22, 2014
Crisis: TYT, Obama *2, Microsoft, the Pope, Moyers, NSA, 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. Cenk Uygur Blasts Corporate Media for Soap Opera
     Coverage & Toeing Establishment Line

2. Obama meets tech giants to discuss concerns over NSA

Microsoft tightens privacy policy after admitting to
     reading journalist's emails

4. Pope Francis warns mafiosi to repent or 'end up in hell'
5. Bill Moyers: Who’s Buying Our Elections?
6. How Much Sexting Do Americans Do? Ask the British
     Surveillance State

7. Obama to Putin: Do as I Say Not as I Do
8. How the NSA Targets Those with 'Keys to Digital

9. Personal

 About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of March 22. It contains 9 items, which is more than I expected.

1. Cenk Uygur Blasts Corporate Media for Soap Opera Coverage & Toeing Establishment Line

The first a video by Russia Today, and is a decent interview by Abbey Martin of TYT-host Cenk Uygur, whose videos I have been following, in part, to be sure, since 2009:

The interview is a little over 13 minutes, but it is quite good, especially as Uygur makes it clear that while Russia Today may speak for Putin, the American media speak for the American government, and not anymore as objective journalists, and do so more deviously.

2.  Obama meets tech giants to discuss concerns over NSA surveillance

The next item is an article is
by Reuters and is on the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Executives of several large US internet companies, including Facebook Inc and Google, met President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss their concerns over government surveillance programs.

Obama and senior aides met six tech executives to discuss issues surrounding intelligence, technology and privacy, the White House said in a statement following the meeting.

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, the world's largest Internet search engine; Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook, the world's biggest social network; and Reed Hastings, chief executive officer of Netflix Inc, an online video streaming service, were among those attending the meeting, the White House said.

There is also this:

"The president reiterated his administration's commitment to taking steps that can give people greater confidence that their rights are being protected while preserving important tools that keep us safe," the White House said.

But Facebook's Zuckerberg, a public critic of government data gathering practices, said that more needed to be done.

"While the U.S. government has taken helpful steps to reform its surveillance practices, these are simply not enough," he said through a spokesperson.

The problems I have with this are: (1) the first paragraph is bullshit without evidence, that serves the NSA but not "the people": the people's private data continue being plundered by the state's spies, while (2) Zuckerberg is a kid in his late twenties who fell to fame through Facebook, that also makes great profits by systematically spying on it users, albeit for economic reasons, and who has nothing going for him as regards morals or intellect.

So I do not think this amounts to much. There is considerably more under the last dotted link, and it is also true that I expect most - realistically - from the Senate and the House, and from the CEOs of the computer firms, but so far I've not seen much that would stop the stealing of all the personal data of everyone.

3.  Microsoft tightens privacy policy after admitting to reading journalist's emails  

The next article is by Alex Hern on the Guardian:

This starts as follows:

Microsoft has tightened up its privacy policy after admitting to reading emails from a journalist’s Hotmail account while tracking down a leak.

The new rules prevent the company from snooping on customers’ communications without first convincing two legal teams, independent of the internal investigation, that they have evidence sufficient to obtain a court order were one applicable.

The company did not apologise for the search.

There is considerably more, and it may sound well to the naive, but I am not naive, and think that, instead, Microsoft should provide automatic encryption, and that without giving the keys to the NSA.

I agree that is a lot to ask, but what they do now is merely a gilding of the bars: They still can search your mails, if only two of their "legal teams" (meaning what?) give them the go. I don't agree, but hardly ever used Microsoft since switching to Linux two years ago.

4.  Pope Francis warns mafiosi to repent or 'end up in hell'

Next, an article by Lizzie Davis on the Guardian:
This starts as follows:

Pope Francis has made his strongest attack to date on the mafia, telling organised crime bosses they will end up in hell if they do not "convert" and give up their lives of "bloodstained money [and] blood-stained power". In an echo of John Paul II's appeal to mafia dons to renounce their "culture of death", the Argentinian urged mafiosi to "stop doing evil" as he held an unprecedented meeting with hundreds of victims' relatives in Rome.

"I feel that I cannot conclude without saying a word to the protagonists who are absent today – the men and women mafiosi," he said, quietly but forcefully. "Please change your lives. Convert yourselves. Stop doing evil."

The meeting in a church near Vatican City was the first time a pontiff had taken part in events tied to a day of commemoration held annually by the anti-mafia organisation, Libera. During a prayer vigil, the names of 842 victims were read aloud.

I am an atheist but I - sort of - like the present pope, who also has more than a billion of Catholic faithful who believe in what he is saying, and indeed I would agree that if there were a hell, it would be a fit place for the leaders of the mafia, and also for quite a few politicians.

Anyway: there is considerably more under the last dotted link.

5. Bill Moyers: Who’s Buying Our Elections?
Next, a brief article by Peter Z. Scheer on Truth Dig, that introduces a video by Bill Moyers:
This is a video of some 24 minutes by Bill Moyers, with two journalists who investigated super PACs and dark money in the U.S.A.

I thought it is quite clear - and it shows that these days it is dark money provided by anonymous billionaires that is the main power in American politics.

6.  How Much Sexting Do Americans Do? Ask the British Surveillance State

Next, an article by David Rosen on AlterNet:
This starts as follows: 

The Guardian  recently revealed that a British surveillance program called Optic Nerve had scooped up millions of web cam images. Without the knowledge or agreement of Yahoo (let alone the users), the spy agency copied, collected and analyzed one still and/or moving image every five minutes from Yahoo webcam user chats, including those of an untold numbers of Americans. 

“In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery—including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications—from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally,” notes the Guardian. 

I've dealt with this before, but this article has more information. Here is one bit:
A recent followup analysis in the UK Mirror attempts to provide some detail to the GCHQ report. Extrapolating from “a sample 50 nude webcam images obtained from Google we worked out the relative frequency with different body parts occur.” Using a 7 percent figure of images containing “intimate body parts,” it projected such images as follows: breasts at 56 percent (1 million-plus images for 6 months), female genitalia at 28 percent (504,000 images), male genitalia at 26 percent (468,000 images) and female “bum” at 12 percent (216,000). For the full three years, the totals likely skyrocketed.
There is considerably more in the article, the main message of which is that the NSA+GCHQ also massively picks up the porn users put on line, of course in secret, without warning, and all gathered for unknown reasons and uses by unknown persons.

7. Obama to Putin: Do as I Say Not as I Do

Next, an article by Ralph Nader, from his site and elsewhere, such as Common Dreams, where I found it first:
In fact, this is a letter to president Obama, that is quite good and contains the following passage:
Every day, presidential actions by you violate international law because they infringe upon national sovereignties with deadly drones, flyovers and secret forays by soldiers – to name the most obvious.

President Bush’s criminal invasion and devastation of Iraq in 2003 violated international law and treaties initiated and signed by the United States (such as the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter). What about your executive branch’s war on Libya, now still in chaos, which was neither constitutionally declared, nor authorized by Congressional appropriations?

“Do as I say, not as I do,” is hard to sell to Russians who are interpreting your words of protest as disingenuous.

8. How the NSA Targets Those with 'Keys to Digital Kingdoms'

Finally, an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
The latest reporting from The Intercept reveals how individuals across the world who work as 'system administrators' for computer and online networks had their personal computers and digital information targeted by National Security Agency hacking units as a way for the agency to gain access to the systems they controlled.

Though those targeted were not suspected of any wrong doing whatsoever, internal NSA documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden show that these people, called "sys admins" for short, had their email and Facebook accounts tracked as the government hackers tried to access their "network maps, customer lists, [and] business correspondence."

The overall effort by the NSA relates to previously reported programs based on Snowden documents that show efforts by the US surveillance agency and their British counterparts at the GCHQ to gain direct access to "foreign network routers" and other digital systems without the companies or governments who control those networks knowing. “Who better to target than the person that already has the ‘keys to the kingdom’?” asks one NSA-employed hacker in a post cited by The Intercept.

There is considerably more under the last link. I know I have written about this before, but one point I did not make, that is quite clear in the present article, is that the spying of the professional spies of the NSA forces system administrators to act as if they are professionally spied upon - and note that they are generally used without them knowing it, if the NSA+GCHQ work as they claim they can.

Also, this - the spying upon persons not because they are guilty of anything, but because they have keys to data the NSA likes to know - is clearly illegal, and in case there are secret court orders that tell differently, these secret courts and their orders should be shut down: that is plainly totalitarian.

9. Personal

I've added today a few corrections and a little text to yesterday's Nederlog. Most of the text I added had to do with the fact, that I forgot yesterday, that Nederlog is mostly in Dutch from 2004-2009, and is mostly in English since 2010.

And something I did not add, but is true: Almost all of the over 2600 files that presently form Nederlog (including Nedernieuws in 2004 and 2005) are first versions written on the day they were first published. Also, if there are corrections, which quite often is the case, these tend to be minor and grammatical, and are usually made the next day.

I do not know how normal this is, but it a "conditio sine qua non" in my case: I simply do not have the health to do it otherwise. This does not mean it is not a choice: I could write fewer files and correct them several times before uploading. I chose not to do so for several reasons, one of which is that Nederlog and indeed the whole site is second-best at best: if I had been healthy the last 36 years, I would neither live in Holland, nor maintain a site of the size I do.


Here is for your amusement - in case you have a need to be amused - nearly an hour of video by George Carlin:
I like it, but some of it is crude. The last 10 minutes or so are the best, and shows Carlin discussing the 10 Commandments from the Bible, which he plausibly reduces to two or three: Be honest and fair to your partner, and don't kill. And keep your religion to yourself.

And in case you ask: Yes, I still think Carlin is much more sensible and much more honest than any American politician.

[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.)

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[2]
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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