July 29, 2013
Crisis: Opinion shifts, reforms, classified, many poor
  "Those who sacrifice liberty for
   security deserve neither."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
    "All governments lie and nothing
    they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.

Prev- crisis -Next

1. Major opinion shifts, in the US and Congress, on NSA
Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping
3. Want to Know Who the U.S. is at War With? Sorry, That's

4. 80 Percent Of U.S. Adults Face Near-Poverty
5. Personal

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.

Sleeping did improve, some, lately, but I still do not know whether it lasts.

Presently it is 24 degrees Celsius where I am, in my house in Amsterdam, which is a bit better than last week, but still is too hot for me.

The present file deals with Greenwald on major opinion shifts; Bradeisky on what might be reformed by Congress; the classified nature of Obama's war targets; and the fact that the U.S. is growing more and more poor.

1.  Major opinion shifts, in the US and Congress, on NSA

The full title of this last Glenn Greenwald article in the Guardian is as follows: 
This starts as follows:

Numerous polls taken since our reporting on previously secret NSAstrongly suggested major public opinion shifts in how NSA surveillance and privacy are viewed. But a new comprehensive poll released over the weekend weekend by Pew Research provides the most compelling evidence yet of how stark the shift is. activities first began have

Among other things, Pew finds that "a majority of Americans – 56% – say that federal courts fail to provide adequate limits on the telephone and internet data the government is collecting as part of its anti-terrorism efforts." And "an even larger percentage (70%) believes that the government uses this data for purposes other than investigating terrorism." Moreover, "63% think the government is also gathering information about the content of communications." That demonstrates a decisive rejection of the US government's three primary defenses of its secret programs: there is adequate oversight; we're not listening to the content of communication; and the spying is only used to Keep You Safe™.

There is a lot more, including graphics, that I leave to you, but I quote the ending:
As I've repeatedly said, the only ones defending the NSA at this point are the party loyalists and institutional authoritarians in both parties. That's enough for the moment to control Washington outcomes - as epitomized by the unholy trinity that saved the NSA in the House last week: Pelosi, John Boehner and the Obama White House - but it is clearly not enough to stem the rapidly changing tide of public opinion.
I don't know, though I hope he is right.

2.   Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping

Anyway... suppose Glenn Greenwald is right, and there soon is some form of majority for revising the NSA powers and policies. What may it do?

Here is one set of answers, by Kara Bradeisky, originally on ProPublica, but I found it on Truth Dig:

This gives six perfectly sane proposals, each of which may be implemented, if Greenwald is right.

3.  Want to Know Who the U.S. is at War With? Sorry, That's Classified

This is another theme, that illustrates - what must be regarded as some evidence of what may be regarded as - the utter craziness of the present U.S. government.

In fact, this also comes from ProPublica, but I found it on Alternet:

It starts as follows:

In a major national security speech this spring, President Obama said again and again that the U.S. is at war with “Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces.”

So who exactly are those associated forces? It’s a secret.

At a hearing in May, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., asked the Defense Department to provide him with a current list of Al Qaeda affiliates.

The Pentagon responded – but Levin’s office told ProPublica they aren’t allowed to share it. Kathleen Long, a spokeswoman for Levin, would say only that the department’s “answer included the information requested.”

A Pentagon spokesman told ProPublica that revealing such a list could cause “serious damage to national security.”

Firstly, the war is undeclared, and the opponent is mostly made up - and secondly, while the president has his own Tuesday drone-killing assigments, the American citizens are not allowed to know who he is killing or why, nor indeed whom they are opposing.

Thirdly, as I argued already in 2005, the opposition that the president wages war against is not worth a millionth part of the opposition the U.S. faced with the Soviet Union, which had an enormous well-trained army and many atom bombs - when there was far less secrecy.

So... I do not really think these "Al Qaeda" or "Taliban" forces are the real opposition: I think the real opposition is, in fact, the U.S. population, at least in so far as that is or may be critical of its government and governors, and I also do not think the U.S. government is crazy or insane (for the major part, at least): it is being illegal and knows it is, but so far has gotten away with it.

Then again, I do regard the present example as close to insanity: It surely is extremely odd a senator cannot divulge whom the forces of his country are fighting against, at least not while his country is supposed to be "a democracy".

4. 80 Percent Of U.S. Adults Face Near-Poverty

And this is yet another theme, namely the economy of the U.S., as discussed by the Huffington Post, which has the following full title:
This starts as follows:
Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

There is considerably more, but the general trend is given by the following:
Hardship is particularly growing among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families' economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy "poor."
I do not know how serious this is - and as the Huffington Post said "data exclusive to The Associated Press" - but I do know the crisis is not over, and probably will not be by a long time.

5. Personal

Finally, I've said I was trying to get a MTHFR-test: Well, the answer is not if it is up to the Dutch medics, who also are not below inviting me to help pay them - and at least at twice as much for listening to me and then refusing, while forcing me also to do what I cannot do, namely go visit them, as would cost the simple test I asked for.

Typically Dutch!
[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, that the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

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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