17, 2013
Crisis:  Shutdown, Alexander, Snowden, Greenwald, Obama, Constitution, Simic 
  "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. Back in Business: Shutdown Ends After Congress
       Overwhelmingly Caves

  2. NSA director Keith Alexander and deputy expected to
       depart in early 2014

  3. Edward Snowden NSA files: secret surveillance and our
       revelations so far

  4. Jeremy Scahill, Laura Poitras Reportedly Joining Forces
       With Greenwald for New Site

Obama Admin Tries to Block Supreme Court Review of
       NSA Spying

  6. Americans Have Lost VIRTUALLY ALL of Our
       Constitutional Rights
Bleak House
About ME/CFS


Today I again selected seven stories for you. Also, this is produced a bit earlier in the day than is usual.

And also I reformatted the 39 Questions file, that I rather badly formatted last in August 2012, when my eyes were much worse. In any case: This is the invited speech that caused my removal from the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Amsterdam, 25 years ago, briefly before finishing my M.A. there, and already quite ill for ten years. Since WW II no one was removed from any Dutch university for stating his opinions...

Also, in those 25 years, no one did any decent philosophy there, but then that is to be expected from a faculty filled with incompetent parasites.

But OK - this was a personal aside. Back to the crisis:

1. Back in Business: Shutdown Ends After Congress Overwhelmingly Caves 

The first is a summary of how the US governmental shutdown was ended, and also the debt ceiling raised, both for around three months, to be sure. There are many articles about it, and I chose a brief one by Peter Scheer in Truth Dig:

I only quote the last paragraph:

It is easy to focus on the politics of this, or the more visible stories of veterans being barred from public memorials, but for millions of Americans, the shutdown meant losing basic nutrition for their babies, and access to other government programs that keep the country’s most desperate citizens just this side of tragedy.

See also the last item.

2.  NSA director Keith Alexander and deputy expected to depart in early 2014

Next, there is this in the Guardian, from Reuters in Washington:
This starts as follows:

The director of the National Security Agency and his deputy are expected to depart in the coming months, US officials said on Wednesday, in a development that could give President Obama a chance to reshape the eavesdropping agency.

Army general Keith Alexander's eight-year tenure was rocked this year by revelations contained in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the agency's widespread scooping up of telephone, email and social media data.

Alexander has formalized plans to leave by next March or April, while his civilian deputy, Chris Inglis, is due to retire by year's end, according to US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

There is more there, but no decision has been taken (it seems) about who is going to follow him. Also, I think this is all as planned, but it is true the two top people from the NSA are leaving - after having lifted the personal details of hundreds of millions of U.S. citizens as if they own them, and of God knows how many others.

3. Edward Snowden NSA files: secret surveillance and our revelations so far

Next, a summary article in the Guardian by James Ball:
This starts as follows

In the 11 weeks since the Guardian published its first revelations from top-secret material leaked by the NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the paper has published more than 300 stories on the surveillance state and the political fallout from the revelations.

The disclosures shed unprecedented light on the scale and sophistication of surveillance on both sides of the Atlantic – and the secret laws underpinning such programmes. As publication continued, the UK government brought substantial pressure to bear, leading to the Guardian's decision to destroy a copy of the GCHQ documents: those stored in its London offices.

Reporting based on caches of internal documents from both the NSA and GCHQ continues from New York and Rio de Janeiro, but the key revelations to date are below.

And these you can find under the last dotted link. It is a good summary.

4. Jeremy Scahill, Laura Poitras Reportedly Joining Forces With Greenwald for New Site 

Then there is some news about the new organization that Glenn Greenwald is starting. This is by Peter Scheer for Truth Dig:
This does not have much more definite information that I reported yesterday, except that "it is said" that Scahill and Poitras are also in it, which is nice and that it willl be not on paper, but only on the internet.

One question I saw raised, that has no answer yet: Where will central offices of the new organization be? (My guess: Brazil.)

5.  Obama Admin Tries to Block Supreme Court Review of NSA Spying

Next, an article on The Bringer Of Change, who has The Audacity Of Hope. These are my words, but the article is by Andrea Germanos, on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:
The Obama Administration is asking the Supreme Court not to hear a challenge to the National Security Agency's telephone records collection program.

In July, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a nonprofit that focuses on civil liberties and privacy, filed a petition to the Court, saying the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court overstepped its bounds in ordering Verizon to give the NSA all telephone communications “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls," and as such should halt this disclosure.  EPIC's petition marked the first NSA challenge brought to the Supreme Court; other challenges to NSA surveillance brought by civil liberties groups have targeted a lower court.
The argument that is used by Obama's administration is utter baloney, and to the effect that - and I quote the administration's wording
"Congress in 2001 (!) was aware of that broad understanding of the word 'relevance'"
and "therefore" the Supreme Court doesn't need to hear the case. Well, apart from the fact that this refers to 12 years ago, and a time of havoc and hysteria, this totally does not mention the many very relevant findings from Snowden's revelations. Then again, the present Supreme Court will very probably decide for big business anyway, so this is mainly an attempt to stop the case from being as much as heard.

6. Americans Have Lost VIRTUALLY ALL of Our Constitutional Rights

Next, a fairly long article by Washinghton's Blog:

This starts as follows:
This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right. 

And it proceeds by listiing the first 10 amendments, and considering what is left of them. The outcome is: not much, and the arguments are good.

7.  Bleak House

Finally, another article by Charles Simic in the New York Review of Books:

This is a lament on the state of the 46.5 million poor people that presently try to survive in the US. It's a good if depressing article, and I only quote its last statement:
We have forgotten what this country once understood, that a society based on nothing but selfishness and greed is not a society at all, but a state of war of the strong against the weak.



[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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