"Those who sacrifice liberty for
security deserve neither."
-- Benjamin Franklin 
| "All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
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
It still is the case
that sleeping remains quite
difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at
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,
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
This is again by Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:
And it also shows Snowden did
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.
So, he spoke the truth.
"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.
There is a lot more on XKeyscore including this fact:
program also allows an analyst to learn the IP addresses of every
person who visits any website the analyst specifies.
Obama Visit Bumps Critical Hearing on NSA Spying
This is on Common Dreams and shows how reliably Obama
Here is its beginning:
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.
And there is this:
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.
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
As I said: It shows how
reliably Obama performs, for Clapper and Alexander.
3. NSA Spying Directly Harms (...) the Entire
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.
 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
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
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
from is quite pertinent.)
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: