17, 2013
Crisis: UK, TPP, Holder, Geithner, Magee
  "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. UK's reputation is damaged by reaction to Edward
       Snowden, says UN official
  2. We Are in the Midst of Defeating the Largest Corporate
       Trade Agreement in History

Eric Holder Says He Wouldn't Prosecute Glenn
       Greenwald ... Sort of

  4. Time to Cash In: Geithner to Head Wall Street Private
       Equity Firm

  5. A good recent philosophy book
About ME/CFS


This is another crisis item. It's also Sunday today, and I did not find much, but I did find four items, that follow, to which is added a personal piece about what sofar seems a good introductory philosophical book, of which there are not many.

More below, and the reason I wrote "sofar seems" is simply that I am reading it and haven't finished it yet.

Also, I should say this latest crisis item is a bit less than other crisis items, firstly because I found only four articles, and secondly because I cut out most from the last section, because that was about me, and is better at another place.

1.  UK's reputation is damaged by reaction to Edward Snowden, says UN official 

To start with, an article by Matthew Taylor, Nick Hopkins and Phil Maynard in the Guardian:

This starts as follows:

A senior United Nations official responsible for freedom of expression has warned that the British government's response to the mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden is doing serious damage to the UK's international reputation for investigative journalism and press freedom.

Frank La Rue, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, said he was alarmed at the political reaction following the revelations about the extent and reach of secret surveillance programmes run by Britain's eavesdropping centre, GCHQ, and its US counterpart, the National Security Agency (NSA).

"I have been absolutely shocked about the way the Guardian has been treated, from the idea of prosecution to the fact that some members of parliament even called it treason," said La Rue. "I think that is unacceptable in a democratic society."

I quite agree - even though I do not really know what is "a democratic society", and myself rather speak of "an open and free society".

The rest of the article reports on a meeting of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) the coming January, and also reports on the recent editorial of the New York Times, in which it is pointed out that Britain does - rather oddly - have no constitutional guarantee of press freedom, and then went on to say:
"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 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, including "a free society".

2. We Are in the Midst of Defeating the Largest Corporate Trade Agreement in History 

Next, an article by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese on the TPP:
This starts as follows: 

These are times of great secrecy and misinformation. Government and corporations hide their actions to avoid public disapproval and accountability. Courageous truth-tellers are persecuted for exposing the deep corruption. We depend on whistleblowers to expose the lies and shine light on information that is hidden from the public so we can understand what is happening around us. We need to know the truth in order to participate in the great debates that shape our futures.

This week, we learned that a brave whistleblower gave the text of the full intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to Wikileaks. This  text was released to the public on Wednesday and has spurred quite a stir as we discover that our concerns about the TPP are justified. We learned that the United States stands out in bullying other countries on behalf of multinational corporations and that the TPP will provide extraordinary patent protections and internet restrictions designed to further enrich the wealthy while the race to the bottom accelerates.

There is quite a lot more, in what is a good article, but most is there to wake up Americans. I do hope they are justified in their optimism that the TPP can be beaten, and I also note that, to quote:
This article is produced by in conjunction with AlterNet.
So you also know where you can find more.

3.  Eric Holder Says He Wouldn't Prosecute Glenn Greenwald ... Sort of

Next, an article by Alyssa Figueroa in AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
In an interview with The Washington Post, Attorney General Eric Holder implied that even though he doesn’t agree with reporter Glenn Greenwald’s actions, he wouldn’t prosecute him.
I say! Isn't Mr Holder merciful! In fact, he gets quoted to the following effect:
Unless information that has not come to my attention is presented to me, what I have indicated in my testimony before Congress is that any journalist who’s engaged in true journalistic activities is not going to be prosecuted by this Justice Department. … I certainly don’t agree with what Greenwald has done. … In some ways, he blurs the line between advocate and journalist. But on the basis of what I know now, I’m not sure there is a basis for prosecution of Greenwald.
Indeed, Glenn Greenwald isn't taken in, as e-mail in the piece shows:

Holder may do whatever he pleases, e.g. by saying that "in his opinion"
Greenwald is not "a true journalist" or is "too much of an advocate" and
therefore he gets arrested.

So yes, I especially agree with the "Sort of" in the title.

4. Time to Cash In: Geithner to Head Wall Street Private Equity Firm

Next, an article by the Common Dreams staff:
This starts as follows:

Ex-US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, President Barack Obama's key economic adviser since 2009, is joining private-equity firm Warburg Pincus, according to a statement on Saturday.

Geithner, who has spent the last 26 years in 'public service', will become president at the Wall Street-based corporate buyout firm starting on March 1st, according to a press release today from Warburg Pincus.

When Geithner left his post with the Treasury Department in January 2013, Matt Taibbi told Democracy Now: “He’s the architect of “too big to fail. When this all blows up — and it’s going to blow up, for sure, because things can’t continue the way they are right now — people are going to look back in history, and they’re going to say, “Who was to blame for this?” And Timothy Geithner is going to be the guy who designed this entire system.”

Yes, though president Obama nominated him and renominated Bernanke, and
both appointments were as much to blame, for it nominated the definitely wrong
persons, who served the rich or themselves rather than the many.

5. A good recent philosophy book

Finally, something that has very little to do with the crisis: I found what seems to be a good and recent philosophy book, namely Bryan Magee's 1997
  • Confessions of a Philosopher
This is a quite rare experience for me: to find an introduction to philosophy that seems to be written by a sane and intelligent man (and I have seen many and owe quite a few).

But it is, and part of my reasons to say so is that Magee (the link is to what seems the best brief biography) is quite clear on why linguistic "philosophy" (the quotation marks here are quite justified:) is not real philosophy.

In any case: If you want to read a decent introduction to philosophy, that is rather personal, and to an extent autobiographical, this is a good read.

P.S. Nov 18, 2013: Repaired a few small mistakes in typing.

[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)

       home - index - summaries - mail