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Nederlog


  September
13, 2014
Crisis: Obama*2, 2/3rd, Climate, Tech Giants, Brave New Orwellian, Senate, Yahoo
  "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.
Obama Charged with 'Imperial Hubris' Unmatched Even
     by Bush

2. Americans Now Fear ISIS Sleeper Cells Are Living in the
     U.S., Overwhelmingly Support Military Action

3. Climate crimes: Naomi Klein on greenwashing big
     business

4. Tech Giants Pull Massive Bait-and-Switch on Your Privacy
5. “We Are In that Brave New World, and We Are Capable of
     Being In that Orwellian World, Too”

6. Senate Kills 'Citizens United' Reform
7.
Obama Rallies America To War & Why ISIS Should Be
     Thrilled

8. Yahoo Releases Documents Proving NSA Forced Them To
     Violate User Privacy


About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, September 13. It is a
crisis log.

There are eight items with nine dotted links. I think rather a lot is interesting, but I am quite willing to agree it also is disappointing, that is, if you are interested in a constitutionally governed U.S. that is not governed by big money.

It seems that is over and done with: the constitution has been done away with by propaganda and lawyer's bullshit, while big money has been put in the chair were it can decide all by the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court.

As Senator Bernie Sanders said:
“[T]he average American has one vote and the Koch Brothers have one vote plus the ability to put tens and tens of thousands of ads on the air. That is not democracy,"
But that is the present U.S. governmental system:

A small elite of millionaires who decide in the interests of millionaires and billionaires, while deceiving the majority of the electorate, also with the help of the main stream media.

And no: That is not democracy.

1. Obama Charged with 'Imperial Hubris' Unmatched Even by Bush

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

This starts as follows (and I said yesterday the war - that isn't called "war" - is illegal in my opinion):
A day after President Obama told the American public he was preparing to bomb targets inside the sovereign state of Syria and that he did not need congressional approval to do so, critics are lashing out against what Bruce Ackerman, a professor of law and political science at Yale University, described as "imperial hubris" on Friday.

In his scathing op-ed in the New York Times, Ackerman writes:

President Obama's declaration of war against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition. Nothing attempted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, remotely compares in imperial hubris.

Mr. Bush gained explicit congressional consent for his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. In contrast, the Obama administration has not even published a legal opinion attempting to justify the president’s assertion of unilateral war-making authority. This is because no serious opinion can be written.

This became clear when White House officials briefed reporters before Mr. Obama’s speech to the nation on Wednesday evening. They said a war against ISIS was justified by Congress’s authorization of force against Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that no new approval was needed.

But the 2001 authorization for the use of military force does not apply here. That resolution — scaled back from what Mr. Bush initially wanted — extended only to nations and organizations that “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks.

And Ackerman's not alone.

Here is Zoe Carpenter from The Nation quoted:

The White House’s dismissal of the need for congressional approval is also in conflict with positions Obama himself expressed as a presidential candidate. “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” Obama declared to The Boston Globe in 2008.

The situation in Iraq and Syria does not appear to meet that standard. Obama acknowledged on Wednesday that “[w]e have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland.” Meanwhile, intelligence sources say that the threat from ISIS has been grossly exaggerated. “It’s hard to imagine a better indication of the ability of elected officials and TV talking heads to spin the public into a panic, with claims that the nation is honeycombed with sleeper cells, that operatives are streaming across the border into Texas or that the group will soon be spraying Ebola virus on mass transit systems—all on the basis of no corroborated information,” former State Department counterterrorism adviser Daniel Benjamin told The New York Times.

And here is Bruce Ackerman again:
"The president seems grimly determined to practice what Mr. Bush’s lawyers only preached," the Yale professor concludes in his op-ed. "He is acting on the proposition that the president, in his capacity as commander in chief, has unilateral authority to declare war. In taking this step, Mr. Obama is not only betraying the electoral majorities who twice voted him into office on his promise to end Bush-era abuses of executive authority. He is also betraying the Constitution he swore to uphold."
Yes, and his modus operandi seems to be: Frighten the people and then do as you please. As I have said repeatedly before: This is the Goering Principle, and it works, if your electorate is stupid enough, and it is:



And so it goes...

2.
Americans Now Fear ISIS Sleeper Cells Are Living in the U.S., Overwhelmingly Support Military Action

The next item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:

Glenn Greenwald is explaining what is behind item 1. As I said there, my own theory is that it is a combination of (i) at least half of the American population can be deceived into believing most anything, while (ii) everybody's vote counts as one.

Currently, 2/3rds of the American population believes the complete bullshit that ISIS is active in the U.S., just as 2/3rds of the American population believed in 2002 that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that they had been tricked into believing. (Thank you, Colin Powell!)

Here is Greenwald's first point:

I’ve long considered this September, 2003 Washington Post poll to be one the most extraordinary facts about the post-9/11 era. It found that – almost 2 years after 9/11, and six months after the invasion of Iraq – “nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks . . . .  A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it’s likely Saddam was involved.”

(picture of the evidence about Saddam)

Is it even possible to imagine more potent evidence of systemic media failure than that (or systemic success, depending on what you think the media’s goal is)? But in terms of crazed irrationality, how far away from that false belief is the current fear on the part of Americans that there are ISIS sleeper cells “living in the United States”?

Well... it is both equally bullshit, but the U.S. population now has been tricked a second time, simply by illegal bluff, deceptions, pretensions, and falsehoods. Also, while I agree there has been a "systemic media failure", one important underlying cause is that most Americans are - I'll put it politely - not intelligent and not informed. And that is a very major problem: Who is going to see to it
that the American elite answers to the law or the constitution?! If the elite can successfully and for thirteen years mislead and deceive the majority?!

In point 3 (from 9) Glenn Greenwald says:

What kind of country goes around bombing people with no strategic purpose and with little motive other than to “flex muscles” and “show toughness”? This answer also seems clear: one that is deeply insecure about its ongoing ability to project strength (and one whose elites benefit in terms of power and profit from endless war).

It seems to me that the insecurity of the people is far less important than the security of the governing elites that they can make more than half of the people believe almost anything, and that therefore they are free to serve the military-
industrial complex
, for on every bomb made a profit is made.

Here is a good question from point 7:

It’s easy to understand why beheading videos provoke such intense emotion: they’re savage and horrific to watch, by design. But are they more brutal than the constant, ongoing killing of civilians, including children, that the U.S. and its closest allies have been continuously perpetrating?
(...)
It’s true that we usually don’t see that carnage, but the fact that it’s kept from the U.S. population doesn’t mean it disappears or becomes more palatable or less savage.

Yes, a good point: The main stream media do not show many pictures of the carnage the U.S. does do, often also against nameless civilians. This is another major shortcoming of the lack of a true free press in the U.S.: it (still and sofar) exists, but not in the main stream media, that basically systematically lie and deceive, if only (though not only) by not showing the carnages the U.S. makes.

There is considerably more in the article, which is good.

3. Climate crimes: Naomi Klein on greenwashing big business 

The next item is an article by Naomi Klein on The Guardian:

This is from near the beginning of a long article:
If we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to rise year after year, major cities will drown, ancient cultures will be swallowed by the seas; our children will spend much of their lives fleeing and recovering from vicious storms and extreme droughts. Yet we continue all the same.

What is wrong with us? I think the answer is far more simple than many have led us to believe: we have not done the things needed to cut emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have struggled to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck, because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe – and benefit the vast majority – are threatening to an elite minority with a stranglehold over our economy, political process and media.

Yes...but "we", understood as the common people, did not do this, and indeed
"we" are mostly powerless, while the political elites do what they want, and get away with it, because most of "us" get deceived by them or the media, and most common people are in any case neither intelligent nor informed.

I know my position is not popular, but then it is one of the first judgements I made, quite consciously also, at age 4: Most of the children I then first met at
school were not intelligent ("did not seem to imagine things" as I put it at 4). [2]
(There is a good piece by me on this issue here:
On a fundamental problem in ethics and morals.)

Anyway - there is a lot more in the Naomi Klein piece, but much of it is personalized: It's about the failures of Richard Branson and Bill Gates; about Naomi Klein's successful and unsuccessful pregnancies; and about her looking away for years from evidence about the rapid changes in ecology and climate.

I do not think that is very interesting. Also, while I agree climate change is real,
my own position is that the theme of intentionally changing it is too large: it cannot be done without a prior revolution, and to bring about that other projects are more realistic and important.

4. Tech Giants Pull Massive Bait-and-Switch on Your Privacy 

The next item is an article by Marcy Wheeler on AlterNet:

This is mostly a critical report on the USA Freedom Act. I'll leave it to you, but I quote the ending:

Thirteen years ago, terrorists attacked this country. They attacked it, hoping to push the United States to change its ways. In the interim, the U.S. has tortured, attacked with drones — even American citizens, embraced indefinite detention, and — directed against its own people — engaged in dragnet surveillance.

One thing we swore we would not do is lose America’s freedoms and Constitutional powers.

Congress needs to do more than rubber stamp a system of abusive spying. And the Executive needs to recognize it can defend both the country and American liberties. We’re fighting terrorism. But we’re also fighting to ensure we remain America.

As it happens, I am not convinced "terrorists attacked" the U.S. or rather: I am not convinced 9/11 was not a false flag operation. But in any case, the rest of the first paragraph is true.

And in fact, I tend to saying that "
America’s freedoms and Constitutional powers" have been lost, and indeed president Obama's new war, combined with his sanctioning and protecting spying on everyone, is good evidence that this is so, and indeed also how it was done: Mostly by propaganda and deception, that could succeed because it is easy to propagandize and deceive the majority of a population that is neither intelligent nor informed.

5. U.S. Supreme Court Justice: “We Are In that Brave New World, and We Are Capable of Being In that Orwellian World, Too” 

The next item is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:

In fact, since it is not long, here is the whole article (colors and links in the original):

Top Politicians Warn of Fascism

Current U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said yesterday in reference to spying and drones:

We are in that brave new world, and we are capable of being in that Orwellian world, too.

Two former Supreme Court Justices – Souter and O’Connor – also warned of dictatorship.

So have both Republican and Democratic congress members.

And two top-level NSA officials.

A small handful of players control:

The loonies are in charge of the insane asylum … but people are so distracted, afraid and hampster-on-a-treadmill-busy that we can’t shake of the stupor enough to reclaim our freedom.

Yes, indeed - and this piece is optimistic in not considering the evidence that this could happen in large part because most of the U.S. population is easily deceived.

6. Senate Kills 'Citizens United' Reform

The next item is an article by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:

You may have been interested in the Senate's willingness to get money out of politics. I wrote about it on September 6, last and said then:

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.

And thus it did happen. Nadia Prupis' article starts as follows:

Hope for a measure of campaign finance reform fell apart on Thursday after an amendment to overturn the Citizens United ruling failed to move forward in the Senate.

Senators voted 54-42 to end debate on the Democracy for All measure, as supporters called it, falling short of the necessary 60 votes needed.

“Senate Democrats want a government that works for all Americans—not just the richest few,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) after the vote. “Today, Senate Republicans clearly showed that they would rather sideline hardworking families in order to protect the Koch brothers and other radical interests that are working to fix our elections and buy our democracy.”

The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), would have enabled Congress and state legislators to override the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that deregulated campaign spending, which critics said gave unlimited power to super PACs and wealthy donors.

There is considerably more that you may be interested to read. Here is the ending:

"Today's vote once again shows that deep-pocketed special interests have a death grip on Washington,” said MoveOn.org campaign director Victoria Kaplan. “Our politicians, our elections and our democracy should not be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Yet, increasingly, that is the system we have. It is beyond broken. It is shameful. Once again, obstructionist Republicans have blocked sensible policy to return power where it belongs — with the people, not with the army of lobbyists and corporate spenders."

Yes, indeed - but your politicians, with help from the Supreme Court, have "auctioned off" your democracy "to the highest bidder", and have sold it to
"
the army of lobbyists and corporate spenders".

It's very sad, but that is the only tenable conclusion, together with the less important one that the politicians have been paid well by the lobbyists.

7. Obama Rallies America To War & Why ISIS Should Be Thrilled

The next item is not an article but a video by The Young Turks:

It is a 15 m 28 s video, that includes a good portion of Obama's talk, with comments and interpretations by Cenk Uygur. I agree the talk was both horrible and phony bullshit, for Obama just does not have the authority he claims, not constitutionally, as he very well knows - but twothirds of the U.S. population is misled, and Obama hides behind mere legal opinions by a lawyer who acted for Bush, and who essentially said an American president is beyond the law. Well, he isn't, but he probably will not get punished, and so he goes on.

This is the text under the video:

"President Barack Obama addressed the nation Wednesday night, setting out a long-term strategy for defeating the Islamic State -- the militant group formerly known as ISIS or ISIL -- that includes authorizing U.S. airstrikes against the group in Syria.

"We will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense," Obama said in remarks as prepared for delivery. "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 safe haven."

Obama announced the U.S. will also "increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground," noting the U.S. will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq to support Iraq Security Forces."* The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

Incidentally, Cenk Uygur is a bit more radical than I would have been.

8. Yahoo Releases Documents Proving NSA Forced Them To Violate User Privacy

Finally, today's last item also is not an article but another video by The Young Turks, this times of a little more than 9 m:

This takes up an earlier story, and shows Yahoo did well (and much better than others, especially Microsoft), which also could not be seen until now, for one of the many innovations introduced by Bush and Obama is that the pronouncements of the law, that is the court's decisions, also are kept secret, if this serves the government's interests.

This is the text under the video:
"The US government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day if it refused to hand over user data to the National Security Agency, according to court documents unsealed on Thursday.

In a blogpost, the company said the 1,500 pages of once-secret documents shine further light on Yahoo’s previously disclosed clash with the NSA over access to its users’ data. The size of the daily fine was set to double every week that Yahoo refused to comply, the documents show.

The papers outline Yahoo’s secret and ultimately unsuccessful legal battle to resist the government’s demands for the tech firm to cooperate with the NSA’s controversial Prism surveillance programme, revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden last year."
There also is a link to an article by Dominic Rushe on The Guardian:
That also is a good exposition.

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

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] This is quite true. But I assume it can be seen only by persons with a relatively rare intelligence. (And no, it did not please me age 4, and it does not please me 60 years later. But I never found cause to review my judgment.)
 


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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