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."
in the Israeli Attack on Gaza
2. Is the internet now just
one big human experiment?
3. WikiLeaks reveals
Australian gagging order over political
rich want us to believe their wealth is good for us all
Release of CIA Torture Report, Senators
Threaten Use of Special Rule
6. OUR TOTALITARIAN FUTURE
– PART ONE
7. Tiny Gaza Visualized Shows There’s Nowhere
This is the Nederlog of
July 30. It is a crisis log. (And I did repair the table at
the end: This got skewered 2 days ago.)
Terrorism in the Israeli Attack on Gaza
item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
As I’ve written many
“terrorism” is, and from
the start was designed to be, almost entirely devoid of discernible
meaning. It’s a fear-mongering slogan, lacking any consistent
application, intended to end rational debate and justify virtually any
conduct by those who apply the term. But to the extent it means
anything beyond that, it typically refers to the killing of civilians
as a means of furthering political or military goals.
Yes, and indeed this
also agrees with my definition of terrorism,
which incidentally is from August 16, 2004, and hardly different in
later editions (that concerned the form rather than the contents).
But there are two supplementary remarks that should be made. First,
while very many religious and political groups have been acting as
terrorists - defined by me as: Attempt to get one's way in
politics or religion by violence and murder - these groups and their
supporters do not call it "terrorism", but "freedom fighting" or some
such name. Second, by far the most terrorism is state
terrorism, that is, it is committed by military men, policemen or
secret service men from some state. Incidentally, these definitions are
mostly value free: some sort of terror - though the perpetrators almost
never call it that - may be justified in some sense.
Next, Greenwald displays two graphics, that contain the following
(1) Until July 29 and since July 8, 53 Israeli soldiers and 3 civilians
(2) Until July 29 and since July
8, 826 Palestinian civilians and 275 "militants"
I quoted "militants" because it was quoted. That is, just looking at
persons, 56 Israelis died and 1101 Palestians died, which amounts to
about 1 Israeli killed to 20 Palestinians killed.
Here is Greenwald's concluding paragraph:
In American media
discourse, when Palestinians overwhelmingly kill soldiers (95% of the
Israeli death toll) who are part of an army that is blockading,
occupying, invading, and indiscriminately bombing them and killing
their children by the hundreds, that is “terrorism”; when Israelis use
massive, brutal force against a trapped civilian population,
overwhelmingly killing innocent men, women and children (at least 75%
of the Palestinian death toll), with clear intentions to kill civilians
point 3), that is noble “self-defense.” That demonstrates how
skewed U.S. discourse is in favor of Israel, as well as the purely
manipulative, propagandistic nature of the term “terrorists.”
Yes, indeed. For more on
this, see item 7 below.
the internet now just one big human experiment?
item is an article by Dan Gillmor on The Guardian:
This starts as
If you thought the
internet industry was chastened by the publicfirestorm
after Facebook revealed it had manipulated the news feeds of its own
users to affect their emotions, think again: OKCupid.com, the dating
site, is now bragging that it deliberately
arranged matches between people whom its algorithms determined were
not compatible – just to get data on how well the
site was working.
In a Monday blog post
entitled – I’m not making this up – “We
Experiment On Human Beings!” the site’s co-founder, Christian
Rudder, essentially told us to face the facts of our modern world ...
at least as he sees them:
everybody: if you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of
experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work.
I say. Mr. Rudder
sounds like a contented mafia boss: "Everybody shoots his opponents to
get their own way - what could conceivably be wrong with that?!"
To start with, my
websites do not work like that, and indeed I think the great
majority of non-corporate websites do not work like that. Also,
any experiments done with my two sites, if any, are done behind my back
and without my consent.
In fact, it's mainly corporate
websites that are out to make money from their customers that
may work like that, but I am willing to grant that these far more often
"experiment with" - mostly: deceive - their customers, simply to
increase their profits, than they let on ("every site"), and they do so because they can and because they
expect to increase their profits that way.
Towards the end of
the article, there is this:
In the way they operate,
the internet companies hold almost all the cards, and their users hold
almost none. We – members of the public and academics alike – should
not just let it happen, argues
the University of North Carolina’s Zeynep Tufekci:
To me, this resignation
to online corporate power is a troubling attitude because these large
corporations (and governments and political campaigns) now have new
tools and stealth methods to quietly model our personality, our
vulnerabilities, identify our networks, and effectively nudge and shape
our ideas, desires and dreams. These tools are new, this power is new
Yes, indeed. And
since there are quite a few major bastards who will do almost anything
to get rich, and many unintelligent web users, this will continue until
almost everything is safely and truly encrypted - which one also can
say now is the major mistake of the whole web: it should have
been fully encrypted from the start.
reveals Australian gagging order over political bribery allegations
item is by Robert Booth on The Guardian:
This starts as
A sweeping gagging order
issued in Australia to block
reporting of any bribery allegations involving several international
political leaders in the region has been exposed by WikiLeaks.
The prohibition emerged
from a criminal case in the Australian courts and applies throughout
the country. It was issued by the criminal division of the supreme
court of Victoria in Melbourne "to prevent damage to Australia's
international relations that may be caused by the publication of
material that may damage the reputations of specified individuals who
are not the subject of charges in these proceedings".
The Australia-wide gagging
order is a superinjunction, which means it also contains a clause
insisting that the terms of the order itself should remain secret.
Well... that is
fascist law in the land of Oz, it seems to me, and I do not refer to
the injunction, but to the superinjunction "that the terms of the order itself should
remain secret": That is not
justice, certainly not in a case like this, that concerns bribery
by political leaders: this is evident injustice designed to
secretly protect them.
is public justice; anything that is not public justice must be
suspected to be injustice. (It may be justified in rare cases, but not
to shield political leaders from bribery allegations.)
want us to believe their wealth is good for us all
item is an article by George Monbiot on The Guardian:
This starts as
Yes - but the reasons
must be that the politicians in the governments that do this are
corrupt and lying, which I agree they are in Great Britain, in great
majority, and have been for decades, indeed also with a few exceptions.
When inequality reaches
extreme and destructive levels, most governments seek not to confront
it but to accommodate it. Wherever wealth is absurdly concentrated, new
laws arise to protect it.
In Britain, for example,
successive governments have privatised any public asset that excites
corporate greed. They have cut taxes on capital and high incomes. They
new forms of tax avoidance. They have delivered exotic gifts such
as subsidised shotgun licences and the doubling
of state support for grouse moors. And they have dug a legal moat
around the charmed circle, criminalising, for example, the squatting of
empty buildings and most forms of peaceful protest. However grotesque
inequality becomes, however closely the accumulation of inordinate
wealth resembles legalised theft, political norms shift to defend it.
Monbiot explains it as follows:
The very rich want
people like themselves in power, which is why we have a government of
Again yes, but with some
additional points. First, while this is true, it has grown, and
apparently was started in the early 1970ies, by Lewis Powell
Jr. And it has grown mainly by (1) paying many lobbyists
(<-Wikipedia), a practice which enormously grew the last 20
or 30 years, also in many countries, and by (2) making almost
everything a matter of paid propaganda
relations": there is almost no letter by any kind of
corporation that I receive these days that has not been carefully
edited by some propagandist: All supposedly in my interests, but all
really to further the profits or reputations of those who paid for it.
And again, that is so since some 20 years.
But that describes only
one corner of their influence. They fund lobby groups, thinktanks and
economists to devise ever more elaborate justifications for their
seizure of the nation’s wealth. These justifications are then amplified
by the newspapers and broadcasters owned by the same elite.
Monbiot has another good explanation:
If wages reflect
merit, why do they seem so arbitrary? Are the richest executives 50 or
100 times better at their jobs than their predecessors were in 1980?
Are they 20 times more skilled and educated than the people immediately
below them, even though they went to the same business schools? Are US
executives several times as creative and dynamic as those in Germany?
If so, why are their results so unremarkable?
Yes, indeed - and in
fact wages never reflected merit in any way that I can see.
When there still were a majority of ordinary jobs, that is, before the
arisal of "the service economy", the hardest work was done by workers
and farmers, who got the least paid, mainly on the basis of the
deception that they had little formal education.
It is, of course, all
rubbish. What we see is not meritocracy at work at all, but a wealth
grab by a nepotistic executive class that sets its own salaries, tests
credulity with its ridiculous demands, and discovers that credulity is
an amenable customer. They must marvel at how they get away with it.
But Monbiot is right about the "nepotistic executive class that sets its own salaries, tests
credulity with its ridiculous demands" - and also right about the fact that so far they have
successfully deceived the great majority.
There is considerably more by way of the last dotted link.
Pushing Release of CIA
Torture Report, Senators Threaten Use of Special Rule
item is an article by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows,
with something I did not know:
I say. As the rest of
the article makes clear, this would require a closed full Senate
session, which is rare, and even then it depends on voting, but at
least this sounds as if there is a chance the Senate may publish the
report it wrote (!).
Senators are considering using a special rule to compel the White House
to reveal the information from their investigation into the CIA's
post-9/11 use of torture to interrogate detainees.
Wyden (D-Oregon) and Mark Udall (D-Colorado) have both warned the Obama
administration this week that they are willing to use Senate
Resolution 400, which gives the Senate Intelligence Committee the
power to disclose information it considered to be in the public
interest without presidential approval, to publish the report if the
White House continues to stall its release. It reads:
Select Committee on Ethics is authorized to investigate unauthorized
disclosures of intelligence information by a Member, officer, or
employee of the Senate and to report to the Senate on any substantiated
The rule was
established in 1976 when the committee was formed. It has only been
used once in the past (...)
Whether it will work is an open question.
6. OUR TOTALITARIAN FUTURE – PART ONE
item is an article by JimQ on Washington's Blog:
This is a long article
that is the first of two, or more. It is interesting and based on
quotations by Aldous Huxley, from "Brave New World Revisited", that was
published in 1958, 27 years after the publication of "Brave New World".
I agree that the future looks totalitarian, and also that whether
indeed it will be, will be decided the next 35 years, until 2050.
Happily - speaking for myself - I am 64 now and will be 100 in 2050, so
it is not likely I will be around then. But I agree the future looks
bleak for almost everyone.
Here is the first paragraph:
As the world
explodes in violence, war, riots, and uprisings, it is challenging to
step back and examine the bigger picture. With airliners being shot
down over the Ukraine, missiles flying between Israel and Gaza, ongoing
civil war in Syria, Iraq falling apart as ISIS gains ground,
dictatorship crackdown in Egypt, Turkey on the verge of revolution,
Iran gaining control of Iraq, Saudi Arabia fomenting violence, Africa
dissolving into chaos, South America imploding and sending their
children across our purposely porous southern border, Mexico under the
control of drug lords, China experiencing a slow motion real estate
collapse, Japan experiencing their third decade of Keynesian failure,
facing a demographic nightmare scenario while being slowly poisoned by
radiation, and Chinese-Japanese relations moving towards World War II
levels, it is easy to get lost in the day to day minutia of history in
It does sound to me -
how shall I put it - a bit negative, but then I agree that indeed there
is a whole lot to be negative about, and also very
little that one can oppose to it, at least: apart from propaganda and
The next three paragraphs are long lists of many questions, that ends
Why have Americans
lost their desire to read, think critically, question authority, act
responsibly, defer gratification, and care about future generations?
Why have Americans sacrificed their freedoms, liberties and rights for
the false expectation of safety and security? Why will we pay dearly
for our delusional, materialistic, debt financed idiocy? – Because we
never learn the lessons of history.
I don't think that
answer is quite correct, and it certainly is too vague. And while I do
not think I have good answers to all the questions (and no one has), I
would say that the main human problem is not that they "never learn the lessons of history" but, more simply and concretely, that
the majority of mankind is not intelligent, and therefore ignorant, and
for both reasons very easily deceived and taken in. And this has
happened, and still is happening, in the great majority of adults, in
spite of the fact that - so far - there are some intelligent and
rational voices who mostly speak the truth.
This also doesn't prompt any solution but it does locate the problem
where it should start: That most human beings are - I keep it polite -
In any case, this first part is mostly about overpopulation:
foretold all the indicators of a world descending into totalitarianism
due to overpopulation, propaganda, brainwashing, consumerism, and
dumbing down of a distracted populace in his 1958 reassessment of his
1931 novel Brave New World.
I agree more than not,
but as I said: it
seems to me that the writer is a bit to negative in style - but
that may be due to me, and I agree that the future of most living
persons does not seem happy at all.
7. Tiny Gaza Visualized Shows There’s
Nowhere To Run
item is not an article but a video of 12 m 41 s by The Young Turks:
This is from the blurb
under the video (minus a note)
“Make sure and
tell everyone. Because in five minutes we will strike the target,” says
the voice on the line.
It is over 12 minutes of
video, but I like it and it also is - as the phrase goes - "measured".
I doubt it will work, but that is not TYT's fault.
Israel’s military has been
calling and texting residents of the Gaza Strip for weeks, warning
civilians of impending military strikes against Hamas targets. There
have been leaflets, too, dropped by the thousands, urging residents of
certain neighborhoods to flee.
“It is the intention of the
IDF [Israel Defense Forces] to carry out aerial strikes against terror
sites and operatives in Shuja’iya and Zeitoun ... For your own safety,
you are requested to vacate your residence immediately and head towards
Gaza City,” read one recent example, provided by the IDF. " The Young
Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.
 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: