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."
Revealed: Canadian Spy Program Illustrates "Giant
Over All Our
2. Welcome to
21st Century Left Rises: Syriza’s Victory and Its
the U.S. and the
4. Can Capitalism Save Itself?
trial's Prof Peter
White: Exercise (..) is NOT safe
This is a Nederlog of
January 29, 2015.
This is a crisis log. There are 5 items with 8 dotted links: Item 1 is on a Canadian spying program that checks
everyone's downloads; item 2 is on the most crazy
and ugly change I have seen in a looooong time; item 3
is on Syriza's victory, and is good though a bit too optimistic; item 4 asks a good question and ends in a decent
diagnosis of postmodern capitalism; and item 5 is
not about the crisis but about M.E. and shows the baffling picture of a
man who has said since 1988 (I think) everyone with M.E. is crazy and
should see a psychiatrist (like him) who now says people with
M.E. have all sorts of odd changes in their blood that may well explain
why - after all - they are not benefitted by exercise (but may
be quite seriously harmed by it). (I say!)
Also, this got uploaded a bit later than is usual, mostly because of
the Vast Improval (suggests Wolfgang Blau, who made it, so it must be
true) in The Guardian's website (that in my experience went from excellent
to utter shit -
but then who am I, whose last name is not Blau and who doesn't even
work for The Guardian).
Revealed: Canadian Spy Program Illustrates "Giant X-Ray Machine Over
All Our Digital Lives"
The first item today is
article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
To start with, here is also
the link to The Intercept's piece, by Ryan Gallagher and Glenn
Newly released documents
contained in the archive of materials leaked to journalists by NSA
whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals that Canada's spy agency, the
Communications Security Establishment, has been operating a covert,
mass surveillance program designed to monitor the downloads of millions
of Internet users around the world.
Reported jointly by The
Intercept and the CBC
on Wednesday, the revelations center on a slide presentation detailing
a CSE program called LEVITATION which secretly "taps into Internet
cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from
popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and
Next, here is the CBC
quoted, that described what is being done:
Why are the Canadians
spying on the down- and uploading of files by anyone anywhere? This is
Gallagher and Greenwald's answer:
provides a rare glimpse into Canada's cyber-sleuthing capabilities and
its use of its spy partners' immense databases to track the online
traffic of millions of people around the world, including Canadians.
That glimpse may be
of even greater interest now that the Harper government plans to
introduce new legislation increasing
the powers of Canada's security agencies.
always been described as a junior partner in the Five Eyes spying
partnership, which includes the U.S., Britain,
New Zealand and Australia, this document shows it led the way
in developing this new extremist-tracking tool.
In fact, I think the
Canadians are spying on everyone because they want the total control of
everyone, and especially of everyone who stands out for independent
The ostensible aim of the
surveillance is to sift through vast amounts of data to identify people
uploading or downloading content that could be connected to terrorism –
such as bomb-making guides and hostage videos.
In the process, however,
CSE combs through huge volumes of data showing uploads and downloads
initiated by Internet users not suspected of any wrongdoing.
CSE finds some 350
“interesting” downloads each month, the presentation notes, a number
that amounts to less than 0.0001 per cent of the total collected data.
individual thinking (for these are very close to terrorists, don'cha
know: they don't accept Our Governments sayings automatically and
2. Welcome to the new Guardian website
The next item is an article by Wolfgang Blau on The Guardian:
This may be a bit hard to take for you, so let me introduce myself: I
am a 64 year old Dutch psychologist and philosopher who has been using
computers daily since 1987; who can program in six languages; who has
his own website since 1996; and who has an IQ over 150, although both
that and my truly excellent degrees (I also have a very fine B.A. in
almost totally useless since I am also physically ill since 1.1.1979 -
and I say "almost" because it's true a bright mind helps one, but it
did not bring me any money.
Also, I am on GNU/Linux/Ubuntu, with the very latest version of the
operating system and with the very latest version of Firefox, that
displays all sites other than The Guardian really well.
You - I have not the slightest idea who you are, except that you have a
name - may know the German term "Verschlimmbesserung"
"improdestruction" or also: "to make something much worse by
But this is just a guess, that you know German. You start your story
about your Glorious
Renewal of The Guardian's website as follows - and I show this just
like you showed it to me (after the Glorious
Renewal took place):
The Guardian has a
back almost 200 years of creating world-class journalism. In more
recent times, the Guardian has also become one of the world’s most
influential news organisations with newsrooms in the UK, the US and
That is, it gets displayed
in the most standard ugly letter there is - Times Roman - which is not
really fit for
modern graphical screens (though fine on paper, and also the default
computers since the 1980ies), and
which was not used on The Guardian's hitherto excellent
website (that is: before you "improved"
Oh no: Sorry! You
be the guy who did this four times previously the last month
all pictures disappear; the whole site gets into Times Roman, and nothing
can be found anymore without great trouble),
and who kept this going for around 1 1/2
days each time, all without the slightest explanation that I could find.
In fact, here is a
- small - blog I wrote about it: On The
Guardian's website (from December 22, last year). Since
then, this happened three or four more times.
As to the "almost 200
years of world-class
journalism": Do you have any idea about The Guardian's "world
journalism" of 1830 or so? Or of - say - 1884? I don't, but OK - we
to "more recent times", and in fact immediately to modern times:
The Guardian has reached more
million unique browsers worldwide in a month, while our readership in
the UK also continues to grow. On any given day, Guardian readers are
using thousands of different types of devices to read, view, discuss
and share our journalism with each other. The amount of device types on
which you can access the Guardian will only continue to increase so we
want to make sure that we always provide you with a consistent,
fast-loading, familiar and pleasurable experience, whatever your screen
I see. That is why
everything now gets reduced to Times Roman, right? And that must be
also why you removed nearly all photos, didn't you? To make it easier
for the user, just as Windows 8 made it "easier for the user"
an IQ of 100, on average), right?
But I am sorry: The
"experience" you provided me with was neither consistent nor "familiar"
nor "pleasurable": What I get is this - and o, look at that marvellous
red and that amazing near black! So exciting:
enlarge so you may be enjoyed even more....
This is definitely ***
The Full Windows 8 Browsing Experience! ***.
The Guardian's site was for the last 1 1/2 years the best
of any paper I knew (quite a few): Clear, easy to use, with
many pictures, and with
texts in decent fonts - but now it has been **Improved** to
Roman font allover, and hardly any pictures in the listings (see above,
to fondly enjoy).
Also, I can't find
anything anymore. You continue:
Today we are launching a new
has been built and designed from the ground up by the Guardian’s
in-house team of designers, journalists, user-experience architects,
product managers, developers and software engineers.
You want to share the blame with an "in-house team of designers, journalists, user-experience
product managers, developers and software engineers"?! How nice of you!
Umm...no. You may
think what you please, but what I see is the above:
The new Guardian site presents
a more compact view of the news agenda as it changes throughout the day
and night. The new design will also give you more visual clues about
each story’s relative importance and its editorial tone, whether it is
a breaking news story or a live blog, a piece of analysis, a piece of
opinion, a feature or a review.
Everything got reduced to the simplest, ugliest,
default font; I do not get any
"visual clues": I have to read everything (but OK.... you may
well mean that: a **visual** clue = reading text in Times Roman, that
very exciting font); I cannot find anything; and I am definitely not
interested in your
each story’s relative importance and its editorial tone", thank you very much: I still can make up my
own mind (but yes, for the IQs of 75 or so, this may be quite helpful).
Altogether, on a scale of 1 to 10, you have changed a website worth a 9
1/2 to one that fully deserves a 1: The Blauified Guardian, A
Complete Visual Horror Show. ("Developed" - in a mere 1 1/2 years -
from an excellent site, now dead.)
If this is what you have to offer - which seems to be the case:
Everything else on my computer works quite well - in terms of ***
Improving Our Hitherto Vastly And Deservedly Very Popular Site *** you
made my life a lot easier:
The Guardian has been Blauified; has changed its hitherto excellent
website in one full swoop to *** A Complete Windows 8 Horror Show In Times Roman *** without any
clue; but yes, it now also shows half length large pictures of
its journalists (as if that serves any purpose except their
vanity) next to their pieces (and I reproduce these pictures a bit smaller
I think I will use this Blauified Horror Show In Times Roman a whole
And I am very sorry indeed, but this is the greatest
Verschlimmbesserung - improdestruction - I have ever seen: From
excellent to utterly idiotic
(in Times Roman) in one big jump.
Thank you, Wolfie! Well done, for a man with your undoubted capacities
and knowledge! 
21st Century Left Rises: Syriza’s Victory and Its
Relevance for the U.S. and the World
next item is an article by Alan Minsky on Truthdfig:
This consists of three
pages (on Truthdig), of which the first page contains this:
throws into clear relief the most important political issue of our
time. Is it possible for a left political formation to challenge, win
victories against and ultimately overthrow the dominant economic and
political paradigm of the past four decades? To be clear, I’m referring
to the Reagan/Thatcher/Clinton/Blair neoliberal order, aka contemporary
Yes, indeed - they are
basically variants of the same underlying motives, and indeed
you may add Bush Jr and Obama as well.
Next, here is a bit of explanation:
All of us, everyone in
the world today, have
been living through a three-decade-long counterreaction to a historical
arc with its roots in the European revolutions that began in the late
17th century. Viewed from this broad perspective, the major societies
of Europe and what we know as the “West” have generally evolved from
autocratic feudal regimes in which very few people held economic and
political power toward greater democratization (keeping in mind, of
course, their brutal, and anything but egalitarian colonial projects).
In other words, in Europe, the USA and Japan wealth became more
equitably distributed over time and more people participated in
deciding how society was run.
This progressive arc
continued, in fits and starts, up through the 1970s (...)
Yes, indeed - except that "the left" is mostly dead, killed as
it was by Clinton, Blair, Kok and others, who saw their ways to riches and
who gained these.
came Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman and friends.
For the past three and a
half decades, the left in the Northern
Hemisphere has failed utterly at presenting a vision of a more
progressive and equitable society that could garner enough support to
counter the neoliberal behemoth that has been rolling back the
the past few centuries.
Instead, what we have is "neoliberalism", as it is called:
neoliberalism has turned back the tide, and we now live in a society
once again dominated by an extremely small elite who have astronomical
wealth and a monopoly on political power. The masses work longer for
less and are expected to accept their near-absolute disenfranchisement.
To make matters worse, this reactionary order dominates a
Indeed, but "neoliberalism"
holds almost every politician in its grip, and indeed has been much
helped to power by former leftists, who kept speaking
they are leftists, but who do all the things necessary to help
the bankmanagers. One model is called
Anyway... there are two more pages, and the article is decent, except
that it seems to me to be a bit too optimistic.
4. Can Capitalism Save Itself?
next item is an article by Gary Olson on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
Today's pop quiz involves
oxymorons, those often amusing contradictory two-word expressions like
jumbo shrimp, amicable divorce and Fox News. Okay, which of the
following oxymorons have gained favor within the higher ranks of
finance and politics: a.) Moderated democracy b.) Humanitarian
intervention c.) Benevolent despot d.) Inclusive capitalism e.)
Compassionate conservatism. If you guessed d.) Inclusive capitalism,
Sadly, the laugh out
loud, beyond satire nature of this new buzz phrase is totally lost on
those disseminating it with a straight face. This was the case last May
when 250 of the world's titans of finance and business attended a
by-invitation-only summit on "Inclusive Capitalism," held appropriately
at an 800 year-old castle in London, England. The attendees represented
$30 trillion in assets, fully one-third of the world's total investable
Yes and no. First,
"compassionate conservatism" is popular in England, where Cameron and
his gang compassionately rob the poor, to make the rich even
Also, I think myself that the satire is quite well understood
world's titans of finance and business", who certainly are not deceived by it,
for the simple reason that this makes them rich beyond imagination. And
for the price of propaganda
lies and public
Here is some further explanation (which is quite good):
There is more I leave to your
interests. Here is Gary Olson's last
(...) we learn from
Oxfam's recent report that the 80 richest people (85 last year) on the
planet -- 0.000001 percent of the global population -- now have a
collective net worth of $1.9 trillion. Their wealth, which doubled
between 2009 and 2014, is equal to that shared by 3.5 billion people at
the bottom of the world's income scale. For perspective, the average
wealth per head among the 80 individuals is $23.7 billion compared to
$540 for the bottom 3.5 billion people. (Parenthetically, 571 of the
world's 1,645 billionaires are citizens of the United States).
My take is that
barring significant public agitation from below, a system in which
government is merely an appendage of our corporate overloads is not
outside the realm of capitalist responses. Calling that system
neofascism will offend some readers so for now let's label it a hybrid
American totalitarianism. Hopefully that's another oxymoron.
Well... I can't
really see why "neofascism" would "offend some readers",
given the universal surveillance of the secret services, and given the
above quotation on how the riches are divided (roughly as: "I am rich
therefore get over 500.000 dollars for every 1 dollar you get -
don't you dare to complain or I tell the
are a stinking terrorist!").
Also, I know a whole
lot about fascism, and called the system I saw and see emerge
"corporate fascism + surveillance state" in 2012 - which got very
strongly confirmed half a year later by Edward Snowden.
But OK... there probably are tens of thousands of anonymous
underbrained scolds who want to visit their own moral degeneracy on
anyone who is not quite like them.
trial's Prof Peter White: Exercise
causes Immunological damage in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and is NOT safe
next and last item today is an article by professor Peter White om Dr.
Speedy's site - and this is not about the crisis but about the disease
I now have 37 years, all without getting any help
except for minimum dole for working healthy people, in part because
professor Peter White has been saying since ca. 1988 that M.E. does not
exist and is psychiatric:
This starts as follows (and
incidentally: I avoid the name "CFS" and indeed was not
it, but was diagnosed as a case of M.E./F.M. in 1989, and that last
addition was because of my
considerable pain (that continued ever since, in part thanks to the
efforts of professor White: Thank you, professor White, for
care of 27 years of constant pain, constant discrimination
and constant abuse by the moral degenerates who are bureaucrats in
The main finding
of this pilot study was the elevated median concentration of
transforming growth factor beta, which seemed to be related to
activity. We also found significantly fewer CD3+ and CD4+ lymphocytes
and fewer expressing HLA DR, but there was no difference between groups
in response to exercise, but no importance should be attached to this
in view of the small numbers of subjects in this study.
Finally, we found that
exercise induced a sustained elevation in the concentration of TNF-α,
which was still present three days later, and this only occurred in CFS
And they (professors White
and Pinching) also say:
data suggest that “ordinary” activity (i.e., that involved in getting
up and traveling some distance) may induce anti-inflammatory cytokine
release (TGF-β), whereas more intense exercise may induce
pro-inflammatory cytokine release (TNF-α) in patients
with CFS (21, 28, 29).
The causal mechanisms
involved and the direction of the relationship between these mechanisms
remain to be elucidated. Altered cytokine balance, for example,
following an infection, may modify the threshold at which cytokine
release occurs with exercise or activity, setting up a vicious circle.
These processes could contribute to the postexertional malaise, myalgia and the central fatigue
that characterize CFS (1, 2, 4).
In fact - in case you
are interested, here are two studies on exercise and M.E.:
This is a quite long but
quite thorough study of what patients (like myself and many others)
think about exercising. This was compiled by Kim in 2010, briefly
before she was hunted from Phoenix Rising (from whence I also was
hunted, though for different reasons, it seems, though it is clear both
Kim and I are uncommonly intelligent).
And this is a fine piece by an English professor of psychology, Rhona
I know this is of little
interest to those who don't have M.E. and don't know somebody with M.E.
(which is the vast majority, that I can assure may consider
themselves quite happy!) but I have it, as does my ex, and we have
it for 37 years now, and have sickeningly often been
discriminated, abused, lied to and not answered by anyone
working for the city of Amsterdam or the Dutch nation.
 I am quite serious, as is Wolfgang Blau, but I fear
Blau wins, the first year, at least, for he has managed to use 1 1/2
year (and lots of money, I guess) for this totally crazy change. Also,
all journalists in the Guardian are flattered - I guess - now that
their Personal Pictures are six times larger than they were. So I fear
it will take a while to turn this back - and I am not going to
spend much time on The Guardian with the current, new, exciting look,
because I think it very ugly, very confusing, very unclear, and utterly
useless. Also, it was quite excellent and is now extra-ordinarily ugly
and very difficult to work with. Well done, Blau!