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Nederlog


  November
22, 2014
Crisis: Ukip generalized, NSA reform, CIA blocks report on torture
  "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.
 Rochester byelection: beliefs of Ukip voters are soaked in
     leftwing populism

2.
After Fearmongering Kills the NSA Reform Bill, What’s
     Next?

3. Senator: White House Simply Doesn't "Want Public to
     Know" Scope of CIA Torture


About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, November 22. It is a
crisis log.

It's a Saturday, and I also slept too little. In any case, I found no more than 3 articles with 3 dotted links, and they follow: Item 1 is nominally about Ukip in Great Britain, but it seems to me more is involved, and I sketch it; item 2 is
about the fearmongering that killed the NSA reform bill, and is more or less OK but forgot to mention two forces that are effective against the NSA; and item 3
is about the Senate's Report on torture by Bush's CIA, that is obstructed by Obama's White House and the present CIA: The less the democratic voters
know, the better this is for the CIA, indeed.


And here goes:

1. Rochester byelection: beliefs of Ukip voters are soaked in leftwing populism

The first item today is an article by Owen Jones on The Guardian:
This starts as follows - and broaches a more general theme:

If the seemingly irresistible rise of Ukip teaches us anything, it is that sentiment all too often trumps reality and mere detail in politics. The party is a self-described “People’s Army”, now emboldened by a victory in Rochester and Strood it hopes will bring renewed momentum. Its voters are disproportionately working class.

Polls suggest they support renationalising rail and energy and want higher taxes for the rich and an increased minimum wage. According to research by the academic Matthew Goodwin, 81% of Ukip supporters believe “big business takes advantage of ordinary people”; a slim majority want the government to redistribute income; and they overwhelmingly agree “there is one law for the rich and one for the poor”.

These are beliefs soaked in leftwing populism; and yet those who subscribe to them have flocked in droves to a party of the hard right. Ukip’s leaders now defiantly, unapologetically present themselves as a people’s insurgency against a contemptuous establishment.

There is considerably more in Owen Jones's article. In fact, the reason for the article is a small English byelection that was won by Ukip, so it is not itself that important in fact, but it may herald things to come in the UK, and indeed also is somewhat similar to the US midterm elections, that were won by the Republicans.

I agree with Owen Jones that one of the things the British outcome shows, and indeed also the US outcomes show this, at least in my opinion, that "
sentiment all too often trumps reality and mere detail in politics".

But it may show considerably more than this, namely the following - and when I am writing "the average voter" I do mean especially the 51% whose IQs are not higher than 100; who never visited a college or university; who read very few if  any complicated books; who may work hard but who also know few historical or political facts; and whom you need to convince, if you are a politician, at least if you want a majority:
  • The average voter has lost any rational and reasonable compass (including his or her own incomes or social status: "everyone can get rich, so everyone should think like a rich man");
  • the average voter now can be manipulated by advertisement agencies to vote in majority as the advertisement agencies tell them - indeed precisely as in everyday economics; and
  • there are hardly any more rational and reasonable arguments in politics: it is all reduced to sentiments-manipulated-by-ads that the most stupid 51% of the voters can understand and process and vote for or against.
As I have said several times, I have not voted since I wasn't forced to, which was in 1971, and indeed my reasons are that I had found out by then that the vast majority of the voters did hardly know anything about politics, economics, law, science or philosophy, but voted nevertheless, while for a single individual like me, who did know rather a lot about these things by then, there were literally stadiums full of football supporters who voted for whoever massaged their sentiments best, and I did not want to take part in such a crazy, irrational and degenerate schema.

And yes, I know the most degenerate and sickest pieces of shit - currently a (bad, incompetent, lazy, well-paid) professor at the UvA - told me that "you may not talk anymore with us, because you do not vote" (and no: he did not talk with me) - as if duly voting every four years proves you are an excellent democrat, and not voting proves you are a fascist... but indeed this is another of "the sentiments" the Dutch use, successfully also, to get as many of the dumbest to vote.

Then again, I am not concerned with the Dutch now: In am concerned that, at least in the U.S. and the U.K., voting has been transformed into a game of lies and postures that is played by political types to try to convince the most stupid half of the population by bullshit, nonsense, irrelevant sentiments, and falsehoods to vote for them - and who generally succeed, and indeed also do not think anything they said to get elected imposes any duty on them when elected.

That is, what I am saying is that the current climate of our proud democracies is in fact dominated by the advertisement agencies that write the lies for the politicians to try to convince the most stupid and most ignorant half of the population: that is what is effectively left of "our great democracy", indeed next to an ever decreasing list of formal rights and freedoms that few really understand.

And note what I am saying: This means that any input into "the elective process" by the intelligent few - who make up at most 5 - 10 % of the voters - is in fact almost useless and quite wasted, for all that really counts are the advertisements that move the majority of the least intelligent and least knowledgeable.

That, at least, is how it does seem to me. (But you can vote or not as you please: I will not criticize you for either.)

2. After Fearmongering Kills the NSA Reform Bill, What’s Next? 

The next item is an article by Zoë Carpenter on AlterNet:

This starts as follows (and illustrates what I said in item 1, by the way):

For a few hours on Tuesday, the Islamic State looked like the best thing that ever happened to the National Security Agency. The USA Freedom Act, a modest bill seen as the best chance for reforming one of the NSA’s dragnet surveillance programs, failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate by two votes after Republicans insisted that it would precipitate a terrorist attack.

“This is the worst possible time to be tying our hands behind our back,” Mitch McConnell said. “We live in a dangerous world, and the threat by ISIL only makes it more so.” Marco Rubio chimed in with his own warning: “God forbid that tomorrow we wake up to the news that a member of ISIL is in the United States,” he said. Former CIA director Michael Hayden penned a Wall Street Journalop-ed under the headline, “NSA Reform That Only ISIS Could Love.”

Really, the USA Freedom Act was NSA reform that no one really loved, except maybe the Obama administration.
Yes, indeed. Of course, Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio and Michael Hayden are degenerate liars who lied, deceived and fearmongered, but then those are the processes with which elections are won and decisions get forced - and certainly not by rational argument or reasonable expectations.

Here is one conclusion Zoë Carpenter draws, and this seems a fair one:
The Senate’s failure to bring even a narrow, watered-down reform to a final vote underscores that Congress is for the most part disinterested and/or incapable in exercising its constitutional duty to oversee the intelligence community. (There are individual exceptions, of course (..))
Yes, indeed. And here is the last part of the article, that is a bit more somber than there is a need to be:
But absent the emergence of a spine in Congress with regards to the incessant fearmongering that serves as a shield for government spying, a patchwork of court rulings and the power of consumer choice looks increasingly like the only viable defense.
Here Zoë Carpenter forgets two important forces: First, the programmers, as was evidenced yesterday, here and here, and second those who still argue rationally against massive surveilling - Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept; The Guardian; the ACLU; the EFF etc.

So while the situation is bleak, it is a little less bleak than is sketched in this article.

3.  Senator: White House Simply Doesn't "Want Public to Know" Scope of CIA Torture
The next and last item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

"The public has to know about it. They don’t want the public to know about it."

That's what Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) told the Huffington Post on Thursday night regarding continued White House stalling over release of a report that catalogs the internal investigation of CIA torture during the Bush years. The comments followed a close-door meeting between Senate Democrats and Obama administration officials that took place just hours before the president gave a much-anticipated speech on another subject, immigration reform.

Rockefeller said the torture report is "being slow-walked to death" by the administration and told the HuffPost, "They’re doing everything they can not to release it."

"[The report] makes a lot of people who did really bad things look really bad," Rockefeller continued, "which is the only way not to repeat those mistakes in the future."

Rockefeller of course is quite right. Here is the New York Times:

During a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill with Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff, the senators said that the White House was siding with the C.I.A. and trying to thwart negotiations over the report’s release. The negotiations have dragged on for months because of a dispute over the C.I.A.’s demand that pseudonyms of agency officers be deleted from the report.

The C.I.A., supported by the White House, has argued that even without using the real names of the officers, their identities could still be revealed.

According to several people in attendance, the meeting was civil, but neither side gave ground, and it ended without resolution. The Senate Intelligence Committee spent five years working on the 6,000-page report, which is said to provide grim details about the torture of detainees in C.I.A. prisons during the Bush administration, and describe a persistent effort by C.I.A. officials to mislead the White House and Congress about the efficacy of its interrogation techniques. The committee voted this year to declassify the report’s executive summary, numbering several hundred pages, but the fight over redactions has delayed the release.

And this is what they are disagreeing over:
Earlier this week, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), also member of the committee, characterized the CIA’s arguments for leaving the report heavily redacted “ludicrous.”  Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said the version under discussion would leave all but 15 percent of the report blacked-out. "Try reading a novel with 15 percent of the words blacked out—" Heinrich said. "It can't be done properly."
Note that the Senate is supposed to control the CIA...
Meanwhile, a coalition of advocacy groups—including RootsAction, Demand Progress, Win Without War, CodePink, USAction, and others—argue the senators on the Intelligence Committe have another path if they truly want to give the public a look at the scope of the abuses perpetrated by the CIA. And, according to the groups, the senators have no obligation to wait for permission from the White House to act. As the coalition points out in a statement,  "Members of Congress have an absolute right to free speech, and a member could enter the report into the Congressional Record in its entirety—just as the Pentagon Papers were by Senator Mike Gravel in 1971—without fear of prosecution."
So it seems that it is up to Senator Mark Udall:
The group has put particular focus on outgoing Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to step forward and release the report. Udall lost his re-election bid earlier this month and will be leaving the Senate in January. Signers of the petition say that if Udall, or other members in a position to do so, take the "heroic and courageous act" of releasing the full report,  "we and countless others will support you."
It is currently not known what Senator Udall will do.
---------------------------------
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.)


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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