who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. British Spy Chiefs Secretly
Begged to Play in NSA’s Data
2. Senate Republicans block minimum wage bill
3. Exclusive: Elizabeth Warren Discusses Her New Book,
Thomas Piketty and the
Disappearing Middle Class
is Not Speech': Retired Justice Stevens Slams
Dark Money Rulings
5. Supreme Court Refuses to
Uphold the Constitution:
Allows Indefinite Detention
6. The Pervasiveness of Health
Care Corruption as Shown by
Another Roundup of Legal
7. Thank you, Basic:
developers remember 50 years of
8. First Direct Evidence of
‘Encephalitis’ – in ME/CFS
This is the second
Nederlog of May 1. It is a crisis issue. The
previous Nederlog of today
contains - among other things - my explanation of a songtext of Frank
Zappa from 1968, that I think is interesting.
This Nederlog has 8 items, of which the first six are about the crisis;
the seventh is about a programming language, that I liked as Applebasic
and as Free Basic; and the last is a medical finding on the disease I
have now for 36 years.
Anyway - there are two Nederlogs today, together 92.7 Kb, which is more
than I wrote in a long time, on this Day of Labor (but not all was
written by me: considerable parts were copied, but even so) and I also
cycled an hour, so some things are going fairly well, and I am
feeling fairly pleased.
More tomorrow on my health: I changed the protocol again, though not
Spy Chiefs Secretly Begged to Play in NSA’s Data
The first item is
article by Ryan
Gallagher on First Look:
This starts as follows:
And this is the end - where
there is a lot in between that I have all skipped - and "they" are the
top of the GCHQ, while Huppert is a Lib Dem MP:
surveillance agency, Government Communications Headquarters, has long
presented its collaboration with the National Security Agency’s massive
electronic spying efforts as proportionate, carefully monitored, and
well within the bounds of privacy laws. But according to a top-secret
document in the archive of material provided to The Intercept
by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, GCHQ secretly coveted the NSA’s
vast troves of private communications and sought “unsupervised access”
to its data as recently as last year – essentially begging to feast at
the NSA’s table while insisting that it only nibbles on the occasional
document, dated April 2013, reveals that GCHQ requested broad new
authority to tap into data collected under a law that authorizes a
variety of controversial NSA surveillance initiatives, including the
PRISM is a system used by
the NSA and the FBI to obtain the content of personal emails, chats,
photos, videos, and other data processed by nine of the world’s largest
internet companies, including Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Apple,
Facebook, and Skype. The arrangement GCHQ proposed would also have
provided the British agency with greater access to millions of
international phone calls and emails that the NSA siphons directly from
phone networks and the internet.
For more, use the last dotted
“It is now obvious that
they were trying to deliberately mislead the committee,” Huppert told The
Intercept. “They very clearly did not give us all the information
that we needed.”
Decrying the process as a
“good example of how governments should not behave,” the Liberal
Democrat parliamentarian is calling for significant reform of the
U.K.’s current surveillance regime.
“I want to see much
greater clarity on how we have oversight, because it is currently not
fit for purpose,” he says. “We need much more transparency about what
is happening. And we need to revise our laws, because our laws clearly
have too many loopholes in them.”
2. Senate Republicans block minimum wage
The next item is an
article by Paul Lewis on The Guardian:
This starts as
follows - and remember people like Jamie Dimon take home 20 million
dollars a year, apart from bonuses, while many CEOs earn 350 times more
than ordinary workers:
President Barack Obama
sought to revive the electoral fortunes of his Democratic party on
Wednesday, saying a decision by Republicans to oppose an increase to
the federal minimum wage showed they were out of step with voters, who
he said would have "the last word".
Obama spoke at the White
House three hours after Senate Republicans blocked the passage of a
Democratic bill to increase the federal minimum that a US employer can
pay for one hour’s work to $10.10.
A vote to debate the
legislation was 54-42 in favour, but failed to reach the required 60
votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster that prevented the
bill from proceeding further. All Republicans except for one voted to
block the legislation.
There is rather a lot
more under the last dotted link, but this seems to me sufficient to see
which interests the GOP serve: those of the rich.
3. Exclusive: Elizabeth Warren Discusses
Her New Book, Thomas Piketty and the Disappearing Middle Class
The next item is an
article by Lynn Stuart Parramore on AlterNet:
Actually, most of this
is an interview, that is mostly due to Warren's new book, A
Fighting Chance. Here is one bit from it:
economist Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the 21st Century
has struck a nerve with its focus on growing inequality. How does
Piketty’s research connect with your own writing and research about the
forces operating against ordinary people?
There is considerably
more under the last dotted link.
EW: Thomas Piketty assembles
the facts to prove a central point about trickle-down economics:
Doesn't work. Never did. He has cold, hard data showing how the rich
keep getting richer and how the playing field is rigged against working
families. But he also shows that government policies to invest in the
middle class and help everyone have opportunities can make a real
difference. My research has led me to the same conclusions, and I agree
strongly with him.
LP: One of the key
themes in your book is that the system is rigged, and that bankers and
plutocrats are doing the rigging. How can our elected representatives
effectively challenge these forces within a system that depends so
heavily on their contributions?
EW: I've seen Washington up
close for years now, as I talk about in the book. What I've learned is
that real change is very, very hard. But I've also learned that change
is possible -- IF you fight for it. We learned that in the fight for
the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I remember when
everyone thought that idea was just a pipe dream. But we got out there,
we organized, and we fought for it. Now there's a new consumer agency
that has already returned $3 billion to families that were cheated.
is Not Speech': Retired Justice Stevens Slams Dark Money Rulings
The next item is an
article by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows -
and John Paul
Stevens (<- Wikipedia) is a retired judge of the Supreme Court:
"Money is not
Yes, indeed. There is
more under the last dotted link, including an explanation of how the
Supreme Court confused money and speech (quite intentionally, in
my view: Clearly "Money
is not speech", and you do not need to have the education of supreme
court judges to know that).
That was the argument
presented by former Supreme Court Justice John Stevens as he attacked
the high court's recent ruling in McCutcheon
v. Federal Election Commission, which crippled campaign
finance limits, during his testimony
before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on Wednesday.
"While money is used to
finance speech, money is not speech. Speech is only one of the
activities that are financed by campaign contributions and
expenditures. Those financial activities should not receive precisely
the same constitutional protections as speech itself," Stevens said.
"After all, campaign funds were used to finance the Watergate burglary,
actions that clearly were not protected by the First Amendment."
The retired justice made
a rare appearance before Congress to champion a proposed constitutional
amendment, put forth by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), that would grant
Congress the authority to regulate campaign finance, limiting the
ability of super PACs to impact elections.
5. Supreme Court Refuses to Uphold the
Constitution: Allows Indefinite Detention
The next item is
article by Washington's Blog, on another quite crazy Supreme Court
This starts as follows, with
coloring and bolding in the original:
“We Are No Longer a Nation Ruled By Laws”
Pulitzer prize winning
reporter Chris Hedges – along with journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon
Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, activist Tangerine Bolen
and others – sued
the government to join the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite
detention of Americans.
The trial judge in the
case asked the government attorneys 5 timeswriting about
bad guys. whether journalists like Hedges could
be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then
The government refused to promise
that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest
of their lives without any right to talk to a judge.
The trial judge ruled
that the indefinite detention bill was unconstitutional. But the
court of appeal overturned
that decision, based upon the
assumption that limited the NDAA to non-U.S. citizens (...)
Which means according to
Chris Hedges (and I think he is right):
The court of appeal
ignored the fact that the co-sponsors of the indefinite detention law
said it does
apply to American citizens, and that top legal scholars agree.
Monday, the U.S. Supreme
to hear an appeal of the case, thus blessing and
letting stand the indefinite detention law stand unchanged.
Also without any trial.
There is the latest American "justice" or you! Anyway... there is
considerably more under the last dotted link.
If [the indefinite
detention law] stands it will mean, as [the trial judge] pointed out in
her 112-page opinion, that whole categories of Americans—and
here you can assume dissidents and activists—will be subject to seizure
by the military and indefinite and secret detention.
6. The Pervasiveness of Health Care Corruption
as Shown by Another Roundup of Legal Settlements
The next item is
article by Roy M. Poses MD on Health Care Renewal:
starts as follows:
are one way to document unethical and even corrupt behavior by large
health care organizations, even if they may not deter bad behavior in
the future. It is time for another roundup of settlements by
large pharmaceutical and device companies, presented in alphabetical
considers Abbott Laboratories, Baxter International, Endo Health
Solutions, Hospira, and Pfizer, all with texts detailing how they paid
some of their profit back to retain the rest and run off without any
Then Roy Poses summarizes:
So it is all
drearily familiar. Big health care organizations seem to
repeatedly engage in deceptive marketing, providing kickbacks to health
professionals, fraudulent billing, anti-competitive practices, etc,
etc. These practices increase health care costs, and may risk
patients' health and safety. Many of these practices are corrupt,
at least according to the Transparency International definition of
corruption, "abuse of entrusted power for private gain." Drug and
device companies, for example, are entrusted to provide safe and
effective products. Deceptive marketing, kickbacks to health
professionals to encourage overuse, and cutting quality control to cut
costs all seem to be examples of abuse of this entrusted power.
The private gain obviously goes to any managers and executives who
score bigger bonuses due to the increases in revenue that result.
Yes, indeed. There is
more in the summary, and considerably more in the text, under the last
dotted link, but here is his last paragraph:
Yet there are very few
examples of any individuals who gained ever being subject to any
negative consequences. Given that lack, and the lack of any
requirement for corporate leaders to admit responsibility, much less
guilt, is it any surprise that these practices go on and on. The
failure of current limp legal efforts against such corruption is
evident by how many corporations have become ethical repeat offenders.
So, to really
deter bad behavior, those who authorized, directed or implemented bad
behavior must be held accountable. As long as they are not, expect the
bad behavior to continue.
7. Thank you, Basic: developers remember 50
years of creative
next item is
article by Jemima Kiss on The Guardian:
This starts as follows, and is
about a programming language - and "BASIC"
All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code", while I also added the
reference to the Wikipedia article on Kemeny:
It is 50 years
since Prof John
Kemeny and a student created the programming language Basic at 4am
in a New Hampshire basement at Dartmouth College. Their aim was to
design a tool that would improve computer literacy in education, a
simple, accessible language that anyone could learn quickly and easily.
Actually, I started with
Algol and Fortran in 1972, when I worked briefly for a computer science
business, that send out programmers for mainframes, but I didn't like
the atmosphere there (which was greedy), and programming for mainframes
was also something quite different from what it became later on
BASIC I first met in 1980, when a friend bought an Apple II which ran
Apple Basic, and stored the programs and anything else on tape decks,
and did little else, but this was quite instructive and
Then I met it again in the guise of Gwbasic on Windows, in the
beginning of 1988, but that was rather awful compared to Apple Basic,
and also I soon found Turbo Pascal and then Turbo Prolog, which were very
much better than anything Gwbasic could do.
Since then there have been quite a few Basics, of which I have used
Free Basic, but it is not a favorite programming language for me,
though I really liked Apple Basic.
It is rather amazing it still is around, but indeed it is rather simple
and it was well thought out (and afterward redesigned some, in several
There is more under the last dotted link, including five testimonials
8. First Direct Evidence of Neuroinflammation –
‘Encephalitis’ – in ME/CFS
Finally an article by Simon McGrath on Phoenix Rising:
starts as follows:
A small study with just nine patients has captured
the attention of patients and researchers alike after reporting direct
evidence of inflammation in the brain of ME/CFS patients. The finding
was one of the highlights picked out by Professor Anthony Komaroff in
his IACFS/ME conference round up.
considerably more, but it would be very nice if this were
What makes this study so
fascinating is that it provides tantalising evidence supporting not
only of current views that inflammation in the brain is central to
understanding the disease, but also of Melvin Ramsay’s original name of
is inflammation of the brain and spinal column, and critics
of the name pointed to the lack of direct evidence for inflammation of
either. This study only looked at the brain, not the spinal column (so
could only find encephalitis), but the immune cells found to be
activated in the brain are also present in the spinal column.
If it is, this is good news for the millions with my disease.
 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
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
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
from is quite pertinent.)
(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: