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. Secret US cybersecurity
report: encryption vital to
protect private data
2. Use of definite article
shows ‘radical decline’ in last
century, research shows
Problems with Being Charlie
Buy the Hype: 20 Years of Data Reveals 'Free
5. Richard Wolff on the Greek
Crisis, Austerity and a
This is a Nederlog of Friday,
January 16, 2015.
This is a crisis log. There are
5 items with 5 dotted links. Item 1 is on Cameron's
desire to undo all encryption (for the state's secret security
experts); item 2 is on the radical decline of
"the"; item 3 is on some problems with being
Charlie; item 4 is a report that shows "free trade"
serves the rich at the costs of the poor; and item 5
is a long but interesting interview about Greece.
1. Secret US cybersecurity report:
encryption vital to
protect private data
The first item today is an
article by James Ball on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I have reviewed the last
link two days ago, and I note that "the
newly uncovered five-year
forecast" is in fact from 2009. The above continues thus:
A secret US cybersecurity
report warned that government and private computers were being left
vulnerable to online attacks from Russia, China and criminal gangs
because encryption technologies were not being implemented fast enough.
The advice, in a newly
uncovered five-year forecast written in 2009, contrasts with the pledge
made by David Cameron this week to crack down on
encryption use by technology companies.
Related: David Cameron pledges anti-terror law
for internet after Paris attacks
In the wake of the Paris
terror attacks, the prime minister said there should be no “safe spaces
for terrorists to communicate” or that British authorites could not
No, no and no: Tech
companies do not need to work with degenerate immoral ever lying
millionaires who are selling Great Britain to the rich, mostly because
they have propagandized the 50% who have IQs less than 100 to support
them; "the battle against terrorism" is and was a Big Lie to try to
make everyone who
Cameron, who landed in
the US on Thursday night, is expected to urge Barack Obama to apply more pressure
to tech giants, such as Apple, Google and Facebook, which have been
expanding encrypted messaging for their millions of users since the
revelations of mass NSA surveillance by the whistleblower Edward
Cameron said the
companies “need to work with us. They need also to demonstrate, which
they do, that they have a social responsibility to fight the battle
against terrorism. We shouldn’t allow safe spaces for terrorists to
communicate. That’s a huge challenge but that’s certainly the right
is not rich a fully owned consumer whose complete
life, values, preferences, choices, sales and secrets of all kinds,
including their own pornography, are fully known to a small number of
anonymous governmental spies; the state-terrorists from the Western
governments have destroyed far more lives - outside Europe, to
be sure, and rarely in the news that the main media provide, but quite
obviously so - than the terrorists whose actions they have used to kill
far more people; and the principle David Cameron is for is the principe
of the fascist surveillance state, and not of any
democratic state of law. 
There is also this (and a lot more you can check out yourself):
versions of Apple and Google’s mobile operating systems are encrypted
by default, while other popular messaging services, such as WhatsApp
and Snapchat, also use encryption. This has prompted calls for action
against such strong encryption from ministers and officials. Speaking
on Monday, Cameron asked: “In our country, do we want to allow a means
of communication between people which we cannot read?”
I'd say: Yes, you should.
The dangers of Islamic terrorism for Western
countries are far
less than the dangers that conmen like Cameron are creating a climate
for the arisal of Western terror states where everyone is constantly
spied upon by many kinds of governmental secret agencies.
But I am quite open to the possibility that Cameron, Obama and the
present U.S. Congress may succeed in making two kinds
The 90% who are poor or not rich, and who do not deserve rights
or privacy, and can be
certain that they are spied upon all the time, in anything
they do, by their mobile phones, by their desktop computers and by
hundreds of thousands of surveillance cameras, all of which are
controlled by secret government agencies shielded by secret
courts; contrasted with the 10% or 1% who are so rich or so proven
pro-government that they - and only they, and that only conditionally -
are not spied upon all the time (though they too will generally not
know whether they are not).
There is a lot more under the last dotted link, but it is not said that
choice Cameron offers is that of a fascist surveillance
that knows every- thing and rules everything.
And he also may very well succeed, though I
much desire he does not. 
2. Use of definite article shows ‘radical
decline’ in last century, research shows
The next item is an article by
Alison Flood on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
I say. I will below
explain why I am interested. First a few more quotations, that show
this is not merely so in presidential speeches:
It might appear to be one
of the more useful words in the English language, but according to
research by a linguistics professor, use of the definite article “the”
has declined “radically” over the last century.
Christopher H Browne distinguished professor of linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, has
analysed the frequency of “the” in US presidential State of the Union
addresses, finding that the average frequency of “the” in addresses
between 2004 and 2013 was 47,458 per million words. Yet in the first 10
addresses, which took place between 1790 and 1799, it was 93,201 per
million words, “almost double the frequency”.
“During the course
of the 20th century, the frequency of the English definite article
the decreased gradually and radically,” Liberman writes (...)
And there is this on
Why am I interested?
Mostly because this is one of the changes I have been warning about for
more than 35 years, that also coincides with the enormous rise in propaganda
language, that does away with the definite article and replaces many
occurrences of "is" by "may", all because it makes lying, misleading
and deceiving very much easier: "the" is based on a definite
description, as in "the people from the university's first year
students", while "people researched" is very much vaguer and
sounds far more grandiose; to say that a medicine does improve
is falsifiable, but to say it "may" improve your health makes the very
suggestion while making it completely unfalsifiable.
“I didn’t expect to see
the effect in the first place; and I’ve been surprised both by
its magnitude and by the fact that it’s (so far) so consistent across
sources,” he told the Guardian. “I haven’t been able to find any
previous discussion of this trend, and the knowledgeable colleagues
that I’ve asked don’t know of any, either.”
“I think that one part of
the explanation is a long-term trend towards greater informality in
writing,” Liberman told the Guardian by email.
Finally, here are two examples of two presidents of the United States.
First George Washington, who praises the United States and says
“I embrace with
great satisfaction the opportunity which now presents itself of
congratulating you on the present favourable prospects of our public
affairs. The recent accession of the important state of North Carolina
to the Constitution of the United States … the rising credit and
respectability of our country, the general and increasing good will
toward the government of the Union, and the concord, peace, and plenty
with which we are blessed are circumstances auspicious in an eminent
degree to our national prosperity.”
Clearly, he is being
propagandistic, but for most of the things he claimed there was some
Next Barack Obama, who
praises the United States and talks propaganda trash:
“Today in America,
a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her
part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more
than three decades. An entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech
startup, and did her part to add to the more than eight million new
jobs our businesses have created over the past four years. An
autoworker fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the
world, and did his part to help America wean itself off foreign oil.”
Clearly, he is being
propagandistic, but for none of the things he claimed - "a
"an entrepreneur", "an autoworker" - there was any statistical
evidence: He is telling tales, and tales that are completely
non-checkable, non-specific, and imprecize, but with the pretense they
are real, factual and correct.
And that is the whole point - and no: It is not so much "a greater
informality in writing" that is behind this; it is the increased need
to deceive by propagandistic
suggestion that removed precision from most places, including
and psychological articles. And this happened for the most part on
purpose, at least in those writing propaganda i.e. lies, deceptions or bullshit.
3. The Problems with Being Charlie
next item is an article by Paul R. Pillar on Consortium News:
This has the following summary:
t’s one thing to
decry all terrorism and defend the principle of free expression; it’s
another to show disproportionate concern for some victims over others
and to embrace offensive or irresponsible media content, troubling
issues from the Charlie Hebdo case, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
I select three quotations.
First, there is this (and I select from much more):
Lost sight of amid
the swell of street-marching champions of such civil liberties is the
inconsistency in getting so worked up about this one affront to free
speech but not to others. Surely we ought to be worked up as much about
other, comparable limitations on free expression, especially when the
power of the state is used to enforce those limitations. In
France itself the state enforces a variety of such limitations (...)
Yes, that is true - but then
"we" (I don't like that term, but OK) Westerners are a lot more
sympathetic to the rights of free speech claimed by satirists who
attack the Islam and then get murdered, than to the rights of free
speech claimed by - say - Islamists. I think that is not quite fair,
but it is the case.
Next, there is this:
The exerciser of
free speech in question in Paris was a satirical magazine that seems to
specialize in cartoons that are bound to offend a lot of people. It is
fair to say that in the centuries of struggles for civil liberties,
this is probably not one of the nobler vehicles for the cause. We are
not talking Thomas Paine here.
Well... and so? I agree
Charlie Hebdo was not Thomas Paine (although Paine wasn't much liked
during his life either), and I am also willing to agree that they were
far more critical of Muslims than of Jews, for example, but neither is
a reason for murdering them nor is it a strong point of criticism of an
explicitly satirical weekly.
Finally, there is this question:
What is that “je
suis Charlie” stuff supposed to mean?
I copy the question,
because I had a similar reaction. In fact, I did not know there
Charlie Hebdo until 8 days ago: it is French, and while I knew of some
other French satirical publications, I had not heard of it, as I am
sure is the case with most non-French.
This does not explain why - literally - hundreds of thousands most of
whom knew as little as I did identified with Charlie Hebdo (for
that is what “je suis
Charlie” means: "I am Charlie", and this was shown by very many).
So why is that? My own explanation is along these lines (which are the
same as for the enormous popularity of aliases on the internet):
It widely appealed because it was an obvious lie - those who said
they were Charlie, at the same time clearly suggested
they were not,
and were speaking in a sort of ironic solidarity, which also did not
make any personal claim (with their own name and address), and
did not entail any personal responsibility.
I may be mistaken, but I also was genuinely puzzled by the very many
who claimed to be Charlie while not knowing any more
than I did.
the Hype: 20 Years of Data Reveals 'Free Trade' Fallacies
next item is an article by Deirdre Fulton on Common Dreams:
This starts as
international trade deals have led to exploding U.S. trade deficits,
soaring food imports into the U.S., increased off-shoring of American
jobs, and an "unprecedented rise in income inequality," according to
new data released
Thursday by the watchdog group Public Citizen.
The report, "Prosperity
Undermined" (pdf), compiles and analyzes 20 years of trade and
economic data to show that the arguments again being made in favor of
providing the Obama administration with Fast Track trade
over extensive new executive powers and delegating away core
congressional constitutional authorities—have repeatedly proved false.
Undermined" seems a good report (and yes, it can be dowloaded),
which also includes an explanation of "fast tracking".
The article also contains
this quotation from Dave Johnson (I quote only part):
Our trade negotiating
process is rigged from the start. Giant, multinational and Wall Street
corporate interests are at the negotiating table. Consumer, labor,
environmental, human rights, democracy, health and all the other
stakeholder representatives are excluded and the results of these
negotiations reflect this. A rigged process called "fast track" is used
to essentially force Congress to
pre-approve the agreements before the public has a chance to
analyze and react to them.
Obviously the giant,
multinational and Wall Street corporations would want the public to
believe that everyday small businesses gain from our trade deals, when
in fact they do not. It is less obvious why President Obama would want
to present at the State of the Union the story of one small business that does not reflect the reality of the
trade deals he is promoting.
Well - for president
Obama's motives one could read yesterday's "The
Source of Barack Obama’s Power to Trick Us Comes from Our Willingness to Be
But this is a good article.
Wolff on the Greek Crisis, Austerity and a Post-Capitalist Future
The last item today is
article by Michael Nevradakis on Truthout:
This starts as follows:
In the following
interview, New School
professor and economist Richard Wolff provides his analysis of the
causes of the economic crisis in Greece and in the eurozone, debunks
claims that the Greek economy is recovering and offers his proposal for
what a post-capitalist future could look like for Greece and the world.
I liked the interview
(and no, this is another marxist Wolff than the one meant here) and this is from the start:
We have the worst
economic downturn in the last 75 years, second only to the Great
Depression of the 1930s, and we're not yet clear how long this one will
last and how bad it will be, so it may even overtake the one in the
1930s; we just don't know.
Quite so. There is a
lot more in the interview, that I recommend you read all. (I do not
agree with all, but it is an interesting interview with someone
who is quite
I would remind everyone that
in the aftermath of the Great Depression, with the rise of Keynesian
economics, we were told in the economics profession that we had learned
the lessons, that we had the mechanisms, we had the research, we had
the monetary and fiscal policies and the Keynesian economic theory
behind it all to make sure that this kind of economic collapse, cutting
this deep, lasting this long, would never happen again.
The second thing I would say
is this: There has been a recovery. There has been a recovery in the
incomes and wealth of the 5 to 10 percent of many of the societies hit
by the crisis; stock markets in many countries have recovered;
corporate profits have recovered in some parts in both financial and
non-financial industries - but for the vast majority of people, there
has been no recovery. Unemployment is at record highs in many parts of
the world. Even for those who have kept their jobs, their jobs have
fewer benefits, lower degrees of security [and] children are having to
forego education or rack up enormous debts to pay for it. Wherever we
turn, the basic life condition of the mass of people is poorer than it
was five and six years ago.
 Those who complain about my use of
"fascism" certainly do not
have my very strong anti-fascistic
education and parents and grandparents; have not been
called "a dirty fascist" etc. hundreds of times in the
university (because I did not wish to pretend to be a
quasi-marxist like nearly
everyone else: my parents and grandparents were real marxists);
have not been gassed and terrorized nearly four years by
drugsdealers protected by the mayor of Amsterdam.