16, 2014
Crisis: Britain, Journalism, Greenwald, Net neutrality * 2, Big Data
   "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. Britain's richest 1% own as much as poorest 55% of

2. Is Journalism Losing Its Nerve?
3. Glenn Greenwald to Stephen Colbert: NSA ‘Story That Will
     Make the Biggest Impact’ Is Yet to Come

4. Debate: As FCC Votes on Internet’s Future, What’s the 
     Best Way to Protect Net Neutrality?

5. Who watches the watchers? Big Data goes unchecked
6. In Historic Vote, FCC Advances Rules to Kill 'Open

About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of May 16. It is an ordinary crisis issue.

It is about the following: Philip Inman discusses the fact that 1% of the British own as much as 55% of the population; David Sirota considers modern journalism, that seems to have changed - mostly, not wholly - from telling the truth about governments and corporations to defending their interests; Glenn Greenwald is on Stephen Colbert's show, and promises that the most important revelations from Snowden are still to come; Amy Goodman hosts a debate about net neutrality; Josh Gerstein registers that there are enormous amounts of spying going on by means of the internet; and Jon Queally notes that the FCC is in fact advancing rules to kill net neutrality.

Also, the present crisis report was produced earlier than is usual (for I want to go cycling).

1. Britain's richest 1% own as much as poorest 55% of population

The first item is an article by Philip Inman on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:
Britain's richest 1% have accumulated as much wealth as the poorest 55% of the population put together, according to the latest official analysis of who owns the nation's 9.5tn of property, pensions and financial assets.
There is more, such as this:

Rachael Orr, Oxfam's head of poverty in the UK said the figures were a "shocking chapter in a tale of two Britains".

The charity recently reported that five billionaire families controlled the same wealth as 20% of the population. "It is further evidence of increasing inequality at a time when five rich families have the same wealth as 12 million people," she said. "We need our politicians to grasp the nettle and make the narrowing gap between the richest and poorest a top priority. It cannot be right that in Britain today a small elite are getting richer and richer while millions are struggling to make ends meet."

Yes, indeed. Also, it seems the USA and Great Britain have the largest inequalities: other European states are less extreme pro rich, anti poor and indeed also have more political parties while they may have less intrusive govermental spies.

2.  Is Journalism Losing Its Nerve?

The next item is an article by David Sirota on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

When I went into journalism, one of the first things I was told as a freshman is that journalism is different from stenography. It is supposed to be—or at least has been—about using rights granted under the First Amendment to be a check on government and corporate power.

Yet, the hedge in that last sentence is deliberate—and appropriate. That’s because a new survey from the Indiana University suggests things are fast changing in the news industry—and not for the better.

The "hedge" was, of course "or at least has been", and the reason is this:

As IU researchers note, “the percentage of U.S. journalists endorsing the occasional use of ‘confidential business or government documents without authorization,’ dropped significantly from 81.8 percent in 1992 to 57.7 percent in 2013.”

To really understand the implications of this shift, think back to almost every famous investigative scoop. Then ask yourself: What would have happened to those stories had they only come to one of those 4 in 10 reporters who oppose the use of “confidential business or government documents without authorization”?

The answer, most likely, is that those stories would never have been published, and history might have unfolded in an entirely different way.

Yes. There also is this, after having defined journalism as "reporting information, without fear or favor, in the public interest" (which does sound a bit idealistic, in my eyes, but OK):

That definition, though, may not be so sacrosanct anymore. “The job” is now defined differently depending on where you may be in the news ecosystem. And in much of that ecosystem, the risks and costs associated with adversarial journalism have reduced “the job” to that of a loyal state- and corporate-aligned journalist. This is why so many Washington reporters publicly slammed the NSA disclosures. It also explains why financial journalists so often defend Wall Street.

Simply put, the path that avoids regular confrontation with power is often far easier, less risky and more lucrative in the news business. Thus, it has become the preferred path du jour, to the point where almost half of the news business does not support reporting news that the government and corporations don’t want reported.

I wonder, especially about "This is why so many Washington reporters publicly slammed the NSA disclosures": Is it really as simple as that? Merely because of personal egoism and a weighing of "risks and costs"? 

But Sirota may be right, and it does seem to me as if most - not: all - real journalism is dead now, and not only in the US, and indeed is dead to the point that

almost half of the news business does not support reporting news that the government and corporations don’t want reported.

In a - supposed - democracy, that is very strange.

3. Glenn Greenwald to Stephen Colbert: NSA ‘Story That Will Make the Biggest Impact’ Is Yet to Come

The next item is an article by Natasha Hakimi Zapata on Truthdig:

This is only a brief article, that starts as follows:

The “Colbert Report” host finally gets his hands on the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who brought us the Edward Snowden leaks on the National Security Agency.

But most of the content is in two links to the "Colbert Report", that you have to find yourself from the above dotted link: In found it difficult to copy them. (It's a nice interview, but no more, apart from Greenwald's saying, in part 2, what the title also conveys: the most important story still has to be told, and will be, in the coming months.)

4. Debate: As FCC Votes on Internet’s Future, What’s the Best Way to Protect Net Neutrality?

The next item is an article by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! that in fact is the text of a video:

This starts as follows:

The Federal Communications Commission is voting today on new rules that may effectively abandon net neutrality, the concept of a free and open Internet. The FCC proposal would let Internet providers charge media companies extra fees to receive preferential treatment, such as faster speeds for their products and content. Under previous regulations struck down earlier this year, providers were forced to provide all content at equal speeds. Just steps from the vote, demonstrators have set up an "Occupy the FCC" encampment calling for federal regulators to reclassify broadband service as a public utility, which would allow for the requirement of net neutrality rules. The CEOs of 28 U.S. broadband providers and trade groups have asked the FCC not to classify broadband as a utility, arguing that regulating broadband would "impose great costs, allowing unprecedented government micromanagement of all aspects of the Internet economy." We host a debate on net neutrality with two guests: Timothy Karr of the media reform group Free Press, who backs greater regulation, and Joshua Steimle, a tech entrepreneur who argues the government should not be entrusted with regulating the Internet.

And indeed the debate follows and is somewhat interesting, although it also seems to me that most major players (not in the debate Amy Goodman hosts) are lying: Thus Obama is lying, Wheeler is lying, and the patterns are quite the same:

They are all for all the good things for all, they will tell you, in glowing and enthusiastic terms also: Trust ThemTM - except that if they vote or decide, for then they vote or decide against "all the good things for all", and in fact vote for those who either pay them or who will pay them, for services rendered.

5. Who watches the watchers? Big Data goes unchecked

The next item is an article by Josh Gerstein on Politico:

This starts as follows:

The National Security Agency might be tracking your phone calls. But private industry is prying far more deeply into your life.

Commercial data brokers know if you have diabetes. Your electric company can see what time you come home at night. And tracking companies can tell where you go on weekends by snapping photos of your car’s license plate and cataloging your movements.

Private companies already collect, mine and sell as many as 75,000 individual data points on each consumer, according to a Senate report. And they’re poised to scoop up volumes more, as technology unleashes a huge wave of connected devices — from sneaker insoles to baby onesies to cars and refrigerators — that quietly track, log and analyze our every move.

Congress and the administration have moved to rein in the National Security Agency in the year since Edward Snowden disclosed widespread government spying. But Washington has largely given private-sector data collection a free pass. The result: a widening gap in oversight as private data mining races ahead. Companies are able to scoop up ever more information — and exploit it with ever greater sophistication — yet a POLITICO review has found deep reluctance in D.C. to exercise legislative, regulatory or executive power to curb the big business of corporate cybersnooping.

There is a lot more, in two pages, but I did not like the style, which is too grandiosely vague.

6. In Historic Vote, FCC Advances Rules to Kill 'Open Internet'

The next and final item for today is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Despite national outcry and protests both outside and inside a packed hearing room in Washington, DC, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted in favor of advancing a set of rules that threaten the heart of the "open internet" by allowing the creation of "paid priority fast lanes," supplanting the principle known as 'net neutrality' which says all online content must receive equal treatment by the nation's broadband networks.

In a vote of 3 to 2, with the Democrats on the commission making up the majority, the FCC approved a proposal by Chairman Tom Wheeler which critics say would not just alter net neutrality, but destroy it.
There is rather a lot more under the last dotted link.
[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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