25, 2014
Crisis: NSA+Obama, Obama+Bush, Spies dominant, Feinstein, Intelligence, Bees
   "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. NSA: House bill would lower standards for collecting
     individuals' data

2. Obama Ensnared in Bush’s Abuses
Spy Agencies, Not Politicians, Hold the Cards in

4. If Dianne Feinstein is Michael Corleone in the CIA-Senate
     War, Will She Shoot?

5. "I Only Get – and My Committee Only Gets – What They
     WANT To Give Me.”

6.  Record Cold Winter Wallops Already Struggling Bees

 About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of March 25. It is another crisis issue.

The first article has three dotted links, and is still not clear, but that is not my fault; the second article explains - in effect, and quite well - why Obama is a Republican Light; the fourth asks good questions but doesn't expect real answers; the fifth article explains that the NSA is hardly controlled; and the sixth is about bees, of which this year again very many died (endangering pollination, and thus food prices).

Also the
crisis index got uploaded until today.

1. NSA: House bill would lower standards for collecting individuals' data

The first article today is by Spencer Ackerman of The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

The House intelligence committee is circulating a draft bill that would permit the government to acquire the phone or email records of an "individual or facility" inside the US for up to a year.

The move by the House intelligence committee's leadership – the Republican chairman Michael Rogers of Michigan and Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland – would significantly prohibit mass surveillance of all Americans' phone data, a shift in position by two of the most stalwart congressional defenders of the practice. It comes as the New York Times reports that Barack Obama will propose ending bulk collection.

Obama's self-imposed deadline on revamping the National Security Agency's collection of bulk domestic phone data is set to expire on Friday.

I believe this "shift in position by two of the most stalwart congressional defenders" is most probably part of a program to Deny, Disrupt, Degrade and Deceive the House (I quoted the GCHQ), and the same goes for Obama's proposal.

Here is part of an argument: all three were strong defenders of the NSA till now; all three clearly lied to the public; and the NSA will give any government more power to control its population than any government ever had. This is not a deductive proof, but it is good evidence.

And there is this - which just does away with the Fourth Amendment:

But the bill would allow the government to collect electronic communications records based on "reasonable articulable suspicion", rather than probable cause or relevance to a terrorism investigation, from someone deemed to be an agent of a foreign power, associated with an agent of a foreign power, or "in contact with, or known to, a suspected agent of a foreign power."

A draft of the bill acquired by the Guardian proposes the acquisition of such phone or email data for up to a year and would not necessarily require prior approval by a judge. Authorisation of the collection would come jointly from the US attorney general and director of national intelligence.

Incidentally, in case you forgot, here is the Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
-- Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution

Indeed, James Sensenbrenner is not happy at all with this plan:

James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican and co-author of the USA Freedom Act, preemptively rejected the House intelligence committee proposal, calling it "a convoluted bill that accepts the administration's deliberate misinterpretations of the law.

"It limits, but does not end, bulk collection. Provisions included in the draft fall well short of the safeguards in the USA Freedom Act and do not strike the proper balance between privacy and security," Sensenbrenner said in a statement late on Monday.

I agree with Sensenbrenner. And there is this:

According to a New York Times report late on Monday, Obama will propose ending bulk phone data collection and replacing it with individualised orders for telecom firms to provide phone records up to two "hops" – or degrees of separation – from a phone number suspected of wrongdoing.

To me, this seems as if Obama wants to continue the spying on everyone, except that he wants the phone companies to store the records, rather than the NSA.

Since the situation is far from clear, here is another article, by Peter Z. Scheer on Truth Dig:

This is a brief article, and contains this passage:

(..) telecommunications companies will maintain data for roughly 18 months, and the government will need to procure a new kind of court order to access the information. This aspect is crucial. The bulk collection of data has been called illegal, violating the Constitution’s prohibition against search and seizure without specific warrant based on probable cause. Instead of returning to the legal mechanisms that existed before the Bush and Obama administrations decided to take section 215 of the Patriot Act as carte blanche, the leaked proposal would invent a new legal order the nature of which we will have to know before we can judge.

Yes, indeed - and I think the existing situation, from before Bush and Obama, is quite clear: it is forbidden, by the Fourth Amendment. And that is how it should be.

Finally, here is an article by Eileen Sullivan in the Huffington Post:

But I list this only and will not quote from it, for it doesn't answer the relevant questions either.

2. Obama Ensnared in Bush’s Abuses

The next item is an article by Corleen Rowley - formerly of the FBI - on Consortium News that is quite good:

This starts as follows:

It’s ironic, to put it lightly, that whistleblower Edward Snowden —  whose message of the need for CHANGE essentially repeats President Barack Obama’s own original campaign promise — is now so threatened and persecuted by that very same “Change” president that he must seek asylum in foreign countries and cannot safely travel outside of Russia (which granted him temporary asylum).

Snowden’s disclosures, backed up by documents, served as a grave warnings that no good can come from empowering a “Deep State, Top Secret America” to secretly and illegally spy on its own citizens. Freedom of the press is now threatened and ordinary citizens are not allowed to know about — or democratically control — the Deep State’s “security” surveillance.

We have also reached the point where the CIA secretly and illegally attempts to thwart the Senate Intelligence Committee from investigating the CIA’s torture, an assault on congressional oversight powers and responsibilities that has created a real constitutional crisis. This level of dangerous blowback is exactly the danger that Snowden blew the whistle on!

Yes, indeed. There is a lot more under the last dotted link, and it all is good.

3.  Spy Agencies, Not Politicians, Hold the Cards in Washington

The next article is by William Greider on Common Dreams, that originated in The Nation:

I wrote myself yesterday that

The elected governors and Congress men and women no longer are the real controllers: anonymous spies from the secret services are.

William Greider thinks the same. This is from the beginning of his article:

In the real world of Washington (...) politicians look more like impotent innocents compared to their true masters. It is the spooks and the spies who shuffle the deck and deal the cards. They hide their cut-throat intrigues behind bland initials—the CIA and the NSA.

In recent weeks, a lurid real-life melodrama has been playing out in the nation's capital that has the flavor of old-fashioned conspiracy theories. The two clandestine agencies are the true puppet masters.

It is elected politicians, even the president, who are puppets dancing on a string.

And this is from the end:

Where is the president in all this? Mostly limp and unpersuasive so far in very restrained responses. He didn't fire the CIA director nor the NSA director though both have lied to Congress and the public, and are obvious candidates for blame. The president did not launch a seriously independent inquiry nor does he seem to understand that, whether or not it's fair, the blame falls at his feet. Why didn't  he get angry?

Because he knows the secrets, he is therefore vulnerable to reprisal.

The spies may not have tapped the White House phones but they do know what he knows and can always make use of it. This is the very core of the card game played by the intelligence agencies and it didn't start with Barack Obama.

4. If Dianne Feinstein is Michael Corleone in the CIA-Senate War, Will She Shoot?

Next, an article by Barry Eisler that I found on Common Dreams but originated on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
If you want to understand the real nature of the current tussle between the Senate and the CIA, with Dianne Feinstein and now Harry Reid denouncing John Brennan and Langley for essentially spying on the Senate's intelligence oversight committee, all you really need to do is watch a few reruns of The Sopranos.
Really? I have no idea, for I have no television. But the article asks some serious questions:

Why does Feinstein, whose oversight committee has reviewed a reported six million documents and produced a 6,300-page report on CIA practices Feinstein calls "brutal" and "horrible" and "un-American", insist on referring merely to a CIA "interrogation" program rather than calling it a torture program, which is what the program actually was? Why doesn't she declassify the report simply by introducing it into Senate proceedings pursuant to the Constitution's Speech or Debate clause?

And why would she claim "the CIA's search may also have violated the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order 12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or surveillance [and] may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution" … and then ask for nothing more than "an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate"?

Then again, Eisler suggests the politicians all will back down, eventually, and we will not get realistic answers to the questions.

5. "I Only Get – and My Committee Only Gets – What They WANT To Give Me.”
Next, an article by Washington's Blog (with a title of four lines, that I shortened):
This starts with quoting a dialogue that took place in 2007 between a reporter Davis and the then-chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee Jay Rockefeller. The bolding is in the original:

DAVIS: Reports quote administration officials as saying this is going on and it’s being done in a way to avoid oversight of the Intelligence Committee. Is there any way—

ROCKEFELLER: They’ll go to any lengths to do that, as we’ve seen in the last two days [during hearings on FISA].

DAVIS: Is there anything you could do in your position as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee to find answers about this, if it is in fact going on?

ROCKEFELLER: Don’t you understand the way Intelligence works? Do you think that because I’m Chairman of the Intelligence Committee that I just say I want it, and they give it to me? They control it. All of it. ALL of it. ALL THE TIME. I only get -  and my committee only gets -  what they WANT to give me.

That was 2007. The rest of the article makes a strong case that it is worse now.

6. Record Cold Winter Wallops Already Struggling Bees

Next, and last, an article by Andrea Germanos on Commom Dreams, that may be part of the crisis next year:

This starts as follows:
The record cold that gripped much of the Midwest this winter added insult to injury to already struggling bee populations.

While they expect to lose a small proportion of their hives each year, Iowa beekeepers say this year their losses are far beyond normal ranges.

"It's devastating," Mike Swett of Squaw Creek Honey told local Iowa station KCCI. "When I came out and saw my loss, I mean you literally just cry."

Iowa Department of Agriculture bee researcher Andrew Joseph says the losses could be as high as 70 percent, compared to an average winter loss of up to 20 percent.

Also, the bees died not only because of the severe winter, but for various reasons.

The reason the article is here is that without bees - suppose all or nearly all died next year, e.g. because they can't cope with the latest Monsanto poison - there is far less pollination, which means less crop, which may mean the end for many poor people, since that would mean the food prices get up a lot.

That situation did not yet arise, but it may: See Pollinator decline on Wikipedia (and also Bee, at the end).

[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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