March 19, 2019

Crisis: The New Inquisition, On Republicans, On Psychosomatics, On Unions, On How Not To Write

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous, than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



1. Summary
Crisis Files
     A. Selections from March 19, 2019

This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was until 2013:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch, but since 2010 in English) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I will continue with it.

On the moment and since more than three years (!!!!) I have problems with the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible [1] and with my health, but I am still writing a Nederlog every day and I shall continue.

2. Crisis Files

These are five crisis files that are mostly well worth reading:

A. Selections from March 19, 2019:
1. Chelsea Manning and the New Inquisition
2. Being Better Than Republicans Is Not Good Enough

3. John Kiriakou: Another Whistleblower in Solitary Confinement

4. Why Unions Matter to You

5. Why Calling the US a ‘Democracy’ Is Both False & Dangerous
The items 1 - 5 are today's selections from the 35 sites that I look at everyorning. The indented text under each link is quoted from the link that starts the item. Unindented text is by me:

1. Chelsea Manning and the New Inquisition

This article is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig. It starts as follows:

The U.S. government, determined to extradite and try Julian Assange for espionage, must find a way to separate what Assange and WikiLeaks did in publishing classified material leaked to them by Chelsea Manning from what The New York Times and The Washington Post did in publishing the same material. There is no federal law that prohibits the press from publishing government secrets. It is a crime, however, to steal them. The long persecution of Manning, who on March 8 was sent back to jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury, is about this issue.

If Manning, a former Army private, admits she was instructed by WikiLeaks and Assange in how to obtain and pass on the leaked material, which exposed U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, the publisher could be tried for the theft of classified documents.

This is all true. Here is some more:

Manning, who worked as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009, provided WikiLeaks with over 500,000 documents copied from military and government archives, including the “Collateral Murder” video footage of an Army helicopter gunning down a group of unarmed civilians that included two Reuters journalists. She was arrested in 2010 and found guilty in 2013.

The campaign to criminalize whistleblowing has, by default, left the exposure of government lies, fraud and crimes to those who have the skills or access, as Manning and Edward Snowden did, needed to hack into or otherwise obtain government electronic documents. This is why hackers, and those who publish their material such as Assange and WikiLeaks, are being relentlessly persecuted. The goal of the corporate state is to shroud in total secrecy the inner workings of power, especially those activities that violate the law. Movement toward this goal is very far advanced.

Yes, this is all true, and I agree with the last two statements. Here is some more:

Manning has always insisted her leak of the classified documents and videos was prompted solely by her own conscience. She has refused to implicate Assange and WikiLeaks. Earlier this month, although President Barack Obama in 2010 commuted her 35-year sentence after she served seven years, she was jailed again for refusing to answer questions before a secret grand jury investigating Assange and WikiLeaks. While incarcerated previously, Manning endured long periods in solitary confinement and torture. She twice attempted to commit suicide in prison. She knows from painful experience the myriad ways the system can break you psychologically and physically. And yet she has steadfastly refused to give false testimony in court on behalf of the government. Her moral probity and courage are perhaps the last thin line of defense for WikiLeaks and its publisher, whose health is deteriorating in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been holed up since 2012.

I take it this is also all true. Here is some more:
The New York Times, Britain’s The Guardian, Spain’s El País, France’s Le Monde and Germany’s Der Spiegel all published the WikiLeaks files provided by Manning. How could they not? WikiLeaks had shamed them into doing their jobs. But once they took the incendiary material from Manning and Assange, these organizations callously abandoned them. No doubt they assume that by joining the lynch mob organized against the two they will be spared. They must not read history. What is taking place is a series of incremental steps designed to strangle the press and cement into place an American version of China’s totalitarian capitalism.
Well, I don´t like The New York Times and The Guardian, but I leave it to my readers to decide whether Hedges is right about them, except for the last statement, which I think is quite true
and which I also think was the end of both Brzezinski, and the real end of the internet: See
Crisis: propaganda and Control: Brezezinski 1968 for Brzezinski´s (realized) plans, and Crisis: Christmas sermon: Hypotheses about CF+SS for my analysis of what is really happening. (This analysis was strongly supported by Edward Snowden´s documents, and also is hampered by the fact that almost all of security happens in deep secret.)

Here is more:

Assange, along with three co-authors—Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Müller-Maguhn and Jérémie Zimmermann—wrote a book titled “Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet.” It warns that we are “galloping into a new transnational dystopia.” The internet has become not only a tool to educate, they write, but the mechanism to create a “Postmodern Surveillance Dystopia” that is supranational and dominated by global corporate power. This new system of global control will “merge global humanity into one giant grid of mass surveillance and mass control.”

“All communications will be surveilled, permanently recorded, permanently tracked, each individual in all their interactions permanently identified as that individual to this new Establishment, from birth to death,” Assange says in the book. “I think that can only produce a very controlling atmosphere.”

“How can a normal person be free within that system?” he asks. “[He or she] simply cannot, it’s impossible.”

I did not read this book, but I agree with it - and here is my own analysis, that was made in the same month ¨Cypherpunks¨ was published, and that I published a month later (and I still have not read ¨Cypherpunks¨).

Here is the last bit I quote from this article:

“The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation,” Assange writes, “has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen.”

Yes indeed - and it was designed to be just that, as I think the material about Brzezinski (see: Crisis: propaganda and Control: Brezezinski 1968) proved (but that material has been removed from internet and/or is very difficult to access: Thus - for one example - I do have a copy from Stephen Spender´s book which I quoted in the last link, but copies of this book are these days very difficult to find). And this is a very strongly recommended article.

2. Being Better Than Republicans Is Not Good Enough

This article is by Norman Solomon on Truthdig and originally on Truthout. This is from near its beginning:

Humane principles are low priorities in the profit-driven scheme of things, as the devastating impacts of economic inequality and militarism attest. By and large, rapacious power already knows what it’s doing — from Wall Street and the boardrooms of mega-corporations to the Pentagon and the top echelons of the “national security” state.

Speaking truth to power is fine, but it’s far more important — and potentially transformational — to focus on public education efforts, agitation and organizing that speaks truth about power while challenging it. Only by mobilizing to take power can we realistically hope to overcome and dismantle the dominant power structures.

Well... I agree with the first paragraph, but the second paragraph depends too much on verbal subtleties (¨to¨ versus ¨about¨ power, while the term power is - as usually - totally undefined) for me to properly understand.

Here is some more:

In 2019, the U.S. war system is bombing many countries while predatory economic policies are ravaging uncounted lives across the United States and much of the globe. Urging humanistic change without developing credible threats to take power is too much like supplication.

No, I am sorry: I disagree. You can very well argue ¨humanistic change without developing credible threats to take power¨. An abstract example is ¨I think you are being inhuman when doing Z¨ versus ¨I think you are being inhuman when doing Z and if you keep doing that I will do Y to you¨.

Apart from that, I do not think that most arguments for humanistic change are supplications, for Wikipedia defines supplications thus:

Supplication (also known as petitioning) is a form of prayer, wherein one party humbly or earnestly asks another party to provide something, either for the party who is doing the supplicating (e.g., "Please spare my life.") or on behalf of someone else.

Here is some more:

“Power is always dangerous,” Edward Abbey asserted. “Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.” Yet democratic consolidations of power offer the opportunity to throw a monkey wrench into self-marginalizing orthodoxies that dismiss all power as inherently pernicious. While harmful power is contemptuous of democracy, legitimate power requires it.
“Power, properly understood, is the ability to achieve purpose,” Dr. King wrote. “It is the strength required to bring about social, political or economic changes. In this sense power is not only desirable but necessary in order to implement the demands of love and justice.”

I think the first of the above paragraphs is rather confused but Dr. King was quite right, and here is my own definition of
Power: In society: The ability to make someone do or believe something if one desires it.
Incidentally, there is a lot more under Power in my Philosophical Dictionary

Here is the ending of this article:

Right now, ending GOP rule is necessary — and also insufficient. Being “better than Republicans” is a low bar that most Democratic candidates clear with ease. But quests for social justice, human rights, environmental protection, civil liberties and peace will require high standards that only grassroots power can achieve.

I think this is true and this is a recommended article.

3. John Kiriakou: Another Whistleblower in Solitary Confinement

This article is by John Kiriakou on Consortium News. It starts as follows:
Last year I wrote about a whistleblower from New England who took direct action to save a child’s life and who paid for it with his freedom.  Marty Gottesfeld is now serving 10 years in prison for trying to save Justina Pelletier from abuse at the hands of her doctors at Children’s Hospital in Boston.

At the age of 14, Justine developed searing stomach pain and inexplicable digestive problems. Her parents took her to a series of doctors until a metabolic geneticist at Tufts Medical Center diagnosed her with mitochondrial disease, a genetic malady that can lead to weakened muscles, neurological problems and dementia.

Her symptoms worsened over the course of the next 18 months until the pain was too much to bear. She began slurring her speech and was unable to stand. Finally, her parents took her to Boston Children’s Hospital, a leading institution affiliated with Harvard University. It was there that doctors said Justina didn’t have mitochondrial disease at all. They said she had mental illness and her symptoms were psychosomatic. They took her off her medications, but her parents refused to comply. When they went to take Justina home, they were blocked by hospital guards. The hospital took Justina into “state custody” and reported her parents to state officials for “medical child abuse.” It was then that the case went off the rails.
I say, which I do for three reasons, namely firstly because I am angry about the above story;  secondly because I have now more than 40 years of ME/CFS, that until March 2018 was described by almost all - 27 - of the 30 Dutch doctors my ex (who also has the disease over 40 years) saw as ¨psychosomatic¨, which is not even a medical diagnosis, and since March 2018 is ¨a serious chronic disease¨, which my ex and I now have for more than 40 years in which we were discriminated by virtually all medical doctors, virtually all Dutch bureaucrats we came into contact with, and in fact also by most Dutchmen; and thirdly because a very similar story as happened to Justine happened in Denmark to Karina Hansen, who has ME/CFS, and was similarly abused by prominent Danish psychiatrists.

If you want to know more about Karina Hansen, you may check out Valerie Eliot Smith´s (a lawyer with nearly 40 years of ME/CFS) ¨Posts from the Karina Hansen´ Category¨ where you can find considerably more.

Here I want to explain two reasons why the judgement that something is psychosomatic is not a proper medical answer at all:

Firstly, ¨psychosomatic¨, which is a term made of the Greek term for spirit and the Greek term for body, is rather naturally taken in the sense that human beings have both a spirit (psyche, soul) and a body (soma), and that the psyche may influence the body in many ways.

I think this is the most common meaning of ¨psychosomatic¨ (which whenever I have seen or heard it used was never as clearly defined as above), but this is not medical science at all, for medical science is based on the premiss that medics relate to the body alone, and not to a soul, psyche, mind or whatever.

¨psychosomatic¨ may be (re-)construed in a more or less medical fashion by the addition that the psyche is not a soul or spirit, but is a part of a living (human) brain.

I have never met a medic who was as explicit as this, but I probably have met medics who believed this. Then again, this is still not medical science at all, for there is hardly any evidence whatsoever that explains how the brain - which is extra-ordinarily complex, and mostly not scientifically understood - would cause or produce diseases.

So in either case
¨it is psychosomatic¨ is bullshit and not medical science, and any medic who says that ¨so-and-so is psychosomatic¨ is bullshitting and should have said ¨I do not know what causes so-and-so¨. (My ex and I heard this from precisely 1 medical doctor out of 30.)

Back to the article:
The story drew the attention of Marty Gottesfeld, a computer-security expert. He was appalled at the treatment to which Justina and her family were being subjected and he decided to act.
Justina’s parents kept up the pressure on the hospital, the state, and the judge overseeing the case. Justina and her sister were able to smuggle out a 45-second video in which she implored the judge to let her go home to her family. It was clear that after 16 months in a psychiatric ward her problems were not “in her head.” They were in her genes. The original Tufts doctor was right. Justina had mitochondrial disease. The judge finally reversed his decision and sent her home.

Prosecutors, however, focused on Gottesfeld and he was soon arrested.
And then Gottesfeld was condemned to 10 years of prison!! There is considerably more on this in the article.

Here is the ending of this article:
The Gottesfeld experience should be a reminder for all of us. The Justice Department will stop at nothing to silence truth-tellers.  It doesn’t want people to know about crooked judges and prosecutors, unsanitary and unhealthy conditions, animal-grade food, and the violation of constitutional rights.  It doesn’t matter who the president is.  They all do it.  We just have to keep up the fight.
I think Kiriakou - who also went to prison for telling the truth - is quite right and this is a strongly recommended article. 

4. Why Unions Matter to You

This article is by Robert Reich on his site. It starts as follows:

As I travel around the country, I tell people: if you have a job, join a union. And if you don’t have a union, start one.

You see, it all comes down to the balance of power between business and workers. 

You strengthen the middle class by strengthening unions.

In the mid-1950s, unions were strong, and wages grew in tandem with the economy. Nearly one third of all workers in the United States were unionized.

This gave workers across America – even those who weren’t unionized – significant power to demand and get better wages, hours, benefits, and working conditions.

I think the above is basically correct, though somewhat simplified. Here is more:

Yet starting in the 1980s and with increasing ferocity since then, private-sector employers have fought against unions.

Corporate raiders demanded that companies boost share prices by busting unions or moving to non-union states.

Ronald Reagan’s administration fired the nation’s unionized air traffic controllers and launched an all-out assault on workers’ rights, concentrating even more power in the hands of corporate executives.

In short, anti-worker corporations and politicians joined together to stop workers from joining together. 

Again I think the above is basically correct, though somewhat simplified. Here is some more:

Corporations have tremendous power over our lives.

They dictate everything from bathroom breaks to health care for millions of Americans.

In the halls of Washington and state legislatures, their political power has allowed them to block increases in the minimum wage, roll back workplace protections, and deny workers their benefits.

Unless workers balance the power of big corporations, the middle class will continue to get a smaller piece of the pie as more and more wealth goes to those at the top.

Yes indeed. Here is Reich´s conclusion:

We must continue to expand unions to restore balance to our economy.

In 2017, more than 250,000 additional American workers joined unions, and research shows almost 60 million more workers would like to join–if they had the opportunity.

Public approval of labor unions is at 62 percent, a 15-year high.

That’s why powerful corporations and their enablers in government are trying to squash workers by pushing so-called “right to work” laws and undermining health care, workplace safety, and retirement protections. 

We have the power to overcome these attacks. If you want a better life for you and your children, join a union. And if you want a better America, support unions.

Yes I agree and this is a strongly recommended article.

5. Why Calling the US an ‘X’ Is Both False & Dangerous

The original of this article is by Eric Zuesse on the Off-Guardian, but since I do not like Eric Zuesse and can use this article to show why (to intelligent readers) here is the beginning of his article with seven of its key terms replaced by capital letters:

It’s false because it is definitely untrue, because the only scientific studies that have been done of the matter show — they prove scientifically — that the US is a Z, against all the rest of the population. Traditionally, that’s called an “Y” not an X, but ever since Mussolini in the 1920s, it came to be called “U” which is the successor to “V” and thus is merely the modernized form of V.

What used to be called by such terms as “A” or “Y” is thus now called U” but the leopard is the same regardless of what it is labeled, and what it really is is Z. Mussolini sometimes instead called V W and it certainly is today’s United States Government (..).

I have used the following codes, where the first is a common assumption that often though not always is used about the reason for quoting a known term, and the rest are mere abbreviations:

(0) An ¨X¨ is an X but not quite the same: Quotes in this case indicate some
     skepticism whether an ¨X¨ is a real X.
(1) ¨X¨ = ¨Democracy¨
(2)  Z   = dictatorship
(3)  ¨Y¨ = ¨aristocracy¨
(4)  ¨U¨ = ¨fascism¨
(5)  ¨V¨ = ¨feudalism¨
(6) ¨A¨ = ¨monarchy¨
(7)  W  = fascism

You can regenerate the beginning of Zuesse´s text by making the substitutions, but that is not what I wanted to talk about.

What I wanted to talk about is that Zuesse uses seven quite fundamental terms - democracy, dictatorship, aristocracy, fascism, feudalism, monarchy and fascism - or possibly 14 if also there quoted forms are added, about which thousands upon thousands of books have been written, without defining any one in any sense, and starts hocus-pocusing with them so that he proves ¨scientifically¨ (he might think) that what some call ¨X¨ (¨democracy¨) in fact is Z (dictatorship).

I think - and I am not a historian but a philosopher and a psychologist - that this is plain nonsense as is the whole above argument. For more, see the books listed in Politics.

[1] I have now been saying since the end of 2015 that is systematically ruining my site by NOT updating it within a few seconds, as it did between 1996 and 2015, but by updating it between two to seven days later, that is, if I am lucky.

They have claimed that my site was wrongly named in html: A lie. They have claimed that my operating system was out of date: A lie.

And they just don't care for my site, my interests, my values or my ideas. They have behaved now for 3 years as if they are the eagerly willing instruments of the US's secret services, which I will from now on suppose they are (for truth is dead in Holland).

The only two reasons I remain with xs4all is that my site has been there since 1996, and I have no reasons whatsoever to suppose that any other Dutch provider is any better (!!).
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