speech,
quoted in the order in which they occur:
Our objective is clear:
we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive
and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.
Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who
threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate
to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core
principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no
This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight
for their own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our
common security and common humanity.
My Administration has
also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have
the authority to address the threat from ISIL.
May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of
I note the following:
"counter-terrorism" = terrorism. I'm sorry, but that is what it is.
- There is no permission
of Congress, not for fighting in Syria nor in Iraq (but I agree he
probably may get it).
- As to "a core principle of my presidency: if you
threaten America, you will find no safe haven": The U.S. president assigned himself the freedom to drone
anyone anywhere, on the ground that they may have "threatened America".
I suppose to some he sounds like an adult, but since when can any
president from any state threaten to bomb anyone anywhere he disagrees
- The "American
leadership" paragraph is total bullshit: In the end the Americans fight
for the American military-industrial
complex and oil industries, which have an excellent spokesman in
- There is an
"appropriated" missing after "have" in "I have the authority":
He does not have the authority, and he does not want to
ask it, though he probably would get it, from Congress at least - but
- It's all a divine
mission, to blow up unknown persons with drones, in a pretended fight
"for freedom and justice", that seems in fact to be about the continued
billions of war-related profits for the military-industrial
Supposing the speech, here
is the beginning of Spencer Ackerman's article:
Yes, indeed. It is as if the Emperor Obama has decided
to kill a couple of tenthousand or hundredthousands of people he
regards as his enemies, and meanwhile is doing so (he is the
emperor: you should Trust Him), while he (or He) is kind enough
to inform the body of millionaires that are his parliament,
In the space of a single
primetime address on Wednesday night, Barack Obama dealt a crippling
blow to a creaking, 40-year old effort to restore legislative primacy
to American warmaking - a far easier adversary to vanquish than the
Islamic State. Obama’s legal arguments for unilaterally expanding a war
expected to last years have shocked even his supporters.
Ahead of Wednesday’s speech
the White House signaled that Obama already “has
the authority he needs to take action” against Isis without
congressional approval. Obama said he would welcome congressional
support but framed it as optional, save for the authorisations and the
$500m he wants to use the US military to train Syrian rebels.
Bipartisan congressional leaders who met with Obama at the White House
on Tuesday expressed no outrage.
while at the same time he is telling them "No, I don't need your
support. I am the Commander; these are My troops; I do what I please -
but if you agree you may support me. (If not, expect the FBI and the
But indeed, it is as Ackerman states: "Bipartisan congressional leaders (...)
expressed no outrage." They
are quite willing to quit their powers, and to compromise liberty for a
mere false semblance of security.
Here is more from Spencer Ackerman:
with the congressional leadership’s shrug, Obama has stripped the
veneer off a contemporary fact of American national security:
presidents make war on their own, and congresses acquiesce.
Precisely. It is
completely unconstitutional, quite illegal, and it is terrorism (of the
kind that purports to be "counter"). But it is popular, I
grant, precisely as Goering predicted.
The constitution envisions
the exact opposite circumstance. A 1973 reform, the War Powers
Resolution, attempted a constitutional restoration in the wake of the
Vietnam war, ensuring that the legal authorisation for conflict
deployments were voided after 60 days.
As to Obama's peacefulness, here is more Spencer Ackerman:
While Obama may
think of himself as a bulwark against perpetual US war - and while his
political adversaries consider him insufficiently martial - his actions
tell a different story. Obama’s foreign-policy legacy is marked by
escalating and then extending
the Afghanistan war beyond his presidency; empowering the CIA and
special-operations forces to strike on undeclared battlefields in
Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya; the 2011 Libya war; and now
returning US warplanes to the skies above Iraq, and, soon, expanding
their mission to eastern Syria.
Which altogether are "undeclared battlefields" (which makes them unconstitu-
tional!) in six different countries. And note please that each "undeclared battlefield" brings much (private) profit to the military-industrial
Here is the last bit by Spencer Ackerman:
The American and
global publics can reasonably ask what 13 years of US war have durably
achieved. One answer, unlikely to have been anticipated by the
architects, caretakers and practitioners of this conflict, is the
hobbling of legislative restrictions on war enshrined in the
constitution, and the expansion of a legal authority Obama said last
year kept the country on an unacceptable footing of perpetual war.
I do not know these
consequences were "unanticipated", in part because the American
authorities clearly wanted to do as they please for a long time, and it
seems that under Obama now they can: "I am a former professor of
constitutional law. I wipe my ass with the Constitution. The
millionaires that got elected, often by spending large fees on their
elections, applaud me. What more do I want?! I can do as I please."
(No, He did not say that. But He might just as well. "Change"!)
2. Obama Claims All 'Authority Needed' to
Further Expand 'Endless War'
item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This is given to the
same theme as item 1, and starts as follows:
Obama expected to deliver a national address on his plans for expanding
the U.S. war against militant forces in Iraq (and possibly Syria) on
Wednesday, the U.S. public is once again facing the sad fact that after
thirteen years since the attacks of September 11, 2001, permanent war
has become the nation's steady state.
Yes - and at a time that
the U.S. can least afford it: Very much could be done
with the trillions that disappear in the war and the pockets of the
leaders of the military-industrial
complex, but according
to Obama it is far more important to drone the ISIS than to
improve the U.S. roads, education, economy, jobs, student debts, other
major debts, banks, and what not: First kill the anti-American
terrorists in Yemen or Syria! That is urgent! They may kill you in
Jon Queally continues:
On Tuesday, Obama
met with Congressional leaders where he indicated his position that he
already had all the authority he needs to execute the strategy he has
He does not have
"all the authority he
needs to execute the strategy he has in mind" - but given the state of Congress, and the fear of
terrorism by non- Americans he can pretend to have them.
Nevertheless, it remains quite illegal and quite unconstitutional, but
then will very probably be exonerated by the next U.S. president.
In a piece posted
in Bloomberg, political correspondent Jonathan Allen said
the "trick" Obama has to achieve in his Wednesday night address
will be "getting the American public, Congress and allies abroad to
sign on" to his new strategy to take on the group know as the Islamic
State (formerly called ISIS), which operates in war zones in both Iraq
Yes. It is a trick
because constitutionally he needs approval of Congress, and
indeed also the approval of the United Nations. But he doesn't want
either, because he believes Congress may be more extreme than he is (in
which he may be right!), and anyway he seems to think that if he wants
to kill people he calls "terrorists", he has a right to (which is just
unconstitutional nonsense, as he very well knows, but few in Congress
Next, Jon Queally quotes Glenn Greenwald:
Here’s how you
know you live in an empire devoted to endless militarism: when a new
3-year war is announced and very few people seem to think the president
needs anyone’s permission to start it (including Congress) and, more
so, when the announcement - of a new multiple-year war - seems
quite run-of-the-mill and normal.
Yes. But then I must
again insist that half of the U.S. electorate has an IQ lower than 100,
and hardly has a sense of history, a grasp of politics,
an understanding of propaganda,
any legal nous, or any grasp of philosophy or science, while all may
vote, and all count as 1:
If you keep saying to such an electorate that "these are evil
terrorists who want to kill you, and these are more evil terrorists,
and they are not even Christian, and they want to crucify you, and see
there are even more Hitler-like Islamic terrorists who want to kill
you, rape your wife and daughters, and since all I want to do as your
president is to drone them a bit, I think I may" - then you get the
go-ahead, regardless of law, of common sense (the chance of an
American being killed by terrorists is less than being hit by
lightning), of decency, of morality, or of international legal
agreements, provided you are the most powerful nation to start
with, that spends enormous amounts on "defense".
And this is what has been happening, though indeed less by Obama
himself than by most of the media. (But Obama uses this propaganda, and
adds some of his own, e.g. that he has authority that he in fact
Finally, here is Mark Weisbrot, who gets quoted by Jon Queally:
Just as the U.S.
Constitution provides a check on the president’s authority to wage war,
at the international level there is the law of the United Nations,
which is supposed to govern the use of force in international
relations. Article 2 of the U.N. charter, to which the U.S. is a
signatory, prohibits the use of military force against other nations
unless authorized by the Security Council. There are exceptions,
for threats of imminent attack, but the U.S. is not under imminent
threat of attack and no one has claimed that it is.
That is fair and true
enough - except that it hasn't worked all this century. (And
Iraq did not form "imminent
threat" in 2001, and the
untruths about "weapons of mass-destruction" it was supposed to have,
turned out to be gross lies.)
More Americans Should See the Beheading Videos
item is an article by Peter Maass on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Yes - although it seems
to me that murdering by poison (that may not work) is not very much
less barbaric or monstrous, and yet that is current U.S. law. I agree
those murdered got a trial and may be guilty of murder themselves, but
legal murder is not a legal sanction anymore in nearly all
Western states, except for the U.S.
Beheading is barbaric.
The men of the Islamic State who executed
James Foley and Steve Sotloff are monsters. Yet their monstrosity
does not fully explain our fury over their beheading videos, or the
exhortations we have heard to not share or distribute the harrowing
We are right to be
repulsed. But I think part of our horror stems from the fact we rarely
see images of American victims of war. It is the last taboo in our era
of endlessly transgressive media — publishing photos or videos of
injured, dying, or dead Americans in a war zone. How has this taboo
been maintained? To a great degree, the reason is censorship on the
part of the American government.
I do not know whether more Americanas should see the beheading videos:
I didn't, and I do not think seeing them would change my opinions (and
I have seen plenty of puctures of cruelly killed men, women and
children), but I agree with Peter Maass that the American people has
the right to see "images
of American victims of war".
What difference that would make I do not know, but censorship nearly
always is a very bad thing, if only because it makes the censors more
human or at least more powerful than those they deny the right to see
what the censors have seen.
4. Tech firms begin 'go-slow' protest in battle
for the web
item is an article by Dominic Rushe on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I am in favor of net
neutrality, but I did not see any of this yesterday, though it also is
the case I did not look for it.
Much of the internet went
on a “go-slow” protest on Wednesday, as some of the world’s largest
tech companies began a protest over proposals that could create fast
web lanes for some companies.
firms including Netflix, Etsy, FourSquare, KickStarter, Mozilla,
and Vimeo installed a widget on their sites to show how they believe
the internet would look if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
overturns “net neutrality” rules.
There is a lot more in the article, that I leave to your interests.
5. How the
Chinese regime uses web censorship to strengthen the state
item is an article by Andrew Brown on The Guardian:
starts as follows:
The Great Firewall
of China is one of the wonders of the modern world. Hundreds of
thousands of censors are employed to ensure that as little as possible
is published on the internet that might inconvenience or threaten the
government. The tendency among western liberals and pro-democracy types
is to suppose that this must make the state less efficient. But suppose
the censorship is so fine-tuned that it actually strengthens the
repressive apparatus by making it cleverer, rather than simply
squelching all opposition?
And according to Andrew
Brown, that is exactly what happened. I tend to believe him (but do not
know Chinese). Here is how the Chinese system of state censorship (for
that is what it is) works:
The result, which
confirms earlier results, is that you can say pretty much anything you
like on Chinese media, providing that it does not lead to any kind of
action. “Chinese people can write the most vitriolic blogposts about
even the top Chinese leaders without fear of censorship, but if they
write in support of, or [even] in opposition to an ongoing protest – or
even about a rally in favour of a popular policy or leader – they will
Here is one of the
consequences (which goes against Keith Alexander and the NSA's
It is also a blow
at the idea of artificial intelligence and algorithmic censorship. If
the internet is to capture information of use to the ruling party, it
has to be operated by human censors. There are lists of keywords that
will get a post blocked or at least reviewed, but these are very crude
and easy to circumvent.
I think that is correct,
at least now, and also in the U.S. This doesn't mean that I agree to
the spying of the NSA; it does mean that I do not think it will at
present find much.
Finally, here is the last sentence of the article (which is good):
This is future
George Orwell never saw: a jackboot poised above a human face – and the
face talks on and on about kitten pictures.
For that is allowed. Of
course, the jackboot will come down if any action outside the internet
is involved, somehow...
and last item is an article by Dr. Healy on his site:
this article dates back to 1997, when it was refused by three journals.
It is a good article, and supports my contention that you better avoid
psychiatrists, if you can help it (and instead you may visit a
psychologist, who probably will be more inclined to listen to you,
precisely because he or she cannot prescribe pills).
Here is the last paragraph:
become the Religion of our day – the Opium of the Masses. It took
a very long time to discover abuse and pedophilia in institutions like
the Catholic Church. It may be particularly difficult to do so
when it comes to an institution that people feel they have little
option but to believe in.
Yes, indeed - and I also
like to remark that the state of medicine is a lot worse than
it was till 1980 or so, precisely because Big Pharma since then moved
in, and Big Pharma doesn't care for patients, nor for patients rights,
nor for real and adequate information, or indeed for medical doctors
who disagree with it: It only cares for profits, indeed quite as the
neoliberal ideology has it.
For more - if you want it - see the DSM
index or DSM-5: Medicine is a very sick business in the US - 2.
P.S. Sep 12, 2014: I made a few
corrections and added a link
 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.)
(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: