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. European newspapers search
for ways to survive digital
2. Warrantless cell phone
tracking ruled unconstitutional in
3. Global Recession Has
"Led to 10,000 Suicides"
4. 8 Reasons Some CEOs Make
331 Times As Much As Their
5. How NSA Can Secretly Aid
6. We anti-war protesters were
right: the Iraq invasion has
led to bloody chaos
7. The Three Biggest
Right-Wing Lies About Poverty
Senior NSA Executive: NSA Started Spying On Journalists
This is the Nederlog of June
14. It is an almost ordinary crisis log.
It is almost ordinary because it contains the findings of two
days rather than of just one day, for yesterday
I repeated a long and interesting article on philosophy of science and
psychiatry, which I did because I want to make a selection from the
more than hundred articles I wrote about psychiatry (as a psychologist,
a philosopher, and a victim of their lies, delusions and
powerhungry intrigues), and also because I have now for a full year
faithfully followed the crisis trail, but I do want to write
sometimes about other things in Nederlog, which indeed arose because I
wanted to write on many diverse things, on a daily basis.
So although it is a Saturday today, there are eight items, and they
follow. Also, this happens
to be the longest crisis report of this year, so far, which may be due
to the fact it covers two days or (more probably) that I feel
European newspapers search for ways to survive digital
item is an article by Anna Penketh, Philip Oltermann and Stephen Burgen
on The Guardian:
starts as follows:
Yes, indeed. This is in
fact a large article, with three parts by the three writers, namely on
the situations in France, Spain and Germany, but I will leave all that
to your interest.
Newspapers are in
freefall. Print editions are being discontinued. Editors are being
replaced with alarming regularity. Financial losses are mounting.
Digital strategies are yet to bear fruit. New readerships are fickle,
promiscuous and hard to impress.
If that's true of British
and American newspapers, then the situation is, if anything, worse in
continental Europe. Here much of the
traditional media is considered to be several years behind in the
digital revolution, still experimenting with paywalls, digital
technologies and alternative means of storytelling. Bankruptcy stalks
the sector, and staff layoffs are a weekly fact of life.
Here I make only a few general points:
I am sorry to sound
depressive about the state of journalism, and I do not want to be, but
the state of journalism is quite depressing, and indeed it
seems as if the majority of good and independent journalism has
been driven out, and has been replaced by glibly talking
quasi-journalist yes-men from corporations or from some of the propaganda/public
- It is a very
great loss, that "Newspapers are in
freefall", and that applies
especially to the so-called quality papers with large staffs of
well-trained journalists. There is nothing on the internet that
can replace them, mostly for two reasons: 1. there is no money
available for them, and 2. this especially hits the few who are
well-educated and intelligent: it hardly hits the masses of ordinary
men and women.
- Again, it is a very
great loss because without good, investigative, protected
journalism there is hardly any real basis for anything like a free,
open and democratic society: If most of the news that people see is in
relations, the end of a free, open and democratic society is very
- In fact, for me it
seems as if most good newspapers are dead, certainly in Holland
(where especially the NRC-Handelsblad has made a spectacular dive into
stupidity and non-offensiveness since 2010: their main business seems
to be to bring Mercedes Benz's and Luis Vuitton's advertisements in
special packages to their quasi-intellectual audiences: it is not a
shadow from what it was in the 1980ies and 1990ies).
- If the diagnosis
in the previous point is too negative (it may be, and there still are a
few papers that struggle to get something like good editions out, but
with ever less real journalists, ever less real editors and ever less real money) I still do not see any major
- I also do not
know of any way to make a financially secure and good
journalistic enterprise that has several hundred thousands of paying
clients - and this is mainly a consequence from the average gifts of
average human beings: they do not see the need for good, objective,
cell phone tracking ruled unconstitutional in federal court
item is an article by Associated Press on The Guardian:
This is a bit of good
news, and it starts as follows:
obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to obtain cellphone tower
tracking data that is widely used as evidence to show suspects were in
the vicinity of a crime, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
A three-judge panel of
the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined people have an
expectation of privacy in their movements and that the cell tower data
was part of that. As such, obtaining the records without a search
warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable
searches and seizures, the judges ruled.
"While committing a crime
is certainly not within a legitimate expectation of privacy, if the
cell site location data could place him near those scenes, it could
place him near any other scene," the judges wrote. "There is a
reasonable privacy interest in being near the home of a lover, or a
dispensary of medication, or a place of worship, or a house of ill
Yes, indeed: quite
so. And not only that:
"The court soundly
repudiates the government's argument that merely by using a cellphone,
people somehow surrender their privacy rights," said ACLU attorney
Nathan Freed Wessler, who argued the case.
Again this is quite
good, and supports my case that the NSA is involved in the daily
billionfold illegitimate stealing of data that are, and
must be, fairly expected to be private by those who generate them.
So far, so good, but
the rest is less good:
Ultimately the issue will
likely have to be resolved by the Supreme Court.
There is more I could
have quoted, but this is sufficient, and for me this is not good:
The Supreme Court has shown itself to be in majority the Supreme Court
of the Rich and the Powerful, and these will want to survey anything
they technically can survey, regardless of any Bill of Rights and
regardless of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (that these days read almost like a
revolutionary document, yet is what the United Nations agreed
to in 1948, and rightly so).
Global Recession Has
"Led to 10,000 Suicides"
item is an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This starts as
U.K. researchers report
that the economic crisis in Europe and North America has contributed to
the suicides of more than 10,000 people.
The suicides, studied by
the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene &
Tropical Medicine, were in addition to the rate of suicide observed in
24 EU countries, the U.S. and Canada before the recession.
Actually, I am a bit
amazed there weren't more, simply because many millions have lost a
whole lot and/or have large debts (their money went to the richest and
the most powerful, for thus it has always worked and still
works, especially since Clinton deregulated
massively, it seems to be personally re-elected and then make his
There also is given a
quotation that is quite interesting:
[Dr Aaron Reeves of
University of Oxford] told the BBC: "There's a lot of good evidence
showing recessions lead to rising suicides, but what is surprising is
this hasn't happened everywhere - Austria, Sweden and Finland.
It shows policy
potentially matters. One of the features of these countries is they
invest in schemes that help people return to work, such as training,
advice and even subsidised wages.
I suppose the
predictable reaction of the American "journalistic" liars for the rich
(on Fox News etc.) is that these are - with enormous disdain -
"so-cia-list" states, which they say just as honestly as they might say
that Obama is a muslim born in Kenya.
But they are not "so-cia-list" states and indeed never were: they are capitalist
states that are not almost fully
deregulated, and thus there still is a chance for the poor
to rise, if not by their own efforts, then by a rise of society that is
turned back in a somewhat fair manner, namely to help the many
grow a bit less poor rather than to add millions to the few rich (who
4. 8 Reasons Some CEOs Make 331 Times As
Much As Their
item is an article by Dave Johnson on AlterNet:
This starts as follows,
with a paragraph of facts that show the effects of deregulation:
Here are some
depressing statistics: In 2013, CEOs of S&P 500 companies made 331
much as their employees. Your average American worker not in a
supervisory role made $35,239, while the average CEO made $11.7
million, according to the AFL-CIO Executive
Paywatch website. CEO pay has increased a
whopping 937 percent since 1978, according to a new report by
the Economic Policy Institute.
For me this is sick,
obscene, immoral greed, justified by absolutely nothing except sick, obscene, and immoral greed, and
no, I am not an opponent of unequal pay - but it is also true that (1) this goes
back a long time, and notably to Reagan and Clinton and (2) it has been
done, at least initially, rather carefully, and has since been plugged
by enormous amounts of propaganda and lies.
The propaganda and lies are discussed in the article,
that is good. I merely quote the eight points, and leave it to you
whether you want to read the full text:
deals that work against us.
of directors give big raises to CEOs and
pay cuts to others.
4. Privatization of
public services has forced millions into
8. Our government
won‚€™t help us.
However, since the
article is good, I will quote the text under the last point, that also
concludes the article:
Yes indeed: quite so.
Except that it is also the result of enormous amounts
of corporate propaganda, that convinced many of the less
gifted that they are each and all "independent consumers without any
responsibility or accountability", who get rewarded with branded
products if they behave well.
Here's the big one.
Democracies are more prosperous for regular citizens. When citizens
have a say, they say they want good jobs, good wages, benefits and
strong regulations that protect people and the environment from the
harm that unfettered corporations can and will do.
We used to supposedly be
in control of our government. Our government used to supposedly exist
for the benefit of We the People and We the People thrived as a result.
Now there is barely even a pretense of that. A recent
study concludes that we are no longer a democracy, but instead are
an oligarchy. (Even when we are able to organize and get the vote out
and elect politicians who campaign
on a promise
to do things like "renegotiate NAFTA" the promise disappears within
weeks of taking office.)
Now our government is
obstructed by a corporate-backed minority, prevented from doing things
that would help the incomes of ordinary Americans. Unemployment is kept
high in order to drive wages down. Tax rules are rigged to drive more
and more money to a few at the top. Trade deals that work against us
are put in place.
These things didn't just
happen. They were done to us. High pay at the top and low pay for the
rest of us isn't inevitable, it is the result of rigging the rules so
they work best for the wealthy.
For you can not steal the rights and freedoms of a truly
intelligent and highly educated society - but you can
steal the rights and freedoms of a stupid or stupefied widely propagandized society.
And that is what happened.
5. How NSA Can Secretly Aid Criminal Cases
item is an article by Ray McGovern on Consortiumnews:
This is a good article
that deserves that it is being all read. It starts as follows:
Indeed, that is what is
comes down to:
Rarely do you get a
chance to ask a just-retired FBI director whether he had "any legal
qualms" about what, in football, is called "illegal procedure,"
the Justice Department is called "parallel construction."
have given us this pleasant euphemism to describe the use of the
National Security Agency‚€™s illegal eavesdropping on Americans as an
investigative tool to pass on tips to law enforcement agencies
which then hide the source of the original suspicion and "construct" a
case using "parallel" evidence to prosecute the likes of you and me.
First, the secret illegal terrorists of the NSA steal your data, quite
illegally indeed, but yes they can do it, and "therefore"
they do do it, also quite regardless of anything
you may or may not have done; second, they pass whatever they may have
found - potsmoking, whoring, a fight with the neighbors, anything - on
to some law enforcement agency; and third, these other terrorist
assholes from the government then "construct" a case using "parallel" evidence to
the likes of you and me",
so as not to have to face questions of the judge about the real
nature of the evidence.
This has happened and is happening, and I speak of "terrorists" because
this is what the practice consists in: it is illegal
evidence used in illegal ways.
Besides: No one knows
all or most of the laws that he lives under, and there are very
many quite ridiculous laws in the US, which makes it very likely that
if you are a resident of the US you have broken some laws, without
knowing it; without knowing that this is known to the
terrorists of the NSA; who may have handed their knowledge to the FBI,
especially if you are a known opponent of the government; who then "construct a case" against you in which it is impossible for you
to know the real reasons and sources of your persecution. Behold
American Justice New Style!
Bottom line? Beware,
those of you who think you have "nothing to hide" when the NSA
up your personal information. You may think that the targets of these
searches are just potential "terrorists." But the FBI, Internal
Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and countless other law
enforcement bodies are dipping their cursors into the huge pool of mass
And, chances are that if
some of your scooped-up data gets shared with law enforcement and the
Feds conclude that you've violated some law, you'll never become
of how they got onto you in the first place. They'll just find some
"parallel" evidence to nail you.
O, and incidentally, for those who think this is very recent:
example, apparently has kept metadata about its customers, as well as
all other traffic going through its switches, for the past 27 years.
Here it is exposed once
Next, there is the
question why the originally good proposed Sensenbrenner law proposal
got remade into something that protects the NSA:
Here's how it
works: NSA's domestic surveillance though supposedly
to detecting terrorism gets wind of some potentially illegal
unrelated to terrorism. So, NSA passes the information on to the
relevant law enforcement agency. It could be a vehicle transporting
illegal drugs or a transfer of suspicious funds or pretty much anything.
This evidence then sparks
an investigation, but the original information can't be used
legally because it was acquired illegally for "national security"
purposes. After the tip, "parallel" law enforcement techniques are
introduced to collect other evidence and arrest and charge the
The arrest is made to
appear the splendid result of traditional detective techniques.
However, if the court learns of the initial shenanigans, the defendant
may be released because her/his constitutional rights were violated.
To avoid that
possibility, the government simply perjures itself during the court
discovery process by concealing the key role played by the NSA
database, exculpatory evidence that could weaken or destroy the
Yes, indeed: it seems
likely to me this is what has happened, although we very
probably will never know it. After all, all it takes is a brief
anonymous e-mail of the form (one of several): "Hi, you remember Sisi?
She certainly remembers you and how hard you were. Would you like your
wife and the people to know how much you enjoyed her? And in which
ways? Please be kind to the NSA. Bye."
Let me be politically
incorrect and mention the possibility of blackmail or at least the fear
among some politicians that the NSA has collected information on their
personal activities that could be transformed into a devastating
scandal if leaked at the right moment.
Do not blanch before the
likelihood that the NSA has the book on each and every member of
Congress, including extramarital affairs and political
deal-making. We know that NSA has collected such information on
foreign diplomats, including at the United Nations in New York, to
influence votes on the Iraq War and other issues important to U.S.
I have not been making
this up, nor has Ray McGovern. There is rather a lot more under the
last dotted link, and it is all quite good, though it will only make
you happy if you are very rich or a keen supporter of the US government.
We cannot escape some
pretty dismal conclusions here. Not only have the Executive
and Legislative branches been corrupted by establishing, funding,
hiding and promoting unconstitutional surveillance programs for over 12
years, but the Judicial branch has been corrupted, too.
The discovery process in
criminal cases is now stacked in favor of the government through its
devious means for hiding unconstitutional surveillance and using
it in ways beyond the narrow declared purpose of thwarting terrorism.
Moreover, federal courts
at the district, appeals and Supreme Court levels have allowed the
government to evade legal accountability by insisting that plaintiffs
must be able to prove what often is not provable, that they were
surveilled through highly secretive NSA means. And, if the plaintiffs
make too much progress, the government can always get a lawsuit thrown
out by invoking "state secrets."
The Separation of Powers
designed by the Constitution's Framers to prevent
excessive accumulation of power by one of the branches has stopped
functioning amid the modern concept of "permanent war" and the
unwillingness of all but a few hearty souls to challenge the invocation
of "national security." Plus, the corporate-owned U.S. media, with
few exceptions, is fully complicit.
6. We anti-war protesters were right: the Iraq
invasion has led to bloody chaos
item is an article by Owen Jones on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Yes, quite so. There is
I have encountered no
sense of vindication, no "I told you so", among veterans of the anti-war
protest of 15 February 2003 in response to the events in Iraq.
Despair, yes, but above all else, bitterness that we were unable to
stop one of the greatest calamities of modern times, that warnings
which were dismissed as hyperbole now look like understatements, that
countless lives (literally no one counts them) have been lost, and
will continue to be so for many years to come.
In July 2002, the Guardian warned that Britain was "sleepwalking to war".
Blair's commitment to invade come what may "which the Chilcot inquiry (when it is finally published) will
either confirm or whitewash" is now established. By September
2002, the inevitability had sunk in. In the first demonstration,
hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in London on 27
September, me and my grandfather among them, full of
and foreboding. Three weeks earlier, Amr Moussa, then-secretary general
of the Arab League, warned that the Iraq war would "open the gates of hell".
In a way,
opponents of the war were wrong. We were wrong because however
disastrous we thought the consequences of the Iraq war, the reality has
been worse. The US massacres in Fallujah in the immediate aftermath of
the war, which helped radicalise the Sunni population, culminating in
an assault on the city with white phosphorus. The beheadings, the
kidnappings and hostage videos, the car bombs, the IEDs, the Sunni and
Shia insurgencies, the torture declared
by the UN in 2006 to be worse than that under Saddam Hussein, the
bodies with their hands and feet bound and dumped in rivers, the
escalating sectarian slaughter, the millions of displaced civilians,
and the hundreds of thousands who died: it has been one never-ending
blur of horror since 2003.
Again yes. And presently
there is ISIS, black clad hooded reinstitutionalizers of public
crucifixions, that have taken over one third of Iraq. All I can say
that it will be even worse before there is a hope that it will get
better, for too much that is essential for even a mere halfway
democracy has been destroyed, mostly intentionally so, and by the USA.
7. The Three Biggest Right-Wing Lies About Poverty
item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
And here are the lies,
but without the explanatory texts:
Rather than confront
poverty by extending jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed,
endorsing a higher minimum wage, or supporting jobs programs,
conservative Republicans are taking a different tack.
They're peddling three big
lies about poverty.
#1: Economic growth reduces poverty.
These certainly are not
the only lies, and maybe not even the most important lies, but they all
three have a feature in common that indeed does make them lies, that
also are difficult to argue against: They all miss an IF.
#2: Jobs reduce poverty.
#3: Ambition cures poverty.
I do not know whether Reich missed it, for he explains things
otherwise, but he may have, for here is the ending of his piece, that I
So why do so many
right-wing Republicans tell these three lies? Because they make it
almost impossible to focus on what the poor really need are good-paying
jobs, adequate safety nets, and excellent schools.
These things cost money.
Lies are cheaper.
Now to the three IFs:
growth reduces poverty - IF the growth is distributed fairly.
reduce poverty - IF the jobs pay enough.
cures poverty - IF everyone got free and good education that suits his
or her talents.
None of the IFs is even remotely true, and none is
true because especially the GOP has taken care that they are not even remotely true: Republicans have
assured there is no redistribution of wealth where they can help it;
they have been for minimizing all wages; and they have been against all
good public education.
And then they use lies like the present three, to do more of the same.
NSA Executive: NSA Started Spying On Journalists in 2002
item is an article by Washington's Blog, with a three-line title that I
repeat once, because it does summarize the article well (but I don't
like long headlines, nearly always):
Here is the main part of
the article - and Thomas Drake
is an ex-NSA member, who nearly got
prosecuted by them, and whose story and difficulties inspired Edward
Snowden to do it his own way:
Which explains why there
are fewer and fewer real journalists, and more and more mock
"journalists", who only relay what the government consents with and
Part of what I discovered is that part of the surveillance system, part
of the Stellar Wind system - and that's an umbrella term in itself -
there were offshoots of that.
It grew like a cancer on the body politic.
One of the things that
was done was [along the lines of]: ‚€œYou know what? We've got to
make sure (because they were paranoid) we've got to make
that this stuff doesn't get out - oh yeah, the press. Let's
violate the Fourth Amendment and just monitor the press.
The whole story of that
has not come out.
There was a program
called "First Fruits". They've no doubt changed the name of the
And that First Fruits
program was a cutout which was designed from all of the
domestic surveillance take. Let's just pipe off from all that
involving designated [reporters] or in some cases whole groups
of reporters and journalists.
So you're targeting
actual newspapers. You're targeting media outlets.
And you're monitoring
"on a persistent basis" their communications.
BLOG: How early did that start?
The preliminary version of that - as far as an active program - was
P.S. Jun 16, 2014: Well... I've just restored or
corrected quite a number of double and single quote marks (" and ')
that somehow were replaced by three strange marks in this post. I do
not know what was the cause of that and I also find it strange I didn't
see this before.
 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: