Sleeping did improve, some, lately. Happily, it also is a bit cooler today, with some wind,
which gives me a disproportionate lot of relief.
Today's file covers international principles of human rights as applied
to communications surveillance; a fairly brief piece that argues war on
whistle- blowers is war on democracy; a piece by the Guardian about the
changes the Congress is going to make (?); a video on the lies of U.S.
government bureaucrats; a piece by Chomsky that argues the U.S.'s
imperial powers decline (?); and a piece by economist Wray who argues
present-day unregulated capitalism is thievery, and screwed everyone
Principles on the Application of Human Rights to
It is the
definitive version of July 10, 2013. It is subscribed to by 140
organizations and was written by individuals from at least 15
It starts as follows:
As technologies that
facilitate State surveillance of communications advance, States are
failing to ensure that laws and regulations related to communications
surveillance adhere to international human rights and adequately
protect the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. This document
attempts to explain how international human rights law applies in the
current digital environment, particularly in light of the increase in
and changes to communications surveillance technologies and techniques.
These principles can provide civil society groups, industry, States and
others with a framework to evaluate whether current or proposed
surveillance laws and practices are consistent with human rights.
These principles are the
outcome of a global consultation with civil society groups, industry
and international experts in communications surveillance law, policy
And this is what it proceeds
to do. I have not read it closely, so far, but it does look sensible -
and it should be given to the U.S. Senators and Congressmen, so that
they have it mostly in one place.
2. America’s War on
Whistle-blowing Is a War Against Democracy
This is from Alternet and Tikkun Daily, and by David
In order for a
representative democracy to properly function, a simple pre-condition
must be met: citizens must be allowed to see how elected officials,
entrusted to govern according to our nation’s laws and ideals, are
If elected officials
abuse their powers in secret, concealing illegal actions or the
violation of citizens’ rights, representative democracy breaks down.
It’s that simple.
I agree, though I am under no
illusions that I in Holland, or that people in the United States, live
currently in a true representative democracy. But yes, it still is
better in either
country than in many other places; there was something much like a
representative democracy, at least from 1945-1995 in both countries;
and there still are considerable remnants,
if especially for valiant conformists .
The writer proceeds to apply his principle, and succeeds. What
difference it will make in the real world remains to be seen.
renewed push for legislation to rein in the NSA
Next, as to these changes
in the real world, here is a piece from the Guardian by Spencer
Ackerman and Paul Lewis:
Members of Congress are
considering 11 legislative measures to constrain the activities of the
National Security Agency, in a major shift of political opinion in the
eight weeks since the first revelations from whistleblower Edward
The proposals range from
repealing the legal foundations of key US surveillance
powers to more moderate reforms of the secretive court proceedings for
domestic spying. If enacted, the laws would represent the first
rollback of the NSA's powers since 9/11.
The Guardian has spoken to
six key lawmakers involved in the push to rein in the NSA, and those
involved in the process argue there is now an emerging consensus that
the bulk collection of millions of phone records needs to be overhauled
or even ended.
This then gets followed
by a review of the proposed measures, and it seems fair to say that
they are mostly not directed against surveilling as such, as I
they should be: Surveillance should be the exception and not the
rule - but it seems not according to the majority of the law
But even so: it is something, and wouldn not have happened without
Snowden's courage. 4. Flat Out Lies By the Government About Spying
Here is a much more
skeptical piece, that I found on Washington's Blog:
Actually, it is video
from ProPublica that shows the lies, notably by James Clapper and Keith
As I said before: you -
the Congress - do not want these kind of men as bureaucrats!
And you can remove them on the basis of their own lies. (But
probably you will not.) 5. Chomsky: America's Imperial Power Is
Showing Real Signs of
Next, a piece by Noam
Chomsky that I found on Alter net:
It is not the sort of prose
one has learned to expect from professional economists:
As the Global Financial
Crisis rumbles along in its fifth year, we read the latest revelations
of bankster fraud, the LIBOR scandal. This follows the muni bond fixing
scam detailed a couple of weeks ago, as well as the J.P. Morgan trading
fiasco and the Corzine-MF Global collapse and any number of other
scandals in recent months. In every case it was traders run amuck,
fixing “markets” to make an easy buck at someone’s expense. In times
like these, I always recall Robert Sherrill’s 1990 statement about the
S&L crisis that “thievery is what unregulated capitalism is all
After 1990 we removed
what was left of financial regulations following the flurry of
deregulation of the early 1980s that had freed the thrifts so that they
could self-destruct. And we are shocked, SHOCKED!, that thieves took
over the financial system.
Nay, they took over the
whole economy and the political system lock, stock, and barrel. They
didn’t just blow up finance, they oversaw the swiftest transfer of
wealth to the very top the world has ever seen. They screwed workers
out of their jobs, they screwed homeowners out of their houses, they
screwed retirees out of their pensions, and they screwed municipalities
out of their revenues and assets.
Financiers are forcing
schools, parks, pools, fire departments, senior citizen centers, and
libraries to shut down. They are forcing national governments to
auction off their cultural heritage to the highest bidder. Everything
must go in firesales at prices rigged by twenty-something traders at
the biggest and most corrupt institutions the world has ever known.
And since they’ve bought
the politicians, the policy-makers, and the courts, no one will stop
it. Few will even discuss it, since most university administrations
have similarly been bought off—in many cases, the universities are even
headed by corporate “leaders”–and their professors are on Wall Street’s
I don't say "No", but my
question is: What is the point? Force a break down, that allows
only - say - 5 to 10 %
of the people to survive? I do not exclude such hypotheses, except that
I do not see how they are going to guide this in such a way that a
working society survives.
Apart from that, I see only
one tenable hypothesis, that Wray himself gives in these terms:
said, without regulation, capitalism is thievery. We
stopped regulating the financial system, so thieves took over.
And they do not have any
decent plan: they only have self-interest plus the way to satisfy these
interests as they could never be satisfied before - "and after us, the
I do not say I am right; I do
say I have thought and read a lot. But I do not have solutions, and
indeed no one has, and also not professor Wray, who has more text, that
is worth reading: at least it is by an honest economist.
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
from is quite pertinent.)
 I am not a valiant conformist, and
hence have been subjected to 25 years of continuous abuse. See ME in Amsterdam. (One
problem is that by far the most persons are conformists, and are proud
to be conformists, and do not like anyone to stand out who does not
stand out already, and are quite willing to help bringing him down. I
am quite certain of this, for I have protested many times, but yes: I
am not a conformist.)
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: