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. Modern slavery affects more
than 35 million people,
Google and Apple lobby for curb to NSA
3. If you thought the Isis war
couldn't get any worse, just
wait for more of the CIA
4. The $9 Billion Witness:
Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst
5. America Is More
Terrifying Than Orwell’s Fiction
6. And Now the Richest .01 Percent
This is a Nederlog of Tuesday, November 18. It is a crisis log.
There are 6 items with 6 links: Item 1 is about
modern slavery: 1 in 50
human beings effectively is a slave, today; item 2
is about Facebook,
Google etc. trying to lobby to curb the NSA surveillance; item 3 is
about the CIA and its many excesses and failures; item 4
Morgan Chase's policies; item 5 is about the
present day America (more
terrifying than Orwell could imagine); and item 6
is Robert Reich
about the richest 1
in 10.000 Americans, with two notes by me.
Also, there is a small earlier Nederlog of
today that is only about a change in supplements I am
for 3 or 4 days, that will probably interest very few.
And here goes:
Modern slavery affects
more than 35 million people, report finds
item today is an article by Larry Elliott on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
Note that 35 million is
1/2 % of the current human world population (here taken as 7 billion),
which is to say that (roughly) 1 in 50 are slaves (or at least: "trapped in a modern form of slavery"). I say
- that is over twice the total current Dutch population.
More than 35 million
people around the world are trapped in a modern form of slavery,
according to a report highlighting the prevalence of forced labour,
human trafficking, forced marriages, debt bondage and commerical sexual
The Walk Free Foundation
(WFF), an Australia-based NGO that publishes the annual global slavery
index, said that as a result of better data and improved methodology it
had increased its estimate 23% in the past year.
Five countries accounted
for 61% of slavery, although it was found in all 167 countries covered
by the report,
including the UK.
India was top of the list
with about 14.29 million enslaved people, followed by China with 3.24
million, Pakistan 2.06 million, Uzbekistan 1.2 million, and Russia 1.05
Mauritania had the
highest proportion of its population in modern slavery, at 4%, followed
by Uzbekistan with 3.97%, Haiti 2.3%, Qatar 1.36% and India 1.14%.
There is more in the article, but the above are the facts, at least
according to the report.
2. Facebook, Google and Apple lobby for curb to
item is an article by Samuel Gibbs on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I say. On the one hand,
this is good, but on the other hand at least Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple make
part of their profits by spying on their users, though again it might
be said at least Microsof and Apple might make a case that they have
been forced into that (which I probably will doubt, in part, but OK).
A coalition of technology
and internet companies is lobbying to curb US National Security Agency
surveillance powers and for more transparency on government data
The Reform Government Surveillance
coalition, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft and Apple,
added its support for the race to pass a bill through the US Senate
before the end of the year, which would inhibit mass data collection
from emails and internet metadata.
“The Senate has an
opportunity this week to vote on the bipartisan USA Freedom Act,” said
the coalition in an open letter sent to the Senate. “We
urge you to pass the bill, which both protects national security and
reaffirms America’s commitment to the freedoms we all cherish.”
The bill would also allow
technology companies to disclose the number and types of data demands
from government as part of the continued transparency push from the
And there is this:
and technology groups championed the bill originally but many revoked
their support after compromises expanded the definition
of what data the government can collect.
But I suppose that as
things are, on the whole this is better than doing nothing or waiting
for the next Congress. And it all is as yet in the planning stage,
though there will be a vote today.
3. If you thought the Isis war couldn't get
any worse, just wait for more of the CIA
item is an article by Trevor Timm on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
As the war against
the Islamic State in Syria has fallen
into even more chaos – partially
due to the United States government’s increasing involvement there
– the White House’s bright new idea seems to be to ramping up the
involvement of the intelligence agency that is notorious for making bad
situations worse. As
the Washington Post reported late Friday, “The Obama administration
has been weighing plans to escalate the CIA’s role in arming and
training fighters in Syria, a move aimed at accelerating covert U.S.
support to moderate rebel factions while the Pentagon is preparing to
establish its own training bases.”
Trevor Timm - the executive
director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation - is extremely
sceptical that "the White House’s
bright new idea" is a sensible
one, and his arguments are good, and you can read them under the last
Will it make a difference? Probably not, but we will see.
4. The $9
Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst
item is an article by Matt Taibbi on Rolling Stone:
This starts as follows:
She tried to stay
quiet, she really did. But after eight years of keeping a heavy secret,
the day came when Alayne Fleischmann couldn't take it anymore.
Here is some more on
Fleischmann, Chase and Holder:
"It was like watching an
old lady get mugged on the street," she says. "I
thought, 'I can't sit by any longer.'"
Fleischmann is a tall,
thin, quick-witted securities lawyer in her late thirties, with long
blond hair, pale-blue eyes and an infectious sense of humor that has
survived some very tough times. She's had to struggle to find work
despite some striking skills and qualifications, a common symptom of a
not-so-common condition called being a whistle-blower.
Fleischmann is the
central witness in one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in
American history, possessing secrets that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie
Dimon late last year paid $9 billion (not $13 billion as regularly
reported – more on that later) to keep the public from hearing.
There is a whole lot more
under the last dotted link. It indeed shows massive fraud and
corruption, but with a Department of Justice headed by Eric Holder the
situation is as the last statement in the article says:
Six years after the
crisis that cratered the global economy, it's not exactly news
that the country's biggest banks stole on a grand scale. That's why the
more important part of Fleischmann's story is in the pains Chase and
the Justice Department took to silence her.
She was blocked at every
turn: by asleep-on-the-job regulators like the Securities and Exchange
Commission, by a court system that allowed Chase to use its billions to
bury her evidence, and, finally, by officials like outgoing Attorney
General Eric Holder, the chief architect of the crazily elaborate
government policy of surrender, secrecy and cover-up. "Every time
I had a chance to talk, something always got in the
way," Fleischmann says.
This past year she
watched as Holder's Justice Department struck a series of historic
settlement deals with Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America. The root
bargain in these deals was cash for secrecy. The banks paid big fines,
without trials or even judges – only secret negotiations that typically
ended with the public shown nothing but vague, quasi-official papers
called "statements of facts," which were conveniently devoid
of anything like actual facts.
Truth is one
thing, and if the right people fight hard enough, you might get to
hear it from time to time. But justice is different, and still far
5. America Is More Terrifying Than Orwell’s
item is an article by Tom Engelhardt on Alternet, that in fact is a
part from his latest book, "Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret
Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World":
This is a long
article of which I will quote only one bit:
Washington entered stage
three of delusional life in a single-superpower world. Its main
symptom: the belief in the possibility of controlling the planet not
just through staggering military might but also through informational
and surveillance omniscience and omnipotence. In these years, the
urge to declare a global war on communications, create a force capable of launching wars in cyberspace, and storm the
e-beaches of the Internet and the global information system proved
overwhelming. The idea was to make it impossible for anyone to
write, say, or do anything to which Washington might not be privy.
For most Americans, the
Edward Snowden revelations would pull back the curtain on the way the
National Security Agency, in particular, has been building a global
network for surveillance of a kind never before imagined, not even by
the totalitarian regimes of the previous century.
I agree with the first
paragraph, but disagree with the second, in that I do not
believe that "most Americans" really understand or care for the
great dangers Edward Snowden revealed, and that are summarized in the
first quoted paragraph. (I may be mistaken, and indeed hope
I am, but I
don't think so: Most Americans seem to think that as they haven't done
anything, they have nothing to fear - which is as stupid in the present
U.S. as it would have been in 1964 "socialist" Eastern Germany, where
the Stasi tried to control everything.)
Anyway... there is a lot
more under the last dotted link.
6. And Now the Richest .01 Percent
This starts as follows:
and last item today is an article by Robert Reich on his site:
Which means that the
super rich added over 5 times to their already enormous
compared with "the average
American" in a mere 36
The richest Americans
hold more of the nation’s wealth than they have in almost a century.
What do they spend it on? As you might expect, personal jets, giant
yachts, works of art, and luxury penthouses.
And also on politics. In
fact, their political spending has been growing faster than their
spending on anything else. It’s been growing even faster than their
According to new research
by Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley and
Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics, the richest
one-hundredth of one percent of Americans now hold over 11 percent of
the nation’s total wealth. That’s a higher share than the top .01
percent held in 1929, before the Great Crash.
We’re talking about
16,000 people, each worth at least $110 million.
One way to get your mind
around this is to compare their wealth to that of the average family.
In 1978, the typical wealth holder in the top .01 percent was 220 times
richer than the average American. By 2012, he or she was 1,120 times
Because of Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama, is the - very
short - answer: They all governed for the rich much more than the poor
or the middle class, and did so in part because they got their money
from the rich.
Here is another figure, that supports this - simple but basically
adequate - answer:
In the mid-1980s,
the bottom 90 percent of Americans together held 36 percent of the
nation’s wealth. Now, they hold less than 23 percent.
And here is the ending
of the piece, that repeats what I and others have been saying - though
I also will have two critical comments:
Yes - BUT here are two
If you want to know
what’s happened to the American economy, follow the money. That will
lead you to the richest .01 percent.
And if you want to know
what’s happened to our democracy, follow the richest .01 percent.
They’ll lead you to the politicians who have been selling our
First, ".01 percent" is in fact 1/100 of 1/100, which is 1
in 10.000. It is true that they have really vast amounts of money,
which quite a lot also invest in poiitics to buy more privileges and
evasions for themselves.
But even so, I'd rather construe the opposition between the rich and
the poor - which now is a real opposition in the U.S. - as
richest 1% or 10% and the remaining 99% or 90%, rather than concentrate
on the ".01 percent", even though I agree with Reich these are the richest
of the rich and give a lot of money to buy politicians to get even
Second, the main reasons why I am rather a lot more in favor of drawing
the distinction between the top 10% and the remaining 90%
is quite simply that the very rich and the rich do comprise
some 10% - and these 10% form a large army that
for the rich: the journalists, the academics, the politicians, the
CEOs, the top bureaucrats etc. who themselves may not make a $ 110
million or even $ 10 million or $1 million a year, but who are
very busy to see to it that their
incomes are good, and that the incomes of those richer than them also
There surely are reasons to also look into the 0.01% but their social
exists mainly because of the rich 10% that mostly work for them.
 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: