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Nederlog


  March
23, 2014
Crisis: NSA vs Huawei * 2, Hedges, Grayson, Press, Obamacare, 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
















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Sections
Introduction

1. NSA targeted Chinese telecoms giant Huawei – report
2. Targeting Huawei: NSA Spied on Chinese Government and
     Networking Firm

3. 
Chris Hedges at Oxford College: Is Edward Snowden a
     Hero?
 

4. Truthdigger of the Week: Rep. Alan Grayson (Video)
5. Debating Secrecy vs. a Free Press
6. The Real Truth About ObamaCare
7. Personal

 About ME/CFS

Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of March 23.  There are six items, on a Sunday, plus a seventh personal item that lists some details of what I re-uploaded yesterday.

1. NSA targeted Chinese telecoms giant Huawei – report

The first article today is by Martin Pengelly in The Guardian:
This starts as follows:

The National Security Agency created “back doors” into networks maintained by the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, according to a report released on Saturday.

The report comes from a document provided by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and disclosed by the New York Times and Der Spiegel. It will add to embarrassment in US government circles, in light of an October 2012 US House of Representatives intelligence committee report which said US firms should avoid doing business with Huawei and another Chinese telecoms company, ZTE, because they posed a national security threat.

It also says about the NSA and Huawei:

The Times and Spiegel reports said that in an operation code-named Shotgiant, the NSA gained access to the company's servers in Shenzhen, obtaining information and monitoring communications between executives. Among those whose emails the NSA was able to read was the president of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei.

Huawei, which maintains operations in the UK despite all but ending its attempts to access the US market, due to government resistance, claims to connect a third of the world's population. It is also the world's third-largest maker of smartphones, after Apple and Samsung.

There is considerably more under the last dotted link, but this is also the subject of the next article:

2. Targeting Huawei: NSA Spied on Chinese Government and Networking Firm

The next item is an article by Der Spiegel (English on line edition):

This starts as follows:

The American government conducted a major intelligence offensive against China, with targets including the Chinese government and networking company Huawei, according to documents from former NSA worker Edward Snowden that have been viewed by SPIEGEL. Among the American intelligence service's targets were former Chinese President Hu Jintao, the Chinese Trade Ministry, banks, as well as telecommunications companies.

But the NSA made a special effort to target Huawei. With 150,000 employees and €28 billion ($38.6 billion) in annual revenues, the company is the world's second largest network equipment supplier. At the beginning of 2009, the NSA began an extensive operation, referred to internally as "Shotgiant," against the company, which is considered a major competitor to US-based Cisco. The company produces smartphones and tablets, but also mobile phone infrastructure, WLAN routers and fiber optic cable -- the kind of technology that is decisive in the NSA's battle for data supremacy.

It seems from the rest of the article that the NSA got a lot of Huawei, including the secret sourcecode for Huawei's products.

3.  Chris Hedges at Oxford College: Is Edward Snowden a Hero?  

The next article is by Donald Kaufman on Truth Dig:

This starts as follows:

An Oxford debate in late February posed the question: Is Edward Snowden a hero? In an impassioned defense of a patriotism that courageously stands against the abuse of state power, Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges said yes, and by a vote of the those present, won the contest.

And after a list of speakers, it shows 8 videos, each of 8 to 10 minutes, of the various speakers.

I like Chris Hedges, though I do not always agree with him, and I like it that he won the debate, which indeed to me poses a question which is a no-brainer, also if you much disagree with what Snowden did: it did take a lot of guts. (It also reminds me of the treatment Bill Maher got, briefly after 9/11.)

But I have to admit I did not watch any of the videos yet, indeed in part because this concerned a real no-brainer.

4. Truthdigger of the Week: Rep. Alan Grayson (Video) 

Next, an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truth Dig:
Here is a part from page 1, that explains why Alan Grayson got to be Truthdigger [2] of the week:

The power to parse bullshit is an honored prize among truth seekers, and it was this power of Grayson’s that drew me to him when he was attacking House Republicans during the Obamacare clashes of 2009. “It’s my duty and pride tonight to be able to announce exactly what the Republicans plan to do for health care in America,” the former lawyer said in one of the House’s most memorable performances that year. “It’s this: Very simply … don’t get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly.”

Some of the larger left’s more genteel members take issue with this kind of treatment of those on the right-hand side of the aisle. I asked Grayson about the incompetence of those he targeted. He didn’t see it that way. “I don’t think that Congress is incompetent,” he said. “I think that the people in charge here in the House are serving their corporate masters and are doing so quite effectively and are doing it as effectively as they possibly can. They’re doing everything they can to defeat any sort of progress in the country, whether you’re talking about inequality or health care, or whether you’re talking about jobs or education. They’re very good at it, and my hat is off to them, except for the fact that I think of all the suffering that entails in the lives of ordinary people all around America, which they seem to be utterly inured to. They just don’t care. They’re calloused, bigoted tools and they’re acting for the benefit of their corporate patrons who are the real owners of the Republican Party. The fact is that Congress is gridlocked because that’s the way corporate interests want it.”

And here is a part from page 2:
“They want deregulation and privatization to give them more monopoly opportunities,” he recognized. “They want a low taxation on the rich and low taxation on corporations, and what they want above all is cheap labor.

“Wall Street is running our economic policies,” he continued. “The big oil companies have been running our energy and environmental policies. The military-industrial complex runs our foreign policies. It doesn’t have to be that way. People simply have to wake up and take back control. The tools are available to do that. We are still a functioning democracy. Someone like me can still win a congressional campaign. If we actually had a serious antitrust law, if we had a serious system of progressive taxation, if we had a serious system that put human needs first instead of the needs of monopolies and multinational corporations, then we’d have bliss. We’d have heaven on earth. And it is actually attainable.”

He takes his plan for the rebuilding of paradise from the work shed of classic liberalism. It involves a precise set of laws that would reorganize capitalism to deliver its benefits to society as a whole. “All we need really is the traditional goals of full employment and a well-managed economy including full aggregate demand,” he told me, meaning enough money in the hands of the public to buy goods and services at a rate that keeps the economy from shrinking. These are precisely the principles that built the middle class during the most prosperous decades of the 20th century.

Borne along by current trends, the alternative is an apocalyptic dream.
I've quoted rather a lot because I think it is good, and because, like me, Grayson takes his inspiration from classic liberalism - which, to me at least, are the ideas of John Stuart Mill, Alexis de Tocqueville and John Maynard Keynes, much rather than others, who indeed generally also are a lot less intelligent.

Anyway... this was a good decision by Truth Dig, and the only thing I miss is the video: For me it isn't there, though this may be the price I have to pay for having switched Javascript off.

5. Debating Secrecy vs. a Free Press
 
Next, an article by Danny Schechter on Consortium News:

This is a report in a recent forum that was about the title. I extract one piece, on which I have some comments:

While the newspapers publish Snowden revelations disseminated by Greenwald and Poitras, it seemed clear they really don’t like working with them, seeing them more as advocates than “legitimate” neutral objective pros like themselves.

Nevertheless, it was a rare united front of media leaders and mainstream reporters along with independents speaking out for the public’s right to know.

Although there was some squeamishness in Establishment circles about the need to “balance” supposedly legitimate national security interests and a freer flow of information — there was a great deal of prattling about “responsibility” — top newspapers are rattling the spooks by their willingness to carry what the spies see as stolen or purloined documents. The intelligence functionaries spoke in terms of “good guys” versus “bad guys.”

Of course, they assume they are the former. Today, at the National Security Agency and other agencies, there seems to be more momentum to  “punish” leakers and rule through intimidation.
Here are my comments, by paragraph:

Paragraph 1: ALL politics consists of advocating for some positions and against others. Those who deny this are plain liars. And please note that you do not have to agree with advocates, but you should allow that they are doing what everybody in politics is doing, and that a "
“legitimate” neutral objective pro" is about as "legitimate" as a journalist as is a self-castrated idiot, who castrated himself because he does not want to publicize his own stance, nor those of others.

Paragraph 2: I doubt it, simply because "the
mainstream reporters" have not reported much since 9/11/2001, although they "reported" a lot, on trivia that hurt no one. Then again, I am willing to believe that they can lie very well.

Paragraph 3: The media simply are not there to defend the "
legitimate national security interests": That is the task of the government. Those journalists who insist that it is their task simply are not real journalists but are at best "journalists" - or "whorenalists", adapting a joke of the Dutch writer W.F. Hermans: they write for the government, as if they are "security experts", and while doing so deny the validity of all criticism of the government.

Paragraph 4: That acknowledged spies can advertize about themselves that they are the good guys while conducting a massive secret rape of everybody's personal data shows how very sick the media are.


6. The Real Truth About ObamaCare 

Next, an article by Robert Reich, on his site:
This starts as follows:

Despite the worst roll-out conceivable, the Affordable Care Act seems to be working. With less than two weeks remaining before the March 31 deadline for coverage this year, five million people have already signed up. After decades of rising percentages of Americans’ lacking health insurance, the uninsured rate has dropped to its lowest levels since 2008.

Meanwhile, the rise in health care costs has slowed drastically. No one knows exactly why, but the new law may well be contributing to this slowdown by reducing Medicare overpayments to medical providers and private insurers, and creating incentives for hospitals and doctors to improve quality of care.

Actually, I do not know. Here are a few of my reasons:
  • The healthcare in the U.S.A. clearly is sick since a long time: Far too expensive for many, and mostly directed at improving the incomes and lives of medical doctors and insurance companies rather than helping the ill - which is an argument for "Obamacare".
  • However, "Obamacare" seems the wrong name for what is in fact Romneycare, which was a system designed to prevent the coming of a real and effective health insurance in the U.S.A.
  • In Holland, I now am legally forced to have a health insurance, which costs me at least twice as much as I paid most of my life, and takes one fifth of my income, and seems to serve only the - anyway large to very large - incomes of doctors and insurance companies, while giving me less and less of service: I got no effective help for 36 years now.
  • In Holland, everything is bureaucratized in the health service: For everything there has to be a form and a code, and more is spend on filling out these, it seems, than on serving patients.
I agree none of these is a conclusive argument, but the healthcare in Holland got a lot worse the last 10 years, the premiums are legally bindable and a lot higher, and it seems to me that this is a system that was clearly designed to help the doctors and the insurance companies (or more precisely, their directors: the director of "mine" "earns" half a million a year) very much more than the patients, who indeed are neither organized nor knowledgeable nor permanently ill, but who have to pay for it, or else get legally prosecuted.

7. Personal

Here is a bit more about the re-uploading of my site that I did yesterday:

I have yesterday, after uploading Nederlog, updated the index files for my site (English and Dutch) to show the right 2014 materials. (Yes, that was slow.) Next, I re-uploaded most of the Help-section again, mostly dated March 22, 2014, because I did change a little. Finally, I think MEinAdam is mostly in order since last month.

This means that I still have to do most in the philosophy section, and the logic and computing and me sections.

That is rather a lot to do, and the reason it progresses slowly is that there are various difficulties with these sections, that also have white backgrounds, which are
still difficult for my eyes. In brief, there still is rather a lot to do that is quite boring and soon quite painful to do.

But there is one decision I've made that simplifies it some: I decided not to try to update the 
me section, on which I had started in 2012 and 2013.

The main reasons for that decision are: I am ill, for 36 years now; the section was renewed in 2010-2011, mostly because of the 2009 news that there was a scientific explanation, which since was refuted; I am not and never was a medical man; and also I think that what is there is more than sufficient to get most of the known facts about and around ME, which in fact are not many, and which are also well caught by the files below.

---------------------------------
Note
[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] I do want to point out that I was one of the very, very few, among tens of thousands, who protested during the at least 18 years that the University of Amsterdam held up the claim, also supported by its Board of Directors, that "everybody knows that truth does not exist", which I first heard stated, precisely as quoted but in Dutch, from prof. M.A. Brandt in August of 1978, in a public lecture that served as the opening of the academic year.

Almost everyone - almost all students, almost all staff members - of the University of Amsterdam agreed that everybody knows that truth does not exist, and indeed I was the only student since the end of WW II who was removed from the
University of Amsterdam's faculty of philosophy briefly before taking my M.A. in philosophy, because I had the temerity of asking questions about this in public.

Also, I was removed as a "fascist terrorist", in spite of being ill (which much pleased the fascist terrorists of the Board of Directors who sanctioned it), in spite of having the freedom to state my own opinions, in spite of having one of the best resistance-backgrounds of all Dutchmen, and in spite of being a very good student, and that in spite of my illness.


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)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
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)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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