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Nederlog


  September
18, 2014
Crisis: Snowden, Goodman, Poitras, Black, Brown
  "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
















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Sections
Introduction

1.
 No, Snowden’s Leaks Didn’t Help The Terrorists
2. U.S. Ground Troops Back in Iraq? General Hints Broader
     Military Effort May Be Needed to Fight ISIS
 
3. Laura Poitras Documentary Depicting First Contact With
     Snowden Slated For Release

4. Bill Black: The New York Times’ Coverage of EU Austerity
     Remains Pathetic

5. A Public Bank Option for Scotland

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Thursday, September 18. It is a
crisis log.

There are today 5 items with 5 dotted links.
I think most items are interesting, although for the most part they are about various backgrounds. But surely, it is relevant to know that Snowden did probably not help any terrorists, not even unconsciously; that Poitras has a new film about Snowden; that Black explains the New York Times's very misleading coverage of the crisis and the massive betrayals of the leftist ideals and practices by prominent "leftist" political leaders; and that Brown explains how an independent Scotland has much to gain with a public bank.

1. No, Snowden’s Leaks Didn’t Help The Terrorists

The first item is an article by Murtaza Hussain on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

Did Edward Snowden’s revelations on NSA surveillance compromise the ability of intelligence agencies to monitor terrorist groups? Contrary to lurid claims made by U.S. officials, a new independent analysis of the subject says no. As reported by NBC:

“.…Flashpoint Global Partners, a private security firm, examined the frequency of releases and updates of encryption software by jihadi groups….. It found no correlation in either measure to Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s surveillance techniques, which became public beginning June 5, 2013.”

The report itself goes on to make the point that, “Well prior to Edward Snowden, online jihadists were already aware that law enforcement and intelligence agencies were attempting to monitor them.” This point would seem obvious in light of the fact that terrorist groups have been employing tactics to evade digital surveillance for years. Indeed, such concerns about their use of sophisticated encryption technology predate even 9/11. Contrary to claims that such groups have fundamentally altered their practices due to information gleaned from these revelations, the report concludes. “The underlying public encryption methods employed by online jihadists do not appear to have significantly changed since the emergence of Edward Snowden.”

That also seems eminently reasonable: Clearly, there were jihadis a long time before Edward Snowden became prominent, and clearly they did encrypt their mails, also for a long time.

As the article also makes clear, this will not stop well-known liars lying, but it is noteworthy that they have no factual basis.

2.   U.S. Ground Troops Back in Iraq? General Hints Broader Military Effort May Be Needed to Fight ISIS

The next item is an article by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows:
A week after President Obama vowed not to send ground troops into Iraq to fight the Islamic State, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted ground troops may be needed. “If there are threats to the U.S., I would of course go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground forces,” Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. President Obama is expected to visit U.S. Central Command headquarters in Florida today to discuss his strategy to confront the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, Congress is voting this week on a request from Obama for authorization to arm and train Syrian rebels. We speak to Rep. Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington state.
And that indeed is the main reason this is here:
"A week after President Obama vowed not to send ground troops (..) Gen. Martin Dempsey (..) admitted ground troops may be needed".
It seems to me that was also true on the day Obama made his speech, but OK: I merely register it.

One other thing is Obama's betrayal of the Constitution, which also is the title of an article by Yale's law professor Bruce Ackerman:

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to a recent opinion piece by Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman in The New York Times, the article headlined "Obama’s Betrayal of the Constitution." In it, Ackerman writes that some senators and representatives would, quote, "prefer to let the president plunge ahead and blame him later if things go wrong. But this is precisely why the War Powers Resolution sets up its 60-day deadline: It rightly insists that unless Congress is willing to stand up and be counted, the war is not worth fighting in the name of the American people." Your response to this, Congressmember McDermott, and what President Obama says about going to Congress?

REP. JIM McDERMOTT: Well, I disagree with the president on that. When George Bush was hurtling toward Iraq and saying he had all the power to do it because he was commander-in-chief and all that stuff, we ultimately brought him to the point where he called for a vote in the House. Now, I didn’t like the way the vote came out, but from a democratic standpoint, from a democracy standpoint, it was absolutely what must happen. The Congress must say, "Yes, Mr. President, we back you when you go into Iraq." And I think that the president, President Obama, is in that same situation here.
Well, that is at least clear. And I agree with McDermott that Obama does not have the authority to start wars without the prior approval of Congress (apart from some eventualities everyone agrees do not obtain here).

3. Laura Poitras Documentary Depicting First Contact With Snowden Slated For Release  

The next item is an article by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

Laura Poitras' new documentary about Edward Snowden's revelations of National Security Agency surveillance will have its global premiere on October 10 at the New York Film Festival, event organizers announced Tuesday.

Poitras, an award-winning filmmaker and journalist, was the first reporter to communicate with whistle-blower Edward Snowden about his evidence of NSA spying. Her film is called "CITIZENFOUR," the name that Snowden used when he reached out to Poitras in 2013 via encrypted emails. The documentary includes footage of the encounters that took place, five months after the initial contact, when Poitras flew with journalist Glenn Greenwald to Hong Kong to meet with Snowden.

Poitras has been personally monitored by the U.S. government, placed on the watch list of the Department of Homeland Security, and sustained border harassment and detentions in numerous instances for her journalistic work, including that prior to her contact with Snowden. She told the Associated Press that she chose to edit CITIZENFOUR in Berlin because she felt her material was not safe in the United States.

That is good news. It will support Edward Snowden and the cause of a free internet without spying (except as regulated by the Fourth Amendment).

Also, you should realize that the following quotation from Edward Snowden is true:
Laura and Glenn are among the few who reported fearlessly on controversial topics throughout this period, even in the face of withering personal criticism, [which] resulted in Laura specifically becoming targeted by the very programs involved in the recent disclosures. She had demonstrated the courage, personal experience and skill needed to handle what is probably the most dangerous assignment any journalist can be given—reporting on the secret misdeeds of the most powerful government in the world—making her an obvious choice.
My main reason to quote that is in fact "the few": This seems to me to be both correct, and not a reason to face the future with little care. There simply are not many persons like Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.

Finally, here is first a quotation about Laura Poitras, who is, according to Glenn Greenwald:

"(..) easily one of the bravest and most brilliant people I’ve ever met."
And then one by her:
It’s not OK that we have a secret court that has secret interpretations of secret laws; what kind of democracy is that? I felt like, this is a fight worth having. If there’s fallout, if there’s blowback, I would absolutely do it again, because I think this information should be public. Whatever part I had in helping to do that I think is a service.
Yes, indeed. The only thing that is missing is the secret spying on everyone that these secret courts cover by secret interpretations of secret laws, and no, it is not democratic at all.

4. Bill Black: The New York Times’ Coverage of EU Austerity Remains Pathetic  

The next item is an article by Bill Black (<- Wikipedia) on Naked Capitalism:

I like Bill Black, who is one of the few to consistently have opposed the banks, their corrupt managers, and the crisis, and who has done so in fine articles. I select two quotations.

First, on what his article is about and, especially, about Clinton, Blair, Brown and Hollande:

The article focuses on the betrayal of the people of France and his own Party by President Hollande, but you won’t learn that by reading the article.  Instead, you’ll learn that Hollande is following the pattern of Tony Blair.  Of course, the article doesn’t mention four things about Hollande’s copying Blair’s neo-liberalism, slavish devotion to big finance, his view of even the most helpful and desirable budget deficits as undesirable, and his betrayal of labor.

(...)

First, Blair was copying Bill Clinton.  Second, Clinton and Blair’s embrace of these policies ended in economic catastrophe.  Third, Blair and Gordon Brown devastated the Labor Party.

Fourth, Clinton and Blair had the immense luck of governing during bubbles that collapsed under their successors.  This meant that their devotion to austerity bit their successors.  Brown and Hollande’s refusal to fight for essential stimulus has prevented any meaningful economic recovery and discredited their Parties.  Hollande promised in his campaign to fight against austerity, but when push came to shove he purged the members of his cabinet pushing for stimulus.
Yes, that seems all quite correct, and certainly neither Clinton nor Blair nor Brown has ever appeared leftish to me, except in their evident lying and posturing, which borrowed a lot of the leftist rhetoric, and at the same time also often falsified it.

Second, there is this:

Anonymous “critics” falsely claim (without any cited factual support) that “welfare systems” created a “debt crisis” in an unstated nation or nations – presumably Greece, the only nation that even remotely comes close to that description.  Austerity, by contrast, is the product of the right wing of eurozone and it sent the entire region into a second Great Recession, parts of the periphery into a second Great Depression, and Italy into a third Great Recession.  So, why is the “existential crisis” not the crisis of the “right?”  Yes, if “the left” renounces the exceptionally effective programs that produced a superb quality of life and made their policies immensely popular, what would “it stand for?”  It would, like Clinton, Blair, Brown, and Hollande, stand for the neo-liberal practices that caused catastrophic damage to the economy, massive inequality, rewarded the most venal and corrupt members of our society, betrayed all of the left’s principles, led to crony capitalism, and caused their parties to suffer severe losses at the polls.
Yes, quite so, and that also is one important reason why I like neither the political right nor the political left: The political right is in favor of the rich, period; the political left is also in favor of the rich, but dishonestly so. And yes, I have been adding "political" in both cases to indicate it are especially the leaders who betray the people, and less the people themselves (though these tend to be deceived in majority by their leaders).

And no, not everyone. But "the left" is mostly quite dead, and was not only killed by Clinton, Blair and Brown, but also first by quasi-marxism [2] and then by postmodernism that ruled much of the universities and the intellectuals from 1970 till 2000.

The quasi-marxist years, from 1970-1985, followed by the postmodernistic
years, from ca. 1980-2000, have failed everyone of genuine intelligence in the universities (always a minority, by the way), and indeed played major havoc with the truth, which is what universities were supposed to study. For the quasi- marxists insisted that truth is not objective, but is partial, and sided, and depends on one's class; while the postmodernists insisted that truth does not exist at all, and all there is are "narratives" and "texts".

Anyway - there is considerably more text in the article, but I think the two selected quotations are rather important, and explain quite a lot quite well, and also make clear that what one has to explain is the betrayal of the leftist political leaders.

5. A Public Bank Option for Scotland 

The next and last item is an article by Ellen Brown (<- Wikipedia) that I found on Washington's Blog but that originates on her site:

This starts as follows:

Scottish voters will go to the polls on September 18th to decide whether Scotland should become an independent country. As viv blogger Ian R. Crane colorfully puts the issues and possibilities:

[T]he People of Scotland have an opportunity to extricate themselves from the socio-psychopathic global corporatists and the temple of outrageous and excessive abject materialism. However, it is not going to be an easy ride . . . .

At least this gives my own reasons to support Scottish independence, and also my own doubts.

But to start with, here are some of the things Crane thinks are possible, with a majority of Yes-votes:

To achieve true independence, Crane suggests the following, among other mandates:

  • Establish an independent Central Bank of Scotland.
  • Issue a new Scottish (Debt Free) Currency.
  • Settle any outstanding debt with new Scottish Currency.
  • Take Scotland out of the EU.
  • Take Scotland out of NATO.
  • Establish strict currency controls for the first 3 years of independence.
  • Nationalize the Scottish oil & gas industry.
  • Re-take control of the National Health Service.
  • Establish a State Employment Agency to provide work/training for all able-bodied residents.

And here starts Ellen Brown's contribution:

If Scotland were to say, “We’re starting a new round based on our own assets, via our own new bank,” exciting things might be achieved. A publicly-owned bank with a mandate to serve the interests of the Scottish people could help give the newly independent country true economic sovereignty.

This then gets explained in the rest of the article, which I leave to your interests, except that I like to say that publicly owned banks are quite possible, since they exist, even in the United States.

So no, it is not a mere dream: it is based on fact, and it is quite possible.

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

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 "quasi-" is prefixed to "marxists" because (i) it is quite true for the most part: I met few marxists who knew Marx, or more than a few thin books, and also because (ii) my parents were real marxists, for something like forty years, and especially my father knew quite a lot about Marx. Also, I definitely did not meet anyone like my father in the university.


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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