ugust 31, 2013
Crisis: Obama, 3 weeks, MS & Google, Inhumane War, Ellsberg
  "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. Obama: You Cannot Start a War by Yourself
2. UK took three weeks to act over data at New York Times, says Guardian
3. Microsoft and Google to sue over US surveillance requests
4. Inhumane War in the Name of Humanity
5. Daniel Ellsberg: Whistle-Blowers Are Good for Democracy About ME/CFS

About ME/CFS


There is more today than there was yesterday, but it is in part about the war with Syria, that still has not been decided.

1. Obama: You Cannot Start a War by Yourself

To start with, a letter by Ralph Nader to Barack Obama:
Here is a small part of it:

On August 28, you stated that bombing Syria “is not about war, it’s about accountability,” obviously referring to the brutal gassing of neighborhoods outside of Damascus. What about your accountability to receive authorization from Congress which, under Article 1, Section 8, has the sole and exclusive power to declare war? Spare Americans the casuistry of your lawyers who “legalized” your war on Libya, with no declaration, authorization or appropriation of funds from Congress, and pushed the envelope of the “unitary presidency” beyond the unlawful and brazen extremes advocated by George W. Bush and his lawyers.

Nearly 200 members of both parties of Congress – now on its August recess – demanded there be no attack on Syria without Congressional authorization. These signers have so far included 72 Democrats. Merely secretly consulting with some lawmakers on the Intelligence Committees does not substitute for formal Congressional authorization. The framers of our Constitution – whatever their other differences – were unanimous in writing Article 1, Section 8, so that no president could go to war on his own. To do so, as you have already done in the past, would be a major impeachable offense.

And so on. It's a good letter. (Whether it will help is another question.)

2. UK took three weeks to act over data at New York Times, says Guardian

Then I shift to another subject, namely the Guardian's defense. It is an article in the Guardian by Robert Booth

It starts as follows

The government took more than three weeks to act on authoritative information about the whereabouts of a collection of secret intelligence data leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, despite now claiming the information risks "grave damage" to the security of British intelligence and armed forces, the Guardian said on Friday.

Guardian News and Media's editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, hit back at Downing Street's claims made in the high court that it "urgently" needed to access leaked intelligence data seized at Heathrow this month from the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist reporting on US and UK mass digital surveillance programmes.

And it ends thus:
Gwendolen Morgan, solicitor for Miranda, disputed the evidence presented by the authorities. "The Home Office and Metropolitan police have lodged evidence with the court in which they make sweeping assertions about national security threats which they said entitled them to look at the materials seized, but they have said that they cannot provide further details in open court," she said. "Mr Miranda does not accept the assertions they have made and is disappointed that the UK government is attempting to justify the use of terrorist powers by making what appear to be unfounded assertions."
There's rather a lot inbetween. (The problem, as I see it, both in the US and the UK, is that the governments do not believe in the law anymore: They break it very intentionally in all sorts of ways, and try to upkeep their breaking it by refusals to submit evidence in court or in Congress.)

3.  Microsoft and Google to sue over US surveillance requests

Then there is this, which I have to say I am quite skeptical about. The article is again in the Guardian, by Rory Carroll 

This starts as follows - and this also can be fairly called one of Snowden's effects:

Microsoft and Google are to sue the US government to win the right to reveal more information about official requests for user data. The companies announced the lawsuit on Friday, escalating a legal battle over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa), the mechanism used by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other US government agencies to gather data about foreign internet users.

Microsoft's general counsel, Brad Smith, made the announcement in a corporate blog post which complained of the government's "continued unwillingness" to let it publish information about Fisa requests.

To make the case for my skepticism: I believe Microsoft and Google are, nominally, right - but I also believe that they care much less about the privacy of their users' information than they care about their standing.

4. Inhumane War in the Name of Humanity

This is by former Rep. Denis Kucinic, and he protests going to war against Syria:
This has the following, near the ending:

Whatever we believe about Syria, as Americans, let us all believe in our Constitution, in the rule of law, and in the bedrock of principles which inform our rights and responsibilities as a nation. We have a right to defend ourselves, but no right to wage aggressive war. Our obligation as citizens is not to be a member of the Democratic, Republican or an independent party, but to be a party to the truth.

I am concerned that once again, in the name of humanity, an inhumane act of war is about to be committed against the people of a distant land, compounding their tragedy; in the name of security, an attack will be launched which will make us all less secure; and in the name of the United States, in our name, the destructive power of war will be unleashed based on the hubris of exceptionalism which, left untamed, will destroy our own nation.

5. Daniel Ellsberg: Whistle-Blowers Are Good for Democracy

Finally, a long interview of Daniel Elllsberg (82) by Robert Scheer (77), on Truth Dig
Note the above is the first of five pages. I think it is quite interesting, but you do need to have an interest in the facts.

Here are some bits and pieces I gathered, in the order they were published. The speaker is always Ellsberg:
Of course people who say that Manning and Snowden are not whistle-blowers, that’s absurd ... and to refuse to see Manning as a patriot is clearly absurd. I was called a traitor, too—and as is Snowden—but with no more basis than Manning or Snowden. It’s clear that we were people who were prepared to take a great risk in our futures, for the good of our country and for the ideals of this country, to help the democratic process change practices by our country that were despicable and criminal.
[[Manning’s] prosecutors were not able to come up with a single example of an American or any other person being harmed physically by Manning’s revelations. Not one.
And for people to say that this information Snowden put out, or Manning put out, could have been dealt with in some different way, are just totally off base. What Manning and Snowden were well aware of was that there was a cover-up on this information going up to the highest levels … Snowden did see … that Obama was not correcting these crimes and errors and unconstitutional action, so he felt he had to do it. Well, they were absolutely right; the idea that there was an alternative channel is simply false.
So, coming back to Manning for a minute 4,000 Americans died – troops – and hundreds of thousands – and I really believe the estimates of a million and a half are better estimates ... of Iraqi civilians, plus the refugees, plus the ... tens of thousands at least, of American troops who were subjected to post traumatic stress and suicide because of atrocities they’ve committed in many cases or that they’ve witnessed. ... Not one person being indicted for getting us into that or for pursuing it ... those people died because there was no official – at high level – with the moral fiber, the moral courage, of Bradley Manning or of Edward Snowden to warn us of what was coming out. And there was no way to get that information unless someone took the courage of risking his or her own career or prison to do it.
Our founders, with all their faults and their shortcomings, had some brilliant insights on how to pit one group of ambitious men against another group of ambitious men: Congress vs. the executive [branch] and the judiciary and the fourth estate. So, the idea of a fourth estate, that’s what [Thomas] Jefferson meant when he said, “I would choose newspapers without a government over government without newspapers,” and he was right. He said that without a free press that can inform the public, you will have corrupt government ... you will have tyranny.
Quite so.
[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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