This is the second
Nederlog of May 7. It is a crisis issue. (The first Nederlog of today
is in Dutch, and is another part of my autobiography.)
It is about what you can do (in principle) to get some privacy on your
computer; about what America looks like now; about six principles that
may unite some of the left and the right in the U.S.; about resetting
the net; about the majority of the conservative judges on the Supreme
Court; and it ends with a nice and clear video about
economics, that should clarify rather a lot for many.
Tools: Encrypt What You Can
The first item is
article by Julia Angwin on Truth Dig, but originally on ProPublica:
Ever since Edward Snowden
revealed the inner secrets of the NSA, he has been urging Americans to
use encryption to protect themselves from rampant spying.
“Encryption does work,” Snowden
said, via a remote connection at the SXSW tech conference. “It is a
defense against the dark arts for the digital realm.”
ProPublica has written
about the NSA’s attempts to break
encryption, but we don’t know for sure how successful the spy
agency has been, and security experts still recommend using these
And besides, who doesn’t
want to defend against the dark arts? But getting started with
encryption can be daunting. Here are a few techniques that most people
And after this Julia
Angwin gives a reasonable amount of good advice and links, that you can
pick up yourself if you are interested. I have a few remarks, though:
am on Linux, for two years now, and am pretty pleased with that.
It makes my computer a little more secure, and is easy to install, but
was not mentioned.
Second, I can program, and I have tried to install PGP on
this was painful, and besides I can only send encrypted mails
who also have installed it, and I do not see many people who
that: it really was obscure.
Third, while I am in favor of personally encrypting things, I do not
think that can be expected from the majority, and anyway it will not
help if your computer has been hacked already.
Besides, I think encrypting should be done by providers and email-programs
as a matter of course, rather
than trying to shift the
burden to individuals. But OK: this is a useful article.
2. America Is Declining at the Same Warp Speed
That's Minting Billionaires and Destroying the Middle Class
The next item is an
article by C.J. Werleman on AlterNet:
has the most billionaires in the world, but not a single U.S. city
ranks among the world’s most livable cities. Not a single U.S. airport
is among the top 100 airports in the world. Our bridges, road and rail
are falling apart, and our middle class is being guttered out thanks to
three decades of stagnant wages, while the top 1 percent enjoys 95
percent of all economic gains.
rigged tax code and a bloated military budget are starving the federal
and state governments of the revenue it needs to invest in
infrastructure, which means today America looks increasingly like a
Third World nation, and now new data shows America’s intellectual
resources are also in decline.
the past three decades, the Republican Party has waged a dangerous
assault on the very idea of public education. Tax cuts for the rich
have been balanced with spending cuts to education. During the New Deal
era of the 1940s to 1970s, public schools were the great leveler of
America. They were our great achievement. It was universal education
for all, but today it’s education for those fortunate enough to be born
into wealthy families or live in wealthy school districts.
There is considerably
Six Principles of the New Populism (and
the Establishment’s Nightmare)
next item is an
article by Robert Reich on his site:
More Americans than ever
believe the economy is rigged in favor of Wall Street and big business
and their enablers in Washington. We’re five years into a so-called
recovery that’s been a bonanza for the rich but a bust for the middle
class. “The game is rigged and the American people know that. They get
it right down to their toes,” says
Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Which is fueling a new
populism on both the left and the right. While still far apart,
neo-populists on both sides are bending toward one another and against
In fact - and see the
title - Reich seems to be in favor of populism and in favor of some
sort of allegiance between parts of the left and of the right.
I doubt such an
allegiance is possible in the United States, besides a mere verbal
semblance of it, but here are the six principles, that all are quite
reasonable, and that are quoted again without the surrounding
text that is indicated by (...):
1. Cut the
biggest Wall Street banks down to a size where
they’re no longer too big to fail.
2. Resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act (...)
3. End corporate welfare (...)
4. Stop the National Security Agency from spying on
5. Scale back American interventions overseas.
6. Oppose trade agreements crafted by big corporations.
It may be Reich is right
of allegiance is possible, and there is considerably more under the
last dotted link.
In any case, I like the six principles.
Net: 'Don't Ask for Online Privacy... Take It Back.'
The next item is
article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
Led by online
freedom organizations, internet firms, and other advocacy groups, a
broadbased coalition is coming together with a singular call to "Reset the Net" as a
way to beat back government and corporate surveillance on the web.
With a national online
day of action scheduled for June 5, supporters of the
campaign—including Common Dreams (full disclosure), Free Press, Fight
for the Future, Credo Action, RootsAction.org. Demand Progress,
Greenpeace, Reddit, CodePink, and dozens of others—say they will use
the anniversary of the first reporting about NSA spying based on
documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden as an opportunity to
reclaim the internet from the spying eyes of the National Security
Agency and gross abuse of privacy protections.
There also is a brief
video for it, that you can find by way of the last dotted link.
I have to say: I like the idea, but it doesn't seem likely to succeed.
Then again, it is something, and it may gather weight.
Court's Free Speech Rulings Drenched in Biases
The next item is another article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
According to a new legal
study of sitting and recent justices on the U.S. Supreme Court,
conservative members of the court are tied much tighter to their own
political and ideological biases than the liberal justices when it
comes to ruling on cases concerning free speech.
by legal professors Professors Lee Epstein, Christopher Parker, and
Jeffrey Segal and first reported
by the New York Times—found that despite exceptions, “the
votes of both liberal and conservative justices tend to reflect their
preferences toward the ideological groupings" of the speakers
advocating a case. But in the case of conservatives, the study, found
those biases are much more pronounced and consistent.
opportunistic free speechers," the authors concluded. "They are willing
to turn back regulation of expression when the expression conforms to
their values and uphold it when the expression and their preferences
What I am much more
afraid of than relative ignorance of the technologies involved in cases
they must judge, and what does seem to me to be the case in the
majority of the Supreme Court, is that they are political
judges who judge things politically, and who in this case often
side with the few and the strong, not because of any legal
argument, but because that is what they think is politically right,
correct or desirable (after which they pen something legal to uphold
Another Supreme Court
may well judge otherwise, but unfortunately quite a few of the present
judges were made members of the Supreme Court not on the basis
of their legal excellence, but on the basis of political
allegiances, and they often judge by allegiance rather than by valid
In fact professor Epstein is quoted as
“Though the results are
consistent with a long line of research in the social sciences, I still
find them stunning — shocking, really"
Well, I don't find them stunning or
shocking, but I agree the present Supreme Court is not served
best lawyers, and is far too right wing, in practice.
6. The Myth of the Great Moderation Finally for today, an article by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism:
This is a terrific
short video on why the Great Moderation and the underlying
restructuring of the economy during that period, wasn’t all it was
cracked up to be. Economists celebrated the appearance of more stable
growth, when in fact, the condition of the patient was deteriorating.
And then it says:
I hope you’ll circulate
this widely, since it’s accessible
and compelling. Hat tip Lars P. Syll.
OK: I liked it. It is
economics, but it is well told, with quite a few good and clear graphs,
and it also opposes Keynes and Greenspan:
Incidentally, as to Greenspan and Keynes: Greenspan
was a close follower of Ayn
Rand, which means that he cannot have had a good mind (as
he really believed her); Bertrand Russell
said about Keynes that he was certainly the most intelligent man he had
Finally, the above is not about "socialism versus capitalism":
It is about capitalism-with-a-human-face as explained by Keynes
versus capitalism-with-an-inhuman-face as desired by Greenspan.
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.)
This took so long because both my ex and myself were (and are, to the
best of my knowledge: we separated a long time ago) ill since 1.1.1979.
This entailed many things, and one was that I did not attend university
(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: