July 31, 2013
Crisis: Xkeyscore, Obama fuck up, NSA spying, shrinking human brain
  "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.  XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user
      does on the internet'

2. 'Surprise' Obama Visit Bumps Critical Hearing on NSA

3.  NSA Spying Directly Harms (...) the Entire U.S. Economy
4.  Modern Man’s Shrinking Brain
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 then I did not sleep much last night, and am quite tired. Therefore there is somewhat less material with less comments, for which I am sorry, though what's there still is interesting. (I do hope to sleep somewhat properly the coming night, though.)

The present file deals with XKeyscore (Snowden did not lie); 'Surprise' Obama vist (bumps critical hearing); NSA spying hurts US economy; and the diminishing size of the human brain.

1.  XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user
            does on the internet'

This is again by Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its "widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet.

And it also shows Snowden did not lie:

"I, sitting at my desk," said Snowden, could "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email".

US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden's assertion: "He's lying. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do."

But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed.

So, he spoke the truth.

There is a lot more on XKeyscore including this fact:
The XKeyscore program also allows an analyst to learn the IP addresses of every person who visits any website the analyst specifies.
2. 'Surprise' Obama Visit Bumps Critical Hearing on NSA Spying

This is on Common Dreams and shows how reliably Obama performs: Here is its beginning:
A widely anticipated Wednesday hearing from critics of the NSA on the floor of the House has been suddenly pulled after Obama called a surprise meeting with House Democrats.

Critics of the National Security Agency's secret spying program were slated for an unofficial congressional hearing Wednesday as a counter-weight to the "constant misleading information"—as Congressman Alan Grayson (D - Flor.) put it—from the secret surveillance community.

Yet, the hearing was abruptly cancelled after President Obama's last-minute interest in meeting with House Democrats at the exact time of the scheduled hearing.
And there is this:
"Rather than asking our Democratic colleagues to choose between speaking with the President of the United States, or attend a hearing on the immensely important topic of domestic surveillance, we reluctantly opted to push the hearing back," Grayson's press secretary Lauren Doney told Common Dreams Wednesday.
As I said: It shows how reliably Obama performs, for Clapper and Alexander.

3.  NSA Spying Directly Harms (...) the Entire U.S. Economy

Next, there is this on Washington's Blog, with the full title:
This quotes a lot, from several sources, and the general argument is that one cannot trust U.S. companies anymore - which seems to me quite right, and indeed also is something that is taken up by non-US banks, such as the Deutsche Bank, to support their own security.

4. Modern Man’s Shrinking Brain

Finally, another item from Washington's Blog:

This is at least a bit interesting, and exposed in rather a lot of graphics, that start with the following fact:
For millions of years the hominid brain has grown increasingly bigger. But for the last 10,000 years, the human brain has been shrinking at an alarming rate and no one really knows why.
It also shows this has been happening through the period of human civilization, which suggests one kind of explanation (which is given in the text): Lack of evolution aka lack of competition.

The fact that all this comprises human civilization is interesting. But what it really shows is difficult to say, though I guess that it has a lot to do with less competition.
[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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