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."
Writers in ‘Free’ Countries Now Share Surveillance
Secrecy: Sanders Demands Release
3. Why the
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is a
4. On M.E. and me
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday,
January 6, 2015.
This is a crisis log, at least
as regards the first three items: There are 4 items with 4 dotted
links: Item 1
is about a PEN-report that shows quite a few writers self-censor,
because they are afraid their
mails or writings else may cause problems with some secret
service; item 2 is about Senator Sanders' -
eminently reasonable - call
to publicize the text of the secret TTP; item 3 is
about an article of
Robert Reich that indicates the dangers and the wrongness of secret
trade agreements; and item 4 is - briefly - about
myself and M.E.
The point of the last section is mainly that I seem to be doing
something wrong, since I am not sleeping well and am getting more tired
and less energetic, although I slept fairly well from September 2013
till December 2014, and felt a bit - not much, but a bit - better most
of last year.
1. Writers in ‘Free’ Countries Now Share
Surveillance Concerns With
The first item today is an
article by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
In fact, the last link - international
survey - does not
work. The real link is the following:
Writers living in liberal
democracies are now nearly as worried about the government watching
them as their colleagues in countries that have long histories of
internal spying, according to an international
survey conducted by
PEN, a literary and human rights organization.
Brave writers have
historically stood up to even the gravest threats from authoritarian
regimes. Conversely, there have always been some who willingly censor
But the online survey of
772 self-selected respondents in 50 countries nevertheless indicates
that the mass surveillance programs disclosed by NSA whistleblower
Edward Snowden are chilling freedom of expression – in some cases,
nearly as much as in countries the U.S. considers repressive.
This is a 3 MB pdf file.
Here are the general results:
to “the government’s collection
66% disapprove - 22% don't know - 12% approve
of telephone and
Internet data as part of
PUBLIC: 44% disapprove - 6% don't know
- 50% approve
PEN writers now assume that their
communications are monitored.
There is a whole lot
more in the pdf, including many quotations of writers and a call (in
fact: a series of calls) on the U.S. government.
The assumption that they are under surveillance is harming
freedom of expression by prompting writers to self-censor their work in
multiple ways, including:
reluctance to write or speak about certain subjects;
reluctance to pursue research about certain subjects; and
reluctance to communicate with sources, or with friends abroad,
for fear that they will endanger their counterparts by doing so.
2. 'Incomprehensible' Secrecy: Sanders Demands Release of Trade
The second item today is an article by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
There is also this:
With Congress on the
verge of taking up the controversial, corporate-friendly Trans Pacific
Partnership, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is demanding
that the chief trade representative for the United States turn over the
full text of the proposed trade agreement.
"It is incomprehensible
to me that the leaders of major corporate interests who stand to gain
enormous financial benefits from this agreement are actively involved
in the writing of the TPP while, at the same time, the elected
officials of this country, representing the American people, have
little or no knowledge as to what is in it," Sanders said
in a letter (pdf) sent Monday to U.S. Trade Representative Michael
Froman. "Members of Congress must have the opportunity to read what is
in the TPP and closely analyze the potential impact this free trade
agreement would have on the American people long before the Senate
votes to give the President fast track trade promotion authority."
Proponents of the pact,
which would encompass 12 nations that represent 40 percent of the
global economy, are pushing for a fast-track process that would hand
over negotiating authority to President Barack Obama, who supports
the deal. Critics claim the TPP poses threats to civil liberties,
workers rights, public health, food safety, and global financial
I reviewed Sander's
essay here and I think he is right.
In addition, if Sanders'
request is turned down, he asked Froman to spell out the legal basis
for the denial.
"Please also explain why
you think it is appropriate that the representatives of the largest
financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, media
conglomerates and other major corporate interests not only have access
to some of these documents, but are also playing a major role in
developing many of the key provisions in it," Sanders added.
"Meanwhile, the people who will suffer the consequences of this treaty
have been shut out of this process."
Just last week, Sanders penned
an essay outlining the top ten reasons why the TPP must be defeated.
3. Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Agreement is a Pending Disaster
The third item today is an article by Robert
Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed - and such
secret treaties are fundamentally undemocratic: The very
least that is necessary, in any real democracy, and as
Senator Sanders outlined in the previous
item, is that the plans for the treaty are made public, so
that the Senate can be involved (even though it will probably pass in
the current Senate).
Republicans who now run
Congress say they want to cooperate with President Obama, and point to
the administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, as the model.
The only problem is the TPP would be a disaster.
If you haven’t heard much
about the TPP, that’s part of the problem right there. It would be the
largest trade deal in history — involving countries stretching from
Chile to Japan, representing 792 million people and accounting for 40
percent of the world economy – yet it’s been devised in secret.
Lobbyists from America’s
biggest corporations and Wall Street’s biggest banks have been involved
but not the American public. That’s a recipe for fatter profits and
bigger paychecks at the top, but not a good deal for most of us, or
even for most of the rest of the world.
This is the ending of Reich's article:
Well... of course it is
all very good according to the "big corporations and Wall Street banks", including the fact that it is all a big secret that
only they and a some U.S. government officials know about.
In other words, the TPP
is a Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big
corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws
and regulations that get in the way of their profits.
At a time when corporate
profits are at record highs and the real median wage is lower than it’s
been in four decades, most Americans need protection – not from
international trade but from the political power of large corporations
and Wall Street.
The Trans Pacific
Partnership is the wrong remedy to the wrong problem. Any way you look
at it, it’s just plain wrong.
But Reich is
quite right that this is a "pending disaster" for most of the
populations involved (many hundreds of millions of people, nearly all
without any important ties to the corporations or the banks).
4. On M.E. and me
The present file is fairly short mostly because I am quite tired and
have little energy, after not sleeping nearly enough at least three
times the last 11 days.
This is quite disappointing, because I was feeling a bit better than
before during most of 2014.
What is the reason? I don't know, mainly because the cause of
the disease I have is unknown, as there is very little medical
research in it (compared with other diseases with similar outcomes for
patients, such as lupus and multiple sclerosis).
There are quite a few possible reasons, but I shall assume - I
do not know with what probability - that I made some mistake in the
protocol I am currently using, that did seem to help in 2014, but that
indeed I started changing a bit towards the end of 2014.
So what I shall take now for the next two weeks is
Morning: 2 C, 1 Ca+D+K, 1
VM-75, 2K, 1 MF
Evening: 2 C, 1 Ca+D+K, 2K, 1 MF
and see how that works (and
C = vit C, Ca=Calcium, D=vit D, VM-75=a mega- supplement, K= Kalium, MF
There will be more on this subject around January 25.
Jan 7, 2015: Added the K that I forgot to the supplements.