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Nederlog


  April
5, 2014
Crisis: Scam, Drones, Supreme Court, Chomsky, mB12
   "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
Sections
Introduction

1. The “Cuban Twitter” Scam Is a Drop in the Internet
     Propaganda Bucket

2. Drone killings case thrown out in US
3. How we can fight back against the Supreme Court
4. Noam Chomsky: Ecology, Ethics, Anarchism
5. Update on my mB12-protocol

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of April 5. It is another crisis issue.

It also is a Saturday, and I did not find much: four articles. They follow below, to which I have added an update on my mB12-protocol that I recently changed, experimentally.

1. The “Cuban Twitter” Scam Is a Drop in the Internet Propaganda Bucket

The first article today is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

This week, the Associated Press exposed a secret program run by the U.S. Agency for International Development to create “a Twitter-like Cuban communications network” run through “secret shell companies” in order to create the false appearance of being a privately owned operation. Unbeknownst to the service’s Cuban users was the fact that “American contractors were gathering their private data in the hope that it might be used for political purposes”–specifically, to manipulate those users in order to foment dissent in Cuba and subvert its government. According to top-secret documents published today by The Intercept, this sort of operation is frequently discussed at western intelligence agencies, which have plotted ways to covertly use social media for ”propaganda,” “deception,” “mass messaging,” and “pushing stories.”

These ideas–discussions of how to exploit the internet, specifically social media, to surreptitiously disseminate viewpoints friendly to western interests and spread false or damaging information about targets–appear repeatedly throughout the archive of materials provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Yes, indeed - and it seems to me that the internet's possibilities, that currently include its being mostly unencrypted, have fundamentally changed the activities of "western intelligence agencies", and changed them to something rather like the Stasi - except that the "western intelligence agencies" know much more and are more powerful than the Stasi ever was.

That is: they are now for the first time and on a large scale attempting to influence and mold society, using all possible means for that, and these are mostly foul.

As they put it in one of their own graphics, these are their current concerns, in a considerable part:



I note again that, on the scale this is practised and is projected is no longer spying: it is doing politics, in a secretive, hidden, fundamentally completely dishonest way.

Indeed, the graphic is immediately followed by the following paragraph by Glenn Greenwald:
The document was presented by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG). The unit’s self-described purpose is “using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world,” including “information ops (influence or disruption).” The British agency describes its JTRIG and Computer Network Exploitation operations as a “major part of business” at GCHQ, conducting “5% of Operations.”
Well... making "something happen in the real or cyber world" is out and out political. Also, as done by the GCHQ it is totally dishonest deception, explicit propaganda, and gets spread about by institutions that are wholly other than they are publicly advertised to be.

Here are Glenn Greenwald's concluding words - and there is a lot more in the article:

But these documents, along with the AP’s exposure of the sham “Cuban Twitter” program, underscore how aggressively western governments are seeking to exploit the internet as a means to manipulate political activity and shape political discourse.

Those programs, carried out in secrecy and with little accountability (it seems nobody in Congress knew of the “Cuban Twitter” program in any detail) threaten the integrity of the internet itself, as state-disseminated propaganda masquerades as free online speech and organizing. There is thus little or no ability for an internet user to know when they are being covertly propagandized by their government, which is precisely what makes it so appealing to intelligence agencies, so powerful, and so dangerous.

Yes, I agree - and I know that formally this should not happen, but then any objection is brushed aside by arguments that "terrorism" must be countered; "trust" is necessary; and anyway all operations are secret, as is all oversight.

2. Drone killings case thrown out in US 

The next item is an article by Reuters on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

A US federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against the government by the families of three American citizens killed by drones in Yemen, saying senior officials cannot be held personally responsible for money damages for the act of conducting war.

The families of the three – including Anwar al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born militant Muslim cleric who had joined al-Qaida's Yemen affiliate, as well as his teenage son – sued over their 2011 deaths in US drone strikes, arguing that the killings were illegal.

Judge Rosemary Collyer of the US district court in Washington threw out the case, which had named as defendants the former defence secretary and CIA chief Leon Panetta, the former senior military commander and CIA chief David Petraeus and two other top military commanders.

"The question presented is whether federal officials can be held personally liable for their roles in drone strikes abroad that target and kill U.S. citizens," Collyer said in her opinion. "The question raises fundamental issues regarding constitutional principles and it is not easy to answer."

But the judge said she would grant the government's motion to dismiss the case.

That seems to be another judge who has given up on the fundamental task of the law, or indeed who has been secretively warned.

It seems clear to me that Obama's drone program, in which he every Tuesday gets to decide who he is going to kill by drones, often based on mere suspicion, in countries he is not at war with, is deeply illegal, and also Anwar al-Awaki was an American, who are supposed not to be killed by American troops, without any due legal process, that is.

Finally, it would also seem to me that
"The question presented is whether federal officials can be held personally liable for their roles in drone strikes abroad that target and kill U.S. citizens" has been answered, namely by the Nuremberg trials: Federal officials are "personally liable" for everything they do.

There also this from the lawyers of the ACLU and the CCR:

"This is a deeply troubling decision that treats the government's allegations as proof while refusing to allow those allegations to be tested in court," said ACLU lawyer Hina Shamsi. "The court's view that it cannot provide a remedy for extrajudicial killings when the government claims to be at war, even far from any battlefield, is profoundly at odds with the Constitution."

Centre for Constitutional Rights lawyer Maria LaHood said the judge "effectively convicted" Anwar al-Awlaki "posthumously based solely on the government's say-so". LaHood said the judge also found that the constitutional rights of the son and of Khan "weren't violated because the government didn't target them".

"It seems there's no remedy if the government intended to kill you, and no remedy if it didn't. This decision is a true travesty of justice for our constitutional democracy and for all victims of the US government's unlawful killings," LaHood said.

Yes, I agree.

3. How we can fight back against the Supreme Court

The next item is an article by Cenk Uygur (the main host of The Young Turks) on The Huffington Post:

This starts as follows:

Let me start by quoting two great men and a crook that died the other day.

"The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite." -- Thomas Jefferson

When asked if his payments to politicians had worked, Charles Keating replied, "I want to say in the most forceful way I can: I certainly hope so."

When asked outside of Independence Hall if we have a republic or a monarchy, Benjamin Franklin replied, "A republic, if you can keep it."

Well, here we are, aren't we? Right at the point where we are about to find out whether we can keep it or not. The Supreme Court has decided that a small amount of people will get to control our entire political system. Which politician or political party can resist hundreds of millions of dollars put in at once? Maybe one person can resist, maybe one party can resist for a small period of time, but eventually they will succumb.

In Congressional races, 95 percent of the time the person with more money wins. It doesn't matter if they are a Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. It doesn't matter what their ideas are or what their ideology is. It doesn't matter what they think at all. You have more money and you will win 19 out of 20 times.

Yes, quite so - although this also shows that most of the US voters are - none too intelligent.

Next, there is this:

Justice Anthony Kennedy destroyed our republic. We knew Alito, Scalia, Roberts and Thomas were corporate robots. We knew they were going to say disingenuously that corporations or billionaires pouring in millions into our politicians' pockets wouldn't lead to corruption. What an unbelievable joke. But it turns out that Kennedy was the biggest joke of all. He claims that millions in campaign donations won't even result in the appearance of corruption. Can anyone with a shred of intelligence honestly believe that?

So, it was nice while it lasted. Democracy at the national level is dead now. We have replaced it with an open auction. This will not at some future date lead to a worst case scenario. We're already living in that scenario.

You don't have to worry about the top 1 percent. Now, the 0.00024 percent of the country who donate over a $100,000 to politicians will rule us all. Because even the federal limit of $123,200 per election cycle has now been eliminated by the McCutcheon decision. They can now spend unlimited money "contributing" to our politicians.

Yes, though I am willing to blame the other four judges that sided with Kennedy as well. Also, I noted "Democracy at the national level is dead now": this is important, because there still are possibilities on the state level. This I will return to below.

As to the 1 percent: that is mostly a side issue, that is not really relevant. It marks a distinction in income that serves as a symbolic point, and that does explain who profited from the crisis: those who earn at least as well as 1% maximal of the population, and that still seems true, and not very relevant.

Then again, the figure of 0.00024 percent is relevant, and corresponds to 1 in 4168 (rounded), for this simply says how many did donate "over a $100,000 to politicians". But this may shift up considerably, though indeed it never can get much higher.

Anyway - there is rather a lot more in the article, and that is mostly dedicated to Cenk Uygur's Wolf Pac, that he founded with one mission only:

amend the constitution to get the corrupting influence of money out of politics

This is for my American readers. I agree with it, but I am not an American.

4. Noam Chomsky: Ecology, Ethics, Anarchism  

Next, an article by Javier Sethness on AlterNet:

In fact, this is an interview with Chomsky, that is introduced by the interviewer as follows:

I had the great good fortune recently to interview Professor Noam Chomsky, renowned anarcho-syndicalist, to discuss the question of ecological crisis and anarchism as a remedy.

Here are some selections, all from Chomsky, with my reactions - and the format is that the indented parts are quotes from Chomsky, and the non-indented parts are my comments.
My own view is that anarchism flows quite naturally out of major concerns and commitments of the Enlightenment, which found an expression in classical liberalism, and classical liberalism essentially was destroyed by the rise of capitalism — it's inconsistent with it.

I would say I am a classical liberal who is much inspired by the Enlightenment, and where I mean by "classical liberal" especially Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill, both of the 19th Century. But I probably am not an anarchist.

The "probably" is there mainly because there are many different kinds of anarchism. I am probably not one because for me (1) it is fairly obvious that complex society needs some form of government and some publicly maintained and enforced system of law and order to work at all, and (2) I am also not optimistic about the human average, thinking with Hazlitt that

"If mankind had wished for what is right, they might have had it long ago. The theory is plain enough; but they are prone to mischief, "to every good work reprobate.""

But I have read a fair amount of anarchism, and one of the things I like about it is that it is much inspired by human individual freedom, which it also seeks to protect and further.

Well, if you take a look at markets, they are a recipe for suicide. Period. In market systems, you don't take account of what economists call externalities. So say you sell me a car. In a market system, we're supposed to look after our own interests, so I make the best deal I can for me; you make the best deal you can for you. We do not take into account the effect on him. That's not part of a market transaction.

Yes, indeed: this is a good criticism of markets, namely that they tend to eliminate all considerations of any human ends and goals apart from individual monetary gain. That is simply stupid, and the main reason this got popular nevertheless was an enormous confusion of values, basically by the trick that "individual monetary gain" = "individual freedom", which is just a lie.

The task of the state is to rescue the rich and the powerful and to protect them, and if that violates market principles, okay, we don't care about market principles. The market principles are essentially for the poor.

Perhaps. I agree this is how it works, but it also seems to me many are genuinely convinced that market principles are good and lead to the good. They are not, and certainly not in isolation, nor extended to everything, but indeed "free market" and "market principles" are nearly always used ideologically rather than rationally.
Species destruction now is at the level of 65 million years ago, when an asteroid hit the Earth and destroyed the dinosaurs and a huge number of species — massive species destruction. That's being replicated right now, and humans are the asteroid. And we're on the list, not far.
I suppose this is correct, but as I have said before: My main lesson from watching "the environmental movement" for some 45 years is that it was almost completely ineffective except in helping politicians to acquire a moral patina that they do not deserve at all. In brief: society needs to be transformed before the many problems with nature can be solved, if indeed this still is possible.
Choices that involve common effort and solidarity and mutual support and concern for others — those are out of the market system. The market system is based on maximization of individual consumption, and that is highly destructive in itself. It's destructive even for the human beings involved — it turns them into sociopathic individuals.
Yes and no. "The market system" is good for some things - but the main problem is that it is almost never clearly defined, neither by the proponents nor by the opponents, nor is it well reasoned about, rationally speaking.
Corporations are totalitarian institutions — we don't get access to their internal decisions(...)
Or as Hazlitt said: "Corporate bodies have no soul." And indeed they are also secretive, at least concerning their real ends and ways (for there also is a lot of propaganda given to the public as "public relations").
My own feeling is that people like Adam Smith were basically right, that there is a natural sympathy for others. I think the rich and powerful understand that. I think that's one of the reasons why there's such massive effort to destroy the institutions in the society that are based on solidarity.
This is about Smith's moral philosophy, and - I say - he clearly was right: Of course there is natural sympathy for others (what else is love?) though it depends a lot on who the others are, and clearly there also is antipathy for others (what else is hate?), and again it depends a lot.

Then again, I doubt that many of the rightists see this, and indeed it is their lack of seeing this, and their fondness for simplistic baloney of the Ayn Rand type, to the effects that "greed is good" and "being selfish is natural", that contributes to their attempts to destroy "
the institutions in the society that are based on solidarity".
Why should I pay taxes? Well, you pay taxes so that the kid across the street will go to school, because you care about other people. But that has to be driven out of people's heads. It's a little like markets and consumption. Markets are favored by the economics profession, by the rich, and so on, up to a point — they really don't believe in them, they want the powerful state to come in and save them if they're in trouble. But ideologically they're preferred, because they restrict human action to individual self-gratification — not mutual support, not protection of the commons.
The best brief answer to the question why one should pay taxes is by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.  (the Supreme Court judge): "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society". I quoted that from Wikipedia, that also has this: "In his will, Holmes left his residuary estate to the United States government".

Anyway - I like the above brief quasi-discussion, but I should also say that Chomsky is more complicated, and so am I.

5.  Update on my mB12-protocol  

Finally, an update on my mB12 protocol. The last one was recent, on March 27 and reported I was doing well - relatively, always (!) - on three metafolates a day, together with the rest of the protocol.

Well... I have been doing - relatively - well on that for a whole month, each and every day, in which I did some more than in most months the last 10 or 12 years or so, and so I decided to increase the dose of MFs to 4 and added another K for safety, to arrive at the following protocol, in which
the bold underlined items are links to Wikipedia:


metafolin: 3200 mcg:
This is the directly usable form of folate, and part of the protocol. (4 pills.)
vitamin C: 4 grams:
I think - statistics support me - this makes sense for me. (4 pills)
kalium: 800 mg:
This is part of the protocol. I do need at least 400 mg, given the rest. (4 pills)
vitamin mB12: 1000 mcg: Note it is methylcobalamin, and I currently use B12 infusion, from Enzymatic Therapy. (1 pill)
vitamin aB12: 3000 mcg: This is adenosylcobalamin. I currently use 1 every other day (roughly).
calcium + vit D + vit K: 800 mg + 5 mcg + 80 mcg. This is mainly because I do not use milk anymore. (2 pills)
VM-75: A multivitamin + mineral supplement from Solgar, that contains about everything, that I will not list here, also because it seems - experimentally - most is not very relevant for me. (1 pill)


And that is it. Here are what I've changed:
metafolin: I now take 4 pills instead of 3. This is experimental: I will see whether I can do this for 4 weeks without getting worse.

kalium: I added one pill. Again experimental.

calcium + vit D + vit K: This replaces the earlier pills I took. (There is no deep justification: I buy what is available.)
Otherwise, it's the same. If you want to know more go to March 27 or search the indexes of Nederlog since 2010 with "B12".

Note that this whole protocol is speculative: it is based on decent biochemistry, and it has been tested, but not extensively. I am following it because I have been ill for 36 years now, and this worked the best for me, but it is also true that I got this working fairly well only in 2012, and then was upset by a serious form of keratoconjunctivitis sicca.

Finally, as before this specific protocol also is speculative: I have to see whether I can keep this up for four weeks, and do relatively well on it. I will tell you in four weeks, or before if it doesn't work.
---------------------------------
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.) 

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
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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