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Nederlog


 October
25, 2014
Crisis: Nuclear arms, Cameron, Smith, Privacy, Bill Moyers, Koch Congress
  "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 Promised a "World Without Nuclear Weapons,"
     But May Now Spend $1 Trillion on Upgrades

2.
In his anger, Cameron has made Britain a toxic brand
3. Iain Duncan Smith thinks he can cure disabled people as if
     by magic

4. European Privacy in the Age of Snowden: We Need a
     Debate About What Intelligence Agencies Are Doing

5. Bill Moyers: Grassroots Pro-Democracy Movement Must
     Rise to Challenge Corporate Control

6. 'Koch Congress' Could Make Oligarchy Official 

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, October 25. It is a
crisis log.

There are six items with six dotted links: Item 1 is about nuclear arms and Obama's plan to invest $ 1 trillion dollars in them; item 2 is about Cameron's refusing to pay the EU; item 3 is about the plans of Iain Duncan Smith to get even more money to the rich; item 4 is about privacy, mostly in Europe; item 5 is about Bill Moyers, who at 80 stops with TV; and item 6 is about the many  blessings a Republican-dominated Congress will bring.

1. Obama Promised a "World Without Nuclear Weapons," But May Now Spend $1 Trillion on Upgrades

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

This is about one of the very many failed or false promises by president Obama.
In April of 2009, he said:
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. First, the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons. To put an end to Cold War thinking, we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and urge others to do the same. Make no mistake: As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee that defense to our allies, including the Czech Republic. But we will begin the work of reducing our arsenal.
These were all lies - at least, that is what I think based on the facts of this case, and on my general opinion of president Obama, that developed from sympathy for his words to holding now that he was and is a Republican lite president who always wanted to be a Republican lite president. (And there is more in the quote, for which you have to click the last dotted link.)

And here is Amy Goodman more than five years later:

AMY GOODMAN: Well, that was April 2009. Later that year, President Obama’s disarmament efforts were cited when he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, the United States has failed to meet its nuclear promises. In fact, a recent New York Times investigation found the United States is on pace to spend as much as $1 trillion over the next three decades to rebuild its nuclear arsenal and facilities. As of 2013, the Federation of American Scientists estimates Russia has about—a stockpile of about 8,000 nuclear warheads, while the U.S. has about 7,300.
There is a lot more in the article, which is in fact an interview with Elena Sokova, executive director of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.

This I leave to your interests. But I will quote Bertrand Russell's "History of the world" from 1960 ("in epitome for {For use in Martian infant schools}"):
Since Adam and Eve ate the apple, man has never refrained from any folly of which he was capable.
    (Gaberbocchus Press, 1970).

2. In his anger, Cameron has made Britain a toxic brand  

The next item is an article by Jonathan Freedland on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

Anger suits David Cameron. It’s one of the modes he does well. He is skilled at contrition – his Bloody Sunday apology was the moment he became, rather than merely held the office of, prime minister – but fury is his forte. The cheeks colour, the fist pounds the lectern, the words turn plain and demotic. On Friday he channelled the voice of middle-aged men everywhere as they open a brown envelope to discover an unexpected demand for cash. “I’m not paying that bill,” he said, the face puce. “It’s not going to happen.”

The sceptical will say Cameron was play-acting, that he can’t really have been surprised by the European commission’s demand that Britain “top up” its contribution by an extra £1.7bn – to reflect the UK’s better than realised economic performance over the past two decades – and cough up by 1 December. Treasury officials have known this was in the works for months. Still, even if this was no October surprise, Cameron had to turn his facial setting to purple. He couldn’t afford to be out-angered by Nigel Farage. 

There is a considerable amount more, that you can get by clicking the last dotted link.

As for my own take (not quite like the Guardian): I think the EU has done Cameron a favor by giving him a reason to bow out of the EU. But we will see.

3. Iain Duncan Smith thinks he can cure disabled people as if by magic 

The next item is an article by Frances Ryan on The Guardian:
This has the following subtitle (and I have ME since 36 years now, in which I did make a B.A. and an M.A. with only straight A's, but never could practice, and without it ever having been deemed fit to have me declared ill by the Amsterdam drugs-corrupted politicians and bureaucrats: I had to suffer and suffer and suffer, because I had objected to Amsterdam's mayor being the friend and protector of Dutch major drugsdealers, and helping them to turn over at least 10 billion dollars a year in illegal soft drugs in Holland alone):
Thousands of people with degenerative conditions such as MS and Parkinson’s are being deemed ‘able to work soon’ by DWP assessments that are as cruel as they are incompetent
Here is some on how Iain Duncan Smith hopes to murder - or so it seems to me: these things have happened before, though they probably will suicide for lack of money and perspectives - several thousands of his fellow Englishmen, for the simple reason that they are too ill to work:
Almost 8,000 people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular atrophy, Parkinson’s disease, cystic fibrosis and rheumatoid arthritis have been put on this lesser “will be able to work soon” benefit, according to an investigation by the conditions’ respective charities. Of these, 5,000 people were put into the category despite assessors actually writing the phrase “unlikely [to be fit for work] in the longer term” on their reports. It is unclear exactly how IDS is achieving this modern-day miracle.
Well, this seems to be a typically fascist plan: See Action T4 for the German Nazi model. This went a little further, and may be said to have been "more successful" (over 200.000 ill people were murdered), but there is a future yet for British Conservatism - and think of all the money this means, if liberated, for the rich and very rich Englishmen!

As to IDS (Iain Duncan Smith)'s honesty and reliability:
IDS hates ingratitude. As he told Channel 4 news this week when Krishnan Guru-Murthy suggested disabled people felt “hard done by” under this government’s policies: “We probably spend more on disabled and sick people in Britain … than almost any other country in the developed world.” He doesn’t let the fact that this is a lie stop him. He inserts the word “probably” and then says whatever fits with his policies.
This is Frances Ryan's conclusion:

I believe IDS is “probably” incompetent and is reducing thousands of people, scared, in pain, and humiliated, to poverty. This latest farce is emblematic of a government-wide culture of dehumanising, dangerous benefit cuts that have rotted every part of the social-security system and are causing people to die.

For this government, work for disabled people doesn’t simply mean paying them less. It means forcing them into the job in the first place. The terrifying thing is that this isn’t a joke. Iain Duncan Smith has been given the power to play with people’s lives.

Yes.

4. European Privacy in the Age of Snowden: We Need a Debate About What Intelligence Agencies Are Doing    

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

This starts as follows
As the movie "Citizenfour" about National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden opens in theaters in the United States, we look at the impact his leaks have had on the debate over online privacy in Europe. The Austrian newspaper Der Standard reports the NSA has accessed nearly 70 percent of telecommunications in Vienna, home to thousands of diplomats from around the world. Earlier this year, Germany ordered the removal of a top U.S. intelligence official in the country after leaks from Snowden showed the United States was monitoring the communications of millions of Germans and tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone. In a victory for digital privacy, the European Court of Justice struck down a rule that required telecommunication companies to store the communications data of European Union citizens for up to two years.
I haven't seen "Citizenfour" yet, but I am glad it is very widely reported to be very good, and is also being widely seen now. (Also, I am still manually removing the emails I receive that are all supposed to be read by the Dutch AIVD, without there having been any change in policy in Holland.)

But OK. Here is Edward Snowden addressing
the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (from a clip):
EDWARD SNOWDEN: Mass surveillance, where we place everybody under constant monitoring, where we watch communications, we watch what books you buy, we watch the purchases you make, we watch your travels, we watch your associations, we watch who you love, and we watch who you are, we watch you develop as a person—these are not the values of Western societies. These are not the values of liberal societies. And I do not believe that America, as a nation, or the West, as a culture, would allow them to continue.
In fact, these are the values of fascistic societies - and by "fascism" I mean here the combination - indeed: the unification - of the corporate powers and state power, which we now see developing in the U.S. and in Europe, this time not because of a dictator or the desires of the population, but because the corporations want it, and have bought most of the politicians.

Note that the definition of "fascism" (or "nazism": the same applies) is quite classical. I prefer it because I used it in 2012 (see here for an update) as the best term for the system I saw and see developing, and it still seems to me to be the most appropriate. [2]

The rest of the article (and video, but I almost never look if I can read, for reading is much faster) is given to an interview with
Andreas Krisch, president of European Digital Rights.

It is a fairly good interview that I leave to your interests, except for one thing:
ANDREAS KRISCH: Well, we live in a world of mass surveillance. We have to understand that every piece of communication that we do—is it online, is it via telephone or whatever—is going to be stored and analyzed by somebody. It is, on the one hand, the U.S., the NSA, but also European intelligence agencies like the GCHQ in U.K. or the German BND and a lot of others. And this is something that we need to stop. This is something that we need to work to re-establish our fundamental rights to privacy and for secret communication.
Clearly, I agree with everything he says about mass surveillance, but I do like to point out that we have "fundamental rights to privacy and for secret communication": what has happened is that our Western governments have grown very corrupt by the promise that they would know everything about anyone, and have denied us the exercise of the freedoms we have - NOT to be arbitrarily spied upon by the billions, in secret by secret services - because "they can" with the help of their secret services, essentially because the internet so far is run nearly completely without encryption.

I mean: it is a mess, but it is a mess mostly because the spying agencies have made the mess, illegally and indecently, and these are protected by their governments, who also want to glean into your shower, your mail, your photos, your contracts, your diseases, your secrets, tour plans, your income, and your life in general, in all detail, simply to make sure that you do not deviate from their ideals, and to be able to brand you "a terrorist" if and when you do, if not now than in a few years.


5. Bill Moyers: Grassroots Pro-Democracy Movement Must Rise to Challenge Corporate Control

The next item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

In late September, veteran journalist and public television host Bill Moyers, now eighty-years old, announced he was finally retiring (and yes, this time he means it) after more than forty years as one of the nation's most trusted voices in news, politics, and culture.

Though he briefly left television in 2010 after his show Bill Moyers' Journal came to end, he and his team returned to public television with a new show, Moyers & Company, in 2012. Alongside a new web platform, BillMoyers.com, the show became a weekly assessment of current events with Moyers interviewing some of the leading voices and experts on economic, political, environmental, and social issues.

However, in his note to viewers on September 29, Moyers wrote that as the end of the third year of Moyers & Company approaches "it’s time finally to sign off."
I am sorry to hear it, for I liked him and his programs: he is a truly decent man.
But he also is 80, and spent 40 years on television, so I can understand why he would want to retire.

Here are some quotes that support my judgement.

First, there is this, on the three most important issues:

The Q&A's lead-off question got straight to the point, with a participant asking Moyers to identify the three most important issues now facing the nation and to explain their significance.

Moyers responded: "(1) We have to figure out how to have a morally-based conversation about politics and economics.  If it's all about money and return on investment and stock shares and all that, instead of what kind of society works best for those who don't have such "goods", we're finished as a democracy,  because some people will be able to buy anything they want and vast numbers of others will be unable to afford what they need.  (2) The corruption of power and money is so pervasive and systemic that we have to take it on at every level, which requires that (3) There has to be a broad-based movement for democracy that mirrors and exceeds what Bill McKibben, 350.org and kindred spirits like Naomi Klein have built to reverse global warming."

Yes, I agree - and I also agree with the implicit point that the real topic is not global warming (which I agree is a fact, but many don't, and anyway is mostly
in the future) but austerity, poverty, income inequalities, and real and effective democratic government, mostly controlled with the help of a truly free press. As it happens, most ordinary Americans, quite unlike their usually rich political leaders, agree on this: Money must be removed from politics; the income inequalities have to be made much less; and the government must govern for the people rather than for the corporations.

Second, there is this - which is a theme I regularly wrote about, but very few do:
Moyers acknowledged the reality that a majority of people simply are not paying attention to these key political issues, but that this fact should not dissuade those who are paying attention from continuing to push for the necessary changes.  "The fate of society—especially democracy," he said, "depends upon the minority of people who care enough to engage and stay engaged."
Yes, indeed - and everything that ever gets decided about the many always is decided by the few, indeed for good or for bad: The many only may elect some of the few who will take the decisions.

Third, on the greatest current challenge:
The greatest challenge we face in America today is to stop the buying and selling of our politicians and political process by corporations and the rich.  You may have seen the story earlier this week: For the first time ever the Vatican rented out the Sistine Chapel to a corporation—Porsche—for guests who paid $8,000 a head to attend a concert there.  For the first time a corporate donor determined who could be invited to that sacred place.  That's what has happened to democracy.  Either we reverse Citizens United and insist democracy is about equal representation, or we might as well close up shop. 
Yes indeed: as long as money is in politics and corporations are people, which were both agreed to by a majority of the Supreme Court, what you will see is a rapid increase in fascism: the rich will ever take more, and the rights of ordinary people on a decent life with a decent income will simply disappear (or be branded "terrorist").

Fourth, there is this on money in politics and corporations as people:

Q: Do you support a Constitutional amendment to get the money out of politics and end corporate personhood?

Yes.  One that says: "Corporations are not people. Money is not speech."

Precisely.

Fifth and last, there is this to give some perspective and some hope:
Pespective helps: I don't think anything we are facing today, except for global warming, is more than my grandparents and my parents faced.  Remember, they lived through the First Gilded Age or the Roaring Twenties that flamed out into Great Depression.  World War II. The Holocaust.  Sustained racism.  The Korean War. Vietnam.  And so on.  So I take heart that if they tackled their generation's challenges, we can, too.  Furthermore, as the political scientist Gramsci said (and I may not have it exactly): Practice the pressimism of the mind -- see the world as it is without rose colored glasses; but also practice the optimism of the will -- do whatever you can, wherever you are, to make this a better world.  We have to keep criticizing what's wrong, but we are also obligated to act to change what it is we are criticizing. 
Yes indeed. Both of my parents lived through ten years of depression and five years of WW II, and only got a little money from 1966 onwards, when my father got pensioned, albeit quite badly and unfairly, for having spent nearly 4 years in diverse German concentration camps for being in the communist resistance to Nazism.

6. 'Koch Congress' Could Make Oligarchy Official

The next item is an article by
This starts as follows:

At a time when most Americans agree that the country has too much power in too few hands, the world’s two wealthiest men are only six seats away from seizing the Senate and consolidating their current control of the House.  The result could be a full “Koch Congress” that further rigs the rules in their favor.

Libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch have a combined net worth four times that of well-known Democratic donor George Soros, and one hundred times that of Tom Steyer.  

This summer, participants in the Kochs’ secret billionaires’ summit pledged to raise $500 million to take the Senate in 2014 midterm elections. After four decades of funding front groups and an elaborate ideology they call “economic freedom,” the Kochs embody today’s emerging American oligarchy. No one else can even compare.

There is considerably more under the last dotted link - and I fear it is too late to stop them in 2014.
---------------------------------
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] And yes, I do know about fascism and nazism, and the definition I supply is classical, and I do see this arise in the U.S. and Europe.


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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