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."
Warren Finally Speaks on Israel/Gaza, Sounds
2. UK bonuses rise 5% to
3. I want my rulers chosen on
merit, but care more about
how they rule
4. The Biggest Tax Scam Ever: How
Parks Profits Overseas,
Avoiding Billions in Taxes
Modeling CIA Torture, ISIS
Waterboarded Those It
6. Bernie Sanders: I Want To
Know If Ordinary People Are
Ready to Stand and Fight
7. Your Cellphone Company Says
Your Location Info Is
Private. Think Again.
This is a Nederlog of Friday,
August 29. It is a crisis log.
I think you should not miss item 4 (and read the
original article): This is quite good on what indeed must be by far the
biggest tax scam ever. Also, I like item 6
though it isn't certain
yet Sanders will run. (He is one of the very few credible
candidates, I'd say.)
Warren Finally Speaks on Israel/Gaza, Sounds Like Netanyahu
item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept (that changed
its site design a bit):
This starts as follows:
After that, there is a
short review that shows she does have a “pro-Israel” vote (which I think also holds
for most American politicians), and then Glenn Greenwald explains:
The last time Elizabeth
Warren was asked about her views on the Israeli attack on Gaza – on
July 17 – she, as Rania Khalek put it,
away” without answering. But last week, the liberal Senator
appeared for one of her regularly scheduled “office hours” with her
Massachusetts constituents, this one in Hyannis, and, as a
local paper reported, she had nowhere to run.
One voter who identified
himself as a Warren supporter, John Bangert, stood up and objected to
her recent vote, in the middle of the horrific attack on Gaza, to send
yet another $225 million of American taxpayer money to Israel for
its “Iron Dome” system. Banger told his Senator: “We are disagreeing
with Israel using their guns against innocents. It’s true in Ferguson,
Missouri, and it’s true in Israel . . . The vote was wrong, I
believe.” To crowd applause, Bangert told Warren that the money “could
have been spent on infrastructure or helping immigrants fleeing Central
But Warren steadfastly
defended her “pro-Israel” vote, invoking the politician’s platitude:
“We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one.”
There is more in the
article. As I said, I think Warren's attitude to Israel is much like
most U.S. politicians (which does not make it correct).
During her time in the
national spotlight, Warren has focused overwhelmingly on domestic
issues, rarely venturing into foreign policy discussions. Many of those
domestic views, particularly her strident-for-D.C.
opposition to banks, have been
admirable, elevating her to hero status for many progressives.
But when Warren has
spoken on national security, she has invariably spouted warmed-over,
banal Democratic hawk tripe of the kind that she just recited about
Israel and Gaza. During her Senate campaign, for instance, she issued wildly
militaristic – and in some cases clearly false – statements about
Iran and its nuclear program that would have been comfortable on the
pages of The Weekly Standard.
2. UK bonuses rise 5% to above £40bn
item is an article by Julia Kollewe on The Guardian:
This starts as
Bonuses paid out across
the economy rose nearly 5% from last year to more than £40bn, which
means they now make up the biggest proportion of workers' pay packages since before
the economic downturn.
The official figures are
further evidence of a two-track economy: falling wages are masking booming pay deals for white-collar
construction employees and other professional jobs, one of
Britain's biggest recruiters, Hays, said on Thursday.
Total bonus payments
climbed 4.9% to £40.5bn in the year to April compared with a year
earlier, the Office
for National Statistics said. Around £14.4bn was paid out by banks
and insurers, up 2.9% over the year, where the average bonus was
£13,300, up £700. Another £26.1bn of bonuses were paid in the rest of
the economy, up 6.1%.
The main reason the
article is here is that I am against bonuses: They are
a typically capitalist means to reward the few, usually
the best paid
and to deny solidarity: Surely, a pay rise of everyone takes more money
than a bonus to the the few, and also would have wider consequences,
and might even lower instead of enhance inequalities of payment.
So for me the bonus
system is an expression of deregulated
capitalism, and it will
benefit few, while harming many, indeed just as the lower taxation on
3. I want my rulers chosen on merit, but care
more about how they rule
item is an article by Simon Jenkins on The Guardian:
This starts as
Britain is ruled by an elite of like-minded people from the same
middle-class backgrounds. According to the commission on social mobility and child poverty, this
should be a “wake-up call”. Something must be done urgently “or
nothing will change”. Merit is outgunned by class. Elite recruitment
must be “background blind”.
I take it this is
mostly ironical, but it seems to me to be false or quite misleading to
say that "Britain is ruled
by an elite of like-minded people from the same middle-class backgrounds":
Britain is ruled
mostly by folks with parents who are rich enough to pay for the private
education that the British call "public", and these belong to the 10%
of the richest persons. And these are not "middle class" and
indeed few are "upper middle class" - at least as I use these terms.
But then I know
nearly everyone wants to be "a member of the middle class", from the
poor to the rich, and this is likely the explanation.
As I use terms, the
"middle class" does neither comprise the poor nor the rich. And they
generally cannot afford to send their children to Eton or
Westminster, and then to Cambridge or Oxford. This is also why the
English elite still is an elite of the rich (the upper 10%, at
as it has been for hundreds of years.
Oh yes: Sir Simon
Jenkins - knighted because of journalism in 2004 - was educated at Mill
Hill School and St John's College, Oxford. I suppose he thinks he is
"middle class". I do not.
Biggest Tax Scam Ever: How Corporate America Parks Profits Overseas,
Avoiding Billions in Taxes
item is an article by Amy Goodman and Juan González on Democracy Now!:
This starts as
As Burger King heads
north for Canada’s lower corporate tax rate, we
speak to Rolling Stone contributing editor Tim Dickinson about his new
article, "The Biggest Tax Scam Ever." Dickinson reports on how top U.S.
companies are avoiding hundreds of billions of dollars by parking their
profits abroad — and still receiving more congressionally approved
incentives. Dickinson writes: "Top offenders include giants from
high-tech (Microsoft, $76 billion); Big Pharma (Pfizer, $69 billion);
Big Oil (ExxonMobil, $47 billion); investment banks (Goldman Sachs,
$22 billion); Big Tobacco (Philip Morris, $20 billion); discount
retailers (Wal-Mart, $19 billion); fast-food chains (McDonald’s, $16
billion) – even heavy machinery (Caterpillar, $17 billion). General
Electric has $110 billion stashed offshore, and enjoys an effective tax
rate of 4 percent – 31 points lower than its statutory obligation to
I'd say if you're looking
for traitors (which is what Edward Snowden gets called), here
they are: The CEOs of America's big corporation, who nearly all
park their profits in Holland, Liechtenstein or the Cayman Islands,
simply because this makes them, literally, trillions of dollars:
Well, so the inversion trend is just the tip of a very destructive
iceberg that’s seen the hollowing out of our corporate tax base. And
so, the inversions, you know, is just basically a legal scam that lets
a company technically offshore itself for a lower tax rate. And it goes
sort of hat in hand with companies shipping massive quantities of
corporate profits overseas through sort of elaborate accounting
schemes. And while it’s overseas, it sits there tax-free, accumulates
tax-free kind of like a 401(k) does. And so, right now there’s about $2
trillion in corporate profits that are stockpiled overseas, on which
the U.S. government is technically owed something like half a trillion
dollars. So, at the same time that we’re cutting food stamps, that
we’re cutting home heating aid to the elderly, you know, there’s
literally a jackpot of half a trillion dollars that politicians on both
sides of the aisle just won’t go after, because there’s just an
imbalance of power there. The corporate power has grown much greater
than state power in this case.
Also, this seems to be
legal (!) - and indeed there are 1800 tax lobbyists working on
Congress who have made it so, while both the Republicans and the
Democrats do not seem to see anything much wrong with this. (Also,
Apple is one of the worst companies doing this.)
There is a lot more in the
interview, which you should read yourself.
CIA Torture, ISIS Waterboarded Those It Captured:
item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows (with a
spelling mistake corrected by me):
on Thursday that at least four individuals taken captive by the Islamic
State were tortured and that the group—also known as ISIS—appeared to
be modeling the CIA's use of torture as it employed waterboarding as
one of the painful techniques they used.
I am not amazed: One of
the major risks of allowing torture to be used on prisoners
(also if you call it "enhanced interrogation") is that those you do
battle with will use it on those they take as prisoners from your side.
followed revelations that in the aftermath of 9/11, the Bush
administration approved the CIA to torture suspected terrorists during
interrogations conducted at secret 'Black Sites' – or clandestine
Among those subjected to
the brutal treatment by ISIS, according to sources quoted in the Post's
reporting, was American journalist James Foley who was subsequently
executed by the group.
To be sure: I do not know this is the reason in this case. But
it may be, since especially in war, the barbarisms allowed by one party
are easily followed by the same barbarisms of the party they
Sanders: I Want To Know If Ordinary
People Are Ready to Stand and Fight
item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows
(with some typos repaired by me):
That seems both
interesting and sensible - and yes, I think myself it is high time for
such a political revolution, but I am neither a member of the American
electorate nor an average person.
The Independent U.S.
Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders has a hunch about the American
electorate, but he says the only way to be sure is to go out and meet
It's called the 'Fight For
Economic Justice Tour,' but it's really what the self-identified
Social Democrat described earlier this year as his attempt to travel
the country in order to gauge the country's hunger for a grassroots 'political
revolution'—couched in a possible presidential bid—to challenge the
economic inequality and corporate malfeasance that have severly wounded
the nation's democracy and are strangling its promise of shared
Here is some more:
Yes, indeed. And there is this:
So what's the purpose of
all this travel?
"This is about seeing
whether ordinary people are prepared to stand up and fight and create a
political revolution in the sense of what we have not seen in a very
long time," Sanders declared
In an interview
with the Charlotte Observer on Wednesday,
Sanders stated his position that economic inequality and the everyday
suffering of ordinary people is at the core of his thinking on the
country's current situation. "The main issue that I have is that in
America today the middle-class is disappearing while the gap between
rich and poor is growing wider," he said. "We need more people in
politics working for ordinary people and not just the top 1 percent."
I think he may be right. Anyway, this is quite interesting, and
the article is good, and contains an interesting video.
Sanders said that even in
predominantly Republican-controlled states like South Carolina and
Mississippi, he believes people there want to hear politicians willing
to say, "Enough is enough-- the Billionaire Class can't have it all.
The middle class has got to get some of it."
Getting specific, he
continued, by saying people are reading to hear his message: "That we
need to change our trade policies so that American corporations invest
in this country, not in China; That it is wrong that Burger King and
other large corporations are fleeing America because they don't want to
pay their fair share of taxes; That we need to fix our crumbling
infrastructure and create millions of jobs; That, yes--the scientists
are right: Climate change is real and that we have to transform our
energy system away from fossil fuel. I believe that theses are not
radical ideas. In fact, I believe that on every one of these issues,
that a vast majority of the people agree."
Cellphone Company Says Your Location Info Is Private. Think Again.
item today is an article by Dana Liebelson on Mother Jones:
This starts as follows:
There is considerably
more in the article. My own guess is that the cellphone companies
simply do it, even though they are not allowed to,
quite as the NSA gathers data, indeed also with their help.
On Sunday, the Washington Post published an exposé
revealing that private companies are peddling surveillance systems to
foreign governments that track the location of cellphone users in the
United States and abroad. The report raised a basic question: How can
this be happening when cellphone companies generally promise not to
disclose their customers' location information without their consent?
The main problem is that location information is available on a global
network that can be accessed by thousands of companies. And in the wake
of the Post story,
US cellphone companies are refusing to discuss how this squares with
their privacy policies, or say what they are doing to keep their
customers' whereabouts confidential.
Here's what's going on:
Carriers collect location information from cellphone towers and share
it with each other through a global network called SS7. This allows a
US carrier to find a customer even if she hops a plane to India. But
according to the Post, surveillance systems makers have
gained access to SS7 and are using it to grab location data, allowing
these firms to pinpoint people within a few city blocks.
 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: