The Guardian was
named newspaper of the year at the press awards for its reporting on
The prize was one of a
host given to the Guardian and its journalists, with theguardian.com
handed the digital award and the writers Rob Evans, Paul Lewis and
Patrick Kingsley all honoured at the ceremony in London.
The judges said the
Guardian "broke a story of global significance that went to the heart
of the debate on press freedom. The fact that the coverage polarised
opinion even within the press showed how important it was.
"The job of a newspaper
is to speak truth to power and the past year has seen the Guardian do
this with will and verve."
Clearly, I think this was
earned and indeed I agree with the judges on what is the job of the
Also, there is this bit by Alan Rusbridger:
Rusbridger said: "It's a
great honour for the Guardian to be named newspaper of the year by a
jury of our peers. The story was not, in the end, publishable out of
London and I want in particular to thank colleagues on ProPublica and
the New York Times for collaborating with us. The support of editors
and press freedom bodies around the world was also crucial.
"I want to acknowledge the
personal cost to Edward Snowden involved in his decision to become a
whistleblower. I must thank a team of extremely talented colleagues on
Indeed, this is not as
empty as you might think it seems, and the reason is that considerable
amounts of the press think differently. So it is good to know
year the Guardian did get "named
newspaper of the year by a jury of our peers".
2. NSA performed warrantless searches on
Americans' calls and emails – Clapper
The next item is an
article by Spencer Ackerman on The Guardian:
US intelligence chiefs
have confirmed that the National Security Agency has used a "back door"
in surveillance law to perform warrantless searches on Americans’
The NSA's collection
programs are ostensibly targeted at foreigners, but in August
the Guardian revealed a secret rule change allowing NSA analysts to
search for Americans' details within the databases.
Now, in a letter to
Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the intelligence committee,
the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has confirmed for
the first time the use of this legal authority to search for data
related to “US persons”.
“There have been queries,
using US person identifiers, of communications lawfully acquired to
obtain foreign intelligence targeting non-US persons reasonably
believed to be located outside the United States,” Clapper wrote in the
letter, which has been obtained by the Guardian.
“These queries were
performed pursuant to minimization procedures approved by the Fisa
court and consistent with the statute and the fourth amendment.”
I note the
bureaucratic jargon - "queries
(..) performed pursuant to minimization procedures" - but OK: Clapper admitted a little, while answering
letter Senator Wyden sent him in January. But his saying about the
fourth amendment must be a lie: What Clapper does is explicitly
forbidden by the fourth amendment, and that is also why he furthers
searches by secret courts, that generally rubber stamp his
decisions, which again are almost all secret.
There is considerably
more there that I leave to you, but this is the end:
On Tuesday, Wyden and
Udall said the NSA’s warrantless searches of Americans’ emails and
phone calls “should be concerning to all.”
“This is unacceptable. It
raises serious constitutional questions, and poses a real threat to the
privacy rights of law-abiding Americans. If a government agency thinks
that a particular American is engaged in terrorism or espionage, the
fourth amendment requires that the government secure a warrant or
emergency authorisation before monitoring his or her communications.
This fact should be beyond dispute,” the two senators said in a joint
They continued: “Today’s
admission by the Director of National Intelligence is further proof
that meaningful surveillance reform must include closing the back-door
searches loophole and requiring the intelligence community to show
probable cause before deliberately searching through data collected
under section 702 to find the communications of individual Americans."
3.How Sheldon Adelson and the American
Oligarchs Are Ruining
an article by Sen. Bernie Sanders on Truth Dig:
The disastrous 2010
Supreme Court ruling in Citizens
United threw out campaign funding laws that limited what wealthy
individuals and corporations could spend on elections. Since that
ruling, campaign spending by Adelson, the Koch brothers and a handful
of other billionaire families has fundamentally undermined American
democracy. If present trends continue, elections will not be decided by
one-person, one-vote, but by a small number of very wealthy families
who spend huge amounts of money supporting right-wing candidates who
protect their interests.
This process—a handful of
the wealthiest people in our
country controlling the political process—is called “oligarchy.”
The great political
struggle we now face is whether the
United States retains its democratic heritage or whether we move toward
an oligarchic form of society where the real political power rests with
a handful of billionaires, not ordinary Americans.
Also, it turns out that I gave the whole speech already on March 29, 2014, basically because I did
(and do) like the speech, but it was rendered, also on Truth Dig, as
CAPITALS ONLY, which I found (and find) a bit embarrassing.
So I am glad to refer you to the last link, and now also to the
And yes, I know you might have
seen it before, but Senator Sanders is one of the few in the Senate and
the House who talks sense, and I think he is right in fearing
that the Citizen United ruling by the Supreme Court may change the
United States into a fully fledged oligarchy, and may do this also real
4. How You, I, and Everyone Got the Top 1 Percent All Wrong
Next, an article by
Derek Thomson, who must be a universal genius given the title of his
article, that appeared in the Atlantic:
Fortunately he vastly
exaggerates. I suppose he means that he has been wrong before,
in blaming the 1% while he should have blamed the 1% of the 1%.
What he writes is this:
In fact, the gain
in wealth share is all about the top 0.1 percent of the country. While
nine-tenths of the top percentile hasn't seen much change at all since
1960, the 0.01 percent has essentiallyquadrupled
its share of the country's wealth in half a century.
And he supports it by
Actually, what I see is that the wealth of the top 1% has considerably
increased; that the wealth of the top 0.1% has more increased; and that
the wealth of the 0.01% has most increased. (Also, there are scaling
effects here, but I'll leave these out.)
And I see that all of those rises for the rich, very rich, and
mega-rich started with Reagan.
Anyway... this was not good journalism, by Mr. Thomson: His title is
completely wrong and misleading; his argument is mostly missing; and
what he does convey was known to me and many others since quite a long
Also, I think "the 1%" still seems a reasonable criterion and
distinction (1) to help explain the differences between the vast
majority and the few and (2) to identify those responsible for much
that went wrong for the vast majority - but yes, it is true
that the more you had to start with, the more you profited, on average.
But then that is to be expected anyway: As the Dutch proverb has it:
"The devil always shits on the biggest heap".
5. Noam Chomsky: The Dimming Prospects for
Finally, an article by Noam Chomsky that I found on AlterNet:
This is one quotation
from it, which is also what Chomsky is most concerned with:
But another dire peril
casts its shadow over any contemplation of the future - environmental
disaster. It's not clear that there even is an escape, though the
longer we delay, the more severe the threat becomes - and not in the
distant future. The commitment of governments to the security of their
populations is therefore clearly exhibited by how they address this
Today the United States
is crowing about "100 years of energy independence" as the country
becomes "the Saudi Arabia of the next century" - very likely the final
century of human civilization if current policies persist.
One might even take a
speech of President Obama's two years ago in the oil town of Cushing,
Okla., to be an eloquent death-knell for the species.
He proclaimed with pride,
to ample applause, that "Now, under my administration, America is
producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.
That's important to know. Over the last three years, I've directed my
administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration
across 23 different states. We're opening up more than 75 percent of
our potential oil resources offshore. We've quadrupled the number of
operating rigs to a record high. We've added enough new oil and gas
pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some."
I agree with Chomsky
that was not a happy nor wise speech, and I also agree that the climate
change is a major danger.
Then again, I have also argued before that I do not think the
present governments - who must do it: no one else is remotely as
effective - are capable of dealing with it, successfully, I mean, for
they all can derive some Good Feelings About Our Noble Politicians Who
Fight For Our Existence from it, and often do.
So... what to expect? Here is the last bit by Chomsky:
What are the
prospects for survival then? They are not bright. But the achievements
of those who have struggled for centuries for greater freedom and
justice leave a legacy that can be taken up and carried forward - and
must be, and soon, if hopes for decent survival are to be sustained.
Yes. And as Burke
adviced: If you are desperate, work on.
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: