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. British intelligence
watchdog is like Yes Prime Minister,
2. MH370 story is the new anti-journalism
Reich: 'Austerity Is a Terrible Mistake'
Starving College Students and the Shredded Social
Snowden: “Is It Really Terrorism That We’re Stopping? I
Should Mathematicians Cooperate with GCHQ?
This is the Nederlog of March
19. It is again a crisis
issue. Also, this file got uploaded earlier than is normal.
intelligence watchdog is like Yes Prime Minister, says MP
The first article is by Ewen
MacAskill on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed: that seems
a good analogy. There is considerably more in the article, and there
also is this bit:
services had a system of oversight no better than that seen in the TV
comedy Yes, Prime Minister, an MP said on Tuesday during a meeting of a
Julian Huppert, a Liberal
Democrat, said the sitcom depicting ineffectual government was an
appropriate comparison after it emerged that the intelligence services
commissioner appearing before MPs worked only part-time, and operated
with only one other staff member.
Huppert said: "Can I come
back to this comparison between Britain and the US? I presume you are
both familiar with Yes, Prime Minister. There is a line there where it
says, 'Good Lord, no. Any hint of suspicion, you hold a full inquiry,
have a chap straight out for lunch, ask him straight out if there is
anything in it and if he says no, you have got to trust a chap's word'."
This is a bit vague,
necessarily, as BT "refused to deny" and "provided "no substantive answer"", but it is a fair assumption they
handed over "data on
millions of customers in bulk to government agencies", and if they did
so under section 94, it must be - it would seem - because for the
present British governors everybody is a terrorist or at least
being treated as a terrorist (except members of government with an
Eton-education, of course).
The committee also heard
BT has refused to deny it has handed over data on millions of customers
in bulk to government agencies, such as GCHQ, a group of MPs has been
Big Brother Watch
director Nick Pickles told the committee BT had provided "no
substantive answer" to the question of whether they had handed over
masses of customer data to the UK government.
Pickles told MPs he
feared BT was providing data under section 94 of the Telecommunications
Act, which gives the secretary of state broad powers to demand
information from an individual or organisation in the interests of
MH370 story is the new
The next article is by
Michael Wolff on The Guardian:
This is in fact about the
disappeared Malaysian plane, about which I "know" most because it is
being tracked, every day, through endless "details", at Huffington
Post. (In fact, I mention Huffington post because I check that every
day, but I could have mentioned many other papers or media-programs,
except that I do not see them every day.)
Actually, I do not know
and so far did not care to find out, because it comes, roughly at
least, to this:
But it seems the Huffington
Post, like the American media, go on and on and on about this issue
while having extremely little real information: They provide hardly any
real information, but instead they provide incredible lots of bullshit -
which they pretend is information, and which in fact is blocking all
real information they might have given instead.
Journalism exists to
provide information. But what’s really compelling is a lack of
information – or what is more particularly being called “an absence of
“It doesn’t mean
anything; all it is a theory.” That was the key quote, from an
appropriately unnamed “senior American official,” in
the New York Times’ front-page story Sunday about the Malaysian
government’s sudden conversion to the idea that their plane was
snatched. “Find the plane, find the black boxes and then we can figure
out what happened. It has to be based on something, and until they have
something more to go on it’s all just theories.”
I agree that seems to be The New Journalism - providing bullshit - but I would have liked to see a bit more
analysis. And maybe I should provide it, but not today.
Reich: 'Austerity Is a Terrible Mistake'
The next article is
by Mary O'Hara on AlterNet, though originally in The Guardian:
This is from the
beginning and about Robert Reich, who also gets quoted:
narrative is nonsense – and its dangerous nonsense. It's sort of the
Vietnamisation of the economy – [that] you're saving the economy by
The political economist
who has served in three US administrations, most recently as labour
secretary under former president Bill Clinton, is a longstanding vocal
opponent of the kind of neo-liberal economics that have influenced
policy in the US and the UK since the early 1980s and fostered soaring
levels of inequality and entrenched poverty. He dismisses as
"nonsense" the notion that if the rich get richer wealth will "trickle
down" to the wider population.
There is a lot more in
the article, which seems a British attempt to explain some things about
Reich (who is an American)
to the English, and which does this fairly well.
As to the austerity
theory and the trickle down theory:
It ought to be obvious
not so much real theories
as they are bits of ideology, and
that they are completely contradicted by the facts - the rich get
richer, and the rest gets poorer, and this has been happening since
4. Starving College Students and the Shredded Social Contract
Next, an article by
Michelle Goldberg, that I found on Common Dreams but originated on The
This starts as follows:
If you want to
know why millennials are far more economically liberal than other
generations, consider the news that colleges have started opening
on-campus food banks to keep their students from going hungry.
Note this also is not
a small-scale phenomenon, and it is a complete and utter shame that you
have "to choose between
learning” in the USA.
Dozens of food pantries
are “cropping up at
colleges across the country in recent years as educators acknowledge
the struggles many students face as the cost of getting a higher
education continues to soar,” the Associated Press reported this
weekend. Tuition alone, the article notes,
“has become a growing burden, rising 27 percent at public colleges and
14 percent at private schools in the past five years, according to the
College Board. Add in expenses for books, housing and other necessities
of college life and some are left to choose between eating and
So I am not amazed, and indeed pleased, by the following:
No wonder the Pew
report finds that they’re the only
generation to favor a bigger, more activist federal government. A
2011 Pew poll even
found that people between 18 and 29 had a more favorable view of
socialism (49 percent) than capitalism (46 percent).
I am not a socialist
(basically: because history has shown - it seems to me - that
socialist countries tend to be totalitarian
countries) but I am certainly in favor of "a bigger, more activist federal government".
Snowden: “Is It Really Terrorism That We’re Stopping? I Say No.
next article is
by Washington's Blog:
However, while that
article is from yesterday, it is very brief, and refers to the
following considerably longer article, also on Washington's Blog, from
December last year:
That article is
quite thorough and long, and also comes with two interviews, with
William Binney and Russell Tice, and also one with former NSA director
Joel Brenner, who simply denies everything, without offering any
evidence: You have to believe him because he is bald, I presume.
In any case: My own view of the matter, that I have had since October 29, 2005 (<- Dutch link) at
the latest, is the following - and I put in in the form of points:
(1) "Terrorism" always was a false pretext to justify
taking of all the data of everyone,
(2) which can only be understood rationally as
the attempt to have the complete population in the (potential) total
control of a few thousands of governing people, and those they employ.
(3) And to acquire this control
has been the - then explicit - aim from the late 1960ies onwards, of
those running the NSA or the FBI.
And all that changed since 1968 is that the whole world got
computerized, and got computerized by completely unencrypted data, so
that essentially everything could be taken and inspected, and indeed
now is taken and either is inspected or saved.
6. Should Mathematicians Cooperate with
a bit of news from "the mathematical community", that I picked ip by
way of John Baez, and is by Tom Leinster on the n-Category Café:
Here is the beginning of the
article - which had many links, that disappeared on copying:
One of the UK’s
largest employers of mathematicians has been embroiled in a major
international scandal for the last nine months, stands accused of
law-breaking on an industrial scale, and is now the object of
widespread outrage. How has the mathematical community responded?
Largely by ignoring it.
Anyway - it clearly is a good
and very clear article, and for more, or for the links, you have to use
the last dotted link.
GCHQ and its partners have been systematically monitoring as much of
our lives as they possibly can, including our emails, phone calls, text
messages, bank transactions, web browsing, Skype calls, and physical
location. The goal: “collect it all”. They tap internet trunk cables,
bug charities and political leaders, disrupt lawful activist groups,
and conduct economic espionage, all under the banner of national
Perhaps most pertinently to mathematicians, the NSA (GCHQ’s major
partner and partial funder) has deliberately undermined internet
encryption, inserting a secret back door into a standard elliptic curve
algorithm. This can be exploited by anyone sufficiently skilled and
malicious — not only the NSA/GCHQ. (See Thomas Hales’s piece in
February’s Notices of the AMS.) We may never know what else
mathematicians have been complicit in; GCHQ’s policy is not to comment
on intelligence matters, which is to say, anything it does.
Indifference to mass surveillance rests partly on misconceptions such
as “it’s only metadata”. This is certainly false; for instance, GCHQ
has used webcams to collect images, many sexually intimate, of millions
of ordinary citizens. It is also misguided, even according to the NSA’s
former legal counsel: “metadata absolutely tells you everything about
I did re-upload most but not all of the Hazlitt directory
on my sites. Some more remains to be done. Also, I changed the
backgrounds of the files I re-uploaded to the present background: my
eyes have improved, but are not better yet, and I decided to suit my
eyes rather than keep being troubled by totally white backgrounds.
Also, there are elections today in Holland, not for the national
parliament but for the councils of cities and villages. Since I avoid
elections since 1971 - I do not want to vote for any of a very small
bunch of professional liars and deceivers, who also are for the most
part grossly incompetent, untalented and egoistic - I avoid these too,
but if you are a Dutch adult who believes that Our Democracy Needs You,
I will not do anything to stop you from feeling Important And
Then again, it seems this day less than half of those given the vote in
Holland will vote, as about half seems to think that they will not
vote, namely out of lack of interest. (This does not hold for me, in
case you wonder: I am interested, but also very sickened by what I
learned about Dutch politicians: See ME in Amsterdam, if you
I will let you know "how democratic Holland is", tomorrow or the day
after, by quoting the percentage of those who voted.
 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: