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. ISPs take GCHQ to court in UK over mass
2. Freedom, Power, and the
3. Panel: NSA Bulk Spying
4. The Great Exception
5. "Free Trade" Champions
Betray Us All
This is the Nederlog of July
3. It is an ordinary crisis log.
1. ISPs take GCHQ to court in UK over mass
item is an article by Owen Bowcott on The Guardian:
This article starts as
I obviously agree with
the complaints by the internet service providers, but should also say
that I do not trust a supposed "court" - the IPT, and in these
post-postmodern days things are often not what they are called
- that does "[m]ost of its
hearings are held at least partly in secret": That is not real justice, but only a mock up
providers from around the world are lodging formal complaints against
the UK government's monitoring service, GCHQ, alleging it uses
malicious software to break into their networks.
The claims from seven
organisations based in six countries – Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, the UK,
the US and Zimbabwe – will add to
international pressure on the government after Edward Snowden's
revelations about mass surveillance of the
internet by UK and US intelligence agencies.
The claims are being
filed with the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT), the court in London
that assesses complaints about the agencies' activities and misuse of
surveillance by government organisations. Most of its hearings are held
at least partly in secret.
Then again, I do not know whether there is any other and more real
court in Great Britain where the complaints also could be filed - and
mind: the secrecy only serves the GCHQ, for the internet
providers only have public data.
There also is this:
That seems to me to be
all correct. There is quite a lot more in the article, including
quotations from spokespersons of the different providers.
The complaint alleges
that the attacks were a breach of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and an
interference with the privacy rights of the
employees under the European convention on human rights.
targeted, the submission states, were all "responsible and professional
internet service providers".
The claimants are: the
Chaos Computer Club in Germany; Greenhost in the Netherlands; Jinbonet
in South Korea; GreenNet in the UK; Riseup Networks and May
First/People Link in the US; and Mango Email Service in Zimbabwe.
Their complaint follows
articles about mass surveillance in the Guardian based on material
released by Snowden.
Power, and the Conservative Mind
item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
On Monday the Supreme
down a key part of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that
privately-owned corporations don’t have to offer their employees
contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the corporate owners’
The owners of Hobby
Lobby, the plaintiffs in the case, were always free to practice their
religion. The Court bestowed religious freedom on their corporation as
well – a leap of logic as absurd as giving corporations freedom of
speech. Corporations aren’t people.
The deeper problem is the
Court’s obliviousness to the growing imbalance of economic power
between corporations and real people. By giving companies the right not
[to - MM] offer employees contraceptive services otherwise mandated by
law, the Court ignored the rights of employees to receive those
Yes, indeed - although
I doubt the majority of the Supreme Coirt suffers from "obliviousness" (lack of awareness,
forgetfulness): The majority is quite consistent in serving corporate
powers over people's power, and indeed made corporations "persons",
which was not "oblivious", and in fact pretty insane. (I am sorry, but
it was, that is, if it wasn't intentionally evil. See William Hazlitt, "On corporate bodies".)
Reich also says:
Freedom is the one value
conservatives place above all others, yet time and again their ideal of
freedom ignores the growing imbalance of power in our society that’s
eroding the freedoms of most people.
Which means that they abuse the concept: When
conservatives and libertarians cry for "freedom" they mean: Freedom for
the rich to trample the rights of the poor; freedom of the strong, to
do what they want; freedom of the mean and the cruel to be mean and
cruel without sanction; freedom of the greedy to be as greedy as they
What they do not
mean is: Freedom as a contractual obligation between several opposed
parties to only have part of what each opposed party wants.
And Reich also says:
But the conservative mind
has never incorporated economic power into its understanding of
freedom. Conservatives still champion “free enterprise” and equate the
so-called “free market” with liberty. To them, government “intrusions”
on the market threaten freedom.
Yet the “free market”
doesn’t exist in nature. There, only the fittest and strongest survive.
The “free market” is the product of laws and rules continuously
emanating from legislatures, executive departments, and
courts. Government doesn’t “intrude” on the free market. It
defines and organizes (and often reorganizes) it.
I completely agree
with the second paragraph: I have been saying so for thirty years
at least. There is no "free market" without rules, regulations, and
laws, and indeed without
rules, regulations, and laws there is only a fight with no holds barred.
But I disagree with
the first paragraph: I think conservatives know quite well what they
are doing and saying, and when they plead for "freedom" and "free
markets" what they mean, but indeed do not say, is the
freedom of the rich to exploit the poor with no or as little regulation
as is possible, so that the exploitation is maximal. That is, it is all
and this was so from the beginning, and from long ago. (Slavery also
was defended as a freedom, namely from the strong to exploit and
enslave the weak: "Free market! Our hallowed freedom!")
Then again, Reich is
clear enough about the real meaning of "free market":
The so-called “free
market” is not expanding options and opportunities for most people.
It’s extending them for the few who are wealthy enough to influence how
the market is organized.
Precisely! And those
calling for "freedom" and "free markets" know this very well, for it
has been very profitable for decades now, for their kind of
wealthy liars: Their "freedom" is the freedom of the few wealthy to
exploit the many poor as they please.
NSA Bulk Spying Edges 'Constitutional
is an article
by Jon Queally on the PCLOB report, that I yesterday stopped reviewing
as presented by Spencer Ackerman on The Guardian, who repeated without any
evidence that the PCLOB is "independent", which it clearly is not. This
report also does it, but is a bit better:
It starts as follows:
A government panel tasked
to examine how a controversial program of the National Security Agency
is executed has determined the Section 702 program has been "effective"
in improving aspects of "national security," but that the manner in
which it performs its unwarranted and bulk collection of telephone and
digital communications place it on the very edge of "constitutional
The draft report is
informative but flawed, say critics of its methods and finding, in that
it takes too many of the government's own questionable claims and legal
assumptions as it starting point, without a deeper and more adversarial
examination of how the bulk data being collected by the agency is being
gathered in the first place.
As to the first paragraph:
Yes, it is a "government panel". Because it is a government panel
it is not "independent": The US government breaks the law
billions of times a day, which it lets the NSA do, which it protects.
The first paragraph otherwise seems manipulative trash: The program has
not been "effective": it has been ineffective. And
bulk collection is not "on
the very edge" of "constitutional unreasonableness": It is way
beyond it. But OK... this is how Obama speaks, and these "independent"
guys and gals are his spokespersons that he appointed, so he got what
As to the second paragraph:
I agree with the critics.
But then this sick,
degenerate "ironic" lying is again endorsed:
The PCLOB is an
independent oversight agency of
the government (...)
The government does
the breaking of the law; the government organized and finances
the spying on all Americans and everybody else; the government
is led by Obama; everything Obama has done and said supports the
illegal spies; and Obama has personally appointed the members of the
PCLOB .... how can an "oversight
agency of the government" possibly be "independent"?!
Yes, they say they
are; yes, Wikipedia says they are but no evidence of any
kind is provided, and they are an "oversight agency of the government" - and "All governments lie and nothing they
say should be believed", as I.F.
Stone said, quite correctly.
But at least Queally quotes
Cindy Cohn, legal director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the
PCLOB falls well short of what is required in terms of oversight and
holding the NSA and other government agencies accountable. "The board
focuses only on the government’s methods for searching and filtering
out unwanted information," she
notes in a blog post on the group's website. "This ignores the fact
that the government is collecting and searching through the content of
millions of emails, social networking posts, and other Internet
communications, steps that occur before the PCLOB analysis starts.
Yes. The PCLOB simply
is a quasi-"independent" governmental agency paid to lie and
mislead, and that is what they do, quite well also.
This report ends with
more by Cohn:
The PCLOB's proposed
reforms for Section 702 are an anemic set of recommendations that will
do little to stop excessive surveillance. For example, rather
than rein in government communications searches, the PCLOB simply asks
the NSA to study the issue.
The PCLOB report provides
the public with much needed information about how the 702 program
works. But the legal analysis is incorrect and the report fails to
offer effective reforms. The government's collection and search of
Americans' communications without a warrant or individually approved
court order is barred by the Constitution and must be stopped. We look
forward to continuing such arguments in Jewel v. NSA, our
ongoing case against the NSA's mass spying programs.
Yes. And governmental
agencies are not "independent", except if you speak Obama's
supremely ironic and intentionally very misleading rhetorical English.
Exception (That Wasn't)
item is an article
by Tom Engelhardt, that I found on Common Dreams:
This starts as
It goes without
saying that the honchos of the national security state weren’t exactly
happy with Edward Snowden’s NSA
revelations. Still, over the last year, the comments of such figures, politicians associated with them, and retirees from their world clearly
channeling their feelings have had a striking quality: over-the-top
vituperation. About the nicest thing anyone in that crew has had
to say about Snowden is that he’s a
“traitor” or -- shades of the Cold War era (and of
absurdity, since the State Department trapped him in the transit lounge of a Moscow
airport by taking his passport away) -- a “Russian spy.” And that’s the mild stuff.
Yes indeed. What is the
explanation of this vituperation? Engelhardt has one:
Here's mine: the
NSA’s goal in creating a global surveillance state was either utopian
or dystopian (depending on your point of view), but in either case,
breathtakingly totalistic. Its top officials meant to sweep up
every electronic or online way one human being can communicate with
others, and to develop the capability to surveil and track every
inhabitant of the planet. From German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to peasants with cell phones
in the backlands of Afghanistan (not to speak of
American citizens anywhere), no one was to be off the hook.
Conceptually, there would be no exceptions. And the remarkable
thing is how close the agency came to achieving this.
Again: Yes indeed. There
is considerably more, but Engelhardt does - in this piece - not
pose the next question: What is the end of collecting all
information anyone puts on line or has on his or her computer?
Here is my answer: Total power, for the very few who run the US
government - for they know - in principle - everything anyone
knows, believes or wishes (and this includes very many trade
secrets). And please note that this set-up was conceived already in 1968, but got implemented only
from 2007 onwards, by the NSA.
5. "Free Trade" Champions Betray Us All
item is an article
by Jim Goodman on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows,
under a photograph of a large poster that says
Trade is Corporate Tyranny
That seems accurate
enough to me, and here is the start:
Say No to WTO
Congressman Ron Kind has apparently never met a free trade agreement he
didn't like. Note it is always a “free trade” agreement, never a “fair
Indeed, and that is a
good opposition: "free trade" vs. "fair trade" - and indeed these two
are opposed: In the former there are no rules and the winner
takes all; in the second there is some balancing of interests (which
may not work out, but at least this is attempted).
Free trade defines an
agreement that has as a first (and sometimes only) priority, the best
interests of corporations namely, their profits. At what expense those
profits are taken is apparently of little concern to the trade
negotiators and in particular the corporate representatives that are
active participants in the otherwise secretive Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
Fair trade on the other
hand would put the interests of people and the environment ahead of
corporate profit. Fair trade would protect jobs rather than off-shoring
them as has historically happened after passage of all free trade
Anyway - this is a good article on the supposed (but false) benefits of
"free trade" and the TPP and the TISA, by an American farmer.
6. me+M.E. and my eyes
Finally for today a brief update on the state of my M.E. and the state
of my eyes.
are still painful, but also are still improving, which they are doing
now for 1 1/2 years, by some 2.5% a month, I calculated. I still need
an adjusted computer and I still need to drip every few hours, but it
really feels rather a lot better, or at least: rather a lot less bad,
than it did 2 years ago, when almost all I could do was lie in bed in
And my M.E. also is
getting less, also slowly, but I have done quite a lot the last year or
so - relatively speaking, that is: relative to my lack of health -
simply because I could, and I could not in any of the
earlier years this century. (Thus, I have now sorted 11 boxes of papers
I had standing since 2006, and simply could not sort: Big advance!)
Also, I am still using and will probably be doing so this whole month,
the protocol I outlined on June 21, 2014:
This does seem to help, and also I could not increase
the doses - it has turned out this year - significantly for more than a
few weeks at most without getting trouble, whereas the protocol that I
outlined and am using now I can do pretty well for a long time
(several months), it has been shown.
Incidentally, since I am being read by people with M.E.:
I am telling it as I experience it, and I have outlined what I use and
how much that costs. I also should say this is - for me, and I have an
excellent M.A. in psychology - experimental and speculative,
and I am doing it only because I am ill 36 years now
with M.E., according to my doctors (and myself), and this is about the only
thing that really helped, that is, apart from other large doses of
vitamins, in the middle eighties, that also helped me considerably, but
the good that did was totally ruined by nearly four years of
insufficient sleep, because I was forced to live above illegal
drugsdealers who were protected by Amsterdam's mayors, aldermen,
policemen, district attorneys and bureaucrats (and indeed the
drugsmafia make insane amounts of profit and have been
protected ever since by the same men and women, who do not do this for
Also, I am going to cycle this afternoon, and I will be trying to get
some E-vitamins and B-vitamins that I will add to the protocol, because
these did help me, and considerably so, in the middle eighties. I will
write about this in Nederlog when I have done this.
Finally, to indicate how sick I was all of this century: I have a
bicycle now, which I am going to use again this afternoon, but I could not
do this for any of the years since 2000 and until the end of
2013. I still can't cycle much longer than an hour, but at least that
is better than I could do for some 14 years. And two of the other
things that disappeared, that plagued me for decades: I have
far less muscle-aches during the day, and I do not sweat anymore as I
did before (which meant I could make 6 shirts almost totally wet in
three quarters of an hour).
 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: