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. New Intel Doc: Do Not Be ‘Led
Astray’ By ‘Commonly
2. The Government Wants
Hearing Kept Secret
3. From Tory tax cuts to the war in Iraq, we’re lurching
4. Single mothers are the real
casualties in Cameron’s class
5. Austerity has been an
utter disaster for the eurozone
6. It's time to shout stop
on this war on the living world
7. Congress Cut $8.7 Billion in
Food Stamps in Same Year
We’ll Spend $22 Billion to
Fight Islamic State
8. Costs of Obama's New War
in Iraq and
Syria Set to
Explode, say Analysts
9. Leaked TTIP Documents
Reveal Powerful Chemical
This is a Nederlog of Thursday, October 2. It is a crisis log.
There are 9 items and 9 dotted links. Most is in continuance of earlier
items, and none of it will make you any happier (unless you are a
"Greed is Good!" sort of rich person, but then indeed I do not think
that you will be reading me).
But OK - I am not writing this to make you happy but to keep you
1. New Intel Doc: Do Not Be ‘Led Astray’ By
‘Commonly Understood Definitions’
item is an article by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:
This is a brief piece
about the redefined "meanings" that the U.S. government uses when it
"communicates". There is this in it:
And also this:
Although the intelligence
community’s astonishing abuse of words has been frequently noted,
particularly in the context of surveillance, this may be the first time
we’ve actually seen an instruction manual.
There’s also a “Guide
to the Deceptions, Misinformation, and Word Games Officials Use to
Mislead the Public About NSA Surveillance” that Trevor Timm wrote
for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Mike Masnick’s more tongue
in check “NSA-To-English
Dictionary” from Techdirt.
From the last one (since
that is the only one offering a list of words
The general point is
this - I think:
When we actually access full content of your calls and emails, but not
when we access all the data about who you talk to, where you are and
what you do.
- Collect: When
we run a search on data we
collected er... "stored
for safe keeping."
Everything. It might become relevant in the future, thus it's relevant
- Targeted: As
long as we're collecting the info for an investigation that involves a
"target" then any info is "targeted" even if that info has nothing to
do with the "target."
Everything that we collect... er... store that may become "relevant" at
some point but isn't now even though it's "targeted." In short:
Stuff we did on purpose on a massive scale that looks bad when exposed
- Minimize: A
term we use to pretend that we delete information on Americans, but
which has many exceptions, including if you encrypted your
communications or if we have a sneaking suspicion that you're 51%
foreign based on a hunch.
- No: When said
to Congress in response to questions about whether we collect data on
millions of Americans, this means "fuck you."
When the U.S. government "communicates" with everyone who is not
employed by the government (in a high function), especially about
matters the government wants to be secret, it uses most words
with quite different
senses than these same words have in ordinary dictionaries,
but generally also without saying so, and without
usually giving the new definitions they use.
This means that these "communications" are intricate pieces of
(sorry: "speaking the "truth" in government-talk"):
Those who "communicate" in Pentagon-speak (as I shall call it)
generally say quite different things than they appear
to say - and in fact they might as well precede their
"communications" with "For the purpose of "informing" you fools, idiots
and opponents, we do not mean what we appear to say, but then
again we also do not explain our new terms, that are only
meaningful to us, and meant to deceive the rest" - except that they
don't state such a prefix, for that again would give away too much.
But here is the short of it:
"All governments lie and nothing
Though indeed one
difference is that these days they lie not by affirming what they know
to be not so, but by seeming to say what they do not really
say, and by not offering their redefinitions either.
say should be believed."
Government Wants Guantanamo Force-Feeding Hearing Kept Secret
item is an article by Cora Currier on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
It also includes this:
The government wants to
keep secret a hearing where a hunger-striking Guantanamo detainee is
attempting to expose the painful force-feedings endured by prisoners
protesting their indefinite detention.
Abu Wa’el Dhiab is a
43-year-old Syrian who has been held at Guantanamo Bay since 2002. He
has been on hunger strike for 18 months, and has asked a federal court
to intervene to stop what he describes as brutal force-feedings
conducted by the military at Guantanamo. The World Medical
that force-feeding “is a degrading treatment, inhumane and may
amount to torture.” Hearings in his case are set to begin in
Washington next week.
By the summer of
2013, roughly 100 detainees were on hunger strike and about 40 of them
were subjected to force-feedings. Prisoners were often forcibly brought
from their cells and restrained during the feedings, in
which nutritional supplements are pushed down their throats
through a tube. A hunger striker’s account of being tied to a bed
for 26 hours appeared
in the op-ed pages of the New York Times. An article
in a prominent medical journal called on doctors at Guantanamo to
mutiny, saying that “force-feeding a competent person is not the
practice of medicine; it is aggravated assault.” (At least one Navy
nurse at Guantanamo has
refused to perform the procedure.)
There is considerably
more in the article.
3. From Tory tax cuts to the war in Iraq,
item is an article by Seumas Milne on The Guardian:
There is a lot more in the
article, that indeed shows what Cameron's government is doing:
The spin has been that
the Conservatives are now the party of “progress, compassion and social
justice”. The unmistakable message of the conference, however, is that
they are heading backwards on all fronts.
Nothing got delegates
more excited during George Osborne’s speech than when the chancellor pledged
£3bn more cuts in benefits. They whooped with delight as he promised
that the poorest 10 million households would face two years’ further
real-terms losses of income.
They thundered their
approval when he told them you don’t “set the poor free by giving them
money”. Pain has to be inflicted to “eliminate the deficit”, the
chancellor insisted, along with another £22bn worth of “savings”.
The deficit might be “the most important issue that we face”. But there
was a still higher calling than fiscal probity: tax cuts for the
better-off. The squeeze on child benefit and tax credits for the
poorest would, the prime minister made clear, pay for raising the 40% tax threshold on the top 15% of earners – or “middle
England”, as the media quaintly likes to call them.
The real priority
is reducing tax for the better-off and a spectacular lurch back to
Yes, indeed - and see
the next piece:
Single mothers are the real casualties in Cameron’s class
item is an article by Suzanne Moore on The Guardian:
This is mostly like Seumas
Milne in the previous item, except that it is more about single
mothers, who are cruelly punished by Cameron's government (if poor,
like most), and it
contains this bit - although I had to repair the first link (which now
(...) if you want to see
how much has really changed then I suggest you read Margaret
Thatcher’s 1983 conference speech and see that Cameron is just
finishing off what she started. So this is not just politics as
usual but the politics of yesteryear tarted up and paraded as the only
game in town. Austerity and the acceptance of it as the only meaningful
narrative has left Labour simply contesting the same macho
territory. Hence Ed Balls having to look hard by promising to freeze child benefit.
And as I've said
before, this also makes it clear that the British Labour Party these
days - after Tony Blair has destroyed it - is basically a Conservatives
Lite Party: There are hardly anymore socialists in it, and even
social democracy seems too difficult for them. (It's the same with
Labour, since that was destroyed by Wim Kok: The only ones who remain
there are the real bastards, who also have nowhere else to go.)
5. Austerity has been an utter disaster
for the eurozone
item is an article by Joseph Stiglitz
(<-Wikipedia) on The Guardian:
This starts as
“If the facts don’t fit
the theory, change the theory,” goes the old adage. But too often it is
easier to keep the theory and change the facts – or so German
chancellor Angela Merkel and other pro-austerity European leaders
appear to believe. Though facts keep staring them in the face, they
continue to deny reality.
Austerity has failed. But
its defenders are willing to claim victory on the basis of the weakest
possible evidence: the economy is no longer collapsing, so austerity
must be working! But if that is the benchmark, we could say that
jumping off a cliff is the best way to get down from a mountain; after
all, the descent has been stopped.
Yes, though it must
be added that the reasonings of the pro austerity folks (nearly
everyone in any government, and no: they are not hit by
austerity, not at all) is that the 10% or the 1% are not hit,
so "therefore" austerity is a success - which indeed it is,
quite astonishingly also, if seen for what it really is: The instrument
to make the few rich a lot richer, by stealing their riches from the
poor (and blaming it on "welfare queens") - modern government of the
corporations, by the people
corporations, for the people corporations.
("Corporations are people", according to the current U.S. Supreme
There is also this:
Yes, but as I said: As a
schema for enriching the rich by robbing from the poor, which became
reality in 2008-2009, when the billions of poor were made to
pay trillions of dollars to bail out a few thousands
of corrupt and
fraudulent bankers, it has been quite successful, especially as no
prosecuted any of the fraudulent bankers. (Thank you Eric Holder!)
The most afflicted
countries are in a depression. There is no other word to describe an
economy like that of Spain or Greece, where nearly one in four people –
and more than 50% of young people – cannot find work. To say that the
medicine is working because the unemployment rate has decreased by a
couple of percentage points, or because one can see a glimmer of meager
growth, is akin to a medieval barber saying that a bloodletting is
working, because the patient has not died yet.
modest growth from 1980 onwards, my calculations show that output in
the eurozone today is more than 15% below where it would have been had
the 2008 financial crisis not occurred, implying a loss of some $1.6
trillion this year alone, and a cumulative loss of more than $6.5
Finally there is this:
The hope is that
lower corporate taxes will stimulate investment. This is sheer
nonsense. What is holding back investment (both in the United States
and Europe) is lack of demand, not high taxes.
Again yes, but...:
Indeed it is sheer nonsense, but the lack of demand only
punishes the 90% of the poor, who do not have the power, and
indeed are not represented either, really ,
while it enriches the 10% of the rich, and they have the power.
And this is what the
European governors really want: Less money for the many poor,
and more money for the few rich, which includes the European governors
- and they are quite successful as well (thanks to the
mostly thoroughly corrupted media, it seems).
6. It's time to shout stop on this war on the
item is an article by George Monbiot on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Well, since you ask:
Nearly all policians, "left" and "right" and certainly those in
government, whether "left"
or "right"; nearly all think tanks (that tend to be right anyway); and
most of the media will either not care much, or pooh-pooh the problem,
or start A Campaign To Save The World - except that campaign really is
to make money for those who start it, rather like Live Aid, and similar
projects, that also did not get much done to help the poor, but made
their organizers much more famous than they were.
This is a moment at which
anyone with the capacity for reflection should stop and wonder what we
If the news that in the
past 40 years the world has lost
over 50% of its vertebrate wildlife (mammals, birds, reptiles,
amphibians and fish) fails to tell us that there is something wrong
with the way we live, it’s hard to imagine what could. Who believes
that a social and economic system which has this effect is a healthy
one? Who, contemplating this loss, could call it progress?
Then again, the news that the world lost in 40 years 50% of its
vertebrate wild life really is striking news:
(..) what we see
now is something new: a speed of destruction that exceeds even that of
the first settlement of the Americas, 14,000 years ago, when an entire
hemisphere’s ecology was transformed through a firestorm of extinction
within a few dozen generations, in which the majority of large
vertebrate species disappeared.
Yes, and in fact both of
these trends are profit driven, and are mostly sold to a generally
eager public through the economic propaganda of advertisements. On this
there is the following:
Many people blame this
process on human population growth, and there’s no doubt that it has
been a factor. But two other trends have developed even faster and
further. The first is the rise in consumption; the second is
amplification by technology. Every year, new pesticides, fishing
technologies, mining methods, techniques for processing trees are
developed. We are waging an increasingly asymmetric war against the
What and whom is
this growth for?
Well...yes and no. Yes,
in the sense that I agree with Monbiot's analysis. But no, in the sense
that I must be one of the few: To the vast majority, there is no
alternative but consuming, and also they do not believe they
It’s for the people who
run or own the banks, the hedge funds, the mining companies, the
advertising firms, the lobbying companies, the weapons manufacturers,
the buy-to-let portfolios, the office blocks, the country estates, the
offshore accounts. The rest of us are induced to regard it as necessary
and desirable through a system of marketing and framing so intensive
and all-pervasive that it amounts to brainwashing.
They think it is quite natural, quite human, quite moral, and quite
deserving that 7 billion human beings all want to live as the rich
Americans - the top 10% then - lived in the 1970ies, and anything which
keeps them from satisfying that dream they strongly repel.
And that is the basic human problem: Too many men, with too
and too much ignorance,
willing to exterminate each other in the hunt for riches for
Congress Cut $8.7 Billion in Food Stamps in Same Year We’ll Spend $22
Billion to Fight Islamic State
next item is an article by Juan Cole on Truthdig (and originally on
Juan Cole's website):
This starts with the quotation
of a headline and a message from last February:
And that is quoted to
develop the following contrast:
”Congress passes $8.7
billion food stamp cut
By Ned Resnikoff
It’s official: 850,000
households across the country are set to lose an average of $90 per
month in food stamp benefits.
The Senate on Tuesday
voted 68-32 to send the 2014 Farm Bill – which includes an $8.7 billion
cut to food stamps – to President Obama’s desk. Nine Democrats opposed
the bill, and 46 members of the Democratic caucus voted for it, joining
The GOP Congress’s
assault on the American working class has been waged with the
pretext that the Federal government has no money (what with being in
debt and all).
Which is to say (and I
agree) that the message that the vast majority in Congress sends to
their electorate is this:
In contrast, Congress has no
problem with the war on ISIL in Iraq and Syria, which
could cost from $18 bn to $22 bn a year.
More than a million Americans must starve, so that Congress can help
the rich to bomb the Syrians back to the Middle Ages. Why? Because
Americans are exceptional!
8. Costs of
Obama's New War in Iraq and Syria Set to Explode, say Analysts
next item is an article by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This has the following
in the beginning:
accords with the previous item, by the way. The above continues:
to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments:
Assuming a moderate
level of air operations and 2,000 deployed ground forces, the costs
would likely run between $200 and $320 million per month. If air
operations are conducted at a higher pace and 5,000 ground forces are
deployed, the costs would be between $350 and $570 million per month.
If operations expand significantly to include the deployment of 25,000
U.S. troops on the ground, as some have recommended, costs would likely
reach $1.1 to $1.8 billion per month.
On an annual basis, CSBA
estimates, the U.S. military's operation against the Islamic State in
Iraq and Syria (or ISIS) could cost as much as $22 billion dollars a
There is also this on earlier
estimates for the costs of earlier similar wars:
The Pentagon is currently
funding the attack through a controversial war fund, dubbed the
Overseas Contingency Operations account, which is exempt from federal
budget caps. The fund was originally created to fund the previous wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan though defense officials
say it will likely be around for the "long-term."
In 2003, President
Bush said his purported goal of bringing democracy to Iraq would
require a "lengthy campaign" and cost and estimated $60 billion, which
NPP notes is just a "small fraction" of their $817 billion estimate.
(Economist Joseph Stiglitz even argues
that the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could
amount to as much as $4 trillion.)
Which means, if
this is a safe indicator, that the war that Obama started (which in his
parlance is "not a war", though there are many bombings, while there
are also "no boots on the ground", which means there are at least 1600
Americans currently employed there) will cost in the order of $ 240
TTIP Documents Reveal Powerful Chemical Industry
next and last item if today is an article by Nadia Prupis on Common
This starts as follows:
There is considerably
more in the article, which I will leave to the reader's interests, but
I should mention that the TTIP is a secret treaty, that aims at
undoing the states' grip - and their populations' grip - on their own
Corporate interests may
be winning in U.S.-EU trade negotiations, endangering public health and
the environment, a new cache of documents
(pdf) leaked on Tuesday show.
Backed by powerful
industry advisers and bolstered by U.S. allies who have already made
significant concessions to move negotiations along, the Transatlantic
Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal is poised to derail
European regulations around the use and transport of
chemicals—regulations which are significantly stronger than those in
the U.S. The deal would also limit public access to information on
toxic and hazardous substances.
Of course, renowned progressives like Obama and the European leaders
are very much for it. I think it is criminal, as indeed are most things
that governments want to keep secret.
P.S. Oct 3, 2014: Corrected
some small typos.
 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
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
from is quite pertinent.)
 That is, unless you want to say that a Tea Party
follower with an IQ of 80 who believes in the lies of the GOP is being represented by those
who lie to him.
(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: