9, 2013
Crisis: democracy, libertarianism, net neutrality, open software
  "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. Does Democracy Still Work in America?
2. The True History of Libertarianism in America:
Sept. 9 Could Mark the Beginning of the End for Net Neutrality
4. Revealed: The NSA’s Secret Campaign to Crack, Undermine Internet Security
About ME/CFS


Yesterday I got over 10,000 hits and had over 600 visitors, only in Denmark. (The Dutch site very probably has more.) The last figure is not uncommon, but the first is. Also, more than 300 MB was downloaded, in one day, which may be an all time high, in Denmark. Actually, I do not know why - I must be doing something well, according to some, but I have no specific ideas as to what - but I record it.

Anyway - today there is less on the crisis, and I also have, at least for today,  slightly changed my tack, and have looked for explanations of what's going on.

1.  Does Democracy Still Work in America?

To start with, an item by The Young Turks:

This reports an investigation of 90,000 Americans, over quite a long time, namely five Congresses. Basically, the outcome is that it works only if you have money, and the better the more money you have.

That is: the poor are consistently not listened to nor voted for; the middle class sometimes is; and the upper class consistently is listened to. By both parties.

I do not think you did not really know or at least guess this, but it does also seem a well-based conclusion: No, democracy hardly works in America. (The members of Congress mostly work for those who can pay them.)

2.  The True History of Libertarianism in America:

Next, a - fairly long - article by Mark Ames in Alternet.
It's here not because I agree with it (I think it is one-sided, and not rightly so) but because the writer does not like Milton Friedman, and neither do I, and also because I am still trying - not being an American - to get what libertarianism might mean:
But I do not agree with the writer, who says (among other things):
“Libertarianism” was a project of the corporate lobby world, launched as a big business “ideology” in 1946 by The US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
And my point is not that the above historical detail is not correct, for that may well be so, but that "libertarianism" - whatever it is, precisely - cannot be reduced to that: it is not just "a phony ideology to promote a corporare agenda", though indeed it is also being used for that purpose.

3.  Sept. 9 Could Mark the Beginning of the End for Net Neutrality 

Next, this - an article by Josh Levy that I found on Common Dreams - is here because I was not aware of the facts it treats:

It starts as follows:
Sept. 9 is the next front in the long-running battle over what we can do and say online.

That’s the day Verizon will face the Federal Communications Commission in court over the agency’s Net Neutrality protections, which the company wants to overturn. If Verizon gets its way, the FCC’s rules protecting Internet users from corporate abuse will disappear.

And it ends thus:

Verizon vs. FCC is much larger than the claims of a single company. At stake is whether the Internet will remain an open medium for creativity, free expression and innovation, or a cable-like closed system that just a few ISPs control.

The stakes couldn’t be higher: The FCC’s ability to safeguard Net Neutrality is crucial to the future of the open Internet.

You'll find the explanation in the parts I did not quote.

4. Revealed: The NSA’s Secret Campaign to Crack, Undermine Internet Security

Finally, a long article by several journalists, including some of the New York Times, on Pro Publica, that also is a few days old:

This starts as follows, with a statement that is uncertain, but that seems currently more true than false:
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.
There is quite a bit more, and regular readers of Nederlog of the last 3 months will know most, but it is a reasonable summary. Here are some things I learned from it:
  • Encryption still works, as does PGP aka Pretty Good Privacy. (But I do not know about the version bought by Symantecs: I have an earlier one, that I so far have not used.)
  • There still is room for an alternative non-commercial internet. (This link is 4 years old, and needs some corrections or additions, but still seems sound, also in combination with the next point.)
  • Open software works: A great part of the problem is due to the fact that on Windows and Apple most software, including that of the OS, is closed source. This is not the case on Linux.
So not everything is lost...
[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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