4, 2014
Crisis: Greenwald, SCOTUS, Merkel, Apple, Willful Blindness
   "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. Greenwald vs NSA's Hayden: Glenn Wins in a Slam Dunk
2. Technology law will soon be reshaped by people who
     don't use email

3. German Chancellor ‘Humiliated’ at Frosty News
     Conference With Obama (Video)

4. Apple Removed Encryption Protection for Email
     Attachments, Researcher Says

5. How Willful Blindness Keeps Everyone Living a Lie
About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of May 4. It is a crisis issue.

It also is a Sunday, on which there tend to be less crisis materials. But I found five items, and 7 links: On Greenwald winning from Hayden; on the lack of tech know how, especially about computers, in the Supreme Court; on Merkel and Obama; on Apple's laziness (?); and ending with a video on willful blindness (that explains part of Frank Zappa).

1. Greenwald vs NSA's Hayden: Glenn Wins in a Slam Dunk

The first item is an article by the Common Dreams staff on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows (and doesn't have much more):

Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who brought the Edward Snowden documents to the world, debated former CIA and NSA head Michael Hayden last night in Toronto.  The debate was hosted by Munk Debates and also featured Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and rightwing lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

Before the debate, the audience voted 33% in favor of the statement, "Be it resolved state surveillance is a legitimate defense of our freedoms," while 46% voted against. After the debate, 59 percent of the audience agreed with Greenwald and Ohanian.

In fact, I have reported on this before, and was this time lured by the promiss of a video or two, namely of the debate and of a contribution by Edward Snowden, but if they are there I cannot display them, also not on Munk Debates.

I do not know whether this is due to the NSA. There are more videos that do not display, rather often because "You do not have Javascript on", which is indeed true, and which I will not change either. But this time I just don't get them, without any reasons being given.

Then again, I did find Edward's Snowden contribution on Youtube:

And I also found this, which is quite good:
This is a TEDTalk in which Snowden appears on a telepresence robot, which works rather well, seeing it comes from Russia. This is from March, and I hadn't seen it  before. It is several times funny, as well.

2. Technology law will soon be reshaped by people who don't use email  

The next item is an article by Trevor Timm on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

There's been much discussion – and derision – of the US supreme court's recent forays into cellphones and the internet, but as more and more of these cases bubble up to the high chamber, including surveillance reform, we won't be laughing for long: the future of technology and privacy law will undoubtedly be written over the next few years by nine individuals who haven't "really 'gotten to' email" and find Facebook and Twitter "a challenge" .

Well... yes and no.

First the yes. I do suppose that most of the lawyers on the Supreme Court do not known much about computing and programming, and also have used it rather less than most younger people. I also agree that this is not at all a happy situation, for it means that when they are judging things in which computers figure largely, they have only partially adequate ideas.

Next, the no. However, I do not think their relative ignorance is very important, and I also do not think their ignorance makes them innocent. I think they are quite capable of deciding whether a secret service has "the right" to secretly gather everyone's personal data, completely regardless of the Fourth Amendment, and my own reading is that the majority of the Supreme Court thinks they have or should have "the right".

Something similar holds for many other decisions the Supreme Court, or indeed ordinary judges, make: They may not have much relevant knowledge of the technologies involved, but then their being good judges also does not require this.

What I am much more afraid of than relative ignorance of the technologies involved in cases they must judge, and what does seem to me to be the case in the majority of the Supreme Court, is that they are political judges who judge things politically, and who in this case often side with the few and the strong, not because of any legal argument, but because that is what they think is politically right, correct or desirable (after which they pen something legal to uphold this).

Another Supreme Court may well judge otherwise, but unfortunately quite a few of the present judges were made members of the Supreme Court not on the basis of their legal excellence, but on the basis of political allegiances, and they often judge by allegiance rather than by valid legal arguments.

There is rather a lot more under the last dotted link.

3. German Chancellor ‘Humiliated’ at Frosty News Conference With Obama (Video)

The next item is an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truth dig:

This starts as follows:

Angela Merkel and President Obama put on a thin display of unity against an assertive Russia during the chancellor’s “awkward” visit to the White House on Friday, much delayed on account of revelations that Obama’s NSA had bugged her communications.

The Guardian reports:

After a long, cold winter, a new relationship was supposed to be blossoming.

But as soon as the event began, it was evident that Merkel, who rarely speaks English in public, was placed at a considerable disadvantage by White House headphones provided to reporters – and the world leaders – for simultaneous translation.

Obama’s remarks were clear. But when Merkel spoke, she was barely audible over a suspicious, crackling noise. Bemused reporters tapped their headsets, wondering aloud if they were listening to something they shouldn’t.

Merkel had refused to come to Washington for months, saying she would not show up until trust was restored between the two governments in a mutual “no-spy agreement.” She also wanted to know what was in her NSA file. On both counts, she was not satisfied.

There also is a video of over 44 minutes, in which Merkel and Obama are being interviewed.

I didn't see all of it (and don't have the patience to sit through 44 minutes of mostly propaganda) but what I saw showed that while Merkel's German was very hard to follow (because the qualities of the microphone used, presumably, and not because of my German, that is quite good) the translator was easy to hear.

Then again, Merkel did not look happy, and I think it was not in Obama's interests to - I quote - "humiliate" her. (He also may not have realized Merkel was raised in East Germany.)

4. Apple Removed Encryption Protection for Email Attachments, Researcher Says

The next item is - again - an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truth dig:

This starts as follows:

The tech giant withheld safeguards from parties seeking access to users’ email attachments in the latest versions of its operating system for the iPad and iPhone, contrary to claims made on its website, an independent security research firm based in Germany reports.

NESO Labs CEO Andreas Kurtz explained in an April 23 blog post that Apple’s still visible statement that data protection “provides an additional layer of protection for email messages attachments” for “iPhone 3GS and later, all iPad models, and iPod touch (3rd generation and later)” was determined false by an inspection he performed. Kurtz was able to access all email attachments without encryption or restriction, using “well-known techniques,” he wrote on his blog.

Kurtz told Apple of the issue and went public when it failed to commit to fixing it.
There is more under the last dotted link. I must add that I am not amazed: lying seems to be quite normal for Apple, and started with the late Steve Jobs, who even defrauded Steve Wozniak (<- Wikipedia, and it is under "Early life and career"). Then again, I do not know why Apple is not doing what they should do in the present case (that helps others to read the private data of their clients).

5. How Willful Blindness Keeps Everyone Living a Lie

The next item is not an article but a video. It is an interview of Margaret Heffernan (<- Wikipedia) by Abby Martin, on the subject of Heffernan's book "Willful Blindness":
The reasons it is here are the following two.

First, I have seen very great amounts of willful blindness, specifically about the dealing of illegal drugs in the Netherlands, where everyone who ought to see it - mayors, aldermen, policemen, judges - has not seen anything amiss whatsoever, for over 30 years now, guaranteeing at least a 250 Billion euros turnover in illegal soft drugs alone (who would have profited? only the drugsmafia?), and about 25 years of total blindness in the Dutch universities, where the courses are halved, the prices tripled or more, and that were for 25 years in the students' hands, who used it to act as if they were "marxists", as if truth did not exist ("everybody knows that truth does not exist": professor M.A. Brandt opening the academic year 1978-79), as if everybody is equal ("everybody knows everyone is equivalent"), and as if all morals are wholly relative ("everybody knows the socialist states are just another equivalent way of running a society").

No Dutchmen, except for a very few, see any problems with a halved education or illegal drugs dealing worth billions each year, and nearly everyone who is old enough hasn't seen any problem with education or drugs for 30 years now.

I have seen very much more willful blindness, but the examples I mentioned were very prominent for me, and cost me over 25 years of much worse health than I would have had otherwise, and made me never earn anything but a minimal income or lower (in spite of an excellent M.A. in psychology and an excellent B.A. in philosophy, where I was removed briefly before my M.A. because I questioned things, which disturbed the vision of those who removed me).
The Dutch are still very busy looking the other way, that is, where they can not see any problems, and must hope nobody sees that they avoid seeing. Since they see almost only Dutchmen, who nearly all are busy to look in the same direction as everybody like them, it is obvious that in Holland there are no problems with drugs (but billions worth are illegally sold every year, since over 30 years) and no problems with education (but university students can't spell or do elementary arithmetic: "the computer does it for you", it was said already in the 1980ies).

Second, this gives some background to the piece I wrote about Frank Zappa on May 1, 2014: Many of the lies, falsehoods and deceptions on which the society I live in are based are maintained by willful blindness and conformism.

P.S. May 5, 2014: Changed an "of" into an "or", as it should be.
[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
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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