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. You Can
Get Hacked Just By Watching This Cat Video on
2. Former U.N. Specialist for Palestinian Rights Suspects
3. Is Corruption a Constitutional Right?
4. How the New Monopoly
Capitalism Will Crush You to
Risen, Surveillance and Obama’s
6. Washington Post: Europe Is
Stuck In a “Greater
This is a Nederlog of
August 16. It is a crisis log.
It's a Saturday but I found six crisis items. And this NL is uploaded
earlier than normal to give me the opportunity to do some other things.
Can Get Hacked Just By Watching This Cat Video on YouTube
item is an article by Morgan Marquis-Boire on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Well yes, but (1)
encrypted traffic also can be monitored, though it is very difficult or
impossible to read (if everything has been done right!), and (2) my own
problem is that I surf a fair amount, indeed mostly in connection with
writing Nederlog, and very few of the sites I surf to are
well-informed people think they have to do something wrong, or stupid,
or insecure to get hacked—like clicking on the wrong attachments, or
browsing malicious websites. People also think that the NSA and
its international partners are the only ones who have turned the
internet into a militarized zone. But according to research
I am releasing today at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s
Munk School of Global Affairs, many of these commonly held
beliefs are not necessarily true. The only thing you need to do to
render your computer’s secrets—your private conversations, banking
information, photographs—transparent to prying eyes is watch a cute cat
video on YouTube, and catch the interest of a nation-state or law
enforcement agency that has $1 million or so to spare.
To understand why, you have to realize
that even in today’s increasingly security-conscious internet, much of
the traffic is still unencrypted. You might be surprised to learn that
even popular sites that advertise their use of encryption frequently
still serve some unencrypted content or advertisements. While people
now recognize that unencrypted traffic can be monitored, they may not
recognize that it also serves as a direct path into compromising their
After some I skip, Marquis-Boire says:
internet, there are few excuses for any company to serve content
unencrypted. Any unencrypted traffic can be maliciously
tampered with in a manner that is invisible to the average user. The
only way to solve this problem is for web providers to offer fully
Yes - but how to decrypt
it? For that end one needs to have at least a web browser and an e-mail
program that can and do encrypt and decrypt as a matter
of course, and without any hassle. I don't have these, and the problem
mostly starts from there.
Marquis-Boire discusses some commercial hackers, such as Hacking Team
and Fin Fisher, and assures his readers these are not used to hack
entire nations, but also do not give any information about how much
they are used, nor by whom, and then asks:
need to have an open discussion about how we want law enforcement using
this type of technology. Is it being used to catch child pornographers?
Kidnappers? Drug dealers? Tax cheats? Journalists who receive leaked
I think that is the
wrong question, for it assumes "law enforcers" (who knows what freaks
these may be?) are allowed to use illegal means "to enforce the
law", and I think that assumption simply is wrong and mistaken.
The only reasonable way some "law enforcer" can get legal access using
illegal means are those outlined quite clearly by the Fourth Amendment:
If there is a probable cause that the one investigated illegally is a
criminal and there is a judge who gave permission, for a limited time
also, and for a limited purpose.
2. Former U.N. Specialist for Palestinian Rights
Suspects War Crimes
item is an article by Alexander Reed Kelly on Truthdig:
This starts as
Richard Falk, who
for six years served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on
Palestinian human rights, argues in a recent interview that there is no
evidence that Israel’s air campaign has decreased rocket fire from
Gaza. Likewise the claim that Hamas uses human shields is unfounded and
Israel’s siege of Gaza is missing from media accounts of the cause of
the current conflict, he contends.
And he gets quoted as
follows (i.e. this is Falk):
And also as follows (still
The siege of Gaza is
clearly a form of collective punishment that is prohibited by Article
33 of the 4th Geneva Convention that unconditionally prohibits any
recourse to collective punishment. A blockade that has been maintained
since the middle of 2007 is directed at the entire civilian population
of Gaza. It includes many items that are needed for health,
subsistence, and minimum requirements of a decent life. So in my view,
Israel as the occupying power under international law of Gaza, is
supposed to protect the civilian population rather than to subject it
to a punitive blockade of the sort that’s been existing these past 7
I think certainly
there’s the basis for alleging war crimes. It requires a formal legal
judgment to reach the conclusion that there have been war crimes
committed. There is a presumption of innocence until proven
guilty—that’s important to maintain. But certainly the evidence that
I’m aware of suggests the commission of serious crimes against humanity
and war crimes in the course of this operation.
Incidentally, my real
family name is on the Yad
Vashem monument in Israel, and refers to my father's father, who
helped Jews during WW II, and was murdered by the Nazis in a
concentration camp aged 64, as old as I am now. He was one of "the
righteous among the nations".
Having said that, I
like to add that one of the shortcomings of many Jews discussing Gaza
is that they leave out all numbers: From their writings, one
should believe Israel is defending itself, and one does not learn
anything about 1900 Palestinians killed, 10.000 homes destroyed etc.,
as opposed to 60 Israelis killed and no Israeli homes destroyed.
But I do not expect
much of a rational discussion, though I agree with Falk. And that
probably also will have no consequences in the present climate.
Corruption a Constitutional Right?
item is an article by David Sirota on Truthdig:
This starts as
Wall Street is one of the
biggest sources of funding for presidential campaigns, and many of the
Republican Party’s potential 2016 contenders are governors, from Chris
Christie of New Jersey and Rick Perry of Texas to Bobby Jindal of
Louisiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. And so, last week, the GOP
filed a federal lawsuit aimed at overturning the pay-to-play law that
bars those governors from raising campaign money from Wall Street
executives who manage their states’ pension funds.
In the case, New York and
Tennessee’s Republican parties are represented by two former Bush
administration officials, one of whose firms just won the Supreme Court
case invalidating campaign contribution limits on large donors. In
their complaint, the parties argue that people managing state pension
money have a First Amendment right to make large donations to state
officials who award those lucrative money management contracts.
Maybe you have to
read the last sentence twice, but I did copy it correctly. Also, at
present this is against the law, as indeed it should be, but the GOP
wants to make the corruption described - X manages a pension fund, and
therefore has "the right" to make large donations to state officials
who may nominate X again - completely legal.
Here is the ending of
“We will use all
available enforcement tools to ensure that public pension funds are
protected from any potential corrupting influences,” said Andrew
Ceresney, director of the SEC Enforcement Division. “As we have done
with broker-dealers, we will hold investment advisers strictly liable
for pay-to-play violations.”
The GOP lawsuit aims to
stop that promise from becoming a reality. In predicating that suit on
a First Amendment argument, those Republicans are forwarding a
disturbing legal theory: Essentially, they are arguing that Wall Street
has a constitutional right to influence politicians and the investment
decisions those politicians make on behalf of pensioners.
If that theory is upheld
by the courts, it will no doubt help Republican presidential candidates
raise lots of financial-industry cash—but it could also mean that
public pension contracts will now be for sale to the highest bidder.
New Monopoly Capitalism Will Crush You to Smithereens
item is an article by Lynn Stuart Parramore on AlterNet:
This starts as
follows (and reminds me rather a lot of my father, who used to be quite
concerend about the dangers of monopoly capitalism, in the 1960ies and
Something wicked has
crept into American society, something that many hoped was left back in
the dustbins of the 19th century. We’re talking about monopoly,
the ogre that screams capitalism run amok. Monopolies, or
near-monopolies, as are most common in America, rise up through a lack
of competition. When one or a handful of players dominate the
marketplace, get ready for higher prices, low-quality products, and
crap wages for you and me.
Just a few decades ago,
this destructive activity would have been illegal. But advocates for
small government and faulty market theories successfully drove a
complete unraveling of the regulations that used to keep these monsters
at bay. The result has been disastrous. Monopolies are back, and they
are bigger and nastier than ever.
Yes, it is AlterNet,
but Parramore has a point, and this is the introduction to an interview
she did with Barry Lynn, who wrote a book about it called "Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and
the Economics of Destruction".
Here are a few points
from the interview, with Lynn talking all the time:
What we see is
that the people who have actually preached the doctrine of free
markets, this last generation, when you go back and look at it
historically, is that the idea of free markets really comes out of the
Chicago School, the libertarian wing of academia. They were preaching
free markets, but when they would preach free markets, they also
preached the elimination of all regulation. But when you eliminate all
regulation you end up with no markets at all, because you end up with
monopolists, and monopolists are the antithesis of an open market.
Yes, indeed. In fact
"free markets" were a pretext for pleading for the elimination
of all regulation, which Lynn is right leads to the fact that "you end up with no markets at all". Also, the economists who pleaded for
"free markets", like Milton Friedman, knew quite
well they were indulging in propaganda.
Next, there is this:
The problem with most of
the libertarians—and certainly with the libertarians who are official
libertarians, meaning they work with the Libertarian Party, they work
with libertarian operations like the Cato Institute—is that they say we
need to get rid of all regulation. We need to get rid of all government.
The true populists — what
they understood is that, well, you might not want to use government to
fix all your ills. You might not want to use government to fix even
most of your ills. But what you do need is, you need to have government
to keep yourself free. To keep markets open, to prevent the
consolidation of power over markets by monopolists. If you don’t have
government, then every single system will be taken over by a private
monopolist, which really means private government.
Yes. And this is what
some of the leading libertarians - like Friedman - really want. Here is
the final quotation of Lynn:
The purpose of
government, the reason we founded government, is to break up dangerous
concentrations of power at home and abroad. Concentrations of power
that threaten our liberty as individuals at home and abroad. That is
the foremost purpose of government.
I do not know that is
historically correct for most governments, but to say that modern
governments may exist to uphold the rights of all, including the poor,
the weak and the ill, to get a fair and decent treatment and to defend
them from exploitation by the rich and the powerful, is a fair
justification of civilized government.
Risen, Surveillance and Obama’s Threat to Journalism
item is an article by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan on Common Dreams
(and original on Democracy Now!):
This starts as
administration’s espionage case against alleged CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling is expected
to come to trial soon, six years after he was indicted. In addition to
Sterling, also on trial will be a central pillar of our democratic
society: press freedom.
allege that Sterling leaked classified information to New York Times
reporter and author James Risen. Risen has written many exposés on
national security issues. In one, published in his 2006 book “State of
War,” he details a failed CIA operation to
deliver faulty nuclear bomb blueprints to the government of Iran, to
disrupt that country’s alleged weapons program. Federal prosecutors
think Sterling leaked the details of that operation to Risen. They want
Risen to divulge his source in court, which he has so far refused to
do, asserting the First Amendment’s protections of the free press.
James Risen has vowed to go to jail rather than “give up everything I
There is also this:
Human Rights Watch
and the American Civil Liberties Union jointly released a report in
July, “With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale U.S. Surveillance
is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy.” In detailing the
negative impacts on journalism by mass surveillance, they quote Brian
Ross, chief investigative correspondent for ABC
News, who said, “I feel ... like somebody in the Mafia. You’ve got to
go around with a bag full of quarters and, if you can find a pay phone,
use it, or, like drug dealers use, [a] throwaway burner phones. These
are all the steps that we have to take to get rid of an electronic
trail. To have to take those kind of steps makes journalists feel like
we’re criminals and like we’re doing something wrong.”
As the article proceeds to
tell, Brian Ross and other journalists who still are serving the idea
of a free press, are not doing anything wrong: Obama's government is.
The reason is the
following, which is the end of the article:
A crack down on the press
ultimately violates the public’s right to know.
There is a reason why
journalism is protected by the U.S. Constitution: A free press is an
essential check and balance, necessary to hold those in power
accountable. Journalism is essential to the functioning of a democratic
I agree, though I would
have added "Real" before "Journalism" in the last sentence.
6. Washington Post:
Europe Is Stuck In a “Greater Depression”
The last item of
is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:
This starts as follows
(colors in the original):
And here are some of the
causes why the depression or recession or crisis (I really do not care
what you call it, as long as you don't deny it) continues and continues:
“It’s a Little Misleading to JUST Call This a Depression.
It’s WORSE than That”
The Washington Post’s
recovered, because it hasn’t let itself. Too much fiscal austerity and
too little monetary stimulus have, instead, put it more than halfway to
a lost decade that’s already worse than the 1930s.
It’s a greater
And as the latest GDP numbers show, it’s not getting any less
so. Indeed, the eurozone as a whole didn’t grow at all in the
second quarter. Neither did France, whose economy has actually been
flat for a year now. Germany’s economy fell 0.2 percent from the
previous quarter—and that after revisions revealed it had quietly gone
through a double-dip recession in early 2013. Though that’s still much
better than Italy: Its GDP also fell 0.2 percent, but its triple-dip
recession has now wiped out all growth since 2000. The closest thing approximating good
news was that Spain’s dead-cat bounce recovery continued with 0.6
percent growth. But it still has 24.5 percent unemployment.
I agree - and have been
saying so since 2004, when NL started, although at that time I wrote in
Dutch and the real crisis hadn't started yet, but there were plenty of
new laws favoring the government, the police and the rich, because - it
was said, quite falsely - "of terrorists".
- Quantitative easing hurts
the economy. Even the Bank of England and the creators of QE admit
that it is “pushing
on a string“. But the UK did tons of QE instead of
actually fixing the economy
 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.)
Mostly because he was a communist. But he did have a point,
although that only became clear after he died and after the regulations
of monopolies were undone, it seems mostly by money from the
monopolies, both of which happened from 1980 onwards.
(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: