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Nederlog


  June
21, 2014
Crisis: FISA, Liberties, TISA, NSA spying, Privacy, me+ME+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. Fisa court grants extension of licence for bulk collection
     of US phone records

2. U.S. Government at War With Itself Over Civil Liberties
3. WikiLeaks Reveals Trade Deal Pushing Global Financial
     Deregulation

4. House Moves to Rein in NSA 'Backdoor' Spying on
     Americans

5. Don't Get Too Excited But You Might Get Your Privacy
     Back

6.
me + M.E. + mB12

About ME/CFS


Introduction:

This is the Nederlog of June 21. It is an ordinary crisis log.

It also is a Saturday (and the longest day, at least north of the equator) but I did find six items, that I spread over five sections. They follow, but I do not think they are as interesting as yesterday or the day before yesterday. Then again, I may be mistaken and anyway I can only serve what I've found - and you may be interested in item 4 that gives information on the first statement that passed the house and serves to reign in (backdoor) spying by the NSA. That is good news.

1. Fisa court grants extension of licence for bulk collection of US phone records

The first item is an article by Dan Roberts on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

US intelligence agencies have made a fifth attempt to extend their bulk collection of American telephone records – more than a year after the controversial practice was first revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Despite repeated calls from Congress and President Obama for the mass gathering of private US phone records to be banned, a court has approved the request in secret, allowing the NSA to continue collecting metadata until 12 September 2014.

In a joint statement released late on Friday afternoon, the justice department and director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said it was necessary to continue seeking such legal extensions because the Congressional reform process supported by Obama was not yet complete.

"Given that legislation has not yet been enacted, and given the importance of maintaining the capabilities of the Section 215 telephony metadata program, the government has sought a 90-day reauthorization of the existing program," said the joint statement.

Note that this was done by a secret court, that should have no standing in any real democracy, or in any open and free society. That is: there may be things that cannot be dealt with in public, although this too must be relatively rare in any real democracy, or in any open and free society, but these are not courts. The law should be kept in public, perhaps in rare cases keeping part of the evidence secret.  A whole secret court is authoritarian, and not democratic.

Anyway - there is considerably more under the last dotted link.

2.
U.S. Government at War With Itself Over Civil Liberties 

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

This starts with a list of some of the well-known spying stories since Snowden, which all show the U.S. government to be in secret getting everybody's personal data from anywhere, which is strongly against existing laws and against any real democracy, which I take as given, and then says and asks:
So with all that in mind, it seems more than a bit hilarious that the U.S. government has just posted its latest annual announcement about “funding for programs that support Internet freedom.” In that dispatch, the U.S. State Department says it is looking to support “technologies that enhance the privacy and security of digital communications” and that are “less susceptible to intrusion or infection.”
Well... I don't really think this is "more than a bit hilarious", were it only because the NSA has been working in the deepest secret, and lying to Congress (Clapper), and also because while the government has strong authoritarian tendencies, it still is a very large operation.

But I agree with the conclusion of the article:

Summarizing the situation, Foreign Policy magazine recently wrote: “We see the NSA, an agency of the Defense Department, taking actions that are directly at odds with those of the State Department. ...The NSA sees Tor as a tool for terrorists and spies. The State Department sees it as a platform for activists trying to evade the very kinds of surveillance systems that the NSA has built.”

(..)

Now sure, resource-wise, the State Department’s Internet freedom initiatives may seem tiny in contrast to the NSA’s multibillion-dollar operations. And yes, the initiative may, in part, be a diplomatic ploy. But it is clearly something the NSA isn’t thrilled about. The State Department has helped protect a secure conduit for online communications. That is the opposite of what the national security apparatus wants, even if it is exactly what a democracy is supposed to do.

There is considerably more under the last dotted link (and I don't agree with all of it).

3. WikiLeaks Reveals Trade Deal Pushing Global Financial Deregulation

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

This starts as follows (and I have mentioned this earlier):

Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, author of “The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority” and former Truthdigger of the Week, explains to “Democracy Now!” the meaning of a secret draft text of the Trade in Services Agreement, a proposal that would forbid signatory countries from improving financial regulation within their borders.

The program reports:

The pro-transparency group WikiLeaks has released the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement, TISA, a trade agreement covering 50 countries and more than 68 percent of world trade in service. Until now, the draft has been classified to keep it clandestine not only during the negotiations but also for five years post-enactment. … The draft Financial Services Annex would also establish rules favorable to the expansion of financial multinationals into other nations by preventing regulatory obstacles. The draft text comes from the April 2014 negotiation round.

Note how completely authoritarian, completely non-democratic, completely secret, and totally pro rich this is (as is so much that Obama has furthered, without ever admitting he did). Here is part of Lori Wallach's reaction to it:

When asked by host Juan Gonzalez what Wallach found most objectionable about the plan, she responded:

Well, the single most glaring and easy-to-understand piece of it, if you want to—if viewers want to take a look at it, is a provision that’s literally called “standstill.” And what it means is you have to have your regulations stand still as to where they were. And practically, it means—let’s say you want to ban a certain kind of derivative that gets created, and it’s a disaster—it causes speculation and instability. You’re forbidden from having new financial regulations. But the tricky part about this is, if you look at the way the different versions of that provision are written, it may require countries to stand still relative to where they were when the WTO services agreement was established in the 1990s, and that would mean all of these new regulations that were put into effect after the global financial crisis would automatically be violations. So the way the language is written, maybe it’s standstill from 1994.

Yes indeed - and note that they want to deregulate everything as was from the time before Windows 95 opened the internet for most people. It seems insane to me, but may be those propounding this (in secret) believe the military or the police will enforce this kind of insanity, setting the clock back 20 years, and declaring many laws imposed since then illegal.

4. House Moves to Rein in NSA 'Backdoor' Spying on Americans

The next items are two articles about the same subject, that is about the first good news I've heard or read about blocking surveillance in the US. Note that the second article discusses another amendment than the first.

First, here is Andrea Germanos on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved an effort to rein in government surveillance by passing an amendment that attempts to block so-called "backdoor" searches by the NSA.

The late night vote on the amendment, whose main sponsor was Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), passed 293-123 with overwhelming bipartisan support and little debate.

Massie and amendment co-sponsors Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) called their proposal "a sure step toward shutting the back door on mass surveillance," and stated that it would "reinstate an important provision that was stripped from the original USA FREEDOM Act to further protect the Constitutional rights of American citizens. Congress has an ongoing obligation to conduct oversight of the intelligence community and its surveillance authorities."

Specifically, the amendment to the 2015 Department of Defense Appropriations Act would "prohibit use of funds by an officer or employee of the United States to query a collection of foreign intelligence information acquired under FISA using a United States person identifier except in specified instances."

I say! Note this was bi-partisan, and the yeas were more than twice as many as the nays.

Next, there is Justin Elliott on ProPublica who reports on a different attempted law, but in the context of the previous article:

This starts as follows:

An amendment designed to bar the National Security Agency from undermining encryption standards was approved by the House last night.

The move follows reporting last year by ProPublica, the Guardian, and the New York Times on the NSA's efforts to weaken encryption, including by influencing the development of standards by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The stories were based on documents provided by Edward Snowden.

The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and similar to one he advanced last month, bars the NSA from using appropriation funds to consult with NIST in a way that undermines security standards.

It still has a way to go before becoming law: While the House is expected today to approve the full appropriations bill that the amendment is a part of, the Senate would have to pass the same text, and ultimately President Obama would have to approve.

OK - it isn't there yet, but it also is something: it tries to block the NSA's secret weakening of encryption standards (which would be very costly for American firms). Here is information about the previous article:

The amendment is separate from another one the House adopted last night that is designed to block the NSA from conducting "backdoor" spying on Americans by querying databases of foreign intelligence.

In any case, both items, if both are agreed upon, would be significant progress.
Also, it shows Snowden's files are now being actively debated in Congress.

I still remain fairly skeptical about the eventual outcome, but sofar this is progress.

5. Don't Get Too Excited But You Might Get Your Privacy Back

The next item is not an article but a video by The Young Turks on the first of the above two items:

This is 7 m 12 s of video. I do not think it is particularly good, but it makes some good points, notably about Snowden (but I disagree with Mankiewicz on Snowden).

6. me + M.E. + mB12

This last item is not a crisis item but is a brief update about me and my M.E.

First, here are two links to the latest two previous updates:
This is merely background, to remind my readers (and that includes me) what I did take.

At present and since about a week I am mostly back at what I reported on February 25, 2014, with one or two additions:


metafolin: 1600 mcg:
This is the directly usable form of folate, and part of the protocol. (2 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: Note this adenosinecovalamin. This I
use every other or third day. (1 pill)

calcium + magnesium + zinc + vitamin D: 1000 mg + 500 mg + 12 mg7 mcg. This is mainly because I do not use milk anymore. (4 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 about it, and I am doing relatively well on this since a month. My basic reason to return to this is that this worked well, and did not lead to crashes, whereas I still have not figured out how take safely 3 or 4 metafolins of 800 mcg each, for I got problems with both.

But the above works now and worked in the past, also in the sense that I have no pains in my arms and legs during the day,
at least most of the time (which has been quite different for a decade or more!), and that I do fairly well on them, and without any crashes.

Next, for those who are reading Phoenix Forums: I am only "following" the one thread about B12, and of that I am nearly always only reading the titles. I just do not believe anonymous aliases without gender, age, education, degrees or anything, and indeed almost always when I try to read someone I find mostly (avoidable) unclarities,
(avoidable) vagueness, or guesses presented as facts.
And yes, I am very sorry too, but that's how it is.

Finally, I did realize - from a mail to my G.P. of September 2012 - that I did loose since then three M.E.-related problems I then complained about, that I had been having for several years in September 2012.

So this is another reason to go on with the protocol: overall, I am slowly improving.
---------------------------------
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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