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."
Resistance Can Overthrow Our Political Masters
2. Stuff Happens, Like - WTF?
- A Mass Shooting in the U.S.
Almost Every Day
3. Pulling Staff from Kunduz,
MSF Labels US Airstrike a War
4. France's Government Aims to
Give Itself - and the NSA -
Carte Blanche to Spy on the
vs. Nation: The Ultimate Showdown
This is a Nederlog
of Monday, October 5, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1
is by Chris Hedges and - in fact - on revolution (I like it but am also
skeptical); item 2 is - finally - a cogent
the question: How many Americans are killed by guns operated by other
Americans since 2001: 120 times as many as there are Americans
killed by terrorists (and altogether over 400.000 persons,
since 2001); item 3 is about what happened in
Kunduz, Afghanistan: two medical groups say it was a war crime, and I
agree; item 4 is about France's government to go -
"Liberté! Egalité! Fraternité!" - the American & English way
vis-à-vis all ordinary Frenchmen: In order "to prevent
Frenchmen loose all privacy; and item 5
what the TTP and the TTIP are really about: The subjection of all
governments and all people to the - expected, projected,
asserted, future - profits of the international corporations.
1. Local Resistance Can Overthrow Our
item today is an article by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as
will be local. We will have to dismantle the corporate state, piece by
piece, from the ground up. No leader or politician is going to do it
for us. Every community that bans fracking, every university and
institution that embraces the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS)
movement, every individual who becomes
vegan to thwart the animal agriculture industry’s devastation of
the planet and holocaust of animals, every effort to build
self-sustaining food supplies, every protest to halt the use of lethal
force by police against our citizens, especially poor people of color,
every act of civil disobedience against corporate power and imperialism
will slowly transform our society.
Hm... no, not really,
though this is mostly because of the repeated "all" and "every". More
specifically, there are two reasons why this is a bit - well... -
First, not "all resistance" nor "every protest" will be well-founded,
well-argued, well-supported or indeed sane.
And in fact most leftists - let us say - will agree with this,
though they may disagree about which protests and resistance are not -
let us say - worthwile.
Second, Chris Hedges also disagrees or forgets about his own
protests against Bernie Sanders, who surely is protesting a
lot, but who does so not in accordance to Hedges' socialist
ideas, for which reason Chris Hedges does not support him, and
denies Sanders is a socialist.
Next, there is this:
Those who rebel,
once they rise up, will build alliances with other rebels. This will
give birth to a new political expression, one that will be fiercely
anti-capitalist and will seek to sustain rather than destroy life.
Rebellion will come from the bottom. I do not know if we can succeed.
The forces arrayed against us are monstrous and terrifying. The
corporate state has no qualms about employing savage and violent
repression, wholesale surveillance, the criminalizing of dissent, and
its propaganda machine to demonize us all. But I know this: We are the
only hope. We are the people we have been waiting for. And if we do not
act to save ourselves, the climate crisis and the corporate state that
caused it will continue to ravage the ecosystem and human societies
until catastrophic collapse occurs. Indeed, we are already
frighteningly far down that road.
I think that is mostly
correct: Rebels need alliances, and the forces opposed to them indeed are
"monstrous and terrifying". Also, those who are presently alive must
stand up to save themselves and their children, for indeed the
corporate state has been extending for 35 years now, and
has had many successes and few failures since the
1980ies, and also has been much helped by quasi-leftists like Clinton,
Blair and Obama.
There is this on the Democrats and Republicans, and the lack of any
other major party:
because the United States lacks powerful radical, grass-roots
organizations, the hegemony of corporate power is largely unassailable.
The Republicans and the Democrats, beholden to corporate money and
subservient to corporate power, have effectively conspired to shut out
the possibility of a viable third party.
I mostly agree (and think the
two parties that dominate all are not very democratic, from a
European point of view, where there are many more parties).
Then there is this, which I think quite interesting:
But Stein and
McLaughlin concede that the political, economic, environmental and
cultural unraveling may also embolden powerful proto-fascist groups,
often bankrolled by the most retrograde forces of corporate capitalism.
These right-wing groups do what all fascists do—demonize and attack the
vulnerable. Undocumented workers, Muslims, African-Americans,
homosexuals, liberals, feminists, intellectuals, artists, dissidents
and radicals are vilified as the cause of national decay. The Christian
right, the tea party, nativists, white supremists, neo-Confederates and
militias celebrating the sickness of gun culture call for internal
purges in the name of vengeance, patriotism and moral renewal. Many in
the police and other organs of internal security harbor similar
sentiments. As those of us who seek the overthrow of the corporate
state gain strength, these proto-fascist groups, tolerated or even
blessed by the state, will along with the state employ violence against
us. Corporate power will not give up its grip easily.
Here is a a quotation from Christopher
Browning's excellent "Ordinary Men". It is on p. 166 in my
edition, and is about the authoritarian personality, as charted
in the late 1940ies:
investigations led them to compile a list of the crucial traits (tested
for by the so-called F-scale) of the "authoritarian personality": rigid
adherence to conventional values; submissiveness to authority figures;
aggressiveness towards out-groups; opposition to introspection,
reflection and creativity; a tendency to superstition and stereotyping;
preoccupation with power and "toughness"; destructiveness and cynicism;
projectivity ("the disposition to believe that wild and dangerous
things go on in the world" and "the projection outward of unconscious
emotional impulses"); and an exaggerated concern with sexuality.
I would say - and did not
see this quotation the last 8 years - that this is a pretty good
description of the present GOP presidential candidates and their
Then there is this:
around Bernie Sanders’ campaign is like the enthusiasm around Barack
Obama’s 2008 campaign,” Stein said. “And in the Obama campaign, people
were betrayed. We have to lift up an alternative, outside a corporate
party, that will not be about betrayal.”
Well, no. I do not know
whether Sanders will win the presidential candidacy, and I also do not
completely agree with him but one major difference between him
and Obama is that Sanders is an authentic leftist since ca. 1970,
whereas Obama was in 2008 an unknown senator who mostly had
steered a very middle course, also often abstaining from
voting, and was not known for any authentic leftishness.
Obama and Sanders are quite incomparable as regards proven leftishness,
and to jump from "Obama betrayed the left, and his own promises" to
"therefore Sanders will" is simply very bad and fallacious
Besides, any "alternative,
outside a corporate party"
will not be heard by most voters, so even if he or she is
a 100% credible socialist-according-to-Chris-Hedges (which Sanders
isn't), he or she will not win the elections (seeing also that
a well-known person like Ralph Nader scored 2.4% of the vote in 2000 -
and that was his best outcome).
It is time to
break free. It is time to refuse to cooperate. It is time to do what is
right. If we follow our consciences, if we dismantle corporate power in
community after community, perhaps we have a chance.
Perhaps. But it seems more people need to be
activated, and one way this may be happening is by
Bernie Sanders, but he is rejected because he campaigns as a Democrat
and is not socialist enough according to some other leftists, including
Stuff Happens, Like - WTF? - A Mass Shooting in the U.S.
Almost Every Day
article today is
by Abby Zimet on Common Dreams:
from the beginning (and "he" is Obama):
I tried to
get the data about the number of gun deaths since 2001 several times
now, but at long last Abby Zimet has the answer, and it is in
the following graph:
Noting that as
a country we spend over a trillion dollars and pass countless often
terrible laws to prevent terrorist attacks, he also challenged the
media to post figures for those killed by guns and those killed by
terrorists. Several did.
Unsurprisingly, they tell a demented tale: Well over ten thousand gun
deaths a year, almost zero terrorist deaths. The Guardian
came up with even more appalling
numbers: 994 mass shootings in 1,004 days, or almost one a day.
Still, the madness
the image leads to the source
Incidentally: the American deaths by firearms : the American deaths by
406496 : 3380 = 120.26
That is, for every single American killed by a terrorist, 120
Americans are killed by other Americans (who rarely are called
(Incidentally, the picture in the original is a bit clearer and bigger
than the above one.)
Staff from Kunduz, MSF Labels US Airstrike a War
next article today is
by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
I agree: Clearly this
was a war crime, and the statement by the " U.S. military" that
Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Sunday called the U.S.
military's Saturday airstrike
on its charity hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan a war
crime and announced it was withdrawing all staff from the beleaguered
MSF said 22 people,
including medical workers and patients, were killed in the bombing,
which occurred around 2:10 am local time and reportedly lasted for at
least half an hour.
"Under the clear
presumption that a war crime has been committed, MSF demands that a
full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an
independent international body," said MSF general director Christopher
Stokes in a statement
The U.S. military, which
initially described the hit as "collateral damage," is now claiming
that Taliban fighters had been hiding in the medical center.
Stokes rejected those
charges, stating unequivocally, "Not a single member of our staff
reported any fighting inside the MSF hospital compound prior to the US
airstrike on Saturday morning. The hospital was full of MSF staff,
patients and their caretakers. It is 12 MSF staff members and ten
patients, including three children, who were killed in the attack."
"is now claiming that Taliban
fighters had been hiding in the medical center" makes it a lot more likely that the
hospital was targeted on purpose, and - in my opinion - not
because there were any Taliban fighters in it, but simply because the
hospital was helping people on what is presently Taliban territory.
Here is a statement by another group of medical doctors:
I agree, though I am
quite skeptical that there will be any real answers from the US side.
Physicians for Human
Rights (PHR), a medical and science advocacy organization, also
referred to the targeting of a hospital as a war crime and similarly
called for an independent investigation into the bombing.
"This is truly horrific
and inexcusable," said PHR director of international policy and
partnerships Susannah Sirkin. "Targeting a hospital is a war crime and
warring parties are obligated to take every measure possible to avoid
attacking health facilities."
MSF said Saturday that it
had given its coordinates to both sides involved in the fighting,
including Washington and Kabul.
Government Aims to Give Itself - and the NSA - Carte Blanche to Spy on
next article today is
by Danny O'Brien on Truth-out:
This starts as follows:
I say. And no, I do not
think that "France's government",
from its own perspective, "is about the make the same error as
The United States makes
an improper division between surveillance conducted on residents of the
United States and the surveillance that is conducted with almost no
restraint upon the rest of the world. This double standard has proved
poisonous to the rights of Americans and non-Americans alike. In
theory, Americans enjoy better protections. In practice there are no
magical sets of servers and Internet connections that carry only
American conversations. To violate the privacy of everyone else in the
world, the U.S. inevitably scoops up its own citizens' data.
Establishing nationality as a basis for discrimination also encourages
intelligence agencies to make the obvious end-run: spying on each
other's citizens, and then sharing that data. Treating two sets of
innocent targets differently is already a
violation of international human rights law. In reality, it reduces
everyone to the same, lower standard.
Now France's government
is about the make the same error as US practice with its new
"Surveillance des communications électroniques internationales" bill,
currently being rushed through the French Parliament. As an
open letter led by France's La
Quadrature du Net and signed by over thirty civil society groups
including EFF, states, France's legislators' must reject this bill to
protect the rights of individuals everywhere, including those in France.
This is not an "error". It is simply what the governors want
very, very much: Everybody's data, so that everyone
can be controlled in secret, and quite manipulatively,
for anyone may be, in secret of course, be
"Denied/Disrupted/Degraded" and/or "Deceived", by the very few
Also, I have been saying this since 2005.
Then there is this:
Under the new proposed
law, France's intelligence agencies still have an incredibly broad
remit. The law concentrates the power to grant wide-ranging
surveillance permission in the office of the Prime Minister, who can
sign off on mass surveillance of communications sent or received from
overseas. Such surveillance can be conducted when in the "essential
interests of foreign policy" or "[the] essential economic and
scientific interests of France", giving the executive the widest
possible scope to conduct surveillance.
Of course they try to get everything
they can get, but in fact I do not even think they need this, for they
can do just the same as the GCHQ does: Insist that they "are doing
everything legally" and refer to the "European Convention of Human
that in fact is no such thing at all, but is an
allowance for any government to spy on anyone in its
territory for virtually any possible reason: See September 24, last.
There is also this:
Why should I believe
this? I really don't. What I do believe is that the French
secret service will do the same as the American and English secret
services do, in my opinion, but indeed almost no one knows what secret
services do: They keep everything they think they may need forever,
and indeed are also willing to defend this on the basis that these are
materials about "suspects".
The original surveillance
law included limits on data retention when spying on French nationals
(30 days for the content of communications, four years for metadata,
six years for encrypted data). The new international limits are much
longer - one year, six years, and eight years respectively. The law's
authors do not justify this longer period, nor do they explain how the
intelligence agencies will be able to separate data from each class of
target without collecting, analyzing and filtering them all.
In any case: The French seem to go the same way as the Dutch, who went
the same way as the Americans and the English. The governments want
all the data they can get on everyone, and certainly in their
own territory, so as to be able to deal with any possible
threat to their extreme powers before it happens, so
that their spies can deal with it, in secret.
5. Corporation vs. Nation: The Ultimate
The last article today is
by Don Quijones on Wolfstreet:
This starts as follows:
A secluded private
courthouse in Washington DC is currently the scene of a gargantuan
legal battle that could have serious ramifications for all of us. Yet
virtually nobody knows about it.
On one side of the battle
is the tiny, poverty-crippled Central American nation of El Salvador;
on the other is Pacific Rim, a Canadian mining company that was
acquired by the Australian corporation Oceana Gold in 2013. At stake is
the basic issue of who owns what in tomorrow’s world.
Here are some
In 2009, Pacific Rim
filed a private lawsuit – what is referred to in the impenetrable
jargon of modern globalism as an Investor-State Dispute Settlement
(ISDS) – against the government of El Salvador for $301 million,
equivalent to just over 2% of the country’s $24 billion GDP. As BBC
World reports (in Spanish), the amount is equivalent to
three years’ combined public spending on health, education and security.
The company argues that
El Salvador unfairly denied its mining permit after it began an
exploration process for gold mining, costing it hundreds of millions of
dollars of “potential future profits.”
ISDS was originally
intended to insulate investors from the costly consequences of
expropriation, but it is now increasingly being used by companies
to claim future profits foregone as a result of government legislation
aimed at protecting the public, as well as to intimidate governments
into changing or abandoning such legislation.
Precisely: The ISDS - which
is not even a court - will be used " to claim future profits foregone as a result of government
legislation aimed at protecting the public, as well as to
intimidate governments into changing or abandoning such legislation".
There is considerably more in the article, which is recommended reading.