3, 2013
Crisis: Q-and-A * 2, Chaos, Obama, Leahy, Whittemore
  "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.

1. Glenn Greenwald and Janine Gibson: 10 highlights from
     their Reddit AMA

2. 'The End of Global Privacy': Greenwald Talks NSA
3. The Economics and Politics of Chaos
4. Obama Quietly Okays Military Aid to Countries That Use
     Child Soldiers

5. Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee: “We Get
     More [Info on NSA Spying] In The Newspapers Than In ...

6. Harvey Whittemore convicted to 2 years in prison
About ME/CFS


This is again a bit earlier than otherwise, and the reason is again mostly that I could.

The first two items today are both about the Reddit Q-and-A that Greenwald and Gibson did; then there is Krugman; followed by Obama and his Genuine Care for Children; and the last crisis item is a brief one from Wahington's Blog. My last item will be mostly relevant to people with ME/CFS and not to others, and is about Harvey Whittemore.

1.  Glenn Greenwald and Janine Gibson: 10 highlights from their Reddit AMA 

This first item, like the next one, is given to a consideration of some highlights of the Reddit Q-and-A. This one is from the Guardian and by (and I quote) "Katie Rogers and Reddit readers":

This starts with a description of what it is, which I skip, and then considers 10 questions + answers, of which I will select some:
idvckalt: Glenn, what would you say is the single most shocking revelation that Snowden has leaked. Why?


The general revelation that the objective of the NSA is literally the elimination of global privacy: ensuring that every form of human electronic communication - not just those of The Terrorists™ - is collected, stored, analyzed and monitored.

The NSA has so radically misled everyone for so long about its true purpose that revealing its actual institutional function was shocking to many, many people, and is the key context for understanding these other specific revelations.

This was a good question with a fine answer - and see I.F. Stone's quote, above.

Next, here is another good general question:
tatertits7: Is it too late to roll back the surveillance state?


I think this is the question we've all been asking. It's at the heart of this story. And we fundamentally think it's a debate best had in the open. It's going to come down to what citizens, users and voters think about how much they're prepared to give up in order to feel secure. It's not an easy question.

I again refer to my quotations, this time by Benjamin Franklin. But that doesn't solve anything, itself, and I would also say that (1) it very probably will not be "a people's majority" that settles this question, since that happens only very rarely,  and (2) it is not about "feeling secure", since you have been and are more likely, as an American citizen, to be struck by lightning than by any terrorist.

Next is a question that I have redacted the second part from, as I have done in the answer:
VervexDo you feel that the protections that journalists count on are disappearing? Is journalism as a whole in danger? (..)


This is a critical time for journalistic freedom, and there are two major shifts which are threatening important work. One is the attempt to categorise "who is a journalist", which we are in danger, as an industry, of enabling. I feel profoundly uncomfortable about any line drawn around pay, employer, hours or volume of work that will define a "real" journalist. And then only the "real" journalists will be protected.

I don't think that's how the world works any more, so that's problematic. (..)

I think more is the matter and that indeed journalism as a whole is in danger. But I grant that is a difficult and complicated question, although the real basis is simple: Lack of advertisements' income.

Finally, a variant of the "if you did not do anything, you have nothing to fear":
courage_my_friends: What is your response to those who look at these revelations and say, "So what? I follow the law. Why should I be afraid?"


It's a perfectly reasonable point of view. As journalists, we're OK with providing you with enough information that you can make an informed decision.

What I do find baffling is the "so what, we knew this already" response. It's inexplicable, given the number of administration voices all welcoming the debate and acknowledging it would not have happened without Edward Snowden. Have the debate.

Here I beg to differ: It is not "a perfectly reasonable point of view", and the reason is that the supposed supermen of the NSA just have no right to view everything you do with a computer, however twisted their justifications are, and also regardless of the new laws Obama and his NSA-lovers may have introduced, classified or not.

Also, there is my June 18 treatment of the question, with some help by Falkvinge, as to
"if you did not do anything, you have nothing to fear":

Zero If you've nothing to hide, you do not exist.
One – The rules may change.
Two – It’s not you who determine if you have something to fear.
Three – Laws must be broken for society to progress.
Four – Privacy is a basic human need.
Five - Government must be public, citizens private, not conversely.

2. 'The End of Global Privacy': Greenwald Talks NSA

Next, here is the same theme treated by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This goes over the same grounds, and selects some of the same answers. But there also are some differences, and this is one of them:

Will there be any more groundbreaking leaks? Also, how do you feel about the response from the American people?

Greenwald (GG): There are definitely huge new stories to come: many more. I've said that from the start every time I was asked and I think people see by now that it's true. In fact, as Janine said the other day, the documents and newsworthy revelations are so massive that no one news organization can possibly process them all.

As for public opinion, I'm incredibly gratified that Americans, and people around the world, have been so engaged by these issues and that public opinion polls show radical shifts in how people perceive that threats to their privacy/civil liberties from their own government are greater than threats to their safety from The Terrorists.

There is the additional problem that some may get too old, but I do not think this will become a major problem.

As to the gratification: I am a bit less gratified, but in the end it is the results that count.

Anyway... there are quite a few more questions + answers under the last dotted link.

The Economics and Politics of Chaos

Next, I turn to a column by Paul Krugman, mostly because of the illustration and the ending. This is as I found it on Common Dreams:

It starts as follows:

The best commentary I’ve seen on what just happened is visual, and can be seen here. Unfortunately, I don’t think I should put that image on a Times web site.

If you press the here you get the illustration, that is indeed funny, though this does not reflect on what is being done.

And here is how the piece ends:

Coming back to the class warfare issue: my working theory is that wealthy individuals bought themselves a radical right party, believing — correctly — that it would cut their taxes and remove regulations, but failed to realize that eventually the craziness would take on a life of its own, and that the monster they created would turn on its creators as well as the little people.

And nobody knows how it ends.

Yes, I think that is a fair assessment.

4. Obama Quietly Okays Military Aid to Countries That Use Child Soldiers

Next, quite a few of my readers may recall the honest Obama argueing at the end of his Syria-speech that he owed it to the Syrian children to bomb Syria. Well, here is another item that shows how much he takes the interests of children, worldwide, very serious. The report is on Common Dreams and by Sarah Lazare:
Here are the first three paragraphs:
Amid the hoopla of the government shutdown, the White House quietly passed a bill Monday that overrides a law banning military aid to countries that use child soldiers.

The Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 prohibits the U.S. government from providing military assistance to countries that directly use, or support the use of, child soldiers. Built into the law is an option allowing the U.S. president to override the ban if he/she deems it necessary.

On Monday, President Obama issued complete waivers to Yemen, Chad, and South Sudan, opening up those countries to U.S. military aid despite their known use of child soldiers, declaring in a written memorandum it is "in the national interest of the United States" to override the ban.

There is more under the last dotted link, that includes Obama's not caring for U.S. 17 year olds, that may join the military, with parental consent. (This very young age "to fight for your country" in fact started in Vietnam.)

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee: “We Get More [Info on NSA Spying] In The Newspapers Than In Classified Briefings”

As the last in today's five items on the crisis, a brief piece on Washington's Blog:
This starts as follows:

NSA is a Rogue Agency

Patrick Leahy – the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and member of the Subcommittees on Defense and Homeland Security for the Appropriations Committee – has top secret clearance.

Leahy said today:

We sometimes find we get far more in the newspapers — we get crossword puzzles as well — we get more in the newspapers than in classified briefings.

I am quite willing to believe him.

6. Harvey Whittemore convicted to 2 years in prison

Those who read me for the
crisis news may well ask "Who is Harvey Whittemore - and why should I care?".

Well... outside Nevada, which is where he lives, he is not widely known, but inside Nevada he was known as one of Harry Reid's
- who heads the Senate for the Democrats - strongest backers, and also has one of the men behind the Whittemore Peterson Institute, that is mostly run by his wife Annette, and that is for the most part concerned with researching ME/CFS, which is a disease that one of his daughters has, for quite a while now.

He got into problems with the law over organizing support money for Harry Reid and got involved in a court case that Whittemore lost, in which he was convicted to a two years imprisonment term, that is supposed to start on January 31, 2014.

I am merely reporting the facts as they are known to me. And the reason I am doing so is that the
Whittemore Peterson Institute has been quite popular, for some two years, in "the ME/CFS community" (sorry for my quote-marks: I can't avoid these), for which reason it also may interest a few that a cursory and brief investigation of two of "the community's" bases did not seem to report in any way on this.

But indeed this is also probably the last you will hear from me about this subject.



[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, thay 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 of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servant of 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 machine) which is a disease that 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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