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."
Snowden urges professionals to encrypt client
2. NBC News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After
Witnessing Israeli Attack on
3. Big Banks Hit With
Monster $250 Billion
Assange Not Freed: 5 Issues to Consider
5. Capitalism's Deeper
6. Technology Displacing
Jobs: The European Case
This is the Nederlog of
18. It is an ordinary crisis log.
1. Edward Snowden urges professionals to encrypt client
item is an article by Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill on The
This starts as follows
(and in fact is based on seven hours of interview that are to be
published today, but that I haven't seen yet: probably tomorrow):
I agree, but I understand
the patchiness: First, it is not easy to do. Second, at least
in the variant of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) that I tried, your partners
must have it installed as well.
The NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden,
has urged lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants,
priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade
security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations.
professionals were failing in their obligations to their clients,
sources, patients and parishioners in what he described as a new and
"What last year's
revelations showed us was irrefutable evidence that unencrypted
communications on the internet are no longer
safe. Any communications should be encrypted by default," he said.
The response of
professional bodies has so far been patchy.
Also, I am on Linux, since well over 2 years, and indeed hardly ever
touch MS Windows, and Linux is in various ways better than Windows, and
should have this installed as a matter of course - but it hasn't. And
while installing PGP on Thunderbird worked it took a fair amount of
trouble to get that far, and then all of the Thunderbird I had
relied on, which was html-based, completely disappeared: PGP
took over everything, is only text-based, and that was that: I got no
choice on what I wanted (as I initially thought I should get, but no) -
and I also do not know anyone who also has it assembled and working, so
I could not even try it.
So I deinstalled it again, so as to have a somewhat working Thunderbird
back, but that also took considerable trouble. In any case, since I can
program in five languages, it should have been easy for me, but
it wasn't, although this probably also is related to the very
scanty help that came with my installation (which is par for the
course, by the way: it seems very few good programmers also can write
My own opinion is in fact that e-mail encryption and internet browsing
also should be done as a matter of course by one's provider -
but since "xs4all" is my provider, which is in fact the Dutch Telecom
KPN abusing the name, which they bought some 15 years ago, and which I
found consistently horrible, I gave up on them, and will not mail them
unless I absolutely have to, if my computer stops working. (Why no
other provider? It seems they are all bad in Holland.)
I will try to set up encrypted mail again, since I got other means
recently, but one really important problem will remain, I fear: Most
others will not have done so, simply because it is too
technical. (And I also need a decently working e-mail for those who did
not set up encryption.)
Snowden also said something else that is quite important:
Yes indeed. This is
simply true. It is also true there isn't that much real journalism
left, but this makes it even harder.
"An unfortunate side
effect of the development of all these new surveillance technologies is
that the work of journalism has become immeasurably harder than it ever
has been in the past," Snowden said.
"Journalists have to be
particularly conscious about any sort of network signalling, any sort
of connection, any sort of licence-plate reading device that they pass
on their way to a meeting point, any place they use their credit card,
any place they take their phone, any email contact they have
with the source because that very first contact, before encrypted
communications are established, is enough to give it all away."
And here is Michelle Stanistreet on the same subject:
Yes. There is
considerably more in the article, which I leave to my readers.
Michelle Stanistreet, the
National Union of Journalists general secretary, echoed the concerns.
"For democracy to function, it needs to have a free press and
journalists who are able to do their job without fear or hindrance. But
this is becoming increasingly under threat."
She added: "Last year's
revelations show that unencrypted communications can mean that
journalists may be unwittingly handing over their contacts, footage or
material, against their will."
News Pulls Veteran Reporter from Gaza After Witnessing Israeli Attack
item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as
the NBC News correspondent who personally witnessed yesterday’s killing
by Israel of four Palestinian boys on a Gazan beach and who has received
widespread praise for his brave and innovative coverage of the
conflict, has been told by NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately.
According to an NBC source upset at his treatment, the executives
claimed the decision was motivated by “security concerns” as Israel
prepares a ground invasion, a claim repeated to me by an NBC executive.
But late yesterday, NBC sent another correspondent, Richard Engel,
along with an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks
no Arabic, into Gaza to cover the ongoing Israeli assault (both
Mohyeldin and Engel speak Arabic).
Further down, Glenn
NBC employees, including some of the network’s highest-profile stars,
were at first confused and then indignant over the use of Engel rather
than Mohyeldin to report the story. But what they did not know, and
what has not been reported until now, is that Mohyeldin was removed
completely from reporting on Gaza by a top NBC executive, David Verdi,
who ordered Mohyeldin to leave Gaza immediately.
How one adult can order
some other adult - neither being military or police - "to leave Gaza immediately" sounds a bit strange to me, though I
am willing to believe it.
What was Mohyeldin's
crime or shortcoming? I must suppose he was too friendly or too shocked
about the killed Palestinian boys, and he also may have been too
factually correct, for the standard US media pose is strongly
pro-Israel (which they also tend to confuse with pro-Netanyahu).
Banks Hit With Monster $250 Billion Lawsuit in Housing Crisis
item is an article by Ellen Brown on Truthdig (and originally on Web of
This starts as
follows, with what I regard as good news:
For years, homeowners
have been battling Wall Street in an attempt to recover some portion of
their massive losses from the housing Ponzi scheme. But progress has
been slow, as they have been outgunned and out-spent by the banking
In June, however, the
banks may have met their match, as some equally powerful titans strode
onto the stage. Investors led by BlackRock, the world’s largest
asset manager, and PIMCO, the world’s largest bond-fund manager, have
sued some of the world’s largest banks for breach of fiduciary duty as
trustees of their investment funds. The investors are seeking damages
for losses surpassing $250 billion. That is the equivalent of one
million homeowners with $250,000 in damages suing at one time.
The defendants are the
so-called trust banks that oversee payments and enforce terms on more
than $2 trillion in residential mortgage securities. They include units
of Deutsche Bank AG, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC Holdings
PLC, and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Six nearly identical complaints
charge the trust banks with breach of their duty to force lenders and
sponsors of the mortgage-backed securities to repurchase defective
There is considerably
more there, over two pages, that all seems good to me. She ends like so:
Will the BlackRock/PIMCO
suit help homeowners? Not directly. But it will get some
big guns on the scene, with the ability to do all sorts of discovery,
and the staff to deal with the results.
Fraud is grounds for
rescission, restitution and punitive damages. The homeowners may
not have been parties to the pooling and servicing agreements governing
the investor trusts, but if the whole business model is proven to be
fraudulent, they could still make a case for damages.
In the end, however, it
may be the titans themselves who take each other down, clearing the way
for a new phoenix to rise from the ashes.
And indeed the
business model was fraudulent, and started with Bush Jr. who said that
he wanted to give everybody his own house, and that he also would
provide the money to buy one - which he did, knowing full well that
nearly everyone who accepted such a loan to buy a house while having no
reserves (very many, in fact) would loose both his money and his house,
as indeed they did.
Anyway - I am curious
about the outcome, though I realize this probably will be a long fight.
Assange Not Freed: 5 Issues to Consider
item is an article
by Christian Christensen (an American who is professor of journalism in
Sweden) on Common Dreams:
This starts as
follows - and note the second paragraph:
district court has ruled that the case against WikiLeaks founder Julian
Assange will not be dropped, and that the outstanding arrest warrant
against him still stands.
I like the second
paragraph. I do not know much about Christensen, but that seems the
correct sort of approach. As to the first paragraph: it's a pity, but
it was to be expected.
made it a point in my writing about WikiLeaks over the
past four years to avoid superficial, uninformed pop-legal anaylses of
the Swedish case, as well as superficial, uninformed pop-psychological
analyses of Assange and others involved in the matter. There have been
far too many of those already—by Assange/WikiLeaks opponents and
supporters alike—emerging via what
I have described as a “social media whirlpool of bullshit, innuendo
and de-contextualized half-truths.” My primary interest is in WikiLeaks
as an organization and political actor, not in the Assange personality per se.
Christensen discusses five points and seems to do so well. I will not
quote them, but I do lift two of his points. First, there is this:
I see WikiLeaks as
the pre-cursor to Snowden: WikiLeaks set the stage, at least, for what
Snowden did. Now, Manning is facing 35 years in jail, Snowden is in
Russia and Assange fears extradition. What all three have in common is
the issue of exposing various abuses of power, and how those exposures
have been now addressed by those who wish to silence them via the use
(or threatened use) of the law.
I agree - and the
sketched situation is not one of strength, but of weakness. It would be
nice it it were different, but it isn't. Second, there is this:
One of the major
issues that came out today was Assange’s fear of extradition to the US
and/or indictment. This fear has been treated with disdain by a number
of commentators. Whatever your feelings about the case against Assange
in Sweden, I find myself surprised by the level of trust placed in the
US government by people who deride Assange for this fear. I consider
myself to be far from a tin-foil hatted conspiracy nut, but, honestly,
how much does the US have to do before people will realize that the
rule of law and ethics are not barriers for the US? Gitmo, rendition,
drones…you name it. Assange might be wrong. But he might also be right,
regardless of the case in Sweden. Blowing off that possibility seems,
at least to me, short-sighted.
Yes, I agree, although I
doubt (in quite a few cases, at least) that they have a "level of trust placed in the US government":
I think they just don't care very much for the rights of (other)
persons, and/or seem to think very lightly about being abused
by "security persons" or about what one's life is like if one has to go
to prison for five, ten or twenty years.
5. Capitalism's Deeper Problem
item is an article by Richard Wolff
(<-Wikipedia) on Common Dreams:
In fact, the Wikipedia link to Wolff's name is there
because I looked him up earlier, after seeing an interview with him by
Abby Martin, on Breaking
the set, in
which he made a good impression on me. He
turned out to be a fairly prominent American economist of Marxian
beliefs, and indeed one who, unlike most I have heard, is intelligent. 
Anyway - this starts as follows:
reports refer to troubling price increases for such assets as real
estate, government bonds, companies targeted for acquisition and
artwork. A New York Times front-page headline read “The Everything Boom, or Maybe the Everything Bubble.”
Yes, quite so: I agree. Wolff
also offers an explanation, which he says started in the 1970ies,
Yet while asset prices soar,
the production of goods and services, employment and workers’ incomes
are not recovering and resuming growth. Instead, Western Europe, North
America and Japan are stuck in a longer, deeper crisis than almost
anyone expected. Millions have left the labor force. Wages, benefits
and job security are declining; the so-called “middle classes” are
evaporating. Having promised “recoveries,” desperate governments inject
massive new quantities of money into their economies. What they
accomplish most are fast-rising asset prices.
capitalists seeking to relocate to the former colonial territories
encountered there local partners eager to make and profit from deals
with them. Hundreds of millions of new, much cheaper workers thereby
became available to old-center capitalist employers. Globalization
meant above all a sudden increase in the global supply of labor power,
yielding an historically unprecedented buyers’ market for labor.
This in turn meant that
by "relocating production
facilities" in the third
world, they not only "drastically
cut labor costs": They also
destroyed the economical basis of rich consumers, and slowly but surely
destroyed the middle class.
By relocating production
facilities out of their old centers, capitalists drastically cut labor
costs. They could escape the higher real wages and welfare state
services won by generations of old-center workers. The profit
possibilities were stupendous. Competition from those who first
successfully relocated then forced even reluctant old-center
capitalists to follow.
I think that also is correct, at least in principle and in general
terms, but unfortunately he doesn't have much more, except a question
where the extremes produced by global capitalism may be leading to.
Displacing Jobs: The European Case
item for today is an article by Jeremy Bowles on Naked Capitalism:
This starts as follows, in the words of Yves Smith (who
edits Naked Capitalism):
enthusiasts predict that as many as 47% of current jobs will be
displaced in the next decade. Candidates include not only trucking and
bus driving (to be eliminated by self-driving vehicles) but more and
more white collar work, as computer get better at the sort of
information scanning and analysis that is now done by entry and
low-level workers. This post examines different scenarios for how that
might play out in Europe.
Actually, I will leave
it there as well, for while I read the paper, I found it hard to follow
and it also is written in academic English, that also is quite vague.
In any case, the above statement - "that as many as 47% of current jobs will be displaced in the
next decade" - may have the
percentage wrong, but it is right in suggesting that there will
probably be a lot fewer decently paying jobs for the majority
of the less well educated, and that this also will effect the better
educated, since in consequence there will be a lot less income, money
 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.)
My parents were Marxists; and my one grandfather was a Marxist and the
other an anarchist; and I also considered myself a marxist until I was
20, but then gave it up, for quite good reasons also. But I know there
are intelligent and sincere marxists, and these I respect - my main
problem with nearly all of the "marxists" I have known (rather
a great lot, in Holland, England and Norway, though mostly in the
sixties to the eighties of the previous century) is that they are not
intelligent, do know very little of Marx, in spite of their
praise, and are certainly not sincere either. See my Budeier-letter for an informed
criticism of conventional marxists in the mid-seventies.
(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: