25, 2014
Crisis: Barclays, Putin, Snowden, Landmark, Wall Street, new FCC rules
   "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton

Prev- crisis -Next

1. £5m for the Barclays boss is disgusting. But so is £71 for
     the unemployed

2. Putin calls internet a 'CIA project' renewing fears of web

3. Guardian's Edward Snowden revelations receive backing
     in poll

4. Landmark Ruling
5. Wall Street Greed: Not Too Big for a California Jury
6. Unless Defeated, New FCC Rules Will Put 'Stake in
     Internet's Heart'

About ME/CFS


This is the Nederlog of April 25. It is a crisis issue.

There are six items: On the English ways of getting extremely rich, if you are one of the few; on Putin's wanting another internet; on considerable support - 2:1 - for Edward Snowden in England; on a landmark ruling in the US, where a federal judge wants to see a secret memo (as if judges have a right to know what the government does!); on Wall Street greed, that might be tamed somewhat in California; and on new rules that are claimed to put a "stake in the internet's heart".

1. £5m for the Barclays boss is disgusting. But so is £71 for the unemployed

The first article today is by
Polly Toynbee on The Guardian, and will not make you feel happier, but she does write the right things:
This also has a subtitle worth quoting:

Nearly 500 of the bank's staff are paid over £1m. Meanwhile, those hit by the recession continue to suffer. This can't go on

That is: Nearly 500 millionaires, in a single year's pay, and that in pounds. To me, this is grossly obscene and sick greed, that cries out loud for being punished. Here is the start of the article:

Once a year you can gaze at the secret world of the great panjandrums, unaccountable, rarely exposed to interview or inquisition. Yesterday it was the Barclays board, avatars of avarice overseeing rewards beyond any conceivable fair share – a 10% rise in bonuses despite a 32% fall in profits. They outraged their small shareholders and even ruffled some of their mighty institutional investors – though of course the City financiers voted it all through, including up to 200% bonuses for the next three years.

In polls, most voters, including Ukippers and Tories, are disgusted by what one shareholder called "management greed". But these untouchables stick two fingers up to the spirit of new EU bonuses rules, far beyond the reach of mere democracy.
Yes, indeed. As to the punishments: These will not happen under a conservative or labour government, but they may happen after a revolution, after the next bust, that these multi-millionaires in yearly salaries have themselves prepared, looking only after their own incomes.

Here is more Toynbee - and
£5.1 million pounds is what Barclays' CEO will get, for one year:
So let's stick to absolutes: £5.1m is absolutely disgusting; so is £71 a week unemployment pay for food, clothing, toiletries, gas, electricity, council tax and buses to the jobcentre. Relative to middle incomes, jobseeker's allowance has lost a third in value since the late 1970s.

Barclays' bonuses are simply another emblem signifying no change, business as usual, nothing learned, no precautions for the future. Pulling out of recession, it's full steam back on to the old trajectory: ever greater inequality, more wealth sucked up to the top 5%, and the top one per cent's share soaring again.
Again: Yes, indeed - although I am a bit more cynical about "nothing learned":

I think they have learned that with the present leading political parties in Great Britain, whether conservatives, lib dems or labour, any theft of any size is possible if you are "a manager", especially in a bank, and these thefts will be covered by the majority  of the ruling politicians of any color, and will be lauded as "fair" and "deserved" and "due to their briliance", for the politicians are in great majority just awaiting their own chances to profit (nearly) as much as bank managers.

Also, there is this:
Forget Cameron's wellbeing index: anxiety, family rows and men committing suicide rose in the hardest hit areas, with no sign of social solidarity as the poor are turned against one another, accusing each other of getting better benefits.
Yes - it seems that most of the poorest have been propagandized into believing that the greed and egoism that characterizes their political and economical "leaders" is also apt for them, even if they are making 71 pounds a week, and are willing, anonymously, of course, of branding "welfare queens" as "profit makers" from the British dole (at 71 pounds a week).

One can get very sick contemplating this, but it does support my 50 years of being convinced that the vast majority, educated or not, to any level also,  basically is stupid or conformist, and that no rational argument will cure them: Greed and egoism top all rational arguments, also if they are completely irrealistic.

2. Putin calls internet a 'CIA project' renewing fears of web breakup 

The next item is an article by Ewen McAskill on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

Vladimir Putin gave his clearest signal yet that he aims to break up the global nature of the internet when he branded the network a "CIA project" on Thursday.

The Russian president told a media conference in St Petersburg that America's overseas espionage agency had originally set up the internet and was continuing to develop it.

Putin has long hinted that he wants a Russian-run alternative. The idea of breaking up the internet has gained ground in Germany, Brazil and elsewhere round the world in the light of the revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden about the extent to which the US National Security Agency has infiltrated Facebook, Skype and other social media.

Snowden's critics say that an unintended consequences of his revelations has been to undermine the global nature of the web as well as playing into the hands of dictators. His supporters counter that it is the NSA rather than Snowden that has damaged trust in the service.

Clearly, I belong to the supporters' side. There is a considerable amount more in the article.

3.  Guardian's Edward Snowden revelations receive backing in poll

The next item is an article by Roy Greenslade on The Guardian:

This starts as follows:

A public opinion poll has found that more Britons think it was right for the Guardian to publish Edward Snowden's NSA leaks about surveillance than think it was wrong that the paper did so.

According to the YouGov poll, 37% of the British people thought it right to publish while 22% thought it wrong. Asked whether it was good or bad for society, 46% considered it good against 22% who regarded it as bad.

There was noticeably firmer backing from Labour and Lib Dem voters, with 51% and 56% respectively arguing that it was good to see the story published.

The poll of 2,166 UK adults took place after the Guardian and the Washington Post had been jointly awarded a Pulitzer prize for their reporting of Snowden's revelations. Snowden, the former CIA contractor, called the award a "vindication".

I think these are fairly good numbers - though I grant that I find it hard to follow the reasoning of the 1 in 5 who say that publishing something as Snowden revealed is "wrong". Then again, I must suppose that for most of them it is not based on any rational reasoning, but on conformism or stupidity.

Also, in case you want to see the full results, by YouGov, here is the link.

4. Landmark Ruling

The next item is an article by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now:

This starts as follows:
In a major development chipping away at the secrecy of the Obama administration’s drone wars, a federal appeals court has ordered the government to release a legal memo that provides the legal rationale for killing U.S. citizens overseas. The court ruled that the government had waived its right to keep the memo secret following public statements in defense of the killings by top officials, as well as the release of a Justice Department "white paper" on the subject.
The rest is an interview with Hinah Shamsi of the ACLU, of which I will quote only one bit to show that indeed it is a landmark ruling. This is Hinah Shamsi:
This is a very significant federal court ruling because it is the first time that a court has ordered the government to disclose a memo it has wanted to keep secret. The memo lays out the government’s legal justification, constitutional analysis, for killing a U.S. citizen even when he is far from a traditional battlefield.
That is: it is supposed to, but they don't really know, because these things are these days all kept secret. (You-must-trust-ObamaTM that he screws the laws of the land he leads with the best of intentions.)

For more, you will have to use the last dotted link.

5. Wall Street Greed: Not Too Big for a California Jury

The next item is an article by Ellen Brown that I found on Truth Dig, but appeared originally on Web of Debt:
This starts as follows:

United States Attorney General Eric Holder has declared that the too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks are too big to prosecute. But an outraged California jury might have different ideas. As noted in the California legal newspaper The Daily Journal:

California juries are not bashful - they have been known to render massive punitive damages awards that dwarf the award of compensatory (actual) damages. For example, in one securities fraud case jurors awarded $5.7 million in compensatory damages and $165 million in punitive damages. . . . And in a tobacco case with $5.5 million in compensatory damages, the jury awarded $3 billion in punitive damages . . . .

The question, then, is how to get Wall Street banks before a California jury. How about charging them with common law fraud and breach of contract?  That’s what the FDIC just did in its massive 24-count civil suit for damages for LIBOR manipulation, filed in March 2014 against sixteen of the world’s largest banks, including the three largest US banks – JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup. 

That is quite interesting. It is also well explained by Ellen Brown, though indeed it is a bit technical, and she ends as follows, on a larger topic:

The larger question is why our state and local governments continue to do business with a corrupt global banking cartel. There is an alternative. They could set up their own publicly-owned banks, on the model of the state-owned Bank of North Dakota. Fraud could be avoided, profits could be recaptured, and interest could become a much-needed source of public revenue. Credit could become a public utility, dispensed as needed to benefit local residents and local economies.

I agree: the banks these days - and see item 1 - have become criminal profiteers, who are only moved by their own profit rates, since the government insists they cannot be prosecuted "because they are too big to fail".

Well... make new publicly-owned banks. It is possible.

6. Unless Defeated, New FCC Rules Will Put 'Stake in Internet's Heart'

The next item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Defenders of an open, innovative and fair internet are up in arms Thursday after learning the Federal Communications Commission is about to issue new rule proposals that will kill the online principle known as "net neutrality."

The death of net neutrality—which has governed the equal treatment of content since the internet was created—will create, say critics, a tiered internet that allows major internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to cut special and lucrative deals with content providers who can afford to pay for special "fast lanes." The result will be an internet that will incentivize slower traffic by ISPs and the creation of privatized, corporate-controlled "toll-roads" that will come to dominate a once fair and free environment.

There is a lot more in the article, and while I am a defender "of an open, innovative and fair internet", it seems to me this is a bit exaggerated - "A stake in the internet's heart": that seems to me a lot more true about Snowden's revelations - if only because it doesn't consider technical change: computers are still getting faster.

But OK: Judge for yourself - there is a lot more under the last dotted link.

[1] 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 government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
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 quote from is quite pertinent.)

About ME/CFS (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:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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