ugust 3, 2013
Crisis: Principles, Whistleblowing, Congress, Lies, Chomsky, Wray
  "Those who sacrifice liberty for
   security deserve neither."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
    "All governments lie and nothing
    they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.

1. International Principles on the Application of Human
     Rights to Communications Surveillance

2. America’s War on Whistle-blowing Is a War Against   
     Democracy Itself

3. Congress eyes renewed push for legislation to rein in
     the NSA

4. Flat Out Lies By the Government About Spying
Chomsky: America's Imperial Power Is Showing Real
     Signs of Decline

6. Randy Wray: Why We’re Screwed
About ME/CFS


Sleeping did improve, some, lately.
Happily, it also is a bit cooler today, with some wind, which gives me a disproportionate lot of relief.

Today's file covers international principles of human rights as applied to communications surveillance; a fairly brief piece that argues war on whistle- blowers is war on democracy; a piece by the Guardian about the changes the Congress is going to make (?); a video on the lies of U.S. government bureaucrats; a piece by Chomsky that argues the U.S.'s imperial powers decline (?); and a piece by economist Wray who argues present-day unregulated capitalism is thievery, and screwed everyone (except 1%).

1. International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to
            Communications Surveillance

This is what it says it is:
It is the definitive version of July 10, 2013. It is subscribed to by 140  organizations and was written by individuals from at least 15 organizations.

It starts as follows:

As technologies that facilitate State surveillance of communications advance, States are failing to ensure that laws and regulations related to communications surveillance adhere to international human rights and adequately protect the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. This document attempts to explain how international human rights law applies in the current digital environment, particularly in light of the increase in and changes to communications surveillance technologies and techniques. These principles can provide civil society groups, industry, States and others with a framework to evaluate whether current or proposed surveillance laws and practices are consistent with human rights.

These principles are the outcome of a global consultation with civil society groups, industry and international experts in communications surveillance law, policy and technology.

And this is what it proceeds to do. I have not read it closely, so far, but it does look sensible - and it should be given to the U.S. Senators and Congressmen, so that they have it mostly in one place.

2. America’s War on Whistle-blowing Is a War Against Democracy

This is from Alternet and Tikkun Daily, and by David Harris-Gershon:
This starts as follows

In order for a representative democracy to properly function, a simple pre-condition must be met: citizens must be allowed to see how elected officials, entrusted to govern according to our nation’s laws and ideals, are actually governing.

If elected officials abuse their powers in secret, concealing illegal actions or the violation of citizens’ rights, representative democracy breaks down.

It’s that simple.

I agree, though I am under no illusions that I in Holland, or that people in the United States, live currently in a true representative democracy. But yes, it still is better in either country than in many other places; there was something much like a representative democracy, at least from 1945-1995 in both countries; and there still are considerable remnants, if especially for valiant conformists [2].

The writer proceeds to apply his principle, and succeeds. What difference it will make in the real world remains to be seen.

3. Congress eyes renewed push for legislation to rein in the NSA

Next, as to these changes in the real world, here is a piece from the Guardian by Spencer Ackerman and Paul Lewis:

This starts as follows:

Members of Congress are considering 11 legislative measures to constrain the activities of the National Security Agency, in a major shift of political opinion in the eight weeks since the first revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The proposals range from repealing the legal foundations of key US surveillance powers to more moderate reforms of the secretive court proceedings for domestic spying. If enacted, the laws would represent the first rollback of the NSA's powers since 9/11.

The Guardian has spoken to six key lawmakers involved in the push to rein in the NSA, and those involved in the process argue there is now an emerging consensus that the bulk collection of millions of phone records needs to be overhauled or even ended.

This then gets followed by a review of the proposed measures, and it seems fair to say that they are mostly not directed against surveilling as such, as I think they should be: Surveillance should be the exception and not the rule  - but it seems not according to the majority of the law makers.

But even so: it is something, and wouldn not have happened without Edward Snowden's courage.

4.  Flat Out Lies By the Government About Spying

Here is a much more skeptical piece, that I found on Washington's Blog:
Actually, it is video from ProPublica that shows the lies, notably by James Clapper and Keith Alexander:

As I said before: you - the Congress - do not want these kind of men as bureaucrats! And you can remove them on the basis of their own lies. (But probably you will not.)

Chomsky: America's Imperial Power Is Showing Real Signs of

Next, a piece by Noam Chomsky that I found on Alter net:

It's subtitle is
Latin America had long been the reliable “backyard” for the United States—not any more.
And that seems the main reason for the title.

Actually, I don't know: While I agree with the argument, I don't see much reason to rely on it, since the U.S. still has by far the most troops and the biggest budgets for war.

6. Randy Wray: Why We’re Screwed

This is by a professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and it was also posted in Economonitor:

It is not the sort of prose one has learned to expect from professional economists:

As the Global Financial Crisis rumbles along in its fifth year, we read the latest revelations of bankster fraud, the LIBOR scandal. This follows the muni bond fixing scam detailed a couple of weeks ago, as well as the J.P. Morgan trading fiasco and the Corzine-MF Global collapse and any number of other scandals in recent months. In every case it was traders run amuck, fixing “markets” to make an easy buck at someone’s expense. In times like these, I always recall Robert Sherrill’s 1990 statement about the S&L crisis that “thievery is what unregulated capitalism is all about.”

After 1990 we removed what was left of financial regulations following the flurry of deregulation of the early 1980s that had freed the thrifts so that they could self-destruct. And we are shocked, SHOCKED!, that thieves took over the financial system.

Nay, they took over the whole economy and the political system lock, stock, and barrel. They didn’t just blow up finance, they oversaw the swiftest transfer of wealth to the very top the world has ever seen. They screwed workers out of their jobs, they screwed homeowners out of their houses, they screwed retirees out of their pensions, and they screwed municipalities out of their revenues and assets.

Financiers are forcing schools, parks, pools, fire departments, senior citizen centers, and libraries to shut down. They are forcing national governments to auction off their cultural heritage to the highest bidder. Everything must go in firesales at prices rigged by twenty-something traders at the biggest and most corrupt institutions the world has ever known.

And since they’ve bought the politicians, the policy-makers, and the courts, no one will stop it. Few will even discuss it, since most university administrations have similarly been bought off—in many cases, the universities are even headed by corporate “leaders”–and their professors are on Wall Street’s payrolls.

We’re screwed.

I don't say "No", but my question is: What is the point? Force a break down, that allows only - say - 5 to 10 % of the people to survive? I do not exclude such hypotheses, except that I do not see how they are going to guide this in such a way that a working society survives.

Apart from that, I see only one tenable hypothesis, that Wray himself gives in these terms:

As Sherrill said, without regulation, capitalism is thievery. We stopped regulating the financial system, so thieves took over.

And they do not have any decent plan: they only have self-interest plus the way to satisfy these interests as they could never be satisfied before - "and after us, the flood".

Anyway - as to hypothetical explanations, see my Crisis: Christmas sermon: Hypotheses about CF+SS and Crisis: Hypotheses about CF+SS - P.S. with some about C.W. Mills (both of which are from 2012, in which I did formulate about the NSA what has been known since Snowden), and as to regulating see my Crisis + DSM-5: It's deregulation, stupid!

I do not say I am right; I do say I have thought and read a lot. But I do not have solutions, and indeed no one has, and also not professor Wray, who has more text, that is worth reading: at least it is by an honest economist.
[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.)

[2] I am not a valiant conformist, and hence have been subjected to 25 years of continuous abuse. See ME in Amsterdam. (One problem is that by far the most persons are conformists, and are proud to be conformists, and do not like anyone to stand out who does not stand out already, and are quite willing to help bringing him down. I am quite certain of this, for I have protested many times, but yes: I am not a conformist.)

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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