This starts as
I have written about
this before, and I mentioned then
Dominic Grieve, who is a conservative. Here he is again:
Rulings by the European
court of human rights (ECHR) would no longer be enforceable in the UK
under radical plans by the Conservatives.
Under proposals to be
included in the party’s general election manifesto, the Tories would
reverse more than half a century’s tradition of human rights authority
residing in Europe by giving parliament the right to veto judgments.
The authority of the court in Strasbourg would be severely curtailed,
with parliament given the final say in deciding whether or not to adopt
document setting out the plans promised to “restore sovereignty to
Westminster” through a parliamentary override that would prevent
politically unacceptable Strasbourg rulings being enforced in UK law.
The far-reaching changes would enable a future Tory government to limit
human rights to only the “most serious cases”, deport more “terrorists
and serious foreign criminals” and defy policies such as the ECHR’s
requirement that some prisoners be given a vote.
the former attorney general who was removed at the last reshuffle, told
the Guardian the proposals were “almost puerile”. He added: “I also
think they are unworkable and will damage the UK’s international
And here is a brief
survey of the impact of the new Tory policies:
There is considerably
more under the last dotted link, and the alarm of civil liberties
groups is well justified: This is Tory - not: "British" -
"Human Rights", that mostly
The impact would be
wide-ranging. The UK armed forces would cease to be subject to human
rights legislation overseas, and Labour’s 1998 Human Rights Act would
be scrapped to be replaced by a “British bill of rights and
responsibilities”, the policy document states.
Civil liberties groups reacted
with alarm to the plans, which Grayling mentioned briefly in his
speech to the party conference earlier this week and David Cameron also
was to call Labour and miners ‘enemy within’ in abandoned speech
item is an article by Alan Travis on The Guardian:
This starts as
The 1984 Brighton bomb
forced Margaret Thatcher to tear up what would have been the most
divisive speech of her premiership, in which she planned to accuse not
only militant miners but the entire Labour party of being “the enemy
within” and part of an “insurrection” against democracy.
papers reveal that when the IRA bomb exploded in her Brighton hotel, at
2.54am on 12 October 1984, her secretaries were still retyping the
final draft of her party conference speech, in which she was to accuse
Neil Kinnock of being a “puppet” leader of a Labour party that had been
“hijacked” by the “enemies of democracy”.
There is a lot more
in the last dotted link.
The main reasons this
is in the crisis series are that Thatcher's version of
the Tory ideology
is still dominant in Cameron, and it is, as this article shows, fairly
mad, simply because she intended to accuse "the entire Labour party of being “the enemy
within” and part of an “insurrection” against democracy":
Thatcher was to go on to
put Labour’s refusal to condemn the picket-line violence of the
militant miners at the very heart of the problem, with influential men
prepared to repudiate the ideas of parliamentary democracy and the rule
That is and was just
utter nonsense - and it also would have been dangerous
had it been published (it wasn't because of the bombing in 1984).
5. Open Letter on Censorship
item is an article by Zuade Kaufman on Truthdig:
Zuade Kaufman is the
co-founder and publisher of Truthdig. Her article starts as follows:
George Orwell was right:
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present
controls the past.”
Such power isn’t limited
to rewriting history. It extends to defining what we hear, what we
read, what we say—and ultimately what we think. It affects all of us,
especially those who believe in the potential of words to shine a light
on hidden agendas, hold the powerful to answer, and express ideas that
shape our values.
The threat is both from
governments, which feel a need to control their people, and from
companies that have an unceasing urge to increase their power and their
Google is one of those
companies. It is everywhere, so it is the premier gatekeeper. To a
large extent, it dictates not only what information “gets in” but
defines what is unacceptable and what is to be kept out.
And indeed, the article is
about Google and Truthdig, and Zuade Kaufman is right about Google's
being everywhere and its using rules that are quite unclear, which it
Here is the ending of the
The danger for all of us
is Google dictating what is and isn’t permissible and feeling it’s free
to explain its reasons or not because it is the sole arbiter. This
affects not only the media but also readers who comment online. Do we
really want anyone—companies, governments, neighbors, religious
institutions—to have that sort of power? The restrictions on freedom of
expression could be enormous.
Today, we are the target.
What happens tomorrow when it’s you?
As to the last question: I
tend to avoid both Microsoft and Google. I am running
Linux-Ubuntu now since over two years, and have used Microsoft just two
times, quite briefly, and without internet connection, and I am
avoiding Google since ca. 2008. Instead, I use Yahoo or - mostly -
DuckDuckGo. (But Google still tracks me, and also gets me via Youtube:
It is very difficult not to meet it at all.)
As to what happens:
Clearly, being poor and ill, I don't stand a chance - but then I am
also not a prominent publisher.
And no, I do not want anyone
to have the power
Google has, but I am most opposed to the NSA's illegal
surveilling of everyone, though indeed Google and Facebook are quite
unsympathetic and dishonest dataminers with far too much power as well.
6. Eric Holder is the Reason Robert Rubin
Isn't Behind Bars
item is an article by Dean Baker on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:
The big news item in
Washington last week was Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to
resign. Undoubtedly there are positives to Holder's tenure as attorney
general, but one really big minus is his decision not to prosecute any
of the Wall Street crew whose actions helped to prop up the housing
bubble. As a result of this failure, the main culprits walked away
incredibly wealthy even as most of the country has yet to recover from
the damage they caused.
Yes, and for me that is
complete corruption - it was Holder's duty to prosecute the
bankers, and namely for fraud - and it weighs out any good Holder may
Here is a short sketch of
the crimes Holder refused to prosecute:
Mortgage issuers like
Countrywide and Ameriquest knowingly issued mortgages based on false information.
They then sold these mortgages to investment banks like Citigroup and
Goldman Sachs who packaged them into mortgage backed securities. These
banks knew that many of the mortgages being put into the
pools for these securities did not meet their standards, but passed
them along anyhow. And, the bond-rating agencies rated these securities
as investment grade, giving many the highest possible ratings, even
though they knew their quality did not warrant such
All three of these
actions -- knowingly issuing mortgages based on false information,
deliberately packaging fraudulent mortgages into mortgage backed
securities, and deliberately inflating the ratings for mortgage backed
securities - are serious crimes that potentially involve lengthy prison
sentences. Holder opted not to pursue criminal cases against the
It is also true that
Holder lately reached some settlements with banks, which forced them to
pay back part of what they gained in exchange for clearing anyone in
the banks of any charges, but to me that was merely corruption: He
should have prosecuted the bankers, and he should not have
settled; the settlements he reached did neither punish those who did
the crimes, nor were they sufficient; and he should never have cleared
them of charges.
Here is the end of
We can never know this
pattern of prosecution would have nailed big fish like Goldman's Lloyd
Blankfein or Citigroup's Robert Rubin. We do know that Holder never
even tried. As a result the Wall Streeters who profited most from
illegal acts in the bubble years got to keep their haul. This is the
message that bankers will take away going forward. This virtually
guarantees ongoing corruption in finance.
Yes, indeed. (The
only comparative "good" continued corruption will probably do is to
cause another crisis, that will be considerably bigger than the
2008 one, simply because Holder did not prosecute, and the bankers -
new ones, mostly - have continued the corrupt practices that
started the 2008 crisis.)
7. Global Inequality Reaches Levels Not Seen in
Nearly 200 Years
next item is an article by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
starts as follows:
I say - but note this is
on "global inome inequality". In fact:
Global income inequality
has returned to levels recorded in the 1820s—when the Industrial
Revolution produced sizable wealth gaps between the rich and
poor—according to a new report released
Thursday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
The sweeping study, "How
Was Life? Global Well-Being Since 1820," uses historical
data from eight world regions to present for the first time "systematic
evidence" of trends in areas such as health, education, inequality, the
environment, and personal security over the past 200 years.
Yes - except
that it is not "globalization", as such, that is the main cause, but
much rather deregulation,
that indeed accompanied globalization.
But while income inequality,
as measured by pre-tax household income among individuals within a
country, fell between the end of the 19th century until around 1970, it
began to rise markedly at that point, perhaps in response to
"The enormous increase of
income inequality on a global scale is one of the most significant—and
worrying—features of the development of the world economy in the past
200 years," the authors write. "It is hard not to notice the sharp
increase in income inequality experienced by the vast majority of
countries from the 1980s. There are very few exceptions to this."
8. Rising Tides Lift All Yachts – Why the 1%
Grabs all the Gains From Growth
next item is an article by Randall Wray (who is a professor of
economics) on Naked Capitalism:
This is a good article
by the colleague and former teacher of Pavlina Cherneva, whose
statistic was earlier mentioned by me (and see below). This is from the
Going all the way
back to the Kennedy days, it has been conventional wisdom that if you
can boost economic growth, everyone wins.
In fact, this is rather
a lot like my own thinking, in the early 1970ies: I gave up Marxism (my
parents were real marxists, so I had been educated in it) aged 20, in
1970, in part because of totalitarianism,
in part because I had discovered serious problems with Marx's labor theory
of value, and in part because I thought power was
much more important than Marx allowed it to be (for he made it as well
depend on economics, which I thought and think a serious mistake).
Actually, as I’ve long
argued, that is remarkably naïve and counterfactual. In good times, the
powerful grab the spoils. In bad times, they get government bail-outs.
Why on earth would you
want to be powerful if you could not protect and even enhance your
well-being no matter what the economy does?
Why do elites everywhere
always clamor for economic growth? Every policy advocated by them is
justified on the argument that it will boost growth. Cut taxes on the
rich! Eliminate regulations! Free trade! Slash welfare! Balance the
budget! Save Wall Street!
Every policy they hate is
said to hinder growth: raising minimum wages; environmental protection;
school lunches for poor kids; vacations and sick leave for workers.
Where such policies do
enhance growth, the rich will get more than their fair share. Where the
policies do not boost growth, they will increase the share of the rich.
Heads they win and tails they win too.
Who would be surprised by
that? Well, just about every economist and policymaker on the planet.
Why? Because they refuse to consider POWER. While our economy is often
referred to as “market-driven”, it is actually driven by power. P. O.
W. E. R.
But this is a good article, and it gives some more background
to this chart, which is surprising enough - and for a little more on it
see my Nederlog of 25 september last
and the thick blue lines are those of the bottom 90%, while the thick
red lines are those
of the top 10%, while in both cases the average income growth
of the two groups gets measured:
Merkel Effect: What Today's Germany Owes to Its Once-Communist East
next and last item is an article by Dirk Kurbjuweit on the Spiegel
has a subtitle or epigraph that is as follows (bolding in the original):
Germany ceased to exist following the 1989 revolution and the fall of
the Berlin Wall. But did the former communist country help shape
today's Germany? The answer is yes, and Chancellor Merkel is a big
is also the reason it is in the crisis series. In fact, this is a
background article on the modern Germany that emerged from West and
East Germany in 1989.