15, 2013
Crisis: British Press Freedoms, TPP, Hayian, Google, CIA, Rusbridger, bills, Germany
  "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. British Press Freedom Under Threat
  2. Wikileaks Exposes the TPP as a Capitulation to
       Corporate Interests

Haiyan: A Disaster Made Worse By Greed
  4. Google Is Now Bigger Than Both The Magazine And
       Newspaper Industries

  5. CIA Creating Vast Database of American's Personal
       Financial Records: Report

  6. Who Will Guard the Guardians?
  7. Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter Have a New
       Lobbying Target—The NSA

  8. Germany Says No to Weaponized Drones
About ME/CFS


This is another crisis issue. There are 8 sections with 8 links.

Actually, this is a bit hasty piece, for I spent a lot of time on the letters of Stephanie and also on finishing "Tropic of Cancer", that I read for the first time in 34 years or so.

I'll leave Stephanie's letters for the moment, and I only remark here and now that "Tropic of Cancer" was a bit disappointing: Some good writing, but too little story, and no really interesting characters. Also, in fact it contains little explicit sex. Then again, I think that was also the sort of judgment I arrived at when I first read it ca. 1979: I found his other books considerably more interesting.

More later - and now to what I assembled today on the crisis - which, incidentally, I read yesterday in one of the awful rags that are today's Dutch papers, "IS OVER!". I merely report it, and I also give the reason: "The economy" grew the last three months by "0.1 %".

It is really amazing if you believe it.

1.  British Press Freedom Under Threat

To start with an editorial in the New York Times:

This starts as follows:
Britain has a long tradition of a free, inquisitive press. That freedom, so essential to democratic accountability, is being challenged by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government of Prime Minister David Cameron.

Unlike the United States, Britain has no constitutional guarantee of press freedom. Parliamentary committees and the police are now exploiting that lack of protection to harass, intimidate and possibly prosecute The Guardian newspaper for its publication of information based on National Security Agency documents that were leaked by Edward Snowden. The New York Times has published similar material, believing that the public has a clear interest in learning about and debating the N.S.A.’s out-of-control spying on private communications. That interest is shared by the British public as well.
Yes, indeed. There is more good stuff, and it ends thus:
The global debate now taking place about intelligence agencies collecting information on the phone calls, emails and Internet use of private citizens owes much to The Guardian’s intrepid journalism. In a free society, the price for printing uncomfortable truths should not be parliamentary and criminal inquisition.
Quite so - and those starting the parliamentary and criminal inquisition are quite rotten folks, in my opinion.

2.  Wikileaks Exposes the TPP as a Capitulation to Corporate Interests

Next, in an effort to get some clarity on the TPP, here is an item of the Real News, that'll take slightly over 9 minutes, with Kevin Zeese:

This is - I quote - about "corporate power grown wild"; about "a corporate wishlist", that is also being pushed, and pushed and pushed by that very kind president Obama:

Also, this is over 1000 pages of still mainly secretive laws, that have been written by over 600 corporate lawyers, without any public input, and all to increase the corporate powers.

I hope this will make the TPP and the Obama administration clearer.

3. Haiyan: A Disaster Made Worse By Greed

Next, a piece on Haiyan aka Yolanda, which is one of the greatest stoms ever, that hit the Phillipines on Novermber 8. This is by Sonali Kolhatkar on Truth Dig:
This is mainly here because the reason for such storms are said to be global warming. In any case:
People and infrastructure have been washed away, children have been orphaned, families have been separated, homes have been flattened and, as of this writing, heavy rainfall was still hampering the survivors’ ability to regroup, rescue others and simply live another day. The numbers are staggering. Nearly 10 million people are affected—about a tenth of the entire population of the Philippines. As many as 800,000 people have been displaced. Leyte’s provincial governor estimated that 10,000 people were dead, and while it is still too early to account for all the fatalities, even the current official count of 2,300 is horrifically high.
In other words: a major disaster. There is rather a lot more in the article.

4. Google Is Now Bigger Than Both The Magazine And Newspaper Industries

Next, a piece from BusinessInsider by Jim Edwards:
This starts as follows:

Google has become so big that sometimes it's difficult to understand just how big it is. It's on course to do $60 billion in revenue this year, almost all of that from advertising. But how big is that in terms of the media it competes against for ad dollars?

To answer that, Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget presented this slide in his keynote at Ignition 2013 this morning. It shows that Google alone is now bigger than either newspapers and magazines.

In part this is because the print media has suffered such a precipitous decline. But note that Google's last full year results from 2012 are approaching the historic maximum that all magazines combined achieved back in 2007 before the crash.

I am not amazed, but the speed at which Google overtook the printed media is somewhat amazing. Also, the article prints a graphical chart that is quite interesting.

5. CIA Creating Vast Database of American's Personal Financial Records: Report

Next, an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Claiming the same authority as the NSA does for its bulk collection of domestic internet and phone data, the clandestine Central Intelligence Agency is compiling a "vast database" that includes the personal financial records of Americans, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a news story published Friday, the Journal reporting shows the CIA program "collects information from U.S. money-transfer companies including Western Union" and that  some of the data goes "beyond basic financial records, such as U.S. Social Security numbers, which can be used to tie the financial activity to a specific person."
There is rather a lot more in the article, in which it is also noted that the financial corporations are pressed to this, as were Google, Facebook and Yahoo, and also that:
lawmakers were only made aware of this program during inquiries that followed in the wake of the Snowden documents in the last several months.
6. Who Will Guard the Guardians?

Next, a letter by the British approximate non-entity - I am sorry, but this does seem a good description of - Sir Malcolm Rifkind, that is being answered by the Guardian's Alan Rusbridger:
Here is a part from Rusbridger's reply:
Sir Malcolm is many admirable things—a lawyer, a distinguished parliamentarian, a quick-witted debater, and a Scot. But I suspect he does not understand very much about the complex technologies built in total secrecy by smart engineers at GCHQ. The people he is supposed to be regulating have devised systems capable of processing 181 billion pieces of metadata a month. Expert cryptologists are appalled at some of the compromises to Internet security that have been introduced by the NSA. No meaningful oversight is possible without sophisticated understanding of digital technologies.
And while I would myself not describe Rifkind as quick-witted, it remains a fact that he is 67 and in all probability can't even program.

Here is another bit of Rusbridger's reply:
(..) it’s not, I believe, appropriate for the government of which he’s a member to tell a newspaper when it’s had “enough debate” and threaten it with prior restraint—a nice name for censorship. My piece, he says, reads like “the case for the defense.” Isn’t it rather shaming that his fellow Conservative MPs are demanding a prosecution?
Yes, indeed, though probably not in Rifkind's opinion.

Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter Have a New Lobbying Target—The NSA

Next, an article by Dana Liebelson on Mother Jones:
This starts as follows:
Not a month goes by without former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden dropping another explosive bombshell about the US government's vast surveillance programs. In response, lawmakers have proposed a flurry of bills that aim to clamp down on NSA spying. But tech companies aren't just sitting on the sidelines—the latest lobbying disclosure forms filed by Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter reveal that their lobbyists are keeping an eye on a number of these anti-NSA bills. And although most of the companies won't say which specific bills they support or oppose, some new bills have popped up on their lobbying forms just as the companies are publicly demanding surveillance reform.
There is rather a lot more in the article, including a list of eight pro-transparency bills, that is announced as follows:
Without further ado, here are eight pro-transparency bills that some of the biggest names in tech are watching:
And indeed they do follow, and it is a nicely clear list that I leave to your own perusal.

Germany Says No to Weaponized Drones

Finally today, an article by David Swanson on Washington's Blog:
This starts as follows:

Germany had planned to buy a fleet of “Euro Hawk” killer drones — perhaps in an effort to bring the European Union up to speed with certain other Nobel Peace laureates.

But something happened on the way to the celestial colosseum.

Of course, Captain Drone Man himself undoubtedly learned the news first, unless the NSA misplaced some of Frau Merkel’s emails under a pile of exchanges among nonviolent activists planning the upcoming drone summit in DC.

What happened was public pressure within a nation dedicated to peace and — at the moment — more resistant than Japan to being turned back toward war.  Germany has now said nein, nein, and hell nein to killer flying robots.  And not just to the use of weaponized drones within what Americans might call Der Homeland, but to Germany’s use of remote control murder planes against human beings anywhere on earth.

And that is good news, for a change.


[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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