"Those who sacrifice liberty for
security deserve neither."
-- Benjamin Franklin
1. Interview 2 with Edward Snowden
2. Ellsberg: Snowden Made Right Decision by Leaving
3. Why MSNBC Defends NSA
4. Average CEO Makes More in 1
Day Than Worker Makes
in 1 Year
5. The fact that mass
surveillance doesn't keep us safe
6. George Carlin: Modern man
It still is the case
that sleeping remains quite
difficult for me. This also makes my life rather difficult, at
Anyway. Today I am back at the crisis, after
a brief trip to Wittgenstein and Multatuli yesterday, with six items: The 2nd interview with
Snowden (also taped on June 6); a piece by Daniel Ellsberg; a
clarification of the reasons the MSNBC defends NSA surveillance; the
fact that the average CEO earns in a day what a worker earns in
a year; the fact that mass surveillance doesn't work, and it's
all ended by a piece by George Carlin on modern man.
Interview 2 with Edward Snowden
First, a second video with Edward Snowden, also filmed on
June 6 in Hong Kong, with questions by Greenwald and filming by Pointras
This is the version on Common Dreams, because I cannot get
the thing to work at the Guardian's site, at least not without shifting
But the Common Dream version is quite OK, and Snowden again talks a lot
of sense, and indeed predicted much of the filth and accusations that
were poured over him.
Snowden Made Right Decision by Leaving America
Next, a piece by Daniel Ellsberg, who contends why
Snowden was right not to await a Bradley Manning treatment:
This is on Truth Dig, but
the original is from the
Washington Post, and I quote two points from it:
Quite so - and that is one of
the main points everybody who condones the gathering of his or her data
does not see, or indeed intentionally plays down.
One lesson of the
Pentagon Papers and Snowden’s leaks is simple: secrecy corrupts, just
as power corrupts.
And here is the ending of the piece:
What [Snowden -
MM] has given us is our best chance — if we respond to his information
and his challenge — to rescue ourselves from out-of-control
surveillance that shifts all practical power to the executive branch
and its intelligence agencies: a United Stasi of America.
Quite so, again, though
perhaps it will be a more subtle state terrorism, that certainly will
not be called thus.
It may e.g. be one were people are allowed to have quite a few of the
freedoms they have now, except if they write or say anything that the
government dislikes, and then they will just disappear, and very few
will notice or know, for the media will be more directed, conformistic,
and government-directed than they are now.
This is a kind of Stalinism, but then the majority may like this, and
may see no problems with it.
Why MSNBC Defends NSA Surveillance
Then there is a piece on Consortium News by Jeff Cohen:
This starts as follows:
I quite agree. Actually, it is
not about lying presidents, but about MSNBC presenters like Ed Schultz,
Melissa Harris-Penney, and also Rachel Maddows, all of whom condone
that their complete data are taken and stored, while attacking Edward
Snowden, often in outrageous ways.
I was a young person when
I first heard the quip: “How do you know when the President is lying?
His lips are moving.” At the time, President Richard Nixon was
expanding the war in Vietnam to other countries and deploying the White
House “plumbers” to commit crimes against antiwar leakers.
Forty years have passed.
Sadly, these days, often when I see President Barack Obama moving his
lips, I assume he’s lying. Like Nixon, our current president is
prolonging an endless, borderless and counter-productive war (“on
terror”) and waging a parallel war against “national security” leakers
that makes the plumbers’ burglary of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s
office look almost quaint.
This you have to look at yourself, but I give you the end:
We can’t count on MSNBC
to heed the lesson taught by legendary independent journalist I.F.
“Izzy” Stone, after years
reporting from Washington: “All governments lie and nothing they
say should be believed.”
Average CEO Makes More in 1 Day Than Worker Makes in 1 Year
Next, another aspect of the crisis, which seems to me a sign that it probably will continue,
namely the obscene and outrageous fortunes modern CEOs make. I found
the following on Truth Dig, but it is from The
On Truth Dig it starts as
And that is just the
beginning: there is considerably more in The
The salaries of corporate
CEOs in the U.S. have ballooned so ridiculously in the past 50 years
that the average chief executive now pulls down roughly 237 times what
the average American worker collects, or as much money in one day as
many employees earn in one year.
And that figure will
likely get higher as CEO pay continues to increase, economic meltdowns
be darned. The latest report shows that chief executive salaries rose
16 percent last year. Oracle’s Larry Ellison was the highest paid CEO
in 2012, raking in a whopping $96 million, while ConocoPhillips’ James
Mulva was given the biggest “exit bonus,” a staggering $156 million.
Again, my point is that this is totally undeserved, and seems to me
quite insane and obscene greed by a few moral degenerates, who think
they are above the law and above decency. None of them is worth it, or
is worth a tenth of what they get, and all know it, were it
only because capitalism has worked for more than a century without any
CEO being paid as much, or indeed a tenth as much.
5. The fact that mass surveillance doesn't keep us safe goes
Next, a piece by Washington's Blog who carefully
documents the following fact:
This is nearly its beginning:
The top counter-terrorism
czar under Presidents Clinton and Bush – Richard Clarke – says:
The argument that this
sweeping search must be kept secret from the terrorists is laughable.
Terrorists already assume this sort of thing is being done. Only
law-abiding American citizens were blissfully ignorant of what their
government was doing.
If the government
wanted a particular set of records, it could tell the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Court why — and then be granted permission to
access those records directly from specially maintained company
servers. The telephone companies would not have to know what data were
being accessed. There are no technical disadvantages to doing it that
way, although it might be more expensive.
Would we, as a nation,
be willing to pay a little more for a program designed this way, to
avoid a situation in which the government keeps on its own computers a
record of every time anyone picks up a telephone? That is a question
that should have been openly asked and answered in Congress.
And there is quite a lot
more, that I will not quote, except for this, that is quoted from a
The infrastructure set up
by the National Security Agency, however, may only be good for
gathering information on the stupidest, lowest-ranking of terrorists.
The Prism surveillance program focuses on access to the servers of
America’s largest Internet companies, which support such popular
services as Skype, Gmail and iCloud. These are not the
services that truly dangerous elements typically use.
In a January 2012 report titled “Jihadism on the Web: A Breeding
Ground for Jihad in the Modern Age,” the Dutch General
Intelligence and Security Service drew a convincing picture of an
Islamist Web underground centered around “core forums.” These websites
are part of the Deep Web, or Undernet, the multitude of online
resources not indexed by commonly used search engines.
The Netherlands’ security
service, which couldn’t find recent data on the size of the Undernet,
cited a 2003 study from the University of California at Berkeley as the
“latest available scientific assessment.” The study found that
just 0.2 percent of the Internet could be searched. The rest remained
inscrutable and has probably grown since. In 2010, Google Inc. said it
had indexed just 0.004 percent of the information on the Internet.
That is basically it - and
I know a little about the unsearchable part of the internet, because my
then computer was seriously hacked in 2009, no doubt to make it a part
of an uncharted criminal net, and then was destroyed when it turned out
So there are two more questions:
(1) Does the NSA not know this?
(2) Why are they taking down everything?
My answers must be hypothetical, but seem convincing:
Of course the NSA knows
this, and the reason they nevertheless take down everything is that
they want it, so as to be able to terrorize everybody into
blissful acceptance of whatever government there is, or else to
The former is a virtual
certainty. As to the latter, William
Binney may partially disagree. On the one hand:
Binney also says:
This supports my position:
In the end, they want the data on you and everybody else to be able to
go after whoever they dislike. Then again, Binney also said:
[All this data
gathered is] putting an extra burden on all of their analysts. It’s not
something that’s going to help them; it’s something that’s burdensome.
There are ways to do the analysis properly, but they don’t really want
the solution because if they got it, they wouldn’t be able to keep
demanding the money to solve it. I call it their business statement,
“Keep the problems going so the money keeps flowing.” It’s all about
contracts and money.
There probably is
considerable truth in that - but that is mostly on the part of private
corporations like Booze Allen. The fact that all these data, that are
almost certainly useless in the fight against terrorism, even though
they are gathered in its name, are being gathered even so, makes it
likely that it is to facilitate the arisal of an authoritarian state.
6. Modern man
Finally, something different, that I think I missed until
Carlin defining modern man for you, in a kind of poetry
It certainly is one of the
last things he did, and it is very good. Also, it is very fast and
clever free verse, so you probably will have to do it twice to get most
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: