19, 2013
Crisis: Greenwald, Summers, phone companies, Reich, personal
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.

Prev- crisis -Next

1. The war on whistleblowers and journalism
2. The People Win as Lawrence Summers Trades Power For Wealth
Phone companies remain silent over legality of NSA data collection
4. Robert Reich Exposes the Staggering Inequality in the USA
5. Personal
About ME/CFS


There is again not much crisis news, but I did find four items, some of which - e.g. 1 and 4 - promise more. Also, this was prepared earlier in the day than is usual, and there is a fifth item with some personal remarks, that have nothing to do with the crisis.

1.  The war on whistleblowers and journalism

The first item of today is a brief piece by Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian:

It is a brief piece, and consists mostly of the reference to an interview he had, with several others, including Julian Assange, that I have not seen yet, for it is over 1 1/2 hours.

I may treat this tomorrow (depending) and here say only that John Cusack's piece I praised yesterday, is also recommended today by Glenn Greenwald.

2.  The People Win as Lawrence Summers Trades Power For Wealth

Next, another piece on Larry Summers' giving up on being the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. It is by Robert Scheer on Truth Dig:

The People Win as Lawrence Summers Trades Power For Wealth

This starts as follows:

Poor Lawrence Summers, he doesn’t get to be chairman of the Federal Reserve, aka the czar of the world’s economic order. It would have been the penultimate reward for a career advanced by a string of stunning failures, but this time around some key senators needed to confirm the president’s likely choice had the gumption to say they would not be fooled again.

Summers, who led the wrecking crew destroying the sensible regulation of the banking industry when he served as President Clinton’s Treasury secretary, was inexplicably picked by President Obama as his top adviser on salvaging an economy that Summers had done so much to destroy.
There is considerably more on the gentleman, that includes this:

In a key study of income inequality, economists at Berkeley and Oxford concluded that by 2012, when Obama was being re-elected, the richest 1 percent had skimmed off an astounding 95 percent of the gains in income since the official end of the recession in 2009. Thanks to the government program that bailed out the richest while sacrificing the rest, the top 1 percent acquired the biggest share of income since 1928, the previous high point of American income inequality.

In short, the government bailout program begun by Bush and continued by Obama under Summers’ guidance made the financial industry culprits whole, while abandoning the rest of America. Yet the “Costs and Consequences of the 2007-09 Financial Crisis,” according to a report last week from the Dallas Federal Reserve, is upward of $14 trillion, or the equivalent of $120,000 for every U.S. household.
Note the costs of "$120,000 for every U.S. household" plus the fact that nearly all of that money is going to "the richest 1 percent" - who did extremely well, and should thank Mr Summers.

Does one have to worry about him, now that he missed the chance of being chairman of the Federal Reserve? Not really:

As for Summers’ future, not to worry; after he left the Clinton administration and before signing up with the Obama White House, he admits to having added upward of $31 million to his wealth. Last week, with his Fed nomination still open, he had to pull back from one of his lucrative Citigroup speaking gigs, but now he is back in play. For Lawrence Summers, it should be remembered, “No Shame, No Gain.”

I think that is the right judgment.

3.  Phone companies remain silent over legality of NSA data collection

Next is a piece by Ed Pilkington in the Guardian, who raised an interesting question:

Here is the beginning if his answer:

America's top telecommunications companies are refusing to say whether they accept that the bulk collection of their customers' phone records by the National Security Agency is lawful.

The phone companies are continuing to guard their silence over the controversial gathering of metadata by the NSA, despite the increasingly open approach by those at the center of the bulk surveillance programme. On Tuesday the secretive foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court declassified its legal reasoning for approving the NSA telephone metadata program periodically over the past six years.

Verizon, the telecoms giant that was revealed in June to be under a secret Fisa court order to hand over details of the phone records of millions of its US customers, was one of the firms that declined to answer Guardian questions relating to the legality of the scheme. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile US also declined to comment.

Well... I suspect they have clones of Larry Summers as their CEOs:

Surely they can answer this question without going to jail, so they do not want to answer it. Next, from the fact that they do not want to answer the question, it is a fairly straight inference that they either do not care at all for the privacy of their many millions of customers, or indeed are for breaking it: speaking into their phones = surrendering your data to the NSA.

As Pilkington ends (who did not go as far as I did - but I do seem to be on quite safe grounds):
The companies' decision not to comment on any aspect of the NSA dragnet puts them in a increasingly peculiar position. By withholding their internal views from the public, they are setting themselves apart from equivalent internet firms that are taking a more bullish stance, and are shrouding themselves in more secrecy than even the Fisa court, one of the most tight-lipped institutions in the country.
4. Robert Reich Exposes the Staggering Inequality in the USA

Next, an item there will be more about, namely a film with Robert Reich. This report is on Alternet, and is by Bill Moyers and Jacob Kornbluth:

Here is the first paragraph:
Bill Moyers speaks to Jacob Kornbluth, director of Inequality for All, a new documentary film about how America’s widening income gap is a threat — not only to the viability of our workforce, but also to the foundations of our democracy. The film features economic analyst and former Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich, who uses humor and facts to explain why the consolidation of wealth into the hands of few affects all Americans today.
And he does, and it is a good interview.

5. Personal

Firstly, the past year, or 15 months, in fact, have been quite difficult for me, and the reason is the keratoconjunctivitis sicca that hit me in May/June of 2012
. (No, you do not want it!)

This also hit me hard: Since then, I've felt my eyes constantly and quite unpleasantly, and until a month ago, I simply did not sleep more than 4 to 6, may be 6 1/2 hours every 24 hours, and that is with a pill.

The reason I could not sleep longer was the combined pain of M.E., in my arms and legs, plus the pain in my eyes. I still have pain in my eyes (and in my arms and legs, but that is M.E.) and I still need to use a tweaked computer, so that I can avoid seeing most whites, but I have now slept a month as I did not at all for 14 months: 8 1/4 hours a day, and consistently so. As indeed was normal for me, for decades.

The main reason is that I have less pain in my eyes.

Secondly, this has convinced me of something that is rather important for me, and mostly because of what did not happen: I have had many collapses, some quite seriously and quite long, through not getting enough sleep, and I much feared this would happen again, as that was by far the most probable outcome, given over 30 years of experience with M.E.

But it did not happen, and the only thing that was different was my taking of large doses B12 (probably a bit too large, but that is another thing I learned) and considerable doses of metafolin.

Since this is the first time in 35 years that I can say that I slept too little, indeed for a very long time, but did not collapse, my taking of B12 + metafolin is the probable expectation. (And no: I am not saying it heals. I am saying it helped.)

Thirdly, I am picking up again, and even bought a bycicle, which is the first time in 15 years, and indeed I have ridden it regularly, though never more than three quarters of an hour.

Anyway... I will probably and rather soon come back to this, when I discuss my new protocol, that involves an important thing: avoiding any ordinary folic acid, which these days is added to bread and other food and also to almost any combination vitamin pill that I've bought, which meant that I swallowed at least a six or eight-fold of the daily dosage for a long time.

I don't think this did me any good, and it may have hurt me (but I shall not know, for Dutch doctors are so high and mighty that they do not wish to research whether I belong to the 40% who have a MTFHR difference, even though doing so would have been cheaper and easier than the nonsense they did offer [2]).

In any case, my recommendation is that if you have M.E. that you avoid the synthetic folic acid, that needs two breaking down steps to become useful, that 40% of the people do not have the right genes for, and instead use metafolin, that can be directly taken up by your body.

More later.
[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] In 1984, the average IQ of the Dutch student at the University of Amsterdam (and probably in Holland) was 115. Thirty years earlier, that was the level of the Dutch schooltype called "Extended Lower Education" (Dutch: ULO, now defunct - but even they had to learn 3 foreign languages, that now are very uncommon, even in the grammar schools).

Since we are again nearly thirty years later, I will be so kind as to assume that these "doctors", who told my GP the most atrocious nonsense, are very well-adapted, quite conformistic, and very collaborative "medical doctors" with at most half of my education, and IQs of circa 105. But they wear stethoscopes, so I must politely defer to them and their bullshit!

It must be an assumption, but the tendency of all education, all over Holland, has been to level, to level, and to level further, with the idea that 50% must be able to make a B.A. or M.A. And they are, nowadays!  And I have met "medical doctors" who probably could not have finished a school of
"Extended Lower Education" (Dutch: ULO) with a diploma, sixty years ago!

So no, it's useless to go to any Dutch doctor, unless you have good prior  evidence that he or she is (i) one of the few with a decent old-fashioned IQ and (ii) willing to do some work - or indeed unless you have a run-of-the-mill medical problem, that is in all medical handbooks, and which does have a recommended pill, that only such a worthy one may prescribe.

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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