July 7, 2013
Crisis: NSA & Brazil, political lies, jobs report

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

Prev- crisis -Next

1.  The NSA's mass and indiscriminate spying on Brazilians
Are Corporations Trying to Distract Us with Social Issues
Jobs Report: ‘New Normal’ Is Neither New, Normal nor

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.

Yes indeed, and it goes on and on. Anyway, as I am quite tired I'll limit myself somewhat. Yesterday I had some on the crisis, and it's the same today, albeit that I have some more economic news in the last two items, after a first item by Glenn Greenwald.

1. The NSA's mass and indiscriminate spying on Brazilians
First, there is the latest Glenn Greenwald column in the Guardian, who this time reports on the country he normally lives in:
Basically, it is a report on a report, for the original is in Portugese, with a headline which translates as "US spied on millions of emails and calls of Brazilians".

It was written by Greenwald and two others, and the general message is this:
As the headline suggests, the crux of the main article details how the NSA has, for years, systematically tapped into the Brazilian telecommunication network and indiscriminately intercepted, collected and stored the email and telephone records of millions of Brazilians. The story follows an article in Der Spiegel last week, written by Laura Poitras and reporters from that paper, detailing the NSA's mass and indiscriminate collection of the electronic communications of millions of Germans. [1]
Greenwald also notes - and one reason to quote it are the links, all to the Guardian:
The vast majority of the GuardianUS's revelations thus far have concerned NSA domestic spying: the bulk collection of telephone records, the PRISM program, Obama's presidential directive that authorizes domestic use of cyber-operations, the Boundless Informant data detailing billions of records collected from US systems, the serial falsehoods publicly voiced by top Obama officials about the NSA's surveillance schemes, and most recently, the bulk collection of email and internet metadata records for Americans.
And he makes the following point, that I only quote in part:
That the US government - in complete secrecy - is constructing a ubiquitous spying apparatus aimed not only at its own citizens, but all of the world's citizens, has profound consequences. It erodes, if not eliminates, the ability to use the internet with any remnant of privacy or personal security. It vests the US government with boundless power over those to whom it has no accountability. [1]
As I said - etc. etc. for which you have to go to the last dotted link.

The main point is that the internet is stuck, undone, to pieces, kaputt (German):

It currently comes with two assurances: (1) everything you do with a computer or cell phone gets stored, to be used against you, if and when the masters of your data see this is or may or might be fit, and (2) you are a secondrate citizen without guaranteed rights, but with many duties.

The only exceptions to (2) are the political and corporate leaders (in so far as they do nothing they can be blackmailed with) and the mostly private software leaders and their bosses, with a position like Edward Snowdon had.

That is: the internet that was designed to liberate people now is being used to enslave them - or at least to fully control whatever they do, write or say using the internet, and the main reasons are that (i) there are no good legal principles to counter the internet's abuse and (ii) the abuse is technically possible. And so it happens.

Anyway - check out Glenn Greenwald's article. What's happening is, in Greenwald's words, with stresses added by me:
This development - the construction of a worldwide, ubiquitous electronic surveillance apparatus - is self-evidently newsworthy, extreme, and dangerous. It deserves transparency. People around the world have no idea that all of their telephonic and internet communications are being collected, stored and analyzed by a distant government. But that's exactly what is happening, in secrecy and with virtually no accountability. And it is inexorably growing, all in the dark.
Besides, it may be the case that currently there are quite a few who claim to have an idea, but who do not really realize how much it is that is being gotten.

Also, the second part of his story is about the Guardian (<- Wikipedia) and it is quite flattering, though I see no reason to doubt it. Indeed, one reason is that the Guardian is financially secure and independent, unlike many - most - other papers.

This means that it is hard to put pressure on it.

2. Are Corporations Trying to Distract Us with Social Issues

This is a long piece by R.J. Eskow that I found on Alternet, and that you find in the next dotted link with its full title:
My main reason to list it is that it addresses an aspect of a technique I've been aware of for at least 10 and possibly 15 or 20 years, which is typical for Blairism and Third way politics, and for Bill Clinton's politics, as well: The electorate is being systematically lied to. They are being told the lies that elect the politicians, who when elected do as they please.

R.J. Eskow's paper doesn't quite address this, for it is concerned with the situation in the U.S. He describes what he addresses as follows:
Politicians are winning liberal hearts and minds on social issues, while at the same time embracing a corporate political agenda based on ever-greater wealth for the few and increasing austerity for the many.
Then again, this largely overlaps with my main reason - that incidentally apply across the board: both to the left and the right - as Eskow himself says:

Democrats campaigned on populist themes in 2012 campaign. But as soon as the election was over the party’s leaders returned to what Frank described in 2004 as “endless concessions on economic issues, on welfare, NAFTA, Social Security, labor law, privatization, deregulation, and the rest of it.”

Since his re-election, Barack Obama has proposed to cut Social Security, echoed the deficit hysteria of the right, continued to negotiate NAFTA-like trade deals in secret (hidden from Congress and the public but available to 600 “corporate advisors”), and continued to privatize the military/national security state. (He has also pursued the most aggressive anti-whistleblower presidential campaign in American history.)

For the rest, you'll have to consult the last dotted link, where there is a lot more.

3. Jobs Report: ‘New Normal’ Is Neither New, Normal nor

This is another economic subject, this time from Common Dreams, by Robert Borosage:
The brief version of it is this:
More than 22 million Americans remain in need of full-time work. The participation rate in the labor force – 63.5 percent – remains mired near recession lows. Wages continue to stagnate; young people struggle to get jobs; young African Americans face devastating rates of unemployment; inequality grows more extreme. And at current rates, it will take an estimated seven years to return to pre-recession unemployment levels.
So also in this respect, the presidency of Obama does not perform, though indeed that is not only his fault.

And note the last sentence: It will take another 7 years - at the current rate - to return to pre-recession unemployment levels. That means 14 years of continuing recession.

I know the operative phrase is "
at the current rate", but then that is the top of the last six years, and while it may go up, it may go down as well.
[1] Here is the text of the Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
-- Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution

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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