22, 2014
Crisis: Judge, Apple, Amazon, Clinton, 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.
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton

Prev- crisis -Next


1. Judge Tosses Muslim Spying Suit Against NYPD, Says Any
     Damage Was Caused by Reporters Who Exposed It

2. Apple mobile devices at risk of hacking, firm says
3. Amazon's history should teach us to beware 'friendly'
     internet giants

4. Standing Up to War and Hillary Clinton
5. Personal
About ME/CFS


This is a mostly ordinary crisis file, with only five items, probably because it also is a Saturday. And I'll be doing it calmly today, which means that this file will not be big, while it is also true that not all of the following is real crisis material, but I thought - among other things - that proud Apple-owners ought to know that their iPhones or Macs may be very easily hacked. (I use Linux.)

1.  Judge Tosses Muslim Spying Suit Against NYPD, Says Any Damage Was Caused by Reporters Who Exposed It

The first article is by
Dan Froomkin in The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

A federal judge in Newark has thrown out a lawsuit against the New York Police Department for spying on New Jersey Muslims, saying if anyone was at fault, it was the Associated Press for telling people about it.

In his ruling Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini simultaneously demonstrated the willingness of the judiciary to give law enforcement alarming latitude in the name of fighting terror, greenlighted the targeting of Muslims based solely on their religious beliefs, and blamed the media for upsetting people by telling them what their government was doing.

Right - that seems to be the new law in the US: Blame the press for being terrorists, also if they simply tell the facts as they are.

Here is the rational position:

“In a suit like this, the complaint is that the government did the surveillance, not that it became public knowledge,” Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, told The Intercept.

“The fact that the surveillance occurred is what causes a constitutional violation, so it’s very disingenuous to say that any harm was done by any reporting on it. The harm was done when they violated the Constitution by spying on them.”

There is considerably more in the article, including an assurance that this will be righted on appeal, but meanwhile it is utterly ridiculous.

2.  Apple mobile devices at risk of hacking, firm says

The next article is by Reuters in the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

A major flaw in Apple software for mobile devices could allow hackers to intercept email and other communications that are meant to be encrypted, the company has said, and experts say Mac computers are even more exposed.

If attackers have access to a mobile user's network, such as by sharing the same unsecured wireless service offered by a restaurant, they could see or alter exchanges between the user and protected sites such as Gmail and Facebook. Governments with access to telecom carrier data could do the same.

"It's as bad as you could imagine, that's all I can say," said Johns Hopkins University cryptography professor Matthew Green.

Yes, indeed. There is considerably more in the article. Here I merely say I am glad I never owned an Apple, though I have worked a little with them (because they were at university when I was there, and also because a friend had an early Apple in 1980, that I used to program logic), and I also never liked Steve Jobs, who always seemed to me a salesperson rather than anything else, though I like Steve Wozniak (who is the one and only real designer of the early Apples, that I agree were very good, circa 1980).

And no, I am not amazed - and please note that if you have a Mac OSX there still is not even a patch, at least according to the article. [2]

3.  Amazon's history should teach us to beware 'friendly' internet giants

Next, an article by John Naughton in the Guardian:

This is from the beginning (paragraph two):

Like the other titans of the online world – Google, Facebook, Yahoo and to a lesser extent, Microsoft – Amazon is driven by data and algorithms. But not entirely. What many of its customers may not realise is that the results generated by Amazon's search engine are partly determined by promotional fees extracted from publishers. In his book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, Brad Stone describes one campaign to exert pressure for better terms on the more vulnerable publishers. It was known internally as the gazelle project, after Bezos suggested "that Amazon should approach these small publishers the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle". (With a nice Orwellian touch, company lawyers later changed the name to the "small publisher negotiation programme".)

Anyway - that shows what the article is about: the morality of Amazon (that I so far have never bought anything from: I don't like them). There is rather a lot more in the article, that ends like so:

The big question, of course, is what happens if traditional book publishing becomes unviable because of Amazon's power? One answer – the one that keeps some people awake at night – is that Amazon's dominance in the eBook market will lead to it becoming the biggest publisher in the world. The fittest will then have survived. The rest of us will just have to pay its monopoly rents.

Yes, indeed.

4.   Standing Up to War and Hillary Clinton

Finally, an article by Ray McGovern, who is an ex-CIA analyst, who at one time personally adviced president Bush Sr., in Consortium News:

This is basically about the following event:

With the others at Clinton’s talk, I stood. I even clapped politely. But as the applause dragged on, I began to feel like a real phony. So, when the others finally sat down, I remained standing silently, motionless, wearing my “Veterans for Peace” T-shirt, with my eyes fixed narrowly on the rear of the auditorium and my back to the Secretary.

I did not expect what followed: a violent assault in full view of madam secretary by what we Soviet analysts used to call the “organs of state security.” The rest is history, as they say. A short account of the incident can be found here.

At the time, Ray McGovern was 71, and as the last link clarifies, he was substantially wounded, with his pants bloodied and his body bruised, and he also was handcuffed and arrested, while all he did was standing while most sat, indeed with a T-shirt that said “Veterans for Peace”, and with his back to Mrs. Clinton.

Well... I suppose he had it coming, since expressing silent dissent in the late U.S. is sufficient to be manhandled, handcuffed, and imprisoned, but I do hope he will win his case.

And there is a lot more in the article.

5. Personal  

This is mostly and only to notify people who might be interested that my Dutch autobiographical files are now in the maartensz-section in philosophy, where they so far are mostly unchanged from when they were written in Nederlog over the past year, except for a few small changes, and for the removal of the About ME/CFS part, that is the usual end of my Nederlog, but is redundant for my autobiography.

There also was added a bit of text to the TOC (that means: Table of Contents) of my autobiography, in Dutch, which I will here summarize asn follows:

I decided that the first part of my autobiography will cover my first 28 healthy years; the second the next 17, till the end of 1996, when I got internet; and the third and last the rest.

Of the first part only the first half of 1978; the Sleep-In in 1970; and two extra additional files still have to be written, and I guess this will be done by the end of April 2014, at the latest. (The second half of 1978 will be in the second part, which therefore will start when I am still healthy.) After that, I have the rough material ready to rewrite it in part, filling in some things I've left out, and deleting some double takes, and also improving the style a bit.

The second part will probably be more difficult, because much of this - at least 8 years - was a quite unpleasant time, though the years 1984 and 1985, when I thought I might be getting better, were pleasant, and I also have considerable documentation for these years (which makes it more difficult, for I have to read it, which covers e.g. over 500 typed pages of journals for these two years).

The third part will be relatively easy, apart from reading a lot, because after 1991 nearly all that remained of my health was completely destroyed by mayor Ed van Thijn, who refused to answer me or my letters about his murderous and illegal dealers of soft drugs that he had given permission to deal in the house where I lived, for years on end and since.

(However, as I said: all of this is only available in Dutch.)

[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] Also, I do want to make one comment on Apples and Macs, especially: I have been owning and using computers daily since 1987, which now is nearly 27 years. I can program them, in at least five languages, and I have a good understanding of them, and read many tens of books about them. So... nearly all the comments of proud owners of Apples and Macs that I have heard or read, which comes to rather a lot, were mostly bullshit, and also were almost always by the technologically unsavvy. The main difference that I saw was that some had the money to buy considerably more  expensive machines, that indeed may have been slightly better than the considerably cheaper alternatives, and especially in the early years.

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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