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."
Makes Bushism the New Normal
Torture Report Will Be Public in 2 to 4 Weeks,
3. Obama Faces Calls to Reform
4. David Cameron and the
cynicism of comparing Putin to
Creating Free and Open Societies
MSM In A Tizzy Over XXX Celebrity Picture Leak, Fail To
Correlate To Larger
College Has Gotten 12 Times More Expensive in One
This is a Nederlog of
September 4. It is a crisis log.
I think - at least - the entries about Obama and Cameron are
interesting, and you should read item 5, if you are
interested in creating free and open societies: at least this sketches
one way this can be tried, and does so quite well.
This also starts with three items based on articles on The Intercept,
that now seems to be really starting. I take it this is more of a
chance event than anything else.
And this file got uploaded rather more early than is usual for me, and
the main reason is again that it is very fine weather in Amsterdam, and
I am going to cycle again in the afternoon.
Makes Bushism the New Normal
item is an article by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed - and note
that Obama got elected promising "Change!" and "Yes, we can!" while he
has turned out to be a Republican Lite president. Froomkin notes:
In a lot of ways, we’re
worse off today than we were under George W. Bush.
Back then, Bush’s
extremist assault on civil liberties, human rights and other core
American values in the name of fighting terror felt like an aberration.
The expectation was that
those policies would be quickly reversed, discredited — and explicitly
outlawed — once he was no longer in power.
Instead, under President
Barack Obama, they’ve become institutionalized.
There will be no snapping
back to a pre-Bush-era respect for basic human dignity and civil
rights. Thanks to Obama, it’s going to be a hard, long fight.
In some cases, Obama has
set even darker precedents than his predecessor. Massively invasive
bulk surveillance of Americans and others has been expanded,
not constrained. This president secretly condemns
people to death without any checks or balances, and shrugs as his
errant drones massacre
innocent civilians. Whistleblowers and journalists who expose
national security wrongdoing face unprecedented criminal prosecution.
Yes, and again I point
out that Obama got himself elected the first time by making
the promises in the above first paragraph. But he did not live up to
them, and I also think he never meant them: They were poses
that got him elected, and assured him of a fine income ever since, but
they were not positions he really wanted to take.
In retrospect, what the
country needed was a radical break from the Bush/Cheney national
security policies: A reestablishment of American moral integrity; a
rejection of decision-making based on fear (of terrorism, or of
political blowback); a reassertion of the international laws of war;
and a national reckoning.
Instead, the hopes for
any change are slim. Obama has eroded the credibility of any future
promises of expansive reform in the area of national security. And, in
any case, no such promises are forthcoming: Congressional response to
the recent disclosures has been narrowly focused and prone to
loopholes; the current leadership of both political parties — and their
likeliest standard-bearers in 2016 — aren’t expressing any outrage at
As surely — if not as
enthusiastically — as his predecessor, Obama has succumbed to the
powerful systemic pressures that serve the needs of the
military-intelligence-industrial complex. Secrecy is
rampant. Politics drives policy. There is no
accountability. Congressional and judicial oversight have become a
bitter joke. And the elite press gets tighter and tighter with those to
whom it should be adversarial.
Also, most of the rest of the article announces Froomkin's
reappearance, after having done the same from 2004-2009 in the
Washington Post, as a blogger, this time for The Intercept.
It seems a good idea to me, although his main sources, that he expects
much from, are inputs from others by way of Twitter and Facebook.
2. Senate Torture Report Will Be Public in
2 to 4 Weeks, Says
item is another article by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I say. This does not
sound very hopeful, also since in fact "the redaction" was by the
CIA that is supposed to be overseen by Congress, rather
than to redact Congresses reports on their failures, while also spying
on Congress (which they did do).
committee chair Dianne Feinstein expects the executive summary of her
staff’s long-awaited report on the torture of American detainees to be
ready for public release before the end of September, she said in an
unaired segment of her “Meet the Press” interview this weekend (starts
at 10:25 of the
The torture report, which
was five years in the making, was sent to the White House for
declassification in April. But the exhaustive redactions that Obama
administration officials sent back in early August included such things
as the elimination of pseudonyms, apparently to make the report too
confusing to follow, and the blacking out of copious supporting
evidence, such as proof that information derived from torture actually
came from other
“What we are engaged in
is working with the administration to see that the redaction is such
that it does not destroy the report,” Feinstein told NBC’s Andrea
Mitchell. “If you redact the evidence — heavily — then we cannot
sustain our findings. We will not put out a report that does not enable
us to sustain our findings. And I believe that that is understood.
But we will find out, it seems. My own guess is that the report will be
heavily redacted, but I am quite willing to be pleasantly surprised.
Faces Calls to Reform Reagan-Era Mass Surveillance Order
item is an article by Ryan Gallagher on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
Actually, I question how
A coalition of civil
liberties groups and members of Congress are calling on President Obama
to urgently review a controversial executive order being used by the
National Security Agency to conduct mass surveillance.
Executive Order 12333, a
Reagan-era authority, allows the NSA to covertly sweep up vast amounts
of private data from overseas communication networks with no court
oversight. Last week, The Intercept revealed
how 12333 underpins a secret search engine the NSA built to share more
than 850 billion records on phone calls, emails, cellphone locations,
and internet chats with other U.S. government agencies, including
domestic law enforcement. The search system, named ICREACH, contains
information on the private communications of foreigners as well as, it
appears, millions of Americans not accused of any wrongdoing.
Now, more than 40
organizations and rights groups – including Amnesty International,
Human Rights Watch, and the American Civil Liberties Union – are
calling on Obama and his surveillance
review panel to ensure there is no “disproportionate or unnecessary
collection” taking place under 12333.
12333, a Reagan-era authority, allows the NSA to covertly sweep up vast
amounts of private data from overseas communication networks with no
My reasons are the
Fourth Amendment that definitely forbids this, plus the fact
that in Reagan's time there simply was no internet. So how
Reagan's "authority" could be used to steal 850 billion records
(more than 100 per living inhabitant of the world!) from internet
computers is a complete riddle to me.
Then again, it is clear to me that Obama sanctions this, so I do not
expect any great presidential changes.
4. David Cameron and the cynicism of
comparing Putin to Hitler
item is an article by Owen Jones on The Guardian:
This starts as
Oh, here we go.
The west’s escalating showdown with Vladimir Putin has led to Adolf
Hitler being invoked. According to David Cameron, the west risks “repeating the mistakes made in Munich in ‘38”,
making it clear the role he sees the Russian leader as assuming. Putin
was able to flatten Chechnya at the beginning of the century without
such inflammatory comparisons – Tony Blair even cheered him on – but it was only a matter of time before western leaders
began flinging Nazi comparisons around in the Ukraine crisis.
Owen Jones continues
with a show of cases when this was done before by English and American
political leaders, which you can check out yourself, and then says,
quite rightly in my opinion:
In and of
themselves, these comparisons are self-evidently ludicrous. Hitler was
a racist totalitarian dictator who presided over the world’s only
attempt at industrialised genocides of entire peoples, killing tens of
millions in the process. It is possible to regard foreign leaders as
deeply unpleasant and abusive of basic human rights without believing
they are Hitler. There is plenty of space between “democracy that
respects human rights” and “genocidal totalitarian regime with
ambitions to conquer much of the world”. Cameron’s comparison will
undoubtedly fuel anti-western sentiment among the Russian population:
after all, the Soviet Union was absolutely instrumental in the defeat
of Nazism, suffering well over 20 million fatalities. In the case of
Russia, comparisons to Hitler could hardly be more insulting.
But Great Britain's
prime minister made them anyway, and although he is not very
intelligent, he surely knew what he did.
Free and Open Societies
item is an article by Brewster Kahle
(<- Wikipedia) on his blog:
Actually, this is
from May 13, 2014, which shows that I do not check out his blog often,
but I do follow him because he is the creator of archive.org, which I like and indeed
am a member of. (Since I am a member of very few organizations,
this does say something.)
In any case: The
above link, of which there is a somewhat improved pdf here:
is well worth reading
if you are interested in creating free and open societies: These are
some of the ideas I asked for three days
In A Tizzy Over XXX Celebrity Picture Leak, Fail To Correlate To Larger
item is an article by LieparDestin on DailyKos:
This is here mostly
because there was a fuzz lately over naked pictures of well known women
being stolen from a cloud, that also included articles to the effect
that one should not view these pictures.
Well... I can't say I am much interested in Jennifer Lawrence (I didn't
even know she existed), and I haven't clicked, but surely this moral
posturing looks rather dishonest to me, especially since these well
known women got well known for being sexy, and all the readers live in
a pornographic society - at least in the sense that porn is still the
most watched item on the internet - and I do not see much of a
difference between getting stimulated by an image which you know the
name of, because she is a well known sexy actress, and an image you do
not know the name of, although she also is a sexy actress.
Then again, I agree
the pictures were private and should not have been stolen.
And I agree with the
present article - though I do not think it is very good - that there is
a much larger "private sexy pictures" problem due to the fact
that the NSA can and does get anything they can get, but this hardly
gets discussed, and is not in considerable part because none of the
persons whose pictures were stolen is well known for being sexy.
Has Gotten 12 Times More Expensive in One
The next and last
item is an article by Katie Rose Quandt on Mother Jones:
This starts as
As bright-eyed college
freshmen arrive on campus, they can look forward to accruing knowledge,
independence, lifelong friendships—and serious bills. In the 2012-13
school year, first-year, on-campus tuition averaged $43,000 at four-year, private schools and
$21,700 at in-state public schools.
It wasn't always like
this: The cost of undergraduate education is 12 times higher than it
was 35 years ago, far outpacing inflation. While the indexed price of
college tuition and fees skyrocketed by more than 1,122 percent since
1978, the cost of medical care rose less than 600 percent, and the cost
of housing and food went up less than 300.
Put otherwise: As the
food prices trippled in 35 years (is that one generation now?), and the
costs of medical care grew six times, the costs for college tuition
grew 12 times.
started studying in 1977 (and was thrown out the first time after three
months, which happened at least two more times, all without any
failures by me) and since then my income (of an ill Dutch person, who
is ill since 1.1.1979) has slightly more than doubled: I get now in
Euros what I got in guilders thirty years ago - when what I got was
worth considerably more, in terms of what I could buy for the
money I got, than I get now.
But that is an aside,
and the article is only about American students, and comes with quite a
few graphics (that I couldn't see on my computer).
In any case, the
explanation for a 12-fold increase in costs must be that the
millionaires who make up Congress have decided that ordinary people,
with ordinary incomes, should not have the right to send their
children to college.
That is the only
valid explanation for the enormous increase in costs plus the fact that
students have to pay over 4% interest, while very rich bank managers
can loan money virtually for free ever since 2008.
 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: