7, 2013
Crisis: NSA, Greenwald interview, decline USA, Syria, Barry O'Bomber, Falkvinge, Greenberg
  "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. NSA decryption revelations 'provide roadmap' to adversaries, US warns
N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web
Greenwald: End of Internet Privacy?
4. 10 Ways America Has Come to Resemble a Banana Republic
5. Syria and the Reality at Home in America
6. Stopping Barry O’Bomber’s Rush to War
7. NSA the enemy of all of mankind
8. The Psychiatric Drug Crisis

About ME/CFS


Today there is rather a lot more than the last days, and indeed I leave some for tomorrow, which is a sunday, when there usually is less material. This is about the NSA, how the U.S. is starting to resemble a banana state, about Syria, about a Swedish Pirate Party's views, and at the end a bit on the crisis in psychiatry (and indeed in medicine).

1. NSA decryption revelations 'provide roadmap' to adversaries, US warns

Let us start with "a serious warning" from the U.S. government, that is here rendered by James Ball in the Guardian:

It starts as follows:

The Obama administration has responded to revelations on the NSA's successes in defeating online security and privacypublished on Thursday by the Guardian, New York Times and ProPublica.

In a statement issued on Friday, the office of the director of national intelligence (ODNI), which oversees the US's intelligence agencies, suggested the stories, simultaneously published on the front pages of the New York Times and Guardian, were "not news", but nonetheless provided a "road map … to our adversaries".

I think one has to read a little bit between the lines: What the U.S. government means is that they decide who is a journalist and they decide what is news, and that whoever is not "a journalist" (in their sense) or does not write "news" (in their sense) must be "an adversary", if not a terrorist.

Otherwise there is little to tell, though there is a fair amount more under the last link.

2. N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web

Next, a bit of medical advice, by a site that is called "Health Care Renewal", that is run by decent medical doctors (yes, they exist, even in the U.S.):

It starts as follows:

There's already a major issue with privacy and protection of medical records in electronic form.  See the multiple blog posts at this query link:

Now this from the New York Times:
N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web
September 5, 2013

The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents.

The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show. 
But don't worry, your electronic medical records are secure, and will NEVER be used for political purposes by your adversaries...
There is more and it ends like so:
Half facetiously: unless you're a real nobody, if you, say, contracted V.D. from that sexy prostitute at that Vegas Convention, you perhaps better not tell your doctor about it.

Maybe this is what it will take to get the government to start taking electronic medical record privacy, confidentiality and security more seriously.

Our legislators, like everyone else, have a stake in the game.
I hope they are right - and there are no real nobodies, because everybody is defined by the NSA in terms of metadata, that may link anybody to anybody who may be "a terrorist" (aka "adversary" aka "someone who disagrees with the NSA").

But I first must see some decent legislation that curtails the NSA - but yes: this is what "all of anyone's and everyone's personal data
" means.

3.  Greenwald: End of Internet Privacy

Next, an interview with Glenn Greenwald on Democracy Now!: 

It starts as follows:
A new exposť based on the leaks of Edward Snowden has revealed the National Security Agency has developed methods to crack online encryption used to protect emails, banking and medical records. "Encryption is really the system that lets the Internet function as an important commercial instrument all around the world," says Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, which collaborated with The New York Times and ProPublica on the reporting. "It's what lets you enter your credit card number, check your banking records, buy and sell things online, get your medical tests online, engage in private communications. It's what protects the sanctity of the Internet." Documents leaked by Snowden reveal the NSA spends $250 million a year on a program which, among other goals, works with technology companies to "covertly influence" their product designs. "The entire system is now being compromised by the NSA and their British counterpart, the GCHQ," Greenwald says. "Systematic efforts to ensure that there is no form of human commerce, human electronic communication, that is ever invulnerable to their prying eyes."
There is a lot more, and it is good.

4.  10 Ways America Has Come to Resemble a Banana Republic

Next, for a moment on a somewhat other tack, an article from Alternet by Alex Henderson, who offers a survey of

I'll leave the article to you, but copy the 10 ways, but not the rest of the text:

1. Rising Income Inequality and Shrinking Middle Class
2. Unchecked Police Corruption and an Ever-Expanding Police State

3. Torture
4. Highest Incarceration Rate in the World
5. Corrupt Alliance of Big Business and Big Government
6. High Unemployment
7. Inadequate Access to Healthcare
8. Dramatic Gaps in Life Expectancy
9. Hunger and Malnutrition
10. High Infant Mortality

Now you can find out how sensible this is.

5. Syria and the Reality at Home in America

Next, a piece by Robert Reich, who restates some points:

This ends as follows - after a long list of things Reich insists - and I agree - that could and need be done:

But we are not talking about any of this. We are not debating what’s happening to our nation. We are not creating jobs for the long-term unemployed. We are not raising the minimum wage, expanding the EITC, or providing enough food stamps to feed America’s poor children or keep working Americans out of poverty. We are not improving the nation’s poorest schools or providing enough low-income housing to keep destitute families off the nation’s streets.

We are not reforming our tax code or fixing our schools or reforming our brutal immigration system. We are not addressing the widening gap between a few at the top who are doing better than ever and a larger number below who are sinking. We are not getting big money out of politics.

We are paralyzed at home — as we turn our attention to a potential quagmire abroad. This is the great tragedy of our time.

Yes - quite so. And if the policies are indeed dictated by Obama, Obama is the one to blame, in the first place, I would add. Indeed, that is also something Ralph Nader seems to think:

6. Stopping Barry O’Bomber’s Rush to War

This is a column by Ralph Nader from his site:

I did not know what one of Obama's nicknames is "Barry O'Bomber", but it seems his young class mates were right, albeit it not in a sense they knew:

Dear President Obama:

Little did your school boy chums in Hawaii, watching you race up and down the basketball court, know how prescient they were when they nicknamed you “Barry O’Bomber”.

Little did your fellow Harvard Law Review editors, who elected you to lead that venerable journal, ever imagine that you could be a president who chronically violates the Constitution, federal statutes, international treaties and the separation of power at depths equal to or beyond the George W. Bush regime.

Nor would many of the voters who elected you in 2008 have conceived that your foreign policy would rely so much on brute military force at the expense of systemically waging peace. Certainly, voters who knew your background as a child of third world countries, a community organizer, a scholar of constitutional law and a critic of the Bush/Cheney years, never would have expected you to favor the giant warfare state so pleasing to the military industrial complex.

There is rather a lot more under the lasy dotted link.

7. NSA the enemy of all of mankind

Next, we arrive at Ralf Falkvinge's site, who does have an explicit party affiliation, namely to the Swedish Pirate Party, and also is knowledgable about computers:

This starts as follows - and remember the writer is technically quite informed:

The security services of the US, UK, and Sweden have been actively working to plant backdoors into most commercial cryptography software. While intended to use for wiretapping business secrets, medical journals and bank transactions, those backdoors are also there for any other adversary. This is effectively a declaration of war from the security services against all of humanity.

The news broke this morning that the NSA (US), the GCHQ (UK), and the FRA (Sweden) have been actively working to subvert the cryptography that makes our society tick, by planting backdoors in most if not all commercial cryptography software. This means that these agencies have deliberately made all of us vulnerable as we conduct our banking business, as we go to the hospital, and as we talk privately online. Our society depends on our ability to keep secrets, and the deliberate planting of backdoors, the deliberate subversion of our infrastructure, is nothing short of a declaration of war.
I'll leave the rest to you, except for this part:

This subversion of our critical infrastructure doesn’t just let the NSA and its ilk listen in. It lets anybody listen in that has enough technical skill to discover the planted back doors – and there are plenty of people who have that skill. The security services, with the job of keeping us safe, have effectively trashed our security completely. Assume the worst criminals can eavesdrop with much more ease than the NSA were ever able to, thanks to this subversion and breach of trust.

We can safely assume that all American software is thoroughly Swiss-cheese compromised. If you’re running anything from Microsoft or Apple, you’re owned. They’re in your system, in your documents, and in your production. You were played for a fool and you need to switch to a free-software solution or stay owned.

Quite so - and here are the links to help you do so. And NO! it is it not difficult at all. AND you can start with a computer that runs two OS's, which is as easy - in fact I have been using GNU/Linux-Ubuntu nearly continously since May 2012, and probably have not used Windows to access the internet since then at all.

It can be done and it is easy. You just need to start doing it. And it can all be done completely without any payment to anyone! Completely free! And it will make your computer safer!

8. The Psychiatric Drug Crisis

Finally, a psychotherapist, namely Gary Greenberg, on the drugs crisis that is current in modern psychiatry:

This starts as follows

It’s been just over twenty-five years since Prozac came to market, and more than twenty per cent of Americans now regularly take mind-altering drugs prescribed by their doctors. Almost as familiar as brands like Zoloft and Lexapro is the worry about what it means that the daily routine in many households, for parents and children alike, includes a dose of medications that are poorly understood and whose long-term effects on the body are unknown. Despite our ambivalence, sales of psychiatric drugs amounted to more than seventy billion dollars in 2010. They have become yet another commodity that consumers have learned to live with or even enjoy, like S.U.V.s or Cheetos.

Yet the psychiatric-drug industry is in trouble. “We are facing a crisis,” the Cornell psychiatrist and New York Times contributor Richard Friedman warned last week. In the past few years, one pharmaceutical giant after another—GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Novartis, Pfizer, Merck, Sanofi—has shrunk or shuttered its neuroscience research facilities. Clinical trials have been halted, lines of research abandoned, and the new drug pipeline has been allowed to run dry.

After that you get a survey of how quite a few of these products came to be marketable, and also why many of those decisions - including for Prozac and other sich medicines - were mistaken and their real evidence was hardly better than chance that they would help.

Even so: "
more than twenty per cent of Americans now regularly take mind-altering drugs prescribed by their doctors"...

What wonder they do not protest, and smile at you happy as loons! They're sedated! [2]
[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 quite serious - but it really is odd that, so far, so few protested. And 1 in 5 is drugged. And that is a fact, and is also a fact I find worrisome.

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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