"Those who sacrifice liberty for
security deserve neither."
-- Benjamin Franklin
1. Dictionary: The OED of the NSA
of the Stasi
3. A turnkey totalitarian state
4. Arrest Obama and Bush, if you
life of Theodore Sturgeon
6. Healy and the
It still is the case
that sleeping remains quite
difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at
Anyway. Yesterday there was an item in the crisis-series, with
materials on Snowden and Drake, and a bit of diversion of Bill Maher,
and today I've also a split: The first four items are about the NSA and
Snowden's revelations; the last two are about Theodore Sturgeon and
David Healy, that is, about a good writer and a good doctor (though in
either case it's more about the work they do than the persons they are).
Dictionary: The OED of the NSA
I start today with dictionary matters, by Tom Engelhardt, who directs
This starts as follows, quite
The problem is to adapt
English to tyranny. Tom Engelhardt has quite a few entries - over 20 -
already, and you can send in your own: This is a good idea.
In the months after
September 11, 2001, it was regularly said that “everything” had
changed. It’s a claim long forgotten, buried in everyday American
life. Still, if you think about it, in the decade-plus that
followed -- the years of the PATRIOT Act, “enhanced
interrogation techniques,” “black
assassination campaigns, extraordinary
renditions, the Abu Ghraib photos,
the Global War on Terror, and the first
strings that followed, grew in ways that
would have been alien even at the height of the Cold War, when there
was another giant, nuclear-armed imperial power on planet Earth.
language we use to describe the world of the national security state is
still largely stuck in the pre-9/11 era. No wonder, for example,
it’s hard to begin to grasp the staggering size and changing nature of
the world of secret surveillance that Edward Snowden’s recent revelations
have allowed us a peek at. If there are no words available to
capture the world that is watching us, all
of us, we’ve got a problem.
Memories of the Stasi
Next, I noticed few seem to
take the news really serious, and suggest the reason is mostly
intelligence, in the senses of power to think and adequate information.
Then again, I also noted especially the German government seems to be
reacting more or less OK, and indeed its president, Angela Merkel, was
raised in East Germany, where the Stasi ruled.
Here is a link to an item that is - again - by McClatchy, written by
It cites a 73-year old former
lieutenant colonel of the Stasi, to the following effects:
There is quite a bit more
under the last link, including a nice picture of German demonstrators
who have transformed Obama's 2008 election promise to what it should
have been: "YES WE SCAN".
You know, for us, this
would have been a dream come true. So much information, on so
The dark side to gathering such a broad, seemingly untargeted, amount
of information is obvious.
It is the height of naivete to think that once collected this
information won’t be used. This is the nature of secret government
turnkey totalitarian state
The phrase seems to be of William
Binney, who claims the American people are only a tiny distance
removed from it, and it is in Washington Blog's
Here is the William Binney
As to the forty years: Here is
Zbigniew Brzezinski (<- NL
link) writing in 1970:
Top NSA whistleblower
William Binney – the former head of the National Security Agency’s
global digital data gathering program – held his thumb and forefinger
close together over a year ago, and said:
We are, like, that far
from a turnkey totalitarian state
The [future] era involves
the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society
would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values.
Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over
every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even
the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be
subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.
And here is Senator Frank Church
(<- Wikipedia) from 1975:
I know the capacity that
is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that
this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate
within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross
over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
And he also said
in 1975 (with a small bit of Washington's Blog):
[NSA's] capability at
any time could be turned around on the American people, and
no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to
monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it
doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. [If a dictator
ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total
tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.
The NSA has, of course, turned
its capability around on the American people.
The point is that there is no
effective control whatsoever of the NSA, and it will not get there
either with the Obama government, as is, at least, nor will most
journalists do their real jobs.
4. Arrest Obama and Bush, if you arrest
As to the dangers and the
qualities of journalists - with exceptions, to be sure: See these two
items by The Young Turks, both videos :
This is by one of the
very few real news organizations in the U.S. (There are some more, but
it is quite astounding how little there is left these days - or so it
seems to me, who is not a U.S. citizen, but who is informed.)
life of Theodore Sturgeon
Now for something entirely
Does any of my readers know who was Theodore Sturgeon
I suppose the few who have, know him as the originator of Sturgeon's Law or
"Ninety percent of
everything is crap"
which can be found in the Hackers' Dictionary
aka Jargon File.
But he was much more, and most notably one of the few science fiction
writers who can or could write. The best proof of that is
More than human
The last link is to the
Wikipedia entry for it, that is reasonably well done.
I am a fan of him since the early seventies, when I first read "More
than human", which I think I knew about because I had an American girl
friend then. He also wrote a number of other books, that I have all
read, and some 200 stories, that I did mostly not read.
In fact, my main reason to write about him now is that I found
a good site about him:
which is by a physicist, Eric R. Weeks, who is at Emory
University. This is a good collection, although - while it is
maintained, it seems: it certainly was in 2011 - quite a few links
ceased to work. But there are many which still do work, and they are
Also, Eric R. Weeks is a fan, but he is not an idolator, as can be seen
from some of his reviews:
I believe I think more of
"More than human", and not as much as he does about some of the other
novels, but then we are all different.
Finally, if you are interested at all, do not miss the faq Eric Weeks
and also check out this:
for it contains a good and
fairly long essay by Paul Williams. 
and the RIAT-Act
Finally, a bit more about dr. David Healy and the
RIAT-act. First dr. Healy's blog about it:
I quote to show how serious
the situation is and what it is meant to accomplish:
misreported studies make it difficult to determine the true value of a
treatment. Around half of all clinical trials for the medicines we use
today have never been published – and a whole range of widely used
drugs have been represented as safer and more effective than they are,
putting patients at risk and wasting public money.
The authors of the
declaration, led by Peter Doshi, a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins
University School of Medicine, will contact manufacturers of trials,
asking them to signal their intent within 30 days to publish previously
unpublished trials and formally correct previously misreported trials
(i.e., to restore abandoned trials).
Also, this happens
with the collaboration of the British Medical Journal.
If you are interested, here are
and here is an explanation of
its significance and importance:
And here is the first
paragraph of the first item:
Well designed and
well performed randomised controlled trials
This really is important,
indeed for medicine in general.
are considered to provide
the most reliable evidence on the
effects of health related
interventions. However, the credibility
of findings from individual
trials and from summaries of trials
examining a similar research
question (that is, systematic
reviews and meta-analyses)
has been undermined by numerous
reporting biases in the
published medical literature.1-14 Reporting
biases are often difficult
to detect, but have the potential to
discredit earnest efforts
towards evidence based decision
 This is news by a good news
organization, and this is alas rare in the US. But they do seem to gave
close to a million members now, and over a billion hits. (I have
neither a cell-phone nor a computerized bank-account, and don't take
memberships. Also, I have very little money and a bad disease.)
 There are more good writers: See my Some Favourite Books &
Authors that listed 115 (books) of them, on April 4
2010. Some of them are a lot greater than Sturgeon - e.g. Hazlitt and
Schopenhauer, as are many others on the list, but it does contain two
of Sturgeon's books as well.
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: