June 18, 2013
Crisis: if you got nothing to hide?!, Snowden, Fox, politicians, DSMs

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

Prev- crisis -Next



1.  "If you have nothing to hide,  you have nothing to fear"
2.  A live chat with Edward Snowden
3.  A good bit by Fox News (?!)
4.  England's postmodern politicians
5.  TYT on the DSMs

About ME/CFS


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

Anyway. There was an interview - a live chat! - with Edward Snowden yesterday and it is in The Guardian, so I'll attend to that. But I start with a discussion of the thoroughly sick and sickening, arbitrary and thoroughly false and inverted rule
"If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear", and then discuss Snowden's answers, which again were all quite rational and very brave.

As an extra, I throw in a good bit by Fox News (yes, really!); I look at England's politicians; and I close with the DSM-5 in the hands of TYT.

Also I should say I uploaded this very early, because I want to have my day free for doing some other things.

1. "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"

There has been a lot of quoting of the above apothegm, and I've seen only a little reasonable discussion of it.

Here is mine, for part of which I thank Rick Falkvinge, who is the founder of the first Pirate Party, and who discussed this on June 17, 2012:

The following are four rules formulated by Falkvinge, namely One to Four, with two more formulated by me, namely Zero and Five:

Zero If you've nothing to hide, you do not exist.
One – The rules may change.
Two – It’s not you who determine if you have something to fear.
Three – Laws must be broken for society to progress.
Four – Privacy is a basic human need.
Five - Government must be public, citizens private, not conversely.

I refer you to Falkvinge's site for the short piece he wrote, in which he gives his good reasons for his rules, and I also note there are many comments there, quite a few of which are also worth reading.

As to my rules:

Zero. This is the basic rule, because the premiss it starts from is total baloney:

Everybody who is alive has something to hide from somebody, and especially from those who are much stronger than oneself, such as his or her governors.

There is no personal freedom for people who cannot hide things, good, bad and indifferent, from most other people, all under their own discretion.

Five. I'd say this is the second basic rule, because it clearly states what democratic government is about:

A public and publicly accountable and responsible government that is there to protect the privacy and the rights of the public, instead of what the Bush and Obama governments want to replace it by: A secret authoritarian government of a few tenthousands or hundredthousands of formal supermen and superwomen who know everything about everyone else, and whose laws and directives are secret to themselves.

This is what it is all about, in the end. And people should stop stating insane rules to sign away all their personal freedoms to totally unknown others: If you've nothing to hide, you are dead, or you may as well be.

2. A live chat with Edward Snowden

In fact, yesterday it was a week ago that I learned about Edward Snowden's existence. Yesterday, he was still out and about - and he had 2 1/2 hours of live chat on The Guardian:

This was also announced yesterday by Glenn Greenwald (and I missed it until it was too late):
Today beginning at 12:00 noon Eastern, we will begin the second installment of our new feature at the Guardian: a live question-and-answer session between myself and readers regarding columns I've written over the last month. Starting now, please leave your questions in the comment section. From 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm ET, I'll be here (in the comments) live to answer selected questions.
Meanwhile, the Q&A session has been done and is under the above link, and I'll quote and comment some. I'll restrict myself to Snowden's replies to questions, and will summarize the questions and the times. Also, I work from the end of the file upwards, to have it in the temporal order it was given.

11.07: About the generalities of his case:

1) First, the US Government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal, and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime. That's not justice, and it would be foolish to volunteer yourself to it if you can do more good outside of prison than in it.

Second, let's be clear: I did not reveal any US operations against legitimate military targets.
NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we're not even fighting? So we can potentially reveal a potential terrorist with the potential to kill fewer Americans than our own Police? No, the public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the "consent of the governed" is meaningless.
Incidentally, note that I am a little further than he is - publicly - with his questions: I think the most probable reason is that it is and was a pretext since 9/11/2001, and the aim is to get an authoritarian state that is quite different from the one described and prescribed by the American Constitution.

11.23: As to why he did not move sooner:
Obama's campaign promises and election gave me faith that he would lead us toward fixing the problems he outlined in his quest for votes. Many Americans felt similarly. Unfortunately, shortly after assuming power, he closed the door on investigating systemic violations of law, deepened and expanded several abusive programs, and refused to spend the political capital to end the kind of human rights violations like we see in Guantanamo, where men still sit without charge.
Yes, quite so - and indeed that was quite surprising given Obama's rhetoric of "Change! Yes, we can!". My own inference is that he never meant any of it. He is smart and devious, and is not interested in the American public or in upholding their rights, and he very probably never was (like most politicians, indeed). But he is a really good professional deceiver, indeed.

11.40: On the actual powers the NSA has:
1) NSA likes to use "domestic" as a weasel word here for a number of reasons. The reality is that due to the FISA Amendments Act and its section 702 authorities, Americans’ communications are collected and viewed on a daily basis on the certification of an analyst rather than a warrant. They excuse this as "incidental" collection, but at the end of the day, someone at NSA still has the content of your communications.
Yes, indeed, and here it should be said that this is also the reason for the 7 million documents Obama has classified as secret; for the secret courts, which make a nonsense of real justice, that must be done in public; and for the very tricky and false "explanations" of the law, both under Bush Jr. and under Obama.

Here is Snowden on what the NSA-men would be able to get:
If I target for example an email address, for example under FAA 702, and that email address sent something to you, Joe America, the analyst gets it. All of it. IPs, raw data, content, headers, attachments, everything. And it gets saved for a very long time - and can be extended further with waivers rather than warrants.
The point about waivers is again a legal one: The Obama government in the end has decided that they have to know everything about everyone, not because of "war against terrorism", which always has been a pretext, but because they want another kind of state, and can't get that state democratically.

11.41: About the constraints on the companies that one's data are on or go through, before they end up in a file in Utah:
They are legally compelled to comply and maintain their silence in regard to specifics of the program, but that does not comply them from ethical obligation. If for example Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple refused to provide this cooperation with the Intelligence Community, what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?
Actually, I think the answer may be: Yes, they do risk being shut down. This would create a very great stink, and considerable problems, but the "reason" would be  that if they don't comply they are "helping terrorism", and that they simply have to follow the law. Also, they can be quickly reopened with another management.

11.55: Next, about the difference between US persons and others:
More fundamentally, the "US Persons" protection in general is a distraction from the power and danger of this system. Suspicionless surveillance does not become okay simply because it's only victimizing 95% of the world instead of 100%. Our founders did not write that "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all US Persons are created equal."
Not only that: It is simply illegal what they do, and unconstitutional, besides being immoral and very authoritarian.

12.04: As to whether Snowden is a Chinese spy:
Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.
Quite so (apart from the phoenix, which does not exist).

12.10: As to whether Snowden is a traitor:
Further, it's important to bear in mind I'm being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are.
Quite so, and this is quite courageous as well.

12.12: As to whether there are any defenses:
Encryption works. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on.
This is somewhat pleasant to know, but then it doesn't help really: The point is that the internet is dead, as an independent tool of communication, for almost everyone, who is not either a member of Congress or an NSA-member.

12.24: As to Obama's options:
This disclosure provides Obama an opportunity to appeal for a return to sanity, constitutional policy, and the rule of law rather than men. He still has plenty of time to go down in history as the President who looked into the abyss and stepped back, rather than leaping forward into it.
I do like "the rule of law rather than men", firstly because I insisted - following Aristotle - that is what it is about, and secondly because that is why I do not trust Obama: He said too many times that all of this happens because he is, in the first place, serving "the safety" of Americans, which is a big lie in view of the fact that it has helped no one's safety to my knowledge, also since the chances of being killed by an act of a terrorist are still quite negligible, and in the second place only, to uphold the Constitution: One must rely on his person that his decisions to set aside the Constitution serve to help "the safety". I have no such reliance, and almost anyone who thinks he has is not quite sane, because there is no evidence for it, and much evidence against it.

Also Obama has now quite a few times said one has to trust his personal judgment rather than the laws whose mere executive he is and ought to be.

Therefore: While I formally agree with Snowden that this is how it is, I do not at all expect Obama to take the chance he has been offered by Snowden.

12.34: As to what made Snowden do what he did do:
I imagine everyone's experience is different, but for me, there was no single moment. It was seeing a continuing litany of lies from senior officials to Congress - and therefore the American people - and the realization that that Congress, specifically the Gang of Eight, wholly supported the lies that compelled me to act. Seeing someone in the position of James Clapper - the Director of National Intelligence - baldly lying to the public without repercussion is the evidence of a subverted democracy. The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed.
That is: It was a complex of reasons - "a continuing litany of lies from senior officials to Congress"; "James Clapper - the Director of National Intelligence - baldly lying to the public"; and probably most importantly and fundamentally:
The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed."

This last point is really important, and quite correct, and also something Snowden could much better see than almost anyone else who is not a member of one of the private corporations, like Booze Allen, that currently pretend they are "the security" of the US.

12.41: As to the support of the people:
Initially I was very encouraged. Unfortunately, the mainstream media now seems far more interested in what I said when I was 17 or what my girlfriend looks like rather than, say, the largest program of suspicionless surveillance in human history.
Yes, indeed. Then again, that was to be expected. In fact, I am surprised - see the next item - there is such traction as there is, indeed because of or in spite of "the largest program of suspicionless surveillance in human history".

12.43: Again as to the distinctions the Obama-government makes and abuses:
The US Person / foreigner distinction is not a reasonable substitute for individualized suspicion, and is only applied to improve support for the program. This is the precise reason that NSA provides Congress with a special immunity to its surveillance.
That is: In the US everyone is a - real or potential - terrorist, for which reason everyone must surrender all his personal data, except if he or she is a member of Congress.  What a great schema! If and only if (and only as long as) one is a member of Congress one will not be researched!

3. A good bit by Fox News (?!)

Next, a good bit by Fox News. Yes, it's possible:
Mind you, it's put together, but I like it. The main message is: "You can't trust Obama", but then I agree with that (Dutch) and in English (e.g.) here, here and here and here.

And yes, it is true that Fox News also has been threatened, in the person of their correspondent James Rosen, and indeed apart from that they are, like all Americans, equally threatened.

Incidentally: Is there less porn-watching? Fewer e-mails to whorehouses? Less anonymous scolding on forums?

It will all be in one's very own dossier at NSA, to be used against one whenever any future government will find any reason for that. As Snowden said:
4. England's postmodern politicians

Now for something different: England's postmodern politicians. This is another Guardian piece, by Tanya Gold and it is ... very plain:
Here is a bit of it, jumping stuff about specific insults and shortcomings:

That parliament has alienated the electorate is an old story, and dangerous. The Ipsos Mori poll published last week reminded us of the extent of the alienation. Only 8% of those questioned think MPs put the interests of their constituents first; only 21% trust them to tell the truth, about the Muppets, or anything.

The reasons are many, and complex. Cameron's strategic dishonesty, the worst of any party leader in living memory, contributes to the house's debasement; Iain Duncan Smith follows him in this at the Department for Work and Pensions, abusing statistics to pursue an ideology for which the Tories have no mandate. The prime minister's contempt for parliament is explicit; in the eight weeks to 13 May, he was present for prime minister's questions only once.
This is to say that only 1 in 12 British expect their parliamentarians to do their work, and only 1 in 5 believes them to speak the truth. I don't think I have written about the earlier scandal with British parliamentarians of all kinds, all greedy for money, money, money, by whatever dishonest means, but I have noted it, and it was very sickening.

So indeed I am not amazed at the last sentence:
It feels like a shrinking elite screaming at itself, at the end of days.
5.  TYT on the DSMs

Next, a  fresh view of the DSMs, by TYT, which is short for The Young Turks, whom I have been following four nearly four years now, which means that I think they are good.

This is not to say I always agree, and indeed I don't, but then I don't need to consent with everything I see, or indeed to see everything, or even most things, to say that I do like them.

Here is an item on the DSMs by them:
As it happens, I know much more about the subject than they do, and there are some mistakes in it, but yes: They got very well what it is about: Money, just as they got what you should not do, unless you loose your freedom: Take their pills or trust their diagnoses.

As long as you can think, and talk, and move about, and unless you have very great psychological problems that you are certain that you cannot solve yourself, it is very unwise to go to a psychiatrist, especially in the US. Also, if you really need psychological help, you are probably much better of with a combination of a psychologist and your GP.

Finally, if you are offered pills: Do not take them until you have made a close study of dr. David Healy's website and blog.
P.S. 18-06-2013: I added a few clarifications and a link. 

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)

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)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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