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."
1. Public apathy over GCHQ
snooping is a recipe for disaster
The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark
What A Destructive Wall Street Owes Young Americans
5. If GCHQ wants to improve
national security it must fix
This is the Nederlog of March
It is again about the crisis, because I think that is very
important, but I am also aware I am in a minority, although that
minority is more intelligent than the rest - but in A Real Democracy
the most important social things are generally decided by a few
hundreds of parliamentary and
governmental manipulators who got elected for the most part by
successfully imposing their lies on the lower half of the intelligence
scale, and who also the last 15 years or so are mostly of the revolving
door type, which means they have no responsibility whatsoever, except
to those who pay them, and always will find the best paying jobs,
inside government and outside government, that do not require any
talents except lying plausibly.
Anyway - the lack of widespread anger about being massively spied on by
anonymous degenerates (I am sorry, but that is what I think - and
I am not talking about spying on specific persons for probable
cause: I am talking about gathering all the data on everyone,
which I only can see as the start of very repressive regimes, that may
last forever) is also
the topic of the first item.
There are four more items, but today's crop was not large, though that
may be because it is a sunday. (And item 5 is there
because I missed it.)
And I should say that I did find a copy of the report I wrote in
October 1970 about the Sleep-In Rozengracht, and have quoted one bit in
that I uploaded today. It also turned out I had made very few mistakes.
Also, I have not made any changes in my Nederlog of February 24, that is the source
because I generally do not make changes in my Nederlogs, apart from
correcting typing and linking errors and errors of fact.
apathy over GCHQ snooping is a recipe for disaster
The first article is by John Naughton in The Observer:
This discusses a very
important theme, that is well expressed by its subtitle:
The lack of public
alarm at government internet surveillance is frightening, but perhaps
it's because the problem is difficult to convey in everyday terms
Yes indeed: That is a major
part of the difficulty - most people simply do not understand computers
or computing at all, for at most 1 in a 100 is a decent
programmer. Note this clearly does not mean that people do not make
productive use of computers, for this is clearly the case: it means
that they do not understand what makes computers really tick,
indeed rather like their cars, washing machines, watches and phones.
The article starts as follows:
As someone who is
supposed to know about these things, I'm sometimes asked to give talks
about computing to non-technical audiences. The one thing I have
learned from doing this is that if you want people to understand
technological ideas then you have to speak to them in terms that
resonate with their experience of everyday things.
Yes - but then they
mostly only "understand" them, though I agree that is better than
nothing at all.
A little further on Naughton says:
One of the things
that baffles me is why more people are not alarmed by what Edward Snowden
has been telling us about the scale and intrusiveness of internet surveillance.
My hunch is that this is partly because – strangely – people can't
relate the revelations to things they personally understand.
Yes, I agree - but that
makes it virtually impossible to make the vast majority understand the
real and major dangers they are exposed to, every day. And I think that
is probably the case, and relates to the facts that by now almost half
of the people using a computer (or a cell phone) is of the lower half
of the IQ-scale, and at most 1 in a 100 has a decent understanding of
and some solid practice in real programming. For more, see item 5.
Watchdog That Didn’t Bark
The next article is by
Peter Richardson on Truth Dig:
In fact, this is a book
review, and the full title of the book is relevant: "The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The
financial crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism".
Yes indeed - and here is the first paragraph:
Most American news
organizations missed the two biggest stories of the previous decade:
the unwarranted invasion of Iraq and the Wall Street depredations that
crashed the global economy. Each caper immiserated millions, neither
was especially difficult to detect, and both could have been prevented
with a combination of critical reporting and basic governmental
oversight. Dean Starkman’s new book, “The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark:
The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative
Journalism,” tackles the business press’ failure to warn of the most
catastrophic financial crisis in 80 years. His analysis leaves little
doubt that beat reporters were focusing on the wrong things, responding
to the wrong incentives and writing the wrong kind of stories for their
work to perform its watchdog role.
Quite so. There is
rather a lot more - two pages - which I will leave to you, except for
noting two things: One major reason why so very few papers these days
employ investigative journalists is that they have far less money,
because most advertisers advertise rather on the internet than in
papers. And a
consequence is that investigative journalism, apart from a few papers,
is dying out, while a completely other kind of "journalist" has taken
over. For more, see item 5.
3. I Spy
The next article is by
Christopher Brauchli on Common Deeams:
This starts as follows:
"It seems to me what
the nine hundred ninety four dupes needed was a new deal."
—A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain
Gracious. That’s all one
can say. It is simply a question of whose ox is getting gored or, in
the real world, who’s spying on whom. Dian[n]e Feinstein (D.Calif) called
him a traitor and even said that if he had simply come to the House or
Senate Intelligence Committees and presented
all his information to the Committee, the Committee could have
evaluated it. She said his failure to do that was an enormous
disservice to the country. She said
he was not simply a whistle blower. “He took an oath-that oath is
important. He violated the oath, he violated the law. It’s an act of
treason in my view.” She was joined in her condemnation of Edward by
John Boehner who said of Snowden: “He’s a traitor. . . . The disclosure
of this information . . . . [is] a giant violation of the law. . . .
The president outlined last week that there were important national
security programs to help keep Americans safe, and give us tools to
fight the terrorist threat that we face. The president also outlined
that there are appropriate safeguards in place to make sure that
there’s no snooping, if you will, on Americans here at home. . . .”
That was, of course, said, before Mr. Boehner and Ms. Feinstein learned
that the Senate Intelligence Committee was being snooped on by the CIA
and the CIA said it was being snooped on [by] the staff members of the
Senate Intelligence Committee.
should the CIA protest about "being snooped" (investigated) by "the staff members of the Senate Intelligence
Committee"?! I mean: it is
the job of the Senate to control the CIA, which it can only do by
investigating it, and it is not the job of the CIA to control
or investigate the Senate. (Also, I corrected two typos, between "".)
There is more in the
article, which is OK, but raises a question for me that I agree is not
very relevant: Who knows the meaning of "I Spy"? I recall it from the
1960-ies, when "I Spy" was advertised on pirate radio, in impeccable
posh English, possibly by the father of Sir David Omand (who is
more clever than anyone in the NSA, he says). It was a game for boys,
that cost a shilling, I think, and "was available at all the best book
stores", and thought them to spy, or at least spot things.
The reason I recall it
is that I thought it sounded incredibly stupid, but that may be just
me. Then again, it may also have another meaning, for there are
several. Anyway... my reference is to this I-Spy (Wikipedia) that I
just found was relaunched recently, and seems again to be hugely
popular. (O, Lord! Anyway: Christopher Brauchli's title was quite OK.)
4. What A Destructive Wall Street Owes Young Americans
Next, an article
by Ralph Nader that I found on Common Dreams, but that is also on his
starts as follows:
Wall Street’s big banks
and their financial networks that collapsed the U.S. economy in
2008-2009, were saved with huge bailouts by the taxpayers, but these
Wall Street Gamblers are still paid huge money and are again creeping
toward reckless misbehavior. Their corporate crime wave strip-mined the
economy for young workers, threw them on the unemployment rolls and
helped make possible a low-wage economy that is draining away their
ability to afford basic housing, goods, and services.
Meanwhile, Wall Street is
declaring huge bonuses for their executive plutocrats, none of whom
have been prosecuted and sent to jail for these systemic devastations
of other peoples’ money, the looting of pensions and destruction of
Just what did they do?
Peter Eavis of the New York Times provided a partial summary
– “money laundering, market rigging, tax dodging, selling faulty
financial products, trampling homeowner rights and rampant risk-taking
– these are some of the sins that big banks have committed in recent
years.” Mr. Eavis then reported that “regulators are starting to ask:
Is there something
rotten in bank culture?”
He also quotes Jim Hightower,
who wrote about Jamie
“Assume that you ran a
business that was found guilty of bribery, forgery, perjury, defrauding
homeowners, fleecing investors, swindling consumers, cheating credit
card holders, violating U.S. trade laws, and bilking American soldiers.
Can you even imagine the punishment you’d get?
How about zero? Nada.
Nothing. Zilch. No jail time. Not even a fine. Plus, you get to stay on
as boss, you get to keep all the loot you gained from the crime spree,
and you even get an $8.5 million pay raise!”
That is indeed what
happened, and also not one year, but six years in a row: "Mr Dimon is
too big to fail", Eric Holder opines.
Ralph Nader has some
good ideas to do something, notably a transaction tax on the business
Wall Street does. Then again, these ideas have to be picked up and
5. If GCHQ wants to improve national
security it must fix our
an article by Cory Doctorow in The Guardian (that I missed: it is from
This starts as follows:
I agree the jargon is pretty
horrible, but then - apart from false analogies, of which there are
also plenty - the fact is that it is, in the end, all about extremely
long sequences of ons and offs (0s and 1s) that are manipulated by a
mechanical calculator that can do millions or billions of manipulations
recent column, security expert Bruce Schneier proposed breaking up
the NSA – handing its offensive capabilities work to US Cyber Command
and its law enforcement work to the FBI, and terminating its programme
of attacking internet security. In place of this, Schneier proposed
that “instead of working to deliberately weaken security for everyone,
the NSA should work to improve security for everyone.” This is a
profoundly good idea for reasons that may not be obvious at first blush.
People who worry about
security and freedom on the internet have long struggled with the
problem of communicating the urgent stakes to the wider public. We
speak in jargon that’s a jumble of mixed metaphors – viruses, malware,
trojans, zero days, exploits, vulnerabilities, RATs – that are the
striated fossil remains of successive efforts to come to grips with the
issue. When we do manage to make people alarmed about the stakes, we
have very little comfort to offer them, because Internet security isn’t
something individuals can solve.
Also, this is a fairly long article, that has some more good ideas. I
skip most of it but quote from the end:
Actually, I think that merely
the idea that "spies are spying
on all of us" and indeed on
everything we do, and totally regardless from who we are, all without
any legal or moral foundation or justification, which is why it all was
done in near total secrecy, until Edward Snowden, is - for me - worse
than the fact that they are also undermining the technical
infrastructure, though I agree that also is very bad.
But for me, the most
important parallel between public health and internet security is their
significance to our societal wellbeing. Everything we do today involves
the internet. Everything we do tomorrow will require the internet. If
you live near a nuclear power plant, fly in airplanes, ride in cars or
trains, have an implanted pacemaker, keep money in the bank, or carry a
phone, your safety and well-being depend on a robust, evolving,
practice of network security.
This is the most alarming
part of the Snowden revelations: not just that spies are spying on all
of us – that they are actively sabotaging all of our technical
infrastructure to ensure that they can continue to spy on us.
There is no way to weaken
security in a way that makes it possible to spy on “bad guys” without
making all of us vulnerable to bad guys, too. The goal of national
security is totally incompatible with the tactic of weakening the
nation’s information security.
And I agree that there are major parallels between public health and
internet security, and that internet security is a major mess, that
threatens to subject everyone to a very few, who know everything about
everyone, but are themselves anonymous.
arrived here, I just saw that I already said in the introduction what I
wanted to say here, so I merely say that I cycled again today, which
was fun, and that I am now using 2400 mcg of metafolate every day, in
three doses, that do seem to help some.
 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
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
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.)
(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: