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June 17, 2013
Crisis: Biden vs Obama, whistleblowing, revolving doors, Gore, breaking, genes


   "Those who sacrifice liberty for  
     security deserve neither."
     -- Benjamin Franklin







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Sections

Introduction

1.  Biden vs Obama
2.  Whistleblowing
3.  Revolving doors
4.  Al Gore also is against it
5.  What's your breaking point?
6.  Human genes can not be patented!

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

It still is the case that sleeping remains quite difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at the moment.

Anyway. Today I am back at a choice of six points, that are listed above and in my title, and only add it is once more mainly about Snowden's revelations, with one last bit about human genes, that is both good and important.

1. Biden vs Obama

I've seen this on several sites and reproduce it here, mostly to show how deeply contradictory Obama's position is:


As Mr Biden concluded: The Congress should investigate this! (Publicly!)

2
. Whistleblowing

Perhaps more to the point, here is a US official poster on whistleblowing:


Of course, the real point is that you often cannot trust them, and especially not if you complain with the government about the government. (For example: In Holland, the government maintains and protects the illegal drugsdealers who sell yearly at the very least 10 billion euros, just ion soft drugs, and has been doing that for 33 years at least now. And in Holland the Ombudsmen work for the government, not  for the people: Their main job is to keep people from going to court.)

3. Revolving doors

Here is a video of TYT - The Young Turks - on (1) the amazing revolving doors of the US government and Booz Allen, and (2) the fact that Big Brother is not so much the state: it's private companies:
This is well done - and Booz Allen is a private company.

4. Al Gore also is against it

Next, Al Gore, once Clinton's Vice-President, who lost the elections to Bush, in spite of winning the electoral vote, and who did so mostly thanks to the Supreme Court.

He does have a voice in this, and it is quite clear:
Let me cite him from the above linked Guardian article.

He started early, tweeting within hours of the Snowden revelations:
"In digital era, privacy must be a priority. Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?"
Last Friday he said, quite correctly:
"Some of us thought that it was probably going on, but what we have learned since then makes it a cause for deep concern."
In a telephone interview that The Guardian reports:
"I quite understand the viewpoint that many have expressed that they are fine with it and they just want to be safe but that is not really the American way," Gore said in a telephone interview. "Benjamin Franklin famously wrote that those who would give up essential liberty to try to gain some temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

"This in my view violates the constitution. The fourth amendment and the first amendment – and the fourth amendment language is crystal clear," he said. "It is not acceptable to have a secret interpretation of a law that goes far beyond any reasonable reading of either the law or the constitution and then classify as top secret what the actual law is."
Also, about Clapper's lying:
"I was troubled by his direct response to Senator Wyden's very pointed question," Gore said. "I was troubled by that."
And he wrote earlier about the Surveillance State:
"Surveillance technologies now available – including the monitoring of virtually all digital information – have advanced to the point where much of the essential apparatus of a police state is already in place."
All of that seems to me to be correct. The problem is only that he is an ex-politician, although he is much concerned with ecology. But this is good, and far more sincere than Obama.

5. What's your breaking point?

The question is asked, quite seriously:
It starts thus:

When Edward Snowden reached his breaking point, the world saw the truth about the vast extent of spying by the NSA on Americans and people around the world. In an act of conscience, Snowden released secret information, saying “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”

Snowden sparked protest, lawsuits, criticism of the administration and US intelligence.  His action shows the power that comes when someone inside the system break ranks and tells the truth. Successful movements depend on people breaking ranks: questioning, demurring, disobeying, defecting and withdrawing support. As Ken Butigan writes in Waging Nonviolence, the impact can start a metamorphosis for all of us:

“the individual conscientious objector, the abstainer, and the resister — the one who, as Gandhi said, pits ‘one’s whole soul against the will of a tyrant.’ Not only do the Edward Snowdens of the world help the rest of us see more clearly the realities we are up against — in this case, the institutionalization of unfettered, massive data collection on and profiling of the population — they can shock us into realizing that part of our job description as human beings is our obligation to withdraw our passive or active consent from such policies.”

What is your breaking point? This is the question we must all ask ourselves, especially those who have not yet taken action.
Actually, it seems to me mostly an exercise in vanity, in Ecclesiastes' sense. Also, it's a fairly long article, with many links and references. It is no doubt well intended, but it doesn't discuss that (1) few have a position like Snowden had; that (2) activism may fail; and that (3) it is quite rare to see revolutions happen - which (4) normally do not bring what they promise, if they succeed.

Then again, I am fairly old, and a third generation resister, who has seen most resistance go wrong or at least not succeed - but I also do agree that apathy doesn't help either.

And in fact there is something that is mildly hopeful:
This starts as follows:
The national security establishment’s latest domestic spying scandal has galvanized a lightning-fast response where nearly 100 civil liberties-minded advocacy groups and technology companies are calling on Congress to “halt the surveillence and provide a full public accounting of the NSA’s and FBI’s data collection programs.” 
There is more there, i.a. about the broadness of the response, and I do think this is mildly hopeful, and the sort of reaction Snowden wants.

Then again, there is this, again from Alternet, like the other two pieces:
It's a comic, so it's not fair, but it may sketch the majority's responses quite well. (But no: It's indeed not the majority's opinions that tend to prevail.)

6. Human genes can not be patented!

Finally,
not everything is depressing:
This starts as follows:
Human genetic sequences cannot be patented, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday in an unexpected decision that is a tremendous public interest victory.
And that is quite true. Here is a little more:
The immediate impact gives other biotech firms the go-ahead to develop less-expensive DNA-based tests for the genetic risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Looking down the road, the ruling will force biotech companies to rethink their business models that have been based on ‘owning’ the building blocks of life.
Finally, it also was unanimous:
The Court’s unanimous ruling, written by conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, found that the patents on human genes are invalid. That represents a major shift in law and overturns the current policy of the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office, which has issued more than 40,000 patents tied to genetic material since 1984. 
So that is good.
--------------------------------- 

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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