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. How Many Muslim Countries Has
the U.S. Bombed Or
Occupied Since 1980?
2. UK intelligence agencies spying on lawyers in sensitive
3. Climate change is disrupting
flower pollination, research
4. Our addiction to
criminalising human behaviour makes a
mockery of private
5. Water Cannons, Tear Gas
Unleashed on 100,000
Anti-Austerity Marchers in
6. US Corporations Top List
of Those Living in 'Magical
Fairyland' of Tax-Dodging
This is a Nederlog of Friday, November 7. It is a crisis log.
There are 6 items with 6 dotted links: Item 1 shows
12 to 14 Muslim countries were invaded or occupied or bombed by the
U.S. since 1980; item 2 shows UK spying agencies
also spy on lawyers and their clients (thus giving the government a
very unfair advantage); item 3 is about climate
change, including recent evidence about pollination;
item 4 is about criminalizing human behavior in the U.K.; item 5 is about a large demonstration in Brussels that
was torn up by police violence; and item 6 is about
the tax evasions very many large corporations do.
1. How Many Muslim Countries Has the U.S. Bombed
Or Occupied Since 1980?
item is an article by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
in his post-election press conference yesterday, announced
that he would seek an Authorization for Use of Military Force
(AUMF) from the new Congress, one that would authorize
Obama’s bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria—the one he began
three months ago. If one were being generous, one could say that
seeking congressional authorization for a war that commenced months
ago is at least better than fighting a war even after Congress
explicitly rejected its authorization, as Obama lawlessly did
in the now-collapsed
country of Libya.
Yes. As to the number of
Muslim countries that were bombed, there is a clear answer:
I say. By the way: I do not
think that Bosnia and Kosovo really are "Muslim countries" or
"countries in the Islamic world", but even if one subtracts these,
there still are 12 Muslim countries that were "invaded or occupied or
To get a full scope of
American violence in the world, it is worth asking a broader
question: how many countries in the Islamic world has the U.S.
bombed or occupied since 1980? That answer was provided in a
recent Washington Post op-ed by the military
historian and former U.S. Army Col. Andrew Bacevich:
America’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic
State militants extent into Syria, Iraq War III has seamlessly morphed
into Greater Middle East Battlefield XIV. That is, Syria has
become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces
have invaded or occupied or bombed, and in which American
soldiers have killed or been killed. And that’s just since 1980.
tick them off: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011),
Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia
(1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996),
Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000,
2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria. Whew.
Also, as Glenn Greenwald makes clear, these are just Muslim countries: Other
American military operations have been excluded from consideration.
According to Greenwald, the main cause of this behavior is
"self-blinding tribalism" by persons who are "pathologically
self-deluded". I'd rather say the main causes are stupidity, ignorance
or negligence (the initial letters spell "sin"), where the last term
refers to a refusal to consider evidence that might show one is
ignorant or stupid.
intelligence agencies spying on lawyers in sensitive security cases
item is an article by Owen Bowcott on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I am not amazed. And
here is David Davis talking:
The intelligence services
have routinely been intercepting legally privileged communications
between lawyers and their clients in sensitive security cases,
according to internal MI5, MI6 and GCHQ documents.
The information obtained
may even have been exploited unlawfully and used by the agencies in the
fighting of court cases in which they themselves are involved, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT)
has been told, resulting in miscarriages of justice.
Exchanges between lawyers
and their clients enjoy a special protected status under the law.
The Conservative MP David
Davis, a former shadow home secretary, said past practice was to delete
such material immediately if it was ever picked up. Amnesty
International said the government was gaining “an unfair advantage akin
to playing poker in a hall of mirrors”.
Yes, indeed. There is a
lot more under the last dotted link.
“Each of the three main
agencies are clearly keeping records of legal privileged material, and
have explicit policies to handle it. In the case of MI5 that policy
includes concealing from the court that they have the material,
including the secret courts and security cleared special advocates paid
by the state.
“This change has been
carried out without changing the law or telling parliament. This is an
enormous breach of defendants’ judicial rights. Indeed, one dreadful
possible consequence is that it could lead to historic convictions
being quashed in serious cases, including terrorism cases.”
change is disrupting flower pollination, research shows
item is an article by Damian Carrington on The Guardian:
This starts as
Sexual deceit, pressed
flowers and Victorian bee collectors are combined in new scientific
research which demonstrates for the first time that climate change
threatens flower pollination, which underpins much of the world’s food
The work used museum
records stretching back to 1848 to show that the early spider orchid
and the miner bee on which it depends for reproduction have become
increasingly out of sync as spring temperatures rise due to global
The orchid resembles a
female miner bee and exudes the same sex pheromone to seduce the male
bee into “pseudocopulation” with the flower, an act which also achieves
pollination. The orchids have evolved to flower at the same time as the
But while rising
temperatures cause both the orchid and the bee to flower or fly earlier
in the spring, the bees are affected much more, which leads to a
You might say this
considers just two species, but that would be a mistake: There is
considerable evidence many more natural relations are being
This is a study that goes back to 1848 to show it does
hold in this case.
As to the wider
Three-quarters of all
food crops rely on pollination, and bees and other pollinators have
already suffered heavily in recent decades from disease, pesticide use
and the widespread loss of the flowery habitats on which they feed. In
the UK alone, the free fertilisation provided by pollinators is
estimated to be worth £430m a year to farmers.
Professor Anthony Davy,
also at UEA and part of the research team, said: “There will be
progressive disruption of pollination systems with climatic warming,
which could lead to the breakdown of co-evolved interactions between
Yes, indeed. There is
considerably more under the last dotted link.
4. Our addiction to criminalising human
behaviour makes a mockery of private responsibility
item is an article by Simon Jenkins on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Well, I am a
philosopher, but - knowing the species - I do not think they
are needed: it would only add to the confusion, and will give very
little if any clarity.
If poisoning your foetus with alcohol is a crime, why is it
not a crime to abort it? If alcoholism in pregnancy is “attempted
manslaughter”, as a QC told the court of appeal this week, surely
abortion is murder. Indeed if alcoholism before birth criminally harms
a baby’s life, what about alcoholism and a dozen other cruelties after
birth? How many are the misdeeds we inflict on our children to which
Britain’s “cult of criminality” should now turn its attention?
We need a philosopher –
as Raymond Chandler would say – and we need one fast. All we get are
bloody lawyers. The motive for this week’s court case in London had
nothing to do with the health of mother or child. It was blatantly
financial. A local council is acting on behalf of a seven-year-old girl
– “CP” – who suffers from acute “foetal alcohol syndrome”. The claimed
cause was her mother’s drinking during pregnancy. The suit is intended
to shift the cost of caring for her from the council to the Criminal
Injuries Compensation Authority on the grounds that the girl is victim
of “violence against the person”.
But Simon Jenkins is quite right there is a considerable
When that old
softie Margaret Thatcher left power, there were 45,000 Britons in jail. The number has doubled. Then
there were 130 jailed shoplifters. Now thousands pass through prison
each year for offences treated in most of Europe like a parking
What is the reason that people who committed such crimes are
I have on file cases of
Britons recently imprisoned for crimes as relatively mild as abusive
tweeting, poll-rigging, Boat Race obstructing, cathedral desecrating,
job-application falsifying, expenses fiddling, urinating on a war
memorial, speeding-point switching, licence fee non-paying, and
googling in court.
It seems to me that this expresses the growth of the authoritarian
that desires to punish everyone legally who is not "normal".
Simon Jenkins also says:
When Ken Clarke as justice minister tried to rein back this lunacy,
David Cameron sacked him. Now we have the proposed crime of “emotional
violence” – including “reducing self-esteem” by calling someone fat –
showing there is no limit to the law’s ambition. To be against jailing
people for such offences is not to condone what they do, merely to
apply some sense of proportion.
Yes - and that is what
is needed, much more than philosophers: Common sense.
But I agree that is a fairly scarce commodity, and one that is not
popular among lawyers.
Cannons, Tear Gas Unleashed on 100,000 Anti-Austerity Marchers in
item is an article by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Note the opposition between
the peaceful protestors and the violent police - and again I see the
police's violence as a sign of the rise of the authoritarian state.
As to the Belgian state, there is this:
More than 100,000 workers
took to the streets in Brussels, Belgium on Thursday to protest
austerity cuts and free-market reforms that are set to cut vital social
services, freeze wages, and raise the retirement age.
Police used tear gas and
water cannons to break up the protest, which saw laborers and other
low-wage workers marching peacefully through downtown Brussels to mark
the start of an anticipated month-long campaign against the country's
newly elected center-right government.
But this was the response of
the Belgian government: Tear gas and water cannons against peaceful
elected coalition, which shuts out the Socialist Party for the first
time in decades, is made up of three pro-business parties and the
centrist Christian Democrats. The coalition said it was forced to
institute these new free-market reforms in order to comply with the
European Union's budget restrictions.
But residents and
other politicians disagreed. Former Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, a
Socialist Democrat, told
Reuters UK, "I share the concern of the people and
the measures of the government are unjust."
6. US Corporations Top List of Those Living
in 'Magical Fairyland' of Tax-Dodging
item is an article by Jon Qually on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows (and is
in part a summary of a long article I
More than 300
global corporations and financial institutions— including well-known
names like Pepsi Co., FedEx, JP Morgan Chase, and Amazon—have created
complex tax avoidance schemes using the small European nation of
Luxembourg to funnel billions of dollars of profits away from the
countries where they actually do business, according to leaked
documents obtained and analyzed by the International Consortium of
There is more in the article,
but that is the summary, and the article is well worth reading in full.
As part of their
reporting, ICIJ and its international media partners released a large
cache of Luxembourg tax rulings—called comfort letters—which document
the deals given to these transnational corporations in exchange for
funneling their global profits through the country. The reporting
details how the accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was at
the center of the deal-making, representing the corporate clients
before the Luxembourg Ministry of Finance which governs the nation's
According to the ICIJ's extensive
These companies appear
to have channeled hundreds of billions of dollars through Luxembourg
and saved billions of dollars in taxes, according to a review of nearly
28,000 pages of confidential documents conducted by the International
Consortium of Investigative Journalists and a team of more than 80
journalists from 26 countries.
Big companies can book
big tax savings by creating complicated accounting and legal structures
that move profits to low-tax Luxembourg from higher-tax countries where
they’re headquartered or do lots of business. In some instances, the
leaked records indicate, companies have enjoyed effective tax rates of
less than 1 percent on the profits they’ve shuffled into Luxembourg.
 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 I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: