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. Senator Who Put Pentagon
Papers Into Public Record
Urges Udall To Do Same With
Need Someone to Judge the Judges
3. Cable companies 'stunned' by
Obama's 'extreme' net
4. The Choice of the Century
5. Sanders Calls for Voting
Holiday to 'Fix' Failed Democracy
6. The Unbelievable
Skepticism of the Amazing Randi
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, November 11. It is a crisis log.
Also, today is the day I first got my site in 1996 (it opened a
bit later), which means that I now have one site for 18
full years, and another,
that is a copy of the one, for 10 years. There is a brief earlier file of today that
commemorates this, though I kept it very simple and brief, since it is
mainly for me.
Today's Nederlog contains 6 files with 6 dotted links: Item
1 is about Udall and the chance that he may out the Senate's report
on the CIA (hm); item 2 is on a way to judge the
U.S. judges; item 3 is on Obama, the internet
corporations and net neutrality; item 4 is on an
article by Robert Reich; item 5 is on Senator
Sanders project for an Election Day and a Democracy Day; and item 6 is on the Amazing Randi (though the wikipedia
article on him is better than the NYT article).
Also, I should say I updated the latest
crisis index (the fourth) until yesterday.
And here goes:
Who Put Pentagon Papers Into Public Record Urges Udall To Do Same With
item is an article by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I say. Indeed, from the
rest of the article, Mike Gravel is quite in favor of Udall's speaking
out, and is also willing to help him if he does.
Article 1, Section 6 of
the Constitution establishes an absolute free-speech right for members
of Congress on the floor or in committee, even if they are disclosing
classified material. It states
that “for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be
questioned in any other Place.”
Within hours of Colorado
Senator Mark Udall losing
his reelection bid last week, transparency
activists were talking about how he should
go out with a bang and put the Senate intelligence committee’s
torture report into the congressional record. The report is said to
detail shockingly brutal abuse of detainees by the CIA during the
George W. Bush administration, as well as rampant deception about the
program by top officials. But the Obama White House is refusing to
declassify even a summary of the report without major redactions. And
over the Senate in January.
Udall is one of two
senators — along with fellow Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden —
who have consistently demanded greater transparency from the
intelligence community. If he made the report public on the Senate
floor or during a hearing, he couldn’t be prosecuted.
The last time any senator
did anything nearly so grand was in 1971, when Mike Gravel, two years
into his 12 years representing the state of Alaska, entered 4,000 pages
of the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record just before the
U.S. Supreme Court lifted an injunction on publishing them in the press.
Now, Gravel is urging
Udall to join the club.
I am also in favor of Udall's speaking out, simply because this is the last
realistic chance to get the truth about the CIA under Bush Jr. and I
think everyone has the right to know the truth.
Whether Udall will speak up? I really don't know.
2. We Need Someone to Judge the Judges
item is an article by Jordan Smith on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
I say. There is a lot
more in the article, that shows American judges seem to be badly
followed and controlled by anyone with a sound understanding of their
tasks and limitations, and that seems also to suggest a remedy: To
create an inspector
Judge Edith Jones is no
stranger to controversy. The 65-year-old jurist has served since 1985
on the notoriously fractious 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and is
known for her conservative and often controversial opinions. She’s
decided that a sleeping lawyer isn’t necessarily a bad one for a
criminal defendant to have, claimed that bankruptcy filings have
increased because of a “decline in personal shame,” and said that the
legal system is corrupt in part because it has strayed from its
But it was a speech at
the University of Pennsylvania School of Law last year that earned
her a formal ethics complaint, filed by several Texas civil rights
groups and a group of nationally known legal ethicists. In that
speech to an audience of law students—billed as a federal death
penalty “review”—Jones allegedly made a host of improper and racist
statements that, according to the complainants, violated her
duty to be impartial and damaged public confidence in the
judiciary. According to multiple affidavits, Jones said, among
other things, that minorities are more “prone” to commit violent crimes
(when questioned about this, Jones hedged, saying she was talking about
statistics and that, “sadly,” blacks and Hispanics commit more violent
crimes than do others); that Hispanic nationals would rather be on
death rows in the U.S. than in Mexican prisons (even though Mexico has
outlawed the death penalty); and that questions of racism, mental
retardation, and even actual innocence are simply “red herrings” raised
by defense attorneys interested only in helping heinous murderers to
general to control them.
I tend to agree with the last idea, but since I do not know a lot about
the practice of law in the U.S., which is rather different also from
what it is like in Europe, that is all I say.
companies 'stunned' by Obama's 'extreme' net neutrality proposals
item is an article by Dominic Rushe on The Guardian:
This starts as
America’s major telecoms
and cable companies and business groups came out fighting on Monday
after Barack Obama called for tough new regulations for broadband that
would protect net neutrality, saying they were “stunned” by the
The president called
for new regulations to protect “net neutrality” – the principle
that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. His move
came as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finalises a new set
of proposals for regulation after the old rules were overturned by a
series of court defeats at the hands of cable and telecom companies.
This requires some
First, there is this:
"Barack Obama called for
tough new regulations for broadband that would protect net neutrality". That is, what he wants are "tough new regulations for broadband"; and what he promises is that
these "would protect net
These seem to me to
be quite incompatible, and therefore - I take it - the internet
companies were "stunned".
Here is more, namely
about why the cable companies were "stunned":
The cable and telcoms
giants are particularly concerned by Obama’s call for FCC to reclassify
consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications
Act. Such a move would reclassify consumer internet as a “common
carrier” service – like the telephone – and give the regulator greater
power to control prices and services.
“We are stunned the
president would abandon the longstanding, bipartisan policy of lightly
regulating the internet and [call] for extreme Title II regulation,”
So second: This seems
to be the old saying vs doing that seems to move so
much that Obama does. Here he says he is for protecting "net neutrality", while what he proposes
is a whole new schema to control it.
For there is also this:
Fred Campbell, former
head of wireless communications at the FCC and now executive director
of free market tech group Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology
said applying Title II to the internet would create “legal uncertainty
at home and encourage the efforts of totalitarian regimes abroad to
tighten their control over the internet – the 21st Century’s mass media
Obama’s endorsement “of
1930s era Title II classification would lead to unprecedented
government interference in the internet, and would hurt consumers and
innovation,” said lobby group Broadband for America.
What do I think? I am
afraid net neutrality already has been passed, in effect, and I like
neither Obama's plans nor those of the cable companies. In fact, I
expect to be screwed by either, and if I have a choice I'd rather be
cable companies - the less powerful - than by govermental regulations.
But this is a judgment that
I may change later, if I know more.
Choice of the Century
item is an article by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:
The President blames
himself for the Democrat’s big losses Election Day.
“We have not been
successful in going out there and letting people know what it is that
we’re trying to do and why this is the right direction,” he said Sunday.
In other words, he didn’t
sufficiently tout the Administration’s accomplishments.
I respectfully disagree.
If you want a single
reason for why Democrats lost big on Election Day 2014 it’s this:
Median household income continues to drop.
First of all, the president did not say that he is to
blame, which Reich does say he did: He said some non-clarified "We"
- I take it he meant: "The Democrats" - are to blame. That is
definitely not the same, though it is of lesser interest.
Second: Why would a drop in incomes move those whose incomes dropped -
most - to vote for the party of the rich? Robert Reich does neither
answer nor raise the question, though the question really is obvious.
I have four answers, that are not complete: First, a part of those who
voted were seriously misled. I do not know what part, but this must
have been considerable, simply because billions were paid, in
advertisement lies, to reach those they could mislead. Second, a part
of those who voted do not believe the Democrats anymore - which I, with
a Democratic president like Obama, find not difficult to understand.
Third, quite a few of those who would have voted if they could, did
in part because of voter registration laws, not having identity papers
etc. Fourth, a good part of those who may vote do not vote anymore
because either they do not believe in politics (anymore) or because
(more likely) they don't believe in either Republicans or Democrats
There are more factors that enter, but these are quite important ones.
Here is what Reich has to say about the supposedly "recovering"
"American economy", that is considerably more sensible than the
So there you are: 90%
are losing money so that 10% - in fact mostly: the rich 1%
- can gain money. And the economy still grows ("technically")
because the sums the rich gain, and that the non-rich loose, are so
So why is this called a
“recovery” at all? Because, technically, the economy is growing.
But almost all the gains
from that growth are going to a small minority at the top.
In fact, 100 percent of
the gains have gone to the best-off 10 percent. Ninety-five percent
have gone to the top 1 percent.
The stock market has
boomed. Corporate profits are through the roof. CEO pay, in the
Yet most Americans feel
like they’re still in a recession.
And they’re convinced the
game is rigged against them.
As to the game being rigged:
That indeed is a large
difference. (But "fifty years ago" = "1964", that indeed is quite a
long time ago).
Fifty years ago, just
29 percent of voters believed government is “run by a few big
interests looking out for themselves.”
percent think so.
Here is Reich's diagnosis of what the president or the Democrats should
Really now?! As far as I
know most Democrats like it that "big money is overrunning our democracy": most are themselves owners of big money, who also
spend most of their time listening to some of the around 100,000
lobbyists that hang around Congress. And as far as I know most
Democrats like it that their - so called - “democracy" works
for the "minority at the
top" (for else there would
What the President and
other Democrats failed to communicate wasn’t their accomplishments.
It was their
understanding that the economy is failing most Americans and big money
is overrunning our democracy.
And they failed to convey
their commitment to an economy and a democracy that serve the vast
majority rather than a minority at the top.
have been many more protests).
And here is Reich's plan, or perhaps the choice, that he offers to the
I agree it is "the
choice of the century", and I also agree with the things Reich lists
that have to be changed.
They can refill their
campaign coffers for 2016 by trying to raise even more money from big
corporations, Wall Street, and wealthy individuals.
And hold their tongues
about the economic slide of the majority, and the drowning of our
Or they can come out
swinging. Not just for a higher minimum wage but also for better
schools, paid family and medical leave, and child care for working
For resurrecting the
Glass-Steagall Act and limiting the size of Wall Street banks.
For saving Social
Security by lifting the cap on income subject to payroll taxes.
For rebuilding the
nation’s roads, bridges, and ports.
For increasing taxes on
corporations with high ratios of CEO pay to the pay of average workers.
And for getting big money
out of politics, and thereby saving our democracy.
It’s the choice of the
Democrats have less than
two years to make it.
But given the Democrats as they are, and given they "have less than two years" to make the choice, my prediction is that the
Democrats will, in majority, though not all of them, "refill their campaign coffers for 2016 by
trying to raise even more money from big corporations, Wall Street, and
It's a great pity, but that is the realistic
expectation - indeed unless there is another major economical crisis in
2015: That indeed might change part of the Democrats.
Calls for Voting Holiday to 'Fix' Failed Democracy
item is an article by Lauren McCauley on Common Dreams:
This starts as
Responding to the
"disgraceful" voter turnout for last week's midterm election—just 36.6
percent—Senator Bernie Sanders (Vt.) argued on Monday that the way to
"fix" American democracy is for Election Day to be established as a
"Can we be satisfied with
a 'democracy' when more than 60% of people don’t vote and some 80% of
young people and low-income Americans don’t either?" Sanders wrote in a
Guardian op-ed published
The column follows
late last week that he will introduce legislation in upcoming days calling for the
creation of "Democracy Day" to provide all Americans with the time and
opportunity to vote.
I say. It seems to me
that the creation of an "Election
Day" and a "Democracy Day" are - and I am not
against them - about a 100 years (or more) late, and also that their
creation now is quite unlikely.
Besides, you don't "fix" a
so-called "democracy", which pulls only a little over 1/3rd of the
voters to vote, and leaves 4 out of 5 young and low-income
Americans out, by creating such a day (if that were possible, which it
very probably isn't).
6. The Unbelievable Skepticism of the Amazing
and last item for today is an article by Adam Higginbotham on The New
It's mainly here
because I like Randi, which I do because I dislike frauds and cheats
and deceivers. The article is quite long and not very good although
readable. (But in fact, the Wikipedia article on
Randi is considerably better...)
 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: