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Nederlog


 
July 9, 2013
crisis: Snowden, Ellsberg, MSNBC, CEOs, mainstream, Carlin
    "Those who sacrifice liberty for
      security deserve neither."
         -- Benjamin Franklin




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Sections

Introduction
1. Interview 2 with Edward Snowden
2.
Ellsberg: Snowden Made Right Decision by Leaving
     America

3. Why MSNBC Defends NSA Surveillance
4. Average CEO Makes More in 1 Day Than Worker Makes
     in 1 Year

5. The fact that mass surveillance doesn't keep us safe
     goes mainstream

6. George Carlin: Modern man
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 the
crisis, after a brief trip to Wittgenstein and Multatuli yesterday, with six items: The 2nd interview with Snowden (also taped on June 6); a piece by Daniel Ellsberg; a clarification of the reasons the MSNBC defends NSA surveillance; the fact that the average CEO earns in a day what a worker earns in a year; the fact that mass surveillance doesn't work, and it's all ended by a piece by George Carlin on modern man.

1. Interview 2 with Edward Snowden

First, a second video with Edward Snowden, also filmed on June 6 in Hong Kong, with questions by Greenwald and filming by Pointras
This is the version on Common Dreams, because I cannot get the thing to work at the Guardian's site, at least not without shifting on JavaScript, which is one of the things I generally want to leave switched off.

But the Common Dream version is quite OK, and Snowden again talks a lot of sense, and indeed predicted much of the filth and accusations that were poured over him.

2. Ellsberg: Snowden Made Right Decision by Leaving America

Next, a piece by Daniel Ellsberg, who contends why Snowden was right not to await a Bradley Manning treatment:

This is on Truth Dig, but the original is from the Washington Post, and I quote two points from it:

One lesson of the Pentagon Papers and Snowden’s leaks is simple: secrecy corrupts, just as power corrupts.

Quite so - and that is one of the main points everybody who condones the gathering of his or her data does not see, or indeed intentionally plays down.

And here is the ending of the piece:
What [Snowden - MM] has given us is our best chance — if we respond to his information and his challenge — to rescue ourselves from out-of-control surveillance that shifts all practical power to the executive branch and its intelligence agencies: a United Stasi of America.
Quite so, again, though perhaps it will be a more subtle state terrorism, that certainly will not be called thus.

It may e.g. be one were people are allowed to have quite a few of the freedoms they have now, except if they write or say anything that the government dislikes, and then they will just disappear, and very few will notice or know, for the media will be more directed, conformistic, and government-directed than they are now.

This is a kind of Stalinism, but then the majority may like this, and may see no problems with it.


3.
Why MSNBC Defends NSA Surveillance

Then there is a piece on Consortium News by Jeff Cohen:
This starts as follows:

I was a young person when I first heard the quip: “How do you know when the President is lying? His lips are moving.” At the time, President Richard Nixon was expanding the war in Vietnam to other countries and deploying the White House “plumbers” to commit crimes against antiwar leakers.

Forty years have passed. Sadly, these days, often when I see President Barack Obama moving his lips, I assume he’s lying. Like Nixon, our current president is prolonging an endless, borderless and counter-productive war (“on terror”) and waging a parallel war against “national security” leakers that makes the plumbers’ burglary of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office look almost quaint.

I quite agree. Actually, it is not about lying presidents, but about MSNBC presenters like Ed Schultz, Melissa Harris-Penney, and also Rachel Maddows, all of whom condone that their complete data are taken and stored, while attacking Edward Snowden, often in outrageous ways.

This you have to look at yourself, but I give you the end:

We can’t count on MSNBC to heed the lesson taught by legendary independent journalist I.F. “Izzy” Stone, after years reporting from Washington: “All governments lie and nothing they say should be believed.”

Quite so.

4.
Average CEO Makes More in 1 Day Than Worker Makes in 1 Year

Next, another aspect of the
crisis, which seems to me a sign that it probably will continue, namely the obscene and outrageous fortunes modern CEOs make. I found the following on Truth Dig, but it is from The Contributor:
On Truth Dig it starts as follows:

The salaries of corporate CEOs in the U.S. have ballooned so ridiculously in the past 50 years that the average chief executive now pulls down roughly 237 times what the average American worker collects, or as much money in one day as many employees earn in one year.

And that figure will likely get higher as CEO pay continues to increase, economic meltdowns be darned. The latest report shows that chief executive salaries rose 16 percent last year. Oracle’s Larry Ellison was the highest paid CEO in 2012, raking in a whopping $96 million, while ConocoPhillips’ James Mulva was given the biggest “exit bonus,” a staggering $156 million.

And that is just the beginning: there is considerably more in The Contributor.

Again, my point is that this is totally undeserved, and seems to me quite insane and obscene greed by a few moral degenerates, who think they are above the law and above decency. None of them is worth it, or is worth a tenth of what they get, and all know it, were it only because capitalism has worked for more than a century without any CEO being paid as much, or indeed a tenth as much.


5.
The fact that mass surveillance doesn't keep us safe goes mainstream

Next, a piece by Washington's Blog who carefully documents the following fact:
This is nearly its beginning:

The top counter-terrorism czar under Presidents Clinton and Bush – Richard Clarke – says:

The argument that this sweeping search must be kept secret from the terrorists is laughable. Terrorists already assume this sort of thing is being done. Only law-abiding American citizens were blissfully ignorant of what their government was doing.

***

If the government wanted a particular set of records, it could tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court why — and then be granted permission to access those records directly from specially maintained company servers. The telephone companies would not have to know what data were being accessed. There are no technical disadvantages to doing it that way, although it might be more expensive.

Would we, as a nation, be willing to pay a little more for a program designed this way, to avoid a situation in which the government keeps on its own computers a record of every time anyone picks up a telephone? That is a question that should have been openly asked and answered in Congress.

And there is quite a lot more, that I will not quote, except for this, that is quoted from a Bloomberg report:

The infrastructure set up by the National Security Agency, however, may only be good for gathering information on the stupidest, lowest-ranking of terrorists. The Prism surveillance program focuses on access to the servers of America’s largest Internet companies, which support such popular services as Skype, Gmail and iCloud. These are not the services that truly dangerous elements typically use.

In a January 2012 report titled “Jihadism on the Web: A Breeding Ground for Jihad in the Modern Age,” the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service drew a convincing picture of an Islamist Web underground centered around “core forums.” These websites are part of the Deep Web, or Undernet, the multitude of online resources not indexed by commonly used search engines.

The Netherlands’ security service, which couldn’t find recent data on the size of the Undernet, cited a 2003 study from the University of California at Berkeley as the “latest available scientific assessment.” The study found that just 0.2 percent of the Internet could be searched. The rest remained inscrutable and has probably grown since. In 2010, Google Inc. said it had indexed just 0.004 percent of the information on the Internet.

That is basically it - and I know a little about the unsearchable part of the internet, because my then computer was seriously hacked in 2009, no doubt to make it a part of an uncharted criminal net, and then was destroyed when it turned out I knew.

So there are two more questions:
(1) Does the NSA not know this?
(2) Why are they taking down everything?

My answers must be hypothetical, but seem convincing:

Of course the NSA knows this, and the reason they nevertheless take down everything is that they want it, so as to be able to terrorize everybody into blissful acceptance of whatever government there is, or else to disappear.

The former is a virtual certainty. As to the latter, William Binney may partially disagree. On the one hand:

Binney also says:

This supports my position: In the end, they want the data on you and everybody else to be able to go after whoever they dislike. Then again, Binney also said:

[All this data gathered is] putting an extra burden on all of their analysts. It’s not something that’s going to help them; it’s something that’s burdensome. There are ways to do the analysis properly, but they don’t really want the solution because if they got it, they wouldn’t be able to keep demanding the money to solve it. I call it their business statement, “Keep the problems going so the money keeps flowing.” It’s all about contracts and money.

There probably is considerable truth in that - but that is mostly on the part of private corporations like Booze Allen. The fact that all these data, that are almost certainly useless in the fight against terrorism, even though they are gathered in its name, are being gathered even so, makes it likely that it is to facilitate the arisal of an authoritarian state.

6. Modern man

Finally, something different, that I think I missed until today: George Carlin defining modern man for you, in a kind of poetry
It certainly is one of the last things he did, and it is very good. Also, it is very fast and clever free verse, so you probably will have to do it twice to get most of it.
---------------------------------

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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