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."
court's gagging order condemned as 'abuse of
2. NSA Court Judges Invest in
Verizon While Surveillance
Warps Law and Journalism
3. Can Congress Rein In the Spies?
Venerable Jewish Voice for Peace
Bombs Gaza Back to the Stone Age … as Collective
6. Jill Abramson’s sad
7. OUR TOTALITARIAN FUTURE
– PART TWO
This is the Nederlog of
July 31. It is a crisis log.
Australian court's gagging order
condemned as 'abuse of
item is an article by Robert Booth and Rob Evans on The Guardian:
This continues a story I
reviewed yesterday. It starts as
Clearly, the corruption
of these high-ranking politicians and officials must remain hidden,
according to the judge, for that is the modern concept of justice: to
serve the government and the rich. No?
A sweeping gagging order
issued by an Australian court to block reporting of bribery allegations
involving several international political leaders has been attacked by
journalists and lawyers as "unacceptable" and "an abuse of legal
prohibition emerged from a criminal case in the Australian courts and
relates to part of an ongoing investigation by prosecutors across three
continents into allegations of multimillion-pound bribes paid in the
Business executives at a
company called Securency are alleged to have conspired to win lucrative
contracts to print plastic notes in several south-east Asian countries
allegedly by paying bribes to high-ranking politicians and officials
between 1999 and 2005.
Well... there is this, from the Honorable Judge himself:
The judge who
issued the ruling , the Hon Justice Hollingworth, said it was "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
Actually, the last "are"
also should have been a "may be", it seems to me, but the Honorable
Judge did clearly state his Honorable Judicial intention: "to prevent
damage" (that may be caused by material that may damage).
There is meanwhile a full publication on Wikileaks
(<- link) but The Guardian, although it notices it, cannot publish,
because of the Honorable Judge's idiotic ruling.
To end, here is the opinion of "a leading media lawyer":
I agree, and as I said
Mark Stephens, a leading
media lawyer in London, said it was "an attempt to silence the world on
a matter of enormous public importance" even though the court cited
damage to Australia's international relations rather than national
"It is an abuse of legal
process to allow a super-injunction to be used to cover up governmental
embarrassment on matters of enormous public interest," he said.
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.)
Court Judges Invest in Verizon While Surveillance Warps Law and
item is an article by Thor Benson on Truthdig:
This starts as
We must never be
surprised when we learn once again that our lawmakers and law
interpreters are in bed with the country’s largest corporations—this is
how the American government now operates. A July 25 article
in Vice includes documentation that shows three judges from the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, the tribunal that
evaluates the legality of the NSA’s practices, own stock in Verizon.
The main reason this is
here is the first sentence in the quote, which is bolstered up by the
The Vice article notes
that judges are supposed to remove themselves from cases in which they
might have a “financial stake in the outcome” or from any case in which
they might find it difficult to be impartial. The
Verge also pointed out that telecommunication companies like
Verizon receive millions of dollars from the government in their
Indeed - and that is
why the first sentence does make sense, and especially about the judges
of the FISA Court. (And who knows what the NSA knows about them?)
3. Can Congress Rein In the Spies?
item is by David Cole on the NYRB:
This starts as
On Tuesday, Senator
Patrick Leahy introduced the revised USA Freedom Act,
a bipartisan bill to rein in the National Security Agency’s collection
of telephone and Internet records. If Congress enacts Senator Leahy’s
bill in its current form, it will mark the most significant reform of
US intelligence gathering since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act, enacted in the 1970s in response to the Church Committee’s
revelations of abusive spying practices on political dissidents and
This time, of course, the
calls for reform were sparked not by a congressional inquiry, but by
information leaked by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who
risked criminal prosecution and de facto banishment to let Americans
know what its most expansive spy agency was doing to their rights in
the name of their security.
Quite so, and it is
good to know Leahy tried once again:
In May, the House passed
an earlier version of the USA Freedom Act, which unfortunately had been
down at the behest of Obama administration officials in secret
last-minute negotiations. Senator
Leahy’s bill would
significantly strengthen the House bill.
Leahy’s bill comes not a moment too soon. Two reports issued on Monday
bring into full view the costs of a system that allows its government
to conduct dragnet surveillance without specific suspicions of
wrongdoing. In With
Liberty to Monitor All, Human Rights Watch and the ACLU make a
powerful case that mass surveillance has already had a devastating
effect on journalists’ ability to monitor and report on national
security measures, and on lawyers’ ability to represent victims of
There also is this quite
And there is this about
Leahy's new bill (after skipping some, that is also interesting):
Without disclosures by
media, we would not know about the CIA’s torture, rendition, and secret
prison programs, President George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping
orders, and much of the abuse at Abu Ghraib.
The House version
would have permitted “bulk collection” of calling records to continue,
by allowing the government, for example, to demand all phone records
related to a particular city or zip code. Senator Leahy’s bill, by
contrast, requires the government to specify a “person, account,
address, or personal device” that “narrowly limit[s] the scope of the
tangible things sought to the greatest extent reasonably practicable.”
And it expressly bars the government from requesting information
related to a “broad geographic region” or “an electronic communication
service provider,” which could sweep up thousands of innocent persons’
information,unless the provider itself is the target of an
investigation. And it authorizes requests for call records only for
investigations of terrorism, not for general inquiries into foreign
Cole ends thus, after
noting that Leahy's bill (as is) doesn't solve all problems but does
seem a good first step:
Now the only
question is whether Congress can stick to this strengthened version, or
whether the Obama administration’s intelligence hawks will, as they did
on the House side, sabotage the reform at the last minute.
I think the chances
on the last possibility are a virtual certainty, but even so, this is a
bit heartening. Will it work? Mmmm... but this is an interesting piece
that deserves to be read all.
Venerable Jewish Voice for Peace
item is an article by Amy Goodman on Truthdig:
This is based
on an interview of Amy Goodman with Henry Siegman
(<- Wikipedia) who was educated as an orthodox rabbi and meanwhile
is 83 or 84:
Henry Siegman, a
venerable dean of American Jewish thought and president of the
U.S./Middle East Project, sat down for an interview with the “Democracy
Now!” news hour. An ordained rabbi, Siegman is the former executive
director of the American Jewish Congress and former executive head of
the Synagogue Council of America, two of the major, mainstream Jewish
organizations in the United States. He says the Israeli occupation of
the Palestinian territories must end.
There is also this:
became a prominent leader in American Jewish life. When I asked him to
reflect on his long history with Zionism and to respond to the current
assault on Gaza, he said: “It’s disastrous. ... When one thinks that
this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream
is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re
watching these days on television, that is really a profound crisis -
and should be a profound crisis - in the thinking of all of us who were
committed to the establishment of the state and to its success.”
replied: “If you don’t want to kill Palestinians, if that’s what pains
you so much, you don’t have to kill them. You can give them their
rights, and you can end the occupation. And to put the blame for the
occupation and for the killing of innocents that we are seeing in Gaza
now on the Palestinians—why? Because they want a state of their own?
They want what Jews wanted and achieved?”
Yes, indeed. And there
is more under the last dotted link, and you can see the interview on Democracy
Israel Bombs Gaza Back to
the Stone Age … as Collective
item is an article by Washington's Blog:
This starts as follows
(colors in the original):
There is considerably more
under the last dotted link.
Israel Commits War Crimes In Gaza
We previously noted:
Israel is currently bombing Gaza back to the stone age ….
Israeli Deputy Prime
Minister Eli Yishai said:
We must blow
Gaza back to the Middle Ages destroying all the infrastructure
including roads & water.
Or as Haaretz puts it:
Interior Minister Eli
Yishai on Israel’s operation in Gaza: “The goal of the
operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages ….”
infrastructure is – of course – a war crime under the Geneva Convention.
The following are also
war crimes under the Geneva Convention:
- The indiscriminate
or disproportionate use of force
punishment for the acts of a few
Indeed, the UN has
repeatedly found Israeli’s actions in Gaza to be a war crime. See this, this and this.
The same year, Gilad
Sharon – the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon – wrote an Op-Ed in the Jerusalem Post saying:
“We need to
flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The
Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t
surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.
“There should be no
electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.”
Many observers allege that Israel is intentionally
targeting essential infrastructure such as water supplies.
Israel has now bombed
Gaza’s only power plant - knocking
out power for a year – and so Gazans are being urged to ration water as
pumps grind to a halt.
Israel has also repeatedly
bombed UN shelters for civilians … killing scores of women and
Jill Abramson’s sad admission
item is an article by Patrick L. Smith on Salon:
This starts as follows:
I agree that "the consolidated surveillance state confronts
us" and I also agree with "we have now not much more than the desiccated
remains of whatever our press may once have been" - and indeed that also holds for Holland
(watch the awful NRC that I've read daily from 1970-2010, if you read
Dutch and have any intelligence).
There are some singular
features of our time — truly the time of the assassins, to take Henry
Miller’s phrase. The consolidated surveillance state confronts us. We
recommit to honoring will above intelligence at the very moment history
offers us an extraordinary chance to turn away from our
20th century lust for power.
Another of these features
— or a function of them, maybe — is the assassination of journalism as
the essential infrastructure of our public space. I am not much for the
“golden age” of anything, however often people get lost in such
notions, but we have now not much more than the desiccated remains of
whatever our press may once have been.
admittedly grim thoughts is
a speech Jill Abramson recently gave. Abramson, the executive
editor at the New York Times, was canned a couple of months ago and now
takes to the lecture circuit before assuming duties as an adjunct in
nonfiction at Harvard
There is considerably more, but the essence of Patrick L. Smith's case,
that is much longer than I quote, is this:
Which means she betrayed
her job, I agree, which is to print "All The News That's Fit To Print"
(her own paper's slogan), very much rather than to
print "Only The News The Government Thinks Good For You", which she
herself says she did, no doubt honestly.
Abramson was the Times’
Washington bureau chief at the time. The debris in lower Manhattan was
still settling when Ari Fleischer, Bush’s press secretary, arranged a
conference call that included “every leading editor in Washington.”
Abramson dilates on this
“The purpose of his
call was to make an agreement with the press—this was just days after
9/11—that we not publish any stories that would go into details about
the sources and methods of our intelligence programs. I have to say,
that in the wake of 9/11, all of us readily agreed to that.”
And then the reflection:
“It wasn’t complicated
to withhold such information. And for some years, really quite a few
years, I don’t think the press, in general, did publish any stories
that upset the Bush White House or seemed to breach that agreement.”
I suppose she did it "for patriotic reasons", but that makes it only
worse: You may be a fine American patriot without serving your
government, and indeed without believing your government, and not
believing your government, and testing what it claims, is the first
task of any responsible journalist.
7. OUR TOTALITARIAN FUTURE – PART TWO
item is by JimQ on Washington's Blog:
I reviewed - sort of: it
was a long article, as is the present one - Part One of this yesterday. This is a repeat of the
introduction I wrote yesterday, that again applies:
This is a
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".
This time it starts as
follows - and I agree over-population is the main factor of the many
problems humans have, although it is not the only one by far:
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.
Yes, indeed. I will
quote some more than I did yesterday. First, there is this:
“Where the republican or limited monarchical tradition
is weak, the best of constitutions will not prevent ambitious
politicians from succumbing with glee and gusto to the temptations of
power. And in any country where numbers have begun to press heavily
upon available resources, these temptations cannot fail to arise.
Over-population leads to economic insecurity and social unrest. Unrest
and insecurity lead to more control by central governments and an
increase of their power. In the absence of a constitutional tradition,
this increased power will probably be exercised in a dictatorial
Aldous Huxley – Brave New World Revisited –
The 4.4 billion
increase (157%) in the world’s population since Huxley’s warning in
1958 is attributable to vast supplies of cheap easily accessible oil,
natural gas and coal, which have allowed technological and agricultural
advancements that have vastly expanded food production, water
purification, global transportation, and medical advancements. With the
peak in traditional worldwide oil production reached around 2005, and
modest subsequent production increases obtained only by mining tar
sands, fracking shale and drilling in deep water at much higher
production costs, the era of cheap plentiful energy has come to an end.
Note these 4.4 billion have
been all added during the course of my life, as I was born in 1950 -
and my point is not myself, but (1) that it happened very fast
indeed, for it is an exponential process, while (2) none of the many
added intelligences have worked out a useful plan to get more cheap
energy, which indeed is the motor of almost all human development.
As to cheap energy, there is this:
Oil prices were
$25 per barrel when George Bush and the neo-cons launched their Iraq
Freedom campaign in 2003. Eleven years later, with U.S. oil production
at 44 year highs and consumption at 2000 levels, a barrel of oil is
over $100 per barrel.
Indeed, I do not see
this lower, whereas - as the article also says - the 2008 crisis
happened while a barrel of oil cost $140.
As to the growth towards totalitarianism, there is this:
Huxley saw it beginning
to happen even during the late 1950’s:
“Meanwhile impersonal forces over which we have almost
no control seem to be pushing us all in the direction of the Brave New
Worldian nightmare; and this impersonal pushing is being consciously
accelerated by representatives of commercial and political
organizations who have developed a number of new techniques for
manipulating, in the interest of some minority, the thoughts and
feelings of the masses.” –
Aldous Huxley – Brave New World Revisited –
I think Huxley
underestimated the lengths to which a minority of criminal wealthy
bankers, their crony capitalist corporate co-conspirators, and feckless
bought off politicians would go in their sociopathic manipulation of
the masses to gorge themselves upon the world’s resources and wealth.
In 1958 the manipulators only had TV in its infancy and independent
newspapers published by journalists who attempted to report the truth.
They’ve come a long way baby.
illustrates my point on style, that I made when reviewing Part
One: "criminal", "crony ... co-conspirators", "feckless bought off" and
"sociopathic manipulation" in one statement. And while I do
understand the feelings and the anger, this seems a bit too much.
But I agree with the point
and here is my overview of some techniques for manipulating the masses
that were developed mostly since the 1970ies:
- We've mostly lost
the independent paper press, which is a loss that still is not
- We've gained an enormous
amount of TV, most of which is stupid, and makes stupid, and a
considerable amount of which is also is advertise- ment
- Much of the TV and much
of the remaining press is in the hands of a few very conservative
billionair tycoons, like Murdoch, and these manipulate and deceive as a
matter of course and of standard policy.
- Propaganda aka
relations", which is the art of conscious lying and deception, has enormously
grown, and is now used everywhere.
- Education has
grown steadily worse since the middle 1960s, and also grown steadily
more expensive nearly everywhere.
parliamentarians and politicians has enormously grown, virtually
guaranteeing that most politicians will be bought somehow at some
point, and often very soon.
Then there is another
factor with considerable relevance for keeping the masses quiet and
Consumer debt outstanding
in 1958 totaled $48 billion, all non-revolving debt mainly for auto
purchases. The credit card did not exist. Consumer debt outstanding
today totals $3.2 trillion. Has this 6,667% increase in consumer debt
benefitted the average person or Jamie Dimon and his ilk?
Well... both, I would
say, although indeed Dimon profits much more. But surely a considerable
part of consumer debt is based on greed (which I agree again is
caused by advertisements,
I think I am justified in saying so because I have now lived nearly
fifty years by myself on the lowest possible income my
country provides, and I have no debts whatsoever (and indeed also no
car and no TV). 
Then there is this on
the real wage (in America):
(...) real wages
haven’t advanced in the last 40 years, while corporate profits reach
record heights and a small cadre of oligarchs reap the rewards of debt
enslavement of the many.
I believe the story,
but should point out that I live - everything included - from
about 1 1/2 hour of American average wages each day, since 30 years.
Then we get this as
regards Our Totalitarian Future (which is the title of these two
The definition of
totalitarianism is a political system in which the state holds total
authority over the society and seeks to control all aspects of public
and private life wherever possible. Our two party farce of a political
system is aligned to control our lives through laws, regulations,
rules, bylaws, procedures, tax codes, taxation, inflation, and debt,
enforced by government apparatchiks, bureaucrats, politicians, bankers,
police state thugs, and when all else fails – the military. While the
masses were distracted by facebooking, texting, twittering,
instagramming, taking selfies, playing Words with Friends, engaging
make believe enemies on their PS3 or Xbox, watching the Kardashians on
one of their 700 cable TV stations, or shopping for Chinese produced
crap at one of our 1.5 million cookie cutter chain retail boxes, those
in control of this country covertly turned the nation into a
surveillance state while militarizing local police forces. They know
the endless growth story is over. Our oppressors fear the repercussions
when the masses realize it’s all been a big lie and they are left
impoverished and hungry. They are attempting to instigate foreign wars,
while preparing for the coming civil war.
The definition of totalitarianism
(<- Wikipedia) is the same as in Wikipedia. Incidentally, Benito
Mussolini's definition of fascism (<- Wikipedia) is: The merger of the corporations and the state, which also
has happened in the U.S.: Part of that is "the revolving door",
between jobs in government (powerful, less payment) and jobs in
corporations (less powerful, more payment), and another part is that a
considerable slice of the government's activities, including spying,
are done these days by corporations rather than by the government.
Incidentally, while I agree with most, one problem I have with this and
indeed with other lefties is that this contains considerable contempt
of "the masses".
My problem with it is not so much the contempt, since I have a very
high IQ and never thought "the masses" are intelligent, as with
the leftist expectation that the activities of "the masses",
once these are aroused, will save us. I believe one's intellectual
capacities are mostly innate and unalterable, and I do not expect much
good from "the masses"
- but that is also one of the reasons I gave up on politics
and the left when I was 20.
I will leave the problem
unanswered, although it is important, and turn to the following
The confusion, chaos,
mayhem and war currently shaking the foundations of our planet are a
direct result of too many people jammed into too small of a space with
too few resources and too few opportunities for economic advancement.
Yes and no. What the
writer seems to miss is that half of 7.2 billion people there are now
has an IQ that is at most 100, while nearly all feel "needs" for riches
that were developed by much watching of American popular TV-series.
Also very few know much of science, literature or philosophy,
while very many like to partake, indeed almost always anonymously,
in almost any discussion, all regardless of their enormous ignorance
and low intelligence.
Again, this is from
near the end of the present article:
Huxley’s Brave New World
dystopian America had a good run from 1950 until 2000. Our keepers kept
us fat, dumb, distracted, and in debt up to our eyeballs. Since 2000
Orwell’s 1984 dystopian Surveillance States of America seems to be
taking shape, under the watchful eye of our very own Big Brother, the
NSA. Fear, punishment, slogans (See Something Say Something) and
appeals to non-thinking patriotism have replaced freedom, liberty,
individual rights, the Constitution, personal responsibility for our
own lives and questioning authority.
First, I am not sure
in what sense Huxley's dystopia "had a good run" - but maybe that is not so important.
Second, I mostly disagree
with "Our keepers kept us fat,
dumb, distracted, and in debt up to our eyeballs": They may have done that, but surely they
could do so only because (1) most people are not intelligent
and therefore easily deceived,
and because (2) most people wanted what they were offered, even
though they easily could have known that was quite greedy, and not open
to most non-Americans. (The same holds for the Europeans.)
Third, I mostly agree with the rest - and see my See Crisis: Hypotheses about the
causes of the crisis and Crisis
+ DSM-5: It's the
deregulation, stupid! - and again I add: Half of the people have an
IQ of 100 maximally. (And especially these are the natural aim of propaganda
of all kinds.)
Here is the last quotation
liberty, as we all know, cannot flourish in a country that is
permanently on a war footing, or even a near-war footing. Permanent
crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the
agencies of the central government. And permanent crisis is what we
have to expect in a world in which over-population is producing a state
of things, in which dictatorship becomes almost inevitable.” –
Aldous Huxley – Brave New World Revisited – 1958
And again I add that this
tends to be so only because at least half of humankind does not think
very well or know much, and because leadership positions tend to be
taken by the biggest bastards, who work for themselves, and through
In fact, here is my own
conclusion, from my 2002 essay "On
a fundamental problem in ethics and morals" (and I note that there
are five earlier sections):
What can be done about this
beings were on average like the men and women whose ideas they claim to
practise, the human world would be a very different place.
Alas, it isn't - and one cannot blame the human average for not being
like the intellectually or morally best, just as one cannot blame
the human average for neither being pretty nor smart: Thus they are
born, and they never asked to be born, nor to be born with their
limitations, appearance, needs and shortcomings.
human beings on average remain as they have been these last 25
Centuries - say: per one genius a hundredthousand hooligans, cowards,
hypocrites, fools, followers and supposedly decent average conformists
- there soon will be no more human beings, for they will exterminate
one another, very probably for the purportedly best of moral
(and perhaps unfortunately as well), there is now arising a possibility
to do something about the curse of humanity - the average stupidity,
and the resulting average conformism, totalitarianism, and
be possible within the next 100 years to learn the real natural
foundations of true and general human intelligence, and to develop
means to help every parent to have children considerably more
intelligent than they are, and to provide every prospective parent with
this is NOT done, the risk is great that if humanity
survives, it will survive in the form of a small master race descending
from the current social élites (who already have their nose-jobs; have
their wrinkles surgically removed and their tits enlarged etc.) and a
much larger group of - probably quite happy (!) - born slaves and
second-raters, visibly more ugly and smaller than their masters and
mistresses, and evidently much more stupid and ignorant.
And if this IS
done, then still there is no assurance whatsoever that humanity will
survive, but if it does at least there is the chance it will be
better in understanding logical consequences; better at understanding
and inventing all manner of things; and possibly capable of
making the sort of society almost every truly intelligent man or woman
these past 25 centuries has dreamt of - with honest, rational,
reasonable, righteous men and women.
And with this
I leave you today.
 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.)
 This is the plain truth, but the story behind it is
fairly complicated: I started having big debts in the 1990ies, because
my health and myself had collapsed after four years of constant too
little sleep and many threats, and I had failed to do the necessary
paper work. But once I had straightened out that, and won several court
cases, this all got settled in the early 2000s, and I can live from
minimal dole, and have done so for over 30 years - although I also
grant that the Dutch dole is better than the English or American
equivalents. (And it helps a lot that I have simple tastes and needs,
don't drink or smoke, and have many books.)
(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: